News and Commentary

Andrew Sullivan Announces He’s Quitting New York Magazine
Andrew Sullivan, former editor of the New Republic, on Commercial Street near his Provincetown summer condominium.
Photo by Tom Herde/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

On Tuesday, Andrew Sullivan, a former editor of the New Republic and currently a writer-at-large for New York Magazine, announced he will leave the magazine at the end of this week.

Sullivan issued a Twitter thread in which he wrote:

This will be my last week at New York Magazine. I’m sad because the editors I worked with there are among the finest in the country, and I am immensely grateful to them for vastly improving my work. I’m also proud of the essays and columns I wrote at NYM – some of which will be published in a collection of my writing scheduled for next year. The underlying reasons for the split are pretty self-evident, and I’ll be discussing the broader questions involved in my last column this Friday. I’ve been preparing for this eventuality, and the column will continue elsewhere. See you on Friday, when I’ll detail some exciting news.

On Tuesday, noting Bari Weiss’ blistering resignation letter to New York Times publisher A.G. Sulzberger in which she delineated the hostile environment she had to endure at the Times, Sullivan tweeted, “The mob bullied and harassed a young woman for thoughtcrimes. And her editors stood by and watched.”

In mid-June, Sullivan published a column in which he disputed the current narrative that believes, as Sullivan wrote, “America is systemically racist, and a white-supremacist project from the start.” Sullivan, who was born in the United Kingdom but later became an American citizen, countered, “There is truth in it, truth that it’s incumbent on us to understand more deeply and empathize with more thoroughly. But there is also an awful amount of truth it ignores or elides or simply denies. It sees America as in its essence not about freedom but oppression. It argues, in fact, that all the ideals about individual liberty, religious freedom, limited government, and the equality of all human beings were always a falsehood to cover for and justify and entrench the enslavement of human beings under the fiction of race.”

Sullivan continued, “This view of the world certainly has ‘moral clarity.’ What it lacks is moral complexity. No country can be so reduced to one single prism and damned because of it. American society has far more complexity and history has far more contingency than can be jammed into this rubric … a country that actively seeks immigrants who are now 82 percent nonwhite is not primarily defined by white supremacy… Nor is a country where nonwhite immigrants are fast catching up with whites in income and where some minority groups now outearn whites.”

He concluded:

“We are not afraid to entrust the American people with unpleasant facts, foreign ideas, alien philosophies, and competitive values,” President Kennedy once said. “For a nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people.” Let’s keep that market open. Let’s not be intimidated by those who want it closed.

New York Magazine editor-in-chief David Haskell responded to Sullivan’s news by claiming he and Sullivan agreed that Sullivan was not “the right match” for the magazine. Haskell stated, “I will continue to push us to publish work that challenges the liberal assumptions of much of our readership. But publishing conservative commentary, or critiques of liberalism and the left, is difficult to get right, and thoughtful, well-meaning people can come to different conclusions about it …”

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