As a television reporter, John Stossel learned the value of sound bites.
Stossel used quick quips and one-liners to rouse the audience during his calls for less government Monday night at the Hughes Metropolitan Complex.
"I'd say they're spending like drunken sailors," Stossel said of Congress. "But that would be insulting drunken sailors, who spend their own money."
The one-liners drew the ovations as the former co-anchor of ABC's "20/20" spoke of the contradictions within both his libertarian leanings and his journalism career.
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Stossel, now headed to host his own show on the Fox Business Network, was a keynote speaker for Wichita State University's Communications Week. The speech was co-sponsored by the Fred C. and Mary R. Koch Foundation.
After years reporting on business and consumer affairs, Stossel told the audience he's learned that government intrusion mucks up the engines that run smoothly in the free market of the private sector.
"It took you five years to get a railroad bridge, I read in the paper this morning, and they've been working on Kellogg for how long?" Stossel said. "And government is going to run health care?"
That people in other countries live longer, spend less on health care and cover everyone doesn't mean the United States is lagging, he said.
"They are stealing the innovations America is making," in medicine, Stossel said.
At the same time, he said, government regulation is stifling American innovation.
"We have made America fear innovation," he said.
When students in other countries perform better on tests while paying less for education, Stossel said that means U.S. schools are lagging.
"The public schools system is a government monopoly," he said.
Stossel told the audience his decision to leave ABC was his way of putting the free market into action.
"They kept rejecting my stories," he said of ABC.
The stories ABC did run gained Stossel a national reputation, earning him an invitation to events such as Monday's, and his next job with Fox Business Network.
Stossel said, however, that in the Internet age he's not likely to shake his image as the reporter punched out by a professional wrestler after suggesting the fighting was fake.
"Despite all the good work I've done," Stossel said, "on YouTube, that gets the most views."