Announcing the Winners of the Inaugural Walter Duranty Prize


Radosh: Today, it is my privilege to present the Second Runner-up Walter Duranty award to Andrew Sullivan, the writer and blogger for Newsweek and The Daily Beast.  Sullivan is worthy of the award for three specific themes which recur in his writing.

The first is his solitary fight on what he considers one of the most horrendous crimes committed against human beings -- in this case, on male babies. I refer of course to what Sullivan calls “genital mutilation,” or as most of us refer to it, "circumcision."

In the past few weeks, he has returned to the issue many times. In the face of medical evidence and major scientific studies that prove the worthiness and health benefits of circumcision, Sullivan offers the following reason why he believes the practice developed: “Foreskins,” he writes, “are much harder to keep clean in dusty and arid places like deserts.”

Judaism and Islam are “desert religions,” and thus religious belief led us to institute a barbaric practice that deprives a child of what human evolution wrought, without his permission. Parents, then, have been engaged in mutilation of their own sons without giving it a thought.

The second reason Andrew Sullivan deserves the prize is for his neverending and relentless crusade to prove that Sarah Palin was not the mother of her Down Syndrome baby, Trig.

As he wrote one year ago, the failure of the media to expose this truth is as important as its failure “to challenge the facts about the rush to war against Iraq.” Acknowledging that he does not know whom the mother is, or indeed whether or not Palin is actually Trig’s mother, Sullivan writes: “If Palin has lied about this, it is the most staggering, appalling deception in the history of American politics.” Considering that the list of deceptions and cover-ups in most observers’ lexicon includes events like Watergate, or the failure of the Roosevelt administration to let the truth be known about Soviet responsibility for the massacre of Polish officers at Katyn, Andrew Sullivan’s conception of what allows one to describe Palin’s would-be lie in such dramatic terms defies imagination.

As he confesses, “only Joe McGinnis seems to give a damn.” As most of us know, McGinnis’ book on Palin was a complete bomb. He had no revelations of worth, and every reviewer trashed it -- for good reasons. One of those reasons was that McGinnis revealed himself to be Sullivan’s only backer and a fellow Trig birther, thereby ending any credibility he was thought to have.

Third, Sullivan deserves the award for being Barack Obama’s greatest cheerleader -- a stance appreciated by the president, who told the press that he regularly reads Sullivan’s blog. Only once was Sullivan critical of the president -- when, after Obama’s recent speech to the UN, Sullivan complained that the president appeared to be supportive of Israel because of an apparent threat to its existence from Iran. After all, Sullivan wrote: “There is only one nuclear power in the Middle East and it … has launched several pre-emptive wars on its neighbors near and far.”

If you have any doubts about what Sullivan thinks of Israel, his answer came in a column he wrote only a few days ago: “We give the Israelis everything they ask for and they give the U.S. nothing in return. In fact, they have operated as a foe, not friend, greeting Obama with the Gaza assault, deliberately destroying Obama's Cairo's outreach to the Arab-Muslim world with their settlement policy, confirming every conspiracy theorist in the Middle East.” With Netanyahu as prime minister, he concludes: “Israel is not our ally.” Anyone wanting evidence for how much Andrew Sullivan is outside the consensus about the relationship between the U.S. and Israel should look no further.

Finally, we must also cite Sullivan’s over-the-top cover story for Newsweek on Obama. In his eyes, the president is a conciliator of the center willing to work with Republicans, but foiled by right-wing Republicans bent only on his destruction. He does not refer to Bob Woodward’s new book, in which Woodward reveals Obama as a chief executive who eschewed cooperation across the aisle and sought instead to implement an unpopular health care program without any Republican support. Reading his words, our PJ Media colleague Richard Fernandez commented that Sullivan’s paragraphs: “ … are destined for greatness. It leaves one slack-jawed, unable to credit the words on the page. You have to read it twice to make sure you weren’t hallucinating.”

Watching the first presidential debate, Andrew Sullivan blogged: “Romney has taken charge, even as Obama has spoken more,” managing to make the issue one of the “status-quo versus change dynamic.” Romney, he wrote, “is kicking the president’s ass.” As for his closing statement, Sullivan called it: “F…… sad, confused and lame.” Obama, he said, “may have even lost the election tonight.”

Hence, should Romney win the election, Andrew Sullivan’s worst nightmare would come true, and he would then receive an award that might cause him even more discomfort than the one he is receiving tonight.