On Tuesday I interviewed Geraldine Ferraro, who is in the battle of her life.
She has a rare form of blood cancer and though her prospects are not rosey, she is. But that's not what bugged some of you. No, most of you commended Geraldine for being so forthcoming, and so upbeat. Your problem was with me.
Cancer patient Elisa Tonas, from Fort Myers, Florida, writes:
"Neil, I know full well you are a cancer survivor, and that you suffer from multiple sclerosis now. You could have shared so much wisdom and insight. But you clammed up. Why?"
Or this from Elise McLain, in Bethel, Maine:
"I find it very strange that you have guests such as Ms. Ferraro, who spoke about her incurable blood disease, and Mort Kondracke, who spoke about his wife's Parkinson's disease. But you refuse to acknowledge on the air that you have MS, as reported in O'Reilly's story in TV Guide... what is stopping you from speaking about it? Shame? Embarrassment? What, Mr. Cavuto?"
And finally this from MS sufferer Thomas Serier of Edison, New Jersey:
"Neil, you let me down. For years, I've looked up to you as someone who has what I have, but fights it and is in the public arena talking about it... Here with Ms. Ferraro you had your biggest opportunity to share it, and you blew it."
Those are just some of the letters and e-mails I've been getting. So many, in fact, that I now feel compelled to respond.
First, let me say, I do not hide anything here. The fact that many of you know I have MS, and that I did have cancer, is because I said so. I've said it in print. I've said it on the air. I've said it in hundreds of speeches over the years around the country, but always when and where it was appropriate.
But my interview with Geraldine wasn't about me. It was about her. My chat with Mort Kondracke wasn't about me. It was about him and his wife.
Many of you argued each offered an opportunity for me to butt in. I chose to butt out. My guests were the focus. I was not.
I don't wear my illness on my sleeve. I don't feel compelled to yammer on and on about in on my show. I don't want your sympathy and I don't want an illness to define me, even though I recognize very well, it is consuming me.
I think I owe it to you to explain any and all conflicts. If I'm interviewing the chairman of Biogen, I should tell you I take one of the company's very pricey MS treatment drugs. And I do. If I talk to the head of the Cancer Society, I should reveal that I am actively involved in many of its programs. And I do.
My point is this: I want you to judge me for the work I do here, not for the illness I suffer in here. Even though I know full well that it affects everything I bring to you here. Hopefully, more perspective here. More concern here. Maybe, more meaning here.
We all bear our crosses in life. Some are heavier than others. But it's the journey that counts. Geraldine's journey. Mort's journey. Your journey. I'm not ashamed of what I have. I am more interested in what others are.
So to all of you cancer and MS sufferers, past and present, who've written me please hear me.
This isn't about me. I don't want to be judged by what I have, but by what I say, do and how I do it. My boss Roger Ailes expects only that. My staff here no more than that.
So, that is that. If some of you don't like that then I'm sorry. I just don't want the worst thing that could happen to me to be the only thing by which you judge me. I like to think I'm better than that. And for all you suffering out there, I like to think you are too.
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