Most of Patricia Sellers’ interview with Ted Turner is behind Fortune’s paywall, but the magazine sent highlights of the Q & A for posting:
Twenty years ago you were saying that print is dead.
That’s true. Standalone print is dead. But print in conjunction with audio and video, I believe, has a future. …I think that having the best print media to complement the video of the networks gives you the strongest chance of being successful into the future. And I think in spinning off Time Inc., Time Warner is spinning off the future — a lot of the future — because I don’t think that the magazine business is going to get significantly worse than it is today as a standalone.
Have you softened on Rupert Murdoch? He was never your best pal.
Well, I was disappointed in the scandal in Britain where they were wiretapping people against the law.
You know what you said to me about six times 10 years ago when we talked: “Rupert Murdoch is the most dangerous man in the world.”
I still think that. But he’s getting too old.
Why do you think he’s the most dangerous man in the world?
He’s got the most power. And he bought the Wall Street Journal. I don’t know how he’s doing with it financially, but it’s a better paper with him running it than it was before, in my opinion. And you know, you don’t see Time Warner acquire anything. All they’ve done is spin things off.
What was the high point of your career?
I’d say being named Time’s Man of the Year. That shows how screwed up Time Warner is. I’m the only Time Man of the Year who worked for them. …
And the other thing you’re proudest of, CNN?
All of Turner Broadcasting, really, because the Cartoon Network has higher ratings than CNN on most days.
Did you ever imagine that?
We like to laugh. If you get people laughing, there’s a good chance you’ll win them over. Very seldom do people kill somebody when they’re laughing. And there’s plenty of killing going on now.