Tuesday, January 29, 2002

SULLIVAN UNRAVELLED AGAIN! Stop the presses! Just when you thought the whole manufactured controversey had run its course, Michelangelo Signorile, writing for that "dirty Bushie tab," The New York Press, discloses -- on behalf of a bashful Andrew Sullivan -- that
Sullivan himself has been taking money from a man who is a George W. Bush buddy, a brother of a major Bush fundraiser and a covert p.r. operative who has schemed and scammed for Philip Morris and was exposed a few years ago for creating a front group for Big Tobacco. And Sullivan hasn’t disclosed the cash transaction when he’s written glowingly of this noted gay Republican -– not to mention when he’s penned endless love letters to Bush.

Sullivan lives in a glass house within a glass house within a glass house, and as usual it is shattered by one of his own huge stones. He has a list of benefactors on his website -– you have to search around to find it –- and one of the people at the top of that list is Bush friend and public-relations operative Charles Francis, a man to whom Sullivan gave a glowing writeup only days after Francis appears to have given Sullivan some cold hard cash.

It was last December, about a week after Francis’ name was listed on Sullivan’s site as a Sullivan benefactor, when the pundit wrote in his "Daily Dish" on the home page how "the work of Charlie Francis is of enormous importance –- not just for gay Americans but also for Republicans who want to see their party grow and breathe and unite." (Francis is a founder of the Republican Unity Coalition, a gay-straight alliance.)

Francis was certainly not identified as a Big Tobacco lobbyist, nor was there any disclosure -– within the text itself, as Sullivan is demanding of Krugman and others -– that "Charlie" gave Sullivan a wad of cash to keep his website going; one has to go find that information where it’s buried away elsewhere on his site. When you do find it, Sullivan doesn’t disclose the exact dollar amount (as he also has demanded of Krugman). We are only told that Francis is a Gold Sponsor -– the top donor group, comprising people who gave $1000 and up to the site.

And Francis may be just the tip of the iceberg: there are 59 other contributors named on Sullivan’s site (and then there are the ones he says don’t want their names used), some of whom must have conflicting business interests according to the all-new Sullivan Standards of Journalism.

I've just pulled quotes here. The entire article is a must-read. To paraphrase Virgina Postrel -- I think Signorile's research will be fatal to Sullivan's career.


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