Will informed me the other day that John Stossel is leaving his long time home at ABC to join FOX. The NY times reports:

Mr. Stossel will start work in October, and his weekly program, named “Stossel,” will begin someti me in the fourth quarter. Fox said “Stossel” would include news segments and conversations about “libertarian issues in the United States and abroad,” including free-market economics and civil liberties.

In a post on his ABC blog, Mr. Stossel said he wanted to “dig into the meaning of the words ‘liberty’ and ‘limited government’ ” on the program.

“ABC enabled me to do some of that, but Fox offers me more air time and a new challenge,” he added.

…Mr. Stossel publicly fumed after ABC chose to run a report in late June about Michael Jackson’s death instead of a segment he had prepared about the dangers of government-run health care systems. “I am sick of the coverage of Michael Jackson,” he wrote in a blog post. The segment was eventually shown four weeks later.

Stossel has been the most articulate free market advocate on TV for a long time (here’s the first part of one of my favorite old Stossel classics on greed). I’m afraid, though, that the move to FOX is going to seriously undermine his credibility. On ABC, he was a libertarian voice questioning the conventional wisdom of the mainstream television pundits. On FOX, he becomes part of the tea-bagger echo chamber. I don’t agree with Stossel on everything, but I think he’s far better than any part of the supposedly free-market oriented Hannity-Cavuto-Beck-O’Reilly team of right wing stooges. I cringe every time I hear Glenn Beck call himself a libertarian (this is actually a big part of my reluctance to apply the term to myself), and I think it’ll be hard for Stossel to distinguish himself in the minds of most viewers from the nationalist, collectivist, flag-fetishizing anti-intellectualism espoused by most of his new colleagues.

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