The surprise attack by Senator John McCain on Rupert Murdoch’s ambition to acquire DirecTV – a “consolidation of power” likened by the Senator to William Randolph Hurst [WAMN: 10-May-01] – has been played down by the media mogul.

Displaying unusual chutzpah, Murdoch described the hostile Senator, who chairs the powerful Senate Commerce Committee, as “a friend”.

In an interview with CNBC, the tycoon claims he told McCain: “This is ridiculous. I can't even believe you said this, because look at AOL Time Warner. We're a fraction of the size of that and indeed, look at CBS Viacom.

To which appeal, said Murdoch, McCain responded: 'I haven't any view at all. I just -- it's a size we should really have a look at, and we look at all these things

Erstwhile Australian Murdoch is sensitive to the impact of the Senator’s remarks on NewsCorp’s stock market price in his country of birth. He is also at pains to mollify hostile US opinion by portraying the deal as an intended “merger with DirecTV” rather than an attempt to “get” it.

News source: Wall Street Journal