Want Greta's blog delivered directly to your e-mail box? Click here to sign up!
First, many thanks for all the e-mail responses to my questions yesterday. I liked reading them and posted a handful of them below. I am forever curious what viewers think about various topics. Remember, for the most part my job is looking into a camera talking to you but not being able to get a response about what you think... it is a strange one-way street of communication. So the e-mails are much appreciated.
Second, I just got word that I have a few road trips in front of me — New York tomorrow, Europe next week for three days and then to Iowa... at least that's the plan right now, but you know how this business is: plans are fluid.
On Tuesday, we — the D.C. staff for "On the Record" — went to work early. We had a class on editing video which will make us better at doing our jobs when we are in the field. We have been trying to schedule this for a long time, but it has been impossible to arrange until yesterday. We learned a great deal and it was fun... now let's hope I can remember what I learned.
I often get asked how much in advance of our show do we plan the show. The correct answer is: we sometimes plan our show during our show. Last night is a good example:
Early in our show we got word that police/searchers in Wyoming had found David Munis — the subject of a manhunt. He is the man suspected of killing his singer wife while she performed on stage last Friday night. We had planned to do a segment on the Munis manhunt, but we had planned to do it much later in the show and not as breaking news.
Finding him changed everything and we wanted to tell you right away.
When police/searchers found Munis they discovered that he had a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest. We reported the initial news of finding him early on in the show — his exact condition was unknown and our sources in Wyoming did not know his condition. We only knew that he was found, he was alive and taken to a hospital. Then later in the show we got more information about his capture and reported to you the additional information. And, as the clock struck eleven and just as I was about to take my earpiece out of my ear, my producer told me that Munis had died. It was too late for our show to report that but fortunately we have news updates throughout the night and it was reported in the 11 p.m. hour by our cut-in reporter.
The entire time I was doing the on-air part of the show, producers were calling sources, re-positioning guests on other topics and trying to figure out the timing of the show so that it ended at the top of the hour. My job was the easy one... the producers had the chaotic one.
I was told recently that Howard K. Stern hates me because, among other things, I said he is pathetic. I don’t know if I said that or not, but I confess I do think it is a shame that a healthy man, with a law degree from one of the top 20 law schools in the country is borrowing money from his retired parents living on a fixed income. At his age should be thinking about taking care of them and not the other way around. I was thinking about this as I stood in front of the vending machine at FOX last night trying to decide what to get to satisfy a sweet tooth. I had my eyes on two products in the vending machine: plain and peanut M&Ms. I could not decide which to get and then decided to make my choice based on what was “better” for me… and then I realized that is pathetic. Imagine thinking M&Ms as healthy! If I were so concerned about my health I would get a carrot. (I plugged a bunch of quarters in and got plain M&Ms... now that is pathetic!)
Now for some e-mails:
E-mail No. 1
What do I think of the following:
1. "Exclusive" — Well, sometimes news channels do get exclusives but a lot of times you can change the channel and someone else is calling the same thing exclusive. I believe it should only be used when you are sure it is exclusive.
2. "Gone missing" — Sounds almost like gone fishing. I'm with you, what happened to vanished or just missing?
3. "Take a listen" — Sounds stupid. Again I'm with you on this, what about just listen?
Who do I plan to vote for in '08? If Newt Gingrich gets into the fray then he has my vote. If not then it will go to Romney, Rudy or Thompson. The reason, since I consider myself an independent I can honestly say that for this day and age a Republican would be better to have running the country than a Democrat. The reason is simple, Republicans are better on defense and the War on Terror. The Democrats would want to have diplomatic talks with the terrorists and we'd all end up either living under Islamic rule or dead. Though he will never run again, if he were running then I would even vote for Lieberman.
Lee's Summit, MO
E-mail No. 2
“Gone missing”… thank you, Greta. Thank you for the opportunity to say how much I can't stand this term. It is worse than chalk grating on a blackboard every time I hear it. It implies the "victim" had a choice to go missing. NOT!
Also, if you can call some attention to "bring and take" and the proper usage I would be eternally grateful. Folks on TV are always bringing something somewhere. They should take food to the picnic and bring home the leftovers.
E-mail No. 3
I do not object to "exclusive" when a network or newscaster has a story or film clip that no other network or newscaster has and it is therefore an "exclusive." I find both "gone missing" and "take a listen" grammatically incorrect and agree wholeheartedly with you that "vanished," "is missing,"
"disappeared" are better. I too prefer simply "listen."
I have not decided who will get my vote in 2008. I am waiting for Newt Gingrich to announce his candidacy and will vote for him. If he does not enter the race, or — God forbid — enters and loses the primaries, then I will have to do some serious thinking.
NewsMax.com has a header at the top of your blog. It has a picture of Rosie with her mouth agape, the words "Stop the madness," and an invitation to log onto their Web site to vote whether you think Rosie should be given another network show. I have no idea why the folks at NewsMax would think that the same person who is interested in the content of their website would also care one way or the other about Rosie O'Donnell.
I get home from work around 6 p.m., so your show at 7 p.m. in California is just right for me! Keep up the good work, only please don't obsess on Beth Holloway and Anna Nicole Smith. I did stop watching for several weeks when those non-stories dominated "On the Record" — to the exclusion (reference to above intentional) of hard news.
E-mail No. 4
1. "Exclusive" is an appropriate term to use IF the piece in question is truly exclusive, i.e. only available on the channel broadcasting it. Otherwise it's a wrong to use the term.
2. Don't get me started on American English! The one that really annoys the hell out of me is "off of..." — what's the point of the "of"? I haven't notice you use it in your writings. However, Mike Straka does and I've even heard Ted Kennedy use it in speaking. Take this sentence for example; "Get off of the couch and do some exercise." The "of" is totally unnecessary so why use it?
E-mail No. 5
I hate this! Nobody "goes missing." They might go away, or be missing. Thanks for bringing that up as I thought all media had jumped on that bandwagon.
E-mail No. 6
I guess the words that are currently used to describe the different crime scenarios go with the times. They are simple and words that most people can relate to and understand.
As for Mr. Vitter, I think a person's private life should be just that: private. Unfortunately in today's climate when you are in the public eye that is just not possible. I believe Mr. Vitter's apology to be sincere and his wife seems to be a very classy lady. The whole planet now knows about his misdeeds and his straying from the marriage. I hope they can go on with their lives and that Mr. Vitter's political career will not suffer too much. Mr. Clinton lied to his wife, daughter and to the public about his affair until he was backed into a corner. I do not believe his apology was sincere, especially after all of these other women came forward with the claims of infidelity and other accusations. All these women could not be lying. What a shame, because Mr. Clinton was a decent president on so many levels, but probably will be remembered for all the scandals.
I am very hopeful that I will be voting for Mitt Romney for President. I am really getting involved in this election. I am reading everything I can get my hands on about the candidates and watching all the debates and the appearances they are making around the country.
I find Mr. Romney to be a man of integrity. The fact that he is a Mormon does not bother me a bit. He is a man that did not come from wealth, but earned what he has on his own by getting educated and working hard. When he is out and about with the people, he really listens to them and is well versed and knowledgeable on all the issues. I particularly like his thoughts about immigration. He seems to be genuinely interested in what the people have to say. He looks them straight in the eye and does not try to hurry things along or to dodge questions. Although he does not have much experience with foreign affairs, I believe he can succeed in that area, because of the skills he has acquired through his work in the corporate world. He will be great for the economy and has vowed not to take his presidential salary.
One more thought on the Mormon issue. When Mr. Romney's father ran for President in the '60s, his Mormon faith was not even an issue. How times have changed today. If the American people dismiss Mr. Romney because of his faith, it will be a real shame. Mr. Romney is more than qualified to be President of the United States.
Have a great day!
E-mail No. 7
Greta — you are exactly right about made up phrases polluting the language. Please add to your list - awesome, amazing (instead of staying "nice" or "wonderful"), exactly (instead of "yes"). It almost seems as though we are such a nation of excesses that in even ordinary conversation we are supposed to make everything "over the top."
Thank you for noticing. One reason I enjoy your show — you speak correct English (as does Bill Hemmer).
E-mail No. 8
Thanks for your program and your blog. I don't like the added words I hear on TV like "gone missing" and "went missing." There seem to be more and more of these odd add-ons occurring. Regarding the Rosie complaint e-mail, when I opened up your blog I found an ad from NewsMax at the top of the blog asking us to click here to stop Rosie's madness. I didn't click to find out how. The ad may have occurred more than today but I haven't paid attention.
ANSWER: I checked again and I don’t have that ad? Check out the e-mail I just got, below:
E-mail No. 9
You have probably received several e-mails about the Rosie thing. But in the e-mail version of Gretawire, there is an ad on the top of the e-mail, and Rosie is sometimes on it. I believe that is what the e-mailer was referring to. I pasted it [here]; I don’t know if it will appear though.
E-mail No. 10
Here we go again, "I take responsibility"… yada, yada, yada. His wife is such a hypocrite. She would have been best served by staying at home, and let her husband, the scoundrel, face the cameras. It is obvious to me the wives of these guys are on as much a power trip as they are. Call me old school, but my hubby would be looking for a place to live if he played around with hookers. Why wasn't she (the wife) as forgiving of Bill Clinton, and didn't she bash Hillary for standing by her man? Oh, I get it, only the right gets a pass. There's too much corruption in the Rep party for me to even consider voting for one of them.
E-mail No. 11
The topic of "gone missing" is a topic I discussed with my wife just a couple of evenings ago. I am NOT a person who has studied grammar. I trained to be a science and computer teacher, however fates conspired to make me an English language expert for the state and federal governments here in Colombia. It is due to this environmentally imposed awareness that I noted the continuing misuse of the adjective Missing. I would have to say that I don't feel right with this usage. However I have discovered that grammar is a dynamic study and influential users can change the rules of grammar. National and International media certainly qualify as influential. This is just a new usage unnecessary as it is. You might like to check out Longman Grammar of Spoken and Written English I got a different outlook from it.
About the presidential debacle I guess I would vote for Hillary and I am a staunch Republican. I supported Goldwater. If Colin Powell ran he would get my vote. Why would I vote for her? I guess mainly to break the glass ceiling.
On the subject of Mark Foley, his father was my principal when I started teaching in Florida.
E-mail No. 12
Item No. 1: Well, seems we change the verbiage because it’s cool to come up with different ways of saying the same thing. I remember when the word “issues” first came out. When I heard my sons using it in their professional chat, I thought it was to keep in line with business changes. But they use it all the time. He has issues with… we are having issues with this particular multi-task program we’re trying to install. So, what ARE the “issues”? I got a problem, not an issue. I guess it also softens the blow that having issues could mean the damned thing is not going to work as written — it needs “tweaking.” I took a writing course many years ago that advocated less snazzy words to take up space and possibly cause the reader to stop reading your letter. Such as, just use the word “because” rather than “due to the fact that, blah, blah”! There is nothing wrong with “because,” it is not a sign of stupidity. Couldn’t get my boss to agree, however. Oh well, it will continue to change over time and we have the choice of using the new phrases — or not! I’ll still watch your show!
Item No. 2: Boy, this election is tough. Slim pickings although I do have a favorite or two — both being Republicans. I’m not married to either party, thank God! It’s just everything is such a mess and I would rather wait a bit longer. I’ll let you know when I really hone in on one.
Hey! My hubby was surprised that one of my e-mails got printed. I told him, “Oh, she picked me all the time — I have such brilliant things to say”, never mentioning they are random. You sure had a boatload on the board today!
See you tonight,
Lex Park, MD
E-mail No. 13
Well you asked so here is what I think:
"Gone missing" and "take a listen" are two phrases I could do without. I just assumed they were new buzzwords just like the ones people are always coming up with to try to express a thought or idea. Typically as time passes and new words or phrases come into vogue the old ones sound dumb.
I have at various times been registered as a Democrat and a Republican but I consider myself an independent. Having said that I do not know who I will vote for but I know it will not be Senator Clinton or Obama. As I've said many times we are in a battle for our existence against radical Muslims we cannot afford to have weak leaders and I consider both of these individuals to be just that.
I remember watching the interview with Governor Clinton and Mrs. Clinton. I thought it was lame and that he was a phony. Only admitting to "causing pain." No I don't think much of either one to tell you the truth. The one thing President Clinton did do was lower the ethical bar for being fit for office to the point where just about anyone can clear it now.
E-mail No. 14
Greta: We sure hope to get a chance to vote for Duncan Hunter. When we had a mid-air collision between two federal fire fighting planes in Ramona (1995), Mr. Hunter provided all the tables and chairs for our memorial breakfast. Pilots that flew these retardant dropping planes were unable to get life insurance at that time so we held breakfasts to raise money to help the families. Mr. Hunter is on the cutting edge of foreign policy and has pushed very hard to get a fence built to keep possible terrorists out of the USA. It's too bad the folks with the authority to build (the fence) have a serious case of the "slows."
Mr. and Mrs. Whitten
E-mail No. 15
This 'jughead' judge is an absolute idiot; talk about the abuse of the legal system; to sue for 54 million for a pair of pants?? He ought to have to pay the court costs, and legal fees of the defendants for such a FRIVOLOUS law suit.
E-mail No. 16
"Gone missing," "disappeared", "vanished" — I have no objection to any of these in proper context. What really irks me is, "Man shot fifty times at close range — stay tuned to see if he's dead." I think you call them "teasers" and I find them very irritating. I'm sure not many are old to remember it, but I long for the days when someone simply faced the camera and READ the news. Back then I found out what was going on in the world without all the "hoop-la."
Send your thoughts and comments to: email@example.com
Watch "On the Record" weeknights at 10 p.m. ET