New York Times columnist Bret Stephens linked getting called a 'bedbug' on Twitter to Nazi rhetoric in his latest op-ed
- Conservative New York Times opinion columnist Bret Stephens was at the center of ridicule again this week after a column published Friday likened his being called a "bedbug" on Twitter to the dehumanizing language about Jewish people under Nazi authorities in WWII.
- Stephens' column highlighted parallels in the Nazis' plans to slaughter of Jewish people under the Nazi regime to "delousing" and "bedbugs," days after he lambasted a college professor for joking that Stephens was part of the Times' newsroom bedbug outbreak.
- Many Twitter users reacted to the column with disbelief, adding a new chapter to the Twitter blow-up that led to him deleting his account and earning ridicule from people including President Donald Trump and New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
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Conservative New York Times opinion columnist Bret Stephens was at the center of ridicule again after a column published Friday mentioned bedbugs in reference to the horrors of WWII days after he let loose on a Twitter user for comparing him to the pest.
Stephens' column highlighted parallels in the Nazis' plans to slaughter of Jewish people to "delousing" and "bedbugs."
"The political mind-set that turned human beings into categories, classes and races also turned them into rodents, insects and garbage. 'Anti-Semitism is exactly the same as delousing,' Heinrich Himmler would claim in 1943. 'Getting rid of lice is not a matter of ideology. It is a matter of cleanliness.' Watching Warsaw's Jewish ghetto burn that year, a Polish anti-Semite was overheard saying: 'The bedbugs are on fire. The Germans are doing a great job.'"David Karpf, a professor of media and public affairs at George Washington University, tweeted Tuesday about the news that the Times's Manhattan newsroom had been infested with bed bugs, and wrote on Twitter that Stephens was one of the bedbugs in question.
"The bedbugs are a metaphor," he wrote. "The bedbugs are Bret Stephens."
Stephens lambasted Karpf over an email that was also directed at his university provost. Later that day, Stephens took to MSNBC to insist that "analogizing people to insects is always wrong… Being analogized to insects goes back to a lot of totalitarian regimes in the past."
"There's a bad history of being analogized to insects that go back to a lot of totalitarian regimes" Bret Stephens says w/ a straight face at the end of this clip when asked about bedbug-gate
Many Twitter users reacted to the column with disbelief, referencing Stephens' Twitter blow-up that led to him deleting his account and earning ridicule from people including New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
My jaw is on the floor pic.twitter.com/repnmcL2Ud
So I finished this Bret Stephens piece and I'm not exaggerating when I say it is the dumbest thing I have ever read (today). pic.twitter.com/Ohnb9OqNVZ
That Bret Stephens column that not-so-subtly references Dave Karpf should be retracted. It knowingly slanders Karpf in the Paper of Record, likening a mild Twitter insult to the stuff of Nazis, and all because he got his feelings hurt. Children shouldn't have @nytimes columns.
Several more Twitter users pointed out that the link that was embedded in Stephens' piece was the result of a Google search for "Jews as bedbugs."
editor pro tip: always click through the links
Still don't get why some publishers of great newspapers tolerate opinion sections with such lax standards that would never fly in their newsroom. Many wonderful opinion columnists out there! But the bad ones do a lot of entirely avoidable damage to their publication's reputation.
One user pointed out that despite his expressed horror of comparing people to bugs, Stephens himself had compared Palestinian people to mosquitoes in a 2013 column for the Wall Street Journal.
Bret Stephens likened Palestinians to mosquitoes in his WSJ column in 2013, so he should probably contemplate more about his role in bringing back "rhetoric of infestation" pic.twitter.com/iZsMCnEhK9
Karpf responded to the column with horror, tweeting Saturday that the comparison in the major newspaper meant the saga had "stopped being funny."
Okay, look, I have two things to say right now.
(1) this just stopped being funny. The New York Times is the paper of record. The entire internet knows who Bret Stephens just subtweeted with his column. He should know better. He doesn't. That's not okay anymore.