News & Politics

The 'Maoists' at 'New York' Magazine Strike Again

Protesters march down the street during a solidarity rally for George Floyd, Sunday, May 31, 2020, in the Brooklyn borough of New York. Protests were held throughout the city over the death of Floyd, a black man in police custody in Minneapolis who died after being restrained by police officers on Memorial Day. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)

The blog of the U.S. edition of The Spectator has a disturbing piece on why columnist Andrew Sullivan isn’t writing about the demonstrations and riots roiling the nation.

Sullivan, who fell out of favor with the right-wing following his disavowal of support for the Iraq war and his curious foray into Trig Palin birtherism, is known for being a pioneering blogger whose daily musings against the radical left were a must-read. He has been an editor of The New Republic, and a columnist for some of the leading magazines in the nation.

But he’s not allowed to write about the riots.

Just as the New York Times was experiencing its own Inner Mongolia Moment over the now notorious Sen. Tom Cotton ‘Send in the Troops’ op-ed, the Maoists at New York magazine were going after their best columnist, Andrew Sullivan.

Sullivan revealed on Twitter yesterday that his column wouldn’t be appearing. The reason? His editors are not allowing him to write about the riots.

Presumably Sullivan’s editors are frightened that he might make the radically bourgeois point that looting and violence are wrong.

Indeed, Sullivan may be a classic liberal, but he shares a love of Western civilization with his late friend Christopher Hitchens. Thinking of the mincemeat Hitch would have made of the rioters and their enablers makes me miss him all over again.

But Sullivan’s censorship is complete, total, and final.

Cockburn understands that Sullivan is not just forbidden from writing for the New York magazine about the riots; his contract means he cannot write on the topic for another publication. He is therefore legally unable to write anything about the protests without losing his job — at the magazine that, in 1970,  published Radical Chic, Tom Wolfe’s brilliant and controversial excoriation of progressive piety. It’s the bonfire of the liberals!

Who cares about the First Amendment? Not the Maoists who are marching through NYC’s media institutions. Safetyism is their creed. Sullivan may be a very small ‘c’ conservative, in some ways, but he is really a committed liberal — an Obama-loving gay man who thinks that Trump’s ‘dangerous fantasies’ threaten America.

But that’s not adequate for the mob. He doesn’t hate Trump enough. His opposition isn’t visceral enough.

This is what makes this moment in history so dangerous to human liberty. Police “brutality” can be dealt with. But what the Spectator refers to as “safetyism” is actually appeasement. Don’t awaken the three-headed dog, Harry Potter, keep the music going and give it what it wants.

That kind of appeasement has its own costs if you choose to live under the jackboot.

Sullivan, a source close to New York magazine reveals, has to have his work vetted by sensitive junior editors to make sure it doesn’t trigger them. If it passes their sniff testing, it can be published.

If this is how serious magazine and newspapers are treating their writers, Cockburn can’t help wondering what the future of journalism is in America.

There is no future for “journalism” in America. But it’s morning in America if you’re a left-wing propagandist and agitator.