updated 10/4/2006 11:24:45 AM ET 2006-10-04T15:24:45

JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST:  So this Mark Foley sex scandal, it goes from bad to worse.  I turn on my TV this evening for the latest on what‘s happening, and I see this breaking news from Foley‘s attorney.


DAVID ROTH, MARK FOLEY‘S ATTORNEY:  Finally, Mark Foley wants you to know that he is a gay man.


SCARBOROUGH:  Oh, my God!  Mark Foley‘s gay?  What are they going to tell me next, Liberace was gay?  Hey, thanks a lot, David Roth!  Now tell me something I don‘t know.


ROTH:  He kept his shame to himself for almost 40 years.  Between the ages of 13 and 15, he was molested by a clergyman.


SCARBOROUGH:  OK.  I served with this guy.  I didn‘t know that.  OK, well, you know, we learned some other facts about Mark Foley today, like the fact he engaged in Internet sex with minors to kill time between congressional votes.  I never thought of that one when I was in Congress.  I was reading Greek history.  Talk about a misspent youth!

Mark Foley‘s slimy sex scandal I think has done more than just sicken friends and foes alike.  It‘s also caused a massive rift in the Republican Party.  Now, House Speaker Denny Hastert‘s finding himself attacked by his own leadership team.  They‘re doing everything but calling this guy a liar.  Conservative leaders across America are calling for the Republican Speaker‘s resignation.  Most notably, the very conservative “Washington Times” editorial board said it was time for Hastert to get lost.  And conservative giant Richard Viguerie said the same thing, and the Republican rank and file out there, people like Ray LaHood, also a congressman that came in with me in 1994 -- he‘s demanding dramatic changes, and for good reason.

A new NBC/”Wall Street Journal” poll that just came out tonight is showing—and this isn‘t really good for the Republican Party—only 18 percent of voters want Republicans to stay in charge of Congress -- 18 percent.  And in a sign of things to come, one Democrat—she‘s from Minnesota—is already using the scandal to attack her Republican opponent.

We don‘t have that for you.  We will later on in the show.

But Democrats can do little to Republicans that they haven‘t already done to themselves.  Listen, the GOP right now is bloated.  It‘s a corrupt party.  It‘s no longer associated with Ronald Reagan.  But as I told you last night, it‘s become a party that‘s being known as the party of Mark Foley, of Jack Abramoff, of Bob Ney, of Duke Cunningham and of Tom DeLay, very, very bad news for a Republican Party that hopes to maintain control of Congress in next month‘s elections.  It ain‘t going to happen.

Here now, MSNBC political analyst Craig Crawford.  He‘s also a columnist for “Congressional Quarterly.”  Joan Walsh, editor-in-chief of Salon.com.  We also have MSNBC political analyst Pat Buchanan.

Craig Crawford, let me begin with you.  Who knew—who knew that Mark Foley was gay?


SCARBOROUGH:  You know what?  I‘m not laughing at that fact, I‘m just

I‘m—why did he have to even say that in the press conference?  But Craig, I‘ll let you talk about that, but also talk about the payment (ph) that Mark Foley gave to the Republican Party about the same time that the head of the Republican congressional committee decided not to go public with this information.


Yes.  Well, first of all, Joe, our poor home state...


CRAWFORD:  Will Florida ever not be a freak show?  I mean...


SCARBOROUGH:  No, it will not!

CRAWFORD:  I mean, every time I see an outdoor press conference from Palm Beach County, I just start to shiver, you know.


CRAWFORD:  But I do—but to get to your point, I mean, I do think the money in this story is not getting enough attention.  I think that‘s one of the main reasons that the system was protecting Foley months ago, when they first heard about this, is this man was a major fundraiser who funneled a lot of money into other campaigns, and in particular, made a payment of $100,000 to the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee, to the campaign arm of the Republican Party in the House, shortly after...


SCARBOROUGH:  And Tom Reynolds runs that, right?

CRAWFORD:  And Tom Reynolds runs that, and Foley‘s chief of staff for 10 years was Tom Reynolds‘s chief of staff, so it was a very tight connection there.  But just the appearance of a $100,000 payment to the campaign committee at about the same time the leadership was deciding to ignore these e-mails really stinks.

SCARBOROUGH:  It really does stink.  And Democrats, as I said before, already seizing on this Foley scandal for attack ads in congressional races.  Take a look at this one from Minnesota.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  It shocks the conscience.  Congressional leaders have admitted covering up the predatory behavior of a congressman who used the Internet to molest children.  For over a year, they knowingly ignored the welfare of children to protect their own power.  For 17 years, Patty Wetterling (ph) has fought for tougher penalties against those who harm children.  That‘s why she‘s demanding a criminal investigation and the immediate expulsion of any congressman involved in this crime and cover-up.

PATTY WETTERLING (D), MINNESOTA CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE:  I‘m Patty Wetterling, and I approve this message.


SCARBOROUGH:  You know, Pat Buchanan, I always use my wife as a barometer because she‘s not a political nut like me.  And when my wife comes to me and says, How could Denny Hastert and the Republican leadership have kept this to themselves for six, seven or eight months, I know the GOP‘s in big trouble.

PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  Oh, it‘s in terrible trouble.  I can‘t think of a worse type scandal, Joe.  You got a sexual predator from Florida who‘s posturing as a conservative.  And you got Hastert and all these fellows going back and forth not remembering, others saying, I told him, and it looks like a cover-up is going on.

I mean, for the Democrats, it doesn‘t get any better than this, frankly.  You saw that ad.  I mean, that‘s just the kind of ad conservative Republicans used to love running against liberal Democrats, and now they‘re driving it home.  And frankly, the problem with the ad is, it‘s got an awful lot of truth to it.

SCARBOROUGH:  I was going to say, Pat, usually, when I look at these attack ads, I roll my eyes and go, Good Lord, here they go again.  I look at that, it‘s pretty straightforward.

And here‘s the biggest problem.  Joan, I want you to listen to Mark Foley on our program back in February talking about Internet predators.


REP. MARK FOLEY ®, FLORIDA:  Your earlier guest was talking about charges like solicitation, contributing to the delinquency of a minor.  There should be a multitude of offenses charged, including trespassing.  You know, a number of things can be added, we hope, to the sentences of those that go onto these locations.  And then hopefully, if you make it tough enough, they then will kind of spread the message that this isn‘t a smart thing to do.

But it does confound, you know, reasonable people that the guy on your show would watch this taking place and subsequently then enter the house himself.  It‘s just bizarre.  It‘s absurd.  And yet it‘s regrettably dangerous for the kids at home.


SCARBOROUGH:  Bizarre, Joan?  And at the time, I had Mark on not only because he‘d been a friend of mine since 1994, but also because Republicans put that guy in charge of the committee to protect children from Internet predators, when they knew about this inappropriate e-mail.

JOAN WALSH, SALON.COM:  Well, really, where do you start, Joe?  Exactly.  I mean, how they left him in charge of that particular portfolio, suspecting what they suspected—it‘s just unbelievable.  And you know, to say that they didn‘t know—Brian Ross of ABC News put the word of that over-friendly, we‘re calling it—over-friendly e-mail out, and within hours had these IMs.  If the House had been—had the leadership been half as aggressive as a reporter, they could have gotten to the bottom of this a long time ago.

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, you know, Joan, another part of this that bothers me is what about Democrats?  Democrats were left out of this, like this was some bipartisan—like this was some sort of partisan issue...

WALSH:  Right.

SCARBOROUGH:  ... which means that these Democrats had pages working for them who were also exposed possibly to a predator!

WALSH:  Right.  And you have a committee that‘s a bipartisan committee that has oversight responsibility, and the Democrat is left out.  It‘s really unconscionable.  I mean, really, partisan Democrats have to be sitting here tonight, saying, Hang on, Denny, hang on, because I waited all day.  I could not believe that the Speaker survived this day, and I can‘t believe he will survive the week, but stranger things have happened.


CRAWFORD:  The bottom line, Joe, is they handled this as an internal party matter, and only as that.

SCARBOROUGH:  How can they do that, Craig, when you‘re talking about protecting children?  Again, listen, I‘m not being self-righteous here.  I try to be as cynical as the next guy when it comes to politics.  But when you‘re talking about protecting children, how the hell do you make that a partisan issue?

CRAWFORD:  Well, I think, you know, the Republicans have been everybody in, you know, various examples of hypocrisy, and that is what‘s hurting them now.  I mean, their voters—when I try to figure out, OK, who are the voters who are either going to vote Democrat or not vote because of this story and cost the Republicans control of the House, I would say that they are the ideological conservatives out there, probably like yourself, Joe, who are beginning to say, I‘m a conservative first, a Republican second, and this is not my party anymore.  This happens to Democrats, too.  I mean, you‘re ideologically-based voters in a party, when they start to make that split in their heads, you‘re in trouble.

SCARBOROUGH:  I started saying that two years ago, when I wrote a book about the runaway spending.  I just wonder what‘s happened to this party.  Pat Buchanan, do you think the Speaker is going to survive?

BUCHANAN:  Well, I don‘t think he‘s going to survive beyond January.  And I‘m not one of those that ought to say he ought to be thrown under the bus right now, Joe, because I don‘t know, I‘m not sure that he‘s guilty.  It looks like he‘s guilty of some kinds of omission...


SCARBOROUGH:  Please, everybody stop!  Pat, let me ask you this question, though.

BUCHANAN:  Right.  Right.

SCARBOROUGH:  Denny Hastert saying that maybe he was told about Mark Foley‘s inappropriate e-mails six to eight month ago, but he doesn‘t remember.  How do you not remember something like that?

WALSH:  Exactly.

BUCHANAN:  You‘ve got to remember that.  But let me say this.  I do understand this.  If they found out the guy sent e-mails and he‘s asking for the kid‘s picture, and you go say, What are you, nuts?  You out of your mind?  Stop this stuff.  And the guys stops it, and you think you‘ve got that contained, I can understand how most guys would not say, Look, the guy‘s our buddy.  He‘s a gay guy.  We don‘t want to destroy him.  That‘s what “The Miami Herald” decided.  That‘s what the St. Petersburg paper decided.


SCARBOROUGH:  Hold on a second!


CRAWFORD:  And that‘s what Fox News Channel decided, too.

SCARBOROUGH:  How could “The Miami Herald,” how could”The St.  Petersburg Times,” how could Fox News Channel all decide to have this information and not go with it?

WALSH:  Oh, you guys, come on!


CRAWFORD:  Hang on!  I mean, I don‘t think you go into print immediately with this information.

WALSH:  I agree.

CRAWFORD:  What needed to happen is they needed to investigate it.  I mean, they needed to put a reporter on it to find out, Is there more?  Obviously, I think these e-mails would have been—these other e-mails would have been pretty easy to find.  Apparently, they‘ve been fairly...


CRAWFORD:  ... nobody investigated.  Nobody took it further.

SCARBOROUGH:  OK, so Joan, you agree that “The Miami Herald,” “The St.  Petersburg Times” and also Fox News did the right thing by not going with this information.

WALSH:  Joe, if you—if I—if Salon.com went public with a story about Mark Foley based on one anonymous source, which is what I believe they had, you‘d have me on the show to crucify me.  That‘s just not what you do.  Now, I do wish they‘d been more aggressive, but I think this is—to blame the media for this—come on, you guys.  You can...


SCARBOROUGH:  Listen, I think everybody, Joan, agrees with you.  I‘m not here—I don‘t know why you‘re picking a fight with me.  I‘m not trying to blame the media.

WALSH:  I just enjoy it, though.

SCARBOROUGH:  I know you do.  But I was just following up on something you said earlier today, that Brian Ross, the second he published this one e-mail, all of a sudden, we found out all these other things followed behind, and if the Republicans had been half as diligent as ABCNews.com, they would have gotten this information before.  So my follow-up question is, it seems to me you could say the same thing of “The Miami Herald,” “The St. Petersburg Times”...

WALSH:  I think you can.

SCARBOROUGH:  ... and Fox News.

WALSH:  I think that‘s absolutely true.  And I...


SCARBOROUGH:  Joan, you just proved to me that you do just like kind of kicking me around.


BUCHANAN:  What they‘re trying to do—what these two newspapers try

to do, I think—and Fox News—what they‘re saying, in fact, is, Look,

the guy‘s gay, and we‘re not going to out him because we don‘t know he‘s

done anything wrong other than send some flirtatious silly e-mail a

thousand miles away.  I understand that.  And quite frankly—and if all -

if Hastert—if that‘s what he did and that‘s all he knew, we ought to be able to understand it.  We ought not say he‘s got to be fired right now.  Now, maybe he did more.


CRAWFORD:  I still say good news reporting would have said that you take something like this—particularly the local paper in his district, who has a responsibility to cover something like this, not to put these first e-mails in the paper, but to put somebody on the story and see where else it leads.  That apparently they did not do.


WALSH:  ... talk to other pages.  I mean, the pages are coming out—you know, there‘s a story about the head of the page alumni association, who says back in 2001, pages were being warned not to get too close to Mark Foley.  If there‘s that kind of talk around the pages, there‘s got to be that kind of talk around the members.  I just don‘t buy...

BUCHANAN:  Well, why didn‘t Democrats know it, then, if it‘s...


SCARBOROUGH:  And let me just say, as somebody that, again, knew Mark very well from 1994 to 2001 -- in fact, after I got out of Congress, I was with him at Republican events and political events in south Florida, one just a few months ago.  And I can tell you that while I knew he was gay from the fist day I met him, I had no idea that any of this other stuff was going on.  I don‘t think any other members did, too, until that first e-mail was given to leadership.

Hey, Joan, Pat, Craig, stick around.  We‘ll be right back with more


Coming up next, more on the congressional sex scandal, including an inside look at the page program.  A page who roamed the halls during my time on the Hill joins us to talk about his experiences in Washington.  Also, Oprah‘s coming out show.  We‘ll talk about that and a lot more when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns.


SCARBOROUGH:  The Mark Foley scandal puts a spotlight on the little-known Capitol Hill page program, a program that is great.  Now lawmakers are asking if congressional pages need more supervision.  Jane Watrel from WRC, our station in Washington, takes us inside the program—Jane.

JANE WATREL, WRC WASHINGTON:  The congressional page program started back in 1839, and it offers a way young people can work on Capitol Hill in exchange for a firsthand look at how our country‘s political system works.


(voice-over):  These are some of the 63 young people from around the nation chosen as congressional pages.  All were warned by a Capitol police officer not to talk to the media about their reaction in wake of the Mark Foley scandal.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Refer all questions to the office of the clerk.

WATREL:  Pages, who must be at least 16 years old, apply to the highly competitive program through a sponsoring lawmaker.  Congressman Jim Moran has sponsored over half a dozen pages over the years.

REP. JIM MORAN (D), VIRGINIA:  They are idealists.  That‘s how we choose them, that young people who really think that America is all they have learned about in their civics courses.

WATREL:  The current program started in September and runs through May.  The young people live in this supervised dormitory just blocks from Capitol Hill, taking classes in the morning, then working in Congress, running errands or delivering messages to lawmakers in session, a relationship of trust, says Moran.

MORAN:  Members of Congress should be their mentors, not their predators.

WATREL:  Since the Foley scandal broke and the congressman resigned, Moran joined a unanimous House vote to investigate who knew what about the suggestive e-mails and when.

MORAN:  The U.S. Congress has to prove to the parents around the country we will never tolerate this and we are going to punish people harshly not just for those who conducted this kind of activity, for those who didn‘t stop it once they knew about it.


WATREL:  While congressional pages are closely supervised and they have curfews, fall-out from the Foley scandal will no doubt result in more protections for these high school juniors—Joe.

SCARBOROUGH:  Thank you so much, Jane Watrel.  Greatly appreciate it.

Still with us, MSNBC political analyst and former House page Craig Crawford.  He doesn‘t look too scarred from the incident.  And also, we‘re joined by one of my former congressional pages, Greg Newburn.  Now, Greg, you‘re not allowed to say anything bad about me, but let‘s talk about Mark Foley.  The question of the hour is, when you were a page, did you hear any rumors about Mark Foley?

GREG NEWBURN, FORMER HOUSE PAGE:  Not that I can recall specifically.  We didn‘t have any real rumors about any member specifically.  We were warned at the beginning of the program that if anything of the sort happened—obviously, there was the Studds incident before ‘95, when I was a page, and so we were warned generally that if anything of the sort happened, the proper procedures to go through, who to talk to, where to take your problem, et cetera.  So it was obvious that they knew such a problem could take place, but there was no warning about any specific member.

SCARBOROUGH:  Have you ever heard any stories at all about any members acting inappropriately toward pages?

NEWBURN:  Obviously, Studds...

SCARBOROUGH:  No, no.  I mean while you were there.

NEWBURN:  I remember that there were whispers of people being close to pages, but nothing of this sort, obviously, nothing of this magnitude.  We had some members who...

SCARBOROUGH:  Were you surprised when you heard about Mark Foley?

NEWBURN:  Unfortunately, no, actually.  I wish I were surprised, but frankly, I wasn‘t.


NEWBURN:  It‘s one of those things where—well, you know, back in ‘95 and ‘96, when I was there, the puzzle pieces weren‘t there.  There was nothing that really jumped out at me and said, Yes, this guy‘s going to do something like this.  But in retrospect, when the story broke, I immediately just—I turned to my wife and I said, Yes, that kind of makes sense, not because there was any glaring evidence of it, but just because when all the pieces are together and you kind of look back and go, Yes, OK, that kind of makes sense.

SCARBOROUGH:  Craig Crawford, talk about your experiences as a House page..

CRAWFORD:  Well, I was actually a page in the Senate.  I was a Republican page for Ed Gurney (ph), the former senator from Florida.

SCARBOROUGH:  Good Lord!  How did he make that mistake?


CRAWFORD:  Yes, I mean, I—liked him all right.  But you know, the most exotic thing I saw—I mean, it was a very innocent time by comparison.  You know, the most exotic thing I ever saw was Barry Goldwater drinking gin on the Senate floor.  That was...

SCARBOROUGH:  Those were the days before C-Span, when you could actually be drunk and vote at the same time.

CRAWFORD:  Yes.  In fact, one of our jobs was when a senator stood up to speak, the first page in the row in the well, your job is to go get him a glass of water, except on the first day on the job, you would be taught when Barry Goldwater stood up, you went and got him a tonic water...


CRAWFORD:  ... because he kept—he kept a flask of gin there.  That was the wildest thing I could report from my Senate experience.

SCARBOROUGH:  So for the most part, a good experience, right?

CRAWFORD:  Yes.  And it was the kind of experience that it pains me when I see the page system dragged through the mud like this and we see people taking advantage of the relationship because, as we know, these are politically motivated kids.  Some want to be in Congress some day.  They look upon these members with great awe and reverence.  Sometimes I think pages in Washington may be the only people left who actually respect average members of Congress.  But this is something that is abused in a case like this, and it‘s—it worries me that parents are going to think, Oh, gosh, I don‘t even want to send my student to this program.

All I can tell you is, Joe, I wouldn‘t be sitting here today if I hadn‘t been a Senate page because it was the single most formative experience in my life in making me want to get involved in covering politics.

SCARBOROUGH:  It was.  And all the pages that I saw going through the program—just great kids, and it really was an extraordinary program.  And what a disgrace that somebody like Mark, a guy who‘s been a friend of mine since ‘94, would cast such a dark, dark light on it.

Greg Newburn, great seeing you again.  Craig Crawford, as always...

NEWBURN:  You, too, Joe.

SCARBOROUGH:  ... thanks for being with us.

Still ahead, Tucker tries to clown around with a political candidate, but he‘s not laughing.  That‘s next on “Must See S.C.”  Plus, Oprah‘s lesbian (INAUDIBLE) The daytime queen of TV shows women kissing on the air and wives (ph) coming out of the closet.  Did she cross the line just to get ratings?  Yes, of course she did!


SCARBOROUGH:  Wake up Aunt Ethel, it‘s time for tonight‘s “Must See S.C.,” some video you just got to see.  First up, if you‘re a fan of cable talk show host Larry King, you may want to turn away from the TV last night.  David Letterman made a startling discovery about the iconic TV personality.


DAVID LETTERMAN, HOST, “LATE NIGHT WITH DAVID LETTERMAN”:  Larry King is creepier in slow motion.  Take a look.



SCARBOROUGH:  What was that?  And what‘s that?  Finally, when you‘re a clown and you‘re running for mayor, you expect at least some respect from the national media, right?  Well, this clown was on with Tucker Carlson earlier today, and the guys played a little hardball with him.


TUCKER CARLSON, HOST, “TUCKER”:  As a clown, how many people do you think you could fit inside a city bus?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Oh, there you go.  Oh!



UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Are you going to let Tucker keep on jabbing...


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  ... serious political question. Is there any concern that your base, presumably 6 to 9-year-olds, cannot vote?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  OK.  SO I guess I‘m dealing—I got both of you guys (INAUDIBLE)



SCARBOROUGH:  Everybody‘s a clown, aren‘t they?

And still ahead, Fox News turns 10, but not everybody out there is celebrating.  Some are saying there‘s falling ratings and lay-offs, new signs that the news network may be in trouble?  We‘ll see.  And later on “Hollyweird,” Bubba‘s indecent proposal.  Bill Clinton makes eyes at Demi Moore in front of her husband?  And now Ashton is fighting back.



KENNETH KAHN, CLOWN RUNNING FOR MAYOR:  Willie, are you going to let Tucker keep on jabbing or are you going to help me out...


WILLIE GEIST, PRODUCER:  I have a more serious political question.  Is there any concern that your base, presumably 6- to 9-year-olds, cannot vote? 

KAHN:  OK, so I guess I got both of you guys...



SCARBOROUGH:  Everybody‘s a clown, aren‘t they?

And still ahead, FOX News turns 10, but not everybody out there is celebrating.  Some are saying there‘s falling ratings and layoffs.  New signs that the news network may be in trouble?  We‘ll see. 

And later in “Hollyweird,” Bubba‘s indecent proposal.  Bill Clinton makes eyes at Demi Moore in front of her husband?  And now Ashton is fighting back.    


SCARBOROUGH:  Are there new signs that FOX viewers are starting to switch away from the channel?  Are people fed up with “fair and balanced” coverage?  We‘ll debate that ahead.

And later, who‘s the sexiest actress in “Hollyweird”?  We report.  You decide.

Welcome back to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.  Those stories just minutes away, but first, did Oprah pull a cheap ratings stunt yesterday by doing a show about women who end their marriages because they‘re lipstick lesbians?  Take a look.


OPRAH WINFREY, TALK SHOW HOST:  Nicky and Carol (ph), they‘ve been together for five years.  Before that, as you heard, Nicky was married and had an affair with a woman. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  She was the aggressor.  Go figure, the shy one. 


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  The great thing is we wear a lot of the same lipstick colors, so if it gets on one person and on the other...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Well, we have a special kiss for when you have lipstick on.  Just give me the lipstick kiss.  See? 


WINFREY:  Oh, that‘s good. 


SCARBOROUGH:  See, here‘s the thing.  I‘ve got cameramen now who are going, “Ooh.”  I mean, it‘s shameless.  On a Web site called “After Ellen,” which features commentary on lesbian and bisexual women in the media, one of Oprah‘s guests from Monday‘s show wrote, quote, “They‘ve plucked a small element from the community—a very intriguing element, but a small one.  The women were all interesting and nice to look at, though not a representative cross-section.  None of them looks like the average lesbian or even the average woman.” 

Here‘s Katrina Szish, who also doesn‘t look like the average woman, from “US Weekly,” David Caplan from “Star” magazine, and we have Jennifer Giroux from Citizens for Community Values.

Katrina, this is just shameless every way you look at it.  It‘s a shameless ratings stunt, first of all.  But secondly, it‘s Oprah bringing on these women and going, “Oh, my gosh.  What would it be like to be with a man, and be a lesbian, and then leave the man?”  I mean, when there are all of these rumors about Oprah being a lesbian...

KATRINA SZISH, “US WEEKLY”:  It‘s slightly ironic.

SCARBOROUGH:  ... yes, slightly ironic or slightly shameless, right? 

SZISH:  Yes.  Oprah recently has really defended herself, saying that her relationship with her best friend Gayle King, is completely a friendship.  She said, “We are absolutely not having any sort of lesbian relationship.”  But it almost seems like she‘s putting this show out there to almost show that she really has no idea what it might be like to be a lesbian.  It‘s a little bit odd.

SCARBOROUGH:  Trying a little too hard?

SZISH:  She‘s protesting too much.

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes, protesting too much, is she not?  Well, as far as ratings go, though—again, this is daytime TV. 


SCARBOROUGH:  Listen, I‘m not a prude.  I mean, in fact, I‘m with the cameramen.  I see that, and I go, “Ooh.”  But I‘ve got kids.  This is like 4:00 in the afternoon in the Redneck Riviera.  I mean, does Oprah really have to do this stuff to pull in viewers when kids are coming home from school? 

SZISH:  I think two points there.  First of all, Oprah is in a time slot where there‘s also shows like Jerry Springer on the air.  So Oprah is certainly not alone in pushing the sensational, pushing the extreme.  Also, Oprah has done everything.  And when Oprah chooses to tackle a topic, she does it in a way that somehow seems more high brow.  So...

SCARBOROUGH:  She had lesbians kissing each other on TV. 

SZISH:  But they‘re very attractive.  They were very well-groomed. 

Nobody was hitting each other.


SZISH:  Somehow, she pulls it off.

SCARBOROUGH:  So like they say, the difference between porn and art is lighting.  Fine. 

David Caplan, take us behind the scenes.  What‘s going on with Oprah here? 

DAVID CAPLAN, “STAR” MAGAZINE:  I mean, let‘s not forget this segment comes just weeks after Oprah has denied that she and Gayle are lesbian lovers.  So what really struck me, honestly, when I saw this segment is that, behind the scenes, they‘re going into P.R. spin, because essentially what Oprah was doing was really setting up an “us versus them” dichotomy.  You saw Oprah...


SCARBOROUGH:  “I‘m not gay.  I‘m not gay.  I‘m not gay.  Gee, what‘s it like to be gay?”

CAPLAN:  I mean, exactly.  We saw her on the edge of her seat, being like, “Oh, you know, tell me and Middle America, what‘s it like to be a lesbian?  Really?  Oh, well, if I wasn‘t a lesbian, you know, I wouldn‘t know.”  So that‘s actually really what hit me first, not even the ratings. 

We really want to almost downplay all of these lesbian rumors about her and, you know, her alleged friend, Gayle King.  And, of course, this segment also comes just days after Jim McGreevey.  So she is all about lesbians and gays during daytime TV, which, of course, does well for ratings. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes, now recently, Stephen Colbert addressed the rumors about Oprah and Gayle being gay.  Listen to this. 


STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, “THE COLBERT REPORT”:   I was flipping through the latest issue of “O” magazine... 


... I got to read up on my girl-o-friend—when I have my own personal “A-ha” moment.  It happened when I read the interview with Oprah and best friend, Gayle King, where they announced they are not gay.  They had to do it.  Folks were talking.  As Oprah said in the article, quote, “I understand why people think we‘re gay.  There isn‘t a definition in our culture for this kind of bond between women.”  Even Oprah‘s friendships are on a higher level than everyone else‘s.


SCARBOROUGH:  Oh, my goodness.  Jennifer Giroux, what do you make about lesbians kissing each other on daytime TV? 

JENNIFER GIROUX, CITIZENS FOR COMMUNITY VALUES:  There‘s so many levels to this discussion, Joe, it‘s hard to keep up with it.  But first of all, let‘s look at again the total disconnect between Hollywood, network TV, Oprah, what‘s poured in pollution out and to our kids on a daytime basis, normal sexuality, which is the complete opposite of what is voted on in the states.  In 20 states, when traditional marriage was voted on, an overwhelming percent, average 70 percent, voted one man-one woman for marriage. 

SCARBOROUGH:  But, Jennifer...


SCARBOROUGH:  ... you know, Oprah wouldn‘t be doing this if she thought she wasn‘t going to get great ratings.  She knows this is going to grab ratings.

GIROUX:  Well, the ratings thing is an absolute cheap shot, but it goes to show Oprah, who‘s always position is the caring, loving person, could care less what kind of garbage she gives out there to our children to the high school age, when clearly it was a bad time of day. 

She totally exploited a 14-year-old boy, talking about his four gay parents, which is, by the way, the ultimate in child abuse, children being raised by gay parents in that type of environment.  And, quite honestly, it is shameless of Oprah.  And all of us are wondering, “Is she going the way of Rosie O‘Donnell?”  I mean, she spent years building up this fan base.  Now she is part of the Hollywood culture, attacking traditional marriage and an ongoing weekly basis.

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, unlike Rosie O‘Donnell, though, I mean, she has got millions and millions of viewers.  She is the queen of daytime TV.  And one of the guests on Oprah‘s show yesterday was a woman that had a story that Oprah said was something she‘d never heard of before.  Take a listen. 


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I just thought Joe was just the cutest thing, and I—you know, I thought this was what I want.  I want a family.  He had his bachelor party, and I had all my showers, and we had a big, beautiful wedding.  And, you know, I had my dream dress.  And I was really, really happy.  I got pregnant just like two months after the marriage.  Joe always made me feel absolutely loved, and we absolutely trusted each other. 

WINFREY (voice-over):  But five years into the marriage, Chris realized something had changed. 

(on camera):  So what‘s the secret you were hiding? 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  That I was a lesbian. 

WINFREY:  And how long had you known that you were a lesbian? 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  About five years into the marriage, I realized. 

WINFREY:  After Chris came out to her husband and her family, Joe had his own revelation? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Yes, one of the main reasons I believe that I supported Christine through her coming out is because I myself was gay. 


SCARBOROUGH:  Good lord.  What was in the water at that house, Katrina?  It‘s a freak show!  And this rates.

SZISH:  You know, hey, it does rate, especially when, again, it‘s this serious environment.  It was like Stephen Colbert...

SCARBOROUGH:  High brow, like you said, high brow. 

SZISH:  Yes.  Stephen Colbert even said even her friendships are on a different level.  Somehow when Oprah does this, it‘s not quite as tacky.  It‘s just, like, “Oh, my goodness, these people and their lives.”  And then you step back, and it‘s all really funny. 

But you think of Oprah, she has this boyfriend figure, Steadman, who she was planning to marry for a while, and then she decided she wasn‘t going to marry him.  And he still exists somewhere, but it‘s really Oprah and Gayle all the time.  So, again...

GIROUX:  I kind of disagree, Joe.


GIROUX:  I disagree a little bit, Katrina. 

SZISH:  Yes.

GIROUX:  I think that not everybody considers Oprah Miss High Brow.  And as a matter of fact, I think instead let‘s call her boyfriend Tom Cruise.  I mean, this has all been a kind of ongoing theme that we‘ve seen here out of Oprah.  And I kind of challenge the Oprah crew and her show to have somebody from the Exodus group on, having homosexuals come on, former homosexuals, to talk about the fact that they did reach back into their childhood a discover a tragic situation, which most often triggers...

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.

GIROUX:  ... going into that type of lifestyle. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Jennifer...

GIROUX:  Do something fair like that.

SCARBOROUGH:  Jennifer, lots of luck getting them to do that. 


CAPLAN:  She‘ll need it. 

GIROUX:  It‘s a good suggestion, Joe.  It‘s a good suggestion. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Good luck getting them to do it.  Thanks for being with us.  And, Katrina, you‘re right.  It just doesn‘t add up. 

Now, coming up, the head of FOX News says his network needs a good spanking.  We‘ll talk to the director about FOX about why the news juggernaut is facing some growing paints at the age of 10. 

And later in “Hollyweird,” George Clooney says he wants to date everyone in Tinseltown, including Leonardo DiCaprio.  It sounds like a Hollywood textbook story for “Hollyweird.”


SCARBOROUGH:  Hey, welcome back.  You know, the network that liberals just love to hate is celebrating its 10th anniversary this week.  But is the king of cable news turning into a sinking ship? 

FOX News is in the middle of a ratings slump.  Well, they‘re losing viewers every quarter this year and also taking shots from politicians on its own network. 


SEN. BARBARA BOXER (D), CALIFORNIA:  And I think our policy is not helping matters at all. 

JANE SKINNER, FOX NEWS ANCHOR:  OK, well, as you know, the president said this morning the offense is not going to make us less safe, disagreement with you.  We appreciate your perspective today.

BOXER:  I here that you agree with the president.  I‘m not surprised. 


SKINNER:  We‘re just trying to bring both sides, Senator Barbara Boxer of California... 

BOXER:  Oh, you‘re fair and balanced.  Thank you very much.

SKINNER:  Thank you very much.  Indeed, we are. 



SCARBOROUGH:  My goodness, it‘s getting kind of testy.  Roger Ailes, the top dog at FOX, and the guy that really—I mean, he built this platform, this incredible platform that has just really has just been a ratings juggernaut for a decade.  He recently acknowledged that FOX was having some growing pains, saying this, quote, “We‘re 10 years old, and we need a spanking to get back in the game again.” 

So is the network that‘s celebrating its 10th anniversary in decline?  Here now to talk about it, John Fund from the “Wall Street Journal,” and Robert Greenwald, he‘s the producer of the film “Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch‘s War on Journalism.”

I‘ll start with you, Robert.  Do you think FOX News is, in fact, in decline, as a lot of liberals say it is? 

ROBERT GREENWALD, “OUTFOXED” DIRECTOR:  It‘s not a lot of liberals who say it is.  Anybody who can read the facts says it is.  There‘s no question that ratings are down 35 percent, and they‘re on a disastrous down curve, which we see... 

SCARBOROUGH:  I mean, but compare those ratings to CNN, and MSNBC, and CNBC, and Headline News. 

GREENWALD:  Yes, we do the—absolutely.  You compare those ratings, and they‘re drop is much more radical.  It‘s much more severe.  Look, when the Foley thing came out, everyone else‘s cable news went up.  But FOX went down.

And the problem is conservatives don‘t want to see the disaster in the making that‘s happening right in front of them, because they are, for better or for worse, a conservative network, and people don‘t want to see this destruction that‘s going on every day in terms of conservative politics. 

SCARBOROUGH:  John Fund, is that what‘s come to in cable news, that when the story is good for conservatives and Republicans, they turn to FOX News, and when it‘s bad news for Republicans, they may turn to somebody like Keith Olbermann? 

JOHN FUND, “WALL STREET JOURNAL”:  The surveys show, Annenberg and others, that FOX‘s audience skews slightly conservative, CNN‘s audience skews slightly liberal. 

Look, if Hertz is losing customers, that‘s a problem.  But Avis is also losing customers.  CNN is also losing customers.  I have to tell you, this 35 percent drop is one quarter, and the other networks are having troubles, too. 

Let‘s celebrate the fact that, after 10 years, we have three strong cable news outlets.  The viewers are well served by that.  I don‘t think it behooves us to nitpick.

If you go to TVNewser.com, Joe, there‘s a survey on AOL there: 

150,000 people, it finds that a large percentage of people think CNN is liberal, a large percentage of people think MSNBC is liberal, and a large percentage of people think FOX is conservative.  And it‘s about the same for all three.  The people who think they‘re balanced, about the same. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes, now, Ailes put a scare into some of his employees earlier this year by putting this advertisement in a TV magazine, asking potential employees, quote, “Can you work well with people without being a territorial jerk?  And when you‘re tired, can you keep going without whining or making mistakes?” 

And today‘s “New York Daily News” quotes Ailes as saying, quote, “We‘re freshening up, moving things around.  We fired some people.  If people change in the seat next to you, it focuses your mind.”

Robert, is this just good leadership? 

GREENWALD:  Well, it depends how you define good leadership. 

Certainly, bullying and firing people I would hardly characterize as good leadership. 

But I hope we do see a change in FOX, because, look, we all know they‘re not a news network.  They‘re entertaining.  They‘re fun to watch.  Wrestling is fun to watch.  But seeing a bunch of guys yelling at each other in a studio does not have anything to do with news...

SCARBOROUGH:  Did FOX invent that?

GREENWALD:  ... and the real pursuit of such.  They were the first ones out there. 

By the way, and, again, let me be clear:  It‘s very entertaining.  It‘s a lot of fun, and I laugh at it.  It‘s just not getting us information, and the surveys show that.  Now, whether with their disastrous 10th birthday in front of them, they‘re going to change policy, that needs to be policy, we‘ll see.  But they‘re having trouble with advertisers...

SCARBOROUGH:  What kind of policy would you have them change? 

GREENWALD:  Well, I would either say, You know what?  We‘re the Republican network, and we‘re proud of it.  Or I‘d turn into a real news network and then get back some of those people who are leaving them in droves, week after week, because they don‘t want to see a conservative disaster which is right in front of their eyes. 

SCARBOROUGH:  John Fund, you go to TVNewser, and you look at these ratings that I was talking about earlier.  It doesn‘t look like a disaster to me.  Does it look like a disaster to you? 

FUND:  No.  “USA Today” front page:  This is the number-one news network.  It has double the viewers of CNN.  How can that be a disaster? 

Look, the Internet is the threat to cable news, that more and more people are going to the Internet.  That‘s what all of the cable channels have to watch for, because it‘s a lot easier to avoid commercials and ads on the Internet.

GREENWALD:  Take the approval ratings of Bush, take the ratings of FOX News, and there‘s a wonderful graph connection between the two of them.  It‘s folly to deny that they are not in free fall.  I mean, Ailes is accepting it.  That‘s why he‘s raising hell and going about doing something.

SCARBOROUGH:  John Fund, why are the ratings down? 

FUND:  Bush‘s ratings are up, and FOX‘s ratings are down, so I don‘t see any correlation this path month or so.  It doesn‘t track. 

Look, the bottom line here is:  Cable news has a challenge from the Internet.  And I have to tell you, as for the management styles of Roger Ailes, Joe, you went from one of the industries that has, I think, permit job tenure, Congress, to television.  You know the suits can fire you if they don‘t like your haircut.  That‘s television.  Everyone does that.

SCARBOROUGH:  Listen, Roger Ailes, he can run my campaign any day of the week. 

John Fund, Robert Greenwald, thanks so much.  “Hollyweird” is next.


SCARBOROUGH:  Hey, charge up your hybrid and gas up the private jet. 

We‘re going for a tour of “Hollyweird.”

First up, did President Clinton hit on Demi Moore?  Her husband, Ashton Kutcher, seems to think so.  Listen what he told Jay Leno.


ASHTON KUTCHER, ACTOR:  I met Bill Clinton once. 


KUTCHER:  But he didn‘t really talk.  He was, like, hitting on my wife, so I was sort of like the guy...



KUTCHER:  ... I was like not there. 


SCARBOROUGH:  Here to talk about it, “Life and Style Weekly‘s” editor-at-large, Ashlan Gorse, and also still with us, Katrina Szish.  She‘s editor-at-large from “US Weekly.”

Let‘s start with you, Katrina.  Any surprises there with Bill Clinton? 

SZISH:  How can you possibly be surprised?  Not at all.

SCARBOROUGH:  I‘ve got my own story, and plus I‘ve got a picture, but I‘ll save that one for another day. 

SZISH:  I mean, yes, it‘s just funny to hear someone like Ashton, even he sees it happen.  And even he talks about it.  And I just think at this point, you‘re like, “Oh, come on, Bill,” and sort of laugh it off.

SCARBOROUGH:  What a lovable guy.  And, of course, let‘s talk about somebody that Bill Clinton could actually lure at.  “Esquire” magazine‘s naming Scarlett Johansson the sexiest woman alive. 

Ashlan, was there ever any question? 

ASHLAN GORSE, “LIFE AND STYLE” WEEKLY:  No.  Are you kidding me?  The woman is smart.  She‘s sexy, and she looks like that.  Anybody with an hourglass body has definitely got a sexy vote. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And she also has a very big—I mean, her box office appeal is great, isn‘t it? 

GORSE:  Well, that‘s true.  Not only is she sexy, but she‘s actually a good actor.  She‘s not one of these celebrities that‘s running around town, you know, going out and doing bad things at all hours of the evening.  She‘s staying home.  She snows her craft, and she does really well. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Hey, she‘s a great actress.  I could just look at her movies all night. 

GORSE:  I‘m sure you can. 


SCARBOROUGH:  Yes, exactly.  And, of course, Katrina, you could probably watch George Clooney movies all night.  This guy has a unique plan to stay in the tabloids.  He says he‘s going to date every woman in Hollywood and may even go after Leonardo DiCaprio.  What‘s that about? 

SZISH:  Yes, I like his idea.  Let‘s throw off the paparazzi.  Let‘s throw off the tabloid media. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Date a different woman every night.

SZISH:  Yes, and they won‘t know who we‘re really with, even if we‘re straight or gay, apparently, he seems to indicate.  He would like to walk on the beach with Leo.  It‘s a lovely image, but it makes us wonder about George.

SCARBOROUGH:  I do not wonder about George at all.  I think he likes women, and I think he likes women a lot.

SZISH:  He‘s sticking to it.

GORSE:  Well, I thought he was already dating everybody in Hollywood, so I don‘t know how this was that much of a big throw-off the paparazzi. 

SCARBOROUGH:  This is not breaking news.  Are you saying that this could just be an excuse to actually be a hound dog in Hollywood? 

GORSE:  I think so.  And this is another reason why—Hollywood always says how much the paparazzi gets on their nerves and they hate it, but then they pull off stunts like this, where they‘re just feeding the beast.  You know, they‘re asking the paparazzi to go out and take pictures of them every night when they‘re out on their dates. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And talk about feeding the beast, David Hasselhoff made quite a scratch on British TV.  The British papers are reporting the Hoff appeared drunk after he (INAUDIBLE) and he seemed to nod off.  Katrina, is nothing sacred anymore? 

SZISH:  It‘s the Hoff.  I mean, here‘s supposed to do things like this, because he keeps us going.  He keeps “Hollyweird” weird. 

SCARBOROUGH:  He does put the “weird” in “Hollyweird.”  Ashlan, any Hoff stories for us? 

GORSE:  Well, honey, if the Hoff asks me to jump in his car, I would, just as long as I was driving.

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes, exactly.  Exactly.  Thank you so much, Ashlan.  Thank you, Katrina.  And we appreciate you being with us in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.  We‘ll see you tomorrow night.



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