updated 6/13/2007 1:37:16 PM ET 2007-06-13T17:37:16

Guests Bob Kohn, Bill Donohue, Rachel Sklar, David Caplan, Kim Serafin

DAN ABRAMS, GUEST HOST:  Dan Abrams filling in for Joe Scarborough tonight.  Before we get to Fox News‘s Bill O‘Reilly saying that bombings in Iraq don‘t mean anything and then even suggesting that MSNBC is somehow supporting terrorists by just covering the war, let‘s start with tonight‘s other winners and losers.

Your new scorecard.  Our first winner, convicted White House aide Lewis “Scooter” Libby, who now has some of the nation‘s top lawyers and law professors arguing that he should remain free while he appeals his conviction.  Looser, Duke rape case prosecutor Mike Nifong, who doesn‘t seem to have anyone on his side as he fights ethics charges that could get him disbarred.

Winner, major CEOs.  A new report indicates more than half of them now make more than $8 million a year, and that doesn‘t include perks like private planes.  Loser, government CEO Robert Mueller.  The FBI director‘s apparently been using a multi-million-dollar jet intended for counterterrorism efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan for speeches and public appearances.

Winner, residents of Kansas City, Missouri, who received warnings of severe thunderstorms.  Turns out they were bogus reports from a prankster sending phony info to the National Weather Service.

Loser, residents of New York City.  Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff warned that they really should be prepared for a powerful hurricane that could seriously flood the city.

But today‘s big loser, Fox News host Bill O‘Reilly, who insulted our troops and our intelligence today when he said that it does not, quote, “mean anything” when a bomb goes off in Iraq.  It was part of a horrible effort to undermine a new study that shows Fox covers the Iraq war far less than MSNBC.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

BILL O‘REILLY, HOST, “THE O‘REILLY FACTOR”:  On my program, I don‘t do a lot of Iraq reporting because we don‘t know what‘s happening.  We can‘t find out.  So I‘m taking an argument that CNN and MSNBC are actually helping the terrorists by reporting useless explosions.  Do you care if another bomb went off in Tikrit?  Does it mean anything?  No!  It doesn‘t mean anything.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Wow!  It doesn‘t mean anything.  It doesn‘t mean anything.  I wonder if the families of the troops feel that way.  I was asked by a reporter about this study.  I refused to attack Fox, the way my counterpart at CNN did.  I‘ve got a lot of respect for what they do over there.  But when O‘Reilly suggests that we are somehow helping terrorists by covering what is probably the most important issue facing America today, and more importantly, says it doesn‘t matter when bombs go off that kill American troops, I have got to speak up.

Here now, MSNBC military analyst and Congressional Medal of Honor recipient Col. Jack Jacobs, MSNBC media analyst Steve Adubato and Bob Kohn, author of “Journalistic Fraud.”  Thanks to all of you for coming on the program.  Appropriate it.

All right, Colonel Jacobs, is this an insult?

COL. JACK JACOBS, U.S. ARMY (RET.), MSNBC MILITARY ANALYST:  Yes, well, I think it‘s just stupidity, especially when he says that the reason he doesn‘t report anything is because he can‘t find anything out.  It‘s easy to find anything out.  The essence of journalism is calling up people and getting their take on things.  I talk to people in the government all the time.  It‘s easy to get information about Iraq and anything else you want.

ABRAMS:  But what about the idea that, you know, it doesn‘t matter, I mean, that no one‘s interested in a bombing in Tikrit, for example?

JACOBS:  Well, clearly, everybody‘s interested.  And as a matter of fact, I‘d be surprised if this isn‘t the issue that decides the next election.

ABRAMS:  Yes.

JACOBS:  It doesn‘t—this is the singular use of the military instrument in our time.  It‘s going to decide what happens not only in the United States but what‘ll happen in the Middle East for a long time to come.

ABRAMS:  All right, now, Bill O‘Reilly asked his own experienced military analyst his opinion on his radio show.  I‘m guessing he didn‘t like what he had to say, either.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

O‘REILLY:  Is there any value to you as an American, not as a military analyst, to see the latest atrocity du jour, the latest explosion du jour?  Do you want to see that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Yes.  I mean, we very disagree on this one.  I care about the bomb in Tikrit if it kills American soldiers.  That‘s why I think it‘s important.  And I—we‘ve got guys in combat.  We seem, as a nation, we‘ve turned our back on this.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  All right, look, Bob Kohn, you often defend Bill O‘Reilly.  I think this is almost an indefensible position.

BOB KOHN, AUTHOR, “JOURNALISTIC FRAUD”:  Well, I don‘t think Bill O‘Reilly is insulting the troops, but I do think he‘s insulting your intelligence.  Now, I‘m not here to defend Bill O‘Reilly.  I‘m not here as his surrogate.  It‘s not easy to follow the line of reasoning that...

ABRAMS:  It‘s not, is it.

KOHN:  ... you‘re throwing here and you‘re attacking here.  But I think there‘s a meta-analysis here that I think is important because what Bill O‘Reilly was simply doing was defending his network against an attack by a liberal think tank, which was picked up by an AP story...

ABRAMS:  That‘s fine.

KOHN:  ... and now that‘s being used by you to attack him.

ABRAMS:  No, no.  Look, look, I had the opportunity...

KOHN:  That‘s what‘s going on.

ABRAMS:  I had the opportunity to attack Fox News when they called me and asked me for comment about the study.  I said, You know what?  I‘m not going to get on my high horse and start talking about these numbers.  But when I hear Bill O‘Reilly start talking about the fact that it simply doesn‘t matter when there‘s a bombing in Tikrit, and then suggest that somehow, by the fact that we cover the war in Iraq, that that somehow shows...

KOHN:  Well...

ABRAMS:  ... that MSNBC is aiding the terrorists...

KOHN:  You—well...

ABRAMS:  ... I‘m not going to be quiet.

KOHN:  You‘re not covering the war—no, no, no.  You‘re not in covering the war in Iraq.  There‘s a lot of coverage that was missed her.  There are a lot of parts of Iraq that are quiet, that have progress that‘s being made, and that‘s not being reported by your network or by CNN.

ABRAMS:  But that‘s not what he‘s talking about.

KOHN:  Now, this study—no, what this study is—it‘s by an organization, by the way, this journalists—the Excellence in Journalism...

ABRAMS:  Are the numbers wrong?  Are their numbers wrong?

KOHN:  No, this—let me—this is an organization...

ABRAMS:  I don‘t care about the organization.  Are their numbers wrong?

(CROSSTALK)

KOHN:  Yes, it does.  The objectivity—this organization...

ABRAMS:  Are the numbers wrong, Bob?

KOHN:  ... doesn‘t believe that objectivity is a goal of journalism.  The numbers are right, but why doesn‘t the headline say, War takes up more time on NBC?

STEVE ADUBATO, MSNBC MEDIA ANALYST:  Dan...

(CROSSTALK)

KOHN:  ... it‘s just the way you‘re positioning it...

ABRAMS:  This is another important point.

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  Hang on a second, Steve.

ADUBATO:  Sure.

ABRAMS:  This is—let me read.  This is—this is according to the project.  They‘re called the Project for Excellence in Journalism.  And this is the findings, that MSNBC devoted nearly a third our air time to the war, compared to 25 percent for CNN and 15 percent for Fox.

But here‘s the important point, and follow this up, is that of the 31 percent total, 26 percent was on a policy debate, only 3 percent of the total time of our air time was on the events on the ground.  So the notion, Steve Adubato, that somehow we are focusing all our attention on these bombings everywhere and death and destruction is not just absurd, it‘s just not true.

ADUBATO:  Well, Dan, I wouldn‘t be surprised—well, I would be surprised if Bill O‘Reilly actually apologized because he should apologize.  I have a feeling that he senses that he misspoke, that he senses the absurdity of his argument.

ABRAMS:  I agree.

ADUBATO:  How could you say that the issue of our time, the issue that is not only destroying the Bush administration and their credibility to do all kinds of other things, that as Jack said earlier, will, in fact, dictate the presidential election in 2008 -- how could you say Americans don‘t care about—see, he‘s playing a game with the word “bomb.”  No, we don‘t care about the bombs.  What we care about is over 3,000 Americans killed and their families, who continue to suffer.  It is an abomination that he said it.  I‘ve got to believe—and I know a lot of folks over there and I have respect for them, as well.  I‘ve got to believe that his producers, that the people he works for, are embarrassed and wish that he would speak up, Dan, right now and say, I was wrong.  I apologize.

ABRAMS:  I got to tell you, I hope he apologizes because when he went on his television show today, he changed it a little bit.  He wasn‘t making the same sort of incendiary comments that he made on his radio show.  Here‘s what he said—again, this is his rant against us on his TV show.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

O‘REILLY:  In my opinion, CNN and especially MSNBC delight in showing Iraq because they want Americans to think badly of President Bush, and that strategy has succeeded.  So their Iraqi coverage is more political than informational, again, in my opinion.  Could be wrong about CNN.  I‘m not wrong about the committed left-wing crew over at NBC.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Yes, of course, of course, of course.  “That strategy has succeeded.”  The bottom line is he talks about the fact that Fox‘s ratings are so great and no one watches CNN or MSNBC, and yet somehow, we‘ve been able to shape public opinion in this country so much...

KOHN:  This is like McCarthyism.  This is like McCarthyism.  You know...

ABRAMS:  How‘s that?

KOHN:  How is that?  Because you guys complain that your patriotism was being questioned when you guys spoke out against the war.  Now you‘re questioning this guy‘s dedication...

(CROSSTALK)

KOHN:  You‘re questioning his dedication to the troops.  Absolutely.  He—I think you‘re taking this out of context.  He was definitely making a point here about the journalism that‘s going on here.

ABRAMS:  No, no.  But you know, look...

KOHN:  You have a liberal think tank make a report.  It‘s twisted by AP.  You never see right-wing think tank...

ADUBATO:  Stop with the “liberal think tank.”  Bob, deal with the numbers.

KOHN:  You never see a right...

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  Here‘s the problem, Steve.  He can‘t deal with the numbers.

KOHN:  OK, but the numbers prove...

ABRAMS:  Bill O‘Reilly can‘t deal with the numbers.  And instead of...

KOHN:  No, no!  It‘s the analysis of the numbers...

(CROSSTALK)

KOHN:  I know what the numbers are.  NBC is distorting the news against President Bush.

ABRAMS:  I know.  I know.  Let‘s listen to...

KOHN:  It‘s absolutely how you read these numbers.  Absolutely.

ABRAMS:  Let‘s listen to another distortion here from NBC News‘s Brian Williams, again, talking about—again, going after the president, talking about how awful things are.  Here‘s Brian Williams earlier this year.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  They do not want us to leave.  They want to see the police come through.

BRIAN WILLIAMS, ANCHOR, “NBC NIGHTLY NEWS”:  You just said they don‘t want us to leave.  That‘s the 10th time today I‘ve heard that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  And again, he‘s reporting the fact that they don‘t want us to leave.  There‘s Brian Williams on the ground, reporting the people—I know it doesn‘t fit in with the Bob Kohns and Bill O‘Reillys of the world.

(CROSSTALK)

ADUBATO:  That wasn‘t very long ago.

KOHN:  ... night after night.  I think what he‘s talking about is the preponderance of news about just bombing.  Now, any journalist will knows it‘s all about the exceptions, OK?  Well, war is about bombing.  And if you show bombing every night in the war, you‘re not showing the full picture of the war.   That‘s not what‘s going on.

ABRAMS:  But this is—Jack Jacobs, this is what Bob Kohn and Bill O‘Reilly love to do.  They love to twist things.  Again, when we talked about the 3 percent...

KOHN:  Oh!

ABRAMS:  We talked about the 3 percent of our coverage has focused on the events on the ground -- 3 percent—now, I could see, Jack Jacobs, if someone, a military man, could argue, You know what?  You guys ought to cover the events on the ground even more.

(CROSSTALK)

JACOBS:  Hold on a second.  As a matter of fact, of that 3 percent about the events on the ground, I myself have spoken often on the air in that 3 percent, talking about the good things that are taking place.  And I‘ll tell you right now, a lot of good things are taking place in Anbar province, where attacks are down over 90 percent.  But unless...

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  Let him finish!  Let him finish, Bob!  Go ahead.

JACOBS:  If you‘re going to be a journalist, you talk about everything.  And this is the seminal issue of the last four to five years...

KOHN:  We‘re only getting one side of it.

JACOBS:  ... and will be in the future, and there‘s no reason whatsoever why anybody shouldn‘t talk about what is actually happening.  And the figures speak for themselves.

ABRAMS:  This is an embarrassment...

KOHN:  I don‘t think you can believe these figures!

ABRAMS:  ... and shame.  I understand that this is an embarrassment...

KOHN:  The figures are from an organization that don‘t believe in objectivity!

ABRAMS:  Hang on a second.  Hang on a second.  This is an embarrassment.  I get it.  It‘s a huge embarrassment to Fox News.  I wasn‘t going after them.  I was staying out of the fray because you know what?  When you start talking about numbers, who knows what‘s going to come out of the numbers.  I stayed out of the fray.  But then Bill O‘Reilly...

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  All right.  So then Bill O‘Reilly tonight—today and tonight, doesn‘t just insult us.  I can deal with the insult to us.  But again, the notion it doesn‘t matter...

KOHN:  It is an insult to you.

ABRAMS:  ... what happens in Tikrit is an insult.  It‘s an insult to everyone involved.

ADUBATO:  And Dan, let me add this.  Here‘s the absurdity, how really bad this is.  You could argue that MSNBC‘s coverage or NBC, whether they‘re talking about Brian or anyone else, Brian Williams—you could argue we should be focusing more on the positive.  But then you get into a larger question what is news.

(CROSSTALK)

ADUBATO:  It is a fair question.  And there have been times I‘ve said, Wait a minute, we should tell the broader story.  But to argue that the reason we don‘t get a fuller picture of the story in Iraq with MSNBC‘s coverage is because of an ideological political bias to bash the Bush administration is absurd, number one.  And number two...

KOHN:  It‘s not absurd!

ADUBATO:  ... more importantly, he can‘t—one second, Bob.

KOHN:  That‘s not absurd!  That‘s what‘s going on!

ADUBATO:  One second, Bob.  Bob...

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  Here‘s what happens...

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  At the beginning of every day, Bob, I sit at the end of a table and I get, All right, guys, and I get all the primetime teams out there and I say, Let‘s figure out how to make this administration look as bad as possible.  Who wants to do Iraq?

KOHN:  Well, then you‘d be stupid...

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  And they all raise their hands.  It‘s absurd, Bob.

ADUBATO:  How‘s it work, Bob?

KOHN:  It‘s not absurd!  It‘s absolutely what is going on...

ABRAMS:  Do you know what happened?  Are you accusing...

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  As the person who runs the network, Bob, are you accusing me of telling people to cover the story a way that embarrasses the administration?

KOHN:  I don‘t know whether you‘re a news—you‘re not a news reporter, you‘re an analyst, OK?

ABRAMS:  Right, and I also run MSNBC.

(CROSSTALK)

KOHN:  ... any way you want.  I‘m talking about the network news and the way the network reports this so-called objective news.

ABRAMS:  All right.

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  That‘s a separate topic.  Steve, go ahead.

ADUBATO:  Dan, here‘s what...

KOHN:  No, that‘s what O‘Reilly‘s talking about!

(CROSSTALK)

ADUBATO:  Bob, wait a minute.  Dan is the general manager of MSNBC.  All of us on one level or another report to him.  Here‘s the point.  At no point have any of us ever gotten a memo, a word, ever gotten anything said to us about what we should or shouldn‘t say on the air having anything to do with an ideological point of view...

KOHN:  That means you‘re being careful.

(CROSSTALK)

ADUBATO:  ... and it‘s disrespectful, and you know it.

(CROSSTALK)

KOHN:  This is how you end up with these kinds of numbers.

ABRAMS:  Look, I—you know, look, again...

KOHN:  You‘re pandering to your audience!

ABRAMS:  I have a lot of respect for O‘Reilly.  I do.  But I think in this particular case, he owes a huge apology.  He doesn‘t have to apologize to us.

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  Honestly, we don‘t need an apology.

KOHN:  All right, well then...

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  The people who do need an apology...

KOHN:  Sure.

ABRAMS:  ... are the families of those troops...

KOHN:  I‘m not going to argue that.

ABRAMS:  ... who did die from a bombing in Tikrit.  They‘re the ones who are owed an apology here...

KOHN:  No.

ABRAMS:  ... by Bill O‘Reilly.

KOHN:  That‘s how you‘re taking his two sentences.

ABRAMS:  That‘s right.  That‘s what he meant.

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  Look, he‘s a man—he‘s a wordsmith.

KOHN:  Then he owes an apology.  Fine.

ABRAMS:  Bill O‘Reilly is a wordsmith.  He is not—he‘s not a civilian, he‘s a wordsmith.  And I‘m going to take him at his word, and I take everything he says—I listen to it.  I‘m responding to it.

KOHN:  OK, well...

ABRAMS:  We‘ll see what he says.

KOHN:  We have numbers that say NBC is biased, OK?  I‘ll take you at your word.

ADUBATO:  ABC, NBC, “CBS Evening News,” all the same amount of coverage on the evening news regarding Iraq.  Are they all biased, as well?

(CROSSTALK)

KOHN:  They have been for 20 or 30 years!  Yes, they‘re all biased!

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  I will say this.  I think that there is great pride in the way we have covered the story and the amount we‘ve covered the story.  There is no shame in the fact that MSNBC has ended up covering what I believe is the most important story facing Americans today.

KOHN:  But don‘t claim to be objective!

ABRAMS:  Apparently, Fox News—I mean, I‘m not going to even accuse Fox News because it‘s really only O‘Reilly‘s who‘s making this comment.  If he wants to justify the fact that they don‘t cover it by attacking us and saying bombings in Tikrit don‘t matter, we‘ll see with what the public thinks.

Steve Adubato, Col. Jack Jacobs, Bob Kohn, thanks a lot.  Appreciate (INAUDIBLE)

Coming up: The Catholic League is going after “The View” and Barbara Walters, saying there‘s an anti-Catholic bias on the show.  And later:

Paris Hilton‘s dad is reportedly planning a big party when Paris gets out, but Hollywood may not be celebrating with her.  Paris‘s talent agent dropped her today.

And in “Beat the Press,” Nancy Grace sounds exactly like another CNN reporter, like, word for word exactly.  Just when you thought there was only one Nancy.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  We‘re back, and it‘s time for tonight‘s “Beat the Press.”  First up, our friends over at “Nancy Grace” apparently wanted to make sure Nancy got to read a script designed for the top of their show.  Fill-in anchor Mike Brooks started the show last night, and Half an hour later, it sure sounded familiar when Nancy took over.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE BROOKS, GUEST HOST:  Paris Hilton sits in a private room, a window view, normally reserved for the acutely ill.

NANCY GRACE, HOST:  Hilton is sitting in a private view with a window view.  This is a wing normally reserved for the acutely ill.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Coincidence?  I don‘t think so.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  Oh, sorry!

Up next, apparently, Bill O‘Reilly just can‘t bring himself to say the name Joe Scarborough.  Here he is on his radio show talking about Dan Rather and then preparing to use a snippet from Joe‘s interview with Rather.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

O‘REILLY:  Anyway, I think he went on “Opie and Simon” or some crazy show.  We have no idea what this show is, but anyway, roll tape.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Yes, no idea what the show is.  I wonder how the staff managed to get the tape.  You know, if you want to watch him again, just go to where you saw him the first time, “MORNING JOE” tomorrow morning, 6:00 to 9:00 AM right here on MSNBC.

Next up, one more from Nancy Grace as the world clamors for every detail surrounding Paris Hilton‘s incarceration, one fearless reporter and her program focus on what may be an underreported detail about Paris‘s jail-time recreation.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GRACE:  She‘s probably having a special menu dinner right now, followed by a little ping-pong, a little game of ping-pong...

BROOKS:  ... city views, ping-pong...

SIBILA VARGAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT:  She did ping-pong, or she was playing ping-pong.

GRACE:  ... a private sink, a special menu, ping-pong...

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  And finally, kudos to our friends over at “Good Morning America” for finally mustering up the courage to tackle one of the most controversial issues of our time.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  When it comes to food on the floor, goodies on the ground, practically every parent and kid lives and eats by the five-second rule.  It turns out it takes more than 30 seconds for bacteria to grow on wet food, like sliced apples, and more than a minute on dry food.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Oh, my goodness!  I can‘t believe I missed that.  That‘s amazing!

Coming up: You may have seen it flipping through “The New York Times” today, an ad accusing Barbara Walters and “The View” of being anti-Catholic.  We‘ll talk to the man behind those claims.

But first, Jay Leno will show us why Larry King played it safe while interviewing the TB patient next in “Must See S.C.”

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  Time for tonight‘s “Must See S.C.,” video you got to see.  First up, abrupt, ambiguous big conclusion to “The Sopranos” finale caused a lot of controversy.  As Jay Leno observes, not all “Sopranos” arguments are created equal.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAY LENO, HOST, “TONIGHT SHOW”:  People were really furious about the ending.  They were even debating it in the Alabama senate.  Did you see what happened when lawmaker Charles Bishop (ph) and Senator Lowell Baron (ph) started arguing?  Show that for a minute.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Wow.  Did you see “The Sopranos” last night?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  That‘s no way to end a show, you freak (ph).  Why wasn‘t somebody whacked?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I like the way they ended it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  And Andrew Speaker has been the center of a tuberculosis scare since he flew across the Atlantic with TB.  Leno takes a look at his foray into the cable news world.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LENO:  He was interviewed by Larry King the other night via satellite.  He‘s, like, 4,200 miles away from Larry, but I think Larry was a little overly cautious.  Show (INAUDIBLE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  You know, there‘s thousands of people across America doing that right now, going about and living out their lives without any problems.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  (INAUDIBLE)

LARRY KING, HOST:  Andrew, when did you discover that you had tuberculosis?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Oh!  Coming up: Looks like “The View” may not need Rosie O‘Donnell to stir up controversy.  Now Barbara Walters being accused of bigotry?  And later: Paris‘s punishment may extend beyond her jail sentence.  Today we learned she‘s been dropped by her talent agency, coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  Coming up, remember Paris Hilton said she‘s changing her ways?  Well, why is her dad reportedly planning a blow-out party for her when she gets out of jail?  We‘ll talk about that later.

But first is “The View,” the ABC show, anti-Catholic?  The Catholic League is saying yes.  The organization went as far as to take out an ad in the “New York Times” today which says Barbara Walters has allowed former “View” co-host Rosie O‘Donnell and current co-host Joy Behar to rip Roman Catholicism on 15 different occasions.  And remember that both Rosie and Joy are apparently Catholic. 

We‘re joined now by Bill Donohue, the man behind the ad.  He‘s president of the Catholic League.  And Rachel Sklar, media and special projects editor for HuffingtonPost.com.

All right, thanks a lot for coming on.  We appreciate it. 

All right, Bill, you‘re sort of pegging this on Barbara Walters now. 

Is this really about her? 

BILL DONOHUE, CATHOLIC LEAGUE PRESIDENT:  I think ultimately it is.  I mean, obviously, Behar and O‘Donnell are the ones who have made the comments that are untoward, but on the other hand, this is Barbara Walters‘ show.  She doesn‘t simply be a co-producer; she‘s co-owner of the show. 

Now, I can understand that if there were a couple of throwaway lines, you can‘t hold Barbara Walters responsible.  But some of these are scripted.  Other comments are not scripted that are more gratuitous in nature.  In one sense, they‘re even worse.  All she has to do is call them aside after the show and say, “Listen, girls, let‘s knock it off.  Let‘s treat Catholics the way we treat other segments of the population.” 

ABRAMS:  But, Bill, as you know, though, on this show, they all sit there, and they kibbutz, so to speak, about everything.  They yap about whatever the topic is, and they insult people sometimes.  And they say things that they shouldn‘t say, et cetera.  Why should we be singling out one group and say, “They need to apologize in this case”?

DONOHUE:  Well, because, if you look back at the record, since last Labor Day, we didn‘t find evidence of one untoward comment about blacks or Jews or gays, but we did find that Muslims and Chinese Americans were insulted at least once.  In both instances, there was an on-air apology granted to both of them.  So if you hit Catholics 15 times, one with Muslims, one with Chinese, zero with others, you have to begin to wonder, what the hell is going on with Barbara Walters for allowing this crap?

ABRAMS:  Rachel, what do you make of that?

RACHEL SKLAR, HUFFINGTONPOST.COM:  Well, I think that there‘s a difference between being anti-Catholic and taking a stance in opposition to the stance of the Catholic Church, on a number of issues, be it abortion, condom use to prevent HIV, gay rights.  I mean, those are up for debate, and “The View” is a debate show.  I think it‘s possible to be respectful of those who have one point of view and one set of beliefs and still be in disagreement with them. 

ABRAMS:  Barbara Walters responded to the ad today.  Well, sort of. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARBARA WALTERS, HOST, “THE VIEW”:  And I want to remind all of you that I‘m not responsible for anybody‘s else‘s views except mine. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Yes, I mean, Bill, is there an argument that the Catholic Church isn‘t just about religion?  It also takes, you know, political positions at times.  It takes positions that are broader than just saying, you know, “I like a particular or don‘t like a particular religion”? 

DONOHUE:  I think, if that‘s all there is, you have no argument.  And what Rachel says I have no argument.  Yes, the Catholic Church takes public positions on a lot of issues, and we‘re fair game for fair criticism.  I think the “New York Times” has been mostly respectful, for that matter, when they criticize the Catholic Church on public policy issues. 

I‘m taking about cheap shots like the Eucharists, you know, making fun of the body and blood of Jesus.  That‘s crossed a line.  That has nothing to do with school vouchers or the school being too strong on sexuality or something of that nature.  Have robust discussion, but keep it above the belt.  That‘s my problem. 

ABRAMS:  Here‘s what former “View” co-host Rosie O‘Donnell said about the pope back in October.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROSIE O‘DONNELL, FORMER HOST, “THE VIEW”:  Here‘s the most interesting thing about the “Deliver us from Evil” documentary, that the person who was in charge of investigating all the allegations of pedophilia in the Catholic Church, from the ‘80s until just recently, was guess who?  The current pope. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DONOHUE:  Well, you know what‘s interesting about that?  Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, wasn‘t appointed to be in charge of this problem until it broke in the newspapers in January of 2002 with the Boston...

(CROSSTALK)

DONOHUE:  She‘s simply flatly wrong.

ABRAMS:  But let‘s assume she is. 

DONOHUE:  She is.

ABRAMS:  All right.  So assuming that to be the case, what is the remedy here?  I mean, do you want them to close down the show?  Do you want them to start firing people?  I mean, what are you looking for?

DONOHUE:  Unlike Al Sharpton, who wanted the head of Imus—and I think Imus is a great guy who screwed up and he probably should have been suspended but not fired—I didn‘t ask for anybody to be fired.  I didn‘t even ask for an apology.  I‘m simply trying to give her a wake-up call.  After all, I‘ve written to Barbara Walters, to Bill Getty, the executive producer, to Anne Sweeney, who runs ABC-Disney out there, they never answer us.  And, you know, at some point, we‘ve got to say, “Listen, Barbara, call the dogs off.  Tell these girls to just zip it and treat us like as if we were Native Americans.”  That‘s all I‘m doing. 

ABRAMS:  Rachel, what of that?

SKLAR:  What of that?  A very open-ended question.  Well, this is what I think.  I think—I‘m going to go back to scripture here and say judge lest you be charged—just not lest you be judged.  And I think that—

Mr. Donohue, with all due respect, on your own Web site when you talk about Barbara Walters and enabling these anti-Catholic comments, you specify that she is a Jew.  And that didn‘t appear anywhere in the text of the “New York Times” ad.  But I do think that...

(CROSSTALK)

DONOHUE:  I said that—she‘s talking about Jews and catholic.  It‘s interesting, as a Jewish woman, she doesn‘t take shots about Jews.  That‘s entirely contextual.  Now, if you want to make something up about it, you are engaging in the gutter here.

ABRAMS:  Wait, wait, wait.

SKLAR:  Oh, no, no, sir, what I‘m saying is that it‘s relevant.  It‘s a relevant point.  And I know that, you know, you have made comments about Jews before, Jews in Hollywood, and sort of—I mean, I just feel like I have to bring it up. 

DONOHUE:  I‘ve made a lot of comments about priests, let me tell you.

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  I mean, Rosie and Joy are Catholics. 

DONOHUE:  Ex-Catholic.  And, look, I don‘t care what the source is.  I don‘t care if they‘re Catholic, Protestant or Jew.  That‘s irrelevant to the conversation.  What matters is this, that you‘re allowing somebody who had a bad experience—and let me tell you something, the worst anti-Catholics in the world are not found amongst Protestants, Jews and Muslims, or secularists.  They‘re found in my own community who can‘t give it up, who are stuck in the mud, these regressive types, and who always want to bash the church...

(CROSSTALK)

SKLAR:  Regressive is always bad.  Disrespect is always bad.  I‘m all for respect.  I‘m all for civil discourse and discussing different viewpoints, and that‘s the whole point of the show. 

DONOHUE:  That‘s fine.  But why the cheap shots?

ABRAMS:  Rachel, this is another clip of Rosie and Barbara.  This is talking about the Supreme Court justices.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROSIE O‘DONNELL, FORMER HOST, “THE VIEW”:  How many of the Supreme Court judges are Catholic, Barbara? 

WALTERS:  Five. 

O‘DONNELL:  Five are Catholic, separation of church and state. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Let me play one more.  “The View,” the ladies are trying to discuss the Bible here. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOY BEHAR, CO-HOST, “THE VIEW”:  I read the Bible as a kid, because I was Catholic. 

O‘DONNELL:  I have been studying the Old Testament for four years once a week in private study, just so you know.  I have, because I didn‘t know anything about it.  Again, Catholic, you just read the missalette. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  But, see, you know what?  Let‘s assume you don‘t like the comments they‘re making.  And, again, I think the question here becomes—you really want Barbara Walters to go in and say to them, “Hey, guys, no more discussion of the c-word.  I don‘t want to hear that c-word again on the show.”

DONOHUE:  All I‘m asking her to do is to treat Catholics the way other demographic groups are treated and then you won‘t have to hear from me.  Again, if you took any one of the 15 out of context in isolation, you might say, “Well, what‘s the big deal?  Maybe the Catholic League is overreacting.” 

Cumulatively, we‘ve got 15.  You‘ve got one with Muslims and one anti-Chinese rant, and nothing for anybody else, and I‘m supposed to sit here as the head of the Catholic League and say, oh, this is just fair criticism?  These are little snide comments, and everybody knows it. 

SKLAR:  But, sir, in the wake of the partial-birth abortion ban coming down from the Supreme Court, and you‘ve got five Catholic justices voting to overturn that, how is that not relevant?  How is that not even relevant for discussion, for examination and saying, “Hey, is there a separation here of the religion of these people and what they‘re bringing to the bench?” 

DONOHUE:  You have Ginsburg and you have Breyer who are Jewish, and if you had three other Jewish persons there on the Supreme Court, and they were all pro-choice, and I raised a question of them being Jewish, what do you think I‘d be called? 

SKLAR:  I mean, it would all depend on the framing of how it was raised.

DONOHUE:  I don‘t think so.  I think I‘d be called an anti-Semite. 

SKLAR:  I think framing is very important.

ABRAMS:  I guess the only difference, again, Bill—and I think this goes down to the fundamental issue—is that the Catholic Church has taken a public position on this issue.  And I don‘t...

DONOHUE:  Yes, but these guys are not robots.  How come the bean counting only starts with us?  If they took a position in favor of capital punishment...

ABRAMS:  But if let‘s say Jews had taken a position on it, wouldn‘t it change the way the discourse occurred? 

DONOHUE:  Well, I mean, you‘re acting like it—look, Kennedy and these guys, they‘re not just sitting, you know...

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  All right. 

DONOHUE:  We‘re back to this idea that we take the commands from Rome.

ABRAMS:  All right, fair enough.  All right, Bill Donohue, Rachel Sklar, we‘ll see if anything changes on “The View.”  Rosie‘s gone.  That could change a lot.  All right, thanks a lot, appreciate it.

Up next, Paris Hilton‘s dad reportedly planning a $50,000 party to celebrate her release from jail.  So this is the new leaf she‘s turning over?  Oh, and, by the way, her agent dumped her today, too.  That‘s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  A lot can happen while you‘re sitting in a jail cell, freaking out from your extreme ADD or whatever claustrophobic condition.  Today Paris was not just dropped by her talent agent, but by the entire agency that represented her.  It wasn‘t all bad news for Paris today, though.  Her parents stopped by for a visit, just as rumors hit that her father, Rick Hilton, is setting up a get-out-of-jail bash for Paris.  And he‘s already approached, they say, some of Las Vegas‘ top clubs.

Here now, David Caplan, senior correspondent for VH1‘s “Best Week Ever,” and “InTouch Weekly” senior editor Kim Serafin. 

All right, thanks to both of you.  All right, Kim, so let‘s start with this issue about her getting dumped by her talent agency.  Is this a direct result of her being in jail? 

KIM SERAFIN, “INTOUCH WEEKLY”:  Well, it would appear to be, although they‘re not really commenting.  They‘re just saying, you know, they don‘t represent her anymore.  This is, of course, her agency Endeavor.  She‘s been with them since 2005.

There was some reports that perhaps they had actually gotten rid of her on Friday.  The news is really just getting out today.  So, you know, it‘s surprising, because clearly she‘s going to make a lot of money after this when she gets out.  There‘s going to be TV interviews.  And she‘s been wanting to pursue acting for a while.  Now she has a little more depth, so she can take on those meaty acting roles.  So I think any agency will do fine when they get her, so she‘ll still be making money for them.

ABRAMS:  David, don‘t they have to be concerned, I guess, about the fact that their other clients are going to say, “You know, I don‘t want to be associated in any way with Paris Hilton.  I‘m a real actor.  I‘m a real director.  I‘m a real whatever.  And if you guys represent Paris Hilton, we‘re not going to be taken seriously”?

DAVID CAPLAN, VH1‘S “BEST WEEK EVER”:  Absolutely.  I mean, having Paris Hilton essentially as one of your clients on your roster is a liability for a lot of the other celebrities that they represent who are huge motion picture celebrities, and not people who sort of gained their fame like Paris.  So they don‘t want to be at the same agency as Paris Hilton, because it‘s perceived as pejorative.  It‘s cheesy.  And the same goes really for P.R. firms and all those Hollywood agencies.  They want to have a roster that says, “We‘re a power agency,” and having Paris Hilton doesn‘t always speak that.

ABRAMS:  All right, let‘s talk about this other story.  “New York Post” page six broke the story about Rick Hilton apparently planning a get-out-of-jail bash in Vegas for Paris.  Their source says that Mr. Hilton was, quote, “originally asking for a $50,000 cash fee to be paid as well as accommodations and flights.”  Kim, so just I understand this, he‘s going and looking for a place to have a party and asking that they pay him to have a party there? 

SERAFIN:  Well, you know, it‘s an honor to host the Paris Hilton gets out of jail party.  You know, this is being reported.  It‘s interesting, though, because this sort of comes right after the interview she did with Barbara Walters, where it looked like she was kind of going to change direction with her life.  She wasn‘t going to be the partying Paris that we all know.  You know, she had found spirituality and, you know, God had sent her there.  And so she was going to try to take a different turn with her life.  So I wonder if this party is still happening now.  You never know. 

ABRAMS:  You know, David, it would just seem to me it would be such a bad idea, I mean, such a colossally bad idea for Paris Hilton to have a “I got out of jail” bash.  It sort of reminds me of Michael Jackson had this party that I actually went to—I‘ll explain that story later—but I went to a party at Michael Jackson‘s home right after the charges were filed, this sort of “support Michael Jackson” party that just became sort of a freak show.  And I don‘t know.  I can‘t imagine it would be a good idea for Paris to do that. 

CAPLAN:  Yes, I think it‘s in bad taste really for Paris to have this party.  She‘s going to take a lot of criticism for it when the party, you know, if it happens.  And, of course, right now, it‘s really in bad taste for Rick Hilton to be planning already the party.  But, in the terms of Paris getting $50,000 for this party, she actually receives in excess of $100,000 for parties that she typically does, like over New Years.

ABRAMS:  Of course she does.  Of course she does.

CAPLAN:  So they‘re getting a bargain if they only have to pay $50,000.

ABRAMS:  David, what do you know, the latest about when she‘s getting out?

CAPLAN:  So right now, we‘re looking actually early next week, that she will serve about the 23 days.  And we‘re looking at the end of next week, which incidentally coincides with Lindsay Lohan leaving rehab.  She‘s also supposed to party in Vegas...

ABRAMS:  That could be the best party ever. 

CAPLAN:  These two need to join forces and have a monster Vegas bash.

I think that will give us lots of fodder for months and months to come. 

SERAFIN:  That‘s right, Lindsay was going to have her 21st birthday party in Vegas, the 4th of July weekend, so we‘ll see if that‘s going to happen, too.  But you‘re right.  That will be the weekend to be in Vegas. 

ABRAMS:  Oh, rocking bash.  You know who probably wouldn‘t be there is O.J.  You know, O.J. took some much deserved time off of finding the real killers to comment on the Paris Hilton case.  He told the journal, “Editor and Publisher,” that, “When Paris Hilton was going to jail last week, more people knew about that than knew that we were sending people into space that day.” 

You know, I love the fact that both O.J. and Paris are lecturing the media on what they should and shouldn‘t be covering in the context of their case.  O.J. used to lecture us all the time during his trial about either how he got things wrong or about the media coverage, et cetera, and then Paris went on and told us about the fact that we should be more focused on what‘s happening in Iraq. 

I mean, here‘s my concern, Kim, is that someone advising—put O.J.  aside for a minute—is someone advising Paris to say the right things, to do the right things, to not have a party, to sound like a self-righteous idiot by making claims about what the media should and shouldn‘t be covering? 

SERAFIN:  You would assume she would.  I mean, she certainly has the money to hire the best P.R. people.  And, of course, you‘ve been reading all of the articles.  There are millions of articles out there, people, P.R. professionals being quoted saying, you know, this is what Paris should do.  This is what she shouldn‘t do.  So certainly there is more than enough advice for her to choose from.  Like I said, it seems like this thing that started on Sunday when she spoke with Barbara Walters seems to be the path she‘s going on, things seem to have calmed down.  She‘s not doing the appeal.  She‘s trying to stay focused.  So I think it‘s all going to depend on what happens when she really gets out.  Is she going to have this big party?  Is she going to go back to being the Paris that we used to know?  Or are we going to see a big change?

ABRAMS:  I like to not give PETA publicity when they just do one of their stunts, but sometimes they‘re good.  And, you know, they were good in this one.  So the question, of course, would Paris campaign for the rights of some sort of caged birds?  That‘s what PETA wants.  They sent the incarcerated Hilton a letter asking Paris to, quote, “narrate or Kentucky Fried Cruelty video, showing how chickens are routinely crammed into tiny cages and suffer broken wings and legs.” 

I don‘t know, David, any chance?

CAPLAN:  I don‘t how she could do it.  In fact, Paris Hilton was named one of the worst-dressed celebrities by PETA last year because she wears fur.  PETA also through flour at her at London Fashion Week last year, as well, because she wears fur.  So it‘s sort of weird, this turnaround. 

ABRAMS:  All right, stick around, coming up, “Sopranos” creator David Chase speaks out about the controversial ending.  What did it all mean?  Is there a movie in the works?  The answers ahead, maybe, in “Hollyweird,” as if we haven‘t been talking “Hollyweird” already.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  It‘s time for “Hollyweird.”  First up, for all the “Sopranos” fans who thought Sunday night‘s series finale was setting the table for a movie, think again, or at least that‘s what the creator says.  He says he doubts he‘ll make a “Sopranos” film.  Do we believe him?  Let‘s bring back David Caplan from VH1 and Kim Serafin from “InTouch Weekly.”

Do you believe him, Kim?

SERAFIN:  No, I don‘t believe him.  I think it was set up that they can do a movie.  I don‘t know if he‘s definitely planning it.  I mean, he said in this one interview that he had with the “New Jersey Star-Ledger” today that he‘s not trying to be coy about it, he really doesn‘t know.  If an idea strikes him, he maybe will do it, and he thought about it, but right now there‘s nothing in the works.

You never say never in Hollywood, so it wouldn‘t surprise me.  I mean, look at this, two days later, and we‘re still talking about it, and people are still discussing the ending, and people are still trying to figure out what it really meant.  So he‘d certainly have a big audience for it. 

ABRAMS:  David, he said, “I don‘t think about a movie.  I never say never.  An idea could pop into my head where I would go, ‘Wow, that would make a great movie,‘ but I doubt it.  You know, I don‘t know.  I don‘t know if that‘s the only way it works.  I mean, I know that people like to believe it‘s all about the creative genius, but I assume that if they could get a financial boon out of this, they‘d do it. 

CAPLAN:  Yes, absolutely.  And if they got all the cast members together, everyone agreed, you‘d essentially have the opposite of what happened with “Sex in the City,” where the people—the actors couldn‘t come together on salary, and I think it would happen. 

ABRAMS:  A British judge sentenced George Michael to 100 hours of community service and banned him from driving for two years for his October DUI charge.  Kim Serafin, why do I care? 

SERAFIN:  No, you don‘t really.  I don‘t really care either.  I mean, other than to say—other than to go back to our first story, to say, you know, Paris Hilton clearly didn‘t luck out.  George Michael had it a lot luckier than Paris.  He‘s just doing community service and had to pay about $5,000 bucks.  Paris should be so lucky.

ABRAMS:  David, I‘m going to do a little surprise thing here that you guys were not prepared for and you‘ve not been briefed on or anything, but any comment on George Michael first? 

CAPLAN:  I think, you know what?  You know why you need to do?  It‘s a good case study in the difference with celebrities in the U.K. and celebrities in the U.S. getting special treatment for DUI, Paris Hilton, George Michael.

ABRAMS:  All right, here‘s what I want to do, all right?  Earlier in “Beat the Press,” right, we played—I don‘t know if you guys saw this, did you guys see this, this thing where we showed you Nancy Grace and Mike Brooks, who‘s the guy filling in for her in the first half hour, and the second half hour, they read the same script?  I want to play it again.  So listen. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(CROSSTALK)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Do you guys want to say anything about that or should we keep going?  I don‘t know.

SERAFIN:  Only if we could say it in unison. 

ABRAMS:  That would actually be very funny. 

CAPLAN:  It‘s a good script, right?  It‘s a good script.

ABRAMS:  You know, when you‘ve got a good one, you‘ve got to stick with it.

Real quick, Eddie Murphy reportedly dropped off some DNA at an L.A.  court yesterday so we may soon know whether the answer I‘ve certainly been wondering:  Is he the father of Scary Spice, Melanie Brown‘s kid?  So the question is, why did the Spice Girl already give her daughter the last name Murphy, David?

CAPLAN:  She is really confident that that kid is part Eddie Murphy.  And I just love the last thing.  I love the fact that the last name is Murphy Brown.  That‘s the best part, I think, of this whole story.

ABRAMS:  That‘s actually very funny.

CAPLAN:  So that‘s the best part of this whole story.  But she‘s confident.  She already was on the cover of “OK” magazine saying this is Eddie‘s baby, so she is pretty sure it‘s his. 

ABRAMS:  Kim, does it make me out of touch that I actually asked someone before we did this segment, there must be a typo, there wasn‘t actually one of the Spice Girls named Scary?

SERAFIN:  Yes, how did you not know there was a Scary Spice?

ABRAMS:  I should be ashamed.  I didn‘t know. 

SERAFIN:  Look at all the things you are missing by paying attention to Paris Hilton.

ABRAMS:  It‘s true.  I‘m not suggesting I‘m above it; I‘m just suggesting that I just didn‘t happen to know that. 

SERAFIN:  I‘m surprised that O.J. didn‘t mention that, while this has been going on with Paris, we‘re missing the saga with Mel B. and Scary Spice, so...

ABRAMS:  Kim and David, thanks a lot.  Appreciate all your help.

A reminder, if you‘re looking for your fill of Mr. Joe Scarborough, whose name Bill O‘Reilly won‘t utter, you can catch him, 6:00 a.m., right here on MSNBC.  Joe‘s guests tomorrow include NBC News Political Director Chuck Todd, Joe Klein from “Time” magazine, author and radio talk show host Laura Ingraham.  He‘s got a really good show, so please watch it. 

That‘s all the time we have for tonight.  Stay tuned, “LOCKUP: INSIDE FOLSOM,” MSNBC takes you in one of the country‘s oldest maximum security facilities.  See you then.

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

END   

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