Ben Stein, who was fired last week as a New York Times columnist over the appearance of conflict of interest arising from his role as a spokesperson for credit rating service FreeScore.com, took to the American Spectator Monday to explain why he thinks he was "expelled from the New York Times."
In particular, Stein hinted that it was not his endorsement of FreeScore.com that proved problematic for Times editors, but his recent criticism of President Obama.
Stein wrote that he was informed that budgetary issues had forced the paper to cut his column to once every four weeks, but that he believes two other issues played prominently in his dismissal:
But the two main things, as I see them, were that I started criticizing Mr. Obama quite sharply over his policies and practices. I had tried to do this before over the firing of Rick Wagoner from the Chairmanship of GM. My column had questioned whether there was a legal basis for the firing by the government, what law allowed or authorized the federal government to fire the head of what was then a private company, and just where the Obama administration thought their limits were, if anywhere. This column was flat out nixed by my editors at the Times because in their opinion Mr. Obama inherently had such powers.
Stein added, "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.)"
Stein also dismissed the notion that his role as a spokesperson for FreeScore.com presented a conflict of interest for his role as a columnist.
"Of course, there was no conflict of interest," he wrote. "I had never written one word in the Times or anywhere else about getting credit scores on line. Not a word."