Piers Morgan out after Meghan criticism. Plus: George Floyd, process vs. outcome. NYT & Trump.
By Gary Abernathy
Chilling: Morgan’s criticism of Meghan costs him a job
TV personality Piers Morgan has of late been a host of “Good Morning Britain,” over there across the Atlantic, and he was apparently forced to resign this week after saying he “didn’t believe a word” of what Meghan Markle, Prince Harry’s wife, said to Oprah Winfrey on Sunday’s widely watched interview. Morgan said he particularly had doubts about her claims that she felt suicidal and was refused help.
What’s so wrong with that? Even if you don’t agree with Morgan, doesn’t he have a right to his opinion? In Britain, apparently not. According to the Washington Post, Morgan’s comments may have violated what’s permitted when discussing mental health.
The Post noted, “Britain’s television watchdog Ofcom said that it received more than 41,000 complaints following the Monday edition of ‘Good Morning Britain’ and had launched an investigation into Morgan’s comments, related to ‘harm and offense rules.’ Hannah Yelin, a senior lecturer in media and culture at Oxford Brookes University, said, ‘his comments were such a clear breach of acceptable reporting on mental illness.’”
If you think Britain’s standards for acceptable speech seem stricter than those in the United States, think again. It all sounds very similar to what platforms here in the U.S. – be they mainstream media or social media – accept or reject when it comes to, for instance, the coronavirus. Anything that veers from the official government health agency narratives are either ridiculed or banned outright. Too many people today seem to think that expression should never challenge conventional thinking or offend anyone. When it comes to free expression, we live in chilling times.
George Floyd case: Justice is happening
I’ve consistently been among those who have agreed that George Floyd’s death was a horrible event. Shortly after it happened, I wrote, “Everyone — left, right and in between — seems to grasp that Floyd’s killing was atrocious. Even in the whitest parts of rural America, there are few who do not understand why protests sprang forth.”
Jury selection is happening now in the murder trial of Minnesota police officer Derek Chauvin. While we can all agree that what happened to Floyd was horrible, Chauvin, like everyone accused of a crime, deserves a fair trial. What may seem like an unlawful act to many of us may well turn out to be within the boundaries of legal police actions once Chauvin’s defense makes its case to a jury. Other factors that may have led to Floyd’s death will certainly be included with the evidence.
Even when trials are televised gavel to gavel, TV viewers cannot get the full flavor of a trial as experienced by jurors and others who are actually inside the courtroom. There’s a general feeling in most of the stories and public statements across the country that only a “guilty” verdict will be an acceptable outcome. I often quote a friend of mine who is a judge and who reminds me, “Justice is a process, not an outcome.” In the George Floyd case, justice is already happening because the process is taking place. The prosecution will present its case. The defense will counter. The jury will decide. That’s the process. That’s justice. The outcome is an entirely different issue.
New York Times gives Trump (some) credit
This headline today from the New York Times may come as close as we’ll see to the Times giving former President Trump credit for the record time in which a covid vaccine was produced and made available.
Assuming they don’t change it, which happens sometimes, the online headline reads, “Biden got the vaccine rollout humming, with Trump’s help.” Many of us might argue that it was really the other way around, but for the Times to credit Trump on its front news page with anything positive – and not just with occasional pieces by Trump supporters on the opinion pages – is a momentous occasion.
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