• Rule of Law: Out the Window

      BP should have to pay for the damage they did in the gulf, as determined by the laws on the books. But President Obama wants to change the law.   He wants to retroactively raise that $75 liability cap.   That’s just wrong.   I want BP liable, but we still have to respect the rule of law. It’s not fair to increase penalties retroactively.  Anyway, the cap is moot if a company is found “negligent.”  I’m sure BP will pay much more than $75 million.

      BP has volunteered that it will pay “any legitimate claims.”  I wonder where that will end.

      David Boaz emails the following from a colleague:

      How far back should liability for damage claims here go?  Everyone agrees that the iconic Louisiana "shrimper" who's out of work deserves compensation for losses.  But what about the owner of a hotel who finds his revenue dropping by half?  What about the guy who owns a Quicky-Mart or restaurant that witnesses a 30% reduction in sales because tourists aren't coming?  What about the company that sells napkins to said restaurant?   The tort lawyers and blame throwers will waste lots of money suing over such things.

      Don Boudreaux also warns that now, in the heat of the moment, is not the right time to re-think our penalties.  As Winston Churchill said, “Hard cases make for bad laws.”

      The fact that this spill has uncorked a geyser of emotions - emotions still at fever pitch - means that now is not the time to take any steps that risk fundamental alterations to the sharing of power by federal and state government, or, indeed, any steps that change public policy at all.

      The Justice Department has announced that it will look into legal action to prevent BP from issuing the dividend. GMU Law Professor J.W. Verret writes why that should scare us:

      Even if BP’s dividend decision is a bad idea, it is not the Justice Department’s call to make. The timing of this development, when the BP disaster has brought the president’s poll numbers to an all-time low, indicates that the independence of the Justice Department may be at risk.

      The Founding Fathers were mindful of politically motivated prosecutions by the English Crown. That concern was the primary impetus for the constitutional protections in the Bill of Rights. The decision under consideration by the Justice Department undermines its integrity and threatens the rule of law.

  • This Week's Show -- July 10, 2014

    MEDIA BIAS: When I began my career as a consumer reporter, I had an obvious agenda: Businesses cheat consumers! Government must regulate them! But when I wised up about the problems with government, my bosses resisted, and I stopped receiving Emmy Awards. Emmys reward liberal reporting.

    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