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Thursday night was the annual holiday party at the White House for the media. President Bush and Mrs. Bush were gracious hosts.
I posted some pictures today of some of the FOX News talent who attended the party (Bill O'Reilly was there but I missed him, so I did not get a picture of him.) There is one picture of my colleague Steve Doocy and Karl Rove, but to give me a hard time for taking pictures, they gave each other rabbit ears. In the end, I am getting even by posting the picture of the two of them. Remember, this was a party: People were supposed to be having fun and they did. Under ordinary circumstances we in the media don't party with an administration, but this is an annual tradition for the media and the White House — regardless of who is in power. The next day everyone goes back to his/her respective jobs and the friendliness can quickly vanish. No administration is fond of the press.
At the party there were people from probably every media outlet. I saw many you might recognize: Tim Russert, Wolf Blitzer, Cokie Roberts, David Gregory, Bob Novak, etc. It is usually quite crowded, but the weather in D.C. was wicked last night and that may have discouraged some from attending — or else the guest list was smaller than usual. In sum, the party was fun: good food, good music and I got to see people from other networks who I know and don't often get to see.
Last night I had a friend of mine on our show who has a new book. Her name is Darla Shine (her husband works here) and the book is "Happy Housewives." You might want to check out her Web site: www.darlashine.com. Darla was a TV producer before she decided to have a family and stay at home. You might think this book only interests women, but many men are reading it.
Our day starts early today. We have something we are hoping to get on camera early this morning — cross your fingers!
Now for some of your e-mails:
E-mail No. 1
I was just about to write a letter of concern that FOX wasn't holding up to its "Fair and Balanced" claim because I could not find any mention of Matt Dalton's new book, "Presumed Guilty," which suggests Scott Peterson's innocence, on the FOX News Channel.
The other books written about Peterson's guilt were given plenty of airtime so I had assumed that Dalton's book would be represented on FOX with the same enthusiasm.
I went to your blog and found out that Dalton backed out of the interview with you.
Thank you for that information, I commend you for at least trying to bring his point of view to light. Maybe he will attend your show in the near future. I, for one, would like to hear the press reveal the inaccuracies of this case. I do feel that Peterson was railroaded and I would entertain other explanations as to who could have done this to Laci and baby Conner.
Love your show, thanks for your time!
Walnut Creek, CA
E-mail No. 2
Dear Mrs. Van Susteren,
You are a former prosecutor. You know that you don't share vital information with anyone, not even the victim's family. Can you tell me, in your career as a prosecutor, how many times you would spend an hour a day with the victim's family? And then to hear a version of what you have told the family in all confidence, being blasted in the U.S. media. Secondly, again, you did attack the police, many times and not just on their communication skills. The police never had to be media savvy before, nor were they ever in a situation like this. How do you think we Arubans feel? You don't care about the truth, you care about ratings. Why else would you not drill the Alabama kids who were here with Natalee? Why is it there is so much resistance for Aruban police to talk to these kids? As a former prosecutor, don't you think this is strange? Do you want the truth or you just want Joran to hang? He could be guilty, but he could also be innocent. Have ever considered this? Stranger things happen in the world. And with your experience as a journalist and a lawyer, you should know this too. I still have the early poster of Beth asking Natalee: "Hootie call me. I am in Aruba and we can talk!" Hmm.
ANSWER: I always hate to ruin a good rant, but Dilma, I was never a prosecutor. Second, investigations are not about "feelings" as you suggest... it is about facts and getting them. I regret that you think our tough demand for information is taken as a slight against Arubans... it is not. If you paid close attention to what I have said you would know that I think simple communication would help get everyone on the same page. It is possible that this is the perfect crime — meaning that even after a thorough and competent investigation we will not know what happened to Natalee Holloway. If the police won't provide information, we won't know if they did or are doing a thorough and complete investigation. I admit there is such a thing as the perfect crime and maybe this is one of those. And, yes, I admit I think the delegation travel to U.S. Capitol is a stunt — it won't help find Natalee or get more information about her. I do find the trip to D.C. an exercise in futility and a needless expense. Maybe I am wrong. I am willing to hold final judgment until after their trip.
E-mail No. 3
After reading your blog today, I think you should start a healthy eating club for your viewers, sort of like Oprah has (I think). You could ask you readers to weigh themselves on January 1 (and not e-mail their weight, of course), then re-weigh themselves a couple of months later and report if they gained or lost and how often they exercised. This might motivate us all to do better.
ANSWER: Start a healthy eating club? I think I should "join" one and not "start" or "lead" one. To date I have not demonstrated leadership qualities in this department and may not be ready to be an example to others. However, at least I have decided to try and do better
E-mail No. 4
I'm getting so tired of listening to people referring to our military personnel as "children." How about a little respect? Our volunteer military consists of all adults of all ages, who have chosen their career for their own reasons with their own minds. I actually thought that one of the things we fight for in this country is our freedom to live as we choose and not to choose a career for someone else's politics. Give the kids of our politicians a break and let them choose their career just as you and I did, for their own likes and dislikes, talents and abilities, not because of what their parent's political views are. I actually support this president and this war. I also have a stepson that served in Iraq, but I would never suggest to my other children that they should also serve just because of what I support.
E-mail No. 5
I'd like to thank you for bringing up the fact that many, if not most, of the children of age to serve of our Congress are not! It's a deeply felt pet peeve of mine. I know "just folks" that have children serving and have died in Iraq and Afghanistan. Overall, it is the economically disadvantaged that are serving. The children of the privileged, do not. As for a voluntary military — when you can't afford an education, have lived in real poverty, and have few choices, the military can be a means to getting an education and possibly a better life. The children of congressional leaders don't have to worry about such things. Frankly, I feel that in times of war, we should have a draft that everyone is subject to and during which time, no one can be deferred because they are in college. Lastly, I am of the opinion that we would be in much better shape in Iraq militarily if we had gone in with far more forces. By not doing so, we have put the lives of our military at far greater risk.
E-mail No. 6
Greta, I loved the lunch question! It was so fun reading the responses on your blog of what people have for lunch, actually it was pretty hilarious! I got pretty hungry reading it though. The e-mail from Paul Hankinson about the Jack in the Box tacos made me wish we had a Jack in the Box in Oklahoma!
E-mail No. 7
Wow! After reading what everyone had for lunch yesterday (I was laughing — been there!) I think we all need to reconsider our diets! Yesterday, I had water, 2 ounces of turkey and a slice of Havarti cheese, a Nuts Over Chocolate Luna Bar, a plain Hershey Bar and later in the afternoon — a Balance Bar. Way too many calories, but I was full!
E-mail No. 8
This is a bit late, but I wanted to respond to your Karen Hughes interview. I applaud you for verbalizing the issue that must be in the hearts and minds of all intelligent citizens. Why are the children and grandchildren of the administration and congressmen not serving in the military? How many times will the powers that be send our children to be killed while their own children's lives remain uninterrupted? Before a president or Congress risks the lives of our children by entering into armed conflict, their own children's lives should be placed on the line.
E-mail No. 9
I enjoyed your interview and thought you were correct in asking her why politicians' children do not serve in the military. I remember during the Vietnam War, Lyndon Johnson's sons-in-law served in Vietnam. In fact, Lucy's husband requested Vietnam service. Our present president joined the National Guard so that he wouldn't have to go to Vietnam.
E-mail No. 10
The logic or illogic that politicians should strongly encourage their children to join the military if their politician parent(s) voted or advocated war totally deludes my simple mind. By that logic, then a politician who resorts to bribery, misconduct should then encourage their children to follow suit? Should all lawyers then encourage their children to become attorneys?
Something is grossly missing from your conclusion: we are a fortunate people who live in a society that allows individuals to make personal choices about what they wish to do with their lives as well as how they wish to serve their country. Service to one's country is not exclusively restricted to military service alone. If service to one's country is judged solely by military service, my hunch is that there are a lot of journalists, commentators, attorneys, government bureaucrats, etc., who fail to meet that standard.
If one disagrees with war, that is their constitutional right. Making the absolutely preposterous statement that because one supports a war effort means that person should encourage their children to join the military is exactly that: a preposterous, ludicrous and insane conclusion.
Rebecca K. Wetzel
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