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June 17, 2004

The Point

Sullivan's main defense seems to be "I didn't exactly say I was now a Kerry partisan, but I think that should have been obvious." And that makes his failure to disclose his partisan interest harmless.

The trouble is, there's another media-source that doesn't say it's a committed partisan, and yet quite obviously is, and that media-source is routinely condemned for claiming to be objective and unbiased when in reality it is anything but.

And Sullivan has criticized the fundamental dishonesty of that media-source on any number of occasions.

The name of that media-source?

The New York Times.

The New York Times is quite clearly partisan too. The New York Times quite obviously allows its partisan rooting interests to color the manner and intensity with which it covers events. The New York Times, for example, is just as aghast about Abu Ghraib as Sullivan, and yet never really had much to say about Clinton's "extraodinary renditions" of prisoners to Arab countries so that they could be tortured.

By the way-- I had not much to say about that myself, except, "Good on ya, Mr. Clinton."

But people -- including Sullivan -- get angry at the New York Times, because it attempts to smuggle its agenda under the guise of objectivity.

A neutral, independent arbiter is trusted more than an announced partisan one, of course. And the problem with the Times isn't that it is partisan -- that is its right -- but that it is dishonestly partisan, advancing a partisan agenda while steadfastly denying the same, attempting to garner the additional credibility afforded to truly independent and neutral sources to which it is not entitled.

Why doesn't The New York Times just announce what is obvious to everyone except Helen Thomas and Eric Alterman?

Because it wants to keep that additional credibility. It would rather lie about its objectivity than admit it is biased in favor of one group of partisans and have readers begin discounting its reporting due to their awareness of that bias.

It lies so that its agenda-driven coverage will retain maximum impact-- the impact afforded by being falsely believed to be fair, unbiased, and neutral.

Sullivan now instructs us, quite piously, that his agenda was "quite obvious" to all. And yet the agenda of The New York Times is also "quite obvious" to all; certainly it is quite obvious to Sullivan (or at least it has been in the past). And so, he claims, he wasn't required to expressly state that he was now a committed Kerry partisan, and that his various claims and arguments should be discounted as coming from such.

If that defense doesn't work for The New York Times, why the hell should it work for Sullivan?

Sullivan lied about his current political beliefs for the same reason the Times, and every other media outfit (including FoxNews) does-- to keep people from tuning out from a messenger they don't trust, and to deny people information critical to evaluating the credibility of a source, i.e., that source's political rooting interest.

He expressly stated that he was still "trying to figure out" who he'd vote for, that he "hadn't made up his mind already."

He lied.

He claimed to be neutral between two candidates when he was (as he now admits) not neutral at all between them. For months, he has given us all a stridently-partisan interpretation of subjects ranging from the deficits to Iraq which he only now admits were colored by Bush's stance on gay marriage. "How could it not be" that way?, he asks us.

I don't remember him mentioning that previously. I only seem to notice this admission now that he's been found out.

And of course, as predicted, he pretends that he's done nothing at all wrong. There was no deception here-- no, when he told K-Lo he was still trying to figure things out, he just forgot to mention the only choices he was torn between were supporting Kerry or sitting the election out.

Wonderful. Just wonderful.

I'm so glad Sullivan has a blog where he can avoid the venal pressures of the real media world and just be honest with his readers.

Last questions for Andrew Sullivan:

Had Jonah Goldberg not dug up this Advocate piece -- remarkable for being one of the only known paid essays you haven't linked in your site -- when, precisely, would you have gotten around to filling us all in on the fact that you'd decided for Kerry?

When would that wonderful day have come, I wonder?

Perhaps in October? After you'd had another five months to "make up your mind" and "figure things out," all the while providing us with your oh-so-delicious analysis on the economy and Iraq, and yet continuing to fail to inform us that your analysis was colored by Bush's stance on gay marriage?

And all during the time, your readers' erroneous belief that you remained an undecided, independent, unbiased honest-broker on such other issues would engender your blog with additional credibility to which it was not entitled?

As you would ask: How could it not?

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posted by Ace at 02:51 AM

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