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CNN pulling Piers’ plug, or playing ratings game?

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Updated at 11:40 a.m. PST

The New York Times reported yesterday, and the Times of London, and the Seattle Times confirmed earlier today that CNN and Piers Morgan may be parting company, only four days after this column questioned if it was time he went home, and provided readers with a link to send their sentiments to the cable network.

The announcement is responsible for three top headlines on The Gun Wire.com this morning.

According to both newspapers, Morgan has been talking with CNN President Jeffrey Zucker about pulling the plug on Morgan’s 9 p.m. evening program. It has been taking a pasting in the ratings and the bombastic Brit has become a lightning rod for criticism. The New York Times was careful to mention Morgan’s problem with the Second Amendment, which ignited the on-air spat last week with Nancy Grace.

Last year, on the eve of the anniversary of the Battles of Lexington and Concord, Alan Gottlieb, chairman of the Bellevue-based Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, suggested that Morgan ought to pack his belongings and go back to the United Kingdom.

Gottlieb issued a statement this morning, offering Morgan a "21-gun salute" on his departure announcement. The gun rights advocate was on Morgan's show last October and became embroiled in a heated argument over "Guns Save Lives Day." He said goes way beyond Morgan being a proverbial "fish out of water" with an American audience.

“He’s been more like a bull in a china shop when it comes to having a rational, reasonable discussion about firearms civil rights in the United States,” said Gottlieb in a press release this morning. who had appeared last October on Morgan’s program for a feisty, combative debate. “The guy just can’t control his nasty temperament toward the right to keep and bear arms. Maybe he holds a grudge about Lexington and Concord.

“He made a habit of demonizing and insulting American gun owners, including me when I appeared on his show, and dismissing our Second Amendment,” he continued. “When you are a guest in another country, you really shouldn’t spit on their constitutional rights or their traditions, but he seemed to go out of his way to do exactly that."

Today’s headline in the London Times makes it plain: “America is fed up with me: Morgan to quit CNN job.”

But some might wonder if this is just a ratings ploy to draw an audience wondering what all the media noise is about. If that’s the case, it might only be a temporary bump in numbers that have been consistently down, especially now that Morgan is up against Fox News’ Megyn Kelly in the same time slot. He draws a fraction of her audience.

This is the real deal, and Morgan is being dealt out.

Morgan is quoted by the New York Times acknowledging, “Look, I am a British guy debating American cultural issues, including guns, which has been very polarizing, and there is no doubt that there are many in the audience who are tired of me banging on about it.”

No doubt about that; Morgan has become a fellow that American gun owners love to hate. The Daily Mail story posted yesterday makes that plain. Morgan admitted that his show has been clobbered in the ratings, and his clashes with gun rights advocates, including Gottlieb, certainly contributed to that.

“(The show has) run its course and Jeff and I have been talking for some time about different ways of using me,” Morgan is quoted as saying by the New York Times.

That could lead to all sorts of suggestions about what Morgan could be used for.

This morning, American gun owners have a message for Morgan: “Buh bye!”

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