• TSA Claims

      TSA administrator John Pistole wrote a letter to the Wall Street Journal claiming there were "inaccuracies" in my recent reporting on the TSA.

      Pistole claims that private screening at San Francisco International Airport is no better than TSA and comes "at a higher cost than federal screening."

      As I note in today's WSJ, the opposite is true. A Congressional Transportation Committee Report (2011) found that if Los Angeles International Airport switched to private screeners similar to those at San Francisco, screening costs would fall by 42%.

      Private screening is less expensive because each screener processes more passengers and there is lower turnover (screeners' salaries are the same.)

      Pistole was likely referring to an internal TSA study. In 2007, the TSA determined that private screeners were 17% more expensive.

      But the GAO looked into that study and found 10 different problems with it, noting that the TSA had simply ignored many costs, including "workers' compensation, general liability insurance, certain retirement costs..."

      After the GAO report, the TSA came out with a revised study last year that found that private screeners were 3% more expensive.

      The GAO says that the TSA's revised study is better, but that it still fails to address four concerns. "TSA needs to take additional actions... to address the remaining four limitations," the GAO said, noting that the TSA makes assumptions about some costs in their study that they were unable to justify.

      Perhaps the TSA bent reality because bureaucrats don't like having competition any more than private businesses. Imagine if McDonalds did a study comparing their own food to Burger King.

      Pistole also points out that "shoe bomber" Richard Reid boarded a plane just 30 days after Congress created the TSA, so the TSA shouldn't be blamed for that. That's a fair point.

      It's also true that Richard Reid and the "underwear bomber" boarded flights in other countries, where TSA doesn't actually do the screening. That's true, but the TSA does set the screening standards.

  • 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