Most Americans don’t care about op-ed columnists because most Americans are well-adjusted, normal people with healthy hobbies and relationships. Yet a subsection of the public (me included) have spent the last few weeks captivated by the drama surrounding the New York Times‘ new hire: former Wall Street Journal deputy editorial page editor Bret Stephens.
Immediately after the Times’ announcement, people both inside and outside the paper voiced their outrage. The paper’s Cairo bureau chief Declan Walsh called one of Stephens’ columns “uncool” because the Pulitzer Prize-winning writer had the chutzpah to diagnose the pervasive and disturbing culture of anti-Semitism in the Middle East as a “disease of the Arab mind.”
Some welcoming. Of course, you’d have to be a fool (or a Times reporter) to seriously take umbrage with someone rightfully highlighting the revolting hatred that festers in so many Islamic countries. Only a real creep would publicly shame a colleague for being too harsh on a society infamous for its hatred and violence against Jews.
Walsh wasn’t alone. “The Interpreter” columnist Max Fisher, the ex-Voxer known for his ahistorical screeds against Israel and ass-kissing of terror groups like Hamas, came to his buddy’s defense and implied Stephens was calling Arabs “pathologically diseased” and not just simply noting a relatively recent, cultural trend.
Neither of these two dullards raised any public objections to the Times‘ repulsive decision this month to print an op-ed by Palestinian terrorist Marwan Barghouti. Then again, throwing a tantrum over a conservative’s (appropriately) broad generalization is far more acceptable within the Times’ office than showing concern about your employer giving a platform to a convicted Jew killer.
These staff outbursts, aside from being plainly unprofessional, speak to the xenophobia within the Times. Sure, people like Walsh and Fisher aren’t afraid of resettling thousands of Middle Eastern refugees in the US, but a foreigner like a true conservative really makes their skin crawl.
After all, the only kind of conservative they can tolerate are people like David Brooks (if you can even call him that), whose columns as of late are more like lecture notes from a Harvard freshman sociology class than any serious meditation on limited government or liberty. Ross Douthat comes close, but his focus on Catholicism and reforming the GOP make him just exotic enough where liberals won’t feel threatened.
If the closed mindedness of the Times’ own employees doesn’t adequately depress you, wait until you hear about how its readers somehow manage to be even worse. In his editorial debut, Stephens wrote a column entitled “Climate of Complete Certainty,” where he maintains that the science demonstrating the human impact on climate change as “indisputable” and accepts the findings of the 2014 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on climate Change.
Yet that wasn’t enough for some. Because Stephens didn’t bow down to the altar of climate alarmism, proclaim Al Gore his new God, and ritually sacrifice a coal miner, every Upper West Side crank simultaneously spat out his coffee at first glance.
Stephens argued that we shouldn’t get hung up on climate models and simulations predicting the future. Many have turned out unreliable — if not outright wrong. Blindly investing our faith into “fallible models,” Stephens writes “…traduces the spirit of science and creates openings for doubt whenever a climate claim proves wrong.”
Such a reasonable position caused so much panic by Times readers that you’d think Stephens was caught using the Grey Lady to pleasure himself. On Saturday, Business Insider ran a headline reporting on “People are furiously canceling their New York Times subscriptions after an op-ed disputing climate change was published.” The piece libeled Stephens as a “notable denier of anthropogenic climate change,” and linked to a number of tweets from readers saying they canceled their subscriptions.
Rather than simply gloss over Stephens’ columns, these brats acted like the paper is forever tainted, similar to how a toddler acts if some peas touch his chicken tenders.
Meanwhile, taxi cab enthusiast and pseudo-sophisticated simpleton Thomas Friedman enjoyed a few rounds of luxury golf in the gay-bashing hellhole of Dubai. Such a trip wasn’t a scandal, naturally, because Friedman has protected himself from any future scandal by establishing a long history of Correct Policy Positions and candidate endorsements — think of them like reverse indulgences.
So here’s my advice to Stephens: Spend like a year or so just completely BSing about colonialism, capital gains taxes being too low, declare Hugo Chavez your idol in a dramatic conversion column, and then discover your newfound intellectual freedom. You’ll be amazed at what you can get away with.