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On Thursday we took a "road trip" to Pennsylvania to investigate the scene where the missing D.A. was last seen. The trip started before 8 a.m. and we got back to the D.C. Bureau about 8 p.m. — just in time to feed our tape to New York so that it could be "turned around" and aired on our 10 p.m. show. The first time I saw the tape is when you did — when it aired. I am hopeful you found it interesting because we worked hard on it.
Most of the trip was actually spent in the rented SUV. We all crowded into the SUV and drove about 4 1/2 hours to the scene where the D.A. was last seen. We did our "walk and talk" and then jumped back into the SUV and drove an hour to where the police and family were holding a press conference. We walked into the presser with three minutes to spare. We watched the presser in the police station, asked some of our own questions and then raced back to the SUV. Because we had to then drive about five hours back to D.C. and prepare for the 10 p.m. show, we had no time to spare. We panicked the whole day about how much traffic we would run into on our way home. Yes, we ran into some traffic, but obviously made it back for the show.
While our show last night presented to you our obvious work, it did not give you the behind the scenes activity. For instance, those of us who went referred to it as a "Super Size Me" trip. If you have seen the movie, you know the reference. We ate hamburgers and fries at two drive-thru fast food places —- once at 11:15 a.m. and the other at 4 p.m. I think I have fries coming out of my pores now. By the time we got back to the D.C., we were all groaning that we would never eat a hamburger and fries again. We really had no time to do anything but a fast food drive-thru if we wanted to make it back for the show.
I have posted some still pictures from the trip to Pennsylvania on today's blog. Click on the link in the photo box above to see my photo essay.
Thursday night on the show, we discussed some of the more graphic details to come out about the Jessica Lunsford (search) murder. Many of you were mad we discussed the details. Please read the next long e-mail and my extended response at the end of it:
E-mail No. 1
I doubt that this e-mail will even be read by you, but I want to make you aware of how I felt about a particular segment on last night's show.
I am speaking about the segment regarding Jessica Lunsford. The announcement you made that she was buried alive, in a plastic bag, covered by four feet of dirt, and was found "kneeling and clutching her purple dolphin to her chest" was simply unbelievable! You know, Mark Lunsford, and his parents are going through tremendous pain, and will for a very long time, and now this announcement of how his daughter died? What possible good could come out of this? Hasn't that family suffered enough pain without this? Why I ask, WHY did you have to make the public aware of this graphic information of that sweet, innocent, little girl? Why did you have to do that? Why did you feel we had to know how little Jessica Lunsford spent her last moments on this earth?
It nearly did me in; I went to bed crying, and I couldn't get the visual of Jessica's face out of my mind. And, I don't even know the child. I can't even remotely imagine what her dad and grandparents felt when they viewed your show. They didn't need any more grief; they have more than they can handle already. Maybe the police talked to them about how she died; maybe they knew before you announced it on your show, but maybe they did not. Even if they did, the very idea that it was discussed on TV and picked apart very graphically by you and Dr. Baden was beyond belief!
This is nothing less than irresponsible journalism; it should never have been made public; you and FOX News Channel should be highly ashamed and should apologize to the Lunsford family and to all the viewers who watched your show last night. We have two granddaughters living in Florida, one nine, and the other twelve. The very thought of either of them being exploited on TV, if this horrible murder/raped had occurred to one of them, would be intolerable.
Greta, your show, unfortunately, has been reduced to tabloid garbage. It is like watching The National Enquirer every night; your show used to have some credibility, but lately it is losing ground. My colleagues at the college where I teach discussed this today, and all agree that we cannot, with a clear conscience view your show again. You crossed the line last night; you made public what should have remained very private. Shame on you, and shame on FNC. No way was this segment "Fair and Balanced". It surely wasn't for the Lunsford family, nor was it for the viewers.
I'm sure you will not answer this e-mail, but you should. You should step up to the plate and explain to us why you acted so irresponsibly. Last night was a clear example of sensationalized journalism, something one might expect from the tabloids, but not from FNC.
ANSWER: Coincidentally, within the last hour, I spent about 30 minutes talking to Jessica's father, Mark Lunsford (search) — he was here in our D.C. FOX News Bureau. I had just heard him on our air on "Hannity & Colmes" say that he was upset that the local paper printed details about his little girl's death. I told him that we had discussed the details the night before on our show and asked if he knew what the reaction was to the segment. He said he did not. I said, "Everyone was furious." Your e-mail indicates you were furious, too. My husband called me on the cell phone after the show and he was furious, too.
You know what? I am delighted you were furious. I hope everyone who saw that segment was furious. I hope you were so mad that you picked up the phone and called your state legislators and U.S. representatives and demanded that we do something in this country about sexual predators so that another child is not murdered like Jessica. If we had not talked about it two nights ago — and we did it again last night — you would not be thinking about Jessica Lunsford. She may have faded in your memory and not gotten you so mad that you decided to make sure we have laws protecting other children. Go ahead and get mad at me ... but do me a favor, while you are mad at me, pick up the phone and call your congressman or congresswoman.
After my talk with Mark, he thanked me. He could see there was an important point to our talking on our show about her death and he could see why the discussion about details was important. He could see why the American people need to have outrage and not forget. Forgetting — and not confronting the ugly truth — is a recipe for inaction.
Mark then said that the problem for him was that while he himself knew the details about his daughter's death, his parents did not know them. He wanted to tell his parents — rather than having them read about it in the paper. I sure understand that and I totally agree with him.
We both agreed that what should have happened is that the prosecutor should have alerted him to the fact that the material was being released by the prosecutor so that he could sit down with his parents and tell them first. He would then have had a chance to explain how these horrible details are important to get out because they will make everyone mad — like they did you, Susan. They should make everyone mad. They make me mad. And perhaps our collective horror and anger will prompt some effort at a solution to protect other children.
I don't want us to run from this horrible crime — I want us to take action. If it means having to confront the horror of the truth, and not burying the details, I am content to take your wrath.
E-mail No. 2
What kind of jacket that you had on in Lewisburg? You need to get some "On the Record" jackets so that we fans can order them.
ANSWER: It is a "varsity" jacket with the FOX News logo. I bought it on the FOX News Channel Web site.
E-mail No. 3
I used to live in Sunbury, which is about 15 miles from Lewisburg and delivered pizza for Dominos in Milton, which is right across the river from Lewisburg. Your guest was right it is a low crime area. Bucknell University is right down the road. It's possible he had a secret life and left his car there and took a bus from there to anywhere. He might have had a second cell phone or used prepaid cards to contact his new girlfriend. New York City is only a few hours away by bus. Have they checked with his doctors? His credit cards for weird purchases? I apologize if you already went over this as I missed the beginning of your show.
E-mail No. 4
On the D.A., since we know he and his daughter shared a great relationship, it is hard to believe suicide without a note left that would consider her loss ... if he did that ... her pain. So, I wonder if the police have thought of what often happens with married men, which is a gay liaison through the paper hookup ads or some other avenue and he drove there, being taken perhaps to the other man's house or a lonely place. This happens more than people think and I am not casting any reflection on the love for his daughter or his girlfriend ... there just are men who do this on the sneak tip. Yet, it does not look promising, Greta.
E-mail No. 5
What if he met someone at the antique shop, and they are protecting him. He would not need his cell phone, or credit cards, if this person has $, food and shelter!
Just a thought, a double life.
E-mail No. 6
Missing laptop could mean that he was chatting with someone and that is who he was meeting. That person or persons took the laptop so there wouldn't be any proof of the D.A.'s computer activity.
E-mail No. 7
About the laptop that is missing ... can the server tell if the laptop has been turned on and received any e-mail?
Marcia Ann Chambers
E-mail No. 8 — note from KFI's Laura Ingle at the Michael Jackson (search) trial:
Subject: Laura note
Red hair and red eyes. The former Neverland ranch security guard that was on the stand yesterday returned this morning. Brian Barron is now working as a police officer for the city of Guadalupe — here in Santa Barbara County. When the redheaded officer took the stand he explained he had just got off his graveyard shift. He looked so tired! I wanted to hand him a pillow and blanket so he could sleep.
He was asked about the message he says was written on a white "grease board" at Neverland ranch. He told jurors yesterday that it said, "Do not let _____ off the Neverland property." A claim that certainly helps back the mother of the accuser, who says her family was held against its will. The time frame is Feb-March 2003, when the prosecution contends Jackson and his people did just that. Defense attorney Robert Sanger, who served up a meticulous and tedious cross-exam of the exhausted officer, grilled him more about the security gate logs. The gate activity showed that the accuser, his brother and sister were assigned to sleep in guest units. That's different than what we heard from them that the boys slept with M.J. in his bed.
On re-direct, prosecutors asked Barron if he could find guests easily if there were calls for them, or if he had to track them down. He said 9 times out of 10, the guests weren't where they were assigned and guards would have to try several extensions to get them. They usually were not where they had been assigned. Also, on re-direct, he was asked if he had ever, in his five years as working as a guard ever seen a specific directive to keep one child on the property. He said, "Never."
The defense has claimed the message board and security gate log note that read, "The kids are not to leave" — meaning (the accuser and his brother) was just simply to keep kids from leaving unsupervised.
And there is a big buzz going around the courthouse today on the motion's hearings expected later today. Its pretty graphic stuff, so if you've got sensitive eyes, stop reading now....
According to court documents, the D.A. wants to bring in a witness — another former security guard from the 90s — who has told investigators that he once was summoned by Jackson to bring him a jar of Vaseline to his master bedroom. The former guard, says when Jackson opened the door he was in his PJ bottoms, sweaty and aroused. The guard says there was a young boy in the bedroom — reportedly, the 1993 accuser. Tom Sneddon wants the jury to hear about this in the "1108" portion of the case, the previous alleged bad acts.
Lots of scuttlebutt around courthouse campus as to whether or not Macaulay Culkin will show up for the defense. He's reportedly been waffling on coming here. Prosecutors say he was fondled by Jackson — Culkin denies it. After reviewing some police reports about Culkin from Oklahoma City and just getting off the phone with the D.A.'s office there, it turns out he's due in court there June 8. The D.A. spokesperson told me that Culkin was originally scheduled to appear April 6. He was busted for having pot and pills on him Sept. 17, 2004. Maybe that's why there's been so much debate about if or when he'll come?
On a lighter note, Jackson is wearing the brightest colored vest he's worn to court yet. The aqua marine number matches his arm bad today.
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