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Yesterday all the networks paid tribute to those who lost their lives on 9/11 (and of course tribute to the surviving loved ones who, likewise, have suffered so at the hands of terrorists). It is difficult to figure out how best to do this and how much to do this. I did not get a chance to watch the news yesterday (I was preparing for our show) but assume most networks did mostly 9/11-related segments and shows.
It is a bit surreal how tragedy brings all the media together in one spot and we all get about five minutes to talk to each other until the next crisis. At Ground Zero I ran into former colleagues — and current colleagues who I don't get to see often. All the media organizations do their live shots and shows from the same location, so I ran into and talked briefly to Larry King, Chris Matthews, Geraldo, Paula Zahn, Rick Leventhal and Shep (who needs no last name like Madonna and Cher).
Yesterday was tough for all of us... in the media or not. It is tough to remember such a horrible day as 9/11. Worse is seeing the family members and the young children of the victims. What do you say to the kids? The civilian who I interviewed at the Pentagon and who almost died from having 38 percent of his body burned on 9/11 told me off camera that his young grandson innocently asked his grandfather, "How come those pilots flew into the Pentagon? Couldn't they see?" How do you best answer that one?
Senator Hillary Clinton was a guest on our show last night. Because we had to trim some of her interview (time issues), I have posted the entire interview on our Web site today. Her interview was not trimmed much, but since we aired all of Secretary of Homeland Defense Michael Chertoff's interview, we wanted to do the same for Senator Clinton. Just click and watch.
Why one interview gets trimmed and another does not is a decision made by a producer and is almost always totally dependent upon time — including any break schedule we must meet. These decisions about trimming any given interview are not made for political reasons. We are just trying to do our best for you within some practical or technical limitations and, of course, we can't be perfect. We can only try and do a good job for you.
If you watched last night you know our show's set overlooking Ground Zero was a wind tunnel. Ninety minutes (the length of our special show last night) sitting in the wind tunnel was quite cold. I was lucky in that I had an electric blanket over my lap (I had to remove it when we had a segment with a guest because you would see it and it looked pretty lame on camera.)
Yes, I was cold — very cold — but so much, much, much, much more fortunate than those who lost lives or lost family members on 9/11. I am not complaining. I remain grateful for all that I have.
Last Friday night we were planning on airing an interview with Newsweek's investigative reporter Michael Isikoff. He has a new book out, "Hubris." Because of breaking news — the arrest of suspected cop killer Ralph "Bucky" Phillips — we could not air our interview with Michael. (Yes, that is the hazard of live news!) I have posted that interview, too, today so that you can watch it.
Now for some e-mails:
E-mail No. 1
I certainly remember where I was five years ago. We were driving to the hospital because our daughter was in labor. We heard the radio account of what had happened to the first tower. When we got to the hospital we saw the second plane hit the second tower. And then within the hour or so, the buildings fell. It was surreal. Then the news of the Pentagon and Flight 93.
All morning long, as our daughter progressed with labor we watched the TV, in horror. How could something so hateful and awful happen to the good people of our United States? On a day that was filled with such promise, we were all numb. Our daughter said time and again that the labor pains were nothing at all in comparison with the pain and suffering the people were experiencing. Our moods swung back and forth. Excitement about our first grandchild and sadness and disbelief of the terror of that day. Numb is really the best expression of the feelings we had that day and for many days after. We couldn't bear to watch the TV in the aftermath, and couldn't bear to turn it off. But, we all celebrated the birth. Something wonderful and miraculous had happened that day!! A new life, full of hope and great expectations for a better world.
Today, watching the remembrances of that day, five years ago, I marveled that the emotions that I felt were welling up again. Every time I think of the tragedy of that day, and the celebration of that day, I get emotional.
Today is our grandson's fifth birthday!!
E-mail No. 2
I turned you off midway thru the interview. Although I wasn't too pleased with P Bush's speech tonight, I thought H Clinton's comments for your on-air interview were very inappropriate for today.
ANSWER: I am really disappointed in you, J Luke, and all the others who wrote critical e-mails to us about Senator Clinton or President Bush last night... or anyone else. You would think for one night when we are honoring all those who lost lives and their surviving family — whether you agree or disagree — you could "give it a rest." I don't agree with all our politicians. Some I like better than others, some I think are not good at their jobs, some I think are good at their jobs... yet for one night, for the benefit of those who died, I can set aside any partisan thoughts. This is not to say we should not challenge our leaders or demand the best from them, but for one night let's just stop being partisan.
E-mail No. 3
You said that airplanes crashed into the buildings but you didn't show that. You said the towers collapsed but you didn't show that either. I am deeply offended by your refusal to air what actually happened.
ANSWER: Bill...I am not sure what show you watched.
E-mail No. 4
Haven't I heard that you are a lawyer? And as such are trained in the art of critical thinking, I'm curious to know why you work for FOX, and specifically why tonight in your interview with Chertoff you lobbed softballs and actually put answers in his mouth? Isn't the media supposed to be our eyes and ears? Why then have you chosen to be mouth and/or brain for this administration and its minions? How are you fulfilling your obligation to the American experience? To our national dialogue? To your own profession(s)? You could do sooooo much better!!!
ANSWER: For one night — 9/11 — I think we can bury the hatchet and be civil to each other. It is fair and right that we challenge our leaders — both Dems and Repubs — but last night my goal was not to point fingers and criticize. It was a night when it was worthy of us "giving it a rest." I regret that you are unhappy with the Secretary Chertoff interview and that others were unhappy with the Senator Clinton interview. I guess that is what could be described as "fair and balanced!"
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