New York Sen. Greg Ball has a nose for the spotlight. A Republican legislator who represents Putnam County and parts of Westchester and Dutchess counties, Ball situated himself in the center of the January controversy over the Journal News’s decision to publish the names and addresses of gun permit holders.

Then came the Boston bombings, and a tweet from Ball:

Instant cable appearances!

CNN’s Piers Morgan signed him up, and last night a mindless back-and-forth unfolded:

BALL: Piers, how are you?

MORGAN: I’m sorry, Senator Ball. You tweeted this. You said, “So scum bag number two in custody; who wouldn’t use torture on this punk to save more lives?” Do you still believe that?

BALL: Absolutely. At the end of the day – you know, I think you interview a lot of politicians. A lot of politicians are full of crap. They’re scared of their own shadow and scared to say what they feel. I think that I share the feelings of a lot of red-blooded Americans who believe that if we can save even one innocent American life, including we’ve seen the killing of children, that they would use — and this is just for me — that they would use every tool at their disposal to do so.

MORGAN: But he’s an American citizen, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. He committed a domestic crime in Boston, and he’ll be tried in a U.S. civilian criminal court system.

BALL: Right.

MORGAN: How are you going to torture him?

BALL: I mean, dude, you’re talking to a guy that supports the death penalty for cop killers, terrorists.

MORGAN: Yes, but how would you torture him?

BALL: Piers, I would support — I’m talking about me. If you want to talk to the president of the United States about his policies next time you golf or go play basketball with him, you can ask him. I’m telling you as Greg Ball, I’m telling you as Greg Ball personally —

MORGAN: I understand you’re Greg Ball.

BALL: If you would put me in the room with anybody from the most current scumbags to Osama bin Laden, I’m telling you what I would do. As far as the policy of the United States, you got to take it up with Obama.

MORGAN: I understand. But if you start to torture an American citizen for committing a domestic crime in America, you are crossing a Rubicon.

What’s the point here, Morgan? Has your CNN show turned into an instrument of accountability for the citizens of Putnam County. Perhaps so.

After more such inanities, Morgan went to a commercial break and asked that Ball stick around. When the program resumed, Ball was gone, and Morgan was throwing elbows:

I would have been back with Senator Greg Ball from New York. Unfortunately, he has left the building, rather surprising for a man who described himself as a great red-blooded American who was going to hand me my British ass. Anyway, he has shown cowardice in the face of the ongoing debate and has left. So there we have it.

That outburst rankled the Ball camp enough to issue a press release on the matter this morning. As it turns out, Ball ditched Morgan’s show because he had another cable TV appearance to speak about why he favors torturing scumbags! The release:

PIERS THE SNAKE

Appearance Schedule Lost in Translation at CNN

Brewster, N.Y. – (4/23/13) – Below is a statement from Joe Bachmeier, Senator Greg Ball’s Communication Director, regarding Senator Ball’s appearance last night on the CNN show “Piers Morgan Live”.

“The Piers team knew in advance that we booked a slated 9:40 PM appearance on the Fox News show ‘Hannity,’ well in advance of their request, for the same hour on the same day. Those familiar with Manhattan and traffic know full well that it would be a near impossible feat to do both shows. That said, the Piers team was professional and agreed to accommodate the Senator’s schedule and agreed to have Senator Ball on a little after 9:00 PM and out of the building no latter than 9:15 PM. Unfortunately, the Senator did not go on air until approximately 9:15 PM. While severely pressed for time, the Senator stayed and did the interview as agreed to. After the Senator handed Piers his proverbial British ‘tookus’ in a handbasket, Piers asked the Senator to stay beyond 9:30 PM. This would have required canceling on Hannity, which was pre-scheduled. Off air the Senator politely suggested a rematch at anytime. It was explained clearly that Senator Ball had only 10 minutes to get to Hannity which was slated to begin at 9:40 PM. Evidently Piers took the Senator’s absence as an opportunity to heal his wounds, by attacking the Senator. Along with refusing to shake the Senator’s hand, as the Senator left, Piers is clearly a snake for suggesting anything other than these facts,” said Joe Bachmeier, Senator Greg Ball’s Communication Director.

Erik Wemple writes the Erik Wemple blog, where he reports and opines on media organizations of all sorts.