Published April 07, 2006
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Check out the pictures posted today! They were taken by my colleague, Shayla Bezdrob. Shayla has been in Greenwich, Connecticut covering the Andrew Kissel murder case. The pics give you a behind-the-scenes look at the story and how we are covering it. Shayla has sent us pictures before. She hits the road often for FOX, so I always ask that she do this for us.
Thursday afternoon, we began planning to do a segment on the issues raised in the pleading filed by the Special Prosecutor in United States v. I. Lewis (Scooter) Libby. I am sure you heard about the new controversy. It was called, whether accurately or not, "the leak investigation." My local newspaper, The Washington Post, led with the story this morning and the headline was "Bush Authorized Secrets' Release, Libby Testified."
What caught the everyone's attention in the pleading, in part, is the following:
"…Defendant's participation in a critical conversation with Judith Miller [then of The New York Times] on July 8 ... occurred only after the Vice President advised the defendant that the President had authorized defendant to disclose certain information in the NIE [National Intelligence Estimate.] Defendant testified [in the grand jury] that the circumstances of his conversation with reporter Miller — getting approval from the President through the Vice President to discuss material that would be classified but for that approval — were unique in his recollection…."
Here is an important issue, not necessarily to the underlying indictment of Libby: If this happened, was this fair dissemination of important information to the public or dirty politics?
I pulled the plug on doing the segment after spending about two hours studying the pleadings (including a 39-page pleading filed by the special prosecutor entitled, "Government's Response to Defendant's Third Motion to Compel Discovery," and rereading the underlying indictment.) I wanted to do the segment, but the more I studied it, the more I realized that it is complicated and I want to make sure I get it right. I was worried that without more facts that my segment might turn into essentially, "whose side are you on," rather than "what happened?" I wanted facts — all the facts — not a political fight. I could not think who would be the perfect guest to book on the topic. Who could give us the facts, complete and straight?
This is not to take from the many other news organizations — and my own — who covered the story, I just wanted to study it further. It is a very important story and since so many shows were doing it, I felt comfortable being a bit more cautious and pulling back. If no other news shows or print journalists had covered this matter, I would have done so. As I noted, the topic is very important in my mind. I watched all the other shows covering the story and found it fascinating. I also read a few newspapers about it this morning. If you love the law and you love politics — and you measure it against the importance of these times and how important a government is to its people — you can't stop reading about it or watching news about it.
It seems to me there are two main issues: Was the law broken and, if so, who broke it? And, secondly, from a political standpoint, was the leak of information — assuming it occurred as suggested in the pleading — dirty politics or a fair dissemination of information? I would love to hear from the president and vice president on this to find out what they recall.
If I can figure out how to advance the story, or do it differently from what has already been done, we will cover it on our show tonight. I also need to measure in my mind whether it has been done and done and done in the last 24 hours and if we are now too late (because I dragged my feet yesterday!) If some new information emerges today, then even if the story was done by everyone yesterday — and it was — it becomes a new story today. One challenge our show has, because we are last in prime time, is to figure out how to cover stories differently than all the cable news shows before us. I am also still trying to think who is the best guest for this topic. I want a guest who has no dog in the fight. Any ideas who you would like to hear from on this topic?
Now for some e-mails:
E-mail No. 1
If Greta would learn to pronounce the last name of Natalee Holloway correctly, I might find her more credible. Of a jillion other "journalists" (is Greta really in that category?), who have no problem with the way the family choses [sic] to say the name, Greta stands alone.
Spring Hill, TN
E-mail No. 2
I've just returned from a trip to North Carolina and have a question. Upon arriving in the D.C. area I noticed the abundance of tree buds and flowers. However on continuing to Virginia, the spring foliage disappeared and it was not until the Carolinas that I saw the return of the promise of spring.
My question is this, is the hot air emanating from politicians in our capital [sic] causing a fluctuation of seasonal climate change in the Washington, D.C., area? Air pollution can take many forms.
E-mail No. 3
Just wanted you to know I love your show and I am going to have to get Slingbox. I listen to you on my iPod, but it is audio only. It is nice to hear your voice at 35,000 feet while they are showing some boring, mind-numbing movie for the 5th time this month.
Please keep up the multimedia touch, if I don’t see you on TV, I read your e-mail, or I listen to you, and hopefully if Slingshot really works I will be able to watch your show anywhere.
ANSWER: Robert's e-mail refers back to one posted yesterday from my colleague Adam Housley. I am jealous that Adam has and soon Robert will have a Slingbox. I can't get Slingbox — yet — because my laptop is an Apple laptop. I have read that Slingbox will be available this summer for Apple computers. I want one.
E-mail No. 4
I have been following the Natalee Holloway story since the beginning. My family and I were vacationing in Aruba when Natalee disappeared. We follow the story nightly on your show for the latest updates and as a parent, I appreciate your coverage and determination to keep this story in the public eye and assist the Holloway family in their search for the truth. I fear if it were not for the media coverage, this case would have already been set aside as an unsolved disappearance.
There is one comment that is continually made by Arabian authorities in regard to the low crime rate in Aruba. Could this statistic be due to the record keeping of the same authorities that are also responsible for the current investigation? When you reported last night that authorities had stated that security cameras were being installed in several hotel areas for security purposes I felt inclined to share what happened to my family while we were vacationing there. We were burglarized while we were sleeping in our bedrooms in Aruba House. One of my daughters, returning from visiting with other family members at another location, walked in while this was going on but was unaware of the danger. We discovered that we had been robbed the next morning and was advised to report the situation to the property manager. We did so and was advised that the security company would be notified to review the film from the security camera and that we would be notified of their findings. When we did not hear back, we again contacted the property manager to be informed that they were not able to determine anything from the film. This was on the night before we were scheduled to fly out the next morning. Upon returning home we contacted the owner of Aruba House and was advised to contact the property manager to file a police report. I did so but was advised that I would need to do that in person. All I am trying to say is that security camera are not necessarily a deterrent to crime. I continue to think of what could have happened to any member of my family if we had awakened during the robbery. I do not consider Aruba "One Happy Island."
I just wanted to share this experience with you and as much as we loved the island of Aruba, I do not plan to return because of the way the Holloway case has been handled as well as our personal experience. I would like the Holloway family to know that we will continue to pray for resolution to the disappearance of Natalee. Please continue with your coverage.
E-mail No. 5
Sorry to bother you again today, but I wondered if FOX received any George Foster Peabody awards for reporting during and after Katrina? In today's paper it was stated that NBC's Brian Williams and CNN both received the award. I personally thought Shepard Smith, reported during and after Katrina, along with you and other's from FOX. I just wondered if any of you received this award? Thanks for answering my TN Preacher.
ANSWER: Marge, FOX News Channel does not apply for awards from peer organizations. I don't know if it is true for Peabody Awards, but for most awards you must submit an entry. If you don't submit, you can't win awards. But, be advised, you and all the other viewers give us awards every day by watching. FOX News Channel beats all the other cable networks in viewers! That is the award we love and we thank you.
P.S. I agree, Shep did a magnificent job reporting during Katrina and the aftermath.
E-mail No. 6
Information I have coming out of Aruba indicate that Chief Deputy Dompig was never removed from the Natalee Holloway case and is still the leading investigator and spokesperson for the case.
I hope the show's producer double checks the facts before they are broadcasted to the world. It works against your credibility and motto: "Fair and Balanced."
ANSWER: I don't know your source, but we confirmed that he is no longer the chief cop on the story with the chief prosecutor's office. I read the e-mail myself, so unless you have a better source, I am going with our source.
E-mail No. 7
We are off on a vacation for a few weeks and since it is a cruise (we are not worried!), we may not be able to keep up with what you are doing as frequently as I do here at home. So, you are on your own! Try to keep Bernie and Ted under control and ignore the e-mails from fools, drunks and other weird beings.
Finally, for some articles that caught my attention:
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