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Turner Calls Fox News Propaganda

Jan 25, 2005  •  Post A Comment

CNN founder Ted Turner on Tuesday morning called Fox News Channel a “propaganda voice” for the current presidential administration.

Speaking during the opening session of NATPE 2005 in Las Vegas, he also said media concentration is among the “top five biggest problems we face in America” and that the craziest thing he ever did was not voting against Time Warner’s merger with AOL.

The billionaire media mogul called FNC’s brand of TV news “very, very disturbing, particularly in times like these of war.” Asked how he felt about Fox News beating CNN in the ratings, he offered an analogy to the Nazi regime, saying Adolf Hitler was more popular in the 1930s than his opponents in politics. “Just because you’re popular, it doesn’t mean you’re right,” he said.

He also said he thinks the Fairness Doctrine should be reinstated and that when he was in charge of CNN, the cable news network operated as though it were still in place.

Mr. Turner spent much of his talk riffing on media consolidation, pointing out that about five companies own most of the top broadcast networks, cable networks, Internet sites and radio outlets. “Consolidation has made it almost impossible for an independent,” said Mr. Turner, who himself started with one local TV station. “Certainly, it’s virtually impossible to start a cable network. The broadcast and cable companies are starting them themselves. They don’t want independent voices.”

He said if he were beginning his career today he’d go into the restaurant business, one of his several plugs throughout the morning for his restaurants. “Or I’d go work for a salary with one of the big jerks,” he said, referring to the media conglomerates.

Mr. Turner also said he’s a great supporter of and believer in public broadcasting. “I’m just sorry it has only one channel, as opposed to the commercial broadcasters having multiple channels, including the cable networks they own,” he said. “I thank God we have it, particularly when the big conglomerates with their mixed agendas are doing a lousy job to keep us informed.”

As for the merger deals of a few years ago that ultimately rendered him relatively powerless at the media empire he built, Mr. Turner was regretful. He said “merging” was his biggest mistake. “At the time, merging [Turner] with Time Warner was the right thing to, but then it went on to merge with AOL,” he said. “I left with 9 percent of the company. … When we merged with AOL it went down to 3 percent and I got my pink slip.”

When asked what he hoped his greatest legacy would be, he said, “I’ll tell you what will be on my tombstone: ‘I have nothing more to say.'”