• Am I Dumb or Dishonest?

      Yesterday HuffPost blogger Jackson Williams titled a post, "John Stossel of Fox News: Is He Dumb or Dishonest?" He writes:

      All journalists make mistakes. After all, it's a human enterprise. Then there's John Stossel, now of Fox News. He doesn't merely commit the occasional error, he combines tall tales and worthless stats to fit his conservative rant-of-the-day.

      Reminds me of the time that I was featured on CNN’s “Reliable Sources” show.  When I arrived at the studio, I found they’d titled it: "Objectivity and Journalism: Does John Stossel Practice Either?"

      What is Williams so upset about? He discovered that I wrote a blog post last month on the decline of the once-great city of Cleveland. He seems unaware that we also devoted an entire hour to the city on my Fox Business program (Airs every Thursday @ 8pm ET), which you can watch here. In it, I criticized Cleveland's government for owning, operating, and losing money on things like golf courses and the "West Side Market", which I described as a "big grocery store". Williams objects:

      Give me a break, as Stossel says. The West Side Market isn't a "grocery store" at all. It's a farmer's market, and the city is the landlord, leasing the building to a hundred vendors who sell fresh vegetables, meats, flowers. It's only open four days a week -- in the daytime -- because it's a real market, not because that's "typical of government."

      In fact, the West Side Market is not a "farmer's market". Farmer's markets typically consist of, well, farmers. At the farmer's markets in my hometown, farmers show up a couple times a week because they spend most of their time farming. The West Side Market is a collection of vendors and shops selling ... grocery products ... under one roof. The Market, owned by the city of Cleveland, manages to lose money every year. The city's manager doesn't even know how much business the Market does.  The Market’s vendors complain about how the city neglects basic upkeep. Only governments can ignore such problems, lose money, and stay in business, so ... yes, I'd say that's typical of government.

      Williams goes on to criticize points I made about Cleveland's publicly financed stadiums.

      [Stossel] notes there are only 41 home basketball games a year [at Quicken Loans Arena], then immediately asks, "How does that sustain a neighborhood economy?" Interesting juxtaposition of statistic to question.

      He's trying to plant the specious notion that the House of LeBron is somehow locked and shuttered for 324 days a year. If true, it certainly wouldn't help sustain an economy. Well...it isn't true.

      Like all NBA facilities, Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland operates year-round, hosting everything from rock and country to the family-friendly "Stars On Ice." Two million people pass through its doors annually.

      Please. The Arena claims it hosts 200 events each year, including NBA games, which still leaves it shuttered for 165 days a year. He also leaves out Cleveland's other publicly funded stadiums.  They host only 81 games (baseball) and 8 games (football) respectively. Neither stadium hosts other events (note: with rare exceptions). How does that sustain a neighborhood economy?

      Wasting taxpayer’s dollars on white elephants like stadiums and convention centers (Cleveland will now fund “Med Mart,” which it claims will become a “Disneyland for doctors”) will not rejuvenate a city. Governments should give citizens room to live their own lives, rather than smothering them with grand schemes.

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