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David Horowitz (1937–2019), consumer reporter hosted “Fight Back!”

by Linnea Crowther

Informed consumers of product defects and rip-offs.

David Horowitz was a consumer reporter who educated the public with his Emmy-winning syndicated “Fight Back!” TV show. “Fight Back! With David Horowitz” ran from 1976 to 1992, keeping viewers informed of potential product defects and rip-offs. He tested commercial claims on-air, as when he replicated a Timex commercial that had a watch strapped to an outboard motor and submerged in water — in the commercial and on Horowitz’ show, the watch emerged still working. Horowitz engaged viewers with humor even as he showcased poor customer service and faulty products.

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Died: February 14, 2019 (Who else died on February 14?)

Details of death: Died in Los Angeles of complications of dementia at the age of 81.

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Cool in a crisis: In 1987, Horowitz was live on-air at his home station of KNBC-TV Los Angeles when a man stepped in, pointed a gun at him, and demanded he read a statement to viewers: “Read this or I’ll shoot you,” the man said. Horowitz calmly took the man’s statement — a confusing diatribe about the CIA and aliens — and read it at gunpoint. Unbeknownst to Horowitz or the gunman, the station went off air as soon as the incident began, and viewers never even knew what had happened. After Horowitz finished reading the statement, the gunman admitted that the gun was nothing but a BB gun — and an unloaded one at that. The incident prompted Horowitz to pursue a successful campaign to ban realistic toy guns in California.

A memorable catch phrase: “Stay aware and informed, fight back, and don’t let anyone rip you off!”

What people said about him: “He was an extraordinary man whose life was defined by his vision translated through a continuous stream of remarkable achievements – all to make the world a better and more honest place.” —Statement from Horowitz’s family

“When I was a little girl, we went to the tv station on a field trip. I met David Horowitz, and I remember thinking about how cool it would be to be a news reporter, never thinking it was a real possibility. I haven’t thought about the field trip in years, until today. RIP” —KTVB news anchor Maggie O’Mara

Full obituary: Los Angeles Times

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