By Kathleen Gilbert
NEW YORK, August 12, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - After his abrupt termination as a columnist at the New York Times, actor, writer, and economist Ben Stein says he suspects he was rejected because of his criticism of President Obama.
Stein, the popular comedian who caught flak for exposing higher education's anti-intelligent-design bias in his movie "Expelled - No Intelligence Allowed," explained in an American Spectator column that he was recently booted from his regular Times slot after a supposed "conflict of interest" for advertising for an Internet aggregating company.
But, said Stein, evidence points elsewhere for the newspaper's true motivation.
"By a total coincidence, I was tossed overboard immediately after my column attacking Obama," wrote Stein. "(You can attack Obama from the left at the Times but not from the right.)"
Stein said trouble began when he started airing concerns over the president's actions: editors at the Times rejected an article in which Stein questioned President Obama's authority to oust General Motors Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner from his position in March. "This column was flat out nixed by my editors at the Times because in their opinion Mr. Obama inherently had such powers," Stein noted.
The editors did allow one of Stein's articles "querying what I thought was a certain lack of focus in Mr. Obama's world." Stein says he was fired shortly after his critical article, and was told that his stint advertising for the Internet aggregating company Freescore presented an "appearance of conflict of interest" with his NYT business column. Stein dismissed the claim as a poor excuse.
"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."
In February, Stein's invitation to speak at the commencement of the University of Vermont was abruptly terminated, after president Daniel Fogel said he was deluged with emails complaining and accusing Stein of being "anti-science".
Stein infuriated atheist intellectuals with his 2008 movie "Expelled," in which he challenged the arguments of scientists such as Oxford zoologist Richard Dawkins on the possibility of life without an intelligent designer. The movie's co-writer and narrator, Stein also interviewed research scientists who had been ostracized for questioning secularist Darwinian theory.
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