Low Expectation of Hillman Foundation

Sidney Hillman FoundationThe Sidney Hillman Foundation is a liberal organization that gives out prizes that honor “journalists who pursue investigative reporting and deep storytelling in service of the common good.” So what did they do? They gave a prize to Andrew Sullivan who is (1) a conservative, (2) not a journalist, and (3) does no reporting or deep storytelling. It is a scandal.

Back in January, Eric Alterman provided an excellent rundown of his career, The ‘Sully’-ing of American Journalism. He points out some of the people Sullivan has championed. First, there are the plagiarizers Stephen Glass and Ruth Shalit. Then there is the totally dishonest creator of the “death panel” myth, Elizabeth McCaughey. But best (worst) of all, there is racist and eugenicist Charles Murray.

More than this though, Sullivan was a neocon when it mattered and was considered “cool.” He was not only a big proponent for our unfortunate wars, he was very big on calling anyone who disagreed a traitor. He suggested that “the decadent left in its enclaves on the coasts” would constitute a fifth column in our noble fight against the vaguely defined bad guys of the world.

So why would Hillman give him an award? They claim it is for this tireless work promoting gay rights but they note that he’s been a strong supporter of President Obama. Obviously, support of the president isn’t necessarily liberal; it’s just not crazy. I will yield the point: Andrew Sullivan is not crazy. As for this work to promote gay rights, so what? This is just the Rob Portman effect. Sullivan is gay. He thus supports gay rights. Does this justify looking past everything he has stood for his entire career? Hillman thinks so:

For courage and constancy in the struggle for marriage equality, for the defense and advocacy of humane values, and for imagination and creativity at the digital cutting edge, we honor Andrew Sullivan and The Dish with the Hillman Prize for Opinion & Analysis Journalism.

This is so sad. If there is one political issue I care most about it is this: liberals are bought cheap. We think getting a middle of the road president is a victory. Sullivan is indeed what we often accept as a liberal: someone who has socially liberal beliefs. But as I noted yesterday regarding healthcare, Sullivan is and remains a conservative. He says so himself. The Hillman Foundation clearly suffers from the liberal disease of low expectations.

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

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