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Larry King has died (twitter.com/kingsthings)
413 points by Anon84 34 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 314 comments

I will forever associate Larry King with the movie “Spin”. [1] It’s a rather brilliant indie documentary about the 1992 (Bill Clinton / HW Bush) election based on a fascinating technological element: back then, Satellite TV feeds would often just keep running during commercial breaks, or warmups.

So the director recorded a TON of footage from these moments where the politicians and news anchors acted themselves, seemingly unaware that anyone was watching.

The segments with Larry King are, um, memorable. Very candid moments.

1: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spin_(1995_film)

Thanks for the recommendation

This one's pretty good: https://youtu.be/VCUIlV-AKY4

Thanks. I haven't seen it, but this looks like it might be the full documentary: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PlJkgQZb0VU

Here's the part where the documentary explains how he got all the behind-the-scenes footage: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PlJkgQZb0VU&t=3m58s. TLDR - raw video from remote studios were first beamed via satellite to the Network's HQ for editing and "packaging". But back in those days, people with satellite boxes could intercept and view the raw pre-packaged feeds.

You should also be able to find it on the Internet Archive.


In fact it looks like the film was uploaded to IA by Brian Springer (the filmmaker) himself, along with many of the source tapes:


There's a slightly longer version (1hr15 to credits) here. I'm not sure what the differences are. https://mediaburn.org/video/spin/

While the conspiracy theorists seem to love that one, I think he meant "serve" as in "serve on your cabinet".

Obviously... What else do the conspirationists think it mean?

Likely that Ted Turner was offering to have CNN serve as a propaganda machine for the Clinton Administration or the Democratic Party at large, due to their common political sympathies.

They still do that. See https://www.lyngsat.com/america.html

If you guys think "fuck it, we'll do it live" was bad, you should have seen Barbara Walters. I wish I recorded some of it. All these people in media have egos like you wouldn't believe.

Today I watched "Contact". Coincidentally, both Larry King and Clinton appear in cameos (I think that Clinton's cameo was unauthorized, though.)

> Clinton's cameo was unauthorized

Wikipedia has a good discussion on this topic. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contact_(1997_American_film)#B...

Looks like a great watch. Unfortunately, I can’t find Spin available anywhere - paid or less public.

Kinda disappointing to see content like this virtually extinguished.

Actually, it may be up on YouTube in full: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Uock08dy19s

I learned English watching Larry King Live, because that was my father's favourite talkshow during the 90s.

I didn't understand half of what was going on in those conversations, but what stuck with me was the broad spectrum of people he interviewed and how consistently respectful he was towards his interviewees.

Always enjoyed his interviews and his style. I happened to just watched a very short clip of him talking about his fear of death with Norm Macdonald last night. Guess we all have to face that moment, and even though he had a long and successful life i'm sorry for him and his family now.

I linked the clip[1] below, but it may be a bit disconcerting and too soon to view for some.

[1] https://youtu.be/8ZKq7CoZv4w

Sad news that he died.

I don’t identify with a fear of “not existing.” Not existing doesn’t have a negative connotation to me. It’s an absence of awareness, so who cares?

People who want to maintain awareness.

That's their point though. They wont have any.

The person said "who cares?". This is an issue about people who are still alive and their attitude towards death. What you're saying doesn't apply.

Are people who are drawn to the spotlight more likely to care about what people think of them when they are not around/dead.

Based on this Larry King example, I would agree. It seems related to ego and image.

Yeah, what an ego-maniacal self-centered jerk this guy is not wanting to die.

They like their life and want a future.

That does not conflict with the premise though.

Many people see birth and death as a clearly defined ultimate boundary: the final infinite wall; a big blank room forever; the bookends of existence.

but our origin can be traced backwards forever: present day; yesterday; childhood; exiting the womb; formation in the womb; initial conception; individual cells split between two people; grandparents; formation of the elements of the solar system; beginning of the universe; etc.

Presently and onward we are also experiencing death: cells are dying and creating anew; elements breakdown and reform; etc.

In this way we can see life and death are convenience abstractions for speech, but neither are real. This is an endless process of transfiguration and change.

So what shakes me is the possibility that nonexistence and existence are an illusion, and this is just eternity

You are One with the swirling oceanic vortex that Is.

You don't fear it because it's an abstract thing to you. If you'll have an moment of facing impeding doom your primal instincts will rear it's head no doubt.

Unless you're sick and in pain, in which case you'll be wishing for it.

I also don't fear not existing. But I do fear the possibility of an afterlife.

The survival instinct is the most basic drive in any living thing. If the idea of ceasing to exist truly doesn't make you uncomfortable then it might be worth talking to a professional...

There is a difference between survival instinct (would I swim up, jump to avoid getting hit by a car or duck if something is thrown at me) with fear of death.

I don't fear death, I fear the process of dying, I wouldn't want it to be painful or slow, but not existing, that I do not fear.

Agreed, and we’ll said

Many religions are all about not fearing death as a goal. If your immediate reaction to hearing someone doesn't fear death is talk to a professional you have an interesting take on what professionals are for.

Those belief systems also tend to have things in store for the individual after death, though. Why should one fear death itself if it's actually the means to travel to a place where 72 virgins are waiting for them? Not disagreeing with your second sentence.

The "ego in heaven" stuff is in the washed down religion for mass appeal, the actual mystical practices, whether islam christian or hindu/buddhist are overcoming attachment to your identity on earth, to identify your 'self' with the infinite unfolding of the universe so you know that 'you' never die, you just stop looking out this window.

I'm attached to this window. This idea from religion has always bothered me.

Yes, the cosmos remains intact even as the ego dies. But it seems dismissive to say the ego is less precious and can be calmly dismissed because the eternal universe which gave rise to it persists intact. It gives me no comfort at all to know that the eternal fire will always burn, and everything that constituted my fleeting ego will always exist as well. My self-awareness will be gone forever. That is a real and impending loss, although i'll be blissfully oblivious to that loss soon enough.

Some people say they don’t fear death because they think it makes them sound brave.

So I don’t usually believe what people say about themselves on this topic. Unless they’re quite old or lived through cancer or some similar situation where they had to confront their mortality, I won’t assume they know how they truly feel about their death. It’s just an idea when expressed with words, and simply thinking about it may not evoke real emotions.

Ah yes, the mentality that anyone that doesn't fear what I fear must be mentally ill in some way.

I admire and want to learn from people who do not fear "not existing".

But I'm always turned off by the complete lack of empathy that such folks (including you) show those of us who DO fear it. Most of folks like you don't just act like you don't fear not existing, but you actively don't understand how OTHERS can fear it.

Which makes me think one of two things: 1) The type of person who can be comfortable and this pragmatic about it is the kind of cold unfeeling unempathetic person that I simply could never be, or 2) Your cold detached pragmatic attitude is ITSELF a coping strategy for dealing with mortality. I dwell in the fear of not existing. You deal with it by pretending it's not even something worth burning an ounce of energy on.

If I'm wrong, then I'm sorry. I'd love to see you explain that you understand the fear, and then explain why you personally believe it's something you can make peace with. But every explanation I've heard so far I just haven't been able to follow.

My consciousness and awareness is all I have. When that ends, so will every dream, fantasy, feeling, emotion, hope, aspiration, joy, fear, sadness, idea, invention, and creative outlet I've ever had. And I won't have any more after that. That is objectively terrifying.

Just because it's inescapable doesn't make it any less disturbing.

At some point, you get to fundamentals. "Why live?" is not, IMO answerable logically or by reference to other things.

That said, wanting not to die is fairly compatible with all our other beliefs and judgements. Murder is bad, for example. That's pretty compatible with not wanting to die.

Right. I wasn't scared of the time before I existed, so why would I be scared of the time after.

Counterpoint: I am extremely scared of the fact that I don't exist on Antarctica and in the center of the Andromeda galaxy. And 10 meters below where I am. I'm just as dead on my roof right now. I'm dead in most of the universe RIGHT NOW and this is terrifying.

Update: I've just discovered I am not alone. Turns out Hannibal Hamlin, Abraham Lincoln's V.P., is just as dead/not in existence on my roof. This is very disconcerting and I hope there are no more ghosts like this in my vicinity.

Because you've become rather fond of existing and would like to keep it that way?

it's not being scared of that time after you've died, it's being scared of no longer being able to exist.

Here's another clip of him repeating that fear: https://twitter.com/OfficialCHall/status/1352971460206276609

Definitely more than just an off-hand comment, and, I think, quite a common fear among successful people. Bill Gates, Peter Thiel, Larry Ellison, and a handful of other tech execs have all shared how uncomfortable they are with death ("I don't understand how someone can stop existing", greatest fear is not being able to think, "death is a terrible, terrible thing", etc.).

When I was a kid growing up in a small town in the 1980's, radio was my way of finding out about the outside world. I would stay up late at night listening when I was supposed to be sleeping.

I often ended up listening to Larry King's late night radio show. Although unlikely for the medium and time slot, he was somehow able to attract amazing guests, and I learned about a lot of things. I especially remember his interviews with Isaac Asimov and Douglas Adams, which introduced me to those authors. RIP.

I never cared for his tv shows but I recall enjoying his late night am radio show that I listened to each night at my summer university semester in Texas back in 1992. He was pretty quick on his feet dealing w obnoxious callers. For some reason I still recall (and chuckle) him cutting down a nasty caller with, “you, sir, are lonely by the choice of others”. Amuses me 30 years later.

Part of the reason he was able to attract guests was because he didn't ask tough or technical questions. That's not a criticism, I think there's more than enough room for both the Larry Kings and Isaac Chotners of the world, and they're both important in their own ways.

"Last Chance To See" interview?

I always enjoyed his interviews especially his calm style. It’s maybe not that relevant, but: he died of/with Covid... R.I.P.


> All of the US politicians who obstructed a proper pandemic response back in March have his and 350k others' blood on their hands.

What about all the other big EU countries that have comparable death rates? (The UK, France, Spain, Italy, etc.) And what about the countervailing economic devastation caused by lockdowns?

How much “blood” does Fauci and the CDC have on their hands for lying about masks early in the pandemic?

Moralizing public policy like this is one of the worst ideas we’ve had in the last few decades and we need to goddamn cut it out.

> Moralizing public policy like this is one of the worst ideas we’ve had in the last few decades

Amen. Politicizing and protesting mask wearing is the dumbest thing Republicans could have done to their own agenda of keeping the economy going. I really don’t get it. What our leaders should have been asking us to do is wear a mask to go out shopping safely. At least Fauci admitted it was a mistake to say early on not to get masks, at least his statements were aimed at protecting COVID responders, and at least he corrected it fairly early on.

The way I read that whole situation with Fauci, it seemed like there was a presidential order not to encourage mask wearing. The CDC should've know better; in fact, I think they did. I'm by no means involved in the medical field, but simple physics tells me that a layer of stuff between me and another person means less of my gems get to them. If you're a professional in that area of study, I imagine there's zero doubt that masks are the right choice. No downside, only upside. By similar logic, Fauci knew. Then at some point it seemed like he realized he would probably get fired no matter what he said, so he grew a pair and started speaking truth.

Yes, it was incredibly stupid. But so was people throwing around "blood on your hands" rhetoric every time someone mentioned the very legitimate need to reopen the economy. I remember American media flipping out over Trump saying we can't stay locked down forever, and then watching Germans nod soberly along while Angela Merkel said the exact same thing.

We've become addicted to moralizing political decisions. Reagan unfortunately is responsible for a lot of that, also Gingrich. But since Obama Democrats have run with that tactic too.

Angela Merkel is taken seriously because she's a serious person. Americans flipped out over Trump because he was in complete denial about the crisis. He had no credibility when he talked about reopening because he was also calling covid-19 the sniffles and inventing ridiculous new "treatments" on the spot. It wasn't wrong to be alarmed.

I take your point, but the pandemic is different from the economy as a whole†, with different incentives. It is probably possible to keep society running with total indifference to COVID-19, pretending that its death toll is essentially the same as a bad flu. Over a million people would die, but society can metabolize a million deaths without really skipping a beat.

Preventing as many of those deaths as is reasonably possible requires sacrifice and expenditure, and really the only incentive we have to undertake that is moral.

I don't think the problem is that "blood on their hands" is moralizing, but rather that it's hackneyed, shrill, and unpersuasive.

cf downthread

Sorry that you don't like my writing style. Next time I will rephrase "have blood on their hands" as: "have committed manslaughter through their wilful negligence in dealing with the pandemic back in March when it was obviously going to start killing people".

Really, I don't think it's hackneyed or shrill to decry so many deaths. Unless you also think memorializing the September 11 terrorist attacks is also hackneyed and shrill.

What about all the other big EU countries that have comparable death rates?

The US actually is fairly unique in that excess mortality never returned to baseline.

For example, Belgium is one of the European countries that was hit hardest: Mid-April, twice the number of people died per week than the average of 2015-19. The numbers were back to normal a month later (until the next wave hit in August).

In the US, deaths also peaked mid-April. But while deaths were up by a factor of 'only' 1.5, excess mortality never went back to normal for all of 2020.

"What about all the other big EU countries that have comparable death rates? (The UK, France, Spain, Italy, etc.)"

Yeah, they shit the bed too, what's your point?

Do all those politicians "have blood on their hands" as well?

There's widespread criticism of the pandemic response in England, France, etc.

Are you just objecting to the phrase? It seems obvious enough that Trump is responsible for much of the failure in the US, failure that exacerbated the death toll. If he had done sensible things instead of dancing around talking about injecting bleach, it's painfully likely it would have made a difference. And then the choices about who led the response. Why was Kushner involved at all? He had no obvious experience to suggest he should be making decisions (and had pretty much already demonstrated incompetence).

> Are you just objecting to the phrase

Yes, I am, which is why I referred to “moralizing” above. Public policies kill people directly or indirectly. If you reduce GDP growth by 0.5% you can convert that to a body count.

Rhetoric like saying people have “blood on their hands” is just an attempt to emotionalize the issue. And it destroys our political debate and discourse.

Somehow I feel like reducing a preventable death toll larger than most cities to "rhetoric" is reductio ad absurdum.

The people who make the policies have morals that leak into them.

Is it moral to force people into work without protection and no recourse against their employer when they get sick and their family member dies? Sounds like we should make a moral judgment against that policy and the ones who made it to me.

Several countries have managed to eradicate the virus with very few deaths, so it’s clearly possible.

All politicians that valued profits over lives have blood on their hands, all over the world.

> What about all the other big EU countries that have comparable death rates? (The UK, France, Spain, Italy, etc.)

Isn't the US richer and also... exceptional? :-)

Covid death rates seem pretty uncorrelated with wealth the world over. As to the US being exceptional—it is in many respects, but quick and coordinated societal and government response has never been one of those things. There is a long-standing joke that “Americans will eventually do the right thing, after they’ve tried everything else.”

Fauci should've been fired for his original comments on masks. Outrageous! His backpedaling comment on why he chose those words was even worse. Given how long he's been in that role, I believe there are powers at work keeping him in, from Big Pharma or something else.

But I really want to know who decided to abandon HHS' plan to mail masks out to every household. If that person or team can be held accountable, I can overlook Fauci's addiction to being a TV star.

Decades ago, the news networks used to beam AV via satellite directly from the remote station in the field back to headquarters to be broadcast. They didn’t encrypt those signals, so anyone could pick them up if they knew how. This was raw footage, so there would often be candid segments showing people setting stuff up or getting ready for an interview.

Someone recorded a lot of these and later published a multi-hour compilation of them on YouTube. I forget the name of that compilation, but I can tell you that the following is by far the most interesting segment from it.


When I try to tell people about this segment, they don’t believe me. They write me off as being insane. Decide for yourself. Don’t believe what the news media tells you.

Edit: DanG, why is my comment being collapsed when it has ~20 upvotes?

"serve" him in a cabinet position. Hope that clears things up!

And you would say the same thing if the same footage came out but it was Bill O Reilly, Rupert Murdoch and George Bush instead of Clinton, King and Turner?

Um, yes, of course. Isn't it obvious what the context is?

In what context should billionaire media moguls be serving, colluding or collaborating with politicians of any kind, let alone a presidential candidate?

There is a long history of presidentially-appointed people saying they "serve at the pleasure of the President." It simply means that they hold the job only so long as the president wants them there.

This has extended "serving" to broader, more casual usage when speaking about people who work for the president as you can see here. It's not "serving" like working as a servant/a billionaire doing whatever the president says in a controlling/exploitative way, it just means that Larry King thinks that Ted Turner wouldn't turn down a cabinet appointment.

You can also infer from the way King says that "what's he got left in life to gain," and Clinton's surprised "you're kidding," that they both consider this kind of service to be a major downgrade from the billionaire life - King saying here that Ted Turner has nothing left to gain indicates a separation in his mind between personal gain and working for the Clinton administration. Clinton's surprised response tells us he feels the same way, surprise that a billionaire would want to work for the president.

A very substantive comment.

Has the comment you're replying to made you change your interpretation of the clip?

"Deciding for yourself" doesn't mean jumping to conspiratorial conclusions based on an ambiguous, off-the-cuff remark from 1992, though. And just looking at the comments on that video you can see what sort of agenda these people are bringing to their judgments.

Most journalism has an editorial line, which is usually aligned with the people that pay the bills. It is the case for newspapers, radio, TV... even websites.

Very rarely you have journalism with neutral editorial lines.

There's no such thing as neutrality. Usually when people talk about neutrality, they really mean status quo, or worse giving equal weight to "both sides" (implying the major US political parties are the only possible views on a subject), without even trying to assertain the truth of the matter.

Journalism isn't simply putting facts down on paper, but it's also interpreting how it affects the reader. Even if you pretend to simply write the who what when and where of a story, you still have to choose what to cover. That in and of itself has no right answer, you inevitably make an idological choice.

You can argue "there's no such thing as neutrality"... but consider the following:

News Station A:

1. Heavily edited clip of political candidate saying something.

2. News anchor provides a 10 min opinion of what happened.

3. An analyst is invited to give their opinion about what happened for 30 min..

News Station B:

1. Video of what happened.

2. News anchor describes when it happened and where. No accompanying opinion is provided.

What is more neutral? News Station B, for sure. The first format is the only one available in the US, in my country that format is considered yellow journalism and is unacceptable.

If this hypothetical political candidate is saying something that's not true (or is disputed), and news station B just runs a raw video of their speech, you could argue it's favoring that candidate by allowing their message to spread without providing the appropriate context.

It is the duty of each citizen to develop an informed opinion about each candidate.

Rights = Duties

Right to vote = Duty to make an informed opinion and vote wisely.

Freedom of the press = Duty to inform events with journalistic integrity.


An important part of journalistic integrity is impartiality. Any news station taking sides is unethical and you should stop watching it.

But in this scenario, the news station is not providing enough information for the citizen to develop an informed opinion. I guess there's room for a service like that that just has raw video (as one element of a wider media ecosystem), but it's also valuable for the news to actually explain events in a larger context.

Raw video footage doesn’t have an agenda. You have clearly decided for yourself what the footage means to you. Good for you.

No leaked videos are even necessary. It should be obvious to any critical thinker that CNN is the Democrat version of FOX news with a small amount of viewing.

I don't see anything wrong with this. I mean it's like I'm talking to Elon Musk. And I have a friend who really wants to work at Tesla. Yeah I'd be a good friend and mention him to Elon Musk.

It seems quite obvious to me that Larry is trying to get Ted Turner a job in the Clinton Administration.

What are you seeing there that's so shocking?

yikes, what a sleazebag. Larry hit the anti-Semitic trifecta (Jews, Israel and media moguls in bed with politicians) in under a minute of just random chit chat. The mind reels at the shady backroom deals this man was responsible for.

I'm being 100% honest here. I'm having a hard time following what he said or the meaning behind it at least. Care to elaborate?

Nothing especially bad. He talks about how incredible it is he reaches so many countries with his broadcast-- at the time a staggering thought-- and to illustrate tells a story of seeing a praying Rabbi at the Wailing/Western wall in Jerusalem who turns to ask king about domestic US politics (Ross Perot, who ran against Clinton and Bush).

Then he basically says Ted Turner, founder of CNN, is a nice guy to work for and is a fan of Clinton (as if he is not allowed to be?) and could "serve you" whatever that means which I guess could be as ominous as your imagination allows but probably means in his administration.

There is zero antisemitism expressed. Only Larry King and the Israeli rabbi interested in American politics are Jewish. Clinton, Perot, and Turner are not.

The claimed outrage is absurd.

> There is zero antisemitism expressed.

I believe qqj was saying it’s ammo for anti semites that hits those 3 accusations, not that Larry King was expressing anti semitism.

I dunno, who do you think he was saying was the sleazebag? I don't see the "ammo" here-- neither Turner and Clinton are Jewish.

"Serve in an administration" is a fairly common phrase, I believe is the only important additional context needed.

The way I interpret it, Mr. King is suggesting to Clinton he (Clinton) might be interested in establishing a reciprocal relationship with one of most prominent media moguls and politically influential billionaires, Ted Turner.

Teddy helps Billy with the optics on CNN, maybe funding various campaigns, and in turn Billy helps Teddy with his own projects, like I dunno, passing a bill to kill off competitors and so on.

The yin and yang that are Politics and Media.

You're reading QUITE a bit into that.

Long and short of it: Ted Turner is the guy who created CNN, a very influential news source in the US. Many people consider CNN to be a "left-wing" news source, and in the clip King talks to Bill Clinton, a democratic politician, about Ted Turner "serving" Clinton after he was elected president.

The use of the word "serving" is the issue, as it sounds like a quid pro quo.

It could just as easily mean "serve" as in your administration-- in a cabinet position for example.

>> Many people consider CNN to be a "left-wing" news source

Are their people that do see the clear bias of the network?

This is like saying "Many people consider Fox news to be a "right wing" network"

There is no doubt of the political leanings of either network. CNN is/was not called Clinton News Network for nothing.....

You have to see this through 90's lens: back then the media wasn't nearly as polarized, and the public had much greater trust in news networks, especially in CNN. "Fake news" was mostly relegated to the domain of conspiracy theories, and blatant promotions of political agendas as neutral news wouldn't fly back then (although, of course, the networks did have an agenda and did promote it, but they were... much more subtle and civil about the whole thing).

I was alive, and consuming news in the 90's

In the 90's the bias was shown in the stories they choose to cover and what they choose to ignore not in the coverage itself

this is still true today but now in addition to this bias there is almost zero "strait" reporting, everything has political commentary mixed in, some more subtle than others but it is still there. Even in places like APnews where it is more subtle

CNN is not really “left-wing” in a broad ideological sense. It’s the unofficial mouthpiece of the Democratic Party and the “liberal” side of the US culture war. Note for example how poorly they treated Sanders who was further left than any of the other mainstream candidates.

I'm tired of fact-based and reason-based news being painted as 'left-wing". CNN is just the news. I miss when we all watched the same news and it tried to be objective and half the country wasn't watching provably false news and wanting to split off into madness and domestic terror cells and make the human race go backwards.

If you believe CNN is "just the news" then you are suffering from reinforcing confirmation bias as well as echo chamber.

You agree with the positions CNN takes there for it is "news" and outlets that have differing positions to those you agree with are "fake news" and "want to make the human race go backwards"

There is a difference between “this news source strikes me as not being too politically extreme in either direction compared to my own views” and “this news source is completely neutral and objective with respect to all political views.”

How can you be sure you’re not seeing the former and calling it the latter?

It is 100% NOT the liberal side of the cultural war. There really is no liberal side

The right side is theological authoritarian, the Left side is illiberal Identitarianism which is ironic because identitarianism started out as a "far right" ideology but in a real world example of the horseshoe theory of politics has become far-left authoritarian

Larry learning to play the harp, 5 years ago: https://youtu.be/9aexdYSarow?t=96

I ended up watching a few videos of his, and I found this one of him interviewing Donald and Melania Trump in 2005: https://youtu.be/q4XfyYFa9yo

Tangentially related: the first time I got online with a 56k modem way back in mid ‘99, cnn.com was the first website I could think of pointing my browser (Netscape) to.

I remember being online around '98 and I remember playing starcraft but that's about it. I can't even remember what I read on the internet. I think cheatcc.com? Haha

2001 was the first time I got online; first site visited was also cnn.com on a 56k modem.

'97 or '98 for me.

Went online because I heard Nasa put up pictures of Mars so the first website I went to was nasa.gov

I typed out the entire url like nasa.gov/pathfinder/images or whatever it was after seeing it on TV and writing it down. It took a while to load and then was super underwhelming. I think I searched for Sonic The Hedgehog next.

First time was me and my dad going to the local library, really thinking on what the heck to do. I think we went for lego.com (I must've been around nine at the time?).

Later when we got internet at home we looked up "spelletjes" (Dutch for games) aaand ended up on a porn site. Thankfully not one with images on the front page.

I think my first brush with the internet was in 96 or 97 and I ended up staring at a Yahoo search box with absolutely no idea what to even do with it.

Netscape Navigator 4 or something. Good times.

I don't remember what the first site I visited was, but I remember the whole hype about "going online on the internet" and it being rather anticlimactic in the end.

The first site I visited was porn.com. 1998.

Larry King previously stated that he wanted his body to be cryopreserved after legal death:


> He has arranged to have his body frozen and then thawed out when researchers discover a cure for whatever killed him — the so-called cryonics approach. (Unlike Williams, King does not wish to have his dead head cut off.) King told me later that the people behind cryonics are ‘‘all nuts,’’ but at least if he knows he will be frozen he will die with a shred of hope. ‘‘Other people have no hope,’’ King said.

Also see his interview on Conan: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PF7NpKG_S8g

I wonder he actually ended up signing a cryonics contract or not.

Neal Stephenson's most recent novel "Fall; or, Dodge in Hell" is about cryonics. As usual, it's sprawling and arguably too long, but as usual, there are interesting ideas in there on the economics and politics of the idea, on simulation vs resurrection, etc.

I found it an enjoyable read.

That's a good book, actually.

From another one, different author, same theme:

"Case, promise me one thing: when this gig is over, erase me, ok?"


I'm a fan of Stephenson's work but I couldn't finish Fall. Such a waste of paper.

I agree it's not his best work but it actually has some pretty good stuff. It's just not as tight as his other books.

It seems that like with Stephen King that the more famous the author gets, the less power the editors get to push back.

In the case of Stephenson, this is counteracted a bit by Stephenson improving his craft somewhat over the years. His earlier novels all had very weak endings in my opinion, and that improved somewhat. But his never novels could use tightening.

Great book, but it was not about cryonics. You can move the "mind" into a computer. And those computerized minds start to create a world of their own. People outside can only watch this chaotic activity and grant more resources. Simply because it is truly entertaining.

Larry Niven wrote an excellent series of short stories on the same premises decades earlier: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flatlander_(short_story_collec...

no such thing as long or too long

"at least if he knows he will be frozen he will die with a shred of hope. ‘‘Other people have no hope,’’ King said."

I've always found it interesting how for most people and in most religions the hope is to be resurrected, go to heaven, and/or live forever, while in Buddhism the point is to escape the cycle of death and rebirth.

It's a completely different approach, which sees more life as something to be avoided rather than desired.

I'm Buddhist and I'm currently happy with the "cycle of death and rebirth" for now. I have infinite time, after all. And this Human game is fun for now.

Buddha shows the path forward; I'm walking slow.

Why wouldn't you do this if you have the money? :-)

Honestly I would be worried of it because of all the crazy distopia sci fi stuff one that always resonated to me as "I could see it happen" is those where bodies are donated / preserved by a private entity which ends up changing hands god knows how many time until you wake up in a nightmare later on.

Playing SOMA might have ruined it for me...

What has historically happened is just that the company goes bankrupt, the bodies defrost in random warehouses and is finally disposed of in less-than-respectable fashion.

There is pretty much zero chance that a cryopreserved individual would be revived. They're frozen when dying or dead, the process itself causes significant damage (with every mitigation just trading in a different severe form of damage), and even if future technology could undo all that and somehow make this severely damaged body somewhat operational, why in the world would anyone bother?

The person is forgotten, replaced, and has nothing in their name any more. There is no gain for those reviving them.

> What has historically happened is just that the company goes bankrupt, the bodies defrost in random warehouses and is finally disposed of in less-than-respectable fashion.

Source? Based on my research, no cryonic institution has failed in this manner to date.

"... all but one of the documented cryonic preservations prior to 1973 ended in failure, and the thawing out and disposal of the bodies.". There are a decent number of articles and documentaries on the matter.

Even now it's a fringe psuedoscience with little support or even regulation. Expecting a company to be both able and willing to pay the bill to store and freeze your body in perpetuity seems... Naïve. Looking at average company lifetimes might be a useful metric here.

I think op was refferring to the first uhhh, cryonics attempts. They were sad, I recommend giving this podcast a listen: https://www.thisamericanlife.org/354/mistakes-were-made

I'm not sure if any actual official institutions failed in this way.

> why in the world would anyone bother

Why do people want to resurrect the woolly mammoth? ;-)

That's actually possible, because you're not resurrecting a specific, dead wooly mammoth, you're growing a new one. Natural reproductive processes are an effective way to create living things, unlike thawing corpses with what are almost certainly irrevocably damaged brains.

Because it's extinct.

Would a dying person be able to set up a trust fund or a bank account/investment that would "live on" when they die. Issue I see here is that the law does not recognize "crypreservation" as continuation of life so all your assets are probably inherited.

I'm sure cryo companies offer this type of safekeeping of money or investment.

it's hard to have faith that such an account could exist long enough to pay for your revival many years in the future. it would be very tempting for the living to raid large funds that are earmarked for reviving dead people. who would stop them?

I know personally, if I had the opportunity, I would gladly spent time bringing someone frozen back to life. I don't gain anything, but I also don't gain anything when I donate to charity either. The simple chance to do something good in the world is all the motivation I need.

I assume the cost to even try would be in the hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars.

Spend that on the living instead. We're already too many as is anyway, no need to also bring the dead back.

They may get lucky. In Heinlein’s The Door into Summer the protagonist only survives the long sleep because he ends up put into storage with the wrong repository, but that happened to be the one that kept the lights on for 30 years.

Cryonics simply assumes the eventual development of molecular nano-technology per Drexler is able to repair both the freezing damage and any medical problems too. Not at all unlikely in a few decades, and almost certain within a century.

As for who would want you back ... your children, hopefully. And if there's no repair before they die ... hopefully their children would want them back. Etc.

I agree with everything that you've said except this:

> why in the world would anyone bother?

I think that historians in a hundred years would find opportunity to revive Larry King to be priceless.

One solution is to store frozen bodies in a lava tube on the Moon or Mars. Then the company can go bankrupt and that would have no effect.

That's a solution to staying cold, not a solution to avoid getting severely damaged by the freezing process, already being weak/sick/dead at the time of freezing, and there being no realistic outcome other than being reduced to a sad meat popsicle.

Yeah, I know. But at least it addresses one more issue than the current state of the art ^^

Not so simple solution.

I hope this doesn't ruin SOMA for me.

Don't worry, it doesn't at all. Play it, it's a fantastic game.

God I love that series.

> Why wouldn't you do this if you have the money? :-)

I've had these fantasies, too and then I thought, "Why wouldn't you just leave a few cells and then have someone re-clone you?"

The obvious answer is that your memories/experiences are wiped out and what I _really_ want is to continue on with my pre-existing memories/experiences. It would be more optimal if you could pickle your memories, clone yourself and then (at some appropriate time later in life) "re-implant" the memories into your clone. I think that's what people like Larry King are really hoping for.

But then there's all sorts of problems with this (e.g., your loved ones will presumably be gone, so who's going to give a shit about your memories? etc. etc.).

The prospect of death is frightening to most of us.

> what I _really_ want is to continue on with my pre-existing memories/experiences

This reminds me of an interesting philosophical question.

To state the obvious, even if the clone had an exact copy of your memories/experiences, that clone isn't you, you've died. If I had a teleportation machine that could "teleport" you to work by destroying you painlessly and instantly at the source location, and reconstruct you particle for particle at destination, how many would use it? I wouldn't, however irrational that may be, because "I" would be dead.

This bias is pretty interesting since by that definition we all die multiple times, as the particles that constitute our body are literally interchanging with the environment over time. But we don't feel uncomfortable about that fact.

> This reminds me of an interesting philosophical question.

Also known as https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ship_of_Theseus

> This bias is pretty interesting since by that definition we all die multiple times, as the particles that constitute our body are literally interchanging with the environment over time. But we don't feel uncomfortable about that fact.

I've wondered about that, is it strictly true? Aren't there heavy metals and other elements that are accumulated in the body over time? Or at least, they are eliminated so slowly that you'd never rid yourself of them completely before dying. I guess bones replace themselves every 10 years so any incorporated metals would have a chance to be eliminated on that timescale. But what's to stop a few of those elements making their way back into another structure after being ejected into the blood stream? Maybe we've all got a few persistent cadmium or lead atoms hanging out in our bodies from birth to death. Ship of Theseus crisis averted!

It's not really the Ship of Theseus. The question OP was referring to is about the self and the continuity of consciousness specifically. Derek Parfit first proposed it in his book Reasons and Persons.[1][2]



Great read... I’ve had similar thoughts before.

Question though: when that thought experiment is applied to the physical body of a person, aren’t our cells dying and being replaced constantly? Does that mean our identity changes over time and with new experiences? (Mind blown)

But even if your were to be cloned and your memories re-implanted, that would not necessarily be your consciousness

Agreed, but by that definition my consciousness in 15 years isn't me either, since most of the cells in my body will have been regenerated with different particles.

Pascal's wager for the irreligious

This sounds different than Pascal's wager because it's binary: you have nothing to lose, so preserve or don't preserve.

Whereas in Pascal's wager you have to choose one religion, which by definition excludes other religions.

Here you have to choose a single company to freeze your head. If you choose the right company you get an afterlife, so you might as well choose one, even if they all seem like total bullshit. It is exactly Pascal's wager.

1. Choose the wrong religion or no religion and you may suffer a fate worse than simple nonexistence. Not so with cryopreservation.

2. Many religions logically exclude other religions, i.e. if they are correct then other religions are not. This is not the case with cryopreservation, where there is a nonzero chance that more than one company may successfully resurrect you.

3. Various monotheistic religions don't accept "I think it's total bullshit but I'm going to act as if I believe it anyway" as belief (opinions vary on what exactly is required), whereas cryopreservation companies are happy to take your money regardless of what you privately think.

1. You're comparing death to death here but the correct comparison is room-temperature death to Hell. Dead-but-cryopreserved is the pre-afterlife state equivalent to death in traditional religions.

2. How do you revive the frozen heads from companies that couldn't pay their freezer bills three decades ago? You don't. Those heads picked the wrong company. Expecting a just god from some other religion to let you into the afterlife anyway is a common response to Pascal's wager.

3. Is the word you're looking for here "faith"? I don't think that word helps your argument. I will concede that there's probably no condition where the company unfreezes you and then kills you because you're not up to their standards. Well, unless they find those old bad reviews you left...

AFAIK, there are numerous competing and mutually exclusive preservation technologies, none of them with any track record of success.

Which is obviously entirely different from My Religion which is Known To Be True.

It’s different, because it provides an excuse to the rich to hoard their wealth more by preserving the coordinates of ice crystals.

At least religion offers people an excuse towards charity because ‘you can’t bring anything to the afterlife.’

Because I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream.

Cryonics (I'm signed up with Alcor) can reduce the measure of you being tortured. Assume a multiverse where some versions of you are going to be tortured for a long time. If you sign up for cryonics, if you get brought back most likely you won't get tortured and so this might reduce the percent of you across the multiverse that is not being tortured.

I’m open to this, but I’m not following how getting brought back equates to less torture. Can you elaborate?

Let's say that across the multiverse all versions of you are going to collectively live for 1 billion years. Unfortunately, some versions of you will be tortured and let's assume that collectively you will be tortured for 10,000 years meaning that the measure your torture is 10,000 / 1 billion. But if you sign up for cryonics you most likely only get brought back in a world that has cured death and isn't evil. If many versions of you do sign up for cryonics say you live collectively for 2 billion years and are only tortured for 11,000 of these years so the measure of you being tortured is 11,000/ 2 billion.

Ah, it was the “probably a non-torturous society will bring you back, since they are more likely to be altruistic” assumption that I was missing. Of course, it only takes one entity to bring you back for an eternity of torture to ruin this logic, as is the case in IHNMAIMS.

Infinity makes decision making really weird since infinity + 1 is the same as infinity so if you are going to be tortured for infinity years it wouldn't be irrational to volunteer to be tortured for an extra year.

In my opinion (also with Alcor), having an awesome template to build us from would make the torture just that much more real.

I also think it's not something worth worrying about. I think it'll be decendents simulating you to learn about their history or for advice.

I'd also hope we can eliminate suffering to a greater extent in the future, for everyone.

You don't even need much money all at once, you can use life insurance.

You should read Transmetropolitan [1]

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transmetropolitan

Because you believe in science, not sci-fi inspired scientism metaphysics, so you know it's 100% bogus...

If, and when, a real method for immortality/life extension emerges, we can jump on it.

Merely frozing a corpse with the idea of some bogus future ressurection technology (that will still retain memories etc) is wishful thinking.

Not to mention those cryo-preserves will be shut down with narry a thought in the first case of crisis...

If your don't want to be frozen and want to do something useful with your money. If you care about preserving yourself, spread your genes or memes is a more effective way

In 500 years when we have the technology to revive him and he can live a few hundred additional years, wouldn’t his investment now be better?

The understanding of aging, disease, and death is progressing slowly but a few centuries of research will likely make significant discoveries.

Spreading your memes for money is known as advertising. Not particularly cheap or effective. Didn't hear about anything similar for genes. These two are much better done by investing your own time and your own effort.

Of the remaining important things that money can buy, I think cryogenics is a very decent gamble.

> Didn't hear about anything similar for genes.

Probably the most successful at this that I'm aware of (morality aside) are the IVF doctors who use their own sperm to impregnate women.

Some with many biological children from this. Results from a quick online search:

* https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bertold_Wiesner

* https://edition.cnn.com/2019/02/14/europe/jan-karbaat-fertil...

Oh, this looks relevant too and suggests some other approaches. Harem's and/or being a king seem like winners for those so inclined:


Because it won't work?

You can spend the money on something that actually helps other people instead.

After the Final Countdown people will be delighted to find a warehouse full of cryo-preserved well-seasoned meat.

Actually it helps other people: it's used for researching more efficient ways of cryopreservation, thereby making it more accessible.

The same money could be spent on increasing the rate of research in this area by 100-1000x if we could solve how to do this on mice first...

The effectiveness of cryogenics goes way down when you don't freeze yourself.

I believe the chance that anyone who is cryopreserved today will ever be revived is exceedingly small, so I look at the whole venture as futile and in the same way I might look at an overly expensive funeral. Personally, I would spend my money to enjoy my life more while I'm alive, or else to help others in some tangible way.

Actually it is important tech for living people as well. The technology De Greg Fahy is working on can be used to freeze and unfreeze organs. It may save your (living) life if you get an organ just at the right time.


Because it's profoundly selfish--you _might_ buy yourself more life in some unspecified future, or the same money today could definitely save and/or improve many, many lives now.

As long as the structure of his brain (at an appropriate level of detail--- how much is enough though?) is preserved for the duration of his ice nap, why couldn't something like a continuation of him be reconstituted some time in the future?

I remember a short movie (from "The Outer Limits?") where frozen bodies where entangled spiritually and there was a psychopath in the group that was making a hell of their lives.

I do not remember the exact story but the idea was interesting to the 22yo me at that time (some 25 years ago)

EDIT: I think this is "The Refuge" (https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Recap/TheOuterLimits1...)

sounds like Ubik

It seems he passed due to the coronavirus, so hopefully the people of the future have that handled before he is unfrozen.

If we can reconstitute frozen people with no ill effects, I'm pretty sure we can figure out the coronavirus problem.

I am surprised because I thought Larry King was of the Mormon faith. They have some interesting mind virii mythology about post death existence.

ETA: what I meant by ‘mind virii’ ; https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=mind%20virus .. certainly wasn’t being disrespectful towards anyone’s faith.

From: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viruses_of_the_Mind .. the vocabulary of atheism from my younger days still lingers even though I am on search mode now.

He was Jewish and agnostic

Got it. Quick googling shows that his ex was Mormon. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7970945/Larry-King-...

That's the Daily Mail, which should be taken with more than a grain of salt. According to Wikipedia he was indeed Jewish and agnostic.

I am actually ok with Daily Mail these days. Can’t tell the difference from main stream media except for the occasional typo and annoying ads.

I am not a news/media elitist anymore. Things have changed in the past few years.

Larry Kings former wife is a Latter-day Saint, he is not.

Great interview with Larry King focused on his interview style: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/larry-king/id124844662...

Some great stories in there including one about how in his early days he would play a game with his producer where he’d go in blind and try and figure out who his guest is. I guess this helped him develop his “average guy” style. While series is worth a listen if interview styles is of interest.

My favorite part of this interview about interviewing. King: "I hate interviewers who don't ask questions but make statements" Thorn: "Well that's just what I was going to say. One of things about your interview style that's special is you are a very modest interviewer. You're not afraid to ask a simple question.. uh what is this..." King: then interrupts his statement and riffs as if Thorn had asked the question "Why do you ask simple questions". :D

The man that didn't want to die because he didn't believe in after life, and wanted to be frozen so he could keep on going.

I wonder if they could even fulfill his wish due to covid...

Larry King spoke at a conference I was at in the early 1990s and his speech was so good I bought an audio cassette tape copy of it. Wow I sound old!

We're all here talking about a radio host.

Radio hosts are just podcasters / YouTubers of yesteryear.

I saw him several times at Dodger stadium. I never met him as I didn't want to go bother the guy.

For those that don't know, he was a massive baseball and Dodger fan and would sit right behind home plate. He could often be seen on TV.

He would often go to games and just sit at the bar watching from inside. Crazy but I guess he felt more comfortable there at the stadium instead of at home.

RIP Larry

My older brother introduced me to intellectual literature, Larry King, the Dodgers, and PBS cooking shows in the 1980s.

I wish I had kept as up to date with all of them as I did with Larry King for the rest of his career.


I remember him sitting the whole night in that CNN election studio when Kerry lost, looking really upset.

Jon Stewart made fun of his interview style by writing a Larry King interview with Hitler:


It was interesting to me to learn recently that Larry King was in business of making infomercials. Including one where he was supposedly tricked: https://www.propublica.org/article/the-disinfomercial-how-la...

In my mind any good he's done was long erased by his informercials for scam supplements -- no wonder old folks hate the Government, most of what they see advertised on TV is fraud in plain site and nobody does anything about it.

It’s funny you should blame the government for this. In the 90s people actually died from shady supplements. In response the FDA tried to expand its authority to regulating these supplements. The industry started a scaremongering ad campaign telling people that they wouldn’t be able to get Vitamin C supplements unless they wrote their congressman. Many did. Reps received more letters from their constituents on this one Bill than the entire Vietnam War [1]. In response to pressure from constituents, government reversed course.

The unelected experts in Government tried to do the right thing. It’s the people who were so easily misled that forced the end of regulation for dietary supplements.

Paraphrasing what Terry Pratchett said, the problem here isn’t that we have the wrong sort of government, it’s that we have the wrong sort of people.

[1] - https://youtu.be/WA0wKeokWUU

Former US Rep Henry Waxman has written about his efforts to regulate supplements. It won't surprise you that certain stake holders, like US Sen Orrin Hatch (Utah), ran interference. (Mormons love their vitamins.)

Older me has come to see these slap fights as generational, a la Kuhn's Structure of Scientific Revolutions. It's a really big deal. Until it isn't. Marriage equality, cannabis legalization, banning cigarette ads, yada yada.

One of my political friends worked EIGHTEEN YEARS to pass the most modest portion of some family medical leave legislation. These reforms take tenacity, undying optimism, and no small amount of nuttiness. (Normal people choose to do more normal things.)

And to answer with Bertolt Brecht "would it not be be simpler if the government simply dissolved the people and elected another?"

The same people don't trust the media and I am sure that they lose many percentage points because of scammy ads, not because they think it through, but because the scam ad feelings blend over into the media ezperience.

This isn't my first rodeo - can I scam you into a reverse mortgage?

Funny is one word for it.

As for the "wrong sort of people" - iirc, most dangerous ingredients and chemicals from the 90s were diet pills, calorie free sweeteners, appetite suppressants, etc. We'd rather die than have a little dad bod.

True, but it's a somewhat false dichotomy. More like "rather die than drink unsweetened drinks." A body to die for has a little glory to it. Dying for gluttony is closer to the mark.

I should be just as respected for having a 6 pack as for drinking one every night. I think Terry might agree.

More like we'd rather die or be fat than just eat healthy in the first place lol.

Nothing is erased by other things, luckily. We just have to live with complexity. That's not to say nothing overshadows other things, but if one deed canceled another there would be nearly no deeds.

If you zero out everyone who ever worked for a filthy oil company, pharma, held bad beliefs, buys or sells harmful products, etc... there isn't much that's decent in the world.

High standards is a good thing, and we should strive to live our ideals but there is a gulf between our ideals and our present reality. "To hell with reality" is not a viable perspective.

If you are reborn born a pharaoh's prince tomorrow, is the only moral path fratricide?

Excellent comment;

from The Gulag Archipelago,

“If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them.

But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being.”

I laugh when I see so called progressives acting the same as puritanical early Americans in their infantile understanding of humanity.

Great quote.

Leonard Cohen's Anthem is about something similar:

Ah, the wars they will be fought again / The holy dove, she will be caught again / Bought and sold, and bought again / The dove is never free

Ring the bells that still can ring / Forget your perfect offering. / There is a crack, a crack in everything / That's how the light gets

George Martin quotes a William Faulkner all the time about fictional subject matter. “The only thing worth writing about is the human heart in conflict with itself.”

It's why his fantasy stories have that gritty realism. The knights of Gondor riding against the evil horde of Sauron meme becomes parody. Good and evil is more subtle, cuts through the heart of every human being... regularly. The fantasy element is just about scale. It might be a choice between being kinda jerky and nice. Most people can be both. Novels get into a character's head. Stories where good and evil is a conflict within that head feel more real, because that's what it's like inside our heads.

There is actual objective good though, and objective evil.

Did you see the video of the chinese man beating Uygur children that were "given" to him because their parents were harvested off to whatever the fuck the chinese government are going to do to those parents.

As a father of three daughters, I would personally kill that motherfucker for what he did to those three little girls.

My actions would be an objectively GOOD thing for humanity by killing that piece of shit. His actions were objectively EVIL and if anyone can watch that video and think there is *anything* ok with it, then they are also objectively EVIL.

Thank you for this response. I logged in for the first time in a long time just to thank you!


Government definitely shares the blame here but let's not forget business practices that humor the idea of directly lying to customers.

Statistically, that older population are the very population that votes for representatives pushing looser regulations/enforcement on businesses that enable these sort of behaviors. Representatives clearly looking out for business interests over the average voter's interest (the consumers) don't help matters.

Right, that's why the right wing is so dominant in America: there is a positive feedback loop such that the carnage they cause gives them more power.

R: Government doesn’t work.

R gets elected and proceeds to sabotage government

R: See government doesn’t work!

Example: Trump put Rick Perry in charge of the Department of Energy including our nuclear labs. Rick Perry had previously said the Department of Energy should be dismantled and should no longer exist.

King came from overnight talk radio, and scammy supplements have always a big part of that business.

Today it’s escalated... bs supplements are like a form of money laundering. How do you think every angry talk show host says the same exact thing at the same time?

Escalated indeed.

"A major funder of the anti-vaccine movement has made millions selling natural health products"


One of the more amusing cultural intersections I've seen is Larry King on Snoop Dogg's YouTube channel... though I guess given the latter's collaborations with Martha Stewart it shouldn't be _that_ surprising. RIP.


Snoop dogg is as pop culture as Martha Stewart and Larry King and has been for awhile

His program on RT was one of few worth watching

Larry King was the OG interviewer. To the point, rational, always asking pointed questions, yet not shying from adding a dash of humor. Yet to find anyone on par with him.

Ngushellime familjes.


News channels were always like this. We just have the internet to cross check now.

>> News channels were always like this. We just have the internet to cross check now.

CNN was not in the beginning. They were a scrappy news channel that came to prominence with real reporting (most notably in the Iraq war). They got corrupted once it was clear they could not be ignored.

News sources have probably always had bias, but it was never such blatant characature back in the day.

I'm not even American, but CNN coverage of the 1990-91 Gulf War really put them on the radar. The whole Middle East watched CNN Live coverage.

Just in the past week someone posted what appears to be control room video from CNN in 1991 (and others): https://youtu.be/5CxWCWhs-uc - start of the US air war, https://youtu.be/RpClxMvpEmM - second hour.

Anecdotally, (and I am American) it was also somewhere between the Gulf War and the OJ Simpson trial that cable changed from some exotic thing that rich people paid for to something a lot of your friends had.

Dude had a cameo in the first Ghostbusters. Larry King was already a known entity. There's a reason CNN picked him up.

Never mind, I got mixed up, you're talking about just CNN.

He also went with Snoop to Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles and did not appear to enjoy the food.

I remember there was this CNN guy in Bagdad that reported the air attacks live from there. That definitely put them on the map.

Bernard Shaw and a couple of other reporters from what I remember. I distinctly recall tuning in a few minutes after things started and listening to them hide in the hotel room as Iraqi security started to clear the hotel that all of the reporters were staying in at the time.

Just remembered: Peter Arnett. He was the only one who had a phone line out from Iraq during the first attacks.

Wolf Blitzer, IIRC, did that.

Wolf Blitzer was the CNN reporter at the Pentagon that day. He appears in the first video linked above.

CNN launched in 1980. The Gulf war was in 1990. Larry King Live premiered on CNN in 1985.

CNN has long been a mix of news and opinion, like all news media ever. That’s why media exists: to push facts and interpretations of those facts.

Media is not a charity: William Randolph Hearst and Ted Turner want something for their money: they want to control the narrative.

It has always been blatant: you just haven’t been paying attention. Hearst started a war! He was such a reviled figure that one of the greatest movies ever made was made to dunk on him.

I distinctly remember when CNN jumped the shark. It was during the 2000 election coverage when they started introducing all these computer generated graphics.

I remember their coverage of Monica Lewinsky and related issues being pretty annoying, along with the rest of the networks.

I remember when Clinton tried to attack claimed al Qaeda infrastructure after the embassy bombings and made a speech about bin Laden (the first time I heard the name) they asked if it was to distract from Monica. Compared it to the film Wag the Dog.

News channels do not broadcast 24 hours of news. The majority of programming are personalities, opinions and "recaps." The actual news comes on in hour-long chunks once early in the morning, mid-day and at primetime.

I'm not going to say my news is perfect, but it's from a non-commercial / nonpartisan organization, they get money from the government / taxes (which is less than ideal, but their independence is codified I believe), etc. It sticks to the news, professional-like.

Switch to the commercial channels (we thankfully don't have major 24 hour news channels) and the news on there has much more er, Personalities, quirkiness, some silly background news, and a weatherman that travels the country to visit events and petting zoos and shit.

As you well know:

The trick is paying attention long enough to determine if sources stay consistent, issue proper corrections & retractions, are intellectually honest, etc.

Or if the purveyors are just hacking ratings, for more ad revenue.

In the 80s, I eschewed a career in broadcast media. I loved the gear, doing creative stuff, working in the studio. But absolutely hated the business. "If it bleeds, it leads."

We've been complaining about outrage engines since the beginning. Social media just made things much much worse.

State-funded media has it's own problems but at least there's some accountability which is effectively nonexistent for large media companies. As long as the free market rewards sensationalism, there will be profit driven "journalism." Ultimately, the general populace needs to be educated on the veracity of news in the digital age; how to spot a misleading headline, and how to corroborate actual expository works.

> The actual news comes on in hour-long chunks once early in the morning, mid-day and at primetime.

Yep, even Fox has some 'real' news a few times a day. Or at least they did until Sheppard Smith quit.

I think some news was always like this; but I think investigative journalism like Glenn Greenwald used to be given more time in the primetime news. Really shocking things were uncovered and actually spread (like Norman Gorin's 60 Minutes Report on 1976 swine flu). There is news that is fantastic now, but it is getting pushed further and further out.

Was that about the same time period MTV had music videos?

Facts don’t attract viewers, facts don’t pay.

Hence why over half of the comments in this thread about the passing of Larry King are about the political bent of CNN

Oh how I long for the days when any of the "news channels" actually had news. Is there anybody who simply states facts anymore?

"facts", when presented individually, can create almost any impression the fact presenter wants to create. and that's what we've been seeing so much of - people looking at "facts" outside of larger contexts, and (intentionally or not) drawing wrong conclusions.

You are correct there. It is easy to take two facts and extrapolate almost anything you want. I think the issue is that in a lot of modern news the facts are lost in the opinions and rhetoric and extrapolation to the party line. It is better to have lists of facts than lists of opinions; and even better to have a coherent collection of facts that all corroborate one another. It is good to have a variety of primary sources and hard data over a long time period. Too often the news just quotes a death figure without giving you context of how many people usually die in a year, or other information; presumably that data exists. It would be much better to have death rates for each year over the last hundred years, then be able to compare.

I had months of people telling me the 'fact' that "Fauci said not to wear a mask! That's a fact! Go read it here!"

When presented with "well, he also later said 'wear a mask' - which is also a fact"... I would get "fake news" or "he flip flops and therefore can't be trusted". When pointed out they were still 'trusting' the "don't wear a mask" fact... things usually ended there, with some profanity thrown my way.

When more information was presented, it was almost always countered with "that's just your opinion". Or... "I don't trust CNN", etc. At some point a switch flips with many people and "facts" only count when they match your internal belief system.

Al Jazeera English (can’t speak to the other streams) has 30-60 minute blocks of actual news throughout the day. Another benefit is that they have a more global perspective so those news blocks are a lot more likely to be covering the unrest in Darfur than a human interest story about a woman in Idaho who just ate her 10000th Big Mac

Not gonna lie, I’m more likely to click on Big Mac woman video than on unrest in Darfur.

PBS News Hour? There isn’t enough of National or Global importance to fill a 24/7 broadcast so any channel that needs to fill that amount of time is doomed to have poor quality.

They’ll repeat, but it’s not clear why that is poor quality. It’s not a bad thing that there’s not true, honest to goodness, novel news at all hours of the day.

I wish more people would post primary sources & hard data. A lot of people will disagree with the content, but "The Last American Vagabond"[1] does a good job of presenting primary sources (usually medical journals/studies, gov't press releases, interviews, CDC, WHO etc.); includes links to all of them in all show notes so you can look through all of it. The main point here is that including primary sources is important, and I don't see most people doing that. I wish more news sources would include the primary sources and more hard data to support their position.

[1] http://thelastamericanvagabond.com/

It's just as misleading to string together dozens of "sources" in an article to prop up a narrative. It appears to me that the website you've linked is just playing on peoples paranoia, a la YouTube "news" channels. If the actual content has to chase the dramatic headline the entire time, you can be sure that it's a whole lot of BS.

Plenty, but you have to find them first.

But even if news LOOKS like they stick to the facts, you should still look at them critically and get your news from multiple sources; they can still influence your opinion simply by omission or by emphasis (random example: put a muslim terrorist attack front and center, put a nazi terrorist attack in a byline or not publish it at all).

The news items themselves can be presented neutrally, but what news to present and how still matters.

How do you put a terrorist attack in a byline?

Simple, do what they are doing with the Nashville bombing and the Las Vegas shooting before that. Don’t bother investigating any relatives, family members, or neighbors. Do a few fluff interviews with the FBI or the police and put it somewhere at the bottom of the page.

"Is there anybody who simply states facts anymore?"

Which facts?

Picking and choosing which facts to report is in itself a way of controlling the narrative.

Jamie Dupree is what I consider a gold standard reporter of trying to get personal bias out of reporting.

Euronews simply has facts.

Which facts?

A list of facts is often biassed.

That's a second problem. You still need to solve the first one to even have that one.

I think the main issue is when there are _no_ facts, no primary sources, no hard data.

For the curious, that was in 2010.

Its still news. You just want to an opinion, which is not news.

Stop spreading FUD, CNN actually does have news. Certain parts of the populace might not like their reporting but that’s it.

I used to watch CNN, but it just doesn't seem serious anymore. It's all about getting people into heated debates (inspired by Fox maybe?) or presenters having emotions or interviewers trying to corner people with their righteousness. Amanpour has very different approaches depending on who she interviews; her preferences are just too obvious.

The news channel I like best nowadays is Aljazeera. I like some shows on RT, but it is not really a news channel either.

I’m sure there’s news, but it’s always buried under a mound of opinion. And there’s news worthy facts that get conveniently left out.

Mostly CNN is sensationalistic and wants to develop an attachment to it's brand. CNN has to fill 24 hrs of TV and has less budget to do it then a network has for the half hour evening broadcast.

That means as little flying to flyover states as possible, never leave WDC or Atlanta, certainly dont send Anderson Cooper to Egypt where he could get beat up by government thugs.

Thus its a lot easier to make the news about yourself; reminds me of the ESPN morning SportsCenter from years ago -- when they ran out of sports lowlights the anchors would get caught abusing people on tape.


Are you saying they changed in the last 10 years? CNN has revenues in excess of $1 billion, so they are likely spending millions of dollars a day.

Yes, they've gotten worse.

AC used to go to interesting places and do interesting things. After he got beat up they'd have him sit behind a desk and report on WDC politicians acting like children except he had to take them seriously instead of calling out their behavior.

Before Trump came on the scene you would hear them talk about themselves on a slow news Sunday, and the big problem they face was low ratings. You might think they just chased away people with saturation cover of school shootings and plane crashes, but they tried many different things and convinced themselves they were doing the optimal thing.

Probably the owners thought about shutting it down, but the presence of Fox News made that seem really irresponsible.

Trump came and it was great for ratings, like 9/11 every day. That's over now.

There are Arwa Damon and Clarissa Ward. Then another female anchor, who people-smuggled herself through Africa with a hidden camera. They are all serious badasses, I don't even watch movies that tense.

There will always be another storm season for Chris Cuomo and AC. :-)

Every organization has bias, period. Some have more, some have less. The sooner one recognizes and accepts it, the sooner one is able to have constructive conversations and consume media with the appropriate level of skepticism.

News is a business like any other. They require money, which is equal to clicks in the online world. Hate the game, not the player (unless they are purposefully distorting reality).

CNN uses clickbait titles and misleading interpretations to pander to their viewers for page views. They are far from respectable.

CNN is a warner media company and they're a for profit business. They will say anything to make money. If you're an expert in a topic, read how it's reported in CNN/media. You will see how much they lie and exaggerate.

If we are talking about the TV station, 20% of any given news clip are actual information, the remaining 80% are spins and opinion from the editor or host.

Also, we are really stretching the meaning of the word "news" nowadays. Remember this piece? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ixEahmx0Btw

While i have great respect for Larry King, i have lost nearly all respect for CNN. By the way, the same applies to Fox.

Watch recordings of the news coverage of 9/11. The news casters were sober and stunned of course, but they were emotionally calm and allowed for moments of silence. They tried to only reference what they considered facts, or were extremely explicit in stating that something was a rumor.

Look at them now. The emotionality of everything is amped up to 11. They reference Twitter constantly. Everything is an existential crisis, and when Trump was in office, everything was his fault. During the 2015 democratic primaries and 2016 election, CNN got the nickname "Clinton News Network" because of how one-sided the coverage was.

There's a reason that trust in news is decaying. Though this is kind of a tangent from the main topic.

They always leaned left. But there was an expectation of being neutral, or at least appearing so. Basically being professional.

That restraint has been lost. Watching young reporters is painful in his much they are tying to get jabs in. Like a dog being rewarded for killing neighbors chickens.

Just to clarify, Donald Trump called them "Clinton News Network". I think it's a little misleading to say they just "got the nickname".

He took that from Rush Limbaugh

It's equivalent of Fox news, they really went insane from all the attention trump gave them. It sure feels like a pure propaganda channel now.

I am pretty left wing but what I have seen from CNN lately was basically a left wing version of FoxNews. Lots of opinion mixed with a little amount of news and clearly geared against Trump. Definitely not the CNN from around 2000.

The danger in having so many extremist elements on the right side is, in part, breeding extremism on the left. The situation would be helped if the right side extremism became less extreme - either through lack of interest or conscious choice on their part.

"CNN lately was basically a left wing version of FoxNews. Lots of opinion mixed with a little amount of news and clearly geared against Trump."

You don't have to be on the left to be critical of Trump. Plenty of right wingers (including Bush Jr) are critical of him. He's made a lot of enemies all over the political spectrum.

To me CNN is basically a right-wing channel, just not as right-wing as FOX.

For real left-wing media, watch Democracy Now! or read The Nation.

Don’t parrot popular false narratives. CNN still has news today, though generally only on breaking news type situations. It turns out the Internet is better for headlines then a thirty-minute talking head loop.

And when on CNN Larry King wasn’t part of their news operation. He was a talk show radio host. Larry King Live was Oprah for old men. Larry King is big part of why CNN moved away from 100% news.

CNN does still have news. But a lot of what it has is more like unlabeled editorials, treated like news.

Even Fox News has news, for 30 seconds at the top of the hour or whatever it is.

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