He said the problem was "the appearance" of conflict of interest. I asked how that could be when I never wrote about the subject at all. He said the real problem was that FreeScore was a major financial company and I wrote about finance. But, as I told him, FreeScore was a small Internet aggregator, not a bank or insurer.
Never mind. I was history. "You should have consulted us," was the basic line.
Of course, there was not one word of complaint when I did commercials for immense public companies. By a total coincidence, I was tossed overboard immediately after my column attacking Obama. (You can attack Obama from the left at the Times but not from the right.)
Then, two things happened to change and end my career at the Times. Well, maybe three. The Times told me they were forced by budgetary pressures to only run me every four weeks. This was a blow and I started to think about where else I might write. (I had been solicited by many major publications while at the Times but my editors had asked me not to write for them and I did as asked.)
But the two main things, as I see them, were that I started criticizing Mr. Obama quite sharply over his policies and practices. I had tried to do this before over the firing of Rick Wagoner from the Chairmanship of GM. My column had questioned whether there was a legal basis for the firing by the government, what law allowed or authorized the federal government to fire the head of what was then a private company, and just where the Obama administration thought their limits were, if anywhere. This column was flat out nixed by my editors at the Times because in their opinion Mr. Obama inherently had such powers.