Piers Morgan Addresses Parliament Member About Her 'Blatant Lie' Over His Book (Video)
"What she did today was a deliberate, in my view, and outrageous attempt to smear my name, CNN's name, The Daily Mirror's name," he tells Louise Mensch on live TV.
Piers Morgan is still fuming over a member of Parliament's accusation earlier Tuesday that he wrote in his memoir about using phone hacking to get scoops.
During questioning related to News Corp.'s phone-hacking scandal, MP Louise Mensch asked both News Corp. chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch and recently resigned News International CEO Rebekah Brooks if phone hacking on Fleet Street -- as outlined in Morgan’s 2005 autobiography, she said -- was not a widespread and accepted practice to generate scoops.
Both Mensch and Morgan appeared on CNN's The Situation Room to address the comment Tuesday night, with Mensch saying he couldn't comment because she is "protected by absolute Parliamentary privilege."
"To repeat something outside of Parliament doesn't give me that cloak of privilege, and Mr. Morgan is a very rich man," she continued. "So I am sure that the ferocious investigative journalists at CNN and across the news media in the United States will take careful note of what was said in the committee and look into it.
But Morgan called that a "cowardice" stance.
"As she may be already aware, she came out with an absolute blatant lie during those proceedings," he said. "At no stage in my book or indeed outside of my book have I ever boasted of using phone hacking for any stories."
Morgan added that he never hacked a phone while employed as editor of Murdoch-owned News of the World -- or later, when he served as editor of The Daily Mirror, which is not affiliated with News Corp. -- nor did he tell any employee to do so.
"What [Mensch] did today was a deliberate, in my view, and outrageous attempt to smear my name, CNN's name, The Daily Mirror's name," he said. "And I think her now to have the breathtaking gall to just sit here calmly and say, I can't possibly repeat that cause I haven't got privilege, is an outrage. And I call on you Mrs. Mensch now to repeat it, show some balls, repeat what you said about me and then maybe go and buy a copy of my book, The Insider, and see where in that book these claims that you made today in a televised committee watched all over the world, where that claim is in that book, because it isn't there."
Mensch responded simply: "As I've just said, I made the claims in the select committee, and people will look at them."
Morgan took issue with the statement earlier in the day over Twitter.
“That MP just claimed I boasted in my book of using phone-hacking for a scoop,” he wrote. “Complete nonsense. Just read the book. I’ve never hacked a phone, told anyone to hack a phone, or published any stories based on the hacking of a phone. I wrote in my book that someone warned me phones could be hacked, so I changed my pin number. That’s it.”
"I thought the outrageous attack on Rupert Murdoch by that protester should never have been allowed to happen," he said. "I think it's a scandal that it did."
But he argued that the questioning failed to prove that the three execs had any knowledge of the phone hacking. He added that he believes Murdoch had no idea about the phone hacking, saying the mogul shouldn't be expected to be held accountable for every little thing that happens at his papers.
"I think when you run a company of 50,000 people, it is a bit ridiculous to expect Rupert Murdoch to be all over the micro-detail of how each individual part of the company gets run," he argued. "As he said, you know, he may have been let down by other people that he charged to look after this detail and big mistakes were made. And when it came to the phone hacking of the young missing girl and so on, utter outrages, and everybody shares that view."
Morgan also was asked by Situation Room host Wolf Blitzer how much pressure he was under while editing NOTW and the Mirror.
"When you're an editor of a British tabloid newspaper, you're in a commercial war and you're encouraged to be aggressive, to be forceful, to pursue stories with the full might of your reporting army," he said. "But most news organizations are the same. Rupert Murdoch's happened to be more successful than most over the years."