In what he chooses to consider a shot across Arthur Sulzberger’s bow, Vanity Fair‘s Michael Wolff has discovered what he believes to be “[w]ithout a doubt” the “unmistakable… dimple and odd right ear” of the New York Times‘ publisher in a photo composite of ruggedness-challenged male faces in Rupert Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal.
Wolff, who interviewed Murdoch extensively for a 2008 book which got an indifferent review in the Times, says that it would not be at all out of character for the parties concerned at the WSJ to portray Sulzberger as other than manly:
It’s not just that Rupert Murdoch doesn’t like Arthur Sulzberger, or doesn’t think he’s a serious newspaper publisher. It’s that he think he’s weak — girly. Sulzberger — “young Arthur” — was a frequent subject during the many hours I talked to Murdoch when I was writing his biography. Sulzberger was always, for Murdoch, a punch line. Murdoch even mimicked him in a way to suggest … well … a certain lack of manhood.
It is a joke that is shared by Murdoch and Robert Thomson, the former Australian-rules football player who is now the editor of Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal: Arthur is a sort of poofter.
Wolff goes on to suggest that the graphic was intended to strike at Sulzberger psychologically, and shows what he calls Murdoch’s “special understanding for how get under Sulzberger’s skin.”
In fairness to all concerned, Wolff is on the record saying that Murdoch doesn’t like anybody much.
As a point of reference for those of you calibrating your manliness meters at home, the nasolabial region on top is Wolff’s, and the one below belongs to Murdoch.