Posted on September 1, 2020

As If You Needed More Reasons to Despise the Times

Jared Taylor, American Renaissance, September 1, 2020

Andrew Sullivan

Andrew Sullivan (Credit Image: Geoff Livingston via Flickr)

Two days ago, the New York Times published an article with this headline: “I’m Still Reading Andrew Sullivan. But I Can’t Defend Him.” The subhead was, “He’s one of the most influential journalists of the last three decades, but he’s shadowed by a 1994 magazine cover story that claimed to show a link between race and I.Q.” As it so often does, the Times put its foolishness right in the headline.

The author, Ben Smith, calls Andrew Sullivan “one of the most influential journalists of his generation and an obvious influence in my own career,” and he marvels at Mr. Sullivan’s support for same-sex marriage “long before it was part of mainstream political debate.” But he cannot forgive a 26-year-old sin: In 1994, when Mr. Sullivan was editor of The New Republic, he published an article on race and IQ by Charles Murray and Richard Herrnstein that was adapted from their book, The Bell Curve. Mr. Sullivan didn’t endorse the article — he included no fewer than 13 opposing views — and since then he has scarcely written about race and IQ or even paid much attention to it. But Mr. Smith explains why he was fired this summer by his latest employer:

[T]he shift in culture had effectively made his publishing of “The Bell Curve” excerpt — and the fact that he never disavowed it — a firing offense, and [New York editor David] Haskell showed Mr. Sullivan the door before the magazine experienced a blowup over race of the sort that have erupted at other publications.

For fear of the “woke” mob, New York had to fire a brilliant, influential writer because of an editorial decision he made in 1994. Is this not, even by the standards of the Left, an admission that we live under a reign of terror?

In an interview with Mr. Sullivan, Mr. Smith invited him to apologize. Instead, Mr. Sullivan said he is “open-minded” on group differences and thinks it’s “premature” to weigh the data. As for whether there are genetic explanations for group differences of any kind, he said, “I’m just not prepared to accept the whole thing is over.” It is a “firing offense” to remain “open-minded” on one of the most important questions of our time.

I was surprised to find that Mr. Smith bothered to write that The Bell Curve’s treatment of race and IQ had “produced piles of scientific debunkings.” Doesn’t every Times reader already know that? There was a link to the “debunkings,” so I clicked. It led to a peer-reviewed paper, alright, but it’s not even about race and IQ. It’s about arguments in The Bell Curve about assortative mating and genetic stratification.

The Times article is as ignorant and sloppy as a bad high-school term paper. This sort of thing explains why every reference to the Times these days as our “newspaper of record” is mockery. For a bracing change — for a model of sober clarity — I urge you to read the original 26-year-old article by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray.