Ben Stein Gets Canned From The New York Times!

Words simply cannot express my joy at this bit of bad news for creationist idiot Ben Stein: he’s been fired as a New York Times Sunday business columnist because of his scummy shilling for scam web site, which Skepchick reported on last month. Via Gawker comes this confirmation from Times spokesperson Catherine Mathis:

Ben Stein’s fine work for us as a columnist for Sunday Business had to end, we told him, after we learned that he had become a commercial spokesman for FreeScore, a financial services company. Ben didn’t understand when he signed on with FreeScore that this might pose a potential conflict for him as a contributing columnist for the Times, because he hadn’t written about credit scores or this company. But, we decided that being a commercial spokesman for FreeScore while writing his column wouldn’t be appropriate.

We are sorry to lose him as a columnist, and appreciate his work for the Times over the years.

I have nothing more to add. Too happy to type more.

Thanks to Alex for sending in the tip!


Rebecca Watson

Rebecca is a writer, speaker, YouTube personality, and unrepentant science nerd. In addition to founding and continuing to run Skepchick, she hosts Quiz-o-Tron, a monthly science-themed quiz show and podcast that pits comedians against nerds. There is an asteroid named in her honor.

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  1. Ben didn’t understand when he signed on with FreeScore that this might pose a potential conflict for him

    Add “basic grasp of journalistic ethics” under science, history and general honesty on the list of Things Ben Stein Doesn’t Understand.

  2. Three years ago, tatty copies of Stein’s Ludes signed, sold for $75-100

    I currently have a very nice signed copy of the same book with a dust jacket on the shelf. It’s priced at $25. The only way it will sell at that price is if Mr. Stein expires in the arms of a transvestite hooker.

    I have to wonder if Expelled had something to do with it. Fundamentalist, in general, are not book collectors. After the films release, his original fan base may have found him less interesting.

    It’s hard to watch a book drop in value, especially when it’s still on the shelf. But for some odd reason, this case doesn’t really bother me.

  3. What a bunch of WIN. This definitely contributes at least a shot to the take-a-shot-when-the-right-wing-nuts-screw-up alcohol poisoning party on Saturday!

  4. Betweem Ben Stein and Bernie Madoff, those Nigerian’s who need a bit of help getting their money out of the country are looking better and better.

  5. @russellsugden: Excuse my pedantic nature, but the headmaster (or Dean of students as he is called) was played by Jeffrey Jones .

    Stein was the Economics teacher in what I have to say was a pretty decent performance.

    I can imagine him in that monotone voice even now:

    “A website that charges for a service that is free is a… anyone? anyone? a scam.”

    “Promoting that website whilst writing a financial column is a… anyone? anyone? a conflict of interests.”

  6. @Oskar Kennedy:

    That’s pretty much exactly what I thought.

    The guidelines in my workplace are that anything that might even appear to risk a conflict of interest should be avoided, or at the very least vetted by the legal and/or ethics office beforehand. I can’t imagine that the NYT doesn’t have a similar rule in place, nor that Stein wouldn’t have been made aware of it.

    In parts of Kentucky, he’d be called an idjit, although my preferred term is mouthbreathing halfwit.

  7. Rebecca, you KNOW what’s going to happen here, don’t you?
    Due to the publicity over his termination, he will be in the public eye again for a short while. He use this opportunity to get hired on to some ultra-conservative think tank as an editorialist making twice as much as he did at the Times.
    There ain’t no justice.

  8. @Oskar Kennedy: Dammit. That’s a good point. And unfortunately the sort of organizations that would be inclined to hire him won’t give a rat’s ass that he’s a smarmy slimeball. In the long run, this only makes him look bad in the eyes of people who already had him pegged as a LSOS.

  9. Inexplicably, when I call my ISP a recording of Shaquille O’Neill and Ben Stein greets me and thanks me for calling Comcast. It’s… very weird.

  10. @Shiyiya:

    Inexplicably, when I call my ISP a recording of Shaquille O’Neill and Ben Stein greets me and thanks me for calling Comcast. It’s… very weird.

    That IS weird. In the wild, those two would be natural enemies.

  11. @phlebas: It’s together, too. “I’m Shaquille O’Neill” “And I’m Ben Stein” (both) “Thank you for calling comcast”

    And no matter how often I have to end up calling my isp, it still weirds me the hell out.

  12. I hacked into the Times’ servers, and found this draft of Catherin Mathis’ statement:

    Quite honestly, we have been uncomfortable with lending him journalistic and cultural credibility since the release of “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed”. However, we could find no grounds to dismiss him because of the film, and such an act would have opened us up to dangerous criticism on denying him First Amendment rights.

    Now, though, we didn’t feel we could ignore that Mr. Stein so obligingly accommodated us with a legitimate, undeniable reason to remove him from our roster.

    One might say that he intelligently designed the situation so we could firmly hold the moral high ground in releasing him from our service.

  13. And yes, of course, I’m being sarcastic. I can’t even open a standard lock with a credit card and frequently forget my own passwords. Hacking only occurs in my house when I have viral bronchitis…

  14. “Fine work?” Oh please, calling Ben Stein an economist is like calling an astrologer a scientist. I can’t even believe he ever got a job as a buisness comlumnist. So I don’t know why they are so sorry to lose him as a columnist. If you ask me, they should all be happy and getting drunk!

  15. @IBY: I feel certain that the NYT employed him to provide balance to their staff. For every knowledgeable, competent journalist, you have to have a …what was the phrase @JayK: ?…oh, yes! “mouthbreathing half-wit”.

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