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Tuesday night started with a surprise. Our show started with two segments about Linda and John Dollar (search ), the couple charged with the more horrific abuse of their adopted children. The allegations are hair-raising: pulling toenails out, starvation, etc. The Dollars' adult child, Shanda, age 25, and her lawyers joined us off the top of the show. Shanda had been in court attempting to persuade the judge to let her visit her abused siblings.
We have video streamed one of the interview segments with Shanda on today's blog. Click on the link in the video box above to watch it.
As luck would have it, my first question went to Shanda and I could not hear her answer. I waited until I could see her lips were not moving and asked one of her lawyers a question. I was hoping the problem was only with Shanda. I was not that lucky. I could not hear her first lawyer.
I made a hand signal to my stage manager that I could not hear. I also suspect I had that panicked look on my face. My stage manager left his position next to the camera and crawled over towards me. He crawled because he did not want to get caught in a camera shot. I could tell out of the corner of my eye that he was checking to see if I was plugged in and to make sure that all the other plugs were appropriately plugged in. Everything was in order in our studio.
The eternal optimist that I am, when I could not hear the first lawyer I tried the second. Fortunately during his answer, my audio was fixed (I was later told it was a "New York problem.") I was lucky that the audio came on since I had run out of guests to test and, with no audio, you don't want to be in the rotten spot of having to ask a follow up questions. It is better to keep moving to new guests when the talking guest's lips stop moving. Why is asking a follow up question a bad idea? You may get — and, of course, won't know — if the follow up answer is "I just told you."
Here are some random e-mails and one not so random. E-mail No. 1 is not random. It is deliberately "planted" by me.
E-mail No. 1 — Note: this e-mail is from me, not a viewer:
I had wanted to post an e-mail with nasty content about gays that I received from a viewer. It was very insulting — and the content was deplorable. The language, while not sexual, was crude. The e-mail is "hate" and lots of it. I sent it to New York to be posted on the blog (which I don't think should sugarcoat) and the editor declined to post the e-mail because it was full of hateful, obscene slurs that referred to gays.
I tried to persuade him otherwise since I think unless we confront hate — including seeing it in front of us — that it gets swept under the carpet. You can't generate a debate — and perhaps change our culture for the better — if we ignore it. A simple reference from me in the blog about how bad hate is would not generate debate as much as reading a e-mail from someone who acutally HAS it!
I also believe you can "handle" reading the hate — and know that it is ugly and not being endorsed by FOX, or me, but rather to generate debate.
Having said that, the editor wins and you do not get to see this e-mail. While I don't agree with the editor, I admire him for having such a reaction to hate. The e-mail he declined to post in undoubtedly mean, cruel and full of hate.
E-mail No. 2
George, You make good points; I was somewhat comforted, however, to see that she said she was totally confident of her parents' love and that they knew that she loved them. I would wish for more warmth toward his daughter and more unconditional love for her as his daughter in the statements that Alan has made. Also, while I applaud the fact that he has not been hypocritical about his principled stance on the issue of homosexuality, I hope his tone was not as harsh-sounding as his written words. That is our challenge, isn't it — to be principled without being harsh and unloving. Thanks for making us reassess how well we are living up to what we profess.
E-mail No. 3
I have four daughters. They are more important to me than anything else in the world. Too bad Alan Keyes, who has claimed to be a champion of family values and religious devotion, has not given his gay daughter a big hug, told her he loves her infinitely, and he's there for her no matter what. Like Dick and Lynne Cheney and all others with gay children, he should be there for her now, no matter what. She grew up as he pursued his political ambitions for the past two decades rather than being home every night with her mom to have dinner, read to her, help with homework, tuck her in, have breakfast in the morning before school, etc.
Alan Keyes should search his own heart about where he went wrong as a father, spending so much time during his daughter's childhood pursuing his own political ambitions instead of being there every available moment for her, and her mom.
What a great family man, huh?
E-mail No. 4 — Last night we did a segment on a boy who has been missing since Sept. 11, 2004. It was portrayed as a runaway by authorities until just recently:
Always enjoy your show. You probably have received other e-mails from this area considering Cody Haynes. I was quite surprised by the Kittitas Police Chief saying all the information concerning the recent activity has been sealed. According to our Spokane newspaper, The Spokesman-Review (the 2/15/05 edition), Cody's sisters were in the home the evening Cody disappeared. The girls were placed in foster homes. The FBI entered the case the end of last year. One of the agents was able to develop a rapport with the oldest girl and she told him recently that their father had severely beaten Cody that night because he wouldn't clean up the kitchen. The girlfriend was a former CPS (Child Protective Services) employee. The girlfriend and the father were recently married. It was also reported the mother of the children lives in Florida and the kids were taken from her earlier because of child abuse. Mark Fuhrman has been following the case and has talked about it on his radio program. This case (and others like it) just make me sick.
E-mail No. 5
I am sitting here watching your show at 10pm on 2/15/05. FL DCF neglect does not surprise me one bit. I have been dealing with their neglect Re; my grandchildren for the past 10 months and have consulted an attorney who says, "Grandparents don't have rights in the state of FL." They are right, we don't even have the right to protect our grandchildren from potential harm. The case manager once told me "when something real bad happens to the children, then we will take them out of the home".
My daughter (the children's mother) has been beaten over and over again by the abusive father and I have a copy of the last police report that he is out on bond for and the case manager still lets the kids stay in the house with his parents and my daughter lives there also and they fight constantly and both of them are on heroin and his mother lets them take the kids out for unsupervised visitation when the are not (by court order) supposed to be allowed unsupervised visitation. And to top all of this off, the case manager said that the abusive, neglectful father can have his parental rights back next month. I am currently working with the detective from the Domestic Violence Division in another county where the father was recently arrested for beating and threatening to cut her face up with a box cutter is trying to get him back in jail for violating his bond by having contact with my daughter after his release.
The detective said this whole mess doesn't surprise him either. He is disgusted with DCF for not doing what they are being paid to do, which puts children at risk but it is so prevalent down here that it doesn't surprise him.
E-mail No. 6
Greta why should journalists get one set of laws and the normal Americans get another? Why should a employee of our government that works with classified files be allowed to tell people who have no need to know that information and then the one who receives that information not be forced to talk at a grand jury like all Americans would have to?
ANSWER: The reason journalists want to be able to protect sources is so that sources continue to provide information. The best example given by journalists is the whistleblower — a person with information about government corruption would be unwilling to talk if the journalist did not keep the identity confidential.
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