Talking Points Memo reports that recent Fox News hire John Stossel -- whom TPM had already noted was taking part in three "Health Care Town Halls" in Arkansas sponsored by the tea party-promoting group Americans for Prosperity -- is being joined in his efforts by former Arkansas Sen. Asa Hutchinson, who is doing robocalls promoting the event. TPM points out that this aligns Stossel with not just the tea partiers but with the Repubican Party:
Hutchinson is a Republican heavy hitter. He was a member of Congress from 1997 to 2001, when he was appointed to lead the Drug Enforcement Agency. He later was a top official in the Dpartment [sic] of Homeland Security. And he was the GOP nominee for governor of Arkansas in 2006, losing to Democrat Mike Beebe.
Given the White House's recent decision to call out Fox News for its partisanship, it's significant that Stossel has now effectively been working as a political activist not just with an anti-reform group, but with an actual Republican politician.
Fox News' claims that it's not partisan -- and its fellow right-wingers' concurrent insistence of same -- are ringing increasingly hollow.
From the October 21 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Glenn Beck Program:
Loading the player reg...
From the September 11 edition of Salem Radio Network's The Mike Gallagher Show:
Loading the player reg...
ABC's John Stossel is headed for Fox News, perhaps the only "news" outlet in America that won't immediately take a hit to its credibility by bringing him on.
That Stossel would feel at home at Fox should come as no surprise based on his performance as an ABC employee. Who could forget, for example, Stossel's post-Katrina column "In defense of price-gouging"?
You're probably thinking that Stossel was making a theoretical argument that high prices can be helpful in discouraging frivilous consumption. Surely Stossel wasn't actually saying that in water-scarce post-Katrina Louisianna, those stores that were lucky enough to have bottled water should charge those who were in danger of dying of dehydration $20 for a bottle?
But that's exactly what Stossel was saying:
Consider this scenario: You are thirsty -- worried that your baby is going to become dehydrated. You find a store that's open, and the storeowner thinks it's immoral to take advantage of your distress, so he won't charge you a dime more than he charged last week. But you can't buy water from him. It's sold out.
You continue on your quest, and finally find that dreaded monster, the price gouger. He offers a bottle of water that cost $1 last week at an "outrageous" price -- say $20. You pay it to survive the disaster.
You resent the price gouger. But if he hadn't demanded $20, he'd have been out of water. It was the price gouger's "exploitation" that saved your child.
It saved her because people look out for their own interests. Before you got to the water seller, other people did. At $1 a bottle, they stocked up. At $20 a bottle, they bought more cautiously. By charging $20, the price gouger makes sure his water goes to those who really need it.
The people the softheaded politicians think are cruelest are doing the most to help. Assuming the demand for bottled water was going to go up, they bought a lot of it, planning to resell it at a steep profit. If they hadn't done that, that water would not have been available for the people who need it the most.
Ah, no. By charging $20, the price gouger makes sure his water goes to those who can pay $20. That isn't the same as "the people who need it the most" on a random Tuesday in Des Moines. When talking about post-Katrina New Orleans, where many people no longer possessed anything more than the shirt on their back, it is simply obscene to equate the people who could afford to pay $20 for a bottle of water with the people who most needed water.
That John Stossel doesn't understand a basic thing like the difference between needing something and being able to pay grossly inflated rates for it tells you pretty much everything you need to know about him. Come to think of it, he just might actually drag Fox down a bit.
Here's a bit more:
Just as former New York Lt. Gov. Betsy McCaughey backtracked on her false claim that the House health care reform bill would "absolutely require" end-of-life counseling, other conservative media figures are hedging their support for former Gov. Sarah Palin's false claim that the health care bill would create government "death panels" to decide who lives and dies. These conservatives are allowing that there won't be actual "death panels," but also claiming that the bill itself will inevitably lead to the government making end-of-life medical decisions, or as a Fox News chyron put it: "De Facto Death Panels."
From the August 18 edition of MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann:
Loading the player reg...
ABC's John Stossel will reportedly moderate three "town hall-style" "health care meetings" organized by the Wisconsin chapter of the conservative group Americans for Prosperity and intended to increase "pressure" on the state's Democratic members of Congress on health care reform. Stossel has recently reported on health care issues on ABC's 20/20, which he co-anchors; that report included criticisms of the purported health care reform goals of President Obama and Democratic members of Congress.
"We need a public plan to keep the private plans honest."
But then why stop there? Eating is even more important than health care, so shouldn't we have government-run supermarkets "to keep the private ones honest"? After all, supermarkets clearly put profits ahead of feeding people. And we can't run around naked, so we should have government-run clothing stores to keep the private ones honest.
Supermarkets make money by selling people food. Clothing stores make money by selling people clothes. If they don't give people food/clothing, they don't get money.
Insurance companies, on the other hand, make money by selling people insurance -- and they make even more money by selling insurance, and then denying claims.
Surely even John Stossel can see the difference.
Loading the player reg...
During a one-hour report on ABC's 20/20 on "America's health-care system," co-host John Stossel interviewed five advocates of free-market approaches to health care but only one advocate of increased government-mandated health coverage. The five free-market advocates were interviewed on air for a total of 6 minutes, 24 seconds, while the lone advocate of a public health system, filmmaker Michael Moore, was interviewed on air for a total of 1:40.
Good Morning America aired a preview of John Stossel's "Whose Body is it Anyway? Sick in America," which contained an interview with one expert, David Gratzer, whom Stossel identified only as an author and "Canadian doctor." Stossel failed to note that Gratzer is a senior fellow at the conservative Manhattan Institute or that the World Health Organization ranks Canada and Great Britain -- whose nationalized health systems he criticized for their long waits -- ahead of the United States in its ranking of world health systems. At the end of Stossel's report, Diane Sawyer told him: "It is so hard to get perspective on this. Thank heaven you're doing it."
John Stossel attacked the methodology of a Department of Education study demonstrating nearly identical levels of academic achievement among public and private elementary school students, claiming that "[t]he researchers tortured the data" by using regression analysis -- a universally used statistical tool that even Stossel admitted is "valid."