Piers Morgan wants to you to know that he is an expert on guns — or at least his British Army officer brother is an expert on guns, so therefore he must be one by extension.
Morgan, whose CNN show “Piers Morgan Tonight” has become a nightly hour-long screed ridiculing anyone who doesn’t precisely agree with the host on gun control, regularly mentions his brother’s biography in what appear to be lame but sincere attempts to buttress his own moral authority on various topics.
This motif emerged at the show’s birth. While interviewing former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice during just his third broadcast, Morgan brought up his brother’s service in order to claim greater credibility in criticizing the phrase “war on terror.”
“And I suppose my point to you would be that a war on terror suggests if you declare war as an administration normally there’s an end game,” he lectured Rice on January 19, 2011.
“You know, there’s a moment when you declare victory. And actually psychologically with your people, it’s important there’s an end game. And if there isn’t, it gets messy. And for that reason I — I thought it was an odd choice of phrase because — and my brother is an Army colonel in the British Army, and has fought in Iraq and Afghanistan. It’s — it’s hard for the troops to know what they’re fighting if it’s called ‘war on terror.’”
Oh, your brother is an officer in the British military, Piers? Well, in that case, argument won.
Morgan would go on to sprinkle references to his brother’s service into his show during the next two years, including in a debate over WikiLeaks with former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura.
“I can perhaps answer for my brother, who’s a British Army colonel,” he said, trying to counter the former Navy SEAL and renowned conspiracy theorist.
But Morgan’s references to his brother have increased astronomically since the December 14 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. Since then, in his one-man campaign to shame Congress into supporting an assault weapons ban, he has become increasingly fond of bringing up his fighting brother in the apparent hope of stealing some of his moral authority.
Three days after the Newtown, Conn. massacre, Philip Van Cleave of the Virginia Citizens Defense League was a guest on Morgan’s show. When Van Cleave sought to clarify that the gun used in the Newtown massacre was not a machine gun, Morgan lashed out, dropping his brother’s name and background to enhance his own credibility.
“No, I understand very carefully,” Morgan said. “My brother is a British Army colonel. OK? I know what weapons are.”
Two days later, on Dec. 19, Morgan trotted out his brother’s background in a conversation with Tom Ridge, the former secretary of homeland security. Ridge legitimately used his own military background and personal experience to make a point on gun control, which just happened to support Morgan’s own view. But Morgan jumped in so he could tie himself to his brother’s expertise again.