Smart Move

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Dear Viewers,

Today: We gambled right about not going to Redwood City (search) this week — the judge, as you know, postponed the Peterson hearing. Of course that means that now we have begun the mad scramble to plan for next week. Once the judge set the hearing for next week, we quickly called FOX Travel to make new arrangements. It is not easy to get seats for everyone to get to the West Coast since we will be coming off a huge traveling holiday. My guess is that some of us will be flying a geographically incorrect route to California and making lots of plane changes since the non-stops are booked!

Monday night's show was a bit of a rock 'n roll. Just as I was going to go to our Jeff Goldblatt in Hayward, Wisconsin to report on the killing of the six hunters (search), my New York producer said, "Don't go to Jeff. He can't do it. He is sick. Go to the sheriff." I had no more information and could not ask for more since we were coming out of the break and the segment was starting.

I went to the sheriff on the phone to talk about the killings and, since I did not have Jeff to set up the story for the viewers, I had to "convert" the sheriff to my reporter to explain what happened. He did a great job as my reporter. But, as I was interviewing the sheriff, my producer got back into my ear and said, "Go to Jeff." Not only did the short remark from the producer interrupt my interview with the sheriff (when the producer talks, it cuts out the sound from the guest/reporter) and thus make for an awkward flow of the interview, it was an odd sequence. We never go to our guests and then to our reporters. I had the split-second thought about how could I now go to Jeff if he is sick? In spite of my thought, I went to Jeff as directed. I could not have a conversation with my producer to find out what was going on — I could only take a chance that I heard her right and thus went to Jeff. He reported the story and I still don't know what happened.

I received many e-mails about the brawl at the Indiana Pacers/Detroit Pistons (search) game. I grabbed a few and have reprinted below — and, of course, they are randomly granted and not designed to promote a viewpoint or to suggest that this is what most of the viewers thought:

E-mail No. 1

Maybe I am a harsh man, but the NBA are not serious with those suspension. The players should have got a longer suspension. I think the NBA would rather file it in the too hard basket hoping everyone will forget.

E-mail No. 2

Greta -
You should have been much harder on Geoff Fieger about representing Detroit fans in a lawsuit against the Pacers and their players. I am disgusted that Mr. Fieger is representing these uncivilized fans. I stopped going to NBA games because of the drunk, obnoxious, violent fans at these games. The Oakland County Prosecutor should "throw the book" at all the fans that engaged in criminal conduct. The fan behavior at professional sports games is unacceptable and they must be held accountable for inciting the players. Law enforcement, the NBA (as well as NFL, MLB, MLS, and NHL), teams, and venue owners must start holding fans accountable for their uncivilized behavior — including civil and criminal prosecution as well as permanent banishment from the venue.
K. James

E-mail No. 3

Michigan may be more liberal than us in Indiana, but in out state, you can defend yourself. It is terrible what happened, but their fans got what they deserved. I say that because the taunting, right after the full cup to the face, gave Artest reasonable belief that that was the one who assaulted him. These idiots who are suing the Pacers are just trying to get some cash for nothing! What happened to the days of getting an ass-whipping, being a man about it, and going about your business after it's over?
You lawyers think you're so special, because you have a piece of paper saying you can manipulate and subvert the law. Your degrees can't protect you from those people who are willing to beat you guys up. Tell Geoff Fieger that for me, and tell him we all dare him to come to Indianapolis. He and his clients make me ill. They should sue the Auburn Hills P.D. and the Pistons, not the Pacers. It was the Pistons (Wallace mainly), their fans, and their lack of security that led to this. The Pacers aren't angels, but understand that they all share equal responsibility for the mêlée.
Geoff and his clients want to blame everyone else, but themselves and their team for the poor behavior and poor security that led to this happening. If something like that happened here, IPD would be on them with a nightstick in half a second. There would be no questions asked, and the handcuffs and mace would be on them in 5 seconds.
A question no person has asked is this: what if Artest lost an eye, or got a broken nose, or lacerations after being hit in the face with a bottle? Then what? Yes he flew off the handle, but the fans got what was coming to them. An Indiana jury would send your buddy packing. We wouldn't stand for the crowd getting involved, but if they did, they'd get what was coming to them and take their lumps for it. Ask the Buffalo Bills' fans what happened to them every time they'd act up at Colts games. They got beaten down and jailed. That was a regular occurrence before the NFL put us in the AFC South. The guys from Buffalo would always come down here and act like fools starting fights. We don't stand for that stuff from our fans, and we don't allow other teams' fans to do it either. We nip it in the bud immediately.
Andy Forsee

E-mail No. 4

Is that a rhetorical question? Maybe you didn't see what happened in Detroit Friday night. Obviously some athletes are out of control. Obviously some athletes need to be spanked like the little children they emulate. How hard is this to understand? Spoiled brats need to be spanked! It's a shame that their parents didn't do this 25 years ago. Ron Artest's parents or caregivers, along with Ron Artest himself, should be hiding their heads in shame.
Mark Luedtke

Finally, an e-mail about the Peterson case and my reply:

E-mail No. 5

Just do not like listening to Greta anymore. Please change her to nothing and put someone else in her place. I actually believe she feels that Scott Peterson is innocent of the murder of his wife and she cannot stand the fact that Geragos and his team are getting the boot and the judge is saying play fair. Geragos had a lot of time to cry foul and didn't and now she seems to want to cry that now it is too late for them. Please get her off the air.
George Blair

ANSWER: First, do me a favor and don't assume what I think or what I feel. Please do me a favor and rely on fact. If I say I believe something or think something, then feel free to assume it to be my belief or opinion. But don't assume by my questions that I carry a particular viewpoint. If you do, you run the risk of being dead wrong. It is my job to engage and challenge my guests. I am to play devil's advocate to provoke discussion and debate.

If you listen carefully to me over the years when I cover legal stories, you will hear common themes: 1) That I respect and rely upon juries. The jury system is far from perfect, but I just can't come up with a better idea. 2) That trials must be fair — no matter who the defendant or what the crime. Neither theme is novel or weird — both are contained in the Constitution.

I am probably the biggest fan of juries who you will meet, since I believe that 12 citizens do their best — and they do a great job — when called upon to make an important decision. When there is a mistake, it is not the jury, but the lawyers and the judge.


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