Piers Morgan's most high-profile detractor has apologized for accusing him of phone hacking. "Apology graciously accepted @LouiseMensch - thank you," the CNN host tweeted. The episode began last week when Conservative MP Louise Mensch said before Parliament that Morgan had admitted to phone hacking in his 2005 book The Insider: The Private Diaries of a Scandalous Decade. Mensch said:
As a former editor of the Daily Mirror, he said in his book The Insider recently that that 'little trick' of entering a 'standard four digit code' will allow 'anyone' to call a number and 'hear all your messages'. In that book, he boasted that using that 'little trick' enabled him to win scoop of the year on a story about [former England soccer manager] Sven-Goran Eriksson. That is a former editor of the Daily Mirror being very open about his personal use of phone hacking.
With the accusation, Mensch joined a growing list of individuals unsuccessfully trying to pin Morgan to the phone hacking scandal--a campaign that culminated in the false Twitter rumor that CNN suspended Morgan yesterday. Following the Parliamentary hearing, Morgan and Mensch engaged in a tireless Twitter feud, where Morgan called her accusations "a complete outrage" and asked her to repeat her claims outside of Parliament where libelous statements have less legal protection. Meanwhile Mensch shot back raising questions about whether Morgan illegally acquired Kate Winslet's phone number and a slew of other yet-to-be-proven allegations.
What's surprising about the whole affair is how quickly the two seemed to have cordially made up, given the intensity of their argument. Today, Mensch submitted a letter to committee chairman John Whittingdale saying she had "wrongly stated" Morgan had "been open about personally hacking phones":
This was based on my misreading of an article in the Daily Telegraph... which covered Mr Morgan's description in his book of how to hack a phone and how he won the Scoop of the Year on the story of Sven-Goran Eriksson and [TV presenter] Ulrika Johnson. The Telegraph report covers the claim of a blogger that this story was acquired by phone hacking, and I misread that as Mr Morgan himself claiming this to be true.
Therefore, I must apologise to Mr Morgan and the committee for this error about his book.
In a flash, Morgan responded:
So is that that? Are they all well and good? The unusual part about the cordiality between Morgan and Mensch is that she doesn't seem to be completely dropping the issue. In an earlier tweet from today, Mensch writes "Book not the point; the 600 plus Mirror transactions in #Motorman, 1300 plus for Mail etc & whether hacking/blagging thru Fleet St was." In the tweet, Motorman is a reference to files from Operation Motorman, which police requested this month that have threatened to crack open the phone-hacking scandal even wider. The investigation has led people to wonder if it will drag in Morgan since the files implicate his old workplace The Daily Mirror. As the BBC reported:
They contain 4,000 requests from 300 journalists and 31 publications for confidential information from a private investigator, which in many cases had been obtained illegally.
The investigation found the Daily Mail had made the most requests, followed by the Sunday People and the Daily Mirror.
We'll keep on eye on Mensch and Morgan in the event that another flame war arises. Until then, it seems at least Morgan would like to put the issue behind him.