updated 9/14/2006 11:34:12 AM ET 2006-09-14T15:34:12

Guests: Robi Ludwig, Clint Van Zandt, Steve Adubato, Jennifer Pozner

JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST:  Right now in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY—getting deadly serious—did a CNN crime show lead to a brutal death?  Did Nancy Grace‘s attack on a missing child‘s mother lead a grieving mother to take her own life?  We‘re going to show you the shocking tape, let you decide, and we‘re going to get to the bottom of why Nancy Grace did it.

And she says she wanted it, he wanted it, so she gave it to him.  The sexy Florida teacher who seduced her student gives NBC an exclusive interview with blunt explanation of why she did it.

And later: “Survivor” debuts tomorrow night, bringing segregation back to America and back to TV-land.  Host Jeff Probst is in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.  He fires back against those calling him, his show and CBS racist.

Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.  No passport required, no ambush interviews allowed.

We‘re going to have all that tonight, but first up: Did Nancy Grace‘s strong-arm tactics on air lead to the tragic death of a young mother?  Did the former prosecutor-turned-television-anchor cause the mother of a missing child to commit suicide?  Melinda Duckett, the mother of a 2-year-old boy gone missing in Florida, committed suicide just hours before her interview with Nancy Grace aired on national television.  Now Melinda‘s grandparents‘ are blaming the CNN anchor, Grace, for pushing their daughter over the edge, while media analysts are asking whether the flame-throwing Southerner may have had her Jenny Jones moment that could shove her off the air.

Let‘s watch part of that interview that Nancy Grace decided to run even after they found out the young mother had killed herself.


NANCY GRACE, HOST, “NANCY GRACE”:  Where were you?  Why aren‘t you telling us where you were that day?  You were the last person to be seen with him!

MELINDA DUCKETT, MOTHER OF MISSING 2-YEAR-OLD:  And we‘ve already gone out and distributed the flyers...

GRACE:  Why?  Why aren‘t you telling us and giving us a clear picture of where you were before your son was kidnapped?

DUCKETT:  Because I‘m not going to put those kind of details out.

GRACE:  Why?

DUCKETT:  Because (INAUDIBLE) not to.

GRACE:  Ms. Duckett, you‘re not telling us for a reason.  What is the reason?  You refuse to give even the simplest facts of where you were with your son before he went missing.  It is day 12...

DUCKETT:  It‘s all media.  It‘s not just here, it‘s with all media, period.


SCARBOROUGH:  So did that interview go too far, or was Nancy Grace just doing her job?  With us now, former FBI profiler and MSNBC analyst Clint Van Zandt, psychotherapist Dr. Robi Ludwig, who also appears regularly on Nancy Grace‘s show, and media analyst Steve Adubato, who‘s also the author of “Make the Connection.”

Steve, I want to start with you.  Obviously, the circumstances are just so disturbing here.  Do you think Nancy Grace stepped over the line, or was she just doing her job?

STEVE ADUBATO, MEDIA ANALYST:  You mean the job as a crusading prosecutor on television, or a talk show host who‘s supposed to know the difference between grilling a United States senator or a public figure like O.J. Simpson and Melinda Duckett?  Now, listen, who knows what happened with that little boy.  Who knows why Melinda apparently killed herself.  But I‘ll say this about Nancy Grace.  I don‘t like to watch her because when I watch her, I believe she‘s playing a role, this crusading prosecutor.  She‘s going to grill you.  She‘s going to make you look bad.

By the way, Melinda apparently didn‘t have a chance to answer.  She was overwhelmed.  She may not have been equipped, Joe, to be on this show.  And I also question the producers because if this is an apparent suicide—if it is—I‘m not sure whether you‘re supposed to have psychiatrist, psychologist vetting people before they get on the air or whether...


SCARBOROUGH:  The question is, especially—here‘s the question that disturbs me the most, the answer of which I just don‘t know.  Should Nancy Grace have run that interview after she knew this young mother had killed herself?

ADUBATO:  You mean run it because it‘s the right thing to do for the public to see or run it because, boy, isn‘t this great for ratings, Joe?  And let‘s not kid ourselves.  We‘re all in the ratings business, but according to my view of things, Nancy Grace apparently has no line that she will not go over to get ratings.

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, you know...

ADUBATO:  It‘s disgraceful.

SCARBOROUGH:  ... we‘re all—we all are in the ratings game.

ADUBATO:  Absolutely.

SCARBOROUGH:  But my God...

ADUBATO:  Where‘s the line, Joe?

SCARBOROUGH:  It certainly—the line certainly seems to be on the side of using the suicide in the way that they did.  You know, I mean, let‘s look at the graphic.  I mean, did the interview too far?  I mean, they put up this graphic after she ran this interview, and it—you know, you go in there and—you know, “Since show‘s taping, body of Melinda Duckett found at grandparents‘ home.”  I mean, I don‘t understand why you run that interview.  It seems like it certainly is not the professional thing to do, not the right thing to do.

Clint, take it from your angle as a former FBI profiler and somebody that has spent a lot of time with these type of cases.  What‘s your initial impression?

CLINT VAN ZANDT, FORMER FBI PROFILER:  Well, I spent a lot of time interviewing people, Joe, over the last 35 years.  This Perry Mason type of performance, of pounding her fist on her desk and demanding this young woman give answers—Joe, this is a young woman that the police would have known from her blogs was fragile, was challenged, was frustrated, had a lot of things going on...

SCARBOROUGH:  And Clint...


SCARBOROUGH:  I mean—I mean, who would—I cannot imagine, if one of my children went missing, first of all, going on TV, but then not being able to recount things, of stammering around...


SCARBOROUGH:  ... not being able to think straight.  You obviously were with parents who lost their children, who were in this sort of circumstance, who didn‘t have their act together, right?

VAN ZANDT:  Well, they don‘t.  And my take on this, too, Joe, is that this was an interrogation.  This was a ratings interrogation.  This is not the type of interview you do, whether she intentionally sandbagged this woman or not.

You know, as an investigator, I would know that this woman was fragile.  I would know that if she had anything to have done with her child‘s disappearance or death, that she could be suicidal, that there may be past suicidal ideation in her life.  And I would have been very careful...

ADUBATO:  Absolutely.

VAN ZANDT:  ... the way I handled her in an interview and not sandbagged her and pounded my fist and screamed and demanded answers on television.

She‘s not—Nancy Grace is not an investigator.


VAN ZANDT:  She‘s not an interrogator.  That‘s the job of police.  And I think Nancy inserted herself in an active investigation with a witness, at best, and a criminal, at worst.

ADUBATO:  Joe, I think Clint‘s got it right.

SCARBOROUGH:  And exactly because of that, you know, we may not know what happened, if she was a criminal, if she was responsible.  Who knows?  How are we ever going to find out where this young child is?

I want to show another clip of the show before going to Robi.


GRACE:  Have you taken a polygraph?

DUCKETT:  Like I said, I mean, anything that I do or anything is in cooperation with them.  I‘m doing everything they want me to.  But as far as detail and everything, I mean, I‘m leaving everything up to them.

SCARBOROUGH:  Right.  Have you taken a polygraph?

DUCKETT:  I‘ve done everything they‘ve asked me to.


SCARBOROUGH:  Robi Ludwig, do you think Nancy Grace went over the line, or do you—you‘ve been on her show a lot.  You think that‘s just what she does?

ROBI LUDWIG, PSYCHOTHERAPIST:  You know, Nancy has a definite style that works for many, many people.  She‘s a crime victim and a crimes‘ advocate.  People go on her shows because she really helps people discover what happens in various crimes.

The producers of the show are tremendously nurturing.  I can‘t imagine them not going over some of the questions, including Nancy‘s style, with Melinda prior to her being on the air.

You have to remember, though, if this woman did, in fact, kill her son, people who suffer or are guilty of maternal filicide, who actually kill their children, very often do suffer from severe mental illness, are under tremendous stress.  So...


SCARBOROUGH:  But we don‘t know that, and it‘s not Nancy Grace‘s job to figure out whether she did it or not, right?

LUDWIG:  No, I mean...

ADUBATO:  I mean, respectfully, Doctor, that‘s not her job.  And how dare Nancy Grace say, I‘m the judge, I‘m the jury, I‘m the executioner...

VAN ZANDT:  That‘s not what she says!

ADUBATO:  That‘s exactly what she did, and you know it!

VAN ZANDT:  That is not what she says.  That is not what she does!

ADUBATO:  Listen, let me ask you a question...


ADUBATO:  You said that these are terrific, nurturing producers.

VAN ZANDT:  Absolutely.

ADUBATO:  They may be.  I‘ve never done the show.  Let me ask you this.  If this woman really was so ill-prepared and that sensitive and that fragile, you‘re telling me that Nancy Grace‘s producers would have said, Nancy, she doesn‘t belong on national television. she‘s not in a position for you to grill her, she might crack?  You think that‘s what they would have said?

LUDWIG:  I do.


VAN ZANDT:  I work very closely with the producers, and they very often tell Nancy, you know, This person is a strong talker or this person responds well to this type of questioning.

ADUBATO:  What did they say about this woman?

LUDWIG:  Nancy...

VAN ZANDT:  Right.

VAN ZANDT:  Well, what they—what Nancy—Nancy‘s view was that she was advocating for Melinda‘s son.  She wanted to help this woman find out where this little boy was, and she felt that the line of questioning would help with the case.

SCARBOROUGH:  Right.  It certainly—you know...

VAN ZANDT:  Nancy‘s advocating for this little boy.

SCARBOROUGH:  They may be nurturing, but it certainly looked like ambush television to me.  And we‘re all professionals.  We‘ve all been on TV enough to know when there‘s an ambush interview and when there‘s not.

But let‘s listen to what Nancy Grace had to say.  She told viewers on Monday she doesn‘t believe her program was responsible for Duckett‘s suicide.  This is what she had to say.


GRACE:  I do not feel that our show is to blame for what happened to Melinda Duckett.  The truth, Stan, is not always nice or polite or easy to go down.  Sometimes it‘s harsh and it hurts.  I‘d like to also point out that Melinda committed suicide before that interview ever aired.


SCARBOROUGH:  Yes, but obviously, Clint, she committed suicide after...

VAN ZANDT:  Knowing—knowing...

SCARBOROUGH:  ... the interview—knowing that she was about to be abused on national TV.

VAN ZANDT:  But it also...


VAN ZANDT:  No, wait!  Wait!  She did this because she knew the interview had...


SCARBOROUGH:  One at a time.  One at a time!

VAN ZANDT:  She knew that the interview had already taken place. 

Nancy Grace still inserted herself in this.  And I watched her show tonight, Joe, and she spent 45 minutes trying to rehabilitate herself, trying to tell the public that, Oh, there was suicidal ideation already there.  This woman—look at all the terrible things she‘s done, making this woman—whether she killed her son are not, she‘s a victim, Joe.  She was a victim of a challenge in life.

Now, it‘s a terrible thing if her son was kidnapped.  It‘s a terrible thing if she had anything to do with it.  But either way, she was our best potential witness...

ADUBATO:  That‘s right.

VAN ZANDT:  ... and that‘s somebody you handle with kid gloves.  You don‘t hit her over the head with a phone book.

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.  Robi, we got to go, but I‘m going to give you the last word.

LUDWIG:  Nancy really lives her life with dignity.  She really—she‘s a crime victim.  She lives her life with passion.  She really believes in what she does, and I know that, you know, she would never want any harm to come to anybody that‘s on her show.

ADUBATO:  She didn‘t help.

SCARBOROUGH:  No.  No doubt about it.  Well, I think, Robi, on this one, you‘re outvoted 3 to 1, but thanks for being with us.  It is a real tragedy.  Thank you so much, Clint.  Thank you, Dr. Ludwig.  And thank you, Steve, as always.  We‘ll see you later in the show.

But still ahead: Rosie O‘Donnell offends Christians with her comments that compare American Christians to Islamic fascists.  And Barbara Walters thinks she can talk to the animals.  We‘ll show you why “The View” has been cracked of late.

Plus, is one of the most popular shows on TV racist?  “Survivor” host Jeff Probst comes to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY and tells us why he thinks the show‘s controversial decision to segregate races is the right one.

But first, former teacher Debra Lafave in an exclusive NBC TV interview explaining why she seduced her teenage student.


SCARBOROUGH:  Welcome back.  She‘s a buxom blonde who made headlines across the country two years ago after being arrested for having sex with a 14-year-old student in her class.  Debra Lafave somehow—and I still don‘t know how—managed to avoid jail time after her illegal and illicit affair.  She was instead sentenced to just three years of house arrest.

Tonight, in an NBC exclusive, the blond beauty is telling her side of the story to the “Today” show‘s Matt Lauer.


MATT LAUER, CO-HOST, “TODAY”:  So why do think you got all the attention?


LAUER:  I‘ll say it.  Do you think it‘s because you‘re pretty?

LAFAVE:  I think so.  And sex sells.

LAUER (voice-over):  She wasn‘t the first teacher or the last to be arrested for seducing a student, but Debra Lafave‘s looks and the sexy photos of her that exploded onto the Web made her case an international sensation.

(on camera):  There are some people out there who say, This is every 14 year-old‘s boy fantasy.  Did you hear that?

LAFAVE:  Yes.  I just think it‘s stupid.  I can‘t even think of any other word to describe it.  I think it‘s ridiculous.

LAUER (voice-over):  In this, her first ever television interview, Debra Lafave paints a very different picture.  She says she was a troubled young woman, plagued by mental illness and by memories of being raped at age 13.

LAFAVE:  The first time that it happened was in school.  He forced me into a bathroom and began to rape me.  And a teacher walked in, and she let us off the hook.

LAUER (on camera):  When you say, “She let us off the hook”—I mean, what did you do wrong?  Why did she have to let you off the hook?

LAFAVE:  Well, she had no clue that I was being raped.  You know, she, I‘m assuming, just thought we were messing around.

LAUER:  Why didn‘t you say, This boy is raping me?

LAFAVE:  It just doesn‘t happen like that.  I had a lot of fear.  You know, when somebody has that kind of control over you, especially at 13...

LAUER:  Who was...

LAFAVE:  I didn‘t tell anybody.

LAUER:  Who was this young man in your life?  I mean, was he someone you were close with?

LAFAVE:  Yes.  He was actually one of my boyfriends.

LAUER (voice-over):  Debra says she struggled against depression, phobias and wild mood swings, but still managed to start a career and married the man of her dreams.  Then, in the spring of 2004, her second year of teaching, she seemed to spiral out of control.

(on camera):  You started smoking, listening to rap music.  Teachers and other people have said you started to dress extremely provocatively at school, perhaps inappropriately.  Did anyone talk to you?

LAFAVE:  I just shrugged it off.  You know, I felt like for the first time, I was confident and, you know, I was beautiful and I was going to wear nice clothes and do my make-up and do my hair.

LAUER:  That‘s interesting because at the very moment, you were standing on the edge of a cliff, basically.

(voice-over):  Debra, age 23, was spending more and more time with a student, age 14.  She claims he became flirtatious.  As a teacher, she should have known just what to do, but she did the opposite.

(voice-over):  As the flirtation continued—and I would imagine at some point here, Debbie (ph), you had to return the flirtation.

LAFAVE:  Of course.

LAUER (voice-over):  Looking back, Debra now says her mental state was deteriorating as her attraction to the boy was growing.

(on camera):  Did you and this student have open conversations about the fact that you two might be getting into very dangerous territory?

LAFAVE:  You know, there was very little conversation, to be honest with you.  You know, looking back, he was 14.  You know, what is there really to say to a 23 year-old?

LAUER:  What did you have in common?

LAFAVE:  Nothing.

LAUER (voice-over):  And yet she was about to take another, much more dangerous step.

(on camera):  At one point, you invited him to your classroom.

LAFAVE:  Uh-huh.

LAUER:  And you kissed him.


LAUER:  What did you guys say after you kissed?

LAFAVE:  There wasn‘t anything to say.  It was—at that point, it turned into a little schoolgirl crush.

LAUER (voice-over):  A week or so after the classroom kiss, as summer vacation started, the boy was staying at the home of his cousin in Ocala, 100 miles north of Tampa.  On June 3, while her husband was at work, Debra drove up there.  She picked up the boy and his cousin and took them back to her apartment.  They ordered pizza and a movie on pay-per-view.  The title, “Stuck on You.”  Then, while the cousin watched TV, Debra took the boys upstairs to the bedroom.

(on camera):  And what happened there?

LAFAVE:  Pretty much, it was oral sex.  Yes, he wanted it.  And yes, I gave it to him.

LAUER (voice-over):  Ten days later, June 14, she invited him to help her clean her classroom and crossed yet another line.

LAFAVE:  And that was the first time.

LAUER (on camera):  You had intercourse with him at school.


LAUER:  A 14-year-old boy, a very attractive 23-year-old teacher—he‘s had sex with you.  Aren‘t you scared to death he would tell someone?

LAFAVE:  Obviously not because I did it again.

LAUER:  And again.

LAFAVE:  And again.


SCARBOROUGH:  And again.  He wanted it, I gave it to him.  She seemed very proud of that.  Well, you can watch—this is a fascinating interview.  You can watch Matt Lauer‘s entire interview on MSNBC tomorrow night at 10:00 Eastern.

But coming up here in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY: Whitney Houston ends her troubled marriage with Bobby Brown, but is it too late for her to undo the damage to her career and her life?

But first: Twinkle Toes Tucker takes the stage for tonight‘s—oh, my Lord! -- “Must See S.C.”  Look at that!


SCARBOROUGH:  It‘s time for tonight‘s “Must See S.C.,” some video you got to see.  First up, President Bush gave a speech to the nation Monday night, but you may have missed the celebrity he hired to help him out.  Check out this “Daily Show” commercial spoof.


JON STEWART, HOST, “THE DAILY SHOW”:  The president did—should he hire an actual celebrity translator, thought, to help him get his message across?

GEORGE WALKER BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  Good evening.  Five years ago, this date, September the 11th, was seared into America‘s memory.

JAMES BROWN, SINGER:  Oh~!  Look out!  Look out!

BUSH:  Today we are safer, but we are not yet safe.

BROWN:  Help me!  Somebody help me~!

BUSH:  For America, 9/11 was more than a tragedy.  It changed the way we look at the world.

BROWN:  Mash potatoes, gravy and cranberry sauce!  Woo-hoo!


SCARBOROUGH:  No, Paul, this is how you do it.  Woo-hoo!

And today—that‘s a little Paul McCartney, a Little Richard joke—

MSNBC was abuzz about Tucker Carlson‘s performance on “Dancing With the Stars” last night.  This guy rocks.  Take a look.


SCARBOROUGH:  Tucker, I‘m not saying they picked the wrong guy, buddy.  I am a little bitter, though.  But if you need lessons for next year‘s “Dancing With the Stars,” take a look at these moves.  Tucker, kiss my (DELETED)  I hate when my talent is not recognized.

Speaking of lack of talent, coming up next: Rosie O‘Donnell launches an attack on fundamentalist Christians, comparing them to Islamic fascists.  And Barbara Walters—she may have finally lost control of her “View.”  She says her dog is talking to her.  And later: Can a reality show expose America‘s attitudes on race?  “Survivor” host Jeff Probst is here to talk about the show‘s controversial new season where they segregate contestants.



MILISSA REHBERGER, MSNBC ANCHOR:  I‘m Milissa Rehberger and here‘s what is happening.

A gunman in a black trench coat and a Mohawk haircut opened fire at Dawson College in Montreal today.  Authorities say he killed one woman and wounded 19 people before he was shot and killed by police.  Witnesses say the gunman started firing outside the school before walking in and heading for the second floor cafeteria where most of the shooting took place.

Cuban TV showed new photos of Fidel Castro who is recuperating from surgery in July for intestinal bleeding.  He is meeting with a friend who is also a representative of Argentina‘s president at the Non Aligned Movement summit now underway in Havana.

Cuban officials say the 80-year-old Castro is back on the phone giving orders.  They say it is unclear if he will be well enough to attend that summit.

And a new NBC News “Wall Street Journal” poll shows President Bush‘s approval rating is 42 percent.  That is up two points from a similar poll two months ago.  That is the news for this hour.  Back to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.

SCARBOROUGH:  Still ahead, the “Survivor” host Jeff Probst joins us to talk about the reality show‘s decision to split contestants by race.  It is called segregation in most of America.

Plus, Oprah may need some new furniture but Tom Cruise is ready to go back on the couch.  Pack your bags for Hollyweird.  Welcome back to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.  Those stories in just minutes.

But first, “The View” got nasty on Tuesday when new co-host Rosie O‘Donnell compared radical Islamic terrorists who blew up the World Trade Center to Christianity in America.  Take a listen.


ROSIE O‘DONNELL, “THE VIEW”:  We were attacked not by a nation.  And as a result of the attack and the killing of nearly 3000 innocent people, we invaded two countries and killed innocent people in their countries.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  You understand that the belief funding those attacks, OK, that is widespread.  If you take radical Islam and you want to talk about what is going on there you have to .

O‘DONNELL:  One second.  Radical Christianity is just as threatening as radical Islam in a country like America where we have a separation of church and state.  We‘re a democracy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  We are not bombing ourselves here in the country.

O‘DONNELL:  But they are bombing innocent people and other countries, true or false.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  But Christians are not threatening to kill us.

UNIDENTFIIED FEMALE:  Well Iran hasn‘t threatened to kill us.  Iraq hadn‘t. 

Iran is a danger.  Iraq and Afghanistan never threatened to kill us.  Ever.


SCARBOROUGH:  With us again Dr. Steve Adubato.

I cannot believe what I just heard.

STEVE ADUBATO, AUTHOR “MAKE THE CONNECTION”:  I‘m sorry.  I was thrown off.

SCARBOROUGH:  I seriously and so thrown off by that.

Any, Steve, of course, media analyst and he is author of the book “Make the Connection.”

And Jennifer Posner, media analyst and founder of Women in the Media and News.

Steve, I really do not know what to say.  We have a lady who is comparing Christianity in America with Islamic fascists who want to kill as many Americans as they can.

Why does Barbara Walters allow this to go on on a very powerful, very important morning show?

ADUBATO:  Joe, I‘m going to get a couple things off my chest.  First of all, I, like Rosie, I imagine, some other so-called liberals—sometimes I call myself a liberal, against the war in Iraq.

I have to tell you something.  I do not understand when she compared Christian fundamentalists or Christian radicals to Islamic radicals.  You have to have some evidence, some proof, even if it is anecdotal, Joe.  She has to be pressed to demonstrate her point.

When you say something so unbelievably off the wall and irresponsible when almost 3,000 Americans died on 9/11, she says it the day after.  I have to say, Joe, my problem with “The View” is this.  Is a total entertainment?  Is it a little bit newsy?  Is there any standard?  Does Rosie have to be accountable or does she just way what she wants.  Rosie, just apologize real quick.

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, she needs to apologize really quickly.  ABC needs to get her to apologize, but Steve, here‘s the deal.  If it were just some fluffy show in the morning, we would not be talking tonight about it but across the table from Rosie is a lady who is a true trailblazer in America news.  A female—I mean the female trailblazer when it comes to journalism.  How does she sit back and allow a lady to compare Christianity with the radicalized faith of Osama bin Laden?

And again, listen, I am not talking about the conservative or a liberal or Republican or a Democrat.  This is offensive to 90 percent of Americans.

ADUBATO:  Joe, she cannot be allowed to get away with saying that.  She has every right to express her view, as she says, it‘s the name of the show.  but she has to be held accountable.  Barbara has to say, look, we have some standards.  I‘m a journalist and I am a trailblazer.  For 34 years I‘ve been doing this.  Rosie, it is not your show.  Barbra, step up and do it.

SCARBOROUGH:  You can even talk about in Iraq right now.  And it is such a mess over there.  But you look to the people who were blowing up Moslems now over the past two years it has been radical Muslims who want to kill radical—It is the biggest lie.  And I am shocked that she got away with it.  I want to show you another clip and we‘re going to get to Jennifer in a second but I want to show you another clip about what happened on Tuesday where we had Barbara Walters talking about when she talks to the animals.


BARBARA WALTERS, “THE VIEW”:  I was going out the other night and I was standing at the elevator with my darling woman who has then running my home and life for 32 years.  Ikadel Tomlinson (ph).  Se were standing there and Chcha (ph) had a little dog face.  Sometimes I sort of look .

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Say it, Barbara.  Spit it out.

WALTERS:  I said, I love you Chacha.  I love you.  And Chacha said to me, “I love you.”  That is how she said.  She really does.  What did you do?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I said she really did talk?  I think that is cute.  She said, I really do think she said something to me.  I said, Barbara, you cannot go out there.  I don‘t know if you‘re OK today.


SCARBOROUGH:  Steve, what has happened to Barbara Walters?  She really does think her dog is talking.

ADUBATO:  Joe, you‘re being ridiculous.  Barbara was doing shtick.  She was having fun.  She wasn‘t being serious.  Obviously this is Barbara Walters we‘re talking about.

SCARBOROUGH:  I know.  The Associated Press wrote an article asking the question whether Barbara Walters was losing it.

ADUBATO:  She was joking around, Joe.  I‘m not going to buy it.  I have too much respect for Barbara Walters.  I come on the show all the time trashing this person in the media or that person.  I am not doing it because I refuse to believe that Barbara Walters believes that her dog told her that he loved her.  Maybe she wanted to.  It could have happened in her mind, but Barbara, please say you were joking.  Real fast.  It is almost as bad as Rosie.

SCARBOROUGH:  Jennifer, could this Rosie O‘Donnell comment possibly be good for ratings?  It seems tom me that Star Jones is not looking too bad for ABC and “The View” right now.

JENNIFER POZNER, WOMEN IN MEDIA AND NEWS FOUNDER:  Well, ratings aside I think the real issue is Rosie O‘Donnell may have been insensitive in her comments but I think that there is a nuance that has been missing in this discussion so far.  She did not say that radical Islam was comparative with Christianity in America.  She compared with radical Christianity in America.  Are Christians running around blowing people up?

Actually, yes.  And I‘ll give you a good example.  Since - between 1999 and 2001, eight dead and 33 gravely wounded, 10 arsons and attempted arson—

20 arsons and attempted arsons and 10 bombings and attempted bombings all by fundamentalist Christian anti-abortionists against women‘s health centers and abortion clinics and doctors and harassment of children.

SCARBOROUGH:  Listen.  You are trying to compare some random acts by whackos .

POZNER:  Not random acts.

SCARBOROUGH:  Hold on a second.  You are comparing those scattered events. 

I‘m not even aware of with what happened on September 11th.

POZNER:  Know, I am not.  Steve said that there should be some fundamental evidence about radical Christianity.  I am not saying at all - and I am a New Yorker and I lived through 9/11 like all the other New Yorkers did.  And it is a very personal thing for me.  I am not saying that there is a comparison with 9/11.  What I am saying is that there is danger in any fundamentalist religion.

SCARBOROUGH:  Sure.  I will be the first to agree that.  I am from Pensacola, Florida where they had abortion clinic bombings in the ‘80s.  I understand that.  But she compared—hold on a second.

POZNER:  You asked me a question.

SCARBOROUGH:  There is no more relevancy.

POZNER:  You asked me a question and I would like to answer it.

SCARBOROUGH:  You are trying to say that .

POZNER:  I‘m talking about bombings, arson and murder.

SCARBOROUGH:  This is my question to you, OK?  This is my question, then.  If you want to put it out there, let‘s put it on a scale.  You say you are a New Yorker.  And as a New Yorker do you fear for your life from these so-called radical Christians or radical Muslim extremists working for al Qaeda?

POZNER:  Here is how I‘m going to answer that.  I actually fear for my life

I have feared for my life significantly over the last two decades off and on volunteering for women‘s health clinics because for example, Clayton Lee Wagner, who is on the FBI‘s most wanted terrorist list and escaped from a custody

SCARBOROUGH:  What‘s your answer?

POZNER:  I‘m answering my question.  Clayton Lee Wagner was a member of the Army of God and said as he escaped from the FBI most wanted list posted on the Army of God Web site—he said I‘m a terrorist.  God free me from jail to make war on his enemy.

SCARBOROUGH:  Here‘s the problem.  The problem is .

POZNER:  It doesn‘t matter if you‘re a woman or nurse or a receptionist (inaudible) he says, I will kill you.

SCARBOROUGH:  Jennifer, there is no sense of proportion in your argument. 

There is no sense of proportion and Rosie O‘Donnell‘s argument.

You‘re looking silly .

POZNER:  My argument is not the same.  OK.  Joe?

SCARBOROUGH:  . right now by suggesting that there is a comparison.  Steve?

ADUBATO:  Let me just say this.  I appreciate what is being said because I have been critical of some of those bombings of abortion clinics, but I have to say this.  There is absolutely no moral equivalent.  Rosie couldn‘t back it up.  And you didn‘t back it up tonight.  It is reprehensible.

SCARBOROUGH:  It is reprehensible.  Thank you, Steve.  Thank you, Jennifer.

And I want to make a personal comment.  Because I agree with Jennifer that extremists in any religion are dangerous.  And I saw extremists up close and personal in Pensacola, Florida and it is frightening.  Anybody that uses God as an excuse to kill other people who do not believe like they do either politically or religiously are dangerous.

But to try to put some sort of equality—some sort of balance between the threat that radical Islam causes to this country and radical Christianity is an absolute disgrace.  ABC needs to apologize.  Rosie O‘Donnell needs to apologize.

And if she does not back off of her statement, she needs to be forced from “The View.”  That is not free speech.  That is lunacy.  And it is dangerous and it spreads hatred.

We will be right back.


SCARBOROUGH:  Michael, when you were in high school.  I can ask you this question, can‘t I?  We had a tip segment.  I wanted to lighten things up.  OK.  How old are you?


SCARBOROUGH:  Are you 44?  Because I am 43.  So did you go to a classroom where there were little white kids and black kids in the same class?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  No, it was mixed.

SCARBOROUGH:  It was segregated.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  No, it was very mixed.

SCABROROUGH:  That is like me.  We grew up in a united country.  And that‘s great.  Brown v. Board of Education, we were just talking about constitutional law before this show started.

So we understand Brown v. Board of Education.  We understand integration.

But as “Survivor” begins its 13th season tomorrow night, this show is in knee-deep controversy because they do not.  The producers have actual decided to segregate the tribes, their words, not ours, by race.  That is predictably stirring a lot of anger and calls for a boycott.  I asked Jeff Probst, the host and co executive producer of “Survivor” about that controversy.


JEFF PROBST, HOST, SURVIVOR:  They have been but divided into four very unique times, Asian American, Caucasian, Latino and African American.  It is a social experiment like never before.  Each tribe will live on their own island.  For the next 39 days they will be abandoned and left to fend for themselves.  But this is more than just a test of survival skills.  This is also a test of social skills.  Out here, it is the impressions you make on the other castaways that determine your fate.



SCARBOROUGH:  Jeff, it is a fascinating concept.  Sort of the balkanization of reality TV.  But you had to know that having a black tribe was going to enrage a lot of civil rights leaders and advertisers.

PROBST:  If this were a study that had been completed and then published in “Psychology Today,” I‘m sure people would look at it with more reverence.  I am aware that this is a reality show.  We put these people on the show so we have a hand in the groups and how they are represented there is a million dollar prize at stake.  So there is a lot of things to be concerned about and make you flinch.

SCARBOROUGH:  It has been controversial enough that some of your big time advertisers have pulled the plug on their support for the show, right?

PROBST:  As far as I know and I have asked this question because I did not want to say something that was not true, I‘ve asked CBS if anybody pulled out because of race they said categorically, no.  In fact, we have a full slate of sponsors.

I think the problem, just my layman view, is nobody wants to say that they are a sponsor on the show because they‘re afraid to get stuck in this fray.

SCARBOROUGH:  What do say to those people who say this is - instead of some great experiment or some great celebration of cultural diversity, that it is just a cheap ratings stunt?

PROBST:  I think it is different things for different people associated with this show.  Certainly you are trying to get ratings.  The reason you are having me on your show tonight is I guess because you think someone is going to watch.

SCARBOROUGH:  I think they will be very interested it.  It‘s a fascinating story.

PROBST:  So the ratings—you cannot deny we are a television show.  And I think I‘m starting to understand the significance of why that puts an umbrella of suspicion over the show.  On the other side, though, I can tell you honestly I saw it as a celebration.  I have been frustrated that the show has been not ethnically diverse enough for a long time.  It‘s not representative.

SCARBOROUGH:  Your applicants are 85, 90 percent white, correct?

PROBST:  That is to applies to the show and that‘s who watches the show.  I think one gets the next.  If you continue to have the show with only white people then there is no reason for a young Hispanic kid to watch.  There is nobody there that at looks like him or talks like him and that is one of the things that I think is really positive about this season is that there are different role models, different archetypes, especially young people might turn on the TV and say that guy is like me and I want to be like him.  We have some really neat people on this season.

SCARBOROUGH:  You have come under attack.  People seem to be suggesting that this is going to somehow set back race relations 50 years.  If it is offensive to them, all they have to do is change the channel to ABC or NBC, right?

PROBST:  Yeah.  That is right.  I will tell you what is more interesting to me is that one guy who has said he does not watch “Survivor” can make one comment setting race back 50 years and it gets so much play.

I do not think his opinion is any less worthy or more worthy than somebody who just says, I think it is a great idea.  They are all valid opinions.  I simply hope that the same people who have a megaphone up right now are saying don‘t watch the show, I hope they will watch the show and I hope when it is over if they feel differently they still have got that megaphone close by.

Because I think they owe it to us to say, You know what?  It was handled responsibly and it was handled responsibly and actually it was kind of inspiring or I still hate it and I‘m going to talk some more.

SCARBOROUGH:  Good luck getting those guys with the megaphones to say we were wrong.  I think it is a fascinating idea and good luck with it.  I cannot wait to see how the season unfolds.  Jeff, thanks for being with us.

PROBST:  Thanks you for a nice interview.


SCARBOROUGH:  And when we come back, more nice interviews in Hollyweird.


SCARBOROUGH:  Park the hybrid and fuel up the private jet.  It is time to take our nightly tour of Hollywood.

First up.  So sad.  It turns out that Whitney Houston will not love Bobby Brown forever.  Houston is working on her next album.  It seems her old husband is not part of the image.  He is not a part of it.  (Inaudible) confirms she has filed for separation and wants a divorce.  Here with all details on what wasn‘t the greatest love of all, the “Sun‘s” Emily Smith and “OK Magazine‘s” Courtney Hazlett.

Courtney, this has been the ugliest train wreck of a marriage .

COURTNEY HAZLETT, “OK MAGAZINE”:  It‘s been pretty horrific.

SCARBOROUGH:  . sex, drugs, everything.

HAZLETT:  Rock and roll.

SCARBOROUGH:  It‘s about time, right?

HAZLETT:  It is about time and actually it is the perfect timing because she has an album dropping soon.  What a coincidence.  It seems like the time to break up, get married, have a baby, what have you is when your album is about to drop.

SCARBOROUGH:  And Emily, this woman has become such a wreck for people that remember back in the 1980s.  What happened?

EMILY SMITH, “THE SUN”:  I know.  She used to be so clean cut.  We have been shocked by the recent pictures of her bathroom filled with drug paraphernalia.  There has been countless pictures of her looking in a terrible state and then a stint in rehab.

So a lot of her family are actually glad now that she‘s making a break from Bobby.

SCARBOROUGH:  So many allegations of drug abuse that is seems like it is just a situation that has been waiting to explode for some time.  Let‘s talk about Paris Hilton.  She is the woman who became famous for doing absolutely nothing but partying.

But now she is getting barred from the very clubs that made her a household name.  Emily, are these club owners just sick and tired of Paris Hilton shenanigans?

SMITH:  The party is over for Paris.  It seems that she‘s been hanging out

In every club Paris Hilton is there and at some point somebody had to say, Paris isn‘t coming in.  And I think that‘s a great marketing campaign.  The Gramercy Park Hotel.  People want to go now.  If Paris can‘t get in, I want to go, that‘s great.

SCARBOROUGH:  Is that what this is about?

SMITH:  That is what I think it is.

SCARBOROUGH:  And Courtney they are going to start banning Paris so they get more people in?

HAZLETT:  It is kind of funny they‘re biting the hand that fed them in a sense.  A lot of these clubs were made famous by Paris hanging out there.  That said, if you‘ve been to one of these clubs lately, do you see who they are letting in?  What they have let in.  Yeah, I would be Paris crying on the curb too if I were ...

SCARBOROUGH:  Would they let me in?

HAZLETT:  Without a doubt.

SCARBOROUGH:  Without a doubt.  As Groucho Marx once said.  I don‘t want to belong to a club that would have me as a member.

HAZLETT:  You got it.

SCARBOROUGH:  Let‘s talk about Tom going back on “Oprah”?  Courtney, is he going to jump on the couch again?

HAZLETT:  I don‘t know what criminal goes back to the scene of the crime.

SCARBOROUGH:  How much money has that cost this guy, right?

HAZLETT:  A ton of money.  It has cost him millions and millions of dollars in irreparable damage to his reputation.  So I don‘t think it is a wise move.

SCARBOROUGH:  Emily, what do you think?  Is this the way Tom rehabilitates himself?

SMITH:  Well, there is a huge campaign now to make Tom seem normal.  So he is going to football matches.  He is going out with his mother in law for dinner.  He‘ll appear on “Oprah” but he‘ll have his P.R. holding onto his ankles so he doesn‘t start jumping up and down again.

He is trying to rebuild his reputation, and I think that is going to be the first step.

SCARBOROUGH:  And Emily, it is going to be very hard to do, right?

SMITH:  Yes.

SCARBOROUGH:  And Courtney.  Nobody at MSNBC tries to sell me as a normal person.  You can‘t do it with Tom Cruise, either, can you?

HAZLETT:  You definitely can‘t do it if there is a couch in the room.  So maybe “Oprah” ought to at least change the set.

SCARBOROUGH:  Let‘s get a quick prediction here.  Do you think that Cruise is going to rehabilitate his career?

HAZLETT:  I don‘t think he will ever get back to the star power he had.  If he does it will be a long time.

SCARBOROUGH:  Emily, what about you?

SMITH:  I agree.  I think he has lost a lot of his standing with women in particular after the Brooke Shields thing.  I think it will take a long time before he ever gets it back, even if he does.

SCARBOROUGH:  I think you are right, Emily.  I think the Brooke Shields thing hurt him as much as anything.  It certainly did with my wife and a lot of other women.

Courtney Hazlett and Emily Smith, thank you so much for being with us.  That‘s all the time we have for tonight but stay where you are, LOCKUP, “Inside Miami-Dade” where they don‘t allow Paris in, also, starts right now.



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.


Watch Scarborough Country each weeknight at 9 p.m. ET


Discussion comments