10 Ways the New York Times and Wall Street Journal Newspaper War Could Get Uglier

The fight between the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times has started! And while we wait to find out if anyone actually gives a shit, we couldn't help but already notice just how ugly it's been so far. And now, the potential for dirty competition beyond this thing's current condition! Just how ugly? You think you know, but you have no idea.

10. Drop Fights. Via NYC The Tumblr, this is apparently already happening (pictured). When you buy your morning newspaper, it gets there because someone drops it off. And if that someone is a soldier? They'll drop it on top of a rival paper, and make sure it stays there. How?

9. Bribes. You think your local deli counterman wouldn't accept a $20/day bribe for prominent placement over the New York Times by a Journal footsoldier? You're wrong. Time for these guys to start greasing some palms. Why the hell are these guys investing in mediocre non-gossip reporters when that money can obviously be allocated better elsewhere?

8. Pricing Wars. Who cares about print dying? What matters here is print winning. And how do you win? By taking the sharp knife of price cuts and slashing into the Achilles tendons of the competition with low prices! Remember that time the New York Post only cost New Yorkers $0.25 for a while and all hell broke loose because the pussies at the Daily News couldn't deal with it? Can you imagine what happens once the Wall Street Journal crosses the $1.25 threshold? We're going to have to allocate city funding just to round up all the anarchy demons who've escaped from the bowels of Hell (pictured). It'll be exciting.

7. Wine Wars. The unsung gangs of the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times? Oh yes: their wine clubs. And now that the Wall Street Journal has Jay "The Jayster" McInerney in their employ, who knows what kind of piss-drunk 80s revivalist mischief this guys could drum up? The point is, these supposedly highbrow drunks of their respective papers are likely willing to hit the pavement for their grape juice. I have no idea what that means, but it certainly sounds edgy.

6. Twitter Beefs. Not really essential, but more high-grade smacktalk in the public forum where the peanut gallery can chime in would certainly be fun to watch. Imagine Maureen Dowd "@ing" Peggy Noonan as she calls her a "vapid Golden Girl who needs to take her lithium" while Noonan simply responds with a "RT" and a "Still bleeds, will never stop." Wits! They have them, they're underused.

5. Routine Intimidation. New York tradition. What, like Stuart Emmrich's never held someone over a balcony Suge Knight-style before?

4. Poaching Attacks. They've already done it, why not take it a step further and go the Hollywood route, like agencies do? The Wall Street Journal could buy entire divisions of the New York Times and have them move all their gear in the middle of the night? They could even take it a step further and steal the guy who makes the Times maki rolls. Support staff poaching? Epic.

3. Dueling. Pretty sure Murdoch's already got this one lined up. Bill Keller likely uses a revolver, so Robert Thompson will likely need to be told he may not, in fact, bring the .457 Magnum. He'll probably do it anyway.

2. Newsies. Yes, Newsies. A classic New York tradition. You want to sell papers? You have to sell papers. Uniforms, foot soldiers, song-and-dance fights, the entire thing. This is the one thing on this list that anyone would actually benefit from. Example:

How is that not a win-win situation?


1. Pranks. At the heart of every mostly meaningless war (and really, which of them aren't?) is mischief. Imagine the possibilities here:

  • Every time David Rohde walks out of the Times building, coming at him in a keffiyeh with a Super Soaker, screaming ALLAH AKBAR! Etc.
  • Replacing everything on Mark Penn's desk with miniature versions of what was once there.
  • Planting assorted firearms and drug paraphernalia at the Times Media desk.
  • Super-gluing everything to Rupert Murdoch's desk, making him feel feeble and old for not being able to pick anything up.
  • Paying off The NYTPicker to go after freshman WSJ writers.
  • Calling the Mr. Burns-esuqe Wall Street Journal editor Robert Thompson at 3 p.m. every day, asking him if he needs anything, and no matter what his response, playing this over the phone and promptly hanging up.
  • Hiding stacks of Goldman Sachs coffee cups in Dealbook writer Andrew Ross Sorkin's desk.
  • Changing all of the WSJ computers to auto-correct "Dow Jones" into "Meow Jones."
  • Hiring the John 3:16 guy to crash the TimesCast every other Tuesday.
  • Moving New York Post editor Col Allan's booze stash under the Journal's International Business bullpen.

This could get ugly. Here's hoping it does!

[fkamer@villagevoice.com]


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