updated 6/20/2007 10:58:33 AM ET 2007-06-20T14:58:33

Guests: Alex Ferrer, Jennifer Pozner, Mike Learmonth, Bill Gavin, Barry McCaffrey, Paul Rieckhoff, Charles Figley, Chuck Nice, Kim Serafin, Prince Harry, Prince William

DAN ABRAMS, GUEST HOST:  You got to love Judge Larry.  In fact, we found him so entertaining that he‘s tonight‘s top talker.  Crazy Judge Larry from the Anna Nicole case ditching the bench, where you only end up on TV during a big case, for what may be the constant TV coverage of a court show.  The Florida laughingstock, who had nicknames for the lawyers and cried when he ruled where Anna Nicole Smith should be buried, says it‘s time for him to pursue other opportunities.

Larry Seidlin wrote to the Florida governor, quote, “While those opportunities are varied, they all share in common a further commitment to helping my fellow citizens through roles in the educational system, the media and non-profit organizations.”

Helping his fellow citizens by talking tough to the downtrodden on TV maybe?  No, no, no.  That‘s not what happened.  “Broadcasting and Cable” is reporting tonight that the weepy judge is going to host a TV court show on CBS beginning in 2008.  They reported that even before the Anna Nicole case -- this is according to TMZ—he was making tapes of himself.  And of course, in the courtroom, he was making a fool of himself.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JUDGE LARRY SEIDLIN, BROWARD COUNTY, FLORIDA:  Let‘s—I‘m going to have everyone sit for a minute.  Have a seat.  I want to move on.  You can all be seated.  Have a seat.  I appreciate it, Texas.  Have a seat.  Have a seat.  Have a seat.  You guys can have a seat.  You can all be seated.  I ask you to sit now, Texas.  I‘m moving on.  You can have a seat.  You‘re getting hungry for lunch.  I‘m going to let you take a break, sir.  You have a seat.  I want everybody to have a seat.  Let me ask you to have a seat.  I‘m going to stay seated.  You can stand up, if you want.  I agree.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  All right.  So my take, this guy‘s obviously a joke in the legal community, which could mean that he‘d make a great TV judge.  So the question.  In the three crucial categories of style, substance and survivability, my ratings for Judge Larry.  I give him an eight for style.  He‘s funny, engaging, unpredictable and unforgettable.  Substance, he gets a one.  He really comes across as something of an idiot.  Survivability, also an eight because, you know, many times these judge shows are about style over substance.

I‘m joined now by someone who knows very well about these programs, Judge Alex Ferrer, host of the syndicated courtroom TV show “Judge Alex.”  He‘s also been a Florida circuit court judge, and he knows Judge Larry personally.  Jennifer Pozner is director of Women in Media and News.  And Michael Learmonth is the media reporter for “Variety.”

All right.  Thanks a lot for all of you coming on the program.  Judge, I got to start with you, all right?  You know—you know this guy, and he‘s now going to get his own syndicated show.  Was he trying out the whole time during the Anna Nicole case?

ALEX FERRER, “JUDGE ALEX”:  You know, I‘ve heard that.  I don‘t think so.  I mean, I know Larry, but I don‘t know him well enough to say that he couldn‘t be auditioning during that case, but most of the lawyers who I‘ve spoken to who have appeared before him basically say the same thing.  He‘s just, you know, not the same as most judges.  He‘s a little bit out there.  But he‘s a really nice guy.  And he is a really nice guy.  I couldn‘t say that he was auditioning, but it certainly may have been on his mind.

ABRAMS:  Do you think that he is going to serve as an embarrassment to judges on judge shows around this country?

(LAUGHTER)

FERRER:  You know, I don‘t think he‘ll be an embarrassment.  I mean, look, you know, I do take a little offense to your comment that it‘s always style over substance on those court shows.  I personally seem to do very well on the TV court show circuit, but I also did very well on the bunch.  However, you know what?  When it comes to what people will tune in to watch, he may do fantastic.  You never know.  People may tune in and love him because of the entertainment value of the show.  Or he could end up very quickly getting replaced by somebody else.  You know, the longevity of these shows is a guess for anybody.  So you know, you can only wait and see.

ABRAMS:  All right.  Before I—before I go to the other guests for a minute, let‘s take a little bit more a look at Judge Larry.  Here he‘s trying to play it tough.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEIDLIN:  California, listen to me.  California, remember that song, “California Dreamin‘”?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I always consider myself a New Yorker, so...

SEIDLIN:  All right.  I want—I want peace on earth here.  No, I don‘t want you to cloud (ph) me up.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I‘m not trying to (INAUDIBLE)

SEIDLIN:  No, I‘m serious.  Don‘t—you want to prevail with your positions, you‘re going to have to—I‘m the ruler, you‘re going to have to be following my instructions.  Don‘t let my smile know the inside is tough.  Don‘t test me anymore.  Don‘t test me.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Me?

SEIDLIN:  I‘ve been tested by the best.  So don‘t test me.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I‘m not, Your Honor.

SEIDLIN:  All right.  So don‘t test me.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I‘m not.

SEIDLIN:  Yes.  I can fight a ten-round fight.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  All right.  Mike Learmonth, I mean, look, this guy—put aside substance for a minute.  He should be a TV court judge, right?

MIKE LEARMONTH, “VARIETY”:  Well, I mean, there are—by my count, there are nine court judges on television right now.  So I mean, why not?  I mean, this is one of the only genres working in syndication, so it seems no reason why he shouldn‘t just join the crowd.

ABRAMS:  Let‘s talk about the ratings for a minute.  “Judge Judy” down by 2 percent.  “The People‘s Court” down 7 percent.  Judge Mathis (ph), 2.3 percent.  “Christina‘s (ph) Court” up 1.4 -- can we put this up -- 1.4 percent.  Judge Maria Lopez (ph) up .9 of 1 percent.  We apparently don‘t have that.

All right.  Jennifer Pozner, I mean, is this guy going to make it?

JENNIFER POZNER, WOMEN IN MEDIA AND NEWS:  You know, I think that—we‘ve been talking about style over substance.  I think that he loses on both counts.  CBS, I think, offered him—I seem to remember CBS offered him a potential slot for a judge show, and I they should take a lesson from Paris Hilton: Just because you‘re famous doesn‘t mean you‘re good at anything.  And if he gets a show, it‘ll just be basically another example of media companies pandering for ratings and rewarding somebody who grandstanded so much in that case that...

ABRAMS:  But you said—let me ask you about...

POZNER:  Yes.

ABRAMS:  You said pandering for ratings, OK?

POZNER:  Yes.

ABRAMS:  What else is one of these TV court shows?  I mean, they are entertainment shows.

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  They‘re entertainment shows, right?

POZNER:  Yes.  No, I agree that they...

FERRER:  No, I disagree with you, Dan.

POZNER:  I agree that they‘re entertainment shows, but what I‘m saying is that this guy grandstanded and showboated so much for the cameras during an actual legal case that the body in question—they—bloggers were on a decomposition watch, he dragged it on for so long.  It‘s—it‘s basically—this is a guy who was a—made a mockery of the bench.  And if they give him his own show, this will be yet another person representing the judiciary to the American viewing public?  I think it‘s pandering.

ABRAMS:  All right.  Judge, you were offended by my comment?

FERRER:  No, no.  I wasn‘t offended.  I just disagree with you to a certain—in a certain respect.  I think people watch judge shows for different reasons.  And there are some people who gravitate to the judges who really stick by the law and run a tight courtroom.  I try to do that.  There are judges (SIC) who will tune to watch somebody because they feel that they‘re just out there and different.  And yes, it is entertainment, but it‘s entertainment mixed with the law.  And generally, people walk away from watching my court show with a lesson about the law, as well as, hopefully, being entertained.

Will people tune in and watch him?  I think people will tune in to watch him just to see what he‘s like because they remember what he was like in Anna Nicole.  It‘s a question of whether they‘ll stick with him after they‘ve tuned in initially...

ABRAMS:  But is there anything...

FERRER:  ... and that remains to be seen.

ABRAMS:  Is there anything to the fact that he‘s such a joke that he does a disservice—now put yourself back in your old role as a judge and as a lawyer and someone who cares about the legal community.  Is there any concern that a guy who‘s such a joke gets his own show and becomes a representation to everyone of what lawyers and judges are like in this country?

FERRER:  Well, I‘ll tell you this.  The majority of the lawyers who I‘ve spoken to who have appeared in front of him like him because they say he‘s—he‘s a real human being and he talks to them like a real person, and they can—and they‘re not browbeaten.  There are a lot of judges out there who maintain that image of the judge that we all, you know, like to see, but they abuse the lawyers in front of them.  They abuse the witnesses in front of them.  They abuse the jurors.  And they treat everybody like a second class citizen.  And a lot of the attorneys really like the fact that he doesn‘t do that.

Is he my style?  No, he‘s not my style at all.  But I—you know, I certainly wouldn‘t blame him for that.

ABRAMS:  All right.  Here‘s another piece of sound—I‘ve got my gavel here—another piece of sound from Judge Larry in the courtroom.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Let the record reflect she‘s pointing to my table.  That is inflammatory.  It‘s prejudicial.  And I want her censored.

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  You know what?  In addressing the court in Florida (INAUDIBLE) to the court.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Your Honor, I have given great deference over three days.

SEIDLIN:  Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Where I come from, we are respected.

SEIDLIN:  I‘m going to allow you—I‘m going to allow you to ask your question.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  And may I please request that you ask her to stay in her seat?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  All right.  That wasn‘t much about the judge there, but certainly some interesting drama from the Anna Nicole case.

All right, Mike, so What do you think that—if you were—you know, look, you study the media a lot.  If you were giving someone advice on what to look for in one of these may judges, what would you say they need?

LEARMONTH:  Well, I think—I mean, a wide variety of them work on television.  I mean, just to put this in perspective, I mean, “Judge Judy,” the most successful judge show out there, she gets better numbers than Katie Couric.  I mean, tons of people watch these shows.  And I think there‘s—you know, it‘s pretty much the only type of show that works in syndication.  And you know, there‘s—you know, there‘s six of them here who get pretty good numbers.  So I mean, I think there‘s a wide variety of personalities that work.

ABRAMS:  Here‘s...

POZNER:  You know, wouldn‘t that be really great, if we actually had a judge show, even one out of those many, many shows that do so well in the ratings—wouldn‘t it be great if there was a legal show one focused on cases that were actually relevant to...

ABRAMS:  Oh, I know...

POZNER:  ... the American public?

ABRAMS:  ... but come on.  Look, I know, but it‘s so preachy.  These are—these are—these are done by...

POZNER:  No, I‘m not...

ABRAMS:  ... the entertainment department.

POZNER:  Right.  I know they‘re...

ABRAMS:  I mean, I know it would be nice.

POZNER:  ... done by entertainment...

ABRAMS:  It would be nice.  It would be great.

POZNER:  I‘m actually agreeing with your point...

ABRAMS:  Yes, I know.  I know.

POZNER:  ... earlier about...

ABRAMS:  I know.

POZNER:  ... the style over substance.  What I‘m saying is if we‘re talking about style over substance, wouldn‘t it be nice...

ABRAMS:  It would be nice.

POZNER:  ... if among the many ten (ph) shows out there for legal cases, there could be one...

ABRAMS:  Yes.

POZNER:  ... about what‘s going up in front of the Supreme Court this week?

ABRAMS:  Yes, it would be nice if there—look, I love the Supreme Court.  I‘ve studied the Supreme Court.  I would love it.  But the bottom line is...

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  ... if there could be one show that didn‘t care at all how it in the ratings and simply became a judge show that no one watches.  I mean...

POZNER:  Well, yes, you know, but it could be promoted.  It could be...

ABRAMS:  It could be.  It wouldn‘t—I...

POZNER:  ... cross-promoted...

ABRAMS:  I promise you.  Michael...

FERRER:  Seven people would watch.

ABRAMS:  Michael, you back me up on this.  There is no chance a show with a judge about the Supreme Court in daytime television would ever work.

LEARMONTH:  Yes, that‘s pretty much a non-starter.  I mean, you know, they‘ll do that on your show, Dan.  I mean...

(LAUGHTER)

LEARMONTH:  ... that‘s news.  That‘s not entertainment.

ABRAMS:  Right.  This is what they want to see.  They want to see Judge Larry crying.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEIDLIN:  Richard Milstein, Esquire, as the guardian ad litem for Dannielynn Hope Marshall Stern, is awarded custody of the remains of Anna Nicole Smith.  Oh!  I want her buried with her son in the Bahamas.  I want them to be together.  Oh!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Oh, God!  All right.  So let‘s go—let‘s go through the guests and give him—I gave him an eight for style, a one on substance, an eight on survivability.  Judge Alex, what do you make of him?

FERRER:  I‘d say on style, I‘d have to give him 8 to 10, somewhere in that range, because he does have his own style.  No question about it, he‘s unique.

ABRAMS:  Substance?

FERRER:  You know, I can‘t rate him on substance.  I‘ll tell you why. 

I think it‘s unfair to rate him—I never appeared in front of him, and I think it‘s unfair to rate him based on one case, especially the Anna Nicole case, of all.  So I couldn‘t—I couldn‘t really give you (INAUDIBLE)

ABRAMS:  Survivability?

FERRER:  And that one, the jury‘s out, too.  I‘d say probably middle of the road because 9 out of 10 new shows fail in the first year.  It‘s very difficult to make it.  Whether people stick around and watch him after year one or after the first week or not, the jury‘s out on that.

ABRAMS:  All right.  Jennifer, your ratings?

POZNER:  Well, I think that in terms of style, I‘d give him maybe a 1 or 2.  he has his own style.  I don‘t like it, but he has it.  For substance, I give him a zero, and I think it‘s totally fair to do that because this is the reason why he would have this case is that—Anna Nicole‘s case.

ABRAMS:  Right.

POZNER:  And survivability, I would say 3 or 4 because they‘ll cross-promote the heck out of that show, if they do decide to run it.  But I think that it would—if it survives at all, it‘ll be based on cross-promotion and marketing, not on substance.

ABRAMS:  Mike, what do you make of it?

LEARMONTH:  Well, style—I mean, I‘ll give him pretty low marks because, I mean, he has his own style, but I think it‘s an incredibly annoying style.

(LAUGHTER)

POZNER:  Agreed!

LEARMONTH:  Substance, I mean, I‘ll give him a couple gavels because, you know, I mean, I think he made the right decision on Anna Nicole‘s body, in the end.  And survivability—I mean, you know, the TV networks are starved for content, so, I mean, that might give him a few years.

ABRAMS:  Judge Alex, as I say good-bye, is there a trick to the gavel that I‘ve got here in my—is there some style issue if I want to—you know?

FERRER:  I think the bottom line is, ultimately, you have to be yourself as a judge on television, and it either works or it doesn‘t work.  If you try to pretend to be someone else, I think it comes off as phony. 

And other judges have tried that, and it just doesn‘t work.

ABRAMS:  Same thing with hosting a television talk show.  Judge Alex Ferrer, Jennifer Pozner and Mike Learmonth, thanks a lot.  Appreciate it.

POZNER:  Thank you.

FERRER:  Thank you, Dan.

ABRAMS:  Still ahead: An abandoned newborn found just 45 miles from where a pregnant woman went missing.  We‘ll have the latest on the search for Jessie Davis.

Also ahead, should U.S. troops get a month break for every three months they serve on the front lines?  Army mental health experts say yes, the military says no.  We‘ll debate that.

Plus more of NBC‘s exclusive interview with Princes William and Harry. 

Really amazing stuff, coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Investigators are continuing to search for any information concerning the disappearance of Jessie Davis and are looking at all associates or possible associates of hers.  Investigators are not ruling anything out at this time.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  But there are some big new developments tonight in the search for the 26-year-old pregnant Ohio woman.  A newborn baby has been found in the area.  Jessie Marie Davis was reported missing on Friday after her mother arrived in what appeared to be a ransacked house.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

PATTY PORTER, MOTHER OF MISSING WOMAN:  My daughter‘s gone.  She‘s due in two weeks, and my grandson‘s here alone, and this whole house has been ransacked.

911 OPERATOR:  How old is your...

PORTER:  My grandson‘s 2.

911 OPERATOR:  And he‘s gone?

PORTER:  He‘s here alone!

911 OPERATOR:  OK, you need to calm down so I can understand you.

PORTER:  I‘m trying!

911 OPERATOR:  OK.

PORTER:  He‘s here alone, and she‘s gone.  Her car‘s here.

911 OPERATOR:  Who‘s gone?

PORTER:  My daughter!

(END AUDIO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Now, the toddler had said that mommy was crying, and quote, “Mommy‘s in the rug.”  Late last night, they searched the home and pickup truck of Jessie‘s boyfriend and the mother—and he‘s also the father, of course, of that unborn baby.

Tonight authorities announced a one-day-old baby was found in a wicker basket on a doorstep about 45 miles away from Jessie‘s house.  They don‘t know yet if it‘s her newborn baby.

We‘re joined now by NBC‘s Alison (ph) (INAUDIBLE).  Alison, we do know, though, however, don‘t we, that she was expecting a girl, and this was a baby girl, correct?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Yes.  That is about the only thing we know at this time, Dan.  They‘re being very close-mouthed about even what race the child is, at this point.  The PR person at the Wooster Community Hospital did confirm that they have the newborn there and that it was a baby girl.  When the Stark County sheriff‘s department was asked if they were going to do DNA tests to try and determine whose child it might be, the only thing they would say is that, We will do everything necessary to move the investigation forward.

ABRAMS:  What do we know about the boyfriend?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Well, we know that he is a police officer in Canton, Ohio.  We know that he is married to a woman who is not Jessie, that he has two children with that woman.  He is currently separated from her.  And there is also another woman now that has entered the picture.  She no longer lives in the area, but she claims to have another child who was fathered by him.

ABRAMS:  Final question.  Do we know how long it‘s going to take to assess if that baby that was found is, in fact, her baby?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Unfortunately, we don‘t know that.  We‘re going to just keep track of things as they develop here.  Like I said before, they‘re holding the information very tight to the vest, at this point, Dan, and are just trickling—trickling the information out to us.

ABRAMS:  All right, Alison Carnival, thanks a lot.  Appreciate it.

Let‘s bring in Bill Gavin, former assistant director of the FBI New York.  Thanks for joining us.  Appreciate it.  All right, so...

BILL GAVIN, FORMER FBI ASST. DIR., NY:  My pleasure (INAUDIBLE)

ABRAMS:  Look, you know, we know a lot of facts here.  We know what was found and not found in the house.  We know that the 2-year-old was there.  We know that there was no forced entry, for example, in the house.  Some dispute as to whether there was a struggle there.  The mother came in, said it looked like it was ransacked.  On the other hand, the authorities are saying no sign of struggle.  Her purse and car were still at the house.  Her cell phone and comforter were missing.  Police found bleach spilled on the floor.  And now you have this report of a little baby girl, 1 day old, found 45 miles away.  How often are abandoned little children found randomly?

GAVIN:  Dan, this is both baffling and bizarre, this whole case.  Right now, if, in fact, this little child turns out, through DNA testing, the electrophoric (ph) testing—turns out to be the child, then it adds a whole new mystery to this.  It probably takes the boyfriend, Bobby Cutts, out of the picture.

However, if it turns out not to be this, we get right back into play.  The theory that perhaps—one of the theories, at least, that perhaps she was abducted so that somebody could have that child as their own is—if, in fact, this child turns out to be hers, goes by the board at that time and we go right back to square one.

It is a baffling case.  But when you look at the—who would think to

throw bleach on bloodstains that are around the—around the bed—every

anybody in law enforcement probably knows that this is going to destroy, to the best extent that you can, the evidence that‘s going to be used there, the forensic evidence.

So it‘s a very perplexing case.  The comforter is still missing.  Was that used to carry her away?  The little boy says, Mommy‘s in the—on the rug.  This is—this is a perplexing case.  Right now, they have to look at, and may have—they‘ve done the searches of Bobby Cutts‘s house and his pickup truck, but they also have to look at a timeline for him.  Where has he been?  What has he done?

ABRAMS:  Bill Gavin, thanks a lot.  We‘re going to stay on top of the story.  Appreciate it.

GAVIN:  My pleasure.

ABRAMS:  Coming up...

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  (INAUDIBLE) meeting somebody and them going, You‘re so not what I thought you were, you know, to both of us.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Princes William and Harry on life in the media spotlight and why what you read about them in the press isn‘t the whole story.  It‘s fascinating stuff, even if you‘re not into the royal family.

But first, Larry King enters the 21st century with some newfangled device called an iPod.  That‘s next on “Beat the Press.”

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  We‘re back.  Time now for another edition of “Beat the Press.”

First up: With all the controversy surrounding offensive comments made on the airwaves, you‘d think that an Archie Bunker-like mentality about women might not be something deemed acceptable on national television, and then you would know you were wrong after listening to Fox News contributor Jonathan Heunagel (ph) opine about Hillary Clinton running for president.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I don‘t think any rational woman would ever want to be president.  That‘s what‘s still mystifying me about Hillary.  I just think that, you know, being president, being the commander-in-chief of all men, for me, it goes against a woman‘s basic value of hero worship.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  So this is the point maybe where you put the foot in the mouth, right?  Maybe he regretted it, immediately apologized?  Nah.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I would be suspicious of any woman who would want to be president of the United States.  She‘d become a sexless mind (ph).

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  That‘s OK?  You can say that stuff?

Up next, when I think cutting edge and hip, I think Jay-Z, Jessica Alba, and Larry King.  Last night, Larry was holding some futuristic device, which he identified loud and clear.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LARRY KING, “LARRY KING LIVE”:  If you look closely, you can see I am holding my new iPod!  Why, you may ask?  Because we have a brand-new weekly podcast.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  I love Larry, but do you agree he seems a little awestruck at how the thing works?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KING:  We‘re going to take a break and come back with more of Judge Judy.  Our iPod‘s still going strong.  There‘s Angelina.  Don‘t go away.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  I love Larry.

Finally, Bill O‘Reilly‘s obsession with MSNBC continued tonight.  You know, he still seems wounded by that report from the Project for Excellence in Journalism that determined MSNBC covered the Iraq war more than Fox, a report that‘s led some to suggest Fox doesn‘t cover it for political reasons.  Rather than just deal with the numbers, Mr. O‘Reilly continues to try to smear us.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL O‘REILLY, “THE O‘REILLY FACTOR”:  MSNBC is anti-war!  And they‘re parading things in to try to get public opinion to shift against it!  That‘s why they do more coverage!  We‘re trying to do the facts!  And there‘s nothing to be learned from another explosion!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Right.  The facts.  The facts.  Let‘s at least try to get the facts straight.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

O‘REILLY:  When you start adding up minutes, as this phony Fox hater Mark Jurkowitz did, all right, without context of what they‘re reporting, you get a lot of bang-bang for the sake of bang-bang, OK?  No context, burning stuff...

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Oh, no, no, no.  Actually, if you‘d actually read the report, you would see it offered exactly that context, that only 3 percent of our reporting was about events on the ground, bang-bang.  The vast majority of our reporting on the policy decisions guiding the war.  I know, not a story worth covering, according to Mr. O‘Reilly.  That is, if your agenda is to just hope the war goes away and our troops are forgotten.  That‘s not going to happen here.

Up next: General Barry McCaffrey‘s not happy with a new report that says troops should get one month off after three months on the front lines.  The question, Would it be that bad?  The general joins us next for a debate.

And later, Matt Lauer‘s fascinating conversation with Princes Harry and William.  Tonight, more of that exclusive interview, including how they feel about dating in the media spotlight.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  Coming up, more of NBC‘s exclusive interview with Princes William and Harry is coming up. 

But, first, U.S. commanders in Iraq are reportedly rejecting the recommendation for a team of Army mental health experts who say troops on the front lines, the ones constantly involved in combat operations, should get a month off for every three months that they serve on those front lines. 

Now, my take.  I‘m not a psychologist.  I‘ve not served in the military.  I‘m not presuming to be an expert on either.  But with longer deployments and more aggressive actions being taken on the ground, isn‘t it commonsense that we‘re almost certainly going to leave more military men and women with more long-term psychological problems?  Why shouldn‘t we take the Army psychologist‘s recommendation, cut them some slack, give the ones involved in combat a longer break? 

Here with me is Professor Charles Figley.  He‘s a psychologist and expert on combat stress.  Retired four-star Army commander General Barry McCaffrey and Iraq war veteran Paul Rieckhoff.  He‘s also the author of “Chasing Ghosts.”

Thanks a lot to all of you.  Appreciate it. 

All right, General, what am I missing here? 

GEN. BARRY MCCAFFREY, MSNBC MILITARY ANALYST:  Well, first of all, there‘s no question, 29,000 killed and wounded, a lot of these troops are on their third, fourth, fifth combat tour.  It‘s 120 degrees in the streets of Baghdad.  They‘re carrying 100 pounds of combat equipment.  This is a real war going on. 

I‘d also, though, offer, Dan, that these are the toughest, most courageous combat troops we ever fielded.  They‘ve got great leadership.  They are mostly not damaged by their combat exposure.  In fact, they come home grateful for hot water, for living in this country, and for their families, not the victims of PTSD.  And then, finally, as a practical matter, we‘re simply not going to pull combat units out of the line for a month out of every three months. 

ABRAMS:  But, General, according to the study, 30 percent of soldiers in combat conditions for at least 56 hours a week screened positive for mental health problems.  The number fell to 17 percent when they were in medium combat conditions, down to 11 percent in low-combat conditions.  I mean, it kind of makes common sense, as well, so why not, with those ones who are constantly involved on the fronts, give them more down time?

MCCAFFREY:  Oh, come on now, Dan.  You know, this isn‘t—you know, the Yalu River and the 1st Marine Division, the Battle of the Bulge.  Vietnam, was a rifle company commander.  This is huge levels of stress.  This is a war.  It‘s a tough life.  If you can‘t embrace the brutality of combat, you shouldn‘t be in the infantry in the Marine Corps or Army, for sure. 

ABRAMS:  Doctor, what of that? 

CHARLES FIGLEY, PSYCHOLOGIST:  They‘re definitely embracing what we‘re talking about and what Colonel Castro found was, enough is enough.  I mean, we have never had a military engagement with this much intensity for this amount of time.  So where‘s the evidence?  There is all kinds of evidence to show that you just can‘t go that far without expecting breakdown on the battlefield, and there‘s a lot of research to show that this is happening right now. 

ABRAMS:  You know, let me play a piece of sound here.  This is from the number-two man there on the ground, General Raymond Odierno, talking the length of the deployment and some of the issues that result from that. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LT. GEN. RAY ODIERNO, U.S. ARMY:  These soldiers go out every single day for a year.  That‘s a long time.  And in this case, 15 months, that‘s a lot.  That‘s a lot of pressure over time.  Even in World War II and other times when we stayed out for long periods of time, we would pull forces off the line and bring them back on.  Here we don‘t do that.  They are out there consistently, every single day. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  All right, Paul Rieckhoff, I mean, you know, I don‘t think anyone is going to dispute that.  What do you think of this—look, it just seems to me, again, that it‘s common sense that the longer you leave these people in these extremely combative and stressful situations, the greater the chance you‘re going to have long-term psychological damage. 

PAUL RIECKHOFF, IRAQ WAR VETERAN:  Well, that‘s exactly right, Dan.  I spent just under a year as an infantry platoon leader in Baghdad, and the proof is in the statistics.  Roughly one in three returning veterans are going to have some kind of mental health issue. 

Now, we can tell them, “Be tough, suck it up,” or we can deal with what is really a readiness issue.  We wouldn‘t send them back into combat if they were out of shape or if they couldn‘t shoot straight or if they needed glasses.  We shouldn‘t be sending them back with a mental health issue, either.  It‘s going to start to manifest itself in a degrading effect on the force.

And when they get home, we‘re going to be dealing with increased divorce rates, we‘re going to be dealing with potential suicide issues, and homelessness.  It‘s about taking care of our force.  I don‘t know how many months they need off or what the right mix is, but the reality is, we‘re running our people very hard, and we need to give them breaks so they can rest, refit, and also retrain. 

ABRAMS:  General, I mean, is this a new way of looking at the military?

MCCAFFREY:  Well, no, I think we‘ve always felt that combat infantry troops—you know, and in this war, military police are almost as much action as the infantry are—they need a day or two every days where they‘re not wearing body armor.  We need to give them good food, adequate hydration.  You‘ve got to watch their sleep very carefully. 

We‘re doing some wonderful things, in terms of two weeks home leave, known tour length.  They‘ve got e-mail and phone contact with their family.  So these troops deserve the best.  They‘re in a real war.  There‘s no question about that.  But we are not taking combat units out of action for a month out of every four months.  It‘s just not going to happen.

ABRAMS:  Yes, Doctor, let‘s assume that they should do it.  Isn‘t it unrealistic to presume that they will? 

FIGLEY:  Oh, totally unrealistic.  I mean, the Navy psychiatry and psychology, even social work, is providing the Army with mental health services because the Army is so understaffed.  The interesting thing about this study that Dr. Castro and his colleagues have produced is, is they show very clearly that deployment is associated with morale, with all the things that was mentioned before, because the Marines have six months.  And they are, even though they have as much, probably more intensity, with regard to combat, all of their numbers look much better than the Army and for soldiers, unfortunately.

ABRAMS:  According to the study, soldiers deployed for six months or less, less likely to screen positive for depression, anxiety and stress, compared to soldiers deployed longer than six months.  I mean, General, isn‘t part of the problem here these 15-month deployments?

MCCAFFREY:  Well, they‘re two very different service experiences.  The Marines have got a bunch of 18-year-old young guys.  It fits their tour length.  That‘s why they‘re using seven-month deployments.  There‘s a good argument that the worst thing we could do to the Army would be put them on six-, seven-month deployments, thereby increasing the frequency of jerking them out of their home environment, putting them back in action.

And, by the way, I would dispute the fact that this is the first war in history where we‘ve had troops in combat for a year.  That is nonsense.  In every other unit actions that we‘ve seen, Korea, Vietnam, World War II, World War II, there was no tour length.  You went for the duration; 400,000 got killed.  So let‘s keep some context and balance in what we‘re talking about.

ABRAMS:  Paul, final word on this.

RIECKHOFF:  Yes, I just want to add, the thing is, this is a new war.  There are no front lines.  Once you‘re in Iraq, you‘re in harm‘s way, and you can‘t rotate people back to a base, because they still could get hit by mortar fire or a truck bomb.  They‘re still in danger.  The key is trying to give them relieve from the combat zone.  That can be in Kuwait; that can be in Qatar; that can be R&R back home.  We‘ve got to try to work a balance here with their health care and the operational demands on the force. 

ABRAMS:  All right, interesting study, I‘ve got to tell you.  Reading that thing, really interesting stuff.  Dr. Figley, Gen. McCaffrey, Paul Rieckhoff, thanks a lot.  Appreciate it. 

RIECKHOFF:  Thank you.

MCCAFFREY:  Good to be with you.

ABRAMS:  Still ahead...

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRINCE HARRY:  What I do in my private life is really between me and myself. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Yes, if that were really the case.  More of Matt Lauer‘s exclusive interview with the two princes, now fighting the same paparazzi that hounded their mom, Princess Di. 

And later, the countdown continues.  Six days until freedom for Paris.  Tonight, her neighbors want her out of the ‘hood, and we‘re not talking about her jail neighbors.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  I‘ll be honest, I‘m not a big royal watcher.  I don‘t follow who‘s having tea with the queen, but I have been fascinated by Matt Lauer‘s interview with Princes William and Harry.  Here now, part two, where they talk about life in the spotlight.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LAUER:  If you look at a Madonna or you look at a Michael Jordan, incredibly famous at a certain period of their lives.  But there will come a time in their lives where people will look at them on the street and go, “He used to be famous.”  Michael Jordan used to play basketball.  You two are going to be famous every day of your lives.

PRINCE WILLIAM:  Well...

PRINCE HENRY:  There‘s a difference.

PRINCE WILLIAM:  ... we don‘t know about that, maybe.

LAUER:  Well, I mean, you will always be holding the position you hold.

PRINCE HENRY:  But I think it‘s very different when you‘re famous for sport, famous for this and this.  You know we were born into it.  So if you‘re born into it, I think it‘s normal to feel as though you don‘t really want it, if that makes sense.

PRINCE WILLIAM:  You just take every day as it comes and get on with stuff.

LAUER (voice-over):  But they admit the relentless scrutiny affects every aspect of their lives.

(on screen):  Do you ever befriend someone or, maybe more importantly, they befriend you, and you start to wonder, “Do they like me because I‘m Harry or because I‘m William or because I‘m that Harry and that William?”

PRINCE WILLIAM:  It goes through your mind every time you meet someone new.  And it‘s one thing, I‘m really sort of quite guarded about.  And I know Harry is, as well.  It‘s just that I don‘t want to be liked by someone just because of who I am.  You know, I don‘t want the sycophantic, you know, people hanging around, you know?

PRINCE HENRY:  But at the same time, you‘ve got to understand that it‘s just as hard for our friends as it is for us.  There‘s a massive element of trust.  You look surprised when I say that.  But the reason I say that is because our friends have to put up with a lot when it comes to us.

LAUER (voice-over):  No one has to put up with more than their girlfriends, as both of them have learned recently.  When Harry and his girlfriend, Chelsey Davy, vacationed in the Caribbean, their every move was photographed for the tabloids.

PRINCE HENRY:  You always find yourself hiding somewhere and doing something that you don‘t really want to be doing.  Why?  Because you just don‘t want to get photographed doing it.

LAUER (on screen):  So how does that impact the relationship?  Look, when I was courting my wife, I could do whatever I wanted.

PRINCE HENRY:  It‘s...

LAUER:  That‘s how we got to know each other.

PRINCE HENRY:  It‘s difficult.  But the private time that we have, you know, it‘s amazing.  And that‘s the way we want it to be really.  That‘s the way we want it to stay.

LAUER (voice-over):  William‘s breakup with longtime girlfriend Kate Middleton made headlines around the world.

(on screen):  You‘re on the cover of a lot of magazines there for what‘s happened with your relationship with Kate.  Is there blame, in your opinion, on the press for what happened?

PRINCE WILLIAM:  No.  I mean, what I do with my private life is really between me and myself, basically.  You know, I don‘t listen to newspapers.  I don‘t take any advice from them.  I don‘t.

LAUER:  Do you read any of it?

PRINCE WILLIAM:  Well, you occasionally see a bit of it here and there.  But you know, you just let it wash over you, you know?  I‘m bigger than that.  I don‘t need the press to tell me what to do.

LAUER:  Let me talk a little bit about your image in terms of in the United States separately.

PRINCE WILLIAM:  We have an image? That‘s news to me.

PRINCE HARRY:  It can‘t be good.

LAUER:  All right, William, you‘re seen probably as studious, thoughtful, dutiful, proper.

PRINCE HARRY:  Was that “dutiful” or “beautiful”?

PRINCE WILLIAM:  Proper.

LAUER:  Dutiful.

PRINCE WILLIAM:  And beautiful.

LAUER:  Dutiful and beautiful.

LAUER:  So, Harry, how close is that in describing your brother?

PRINCE WILLIAM:  Now, be honest.  Don‘t just come out and go, “It‘s all rubbish.”

PRINCE HARRY:  Well, I think it‘s—you can‘t really ask me because I‘m his brother, so I see a different side of him.  But, you know...

LAUER:  So how would you describe him?

PRINCE HARRY:  No, you don‘t want to know that.  No, I‘m sure that‘s fantastic that the American people think that of William.  I think there‘s...

LAUER:  You mean, as long as we want to be fools, we can—well, what is the thing that—that people should know about William that they don‘t know?

PRINCE WILLIAM:  Just a legend.

PRINCE HARRY:  No, he enjoys himself more than people think.  You know, he works very hard.  He‘s definitely been the more intelligent one of the two of us.

PRINCE HARRY:  As I‘m sure that‘s the next point that‘s going to come up.

LAUER:  No, I wasn‘t going to say that at all.

PRINCE HARRY:  What do you mean “don‘t put myself down”?  You‘re knocking me down the whole time.

LAUER:  That was not in here, I promise you.  When you say he has more fun, in other words, you think his image is being more stayed?

PRINCE HARRY:  Well, it‘s very hard because the press have given us images that suits them, which...

PRINCE WILLIAM:  ... at the end of the day, neither of us care much about images.  We just—we‘re ourselves.  And if, you know, what gets reported and what people make up that assumption or their opinions is—is up to them.  But, you know, we don‘t go about trying to do anything we wouldn‘t normally do.

LAUER:  So are you telling me, William, that Harry is not a little more volatile, carefree, a bit of a wild thing?

PRINCE WILLIAM:  Oh, he‘s a wild thing, all right.  Yeah. 

PRINCE WILLIAM:  You know, Harry‘s had...

PRINCE HARRY:  Careful what you say.

PRINCE WILLIAM:  ... his fair share of hard time given by the media.  And at the end of the day, no matter what you think, the only person you‘re ever going to get to know to be able to form that opinion is him.  No matter what you read or what you see, you‘re never going to know someone unless you actually get to meet them and talk to them properly.  And that‘s what I say about everyone.

PRINCE HARRY:  That‘s actually the most amusing point is meeting somebody and them going, “You‘re so not what I thought you were.”  And to both of us on to, you know, to our father, to everybody.  “You‘re not what I thought you were,” and, “Well, what did you think?”  “Oh, I best not say it to your face,” like this.  Well, thanks a lot.

LAUER:  I hope you mean that they‘re pleasantly surprised and not disappointed by you.

PRINCE HARRY:  Well, it‘s not.  It‘s because they believe what they read, which is...

LAUER:  Right.

PRINCE HARRY:  You know, God knows what is said in the papers that we don‘t read about that, you know, it‘s just poisonous.

LAUER:  We‘ve talked a lot about the weight of your responsibilities and your role in this society.  What‘s the coolest thing about being a prince?

PRINCE HENRY:  It‘s...

PRINCE WILLIAM:  Yeah, it‘s a difficult question there.

LAUER:  You‘re struggling, huh?

PRINCE HENRY:  Yeah.

PRINCE WILLIAM:  Yeah.  No, I think we‘re very lucky.  You know, we have lots of things that we are very fortunate to have.  You know, we have a house, you know?  We have, you know, all these sort of nice things around us.  And so, you know, we‘re grateful for that because so many people don‘t have that.

PRINCE HENRY:  We‘ve had a good education.  Doesn‘t show, but we have, and we are very privileged, you know, in many ways, and we‘re very lucky.  And we‘re very grateful for that.

LAUER:  Your mom used to say that one of her main concerns for you two was that you live as normal lives as possible.  So 10 years later, do you think she would be happy or saddened by the state of normalcy?

PRINCE HARRY:  I think she‘d be happy in the way that we‘re going about it but slightly unhappy about the way the other people were going about it, as in saying, “Look, you‘re not normal, so stop trying to be normal.”  But within our private lives and within certain other parts of our life, we want to be as normal as possible.  And, yes, it‘s hard, because to a certain respect we never will be normal.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ABRAMS:  Coming up, the princes, they talk about sort of the bad side of being famous.  When we come back, the famously bad Paris Hilton, why her neighbors are complaining tonight, no, not her cellmates, her other neighbors, you know, like the ones in mansions who don‘t want her coming home. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  It is time for “Hollyweird,” your one-stop shop for the famously bad.  Tonight, our countdown to freedom continues.  Paris with just six days left in the slammer before she‘s let loose on the streets of Los Angeles, lots of Paris news today. 

First, some of her Hollywood hills neighbors want her out of the ‘hood.  They‘ve started a campaign to effectively kick her out of her house, handing out leaflets that say, “Since the arrival of Paris Hilton to our neighborhood, we have seen our quality of life deteriorate.  Last week was intolerable.  We feel we need to take a united stand.  The circus will resume when she exits jail.”

Comedian Chuck Nice from VH1‘s “Best Week Ever” is with us, and “InTouch Weekly‘s” senior editor, Kim Serafin.

Chuck, I don‘t get it.  So what do the neighbors do?  Are they going to try and buy the house? 

CHUCK NICE, VH1‘S “BEST WEEK EVER”:  Well, I‘ll tell you this much:  I don‘t get it, either.  And if I might beseech the neighbors of Paris Hilton to cease and desist with this type of action, they‘re about to ruin the perfect storm of public disdain that we have for Ms. Hilton by actually making her sympathetic.  And I can‘t even think of that.

ABRAMS:  You know, Kim, I can‘t imagine the neighbors are happy.  I mean, Cameron Diaz, for example, lives near her.  She commented in the media frenzy the day she was brought back to jail, quote, “There were 10 helicopters above her house, which I live not too far from.  I was like, could you please keep it down?  We all suffer when Paris suffers,” but I think that applies everyone, does it not? 

KIM SERAFIN, “INTOUCH WEEKLY”:  Of course we do.  I think we‘re all very sympathetic.  You know, apparently her local city councilman‘s office got 50 formal complaints that day because of the helicopters, so the city council office is now trying to plan for what‘s happening next week.  They know it‘s going to be craziness.  They‘re trying to keep the streets clear.

And the thing is, she lives not in a very, you know, secluded, gated community.  She lives in a pretty open area.  Everyone in the media knows where she lives.  A lot of people know where she lives, so it‘s kind of hard to keep this quiet or keep this calm. 

ABRAMS:  Yes, I don‘t really know what the neighbors think they‘re going to be able to accomplish.  I mean, let me go to story two on the Paris Hilton front.  Los Angeles top prosecutor‘s office got Paris Hilton in jail for violating probation, driving with a suspended license, then condemned her early release.  On Monday, the L.A. city attorney, Rocky Delgadillo, apologized for keeping quiet about a 2004 car accident in which his wife crashed his city-issued vehicle while driving on a suspended license.  He said, quote, “I realize that I should have spoken up earlier.  That was a mistake.  I mishandled the situation,” and apologized, when he went on to explain how different this was than Paris Hilton‘s case.  But, Kim, kind of embarrassing, right? 

SERAFIN:  Well, yes.  I mean, I think every public elected official in Los Angeles is kind of dreading the fact or regretting the fact, really, that Paris got in this situation.  I mean, the sheriff has gotten in trouble.  Like I said, her city councilman‘s office had to deal with their complaints.  Now the city attorney, Rocky Delgadillo‘s office. 

The funny thing, though, I live in L.A.  People rarely pay attention to L.A. local city government.  So, ironically, Paris is getting people to pay attention to government, and now people know what‘s going on in their local communities because of Paris.  So we can thank her for that. 

ABRAMS:  Right, Chuck, this is the kind of defense that people in media use to justify covering it.  We are actually doing a service by covering the Paris Hilton case, because now people understand Los Angeles city politics. 

NICE:  They‘re a lot more civic-minded because of Paris Hilton, and that‘s a good thing.  But let me just say this, if I may.  You know, preferential treatment for rich and famous people is absolutely unacceptable, but when it‘s done for the family member of a public official, that‘s called tradition.  And as far I‘m concerned, I‘d like to take full advantage of that tradition by announcing right now that I am the illegitimate child of Michael Bloomberg.  Hi, dad.

ABRAMS:  Wow.  And who knew that we were going to be able to bring in the fact that Bloomberg is no longer a Republican?  He‘s now filed as a non-partisan, effectively independent. 

NICE:  Independent.

ABRAMS:  Yes, how about that?

SERAFIN:  See, and, once again, it‘s Paris Hilton that is making us pay attention to these local issues. 

ABRAMS:  It is amazing.  You both, you‘ve shown me the light of what Paris can bring to society.  Kim Serafin, Chuck Nice, thanks a lot.  Appreciate it.

NICE:  All right. 

ABRAMS:  Don‘t forget, as always, “Morning Joe,” our friend Joe Scarborough, tomorrow at 6:00 a.m.  He‘s got Jewel on tomorrow.  He‘s got presidential candidate, Republican Mike Huckabee, and “Newsweek‘s” Howard Fineman.

That‘s all the time we have for tonight.  We‘ll see you tomorrow night back on the show.  But up next, “Lockup:  Return to Riker‘s Island,” cameras show you one of the most notorious prisons in the country.

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

END   

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