Piers Morgan Calls for Ferguson Protesters to Be Time's 'Person of the Year'

Appearing on Monday's NBC Today, ex-CNN host Piers Morgan called on Time magazine to name the Ferguson protesters as the publication's "Person of the Year" for 2014: "If you ask me what has been the single biggest issue facing Americans right now in this country, it is the whole issue surrounding what happened there....Everyone's got to come together and say we are simply better than this."

Earlier in the segment, co-host Matt Lauer brought up the deaths of both Michael Brown and Eric Garner in New York City, prompting Morgan to proclaim: "I feel very concerned about that whole process, as many people do. Look, you cannot have a situation where you have two unarmed people in America who are basically killed by police officers and the police officers concerned are simply not held to account....these guys haven't even been cross-examined and I find that an unfathomable thing."

Lauer then teed up Morgan to blame racism in America for the controversies: "So the spotlight that is shining on these situations right now, what is it revealing? What deeper situation is it revealing in your opinion?" Morgan replied: "I think there's no doubt that there is a racial undertone to this. I think there are certain elements of the police force in this country, who I'm afraid, are racially profiling people and they are behaving in a way that I think is unacceptable."

The last time Morgan was on Today, he denounced the media's "moral cowardice" for not being anti-gun enough.

Here is a transcript of Morgan's December 8 exchange with Lauer:

8:17 AM ET

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MATT LAUER: Let me – whenever you're here I like to pick your brain some things happening in the news, so let me do that right now. Have you been watching the protests in the wake of the grand jury decisions in the Michael Brown case and Eric Garner case?

PIERS MORGAN: I have, and I feel very concerned about that whole process, as many people do. Look, you cannot have a situation where you have two unarmed people in America who are basically killed by police officers and the police officers concerned are simply not held to account. You have to at least get to a stage where they face a real jury and have a real trial. I mean, these guys haven't even been cross-examined and I find that an unfathomable thing.

LAUER: So the spotlight that is shining on these situations right now, what is it revealing? What deeper situation is it revealing in your opinion?

MORGAN: I think there's no doubt that there is a racial undertone to this. I think there are certain elements of the police force in this country, who I'm afraid, are racially profiling people and they are behaving in a way that I think is unacceptable. That is not to say that most of the NYPD, who I've encountered many times, are [not] thoroughly good, decent people. But you cannot have people killed on the streets of New York with choke holds and there simply be no accountability.

LAUER: I do, I think that gets lost a lot in the headlines, that the vast majority of police officers, not only in New York City and other places, they're good people.

MORGAN: They're decent people, Matt.

LAUER: Trying to protect the citizens.

MORGAN: But this doesn't help them or their reputation.

LAUER: And real quickly, Time magazine came out with the short list for the person of the year, you were in the green room there.

MORGAN: Am I on it?

LAUER: You're not on it. Jack Ma, the Ebola caregivers, Putin, the Ferguson protestors, Tim Cook of Apple, Taylor Swift,, Roger Goodell of the NFL, and Barzani of Iraq Kurdistan. What do you think?

MORGAN: You know, I would actually make it probably the Ferguson protesters. If you ask me what has been the single biggest issue facing Americans right now in this country, it is the whole issue surrounding what happened there. And I think it has to be addressed by the black and white community of this country. Everyone's got to come together and say we are simply better than this. So I would like to see them as the cover of Time and the people of the year.

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Race Issues Racism Ferguson NBC Today Time Video Matt Lauer Piers Morgan