Commentary

One of the priorities of the new Congress, and something approved of by most of the media, is to expand federal grants and loans to college students. While this may sound like a good way to increase access to higher education, it is another case where people, in Sherlock Holmes’s words, see but do not observe. Before Congress increases spending on financial aid to college students, it should think about what the end result will be. That result will certainly be higher tuition costs for all students, and may result in no net tuition reduction for those who receive the... continue reading
In 1975, Bob Dylan sang about being given “shelter from the storm.” In 2006, the media warned us that was what everyone would need facing another devastating hurricane season. Americans braced back in May as the media belted out another Dylan classic, predicting “A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall.” ABC’s Jeffrey Kofman sounded the alarm about storms so bad scientists “are now considering adding a fearsome category 6. That's hurricanes of more than 175 miles an hour. Something no one would want to meet head-on.” No one did. Category 6 wasn’t even added, and the chorus of media hype about another... continue reading
Thanksgiving in America is a time of traditions – turkey and dressing, gathering around the table, watching football and seeing schoolchildren dressed up as Pilgrims and Indians, reenacting the first Thanksgiving. One of the most fascinating early American stories is the “sale” of Manhattan Island. The story goes that some Dutch colonists traded beads and other trinkets to the Indians for the land, acquiring the island for what amounted to $24 worth of goods. With our Westernized view of property – especially knowing how expensive Manhattan is nowadays – we struggle to understand how such a transaction could have occurred... continue reading
Don’t eat that! It doesn’t even matter what it is, somewhere someone on network news shows is probably telling you it’s “bad for you.” If you believe them, almost everything meets that requirement. Caffeine. Sugar. Cereal. Meat. Alcohol. The list doesn’t even stop at food and drink. Gambling, stress, chemicals – even too much work – are all demons of modern life. Face it, life is just dyin’ to get you. And the news media are trying to save you from yourself. Network newsies act like they want to wrap America in one giant mountain of bubble wrap – protected... continue reading
The frenzy about trans fats as dietary killers is escalating. Professors from the Harvard School of Public Health tell the media that trans fats kill hundreds of thousands of us annually and represent "the most dangerous ingredient in our diet." Were this true, it would put trans fats up there with cigarette smoking, obesity and alcohol abuse as a leading cause of death. Outside the New York Department of Health, where hearings on a proposed ban on trans fats (TFAs) in restaurants were held last month, protests were held, complete with music and dancing, demanding a "Trans Fat Free NYC."... continue reading
Watching TV can be torture. This close to the election, it’s even worse thanks to TV news. For more than a year, the networks told us almost every bit of good economic news was somehow bad. Now that they feel they have conservatives right where they want them, journalists are tightening the screws. No major news outlet is worse than CNN. It doesn’t matter whether it’s “Network” populist Lou Dobbs or curmudgeonly Jack Cafferty, CNN is brainwashing viewers into believing there is a “war on the middle class” led by business, conservatives and Republicans. Every day spins some good news... continue reading
Jesse Williams started smoking as a 21-year-old soldier in Korea in 1950. Though Williams was taught as a child that it was unhealthy to smoke, and, in turn, taught his children not to smoke, he refused entreaties from doctors and family to quit smoking. After 45 years of smoking two packs a day, with the packs carrying the Surgeon General’s warnings for nearly 30 of those years, Williams died of inoperable lung cancer. His widow sued Philip Morris for damages on grounds of product design and “fraud.” The Supreme Court will be hearing arguments in the case Philip Morris v... continue reading
When we were kids, network anchors like Walter Cronkite read us news each night like parents telling stories. But as we’ve grown older, the nightly news stories have transformed into grim fairy tales about some terrifying threat to you and me. When Republicans were in office in the early ’90s, it was the economy. TV told us it was in bad shape and hyped the slogan “It’s the economy, stupid” – helping Bill Clinton slink into the West Wing in 1992. Afterward, The Washington Post admitted the media had been wrong. A Jan. 29, 1993, report admitted that “growth for... continue reading
Each day in Darfur, 80 children younger than the age of five die because of malnutrition, disease and poor living conditions caused by the war in the Sudan. North Korea has tested nuclear weapons, and violence among ethnic and religious groups is disrupting Iraq. Social Security and Medicare have unfunded liabilities that reach into the tens of trillions of dollars. Yet if one watches television, listens to the radio or reads, it would appear that the greatest issue facing Congress is the e-mails Rep. Mark Foley (R-Fla.) sent to pages and who knew about them when. Is it likely that... continue reading
Off the coast of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, two million old tires are pounding into reefs, destroying the ecosystem and littering the shoreline. It’s an environmentalist catastrophe. That’s right – environmentalist. This disaster might as well be sponsored by your favorite left-wing environmental group. Do-gooders launched this project back in 1972 to save the oceans, spawn fish and rid the earth of mountains of tires that posed health and fire hazards. Only it didn’t quite work that way. Environmentalists and their usual fans in the media are whispering a collective “oops.” As the October 2 Washington Post reported it, “Now the... continue reading