Wall Street Journal‘s Greater New York Section Launch Party: A Study In Contrasts

Last night, the Wall Street Journal hosted a launch party for their new “Greater New York” section (perhaps you’ve heard about it?) at Manhattan’s Gotham Hall. The evening was a study in contrast and dashed expectations: Rupert Murdoch did poke a little fun at the New York Times during his speech to those gathered, but failed to joke about gently stroking the NYT‘s hair while making subtle, nearly imperceptible digs at its mother, earning its trust, then leading it into an alley and kicking it repeatedly, but not before calling it a “wussy man.” There was bread, yes, mainly in the form of what appeared to be a pizza station, but whither the circus?

After his speech, Murdoch flew down from his lofty perch as Mayor Michael Bloomberg took the stage. The mayor made a tea party joke, which elicited gales of nervous twittering (of the old-timey sort), and presented a mock-up for the Bloomberg Businessweek Journal which prompted no less than three partygoers’ hearts to spontaneously explode. Bloomberg wrapped up his quick speech by congratulating the Journal, wishing it the best, and introducing a performance by the cast of In the Heights, much to the delight of Murdoch, who chatted throughout the performance.

Not surprisingly, much of the crowd left as soon as Murdoch and Bloomberg had finished their polite, positive, and congratulatory speeches. There was, really, none of the animosity or mentions of competitors that have been coloring much of the coverage and, seemingly, the PR strategies leading up to the section’s launch. That is, it wasn’t apparent during the night’s speeches. However, this was most definitely not the case during Observer reporter John Koblin’s interview with the mogul during the party.

When asked by Koblin what he thought about New York Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr.’s reaction to “the whole dust-up” when Sulzberger and Journal editor Robert Thomson met, Murdoch responded, “He should get a life.”

And about recent reports that more New York women prefer the Times to the Journal? “Bullshit. We have more women readers — total — than they do nationally.”

And then? Dead-eyed laptop-scrollers DJ trio the Misshapes played “Empire State of Mind.” Yeah. F’real.

For a less surreal interview from last night’s party with publicist Howard Rubenstein about his longtime business relationship with Rupert Murdoch, pay a visit to PRNewser.