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5.15.2006

John Stossel: The smartest guy in the room?

Maybe. John Podhertz puts on a good show too. Take a look at his appearance on Reliable Sources discussing the media.

KURTZ: Stossel faults the media for simplistic and exaggerated reporting, a case he makes in his new book, "Myths, Lies and Downright Stupidity: Get Out the Shovel, Why Everything You Know is Wrong".

John Stossel joins us now from New York.

You spent years as a consumer reporter in New York, talking about phony diets and all the cures and the like, and now you're a pretty big critic of the kind of reporting you used to practice. What happened?

STOSSEL: I got smarter. I wised up and started putting things in perspective. If all these things are big risks, where are the bodies? We're living longer than ever.

KURTZ: Let me quote from your book, John, now "the scarier and the more bizarre the story, the more likely it is that our bosses will give us more airtime and a front-page slot." So are you saying that many journalists are deliberately hyping the risks out there?

STOSSEL: Deliberate is a tough word, but we know that more of you are going to watch "Tonight on CNN, Howard Kurtz is going to kill you," than if we say things are OK.

KURTZ: You say that the media are clueless, especially on science and economic matters. That sounds like a pretty sweeping indictment to me. Are all journalists clueless or just some journalists clueless?

STOSSEL: I would say most journalists are clueless when it comes to science, and there this pride in the newsroom of not being able to do your expense account. We hear all these stories about record-high gas prices and this being so evil. I'd say journalists are hostile to capitalism and clueless about science and economics. What do you base it on? KURTZ: Hostile to capitalism. What do you base that on?

STOSSEL: I base it on the people I work with. People just don't like business. We hate our employers who pay us but love the government, which takes a third of our money and squanders it. There's a bias against business.

It's good stuff.

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