Famed basketball commentator Charles Barkley bashed CNN, his employer’s sister network, for its election coverage Thursday, saying the network has done “an awful job” and “sold its soul for ratings.”
Barkley, a famously outspoken two-time Olympic gold medalist, made the remarks on “Inside the NBA” Thursday night after host Ernie Johnson asked him for his thoughts on the upcoming Republican presidential debate on CNN.
What was likely meant as a lighthearted promo for the Tuesday debate quickly went off the rails.
“To be honest with you, CNN has done an awful job this election, an awful job. They have followed ratings and sound bites this entire cycle,” Barkley said. “I love CNN because they’re part of our company, but they’ve been kissing butt, chasing ratings.”
He also accused the network of becoming “like Fox News for the Republicans.”
“They follow every single sound bite just to get ratings for these debates,” Barkley continued. “It’s been sad and frustrating that our company has sold its soul for ratings.”
Barkley also said while he’s a longtime Democratic voter, he planned to support Ohio Gov. John Kasich in 2016, but doesn’t know who he’ll vote for now that Kasich has failed to get traction in the crowded Republican race.
Turner Broadcasting is the parent company of CNN and counts TNT and Turner Sports among its properties.
Watch the full exchange below: