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Friday 14 June 2013

Murdoch Rumour Mill Adopts Familiar Tone

[Update at end of post]

Not for the first time recently, the Mail is asking about affairs: “What is the 'jaw-dropping' reason Rupert Murdoch is divorcing Wendi? Twitter awash with speculation over break-up of media mogul's third marriage” screams the recently amended headline, following the pitching of a most interesting name into the media Speculatron, although the Mail does not mention this.
Someone doesn't like this line of questioning

The rush to find some kind of credibly large presence behind Rupe’s decision to file for divorce from his third wife was fuelled, with all the subtlety of someone dropping a gallon of unleaded onto a bonfire, by the Beeb’s Business Editor Robert Peston, who Tweeted “Am also told that undisclosed reasons for Murdoch divorcing Deng are jaw-dropping - & hate myself for wanting to know what they are”.

Michael Wolff, of Vanity Fair and the deeply subversive Guardian among other publications – and a biographer of Murdoch – has also been stirring the pot during the day, Tweeting “I'm hearing the WHY, the big reveal, the scandal details, could come tomorrow ... Rumor about the big B is everywhere except in print”. That’s a suitably unsubtle hint for everyone, then.

And, despite the reticence of even the Mail – given that the B concerned is one of Paul Dacre’s all-time biggest hate figures – sources Stateside were quick to take their cue from Wolff’s Tweet, add two and two, and get the answer Tony Blair, whose office promptly assertedIf you are asking if they are having an affair, the answer is no”, which does not exactly cover all the bases.

Wolff observed “Tony Blair has denied an affair with Wendi Murdoch, so open discussion officially begins”, while the rest of the press pack noted that the present tense of the statement did not exclude something happening in the past. Murdoch watcher Mark Colvin wondered if he was being “Too cynical”. Well, whatever the cynicism level, this story is now off and running.

Or at least it is in the USA. Wolff did not exactly move to dampen the speculation when he observed “Tony Blair gossip trending not receding with absolute denial”. Well, if there is any substance in the rumour, one reaction to watch could be that of Cherie Booth: anyone who thought that Bozza’s wife Marina throwing him out of the house over his dalliances was severe might find this instructive.

Cherie is not only a highly intelligent women, and an equally high powered lawyer, but not backward in coming forward: as Pa Broon found out, she is given to plain speaking and forthright opinion. So don’t just look for developments Stateside and chez Rupe, but also from her. The rumour could, of course, die a death, but right now it looks like something else is about to catch alight.

It could be an interesting weekend ahead for “jaw dropping” reasons. Stay tuned!

[UPDATE 15 June 1645 hours: the Mail has now decided that it's going to mention Blair, telling readers "Tony Blair denies affair with Wendi Deng as outrageous rumours sweep the internet over reason for Murdoch divorce". So outrageous that the Mail put them on the front page of today's print edition.

"The internet was awash with unfounded suggestions" howls the Mail, perhaps unaware that rumours are unfounded suggestions (there's a clue in the name). It goes on "The rumours are understood to have been emphatically rejected by Blair aides as untrue and also as highly defamatory". No legal action has yet been launched, and certainly nothing involving Michael Wolff, so draw your own conclusions.

The Mirror, on the other hand, notes that Wolff has aired the possibility that "the big reveal" could come very soon. Both papers refer back to Robert Peston's Twitter feed, but he didn't name anyone. Has one of the Sundays got something lined up? There won't be long to wait]


Unknown said...

For every Marina Johnson there is also a Hilary Clinton who hasn't thrown Bill out despite a myriad of opportunities.

Unknown said...

Marina Johnson might have thrown Boris out, but Hilary never did despite the myriad of opportunities Bill gave her to.

Anonymous said...

I guess Sally Bercow won't be tweeting about it.

Richard T said...

This isn't the Mail's earth shattering scandal of a couple of weeks back is it?

Tim Fenton said...


No it isn't, although from what I've heard, both affairs have a major business figure in common. Allegedly.