Murdoch goes candid on reporting, politics

At the D6 conference, News Corp.'s chairman shares his philosophy on creating and delivering news, as well as his views on the presidential race.

Sitting across from his employees and writers Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher at the D6 conference, News Corp. mogul Rupert Murdoch shared his view on newspaper editing.

"A Wall Street Journal story is touched or edited by 8.5 people, and the story gets longer and longer, and people don't have time for that," he said. "There is not a story you can't get in half the space."

If the whole Wall Street Journal were like Mossberg's column, Murdoch said he would be a happy man, getting some big laughs from the D6 crowd. The 77-year-old media mogul understands the shortening attention span of the planet.

Murdoch apparently isn't fond of journalism prizes. "Stop having people write articles to win Pulitzer Prizes--give readers something they want to read."

Rupert Murdoch said at the D6 conference that Fox News is neutral, fair and balanced. Walt Mossberg's response: It has both sides, but it beats the crap out of one side. Murdoch also said he would hire a liberal commentator, but they are really hard to find. He admitted that for his network, it is more fun to make fun of liberals than conservatives. Dan Farber/CNET News.com

Murdoch: Obama will likely defeat McCain
The conservative Murdoch said it's likely that Obama will defeat McCain in the November presidential election. Politicians are despised by 80 percent of the population, and Obama is trying to put himself above it all, Murdoch said.

The tide is against the Republicans, and Obama could overcome the race issue. McCain, Murdoch said, is a friend, patriot, and decent guy, though he conceded also that he is unpredictable, has spent too much time in Washington, and is not great on the economy (which he said is in a recession) or organizationally adept.

Swisher asked Murdoch whom he would vote for, but the cagey Murdoch said he hasn't made up his mind. He said Obama would never give Hillary Clinton the vice presidential job and would want to distance himself from the Clintons. Murdoch described Obama as a "highly intellectual man" and said he wants to meet the candidate. He likes his plan to fix the U.S. educational system, which he called a total disgrace. "I want to know if he's going to walk the walk."

Murdoch predicted that the States will face an international crisis, such as with Iran, that will test out the candidates.

Mossberg asked Murdoch if he had anything to do with the New York Post's endorsement of Obama. Murdoch simply said, "Yes." It's not often that you hear that kind of honesty.

Murdoch believes that a way to solve the energy crisis more immediately than investing in alternative-energy sources such as nuclear, solar and wind power, is to drill for oil off the American West Coast and Alaska. The country "didn't buy Alaska to save a few elk," he said.

Among all the industry titans speaking at D6, the News Corp. chief was the sharpest, though Sony CEO Howard Stringer was the funniest.

Murdoch also revealed the secret to his persistence and success. "I'll keep going, as long as I have my curiosity and thirst for risk."

Click here for full coverage of the D: All Things Digital conference.

 

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