updated 5/20/2004 11:20:26 AM ET 2004-05-20T15:20:26

Guests: Stephen Baldwin, Jennifer Giroux, Deroy Murdock, Gary Hart, Peter King, Joe Trippi, Jack Burkman, David Kay

JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST:  Tonight‘s top headline:  Senators think their endless abuse hearings may be more important than running the war.  The “Real Deal”:  Senators, get back to work and let our generals do the same. 

Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, where no passport is required, and only common sense is allowed. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEN. JOHN ABIZAID, CMDR., U.S. CENTRAL COMMAND:  I solemnly swear...

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Our top generals are plucked from Iraq and paraded before the Senate.  And with the House of Lords looking like a parade of clowns, it‘s got all the makings of a three-ring circus.  And the 9/11 Commission is doing its best to follow suit is with their assault on Rudy Giuliani and New York. 

And then, WMDs have been found in Iraq, but I bet you haven‘t heard about that in the elite media.  Just how important is the sarin gas discovery?  We‘re going to be asking former chief weapons inspector David Kay. 

And Christianity‘s gotten hip and gone mainstream, from edgy magazines to blockbuster movies and books.  But is there a downside to this religious trend?  Actor Stephen Baldwin is here with his take. 

ANNOUNCER:  From the press room, to the courtroom, to the halls of Congress, Joe Scarborough has seen it all.  Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.

SCARBOROUGH:  Hey, welcome to our show. 

It seems senators are posing while American troops are trying to win a war.  It‘s time for tonight‘s “Real Deal.” 

Now, under pressure from the most extreme elements of the political left and media elites, the United States Senate decided to yank top American generals fighting in the war in Iraq back to Washington, D.C., for the latest installment of the blame America first press-op called Abu Ghraib. 

America‘s command structure was in the war zone, but it was compromised so senators could repeat themselves from the last time they posed for cameras, who were dutifully recording every outraged utterance in this pathetic excuse for a Washington scandal. 

You know, I guess all senators dream of the day that they can ask that immortal Howard Baker question with equal effect, “What did the president know and when did he know it?” or, “At last, sir, have you no shame?”  But it‘s the senators grabbing for headlines that are really the ones without shame here.  Self-flagellation may have been all the rage during the age of Woodstock, Abby Hoffman and Watergate, but in this nasty little post-9/11 world in which we find ourselves trapped, most middle Americans are more concerned about their children‘s safety than what a French socialite visiting the Cannes Film Festival may think of them. 

And that resoluteness extends to our soldiers, our sailors and our Marines in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Now, what we do in middle America think of the court-martials in Iraq?  Not much.  To tell you the truth, we‘re a hell of a lot more concerned about whether our soldiers are going to be prevented from getting the truth out of terrorists that they capture in the future, because, after the next 9/11 happens, press-sniffing senators will be sure to hold even more hearings, so they can beat up on more military leaders for not doing what it took to get information out of enemy combatants. 

And the rest of us, we‘re going to be burying our victims.  We Americans thank God that the ranks of our 130,000 troops are filled with the likes of Pat Tillman.  And whether Ted Kennedy and the media elites like it or not, we Americans are stupid enough to believe that our men and women in uniform are in Iraq for the noblest of reasons.  That‘s right, the noblest of reasons.  And they will win this war. 

They will liberate the people of Iraq, and they‘ll make us all safer, because they refuse to give in to the cynicism and the hatred that drives too many senators, too many pundits, and too many media elites.  And that‘s tonight‘s “Real Deal.” 

Now, Howard Dean‘s former campaign manager, Joe Trippi, is here.  He‘s a Democratic strategist.  We also have Republican strategist Jack Burkman here, also. 

Joe Trippi, let me begin with you. 

Don‘t you think this was a ridiculous case of overkill, when you actually take generals out of a war zone to bring them back to parade in front of Washington, D.C., cameras? 

JOE TRIPPI, FORMER HOWARD DEAN CAMPAIGN MANAGER:  Well, last time I checked, the Senate majority is Republican, so I think it‘s not just Washington elites and liberals. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  No, no, no, hey, you don‘t think there are Republican Washington elites in the Senate? 

TRIPPI:  Well, that‘s true.  They are elites, too. 

But I think, look, we are held to a higher standard.  We hold ourselves to a higher standard.  We don‘t do this kind of thing.  And there are a lot of men and women serving over in Iraq who are there for noble reasons and should not be caught up in this.  The generals need to tell us what happened, and we need to get to the bottom of this. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Jack Burkman, talking about Republicans going after Republicans, I‘ll tell you, I‘m going after the Republicans in the Senate Armed Services Committee tonight.

JACK BURKMAN, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST:  Me, too.

SCARBOROUGH:  Because it‘s shameful.  It‘s shameful.  They took generals out of a war zone and brought them back to Washington, D.C.  And you know what?  The House Armed Services chairman took issue with the Senate on these hearings today.

And this is what he said: “Those people are now being pulled out of those battlefield positions and brought over to continue to hammer on an investigation which already encompasses six full investigations of the seven bad apples.”

And, Jack, House Speaker Dennis Hastert said this to say:

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. DENNIS HASTERT (R-IL), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE:  ... have to bring your commanding generals away from the troops, probably take something away from focusing and winning that war. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Jack Burkman, is this not one of the more shameful moments for Republicans in the United States Senate lately? 

BURKMAN:  It really is, Joe.  Dennis Hastert is right on the money.  I lost a lot of the respect for the U.S. Senate when it failed to try Bill Clinton.  They say the Senate is where ideas go to die.  I think that‘s really the case. 

With the Senate, Joe, what you‘re seeing is just disgraceful in so many ways.  All of these—what the president should do, if I have advice for the president tonight, you know what?  He should say, I‘m not sending people.  We‘re not going to honor these requests.  If there are subpoenas, we‘ll fight them.  The president should address the American people in prime time and he should say, enough is enough. 

Mr. President, I support you, but I have some tough love and some tough advice tonight.  Come out, explain this to the American people.  Do not cooperate with this three-ring circus and begin to move away from this.  You know, Joe, if we as a society and as a people and as a Congress are going to become so transfixed with the wrongdoings of maybe 10, 20 or even 50 people, which is natural with an Army of 160,000 men.

It‘s natural that you‘ll have less than 1 percent of them will be bad eggs.  But if we‘re going to become so transfixed—the question I‘ve been trying to raise in the last month, do we really have the toughness, the character, the guts, the tenacity to lead the world? 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  I‘ll tell you what, Jack, I think we do.

Joe Trippi, I want to play you what Rush Limbaugh...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Hold on.  I want to play what Rush Limbaugh said earlier today when he spoke for a lot of Americans with his commentary on these Senate hearings. 

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP) 

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  And we are being told that we are involved in a scandal.  The scandal is the oil-for-food program.  The scandal was Saddam Hussein.  The scandal is Nick Berg.  The scandal is terrorism. 

And instead we‘re flying every general that‘s got two stars or more on his shoulders back here to testify before these blowhards up on these Senate and House committees.  They‘re supposed to be engaged in oversight, not outrage.  These are outrage hearings, not oversight hearings. 

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP) 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Joe Trippi, what are these senators going to find out in this hearing that they haven‘t found out in the previous ones? 

TRIPPI:  I just find this whole thing pretty amazing.  There is scandal.  There is shame.  And the shame isn‘t that the senators are looking at it.

The shame is what people are doing in the name of America to these prisoners.  That‘s shameful.  That‘s not what this country stands for. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Joe, hold on.  Joe, didn‘t we figure that out three weeks ago?  Didn‘t we all agree on that three weeks ago? 

TRIPPI:  Well, the real issue is, where did this policy come from, if it was a policy?  And also, who‘s going to take responsibility?  We‘re going to court-martial these guys while everybody else goes out and writes books and makes money off this.  There‘s something shameful about that, too. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  I want to ask Joe a follow-up question. 

Joe, do we have—this is like yanking Eisenhower from Europe right before D-Day.  Do we have to bring back generals to get those questions answered? 

TRIPPI:  D-Day?  When‘s D-Day?  We‘re not D-Day. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  I‘ll tell you D-Day is for Iraq. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  You don‘t think June 30 is our D-Day in Iraq? 

TRIPPI:  Well, according to the president, not matter what, we‘re going to turn it over on June 30, which I just think doesn‘t matter. 

(CROSSTALK)

TRIPPI:  What‘s really curious, when is Rumsfeld or somebody going to take responsibility for the cataclysmic bundle of errors, including how we handled this, including why there were weapons of mass destruction that they promised?  All the different things that they argued and misled us about, who‘s going to take responsibility with it?

There‘s other people in the world who are watching this, and I can‘t believe that they think this is us.  When is Rumsfeld or somebody going to take responsibility and resign? 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, Joe Trippi, thanks a lot for being with us. 

You‘re going to have to have the last word.  And, Jack Burkman, thank you.

And I also want to know, when is somebody on the Hill going to care

about the sarin gas—and we‘re going to be talking about that coming up -

·         that we found in Iraq? 

Well, anyway, the first court-martial conviction was handed down today in Baghdad. 

And MSNBC‘s Natalie Allen is in Saint Louis with reaction to the court-martial from the heartland. 

Natalie, what are you hearing? 

NATALIE ALLEN, NBC CORRESPONDENT:  Well, we came here to the gateway to the West, Joe, to talk with a lot of people.  We are hearing people say they‘re disgusted, they‘re sickened by what happened.  They think someone should be held responsible.  Many believe they should continue to investigate to see who higher up the chain of command should also be held responsible. 

One person said to me, it makes you wonder who‘s running the show over there.  But we also talked with a guy who owns a convenience store, a businesswoman, and a columnist for “The Saint Louis Post-Dispatch,” who also fought in Vietnam.  And he said he‘s not shocked about the prison scandal. 

Here‘s a look at their comments. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I find it very disconcerting, but I guess I‘m realistic enough to understand that war is brutal and it‘s cruel.  It does not justify what we saw, but war is brutal and it‘s cruel. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  It‘s easy for any of us to sit in our recliners and watch the evening news and say, well, I wouldn‘t have done this or I wouldn‘t have done that.  But we sometimes forget maybe the terror that our own boys are going through over there. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  When the first batch of photos came out from the prison, I didn‘t share the outrage and shock that so many people have.  I figured that, you know, A, this is a wartime situation, and I think things are usually more gray than they are black and white in war.  I think the country was, you know, extremely polarized before this prison scandal, and I think that they remain polarized. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ALLEN:  And McClellan (ph) says his readers haven‘t changed their minds about the war either.  If they were for it before the scandal, they still are.  If they were against it before the scandal, they still are—back to you, Joe. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, thanks a lot, Natalie.

And now Jim Cummins has reaction from our military base at Fort Hood, Texas—Jim.

JIM CUMMINS, NBC CORRESPONDENT:  Hello, Joe.  That‘s right. 

Many, if not most of the folks at Fort Hood are tired of hearing about the prisoner abuse scandal.  But they do believe the wrongdoers should be punished. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I‘m sure that if they‘re being court-martialed for something, then it‘s justified, OK, because the Army doesn‘t make mistakes when court-martials are involved.  I believe that if they are going to get court-martialed, then there is justification for that court-martial. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  It‘s not something everybody wants to see or hear all the time.  You honestly get tired of hearing the same thing over and over and over about the same thing on TV.  We‘re tired of hearing about the scandals of the abuse.  That‘s over and done with.  The justification of it‘s done.  The people that are getting court-martialed are having their thing done to them.  It‘s being taken care of.  It‘s time to just move on, start something new. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I think we should move on from it.  We all know what happened already.  Nothing good can come of keep playing it over and over. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUMMINS:  We tried to interview up to 60 troops there.  We were not allowed to interview them on post.  We had to interview them off post.  Most, almost all of them declined to be interviewed on camera.  They‘re very reluctant, Joe, to talk about this. 

But one other problem has emerged.  There are a lot of reservists and National Guard troops who are in training now who will be going to Iraq this summer, and they are very concerned that if this whole thing drags on for another several months that it will interfere with their mission, as they say it—Joe.  

SCARBOROUGH:  Hey, Jim, just a quick follow-up. From the soldiers I talk to in Iraq, they‘re upset that this has drug on, just like those soldiers you talked to.  But they still say morale is very high.  What are you finding there, though, in Fort Hood?  Is this affecting morale? 

CUMMINS:  I don‘t think it‘s affected morale yet, but some of them did say that if it isn‘t resolved quickly, they do believe it will eventually do that. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, thank you so much, Jim Cummins.  We appreciate you giving us that report tonight. 

And straight ahead, senators aren‘t the only ones who are grandstanding.  The 9/11 investigation is playing second fiddle to the commission members.  We‘ll talk about that coming up. 

And then, you may have missed it, that deadly toxin sarin was discovered in Iraq.  Why is the media ignoring it?  We‘re going to be asking former U.N. weapons inspector David Kay. 

And then a SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY viewer wants to know why gas prices are rocketing through the roof.  I‘ll answer that pressing question in just a little bit, so stick around. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Hey, not only was there a three-ring circus on Capitol Hill.  There was one in New York City, too, and they tried to take on Rudy Giuliani.  I think he got the best of them. 

We‘ll talk about that when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Did you see the 9/11 Commission hearings this morning?  I got to tell you, Rudy Giuliani was unbelievable.  That guy delivered a great performance.  Of course, Richard Ben-Veniste, the guy called himself a survivor of 9/11 because he and his family visited New York like in 1987 or something.  I thought it was ridiculous.

But, anyway, I‘ll tell you what, we‘re talking about the grandstanding.  You know, the question is, is the 9/11 Commission forgetting its purpose and its mission in all this grandstanding?  Some critics think the commission members are grandstanding a little too much and investigating too little. 

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani cautioned against that in his speech earlier today. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUDOLPH GIULIANI ®, FORMER MAYOR OF NEW YORK:  We have to channel our anger toward doing all that we can to prevent and ameliorate any further attack, because, by all predictions, further attacks are going to come.  Our enemy is not each other, but the terrorists who attacked us. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Now, I spoke with Congressman Peter King from New York and former Democratic Senator from Colorado Gary Hart, who is co-chair of the U.S. Commission on National Security.  And I asked him if he thought there was too much grandstanding going on. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GARY HART, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  You can‘t account for individual members.  I think, if anything, the commission, at least from the point of view of the families of the victims, they think they‘re not going far enough. 

I think the problem is that the era of terrorism requires prevention and response, and they‘re trying to look at both.  Why could we not have prevented this and having not prevented it, was our response adequate?  And I think confronted with people who say, yes, we did everything right, but 3,000 people died, that makes people angry. 

SCARBOROUGH:  What about New York City‘s response?  Do you think it‘s a fair charge that Rudy Giuliani and the rest of his staff and the firefighters and the police officers weren‘t prepared for this attack? 

HART:  Their response, as I understand it—and I haven‘t heard the whole testimony—in effect, was no one—it‘s a bit like the president‘s response.  No one told us airliners on September 11 at the World Trade Center at 9:00 in the morning, and therefore we couldn‘t be prepared. 

Well, I think the FBI—I think the national intelligence system broke down, clearly, because there were warnings of aircraft being used in terrorist attacks that summer, as late as August, 60 days before this.  That did not get to the city of New York. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Now, Congressman Peter King, I want to read you an exchange between commissioner member John Lehman and former Fire Commissioner Thomas Von Essen about the New York City response on 9/11. 

Lehman said this—quote—“I think that the command-and-control and communications of this city‘s public service is a scandal.  It‘s not worthy of the Boy Scouts, let alone this great city. 

The former fire commissioner, Thomas Van Essen, responded, saying:

“You make it sound like evening went wrong on 9/11.  I think that‘s an outrageous statement that you just made.”

Do you think, Congressman, that the 9/11 Commissioner was out of line?  And, again, remember, Secretary Lehman was, in fact, a Republican commissioner. 

REP. PETER KING ®, NEW YORK:  Yes, I think Secretary Lehman was totally out of line.  I think Tom Von Essen was perfectly right. 

The fact is, of course there were things that could have been corrected.  But the bottom line is, that happens in every battle, every engagement, every war.  And here you had a situation with 25,000 people were saved, 25,000 people were rescued, and 343 firemen and 60 cops lost their lives.  Many of them were friends and neighbors of mine.  So I think it was disgraceful for John Lehman to use that tone. 

If he wanted to say, could this have been better, would you do this differently in the future, that‘s one thing.  But to be using terms like Boy Scouts and scandalous, I think he should be ashamed of himself.  And Tom Von Essen—I give him credit—was really right in going back at him.  And I think that is a problem that the commission has to some extent. 

Certainly during the Condoleezza Rice, Richard Clarke hearings, you had some of the commission members grandstanding.  God knows they have an important job to do, but I really don‘t care about their life history or their reflections on the world.  They should be asking questions and getting to the point and not making editorial comments and not judging a guy like Tom Von Essen, who was almost killed.  Rudy Giuliani was almost killed. 

And the fact is, this was the greatest rescue operation in the history of the world. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Congressman King, let me ask you the same question that I asked Senator Hart.  Do you believe that New York City officials, starting with Rudy Giuliani, but going down to those that worked for the fire department, those who worked for the police department, that they did everything they could have done on September 11, 2001, to save those people that were around the World Trade Center? 

KING:  They did everything that could be reasonably expected.  Pete Ganci was a constituent of mine.  He was the chief of the department.  He set up his operations base right outside the World Trade Center.  Bernie Kerik has his outside 75 Barclay street.  This was going.  This was flowing.  It was working. 

You had thousands of police, thousands of firefighters coming down there.  And considering everything that was going on around them, bodies flying out the windows, debris coming out the windows, buildings collapsing, they did a phenomenal job, and not just on September 11, but in the days and weeks and months afterwards.  Remember, the fires did not go out at the World Trade Center until after Christmas of that year. 

And yet they had this very well run operation going on.  It was going on for months afterwards.  And what they did on September 11, September 12, September 13, 14, those immediate days afterwards, they deserve tremendous credit.  We want to find fault, you can fault Eisenhower for all the things that went wrong D-Day.  You can always fault a commander.  But the fact is, these guys showed guts.  They showed initiative.  And Rudy Giuliani, Bernie Kerik, Richie Scheirer, Tommy Von Essen, all great leaders.  They did the great job.  And so did this who died, like Pete Ganci, Ray Downey. You can go down the line, Bill Feehan.  These were outstanding leaders. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Now, Senator Gary Hart, of course, at the hearings today, Rudolph Giuliani faced some hecklers in the crowd, obviously some family members who were very angry.  And I thought it was just—I thought it was very telling that in the 2 ½ years since September 11, you have a guy like Rudy Giuliani who goes from a national hero, “TIME”‘s man of the year, to a scapegoat for some of these family members. 

Do you think that these type of hearings may yield themselves to the blame game a bit too much?  And is that fair for public figures, of course, yourself being one, that sometimes public figures are blamed for things that they just can‘t stop? 

HART:  Well, I don‘t know how else you get to the truth without these public hearings.  In some ways, I think this commission should have had more time.  I sat around waiting, as a former co-chair of the commission on national security that warned about terrorism, waiting for this commission to call us, and they never did. 

So I got ahold of them, and finally there was some informal meeting with them about two weeks ago in which we gave them the reasons why we said America was going to be attacked by terrorists.  But I think the frustration on the part of commissioners and others, and certainly the families, is not with their heroism.  And Congressman King is exactly right.  There was enormous heroism on the part of first-responders who lost their lives. 

It‘s to hear that hundreds of people could have been saved if communication systems had been working, that they were told to stay in the building when they should have been told to get out.  I think that‘s what frustrates people.  And commissioners, I can‘t account for Secretary Lehman, but other commissioners are simply just trying to find out why that happened, without putting fingers of blame.

SCARBOROUGH:  Congressman King, we‘ve only got 30 seconds, but that certainly is a fair point.  Some members—some people in one of the towers were told, stay in the tower, everything‘s fine.  Isn‘t that the sort of thing that you want investigated? 

KING:  Yes, but, again, that was policy after 1993.  It was felt it was more dangerous to go out of a building.  You could have been hit with debris.  You could have been hit with flying bodies.  They weren‘t expecting the second plane to hit. 

Also, my fault with the commission is that Tom Kean should control those hearings better.  You shouldn‘t have commissioners playing to the crowd.  And, by the way, I would say 90 percent of the family members are not in that crowd of booing Giuliani or criticizing the president.  They want answers.  But what you saw yesterday was a small and vocal minority, which is in no way at all reflective of the majority of family members that I know. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, thank you so much, Congressman Peter King. 

And, Senator Gary Hart, thank you for being with us tonight. 

HART:  Thank you, Joe. 

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCARBOROUGH:  And still to come, I‘ll explain what the deadly toxin sarin is and why its discovery in Iraq is a much bigger deal than a lot of media outlets have let on. 

Then, one of Hollywood‘s favorite Baldwin brothers steps into

SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY to talk about how Christianity has become cool.  Books, movies and even C.D.s with a message are more popular than ever. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Deadly sarin gas is found in Iraq, but the media doesn‘t seem to want to talk about it.  Are they covering up Saddam‘s former weapons of mass destruction?  We‘ll talk about that in a second.

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

(NEWS BREAK)

ANNOUNCER:  From the press room, to the courtroom, to the halls of Congress, Joe Scarborough has seen it all.  Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.

SCARBOROUGH:  Yep, seen it all. 

You know, if you blinked, you may have missed it.  A deadly sarin gas round was found earlier this week.  The round was accidentally detonated by U.S. troops and contained as much as a gallon of the lethal poison, according to some reports.  But nobody, nobody, except William Safire seems to care. 

Safire writes in today‘s “New York Times”—quote—“You never saw such a rush to dismiss this as not news.  U.N. weapons inspectors whose reputations rests on denials of Saddam‘s weapons of mass destruction pooh-poohed the report.”

Earlier, I was joined by former chief U.N. weapons inspector David Kay and syndicated columnist Deroy Murdock. 

I asked Kay how he felt being called a pooh-pooher by William Safire. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAVID KAY, FORMER CHIEF U.S. WEAPONS INSPECTOR:  Well, I think not. 

I love Bill Safire.  I love Bill Safire.  I particularly love that he‘s one of the last people who actually cares about the written language of English and does it so well.  I wish he had scanned across the page and read the editorial in his own paper today.  Look, the reason there‘s been caution on this is remember how many false reports of the discovery of sarin, V.X. and mustard during the war? 

First reports are almost always incomplete.  And in fact, the person who pooh-poohed this the most was none other than Donald Rumsfeld yesterday.  If you listened to what the secretary of defense said about this, it was inarticulate and dismissive of it at this point.  We‘ll just have to wait.  We don‘t know that it is exactly sarin yet. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes. 

Deroy Murdock, I want to read you how some of the newspapers reported the sarin gas finding.  “The Washington Post”‘s headline said that the weapon probably was not start of a stockpile.  It was buried on page 14.  “USA Today”‘s headline claimed sarin bomb is likely left over from the ‘80s.  And they buried that on page 10.  And “The New York Times” buried it on page 11.  And not a single newspaper put it on their front page. 

And you believe that, because of this, the media was negligent in not putting this story in a more prominent place.  Why? 

DEROY MURDOCK, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST:  Well, I think one paper did a very good job, which is “The New York Post.”  They put it on the front page of yesterday‘s front page, “WMD.”  So “The New York Post” was on top of this story and gave it the play it deserves. 

We heard before the war that Saddam Hussein—we, of course, thought that he had weapons.  And now, after the war we heard, well, he had no weapons, President Bush lied to the country, he took us to war on false pretenses.  Now we‘re finding some evidence that there are these weapons, or at least we think so.  But again the goal posts have moved.  Now it‘s gone from, well, there are no weapons to, well, he didn‘t have big stockpiles. 

And now if we find a ton of this stuff, they‘ll say, well, he didn‘t have 10 tons of this stuff.  So the goal posts always moves and the standard of proof always seems to change no matter what we discover over there.  And now we find out that there was a shell of mustard gas as well.  And this is a very dangerous, not just—I‘m not so much concerned about the political aspect of it, but as a military matter and as an intelligence matter, if there is sarin nerve gas and mustard gas, will this be used against U.S. forces?  Will this be used here in this country? 

And I think this is a very dangerous, potentially dangerous situation we have got to get on top of. 

SCARBOROUGH:  But, Deroy Murdock, you are on obviously with David Kay.  He is a former U.N. weapons inspector, also somebody that supported this war and also believed that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction.  Don‘t his comments give you reason to pause and think, hey, you know what, maybe we ought to sit back and wait before jumping to any conclusions? 

MURDOCK:  Well, I think it‘s appropriate to check this stuff out and take a look at it and see if, in fact, it is what we think it is. 

But I think by the same token there are many people in the press who don‘t want to look at this.  They‘re not interested.  I took a look at the Nexis Web page—Web site, rather—taking a look at media mentions.  And over the last two days between when the story broke and today they‘ve had 1,767 mentions of Abu Ghraib and only 469 of sarin.  So they‘re paying 25 percent as much attention to this story, which is a big story, I think, as opposed to the Abu Ghraib story, which is now a three-week old story. 

So I think there are a lot of people in the press who don‘t like the fact that this conflicts with their narrative of George W. Bush lying to America, and so they bury this story.  They overlook it.  They don‘t pay it much attention. 

(CROSSTALK)

KAY:  You know, Joe, I don‘t mind casting stones at the press.  In fact, I often find it enjoyable to do that. 

But I think, first of all, here, you have got to look at what General Kimmitt in Baghdad said and what the secretary of defense said.  The two big pooh-poohers of the beginning were actually two members of this administration.  So I think it‘s a little bit, at this point—I think mostly what the press remembers is how often they cried WMD during the military campaign, only to have to climb down off that headline a day later.  And that wasn‘t very enjoyable.  I think this is normal caution, led by—and I give credit to them—led by General Kimmitt and the secretary of defense. 

MURDOCK:  I think another great story...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Let me ask David really quickly.

David, where are the weapons of mass destruction?  And I ask you this question because, again, it‘s maddening to hear people roll their eyes whenever you say, well, you know what?  There were weapons of mass destruction.  Everybody in the world thought it.  The French thought it.  The Germans thought it.  The Russians thought it.  The United Nations Security Council voted 15-0 in the fall before the war, he had weapons of mass destruction.  As you know, Saddam admitted in 1998 he had weapons of mass destruction.  He laid it out on the table.  He said, this is what we‘ve got.  I mean, if they‘re not there, where are they? 

KAY:  Well, I think, first of all, you have to ask, what was there? 

And, look, Saddam was in massive violation of the U.N. Security Council resolutions.  He had both intent and programs.  I think what you had is a capacity to produce those when he wanted to.  I don‘t think you had massive stockpiles.  And I think it‘s perfectly appropriate to ask the question, if you thought there were massive stockpiles, why were you wrong about that?  But that doesn‘t mean that you were wrong that Saddam, in fact, intended to have weapons at some point and had the capacity to have those weapons.  He was a very dangerous man. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Deroy, I cut you off earlier.  Go ahead. 

MURDOCK:  Well, I think just make two quick comments.

One is, whether there are massive stockpiles or not, let‘s just say there are only five of these shells.  Let‘s say that these guys, bad guys, were able to lob these five shells into the Green Zone.  That would be an absolute disaster.  You would have the Coalition Provisional Authority dead.  And that would be a total mess.

I suggest people take a look at the current issue of “Insight” magazine, the May 11 issue.  There‘s an excellent article by Ken .  Timmerman on Saddam Hussein‘s weapons of mass death and specifically how a lot of findings of so-called agricultural pesticides they‘ve discovered around Iraq, they tend to be buried in military bunkers, very close to ammunitions dumps and military facilities. 

Why you‘d have to have a military facility free of insects that you find on a farm, I don‘t know.  And his contention is that a lot of what we consider to be weapons of mass destruction in fact are camouflaged as agricultural chemicals and agricultural pesticides. 

SCARBOROUGH:  David Kay, Secretary of State Colin Powell said this over the weekend about being misled by the CIA about weapons of mass destruction.  Take a listen. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE:  It turned out that the sourcing was inaccurate and wrong, and in some cases deliberately misleading.  And for that, I am disappointed and I regret it. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Colin Powell was lied to.  The president was lied to.  He was told it was a slam dunk.  You and the rest of Americans were lied to.  Who do you believe was the most responsible for passing this bad information to the intelligence community and to the rest of the world? 

KAY:  Well, I think ultimately the intelligence community has to take the burden for not detecting fabrication and lying. 

Look, you can‘t expect, if you‘re running an intelligence agency, that everyone is going to tell you the truth.  You make your money and you earn your keep by being able to separate out the lies from the truth.  We failed to do that.  Now, who passed us lies?  A lot of people passed us stories and fabrication.  The world is awash with people who will tell you what they think you want to know if, in fact, they can get money in doing it. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.  David Kay, thank you for being with us.

And, Deroy Murdock, as always...

MURDOCK:  Thank you. 

SCARBOROUGH:  We appreciate you being in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. 

KAY:  Thank you. 

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCARBOROUGH:  And straight ahead, Christianity is saturating pop culture, thanks to the success of movies like “The Passion” and books like “The Left Behind” series.  I‘m joined by a born-again Baldwin brother after this. 

Then, confused why gas prices are skyrocketing?  Never fear.  I‘ll explain it all coming up. 

So stick around. 

ANNOUNCER:  You‘re watching SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.

Now here‘s some Hotwire travel trivia.  If you wanted to visit the Big Mac capital of America, where would you go? 

Stay tuned for the answer.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANNOUNCER:  You‘re watching SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.

And in today‘s Hotwire travel trivia, we asked you:  If you wanted to visit the Big Mac capital of America, where would you go?  Give up?  The answer is Irwindale, California.  On the 30th anniversary of the sandwich, McDonald‘s research discovered that residents there eat Big Macs per capita than any other town, 337 a year.

Now back to Joe.

SCARBOROUGH:  That‘s pretty good.  I‘ll tell you, it was probably Pensacola, Florida, before I had to start traveling when I got elected to Congress. 

Anyway, Christianity is getting hip.  It‘s this week‘s cover story on “Newsweek” magazine.  Of course, “The Left Behind” series is flying off the bookshelves.  And you can find magazine versions of the New Testament tailored for teens.  Of course, Mel Gibson‘s movie “The Passion of the Christ” is one of the biggest blockbuster ever, and some think it‘s a great way to reach the next generation, while others think it undermines the church‘s traditional values. 

With us to talk about this is Stephen Baldwin.  He‘s an actor/producer.  And you can check out his Web site at LivinIt.org.  That‘s L-I-V-I-N-I-T.org.  We also have Jennifer Giroux, director of Women Influencing the Nation and the founder of SeeThePassion.com. 

Stephen, let‘s begin with you.

Some people are concerned that pop culture is making Jesus a little too hip.  Why doesn‘t that bother you? 

STEPHEN BALDWIN, ACTOR:  Well, you know, it depends on where your spirit‘s at and what your agenda is, really.  I became a born-again Christian two years ago, went into the biggest Christian bookstore I could find and say, hey, I‘m Stephen Baldwin.  Show me all the really cool Christian stuff.  And, unfortunately, all the Christian employees of that bookstore burst out hysterically laughing.  That was a problem for me. 

So I got together with Luis Palau, a very famous evangelist.  And his son Kevin and I thought that maybe we were on something to if we took an already existing ministry, a skateboarding ministry, if you can believe it, which actually skateboard churches are popping up all over the United States.  And it turns out that this type of an outreach tool to the kids and to the youth of America is a way that we can get them to listen and pay attention in a way that they‘re interested in and attracted to.

And then we just talk to them about God and the Bible and all that sort of stuff.  So Livin‘ It, Livin‘ It, this skateboarding, BMX DVD, was something that we thought was a good idea.  And I‘ve got to tell you, Joe, the response has been astronomical.  We set out to maybe do about 10,000 of these things, do distribution on about 10,000 of them over two years or something.  Just through Palau‘s ministry, and that‘s before a very, very big record label called Tooth & Nail puts them in every bookstore, which it‘s actually in all the Christian bookstores right now, we‘ve already distributed 50,000 of these DVDs. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Wow.

BALDWIN:  So, you know, I agree with you, though.  I think that the whole pop thing with Christ right now is a little funky and weird, but you know, people are going to try to make money no matter what. 

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, Jennifer Giroux, some critics don‘t see this new movement as a good thing.  Timothy Williams, who is a pastor at Doctrine Ministries, said this—quote—“More and more, the church is seeking to be like the world around it, but the Bible says that anybody who becomes a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.  If we‘re going to be relevant or on the world‘s level to draw people, we might as well give free beer in the parking lot.”

Jennifer, isn‘t that a bit of an overstatement?  I mean, Jesus went to where the common people were, right? 

JENNIFER GIROUX, SEETHEPASSION.COM:  I do.  Joe, I agree with you.  It is a bit of an overstatement. 

I think that I want to commend Stephen, because this is an excellent tool as a supplement of what already is going on in the churches.  We‘re seeing things like his ministry, Youth 2000, World Youth Day, coffee houses that are having college kids come together and have theology on tap.  And I think one of the most positive things about something like “The Left Behind” series is that it is getting people talking about their faith in Jesus. 

It is important to note, though, that the difference between something like “The Passion” and “The Left Behind” series is that “The Left Behind” series is fiction.  But the positive thing that I‘m seeing—and I have four teenagers, two in high school and two now in college—is that they are drawn to the good and they are drawn to the holy.  And now they are choosing role models like Stephen and rejecting those like Rosie O‘Donnell, who are telling them that an immoral, decadent lifestyle is OK. 

They have been fed way too long for from a stream of relativism in the public schools, and the tide is turning.  And there is so much hope that those kids now in high school and college, they‘re going to be the ones that are engaging and turning things around, like what‘s happening in Massachusetts. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes. 

Stephen Baldwin, tell me, how do you know when you go too far, when you do something to try to reach out to teenagers or other people, trying to be hip, and you cross that line? 

BALDWIN:  Well, you know, again, you know, it depends on where your spirit‘s at and what your agenda is.  I‘ve aligned myself, and God led me to Luis Palau, who is one of the most highly respected and reputable evangelists around the world. 

He‘s from Argentina.  He‘s loved around the world.  I was lucky to be working with him on this project.  For me, I got to be honest with you, Joe.  I‘m the new guy in the whole Christian equation.  So for me it‘s not about what I think of this person or that person or any of that.  Honestly, I believe that God put it on my heart to, in my position, in Hollywood, my name and my celebrity, to change the existing reality that is out there right now. 

Joe, it‘s a problem for me that the only thing that‘s kind of cool in relation to music on TV is MTV.  There‘s a lot of Christian kids that are only getting that whole vibe over there on MTV, which is sex and money.  It just—it seems like we should be trying to create new content so that the Christian kids have a choice.  So that was the purpose of creating Livin‘ It. 

It bothers me, Joe, when one of the No. 1 games in the world is “Grand Theft Auto,” where you can solicit prostitution and do terribly violent things.  And it‘s one of the No. 1 games in the world.  I don‘t want my kids playing that stuff, man.  We have to start creating new morally responsible gaming and television and films and all kinds of stuff like that, so that these kids that are now 2 to 15 years old, in the next 10, 20, 30 years have a choice. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, Jennifer Giroux, we only have 15 seconds.

But how would you respond to your good friend Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, who would say, this is a coarsening of Christianity? 

GIROUX:  I would say, Joe, kids crave rules and they crave limitations, and they crave to know what‘s good and moral, so that they can make and learn how to make their only moral decisions. 

So I commend, again, Stephen for being a good role model.  And I think we‘re going to be seeing more and more kids that are willing to live the moral lifestyle.  And I think that‘s a wonderful thing. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, thank you so much.  We appreciate you being with us, Jennifer Giroux and Stephen Baldwin. 

GIROUX:  Thanks, Joe. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And we‘ll be right back in a second. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, with the nation‘s gas prices soaring to record levels, people in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY are wondering who‘s to blame.

Viewer Jack Dunlavey wrote me in and said this: “Gas prices going up?  I wonder why.  Is the price of crude oil too high?  Is it a shortage of oil flowing into refineries?  It makes you wonder, doesn‘t it?”

Well, Jack, it does, but the reason why the average gas price may hit $3 a gallon this summer is basic supply and demand.  Oil supply is tight globally, in part due to OPEC.  Now, that said, most oil-producing countries are starting to pump out as much oil as they can right now.  But, meanwhile, the worldwide demand is up because of growing demand for oil in countries like China and India. 

Experts are also saying that we Americans will not drive less, despite rising prices.  Then, of course, there are the X-factors, like concerns about the chaotic situation in Israel and the market‘s fear of terror against oil targets in Iraq and Saudi Arabia.  And have a situation ripe for even higher gas prices in the future.  That‘s the “Real Deal” on gas prices. 

And tomorrow night, we‘ve got a star-packed show planned for you.  We‘ve got famed attorney Alan Dershowitz on torture tactics.  Then there‘s “Treason” vs.—Ann Coulter and Robert Reich.  We also have Jerry Springer. 

That‘s tomorrow night.

END   

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