There are two big media — black tie — parties in Washington each year. Wednesday night was the first of the two — Radio and Television Correspondents' Association (search) — and so everyone in the media descended upon Washington, including my New York Fox colleagues.
The parties are fun and the president attends and addresses the crowd. Last night at the top of our show we went live to the president's remarks. This year I "begged off" of this first party — I will go to the second. The first party falls midweek (obviously) and I wanted to do our live show. The second one — the White House Correspondents' Dinner — is on a Saturday. As all my colleagues dressed for the party at the D.C. bureau after doing their work yesterday, I began to feel like the presidential cabinet member during the State of the Union who is told not to attend in case of a national catastrophe.
We had to be flexible yesterday as we accommodated New York-based anchors so they could tape their shows and attend the dinner. We also had correspondents from across the country in town.
Here are some pics of my New York colleagues in the D.C. bureau:
Photo No. 1 is Claudia Cowan (a correspondent based in California) who has been on “On The Record” almost nightly giving us the facts about what has happened during the day in the Scott Peterson case. The picture is taken in my office. Thom Bird (who tortured me when the Eagles beat the Packers and who is New York-based) is on the left side of the picture.
A few minutes after the picture was taken, Claudia and I left the bureau and had a cup of coffee in the restaurant on the first floor of the Fox Bureau building. As we were finishing, Claudia noticed Laci Peterson's mother, Sharon, and stepfather, Ron, walking past the restaurant. Needless to say, I was surprised to see them 3000 miles away from Modesto. They coincidentally were in Washington to lobby Congress about a bill. We jumped up and went outside and talked to them and learned they were headed into the restaurant for dinner.
Photo No. 2: Judge Napolitano made a rare appearance in D.C. I was glad to see he was going to the media party and I took this picture as the show booker on which he appeared escorted him from the studio where he did his "hit." For reference, the picture is taken in the main D.C. newsroom and the black area behind the judge is the studio where Brit Hume and I do our shows. Obviously the lights are off in the studio.
Photo No. 3 shows Bill O'Reilly. For his show Wednesday from D.C., he sat in the same studio, same position as Brit Hume does at 6 p.m. ET. I assume the lighting expert had a bit of a challenge to properly light Bill. While Brit is tall (six feet?), Bill O'Reilly is probably six foot five inches. That is not an insignificant difference for lighting.
And finally, photo No. 4 shows Alan Colmes doing his radio show in Tony Snow's new radio studio. Tony has the early show and Alan's is at 10 p.m., so sharing was not a problem. Alan had a sub-host for his show “Hannity & Colmes” so he could go to the dinner. Sean did the show from a remote location last night and was not able to attend the dinner.
I am not sure it was a banner day for Alan. Alan's first flight to D.C. was cancelled, so Alan missed the reception before the media dinner. Then, because he had to race back to the D.C. Bureau to do his 10 p.m. radio show, he missed the president's remarks (which got a late start at about 9:55 p.m.) Since typically the food at these dinners is not great, I am not so sure how much fun Alan had. As an aside, why was I able to get this picture? Because after I finished “On the Record” at 11 p.m., I raced back to the radio studio and was a guest on Alan's radio show. And yes, I was smart enough not to let anyone get my picture wearing the radio headset.
I wrote a short blog on "fair and balanced" a few days ago and generated much response. I thought I would let you read some of the e-mails. My selection of the e-mail was not done in some attempt to be fair and balanced, but rather a "random grab."
As an aside, I assume they are more favorable than not because people who dislike you generally don't read your blog. Or, if they do, the e-mails generally don't meet a decency standard (even though the Internet lacks one, I have a bit of one.) Hence, I would not consider my sampling "scientific" but you might find it interesting:
E-Mail No. 1
Greta, if you want people to respect your show as fair and balanced work for another network. HELLO!!!!! The secret's out. Everyone knows that Fox is a Republican mouthpiece. The American people aren't as stupid as Fox thinks.
E-Mail No. 2
Thank you Greta, for such and eloquent and concise way of explaining "fair and balanced" reporting. I have a tendency to be quite conservative myself, however, I also pride myself in my open mindedness and THAT'S why I watch Fox News. I feel that you folks are the premiere news company putting out both sides of the story, the TRUTH, and not slanting things left or right. Sometimes it's difficult to listen to something that you don't agree with, but if a person doesn't look at the world from as many perspectives as possible, that person may form the wrong opinion and, in turn, pass that on to their children and so on. Anyway, keep up the good fight.
E-Mail No. 3
I think it's safe to say that if you're getting mail accusing you of being conservative/liberal during the same news segment, then you are presenting it in a fair and balanced way. The viewers who make these claims are probably from the extreme end of either mindset, so that anything approaching the center seems like the "other side" to them.
E-Mail No. 4
Dear Greta: I sure was upset last night (3/22/04) with your questions that gave the implication that our president has been doing a poor job. I stopped watching you when you were on CNN, or whatever channel it was that you were on. When you came to FNC, I was leary [sic] of watching you. But, I did watch and was kind of "fooled" into thinking that you were being fair and balanced. You are, but as much as Tim Russert. I won't watch him any more either. I do hope that FNC replaces you with someone who is "conservative.” There are about 50 million of us TV viewers who are "conservative.” The last election showed that. But, network TV and radio continues to play to a "liberal" audience. I put Colmes on "mute" when opens his mouth. I'm really disappointed with your views and hope that your time slot will soon be filled with "conservative." Thank you,
E-Mail No. 5
What fair and balanced means!
It's your network!!! So I assume -- and I am right about this - "THIS IS THE ATTUIDE AT FOX!
THANKS YOU [sic]
E-Mail No. 6
Regarding how well balanced your "Fair and Balanced" reporting is, it seems to me that if half the responders thin [sic] you are too liberal, and the other half think you are too conservative, you might be very close to the knife edge required for "Fair and Balanced" reporting. Keep up the good work.
E-Mail No. 7
Greta: I hope the people who critize [sic] the "Fair and Balance" reporting read your comment. Your facts are very well slated and the reason I watch Fox is for the very reason you explained. You give the facts and I am free to make-up my own mind and whether I agree or disagree and form my own view regarding the subject matter presented. You do show the pros and cons of issues and I like that. I thoroughly enjoy your program. Keep up the good work.
E-Mail No. 8
Thank you for clearing that issue up. There are so many folks that are just a little too "so and so said so it must be right", unfortunately they happen to be very close to me. As for the questions, when it is not balanced is when the questions are driven to reveal only one opnion [sic] or fact line and not a view of the whole picture. This is whether I like what I hear or not.
Keep up the good work. I will be forwarding that article to come close to me...
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