Culture

The Stupefying Hypocrisy of the Luxury-Peddling New York Times

One of Abercrombie & Kent’s private jets (image via YouTube)
For only $150K, you, too, can tour the globe by private jet with the New York Times’ finest thought leaders.

The New York Times has been editorializing on a nearly daily basis since the election about the danger posed by President-elect Donald Trump to the very future of the earth. Rallying its readers on Thursday for the coming “Trump Years,” it argued against “fear or despondency” because “there is too much to be done.” For starters, according to the Times: “There is a planet to save. The earth is in peril from a changing climate no matter how many deniers say otherwise.” The day before, the paper had lamented that Trump may “repudiate last December’s Paris agreement on climate change, thereby abandoning America’s leadership role in addressing the biggest long-term threat to humanity.”

In the short term, however, if you’re a Times executive, marketer, or columnist, it’s still time to party, with all the oomph that a gasoline-fueled, capitalist economy can provide. In October, the Times announced its first-ever “Around the World by Private Jet” tour, slated for early 2018. “An Exclusive Private Charter,” in the words of the “luxury travel” firm of Abercrombie & Kent, will transport a mere “50 guests” to exotic locales in luxury hand-made leather flat-bed seats with “relaxing massage and adjustable lumbar support,” as a “dedicated flight crew attends” to their needs. The “guests” will “Enjoy Exclusive Events & Privileged Access,” such as private dining in Bogota’s Salt Cathedral, camping in luxury in the Moroccan desert, and exclusive after-hours access to the Blue Lagoon in Iceland.

The tour’s “exclusively chartered Boeing 757” ordinarily seats up to 295 passengers, of the pathetically non-“high-luxury” variety. So the carbon footprint of the Times’ 50 guests will be close to six times that of a commercial-jet traveler. If any of the guests feels a twinge of guilt over his greenhouse-gas emissions, he can chase it away by “enjoying a champagne toast inside an Icelandic ice funnel,” before learning “how climate change is affecting the land of fire and ice.” That’s after having been whisked to Easter Island to “learn how climate change is affecting” that location.

Among the New York Times’ “most noteworthy journalists” who will be joining the “privileged guests” is columnist Nicholas Kristof, who has criticized Trump for his climate-change skepticism and who rails against income inequality and a tax code that, among other things, provides tax breaks for buying private planes. The “privileged guests” who will pay $148,500 for single occupancy, $135,000 for double occupancy, in such properties as a “former Persian caravansary,” will no doubt nod appreciatively at Kristof’s hand-wringing about income disparities. Naturally, a port-of-call in Havana is planned, where “guests” will surely learn about the wonders of socialized medicine.

Trump’s temperamental flaws are serious and in need of immediate correction if he is to be an effective president. But they are nothing compared with the scale of hypocrisy practiced by his most influential critics.

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