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September 19, 2008

Murdoch: Obama's economic policies are 'naive'

Murdoch_3 News Corp. chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch said he doesn't regret the New York Post endorsing John McCain, even as some say the Republican ticket is the weaker choice for voters concerned about the economy.

"I am very worried," Murdoch said during an interview Friday with Fox Business Network. "I like Sen. Obama very much. I have met him. He is a very intelligent man. But his policy of anti-globalization, protectionism, is going to be -- and card checks -- are going to do two or three things.  It's going to give us a lot of inflation.  They're going to ruin our relationships with the rest of the world. And they are going to slow down the rest of the world, too. And they're going to make people frightened to add to employment. You are going to find companies leaving this country if it's -- if you put a protectionist wall around it.  You're going to get -- his policy is really very, very naive, old-fashioned, 1960s."

Murdoch also was asked about the television business, asked if he thinks if GE's CEO Jeff Immelt is being truthful when he says the company has no interest in selling NBC.

"Well, I take his word for it," Murdoch said. "I can assure you, it's not doing as well as it used to do. Not only because of its prime-time ratings, but because of its local stations. I know, as far as we are concerned -- and we compete with them -- that whole local station market is performing very badly at the moment. 
Anything that depends on consumer advertising is having a tight squeeze on it."

Murdoch also said that even if GE decided to sell the network, News Corp. would never be allowed to buy it. And NBC Universal's cable networks, he added, are not tempting.

"Take USA Network," Murdoch said. "It's a mature channel. It makes a lot of money.  But why pay a high multiple for that when you can't work out how you can double its profit every five years? We like -- we like startups, like Fox News."

Also, Murdoch on the credit crisis: "One has got to go back on this and say, look, this started 15 years ago, with Barney Frank and people pushing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to make a lot of bad loans, until they finally had $11 billion -- or nearly $11 billion out there. I don't say all bad, but it became a racket.

On whether government bailouts send to wrong message to the financial community: "I don't think so. I think the people who have done it will have lost a lot of money and their jobs.  You know, some of them may even lose their freedom, from what I hear."

On Sarah Palin's call for regulation: “I think they have been sending out different signals, but I think what she says is right. Clearly, there has to be some more regulation, but we have to be careful what that is.  It could make things a lot worse.  The more you get the politicians in that don't know the first thing about banking, even less than me, and God knows what might come out of it.”

On Secretary of Treasury Henry Paulson’s handling of the credit crisis: “I think Secretary Paulson has done a fantastically good job.  Now we have got to get it through the Congress, and that is going to be the nightmare.”

UPDATE: Here's a video clip of Murdoch talking about Obama:   


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