updated 3/17/2006 12:13:27 PM ET 2006-03-17T17:13:27

Guests: Michael Weisskopf, Cindy Sheehan, Dan Isett, Robin Bronk, Katrina Szish, Peter Cooper, Dru Laborde, Katrina Szish, Bob Titley, Ana Marie Cox, Mary Carey

JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST:  Right now in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY we have antiwar icon, Cindy Sheehan.  Is she saving American lives or losing the war on terror?  Ms. Sheehan‘s going to be here tonight and I‘ll ask her.

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

Thanks for being with me tonight.  I really appreciate you joining us.  Now we‘re going to have those stories in a minute.  Plus the government hands down huge fines it today for indecency.  And we‘re going to show you the video and let you decide in the federal government made the right call.

And who could turn down a chance to meet the president of the United States?  Singer and actress Jessica Simpson.  That‘s who.  Tonight we‘ll tell you why.

But first, Operation Swarmer.  In heart of Iraq today, U.S. and Iraqi forces launched the biggest offensive since the beginning of the war in a push to crush the insurgency and stem the violence that‘s plagued that country for the past several weeks.  The operation‘s expected to last several days and result in a large number of insurgents being captured and killed.

Now all this comes the same day that Iraq‘s parliament met and its members were sworn in.  Also the same day President Bush reaffirmed his strike first policy against terrorism.

Now, we‘re going to hear from antiwar activist Cindy Sheehan in just a minute, but first let me bring in Michael Weisskopf.  He‘s senior correspondent for “Time Magazine”, obviously a man that knows Iraq very well.

Michael, let‘s start with a cynical question some are whispering out there today that this is a wag the dog scenario similar to when President Clinton bombed the pharmaceutical plan in Sudan.  Is there any proof whatsoever that the president was motivated by political problems before launching this offensive?

MICHAEL WEISSKOPF, “TIME MAGAZINE”:  Of course, everything a president does takes into consideration politics, Joe, but I hardly believe that a tactical strike like this, with a fairly limited objective, would do much to bring around American public opinion.  And the White House probably had lots of motivations.  I‘m not sure winning a more points from the American public was part of them.

SCARBOROUGH:  So what was the purpose of the offensive?

WEISSKOPF:  To buy more time, according to officials I know, for both the Iraqi parliament to begin the process of picking a new government and a permanent one.  And for that section—that sectarian violence that took place over the last three weeks, to simmer down a little bit.  This is a moment to put the insurgency back on its heels, and prevent another kind of instigating attack like the explosion of that golden mosque in Samarra.

SCARBOROUGH:  So, Michael, you think there may be actually some positive impact.  I know a lot of Americans, myself included, look at what happened with Fallujah where we flattened the city, we chased out insurgents, but they seemed to come back, always crawling out of dark spaces like cockroaches, and they continue to grow, but you‘re saying actually that this type of attack, this type of assault actually does bear some positive results.

WEISSKOPF:  Well, it certainly disperses the insurgency and takes away weapons and probably some cash and arrests some folks.  And more importantly, it makes them go underground for a while.  And if it‘s long enough for some of that sectarian violence to ease and for the society to get back to its equilibrium and more importantly for the Iraqi parliament to forge a permanent government, to pick ministers all parties can agree on, then it will be a pretty successful mission.

That‘s a big if, of course.  The if is the extent hitting a place north of Samara is enough really to throw the insurgency back on its heels.  We‘ll see over the next 72 hours or so.

SCARBOROUGH:  And Michael, we‘ve heard over the past several weeks, that this a country, Iraq, that‘s on the brink of a civil war after one of the holiest Shiite mosques was flattened several weeks ago.  But you look at what‘s happening with parliament today, you look at some of the responses after that attack, and it‘s hard to tell whether they‘re moving in the direction of civil war or whether they‘re actually becoming more cohesive.  What can you tell us tonight about which direction you believe that country‘s going?

WEISSKOPF:  Well, there‘s no question what when bodies pile up in the morgue like cordwood that there‘s a lot of violence going on.  And obviously it‘s sectarian because of the attacks on mosques of both sides.  But Iraq is always teetering on civil war.  The only thing that presented it under Saddam years was tyranny.  He held the country together through despotism.

And whether or not the country is heading towards democracy will be decided really by the nature and the endurance of the government now being formed.  Because democratic countries are led by coalition governments, of sorts.  And we‘ll see whether this one holds.

In the meantime, at least the politicians—the Kurds, the Shia and the Sunni will have a chance to operate hopefully with a certain amount of tranquility and lack of violence.

SCARBOROUGH:  I‘d certainly hope so.  “Time Magazine‘s” Michael Weisskopf, thank you so much for being with us tonight.

WEISSKOPF:  A pleasure.

SCARBOROUGH:  Really appreciate it.

Now on to Cindy Sheehan.  She‘s become the face and unofficial spokeswoman of the antiwar protest movement.  And she‘s here with us tonight.

Now, her son, Casey, died in Iraq and her supporters credit her with giving new life to the antiwar movement.  But a lot of people also accuse of her politicizing her son‘s death in Iraq.

And certainly, wherever she goes, there is controversy.  We‘d like to welcome Cindy to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY for the first time.  Thanks you so much for being with us, Cindy.

CINDY SHEEHAN, ANTIWAR PROTESTOR:  Thank you, Joe.

SCARBOROUGH:  And I want to ask you about your son, Casey.  Do you think—obviously there‘s been a split in your family over your activities.  Do you think your son, Casey would agree with what you‘re doing?

SHEEHAN:  I know Casey would agree with what I‘m doing.  He didn‘t want to go to Iraq, he did it out of a sense of duty.  He did it because his buddies were going.  He died saving his buddies‘ lives and I know he wants me to continue that mission of saving his buddies‘ lives.  So for people to accuse of politicizing my son‘s death, I don‘t think this is a matter of right and left or Democrat or Republican, it‘s a matter of right and wrong and people are dying.  And people should never have died and the killing needs to stop.

SCARBOROUGH:  What do you make of your other family members—your ex-husband and then of course that long statement that was given to the “Washington Post” last August, when you began your Camp Casey activities near Crawford, Texas.  They came out and issued a long statement saying that Casey‘s father and grandparents and cousins—aunts, uncles, nephews, nieces, basically, everybody on the family tree, disagreed with what you were doing.

SHEEHAN:  Actually, my husband was not a part of that.  And he‘s in fact, speaking out at an antiwar rally in Davis, California on Sunday.  He has always been on the side that the war is wrong and he wants the troops to come home.

As for my in-laws, they barely even knew Casey, so I think I have a right to speak on behalf of my son and honor his death than my in-laws did.  And that happened months ago and we just go forward every day.  My husband and I are on the same page with this politically.  Our son‘s death was horrible and it was very stressful for us and that‘s not really something that I feel comfortable talking about.

SCARBOROUGH:  What‘s been the toughest part for you as a mother, during this time, when you‘re aware from the cameras, when you‘re away from the protests, away from the controversy, as a mother, what do you miss most about Casey?

SHEEHAN:  You know, Joe, I miss—it‘s coming up on two years, April 4th, that he was killed, and the pain never goes away.  The pain is constantly there.  You just learn how to live with it better.  And I miss him calling me.  He called me at least once a day from Fort Hood just to talk about our days and what was going on.  I miss his sweetness.  I miss his presence.  I miss his—He was a very stable influence on our family.  He was so faithful.  He went to mass almost every day, if he could.  And you know, I just miss him.  He‘s my oldest child and part of my heart and soul are missing, also.

SCARBOROUGH:  You never get over that, do you?  You never will get over that, will you?

SHEEHAN:  You know, people say—if they haven‘t lost children, say it gets easier with time, but no, it does doesn‘t.  I work every day to bring the troops home, but when this war is over and the troops are home Casey is still going to be not coming home, and that will be hard for me for the rest of my life.  And I appreciate you asking about that.

SCARBOROUGH:  On the political side of this - and you know, the thing is - as you may know, I support this war and have—I think what the president‘s been doing is the right thing, but I just can‘t imagine as a father of three children how difficult it is, regardless of your politics, to lose .

SHEEHAN:  Right.

SCARBOROUGH:  . a son or daughter over there.  And it is.  I‘ve talked to other people who support the war but who have lost their children and they say it is something that they will never get over.

SHEEHAN:  We all have the same pain.

SCARBOROUGH:  It stays with them every day.

SHEEHAN:  Absolutely.

SCARBOROUGH:  Now, Cindy, you‘ve send some tough things about the president.  I want to let our audience listen to some of it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHEEHAN:  George Bush still continues his evil rhetoric, that he is waging a war on terrorism when he is really waging a war of terrorism against the world.

We want the destruction of Iraq to stop and we want the destruction of America by the Bush administration to stop, also.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Cindy, there you‘re talking about the president‘s evil actions and I believe you‘ve agreed with others that he‘s one of the greatest, in your words, terrorists in the world.  Do you really think George Bush is an evil man or do you think he‘s doing what he thinks is right in Iraq?

SHEEHAN:  Well, his definition of a terrorist is someone who kills innocent men, women and children.  And we know by a study taken last November, that - in November of 2004, that 100,000 innocent Iraqis have been killed.

And just because someone is an elected leader of a country doesn‘t give them the right to do that.  The war was based on lies.  It never should have happened.  We should be bringing our troops home.

And you know as well as I do that he‘s destroying our civil rights and he‘s spying on Americans without due process.  And he—you need to come down here to New Orleans, if you haven‘t been here recently and the Gulf States, and see the devastation that—not just George Bush, but years of neglect here has happened.  And George Bush was playing golf and playing guitar and golf while the people here in New Orleans were hanging off their roofs.

SCARBOROUGH:  And going back to the war again, though, and obviously you‘ve been critical of the Bush administration during Katrina, but I have supported this war.

SHEEHAN:  I know you have.

SCARBOROUGH:  But I want to expand out on your attitude not only towards this war, but other wars.  That you think that the president was evil, do you think he was a terrorist when we went into Afghanistan?  And you could ask the same question regarding civilian lives about FDR during World War II.

Certainly we killed hundreds of thousands of Germans, killed hundreds of thousands of Japanese.  Do you think FDR was a terrorist there?

SHEEHAN:  Actually, let me talk about Afghanistan first.  9/11 was a horrible time in American history and none of us will ever forget it.  But Osama bin Laden and 16 Saudi Arabians that went through—a lot of them went through Dubai to get to America, they‘re the ones that perpetrated that crime against America, not the people of Afghanistan and not the people of Iraq.

And George Bush reacted inappropriately to that horrible event and Osama bin Laden is still at large, and he said he would get him dead or alive.  And I think you go after the criminals, you don‘t go after innocent people.

SCARBOROUGH:  So you oppose Afghanistan.  Do you think FDR was a terrorist in World War II because hundreds of thousands of Germans and Japanese civilians died during those wars?

SHEEHAN:  Well, let me tell you, Joe.  I‘m a pacifist and I believe war is wrong.  And if you look at the history, World War II happened because of World War I and the suppression and sanctions against the people of World War I.  I‘m a total pacifist and I think finally now, this is the 21st century and we need to stop killing each other to solve problems, especially imaginary problems.

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.  Cindy, we certainly disagree, but like I said before, certainly our thoughts are with you.  Thoughts and prayers are with you .

SHEEHAN:  Thank you, Joe.  Thank you.  I appreciate it.

SCARBOROUGH:  . as you go forward.

Thank you for being with us.  We appreciate it.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, the FCC slammed CBS with huge fines this week for airing a scene from the crime drama “Without a Trace.”

It‘s so shocking, you‘ll be glad your kids are in bed.  Here‘s the scene.  It depicts an orgy.  I‘m not actually shocked by this.  It depicts an orgy, but that‘s not the worst part, according to FCC.  Friends, these aren‘t adults involved group sex, it‘s teenagers.  And for that bid of creative genius, CBS was fined $3.6 million.

So is the FCC going overboard senior has network television become a cesspool of filth and perversion?

With us now to talk about we‘ve got Robin Bronk from the Creative Coalition, Katrina Szish from “Us Weekly” and Dan Isett from Parents Television Council.

T.J., do we have that tape to roll again?  Let‘s roll it again.  This is—this cost CBS $3.6 million.  Let‘s roll it and see what‘s so shocking about it.

Hey, Dan, let me start with you.  You obviously agree with the FCC decided to do.  Are those scenes really so shocking that CBS should have been fined $3.6 million?

DAN ISETT, PARENTS TELEVISION COUNCIL:  Yes we do.  And what you see now is that the FCC is finally taking its stand seriously and it‘s finally attaching some meaningful fines to violation of broadcast indecency law.

SCARBOROUGH:  What—How did that violate broadcast standards?

ISETT:  Well, the definition of indecency is anything that violates the contemporary community standard of indecency and what the FCC ruled yesterday was that in hundreds of markets, that was the case and we‘re glad to see them take the lead on this.

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, Dan, though, I have got three kids and we try to shield them as much as we can, but I‘ll guarantee you, if you talk about contemporary standards, my children and children out there have seen screens worse than that a thousand times on cable TV, on the Internet.  It just doesn‘t seem so shocking to me.  Where do you draw that line?  It seems awfully arbitrary, doesn‘t it?

ISETT:  Well, that may well be so but what you have to keep in mind is this did violate the standards of indecency, as defined by hundreds of thousands of Americans who complained to the FCC about this show.

And it‘s important to remember that this show not only aired in September of 2004, then Viacom, the parent company, of CBS then signed a consent decree with FCC saying that they would be a better stewards of the public airwaves and turn right around and air this same show again in December of 2004.  And that‘s part of the reason why you see a substantial fine attached to this show.

SCARBOROUGH:  Robin, what do you think about this fine?

ROBIN BRONK, CREATIVE COALITION:  Well, first of all, I‘m glad my kids are in bed, because you aren‘t going to roll that tape again, are you?  I think that it‘s ridiculous.  Because while the show is not appropriate for children, period.  There‘s no question about that.  But .

SCARBOROUGH:  Hey, Robin, hold on a second.  I‘m so shocked by the tape, I‘m going to roll it again.  Keep talking.  I‘m serious, it doesn‘t shock me.  It just does not shock me.  If I can‘t believe that they got a $3.6 million fine.  Roll the tape again, T.J.  Go ahead, Robin.

BRONK:  What I‘m saying to you is this is not about fines.  This is about parents taking responsibility.  In the words of President Bush, parents are the frontline.  Turn the television off.

SCARBOROUGH:  Katrina, I‘m going to get in trouble for playing that tape several times, but it‘s not that I would like my children to see that scene on television, but it‘s at 10:00 at night, it‘s not an after school special.  When we‘ve come on before and criticized things that have been on TV, we‘ve criticized them because they come on, let‘s say MTV, which is geared for 10, 11, 12, 13 years old.  This is crime drama geared for people in their 30s and 40s and 50s at 10:00 at night.  It just seems to be like the FCC could have picked better targets than this show.  Do you agree with me?

KATRINA SZISH, US WEEKLY:   I absolutely agree with you.  And I agree with Robin, that parents do have responsibility to monitor that what their children are watching.  And I agree with you this scene—It‘s not so shocking.  Why this scene?  It seems like the FCC is flexing a muscle they have that is increasingly atrophying.  There are so many things as you mentioned earlier, available on the Internet, on cable, on satellite.

People can watch whatever they want whenever they want.  The FCC has control over an increasingly fewer number of programs and they just kind of thought we need to do something.  We need to show that we‘re still relevant, and they happened to choose this.

SCARBOROUGH:  Dan, it seems to me during parts of constitutional law in law school, where I wasn‘t sleeping, I heard about time, place, manner, when you talked about free speech.  Don‘t you see something different between something like this airing at 10:00 at night and say 3:00 or 4:00 in the afternoon, on another channel, like I said, MTV or VH1, that‘s actually geared for younger children to watch?

ISETT:  You know, I‘m glad that you brought up constitutional law, Joe, because the Supreme Court has already ruled on this.  Indecent programming cannot be aired between 6:00 in the morning and 10:00 at night.

If you want to air content like that, put it on cable and then let people have the opportunity to not have to take everything on cable.  Cable choice is the solution to cable.  Let people pick and choose channels and choose what they want to pay for.  On the broadcast medium, though, what you are dealing with is the ability of the government, the people to parse out little pieces of electromagnetic spectrum for people to broadcast on.  Those belong to the people, and therefore people have a say on what get broadcasts on them.

SCARBOROUGH:  Hey, Dan, were you offended by that scene that I‘ve shown probably five or six times tonight?

ISETT:  Well, I think it was.  It doesn‘t leave much to the imagination.  It‘s not something you expect to see.  And this isn‘t simply about the protection of children, it‘s about the protection of community standards of decency, and millions of Americans have been languishing with this type of programming night after night after night pumped into their living rooms and it needs to stop.

SCARBOROUGH:  Robin, some people would think that this may just be the FCC‘s way of whacking Hollywood, because let‘s face it, Hollywood has thumbed their nose at middle class mores over the past 30 or 40 years.  Do you think this is their way to basically get back at Hollywood and networks that have ignored community standards for too long.

BRONK:  Let‘s get beyond the nipple.  We‘re done with it.  There was never an epidemic of girls bearing their nipples because of Janet Jackson.  What we do have to deal with though, is let‘s create a society of media literate children.  These kids - the first generation to have an infinite number of the Internet and infinite number of television channels.  They get access to anything.  They‘re downloading on their iPods.

But they‘re not literate in the media.  That‘s—We need to work towards a solution and not be slapping fines on television shows.

SCARBOROUGH:  Katrina, final word to you.  And you cannot say let‘s get past the nipple, that‘s already been said in this segment.

SZISH:  Darn it.

SCARBOROUGH:  But let—How nervous, seriously, are networks, CBS, ABC, NBC, Fox, that this type of fine got handed down?

SZISH:  I think they‘re not so much nervous as they are probably rolling their eyes a little bit and just a little bit frustrated at again, we‘ve been using the word “arbitrary.”  At the arbitrariness of the selection of this particular scene.

And I think if it keeps happening, the networks are going to sort of join together and really try to fight against the FCC.  So I don‘t think there‘s nervousness involved.  And it‘s just interesting that a lot of these fines seem to be slapped on - we did mention the nipple, but it‘s really about sex.  And why is America so concerned about sex.  What about all of these violent scenes?  Why haven‘t some of the graphic murder shows been slapped with similar fines?

And I think, again, arbitrariness in an important point to remember her.

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, Robin.  Thank you Katrina.  Thank you - and Dan, thanks so much for being with me tonight.  I will guarantee you a lot more people in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY agree with you on this issue than me.

Coming up next, the Dixie Chicks.  They‘re releasing their first album since one chick‘s attack on the president.  The question is, how will Middle America like their return?

And later gang members attacking the whole time.  They‘re videotaping themselves.  We‘ll show you what it‘s all about when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Up next, Jessica Simpson, the “Dukes of Hazard” star dumps Nick and then disses the president.  I‘ll tell you why when “Scarborough Country” returns.

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

(NEWSBREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  And welcome back to “Scarborough Country.”  Great to have you with us.

Now, the last time we heard from the Dixie Chicks they were criticizing George Bush from a concert in London.  Now they‘re releasing a new album and making plans for a concert  tour.

But, you know, country fans abandoned them a few years back.   Will they embrace them again?

With me now to talk about it we‘ve got Peter Cooper.  He‘s from the “Tennessean.”  We have Dru LaBorde.  He‘s a KYKX morning drive host and also the program director.  We also have Bob Titley of “Music Row Democrats.”  And still with us, Katrina Szish “US Weekly.”

Peter, let me start with you.

You were on the show last week when we were talking about a couple of other country stars that went political.   You said there‘s this long history of  country music stars getting involved in politics.  And they have done it and they have survived it.  But why do you think the Dixie Chicks‘ career was flattened when they went after George Bush?

PETER COOPER, “TENNESSEAN”:  Well, I‘m not going to go with you that their career was flattened necessarily.  I think they‘re still... 

SCARBOROUGH:  Oh, come on.   Listen, it certainly...

COOPER:  They were taken...

SCARBOROUGH:  ... certainly was nothing what it used to be, right?  

COOPER:  They were taken immediately off of country radio.  That is for sure.  But I think it had a lot to do with  timing.   What Natalie Main, the lead singer, said at the time that she said it, in the place that she said it, which was over in Europe, and the war was just beginning to go on, public opinion was in a very different place then, than it seems to be now.   And there was a backlash.

But I think it also has a lot to do with the radio forces that be, and the fact that radio is interested in making sure that people don‘t change the channel, that no one is offended by anything.   And in that kind of climate, those   comments were sort of deemed not something the radio would go along with. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, how smart do you think, Peter, in this new album, as you well know, where the Dixie Chicks in effect say, “Hey, listen we haven‘t changed our mind.  We still don‘t like George Bush.  We‘re not taking anything back.”  And in effect telling the president, and a lot of their fans, basically to kiss off?

COOPER:  Well, I don‘t know that they‘re telling their fans to kiss off, but I think they are saying that they‘re sticking with what they said.

You know, the president is in a really different place now than he was

I think the Dixie Chicks—there was this Edison research survey that came out recently that showed that they had about a 60 percent approval rate among country fans.

And I was thinking, you know, what would George W. Bush give for a 60 percent approval rate?  I think he would be pretty pleased with that  right now. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Drew, let me ask you, your station banned the Dixie Chicks before.   Will you play their new C.D.? 

DRU LABORDE, PROGRAM DIRECTOR, MORNING DRIVE HOST, KYKX:  Three years

they have not been on the air for three years now. 

SCARBOROUGH:  With this new C.D. coming out, are you guys going to play the one? 

LABORDE:  We played the song today, as a matter of fact.  We lifted our ban for four minutes and one second so we could play the song.  

And I‘m inclined to disagree with the gentleman before me.  I think

that, at least in our neck of the woods, the approval rating of the Dixie

Chicks is still very low.   I applaud their decision to come out with this

song.  It   makes it easier to continue our ban. 

                SCARBOROUGH:  So they‘re not backing down.  You‘re not backing down. 

And you don‘t think a lot of  country stations across the Deep South will back down, Dru? 

LABORDE:  I think the interest level is high right now to see exactly what they did.

But our listeners interpret this song as a kiss-off, not just to Bush in general, but also to most of the country music fans.

I think it‘s a very smart move on their label to release this song, because the Dixie Chicks have made no secret of the fact that they no longer want to be on country radio.  So the label releases a song that would definitely disenfranchise the folks that made them rich, which is the country music audience.  

LABORDE:  And, you know, the Dixie Chicks certainly aren‘t shying away from the controversy.  In the lyrics in one of their new songs, “Not Ready to Make Nice, this is what they say.  “I‘m not ready to make nice.  I‘m not ready to back down.  And I made my bed and I sleep like a baby.  With no regrets and I don‘t mind saying that.” 

Katrina, I‘ll ask you the same question I asked before of Peter.  Why do you think their anti-Bush statements had such a negative impact on their careers, when so many other people have attacked, not only this  president, but other presidents, and lived to tell about it? 

SZISH:  This is such a simple question to answer.   I think basically, if this was Eminem, if this was any kind of other rock and roll band, other than country music, it wouldn‘t be such a big deal.

But the Dixie Chicks are really—they appeal to the red states.  This is American heartland music.  This is, for the most part, conservative Republican music.   That‘s their fan base.

And to go and, not only say something that is deemed widely as unpatriotic, you‘re not only offending the country, you‘re offending the fans.  And I think the fact that they did that and, pretty much slapped their fans in the face, makes it very obvious why they‘re getting  such a backlash. 

SCARBOROUGH:  No doubt about it.   And this is a slap in their fans‘ face.

I‘ve got to tell you, bob, I personally think they are saying good-bye to country music by taking this approach, and are probably ready to move on to pop music.   Do you think that‘s what‘s happening here?

BOB TITLEY, “MUSIC ROW DEMOCRATS”:  Well, it‘s possibly happening.  But one thing I‘d like to point out is that research has shown that the core radio listener, one-third of them identify themselves as Democrats and one-third is Independents.  So you‘ve only got about 33 percent of country listeners who identify themselves as Republicans.

And this is a very big country and country radio is a very broad format with a whole lot of listeners.  And...  

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes, but, Bob, a whole lot of listeners, though, turned the Dixie Chicks off when they attacked the president on foreign soil.  You will agree with that, right? 

TITLEY:  No, a whole lot of radio stations turned the Dixie Chicks off.  That‘s fundamentally different.

We talked to the management for the Dixie Chicks, talked to one station and  asked them to survey the listeners that were calling in and complaining, and only one-third of the listeners came from their listening area. 

So there was a coordinated effort out there to call into stations to encourage them to stop playing the Dixie Chicks so...  

SCARBOROUGH:  Dru, is that? 

TITLEY:  Yes, that is the case.

LABORDE:  No, sir.  No, sir.  We had hundreds of folks... 

TITLEY:  Well, if I could point out about your station, you‘re in Longview, Texas, I believe.  I couldn‘t even find your station on the Arbitron books.  And you have a very small audience and a very a conservative region in a  small town in Texas.  And I don‘t think that‘s an exemplary of country music as a whole.  

SCARBOROUGH:  Dru?

LABORDE:  We have a reach of 800,000 people, sir.  There are 800,000 in a 22-county area.

SCARBOROUGH:  Talk about your audience, Dru.

LABORDE:   My audience, yes, is conservative.  I think my audience is very, very upset that the Dixie Chicks took this stand.

Today they wanted—I really feel today that they wanted to forgive them.   Not necessarily forgive them,   but to hear what they had to say.   I really they wanted to hear something good from the Chicks.  Something—wide-open spaces, even a  goodbye earl (ph).  But instead they said goodbye country music.

We had some positive calls.  They were very few, but a big majority said, “We don‘t want to hear this ever   again.  Please don‘t play this again.”  They felt very betrayed. 

SCARBOROUGH:  OK, thanks.  We‘re going to have to leave it there.

Thank you, Peter.

Thank you, Dru.

Thank you, Bob.

Thank you, Katrina.  As always, we appreciate your being with us tonight.

And right now, let‘s bring in Tucker Carlson.  He‘s the host  of “The Situation with Tucker Carlson.”

And Tucker, I‘m not a huge country music fan, but I live in the smack-dab middle of red state America, and that‘s where we do our  show.   And I‘ve got to tell you, there are a lot of people around here that were still angry with what the Dixie Chicks did.   They thought it was very bad form to attack the commander in chief overseas at a time of war. 

TUCKER CARLSON, HOST, “THE SITUATION”:   Yes, I‘ve got to confess, Joe, not by world, but they do seem like some pretty annoying Chicks to me. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Annoying indeed, Tucker.  So Tucker, what‘s the situation tonight?   

CARLSON:  Annoying, indeed.  Speaking of annoying, we have the student from Illinois  who tape-recorded his geography  teacher comparing the president to Hitler and excusing incidentally the attacks on 9/11.  Amazing.  Sort of an under reported part of the story.

The teacher‘s back in the school.  The boy‘s is at a new school. 

We‘re going to ask him why.

Then, Ambien, a very popular sleeping pill, apparently, according to a new series of lawsuits, can cause you to  become a binge eater while you‘re asleep, and cause you to take your clothes off in public.  Amazing.  We‘re going to talk to the lawyer who‘s filing those suits. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Oh, I‘m sorry.   Thanks a lot, Tucker.  

CARLSON:  This show‘s going to keep you awake, though, Joe.  I promise. 

SCARBOROUGH:  That‘s right.  Oh, it will.  I‘ll be awake until that Ambien kicks in at about 11:30.

CARLSON:  It works. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Anyway, it does work.

Tucker, thanks so much for being with us.

And make sure you stick around tonight.  Keep the Ambien, if you will, the medicine cabinet until 12:00, because Tucker on at 11:00 and you‘re not going to want to miss it.

Coming up next, though, Jessica Simpson.  She says no to meeting with President Bush.  When‘s it right to snub a president?  We‘ll talk about that.

And up next, one woman who went out of her way to be in the same room as the commander in chief.  Tonight, Mary Carey, live.

And caught on tape, gangs attacking terrified Americans.  This video will help get these thugs off the streets and into jail.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Singer and actress—well, if  you can call her that—

Jessica  Simpson hits Washington, D.C.  And all everybody‘s talking  about is what she did.  Possibly, the pop tart snubbed the president of the United States.   Or was she just not really a big fan of chicken dinners?

Well, the beltway is buzzing over the pop star‘s decision to decline an invitation to tonight‘s Republican fund-raiser in the nation‘s capital.

And with me now to talk about it, the lady who knows more about the Washington social scene, than me—that‘s not saying much—and most people in Washington, Ana Marie Cox?   She‘s the editor emeritus of “Wonkette” and the author of “Dog Days.”

Ana Marie, is it ever proper to snub the president of the United States, as young Jessica did tonight?

ANA MARIE COX, AUTHOR AND EDITOR EMERITUS, “WONKETTE”:  Well, I‘m not sure if it‘s really proper to ever snub the president, but I‘m not actually sure that that‘s what happened here.   I think the really embarrassing thing about the situation isn‘t that she turned him down, it‘s that they asked.  I think that‘s a lot about where the president is right now.

SCARBOROUGH:  Why?  Why?  Why did the Republican Party ask Jessica Simpson to show up at a fund-raiser?  What is it about Washington politicians and their draw to Hollywood stars?

COX:  Well, I don‘t know.  Maybe they ran out of autistic basketball players to have the president pose with.

I really don‘t know.   I do think it‘s a sign of desperation on their part.  I think that this particular instance, at least, shows a  kind of, you know, grubbing for celebrity and glamour that, if the president  was at an 80 percent approval rating, we wouldn‘t think twice about actually.

I mean, it‘s only that he‘s has such a low approval rating that it seems like such a big snub.

I mean, face it, she‘s not even such a big star, that in normal circumstances we‘d even care what she thinks.  It‘s not like she‘s someone of great political acumen.   You know, she didn‘t turn down the president in order to go out to have, like, dinner with Bob Shrum tonight.  You know, I mean, like, she‘s probably at home watching DVD‘s of the O.C.

SCARBOROUGH:  No doubt.  I mean, wait.  Hold a second, the O.C?  Shrumy?  Personally, I‘d go to dinner with Shrumy.  But that‘s my problem and not hers. 

COX:  That is your problem.  Yes, she‘s just a normal young adult.  She doesn‘t want to have the rubber chicken dinner and talk to a bunch of old  people.  You know, she wants to...  

SCARBOROUGH:  OK, but hold on a second, Ana Marie.   I mean, I know we‘re cynical here, but one of those old people she was going to sit down and talk to is the president of the United States, George W. Bush.  That‘s pretty big stuff, whether you‘re a ditsy star or  whether you‘re a talk show host.  

COX:  This is true, but I really do, I have to say, I would love any chance to really bash Bush, I would.   You know, I‘m a pinko commie.

But I do think this is a sign of ditsyness (ph) and not a sign of great political maneuvering on her part.

I think, if anything, I mean, we look at how her father reacted afterwards, saying that she actually really loved  the heck out of Bush, I think he said, which I thought was Clinton‘s  problem.  But, you know, I think that this is just a sort of a misstep on her part, that she shows up again in her daisy dukes sometime, everyone will forgive  and forget.  

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes, can you explain to Americans just how crazy Washington politicians are for Hollywood  stars, and sort of that draw of Hollywood stars to Washington, D.C., because they want to feel like they‘re people of  substance.  I‘m talking about that strange relationship. 

COX:  Well, it‘s not that strange.  It‘s completely understandable.

People in Washington are very smart and very ugly.  And people in Hollywood kind of have the opposite problem.  And so really they have balanced  each other out.  It‘s kind of a marriage made in heaven,  except that they sort of talk --  we don‘t really have a good conversation when we get in the same room together.

But you know, I think that I‘m pro pretty people get involved in politics.  Like, I personally would  like to see Jessica Simpson come to the dinner.  I want to see George Clooney come to the correspondence dinner.  I just don‘t want to hear them talk about politics, much in the same way that I don‘t want to see, you know, Karl Rove in daisy dukes.

I mean, I think that that‘s also a nightmare, as much as seeing or hearing George Clooney blog.  

SCARBOROUGH:  Runaway (inaudible).  Of course, George Clooney will tell you  that he did not blog.  

COX:  He did not blog.   That‘s my new t-shirt. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Just for the record, he did not blog.

Anna Marie Cox, as always, thanks so much for being with us.  Really appreciate it.

COX:  Thank you. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Now, Jessica Simpson wasn‘t at tonight‘s Republican fundraiser, but porn star, Mary Carey was.  She used  the event to call attention to her upcoming race for governor, and was hoping to get to meet President Bush.

She joins me now from Washington, D.C.

Mary, did you get within 100 miles of the president tonight at the reception? 

MARY CAREY, PORN STAR:  I think I got within about  75 feet maybe, not even.   They had tight security on me.  I don‘t think they‘d let me get near him.   I think they were afraid I was going to flash my boobs or something.

It‘s like, if you were a garbage man, you‘re not going to go around picking up garbage off-hours.  So why would I flash my boobs if I wasn‘t on the time clock?  You know what I mean?  

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, of course, I know exactly what you mean.  I think all of us do, even those of us who aren‘t members of the porn industry.

But I understand that you were actually going to get an award from the Republican Party for being a successful  businesswoman.  Did you actually receive that award? 

CAREY:  No, I didn‘t actually.  I was supposed to receive it.

Basically, when you pay your $2,500 to the National Republican Congressional Committee, if you get the award letter, which I actually have, you‘re supposed to get the award.  But, on Monday, they informed me that I was no longer receiving the award.

And I think it had a little bit to do with the fact that I was  Mary Carey, which is a porn  star, and they though that I would possibly be making a mockery of the Republicans by receiving it.   So they did not let me have the award or go to any of the dinners or functions, other than tonight.  I could not participate in any other functions.

I was very disappointed.  

SCARBOROUGH:  So, Mary, why are you a Republican?

CAREY:  I‘m actually not a full-blooded Republican.   I‘m registered as decline to state, which is independent.

I like to go to Republican functions.  I want to go to Democratic events.  I want to kind of get a little bit of both sides to make my own type of democracy, which is the merely the Mary Carey democracy.  And we‘re going to follow whatever I say, which is going to be based on Republican and Democratic beliefs.  

SCARBOROUGH:  OK.  I‘m writing this down, the Mary Carey democracy.  

CAREY:  It‘s the Mary Carey party.  It‘s the Mary Carey party.  Come on. 

SCARBOROUGH:  The Mary Carey party. 

CAREY:  Join the Mary Carey party.  Life‘s a party.

SCARBOROUGH:  Mary, I‘ve got to ask you a final question...

CAREY:  Yes.

SCARBOROUGH:  I‘m going to ask you a final question, when you‘re in Washington, D.C., hanging out  with the Republicans, are they on their best behavior? 

CAREY:  Now, Republicans, I must say, being here, I‘ve gotten hit on more than I have in Vegas, at the Avian Awards show, which is the adult video news award show.  I actually get hit on more in Washington, D.C.  by Republicans that are drunk, than I do by porno fans in Vegas. 

There you have it.

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.  Mary, we‘ve got to go to break.  I think you‘ve done enough damage to the GOP.

CAREY:  What about you?  I want to do damage to you.  

SCARBOROUGH:  We‘ll be right back.  Thanks for being with us.

Yes, you do that.  My wife will love that. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Disturbing video you‘re looking at.   It came from police in Newport News, Virginia.   They arrested eight members of a gang who they say videotaped  themselves attacking their neighbors.

Now the police don‘t know why the teens attacked the people.  And they certainly don‘t know why they  were stupid enough to videotape  it.   But they have identified nine at least nine other suspects that they say on this tape.

Investigators are now looking at 37 other similar attacks that were reported in the city since January, and trying to  figure out if all the attacks are related.

And next to Brazil, where environmental activists from Greenpeace were caught scaling a 125-foot Christ the Redeemer, to hang a sign that reads the  “future of the planet in in your  hands.”  The banner was up for just a few  minutes before the protesters  were arrested and the sign was taken down.   It wasn‘t the first time those wacky Greenpeace kids  pulled the stunt, but Brazilian police hope it will be the last.

OK, we‘ll be back with more  “Scarborough Country.”

Plus, friends, wake up grandma because “The Situation with Tucker Carlson” is just  minutes away.  Stick around. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Hey, friends, as you know, in “Scarborough Country” we want to do whatever we can to make America even better.  And you can do that tonight by giving me your ideas.  And you can go to joe@msnbc.com, and tell me what you‘re thinking.

And that‘s all the time we have for tonight.  I want to go now to my good friend Tucker Carlson because “The Situation” starts right now.

But, Tucker, before “The Situation” starts, I‘m just curious.  Who is this Mary Carey lady?

CARLSON:  I don‘t know, but her quote that she gets hit on more frequently by drunk Republicans than she does by porn fans in Vegas, it‘s unbelievable.  I don‘t know if it bothers or if it gives me hope for the Republican Party.  I don‘t know.

SCARBOROUGH:  I don‘t know.

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

END   

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