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Time For Larry King to Quit

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(This is the third in a series of rants about news media personalities. On Friday I wrote about Judy Miller and her latest assignment and the The Washington Post’s blogger problem.)

Larry King, it is time for you to quit. Or if you prefer, you can call it being Novaked, a verb I made up while celebrating that Robert Novak left CNN. Now it is time for you to also leave CNN.

Larry, you have long been an embarrassment to the news profession.

One of the worst kept secrets in politics and entertainment is that if you want to try to revive a dying career, or fight a controversy, you go on Larry King’s show.

I’d say his questions are softballs, but that would be an insult to softball players.

Jon Stewart – whose show I have started writing about regularly – does a hilarious bit in his book Naked Pictures of Famous People – sending up the idea of Adolf Hitler going on Larry King’s show. You can listen to it – or read the transcript – at NPR’s site.

As offensive as the idea might be, it does hit on two central points that are totally true: first, go on King’s show, and you can pretty much have your way with him. In terms of not being pressed hard about questions, I mean.

He will avoid asking the tough questions, and you can virtually say whatever you want, spin whatever version of reality you wish to spew. It is a handler’s dream come true.

Second, you get a chance – on his shows – to convince millions of viewers that the news media is wrong about you when they suggest you are a slimeball for (pick one) your involvement with Enron, sleeping with an intern who then disappeared, slept with his mother, etc.

I have long held this position that Larry must go. While writing this, I noticed that other Blogcritics’ writers have also made similar suggestions.

I decided it was time to put these thoughts to paper, er, to screen, when reading stories on the Internet about whether or not CNN was considering pulling the plug on King’s show.

Executives at CNN say rumors they are about to can King are false.

Count me as one who hopes they reconsider.

It’s time to get rid of this sad excuse for a television interviewer.

Say bye-bye, Larry

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About Scott Butki

Scott Butki was a newspaper reporter for more than 10 years before making a career change into education... then into special education. He has been doing special education work for about five years He lives in Austin. He reads at least 50 books a year and has about 15 author interviews each year and, yes, unlike tv hosts he actually reads each one. He is an in-house media critic, a recovering Tetris addict and a proud uncle. He has written articles on practically all topics from zoos to apples and almost everything in between.
  • http://LarryKingstillOK nehad ismail

    Why should Larry go. He has charisma and presence, the younger ones don’t have. We follow him from the UK on CNN and enjoy his program.
    Sir David Frost in his late 60s has just been snapped up by Aljazeera English Language Channel which will start broadcasting in a matter of weeks or months. We discovered Larry when visiting the US some 13 years ago and have been fans ever since. Go on Larry regardless.

    nehad ismail
    camberley, england

    Larry King is still OK

  • Scott Butki

    Comparing Larry King with David Frost is like comparing an actor like Robert DeNiro with a stick

  • Steve

    Well, although Larry is not the best interviewer in the world by any means, he does have people on (particularly the older generation, and religious types) that you just don’t see on any other talk show. We need more older and wiser folks on TV. I think his show does fill a niche that no other does, and I would be sorry to see him go.

  • lumpy

    sweet christ yes. put the hideous bug-eyed living mummy in a tomb where he belongs.

  • sr

    Lumpy, 200% right you are. Then we have Nehad Ismail([Edited] Nehads hero is madam David Frostbite and Larry hard-ass King. Of course Ismail would follow him from the UK on CNN. [Edited]

  • http://Number5commentsarerude observer

    You seem to be ignorant and racist. What’s the big deal if some one likes or dislike Lary King. Why do you have to be an idiot.

    SR : Stupid and Rude

  • Scott Butki

    Observer, I’m not clear who you are talking to in your comment.
    Are you calling me racist?

  • http://Scott David J

    I happened to be Jewish and noticed comment no.5 saying that someone’s name sound Jewish. That’s not nice. He could have been Mexican or Eskimo, does it make any difference.
    Who cares what religion a person is or what nationality he happens to be. Who cares whether he likes L K or not.
    D J

  • sr

    Observer#6. You got me. Yes s is for stupid however r is for racist not rude. [Edited]

  • http://5,6,7,8and9 Benjamin

    Scott, SR, Observer and David:
    please be aware of the warning above in Red:
    Personal attacks are not allowed.
    Why we get worked up about someone admiring or hating Larry King. If we disagree with someone, we don’t have to personalise the issue.

    So cool it.
    ps: I am Jewish too and I don’t like the comments that contain references to: Race, Religion, Nationality and so on. Such comments lack objectivity and distort the discussion..
    Can we agree to close this subject.

  • http://jpsgoddamnblog.blogspot.com JP

    Give the guy credit for having class. Bill O’Reilly is the one who should be sent out to pasture.

  • Scott Butki

    If they both quit and ran off together, Brokeback Mountain-style, I’d be ecstatic.

    Having class shouldn’t be the criteria for having a tv show.

  • http://enjoyablediscussion Issac SC

    I followed with interest the various comments and
    would like to just say, keep it up but without the insults.
    Issac
    South Carolina

  • Scott Butki

    I don’t want insults or personal attacks either

    Thanks for reading

  • http://LarryKingScott-Butkied Matt

    I feel sorry for Larry. I hope he doesn’t read this. He can derive some comfort from the fact that not everyone agrees with Scott.

    Matt

  • http://Aregirlsallowedtotakeparts Linda

    Most interesting and amusing discussion I have seen on the www for a long time.

    Linda,
    New York

  • sr

    David J. Never said his named sounded Jewish. What I said was does Nehad Ismail sound like a Jewish name. Of course not. Then you chime in with, Im Jewish and thats not nice and he could be Mexican or Eskimo. Holy fucking guacamole and whale blubber. Right. Nehad the Eskimo sleeps in an igloo and when in Mexico eats taco’s all the while sitting on the Cameeelll. No you dont care what religion a person is. Did you know Nazi Fascism was and still is a religion. This does not mean Mr Nehad fits within all the BS I have just tossed out. David J. Get out of liberal world. It will come back and bite you in your CNN ass.

    Almost forgot. I tremble at the comments that for sure will come. Like, wow dude. [Personal attack deleted by Comments Editor] What a school.

  • http://SRisabusiveagain Mathew Golding

    I am amzaed that SR cannot help resorting to abuse again and again when challenged by normal polite people. If it was not for the first comment from nehad, there would have been no discussion, no debate and nothing.
    SR: please have a life and stop insulting people you don’t know just because they have a differnt opinon.

    MG

  • http://stoptheabuseSR John and Dorothy Jacob

    We should all have taken Benjamin’s advice to close this conversation which is turning nasty.
    I agree with MG that the first comment started the ball rolling, and we should all thank him for that.
    David J is also right, we must’nt make race or religion the subject. The main topic was L K, not whether David is a Jew etc.

  • http://parodieslost.typepad.com Mark Schannon

    Here’s a suggestion. When people make idiotic, abusive, insulting comments, ignore them. Just go one talking about the post. They’ll get the hint and go away.

    In Jamesons Veritas

  • http://Markisright Linda

    I agree 100 percent with Mark’s suggestion.
    Abuse and insults ruin an interesting debate. Thanks Marks.

    Linda
    Denver, Col

  • http://blogcritics.org Joanie

    Scott, all I could think of when I was editing this piece was Craig Ferguson as Larry King…and that hideous tongue thing. You did this on purpose, didn’t you?

  • Scott Butki

    Joanie, what tongue thing? Oh you mean how often King sticks out his tongue?

    I had forgotten about that.

  • sr

    Mark #20. Think you have the proper perspective on this. I also concur that idiotic, abusive, insulting comments from lovers of Larry King will get the hint and go away. Well we can at least hope Mark. Thanks big guy. sr

  • sr

    Look who left the building. Bet you were thinking Elvis. Dipsticks

  • Scott Butki

    You mean Katie or someone else?

  • sr

    Katie, Larry, Ruefes and Duefes, and Observer(Voyeur). Just stay away from FOX. Dont need the contamination.

  • Scott Butki

    Like the energizer bunny he’s still going.

  • Scott Butki

    From the New York Times:
    Two kinds of celebrities go on “Larry King Live” on CNN: those with something to sell and those with something to hide.

    Al Gore and Brandon Routh, the young star of the newly released “Superman Returns,” recently appeared on the show to promote their new movies.
    The second category includes guests like Star Jones Reynolds, Mary Kay Letourneau, and, right after his indictment in 2004, Kenneth L. Lay of Enron. “Larry King Live” is the first stop in any damage control operation — a chance to explain oneself to the least contentious journalist in the land.

    And that is why President Bush invited the CNN talk show host to the White House on his 60th birthday. The standoff with North Korea over its missile tests, the war in Iraq and ever-sliding ratings in the polls have given the president little reason to celebrate. Mr. King gave the president a chance to defend his policies without risk of interruption or follow-up.

    At times, Mr. King even provided the president with answers. “You’ve always had a lot of compassion for the Mexican people,” the interviewer interjected in a discussion of the president’s immigration bill. Mr. Bush seemed a little surprised, but grateful. “Yes, sir!” he replied.

    The hourlong interview was taped Thursday in the Blue Room of the White House with Mr. King crouched in the foreground across a small round table from the president and Laura Bush, dressed in his trademark suspenders and cowboy boots.

    After a brief, good-humored exchange about how the president felt about turning 60, Mr. King asked Mr. Bush about North Korea vaguely enough for the president to repeat what he said earlier in the day in an appearance with the Canadian prime minister, Stephen Harper, about the need for a united stand to bring the North Korean president to reason.

    Other than the fact that Mr. Bush promised not to lecture President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia before the Group of Eight meeting next week in St. Petersburg, Mr. King did not elicit news or curveballs from the president.

    Even when he ventured into areas like the war in Iraq, public opinion polls or the president’s past friendship with Mr. Lay, Mr. King looked less like an interrogator than a hotel concierge gently removing lint from a customer’s coat. Mr. King’s questions rarely rile his guests; instead, his cozy, incurious style encourages them to expose themselves.

    And just as Liza Minnelli seemed to come unglued all on her own in her appearance on the show last March, Mr. Bush at times seemed tense and defensive even without needling from his host. “I’ve been popular before, as president,” Mr. Bush said tightly. “And I’ve been — people have accepted what I’ve been doing.” He added: “Sometimes things go up and down. The best way to lead and the best way to solve problems is to focus on a set of principles. And do what you think is right.”

    The president appeared on Mr. King’s show twice before, in 2000 and in 2004, but those were campaign interviews. On Thursday, the president was fighting to improve his battered image.

    When he was at a loss for words, Mrs. Bush stepped in to speak on his behalf, sometimes with more dexterity than her husband. “Well, sure, you know, we worried about it, obviously,” Mrs. Bush replied when asked whether she was rattled by the North Korean missile tests. “But what I spent the day doing actually was watching our shuttle take off from Florida.”

    Mrs. Bush even managed to politely set Mr. King straight when he somewhat puzzlingly described Mr. Putin as “very Western.”

    “Well, I don’t know if I would say that,” she said gently. “I think he’s very Russian. But I like him a lot.”

    It wasn’t live, but it was classic Larry King: a warm bath, not a hot seat.

  • DazeyMai

    I thought I heard the entire interview, but apparently, I didn’t. I did not hear Mr. King question Bush about his friendship with Ken Lay. I am very curious as to what was said during that part of the interview.

    Overall, it was a very weak session. Bush’s answers were pathetic, and I felt sorry for him at times. For example, when Bush stated that a good leader pays no attention to poll numbers because a leader has to make his decisions without considering what voters think. Also, every time he insists we are winning in Iraq, I cringe…and also when he says he would do the same thing again even knowing what he knows now. It would be so good to hear him say…”I made a terrible mistake, and I apologize to the American people”. He is just not big enough to admit he made a mistake no matter how costly and obvious that mistake is to the entire world.

    I’m sorry to say I think our President is a man totally without character or any redeeming virtues.

  • frank

    in the current Pres. Bush and and Lady interview,
    don’t you think it would have been appropriate for Larry King to have worn his suit coat instead of sitting there disrespectful and like a Yokel…..
    07/07/06

  • DazeyMai

    Frankly, Frank, I think Larry King showed the President more respect than he deserves. He was very polite and easy on Bush. It was just the same old BS…”I would do it over again”….”polls don’t mean anything”…blah, blah, blah. As for Larry’s suspenders and cowboy boots…they are his signature. He wears them no matter who he interviews, and George Bush, of all people, deserves no special respect.

  • DazeyMai

    Frankly, Frank, I think Larry King showed the President more respect than he deserves. He was very polite and easy on Bush. It was just the same old BS…”I would do it over again”….”polls don’t mean anything”…blah, blah, blah. As for Larry’s suspenders and cowboy boots…they are his signature. He wears them no matter who he interviews, and George Bush, of all people, deserves no special respect.

  • MCH

    I’ve always wondered why Rush Limbaugh was afraid to go on King’s show, refusing several invitations…?

  • sr

    Who is this king larry that lays down his sord for frecking suspenders. Must uplift his little liberal titties or something. Only on CNN. The most trusted name in news if you believe in the tooth fairy. Holy Crapola Batman.

  • Scott Butki

    Thanks for all the comments.

  • http://notavailablefornow A. A. Qudeimat

    Larry King is a man found in a time all other men disapeared.

    He is the one that we always wish to watch in a tv programme and paid back for our time spent.

    Larry go on you are still the best.