To: Ben Stein
From: Walter Duranty
New York Times Pulitzer Prize-winning Journalist (deceased, but never fired).
936,287,434 Seventh Circle
Moloch Township, Gehenna.
My condolences on your involuntary departure from the New York Times. Down Here, we all find it very amusing.
Yea, we all know that you got canned by the Grey Lady- by e-mail, no less. The pretense: your 'crime' was to hawk the services of an on-line credit report company that the Times management thought unethical.
Of course, causing people who trusted you to lose money would have been your quickest ticket to promotion at the 'Newspaper
with a of Record.'
Pinch Sulzberger reduced the value of the stock of the world's 'Newspaper of Record' by 6 billion dollars (1999 50 bucks /share; 2009 8 bucks/share; current market cap $1.1 billion) in substantial part by using the newspaper as his ideological cudgel. And he fired you for risking other people's money? Remember the above the fold coverage of McCain's faux 'sex scandal' that coincided with the Grey Lady's 'writer's block' about John Edwards' real sex scandal? How about the brutal dissection of Sara Palin's family that coincided with the omerta about Barack Obama's dubious Chicago associates? Which 'significant other' was more important for voters to know about--Levi Johnston or Tony Rezko? Which relationship got the most press at the 'Newspaper of Record'?
So the public figured: why pay two bucks for the Times, when you can get the content for free from the Democratic National Committee?
You were fired for ideological reasons -- your criticism of Goldman Sachs, your skepticism of President Obama's policies, sure, but most of all, because you didn't fit.
'Didn't fit,' you ask? Let me explain.
Surely you remember me. In the 1930's, I was the New York Times' witness to the Soviet experiment. But I worked for Stalin, too. I was an unregistered shill for the most prolific totalitarian killing machine in human history. I put the New York Times imprimatur -- a Grey Lady smiley face -- on the intentional starvation of 10 million people in the Ukraine. Yet I was never fired from the New York Times. In fact, I won a Pulitzer Prize.
Why? Why did Malcolm Muggeridge have to sneak his accurate dispatches about the Holodomor out of the Soviet Union in diplomatic pouches, while my crafted fabrications were trumpeted in the 'Newspaper of Record' above-the-fold?
The reason is simple. The Times has a policy: 'all the news that fits.' In 1931, scientific materialism, in its Soviet apparition, 'fit.' I got published. In 1957, scientific materialism, in its Cuban apparition, 'fit.' Herbert Matthews got published. In 1975, scientific materialism, in its Cambodian apparition, 'fit,' and Sydney Schanberg got published. In 2009, scientific materialism, in its Darwinian apparition, fit. Sam Harris got published.
You didn't read the memo. Scientific materialism is haute credo. Has been for a century. You questioned it.
You made Expelled.
You got fired. We spoke power to truth, you might say
But there was more to it. Do you know what really set us off?
You stole ideas from Saul.
No, not that Saul. We lost him on the Damascus road (very bad denouement, when he was so promising!). I mean our Saul.
He dedicated his masterpiece -- Rules For Radicals -- to Our Father:
"Lest we forget at least...the first radical known to man who rebelled against the establishment and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom -- Lucifer."
In Expelled, you expropriated a few of Saul's Rules:
# 5: "Ridicule is man's most potent weapon. It is almost impossible to counteract ridicule. Also it infuriates the opposition, which then reacts to your advantage."
#13 "Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it."
#6 "A good tactic is one your people enjoy."
Those are our tactics; how dare you -- HOW DARE YOU -- use them against us!
That's why you were fired. It had nothing to do with 'ethics'. Trust me -- the New York Times doesn't know nothin' from ethics. Ask the Ukrainians. Ask the Cubans. Ask the Cambodians. The Times outsources ethics; had to hire a 'Public Editor' to do their ethics for them. Would you go to a doctor who had to hire somebody to do his ethics? You were fired because Expelled hurt us -- it hurt materialists -- and it hurt us by using our own tactics. 'Freeze a target, ridicule it, and have fun doing it.' Don' t you understand anything about intellectual property? It's our tactic, not yours! You froze us, you ridiculed us, and you did it with a smile. It was damned effective and we'll never forgive you for it.
Expelled was a strategic catastrophe for us, and you let us do it to ourselves. We said on camera: 'Religion is like knitting...,' 'We'll let them keep their churches...,' 'Maybe life came from crystals...,' 'No, it was from lightning...,' 'No, it was aliens...'
You had to pay. The Obama criticism was just the last straw. We were out to get you long before that. We took a while to drop the axe to make sure the hoi polloi didn't connect the dots. But you paid -- you were expelled. An enacted parable, so to speak. Most of the people smart enough to see the irony already understand us anyway, so we lost nothing by implicitly proving the thesis of your movie. This was a lesson. Endorse scientific materialism, in its nouveau apparition, and you're in, ticket punched. Question scientific materialism, and you'll pay. Anyone listening? Anyone?
So I'm cuttin' this letter short. I've got to get to the store to pick up the Sunday Times. (Yea, we get the Times Down Here. Circulation is up!) The Weekender sells out quick in the inconvenience stores; there are ungodly lines. 'Why are the lines so long,' you ask? It's because we've got some conservatives Down Here and they're required to read Frank Rich -- you know, Lake of Fire, all that stuff...