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September 05, 2003 - Image 81

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-09-05

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we'll have room for on TV. The
whole process can take about five
weeks, sometimes six months or
sometimes just a couple days. I'd say
five weeks is typical.

JN: How much input do you have
in the writing of those segments?
JS: I write them myself [with some

help]. Often a producer will do a
first draft. Sometimes a lawyer will
demand that I change parts of what
I will say.

JN: Are there certain government
issues that resonate with you more
than others?
JS: The poverty programs where

government intended to help people
and ended up hurting people. The
management of the Indians' money,
where they've lost [so much] of it.
Jewish groups have traditionally
been advocates of welfare programs,
but welfare has done enormous harm
to the poor.
Almost every government program
has unintended consequences, and I
came to see that the unintended
consequences were worse than the
good the programs managed to

JN: Are there stories you have done
that impacted your own life?
JS: I do a lot of stories about family

issues and raising children. They've
become a sub-specialty of mine. The
producer will generally find a psy-
chologist who is an expert in the
field with some interesting ideas.
Many of these ideas have impacted
how I raise my children — ideas like
KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid), using
fewer words with kids so they don't
become parent-deaf.
There also was catching your kids
doing something right. The natural
inclinition is to say "no" all the time
when something is going wrong.
Instead of saying, "Don't throw sand
in the sandbox," say what to do with
the sand.

JN: How did you get from being a
Princeton psychology graduate to a


JS: I just fell in. I was a liberal arts

graduate who didn't know what he
wanted to do with his life. A TV sta-
tion in Oregon offered me a research
job, and I thought I'd postpone
graduate school. I ended up in [jour-
nalism], and I never left.

JN: Have you ever covered a story
in the Detroit area?

IS: I remember, as a consumer
reporter, being in Dearborn covering
a lot of automotive events.

JN: How did you come up with the
tagline "Give me a break" for your
short commentaries?
JS: It was the suggestion of a 20/20

producer, and I liked it.

JN: As you speak around the coun-
try, do you find common concerns?
JS: People don't like sleaziness in tel-

evision or the culture. They don't
like high taxes.
At the beginning of my speech,
they're angry about businesses rip-
ping them off. I hope by the end of
my speech, they're angry about
lawyers and government ripping
them off.

JN: What do you think are the
important issues for people to pay
attention to now?
JS: The important issues always, but

more now in an age of our fear of
terrorism, have to do with individual
liberties — people's rights to run
their own lives as they see fit and
take personal responsibilities for
their decisions without having a
giant state encroaching on their free-

JN: Does Judaism have importance
to you because of your Jewish back-
JS: No. I wouldn't say I "found it"

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later in life. I have chosen to marry a
Jewish woman and into an observant
family, but I'm not observant and
regret to say I get little comfort from

JN: What do you like to do just for
JS: Play beach volleyball. El

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