Radio and TV legend Larry King, who hosted Larry King Live on CNN for 25 years, said that CNN today is "not a news network" but an "opinion" network -- "they stopped doing news."
King, who has worked in radio and TV since 1957 and has won an Emmy, two Peabodys, and 10 Cable Ace Awards, made his remarks on the Nov. 15 edition of the Law & Crime Network, an online program that covers the U.S. justice system.
When asked about CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta's recent hostile tangle with President Donald Trump, Larry King said, “Jim [Acosta] was a little out of line. I wouldn’t have gone that far. He [Trump] answered one or two questions then he didn’t want to answer anymore."
"You got a room full of people all of whom have the right to ask questions," said King. "Jim might have gone a little too far. The president kept going back to him, referring you could run CNN, who should run CNN. To me, you know what this was? Eighth grade. It was the playground, ‘That’s my ball and I want to play today on the team.’ It was childish.”
The host then asked, "My question is, what is the role of the journalist? Should they become the star of the story?"
King, who has conducted more than 33,000 interviews in his career, said, “No. I’ve been in the business 61 years and I’ve always felt that the guest was the star. The person your asking the question of is, for want of a better term, the star."
"At a Trump press conference, Trump is the star," said King. "You try to learn as much as you can from him. But you’re not bigger than him. It isn’t about you. It’s about him."
Commenting on his old network, King said, “The terrible part to me is, after all those years at CNN and now – is to see CNN has become — as is Fox, and MSNBC — Trump networks. There’s the anti-Trump network, the partial anti-Trump network, and the pro-Trump network."
"But they’re not news networks," he said. "They’re not news networks.”
“They do pundits" on CNN, he said. "A typical CNN show is eight guests – he has an opinion, he has an opinion, he has an opinion…. They stopped doing news.”
Later in the interview, King stressed, “A news organization leads the news, it doesn’t follow."