My favorite contrarian is the popular ABC journalist John Stossel. Stossel is never afraid to tackle someone’s sacred cow. Perhaps too that’s why John Stossel adorns the dartboards of so many critics.
They may not share his laissez-faire philosophy, or perhaps they own one of the sacred cows Stossel has carved up. Certainly, critics have a right to oppose Mr. Stossel’s views. But they are wrong to question his integrity because of a human error. And they’re wrong to twist the facts of the case in a dishonest attempt to censor his viewpoint.
The story is this: recently, in a report on organic foods, Stossel made a mistake. Yep, a mistake. Stossel said ABC had tested for pesticide residue on both organic and processed foods. Though no such testing has been done by ABC News, it has in fact been done by outside parties. And the tests do indeed show as Stossel broadcast that there is no special health threat from pesticide residue.
John Stossel didn’t know that ABC had not performed the test. When he found out the truth he went public with the information. Integrity doesn’t mean one never makes any mistakes; it means that when we inevitably do make a mistake, we admit and rectify it. And that’s precisely what John Stossel did.
Television news has a checkered track record, so we need to be vigilant. But holding the media accountable is not advanced by ideological witchhunts. Give me a break! If infallibility is the test, we’re all losers.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.