Media mogul Rupert Murdoch recently sat down for a wide-ranging interview with Fortune magazine, his first extended press interview since 2009. He had a busy 2013, spinning off Wall Street Journal parent News Corp. from his entertainment division 21st Century fox and divorcing Wendi Deng, his wife of thirteen years. He touched on these topics and more in this interview as he looked toward the future of his media empire.
On the topic of Deng, Murdoch said he was “shocked” to learn that she had allegedly kept diary entries about other men during their marriage, according to a March article in Vanity Fair. “I wish we could have just got divorced quietly,” he said.
Murdoch, who got his start in the newspaper business, is still bullish on the future of news and is rapidly expanding digital efforts at this various publications. “Print is going through a tough time. There’s got to be a lot of money spent on digitizing everything. You’ve got to keep improving and competing in a new world, as well as keeping your old world going. So to have some spare cash gives you a lot of security.” He posited that the New York Post could be online only within five to ten years, while he expects the Wall Street Journal to remain in print for at least 20 years.
Murdoch also talked extensively about social media. He called News Corp.’s handling of MySpace, which it bought for $580 million in 2005, “one of our greatest screw-ups of all time.” He said he regrets not hiring Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg who was “all for” becoming part of News Corp. when he visited Murdoch’s ranch around the time of the MySpace buy. Today Murdoch doubts that Facebook will be able to maintain its sky-high valuation in the long-term, but he’s an avid social media user, especially Twitter. “My family are horrified that I’m on it,” he said.
Talking politics, Murdoch said Jeb Bush and Paul Ryan are his ideal 2016 Presidential candidates. He called Ryan “the straightest arrow” that he’d ever met. “He’s hardworking. He knows where every dollar goes in Washington. He’s emerging as the natural leader.” Murdoch said Bush had been a great governor in Florida and he liked his policy on education.
Read more of the in-depth interview on Fortune’s website.