Piers Morgan v. HBO’s ‘The Newsroom’: Panel Talks Celebrity Journalism, Sandy Hook

Piers Morgan and the cast and crew behind the HBO drama The Newsroom blurred the lines between art and reality at Paleyfest Sunday night with a series of exchanges that touched on everything from celebrity journalism to the Newtown shooting.

Aaron Sorkin, Jeff Daniels, and many from the Newsroom cast spoke at PaleyFest this weekend, but moderator Piers Morgan seemed to continually want to bring the discussion back around to himself. Morgan referenced himself and his own experiences in the newsroom so often that actress Olivia Munn became annoyed, reports Entertainment Weekly.

“I prefer to see Piers Morgan and Diane Sawyer on the news and not on a red carpet,” said the G4 host. “You turn on CNN, and people are putting themselves in the story … Journalism is about other people’s stories.”

To prove her point, Munn pointed to a recent Twitter feud between CNN anchor Don Lemon and actor Jonah Hill. The two met in a hotel lobby with Hill apparently brushing Lemon off.

“It’s so obnoxious,” Munn said. “Because he was Jonah Hill, that gives you something fun to tweet about. Then I actually saw it on CNN. I cannot believe, with the things going on in the world, that we’re spending so much time talking about this. Have your opinions on new stories or situations, but to make yourself newsworthy is so egotistical and self-absorbed.”

The Hollywood Reporter notes that Morgan brushed off the criticism with a joke about arriving that day on the red carpet himself, but then circled the conversation back to himself later by bringing up the network’s recent addition of Jeff Zucker and NBC’s ratings boom thanks to in-depth February coverage of the infamous “poop cruise.”

Sorkin then asked Morgan why he and Zucker didn’t do the same for the sequester (the deep spending cuts that really didn’t get a lot of cable news attention).

“Honestly, no. I think the sequester is one of the most dreadfully boring stories ever told on television,” responded Morgan. “There are many stories that are just incredibly dry.”

Sorkin back-tracked. “I don’t feel like I can tell anybody who does this for a living how to do it,” he said. “I’m just thinking it would be so valuable if it could be done.”

Sorkin noted that the sequester won’t be a part of The Newsroom‘s second season, showing a clip that has the show picking up around August of 2011 with Muammar Gaddafi’s compound raid, Dominique Strauss Kahn’s charges being dropped, and the anniversary of the September 11 attacks that year.

The season will progress through the 2012 election and stop short of a story Sorkin says he doesn’t know how to handle: The Sandy Hook shooting.

“If the only ways I could think of a story would reduce it, I wouldn’t do it,” he admitted. “Looking down the calendar at Sandy Hook, that’s my fear there … You’ve got to be careful. You really don’t want to do a disservice to that story.”

Check it out! Piers did arrive on the red carpet. Do you think journalists should keep themselves from “being the news?” Are you a fan of The Newsroom? Should they cover the Sandy Hook shooting?

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