As enticing as the menu at Ted’s Montana Grill may be, the man behind the restaurant is as unpalatable as they come. Jane Fonda’s ex husband, for those of you who have forgotten, is the man who, at a speech to Brown University graduates in 2001, praised Fidel Castro, stated that the 9-11 attackers were “brave, at the very least” and that “the reason that the world trade center got hit is because there are a lot of people living in abject poverty out there,” and said that Americans “lack an understanding of a willingness to die for one’s country.”
As heinous and irresponsible as these comments are, one would think that the founder of CNN would have done his homework. The majority of the attackers were from Saudi Arabia, one of the richest nations on the planet, and they were funded by Osama bin Laden, who, last time I checked, hardly qualified as a poverty-stricken man. Lest we forget, Turner’s brainchild, CNN, also contracted with that bastion of religious tolerance Al Jazeera at the beginning of the war in Afghanistan so that CNN could achieve better battlefield coverage of the war. This from a man who called his rival Rupert Murdoch, whose company owns Fox New Channel, a “warmonger.”
As if that weren’t reason enough to turn your stomach, Ted Turner is also the man who in 2001 called Catholics celebrating Ash Wednesday in the CNN newsroom “a bunch of Jesus freaks;” who called Christians “losers” and “bozos” (Citizen Turner: The Rise of An American Tycoon, 1995), and referred to Christianity as “an intolerant religion.” Pardon me, Ted, but as I recall, the majority of terror attacks committed in the world today are committed by Islamic fundamentalists, not Christians.
His liberal peace-loving sensibilities motivated him to ridicule the late Pope John Paul II at a pro-abortion conference in Washington DC, in 1999 during which he said that if he met the Pontiff, he would tell him to “get with it,” while in the next breath calling the Ten Commandments “obsolete” and saying “if you are only going to have ten rules, I don’t know if (a rule against) adultery should be one of them.” He went on with a vulgar joke concerning Polish soldiers using their feet to clear land mines, asking the audience if they had “ever seen a Polish mine detector.”
Turner also seems to be something of an anti-Semite and a Muslim apologist. He is reported as having found "other reasons for disliking [Jerry Kapstein] other than he wears full-length coats and is a Jew.” He has accused Israel of terrorism, and was quoted by the Guardian of London in June 2002 as saying, “The Palestinians are fighting with human suicide bombers, that's all they have. The Israelis ... they've got one of the most powerful military machines in the world. The Palestinians have nothing. So who are the terrorists?” He repeated these sentiments in an interview with CNBC in 2006, when he suggested that the United States should negotiate peace in the Middle East "so we can stop...furnishing military aid to Israel." Turner believes that "you don't win people over by bombing them, you win them over by being friends with them," and that we would be safe from terrorism if we gave Islamic jihadists "things they've asked of us...things that the Muslim extremists and a lot of other Muslims, too, would like to see us do."
Ted Turner wants us to eat at his restaurants, yet at a speech to a CNN sponsored forum for foreign journalists in 1996, Turner called his fellow Americans ignorant, stating "The United States has got some of the dumbest people in the world. I want you to know that. We know that. It's a disgrace.” (Reuters, May 10, 1996).
Ever the patriot and believer in American exceptionalism, in July of 1997, according to Reuters, Turner called for a national vote on replacing Francis Scott Key’s Star Spangled Banner with a “less warlike” anthem, because in his own words, “we believe in democracy and liberty.” In an interview with emagazine.com in February 1999, Turner said, “We can't even get this country to pay the back dues that we legally owe the United Nations. We're doing a lot of things wrong. The United States is withdrawing from international involvement at a time when we're the only superpower. We can't do that. If we do, it's at our own peril. Basically, if we keep doing dumb, short-sighted, nationalistic things, rather than be thinking what's best for the whole planet and thinking long-term, then we're going to become just as extinct as the dodo.”
Turner’s philosophy of environmental management, in his own words, is “just to leave the environment alone and try to get the introduced species out of there. Cattle came from Europe, while bison evolved on the Great Plains, and they're the right animals to be there.” Evidently, he wants America's ranchers to get rid of their cattle...and coincidentally, Turner, the largest private landowner in the nation, just happens to have the largest buffalo herd in the nation.
Ted is also a vocal supporter of population control. The father of five takes a simplistic and simple-minded approach to population control, suggesting that “if every woman in the world voluntarily stepped up and said, 'I'll only have one child,' and if we did that for the next 80 to 100 years, that would reduce the kind of suffering we're having…We could have 10 billion people living below the poverty line, or we could have two billion people living well and having color TVs and an automobile.” His support for population control, and his billion dollar donation to the UN, supported such population control methods in China as a program in which “births must be approved by the government, involuntary sterilization is routine for any woman with two children, and enforcement includes sending officials into the countryside to check on compliance,” according to former enforcer Gao Xia Duan, in testimony before the US House International Relations Committee. Turner’s comment? "People who abhor the China one-child policy are dumb-dumbs, because if China hadn't had that policy, there would be 300 million more people in China right now."
Maybe it's just me, but I’ve lost my appetite.