The infamous "Bridge To Nowhere" eventually got so much attention that it was canceled.
But the "Airport For Nobody" still happened. It's official title is the "John Murtha Airport", named after the congressman -- fitting, because only a politician spending someone else’s money would ever build something like it. Tyler Grimm reports:
If you hate the hubbub of crowded airports, you might want to consider flying out of Johnstown, Pa. The airport sees an average of fewer than 30 people per day, there is never a wait for security, you can park for free right outside the gate, and you are almost guaranteed a row to yourself on any flight.
You might wonder how the region ever had the air traffic demand to justify such a facility. It didn't. But it is located in the district of one of Congress's most unapologetic earmarkers: Democrat John Murtha.
There are a total of 18 flights per week, all of which go to Dulles Airport in Washington, D.C. I was visiting the airport from Washington, but because flights cost a pricey $400, I drove. The drive took less than three and a half hours and cost about $35 in gas...
The airport has an $8.5 million, taxpayer-funded radar system that has never been used. The runway was paved with reinforced concrete at a cost of more than $17 million. The latest investment was $800,000 from the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to repave half of the secondary runway. (Never mind that the first one is hardly ever in use.)...
The usually barren airport—there were several times during the day I paced the building for 15 minutes and did not see another human being—has a lot of unused advertising space. But you can't miss the large picture of John Murtha among a collage of Lockheed Martin workers at the airport's center...
Tickets to fly to Johnstown are expensive, even though every passenger flying out of John Murtha Airport has a $100 subsidy behind the ticket courtesy of the federal Essential Air Service program, which provides support to struggling rural airports. A woman who had just gotten off a flight told me that there were only four people on her plane. "The plane could have held at least 30 passengers," she said.
It galls me that politicians repeatedly get away with such shameless self-promotion.
Of course, recipients of your largess defend the airport.
Johnstown Chamber of Commerce President Bob Layo tells me: "If the airport isn't paying dividends now, it will in the future."
Airport Director Scott Voelker admitted in an interview that having a never-used unmanned radar system is "dumber than dirt." But he says the airport is necessary and blames its current shortcomings on the economy."
Give me a break. When they start investing their own money, I'll listen.
This Week's Show -- July 10, 2014
CENSORSHIP AT CBS: Investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson has a similar story. She explains why she left CBS after it became "harder and harder to get stories on television" that criticized this government and "any powers that be."
IS STOSSEL BIASED?: Years ago, journalist Howard Kurtz criticized me for not being objective. I said it's impossible for any journalist to be completely objective. Now that Howard Kurtz is on Fox, we debate again.
THE OBJECTIVITY MYTH: Andrew Kirell of Mediaite.com says, "every journalist has a point of view and they don't just magically check it the minute they walk in the newsroom door."
NEW MEDIA: Reason TV's Remy Munasifi uses music videos and parodies to complain about things like politicians' spending. One of his latest parodies highlights the scandal surrounding the VA hospitals. Munasifi discusses his videos, which have gone viral on YouTube.
RETRO REPORT: It's great there's a new media organization called Retro Report, which reveals media hype of the past ("crack babies," America's landfill "crisis," the "superpredator," etc.) and corrects stories everyone in the media got wrong. I discuss the new show with its executive producer, Kyra Darnton.
REAL OR FAKE?: Sometimes people in the media say things that are so bizarre, you'd think they were made up. Kennedy of The Independents quizzes FoxBusiness.com's Kate Rogers, Fox Business host Charles Payne and me to see if any of us can tell which quotes are real, and which were made up by my staff.
MY TAKE: I used to report on lots of scares. CBS even ran an ad for me where someone called me a "guardian angel."
That's bunk. The only guardian angel is a free and open society. That's what allows innovation, gives people longer lives, and lifts billions out of poverty. But these gradual improvements aren't newsworthy. Scares and disaster make the news.
News is broken not just because we're biased but because most good and important news happens slowly.
9PM ET on Fox Business Network