This guy has had meltdowns in a variety of settings, but my first experience of him was watching an old interview he did with Seka — a pornstar (or adult film performer, if you like).
He starts by asking her a bunch of what turn out to be baiting questions about how she could afford to start her chain of bookstores. “Mom didn’t give you the money?” he asks condescendingly.
He seems in complete disbelief that she managed to start a successful business on her own, and laces his own moralizing into his questions by turning to the audience and saying, “10 [adult] bookstores ladies and gentlemen… isn’t this a great country?”
After she explains how she managed it in a way that his previous line of questions go nowhere — weak sauce questions will do that — he then asserts that the vast majority of the adult industry is owned by the mafia. This seems like a sneaky one-two punch, since he’s moralizing again as if it say, “Even if you were successful, you’re affiliated with the mob as well as being a whore.”
Also, the mention of the mafia also seems to imply that he again doubts the legitimacy of her being successful on her own, that perhaps her mob affiliations were the real bankroll.
After he gets some pushback from his other guests, he cuts them off to assert some stats supposedly from the Justice Department’s studies. Seka asks if that automatically means they are right, and he cuts her off while standing and pacing over his guests, now shouting, “You’re damn right it makes them right! I’d rather listen to people who’ve studied this than someone who’s laid down with all the men they could find!”
Aha, THERE we have it.
Let’s unpack the core reality of this interview, and the real reason Morton Downey is such a stooge.
He knowingly invites someone onto his show whom he’s already clearly made up his mind is a terrible person, and creates a thinly veiled pretense of giving them a real interview to talk about their life. It quickly devolves into an interrogation he uses to preach about his own agenda, where clearly Seka was little more than a prop for him to say what he really wanted to say.
And judging from the cheers Morton Downey got from his peanut gallery of an audience, it seems just as likely that beyond engineering a pretense to preach, he’s after ratings.
So… you bait guests into being on your show to publicly shame them to boost your numbers, all while insulting them for “being a whore.”
To quote the great Thomas Shelby, “We’re all whores; we just sell different parts of ourselves.”
Asking good questions to explore the life of your guest, even if you respectfully disagree with them, and without insulting them, is the mark of a good host. This is rather embarrassingly beyond Morton Downey’s skill set.
My issue with this isn’t that he was unfair with a guest who happens to be female, and has nothing to do with her profession. It’s entirely about Downey being a hypocrite and a troll.
Look into his career and see how often being deliberately controversial or abrasive was his MO for ratings. Look, shock jocks are everywhere and it’s not new. But if that’s your meal ticket, accept the reality of your role and avoid a pretty cringe-worthy obliviousness to your own circumstance.
You’re a hack, Morton Downey.