updated 8/15/2006 11:39:42 AM ET 2006-08-15T15:39:42

Guests: Bob Kohn, Bruce Fretts, Melissa Caldwell, Courtney Hazlett, Shmuley Boteach, Jill Dobson

JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST:  Right now on SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, Mike Wallace goes head to head with one of the world‘s top tyrants.  Some say he played softball.  And why did Wallace talk about his jacket instead of the destruction of Israel?

Then: He‘s a cold (ph) head (ph) on HBO, and he‘s caught Pat Buchanan and Andy Rooney in his trap, but now his new movie has some critics screaming foul.  Is Ali G‘s (ph) “Borat“ bad for America?

And “American Idol” suits (ph) up (ph) the best of the best, but we sent (ph) Rita, who found the worst of the worst.

Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, where no passport‘s required and only common sense is allowed.

We‘re going to have those stories and a lot more coming up, but first, if you didn‘t see Mike Wallace‘s interview with the president of Iran last night, you missed a great game of softball.  You know, it just seemed to me that Mike Wallace, a guy that I‘ve always respected, was outmatched, and he just seemed lost going up against a man who‘s called the Holocaust a fairy tale and called for the obliteration of Israel.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE WALLACE, CBS NEWS:  I couldn‘t be happier for the privilege of sitting down with the president of Iran.

May I ask my question please, sir?

I‘m a journalist.  I...

I am a journalist.

Answer the question.

And I think you look just fine.

You look your best.

Thank you, sir.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Wallace is 88 years old and retired from CBS last March, seemed to have forgotten during his time on the golf course that this same Iranian did call the Holocaust a myth in 2005.  The United States Senate was so disturbed that he was leading Iran that they passed a unanimous resolution condemning his, quote, “hate towards all Jewish people of the world.”

Now, leading up to this interview, Mike Wallace described the Iranian president as, quote, “very professional,” and said, “We almost had a good time together.  The hostility didn‘t come through.”  And in a radio interview last week with Sean Hannity, Wallace said he didn‘t think the Iranian leader was using the interview for propaganda purposes.  He also said he believes the Iranian president is sincere when he says he wants a world filled with peace, love and understanding, this from the same man who proclaimed, “Thanks to the blood of martyrs, a new Islamic revolution has arisen, and the Islamic revolution will, if God wills, cut off the roots of injustice in the world.”

Here‘s Bob Kohn.  He‘s the author of the book “Journalistic Fraud and How the New York Times Distorts the News and Why It Can No Longer Be Trusted.”  We also have with us Pat Buchanan, MSNBC political analyst.

Bob, let me start with you.  First things first.  Mike Wallace, a guy that I‘ve always respected because he‘s tough on Republicans and he‘s tough on Democrats, decided for some reason to go soft on one of the world‘s leading tyrants.  What happened?

BOB KOHN, AUTHOR, “JOURNALISTIC FRAUD”:  Well, clearly, you know, Mike Wallace is probably the best interviewer of all time.  I just don‘t think he decided to go soft, really.  I think that he was just simply off his game.  It was not just the tone he set.  He was laughing throughout interview, inexplicably.  But more importantly, it wasn‘t the questions that he asked, it was the questions that he didn‘t ask.  He failed to follow up on so many answers, almost like he wasn‘t even really listening to the answers.

SCARBOROUGH:  Let‘s ask the—let‘s ask the—just be really blunt here.  Was Mike Wallace at 88 too old to be conducting this interview?  Has he lost it?

KOHN:  I‘m not so sure.  You know, my mother is 88 years old, and I

think she could have conducted the interview even better than he did.  But

in any event, I don‘t think it‘s a matter of age.  I do just think he was off his game, and he‘d be the first to admit it.  Sometimes people will just be off on a day, and maybe that was the case.

SCARBOROUGH:  Let‘s take a look at another clip from the interview.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE:  You have said time and again Israel must be wiped off the map.  Please explain why.  And what is Iran doing about that?

MAHMOUD AHMADINEJAD, IRANIAN PRESIDENT (through translator):  Well, allow me to finish with the nuclear dossier first.

WALLACE:  No, you—you finished with that.  You finished with that.

AHMADINEJAD (through translator):  No, it‘s not finished, sir.  It‘s not finished.  We are just beginning.

WALLACE:  That‘s what I was afraid of, but go ahead.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, Pat, I never saw him handle Ronald Reagan or Bill Clinton in such a jovial way.

PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  Joe, Mike Wallace is an old friend of mine.  He covered the Nixon campaign—gee, that was 1967-‘68, 40 -- what is it, 40 years ago?  Mike Wallace is 88 years old.  There‘s no doubt, as my colleague said, he was off his game.  This was not, you know, “60 Minutes” follow-up, boom, boom, boom.  I‘ve been interviewed by Mike Wallace in the White House, where he goes again and again and again.

What he got, though—this fellow was using a translator, Ahmadinejad, and he was laying out his preconceived line, which he‘s got down cold, and he used his position as president to talk down to Wallace.  And Wallace was off his game.  There‘s no doubt about it.

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, you‘re saying Wallace is off his game.  How are you off your game when you‘re going up against a man that many people believe is one of the world‘s toughest tyrants?

BUCHANAN:  Well, I mean, he—look, Mike Wallace is a journalist.  This guy is—he‘s a tyrant, but he‘s the president of a country.  And when he starts talking, you try to interrupt him and you start looking bad.  Joe, I‘ve been—done briefing books for presidents at press conferences. 

If they‘re cool, there‘s no way you can top them.  You know, you stand up -

you have the ball up, and they start hitting them.  And they can continue that...

KOHN:  Yes, Joe...

BUCHANAN:  ... until you interrupt them, and when you do, you look bad.

SCARBOROUGH:  But you know, Bob Kohn, I don‘t think he even asked this guy if—I mean, let‘s talk about his past.  Let‘s not talk about what he‘s doing now.

KOHN:  Right.

SCARBOROUGH:  The first question I would ask was, Were you one of the student revolutionaries that kidnapped and took over our embassy for 444 days in 1979?  Isn‘t that a good place to start?

KOHN:  Absolutely.  I mean, I do think Mike Wallace asked some tough questions, I mean, basically, saying, Hey, why do you think Israel should be wiped off the face of the earth?  The answer was because—the Iranian president said because the Israeli government is a fabricated government.  But there was no follow-up to that.  He could have asked him, Well, you know, the United Nations recognizes Israel.  Egypt and Jordan recognizes Israel.  Why do you think it‘s a fabricated country?  What about Iran?  That came to power via a coup that that president—the Iranian president participated in by climbing the wall, apparently, of the U.S. embassy.  And on top of that...

BUCHANAN:  Hey, Joe...

KOHN:  ... there‘s no free elections.  There‘s no free elections.  The journalists and bloggers and professors are in jail in Iran.  I mean, come on!

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes, the crackdown and the oppression is just—it‘s insane.

BUCHANAN:  But Joe...

SCARBOROUGH:  Go ahead, Pat.

BUCHANAN:  Let me tell you what he would have done.  You‘d have asked him that question, if you were Mike Wallace.  You‘d have said there.  He would have given you the whole history of the shah in power, the coup in 1953, Mossadegh, a leader overthrown by the Americans.  I was just re-listening to him here on C-Span.  He was laying it all out.  And after about two minutes, you would have said, But what about the coup?  Did you have a hand in the coup?  And he‘d have said, Well, Mr. Scarborough, will you please let me finish my response?

(LAUGHTER)

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  And I‘d say, I‘ll let you finish...

BUCHANAN:  ... Wallace was in a tough spot...

SCARBOROUGH:  ... your response, but I want...

BUCHANAN:  ... and he was off his game.

SCARBOROUGH:  ... you to answer my question.  Were you one of the kidnappers of our people or not?

BUCHANAN:  He would have defended what they did.  He would have defended what they did.

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, I want to play one more clip from “60 Minutes.”  I want you to decide whether he was just off his game, or off his rocker.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE:  What do you think of George Bush as a man and as commander-in-chief of the so-called free world?

AHMADINEJAD (through translator):  Well, the “so-called” says everything.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, what does that mean?  The so-called...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  ... the so-called free world?

KOHN:  Incredible.

SCARBOROUGH:  What‘s your friend trying to say, Pat Buchanan?

BUCHANAN:  That‘s a Freudian slip!

SCARBOROUGH:  A Freudian slip?  Yes, because he doesn‘t believe—I mean...

BUCHANAN:  Exactly.  He just...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  That‘s a moral relativism that you have been fighting against for 40 years...

BUCHANAN:  You know, Joe...

SCARBOROUGH:  ... and you‘re going to sit here and apologize...

BUCHANAN:  No, no.  I‘m...

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN:  Let me tell you a story...

SCARBOROUGH:  ... the inside-Washington-type guy, Pat Buchanan!

BUCHANAN:  Let me tell you a story.  Back about 20 years ago, there was a panel of journalists up there in Philadelphia they used to do.  Wallace and guys were on it.  And one of the questions thrown out was, If you were covering a patrol and you were with the Viet Cong and they were laying an ambush for American soldiers, and they were about to spring the ambush, would you alert the American soldiers?  Wallace was there.  I‘m not sure he was the original answer, but a couple of these journalists said, No, we‘re neutral journalists covering a war.  They think of themselves, a lot of them, as citizens of the world—We‘re not with the Americans, we‘re not with the Viet Cong, we‘re objective journalists.  There‘s a real problem in journalism with that, Joe, and that‘s what I meant when I say a Freudian slip.  That came through.

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes, Bob Kohn, “leader of the so-called free world.”

KOHN:  I know.  You know, Mike Wallace is the king of the ambush in journalism, but I think he just walked out of here being ambushed himself.  I mean, it was telling what the Iranian—when the Iranian president said, You know, you‘re really angry, aren‘t you.  And I do think Mike Wallace may have been angry, but he was angry at himself...

BUCHANAN:  Right.

KOHN:  ... by the way that interview was conducted.  You know, he also

I mean, even after the interview, he was asked in some radio interview whether he thought the Iranian president was going on the air for propaganda purposes, and he actually—Mike Wallace actually said no.  Now, that‘s ridiculous!

(LAUGHTER)

SCARBOROUGH:  It is ridiculous.  Of course, it‘s all about propaganda, making a guy...

BUCHANAN:  Sure.  He said...

SCARBOROUGH:  ... that‘s a kidnapper and a thug and a terrorist who kidnapped our people and held them for 444 days and said he wants Israel wiped off the face of the earth and denied the Holocaust, sitting there, looking nice, thanks to Mike Wallace, and of course, thanks to CBS and “60 Minutes” and Mike Wallace.  So does get tough when he critiques his jacket.

BUCHANAN:  Well, let me—Joe, let me mention here, the—what did come through is the eyes—this guy‘s got the eyes and the expression very much of a true believer, a zealot, a fanatic.  That‘s what I was watching last night.  And this—I mean, my—I‘ve come to the conclusion that if you‘re going to negotiate with the Iran, you got to get around this guy and get to some other people.

SCARBOROUGH:  He‘s a dangerous, dangerous man.  Bob Kohn, thank you for being with us, author of “Journalistic Fraud.”

KOHN:  Sure.

SCARBOROUGH:  Pat Buchanan, thanks for being with us.  And stay with us, Pat, because we‘ve got a clip of you being ambushed in an interview coming up.

(LAUGHTER)

SCARBOROUGH:  Now, we‘re not the only ones who noticed how weak Mike Wallace‘s interview was last night.  It‘s already been parodied on the Internet on Youtube.  Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  (SINGING)  People let me tell you about my best friend (INAUDIBLE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  And coming up straight ahead...

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Long-lasting, all-body (ph) high at the same time, not to mention the fact you‘re saving your lungs.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Another cable show that shocks many as being outrageous and amoral.  There‘s a hero in there who‘s a pot-peddling suburban mom.  Why is “Weeds” the hottest show on Showtime?

Also, “Borat,” the new movie starring the popular Ali G character, is already being called anti-Semitic.  Why some critics aren‘t laughing while others are laughing so much they can‘t catch their breath.

And later: Move over, Tucker.  You‘re not the only one who can dance with the stars.  My lost audition tapes found.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Hey, welcome back.  You know, we all remember when Bill Clinton in the 1992 election tried to skirt that tough marijuana question.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. BILL CLINTON (D-AK), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  I experimented with marijuana a time or two, and I didn‘t like it and didn‘t inhale.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  He was a young guy back then.  But now smoking pot seems all the craze, at least according to the reviews of the second season of Showtime‘s highest-rated series that‘s about a pot-dealing mom in suburban California.  Now, last year, “Weeds” was nominated for five Emmy Awards, and now the highly anticipated return is the talk of TV nation.  But not everybody out there is happy about it.  But judge for yourself, “Weeds” in a sneak of the upcoming season.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Look what I found in the closet!  A hookah.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Cool, man!  Let‘s fire her up!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Oh, a hookah!  Mr. Bovakian (ph), the guy that owns this house, would always ask me over to share a hookah with him.  I thought he was just some creepy Armenian perv.  Now I realize he‘s just a party (ph) brother (ph)!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  How cool would it be if there was a Jeannie in this hookah?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Not for him.  He‘d be on fire.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Here now we got Bruce Fretts, “TV Guide‘s” editor at large, who‘s seen the first five upcoming episodes of “Weeds.”  We also have Melissa Caldwell.  She‘s the senior director of projects for Parents Television Council.

Bruce, let me start with you.  Here we have another somewhat subversive show on cable TV that‘s a huge hit, about a suburban mom who sells pot.  Is this along the lines of HBO‘s “Soprano” (SIC) and some of these other shows that are constantly sort of pushing the boundaries of what used to be considered good taste in America?

BRUCE FRETTS, “TV GUIDE” EDITOR AT LARGE:  Well, that‘s what it‘s trying to do.  I mean, they‘re trying to generate controversy with the show.  Showtime‘s is much smaller network than HBO.  I mean, “Weeds” gets about 1.6 million viewers per each new episode.  “Sopranos” gets about 9 million viewers.  So it‘s really not a phenomenon along the same lines, but it is Showtime‘s highest rated show, and it is getting a lot of attention for that.  And so they clearly set out to do a show that was going to get people talking, and to that extent, they succeeded.

SCARBOROUGH:  So controversy sells on TV more than ever.

FRETTS:  Yes, experience when you‘re kind of an obscure network that, you know, needs to make some noise to get attention, you know, you do a show that, you know, generates some controversy and you‘ll get some free press.

SCARBOROUGH:  So they‘ve got the controversy.  They‘ve got the ratings for their network.  Is it a good show?

FRETTS:  It‘s actually a good show.  I was not crazy about it last season.  I thought when it started out, it was trying a little too hard to be shocking, but having seen the new season, I think they‘re settling a little bit more into the characters.  They‘ve got a very strong cast.  Mary Louise Parker‘s a great actress.  And they‘ve got a great story line to kick off the new season, where she‘s having an affair with a DEA agent.  She doesn‘t realize he‘s with the DEA when she first sleeps with him, so she‘s literally sleeping with the enemy.  And it goes in some very interesting directions after that.

SCARBOROUGH:  Let‘s watch another clip from “Weeds.”

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  What am I looking at?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  A gated community.  There‘s no cops driving by (INAUDIBLE) exterior, at least in square footage, access to power lines.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Do we trust the landlord?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  We trust him to stay far away.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Mr. Bovakian‘s been a client of mine for years, retired to Arizona.  As long as we pay rent on time and swear we‘re not Turkish, we are golden.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Not Turkish?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Armenians hate Turks, some Armenian genocide thing or something.  Just never order Turkish coffee in an Armenian restaurant (DELETED)) take your head off.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  That‘s a great tip, considering all the fine Armenian dining I do.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Melissa Caldwell, is this just TV entertainment or is it a dangerous trend?

MELISSA CALDWELL, PARENTS TELEVISION COUNCIL:  Well, I‘m disturbed by this pattern that seems to have taken root lately of turning the criminals into the protagonists, the character that you sympathize with or identify with, because the research seems to show that the more you identify with the person on the show, the more likely it is that you‘re going to learn from them, and therefore imitate the behavior.  That‘s not to say that everybody who watches this show is going to turn out to be a drug dealer, but it does seem to make that behavior more acceptable, more mainstream, more common than in reality it is.

SCARBOROUGH:  I remember, Melissa, after “The Sopranos” took off the way it did, there were a lot of mainstream—well, actually, the big four TV networks were trying to figure out how to get more edge into their lineup and trying to push the line.  So you‘ve got “The Sopranos,” where hired killers are glorified, and in this show, of course, you‘ve got the glorification of the suburban mom selling pot to get by.

CALDWELL:  Yes, and it‘s this—this criminal protagonist phenomenon that‘s taken place with a lot of TV shows.  There was a series, “Kingpin,” on NBC and others that sort of followed the “Sopranos” route.   And as I said, it‘s not to say that everybody who watches the show is going to become a drug dealer, but it does seem to normalize or make this behavior seem more accepted than it should be in society.

SCARBOROUGH:  Pat Moynihan would say defining deviance down.

CALDWELL:  Right.

SCARBOROUGH:  Here‘s a clip from last season of “Weeds.”

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Yes, but they all want it, and they cry if you say no.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Josh?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I just sold him shake (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  He‘s 10!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Look, when you opened shop here, I was totally cool with you, you know?  And you took away a lot of my parent (ph) business, but I let it go.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  It‘s not OK to sell to little kids.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Let their parents worry about it.  I‘m selling it to whatever‘s buying it, OK?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  (INAUDIBLE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  So Bruce, is there honor among thieves?  Is this supposed to prove that it‘s not all black-and-white, that there‘s still a maternalistic edge to this pot-dealing mom?

FRETTS:  Yes.  She‘s a complicated character.  I mean, she‘s conflicted about the fact that she‘s turned to selling pot to make money.  Her husband‘s died.  She needs to support the family.  But it gets into some interesting areas, I mean, and asks the question, Can you be a good mother and also be a drug dealer?  And it doesn‘t give you an easy answer to that question, and in fact, there‘s been controversy even on the set, I think, between Mary Louise Parker and the creator of the show about some of these issues.

So you know, it‘s gotten people talking about things.  So that‘s the intention of this kind of show, is to generate controversy, generate buzz, and it‘s working.

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.  Thanks so much, Bruce Fretts.  Thank you, Melissa Caldwell.  And I can tell you, in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY country, we don‘t have any problem answering that question, Can you be a good mom and a pot dealer?  The answer is, of course, no!  If you were wondering about that, Grandma (ph).

Coming up, Rita goes on the hunt for the next Taylor Hicks, but will she find another William Hung (ph)?  Thousands and thousands audition for “American Idol” in MSNBC‘s back yard.

Plus, leaping lizards, a reptile terrorizes the sewers (ph) of Japan. 

It‘s not Godzilla, but it is “Must See S.C.” coming up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Wake up the kids, it‘s time for another edition of “Must See S.C.,” video you go to see.  First up, Talladega fights—Ricky Bobby (ph) would have been proud watching this grand prix race in Denver yesterday, where these two drivers slammed into each other going into the final lap of the race and then swapped their steering wheels for boxing gloves.  (INAUDIBLE) back and forth on the racetrack.  That is just like Talladega fights.  And then they went their separate ways.

And in honor of Ricky Bobby, we want to bring you another highlight from weekend racing, this one from Nashville, television, where a fire broke out on pit row Saturday.  Flames engulfed one pit crew member, who leaped over the pit wall and pulled the old stop, drop and roll.  Unlike Ricky Bobby, he actually was on fire.  Emergency crews rushed to his aid, but the gas man stuck it out and stayed in the pits through the rest of the race.

And finally, meet the lizard that held Kyoto, Japan, hostage for three days.  The reptile was crawling around the city‘s sewers for days last week before authorities trapped it, captured it after they were tipped off by a woman who reported seeing the animal‘s tail poking through her drainage grill.  Police say the lizard was probably released into the sewers by a pet owner who didn‘t want the critter anymore.

And coming up, growing outrage over the new film starting the creative Ali G.  Pat Buchanan joins us to talk about his own encounter with comic Sacha Cohen.  Plus, you may have heard about Tucker dancing with the stars, but here in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, we‘re not stooping to cheap ratings stunts -- until later in the show.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(NEWSBREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Coming up, are Oprah and Dr. Phil on the outs?  Why the talk show queen snubbed the man she helped create.  Plus, New Jersey produced such superstars as Bruce Springsteen and Bon Jovi, but Rita finds out if it‘s also home to the next “American Idol.” 

Hey, welcome back to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.  We‘re going to be talking about those stories straight ahead. 

But first, he‘s rude.  He is so politically incorrect, and he‘s an equal opportunity offender.  He‘s Sacha Baron Cohen, the British comic, best known as the character Ali G on HBO.  But in his new movie due out this fall, Cohen plays Borat, a fictional TV reporter from Kazakhstan on a trip across America.  He‘s already taking heat for being, well, very politically incorrect.  Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SACHA BARON COHEN, “BORAT”:  Jagshemash!  My name is Borat.  I journalist for Kazakhstan.  My government send me to U.S. and A to make a movie film.  Please, you look.

Hello, nice to meet you—wait, I want to say hello.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  What are you doing?

COHEN:  Hello, my name is Borat.  I new in town.  Yes, (INAUDIBLE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Welcome to our country, OK?

COHEN:  My name is Borat.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  OK, OK, good, good.  I‘m not used to that, but that‘s fine. 

COHEN:  What is a not jokes?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  A not joke—I would say, “That suit is black. 

Not!”

COHEN:  This suit is not black! 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  No, no, no, not has to be at the end. 

COHEN:  Oh, OK.  This suit is black not. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  This suit is black, pause.  You know what a pause is? 

COHEN:  Yes.  This suit is black. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  OK.  I don‘t—I‘m not...

COHEN:  Not!

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCARBOROUGH:  Courtney Hazlett, she‘s theater reporter for “OK” magazine.  And Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, he‘s the host of “Shalom in the Home” on TLC.  

I‘ve got to admit, I have seen some of these shows, and I laughed harder at them than anything since some of those old “All in the Family,” things that were also very politically incorrect.  If you watch them now, they‘re jarring.  But why does this guy cause so much controversy where ever he goes, but he is a huge—I don‘t know if you can even say cult underground hit, but he just keeps growing more and more popular by the day.  Why is he so controversial?

COURTNEY HAZLETT, “OK” MAGAZINE:  You know, Sacha Baron Cohen‘s character, Borat, he‘s obviously a satire.  He‘s obviously out there to expose just this kind of insane dark side that Americans have.  And what happens is he goes into these towns and some totally racist, politically incorrect context emerges, but we find ourselves laughing.  So we realize this is going on.  All of a sudden, controversy erupts. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And you remember that HBO—a good example, you remember that HBO show where he went down and was talking about how he wanted to move into the neighborhood, and he‘s bringing his wife over from Kazakhstan, but she was scared—and he said—“of the chocolate-faced man” and actually had the real estate agent say to him, “Oh, don‘t worry.  Chocolate-faced men can‘t afford these houses.”  Is that what you‘re talking about when you say exposing the dark side?

HAZLETT:  That‘s what‘s so frightening about this character, is he somehow manages in his—while he‘s in character—to get people to actually go along with this ridiculous, ridiculous notion that he has.

SCARBOROUGH:  And sound just as racist. 

Rabbi Shmuley, let‘s take a look at more from the upcoming Borat movie starring Sacha Baron Cohen. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COHEN:  And I say, we support your war of terror!  Kazakhstan is a greatest country in the world. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I think that the cultural differences are vast.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Exactly.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  And I think he‘s a delightful man, and it wouldn‘t take very much time for him to really become Americanized. 

COHEN:  You want to have a drink?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  You can‘t drink that. 

COHEN:  You peoples, how can I be like you? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  What‘s up, vanilla face? 

COHEN:  Does the woman have a smaller brain than a man?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  That‘s it.  We‘re finished.  We have to leave.

COHEN:  Very nice.  How much?  She is your wife? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  No, that‘s my wife. 

COHEN:  In my country, they would go crazy—for these two.  Not so much... 

Come see my film.  If it not success, I will be execute. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Rabbi Shmuley, he is so funny to so many people, but he‘s also offensive to others.  You think and other people think that his satire can be seen as anti-Semitic.  Why? 

RABBI SHMULEY BOTEACH, “SHALOM IN THE HOME” HOST:  Well, look, he is very, very funny, albeit increasingly vulgar in some of his routines, which is a shame because he‘s actually talented enough to be very funny without being vulgar.  But having said that, you know, he did that famous sketch on HBO where he went to Tucson, Arizona, and he sang that song, “Throw the Jews into the well,” exposing this anti-Semitic undercurrent.  And I have no problem with people making fun of anti-Semites.

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, explain that, if you will, Rabbi.  He started singing that song, and he got everybody in the bar to sing along. 

BOTEACH:  Right, and that does expose this ugly underbelly of racism that can still lurk in the heart of America, Joe.  But having said that, I have no problem with humor about anti-Semitism.  My problem is that when Sacha Baron Cohen, who‘s an extremely high-profile and committed Jew, raised in a very observant Jewish household, when he‘s out of character, he, like so many other Hollywood Jewish celebrities, does not speak out on behalf of Israel or against anti-Semitism in its greatest and most perilous hour. 

SCARBOROUGH:  But, again, though, here‘s a guy who is Jewish himself, and he goes into character as an anti-Semite.  And isn‘t he able to expose anti-Semitism?  And isn‘t he doing something that actually proves a point that people like you and I have been making for a very long time, that anti-Semitism is raging through America and Europe right now?

BOTEACH:  Well it‘s certainly raging through Europe.  I don‘t know as much about the United States.  But we know that Israel is a country facing a mortal threat. 

I mean, forget Kazakhstan, where Borat, you know, fictiously emanates from.  Let‘s move over three or four countries to Iran, where you have the president of Iran calling for the extermination of Israel.  You know, and there were very high-profile Jewish personalities who have phenomenal influence in the popular culture, Joe, like Sacha Baron Cohen and many other Jewish Hollywood celebrities, and we don‘t hear them in this war in Lebanon, where Israeli civilians are dying.  We don‘t hear them risking their celebrity reputations and using their profile to protect Israel, to defend Israel, to promote Israel. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Because sometimes that is just not the popular thing to do. 

Courtney, is this movie going to be a big hit? 

HAZLETT:  You know, I think it is going to be a big hit.  I think that it‘s going to be the kind of movie that maybe you‘re not going to want to admit that you went out and saw, and even further you‘re not going to want to admit that you laughed most of the way through it.  But I think there is a huge following.  Otherwise the movie wouldn‘t have been made, and his HBO series wouldn‘t be the huge hit it is. 

I mean, you got to look back.  “All in the Family” and Archie Bunker, this was a horrific notion at the time that aired.  Right now, we‘ve kind of got the same thing going. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And what a strange version of Archie Bunker 2006. 

HAZLETT:  What a strange, strange version.

SCARBOROUGH:  Let me bring in right now MSNBC political analyst Pat Buchanan.  Pat, you actually had a chance to be interviewed by Cohen‘s character, Ali G, before the 2004 presidential election.  Before you tell us what it was like, let‘s take a look. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COHEN:  Does you think that Saddam‘s ever was able to make these weapons of mass destruction or whatever—or, as they are called, BLTs?

BUCHANAN:  Yes, at one time, he was using BLTs on the Kurds in the north. 

COHEN:  Yo, is you mashed or something?  You‘s like so giggly. 

BUCHANAN:  Well, I‘m...

COHEN:  You had a little puff before?

BUCHANAN:  No, yeah, a little puff before, sure. 

COHEN:  Respect, yo.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Oh, and then at the end, he says, “Patrick Buchanan, my main man,” and you spoke in that garbled dialogue.  Pat, what were you thinking?  What did your wife say to you when you went home talking about mustard being used on the Kurds? 

BUCHANAN:  Well, listen, that was in my house.  It was in my den.  He came to my house.  I had this big formal letter that said, you know, he wanted to interview you about the process and the primaries, how it works in America, for a young audience in Britain.  And then a guy hands me $200 bucks and says, “By the way, he‘s a rap star, but he‘s got a great audience.” 

So he came in, and we go into this thing for about an hour and a half.  And so I figure just follow the game, Joe.  But I knew this guy had a—he was a huge guy.  He had this big white suit on and aviator glasses.  But he‘s smart as he could be, and you could tell that because I‘d make some wiseacre comments and a dumb guy wouldn‘t have picked them up. 

And he was smiling and laughing.  And so I just got with it, and every so often, I‘d say, “Yo,” and he‘d come back and say, “Yo are my man,” and we went through an hour and a half. 

SCARBOROUGH:  My main man, Patrick Buchanan.  Now, at what point did you decide to just go with it when he said, “So he used BLTs and mustard on the Kurds”? 

BUCHANAN:  Well, I went into it—that was way into the thing.  I started off—and he starts off sort of semi-serious, and I try to explain simply how it works.  And so he kept going.  And first he was throwing out a lot of crude stuff, as the rabbi points out, and so I just sort of laughed that off.  But then he starts moving into this stuff, so I figured, “Go with the flow,” you know?

Joe, I‘m sure you‘ve been in campaigns where you get kids come up and play games in terms of interviews.  And so I figured, “Look, just go with the flow with this fellow, answer him, stay at his level, and try to, you know, get your little points across.”  But it was delightful.  But I did go into the kitchen and I told Catherine afterwards, I said, “Something is wrong with this one.”

(LAUGHTER) 

SCARBOROUGH:  Hey, Patrick J. Buchanan, respect. 

BUCHANAN:  Respect.  Respect.

SCARBOROUGH:  Courtney Hazlett and Rabbi Shmuley, thank you so much for being with us tonight.

And coming up next, breaking news:  Suri Cruise finally spotted.  The public moment we‘ve all been waiting for. 

Plus, he has a new look and a new job.  Boy George is cleaning up his act literally.  Our trip to Hollyweird coming up.  Plus, my trip to “Dancing with the Stars.”

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  It is time to take a trip to Hotel California, Hollyweird.  First up, Oprah likes weddings so much, she crashed one last spring.  So where was the queen of the talk shows this weekend when Dr.  Phil‘s son got married?

With me now with all the news that proves celebrities aren‘t like you and me, from “Star” magazine, we‘ve got Jill Dobson.  And from “OK” magazine, senior reporter Courtney Hazlett.

Jill, let me start with you.  What‘s the deal?  Did Oprah snub Dr.

Phil?  The world wants to know. 

JILL DOBSON, “STAR” MAGAZINE:  Well, there have been rumors for a long time of a feud between Oprah and Dr. Phil.  Maybe he‘s embarrassed her or she‘s embarrassed him.  And so this is certainly going to fuel those rumors.  The flip side of the coin is maybe she had other plans.  Maybe she‘s planning her own wedding with Steadman after all these years.  You know, they‘ve been together 20 years. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Steadman or maybe somebody else?

DOBSON:  Or Gayle. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Gayle possibly, we don‘t know.

DOBSON:  Maybe she was on a date with Gayle.

SCARBOROUGH:  But there have been rumors because Dr. Phil, of course, got in trouble with his diet pills, and there were lawsuits, and his wife got involved, some in sloppiness.  But at the same time, I mean, Dr. Phil is very good for Oprah, and Oprah is very good for Dr. Phil.  They‘re both making, like, boatloads of cash, aren‘t they? 

DOBSON:  Right, exactly.  If Oprah didn‘t want him to be successful, she wouldn‘t have helped him start up his own talk show.  So obviously they‘ve got a good synergy there.  But right now we think Gayle is her number-one best friend. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Gayle, number-one best friend right now.  Poor Steadman on the side. 

And let‘s move onto Britney Spears.  And you know Britney, of course, was seen with that picture that horrified most parents, of holding the baby on her lap while she was driving in the car, the SUV.  But now she goes out on this $1,500 shopping spree and she buys only safety items. 

Is this thing whole—is it like staged to make us think that, hey, you know, Britney is trying to turn the corner, she strips and she gets these naked pictures taken to show us she‘s got class, and now she‘s taking care of her baby?

HAZLETT:  In terms of a shopping trip where you‘re buying safety equipment for your child and your as-yet-unborn child, you know, Britney turns head everywhere she goes.  I don‘t think she needs to go on a shopping trip to really catch someone‘s attention.  I think she‘s finally reached the stage where she‘s taking public opinion a little bit more seriously.  She had that really rough interview that didn‘t go over so well. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Not so well, with Matt Lauer.

HAZLETT:  Exactly.  Exactly.

SCARBOROUGH:  Very lively.

HAZLETT:  And there was a lot of backlash to that.  And I think...

SCARBOROUGH:  And then the YouTube thing on last week where she‘s burping...

HAZLETT:  Yes, that was definitely wrong, too.  Not her best side.

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Not one of her better—yes, probably not.

HAZLETT:  So I think she‘s really kind of taken a step back at this point and she‘s re-evaluating how she‘s a wife, how she‘s a mother, how she‘s really trying to get her career back on track. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Can she get her career back on track or has she wrecked it? 

DOBSON:  Oh, I think she can.  She‘s stayed in the public eye all this time.  The most scary thing is for celebrities to get out of the public eye.

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes, any publicity is good publicity, right? 

DOBSON:  It seems to be, even if it‘s a terrible scandal.  And for her, she has a new album coming out expected at the end of the year.  I think it‘ll be a hit, and she‘ll be back on top again. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Talk about a terrible scandal.  Boy George had some problems a year ago.  Now he‘s sweeping streets.  How the mighty have fallen.  What‘s going on there? 

DOBSON:  Right, exactly.  Well, the problem was he pled guilty to apparently, well, filing a false police report.  He said that someone had broken into his home, and then that apparently didn‘t happen.  And police found cocaine in his home, so they were...

SCARBOROUGH:  Oh, you hate when that happens, right? 

DOBSON:  Yes, you wonder if the two are related, if the cocaine maybe led to making this crazy call.  Anyway, he has to do community service.  And as a result, there were photographers all over him today.  He was out there and he said, “Do you think you‘re better than me?  Just leave me alone.”  So he didn‘t seem to happy to have paparazzi watching him clean the streets in his orange sanitation outfit.

SCARBOROUGH:  Very angry guy, and this guy has always had problems, hasn‘t he, ever since he was a big pop hit star back in the 1980s?

HAZLETT:  Sure.  And you know what?  The Broadway flop didn‘t do him wonders either.  He‘s really had a hard time getting his image back to where maybe it once was.  But, you know, Boy George‘s spokesperson said earlier today he went out to do this community service with humility, not humiliation.  And I think he was just a little bit upset that it was really was humiliation that ensued. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes, is there no way that they could have hidden Boy George from public view?  Did somebody tip off all the reporters?  What happened there?

HAZLETT:  It‘s public record when this is going to take place and what community service...

SCARBOROUGH:  Oh, that‘s terrible.

HAZLETT:  ... and so, you know, it‘s the kind of thing the press is all over.  And, you know, Boy George, he‘s still pretty easy to spot.  He‘s got the shaved head with tattoos all over his skull.  If he wanted to go incognito, he could have tried to grow the hair back.  He could have done something to...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Put on a Mets cap, something like that. 

HAZLETT:  Exactly.  Something like that.

SCARBOROUGH:  Now, let‘s talk about TomKat.  Apparently there was a Suri sighting.  What‘s going on here?

DOBSON:  Yes, apparently Suri showed up at the birthday party for Will and Jada Smith‘s little boy, so it looks like Suri does exist.  We keep hearing more and more reports that Suri is out there.  So she was at this birthday party, was even spotted by a civilian, someone who wasn‘t a celebrity. 

SCARBOROUGH:  A civilian, huh?  That‘s pretty exciting, a civilian... 

DOBSON:  A plain, old, average American saw Suri.

SCARBOROUGH:  Were they a Scientologist?  Were they walking around with L. Ron Hubbard books or was this a civilian who was not only a civilian from Hollywood, but also a civilian from the Church of Scientology? 

DOBSON:  It very well could have been a double agent...

SCARBOROUGH:  A double agent...

DOBSON:  ... speaking to the press, pretending to be a regular American. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Very sneaky people those Scientologists. 

DOBSON:  They sure are.

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, let‘s talk about apparently TomKat, they were good Samaritans?

HAZLETT:  You know, Tom Cruise has this weird sixth sense when it involves helping, you know, the average Joe citizen.  A few years back, he rescued two children from a mob scene at a movie premiere.  He stopped a woman from being mugged in London. 

I don‘t know if it has to do with the Scientology connection or something, when he knows just exactly when to swoop in, but he and Katie did it again.  Highway 101 in Los Angeles, he saw a motorist who had been in an accident, and they pulled over and made sure he wasn‘t seriously hurt and stood by until emergency help came. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, that was nice of him. 

HAZLETT:  Very nice of him...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes, they are good, but you know, if anything, I‘ve always said, if Tom Cruise has any fault, it‘s that he cares too much.  Right here.  Right here.

Thank you so much.  You two care so much, thanks for being with us to take us through Hollyweird.  Greatly appreciate it, Jill Dobson and Courtney Hazlett. 

Now, coming up next, Rita does “American Idol.”  Plus, boogie fever at MSNBC.  Tucker, look out.  There is a new king of dancing in town.  It‘s hot.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  It‘s that time of year again, “American Idol” auditions.  Now, thousands turned out today in our backyard to make their best pitch to the show‘s judges.  And our very own Rita Cosby was there to catch it all, the good, the bad, and the outrageous. 

Hey, Rita, what‘s up? 

RITA COSBY, HOST:  Joe, I‘m here just outside of New York City where all these people walking outside this door of the arena have just auditioned to become the next “American Idol.”  We went out to find some of the most colorful characters.  Take a look at these.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I‘ve been so many places in my life and time...

COSBY:  Hey, wait a minute.  Wait a minute.  Why the outfit?  With that song, why the outfit?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Pretty much I knew—like, I just wanted to take advantage of the fact that I knew it would draw attention. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  You‘re beautiful.  You‘re beautiful.  You‘re beautiful, it‘s true.

COSBY:  Do you think you did a beautiful job with the song? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Well, not really. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I believe I could soar.  See me running through that open door.  I believe I could fly—I could fly—I believe I could fly...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Well, it‘s about love anywhere.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I‘m here without you baby.  Are you still with me in my dreams?  And tonight it‘s only you and me, yes, yes, yes...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I‘m about to crank it out, ready?

COSBY:  I think we‘re ready.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Who now?  Yo.  Girl say, oh, oh, oh, oh...

COSBY:  What is that? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  That‘s called the chicken noodle soup. 

UNIDENTIFIED GROUP:  And can I get a kiss good night?

COSBY:  Believe it or not, none of these people made it to the next round.  Those who did are going to soon face the judges, including Simon Cowell, at the end of the month. 

Joe, back to you. 

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCARBOROUGH:  Thank you so much, Rita.  Shocking that some of those people didn‘t make it to the next round. 

And speaking of talent, big news today.  MSNBC‘s Tucker Carlson is going to be on this season‘s “Dancing with the Stars.”  Now, when I heard the announcement, it took me back to a meeting that I had with my staff a few months ago.  My executive producer and I, Chris, well, we were looking for some new ideas to help out with the show‘s image.  Take a look. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I got my best team on it, guys.  You guys are here for your ideas. 

SCARBOROUGH:  This is your best team?  OK, if this is your best team, I want to hear ideas. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  There‘s a lot coming up that you‘ll do well.  You know, we‘ll talk about the upcoming elections, McKinney and Lamont, and how the tide is changing and, you know, what... 

SCARBOROUGH:  The whole Congress, yes, elections.  I was in Congress.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.  You made that story. 

SCARBOROUGH:  That was me? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  That was you.  That was all you. 

SCARBOROUGH:  That was me.  You know, everybody says like Anderson Cooper, Anderson—screw Anderson Cooper.  Listen, maybe I don‘t get facials everyday, but, listen, I‘m a journalist.  That‘s what we‘ve got to do.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  This is the best idea. 

SCARBOROUGH:  What?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  What about “Dancing with the Stars”?  You would be great.  Awesome. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  That‘s a great idea, Joe.  It saved Jerry Rice‘s career.

SCARBOROUGH:  That‘s the best you can do, Chris?  This is your team. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Tucker is putting together an audition tape. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Tucker is? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  It‘s true. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Hey, I‘ve got an idea.  Let‘s do “Dancing with the Stars.” 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  That‘s great. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I think it‘s a great idea.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Great idea.

(APPLAUSE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I think that‘s a great idea.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  All right, Joe, you ready for this?  You ready? 

SCARBOROUGH:  (bleep)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  No, no, no, no, no.  This is going to be great.  You‘ve got to show the Joe.  This is going to be great.  This is going to push us over the top.  I think it‘s brilliant. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Tucker, kiss my (bleep).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Yes, he‘s got talent. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  No, I think it‘s brilliant. 

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, they tell me that they‘d like buy me a couple of cookies and ice—I‘m easy.  If you do the skit, we‘ll get you a couple of peanut butter cookies and some sweet tea.  I‘m a sucker for sweet tea.  And my career‘s over.  What‘s Olbermann do, this stuff?  Maybe that will help. 

That‘s all the time we have for tonight.  I probably won‘t be seeing you tomorrow night, but, if so, stick around, because coming up next, “LOCK UP: NEW MEXICO” is coming straight up.  But right now, it looks like they‘re coming to take me away and lock me up.  Have a great night.  Brilliant.  Isn‘t that—do you like that, Walt?  That‘s the best part of it, “Brilliant.”

That‘s all the time for tonight.  Thanks for being with us on

SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.  We‘ll see you tomorrow at 9:00 Eastern.  Good night.

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

END   

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