Has the media gotten worse? Or am I just grouchier?
Every day I see things that are wrong or that so miss the point I want to scream.
As this week's storm approached the East Coast, the media reverted to breathless hype: "monster storm ... very dangerous." Here I blame my beloved free market: Predicting scary weather works. Viewers tune in.
What galls me more is the reporters' government-centric thinking. "Everything is closed," they say. "Employees can't get to work."
But the corner grocery stayed open. So did many gas stations and restaurants.
Why is it that when government buildings close, so many private businesses stay open? Because their own money is at stake.
The store's employees probably make less money than government workers. They are less likely to own all-wheel-drive cars. But they get to work. Some sleep there. Their own money is on the line.
Reporters don't think about the distinction.
The Deep State
Monday, The New York Times ran the headline "What Happens When You Fight a 'Deep State' that Doesn't Exist?"
The article explained that unlike Egypt or Pakistan, America doesn't really have a powerful deep state, and to claim that it does "presents apolitical civil servants as partisan agents."
Give me a break. "Apolitical civil servants"?
A deep state absolutely exists. Some call it "administrative state" or "regulatory state." These are the people who crush innovation and freedom by issuing hundreds of new rules. Regulators, if they don't pass new rules, think they're not doing their job.
Even "anti-regulator" President George W. Bush hired 90,000 new regulators. Calling them "nonpartisan" doesn't make them harmless — it just means we put up with them through multiple administrations.
Even if you exclude the military and post office, more than 20 million Americans work for the government. Because of civil service rules, it's almost impossible to fire them.
The Times calls these 20 million people "apolitical". Please. Most are just as partisan as you or I. Maybe more so, as leaks and signs of bureaucratic resistance to presidential edicts demonstrate.
People who choose to work for, say, the EPA, tend to be environment zealots. This should surprise no one. Somehow, New York Times reporters don't see it.
"Chief of EPA Bucks Studies"
Speaking of the EPA and the Times, their front page claimed President Donald Trump appointee Scott Pruitt is "at odds with the established scientific consensus." That makes Pruitt sound like an anti-science idiot. But the headline is bunk.
Pruitt only said that he does not agree that man is "the primary contributor to global warming."
That's "at odds" with Times reporters and government flunkies on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, but many scientists say there is so much uncertainty to climate measurements that no one can know if man's greenhouse gases are the "primary" cause of warming.
The earth warmed similarly last century, well before we emitted so much carbon dioxide.
British comedian John Oliver hosts one of the better political talk shows. He's like Bill Maher but funnier and not as mean. Yesterday, on an airplane, I watched an episode that led with a report on the chaos in Venezuela.
I perked up, expecting Oliver to at least mention Venezuela's caps on corporate profits, abolition of property rights, media censorship, regulation of car production "from the factory door to the place of sale," etc. In other words: socialism.
But no, Oliver didn't mention any of that.
He mocked President Maduro's speeches but said Venezuela was in trouble because its economy depends on oil and oil prices dropped. What?
Kuwait, Nigeria, Angola and other countries exported more oil than Venezuela. But they survived the price drop without experiencing the misery that Venezuela suffers. The suffering was created by socialism.
America's leftists cannot see the horrors of socialism even when they are right in front of them.
John Stossel is the author of "No They Can't! Why Government Fails — But Individuals Succeed." For other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit www.creators.com.