Andrew Sullivan, a public intellectual and conservative provocateur who wrote one of the Internet’s most influential blogs on culture and politics, has joined New York magazine as a contributing editor. The announcement was made Friday by editor-in-chief Adam Moss, who in a prior incarnation as editor of the New York Times Magazine fired Sullivan for the crime of publishing uncomfortable truths, or at least observations, about the Paper of Record.
Sullivan (whose antipathy to New York, the city, so suffused his blog that Gawker began a regular feature titled “Andrew Sullivan’s Stations of the Cross”) will write features and cover the 2016 Democratic and Republican National Conventions, Moss said. “I have had the privilege of working with Andrew from the beginning of his career (mine too),” Moss said in the announcement. “He is a major (deep and elegant) thinker and writer whose work has had tangible consequence, and he has written some of the more influential essays I have ever had the honor to publish.”
“Sullivan’s return to writing at New York is yet another example of why I find it exhilarating to write there. Adam Moss enlists a variety of strong voices that don’t agree about everything. ” — Frank Rich
In a groundbreaking 1996 Times Magazine cover story, Sullivan wrote as an HIV+ gay man at the time when the advent of protease inhibitors changed an AIDS diagnosis from death sentence to “mere” illness. Sullivan’s experience at the Times was reflected in some of his personal postings — a serious breach of company tradition; according to published reports at the time, Moss was ordered to fire him.
Following old-media stints as editor of The New Republic and writer for the Times, Sullivan founded The Daily Dish in 2000; over the next 15 years it was given perches at Time magazine, The Atlantic and The Daily Beast before becoming an independent subscription funded website in early 2013, reaching 1.2 million unique visitors and 7.7 million views, according to one of his posts.
In January 2015, he stopped writing, telling readers, “When I write again, it will be for you, I hope – just in a different form. I need to decompress and get healthy for a while; but I won’t disappear as a writer. But this much I know: nothing will ever be like this again, which is why it has been so precious; and why it will always be a part of me, wherever I go; and why it is so hard to finish this sentence and publish this post.”
Sullivan, a conservative/libertarian-leaning observer whose observational skills and political philosophies both are keenly honed, joins a famously liberal magazine. How he fits in, especially with fellow former Timesman Frank Rich — whose writing brief is similar but from a left-wing perspective — will be closely observed among the chatterati.
“Andrew Sullivan’s return to writing at New York is yet another example of why I find it exhilarating to write there,” Rich told Deadline. “Adam Moss enlists a variety of strong voices that don’t agree about everything. “
Sullivan, too, noted the draw of an old calling card in a new environment. “No, this is not an April Fools,” he wrote on Facebook of his new gig. “With Donald Trump as the GOP front-runner, it seems to me a civic duty to get engaged with this election. I’m sure you’re doing your bit; now it’s time for me to do mine.”