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As you may know, our show is unscripted except going in and out of segments (introducing guests). My questions to our guests are never scripted.
When it comes to these few scripts in a show, in most instances, we have time to think about how to introduce the person and we try and set it up right. From time to time we don't have the perfect script: meaning not that it is factually incorrect, but that for other reasons it is not a good script.
Last night, if you watched our show, you would know we reported on the tragic death of a 12-year-old boy on a ride at a Disney-MGM theme park. Here is a quiz: What's wrong with this tease/introduction of a guest:
"At least 16 people have died at Disney theme parks in Florida and California since 1989."
That is what I almost said introducing a guest on the topic. In going over my script for maybe the fourth or fifth time, it suddenly occurred to me that there was something wrong with it. Did you guess? If you guessed right, maybe you should get a job in TV!
What is wrong with the script is that it has no frame of reference. In other words, in light of the millions and millions and millions who visit theme parks each year (multiplied by the number of years since 1989,) aren't 16 deaths an extremely small percentage? I think so. It is a very low percentage and thus, in my opinion, theme parks are statistically very safe. Yes, the statement of 16 is correct, but without more it could give you the wrong impression and one I did not mean to convey.
Of course this does not mean that the 16 deaths are not incredibly tragic — they are — and it also does not mean that the theme park is necessarily free of negligence. This is very sad and I have no idea if negligence was involved in any of the 16 deaths.
Here are some more problems with the script: How did the 16 die? Were they on rides? Were some elderly? Did they choke on a hot dog? Did they die of natural causes, etc.? You need this information to decide whether rides might be risky or parks dangerous. In short, you need more facts than that original script gave you. I am so glad I caught myself on this one.
We want to be fair. We don't want to cast Disney or anyone else in a light which might give rise to a false impression. Of course we are not perfect, but we try and police ourselves and I am glad I caught myself on this one.
Below is a sampling of the many e-mails I receive and read each day. I was surprised how many e-mails I received about Star Jones and Barbara Walters. Please note that I randomly pick e-mails that I post and don't try to push a particular agenda.
E-mail No. 1 — this first note is from Catherine Herridge:
Thanks for the kind note, Greta. We wish it was easier for Peter too, but we're staying positive and trying to keep it all in perspective. Sometimes it is hard to appreciate the progress when you see him every day.
My sister came to visit this week from Toronto. She has not seen Peter since the transplant and she was stunned by how much better he looks and how much he has grown. She kept saying it was such a transformation.
We were eye-balling (sic) him today and we think he has grown at least an inch or two in the last month. He looks like a puppy curled up in his bed, with long legs and very big hands and feet. They had told us that once he had a "new transmission" — in this case, a liver that works — his growth would be quite remarkable.
Will try and shoot you another note before the end of the week.
Catherine, Peter, JD and Jamie
E-mail No. 2
I was glad you included the e-mails about "The View." To be honest, I have never been a fan of Star Jones, but I was so shocked at Barbara Walters' immature behavior. So what if Star says she's leaving, they didn't renew her contract. So let's pitch a bigger hissy fit and kick her off. I thought Barbara Walters was supposed to be a respected journalist. She's acting like she wants a job on "Extra." But I guess this makes sense judging from her backhanded congrats to Katie Couric, touting how she lead the way for Katie's milestone job offer to anchor nightly news alone. Sounds like it is time for Barbara to retire!
E-mail No. 3
About 10 years ago I had the pleasure of selling you a piano. It was a nice white baby grand. We delivered it with a minor scratch, which is common (650 pds, steps, etc.) so I offered our touch up man to fix it.
You are still the only person that refused this offer in my 30 years of selling pianos. You had to have a replacement. I tell this story often while watching you with friends and family. I enjoy your show, for the record!
ANSWER: Richard, you have me confused with someone else. I have never purchased a white baby grand piano. As an aside, I took piano lessons back in 1961, 1962 and 1963 and was a MISERABLE failure. I only play the radio… but, I must brag, I am good at playing the radio! I am glad you wrote since all these years it sounds like you think I was a diva not accepting a repair and insisting on a replacement! I hope we have cleared this up and glad you enjoy the show — our staff works hard. One other thing: I don't like white pianos, I like black ones!
E-mail No. 4
You ask why so many teacher sex scandals with students. I am a high school substitute teacher for several districts in southern CA. I am hit on by the female students at least 5 times per week, and the students doing the hitting are not subtle.
I am not justifying a teacher responding to sex invitations at all, just letting you know that it happens, and often.
Bye, and have a great July 4th!
E-mail No. 5
I don't watch "The View" anyway, but I did see the news account of the show with Star telling the viewers she was leaving. Now that I know "the rest of the story," I am really disappointed in B.W. I always thought she was a classy lady, but it appears she has had a character slip! As far as the producers thinking Rosie is a better choice than Star Reynolds, I think they have a surprise coming.
E-mail No. 6
I have read your blog and the people who wrote their comments on the Barbara Walters and Star Jones ordeal.
I agree with them and I feel that Star Jones will be better off by leaving the show, of which she did. I think that Barbara Walters was mad because Star beat her to the punch by announcing that she was leaving the day before Barbara had planned to give her a proper send away.
Barbara looks so wicked right now, and I do not believe she cared about Star in the first place. I really think that Barbara would do herself a favor if she would retire from the show and get a well needed rest.
E-mail No. 7
I personally feel by even considering Rosie, it was a slap in the face to Star. "The View" knew if Rosie came in that Star would leave. I’ve never liked Barbara Walters. I think she is so rude.
E-mail No. 8
I have never been a regular watcher of "The View," now I will never watch it because of Barbara's conduct and the addition of another person I have no respect for.
E-mail No. 9
Enjoy and watch your show almost every night. I have to agree with Vicki from LA's reference Barbara Walters remarks concerning Star Jones.
Please understand we are no fans of Jones, never have been... but the fact that she pulled a swifty [sic] on Walters is somewhat amusing... Walters knew all along Jones was going to get cut and the fact that Jones pulled one over Barb Wa Wa is what really set her off. I see that show being cancelled in the not so distant future... O'Donnell does not have what it takes to keep a show like that going... losing Meredith was the first blow... but now with all this boo hoo-ing going on in addition to O'Donnell, this could spell the beginning of the end for "The View."
E-mail No. 10
I just had to write about the e-mail on the fallout with Barbara Walters. If Star had not wanted to have the limelight she would have been more grateful for what Barbara Walters has done for her career. Star is an ungrateful person. She wants things her way or forget about it. Sorry but I am one happy camper that she no longer is on "The View." She really thought she was all that I got so tired of her. When she married Al you would have thought that was the first wedding on earth the way she acted. When she lost weight she should have been up front not hide behind it. Rosie is great and I like her as she speaks her mind and isn't afraid of telling the truth. She is like you; you say it and give it to us nightly the way it is.
One other thing that gets to me is people writing e-mails on your dress code and looks. Who the heck are they? Greta, continue to bring us behind the scenes of the real news and the updates on lost news we would never get to here or read.
Last week I had everyone making fun of me as I told them sorry it is 9:45 and I have to leave I forgot to TiVo Greta!
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