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CNN Needs to Report More of the Good Stuff, Turner Says

May 03, 1997|REUTERS

ATLANTA — CNN should carry more positive stories to balance its coverage of tragedies and help overcome intolerance and hopelessness, Time Warner Vice Chairman and CNN founder Ted Turner said Friday.

"We ought to be reporting on some of the things that we're doing right," Turner told international journalists at a conference sponsored by Cable News Network. "We're always focusing on what's wrong. . . . It's just one bad thing after another. We don't run very many positive stories.

"If all you do is tell everybody what they're doing wrong, you can give a sense of hopelessness to people," he said. "We should have a real good balance between positive stories that let people feel good about themselves and the negative stories that people don't want to emulate."

Turner, who founded CNN, defended the channel's coverage of genocide and tragedies. "There is some good in showing the bad," he said. "Information is the ultimate power.

"I think that by showing the bad you are also encouraging the good. When you see what's happening in Rwanda and Bosnia, as examples, that's something you don't want to see in your own country," he said.

The lesson is, "We have to have tolerance of each other," Turner said. "Intolerance is taught, just like tolerance is taught."

Speaking to contributors to the daily "CNN World Report" program, which features reports from more than 138 broadcasters around the world, Turner said CNN's merger with Time Warner has worked well.

"Time Warner was the best place for us to go," he said. "I didn't want to get run over by a car and have Rupert Murdoch, God forbid, end up with CNN."

Turner said that daily news about death has led him to consider his own mortality and even what will be written on his tombstone. He said he was considering epitaphs including: "You can't interview me here" and "It was bound to happen sooner or later."

"The one I like the best right now is, 'I have nothing more to say.' "

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