January 31, 2023

CNN Boss Criticized for Bias at Shareholder Meeting

Press Release:

Time Warner Chairman and CEO Jeff Bewkes Questioned About CNN’s Liberal Bias

“If a terrorist attack that kills four Americans, followed by a coordinated cover-up by the White House, does not constitute ‘news,’ then CNN should remove the middle N from its name,” says shareholder critic to Bewkes

Shareholder Audience Applauds Critic

Los Angeles, CA/Washington DC – Time Warner Chairman and CEO Jeff Bewkes was thoroughly questioned by the National Center’s Justin Danhof on CNN’s left-wing bias at the company’s annual shareholder meeting in Los Angeles.

Danhof asked Mr. Bewkes about CNN’s coverage of Benghazi, Candy Crowley’s pretentious and erroneous judging within the 2012 presidential debates, climate change, a miniseries promoting Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the appointment of David Chalian to political director – a man who has claimed the GOP is “happy to have a party with black people drowning.”

“Mr. Bewkes is either blindly unaware or callously indifferent to what is going on at CNN – specifically the network’s pervasive liberal bias,” said Danhof. “And the network’s poor ratings bear this out. When I asked Mr. Bewkes if he would first admit that CNN has a pro-liberal bias, so he could start working towards a solution, he flatly refused. But at the same time, he said my criticism was sincere and important, and that’s what the network needs to hear as it works to get better. This is the definition of talking out of both sides of your mouth. Of course our criticism of the network is valid. And of course CNN suffers from having left-leaning hosts and producers. Mr. Bewkes just chooses not to recognize the latter and its correlation with CNN’s woeful ratings.”

An audio recording of the exchange is on YouTube here; a transcript of the exchange is here. Stories in the Hollywood Reporter by Paul Bond and Breitbart.com by John Nolte about Danhof’s exchange with Mr. Bewkes are here and here.

“Mr. Bewkes claimed that the company tries to be objective and not present news stories from one side or the other, but CNN’s own president Jeff Zucker has belied this ideal with his recent comments that I discussed with Mr. Bewkes,” said Danhof. “Mr. Bewkes recognized that I am judging CNN a failure at reaching this ideal of objectivity. But it isn’t just me; it’s the millions of Americans who look elsewhere for their news. That’s who Mr. Bewkes should be concerned with.”

“While Mr. Bewkes may have his head in the sand, the company shareholders in attendance at today’s meeting heard me loud and clear and vociferously applauded my question,” noted Danhof. “Despite being in the heart of liberal elite Hollywood – on the Warner Brothers lot – the audience loudly applauded my calls for CNN to take steps to curb its liberal bias and produce news stories devoid of only liberal narratives. And after the meeting, I was further encouraged as many shareholders came up to thank me personally for my comments and express disgust with CNN’s current content. In fact, at one point a line formed as shareholders wanted to express their thanks for the courage we showed in speaking out on this very important issue.”

“Even before the question and answer session, it was clear that Mr. Bewkes was already on the defensive about CNN. After talking about the great successes of the company movies, and specifically noting the cable successes of TBS and TNT, he explained that CNN was working to attract more viewers during times of non-breaking news and had recently unveiled a new slogan,” said Danhof. “This is far from the ringing endorsements that Mr. Bewkes adorned on the company’s other cable platforms.”

In 2013, Danhof asked Mr. Bewkes about CNN’s bias against gun ownership and the Second Amendment. At the time, Mr. Bewkes said CNN would strive to do better.

In 2012, a representative of the National Center, Project 21’s Oscar Murdock, asked Mr. Bewkes what the company can do about the celebrities it employs making radical political statements that might hurt the company’s profits, and Bewkes replied flatly: “Not much.” The question came in response to actor Morgan Freeman calling Tea Partiers “racist” while publicizing a movie, harming that movie’s box office receipts.

The National Center for Public Policy Research participated in the shareholder meetings of six other media companies so far this year, including CBS, Disney (ABC News), the New York Times, Gannett, Graham Holdings (Post-Newsweek Stations/Slate) and Comcast (NBC/MSNBC).

The National Center’s Free Enterprise Project is a leading free-market corporate activist group. Friday’s Time Warner meeting was the 45th shareholder meeting in which the National Center has participated in 2014.
The National Center for Public Policy Research, founded in 1982, is a non-partisan, free-market, independent conservative think-tank. Ninety-four percent of its support comes from individuals, three percent from foundations, and three percent from corporations. It receives over 350,000 individual contributions a year from over 96,000 active recent contributors.Contributions are tax-deductible and greatly appreciated.


    Time Warner Questioned over CNN Gun Violence Coverage

    Time Warner Criticized for Public’s Misperception of Gun Crime in America

    Gun Crime Rapidly Declining, Public Thinks it is Rising

    Conservative Activist Blames Bias at Time Warner’s Cable News Station, CNN, for Distorting Public View of Gun Violence

    Time Warner CEO Vows to “Strive to do Better” In Presenting the News Fairly

    Atlanta, GA / Washington, DC – At today’s annual meeting of Time Warner shareholders held at the CNN Center in Atlanta, Georgia, National Center for Public Policy Research Free Enterprise Director Justin Danhof, Esq. confronted Time Warner CEO Jeffery Bewkes over his company’s bias and partisan positions regarding the Second Amendment.

    “Media bias has become so bad in this country, that regarding the Second Amendment, it has actually altered the American public’s perception of reality,” explained Danhof. “As the owner and operator of CNN, Time Warner is culpable for the real world effects of its bias.”

    Danhof explained to Bewkes that American gun crime rates are dramatically declining. Between 1993 and 2011, gun killings fell 39 percent and non-lethal gun crime dropped 69 percent. Despite this great trajectory, a majority of the American public mistakenly believes that gun crimes are on the rise.

    “The public can be forgiven for their misperception regarding gun crime statistics,” explained Danhof. “The way many so-called cable news journalists at CNN and elsewhere jump to cover gun tragedies as a way to advance a political agenda is repulsive and relentless.”

    “Time Warner owns CNN and is therefore responsible for the anti-gun rhetoric spewed by its activists such as Piers Morgan – a liberal partisan who has never met a shooting tragedy he wouldn’t exploit on his quest to abolish the 2nd Amendment,” said Danhof. “Morgan and his mainstream media cohorts have exploited gun tragedies so much in fact that it has altered the public’s perception of reality. This has to stop.”

    “Conservatives often complain about media bias, but don’t know what to do about it,” noted Danhof. “Well this is a real world example where bias is affecting reality. Conservative and free-market minded Americans need to use these real world examples and confront bias with facts.”

    “Bewkes recognized that bias is a matter of perception, and seemed fully aware that many individuals like me find the content and presentation of CNN’s news and opinion programming extremely slanted,” explained Danhof. “Bewkes said he would strive to do better and that CNN’s goal was to present the news in a non-partisan way.”

    Danhof also presented Bewkes with the results of a Rasmussen poll that showed that only six percent of Americans consider the news to be very trustworthy, pointing out that this is lower than Congress’ approval rating.

    “I told Bewkes that the distrust in the media is well earned,” added Danhof. “I told him that CNN should strive to present facts and stories, and let the viewer make up their mind what to think. Bewkes acknowledged that this was the optimal approach to news presentation and he would work to achieve that end.”

    Time Warner Inc. isn’t the only company exploiting the 2nd Amendment in a partisan way. One of Time Warner’s former divisions has also jumped on the anti-Second Amendment bandwagon.

    Just weeks after the tragedy at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, Time Warner Cable (now separate from Time Warner Inc.) announced that it would limit certain gun commercials stating: “We no longer accept ads showing semi-automatic weapons and guns pointed at people. We stand by this policy. If it’s essential to a business owner to show this kind of imagery in their commercials, there are other advertising options in the marketplace.”

    “If Time Warner Cable wants to be consistent, it must ban all depictions of semi-automatic weapons and instances of guns being pointed at people across the company’s entire cable platform,” said Danhof. “Short of that, this decision is the definition of hypocrisy.”

    Last week, Danhof confronted Comcast CEO Brian Roberts over his decision to ban all gun advertisements across Comcast’s cable and broadcast offerings. Read more about Danhof’s efforts here and here.

    In addition to Time Warner Cable and Comcast, Google, General Electric and Groupon have all recently joined the anti-Second Amendment corporate bandwagon.

    The National Center’s work to combat anti-Second Amendment corporations and confront media bias has been covered extensively, including by the Hollywood Reporter, Politico, the Los Angeles Times, Huffington Post, the Washington Free Beacon and the Philadelphia Inquirer.

    Today’s Time Warner meeting, combined with the National Center’s presence at today’s Amazon and Home Depot annual meetings, moves the total of shareholder meetings attended this year by the National Center to 30.

    A copy of Danhof’s question at today’s shareholder meeting, as prepared for delivery, can be found here.

    National Center President David Ridenour is a Time Warner shareholder. Danhof attended today’s meeting as his proxy.

    The National Center for Public Policy Research, founded in 1982, is a non-partisan, free-market, independent conservative think-tank. Ninety-four percent of its support comes from individuals, less than 4 percent from foundations, and less than 2 percent from corporations. It receives over 350,000 individual contributions a year from over 96,000 active recent contributors.

    Contributions are tax-deductible and greatly appreciated.