Adversity is the true test of character and in recent weeks we, the employees of American Media, have certainly had our character tested.
We have been the victims of a bioterrorist attack. The death of colleague Bob Stevens from anthrax and the subsequent discovery of anthrax in our building plunged us — and the entire country — into a nightmare where fear and uncertainty united as a deadly foe.
Many AMI employees –myself included — had the terror magnified because our children had been in the building and potentially exposed to the deadly bacteria.
On Monday, October 8, Florida’s Department of Health and the federal government’s Centers for Disease Control combined forces to administer antibiotics to employees and everyone else who had been in the AMI building. It was a scary time for all of us, a time of more questions than answers, a time of doctors admitting they simply didn’t know much about anthrax and a time when fear became our greatest enemy. In the face of all this, American Media’s employees did something extraordinary in its ordinariness: We went back to work.
Locked out of our own building, we created a makeshift headquarters in two cramped locations, and working elbow-to-elbow in conditions one person termed a “tabloid sweatshop,” we put out the newspaper.
Worried about our families, our children, our co-workers, ourselves, we worked deep into the night, refusing the opportunity to go home until our jobs were done.
An employee of LaserTech, our technical-support company, best captured the spirit when he said: “Evacuated. Medicated. Dedicated.”
With the subsequent anthrax discoveries, it appears that America has entered a new era of terrorism. Those who are using this dangerous new tool against us are seeking to do more than kill individuals — they are trying to destroy a way of life.
As impressed as I am by the dedication and professionalism of The ENQUIRER staff through this difficult time, my spirits are further buoyed by the understanding that we did what all Americans are doing: refusing to yield to the scourge of terrorism.
The cowardly murderers who seek to destroy us have exploited the freedoms of our country for their evil purpose, but they have badly underestimated the greatest weapon this nation wields — the indomitable American spirit. During this past incredible week the employees of The National ENQUIRER and American Media sent a strong message to those who would try to destroy us: We will not yield to fear.
The rest of America already understands. Medicated. Dedicated. We all stand together.
A MESSAGE FROM AMERICAN MEDIA CHAIRMAN DAVID PECKER
What began with an unprovoked terrorist assault on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon has now become the first bioterrorist attack on U.S. soil. And our company, American Media, Inc., was one of their targets.
Our friend and colleague, Bob Stevens, was the first casualty of this new kind of war. He left a wife, four children and seven grandchildren. Now, reports have confirmed that other media outlets as well as government offices have been attacked and more innocent people threatened.
I want to thank all of our readers, retailers, wholesalers and advertisers for supporting us during this difficult time. I especially want to commend each and every member of the American Media team for their incredible courage in dealing with a situation that no American company has ever faced.
That’s why, in light of their heroic efforts in getting our publications to press, it is so disheartening to hear the ridiculous rumors that printed magazines and newspapers can carry disease.
The following statement made at a press conference held by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at 5:30 p.m. on October 9th addresses this:
“The public is at no risk of disease from handling printed paper. There is no risk of exposure of anthrax being transmitted by handling any tabloids or any publications published by American Media.”
What’s more, the printing and shipping of AMI tabloids is handled by 5 plants around the country, none of which are located in Florida.
As our troops move against the terrorists, all of us here in America are fighting an unseen enemy. We must not give in to fear or ignorance. To do so would be to send a message to those who wish to disrupt and destroy our day-to-day life that they have done exactly that.