NEW YORK CITY-With an unmatched “physical stake” in the economic vitality of the city and the region, the commercial real estate industry needs to exercise its power to shape the political process, media titan Rupert Murdoch told a Real Estate Board of New York gathering Tuesday.

When New York City teetered on the brink of bankruptcy in the 1970s, “this city stayed solvent because your industry prepaid your real estate taxes,” Murdoch said. He challenged the industry—which he said accounts for about half the city’s $35-billion annual tax base—to use that clout to help bankroll candidates and wrest influence in Albany from the “public employee unions” that get lawmakers elected and re-elected in what many consider the nation’s most dysfunctional state legislature.

On a more local level, Murdoch said that while he’s a longtime admirer of city schools chancellor Joel Klein, the educational process here is still marred by too many “wasteful practices” that are unaffordable in a competitive world. “The real issue is not high costs but whether it provides high value,” Murdoch said. Government, he opined, doesn’t provide that degree of value.

The chairman and CEO of News Corp., whose properties include the Wall Street Journal, the New York Post and Fox News, didn’t limit his scope to citywide or statewide politics. Turning to the race to either unseat or elect US Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, “You may have thought you’d never hear me endorse a rival publisher, but I believe Mort Zuckerman would improve that race just by his entry,” Murdoch said, referring to reports that the Boston Properties CEO and New York Daily News publisher was considering a run. “And if not Mort, then one of you.”

Asked about his predictions for the US economy, Murdoch said he expects “very, very slow growth over a long period of time.” The “uncertainty” over issues ranging from health care to taxes discourages the kind of small business growth that would accelerate the national recovery. “I have to be fairly pessimistic about that,” Murdoch said.

Nonetheless, Murdoch predicted that the US will once again become the world’s preeminent economy, although its rebound could take longer than people think. About New York City’s place in the global picture, he was more sanguine: “New York is a very good bet to remain as financial capital of the world.”

Newspapers have some of the same issues with the value of services as do cities, Murdoch said. By making their websites available to online users free of charge, “They’re giving away their most valuable commodity, which is their content,” he said. “That’s no way to do business.” In response to those who criticize Murdoch’s decision to charge for access to the WSJ website, Murdoch said, “They’re confusing cost with value.”

He confirmed what has been widely rumored for several weeks: that the WSJ will launch a New York edition in April. “I challenge you to find a story about newspapers that isn’t about reducing coverage,” said Murdoch. “Here in New York, we’re doing the opposite.” Murdoch said that while he couldn’t provide many details about the new section, “it will be full-color and it will be feisty.” He added that it will offer coverage of city and state politics, business, sports and real estate to rival that of other dailies, including the Post. “We believe competition begins at home,” Murdoch said.

Old-media though a newspaper may be, Murdoch said the new section would eventually be available for download via the iPad. “Within 12 months, there will be at least six to eight electronic devices on which you can receive newspapers as well as all other media,” he predicted.

Want to continue reading?
Become a Free ALM Digital Reader.

Once you are an ALM digital member, you’ll receive:

  • Unlimited access to GlobeSt and other free ALM publications
  • Access to 15 years of GlobeSt archives
  • Your choice of GlobeSt digital newsletters and over 70 others from popular sister publications
  • 1 free article* every 30 days across the ALM subscription network
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM events and publications

*May exclude premium content
Already have an account?


© 2023 ALM Global, LLC, All Rights Reserved. Request academic re-use from All other uses, submit a request to [email protected]. For more information visit Asset & Logo Licensing.


GlobeSt Net Lease Spring 2024Event

This conference brings together the industry's most influential & knowledgeable real estate executives from the net lease sector.

Get More Information

GlobeSt Net Lease Spring 2024Event

This conference brings together the industry's most influential & knowledgeable real estate executives from the net lease sector.

Get More Information


Join GlobeSt

Don't miss crucial news and insights you need to make informed commercial real estate decisions. Join now!

  • Free unlimited access to's trusted and independent team of experts who provide commercial real estate owners, investors, developers, brokers and finance professionals with comprehensive coverage, analysis and best practices necessary to innovate and build business.
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM and GlobeSt events.
  • Access to other award-winning ALM websites including and

Already have an account? Sign In Now
Join GlobeSt

Copyright © 2023 ALM Global, LLC. All Rights Reserved.