Time Warner CEO on CNN: ‘We have Bigger Ambitions than (leaning) Left or Right’

By Chris Ariens Comment

Marketwatch.com’s Jon Friedman talks with Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes about his media empire — from the future of the Time Inc. magazines to CNN’s ratings woes and programming choices.

Bewkes insisted that CNN “has more viewers” who “watch for shorter periods of time” than its foes.

I pressed Bewkes on CNN’s mission to present both sides of an issue. Yes, it’s commendable for journalists to be open-minded, but — again playing devil’s advocate — wouldn’t CNN attract even more viewers if it amped up its broadcasts reports, like Fox and MSNBC often do?

“They’re picking a side,” Bewkes said of his rivals. “We have bigger ambitions than (leaning) left or right. We want to cover the news completely.”

Plus, he suspects, “if we did too much partisan (broadcasting), we’d lose our high demographics.” CNN believes it has a higher quality of viewers because it doesn’t veer to the left or the right.

Bewkes feels strongly that CNN “is a very good business.” He won’t tinker with its format “if it means taking a partisan point of view — one-third of the U.S. voters are independents. They don’t want to see narrow-minded stuff.”