1 New York’s latest issue commemorated Joe Biden’s election to the presidency (“Exhale, America,” November 9–22). On Instagram, @danistargem remarked on Mark Peterson’s cover photograph, “It’ll be nice to see a President with light in his eyes, rather than venom.” For other readers, the cover and the moment were an opportunity for relief. Nicki Sacco Chacon tweeted, “I just exhaled for the first time in four years. Didn’t realize I had been holding my breath.” Inside the magazine, our writers responded to the news: In “The End of an Error,” Jonathan Chait argued that America was always better than Donald Trump. Daily Kos’s Greg Dworkin called it “one of the best things [Chait] has written.” But Terry Bell cautioned that Chait’s “read makes it hard to account for the significant support [Trump] maintained after four years.” Soledad O’Brien added, “Trump didn’t talk (mostly white) journalists into this idea [of] the real America. Newsrooms have been based on this fiction for a long time. Columnists who wanted to ‘discover’ Trump voters could have easily popped over to Staten Island, or my hometown in Long Island.” In “Last Days,” Olivia Nuzzi wrote about the increasingly dour mood in the White House as Biden’s victory became inevitable. The story was shared by CNN’s Jake Tapper and the actor John Cusack, and Ira Glass called it a “satisfying glimpse at what’s happening inside Trump’s world.” @high_in_seattle tweeted, “One thing’s for sure: if he hadn’t been so full of himself and had actually surrounded himself with wise counsel, his legacy might have been so much different.”
2 Reeves Wiedeman’s report on the New York Times’ internal reckoning sparked a lively conversation (“Times Change,” November 9–22). Scottish journalist Martyn McLaughlin called the story a “fascinating longread on the opportunities and challenges faced by the NYT, and an insight into how Trump’s single term has been the ultimate stress test for the media.” The Washington Post’s Gene Park wrote, “I’m glad this piece finally says it out loud: you all can’t stop reading opinions and takes. We all complain about Opinion sections and why it’s at all necessary, but reward it with the most traffic.” Many readers focused on the internal debates between programmers and journalists at the Times. Jon Stokes responded, “Programmers will never not wade confidently into an area they have no clue about … Journalism isn’t a job you learn by watching or by being around journos. It’s a job you learn by doing. It’s a mistake to give engineers any newsroom voice at all unless they want to do serious time in the newsroom as a reporter, first.” Ryan Osborn countered, “What makes software developer feedback so valuable (and increasingly heard) is that it’s often outside the newsroom bubble.” Writer Malcolm Harris critiqued, “It didn’t really deal with the question of how a project like the Times finds space for conservative views at a time when American conservatism has mostly given up its intellectual pretensions.” Glenn Greenwald, who recently resigned from the outlet he co-founded, The Intercept, over disagreements with the site’s editors, wrote, “Wittingly or otherwise, it reveals the internal fights plaguing not just most newsrooms like the NYT but political groups all over the country about what can and cannot be said, for what reasons and by whom.”
3 In “Who Dies,” Sarah Jones argued that her grandfather’s death from COVID-19 complications was as political as it was biological (November 9–22). “This short, sharp piece of writing leapt out of the magazine tonight as I read it. Beautifully felt and written, and so true,” John Robertson tweeted. Brian Cleary called the essay “a very human account of the devastating and infuriating sacrifices at the altar of capital that are often discussed abstractly, theoretically.” Laura Lombardi of Bethpage, New York, wrote to the magazine, “Sarah Jones speaks directly to many of us who have lost loved ones due to ‘Covid complications,’ but not directly of Covid. I watched my own Mother’s health quickly deteriorate while our inadequate health care system failed her in too many ways to mention. I was not even able to visit her in the hospital where she spent 14 days alone in March and April before passing. My Mom is just another 80 year old Covid statistic now, but the healthcare system that gave us too little and too late care is responsible for many deaths that could have been prevented with better upfront care.” Rodger Caudill added, “Numbers are difficult to comprehend. Sarah Jones writing of one loss to Covid-19 is not. It is as clear as my eyes allow it.” @thisisyee wrote, “Here is one story, out of 240,000 or so, and counting.”
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