TV's Two-Faced Pundit
CNN Crossfire on Gary Hart and the Media (5/12/87):
Host Tom Braden: Ben Stein is a media critic in Los Angeles, and I’d like to ask him…does a candidate’s private life have any bearing on what he does as a private official?
Ben Stein: Absolutely. If you have a presidential candidate who is having a different girlfriend every week or sometimes a couple of times a week for 12 or 14 years, you have a person whose mental health is at issue….
Braden: Do you think [asking candidates if they’ve ever committed adultery] is a good idea?
Stein: I think that the press and the service it performed last week, in telling us about Gary Hart, that was one of the highest moments of the press’ utility.
Braden: How far would you have the press go? Would you say that a candidate should ever be asked if he’s ever had a homosexual experience?
Stein: Absolutely, as far as I’m concerned. Absolutely, absolutely, absolutely.
CNN Crossfire on Dan Quayle and the Media (8/19/88):
Tom Braden: Mr. Stein, as a media critic, do you think the media was fair in going after Senator Quayle on the subject of Paula Parkinson?
Ben Stein:Absolutely not. I think that if they started going after all the presidential candidates on the subject of their sex lives, they could really talk about very little else. I think it’s just a very dangerous subject for the Democrats to open, or for anyone to open, and it’s a complete irrelevancy as well.