Ebay Halts Bidding on Credibility of ABC-TV Reporter Who Lied About ''Deadly'' Organic Produce

Contact:

Mike Casey, (202) 667-6982 or mcasey@ewg.org

SAN FRANCISCO -- ABC News Correspondent John Stossel is no longer for sale -- at least not on eBay.

The Bay Area-based online auction site Wednesday removed a notice asking for bids on the credibility of Stossel, who last week was reprimanded by ABC
News after the Washington-based Environmental Working Group documented that
he lied about lab tests for pesticide residues on organic food. In a rare
on-air apology last Friday, Stossel was forced to admit the tests were never
performed.

"That's right," read the eBay pitch. Referring to corporations the reporter has accepted speaking fees from and later defended on air, the item
continued: "For an unlimited time only, John Stossel's credibility is open
to the highest bidder! You can join the ranks of Monsanto, DuPont, ConAgra
and Procter & Gamble and have your own piece of John!"

Before the item was removed from the auction site, it had attracted four
bidders and a top bid of $2.25.

To EWG, Stossel's so-called "apology" wasn't worth much more than that.

His original story aired on Feb. 4 and was rerun July 7, driving home the
theme that organic food is for "suckers" -- more expensive, no healthier and
more likely to "kill you" than conventional food because it has higher
levels of deadly bacteria. The piece asserted ABC had commissioned tests for
pesticide residues for organic vs. conventional food and for non-existent
tests for potentially deadly E. coli bacteria on organic food.

Neither test was ever conducted. But instead of firing Stossel for lying on air, ABC News President David Westin ordered him to apologize only for the
non-existent pesticide tests. He did not apologize for reporting that tests
showed organic produce was more likely to contain dangerous E. coli
bacteria.

Stossel's and ABC's problem is that three months before the first airing of the segment, the scientist hired by ABC to do the testing said he had not
screened for deadly bacteria. And EWG repeatedly raised this issue shortly
after the segment first aired.

Thursday's West Coast edition of The New York Times will carry a fullpage open letter from EWG to ABC asking the nework to produce the lab results to support the rest of Stossel's piece. "Well see if they can produce them, or whether they just want to protect a so-called reporter who has now stood by a segment that is almost entirely false," said EWG President Ken Cook.

All relevant documents, including video excerpts, are available at
www.ewg.org

AMP Section Name:Food and Agriculture
  • 181 Food and Agriculture

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