'The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell' for Thursday, October 2nd, 2014
Read the transcript to the Thursday show
Show: THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL
Date: October 2, 2014
Guest: Lucia McBath, Ron Davis, Phyllis Bennis, Charles Blow, Judah
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: The man who started our never-ending war
in Iraq had something to say about that in a rare appearance on FOX News
And Charles Blow is back here at THE LAST WORD, this time with a powerful
new book filled with shocking revelations about how he made his
extraordinary life`s journey from literally eating dirt in rural,
Louisiana, to his position now as a columnist for "The New York Times."
But first, the parents of Jordan Davis are here for an exclusive interview
about the conviction of the man who murdered their son.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The shooting death of Jordan Davis.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Over loud music. It`s senseless.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We will not stop until we get the type of justice we
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The trial in February.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The verdict in the Michael Dunn murder trial.
JUROR: We are deadlocked, your honor.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Deadlocked on the murder charge.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I will declare that mistried.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Angers and disbelief the jury could not agree on a
first degree murder charge.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The killing of Jordan Davis is not resolved.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A blow to the victim`s family.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We will not stand by and let you use the law to kill
our young black boys.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Justice wasn`t done for Jordan.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And we will continue to wait for justice for Jordan.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: His community demanded a new trial.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Breaking news in the retrial of Michael Dunn.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We the jury find the defendant guilty of first degree
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Michael Dunn guilty of first degree murder.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is a new trial with a new outcome.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is about race, justice and Florida`s stand your
O`DONNELL: Yesterday in a Florida courtroom, a clerk read the verdict in
the retrial of Michael Dunn accused of murdering Jordan Davis, because he
was playing music too loud.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We the jury find the defendant guilty of first degree
murder, as charged in the indictment. We find the defendant discharged a
firearm causing death.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: After that verdict was returned, the prosecutor Angela Corey
(BEGIN VIDEOI CLI)
ANGELA COREY, PROSECUTOR: We thought Michael Dunn`s flight to avoid
prosecution would just be the most striking thing about this case and
hopefully that`s what convinced this jury. That if you are defending your
life, you don`t then run from the scene. You give these officers a chance
to do their job fairly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining me now once again for an exclusive interview, Jordan
Davis` parents, Lucia McBath and Ron Davis.
Thank you both very much for doing this today. I know how difficult it is
to continue to have to talk about this.
But, Lucia, what was it like in that moment yesterday in that courtroom
when you heard that clerk say that word -- guilty.
LUCIA MCBATH, MOTHER OF JORDAN DAVIS: Complete jubilation. In fact, I
think I threw my head back and just a tremendous sigh of relief. I just
couldn`t believe it, absolutely just overjoyed.
O`DONNELL: Ron, there`s usually a sense among trial observers, the lawyers
who were in the courtroom, they have a feeling about which way it`s going.
They tend to have a feeling about which jurors they feel they connected
with. As you were awaiting this verdict, were you leaning toward the
expectation that it would be guilty or that it would be not guilty?
RON DAVIS, FATHER OF JORDAN DAVIS: I thought in reality, they would waver
between second degree murder and manslaughter. So, I was prepared for the
manslaughter charge. But I knew in my heart the prosecutors did a much
better job this time around, a much clearer job this time around, and that
they illustrated that there`s a difference between doubt and reasonable
And because they made the difference and they showed that to the jurors,
they had more to work with because when the defense attorney keeps
hammering to them that they should have some type of doubt because of
Michael Dunn`s mindset at the time. They keep hearing that word doubt.
And so, they have to know what is reasonable and what is not reasonable.
So, because of the great job that the state attorneys office did, I believe
that we could get a conviction this time.
O`DONNELL: Yes. That`s not uncommon that in the retrial, the side with
the better case actually presents it better because they`ve had a rehearsal
in effect with the first trial. And the side with the bad evidence doesn`t
have any better evidence.
And, Lucia, I`m wondering if during the trial, you could see any -- if you
had these moments of sensing that certain elements of the evidence were
landing with this jury better.
MCBATH: Absolutely. I think there was far more clarity in the rebuttal
this time. I think our team was able to really know in advance they were,
they were better prepared to expect what the defense would throw at them.
They`ve been down this road before. So, we`re just very grateful that they
seemed to be far more intuitive this time to what they could expect from
O`DONNELL: It was a very emotional day for you yesterday. I saw your
comments after the trial yesterday.
Ron, is there anything you would say to Michael Dunn now if you could?
DAVIS: I would say that you definitely have to understand that it is
unlawful to discharge a weapon when you imagine someone has a weapon. When
you imagine someone is attacking you, when no one touched your car, no one
touched a hair on your head, no one has violated your space. And for you
to imagine that these young men, good young men, were thugs within seconds
of getting to the station. For you to imagine all this and imagine your
fear and to take action and end lives and try to shoot at these young men.
And also say on the stand that it was OK for you to even shoot 50 rounds at
these young men. For you to even say that, it shows me that you for some
reason, you have a thing about society where lives of other people don`t
mean anything to you. And I think this verdict of first degree murder
proves to you that in society, black lives, white lives, any kind of lives
in America, human lives, they do mean something to all of us.
O`DONNELL: Lucia, what do you think Michael Dunn saw in your son Jordan
that sanctioned him in his mind to do this, to pull that trigger, to aim
that gun at him?
MCBATH: I think he had preconceived notions of who young black males are.
I don`t think he had much exposure to young black males and oftentimes,
people have a fear or a reluctance to be around those people they don`t
know, they don`t understand, they don`t really live in their environment.
So, I think he had preconceived notions when he pulled up. Just the fact
that he said I hate that thug music, already labeling those boys as thugs,
not even knowing who they were. So, I think in his mind -- had it not even
been those boys, I believe that Michael Dunn had that preconceived notion
about any young black male.
O`DONNELL: Ron and Lucia, you both have decades ahead of you of life
without your son. A life you expected to live with your son.
You`ve gotten through the legal process now. You`ve gotten justice for
But, Ron, what do you expect it`s gong to be like now without that
particular crusade, the justice for your son in front of you every day, and
now just that life without him in front of you every day?
DAVIS: I think that, first of all, that across the nation, we should
realize, and I don`t think we have yet, that this is an historical moment
in our society, for this decade that we have a majority 10 to 12 majority
white jury, majority men on the jury, seven men on the jury. And they are
indeed a jury of Michael Dunn`s peers.
And even with that, even with maybe their biases that they may have as far
as culture is concerned. Maybe not connecting with Jordan and his culture,
but we can still have a society where we can depend on them and count on
them to render a verdict based on the facts of the case and the witnesses
that they hear and not on any biases that they have.
So, I`m elated that we have this time. I think it`s something for the
history books. I think it`s something that our young people all across
this nation should understand and view, that this is really great for our
nation, that we can maybe have a start of having justice and making sure
that justice is equal and we don`t have to worry about the makeup of the
I`ve joined the Human Rights Network, and we go to different places around
the country where there`s violations of human rights, and I know there`s a
lot of people that have been unable to attain the justice that me and Lucy
have for our son. So, immediately I`ll be going to Valdosta, Georgia, to
help with Kenneth Johnson and his son Kendrick Johnson and the problems
they`re having down there with getting justice for their son.
And there are so many others that I would like to speak on behalf of them.
And it`s just about equality and justice for everyone. It doesn`t matter
what the skin color is. What matters is everyone deserves to be able to
bury their loved ones with the notion and with the thought that they will
receive justice from the United States of America.
O`DONNELL: Lucia, does this verdict help you in what are the decades ahead
of you in your life getting through them, getting through all those days
without your son?
MCBATH: As Ron said, we really believe that our verdict has set a
precedence for many, many, many individuals that have never received any
justice and have had similar cases to ours, pertaining to the stand your
ground legislation. I am eagerly looking forward now beyond the verdict to
the work that I will do as a gun safety advocate. I am going to be taking
a larger role with Every Town for Gun Safety. Moms Demand Action which I`m
the national spokesperson for, along with Mayors Against Illegal Guns.
They have now joined forces.
And under the umbrella organization of Every Town for Gun Safety -- I will
now eagerly work with them, trying to change the laws and keep so many
other individuals from dying from these senseless, senseless crimes.
O`DONNELL: Lucia McBath and Ron Davis, once again I`m very sorry for your
loss and once again, thank you for joining us tonight.
MCBATH: Thank you very much.
DAVIS: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: Coming up, Charles Blow will join me to tell you just how close
he came to a fate like Jordan Davis, which is just one of the remarkable
stories in his new book. And what President Bush had to say about
President Obama and Iraq today.
And in "The Rewrite" Stephen Colbert`s feelings are hurt after Bill
O`Reilly`s feelings were hurt after something Stephen said about Bill. The
two biggest right wing jokers on TV, Colbert and O`Reilly, in today`s
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL O`REILLY, FOX NEWS: When you run an agency like the Secret Service
who are procuring hookers in Colombia --
DAVID LETTERMAN, COMEDIAN: Let me stop you there.
O`REILLY: -- before the president gets there.
LETTERMAN: You and I have both had our shares of hookers.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: The Bill O`Reilly-Stephen Colbert feud is in "The Rewrite."
O`DONNELL: As the war President George W. Bush started 11 years ago
continued raging today, he was asked by a FOX News host this morning if
President Obama should have anticipated President Bush`s war going on
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FOX NEWS HOST: Martin Dempsey came out as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of
Staff, and says, well, no, the military recommended that we leave a
residual force of 10,000 to 15,000, maybe more. Did you feel the same way?
GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT: I did, yes. The president has to make
the choices he thinks are important. I`m not going to second guess our
president. I understand how tough the job is.
And to have a former president, you know, bloviating or second guessing
isn`t good for the presidency or the country. He and his team will make
the best informed decisions they can make. And -- but I agreed with
General Dempsey`s assessment.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining me now Phyllis Bennis, author of "Before and After:
U.S. Foreign Policy and the War on Terror."
Phyllis, what`s your reaction to what President Bush had to say this
PHYLLIS BENNIS, INSTITUTE FOR POLICY STUDIES: My reaction to President
It was rather extraordinary. He was trying to rewrite history. You would
think it was President Obama rather than President Bush who signed the
withdrawal order to bring home the troops. In fact, it was President Bush
who signed that agreement with Iraq.
President Obama actually tried to renegotiate and arrange to keep more
troops in Iraq, but it was the Iraqi parliament that said no dice. We want
you out of here.
And it was for that reason that the U.S. troops were pulled out. So this
was a rather extraordinary rewriting of history.
O`DONNELL: And the interview, of course, proceeded with the conventional
wisdom that, of course, Iraq is better off now than before Bush invaded
BENNIS: Yes, this is one of those historical -- well, everybody knows.
BENNIS: Everybody doesn`t know, and I think particularly the ones who
don`t know are Iraqis who are facing the consistency of violence, the
consistency of renewed U.S. bombing, the consistency of a sectarianism at a
greater level than ever before, that is the direct result of the U.S.
invasion and occupation of Iraq. It`s not the result of the fallout of
troops. It`s the result of troops having been sent in in the first place.
O`DONNELL: And let`s listen so to what Dick Cheney about what had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DICK CHENEY, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT: I think things have gotten so bad
inside Iraq, from the standpoint of the Iraqi people. My belief is that we
will, in fact, be greeted as liberators.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: And, Phyllis, with that expectation they, of course, did not
anticipate this endless war there.
BENNIS: You know, I think some people did. I think that those for whom
this war was going to be, a quote, "cake walk", they were not looking to
the future. They were not looking to the people of Iraq. They were
looking to the U.S. goal of remaking the Middle East in their own image,
something that they had been trying to do for a very long time.
That is not what happens to the people of Iraq. For the same reason that
you can`t bomb extremism out of existence, you can`t bomb bad conditions in
a country out of existence. The bombing makes it worse. It made it worse
in Iraq. It`s making it worse in Syria.
It`s making it worse everywhere the U.S. is using bombs to go after
extremism, because at the end of the day, bombs don`t fall of extremism.
They fall on cities, they fall on people. They fall on families. They
fall on lives and they destroy those lives.
O`DONNELL: Phyllis Bennis, thank you very much for joining us tonight.
BENNIS: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: Coming up, Bill O`Reilly has a crazy new idea about how to
fight the war in Iraq and Syria, and next, Charles Blow joins me with the
amazing stories of his life that are contained in his brilliant new book.
O`DONNELL: In the "Spotlight" tonight, Charles Blow.
Now, I know a lot of you think you know a lot about Charles Blow, from his
"New York Times" columns and his appearances on this program and others.
But you don`t know nothing about Charles until you`ve read his beautiful
new book "Fire Shut Up In My Bones", which "Publishers Weekly" calls a
brave, powerful memoir.
Now, when I was on the injured list here for a couple of months and Ari
Melber filled in for me on the show, I completely unplugged. I discovered
the surprising serenity of no inputs at all, no TV, no movies and no books.
I use to marvel at quickly my days passed without ever getting bored, I
told friends I did nothing all day and then suddenly I was having dinner.
Friends sent me DVDs, they sent me books. I would glance at them and put
And then Charles sent me this book. It`s his first book of what I`m sure
will be many. And remembering across the decades to the excitement and
anticipation of getting my first and only book published, I thought, well,
I owe it to Charles to take a look at this thing.
And by the time I was a few pages in, I knew I was holding a literary
masterpiece in my hands.
Consider this from page 7.
"By the time I came along, my mother was a dutiful wife growing dead-ass
tired of working on a dead-end marriage and a dead-end job. My father was
a construction worker by trade, a pool shark by habit, and a serial
philander by compulsion. My father was short, for a man with a child`s
play thing for a name -- Spinner.
He had flawless dark brown skin and a head full of big, wet-looking curls
black as oil. And he had a smile of a scoundrel, the kind of smile that
disarmed men and undressed women."
Charles Blow, you know how to hook a reader. I mean, these characters from
your family to your others all the by through here are -- these portraits
are all painted with that kind of just beautiful literary touch all the way
CHARLES BLOW, NEW YORK TIMES: Thank you. I really appreciate that. I was
trying as best I could capture these people that I had known my entire
life. And to capture them the way that Baldwin said -- I tried to remember
how I must have spoken as a child.
BLOW: And to remember how I would have described someone top someone that
I knew. And to capture that cadence and that beat of Southern story-
telling, and to put that into the book and bring those people alive so you
saw them the way I saw them.
O`DONNELL: And it is all there. It`s one of the reasons why "The New York
Times" compared this to James Baldwin`s first novel.
BLOW: Which scares me, by the way.
O`DONNELL: But it deserves its place on the shelf of great American
literature. Great African-American literature. Great Southern literature.
It is such an important and wonderful book. And in so many categories, I
just want to keep letting the book talk, is that OK?
O`DONNELL: Because this aunt Odessa. And I love her so much. She was a
favorite was Aunt Odessa, a small loquacious woman with deeply wrinkled
skin and hair jutting out every which way. She lived around the corner
from Papa Joe`s place in a small three-room house unpainted. Silver and
warped with decay. Her house had no bathroom, no plumbing, and no gas
She retrieved water from an outside pump and bathed in a wash tub. She
went to the bathroom in a slop jar and ferried its contents to a spot out
back. But when she died, I was told that $16,000 in cash was found in the
freezer section of her refrigerator double and triple wrapped in wonder
O`DONNELL: And this is, let`s remember 1980 we`re talking? Ronald Reagan
is president while this woman, your aunt has no plumbing in her house, none
of these things.
BLOW: Right. And I think that, you know, trying to capture what rural
poverty looks like.
BLOW: Very often, when we talk about the poor in this country, we`re
talking about, you know, we use the euphemisms of inner city and concrete
steps and high rise project buildings. And of course, that is part of the
portrait of poverty in America. But what is left out of that portrait is
how people live and survive in poverty apart from cities.
And there are a lot of those people out there. And their stories do not
get told. And I wanted to tell those stories, in this book.
O`DONNELL: And there`s poverty all over this book. You are -- in the
world you`re living in, you`re not down there with Aunt Odessa, you have a
BLOW: My mom always jokes about it. I got to high school and I said I
didn`t realize we were poor.
O`DONNELL: But here`s another part of it. This book is filled with joy.
This kid, Charles Blow, is filled with joy while there`s all this
deprivation around him. You`re not thinking of this as a deprived
BLOW: Not necessarily. I think that is kind of the beauty of being a
child. And it`s also the beauty of kind of the plight of poverty, which is
that you find small shreds of joy among the shrapnel, right?
BLOW: And that`s what I was doing.
O`DONNELL: OK, here is an amazing small shred of joy. Here is a passage
where you talk about you and your brothers.
When my brothers and I finished our digging in the junk yard, we climbed
into the ditch across the street and dug for a treat. We flaked off pieces
of edible clay dirt that smelled to me like dry earth at the beginning of a
fresh rain and tasted like chalk soaked in vinegar. Folks said it was good
for you, settled your stomach, staved off illness. All I knew was the
taste was addictive and that ditch where the curve of the road cut deep
into the ground and exposed the strata was the only place in town where
that dirt could be found. Best of all, it was free."
O`DONNELL: Now, over there at the fancy "New York Times" in the cafeteria
at lunch, you guys talk much about eating dirt, don`t you?
BLOW: No, we don`t talk about eating dirt.
Although I think I should like package it and sell it like a home food or
something like that, fancy packaging.
O`DONNELL: Yes. You sold it like that.
But again, that`s the part of the point about, you -- someone read a
passage like, my God, Charles was eating dirt. But this is not one of the
unpleasant passages in the book --
BLOW: Right. Correct.
O`DONNELL: One of the unpleasant moments of the book.
There are some incredible firsts in this book. Actually, I want -- I`d
like you to read one to us that I`ve highlighted for you. It`s kind of one
of the not good firsts in your life that you`ll remember.
BLOW: In Gibbs Land, our racial roles -- role playing was subtle and
sophisticated. We had an unspoken understanding. We simply danced around
each other, moving to a tune that everyone knew but no one sang. Warm
smiles, sharing space with cold stares. Public platitudes dissolving into
the ugly things that found voice behind closed doors. If people learned to
hate, they also learned to hide it. I never heard or saw anything overtly
unpleasant in public that is until the first time, I was called a nigger.
O`DONNELL: The first time.
BLOW: The first time.
O`DONNELL: That`s a first time. The childhood is filled with first times.
That`s the first time that of course most of us have never had. And it
seems to me that in today`s America, it`s a first time that most of us who
never had it are not trying to imagine.
BLOW: Right. And you know it`s one of those proving moments in our life
where you -- you realize -- you`re awakened to something. You grew up
three years in three seconds.
BLOW: Where it utterly alters you and you realize that the world as you
knew it is not quite as simple as you thought it was. And that there are
people who hate you. And there`s nothing that you can do about that. And
then you now have to learn to negotiate those situations and learn to re-
evaluate how you thought you were negotiating life and negotiating the
relationships with the people around you.
O`DONNELL: And in your town Gibbs Land, which is where Bonnie and Clyde
famously get caught in the end and shot. That`s the claim to fame. That`s
the only time it appeared on the movies. Apparently --
BLOW: Exactly, it or on "Jeopardy." There was a moment like -- it was an
answer in "Jeopardy" -- about jump up --
O`DONNELL: It was on "Jeopardy"? OK.
But in the cemetery there --
O`DONNELL: There is still a fence between -- still. 2014, they lay fence
between black and white in the cemetery.
BLOW: The way, you know, the way its set up is there are two separate
cemeteries that they lay from each other.
BLOW: But you know? You can take that how you want to take that. It
seems to me that you could do a lot of good by just taking down the chain
link fence that separates the white graves from the black ones.
O`DONNELL: You tell a story here about being pulled over in a car by a
police officer and not for any good reason that you could understand, you
guys in the car were wondering what the reason was. And the officer was
very, it`s kind of harsh about it. And at a certain point, he said -- I`m
going to read from the book. He said, I will never forget, that if he
wanted to, he could make us lie down in the middle of the road and shoot us
in the back of the head and no one would say anything about it. With that,
he walked back to his car and drove away.
Now the rest of us who have been pulled over and seemed the cop walk back
and drive away. It`s usually not after hearing something like that.
O`DONNELL: Like it never after hearing like that`s right.
BLOW: They threaten your life. And so -- and a lot of black men in
America have really kind of horror stories experiences. They may be
different from the one that I had. But it`s really hard to find another
black man particularly of my age who has lived this long, you know, four
decades in America, who hasn`t had some negative experience with a police
And, you know, I`m thinking, this is cannot be. We`re the good guys. You
know, we`re the college students. We didn`t even do anything wrong. Why
did you even pull us over? And the psychological scars that that leaves on
a kid, which is why I -- you know, I keep trying to get people to
understand with things like stop and frisk. People say, it`s not that big
of a deal. They let them go. They haven`t done anything wrong. No,
there`s a psychological scar that follows that. That is really hard to
shake. It`s hard for me to shake that experience now. And let alone to be
stopped and frisked eight or nine or 12 times in one year.
O`DONNELL: And in your public commentary as you`ve done on this program,
also, are about cases like Jordan Davis, whose parents appear in during the
program Trayvon Martin, these kinds of thing, that kind of experience is in
your bank. When you are in the public debate about this. And yet it`s
kind of difficult, it seems to me, to be able to use it effectively, it was
O`DONNELL: I guess.
BLOW: Well I don`t know, I try to be very explicit. I try to draw in my
biography as much as I can because I think that is the strength of it. I
think that coming from a place of authority. I am the authority of me. I
know this experience, this lived experience better than anyone. And so,
when something intersects with that I am very, you know, quick to make sure
that people understand.
O`DONNELL: Can you stay and we will do a "Very Last Word" we will put up
O`DONNELL: And we`re going to read the passage about your first kiss which
is the happiest first in that book and it is amazing.
Charles Blow, thank you. Will going to do more online.
BLOW: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: Coming up in the "rewrite" Stephen Colbert exposes Bill
O`Reilly`s very bad idea.
And later, which politician is trying to get your attention while you`re
watching your favorite TV show? Judah Friedlander will join me.
O`DONNELL: And now for the good news, Cornell University in Ithaca, New
York was founded the year the American civil war ended, 1865. Seven years
later, Cornell became the first Ivy League School to admit women. It
wasn`t until 1977 that an Ivy League School named a woman president when
Yale chose Hanna Holborn Gray. Penn, Princeton, Brown and Harvard all
followed. This week, Elizabeth Garrett was name the new president of
At the announcement, she said, I think about some of the great women who
have come before me who have laid a path I could follow. She specifically
cited Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg who earned her
undergraduate degree at Cornell, saying, she always has been hero of mine.
So now it`s a race between Dartmouth and Columbia to see which one comes in
The "rewrite" is next.
O`DONNELL: In the "rewrite" tonight, killing history. Bill O`Reilly has a
new book out in his series about killing people and he needs a gimmick for
his book tour because his books are never themselves worthy of a full talk
show segment. So he`s come up with a crazy idea that you know he doesn`t
believe in just to get attention to his latest killing book.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NORAH O`DONNELL, ANCHOR, CBS THIS MORNING: With the U.S. now unleashing
air strikes in Syria and building a coalition against ISIS, "FOX News" host
Bill O`Reilly is offering his own solution, a new volunteer mercenary army.
O`Reilly is also here with another provocative idea about one of the most
colorful and outrageous generals in American history.
CHARLIE ROSE, ANCHOR, CBS THIS MORNING: It is the focus of his new book,
"Killing Patton: The Strange Death of World War II`s Most Audacious
General" Bill O`Reilly joins us for an interview you`re seeing first on
"CBS" this morning.
BILL O`REILLY, AUTHOR, KILLING PATTON: Thanks for having me in. I
ROSE: We want to talk about General Patton in your book, but first, these
strikes in Syria --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: See? Norah O`Donnell`s introduction led with Bill`s crazy idea
about a mercenary army and mentioned the book second. And then when it`s
Charlie`s turn to ask the questions, he drops the book immediately and goes
straight to Bill`s crazy idea.
Now, one way you know Bill isn`t serious about his crazy idea is that he
invites so many people on his show to say "it`s a crazy idea."
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
TOM NICHOLS PH.D., PROFESSOR, U.S. NAVAL WAR COLLEGE: This is a terrible
idea. It`s a terrible idea, not just as a practical matter but as a moral
matter. It`s a morally corrosive idea to try to outsource our National
Security. We`re not going to solve this problem by creating an army of
Marvels Avengers or the Guardians of the Galaxy.
CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, CONTRIBUTOR, FOX NEWS: Well your idea you`ve gone
from out of the box to off the wall.
MONICA CROWLEY, PH.D., ANALYST, FOX NEWS: It could turn into a
Frankenstein force --
O`REILLY: You know --
CROWLEY -- that you can`t control they are unattended consequences for any
bold action -- exactly.
O`REILLY: they are unattended consequences for any bold action that
doesn`t mean you don`t try it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Now Bill is not getting in any of his trademarked angry fights
with "FOX News" panelist about his crazy idea, he`s just using them for
batting practice for when he has to go on to other shows and talk about his
But when Stephen Colbert went after O`Reilly`s crazy idea, O`Reilly had to
respond because Bill knew an exchange with Stephen would get much more
attention than just batting around one of his nutty ideas on "FOX News."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
O`REILLY: People like Stephen Colbert mocking the plan. They don`t know
anything. But by being completely vacant, it doesn`t stop these people
from mocking ideas that might have some value. Might solve some complex
problems. Mr. Colbert and others of his ilk have no bleeping clue how to
fight the Jihad.
STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, COMEDY CENTRAL: That`s outrageous.
Bill O`Reilly has to do his own bleeping. Come on, Rupert Murdoch, spring
for the bleep machine. I`ve got one right here. Watch. Bill O`Reilly is
a (bleep) egomaniac.
Now, I am sure -- I`m sure -- I am positive -- I`m absolutely positive that
was bleeped for broadcast because I don`t mean it. But more importantly,
how can Bill say me and others of my ilk don`t have a clue how to fight
Bill, baby doll, you`re of my ilk. We`re -- we`re -- we`re ilk mates.
We`re members of the same ilk lodge. We dip our cookies in the same glass
of ilk. I wasn`t mocking your plan. I`m the only one who likes it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Judging by O`Reilly`s command of the best seller list, Steven
Colbert is not the only one who likes Bill O`Reilly`s books. But Bill
O`Reilly`s readers don`t know what they`re missing. I mean they really
don`t, they think they`re reading history books, but what they`re missing
is the actual history.
In his new book about "World War II General George Patton", O`Reilly
mentions nothing of General Patton his vicious anti-Semitism, not one word.
I don`t know this from actually reading the O`Reilly book because it`s an
O`Reilly book, so why would I ever read it. But we can thank Richard Cohen
at the "Washington Post" for doing the work of plowing through the 352
pages, including the thin index to confirm that O`Reilly left out this
particular character detail about his latest hero.
And Richard Cohen`s column and not in Bill O`Reilly`s book about Patton,
you can learn why General Patton decided to keep Jews in prison camps after
the war instead of liberating them. Patton wrote in his diary, "If they,
(the Jewish displaced persons) were not kept under guard, they would not
stay in the camps, would spread over the country like locusts and would
eventually have to be rounded up after quite a few of those had been shot
and quite a few Germans murdered and pillaged. At least twice in his
diary, Patton referred to the Jewish (displaced persons) as "animals."
Earl Harrison, the Dean of the University of Pennsylvania Law School
inspected the camps Patton ran and wrote a report for President Truman
saying, as matters now stand, we appear to be treating the Jews as the
Nazis treated them, except that we do not exterminate them. They`re in
concentration camps in large numbers under our military guard instead of SS
troops. One is led to wonder whether the German people seeing this are not
supposing that we are following, or at least condoning Nazi policy.
Richard Cohen tells us, here is what Patton thought about Harrison.
Harrison and his ilk believe that the displaced person is a human being,
which he is not. And this applies particularly to Jews who are lower than
Richard Cohen points out that these passages of General Patton`s letters
and diaries are actually in one of the books cited by Bill O`Reilly as one
of the sources for his book but none of Patton`s own words about Jews made
it into O`Reilly`s pretend history book.
But you don`t get to be Bill O`Reilly if you don`t have an answer for
everything. So after Richard Cohen`s column appeared, Bill O`Reilly read
an email on his show from a happy reader of his book asking about Patton`s
anti-Semitism to which O`Reilly explanation was, "There was plenty we left
out about Patton because the narrative was tight. O`Reilly`s words, the
narrative was tight.
Now, tight narrative is not what O`Reilly`s pretend history books are known
for. And I actually tested the tightness of the narrative this way. I,
first of all, bought the book. You`re welcome, Bill. And then, just like
this, I dropped it open on my desk. Now, I rigged it this time to open up
to this page. But on my desk, I dropped it. It randomly opened to page
136. And I promise you, I promise you, I did not search for this. It was
the first thing my eye hit in the tight narrative of Bill O`Reilly`s book.
Because I knew Bill O`Reilly book on any page would have something that
worked here. But this is what`s on page 136.
Hitler stares at the battle maps spread a top the long rectangular
conference table in his underground command post. He stops now and then to
nibble on the molasses filled Lebkuchen (ph), or something rather German
word, that temporarily a pieces his insatiable sweet tooth.
There is actually a footnote on this page for the word Lebkuchen (ph), a
baked treat, much like a gingerbread cookie. And then there`s another
longer footnote on the same page under that. And look at the ginger bread
cookie footnote. It doesn`t even fill an entire line on this page. There
was room right there to add, General Patton coincidentally agreed with
Hitler that Jews were lower than animals. I mean worst-case scenario, you
could just drop the line about the molasses-filled cookie and stick in the
line about Patton thinking that Jews are lower than animal in its place.
If you really, really needed to keep the word count exactly the same as it
is now. And if what Patton actually said about Jews was in this book, then
the distinguished author could go on TV and talk about Patton`s crazy ideas
instead of his own.
TEXT: Coming up. Which political party is looking for votes during your
favorite TV show?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And by the power invested in me by the State of
California I`m privileged to pronounce you spouses for life, you may now
kiss your husband.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: According to an analysis by the "Washington Post" the TV show
"Modern Family" which is the longest running ad for marriage equality ever
is also, for some strange reason, a very attractive show for Republican
The Post`s Philip Bump has been studying political campaign advertising
patterns and has found some things that seem to make sense and some that
are inexplicable and for the inexplicable, we turn to, of course, "the last
words" Senior Analyst of the Inexplicable Judah Friedlander.
Judah, so you -- we see a gay marriage ceremony --
JUDAH FRIEDLANDER, COMEDIAN: Yes.
O`DONNELL: And then in some market apparently, you immediately go to a
Republican campaign commercial because why?
FRIEDLANDER: I think it`s probably just because it`s such a high-rated
show, you know.
O`DONNELL: I guess so.
FRIEDLANDER: I really don`t think that any of these politicians are trying
to sway people and change their vote. I think mostly they`re just going
after people reminding them to vote who already subscribe to their politics
and ideology. You know --
O`DONNELL: Yes. And that`s what weird about, somebody show "Here`s
something I get".
FRIEDLANDER: Yes, they did that for politics (ph) --
O`DONNELL: Here`s something I get, OK. On reruns, syndicated comedies,
Andy Griffith, "Seinfeld," "Friends," Republicans advertise more on Andy
Griffith show than they do on "Seinfeld" or "Friends." OK, I think we get
O`DONNELL: Yes. And then in daytime talk, for example, Doctor Phil is the
king. In that, he`s where all the Republican ads want to go, Doctor Phil.
Who do you suppose their least favorite spot for the day?
FRIEDLANDER: For Republican ads?
O`DONNELL: For Republican ads. That would be --
FRIEDLANDER: Maybe Ellen? I don`t know --
O`DONNELL: Ms Ellen DeGeneres, exactly. Yes and Steve Harvey, both of
FRIEDLANDER: OK. That makes sense.
O`DONNELL: Our column there, you know --
FRIEDLANDER: Yes. Well, I think that`s what we have in America is like,
you know in this great land of opportunity, freedom and capitalism we
basically have two choices. And, you know, it`s basically do you want --
if you need to pick something up at the store, do you go to CVS or
Walgreens? We don`t have really have a choice and that`s kind of how
politics is, you know there`s two parties that`s it. There`s all these
shows, there`s all these shows and two parties.
FRIEDLANDER: And neither one is trying to sway the other except I guess on
O`DONNELL: You know it`s right down the middle is in these game shows is
Drew Carey "Price is Right" it`s right down the middle it`s pretty even.
"Wheel of Fortune" it`s pretty even. Democrats and Republicans advertised
equally on those game shows.
FRIEDLANDER: Maybe that`s because people who watch game shows are more
willing to gamble, take a chance.
O`DONNELL: Do you know apparently that is the most a political venue is a
game show, I guess it`s a game show and you think about it there`s no
leaning one way or the other on those.
FRIEDLANDER: Maybe they`re more open minded, you know. These are people
who where into playing games.
O`DONNELL: And also possibly more undecided voters there. More voters who
aren`t paying attention at all therefore, if we go into their game show, we
might be able to get them into this election.
FRIEDLANDER: Maybe they`re not as interested in politicians. They just
want to win cars.
O`DONNELL: You know what? We`re going to stay here and figure this out --
FRIEDLANDER: Sounds good.
O`DONNELL: Don`t go anywhere.
But tomorrow night, Judah will be at Caroline`s on Broadway. And he`ll be
there Saturday night, too. But we`re going to stay here and figure this
Judah, thank you very much.
FRIEDLANDER: You`re welcome.
O`DONNELL: Chris Hayes is up next.
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