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Fmr. NYT writer Nellie Bowles: Dispatches from the Wrong Side of History

Brian Kilmeade Show / Brian Kilmeade
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May 17, 2024 1:17 pm

Fmr. NYT writer Nellie Bowles: Dispatches from the Wrong Side of History

Brian Kilmeade Show / Brian Kilmeade

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May 17, 2024 1:17 pm

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Hey, we are back and my guest now is a new author, Nellie Bowles, a reporter for the Free Press and author of a brand new book called Morning After the Revolution Dispatches from the Wrong Side of History.

Nellie, welcome to The Brian Kilmeade Show. It's a pleasure to be here. I think I'm actually in your seat in headquarters.

I know, and that's how much trust I have in you. I'll let you take over that. Tell everybody how great a studio I have.

It's a great studio. They are so nice here. I'm looking at your little items. I'm trying to figure out, there's something in Russian here?

Welcome to Ukraine. I'm having a lot of fun. I'm planning on staying and I think I'm the new host.

I wouldn't doubt it. You certainly have the ability and the talent. I apologize, but this was the last minute for Law Enforcement Week. We did a big thing in the candlelight vigil last night. I'm going to interview the speaker today.

I'll have that tomorrow. But Nellie, congratulations on your book. Talk about the changes in your career over the last couple of years.

There have been a few. So I started out as a good California reporter, joined the Times, which was my dream job, and started getting in trouble when I started reporting on things that my colleagues saw as beyond the purview of a Times reporter or kind of unacceptable to report on, especially unacceptable to laugh about or report on in a funny way. So now I left the paper. I wrote this book, basically a set of stories that I couldn't have gotten done there and now did for the book, and then started a new media company with my wife. And we are having... Barry Weiss.

It's my wife, Barry Weiss. It's called The Free Press. And we publish a lot of stories every day. And I write a Friday humor column called TGIF, which everyone should be reading.

It's very important. And that's our career now. We're sort of in the wild west of the new media. But you write after, you write, Dispatches from the wrong side of history. And maybe you have some regrets about the cancel culture you were in the middle of and you thought to yourself better of it.

And does Barry Weiss deserve a lot of credit for setting another side of this story? I was a very good soldier of the revolution. And I think in a lot of ways, for people who are growing up in a certain community and certain waters, it's hard to look outside of that.

And it's hard to be reflective of what you're doing or what you believe and to question it. And it's not to say that I questioned it and now I'm on the other side and it's also simple, but just to say that I looked around and I started to see the results of some of the progressive policies. I'm from San Francisco.

I lived there my whole life. If you're not looking around and seeing the streets and starting to question some of the ideas that got us to that place, I think you're fooling yourself. I think you're an absolute fool if you don't do that. And so I started looking at the facts. And and yeah, I write about my role to some extent in some of this. I mean, I write about canceling a friend. I was trying to think about how to capture cancel culture. And I was thinking, oh, I'll talk to someone who canceled someone.

I'll do this and I'll I'll do it through reporting. And I realized the most honest thing is to admit that I won't. I've canceled someone very specifically.

I I had a friend who everyone was sort of dogpiling and I was supposed to go on stage and do an on stage interview with her as a reporter at The Times. And that would have been good and helpful for her book. And I backed out and I. Did it because I knew that in the event would be canceled and I knew it would.

It would harm it. And I did it because I was thought I was part of a movement for the good and not thinking about it. And yeah, I write about the feelings of regret and sort of wrestling with when you do a bad thing or do a shitty thing to someone and why that happened, how I got caught up in that night. Anyways, that's one chapter.

And it. Yeah, I certainly don't don't look like a hero of the book. But I'm OK with that. I think of myself already heroically. So I don't I don't need to write about myself.

You are a superhero in your mind, as I am. Exactly. We're not on the radio. We fight crime. Exactly.

Wherever we can. Now, a couple of things. You're not saying that you're a conservative or liberal. You're just saying you've learned to be more fair minded and open minded. For example, obviously, Governor Newsom's attack on the homeless situation has only made it worse. Obviously, you've taken one of the greatest states in the union, California, made people apt to do everything, whatever they can, in many cases, to get out of there because of the crime and because of the taxes. And you're seeing what's happening in Chicago in the city and you're seeing what's happening in New York with the Nobel policy. And even though you say to yourself, OK, it seems like a lot of minorities are in prison, I guess America is a racist country.

Let's let everybody out. Maybe that's not the good answer either. Yeah, I mean. I when you're in the progressive world, as soon as you question any of it, you're called a fascist. But I just reject obviously reject the label, but also I just reject the premise. I think that it's OK to look at San Francisco's D.A., who at the time was saying that we shouldn't prosecute crime and we shouldn't put drug dealers in jail or prosecute them because drug dealers are victims, too. It's OK to look at that and say, that's absurd. That's ridiculous. Like, it's OK to look at the homeless situation, let's say, and say, OK, these are very good intentions.

But why is it that the nonprofits and the leaders of the groups that are supposed to be helping the homeless are getting so rich? How is that? That that's a little odd, right? Like you're sort of and that's OK. That doesn't make you a bad person. I mean, within within the left, it's sort of seen as like you can't question any. And by the way, I think this happens with within groups on the right, too. It just obviously isn't my community, but I'm not. I think I think the right does the exact same thing in a lot of ways in our time of extremism anyways. But in my community, I think that for a long time and still now, if you point out any of the absurdities in any of the ways in which the ideals don't translate to results that make sense based on the supposed ideals, if you point that out, you get a lot of trouble. But but I mean, the examples of this are so many like the book was easy to write in a lot of ways because you're looking around and you're like, well, you've got groups of school leaders who are advocating against opening schools.

You've got that was big, right? The pandemic was really made people take positions and really begin to question themselves for not questioning other people. Correct. Exactly. And it just doesn't make sense. And there's humor in that and absurdity in that. And there's.

I am. Yeah, it's low hanging fruit. I mean, you've got a chapter on there's a white anti-racist leaders who are trying to tell us that things like perfectionism and urgency and objectivity are white values and white trades and that that is anti-racism. That's the most racist thing you could say. That's crazy. I mean, and that that was so mainstream that the Smithsonian Museum made a poster with with those attributes saying that these are white and that these are white supremacy traits. And it's like, I mean, some of the stuff now, when I look back and I think and I read parts, obviously, I read it to myself every night before bed.

I you almost can't believe it's real, but it was and it is. And I think we're seeing it play out still on campuses now and on a lot of the similar sort of absurd trends. I hear you.

And in fact, you're not the only one. This has been a theme factor on Saturday night. I just think the end of end of culture, cancel culture is clearly clearly upon us. And it's not because a whole bunch of Democrats becoming Republicans or conservatives becoming ultra conservatives, whatever it is.

I just think the age of looking at things fairly is now going to be in vogue. And I think back to your lips, to God's ears. Right. To the NPR editor. He came out and says, listen, I never voted for Republican in my life, but I'm looking at NPR and I'm thinking to myself, this is insane. Listen to what he said. As you know, he he wrote this column. Then he got suspended. He said, no, you're not going to suspend me. I quit.

Cut 40. I think like every newsroom, every legacy media newsroom, we were shocked, disturbed, distraught, really troubled. We assumed Hillary Clinton was going to win and and she didn't. And it was really an unsettling experience. But I also think to me it revealed that we didn't really understand a lot of what was going on in America, that we were out of touch. And he went on with with Barry Weiss, your co-editor and and your wife, Cup 41. After a while, we started covering Trump in a way that that like a lot of legacy news news organizations that we were trying to damage his presidency to even find anything we could to harm him. And I think what we latched on to was Russia collusion, like a lot of news organizations, which was, as I write, sort of catnip, although it was just rumors and a lot of it based on pretty shoddy documents or evidence.

There was it wasn't really solid, but I think it was it was compelling. And he was upset by it. He spoke up about it and they basically said, who cares? It hurt the presidency. It doesn't matter.

He said, I'm not giving you any new news. Does this go to the theme in which you were the reason why you wrote the book? Oh, yeah, absolutely. I mean, Uri is the NPR whistleblower is unbelievably brave. He was there for many years and took a big risk in coming out and saying, we lost our focus.

We lost our focus on journalism and on being honest. And it's as a writer, as an editor, like Uri was as a writer, like I was or am, it's very boring to some extent to be in a culture where everything has to be for the good of the party. Everything has to be to benefit the candidate of the moment with with the exact politics of the moment. And that to go against that is to be doing something very dangerous. So like I the book starts with me trying to cover Chaz and Chop when Seattle was taken over by Antifa. And at the time, it was very important to deny that Antifa was part of BLM at all or that Antifa was having any role in what was happening in America's cities. And that was that was basically a consensus in mainstream media.

And it just was driving me crazy. And I think for a lot of curious people who are still in these institutions, by the way, there's tons of great reporters still within NPR, within the Times who are kind of who have been for years a little bit cowed by a group of really militant activists who want a small faction of very militant activists who want to clamp down and censor. But but it's fundamentally just very frustrating to be a creative in those worlds because you can't do the stories that are most interesting to write about. Like, you know, tell me if this is the truth in your life. It used to be where, you know, you cover stories, you do things and then maybe on a Friday night, you go out for a couple of beers and you go, yeah, by the way, who are you voting for? Oh, you know, you might not be able to know. You actually would ask that question and not know. Now it comes out in so much of the reporting right and left that you don't really have to ask anybody who they're voting for or what channel they're on. You know exactly it.

So I might be a little bit of a Bernie versus Warren debate within mainstream media. You might have some battles. Right. It gets heated.

They get absolutely heated. So I look back. This is what gives me hope. People like you, Mr. Urie Berliner. And I took this quote last for you last week from Joe Kahn, the editor of The New York Times. He says there are people out there in the world who may decide based on their democratic rights to elect Donald Trump as president. It is not the job of The New York Times or the news media to prevent that from happening.

It's up to Biden and the people around him to prevent that from happening. I didn't think we'd have to read that. I thought that goes without saying the fact that they had to write it.

It's crazy. But the fact that he said it is also important. I agree completely. The fact that he had to say it is hilarious and does betray the whole thing. Right. He has to say that. And it's considered controversial when he said that. And it's like, well, what are you talking about?

Obviously, you're supposed to not be a tool of propaganda like that. That goes without saying. Right.

But it doesn't. And I think it's a really good sign that he said it. And I think that there is now coming a like he said at the beginning, a moderate reformation, a sort of waking up of normal people who are like, we're not these flattened extremes of one thing or another. Our politics aren't simple.

The average American identifies as like exhausted more than ideological. Yes. I'm in the exhausted party.

I'd like to buy running mate. Yeah. No one wants to be whether you're on the right or the left. No one wants to be flattened into these obsessive little categories where you have to fit every every hole.

It's ridiculous. So listen, Nelly, a few more minutes right after the break. We'll take a short time out. That might be a good opportunity to open up one of my books and you could take it for free and you could say you're going to give it back and not return it.

But I'll be back in just a couple of minutes. I'm in D.C. Nelly is in my studio. You have to go out and and pick up her brand new book, which is now out and about and available for all those with a little excess income.

And that, of course, is the morning after the revolution dispatches from the wrong side of history. Don't move. From the Fox News podcast network. Stay on top of the latest news and information from Fox News. Listen and download the Fox News hourly update on your time.

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Thanks so much for tuning in. Nellie Bowles, still my guest reporter here with the Free Press and author of a brand new book called Morning After the Revolution Dispatches on the Wrong Side of History. And you look back to the days of the New York Times and you try to talk about how you've grown from it. But believe it or not, The New York Times did not like your book.

Does that hurt your feelings, Nellie? It says Bowles is more of a dull blade ridiculing her former colleagues by saddling them with laughably vacuous thoughts and dreams. Their beautiful vision of the role of journalism for such a beautiful time, for instance. What twits your your response to their review? I don't read the reviews, but I do make my partner and I ask her to filter, filter through. Now, of course, the Times slammed it.

What do you think? I mean, I I make fun of the paper. I make fun of a little bit the movements that were going on within there. And the world of legacy journalists, legacy journalism doesn't like being made fun of. They don't like jokes about them.

They take their work very seriously. And to call out some of the silliness is to very much put yourself as an enemy of the movement, an enemy of the people. So, no, I'm not surprised that the Times was very mad. Well, you know who? Yeah.

OK, so I don't think it's going to hurt you. People are going to buy your book on reading the Times or they've made a decision that they want to find out what you mean. No, I know. Buy your book. I think that the average Times reader, I think even the average Times reporter, but I think the average Times reader certainly is a curious, open minded person. I don't think there's enough crazy ideologues in this country to to to be all of those subscribers.

I just don't I just don't believe it. So I think the average Times reader is open minded and has a sense of humor and is smart. I mean, at the Free Press, the thing that we've been so surprised by.

Right. We started just a little blog. Really, my wife started it.

And then I joined in when I saw it was getting successful and like like all good entrepreneurs. And the thing that has struck me so much is there's huge appetite for content, for podcasts and essays and hopefully for books that there's huge appetite for stuff that isn't so ideological. And the Times reviewers and the I don't know who this person is.

I didn't like look into her before coming in here. But these people are ideologues. Right. They they're true believers. You'll never sway them.

But that's a small fraction. Well, I just think that the Free Press is having getting so much traction because people want an honest assessment and they don't trust social media. They were beginning to read it as if it was gospel. Now they don't trust it at all. And I think people are looking for a source and your book spells it all out. Morning after the revolution.

Nellie Bowles. Nice talking to you. Congratulations on it. I hope to see you. We're both in the same studio next time. It's a pleasure to be here and I'm never leaving the studio.

I guess not. Eric, make her comfortable. Thank you. Ryan, kill me, Joe. Thank you so much.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-05-17 14:38:47 / 2024-05-17 14:46:37 / 8

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