Hold Nose, Get Long News Corp. Despite Rupert Murdoch, 'Fox News'
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- I never rule out going back to school.
Between undergraduate and graduate school, I spent about six and a half years entrenched in academia. By and large, those years were some of the greatest and most satisfying of my life.
I am all for self-education, but there's nothing like participating in the exchange of ideas that happens in the classroom.
The political wackos have it all wrong, by the way.
I attended one of the nation's most "liberal" universities, San Francisco State, for four and a half years. I also attended the University of California, Irvine, which is situated in conservative Orange County, for two. At both institutions, professors bent over backwards to not only air, but respect views from conservative students to ensure diverse and meaningful dialogue.
If I ever go back, I'll likely take up graduate study in a discipline where I can focus on investor psychology. That doesn't seem like a very political area, but, in many ways, it's inherently political.
I can envision a dissertation such as Do Politics Influence the Stock Picks of Retail and Institutional Investors?
At all levels -- from individuals to professional fund managers -- sociopolitical conviction, to varying degrees, absolutely enters the picture when selecting investments.
Can you get long a company's stock despite your sociopolitical disdain for the way it operates, something some segment of it does or somebody or something it directly or indirectly associates itself with?
Most recently, we had to endure the seemingly senile ramblings of former General Electric (NYSE:GE) Chairman and CEO Jack Welch. You know, his inane Tweet that Obama's boys rig the jobs numbers that come out of Washington.
Even if Welch still had the faculties to run GE, I would consider owning the stock. It's a fine company. Among other things, I love that GE has a 49% stake in Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA)-controlled NBCUniversal.
For similar reasons, (explained in this article), I am long News Corp. (NASDAQ:NWSA). In fact, for a small-time guy, I own a considerable position: 950 shares at a cost basis of $24.57.
Almost across the board, NWSA makes a wonderful investment. And, now that it's set to spin off its woefully performing publishing arm, cue up my favorite Wall Street analyst cliche: The move will unlock value for shareholders.
While he can be a charming fellow (saw him do a nice enough interview on CNBC a few weeks back), News Corp. top dog Rupert Murdoch ultimately will share rice pudding, afternoon bridge games and early-evening reruns of The Jeffersons with Welch.
You really have to hold your nose to own a company run by a guy who has a hard time with impulse control and management of his Twitter feed.
I probably can be OK owning NWSA, in spite of Murdoch, because, believe it or not, when it comes to politics, I'm pretty much indifferent and agnostic.
I dislike the demeanor and antics of the MSNBC crew almost as much as I do Fox News.
I might be part of an emerging trend here, but I get most of the election and political news I don't find online from CNBC. The network has done an excellent job broadening its scope while staying true to its focus on the stock market.
Maybe this middle ground that I ride justifies ownership of NWSA and a willingness to own, even though I do not, CMCSA/GE.
Because if Chick-fil-A were a public company, there's no way I could bring myself to buy a share. I guess it gets too personal for me at that point.
Maybe that's where the line gets drawn.
I can own a substantial position in NWSA because, at day's end, Fox News will do what it does. Rachel Maddow will as well so, if the time is right, I'll buy CMCSA.
Ultimately, I guess the 24-hour news cycle just doesn't bother me enough. Plus, both companies are much bigger than the sum of their parts.
When you buy NWSA, you get a heck of a lot more than Fox News; you get major professional sports contracts, loads of other cable networks, international content delivery systems and studio entertainment among a whole slew of other less controversial and politically motivated holdings.
Same goes for CMCSA. Why let a mild disdain for MSNBC keep you away from a company loaded with marquee talent, networks and, like Fox, crucial sports programming?
But directly mess with people I love like Chick-fil-A did and all bets are off. I could never justify, rationalize, whatever you want to call, it being a shareholder.
Would love to see some constructive discussion in the comments as well as at my Twitter feed (@rocco_thestreet) and TheStreet's Twitter feed (@TheStreet) on how you marry the sociopolitical with your portfolio.
At the time of publication, Rocco Pendola was long NWSA.