Chicagoans think their town is pretty much the center of the world. New Yorkers get it confused with Minneapolis. Neither city seems very interested in the other.
But that's not stopping Rupert Murdoch's New York Post from invading Chicago. The irreverent, sometimes tasteless tabloid, is perhaps best known for its classic headline: "Headless Body in Topless Bar." Recent specimens have gone ever farther but cannot be quoted here in case our mothers are reading.
For whatever reason, the Post will go on sale Monday in Chicagoland for $2, the same price it charges in Noo Yawk but double what the Chicago Sun-Times charges.
Maybe it will be worth twice as much because it will have all kinds of hot Chicago news? No, sorry. Sources deep within Murdochland are reported to have revealed that it will just be the same paper distributed in NYC.
Chicago Magazine broke the story of the invasion, headlining it: "Tasteless Newspaper Found in Second City." (Of course, Los Angeles is now the second city, but who's counting).
The Post will join the Sun-Times and RedEye in vying for the attention of commuters stuffed into crowded trains. We're not quite sure how many people ride the rails in Chicago. Metra -- official motto: "The way to really fly" -- says it carried nearly 83 million passengers last year despite lousy weather. (Chicago is one of those places that takes pride in its miserable weather; NYC just ignores it).
These papers are all tabloids, of course, as is the Post. You could only read the Chicago Tribune on the train if your origami skills are unusually advanced.
Cab drivers used to be the Post's target audience, but what with Uber and immigration, the cab driver market isn't what it used to be, so the Post has been looking for entrained commuters wherever it can find them.
You could read the Post at Starbucks, but it just doesn't seem right somehow.
Little more NYC
Post brass aren't saying much. Publisher Jesse Angelo issued what used to be known as a terse statement to Chicago Mag: “The rumors are indeed true. As of next week, the New York Post is coming to Chicago. We wanted the great people of Chicago to have just a little more fun and a little more NYC in their daily media diet.”
The Post is part of Murdoch's News Corp. empire, which includes the Wall Street Journal and used to include Fox News before the company split its dead-tree and digital properties. It also used to own the Sun-Times, Chicago Magazine noted.
Chicago Magazine and RedEye, by the way, are owned by none other than the Tribune.
See, this is why newspapers have so much trouble competing effectively. They're like one of those small Midwestern towns where everybody's related to everybody else. They know each other's weaknesses but think it would be rude to reveal them to others.
Newspaper people also revere the past, the way they do in small towns. Maybe Rupert Murdoch looks at all those trains clattering around Chicago and thinks they're filled with news-hungry commuters wishing they had just one more newspaper.
Last time I was on a subway -- last Thursday, to be exact -- it was filled with people looking at their smartphones. I didn't see many newspapers of any description, tasteless or otherwise.
None of this should be taken to disparage newspapers, three of which land on my driveway each morning. A number that may go to four since, in conducting rigorous research on this story, I discovered that the NY Post offers home delivery in my corner of the D.C. area.