"Conservative" Andrew Sullivan? Tortured Labeling at the New York Times

December 11th, 2005 9:13 AM

Colunmnist Charles Krauthammer's Weekly Standard essay on the moral defensibility of torture in fighting terror has raised eyebrows, and the New York Times tries to gin up more controversy in a feature on Krauthammer for the Sunday Week in Review.

The story by Anne Kornblut, "He Says Yes to Legalized Torture," includes the text box: "In a controversial article, Charles Krauthammer says that at times, coercion is morally necessary." A sidebar excerpts passages of Krauthammer's article in "the conservative Weekly Standard" interspersed with rebuttals by blogger/author Andrew Sullivan, whom the paper identifies as "also a conservative, who replied in the most recent issue of The New Republic, where he is a senior editor."

Sullivan, conservative? Since when?

Krauthammer vs. Sullivan is not exactly the Godzilla vs Megalon of conservative intellectual face-offs. In fact, Andrew Sullivan has been off the conservative reservation for at least a couple of years. He's become a virulent critic of the Iraq War, excoriating Bush for opposing gay marriage, obsessed with the abuses at Abu Ghraib, and slamming the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, among other issues.

Sullivan endorsed John Kerry for president last October in a New Republic article (which, by the way, is as much a "liberal" magazine as the Weekly Standard is "conservative"). For some reason, the article labels one but not the other.

In Kornblut's main article, she terms TNR "the Standard's more liberal counterpart." Why can't the Times simply call the liberal New Republic magazine "the liberal New Republic magazine," the way it does with the "conservative" Weekly Standard?

For more examples of bias in the New York Times, visit TimesWatch.