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‘The Newsroom’ Actress Hits CNN Anchors for Being ‘Egotistical’ and ‘Self-Absorbed’

Actress Olivia Munn stars in HBO's drama The Newsroom, but she knocked the real-life CNN newsroom on Sunday. At a panel moderated by CNN host Piers Morgan, Munn made clear her distaste for newspeople "trying to make themselves a celebrity."

"I like seeing my news anchors just be my news anchors. And now you turn on CNN and now people are putting themselves into a story," she said, calling out Morgan and CNN anchor Don Lemon by name.

"Have your opinion on news stories, on situations, but to make yourself newsworthy is so egotistical and it's so self-absorbed that I think that's the problem with – there's just so many news organizations, so many people trying to make themselves a celebrity," she lamented. Morgan saw her argument and joked "Well fortunately, you'd never get me doing that." The audience laughed.

Even Larry King thinks Morgan "talks about himself a lot." After all, Morgan's made a story of himself through his incessant gun control crusade and his badgering of gun rights advocates on his show. He posed to The Newsroom actor Jeff Daniels:

"Surely the moment when it all comes alive for your own anchor is when actually he becomes more involved in the story, becomes more opinionated, begins to express himself, begins to seize an issue and run with it. Isn't that the moment that that show, your show, gets transformed?"

"It becomes a great show," he added. Munn did clarify she was fine with anchors expressing their opinions on air, but disliked it when they made themselves into celebrities.

Munn also slammed Don Lemon's juvenile Twitter feud with actor Jonah Hill that made its way onto CNN's news coverage. "I actually saw it on CNN. I'm like, I cannot believe, the things that we have going on in the world, that we are actually spending so much time talking about this," she insisted.

(H/T Media Bistro)

A transcript of the segment, which aired during Sunday's PaleyFest 2013 The Newsroom panel, is as follows:

OLIVIA MUNN, actress: I prefer to see Piers Morgan and Diane Sawyer just on the news and not on a red carpet. That's just me, personally.

(...)

MUNN: Just because – I grew up in a military family, and we didn't have many channels to watch on Air Force bases. And we would get – one staple was CNN. And it's hard for me – I like seeing my news anchors just be my news anchors. And now you turn on CNN and now people are putting themselves into a story, and people are tweeting things out because – Twitter exists so that they feel like they are allowed to say whatever, or they should say whatever. And I think people, and especially journalists, they make themselves too much a part of the story, when journalism is really about other people's stories and is not about –

MORGAN: Okay. Let me throw this back at you then. Okay.

(Applause)

MORGAN: This will have resonance in this room. And what I would say back to you – and I'm interested in what Jeff thinks. Surely the moment when it all comes alive for your own anchor is when actually he becomes more involved in the story, becomes more opinionated, begins to express himself, begins to seize an issue and run with it. Isn't that the moment that that show, your show, gets transformed?

MUNN: When you seize an issue and he decides to make the show about the issue that he finds important?

MORGAN: I'm saying that – do you have a problem with an anchor expressing opinion? Because I think it's when Will becomes opinionated and gets angry about things on air that it all comes alive. It becomes a great show.

MUNN: I don't have a problem with that. I have a problem with anchors who start to – when they have their opinion on something and another thing where – the other day – like the guy on CNN who tweeted about running into Jonah Hill –

MORGAN: Don Lemon.

MUNN: So obnoxious. It's like –

(Laughter)

MUNN: Because he was Jonah Hill, then now it gives you something fun to tweet about, and now – and then I actually saw it on CNN. I'm like, I cannot believe, the things that we have going on in the world, that we are actually spending so much time talking about this. Have your opinion on news stories, on situations, but to make yourself newsworthy is so egotistical and it's so self-absorbed that I think that's the problem with – there's just so many news organizations, so many people trying to make themselves a celebrity, and –

MORGAN: Well fortunately, you'd never get me doing that, so we can move on.

(Laughter)

-- Matt Hadro is a News Analyst at the Media Research Center