Yes, Stephens won that Pulitzer in 2013. And yes, he's a Trump skeptic who got in a Twitter beef with Sean Hannity last summer.
But he's also a torture apologist who wrote a column in 2014 titled "I Am Not Sorry the CIA Waterboarded":
I am sorry [Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who was waterboarded 183 times] remains alive nearly 12 years after his capture. He has been let off far too lightly. As for his waterboarding, it never would have happened if he had been truthful with his captors. It stopped as soon as he became cooperative. As far as I'm concerned, he waterboarded himself....He also regularly expresses contempt for those who agree with the scientific consensus on climate change. Here he is on Fox Business Channel in 2011:
I am sorry that Mr. Cheney, and every other supporter of enhanced interrogation techniques, has to defend the practices as if they were torture. They are not. Waterboarding is part of the military's standard course in Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape, or SERE. Tens of thousands of U.S. servicemen have gone through it. To describe this as "torture" is to strip the word of its meaning.
In the 1970s we were supposed to believe in global cooling. In the 1980s it was the nuclear winter. In the 1990s it was mad cow disease. Global warming was the flavor of the decade. I can't wait to see what the next scare is going to be.And here he was in 2009 comparing believers in cli8mate change to Stalinists:
...the really interesting question is less about the facts than it is about the psychology. Last week, I suggested that funding flows had much to do with climate alarmism. But deeper things are at work as well.This is when he wasn't calling President Obama "stupid" and "an anti-Israel president."
One of those things, I suspect, is what I would call the totalitarian impulse. This is not to say that global warming true believers are closet Stalinists. But their intellectual methods are instructively similar....
For the anti-Semite, the problems of the world can invariably be ascribed to the Jews; for the Communist, to the capitalists. And as the list above suggests, global warming has become the fill-in-the-blank explanation for whatever happens to be the problem.
He's going to write like this at the Times, and the Times is going to be overwhelmed by the response. That nice young man with his nice Pulitzer! We had no idea!
I'm guessing we'll soon hear that Stephens is replacing David Brooks. Yastreblyansky noted back in March that Brooks's Facebook page describes him as a "Former Columnist at The New York Times" -- even as he continued to write columns.
Brooks is awful, but Stephens could be worse. Genius move, New York Times.
UPDATE: Yastreblyansky recalls Paul Krugman's feud with Stephens.