Piers Morgan has robustly defended himself against criticism over his approach to interviewing US President Donald Trump, with the pair’s second sit-down encounter labelled a “cosy chat”.
The interview, which took place on Friday on-board Air Force One before Trump flew to Scotland, aired this morning on Good Morning Britain with a write-up appearing in the Mail On Sunday.
It is set to be shown in full this evening at 10.40pm on ITV.
In a tweet to Morgan, Guardian and Observer writer Carole Cadwalladr said: “’Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed: everything else is public relations.’ You’re in marketing, mate.”
Morgan replied: “Being lectured by the Guardian about journalism is like being lectured on brain damage by Love Island contestants.”
When it was pointed out to Morgan that Cadwalladr had won the George Orwell Prize for Journalism last month, he replied: “So Carole Cadwalladr accepted a prize named after a racist, sexist, homophobic elephant-killer? Wow – congrats.”
Cadwalladr replied: “Oh my god. Piers Morgan. Critiquing. George Orwell. Piers, mate. Let me spell it out. You are 1984.”
Morgan has given gifts to Trump each time he’s interviewed him. Securing the first UK broadcast interview with Trump in January this year, seen by 3m viewers, Morgan gifted the US Commander in Chief an Arsenal shirt.
For their second encounter Morgan gave Trump – who’s mother was Scottish – a kilt in his family tartan.
Mogan, who won the US Celebrity Apprentice in 2008 when Trump still presented the show, was greeted by the US President as “my champion”.
The friendship between the pair has led some to criticise Morgan’s apparent refusal to challenge the US president on his more controversial policies.
Sky News business correspondent, Adam Parsons tweeted: “Well done to [Morgan] for getting the story. But a cosy chat, where you deliberately avoid confrontation and worry about getting a selfie, is not a news interview.
“Trump still hasn’t done a proper interview with a British broadcaster.”
He reiterated his point by adding:“Journalism is not PR”.
But Morgan came back, responding: “Mate, you’re not even the best business journalist at Sky News – Mark Kleinman gets all the scoops. So I suggest you stop mocking me for getting a World Exclusive on Air Force One and try being half as good as Mark.”
Morgan’s GMB co-presenter Susanna Reid also weighed in on the argument, tweeting: “To all journos furious about the Morgan interview with Trump: you can pat yourselves on the back for the brilliant interview you didn’t do with the President.
“Or you can watch the interview, deconstruct it and point out where he’s wrong. I chose the 2nd option.”
Writing in the Mail on Sunday, Morgan addressed some of the criticism of his approach to interviewing Trump.
He said: “Trump-haters will scream blue murder that an interviewer doesn’t spend every second of his allotted time clubbing him over the head with a large hammer.
“But I prefer to engage with Trump to listen to him in our interviews rather than berate and abuse him.”
He added: “Our long-time friendship is why I am the only British TV journalist he [Trump] speaks to.”
The GMB presenter appeared last week to have pulled the plug on a pre-arranged TV interview with Guardian columnist Owen Jones following a spat on Twitter.
Jones, who was set to discuss US President Donald Trump’s visit to the UK on last Friday’s episode of the ITV morning news show, asked his Twitter followers: “Do I bother going on Good Morning Britain tomorrow to listen to Morgan verbally masturbating all over himself, or am I wasting my life?”
Morgan responded: “No, you’re too annoying. Consider your invitation rescinded and go play with your Trump balloon,” a reference to the Trump baby blimp that flew over London in protest at Trump’s UK visit last week.
Owen Jones hit back, describing Morgan as a “disgraced newspaper editor” in a tweet.
Morgan was sacked as editor of the Daily Mirror in 2004 after publishing fake pictures of British troops torturing an Iraqi prisoner. The paper later ran a front page apology to readers, saying: “Sorry… we were hoaxed.”