Friday, July 06, 2007

Wendi Deng and the great scrote-meister

Eric Gills' 10,000-word profile of Mrs Rupert Murdoch - alias Wendi Deng - and how both Good Weekend magazine and The Guardian spiked it - has been well covered by various media such as Private Eye and Crikey. For a thorough update click here.

It's always fun to catch the mainstream media lying through their teeth. Take The Guardian, for example. The mystery here is not why they decided not to run the piece but why they considered doing so in the first place. The Guardian has for years run fawning pieces on Murdoch: its MediaGuardian site is a petri dish of wildly ambitious graduates who dress up their Murdoch job applications as News International news and analyses, hoping to be noticed by the great scrote-meister. Was it ever likely that this newspaper would run anything upsetting to Murdoch?

The flavour of Gills' piece is to be got from this short excerpt in which Andrew Neil shares his view of Wendi:

“‘There is no one in [News Corporation] with Rupert’s vision or breadth of interest,’ warns Andrew Neil, a former senior Murdoch employee … ‘Wendi has two young kids to look after, but everybody’s view is that she is biding her time. She keeps her hand in as to what is going on. He’s very close to her. Everybody expects to see her as a rising player. From everything I hear about her, underestimating her would be very foolish, particularly in a post-Rupert world. She’ll want to be there when the [company] carve-up happens, and she’s got two kids who are increasingly being cut in to the post-Rupert pie,’ says Neil.”

Ellis writes of her:

"If she is assuming a grander role for herself at News, can Wendi deliver China to her husband? [Former Star CEO] Gary Davey says that at the very least she’d be an improvement on her predecessors. Over the years, he explains, News has been inundated with fixers, influence-brokers and spruikers promising riches in China but not delivering. ‘We’d have two or three a day,’ he remembers, ‘members of the politburo who’d show up with their hands out. It was just revolting. It’s all very well having the connections and the guanxi [influence] and all of that nonsense, but most of the guys who are in that racket wouldn’t have a bloody clue about how to run a business.’ Wendi is different, Davey says, bringing to the role an understanding of the culture and language, and also ‘really intense business nous, one of the missing pieces of the China puzzle’."

Not exactly Kitty Kelley stuff; more Tina Brown division. The entire piece is published in Australian magazine, The Monthly. Meanwhile, the great scrote-meister snaps up the Wall Street Journal. I doubt it will be re-running its own damaging Deng profile of a few years back.

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