Comments on: Ben Stein whines about being fired http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2009/08/10/ben-stein-whines-about-being-fired/ A slice of lime in the soda Sun, 26 Oct 2014 19:05:02 +0000 hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.5 By: beebop http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2009/08/10/ben-stein-whines-about-being-fired/comment-page-1/#comment-5496 Fri, 14 Aug 2009 11:42:31 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2009/08/10/ben-stein-whines-about-being-fired/#comment-5496 don’t flatter yourself. If Ben is even aware of you, it would surprise me.

Do you ever notice that when someone of Jewish heritage posts a column all of the Jewish/Israeli haters feel entitled to spew venom en masse? Raise one question about bi-racial President Obama however and you are a racist. What ever happened to this country and the freedoms of tasteful discourse?

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By: Ginger Yellow http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2009/08/10/ben-stein-whines-about-being-fired/comment-page-1/#comment-5390 Wed, 12 Aug 2009 13:17:41 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2009/08/10/ben-stein-whines-about-being-fired/#comment-5390 “Otoh they already have Bob Herbert and Mo Dowd, so it’s not like the standards are that high.”

The difference being that those columnists are hired to do precisely what they excel at, whether or not you or I like what it is. I’m certainly not happy about the NYT employing MoDo, but they’re gettting exactly what they want from her. Stein has no expertise whatsoever in finance, or apparently in writing about it.

“I don’t think any of them had a regular opinion column spiked. That’s a truly extreme measure and very rarely done.”

Well, that’s a counterfactual, so unless we hear from them we can’t know, but it’s not particularly rare in my personal experience. I’m a financial journalist, writing news and opinion pieces, and I’ve had several spiked, as have my colleagues.

“Paul Krugman was essentially a PR tool for Enron, which was especially troubling in his case because he did no real work for them IIRC.”

Again, the stated reason for terminating Stein’s column was paid PR in violation of policy. If Krugman didn’t do that, then he wasn’t violating the policy, whether or not he was systematically biased in favour of Enron. Personally, I don’t see that bias in the columns he wrote about them, though clearly he didn’t see through them at all.

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By: Koz http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2009/08/10/ben-stein-whines-about-being-fired/comment-page-1/#comment-5358 Tue, 11 Aug 2009 18:57:44 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2009/08/10/ben-stein-whines-about-being-fired/#comment-5358 “See above. Also, the real question is what on earth the NYT was doing hiring Stein to write about finance in the first place.”

I have some sympathy for this. Otoh they already have Bob Herbert and Mo Dowd, so it’s not like the standards are that high.

“No I don’t think it’s possible, except in so far as such opposition may have made it more likely for NYT readers to kick up a fuss. The NYT recently hired Ross Douthat, a vocal conservative critic of Obama, as a columnist. He replaced Bill Kristol, one of the most hardline conservatives in public life.”

I don’t think any of them had a regular opinion column spiked. That’s a truly extreme measure and very rarely done. If Stein’s story on that checks out I for one think that speaks very poorly of the Times.

“Though I suspect you’re right that not every columnist has been entirely clean in this regard. That said, once it was brought to the NYT’s attention in a fairly high profile manner, I doubt they felt they had much choice in the matter.”

Paul Krugman was essentially a PR tool for Enron, which was especially troubling in his case because he did no real work for them IIRC.

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By: Ginger Yellow http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2009/08/10/ben-stein-whines-about-being-fired/comment-page-1/#comment-5340 Tue, 11 Aug 2009 14:53:36 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2009/08/10/ben-stein-whines-about-being-fired/#comment-5340 Thanks, Koz, for the considered tone of your questions.

“1. Do you think one column every two weeks or four weeks is enough to bind Stein to the Times’ “journalist ethics” policy. Do you suppose that policy has been applied in an evenhanded way?”

I do think it is enough, personally. The policy itself states: “Thus as far as possible, freelance contributors to the Times Company’s journalism, while not its employees, should accept the same ethical standards as staff members as a condition of their assignments for us. If they violate these standards, they should be denied further assignments.”

Though I suspect you’re right that not every columnist has been entirely clean in this regard. That said, once it was brought to the NYT’s attention in a fairly high profile manner, I doubt they felt they had much choice in the matter.

“2. Do you think it’s possible that Stein has been scapegoated for his opposition to Pres. Obama, and furthermore that his column criticizing Obama for exceeding his authority wrt the auto industry was a completely legitimate argument for a person in his position to make?”

No I don’t think it’s possible, except in so far as such opposition may have made it more likely for NYT readers to kick up a fuss. The NYT recently hired Ross Douthat, a vocal conservative critic of Obama, as a columnist. He replaced Bill Kristol, one of the most hardline conservatives in public life.

“3. Do you think it’s possible that Stein has been scapegoated for his opinions on other political-cultural issues unrelated to his financial column at the Times?”

See above. Also, the real question is what on earth the NYT was doing hiring Stein to write about finance in the first place.

“4. Do you think the Times’ has treated Stein fairly wrt the logistics of him being fired?”

Depends what you mean by fairly. It wasn’t very gracious, but then firing never is. He’s not a staff member, so I’m not sure what other “fairness” he could expect.

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By: lark http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2009/08/10/ben-stein-whines-about-being-fired/comment-page-1/#comment-5318 Tue, 11 Aug 2009 05:08:14 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2009/08/10/ben-stein-whines-about-being-fired/#comment-5318 These right wing posts – so heated, so empty of logic, evidence, reason, proportion – I wonder, are they planted?

See
http://mandatemedia.typepad.com/photos/u ncategorized/2007/07/16/blogattack.jpg

If it froths like a rabid dog, it’s probably bought and paid for by the RNC.

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By: Kristine http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2009/08/10/ben-stein-whines-about-being-fired/comment-page-1/#comment-5310 Tue, 11 Aug 2009 02:26:39 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2009/08/10/ben-stein-whines-about-being-fired/#comment-5310 “This commercial was red meat for the Ben Stein haters left over from the Expelled days. They bombarded the Times with letters.”

The sad thing is, no they didn’t. People are simply too bored with him now. (His being so wrong on the economy didn’t help.)

Ben Stein is a factoid in search of a trivia question.

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By: linda kaye http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2009/08/10/ben-stein-whines-about-being-fired/comment-page-1/#comment-5302 Mon, 10 Aug 2009 21:58:43 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2009/08/10/ben-stein-whines-about-being-fired/#comment-5302 All you have to do is reflect on Stein’s personal relationship with his wife/x-wife/wife and you can see the guy is crazy!!! But why wouldn’t it be all right with a republican to write about finance and hawk for another conflicting interest. Remember “C Street” the family’s motto— God put you in power not the people and so anything you do is okay—because it’s you not the “other guys”. Anyway watch Fox Fools Ben is on there all the time.

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By: Krissy http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2009/08/10/ben-stein-whines-about-being-fired/comment-page-1/#comment-5299 Mon, 10 Aug 2009 21:46:50 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2009/08/10/ben-stein-whines-about-being-fired/#comment-5299 Ben Stein is so fired. He’s trying to claim that someone who writes a finance column can take a paycheck from a credit report company. Its a crock.

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By: Eileen http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2009/08/10/ben-stein-whines-about-being-fired/comment-page-1/#comment-5292 Mon, 10 Aug 2009 20:58:57 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2009/08/10/ben-stein-whines-about-being-fired/#comment-5292 I clicked on the keyword Ben Steins page in your last comment and was able to read a column:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/12/busine ss/economy/12every.html?_r=1&scp=4&sq=be n%20stein&st=cse

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By: Dan http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2009/08/10/ben-stein-whines-about-being-fired/comment-page-1/#comment-5288 Mon, 10 Aug 2009 20:08:01 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2009/08/10/ben-stein-whines-about-being-fired/#comment-5288 It is reasonable for Ben Stein to be let go because he was selling out his good name, bolstered in part as a New York Times economist, to an organization that would harm consumers by charging $360 per year for something that can be had for free.

That said, I agree with Felix who has lamented the dearth of strong financial reporting in major media. Indeed, there is a gigantic, gaping hole in the area of hard-nosed, muckraking financial and business reporting at the New York Times and elsewhere. A whole generation of Americans has failed in aggregate to earn any positive return at all in the markets. While this happened in the past, this time it has occurred while the many in the financial sector reap rewards fit for pharoahs. From fund fees that eat a high percentage of all returns to unfair trading programs that front-run everybody to bonus schemes that dwarf reported profits to taxpayer-funded bailouts that enable the breathtaking compensation to continue to financial products which prey on the financially uneducated, to exporting of garbage assets abroad and destroying of trust in America, our financial sector has done a great deal of harm.

Here’s hoping Ben Stein gets replaced with a hard-working financial muckraker or two. Because as limited as he was, he was worth something as a columnist, expressing frustration at unfairness in the economy that we have all felt. His confusion and fearfulness at the how things were playing out week by week expressed nicely the feelings of hundreds of millions worldwide.

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