Piers Morgan, the former editor for Rupert Murdoch’s now-defunct News of the World, dedicated a segment of his CNN show Monday to defending the media mogul.
Former New York Post reporter Vicky Ward, who is a personal friend of Murdoch’s, joined Morgan.
“Piers, I just got a call an hour ago, and Rupert wanted to tell me personally that, you know, he’s not okay,” Ward reported. “Ever since he met with Milly Dowler, the murdered girl’s parents, he hasn’t felt the same. His voice has been cracking, people around him are very concerned, his children are very concerned. This is a man who is more devastated than he has ever been in his entire 80 years, and you know, he is appalled at what’s gone on on his watch, and I think he’s as anxious to get to the bottom of it as we all are.”
“I just cannot accept — although there is this huge witch hunt going on to bring him down personally — I don’t accept that he himself would be party to illegal activity,” Morgan asserted.
“I completely agree with you, Piers,” Ward replied.
“He became a friend to me when I was at The New York Post, he would stop by my office and talk to me. He wanted to know what tomorrow’s headlines were. He would not in any way want to interfere with a story. This is a man who cares so much about his legacy. He once said to me, ‘All I want is for my kids to be decent people.'”
“I wouldn’t want this to become a kind of valedictory, he’s perfect kind of segment,” Morgan said finally.
“The one thing about Rupert is that — yes, he can be ruthless, but actually we can just talk about this, he’s ruthless, but also entrepreneurial. He built an empire, often at great personal risk. But tomorrow I expect to see a very, very sincerely contrite person [when he appears before parliament],” Ward concluded.
The CNN host was drawn into the News Corp. phone hacking scandal when Liberal Democrat MP Adrian Sanders called for Morgan to be questioned.
The following entry from Morgan’s diary had made Sanders suspicious:
“Apparently if you don’t change the standard security code that every phone comes with, then anyone can call your number and, if you don’t answer, tap in the standard four digit code to hear all your messages… I’ll change mine just in case, but it makes me wonder how many public figures and celebrities are aware of this little trick.”
Watch this video from CNN’s Piers Morgan, broadcast July 18, 2011.