Welcome to this week’s edition of Confider, the media newsletter that pulls back the curtain to reveal what’s really going on inside the world’s most powerful navel-gazing industry. Subscribe here and send your questions, tips, and complaints here.
EXCLUSIVE — CAAN’T TOUCH THIS: It’s become a big guessing game in Hollywood circles—who is getting what and how much following the sale of TPG’s majority stake of Creative Artists Agency (CAA) to French luxury goods mogul François-Henri Pinault in a reported $7 billion valuation. But the windfall is also causing a major fight within CAA’s ranks. “It’s getting ugly,” one former CAA executive told Confider. “People are extremely mad.” Read the full Confider story here.
EXCLUSIVE — MURDOCH WINDFALL: It’s not just the Trump book industry that’s heating up: Confider has learned that two major Rupert Murdoch-related projects are in the works just as two new books are due to hit shelves. New Yorker legend Ken Auletta has teamed up with producer and director Susan Lacy, who previously helmed PBS’ American Masters series, to work on a Murdoch documentary. Auletta profiled Murdoch in 1995 and says the doc may be accompanied by a New Yorker piece and that he is hopeful about getting access despite Murdoch’s response to the last profile. “When the piece came out, he was not happy,” Auletta told Confider. “I’m trying to get cooperation on the theory you want to hear everyone’s side of the story.” Meantime Vanity Fair writer Gabriel Sherman, who wrote the Roger Ailes book, The Loudest Voice in the Room, has signed a new book deal following his April cover story, “Inside Rupert Murdoch’s Succession Drama.” The Murdoch book is Sherman’s first since inking a deal to write about New York’s handling of the COVID outbreak—a book that ultimately never materialized. Next week, Michael Wolff will release his Murdoch/Fox book, titled The Fall, which is curiously being marketed differently in the U.S. than in the U.K. and Australia. The U.S. cover screams its subtitle, The End of Fox News and the Murdoch Dynasty, while across the pond and downunder, the book features an entirely different cover. Instead of merely text on this edition’s cover, a photo of Murdoch is accompanied by a shorter subtitle: The End of the Murdoch Empire. Wolff has been desperately trying to gin up interest in his book online by teasing a few oddly specific revelations. “What’s Sean Hannity packing in his briefcase? Find out in THE FALL,” he tweeted last week. Before that he teased: “Want to know whose face was on each sheet of Lachlan Murdoch’s toilet paper roll? Sure, you do.” The tweets have received remarkably little or no engagement at all. The other Murdoch book due out later this year is Brian Stelter’s Network of Lies: The Epic Saga of Fox News, Donald Trump, and the Battle for American Democracy, the follow-up to his bestseller Hoax, due out Nov. 14.
EXCLUSIVE — ROSE & THE ROOFERS: Charlie Rose knows a good story when he sees one. The disgraced TV host, who just last month told Confider about his plans for a media comeback, was having breakfast Wednesday at Harry Cipriani restaurant inside The Sherry-Netherland hotel on the Upper East Side when he ran into former Vanity Fair editor-at-large Hamilton South, who is now vice chairman of Standard Industries, a glamorous roofing company that recently earned a buzzy profile at the front of the New York Times Styles section. According to Confider’s spywitness, Rose, who lives at the hotel, told South that he enjoyed the profile, which detailed how the roofing company’s co-CEOs David Winter and David Millstone came to invest in media companies such as Puck, Airmail, and Pushkin Industries. Rose did not reply to a request for comment this time, but when we last spoke with him, he said, “This is an interesting time in the affairs of the world, and I hope to be part of the conversation.” A rep for Standard Industries declined to comment.
EXCLUSIVE — NYT SPORTS HITS THE BENCH: Midtown Manhattan’s gray, gloomy weather on Monday seemed to reflect the sentiment among many staffers at The New York Times on the day it finally shuttered its sports desk. Dozens of Times unionized staffers marked the finale with a rally outside the Times Building, donning red shirts (some with the Times Guild logo) and accompanied by a full-brass band jockeying their instruments to “When the Saints Go Marching In.” Read the full Confider dispatch from the protest here.
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WE HEAR WHISPERS: MSNBC’s weekend lineup is set for a shakeup involving Symone Sanders, Alicia Menendez, and Michael Steele… The Messenger’s owner Jimmy Finkelstein sent a memo to staff last week reassuring them that everything is going just great after Confider reported on the departure of key execs as others look to leave amid concerns over “Mad Dog” boss Richard Beckman.
IN PLAIN SIGHT: Nancy Pelosi, Donna Brazile, and David Rubenstein at Walter Isaacson’s book party, toasting his Elon Musk biography at the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian in D.C. on Sunday night… Fox News has completely ignored MAGA Rep. Lauren Boebert’s public groping and vaping—which she initially lied about—that got her booted from a Denver performance of Beetlejuice, not mentioning it once on its airwaves. But if she were a Democrat, we all know what would happen… After career nerd Nate Silver made reference to Sen. John Fetterman’s casual dress style in an extremely both sidesist tweet, the hoodie-and-shorts-clad Democrat responded by dunking on Silver… And for the love of all that’s holy, can someone please show Alan Dershowitz how to customize the thumbnails of his blog posts? This is getting kinda gross.
MORE FROM THE BEAST MEDIA DESK
—Kristen Welker’s debut turn as moderator of Meet the Press demonstrated her inquisitive skills as a reporter, but they were still no match for the walking word salad that is Donald Trump. Read our dive into her first episode here.
—After the Rock Hall ditched Jann Wenner over his ridiculous comments about Black and female artists, Rolling Stone threw him squarely under the bus Monday with a brief statement distancing the magazine from its founder. Read about that here.
—Joe Berkowitz spent a week watching NewsNation, the upstart cable channel billing itself as a “centrist” alternative to CNN and Fox. Suffice to say, as per usual, anything branding itself as “centrist” in 2023 is anything but. Read his findings here.
—“The damage to [Russell] Brand’s current career may be limited by his decision to spend recent years building a fanbase based around rightwing talking points and Covid vaccine skepticism,” smartly notes The Guardian’s Jim Waterson. More here.
—Comedian and former Daily Show correspondent Hasan Minhaj admitted to The New Yorker that he has embellished and/or fabricated many of the personal anecdotes that have become the staples of his on-stage career. Read the truly wild profile here.
—Buckingham Palace spin doctors were allowed by British TV channels to censor and dictate coverage of King Charles’ coronation and, in an “Orwellian” move, had the right to retrospectively ban footage post-broadcast. More here.
***WHAT ARE WE OUTRAGED ABOUT NOW?***
While Fox won’t even briefly mention Lauren Boebert’s vape-and-gropefest on its air, the right-wing outrage-industrial complex can’t stop from shrieking hysterically about the true scandal of our time: the Senate’s dress code. In more than a dozen separate segments across Fox News and Fox Business Network, anchors and pundits alike have gnashed their teeth over the prospect of Sen. John Fetterman (D-PA) wearing hoodies and shorts on the chamber floor. Fox News anchor Martha MacCallum, for instance, was simply beside herself over the lack of “reverence” and “decorum” taking place. Karl Rove fumed over “how pathetic [Fetterman’s] attitude is and how pathetic the majority leader is to appease him.” Fox & Friends co-host (for now) Brian Kilmeade complained that Fetterman “looks like he’s auditioning for The Incredible Hulk” before saying this new rule change “should make Republicans push more and more to get their majority leader in place and bring everything back.” Elsewhere, former Fox star Trish Regan revealed the ridiculous extremes the right-wing infotainment industry would go in whipping up rage over this trivial exercise. “Schumer just got rid of the Senate DRESS CODE so John Fetterman can freely wear his hoodies and gym shorts to work,” she tweeted on Monday. “No more jacket and tie required. TYRANNY of the MINORITY Strikes Again. Pathetic.”