Ethically Challenged Ben Stein Fired from NYT

| 35 Comments

According to Gawker, Ben Stein will no longer write a column for the New York times because he has become a spokesman for a scuzzy credit score reporting company.

Ben Stein’s TV ads for a scuzzy “free” credit product have finally caught up to him: The New York Times has fired Stein as a Sunday business columnist for violating ethics guidelines.

Stein was pilloried online for his endorsement of the bait-and-switch operation, which offers a free credit score but charges an outrageous $30 per month to see the credit report behind the score. As Reuters blogger Felix Salmon pointed out, consumers can get a free online report under federal law.

There’s more at Gawker.

35 Comments

The irony here is a bit thick. Perhaps he’ll blame Darwinism for his moral lapse.

Jack Krebs said:

The irony here is a bit thick. Perhaps he’ll blame Darwinism for his moral lapse.

Or the totality of science, not that he ever demonstrated to be able to bother to tell the difference.

Yeah, it’s hard not to be inappropriately gleeful about this, isn’t it.

Expelled!

Thought I’d get the obvious one in before anyone else.

Reminds me of Emo Philips “My principal said ‘I’m going to expel you!’, I said ‘You’ll have to catch me and eat me first!”

bdump.

i use to listen to him on radio and agreed with so much of his opinions, when Expelled was announced, i just though, ‘what the heck happened?’

i dont even know if its just an act.… how does someone who seems so wise do so stupid?

In case anyone thinks the headline is too strong, you should know that Ben Stein’s parents were very foresightful, and the name on his birth certificate is actually Ethically Challenged Ben Stein. He normally uses his 2nd middle name.

Paging Dr. Freud, Dr. Shaden Freud… call your office.

Note that he didn’t get fired for being a liar about science or a dreadful economist, but for a money-grubbing lapse of judgement.

Obviously he doesn’t waste any effort on researching the products he promotes.

Ha! Sneak attack on ID…

OD said:

Obviously he doesn’t waste any effort on researching the products he promotes.

Ha! Sneak attack on ID…

He probably did more than Ann Coulter did before writing the anti-evolution chapters of “Godless.”

Yes, that Free Score is just as bad as Free Credit Report, same scam. Maybe it’s the same people? But Stein has become spokesman for a number of places, e.g., ComCast, and I’ve seen him elsewhere as well. He’s capable of duping people.

A very nice summary of “Mr.” Ben Stein can be found in wikipedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ben_Stein

Yes, he only has a BA in economy, but like Stephen Meyers (only a BA in physics) and calls himself a geologist ‘cause he worked for an oil company for a couple of years, Stein has similar low qualifications as an economist. As wiki points out, he dismissed the credit crunch that precipitated the recession as bullcrap while advising people to invest, invest, invest.

His speech at a Liberty college graduation was interesting along with his other anti-science paranoia.

I think the real ethics violation here comes from pitching for such a rip-off company at all. This is like the time I saw Mr. T hawking for a title loans company, except I had respect for Mr. T.

How wd I ethically challenge Ben Stein? A bit late, since he’s been sacked anyway.

Not surprised in the least. Stein is a salesman first. Take that S word in the most negative connotation possible. That he has not responded to this constructive criticism ought to make anyone doubt his integrity.

I do hope this episode motivates more discussion about the similarities between today’s anti-evolution strategies and financial scams. While the former is not strictly motivated by money, the strategy is identical: tell gullible people what they want to hear regardless of how misleading, and evade “the rest of the story” at all cost.

KP Wrote:

He probably did more than Ann Coulter did before writing the anti-evolution chapters of “Godless.”

Coulter admitted up front that she did not write those chapters. At best she rephrased some of the parts written by Dembski et. al. She even admitted on talk radio that she was an “idiot” about science. Not that any of that matters to her target audience of course.

Frank J said:

Coulter admitted up front that she did not write those chapters. At best she rephrased some of the parts written by Dembski et. al. She even admitted on talk radio that she was an “idiot” about science. Not that any of that matters to her target audience of course.

A lot of what she wrote sounded more like it was borrowed from Wells’ “Icons of Evolution” book, regurgitating the peppered moth, Archaeopteryx (specially updated to include Tiktaalik), and other common canards.

To her credit, the “unfortunate creature” language when describing the transitional fossils sounded more like her own work than that of a DI “salesman.”

Now can he be fired from CBS “Sunday Morning”, where he is introduced as a CBS commentator?

Write to [Enable javascript to see this email address.] and suggest that Stein might not be what they’re looking for as an image.

Frank J said:

I do hope this episode motivates more discussion about the similarities between today’s anti-evolution strategies and financial scams. While the former is not strictly motivated by money, the strategy is identical: tell gullible people what they want to hear regardless of how misleading, and evade “the rest of the story” at all cost.

Lately I’ve been paying a little more attention to the marketing tactics of the ID/creationists, especially the likes of Ken Ham.

There is a very lucrative market in the home schooling crowd for their literature. I have been looking at some of the textbooks that some home schooling parents have been using. They get these from vendors at the home schooling conventions they attend. The vendors and their literature and texts at these conventions are heavily weighted toward the ID/creationist line, especially the YEC variety.

Perusing the websites, such as Answers in Genesis and similar sites brings up all sorts of stuff that are aimed at home schooling. I think there is little question that Ken Ham has found a very large and lucrative market for his garbage here in the US. Obviously the DI is aiming at the same market.

As near as I can tell from my probing, the people who are drawn to this come from similar kinds of sectarian backgrounds. Around this part of the country, they consist primarily of members of various “reformed” churches, and they have similar fears about secular society and its influences.

Re: Writing to CBS “Sunday Morning”

They seem to have a crude spam filter that bounces back anything with a link starting with http://. Removing the http appears to let the message through.

KP Wrote:

To her credit, the “unfortunate creature” language when describing the transitional fossils sounded more like her own work than that of a DI “salesman.”

If anything I give her credit for admitting that she was not the author. If in fact she went out of her way to add her own spin, that makes her less of an honest rube and more in on the scam - though still light years from science-literate.

Mike Elzinga Wrote:

Obviously the DI is aiming at the same market.

Though probably not as directly. The DI’s primary target seems to be those at least already partly in on the scam, and understand why a “don’t ask, don’t tell” approach is needed - both to avoid legal issues and to cover up the fatal flaws and contradictions among the various creationist positions.

But as you note, even if money is not the primary objective of anti-evolution activists, they know it will follow. And they have no more intention of turning it down than someone selling a worthless “miracle” diet to those desperate to lose weight.

Frank J said:

I do hope this episode motivates more discussion about the similarities between today’s anti-evolution strategies and financial scams. While the former is not strictly motivated by money, the strategy is identical: tell gullible people what they want to hear regardless of how misleading, and evade “the rest of the story” at all cost.

Then perhaps we can make the case that ID, and in reality religion itself, is but one grand Ponzi scheme, taking your money, your wits, and everything else while promising a nirvana somewhere out in the back 40?

I am glad people are pointing out that he is not really an economist. I do not understand why peple take his advice and why people hire him, there are so many other real economists out there who actually know something.

NYT made a good move here, but I do wish they had realised everything else he said was tripe as well.

I read a column on yahoo years ago about the financial markets that was so stupid, the author was noted. Ben stein someone I hadn’t heard of before.

His sstock market advice during the recession/crash was completely wrong and anyone who followed it lost huge amounts of money. He even admitted it at one point.

He knows as much about financial markets as he does about science. Basically zero.

Homeschooling might be on the downslide.

Read some statistics in my area the other day. From the peak, it might be down 40%.

As to how accurate that info is, got me.

Frank J said:

And they have no more intention of turning it down than someone selling a worthless “miracle” diet to those desperate to lose weight.

:-)

Well, they seem to be doing that also. There is a woman using religion to sell concentrated “health” elixirs on one the religion channels. Pat Robertson sells some kind of miracle pancake mix.

Then there is that character who will send you any number of baubles, like green handkerchiefs, that purport to do all kinds of miraculous things if you hold them in your hands and pray.

Apparently a talent for marketing and hype are part of what makes up a fundamentalist preacher. Lots of slick talk, wink-wink, ward off evil, get rewards from God by giving them money (fall into misfortune if you don’t); the list gets pretty long.

But they claim it is a “love offering” and not giving them money.

Though probably not as directly. The DI’s primary target seems to be those at least already partly in on the scam, and understand why a “don’t ask, don’t tell” approach is needed - both to avoid legal issues and to cover up the fatal flaws and contradictions among the various creationist positions.

While I think that is correct, as I see them around here locally, they are also still attempting to make their sectarianism look chic, and those who espouse it well-read, “sophisticated and open-minded”. Thus, anyone defending science is looked upon as low-brow, closed-minded, and not educated about science or any of the real issues. They manage to leave the impression that such people are to be looked down upon as reactionaries who are afraid of moving away from the status quo.

Raven wrote:

“His sstock market advice during the recession/crash was completely wrong and anyone who followed it lost huge amounts of money. He even admitted it at one point.”

Well if he took his own advice, that might explain why he turned into such a whore. If he didn’t, that just makes him a hypocrite. Shaquenstein indeed.

Fame and glory motivate some people as much as money. It’s said Stein is independently wealthy because his father actually was an important economist/money man. Or his motivations are seriously screwed up irrational stuff. But he said on a radio show that “scientists are killers.” and he said the last “person his relatives saw before going into the gas chamber was a scientist”. I can’t feature why the NYTimes would ever work with a guy like this. And Comcast will never get my business after using this guy in an ad. Can’t newspapers and ad agencies google to find out who they are working with?

veritas36 Wrote:

But he said on a radio show that “scientists are killers.” and he said the last “person his relatives saw before going into the gas chamber was a scientist”.

Not having seen “Ferris Bueller” I first heard of Stein as the semi-regular, and grotesquely nerdy, science teacher in “The Wonder Years.” I remember even then (~20 years ago) thinking that one must have a very low opinion of scientists and science teachers to accept such a role. Apparently he did, and still does.

Well his career might be on the skids.

I never heard of him until that very stupid column of his on yahoo about the financial markets.

He used to do movies and television cable shows. Now it is internet ads for some dubious companies.

Frank J said:

Not surprised in the least. Stein is a salesman first. Take that S word in the most negative connotation possible. That he has not responded to this constructive criticism ought to make anyone doubt his integrity.

I do hope this episode motivates more discussion about the similarities between today’s anti-evolution strategies and financial scams. While the former is not strictly motivated by money, the strategy is identical: tell gullible people what they want to hear regardless of how misleading, and evade “the rest of the story” at all cost.

Please do not disparage salesmen (and women) by lumping Stein in with them. There are far more ethical salespeople out there that believe in their products and services and deliver value for the money you spend with them. Stein is a huckster and a fraud. Plain and simple.

Stein himself is commemorating the event with a Whine and Cheez affair at the Spectator.

Dave

Dave Thomas said:

Stein himself is commemorating the event with a Whine and Cheez affair at the Spectator.

Dave

I had to stop full from reading it when he mentioned writing a column about Obama “firing” Rick Wagoner, and was there any legal basis for it. Yes, Mr. Stein, GM was asking the federal government for a handout and one of the conditions for getting it was that Wagoner had to go. Wagoner agreed to resign so GM could get more government loans. It’s pretty clear from that line alone that Stein doesn’t care to understand things.
Then I ventured forward a few more lines. He claims that FreeScore has an unblemished record. Their parent company Vertrue, however, has a Better Business Bureau ranking of F with almost 2,600 complaints filed.
I’m not sure I can go on.

This is my subsequent read on your weblog. Thanks for not turning me down.

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This page contains a single entry by Reed A. Cartwright published on August 6, 2009 8:16 PM.

Creation/Evolution Journal now online was the previous entry in this blog.

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