On 20 September, Brooks posted a photo of a burger, fries, and a half-empty drink on X - formerly known as Twitter. “This meal just cost me $78 at Newark Airport. This is why Americans think the economy is terrible,” he wrote above the image.
However, a Community Note beneath the photo debunked Brooks claims. “Based on the similar table, glass, chair, sheet and cut of fries, this is the Smokehouse Restaurant in Newark Airport Terminal A,” it said. “The burger and fries cost $17.”
Eagle-eyed users were quick to spot an alcoholic drink in the background of the photo, speculating that a fair chunk of Brook’s tab likely came from whatever was in that glass. One person replied to the post: “Personally, I thought it was generous they gave you a burger and fries when you ordered 14 shots of scotch on the rocks.”
“I’m guessing it’s the $30 double barreled whiskey to blame and not the $25 burger and fries entree plus tax and tip,” Parker Ross, global chief economist at Arch Capital Group, added. Meanwhile, someone else wrote: “How many drinks did you have with your $9.99 burger?”
“David Brooks not realising that people could find the restaurant and figure out he put back like five drinks by himself here to get to this number is very funny,” another said.
This meal just cost me $78 at Newark Airport. This is why Americans think the economy is terrible. pic.twitter.com/1qeV9qOBL3
— David Brooks (@nytdavidbrooks) September 21, 2023
One person poked fun at the situation with an image of his own meal, sarcastically writing: “This meal just cost me $48,018. This is why Americans think the economy is terrible.”
I’m guessing it’s the $30 double barreled whiskey to blame and not the $25 burger & fries entree + tax & tip🤔
— Parker Ross (@Econ_Parker) September 21, 2023
Other X users followed suit with increasingly ludicrous prices and photos of absurdly small meals, including one with an image of a singular fry and the caption: “This meal cost me $78 at Newark airport. Thanks Joe Biden.”
David Brooks not realizing that people could find the restaurant and figure out he put back like five drinks by himself here to get to this number is very funny https://t.co/XM9qnfqwIg
— Combo 🪴🚂🪴 (@thiccgenius) September 21, 2023
As of 21 September, Brooks’ post has been viewed 13m times, causing Newark Airport to trend on the platform. Writer Tom Nichols joked that X users should give credit where it’s due, writing: “You have to admire David Brooks for making ‘Newark Airport’ trend.”
This meal cost me $78 at Newark airport. Thanks Joe Biden. pic.twitter.com/ZzP1HRLDo0
— 𝕊𝕦𝕟𝕕𝕒𝕖_𝔻𝕚𝕧𝕚𝕟𝕖 (@SundaeDivine) September 21, 2023
“Not David Brooks being unrelatable over a sandwich… AGAIN,” one person added, referring to the last time Brooks received internet backlash.
Back in 2017, Brooks was roasted for a story about how he decided to take a friend to a Mexican restaurant because she had “only a high school degree” and alleged that the menu descriptions at a gourmet sandwich shop intimidated her.
“Suddenly I saw her face freeze up as she was confronted with sandwiches named ‘Padrino’ and ‘Pomodoro’ and ingredients like soppressata, capicollo and a striata baguette,” Brooks wrote at the time. “I quickly asked her if she wanted to go somewhere else and she anxiously nodded yes and we ate Mexican.”