Ben Stein Watch: The Aftermath

Dear God what hath Ben Stein wrought? His latest

column was as dreadful as most, but it seems to have touched one hell of

a nerve.

I have a weekly Ben

Stein Watch; I had to respond

to it. But I was far from alone. I’ve already mentioned Paul

Krugman, Dean

Baker, Yves

Smith, Roger

Ehrenberg, and athenian_abroad;

to that list should now be added numerous posts at DealBreaker (1,






as well as posts by Fake

Ben Bernanke, Brad

DeLong, Calculated

Risk, Chew

Your Grouse, Ryan Avent,

Talking Biz News,

John Gapper,


Thoma, and many others. (Update: Add Herb

Greenberg to the list.)

In the friends-of-Stein camp (it does exist), we have Daniel

Altman, Howard Lindzon, Donald

Luskin, and Charlie Gasparino (1,


as well as a bunch of strange

bedfellows who would normally repudiate Stein’s Republican views in a heartbeat

but who now think he might be on to something, seeing as how he’s bashing Goldman


The reaction was so intense, indeed, that Henry

Blodget and New York magazine (1,2)

were able to turn the whole thing into a media story. Gapper nodded in that

direction too, saying in Stein’s defense that "a columnist ought to be

provocative and entertaining".

Which makes Andrew

Leonard’s response seem all the more sensible: can’t we all just stop

reading the guy? Stein’s an archetypal troll, and the best way to respond

to a troll is to ignore him. But I have to say it would be a lot easier to ignore

him if the NYT stopped giving the chap one of the most valuable soap-boxes in

the land.

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