Michael Wolff Draws a Crowd

Current and former media mavens gathered on Wednesday to toast Michael Wolff, still the bad boy of journalism at age 70, on the occasion of his latest book, “The Fall: The End of Fox News and the Murdoch Dynasty.”

The author has been taken to task by journalism watchdogs and even “Saturday Night Live” for what the Columbia Journalism Review once called his “fast-and-loose approach to the facts.” But the columnists, reporters, editors, podcasters and moguls who packed a Greenwich Village townhouse seemed squarely on his side.

Mr. Wolff, who has been more interested in telling the stories of powerful figures than in expressing his own political views across his long career, attracted guests from various points along the ideological spectrum. The conservative media pundit Ann Coulter was present, as was the liberal commentator Molly Jong-Fast.

“I’m not too good for a party,” Ms. Jong-Fast joked, adding that she had come to the party because “the more people write about Fox, the better.”

The former television host and anchor Charlie Rose was among the guests.Credit…Amir Hamja/The New York Times

Janice Min, the co-owner of the Hollywood media outlet The Ankler, said she had just flown in from Los Angeles and endured a 90-minute ride from Kennedy International Airport. “It’s all been worth it,” she said. “I have my white wine and canapés. I’m happy.”

Ms. Min, who once edited Mr. Wolff at The Hollywood Reporter, offered the opinion that his new book was “classic Michael.”

Other guests included: the novelist, journalist and radio host Kurt Andersen; New York Magazine’s editor in chief, David Haskell; the veteran journalist and pundit Carl Bernstein; the New York Times columnists Lydia Polgreen and Michelle Goldberg; Joanna Coles, the former chief content officer of Hearst; the NPR media reporter David Folkenflik; Hillary Frey, the editor in chief of Slate; and Eric Nelson, who runs HarperCollins’s conservative imprint.

Ben Smith, the editor in chief of Semafor, chatted briefly with Mr. Wolff in the middle of a brisk lap around the room. “It’s one of those book parties that makes you feel like you’re inside one of his books, for better and worse,” he said.

The conservative writer and pundit Ann Coulter, center.Credit…Amir Hamja/The New York Times

Other guests were hard to separate from the headlines of recent years.

Charlie Rose, the former television host and anchor who was fired in 2017 by CBS and PBS over sexual misconduct allegations, made the rounds. Asked about the thesis of Mr. Wolff’s book — that Fox was on its last legs — Mr. Rose said, “I don’t know about that. They’ve been around for awhile.”

Another person who mingled with the author and his guests was Alec Baldwin, who was involved in the fatal shooting of a cinematographer on a movie set in 2021. In January, he was charged with involuntary manslaughter. In April, those charges were dropped by prosecutors, who cautioned that the investigation was “active and ongoing.” In August, a forensics expert issued a report determining that Mr. Baldwin must have pulled the trigger. (Mr. Baldwin pleaded not guilty to the initial charges, and his lawyers have maintained that he was not responsible for the death.)

At the party, Mr. Baldwin, whose podcast will feature Mr. Wolff next month, discussed various projects he was working on. “I’ve been offered more work in the last six weeks than in my entire career,” he said.

David Haskell, the editor in chief of New York Magazine, facing the camera. Credit…Amir Hamja/The New York Times

Halfway through the evening, as partygoers bit into miniature tarts and tacos, Mr. Wolff addressed the crowd from a staircase.

“We think about Fox News as this immutable horror show in American political and cultural life, as though it has always been there and as though it always will be there,” he said. After a dramatic pause, he added, “Well, I come with good news.”

The crowd laughed, on cue, and Mr. Wolff went on: “The one man who holds it all together is 92 years old and on a slippery slope.”

The morning after the party, the headlines seemed to prove Mr. Wolff’s uncanny sense of timing: Rupert Murdoch announced his retirement from the boards of Fox Corporation and News Corp.

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