Monday, August 13, 2007

Larry King Show Review

I am not disappointed I watched the Larry King Show on CNN Friday night. I was immensely proud of all the guests as they represented themselves and the community quite well. However, I was somewhat disturbed by Mr. King's line of questioning. Larry King is a multiple award winner and has been long been regarded as an important figure in broadcasting. He is someone I admired as I startd my broadcast career a year before he finished his long running syndicated radio show. I must say I have rarely watched his CNN show except when issues of major importance to me were featured. In other words... not very much.

I understand Larry King Live still has good ratings for a cable show. However, in looking back at some of his guest lists, he does rely on somewhat sensationalized topics. Maybe that is how be approached Friday night's show. Mr. King is notorious for his minimal pre-show preparation. I have learned he didn't even talk to any of the guests prior to the show. I understand he wants to come across as unbiased. In this day and age and with his salary, Larry King can stand to adapt to modern expections of good journalistic preparation. On the plus side, he did allow the guests just enough breathing room in their answers to come across as real people. They are the reason the show ultimately succeeded.

The positive in a talk show format is that good articulate guests with interesting stories make for strong television. There is no live interactive audience to shout you down, and a Larry King show will be much more fair to the guests than Jerry Springer. Of course, the types of guests (and therefore the audience) on each show is far different. While Larry King may feature sensational topics, he does allow room for a fair discussion. It could also be argued that he asks questions that the normal American tv viewer might ask. I thought the panelists particularly Jessica handled them all very well.

The one theme from the show was that everyone has a different path in life. Even within the TG community, there is so much diversity. Each of the TG guests was at a different point of transition. Each had experienced difficulties with family and job. Even Jessica who appears to be the most fully realized as a post-op has to deal with an unsupportive mother. We know Susan Stanton has had to turn her life around in a relatively short time and fortunately can live very well on the speaking circuit. That doesn't mean her life is easy. In the end, everyone has to do what works for them. By featuring positive images of the community, we give each other the strength to find our own path. To know you are not alone on your journey is truly a powerful message.

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