updated 9/7/2006 11:38:00 AM ET 2006-09-07T15:38:00

Guests: Brent Bozell, Bob Kohn, Joan Walsh, Katrina Szish, David Caplan, Perez Hilton

JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST:  Right now in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY: Blame Clinton.  The ABC 9/11 docudrama that has Democrats demanding censorship from Disney.  Does this movie rewrite history, like an NBC terror analyst says it does?  And why won‘t they let the Clinton cabinet get a sneak peek of this movie?

Then: Katie Couric destroys her competitors on night one, but then she does a one on one with George W. Bush, one of the awkward interviews of our time.  Plus: Did she or didn‘t she?  We go to the telestrator with a botox expert, plus get plastic surgery suggestions for yours truly.  It‘s ugly.  And an MSNBC exclusive, the lost Anderson Cooper CIA tapes.  We‘ll show you his top secret job interview with the agency and see why he ended up on cable TV instead of being a secret agent man.

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

But first, more fall-out from ABC‘s upcoming miniseries, “The Path to 9/11.”  Now, Democrats are blasting this docudrama, calling it biased and inaccurate for suggesting that Bill Clinton passed up chances to take out Osama bin Laden.  Today, House Democrats defended the former president, calling on ABC president Bob Iger to censor offending parts of the miniseries, saying in a letter that, “September 11 is a day of mourning.  We do not believe it is appropriate for it to be tainted by false assertions or blame or partisan spin.”  ABC accused of partisan spin?  The shock!

And further inflaming the left is the fact that ABC is refusing to provide a copy of the miniseries to President Clinton, his former national security adviser, Sandy Berger, and his former secretary of state, Madeleine Albright, but has given Rush Limbaugh a copy of the tape.  ABC says it‘s not a documentary, and it will air disclaimers, but ABC and Scholastic are reportedly releasing a “Path to 9/11” discussion guide for high school teachers, which they will assign to their students.

With me now, NBC terror analyst Roger Cressey, who was a counterterrorism official on the National Security Council under President Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.  Also with us, Brent Bozell, the founder and president of the Media Research Center.

I want by showing you all a scene from “Path to 9/11,” where an actor playing counterterrorism czar Richard Clarke and Harvey Keitel, playing FBI agent John O‘Neill, are talking about the talking Clinton administration.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Despite all the red flags, no one‘s taking terrorism seriously!  Political correctness rules the day.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Are you sure about this?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I‘ve given my life to the Bureau.  Everything else came second.  I (INAUDIBLE) my country to be in danger, and (INAUDIBLE) help try to keep it safe, and we‘re not safe yet.  No one seems to care.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Roger, fact or fiction?

ROGER CRESSEY, NBC TERROR ANALYST:  Well, since I knew John O‘Neill and since I‘ve worked with Dick, I can tell you that type of conversation just did not take place because I was in their presence on multiple occasions.  Joe, the issue is not whether or not it bashes the Clinton administration.  If it bashes the Bush administration, that‘s equally bad.  And by the way, they have a scene that talks about the summer of 2001, where Ahmed Massoud claims he knows of an impending terrorist attack with hijacked airplanes crashing into buildings.  That‘s pure fantasy, too, and it‘s unfair to the Bush administration.

The issue is, has ABC deliberately misrepresented the facts contained in the 9/11 commission, and in doing so, completely skewered what the 9/11 commission is all about?

SCARBOROUGH:  But you know, Roger, I mean, history—when history is told through movies, a lot of times, they are docudramas.  I mean, I certainly remember after the USS Cole attack, we had a secret briefing inside the Armed Services Committee, which I‘m sure is declassified now, and we had Democrats and Republicans alike basically saying the same thing those two gentlemen were saying right there, that we‘ve got terrorists attacking us and nobody seems to be paying attention.  And of course, that was in 2000.

CRESSEY:  Yes, but here‘s the problem, Joe.  This movie purports to be inspired by and—no, more than, based on the 9/11 commission, which is fact, which is the nation‘s standard for the events leading up to 9/11, and then it makes stuff up and it misrepresents the facts.  That‘s the problem.

If they want to do some docudrama that has a political take to it,

fine.  Go ahead.  But dissociate it from the 9/11 commission.  It‘s a

tremendous disservice to the American people by positioning that way, and I

hope ABC does the right thing between now and when this is supposed to be

shown and corrects the misleading representations in it

SCARBOROUGH:  Brent Bozell, are you suffering from vertigo tonight?  I mean, for years, we‘ve been hearing about how ABC, NBC, CBS is slanted, has a bias against conservatives, but now a lot of people are believing that this docudrama intentionally distorts the facts regarding the Clinton administration.

BRENT BOZELL, MRC.ORG:  Well, look, you know, as opposed to President Clinton, I have seen this,  and I don‘t know where that puts me on the pecking order.  But let‘s be clear about something.  The 9/11 commission report is not infallible truth.  There are plenty of people who have disputed elements therein.  I‘m not taking sides, one side or the other, I‘m just saying that it is a disputed document by some people.

One wishes—I agree with Roger.  I wish that this had stuck to being a documentary and not gone the way of docudramas, but it did.  There will be some things that people on the Clinton side disagree with, as do the Bush people, as well.  But I don‘t think, from what I saw—I didn‘t see any deliberate attempt to bash either the Clinton side or the Bush side.  Look, both administrations do bear a degree of responsibility with all the warnings signals that we had that were overlooked.

SCARBOROUGH:  It‘s certainly, though—just looking at these clips, it looks like really compelling television, and I bet a lot more people will tune because it‘s a docudrama—you have somebody like Harvey Keitel, a great actor—instead of having a straightforward documentary.  You know, one of the things, though, Brent, that Democrats and liberals are upset about is the fact that Bill Clinton was not allowed to watch this, but Rush Limbaugh says he is working behind the scenes—or Clinton‘s working behind the scenes to get the film reedited that Limbaugh saw.

BOZELL:  Well, I don‘t know.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  Bill Clinton himself is going to call Bob Iger, the CEO of Disney, and demand or ask that this miniseries, “The Path to 9/11,” be re-edited and re-cut so as not to depict Bill Clinton and his administration as they are currently portrayed in this miniseries.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Brent, do you think it‘s a good idea for Democrats and Bill Clinton to contact the head of ABC and tell them that they need to go back in and re-edit this?

BOZELL:  Well, I think what they‘re doing is giving a lot of—well, let me say this.  I think that if you have a scene or two scenes or three scenes, important scenes, that do not have any bearing on reality and you can edit them, I think they should edit them.  But I think that there are some people—I‘m not suggesting Roger, but I do think there are some people on team Clinton that have very thin skins and won‘t—won‘t allow any degree of criticism.

SCARBOROUGH:  Roger...

(CROSSTALK)

BOZELL:  ... there‘s something to be criticized.

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes.  Roger, I‘ll ask you this and ask you about that in a second.  But I want to show you another clip of ABC‘s “Path to 9/11,” where a CIA agent tries to get some information.  Let‘s run the clip.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  The government of the Sudan is continuing to deny that (INAUDIBLE) had any other purpose beyond simple pharmaceuticals.  Now, the rioting here (INAUDIBLE) criticism that President Clinton is getting back home, where he is under fire from Republicans and media pundits accusing him of launching the cruise missile attacks in a vain effort to distract public attention from his recent confession of having an affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  And Roger, certainly, that is an inflammatory topic.  But I‘ll tell you what.  You look at the some of the timing of those attacks, and they did line up neatly with some of Bill Clinton‘s problems.  But I want to go back to what Brent has to say because, I‘ll be honest with you, my impression has long been that the Clinton administration loved fact that your boss, Richard Clarke, put out a book that I thought went after both sides, but the media just focused in on George Bush‘s failings, of course, because George Bush was commander-in-chief, but it seems some Clinton administration officials don‘t want there to be any negative light cast on the mistakes that they made.

CRESSEY:  Well, look, Joe, they‘re going to defend their president, just as you would expect a Republican administration to defend their president.

A couple points.  The 9/11 commission looked at the whole “wag the dog” scenario and described it as a slur against the president.  There was nothing to it.  Secondly...

SCARBOROUGH:  When you say there‘s nothing to it, I mean, we can...

CRESSEY:  There‘s nothing to it.

SCARBOROUGH:  ... go back to specific dates, he launches attack on Sudan during a pivotal time in the Monica Lewinsky scandal, and then, when he has his grand jury testimony, didn‘t he launch cruise missiles into Iraq at that time?

CRESSEY:  Joe, I don‘t want to get off on a sidetrack here because this is not the central issue.

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, but no, it‘s not the central issue, but you just said that the 9/11 commission said that was slander.  It‘s—listen, you could—you could talk to, you know, 100 political pundits and at least 50 percent of them would say that that theory held water.  How do you call that slander?

CRESSEY:  I call it slander because this was one case where the CIA had actionable intelligence that bin Laden and his leadership were meeting at Shar-e-Khot (ph), and that‘s why they decided to launch the cruise missile attack at the time.  They decided to include the tannery in Sudan because the CIA discovered samples of EMPTA, which until that time, the only known use for that chemical was in chemical weapons.  So...

SCARBOROUGH:  And...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Wasn‘t there another Iraq...

CRESSEY:  ... get back to the real issue here.

SCARBOROUGH:  Wasn‘t there another Iraq attack during another pivotal moment in the Lewinsky scandal?

CRESSEY:  That I don‘t know.  But let me get back to what Brent said because I think Brent made a couple good points.  The 9/11 commission report is not the final word, yet it is the standard, the foundation upon which all other research is being done right now.  And so my point, again, is if ABC wants to associate itself with the 9/11 commission report and derive credibility from that, then don‘t willfully misrepresent what the commission report says in terms of Clinton or Bush.

SCARBOROUGH:  And Brent, that seems very fair, right?  If they are factually inaccurate here, you‘d be calling for them to take it off the air, too, right?

BOZELL:  Yes, but I think where, if they are factually inaccurate and they can correct it, they ought to.  But I don‘t want that to detract from the message, the overarching message of this docudrama.  I think it‘s a terrific show overall.  I think it deserves to be watched.

Look, I don‘t have much problem with our intelligence services.  I have a big problem with the mood of the American people.  We‘re at war right now, and no one feels himself at war.  If this film doesn‘t scare you, I don‘t think anything ever will.

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, and I‘ll tell you what.  I think one thing that Roger, Brent and I all agree on is the fact that mistakes were made in the Clinton administration and in the Bush administration, and the most important thing moving forward is that we learn from those mistakes and don‘t repeat them again.

CRESSEY:  Amen, Joe.

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, Roger Cressey, thank you so much.  Bent Bozell, as always.  We really appreciate you being on.

And coming up next, an NBC News exclusive investigation, why government contracts maybe getting in the way of protecting U.S. troops from one of the deadliest terrorist weapons in Iraq.  You have got to see this special report.  Plus, CBS helps Katie Couric and giving a rating boost, but it‘s another kind of injection that‘s getting all the buzz.  And late: Anderson Cooper‘s hidden past in the CIA exposed.  we‘ve got the tapes that show why he may not have been able to cut it as a secret agent man.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Welcome back.  They‘re one of the biggest killers of American troops in Iraq, so why isn‘t our government doing everything it can to protect America‘s bravest against rocket-propelled grenades, especially since they‘re the main weapons of choice for Iraqi terrorists.  Well, tonight, a blistering investigation by NBC News reveals that the U.S.  Army is actually opposed to a weapon system that could save hundreds of American soldiers and Marines every year.  NBC‘s senior investigative correspondent Lisa Meyers has filed this exclusive report.

LISA MYERS, NBC SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT:  Joe, Pentagon sources tell NBC News that the U.S. Army blocked a plan that might have given American troops more protection against one of the deadliest weapons used by insurgents.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(voice-over):  It‘s a favorite weapon of insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan, the rocket-propelled grenade or RPG—cheap, easy to use, deadly.  In Iraq, these weapons have killed more than 132 Americans, including 21-year-old private Dennis Miller (ph).

KATHY MILLER, PARENT:  They were in Ramadi, and his tank was hit with a rocket-propelled grenade.  Little Denny never knew what hit him.

MYERS:  Sixteen months ago, commanders in Iraq began asking for help, sending the Pentagon urgent requests for a new system to counter RPGs.

(on camera):  Last year, a special Pentagon unit thought it found a solution here in Israel, a high-tech system that literally shoots RPGs out of the sky.

(voice-over):  The system is called Trophy, and here it‘s mounted a Stryker fighting vehicle, like those in Iraq.  It essentially works this way.  Radar, as shown here, scans all directions and automatically detects when an RPG is launched.  It then fires an interceptor that destroys the RPG safely away from the vehicle.  Here it is in slow motion from a recent test intercepting an RPG before it reaches its target.

The Israeli military, which recently lost a number of tanks and troops to RPGs, is rushing to deploy Trophy.  Colonel Dibi ben Yohash (ph) helped develop the system, and his company stands to profit from any sales.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  We have a well above 90 percent of kill probability ability.

MYERS (on camera):  Ninety percent?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Well above 90 percent kill probability.

MYERS:  How confident are you that this system can save American lives?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I‘m fully confident on that

MYERS (voice-over):  So are officials at the Pentagon‘s Office of Force Transformation, which tested the system 30 times and which found it more than 98 percent effective at killing RPGs.  Those officials decided to buy several Trophies, which cost $300,000 to $400,000 each, for battlefield trials on Strykers in Iraq next year.

(on camera):  But the Pentagon‘s Office of Force Transformation immediately ran into a roadblock, strong opposition from the U.S. Army.  Why?  Pentagon sources tell NBC News the Army brass considers the Israeli system a threat to an army program to develop an RPG defense system from scratch.

(voice-over):  The $70 million contract for that program had been awarded to an Army favorite, Raytheon.  Colonel Donald Kochman (ph) is in charge of the Army program.

(on camera):  Best case scenario, what year could the Raytheon system actually be deployed in the field?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  FY 11.

MYERS (voice-over):  That‘s right, Army speak for 2011, five years from now.

(on camera):  So your message to our troops in Afghanistan and Iraq is, Don‘t worry, guys, we‘ll get you something in the field in five years.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Our message to our soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan is, is we are doing everything prudent to provide for your protection and your safety.

MYERS (voice-over):  Kochman insists the Israeli system is not ready to be deployed by the U.S.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Trophy has not demonstrated its capability to be successfully integrated into a system and continue to perform its wartime mission.

CRESSEY:  That claim, however, is disputed by other Pentagon officials in internal documents obtained by NBC News, including this e-mail from a senior official, which says, “Trophy is a system that is ready today.  We need to get this capability into the hands of our war fighters ASAP because it will save lives.”

So why would the Army block a solution that might help troops?

PROF. STEVEN SCHOONER, FORMER ARMY CONTRACTING OFFICIAL:  There are some in the Army who would be extremely concerned that if the Trophy system worked, then the Army would have no need to go forward with the Raytheon system and the program might be terminated.

MYERS:  For families of soldiers like Dennis Miller, any delay in getting help to the troops is unthinkable.

MILLER:  Do they have children over there?  Do they have husbands or wives over there?  They need to sit back and look at it maybe from a different angle.  I just think it‘s ridiculous.

MYERS:  Some senior Pentagon officials claim the Army is more concerned about protecting its turf than about protecting its troops.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

The Pentagon is now trying to interest the Marine Corps in testing Trophy, but because of Army opposition, there are still now no plans to send this system to Iraq—Joe.

SCARBOROUGH:  And Lisa, that‘s just unbelievable, and unfortunately, I saw it happen time and time again on the Armed Services Committee in Congress.  But here you have the Pentagon saying this system is not ready, when another part of the Pentagon says it has a 98 percent success rate.  And when will their system be up again?  Five years from now.  Think of all the lives that will be lost from our troops over there if we wait that long, because this is a classic Pentagon turf battle, just an absolute disgrace.  And it may well be an issue in the upcoming elections.

Now, in case you missed it this afternoon, MSNBC covered the battle for Congress throughout the day, and one of the topics we discussed was Katherine Harris‘s performance in is Republican primary last night.  Harris overcame a mutiny by her campaign staff and months of controversy to sell (ph) the victory, which was a gift for Katherine Harris, a gift for late-night comics and a gift for our crack staff.  Enjoy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. KATHERINE HARRIS (R-FL), SENATE CANDIDATE:  We‘re in this race to stay.  We don‘t—quite frankly, people are going to decide who‘s going to be their next—next United States senator at the ballot.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  You‘re already my adopted congresswoman, Congresswoman Harris, and...

HARRIS:  And you‘re my favorite adopted constituent.

I‘m in this race, and I‘m going to win.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  You‘re totally freaking me out right now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Oh, my!  Coming up: A reporter‘s attacked by someone he‘s investigating, and it‘s all caught on tape.  That‘s next on “Must See S.C.”  That happens in Security Council all the time.  And later: Tomkat protects its kitten.  We‘ll tell you what Katie Holmes is now saying about all those nasty Suri rumors.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, it‘s time for tonight‘s “Must See S.C.,” some video you just got to see.  First, the joys of being an investigative reporter.  We have this incredible footage of a San Diego reporter being attacked by a couple he was investigative.  The camera crew kept the tape rolling throughout the beating.  Let‘s take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  You going to have enough with (INAUDIBLE) stop that (DELETED) camera right (DELETED) now!

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  That‘s not appropriate.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I don‘t give a (DELETED)!  Stop your behavior! 

Do you like (INAUDIBLE) Which one do you like better, huh?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Ma‘am...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I‘m going to put you on the other side of the country!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  That is really pathetic.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I don‘t care!  Stop this!  Stop this right now!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  That‘s pathetic.  Have a nice day.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  You (DELETED) you!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Have a nice day.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Have a nice day my (DELETED)!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Thank you.  Bye-bye.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Son of a (DELETED)~!  Stop it!  Break the (DELETED) camera!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Call the police.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  You guys are trying to do to my life—you‘re invading my life! (INAUDIBLE) (DELETED) It‘s injustice!  That‘s all you‘re doing!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Looks like a SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY skit.  Police were called to scene to arrest the attackers, and the reporter was left with a bloody face of bruises and the story of his life.  Man, that got ugly.

Coming up next: Forget the infamous Photoshop diet.  We‘ll tell you why some say Katie Couric has actually had some work done for her CBS debut.  Plus, following the trail of Anderson Cooper, the lost tapes of his secret CIA past.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MILISSA REHBERGER, MSNBC ANCHOR:  Hi there, I‘m Milissa Rehberger. 

Here‘s what‘s happening.

President Bush say 14 top terror suspects have been transferred from secret CIA prisons to the U.S. facility at Guantanamo Bay.   It‘s the first time the president acknowledged those CIA prisons.

He said among those transferred from them was alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Muhammed.  

He also urged Congress to authorize military tribunals to try terror suspects.   The Supreme Court struck down tribunals in June because Congress hadn‘t approved them.

Revised Pentagon guidelines ban torture and degrading treatment for prisoners.   It specifically mentions forced nudity, hooding and threatening prisoners with dogs.  

Israel says it will lift its sea and air blockade of Lebanon tomorrow evening.   The action comes more than three weeks after a cease-fire ended Israel‘s month long conflict with Hezbollah.  

And NASA is now hoping to launch the space shuttle Atlantis on Friday, 11:40 a.m. Eastern time.  Today‘s launch was scrubbed because of a problem with the shuttle‘s electrical system.  

Back to “Scarborough Country.”

JOE SCARBOROUGH, MSNBC HOST:  Coming up, the pictures are out and so are Tomcat‘s claws.   Suri‘s parents defend their kitten against all those nasty rumors.

Plus, the Hoff is making waves in “Hollyweird.”  Oh, there he is.  Why he prefers talking cars to “Playboy” playmates.   Love that.  Oh, baby, coming up, the Hoff.  Hey, what—I can‘t help myself.  

Welcome back to “Scarborough Country.”   We‘re going to be talking about those stories in minutes.

But first, it‘s day two of the Katie Couric era.   Couric won the first night‘s ratings wars in dramatic fashion.   She almost doubled the ratings of ABC and NBC‘s nightly news cast last night.  

But tonight, “CBS‘s Evening New‘s” topics range from an interview with President Bush to a story about Archie Bunker‘s chair.  

Again, the ratings for last night‘s debut were up almost 90 percent from this same time last year.  But the reviews were mixed.  

And tonight‘s interview with George Bush was, well, awkward at best.  

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KATIE COURIC, CBS ANCHOR:  America is safer but we‘re not yet safe.  

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  Right.  

COURIC:  When you think about the threats out there, what is your biggest fear?  

BUSH:  Well, my biggest fear is somebody will come in and slip in this country and kill Americans.   And I can‘t tell you how.  

You know, one way to look at it is we have to be right 100 percent of the time in order to protect this country.  And they‘ve got to be right once.

(END VIDEO CLIP)  

SCARBOROUGH:  Now, if you saw this whole interview, it looked like George Bush would have preferred having a root canal or appearing on this show to taking questions from Katie Couric.  

But for more insight on the dawning of the Couric era, let‘s bring in Joan Walsh from salon.com.  We also have Bob Kohn.  He‘s the author of “Journalistic Fraud.”

Bob, you‘ve always been nasty, mean and snarky to CBS News.  What do you think of Katie‘s first two days?  

BOB KOHN, AUTHOR:  Well, I think you have to separate style from substance.  

Now, on the style side, I think she did a pretty good job.  I think she‘s quite professional.  She looked good.  

You might criticize how she had conducted the interview tonight with Bush.  But frankly, I don‘t think she did a bad job tonight, and even last night on the style side.

But on the substance side, it‘s completely different.   They‘re going back to their old tricks.  Last night, CBS put on a story called “Eye on your Money.”  And it was about this tremendous find, oil reserves in the Gulf of Mexico.  

It was a very positive story.  But they added the subhead, as Katie was reading, “But will it mean cheaper prices at the pump?”  They had to add a negative.  They had to add a cloud to the silver lining. 

And then, if you watch the story, there was no question whatsoever that there was going to be any kind.

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, there did seem, Joan Walsh, to be a thousand different new segments launched.  And Tom Shields (ph) actually had a different take on it.   He said that it was really an apology for big oil.

But, Joan, didn‘t you think it was hard to separate style from substance because CBS‘s launch of Katie has been a lot heavier on style than substance, in a way that certainly Bob Shaffer (ph) would never have allowed in his broadcasts?  

JOAN WALSH, SALON.COM:  Well, absolutely, Joe.  And you know, the thing I thought was interesting tonight is that you have a journalist, Katie Couric, who‘s in the middle a product launch, meeting with the President Bush who‘s also in the middle of a product launch.

I mean, the president is doing an extraordinary number of speeches this week trying to obscure basically the troubles in Iraq, reintroducing us to Osama bin Laden, who he didn‘t used to want to talk about at all, and then he meets Katie who does an incredible softball interview.  

I mean, I thought he did look awkward.  But I don‘t know why.  She just didn‘t look good with him.  

SCARBOROUGH:  They did.  They looked so awkward.  But also, Joan—and I wanted to talk about this last night.  I had people jump all over me.  But again, it goes after the fact that maybe broadcast news is becoming more style than substance.

You know, obviously, you had the photo shopping of Katie‘s photos, trying to slim her down.  

You looked at her last night—Katie Couric last night—and her face—and I said this and some people jumped on me, but off camera everybody agreed with me.  It looked like she had been botoxed.  Her face was frozen and this.  

WALSH:  I‘m not going to go there.   I think there has been just too much attention to the way she looks.  I will agree.

(CROSSTALK)  

SCARBOROUGH:  But hold on a second.   Both of you are saying you don‘t want to go there but, at the same time, CBS has gone there.  She‘s gone there.  So why are you all afraid to talk about what Katie‘s doing?

WALSH:  I think that there‘s plenty more to talk about.

SCARBOROUGH:   It‘s not fair.

WALSH:  There is plenty more to talk about it.  

SCARBOROUGH:  There is.

WALSH:  I think the interesting style difference is—I actually applaud them for shaking up that 22-minute broadcast.  

Joe, you know, it‘s the same thing we were looking at when we were children.   It hasn‘t changed.  

I like the fact that they‘re trying to shake it up.  I like the interviews.  

KOHN:  Joan?  Joan, it‘s about recovering their credibility, OK?  And they‘re not going to recover their credibility by just looks, OK?  They have to cover it by giving the news straight.   Remember the reason why they lost.

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.  Bob, I don‘t mean to cut you off, but, I mean, let‘s be blunt about it.   I sat and looked at the broadcast last night and tonight.  And if I can go on the Internet and get information on Afghanistan in five minutes going to washingtonpost.com, newyorktimes.com, washingtontimes.com, and salon.com, why am I going to sit through a broadcast for 30 minutes?  

WALSH:  I think that is a good response.

KOHN:  No, but, look, last night, they did a hip piece on Bush.   It was a news analysis.  It was an opinion piece disguised as hard news.   That‘s the problem with CBS.  It‘s the old trick.  It‘s institutional problems.  

SCARBOROUGH:  But I don‘t think. 

Joan Walsh, I think the bigger problem that they‘ve had—and I‘ve always said CBS has been biased. I didn‘t see it last night.  And I never saw it with Bob Schieffer. 

But in this case, I just think this type of broadcast is a dinosaur.  

WALSH:  I think it is.

KOHN:  You know.

SCARBOROUGH:  My dad used to go to work.  He‘d come home.  We‘d eat at 5:30 Central time.  We‘d sit down and we‘d watch Walter Cronkite.  That‘s what we did.

Now who the heck‘s home at 6:00, 6:30 at night?  

KOHN:  Nobody‘s disagreeing with that.

WALSH:  I think they‘re doing a couple of interesting things.   I think they‘re breaking it up.  And they‘re making a lot of more things available on the web, which I think is smart.  

They are breaking up the 22-minute format.  She‘s doing more interviews.  She‘s playing to her strengths.  I do.

KOHN:  Look, they‘re doing what they can.   They‘re doing what they can, Joe.

I mean, look, yes, the audience is smaller.   It is a dinosaur.  The network news is a dinosaur.  But yet, they are still eight million viewers to go after there.  So they‘re going to do what they can to get it.

My biggest concern is not the style.   I think the woman did a fine job.   It‘s the substance.   You‘re not going to change the institutional liberal bias at CBS just by changing the actors.  

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  No, you‘re not, Bob.  But at the same time, there has been a big turnover at CBS News since the Dan Rather scandal.  

WALSH:  And let me.

KOHN:  That‘s good.

SCARBOROUGH:  And you look at the people who are running that network. 

You look at the people—you look at Bob Schieffer and what he did.

I looked at those broadcasts and I just got to tell you, I think CBS is more down the line than it‘s ever been.  

WALSH:  And the counter.

KOHN:  Well, tonight it was, but not last night.   I completely disagree with that, Joe.  Last night, I think, was a biased broadcast.   Tonight it was fair.  

WALSH:  Well, the counter terror piece was a total puff piece.  It was a total puff piece.  Oh, they‘re finally cooperating five years after 9/11.   He gets a scoop, he walks through, he finds bureaucrats talking.  It was a complete.

KOHN:  I think fine tonight.  Tomorrow is going to be another day.  

WALSH:  Well, we would disagree.

(CROSSTALK)

KOHN:  All right.  We got the CBS “New York Times” poll that just came out tonight.   They‘re going to report that tomorrow.  And they‘re going to use it against Bush.  Watch what happens.  

SCARBOROUGH:  OK.  We will watch and see.

WALSH:  The facts are the facts.  

SCARBOROUGH:  But of course we‘ll all be watching over—yes, the facts are the facts.  And we know George Bush‘s numbers are going to be low.  But we‘ll be watching over the next year.  

As somebody said, not too long ago, it wasn‘t how she rated last night that mattered, it‘s how she‘s going to rate when a big crisis comes.   And I think, again, that was Tom Shields (ph), who usually gets it right.

Now, I am going to be snarky here.  We asked—because again, I think, you know, it‘s style over substance.

We asked Dr. Gayleman, a board certified dermatologist, to analyze Katie‘s face and give us her expert opinion.  Botox or no botox?

Dr. Gayleman?  

DR. GAYLEMAN:  Hi, Joe.  Thanks for having me.

Here‘s what I see when I look at this picture of Katie from last night.   Her forehead is very smooth.   No one in their late forties has a forehead that smooth unless they have some help.  

Most people also have some lines here between their eyebrows.  That‘s just normal.  And she doesn‘t have any of that.  

She also has a little bit of a brow droop here.   That could be natural.   I think it‘s probably due to botox, judging from the smoothness of her forehead.

She‘s also probably had some fillers, the lines leading from her nose to her mouth.   As we get older, we lose soft tissue and that area always sinks.

Her neck looks a little bit rougher than her face does.  And that‘s what I see.  

SCARBOROUGH:  And that‘s what I saw last night too.  But after

watching Katie Couric, just to prove—because my wife, very angry at this

she said I should be snarky.  So I wanted to be fair.  I wondered what I needed to do to be able to squeeze a cool $15 million out of MSNBC by possibly having some work done on my face.  

Dr. Gayleman?  Dr. Gayleman, what do you think?  

GAYLEMAN:  I‘m sorry to do this to you, Joe, but how much time have you have?

You clearly have not had botox.  You have a lot of wrinkles in your forehead, got some heavy bags under your eyes, a few too many late nights.

You could use a little work on your nose maybe but that‘s not quite my department.  I‘d have to send you to a specialist for that.

And, well, step away from the camera a little bit or spend some more time with your razor in the morning.   You won‘t look at good as Katie does, but this might help a little bit.  

SCARBOROUGH:  God, I am so embarrassed.   Can somebody get me a paper bag to finish the night?   God, that‘s brutal.  

Well, you know, also, while we‘re talking about anchors, reports surfaced today that well known CNN anchor Anderson Cooper—he‘s a great guy.  I like Anderson.  But he once fancied himself as a CIA man.  

The reporter, anchor and super hero that we and “Vanity Fair,” like to call the conscience of America, reportedly spent summers his sophomore and junior years at Yale training to become a CIA agent.  

Now, a CNN spokeswoman says Cooper eventually chose not to pursue the career at the agency.  But we did manage to dig up Anderson‘s old CIA interview.

In fact, it was part of one of our “MSNBC Investigates.”  And, well, we figured out why things didn‘t quite work out for him.  

And don‘t worry, MSNBC made sure to protect the identities of the CIA agents who were also caught on tape.  Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED CIA AGENT:  All right, Mr. Hooper, I‘m going to ask you a few important questions.  

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN CORRESPONDENT:  The name is Cooper.  

UNIDENTIFIED CIA AGENT:  OK.  All right, Andy, now tell me again why

you want to

COOPER:  No, no no.  No. Anderson Cooper.  

UNIDENTIFIED CIA AGENT:  OK.

COOPER:  My mother is Gloria Vanderbilt.  

UNIDENTIFIED CIA AGENT:  OK.  Well, tell me why you want to be in the

CIA?  

COOPER:  Well, my mother, Gloria Vanderbilt, says I should grow up and become the conscience of America.  

UNIDENTIFIED CIA AGENT:  Are you aware we have a very tough schedule.  In the morning, it starts early, 6:00 a.m. revellie (ph), 6:30 munitions training and 7 p.m., counter intelligence.

COOPER:  OK.  Well, first of all, I always have my facial regimen before 7:00 a.m.  So if you could bounce one of those events to later in the day, that would be grand.  

UNIDENTIFIED CIA AGENT:  It‘s not just the morning schedule.  It‘s also a lot of travel all over the world.  

COOPER:  That‘s great.  

UNIDENTIFIED CIA AGENT:  And it involves a lot of disguises.  

COOPER:  OK, well, disguises are fine.  I‘m a Yale man.  I can handle that.   But I got to say, if there‘s going to be travel, I have to insist that my stylist comes along.  

UNIDENTIFIED CIA AGENT:  Are you sure the CIA‘s right for you?

COOPER:  Oh, I am more sure than ever, because my mother, Gloria Vanderbilt, says I need to be the conscience of America.  

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH: Conscience of America with a face much, much more beautiful than this one.  

Now, coming up next, speaking of beautiful people, Tomkat on the attack.   Suri‘s parents strike back against all of those snarky rumors about their little kitten.  

And later, an all too public affair for Jessica Simpson.   Did the pop tart over hype her latest romance just to stay in the spotlight?  

There‘s only one place, you will find out my friends, and it‘s in “Hollyweird.” 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Welcome back to “Scarborough Country.”

Obviously, the photograph everybody is talking about is Tomcat‘s baby. 

Suri Cruise makes her debut on the cover of “Vanity Fair.”

But the pictures only tell part of the story.   In the article, Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes latch out at the media and all the speculation about Suri.  And they say it‘s been “heartbreaking and the stuff they say about Suri.  You shouldn‘t be able to say all that.  You can‘t say that about my child.”

With us now, “US Weekly‘s” Editor-at-large Katrina Szish.  And also “Star” magazine‘s New York Bureau Chief David Caplan.

And Katrina, let me start with you.  These photos—let‘s just agree on one thing, this Baby is absolutely gorgeous.  

KATRINA SZISH, EDITOR-AT-LARGE, “US WEEKLY”:  Gorgeous.  Stunning.  It makes me think Shiloh Jolie-Pitt?  Who‘s that?  This baby is the baby.  

SCARBOROUGH:  No doubt about it.  Now, you go through these other pictures and are obviously very controlled here, right?  

SZISH:  Oh, yes.

SCARBOROUGH:  I mean, the whole things controlled.

SZISH:  This is a loving nurturing family.  And if you didn‘t get it, turn the page and you‘ll see it in a few more pages.  

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes.  Oh, yes, look at this.  The family that has Annie Liebowitz takes pictures of them together stays together.

SZISH:   Plays together, stays together.  Yes.

SCARBOROUGH:  But they also struck back, very angry

SZISH:  Oh, they sure did.  They sure did.  They said why are you picking on us—especially Katie.  This is my child.  This is hurtful to me.  I‘m a new mom.  Why is the media so hard on me?  

And that would be OK except, because of Tom‘s antics, because of their very strange behavior, it‘s not a surprise with everything else.  

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, it‘s not a surprise.   It‘s hypocricy.  I mean, you know what?  If I was a star, I would do what Matthew Broderick and Sara Jessica Parker did.  Go out, hold up the baby.  Here she is.

SZISH:  Here she is.

SCARBOROUGH:  They take the pictures and it‘s all over.  But they‘ve been acting liking like freaks.  Yes.  

SZISH:  The mystery shrouding the baby is what made it bizarre.  So, of course, we‘re going to roll our eyes.  

SCARBOROUGH:  Right.

So tell me, Dave, what‘s the inside story on this photo shoot?  

DAVID CAPLAN, NEW YORK BUREAU CHIEF, “STAR” MAGAZINE:  Well, the interesting thing about this photo shoot is the back story that really—you know, the writers spent five days with Tom and Katie working on this story.

And then I heard as well that she spent seven days in a sequestered environment where even sort of the top editors at “Vanity Fair” didn‘t even know about this, while she was writing it, so even that was so strange and bizarre.  

Plus, I just have to add, this whole thing smells of a publicity stunt.  Because these photos were shot just a few days before his contract with Paramount expired.   Tom obviously knew what the writing on the wall was. 

Plus, this magazine comes out just days after he apologized to Brook Shields.  So there‘s just something fishy about the whole thing and the whole timing.  

SCARBOROUGH:  And again, you look at some of these shots here, and it is just—these things are just too beautiful.  You have Annie Liebowitz.  But you also have an absolutely gorgeous child.

And, Dave, I mean, that‘s about as good publicity as you could get, right?   Not only do you have this beautiful child, but you also have the mom and dad defending their kid, which all America loves.  

CAPLAN:  Exactly.  It‘s like Katrina was saying, this is the idealic family. They look great.  It‘s warm.  It‘s fuzzy.  And it really adds this aspect of normalcy to Tom and Katie, who for months, have been just perceived as Hollywood‘s strangest, most bizarre couple.

So now, Tom Cruise is sort of embracing normal behavior.   He‘s a apologizing.  He‘s having warm and fuzzy family portraits.

So definitely it‘s a great buzz for Tom Cruise.  

SCARBOROUGH:  No doubt about it.  Great buzz, great pictures, great for “Vanity Fair” also.  

David, thank you for being with us.

CAPLAN:  Thank you.  

Katrina Szish, stick around. 

“Hollyweird” is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)  

SCARBOROUGH:  Put down the top, it is time to take a trip to “Hollyweird.”

First up, the baby Hollywood is waiting to see, no, not Suri Cruise, Britney Spears second child.   The “New York Daily News” is reporting that Spears plans a C-Section on September 14.   That‘s her son Sean Preston‘s first birthday.  And the “Daily News” says the pop tart wants the kids to share the same birthday.   So K-Fed, Kevin Federline, only has to remember one day. 

Here to talk about it celebrity blogger, Perez Hilton, and “US Weekly‘s” Katrina Szish.

Katrina, we K-Fed‘s lack of brilliance, it may not be a bad idea, right?  

SZISH:  Not a bad idea.  You have two kids, same birthday, same mother, what can you possibly forget?  

SCARBOROUGH:  And so how does this play into Britney Spears attempt to make herself over again and this second baby?  It seems like all these Hollywood stars that get in trouble are tying to use their babies as shields.  

SZISH:  It does.   And Brittany, when she first got pregnant, was very open about the fact that she didn‘t really planned to get pregnant for a second time.

And I almost think the fact that she‘s going ahead, having this baby, dying her hair black, doing her own thing, is showing that Britney might be separating herself from the hype of Hollywood and finally attempting to get her own life.   Now, we‘ll see if that continues.

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes.  Lots of luck there.  

Perez, she seems to be a runaway beer truck that careens from one side of the road to the other?   What the hell‘s going on in this lady‘s life?  

PEREZ HILTON, CELEBRITY BLOGGER, PEREZHILTON.COM:  Well, I think the first thing, in addition to dying her hair and popping the second baby out, she needs to cut loose the Feder jerk, as I call him.

And you know, inducing labor, having the same birthday, he‘s already got two other kids by Shar Jackson.  And we all know he‘s not good at math.  So I think she needs to reinvent herself and have the come back that I and so many of her fans want for her.  

SCARBOROUGH:  So you‘re waiting for her to.

HILTON:  She hasn‘t been doing much lately.

SCARBOROUGH:  .dump K-Fed and get back on the road?  

HILTON:  Please, I plead you Brittany.

(LAUGHTER)

Although, there seems to be no end in sight.   They went through a rough patch, as “US Weekly” very well reported earlier in the year.  But now, they seem to be doing well.  

SCARBOROUGH:  Good lord.

SZISH:  I don‘t know, Perez, I‘m with you.   I think K-fed has to go.

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes.  Kick K-Fed out.   We decide is rather.

SZISH:  We decided right now Brittany.  

SCARBOROUGH:  We decide that he is voted off the Island or at least out of the doublewide.

SZISH:  He‘s fired.  

SCARBOROUGH:  Speaking of being dumped, Jessica Simpson, also dumped.   She said she is not dating singer John Mayor.   Mayor says Jessica just used him—just used him for publicity.  

Katrina, is this the “US Weekly” camera?  I mean, what is going on here?  

SZISH:  Well, we‘re hearing that—from John Mayor‘s camp anyway—that Jessica‘s camp said this was a big romance.  They inflated it like about an 11 where it was actually only kind of at a 2 on the relationship scale.  

SCARBOROUGH:  OK.  OK.  So we‘re showing pictures of—OK, we know who she is.  We know that is Jessica.  And then, we show this other guy, John Mayor, who a bunch of 13-year-old girls—hey, why would Jessica Simpson need John Mayor to help her publicity machine?  

SZISH:  I agree.  I think that‘s interesting.  Most people out there are saying who is this John Mayor fellow?   He does have a very reputable reputation as a musician.  And people are saying, with Jessica‘s new album, she is trying to work off of that.  

SCARBOROUGH:  And certainly he is a sensitive artist.  

Perez, also a sensitive artist, “Bay Watch” star David Hasselhoff.   He is saying he doesn‘t want playmates on his show.   He wants a new career-oriented girlfriend.  

Perez what is your take on the Hoff?  

HILTON:  That is great for him to say.   I think he should possibly consider getting a therapist as a girlfriend, someone who can help him through his issues.  

(LAUGHTER)

He has gone through a lot in the past year.   He had a little incident at the airport where they wouldn‘t let him board a plane because they accused him of being out of it on who knows what.  

There was another incident at Wimbledon where he was reportedly escorted out. 

And then there was the whole divorce drama.  A therapist as a girlfriend would do wonders for the Hoff.

(LAUGHTER)  

SCARBOROUGH:  No doubt.  And I would love to ask you all some more

questions.  But in the time remaining let‘s just celebrate the essence of -

is that all right, Katrina?   I‘ll see you in “Fashion Week” next week, baby.  Let‘s dance with the Hoff.

(LAUGHTER)

Good night, everybody.  We‘ll see you tomorrow.

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

END   

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

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