FOR FREE PEOPLE

FOR FREE PEOPLE

Nellie Bowles Knows Why So Many Progressives Lost Their Minds—She Almost Did, Too

Nellie Bowles wasn’t always the TGIF queen you know and love at The Free Press. In fact, Nellie was, for a very long time, deeply embedded in the progressive left. Before…

Nellie Bowles wasn’t always the TGIF queen you know and love at The Free Press.

In fact, Nellie was, for a very long time, deeply embedded in the progressive left. 

Before Bari and Nellie met—and fell in love, blah blah blah—in 2019, Nellie was nothing short of a media darling. She had the right ideas, she wrote the right stories, and NYT readers ate it up. 

But Nellie is a reporter. And being a reporter—a great one—forced her to confront the gap between what an increasingly zealous left claimed were its aims. . . and the actual realities of their policies. 

People don’t usually change their minds. At least not on big-stakes political issues, and not when their jobs are at risk, or their social acceptance is on the line. And people certainly don’t change their minds publicly. 

Nellie did. And she chronicles that change in her new book, Morning After the Revolution: Dispatches from the Wrong Side of History.

The book is a collection of stories from her reporting during the years she started to question the narrative. These were stories people told her not to write. People said, Don’t go to Seattle’s autonomous zone; there’s nothing to see there. They said, Don’t report on the consequences of hormone therapy for kids; it’s not important. 

But as Nellie writes, “I became a reporter because I didn't trust authority figures. . . . As a reporter, I spent over a decade working to follow that curiosity. It was hard to suddenly turn that off. It was hard to constantly censor what I was seeing, to close one eye and try very hard not to notice anything inconvenient, especially when there was so much to see.”

That curiosity is what got Nellie kicked out of the club. But it gave her a place in a new club, the one that we at The Free Press think that the majority of Americans are actually in. 

On today’s episode: What does it mean to walk away from a movement that was once central to your identity? How does it feel to be accused of being “red-pilled” by the people you once called friends? How did the left become so radical and dogmatic? Why do people join mobs? And how did Nellie come back from the brink?

Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

our Comments

Use common sense here: disagree, debate, but don't be a .

the fp logo
comment bg

Welcome to The FP Community!

Our comments are an editorial product for our readers to have smart, thoughtful conversations and debates — the sort we need more of in America today. The sort of debate we love.   

We have standards in our comments section just as we do in our journalism. If you’re being a jerk, we might delete that one. And if you’re being a jerk for a long time, we might remove you from the comments section. 

Common Sense was our original name, so please use some when posting. Here are some guidelines:

  • We have a simple rule for all Free Press staff: act online the way you act in real life. We think that’s a good rule for everyone.
  • We drop an occasional F-bomb ourselves, but try to keep your profanities in check. We’re proud to have Free Press readers of every age, and we want to model good behavior for them. (Hello to Intern Julia!)
  • Speaking of obscenities, don’t hurl them at each other. Harassment, threats, and derogatory comments that derail productive conversation are a hard no.
  • Criticizing and wrestling with what you read here is great. Our rule of thumb is that smart people debate ideas, dumb people debate identity. So keep it classy. 
  • Don’t spam, solicit, or advertise here. Submit your recommendations to tips@thefp.com if you really think our audience needs to hear about it.
Close Guidelines

Latest