As heads keep rolling in England over the fallout from the News of the World phone hacking scandal, fingers are starting to point across the Atlantic at a former NotW editor, better known on these shores for judging America’s Got Talent, winning Celebrity Apprentice, and for his slot on CNN’s prime-time lineup: Piers Morgan. The British TV presenter is facing calls from British members of Parliament to face questions regarding his tenure as editor of NotW and at rival Daily Mail, where he allegedly condoned practices similar to the ones employed at several of Rupert Murdoch’s British newspapers.
The specific allegation that now has Morgan’s feet so near the fire is actually from when he was at the Daily Mirror. According to British political blogger Guido Fawkes, one of the paper’s reporters got access to voice mails belonging to Swedish-born British TV personality Ulrika Jonsson, which ultimately revealed that she was having an affair with then-England soccer manager Sven-Göran Eriksson. (The story ultimately won Morgan and the Daily Mirror a Scoop of the Year award.) How the paper got access to Jonsson’s voice mail is what has people asking questions. Liberal Democrat MP Adrian Sanders recently quoted an entry from Piers Morgan’s diary — not clear how he got his hands on that little treasure — regarding the tactics used.
Several sources, including Reuters, have pointed out that Morgan’s book, The Insider, also makes mention of a “little trick” employed by the paper to get scoops. While perhaps not as technically sophisticated or as wide-scale as the NotW privacy violations, such a practice seems questionable at best and possibly career-threatening at worst.