After a summer of silence, News Corp CEO Rupert Murdoch has piped up to say that his newest Fox News star, Glenn Beck, "was right" when he called President Obama a racist in July even if he was wrong to say it.
UPDATED WITH NEWS CORP STATEMENT BELOW
"On the racist thing, that caused a [unintelligible]," Murdoch said in an interview with his Sky News Australia over the weekend, referring to Beck's claim which seems to have been prompted by Obama's reaction to the controversial arrest of African-American scholar Henry Louis Gates.
"But [Obama] did make a very racist comment about blacks and whites and so on, which he said in his campaign he would be completely above. And that was something which perhaps shouldn't have been said about the President, but if you actually assess what he was talking about, [Beck] was right."
Beck's comment prompted an advertiser revolt, with many brands boycotting his show and directing their advertising dollars to other Fox News programs. It can also be seen as his tipping point: since July, Beck has been challenging Rush Limbaugh as the media voice of the Republican party; his ratings are up, he's made the cover of TIME magazine, he received the key to his hometown, and, this past weekend, he was even skewered on "SNL."
WATCH (discussion begins near 18:00 mark):
In the same interview, Murdoch told Sky that he may remove News Corp newspaper sites from Google searches entirely.
Monday night on MSNBC's "Countdown," Keith Olbermann named Murdoch "Worst Person in the World" for defending Beck's comment:
The progressive group Media Matters is also hammering Fox News over the comments.
UPDATE: News Corp spokesperson Gary Ginsberg has told Politico that Murdoch does not believe the president is racist.
"He does not at all, for a minute, think the president is a racist," Ginsberg told Politico.