Why I created Stossel TV

I recently gave up my Fox TV show because I want to explain liberty and free markets to young people.  Many don’t watch TV, but do watch short videos.  I hope to reach them here.

I’ve been a reporter for 50 years. In my first job in Portland, Oregon, I helped invent TV consumer reporting. I moved to WCBS in NYC, then to 20/20 and Good Morning America on ABC.

As a consumer reporter, I exposed con men and thieves, confronting them with hidden camera footage that unmasked their lies. I put some out of business, and helped send the worst of them to jail. The Dallas Morning News called me “the most consistently thought-provoking TV reporter of our time.” The Orlando Sentinel said “he has the gift for entertaining while saying something profound.” My media colleagues awarded me 19 Emmys for criticizing business.

My epiphany, after years of reporting, was seeing that business does much less harm than big government. Competition keeps business in check much better than government regulators do.

We don’t need “experts” to manage our lives. We do need limited government, a referee that keeps the peace. That’s all. Then free minds and free markets make good things happen.  

Now that I take a skeptical look at government, my media colleagues no longer give me awards. The mainstream media are tilted so far to the left, that they called me conservative.

I suppose they call me that because I now say the free market is a good thing — but what’s conservative about the market? It’s unplanned, unpredictable, scary, noisy. “Libertarian” is a better term for my beliefs.

After 28 years at ABC news, I left when 20/20 refused to air some of my segments about free markets.

Fox then gave me my own show, and never restricted what I could say. But after 7 years, I left to start this, Stossel TV, to reach more young people. I raised funds to open a little studio in Manhattan.  We make at least one video per week.  Each averages more than two million views.

I also started a non-profit to educate young people about free market ideas. About 10 million students a year now discuss liberty and free markets in class via Stossel in the Classroom run by former NYC high school teacher Rob Schimenz. In addition to the videos, there are teacher guides, online quizzes, contests, a Both Sides section with opposing views, info on how videos conform to state standards, and more.  This video shows how it works.

You can help support both these ventures with a tax deductible donation to the non-profit Center For Independent Thought.