When Andrew Sullivan announced he was going indie, I saw many approving comments and excited commentary that he was “the future of journalism” and “pointing the way”.
Has everyone forgotten? Why are so many dazzled by his current libertarian/pro-Obama stance, one that is so at odds with his many previous stances?
I don’t get it. He’s a skilled writer, sure (though it’s unclear, and you can’t trust his word, as to how much of his current blog he writes himself). But he has a very long, very well documented record of being dead fucking wrong about many, many, many things, and he damn near single-handedly strangled The New Republic while he was running that joint. Let’s take a little peek down into the Sullivan memory hole:
- He published “No Exit,” the 1994 article packed with the outright lies and fraudulent reporting of the repulsive Betsy McCaughey, which was widely credited as being the beginning of the end for Hillary Clinton’s healhcare reform, in large part because it was published in the hitherto-liberal New Republic. We eventually (not via Sullivan) later discovered that McCaughey was shilling for a tobacco company while writing the article. McCaughey later returned, the undead pundit, in 2009; she invented the equally bullshit term “death panels” when she failed to help kill the Affordable Care Act. So I ask: how many uninsured Americans died between 1994 when healthcare reform was killed, thanks largely to Andrew Sullivan, and 2012? From my brief calculation, it’s on the order of 380,000 dead people. Arguably, many of those people would not have died had the US moved to a sane healthcare system in 1994. In my view, Sullivan’s hands are stained with the blood of those people. He bears some of the responsibility for and shame of their death. And by the way, one of Sullivan’s long-standing causes has been, laudably, advocacy for AIDS/HIV patients. How many of those uninsured people were gay men who died of AIDS and were denied insurance and care from a healthcare system that Sullivan helped stay broken for an extra 15 years?
- 1994 was a banner year for Sullivan; he also published a cover story lauding The Bell Curve, a since throughly discredited book written by racial eugenicist Charles Murray. In it, Murray argues that blacks are inherently dumber than whites. Sullivan apparently still agrees with this view.
- Sullivan, like many right-wingers, went full batshit hide-under-the-bed crazy after 9/11. However, his favorite tactic was to smear anyone who didn’t want to attack Saddam NOW NOW NOW as unpatriotic and un-American. One of his most famous quotes during this time: “The middle part of the country—the great red zone that voted for Bush—is clearly ready for war. The decadent Left in its enclaves on the coasts is not dead—and may well mount what amounts to a fifth column.” So if you didn’t want to rush to war — a path we now know to be absolutely correct — you were a traitor. Contemptible.
A little research shows how Sullivan hasn’t been especially interested or concerned with journalistic integrity; at The New Republic he published many false articles and assisted the careers of at least two plagiarists. Here is the piece that led me to write this post today; it details Sullivan’s sins in much more detail than I care to today.
I simply can’t get on the Sully bandwagon. I read his stuff sometimes, and sometimes I enjoy it. But I think there are many more deserving bloggers who should be rewarded by putting their stuff behind a paywall and getting a ton of subscribers.