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At 3:44pm Eastern, Fox News Channel employee (I am guessing a segment producer) Eldad Yaron called me to arrange an interview for me to talk about BooksForSoldiers.com, our fundraising problems and how I am using the netroots to solve the problem.
BooksForSoldiers.com is a website run by a 501(c)(3) federally recognized tax-exempt charity. Any deployed US solider can go to the BooksForSoldiers.com website, fill out their contact info and tell us what they want - books, DVDs, video games, tube socks, almost anything - we will then send the item to the soldier for free. Plus we typically toss in snacks, chapstick, playing cards, and a brief note.
I started sending books to deployed soldiers during the first Gulf War. A bunch of my college friends were in the National Guard and they suddenly found themselves in Saudi Arabia setting up their Army hospital. When I heard of the extreme boredom of the troops after the shooting was over, I got all my friends I knew back in the states to give me their old novels and I sent them to the Army hospital in Riyadh. When Bush started his war, I knew I wanted to do the same thing, but on a larger scale, so I put together BooksForSoldiers.com.
I originally though for this new war, the troops would be back home in 6 weeks - I never thought Books For Soldiers would still be going 5 years later. I was totally unprepared for that. What started as a six week project has become a 5 year plus journey.
As with all journeys, there are bumps along the way.
Books For Soldiers is having financial problems due to corporate funding drying up. (You can donate here!) We had no corporate donations for the first quarter of this year. BFS is not a special case, other charities are in the same boat. Women's shelters are having to shut down and food banks have been hit very hard this year. In short, the economy sucks. The Board of Directors gave us a second chance at fund raising and assigned us a deadline of November 1st to raise the $70,000 goal or we would have to shut down at the end of the year. We would have the last Holiday Package Drive and that would be it.
I followed up the phone call with Fox News' Eldad Yaron with 8 emails - arranging for a driver to pick me up and drive me to San Francisco, sending them the BFS story, just putting the segment together for 10:20am Eastern today. I would arrive at their San Francisco location at no later than 10am and I would be on-air at exactly 10:20 - that was when they booked the sat time.
Yaron's last email to me read:
I'll brief you more in the morning but we're good to go.
This morning, 45 minutes before the car was supposed to pick me up, another Fox News employee, Kelly, called me to tell me the segment had been canceled. "Something came up."
Well, Hell. I used the last of my shave gel, got all dolled up and had no place to go!
I smelled a rat, hard to avoid with Fox News, and I wondered what story I got bumped for, so I switched on Fox News. Here is their line-up for the 10am hour of America's Newsroom With Bill Hemmer and Megyn Kelly. Keep in mind, I was slated for 10:20am.
10:08 Running of the Bulls
10:13 Video of a car chase in Portland, Oregon
10:13 Oregon man flies in a lawn chair from oregon to idaho
10:20 MAN BITTEN BY SNAKE IN FLORIDA WALMART
10:22 Obama and McCain layout out economic plans
10:25 Baseball player, A-Rod might be involved with Madonna according to tabloids.
Books For Soldiers got bumped for a snakebite story! A bite where no one died! Here is a link to the wire story.
I understand how cable news works and big stories could break at anytime. If Mugabe called for new elections or it started to rain in Big Sur, that I can understand being bumped. But a guy gets bit by a pygmy rattlesnake at the local Walmart and the soldiers get bumped?
My theory is BFS represents yet another inconvenient truth or maybe several:
Soldiers need to turn to the charities for things the military cannot provide.
BFS is run by a flaming liberal and had Michael Moore as a supporter.
A soldier's charity run out of corporate funding because the economy is in the toilet.
Yes, those bring up a whole host of issues, the Neo-cons, and I suspect their puppets at Fox News would rather not dwell about. You cannot ask me the second question, "Why is BFS in financial trouble?" without hitting an idealogical snag.
This story is what I call "Keith-worthy" - a story that would fit well as a "Worst Person" segment. Don't you think?
Here is a job for all you NetRooters out there, email Keith and anyone you might know at Countdown and pass this story along. My goal is to find funding for BFS, not the cartoon or anything else.
This is netroots for the troops.
YOU are the netroots for the troops.
And here is a small note for Keith,
Here is another opportunity to apply your sharpened stick to the eye of Fox News. I can supply you the emails and let you listen to Kelly's voice mail! Here is my contact info:
stormbear [at] gmail.com
Get it before Fox News sends out the lawyers with a cease and desist!
Lastly, thank-you for your support of our troops.