Journalist Andrew Sullivan plans to go solo and offer his writing by subscription on the Web; he claims to have already raised $400,000 from readers. A key component to the success of his business model will be public amnesia, says Mark Ames, in a lengthy compendium of Sullivan's egregious writing and editorial missteps over the years.* The worst of these were attacks on antiwar voices in the aftermath of 9/11. People who turned out to be right were branded "fifth columnists" by Sullivan. As Ames dramatically phrases it:
Like a lot of imbeciles, Andrew Sullivan reacted to September 11 as if it was a test of Andrew Sullivan's mettle, starring Andrew Sullivan as the protagonist in an epic battle between good and evil, with the fate of mankind hanging in the balance: Red Dawn meets Revelations by way of [NAME OF TOM CLANCY BOOK POPULAR AMONG BELTWAY WAFFENDWEEBS]... Lots of pompous cliches, and flapping flags in the wind...
No account of Andrew Sullivan’s journalism record can be complete without recalling his role as one of the most vicious and cowardly henchmen policing critics of Bush’s wars after September 11, at the peak of the terror hysteria, beginning in late 2001, through the invasion of Iraq and its aftermath. When it counted most, and when baiting critics had a frightening, deadly power to it, Andrew Sullivan took advantage of that weapon like no one in the blogosphere. It was only later, after the Iraq invasion and after the damage had worked its way through the domestic cultural veins, and after tens of thousands of lives were gone — and more importantly for Sully’s calculations, after the Bush wars started going bad, and his ability to plausibly persecute "decadent left" critics vanished, replaced by a desperate need to defend the war cause rather than offend its critics — that the new, libertarian Andrew Sullivan war critic emerged.
I remember - I hate the guy. And within a year his subscription model will tank and he'll be seeking another media perch for his horrible opinions. The true sadist thrives on institutional support.
*Update: I de-linked Ames' essay after his publisher, NSFW Corporation, put all their content behind a paywall. The old bait and switcheroo.
Update, Jan. 2015: NSFW tanked and Ames posted the essay again on his current platform, Pando Daily. The occasion is Sullivan's "retirement" from blogging. Yay!