It is a rare person indeed who can make Piers Morgan seem understated, but on Monday night conspiracy theorist and gun rights advocate Alex Jones did just that.
In what’s become the clip heard ‘round the world, Jones, who started the White House petition (now with over 100,000 signatures) to have Morgan sent back to England, joined him for what could politely be called a “spirited conversation,” but which played more like the unhinged ramblings of an extremist.
Since the massacre last month in Newtown, Conn., Morgan has been outspoken about his support for tighter gun control measures, repeatedly getting into shouting matches with various 2nd Amendment enthusiasts, but last night Morgan mostly just sat quietly as Jones let loose.
Asked very simple and specific questions about the gun-murder rate in England, Jones unleashed a tirade about everything from President Bush’s role in the 9/11 attacks to the danger of “mass murder pills” like Prozac to (of course) the New World Order. Adding to the overall effect was Jones’ raspy voice -- seriously, can somebody get the guy a cough drop? -- and his combative body language.
Jones seemed to take particular exception to Morgan’s nationality, as if the host were simply doing King George’s bidding by taking up the cause of gun control. At one point, he warned Morgan “don’t try what your ancestors did before” and offered to take him out shooting so he can “become an American.” He also challenged Morgan to a boxing match (“I’ll wear the red, white and blue and you’ll wear your Jolly Roger”) and concluded the two-part interview by slipping into a mocking English accent.
“1776 will commence again if you try to take our firearms,” he warned ominously.
Morgan repeatedly tried to get his guest back on topic, but it was a losing battle – and besides, it seems unlikely he really wanted Jones there to have a productive conversation about the 2nd Amendment.
On Tuesday morning, as the clip made its way around the Internet, Morgan spoke to Politico about Jones’ appearance on the show, describing it as “undignified, unedifying” and “the best advertisement for gun control you could wish for.”
“Sometimes it's better to let somebody have the rope they need to tie themselves in knots,” he said of Jones’ rant.
Oh, and in case you were wondering about that petition: While Jones was unleashing on the air last night, the White House issued a response saying simply that freedom of expression is “a bedrock principle in our democracy.”
In other words, it looks like Morgan is here to stay.