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New York Times’ Bret Stephens criticized for Nazi ‘bedbug’ mention



Conservative New York Times opinion columnist Bret Stephens was at the center of ridicule again after a column published Friday mentioned bedbugs in reference to the horrors of WWII days after he let loose on a Twitter user for comparing him to the pest.

Stephens’ column highlighted parallels in the Nazis’ plans to slaughter of Jewish people to “delousing” and “bedbugs.”

“The political mind-set that turned human beings into categories, classes and races also turned them into rodents, insects and garbage. ‘Anti-Semitism is exactly the same as delousing,’ Heinrich Himmler would claim in 1943. ‘Getting rid of lice is not a matter of ideology. It is a matter of cleanliness.’ 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.'”

David Karpf, a professor of media and public affairs at George Washington University, tweeted Tuesday about the news that the Times’s Manhattan newsroom had been infested with bed bugs, and wrote on Twitter that Stephens was one of the bedbugs in question.

“The bedbugs are a metaphor,” he wrote. “The bedbugs are Bret Stephens.”

Stephens lambasted Karpf over an email that was also directed at his university provost. Later that day, Stephens took to MSNBC to insist that “analogizing people to insects is always wrong… Being analogized to insects goes back to a lot of totalitarian regimes in the past.”

Many Twitter users reacted to the column with disbelief, referencing Stephens’ Twitter blow-up that led to him deleting his account and earning ridicule from people including New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Read more: ‘My own friends roast me harder than that’: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez weighs in on New York Times columnist Bret Stephens lashing out over ‘bedbug’ comment

Several more Twitter users pointed out that the link that was embedded in Stephens’ piece was the result of a Google search for “Jews as bedbugs.”

One user pointed out that despite his expressed horror of comparing people to bugs, Stephens himself had compared Palestinian people to mosquitoes in a 2013 column for the Wall Street Journal.

Karpf responded to the column with horror, tweeting Saturday that the comparison in the major newspaper meant the saga had “stopped being funny.”

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