Times Cans Stein Over Credit Report Ads

By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 7, 2009 2:00 PM CDT

Ben Stein has been booted from his job as a New York Times columnist for shilling for an online credit report service, Gawker reports. Stein touts the value of FreeScore.com in television commercials, but the Times’ ethics policy states “it is an inherent conflict for a journalist to perform public relations work, paid or unpaid.”

Bloggers have blasted the ads because the company charges $30 a month, even though free reports are available. “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 scores or this company," says a statement from the paper. "But, we decided that being a commercial spokesman for FreeScore while writing his column wouldn't be appropriate.” (More Ben Stein stories.)

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