Piers Morgan was vilified for doubting Meghan Markle, yet most journalists just took her at face value

A letter from Alan Dickey:

Thursday, 11th March 2021, 11:30 am
Presenter Piers Morgan storms out of Good Morning Britain on Tuesday after being criticised for saying he did not believe Meghan in a discussion with his colleague, Alex Beresford. Photo: ITV/PA Wire

What has happened to journalism in the UK? On Monday residents of the UK had the opportunity to watch almost two hours of Meghan and Harry telling ‘their truth,’ in Oprah Winfrey’s words.

ITV have taken a stand over the truthfulness of everything Meghan said in that interview. How can they be so sure?

Piers Morgan has parted company with ITV and will most likely be vilified for daring to state his scepticism over what was said in that interview.

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Letter to the editor

On Tuesday, The Guardian newspaper published an article (‘Why Oprah was the big winner in Harry and Meghan’s interview’) describing Oprah Winfrey’s interview as masterly and her “singular genius” as a broadcaster.

The topics of mental health and racism are serious and should never be ignored. Yet, because Oprah and Meghan drew attention to these topics, it seems that no-one is permitted to criticise, or disagree with the content of the interview. There are questions that need to be asked about that content.

Just one example: Meghan mixed three issues together at the beginning: Archie not being a prince; Archie not being offered security; and concerns over Archie’s skin colour.

Oprah Winfrey seemed to imply that the absence of a title and security were due to skin colour. Yet, those first two concerns are easily explained, and had nothing to do with Archie’s skin colour – the first is due to King George V’s letter patent in the 1917, and the second due to limited resources that come from the UK taxpayers.

Later, Harry spoke of one conversation about skin colour that took place “in the early days of our relationship” — maybe this conversation took place even before the ‘culprit’ had met Megan? Questions like that will always be politically incorrect, at best, indelicate and at worst, racist. However, there is a difference between asking that question before knowing Meghan and after knowing her as a family member who is carrying the Queen’s great-grandchild.

Oprah Winfrey allowed the contradictions to stand without being teased out.

Journalists have the responsibility to see and pinpoint errors or contradictions in interviews, and especially so with an interview like this one.

This interview provided Meghan and Harry the freedom to speak openly about an institution that everyone knows will not reply in the same open and unguarded manner. It was always going to be an unfair fight.

My personal opinion, for what it is worth, is that we watched a prime-time promotion for the new brand of Megan and Harry, at the expense of the British royal family.

What is more concerning though, is that the majority of journalists in the UK seem to be content to take it all at face value. ‘My truth’ and ‘your truth’ cannot both be true when they contradict each other.

Alan Dickey, Stewartstown

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