If you live in a state where Comcast operates, you’ve likely been inundated all summer long with the “Shaq&Stein” series of commercials pairing the odd couple of Ben Stein and Shaquille O’Neal.
Stein taking that role was puzzling enough (his portfolio must have taken quite a hit during the downturn). But it was another endorsement opportunity that got him a pink slip from the gray lady. The New York Times last week fired Stein as a Sunday Business columnist for “violating ethics guidelines” stemming from a commercial he appeared in for “free” credit score operation FreeScore.com.
The Times‘ ethics policy states “it is an inherent conflict for a journalist to perform public relations work, paid or unpaid.” A widely (online) circulated statement attributed to Times spokesperson Catherine Mathis said: