In 1984 CNN founder Ted Turner decided to start an overseas network for a global audience. He called it CNN International (or CNNI).
Ten years later, Ted Turner decided to upgrade CNN International so it could compete with the BBC Wold Service. Turner intended to build a major new newsroom and studio complex. Turner said US content would not suffice for the new CNN International. Overseas audiences, Turner explained, were turned off by the vapidity of the US programming schedule. For example, foreigners were demanding thoughtful interviews with people other than celebrities. The wider world, he said, wanted real news.
Although the U.S. Department of Fear was apprehensive, we didn't object. After all, the audience would be foreigners. However, we stipulated that original thought-provoking CNN International content must not be broadcast to American audiences.
It's probably worth mentioning that, by this time, we had Ted Turner under 24 hour surveillance. Over time, Turner had begun to talk more like a social activist than a capitalist. By the late '90s, Turner was scaring the hell out of us. Of course we eventually came up with the scheme that would deliver CNN to Time Warner. We would wrestle control of the world's most important news network away from the grasp of that peace-loving social activist.
Today, CNN's US network isn't FoxNews, but the Department of Fear considers it pretty harmless. As of 2011, CNN International is available in over 200 countries, but not the United States --of course, we don't give most Americans the option to watch Al-Jazeera or BBC World either.
Now and again CNN does something really stupid. Today we were appalled to discover that a link to an interview made for CNN International -- intended only for CNN's overseas audience -- was posted on CNN's American website. We asked CNN to remove the link. CNN has since complied.
We thought we would post a copy of the interview. For one thing, the interview illustrates the appalling diversity of opinion that CNN International indulges.