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Author Topic: 2 hour Stossel Special on Friday night 2/23  (Read 2937 times)


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2 hour Stossel Special on Friday night 2/23
« on: February 21, 2007, 12:40:04 pm »

For those that can't be at the Liberty Forum this weekend:

Two hours of prime time!  This week we start at 9pm.
I hope I don't mess this up. It's a great opportunity.   But the program still isn't finished!  I'm worried.
And worry is what the show is about.  It's titled:  "SCARED STIFF: WORRIED IN AMERICA"   
"Scared Stiff" expands on the idea we raised in my very first TV special, "Are we Scaring Ourselves to Death?"  (I wanted to call that show "We ARE Scaring you to Death!" but they wouldn't let me). 
I think ABC was surprised twelve years ago by the high ratings for that first show, and I'm delighted to be able to devote more time to the subject. 

There's a lot to be scared about. The media hit us with endless warnings: terrorism, bird flu, vicious crime, cancer, global warming, and much more. But are all worries created equal? It turns out that what we worry about is often different from what's most likely to hurt us.
Terrorism: How big is the risk? We look at what Veronique De Rugy of the American Enterprise Institute calls "terror porn," billions of dollars wasted in the name of safety, and what I calls "FIC," the "Fear Industrial Complex:" politicians, lawyers, activists and media who have an incentive to keep you scared. They profit by spreading fear.   

Clark Kent Ervin, the former inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security and author of "Open Target: Where America is Vulnerable to Attack", say we must do much more to protect ourselves from terrorists. He says there should be armed guards at stadiums, shopping malls and schools. But skeptics, like John Mueller, author of "Overblown: How Politicians and the Terrorism Industry Inflate National Security Threats," say the threat is overblown, and Americans are less likely to be killed by an international terrorist than by driving into a deer.   I didn't know that 4000 Americans crash their cars into deer every day.
Kidnapping and Molestation: CNN's Nancy Grace and "Dateline's" Predator programs earn high ratings by focusing on molestation and kidnapping. The Center for Missing and Exploited children runs powerful public service announcements about abducted kids. But what damage is done by the fear they spread? Kids I interviewed are much more frightened about kidnapping than the other risks that are more likely to hurt them

Vaccines: Many activists, like Bobby Kennedy Jr., have blamed some vaccines for IQ loss, mental retardation and autism.  I think that activists and lawyers may be killing people by frightening the public about vaccines. My own daughter got whooping cough after our pediatrician, after watching a "20/20" report that scared viewers about the whooping cough vaccine, didn't give her the final vaccination.  Fortunately, she recovered, and she will appear on the program.   I confront one of the lawyers about "scaring people for money."

Silicone Breast Implants: It was another example of the "Fear Industrial Complex" at work.  Some women—I interview one--were so frightened about "poison" inside their bodies that they cut their bodies open themselves to get the implant out.  But—oops-- it turns out that silicone did not cause cancer and auto-immune disease.  I confront a lawyer who made more than a billion dollars suing tobacco companies and implant makers.   He isn't giving the implant money back.

Unintended Consequences: Politicians pass laws in the name of safety, but safety regulation can create new problems: 
* Bike helmet laws: countries that require bicyclists to wear helmets find that fewer people ride—making us fatter. And it's not clear that the mandatory helmets result in fewer injuries; one study found cars pass closer to bicyclists wearing helmets.  And now that I wears a helmet, I take more risks; I ride in NYC traffic.  (Some research suggests that the best safety protection for bicyclists is to wear a wig, to look like a woman.  I'll try it).
* Sanitizing the house: Sterile houses may be giving more children asthma. It's possible that I helped give my own daughter asthma.
* Child safety caps: Medicine bottles are now so tough to open that some people leave the cap off.  More poisonings result.
* There are also nasty unintended consequences when the Fear Industrial Complex scares us about the wrong things. I confront the head of the activist group, "Food and Water Watch."  Its' demonstrations against food irradiation have stalled the irradiation of food in the USA.  Many grocery stores are too scared to carry it.  Yet the CDC estimates that 5,000 people die every year from food poisoning.   Organizations like the WHO, FDA, USDA, CDC, and AMA all say irradiation is safe, and we should do more of it, but the activists are better at convincing people.
Finally, there is good news: People are nostalgic for the "good old days," but today most Americans are richer, safer, live longer, have more money and more options than ever before. I'll profile some successful risk takers who reminds us:  risk built America.


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Re: 2 hour Stossel Special on Friday night 2/23
« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2007, 04:42:20 pm »

For those that can't be at the Liberty Forum this weekend:
Two hours of prime time!  This week we start at 9pm (on Friday)

I'm SURE some TVs at Liberty Forum will be tuned in for this...  and it also means we have to pray for clear weather so Stossel can get from NYC to NH.  I dunno if he's doing the intro spots live for the show , but if he does, that means on FridayNight/Saturday he'll be traveling to NH to speak at the Dinner.  If he tapes it all, then he might travel a bit earlier.  Either way, the forecast right now is light snow on Thursday.


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Re: 2 hour Stossel Special on Friday night 2/23
« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2007, 08:37:27 pm »

Cool - I just set the DVR.  ;D
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