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Renegade Nellie Bowles Cheerfully Rebukes Her Profession

Renegade Nellie Bowles Cheerfully Rebukes Her Profession

Nellie Bowles speaks onstage during the Dropbox Work In Progress Conference at Pier 48 on September 25, 2019 in San Francisco. (Getty Images for Dropbox)

Salena Zito By Thursday, 30 May 2024 10:30 AM EDT Current | Bio | Archive

It took 30 minutes and five seconds to read the introduction of Morning After the Revolution, written by former New York Times reporter Nellie Bowles.

It took the same amount of time to listen to the introduction via the audiobook, which I did because I wanted to make sure I didn't miss a word Bowles wrote. The mother of one, with the second on the way, narrates it herself in a soothing voice that never betrays an emotion, which makes the words all the more important.

In that very short period, my reaction is best described by quoting the late great Selma Diamond in her role as a bailiff on the '80s sitcom Night Court when Bull asks her, after hearing a wild-eyed story play out in court, "Well, that was quite a story. What did you think?"

Diamond's deadpan "I laughed, I cried, it became a part of me" is exactly what I felt just in the introduction. Days later, after a combination of reading and listening to the book, my sentiment remained the same.

As the book progressed, I heard and saw a lot of things in our country that often didn't make sense to many of us. From the takeover of cities by activists to the unquestioned origins of COVID-19 to the normalization of men competing as women in women's sports, we all sat back and watched once-vaunted pillars of journalism in our country, such as the Times, The Washington Post, NBC and CBS repeatedly telling us there was nothing to see there.

They also told us that if you question any of these narratives, you are a racist, transphobe or conspiracy theorist.

Or all three.

Bowles writes that she was in the thick of it until she wasn't, even candidly admitting she was part of canceling someone and enjoyed the superiority of it. Bowles left it not because she had an awakening as a right-wing whatever-negative-name-you-want-to-use — deplorable, MAGA extremist, Bible-thumper and gun-clinger are favorite pejoratives — but because she was curious as a journalist.

Once she let that curiosity become known, her liberal media peers slowly ostracized her.

Throughout the book, Bowles weaves a firsthand account, taking readers from her aspiration to work at the Times as a young journalist to today. Her dispassionate delivery is pitch perfect, with zero trace of vengeance or bitterness.

It is also wildly funny and sad in a way that makes you mourn what we lost in the past few years, both in our lives and from institutions we once trusted, but it allows us to bask in the freedom it took her and her spouse, Bari Weiss, also a former Times journalist, to begin their own publication, the Free Press, in 2021.

Bowles is a nimble writer bursting with curiosity, and her storytelling is that of an old soul, rich in detail. Meanwhile, the Free Press has flourished wildly beyond both her and Weiss' expectations.

After reading the book, I went to see the reviews from the Times, The New Yorker and the Post. My first reaction to their reviews was that they were clearly given a different book than I was.

They weren't. They are angry because she betrayed her liberal professional caste. The reviews were scathing. Nonetheless, her book made the Times bestseller list on Wednesday.

Salena Zito has held a long, successful career as a national political reporter. She worked for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review for 11 years, and has interviewed every U.S. president and vice president since 1992, as well as other top D.C. leaders. She joined the New York Post in September 2016, and acts as a CNN political analyst, and also as a reporter and columnist for the Washington Examiner. Read Salena Zito's Reports — More Here.

© Creators Syndicate Inc.

Once she let that curiosity become known, her liberal media peers slowly ostracized her.
nellie bowles, media bias
Thursday, 30 May 2024 10:30 AM
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