Rupert Murdoch gave an unexpected compliment to CNN and its new president Jeff Zucker in a newly-published interview.
Murdoch sat down with The Wall Street Journal and gave a thumbs up to Zucker, opened up about his Twitter account and the failure of the Daily and acknowledged that investors are turned off by his commitment to print newspapers. After praising Fox News, he commented on the shakeup at CNN.
"I don’t think they are bad, you are seeing big changes going on at CNN now, they have a new head of it, they are popularizing it, if you like,” Murdoch said. “They are using helicopters, running around being much more pop, if you will. I won’t say that they are politically different than what they have always been, but they have sharpened up in the last couple of months.
He was referring to the network's wall-to-wall coverage of the infamous Carnival cruise ship in February. The coverage, which saw CNN journalists reporting from a helicopter and a boat, resulted in a ratings boost for the network.
Murdoch also discussed why he is committed to newspapers even as print continues to decline. When interviewer Peter Robinson pointed to what the Economist called a "Murdoch discount," or the hit to News Corp.'s stock price because of the mogul's "devotion to unprofitable newspapers," Murdoch acknowledged that it existed.
"So that's the pressure from the market that you're referring to," Robinson offered.
"Yes," Murdoch said.
He spoke out about the shuttering of the Daily, News Corp.'s tablet newspaper, in December. When Robinson suggested that the Daily's closure reaffirmed the value of News Corp.'s major brands like The Wall Street Journal, Murdoch said that that was "absolutely" right.
Murdoch also said that he started his Twitter account @rupertmurdoch "as a bit of a joke." The mogul joined the social media site at the end of 2011, and has been causing a stir with his tweets ever since. He had to, for example, apologize after his explosive tweet about the "Jewish-owned press" and again after his incendiary comment about a 400-lb. woman who had fallen through a sidewalk.