Time Warner (TWX) CEO Jeff Bewkes spent a good 45 minutes talking about weighty issues about digital media, social networking, the future of AOL, etc, at the D conference today. The first question from the audience: “Lou Dobbs is a hateful xenophobe. Why are you employing him?”
That’s our paraphrase of Consumer Electronics Association head Gary Shapiro’s query. Our paraphrase of Bewkes’ response: I don’t really like him, either. But hey, what are you gonna do?
A more comprehensive parphrase: “We get a lot of questions about that. We try to get [CNN] to be impartial. I personally disagree with positions that Lou has, and talk to him a lot about it. And we are constantly at pains to identify what Lou says as commentary.”
Jeff then got a crack at different version of the same question: “Why are you hiring Glenn Beck? He should be on Fox, don’t you think?” This time Jeff’s answer was a little more polished: “I wouldn’t… we have all points of view. Most of the criticism that we get is that we have insufficent representation of the points of view that Glenn Beck represents.”
Did anyone else in the audience care about anything other than who Jeff employs on CNN? Yes. Yahoo exec Scott Moore got quite worked up about which listing Web giant had the more popular news, finance and entertainment sites. We talked to some other D attendees who also got exercised about this, but we have to admit this one left us cold. Video highlights below: