John Stossel's descent into madness

That caveat seems reasonable enough, though it should have been implied by what I already said. Granted.

Oh, but come on! The surveillance video of the man throwing away a trash bag full of live puppies definitely counts as Nasty Behavior!

To be fair, farmland is closer to undeveloped than inner cities. If not lived and worked on, farmland would revert to wilderness in less than 100 years, as opposed to the thousands it would take massive urban areas to do so. But it’s still a strawman to say that some sense of open areas is the number one factor of those opposing urban sprawl.

I’m not for or against it, but my biggest probelm I have with it is decreased quality of life stemming from taking too much time commuting and getting around, and the environmental degradation caused by this.

Yeah, if by “some government oversight” you mean onerous government control of practically every aspect of the business and plant, and by “some government subsidy” you mean corporate welfare.


I think he’s been off the deep end ever since Dr Death smacked him up side the head years ago.

List of US Superfund sites. The majority of them are private companies.

Stossel will usually have a few good points, but overall his stuff is shite. He cherry-picks facts and chooses straw men as opposed to addressing opponents real concerns, and rarely admits when he’s wrong. I’m not the biggest fan of’s stuff but here’s a good list of some of his previous gaffes.

I laughed at the fact that you called a person defending property value increases a “commie”.

Wesley Clark said:

Translation: Stossel is quite good when he debunks things I agree with. But when he disagrees with me, he transforms into a partisan hack.

I missed the piece on TV, but I read the summary at the web site. Couldn’t disagree with him about any of it. The danger of ‘urban sprawl’ is largely a myth created by those who believe people should pack together like sardines in cities, walk or take mass transit everywhere, and live in apartments. That would be a defensible position if they argued it in terms of energy consumption and environmental policy, but when they start talking about people in the suburbs really hate it, and how it’s a horrible lifestyle and how the people who choose that lifestyle are somehow misguided about what they truly want, then they deserve to get slapped down.

Well, I can’t go through the whole list, partly because, bizarelly, I’m actually being blocked by the firewall from that URL, but I went to the CIRES database and looked up final NPL sites here in Colorado, producing a total of 16 sites. Of these, 9 are actual privately held sites or a direct result of corporate dumping, another two are just open areas, and then five are government run. 6 of the private sites are related to mining which was completed over 80 years ago. The highest clean-up cost for any of these private sites was half million on Denver Radium Sites for testing of radioactivity levels.

The largest federal clean-up effort, Rocky Flats, has a budget of $650 MILLION A YEAR AND WILL KEEP GOING UNTIL 2006! The costs for Rocky Flats alone is over a 100 times all other super-fund clean up costs combined. Oh yeah, the government just loves the environment.

The urban sprawl is a whole-nother’ kettle of fish. Stossel is right that there’s lots of land left to develop if we want to, but again, it’s something that every city should decide for themselves. I’m both the beneficiary of a strongly anti-sprawl city council here in Boulder that levies lots of taxes to buy up open space, and a student harmed by $500/bedroom rents for absolute shit-holes. Again, if some cities choose to create green-belts and limit their expansion, that’s their call. I’m not opposed to them making that decision, it just isn’t some huge monolithic issue that we can decide as a nation.

Yes, I called him a “commie.” Is this the pit or GD? Fuckwaffle.

Oh yes, and where has Stossel been using fake things like in Rather’s Memogate as opposed to just using facts in a way that you don’t like?

For the record, I like Dan Rather and I think Memogate got blown out of proportion. Yes, he and CBS should have been more skeptical of the source and done more to verify it before running with it, but I don’t think that it was the type of thing that should have ruined careers. So, whatever I am, I’m not a hypocrite in regards to Stossel.

Translation: Sam Stone is jumping to conclusions. Read the endorsements on the back of Stossel’s book, they are all from conservative/libertarian pundits. Coincidence? No.

If Karl Marx was an investigative journalist who managed to make the central theme of all his investigations that the lower class are exploited by the upper class I would say the same thing (ie, just do the investigative journalism, I don’t care about you recruiting me into your political views). if James Carville were an investigative journalist who found a way to blame republicans for everything I would say the same thing. Most of John Stossel’s mythbusting efforts somehow or another tie into libertarian philosophy (free trade is good, taxes are bad, gov. intervention is bad). Not all of us want to be indoctrinated with libertarian philosophy, we just want to hear some mythbusting. Pointing this fact out doesn’t make me some kind of knee jerk liberal. If you look at his 10 points most are just covers for an attempt to push his political philosophy.

Point 1. Sharing Would Make the World a Better Place. Anti-socialism and pro-private enterprise
2. Urban Sprawl. Anti-gov intervention (in part)
3. Public Schools for Poor Kids, Not Politicians’ Kids. Anti-gov intervention and anti-taxes
4 Outsourcing Is Bad for American Workers. Pro-free trade
5 Welfare for Farmers. anti-Gov. intervention
6 Congress’ Pork Barrel Spending. anti-Gov. intervention, taxes.
7 Gas Prices Are Higher Than Ever. politically neutral
8 Noise. politically neutral
9 Extra Cell Phone Fees. Anti-taxation and gov. intervention.
10 Littering. politically neutral

Dr. D, David Schultz (not to be confused with the American freestyler who was shot by John DuPont). Dr. Death, Steve Williams, is someone else entirely. :wink:

So what? If Stossel prefers to attack myths that happen to irritate his libertarian bias, they’re still myths. His attack on the “urban sprawl” bit is quite justified; I’ll grant he understates the dependence-on-oil factor, but the mania that is the Urban Sprawl Disaster Craze deserves to be heavily slapped down in general.

He’s also absolutely right when he says that farm subsidies are a disaster, because they are. And he’s right when he says porkbarrelry’s a disaster, because it is. Those things are massively economy-warping activities that hurt more people than they help (including a lot of people who don’t get to vote on it) and that contribute to the gargantuan - and rapidly growing - national debt your children’s children’s children will be suffering to pay. Those happen to appeal to libertarians too, but he’s talking about something that costs American taxpayers hundreds of billions fo dollars to the general advantage of nobody and the great disadvantage of hundreds of millions of people in and outside the USA, but nobody discusses it because it’s just not an easy issue to grasp. Good for him. At least it’s a break from the usual partisan bullshit.

There’s no doubt Stossel has a libertarian bias, but you have a political bent, and so does everyone else. Fact is, Stossel’s editorials have many valid and pertinent points, and his point of view is a refreshing one coming out of a media, and a country, that generally panics everytime someone comes up with a new bogeyman to scare the public with.

Speaking of using bogeymen to cause panic…

What the hell is a “conservative/libertarian”? Is that anything like an “atheist/Christian”?

My original statement was

Someone who distrusts the government isn’t really fit to do unbiased investigative journalism into subjects of governmental influence. that is like James Carville reporting on the RNC, as I said. Alot of Stossels claims were good, but they were tainted in my view by his sublime attempts to push his political philosophies, no different than if Paul Begala became an investigative journalist and all his reports in one way or another were just attempts to promote democratic ideals (ie myth no. 6 money buys good healthcare, myth no. 7 school vouchers work, etc). I did not want to hear his political views, I just wanted to see some good investigative journalism.

And Stossel’s bias is huge, it is not like the puny bias people associate with people like Brokaw or Jennings, Stossel’s bias literally runs his reporting.

I made no assertion that would need to be backed up with a cite, It was Stossel who said public property gets dumped on more than private property. I merely cast my suspicion upon that claim. I doubt any good data exist on this point. Stossel, however, stated his assertion as a fact and provided no evidence whatsoever to backup this claim.

He did the same with his claim that fires occur more often on public property. Actually, that’s not what he said. He narrowed that to forest fires. So he is dicounting brush fires, structural fires, grass fires and more. Then he further qualified it by saying “catastrophic forest fires.” What the hell is a “catastrophic” forest fire? One that burns so many acres? One that kills so many people? One that burns so many structures? Who the hell knows? It sounds like the data was qualified to the point that it was made to fit the conclusion. Even then, Stossel never said where he got this “fact.”

So shove it up your ass sideways.

Hmm, interesting debate stance: I can’t prove my point and he can’t prove his, but he made the assertion in the first place, so he’s the jackass. Ooookay…

By catastrophic forest fires I’m refering to devestating crown fires that actually damage forests. Even trees that depend on fire to pop-open their pine cones are destroyed in super-large and intense fires caused by ongoing suppression of minor fires. It’s how the government, in their infinite wisdom, is Fucking up Our Forests and Wasting Money Doing It ™.

Which is why the government agencies responsible for our forests (Forest Service, BLM, and Park Service) abandoned that approach many years ago. You need to get out more.


  1. It’s not nearly as strong an adversarial situation as Carville vs. the GOP, as Carville is a partisan involved in a long0running and nasty feud; Stossel’s “the government is wasteful” stance is not exactly a controversial position in general. And

  2. Once again with feeling; everyone’s biased. Stossel is no less “fit” to do investigative journalism than anyone else.

You’re seeing “huge” bias primarily because you disagree with him. As an outsider and a moderate, I don’t see how Stossel is any more biased than most investigative journalists. He’s picking and choosing his stories, to be sure.

I cannot hear his name and NOT think of that episode…