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UPDATE: CNN’s Piers Morgan Signs Off With Final Blast At U.S. Gun Laws (Video)

By | Saturday March 29, 2014 @ 12:20pm PDT

Piers Morgan TonightUPDATE, SATURDAY 12:20 PM: Watch the departing Piers Morgan deliver his CNN farewell and gun control speech below.

PREVIOUS, FRIDAY 7:20 PM: Piers Morgan wrapped his three-year CNN run tonight with (gasp!) a full hour of discussion about the missing plane. But in his four-minute final remarks, he couldn’t resist taking a parting shot at the NRA. “I assumed that after 70 people were shot in a movie theater, and then, just a few months later, 20 first-graders were murdered with an assault rifle in an elementary school, the absurd gun laws in this country would change,” he said. “But nothing has happened. The gun lobby in America, led by the NRA, has bullied this nation’s cnnlogo__140117174347-275x131politicians into cowardly, supine silence. Even when 20 young children are blown away in their classrooms. This is a shameful situation that has made me very angry.” He continued to rail and wrapped it with this: “But I’ve made my point. … Now it’s down to you. It’s your country; these are your gun laws. And the senseless slaughter will only end when enough Americans stand together and cry: Enough!” As the camera began to pan out, the British expat delivered his final words on the ratings-challenged Piers Morgan Live: “Goodnight, thank you, and God bless America. Oh, and while I’m at it, God bless Great Britain too.” Here’s the full transcript of Morgan’s “cheerio” to American television:

Related: CNN’s Piers Morgan Says Ta-Ta To ‘Piers Morgan Live’

This is the final episode of Piers Morgan Live. After 3yrs, 2months, 11 days and over 1000 shows, I am departing to spend more time with my cricket bat. I would like to thank my amazing team, led with great skill and tireless enthusiasm by my friend and Executive Producer, Jonathan Wald. And John Ferriter, my irrepressible manager, who landed me this fascinating, unpredictable, challenging but hugely enjoyable job. We won some, we lost some, but we gave it everything we had, and I have loved every minute. Well, almost every minute!

I’d also like to thank you all for watching. Even those who implacably disagreed with me, or just found my funny accent annoying. Regular viewers will know that the issue of gun control has been a consistent and often very controversial part of this show.
And I want to say something more about that before I bow out.

Related: CNN’s ‘Piers Morgan Live’ Ratings Sink To Second Lowest Ever

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mlk_at_home_01On Eve Of MLK Day, Will Adultery Keep Epic Dr. King Movie Off The Big Screen?
By Mike Fleming Jr. – Oliver Stone has run smack into the same wall on a Dr. Martin Luther King Jr biopic that director Paul Greengrass hit when Universal kicked his MLK project Memphis to the curb two years back. Read More »

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Gunman Kills The Host Of Sportsman Channel’s ‘A Rifleman’s Journal’

By | Friday March 8, 2013 @ 4:12pm PST

Tragic news from Montana today. Gregory Rodriguez, the host of Sportsman Channel‘s A Rifleman’s Journal, was shot and killed by the husband of a woman he was visiting, the Associated Press reports. The shooter apparently beat his wife and, after taking his 2-year old son to a relative, drove to his home and shot himself in the head. In addition to his work on the Sportsman Channel, Rodriguez was CEO of Global Adventure Outfitters, editor of Shooting Times Magazine, and a contributing editor of Petersen’s Hunting, Guns & Ammo. The news is a sad coda to a post I wrote in January citing an excellent report in Reuters. It shed some light on the media forces that influence the national debate by describing how the National Rifle Association either produces or sponsors programs on cable’s Sportsman Channel and Outdoor Channel. That information was newly relevant as national attention focused on policies that might reduce gun violence following the school shootings in Newtown, Conn.

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NRA Targets Cable Viewers, And Funds, With Its Own TV Shows: Report

By | Monday January 21, 2013 @ 8:35am PST

Hats off to Reuters’ Ron Grover for this eye-opening report: The gun lobby either produces or sponsors six cable shows on the Outdoor Channel and Sportsman Channel, which it uses to promote the NRA‘s views and raise cash, he says. For example, there’s Outdoor Channel’s Friends Of The NRA and American Rifleman, and Sportsman Channel’s Cam & Company, Guns And Gold, and 3-Gun Nation. Each of the channels reaches about 30M pay TV homes, a relatively small audience compared to, say, ESPN. But they reach the right people as far as the program producers and sponsors are concerned. The Sportsman Channel’s programming VP Graig Hale says that it charges premium rates on the shows because they appeal to hard-to-reach 25- to 54-year-old men. Grover observes that a recent half-hour episode of American Rifleman had about two dozen ads “including Crimson Trace laser sights, hunting gear discounter Cheaper Than Dirt and gun makers Smith & Wesson and Remington.” In some shows, including Cam & Company, the NRA is the heaviest advertiser — and ran its controversial recent spot criticizing President Obama for sending his kids to schools that have armed guards even though he doesn’t want to expand the presence of guns in other schools. Read More »

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Are Gun Control Pleas By Movie Stars Undermined By Onscreen Violence?

By | Wednesday January 2, 2013 @ 3:06pm PST
Mike Fleming

Well, you had to know this was coming from the gun crowd. A bunch of celebrities got together to speak out for gun control. In this video making the rounds, their pleas are superimposed with footage of the same actors taking part in gratuitous and sometimes cartoonish scenes of gunfire carnage in movies they’ve made over the years. This video goes overboard, but Hollywood has put itself on rocky moral footing by relying so heavily on violence, and when rampant gunfire is such a staple of features, TV shows and the commercials that sell them. We are not just talking about cheesy action films here–when I was at Variety and we had issues overstuffed with ads for AFM and Cannes B-films, it seemed like every one showed someone holding a gun–but also major film releases.

While Jack Reacher pulled back the gun violence in early trailers and now just shows Tom Cruise breaking the bones of bad guys even though the film’s plot is triggered by sniper fire, it seemed like every movie trailer I saw over the holidays had gunfire galore. That included Gangster Squad and The Last Stand, the latter an Arnold Schwarzenegger film where he and his cohorts are seen shooting a machine gun out of the back of a school bus (talk about tacky). I still maintain it’s the height of lunacy for an organization like the NRA to blame Hollywood for the carnage in Newtown, Read More »

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