The Conspiracy Continues

By Alterman, Eric | The Nation, June 17, 2002 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

The Conspiracy Continues


Alterman, Eric, The Nation


Did you know that the mere act of asking what kind of warning members of the Bush Administration may have received about a 9/11-like attack is just clever hype by that sneaky liberal media conspiracy? So goes the argument of the regular National Review seat on Communist News Network liberal media program, Reliable Sources. Recently, host (and Washington Post media reporter) Howard Kurtz decided to fill the chair not with his favorite guest/ source, NR editor Rich Lowry, or the much-invited NR Online editor, Jonah Goldberg, but with the relatively obscure NR managing editor, Jay Nordlinger. Nordlinger explained, "The story is surprisingly slight," blown up by a liberal media fearing Bush was getting "a free ride." Give the man points for consistency. The Bush White House's exploitation of 9/11 to fatten Republican coffers via the sale of the President's photo that fateful day--scurrying from safe location to safe location--was also, in Nordlinger's view, "another almost nonstory."

Nordlinger's complaint echoed the even stronger contention of another Kurtz favorite, Andrew Sullivan. The world-famous gaycatholictorygapmodel took the amazing position that potential warnings about a terrorist threat that would kill thousands and land us in Afghanistan was "not a story" at all. Sounding like a Karl Rove/Mary Matalin love child, Sullivan contended, "The real story here is the press and the Democrats' need for a story about the war to change the climate of support for the President."

But Sullivan at least deserves our admiration for expertly spinning Kurtz regarding The New York Times Magazine's decision to cut him loose. Echoing Sullivan's PR campaign--and with a supportive quote from, uh, Rich Lowry--Kurtz framed the story entirely as one of Times executive editor Howell Raines avenging Sullivan's obsessive attacks on the paper's liberal bias. OK, perhaps the standards for a Post writer tweaking the Times top dog are not those of, say, Robert Caro on Robert Moses, but where's the evidence that Raines was even involved? The paper had plenty of reasons to lose Sullivan even if his stupendously narcissistic website never existed. Sullivan's Times work may have been better disciplined than his "TRB" columns in the notsoliberal New Republic (before he was replaced by editor Peter Beinart) and certainly than the nonsense he posts online, but it still must have embarrassed the Newspaper of Record. As (now Times Book Review columnist) Judith Shulevitz pointed out in a critique of his "dangerously misleading" paean to testosterone, Sullivan was permitted to "mix up his subjective reactions with laboratory work." Stanford neurobiologist Robert Sapolsky told Shulevitz at the time, Sullivan "is entitled to his fairly nonscientific opinion, but I'm astonished at the New York Times." The Andrew Sullivan Principles of Pre-Emptive Sexual Disclosure also embarrassed the magazine when he used its pages to out as gay two Clinton Cabinet members and liberal Democrats like Rosie O'Donnell. (I imagine he came to regret this invasion of privacy when his own life became tabloid fare.) Meanwhile, Sullivan's McCarthyite London Sunday Times column about September 11--in which he waxed hysterical about the alleged danger of a pro-terrorist "Fifth Column" located in the very city that suffered the attack--should have been enough to put off any discerning editor forever.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

The Conspiracy Continues
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?