Monday, 28 April 2003

Turner Calls Rival Media Mogul Murdoch 'Warmonger'

Turner and Murdoch Ted Turner said on Thursday too few people owned too many media organizations and called rival media baron Rupert Murdoch a warmonger for what he said was Murdoch's promotion of the U.S. war in Iraq.

"He's a warmonger," Turner said in an evening speech to the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco of Murdoch, whose News Corp. Ltd. owns the fast-growing Fox News Channel. "He promoted it."

Fox News Channel has been the most popular U.S. cable news network during the conflict, trumping AOL Time Warner Inc.'s CNN, which Turner started more than two decades ago and came to prominence with its blanket coverage of the 1991 Gulf War.

Asked by an audience member for his thoughts on Fox's larger ratings share than CNN's, Turner said, "Just because your ratings are bigger doesn't mean you're better."

"It's not how big you are, it's how good you are that really counts," Turner said, drawing hoots from the audience.

Turner, who has pledged to give $1 billion to the United Nations and is a vocal proponent of population control and nuclear-arms elimination, criticized the concentration of ownership of the vast majority of U.S. television networks, radio and TV stations and newspapers in a few corporations.

"The media is too concentrated, too few people own too much," Turner said.

Asked whether he would again try to launch a new network, Turner, who is the vice chairman of AOL Time Warner and has been critical of the merger of AOL and TimeWarner, said: "No. I think the space is filled with the people already there.

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