News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch, who started becoming pessimistic about the U.S. economy earlier this spring, is now downright gloomy: At his company’s D conference Thursday, he predicted that “for the next 18 months, I think this country is in for a very hard time,” and that America’s woes are spreading to Europe.
So is he optimistic about anything? Yes, he is: He’s cautiously intrigued by… Barack Obama. Murdoch, who said that he was responsible for the New York Post’s endorsement of Obama during the New York primary, said he wasn’t ready to endorse Obama or to vote for him. But he’s pretty close: “I want to be convinced that Obama is the real thing, that can really carry through. I’m open to that.”
Murdoch offered up his musings during an interview at Dow Jones’ “D conference” which focuses on media and technology issues. But given that he now owns Dow Jones, and that he’s not shy about offering up his opinions, the conversation was fairly wide-ranging.
For instance, he felt free to play political analyst, pointing out potential hurdles for each candidate this fall: Obama “might not carry Florida, because the Jewish people are suspicious of him, and so are Hispanics… and while people won’t talk about it, race will matter.” Meanwhile McCain “has been in Congress a long time, and you have to make a lot of compromises. So what’s he really stand for?… I think he has a lot of problems.”
He also played energy analyst, offering a solution to high gas prices: Encourage oil drilling off the West coast. And for good measure, he defended the lack of a liberal counterpart to Bill O’Reilly on Fox News: He’d hire one if he could find a good one, he argued. What about MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann, who’s now spending much of his time attacking O’Reilly and Fox? “No. I fired him 5 years ago,” when he was on FoxSports: “He was crazy.”
Photo: Asa Mathat, AllThingsD