Saturday, December 27, 2003
SULLIVAN’S SILLIEST POST OF THE YEAR:
The political emergence of Schwarzenegger is a wonderful development, and not just for hacks like yours truly who love a good story. Arnold is an “eagle�?: he’s tough on terror, open-minded on cultural issues, fiscally conservative. He’s also a brilliant politician. How do I know? Just rent “Pumping Iron,�? the legendary bodybuilding documentary of the 1970s. It captures Shwarzenegger’s extraordinary ease with people, his irony, his composure, his wit, his gift with strategy and his determination. If I’m not mistaken, it also shows him lighting up a big fat joint after one of the contests. If ever there was a moment for that type of Republican, this is it. (July 8)
The fact that Schwarzenegger did in fact win makes this no less silly or irrelevant than it was at the time than it would have been if Sullivan had written something deep and thoughtful and Schwarzenegger had lost or not even run.
posted by Sully 12/27/2003 05:47:00 PM
THE ANDREW SULLIVAN VICTIM OF THE YEAR 2003:
Catholic blogger Amy Welborn, whom Sullivan falsely claimed had said he was no longer a Catholic anymore.
She demanded a retraction and/or apology. She has not gotten it.
Remember that the next time he drones on about the “liberal” media doing the same thing. Just because he has more readers does not exempt him from journalistic ethics.
posted by Sully 12/27/2003 05:34:00 PM
Thursday, December 25, 2003
OH, YOU KIDDER:
Okay, so I'm not that good at jokes.
Not intentional ones, you mean.
posted by Sully 12/25/2003 01:19:00 AM
IS THIS ONE A FAKE TOO?:
Sully's latest alleged reader email arouses our suspicion because it immediately indulges itself in the popular myth of the spat-upon Vietnam veteran (and here's the book referred to).
Maybe this writer is a genuine person who served in Vietnam, but too much of the detail sounds embellished to play the right strings. Besides, most people don't type "O" for "0."
posted by Sully 12/25/2003 01:11:00 AM
THE SALON DES VICTIMES:
Merry Christmas! (And we thank Sullivan for his brilliant bit of self-parody in which he moves from talking about why he still prefers "Happy Christmas" despite his avowed Americanness to why he is such a miserable loner.
Tomorrow we will greet Sullivan's awards with one of our own ... The Andrew Sullivan Victim of the Year 2003, given to that person most injured or done unfairly by The Blog Queen's hit-and-run character assassinations masquerading as journalism. We also hereby greatly retroactively announce the winner of the Andrew Sullivan Victim of the Year for 2002, by way of illustrating the point ... Yale University history professor Glenda Gillmor, who, in response to an award nomination of some type for something she wrote about Bush in the Yale Daily News, wrote our boy a snotty email. In direct contradiction to the policy posted at the time on his letters page, which stated that all emails were anonymous unless specifically indicated as being for publication, and several previous condemnations of journalists who had done similar things, he posted it. Gillmor told us the fallout, in terms of abuse and vituperation directed at her as a result, was so bad that even though she was advised she had a legal case against him, she just wanted to put it behind her and not sue. The only noticeable result on andrewsullivan.com was that the letters page now advised that letters be clearly indicated as such, as a result of all the nosing around we did about this for a long post we never quite got to the form we were comfortable with publishing.
We may also recognize the silliest thing Sullivan said all year, too.
Regular readers may probably have figured out what the likely winners are. But we'll keep you guessing.
(By the way, we apologize for going dark over the last few days. This was not holiday-related, alas, just another example of the kind of networking headaches we've been experiencing that have led us to seek money from you to upgrade it. What we got was a big help, and we will be able to fulfill a few of our wishes, but if you still want to put something in our Christmas stocking, go ahead).
UPDATE: Christian has had it with these Humpty-Dumpty, undeniably juvenile awards, and Jo Fish agrees.
posted by Sully 12/25/2003 12:44:00 AM
"AND THEN I SHOT MY LOAD ...":
TBogg probably does the best with that lame anti-boomer email (does anyone really know women who talk like that in bars? Besides Ann Coulter ... no wait a minute, she doesn't count because of dubious womanhood), but Jim Capozzola isn't far behind.
posted by Sully 12/25/2003 12:30:00 AM
Tuesday, December 23, 2003
If you’re not only going to
make fun ofanalyze, but quote an editorial in Le Monde, it helps to be linked to it.
NOTHING TO SEE HERE FOLKS:
Josh Marshall takes on the theories that Saddam was not so much in hiding but being ransomed by the Kurds or some other group, theories we discussed here last week.
With all due respect, while Marshall shows convincingly that the mainstream story has serious flaws, he doesn’t do much with the Debka one other than suggest that he doesn’t consider Debka to be the best of sources, an assertion to which he’s fully entitled and may well be entertained without damaging one’s intellectual credibility but which doesn’t really address the points made by Debka.
THE BRAVER MOVE:
Again, with all due respect to Pat Tillman, leaving the Arizona Cardinals, a team so woeful it remains well below the NFL salary cap because no good free agent wants to play there, and which shows every sign of once again earning the first draft pick, may not have been such a difficult choice.
Perhaps it would be more interesting if some of his Ranger buddies were to go play for the Cardinals ... they might actually manage to win more than a few games (But then again they’d have Bill Bidwill as their boss, a fate not even Saddam Hussein deserves).
posted by Sully 12/23/2003 12:40:00 AM
Monday, December 22, 2003
NOT AS BIG A DEAL AS IT FIRST SEEMED:
Josh Marshall blunts the talking points on Libya:
First, this has only a tenuous link to the Bush Doctrine, though the White House and some of the more gullible columnists are going to great lengths to portray it that way. Libya has been trying to get good with the US and Europe for half a dozen years — as signalled by the first on-going and now just concluded negotiations over the Pan-Am bombing.
(The Libya deal looks like an especially good example of the Bush Doctrine in action if you haven’t been paying any attention to Libya for the last dozen years ...)
Libya’s ‘WMD’ are awfully primitive compared to be the big-boys of the rogue state universe. They have mustard gas, a World War I era weapon, and some very preliminary nuclear stuff, not even remotely close to having a serious facility let alone a bomb. So that context is important.
Libya has been under fierce UN-sanctions for a decade. And the strangling pressure of those sanctions, combined with rising internal political strains which magnified their effect, prompted the shift of course.
Does the backdrop of Iraq play into the decision? Of course, it does. But this isn’t a break with the direction Libya’s been pursuing, but a continuation of it.
posted by Sully 12/22/2003 02:03:00 PM
Only Sullivan could read that Times story about The Friends of Mr. Black and immediately think of only one thing: KRUGMAAAAAAAAN!!!!
His take on this issue has not changed one whit in almost two years: petty, vindictive, adolescent and above all wrong. Krugman did indeed disclose the relationship, in his very first Times column, and has a lengthy discussion on his website even today.
Too much of what I read about myself doesn’t get even the most basic facts right. Critics imply, falsely, that I received money from Enron as a New York Times columnist — that I was receiving a bribe because of a prominent journalistic position that I did not in fact have at the time (unlike the other journalists who have served on that board, who held the same jobs then that they do today). They don’t acknowledge that I disclosed my connection almost three years ago, and again a year ago. And they don’t acknowledge that I have been criticizing Enron since January 2001, long before everyone else started bashing the company.
By all means let’s have a discussion about journalistic ethics; Enron has made us all a lot more conscious of ethical issues involving business. But a game of gotcha, in which anyone who received money from Enron is lumped in with the genuine malefactors in this story, does nothing to improve journalistic integrity — on the contrary, it’s counterproductive.
5. Did I disclose my connection? Yes. I reported it the one time I mentioned Enron in Fortune, almost three years ago. I reported it again the first time I mentioned Enron in the New York Times, in a highly critical article more than a year ago. I didn't say that I was paid to serve on the board, but I thought that was obvious: who volunteers his services to for-profit corporations?
One point that seems to have been missed in all the mud-slinging: I was the only member of the board to declare my connection voluntarily. Lindsey and Zoellick, as government officials, were required to disclose their consulting; none of the other members uttered a peep before the January 2002 New York Times article about the board.
6. Should I have disclosed the sum of money I received? I have always understood that when writing about someone you disclose the fact of a potential conflict of interest, not the financial details. If I had disclosed the sum back in January 2001, when I first wrote about Enron for the New York Times, it would have sounded strange — I’m sure people would have accused me of bragging.
7. Did the payment from Enron cause me to write anything I would not have written otherwise? No. Some people seem to think that because I had nice things to say about Enron's energy trading in a Fortune article — in which I disclosed my connection — I was being out of character. But I have always been a free-market Keynesian: I like free markets, but I want some government supervision to correct market failures and ensure stability. Some of my pro-market Slate pieces enraged people on the left — check out The accidental theorist , or In praise of cheap labor . My Fortune piece about the rise of markets, illustrated by Enron’s energy trading, was an attempt to take a sunshine break from the dark pieces I had been writing about the Asian crisis; it was also a favor to my editors, who devoted that issue to e-business. It wasn’t at all out of character. In fact, the next column I wrote for Fortune was also a pro-market piece, with kind words for Milton Friedman and Margaret Thatcher.
8. Was Enron trying to buy my soul? That's for them to answer. But I wasn’t selling.
Game, set and match, it seems, to us. Sullivan is the one in denial, most risibly here:
The New York Times never ran a stand-alone story about the affair, despite the fact that the majority of the journalists coopted by Enron were on the right.
Uh, Smalltown Boy, doesn’t that tend to put the lie to your shibboleth about the Times being a huge media gun perpetually cocked at the right’s head?
Here, in case you’ve forgotten, are the Slate and TNR pieces in which Jack Shafer and Jonathan Chait, two writers not generally as predisposed as we are to see character flaws or sinister manipulations in everything Sullivan writes, rap his knuckles over this. The former is particularly harsh:
Never mind that Krugman inoculated himself against Enron conflict-of-interest charges by disclosing his Enron affiliation to his Fortune readers when he wrote about the corporation for that magazine (May 1999) and then took a booster shot in the New York Times when he informed his readers about the connection when he first he wrote about Enron as a Times op-ed columnist (Jan. 24, 2001). And it makes no difference to Sullivan that Krugman has written both positively and negatively about Enron — more the mark of an independent mind than a shill. Or that Krugman ended his Enron affiliation when he joined the Times as a columnist.
In l'affaire Krugman, no exercise in ethical hygiene — short of blood transfusion — would satisfy Sullivan. He seems to want Krugman to declare all conflicts of interests, all appearances of conflict of interest, all potential conflicts of interest, all historically possible conflicts of interests (retroactive for five years), and all imagined conflicts of interest. And if there's any space left on the Times op-ed page after Krugman's voluminous disclosures, Sullivan probably expects him to write a column.
If the ability to hold two opposing ideas in the mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function is the test of a first-rate mind, then Sullivan is a genius. When Sullivan was in the conflict-of-interest crossfire, he believed that disclosure was purgative enough. Only paranoids or political foes could sink so low as to question his integrity. But today, with Krugman in the crossfire, Sullivan mimics the paranoid and partisan techniques he accused his foes of using last summer. Never mind Krugman's multiple disclosures: He’s hopelessly corrupt.
Sullivan’s response then was to mysteriously refer to Shafer’s attack as “good-natured” and basically say, well, he got me good but I’ll pretend he didn’t and move on.
Funny that Sullivan is still playing pretty much the same game. (Oh, and he gets one in on Raines for good measure).
UPDATE: Atrios suggests Sullivan has met the actual malice standard (a rare feat, believe us) and TBogg is in the building as well.
posted by Sully 12/22/2003 01:59:00 PM
HE KNOWS HE IS, BUT WHAT ARE YOU?:
Jo Fish’s latest vituperation:
After all what would an aging gay man whose community, church and political party have all left him know about being bitter?
posted by Sully 12/22/2003 02:01:00 AM
A TRUE METRIC:
Sebastien admonishes Sullivan:
Since Sullivan appreciates idiotic comparisons, let us offer this one: 2.93 million viewers for the second half of Angels in America is more than the total number of unique monthly visitors to the Daily Dish for all of 2002.
Also check out the digs Fantascope is in.
posted by Sully 12/22/2003 01:59:00 AM
BUT YOU’D EXPECT HIM TO SAY THAT, WOULDN’T YOU?:
the British honors system, whereby ordinary people of extraordinary ability or achievement are turned into pseudo-lords and ladies or given some medal of honor by the “British Empire” is a horrifying instance of the hold that class snobbery still has on Britain.
(Missed capitalization in original)
Well, what else would you expect from the Sage of South Goodstone, who demonstrates that hold so equally well by following another time-honored British tradition: migrating to America so you can lap the adoration you don’t get at home.
posted by Sully 12/22/2003 01:54:00 AM
SEELYEING HER FATE:
It’s nice that Sullivan has joined with liberal bloggers in noticing the serious flaws of the Times’ gay marriage piece.
Of course, he could also be nice enough to admit that it is coauthored by the same Kitty Seelye who did more to ruin Al Gore with falsehoods and spin during the campaign ... which he didn’t seem to mind at the time (and which immediately led us to discount the story).
Also, isn’t it funny how he still feels the need to defend the Miserable Failure against the elite liberal media, even when faced with such a clear case in which he should stand in opposition? We know who your real friends are, Andrew.
The question is, do you?
posted by Sully 12/22/2003 01:51:00 AM