About the Speaker
John Stossel graduated from Princeton University with a B.A. in psychology in 1969. In his earlier years at ABC, Stossel served as Consumer Editor for "Good Morning America." He left the morning show in 1989 to devote all of his time to 20/20. Prior to joining ABC, Mr. Stossel was Consumer Editor for WCBS-TV in New York City . His career began as a producer and reporter for KGW-TV in Portland , Oregon .
He has received nineteen Emmy Awards and has been honored five times for excellence in consumer reporting by the National Press Club. The National Environmental Development Association honored him for balance and fairness in journalism. Among his other awards are the George Polk Award for Outstanding Local Radio and Television Reporting and the George Foster Peabody Award.
Mr. Stossel joined the ABC newsmagazine, 20/20, in June 1981. He has reported on a wide range of consumer affairs issues as well as controversial topics that headline the news. His no-frills approach to exposing bogus agencies that plague the consumer and his devotion to revealing society's wrongs have been his trademarks.
Mr. Stossel has contributed numerous reports to 20/20, including an extended investigative segment on the role of looks in the workplace, the courts, and life; a report on how false sexual abuse charges have forced some teachers to distance themselves from children who may need their affection; and on the way special interest groups distort statistics to serve their agendas.
In April 1994, in his widely acclaimed first original prime-time special, "Are We Scaring Ourselves to Death?," Mr. Stossel looked at our fears about crime, pollution, toxic waste, cancer from chemicals, food—almost everything—and asked whether these fears actually reflect what is most likely to harm us. He examined the press' handling of various issues and what he sees as government waste and hysteria over "trivial risks."
In October 1994, he hosted "The Blame Game: Are We a Country of Victims?," in which he looked at the tendency to blame misfortunes on others. This past June, his special, "Common Sense with John Stossel," looked at such everyday problems as the absence of a father, male depression, and contending with bill collectors.
More recently, Stossel has examined the chilling effects that lawsuits have on our society in "The Trouble with Lawyers;" and tackled a surprising study of happiness in America, "The Mystery of Happiness: Who Has It & How to Get It." The specials have earned Stossel uncommon praise: Ed Bark of the Dallas Morning News described him as "the most consistently thought-provoking TV reporter of our time" and the Orlando Sentinel's Hal Boedeker says Stossel "has the gift for entertaining while saying something profound."
Recently, Stossel has produced and aired two highly successful segments on "Freeloaders" and "Greed." "Freeloaders" takes a critical look at corporate, group, and individual dependency and examines the strong incentives in our society for large corporations, special interest groups, and many individuals to use government and other vehicles in society to freeload. It examines the consequences of dependency on both the recipients and providers of handouts, as well as the societal impact of a growing culture of dependency. The segment on "Greed" will be the topic of Mr. Stossel's speech at UTC.