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A Year in Bret Stephens

Illustration for article titled A Year in Bret Stephens
Screenshot: MSNBC
Year in Review 2019Year in Review 2019Remembering the year that you, me, and everyone we know was canceled. Rest in peace

Here’s why Bret Stephens should be canceled. Follow Jezebel’s Cancel Tournament to see what ultimately gets canceled

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Bret Stephens was hired by the New York Times in 2017 to “diversify” the newspaper’s op-ed pages and “enrich our debate” with his signature brand of climate change denial and a peculiar need to defend men like Woody Allen. And Stephens has had quite a year—one deliciously marked by an epic meltdown when a not-famous man and college professor by the name of David Karpf made an offhand joke comparing Stephens to a bedbug.

He also wrote some extremely bad op-eds. In tribute to this now potentially canceled man, I read every single piece he published at the New York Times in 2019, op-eds that are full of bad sentences and even worse ideas. Here are the worst sentences he wrote (or in some cases, spoke) in 2019, ranked in the order that I read them because they are all, quite frankly, awful:

  • January 3, 2019: Freedom also produces a lot of garbage.
  • January 4, 2019: TUCKER: Immigrants?
  • January 11, 2019: Thanks to Gadi Eisenkot, at least we know the Iranians aren’t invincible.
  • January 15, 2019: [Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s] habits of bending the truth to suit her ideological preconceptions and delight her base have an echo in you-know-who.
  • January 17, 2019: We are drifting, in the absence of mind and will, toward a moment of civilizational self-negation.
  • January 25, 2019: Surely there’s a compound in Havana where that gang can live out their days without tyrannizing a nation.
  • January 29, 2019: I’m all for universities figuring out ways to become more affordable for those who need and deserve it, but making college free for everybody makes it bad for everybody.
  • January 30, 2019: Another guise is anti-Zionism, which pretends that one can malign Israel as a uniquely diabolical and illegitimate state, guilty of Nazi-like atrocities, and still be acquitted of anti-Semitism.
  • February 8, 2019: “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” they chantedthe tediously malign, thinly veiled call to end Israel as a Jewish state.
  • February 8, 2019: Should Prince Harry forever be remembered as the royal who dressed as a Nazi?
  • February 12, 2019: I would love to hear a Democrat say, as Hillary Clinton did, we are not Denmark!
  • February 14, 2019: Donald Trump’s foreign policy has mostly been shambolic, but credit where it is due:
  • February 15, 2019: Fuhgeddaboudit.
  • February 27, 2019: Calming the country requires calm at the top.
  • March 1, 2019: He is a cynic wrapped in an ideology inside a scheme.
  • March 1, 2019:
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  • March 8, 2019: There’s a difference between taming a horse and shooting it.
  • March 14, 2019: I watched “Apollo 11” twice this week, and came away with two very different impressions.
  • March 15, 2019: There aren’t 12 good men in this foul city.
  • March 22, 2019: American politics could use another Sister Souljah moment.
  • March 28, 2019 headline: Is Trump Keyser Söze — Or Inspector Clouseau?
  • March 29, 2019: Well, heavens to Betsy.
  • April 2, 2019: Healthy young people should also be able to buy cut-rate plans that cover only catastrophes.
  • April 5, 2019: In our interview he described himself as a security hawk and a “moderate capitalist,” but otherwise his ideology is mainly about not having one.
  • April 11, 2019: But the idea that people can be judged as individuals based on the economic class to which they belong is one of the foulest in history, matching if not exceeding in its murderous consequences the legacies of racism and colonialism combined.
  • April 18, 2019: Shamelessness has a way of inspiring a following, and Omar is in the process of cornering the market on the left.
  • April 23, 2019: All of which is to say: I like Pete Buttigieg.
  • April 26, 2019: “Kim himself asked me that I inform the U.S. side of his position about questions he has regarding what’s happening on the Korean Peninsula,” Putin said after the meeting, with about as much sincerity — and the same serpentine intent— as Kaa the python from “The Jungle Book.”
  • April 28, 2019: So what was it doing in The Times?
  • May 3, 2019: And as these things generally go, it will wind up leading to bans on people whose views are hateful mainly in the eyes of those doing the banning.
  • May 7, 2019: But right now the main thing congressional Democrats should be doing is talking up an agenda for governance, not reminding Americans for the zillionth time that the president is a very bad hombre.
  • May 9, 2019: Eventually, of course, a recession will come.
  • May 17, 2019: Gawker spawn and HuffPo twerps: This especially means you.
  • May 21, 2019: As for Biden, I’m warming to him fast.
  • May 23, 2019: As for the Iranian side, normalization would mean behaving like a normal country.
  • May 24, 2019: In the contest of ugly, the left keeps winning.
  • May 30, 2019: What it did do, however, was move the country, with fractious but bipartisan support, in the right direction: of more policing and tougher enforcement and a powerful refusal to continue defining criminal deviancy down in the face of those who said we just had to take it.
  • June 7, 2019: For once, Donald Trump hit the right notes in his speech at the American cemetery in Colleville-sur-Mer, near Omaha Beach.
  • June 14, 2019: Trump might be a liar, but the U.S. military isn’t.
  • June 18, 2019: I’m pro-choice, but I also agree with the Hyde amendment.
  • June 20, 2019: I binge-watched HBO’s “Chernobyl” this week. It made me think of Donald Trump.
  • June 21, 2019: We detested each other’s ideas, distrusted each other’s motives and enjoyed each other’s company.
  • June 28, 2019: Amigos demócratas, Si ustedes siguen así, van a perder las elecciones.
  • July 2, 2019: Sanders was … Sanders.
  • July 4, 2019: If the House of York had fallen to the Lancastrians as quickly as corporate and academic America has capitulated to Woke culture, the War of the Roses would have been over in a week.
  • July 19, 2019: We can erase it by recalling what we’re really about, starting by re-reading “My Ántonia.”
  • July 23, 2019: On the power-grid front, I did just buy a wearable, rechargeable head-fan ….
  • July 25, 2019 headline: Why I’m Rooting for Boris Johnson
  • July 26, 2019: But let’s give nationalism its due.
  • July 30, 2019: Hang on, I kind of liked John Delaney, at least on the subject of private insurance.
  • August 1, 2019: I do not admire anyone embracing the bad idea of free college. The surest way to strip nearly anything of its value is to make it free.
  • August 27, 2019:
  • August 27, 2019: South of France, mostly, though it was awfully hot and air-conditioning isn’t really a thing over there.
  • August 30, 2019: 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.”
  • September 3, 2019:
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  • September 10, 2019: It’s a shame because I think the Democratic field has some first-rate talents who could beat Trump, but that the party has just discounted, at least so far: Michael Bennet, Steve Bullock, Amy Klobuchar. What is it about them that just doesn’t excite the base?
  • September 11, 2019: I also like Bolton personally. OR John Bolton, like so many others before him, has risen up.
  • September 19, 2019: Locked, half-cocked, and probably bluffing.
  • September 20, 2019: Those looking for signs of hope in the politically decadent West could do worse than look to Jerusalem.
  • September 25, 2019: What it does not show, however, is Trump tying his request to the release of U.S. military aid in the manner of a quid pro quo.
  • October 1, 2019: Touché!
  • October 4, 2019: Mitt Romney, the moment could yet be yours.
  • October 11, 2019: Goodbye, Freedom Man.
  • October 15, 2019: You know I’ve been partial to Pete Buttigieg.
  • October 17, 2019: For myself, I plan to add one or two of Handke’s books to my shelf, at least the non-political ones.
  • October 18, 2019 headline: Mulvaney, as Clouseau, Solves Mystery!
  • October 24, 2019: So far, the result seems mostly to be a George Costanza exercise in doing the opposite.
  • October 25, 2019: Elizabeth Warren wants to kill all this.
  • October 29, 2019: It could also entice a moderate not currently in the race, like Best-Mayor-Ever Mike Bloomberg, to jump in.
  • November 1, 2019: In the meantime, someone ought to print “Human Scum” on a limited-edition T-shirt.
  • November 7, 2019: Either the country is going to get a grip on its crisis of institutions and its deficits in leadership or it is going to increasingly resemble Iraq before the surge, albeit with drug money taking the place of religious fanaticism.
  • November 8, 2019: Mike Bloomberg should run for president, for two reasons that ought to be dispositive.
  • November 12, 2019: I also see Bloomberg easily winning Florida.
  • November 15, 2019: A third theory is that Trump is pursuing a political strategy.
  • November 21, 2019: To paraphrase Ariana Grande, we have one less problem without it.
  • November 26, 2019: I understand [Buttigieg’s] weakness with African-American voters but remain mystified by why he isn’t polling better with the younger electorate.
  • December 5, 2019: Words have consequences.

You’re welcome for this act of public service!

Senior reporter, Jezebel

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DISCUSSION

Esther, I truly appreciate your sacrifice of reading all of this hot garbage because I couldn’t take it. I had to stop at the end of March. He is absolutely remarkably stupid. I mean sure he’s wrong most of the time but mostly he’s just plain dumb. Especially for someone with such a high profile gig. He is so very canceled.