With Guns & Bullies: An Interview Analysis
Observations of how America’s gun debate usually unfolds.
BAILEY T. STEEN | FRIDAY, APRIL 12, 2018
“WAS IT A DEBATE? A berating? A surreal televised ‘stunt’?” — these were among the post-interview reflections of CNN shortly after former host Piers Morgan decided to take on Alex Jones, the ultraconservative conspiracy theorist and national radio host for InfoWars.com who called on Morgan to be deported for his views on gun control.
Often framed as the pretentious brit, sporting a soft spoken English accent suggesting he’s the smartypants in the room, audiences soon immediately recognise Morgan’s personality just isn’t suited to take on the likes of Jones, ever playing the red-blooded Texan stereotype of booming voices and impassioned right-wing talking points that feel ripped from a seminar surely titled American Exceptionalism For Dummies 101.
“1776 will commence again if you try to take our firearms!” Jones yelled. “It doesn’t matter how many lemmings you get out on the street begging for them to have their guns taken! We will not relinquish them! Do you understand?!”
Soon the interview descends into Jones attempting to dismantle Morgan as the next great American villain his right-wing cult ostracises, lambasting the host’s status as a foreign immigrant, drawing comparison to the genocidal communist regime of Mao Zedong and outright labelling Morgan as “a hatchet man of the new world order.”
This furious jargon shows the extent Jones will go to serve his ideological radicalism, unrelenting with his combative accusations while muddying the topic with statistics so easily glossed over for more battle cries. The radio personality even calls on the host to participate in a Jones V. Morgan boxing match, laying down a conversational red-line that it’s either “become an American” in Jones’ grittiest sense of the word or else.
Morgan’s continual use of leading questions, struggling to guide Jones down a dialogue path, becomes ineffective when this structure is rejected. Attempts to interject using British pleasantries only reenforce Jones’ foreign enemy framing as the power structure unfolds — Jones the rambling patriot without fact-check and challenge, with Morgan the faltering establishment resorting to snide disdain rather than protesting the anti-government Jones on his use of FBI statistics. It leaves both political camps radical and moderates left with some unintelligible battle.
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Bailey T. Steen is a journalist, editor, artist and film critic based in Victoria, Australia, but is also Putin’s Puppet™ on occasion.
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