John Stossel

John Stossel

Credentials

Background

John Stossel is the former host of Fox Business' Stossel and ABC's 20/20. Stossel joined the libertarian Reason Foundation in 2016/2017 where he now hosts “Stossel on Reason,” which he airs online. [3]

Stossel originally joined Fox Business Network (FBN) in 2009, and also regularly appeared on Fox News Channel to provide a “signature libertarian analysis.” Before joining Fox, Stossel co-anchored ABC's 20/20 program. Earlier in his career, Stossel was consumer editor for Good Morning America, and a reporter for WCBS-TV in New York. [4]

Stossel left Fox to focus on the “new media” by switching to YouTube as his primary broadcast platform. He launched “Stossel TV,” and began working with the Reason Foundation, a libertarian think tank heavily funded by the Koch brothers. Stossel has said he would become an “educator” with the Charles Koch Institute's new Media and Journalism Fellowship program, and would still make appearances on Fox News. [5], [6], [7]

Stossel formerly hosted a series called “Green Tyranny” on Fox News, where he claimed “environmentalists collude with the EPA to block economic progress.”Fox News description for the show read as follows: [8]

“Hollywood and the media push green propaganda. Kids fear global warming will kill them.

“The globe, in fact, is warming. But so what? Climate changes! America can adjust to that. But academics who dare say that are shunned as heretics.

“Americans are told that fossil fuels – coal, oil, and gas – are evil. But much of civilization owes its existence to fossil fuels.

In 2001, media watchdog FAIR (Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting) criticized Stossel for his coverage of global warming in his documentary Tampering with Nature. According to FAIR, Stossel used “highly selective […] information that gave center stage to three dissenters from among the 2,000 members of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which recently released a report stating that global temperatures are rising almost twice as fast as previously thought.” [9]

John Stossel & Tobacco

According to a search of the Tobacco Industry Documents Library, Stossel's reporting on smoking as part of ABC's 20/20 piqued the interest of the tobacco industry, especially an episode where Stossel covered “Junk Science.” [11], [12]

Philip Morris's (PM) Thomas J. Borelli sent an email to PM colleagues regarding Stossel's program noting that “the issues of weak association epidemiology and the problems associated with government funding will be discussed” and “I'll keep you posted when we get more information.” [12]

In 1996, PM representative sent a recommendation for an “expert” for Stossel to feature on the show to talk about secondhand smoke, which the letter's author admitted would be “controversial.” The letter does not name this expert. [13]

As noted by Media Matters, Stossel has said that “there is no good data showing secondhand smoke kills people.” [14]

In 1994, Stossel was critical of tobacco settlements which would force the industry to pay out millions of dollars. “It's not tobacco executives who will pay,” Stossel claimed. “It's today's smokers who are paying for the deal.” [15]

Stossel's name appears on a 1998 “Third Party Message Development Contact List,” in a document stored at the Truth Tobacco Industry Documents Library, and in a 1995 tobacco litigation “PR Response” plan, where he is on a list of “sympathetic/appropriate news reporters.” [16], [17]

“Stossel in the Classroom”

As reported by Greenpeace, a group called the Center for Independent Thought (CIT) owns and operates “Stossel in the Classroom,” a series of study aides including some of Stossel's news reports. The program initially featured study guides written by professors at the Koch-funded George Mason University. CIT itself has received at least $235,000 from Koch foundations from 2007 to 2014. [18][10]

Greenpeace notes that CIT also operates as a “pass-through” for grants to other libertarian groups including the Cato Institute, Reason Foundation, and Atlas Economic Research Foundation (CIT is also an Atlas Network member). Media Matters also documented how CIT is obscuring an increasing amount of its own funding through “dark money funnels” like DonorsTrust and Donors Capital Fund. [10], [19], [20]

According to the CIT website, Stossel in the Classroom is a “division” of CIT that “distributes free DVDs and streaming videos from popular TV journalist John Stossel to middle school and high school classrooms across the Americas.” [21]

Stance on Climate Change

September 13, 2017

Writing at the Reason Foundation, Stossel claims that climate change did not make hurricanes Irma or Havey worse, and that we “don't know” if humans are to blame: [22]

“Of course climate change is real! Climate changes—it always has and always will. For the past 300 years, since 'the little ice age,' the globe warmed about three degrees. The warming started well before man emitted much carbon.

“So the real unanswered questions are:

  1. Will climate change become a crisis? (We face immediate crises now: poverty, terrorism, a $20 trillion debt, rebuilding after the hurricanes)
  2. Is there anything we can do about it? (No. Not now; the science isn't there yet.)
  3. Did man's burning fossil fuels increase the warming? (Probably. But we don't know how much.)

I resent how the alarmists mix these questions, pretending all the science is settled.”

June 14, 2015

“The climate models that got the government so excited are totally wrong so far,” Stossel claimed on an issue of Green Tyranny later adding that “a few degrees warming might be good” because “cold waves kill many more people than heat waves.” [23]

April 20, 2007

Stossel published an article titled “The Global Warming Myth” at ABC News, which contained excerpts from his book “Myth, Lies, and Downright Stupidity”: [24]

MYTH: Global warming will cause huge disruptions in climate, more storms, and the coasts will flood! America must sign the Kyoto Treaty!

This has to be broken into four pieces.

MYTH No. 1: The Earth is warming!

TRUTH: The Earth is warming. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said the global average surface temperature increased about 0.6 degrees Celsius over the 20th century.

MYTH No. 2: The Earth is warming because of us!

TRUTH: Maybe. The frantic media suggest it's all about us. But the IPCC only said it is likely that we have increased the warming.

Our climate has always undergone changes. Greenland was named Greenland because its coasts used to be very green. It's presumptuous to think humans' impact matters so much in comparison to the frightening geologic history of the earth. And who is to say that last year's temperature is the perfect optimum? Warmer may be better! More people die in cold waves than heat waves.

MYTH No. 3: There will be storms, flooded coasts and huge disruptions in climate!

TRUTH: There are always storms and floods. Will there be much bigger disruptions in climate? Probably not.

Key Quotes

July 19, 2017

Stossel announced his new project, Stossel TV, to be broadcast on his YouTube channel as opposed to traditional media. In the announcement, Stossel said because he started criticizing government, ABC news “didn't love it” so he moved to Fox News, but he “fought with people there too.” [5]

“I'll fight the central planners. I'll show you the waste in government. […] I'm a libertarian. I've learned that life works best when individuals are free to make our own choices and government governs best when it governs less. But that libertarian idea gets squeezed out by the louder voices in the old media. Shut up! I'm sick of them. Where's the thoughtful debate? So that's why I'm going to the new media: Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Facebook. For the next chapter of my career I'll report from here. on Reason TV and Stossel TV,” Stossel said. [5]

December 4, 2014

As reported by Media Matters, in an issue of Fox News' Fox & Friends, Stossel claimed the science behind the dangers of secondhand smoke aren't settled (emphasis added): [14]

“Take cigarette smoking. Yeah, they kill smokers. But there is no good data showing secondhand smoke kills people. Nevertheless, banned – I don't smoke,” Stossel said. [14]

April 4, 2013

In an episode of “Green Tyranny,” Stossel declared: [25]

“So, why do I use the phrase 'green tyranny'? Because government always goes too far. Years ago, when I heard some animals were going extinct, I thought the endangered species act was a great idea.

But in the hands of government lawyers, and environmental zealots, it's become an instrument of petty tyranny.

Frogs, prairie dogs, beetles, take priority over people.” [25]

Key Deeds

2017

In 2017, Stossel repurposed one of his prior videos where he interviewed climate change deniers Patrick Michaels and Judith Curry as part of a free DVD series for “Stossel in the Classroom.” [26]

His classroom series, targeting educators, was promoted by the Heartland Institute and has included materials produced by professors at the Koch-funded George Mason University. The John M. Olin Foundation was one known funder of the program. [10]

The full list of Stossel in the Classroom segments includes a number of videos from his “Green Tyranny” series, including one on “Environmental Fear Mongering” featuring Marc Morano and one titled “A Case for Fossil Fuels” featuring fossil fuel proponent Alex Epstein. [27], [28], [29]

“Propaganda: Environmental Fear Mongering”

“The Energy Debate: A Case for Fossil Fuels”

August 28, 2014

Stossel featured guest Jay Lehr, who Greenpeace's Polluterwatch noted once served prison time for falsifying time sheets at the EPA. On the show, Lehr described the EPA as “fraudulent” in its estimates of pollution that would impact public health like particulate matter from coal pollution. Jay Lehr now serves as Science Director at the corporate-funded Heartland Institute. [30]

June 14, 2015

Stossel featured climate change deniers Patrick Michaels, Judith Curry, and Alex Epstein on the June 2016 edition of “Green Tyranny.” [23]

Stossel: “The real question is, is it dangerous? Is it going to harm people?”

Michaels: “Exactly.”

Stossel: “There's not a 99% consensus on that.”

Michaels: “Of course there's not.”

“The climate models that got the government so excited are totally wrong so far,” Stossel claimed during the show. “A few degrees warming might be good,” he suggested, because “cold waves kill many more people than heat waves.” [23]

February 2007

Stossel presented a two-hour feature titled “Worried in America” with ABC. “You know little has changed since then [12 years ago], said Stossel. “The press still leaps on every scare from global warming to shark attacks to vaccines causing autism to children being kidnapped.” [31]

The Cato Institute promoted the program, noting that the February 23 edition would feature American Enterprise Institute (AEI) adjunct fellow Veronique de Rugy and John Mueller of the Cato Institute. [32]

July 5, 2006

Stossel interviewed climate change deniers John R. Christy and Sallie Baliunas. In the interview, Stossel claimed that “The fundamentalist doom-mongers ignore scientists who say the effects of global warming may be benign.” [33]

June 29, 2001

Stossel aired a one-hour special on ABC titled Tampering with Nature where he portrayed environmentalists as “preachers of doom and gloom” who would have us “running around naked, hungry for food, maybe killing a rabbit with a rock, then dying young, probably before age 40,” the media watchdog group FAIR reported[34]

According to FAIR, Stossel used “highly selective […] information that gave “center stage to three dissenters from among the 2,000 members of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which recently released a report stating that global temperatures are rising almost twice as fast as previously thought.” [34]

“Stossel's discussion of global warming was highly selective in the information it presented. Instead of reporting the increasingly strong scientific consensus on global warming, Stossel chose to highlight the views of so-called 'skeptics,' giving center stage to three dissenters from among the 2,000 scientists of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which recently released a report stating that global temperatures are rising almost twice as fast as previously thought,” the FAIR report noted. [34]

“To back up the skeptics' claims, Stossel presents the infamous and debunked Oregon Petition as evidence: “You may have heard that 1,600 scientists signed a letter warning of 'devastating consequences.' But I bet you hadn't heard that 17,000 scientists signed a petition saying there's 'no convincing evidence' that greenhouse gases will disrupt the Earth's climate,” Stossel had claimed.  [34]

April 4, 2000

Stossel was listed as a speaker at a National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA) “distinguished luncheon series” event. His talk was titled “Pandering to Fear: The Media's Crisis Mentality.” [35]

April 1997

The Reason Foundation's senior editor RJacob Sullum interviewed Stossel. During the interview, Stossel said that the Reason Foundation had helped shaped his thinking after he graduated Princeton. [36]

“I would read The New York Times, Time, Newsweek, and nobody was saying any of these things. But then I found REASON, and read In Pursuit, by Charles Murray. I realized there were other people who were talking about these things, and there was an intellectual basis for what I was feeling,” Stossel said. [36]

February 7, 1996

John Stossel presented on “the media's crisis mentality” in a conference on “Junk Science & The Courts” by the Manhattan Institute, according to records in the tobacco industry documents library. [37]

In his discussion, Stossel claimed that toxic waste dumps and pesticides aren't hurting anyone: [37]

“As I think Michael Fumento said, there is no good evidence that these [toxic waste] dumps are hurting anybody, it's in the ground. […]

Pesticide residues, again good scientists say there is no evidence that anybody has their life shortened by the residues that we consume on pesticides.”

He concludes that “we have to reorient the debate if we're going to go forward and compete in the world if scare mongers in my business, fueled by junk scientists who often seem to go unchallenged continue to get away with what they're doing.” [37]

September 12, 1996

According to an archived transcript, via tobacco industry documents, Stossel was a speaker at the Federalist Society's “National Conference on Civil Justice and the Litigation Process.” [38]

Stossel noted in his speech that ABC was reluctant to give him his “John Stossel specials” which he specified “are not 20/20.” [38]

“They have surprised ABC and done well. […] And they only give it to me because the market worked,” Stossel said, according to the transcript. [38]

He then talked about how regulation “suffocates the economy.” He added, “The more I watched the market work, the more clear it was that it was so much more efficient and flexible and cheap and quick than the government-imposed solutions.” [38]

In in his talk, which focused on litigation as per the conference theme, described lawyers as “vultures” in cases like lawsuits against the asbestos industry: [38]

 “The people who end up paying are the innocent, the little old ladies who own the pension funds who own the companies now. The so-called bad guys are long gone. The lawyers come in like vultures after the beach is dead.” [38]

While Stossel admits there is proof “that if you smoked cigarettes and were exposed to high levels of industrial asbestos, it would give you these horrible diseases,” he still questions the link between second-hand smoking and cancer: [38]

“[T]here is very little proof that if you didn't smoke, that it would or that the low levels that many people are suing over now are hurting anybody,” Stossel said. [38]

He then argues that poverty is a bigger killer, and that when an asbestos factory closes “people are thrown out of work. People are made poor. That kills people too.” [38]

March 1995

Stossel was a keynote speaker at a “10th Anniversary Benefit” event hosted by the Heartland Institute and with tables paid for by tobacco and oil industry groups including Phillip Morris and the Charles Koch Charitable Foundation. [39]

“Gold Tables” included:

1994

According to archived documents, John Stossel was a speaker at the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) “National Orientation Conference” in 2014. [40]

Affiliations

Social Media

Publications

Stossel has published 3 books:

Resources

  1. Honorary Doctorate to John Stossel,” Newmedia UFM, January 14, 2008. Archived December 29, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/gfdEM

  2. John Stossel,” Fox Business. Archived December 29, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/ugM8S

  3. John Stossel: Host and Creator, Stossel on Reason, Reason.com. Archived December 29, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/heHg8

  4. John Stossel,” Fox Business. Archived December 29, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/ugM8S

  5. Launch of Stossel TV,” YouTube video uploaded by user “John Stossel,” July 19, 2017. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.

  6. The Reason Foundation,” Greenpeace. Accessed January 7, 2018.

  7. John Stossel. “John Stossel: What a skating rink can tell us about life (and government),” Fox News, December 14, 2016. Archived January 7, 2018. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/Ate2y

  8. Green Tyranny with John Stossel,” Fox News, June 14, 2015. Archived December 28, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/mezFx

  9. Stossel Tampers with the Facts,” FAIR, July 17, 2001. Archived September 22, 2001. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/4hr5f

  10. David Mastio. “Prime-time propagandist,” Salon, February 25, 2000. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/JVOAP

  11. John Stossel and tobacco settlements,” July 21, 2000. Retrieved from Tobacco Documents Library. Bates No. 2078852444-2078852444A.

  12. Thomas Borelli. “ABC/John Stossel,” April 29, 1996. Retrieved from Tobacco Documents Library. Bates No. 2078372134. 

  13. John Stossel 'Junk Science' Special,” May 21, 1996. Retrieved from Tobacco Documents Library. Bates No. 2063346768.

  14. Brian Powell. “Fox's John Stossel Thinks Secondhand Smoke Isn't Deadly,” Media Matters, December 4, 2014. Archived January 7. 2018. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/8gTrc

  15. Unedited transcript, June 4, 1999. Retrieved from Tobacco Documents Library. Bates No. 2078706397A-2078706403.

  16. THIRD PARTY MESSAGE DEVELOPMENT CONTACT LIST,” October 1998. Retrieved from Truth Tobacco Industry Documents library. Bates No. 2078212310-2078212322.

  17. Tobacco Litigation - Public Attitudes: PR Response,” Covington Burling, April 1995. Retrieved from Truth Tobacco Industry Documents library. Bates No. 2065574079-2065574086.

  18. Center for Independent Thought: Stossel in the Classroom,” Greenpeace. Accessed January 8, 2018.

  19. Center for Independent ThoughtAtlas Network. Archived January 8, 2018. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/YzhAk

  20. The Right-Wing Money Putting John Stossel In School Classrooms,Media Matters, February 25, 2013. Archived January 8, 2018. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/aLqgU

  21. Homepage, Center for Independent Thought. Archived January 8, 2018. Archive.is URL:https://archive.is/wmAq7

  22. John Stossel. “The Climate Alarmists Are Wrong,” Reason, September 13, 2017. Archived December 29, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/LtSBf

  23. Stossel 2015 06 14 SPECIAL Green Tyranny,” YouTube video uploaded by user “YoungRothbard,” March 17, 2016. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.

  24. John Stossel. “The Global Warming Myth?“ ABC News, April 20, 2007. Archived January 7, 2018. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/7DQX

  25. John Stossel - Green Tyranny: In The Name of Protecting The Earth 4/04/13,” YouTube video uploaded by user “selfownership1,” April 27, 2013. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.

  26. (2017 DVD) Pseudo Consensus - The Global Warming Debate,” YouTube video uploaded by “StosselClassroomDVDs” on July 28, 2016.

  27. VIDEO LIBRARY,” Stossel in the Classroom. Archived January 8, 2018. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/pKHUg

  28. PROPAGANDA: ENVIRONMENTAL FEAR MONGERING,” Stossel in the Classroom. Archived January 8, 2018. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/f2ggz

  29. THE ENERGY DEBATE: A CASE FOR FOSSIL FUELS,” Stossel in the Classroom. Archived January 8, 2018. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/YruSp

  30. Connor Gibson. “MAN WHO DEFRAUDED EPA CALLS EPA 'FRAUDULENTON FOX,” Polluterwatch, August 29, 2014. Archived January 8, 2018. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/PFIKp

  31. ABC's Stossel: Nothing to Fear But Fear Itself,” NewsMax, February 22, 2007. Archived December 29, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/EFZkz

  32. Thomas A. Firey. “Scared Stiff? Watch John Stossel,” Cato Institute, February 23, 2007. Archived December 29, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/F9Rdf

  33. John Stossel. “A Convenient Lie,” Real clear Politics, July 5, 2006. Archived January 7, 2018. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/94ax

  34. Stossel Tampers with the Facts,” FAIR, July 17, 2001. Archived September 22, 2001. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/4hr5f

  35. Think Tanks Network Vol. 11, Issue 12 (March 24, 2000). Retrieved from Truth Tobacco Industry Documents Library. Bates no. 2078876628-2078876638.

  36. Risky Journalism,” Reason, April 1997. Archived December 29, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/X1AcF

  37. Junk Science & The Courts,” Nation-Wide Reporting Coverage, February 7, 1996. Retrieved from Tobacco Industry Documents Library. Bates No. 190204128-190204161.

  38. National Conference on Civil Justice and the Litigation Process,” Ann Riley & Associates, Ltd. September 12, 1996. Retrieved from Trith Tobacco Industry Documents library. Bates No. 2074211269-2074211317.

  39. The Heartland Institute: A Synopsis,” The Heartland Institute, March 1995. Retrieved from Tobacco Industry Documents library. Bates No. 2046851599-2046851623.

  40. Dear ALEC Private Sector Member,” American Legislative Exchange Council, November 17, 1995. Retrieved from Truth Tobacco Industry Documents library.

Other Resources