Serving on a panel with Indian businessman Ratan Tata and The New York Times financier Carlos Slim yesterday, the News Corp. CEO suggested that the failings of political conversation rest on the shoulders of Governor David Paterson.
The question, directed to Murdoch at the Wall Street Journal CEO Council, asked about restoring a level of bipartisanship to political dialog, according to Gawker.
Q: "How do we bring more civil discourse to the discussion, and stop appealing to the populists on the right and the left?"
Murdoch replied "Look at New York state ... it's unbelievable. The Congress there -- the state Assembly and the Senate-- are totally incompetent with a governor, who is a very nice, honest man, who can't -- who is blind and cannot read Braille and doesn't really know what is going on."
Are you scratching your head?
The video was initially posted on a Wall Street Journal blog, but has since been taken down. The governor's office didn't immediately return a call for comment.
Paterson didn't comment on Murdoch's words from yesterday, but he did address the issue in an old interview with NBC New York. In March, The New York Post, which Murdoch also owns, ran an editorial that suggested the governor's blindness "constricted his ability to acquire basic information."
At the time, the governor said, "No one has ever accused me of being unprepared for any interview or any presentation that I ever made ... The only material that was used to come to that determination was my disability. They didn't just indict me. They indicted millions of people around this country."
Murdoch isn't the only one to say that Paterson's blindness affects his ability to do his job. State Sen. Diane Savino, a Democrat, went on the offensive in an August interview with the Staten Island Advance.
"We live in a digital age now, with e-mailing and Blackberrying. He is not able to do that because of his visual impairment. David cannot do those things," Savino told the paper. "Also, he does not read Braille. He has people reading newspapers to him. He listens to tapes of staffers briefing him. All that takes an enormous amount of time. As a result, he is not able to respond on the fly the way [former Gov. Eliot] Spitzer or even [former Gov. George] Pataki could. In some ways I think that has hindered him, in spite of everything he has accomplished in life."
NBC's "Saturday Night Live" took aim at the governor's disability twice on its "Weekend Update" mock news segments -- most recently in September after President Barack Obama suggested he not run for governor next year.