Ben Stein, a New York Times finance columnist who was fired last week
for appearing in what his critics called "bait and switch scam"
commercials, has mounted his defense. But the blogs aren't buying it
and have theories of their own.
Stein, writing in the American Spectator, provided a few theories
on why he was fired, all of which pointed to the same culprit: Liberals. "The haters connected with atheism and neo-Darwinism
continued to attack me," Stein wrote of his tenure at the Times. "I started
criticizing Mr. Obama quite sharply over his policies and
practices," he recounted, saying that such criticism was "flat out nixed" by editors. "By a total coincidence,
I was tossed overboard immediately after my column attacking
Obama. (You can attack Obama from the left at the Times
but not from the right.)" Stein also defended from blogs, which he called "a backyard gossip freeway for
the whole world's sick people to pour out their neuroses."
Felix Salmon, Reuters' finance blogger and Stein's arch-nemesis
, expressed skepticism
"Stein is, of course, a highly unreliable narrator here," he wrote.
"Stein provides financial advice in his column, and he provides
financial advice in the ad," Salmon wrote in reference to Stein's
FreeScore.com ads. "FreeScore isn't an "internet aggregator" [as Stein
it's a way of tricking people into paying money they can't afford for a
service they don't need."
Steve Benen of the Washington Monthly wrote
, "I'd hoped the New York Times
would drop Stein's column because he's a nut, not because he's a spokesperson for some sketchy credit-score outfit." Benen criticized Stein's "increasingly bizarre" commentary, including "scurrilous attacks against modern science." After all, other conservative Times columnists manage to criticize Obama
without getting canned.No Innocent Victim
Gawker's Ryan Tate mocks Stein's argument that he is a "poor ... servant" who is the victim of liberals. Tate, in a post sarcastically titled "How Barack Obama Got Ben Stein Fired
," said Stein isn't "under siege" by liberals or Goldman Sachs at all. "He manages to maintain homes in both Beverly Hills and
Malibu," Tate noted. "And if you want to know his secret, tough luck, because someone
just canceled his finance column."
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