Rich Kid “Reporter”

Jamie JohnsonFriday in the fashion section, The New York Times published, Including the Young and the Rich. The nature of the article is clear from its first sentence, “On a crisp morning in late March, an elite group of 100 young philanthropists and heirs to billionaire family fortunes filed into a cozy auditorium at the White House.” But the United States doesn’t have social classes, right?

The article gets worse. It goes on to talk about, “Patrick Gage, a 19-year-old heir to the multibillion-dollar Carlson hotel and hospitality fortune.” He presented a talk about human trafficking. Here is an actual quote from the young billionaire-to-be, “The person two seats away from me was a Marriott. And when I told her about trafficking, right away she was like, ‘Uh, yeah, I want to do that.'” Of course she wanted to do that; all the hip young billionaires are doing it!

But what most struck me in the article was who wrote it: Jamie Johnson, heir to the Johnson & Johnson fortune. We all know Mr. Johnson because of his dreadful little documentary The One Percent, which I discussed in Rich Kid Guilt. His whole career is based upon the fact that that he is rich. He has become a representative of the rich who think maybe they should be taxed a bit more.

The problem is that there is no recognition in any of Johnson’s work that his privilege is manifested in far more ways than his money. He is an intellectual and creative mediocrity. There is no way that anyone would invite him to appear on MSNBC or write for The New York Times if it weren’t for his inherited wealth and position. He isn’t around to report on the super rich; he is around to represent them.

The article contained the following disclosure:

Although the event was closed to the media, I was invited by the founders of Nexus, Jonah Wittkamper and Rachel Cohen Gerrol, to report on the conference as a member of the family that started the Johnson & Johnson pharmaceutical company.

So much for the pretense of exposing the super rich, which we saw in his movie. I suspect that after the rich saw his film, they figured he was safe. This is not a guy who is going to rock the boat. And so when all the future billionaires got together, they didn’t want any reports around. But Jamie Johnson was just fine. The New York Times should be ashamed.

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

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