Talk:Andrew Sullivan/Archive 1

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Archive 1 Archive 2



I removed the "nuetrality of this article is disputed" label left by Because, really, the neutrality of this article hasn't been disputed--apparently not even by him! Not one posting was added to this page, let alone one which accused the article of a non-NPOV. If he wants that label added, let him contest it here. User did the same with David Brock. Ex1le 06:03, 18 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Is AS a real conservative ("so-called" vs "self-described")?

user changed:

self-described conservative often at odds with other conservatives


so-called conservative who is more often at odds with other conservatives than with liberals

This serves no purpose other than to push the POV that Andrew Sullivan is not a true Conservative. I'm changing it back; I have no idea if it is true that AS disagrees with "other conservatives" on a greater number of occasions than he does with "liberals" and I seriously doubt if this could be quantified. This statement provides no additional information and is simply POV-pushing; it is enough to note that he often has disagreements with other notable conservatives Bdrasin 20:11, 12 November 2006 (UTC)

User changed":

has argued that the Republican Party has abandoned true conservative principles.


has argued that the  Republican Party has abandoned his conception of conservative principles

I am changing it back. Sullivan's argument is that they are "true conservative values. The user may be right that they are simply Sullivan's conception but this is a statement about what he is arguing and therefore should represent what he is generally saying even if he is wrong.Master shepherd 16:00, 10 December 2006 (UTC)

Rewrite of Content

Editorial Comment, (11/2006): It appears that currently, Mr. Sullivan, in Wikipedia, has provoked many contributors as to "if he is, or 'if he is not" a "conservative", thus making many deltas here to the original body and text. The definition in politics of "conservatism", in my opinion, should be left to the individual, claiming to be of any political persuation. Andrew Sullivan considers himself a conservative, and has dedicated a lot of his time, by his own definition, of what the meaning should be. I think the fact that he has recently written a book on the subject qualifies him to be what "he is" here. Pardon, but if other contributors , making comments, care to spend several years of their time writing a book on the subject, and have it published by Simon and Schuster, Putnam, Random House, Harper-Collins, or any other major publishers, may then have the right to dispute whether Mr. Sullivan, again, "is or is not", by his own definition, a "conservative".

I thought the way the article addressed the Sullivan sex scandal was written from an anti-Sullivan POV. I've rewritten that content to be, I hope, closer to NPOV -- I've tried to describe the positions of both sides of the debate. I removed the David Brock quote because I don't think it added to the article, and was very clearly biased against Sullivan. I felt it was better to summarize the arguments of the anti-Sullivan camp. Neilc 05:20, 2 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Response: I think the above was a very good idea. Thanks. I do feel that the portion of this entry, "the sex scandle", although being public knowledge, is far too long and in depth relative to the rest of the article about Mr. Sullivan. Although it may be relevant, it takes up nearly one-third of this article, and I personally feel until more information can be written on Mr. Sullivan to reduce this ratio, this currently seems an excessive ratio of "bad to good" information, albeit relevant and important to include. I hope someone else has a concern here as well. (thanks..not yet a wiki member). Feb. 02, 2005

Ok, I'm an amateur wikipedian, so I hope this gets read and taken seriously... I'm a big fan of Sullivan. He was crucified for his actions by a malicious jerk whose only claim to fame seems to be The Sex Scandal. That said, The Sex Scandal is VERY important. For a man whose early career is predicated upon pushing monogamy and implied, if not explicit, condemnation of homosexual promiscuity as well as an idealized view of gay marriage, to be found trolling for sex online is not a "small thing", and its not unimportant in the face of that man's career. It calls into question the legitimacy of much of the things Sullivan preached...if Sullivan doesn't see fit to live his morals, one has to wonder why the rest of us should as well. If gay marriage's biggest proponent can't even make a stab at the ideals of marriage, do homosexuals really deserve it? Fallacious arguements? yeah, but that is tough...the public thinks that way, and Sullivan answers to public opinion, not exacting logic. To remove this rather embarassing blemish from the article is to ignore something that greatly influences the population's ability to stomach Sullivan and everything he teachers. Sullivan's scandal is essential to an understanding of him and how his beliefs are received Does the sex scandal eclipse a lot of the rest of Sullivan's article? Probably does, but I'm not comfortable with the removal of vital facts simply because those facts, taken without additional context, present an unpleasant view of their subject.

Throwing out some ideas for talking points?

Mention he was a gap model. Mention his obsession with barebacking (see his highlighting its presence in Brokeback Mountain, as if the action at the time the film took place had the same cannotations as the action in modern times), mention his desire to see a "post gay" culture, his introduction of Charles Murray (and possibly speculation about what this means if rumors about his preferences for sexual partners of certain races are to be believed)...



I've removed some of the gossip from the page, on the grounds it's not really encyclopedic:

He dropped the sponsorship in the ensuing uproar, and found other ways to make money through his blog (although he has credited various fund drives from his readers with raising in well excess of $100,000 over two years, some have found his claims that more bandwidth is needed to be specious and note that in late 2004 he nearly lost his beach home over a two-year old overdue property-tax bill, yet still renovated the house in the meantime).

(Content in italics removed). Neilc 01:13, 25 Jan 2005 (UTC)


Andrew is described as Anglo-American, yet his bio states that he was born in England. Does Andrew have American citizenship? If so, when/how?

Netsrik 31 Jan 2005

He's been here for 20+ years according to the article. I know he voted in the last election, so he has to be a citizen. I restored "Anglo-American" to the article. Dave 21:54, Mar 14, 2005 (UTC)

And how do you know this? He is HIV positive, and unless he's gotten a special "HIV waiver" is barred from becoming an American citizen. PL, 5 Oct 2006

Andrew recently addressed the question of his citizenship in an interview about his recent book: "It’s a terrible thing. I’m here on a recurring visa and unfortunately my HIV status bars me from becoming a citizen even though I qualify. So I am – that is the situation." A transcript of the interview can be read at -J

Yes, I heard Sullivan say as such in a televised 10/29/06 appearance at the 92nd Street Y (it was shown on C-Span). He was on a speaking engagement with James McGreevey, who I presume was also promoting his book. Alcarillo 02:32, 5 November 2006 (UTC)

This article is extremely low on actual content

I'll start doing major revisions when I have time. Can anyone else pitch in? He's a relatively important figure and deserves much better than this. Dave 02:38, Mar 24, 2005 (UTC)

What is all that text then? Hyacinth 02:44, 24 Mar 2005 (UTC)
Scattered. I should have been more specific. It has surprisingly little about his ideas and positions on issues. The biography section is not a problem as far as I can tell. It needs a brief section on each of the following:
        • Support for the Iraq war and opposition to the way it's been handled (possibly two sections).
        • Support for Bush in 2000.
        • Support for Kerry in 2004 should be split from homosexuality, which should be renamed.
        • Disputes with other conservatives on fiscal issues.
        • Disputes with other conservatives on social issues.
Right now, "Summary: Andrew Sullivan" and "remarks on homosexuality and the 2004 election" are the only sections dedicated to his ideas, so a reader who wants to find out what he thinks on an important issue can't find it quickly and may have to piece together information from three or four different paragraphs in different sections.

Dynzmoar 21 March 2006. I think the major unanswered question is why Sullivan is identified as conservative. I'd like to know his stand on a host of issues, say, each plank of the Republican platform, before I would call him conservative. And, of course, conservatism isn't easily defined.

Has he identified with the Log Cabin Republicans?

In a recent blog he kind of tried to answer that. He said that he opposes affirmative action and government funding of abortion while supporting gun-rights and low taxes. Also he does believe that are genetically significant distinctions between races, genders, and sexual orientations. (On that last I don't mean he thinks homosexuality is genetic. I think he favors the studies that indicate homosexual men are genetically different than heterosexual men in how they read maps or their sense of smell) That stated I think he's mostly a moderate libertarian or classical liberal and not a conservative. He doesn't like that view of him though from what I can tell. (His blog is extremely irritating, but occasionally I read it as he's politically odd enough to be occasionally entertaining. He's not at Justin Raimondo level weirdness, but still odd)--T. Anthony 08:39, 9 July 2006 (UTC)

Needs Sources

Can whoever put in the following information please provide sources?

  • Morton Kondracke
  • Camille Paglia article on Hillary Clinton
  • Departure from TNR
  • The Sex Scandal

Thanks. Dave 03:33, Mar 24, 2005 (UTC)

It's been more than a month and no one has provided these. Please do so. I don't want to take out this stuff if it's true. Dave (talk) 23:43, May 6, 2005 (UTC)

OK. A lot of this is in a Vanity Fair article from 1995 or so; can't remember the exact month but the author is or was Marjorie Williams.

Hope it helps

Sullivan and Benedict XVI

Where is the section I wrote and why is it gone?

The current version of this section is almost totally WP:Original_Research. It uses the primary material ie. Sullivan's blog to convince the reader that Sullivan incorrectly criticizes the Pope without providing any 3rd party critics of Sullivan. Additionally, it contains many POV assertions 'near defamatory', 'rhetorical excess'. etc Ashmoo 05:09, 5 June 2006 (UTC)

Do you always just excise a person's work without explaining why?

Ashmoo explained just why. It's very biased (and indeed, near-defamatory in places). It's unsourced, apart from to blogs, and it's basically completely your own original research about his ideas. I'm no fan of Sullivan's, but this is completely beyond the pale. Rebecca 07:38, 5 June 2006 (UTC)

OK. Well, I fixed it. I included several articles from Catholic writers and took out the adjectives so that it would be as neutral as I could make it. I give his own words and don't put my take on them. I then refer to other sources, both magazines and blogs, and do not put my descriptions there either.

It was still biased original research, and has thus been reverted again. Firstly, you quote an array of Sullivan's blog posts completely out of context to make a case for him being hysterically anti-Catholic. You then cite eight critics with no balancing view, most of which are from blogs. Wikipedia is not a place to advance a political agenda. Rebecca 01:54, 6 June 2006 (UTC)

How tiresome. Did you seek to help me out? Did you seek to tell me what is needed? No. You just whip out your "delete" gun and go at it. Your WHOLE article is full of one-sidedness. Wake up and smell the coffee, Honey. And, btw, NONE of those things cites were out of context. I didn't make him out to be "hysterically anti-Catholic." I know that the distinction may be lost on you, but I only quoted what he said ABOUT THE POPE. The pope, you know, the guy in Rome. Sullivan is NOT anti-Catholic. Those attributions to him were all correct and none was out of context. Did you even check? Somehow, I guess you don't care. This is fucking bullshit. I will never contribute to Wikipedia again. You run it like a gulag. Let me know when and at what time Sullivan wrote to let you know how displeased he was.

I don't know if I agree with you, but I do agree something concerning his views on the current Pope and Catholic Church needs to be stated. Catholicism is mentioned a fair amount by him and not just in the Blog.--T. Anthony 12:01, 7 July 2006 (UTC)


Andrew Sullivan is not a conservative. At best you could call him a neoconservative, despite some of the differences he's had with them. But, regardless, he's a socially liberal follower of Leo Strauss, and a gay activist, which makes him a neoconservative at best. More accurately, he's probably a neoliberal or a libertarian. It is an insult to real conservatives to call Andrew Sullivan a conservative. --HowardJ87 19:53, 28 April 2007 (UTC)

I agree, but he does call himself conservative. He does hold values that are conservative and touts himself as something of a devotee of Michael Oakeshott. As there doesn't seem to be a definition of conservative that's universally accepted the article goes by his identification. Still considering his recent boosterism of Ron Paul, and the nature of his truly conservative ideas, I'd say he's basically a small-l libertarian. At times he seems to almost be on the verge of agreeing to that, but outside the Internet "conservative" is a bigger group than Libertarian so he can try to speak to more Americans that way. I do not think he's a Neocon though. He was never really liberal in the first, in fact I think he was moderate to conservative before he was openly homosexual, and has turned against most Neoconservative ideas he had.--T. Anthony 13:42, 19 May 2007 (UTC)


It is not clear to me that Sullivan has endorsed Obama. Please provide a citation. He is clearly supportive of Obama, and he is also interested/enthusiastic about Ron Paul and John McCain from time to time. I do not think he has endorsed Obama yet, though he has been extremely supportive. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:27, 27 November 2007 (UTC)

I do not think that Sullivan has endorsed Paul for the presidency, just for the REpublican nomination. He has endorsed him for the Republican ticket. My impression is that at this point he is endorsing his favorite democrat and republican and will decide between the two. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:46, 20 December 2007 (UTC)

You are correct SineBot. He has endorsed both men for the nomination of each party. However, he realizes Paul has very little chance of winning the nomination, so he also roots for McCain, who in fact does have a chance. He has not, however, switched his endorsement over to McCain. He still remains a Ron Paul supporter, on the Republican side at least. Sullivan is most famously known for his fervent support for Obama. I'm pretty sure Sullivan hasn't made an official announcement in regard to an Obama endorsement simply because people know he already supports Obama.Davidcaspian (talk) 05:26, 24 January 2008 (UTC)

"Sinebot" is just who signs things, not the person who wrote the above. You're right the Sullivan is among the most vociferous supporter of Obama I've found online. (I don't think Obama is even quite as supportive of Obama) Among recent quotes by him "This is a remarkable man at a vital moment. America would be crazy to throw this opportunity away. America must not throw this opportunity away.' and"Obama has to win. The alternative is unthinkable." (Maybe not relevant to the article, but it indicates his support of Kerry was "against Bush" without indicating quite as much that he is very pro-Obama)--T. Anthony (talk) 09:39, 7 September 2008 (UTC)

If Obama doesn't win the Democratic nomination, I suspect he'll support McCain (if he gets the Republican nomination) because of his negative views on Hillary. I can't blame him.--AgnosticPreachersKid (talk) 06:32, 24 January 2008 (UTC)

Citations cleanup

The citations should be more than just the URL links, but should include titles of articles, etc. Shsilver (talk) 16:37, 8 January 2008 (UTC)

Agreed, they are dreadful as is. For those unaware link rot is when a webpage is moved or the content updated. If a full citation including date is not used it's hard for future editors to verify that a source is correct. If we have the date accessed in the cite then we can pull up an archive of that page to show what it stated on that date. Benjiboi 16:07, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
To add to this. link rot also occurs when the ref is to a blog but the content changes ergo whatever was there isn't and now the link is useless. it's better to link once the blog content has been archived to a more permanent home and use a proper cite format supplying the accessed date so we can find items when verification is needed. Benjiboi 15:30, 18 February 2008 (UTC)

Citation Discussion

A contributor to this site added a "citation needed" to Sullivan's quote from his book, "Love Undetectible" in the controversies section. It is an accurate quote from the book. I have loaned the book to a friend, or I would give the chapter and page of his quote. Trust me, he said it, and IT IS in the book, "very-ver-batim". Thank you.

Can we honestly verify the advertisements on BarebackCity and AOL? Yes, Andrew admitted placing the advertisements, but is there enough evidence beyond his word?


AOL advertisement (HIV status not divulged):

BarebackCity advertisement (HIV status divulged as HIV+): —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:52, 9 March 2009 (UTC)

What is troubling in the Wikipedia entry is that it states Sullivan intended to only bareback with other HIV+ people. In this day and age can someone please explain how you can identify the serostatus of anonymous barebacking partners through appearance? The whole notion seems absurd. I thought that was the reason for using condoms, because you can't magically identify people as either HIV- or HIV+ by appearance, tone of voice, hair color, etc. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:41, 18 May 2009 (UTC)

It's really simple--he's saying that people should only respond to the ad if they are already HIV+. TallNapoleon (talk) 19:45, 18 May 2009 (UTC)
yeah, it's their personal risk. I guess it's a good thing he admits it. I found the ad to be particularly disgusting, and the glibness of the 'POZ' thing was quite disturbing, but Sullivan was taking at least some precaution about infecting anyone. On another note, I think this wikipedia page handles a very controversial figure very well. All the horrible stuff is covered, albeit in a muted way. you learn what his merits and what his demerits are. The Palin hysteria he still engages in isn't really elaborated on, but that's not such a big deal, since it's ongoing. (talk) 17:22, 9 July 2009 (UTC)

barred citizenship and hiv


can a source be added for that rather than his blogcolumn?-- (talk) 14:35, 29 January 2008 (UTC)

his column says the soley reason he is barred citizenship is his hiv status. the article should either reflect that is his opinion or provide a third party source backing that up. maybe even a source showing hiv folks are barred citizenship would be better than his own column. thank you -- (talk) 15:40, 29 January 2008 (UTC)

Done. Benjiboi 16:07, 29 January 2008 (UTC)

thank you.-- (talk) 16:36, 29 January 2008 (UTC)

Andrew Sullivan has repeatedly stated that, due to his HIV-positive status, US Immigration policy prevents him from becoming an American citizen. [1] [2] Per long-time US General Naturalization Requirements, this is untrue. [3] amfAR, The Foundation for Aids Research, more specifically notes that “being HIV-positive does not in itself prevent people from becoming (US) citizens.”[4].


I find it surprising that this article says nothing about Sullivan's views about the causes of homosexuality. Something about this should definitely be added. Skoojal (talk) 00:27, 22 May 2008 (UTC)

...only if you discuss the causes of heterosexuality. Just kidding. A bit off topic, hmm? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:39, 9 January 2009 (UTC)

Factual error?

Article reads, 'Andrew Sullivan, being gay himself, felt morally obligated to pursue same-sex marriage. He and his then-partner were leading activists for same-sex marriage in the early 1980s.' I assume the 1990s must be meant? Skoojal (talk) 09:36, 22 May 2008 (UTC)

Rewrite the lead section, please

I can see at least two things wrong with it - it uses the expression "classical libertarian conservative" twice (one can assume that people don't immediately forget a thing like this and then need to be reminded of it a few seconds later) and it uses the expression "classical libertarian conservative" at all (a dubious, unclear expression). Skoojal (talk) 05:04, 19 July 2008 (UTC)

Reference to Palin's Jet

I put a dispute tag on this. A google of "palin jet ebay" (without the quotes) comes up with an untold number of articles that dispute the referenced claim that Palin sold her state's jet on eBay. -- (talk) 09:54, 22 September 2008 (UTC)

"citizenship controversy"

This is basically the definition of OR by synthesis. It's collecting facts from various sources to "to reach a novel conclusion that is not in any of the sources"--that Andrew Sullivan is lying about the reason he isn't a US citizen. The fact that it's attacking a living person and contains unsupported assertions are further reasons it's inappropriate. If wikipedia is going to claim to care about not slandering living people this is exactly the sort of thing that should be immediately removed. Instead it's ignored, or an administrator sees it and asks for citations. (talk) 06:47, 29 October 2008 (UTC)

You're quite right that it's a synthesis. I have removed it and hope that no-one attempts to re-insert such disputed poorly-cited information into a WP:BLP like this. the skomorokh 12:58, 4 November 2008 (UTC)
Editors are continuing to add synthesised commentary on this topic. If this continues, blocks and protections may be required. the skomorokh 21:49, 9 November 2008 (UTC)
The person in question has already been warned, yet still continues to add synthesized commentary. Given that the individual in question has been invited to bring it up in the talk section, I don't think a page protection may be necessary as much as an individual blocking or suspension. Good Night and Good Luck 22:39, 9 November 2008 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Seanwarner86 (talkcontribs)
Yeah, looking at this in more detail, as written its SYN. Can anyone find a source that makes the connection? I know I've seen it before. JoshuaZ (talk) 04:23, 10 November 2008 (UTC)

Andrew Sullivan has repeatedly stated that, due to his HIV-positive status, US Immigration policy prevents him from becoming an American citizen. [1] [2] However, per long-time US General Naturalization Requirements, this is untrue. [3] amfAR, The Foundation for Aids Research, more specifically notes that “being HIV-positive does not in itself prevent people from becoming (US) citizens.”[4].

Sullivan has consistently and willfully misrepresented US immigration law and his ability to vote in US elections, these facts should be added to his Wikipedia article.

  1. ^ a b "Journalists and Campaign Contributions". 2008-11-09. Retrieved 2008-11-09. 
  2. ^ a b "C-SPAN Q&A". C-SPAN. Retrieved 2008-11-09. 
  3. ^ a b "General Naturalization Requirements". USCIS. Retrieved 2008-10-14. 
  4. ^ a b "People with HIV Face U.S. Immigration Ban". amfAR, The Foundation for Aids Research Public Policy. Retrieved 2008-09-28. 

BruceCMcD —Preceding unsigned comment added by BruceCMcD (talkcontribs) 01:46, 10 November 2008 (UTC)

OK, I get it. Pointing out the lie isn't sufficient. But this issue is an important one. Much like his ads soliciting sex and the Palin pregnancy rumors, it speaks to both Andrew Sullivan's hypocrisy and his willingness to fudge the facts in order to make his point. His self-created citizenship controversy is the best example. Sullivan first claims to have voted for Bush & Kerry and then later says he can't vote because his HIV-status bars him from citizenship.

BruceCMcD —Preceding unsigned comment added by BruceCMcD (talkcontribs) 02:59, 11 November 2008 (UTC)

  • Perhaps, but that you think it's important and that you think it's hypocritical is irrelevant. We don't report our own opinions, observations, or conclusions on Wikipedia; we report those of reliable sources. --jpgordon∇∆∇∆ 20:51, 11 November 2008 (UTC)

Never learned to drive

Like Barbara Walters, Andrew Sullivan never learned to drive. Does something like this warrant a mention in the article? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:24, 4 January 2009 (UTC)

That was left off Barbra Walters page and it should be left off this given how redundant and useless it is. Good Night and Good Luck (talk) 17:48, 14 January 2009 (UTC)
Same with Sarah Vowell. I doubt it is on her page. Protonk (talk) 16:33, 9 March 2009 (UTC)

Inaccuracies ?

Andrew Sullivan points out several unsourced inaccuracies in this article. See his blog post. (talk) 13:41, 9 March 2009 (UTC)

Since the "source" for the pharma claim does not actually mention Sullivan at all, I'm going to go ahead and agree with him, and take that section out. If anyone has a reference that says he DID accept pharma money, I'm sure we'd be willing to give it a look. Mullibok (talk) 15:07, 9 March 2009 (UTC)

There are several other errors according to Andrew: "there's plenty of accurate stuff but a great deal of unsourced inaccuracy and some bizarre assertions." I think it would be best to consult him or let him edit the entire entry to increase its legitimacy. I find the comments about his alleged HIV status to be especially offensive since that is such a private matter and not at all confirmed. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:35, 9 March 2009 (UTC)

Subjects of articles are not advised to edit them. Far from increasing its legitimacy, it brings it into question. Mr. Sullivan has wisely refrained (so far as I know) from editing this article for that very reason. It might be useful, however, for him to specifically point out the various unsourced/inaccurate comments, so that we may evaluate them.--Icowrich (talk) 03:49, 27 June 2009 (UTC)

Andrew is HIV+ and has been absolutely open about it for many years. See for his discussion of his happiness that the travel ban was lifted, and multiple other comments over the years. A large part of the stigma of HIV comes from people not being willing to be open. It's to his great credit that he is. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Phalsall (talkcontribs) 16:27, 9 March 2009 (UTC)

I would simply ask: what is your proof? No one has a right to guess at another's private medical condition or speculate on their personal medical records. Rock Hudson constantly denies his AIDS status - would Wikipedia have respected his claims based on face value? I don't think any of us has a right to speculate on Sullivan's serostatus unless we have absolute proof in hand (ie verified medical test results). —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:46, 9 March 2009 (UTC)

Wikipedia is a very strange place if it is unable to distinguish between someone denying they have a disease, and someone admitting they have a disease. But if you want to demand his medical records from him, go for it, turnabout is fair play after all that Sarah Palin stuff he posted. Mullibok (talk) 17:53, 9 March 2009 (UTC)
I think it is totally acceptable to use his public and persistent comment on his condition as sufficient evidence. It's not being used maliciously. Protonk (talk) 18:15, 9 March 2009 (UTC)

It presumably shouldn't be necessary to defer to andrew in order to edit the entry appropriately. this would probably be easier if there were some serious biographical work on him, but what can we do. My suggestion is to trim down the length of the article and reign in some of the extremely negative stuff as well as the preening. Protonk (talk) 15:50, 9 March 2009 (UTC)

A further inaccuracy in within the section about his barebacking scandal which states "Sullivan responded that his advertisement stated that he was HIV-positive and he intended to have bareback sex only with consenting adults who were also HIV-positive." This can be easily disproved by viewing a cache of the very advertisements he placed. In the Bareback City ad, he divulged his HIV status, but in the AOL ad he didn't mention it. Within the gay community it is common practice to put the responsibility of HIV transmission among the negative partner in an anomymous encounter. Sullivan was well within his bounds as an HIV+ man to seek partners for anonymous barebacking sessions who may eventually seroconvert from his bodily fluids. In fact there is a subculture called "AIDS Gifting" based around that desire.

Andrew Sullivan's AOL Advertisement: —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:43, 9 March 2009 (UTC)

I think it is also important to at least provide in the article a link to Andrew's defense in his own words: "Sexual McCarthyism". In that piece, he strongly defends his actions and the anonymous barebacking ads saying: "The question I am required to answer is: is this reckless? The answer is an unambiguous no." People would be surprised to learn that such comments cemented his reputation as a Conservative and gay marriage proponent within the homosexual community.

"Sexual McCarthyism" by Andrew Sullivan: —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:48, 9 March 2009 (UTC)

I guess he does, but it's surprising he'd still have any reputation as a conservative or maybe even that he ever did. I mean in the US sense, he might have a valid reputation as a Tory.--T. Anthony (talk) 08:00, 4 June 2009 (UTC)

Charged with Pot Possession, and gotten off by help Obama Attorney --this should be added to his page —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:10, 11 September 2009 (UTC)

Several users Continually edit out relevant and properly sourced information regarding Sullivan's current positions

Why is this user permitted to continually edit out relevant information regarding Andrew Sullivan's most recent political positions and the sourced reactions to said positions by other relevant web sites and blogs? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:53, 4 March 2010 (UTC)
Your edits are being reverted because they are biased and violate numerous Wikipedia policies, especially WP:BLP, which concerns what kind of material about living people is acceptable. You will probably be blocked if you continue reinserting this material. UserVOBO (talk) 06:18, 5 March 2010 (UTC)
I agree that some of the edits in question are completely inappropriate, but I fear that the blanket reverts are going too far. For example, information about Sullivan's positions on John Edwards, Drone attacks, and legitimate criticisms of his attitude toward Sarah Palin have been excised. While the anon user is clearly POV pushing, some of the additions have merit. Peregrine981 (talk) 07:24, 5 March 2010 (UTC)
At this stage, discussion is necessary before any changes are made. Further edit warring is likely to lead to being blocked. I am surprised he has not been blocked already, actually. UserVOBO (talk) 07:28, 5 March 2010 (UTC)
I would be in favour of including the information on drone attacks, john edwards, and some of the criticism of Sullivan's stance on Palin. Peregrine981 (talk) 07:30, 5 March 2010 (UTC)
Please specifically define how each portion of the properly sourced information regarding Andrew Sullivan I added is "biased" and/or violates Wikipedia rules. Please state how each addition I made is biased and how it specifically violates a rule. If you continue to just generally call my additions biased and point to Wikipedia rules without explaining why the additions are improper I will continue to add them. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:55, 5 March 2010 (UTC)
Pretty much addition you've made violates NPOV. It's pretty blatant.
  1. Changing War on terrorism to Sullivan's transient views regarding the War on Terrorism is an POV characterization
  2. Sullivan describes his opposition to torture as opposition to torture; "enhanced interrogation" is your own or someone elses POV, but it's not what Sullivan targets
  3. Bringing up something someone hasn't done or said is a purely POV assumption that they should say or do it
  4. The addition of what he considers is your own opinion of his position
  5. Changing Consistency to Sullivan's Lack of Consistency is a POV characterization
  6. Changing Sarah Palin to Obsession with Sarah Palin is a POV characterization
  7. Your additions to that section are themselves POV
  8. Changing Bias accusations to Bias against Israel accusations is somewhat POV and rather inaccurate -- the accusations are of bias against Israel and Jews
I think that should suffice. --jpgordon::==( o ) 18:28, 5 March 2010 (UTC)
Sorry but your completely subjective conclusion that a particular item is "POV" just doesn't cut it. You need to be more specific as to why the items are "POV". My opinion that they are neutral additions is just as valid your own. Plus you've removed far more information than the items you referred so I am adding them back.
As to your specific concerns:
1. In YOUR opinion. I believe it is not.
2. Wrong. That section clearly discusses that Sullivan often changes his opinion on that issue. How is "transient" not a proper adjective to describe that? Transient is NOT a pejorative word.
3. I changed that to "enhanced interrogation techniques that some, including Sullivan, believe to be torture" which I believe very accurately describes the issue and adds balance to the presentation
4. Sullivan considers enhanced interrogation techniques to be torture and others do not so adding "what he considers" better conveys that it is an opinion and not a settled fact, which it is not.
5. Changed that to Accusations that Sullivan's Views Lack Consistency
6. Changed that to Accusations that Sullivan is "Obsessed" with Sarah Palin
7. Again, that is YOUR opinion. I disagree. Everything I added is sourced and balances the presentation. If my additions are improper then the entire is as well
8. Changed that to Accusations that Sullivan is biased against Israel and against Jews in general —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:40, 5 March 2010 (UTC)
Ah. You are right and everyone is wrong. My favorite editing style. You're about to discover the meaning of "consensus" and WP:3RR and all that. --jpgordon::==( o ) 19:33, 5 March 2010 (UTC)
Look in the mirror when you say that my friend. You are the one trying censor relevant and fully sourced material because it might go against your world view.

Comments by

I have removed vandalism to the talk page by the IP editor named in this thread. For the record, his comments, mixed up with Jpgordon's in a vandalistic way, were:

  • In YOUR opinion. I believe it is not.
  • Wrong. That section clearly discusses that Sullivan often changes his opinion on that issue. How is "transient" not a proper adjective to describe that? Transient is NOT a pejorative word.
  • I changed that to "enhanced interrogation techniques that some, including Sullivan, believe to be torture" which I believe very accurately describes the issue and adds balance to the presentation
  • Sullivan considers enhanced interrogation techniques to be torture and others do not so adding "what he considers" better conveys that it is an opinion and not a settled fact, which it is not.
  • Changed that to Accusations that Sullivan's Views Lack Consistency
  • Changed that to Accusations that Sullivan is "Obsessed" with Sarah Palin
  • Again, that is YOUR opinion. I disagree. Everything I added is sourced and balances the presentation. If my additions are improper then the entire is as well
  • Changed that to Accusations that Sullivan is biased against Israel and against Jews in general

(These were responses to Jpgordon's points 1 through 8 above).

I'd like to direct the IP editor to the talkpage guidelines, WP:TALK. UserVOBO (talk) 20:43, 5 March 2010 (UTC)

In my opinion, the IP edits lack encyclopedic tone and espouse a point of view. I observe with dismay a seeming intransigence and a tone whose civility is very much in doubt. MarkBernstein (talk) 22:18, 5 March 2010 (UTC)

I'd like to make this very clear: if the IP continues in this vein, he is very likely to get blocked. He's been warned repeatedly. TallNapoleon (talk) 22:20, 5 March 2010 (UTC)
Please refrain from making threats, that is a violation of Wikipedia rules. And again, please state specifically how EVERY SINGLE addition I made was "unacceptable". Vaguely stating that you don't like the "tone" of an addition is not proper grounds to make a blanket removal of several relevant and proper additions. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:26, 5 March 2010 (UTC)
You have been repeatedly told that you are not being "threatened." People are simply trying to explain Wikipedia policy to you. You will be blocked if you continue to make personal attacks, or unacceptable changes to the article. UserVOBO (talk) 22:28, 5 March 2010 (UTC)
Please show specifically where I made a "personal attack". Please explain specifically how every addition I made is "unacceptable". Please explain how it is proper for you to remove all of the additions I made when you have admitted that you did not even read all off them. You are aware that violates Wikipedia rules?
These are not threats, they are statements of fact. TallNapoleon (talk) 22:31, 5 March 2010 (UTC)
What "these" are you referring to and you have made no statements of fact because you refuse to discuss specifically how the additions I made are not proper. Your generalized subjective opinion is not enough to warrant removing proper content. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:41, 5 March 2010 (UTC)
Numerous editors have told you that your changes are not acceptable. It is not a matter of one person's opinion. UserVOBO (talk) 22:42, 5 March 2010 (UTC)
You admitted that you didn't even read the additions in question before you removed them so how can you have a valid opinion? Also, your continued refusal to specifically discuss the merits of the additions shows that you have a particular bias in this matter. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:46, 5 March 2010 (UTC)

Dear (talk) : I understand that you are frustrated, but I think it would be useful to lower, not raise, the volume of this argument. In writing biography either here or elsewhere, it is both conventional and desirable to maintain the subjects frame of reference and terminology in areas of doubt or controversy. For example, we might prefer to say that X is "a member of the Society of Friends" rather than that X "is a Quaker", especially if the article touches in persecution of Friends. Here, for example, the subject of the biography believes he is arguing against torture, his usage is congruent with its historical usage, and he explicitly disagrees with its replacement by your proposed enhanced interrogation: absent compelling reasons, we should use the term he uses. (A compelling reason might be that the subject's terms are incoherent, objectionable, or would likely lead to confusion). Similarly, a man who has recently published an important volume arguing that Conservativism has strayed from its traditional tenets -- tenets to which he subscribes -- should be accorded the title Conservative just as someone who says he is (say) a Quaker should be accorded that title in biography, even if some people cavil.

Above all, please don't imagine a shadow conspiracy or write here in tones that suggest concern for future WikiLawyering; I'm sure that's not what you intended, but this alternation between rather hostile direct address and third person is bound to suggest something like that to some readers. And it might be pleasant if you, like me, had a real account and (ideally, IMHO) you, like me, could discuss this as a real person with a real reputation. MarkBernstein (talk) 14:19, 6 March 2010 (UTC)

Why are nearly all contradictions to Sullivan's claim of being "Conservative" flagged as "bias"?

Any time an edit is made that shows the drastic changes in Sullivan's positions in the past two or three years on many issues, support of the recent Health Care Bill for example, it is deleted and flagged as "biased". Sullivan's blog, the Daily Dish, clearly shows the trend of his positions veering left. How is it "bias" to include that in his bio page?? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:15, 31 January 2010 (UTC)

It's not the role of an encyclopedia to determine the nature of conservativism. Sullivan believes himself to be a conservative, and has written a book on the subject. The article may more usefully limit itself to facts such as the one you adduce -- his support of health care reform. MarkBernstein (talk) 22:09, 31 January 2010 (UTC)

That is a completely disingenuous reply. Edits containing info that factually point out Sullivan's relatively recent reversal of opinion on some issues (government run health care for example - there are four separate items on Sullivan's blog today that are titled PASS. THE. DAMN. BILL.) are certainly not an attempt to "determine the nature of conservativism". They merely point out what the facts show that they do - Sullivan now endorses a number of positions that are in conflict with obvious conservative principles (i.e. smaller government) - and allows the reader to formulate an opinion based on these facts as what Sullivan's true political beliefs really are. Under your standard, 90% of Sullivan's page should be edited out. Nixon once famously claimed "I am not a crook" but that didn't make it so. Factual information showing that Sullivan's current beliefs contradict his "I am a conservative" claim are absolutely relevant on his bio page. The editing out of factual information relevant to the subject's bio is just plain censorship for what appears to be political reasons. Not a good thing, wouldn't you say?

The trouble is that being "conservative" is not an easy thing to define. What is one person's conservative may well be another's raving leftist. It means many different things to different people, so it is hard to simply say that he is "in obvious conflict with conservative principles." If he describes himself as a conservative, it's fair to say that he is a self identified conservative. Now if somebody disagrees, it's fair to include the critique, if it's notable. Obviously a fair number of people disagree with his self labeling, but we need to present the arguments in a fair way. As MarkBerstein says, we should probably focus mostly on his actual positions rather than extended internet wars about what labels to apply to him. We also need to be careful considering the special rules for biographies of living people. Peregrine981 (talk) 00:10, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
But then why is a simple addition that points out that Sullivan strongly supports the proposed health care reform bill flagged as "bias"? You cannot possibly be arguing that Sullivan's support of the bill is "conservative"? No, I see this as more an attempt to continue supporting Sullivan's untenable claim that he is a "conservative". He may at one time have had many conservative beliefs and may have been properly labelled a conservative, but that is certainly no longer the case.
It is true that Sullivan supports health care reform, but he explicitly argues that his position is, indeed, conservative. His book, as I understand it, argues that his conservativism, although different from yours, is in fact closer to the traditional definition of conservativism. MarkBernstein (talk) 17:17, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
You do realize how delusional that sounds don't you? ALL conservatives in Congress (and out of Congress) almost 100% oppose the current Health Care Bill yet Sullivan claims he is the only true conservative out there and that supporting a government takeover of 15% of the economy is a "traditionally conservative" position?!?. So you don't think the total incredulity of Sullivan's position in relation to other conservatives is valid material for his bio page? Andrew Sullivan does not get to define what is or is not conservative, particularly in light of the fact that most of his current positions are in opposition to that of the VAST majority of self-described conservatives in the US.

<outdent> I would suggest you read WP:SYNTH, WP:NPOV, and WP:OR. Basically, it's not for us to decide whether Sullivan is or is not a conservative. He self-describes as one, and he is also a Tory. It would be entirely appropriate to include criticism from Republicans claiming that he is not a conservative, but considering that reliable sources frequently describe him as a conservative columnist or commentator, and considering that he describes himself as a conservative, then it is entirely reasonable that we do so as well.

On a side note, before you base your arguments on what self-described conservatives in the US believe, I would remind you of a few things. One, there are other conservative traditions out there, and Sullivan fits very well within the English Conservative tradition. I would also point out that it is only very recently that American conservatives have gotten it into their heads that positions like the ones Sullivan holds are anathema. TallNapoleon (talk) 10:16, 3 February 2010 (UTC)

Pointing out that the VAST majority of Sullivan's current positions are the antithesis of what is generally accepted as Conservative in US politics is not "us" deciding "whether Sullivan is or is not a conservative." It is providing the reader with FACTS and allowing them to make an informed decision based on those fatcs. Why can't you understand that? And what "reliable sources" still describe Sullivan as a conservative? That may have been true seven or eight years ago, but certainly not today. In fact, it's quite the opposite as many now describe him as a liberal. As to your second paragraph, Sullivan writes almost exclusively now about US politics. So his positions as they relate to conservatism in other places really isn't relevant is it? As to your final sentence, Sullivan's positions have moved from conservative to more liberal, not the other way around. If you you're not seeing that then you're obviously an ideologue. Even Media Matter (of all places) very forcefully examined Sullivan's recent departure from conservatism - So Sullivan can go on claiming to be a conservative, or claim he's the King of Siam for that matter, but that certainly does not make it true.

"It's not the role of an encyclopedia to determine the nature of conservativism." Quite silly. Liberal Wikipedia editors such as TallNapoleon routinely label commentators as "conservative" even when they have not described themselves as such, and routinely delete the label "liberal" from commentators whose views cannot be reasonably described as anything else.

Oh, and since "it's not the role of an encyclopedia to determine the nature of conservatism," may I delete this entire entry -- -- entitled "Conservatism?"

Feel free to add people criticizing Sullivan as not being a conservative. Also please remember that per WP:TALK this page is for discussions about the article, not for discussions about Sullivan. TallNapoleon (talk) 06:21, 5 February 2010 (UTC)
A number of times I made additions to the "Politics" section of the article on Sullivan pointing out how Sullivan strongly supports the current health care legislation (that is opposed universally by American conservatives) and each time it was removed and labelled as "biased" despite the fact that Sullivan's own blog points out the truth of what I posted.
It was removed because it was phrased in a manner which, though factually correct, was misleading, unbalanced, and biased. I would have nothing against mentioning Sullivan's support of the health care bill (or even that this puts him at odds with most of the "conservative movement", though per WP:SYNTH we need a reliable source that says that). But it has to be done in a neutral manner. TallNapoleon (talk) 04:57, 7 February 2010 (UTC)
So you're saying Sullivan's OWN BLOG is not a "reliable source"?!? And "neutral" in who's eyes? Yours I suppose?

I'll just add that the Kim Jong-Il calls North Korea a "democratic" country and supposedly all 22 million of it's population are in agreement. The point being, Sullivan's own description of himself as "conservative" should not necessarily be taken as the literal truth. The article should only mention that he describes himself as such.BuboTitan (talk) 23:37, 5 February 2010 (UTC)

Very good point. Though I see no "bias" in pointing out facts that clearly indicate that Sullivan's current views, despite his claims otherwise, are not in line with what is generally accepted as "conservative" in the US.
"Pointing out facts" is not Wikipedia's job. --jpgordon::==( o ) 03:12, 7 February 2010 (UTC)
Oh spare me! So what is its "job" then? Perpetuating un-truths like "Andrew Sullivan is conservative" and stifling any attempts to correct it?
As I said earlier, being a "conservative" is not the same as having blue eyes, or being 175 pounds, or 27 years old. It is a matter of interpretation, so I don't understand why it is so hard to accept that different people will have different ideas about what is and is not conservative. Sullivan calls himself a conservative. So, we need to mention that. Other people disagree, so we need to mention that. It is not up to us to "decide" what the ultimate truth of the matter is. We present both sides of the argument and leave it to readers to decide. Fair enough? If you have reliable sources that dispute his label please include them. I'm sorry if you find this frustrating, but it is the way that wikipedia works, and I think you'll find it is perfectly fair. As for your example of Kim Jong-Il, it would be fair to say that he claims the country is democratic (if he indeed does), but it would also be fair to cite the reems and reems of evidence that his claims are untrue. At any rate, these kinds of labels are often more misleading than helpful, so I would suggest focusing on his actual positions rather than fitting him into this box or that box.
On a side-note, I think that you are not properly engaging with Sullivan's positions. Congressmen will take all kinds of political positions for tactical reasons, and they cannot be relied on to show what is or is not conservative. Neither does he advocate a government "take over" of 15% of the econonomy. That is a gross distortion of both his position and the healthcare bills that have been proposed to congress.Peregrine981 (talk) 02:57, 8 February 2010 (UTC)

If Sullivan's "conservatism" differs markedly from what most people agree is conservative, then it should be made known. As it is, stating that Andrew Sullivan identifies as conservative, while true, is purposefully misleading to anybody with rational concepts of what "liberal" and "convervative" are popularly known to be.

Please mind your language. Your comment is rather uncivil, and shows a failure to assume good faith. Please see the policy about this. UserVOBO (talk) 00:45, 12 May 2010 (UTC)
David Cameron, the leader of Britain's Conservative Party and its Prime Minister, is on many issues in closer agreement with Sullivan than with what the above poster may believe to be a "rational" concept of conservatism. MarkBernstein (talk) 15:52, 13 May 2010 (UTC)

Editors refusing to specifically address why they remove proper additions to the Andrew Sullivan page

It has become clear that there are several editors (VOBO, TallNapoleon) here that refuse to allow virtually any new edits concerning Andrew Sullivan regardless of the content. It would appear that these editors whitewash anything concerning Sullivan that does not conform to their world view and refuse to even discuss the specifics of why in their opinion the information is improper. This is a disturbing development for a site that relies on the contribution of the public for its content. This page is not the personal domain of these individuals and their threats of "I'll have you banned if you don't conform my views" damages this site.

I pose this question, how specifically is the addition of these facts to the Andrew Sullivan page "improper":

1. Several reputable political blogs (including Politico and Mediaite) have characterized Sullivan as "obsessed" with Sarah Palin?

2. Pointing out that Sullivan personally apologized on his blog for failing to address the John Edwards affair scandal because he was perhaps too focused on Sarah Palin.

3. Showing that Sullivan has not criticized the Obama administration for continuing Bush administration policies (extraordinary rendition and assassination by drone missile strikes for example) when he attacked those policies when they were used by the Bush Administration.

4. Pointing out that Sullivan still perpetuates the rumor regarding the birth of Sarah Palin's youngest son despite the fact that The Daily Kos web site, who started the rumor, retracted it long ago.

5. Pointing out that behavior Sullivan labels as "torture" is defined by many as "enhanced interrogation".

6. Why is there a "See Also" link to the "Obama Republican" page when Sullivan is not and never has been a Republican. This is misleading and should be removed. It gives the false impression that Sullivan is a Republican who supported Obama.

If all of these additions are improper for Sullivan's biography page then just about everything below the Biography heading section on the page should also be removed. I challenge these individuals to specifically address the above questions, though after what I've seen they will not and will just continue their threats and irrelevant generalizations. If these individuals refuse to address the questions specifically I will have to assume they are biased and continue to make my additions to the page. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:27, 5 March 2010 (UTC)

Thank you for trying to discuss the specifics of your edits. Unfortunately, your comments continue to include personal attacks, which makes responding difficult. You might get a better reception if you would revise your comments and remove the personal attacks. UserVOBO (talk) 00:30, 6 March 2010 (UTC)
I see. Once again you refuse to discuss the true issues at hand and you make another spurious allegation that I made a personal attack. Your false claim that I made personal attack is a personal attack in itself. If you're unable to discuss the questions I raised then I can only believe you have no legitimate argument to make. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:28, 6 March 2010 (UTC)
Very well then, since you request a more detailed response:
I'm not familiar with the blog "Politico". However, it is only a single source and you cannot use it to say that "Sullivan has been often accused of being obsessed with former Alaska governor Sarah Palin." That's original research unless you have a source that directly states as much. The title you want to give that section, ('Accusations that Sullivan is "Obsessed" with Sarah Palin') is inappropriate and unencyclopedic. I also think you want to include too much material of doubtful importance (such as the material about the John Edwards affair scandal) here and that it fails to pass the test of due weight. The New York Times article you use as a source for "Showing that Sullivan has not criticized the Obama administration for continuing Bush administration policies" does not mention him, which makes your use of it original research, which is unaccceptable. Your attempt to make the article imply that torture is an "enchanced interrogation" technique is POV pushing. Please see WP:NPOV. UserVOBO (talk) 04:55, 6 March 2010 (UTC)
Also for the policy on original research, see WP:OR. Also related is WP:SYNTH. TallNapoleon (talk) 08:25, 6 March 2010 (UTC)
1. If you have never heard of Politico then I question how you are qualified to determine whether something is "bias" or not. Your page here claims your main interest is politics yet you are unaware of Politico, I find that hard to believe. Politico was already cited by another editor as a reference on the Sullivan bio page (under the Palin Pregnancy heading) before I even made an edit. I can point to several other political blogs such as Newser and Mediaite that also describe Sullivan as being "obsessed" with Sarah Palin. A quick Google search would show you that. So I will add more references to that item and remove the word "often" from the heading.
2. Your subjective conclusion regarding the addition of the Johns Edwards affair is incorrect. That is material DIRECTLY FROM SULLIVAN'S OWN BLOG. How can it be of "doubtful importance" if Sullivan himself deemed it important enough to be prominently featured on his own blog? So I reject your conclusion on that and if you look at an earlier post on this discussion page another editor (Peregrine981) agrees.
3. The reference I cited to the New York Times article was to show that the Obama Admin. is continuing Bush Admin. policies. The fact that Sullivan has not continued his criticism of said policies is self-expedient because he has in fact not made such criticism. I could make a general reference citation to his blog to prove he hasn't. Another editor (Peregrine981) also agrees with the inclusion of this addition.
4. Regarding the the "enhanced interrogation" = "torture" issue, I believe my addition of the question over that distinction makes the article LESS POV than just generally using the word "torture" to describe actions that are still in dispute. Sullivan's blog often deals with the dispute over enhanced interrogation vs. torture so including that is perfectly relevant to his bio page. Your attempt to remove that possible distinction is actually POV.
5. You failed to even address my points 4. and 6. above, those regarding the Daily Kos debunking of the Sarah Palin rumor and the improper and misleading link to the "Obama Republican" page, so I will assume they are OK and re-insert them since you appear to have no cogent objection to them.
If you continue to just make blanket deletions of all of the additions I make then I will assume you are just biased and are engaging in improper edit warring. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:48, 6 March 2010 (UTC)
Not sure about alot of this, but I would NOT include material about what he hasn't critized without 3rd parties specifically mentioning that critique, since as pointed out above, this is original research. --Tom (talk) 16:50, 6 March 2010 (UTC)
To I am not interested in replying to you further owing to the abusive and hostile nature of your comments. Please see WP:TROLL and WP:DENY. UserVOBO (talk) 22:14, 6 March 2010 (UTC)
I would urge everyone to try to calm down and pull back on the threats, brinkmanship, defamation of intentions, and generally poisonous tone which is preventing progress.
To the anon poster I would suggest a couple of things. First of all, please try to assume good faith, and this will be much easier. Second, please sign your posts (using four ~ after your postings). Third, hold off on inserting controversial material until it has been discussed. Sorry that this makes things slower, but in the end it's the only way to get to a stable version of the article.
My own take on the issues outlined:1) I have no problem citing notable sources that claim Sullivan is overly concerned with Palin. I have certainly seen many people take this stance from a variety of POVs. Politico is certainly notable. 2) Edwards is to me a minor matter, but have no problem with inclusion given Sullivan's own post on the topic 3) While this is a relevant point, I agree with the other posters that we need to find a reliable third party source making this point or else it would be original research, leave it out for now. It is certainly harder to prove a negative point like this, than a positive. 4) I do not mind mentioning Sullivan's highlighting of his doubts about the Palin pregnancy. He has made a big deal out of this, and it is not irrelevant to discuss his handling of the topic. 5) We should use the language that Sullivan uses regarding torture. We could insert a phrase discussing the fact that some people may consider certain parts of torture as "enhanced interrogation", but if we have to start qualifying every term in the article based on what people other than Sullivan believe, the article will become ridiculous. 6) No opinion.
A further note. The title changes for the sections are wholly inappropriate, and lack seriousness. They are blatant POV pushing. Section headings should not be injecting anti-Sullivan innuendo into the article. Leave them as simple descriptions of subject. Peregrine981 (talk) 04:02, 7 March 2010 (UTC)
If you think that some of the additions would be legitimate, then by all means propose something that can be discussed on the talk page. UserVOBO (talk) 04:14, 7 March 2010 (UTC)

Since IP poster (talk) 13:48, 6 March 2010 (UTC) inquired about his issues 4 and 6. On 4, I have explained above the reasons for strongly preferring "torture" in this case to "enhanced interrogation". On 6 -- whether Sullivan was formetly a Republican -- he certainy endorsed Reagan, Bush 41, and (as I recall) also endorsed Bush 43 in 2000. He has called himself a Tory, and as he remains a British subject his activities within the Republican party are necessarily circumscribed. Nonetheless, a lifetime Tory and Reagan supporter, a small-government deficit hawk who has written an important monograph on "The Conservative Soul", is probably a good example of what people mean when they speak of "Obama Republican". MarkBernstein (talk) 04:17, 7 March 2010 (UTC)


Can this be corrected/addressed per MOSBIO? Is he an expatiate(sp), whatever the heck that is? Also, just to comment a little on the above mess, I would not include verage along the lines of what he hasn't critisized, unless it is seriously notable and well covered/sourced...good luck :) --Tom (talk) 16:46, 6 March 2010 (UTC)

Goldberg quote

I removed the quotation from Jonathan Goldberg that Mhym added. I am not sure the quote is necessary, but I removed it less for that reason than because the discussion of it ("Jeffrey Goldberg later pointed out that the reason Sullivan can publish his controversial views on his blog, is because of lack of fact-checking and editorial oversight") is badly written and in need of copy editing, as well as somewhat POV. If the quotation is to be in the article, it needs to be presented differently. UserVOBO (talk) 08:01, 14 March 2010 (UTC)

How about this?
The blogs at The Atlantic, including Sullivan's, are not fact-checked by the magazine's staff.
citing Goldberg, Jeffrey (March 12, 2010). "Andrew Sullivan Revises History (Again)". The Atlantic. 
Since Goldberg's blog is not fact-checked either, it is not valid as a source for criticisms of Sullivan — see WP:BLPSPS. However, it probably is OK for the claim I suggested. What do other editors think? CWC 16:47, 16 March 2010 (UTC)
I am in favor of this. I meant adding this quote not as insult but as an explanation that whatever Sullivan writes on his blog should not be taken too seriously, examined too closely, or criticized too harshly. Mhym (talk) 17:46, 16 March 2010 (UTC)

Since this article discusses the biography of one of the more prominent political editors of his era, Mhym's "explanation" is tendentious. All readers understand that the editorial process for weblogs, with a lead time of minutes, differs from the editorial process of a monthly magazine. In any case, Goldberg (who is bitterly feuding with the subject of this article) is hardly the ideal source, and a discussion of fact checking in political weblogs belongs in the article on weblogs, not here.MarkBernstein (talk) 19:43, 16 March 2010 (UTC)

I don't know about "bitterly feuding" - in the very same post Goldberg says that Sullivan is a friend. Regardless, I think there is a benefit in the readers being aware that The Atlantic blogs don't undergo editorial scrutiny ("The Atlantic" being a reputable magazine and news & opinion source). In fact, there is quite a bit of confusion about this, witness this discussion on another WP article, in which I participated. Basically, I have no problem of using somebody else's quote on the subject - it's the content that is relevant and revealing, not who said it. Mhym (talk) 00:54, 17 March 2010 (UTC)
Hello there, all. As a recent participant in the aforementioned discussion, I would comment that there is simply no confusion. But that's not the point of this attempted addition. The point appears to be (and please correct me if I'm wrong) discrediting Sullivan's blog as a non-RS source. However, the guideline is quite clear. The fact that the blog undergoes no "editorial scrutiny" is irrelevant since (your conflation of the two notwithstanding) the WP:RS requirement is satisfied insofar as a)"newspapers host interactive columns that they call blogs" (check) and b) "the writers are professional journalists" (check). The guideline appears to give the so-called "professional journalists" more latitude, excusing them (e.g. "or") from the burden that a blog is RS if c) "professionals in the field on which they write and the blog is subject to the newspaper's full editorial control. That's what the guideline says. If you disagree with the guideline, then perhaps you should try to get it changed.
However, I do agree there is possibly some merit to Mhym's observation that the blogs apparently don't undergo any "fact checking" (that is the exact allegation ala Goldberg) at The Atlantic magazine article. On the other hand, you'd probably need to use someone other than Goldberg confirm that, as has been noted elsewhere. My 2 cents.--Happysomeone (talk) 01:14, 17 March 2010 (UTC)

I think it's widely understood that blogs don't have a fact-checking process; there shouldn't be a need for a special explanation of that here. It's not an article about blogs. UserVOBO (talk) 03:42, 17 March 2010 (UTC)

I don't think that the Atlantic blogs are under the "full editorial control," depending on what you mean by that. As we have said, they are not fact checked, and I believe that the bloggers are more or less free to write what they want independent of any Atlantic editors. Peregrine981 (talk) 10:35, 17 March 2010 (UTC)

I think that calling publicly shaming your "friend" for his anti-Semitism and thereby launching a long dispute and debate is fairly characterized as a feud. On fact-checking, it is universally understood that columnists, on the Web and elsewhere, have greater editorial latitude than do reporters; compare, for example, George Will's climate change columns in the Washington Post. If we discredit Sullivan's blog as unreliable, can we also discredit Washington Post columnists? Of course, Sullivan's detractors here will be less eager to discredit columnists with whom they personally agree.MarkBernstein (talk) 14:26, 17 March 2010 (UTC)

Balance/Bias in Relation to Full Content- an editorial comment

This entry, in my opinion, has too much content about "scandal" (in proportion) to the entire entry. I am not one to delete contents of previous contributors, but please refer to the terms Wikipedia has regarding bias vs. objectivity. Every writer has their own opinon about "balance", but in my opinion, the word "scandal" is used too many times, and is or/are much too long relative to the entire article/entry about Mr. Sullivan. No person or entity should "bearback" on top of another person/and/or/entity for their own gain.

Why did you get rid of the references to another blog? Doesn't that count as a "third party" source?

I am the person that originally wrote here about "Balance/Bias" about Andrew Sullivan. The previous sentence ( prior to mine above, starting with the word "why"), was not a deletion by me as I know it. I changed what I did, as someone with an idea of objectiveness and quality control in accurate descriptions of people, again, in a timeline, to their whole balance and body of work, relative to the person/enitity at the present point.

It's odd that the "controversies" section was taken out completely, with no mention of the online sex scandal - I put it back in because it seems like re-writing history without it.

I would simply add that I think the article pays too much attention to Sullivan's current views without sufficient attention to the views Sullivan held in the past. This may in many ways reflect the fact that Wikipedia was founded in 2001, but it would be helpful and pertinent to include information about Sullivan's poltical views throughout the eighties and nineties. The article merely mentions Margaret Thatcher as an influence on him and alludes to his criticism of the Clinton administration in the LGBT issues section, but I know he was an adamant Thatcherite for an extended period, as well as a vocal critic of both of the Clintons. To give readers a better grasp of Sullivan's body of work and on the evolution of his views it would be helpful to include more information on the political views he expressed in decades past. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:36, 5 February 2012 (UTC)

Criticisms of the Pope and the Catholic Church

I think the content of this article should be referenced in the Religion section

I'll get round to it myself when I've got a moment, but if anyone fancies a stab at it before then.... Arthur Holland (talk) 08:56, 4 April 2010 (UTC)

Consistencies section is full of weasel

"One of the most common charges Sullivan addresses is that he is inconsistent" - charges by whom? one out of how many others? I have never seen a category in any other biography that has a section titled "Consistencies", so it should be removed, reworded moved or deleted but I don't like editing or deleting large entries without explanation.--DCX (talk) 14:14, 7 April 2010 (UTC)

A conservative

Sullivan says he is a conservative. He has written a book about the nature of conservativism. He advocates a small government and fiscal restraint. He supports the Conservative party in the UK, and until the Bush administration he generally supported the US Republican Party. He is a conservative, although some American conservatives (including ananonymous posters active here) consider him a schismatic.

Wikipedia is not the place to redefine American conservativism or to enforce orthodoxy by reading schismatics out of meeting. Are we to qualify other conservative schismatics similarly? "Ronald Reagan considered himself a conservative" would be true, but would it improve the encyclopedia? MarkBernstein (talk) 16:15, 1 June 2010 (UTC)

I think that IP's's recent addition calling Sullivan a "political activist" is incorrect and should be removed. Sullivan comments on politics on his blog, how he is an "activist", I really have no idea. I also suspect that the source used, The Conservative Soul, doesn't back up the claim; in any case, in a BLP, secondary sources should be used in preference to primary sources. UserVOBO (talk) 21:27, 1 June 2010 (UTC)

If Sullivan were still in England it would be easy to classify his political views - he's a Libertarian Conservative. (talk) 08:26, 26 October 2010 (UTC)

I have restored the initial paragraphs of the Politics section. Sullivan identifies himself as a conservative. Even in a BLP, the best evidence for belief and identification is necessarily the primary source's testimony. MarkBernstein (talk) 14:38, 26 October 2010 (UTC)


If's grammar change is going to continue to be an issue, I'll explain why I reverted it. I think the expression "he identifies himself as a political conservative" is silly and reads very strangely. In reverting me, the IP used the summary 'you can't write "he identifies as"' - well, yes you can. It makes perfect sense in English to say that someone identifies as being something. If you use that expression, it means that someone sees himself as being that thing. If, however, you say "he identifies himself as a political conservative", that would mean that he identifies himself to others as being a political conservative, which is a different statement altogether. UserVOBO (talk) 21:34, 1 June 2010 (UTC)

I've changed the sentence to 'He describes himself as a political conservative.' I can't find any grammatical support in online dictionaries for the sentence as it stood before. There's no doubt that Sullivan does describe himself so, repeatedly, and I think the title of the book cited sufficiently makes the case. Spicemix (talk) 14:49, 30 March 2011 (UTC) (talk) 19:39, 18 April 2012 (UTC)Why doesn't the bio include the incident when Sullivan was arrested on Federal land with marijuana? It was a bona fide scandal because he pulled some strings and had a federal marshal (unheard of) intervene specially in case because it would have jeopardized his immigration status. Nothing similar has ever been done for a so-called Mexican immigrant or anyone else for that matter. Doesn't it point towards someone's integrity and character if they consider themselves above the law?

Sullivan, according to the Boston Globe, was issued a ticket for smoking a small amount of marijuana on a Cape Cod beach. This was not a criminal offense in Massachusetts. It is citable on Federal land, and this beach happens to be inside the Cape Cod National Seashore; the prosecutor declined to pursue the matter. There's no reason to think this demonstrates anything beyond a bit of confusion over exactly where the park boundary lies. I've been there myself a number of times, and I don't know where it lies, either. MarkBernstein (talk) 22:44, 18 April 2012 (UTC)


I see that an unsigned edit referencing Sullivan's holding of the office of Piglet in the Oxford University Winnie the Pooh Society has been reversed pending a source.

I was at Oxford at the same time as Sullivan, though at a different college, and I certainly recall his being Piglet - he used to go around wearing a home-made badge with a picture of Piglet on it.

Will that do ?

Oinky (no relation)

Oinky (talk) 22:08, 24 October 2010 (UTC)

@Oinky: SCANDAL may be brewing...Pembroke College's Winnie-the-Pooh-Society has no office known as "Piglet". Are we sure Cambridge College does? This may help to clear the whole thing up? SEE: Thank you Codenamemary (talk) 00:55, 9 December 2010 (UTC)

Perhaps disappointingly there is no scandal brewing, at least not in this respect. Sullivan was never involved in the Winnie the Pooh Society of Pembroke College, Cambridge as far as I know. He founded the Oxford University Winne the Pooh Society. A different society at a different educational establishment. Oinky (talk) 13:25, 14 January 2011 (UTC)

There's no doubt that Sullivan did identify himself with Piglet at that time: the introduction to his OUS presidential termcard was written as by Piglet. There is still no source for his founding the W-the-P Society, but I hope it can stand in the meantime as supported hearsay. However I have deleted the claim that he received 'substantial' support from club members in his presidential election. As a secret ballot it can never be verified, and the club will have had a very small membership, possibly not exceeding the cast of characters in the books, and they may not even all have been members of the Union and thus entitled to vote. Spicemix (talk) 15:33, 30 March 2011 (UTC)

Found a reference for the piglet thing - the society had over 1,000 members. (talk) 21:23, 2 January 2012 (UTC)

Hi all - it has been a while but I have suddenly stumbled across a better reference. The Oxford Myth, 1988 Weidenfeld & Nicolson, Rachel Johnson, ed, contains a chapter on Oxford Politics written by her brother Boris, now Mayor of London. Page 72 sets out a detailed description of Sullivan and what he did via the Pooh-Sticks Society to gain election.

I have no wish to waste any more of everyone's time posting this on Sullivan's entry if people are just going to delete it, so if anyone has objections to this source material pleae let me know. Otherwise I will edit in about 2 weeks. (talk) 19:51, 4 April 2012 (UTC)

Ravi Zacharias

I reverted a newly-added section on Ravi Zacharias's reaction to Sullivan's religious views. It is unsurprising that Zacharias, an evangelical Protestant, and the subject, a Catholic, do not agree on every point. The cited passage, moreover, can be read to suggest that Moslems are thugs; this surely is not Zacharias's argument, but in any case it is not germane to Sullivan's writing. He is not, in any case, known as a theologian; Sullivan is a political writer who has expressed strong opinions about the governance, policy, and dogma of the church to which he belongs, and seldom (if ever) claims expertise of other religions or indeed any greater expertise in Catholic theology than would be expected of a member of that faith. MarkBernstein (talk) 04:25, 25 November 2011 (UTC)

Zacharias never said Muslims are thugs - he is referring to I imagine Muslims serving with Bin Laden. It is taken verbatim from the book. The passage had nothing to do with Sullivan's religious views but Ravi Zacharias' (a notable figure) analysis of Sullivan's generalization of Christianity and Islamic fundamentalism. Please self-revert. WikifanBe nice 04:49, 25 November 2011 (UTC)
Even there -- and even granting that Zacharias is notable -- why is this specific commentator's disagreement with the subject's "generalization of Christianity and Islamic fundamentalism" germane? Lots of people disagree with every political commentator: that's the point of political commentary. Nor does is seem particularly notable or interesting that this specific Protestant divine disagrees with the subject on the nature of Islamic fundamentalism. Many liberals disagree with the subject's views of the economy, many Republicans disagree with his views of movement conservativism, many Catholics disagree with his views of the papacy, and many homophobes disagree with his views on marriage. If every encyclopedia article for a controversialist discussed every opinion of someone who disagreed with him, there would be no end. MarkBernstein (talk) 18:18, 25 November 2011 (UTC)
All right, what specific wikipedia policy do you cite in your opposition to my edit? Zacharis isn't just "any" political commentator. WikifanBe nice 09:42, 26 November 2011 (UTC)
There's no need to embrangle this in full-scale wikilawyering, though I suppose WP:WHIM, WP:PROMOTION, and WP:NPOV are all involved here. That's beside the point. An encyclopedia article about Andrew Sullivan cannot and should not include every contrary opinion of every commentator who disagrees with him on some issue or another. Nor need an article of Zacharias include every disagreement with his opinions on the second law of thermodynamics, evolutionary theory, the nature of Islam, or the use of "Dr." as a title of address. MarkBernstein (talk) 18:43, 26 November 2011 (UTC)
Can you please be more explicit as to why this information shouldn't be in the article? Your first comment is somewhat agreeable - although Rav doesn't describe all Muslims as thugs and the passage directly refers to Sullivan. Ravi devotes three whole pages to Sullivan's views (a chapter on secular perceptions of good/evil religion, includes Dershowitz). If a notable figure is explicit and direct about Sullivan's views, it can be included in the article. There really is no limit as long as it doesn't violate undue policy. WikifanBe nice 22:32, 26 November 2011 (UTC)
Shall we include every endorsement of Sullivan's views published by every notable writer? And shall we include every notable writer's opinion of Zacharias's writing? Wikipedia articles include *significant* information, not every opinion ever expressed that agrees or disagrees with something the subject wrote. For example, Zacharias's own wikipedia biography no longer includes a refutation of his misreading of the second law of thermodynamics, because this discussion was not central to Zacharias' biography and can readily be found in related topics by those interested in the subject. MarkBernstein (talk) 22:39, 26 November 2011 (UTC)
Nobody is endorsing anything. Zacharias' views on Sullivan's religious writings is relevant and notable. If you propose a more modified edit I'm okay with that. You need to provide a reason why Zacharias' views has no place in this article. WikifanBe nice 05:23, 27 November 2011 (UTC)
If Zacharias' views have a place in the article simply because he is Zacharias, wouldn't George Wills, Jonathan Alter, Matthew Yglesias, Robert Reich, Josh Marshalll, Dave Winer, Jim Fallows, David Frum, Glenn Reynolds, -- every notable person who agrees or disagrees with some aspect of something that Sullivan once wrote -- also be mentioned? Many of them have written more about Sullivan, and with greater relevance, than Zacharias. MarkBernstein (talk) 19:33, 27 November 2011 (UTC)
Sure. If you wish to add other popular and notable figures that refer to Sullivan's philosophy feel free to. It doesn't mean we should deny voices simply because other voices are not present in the article. WikifanBe nice 21:52, 27 November 2011 (UTC)
And then, shall we restore all the deleted authorities adduced to contradict Zacharias' views of thermodynamics and evolution? There would be no end -- especially with controversialists like Sullivan. 01:54, 28 November 2011 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by MarkBernstein (talkcontribs)
I don't know why you keep saying thermodynamics and evolution. That has nothing to do with Zacharias' explicit and relevant views on Sullivan. We as editors can't filter out information because it is biased/wrong. Content is cited from a noted source, what's the problem? Seriously? WikifanBe nice 04:05, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
Sullivan is a political columnist; his job is to take positions with which many people will disagree. He has practiced this vocation for many years with considerable success, and so many people have disagreed with his positions. This is not unusual, and indeed it is common to all successful; political columnists. Some of the people who disagree with Sullivan, unsurprisingly, are notable. This is not unusual, and is indeed common to all successful political columnists. There is no need for Wikipedia to cover every opinion on something Sullivan has written from every notable source, just as it would be unreasonable to include in Zacharias's article every opinion about Zacharias's writing expressed by a notable source.
Instead, the point of an encyclopedia is to provide an overview of the subject's work and of the signal events of his career. Thus, for example, is makes good sense to observe that Sullivan has decried trend in contemporary American conservative thought, that his arguments on this subject have accepted by some -- but by no means all -- American conservatives, and that his position probably lies more closely to the British tories than to the American GOP. This is at the core of his work and the subject of what is probably his best-known book. It makes sense for the article to briefly elucidate his argument and cite where he differs with other currents of conservativism.
Sullivan's writing on Islamic fundamentalism is not a major part of his work. Moreover, that the opinions he expresses do not coincide with the opinions Zacharias espouses is hardly surprising. As I have explained, this is very much a dog-bites-man story. (Would the fact that Sullivan, a gay American Catholic, disagrees with Zacharias' views on fundamentalism, or on the efficacy of confession, or on whether marriage is a sacrament, be important to discuss on Zacharias' page? Surely not! Yet Sullivan is unquestionably notable. Richard Dawkins surely disagrees with Zacharias on some points; that would hardly be surprising or tell us much about Zacharias. The Pope surely disagrees with Zacharias on some points; that would hardly be surprising or tell us much about Zacharias. MarkBernstein (talk) 18:17, 28 November 2011 (UTC)

To streamline discussion:

"There is no need for Wikipedia to cover every opinion on something Sullivan has written from every notable source, just as it would be unreasonable to include in Zacharias's article every opinion about Zacharias's writing expressed by a notable source."
  • We as editors don't get to decide what can and cannot be covered. If a notable figure exists it is our obligation to include their statements. Only policies editors have to consider in this situation is WP:WEIGHT. The fact that lots and lots of people have taken Sullivan to task for some of his views is totally irrelevant.
"Sullivan's writing on Islamic fundamentalism is not a major part of his work. Moreover, that the opinions he expresses do not coincide with the opinions Zacharias espouses is hardly surprising."
  • And you know this how? Your first sentence may be true, your second is obviously true. So I ask - what is the point? Of course Sullivan and Zacharias espouse different points of views on religion. How does that justify denying Zacharias a presence in this article? Analogies to G.O.P, catholic church, Richard Darkwins, etc...are totally off point. There is nothing outrageous about my original edit, it is brief, explicit, and cited properly. WikifanBe nice 22:45, 28 November 2011 (UTC)

I disagree. Why is it particularly important that Mr. Zacharias' point of view be represented *here*? Should his disagreement with Sullivan not also appear on his page? Many statements by notable people are not included in wikipedia articles -- see the history of Zacharias' page for numerous examples. From BLP: " Do not give disproportionate space to particular viewpoints; the views of tiny minorities should not be included at all." What I'm saying is that (a) the topic is not central to Sullivan's work, and (b) Zacharias' response to Sullivan is unsurprising and unremarkable. What other writers have discussed Zacharias's response to Sullivan? MarkBernstein (talk) 23:24, 28 November 2011 (UTC)

Are you suggesting Zacharias is a "tiny minority?" I don't see a reasonable argument for completely removing all commentary about Sullivan simply because lots of commentary may or may not exist. Whether or not Zacharias' views of Sullivan should be in Zacharias article is an entirely different matter and not relevant here. WikifanBe nice 23:35, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
I am suggesting that Zacharias's opinions regarding one minor aspect of Sullivan's work are no more germane than dozens, perhaps hundreds, of opinions of people who are far more notable, regarding topics far more central to the subject of the biography. The subject of the article is Sullivan, not the sum of all opinions about everything Sullivan may have written. MarkBernstein (talk) 15:32, 29 November 2011 (UTC)

Resource,36#thinker49 ... In 2011, he was named by Foreign Policy magazine to its list of top global thinkers. He stated the Best Idea was the "Bowles-Simpson deficit plan." and the Worst Idea is "foreign policy based on theology, as in Rick Perry's easy position on Isreal." (talk) 10:48, 4 December 2011 (UTC)


I've given the article a minor overhaul, though it remains a poorly-sourced, scattershot piece replete with blindspots but with little consideration to the due weight of its topics. A lot more work to be done to bring this to remotely acceptable standards of neutral, comprehensive biographical coverage. Skomorokh 04:42, 15 December 2011 (UTC)

I still think this article needs major surgery - there's way more repetition of Sullivan's views than is usual in articles about journalists. Why is this ? Oinky (talk) 15:50, 8 February 2013 (UTC)

OK, somewhat against my better judgment I have taken the time to clean the article up a bit. There is still too much of it for the importance of the subject but I have edited out some more unsourced content, made corrections and have deleted the whole of the section on Sarah Palin which in my view is quite disproportionate at this time. Could be reinstated should she become a national political figure again.Oinky (talk) 17:43, 1 March 2013 (UTC)

I'd contend that she remains a national political figure. I'm sure she's one of the fifty best-known Republicans. She might well be a candidate for the presidency in 2016, and would certainly be a potential candidate for the US Senate -- a red state currently represented by a Democrat (whose term expires in 2014) and a moderate Republican. To the extent that her light has faded, I think it is clear that her most prominent critics played a role. MarkBernstein (talk) 20:57, 1 March 2013 (UTC)

I don't disagree. I still don't think that warrants so much of the article on Sullivan being devoted to his criticisms of a single individual. No other person is singled out for a sub-section in her own right. (talk) 14:27, 2 March 2013 (UTC)

Sullivan at Oxford

There seems to be a problem with recording documented and referenced facts about Sullivan's Oxford career. Why is this ? (talk) 22:23, 11 January 2012 (UTC)

If you're referring to playing Pooh sticks, one might reasonably question whether this merits inclusion in an encyclopedia.MarkBernstein (talk) 14:23, 12 January 2012 (UTC)

No, obviously I am not referring to playing Pooh Sticks. I am referring to the achievement of founding a University Society in his first year which quickly grew to have a greater membership than the voting electorate of the Oxford Union at at time when Sullivan himself was standing for Union office in closely contested elections. As far as the man's early career is concerned and the evidence of ambition it betokens I think that that is worthy of mention. There is a great deal of content in the article which is much less relevant to a rounded picture of who the man is. (talk) 21:13, 12 January 2012 (UTC)

The problem is that you are continually loading this information with unsourced interpretations. For example, "winning margin less than the membership of the Pooh-Sticks Society itself" -- where's that from? The interview provided as a source doesn't say that. Likewise, "holding office as Piglet" -- what's that mean? That he ran as Piglet rather than Andrew Sullivan? The source doesn't say that. "Assimilated into Hague's electoral machine". The source doesn't say that. --jpgordon::==( o ) 16:25, 14 January 2012 (UTC)

Fair enough and I apologise for over-enthusiasm. I still think it's a pity you removed the referenced material on the Pooh-Sticks Society but never mind. (talk) 21:45, 17 January 2012 (UTC)

Hi - it has been a while but I have suddenly stumbled across a better reference. The Oxford Myth, 1988 Weidenfeld & Nicolson, Rachel Johnson, ed, contains a chapter on Oxford Politics written by her brother Boris, now Mayor of London. Page 72 sets out a detailed description of Sullivan and what he did via the Pooh-Sticks Society to gain election.

I have no wish to waste any more of everyone's time posting this on Sullivan's entry if people are just going to delete it, so if anyone objects to this source please let me know, otherwise I will post in about 2 weeks. (talk) 19:54, 4 April 2012 (UTC)

What is the significance of Pooh sticks? No doubt it can be sourced, but its very unclear to me that it matters. The point of an encyclopedia is not to document every amusing thing that someone did in their childhood. Perhaps it might be more interesting, if Johnson and Sullivan have remained close, to allude to their college acquaintance? MarkBernstein (talk) 00:03, 5 April 2012 (UTC)

Well here's the point, Mark, since you ask. Sullivan has made a living from presenting himself in a certain light and style and in particular from critiquing the behaviour of others. The signficance of his own behaviour in manipulating the electorate and rules of a contested election is that it adds colour to the picture of Sullivan which he chooses to present himself. (talk) 15:59, 14 April 2012 (UTC)

Wouldn't it be more precise to say that Sullivan has made a living by books and columns about political issues? I don't see Pooh sticks in the biography of Sullivan's Oxford ally, Niall Ferguson; if they were central to Sullivan's career, would they not be equally central to Ferguson’s? MarkBernstein (talk) 16:33, 14 April 2012 (UTC)

No of course not. Sullivan created the club solely as a vehicle for his own electoral ambitions, in disregard of the Union rules and trading on his (then) looks. Ferguson wasn't his "ally", Ferguson was being used, like the other 1,000+ members. (talk) 16:20, 15 April 2012 (UTC)

And the source for this characterization is? Does that page 72 you mention refer to Ferguson and the other 1000+ members "being used", Sullivan "trading on his looks", "electoral ambitions", "manipulating the electorate"? --jpgordon::==( o ) 16:47, 15 April 2012 (UTC)

Yes, all of that. I quote "...he was blessed with a winsome, Brideshead-type appeal, advertised on college notice boards for freshers to join his 'Pooh Sticks Club'. Impressed by such infantilism they thronged Magdalen Bridge while the candidate brandished a teddy bear...soon this gay little group had swelled and hardened into a dedicated political machine...substantial block vote...victory a piece of cake...[but] the electors could not tolerate for long the naked corruption of the Pooh Sticks Club..." (talk) 10:08, 22 April 2012 (UTC)

I think an encyclopedic point of view might attribute a degree of agency to Niall Ferguson and Sullivan's other allies in this obscure student election. Not that I'd mind seeing that phrase preserved: "the electors could not tolerate for long the naked corruption of the Pooh Sticks Club" is quite marvelous. First they corrupt our Pooh sticks, and then... MarkBernstein (talk) 16:45, 6 May 2012 (UTC)

Once again we have a problem with people slimming down the section on Sullivan's career at Oxford. For the record, the 1988 published criticism of Sullivan is relvant because a) a commentator's own behaviour is always relevant because it goes to their locus standi in commentating on others' behaviour b) the point about electoral tactics is at least as relevant as the inclusion of Sullivan's holding office at all and c) As a fellow conservative thinker, Johnson's published views on Sullivan are relevant. Best Regards. Oinky (talk) 10:01, 20 August 2012 (UTC)

Is there a point about electoral tactics here? Sullivan was, apparently, a popular guy at school. He started a silly club, which was popular for a time. The following year, he ran for a student office, and won. Some of his contemporaries at Oxford, as Oxford contemporaries sometimes do, had notable political careers, and may have sometimes alluded to their school friend. I fail to see how any of this is notable, or why it is more notable for Andrew Sullivan than for his contemporary conservative, Niall Ferguson. Yet there does not seem to be much attention to Pooh Sticks on Ferguson's page, or on Boris Johnson's, Why do we care about the leadership of an Oxford student organization, thirty years ago? MarkBernstein (talk) 14:36, 20 August 2012 (UTC)

Why do we care about the leadership of an Oxford student organization, thirty years ago? Mark, this is a very strange question. The first few lines of Sullivan's entry consist of statements about things that happened decades ago. This is normal for a biographical entry of someone who has reached adult life. Oinky (talk) 20:06, 20 August 2012 (UTC)

Encyclopedia entries contain significant and notable information -- not trivial reminiscences. Sullivan's birth was a long time ago, but it's notable biographical material because it tells us how old he is. The Pooh Sticks club is not, as far as I can discern, notable in any way beyond (a) a mention by Boris Johnson in an obscure volume that is itself a generation old and which received dubious reviews when first published. The Daily Mail wrote, "Miss Rachel Johnson has cobbled together 10 essays by a gaggle of her Oxford chums (including, as if to ram home the nepotism of the whole venture, her own brother). She has sold the resulting book to Weidenfeld and Nicolson in order - let's be frank - to ensure that when she leaves Oxford, a cushy job in the media will be hers." The Telegraph called it "routine and uninspired." The TES hated it. It's a reliable source for the mayor's opinion of Sullivan when the mayor was an undergraduate, but that seems small beer; lots of people have friends or rivals at school. One editor appears to believe the incident reflects on Sullivan's character in some way, but I cannot fathom what it is expected to reveal, or why it merits discussion -- much less edit-warring. MarkBernstein (talk) 22:09, 20 August 2012 (UTC)

Well you had better go and edit (Boris) Johnson's wikipedia entry as well if you feel so strongly about this as a principle. His entry contains much more material on his electoral tactics to gain the same undergraduate office. Take a look also at that of William Hague, the current British Foreign Secretary for that matter. Incidentally, the fact that a source attracts hostile reviews based on its author's motives for publication doesn't reflect on its value. If that were the case we wouldn't be able to refer to Sullivan's own writing in his wiki entry would we ? Oinky (talk) 02:52, 21 August 2012 (UTC)

The statement you added is not cohesive where placed. The subject you referenced is no where else in the article, so the addition makes no sense. Teammm T·M 14:00, 21 August 2012 (UTC)

If Mr X says the sky is green this is factually inaccurate. If Ms Y says that Mr X is stupid for saying the sky is green this is a point of view. If I put in Mr X's biography that Mr X said that the sky is green and that Ms Y said he was stupid for saying so this is factually correct and a neutral statement. Anyhow, I have given up trying to explain the distinction to you all and as for Mark's view on what is and is not relevant to biography, he is inconsistent with other instances I found very easily. However, I have lots of other things to get on with so will leave you all to this one. Love, Light and Peace Oinky (talk) 12:28, 22 August 2012 (UTC)

"The subject you referenced is no where else in the article, so the addition makes no sense" That's not correct. The subject I referenced is Sullivan's election to office which is mentioned (another contributor's words, not mine) in the preceding half of the same sentence - I simply added a subordinate clause to an existing factual statement. Please read my edit again. If you still think it is "not cohesive" and "out of place" I would be grateful for an explanation of where in the article it would sit better. I don't intend to waste any more of time editing this particular article given the reaction of certain people, but I am genuinely puzzled by the supposed rationale. I would love to think that professional standards of biographical writing are being applied here, but I do appreciate that other contributors are doing their best in a field which is not their "day job". If you can shed any light to reassure me that would be great. I have messaged you directly as well. Thank you. Oinky (talk) 12:36, 22 August 2012 (UTC)

The paragraph reads as follows:

"He was educated at Reigate Grammar School, and studied at Magdalen College, Oxford, where he was awarded a first-class degree Bachelor of Arts in modern history and modern languages. In his second year, he was elected president of the Oxford Union, holding the office in Trinity term 1983, though subsequently criticised by Boris Johnson for founding a university society as a vehicle for his electoral ambitions."

My point was that your statement (in bold) has no context, explaining what society you're talking about, showing how Sullivan was criticized and showing that it's something notable enough to place into his biography. Is Boris Johnson's criticism of Sullivan's election as President of the Oxford Union during sophomore year in university something that is necessary to mention? (WP:UNDUE) For all I know, it could just be bitterness or jealously at the age of 24 (I don't know). Is the addition of criticism solely meant to portray Sullivan in a negative light unnecessarily, without notable importance? The source you used is not accessible. Teammm T·M 14:37, 22 August 2012 (UTC)

OK, point by point, and I will do this because - thank you - you have taken the trouble to explain your motives and you are highly active on Wikipedia (much more than I am) so it matters that someone of your standing "gets" the way biography works. You will appreciate that Wikipedia comes under enormous external criticism for perceived poor quality content so it is important that we all do our best to ensure that good editorial principles are followed. I am doing my best here and I would like to think I will have your support.

"no context" - naming the society would not be context, it would be further detail. The society was in fact named in previous edits but that level of detail was repeatedly removed by other editors. It's a matter of opinion how much detail is appropriate, but I agree with others who felt that naming the society itself was excessive. How was Sullivan criticised - again, the precise wording Johnson employed is detail not context. It occupied most of a published page - there are selected quotes on the talk page. Something notable enough - this is editorial opinion. It won't be demonstrated by adding more and more detail. We have to accept that I think it is notable enough for inclusion for reasons I have outlined, but a number of people disagree. In my opinion those other people have given poor reasons for their standpoint but we all have to accept is that these are opposing opinions not alternative realities. There is no Platonic standard for biographical data. Was Johnson suffering from bitterness or jealousy at the age of 24? - I have no idea whether he was. Both Johnson and Sullivan are respected commentators. The fact that they were in their twenties when one of them criticised the other has no bearing on Johnson's motives, nor is it fair comment to speculate on his emotional state at the time. There are a great many other instances noted in Sullivan's entry dealing with his disagreements with people, as one would expect, so to single this one out for repeated deletion is puzzling. Is the inclusion....meant to portray Sullivan in a negative light unecessarily? - goes to my own motives, I suppose. No, it isn't meant to portray Sullivan negatively at all (NPOV means there is NO "necessary" negative portrayal anyway). It's meant to add salient biographical detail to the one occasion on which Sullivan contested an election. In my opinion this is relevant detail given his career. Similar detail has been included by other editors in other people's biographies. I know you disagree with me as to relevance as stated above. Why your POV rather than mine should prevail is the question. The source I used is "not accessible" - It's a book! I accept that makes it less accessible than something on the internet but it's just incorrect to call it not accessible. Countless other wikipedia entries reference hard copy sources.

Hope that makes it clear. With respect, I will ask once again that the edit should stand. Love, Light and Peace Oinky (talk) 20:21, 22 August 2012 (UTC)

After everything you've said, I don't doubt that you sincerely believe in your reasoning. But, the addition of that statement goes to the character of Andrew Sullivan. My question is, does it have the notable importance to warrant a place in the article? Is Sullivan's creation of a university society (I'm not familiar with any of these details really) and the subsequent criticism from another student at that university notable? Have sufficiently reliable secondary sources reported on the supposed controversy? Or is it just in that book you cited, co-authored by Johnson, of which I can't seem to find a summary, or abstract? Teammm T·M 21:27, 22 August 2012 (UTC)

I believe you are underestimating the importance of the Oxford Union and its presidential elections in the context of the presidents' subsequent careers. I have reviewed the wikipedia entries of those past presidents from the last 40 years who have them. There are 20 in total. 7 of them (35%), not including Andrew Sullivan's, include reference to the circumstances of their election, sometimes at some length. Love, Light and Peace Oinky (talk) 07:01, 23 August 2012 (UTC)

The importance or notability is determined by the presence of reliable sources, not original research or your own analysis. I don't believe the material warrants a place in the article, given the lack of other reliable sources. See the policy on biographies of living persons. Teammm T·M 14:12, 23 August 2012 (UTC)

Sorry, that argument doesn't stack at all. I'm very familiar with the guidelines. And there is a reliable source here so there is no violation. You are confusing the reliability of the source (demonstrably true) with its content (Johnson's opinion). Once again, Johnson criticised Sullivan in print. This is a true statement. The book in which he made that criticism constitutes the proof and is the source. The book exists, as User:MarkBernstein has established, it was itself critically reviewed in multiple other sources. Therefore there is a reliable source for the statement "Johnson criticised Sullivan". By your own reasoning, then, the edit should stand. (talk) 14:56, 23 August 2012 (UTC)

See Wikipedia:COATRACK and Wikipedia:UNDUE. Teammm T·M 15:05, 23 August 2012 (UTC)

I know...the whole article is suspect really as it includes far more volume setting out Sullivan's various opinions than is warranted. Compare wikipedia entries on other opinion-based journalists such as Christopher Booker, for example. I'm not going to try editing it though ! Oinky (talk) 15:29, 23 August 2012 (UTC)

Having just come across this article, I'm with Teammm and MarkBernstein above: the line criticising Sullivan's behaviour while a student at Oxford seems extremely trivial to me. Becoming president of the Oxford Union is worth noting, as it's a notable organisation, but founding other non-notable student organisations isn't. Robofish (talk) 15:16, 25 August 2012 (UTC)

Comment moved to right place

Wow, I just checked the "Andrew Sullivan" entry in Wikipedia and was shocked to see significan portions totally erased. This is very similar to the bio information about Marine Cpl Matt Sanchez. Sanchez used to be a gay porn actor and then became an anti-gay right-wing operative. He successfully infiltrated the Wikipedia hierarchy and recruited one woman in particular to change his profile. How the heck did Sullivan successfully erase the whole barebacking scandal? It was a major event which defined his character and hypocrisy. It's mind-boggling that a critical event would just magically vanish. (talk) 00:51, 16 April 2012 (UTC)

Using Wikipedia's edit history, you can go back and review exactly who changed the passage in question, and why those changes were made. I don't think Sullivan was involved, even indirectly, in these discussions MarkBernstein (talk) 14:14, 16 April 2012 (UTC)


This article says that, "Sullivan gives out "awards" each year on various public statements that parody those of people the awards are named after". It also gives the names of these awards, along with the people they're named after. I think that stuff should probably be removed or at least cut back. It's trivial. FreeKnowledgeCreator (talk) 22:49, 1 May 2012 (UTC)

Removing this might be excessive; it's a distinctive part of Sullivan’s style. Some of these "awards" may be entering the wider political vernacular. The list itself might be replaced with a link to the corresponding list on Sullivan's site. MarkBernstein (talk) 23:10, 1 May 2012 (UTC)
I think the names of the "awards" could be removed without loss to the article. They seem rather trivial to me, and I'd like to see evidence that they are entering the wider political vernacular before I consider that as a reason for keeping them. In my opinion, entirely too much of this article is devoted to discussing Sullivan's blog, rather than those of his works that are likely to prove more enduring accomplishments. The article could do with a major overhaul. FreeKnowledgeCreator (talk) 01:51, 6 May 2012 (UTC)
I'd love to see more discussion of Sullivan's books, which I suppose you mean by his "more enduring accomplishments." That;s been hard to do here, as we seem to spend a lot of time (a) keeping people from deleting things Sullivan says that they disagree with, or (b) asserting that Sullivan is really a liberal. Yes, we could do with a major overhaul, but the current state represents a hard-fought consensus; it could be worse, and in fact it was worse not long ago. It's actually quite difficult on a contested page like this one to engage the subject's intellectual contribution in a meaningful way. But if you can make a start at that in a manner sympathetic to what Sullivan is trying to say, I'm very much in agreement that it would be a good thing to do. MarkBernstein (talk) 02:25, 6 May 2012 (UTC)
I'll give some thought to doing a rewrite of this article. FreeKnowledgeCreator (talk) 02:41, 6 May 2012 (UTC)

Removed "on libertarian grounds" from description of Sullivan's argument re homosexuality. His argument comes from the conservative perspective: equality is better for everyone - the individuals concerned and society at large. Nieszczarda3 (talk) 14:04, 15 January 2013 (UTC)


I changed 'British' to 'British-American' in the first line of the article. Sullivan has made it clear on innumerable occasions that the US is his adopted home, where he feels most comfortable and so on. The only reason he is not a US citizen yet is because the law prevented him from becoming a permanent resident until recently. The issues include his HIV status and the fact that gay marriages do not provide immigration benefits.

His citizenship is clearly listed as British, which it is. However, his identity can't be held hostage by paperwork and legal hurdles - he has made it clear that he considers himself American. He has appeared in lists of the 'Most influential Americans'-type of various magazines as well. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:20, 15 June 2012 (UTC)

Please see WP:BLP. You need to cite reliable sources, preferably sources where he self-identifies as British-American, to support the change. I guess you already have some that you could cite. Sean.hoyland - talk 08:06, 15 June 2012 (UTC)

I'm not sure the IP poster is incorrect. The subject was born and educated in Britain but has resided in the US for many years. He is most closely identified with US publications, and writes most frequently about US politics. Compare Camille Pisarro ("a French impressionist painter born on the island of St Thomas") or V.S. Naipul ("an Indo-Trinidadian-British writer") or Marc Chagall ("was a Belarusian-Russian-French artist"). Wikipedia usage on this score is not, however, consistent; contrary examples include Tim Berners-Lee and Pablo Picasso. Birthplace and citizenship are not the only contributors to this judgment; compare Alexander Hamilton or Albert Gallatin or Louis Agassiz. MarkBernstein (talk) 15:19, 15 June 2012 (UTC)

We just need some sources to support the change, that's all. I couldn't find anything via a quick site search of but if he does describe himself as British-American I guess someone will track down and provide some sources eventually. Sean.hoyland - talk 16:35, 15 June 2012 (UTC)

His bio ( indicates he has resided in the US since 1986. Since he was born in 1963, that's more than half his life, and essentially his entire adult life.MarkBernstein (talk) 19:29, 15 June 2012 (UTC)


The header should not say he's a Catholic, but rather that he identifies himself as Catholic. If he is married to a man he is not in communion with the Holy See so his membership in the church should not be implied to be a given. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:26, 3 July 2012 (UTC)

'I would be inclined to say that Wikipedia should identify at Catholic those who consider themselves Catholic, as this subject clearly does, and who against whom no papal writ of excommunication has been issued. The alternative could involve Wikipedia in complex disputes of church discipline and canon law which in their nature are incapable of straightforward resolution. MarkBernstein (talk) 02:53, 3 July 2012 (UTC)

Ok that makes sense. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:28, 3 July 2012 (UTC)

I don't think "that makes sense" in the case of someone who has never darkened the door of a church in his life or behaves in such a way as to be indistinguishable from an atheist apart from a claim that he is a Christian. The absence of any "church discipline" is not definitive, in other words. This isn't to say Wikipedia should describe such a person as a non-Christian despite his claim but rather that religious affiliation should not go into the infobox etc etc. In the case of Sullivan, however, he described "the Catholic church" as "the institution dearest to me" relatively recently so I think it is appropriate to identify him as a Catholic in the lede and the infobox.--Brian Dell (talk) 15:52, 3 October 2012 (UTC)
WP:BLPCAT is the relevant policy here. I'm not a fan of the religion attribute but Religion=Roman Catholicism seems to be consistent with that policy in Sullivan's case. Sean.hoyland - talk 16:08, 3 October 2012 (UTC)

Sullivan's views on Abortion?

While these articles shouldn't be lengthy checklists of views on every and any subject out there, abortion is a big enough topic to warrant a mention and Sullivan has had some interesting things to say on it. How about an inclusion? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21 November 2005