Gary Ginsberg, the chief flack and token leftie at News Corp., is leaving his job, the New York Times reports. The move doesn't come as a huge surprise, but signals that Rupert Murdoch may be doubling down on unhinged anti-Obamaism.
Ginsberg was the genius who convinced Murdoch to cooperate with biographer/scorpion Michael Wolff. Murdoch spent 50 hours with Wolff and even granted access to his 99-year-old mother, and Wolff's biography ended up portraying him—surprise!—as manipulative, petty, and, worst of all (for Ginsberg at least) embarrassed by the unabashed white rage on display at Roger Ailes' Fox News Channel.
According to Wolff, Ginsberg was deeply involved in overseeing the access he had to Murdoch and "sat in on many of my interviews with Murdoch with head in Blackberry while Rupert ran at the mouth." Murdoch was apoplectic at the result, perhaps on Ailes' behalf. What followed the book's publication, according to Wolff, was an internal effort to purge News Corp. of Ginsberg's leftist influence.
"The person who really became his antagonist was Ailes," Wolff told Gawker. "Ailes has been telling people he was going to get Ginsberg. Also, Ginsberg was [former News Corp. chief operating officer Peter] Chernin's guy, so when Chernin left handwriting was on wall."
With Chernin and now Ginsberg gone, Murdoch's brief flirtation with sanity—remember when the New York Post endorsed Obama in the New York primary?—appears to be over, and Ailes has the run of the place. Which may explain why Murdoch just publicly agreed with Glenn Beck's contention that the first black president of the United States is a racist. Ginsberg won't be around next time to explain how he didn't really mean it.
UPDATE: We found a bit of behind-the-scenes evidence of how Ginsberg operated as a communications corridor to the left wing in the Spitzer Files, our collection of correspondence between Eliot Spitzer's flacks and the media at the height of Spitzer's hooker crisis. Three days after the story of Spitzer's prostitute habit broke, New York communications consultant Jordan Tamagni wrote Ginsberg to complain about a Post story that called Spitzer's wife Silda Wall a "doormat" and accused her of "sending her daughters a message that it's acceptable for a woman to behave like an object on which men wipe their shoes":
Hi, G. Far be it from me to question the editorial control of the NY Post, or heaven forfend, to lay it at your doorstep, but today's two page spread about Silda Wall was so egregious that I can't stop myself from writing. There's an especially loathsome piece by Andrea Peyser so utterly lacking in compassion or understanding that it literally took my breath away. It is so cruel and unnecessary that the mind really boggles. What the hell are they thinking over there? The paper treats the hooker WITH MORE COMPASSION THAN IT DOES SILDA.... I am really so mad that I can't see straight. Please advise.
Instead of dismissing or ignoring the criticism, Ginsberg brought it to Post editor Col Allan's attention and offered something of a peace pipe. Ginsberg responded to Tamagni just over an hour later:
Col Allan, the Post editor-in-chief, has invited you to submit a piece that he will run. Interested?
Tamagni forwarded Ginsberg's invitation to Spitzer's communications director Christine Anderson to discuss the idea, which is how it ended up in our public records request. As far as we can tell, no such op-ed, by Tamagni or anyone else, ever ran in the Post. But Ginsberg's role was clearly in part to mollify angry Democrats and bring them into the fold to the extent that he could. No more.
Pic via AFHU