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Ted Turner
co-Chair
Nuclear Threat Initiative
Atlanta, GA

http://www.nti.org
http://http://www.tedturner.com
contact@nti.org
c/o Turner Foundation Inc.
133 Luckie St. NW / 2nd Floor
Atlanta, GA 30303
Work: (404) 681-9900
Fax: (404) 681-0172


"Unless we have a climate that will allow more independent media companies to survive, a dangerously high percentage of what we see--and what we don't see--will be shaped by the profit motives and political interests of large, publicly traded conglomerates. The economy will suffer, and so will the quality of our public life . . . When the independent businesses are gone, where will the new ideas come from? We have to do more than keep media giants from growing larger; they're already too big. We need a new set of rules that will break these huge companies to pieces."
Ted Turner, in a July, 2004, article in The Washington Monthly, "My Beef with Big Media"


Photo Linked From: http://www.askmen.com/men/feb00/pictures/ted_turner_150k.JPG

Summary:
Founder of CNN and a major stockholder in Time Warner Inc., Ted Turner built a media empire from an inherited billboard company and a down-and-out Atlanta UHF station; co-founder of the Nuclear Threat Initiative

WikiPedia bio of Ted Turner

Robert Edward "Ted" Turner III is one of the pioneers of late 20th-century media. He inherited a billboard business, acquired a down-and-out UHF television station in Atlanta and parlayed it over three decades into a cable television and film empire. He founded Cable News Network at a time when insiders figured there was no market for 24-hour news. When Turner Broadcasting-CNN was sold to Time Warner, he became AOL Time Warner's largest individual stockholder. Turner is know for progressive, global-issues philanthropy and pledged a $1 billion gift to the United Nations. He is co-founder of the non-profit, Washington-based Nuclear Threat Initiative. (Also see: Turner Foundation.)

Turner's enthusiasm for big media has dimmed in the years since he sold his empire to Time Warner and his views are articulated in a July 2004 article in The Washington Monthly entitled, "My Beef with Big Media." Here are some excerts:

  • "Today, the only way for media companies to survive is to own everything up and down the media chain--from broadcast and cable networks to the sitcoms, movies, and news broadcasts you see on those stations; to the production studios that make them; to the cable, satellite, and broadcast systems that bring the programs to your television set; to the Web sites you visit to read about those programs; to the way you log on to the Internet to view those pages. Big media today wants to own the faucet, pipeline, water, and the reservoir. The rain clouds come next.

    "Unless we have a climate that will allow more independent media companies to survive, a dangerously high percentage of what we see--and what we don't see--will be shaped by the profit motives and political interests of large, publicly traded conglomerates. The economy will suffer, and so will the quality of our public life. Let me be clear: As a business proposition, consolidation makes sense. The moguls behind the mergers are acting in their corporate interests and playing by the rules. We just shouldn't have those rules. They make sense for a corporation. But for a society, it's like over-fishing the oceans. When the independent businesses are gone, where will the new ideas come from? We have to do more than keep media giants from growing larger; they're already too big. We need a new set of rules that will break these huge companies to pieces.

    "Naturally, corporations say they would never suppress speech. But it's not their intentions that matter; it's their capabilities. Consolidation gives them more power to tilt the news and cut important ideas out of the public debate. And it's precisely that power that the rules should prevent.

    "I freely admit: When I was in the media business, especially after the federal government changed the rules to favor large companies, I tried to sweep the board, and I came within one move of owning every link up and down the media chain. Yet I felt then, as I do now, that the government was not doing its job. The role of the government ought to be like the role of a referee in boxing, keeping the big guys from killing the little guys. If the little guy gets knocked down, the referee should send the big guy to his corner, count the little guy out, and then help him back up. But today the government has cast down its duty, and media competition is less like boxing and more like professional wrestling: The wrestler and the referee are both kicking the guy on the canvas.

    "At this late stage, media companies have grown so large and powerful, and their dominance has become so detrimental to the survival of small, emerging companies, that there remains only one alternative: bust up the big conglomerates. We've done this before: to the railroad trusts in the first part of the 20th century, to Ma Bell more recently. Indeed, big media itself was cut down to size in the 1970s, and a period of staggering innovation and growth followed. Breaking up the reconstituted media conglomerates may seem like an impossible task when their grip on the policy-making process in Washington seems so sure. But the public's broad and bipartisan rebellion against the FCC's pro-consolidation decisions suggests something different. Politically, big media may again be on the wrong side of history--and up against a country unwilling to lose its independents. "

  • Read More:
    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/features/2004/0407.turner.html
    http://www.tedturner.com/tedturner/entertainment.asp
    http://www.askmen.com/men/feb00/14_ted_turner.html