To wit, Sullivan first claimed that Palin's ABC interview provided grounds for the media (including, presumably, David Bradley's Atlantic) to investigate everything about her entire life. Here's Sullivan, "She has therefore pulled a Gary Hart in inviting the press to examine her life in full." More:
when you agree to run for vice-president of the United States, you surrender any zone of privacy. Al Gore's sometimes wayward son; Dick Cheney's daughter and now granddaughter; Dan Quayle's wife; George H. W. Bush's extensive clan: all these families have been an "open book" to the press. . . .
The Edwards story - showing stunning recklessness in a potential president - legitimized the reporting of the National Enquirer, and made their reporting in this news cycle legit. And the story - subsequently reported and endorsed in the New York Times and every mainstream media source - was less relevant to public life than Palin's. Because by the time the story broke, Edwards was out of the race. Palin is not just in the race, she's ahead - and we have six weeks to go. It is, I'd argue, the duty of the press and the blogosphere to ask any factual and fair questions to which there can be clear and factual answers. . . .
In 2008, in mid-September, we are not even allowed to ask questions about Palin's real and actual life as a mother-as-governor? That notion is as absurd as the Palin candidacy itself, in my judgment.
Of open books, any sincere and legitimate factual question is askable. . . .
Sullivan never actually spells out which factual and answerable question, in specific, he's driving at. But I think we can make a fair inference. Here's the kicker:
It seems to me that if you are on record saying that your life is an open book, and you have a state-run web-page about your infant son, and your own children's travel is paid for by the state, and you presented your infant son at a convention televised across the entire world, and you sent out a press release outing your own daughter's current pregnancy, then it is not despicable, evil, vile or outrageous for the press to ask factual, answerable questions about Sarah Palin's experiences as a pregnant and non-pregnant mother and about her marriage and about her parenting of her children.
Hmmmm. I wonder what he means by "non-pregnant"? It's a term I haven't seen used before. Perhaps David Bradley knows?
Just for good measure, Sullivan later notes:
Now I begin to understand the intimidation I have been subjected to for simply asking questions. All I can reassure my readers is: I'm now more determined than ever to reveal the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth about this dangerous, vindictive Christianist cipher being foisted on the United States.
Shouldn't someone ask Sullivan exactly what the factual, answerable question about Sarah Palin is that he's determined to reveal the truth of?
It's almost as if he's speaking elliptically in order to hold to the letter of some agreement with someone about a some subject which he isn't supposed to write about . . .