News Corporation CEO Discusses Health Care, Taxes, Jobs

This is a rush transcript from "Your World With Neil Cavuto," June 8, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: On paper, he has lost billions, but Rupert Murdoch is more concerned about a country that has lost a lot more, paying for so much so fast that it has so lost track of all of it, which has News Corp. chairman and CEO — and oh, yea, my boss — feeling sick on the very same day the president is talking up something else, health care.


CAVUTO: He is going to be looking at getting health care reform through very, very quickly, including a proposal that he hasn't entirely ruled out, where health care benefits you provide your workers, like myself, would be taxed.

What do — what do you think of that?

And I mention it only — a lot of other CEOs who have sat in the same seat have told me, well, when push comes to shove, if it saves us money longer term, or we can shift a lot of our burdens off to the government, we're all for it.

RUPERT MURDOCH, CHAIRMAN AND CEO, NEWS CORP: I think it's a huge tax increase.

And I think that — I'm not convinced yet that these so-called reforms they're putting in are going to eventually reduce the cost of health in this country.

Video: Watch Cavuto's interview with Rupert Murdoch

We have to do a lot more in this country about prevention, I think. And, you know, we are becoming unhealthy. Our life span — we spend more and more on health, yet, our life span in this country is not as high even as France.

And it's what we eat. It's the way we behave. And so...

CAVUTO: So, you're for what the president is trying to do on that, just not...

MURDOCH: Well, on prevention, yes.

CAVUTO: Right.

MURDOCH: And preventive things, yes. On all these new systems of health, I don't know enough about it.

CAVUTO: Would it — any of this make you less inclined to offer generous corporate insurance benefits to your workers, if it was going to be taken over by the government, anyway?

MURDOCH: No, whether it's the government or not, it's another matter. It's a question of what we can afford.

And the problem with the welfare state is, as — as advanced in Europe as it has become, is that people feel the government owes them a living; they don't have to work.

We have sent some reporters down to part of a part of South Wales the other day. They said there was only 6 percent unemployment. And, when we got there, there was additional 16 percent of people who are terminally disabled, on full pensions, and extra pensions for being disabled. Most of them weren't disabled at all.

And one had just run in a marathon. It's — it's a joke. When people...


CAVUTO: So, this guy is running a marathon, and he was getting benefits?

MURDOCH: Getting benefits for being disabled.

CAVUTO: Right.

MURDOCH: My point is that, if you depend totally on the state, you don't depend on yourself. You don't get people wanting to work to buy — to — to save, to — even to start businesses.

CAVUTO: I talked to a Democratic strategist last week, Rupert, who said, the message to moguls is, beware, we're coming after you, that you're where the money lies; taxing you is where the financing lies.

And, in other words, it's not going to be a good few years for moguls, and — and, by extension, people who aren't nearly moguls, but are in that top 1, 2, or 3 percent.

What do you think of that?


MURDOCH: I think it's nonsense. There's not enough money amongst the moguls to pay for what we want to do. Taxes are going to have to go a lot deeper if they want to achieve everything they have set out to achieve.

CAVUTO: By a lot deeper, include a lot more folks?

MURDOCH: Yes, yes.

The top 3 percent don't have enough money to pay for all of this. And, you know, they're the ones that invest. They're the ones that help create jobs, that back startups. And what you have got to see in this country, if you're going to see — and we have seen it in the past — is business formation, small businesses starting, people getting out on their own, employing 10 people, 20 people, some of them failing, and some of them turning into great corporations.

The big, great corporations are not going to employ more people. Once they get to a certain size, they're thinking about how they can cut down, how they can get more efficient.

CAVUTO: Right.

Your newspaper, The Wall Street Journal, had a page-one banner headline today about China demanding all P.C.s sold in the country as of July 1 be shipped with software that blocks, I guess, offensive material. Pornography came to mind, but a lot of other human rights groups see that as a sign they want to censor everything.

You have a lot of business there. Are you worried?


MURDOCH: I'm not worried, because we don't do any business there, or so little that it doesn't matter.

You know, foreign media is not generally welcome there. There — there are opportunities to have 5 percent of this or to invest in — in new things that are happening there. But there's no — you cannot go in and, say, start a newspaper or a television channel or whatever.

CAVUTO: Well, what do you have left there? What do you have left there, then? What — what of the...

MURDOCH: We have a little television channel which we make in Shanghai which is broadcast, allowed to go on the cable networks...

CAVUTO: I see.

MURDOCH: ... in the southeast, to a fairly limited audience.

CAVUTO: So, when you were pulling back, was it in response...

MURDOCH: It's a very...

CAVUTO: ... to these type of government efforts that — or — or no?

MURDOCH: Yes, oh, no — well, you have to get licensed to do everything, and we didn't get licenses. We have a license for MySpace there. And that will grow, and we hope be a — you know, a very good site.

CAVUTO: If an American computer company were to decide, all right, we will ship you these P.C.s and block this type of material, what would you think of them? What would you say to them?

MURDOCH: Well, they would have no option. It would be those P.C.s or no P.C.s. And I don't object to that.

CAVUTO: You don't object to them, then, signing on to that deal, in order to have exposure to that market?

MURDOCH: No, I — you can't expect great companies like Dell or Hewlett-Packard or others to say, "We're going to sell no computers in China at all." It's too big. It's too big a part of the world.

CAVUTO: I asked you this last time we were together on perceptions in the media world. It doesn't seem to ever bother you when you've been criticized in the press. I think you and Roger Ailes seem to take it like water coming down your back.

But, nevertheless, does it bother you, when you have established this news and media empire that's pretty much the envy of the world right now, and you're kind of like the Rodney Dangerfields, not getting that respect?

MURDOCH: None in the least.


CAVUTO: You know, Roger would say the same.

You know, we criticize people, and sometimes pretty harshly, and we have got to expect some back. And, when you get to our age, it is water off a duck's back.

CAVUTO: All right, but they — they always come every time: Not fair and balanced, not — not hearing both sides. They're not what they say they are.

MURDOCH: But we answer that, because that's obviously untrue. If we weren't fair and balanced, we wouldn't have the number-one network in news by a very wide margin.

People believe we're — we're fair and balanced, and they love us.

CAVUTO: So, when you're — when you personally are picked on by other news organizations or other news anchors at rival networks, any — any bone in your body just bristle at that, and say, enough?

MURDOCH: No. No. I'm glad they're worried about us.

CAVUTO: Finally, Barack Obama, many argue he's building a totally different kind of government and a much bigger, some would argue, more intrusive government, and a lot of people either don't appreciate its magnitude, or look at all these czars or the task agency heads, and — and — and appreciate what's going on here.

What do you say? Or what are you worried about?

MURDOCH: Well, I think he sees himself as a president for change, and that involves bigger government. He's been — he's made no secret of that.

And I think that's dangerous. We have done very well with — I believe in low taxes and less government, if possible. Others say, you have to have regulations. And some regulations and regulators have let us down in last few years.

But that doesn't mean to say you have got to say have a whole new layer of government. You know, the one place that's not affected by what's happening, recession, is Washington. It's just crawling with people, all getting highly paid, whether they be lobbyists or whether they be going to new agencies and so on.

And we are going to see — you know, I envy people with real estate in Washington.


CAVUTO: So, you think that, when — when they're — when this administration says, the American people are on our side, our numbers prove it, support for what we're doing proves it, and critics like Rupert Murdoch and all, they just don't get it?

MURDOCH: No, look, there's a — we are in very early days yet. Wait until unemployment goes 10, 11 percent and people are unhappy.

CAVUTO: You think it will?

MURDOCH: Oh, yes.

I don't think that can be stopped. And they say, "Oh, we are going to save 600,000 jobs." How do they count what they save or don't save? Unemployment is going to go up. And it's going to take some time to get down, and then perhaps three years to get it back.

So, I'm — I'm — my feeling is that, we have probably and, hopefully, absolutely hit a bottom here, where — where things will be pretty stable from now on, not nearly as good as they were a little while back. But it's going to take time to climb out of it. And, so, that's OK.

As far as we're concerned, we know we can grow. We have a lot of things happening, like new cable channels. We're having a great few months now in our film company. So, you know, we're — we're in a pretty good shape.

CAVUTO: You mentioned all those cable — this is my last question, I do promise.

What do you watch? When you get at home, and you have all of these entities, and you have, you know, fielder's choice, whatever you want to watch, pretty much anything that you have, what do you watch?

MURDOCH: What do I watch? I watch FOX News, FOX Business. I watch FOX — then, I try to watch the FOX network. I watch other networks where we sell programs. You know, we have the number-one program on the USA Network.

CAVUTO: That's right.

MURDOCH: And we're — hopefully, we will have the number two there very shortly.

You know, we make — we're — we're a content company. We make programs. We create entertainment. And we — we disseminate news — collect and disseminate news.

CAVUTO: What do you watch on FOX News? What do you really like?

MURDOCH: I like the 6:00 show. I like following that up with Shep.

You know, I think, "I must now turn and watch something on somewhere else." But, then, once I have watched Bill O'Reilly for five minutes, I leave the thing on for the whole hour.


MURDOCH: So, it goes on.

CAVUTO: But you occasionally will watch FOX News Channel at 4:00 p.m., too?

MURDOCH: Oh, absolutely.


MURDOCH: But I watch it in my office.

CAVUTO: I — oh, good answer.

FOX Business, what do you like?

MURDOCH: I like the — the general — the approach of FOX Business, its attitude towards business. I love the graphics.

You can watch the market much better. And I like...

CAVUTO: Now, our only argument with Kevin McGee on the graphics is, they're squeezing us out. We — we have — I have been a big advocate of...


MURDOCH: well, you can't have everything. You can't have you and the graphics in one set space.

CAVUTO: No, you can't. You can't. Well...


MURDOCH: It's pretty good.

CAVUTO: All right.

Rupert Murdoch, thank you very, very much.

MURDOCH: Thank you.


CAVUTO: All right, you might have noticed that was taped at FOX Business Network studios. You can catch my entire interview, including all the nitty-gritty business stuff, with Mr. Murdoch, 6:00 p.m. tonight on FOX Business Network.

If you don't get it...


CAVUTO: That was the sorriest "Demand it" I have ever heard. But, anyway, he likes it.

Content and Programming Copyright 2009 FOX News Network, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Transcription Copyright 2009 CQ Transcriptions, LLC, which takes sole responsibility for the accuracy of the transcription. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No license is granted to the user of this material except for the user's personal or internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may infringe upon FOX News Network, LLC'S and CQ Transcriptions, LLC's copyrights or other proprietary rights or interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of litigation.