OFF THE GRID

Can Obama Save the Media?

Nov 6, 08 | 8:30 AM   byMichael Wolff

The Obama election is the kind of event that seems to have restored people's interest in the news and, even, in newspapers. Obama may even represent a sort of front page last hurrah, with people lining up at newsstands across the country for their keepsake editions. (In one of my discussions with Rupert Murdoch during the primary season , Murdoch said sagely and approvingly about Obama: "He'll sell more papers.")  Obama is an opportunity that could revivify the media business. The Herald Sun in Melbourne, Australia (a Murdoch paper), spent yesterday...
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Cool-Cat Obama Controls His Moment

Nov 5, 08 | 9:17 AM   byMichael Wolff

The nation may have awakened, in Thomas Friedman's estimation, to a "different country," but it took an incredibly boring election night to get there (and an occasionally ridiculous one —i.e. the CNN hologram). There's a reality gap between cool-cat Obama's doubtless victory and this nattering about catharsis and historic transformation—a veritable end to the American Civil War, according to a fumfering and credulous Friedman (people really will say anything the morning after). (AP Photo) This is the JFK moment, the historic passing...
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Oprah Police Hand It to Obama

Nov 4, 08 | 4:51 PM   byMichael Wolff

For a long time I resisted Obama because of Oprah . If Obama won, Oprah's early and passionate endorsement would deserve a big piece of the credit. An Obama presidency would make her bigger than ... well, there would be no limits on her bigness. What would it be like, I wondered, to live in a nation where it would be easier to desecrate the flag than to object to Oprah? Indeed, it wasn't my distaste for Oprah that I found so bothersome, but that it was so necessary to keep the fact that she makes my skin crawl secret—because any hint of Oprah nausea so clearly suggests...
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Murdoch's 'Post' Sorry for Big O Blunder

Nov 4, 08 | 9:27 AM   byMichael Wolff

Murdoch's New York Post has an Obama coronation cover today. "BRINK OF HISTORY" the headline reads. This is unusual because the Post endorsed McCain just after the Republican convention, an oddly early point in the campaign cycle for an endorsement. Most often, when a Murdoch publication makes an endorsement it is little bothered by reality. A more traditional Post headline would be something like: "HERO'S LAST STAND" (if it chose to acknowledge the polls) or "MCCAIN CHARGES UP THE HILL." What happened is that Murdoch and...
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NYT's Neocon Is Fading Fast

Nov 3, 08 | 9:22 AM   byMichael Wolff

New York Times columnist and neocon exemplar William Kristol was supposed to provide liberal Times readers with a window into canny conservative thinking. Instead, it's a window into just how mad the right-wing is going. It's a delicious, and compelling, desperation. Today's contortion acknowledges tomorrow's all but inevitable Obama victory, and yet spends the next 640 (out of 700) words reassuring liberals that John McCain will be a reasonable president. (AP Photo) These are 640 irrelevant words, save for what they reveal about...
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To Predict the Market Bottom, Look to Media's U-Turn

Oct 31, 08 | 9:49 AM   byMichael Wolff

The major concern about the fiscal crisis for business reporters and commentators is that, perhaps even more than economists, bankers, and politicians, they don't know what they're talking about. This is one reason why the phrase most-serious-financial-meltdown-since-the-Great Depression , a benchmark that means absolutely nothing, has been used so often. It's merely to say: seems that it could be very bad, but we don't have the learnin' to actually say how bad. It's now been three months of catch-up, of the business press trying to get as smart as...
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Sarah Palin Is Your Future

Oct 30, 08 | 9:43 AM   byMichael Wolff

Sarah Palin, bedeviling her handlers, isn't the nail in the heart of the McCain campaign as much as she is the creation of a new American personality. Her failure is a huge success. There is enormous upside in finding yourself a national joke. Ridicule converts easily to affection. This is the peculiar result of this campaign: a young black president, and an even younger woman leading the opposition. (AP Image)   Nobody can be more surprised about this development than John McCain, that he would be reduced by her, and that she would be the contrast...
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Big Bucks Blair Should Have Taught His Pal a Few Tricks

Oct 29, 08 | 3:00 PM   byMichael Wolff

Blair's $20 million take in his first year out of office, trumping even the master of after-office spoils, Bill Clinton, changes the economics of politics and leadership. Who wouldn't want that kind of money? At such levels, every major world political figure is going to be calculating his or her ultimate return. Indeed, the market place obviously establishes your real value as a politician, not the voters. George Bush, surely, is not going to be good for that kind of dough. (AP Photo)   Such prospects of such vast sums may have a distinctly salubrious...
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"Fragile" Edwards Can't Live Without the Light

Oct 29, 08 | 10:35 AM   byMichael Wolff

Elizabeth Edwards may be a serious woman, as well as a wronged one. But her public re-emergence without a wedding band has as much to do with the existential nature of politics, as it does with her ostensible commitment to heath care. Having your husband publicly cheat on you may be hard, but life without the spotlight may be harder.  Indeed, everything would reasonably argue against Elizabeth Edwards' return to the spotlight. Having to relive the humiliation of her husband's affair, having to endure the constant public examination of her body ("Her hair has...
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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.