Picks and Pans Review: Sounds Off

updated 02/09/2004 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 02/09/2004 AT 01:00 AM EST

John Stossel

Chill. That's John Stossel's message to everyone—especially his media colleagues—in Give Me a Break: How I Exposed Hucksters, Cheats, and Scam Artists and Became the Scourge of the Liberal Media.... Stop fretting about coffee and mad cows, says the coanchor of ABC's 20/20. Here's a sampling of what else Stossel, 56, has to say:

ON CRYING WOLF The government and the press have spent a ton of money worrying about tiny amounts of pesticide in food, secondhand smoke. Driving a car or taking a bath is riskier.

ON EXPLODING BICS A producer said, "Let's do a story on Bic lighters." He was all excited. I said, "I'll do Bic lighters if you do plastic bags or toilets, because they kill more people." He called me callous.

ON HYSTERIA FATIGUE People aren't endlessly stupid. After scares about tiny amounts of this and that go on for year after year, people wise up.

ON HIS HOPE FOR THE BOOK That other reporters will say, "He has a point. We ought to lower the hysteria over the small stuff." I realize my wish is utterly naive.

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