The 24-hour American basic cable and satellite television channel Cable News Network (CNN) debuted on June 1, 1980 at 5:00 pm ET. On that opening night, Ted Turner, owner of Turner Broadcasting System and principal founder of CNN, vowed that,
“We’ll be on, and we will cover the end of the world, live, and that will be our last event. We’ll play the National Anthem only one time, on the first of June [the day CNN launched], and when the end of the world comes, we’ll play ‘Nearer My God To Thee’ before we sign off.”
At the time many took Turner’s pledge as a joke, or at least a metaphor for CNN’s devotion to providing news to America 24 hours a day. But now, thanks to an former CNN intern we know this was not a joke or a metaphor, it was a promise.
The video, which has been the subject of speculation in the media and a legend around CNN for decades, is real and has been unearthed. On CNN’s MIRA archive system under the name “Turner Doomsday Video” is an old recording, in a standard definition and a 4:3 ratio, waiting to be played. It so closely matches the description given by Turner on that opening night in 1980 that it must be to what be was referring. It is Turner’s promise. There is no date signifying when the video was actually added to CNN’s system but has survived the expansion of the news network and multiple changes in ownership. It is labeled with a simple restriction:”HFR till the end of the world confirmed”.
Some CNN employee must “hold for release” the doomsday video until the end of the world has been confirmed. Only then, when the end of the world has been confirmed, will the video be publicly released.
Maybe it wasn’t on CNN, but the broadcast of this video does fulfill Ted Turner’s promise. And now that you have seen the video the world must be coming to an end.
Have a nice day.