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Press Release

Consumer Group Questions CNN's Objectivity, Credibility

10/03/1997

CNN's abrupt pulling of ads criticizing the proposed UN global warming treaty deals a serious blow to the network's reputation as an objective news source, a market-oriented consumer advocacy group charged today.

The ads, which CNN and local affiliates of other networks have run for several weeks, are part of a campaign by the Global Climate Information Project to prevent a United Nations treaty that would set legally-binding limits on developed nations' greenhouse gas emissions. The ads argue the proposed treaty would devastate the U.S. economy and unfairly exclude developing nations from mandatory carbon-emissions caps.

"Of course," said Citizens for a Sound Economy vice president for public policy Matt Kibbe, "as a private company, CNN can do anything it wants. It can accept the business it likes and reject what it dislikes. We respect that right. In fact promoting such rights is what we're all about here at CSE."

"However, coming so close on the heels of Ted Turner's pledge to donate $1 billion to the United Nations, it is enough to raise people's eyebrows and to make them think twice about CNN's objectivity and credibility," said Kibbe. According to CNN correspondent Richard Roth, the media mogul's gift to the UN is "for programs like poverty, jobs, and also very concerned about global warming [sic]."

"There's a big conference coming up in December regarding climate control. Ted Turner thinks the world is not doing enough to deal with the environment," said Roth.

CNN spokesperson Steve Haworth informed the coalition that it was no longer appropriate for the network to carry the ads because it was committing significant news coverage to the global-warming debate. "[I]t has been our policy for years not to run ads on controversial news stories that we are covering. Our principles are worth more that the ad dollars."

"Nonsense," said Kibbe, "CNN covered the highly-controversial debates on health-care and Medicare reform a couple years ago, and ran both sides' ads. Where were their principles then?"

"I guess objectivity is not part of Ted Turner's vision for CNN," said Kibbe.

Citizens for a Sound Economy is a 250,000-member free market-oriented grassroots advocacy group based in Washington, D.C.