"Andrew Sullivan's Jihad"

By David Talbot

Published October 24, 2001 4:03PM (EDT)

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Thank you for this column. This is the reason I read Salon and readily support it by being a premium subscriber. A balanced presentation of the news with a broad spectrum of intelligent (and sometimes tellingly unintelligent) commentary is sorely lacking in most news sources. Thank you for recognizing the need to protect our long-term rights as well as dealing forcefully with the current crisis.

-- Jim Foster

Doesn't David Talbot understand that the less said about rhetorical bullies like Andrew Sullivan, the better? Why give him the attention? Well, I think Talbot does understand but either can't help himself because Sullivan had the temerity to roast Salon, Talbot's baby, or, more likely, is simply taking another golden opportunity to give readers what they apparently want -- a schoolyard fistfight.

Talbot can't stand to let Sullivan's unpardonable propaganda stand for itself as a monument to an outsize ego. No, our fearless Salon founder felt the need to inject equal measures of Jerry Springer and Phil Donahue into the mix, proudly rehashing and thereby tacitly condoning intrusions into Sullivan's private life (what ever happened to arguing ideas?). Talbot also, incredibly, falls into Sullivan's not-so-subtle trap of making patriotic credentials de rigueur by pointing out none too subtly Sullivan's nationality (would it have been OK if he were a U.S. citizen?) and telling us of his own zealous opinions and gestures. Mr. Talbot, I hope this doesn't come as a shock, but we really don't care. We came to Salon to find some signs of intelligent life, but find it infected with the same old tabloid-style sensationalism masquerading as informed commentary.

-- Brian Heltsley

David Talbot demonstrates his deep and true patriotism by attacking Andrew Sullivan for being British. Then, to remind us of how he defended Sullivan's privacy, Talbot rehashes the details of an old and irrelevant sex story.

Here's an opportunity for Salon to make some real money: Start a new superpremium site, where readers pay for the privilege of not having access to that kind of sleaze.

-- Mark Hochberg

I agree with David Talbot's assessment of Andrew Sullivan in these difficult times. I also strongly agreed with Salon's position that the "bare-backing" incident was an invasion of Sullivan's privacy.

In reading the article I have assumed that this quote: "self-described 'power glutes' and all" comes from the bare-backing ad? If so, it is a cheap shot. Sullivan is an ass because of his stridency and the lack of nuance in his thinking, not because of his online personal ads.

-- Anthony Johnson

Andrew Sullivan's latest performance calls to mind Dr. Johnson's observation about patriotism and scoundrels. In this war of images and self-inflating simulacra, S. seems to be reinventing himself as a character in an Ayn Rand novel. Tacky, boring, stupid.

-- Michael Saunders

A fair, passionate and utterly deserved rebuke to a journalist who should (and perhaps really does) know better but who wants to run and sniff with the dogs of war when what is needed is clarity of thought and an awareness than in times like this, the first and biggest loser is the public's civil freedoms.

All power to David Talbot's pen.

-- C. Seeger

You have expressed my very sentiment about Andrew Sullivan's absolutist stance following the World Trade Center bombings. I have no idea how Sullivan has become the preeminent voice of American sentiment, but his is divisive and immoral. Even though I often complain about the irrationality of David Horowitz and Norah Vincent and disagree with your decision to place them among your other excellent columnists, I understand your idealism and laud your integrity. I have recently subscribed to Salon for these qualities and hope it continues to produce enjoyable and rational articles. Thank you.

-- -- Stella Park

David Talbot is right on about neo-cons like Andrew Sullivan who think they have moral superiority when it comes to what defines patriotism at this time. Sullivan's early post-Sept. 11 paeans to the leadership skills of our current president could have stood simply on their own, but his decision to insert his thoughts on what Clinton or Gore would have done under these circumstances gave us both useless chatter and insight into his intellectual and emotional limitations.

Sullivan thinks it's OK to criticize the nonadministrations of Clinton and Gore, but unacceptable for anyone else to challenge the various strategies for combating terrorism. Fortunately, we have more credible voices on both sides of this issue that can be heard in our free country.

-- Russ Klettke

By Salon Staff

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