NYT Columnist Suspends Twitter Account After Retaliating Over Being Called ‘Bedbugs’

A conservative New York Times columnist has suspended his own Twitter account after he retaliated against a media professor who compared him to “bedbugs” online.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://talkingpointsmemo.com/?p=1244925
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Brett Stephens is a precious, pompous asshole - morphed into a GOP apologist for the shit-storm he’d helped to stir up in our national discourse. That the NYTimes continues to employ Brooks, Douthat and Stephens is a stain on what’s generally a pretty good newspaper. I’m glad WaPo is calling this right-wing idiot out. More, please…

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Well, at least I now I have something in common with Mr. Stephens; I cancelled my Twitter account over a year ago. That place is crazy, and it made me the same way.

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Showing once again it is not the liberals that are the snowflakes.

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This whole thing is hilarious. Generally it’s true that we’re too hard on public figures and tear them apart in ways we’d never, ever do in person, no matter how much we might disagree with their opinions. But this was the most benign of jokes, which Stephens had to work to find, and he responded by looking up the guy’s work email address and essentially reporting it to the guy’s boss. Amazing. And then amidst the racism and white supremacy and profanity and vile attacks, this is what Stephens sees as the worst of the cesspool, forcing him to quit Twitter?

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It is the personal nature of social media that is most troubling. Instead of encouraging an exchange of ideas Twitter, Facebook and the rest promote very personal insults. Those insults spiral out of control until they generate articles on the front pages of mainstream media outlets. Insults attract eyeballs and eyeballs represent clicks which represents revenue for both social and mainstream media alike.

Twitter is a very profitable sewer.

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Ok, Donnie, Stephens has proven you can self-delete your own Twitter account…

Please proceed…

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Oh you’ll be back, Bretbug

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Delicate snowflake.

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I’m not sure that’s exactly how “snowflake” is meant – as I recall, it’s less about the fragility of a snowflake than an attack on the idea that every person is different and unique (like snowflakes, famously) and that all those differences should be accepted and celebrated.

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So will the Times continue to employ a columnist who goes out of his way to retaliate against someone using their First Amendment right to free speech?

Given the recent stories about how Trump allies are planning on retaliating against employees of news organizations who print stories critical of Trump by digging up embarrassing social media comments, you’d think the Times would want to set an example here.

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It’s no secret that people are more abusive online than in person, but it’s kind of funny that Bret Stephens, who’s done a whole lot of offending with his columns, should get all snippy and self-righteous like this. “I lead a middle-class life and my family likes me and you would never dare to compare me to a metaphorical bedbug in my kitchen, you history’s greatest monster! I bid you good day!” And then flounce off the field of battle? Dude.

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Why is this a story? Twittertspats are commonplace.

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The bedbugs are a metaphor. The bedbugs are Bret Stephens.

Vicious, but fair

Add in Ross Douthat and MoDo and it’s time to call the Orkin man.

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“I’m often amazed about the things supposedly decent people are prepared to say about other people — people they’ve never met — on Twitter.

I think that’s why the professor called out Stephens.

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Just emulating his Hero Cheatolini, thin-skinned “Economist for Hire to the Highest Bidder” Bret “I wish I lived in Israel” Stephens picks up his marbles and goes home in a huff.

Poor Baby.

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I never heard the rule that says you can’t criticize a prominent columnist you haven’t personally met.

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I’m beaten to the punch by three or four others of you, but the anthropomorphic bedbug is absolutely right about the sewer part.

Five thousand years ago in the early 2000s, the web comic Penny Arcade posited the ‘Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory’, which stated

Normal Person + Anonymity + Audience = Total Fuckwad

This seemed right at the time, but we were too optimistic. It turned out that people are all too willing to be giant shitbags under their own name.

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Honestly, the world is a better place already without a Brett Stephens twitter account. The man is an opinion-making jackass.

The exchange quickly went viral and sparked outrage against the columnist who’s known for his climate change denials and for calling rape on college campuses an “imaginary enemy.”

And just a little while ago on TV he defended Tom Cotton in his insistence to buy Greenland from Denmark believing it to be a good idea. The man is a fucking ideologue and there has never been a Republican idea he hasn’t defended no matter how bad its been. He’s basically just a younger David Brooks…and that ain’t saying much. Odious ideas covered in a genteel-looking wrapper.

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I want the kind of life when one guy can call another guy a “stinking old wombat” and the animal protection people will not send you death threats.

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