OFF THE GRID

What Do We Do With Barack Obama?

Sep 30, 10 | 8:02 AM   byMichael Wolff

Who likes the president? Rich Democrats aren’t coughing up anymore , the Times reports. The Goldman Sachs crowd has dropped him cold. His inside circle can’t seem to get out of the White House fast enough. Approval ratings suck. Other Democratic politicians don’t want him on the campaign trail. Black people have, apparently, soured on him , too. The people in the backyards he’s visiting don’t seem very happy about having them in their backyards. Obviously anybody the least right-of-center finds him anathema. Who’s left? There...
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Politicians Are Babies

Sep 29, 10 | 7:56 AM   byMichael Wolff

In the UK, there are the Miliband brothers, David and Ed. Both brothers—who, by all reports, have been particularly close—held senior positions in the last Labour government. After the defeat of Gordon Brown, and his resignation as party leader, each Miliband brother decided he ought to be leader. David, at 45, the older of the two, and in government longer, was supposed to have the edge. Ed, at 41, was the upstart. It does seem obvious: We shouldn’t vote for anybody who would run against his own brother. No doubt this is what at least David, the frontrunner, thought...
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Even I Can’t Change CNN

Sep 28, 10 | 9:05 AM   byMichael Wolff

I am waiting for Ken Jautz to take me to lunch. Jautz is the new head of CNN. I helped get him his job. I wrote a column in the August issue of Vanity Fair asking why his predecessor, Jon Klein, who had seen CNN’s ratings fall, still had his.   I answered the question in a way that, I understand, senior executives at Time Warner, CNN’s parent company, seemed to find sensible and accurate: Klein hadn’t been fired because CNN, despite its weak primetime ratings, was still making lots of money and nobody wanted anybody to do very much with it.   Still,...
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Warren Beatty’s Daughter: The Media Is Kind and Gentle—Or Carefully Controlled

Sep 23, 10 | 8:06 AM   byMichael Wolff

I missed the story about Warren Beatty’s 18-year-old daughter planning to have a sex-change operation. Beatty’s wife, Annette Bening, apparently canceled many of her appearances related to the movie The Kids Are All Right when it opened this summer because of her own family issues. Bening is said to be supporting her daughter; Beatty himself is distraught and opposed to his daughter’s decision. I could have read this in the New York Post’s Page Six a few weeks ago, but I missed it. The Post could have picked this up from the National Enquirer...
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Could Carl Paladino Really Win?

Sep 22, 10 | 8:06 AM   byMichael Wolff

The biggest fight in politics is between the norm and something else. There’s official, socialized, dress-for-success, acceptable manners, know-all-the-right-people stuff, and then there’s the other—the uncouth. There’s Andrew Cuomo and then there’s Carl Paladino. The latter is a rude, nasty, semi-literate seeming buffoon. The former has, at various points in his career, been considered rude and nasty, but never a buffoon. Now he is smooth and controlled. In fact, one of his big career accomplishments is to have become smooth and controlled. So it must...
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Hacking Scandal: Murdoch to Blair—Help!

Sep 21, 10 | 8:07 AM   byMichael Wolff

A British banker once described for me what happened when Rupert Murdoch decided to make then-31-year-old son James the CEO of BSkyB, the UK satellite television company managed by News Corp. but in which it holds only a minority stake. (News Corp. is now trying to buy all of BSkyB.) There was a huge and predictable cry from other shareholders that Murdoch was autocratically imposing his son on the company. It was a tense moment in which the younger Murdoch might have been turned out and News Corp.’s grip on BSkyB loosened. But then Rupert started working the phones—one of his...
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Murdoch’s Hacking Scandal: It’s the Story That Keeps Giving     

Sep 20, 10 | 7:57 AM   byMichael Wolff

Luck, power, sheer fortitude, and a brilliant network of partisans and flunkies are the elements that protect the rich and powerful from being brought down by the large and small crimes that have made them rich and powerful, or by the ironies and poetic justice that inevitably level them, too. Nobody has had more luck, power, and fortitude, nor has put together a greater network of the cowed and owing than Rupert Murdoch. He has survived near-bankruptcy, countless business blunders of staggering proportions, a kidnapping attempt, a messy personal life, and, as well, one of the most counterintuitive...
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Can Anybody Be President?

Sep 16, 10 | 7:59 AM   byMichael Wolff

The conventional wisdom of this year’s politics has been that the wealthy, rather en masse, were going to buy their place in Congress and in state houses around the country. This is the Michael Bloomberg effect. But the poor and shiftless are doing very well, too. Christine O’Donnell, the surprise winner of the Republican Senate primary in Delaware, earned $5,800 this year and defaulted on her mortgage, the New York Times reports. Curiously, one positive argument about wealthy candidates—again, it’s the Michael Bloomberg argument—has been that...
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Was Last Night Good for Sarah Palin?

Sep 15, 10 | 6:56 AM   byMichael Wolff

“Every leading Delaware Republican knows that Christine O'Donnell is way out of the mainstream,” is how her Democratic opponent, Chris Coons, happily analyzed the Senate primary victory of the Tea Party-supported, and anti-masturbation, candidate O’Donnell. Well, that’s the question: What’s the mainstream? It does seem that everybody, including Karl Rove, believes that the Palin-backed O’Donnell isn’t in it. But how far out of it is she? Rick Lazio, himself rather far from the theoretical mainstream of New York voters, but an uncontroversial...
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Rupertgate: The Loyalists Bark Back

Sep 14, 10 | 7:53 AM   byMichael Wolff

I’m sorry, as you might have noticed, I just can’t get enough of the U.K.-Murdoch phone hacking story. For one thing, Rupert Murdoch is as up against it as he ever has been, save for the moment in the early 1990s when he almost went broke. For another, it touches that most sensitive spot of any UK politician or journalist, many of whom I’m pleased to call my friends: just what exactly they owe Murdoch or fear about him. Nobody for so long has so much pervaded and colored and upended the media and politics of Britain as has Murdoch. In politics and media and Britain,...
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OFF THE GRID is about why the news is the news. Here are the real motivations of both media and newsmakers. Here's the backstory. This is a look at the inner workings of desperate media, the inner life of the publicity crazed, and the true meaning of the news of the day.

 

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