The Man Who Owns the News, Michael Wolff's aggressively teased, halfheartedly disputed biography of News Corp. (NASDAQ:NWS) chairman Rupert Murdoch, is out Tuesday, and it's generating plenty of headlines...
NY Times: Critic Janet Maslin wasn't impressed with what she found to be Wolff's "supercilious yet star-struck portrait" of Murdoch. "If Mr. Wolff envisioned this book...as anything outside its subject's control, he underestimated his already larger-than-life subject's gifts as a control freak....[H]is nose remains pressed against the glass."
The Age: On the contrary, says Wolff, if the book fails to offer deep insights into Murdoch's character, it's because there are no depths to be probed. "He is skin deep. You can just see him looking around. When you speak to him you cannot get him to analyse his motivations, because he can't. You cannot get him to think or talk with any kind of historical perspective."
Wolff also says the claim that Murdoch wanted to buy The Wall Street Journal in part to create synergies with Fox Business Network is "[t]otally made up. I mean, Rupert doesn't even know what else is in Dow Jones."
MediaFile: Murdoch's resistance to reflection is, if not his greatest strength, then at least the quality that has defined his career, says Wolff. "[People say] this is a man who we think is a control freak and a visionary and who has had this very clear plan of dominance, and I find that not to be true at all. This is a company that has been built over more than 50 years with very little vision. It was a series of opportunities. ... I found him to be the ultimate city editor. Whatever happened yesterday is gone."
Politico: The New York Times is disputing a claim in Wolff's account that aggressive mau-mauing by News Corp. PR caused the paper to cut short a planned investigative series on Murdoch. Also, Michael Calderone notes that, per Wolff, both Murdoch and Fox News chairman Roger Ailes "loathe" Bill O'Reilly.