updated 8/22/2006 11:02:16 AM ET 2006-08-22T15:02:16

Guests: Geoffrey Feiger, Terry Holt, Dawn Yanek, Lisa Bloom, Rachel Sklar, Steve Adubado

JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST:  Right now in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY—pass the champagne.  We‘re live in Colorado with details of the JonBenet murder suspect‘s luxurious journey to justice.  Plus, exclusive, John Karr‘s family on whether he killed JonBenet Ramsey.

Then: Is George Bush an idiot like Democrats and liberals say?  Well, tonight we‘ll show you clips, give you my “Real Deal” on our commander-in-chief‘s intelligence and let you decide for yourself.

And the war between Fox News and Comedy Central.  Why are real newsmen attacking fake newsmen?  We‘ll give you a front row seat in this cable news smackdown.

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

But first, the bizarre tale of John Mark Karr takes another strange twist.  The self-described killer of JonBenet Ramsey was lavished with VIP treatment as he flew back from Thailand to the United States, sipping champagne with a member of the Boulder DA‘s office in business class.  And we‘re still waiting to hear why the Boulder, Colorado, DA had him arrested in the first place.  Nobody‘s come forward with any proof to rebut his ex-wife‘s claim that he was nowhere near Boulder, Colorado, the night JonBenet was killed.  Also, why did University of Colorado professor Michael Tracey swap e-mails with Karr for four years before alerting authorities?  And tonight, we‘re seeing for the first time Video of Karr from the early 1990s.  It‘s a case of a suspect that gets more bizarre by the hour.

For the very latest, let‘s go live right now to MSNBC‘s Rita Cosby in Boulder, Colorado.  Rita, what‘s the very latest tonight?

RITA COSBY, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT:  Well, the very latest—and I‘m here in front of the Justice Center in Boulder, Joe, and we‘re waiting the arrival of John Mark Karr.  We know tomorrow, he‘s got a hearing in Los Angeles, which is where he is right now.  He‘s in LA County jail.  It‘s Twin Towers.  I‘ve been there many times for interviews.  It‘s a very loud jail, about 20,000 inmates, sometimes at one point.  It‘s very crazy.  But he‘s basically in an isolation cell there.

And then tomorrow morning, he will have an extradition hearing.  If he does not waive his extradition, if he decides, OK, look, I do want to stay in Los Angeles, I‘m going to fight this, or if he says, OK, it‘s OK, I will waive it,  carry on—if he says that that is OK and doesn‘t fight the extradition issue, then he could immediately, I‘ve been told, almost leave.  Sometimes they prepare the paperwork even before the court, and then he could leave almost immediately from the courtroom tomorrow morning in Los Angeles, be flown courtesy of the Boulder department, all the authorities here, and taken almost immediately to the jail just a little bit away from here.

At this point, everybody is expecting that he will probably waive extradition because all the things he has said is that, I want to be in Boulder, I want to come back to where the case is.  He‘s even inquired about attorneys in Boulder.  So there‘s a good chance, Joe, that we will see John Mark Karr face to face here sometime tomorrow, maybe midday at the earliest.

SCARBOROUGH:  Rita, you talked to family members.  What did they tell you?

COSBY:  Yes, I talked to family members very close to John Mark Karr, including a brother.  I also talked to several other family members and very close family friends today, Joe.  They all say that they do not believe this is the guy who killed JonBenet Ramsey.  They say he is crazy, he is delusional, that he was obsessed with JonBenet Ramsey, that he was writing a book, that he‘s had maybe some psychological issues in the past and maybe got caught up in all these things, didn‘t want to get stuck in a Thai jail once he was taken into custody over there.  In fact, one family member said maybe he wanted a free ride and that‘s why he came all the way back to the U.S.  But they do not believe.  They say he was an obsessed man and someone who borderlined on psychotic, but they do not believe he‘s someone who actually killed 6-year-old JonBenet Ramsey.  They believe they have the wrong guy.

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.  Thank you so much, Rita.  Stay with us.  I want to bring in right now our panel.  Here‘s Clint Van Zandt, MSNBC analyst, former FBI hostage negotiator also, and the author of “Facing Down Evil.”  Also here tonight, Court TV anchor Lisa Bloom and criminal defense attorney Geoffrey Fieger.

Lisa, why would the Boulder DA treat this killer like a VIP, even reportedly clinking champagne glasses with the man they believe raped, strangled and murdered JonBenet Ramsey?

LISA BLOOM, COURT TV:  Yes, you know, I‘ve been on that flight from Bangkok to LA a couple times.  In coach, I was lucky to get some pretzels and some Diet Coke, so, you know, I envy this guy.  But I think they may have had a good reason for it, Joe, and that is to soften him up.  Let him have the champagne.  Let him have a beer.  You know, it‘s a small price to pay if he starts talking, if he starts giving some details, if he starts embellishing on that very general confession he‘s given so far.

Apparently, he didn‘t do that, but I think it was worth a shot.

SCARBOROUGH:  It‘s a “good cop” routine, then, at 40,000 feet.

BLOOM:  Yes.  He gets comfortable.  He‘s got his great meal.  He‘s got the guy next to—clinking the glass might be a little bit too much for me.  I mean, I don‘t know who was the clinker and who was the clinkee.  I don‘t know how exactly that worked.  That‘s a little too much for me.  But overall, giving him some booze—that was probably a good idea.

SCARBOROUGH:  Geoffrey, what‘s going on at the Boulder DA‘s office?  I mean, it looks like a train wreck waiting to happen in this case.

GEOFFREY FIEGER, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY:  Yes, you‘re right.  It‘s probably already happened, and they‘re wishing that it hadn‘t.  And Lisa‘s probably right, too, that they‘re hoping against hope that they‘re going to get something—with a guy wearing eyeliner who‘s in line for a sex change operation, who clearly is psychotic and probably has as much connection with this case as he does with the O.J. Simpson case.

It is mind-boggling that the news of the world is paying attention to

him because this is just going to encourage other nuts.  I mean, this guy -

he no more snuck into Colorado, got into that home, practiced his note-writing before he wrote the ransom note, killed JonBenet, got out of the house, got out of Colorado and went free for 10 years, than, you know, O.J.  Simpson didn‘t do it.  That‘s absurd!

(LAUGHTER)

SCARBOROUGH:  But Geoffrey, you know, the thing is, there are a lot of

kooks out there that can take credit for—if you want to call it credit -

for these types of tragedies...

FIEGER:  Why?  Why pay attention to this guy?

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  The question is, Why did the Boulder DA come out and say, This is our guy?

FIEGER:  Great—that‘s a great...

SCARBOROUGH:  That‘s why everybody‘s paying attention to him.

FIEGER:  No, they didn‘t quite say that.  I haven‘t heard them say that.  But you‘re absolutely right.  It‘s the same reason why George Bush can‘t admit we‘ve made a mistake in Iraq.  Politicians don‘t like to admit mistakes.  So these people are subject now to the greatest embarrassment in the world, and they do exactly...

BLOOM:  Well, wait a second!

FIEGER:  ... what politicians everywhere do.

BLOOM:  There‘s a little bit of a difference here.  That‘s the difference between...

FIEGER:  No, there isn‘t!

BLOOM:  ... probable cause and proof beyond a reasonable doubt.  The DA‘s job is to protect public safety.  We‘ve got a guy who‘s clearly a threat to children.  He‘s confessed to this crime.  He‘s teaching a class...

FIEGER:  Yes, but he‘s in Thailand!

(CROSSTALK)

FIEGER:  Leave him there!  He‘s in Thailand!  Leave him there!

(CROSSTALK)

BLOOM:  ... alternative.  Should the DA have said, I know he‘s a threat to children.  He‘s confessed to this brutal murder.  He‘s inappropriately insinuating himself...

FIEGER:  Leave him there!

(CROSSTALK)

BLOOM:  ... but you know what?  I‘m going to trust him.

FIEGER:  Oh, wait a second!  I want to bring...

(CROSSTALK)

FIEGER:  I want to bring him back 3,000 miles so the taxpayers of Colorado can pay his bill when we found out he did nothing, other than...

BLOOM:  I think we should err...

FIEGER:  ... being a pervert.

BLOOM:  ... on the side of protecting children.  She had probable cause...

FIEGER:  Leave him in...

BLOOM:  ... from the confession...

FIEGER:  Leave him in Thailand!

BLOOM:  ... from his knowledge of the condition of the body...

FIEGER:  You protect all American children by leaving him...

(CROSSTALK)

BLOOM:  And you know what?  I think it‘s time we should start protecting children and erring on the side of protecting children.

FIEGER:  I think we should start...

BLOOM:  If he‘s the wrong guy...

FIEGER:  ... importing child molesters!

BLOOM:  ... they‘ll let him go.  No harm done...

(CROSSTALK)

FIEGER:  Joe, you‘re in favor of that, importing child molesters from Thailand!

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes, at...

BLOOM:  He‘s got five...

SCARBOROUGH:  ... taxpayers‘ expense!

BLOOM:  ... outstanding warrants in California on child porn charges.

FIEGER:  Let‘s import him!

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, but it—but it‘s nothing—it‘s not California authorities that went after him, it was Boulder, Colorado, authorities who did.

Clint, I want you to take a look at these two photos.  On the top is Karr‘s high school yearbook, in which he writes “shall be the conqueror.”  Then look at the bottom photo showing the word “victory” and the initials “SBTC.”  This is from the ransom note found in the Ramseys‘ home after the murder.  You see anything there?

CLINT VAN ZANDT, FORMER FBI PROFILER, MSNBC ANALYST:  No.  I see four letters.  That could stand for anything.  I saw somebody on TV the other day say absolutely, that convicts him because of that.  I mean, four letters does not make one a killer, Joe.  There so many things that have to be looked at in this case.  You know, put the guy at the crime scene.  Put him as a suspect.  Link the DNA.  Show me, Joe—show me that this guy knew the name JonBenet Ramsey on December 24, 1996, and then I‘ll start to throw him in my pool of other suspects.  Until then, until we can link this guy, until we can show that he was stalking her, this is just some guy that pulled this out of the air—and I think I know why—who pulled this out of the air and is running with this.  And now, you know, short of O.J.  Simpson, as has been said earlier, someone like this, we‘ve never attached this type of star status.  I mean, this guy gets off the airplane, I haven‘t seen so much attention since the Beatles flew in to do “Ed Sullivan.”

(LAUGHTER)

BLOOM:  And you know, there‘s another explanation...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  ... exactly, to JFK.  Clint, what‘s the deal, though?  If the DA can‘t link the DNA evidence to him and can‘t link the writing samples, are they pretty much out of luck?

VAN ZANDT:  Yes, I think so.  You know, real quick, so your audience knows, there was DNA found on JonBenet‘s underwear.  It was a combination of her blood and an unknown sample.  Henry Lee went out and bought some brand-new underwear just like JonBenet had one, cut a piece out, tested it.  He found unidentified DNA in a brand-new unopened package, suggesting the potential of DNA contaminating underwear even before it had eve been opened.  So the chances of this being anyone in the world‘s DNA—that could be there.

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes.  And Rita, we heard Geoffrey talk about the sex change operation.  What do you know about that?

COSBY:  Yes, in fact, this tale just gets more bizarre, Joe.  You know, we‘ve heard about—and I‘ve talked to some people who grew up with him.  They talked today a little bit about sort of his proclivities towards young girls.  But one of the things we‘re finding out in recent days, when he was in Bangkok, his phone records are apparently showing he was at this seedy hotel for nine months.  He made just 12 phone calls during that time, 9 of them to a plastic surgeon, 2 of them to a clinic that does sex changes.  And apparently, he was getting some facial operations, basically, his facial hair removed in preparation for a sex change.

And some people are suggesting, Did he do that maybe so he would be less of a threat towards young girls?  Does this just show how twisted this guy is in every shape or form?  In any case, clearly, he was doing something, working towards doing something dramatic physically to himself.

SCARBOROUGH:  It is a strange, strange situation, to say the least, Rita.  Thank you so much.  Thank you, Clint, Lisa and Geoffrey Fieger.  Greatly appreciate you being here tonight.

Coming up next on SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, the president‘s epic battle with the English language.  Last week, I asked if Linda Ronstadt and her Hollywood buddies were right that the president was, quote, “an idiot.”  I even asked a question which set me up for nasty Bushism backlashes from my friends on the right.  Tonight, I set them straight.

Plus, meltdown on “The View.”  New co-host Rosie O‘Donnell hasn‘t even hit the set yet, and already, the sparks are flying.  Are the daytime divas headed for a crash and burn?

And later, the fake feud, news (INAUDIBLE)  Comedy Central funny guys Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert take on the kings of Fox News.  We‘ll tell you who‘s going to win this cable news smackdown when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Is George Bush an idiot?  That‘s the subject of tonight‘s “Real Deal.”  Now, new and old media alike are buzzing about last week‘s SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY segment on the president‘s mental prowess.  In Sunday‘s “Washington Post,” Peter Baker wrote this.  Quote, “Bush advisers said that the president‘s political weakness has encouraged soft supporters and quiet skeptics to speak out.  Few have struck a nerve more than Scarborough.”

“Struck a nerve” is an understatement.  I‘ve been blasted by Republican loyalists for asking whether Linda Ronstadt‘s description of the president as an “idiot” was out of line.  That question was important not because another Hollywood liberal was blasting Bush but because conservatives have been doing the same thing privately since the Harriet Miers and Katrina debacles of last fall. Well, and because of the steady roar of Bushisms like these seen daily on late night TV.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE WALKER BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  For every fatal shooting, there were roughly three non-fatal shootings.  And folks, this is unacceptable in America.  It‘s just unacceptable.  And we‘re going to do something about it.

We shouldn‘t fear a world that is more interacted.

It was not always a given that the United States and America would have a close relationship.

We look forward to hearing your vision so we can more better do our job.

Too many good docs are getting out of business.  Too many OB-GYNs aren‘t able to practice their—their love with women all across this country!

I know the human being and fish can coexist peacefully.

You‘re working hard to put food on your family.

You misunder—underestimate—underestimated the compassion of our country.

Let me finish my question, please.  These hands going up—I‘m not—

I‘m kind of getting old, and you know, just getting into my peroation (ph). 

Look it up.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(LAUGHTER)

SCARBOROUGH:  Look it up!  Now, I know the president.  He‘s no idiot.  But history‘s also proven that he doesn‘t like listening to dissent.  He lacks intellectual curiosity, and he inspires fear among allies every time he gets behind a microphone doing a press conference.  Now, with Iraq in flames, Iran on the rise, Afghanistan in crisis mode, Hezbollah on his scent, Israel in disarray and North Korea testing missiles, we got to have a president who projects confidence.  Right now, this president is not.

I was a conservative when I ran for Congress in 1994.  I am a conservative now.  I was against big deficits when Bill Clinton was running Washington, and I‘m against them now that Republicans are running D.C.  I was attacked by sycophants and suck-ups when I dared to criticize Newt Gingrich for backing down on spending reductions and tax cuts when he was Speaker of the House.  And I was attacked two years ago when I wrote a book that took on big-spending Republicans.  History proved me right before, and history‘s going to prove me right again.

When in doubt, friends, always choose country over party, and time will prove you did not only what was best for your country but also did what was best for your party.  And that‘s tonight‘s “Real Deal.”

Let‘s now bring in a guy who had to deal with my self-righteous conservative rantings in Congress.  He is Terry Holt, a GOP strategist.  Terry, I know you know this president.  He is no idiot, but he‘s also no Ronald Reagan.  Why does he have so much trouble behind a microphone?

TERRY HOLT, GOP STRATEGIST:  Well, let me just first say I don‘t think that everyday Republicans and Democrats would really prefer to have their political debate shot through with profanity and invective and petty insults, like the word “idiot.”  To bestow that on the president I think demeans the presidency, and I‘m not sure it has a place.  I think that people will turn off their televisions if they hear that their political debate is—is—is—has devolved to that kind of thing.

You know, I think being president is the hardest job in the world.  I think giving hundreds of speeches a year and having to be picked apart by thousands of journalists every day—I‘m not sure that anybody in the world would be able to get through a speech or a live interview, like I have to do occasionally with you, without making a few mistakes.  And in this day‘s world, with the Internet and with out—all of our ability to go in and pull little pieces of this and that out—my goodness, nobody would be able to live under that kind of scrutiny.

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, Terry, I understand exactly what you‘re saying, and it is the toughest job in the world, a job that, you know, I wouldn‘t want to have...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  ... difficult and you are so picked apart.  But Terry, I mean, I understand everything you‘re saying, but I ain‘t talking about Linda Ronstadt and Michael Moore going after this president.  I‘m talking about what rank-and-file conservative Republicans have been saying in Washington, D.C., since Katrina...

HOLT:  Well, and I...

SCARBOROUGH:  ... since Harriet Miers.

HOLT:  ... and I think that‘s right.  There‘s been...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  With this—hold—I just want to clarify this, that...

HOLT:  Sure.

SCARBOROUGH:  ... conservatives, conservatives that are running Washington behind the scenes, are saying this about the president.  Why?

HOLT:  As you‘ve said.  And I think that with 80-some days left until election, I think we need to quit whining and moaning and complaining and get out there and fight for what we believe.  You know...

SCARBOROUGH:  But Terry...

(CROSSTALK)

HOLT:  You know, I want my president back.  I want him, like he did in 2002, to go out and punch a few Democrats in the nose and talk about the nightmare, the policy nightmare that would occur if the Democrats were to take over this government with the higher taxes.  We‘d stop spying on the terrorists if the Democrats were in charge.  We need to lay out the very clear choices...

SCARBOROUGH:  All right...

(CROSSTALK)

HOLT:  ... American people have.  But I‘ll tell you what...

SCARBOROUGH:  And I—I understand, Terry.  I‘ve just to ask you, though.  I want you to confirm, though, that Republicans are saying this quietly behind the scenes, aren‘t they.

HOLT:  Well, I don‘t—I don‘t think that it takes too much digging to find people that are unsatisfied with the political state of America, at this point.  It doesn‘t—you don‘t have to be in D.C. to be unhappy with the way things have gone.  But in fact, the election is about a choice.  It‘s about a choice between two very different views of the world, between two different sets of policies.  And so...

SCARBOROUGH:  I understand that...

(CROSSTALK)

HOLT:  ... anxiety in America.  There certainly is.  Is there a budget deficit...

SCARBOROUGH:  And there‘s an anxiety...

HOLT:  ... that‘s too large.  There certainly is.

SCARBOROUGH:  ... among conservatives.

HOLT:  But Joe, in fact, to protect this country, to wage a war on terror, it‘s been expensive.  Conservatives haven‘t been happy with the spending of this government.  I‘m not sure that anybody really is.  But this new world after 9/11, I don‘t think anyone would question that we spend as much as is necessary to protect this country...

SCARBOROUGH:  OK, Terry, I understand...

HOLT:  ... through homeland security or...

SCARBOROUGH:  ... that, but we‘re running out of time.

HOLT:  ... through the national defense.

SCARBOROUGH:  We can debate also how much money...

HOLT:  Can I make a suggestion to you, Joe?

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, Terry, you got to...

HOLT:  In the last three minutes...

SCARBOROUGH:  You got to let me ask you—Terry, Terry, you got to let me ask you this question because I agree with you on spending money to protect the homeland, but also domestic spending has skyrocketed.  We have a Medicare prescription drug benefit that‘s cost us $7 trillion that nobody understands.

But getting back to Bush, I want to know, why was the president—you talk about 2002.  We all saw him in 2001.  You look at clips of him when he was governor of Texas.  This guy was confident.  He was in charge.  He controlled the camera when he was in press conferences.  That‘s not happening now.  He seems to be getting worse with time, and that‘s what‘s so troubling when he has two years left.  What‘s going on?

HOLT:  Oh, I think, you know, he—he‘s got a good gut, and we need the president to follow his gut, get back out on the campaign trail, because you know, ultimately, there‘s nobody else better at articulating the vision and the inspiration that we need to get back on our feet.  Go back to the convention speech in 2004.  The last five minutes of that speech, if you play it, it will motivate you!  It will make you think of Ronald Reagan!

SCARBOROUGH:  No doubt.

HOLT:  And so, in fact, we do have that in our president, and it is time that we see more of it.  But come on.  We don‘t need to call him an idiot.  I think that‘s way out of bounds.  And I do—you looked great in “The Washington Post” on Saturday.

SCARBOROUGH:  I looked great?

HOLT:  Oh, yes!

SCARBOROUGH:  You‘re talking about...

(CROSSTALK)

HOLT:  ... newspaper more often.

SCARBOROUGH:  ... that stock MSNBC photo that makes me look like...

HOLT:  You got a great face for the newspaper.

SCARBOROUGH:  ... a mortician has gotten a hold of me?  And yes, it—it‘s absolutely horrible.  In fact, after I saw it, I told actually our people...

HOLT:  If I was your press secretary...

(CROSSTALK)

HOLT:  ... I‘d make sure you had a brand-new photo.

SCARBOROUGH:  Get me a brand-new photo that actually are makes me look alive.

(LAUGHTER)

SCARBOROUGH:  Hey, Terry, thank you so much for being with us.

HOLT:  Thanks you.

SCARBOROUGH:  Greatly appreciate it.

And still to come tonight, the cable news wars.  It‘s a smackdown with the boys over Comedy Central getting under the skin of Geraldo and the king of cable news.  It‘s real news versus fake news, and we‘ll weigh in next.

Plus: We all have bad days once in a while, but rarely do we all flop in front of thousands on live TV.  That‘s tonight‘s “Must See S.C.”

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Time for tonight‘s “Must See S.C.,” some video that you just got to see.  First up, Toledo, Ohio.  Surveillance cameras are rolling as this store clerk beats back a would-be thief, literally.  The armed robber demands cash from the clerk and then tries to make a grab for the cash register.  That‘s when the quick-thinking clerk grabs a broomstick that was lying around and beat the thief across the arm.  Apparently feeling overmatched by the broom, the thief takes off.

And there‘s nothing like live TV.  Watch what happens when a pair of Virginia anchors tossed to one of their reporters in the field who‘s covering a house fire.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  This house has bars all over it, and that was a major factor for firefighters as they tried to get into it earlier tonight (DELETED)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  All right, ready when you are.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Three, two, one.  On this rainy and cold night...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Obviously, we‘re having some problems there.  We do apologize for that.  What you saw there was raw, unedited tape.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(LAUGHTER)

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes, that was raw and unedited!

Coming up next: Bill O‘Reilly and Geraldo taking aim at fake news.  Grab some popcorn and a front-row seat.  We‘ve got all the details on this cable news smackdown coming up.

And later: Is “The View” really ready for Rosie?  The daytime diva hasn‘t even had her first day yet, and already she‘s launching attacks against the ladies of “The View.”  We‘re watching train wreck TV, baby, in the making!

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(NEWSBREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Wasting two hours a day?  SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, it‘s like five.  And if you‘re Rosie O‘Donnell, god.

Anyway, she‘s back.  Rosie O‘Donnell has returned to daytime TV, and she‘s already on the warpath.  Will her arrival on “The View” spell doom for the daytime gabfest?  I hope so. 

Plus, what is in Osama‘s iPod?  You will probably never guess, but we‘ve got the answer for you in tonight‘s Hollyweird. 

Welcome back to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.  Those stories in just minutes.  But first, it‘s “The Factor” versus the funny guys, as FOX News and Comedy Central go at it in a cable news smackdown.  Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert are deploying humor as their potent left hooks, but Bill O‘Reilly and Geraldo aren‘t laughing. 

It all started last year when Jon Stewart took a shot at Geraldo on “The Daily Show.”

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)  

JON STEWART, HOST, “THE DAILY SHOW”:  And, of course, no crisis is fully exploited until Geraldo weighs in. 

(LAUGHTER)

GERALDO RIVERA, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT:  The gusts really are very, very intense. 

STEWART:  Ah, where is the flying aluminum debris when you need it? 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Then it was Geraldo‘s turn to fire back at Comedy Central on Bill O‘Reilly‘s show. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RIVERA:  Comedy Central is now a big hit.  Stewart and Colbert...

BILL O‘REILLY, FOX NEWS HOST:  Yes, yes, yes, they do OK. 

RIVERA:  I mean, relatively...

O‘REILLY:  They do OK.

RIVERA:  They make a living putting on video of old ladies slipping on ice and people laughing. 

O‘REILLY:  Different.

RIVERA:  That‘s their life.  That‘s their life.  They exist in a small, little place where they count for nothing.  The history will be made by those who have affirmative thoughts, who make, you know, innovative suggestions in life and are inclusive. 

O‘REILLY:  All right.  I‘m going to cry. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Talk about throwing him into a briar patch.  And then Stephen Colbert showed up on Stewart‘s show last week to demand that Stewart apologize to Geraldo. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEWART:  Stephen, what do you care about what Geraldo and O‘Reilly say about us?  What are you...

STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, “THE COLBERT REPORT”:  What are you implying, Jon, that O‘Reilly and Geraldo are narcissists enthralled with their own overblown egos, projecting their own petty insecurities onto the world around them, inventing false enemies for the sole purpose of bolstering their sense of self-importance, itty-bitty Nixons minus the relevance or a hint of vision?  How dare you! 

STEWART:  I don‘t want to apologize anymore. 

COLBERT:  Then you, sir, are on notice. 

STEWART:  What?

COLBERT:  Deal with it!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  And finally, last Monday night, it came down to this. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COLBERT:  Jon, why are you closing yourself off from Geraldo? 

(LAUGHTER)

He came to unlock the vault of your heart and, when he opened it, it was empty, an empty vault.  And he had a camera crew.  It was very embarrassing. 

STEWART:  I really don‘t understand why... 

COLBERT:  Well, maybe if you walked a mile in his shoes. 

STEWART:  What, by fighting Danny Bonaduce for charity or...

COLBERT:  No, Jon.

STEWART:  ... giving away troop movements to Iraq?  I mean, I don‘t know—I don‘t know what else...

COLBERT:  By walking a mile in his mustache. 

(LAUGHTER)

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Let‘s bring in MSNBC analyst Flavia Colgan and also Rachel Sklar from the political Web site, HuffingtonPost.com. 

I got to start with you, Flavia.  Why did Geraldo even respond to these fake newscasts?  He had to know that he was playing right into their hands. 

FLAVIA COLGAN, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR:  Well, it clearly got under his skin, but you know it‘s really—I mean, I think that Geraldo has a huge comedic advantage.  I mean, other people often have to say things to be funny.  He can just sit there and he looks funny, which, you know, he can‘t tell—you know, he has to realize there is a big difference. 

But I‘ll tell you, I was prepared to come on tonight, Joe, and say this is not a big deal and be very jocular about it.  But as you know probably, our colleague, Keith Olbermann, that same show he called him a shmuck and a loser, and Keith was very broken up about it here, so much so that Brian had to step in. 

And Keith said to me, “Look, I have three heroes in my life:  my mother, Geraldo, and Bill O‘Reilly.”  And this has just really affected him, and I just think this has gone far enough, and they do need to apologize.  They need to apologize to Keith, and I think that Jon is very upset, too. 

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, Rachel, I‘ve been called some terrible things by Jon Stewart, but bottom line is this:  That‘s what he does.  He attacks conservatives.  He tries to get a laugh, but he also, by attacking conservatives, he‘s sort of forwarding his own beliefs, right? 

RACHEL SKLAR, HUFFINGTONPOST.COM:  Well, I‘m not so sure that he‘s attacking conservatives.  He‘s attacking people who deserve to be called out for their inconsistencies, or for their obfuscations, or just for their foibles.  And I think that he‘s pretty even-handed.  It just so happens that we happen to have a conservative administration, and they just so happen to be pretty easy to attack these days. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, I‘ll tell you what, he has called me some nasty, nasty names.  Of course, my teenage sons absolutely love it.  I can‘t even repeat what he‘s called me on air because my parents watch this show, but he‘s so big, again, everybody laughs at it.  You know, Stewart may still be angry, though, with Bill O‘Reilly for the way he was treated on “The Factor” back in 2004.  Take a look. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

O‘REILLY:  Do you know what‘s really frightening?

STEWART:  You‘ve been reading my diary. 

O‘REILLY:  You have actually an influence on this presidential election.  That is scary.

STEWART:  If that were so, that would be quite frightening.

O‘REILLY:  But it‘s true.  I mean, you got stoned slackers watching your dopey show every night...

STEWART:  Yes.

O‘REILLY:  OK?  And they can vote. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Very condescending, huh, Rachel?

SKLAR:  Pretty condescending, but that was a long time ago.  And I think that Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, one thing that they do have is a sense of humor.  And they have a sense of humor about all of the people that they deal with, all of their targets.  And these are the same people who clamor to come on his show. 

Bill O‘Reilly has been a guest.  And when Bill O‘Reilly has been on the air, he‘s been very jocular and very friendly.  So I don‘t know.  If they have such an objection, then why are they clamoring to be guests? 

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, the thing is also, though, they obviously has reach, because Geraldo obviously is upset about what‘s been going on at Comedy Central, when they would poke at him.  But, again, the thing I don‘t understand about it is that FOX News, especially Bill O‘Reilly, that guy‘s ratings are just every night far surpass anybody else in cable news.  And you just wonder why they ever respond to these things. 

Now, Flavia, I want to show you a clip.  It‘s a famous clip of Jon Stewart when he went on “Crossfire.”  And when he went on “Crossfire,” he lectured the host of that show and said they needed to be less partisan and more unifying.  Take a look. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEWART:  Stop hurting America and come work for us, because we, as the people...

TUCKER CARLSON, MSNBC HOST:  How do you pay?

STEWART:  ... the people—not well.

PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST:  Better than CNN, I‘m sure.

STEWART:  But you can sleep at night.  See, the thing is:  We need your help.  Right now you‘re helping the politicians and the corporations, and we‘re left out there to mow our lawns...

BEGALA:  What, by beating up on them?  You just said we‘re too rough on them when they make mistakes. 

STEWART:  No, no, no, you‘re not too rough on them.  You are part of their strategies.  You‘re partisan—what do you call it? -- hacks. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Calls them partisan hacks, saying, Flavia, they need to be unifying, but when Stewart was challenged, he responded with this less-than-unifying insult. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEWART:  I think they believe President Bush would do a better job, and I believe the Kerry guys believe President Kerry would do a better job.  But what I believe is they‘re not making honest arguments.  So what they‘re doing is, in their mind, the ends justify the means. 

CARLSON:  Jon, I hate to...

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  I do think you‘re more fun on your show.  It‘s just my opinion. 

OK, Jon Stewart goes one-on-one with his fans...

STEWART:  You know what‘s interesting, though?  You‘re as big a dick on your show as you are on any show. 

(LAUGHTER)

CARLSON:  Now you‘re getting into it.  I like that.  OK, we‘ll be right back. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Personal insult, Flavia.  You know, in all the years I saw Begala and Carlson on “Crossfire,” I never heard them fire off a personal insult like that.  Did Stewart get a free pass?  Does he always get a free pass by the media because, again, he‘s center-left?

COLGAN:  Well, listen, it‘s not guilty about that.  There‘s completely different standards.  The difference is, is that Jon Stewart every night proves that he‘s not a journalist.  He never deceives people.  I mean, that‘s one of the rules of journalists, to not deceive your viewers.  And he proves every night he‘s not a journalist...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, no, but, Flavia, he tries to have it both ways. 

COLGAN:  Bill O‘Reilly...

SCARBOROUGH:  Hold on, Flavia.  He tries to have it both ways.  Now, I‘m not saying this about Stephen Colbert, who is in character, who‘s hilarious.  But doesn‘t Jon Stewart try to have it both ways by saying, “Oh, it‘s fake news, it‘s fake news,” and then he tries to make ideological points?

COLGAN:  Well, but I think that he was saying that this is what their job is, because they‘re reporters.  I mean, he may not—I mean, he proves every night that he‘s not a journalist, but Bill O‘Reilly and Geraldo certainly have never proved that they‘re funny.  And he‘s saying that this is the responsibility of real news shows, that Geraldo shouldn‘t be wasting up time trashing him and Steve Colbert when we have Iraq and Iran where they are. 

But I think that they‘re—you know, this whole conversation that‘s come out of this, that his viewers are slackers or stoners or that he‘s hurting democracy, look, you have younger children.  I have siblings that are in their teens.  I‘ve never gotten my sister before Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert to watch me on television.  She watches the program, and she gets interested in current events.  And then she looks up things on the Internet. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, and my sons do the same thing, Flavia—Flavia, Flavia, you‘re right, and that is making my point. 

And, Rachel, does it not—very quickly—does it not make the point that Comedy Central, Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert are a growing powerful force?

SKLAR:  They‘re an incredibly powerful force, and it‘s because they‘re not fake news.  They take the real news, and they spin it in a fake newscast, but the facts are very real.  And the people they have on their show are very real, and the issues they discuss are very real.  And the impact they‘re having is very real, and that is a good thing, as far as I‘m concerned. 

SCARBOROUGH:  There you go.  Well, my sons watch all the time Comedy Central.  They don‘t watch me, that‘s for sure. 

Flavia, thank you for being here.  And, Rachel, greatly appreciate you coming along, too.

And coming up next—they do watch me, though, when I was on Colbert

Rosie O‘Donnell warming up her seat on “The View,” but will her time with the daytime divas be short-lived?  And is that show ready to implode?

Later on, we take another trip to Hollyweird.  Britney‘s beau K-Fed made his world premiere last night, and let‘s just say it wasn‘t pretty.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  The future of “The View” doesn‘t look very rosy.  It seems new co-host Rosie O‘Donnell doesn‘t want to share the spotlight with her three co-hosts.  Is “The View” headed for a meltdown?  Well, take a look at what Rosie has to say on her blog.

Quote, “I saw the new ‘View‘ promos and found myself in a position I loathe most:  powerless.  It will be hard for me not to be the boss.” 

With me now to talk about “The View,” on the future of ABC gabfest “The View,” “OK” magazine senior reporter Courtney Hazlett and also media analyst Steve Adubato, who is also the author of “Make the Connection”—

Steve? 

STEVE ADUBATO, MEDIA ANALYST:  Yes, Joe?

SCARBOROUGH:  This is a train wreck waiting to happen.  Rosie can‘t get along with anybody.  She couldn‘t get along with the people that ran her own magazine.  Why in the world did they pick this lady?  She doesn‘t play well with others. 

ADUBATO:  You know, Joe, I wish Rosie O‘Donnell all the best, but I have to tell you, in all the years I‘ve been analyzing our crazy business, this is about one of the worst decisions I‘ve ever seen.  They already have a comic with an acerbic sense of humor.  Her name is Joy Behar, and she‘s really good, and people like her. 

In a Gallup recent poll, 65 percent of the Americans said, “We don‘t like you, Rosie.”  I have to tell you... 

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, Steve, and that‘s the point.  I mean, Rosie O‘Donnell is less popular than Star Jones, who was near the bottom of that list. 

ADUBATO:  Yes, and here‘s the other thing:  Rosie said a couple of months ago, I love this thing with “The View” because, quote, “I don‘t have to drive the bus.”  You read her Web site, she‘s saying, “Wait a minute.  I want to drive the bus.” 

Here‘s my advice to Rosie:  Rosie, it‘s Barbara‘s bus, Barbara Walters.  Get to the back of the bus, play nice with the other women on the show, be collegial, and maybe one day they‘ll give you the wheel.  They haven‘t even started.  It‘s two weeks away.  And I don‘t believe that all publicity, bad or whatever, is good for the show.  I think it‘s a train wreck, you‘re right, and I give it a couple of months and it‘s over, Joe. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Courtney, do you agree? 

COURTNEY HAZLETT, “OK” MAGAZINE:  You know, I think everybody is on the edge of their seat waiting to hear what happens.  Up until this point, Elizabeth Hasselbeck, who I love to death—don‘t get me wrong—she‘s basically been silent since she began her time on “The View.”  And all of a sudden, this summer, she‘s really spoken out against a lot of things. 

And I think that is going to have a big effect on how Rosie comes across, as well.  Suddenly it‘s not the same “View” that Rosie sort of signed up for.  And so I think, once she gets there, and starts to get comfortable, and she gets her feet wet, things are going to start to happen, and it could get a little crazy. 

ADUBATO:  Joe...

SCARBOROUGH:  Steve, go ahead.  I was just wondering about Barbara Walters‘ series of misjudgments this summer.  What‘s going on here?  Is she a diva that needs to be reined in?  Can she be reined in?

ADUBATO:  You know, Joe, she gets her props for—look, you and I have been in this business for a few years.  You had a great career in politics before that, but I‘ll say this:  I gave Barbara Walters all the credit in the world for staying in this insane business and being successful. 

But I‘ll say this:  After Meredith Vieira left, she wasn‘t the, quote, “leader.”  What Meredith Vieira was, was this great facilitator.  She engaged the other people.  She brought the other guests in. 

She made a terrible choice, Barbara, in bringing in Rosie because it doesn‘t work.  It‘s like a salad.  It‘s got to be—I can‘t cook, but my wife tells me you‘ve got to put all the right ingredients there.  The wrong ingredients are there.  It‘s combustible.  It‘s like watching a horrible car wreck on the side of the road.  You may watch for a couple of minutes, but then you‘re going to move on. 

The bottom line is:  You can‘t sustain with a Rosie O‘Donnell, because I have to tell you, she‘s not a likeable character anymore.  When she had the crush on Tom Cruise she was, but not anymore. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Not anymore.  You‘re right, Steve.  Thank you, Steve. 

Thank you, Courtney.  Stay with us.  Hollyweird is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Roll out the red carpet.  It‘s time to take a trip to Hollyweird. 

First up, a big night for Mr. and Mrs. Britney Spears.  The pop tart introduced husband and wannabe rapper Kevin Federline at last night‘s Teen Choice Awards for his first national appearance.  Take a listen.  And, guys, hey, hey, Chris, make it short. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KEVIN FEDERLINE, HUSBAND OF BRITNEY SPEARS:  ... (INAUDIBLE) but not before I make them (INAUDIBLE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Hey, hey, hey, hey, Chris, man, that‘s torture.  OK, let‘s have a rule in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, OK, buddy?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Right?

SCARBOROUGH:  All K-Fed clips, keep them under two seconds. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  OK.  You got it.  And without no sound at all, actually. 

SCARBOROUGH:  No sound at all.  Exactly.  In fact, let‘s put some Whitney Houston over it. 

Anyway, it sounds like a big hit.  With me now to talk about K-Fed‘s performance and all the Hollywood scoop, we‘ve got editor-at-large for “Life and Style Weekly,” Dawn Yanek.  And still with us, Courtney Hazlett, “OK” magazine senior reporter. 

Courtney, let‘s start with you.  I want to show you a picture of Britney Spears, if we have that one.  If we can put it up—I mean, what in the world was Britney Spears wearing last night when she went out to introduce K-Fed? 

HAZLETT:  You know what?  I think we can file this one under too much information all around.  The entire thing, it was just...

SCARBOROUGH:  She looks like she‘s coming out of a trailer park here. 

Look at her.  Get back in the double-wide!

HAZLETT:  You know, it‘s like we keep taking one step forward and two steps back with Britney.  The whole thing, from introducing K-Fed to the time he started singing, I was appalled, yet I could not look away.  It almost defies explanation. 

SCARBOROUGH:  It really does. 

And, Dawn Yanek, is nobody managing this lady? 

DAWN YANEK, “LIFE AND STYLE”:  Well, you know, during her Matt Lauer interview, she forewent her stylist and her make-up artist and, you know, she seems to be making her own bold fashion choices.  And, you know, she loves her husband, and that‘s what she was there for.  She was there to support him, and maybe take a step back, and introduce him to the world.  And that she did. 

SCARBOROUGH:  I‘m looking again—forget about K-Fed.  I don‘t know what he‘s doing with his right hand there. 

YANEK:  And he‘s supposed to be a dancer.

SCARBOROUGH:  But look at Britney Spears again.  If we can go back to that hopefully.  I mean, that thing that she‘s wearing looks like a nightgown you would buy at a truck stop in Beaumont, Texas. 

YANEK:  Definitely an interesting choice for a pregnant woman who has experienced so much controversy over the last few months and just wants to be treated a little bit differently.  Definitely a strange choice. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, and, also, what I don‘t understand is these kids were screaming.  When‘s the last time that looking at a very pregnant woman in a slip was, like, the hip thing for pre-teens to scream at? 

YANEK:  The thing is, she‘s still Britney Spears.  People still love her, and she‘s a magazine fixture.  People want to know what she‘s doing, what her marriage is all about.  And, I mean, they were screaming for K-Fed, too.  I mean, I don‘t think he won any adult fans during the concert, but he was really smart to have his first public performance at the Teen Choice Awards, because if you‘re going to get any fans, it‘s going to be the young ones.  They‘re a little bit more impressionable, perhaps. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Maybe so.  And, of course, the queen of publicity herself, Paris Hilton, says her album is so good that it makes her cry.  Courtney, I guess...

HAZLETT:  Hey, you know what?  It almost made me cry, too.

SCARBOROUGH:  I was going to say, I guess Paris Hilton has suffered for her art, and now it‘s our turn, right?

HAZLETT:  And it‘s paid off.  I mean, look, at least we can see she‘s hard at work.  Her album drops tomorrow, and, you know, people actually do really like the song.  She‘s been saying that she‘s kind of slipped it in at clubs lately, had deejays spin it without saying who it was, and getting a great reaction.

And I can actually, personally, I‘ve seen this happen, as well.  It comes on, and everyone goes, “Oh, this is kind of cool.”  And once you find out it‘s Paris, as Paris will vouch for, people start to say, “Wait a minute.  I don‘t think I like it that much.”  But actually they give Paris a little bit of credit.  It‘s pretty good.  She worked with some fantastic producers and writers, and they‘ve put together something really actually pretty good. 

SCARBOROUGH:  That may actually boost her career.  Dawn, I‘ll give you the final word on Paris Hilton, the new pop tart.

YANEK:  Paris Hilton is definitely a good self-promoter, and she‘s putting herself out there and doing everything she can for her music career.  She‘s even auctioning off some of her items.  One of them includes her bed.  It‘s being auctioned off on StarStyle.com, believe it or not. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Nice, very nice.  Thank you so much, Dawn.

YANEK:  Get in line.

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes, get in line.  Thank you, Courtney.

HAZLETT:  Of course.

SCARBOROUGH:  And tomorrow night, we‘ll let you know why Osama bin Laden is a big Whitney Houston fan.  Maybe it‘s all the crack, or the alleged crack.

That‘s all the time we have tonight.  See you tomorrow in SCARBOROUGH

COUNTRY.

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

END   

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