Rupert Murdoch speaks: politics, divorce and how Fox News 'saved' the political debate

Eric Pfeiffer
Yahoo News

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Rupert Murdoch arrives at the 2014 Academy Awards in February (Reuters)

Media mogul and News Corp. Executive Chairman Rupert Murdoch sat down for his first interview in nearly five years.

The still very active and opinionated 83-year-old opened up to Fortune about a number of personal and political details during the interview, including his current favorite potential Republican candidates for 2016.

Murdoch told Fortune the 2016 presidential election “is between four or five people," and he places Jeb Bush and Paul Ryan atop his personal rankings. He called Ryan “the straightest arrow I've ever met.”

Some other highlights (Fortune subscribers can read the full Q&A):

Fox News Channel's slant

Murdoch was defiant when asked if the right-leaning Fox News Channel’s editorial content has hurt the political discussion or even the Republican Party itself. "It has absolutely saved it,” he said.

On how he's aging

He says, "My mother just died at 103, so that's a start. You should live 20 years longer than your parents. That may not be realistic, but I'm in good physical shape, according to the doctors. And don't worry — my children will be the first to tell me if I start losing some mental ability. That will be the time to step back.”

His biggest (professional) mistake

Primarily, buying MySpace for $580 million: “It was one of our great screwups of all time."

He also opened up about his 2013 divorce from Wendi Deng. “Everything has sort of come at once," he said. "But I was in an unhappy situation, and all I'm worried about ... is two beautiful little girls from that marriage. And they come and stay with me a great deal. I feel like I've turned over a new page in my life.”

On two of his most famous newspaper properties

Murdoch says the New York Post may go to an all-digital version within 10 years but that the Wall Street Journal will likely exist in both print and digital form for a longer period of time.

What he thinks people don’t understand about him

“They perhaps tend to think I've not got as thick a skin as I have. You know, I don't mind what people say about me. I've never read a book about myself," he said.

How he brought his son Lachlan back into the fold at News Corp.

"Lachlan and [younger son] James and I had a very serious talk about how we can work as a team. We had two or three hours together. Lachlan was not not going to come back. It was a question of how we would work together."

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