Cohen’s columns, in which he gave letter-writers advice on the right thing to do in ethically sticky situations, often glanced over cultural and ideological topics, which Cohen consistently addressed from a pungent left-wing perspective. According to the paper's veteran columnist, Bush was an incompetent and insane president who lied us into war, socialism is a good thing, Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates should have sued the police, and no one can work for a tobacco company in good conscience. Below are some liberal lowlights from Cohen, both from his column, his blog, and various television appearances.
In an October 24, 2010 column, Cohen wrote that no one could honorably work for a tobacco company.
The ethically-challenged "ethicist" of the New York Times Magazine, Randy Cohen, who writes The Ethicist column has inserted himself into the Henry Louis Gates situation by urging the Harvard professor to sue in order to "pursue social justice." To see where Mr. Ethicist is coming from, let us start off with his laughable money quote in his current column on the subject of lawsuits:
Gates should enjoy a cool one and then file suit, assuming he has legal grounds to do so. We Americans are often mocked for being overly litigious, but we are not nearly litigious enough. In the right circumstances, filing suit can be a way to pursue social justice, and that makes it thoroughly ethical.
In Sunday’s New York Times Magazine, Randy Cohen’s column titled "The Ethicist" has a perfectly liberal sense of ethics. First, he told a nurse-midwife to help illegal aliens use their aliases when they miss work due to pregnancy-related appointments. (His compromise: create a form and leave the name blank, and let them fill in the fraudulent name. How ethical.)
From there, Cohen agreed with a Portland man studying to become a Catholic priest that receiving scholarships in preparation for a lifelong vow of poverty is sexist: "You might regard yourself as preparing to be a beneficiary of entrenched workplace discrimination, an ethically troubling position."
This is the entire exchange:
I belong to a Catholic religious order and am in formation to become a priest. As part of my training, I attended a university that was founded by my order and whose president is a priest and a member of the order. Nonreligious students also attend, but we religious students receive scholarships. Is this akin to any other scholarship, like that for an athlete, or is it discriminatory, especially because the order does not admit women? – NAME WITHHELD, PORTLAND, ORE.
Appearing on Friday's Real Time with Bill Maher on HBO, Randy Cohen, the “The Ethicist” columnist for the New York Times Magazine, blurted: “I'm a huge Obama fan. I think it's such an unbelievably great thing to have a President who's competent and not insane.”
Cohen's praise for President Barack Obama, combined with the cheap insult of former President George Bush, came just before a “but” as he expressed disappointment with Obama's pledge to not prosecute CIA operatives who “tortured” terrorists.
Cohen, who also helms the “Moral of the Story” blog for NYTimes.com, has long had disdain for Bush. In 2003 he questioned if Bush could “honorably” continue to serve in office and in late 2005 he was disgusted with Bush compared to Bill Clinton: “We've got a guy now who lied the country into a war.”
Sunday’s New York Times Magazine features another weekly submission from Randy Cohen, writer of "The Ethicist" column, about a non-political topic -- who should pay for damage done to an office building by a doctor’s patient -- but on Friday’s Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson on CBS Cohen made clear his disgust with President Bush. When Ferguson raised Bill Clinton’s name, Cohen reacted with outrage that Ferguson was still concerned about such old news: "Oh, Clinton, he's been out of office for, you know, how long? Seven years. Some little lie about his personal life. We've got a guy now who lied the country into a war. You're talking about Clinton from seven years ago?" Actually, Clinton left office fewer than five years ago. Cohen advised that on Monica Lewinsky “he should have said, 'None of your business' and then after that, it's between him and his wife.”
Cohen’s hostility to President Bush isn’t based on recent events. A MRC CyberAlert item in June of 2003 recounted: “Since President Bush is either a 'liar’ or 'corrupt’ or just plain 'incompetent’ now that his reasons for war with Iraq have all been found to be untrue, the 'ethicist’ columnist for the New York Times wondered on CNN whether Bush can 'honorably’ continue to serve in office.” (Full rundown of those comments, in which he made Aaron Brown seem reasonable, as well as what he said Friday night on CBS, follows.)