- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 11, 2021

Megyn Kelly was forced to give BBC’s Reeta Chakrabarti a crash course on the American definition of free speech this week during a defense of fellow journalist Piers Morgan.

The former Fox News host-turned-podcaster drew a stark contrast between the U.S. and U.K. media landscapes Wednesday after fielding questions about the latter’s media regulator, Ofcom, and its investigation into Mr. Morgan.

“On the question of Piers Morgan,” Ms. Chakrabarti said of his “Good Morning Britain” resignation following commentary on Meghan Markle. “I wonder if there is a cultural difference was well [between us]. That in Britain, broadcasters are by and large expected to stay impartial and objective. Piers Morgan was always given more leeway, if you like, but I mean he was on a fairly extreme end. Not so much the case in the United States.”

Ms. Kelly concurred.

“You’re probably right,’ she replied. “I will tell you just as an American journalist, I don’t understand this Ofcom and I can’t imagine working in a world where I had to answer to somebody other than my boss, my audience, and myself, my own conscience. We’re pretty big on free speech over here, so I don’t like the idea of government tapping me on the shoulder to say ‘I don’t like the way you said that.’ But, I don’t know, I love Great Britain and I think your press is really fun, so it must be working to some extent.”

Ms. Chakrabarti, however, cited 41,000 complaints tallied by Ofcom as an indicator that Mr. Morgan “perhaps … offended too many people” by stating skepticism of Ms. Markle’s claims.

The Duchess of Sussex and her husband, Harry, told Oprah Winfrey during a weekend interview that racism within the royal family nearly pushed her to suicide. An individual who was not named during the interview allegedly discouraged Ms. Markle from getting professional help.

“It’s not for me to question if she felt suicidal,” Mr. Morgan said Tuesday. “I am not in her mind and that is for her to say. My real concern was a disbelief, frankly, … that she went to a senior member of the Royal household and told them she was suicidal and was told she could not have any help because it would be a bad look for the family.”

Ms. Kelley countered the BBC host’s point by saying 41,000 people who complain out of an audience of millions should not be granted a “heckler’s veto.”

“I don’t think people being offended, you know, some faction of a huge audience being offended should cancel somebody’s right to speak out,” she said.

• Douglas Ernst can be reached at dernst@washingtontimes.com.

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