Ted Turner is CNN’s founding hero, and years after he lost control of the network he remains a touchstone to its lofty ideals.
But that doesn’t mean he was in the mood to give anyone a pat on the back at CNN’s weeklong 25th anni conference in Atlanta.
In one TV appearance, Wolf Blitzer asked the Mouth from the South what the now-solved mystery of “Deep Throat” meant to him.
“Well, not a whole lot, to be honest with you …
footnotes to history are interesting, but I don’t concentrate on them,” he said.
Blitzer: “You were always curious about the identity of Deep Throat.”
Turner: “I was. That was a long time ago, though.”
Later, Turner told an aud the network should spend more time on news and less time obsessing over the “pervert of the day.”
“I would like to see us return to a little more international coverage on the domestic feed and a little more environmental coverage, and, maybe a little less of the pervert of the day,” he said.
The testy exchanges illustrate the problems Turner sees in the medium he created. He said creating CNN was his proudest achievement, his children aside, but lamented cable news’ obsession with the tawdry and trivial and its inability to cast a wide-angle lens on big, global stories.
“Somebody’s got to be a serious news person,” he said. “Somebody’s got to be the most respected name in television news, and I wanted that position for CNN.”