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I am a bit perplexed as to how to write the blog today. I am in Houston at the Astrodome (search) where thousands have arrived by bus. Which blog do I write? The one describing the great acts of kindness in the Houston community and at the Astrodome — or the one that tells you the unbelievable plight of fellow Americans? I am going to try and write both, since both would be completely accurate. I have also attached a few pictures today from Thursday.
First, Houston! It is amazing how this city jumped up and opened its doors. As I walked through the Astrodome, I met doctors, nurses, cooks, volunteers etc., all with one goal: to help. The workload is overwhelming and they cannot shoulder it alone, but they are trying. It is non-stop — the volunteers never stop moving. I spoke to volunteers from as far away as New Hampshire.
Now for the other side: You can imagine the sight. As I walked through the Astrodome I saw people very much alone. Many elderly were lying on cots, curled up, not talking, gripping blankets and looking alone and very desperate. If there were one, it would be easy. I would know what to do. But there are hundreds — every place you look. It is simply overwhelming. The people with children seem better off to me since they are "distracted" by taking care of the kids. Those who are healthy wander the aisles between the thousands of cots — some carrying signs with names of lost family members.
People gravitate towards us since they see us as a chance to help them find their missing family members. We feel, of course, helpless. Everyone in every news organization wants to help. It would be inhuman not to want to help. This is an emergency. Frankly, when I did last night's show, I just felt like saying for an hour "help!" This situation is so desperate that words are inadequate. Fortunately for us in the electronic media, we show video and video is the best way to bring to you the honest horror these people are enduring. We need to face the horror so that we rise to the challenge of helping... and quickly. Time is not on our side.
Here are some of your e-mails:
E-mail No. 1
Greta Van Susteren,
Give us a break reporting from the Astrodome! Those people are glad to be there with food and beds and air conditioning and showers and YOU are making problem for the FUTURE! It is one step at a time... everything that can be done is being done for immediate problems, let the other things work out as they WILL... one step at a time! You don't have the answers, either, so don't be so critical and pessimistic! I live in Florida and my son is an Ohio National Guardsman ON HIS WAY at this moment to New Orleans, as are thousands of other military personnel. It takes time to activate them and deliver them to the area. The airports had to be cleared so the planes can land delivering the aid and personnel. Nobody can wave a magic wand and instantly solve this gigantic problem! It's an awful tragedy and the American people/government are responding! The victims of this disaster are acting better than the news media! I normally enjoy FOX News but the grandstanding by media is getting disgusting! Bill O'Reilly's statement that "they" would DEMAND that the federal government get resources in there NOW was ridiculous! "Walk a mile in their shoes" before criticizing so much... or come up with a BETTER solution yourself!
E-mail No. 2
Shame on you, Greta for now totally forgetting about Natalee. Seems you couldn't get enough of her when you were having a "slow" news time. Now that something bigger has happened you can't even give her storyline (one that you have reported nightly for a VERY long time) five minutes. You are only interested in doing whatever the big news is about at the time... shame on you for totally forgetting about something you once claimed was important! While I am in agreement that your news now should be about the aftermath of Katrina you still should give Natalee five minutes of your time.
E-mail No. 3
Thank you for your coverage. I am overall disappointed in the tone of FOX News. At times it seems so slighted that it doesn't appear patriotic. This is a sad time in American history and I think these days will be revisited in a very unkind manner. I realize that there are lots of things going on but we have got to find a way to stop the unnecessary deaths of these affected people.
E-mail No. 4
Why don't them put some at closed military bases? Why take them to Houston when they can no longer accept just another disappointment for them? Let them know they are going on to San Antionto or Dallas — get the motels open to them the government or Red Cross can pay the bill at a reduced rate or something. I have never seen such inhuman treatment of people. Get military law and get the shooters caught and send them to the waste prison they can find... just unreal their own people would do such thing to stop the evacuation of these poor souls.
E-mail No. 5
What in heavens name is wrong with the government? Why can’t they mobilize an evacuation from the New Orleans Superdome? Has our country not evacuated thousands of people from war torn countries and cities (Vietnam comes to mind). Why in heavens name can we not get our ducks in a row and get those elderly people, women with small children and the sick out of there first. I don’t buy the sniper excuse, anymore. Maybe once, but solve the problem from then on, don’t let it continue. Fire a few warning shots or take out some thugs and get to the people that need help. Ever person I know has personally done something to contribute, the aid and the desire to help these people are available, just get them!
I’m appalled that the Federal Government isn’t giving the Governor of Louisiana and the Mayor of New Orleans every available transport to help those people. Shame on anybody that is in a position of power or authority for letting this situation escalate to a national tragedy far beyond the natural disaster. It’s the worst form of neglect that I’ve ever seen in our country.
E-mail No. 6
On Wednesday's show you repeatedly mentioned someone that had been waiting on their roof for help for five days! The storm hit Monday. The levee was breached on Tuesday. Was part of her hurricane preparation to sit on a roof for a couple of days prior to the storm? Outrageous reporting like this from you and others in the media inflames the public and is inexcusable. There is no need to hype this horrible catastrophe more than what it is.
John E. Henderson
Ft. Pierce, FL
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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 7 p.m. timeslot.