'Rupert Murdoch Is Becoming a Liberal'

Mogul held secret meeting with Obama to negotiate a truce: Wolff

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Sep 2, 2008 9:00 AM CDT

(Newser) – Rupert Murdoch isn't what you've been told, Michael Wolff writes in Vanity Fair. He's not a destroyer of journalism—he is perhaps the last great lover of newspapers. And he’s actually turning liberal. Yes, he’s still a free-marketeer, but Murdoch has been seduced by his second wife’s liberal social circle, and "the angry outsider, the anti-elitist" is becoming one of them. Which explains why he overpaid for the Wall Street Journal and fantasizes obsessively about buying the New York Times.

Murdoch hosted a secret meeting with Barack Obama this summer, including a face-to-face with Fox chief Roger Ailes, which started acrimoniously but ended in a “tentative truce," writes Wolff.  After spending 9 months interviewing the mogul for an upcoming book, Wolff finds him the opposite of the corporate man—"maybe the last troublemaker in the holier-than-thou, ethically straitjacketed news business." But he thinks Murdoch is actually becoming embarrassed by Fox, his former alter ego.

News Corporation chairman Rupert Murdoch gestures during the launch of Dow Jones India Titans 30 in Mumbai, India, Monday, Aug. 4, 2008.
News Corporation chairman Rupert Murdoch gestures during the launch of Dow Jones India Titans 30 in Mumbai, India, Monday, Aug. 4, 2008.   (AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade)
Rupert Murdoch arrives at the News Corp. building in New York Wednesday morning Aug. 1, 2007.
Rupert Murdoch arrives at the News Corp. building in New York Wednesday morning Aug. 1, 2007.   (AP Photo/David Karp)
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He’s a troublemaker—maybe the last troublemaker in the holier-than-thou, ethically straitjacketed news business. - Michael Wolff, Vanity Fair

Fox has been his alter ego. And yet now the embarrassment can’t be missed—he mumbles even more than usual when called on to justify it. - Michael Wolff, Vanity Fair

I was warned about his charm by many other journalists—warned not to fall victim to it. So the surprise was his lack of it. - Michael Wolff, Vanity Fair

The angry outsider, the anti-elitist, has become part of the achieving, glamorous, clever, socially promiscuous set. Davos, Cannes, Sun Valley, Barry Diller’s yacht—this is now Rupert Murdoch’s world. -

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