How Much Is Too Much?

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If you are a loyal reader, you know that from time to time our show staff debates how much to do on a given topic. We don't want to do too little and we don't want to do too much on any topic. Each viewer has a different idea about how much is too much and each of us on the staff does. We are also mindful of the fact that we are the last in prime time and that others have covered topics before us. Our challenge is always to do the topics differently from other shows so that you want to hear from our guests. Sunday night we did an 8 p.m. special on the pope's death — not an "On the Record" show, but the "On the Record" staff put the show together.

Here are some e-mails from viewers on the topic of how much is too much. I realize that not everyone will agree but some will:

E-mail No. 1

Good Evening Greta,
How much coverage is too much on a given topic? FOX's wall-to-wall coverage on the death of Pope John Paul II (search) is too much. There is no question that the world has lost an absolutely amazing man, but this non-stop coverage is just too much. After all, the man was 84 years old, it's not like his death came as much of a shock to anyone. Let the man rest in peace. FOX's "death watch" coverage was too much. The world can mourn the passing of this holy man without listening to interviews of every priest within walking distance of one of your studios.
Leslie Botkin
Clinton, IA

E-mail No. 2

Dear Greta,
I think the media went overboard on the coverage of the pope. Almost 48 hours of "He's gonna die any minute" is too much. Why not report other news and break in when it happens? Same thing with the Terri Schiavo (search) case. What is going on? I want to be informed, but for crying out loud. The world had billions of other stories that we missed while waiting and watching for two people to die. Something is very wrong with that…

E-mail No. 3

Hello to all of our friends at FOX News,
I love all of you, "but" please can we hear something else except "POPE, POPE, POPE, POPE, POPE, etc." He was a great human being, "but" every time I turn on the TV (I have kept it on FOX News for as long as you have been on the air) there is no other news! I know the "pope" died and I know he was a great man, but is this what I am going to hear for the next week or two?! Now if I turn on the TV and it is someone talking about the "pope" I turn it off immediately. You may be getting some new viewers who enjoy a one-track-conversation, but I love your station with the variety you always have offered. I have to either find another station to watch or not watch at all. I'm not the only one who feels this way and I hope you don't lose a lot of "faithful" (not a pun!) viewers by continually 24-7 airing nothing but the pope. Please show some mercy for those of us who feel this way! Please, can we hear some other news?!
D&J Hignite
Quitman, AR

E-mail No. 4

Your coverage of Pope John Paul II is appreciated but it is never appropriate for the Grahams, Dr. Dobson, Jerry Falwell, born againers and evangelicals to comment on the pope or The Holy See, for they are not true followers. They look to the demise of Marians, and at most times are critical and derogatory of Catholics.
Huntington Beach, CA

E-mail No. 5

Hi Greta,
Glad you got your turn with the special coverage of the pope's life and death. FNC has done a great job of having several days of live coverage with very little repetition. Even so, I knew your coverage would be unique, including — as always — the best questions for your guests. Each of your guests brought something special — I especially enjoyed your conversation with Father O'Keefe! Hope you will have some of the same guests on OTR this week (especially Father O'Keefe, Arnaud de Borchgrave, and Radek Sikorski), for those who missed tonight's show.
I have always really liked the pope, although I'm not Catholic, and don't share all his beliefs. He always seemed like such a genuinely kind and nice person — with a true love of people and nature and a great sense of humor. He was such a brilliant and fascinating man, and I hope he will continue to be an inspiration — the world needs more such examples!
Thanks for giving up part of your weekend to bring us a special show tonight, Greta. I really, really missed OTR Friday — looking forward to this week's shows!
Take care,

ANSWER: As an aside, I appreciate all the emails — even those who think we do too much. I understand your view. One thing to consider — some people are just turning the television on late at night or after a weekend away and thus are watching the coverage for the first time. So to them the coverage is not too much. But, of course, all programming is a judgment call and the pope was a world leader.

Over the weekend the media's attention turned totally toward the pope, but I still got e-mails about Terri Schiavo:

E-mail No. 6

I have e-mailed you twice before in the last year ... and you are the only one I have e-mailed.
Regarding Terri: First, it is sad she did not have a written living will. That would have eliminated all this drama. But second, I believe that the husband should have the final word — not the family. She married him and he is the closest and should make decisions for her. The idea that her parents should be first to make decisions is not correct. Would anyone want their in-laws telling them what to do with their spouse?
I think it would be great if you did a segment on living wills and how important it is. A simple "how to" segment would be great.
Thanks for your great work. I hope to hear back from you. I really do watch your show as much as possible and sometimes even stay up until 12-midnight to watch the re-run!
All the best,
Steven Nickerson
Palo Alto, CA

E-mail No. 7

Thanks for your reporting and for the "legal" analysis. I have watched you since the O.J. days and am glad that you are working with FOX! My question is this: Michael Schiavo has been living with a woman for a number of years and has children by her — in many states, they would be considered to be "married" by common law, right? So, if Florida has such a law, why wouldn't Michael be subject to the bigamy laws, which I am assuming that Florida also has. Personally, I found Mr. Felos statements that Michael was a "grieving husband" to be very objectionable. I can just see him now, sobbing on the shoulder of the woman who has borne him two children about the woman that he sentenced to death by starvation and dehydration. Alas! What is the world coming to?
Wapello, IA

ANSWER: Technically, to be a bigamist in Michaeal Schiavo's situation, you must live in a state that recognizes common law marriage and "intend" to be married to the second person. I don't know if Florida recognizes common law marriage and, as far as I know, Michael did not "intend" to be married to his girlfriend. He only intended to have her as a girlfriend even though they have children. This is the technical explanation of why it is not bigamy. Of course there is the moral issue that everyone debates about living with a girlfriend.

E-mail No. 8

Why does everyone in the e-mails about Terri Schiavo keep talking about her being alive in that condition as if it was temporary? She was like that for 15 years wasn't she? She wasn't living — she was existing.
Lake St. Louis, MO

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