ABC News correspondent Stossel mines his 20/20
segments for often engaging, frequently tendentious challenges to conventional wisdom, presenting a series of "myths" and then deploying an investigative journalism shovel to unearth "truth." This results in snappy debunkings of alarmism, witch-hunts, satanic ritual abuse prosecutions and marketing hokum like the irradiated-foods panic, homeopathic medicine and the notion that bottled water beats tap. Stossel's libertarian convictions make him particularly fond of exposés of government waste and regulatory fiascoes, which are usually effective but lead inexorably to blanket denunciations of "monster government" and sermons on the wisdom of the market. Sloganeering—"Myth: The EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) will make America less sexist. Truth: The EEOC will torment people and enrich lawyers"—sometimes crowds out objectivity. The author's complacent glosses on overpopulation and global warming ("we can build dykes and move back from the coasts") are especially glib and one-sided. Fans of Stossel's similarly opinionated bestseller Give Me a Break
will eat up this new book, but other readers may wince when the author's ideology overshadows the facts. Author tour.