• NYTimes Cluelessness Part IX

      Okay, I admit I haven’t counted the exact number of stupid New York Times stories that I’ve blogged about, but it’s roughly nine.

      This time they ran a big story about Wal- Mart Inc.’s Sam’s Club

      “ introducing a program in which it facilitates loans for shoppers of up to $25,000, backed by the Small Business Administration…”

      The NYTimes suggests that such “facilitation” is an exciting new sales promotion:

      retailers are taking matters into their own hands, taking bold steps…

      What?  What’s bold?  This is just crony capitalism. Sam’s Club uses government to help itself, and compliant government rips you off. 

      If Wal-Mart really wanted to loan its customers money to help them buy stuff at Sam’s Club, fine. But why the heck is the SBA involved? 

      It’s involved because we sucker taxpayers allow the SBA to reimburse up to 85% of the loan if a borrower defaults. Sounds familiar (remember Fannie and Freddie’s guarantees?). Economist Veronique de Rugy points out that

      “As of the end of 2006, the SBA had nearly $83 billion in outstanding guaranteed loans that the taxpayers—not the banks—would have to pay if the economy experienced a serious downturn…”

      When we called the SBA to ask them whether they make a profit, or lose money, a representative said:

          “We don’t think in terms of profit…”   

      Good thing.  Because they don’t have any. The spokesman said the SBA likes to think that the taxable revenue from the businesses that they “produce” will offset the cost of the program overtime.

      Their website  is forced to make it clear: on average, the SBA loses about 6% a year, and taxpayers are currently owed $9,971,048,478.

      And yet they still exist. And they don’t apologize. And The NYTimes heralds the newest scam.

      Crony Capitalism
  • 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