• Ideas Have Sex...and We're Better for It

      Did you know that ideas have sex?

      Think about it this way: one idea goes to a bar and meets another idea. They get together -- and however many days or months later (I'm not sure how it works with ideas) -- a baby results. The baby idea has the best traits of both parents.

      I know this seems like a weird concept. It seemed weird to me when I first heard it.

      But the more I thought about it ... the more right it seems.

      The man I learned it from is British journalist Matt Ridley, author of The Rational Optimist. As I write in this week's syndicated column, he says that a big reason our world is getting better is because ideas have sex:

      "Ideas spread through trade," he told me. "And when they meet, they can mate, and you can produce combinations of different ideas. I think a good example is a camera pill, which takes a picture of your insides on the way through. It came about (during) a conversation between a gastroenterologist and a guided missile designer ... a process very similar to sex in biology, because through sex, genes meet and recombine, and you get new combinations of genes. That's what causes innovation in biology, and innovation in culture."

      And life improves.

      "Our living standards have shot up in my lifetime. The average income of the average person, corrected for inflation, is three times what it was when I was born (in 1958). And life span is 30 percent longer."

      This didn't happen because of central planning. It's the spontaneous market generated from free individuals that sets and keeps it in motion.

      Ridley goes on to argue that even sex between the ideas of dumb people produces better results than those of a brilliant central planner.

      "If you look at human history ... lots of people in a room who are talking to each other, however stupid they are, can achieve a lot more than a lot of clever people in the room who never talk to each other. So it's not individual intelligence that counts in how well a society works. It's how well people communicate and exchange ideas with each other."

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      Syndicated Column
  • 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