How do people deal with the torrent of information pouring down on us all? What sources can't they live without? We regularly reach out to prominent figures in media, entertainment, politics, the arts and the literary world, to hear their answers. This is drawn from a conversation with John Stossel, host of Stossel on Fox Business Network
When I first wake up, I turn on Fox & Friends or Imus in the Morning. On my BlackBerry, I start with The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. For the subway ride, I read on my Kindle so I don't have to elbow people turning the pages. At work, I always read CATO @Liberty and Reason's Hit and Run. I don't always look at the bylines but Reason's Matt Welch really expands my brain and I like Katherine Mangu-Ward, Jacob Sullum and Shikha Dalmia too. I also read The New Republic, The Week, Forbes and National Review. I stopped reading Newsweek and Time because I couldn't find anything that wasn't banal or liberal pap—though I will say Newsweek has gotten better since Tina Brown took over. I like Howard Kurtz. The Nation has gotten too stupid for me: the same dreary stuff over and over. I read The Atlantic only once a month but I probably wouldn't if Scott weren't there. (Those long articles take a lot of time.) I also read Mediaite for media gossip, the Bleacher Report for mixed martial arts and Intrade.com, where people bet on world events and politics (I find it much more accurate than what political commentators predict).
On TV, I watch Modern Family, NCIS, and Ultimate Fighting. I was a high school wrestler and I've always been fascinated with which martial art is superior. You have to be good at all of them. For awhile, the jujitsu specialists clobbered everyone. Then people found out defenses. Then the boxers won and people figured out how to get around punches. Then the wrestlers won for awhile.
Sometimes I watch the MSNBC folks. Rachel Maddow is the best but her love of big government gets under my skin. And Paul Krugman. He bothers me. He makes errors, he contradicts himself and cheers for bigger government, which I think is the biggest threat to our future. I wish a libertarian like Tyler Cowen or Don Boudreaux were given a column at The Times. And Jonathan Chait. I can't understand why he doesn't get it. He's obviously a smart guy. Why can't he see that big government makes life worse?
It is a little sad how the media is compartmentalized now. It used to feel like there was a community when everybody shared the same media. You had three TV channels and all your neighbors read The New York Times. But it was far sadder back then because The Times covered the spectrum of news from the left and the extreme left and people at ABC thought that was real life. At least now they know there's a different point of view. When I was at ABC, Peter Jennings would just look away when he would see me in the hall. I didn't deserve discussion. I wanted to report more on government health care or school choice or how the FDA kills people by keeping drugs off the market. I was told I was being predictable. They wanted more on Michael Jackson's death.
I just think people are so used to the Democractic and Republican point of view and so comfortable with the idea of central planning that the concept of spontaneous order frightens them. Especially if they've never studied Hayek or Ludwig von Misses.