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Readers’ corner

Good imagery: Patti Bess, who has a cooking show on KVMR and has written food stories for The Union, was describing on the radio these lovely, early fall days as having an aura of butterscotch about them. Isn’t that a neat way to put it? Kind of warm and sunny, definitely different than summer. As one who loves words, that made me stop and think. Thanks for the vision, Patti.

Oprah’s show: Have you ever known anyone who went on “Oprah?” One of my best friends was on last Thursday, and it was certainly an eye-opener when she called me after the fact from Moscow to describe the experience. (Sick at home, I didn’t know she was on, so I missed the call alerting me.) My friend, Kim Murphy, covers Moscow for the Los Angeles Times and is an intrepid foreign correspondent, as well as a wife and mother. First, Oprah’s “people” went through the Times’ PR machine in Chicago, where of course, they were anxious to have Kim go on the show. That’s the kind of publicity you can’t buy!

They wanted her to discuss the hostage situation with the children at the Russian school because they had read her compelling accounts of the tragedy. The following day, however, it became clear they really wanted some of the children who were held hostage – and their parents. Kim provided Oprah’s “people” with all the information they needed to get in touch with the families – in particular the mother who had to make a choice between two of her children when only one was allowed to leave in the early days of the negotiations. So, then Oprah’s “people” called again the next day. They really couldn’t speak Russian, they said, and it was just too hard to make the arrangements from Chicago, so could she help out?

Kim finally realized her place was to make it happen, however she could, and just get everyone on a plane and off to Chicago. The whole experience and her 15 minutes of fame turned into a nightmare when the terrified children completely freaked out at the Moscow Airport – and continued to freak out the entire 13-hour flight to Chicago. Apparently being confined in small spaces is not welcome after being held hostage for days in a classroom. It’s so interesting that something can seem so organized and positive, without having a sense of the turmoil and despair behind the scenes. And Oprah’s “people?” Apparently they’re not as nice as Oprah seems. Kim said they called her on her cell phone when they were all at the airport leaving Chicago, and the conversation resulted in a shouting match. Kim felt used, the families were traumatized, and the next day Oprah was on to the Next Big Story. Just gives you a perspective from a different side of the fence.


Dixie Redfearn can be reached at 477-4238 or by e-mail at, or by fax at 477-4292.

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