Piers Morgan and the legendarily cranky BBC interviewer Jeremy Paxman got into a bit of a tussle on a BBC World Service show on Monday. (h/t The Guardian)
Paxman was hosting a segment about the "art of the interview" with Morgan and fellow interview veteran Katie Couric. The three were chatting amiably about letting silence go on and doing your research when Paxman suddenly pounced. He brought up the issue that has continued to dog Morgan: phone hacking. (Despite no hard evidence, rumors have persisted that Morgan sanctioned the use of phone hacking while editing the Daily Mirror in the UK.)
"What about when you get a guest whom your producer has done a deal with that you won't talk about something in particular?" Paxman wondered aloud. "I gather, Piers, you don't want to talk about phone hacking."
"I didn't say that!" Morgan responded. "Oh you're quite happy to talk about it are you?" Paxman replied dramatically. Morgan said that Paxman could ask whatever he wanted.
"It's an issue, isn't it?" Paxman asked. "For who?" Morgan said. "Well, for someone like you who doesn't want to talk about phone hacking," Paxman said.
Morgan did not take kindly to this. "I'm not letting you get away with that!" he said. "That's just cheeky interviewing. I didn't make any precondition for this interview. I'm very happy to talk about anything. So you have to be accurate with your allegations about your interviewee - Jeremy that's very naughty of you!"
Paxman retorted that Morgan had "better have a word with your press officer." Couric managed to cap off the entire exchange quite nicely. "I think this is when you should practice the power of silence, Jeremy," she quipped.