After my first two new Fox Business shows,
I'm taking a break for Christmas and the New Year's holiday. We resume
Thursday, Jan. 7.
Again, I ask your help. Last time, most of you said: Go with global
warming for the first show "Atlas Shrugged" can wait and so I did. "Atlas" will be the first show after the
Today, I need your help in deciding what to do with the studio audience.
I wanted an audience because I enjoy speaking on college campuses and I
love the spontaneous give-and-take.
Students passionately pose questions like, "How can you defend business
when free markets brought us to the crisis we suffer now?!"
I like explaining that what I defend isn't business but economic freedom
and markets. Businessmen with some honorable exceptions are
usually happy to collude with government to stifle competition and harm
consumers and workers. I hate that.
And anyway, it was not free markets, but meddling politicians,
bureaucrats and central bankers, along with their corporate cronies, who
created today's problems.
I even think I convince some of the students. It's lots of fun.
But I haven't done so well with my studio audience. Viewers have noticed.
Rob: "Ditch the audience! I had to stop watching the show last night on
health care "reform" as I couldn't take any more of the stupid comments
from the audience. "Lower audience interruption (applause and booing) to
allow more discussion. Your 2007 health care special 'Sick in America,
Whose Body Is It Anyway?" was more informative than the interruptive
health care show tonight.
Brad Jones: "Love the show, hate the audience. Where do you find these
people? I think you're better to do the show without an audience!"
Kevin: "John, PLEASE get rid of the live studio audience and get back to
reporting. The audience makes your show rather cheesy."
OK, I hear you. I admit I am "clunky with the audience," as one viewer
put it. On the other hand, maybe I'll get better. I'm new at it. And as
several emailers said, allowing the opposition to speak is a better way
to convince people:
Mark: "Love the show! Like the format. It gives the opportunity to
directly address and confront opposing ideas.
Tim: "I like to hear what real people have to say about topics."
So do I. So did Ben Franklin, who wrote in his autobiography: "By the
collision of different sentiments, sparks of truth strike out, and
political light is obtained" ("The Completed Autobiography," p. 335).
I agree. It's intellectually lazy to do shows where everyone is in
agreement. There are plenty of those on other networks. We libertarians
thrive on debate with the statists. Bring it on!
So I'll try the audience a few more times. I'll search out statists who
make their case more clearly, and I'll experiment with the role of the
One of the many advantages of working for Fox is that they're willing to
try things. They're eager to experiment. If it doesn't work, we'll drop
Economist Mark Skousen made some other good
points about last week's health care show:
"Imagine if LBJ had pushed through Congress a program called 'Food Care'
along with Medicare? Food prices would be going through the roof, and
food would be a major political football.
"Why isn't food a major debate issue? Because LBJ only gave us the Food
Stamp program, which has a means test to it, so that it applies only to
the poor (family of four making $25,000 or less).
"… I also like the idea of converting Medicare (and Medicaid) into
HSAs (health savings accounts), as Steve Forbes recommends in his new
book, 'How Capitalism Will Save Us' (excellent book)."
I don't favor "Medicine Stamps." I'd rather work to remove the dozens of
ways government makes medical care and insurance artificially expensive.
In the meantime, charitable institutions will help the poor.
But Skousen makes good points. I should have mentioned them. Every time
I finish one of these live TV programs, I think of eight things I should
I'll keep working at it. Maybe I'll get better.