There's a general rule of thumb that work events are always held on Monday through Thursday nights, because Fridays are reserved for real friends or for family. Who could flout that rule? Rupert Murdoch, of course, who held the annual holiday party — and it's called a holiday party, not a Christmas party, Bill O'Reilly — for all New York News Corporation employees Friday night. It's a huge event, for everyone from HarperCollins editors to Fox 5 local-news guys to 20th Century Fox PR people to Fox News ideologues to all their associated sales teams and managerial staffs and all that. Naturally, Julia Allison was there, and after the jump she takes you on a tour of Rupert's world, with stops for frat-party booze and trans-fatty food. Yum!
We're not sure what we were expecting at News Corp.'s annual extravaganza for 6,000 of Rupert Murdoch's favorite employees (plus their plus ones), but it wasn't the bizarre menagerie that greeted us at the Sixth Avenue Hilton Friday night. The invite — not that we actually had one of our own — promised "a trip around the News Corp world without leaving New York City." How, uh, clever? We flirted our way past a security guard, arriving at the almost three floors taken over by what we can only say was the randomest party we've ever been to. Each ballroom was decorated to represent a continent, and each attempt was almost entirely unsuccessful. There was Australia, represented by a lifeguard. There was Asia, with video games. There was Africa — wait. Where was Africa? "It's an American, Republican, Fox view of the world," laughed one guest. "No Africa." Far away from hoi polloi, from a VIP section in the balcony above "Europe," Murdoch gave a brief toast, shook a few hands, then made himself scarce. Loaded onto a 50-foot buffet was the nastiest food we'd ever seen — mini hot dogs, fried chicken, meatloaf-burger patties reminiscent of White Castle, and something identified as Sheppard's pie. (As in, Shep Smith? Was that the joke? Ugh.) The bars — and there were many — held your typical frat-party liquor: Bacardi, Jack, something with orange juice. "In our defense," said one News Corper, "it's really hard to plan a party for between six and twelve thousand people." We saw his point. "And if you think about it, it's a pretty economical way to thank people." Ah, yes, thank the plebes! And, to be sure, although we searched for hours, we saw absolutely no boldfaced names — no on-air talent, no major execs. (Later, though, we were informed that HarperCollins chief Jane Friedman was there, freshly de-Regan'd and merrily singing karaoke with her colleagues.) When the clock struck eleven, the party was instantly disassembled. Merry Christmas, from Rupe.
Verdict: Food: 3 (if you like trans fats; if not: .5); drink: 2; venue: 2; debauchery: 3; exclusivity: 2.