Michael Wolff: He Used to Have a Mustache, And Credibility

"The scandalous elements of a man having an affair seem to escape me." That is Michael Wolff, talking about himself. We think some of the aggregated headlines over at his news website Sploid Newser might help enlighten him!

Oh but that is just one of the eye-shuttening comments from the famous shouty internet guy and former important talker-about-powerful-people in this wonderful WWD profile of Wolff.

Wolff used to be a beloved and serious New York magazine writer and book author. (This amazing portrait of Wolff as a young porn star dates to the 1979 publication of his serious novel about disaffected '70s youth.) And now he runs a website, and is sometimes on Page Six because he had an affair with an intern. No matter, though! He was right, back in the day, that newspapers and magazines were in trouble. But nowadays he tends to be wrong about things much more often than he is right, and in fact he does not really seem to care about being "right" so much as he cares about GRABBING SOME EYEBALLS. The internet has destroyed him again!

For him, grabbing eyeballs in an accelerated, competitive news cycle has meant the cheap high of a provocative headline and choosing a hot-button subject based on its momentary buzz, not on whether he has an argument about it. And if he lacks the command he had when opining on New York power players, well, the old days of cocktail party chatter as feedback are mostly gone. The noisy post on David Carr got 1,000 pageviews, but "Is Barack Obama a Bore?" got 80,000. That few care as much about the media as it cares about itself is now measurable.

He would've gotten 800,000 views if he'd written "Is Barack Obama a Muslim Bore." Does he know?

Critics point out that even as Wolff is dancing on newspapers' graves, Newser relies on their content. He responds the site is increasingly relying on native online sources like Politico, though it overwhelmingly features newspaper content summarized by paid writers.

And, hey, what is Politico again? It is a money-losing website attached to a possibly profitable little local newspaper. Not that you would know this if you read his Vanity Fair piece about how revolutionary Politico is. The one that ran months after Wolff said no one cared about Politico and it would never make money. We guess over the course of a couple months he came to see how good they were at grabbing eyeballs with provocative headlines and such!

These days, Wolff lives in the East Village, and he doesn't have a doorman anymore, and he is rude to waitstaff, which is actually pretty much unforgivably assholish, we don't care what you wrote.