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Orlando Sentinel Apologizes

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Big news! Congratulations to all of you who helped... and had success! I thank you for your help. I received a call from the ombudsman for the Orlando Sentinel last night. You may recall from Monday's blog that the paper last week made a very bad mistake about me. The newspaper's ombudsman told me that the paper had reviewed Roger Moore's column in which he took a swipe at me and determined that it was wrong. The newspaper says it "regrets the error" and I am assuming that regret for the error includes Roger Moore, the author of the false words and false suggestion about me. I much appreciate the call — and I appreciate it when people apologize. I accept this apology. It was wrong what was printed about me and wrong was suggested about me — but the paper has the integrity (an important trait) to step up to the plate, acknowledge it, and apologize.

The newspaper's ombudsman also told me he would be publishing a column about this incident in the Sunday Orlando Sentinel. I look forward to reading what he has to say. I thank all of you for your hard work in helping me get this correction. I could not let this go on the Internet for eternity unanswered. As you know, much is said about people that is false and put on the Internet for eternity and ordinarily I would not spend time getting it corrected — but this was too important. This was way over the line for me and it takes great courage and integrity for a paper to step forward and say, "We are wrong and we are sorry." I admire them for doing it.

In talking to the newspaper's ombudsman I told him I am mindful of the fact that I am at high risk of making a similar mistake every night. That proverbial glass house haunts all of us. I do live TV and there is a risk that I get something wrong that can't be edited because it is live — or that something I say is misinterpreted or even said in a clumsy manner that does not accurately convey my views. We all make mistakes — few of us have the guts to correct it... and sometimes it takes a little prodding (your helpful e-mails and calls.) I confess, I hate admitting when I am wrong... but when I finally get the courage, I do feel better. I hope that if I make a mistake that my apology is accepted as is Roger Moore's today by virtue of the correction and regret in the Orlando Sentinel. I suspect Roger Moore is not happy that the false reference and worse, false suggestion, he made about me had to come to this — a public apology. I hope Roger Moore can "bury the hatchet" with me (I heard he did not like our little mischief of e-mailing and calling him as he suggested at the bottom of his column whacking me.) Maybe if he comes to D.C. he will let me buy him a cup of coffee.

I am hoping when the ombudsman writes his more in-depth column this Sunday about the incident that he explains why the printing of the reference to me was so wrong and needed a correction and retraction. The correction below does not. It was not just the factual errors but included a suggestion by Roger Moore — not referred to below — about my thoughts that were not only deadly wrong, but a cheap — very cheap — shot. Here is the Orlando Sentinel's correction of Roger Moore's article that appears in Friday's paper:

November 11, 2005
A review on Page F8 of Sunday's Life & Times section of the book, "The Age of Anxiety: McCarthyism to Terrorism," referred incorrectly to the childhood household of FOX News talk-show host Greta Van Susteren. Although the book describes Van Susteren's father, Urban, as Joseph McCarthy's best friend, who lent McCarthy his copy of Adolf Hitler's "Mein Kampf," it is not certain that Van Susteren kept that book in his home, nor is there any suggestion in "The Age of Anxiety" that "Mein Kampf" was held in high regard in the Van Susteren household. The Sentinel regrets the error.

And if you think that I should have let this go and not forced a correction and apology from the Orlando Sentinel, last night a friend of mine told me that Tony Kornheiser — of The Washington Post and ESPN and who I admire and like very much — asked her about the Joe McCarthy reference to me. She told him what was written about me and suggested about me was false. I wonder how many other people are asking... and I hope that the now false remarks and suggestions' correction and apology are as widely read as the original publication." This is why I needed to do it... and I needed your help.

Now for some e-mails — the first was not randomly selected, the rest were:

E-mail No. 1 — This next e-mail is about an organization helping out the animals in the Gulf Coast region. The people who run it are all volunteers... I went online, www.petconnectinc.org, and made a contribution because I am a huge animal lover and saw firsthand the many pets in the Gulf Coast region looking for their owners. Check out their Web site — there are pictures of many of these pets:

Hi Greta,
****** just left me a message saying that you might be able to give PetConnect some news coverage, which would be truly fabulous. Next Tuesday, the 15th, in the afternoon, we will be bringing approximately 20 dogs and cats back from the Gulf Coast to my Potomac home. These animals will then be placed in foster homes as we attempt to find their original, displaced owners. After the 15th of December (a guideline set by HSUS), these animals will be available for adoption.
PetConect is a small animal rescue organization that I started up with two other women, Anna Strates and Jan Sapp, in the hopes of placing unwanted pets in safe, caring homes as well as making the whole adoption process more supportive and less daunting. When Hurricane Katrina hit, like so many others, your sister included, we were propelled to action. In October we organized a trip to Mississippi and Alabama to retrieve some of the Katrina animal victims. From word of mouth and letters sent to friends in the area, we were able to pull off our "mission". People donated items, from crates to bedding to collars and food supplies. Two SUV's loaded up with 19 animals arrived in my front yard and were met by about 30 volunteers, who bathed, walked and comforted the animals before settling them into clean crates that were arranged in rows in my garage. Two veterinarians set up a makeshift clinic in a guest room where they checked and vaccinated the animals. Those who were too sick were taken to a veterinary hospital for more comprehensive evaluation.
Shortly thereafter, the foster families, all of whom had been carefully screened, arrived to pick up their pets. The animals were bedraggled and frightened but incredibly sweet and gentle. Everyone was touched by their trusting behavior, especially given their recent trauma.
This Tuesday another set of hurricane victims will be arriving. It is my hope that PetConnect's work with these animals will be of interest to you. (***** has always told me that you are even more of an animal lover than she is, if that's possible!)
Thanks to that exposure, more of the community became involved in our effort to help these displaced animals. It seems that many of these people have been drawn to PetConnect because of our hands on approach. Just so you know, we are an all-volunteer, non-profit animal welfare organization.
Looking forward to hearing from you,
Lizette Chanock
PetConnect is (301) 299-3798 and the Web site is www.petconnectinc.org

E-mail No. 2

Greta,
My son and daughter in law to be were thinking about an April honeymoon to Aruba... I am on the warpath that they do not go there. I have been following your show since May, and am appalled at the way all this is going. I too would not have had all of Beth’s patience! I just e-mailed all three folks at the paper and the e-mail to Charlotte has bounced back! I guess her box is full! I’ll keep trying for you.
1¢ from York, PA

E-mail No. 3

Just bought a ticket to Aruba. I know you need cheap programming, but enough is enough. Do not watch "Hannity" any more, I guess you are next and I know you are not dumb.
Mary Mac,
Ft Miers, FL

E-mail No. 4

If that was his daughter that was missing and the stupidity that has gone on here had happened, let him say don’t boycott a country because of my little insignificant daughter. What an A$#%)#$?
Shirley Bossbach

E-mail No. 5

Thanks be to God for Jeff Brown who finally gives the other side of the story. Greta, you are obsessed with Beth Twitty and seem to have lost all prospective related to Aruba. Why don't you listen to Ted re: this story?
Please step back, take a deep breath and re-evaluate this obsession with Beth. The rest of the country may not love this story as you do. I certainly am tired of Beth and Jug and there are lots of people who feel the same way.
My family stopped watching your show for a long time as we referred to it as the "Beth and Jug Show."
I too was distressed with the way you treated Queen Noor only to go back to the Beth Show.
Kay Milhorn
Meridian, MS

ANSWER: Queen Noor is a friend... she was pleased with the segment.

E-mail No. 6

Your guests who object to a boycott are simply wrong. When I was in Aruba, the cruise director told me that the island was safe because everyone living there knew an attack on a tourist would be dealt with in a swift and harsh manner.
The Natalee case disproves that claim. Americans should boycott the island for their own safety.
Walt

E-mail No. 7

Dear Greta,
I think you and your panel are missing the point regarding the boycott. I don't want my friends, family, or anyone I care about going to Aruba because they are not safe in Aruba. If someone who is not a citizen of Aruba goes there and meets with foul play it is apparent that the Aruba government will not or cannot solve the crime. Until this country is willing to protect their tourists and their people, they deserve the loss of profit from the tourist industry. Incompetence should not be rewarded. If the Arubans want our business, they should replace the people who are incapable of doing their job or suffer the consequences.
Jerrie Walden
Jonesboro, AR

E-mail No. 8

Hi Greta,
Can you tell me how all the people that say that they don't like your show and don't watch it any more always seem to know what you do every day if they are not watch you? I think someone is telling a little fib. I love your show.
June Dodds
Harrowsmith, Ontario
Canada

E-mail No. 9

Dear Greta,
I know the FOX network and you will not "shut down" because I have watched this network less and less. I use to watch it because I felt all of you were "Fair and Balanced." However, in my opinion, I feel that you are not being the unbiased reporter that you once were especially in the Natalee Holloway case. Now, these young men that are being accused of "harming" Natalee may be guilty, but, in my opinion, you are letting your emotions and your closeness to Mr. and Mrs. Jug Twitty and Mr. Dave Holloway override your fairness. Please try to listen and be respectable to all individuals you interview; it's just the right thing to do! Thanks.
Sincerely,
Elaine
SC

ANSWER: Elaine, here is what I want for the family of Natalee (and frankly the thousands of other families in the USA with similar problems): information and straight information. It is that simple. You may call it "emotion and closeness" — I call it "frustration."

I have been in Aruba and taken a close look at this investigation. In my opinion, the prosecutor or police could and should provide more information to the family. The sole issue giving rise right now to the problem of the boycott is lack of communication. If the police and prosecutor sat down with the family and gave them the straight facts, much would be resolved. Natalee would not come home with straight talk... but the family would be better able to deal with this. They don't want mystery — they want truth. It is possible that the prosecutor and police have done everything humanly possible and that this is the "perfect case" — but their failure to communicate this effectively is creating this problem for them. I assure you — families can accept the truth — even if the truth is "we can't solve this" — what families can not accept is being stonewalled or misinformed or thinking that. If the police and prosecutor have been straight thus far with Natalee's family, they have not been effective in communicating this.

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