NY Times Axes Ben Stein Column

Stein fired for violating Times ethics policy

By Mark Morales
|  Friday, Aug 7, 2009  |  Updated 3:00 PM PDT
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Ben Stein's money won't come from the New York Times anymore.

The Gray Lady fired the former Nixon aide and character actor for appearing in several commercials for FreeScore.com, a clear violation of the paper's ethics policy, reports Gawker.

"Ben Stein's fine work for us as a columnist for Sunday Business had to end, we told him, after we learned that he had become a commercial spokesman for FreeScore, a financial service company," spokesperson Catherine Mathis said in a statement.

Stein, who entertained audiences in "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" and his own VH1 show, "Win Ben Stein's Money," had been doing commercials for the shady credit operation that charged users $30 to see their credit report.

"Ben didn't understand when he signed on with FreeScore that this might pose a potential conflict for him as a contributing columnist for the Times, because he hadn't written about credit score or this company. But we decided that being a commercial spokesman for FreeScore while writing this column wouldn't be appropriate."

The times ethics policy states, "it is an inherent conflict for a journalist to perform public relations work, paid or unpaid."

While Stein retains his career as an occasional T.V. pundit on news outlets like Fox News, CBS Sunday Morning and CNBC, his column at the New York Times has come to an end.

"We are sorry to lose him as a columnist, and appreciate his work for the Times over the years," wrote Mathis in her statement.

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