Once upon a time CNN would be airing the hottest hearings of the day. Now it’s going to be appearing in one of those hearings, as Lord Justice Leveson calls CNN anchor Piers Morgan to “explain himself” over comments he made relating to phone hacking.
Piers Morgan’s name has come up more than once in the Murdoch hacking story. Now a CNN anchor, Morgan once edited the Daily Mirror and, before that, News of the World, two Murdoch properties. The News of the World is now defunct; the first victim of the scandal. It’s hard to believe Morgan’s days aren’t numbered at CNN.
Earlier this week, the BBC’s Newsnight presenter, Jeremy Paxman, told the Leveson Inquiry, which has been looking into the scandal, that Morgan showed his guests at a Daily Mirror lunch how to hack into mobile phones. At the same lunch, Paxman says Morgan teased TV presenter Ulrika Jonsson about the details of private conversations she had had with Sven-Göran Eriksson, at the time the England football manager. (Earlier that year, the Mirror had revealed that Jonsson and Eriksson had had an affair.)
Paxman told the inquiry that Morgan then “turned to me and said ‘Have you got a mobile phone?’… He then explained that the way to get access to people’s message was to go to the factory default setting and press either 0000 or 1234 and that if you didn’t put on your own code… his words: ‘you’re a fool.’ ” Adding, “I don’t know whether he was making this up, making up the conversation, but it was clearly something that he was familiar with…”
Morgan has always strenuously denied wrongdoing relating to phone hacking. Now it looks as if he’ll get to deny it in public. In breaking news Thursday, Lord Justice Leveson said that Morgan will be called to “explain himself” to the inquiry. CNN is saying that the talk show host will testify in person. According to their statement: “Piers Morgan has confirmed to CNN that he will be giving evidence to the Leveson Inquiry at a later date.”
The Guardian is running highlights of the testimony. (Not CNN.)