This is the CNN video that will play at the end of the world
CNN was founded in 1980 with a promise from Ted Turner that the world’s first 24-hour cable news channel would stay on air up to and until the apocalypse.
“Barring satellite problems, we won’t be signing off until the world ends,” the now former owner said 25 years ago, promising that in the event of the end of the world, the channel would fade out with a rendition of Nearer My God to Thee.
Now a blogger claims to have unearthed the actual video, long thought to have just been a myth.
Former CNN intern Michael Ballaban published a grainy, one-minute long film of a US army band performing Nearer My God to Thee on the Jalopnik website.
He said that in the CNN database the video, named Turner Doomsday Video, was marked as “HFR till the end of the world confirmed”.
HFR is an acronym for “hold for release”. It's not clear what further guidance there would be on playing it.
CNN, once ever so thorough in its fact-checking, knew that the last employee alive couldn’t be trusted to make a call as consequential as one from the Book of Revelation. The end of the world must be confirmed.
The legend about the video has circulated in media circles for decades.
It was fuelled by Turner’s own words in 1980, when he said: “We’re gonna go on air June 1, and we’re gonna stay on until the end of the world. When that time comes, we’ll cover it, play Nearer My God to Thee and sign off.”
A source who provided the video to Mike Ballaban, also took screenshots of its home in CNN’s Mira archive.
According to the Guardian, the material on the grainy video posted on the Jalopnik blog, “shows just what Turner said it would: a military band stands in formation between the columns of the Turner broadcasting mansion and the circular reflecting pool that lay on the lawn in the 1980s.
"One soldier raises a flag to the right, the musicians raise their instruments, and they begin the mournful hymn mentioned by Turner – said by survivors to be the last song played by the band on the Titanic.
“The low resolution obscures the faces of the musicians, who finish a brief version of the song and snap their instruments to attention. The video fades to black.”
CNN has not so far commented, however as the Guardian says “the video clearly takes place at CNN’s then headquarters in Georgia, the Turner mansion, identifiable by the distinctive, devil-horn shape of the facade above the door frame. The reflecting pool before which the band plays has been removed since the 1980s, but is clearly visible in photos and video of the mansion from the decade.
The band fits too: the band’s regiment, US Army Forces Command, is legible above an identifiable logo on the bass drum of a percussionist in the video; Georgia’s nearby Fort McPherson was base for US Army Ground Forces Command until 2011.”
Belfast Telegraph Digital