I "stirred the pot" with Tuesday’s blog about the video that was aired at the top of the show on Monday of the Marines and the South Korean (search) who was later beheaded. I received a mix of e-mails in response and thought you might like to read a few.
What is noteworthy to me is that I received so many, and second the wide range of opinion. For this important topic -- how we best present news -- some viewers are outright hostile, while others have given the topic much careful thought. Much careful thought went into e-mails that disagreed with my blog and I appreciate those e-mails.
Frankly, I enjoy a good debate (exchange of ideas and disagreement) since that is what makes our country such a good one. You will find below some e-mails that show viewers have really thought long and hard about the topic -- including those who thought long and hard and don't agree with me. Good, smart, hard working people can disagree on an important topic and this is one instance of a strong debate.
What I find "troubling" is the willingness of some -- certainly not all -- to be so hostile in the e-mail. The hostility reflects that angry, dirty politics type mentality that we could really do without in this country. In the week after burying President Ronald Reagan, you might think we would be more inclined to be strong in our convictions rather than simply angry. There is a big difference between passion and strong feelings about a topic and simply being hostile. Hostility rarely is an effective tool of persuasion while passion about a topic often can be. I don't mind the slings and arrows pointed at me, but I do feel saddened when our debate gets so lame as to simply be anger.
E-mail No. 1
You should be sorry for what you did. I do not accept the fact that sometimes things appear that you weren't expecting but you would have "offered" to show them with a "warning". That's unacceptable! There are families of these men out there! How dare you! I suppose if their faces had been shown and recognizable you would have said, "Oh, I didn't realize that would happen!"
Greta, I remember you from CNN and I was never a fan of yours then as you were so far to the "left" with you choices. I was hoping of all hopes you had changed... not to be. You have lost another viewer.
E-mail No. 2
While I agree that we do not need to see the bodies of our fallen heroes, I feel that we do need to see more of the horrible things that are being done by the terrorists. I feel that things have been very one sided. We also need to see the good things that are happening over there, BECAUSE WE ARE THERE! We need to give praise and credit where it is due.
E-mail No. 3
Our country NEEDS to see the horrors of war! We need to see how terrible the opposition can be! How else can our generation who has no memories of Vietnam or WWll understand that there are people in the world who have sworn to complete the USA's demise?
We must not sugar coat the news. We must not forget the sacrifices made by our military. Witnessing the horrors fill us with a passionate resolve that will keep us strong!
Good Work Greta!
E-mail No. 4
I was impressed with your apology until I got to the part that said you would show those poor dead boys again only next time you would give us all advance warning first. Then I realized once again just how callous you all are.
I will no longer be watching Fox news.
E-mail No. 5
You still don’t get it do you? Warnings about graphic content do nothing! It is the height of disrespect to these young men and women and their families to show this kind of thing at all!!
The showing of this kind of thing is pure sensationalism, to generate the bucks! Period!
Fox News should be ashamed of itself!
E-mail No. 6
I read your column all the time. I am a former Marine and I am currently serving in the U.S. Army and have been to Iraq and Afghanistan. Although the viewers may have responded with negative comments about the video of the four Marines killed. Americans need to realize that this is a war and people will die sometimes horribly and graphically. Yes I understand the impact of the video for the families and friends of the Marines killed but if the realities of this war can be shown to the American people and the sacrifices of these brave men and women maybe the country will unite once again and get behind our government and we can show the rest of the world about how strong and united we are in our fight against terrorism. It is disturbing that we pay so much attention to the prisoner abuse but not to the beheading of innocent people. People need to understand that no matter how they feel about this war the rest of the world does not like us (America) too much and no it is not because of this war. The people of the Middle East and other countries do not like America because of the freedoms we have.
If these whiners were to go over there and state their feelings the insurgents would give a rats butt about how they feel and they would be the next ones on a video being murdered. I do not want to seem unsympathetic but this whining has to stop. Each time the media or a celebrity whines they make America look that much worse to the rest of the world. Thanks for letting me vent and keep up the good work. I see no wrong in what you did.
E-mail No. 7
YOU SUCK! Trying to put a pretty face (Though store bought) on your showing of video footage of slain American soldiers now that you know that you have angered your audience won't cut it. If it is a proud career move to be aligned with the likes of Geraldo (Hoffa's Tomb) Rivera. Then I am sure that you and your family are feeling pretty full of yourselves right now. You have shown yourself to be the epitome of what you truly are... A pathetic worthless ambulance chasing lawyer!
Have a wonderful day,
E-mail No. 8
While I regret the death of the Marines and the footage becoming public, I would like to mention from someone who is working in the Middle East, this is a war zone, people die in war zones, and our brave Marines gave the ultimate sacrifice.
Yes, it's disturbing to see footage of a dead Marine and My heart broke for their loved ones, yet through it all people need to understand the sacrifice these men made is above any and all that could ever be asked of one serving their country, they gave their lives for their country, they should not be brushed under some carpet and made just another number of some tally sheet.
In short Americans need to toughen up a bit, we've (America) become so squeamish about scenes such as these, worried about offending one group or another, hurting this ones or that ones feelings, constantly walking on eggs to appease everyone...that those decrying the footage you aired the most are forgetting one simple fact, this is a war, contrary to what people or politicians might say about an "end to hostilities" it is a war against terror and we would be well reminded to remember that.
Rather then wring their hands endlessly and moan about improper photos, people should use those images every day to remind themselves of the reality of what is going on in someplace seemingly thousands of miles away, to set their resolve and to stand united... quite a few decades ago, things like this galvanized the American Society with cries of things like... "Remember the Maine" Sadly now it only "offends".
People Die in wars, those marines died fighting a enemy that has no conscious, no regard for fellow human life, and no qualms what so ever about making a spectacle of their victims.
I must add my feelings to counter the outcry and mention you in ways, paid tribute to those fallen men by making them more than a number on some war dead tally sheet, and if people are somehow offended by seeing the results of those numbers, then they should pull their head out of the sand and take a look around... this is a war... this is fight to the death.
Keep up the good work...
Kuwait City, Kuwait
I also asked in my blog on Tuesday about the "light banter" among the lawyers on the legal panel. I wanted to know what you think. I worried that it might appear to be a lack of sensitivity to the underlying tragedies which is the topic of their discussion.
I was surprised that so many viewers were relieved to hear a little humor during the news. I think the humor has gone too far, but those who wrote didn't. This surprised me. I still want to "tone it down" a bit. I usually have a pretty good sense of humor, but maybe because I have actually met both sets of parents in the Laci Peterson case I have more difficult time with too much -- not all -- humor in those segments. I do much appreciate those who e-mail me on the topic since I figure I work for you.
Here is a sample of the e-mail:
E-mail No. 9
I personally like the humor with the panel. It makes it easier to digest these tragedies. I never see it that the panel is directing anything they say to the people in these cases personally. They are mainly joking with each other and I enjoy it. I believe you come across as being concerned about the people involved in these cases. Don't let the complainers get you down!
E-mail No. 10
Greta - one of the main reasons I watch your show every night is to see what Bernie,Ted, Jeff and the other panelists will not only say about the given topics, but what they will say TO each other ABOUT each other (especially Bernie - man is he good!). A good-natured ribbing is only part of being human; everyone does it. It shows that the panel can have a serious discussion without being too heavy-handed.
Finally, we still have some free show bumpers stickers left... if you want one, e-mail your name and address to firstname.lastname@example.org
Do you have something you'd like to say to Greta? Write to her at email@example.com!
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Greta Van Susteren joined Fox News Channel (FNC) in January 2002 as the host of the prime-time news and interview program, "On the Record with Greta Van Susteren" (7-8 p.m. ET/PT Mondays through Fridays), which launched in February 2002. "On the Record" is the highest rated cable news program in the 10 p.m. timeslot. Click here for more information on Greta Van Susteren.