Blackstone Gives Appetizers & Access

Greetings from New York, where last night I attended The Blackstone Group’s press dinner. It’s an annual event that Tony James brought over with him from Lehman Brothers, in which hacks like myself interact off-the-record with Blackstone bigs like James, Schwarzman, et all. Oh, and we all eat some very good food. I obviously can’t discuss the contents of what was said, but do want to point out that it’s a very savvy move on Blackstone’s part.

Blackstone – particularly now that it’s public – has taken a lot of media darts over the past year, and likely feels that it’s not often given the benefit of the doubt. Last night’s dinner was essentially a preemptive strike the negativity of future coverage, by attempting to engender goodwill among a wide swath of reporters. No, not because of the free meal (we’re not that easy), but because it gives us what we really want: Access. Or at least a one-night illusion of access…

This doesn’t mean that all — or even most — future coverage will be positive, but it helps give Blackstone a better shot than it had yesterday at 5pm. That, in itself, validates the effort.