Perhaps you missed the fuss because there has been so little publicity about it. But last week, at Davos, the President of the United States was granted the extraordinary privilege of an audience with Britain’s leading interviewer, media communicator and cultural icon, the David Frost de nos jours Piers Morgan.
On Sunday night we finally saw the result and what an unbelievable masterpiece of a scoop it was. We knew this because every few minutes the show’s star kept popping up in voiceover form to tell us.
‘I knew the first international televised interview with President Trump was going to be special. But I hadn’t expected the commander-in-chief to be quite so candid,’ Piers congratulated himself at one point.
At another, he couldn’t resist reminding us, as he has been for several days now, what a remarkable achievement it was for him to have extracted an apology from the President for having retweeted someone from a far-right group.
But President Trump didn’t apologise. What he said was: ‘Here’s what’s fair. If you’re telling me that these are horrible racist people, I would certainly apologise if you’d like me to do that. I know nothing about them. I don’t want to be involved with these people. But you’re telling me about these people.’
To listen to Morgan’s response — half Uriah Heep; half King Kong; all knob — you’d think it was a major gotcha moment. ‘Thank you, Mr President. It means a lot to people in Britain,’ he said, as though the whole row hadn’t just been a fake-news confection whipped up by the Mayor of London, Jeremy Corbyn and a bunch of left-wing activists on Twitter, but had in fact preoccupied the whole nation.
Trump explained why he had retweeted those tweets: ‘Radical Islamist terror — whether you like talking about it or not, Piers — is fact.’