Those are the words of Greta Van Susteren, former Fox News personality, posted to Facebook on Saturday, September 10th. Susteren, 62, recently left Fox News in a definite hurry the day that Gretchen Carlson announced that Fox was paying her a $20 million settlement for her sexual abuse case against Roger Ailes. (Read my report of this incident here.)
Susteren, who stood up for Ailes during the media backlash when the sexual assault case was announced, has recently backed off. She admitted in a recent Facebook post that "I regret that Roger Ailes was not supervised by those in a public corporation who had the duty to supervise him. This included his seniors, the CFO’s of both Fox News Channel and 21CF (and its predecessor NewsCorp), the Board of Directors and what I assume this public corporation had, outside auditors. Checks written that were suspicious should have been spotted." (Source)
Susteren has been very prolific and vocal on Facebook since her departure from Fox, interacting with both fans and foes alike, sometimes asking bewildering and extremely odd questions, and kvetching about Fox keeping the photos from her website, though they did eventually give them back. The statement at the top of this blog sums up her recent postings, but it was the following statement that caught my eye immediately: "Think about this...you know I am critical of universities spending money to build new library buildings when libraries are now on line [sic]...even on your phone. The cost then gets passed onto students as tution [sic] costs get hiked. Universities know that the Federal government will loan the money to students and buildings can often just be vanity projects, not necessities."
For those of you who don't know, I work at a library. I started in January of 2014 at the very bottom, as a shelver. The next few months I got more and more confident and loved the environment I was working in. I applied for a more elevated position and got it and I've never looked back. But, even before I started working at one, libraries have been the engine of my life.
At age ten I went to the library and, walking past the CDs one day, I happened upon a recording of Mozart's The Magic Flute. From that moment I knew my path in life and my rapturous passion for opera grew out of that moment. Since then libraries have been a cocoon to me, a place where I feel safe, surrounded by the works of the brightest minds our world has to offer.
In the time I started working at a library, I saw how important it was to a community. People used the computers to find jobs, used the books to broaden their knowledge of the world, and experience every bit of culture we have to offer. I have seen teenagers who, if it were not for the library, would be at risk and prone to join gangs. The library provides them a place to thrive and feel accepted at an age where the world seems like a daunting and chilling place.
Greta Van Susteren postulates that we don't need libraries because they can be found "on line" or "even on your phone." She criticizes spending on new buildings for libraries as "vanity projects." What she does not know, because of the fact that she has the money to buy all the necessary books and technology libraries have to offer, is how incredibly necessary libraries are in communities and universities.
Has she ever tried to do a research paper and needed a book that was $150? What she may not know is that libraries are able to borrow from other libraries to get an item you need at little to no cost. Has she ever had high-schoolers who have had to do summer reading? The average price of a paperback book for young adults is $15. For a family on a limited income, potentially $100 worth of books for the summer might be too dear for them. Libraries offer not only the books they need but librarians who will help them to understand what they're reading. Has she ever had a low enough income that her children can't afford lunch during the summer? Our library, every weekday during the summer, has a program that feeds children and young adults, up to age 18, a healthy meal and provides a social area for them to stay focused on living their lives in positive ways.
Susteren doesn't know any of this because she has no need for any of the services libraries provide. She has the money to not have to borrow books or use a public computer. She defines the stereotype of an entitled conservative who doesn't know how the real world functions.
Or, may I add, she might have a bias against books and the written word in general? Her 2003 (and only) book, My Turn at the Bully Pulpit, flopped and went down the drain faster than you could say "tax break", with one reviewer nothing that "In her book, Greta notoriously changes her position with views which mislead and insidiously attempt to guide her audience into her...world. She uses this same technique on her show with her defense attorney panel to promote her right wing agenda. The problem is the demagogic style in which she presents her ideas." The book touted an odd peremptory tirade against party politics, saying, "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.'" It's true that Susteren is intentionally vague about her politics, but the fact that she's on Fox is a given towards harboring conservative leanings. (And, to add, she is a Scientologist, so draw your own conclusions.)
Susteren's words are harmful on so many levels and, like all thin arguments, were gestated in a pool of misinformation and cloistered partisanship. She rails against spending the money to build new buildings for libraries because it will raise tuition. The fact is that reservations to university buildings are usually subsidized by referendums in the towns they reside in. Those costs aren't tacked onto the student, they are decided by the community during election season.
Susteren, I hope, did not mean any outward malice towards the library community, but there's no other explanation that can be given for her hate speech. I would love to guide her on a tour of the library where I work and introduce her to the thousands of people whose lives we brighten every single day.
Maybe then she'll realize that dollar signs mean nothing compared to a life that has been bettered.
I invite you to visit my new website, StevenKrage.com! I'm very proud of my new creation and would love to hear your feedback about it.
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