The Media's Malaise

Richard Branson is a British entrepreneur known for his philanthropic projects and his taste for adventure. He is the founder and chairman of Virgin Group Ltd., a conglomerate of separately run companies which include radio stations, airlines, and mobile phones.  The Virgin Group now owns around 200 companies in over 30 countries.  Virgin also plans to launch commercial space flights over the next few years in a venture called Virgin Galactic.

Branson's involvement in social and environmental projects include the Virgin Green Fund, the Carbon War Room, and the global leader council called The Elders

Branson was born in 1950 in Surrey, England, and was educated at Stowe School, where he established a national magazine, Student, at the age of 16.  He is married with two children and lives in London and Oxfordshire. 

  • Transcript


Richard Branson: Well I don’t own any media outlets I’m afraid. I’ve got a 10 percent stake in one. But if I did own a media outlet, I hope I could own it responsibly. And I hope that the news would be dispassionate.

It’s sad today to see Lou Dobbs on CNN. You know, CNN, that very dispassionate TV channel that is the voice of the world, speaking so xenophobically, speaking without any dispassion whatsoever. I mean, this is meant to be a news channel. And here he is spouting forth his views before anybody has a word to say, to say anything in response. And I think that’s wrong.

Take the BBC as an example. Although it’s government owned, people respect the BBC. But they also watch the BBC because they know it’s dispassionate. And they know they’re going to get an honest viewpoint. And it is the biggest news channel in the UK.

If there was an equivalent channel in America, I think it would be watched by people. I think it’s wrong to think that just because a TV channel is not gung ho, that everybody is going to switch off in their millions. I think people actually want the truth. They want dispassionate viewing.

But if I’m wrong, I still think it’s important that TV stations give people the truth and give people a more balanced outlet.

Ted Turner, he’s not dead; but he’ll be turning over in his bath robe or in his grave right now. I’m incredibly sad to see what’s happened. Look. There are good people on CNN. Anderson Cooper, he’s good. But they shouldn’t spoil those people by having others that are xenophobic.


Recorded on: July 5, 2007