Broken Record on the Broken Economy

I don’t mean to sound like I’m repeating myself, but I can’t help it.

In yet another article, The New York Times attempts to document the upside of the economic crisis. This time, it’s discounted vacations for those with time and money:

As the world economy tanks and stories of financial despair abound, a surprising number of travelers (some who are still collecting paychecks and some who are not) are deciding to take advantage of the recession’s inevitable effect on the tourism industry. Some airfares are at the lowest level in years, and hotels are scrambling to fill rooms by cutting rates 40 percent or more.


Some vacation vultures can’t help feeling a pang of guilt when planning a trip while many others are losing their jobs. But the guilt isn’t significant enough to keep them home.

To me, a story like this points to the absence of articles about employees who can’t afford to take fancy vacations, or those too afraid to use their vacation days for fear of losing their jobs, or those who apply their days toward all sorts of noble and necessary things, or people whose jobs simply don’t provide paid time off.

This one article can’t tell all those stories, and shouldn’t be expected to, but it’s just one more example of the in-crowd reporting that takes a story of the very fortunate, and gives it prominence above the rest. There might be good bargains out there for the few who can afford them, but reveling-in-the-bad-times stories still feel tone deaf.

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Katia Bachko is on staff at The New Yorker.