updated 2/28/2006 10:59:01 AM ET 2006-02-28T15:59:01

Guests: Heather Veitch, Kathryn Eisman, Steve Adubato, Darrell Bock, Karen Holt, Sandra Miesel, Al Sharpton, Kim Petersen, John Fund

JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST:  Just a couple of hours from Mardi Gras.

Developing news tonight on the Arab port showdown.  The Coast Guard warns the White House, but President ignores the Coast Guard, Congress and America by charging ahead.  So, why does George Bush want to turn these ports over to a country tied to 9/11?  We will dig into that. 

Then, “The Da Vinci Code” wrapped in scandal, as author Dan Brown is dragged to court over the book that the Catholic Church is calling blasphemous. 

Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, no passport required, only common sense allowed. 

ANNOUNCER:  From the press room, to the courtroom, to the halls of Congress, Joe Scarborough has seen it all.  Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.

SCARBOROUGH:  Hey, thanks for being with me tonight.  Greatly appreciate it. 

Now, we‘re going to have all of those stories in just a minute—plus, Oprah Winfrey‘s graphic show on sex edition—addiction.  You‘re not going to believe just how shocking her daytime show is going to be this sweep season.  And a friendly reminder:  Keep kids away from this one. 

But, first, the war over port security—the U.S. Coast Guard says it warned the Bush administration about possible links between the United Arab Emirates and terrorists.  In just-released documents, the Coast Guard states—quote—“There are many intelligence gaps concerning the potential for Dubai Ports World to support terrorist operations that precludes an overall threat assessment.”

Now, the White House has just agreed to a 45-day review period, but the president is still standing by the deal.  Meanwhile, lawmakers on Capitol Hill are driving legislation to stop this sale dead in its tracks.

And here to talk about it, we have got MSNBC contributor and radio talk show host Monica Crowley.  We also have former presidential candidate the Reverend Al Sharpton.  We have got John Fund from “The Wall Street Journal,” and Kim Petersen, the president of SeaSecure, the oldest and largest maritime security company in the nation. 

John Fund, I want to start with you.  You support this deal.  Explain to me, what does the president know that the Coast Guard doesn‘t know, that the head of the 9/11 Commission doesn‘t know, that Congress doesn‘t know, that 90 percent of Americans don‘t know, who all oppose this deal? 

JOHN FUND, COLUMNIST, “THE WALL STREET JOURNAL”:  No, wait a second. 

Tom Kean, the head of the 9/11 Commission, doesn‘t oppose the deal.  He says it‘s politically unrealistic, because the symbolism of having an Arab country handle management at some terminals at some of our ports is something you can‘t get beyond.  He does not oppose the deal on the merits.

Now, what—the 45-day review period, Joe, is going to tell us exactly what the security gaps are.  I think it‘s appropriate to have that review.  And I will tell you what is likely to happen at the end.

At the end, either Dubai Ports World is going to pull out and say, you know, we‘re going to put our money somewhere else, where it‘s wanted.  Or we are going to take complete control of the security at those terminals. 

And, just remember, of the original six ports, Joe, there are 300 terminals at those ports.  The Dubai Ports World is going to handle nine of them.  This is a...

SCARBOROUGH:  OK, but hold on a second. 

I—I have got to go back to the head of the 9/11 Commission, because I have got the quote—and I want you to—and I want you to listen to it. 

He said: “It should have never happened.  Somebody has...”

FUND:  For political reasons. 

SCARBOROUGH: “... a tin ear over there.”

Hold on.  Let‘s read this. 

“Somebody has a tin ear over there.  There‘s no question that two of the 9/11 hijackers came from there, and money was laundered through there.  From our point of view...”

FUND:  Joe.

SCARBOROUGH:  Hold on, John.  Listen.

You—you can twist this any way you want to. 

FUND:  No, Joe...

SCARBOROUGH:  We usually agree. 

FUND:  Joe, I have read...

SCARBOROUGH:  But hold on.  Hold on. 

You have got to let me finish reading the quote.  It just totally undercuts what you tell me.

Kean says, “From our point of view, we don‘t want foreigners controlling our ports.”

And he talked about all of the specifics of this.  And then you have got the Coast Guard, who says, we can‘t guarantee you that the UAE is not going to use these ports to funnel terrorists and—and other very bad items to the United States. 

FUND:  Joe....

SCARBOROUGH:  Why does the president ignore that? 

FUND:  Joe, any of your readers can log on to the “Newark Star-Ledger” interview with Governor Kean, and read it in its—for its entirety.  And they can come to that conclusion that I came to, that the governor opposed it for political reasons, not for the merits. 

I also have spoken with the staff of the 9/11 Commission.  I can give you their names. 

SCARBOROUGH:  OK.  OK.

FUND:  And they say...

SCARBOROUGH:  OK.  Go ahead and go on...

FUND:  They say the governor does not...

SCARBOROUGH:  OK.  Fine.  We‘re going to disagree on that. 

FUND:  The governor and his staff do not oppose this deal on the merits.

SCARBOROUGH:  Let‘s go ahead and talk about the Coast Guard, then, OK? 

If—if we are going to disagree on that, let‘s talk about the Coast Guard.  The Bush administration asked about this company, asked about this country.  They said, you know what?  We can‘t guarantee you they wouldn‘t use this access to launch terror attacks against the United States. 

The president ignores that. 

FUND:  Look...

SCARBOROUGH:  What‘s your story on that? 

FUND:  Joe, I was at the World Trade Center on 9/11.  I lived through it. 

SCARBOROUGH:  So? 

FUND:  I almost died.  So, I understand the need for security. 

I wrote today about the outrageous story of the fact that the spokesman for the Taliban is going to Yale Law School on a scholarship, of all things.  So, I‘m really opposed to this.

SCARBOROUGH:  OK, but let—OK.  So—so what about...

FUND:  But let me tell you this, Joe.

SCARBOROUGH:  What about the Coast Guard saying...

FUND:  Joe...

SCARBOROUGH:  ... this is a bad deal?

FUND:  Joe, if there are gaps in the record, and the Coast Guard says they can‘t guarantee, which is—means 100 percent, that‘s why we should have the 45-day review period. 

The Coast Guard never opposed this deal.  Let‘s be clear about it. 

They said, we would like some more information. 

Let‘s get the information. 

SCARBOROUGH:  OK.  But you know what? 

And—and let me bring in Monica Crowley. 

You know, Monica, though, it seems to me, the reason why I supported the president‘s war in Iraq is the president‘s position, post-9/11 is...

MONICA CROWLEY, NBC CONTRIBUTOR:  Sure.

SCARBOROUGH:  ... we can‘t take chances.  And I buy that.

CROWLEY:  Right. 

SCARBOROUGH:  We can‘t take chances. 

CROWLEY:  That‘s right. 

SCARBOROUGH:  If we think Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction and every other intelligence agency in the world thinks that, we can‘t take that chance.  So, why can we take the chance when the Coast Guard is saying, specifically, we can‘t guarantee you that they‘re not going to use these ports for terrorism?

CROWLEY:  Yes.  You know, much was...

FUND:  I mean...

(CROSSTALK)

CROWLEY:  Much was—what—much was made, Joe, over the last week of the fact that there are three American entities that are going to maintain control over these ports, the Coast Guard, the Department of Homeland Security, and also Customs. 

Well, when one of these three entities is now saying, and has said over the past, when this deal was being considered, that they can‘t guarantee security over this, we have a serious problem. 

Look, I think there are two things going on here with this deal, which is what the—why the administration is really pushing it.  One is commerce, and the other is diplomacy.  On the commerce side, they‘re saying, hey, look, this is the free market.  No American companies bid on this.  It went to the highest bidder, Dubai Ports World.

OK, the other part of this is diplomacy, which I think not a lot has been discussed about, whether or not the United States may need the UAE, in the event that we need a base for forward projections of force, in the event that the United States needs to move militarily against Iran.  That argument hasn‘t been made either.  And I understand why not.

But neither diplomacy, nor commerce, is going to protect the United States, should a terrorist entity decide to exploit this ports deal to try to attack us. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And, Al Sharpton, the president is now saying he will go ahead and give a 45-day hearing to this.  Is that enough? 

AL SHARPTON (D), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  No. 

I think that, clearly, when you have now the Coast Guard weighing in, it is extremely disturbing.  When you have a president that sold the American public and sold a lot of the NATO allies that he was moving in Iraq, wasn‘t going to take chances, that is now not only going to take chances, in terms of the questions raised by the opposition party in the United States, but by his own Coast Guard, and—and he admitted at first he didn‘t even know about the deal. 

Now we‘re going to belatedly have a 45-day review, when even the Coast Guard is raising questions, members of the 9/11 raising questions, I mean, you said let‘s talk common sense.  It doesn‘t take a genius to figure out that this is a major problem, and it is certainly a reversal to what George Bush promised the American people. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Kim Petersen, you have got the Coast Guard issuing warnings.  You have got the chairman of the 9/11 Commission talking about how he doesn‘t like the deal, for whatever reasons.  Why is the president pushing this through? 

KIM PETERSEN, PRESIDENT, SEASECURE:  Because it makes sense. 

I mean, I‘m really stocked to hear that, first of all, the Coast Guard is being characterized as being against this or placing warnings that we shouldn‘t move forward.  In fact, they testified here, after that—that letter had been sent forward, where they said that they didn‘t have enough information in order to ensure that the ports would be safe. 

And that was because they hadn‘t been read in on all of the intelligence that had been provided during this process.  They were subsequently provided that information, and they then came back and stated that they were satisfied with the process, and they no longer had any concerns.  That‘s an important element here. 

And I have to admit that I‘m—I‘m—I‘m shocked to hear Reverend Sharpton talk about how this doesn‘t make sense because of concerns about Arab control of ports, when, it seems to me, that, in the aftermath of 9/11, we‘re now talking about the demonization of Arab peoples because of concerns about terrorism. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Oh, come on. 

(CROSSTALK)

SHARPTON:  May I respond to that?

SCARBOROUGH:  Wait.  Wait.  Wait.  Hold on a second. 

SHARPTON:  May I respond to that?

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes.  I will let you—I will let you respond to that.

But I‘m going to get the first shot at that.  I don‘t want the Chinese running our ports.  That doesn‘t mean that I hate Asians.  I mean, that‘s absolutely...

PETERSEN:  But...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  I don‘t want Sudan running our ports.  That doesn‘t mean I don‘t like Africans. 

I mean, come on.  I mean, I don‘t understand the...

PETERSEN:  But doesn‘t—doesn‘t it strike you as...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  ... race-baiting part of this. 

PETERSEN:  Doesn‘t it strike you as unusual that nobody objected to Singapore or Taiwan or China or Denmark...

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, you—you know what?  You know what?  You know what? 

PETERSEN:  ... when they were coming in to operate ports on the West Coast.

SCARBOROUGH:  And you know why?  That‘s because Denmark...

PETERSEN:  But the first time you have an Arab country—company...

SCARBOROUGH:  Hold on a second.

PETERSEN:  ... that wants to...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Listen, you‘re demagoguing now. 

This is—I mean, I have heard demagoguing used an awful lot.  But now you‘re demagoguing, because the Dutch had absolutely nothing to do with 9/11.  The Dutch didn‘t have two hijackers on board. 

PETERSEN:  Joe, tell me who in the United Arab...

SCARBOROUGH:  The Dutch were not paying the salaries of one of the hijackers on board, who the—the—actually, the UAE military was paying one of the hijackers.  There wasn‘t money-laundering going through their country, any other country.

Reverend Sharpton, I will let you respond. 

SHARPTON:  No, I think—I think—I think...

SCARBOROUGH:  Does this just mean that we hate Arabs? 

SHARPTON:  I think that Joe Scarborough made the right response. 

This had nothing to do with them being Arab.  This has something to do with the fact that two of the hijackers had direct connections to UAE.  There‘s no one talking about their being Arab.  We are talking about the concerns that there‘s concrete evidence that some of those people that were involved in the vicious, despicable killing of 3,000 innocent people in our country are connected to this.  It has nothing to do with their nationality.  It has something to do with a direct connection. 

And, for you to dismiss that...

PETERSEN:  Joe, I got—I got to respond to that. 

SHARPTON:  ... even raises more concerns.

PETERSEN:  Joe—Joe, I got to respond to that, because, you know, we‘re—we are hearing a lot of demagoguery about—about the two 9/11 --

9/11 hijackers that were from the UAE.

But you know something?  The British government itself has said that as many as 3,000 British citizens have been trained at al Qaeda camps in Afghanistan.  Four British citizens were involved in the London train bombings.  We even had Reid, who was the infamous shoe bomber, who was also a British citizen.

And, yet, not one person that we‘re hearing from right now stood up in opposition to P&O Ports operating ports here in the United States.  It was only when an Arab country—country provided—came in and—and—and opted to operate not an entire port, and not to own an entire port, but simply...

SCARBOROUGH:  Mr. Petersen...

(CROSSTALK)

PETERSEN:  ... to be an operator of a terminal. 

CROWLEY:  Joe, can I—can I respond to that?

SCARBOROUGH:  Hold on.

CROWLEY:  Joe?

SCARBOROUGH:  I got to—I have just got to ask, just to clarify.  And I—I—do you have any Arab clients, Mr. Petersen?  I just want to clear that up.

PETERSEN:  In fact, we have clients in every continent of the country, including the Middle East. 

SCARBOROUGH:  OK.

Monica, go ahead.

PETERSEN:  In fact, I just got back from—I just got back from the Middle East yesterday. 

And, you know, what people are saying there is, this is typical of Americans.  This is all part of Islamophobia, because they see all of us...

CROWLEY:  You know, that is—that is out...

PETERSEN:  ... as terrorists.

CROWLEY:  That is so outrageous. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes.  You know—you know, it‘s...

CROWLEY:  It is so outrageous.

SCARBOROUGH:  It‘s—it‘s typical—it‘s typical...

CROWLEY:  And it is so unfair. 

SCARBOROUGH:  ... of Americans, because—it‘s because we want to protect our—our ports. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Go ahead, Monica.

CROWLEY:  Well, that—that is exactly right. 

And, look, not every Arab is out to kill Americans.  Not every Muslim is out to do that either.  However, every single act of international terror directed at the United States and/or Americans around the world has been committed by a Muslim since the—the 1960s. 

So, therefore...

FUND:  Joe...

CROWLEY:  ... there are so many things in this war on terror that we cannot control. 

Look, if a terrorist is—is—is intent on committing an act of terror against the United States, they will do whatever they can to try to find a way to do that. 

FUND:  Joe...

CROWLEY:  I am saying that, because there are so many things we can‘t control in this war, why give up an area that we can control? 

FUND:  Joe, one of the saddest things...

SCARBOROUGH:  John Fund.

FUND:  One of the saddest things in this whole debate has been the things we can‘t talk about. 

It is certainly true, the United Arab Emirates had a spotty record regarding terrorism before 9/11.  Since 9/11, when George Bush said, you‘re either for—with us or you are against us, the United Arab Emirates has decided, they are with us. 

There are things—and I got a security briefing on this today—there are things the United Arab Emirates has done to support the war on terrorism that are brave, that have put that government at risk, that we can‘t talk about, and our government can‘t talk about, because it would only mean more terrorist attacks on the United Arab Emirates. 

So, they are silent.  They can‘t speak for themselves.  I am not pro-Arab.  I am not Muslim, but I am pro-common sense.  Let‘s have the 45-day review, and let‘s have this debate after the 45 days, when we actually have all the information and all the facts. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right. 

Thank you so much, John Fund.  I usually agree with you.  Tonight, I don‘t. 

And all I have got to say, in closing, is, that, even after 9/11, the Treasury Department was critical of the United Arab Emirates for not coming forward with information we needed to track funding of terrorism and al Qaeda. 

I want to thank our guests, a great panel. 

We have got a lot more tonight coming up, including the author of “The Da Vinci Code” being in a London courtroom, facing accusations that he stole the idea for his book.  Could the lawsuit delay the premiere of the blockbuster movie starring Tom Hanks?  We are going to be talking about that controversy and Oprah‘s controversial new show—when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Oprah‘s special on sex addiction, graphic, no holds barred.  But did the daytime queen go too far?  We will have a no-holds-barred debate when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH: “Da Vinci” goes to court. 

The blockbuster movie “The Da Vinci Code” is set to premiere in less than three months, but now controversy surrounds its author, Dan Brown.  He is being accused of stealing the work of another book about the Holy Grail for his best-seller. 

And the lawsuit against him, well, it could delay “The Da Vinci Code”‘s world premiere. 

NBC‘s Jim Maceda has that story. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JIM MACEDA, NBC CORRESPONDENT (voice-over):  It‘s a thriller of a case playing out in Britain‘s high court about another thriller, “The Da Vinci Code,” the international best-seller by American Dan Brown. 

Today, his British publisher, Random House, went on trial for breach of copyright by the authors of this book, “The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail,” who claim Brown plagiarized their nonfiction work written in 1982.  In it, historians Richard Leigh and Michael Baigent lay out their theory that Jesus Christ married Mary Magdalene, and they had children. 

Brown artistically weaves the same basic plotline in his blockbuster, which has sold over 30 million copies and is now a Hollywood film starring Tom Hanks.  But did he plagiarize ?  Many legal experts say no. 

DAVID HOOPER, MEDIA ATTORNEY:  That‘s what many people do.  That‘s what Shakespeare did.  You—you took the histories of the day, and you produce plays as a result of it.

MACEDA:  The trial could be a major embarrassment to Brown and to Random House, which, ironically, “Holy Blood, Holy Grail” as well.  Today, Random House said it takes no pleasure in defending a legal action that it believes is without merit. 

(on camera):  Brown himself credits the earlier book in his own and even scrambles the authors‘ last names, Baigent and Leigh, to create one of his main characters, Sir Leigh Teabing.

(voice-over):  But some experts say the case could go against Brown for abusing an author‘s right to use other people‘s research.  And, if that happens...

CONAN CHITHAM, COPYRIGHT SPECIALIST:  It could open a floodgate of litigation for people who have had their ideas, as they see it, stolen by more successful people.

MACEDA:  It could also block the distribution, at least in Great Britain, of the mega-million movie version, due to hit the cinemas in May. 

Jim Maceda, NBC News, London. 

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCARBOROUGH:  Hey, thanks so much, Jim.

And with us now to talk about, Sandra Miesel.  She‘s the author of...

SANDRA MIESEL, AUTHOR, “THE DA VINCI HOAX”:  Miesel. 

SCARBOROUGH:  ... the book “The Da Vinci Hoax.”

We also have Karen Holt, deputy editor of “Publishers Weekly,” and Darrell Bock.  He‘s the author of the book “Breaking the Da Vinci Code.”

Karen, let me start with you.

What‘s the danger here for Dan Brown and the “Da Vinci” movie? 

KAREN HOLT, “PUBLISHERS WEEKLY”:  I—I don‘t think there is much danger. 

I mean, obviously, you know, it‘s—it‘s not pleasant to have to defend yourself in court.  But I think, ultimately, this really doesn‘t present that much of a threat to the publisher or to the author. 

SCARBOROUGH:  What‘s the biggest threat right now, as we are moving forward?  Obviously, this is a very, very controversial book.  And many people are concerned that it may launch a culture war, at least when it—when it is released in the United States. 

Do you think that conservative Christians, Catholics, and—and—and others should be concerned about this movie and the book? 

HOLT:  No, I don‘t think they should. 

I mean, this is a work of fiction.  And he—he sets out some pretty interesting theories and some ideas that he freely says, they‘re fiction.  They‘re—they‘re sort of—in some ways, sort of flights of fantasy. 

You know, I don‘t think that people should be overly concerned about it.  He‘s not saying that any of this is—is actually true, and certainly not, you know, to be taken as gospel truth. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, Darrell, actually, there are a lot of people that, when this book first came out, read the facts in the front of the book and thought, in fact, he was suggesting that a lot of these rituals, a lot of these facts that were contained in the book were, in fact, the truth.  What‘s your take on it? 

DARRELL BOCK, AUTHOR, “BREAKING THE DA VINCI CODE”:  Yes.  I actually don‘t think the problem is the fact page in the front of the book. 

The problem is the way the book was hyped in interviews.  I saw him on the day of a national special, prime-time special, in the morning, say that, if he were writing nonfiction, he wouldn‘t change a thing. 

MIESEL:  Yes. 

BOCK:  And that means that what he was claiming was a quasi-nonfictional fiction.  It was—it was fogging the edge of—of what the genre was.  And that‘s where the problem was. 

He really, on his original Web site, said that he believed these theories, and that he thought...

MIESEL:  Yes. 

BOCK:  ... they were true, and that he had become a believer is actually what he said on television that morning. 

MIESEL:  Yes. 

BOCK:  And that‘s why I wrote my book. 

Up to that point, I had treated it as a good fictional story that was enjoyable.  But, when he claimed it was history, then, that changed my tune. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And, Sandra, you also wrote a book, “The Da Vinci Hoax.” 

MIESEL:  Yes. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Talk about the hoax that you see out there. 

MIESEL:  Well, everything in Dan Brown‘s book is wrong. 

The only things he gets right are Paris is in France, London is in England, and Leonardo da Vinci painted pictures.  Every single thing else is wrong. 

And, when I read it, I was yelling at my husband: “No, no.  This is wrong.”  And I hate stupidity worse than vice. 

(LAUGHTER)

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, Karen, you—you...

MIESEL:  Even...

SCARBOROUGH:  Oh, go ahead. 

MIESEL:  Even if I were not a Christian, I would have been angry about “The Da Vinci Code” as a historian because of the many distortions in the book. 

There is no evidence for a marriage of Jesus and Mary Magdalene.  There is no evidence that their children married into the royal dynasty of France.  There is no evidence that there‘s a secret society called the Priory of Sion.  This is all made up. 

And all those things, Dan Brown took from “Holy Blood, Holy Grail.”

Now, Karen, you‘re—you‘re actually smiling and shaking your head. 

Why? 

HOLT:  Well, you—of course you would be upset if you read this as a

as an historian.  It‘s not to be read as history.  It‘s a work of fiction.

MIESEL:  He‘s...

HOLT:  You can‘t debunk...

MIESEL:  It was sold as fact, as Dr. Bock just pointed out. 

HOLT:  No, it‘s a novel. 

MIESEL:  I have...

HOLT:  It‘s a novel.  A novel means that it‘s fiction. 

MIESEL:  It was sold as fact, madam.  It was sold as fact.

I have the same objections to it that Dr. Bock did.  We have the citations of when and where he said these things.  People took it as fact.  People lost their religious faith because of this book. 

HOLT:  Well, I—I think—I think it‘s...

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.  Well—and you know what?  

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Hold on.

Hey, Karen, before you respond to that—and I want you to respond—let‘s play that clip of Dan Brown.  He was on “The Today Show” when “The Da Vinci Code” came out.  And this is what he said about his book. 

Take a listen. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “THE TODAY SHOW”) 

(CROSSTALK)

MATT LAUER, CO-HOST, “THE TODAY SHOW”:  How many of this is based on reality, in terms of things that actually occurred?  I know you did a lot of research for the book. 

(CROSSTALK)

DAN BROWN, AUTHOR, “THE DA VINCI CODE”:  Absolutely all of it. 

Obviously, there is—Robert Langdon is fictional, but all of the art, architecture, secret rituals, secret societies, all of that is historical facts. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Karen, that‘s...

MIESEL:  But it‘s not.

(LAUGHTER)

SCARBOROUGH:  That‘s pretty direct.  He says all of it is fact. 

HOLT:  Well, listen to what he said.  He said the art, the architecture, the—the rituals, the secret society.  He didn‘t say...

MIESEL:  But not even those things are true. 

HOLT:  No, but he—he did not say...

MIESEL:  He distorted all of that. 

HOLT:  He did not say that—that, in fact, it—that it—that it was a fact that Jesus was married.  It—he—he doesn‘t say that all of his—these theories are fact.  He says that they—they‘re—they have an historical underpinning, but that‘s what historical novelists do.  They start...

BOCK:  Joe, may I get in here?

MIESEL:  I know what historical novels do, because I have written historical fiction. 

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, the—the—the thing is, though...

MIESEL:  I have edited historical fiction.

SCARBOROUGH:  And what‘s interesting about this, Karen, is, just—don‘t listen to just what Dan Brown said.  Listen to how Matt Lauer asks the question.

And—and, Darrell, I want you to listen to this, and then respond, because I think Brown‘s playing a game here.  Run the clip again.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “THE TODAY SHOW”) 

(CROSSTALK)

LAUER:  How many of this is based on reality, in terms of things that actually occurred?  I know you did a lot of research for the book. 

(CROSSTALK)

BROWN:  Absolutely all of it. 

Obviously, there is—Robert Langdon is fictional, but all of the art, architecture, secret rituals, secret societies, all of that is historical facts. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Darrell, of course, he...

BOCK:  Yes. 

SCARBOROUGH:  He explains his specific parts, but Matt Lauer was saying, how much of this book is reality, is based on fact?  And he says all of it. 

Is that not at least misleading to viewers? 

BOCK:  Yes.

I think it is misleading the viewers.  And I think the question that I was actually talking about was a different question that got asked on a different show.  And it basically was, if you were writing nonfiction, what would you change?  He said nothing. 

And, so, what this does is, it confuses the nature of the genre in the P.R.  His early Web site said more than what they‘re saying now.  He has backed off...

MIESEL:  Yes. 

BOCK:  ... in the last two years, in terms of what he was claiming.

And the other thing that‘s important to recognize is that some of what he‘s claiming isn‘t just connected to “Holy Blood and Holy Grail.”  Some of what he‘s claiming are actually variations, poor variations, on what‘s being taught in religion classes in our universities about Christianity.  And when I recognized that, I decided to write about it. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And, of course, Sandra, what we‘re told by “The Da Vinci Code,” which—I have read it, and I thought it was a great work of fiction—but what we‘re taught is that Jesus was a fraud, that Christianity was a hoax...

MIESEL:  Yes. 

SCARBOROUGH:  ... and that the Catholic Church went around killing people for 2,000 years...

(CROSSTALK)  

SCARBOROUGH:  ... if they tried to get the truth out...

MIESEL:  Yes. 

SCARBOROUGH:  ... to—to the world. 

MIESEL:  Yes. 

He says things like, the Catholic Church burned five million women as witches.  That‘s absolute nonsense.  You look in any—any academic study of witchcraft, the—I cannot begin to say how wrong that is. 

And this is not just within the parameters of what a historical novelist can do to make an entertaining story.  He‘s lying.  He‘s also wrong on so many details of everyday that are easily verifiable, like the sizes of paintings, the medium of the paintings, the passport laws of the E.U., just basic—basic details. 

There are so many of them, sizes, directions, locations.  I wonder if he is not having an elaborate joke at the audience‘s expense. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, Karen, I will give you the final word.  Go ahead.

HOLT:  Whether he‘s having a joke or not is irrelevant. 

Look, we shouldn‘t be looking to novelists to give us our history, and certainly not to confirm or—or dispute our faith.  I mean, it‘s a work of fiction.  It‘s a work of entertainment.  And that‘s all we should read it as. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right. 

I want to thank all of you for being with us tonight.  Really do appreciate it.

And, coming up next, did Oprah go too far?  That‘s what a lot of people are saying about the daytime queen‘s sex addiction special.  What was Oprah up to, and will the FCC get involved? 

And this former stripper still hits the clubs, but, instead of customers, she‘s looking for converts to Christianity.  We are going to meet an extraordinary minister coming up. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  It was a conversion worthy of the road to Damascus, but, this time, it‘s a stripper who‘s blinded by the light.  She converts to Christianity, and she is now trying to save other strippers and porn stars from their life.  We are going to have her fascinating story straight ahead. 

But, first, here‘s the latest news you and your family need to know. 

(NEWS BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  She spends her time in strip clubs and porn conventions, but this former adult dancer has a higher purpose now—how she went from stripping to saving.

And why is an adviser to Louis Farrakhan on the government anti-hate panel?  What is going on in Washington, D.C.? 

Welcome back to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY—those stories straight ahead. 

But, first, talk show queen Oprah Winfrey is getting down and dirty, interviewing a female sex addict, using graphic language, and even asking X-rated questions. 

Take a look at a clip from last Thursday‘s show. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “THE OPRAH WINFREY SHOW”)

OPRAH WINFREY, HOST, “THE OPRAH WINFREY SHOW”:  The idea of a different penis, literally, the idea of, these are strangers, and you don‘t know where they have been or who they are...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Yes. 

WINFREY:  ... and you have done some pretty—I mean, you have—you have, you know, had men (WORD DELETED) in your face who you don‘t even know who they are. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  With me now, pop culture expert Kathryn Eisman.  We also have media analyst Steve Adubato. 

And, Steve, I just to ask you, buddy, I‘m an adult.  This stuff doesn‘t shock me, all right?  If Oprah is doing this at 10:00 at night, I don‘t think even twice about it.  This stuff—and you know what?  I can‘t repeat it on the air, some of the stuff that goes on at 4:00, because I don‘t want the FCC coming after me.  She‘s doing this in the afternoon, when kids are home.  Why does Oprah Winfrey have to do this? 

STEVE ADUBATO, MEDIA ANALYST:  Well, let‘s just be real honest about it, Joe. 

I have to tell you, I was preparing for the show, and I realized I couldn‘t even say what Oprah said.  And I saw this live.  I was watching with my—my wife, who is a big Oprah fan.  And I turned to my wife and I said, did Oprah just say what I think she just said? 

Let‘s be straight about this.  There‘s a double standard for Oprah Winfrey, under the guise of helping women, helping people, a self-help guru, if you will.  And Oprah does help a lot of people a lot of the times. 

In this instance, it was what it was, a ratings grabber, using—using unnecessarily graphic sexual language that you can‘t use, Joe, I can‘t use.  If Howard Stern used, it‘s part of the reason why he‘s not on regular radio anymore, and he‘s on satellite radio. 

Oprah...

KATHRYN EISMAN, “MEN‘S HEALTH”:  Let...

(CROSSTALK)

ADUBATO:  Just let me finish.

Oprah did what she did—let‘s just be honest. 

Oprah, admit that you did it as a ratings grabber.  Don‘t say you were trying to do...

SCARBOROUGH:  OK.  But...

(CROSSTALK)

ADUBATO:  ... a show on sexual addiction.

EISMAN:  All right.  Let me—can I—can I just raise a point here?

SCARBOROUGH:  Hold on a second.  Steve—well, not—not yet.  Hold on a second.

(LAUGHTER)

SCARBOROUGH:  Steve, this is a question a lot of people are asking, though.  Why does Oprah have to do it?  She has—I think she has won sweeps every year since 1986.  So, why would she have to do things that would get Howard Stern fined, had he done this on commercial radio? 

ADUBATO:  Unnecessary.  Didn‘t have to do that.

And I have to tell you, dealing with the issue of sexual addiction is an absolutely legitimate subject.  But to ask in the way she was asking—

“You slept with 90 men?” “Well, how long was it after you met the guy at the gas station before took your clothes off and had sex with him?”—I‘m not sure...

EISMAN:  Sorry.  I have to interrupt.

ADUBATO:  ... how that‘s related to the issue of sexual addiction. 

(CROSSTALK)

EISMAN:  I think what Oprah is famous for and why she is so amazing is the fact that she delves with candor, with openness and honesty, into subjects, whether they‘re pretty or not so pretty. 

And I think she has dealt with this as she would any other addiction, whether it‘s drug addiction, whether it‘s alcohol addiction, or whether it‘s food addiction.  Like she has in the past, she wants details.  She‘s not trying to gloss over it to make it pretty.  She wants to understand the problem and find answers for it. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, Kathryn, I mean...

(LAUGHTER)

SCARBOROUGH:  ... isn‘t there a way that you can explain that a woman slept with 90 men...

EISMAN:  You know, I think...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  ... without having to—hold on a second—without having to say...

EISMAN:  Hold on a second.

SCARBOROUGH:  ... so, you have...

EISMAN:  There‘s a lot of censorship going on here, isn‘t it, even in this debate?

SCARBOROUGH:  Well—well, actually, you know what? 

EISMAN:  I think what‘s interesting is the fact that...

SCARBOROUGH:  You know—hold—Kathryn, you know what you‘re going to have to do, Kathryn?  You‘re going to have to let me finish a sentence. 

(LAUGHTER)

SCARBOROUGH:  That‘s not censorship.  In the South, we just call that politeness. 

EISMAN:  No.  Well, I...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  And what I‘m saying is, if Oprah Winfrey—there you go, interrupt me again.  Let me...

EISMAN:  All right.  Make your point. 

SCARBOROUGH:  ... finish my sentence. 

If Oprah Winfrey wants to explain that a woman slept with 90 different men, she can do that without saying, you have known 90 different penises.  You have seen 90 different penises.  If Oprah Winfrey wants to talk about specific sexual acts, does she have to explain exactly what men have done in this woman‘s face before? 

EISMAN:  Let me explain something to you.

When Oprah talks about—for example, let‘s talk about drug addiction.  We don‘t say, oh, you know, I took certain pills, and—and then I—I wasn‘t feeling well. 

She gets right into the dirt of it.  And, in fact, sometimes, it isn‘t pretty.  And you know what?  I watched that.  And I thought, you know what?  It is.  It—sometimes, it is not easy to watch.  I agree.  But the fact that she will go there, Oprah Winfrey, who isn‘t trying to be salacious—she‘s not doing a Howard Stern.  She‘s not trying to, you know, glorify this.

She‘s actually trying to understand it, explain it in the truth...

ADUBATO:  Joe...

EISMAN:  ... and try and find solutions. 

She talks about it in a medical context.  She talks about the fact that it‘s unprotected sex, that there‘s a risk of catching STDs, HIV, etcetera.  She talks about the emotional ramifications of these acts as well, about an emotional dependency, the fact that these women are searching for intimacy. 

I mean, to think that she just talked about the actual act would really mean maybe that you didn‘t watch the whole thing.  I think...

ADUBATO:  Joe, let me do this.

EISMAN:  ... the story was—can I just explain?  Let me finish. 

You‘re from the South.

ADUBATO:  Well, I‘m afraid—I‘m not sure you are going to finish. 

But I will just jump in here. 

(CROSSTALK)

EISMAN:  Oh, is that polite? 

(LAUGHTER)

ADUBATO:  Here‘s—here‘s...

(LAUGHTER)

ADUBATO:  Here‘s my point. 

Oprah is not a doctor.  She‘s not a psychologist.  Yes, she has a psychiatrist or psychologist on most shows.  And, in my view—and I‘m a fan of Oprah‘s.

EISMAN:  Really?

ADUBATO:  But even those of us who respect what Oprah does have to be honest enough with ourselves to say, just because Oprah has a medical expert on the end of the program doesn‘t mean that she gets a pass that the rest of us don‘t get when she used—uses unnecessary, salacious, graphic, over-the-top language. 

Joe, she said “strange penises,” like, three or four times. 

EISMAN:  Well, you have said it a few times now. 

(LAUGHTER)

ADUBATO: “Penises you don‘t know.”

And I‘m thinking to myself, wait a minute.  Oprah, why do you need to keep using the word penises to describe a sexual addiction?  I believe it‘s unnecessary, over the top.

EISMAN:  I will tell you why she did it.

ADUBATO:  And she is not in a responsible position to do it.

EISMAN:  I‘m sorry.  This is a conversation, not a monologue. 

I guess she‘s explaining it because the whole act of sexual addiction is that you are depersonalizing the act.  It‘s not, oh, we made love, or, we spent the night.  It is the fact that it is a graphic thing.  This woman is seeking out these men for that graphic—for the penis.  It‘s a—it is a—it is a specialty thing. 

It‘s not that she‘s talking about her love life with her husband. 

She‘s talking about it in a raw, depersonalized sense. 

ADUBATO:  A whole range of ways to do it, Joe.

EISMAN:  And that is exactly what is going on here.

ADUBATO:  A whole range of ways to do it that are more responsible. 

And all I‘m saying is this.

EISMAN:  Well, I don‘t think so.  I think what is more...

(CROSSTALK)

ADUBATO:  Oprah—Oprah is not beneath, if you will, the idea—or above the idea of going after ratings. 

Now, trust me, I know she has a loyal audience...

EISMAN:  Yes. 

ADUBATO:  ... as I said, my wife, every day, 4:00 on the East Coast.

And my wife actually watched it and said, you know what?  I‘m not sure this program is actually helping anyone.  I‘m not sure where it‘s going.

EISMAN:  Maybe it wasn‘t helping her. 

ADUBATO:  And I‘m wondering—let me finish.

EISMAN:  Maybe...

(LAUGHTER)

(CROSSTALK)

ADUBATO:  I‘m wondering why Oprah is being so graphic and specific. 

The bottom line, Joe, she did a Jerry Springer here. 

EISMAN:  No.  I...

(CROSSTALK)

ADUBATO:  And she‘s not beneath it or above it.

SCARBOROUGH:  All right. 

Hey—hey, Kathryn...

ADUBATO:  And she should just admit it. 

(CROSSTALK)

EISMAN:  Can I just say...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Kathryn—let me ask you a question, Kathryn.

EISMAN:  Yes.  Sure.

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  If—and I—the point that Steve has been making from the beginning is that Oprah lives by a different standard than, say, Howard Stern.  If Howard Stern had said the same things that Oprah said...

EISMAN:  Yes. 

SCARBOROUGH:  ... do you believe he would have been fined by the FCC? 

EISMAN:  I think that you can‘t just look at what is said.  I think you have to look at the context—context in which it‘s said. 

And I think that she was doing it from a position of trying to find a solution to it.  She wasn‘t glorifying it.  She was looking at the ramifications from a health perspective, when it comes to STDs, as I mentioned, and also from an emotional perspective, when it comes to intimacy issues. 

And I think that she wasn‘t just saying—getting a bunch of, you know, women who enjoy having sex coming on and taking their top off, just for the—for the sake of it.  I think what she was doing was, she was taking these women, who clearly thought they had a problem, and bringing it to an open forum.

So, maybe one person—maybe not your wife, Steve, but maybe other women out there may identify with that.  You know, it‘s not meant for everyone.  But not everyone is a drug addict.  Not everyone is a food addict.

But it—what Oprah does is, she bring issues to the topic—you know, to the conversation that are not popular.  And, sometimes, you have to set the agenda, and not follow the agenda, even if it isn‘t popular. 

And, see, you know, you talk about it being a ratings grab.  I think, if anything, it was a very risky thing for her to do.  Yes, she has a very huge women following.  It‘s not a male audience, like Howard Stern.  It‘s a female following. 

And, therefore, this may be very offensive.  But she clearly found it was an issue that needed to be brought to our attention, and she has.  For better or worse, that‘s what Oprah does.  She provokes—she provokes conversation, discussion, and she makes people who maybe never heard about this before, maybe one person said, you know what, that sounds like me; maybe I can seek help. 

And, if she has done that...

SCARBOROUGH:  All right. 

EISMAN:  ... then, I‘m sorry, she has done her job. 

(LAUGHTER)

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, Kathryn, thank you so much for the very spirited and, may I add, very polite debate.  It was great having you here, Kathryn.

As always, Steve, greatly appreciate it. 

And Steve, of course, is the author of the new book “Make the Connection.”

And we had a great connection tonight, a great debate, because they‘re

they‘re very good.  I think they should go out on the road. 

When we come back, she went from stripping to saving.  Hear how this woman‘s unusual methods are helping to change lives.  That‘s coming up. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Heather Veitch may not look like your typical minister.  She certainly doesn‘t look like mine.  But the former stripper is bringing God to some unlikely places. 

As part of her ministry, J.C.‘s Girls Girls Girls, Heather‘s going to strip clubs, teaching strippers about Jesus.  It‘s a personal mission that began for her when she left the business and found religion. 

I asked her about that change in her life, and this is what she told me. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) 

HEATHER VEITCH, FOUNDER, J.C.‘S GIRLS GIRLS GIRLS:  I just knew absolutely that I needed a change.  So, I decided to try out a church.

And the day that I did, I walked in the church, and it—it was the

strangest feeling.  I felt as if I was home for the first time.  I had

tears pouring down my face.  It was a amazing and great day for me.  And I

through the—learning the teachings of the Bible, I really un—was able to understand that I am forgiven, but not only that, but that I have this amazing life that I could live now, with—with God involved in it, and that I have a greater plan to my life than what I had before. 

SCARBOROUGH:  So, tell me what you do when you go into the strip clubs, looking for these young women that need your help? 

VEITCH:  What we do is, we usually go in with a team of six girls, and we all gather together.

We pray before we go.  And, then, we go into the club and we purchase lap dances from the girls.  But, at that point, we tell them, I‘m not—here‘s your money, because we know this is their job.  This is their time, but we will not be receiving the dance.  And we want to just talk to them about God. 

And, from that point on, we tell them who we are, what we are about.  We let them know that, if they would like to find a church where they will not be judged, we will do our best to help them find that church.

And, also, a big goal of ours is to let them know there‘s never anything they have done that they would not be forgiven for, because, unfortunately, you know, a lot of people say, hey, can you go in there, tell them they‘re sinners? 

That‘s not—that‘s not usually our goal.  Our goal is to allow them to know that nothing—you know, a lot of these girls do not know that anything they have done can be forgiven by God.  And, when we tell them that, a lot of them are shocked.  And they say:  Are you serious?  God would forgive me for this?  He would forgive me, even though I live this way? 

And we tell them, yes.  Yes, he will.  They‘re—you‘re no different than anybody else.

SCARBOROUGH:  You say that to the girls, that, you‘re going come to these churches, and, you know, obviously, there‘s nothing that you have done in the past that can‘t be forgiven, but there‘s the other side of it, which will require you to turn your back on life that God would not be—would not approve of?

VEITCH:  Well, what we say right now to them is, you know what?

Often, people want us to say, you know what?  These girls need to quit their job before they come to church or shortly after.  But the truth is, they need to find out who God is, in the first place.  They need to be able to develop a relationship with him, to be able to find out his plan for them. 

There‘s not many people that would give up a job or a lifestyle that they have that provides for their children and provides them a home and a shelter for a God that they don‘t even know.  So, we first allow them to have the opportunity to really find out who God is, find out who this man is, who—who this is that you‘re making a commitment to, to completely transform your life. 

So, we—we really are just a ministry that gives these girls options that we feel they don‘t have at this point.  And what—where they go with their relationship with God is definitely up to them.  And that—that‘s where we leave it. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, Heather.  Well, listen, we are going to have to leave it there, but thank you for being on the show. 

And I want to commend you for what you‘re doing and sending the message out there of,  you know, just how great God‘s love is, and that there really is nothing that we can do that God can‘t forgive us for. 

VEITCH:  Yes. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And, unfortunately, I think that‘s a message that is not

is—is not delivered to people that need to hear that message the most. 

VEITCH:  Yes. 

SCARBOROUGH:  So...

VEITCH:  Thank you so much.  Thank you. 

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCARBOROUGH:  And I‘m joined now by a man who I‘m sure would gladly minister in strip clubs, if the lord called him to do so.

(LAUGHTER)

SCARBOROUGH:  He‘s, of course, Tucker Carlson, host of “THE SITUATION

WITH TUCKER CARLSON.” 

Hey, Tucker, what is the situation tonight?

TUCKER CARLSON, HOST, “THE SITUATION WITH TUCKER CARLSON”:  Hey, Joe.

I think that chick goes to my church.  In fact, I think she sits right in front of me.

(LAUGHTER)

CARLSON:  No. 

SCARBOROUGH:  I‘m—I‘m sure.

(LAUGHTER)

CARLSON:  I recognized her from somewhere.  I knew it.

SCARBOROUGH:  Somewhere, yes. 

CARLSON:  Amazing.

SCARBOROUGH:  Where—where have I seen that face before? 

(LAUGHTER)

CARLSON:  Well, a horrifying story tonight, two switch gears quickly -

from New Jersey, a company busted for selling human tissue stolen from corpses in morgues and sold to hospitals—so many questions.

I‘m not for government regulation, Joe, but there appears to be no government oversight at all of the tissue-for-profit business.  When you die, the expectation is not that your heart valve, that your ligaments, that your bones will be ripped out of your body and sold to a hospital, but it can happen.  We are going to find out how. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, thanks, Tucker.

CARLSON:  Thanks, Joe.

SCARBOROUGH:  And make sure you tune into “THE SITUATION WITH TUCKER CARLSON.”  It‘s coming up straight ahead, at 11:00. 

And, coming up next, does a member of Louis Farrakhan‘s group really belong on the government panel that is supposed to find way to combat hate crimes?  We will talk about that.

Plus, you don‘t want to miss tonight‘s “Joe‘s Schmoe.”

And, as we go to break, have you ever given directions to Psycho Path?  The wildest, weirdest, and wackiest street names, according to a new online poll. 

We will be back. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  It‘s time for another “Flyover” of SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, those stories that may have fallen under the mainstream media‘s radar screens, but not ours.

First stop, Chicago, where one of the governor‘s anti-hate crime panel members is under fire, as she has recently decided she needed to invite other members to attend a speech by Louis Farrakhan, not exactly a man known as an anti-hate crusader. 

And our next stop, just south of Columbus, Ohio, where Democratic State Senator Robert Hagan has introduced legislation that would ban Republicans from adopting kids in Ohio.  He says he introduced the ban as a response to legislation that would stop homosexual couples from adopting children.  Even though Hagan admits the bill is not entirely serious, he says he did do it to make a serious point. 

And finally to Los Angeles, where a man paid $100,000 for two used plaid shirts that were worn by the stars of the movie “Brokeback Mountain.”  New owner Tom Gregory says the shirts represent the relationship of the characters in the movie, so he will not separate them, or wear them, or quit them.

We will be right back with more SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY in a minute. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Friends, you can make a real difference in the lives of our men and women that have given their all in Iraq and Afghanistan by making a donation to the fallenheroesfund.org, or call 1-800-340-HERO.  They need your help.

And that‘s all the time we have for tonight. 

Now let‘s pass it over to Tucker Carlson, where “THE SITUATION” starts right now. 

Hey, Tucker, what‘s the situation tonight? 

CARLSON:  Thanks, Joe.  And God bless you.

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

END   

Copy: Content and programming copyright 2006 MSNBC.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.  Transcription Copyright 2006 Voxant, Inc. ALL RIGHTS  RESERVED. No license is granted to the user of this material other than for research. User may not reproduce or redistribute the material except for user‘s personal or internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may infringe upon MSNBC and Voxant, Inc.‘s copyright or other proprietary rights or interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of litigation.

transcript

Watch Scarborough Country each weeknight at 10 p.m. ET

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,