The fun party game tonight at Michael Wolff's shindig for his Rupert Murdoch biography, The Man Who Owns the News, is going to be to see if anyone from the News Corp. orbit actually shows up. There must have been some overlap in the guest list if Murdoch had Wolff move his party to tonight so as not to conflict with last night's 40th birthday party for wife Wendi Deng. Speaking of whom, we've heard at least one crazy conspiracy theory about who might be spreading rumors about her sleeping around. As with the original rumor, we're extremely skeptical but the theory is so beautifully convoluted and Machiavellian that it's worth sharing.
This insane theory, though, goes like this: the true target of the smear isn't Wendi at all, but rather Wall Street Journal editor Robert Thomson, and one of the rising golden boys of the News Corp. empire and therefore a threat to Roger Ailes, the head of Fox News. Thomson, whose life story is uncannily similar to Rupert's, also has a Chinese wife, Wang Ping, who happens to be friends with Wendi. Thus, the damaging suggestion about Thomson would be that Ping had aided and abetted Wendi in her dalliance. The only person who'd try to pull off such a crazy scheme? Naturally, News Corp.'s resident master of dark arts and head of Fox News, Roger Ailes. Which brings us full circle back to Wolff's book, which has supposedly caused a rift between Ailes and Murdoch because it, as the New York Times reported in October, "suggests that Mr. Murdoch is at times embarrassed by Fox News, which he owns, and its chief executive, Roger Ailes, and that he often shares 'the general liberal apoplexy,' as Mr. Wolff writes in the book, toward Fox News and its perceived conservative slant."
So there you have it. A crazy theory so crazy it could be true (but probably isn't!). I'm going to head off to Wolff's party now and see if I can dig up something actually substantial. If you know anything about who's behind the Wendi rumor, please email me.