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The fixer?


Okay, what's going on here?

Mark Adams promises a videotape of the Eason Jordan session at Davos on Friday, then effectively reneges on Monday.

Dave Gergen tells Michelle Malkin that he's been contacted by no less than four major media outlets—including The Washington Post—but no story appears, in the Post or anywhere else.

So who at TimeWarner put in the fix?

Well, maybe no one. At least, no one you could trace it to.

I have a hunch (just a hunch, mind you) that they've outsourced the job to a man who knows just what it means to put your foot in your mouth—having recently described Fox News as a propaganda tool of the Bush administration and the liberation of Iraq as "obscene and stupid"—Ted Turner.

Consider this October 13, 2003 item from showbizdata:

Although CNN founder Ted Turner relinquished his post as vice chairman of AOL Time Warner in January, he continues to have a hand in the operations of the cable news network and was involved in the company's decision to oust CNN general manager Teya Ryan last month, the New York Post reported today (Monday). The newspaper also said that Turner was instrumental in saving the job of Eason Jordan, CNN's chief news executive, after Jordan was vilified in the press for writing in a New York Times Op-Ed piece that CNN had routinely failed to report on atrocities in Iraq in order to maintain a presence in the country.

But why would Turner stick his neck out for Jordan, not once but twice?

Well, consider Jordan's 1999 comments in his Joe Alex Morris lecture at Harvard:

Working with Ted Turner is exceptionally challenging and it is exceptionally fun. We all should be so lucky to work with a leader who cares so much about the world. Ted Turner's view is there is no white race. There is no black race. There is no race of any color. His view is there is only one race; the human race.

He feels so strongly about there being just one world and one race he has banned one word at CNN—the F word: foreign. While Ted Turner and CNN recognize nations, Ted's view is the only true foreigners are people from other planets, at least until Ted Turner meets those people. So Ted Turner does not want the word "foreign" mentioned on CNN and has called on me to enforce a ban by fining guilty CNN staffers $100 per violation.

Early on with this rule we ran into problems. One morning Ted called me. He was in a rage. CNN was in the midst of a live interview with the Russian foreign minister. (This is all true.) Ted was screaming. "Eason, I told you never to allow that word on CNN." I said, "Ted, his title is foreign minister." Ted just couldn't accept that. He was outraged. He huffed and he puffed, and then he yelled. "Damn it. You tell him to change his title." The Russian foreign minister refused to do so.

Yep, that giant sucking sound you just heard was coming from Eason Jordan's mouth.

Turner's United Nations Foundation, of course, is already hip-deep in trying to rescue Kofi Annan's hopelessly tarnished reputation, so salvaging Jordan's reputation should be a walk in the park by comparison.

What's more, Turner—since he has no official management role at CNN—can act in ways that TimeWarner CEO Richard Parsons can't. (Besides, Turner allegedly has Parsons firmly under his thumb. CNN cofounder Reese Schonfeld quotes an unnamed TimeWarner exec as saying that Parsons "defers to Ted on anything to do with CNN.")

Ted Turner's philanthropy—especially on behalf of the United Nations—have made him big man on campus in Davos—which probably explains how Mark Adams was so easily persuaded to deep-six Jordan's performance on video.

Just a theory, of course.

But I'd sure love to get my hands on Turner's phone log.

UPDATE: Ted was at Davos again this year too. Maybe someone knows if he was in the room when Jordan dropped his little bomb.

Posted by Rodger on February 7, 2005 at 05:45 PM | Permalink


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