Want Greta's blog delivered directly to your e-mail box? Click here to sign up!
I thought I would wake up to a million e-mails giving me hell about the last interview I did Tuesday night. It was pretty bad.
If you watched Tuesday's show, you will know that my last guest was from a sheriff's office in California. The guest was asked on our show to talk about a manhunt — a man had escaped from a California prison and had committed a carjacking in the course of the escape. He is dangerous and authorities want help catching him. We invited the guest on to give details so that we could help get the word out about him.
As it turned out, there must have been a bit of a "counting" problem in our control room because I was only given 30 seconds for the interview. Yes, 30 seconds! I asked one question. The guest answered. I mentioned the picture and the license tag and said goodbye. It was so short that it felt enormously rude. Fortunately the guest was by phone and not in a studio. I can't imagine how I would have felt if we persuaded someone to spend his or her evening on our show and then gave the person a 30 second interview.
After the show I asked what had happened and apparently the control room producer did not expect her call — she could not be reached earlier. It then was assumed she would not be calling in so the interview before her was taken longer. Then suddenly she called, they put her on the air, but by then there was little — 30 seconds — left. I "learned" of the problem as I was introducing her and got a cue sign held up that said "30 seconds." I tried my best to get in one question and give out information about the man who is the subject of the manhunt. It was not "pretty." Because this interview was up against a tape and at the end of the show, I had no choice but to comply with the 30 seconds — I could not stretch it beyond.
Today I had lots of help with the blog. The "blog" feels more like "LauraWire.com" today than GretaWire.com. We have a photo essay courtesy of Laura Ingle at the Michael Jackson trial. I also posted a pic from a viewer/e-mailer from Alaska — he sent me a picture, so I posted it. (See E-mail No. 2.)
Read Laura's e-mail (E-mail No. 3) below and then check out the pics she took for us in the photo box above. Her pics are fun since they are "behind the scenes" pics.
E-mail No. 1 — I deliberately eliminated the name of this e-mailer. I figured she/he would not want to be identified. It is funny:
Greta, I used to work at the Kansas Dept. of Education. One of the former commissioners of education used the word "basically" over and over. We would dread going to staff meetings and hear him repeat it. It was so bad that we would keep a running count how many times he said it at each staff meeting. We could have used a Blackberry (search) in those days to keep us entertained, "basically."
Have a great day!
E-mail No. 2 — I could not resist posting this e-mail on the blog today from this viewer who I have never met. Check the photo essay to see his pic that he sent with it! As an aside, I don't work in New York — but Washington, D.C., is also very, very busy:
Well, while the world is killing people and out of all the hustle and bustle of New York, I had a very quiet morning hooking my first King salmon on the Kenai River, Greta. Far from the pops of guns and the fax machines and the coffee machine gargling on a new pot, today is Les Anderson Day in Soldotna. He died a while back and he holds the world record for salmon — 97 lbs. This will be the first year in honor of him. His wife will be there. I entered my fish in the derby so maybe I'll win something today.
Just something to ease the day along.
Check out Danny's fish in the photo box above.
E-mail No. 3 — Here is the e-mail I received from Laura Ingle after she read Tuesday's blog. I talked to her later and we laughed about it. Her pics are posted in the photo essay section. Her computer crashes when she tries to send several pics at a time so she sent them to me in twos:
Here are some "behind the scenes" photos at the Michael Jackson trial. By the way, I read today's GretaWire note: You are a tough! So, let me try this again.
The first batch of photos is from the daily public lottery. There are about 70 people who show up every morning before the sun rises to get a "carnival" ticket with a number printed on it. After standing in line, the deputies pull tickets out of a water jug — then the first batch of "winners" go into a gated pen, then go on to the courtroom entrance to get instructions and a pass. I have to do this often because I am not considered a local or national reporter, who are the ones who get first rights to the courtroom passes.
A woman who works for the L.A. County Department of Child and Family Services has told jurors about interviewing the teenage accuser and his family. Irene Peters says her department got a tip on their hotline about the family after the "Living with Michael Jackson" documentary aired. The department was called to investigate the MOTHER for "general neglect." In the documentary, Jackson talks about sharing his bed with children, he is seen holding hands with the accuser, etc.
Peters testifies that she does the interview February 20, 2003. Documentary airs early Feb. The mom denies any wrongdoing and says she is appalled at the negative attention her children are getting because of the video. Peters is asked if the mom ever mentioned that she was being held against her will. Peters says no. She asks the mom if her children ever slept in Michael Jackson's bed. She says yes. When Peters is asked what the teenager said about that, she says the boy said no, he never slept in the same bed (?!) The accuser also tells her that Jackson never touched him in a sexual way and seemed upset when she asked him about that. She says he responded, "Everyone thinks he sexually assaulted me ... he didn't!"
"Meow Alert!" On cross exam with D.A. Tom Sneddon (search), she is aggravated, annoyed and seems to take a swipe or two at Sneddon's questions. Sneddon wants to know if she has been trained to recognize the difference between teenage boys and girls answers to those types of sensitive questions. Sneddon: "Isn't it true that boys tend NOT to admit they've been abused by adults when they are interviewed by women?" Peters: "Yes ... That's part of it." She bears down on the microphone and practically growls at him: "I am not a child sexual abuse specialist, Mr. Sneddon ... I have training in social issues." Sneddon handled her very well. She was clearly on the defensive. He handled her carefully.
One nervous laughter moment: When Peters was asked about who was around the kids and mom during the interview, she said a couple of Jackson's people. Asked to describe them, she exclaimed, "Big!" — then held her arms out like she was describing a linebacker. The jury laughed because she was animated — I looked at Jackson's profile ... he was not. When I was looking at his side view, I couldn't help but notice Tom Mesereau's profile too — they sit right next to each other. Jackson is so white and has such sharp features compared to Mesereau, who is a bigger guy with rosy cheeks. It almost looked like a sketch that the courtroom artist would make. I was sitting on the left side of the courtroom, which is where the jury is, and jurors have that same view. I wonder if they notice too.
E-mail No. 4 — Here is an e-mail I received from one of the jurors in the Scott Peterson (search) case:
Hello, since I have talked with you a few times now I thought maybe you would be interested in reading this letter. I understand where Mr. Peterson was coming from, at the same time I was a little upset by his statement. This is one of the many problems with the jury system. We tend to get blamed for anything that happens after the trial is over. So I wanted to send you a copy of this. If you have any questions, please fill free to contact me.
Thank you in advance,
Decision to convict painful for jury
Lee Peterson (May 3, Letters), you are wrong about the Peterson jury. We were not filled with hate. In fact, just the opposite; we were, and are, full of love and compassion for you, for your family and for the victims' family.
You can never understand how hard that decision was for us. None of us hated your son. We listened carefully for six months to both sides, and examined all the evidence. We swore to make our decision on the evidence, and the evidence proved your son guilty beyond any shadow of a doubt. Neither the media nor what the public wanted had anything to do with our verdict.
I'm sorry for your suffering. As a parent, I understand that you feel a duty to stand by your son. But please don't blame us for what Scott Peterson did.
Richelle Nice (Juror No. 7)
East Palo Alto
And finally, click here to read an update on the Atlanta shootings that we covered on the show.
Send your thoughts and comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Watch "On the Record" weeknights at 10 p.m. ET