updated 9/28/2006 11:53:10 AM ET 2006-09-28T15:53:10

Guests: Rachel Sklar, John Fund, Bob Kohn, Mike Papantonio, Becky Fischer

JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST:  Right now in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY—help me! 

Help me get through this, OK?  You can‘t laugh.  Here we go.  The Jon Stewart factor, politicians—speaking of comedy, politicians and world leaders are actually fighting to get on “The Daily Show,” with millions of young voters watching.  Is this election year the year that fake news finally becomes the real deal?

Plus, the “Jesus Camp” controversy.  A new film is showing young kids being brainwashed for George Bush and Jesus.  Two of the film‘s stars are here for a showdown over this Christian boot camp for kids.  And later, the mystery over Anna Nicole Smith‘s son is revealed.  Breaking news on how he did and the two men who now claim to be the father of Anna‘s latest spawn.

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

We‘re going to have all those stories and a lot more, but first: Jon Stewart welcomed his first sitting president to “The Daily Show.”  Pakistani president Musharraf, who‘s the man whose finger‘s on the button and whose country is holding bin Laden now, probably, was in Comedy Central‘s “The Daily Show” last night, and the interview was classic Jon Stewart.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JON STEWART, “THE DAILY SHOW”:  Please, sir, to you, to your health, sir.

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF, PRESIDENT OF PAKISTAN:  Thank you.

STEWART:  Thank you so much for joining us.  We appreciate it.

MUSHARRAF:  Thank you.

STEWART:  Is it good?

MUSHARRAF:  Yes, very good.

SCARBOROUGH:  Where‘s Osama bin Laden?

(LAUGHTER)

MUSHARRAF:  I don‘t know.  Do you know?  You know where he is, you lead on, we‘ll follow you.

(LAUGHTER)

STEWART:  You are one of the primary targets of al Qaeda.  You describe two assassination attempts, both on the same bridge, by the way.  You know, I‘m not, again, a leader of a country.  I come up with a new way to go to work.

In your book—it‘s an incredible autobiography of a life—a very interesting life—there‘s no mention of Iraq.  Is that because you felt like it was such a smart move and has gone so well that to mention it would be gloating?

(LAUGHTER)

STEWART:  If there were an election held in Pakistan today—and not, clearly, for your job because you‘re doing a wonderful job, for, let‘s say, the mayoralty of Karachi or ombudsman or something—and we put up two candidates, George W. Bush and Osama bin Laden, be truthful, who would win the popular vote in Pakistan?

(LAUGHTER)

MUSHARRAF:  I think they‘ll both lose miserably.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  I love the tea bit.  Where‘s Osama bin Laden?  Now, while Musharraf was the first sitting president to join “The Daily Show,” it wasn‘t the first time that Stewart interviewed a power player.  In fact, night after night after night, Stewart interviews the most influential people in Washington.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEWART:  Hillary Clinton may be running for president.  If so...

(APPLAUSE)

STEWART:  ... what is the key to defeating her?

(LAUGHTER)

HOWARD DEAN, DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE CHAIR:  I knocked on doors in North Carolina...

STEWART:  A door knocker?

DEAN:  Well, you hang this—you hang this over the doorknob if nobody‘s home, and it‘s got things that—hopefully, you actually see somebody.

STEWART:  You are so not taking back the House and the Senate!

(LAUGHTER)

STEWART:  My question to you is simply this.  How much safer can the world afford to have him make us?

And you show Florida and you see how it‘s almost under water.

(LAUGHTER)

STEWART:  Do you ever—when that happens, do you—when Florida‘s under water, do you ever say to yourself, Gotcha!  Gotcha!

STEWART:  Sir, I ask you this.  Why are you busier, why do you work harder than our actual president?

(LAUGHTER)

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), ILLINOIS:  I worry about the hype.  The only person more overhyped than me is you.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  With us now, Rachel Sklar—she‘s from the

Huffingtonpost.com—Bob Kohn—he‘s the author of “Journalistic Fraud” -

and “Wall Street Journal” columnist John Fund.

Rachel, let me begin with you.  Why are world leaders and presidential candidates scratching and clawing to get on a Comedy Central show that Jon Stewart said had a lead-in of crank-calling (ph) Muppets?

RACHEL SKLAR, HUFFINGTONPOST.COM:  I mean, the puppet thing is just his way of deflecting.  The fact of the matter is that “The Daily Show” and now “The Colbert Report,” they‘re more than just a show that goes on at 11:00 o‘clock at night to a specific number of viewers.  They‘re picked up the next day.  (INAUDIBLE) on Youtube.  They‘re picked up by blogs.  They‘re picked up as a genuine news stories on the AP.  Today‘s interview was all over the papers.

SCARBOROUGH:  Why is that?

SKLAR:  Why is that?  Because people—listen, he‘s a good interviewer.  He‘s a good interviewer.  He knows his stuff.  And when he—when people are on the show, they have genuine discussions, and sometimes they break news.

SCARBOROUGH:  And John, he is a good interviewer.  Do you think it‘s good clean fun, it‘s information, or are you concerned that it comes with a slant?

SKLAR:  Well, I‘m personally not concerned that it comes with a slant. 

I‘m sorry.

SCARBOROUGH:  Oh, I‘m sorry.  John?

JOHN FUND, “WALL STREET JOURNAL”:  A little bit of all of that.  Look, this is nothing new.  Jack Paar used to have Richard Nixon on.  Johnny Carson had all kinds of politicians on.  This is an updated, more hip version.  The real reason all these people are scrambling is the demographics.  Young people don‘t read newspapers much anymore.  They certainly don‘t watch the evening news.  They do watch “The Daily Show.”  Of course, just remember, young people also do not vote in enormous numbers.

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, and I‘ve always said that, but could Jon Stewart and shows like his change that?

FUND:  There‘s no evidence that they did that in 2004, and Jon Stewart was wildly popular then.  I think it is largely good, clean fun.  Does it come with a slant?  Jon Stewart tries very hard to criticize everybody, but he can‘t escape his New York liberal background.  It‘s still there.  And I just wish that he doesn‘t have a Democratic president in 2008, because he‘s going to have trouble making as much as fun of that president as he is of Bush.

SCARBOROUGH:  We will see.  Now, take a look at this “Daily Show” clip that focused George W. Bush.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEWART:  Bush even tried positioning himself as a Bizarro-world John Lennon.

GEORGE WALKER BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  Imagine how difficult this issue would be if Iran had a nuclear weapon.

Imagine a world in which you had Saddam Hussein who had the capacity to make a weapon of mass destruction.

Imagine what the world would be like with him in power.

STEWART:  You know, I think I have that album, “Double Horrible Fantasy.”

(LAUGHTER)

STEWART:  What could be so important as to lure our president from the spa-like oasis that is Crawford, Texas?

BUSH:  The violence in Lebanon and the violence in Iraq and the violence in Gaza.

STEWART:  See, if there‘s only one of those, you know, he‘s still got brush to clear.  Two of those, still having a barbecue.  All three, All right, boys, pack up the Durango, we‘re going to Washington!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Bob Kohn, don‘t you think that most viewers that watch this can differentiate what news is and what fake news is?

BOB KOHN, AUTHOR, “JOURNALISTIC FRAUD”:  Yes, I actually do.  I think

don‘t underestimate the younger audience.  They do read the news on the Internet.  And you know, and the show wouldn‘t be funny if they didn‘t understand the set-up.  In other words, humor relies upon truth.  And if you don‘t know the underlying truth, you‘re not going to get the satire.

SCARBOROUGH:  And so, actually, Bob, this could, over time, get young voters more engaged in democracy and could actually get them out voting.

KOHN:  Well, that‘s an interesting point.  Why is it important for young voters or young people to vote?  I mean, why is that a good thing.  I mean, if a person makes a decision not to vote, why is that a bad thing?  That‘s—basically, when someone decides not to vote because they don‘t know what the issues are and they don‘t know how to vote, they‘re making a decision, a very good one, I think, to let somebody else who does understand the issues vote for them.  So I don‘t understand the premise of the—of what your point is.

SCARBOROUGH:  So you‘re basically saying if young voters want to stay home, as they have in the past, that‘s not a bad thing.

KOHN:  That‘s not a bad thing because they‘re making a decision because if they really don‘t know how to vote, which way to vote, they‘re making a decision to let somebody make the decision, someone who is more informed.  So...

SCARBOROUGH:  Rachel?

KOHN:  ... I don‘t understand...

SKLAR:  That‘s a dangerous slippery slope to be sliding on.  I think...

KOHN:  Why is that dangerous?

SKLAR:  Because I think that once you start making arguments against allowing people to vote or against people being, you know...

KOHN:  Did I say that?

SKLAR:  No.

FUND:  No.

SKLAR:  But once you start making arguments that it‘s better for people not to vote if they‘re not educated, per se...

KOHN:  Yes?

SKLAR:  ... you call into question what‘s the appropriate level of education that you‘re talking about.

KOHN:  Oh, I do—oh, I do think people...

FUND:  Look...

KOHN:  ... should be educated and they should vote...

(CROSSTALK)

SKLAR:  I think this is a great thing...

KOHN:  ... but if they‘re not...

SKLAR:  I think this is a great thing.  It‘s just another...

FUND:  Let me—let me...

SKLAR:  ... conduit of information, at best.

FUND:  Let me settle this going right down the middle.  We are not Europe.  We do not fine people if they don‘t vote.  This is a free country.  On the other hand, one of the great things about this country is most people are satisfied enough that they don‘t feel that voting for one party or another is going to change their world view.  In other words, the country‘s not going to...

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, and—and...

FUND:  ... turn around completely.

SCARBOROUGH:  ... John, the thing I always found in Congress, and I‘ve found again on TV, is that Americans are not ideological.  They really aren‘t.  There‘s ideological people on both sides and...

FUND:  And both parties...

SCARBOROUGH:  ... but both are down the middle.

I want you all, if you could, look at another clip.  This is Jon Stewart going after Bush with Musharraf last night.  It was fascinating.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEWART:  You met with our president a few days ago.  Are you able to speak candidly with him about what you feel is—is working and what isn‘t?  And does he seem open or paying attention or...

(LAUGHTER)

SCARBOROUGH:  ... does he—does he, let‘s say, have the TV on or...

(LAUGHTER)

MUSHARRAF:  Let me give Bush credit.  First of all, we didn‘t discuss Iraq, if you‘re meaning that.  But we did discuss Afghanistan and the environment around on our side of the border.  He was listening carefully.

(LAUGHTER)

STEWART:  Of course, he sleeps with his eyes open.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  John Fund, I mean, this guy‘s interviewing the president of Pakistan, you know, a real country with real nuclear weapons.  It‘s not like Canada.  I‘m joking, Rachel.  I mean, it‘s a powerful country.  Why does Musharraf want to come on “The Daily Show”?

FUND:  Believe it or not, he wants to sell books.  He‘s a capitalist.

SCARBOROUGH:  That‘s right!

FUND:  I think this is progress.  I mean, we have foreign leaders who instead of oppressing their people want to go on comedy shows and sell books!

KOHN:  Yes!

FUND:  This is great!

SCARBOROUGH:  Not a bad thing.  And Rachel?

SKLAR:  That‘s a good thing.

SCARBOROUGH:  I love Canada.

SKLAR:  I‘m so glad to hear that.

(LAUGHTER)

SCARBOROUGH:  Oh, Canada—thank you so much, Rachel.  Thank you, John, and thank you, Bob.  Greatly appreciate it.

And coming up on SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, brand-new information in the death of Anna Nicole Smith‘s son.  A new report reveals how he died.  Also, the two men who claim to be her baby‘s daddy.  Plus, did football superstar Terrell Owens try to commit suicide?  You‘ll hear what he has to say and why police disagree.  But next, the controversy over “Jesus Camp.”  Does the movie show young kids being brainwashed into spreading Christianity and George Bush politics, or is that just the way the liberal media wants to portray it?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  A growing number of evangelicals believe it‘s time to take America back for Christ, and starting with children.  “Jesus Camp” is a documentary, and it‘s being sold as a first-ever inside look at a religious summer camp in North Dakota where kids are being trained to become an active part of this country‘s spiritual and political future.

Now, we‘re going to be talking to two of the people who are featured in this film in just a minute, but first take a look at some scenes that many Christians and non-believers are finding offense.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Kids, you got to change things!  Boys and girls can change the world?  Absolutely!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I pledge allegiance to the Christian flag...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I pledge allegiance to the Christian flag...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I pledge allegiance to the Christian flag...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  There are two kinds of people in the world, people who love Jesus and people who don‘t.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Where should we be putting our focus?  I‘ll tell you where our enemies are putting it.  They‘re putting it on the kids.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  How long have been a Christian?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  At 5, I got saved...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Yes?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  ... because I just wanted more of life.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  You go into Palestine, and they‘re taking their kids to camps like we take our kids to Bible camps, and they‘re putting hand grenades in their hands.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  There‘s an excitement, yet there‘s a peace with it all, too.  It‘s really cool.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I really feel that we‘re a key generation to Jesus coming back.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  And we are a generation that needs to rise up and run (INAUDIBLE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  We‘re God‘s army.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  You are the beginnings of a movement.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Raise up righteous judges!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  There‘s a new church like this every two days in America.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Twenty-five percent of the American population. 

That‘s about 80 million people.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  If the evangelicals vote, they determine the election.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  They‘ve taken over the White House, Congress, the judiciary for a generation.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  It‘s just the tip of the iceberg.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Let‘s bring in Becky Fischer—she‘s a children‘s pastor and the director of Kids in Ministry International—and Mike Papantonio.

MIKE PAPANTONIO, HOST, “RING OF FIRE”:  Joe, hi.

SCARBOROUGH:  He‘s an attorney and co-host of “Ring of Fire” on Air America and also my former law partner.

Mike Papantonio, let me start with you.  Do you have any problem with the children that go to these type of camps?

PAPANTONIO:  I don‘t have a problem with the children.  The children are—you know, you can‘t help but really, really appreciate the children...

SCARBOROUGH:  I know, but I mean, people look at the children and they think they‘re being brainwashed.

PAPANTONIO:  Well, there are many people that could look at that film, and I think what they would say is there‘s really a heavy hand that‘s used in the way that the interaction takes place with these children.  There‘s guilt that‘s used.  There‘s shame.  There‘s this sense of...

SCARBOROUGH:  What do you mean by that?

PAPANTONIO:  ... really raw, manipulative emotion.  Well, I mean, if you take a look—how does a 5-year-old—how do we convince a 5-year-old that they‘ve sinned at all?

SCARBOROUGH:  Let‘s take another clip—look at a clip from “Jesus Camp.”

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Hi.  God‘s just telling me that you‘re on his mind, and he just wants to take you and he just wants to love you and he has special plans for you and your life.  And he just wants you to be able to follow him with your whole heart and...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Thank you!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  You‘re welcome.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Appreciate it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Welcome.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  I mean, obviously, a lot of people would look at that scene and they would be concerned, saying, My gosh, they‘re sending little kids up there after brainwashing them.

BECKY FISCHER, KIDS IN MINISTRY INTERNATIONAL:  Well, who just sent that little girl?  As far as I can tell on that clip, she walked up all on her own volition.  That was her free choice.  Her father never set her up.  Nobody else in that room set her up.  That‘s something she wanted to do.

Now, if you‘re going to tie that in with brainwashing, boy, that takes us in whole different direction.

When people see “Jesus Camp,” what they‘re doing is—it was through the lens of secular media people who had never seen anything like this before.  The camp and conference that they just happened to come to, it just happened to be that they came at a time when we were discussing some things that were obviously political in nature.

SCARBOROUGH:  Mike Papantonio, what‘s so wrong with “Jesus Camp”?

PAPANTONIO:  Well, I don‘t think anything—the camp is not as bothersome to most people as just the idea that there is a new movement that‘s taking place.  I think this film portrays maybe the dangers of that move.  But I think it‘s dangerous for religion to join up with politics in any kind of setting because what ends up happening, Joe, is the successes and the failures of politics are always taking place.  It‘s always rising and it‘s always falling.  And when religion attaches itself to that, unfortunately, religion rises and falls with those politics.  I...

FISCHER:  You know what?  The whole political thing is, like, I don‘t want to get drug into this.  They happened to bring some things up in the film that obviously were political in nature.  I mean, people are so up in arms, the fact that we trained children to pray over George Bush.  I have a real issue with that.  Tell me, what is the harm in our society if we teach a child to pray for the leaders of our government?

SCARBOROUGH:  Becky Fischer, Mike Papantonio, thank you so much. 

Really appreciate it.

PAPANTONIO:  Thanks a lot.

SCARBOROUGH:  She also said that they had prayed for a just legal system, and two weeks later, Sandra Day O‘Connor retired from the bench and took that as a sign that maybe these kids‘ prayers were being heard.  That raises many, many issues that we‘ll talk about some other time.

Now, coming up next, “Must See S.C.”  Plus, football superstar Terrell Owens, denies a report that he tried to commit suicide.  Michael Smerconish isn‘t buying that one, and you‘ll see why.  And later: He was once a lovable dork on “Saved by the Bell,” but now Dustin Diamond (ph), AKA “Screech,” is starring in a sex tape, a sex tape he‘s trying to sell?  Oh, my God, Screech!  Now we know where you got your name!  Oh!

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  It‘s time for tonight‘s “Must See S.C.,” some video that you just got to see.  First up, where does President Bush rank among our greatest presidents?  Well, David Letterman tried to sort it all out last night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVID LETTERMAN, HOST, “LATE NIGHT WITH DAVID LETTERMAN”:  It‘s time for a segment we call “Great Moments in Presidential Speeches”—“Great Moments in Presidential Speeches.”

FRANKLIN DELANO ROOSEVELT, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  ... that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.

JOHN F. KENNEDY, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.

BUSH:  The (INAUDIBLE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes, it‘s getting pretty tough out there for President Bush.  He couldn‘t even watch Monday night‘s football‘s game without being the butt of a joke.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAY LENO, HOST, “TONIGHT” SHOW:  Have you seen Reggie Bush‘s (ph) new uniform?  Did you notice?  He‘s worried people might mistake—well, here, show the (INAUDIBLE) OK.  OK, there—Ellen, show the back of his uniform.  See?  No relation.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Coming up, a new report which may finally explain how Anna Nicole Smith‘s son died.  Plus, why two men are now fighting to be called the father of her baby.  And later in “Hollyweird,” David Hasselhoff laughs off some serious reports about his family.  Now if he can just explain that dancing.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(NEWSBREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Coming up, Screech‘s dirty little secret.  We wish he‘d tried to keep it a little more secret.  We‘ll tell you about the “Saved by the Bell” sex tape that has “Hollyweird” buzzing.

Plus, don‘t adjust your TV sets.  Rosie O‘Donnell really does look that bad, but she‘s not the only celebrity you shouldn‘t get too close to.  The new list of stars who should be shunning HDTV. 

Welcome back to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.  Those stories in just minutes, but first the Anna Nicole Smith saga continues.  According to reports tonight, Anna Nicole Smith‘s Daniel died earlier this month from a lethal combination of drugs, methadone, Zoloft, and Lexapro, that caused an irregular heartbeat.  And officials in the Bahamas aren‘t confirming that report, yet but they are planning to release their findings next month. 

And last night on national television, another Anna Nicole mystery was solved.  Or was it?  Her longtime attorney, Howard Stern, dropped a bombshell and said he is the father of Anna Nicole‘s new baby.  But today, one of Anna Nicole‘s former bodyguards stood by the claim that he‘s the real father.  So tiring.

So NBC‘s Michelle Kosinski will sort it out.  And she has more insights on last night‘s revelations. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LARRY KING, CNN HOST:  So you are the father?

HOWARD K. STERN, ANNA NICOLE SMITH‘S ATTORNEY:  Yes, sir. 

MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CORRESPONDENT, NBC NEWS (voice-over):  Anna Nicole Smith‘s attorney came out of seclusion to talk about her son, Daniel‘s, death, and dropped a bombshell...

STERN:  Proud father.

KOSINSKI:  ... saying he is the father of Anna Nicole‘s baby girl.

STERN:  And I have been in a relationship, and we love each other, and it‘s been going on for a very long time. 

KOSINSKI:  Howard K. Stern was with Anna Nicole this year when her inheritance battle over the estate of late husband, J. Howard Marshall, went to the Supreme Court.  To the world, he was her attorney, but it turns out they were much more. 

(on camera):  He says they named their baby Dannie Lynn Hope, after Daniel, who got to spend time with his new sister only hours before he died. 

STERN:  Anna was so content.  She had, you know, her son and her new baby girl.  And I was there, and it was great. 

KOSINSKI (voice-over):  Stern, who appeared almost constantly by Anna Nicole‘s side in her reality show, says he was also a father figure to 20-year-old Daniel.  Stern says the college student had been depressed over a breakup with a girlfriend, was hospitalized for a week for depression and back pain, and was taking anti-depressants and possibly other medications.

All three of them spent the night together in Anna Nicole‘s hospital room days after she gave birth. 

STERN:  At one point, Daniel said to me, “How come I‘m so tired?”  And in hindsight, I wish that I had seen that as some sort of a signal and seen that something wasn‘t right. 

KOSINSKI:  By morning, Daniel was unconscious and Anna Nicole desperate to save him. 

STERN:  Hugging Daniel‘s legs, and she was praying to Jesus, and she was telling Jesus to take her and not take Daniel.  And, I mean, it was—it‘s been very rough.  And, you know, she said that she didn‘t want to trade out children, meaning she didn‘t want one to be born and another to die.  Daniel, you know, he‘s more than a son to her.  They‘re great friends, best friends, and Daniel was her rock. 

KOSINSKI:  He will be buried in the Bahamas, his mother‘s new home, where Stern says they had hoped to build a new life together, out of the spotlight. 

Michelle Kosinski, NBC News, Atlanta. 

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCARBOROUGH:  And a shocking story from world of sports today as authorities in Dallas respond to a 911 call and come away convinced that Cowboy superstar receiver Terrell Owens tried to kill himself last night.  Today Owens spoke to the media, and he denied it was a suicide attempt. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TERRELL OWENS, FOOTBALL STAR:  There was no suicide attempt.  I think I went home yesterday, after I left the facility, and I took a couple of pain pills.  I was non-responsive, you know, and I think when she made that call, she made the call out of her judgment.  The rumor of me taking 35 pills, I think, is absurd.  I don‘t think I would be here had I taken 35 pills. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  T.O.‘s version of the events just doesn‘t square up with

the police report, which specifically states, quote, “Owens was asked if he

had taken the remained of the prescription, at which time he stated, ‘Yes.‘ 

Owens was asked if he was attempting to harm himself, at which time he

stated, ‘Yes.‘”

Here‘s Michael Smerconish.  He‘s the author of “Muzzled” and, of course, a top radio talk show host in Philadelphia where Owens spent two years with the Eagles.  Also with us, Leanne Tweeden from “The Best Damn Sports Show, Period” on FOX Sports Net.

Michael, let‘s begin with you.  First of all, who‘s telling the truth, the superstar receiver or the cops? 

MICHAEL SMERCONISH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  The whole thing is sad.  I side with the cops, and I think that the police report tells you everything you need to know.  First of all, Joe, why is this a police matter?  It‘s a police matter because the fire rescue folks called the police department. 

Why did they do that?  Well, the protocol is that they call the police when they think they have someone on their hands who is attempting to harm himself.  And then some of the other tells that you‘ve already gone over.  They regard this as an attempted suicide. 

He told a woman that we now know to this Kim Etheridge, his publicist, that he was depressed.  She tried to get two of the pills out of his mouth.  T.O. himself told the police that he took the remainder of the pills, and T.O. himself told the police that he was trying to harm himself.  What motivation would they have down there in Big D to invent this sort of stuff?  I‘m sorry, but I can‘t believe T.O. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And, Leann, are you buying the superstar‘s story or do you think the cops are right? 

LEANN TWEEDEN, FOX SPORTS NET:  You know, I think it‘s maybe somewhere in the middle.  I kind of feel bad for T.O. if this really was an accident, but, you know, he‘s been on pain medication for a while now.  And all of a sudden today he has a reaction?  So I‘m not quite sure things add up there. 

That said that there were, what, 40 pills in the bottle and that 35 were missing, but he says later they‘re in a drawer?  So why would they be in a drawer and then tell somebody else that, “Oh, yes, I took them all”?  I don‘t know.  Maybe this is a cry for help. 

I mean, you know, Terrell is one of those people who loves attention.  Maybe he is crying out for attention.  I don‘t really think he tried to kill himself, and I think the media is probably blowing it out of proportion.  I read the report, too, and you said that—oh, you know, when I said yes I was trying to harm myself, I was out of it, because I was on pain medication.  I don‘t know. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Leann, you interview a lot of these football stars. 

Pain, it‘s not like it‘s the first time T.O. ever took pain medication.

TWEEDEN:  They play with pain everyday.

SCARBOROUGH:  They play with pain everyday.  They also play with pain medication.  I‘ve read stories after stories about who there‘s a lot of abuse for vicodin.  So, I mean, why does this guy just one night going to start taking too many pills and then—I mean, the story just doesn‘t square up.  You don‘t think the cops are lying, do you? 

TWEEDEN:  I don‘t think they‘re lying.  I think there‘s something wrong with the story and the woman that called 911, his publicist, trying to sort of retract what she said originally.  Honestly, you don‘t pick up a phone and dial 911 unless you think something is seriously wrong. 

She comes to the house.  The bottle of pills are missing.  He‘s non-responsive, and then he comes to.  And they come to the house, and he says, “Oh, yes, I‘ve been depressed.  I was trying to harm myself.”  Something doesn‘t add up if he shows up today and says, “I wasn‘t trying to kill myself.  I only took a couple.”  And then he says, “Oh, I took a couple pain pills, and I had a natural reaction to my vitamins, something natural”?  I‘m not a doctor, so I can‘t say whether that would...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  That just doesn‘t add up, though, Leann. 

TWEEDEN:  Sure.  If he‘s been taking pain pills for, what, a week now, since he had that injury, why today suddenly? 

SCARBOROUGH:  And, Michael, this isn‘t really new, is it?  I mean, we hear of stars all the time that are depressed, who are overcome with all the pressure, and try to take their lives. 

SMERCONISH:  I never put him in the camp of Mel Gibson, not that Mel tried to take his life, but all that wackiness that seems to go on out on the left coast.  And, you know, Joe, I mean, folks in this town, we couldn‘t wait for him to be traded.  People hated T.O.  And then the minute that he was traded, it was like, “Oh, my god, he‘s been traded to Dallas.  What day does he come back to town?” 

SCARBOROUGH:  I mean, he‘s a world-class jerk in Philadelphia, right? 

SMERCONISH:  Absolutely.  But also, a world-class specimen.  I mean, this guy, pound for pound, is as good as they get.  We‘re scared to death about a week from Sunday, because he‘s coming back to Philly.

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, could it be that T.O. is just too vain to take his own life?  Maybe that‘s his best defense.

SMERCONISH:  I don‘t know, man. 

TWEEDEN:  I think so, too.

SMERCONISH:  I just thought that this—what was his defense, that he ate some bad Chinese or whatever it is that he said today?  I mean, come on.  The police report tells you all you need to know, and it‘s sad.  That‘s the bottom line.

SCARBOROUGH:  Leann, can you talk about the pressure that NFL stars are under?  I mean, of course, everybody sees that they get this fantastic applause every week and they get paid just obscene amounts of money, but there is a lot of pressure there, isn‘t there? 

TWEEDEN:  There is a lot of pressure.  You know, he was great when he was at San Francisco, and then he went to Philly.  Obviously, that fell apart when him and Donovan McNabb butted heads, but then he goes to Dallas.  And if you remember, he went up and put the ball on the star when he played Dallas.  And then they didn‘t really like him there, and then he gets traded. 

But, you know, we‘re talking about an athlete, a top-tier athlete who is paid $25 million.  I mean, I wouldn‘t want to commit suicide if I had $25 million.  I understand the pressure, but I don‘t remember in any recent history of any athlete really trying to take his life.  Seriously, if Terrell wanted to kill himself, why didn‘t he shoot himself in the head?  I mean, seriously.  You know, I think it‘s more of a cry for attention.

SCARBOROUGH:  Michael Smerconish?

TWEEDEN:  I mean, if he really wanted to kill himself, don‘t you think he could have done it?

SCARBOROUGH:  Is it a cry for help, Michael? 

SMERCONISH:  I think that it probably is.  And, you know, Joe, in my prior life as a trial lawyer—you and I are a couple of reformed trial lawyers—I tried a suicide case.  And I‘ll never forget during jury selection, 100 people from all walks of life, and I asked how many in that room had someone in their orbit who had attempted suicide.  And, Joe, more than a third of the hands went up.  So forget about the money; I think this cuts cross across all lines. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Michael, have you ever attempted suicide? 

SMERCONISH:  No, Joe, I haven‘t, thank you. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, Leanne, have you? 

TWEEDEN:  Never. 

SCARBOROUGH:  OK, well, you...

TWEEDEN:  I love life too much.

SCARBOROUGH:  ... you will, though, after you watch our segment on the Screech sex tape, coming up next. 

Michael and Leann—boom, what a segue!  Michael and Leann, thank you so much.  Greatly appreciate you being here. 

And coming up next, can Scientologists revive Tom Cruise‘s career?  Well, what they‘re apparently doing now to make him a sold-out success we‘ll tell you about ahead in “Hollyweird.”

But first, Dustin Diamond goes from “Saved by the Bell” to his own celebrity sex tape.  If you thought “Showgirls” was bad, wait until you see Screech‘s porn film.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Get out your barf bags.  Welcome back.  It‘s the segment I‘ve been dreading all day.  You remember him as the dirty Screech Powers on the “hit” show “Saved by the Bell,” “hit” in quotation marks.  But now Dustin Diamond is all grown up, and he‘s entered the world of—you guessed it—celebrity sex tapes. 

Screech is making his foray into the adult video industry.  And the “New York Daily News” says, quote, “He‘s much brawnier than you may remember him.”  Oh, my God.  I‘m going home.  Would somebody call a cab?

If your initial reaction to that is, “Gross,” you‘re not alone, but at least one man thinks this tape is going to sell like hotcakes.  He‘s David Hans Schmidt, the agent and porn Web site owner who bought the rights to Screech‘s sex tape and now selling it off to the highest bidder. 

David, if you weren‘t SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY‘s official porn merchant, I would call you a sleaze bag for this. 

Katrina Szish, you‘re with us from “US Weekly.”  You know, I‘ve got to go to you first, Katrina, because I‘ve got to—before I go to David, because I‘ve just—I‘ve got to at least put him in the penalty box for a second for doing this.

KATRINA SZISH, “US WEEKLY”:  Oh, yes, absolutely.

SCARBOROUGH:  Katrina, a sex tape to revive a sagging career.  Please, tell me why. 

SZISH:  Yes, the career was beyond sagging.  The career was gone. 

SCARBOROUGH:  A flat-liner?

SZISH:  Apparently, he—yes, total flat-liner.

SCARBOROUGH:  Over?

SZISH:  He couldn‘t sell enough t-shirts or he couldn‘t get enough attention from selling t-shirts to try to save his home, so I guess the next best thing is, “I know.  Sex tape!”  But Dustin Diamond, I have to say, isn‘t that already a porn star name?  He was destined to be a porn star.

SCARBOROUGH:  He‘s a double-D, I‘ll tell you what.  So the guy was going to lose his house, so he wanted to sell Screech t-shirts.  Nobody would give him money, so what do you do?  When you‘re in that position, what do you do?

SZISH:  Well, I think of other positions, and apparently he did. 

SCARBOROUGH:  He did.  And then, after you do that, you call David Hans Schmidt... 

SZISH:  You can only hope for a Danny Bonaduce-type comeback, and I think that‘s what Screech is hoping for. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes, exactly.  He wants a hit reality TV show...

SZISH:  A reality show.

SCARBOROUGH:  ... on some cable network.

David, how could you? 

DAVID HANS SCHMIDT, BOUGHT SCREECH SEX TAPE:  Well, you know, hey, just a second.  Hey, Steven, I‘ll get back to you in about 15 minutes.  OK, SKG, you‘re next.  OK, thank you.

Joe, everybody‘s calling.  No, that was Spielberg on the other line.  I put out an APB for SKG Dreamworks.  APB for SKG.  God, Joe, everyone‘s called me today.  I‘ve gotten calls from people in the industry, out of the industry.  France has called.  Germany has called.  London‘s called.  Everyone‘s called.  Australia, down under they want this guy. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Seriously, are people really calling you, saying they want to bid on the Screech sex tape? 

SCHMIDT:  I had—unprecedented today, and in exclusive here on “Scarborough and Country,” I got a phone call today from a mogul in New Jersey that‘s not in the industry.  He‘s outside of the industry, but he‘s got a lot of bank, and he wants to bid.  He doesn‘t know where to start.  I do.

SCARBOROUGH:  So how much money do you think you can make off of this train wreck? 

SCHMIDT:  I love it when you guys ask that question.  Here‘s exactly what I‘ve got:  as much as I can possibly get away with. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And what do you think that will be? 

SCHMIDT:  Hopefully a lot.  I mean, I‘ve got so many bills to pay, oh, my God, so much debt rising in this company.  No, Joe, I mean, this is—we‘ve never had a feverish inquiry at this level before.  It was just absolutely unprecedented.

You can go to TMZ.com.  We got a little bit of the tape to roll here for you today on this thing.  The phones have been ringing off the hook since 4:00 this morning here in West Hollywood.  I‘ve been burning up Sunset.  I‘ve got back-to-back meetings with Steve Hirsch, Larry Flynt, all the gang tomorrow are going to get a shot at this sucker...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, it remains me of the Bono line in that English song, “Thank God tonight it‘s them instead of me.”  I thank God it‘s you instead of me, because—Katrina, why is it that people will pay money for this tape?  I mean, is this for him?  He thinks he can make more money off of this obviously than selling t-shirts, but that‘s not what it‘s about, is it?  It‘s about being so horrendous, so shocking, so bad...

SZISH:  Yes, it‘s so bad it‘s good. 

SCARBOROUGH:  ... that it‘s good, sort of the idea gone awry for “Snakes on a Plane.”  And he will get a reality TV show, right? 

SZISH:  It‘s entirely possible.  I think, if he‘s willing to literally prostitute himself this way, I think there are a lot of people out there who are saying, “You know what?  Let‘s take advantage of this guy.  Let‘s throw him in the middle of a reality TV show and see what he does,” and people will watch, because there is a loyal fan base. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And Screech, there‘s apparently three ways with Screech. 

I mean...

SZISH:  Yes, that‘s what I hear.

SCARBOROUGH:  That is “Daily News” says it‘s repulsive. 

SZISH:  TMI, I like to say, too much information. 

SCARBOROUGH:  TMI squared.  Now, Screech‘s manager, obviously, hopes this is going to boost the fallen star‘s career.  He says, quote, “I haven‘t seen the tape.  I‘ve heard rumors Dustin has been trying to escape the Screech typecast, so this may help me get more bookings.”

Katrina, how in the hell—first of all, if you‘re a manager and Screech is your client, do you admit that?  And, secondly, how does Screech escape the Screech typecast by doing a porn tape? 

SZISH:  Well, now the name “Screech” has a whole different meaning. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes, exactly.

SZISH:  It‘s a whole thing...

SCARBOROUGH:  I know where the name came from.

SZISH:  Yes, exactly.  You know, I think it‘s possible.  I think it was great for his manager to be honest, and no one‘s pretending that this is something other than what it is:  a desperate attempt for publicity. 

SCARBOROUGH:  But it does work for Paris Hilton, and it works for other people who make desperate pleas for, you know, publicity, but it won‘t work here, will it? 

SZISH:  Again, I think it could be a flash in the pan, a momentary reality show, and then we forget about him again until he needs to buy his house back. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Until he assassinates a president, exactly, or does something else. 

SZISH:  Or something scary like that.

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes.

David, last word to you. 

SCHMIDT:  Hey, you know, all I want to say is the banter‘s racing.  And at $29.95 plus four dollars for shipping and handling, this puppy is going to fly off the shelf, man.  And I‘m also going to announce this on your show live tonight:  Next week, wake up members of the international press corps.  I‘m having a private screening for this in West Hollywood.  Everyone‘s invited.  SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY is invited to the premiere. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Oh, God.  David, David...

SZISH:  I don‘t even know what to say to that. 

SCARBOROUGH:  David, David—has he no shame, Katrina? 

SZISH:  It‘s fun, though.  Hey, I‘m impressed. 

SCHMIDT:  I‘m atoning this Sunday, though, like everybody else.

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, David, thank you, I think. 

SCHMIDT:  All right, buddy. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Don‘t thank you. 

Katrina, I will thank you. 

SZISH:  Thank you. 

SCARBOROUGH:  God bless you. 

SZISH:  Thanks for including me in this. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.  And, please, take a shower when you get home.  I know I will. 

SZISH:  Definitely.

SCARBOROUGH:  Coming up next, “Hollyweird,” with Chelsea Handler.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Roll down the top and get the shades out.  It‘s time to take a trip to “Hollyweird.”

First up, the Suri Cruise “Vanity Fair” cover.  “InTouch Weekly” reports that Scientology continues to support its main man, Tom Cruise.  According to the magazine‘s sources, Scientologists are buying extra copies of “Vanity Fair” hoping to make it a sellout. 

Here now from “The Chelsea Handler Show” on E! -- and I still don‘t know where the hell they get that name from—Chelsea Handler.  She‘s also the author of “My Horizontal Life.” 

Chelsea, thank you so much for being with us. 

CHELSEA HANDLER, “THE CHELSEA HANDLER SHOW”:  Yo, yo, yo, what‘s up, Joe?

SCARBOROUGH:  Yo, yo, yo, let‘s just say that “Vanity Fair” is up, the sales are up.  It seems the Scientologists are going out.  And it‘s kind of like the first time I ran for Congress when my mom stuffed ballot boxes and tapped my opponent‘s phones.  They‘re doing everything to make sure their man wins. 

HANDLER:  Yes, I mean, I don‘t know why people would even think that, because we all know that Tom Cruise isn‘t really the type of celebrity that really goes out and promotes himself, so I don‘t know why anyone would get that idea.  But I think the real reason that people are probably buying this issue of “Vanity Fair” is the burning question at hand:  Was Suri Cruise wearing a hairpiece? 

SCARBOROUGH:  And what do you think the down and dirty truth is about that? 

HANDLER:  I think, if she has that much hair on her head at 4 ½ months old, that there‘s going to be a lot of laser hair removal in her future, Joe, in those hard to get reach places.

SCARBOROUGH:  Oh, my gosh.  I didn‘t like where you pointed there at all.  I thought we had escaped the land of Screech.  But, yes...

HANDLER:  I wish I didn‘t have to do it, either, Joe.  I wish I didn‘t.

SCARBOROUGH:  I know.  But it‘s kind of like “Saturday Night Live” had those baby wigs, had a skit on baby wigs.  And that maybe—look at Suri‘s hair.  That is a lot of hair. 

HANDLER:  It‘s almost as much hair as you have.  It‘s a lot of hair, Joe.  It‘s not natural. 

SCARBOROUGH:  It is not natural at all.  It‘s a mop top, I tell you.

Well, let‘s move on, because, of course, there are a lot of people out there watching us on HDTV.  And, as you and I both know, we both look fabulous.  In fact, we look more fabulous in high definition than, you know, the old RCA sets.  But fans of “The View” shouldn‘t by an HDTV.  TVPredictions.com named Rosie O‘Donnell the worst-looking celebrity in high definition.  Talk about that.

HANDLER:  That‘s a bad, bad—that‘s not a compliment, I don‘t think.

SCARBOROUGH:  You don‘t think so? 

HANDLER:  First of all, I think I speak for many, many Americans when I disagree and say that I find Rosie O‘Donnell to be very, very attractive, and I‘m not a lesbian—anymore, so...

SCARBOROUGH:  Anymore.  What is it, the smile?  What exactly do you—when you turn on your HDTV, what is it about Rosie that you love the most? 

HANDLER:  I think it‘s her figure and the way she dresses.  Who came in second in that, just to give me an idea who else was on the list? 

SCARBOROUGH:  Britney Spears. 

HANDLER:  Oh, well, I mean, please.  Britney Spears just had her second baby with Kevin Federline, OK?  She‘s got a lot more to worry about than being terrible looking in high-definition TV, like how she‘s going to lose that baby weight. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes, a lot of it. 

OK, let‘s now move onto “Forbes” magazine naming Tom Hanks the most trustworthy celebrity in Hollywood.  What‘s your take on this trustworthy celebrity list?

HANDLER:  I think Tom Hanks is pretty normal, as far as celebrities go.  He seems to be the most even-keeled, you know?  He‘s not a member of any one of those groups that creep me out.  I think the most alarming about that list is that Ty Pennington is number seven, Joe.

SCARBOROUGH:  Ty‘s that spaz, right?  He goes around building houses and screaming?

HANDLER:  With his top off.  I mean, I don‘t appreciate men not wearing their tops on national television and claim to be straight.  I don‘t follow that. 

SCARBOROUGH:  But what are you suggesting tonight, Chelsea, that he takes off his shirt to pick up men?

HANDLER:  I‘m suggesting that Ty Pennington may be a flaming homosexual. 

(LAUGHTER)

SCARBOROUGH:  I didn‘t expect you to be quite so blunt about that.  But speaking of blunt in “Hollyweird,” it was a strange week for David Hasselhoff.  Let‘s be blunt about it.  The Hoff was in Europe on a publicity tour, as reports surfaced Monday that his daughter tried to commit suicide, but it turned out she was just scratched by the family cat.  What do you make of that, suicide or cat? 

HANDLER:  So why wasn‘t—I bet it was the cat, but I think David—he‘s going through a rough time lately, isn‘t it?

SCARBOROUGH:  Oh, he‘s had a terrible time.  What do you think about the Hoff? 

HANDLER:  Well, I think that, I mean, this is probably just karma for being involved with the show “Knight Rider.”  And he‘s probably got a lot more bad luck coming his way, so he should just probably stay indoors.

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, Chelsea Handler.  We‘re big fans here at SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.  Thanks so much.

That‘s all the time we have for tonight.  And say hi to your brother. 

We‘ll see you tomorrow night in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.

END

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

END   

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