Good morning, Substackers, and let me assure you I am starting Thanksgiving Day right by having some of last night’s whipped cream in my coffee. Yes, we ate pie at midnight because why not, and also, coming upon the good idea that it’s a lot more fun and luscious to eat homemade pie - with a good homemade crust - when you’re not stuffed full of, well, stuffing. I’d post a picture of the three men in my living room eating that pie (mind out of the gutter!) but then I’d be scooping last night’s Fifth Column podcast guest (Ed: you do know you can edit these things later, right? Maybe insert the pic then…).
Update! Yes that’s Steve Kornacki (with Matt and Kmele), who, well, let’s just say we all have crushes on him and his big brain, gosh, so happy.
Let me start the morning by saying: thank you for stopping by here and reading. A testament to my affection is that I told you last week I’d be porting the posts over to Paloma Media and, well, here I still am. There will be some cross-posting, but also, some new stuff just for you. That said! I would love it if you go check out the new site and support us if you can; it’s really fun over there! We are trying to bring you some delight, little bits of sweetness with, for instance, Person of the Day, here’s today’s:
Are we canting a little heavy toward sports, music, baking and movies over there? Well, sure! We’re also giving you the currency, including a new opinion essay on whether LeBron or Serena is standing up for human rights (hint: it’s not LeBron)…
… and a little back story on how the Opinion piece I wrote for the Times this week, “Kenosha, Portland, and the Lies We Must Leave Behind,” wound up in the Times. Short answer: they asked! (But why did they ask?) I’ve pasted that essay below.
I am wishing you much delicious pie, let me know in the comments which kind you believe is the king of pies and why it’s pecan. With love and sticky kisses xx Nancy
“The Lies We Must Leave Behind”
Eagle-eyed readers of Paloma Media or The New York Times (or both!) will have noticed an Opinion piece, "Kenosha, Portland, and the Lies We Must Leave Behind," that published on Nov. 22, by Paloma Media's Nancy Rommelmann (that's me!). The lede:
On Aug. 25, 2020, violence was exploding on the streets of Kenosha, Wis., two days after the police shooting of Jacob Blake. Anyone who had been paying attention since the killing of George Floyd by the police in Minneapolis on May 25 most likely had one of two reactions: “Why is this happening? It’s unjustifiable” or “Of course this is happening, it’s completely justifiable.”
The violence in Kenosha was part of a familiar pattern. In cities across America, amid the upswelling of peaceful protest against racism and police brutality there were repeated episodes of rioting, looting and vandalism. This pattern was polarizing: Each act of violence, each injured participant or bystander, further entrenched the conviction that something was very, very wrong with the other side...
I've written for the Times before, a Modern Love ("Taking My Ex Back for His Own Good") and a Lives column ("Dazed and Confused"), and several times for what I thought was a great photo journalism series for the Magazine, What They Were Thinking.
But lately? Lately I've been more critical of the paper, particularly its handling of the accusations against and ouster of veteran newsman Donald McNeil Jr. Last Friday, I saw merit in a tweet critical of the paper, by former Timeswoman Nellie Bowles, which I retweeted with opinions as to how media has often (mis)handled the issues that so divide us.
That this seemed to touch a nerve made sense. We are, as a country, still (ever?) arguing about how the news is slanted, but in any case, I didn't think much about the tweet, mostly because the Kyle Rittenhouse verdict was soon released and there were other things to think about and read.
Around 3pm, I received an email from an Opinion editor at the Times, asking if I would consider writing a guest essay, not so much about the Rittenhouse verdict as our views and reactions in the protest environment. Of course I would, and did, turning it in around 6pm. I then logged on to Twitter to see that Nikole Hannah-Jones had retweeted my tweet without, let us say, much delight. Which I could understand, she and I having lightly knocked heads before, as well as my writing a piece for The Dispatch ("Words as Weapons: How Activist Journalists are Changing the New York Times") that explored what I found to be her less-than-laudatory part in the McNeil affair.
Did I for a moment wonder, hm, NHJ is a big cheese at the Times, maybe my piece goes bye-bye? Well, sure, but this thought is mostly ridiculous (if not narcissistic). It was a massive and for many excruciating news day, the Times employs 4700 people, and more than anything, I found it positive that I'd been asked to write at all, the ask putting a little bit of the lie to my assumptions about How the Times Reports the News, making things less black and white, as was the editing experience, with people who asked interesting questions and did not try to cant things in any direction. That's solid journalism, and to be able to be part of that, I am always super-grateful.
Some people inside newsrooms continue to figuratively sharpen their knives in these stabby times, but I have had several people—including one inside the Gray Lady—tell me that their Spidey senses detect a sea change, away from the stridency and internal policing we have all been noticing, chins dropping ever closer to the ground. Can it be there’s a growing desire about journalistic approaches that are fresher and messier and less tendentious, ready for the taste of something other than blood? Here’s hoping!
Which basically was the gist of my piece. Go read it! Or listen to me read it here
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No comment necessary. You said it all and much better than I could.