Murdoch lets loose on strike, recession

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News Corp. chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch on Thursday predicted a U.S. recession, commented on the writers strike, took shots at Hillary Clinton and the Financial Times and joked about the importance of his newly acquired Wall Street Journal not getting scooped - and all that within a couple of hours.

In an afternoon appearance on the "Your World with Neil Cavuto" on the Fox News Channel, owned by his conglomerate, Murdoch was questioned by host Cavuto about his expectations for the U.S. economy. "I think we are in for a recession, probably," he replied. "How bad it will be, I don't know. But I think there's a lot more bad news to come."

Asked about the Hollywood writers strike, Murdoch predicted "it's not going to last as long as everybody says," before adding: "But, if it does, it does. We're prepared to."

His guess on the timing of a solution: "I would be hopeful we will have everybody back at work fairly soon, but maybe ... maybe a few months."

Murdoch also took issue with the arguments the WGA has used as of late. "Now the rhetoric is, you know, big, fat companies and us poor writers, as though it's they really want to change to some sort of socialist system and drag down the companies," the media mogul said.

He also surprised Cavuto by saying he does not expect the Internet to become the holy grail that some union negotiators think it will be.

Cavuto also questioned Murdoch about an advertisement that News Corp. plans to run in the coming days about how it has often defied conventional wisdom - as was the case in the Dow Jones acquisition that closed late Thursday.

While The New York Times has decided to run the ad Friday, The Financial Times declined to do so.

"I think they're a little oversensitive," Murdoch said about the FT. "If I was them, I would have taken the money."

Murdoch also discussed politics with Cavuto, referencing the latest debates of presidential hopefuls.

"It's shameful to see some of these candidates pandering and talking about having protection and not having imports and giving jobs away," the News Corp. chairman said. "It is just not true. And what's more, most of them know it."

He went on to laud Bill Clinton as "a great free trader" before adding that "Mrs. Clinton has suddenly discovered the joys of protection(ism)...it's something to be regretted."

A little later in the day, Murdoch visited the Wall Street Journal newsroom to ensure journalists there that his new Dow Jones management team will be committed to the company's high standards of excellence.

After some brief comments, he sent Journal writers back to work with a quip. "Well, I think that's all we have to say," he told them. "So you'd better get back to work and make sure you're not scooped tomorrow."
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