Broadcast legend Larry King passed away aged 87 after suffering from coronavirus-related complications. His death was the end of an era for thousands of Americans and viewers around the world who watched his famous talk show.
Larry King had a prolific career on radio and TV for more than six decades but it was his association with US-based CNN which brought him fame and cemented his name as one of the most trusted names in media. When world leaders would go on media, they would speak to Larry King knowing well that they would be heard. He interviewed over 50,000 people in his career and received countless scoops and interviewed politicians, celebrities and even murderers.
Larry King ended his association with CNN in 2010 but not with the media and was back on streaming sites. He also saw the painful death of two children within the last year. His passing leaves behind a legacy not just in the American media but also around the world.
The US media has been in existence for nearly a century and has given rise to many legendary broadcasters. Walter Cronkite, who was associated with CBS for fifty years, was labeled as ‘America’s most trusted man.’ Even US presidents from Nixon, JFK and Lyndon Johnson would call him to get news information. When JFP was assassinated, Cronkite waited for 35 minutes before breaking the death so he could receive the confirmation.
These men upheld the values of media ethics and journalism which are devoid of media today which is mostly concerned with ratings and sensationalism. Talk shows have become notorious and morning shows have become abhorrent. The media had not become a reliable messenger to deliver knowledge and many users have been disillusioned with the fake news, sensationalism and lack of content.
Pakistan’s media has been in existence since independence and the broadcast media has been there for two decades but we have yet to produce a reliable name like Walter Cronkite of Larry King. It is still a long journey before we have a legendary name in the broadcast media industry which is struggling and facing an existential crisis.