Need further proof that The Wall Street Journal's new metro section is all about sticking it to The New York Times? Rupert Murdoch is only too happy to provide it.

In a speech Tuesday to the Real Estate Board of New York, the 78-year-old News Corp. (NWS) chairman made the first official acknowledgment that the Journal will indeed soon launch a section devoted to covering New York City. (The existence of the project has been amply documented in The New York Observer and elsewhere.) To hear Murdoch tell it, it's only because the Times is no longer doing its job that the city needs another such operation.

"We believe that in its pursuit of journalism prizes and a national reputation, a certain other New York daily has essentially stopped covering the city the way it once did," he said. "In so doing, they have mistakenly overlooked the most fascinating city in the world -- and left the interests and concerns of people like you far behind them. I promise you this: The Wall Street Journal will not make that mistake."

It is true that the Times no longer publishes a standalone metro section, and that its metro desk has made painful cuts, including canceling all of its newspaper and magazine subscriptions. On the other hand, it was just last year that the Times won a Pulitzer Prize for its metro team's reporting on former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer's patronage of prostitutes.

I emailed Times executive editor Bill Keller to ask if he had a response to Murdoch's taunt but haven't heard back. Update: Keller declined to comment.

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