HL 112 – The New York Times’ Daily Assault on the Wealthy Accused of Desertion During the Plague Year

August 4, 2020

Home | Blog | HL 112 – The New York Times’ Daily Assault on the Wealthy Accused of Desertion During the Plague Year

With a post like this, a disclosure is obligatory.  The woke young cannibals at The New York Times will deem it a confession.  On the morning of March 13, 2020, preceding the evening when Trump proclaimed the Covid-19 outbreak a “National Emergency (that he proceeded to ignore and worsen immeasurably) we left our apartment near Lincoln Center for a house we’ve had since 1987 in the Chatham/Ghent/Austerlitz corner of New York’s Taconic Hills.  With the exception of five days spent downstate, burying a relative and having surgery, HL has lived upstate since.

The New York Times

Parenthetically, when we took title 33 years back, the neighborhood was a fortress of solitude for many prominent Times reporters, executives and owners.  And many are here during the pandemic.  Just sayin’.

Since March, 2020 The Times has almost daily published some diatribe about how wealthy New Yorkers have handled the pandemic and many of these have targeted the affluent who left New York City during the worst days.  This classist assault comes from a national treasure that increasingly embraces its failings.  Like Ma Bell a generation ago, The Times is an essential facility that daily manifests and glorifies a disservice done to its readers.  Our readers (HL’s) know that involves The Times’ harmonization of news coverage with its editorial positions.  Increasingly, those positions are dictated by staffers absolutely certain that they know what is right, and what they know to be wrong is not fit to print.  See HL 110 When The Culture War Came For Charlie Warzel at The New York Times and HL 74 Are You Ridin’ with Biden?.

One aspect of that increasingly symbiotic and harmonized news/editorial point of view involves demonization and parody of affluent New Yorkers.[1]  The fact that many such have second homes and departed for them during the pandemic has provided the opportunity for frequent self-righteous exposés introduced with headlines that read like Rupert’s in the News of the World.  Such as The Richest Neighborhoods Emptied Out Most As Coronavirus Hit New York City (NYTimes, May 15, 2020) and First They Fled the City: Now They’re Building $75,000 In-Ground Pools (NYTimes, May 24, 2020).  That one was so detailed in explaining the composition, cost and attributes of gunite that it is to swimming pool construction what Moby Dick is to cytology.

Other Times’ headlines contrasted wealthy deserters with loyal city dwellers, as in When Rich New Yorkers Fled, these Workers Kept the City Running (NYTimes, June 16, 2020) and Staying in New York subtitled Most New Yorkers Who Own a Second Home Hit the Road as soon as the Virus Hit But a Few Stayed Behind” (NYTimes, July 10, 2020).

Charles, Prince of Wales

A.G. Sulzberger

But as Henry Miller might have said “Oh don’t you know” that the affluent who left saved some of their lives and those of some who stayed, by reducing density and interactions and by eliminating tasks that many people who work for them otherwise would have done.  The affluent we know continued to pay these workers regardless whether they continued to perform the same or any amount of work for their wealthy employers.  Because of the fact and logic of this, The Times searched for and found a way that the deserters harmed the city: BY FAILING TO COMPLETE THEIR CENSUS FORMS!  Why Rich New Yorkers Are Causing Big Problems for the Census (NYTimes, July 13, 2020) and Rich New Yorkers How’s that Census Coming? (NYTimes, July 25, 2020) both citing low response rates in affluent neighborhoods.


Maybe, but the charge of selfish and self-defeating census disloyalty comes months before the October 31, 2020 deadline.  At HL, we bet that when the final tally is made those neighborhoods will register among the highest percentages of response and higher than recorded in less affluent neighborhoods of New York City.  As they do with voting.

Beyond the class war-fueled and counter-intuitive coverage asserting that those who’ve left have harmed the City, the paper has also regularly featured other attacks on how the wealthy have responded to the pandemic.  One daily double was In Ultra-Wealthy Greenwich, Teen Parties Lead to Jump In Virus Cases (NYTimes, August 1, 2020) and Nello, Beloved By Rich New Yorkers, Is Dinged Over Illlicit Indoor Dining. (also NYTimes, August 1, 2020).

Further, in a clumsy effort to link how the wealthy have responded to Covid-19 with how they’re facing the nation’s long overdue racial reckoning, The Times headlined The Latest In School Segregation: Private Pandemic Pods (NYTimes, July 7, 2020) further hammering the point home in $25,000 Pod Schools: How Well-To-Do Children Will Weather the Pandemic (NYTimes, July 30, 2020).

Ethical Culture Fieldston School

Well-to-do New York Children run The New York Times, starting with Arthur Gregg (“A.G.”) Sulzberger, who got to be publisher by being the son of Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, Jr. (the previous publisher), who succeeded Arthur Ochs (“Punch”) Sulzberger, who succeeded Arthur Hays Sulzberger, who succeeded Arthur Ochs.  The Windsors must be awed contemplating this meritocracy.[2]

Young A.G.’s recent about faces on the Tom Cotton op-ed and his support for and then abandonment of Editorial Editor James Bennet  and Op-ed Staff Editor Bari Weiss came in surrender to outrage and threats from many other well-to-do children.

Not clear why The Times believes it’s a good time to add a heavy dose of class war to the other conflicts we are fighting these days.  At HL, we are clear, “crystal” that the first priority is ousting the “killer on the lawn” of the White House in order to be able to better fight the other good and important fights.


[1]  It was timely and interesting that Andrew Cuomo pointed out during his August 3, 2020 news conference that New York’s one percent pay fifty percent of New York’s taxes.

[2]  And speaking of $25,000 per child Pod Schools in 2020, A.G. attended a private school where his kindergarten tuition was roughly that sum in 1985.


  1. Beth Farmer

    And now US Open with no in person spectators

  2. Vicky Choy

    I always learn something new from you. Don’t most people aspire to do well? Nothing wrong with that as long as you don’t become an asshole once you have achieved. Nice hypocrite in Mr. Sulzberger .Sharing this on FB.

  3. Michael Vacarr

    It stems from our collective erroneous assertion that America is a classless society.
    My anecdotal impression however is that anybody who could leave did.
    Where I live in the Berkshires there has been an unprecedented influx of people from Brooklyn et al NYC neighborhoods.
    A lot of young families.
    As it turns out an important influx of people to replace the Boomers who are aging out.
    It is not only about class status and it is not all bad.


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