The saga surrounding a tweet David Brooks posted Wednesday about the expensive “meal” he had at a New Jersey airport has seemingly drawn to a close after the New York Times columnist finally responded to the backlash during a Friday appearance on PBS NewsHour.
Before we get to that, here’s a quick recap: As RedState previously reported, it all started after Brooks took to the Twitter machine to complain about the $78 “meal” he had while at Newark Liberty International Airport. The photo he posted included a hamburger, crinkle fries, and an alcoholic beverage.
“This meal just cost me $78 at Newark Airport,” Brooks wrote. “This is why Americans think the economy is terrible.”
But Twitter users, after some detective work, figured out that most of Brooks’ meal had to be the drink because according to the menu of the restaurant it was discovered that he ate at, the burger and fries cost about $18. In a Facebook post the restaurant, 1911 Smoke House BBQ, confirmed Brooks did indeed eat there and that his “bar tab was almost 80%.” They later told the New York Post that it was likely Brooks had “two doubles.”
They later hilariously created a menu special in his honor.
Brooks’ tweet as of this writing has over 37 million views, but there have been no new tweets since then, which made people wonder if Brooks was feeling contrite and embarrassed enough to stay away or if he had been hiding under a rock and unaware of the social media whirlwind he stirred up over his out of touch remarks.
As it turns out, Brooks was very much aware of what had happened, as we learned in a segment of PBS NewsHour.
Here’s how he responded when asked about the backlash:
“Yeah, well first it was sort of hatched in my mind as a joke. Because, if you looked at what I was eating, it was bourbon and a very fattening hamburger and fries. So, I can’t afford to make bad lifestyle choices. But the problem with the tweet, which I wrote so stupidly, was that it made it seem like I was oblivious to something that’s blindingly obvious:
That an upper-middle-class journalist having a bourbon in an airport is a lot different than a family living paycheck to paycheck. When I’m getting sticker shock it’s like an inconvenience; when they’re getting sticker shock, it’s a disaster. And so, I was insensitive. I screwed up. I should not have written that tweet. I probably should not write any tweets. But, I made a mistake and it was stupid.
But the one point that maybe can be drawn [from this] if anything can be drawn, was we can experience inflation as a chart with downward slope – inflation’s coming down. But the way we experience inflation every day is at that moment of sticker shock. You’re in the grocery store, you’re at the gas station and suddenly costs something way more than you anticipated. And for people who are less fortunate than I am, that is a disaster. And so we have to understand why, we say inflation is coming down, for people living and seeing those sticker shock moments it doesn’t feel that way.”
KUDOS: David Brooks took the end of the Friday @NewsHour roundup to apologize for his “stupid” tweet about spending $78 on burger, fries & bourbon at the Newark airport. The host said he was “roughed up” online. Brooks said hey, I’m an elite journalist, I was insensitive. pic.twitter.com/yJZdxuqXOY
— Tim Graham (@TimJGraham) September 22, 2023
I gotta admit, knowing how most Times’ columnists operate – which is usually to double down even when it’s obvious they were in the wrong – I wasn’t expecting this from Brooks. But though he often doesn’t get it right I’ll give him credit for responding appropriately to the reaction his tweet caused.
That said, I’m sure he’ll get right back to insulting our intelligence in an upcoming column because, at the end of the day, David Brooks is still gonna do David Brooks things. But for now, at least, a tip of the hat is in order.
Related: Paul Krugman Gets the Burn Ward Treatment After Declaring Inflation Battle ‘Painless’