MENTOR // John Stossel’s Bio
Award-winning news correspondent John Stossel was named co-anchor of “20/20” in May 2003. He joined the highly acclaimed newsmagazine in 1981 and began doing one-hour primetime specials in 1994.
In addition to longer in-depth reports for “20/20” on subjects ranging from addiction to parenting issues in his “Family Fix” segments, Stossel is featured in a recurring segment entitled “Give Me a Break.” These short commentaries take a skeptical look at a wide array of issues, from pop culture controversies to censorship and government regulations.
Stossel’s specials tackle issues that face Americans today. They consistently rate among the top news programs and have earned him uncommon praise: “The most consistently thought-provoking TV reporter of our time” said the Dallas Morning News, while the Orlando Sentinelsaid he “has the gift for entertaining while saying something profound.”
Five of these specials have been adapted into Teaching Kits by In The Classroom Media (a nonprofit organization) in cooperation with ABC for use by high school teachers to help educate their students about economic freedom. These kits are now being used by over 25,000 teachers in over 35 percent of the schools in the United States, reaching over 4.2 million students per year.
In his most recent special, Stossel questioned whether addiction is a disease or if people have a choice. He looked at overweight people, drug users, smokers, and gamblers, among others, as well as treatment options. In another recent special, Family Fix: Help! I’ve Got Kids, Stossel explored what to do with kids who disobey, parental favoritism and different ways boys and girls communicate.
John Stossel Goes to Washington looked at how, under Democrats and Republicans, government keeps growing, while Tampering With Nature suggested that most tampering is a good thing. In Hype, Stossel explains that done right, hype can sell everything from newspapers to football players to a company’s stock.
Stossel’s first special, Are We Scaring Ourselves to Death?, examined exaggerated fears of things like chemicals and crime. It was followed by The Blame Game, which looked at Americans’ growing tendency to blame their misfortunes on others, and Boys and Girls Are Different.
Stossel traveled the world to compare American life with life elsewhere and ask: Is America Number 1? In You Can’t Say That!, he looked at the battle between free speech and censorship. He looked at the mechanics of mating in Love, Lust, and Marriage, and at the science of happiness in The Mystery of Happiness. He examined bogus lawsuits in The Trouble With Lawyers, and bogus scientific claims in Junk Science: What You Know That May Not Be So.
Freeloaders focused on how getting “something for nothing” appeals to all of us, including rich people who use the power of government to help themselves. Greed challenged conventional wisdom on how Americans view business, while Sex, Drugs and Consenting Adults questioned why Americans are jailed for voluntarily participating in so-called consensual crimes.
Stossel has received 19 Emmy Awards. He has been honored five times for excellence in consumer reporting by the National Press Club. Among his other awards are the George Polk Award for Outstanding Local Reporting and the George Foster Peabody Award.
In his early years at ABC, Stossel was consumer editor at Good Morning America. Prior to that he was a consumer reporter at WCBS-TV in New York City. He began his journalism career as a researcher for KGW-TV in Portland, Ore. Stossel is a 1969 graduate of Princeton University, with a B.A. in psychology.