The Need For A Critical Biography of Piers Morgan ...
A LOT of people I've talked to have considered backing this project.
But they've decided they can't bring themselves to do it.
The reason being that they dislike Piers Morgan — and everything he stands for — so much that they can't bring themselves to support the project.
In other words, the "pretty despicable man" of the title doesn't deserve a "real" book.
Personally, I have a lot of sympathy with that view — and I'm the one who has to write the book ...
SO WHY do I think it's so important?
There are two reasons.
The first is that Piers Morgan is still, at heart, a Murdoch man.
Yes, he last worked for the Aussie-American billionaire back in 1995.
And, from that time on, the Daily Mirror he edited — from 1994 to 2004 — was supposedly a rival of the Sun.
But bear in mind that, in 1995, Morgan was being groomed for the top job at the Sun.
Even before he left the Sun to edit the News of the World, he'd been offered a senior editorial job on the daily.
Had he stayed at the News of the World, he would have been editor of the Sun by 1997 or 1998.
As it was, it was two of his protégés — Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson — who ascended the ladders at the News of the World and the Sun.
By 2003, Brooks was Sun editor and Coulson was editor of the News of the World.
All through Morgan's days at the Mirror he remained friends with the pair.
When Coulson went to gaol, Morgan was one of the few journalists who went to see him in prison.
Morgan would not condemn Rupert Murdoch for overall responsibility for the phone hacking scandal that swept away Brooks, Coulson — and the News of the World.
To this day, Morgan remains friendly with all Murdochs.
Spiritually, he's a key figure in the evolution of the "dark arts" empire that emerged in 1990s and became rampant in the 2000s.
A SECOND, and more important, reason for writing the book is to lay bare the way in which the "Murdoch corruption" undermined and weakened the Daily Mirror.
This is no academic matter.
Today, the toxic legacy Morgan bequeathed to the Daily Mirror lies heavy on the paper.
Despite genuflections towards admitting some culpability in the "dark arts", the paper still cannot bring itself to make a full and frank admission of all that went on.
I believe that's because the defence of Morgan involved so many of Trinity Mirror's board of directors that the paper still fills obliged to protect them.
(I should say that I still have two major articles in the pipeline on Morgan's time at the Mirror.
The first is a forensic account of how Morgan avoided being charged in relation to the Slickergate share scandal of 2000.
It's called "A Slicker Full Of Lies".
The second is an account of the way in which successive boards of directors covered up for Morgan in a truly shameful way.
Parts of this regime still have influence today.
This piece is called The Mirror: Crack'd From Side To Side.)
Part of this protection racket involves supporting the new regulator IPSO instead of backing a Leveson-compliant organisation.
The reason this matters — for everyone who believes in a genuinely "free" press — is that IPSO perpetuates the old, discredited regime in Fleet Street.
By allowing an ever-so-slightly modified form of regulation, IPSO will ensure that it will still be the biggest players with the biggest purses who rule the roost.
Inevitably, it will be press moguls like Murdoch, and the Daily Mail, who will set the agenda.
The Mirror will be left desperately playing catch-up — its journalists forever tempted to corrupt their core journalistic principles to stay abreast with better-heeled, far less moral rivals.
THOSE ARE my reasons for thinking a hard-hitting biography of "A Pretty Despicable Man" is a book worth having on the library shelves.
I hope I've managed to convince you!