The Inner Workings of News Corporation PR

Did longtime News Corporation executive and top communications adviser Gary Ginsberg recently leave the company because he botched the PR handling around Michael Wolff’s book on Rupert Murdoch, The Man Who Owns the News?

That’s what Gabriel Sherman reports in a New York magazine cover story on Murdoch this week — titled “The Raging Septuagenarian,” — that contains enough PR angles to make your head spin. Sherman reports:

Last year, soon after the Wolff book was published, James [Murdoch] told Rupert that he wanted Ginsberg out. Rupert resisted his son’s effort to manage personnel. But when Ginsberg got word from his friend [PR executive Matthew] Freud that his job was in doubt, he offered Rupert his resignation, despite having just signed a new five-year contract. Rupert didn’t resist and paid Ginsberg millions to go.

One source with knowledge of the matter that we spoke to acknowledged that Ginsberg and Freud lost some trust with Murdoch after handling the PR for Wolff’s book. “Matthew [Freud] thought he could manage anybody,” the source said.

Meanwhile, the story contains this bomb from David Yelland, former editor of Murdoch’s London tabloid the Sun, Weber Shandwick alum, and now a partner with the high powered communications and lobbying firm Brunswick Group:

Once he [Rupert Murdoch] does pass, it will be very difficult to keep the company together. I almost wonder if he senses that and, toward the end of his life, we’ll suddenly wake up one morning and we’ll see an announcement he’s taking it private, or merge it with Google, or Microsoft, or [Liberty Media’s chairman] John Malone.

Go ahead, take some time and read the full story here.

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