McGraw Hill Media: Rupert Murdoch

Murdoch is being interviewed by Steve Adler, editor of Business Week. Limited live-blogging:

On newspapers: “I think they’re very vulnerable… We have to learn to look at them quite differently.” On the Tribune bid: “I don’t really believe it’s going to happen.” He was willing to go along if he got a joint operating agreement with the Post and Newsday, “which would give us real supremacy here…. So we don’t want the whole thing…. It scares me. The probllem about newspapers as they stand at the moment is that young readership is going down…” Asked whether he’d sell of newspapers, he said no. Asked whether the Post will be a viable business, he says, “if we could pull off this Newsday deal, yes, in five minutes.” He grins. Asked whether he’s still interested in Dow Jones, given the fate of papers, he says, “I must say, I’m cooling on it.” He says that taking the news out of the Journal to go online “has taken the urgency out of it,” and he finds that he puts the Journal aside to read the longer analytical pieces later and just doesn’t get around to it.

On politics: He argues that Fox is fair and balanced. Damnit. He lists the opinion shows: “O’Reilly is thought to be very conservative. I think he’s actually more populist.” And so on. “It’s just that we report both sides, quite a new thing.” He grins. Adler asks: “Clarify your views on Hillary Clinton. I don’t quite understand where you are.” Murdoch: “Nor do I… she’s a very intelligent lady, very calculating. I think that unfortunately, she’s a bit divisive… She’s way to the left on some social issues, which is OK. But I’m not really frightened of her on foreign affairs and defense.” He says she would be “a lot stronger, subtler” than her husband was. “She’s very impressive, I must say.” He says that if you read what she says about the war, she leaves her options open. “We’ve made a lot of mistakes in the war,” he says. Vs. Bush: “I hope she would have run it better.” He says the man he’d love to see get into it would be Newt Gingrich: “He would lift the debate.” He extols the virtues of Bloomberg — “you wouldln’t get an abler chief executive for the country” — but says he’d be to the left of Hillary and that would hurt him in the center of the country.

On Borat: “We laughed like hell at it. We went out to dinner and laughed some more… I don’t think it destroyed our culture or anything.” And it showed that “Americans can laugh at themselves.”