updated 6/17/2004 12:22:07 PM ET 2004-06-17T16:22:07

Guests: Mike Wilson, Stuart Sender, Stephen Hayes, Jerry Saltz, Bob Peters

JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST:  Tonight‘s top headline, Michael Moore takes fire for sitting on the Iraqi prisoner scandal.  The “Real Deal”, it looks like the self-proclaimed champion of the little guys may only be out for himself. 

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

Michael Moore had a chance to expose prisoner abuse in Iraq last year, so why didn‘t he?  He is actually blaming big media, but I am going to give you the “Real Deal” on Moore‘s motives. 

Then, the 9/11 committee says there‘s no connection between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda, but author Stephen Hayes says they are wrong, and he‘s here tonight to tell us why. 

And an artist is paid $20,000 to have sex with a collector and to show the video in a gallery.  Is it art or is it prostitution?  We will debate that coming up. 

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

SCARBOROUGH:  And welcome to our show.  You know you can call it art, you can call it entertainment, you can call it propaganda, but don‘t call Michael Moore‘s latest movie a documentary.  It‘s time for tonight‘s “Real Deal”. 

Now, Michael Moore has a lousy track record when it comes to telling the truth.  His Academy Award-winning movie “Bowling for Columbine” was littered with lies, and Mr. Moore‘s M.O. may owe more to guerrilla warfare than honest reporting.  “Weekly Standard” editor Fred Barnes wrote a column detailing how Moore simply lied about an interview he supposedly had with Barnes. 

Now Barnes didn‘t complain that Moore had taken his words out of context, like so many others have.  No, Barnes instead says Moore simply made the entire interview up out of thin air.  Barnes never talked to him at all.  And unfortunately, we learned after “Bowling for Columbine” that the fake interview was not the exception, but the rule with the Canadian filmmaker. 

Now we learned the so-called truth seeker was involved in a cover-up, involving Iraqi prison abuse photos.  Moore claims he buried the evidence because he didn‘t trust big media.  His critics are saying that Michael Moore is more interested in making money than telling Americans the truth.  You know in America, we celebrate success. 

We even raise a toast to rogues who figure out how to make a quick buck like Michael Moore, but Americans can‘t stand hypocrites, and the more people get to know Michael Moore and his work, the more they are going to find out that he‘s a self-proclaimed working class hero, who attacks corporations while flying around in corporate jets, who claims to seek the truth while spreading his own version of lies, and projects a courageous front while cowering from our repeated attempts to get him to come on SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY to face the music. 

But he won‘t.  Moore knows that unlike the shallow stars who worship him in Hollywood and France, we only concern ourselves with the facts here in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, and it‘s well documented that the facts are not on Michael Moore‘s side.  And that‘s tonight‘s “Real Deal”. 

Now, of course, Mr. Moore has garnered critical acclaim in box office success by portraying himself as a champion of the little guy, but Moore had footage of prisoner humiliation in Iraq since last December and he didn‘t say a word about it, and instead, held it for his latest movie, “Fahrenheit 9/11”.  Matt Lauer asked him why, and this is what Moore said. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  It was a really—it was a tough decision, and we are putting the film together, and we are trying to decide what should we do here.  And as the photographs, especially as the photographs started to come out, there was something about the tabloid nature of this, you know the S&M (ph) thing that was going on, or whatever, and you know I thought, you know what, we have to release this in our way, in our context. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  With me now is Mike Wilson.  He‘s a filmmaker who made a movie called “Michael Moore Hates America”.  We also have Stuart Sender, who was nominated with Michael Moore for the best documentary film at the Academy Awards in 2003.  We also have Flavia Colgan, who is an MSNBC analyst, and a Democratic strategist. 

Mike Wilson, let me go to you first.  Michael Moore said it was a tough choice.  What‘s so tough about deciding whether you are going to let America and the world know about the Iraqi prison abuse scandal? 

MIKE WILSON, MICHAELMOOREHATESAMERICA.COM:  Well, Joe, I mean you‘ve got to realize that it is his footage, and in America, we can make choices like that.  I think—you know I don‘t know what I would do in Michael Moore‘s—if I were in Michael Moore‘s position.  I would probably you know turn the footage over.  I think what happened there was reprehensible, and I think it was you know limited to a very small number of soldiers and things like that, but at the same time, you know Michael Moore saying that it was a really tough choice, you know I think we know Michael Moore, and I think that we also understand that he looks out for number one, and by that, I mean that I think he wanted to hold this footage and make a big deal out of it with “Fahrenheit 9/11”.

SCARBOROUGH:  And again, this guy has also said that he was blaming the media for keeping the abuse secret, and this is what he said this morning. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Well, I don‘t trust, though, the mainstream media.  I am like most Americans at this point.  Had I released it before we went to Cannes, this is what you guys would have said.  Well, he is just doing this as a publicity stunt. 

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Look at this. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Flavia Colgan, this guy says he doesn‘t trust the mainstream media.  He is talking to Matt Lauer on the “Today” Show, part of the NBC network.  I mean what‘s NBC, public access? 

FLAVIA COLGAN, MSNBC ANALYST:  Well...

SCARBOROUGH:  He has got no problem running to the mainstream media when he‘s flecking for his movie.  This is all about money, isn‘t it? 

COLGAN:  Joe, this is complete Monday morning quarterbacking, and you know it.  If he had come out with this footage a year ago, which, by the way, happens to be a slight clip of something that happened outside of Abu Ghraib, the right wing would have put him in Abu Ghraib himself, and people would have attacked him on every level.  They would not have it as credible, and they would have shot the messenger. 

The fact is he had camera crews on the ground, where there‘s a chain of command, working on the military front, where Red Cross is there.  This guy is a documentary filmmaker and now we‘re holding him to a higher standard than the president of the United States.  Why when the military saw pages and pages of reports from the Red Cross on these abuses, why didn‘t they take quicker action?  It‘s not Michael Moore‘s place as a documentary filmmaker...

(CROSSTALK)

COLGAN:  ... to interfere with the chain of command what was going on over in Iraq...

SCARBOROUGH:  To interview...

COLGAN:  ... and then tell people how to run...

SCARBOROUGH:  ... with the chain of command, you are saying it‘s the president‘s responsibility...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  ... and yet it‘s amazing, Flavia, that Michael Moore actually saw photos of abuse occurring in Iraq four to five months before the president of the United States.  Don‘t you think it‘s his responsibility to let the world...

COLGAN:  Actually, Joe...

SCARBOROUGH:  ... see this? 

COLGAN:  Actually, Joe, when he saw those abuses taking place, the Red Cross had already submitted a report to the military chain of command, and they weren‘t responding to it, and you guys would have said, allow the investigations to take place in their own course.  Why should Michael Moore be held responsible for the ineptitude of what was going on over there...

SCARBOROUGH:  Wait.  So...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  ... if you had pictures, Flavia, of Iraqi prisoner abuse in December you would have held them, you wouldn‘t have come to me and said, Joe, look at these photos, U.S. soldiers are abusing Iraqi prisoners, it‘s horrible, you need to put it on your show.  We would put it on the show. 

COLGAN:  Look...

SCARBOROUGH:  You don‘t think...

COLGAN:  ... I‘m not...

SCARBOROUGH:  ... you would have that responsibility...

COLGAN:  Joe...

SCARBOROUGH:  ... as an American citizen? 

COLGAN:  I am not saying what I would have done, but I am saying that I think...

SCARBOROUGH:  What would you have done? 

COLGAN:  ... Michael Moore to a very high standard. 

SCARBOROUGH:  No, no...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  ... let‘s talk about Flavia Colgan‘s standard.  What would you have done if you had photos back in December showing Iraqi prisoners being abused by U.S. soldiers?  Would you have sat on it? 

COLGAN:  I would not...

SCARBOROUGH:  No, you wouldn‘t...

COLGAN:  ... media.  I would have gone to the Red Cross and the people that handle these situations and say, I am sure you guys are aware of this, since this was happening in broad daylight, the clips that he shows, and I would have passed the information along and I don‘t know if Michael Moore did that or not...

SCARBOROUGH:  Did Michael Moore go to the Red Cross?

COLGAN:  I don‘t know...

SCARBOROUGH:  Did he do anything...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  No, he didn‘t do anything and that‘s what‘s so shameful about all this...

COLGAN:  And what did...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Go ahead. 

COLGAN:  And what did the American government do for three or four months while these reports were sitting around?  Answer me that.  Why aren‘t we asking those...

SCARBOROUGH:  I‘ll...

COLGAN:  ... same questions...

SCARBOROUGH:  I‘ll be glad to answer you that...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Hey, I‘ll be glad...

COLGAN:  Joe...

SCARBOROUGH:  ... ask a question, I‘ll answer.  You know what they did...

COLGAN:  Go on. 

SCARBOROUGH:  They found out about it on January the 14th.  The Pentagon puts out a press release the next day.  They launch an investigation.  They immediately begin looking into this, and you know what?  They could have started that investigation a month earlier if Michael Moore was more interested in getting the truth out than making a quick buck.  I want to bring in Stuart Sender. 

Stuart, you know Michael very well.  You‘ve worked with the guy.  I want to read you a short list of some of the things that Michael Moore critics say he‘s lied about.  He made up an interview, of course, with journalist Fred Barnes in “Bowling for Columbine”.

He equated the NRA with the KKK.  He accused the U.S. government of aiding the Taliban in 2000 and 2001 when the money was actually humanitarian, and funneled through the United Nations.  And he also staged a scene where he opened a bank account and made it seem like he could just walk out with a gun.  The problem is, the process to get the gun had actually been in works for a month. 

Now, you are a documentarian.  Is Michael Moore an entertainer?  Is he a propagandist or do you consider him a documentarian? 

STUART SENDER, DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKER:  Hi Joe.  It‘s nice to be with you. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Good to have you here.

SENDER:  Just to clear one thing up, I haven‘t—I didn‘t actually work with Michael Moore.  I haven‘t worked with Michael Moore.

SCARBOROUGH:  OK.

SENDER:  I did share the stage with Michael Moore at last year‘s Academy Awards when Michael won the award for “Bowling for Columbine”. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Right.  Right.

SENDER:  I was part of a group of filmmakers.  We discussed this before the award was given, that whoever won, we would go up on stage together as a statement and you know as some camaraderie... 

SCARBOROUGH:  So tell me, as a documentarian, and thank you for clearing that up.  As a documentarian, would you say that Michael Moore makes documentaries or does he make propaganda pieces, or is he more about entertainment and fond at selling tickets? 

SENDER:  Well, look, I think first and foremost, he is a documentary filmmaker.  He‘s someone who looks at what‘s happening in society, and I think the reason that we are talking about Michael, is that Michael, like other documentary filmmakers, has found a way to leverage into films things that are of entertainment value.  He has become a kind of carnival barker, in a way, about important issues that are happening around the country, and he speaks in his films to—he speaks to power, and he speaks for people who often are underrepresented. 

And I think that his films have really struck a nerve.  We were talking about “Bowling for Columbine” last year and we‘re talking about a conversation about violence, now we are talking about the war in Iraq and we are talking about Bush administration policy.  Clearly, there‘s enough conversation to go around on all sides about a war that was launched, it seems we know now, under some false pretenses...

SCARBOROUGH:  Well sure, and you know Stuart...

SENDER:  And we‘ve seen what‘s happened at Abu Ghraib, that we see now...

SCARBOROUGH:  Right.

SENDER:  ... that if you want to talk about this discussion about Abu Ghraib and torture, that apparently our attorney general was issuing memos that maybe the stuff was OK.  So if Michael Moore is touching a raw nerve and he‘s talking about issues that are upsetting to people, especially to people in power, I think that that‘s why he has got an audience here. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Well you know, Stuart, I am all for that...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  ... and Stuart...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Stuart...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Hey Stuart, I‘m all for that.  I think it‘s a good thing to make people in power uncomfortable.  I think that‘s a filmmaker‘s job, a responsibility and that‘s great.  But, if you come out and you painted these broad strokes and you get the facts wrong, as many times as Michael Moore did in “Bowling for Columbine”, and apparently in this movie also, isn‘t there a problem?  I mean that—again, that‘s when it stops being a documentary and starts being a propaganda piece, doesn‘t it? 

SENDER:  Well, I think, you know, I don‘t want to be in a position to be apologist for Michael Moore.  And if Michael has made mistakes, then he should certainly be held accountable for those mistakes, but I think there‘s a long history in documentary film making, of creating work that really does touch on raw nerves in this society, whether it‘s harvest of shame that tells stories about migrant farm workers, whether it‘s films that tells stories about strikes, whether it‘s Michael Moore‘s film, I think that this is the role in many ways of documentary filmmakers, is to make people feel uncomfortable, and to push us to really explore what‘s happening in our world. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, you know I agree with you that a documentary should make people feel uncomfortable if it‘s going on certain subjects.  I think also it‘s also important to educate like Ken Burns does on PBS, but again, I think the bottom line is, when you say something is a documentary, then most Americans, most people across the world that view that documentary believe that they are going to be hearing from somebody who is more of a reporter than a filmmaker, and I don‘t know that that‘s the case, but let‘s keep exploring it. 

We are going to talk about it more with this panel, and later on, we‘re going to also talk about an indecent proposal.  A collector pays an artist $20,000 to have sex on tape, but is that really art?  Not in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.  Apparently not in New York state either.  You are not going to want to miss that debate.

Plus, the 9/11 commission says there‘s no Saddam/al Qaeda link, but author Stephen Hayes says the former dictator was in cahoots with the terrorist, and he‘s here to show us the evidence that the commission overlooked, so don‘t go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) 

SCARBOROUGH:  Filmmaker Michael Moore blasts the Bushes for protecting the bin Laden‘s, but Richard Clarke says that‘s just not true.  We‘ll talk about that more in just a minute.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Hey, we‘re back with our panel talking about Michael Moore and his explosive new movie “Fahrenheit 9/11”. 

Mike Wilson, let me go back to you.  You have actually studied Michael Moore.  You‘ve done a film about Michael Moore.  Tell me something, did you find that this guy was basically practicing what he preached, or are these stories about him flying around in corporate jets while bashing corporations true?  Is this guy trying to have it both ways, being a working class hero while raking in millions and millions of dollars living this cushy life?  

WILSON:  Well the thing you‘ve got to understand, Joe, about Michael Moore is that his job is to be the little guy.  It‘s kind of a stick (ph) and he plays it well.  You know when I ran into him here at the University of Minnesota and sort of confronted him, asked him for that interview we had been trying to get for a year and a half now, you know he started yelling at me. 

And then afterwards we videotaped him you know driving away in his limousine with his five bodyguards.  So, yes, he flies around in these corporate jets, he does all this stuff, but it‘s his job, and I think he understands that.  What is frustrating to me you know as a filmmaker and just as an American is that you know, I think that we should have these honest, open debates and you know that‘s one of the big themes in this film is that you know we can come to the table and have these conversations, but we have to be honest about them, and we have to be intellectually honest and Michael Moore you know pushes things. 

He never—if you watch all of his work, he never actually says anything that you could go, he‘s lying, but what he will do is he will bring up a graphic that misleads you as he is telling you a story.  So, he plays this very shifty game that‘s intriguing, but it‘s also I think dangerous to the big American conversation we are having.  

SCARBOROUGH:  Well you know, Mike, he also refuses to come on this show.  He‘s refused to come on this show for a year.  He claims that we insulted him somehow and...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  ... claims that we didn‘t tell the truth about him and we were slandering him.  Then, of course, as you know, off camera, he runs around and slanders me.  I mean this guy, again...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  ... try to have it both ways, doesn‘t he...

WILSON:  And I‘m sorry about that Joe.  That was actually my fault.  He saw that I was on your show a year ago, and was very upset at the title of my film and started saying some very bad things about you.  I apologize for that, but this is, you know, I mean this is what happens when you get out there.  Slander to Michael Moore is anything that you say about him that he doesn‘t like.  So...

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes.  Well, of course, he goes around slandering.  But you don‘t have to apologize.  My lawyers won‘t be giving you a phone call. 

Now Flavia, let me bring you in and talk about another issue.  Michael Moore has also implied that the Bush administration may have helped bin laden right after 9/11.  And this is what he said on Pacifica Radio.  

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

VOICE OF MICHAEL MOORE, FILMMAKER:  So, here‘s Bush trying to deal with everything on September 11, 12, 13, you know, I mean you remember, everybody remembers the total state of chaos, and people, just everyone, all of us you know just discombobulated by the whole thing.  And he had the time to be thinking what can I do to help the bin Laden‘s right now, you know let‘s—and all these elaborate plans were made so that—because they were spread out throughout the country, to be able to pick them up, get them to Boston, and then get them to Paris.  

(END AUDIO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  But Flavia, as you know, one of Bush‘s biggest critics, Richard Clarke, actually took full responsibility for clearing the flights, telling the Hill this—quote—“I take responsibility for it.  I don‘t think it was a mistake and I would do it again.”

So here‘s Michael Moore going out telling Americans that George Bush and somehow poppy Bush, who had this great relationship with the bin Laden family was responsible for getting him out of town, when actually one of the harshest critics of George Bush was the one that was pulling the strings, more hypocrisy?  

COLGAN:  Well first of all, I love that Richard Clarke is pulling the strings when he is saying something you guys like, but when he‘s saying something you don‘t approve of, he‘s not in the inner circle...

SCARBOROUGH:  No, no...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Listen Flavia...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  OK, Flavia, I‘m sorry.  Face the facts.  Richard Clarke said, unlike Michael Moore, Richard Clarke said, I am the guy that got the bin Laden family out of the country.  I don‘t apologize for it, and I would do it again.  That‘s Richard Clarke‘s words, not mine.  

COLGAN:  And look, I don‘t know that I agree with Michael Moore‘s assessment.  I think there‘s been a lot of investigations into those planes taking off, and it does seem that they were checked out the way they should have been, but clearly there is a stench with respect to our relationship with Saudi Arabia and how much we have cuddled them in terms of what they have or haven‘t done in funding terrorism.  I think a lot of Americans, including myself, would like to see the pages from the 9/11 report that...

SCARBOROUGH:  Flavia...

COLGAN:  ... the Bush administration blacked out...  

SCARBOROUGH:  Not to interrupt you Flavia...

COLGAN:  ... with respect to Saudi Arabia...

SCARBOROUGH:  ... I‘m sorry to interrupt you, but let‘s stay on point.  Let‘s stay on point here.  Michael Moore said that George Bush was running around after 9/11, trying to get the bin Laden family out of town.  Let‘s just—we have debated that other stuff.  We will continue to debate it in the future.  Right now we are talking about Michael Moore...  

COLGAN:  Right.  

SCARBOROUGH:  ... and whether he lies or not.  It sounds, if you believe Richard Clarke and you‘ve believed Richard Clarke for months, that he was the guy pulling the strings here, getting the bin Laden‘s and the family.  Looks like...

COLGAN:  Well...

SCARBOROUGH:  ... here we have Michael Moore getting caught in yet another lie.  

COLGAN:  If you want me to sit here on this program and say that I agree with everything Michael Moore says or that he‘s not a provocateur or that he‘s not a self-promoter, I am not going to do that.  

SCARBOROUGH:  What about a liar?  

COLGAN:  What I will do—what—I am not going to call him a liar either.  I don‘t know the evidence that he points to.  What I do know is that I agree with Mr. Wilson, who said that this is a discussion that people should be open to.  I don‘t think that Republican congressmen and Republican-led organizations should be trying to shut this movie down.  Censorship is not the American way.  We should allow the American people to view this movie for what it is, which is a lot of impressionistic viewpoints...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Wait a minute.  Nobody is trying to shut this movie down.  

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Hey, hey, Flavia...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  I love—you know what?  We actually agree.  This is impressionistic.  He is painting with broad strokes.  It‘s entertainment.  He‘s a provocateur.  I have...

COLGAN:  But there are...

SCARBOROUGH:  Hold on. 

COLGAN:  But there are...

SCARBOROUGH:  I have no problem at all with Michael Moore or anybody else doing that.  That‘s the American way.  That‘s the First Amendment—wait—but please, let‘s not call him a man who makes documentaries.  This is not a documentary.  It‘s a cartoon.  

COLGAN:  Well, what would you call the footage—I mean look at all the tremendous footage he has gotten, none of which of course made it to our air waves, with respect to the civilian deaths and we hear about us killing thugs.  We don‘t hear about Iraqi mothers who are burying 6-year-old daughters in graves.  We don‘t hear about the thousands of amputees.  We don‘t hear about the people who might be coming home alive from Iraq, but whose lives have changed forever.  

SCARBOROUGH:  Well Flavia...

COLGAN:  I think that a lot of this footage...

SCARBOROUGH:  ... I don‘t know...

COLGAN:  ... is very powerful...

SCARBOROUGH:  ... if you ever listen to NPR...

COLGAN:  ... and very visceral emotional...

SCARBOROUGH:  I mean...

COLGAN:  Yes, I do listen to NPR...

SCARBOROUGH:  If you listen to NPR...

COLGAN:  Don‘t condescend me Joe...

SCARBOROUGH:  If you...

COLGAN:  I do listen to NPR.

SCARBOROUGH:  I‘m not, but I mean if you listen to NPR, you hear about these stories about young kids coming home all the time, and speaking of deaths, civilian deaths in Iraq, I mean, you could say the same thing about civilian deaths in Hiroshima.  You could say the same thing about our fire bombing of German cities in 1944...  

COLGAN:  I agree.  

SCARBOROUGH:  ... and 1945, savagery, just savagery.  We killed hundreds and thousands of people.  That happens in war.  So does that mean we don‘t go to war because civilians may die?  

COLGAN:  It means that the American public who doesn‘t get access to that much should view the full toll and the life toll that war takes, and he shows that.  And he also shows a lot of moments of the presidents having very little gravitas, going on about to tell the nation and world that we are taking a very unprecedented act of going into a war basically unilaterally, and he‘s making, you know, faces at the make-up...

SCARBOROUGH:  OK...

COLGAN:  ... or he‘s looking...

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, OK...

COLGAN:  ... I mean that‘s something I want to see...

SCARBOROUGH:  ... I got to go to Stuart.

COLGAN:  ... and you know what...

SCARBOROUGH:  We‘re...

COLGAN:  ... if you don‘t want to see it, you don‘t have to.  

SCARBOROUGH:  We‘re running out of time.  I got to go back to Stuart and we won‘t even talk about unilateral, us going in unilaterally with 20 or so other countries supporting us. 

Stuart, let me let you go ahead and wrap this up.  Obviously, Michael Moore is provoking debate.  That‘s a very good thing.  I‘ve got absolutely no problem with that at all.  Again, I just go back to you, though.  What is the responsibility as a filmmaker, such as yourself, to the truth, and when do you stop being a documentarian, and start becoming an impressionist, as Flavia Colgan said?  

SENDER:  Well, look, I think that we have a responsibility as documentary filmmakers to tell the truth, and to get at the essence of what truth is.  And I think that Michael Moore as a lightning rod for this is helpful, because when we are looking at, for example, as Flavia said, getting information through embedded journalists, and now we have someone with some perspective on this, who brings another point of view, that‘s important.  And I find it interesting that attacks come—you know you talk about it, and I completely agree with you, right, this is the marketplace of ideas, so here we have someone who‘s very successful in this marketplace of ideas, and he is upsetting a lot of people, many of the same people who promote the free market as the kind of highest ideal.  So...

WILSON:  But he tells everybody else...

(CROSSTALK)

WILSON:  ... that they can‘t have that, that you know America is a place where you can‘t succeed, and that‘s...

SENDER:  Well I don‘t think that is what he is saying at all.  I think what he‘s saying is that there‘s a myth of America and there‘s a reality of America, and what we want to do as filmmakers, and I think this is what we really want to challenge people to do most of all—I did this—I made a film about a filmmaker, who was a Jewish filmmaker, who had made a propaganda film for the Nazis, an impossible choice. 

I think what we want to do is we want to expose as much as we can the human condition, and so if Michael Moore is saying, look, we need to do better, when he looks at what‘s happening in Flint, Michigan, and what‘s happening to auto workers, we need to do better for our working people.  When we look at the war in Iraq, and when we look at what‘s happening, we find out that our president possibly wasn‘t straight with us, that this war wasn‘t managed the way we were told, that we went to war on pretenses.  That (UNINTELLIGIBLE)...

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, Stuart...

SENDER:  ... shared to us in the State of the Union address...

SCARBOROUGH:  ... I got you Stuart...

SENDER:  ... that‘s important for filmmakers to tell...

SCARBOROUGH:  It certainly is.  Stuart, thanks so much for being with us and Mike, thank you.  Flavia, as always, we appreciate you joining us. 

Let me just say—I want to say it again.  I agree that Michael Moore should be able to put this film out, distribute it, keep the debate going.  That‘s very good.  And I am not concerned about the photos of the collateral damage, of the horrible deaths that occurred over in Iraq.  You know why?  Because I think policymakers need to understand that there‘s no such thing as a clean war, so I am not concerned about that. 

I am just concerned about Michael Moore telling the truth, if he is going to claim to be a man that makes documentaries.  You know what, yes, America can do better, but you know what?  Michael Moore, you can do better also. 

And you can also catch “Dateline‘s NBC” exclusive interview with Michael Moore.  It‘s coming up this Friday night, at 9:00 p.m. Eastern. 

We‘ll be right back in a second.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  The 9/11 commission and the elite media are claiming that there‘s no Iraq/al Qaeda terror connection.  Then why does my next guest have a new book coming out, diagramming 10 years of collaboration?  We‘re going to talk about that in a minute, but first, let‘s get the latest headlines from the MSNBC news desk.

(NEWS BREAK)

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

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, I think it‘s funny everybody talks about the free marketplace of ideas, and let‘s let Michael Moore get his film out into the free marketplace of ideas, but when you have somebody that does a documentary called “Remembering Saddam” that actually documents the torture there Hollywood won‘t touch it.  It seems that the free marketplace of ideas doesn‘t extend to those who supported the liberation of the 40 million people of Iraq. 

Now, Vice President Dick Cheney repeated the Iraq terror connection Monday.  Let‘s listen to what he said. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DICK CHENEY, VICE PRESIDENT:  He was a patriot of terrorism paying $25,000 to the families of suicide bombers in Israel, and providing safe haven and support for such terrorist groups as Abu Nidal and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.  He had long established ties with al Qaeda. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  But today, the 9/11 commission issued a report saying this.

“We have no credible evidence that Iraq and al Qaeda cooperated on attacks against the United States.”

But my next guest isn‘t so sure.  The “Weekly Standard” Stephen Hayes has a new book out, called “The Connection: How al Qaeda‘s collaboration with Saddam Hussein Endangered America”.  And we have MSNBC‘s Pat Buchanan here.  He‘s not so sure. 

Now Stephen, let me start with you.  You claim that Iraq and al Qaeda collaborated.  The government commission says you are wrong.  Which is it? 

STEPHEN HAYES, “WEEKLY STANDARD”:  Well I think if you look at any number of reports over the past—really over the past decade, the past 13 years in some cases, you will see a pattern of Iraq/al Qaeda collaboration.  And this comes from communications, intercepts.  It comes from detainee debriefings.  It comes from testimony that George Tenet gave in front of the Senate Armed Services Committee.  It comes from the Iraqi prime minister.  It comes from the Clinton administration.  It comes from the Bush administration.  This is not a likely group to get together and dream up some conspiracy that Iraq was working with al Qaeda. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Stephen, you know this is what I don‘t understand, though.  You say that, I have read the Pentagon report that was leaked.  I‘ve read your articles.  I have seen information.  I saw information back when I was in Congress on the Armed Services Committee.  And yet, Dick Cheney brings that up on Monday, I hear Don Imus laughing, making fun of him.  I hear “The New York Times” making fun of him.  How do these people know?  I mean we are not going to know for sure the full extent of this connection for another five or 10 years, are we? 

HAYES:  No, I think you are probably right.  There was actually another part of this September 11 commission report today that suggests that there may have been more al Qaeda involvement in the Khobar Towers bombing, which we originally attributed to Iran and Hezbollah.  We are learning more about that even today, so I think it‘s very early to close the books on this Iraq/al Qaeda connection.  And I think it‘s important you know to engage in a discussion about what kinds of evidence we have, what kinds—why is the September 11 commission dismissing this connection?  They had one paragraph in this report.  It wasn‘t as dismissive as it‘s been reported in some of the newspapers and on some of the networks, but it was, you know it did conclude that there was no collaborative relationship, and I want—they need to provide a better explanation as to why.  I hope we see that in their final report. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes, don‘t hold your breath.  Pat Buchanan, how can people just leap to the conclusion this early after the war has ended, and before we have a chance to look back in history, how can people conclude that there is no al Qaeda/Iraq connection? 

PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC ANALYST:  Well, the 9/11 commission presumably has

studied this matter in considerable depth.  And on an earlier show, Chris

Matthews, I heard the chairman and co-chairman say, Joe, that there‘s no

conclusive evidence of involvement by Baghdad, Saddam Hussein, or Iraq in

9/11, that the Iraqi government rebuffed efforts by al Qaeda to set up

training camps there.  But more important than that, I think, and I don‘t -

·         I have read Stephen‘s piece in the “Weekly Standard”, I believe it was, “National Review”, one or the two, but one of the problems here is, if there is an established connection, this is explosive material. 

Why does the president of the United States go out and say, we have the evidence, and here it is.  Why does the secretary of defense not do the same thing after the war?  The president has said otherwise.  And there‘s another problem, Joe, and that is this.  We were lied to, and I think the president was lied to, and a lot of evidence was hocked up, who forged the Niger documents in the first place?  Who told us all about these biological mobile labs?  I mean who told Richard Perle there were 400 separate units producing rich uranium?

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.  OK Pat...

BUCHANAN:  We were lied to. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Listen, you and I both agree that we were lied to.  You and I both agree the former, soon to be former CIA director lied to the president of the United States, told the president of the United States...

BUCHANAN:  I don‘t say that...

SCARBOROUGH:  ... that it was a slam-dunk when it wasn‘t a slam-dunk, but let‘s...

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN:  Look, let me...

SCARBOROUGH:  ... talk specifically...

BUCHANAN:  OK.

SCARBOROUGH:  Pat, I want to specifically, though, about this...

BUCHANAN:  Sure.

SCARBOROUGH:  ... al Qaeda/Iraq connection.  As you know, there was a memo that listed 50 intelligence leads on collaboration, including the following.  A meeting between Iraqi intelligence services and al Qaeda leaders, an agreement between bin Laden not to fight Hussein in 1993, an attempt by bin Laden‘s aide to get Chinese weapons through Saddam in 1994... 

BUCHANAN:  All right, Joe...

SCARBOROUGH:  bomb—hold on.  Bomb training by an Iraqi general in ‘96, and of course, comments in ‘02 that bin Laden would ally with any persons who would kill Americans.  Pat Buchanan, you have seen that Pentagon document.  You have seen the 50 specific leads.  Can you sit here tonight, can Don Imus tomorrow morning, can “The New York Times” editorial page tomorrow morning say for sure that the Pentagon was wrong on all 50 of those leads? 

BUCHANAN:  No, I would—I mean I am sure Stephen Hayes has got backup and sources for what he has written.  I am sure al Qaeda, this big organization, is making contacts with people inside... 

SCARBOROUGH:  But Pat, that‘s a government document...

BUCHANAN:  ... Iraqi intelligence, but the point is, Joe, if this case is solid, why doesn‘t the president of the United States make this case?  Why is Rumsfeld not making this case?  Why is no one making this case?  Why does the 9/11 commission reject it?  The point is... 

SCARBOROUGH:  Stephen Hayes, that‘s the question for you.  Why aren‘t they making this case?  What I would say is the Pentagon has made the case.  They put out this memo.  I think somebody there leaked it, but at the same time, you know what, it‘s not an open and shut case.  But answer Pat Buchanan‘s question.  Why isn‘t the president, why isn‘t the vice president, why isn‘t the Pentagon coming out and saying, look, these are the leads we are following right now.  We have got information that may lead us to believe that there is still the possibility of an Iraq/al Qaeda link? 

HAYES:  Well, I think that‘s a fair question, but I have been encouraged by the fact that the administration has begun talking about this again this week.  I‘m—you know I‘m looking forward to hearing them make the case in more detail, and I expect that they will do so in the coming days.  I think that we‘re going to be hearing a lot more about this.  There‘s a lot of evidence. 

Everybody I‘ve talked to, whether it‘s people on Capitol Hill, people in the intelligence community, people in the administration has said that the picture of collaboration has only become clearer since the fall of Baghdad in April of 2003.  So I am looking forward to the debate where we actually talk about the evidence, where we weigh sources against one another, where we test the evidence that we have gotten, from, say, one detainee against evidence we‘ve gotten from another detainee, and let‘s see where it takes us.  I think it‘s...

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.

HAYES:  ... far too early to dismiss this case and I fully expect that we‘ll be hearing a lot more about it soon.

SCARBOROUGH:  I agree with you.  You know the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 showed us that sometimes it takes a couple of years to find out exactly what happened.  Thanks a lot.  I appreciate you being here Stephen Hayes and Pat Buchanan.

And up next, an artist has sex with a collector for $20,000 and tapes it.  Is that performance art or prostitution and porn, and where is the outrage?  We‘re going to be having some of it here coming up next.

ANNOUNCER:  You‘re watching SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.  Now here‘s some Hotwire Travel Trivia.  In which midwestern state would you find Carhenge a replica of Britain‘s Stonehenge?  Stay tuned for the answer.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANNOUNCER:  You‘re watching SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY and in today‘s Hotwire Travel Trivia, we asked you in which midwestern state would you find Carhenge a replica of Britain‘s Stonehenge?  Give up.  The answer is Nebraska.  Like Stonehenge, the cars align in such a way as to frame the sun when it hits the solstices and equinoxes. 

Now back to Joe. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, that was a Hotwire Travel trivia that stumped me.  I thought it was Tennessee.

Anyway, a female artist receives $20,000 from a collector, for his part, the collector participates in the artwork by having sex with her while being videotaped.  Then, the tape shown at a New York City art gallery, and “The New York Times” magazine write an article about the artist and her work this weekend, called untitled.  It caught my eye, and this article shows a frame from the beginning of the video where the artist enters the room, dressed in a sexy red dress, drinks in her hand, ready for seduction. 

Now the question is, is this legitimate art form or is it glorified prostitution?  We have with us tonight Jerry Saltz.  He‘s a senior art critic with “The Village Voice” and we‘ve got Bob Peters.  He‘s with Morality in the Media.

Now Jerry, let me begin with you.  Of course, as you know, nudity and art has been around centuries.  We have Sargent‘s Madam X.  That was controversial in its day.  Of course, Monet‘s Luncheon in the Grass also controversial.  It displayed a nude at a picnic, but come on.  We are not just talking about nudity here.  We are talking about porn and prostitution, aren‘t we? 

JERRY SALTZ, SR. ART CRITIC, “THE VILLAGE VOICE”:  Well, if the artist says it‘s art, Joe, it‘s art, and the artist called it art, so let‘s agree for the moment that this is art.  She is doing something called performance art.  There‘s a long tradition of this.  A half a century, if not longer, artists have been doing things like this.  This is basically trying to move the bar a little higher or a little lower depending on how you look at it. 

SCARBOROUGH:  So, Jerry, you say if an artist says it‘s art, then it‘s art.  So, if she comes up to you with a brick in her hand, walks up behind you, knocks you on the head, knocks you unconscious, then plays with your open wound, throws salt in it for 20 or 30 minutes, is that art? 

SALTZ:  I‘d say that‘s pretty bad art. 

SCARBOROUGH:  But by your definition, that would be art, right? 

SALTZ:  In fact, if the art—if the person is an artist and they say its art, the agreement is it‘s art.  In a way, it‘s too boring to talk about if it‘s art or if it‘s not art.  Let‘s talk about its qualities, what it‘s trying to do.  Again, artists for years have been—there‘s been plastic surgery as art, men have masturbated under stairs as art, someone had himself shot as art.

This is all 25 years ago.  Now we‘re in the 21st century, somebody is, like I say, trying to move the bar.  And of course, if this happens, people come out of the woodwork and they treat it sensationalistically and they go, oh the artist should be banned, they shouldn‘t be allowed to do this.  The whole country is going down the tubes, blah, blah, blah. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Jerry, isn‘t that hypocritical, though?  I mean who‘s the sensationalist here?  Here you have a lady that‘s engaging in prostitution, she gets a great article in “The New York Times” magazine, it‘s a dream for an artist, and she‘s doing it basically by breaking the law.  And let me read you Article 230, which “The Times” talked about, of the New York state penal code. 

It says this.  “A person is guilty of prostitution when such person engages or agrees or offers to engage in sexual conduct with another person in return for a fee.” 

And I‘m sure you saw “The New York Times” magazine article also, “The Times” said, well, you know what, it violates this code.  It‘s a crime.  So again...

SALTZ:  Well...

SCARBOROUGH:  ... I mean who is being sensational here? 

SALTZ:  Sure, the artist definitely is being sensational, and it is titillating, but if you want to arrest this artist, arrest this artist then.  This is a crime going on everywhere.  Maybe you should take it to the Supreme Court.  I don‘t know.  I actually don‘t think that‘s the point. 

SCARBOROUGH:  No, well you know what?  I certainly—I wouldn‘t be the one that would be arresting this artist, it would be Eliot Spitzer, is the attorney general who would obviously need to be looking at the laws of his own state, deciding whether he wants this to be advertised in “The New York Times” magazine.  Let me go to you, Bob Peters.  What is your take on this art?  Is it art or is it porn or is it prostitution? 

BOB PETERS, MORALITY IN MEDIA:  Well, I‘ve come up with a beginning.  It‘s a bit of fiction, really, becoming reality with a twist.  In my opinion, we have an imperious who not only has no clothes, but she has no modesty either.  In terms of whether it‘s obscene material under the law and/or prostitution, of course, the courts would have to decide that.  But in preparing for this little face-off tonight, I dug up a case from the 1970‘s, in New York City, where the current district attorney, Bob Morgenthau, who is still district attorney, prosecuted someone for producing a porn film under the prostitution law, and a state Supreme Court judge upheld that application of the prostitution law.  And I hasten to add that at this point, Bob Morgenthau, our district attorney, is probably the best friend that the hard-core pornography industry ever had.  And I don‘t think he‘s going to... 

SALTZ:  I guess I‘d ask Mr. Peters...

PETERS:  ... I don‘t think he is going to be doing anything to this particular, in quotation, performing artist... 

SALTZ:  Has Mr. Peters actually seen this work of art that he‘s so upset about? 

PETERS:  Well I‘ll tell you, I read the article in “The Times” and I spoke with somebody who watched at least part of it, and what I understand, there was a camera in the bedroom, and this, in quotations, performing artist, and the man who paid $20,000 to have sex with her, had sex in front of the camera.  It‘s almost like a voyeurism except...

SALTZ:  But, if you haven‘t seen the work...

PETERS:  ... that they know the camera is there.

SALTZ:  ... this is like banning...

(CROSSTALK)

SALTZ:  ... this is like banning books you haven‘t read. 

PETERS:  Well no, I‘m not here to ban anything...

SALTZ:  It is about the experience of the work... 

PETERS:  We‘re here to talk about law...

SALTZ:  ... not so much about the kind of moralistic posturing. 

PETERS:  Well I‘ll tell you, obscenity laws and prostitution laws have been on the books a long time.  I certainly didn‘t pass them.  You may disagree with them, but there certainly is a legal question.  There‘s also a question of whether this really is art.  I don‘t doubt that she has a message she wants to get across, but let‘s say, you know, in trying to teach people about the relationship between artists and collectors, she decided to sell this man heroin, and instead of doing sex...

SCARBOROUGH:  Well Bob...

PETERS:  ... the two of them shot heroin...

SCARBOROUGH:  Bob, you know what...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Hey Bob, hold on...

PETERS:  ... one last second. 

(CROSSTALK)

PETERS:  I‘ll bet you Bob Morgenthau would have prosecuted her.

SCARBOROUGH:  Well you know what, Bob, we are going to have to talk about that later, but I‘m afraid that you‘ve given another starving artist an idea.  So Bob Peters, thanks so much for being with us. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Jerry Saltz, we also appreciate you being with us.  And I want to thank both of you, like I said, I‘m sure we‘re going to be talking about this more in the future. 

We‘ll be right back in a second.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  ... wildest chases, man, I am going to be watching that tomorrow night on Olbermann.  That looks great. 

Now on Wednesday, the U.S. Postal Service announced it‘s going to issue a Ronald Reagan commemorative stamp in 2005.  What are the rules for people who get their own stamps and when?  The most important rule, you have to wait 10 years after a prominent American‘s death before issuing a postage stamp in his or her memory, but former presidents are honored with stamps the year after their death and that‘s why Ronald Reagan‘s commemorative stamp is going to be out in February 2005.  And why you won‘t see this stamp for at least 10 years.  Hopefully much longer. 

Hey, just one quick correction, “Dateline‘s” exclusive interview with my personal friend, Michael Moore, is at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Friday night.  That‘s 8:00 p.m. Friday night.  Don‘t miss it. 

We‘ll see you tomorrow.

END   

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