John Stossel, one of the leading conservative TV journalists, has left his longtime corporate home at ABC News for News Corp (NWS)'s Fox News.
Stossel, a fixture the Walt Disney Co. (DIS)-owned network since 1981, signed a multiyear deal with Fox Business Network and Fox News Channel. He will host a weekly hourlong program for the Fox Business Channel, which recently struck a deal with Don Imus to simulcast his morning radio show.
Stossel, to debut in the fourth quarter, will explore from the host's libertarian vantage point such topics as free-market economies, civil liberties, the business of health care, social security, and free trade. The longtime co-host of ABC's 20/20 will appear regularly on Fox News Channel and will produce specials for the news network. He will also write a blog.
Securing Stossel and Imus underscores the pressure Fox Business Channel feels from advertisers and investors to boost ratings, which are not measured by Nielsen. Fox viewership is thought to be about 29,000 in primetime, an increase from earlier measurements. CNBC's ratings have been dipping, as viewers are thought to be tiring of a relentless drumbeat of depressing economic news.
Stossel's departure to Fox is hardly a shock: He long ago abandoned his roots as a liberal, crusading consumer reporter to becoming a libertarian ideologue who thinks the government never does anything right. He even wrote a book about it: Give Me a Break: How I exposed Hucksters, Cheats, and Scam Artists and Became the Scourage of the Liberal Media. Stossel has won 19 Emmys, even as he has offended such critics as Media Matters for America, a liberal advocacy group whose website declared: "ABC's John Stossel is headed for Fox News, perhaps the only 'news' outlet in America that won't immediately take a hit to its credibility by bringing him on."
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