Andrew Sullivan, Free Speech, Gleichschaltung, Leftist Intolerance, Mainstream Media, New York Magazine
Andrew is bending over backwards acrobatically to be nice about it, but he clearly didn’t fall. He was pushed.
What has happened, I think, is relatively simple: A critical mass of the staff and management at New York Magazine and Vox Media no longer want to associate with me, and, in a time of ever tightening budgets, Iâ€™m a luxury item they donâ€™t want to afford. And thatâ€™s entirely their prerogative. They seem to believe, and this is increasingly the orthodoxy in mainstream media, that any writer not actively committed to critical theory in questions of race, gender, sexual orientation, and gender identity is actively, physically harming co-workers merely by existing in the same virtual space. Actually attacking, and even mocking, critical theoryâ€™s ideas and methods, as I have done continually in this space, is therefore out of sync with the values of Vox Media. That, to the best of my understanding, is why Iâ€™m out of here.
Two years ago, I wrote that we all live on campus now. That is an understatement. In academia, a tiny fraction of professors and administrators have not yet bent the knee to the woke program â€” and those few left are being purged. The latest study of Harvard University faculty, for example, finds that only 1.46 percent call themselves conservative. But thatâ€™s probably higher than the proportion of journalists who call themselves conservative at the New York Times or CNN or New York Magazine. And maybe itâ€™s worth pointing out that â€œconservativeâ€ in my case means that I have passionately opposed Donald J. Trump and pioneered marriage equality, that I support legalized drugs, criminal-justice reform, more redistribution of wealth, aggressive action against climate change, police reform, a realist foreign policy, and laws to protect transgender people from discrimination. I was one of the first journalists in established media to come out. I was a major and early supporter of Barack Obama. I intend to vote for Biden in November.
It seems to me that if this conservatism is so foul that many of my peers are embarrassed to be working at the same magazine, then I have no idea what version of conservatism could ever be tolerated. And thatâ€™s fine. We have freedom of association in this country, and if the mainstream media want to cut ties with even moderate anti-Trump conservatives, because they wonâ€™t bend the knee to critical theoryâ€™s version of reality, thatâ€™s their prerogative. It may even win them more readers, at least temporarily. But this is less of a systemic problem than in the past, because the web has massively eroded the power of gatekeepers to suppress and control speech. I was among the first to recognize this potential for individual freedom of speech, and helped pioneer individual online media, specifically blogging, 20 years ago.
And this is where Iâ€™m now headed.
And he’s right: if an anti-Trump, anti-Bush Quizling ersatz conservative, who additionally plays for the wrong team, is not an acceptable token in Establishment journalism today, things have reached one helluva pass. Andrew, of course, needs to sit back and reflect on his own part, in the role of sell-out, in letting matters proceed so far.
Andrew finds himself rather in the position of the late German pastor Martin NiemÃ¶ller:
“They came first for the Communists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up.”