Why Liberals Pick on Poor John Stossel
Oh, please. Andrew Sullivan uses the example of John Stossel to illustrate how liberals lack "tolerance" toward maverick thinkers. Money quote that Sullivan uses to support this argument (from a Stossel interview):
I think homosexuality is all right. And yet the conservatives will pay me a $40,000 speaking fee--which goes to charity, by the way--and invite me to their events and have me on their shows. But the liberals will have nothing to do with me.
The explanation is simple and has nothing to do with liberal intolerance. Stossel, a self-proclaimed libertarian, likes to portray himself as equally distanced from conservatives and liberals, because on the one hand he supports gay rights and abortion choice, while on the other hand he supports big business's unfettered right to pollute, defraud, etc.
But the equivalence is phony, not real. First of all, most of Stossel's reporting focuses on the supposed liberal tyranny that is sapping America--not on issues of human rights.
More important, it's very clear that he and his fellow libertarians have enormous influence in Washington these days purely because of their pro-business orientation. Conservative Republicans are busily dismantling and defunding necessary regulatory structures, flattening tax rates and feeding tax breaks to business, all with the cheers of the libertarians. Meanwhile the other side of the libertarian agenda--freedom to make my own personal moral choices--gets ignored or actively trashed, with nary a peep from the likes of Stossel.
John Stossel likes to think of himself as equidistant from right and left, but in objective terms his influence is entirely on the side of the right. Why else would he be getting those $40,000 speaking fees from right-wing groups supported by big business?
Tags: Andrew Sullivan, John Stossel