LAS VEGAS (Talon News) — Former media mogul Ted Turner said at a television conference on Tuesday that the Fox News Channel’s popularity is similar to what Adolph Hitler experienced in Germany prior to World War II.
Speaking at the National Association For Television Programming Executives’ conference after a five-year hiatus following his dismissal from Time Warner Inc., Turner admitted in a speech before a standing-room only crowd that Fox has certainly grown larger, but quickly added they are “not the best.”
To accentuate his point, Turner compared Fox’s popularity to when Hitler “got the most votes when he was elected to run Germany prior to WWII.”
Accusing the Fox News Channel of being a mouthpiece for President George W. Bush, Turner said that “does pose problems for our democracy” because “the news is dumbed down” by allegedly only presenting one side of the issues.
“There’s nothing wrong with that,” Turner contended. “It’s certainly legal.”
Turner’s fight with the Fox News Channel and its owner Rupert Murdoch has been ongoing for nearly a decade.
Comparing Murdock to Hitler in 1996, Turner told USA Today that he was “sorry” that he had done that.
“Yes. I should have said he’s a disgrace to journalism,” Turner said at the time. “But an Australian disgrace to journalism.”
The inflammatory remarks continued in April 2003 when Turner described Murdoch as a “warmonger” for his promotion of the war in Iraq.
“He’s a warmonger,” Turner said in a speech to the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco at the time. “He promoted it.”
During his remarks on Tuesday, Turner said Bush “spent 200 billion destroying Iraq,” but “now we’ve got to spend 200 billion to rebuild it, if they’ll let us.”
Lamenting that the money was spent “to find a nut in a fox hole — one guy,” referring to ousted Iraqi president Saddam Hussein, Turner added that Saddam “posed no threat to any of his neighbors, particularly with us there with overwhelming military superiority.”
Turner concluded that going to war with Iraq was both “obscene and stupid.”
Speaking on television news coverage in general, Turner said the public needs to be “very well informed” about the “hard news” that is happening in the world and incorporate “a little less Hollywood news.”
“[It] would probably be good for our society,” Turner noted.
Dismissing having any aspirations to be in the White House himself because he is “too old and too burned out,” Turner said he once dreamed about it a few years ago.
“I thought about it when I was younger,” Turner revealed. “I don’t know if I could have gotten elected or not. It would have been a lot of fun to do when I had higher energy levels.”
When asked if he had any criticism for the Atlanta-based company he founded, Turner said, “I have a responsibility not to be too critical of [CNN].”
“It is a good company, and I had a lot of experiences there,” Turner recalled. “A lot of time things that are painful at the time they occurred turn out to be for the best.”
A Fox News spokesman responded to Turner’s biting remarks by stating, “Ted is understandably bitter having lost his ratings, his network, and now his mind. We wish him well.”