Why the NYT hired a science denier

The New York Times' new columnist, Bret Stephens, is an everyday conservative: he thinks institutional racism is imaginary, that campus rape is a big lie, and that the "Arab Mind" is "diseased". But these are just opinions, and common ones on the right. It is his anti-science positions, on display in his first fact-mangled column about climate change, that has galvanized disgust.

Much has been said about him, but it is the Times itself that has committed a "jaw-dropping error" and whose warped motives promise that it will be repeated.

Ryan Cooper in The Week directs particular ire at the Times' claim about wanting a diversity of voices, where the agreement of millions is enough to justify a hire. This allows so many possibilities that it betrays the excuse.

If the Times were really committed to ideological diversity in its op-ed page, it would at a minimum hire a conservative who actually supports President Trump, and perhaps even more importantly hire someone with Bernie Sanders-style politics. (Sanders is the most popular politician in the country, yet there are more supporters of torture among columnists of our two major national newspapers than supporters of the senator.)

What we see here is that the neurotic upper-class liberal need for civil debate over important issues stops the moment we reach territory they actually care about. ... A rich, glib, dumb, anti-Trump conservative, on the other hand, can give Upper East Side cocktail parties that frisson of intellectual disputation while conveniently avoiding most of the actually important questions.

Or perhaps it doesn't betray the excuse. Perhaps they mean it, and we can look forward to discussion of the Holocaust and statistical significance, say, or the social appropriateness of gay men in the presence of children, or the value of listening to infantilized womens' tall tales. Has our understanding of human biodiversity moved on in the wake of The Bell Curve? Just as certainly as I'll know where to find the provocative opinions America needs.

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