More on Bret Stephens, the NYT’s New Hire: from Climate Denial to Racism

New New York Times hire Bret Stephens (cc photo: Christopher Michel)

Outraged by the NYT hiring a straight-ahead climate denier (which at this point in the game is exactly as inane as hiring a flat-earthler as resident geography specialist) I posted on this & on our cancelling the NYT because of this a few days ago — oddly enough, this post has attracted more viewers than nearly all other posts in the last few years (except for the Gilles Deleuze essays…). Meanwhile journalists have gone & gathered info on Bret Stephens & the picture that emerges, beyond the climate denial matter, is that of the classic racist right-wing reactionary. In fact, Stephens doesn’t miss a single topic or occasion to elaborate on his despicable racist ideology.  Below, parts of an article by Adam Johnson reprinted from FAIR:

The New York Times is the most influential newspaper in the English-language world, not just because of its reach and leadership status within the industry, but because it defines the boundaries of acceptable debate. Being in the New York Times is a legitimizing event, one that cements ideas as not fringe, “other,” or in the realm of the dreaded, career-ending “conspiracy theory.” So it understandably upset many liberals when the Times decided to bestow upon hard-right Wall Street Journal deputy editorial page editor Bret Stephens the ultimate stamp of Acceptable Opinion approval by affording him a regular op-ed column in the Times.

It’s not just that Stephens is yet another white man, like nine of the other 12 current columnists. As Hamilton Nolan thoroughly documented over at Fusion (4/14/17), Stephens holds a number of fringe right-wing opinions, namely his consistent climate change denial, anti-Arab racism, anti-black racism, advocacy of torture and insistence that the campus rape epidemic is an “imaginary enemy.”

Stephens has referred to antisemitism as “the disease of the Arab mind,” insisted Palestinians have a “blood fetish” and “blood lust,” said Black Lives Matter was a “lie” based on the “myth of victimization,” labeled institutionalized racism another “imaginary enemy,” called climate change “hysteria” and a “religion without God,” and, in a piece subtly headlined “I Am Not Sorry the CIA Waterboarded,” contended Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in fact “waterboarded himself” by not being “truthful with his captors.”

As others have noted (The Outline, 4/18/17; Think Progress, 4/13/17), these are all far-right positions that would be usually be considered outside the Acceptable Mainstream. What is less commented upon is how Stephens’ hiring highlights the radical asymmetry at work when considering what is and isn’t a fringe opinion. When one goes to the far right—namely the neocon right, which puts a premium on anti-Arab and anti-black racism, and fetishizes American exceptionalism above all else—there doesn’t seem to be a line that can’t be crossed.

This is in stark contrast to the other end on the spectrum, where anything slightly to the left of Hillary Clinton is nonexistent in the staff opinion section at the New York Times. All of the liberal or pro-Democratic Times columnists during the 2016 primary, for example, were behind Clinton or, at the very least, not behind Sanders or his broader policy aims.(…)

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