Turner Says Retraction
Of CNN Story Was 'Horrible'

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - CNN founder Ted Turner has said the network's retraction of a story claiming that the U.S. military used nerve gas during a Vietnam War raid was ``the most horrible thing'' that ever happened to him. ``Nothing has upset me as much in my whole life,'' Turner said, including his Atlanta Braves baseball team ``losing to the Yankees in the World Series after being up by two games, the failure of two marriages, the death of my father. It's the most horrible thing.'' Turner, speaking Friday to a group of television writers and critics after a preview of CNN's upcoming documentary ``Cold War,'' said the network was his ``baby'' from the beginning and that the controversy over the story brought him both embarassment and sadness. He said new measures would be put in place at CNN to ensure that ``nothing like this ever happens again.'' Already in place, he said, was an oversight committee made up of CNN News Group President Tom Johnson, CNN/USA President Richard Kaplan and other executives. The June 7 CNN report alleged that the U.S. military used the deadly nerve gas sarin to kill American defectors and North Vietnamese during a secret 1970 raid by a Special Forces unit on a small Laotian village. The story was reported on ``NewsStand, a joint venture of CNN and Time magazine. Both news organizations retracted the story July 2, saying that the facts could not be supported, and the network apologized to all of the military participants. Since then, one producer at CNN has been fired and two others have resigned. Reporter Peter Arnett was reprimanded. Turner said Friday he knew a little about the story before it aired and was assured that it was accurate.
New Poll - US Majority Says News Reporting Often Wrong
NEW YORK (Reuters) - More than half of Americans think news reports are often inaccurate and most believe journalists are under more pressure from owners to get a good story than they were in the past, a poll released Saturday said. The poll was taken after a retraction by CNN of a nerve gas story and the firing of writers for the Boston Globe newspaper and the New Republic magazine for fabricating facts. The poll, conducted by the Pew Research Center and published in Newsweek magazine, said 53 percent of those surveyed characterized news reports as ``often inaccurate.'' Fewer than half, 46 percent, said they believe almost all or most of what the media reported. Some 61 percent survey said they got their news from television, 24 percent from newspapers and 2 percent from online or Internet services. The poll surveyed 752 people and had a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points. The poll also found that 76 percent felt the news business and gone too far in the direction of entertainment. It also found that compared to the past more journalists were influenced by pressures from owners (77 percent), other journalists (71 percent) or the desire to be rich and famous (70 percent) than by the urge to report the news fairly (33 percent.)

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