Piers Morgan has again written to his friend, US President Donald Trump.
Read letter below:
Dear Mr President,
Slow down. Tone down. Calm down.
I know why you’re so angry.
It enrages you that the same media who blew so much collective smoke up your backside in the first few months of your campaign are now blowing so much collective fire and brimstone.
They’re behaving like Dr Frankenstein when he lost control of his creature, and displaying much of the same fevered hysteria.
It’s made some of them rankly hypocritical, demanding – rightly – that every word that comes from your presidential mouth is 100% accurate, whilst failing that simple test themselves through laziness or commercial greed.
When Buzzfeed published completely unverified claims that you had cavorted with urinating prostitutes in a Russian hotel, I despaired of my industry.
It was a disgraceful piece of opportunist click-baiting, and abrogated every basic rule of journalism.
I was similarly appalled when Time’s White House pool reporter informed the world you had removed the bust of Martin Luther King from the Oval Office. The optics and implication of that report became instantly clear as it blazed around the world for 40 uncorrected minutes as hard evidence you’re a racist.
To quote Churchill again: ‘A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.’ This report was untrue, the MLK bust was still there. Time apologised within the hour but much of the damage was already done. I had someone the other day citing it to me on Twitter as proof you’re a racist. ‘Oh but that was a genuine mistake!’ bellowed the media, racing to offer their colleague far more latitude over mistakes than they ever afford this Trump administration.
You’ve also had to put up with CNN anchor, Carmen Aristegui, raising two fingers to her upper lip to compare you to Adolf Hitler, an evil genocidal monster who directly murdered 12 million people and started a world war that killed many, many millions more.
That should surely have been a firing offence for a network that prides itself on impartiality?
Oh, and the New Republic shamefully published an essay last week suggesting your ‘bizarre, volatile, behaviour’ may be down to the sexually transmitted infection, syphilis. These are just some of the numerous examples of dreadful media behaviour that fully justify some of your fury.
Frankly, I have never seen such a concerted campaign of vicious personal vilification against a newly elected president. However, it would also be true to say I have never seen a newly elected president mount such a concerted campaign of vicious vilification against the media. I don’t have a problem with you describing specific stories as ‘FAKE NEWS!’ if they are indeed fake, like the ones I referred to. But it’s ridiculous to describe, as you did on Friday, all of America’s main news networks, in their entirety, as ‘FAKE NEWS!’
And even more ridiculous to say they are now the ‘enemy of the People.’ They’re not. They, like you, are servants of the People. Nor does it help your ‘FAKE NEWS!’ cause if a lot of statements from you and your team since Inauguration Day have been demonstrably inaccurate. Truth matters from the media.
It matters even more from the President.
Speaking as a professional journalist for the past three decades, let me offer some perspective.
First, freedom of the press is an absolutely essential tool of any true democracy.
As Sir Winston Churchill, a man you admire so much you have restored a bust of him to the Oval Office, said: ‘A free Press is the unsleeping guardian of every other right that free men prize; it is the most dangerous foe of tyranny. Where men have the habit of liberty, the Press will continue to be the vigilant guardian of the rights of the ordinary citizen.’
It’s OK to criticise the media, of course it is.
But if that criticism descends into a deliberate attempt to delegitimize, as it did on Friday, then it crosses a worrying red line that leads, as Senator John McCain correctly observed, into dictatorship.
The only thing more serious would be for a leader to try to delegitimize the judiciary, which you have also done during your breathless first four weeks in office. You described Judge James Robart as ‘a so-called judge’ because he blocked your controversial travel ban.
He’s not. He’s a federal judge appointed by the last Republican president, George W. Bush.
You may not like his decisions, and you are free to challenge them.
But as President of the United States, you can’t question Judge Robart’s validity to administer justice without serious evidence to suggest he is unfit to serve. None of which has been forthcoming.
And anyway, he was right about the travel ban. It was poorly drawn up and badly executed, which is why you are now preparing an entirely new version. As if your war with the media and judiciary wasn’t enough, you have also been engaged in a ferocious battle with your own intelligence agencies.
This has already led to the premature departure of your National Security Advisor, General Michael Flynn, after just three weeks. I’m still not sure if he did anything seriously wrong, other than – and this is not an insignificant offence – mislead the Vice-President. But Flynn was tossed on the political bonfire by your vengeful spooks in collusion with the media, because they were all fed up with the abusive way you’ve been talking about them.
Those spooks’ own behaviour has also been lamentable and possibly criminally so.
It’s appears some of them have been deliberately leaking classified information to damage you and your administration. Even worse, we’re told they may have been withholding vital intelligence from you because they don’t trust you. If true, this is shocking and unacceptable, and you must punish the culprits. But you must also work quickly to restore mutual trust with your intelligence agencies. You need them on your side.
Just as I also urge you to restore some mutual respect with the media and the judiciary.
They must be free to do their jobs. It’s perfectly legitimate for reporters to properly investigate any links that may exist between your administration and Vladimir Putin’s Russia. After all, you fired General Flynn, not the media.
They’re entitled to get to the bottom of why, particularly given the whirlwind of rumours surrounding Russian’s alleged attempt to rig and hack the US election to your benefit.
That is the whole point of the 1st Amendment, which is the bedrock of the Constitution that I know you love. As for the media, Churchill had a valuable message for my profession too:
‘Everyone is in favour of free speech. Hardly a day goes by without its being extolled. But some people’s idea of it is that they are free to say what they like but if anyone says anything back, that is an outrage.’
In other words, stop throwing indignant, over-sensitive temper tantrums every time President Trump says anything about you. He’s entitled to criticise you, just as you’re entitled to criticise him.
Both sides just need to do it with a little more respect, and a little less rage.
Bottom line, Mr President, is that you can’t keep expending all this time and energy waging war on the media, judiciary and intelligence agencies.
You’ve made your points, loud and clear. Now you must dial down the aggressive rhetoric and move to delivering on what you promised the American people. That’s jobs, a healthy economy, security, improved education, better health, new infrastructure and the obliteration of Islamic State.
The frustration for people like me who know you well, Mr President, and who do not think you’re a monster, is that your more incendiary rhetoric sometimes suggests to your critics that you might be.
There’s enough pathetically over-the-top, and for the most part completely unwarranted hysteria sweeping the Planet about you as it is without you fuelling the fire.
You’ve got so many exciting plans, but the good stuff’s getting drowned out in the noise of your squabbles with the messengers. Your announcement about US coal on Friday should have provided great feel-good headlines. Instead, all the attention moved to your latest attack on the media.
That’s just bad politics.
Mr President, you won the battle for the White House in the greatest political coup America has ever seen. Now you must win the real war – to Make America Great Again.