Larry King, the well-known host of Larry King Live, a nightly interview program that was carried on CNN for 25 years and produced 6,000 episodes, passed away on January 23. He was 87.
Among the thousands of interviews he recorded during his long career, was one held in 1996 wherein he interviewed Anuttama Dasa, then ISKCON’s North American Minister of Communications, and an official of the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
The interview came after ISKCON had lost a case in the US Supreme Court centered on ISKCON’s book distribution in US airports. While ISKCON lost that case, and limitations were later put on the distribution of Hare Krishna literature in some airports, the interview presented an opportunity to explain to millions of viewers why ISKCON representatives were in the airports, what great value the BBT books have for modern society, and to also apologize for any excesses of ISKCON representatives and book distributors.
Anuttama Dasa recalls: “Larry King struck me as a real gentleman when I was on his show. He was a well-known and powerful media personality. I was there representing the Hare Krishnas, whose reputation wasn’t so great in those days, and who had just lost a Supreme Court case. And, at that time our presence in the airports wasn’t appreciated by a lot of people. None-the-less, King was open-minded and fair. He gave me ample opportunity to tell our side of the story.
We sat just a few feet apart on opposite sides of his desk. I remember during a commercial break I knew I had to ask him, “Larry, have you ever met a Hare Krishna in an airport?”
“Yes,” he said.
I asked, “How was the experience, were they friendly and respectful?”
He replied, “Yes, he was alright.”
I knew then that the rest of the interview would be fair. And, I was reminded that every single exchange devotees have with the public is important. You never know when you are talking to the host of the next Larry King Live.
The interview starts at 4.53:
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