National Review Online editor at large Jonah Goldberg isn’t exactly a household name. Still, Piers Morgan has taken the unusual step of announcing he'll go toe-to-toe with the writer on Tuesday -- just eight days after engaging him in a 14-minute interview -- following a Twitter battle between the host and the author.
A CNN spokeswoman didn’t say exactly why Morgan is allotting Goldberg more time to promote his book, The Tyranny of Cliches: How Liberals Cheat in the War of Ideas, but a torrent of criticism from conservative bloggers and complaints from Goldberg himself may have led Morgan to invite the author to return.
Morgan has been excoriated in some circles for several days running. Some have railed against him for doing most of the talking during his April 30 interview of Goldberg, while others are complaining that Morgan spent too much time discussing things unaddressed in Goldberg’s book -- like how much money the military may have spent to kill Osama Bin Laden.
CNN has a two-minute clip (embedded below) from the fiery interview at its site, and the full version (also below) is at YouTube and several conservative websites.
Conservative blogger Kyle Smith said Morgan “sandbagged” Goldberg and the right-leaning media watchdog group Newsbusters said Morgan “belittled” him. And an editor at Breitbart.com opined that the interview proved “the Left isn’t interested in honest debate. Instead, they engage in all kinds of passive-aggressive rhetorical tricks to win the moment.”
Goldberg, in fact, wrote within hours of his first appearance that “it was a shameful spectacle” from a host who “pretended to be a serious interviewer.” And on subsequent interviews with others, Goldberg has been presuming that the only reason Morgan wants him back is because the host of Piers Morgan Tonight knows that he lost the debate the first time around.
CNN declined to respond on the record to the criticism, though it's clear from theTwitter activity that a decision was made early on to invite Goldberg back for Round 2, even before an army of conservative bloggers made their complaints known.
“Stop bleating like an overgrown baby @JonahNRO – if you think I was unfair to you, come back and try your luck again,” Morgan tweeted the night of the interview.
CNN executive vp Jonathan Wald also tweeted early on that Goldberg “should come back to clear things up and spend more time on the book.”
After Goldberg accepted the invitation, Morgan tweeted on Monday:
“Looking forward to our re-match tomorrow night @JohahNRO – hope you bring your self-fabled A-game this time.”
“Ah Piers. That’s part of your problem. You claim to be unbiased, but you considered the interview a ‘match,’” Goldberg tweeted Monday. Later, he tweeted: “Not sure why @piersmorgan is so eager for my ‘A’ game when he had so much trouble with my C-game.”
Morgan responded with: “We Brits are a nation of warriors @JonahNRO – everything’s a match. But I promise a fair fight tomorrow, and it will be about your book.”