Happy Thanksgiving from the dreaded news media

Thanksgiving is here. For some Americans, this is a holiday they love, featuring great times with family and friends. But for others, Turkey Day conjures up memories of awful relatives and times they might rather forget.

Here’s hoping that you enjoy Thanksgiving in the best way possible.

How about looking back at what I’m thankful for in 2016.

1. This is just the greatest place in the world. Traveling the country this year, I got to see all sorts of people, places and things. I can’t begin to count the number of times that I saw something and thought – if I only had an hour to detour so I could see this or that. Many times, I just pulled off the road and took pictures. I give thanks for this scene, about an hour and a half north of Des Moines, Iowa.

2. The political history of this country. One of our faults is that we tend to think what happens now is more important than anything else that has gone before us. Baseball is like that. Take a survey to name the top 100 players, and a good chunk of the picks will have played recently – but we all know, some of the older players were better than their present-day counterparts. So, I always try to stop and think of what happened before in our country’s history – what was it like way back when? I give thanks for signs like this in Exeter, New Hampshire, to remind us that important things did happen before the last election.

3. I can’t make up the stuff that arrives via email. Hardly a day goes by without me shaking my head at something that lands in my inbox concerning politics. Statements from dentists about the elections. Quotes from political science professors that just randomly arrive. Pitches from public relations people that strain credulity, but are sent anyway. And then, there was this one yesterday from someone who wanted to comment about Trump maybe picking Mitt Romney for Secretary of State. Can’t. Make. It. Up.

4. I’m thankful for my colleagues in the news media. This election year has been a rough one for my business. The amount of hatred and anger directed at me on social media in the last year has been disappointing. The yelling and cursing of reporters at political events was disappointing. But I am thankful for all of the reporters who worked long hours on the campaign trail to tell the American people what was going on in the race for the White House, long after the candidate had finished speaking and everyone else had gone home.

5. I am thankful for all the assignment editors in the world. I heard from many people this year about how I should cover the political campaign. Mind you, almost none of them have held a job in journalism, but they know what I should do, what I should say and how to cover daily political events. This week I received an email from someone who told me that “if you want a job long term you might want to focus reporting on things I can’t easily learn elsewhere.” And there was more, like this suggestion to ignore the tweets of President-Elect Trump, and just do a wrap up at the end of the week. (To paraphrase Lindsey Nelson on the Sunday morning replay of the Notre Dame football game, “We move to action later in the third quarter.”)

6. I’m thankful for my family. My wife and kids deserve a lot of plaudits for this year, as I was occupied with other events for most of 2016. My kids giggled about the mean tweets that people sent their father. They wondered why my Facebook friends didn’t really act like friends very often, and why some of them used ALL CAPS to make their point. They were also puzzled when I wouldn’t let them read through my Twitter timeline (because of the verbal abuse). They wondered why Dad was going to be leaving town yet again. They sent me texts with the latest from home base, while I sent them photos from where I was, so they could figure out what dad was doing.

Happy Thanksgiving.

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