updated 3/24/2004 12:35:30 PM ET 2004-03-24T17:35:30

Guests: Shmuley Boteach, Michael Medved, D. James Kennedy, Christine O‘Donnell, Lionel, Thomas Lipscomb, Stephen Hayes

JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST:  Tonight, a former U.S. terror chief tries to blame President Bush for mistakes he made under Clinton.  And the media elite, they‘re eating it up. 

You‘re about to enter SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.  No passport required, no buck-passing allowed. 

Former terror czar Richard Clarke blasts Bush, calling him ineffective against terror.  But Clarke was the one in charge of protecting America, while bin Laden gained power.  Is he just a guy with a book to sell? 

And John Kerry says he wasn‘t at a 1971 anti-war meeting about assassinating U.S. senators.  But FBI documents tell another story.  We‘re going to get the “Real Deal” from the reporter who‘s breaking this explosive story. 

And Howard Stern cries foul, saying Oprah‘s show is just as raunchy as his own, but the FCC gives her a pass.  The showdown between the king of all media and the king of daytime talk explodes on SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. 

And later, you think “The Passion” sparked controversy here in the states?  Wait until you find out how it‘s being received in the rest of the world. 

The media elite rears its ugly head again.  It‘s time for tonight‘s “Real Deal.” 

Now, anybody watching “60 Minutes”‘ fawning interview of Richard Clarke this week could be forgiven for believing that CBS either had a political or a financial stake in promoting Clarke‘s Bush-bashing book, because, in fact, they did.  CBS‘ company owns the rights to the book and refused to disclose that conflict to viewers. 

Making matters worse for CBS is the fact that they ran Clarke‘s story without challenging even his most outrageous conclusions, that Condi Rice didn‘t know what al Qaeda was and that George Bush pressured Clarke to make up facts to prove Iraq bombed the World Trade Center.  And “60 Minutes” ran Clarke‘s claims without raising a single challenge. 

Well, today Clarke‘s own words gave him away and gave “60 Minutes” a black eye, as a 2003 letter from Clarke to Bush praised the president for his courage, his calm and his leadership—quote—“It‘s been an enormous privilege to serve you these last 24 months,” Clarke wrote.  And he went to on to breathlessly praise the president for his intuitive understanding and prescience when it came to facing down terrorism. 

Don‘t expect “60 Minutes” or CBS to apologize next Sunday for their screw-up.  Instead, watch them pretend like nothing happened and bide their time until another Bush-basher writes a book they can prominently profile.  This is why Americans don‘t trust the mainstream media to tell them the truth and why you turn instead to media outlets that show what‘s really going on in Washington and across America.  And, of course, those are the shows that elites hate the most. 

And that‘s tonight‘s “Real Deal.” 

Now, of course CBS‘s favorite author, Richard Clarke, is set to testify before the 9/11 Commission tomorrow.  After his three days in the limelight, what can we expect from his high-profile appearance on Capitol Hill? 

Stephen Hayes is from “The Weekly Standard.”  He‘s here.  We also have MSNBC‘s senior political analyst Lawrence O‘Donnell and former presidential candidate Pat Buchanan. 

Stephen Hayes, let me begin with you. 

Richard Clarke seems to hate George Bush when the camera lights are on and seems to like him when the camera lights are off.  What gives?  What‘s the real story Richard Clarke?  What‘s the real story here? 

STEPHEN HAYES, “THE WEEKLY STANDARD”:  Well, I don‘t think anybody knows.  I think that‘s part of the problem that we‘re having here.  All you need to know about Richard Clarke‘s new book is what he writes in the preface, where he basically reviews his time with four different presidents, and he said Ronald Reagan failed, George Bush I failed, George Bush II failed.  President Clinton was a visionary who was unable to implement his visionary plans only because he was attacked politically. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Wait a second.  Wait, wait, wait.  This is the same Bill Clinton that Clarke served under that, of course, was there in the 1993 World Trade Center attacks, was there Khobar Towers were bombed, was there when the African embassies were bombed, was there when the USS Cole was bombed?  I was in Congress during this time.  This guy didn‘t look very visionary to me.  Where was Richard Clarke during these attacks? 

HAYES:  Well, no, you‘re exactly right. 

And Richard Clarke has given interviews to other outlets.  He gave an interview to PBS‘ “Frontline” in which he talked Clinton allowing a conveyor belt of terrorists to go through Afghanistan and how frustrated he was that they wouldn‘t just take out the camps in Afghanistan, and he kept pounding the desk to get this to happen and it just never happened.  But today, for some reason—and I‘m not here to speculate about motives—for whatever reason, he‘s unwilling to criticize his former boss President Clinton. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And, again, the timing of this seems awfully strange.  He comes out attacking George Bush right now, before the election when he‘s trying to sell a book.  In 2003, he talks about what a great job George Bush is doing. 

From your reporting of Richard Clarke—I know you can‘t tell us why he‘s doing this.  We can all speculate.  And nobody knows the real reason but Richard Clarke.  What kind of reputation does this guy have in the intelligence community among Democrats and Republicans?  Is he a steady guy, a straight shooter? 

HAYES:  To be honest with you, he does have a good reputation.  Basically, he‘s a career civil servant who‘s worked hard and he worked his way up to the top.  He‘s brighter than your average civil servant or average bureaucrat.  And he‘s basically been known as a straight shooter with sort of an abrasive edge. 

And it‘s one of the reasons—having talked to people who worked closely with him at the White House over the past couple days, it‘s one of the reasons that they‘re so baffled that he would turn.  I think your producers did a great job of highlighting the letter he sent with his resignation, where he praised President Bush and now here he is a year later trashing him in the most viscerally unforgiving terms. 

Some of the things he was saying on other networks yesterday morning, it was really—he said basically the president invented a war and people are dying for the president‘s political agenda.  Those are incredible charges. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Lawrence O‘Donnell, let me bring you in here.  And I want to read you what the White House released—again, it was Richard Clarke‘s resignation letter—today. 

And this is what Clarke told the president: “It‘s been an enormous privilege to serve you these last 24 months.  I will always remember the courage, determination, calm and leadership you demonstrated on September 11.”

Lawrence, you and I both know Washington is an insincere place.  But would you write that letter to a boss that you believed was responsible for deaths in Iraq in 9/11? 

LAWRENCE O‘DONNELL, MSNBC SR. POLITICAL ANALYST:  Well, there‘s a certain politeness in the round of resignation letters, Joe. 

It reads to me as honest as most resignation letters, where anybody who‘s worked for a president for a number of years, especially in a specialty, will have a long list of disagreements.  If you were running Medicare for Bush, you‘d leave with a bunch of disagreements with the choices that he made.  And so his resignation letter is no more honest than anyone else‘s. 

As to his motive in terms of what he‘s saying publicly now—and it‘s interesting that his public statements so far have been much more colorful than what he actually writes in the book.  The book tends to play more neutrally than his public comments.  And it seems, if I were to guess—and I have to guess, because I don‘t know him—it seems that this is probably driven by some of the energy that those in the intelligence community have, the negative feelings they have about what they believe was the Bush administration‘s either false use of intelligence, misuse of it, misrepresentation of it, inserting that paragraph, for example, in the State of the Union address. 

And we know this, that there‘s a lot of bitterness in the intelligence community about those things. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  There is a lot of animosity in the intelligence community directed towards this president. 

L. O‘DONNELL:  Yes. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Pat Buchanan, I want to play you something that Don Rumsfeld said on Capitol Hill today.  He said that nothing the Bush White House did could have stopped 9/11, despite what Clarke said. 

Let‘s take a listen. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD RUMSFELD, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE:  The sleeper cells that flew the aircraft into the World Trade towers and the Pentagon were already in the United States months before the attack.  Indeed, if actionable intelligence had appeared, which it did not, 9/11 would likely still have happened. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Pat Buchanan, as somebody that was against what you considered a preemptive war in Iraq, how do you think the Democrats would have responded on Capitol Hill if we had done a preemptive war on Afghanistan before 9/11? 

PAT BUCHANAN, NBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  I don‘t think the president could have done it.  He didn‘t have the support in the country or the Congress. 

Let me say about Clarke here, Joe, I think Clarke feels a sense of guilt.  He‘s got to himself.  He‘s in charge of intelligence.  He‘s the pivot man.  The stuff would have gone through him if they knew about al Qaeda, what they were going to do.  He was there for 10 years.  And 3,000 Americans died, all those bodies falling out of windows.  I think he‘s got to feel, did I do something wrong?

But I don‘t see how he indicts the president here.  Look, the president, he says, dragged him into a closet and said, find out if Saddam‘s connected to this.  I don‘t have any problem with that because the president didn‘t go after Iraq first.  He went Afghanistan.  And when he did go after Iraq, he said, it‘s the weapons of mass destruction.  That might have been wrong, but he did not go after Iraq saying, they did 9/11.  So even if you take what Dick Clarke said at face value, I don‘t know how it impeaches the president. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Stephen Hayes, one of the things I can‘t take at face value—and it‘s just preposterous—I can‘t believe he wasn‘t challenged on “60 Minutes”—is when he said that just by looking into Condi Rice‘s face, he could tell she had never heard of al Qaeda. 

Now, how possible would it have been for Condi Rice not to have known what al Qaeda was in 2001? 

HAYES:  Well, you know, we now know that that actually is demonstrably false.  It‘s not even a matter of opinion, because Condi Rice was giving interviews to radio stations in October of 2000, several months before she even dealt with Richard Clarke, in which she specifically mentioned al Qaeda.  She specifically mentioned Osama bin Laden. 

I mean, magazines like my magazine, “The Weekly Standard,” was writing pieces in October of 2000 talking about al Qaeda.  It was well discussed before September 11 and before Clarke met with Condi Rice.  So it‘s one of, I think, a number of factual claims that he makes that has to at least give us pause. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes, I agree with you.  And it gives me pause as to why CBS and “60 Minutes” didn‘t challenge him more during that interview. 

BUCHANAN:  Joe, are you sure you need to be given pause? 

(LAUGHTER)

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, you know, I‘m trying to faint shock and awe.  It‘s awfully hard to do when you talk about “60 Minutes.” 

But, hey, Steven Hayes, thanks a lot.  You‘re always welcome back here. 

HAYES:  Thanks, Joe. 

SCARBOROUGH:  You do incredible work for “The Weekly Standard.”

Lawrence O‘Donnell and Pat Buchanan, stick around.  We‘re going to talk more with you in just a little bit, because, up next in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, we‘re going to talk about John Kerry‘s Vietnam record.  Was he at the meeting where anti-war groups voted on whether to kill seven U.S.  senators?  The FBI says yes.  John Kerry has said no.  We‘ll get to the bottom of that story. 

And then Howard Stern launches a war against Oprah Winfrey.  We‘ll tell you why he says her show should be censored. 

Plus, Abercrombie & Fitch is at it again, what the controversial retailer has done now to tick off SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, something we‘ll tell you in just a little bit. 

Stick around. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Was John Kerry involved with a group that plotted to kill United States senators?  That‘s up next.  You‘re not going to want to miss this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)         

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, John Kerry‘s presidential campaign has been fueled by his life as a Vietnam vet and a war protester.  But an explosive story in “The New York Sun” reveals Kerry‘s involvement in a group that was considering assassinating United States senators who supported the war. 

The “Sun”‘s investigation reveals the group Vietnam Veterans Against the War considered assassinating seven U.S. senators and that John Kerry attended the meeting, though he initially denied being present at the assassination vote.  Six Vietnam veterans place Kerry at the event, and five of them say they‘re voting for Kerry.  And John Kerry was still identified by “The New York Times” as a spokesman and a leader of the radical group two months after the vote. 

Tom Lipscomb, you are the man who has broken this explosive story in “The New York Sun.”  Tell us about it. 

THOMAS LIPSCOMB, “THE NEW YORK SUN”:  Well, this group was joined by John Kerry right after—actually, slightly before he left the Navy, and they marched against war.  They had demonstrations in Washington.  They demonstrated at Valley Forge.  They had a big hearing in Detroit.  Remember, he testified before the U.S. Senate about the atrocities that he went on at length about, basically stating that My Lai was an everyday occurrence in Vietnam.

SCARBOROUGH:  And so what about the assassination plot?  Because the biggest question right now is whether Kerry was at this meeting or not.  And Kerry at first said he wasn‘t there.  Now “The New York Times” and you all are saying that he was.  Did Kerry resign?  I mean, there‘s just so many questions about it.  It‘s very murky.  What‘s the real deal here? 

LIPSCOMB:  All right. 

Well, the real deal is that all the evidence, the eyewitnesses, the FBI reports and the minutes of the organization reflect the fact that Kerry was present for the vote.  This wasn‘t a casual thing, Joe.  This vote took several days before it came about.  They moved the location, according to the definitive history by Gerald Nicosia, “Home to War.”  They moved it three times to try to avoid FBI supervision. 

So this wasn‘t a casual affair.  This was a very serious vote.  They took the vote.  Kerry was impassioned against it, against assassinating the senators.  However, he then resigned after the vote was taken, but not from the VVAW, Vietnam Veterans Against the War.  He resigned from the managing committee.  But he continued to work for over a year afterwards, appearing, raising money for Vietnam Veterans Against the War. 

SCARBOROUGH:  But that‘s not what Kerry is saying, though, is it? 

LIPSCOMB:  That‘s correct. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Kerry said that he resigned—actually said he had a resignation letter that he wrote.  But is that the truth? 

LIPSCOMB:  No, that‘s not the truth.  There is no resignation letter that anyone‘s been able to find.  Douglas Brinkley wasn‘t able to find it, who‘s the historian who wrote “Tour of Duty,” which is well worth reading, about Kerry. 

So there‘s no resignation letter.  He probably did orally resign at the meeting, but that‘s the only resignation that existed.  Now, the interesting thing is, Kerry says—very interesting wording—he said he had no personal recollection of being in Kansas City. 

Joe, would you remember being part of an assassination plot against seven senators if you had been there? 

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes.  And that‘s the remarkable thing.  That‘s the remarkable thing about it. 

Now, Pat Buchanan, let me bring you in.  You‘ve run for president.  You served in the Nixon White House.  And I would guess you were probably the guy that had the FBI tail John Kerry in the early ‘70s—I want to ask you—I‘m joking about that, Pat. 

Is the cover-up—in this very serious case, is the cover-up more serious than the fact that Kerry was part of this group that had some radicals that wanted to kill U.S. senators? 

BUCHANAN:  Listen.  They both are bad. 

Let me tell you, I was in the White House.  I did send Nixon the memo saying, don‘t attack these guys on the Mall, even though the Supreme Court said they we could get them off there, because we‘d look like the Bonus Army mess of 1933. 

But there‘s a key question here, Joe, two of them.  One, the FBI was dead right to be watching these characters.  Secondly, Kerry has made every single effort he can to say, I wasn‘t at that meeting, including misleading his biographer.  Why, if he didn‘t know something horrible or something bad went down there in Kansas City?  Now, Kerry knows something went down there, and what he ought to be asked is, A, were you at that meeting, and why did you resign right there when you said there were philosophical disagreements? 

Exactly what were those disagreements, if we‘re talking about people plotting to assassinate John Tower and John Stennis.  So this is serious stuff. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And do you buy his explanation that he did not remember whether he was at this meeting or not? 

BUCHANAN:  I think—and we now know they‘re admitting pretty much they were at Kansas City.  But John Kerry does not want us to think he was at Kansas City.  Why, if nothing happened there? 

SCARBOROUGH:  Lawrence O‘Donnell, John Kerry‘s spokesman said the

senator has no personal recollection of being in Kansas City, but—quote

·         “If there are valid FBI surveillance reports, we accept that historical footnote in the account of his work to end the difficult and divisive war.” 

Lawrence O‘Donnell, would you call an assassination plot against seven senators and a vote on it a historical footnote? 

L. O‘DONNELL:  I would call this the single funniest John Kerry segment we have done on MSNBC this year. 

There was no plot, absolutely no plot.  One nut at a meeting suggested a nutty idea.  Everybody said, you‘re a nut.  We‘re not going to do the nutty idea.  And it‘s 33 years ago.  And we were all kind of reasonably awake at that time, weren‘t we all?  Can we all tell exactly where we were in July of 1971, what cities we were in, when, what cities we were in, when, in November of 1971? 

There was no plot.  This is an absurdist, unbelievable exaggeration. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  I‘m guilty of exactly the same thing you‘re accusing John Kerry of. 

Let me tell you a story about another United States senator.  One day on the floor of the Senate during a very impassioned debate, a senator asked me to come over.  I came over to him.  He was very angry at what a liberal gang of senators had done on the floor that day.  This was a combat veteran talking to me.  He said, you know, sometimes I just want to rip their “blank” throats out. 

Now, according to the theory of tonight‘s discussion, I guess I should have gone over to the sergeant at arms in the Senate and said, hey, that senator over there, who‘s been trained to do this, wants to rip the throats out of the other senators.  I didn‘t do it because I thought he didn‘t really mean what he said. 

SCARBOROUGH:  If that‘s the case, why is John Kerry dancing around on this issue? 

LIPSCOMB:  Let‘s take a look at that.

L. O‘DONNELL:  He doesn‘t remember, 33 years ago.  I don‘t remember where I was in July of 1971. 

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN:  There‘s a reason—there‘s a reason here.  John Kerry has repeatedly been saying, I didn‘t go to Kansas City.  What difference would it make, Larry, if nothing happened in Kansas City?  Who cares?

L. O‘DONNELL:  He‘s not fighting it.  He‘s not fighting it.  Listen, let me read from the FBI report. 

SCARBOROUGH:  But he is fighting it, though.

L. O‘DONNELL:  Let me read from the final FBI report.  “There is

nothing whatsoever to link Kerry with any violent activity.”  That‘s the

FBI

(CROSSTALK)  

SCARBOROUGH:  Hold on a second. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  And what Pat Buchanan is saying...

(CROSSTALK)

L. O‘DONNELL:  ... FBI recommending that they drop investigating the guy.

SCARBOROUGH:  OK.

And Pat Buchanan is saying and what I‘m saying is, if that‘s the case, fine.  We believe him.  Why does he keep tap-dancing around? 

L. O‘DONNELL:  Because he doesn‘t know. 

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN:  Larry, let‘s ask him the question. 

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN:  Look, we now know he was in Kansas City.  Let‘s just ask him, look...

L. O‘DONNELL:  We don‘t know he was at Kansas City. 

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN:  Did you hear any nutty ideas like that, John, and why did you resign? 

SCARBOROUGH:  Mr. Lipscomb, let me ask you, have you called John Kerry‘s campaign?  Have you tried to speak to the candidate?  Have you asked him, were you in Kansas City, or did he just—did he say, I don‘t remember? 

LIPSCOMB:  I could only reach David Wade, his very able press secretary, who gave me the statement you just read, that he had no personal recollection of being in Kansas City. 

But it‘s more complicated than Mr.—than Larry‘s making.  Basically, they‘ve now tried to shut down witnesses who saw Kerry in Kansas City. 

SCARBOROUGH:  In what way?

They called Mr. Musgrave, John Musgrave, who was a disabled veteran and the head of Veterans For Kerry, called him and asked him to check his memory, said he was the only veteran who remembered Kerry being in Kansas City.  And that was not true.  That was not true at the time. 

L. O‘DONNELL:  You admit that there was no plot, right?

LIPSCOMB:  No, I don‘t admit there was no plot. 

(CROSSTALK)

L. O‘DONNELL:  There was no plot whatsoever.  You‘ll take back the word plot before you leave the air tonight, won‘t you? 

LIPSCOMB:  No, I will

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Larry, let him talk.

Go ahead. 

LIPSCOMB:  Yes, thank you. 

It isn‘t me alleging the plot.  It‘s in Gerald Nicosia‘s book “Home to War,” which John Kerry threw the publication party for in his offices at the Hart Office Building in Washington, D.C.

(CROSSTALK)

L. O‘DONNELL:  Do you disagree that one nut proposed a nutty idea and everybody said, you‘re a nut, we‘re not going to do that? 

LIPSCOMB:  I‘m telling you what‘s in the definitive book.  If you will not fulminate, I‘ll try and answer your question. 

L. O‘DONNELL:  It‘s not a plot.  You‘re lying about it.  Tom, don‘t

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, I‘ll tell you what.  We‘ll be right back with more of this.  Tom, Pat, Lawrence, stick around for a minute.  I want to talk more about this right after the break. 

And a little bit later, Howard Stern says he and Oprah have something in common.  They both talk about raunchy sex on the air.  The FCC is censoring Howard Stern, but will they go after Oprah? 

Then, a film distributor in France refuses to show “The Passion.” 

We‘ll tell you why coming up.

But, first, let‘s get the latest headlines from the MSNBC News desk. 

(NEWS BREAK)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  And we‘re back talking about Vietnam Veterans Against the War, the assassination vote that was taken and John Kerry and his response to it.   

I want to go to Pat Buchanan right now.

Pat, you were in the Nixon White House in the late ‘60s, early ‘70s, while all of this was going on.  Were you all concerned about the radicalism that was spilling out into the streets and concerned that maybe some members of Congress or some members of the administration could be targets of political assassination? 

BUCHANAN:  Well, look, by the time Kerry came in and his big sit-in group were down there on the Mall, there were only about 1,000 of them.  That was in April of ‘71.  The dig demonstrations were over.  We were bringing the troops out.  And I recommended to Nixon that we not move them, because, A, they were not a threat, in my judgment, and, B, the week after was May Day.  And the nut balls came to town who were rolling logs on Canal Road.

They threw a barrel in front of my car when I was going to pick up Shelley.  And I was aware of that, because I got married that week and I thought they were going to show up at my wedding.  But the serious question here is, is Larry right and did some nut having too many beers say, let‘s off some of these guys and people say shut up?  Or did they have a meeting and go from one meeting to another and have a vote, and did John Kerry resign because he thought these guys were wackos now? 

That‘s the question, I think, that we got between what Mr. Lipscomb says and what Larry says happened. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, Mr. Lipscomb, one of the members of Kerry‘s group described the assassination plot like this.

While visiting members of Congress—quote—“We would go into the congressional offices.  We would schedule the most hardcore hawks for last and we would shoot them all.”

Was that one hardcore nut, or were there others talking about that? 

LIPSCOMB:  Well, the entire—there were several hundred people present at the Kansas City meeting.  So, definitely, if they thought it was important enough to take it up for a formal vote, it wasn‘t one hardcore nut. 

That particular individual was invited by the Kerry campaign just two weeks ago from his Florida campaign because he‘s prominent in Florida politics in the Gainesville area to join them and work for Kerry.  John Hurley, who‘s in charge right now of Veterans For Kerry, is the man who pressured John Musgrave, a disabled veteran, into changing his story. 

So if Musgrave is being pressured to change his remembrance of events that Kerry is trying to forget, is there nothing here to worry about? 

SCARBOROUGH:  Lawrence O‘Donnell, I‘ll let you respond to that. 

L. O‘DONNELL:  Yes, there is absolutely nothing here to worry about.  This was one crazy guy with a crazy idea.  And a thought, a suggestion, does not make a plot.  This couldn‘t be more nonsensical. 

There‘s no real fact in what we‘re talking about here.  We use sentences in this discussion that sound like facts, but they‘re not.  Eyewitness testimony is not factual.  Eyewitness testimony by well-meaning eyewitnesses is taken apart in courtrooms every day and shown to be wrong.  Human memory is shown to be wrong; 31-year-old human memory is shown to be wrong all the time.  There‘s absolutely nothing here.  Nothing. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, Lawrence O‘Donnell....

L. O‘DONNELL:  It‘s really a complete joke. 

SCARBOROUGH:  We‘ll have to leave it there.  Thank you for being with us.  Thank you, Tom Lipscomb.  And thank you, Pat Buchanan, as always.  We appreciate all of you coming in to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY tonight. 

Now, moving on, Howard Stern is blasting away at the queen of daytime, Oprah Winfrey, charging that Oprah gets away with sexual content that would have him thrown off the air.  Last week on Oprah, a teenage guest gave details about oral and anal sex.  And tonight, that information is still posted on Oprah‘s Web site. 

With us to talk about the brewing controversy is conservative columnist Christine O‘Donnell from CatholicExchange.com, and Lionel.  He‘s back, a radio talk show host who thinks the FCC is going too far.  And he, of course, is syndicated. 

LIONEL, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  That‘s what I think?

SCARBOROUGH:  Let me go to you first, Christine. 

And do you think that Howard Stern is being held to a higher standard than Oprah? 

CHRISTINE O‘DONNELL, CONSERVATIVE COLUMNIST:  No, Howard Stern is not being held to a higher standard. 

Howard Stern has a consistent record of degrading women and setting them up to be degraded, whereas Oprah exposes this kind of information in order to help women.  It‘s like taking an elementary school class to an art museum to view the serious, beautiful artworks of the bathers.  Now, that same series of artworks reprinted in “Playboy” would not be appropriate for schoolchildren to see. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  You know what, Christine?  I‘ll tell you about what‘s so inappropriate.  We show a lot of stuff on this show. 

LIONEL:  Yes. 

SCARBOROUGH:  But what was on “Oprah Winfrey” last week is so

offensive to some that they wouldn‘t let me put it out there, talking about

·         this is on Oprah Winfrey that you said you‘re comparing to beautiful art, talking about oral sex, group parties, anus sex.  That‘s on Oprah Winfrey.  That‘s not beautiful art, is it? 

C. O‘DONNELL:  No, I‘m not saying that what those kids were talking about is beautiful.  I‘m talking about the motive.  Oprah does not discuss these things so that anal sex can be promoted or normalized.  She exposes it so that people can be educated, so that parents can be aware of what‘s going on with their teenagers. 

Now, I hope that Oprah would take a responsible approach to it and put a warning, and she has consistently done things like that when she‘s had sexually explicit talks.  She warns the audience before they talk about it.  But Howard Stern, you expect something ridiculous. 

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, Lionel..

(CROSSTALK)

LIONEL:  Well, don‘t listen, honey.  Don‘t listen to it. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Lionel, hold on a second. 

LIONEL:  Go ahead, Joe. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Lionel, Howard Stern almost aired the Oprah episode I was talking about. 

LIONEL:  But he couldn‘t do it. 

SCARBOROUGH:  But his producers wouldn‘t let him do it, because he‘s under a microscope.  And this is what Stern said about the situation. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HOWARD STERN, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  By airing it, they have to fine Oprah if they fine us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  No, no, no. 

(CROSSTALK)

STERN:  ... can‘t be fined.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Maybe somebody can complains and they go decide to fine Oprah. 

(CROSSTALK)

STERN:  Well, then, how are they going to complain?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  OK.  Then let them decide.

STERN:  This is our Battle of the Bulge. 

ROBIN QUIVERS:  I‘m telling you, Oprah won‘t get fined on her show. 

But she will get fined here. 

STERN:  Then we win.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Isn‘t that remarkable, that, if they replayed that, they probably would have been fined? 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Let Lionel respond.

LIONEL:  You know what the problem is, is, rather than talk about whether things degrade women—you‘re a lawyer.  I‘m a lawyer.  The FCC standards is to me constitutionally vague. 

Imagine being in a town, Panama City, let‘s say, and you‘re driving down the road and it says speed limit with no number.  A cop pulls you over and says you were speeding.  What‘s the speed limit?  I don‘t know, 50.  There is no concise, specific guidelines to let these people know what is and what is not offensive. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And, Lionel, I want to you respond to this, because you make a great point.  I want to read you how the FCC defines broadcast indecency. 

LIONEL:  I‘ve got it right here.

SCARBOROUGH:  It‘s “as language or material that, in context, depicts, describes, in terms patently offensive sexual or excretory organs or activities.”

LIONEL:  But what happens is, what I think Christine and I probably would agree with, it‘s the context of the statement.  Nobody is telling Howard Stern that he cannot discuss a particular subject.  But the means by which you discuss it—Oprah, for example, might be making parents aware of a series of very dangerous sexual activities that their kids may be involved in, whereas Howard may have explained those activities in a lurid, more childish way. 

That notwithstanding, the moral of the story here is, the Zeitgeist has changed.  The shock jock is over with, and the targets are on Howard Stern.  But in his defense, what was acceptable before, what was fine, what was merely fineable, what his syndicators told him to do and his advertisers...

SCARBOROUGH:  Right. 

LIONEL:  All of a sudden, they changed the speed limit. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And, Christine, here‘s my problem with it.  You listen to what Lionel said, it‘s up to a government official to decide subjectively are they bringing up sex for the right reason or the wrong reason? 

C. O‘DONNELL:  OK. 

Well, before we get into a First Amendment issue, let me just say that Howard Stern and his accusation that he would be fined and not Oprah, he has to realize that this is not a first offense.  He has a series of saying outrageous, inappropriate things...

LIONEL:  There‘s no provision for that.

C. O‘DONNELL:  ... that have caused him to be fined.  Now, one of the reasons why there is no speed limit is because, you know—using your analogy, is because the Supreme Court has consistently said that it‘s up to a community to define the standards of obscenity. 

Now, the problem with that and what needs to be revisited is the fact that communities are no longer these, you know, small little townships. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Right. 

C. O‘DONNELL:  We have national airwaves, national syndicated shows. 

We have the Internet that crosses countries. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Right. 

C. O‘DONNELL:  I‘ll tell you, I just came back from the Middle East, and it was refreshing.  With all that is going on, it was refreshing not to be constantly bombarded with smut all the time. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, Christine, we‘re going to have to leave it there.  Thank you for being with us. 

Lionel, as always, we appreciate you being with us, too.

And still ahead, Yasser Arafat gives “The Passion” a thumbs-up.  We‘re going to tell you how the rest of the world is reacting to Gibson‘s controversial film. 

And then, a South Carolina court bans license plates it says are unconstitutional, but you will never believe what those license plates say.  We‘ll bring you the stories from middle America that you haven‘t heard from mainstream media.  That‘s coming up next. 

ANNOUNCER:  Tonight‘s SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY challenge.  Which actor was not offered the role of Jesus in “The Passion.”  Was it, A, Jason Patric, B, Jonathan Schaech, or, C, Billy Crudup?

The answer coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANNOUNCER:  In tonight‘s SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY challenge, we asked, which actor was not offered the role of Jesus in “The Passion.”  The answer is C, Billy Crudup.

Now back to Joe.

SCARBOROUGH:  “The Passion” continues to explode at the box office.

Meanwhile, the movie is causing controversy around the country and around the world, with Yasser Arafat giving it a thumbs-up and French theaters calling it fascist.  Now, back at home, a Connecticut Catholic schoolteacher is in hot water for taking his students to see “The Passion.”  And a teacher in Washington, D.C. was suspended for simply showing clips of the film to his students.

Dr. D. James Kennedy is here to help us understand the controversy. 

And, Dr. Kennedy, I got to ask you, why is this movie causing so much controversy at home and around the world? 

DR. D. JAMES KENNEDY, CORAL RIDGE MINISTRIES:  Well, of course, the major accusation here at home has been for a number of weeks that it‘s going to create more anti-Semitism. 

But, as I said before on another program, a study has been made—this is the first real study that has been done by a Jewish organization, the organization the Institute for Jewish and Community Research, and they found there was a 7 percent decrease in anti-Semitism among those that saw the film.  And now it‘s going to be shown overseas.  And they‘re saying, well, maybe it‘s not doing it here, but it‘s going to do it in the Near East. 

And Arafat, if anybody, should be looking for something to blame the Jews.  It would certainly seem to be Arafat.  And he said he didn‘t see any anti-Semitism in it.  So I think these are all just really canards that people are throwing up and they‘re not working.  People are going to see it.  I think there are $300 million or so of tickets that have already been sold. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Speaking of canards, Dr. Kennedy, I gave this news out of Washington, D.C. that this teacher is in trouble for showing clips of this movie.  And with the sex and the drugs just violence as rampant as it is in Washington, D.C. area high schools, what do you make of a teacher actually being suspended from school for simply showing a few clips of “The Passion”? 

KENNEDY:  Well, it‘s all part of this misunderstanding of the First Amendment that is so rampant in our country today, that there‘s this wall of separation between church and state, which does not exist in the Constitution, in the First Amendment or anywhere in the Bill of Rights. 

And yet, they use it to bash every single vestige of religious or Christian expression in this nation.  And this is just another one of hundreds of examples like that.  Happily, I might say something‘s coming up which could change all of that. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes, one final question.  Do you believe that it‘s acceptable?  You‘ve seen this movie, obviously.  Do you believe it‘s acceptable for parents to take their teenage children or for high school teachers to show clips of this movie to their students, or do you think it may be too violent and graphic for some teenagers? 

KENNEDY:  I think teenagers, it would safe; 14 and over certainly could see this and could understand that this is something that was done in their behalf for them to procure for them eternal life, and that they should be very grateful that Christ took it and that they‘re not going to have to take it themselves if they receive and trust in him.  And as far as younger children, under 10, I would not recommend it. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, Dr. D. James Kennedy, as always, thanks so much for being with us in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.  It‘s always great to have you here. 

KENNEDY:  Thank you, sir. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, now let‘s bring in Shmuley Boteach.  He‘s the author of “The Private Adam” and also, a film critic.  And also film critic Michael Medved.

Let me begin with you, Rabbi. 

What‘s your take on Yasser Arafat saying that there‘s no anti-Semitism in this movie?  He gives it a thumbs-up.

RABBI SHMULEY BOTEACH, AUTHOR, “THE PRIVATE ADAM”:  Well, who is surprised?

Yasser Arafat is one of the most thoroughly repulsive, murderous thugs alive.  He has devoted his entire life to slaughtering innocent Jews.  He is engaged in a very big P.R. battle against the state of Israel.  And this is a godsend for him.  And even when I was in South Africa, which has a large Islamic population, we had Islamic callers calling up the radio talk shows there and telling Christians, why do you support Israel?  Look at this movie.  They killed your God. 

So when a movie comes along and brings us all back to old medieval anti-Semitic stereotypes of hook-nosed, yellow-toothed Jews with the devil sauntering among them, demanding the horrific, sadistic torture of Christ and putting God to death, this is a godsend to the Arab cause.  So who is surprised that the foremost enemy of the Jewish people today, Yasser Arafat, and, I might add, enemy of the American people, has given this film a thumbs-up?  It‘s a godsend for him.

SCARBOROUGH:  Michael Medved, I saw a documentary you made talking about stereotypes of the Catholic Church, stereotypes of Catholic priests.  This must have been five, 10 years ago.  It was a remarkable study on how Hollywood stereotyped certain groups of people.  Respond to what the rabbi said about this movie stereotyping Jewish people with hooked noses and making them evil. 

MICHAEL MEDVED, FILM CRITIC:  First of all, it‘s ridiculous.

And, Shmuley, please give it a rest.  This is really not helpful right now.  First of all, we and you I agree in giving a negative review to Arafat.  He‘s a horrible human being.  But one of things that the Palestinians have been arguing about for years, they claim there was no Beit Hamikdash.  They claim there was no temple in Jerusalem.  So there movie is rather inconvenient for them given that a lot of the events in the film happen there. 

But, look, Shmuley Boteach and other have been predicting for months, literally for more than a year, that this film would foment anti-Semitism in the United States.  It hasn‘t.  If anything, it‘s had the opposite impact, as D. James Kennedy indicated.  The surveys indicate that.  There have been no pogroms in Pittsburgh.  There has been no Jews destroyed or anti-Semitic incidents. 

So now he has to say that it‘s going to be used for Palestinian hate groups.  Look, the Palestinians have plenty of hatred for Jews already.  They murder Jews with no excuse at all.  They hardly need a movie, especially given Islamic opposition to the whole medium of film.  They hardly need a movie to justify their hatred of Jews. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Let‘s look at the reaction around the world.  It has been reported that Muslim extremists see “The Passion of Christ” and an allegory for Western colonialism and Jewish conspiracies, claiming the movie could be damaging to U.S. relationships with Muslim nations.  Yasser Arafat, as we said, gave the film two thumbs up. 

And two Jewish screenwriters who are under contract to write Mel Gibson‘s next project have taken out an ad in a Hollywood trade magazine to denounce divisive religious rhetoric.

Michael Medved, that‘s pretty strong, isn‘t it, strong words? 

MEDVED:  I think divisive religious rhetoric is exactly right. 

I don‘t believe Jewish people should be in the position of attacking aspects of the Christian Gospel account.  We need to respect Christians for affirming their beliefs, just as we expect that they will respect us for affirming our beliefs. 

And, Shmuley Boteach, Shmuley, stop with this the devil sauntering among the Jews.  You know very, because you‘ve actually seen the film, unlike many of the other critics of it, that the first time you see the devil in the film, the devil is talking to Jesus.  He is among the apostles.  The charge that somehow the devil is associated with Jewish people is a canard, like most of the attacks on the movie. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Rabbi, respond.

BOTEACH:  You know, sadly, Michael Medved is a good friend of mine and he‘s an outstanding host and a fine gentleman, and has sadly become the Jane Fonda of the Jewish people. 

(LAUGHTER)

(CROSSTALK)

BOTEACH:  His idea of Judeo-Christianity is where the Judeo part is completely swallowed up and gobbled up by Christianity part.  A lot of Jews have sadly sold out their people utterly.

I‘m amazed that someone like Michael Medved, who has been at the

forefront of righteously criticizing gratuitous violence in films, is now

becoming one of the foremost advocates for a movie which shows horrible

gratuitous violence, and, more importantly, depicts his people as the

(CROSSTALK)

BOTEACH:  Wait one second, Michael.  You‘ve got to let me speak, because I let you speak.  And you‘re a gentleman, and, please, just give me this opportunity. 

Michael Medved has said that this movie is the finest adaptation of a biblical script of all time.  Sadly, Michael doesn‘t know the New Testament, but I do.  Jesus says in Luke, Chapter 13 that Pontius Pilate was a monstrous murderer.  This movie shows him as a great humanitarian. 

Jesus says

MEDVED:  It does not show him—Shmuley, that is a lie.

(CROSSTALK)

BOTEACH:  ... in Luke, Chapter 13, that the rabbi saved his life. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Michael, respond.

BOTEACH:  Michael, you‘ve got to read the New Testament. 

(CROSSTALK)

MEDVED:  Shmuley, the most brutal people in the movie are the Roman guards who beat Jesus mercilessly. 

And for you to suggest that somehow it is selling out the Jewish

people to not find anti-Semitism where it doesn‘t exist, we have real

enemies in the world, real enemies like the

(CROSSTALK)

MEDVED:  But the Christians who are embracing this film and are deeply moved by it and are uplifted by it are not our enemies. 

And as far as the violence in the film, Shmuley, you and I both praised “Schindler‘s List.”  I thought that was a great film.  It was very violent.  I loved “Saving Private Ryan,” a very, very violent movie.  The whole issue with violence in films is not just violence.  It‘s the context.  And the context in this movie is an attempt at religious uplift. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And still to come, there‘s outrage in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, how the fight over gay marriage has stopped men and women from saying, “I do.” 

That‘s next. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Tomorrow night in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, Kobe Bryant finally faces his accuser in court.  Baseball star Darryl Strawberry will be here to weigh in on the case.  That‘s tomorrow night.

We‘ll fly over SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Time for “Flyover” of SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, a look at some of the stories in the flyover space between Manhattan and Hollywood, the parts of the country the mainstream media ignores. 

In South Carolina, an appeals court actually upheld a ruling that says the state‘s anti-abortion license plate is unconstitutional.  They have the slogan “Choose rMDNM_Life” on them.  And the judge says they give anti-abortion advocates a forum to express their views without giving the other side that same right. 

And one of the big issues in the battle for the White House is hitting home in Oregon.  Until there‘s a decision over the legality of gay marriages, one Oregon county has decided to postpone all marriages.  It could be several months before anybody can get married there.  Give me a break. 

And, in West Virginia, the governor is asking Abercrombie & Fitch to stop selling a T-shirt that insults everybody in the state.  The shirt has the slogan “It‘s All Relative in West Virginia.”  Apparently, Abercrombie & Fitch thinks anybody who lives in flyover country has to be an inbred hick.  Hey, don‘t buy their clothes. 

And tomorrow night in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, how Ronald Reagan found his faith.  Plus, the Pledge of Allegiance goes to the Supreme Court, and should the words “under God” be taken out?  We‘ll debate it tomorrow night after the Supreme Court decision.  That‘s at 10:00 p.m. Eastern.

See you tomorrow.

END   

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