Euro RSCG PR's Marian Salzman (@mariansalzman) is your North America ThinkTank commentator. She will be responding to events in the region on a weekly basis, offering a provocative view of the PR issues at stake. You can reach Marian at [email protected]
With all things Murdoch blowing up the media stratosphere, it has been hard to turn away from the miraculous sideshow of the past week or so. But I can’t help but notice the man behind the woman—and that woman would be Wendi Deng, aka Mrs. Rupert Murdoch, aka protector of a pie to the puss.
We’ve all come to love a story about the stand-by-your-man pathos of a marriage to a powerful man (Hillary Clinton and Elizabeth Edwards were once such modern-day Joans of Arc for such sordid business). How must relatively young Wendi feel in the wake of all this? Regardless of her athletic body and youthful countenance, here we have a woman who threw herself in pie foam’s way and flew up the Twitter scale because of it.
In typical fashion, the media had a field day coming up with pop culture analogies to describe her heroics, from “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” to “Charlie’s Angels.” Wendi’s approval rating in the wake of such madness has never been better; after the formidable Mrs. Murdoch intercepted the pie, she wiped her husband’s face, and then, in the process, saved her own. In fact, some admirers set up a Facebook page that had already attracted 543 followers by the time I wrote this a day after the incident.
And many on Twitter want her to take over News Corp. (a pie swat is worth quite a bit, apparently). In fact, Murdoch’s Achilles’ heel in parliament, Tom Watson, was said to have told him after the episode: “Mr. Murdoch, your wife has a very good left hook.” (It was actually her right, which could make for a great political analogy, but I won’t go there…) If those are fighting words, perhaps we should take a closer look at Wendi when it comes to who is really in control.
Mrs. Murdoch has often been portrayed as the woman who has made her husband a little more accessible and a lot more hip. Oh, and lest you think she is all smoke and fancy mirrors, Wendi is one smart cookie: She’s got an M.B.A. from Yale and a vested interest in News Corp. to boot. Look for Wendi to come out of this scandal unscathed and victorious (amazing how the women in this debacle are just as front and center as the men). As lines are drawn and consequences are suffered, I suspect many of us Murdoch watchers will align with Team Wendi.