OFF THE GRID

Who Are the People Who Think the President Is a Muslim?

Aug 25, 10 | 6:50 AM   byMichael Wolff

They think Obama is a Muslim … because he is the color of one? Because his father, however much of a no-show, was one? Because there is some ascetic sense about the president that seems to indicate he has the self-discipline of a Muslim? (Americans seem to believe teetotaling and much-praying Muslims have a lot of self-discipline.) Because the land is ripe with conspiracy theories? Because Fox News keeps suggesting it might be true? Because Americans are stupid? All of the above? I haven’t yet seen a demographic rundown of the large and growing number of Americans who think he’s...
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Afghanistan: The Taliban and Pakistanis? The President Should Be Worried About the Democrats

Aug 24, 10 | 8:00 AM   byMichael Wolff

The mid-term election is going to be very bad for the Democrats, with one or both houses lost (oh, let’s just say it). And the war in Afghanistan is going to get worse—more lethal, more baroque, more no-exit, with less chance of explaining any of it. In a constant or desperate effort to secure moderate and independent support (and not be called a Muslim himself), the president is going to continue to pursue it, to sink deeper into it, and to put his name on it. So it’s not too early to start asking: What is the likelihood that he is going to face a challenge in his own...
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Mosque Rage Is About Rupert Murdoch and News Corp.

Aug 23, 10 | 8:02 AM   byMichael Wolff

Frank Rich neatly traces the entire brouhaha about the near-Ground Zero Islamic center back to Fox News and the New York Post. I can attest to the obsession inside of Murdoch’s News Corp. about Muslims. I’ve had conversations with Murdoch in which he, in pseudo-scientific fashion, parses the problem with Muslim intelligence (in brief, they marry their cousins), and conversations with Roger Ailes about the great Islamic plot to bring the terror war to his house in New Jersey. In other words, all this stuff out of News Corp. is the real, unfiltered thing: retro, primitive,...
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Who’s Really Giving Away Rupert Murdoch’s Money?

Aug 19, 10 | 8:05 AM   byMichael Wolff

The notable thing about Rupert Murdoch donating a million bucks to the Republican Governors Association is not that he’s risking general censure and opprobrium with this donation, but that he’s donating money at all. Murdoch hates the idea of giving away money for nothing. The simple public relations idea of courting goodwill by donating an infinitesimal part of your wealth to a charity of your choice is anathema to Murdoch. He thinks the rich guys who do it are phonies. He’s always irritated with his 102-year-old mother for supporting Australian charities—in this regard...
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Here’s Why Dilbert Loves Newser

Aug 18, 10 | 7:37 AM   byMichael Wolff

It’s often a bitch to explain new media. None of this stuff makes much sense if you don’t use it—and if you resist it. It’s as irritating as it is opaque. Technology in the way it reduces and simplifies is, let’s face it, vulgar. I usually explain Newser by saying, in more highfalutin language, there’s all this free stuff out there, it’s crazy not to use it (key the harrumphing of the traditional news community, who believe I’m a bastardizer, opportunist, and thief). I wish I could explain it better. I’m grateful that Scott Adams—Dilbert’s...
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The New New York Times: Its Columnist Makes the Case for Ethnic Hegemony

Aug 17, 10 | 8:01 AM   byMichael Wolff

Continued mockery of the New York Times’ Ross Douthat could get tiresome, but for now it’s irresistible. The entire genre of old fogey young guys who’ve become sputtering conservatives has not, I’d argue, been given its due. Perhaps, because the neocons have led us into war, we’ve been forced to take them seriously. What’s more, many of the neocons are old and wily, and capable of great political knife work, so had better be taken seriously. But here’s this new generation. These are not just foolish young men, but caricatures—pants-pulled-up-too-high...
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Once Again Into the Breach: Rupert Murdoch Dreams of a Digital Newspaper

Aug 16, 10 | 7:42 AM   byMichael Wolff

First, the really big news in the LA Times story about Rupert Murdoch’s plan to start an all new national newspaper for the iPad and mobile devices: The picture shows that he’s not dyeing his hair anymore. The orange (or sometimes aubergine) is gone. One of the things Murdoch is said to have most disliked in my book about him is that I made fun of his terrible dye jobs. Now his hair is all white and cut short, just like…well, mine. Then, a central point that should not be forgotten when Murdoch talks about newspapers and his vision for them in America: He’s...
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What Rich Person Should You Vote For?

Aug 12, 10 | 7:59 AM   byMichael Wolff

Who would you choose if you had to choose? Meg Whitman or Linda McMahon ? The white-shoe MBA or the vulgarian and rapscallion entrepreneur? The upcoming election may establish the standards for rich people seeking political office . There is a slew of different sort of richies running. But in essence they break down to the self-made and the handsomely paid. I’m betting the self-made, no matter how vulgarian and rapscallion, have a shot—there is some deep, sentimental, even amused affection for these gamblers and rogues. Michael Bloomberg is the model and, all in all, it...
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I’ll Say the Unsayable About Apple

Aug 11, 10 | 7:40 AM   byMichael Wolff

Ahem… Yes. Well. But how to exactly say it? Difficult. Even though I’m not the only one saying it. In fact, the news value here is that this is the thing that many people at esteemed levels of the media and technology business are saying to each other. It’s the smart-money scuttlebutt. It hadn’t even occurred to me until one particular blunt-speaking son-of-a-bitch in an exalted position said it to me. But as soon as he said it, I thought, what have I been thinking? I am, apparently, as susceptible to the illusion of the emperor’s new clothes as anyone...
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Gay Marriage: What Do We Really Mean?

Aug 10, 10 | 7:32 AM   byMichael Wolff

The New York Times, in its constant effort to stay ahead of the heckling of the right wing, hired the 31-year-old Ross Douthat to be its No. 2 conservative columnist, after David Brooks, a bit more than a year ago, and almost nobody has taken notice of him since. It is not that his conservatism makes him invisible, but that he is so mealy-mouthed. The man-boy must be desperate to be liked or afraid of his own shadow or steadfast in his desire not to insult anybody and keep his job. Possibly, no one has ever read an entire Ross Douthat column. But I read yesterday’s about...
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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.