Talk-show legend Larry King says that, despite claims the news media have an agenda and slant their coverage, he has never seen bias in reporting in all his years on television and radio.
"I worked at CNN for almost 26 years. I worked in Mutual Radio for 20 years. I've been in the business 57 years. I have never seen a bias off the air or on," King told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.
"I've never seen anyone say, let's go get this person today, let's really ram it into him. I've never seen it. If a Democrat or Republican commits some horrendous story, the story will run, the networks will cover it."
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"I have never seen anyone at CNN ever say, boy, here's how we're going to deal with this today to put this guy down and elevate this guy up. I've never seen it," King said Wednesday.
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That even extends to coverage of political events, King insists.
"I've covered every convention since 1960. I've never gone to a convention with a built-in bias . . . It's the truth. It's not a feeling. It's not an opinion . . . It's my experience."
King says CNN's ratings have plummeted because it no longer has a signature show like his that people are used to watching every day.
"They don't have a lot of appointment viewing. What television depends on, one thing 'Larry King Live' was — whether you liked it, didn't like it — it was appointment viewing," he explained.
"People said, I'm going to watch 'Larry King Live,' it's 9 o'clock Eastern, I'm going to tune it on. I still hear from people now all the time how much it became a place. It was the longest-running show in the history of television, to be broadcast at the same time on the same network for almost 26 years. So, it became part of the culture."
He praised CNN's Wolf Blitzer as "a wonderful anchor" and Chris Cuomo as "one of the great personalities on TV." But he says Cuomo isn't being used properly.
"They're probably using him in the wrong place in the morning. I'd have him on in prime time, but again, someone told me that talk television doesn't work anymore . . . All the news networks are down," King said.
He also took swipes at MSNBC and the Fox News Network.
"MSNBC is liberal, Fox is conservative, they both make no bones about it. I would not call them the place to get great information. You get information, but they're preaching to the choir," he said.
"CNN is in the middle. When a big story breaks, CNN gets viewers, but you don't get a big story every day."
Among the ways news is changing, King said, is the way New York Yankees baseball star Derek Jeter announced his impending retirement on Wednesday.
"The surprise is the way he did it. Derek Jeter [went on] on Facebook, and he did it like six paragraphs, which is extraordinary," King said.
"I would have expected at the end of the year to have [Jeter say], that's it. But he's going to appreciate all the accolades he's going to get all year long in every ballpark. He deserves all of them.
"He paid me one of the best moments of my life at the All-Star Game in Anaheim a couple years back . . . [saying] there are a lot of phony legends in the world, but you are a true legend . . . So, I have an affinity for him, but not for the Yankees. I have never, ever rooted for the Yankees."
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