Ted Turner dinner interview. It was a great interview and quite funny. Worth a read.
This was a dinner talk and it was quite noisy so my notes are a bit sketchy, but here are some tidbits. My notes may be a bit inaccurate...
Q: What are you doing now that you don't have a job.
A: I worked for 50 years. I'm a philanthropist and I don't have as money as I used to so I march. I march for the rights of women.
The nuclear arms in the US and Russia are still on hair-trigger alert and I'm working to disarm these weapons.
Q: Who would you want to become the president of the US?
A: I'm for whoever speaks to our survival not our demise.
Q: So Who?
A: Who do you think?
The invasion of Iraq was the biggest debacle in the history of the world... except maybe the AOL Time-Warner merger.
They can't even get Haiti right, how are they going to get Iraq right?
It cost $200B. $100B to bomb it and $100B to rebuild it. All just to find some guy hiding in a foxhole...
Wars may have worked in the past, but now we have pro-football. Before there wasn't anything to be excited about so War was exciting. War isn't fun anymore.
9/11 wouldn't have happened if I had been president. We were having a cold war with Russia when I went to Russia to produce the Good Will Games. A few years later, the Berlin Wall came down.
My net worth went from 10-11B to 1B and a half.
The AOL Time-Warner merger was bullshit.
Q: You were quoted as saying that signing was as good as having sex for the first time.
A: I was just being a team player. It wasn't really. It was the stupidest move I've ever seen. Almost as stupid as the war on Iraq.
It was good for me. I ended up with 10% of the stock in AOL/TW. I was friendly with two other people who owned 10% each so it was OK for me.
But I probably shouldn't have done it. Gerald Levine was like Rasputin. He was my enemy. But he said he was my best friend. I said to him, "Gerald, I've never been to your home." But I was a team player. I always pulled for the team.
Q: Can you start a new empire from now?
A: No. I'm too old/tired.
I'm doing Bison.
Q: Why Bison?
A: Why not? They are the original American cattle. The meat has 1/2 as much fat as beef. I am going into the restaurant business and philanthropy.
I thought I could make a difference. I don't have enough money so I make speeches and make appearances.
Philanthropy is important. It's not about giving to the local church or orphanage. You have to shift to more important things. I've also wanted to be a fire chief.
Rupert Murdoch is is a bad journalist. Sloppy journalist. He runs Britain. I asked Tony Blair why he was allowed to have so much influence and Tony Blair said, "I wouldn't have my job without Rupert." He wants to rule the world. He has Britain, almost has Australia and he would like the US. He has no interest in helping anyone, in charity. He won't even give you an interview. He's not interesting in whether what he is doing is right or wrong.
The $1M / yr I was getting as Vice Chairman was just hush money.
Q: What would you have said?
A: A lot. Not of your business.
I was in New Mexico and Gerald Levine called me and said "I'm replacing you." "The hell with your contract." "I can sue you." "All you'll get is your salary. No discussion."
I helped get Lord of the Rings made. I said yes. A $300M decision. You have to have guts, but you have to be right. The president's got guts, but he's wrong.
You also need vision. My vision comes from thinking. I don't watch TV.
We split the money with Jim Baker 50/50. We used to open the envelops together as they came in because we didn't trust each other.