Tough But Fair

Sometimes, try as I might to be tough but fair, some guests on this show get ticked off and leave.

One of them apparently is Donna Dubinsky, the CEO of Handspring, Inc. — the folks who make those nifty-looking Treo devices.

But it wasn't the nifty looks of Treo I was getting into when she was here. It was whether the gadget, which will feature full phone and PALM functions, will have a place in a world populated by similar devices made by Samsung and Kyocera.

I thought I was direct, maybe a bit forceful.  But I thought I was fair.

Then lo and behold I get an angry e-mail from Handspring's communications guy Allen Bush.  He writes to tell me:

"Donna Dubinsky forwarded me a copy of a letter you sent her, in which you thank her for being on your show... I can only assume that this was a form letter sent by someone else in your office, because it was clear to anyone who saw this interview that you didn't have anything good to say about Treo, or Handspring at all.

Many viewers, in fact, took the time to send us their thoughts about how poorly Donna was treated as a guest... Donna herself was quite insulted by your inappropriate and unprofessional remarks and your series of questions based on an apparently uneducated view of the current handheld market, peppered with a negative attitude toward Handspring."

He concludes:

"I won't belabor the issue any more here except to ask that you please do not ever call us again with a request to be on your show."

Click here to read Allen Bush's complete letter.

That's fine with me, Mr. Bush.  But some quick points.

One: I don't send form letters, Mr. Bush. I write and thank each and every guest on this show and my weekend show, regardless how hot the interview got.

Two: You do have a neat-looking device. My point was, and is, it's not all that new. PALM-phones are increasingly popular. As I said, Samsung and Kyocera already make them. I own one on them.

Three: You say I have an uneducated view of the current handheld market. Well, I'm smart enough to look at charts and see from your stock that you don't have a much better grasp on it yourself.

And item four: You say viewers have taken the time to tell you how poorly Ms. Dubinsky was treated. I've taken the liberty of putting that interview up on our Web site for all to judge. Click here to read the interview.

Now a final point for everybody:  I risk losing CEOs everyday with tough questions. Firm, but tough questions.  Some come back. Some don't.  But that's OK — that's their call. The way I figure it, I owe you, the viewer, a lot more than a commercial for the CEO who is on.

It comes down to this. Why should I buy your product, or your stock? What's in it for me? Simple. Direct. To the point. I don't have time to be any other way.  Allen Bush has made it clear, he wants nothing to do with me.

What do you think?  Agree? Disagree? I don't care. I can take it.  Let him know.

He left me his e-mail address:

He was also kind enough to leave his number. You can reach him at (650) 230-5029.

This happens now and then. We lose a CEO or guest who feels he or she was treated poorly.   But, let me be clear here, my job is not to make your job more comfortable. My job is to make my viewers more informed.

You say good riddance. I say, let me show you and Ms. Dubinsky the door.

What do you think?  Send your comments to:

Watch Neil Cavuto's Common Sense weekdays at 4 p.m. ET on Your World with Neil Cavuto. 

Neil Cavuto serves as senior vice president, anchor and managing editor for both FOX News Channel (FNC) and FOX Business Network (FBN). He is anchor of FNC's Your World with Cavuto - the number one rated cable news program for the 4 p.m. timeslot - as well as the FNC Saturday show Cavuto on Business. He also hosts Cavuto on FBN weeknights at 8 p.m. In addition to anchoring daily programs and breaking news specials on FNC and FBN, Cavuto oversees business news content for both networks and FNC's weekend business shows, including Bulls & Bears, Forbes on Fox, and Cashin' In. Click here for more on Neil Cavuto.