No, it wasn’t his commercial for a sleazy free credit report company, and it wasn’t his deranged columns, either.
Ben Stein says he was fired for being a creationist.
The first real super problem I had was when the movie I narrated and co-wrote, Expelled–No Intelligence Allowed, was in progress. A “science writer” for the Times blasted the movie on the front page and noted that I, whom she repeatedly called “…a freelance writer…” (not a columnist ) for the Times, was somehow involved. That was followed by a really fantastically angry blast against the movie by a reviewer who really hated it a lot. (I note that the Times also disliked Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Hmm.)
Expelled was a plea for open discussion of the possibility that life might have started with an Intelligent Designer. This idea, that freedom of academic discussion on an issue as to which there is avid scientific disagreement has value, seems obvious to me. But it drives the atheists and neo-Darwinists crazy and they responded viciously.
As for his commercial, he says:
Of course, there was not one word of complaint when I did commercials for immense public companies. 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.)
Yes, but those commercials weren’t for financial companies, and they didn’t use him for his financial background. Who cares if he does a commercial for eye-drops?
Ben Stein might be right that the NYT was just waiting around for an excuse to fire him — but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t justified.
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