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The sack, Ted Turner-style.

The manner in which Daniel Schorr was dismissed as senior correspondent for CNN sustains the widely held view that Ted Turner is a puff adder in human form. Schorr was hired during the early days of CNN, when the infant network was sorely in need of some weight and integrity. Accordingly, he was able to negotiate a favorable contract with three provisions: he didn't have to do anything conflicting with his own sense of professional duty; he was free to write for newspapers; and he could enjoy a five-day workweek.

The years passed and Schorr became a CNN fixture. Then, last summer, he objected to dropping anchor next to the rotting hulk of former Texas Governor John Connally for CNN's coverage of the two conventions. In Dallas, Schorr even refused to sit with him. Later, he discussed the paradoxes of Connally's career in the Atlanta Journal and Constitution, Ted Turner's home sheet. Then Schorr remarked to his employers that he'd been working six-day weeks and wanted to take the days owed him. He added that if he took all his time he would be up for contract renewal. He took his leave, and as he was loitering about at his leisure, a woman in the CNN press office called to say "I'm sorry." Why? She gently explained that she was looking at a press release wishing Schorr all the best in his future endeavors, since there would be no renewal of contract. Perhaps not entirely coincidentally, the man to whom Turner had gone for advice on how to raise money for his CBS takeover was none other than the great Texan fixer John Connally, who has been amassing swag-bellied cowpokes for the bid.

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Title Annotation:Beat the Devil
Author:Cockburn, Alexander
Publication:The Nation
Article Type:column
Date:May 4, 1985
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