Nov 23, 2022

A note to readers from Isaac

Plus, some tips for Thanksgiving.

I’m Isaac Saul, and this is Tangle: an independent, nonpartisan, subscriber-supported politics newsletter that summarizes the best arguments from across the political spectrum on the news of the day — then “my take.”

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Dear reader,

Last year, around Thanksgiving, I wrote a post about gratitude and the power of giving thanks. I know it sounds a little "woo-woo" and corny, but it's true that expressing gratitude is good for your mental health and, well, just good for the world.

So let me quickly say thank you.

Right now, as I pen this newsletter, media outlets across the country are suffering.

Thousands of media jobs have been cut over the last few months, and many more will be in the near future. Warner Bros. and Disney are laying people off. CNN is restructuring. The company that owns CBS is trimming down, as is NBCUniversal. Protocol, an offshoot of POLITICO, just folded. Morning Brew, a business newsletter much bigger than Tangle, is laying off 14% of its employees. Vice is planning to cut its costs by 15%. Gannett, the company that owns USA Today, fired 400 people in August. Now it says more layoffs are coming.

These are just a few places, but they paint a good picture of what's happening in the media space right now. For my entire career, moments like this would lead to consternation, weeks of anxiety, lots of uncertainty, and — of course — the pressure to drive more traffic or revenue to a website with my journalism. I am thinking of and feeling for many of my former colleagues in the media world. Cycles like this are always brutal to live through.

But in the meantime, I'm also grateful. With Tangle, I have a steady stream of subscription revenue and a stable business model. I'm the boss, the one who gets to decide who or what gets cut, and — despite a slow couple months of growth — I have no plans except to keep investing in this little media company we are building. To be in that position is a privilege, and it’s not one I take for granted. It would not be possible without the people reading this email.

I'm also grateful for the next few days. In my family, Thanksgiving is the most important holiday of the year. So I'll be logging off for two days to spend some time with them and my childhood neighbors who we celebrate with every year. I recognize that many Americans spend the holidays working, alone, struggling to make ends meet, or all three. Please be considerate about this in the days ahead — and act accordingly. Be kind and generous. Show some love to your neighbors and to those in need (of friendship, financial support or a roof over their heads). In today's divided, angry and fractured environment, our country needs it more than ever.

With a few days off, I'd also like to encourage you to consider supporting Tangle. Of course, now is a great time to share Tangle, as I know the holidays (for many of you) can be contentious with family members whose politics you don't share. One of the most surprising pieces of feedback I've gotten about Tangle is hearing from so many people who say this newsletter has helped them discuss politics rationally with a parent, uncle, spouse, or other family member. I love that it can function that way, and encourage you to spread the word over the holiday break. And in that spirit, I have some easy tips to help navigate the holidays:

  • Ask people about the experiences that inform their political views; experiences are almost always more personally compelling and formative than data.
  • You’re not going to change anyone’s mind in one conversation, so don’t expect to. Just try to learn and say your piece.
  • Try to listen more than you talk, and ask questions. The more you are asking, the more you’ll learn, and the better you’ll be able to communicate your argument when it’s your time to talk.

One way to support those conversations and get into the holiday spirit is to share this URL:

Every time someone signs up for our mailing list for free at, we will donate $1 to either No Kid Hungry or Meals On Wheels. Our idea is that we'd rather put money to a good cause than pay advertisers to push Tangle. If our readers do it for us, we can save the advertising money and donate it instead. Since we started, just 31 people (totaling $31) have signed up there, which has surprised me. My goal is to raise $1,000. Let's see what this community can do.

No matter what you do, I just want to reiterate my thanks. I am feeling incredibly grateful this holiday season for Tangle, for this community, and for the roof over my head.

We'll be back in your inbox on Monday, and I hope you can enjoy some downtime between now and then. As always, I encourage everyone to use these next couple of days to take a little break from the political happenings, too. It's always good for us.

All our best and Happy Thanksgiving,

Isaac & the Tangle team

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