In a wide ranging interview to appear on FOX Business Network’s (FBN) CAVUTO tonight at 8PM/ET Billionaire Investor Sam Zell spoke with host Neil Cavuto about the recent sale of The Washington Post Company (NYSE:WPO) to founder and CEO of Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) Jeff Bezos. Zell said that Bezos’ political views “are not the views of the people who are writing the editorials in the Washington Post every day” and that “it’s unlikely they are going to change their views because they have a new owner.” When asked about how the newspaper business is doing, Zell said “If you are in a business that is shrinking very rapidly and inexplicably, nobody is happy.” Zell went on to discuss the economic climate of the country and the real estate market.

Sam Zell

 

Excerpts from the interview with Sam Zell below.

On Zell’s thoughts on the newspaper business shrinking:

“If you are in a business that is shrinking very rapidly and inexplicably, nobody is happy.  I wasn’t happy.”

 

On what Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) CEO Jeff Bezos can look forward to:

“Jeff Bezos may view this as an eleemosynary investment. And that he’s doing this for the good  of the country and that he thinks The Washington Post is a pillar of intellectual community and maybe it is.”

 

On whether Jeff Bezos’ political views will affect the Washington Post:

“His views are not the views of the people who are writing the editorials in the Washington Post every day and it’s unlikely they are going to change their views because they have a new owner.”

 

On his opinions of newspaper journalist being greedy:

“There is this, you know, this illusion that they’re doing — they and Lloyd Blankfein are doing God’s work, you know, and therefore, if you’re doing God’s work, you should get a pass on economic reality, you should get a pass when revenue goes down 30 percent, instead of lowering the head count, you should maybe increase it.”

 

On why it is a problem that some newspaper journalist are greedy:

“The problem comes down to some great philosopher, I think it was Confucius who said never pick a fight with a guy who buys ink by the barrel…that’s what I thought, that’s what Jeff Bezos thinks. What I found out and what he is going to find out is he doesn’t own the barrel.”

 

On the “fake” unemployment number:

“Well, I think you got to start with this fake unemployment number we keep using, which the unemployment number of those people who claim that they’re still looking for a job.  But there’s an equal number of people who claim they’ve stopped looking for a job… The problem we have in America and around the world today is that there’s a lot of supply and there’s not enough demand.  And we need to focus not on redistribution of wealth; we need to focus on the creation of demand that ultimately is what will create better times for everybody, better jobs for everybody and a better future for the entire country.”

 

On what he thinks the unemployment number really is in America:

“It’s 15 percent, 16 percent.”

On the commercial real estate market:
“I think that commercial real estate, first of all, I think your description of it is a little extreme.  I don’t think it’s been so terrific…I was going to say it’s really been terrific in New York City… really been terrific in San Francisco and a couple of other markets.”

On whether the commercial real estate market is better than the residential market:

“Well, that’s like comparing leprosy to cancer. I wouldn’t want to use the hot residential market for the last five years as a standard for anything. But I think that if you look at the multifamily market, that’s done extraordinarily well, a function of the fact that we’re not building new houses.”

On immigration reform:
“I mean, my cause is that this country was built by immigration.  The strength and the uniqueness of America is all about immigration.  If we do not continue that immigration policy, if we do not continue to make this a welcome place to the world, our society will suffer accordingly.”