9 News Stories You Remember From Your Childhood, In Case You Need A Break From 2016
As anybody who's turned on a TV in the last year can tell you, 2016 has been an absolutely bonkers year for news. If you'd like a break from the madness, but still want to somehow satiate your craving for news, take a trip down memory lane and relive these nine news stories you remember from your childhood.
The 2016 election itself has been like none we've ever seen before. We saw Bernie Sanders, a 74-year-old socialist, emerge as a serious presidential candidate. We saw a proto-fascist who isn't very conservative win the GOP primary. We saw Hillary Clinton become the first woman to win a major party's presidential nomination and a member of the Bush family suffer humiliating electoral defeat. And from a larger perspective, we've seen the Republican Party collapse in slow-motion and the Democratic Party swiftly pick up the pieces.
Add to that a score of terrorist attacks, celebrity deaths, and mass shootings, and 2016 has been a landmark year for news — and it's not even over yet. If you've had a bit of a hard time sitting with all of this, as any reasonable and level-headed human being would, take a break from this news cycle, and jump back in time to some of the news cycles of years past.
The O.J. Simpson Trial
O.J. Simpson’s murder trial was known as “the trial of the century,” and for good reason. One of America’s most beloved sports icons was charged with homicide, leading the courtroom proceedings to dominate the news for over a year. The public was introduced to a seemingly endless stream of bit players in the case before Simpson was ultimately acquitted.
From a legal standpoint, the case itself wasn’t anything groundbreaking, but the Simpson trial brought to light challenging questions about civil liberties, police brutality, race relations in Los Angeles, and the cult of celebrity. The recent documentary miniseries OJ: Made In America and the true crime series The People v. O.J. Simpson brought renewed interest to the 20-year-old case.
The Monica Lewinsky Scandal
Who could forget this circus? When it was revealed that President Clinton had an affair with Lewinsky, a White House Intern in her 20s, all hell broke loose. Clinton lied about the affair, leading to impeachment proceedings that succeeded in the House of Representatives but fell short in the Senate.
The public, perhaps recognizing that there are more important things to focus on than the president’s sex life, gave Clinton higher approval ratings during the scandal than he’d had in the years before. The episode is also notable for Clinton's pontification on "what the meaning of the word 'is' is."
Metallica Sues Napster
Remember when Napster was suddenly a thing, and suddenly all music was, essentially, free? Remember when Metallica raised a stink about it and sued Napster, ruining the fun for everybody else and permanently casting themselves as villains in the eyes of music pirates everywhere?
Napster only lasted two years, but peer-to-peer file sharing never went anywhere. While the platforms used are now different, the end result is still that there’s a ton of free music out there.
The Year 2000 Scare
In the years leading up to 2000, there was widespread fear that the new millennium would bring everything crashing to a halt. The idea was that, because so many computer systems denoted years only by the last two numbers (“99” instead of “1999”), the year 2000 would trick computers into thinking that it was actually 1900, thus sparking a global economic meltdown, or something.
Thankfully, that never happened, but a whole lot was written about it, and it even became a minor plot point in the classic 1999 comedy Office Space.
Survivor Viewers Get Punked
It’s easy to forget that reality TV wasn’t always the cornerstone of television that it is now. The first season of Survivor was credited for starting the reality TV craze — even though The Real World and Road Rules had been doing the same thing for years, but never mind — and during the first season, a “hacker” supposedly found an image on the CBS website revealing the ultimate winner.
But Gervase Petersen was not the winner after all, and many suspected the the network had planted the misleading image as a publicity stunt. Well-played, CBS.
The Elian Gonzales Saga
In late 1999, 5-year-old Cuban refugee Elian Gonzales was found floating alone in an inner tube off the coast of Miami. It sparked a minor international incident and loads of press coverage as Gonzales’ Miami- and Cuba-based relatives fought to gain custody of him.
Ultimately, President Clinton intervened and Gonzales was sent to live with his father in Cuba, where he remains today. The episode is famous largely for a Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph of Gonzales at the moment he was seized by U.S. authorities.
The Sept. 11 Attacks
We don’t have to talk much about this, but it would be irresponsible to not include it on the list. One of the only foreign attacks on American soil in U.S. history, 9/11 shook the nation to its core and directly resulted in two U.S.-led invasions of foreign countries. Its ramifications, of course, are still playing out today.
The (Second) War In Iraq
Again, no need to dwell too much on this. It indisputably happened, though.
George W. Bush Choking On A Pretzel
In 2002, President Bush choked on a pretzel while watching a football game, somehow managing to lose consciousness and fall off of his bed in the process. He was fine, and the nation rested easy after the White House physician declared that “I do not find any reason that this would happen again.” As far as we know, it didn't happen again.