updated 7/17/2006 1:42:01 PM ET 2006-07-17T17:42:01

Guests: Paul Davies, Harry Mount, Jane Velez Mitchell, Erin Runyon, Pat Brown, Jennifer Williams

JOE SCARBOROUGH, SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY HOST:  Right now in “Scarborough  Country”, where is Suri?  Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes‘ daughter has never been seen in public and the paparazzi are circling.  It‘s getting out of hand for  the first shot.  Will she be the world‘s first $6 million baby?

Then, Princess Diana‘s last photo.  Angry denunciations after an image of a dying Diana is published.   Why did this ever come out?

And all access “American Idol,” behind the scenes with Ace and Chris Daughtry.  You‘re going to hear their tips on how you can be an “American Idol.”

Welcome to “Scarborough Country,” no passport required and only common  sense allowed.

We will have all that, plus, I mean, so much more going on tonight.  We‘re going to be telling you about my campaign.  We‘re going to go to Capitol Hill  and make some great changes, I think.  We‘re going to put pressure on politicians.  We‘ll tell you how you can make a difference later in the show.

But, first, because, I mean, we got tons of e-mails from that segment about how we‘re going to go to Capitol Hill next week to talk to Senators and  Congressmen about these law that need to be passed for mandatory minimum sentencing for child molesters.  We‘ll talk to you about that later.

But, first, a picture may be worth a thousand words, but tonight in Telluride, Colorado, you‘re not going to believe this.  It‘s also worth possibly $6 million, if that picture is of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes‘s baby.

Now, Suri Cruise was born almost three months ago, but still no sightings, no photos and, as you heard from Keith‘s top story, no evidence that the baby actually exists.

Now, TMZ.com is reporting that the Cruises offered a baby photo shoot to the highest bidder, but when “People,” “US Weekly,” “Star” and “In Touch” refused to place a bid that cracked the $3 million mark, Cruise quickly withdrew that offer.

But as they say, absence makes the heart grow fonder, with true love and apparently pictures of celebrity babies.  Reports from some in the publishing world suggest that shots of the Cruise baby would fetch between $4 million and $5 million.  Others say that number is far south of $2 million, in part, because of the way Cruise has manipulated the process that drove up the price.

Meanwhile, the woman who was terminally overexposed last summer, Katie Holmes—and remember that was the story this summer in  America last year.  She‘s disappeared since she reportedly had her baby, being seen only twice over  the past several months, including these recent photos from Telluride, Colorado.  Once again, out without her baby.

Tom O‘Neil, from “In Touch Weekly,” is here, along with Jill Dobson. 

She is from “Star Magazine.”  And celebrity photographer, James Edstrom.

Tom, Keith‘s asking it, we‘re asking, a lot of people in middle America that follow these type of stories are asking it.  Where is this baby?  You know, because this bizarre mystery seems to grow by the day.

Why is everything surrounding Tom Cruise so strange?

TOM O‘NEIL, “IN TOUCH WEEKLY”:  I know his behavior the strange. 

The marriages seem unbelievable.  This baby now seems unbelievable.   Wow.

I have my own theory as to why we haven‘t seen these pictures so far and that is I don‘t think it has as much to do with how many millions of dollars are paid.  I wonder where the money is going to go.   Will it go to scientology?  I think that is probably a major issue.

In this situation, what is typical is that the money goes to charity.  In the case of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, the money went to charities.  Julia Roberts donated her money for the twins‘ picture to an environmental foundation.

In the case of Britney Spears, she got $500,000 and claims she gave it to  charity, but we‘ve never found out what charity.  And the greatest suspicion, of course, is that charity called Kevin Federline.  

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes, exactly.  Now, the stakes are high when it comes to scoring the first celebrity photos of babies.  “People Magazine” appears to have the deepest pockets, so it gets most of the exclusives.

Photos of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, their baby cost that magazine over $4 million.  Snapshots of Britney, that you were just talking about, Britney Spears and Kevin‘s baby sold for $500,000.

Pictures of Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin‘s baby, $125,000.  Donald Trump says shots of his baby cost the magazine, quote, “a lot of money,” but those in the know say six figures.

And pictures of Julia Roberts‘ twins carried a price tag of over $100,000. But in contrast, snaps of Little James, the son of Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick, were free, after the couple tipped off the paparazzi about their hospital departure.

Tom, help us out here.  Socially, what‘s the phenomenon here?  Why are Americans so interested in these baby photos and why are magazines willing to shell out millions and millions of dollars and chase these people around the world to get them?

O‘NEIL:  Well, in the case of “People Magazine” and those Brangelina  pictures, they sold more than 500,000 extra copies of the magazine after they slapped an additional 50 cents on the cover price.

And in the case of Brangelina‘s baby, I think that will probably remain the record.  I can‘t believe Tom‘s going to get this kind of money for this baby, because the theory goes, and it‘s really interesting, in the case of Brad and Angelina, they‘re so beautiful that that baby, theoretically, is the most beautiful baby in the world.  So we want to see it.

Now, in the case of Tom and Katie, there‘s something unbelievable about the marriage or at least suspicious about the marriage, so we want to see this baby.  We want to make sure it exists.  And let‘s be honest, we want to get a good close look at this baby to see how much it looks like Tom.

SCARBOROUGH:  A lot of people will be interested in that.  Jill, talk about Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes.

Last summer they were an American phenomenon, in fact, a world phenomenon. Pop culture pundits talked about them all summer long.  And now that they‘ve disappeared, and that seems so strange, a lot of people are very cynical, thinking it‘s part of a ploy so he can milk out another $1 million, $2 million, $3 million, not because he needs the money, but because he‘s not going to be outdone.

Is that why he and Katie Holmes have disappeared?

JILL DOBSON, “STAR MAGAZINE”:  Well, there‘s several different theories.  One theory that I am leaning toward is the one that maybe they realize they‘ve gone a little overboard with all the media attention, with the.

SCARBOROUGH:  You mean they get overexposed.

DOBSON:  . the ivory tower.

SCARBOROUGH:  Jumping on the couch, the Eifel Tower.

DOBSON:  Exactly.

SCARBOROUGH:  Just the sickening “I love you, I love you, I love you,” which really did sicken a lot of people. 

DOBSON:  It sure did.

SCARBOROUGH:  So you think this is a PR move, get out of the spotlight  because you disgusted so many people last year.

DOBSON:  It could be and if it is, unfortunately for Tom, it‘s backfiring, because the fact that none of us have seen Suri, now we‘re even more interested and we want to see her.

So if his idea was to get out of the spotlight, he certainly didn‘t  succeed.  

SCARBOROUGH:  So it‘s always a catch-22 with celebrities, isn‘t it, Jill?  That the more privacy they want, the more people want to see them.

If Tom Cruise actually got a dose of common sense and decided to low key it, that actually is making it more difficult for him to be low key, because, again, that just makes sort of the vultures circle around more.  And, of course, those vultures, a lot of people like to say it‘s the photographers, but it‘s the American people who are snapping up these magazines.  They love this stuff, don‘t they?

DOBSON:  Right, everyone loves to see these celebrity babies.  As Tom said, when two beautiful people have a baby, you want to see how beautiful it‘s going to be. 

And I think the smartest thing is what Sarah Jessica Parker did.  She and Matthew Broderick just tipped off the photographers, “Come to the hospital.  We‘re leaving now.  Get a picture.”

That devalues the picture.  It doesn‘t have such quite demand, because there‘s a bunch of pictures out there and then it is over with.  People have seen the baby, they leave you alone.

SCARBOROUGH:  James, you know, if, 500 years from now, archaeologists dig up Manhattan and they find these magazines and try to figure out why people were  so rabid to get pictures.

JAMES EDSTROM, CELEBRITY PHOTOGRAPHER:  They‘re going to think we‘re nuts.

SCARBOROUGH:  They‘re going to definitely think we‘re nuts.  I want you to take us inside of this process.  What are some of the more bizarre things you‘ve seen as photographers try to chase babies around to get these shots that could just be worth millions of dollars to them?

EDSTROM:  Well, first of all, they won‘t be worth millions of dollars unless one person gets the shot.   If more than one person gets the shot, then that‘s it.  The shots are worth considerably less, probably like $100,000, because the secret word here is exclusivity.

When you get an exclusive shot, that‘s what‘s worth the big bucks.

SCARBOROUGH:  And that‘s when things really get crazy.  Talk about some of the links, some of the most outrageous things you‘ve seen photographers do to get that exclusive shot.  

EDSTROM:  You know, the photographers, you know, are the backbone of the media business.  These are out the guys that are out there day and night working to get the shots.

But I‘ve seen it all.  I‘ve seen photographers have hook-outs for celebrities.  I‘ve seen them fight amongst themselves to get the shot.  One moment, you could be talking at a photographer and the next moment, a celebrity will walk by and he‘ll knock you to the ground to get the shot.  It‘s a very competitive business.  

SCARBOROUGH:  Tom O‘Neil, there are, of course, some people out there, as Olbermann was talking about, that don‘t believe that Suri Cruise even exists.  The Internet‘s brimming with rumors out there and, of course, there‘s information about Suri Cruise‘s birth certificate.

She was born on the same day at the same hospital as Brooke Shields‘ baby, but on her certificate, the medical license numbers are all wrong and it‘s signed by somebody who never actually saw the baby after she was born.

Talk about those rumors.

O‘NEIL:  Well, I think we‘d just like, at this point, to think the meanest and most suspicious things possible, because this whole thing is so crazy.

It‘s up to Tom and to Katie now to manage it properly.  You know, speak of paparazzi and stalking these celebrities, we have never seen photos of Madonna‘s wedding to Guy Ritchie.  She‘s normally somebody who‘s very shrewd about hiding  things.

But when she had her baby and she thought she could hide that from the paparazzi, they outwitted her and there was a German photographer who rented a house next to hers for $5,000 a day and he stalked her and he got that picture, you know, outwitted Madonna.  He only got a $150,000 for it, but that was 10 years ago and that was pretty good.

There are the right ways to do this and there are the wrong ways to do this.  You could do it like Sarah or you could do it like Courtney Cox did and David Arquette, which is have a picture taken, release it to the wire services, let everybody have what they want and then donate the money to charity.

But Tom, of course, has an agenda here and it‘s for us to really value this baby, so that we really value his marriage.  So he wants to drive the price up.  And by waiting this long and driving up the curiosity, it was very smart of him.  

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes.  And, Jill, you know, I guess in closing, does Tom  Cruise—just you look at pictures they got and they‘re just—and, you know, I watched “Top Gun.”  I saw “Mission Impossible II.”  He‘s climbing the cliff.  He really is, on screen, a likeable guy.

But in real life, he just seems too bizarre.  At some point, all of this  chaos has to be a real drag on his movie career, doesn‘t ?

DOBSON:  It sure seems like it.  It seems like he‘s a good actor when he‘s in a movie, when he‘s acting like a normal person, he does a good job.  But now he can‘t do it.    

SCARBOROUGH:  “You want the truth?  You can‘t handle it.”  I mean, he‘s a bizarre guy.

DOBSON:  Exactly.  And now Katie seems—she seems so sweet and normal and now she just seems stunned by scientology.  She always has that glassy look in her eye.  So I think the pictures of her are the most interesting ones.

SCARBOROUGH:  Blinded by science, stunned by scientology.

DOBSON:  That‘s right.

SCARBOROUGH:  Thank you so much, Jill.  Thank you, Tom, and thank you, James. 

And a big Friday night in “Scarborough Country.”  Next, the shocking final photos of Princess Diana as she lay dying in a Paris street, published in Italy and now igniting a firestorm of controversy.

And Britney spears, just the latest Hollywood starlet stripping down to her birthday suit for the cameras and for her career?  Why has the old strip tease become the new career move?  Some call it desperation.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  She was the most photographed woman in the world, the glamorous Princess Diana.  But, now, shocking photos, disturbing photos of the dying Diana lying in a car on a Paris street.

Just been published and it‘s ignited an international firestorm. 

We‘ll talk about that and much more when “Scarborough Country” returns.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  In tonight‘s “Scarborough Country” showdown, Diana photo outrage.  Now, an Italian magazine is causing an international showdown by publishing disturbing photos of Princess Diana‘s dying moments.  The international press has known about these photos for a long time, but nobody‘s had the nerve to make them public.  That is, until now.

And most of the photos, friends, are so shocking that we can‘t show them  to you tonight, but this is a picture that the magazine put on its cover.  Now, we blanked out Diana‘s face in this version, but it is a photo showing a paramedic trying to fit an oxygen mask on Diana‘s dying face.

British reporter Paul Davies confronted the editor of that magazine that printed the picture and he has that story.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL DAVIES, BRITISH REPORTER (voice-over):  It‘s being called the ultimate intrusion.   Pictures taken of Princess Diana as her life slipped away in this wreckage.

The international press has known about the photographs for years, but has held back from publishing them until now.  We are not going to show them here, but on the cover and inside “Chi Magazine” are images of Diana‘s last moments. 

The princess‘ sons, William and Harry, expressed their hurt in a statement that said, “We feel deeply saddened that such a low has been reached.”

(on-camera):  The editor of these magazine has tried to justify publishing pictures of the dying princess, saying that they are “peaceful and  loving.”

Well, we tracked him down to his office in Milan to let him know what  people here think about that decision to publish them.

(voice-over):  Umberto Brindani told us he was surprised, but unrepentant.

UMBERTO BRINDANI, EDITOR, “CHI” MAGAZINE:  I am a little bit surprised by  the reaction of the England people and the England media.  I can understand the  reaction of Prince William and Prince Harry, but I think that this picture that we published is part of our French official inquiry.

DAVIES:  But that suggestion that these pictures shed light on the princess‘ death were dismissed by her former body guard.  

KEN WHARFE, PRINCESS DIANA‘S FMR. BODY GUARD:  This is, in my view, a  publicity stunt to sort of advertise these pictures and I think that the British people and I think people generally throughout the world will say, “We don‘t want to see that.”  I think it is distasteful.  

DAVIES:  Those who knew the princess and those who simply admired her  would prefer she be remembered this way, full of life, not a few moments away from losing it.

Paul Davies, IDB News.

SCARBOROUGH:  Harry Mount‘s a correspondent for London‘s “Daily Telegraph” newspaper.  And still  with us, celebrity photographer, James Edstrom.

Harry, why have these photos that have basically been held for years, why have they finally been published now?

HARRY MOUNT, “THE DAILY TELEGRAPH,” LONDON:  Well, it‘s a taste issue that a lot of editors would love to publish them, because even in Britain, you‘d add on millions of sales the day you printed those photos.

But, boy, the criticism they‘d get in Britain, any newspaper editor who printed them, it‘s too much.  So it‘s a battle between putting on those sales and getting the attacks for bad taste.  

SCARBOROUGH:  And, of course, here we are, what, 43 years after J.F.K.  was assassinated and we still haven‘t seen J.F.K. in his dying moments.  This has to be shocking for the British people.  

MOUNT:  But, still, actually, I remember seeing some photos of J.F.K.‘s autopsy and they said, when those were taken, those would never appear in a book and they did.

And once a photo has been taken, it may be 10 years, it may be 20 years, it may be a 100 years, it‘s going to appear one day.

SCARBOROUGH:  And now all these photos may be coming out in a book in the near future, also, isn‘t that right, Harry?

MOUNT:  That‘s correct, yes, and this is our taste for it.  But, again, it will create huge sales and if it goes on sale in Britain, people will be horrified, but it‘s that terrible thing we all have of being fascinated by what we‘re horrified about and people will buy it in the thousands.

SCARBOROUGH:  James, are you shocked that these pictures have  been taken?  Is this a great intrusion into Princess Diana‘s family?

EDSTROM:  Not at all.  OK, these photos should have come out years ago.  They should have come out when Princess Diana died, OK.  Our job is to report the news, OK.

When something happens to people, when disaster happens, we take pictures, that‘s what we do, and they get released right away, OK.  The reason why these photos were held back, because there was supreme backlash against everybody in  the business because of what happened to Princess Diana.

Nobody looked at the fact that the driver was drunk and this is why the accident happened, OK.  They‘re all looking at the paparazzi and the  photographers, OK.  Obviously, these guys were tipped off in the first place where Diana was that night.  These photos should have been out in 1997.  

SCARBOROUGH:  So are there any limits to what photos can be taken, what  pictures of public figures can be published?

EDSTROM:  If they‘re on a public street, if they‘re in a public area, we have every right to take these photos.  I do not believe in going to a celebrity‘s house.  I do not believe in stalking celebrities.  But I do believe if we‘re walking down the street and we see a celebrity, we have the right to photograph them, because we are reporting the news.  We‘re reporting a story.

And what people don‘t seem to understand is if the magazines weren‘t paying us for these photos, we wouldn‘t be taking them. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Exactly, and if you didn‘t pay $4 million or $5 million, magazines wouldn‘t be paying $4 million or $5 million for baby shots, if Americans weren‘t running out and snapping up these magazines that have the photos of the babies or, I suppose, of Princess Diana.

Thank you so much, Harry.  Thank you, James Edstrom.  Greatly appreciate it.

And coming up, he‘s the “Idol” judge with the avid tongue.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SIMON COWELL, “AMERICAN IDOL” JUDGE:  You are more “Jerry Springer Show” than “American Idol.” 

UNKOWN “AMERICAN IDOL” CONTESTANT:  Jerry Springer?

SCARBOROUGH:  Is Simon really that mean?  We‘re going to go behind the scenes with “Idol” stars and have them dish the dirt on the man who used to dish the dirt on them.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  It‘s not just “Desperate Housewives” that live in the  ‘burbs.  There are desperate single people out there, too, and because of it, an Oregon woman could now face jail time for calling 911.  Why did she do it?  To try to get the name of a police officer she had just met and hoped to take out on a date.  Take a listen to this 911 call.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

CALLER:  Honey, I‘m just going to be honest with you, OK?  I just thought he was cute.  I‘m 45 years old and I‘d like to meet him again, but I don‘t know how to go about doing that without calling 911.  I know this is not absolutely in any way, shape or form an emergency.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  I don‘t know.  I mean, it‘s certainly an emergency of the heart.  Anyway, she got book and jailed.

Minutes away, though, Britney Spears is doing it and she‘s not alone.   Hollywood stars are taking it all off for their careers.  But the question is will these desperate actions actually help. 

And behind the scenes with “American Idol” stars Chris Daughtry and Ace.  They dish the dirt about what really goes on behind the scenes on one of the hottest shows on TV.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  “American Idol‘s” top stars are going to take us behind the in-fighting and the back-fighting and the heartbreaks that is “American Idol.”  That‘s when “Scarborough Country” returns.

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

MELLISA REHBERGER, MSNBC ANCHOR:  I‘m Melissa Rehberger, and here‘s what‘s happening.  Israeli military officials say a missile fired at an Israeli warship off of Lebanon hit a civilian boat, possibly from Egypt.

The officials say it is not clear if there were any casualties.  Meanwhile, Israel says one of its warships was hit and heavily damaged by an  unmanned Hezbollah aircraft that was armed with explosives.  Four Israeli sailors are now missing after that attack.

Hezbollah‘s leader is pledging open war after Israel destroyed his home and headquarters in Beirut‘s southern suburb.  He and his family escaped unharmed.  Israel, also, again, bombs the Beirut airport and the Beirut to Damascus highway, as well as other targets.

And guerillas reported fired more than a 100 rockets into northern Israel today.  The death toll has now risen to 73 killed in Lebanon and 12 Israelis killed.  All of this triggered by Hezbollah‘s cross-border raid on Wednesday, capturing two Israeli soldiers.

Now, back to “Scarborough Country.”

SCARBOROUGH:  Tonight, a mother and a daughter found shot on a Seattle hiking trail.  It‘s going to be the latest case in tonight‘s “Joe‘s Justice.”

And later, we go behind the scenes with the “American Idol” tour, see what advice they have for the next crop of contestants.

Hey, welcome back to “Scarborough Country.”  We‘re going to have those stories in just minutes.

But, first, desperate times in Hollywood calls for desperate measures.  From Halle Berry‘s steamy scene in “Swordfish” to Britney Spears‘ imitation of Demi Moore in “Bazaar,” when the career feels like it might be floundering or you just need some attention, some stars are saying, “Just take your clothes off and get headlines.”

You know, it started way back with Marilyn Monroe posing nude for the first issue of “Playboy” back in 1953.  But since then, we‘ve seen Demi Moore posing nude and pregnant in “Vanity Fair,” a 50-year-old Farrah Fawcett in “Playboy,” and a 71-year-old Sophia Loren on a calendar.

Now, it may just be successful actresses asserting themselves, but it sure seems to me like a cheap way to get headlines.

Let‘s talk about it with celebrity journalist Jane Velez Mitchell, still with us, Jill Dobson from “Star Magazine.”  We also have Fraser Seitel.  He‘s author of “The Practice of Public Relations.”

Jane, let me start with you.  Is this a good career move or is it just desperate stars trying to grab headlines?

JANE VELEZ MITCHELL, CELEBRITY JOURNALIST:  Well, you know, Joe, back in the old days, when a woman took off all her clothes, generally, she was being exploited by a man.  It was demeaning.  She felt devalued and it was a sign of desperation.

Not anymore.  I believe the dynamic has changed entirely.  Today women are owning their own bodies.  Some very successful, beautiful, rich, dynamic, powerful women are taking it all off as a show of pride, a show of freedom, and a show of power, and all of that thanks to Demi Moore and others like her, including Madonna, who basically changed the dynamic with their work.

I think Demi Moore is going to be best known, despite all her fabulous movies, for that cover that she did back in the early ‘90s when she was pregnant and naked.  She has changed what it means to be pregnant and naked.

SCARBOROUGH:  Jill, some of us would rather not see other women naked, right?  Not just me.  But is this—because it used to be a sign of desperation.  You had stars that would be washed up and they‘d get paid money by “Playboy” or “Penthouse” or whomever else.

But is the attitude in Hollywood changing, that this is now sort of the in thing to do?

JILL DOBSON, “STAR MAGAZINE”:  I think it‘s an in thing, but I still see it as an act of desperation.  Jane makes a great point.  However, most of these people are taking off their clothes when their careers are sagging.  

SCARBOROUGH:  Like Britney Spears right now certainly isn‘t at the top of her game, is she?

DOBSON:  Right, exactly.  She‘s made fun of in the press.  We see terrible  pictures of her.  She had that disastrous “Dateline” interview.  So she‘s trying to do something to get back on top of the game.  And so she decided to pose naked.

Of course, it‘s ironic that she did it just weeks after crying to Matt Lauer about how she wants to just be left alone, but that‘s another whole story.

SCARBOROUGH:  Exactly.  Frazier, isn‘t that funny?  She wants to be left alone.  She doesn‘t want people to pry, and yet she‘s going to take off all of her clothes.

I mean, when is a star taking off her clothes an act of desperation and when is it a great career move?

FRASER SEITEL, AUTHOR, “THE PRACTICE OF PUBLIC RELATIONS”:  I think it can be both, Joe.  I think one thing we may not be looking at clearly is these people are Hollywood stars, the lowest form of human life, not counting the Congress.  No offense.

SCARBOROUGH:  No offense taken.  I‘m not there anymore.

SEITEL:  They live for publicity.  Publicity is their life blood. 

The adage in Hollywood is there is no such thing as bad publicity.

So if I pose nude and that starts the buzz, mission accomplished.

SCARBOROUGH:  We‘re showing a picture of Scarlett Johansson, one of the hottest actresses in Hollywood.  And I‘m not being sexist.  I‘m saying, of course, her acting abilities made her hot, a hot item.  But she‘s also very hot.

But, Jane, why in the world would somebody like Scarlett or somebody like Keira Knightly appear naked on “Vanity Fair” when, again, they‘re at the top of their game?

MITCHELL:  Because they‘re absolutely beautiful and they have no shame about their bodies.

I disagree with some of your panelists.  I don‘t think it is a desperation move.  Sure, Britney Spears does want to change the image that she‘s had lately, but she‘s seizing back the power.  She‘s saying, “Guess what, guys?  You‘re not going to remember me for those paparazzi shots of me looking awful during my  pregnancy and after I had my son.  I‘m not going to let those unflattering shots stand.  I‘m going to give you a new image and this is the image you‘re going to be left with of my pregnancy and it‘s me looking absolutely spectacular on the  cover of a magazine.  So there.  Take it.”

SCARBOROUGH:  Take it, OK.  Thank you, Jane Velez Mitchell, Jill Dobson, and Fraser Seitel.  Greatly appreciate it.

Now, if you‘ve been going through “American Idol” withdrawals, good news.  It‘s that time of year again.  Yes, less than two months after Taylor Hicks became the new “American Idol,” and I think this guy‘s selling, what, Ford trucks now? 

It‘s time for “American Idol” auditions.  How quickly they fall.  I‘d rather see him nude.  No, actually, I wouldn‘t.  I‘d rather see him sell Ford trucks.

But before the search begins for the next “American Idol,” MSNBC‘s Rita Cosby caught up with last season‘s finalists and dished the “Idol” dirt with Chris Daughtry and Ace Young.  Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RITA COSBY, MSNBC HOST:  Are you surprised at just like the fervor and just the intensity that “American Idol” is getting in every city?

ACE YOUNG, “AMERICAN IDOL”:  It‘s amazing and you know it‘s a family show because even after the show, kids are sticking around.  When we leave a venue, there‘s 2,000 people outside waiting two hours just to see us drive by in a bus.

So Chris and I always stand in the front of the bus and wave, just so everybody knows that we‘re here for them and because of them.  

COSBY:  Did you ever realize that you were such superstars?  During the whole “American Idol,” were you kept in a bubble?

CHRIS DAUGHTRY, “AMERICAN IDOL”:  You were, but I think even when you get the recognition on the street, you really don‘t realize how much of a star you are until you come to one of these places and people are like literally like balling and crying and screaming.  

COSBY:  How tough was the competition during it?  How fierce was it?

YOUNG:  Not too bad.  I already knew I was going to beat him.  

COSBY:  I think everybody knew that.  

YOUNG:  I think it was really tough this year because everybody was so different.  So you didn‘t know who you were competing against directly, because it wasn‘t like I sing like he sings and there wasn‘t like two rock people and two country people and everybody did their own thing.

So I don‘t think directly we were in competition with each other. 

It was just a matter of you liking us, you know.

DAUGHTRY:  I mean, we‘re going out to 30 million, 40 million people every week.  The finale had almost 200 million views worldwide.  So it‘s just your potential fan base and however they vote.  It is what it is. 

Some people might have more fans, but they don‘t vote as much.  They vote once and then the other people have some kids that are voting for two hours straight.  So you just never know until it‘s all over.

COSBY:  What was the pressure like?  You talked about how many millions of people were watching you guys.  I mean, tens of millions of people every night.  How difficult was that for you personally during the whole thing?

YOUNG:  I always just tried to make sure I was doing what I would do if I was playing at one of my own gigs anyway, you know.  I never thought of it like I‘m trying to please this person or this judge.

I just wanted to make sure that people knew that is me.  So whether they like it or not, that‘s who I am and if I was to put out an album, that‘s what would be on it.  

COSBY:  Was Simon nicer off camera than on camera?

DAUGHTRY:  Well, Simon‘s brutally honest on the camera.

COWELL:  Shave off the beard and wear a dress.  Well, you just murdered one of the most beautiful songs of all time.  You are more “Jerry Springer Show” than “American Idol.” 

UNKNOWN “AMERICAN IDOL” CONTESTANT:  Jerry Springer?

COSBY:  How was he off camera?

DAUGHTRY:  Off camera, he doesn‘t have anything to judge us on.  So he‘s a really nice guy. 

COWELL:  The dog thing was hideous and it was.

UNKNOWN FEMALE:  It was great.

COWELL:  Shut up.

COSBY:  How were the judges?  Do you think some of the things are sort of built for TV just because it makes a great story line?

DAUGHTRY:  They‘re a family, too, so they bicker and they‘re doing it through TV.  So I think that him saying that she‘s whacko or whatever is going to make her say something else in return and she‘s going to gather her chips and she‘s going to throw something back about Simon.

YOUNG:  I think it‘s their way of just having fun on the show.

COSBY:  What advice do you give for the next round of contestants?

YOUNG:  Be yourself, no gimmicks.  Just go out there and if you really believe you have what it takes, do that and don‘t wear some chicken costume to get on TV.

DAUGHTRY:  Because you will get on TV.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Thanks so much to Rita for that great behind the scenes look.  And up next here we get serious.  “Joe‘s Justice,” we‘re going to be reporting on the mysterious murder of a mother and daughter hiking in the Seattle mountains.

Plus, the response to our campaign to protect our children from sex predators has been overwhelming.  And I‘m going to be taking your e-mails to  Washington next week and I‘ll bring you the latest in our campaign, coming up tonight, to hold our politicians in D.C. accountable.

But before we go to break, President Bush is in Russia this weekend for the G8 summit.  On the way there, he stopped in Germany to meet with local residents, but not everybody was happy to see him.  This little baby refused to even smile for the camera, creating an unusual Kodak moment.  Too bad for President Bush, said he wasn‘t hanging out with this little tike.

You‘re looking at the best baby break dancer in the world.  The kid‘s not even out of diapers yet, but he‘s already an Internet superstar.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Now it‘s time for tonight‘s “Joe‘s Justice.”  We‘re demanding answers about our criminal justice system focusing where you and I together can make a difference.

Victim rights advocate Erin Runyon is back with us tonight.  And you remember, her little girl, Samantha Runyon, was taken from her front yard by a guy who had just been acquitted on two counts of child molestation.

Well, tonight we‘re going to be talking about a crime that police are asking your help to solve.  It‘s a bizarre murder mystery.  A Seattle mother and  daughter killed on Tuesday while hiking.

Police say the two died of gunshot wounds and they‘re ruling out murder-suicide.  They say it could be the work of a random gunman and the F.B.I. is now helping with the investigation.

Here tonight to talk about it with us, “Seattle Times” reporter Jennifer Williams and criminal profiler Pat Brown.

Jennifer, let me start with you.  Tell us what happened.  

JENNIFER WILLIAMS, “SEATTLE TIMES” REPORTER:  On Tuesday morning, Mary Cooper and her daughter, Susanna Stotten (ph), they went out for a day hike, what was supposed to be a day hike.

They went up to the woods.  Within a couple of hours, they were found dead on the trail.  

SCARBOROUGH:  Are there any clues out there that police investigators that is have been scouring the area are able to follow-up on?

WILLIAMS:  I don‘t think there‘s any clues yet.  The sheriff‘s office is being pretty tight-lipped with their investigation.  We found through sources on Wednesday that the women were shot to death.

The sheriff‘s office formally announced that today.  So we don‘t have much to go on.

SCARBOROUGH:  What can you tell us about these women?

WILLIAMS:  Mary Cooper was a well loved librarian.  She was in Seattle.  Her daughter, Susanna, worked for an environmental advocacy group.  They were both well loved by their neighborhoods and their communities.  

SCARBOROUGH:  Pat Brown, we‘re going to need to call you in here.  I mean, you‘re the expert in this area.  What in the world do investigators do as they go onto a crime scene like this to try to pull together some clues where they can even begin an investigation, to start down a path where they can possibly solve these two horrible murders?

PAT BROWN, CRIMINAL PROFILER:  Well, Joe, it‘s a tough path, you‘re right about that. Unless there is something linking this woman and her daughter to somebody who wanted to do them harm, who knew they were going to take that hike that day, who went there to find them, who knew they were or who followed them or who went with them, unless it‘s somebody they knew, they‘ve got a lot of work to do.

In other words, if it‘s not somebody like that, it‘s a stranger homicide.   And what a lot of women don‘t realize is that, you know, you go off your hike and you go to a well known park area, you start at the parking lot and that‘s where usually these little hikes start.

And in the parking lot there may be 10 or 20 cars and in those cars there may be a predator watching you.  And as you go off down the path, that predator says, “Oh, that‘s pretty good.  Now I‘ve got a woman heading down that path.  She‘s going to be going down there for 20, 30, 40, 50 minutes.  I can just follow her.  And if nobody else follows me, I‘ve got them.”

So they may be looking at a total stranger homicide, some kind of predator situation and that‘s going to be very difficult to solve.    

SCARBOROUGH:  So what do you do?  It seems like it is next to impossible to solve.  What‘s the first step for an investigator if it is a stranger that committed this homicide?

BROWN:  Well, it‘s pretty tough.  First, they have to go back and see if  anybody saw anything, if there‘s any indication of who was at the park that day. They need to get word out to people exactly when these women started out on their hikes.

Ask people, “Do you know some kind of psychopath, some kind of

person you  know who said, ‘Hey, I‘m going to go up to that park on that

particular day.  I‘m going to go hang around up there.‘”

Believe it or not, sometimes you‘ll hear that.  A woman will say, “Well, my husband went there that day” and she‘ll know that and if she knows he was at that parking lot at approximately that time, he may be a suspect.

So we really have to get the information out to the public to see if they actually know who might have been there.  

SCARBOROUGH:  And, of course, down the road, maybe the person that committed the crime may actually talk to somebody and that person picks up the phone and tips off the police.  

Erin, this family is now going out and they‘re going to hold another hike in honor of their loved ones who were murdered.  How important is it to do  these sort of things to keep the media attention and the focus on these types of  crimes to keep the pressure up to get these cases solved?

ERIN RUNYON, VICTIMS RIGHTS ADVOCATE:  That‘s our best hope in cases like this, especially if it‘s a stranger.

You know, I was about to ask Jennifer if the law  enforcement community is  actively seeking the public‘s support and asking for tips and set up a tip line for these women, because somebody knows the perpetrator.  Somebody knows and chances are this guy, I‘m guessing, has spoken to somebody and somebody knows somebody who is acting fishy, who was out that day and they can call in and tip and that‘s our best chance of finding some justice for these women.

WILLIAMS:  There is a tip line.

SCARBOROUGH:  Jennifer, go ahead, tell us about that.

WILLIAMS:  Yes, there‘s a tip line.  It‘s been set up for a couple of days.  The sheriff‘s office has also asked people, “If you‘re going hiking this weekend, it‘s going to be beautiful in Seattle, you know, use some caution.”

They haven‘t ruled out, they haven‘t actually said there‘s somebody in the woods.  They haven‘t told us what‘s going on.  But they‘re just asking campers and hikers to be careful.

RUNYON:  Well, I think it‘s wonderful that the family is staging this  hike.  It‘s a wonderful way to memorialize them and keep it in the media.

SCARBOROUGH:  Pat, what do you recommend when somebody goes out hiking?  You say that this is an area where apparently everybody loves to go hiking in this area and other areas like it.

What do you recommend to women and children and to teenagers?  How do they protect themselves?  Not everybody would be comfortable carrying knives or guns.

BROWN:  Or guns, yes, exactly, Joe.  Well, this is the problem.  People feel safest near the parking lots because they haven‘t wandered far, but that‘s exactly where your predators might be lurking around, because they‘re not into hiking.

I mean, these aren‘t guys into their health and into the wilderness. 

These are guys who are just lurking around and looking for some trouble.

So, actually, if you‘re hiking further away, if you were like 200 miles in the mountain, you‘d probably be a lot safer than if you‘re within one mile of a parking lot.

You really have to realize that when you walk away, you are alone and if there‘s no one around you, you have to be able to protect yourself.

If you can‘t do that, stay with a large group.  Go on a hiking vacation with a bunch of people, you know, one of those hiking groups.  Really, for women, they have to be aware that, unfortunately, we like to believe we should have the right to do what we want to do and be able to go and hike and enjoy the mountains, but the true fact is we have the right, but we are not very safe doing it.  

SCARBOROUGH: And you know, Pat, like you said, if you‘re going to do that, you better be able to defend yourself.

Jennifer Williams and Pat Brown, thank you so much.  And, Erin, stay with us, because we‘ll be right back.

More of “Joe‘s Justice” straight ahead.  And make sure to watch MSNBC‘s “Lockup” tonight.  That‘s next at 10:00.  And at 11:00, to catch a predator, where are they now? 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Welcome back to “Joe‘s Justice.”  You know, I‘m going to be heading to Washington on Monday.  We‘re going to keep up the fight for the Children‘s Safety Act.

The proposed law would lock up rapists for a minimum of 25 years to life.  I‘ll tell you what, I‘ve got to have your support.  The House and Senate have passed similar versions of this bill, but they haven‘t been able to  hash out their differences.

Last night I asked you all to e-mail me your pleas, for me to take the e-mails to Washington, and these are just some of them.

And I want you to do it again tonight.  Go to your computers.  E-mail me at Joe@msnbc.com and tell me why it is so important for you and your children and your community and your family and for this country to make sure that we lock up people that rape our young children.

And, again, just an amazing response last night from all across America.  All of these e-mails, just unbelievable.  These are just some of them.  We‘re going to get a lot more from you tonight I know.

I‘m taking it to Washington, D.C. on Monday and we‘re going to fight to hold these politicians‘ feet to the fire.  They‘re dragging their feet, because I‘ll tell you, the way politicians like doing it is they will tell you on the campaign trail, when they‘re running for reelection this fall, “Oh, yeah, I support that bill.  I voted for it.”

Well, of course, yes, they voted for it to get through the Senate and then somebody in the House will vote for it to get it through the House.  But then they whisper to each other—this is the way Washington works—and they‘ll say, “Hey, just kill the bill in committee.  Let‘s make sure we don‘t pass it out of both House and the Senate, so the president can‘t sign it.”  And that‘s how they kill it.

I want to bring in, again, Erin Runyon.  Thank you so much, Erin, for being with us.

I want to show you a picture, Erin, of all of these girls that would still be alive today, and young women, if this—and we‘re showing them right now.  We just showed Dru and here‘s Brooke, of course, Carlie Brucia from Florida who was killed in 2004, and, of course, Jessica.

These are just some of the countless numbers of young women that would still be alive today, and young men, if child predators had been arrested, convicted, thrown in jail and kept in jail under this act that we‘re trying to get Congress to pass and trying to get the president to sign.

Erin, you‘ve committed to your life to this since your young girl was killed back in 2002.  Tell Americans how important this is for us to stand up and be counted and make sure that Congress does what they need to do.

RUNYON:  Well, Joe, I can‘t thank you enough for championing this cause and this bill, this particular legislation, because the Children‘s Safety Act is going to create a national standard for states to communicate about sex offenders with each other and with the public, so that we don‘t lose them in the system, so that they don‘t move from state to state going undetected.

I can‘t even emphasize the importance of this bill enough.  In this country, as many as one in four girls and one in six to ten boys are sexually assaulted before they‘re adults.  And when we‘re talking about child victims, these are the hardest cases to prosecute.

SCARBOROUGH:  And, Erin, you cleared this up for me earlier when we were talking, but explain.  This isn‘t about how some 19- or 20-year-old kid who‘s getting involved with a 16- or 17-year-old, a younger woman, is going to be sent to jail for 25 years.

I mean, talk about the safeguards to make sure we‘re just talking about perverts who are molesting little kids.

RUNYON:  That‘s right.  Our legislators are not going to let people down on this subject.  They are making the law so that there is a mandatory age discrepancy between the victim and the perpetrator.

So we‘re not talking about teenage romance.  We‘re talking about the victim being 14 years or younger and the perpetrator being at least four years older.  So you‘re eliminating those teenage romance issues.

This is really about child molestation.  This is about rapists.  It will protect both women and children from sexual offenders who repeatedly do this.

SCARBOROUGH:  It will and, again, it‘s not just young girls.  We‘ve shown pictures of beautiful young women, one college student, of course, Dru, who would still be in college if this law had been passed.  Jessica would still be alive.  Sarah would still be alive.  All of this girls.

RUNYON:  Dylan Groene.

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes, Dylan would still be alive if this law had been passed by Congress five years ago.

We‘re not letting them delay anymore and, Erin, I hope you‘ll be back with us next week to continue this fight.

RUNYON:  Thank you so much.

SCARBOROUGH:  That‘s all the time we have for tonight.  Send me your e-mails.  We‘re going to make a difference together.  Joe@msnbc.com.

Now, stay tuned for “Weekend Lockup.”

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

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