Ted Turner Advises CNN Not to Follow Fox News Opinion Model

Since Lou Dobbs left CNN in November, citing a mutual agreement between he and CNN President Jonathan Klein that involved CNN going in a different direction, CNN’s ratings have plummeted.


But Ted Turner, founder of the first truly 24-hour cable news channel, doesn’t see anything wrong with the channel’s heading. CNBC’s Joe Kernen asked Turner if he had any problems with CNN’s direction during a “Squawk Box” appearance Jan. 14.


“I know you love CNN,” Kernen said. “It’s your baby. I know you’re not involved in running it anymore, but when you look at the way Fox News in 10 years has sort of risen above CNN in terms of ratings and profitability and other metrics, would you advise – should CNN stay the course with their idea it’s just straight news, or do they need to change with the times and become more opinion-based.”


People have cited the lack of opinion journalism as one reason for CNN’s ratings struggles, but according to Turner, who is the chairman of the United Nations Foundation, there is plenty of opinion on CNN.


“I think they’ve become plenty opinion-based,” Turner said. “I’d like to see more hard news there – a little less Tiger Woods and a little more of what’s going on in the world.”


Turner called himself “an old-line journalist” and not “a yellow journalist,” despite that in April 2008 he sensationally warned on “Charlie Rose” that global warming was going to cause mass cannibalism.


“I’d like to see that everywhere,” Turner said. “I’m not a yellow journalist. I’m an old-line journalist. I like The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.”


CNN, which was riding high after the 2008 election, has fallen to a distant third and sometimes fourth in the ratings on a regular basis behind Fox News, MSNBC and sometimes its kid sister network CNN HLN.

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