Published December 06, 2018 by Tom Porter

Thomas Ricks: Why New Yorker Ads Are too Elitist

Visiting Fellow in History Thomas Ricks describes himself as a big fan of The New Yorker. Writing in The Guardian, the author and columnist describes the magazine’s reporting as “essential,” and says how, after more than half a century of reading it, his “heart still lifts” when each new edition arrives in his mailbox. However, there’s one aspect of the publication that Ricks is less than happy about.

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The problem Ricks has with today’s New Yorker concerns the magazine’s advertisements. “Reading them is like receiving dispatches from the oligarchy,” he says, lamenting the fact that the ads seem to be aimed at the nation’s richest one percent. On the November 26, 2018, issue, for example, he points to an ad on the inside of the front cover: “the first transmission from the oligarchy, an advertisement for a champagne that, we are told, is ‘chosen by the best.’” Further on in that edition, Ricks points to ads from other luxury goods makers and various financial services companies, all of them aimed at America’s wealthiest consumers. Read Thomas Ricks in The Guardian.

Ricks, now midway through his Bowdoin fellowship, is currently researching his next book, which is about the educations of the first four US presidents. He has authored six books, the best known of which is Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq, 2003-05 (2006), which was number one on The New York Times bestseller list and a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2007. His most recent book, and his fourth consecutive New York Times bestseller, is Churchill and Orwell: The Fight for Freedom (May 2017).