(The following article first appeared in the February 2, 1994 issue of the now-defunct alternative newsweekly, Downtown, when CNN was still controlled by Ted Turner)
To provide sports programming for the pay-TV cable viewers of his “Super-Station” without having to pay a third-party for the right to broadcast games, former CNN Owner Turner purchased The Atlanta Braves in 1976 for $9.6 million and, in 1977, also acquired the Atlanta Hawks basketball team. As Current Biography noted in 1982, by owning the Braves Turner avoided “contract disputes and negotiations over broadcast schedules.” Not surprisingly, “alternative” CNN hasn’t, historically, often provided its viewers with much investigative reporting about racism in the ranks of the NBA team owners or among major league baseball team owners (or much investigative reporting about the institutional racism of all the non-sports world business firms owned by these folks--from which these professional sports team owners also make big money).
In 1979 the then-41-year-old Turner decided to enter the world of “alternative” electronic journalism. As CNN: The Inside Story by Hank Whittimore noted, the then-multi-millionaire Turner “decided to take every nickel of profit from his growing Super-Station and from the sale of any other asset of Turner Communications Corporation, and pour it into the cable news network.” After selling his WRET-TV Channel 36 station in Charlotte for $20 million to Westinghouse and being given a $20 million credit line by First National Bank of Chicago, Turner was able to set up his CNN “alternative” media news operation in 1979.
Next: CNN’s Historic Apartheid Regime and Citibank Connections