Rupert Murdoch wore his politics on his sleeve Tuesday, telling a large audience of business leaders that the press is routinely unfair to George W. Bush and that the president doesn't seem capable of defending himself.Mind you, Murdoch's New York Post has been running at an estimated loss of $70 million a year. Murdoch's been forced to double the cover price to 50 cents, but you can still get a year's subscription for just $13 – or about 5 cents a day. So maybe he should get the message.
"I'm a supporter of President Bush, but I do believe he's a bad -- or inadequate -- communicator," Murdoch told attendees at the Milken Institute Global Conference in Los Angeles.
The News Corp. chairman and CEO said that, personally, Bush is "persuasive, strong and articulate" but that "he seems to freeze whenever a television camera appears."
Motioning to Paul Gigot, editorial page editor of the Wall Street Journal, Murdoch said, "Apart from your newspaper and mine, there's a sort of monolithic attack on him every day of the year."
And the Wall Street Journal thinks bloggers like Arthur Chrenkoff and the Fadhil brothers are reputable sources of information. 'Nuff said.
"The atmosphere is absolutely toxic," Murdoch said of the partisanship of U.S. politics and much of the media. "You can't really expect anything to be achieved in the next 18 months, and it's a very serious, sad problem for this country."The question I'm asking myself about this stage in the article is this: Does Murdoch support Bush, or does Bush support Murdoch? Tellingly, David Rubenstein, managing director of the Carlyle Group, was on stage with Murdoch as he spoke. Who do you think picked the idiot from Texas for Prez anyway?
Murdoch also lamented a U.S. populace that can't agree on how serious a threat militant Islam is, and he suggested skepticism about the danger of man-made global warning.
The environment is a long-running theme at the Milken event, now in its 10th year. In the past, former Vice President Al Gore has promoted his message about the perils of global warming, and this year Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., did likewise.
But Murdoch said that "alleged climate changes" and other problems are far more manageable than is the threat of Islamic terror, which will worsen significantly if Iran is allowed to develop nuclear weapons.
"It's a tragedy that we're not more united" in the war on terror, Murdoch said.
The LA Times has some good background on the event where Murdoch was speaking:
Think the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, without the skiing and antiglobalization protesters and with better shopping.You have to wonder what other participants like Al Gore and Ted Turner made of Murdoch's remarks.
Interestingly, the News Corp staff in Oz seem to be playing this story with a straight bat. At least this speech should help them sort out their confusion about where the boss stands these days.
So like I said, this story broke from Beverly Hills about 12 hours ago. Still no sign of a post from resident News Ltd blogger, Tim Dunlop.
PS: I apologize unreservedly for ever suggesting that Rupert had morphed from a global warming sceptic into a supporter. It was the headlines on his newspapers that fooled me. Evidently the editors of his papers still have some capacity to report reality, if and when they choose to do so.