About that Alice Martin tweet
For most writers, the “you’re getting paid to write that!” accusation comes with the job.
Also: “You’re a racist!”, “You’re a communist!”, “You’re a spy for the Russian mob!”, “You’re a fill-in-the-blank.”
I’ve enjoyed learning from writers who hold their heads high, write from the heart and ignore trolls. There are many inspiring examples of this in Alabama media and my husband, J. Pepper Bryars, is my gold standard hero when it comes to that. You should have seen his inbox during the Roy Moore fiasco.
Criticism … accusations … suspicion about your motives … it’s all part of it. Personally, I enjoy writing more when I don’t read social media comments. I can count on one hand the times I’ve given in to the curiosity to look.
But last night, someone sent me a screenshot of a troll-ish tweet that bothers me because of who it is about.
A public figure I wouldn’t expect accused a sincere, honest, courageous young Yellowhammer News contributing writer named Jeremy Beaman of writing an article that was influenced by money, which to anyone in journalism is about the worst thing you could be accused of.
Alice Martin, a former candidate for the Republication nomination for Attorney General, posted the following to Twitter regarding Jeremy’s article:
“YH weak ‘sponsored’ reporting swayed by ad $$. Marshall was a Democrat + weak plea bargaining record as DA. HE hasn’t lowered crime in Montgomery. Report facts!”
I think of myself as “Mama Millennial” to the young people on our team, but “Mama Millennial” will now be “Mama Bear” for a moment to defend this recent college grad and rising star (who by the way, is not at all bothered by Martin’s tweet).
When I texted Jeremy: “You should know Alice Martin is being nasty about your article. Don’t flinch or let it bother you…,” he texted back (shared with permission): “No skin off my nose! I wasn’t deeply examining their every flaw. Only the ones most obvious and already talked about.”
Jeremy is not concerned with what Martin thinks of him because he knows there’s no truth to her accusation that his article was swayed by advertising dollars. He wrote what he personally found interesting, and certainly without any input from the sales team.
Oddly enough, the article Martin calls into question was actually critical of Marshall, noting that he is a former Democrat and that some conservative voters may find such a “political sin” impossible to forgive. (Correction: Jeremy appropriately pointed out to me HE wasn’t trying to be critical of anyone, merely reporting what voters may think of political “transgressions.” See? Sharp guy.)
American author Joyce Carol Oates tweeted something years ago that made an impact on me, and while I have no hope of digging through her prolific tweets to find the original, I feel I can quote her general idea with rough accuracy.
She tweeted something like: Someone, somewhere, with whatever degree of pretense or sincerity, will find a reason to be offended by anything you say or do. Therefore…?
I guess it’s time for “Mama Millennial/Mama Bear” to back off – smiling, knowing — kids like Jeremy aren’t really kids. His confident reaction to Martin’s tweet shows me he’s already working from a “Therefore…?” stance. He’ll be just fine.
And me? Yeah, me too, though if someone trolls this article on social media, I’m still not going to see it.
I do like to connect with awesome Alabamians. Please reach out and say hello at Rachel@yellowhammernews.com — unless, that is, you’re writing to tell me I’m a Russian spy.