It’s a very rare occasion when one of the cultural elitist New York Times columnists admits that they were wrong but that’s exactly what Bret Stephens did when he choked down some crow and penned his mea culpa about supporters of former President Donald J. Trump.
As part of a series of essays by Times columnists owning up to their failings, Stephens fessed up that he blew it by sneering down his nose at millions of Americans and while doubling down on his disapproval of Trump himself, admits that “telling voters they are moral ignoramuses is a bad way of getting them to change their minds.”
In his piece, which was simply entitled “I Was Wrong About Trump Voters,” Stephens asked, “What were they seeing that I wasn’t?”
“That ought to have been the first question to ask myself. When I looked at Trump, I saw a bigoted blowhard making one ignorant argument after another,” he wrote “What Trump’s supporters saw was a candidate whose entire being was a proudly raised middle finger at a self-satisfied elite that had produced a failing status quo.”
“I could have thought a little harder about the fact that, in my dripping condescension toward his supporters, I was also confirming their suspicions about people like me,” Bret Stephens writes about Donald Trump. https://t.co/7lY3ZanpAb
— New York Times Opinion (@nytopinion) July 21, 2022
Having had his epiphany about Trump voters being driven by a disgust for the rotten to the core establishment that exists within the D.C. swamp and deep blue bastions of the arrogant leftist elite, he admitted “I was blind to this. Though I had spent the years of Barack Obama’s presidency denouncing his policies, my objections were more abstract than personal. I belonged to a social class that my friend Peggy Noonan called “the protected.” My family lived in a safe and pleasant neighborhood. Our kids went to an excellent public school. I was well paid, fully insured, insulated against life’s harsh edges.”
According to Stephens, “Trump voters had a powerful case to make that they had been thrice betrayed by the nation’s elites. First, after 9/11, when they had borne much of the brunt of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, only to see Washington fumble and then abandon the efforts. Second, after the financial crisis of 2008, when so many were being laid off, even as the financial class was being bailed out. Third, in the post-crisis recovery, in which years of ultralow interest rates were a bonanza for those with investable assets and brutal for those without.”
He added, “Oh, and then came the great American cultural revolution of the 2010s, in which traditional practices and beliefs — regarding same-sex marriage, sex-segregated bathrooms, personal pronouns, meritocratic ideals, race-blind rules, reverence for patriotic symbols, the rules of romance, the presumption of innocence and the distinction between equality of opportunity and outcome — became, more and more, not just passé, but taboo.”
“It’s one thing for social mores to evolve over time, aided by respect for differences of opinion. It’s another for them to be abruptly imposed by one side on another, with little democratic input but a great deal of moral bullying,” he wrote.
“No wonder they were angry,” he acknowledged. “This was the climate in which Trump’s campaign flourished.”
Stephens was brutally flogged on Twitter for his heresy.
What's that, Lassie?
Bret Stephens is an asshole and is trapped at the bottom of a well?
Good dog, Lassie. Go lie down in the shade.
— Benjamin Dreyer (@BCDreyer) July 21, 2022
In his entire idiotic career, the only sensible thing that New York Times columnist Bret Stephens ever said was "If by now you don’t find Donald Trump appalling, you’re appalling." Now he's taking that back and says he was too hard on them. New York Times is just a punchline now.
— Palmer Report (@PalmerReport) July 21, 2022
Bret Stephens is trending. This is your annual reminder that Bret Stephens is a bedbug.
The Internet doesn't forget.
— Kimberly 🌈⛹️♀️🐕 Minnesota-based clown chaser (@BioKimistry_) July 21, 2022
This is trash
— Michael Namikas (@Mikeaveli2682) July 21, 2022
How on earth did the people at the @nytimes think this OpEd was in any way a timely or an important opinion piece?
The NYT management & Board is a full blown disaster and seems committed to completely turning itself into something akin to #TheNationalEnquirer or the #EpochTimes
— Kate (@_LOVEINVAIN) July 21, 2022
Bret Stephens is such a disgusting weasel. This statement reeks of “you were mean to me so that’s why I’m a fascist.”
No one has any real expectations of changing the minds of white supremacists, fascists, misogynists, etc. We intend to expose, marginalize, and de-platform them. https://t.co/mSkPcKjZJv
— S҉o҉n҉ ҉ T҉h҉o҉u҉ 🕯 (@Wilder_Advance) July 21, 2022
Bret Stephens is a POS and fuck the New York Times for giving his whiny, petulant, woe-is-me-I'm-the-real-victim bullshit a platform. Cisgender, heterosexual white men are not victims in this country. Stop allowing them to paint themselves that way. That's how we get MAGAts.
— βɛth (@feverspell) July 21, 2022
How about admitting you’re wrong to continue paying Bret Stephens? What the hell was that crap today? Even by his standards…
— Alex Simpson (@AlexSimpson330) July 21, 2022
Is there going to be a column where the @nytopinion editors admit they were wrong about hiring Bret Stephens?
— Eric Klinenberg (@EricKlinenberg) July 21, 2022
Also owning up to their errors for The New York Times was Paul Krugman who admitted that he blew it on inflation, Michelle Goldberg who now regrets joining the mob demanding Al Franken’s head on a pike over allegations of sexually inappropriate actions from several women, Thomas Friedman who called it wrong on Chinese censorship and Gail Brooks who admitted that she grossly embellished the story about Mitt Romney strapping the family dog to the roof of the car for a vacation trip.
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