A former reporter for The New York Times said that her story on the impact the riots in Kenosha, WI had on the city's poorer neighborhoods was held by the newspaper until after the 2020 election.
Nellie Bowles traveled to Kenosha to report on the Black Lives Matter protests that took the city by storm following the police shooting of Jacob Blake in August 2020, according to a Thursday post on Bari Weiss’ Substack channel Common Sense.
The city's civil unrest led to then-17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse’s shooting of three people, killing two of them. On Friday, a jury of his peers found him not guilty on all five felony charges following a murder trial that lasted several weeks.
Bowles said she was told to report on the "mainstream liberal argument" that "burning down businesses for racial justice was both good and healthy" because businesses had insurance to cover the damages.
"I went to Kenosha to see about this, and it turned out to be not true," Bowles wrote. "The part of Kenosha that people burned in the riots was the poor, multi-racial commercial district, full of small, underinsured cell phone shops and car lots. It was very sad to see and to hear from people who had suffered. Beyond the financial loss, small storefronts are quite meaningful to their owners and communities, which continuously baffles the Zoom-class."
But after the reporter filed her story about this discovery, editors informed her that it would not be published until after the 2020 election, citing a number of reasons, including space, timing and the need for tweaks.
The story later ran following now-President Joe Biden's election win, according to Bowles.
"Whatever the reason for holding the piece, covering the suffering after the riots was not a priority," she wrote. "The reality that brought Kyle Rittenhouse into the streets was one we reporters were meant to ignore. The old man who tried to put out a blaze at a Kenosha store had his jaw broken. The top editor of the Philadelphia Inquirer had to resign in June 2020 amid staff outcry for publishing a piece with the headline, 'Buildings Matter, Too.'"
"If you lived in those neighborhoods on fire, you were not supposed to get an extinguisher," she continued. "The proper response — the only acceptable response — was to see the brick and mortar torn down, to watch the fires burn and to say: thank you."