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WSJ: CNN ‘Carefully’ Explored Tabloid Past Of Piers Morgan Before His Hiring

For Piers Morgan–and his bosses at CNN–the recent interest in his time as a tabloid newspaper editor in London (including, for a time, at the now-closed News of the World) has made for some fascinating television, most notably an on-air debate with a British MP who’d mistakenly accused Morgan of “bragging” about printing stories based on phone hacking (she’s since conceded she “mis-read” Morgan’s book, and has apologized). But as The Wall Street Journal reports this morning, Morgan’s time in the tabloid trenches was carefully explored before he was hired to replace Larry King–including a “careful reading” of the very memoir that MP Louise Mensch seemed to have skimmed. “Before signing him,” The WSJ‘s Lauren Schuker writes, “CNN executives carefully read his books and thoroughly questioned him about his journalistic habits and ethics, a person close to the network said.”

The background check included detailed questions about the events that led to Morgan’s dismissal as editor of London’s Daily Mirror amid a scandal involving photos of British war dead that soldiers insisted were fakes. CNN was satisfied with Morgan’s answers, and he got the job. The WSJ quotes a “person close to the network” who says “he wasn’t hired to be a news anchor or correspondent; he was being hired as a personality—that dictated the standards…he came off as a guy who had been chastened by his past and as someone who had the intelligence to grow and learn from it.”

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