Stossel: Ostracized After Defecting from Liberalism, Sees NYTimes Double Standard
On Tuesday's The O'Reilly Factor on FNC, former ABC News anchor John Stossel -- now with Fox Business -- came aboard to discuss the New York Times's recent attack on him for speaking in front of the conservative/libertarian group Americans for Prosperity. After charging that the Times never showed interest in his speeches to conservative groups before he joined Fox Business, the former 20/20 host also relayed that during his early days as a consumer reporter, he received a number of Emmy Awards because "they loved me" for his left-leaning work. But after, in Stossel's words, "I got smarter," turning more pro-business and anti-regulation, the Emmy Awards were no longer forthcoming.
Stossel even recounted an incident in which a person he met on the street expressed a desire that he "die soon" for his conservative views.
After starting the interview by asking Stossel about Web sites that engage in gambling based on election predictions, O'Reilly brought up the Times's newfound interest in the former ABC anchor. Stossel pointed out the double standard: "I make speeches. I make about 25 a year. I've done that for years. And suddenly, now that I'm at Fox, critics are leaping to attack me, according to the New York Times."
He added: "Isn't that interesting? When I worked for ABC two months ago, I also made three speeches for this group, but nobody worried about that. ... I'm sure somebody cared, but the Times didn't care."
Stossel soon recounted the radical shift in attitudes toward him that he experienced after turning from liberal to conservative on economic issues:
They loved me then. I won 19 Emmy Awards. Then I got smarter. I saw how the regulation I called for made things worse, didn't help consumers. And simple competition was better. And I started praising business and occasionally criticizing regulation. Suddenly, I stopped winning Emmy Awards.
He even repeated one case of a person on the street who recognized him and expressed a death wish for him. Stossel: "Someone did come up to me on the street and said, "are you John Stossel? I hope you die soon."
Below is a complete transcript of the interview with Stossel from the Tuesday, November 3, The O'Reilly Factor on FNC:
BILL O'REILLY: In the "Stossel Matters" segment tonight, our pal John recently gave a speech in front of the Americans for Prosperity group. That's a conservative free market outfit. Well, the New York Times didn't like it. No, they did not, saying it was another example of the conservative bias at Fox News Channel. Here now the very, very controversial John Stossel. Before we let you hammer the Times, which you can do as much as you want, you have been following the gambling on the New Jersey gubernatorial race. InTrade.com? What is InTrade.com?
JOHN STOSSEL: It's a Web site. It's run out of Ireland because it's illegal in America to bet on these things. But Karl Rove may be a genius, but I think the best predictor of elections is where people put their money where their mouths are. And that's InTrade.com. Corzine was as high as 65 percent early this afternoon. Now he's down to 45 percent.
O'REILLY: So 65 percent were voting, were betting on him this afternoon, and now he's under 50 percent?
O'REILLY: Okay, now, that's just amusement. We're not making anything of that, but Stossel is a strange guy, and this is what he does. Okay, now, the New York Times says that this group, Americans for Prosperity, they're some kind of heinous conservative group that were paying you money -- I know you give it to charity -- to do what? What were you doing? Why are they after you?
STOSSEL: I make speeches. I make about 25 a year. I've done that for years. And suddenly, now that I'm at Fox, critics are leaping to attack me, according to the New York Times. And Americans for Prosperity, I like them. I'm an American, I'm for prosperity. I've discovered, from 40 years of reporting, that what creates prosperity is limited government. And-
O'REILLY: And that's what these people espouse, right?
STOSSEL: And I would like to share that with as many people who want me to speak.
O'REILLY: So they hire you. You fly down, I guess, to Arkansas. Right?
O’REILLY: You do you a couple of forums for them. Do they make you sign a paper saying that you hate liberals or something? Do they make do you that?
STOSSEL: No, and-
O'REILLY: Do you have to personally attack people? I don't understand why they're mad at you? So what? You make a speech in front of a group that you respect.
STOSSEL: Well, I'm aligned with this conservative group.
O'REILLY: Didn't you talk-
STOSSEL: Are they conservative? I'd call them libertarian.
O'REILLY: Didn't you talk to this group before you got to Fox?
STOSSEL: Isn't that interesting? When I worked for ABC two months ago, I also made three speeches for this group, but the Times didn’t write a word about that.
O'REILLY: Nobody cared. Nobody cared then. But now-
STOSSEL: I'm sure somebody cared, but the Times didn't care.
O'REILLY: Now, Mark Feldstein, an associate professor of journalism at George Washington University, said your speaking to a partisan group was, quote, "pretty shameful," unquote. Why is it shameful?
STOSSEL: I guess they believe that all reporters have no opinions. No point of view.
O'REILLY: But you're a commentator now.
STOSSEL: And even before. I was a consumer reporter. I kind of invented it on TV, and we made it up as we went along.
O'REILLY: You had an opinion. This product is bad. This is good. Here’s hosing you.
STOSSEL: Or go to businesses, "Why are you a crook?"
STOSSEL: They loved me then. I won 19 Emmy Awards. Then I got smarter. I saw how the regulation I called for made things worse, didn't help consumers. And simple competition was better. And I started praising business and occasionally criticizing regulation. Suddenly, I stopped winning Emmy awards. A journalism show had me on, and I found they had titled it "Objectivity and Journalism: Does John Stossel Practice Either?" If I'd been quicker, I would have said, "Look at the title of the show. It shows you have a point of view. We all do. I just admit mine."
O'REILLY: Okay. I'm siding with the New York Times. I think you're shameful.
STOSSEL: Well, can't argue with you.
O'REILLY: Now, look, you know what the game is. Now that you're here -- and Glenn Beck found this out very quickly when he came over from CNN -- when you're here, you're a target. You become a target just by association because now you work for Fox News. So they're going to find anything that you do, and this is the New York Times, which they hate us, and they're going to put you in the pejorative light. They're going to put you in the negative light just because you work for us. You committed the cardinal sin of all time. You left a liberal network, and you went to a traditional right-leaning network. So you're never, ever going to be liked again by anyone. Does that make you sad?
STOSSEL: Well, I live with these people. They all live in my neighborhood. So that makes me sad.
O'REILLY: Why don’t you move out to Long Island where I live, because I live with the folks.
STOSSEL: I like taking the subway to work.
O'REILLY: You're a pansy. Come out to Long Island. All right? The best pizza in the world: Villa Milano in Manhasset. Okay? Come out there. They're regular folks. You won't have to deal with those pinheads on the Upper West Side.
STOSSEL: It's good exercise. Living with the liberals, you get to hear their arguments, fight with them all the time. Keeps me alert.
O'REILLY: Okay, but, if you do that, you're a fascist. Do you really want to be a fascist, Stossel? Do you really want to be that?
STOSSEL: Someone did come up to me on the street and said, "are you John Stossel?" "Yes." "I hope you die soon."
O'REILLY: Oh, is that right? You know, that was our boss.
STOSSEL: I don't think so.
O'REILLY: Just a joke. All right, John Stossel, everybody.