Welcome to the bully pulpit where opinions fly but common sense rules. Here’s where you’ll find straight talk about the most pressing issues of the day, all delivered in the trademark commonsense style of one of America’s most popular and admired television news anchors. Always resisting the political label that attempts to place people in one ideological camp or another, Greta Van Susteren speaks from the mind and the heart, not as a liberal or a conservative, but as a right-thinking, sensible citizen. “Our country is at a critical juncture,” she writes, and “too many of us are caught up in old definitions of left and right that no longer apply. If I favor the death penalty in some cases, does that make me right-wing? If I think hate crimes legislation is stupid, does that make me a conservative? If I happen to like and enjoy Ozzy Osbourne and have him on my show, does that make me a liberal? And if I believe that corporations should be held accountable if their products harm citizens and they should be subject to the rulings of a jury—ditto for doctors who commit medical malpractice—does that make me a lefty trial lawyer?”
Here’s more of Greta in her own words:
On the military: Liberty isn’t free. As a nation, we must provide for the men and women who put their lives on the line for us. That means good pay, adequate funding for defense, and our heartfelt support. Vietnam was a very long time ago. We Baby Boomers have to wake up and realize that today’s military is a different military from the one we grew up with, and we are fighting a very different war. Patriotism is not a conservative or a liberal thing. Patriotism, as far as I am concerned, is the duty and obligation of every American.
On the Supreme Court: There should be a litmus test for Supreme Court and federal court judges, and that test should be their opinion about allowing public access to court proceedings. Let cameras inside the courthouse, or at least allow an audio feed to radio. What are they hiding?
On the death penalty: It should be legal and available to courts and juries . . . but it should be used extremely rarely, and only when we are absolutely certain that a fair trial has taken place.
On how you look: It’s your business and nobody else’s. Your looks and your life are not a democracy—not everybody gets a vote. Make your appearance and your choices a totalitarian regime—you are the boss.
On fun: It isn’t a curse word. It’s actually quite serious business, as it makes the hard times livable and the sad times bearable. Fun should be part of a work environment, too. Stuffed shirts and snobs who can’t stop and laugh at themselves should be banished!
In Greta’s company you’re guaranteed to get a fresh dose of common sense and a good hearty rant on many of the most important issues we face today. One more guarantee: you’ll have some good fun while you’re at it.
From the Hardcover edition.
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|Title of eBook: My Turn at the Bully Pulpit|
|Release Date: 09-09-2003|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Crown Publishing Group|
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My Turn at the Bully Pulpit
ANATOMY OF A CABLE NEWS SHOW: GETTING RATINGS AND GETTING THE "GET"
Television news shouldn't be boring, and doesn't need to be. Engaging the viewer is not "dumbing down"! Competition is a good thing.
WINNING THE RATINGS WAR
Every afternoon I do something that most people in television news say they don't do. I look at the ratings from the night before. I sit at my desk with these Excel spreadsheets laid out before me, and I immerse myself in the business of television ratings, studying who watches, when, why, and how.
Why do some people in TV deny they do this? Even stranger, maybe these people are not fudging—maybe they're telling the truth and they actually never do sneak a peak. To listen to them, you'd think that monitoring ratings is somehow degrading, that it sullies their hands to actually care whether viewers are tuned in.
Not me. I'm competitive; I need and like to have a method of keeping score. I want to win my time slot, to beat out the competition, and I also care about my viewers and don't want to put them to sleep! What's wrong with that? It's no compromise of integrity, journalistic or otherwise, to keep my audience engaged. There is nothing wrong with wanting people to watch your show if you are on television! It's my duty and also my privilege.
How do I know if I'm doing a good job or not unless I have some score to examine? I use my ratings to figure out what it is the viewers want and respond to. Believe me, it doesn't feel good when the ratings go down, but it does give me the opportunity to evaluate: What didn't work? What could I have done differently? How can I improve? The law is a service