What We Learned From That 'New Yorker' Piece About Howard Rubenstein

Unless you subscribe, you'll have to visit your local newsstand to read this week's New Yorker profile of P.R. megastar Howard Rubenstein. Is it worth going out into this arctic wonderland and dropping $4.50, or is the piece, as Nikki Finke puts it, just "the usual CEO porn that [Ken] Auletta spins out on a semi-regular basis"? We donned our overcoats and headed into the freezing tundra of SoHo to find out. Here's what we learned when we thawed:

  • Howard Rubenstein knows a lot of rich and famous people, many of whom will say nice things about him because he's saved their asses so many times.
  • Rubenstein has no discernible personality of his own, but everyone seems to think he's a terribly nice person.
  • His wife owns Peter Luger's steakhouse.
  • Rupert Murdoch and Mort Zuckerman cut a deal that their respective papers would not run gossip items about members of the Murdoch or Zuckerman families.
  • George Steinbrenner has Alzheimer's and does whatever his son-in-law and Rubenstein tell him to do.
  • The End.

    Okay, that's not all of it, but apart from the Steinbrenner thing (which everyone knows but no one will say) and the Zuckerman thing (which is similar to a deal Murdoch cut with Daily Mail head Lord Rothermere a few years back), it's a whole lot of nothing. The only other bright spot comes when Auletta talks about Rubenstein's friendship with Ed Koch and Mario Cuomo and notes the following, "The [1977 mayoral primary] campaign was unusually nasty, or so the candidates thought, with rumors that Koch was gay and that Cuomo had ties to the Mob," which sets up a pretty hysterical equivalency. The scariest thing about all of this may be that Nikki Finke was right. Stay indoors, kids: the Cate Blanchett thing's nothing special either.

    The New Yorker
    Auletta on Howard Rubenstein: CEO Porn
    [DHD]