When I found myself defending my reasons yet again for my admittedly odd obsession with Piers Morgan yesterday, I figured it was time to put my feelings ‘out there’ (and by ‘there’ I mean the blogosphere).
I go on about Piers an awful lot. I mean, really, it occasionally borders on embarrassing (for other people, obviously). I guess my interest in Piers’s career began when I first read The Insider a good few years ago. At that time, I had no idea I wanted to be an editor; heck, I’m pretty sure I was still defending my choice to study English Literature at uni. I had absolutely zero knowledge of what an editorial role might entail – all I knew was (according to Piers’s account), you got to have tea with celebs, the Prime Minister, and even royalty. And you got to interview them. And comment on public culture. And write. To my young, inquisitive mind, it seemed like a completely fantastic but unattainable profession.
And then I became an editor. Hello to peaked interest in other editors! Hello to strange similarities between the way Piers and I started in our careers! And hello to a complete admiration of the guy whose career I would be extraordinarily lucky if I could emulate!
Look, don’t get me wrong. I know that Piers is an odd choice of idol.
In fact, for those of you who don’t know what I do and who I currently work for, this post title might come as a bit of a surprise. Piers Morgan (or ‘Piers Moron’ as I often hear from these corridors) is the tool who everyone loves to hate.
Personally, I think he deserves a little more credit than that. Here’s why:
- He was an editor of a national newspaper before the age of 30. He was being compensated with a six figure salary as editor of The News of The World. It climbed again when he went to The Mirror. Rupert Murdoch handpicked him from a bunch of much more senior hacks and columnists. Tenatious, ambitious and brilliant, he is literally my editor hero.
- Many people hate him; he doesn’t care. He gives back as good as he gets (Moyles, Clarkson et al).
- He’s written a collection of unputdownable bestsellers. If you don’t believe me, then you probably haven’t read them.
- His contact book is bulging with every influential figure in pop culture from the past twenty years – from Mohamed Al Fayed to Jerry Springer. Through his contacts, he himself has become an influential figure and social climber. He’s like the modern-day Eva Perón.
- He has a surprisingly genuine and empathetic interview style (witnessed first-hand from the audience of his interview with that controversial crazycat Michael Winner). This doesn’t always come across on TV, but believe me, it’s there.
- He’s carved an epic career for himself since being fired from The Mirror. Many other editors would have vanished into obscurity.
- He’s broken America – first as a judge on America’s Got Talent, then winning the US version of The Apprentice and going on to secure the ultimate chat show spot as the replacement for Larry King.
- He doesn’t take himself too seriously.
- He’s obviously a manly catch – just look at his wife. She’s well fit, innit.
- His main career rival is Simon Cowell (and no, he isn’t blackmailing Cowell with something from his past).
Mock at your leisure. But he inspired me to set myself the ultimate career goal: to become a superstar editor before I’m 30. And like Piers, I’m not-so-quietly confident…