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Richard Bradley Headshot

Responding to Andrew Sullivan

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Andrew Sullivan writes on his blog that "The Huffington Post is full of part-time bloggers calling for negotiating with al Qaeda, withdrawing from Iraq, and generally laying the blame for the mass murder of innocents on George Bush and Tony Blair."

Strong stuff.

Andrew's an old friend, but this drive-by slander points up one of his intellectual lapses; though in virtually every other way an intellectually rigorous thinker, he has a longstanding habit of caricaturing liberals, taking the most extreme examples of wacky radicals and lumping them together as "the left in America."

Consider this quote from a September 16, 2001 column Andrew wrote in the London Sunday Times: "The middle part of the country -- the great red zone that voted for Bush -- is clearly ready for war. The decadent left in its enclaves on the coasts is not dead -- and may well mount a fifth column."

He was referring to the war in Afghanistan, about which there wasn't a huge amount of left-wing opposition. Even if there had been, that quote happens to suggest that people who opposed the war —the "decadent left" — are traitors, as if one could not be a patriot and be against the war. Would the same litmus test apply to Iraq?

Now, I can't say that I've read everything on the Huffington Post, and sure, it tilts in the liberal direction. But I don't think I've seen anyone advocate negotiating with al Qaeda. Moreover, it's hardly a crime to point out that thousands of innocent people have died since the start of the war. More than under Saddam? No way. But they're still important to remember.

And as for withdrawing from Iraq...well, there's a case to be made. In time, it may become more than a case, but an imperative.

The larger point is that Andrew's portrait of HuffPo as a loony left-wing sandbox is an intellectually dishonest trick, performed by lumping together the most extreme examples and using them to characterize the entire site.

(Though to be fair, I should note that Andrew didn't actually provide any examples.)

Come on, Andrew. I know you have to throw a bone to your right-wing readers from time to time — you have been trying their patience lately — but on this one, you're off-base....

I think what's really going on here has to do with your tossed-off slight, "part-time bloggers." Aren't you really just upset that some HuffPo contributors were not early and full-time bloggers, as you were?