Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Media Moguls Skeptical About Obama, Economy - The Daily Beast

Media moguls met in Sun Valley last week to discuss the economy. What came out of the meeting cannot be music to Obama's ears. Although most of those in attendance are Obama supporters, few had good words to say about his economic policies and results.

While most of the moguls understand that President Obama inherited a financial crisis without precedent, they also note that his administration’s heavy-handed rhetoric has positioned it, from a corporate-relations perspective, as anti-business. That sentiment was palpable among the executives at Sun Valley, even though none of them would say so on-the-record (this was a media-savvy crowd, after all). When asked if he thought the administration was anti-business, Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes smiled silently for a few seconds, then said, “I think it’s time for a glass of wine.” News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch, who is never shy to voice his opinion on world leaders, said “definitely not” when asked to comment on President Obama’s relationship with corporate America. And while Liberty Media CEO Greg Maffei fielded questions from the media for a good 10 minutes by the Duck Pond on the conference’s first day, the only one in which he declined comment was about whether the administration was anti-business or not.

“I do think the administration will blame business for things too quickly,” said a brave Peter Chernin, the former News Corp. chief operating officer and heavy Democratic donor. “I don’t think they are anti-business, it’s more nuanced than that, but they appear that way because they jump too quickly on the bandwagon.”
So bad is the administration’s current relationship with corporate America that even the typically Democratic-leaning media moguls are suggesting that the independent electorate is unsettled enough to tilt the upcoming November elections in favor of the Republicans. In fact, that was the hope of one cynical mogul looking to jumpstart his business.
“I hope there’s more gridlock so that business could get on with what it wants to do rather than being interfered with,” said this source.

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