On the same day that Bari Weiss announced she was resigning her job at the NY Times, Andrew Sullivan announced he was leaving New York Magazine which is now owned by Vox Media. Today Sullivan published his farewell column at the site in which he says he has not been cancelled but also says he was let go because people who work for the company no longer want to be associated with a critic of critical race theory.
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, I’m a luxury item they don’t want to afford. And that’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 theory’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 I’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 — 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 that’s probably higher than the proportion of journalists who call themselves conservative at the New York Times or CNN or New York Magazine…
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 won’t bend the knee to critical theory’s version of reality, that’s their prerogative.
Most of the rest of the column is devoted to laying out Sullivan’s plan to return to blogging at his own site, which he had shut down five years ago. He frames this as his own effort to model a more liberal (in the older sense) form of debate and discussion:
If the mainstream media will not host a diversity of opinion, or puts the “moral clarity” of some self-appointed saints before the goal of objectivity in reporting, if it treats writers as mere avatars for their race and gender or gender identity, rather than as unique individuals whose identity is largely irrelevant, then the nonmainstream needs to pick up the slack.
I have very mixed feelings about Sullivan. His attacks on Sarah Palin years ago were unhinged. And back when new atheism was a thing and everyone on the left was concerned about the creeping power of “dominionists” Sullivan coined the slur “Christianists” and routinely used it to attack people of faith. More recently he was also on board with the first wave (in 2017) of people on the left claiming President Trump was mentally unstable.
But putting all of that aside, he has written several good columns in reaction to the rise of identity politics on the left which are worth reading. Ultimately it’s those columns that were too much for his employers at New York Magazine/Vox Media. His sharp attacks on other people’s religion were okay but not on the religion that now dominates newsrooms.
So again, I have mixed feelings about Sullivan but my feelings about his employers are more clear. I have nothing but contempt for the thin-skinned hypocrites who pushed Sullivan out now that it’s their ox getting gored by his columns.