Matt Towery

Both Murdoch and Turner enjoy phenomenal business sense. Both are entrepreneurs willing to creatively imagine and ultimately see to fruition very big dreams. And both men chose to rely on the best talent they could find to help them reach their goals.

But Turner chose to leave the playing field and pursue numerous other interests while Murdoch continued to be actively in the game and in control. And while Murdoch's chosen cable news chief, Ailes, remained a focused and innovative constant at Fox, Time Warner went through numerous machinations and the inner-leadership at CNN bounced around from true news-types to whatever.

MSNBC finally found a voice by taking ownership of whatever left-leaning audience there might be for cable news. If one considers the likes of Al Sharpton informative or credible, then MSNBC is a perfect, albeit quirky, fit.

But CNN has been left with no clear audience and, most alarmingly, a lack of the Turner-style zest for fighting to be the best at reporting breaking news. The evidence in that can be found year's earlier when, under Ailes' leadership, Fox chose to be the first network to run a constant ticker with updated news during 9-11. Like Turner's satellite camera of years earlier, that ticker symbolized a rise to prominence and is now an industry standard.

Now Mr. Zucker is reportedly moving with lightning speed to put zest in slow-moving news programs and put entertainment to the forefront of the CNN Headline brand.

But time is his enemy, and ratings may be his undoing. Mr. Ailes, who might as well have invented the secret formula to Atlanta's best-known export, Coca-Cola, now seems to have complete command over his competition. His primetime shows are destroying the competition, even in the most sought after age demographics.

And as for Mr. Turner, whose son, it should be noted, recently ran as a Republican for Congress in South Carolina, there is little doubt that, regardless of his political views, his business sense and entrepreneurial style are much lacking at CNN.

Recently, the Atlanta Braves, once also owned by Ted Turner, announced that they would be leaving the City of Atlanta for the northern suburbs and would abandon the stadium named after Turner and nicknamed "The Ted."

The real question now is whether CNN will become a diminished shell of its past. Will that famed neon CNN emblem someday burn out and disappear as well? Time, moving so quickly, will tell.


Matt Towery

Matt Towery is a former National Republican legislator of the year and author of Powerchicks: How Women Will Dominate America.
 
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