"He's a warmonger," a Reuters report quoted Turner as saying in
an evening speech on Thursday to the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco
of Murdoch, whose News Corp. Ltd. owns Fox News. "He (Murdoch) promoted
it," Turner was quoted as saying.
Turner also criticised the concentration of ownership of the vast
majority of US television networks, radio and TV stations and newspapers
in a few corporations. "There's really five companies that control
90 per cent of what we read, see and hear. It's not healthy," Turner
A point that is especially relevant in the context of the Bush
administration's exhortations yesterday urging the Federal Communications
Commission (which US secretary of state Colin Powell's son Michael
heads) to finish revising media rules governing ownership of newspapers
and television and radio stations by the agency's self-imposed June
2 deadline, saying the update was due.
Critics have warned that mergers resulting from looser rules could
leave a few huge companies in control of what people watch, hear
Turner's barbs came on the same day as a roasting given by BBC
director-general Greg Dyke to the US media over its "unquestioning"
coverage of the Iraq conflict.
Dyke reserved his severest criticism for US radio giant Clear Channel,
which went to the extent of organising pro-war rallies in the US
as American and British troops were advancing on Baghdad.
Among the television networks, Dyke directed most of his ire at
Fox over its pro-Bush stance.
Dyke made his comments in a speech delivered at Goldsmiths College
in London yesterday.
Whatever may be Turner's and Dyke's views on the matter, it is
hardly likely to change the Fox strategy, which has clearly delivered
on the ratings front. Fox is the No. 1 news network in the US.