updated 5/3/2005 2:45:21 PM ET 2005-05-03T18:45:21

Guest: Julia Reed, Steve Adubato, Brent Bozell, Jennifer Berman, Tom Hayden, Stephen Morris, Bo Dietl

JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST:  The missing bride returns home to face the music.  But should she be charged with a crime? 

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

The search for Jennifer Wilbanks cost almost $60,000.  Should taxpayers foot the bill or her family?  We‘re going to get the lowdown live from legendary tough cop Bo Dietl. 

Then, liberal bias at Public Television?  I‘m shocked, shocked.  So, why is the Republican head of PBS taking so much heat for just trying to end the slanted programming at his taxpayer-funded network?  We‘re going to debating that in our SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY showdown. 


LAURA BUSH, FIRST LADY:  I can pronounce nuclear. 



SCARBOROUGH:  Plus, Laura Bush rocks the house.  We‘re going to be telling you what her speech says about her as a first lady and give you parts of her knockout speech that you haven‘t heard and ask, does this first lady have a secret strategy that a certain other first lady never learned?  We‘ll be talking to a reporter who covered them both. 

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

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, tonight, there are answers to some of the questions we‘ve been asking since runaway bride Jennifer Wilbanks returned home to her family and friends. 

Tonight, law officers in Duluth began filling in the blanks and talking about possible criminal charges. 

MSNBC‘s Kerry Sanders is live in Duluth.

Kerry, get us up to date with the very latest. 

KERRY SANDERS, NBC CORRESPONDENT:  Well, Joe, the law enforcement authorities spent several hours today with Jennifer Wilbanks out at the lakeside home where she is holed up. 

She is in seclusion, but she did there with a lawyer at her side speaking to the attorneys for several hours and in the process was able to tell the law enforcement authorities many of the details, many of the questions that so many people have.  This is what the Duluth Police Department chief had to say about the details that they now know. 


RANDY BELCHER, DULUTH, GEORGIA, POLICE CHIEF:  Ms. Wilbanks, on April the 19th, purchased a ticket at the Greyhound bus station in Gainesville.  The destination of that ticket was going to be Austin, Texas, with departure on the 26th of April.  That is the day that she disappeared.  She got on the bus.  Let me back up.  She called a taxi here in the city.

The taxi met her at the Duluth Library.  She took the taxi to Atlanta at the Greyhound bus station near the airport; she got onto the bus; she rode the bus to Dallas, Texas, changed buses, went to Las Vegas, Nevada, spent a little time in Las Vegas, got another bus ticket, took it to Albuquerque, New Mexico. 


SANDERS:  So, that clearly lays out that there appears to have been sort of premeditation to all of this.  What was her demeanor? 

This from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation agent who was there with her.


SPECIAL AGENT CARTER BRANK, GEORGIA BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION:  She was somewhat remorseful for what she had done.  She didn‘t come right out and apologize.  She didn‘t feel like she had really done anything wrong, but she did in her way make a—somewhat of an apology. 


SANDERS:  And so the district attorney now is looking at the possibility of bringing charges.  He says that clearly the law in Georgia will allow him to bring charges.  He‘s not sure whether there is a reason to bring criminal charges.  He‘s now examining the evidence.

This from Danny Porter. 



appears that the only applicable statutes would be either false report of a

crime, which is a misdemeanor that carries a maximum of 12 months in

confinement, or the felony charge of giving a false statement in a matter -

·         giving a false statement in a matter within the political subdivision—the jurisdiction of the political subdivision of a state, which we call false statements, and that‘s a felony that carries a maximum penalty of five years. 


SANDERS:  Now, the city of Duluth says, no matter whether there are criminal charges or not, they estimate the bill for all of the police involvement in this is somewhere between $40,000 and $60,000.  They plan to file civilly to try and get restitution to have that money returned. 

Of course, there are criminal charges.  The court could order the repayment of that and there would be no need for the civil action.  But at this point they say they‘re going after that money, going after the runaway bride and her family to cough up the money to pay for this bill—Joe.

SCARBOROUGH:  Kerry, in light of the fact that she said to officials, law enforcement officials, that she wasn‘t sorry because she didn‘t feel like she had done anything wrong, I guess that leads to the next question.  Does that just anger the people of that community that poured out their hearts and quite frankly $40,000 to $60,000 worth of tax dollars to try to find her over the past few days? 

SANDERS:  There are a lot of angry people here. 

I spoke to a woman here today who said she expected a tearful apology and a very heartfelt apology.  Based on what the Georgia Bureau of Investigation agent said, it does not appear, at least in their conversation with her, that she is heading in that direction.  She had said through the police in New Mexico in a statement that she was going to make a statement, that she recognized that many people deserved to hear from her. 

She now has an attorney at her side and with the possibility of charges, I‘m not sure what sort of statement and when we will hear it.  Of course, the district attorney and everybody else will be watching very closely as to what she says publicly, because that could later be used in a courtroom if she‘s charged criminally. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.  NBC‘s Kerry Sanders, thanks a lot.  We really appreciate it.

With me now is former New York City detective Bo Dietl, author of the new book “Business Lunchatations: How an Everyday Guy Became One of America‘s Most Colorful CEOs and How You Can, Too!”

Bo, the question is prosecute.  Do you prosecute or do you let her go?  Do you show a little bit of mercy and say, you know what; this could have happened to anybody; let‘s just—let‘s give her a break? 

BO DIETL, PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR:  Well, I‘m glad to see, in the last 24 hours, things have changed.  People are starting to talk about prosecuting. 

There is no discretion with the law.  You break the law, you break the law.  You have to find out, first of all—I think she‘s very mentally competent.  And, also, there was some talk about her having several bridal showers prior to this wedding and there are some other factors involve that show she is mentally competent.  And I think that there should be no discretion at all. 

This woman had people crying, had cops and everyone looking for her, had search parties.  This is ridiculous.  We have to set an example.  When you break the law, you have to be arrested for it.  I‘m not saying she should do five years, but I think that there certainly has to be restitution and she should be put on some kind of probation and she should have a record for this.  She committed a crime.  She made false statements.  She had this erroneous thing about people with guns.

You have a Spanish person with a female and she dreamt this whole thing up.  She calculated this whole thing.  She premeditated it.  As far as I‘m concerned, there is no discretion here.  I‘m not feeling sorry for her.  If, again, she had a problem with this man, now she‘s going to get married to the guy again.  I mean, are we all fools?  We have to prosecute when people break the law.  The law—otherwise, let‘s throw the laws away.  All right, Joe?

SCARBOROUGH:  But, I mean, seriously, though, Bo, five years?  You‘re talking about—she could possibly face five years in prison for getting cold feet. 

DIETL:  Well, I really believe that there could be a probation involved with this if she had no prior arrest record.  But she has to be arrested for it.  She should get a record for this, not that—she does this again... 

SCARBOROUGH:  What is the charge? 

DIETL:  The charges are going to be for filing a false police report.  Also, when you lie, it‘s a felony there.  She could be charged with a felony and a misdemeanor. 

SCARBOROUGH:  OK, but, Bo, the thing is, she didn‘t file a false report and she didn‘t lie until an hour or two...


SCARBOROUGH:  Hold on, until an hour or two before she came out and admitted in New Mexico that it was all a lie.  So, it‘s not like this search went on in Georgia based on a lie that she told in New Mexico. 

DIETL:  Your evidence is right there.  The 911 tape is her lying, making a false report, two people, one Spanish, one female with guns.  Are there really guns?  Yes.  There were really guns.

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes, Bo, but the thing is, though, didn‘t she retract that in an hour or two?  It seems to me...

DIETL:  What is the difference? 


SCARBOROUGH:  The focus of this anger, the people in Georgia are angry because, what she put them through by not calling up and saying, hey, mom, dad I got cold feet; I left. 

DIETL:  Hey, Joe, Joe, if I go up to a guy and I punch him in the face and I just punch him fast, then I say, wait a second, I want to retract that.  I‘m sorry about it.  You did the action already.  You committed the crime. 

SCARBOROUGH:  OK, well, that‘s New Mexico, though.  That ain‘t Georgia, Bo. 

DIETL:  No, but wait a second now.  She made the 911 report there and I believe that she called back into Duluth there and she reported it back to Duluth also. 

There‘s two kinds of crimes here.  You have the crime in the 911 in New Mexico.  Then you have her calling Duluth to the 911 there again back to Georgia. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Again, though, Bo, you‘re making a federal case out of this thing, though. 

DIETL:  No, I‘m not.  I‘m making a case that this woman has to be arrested and has to have due process of the law. 

If you got some bleeding-heart liberal judge that wants to give her probation, that‘s fine.  She broke the law.  She should be arrested for it.  If she stole something out of a store, committed grand larceny or larceny, you would arrest her for it and then she can say, I needed milk for my child.  These are circumstances that can be evaluated by the court system. 

But we aren‘t going to hold court here.  She broke the law.  Let‘s face it.  That means anybody can say anything they want.  I can call 911 up and say, I was just stuck up by a male Hispanic and a female with two guns.  You know what I‘m doing?  I‘m committing a crime.  It‘s simple.

There is no discretion here, Joe. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right. 

DIETL:  And I don‘t know why we‘re feeling sorry for this woman.  I think we should understand why she did it and find out what the circumstances were around it, yes.

But she committed the crime.  Let‘s arrest her.  And if in fact that judge wants to decline to prosecute after she‘s arrested, he can have that discretion. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, Bo Dietl, thanks a lot.  We‘ll see what happens.  I suspect the fact that she has not apologized, the fact that she doesn‘t feel like she‘s done anything wrong certainly is going to play against her, not only in the court of public opinion, but also when she goes before a judge. 

She better not let—I know she‘s got a lawyer.  I know she‘s got to protect her rights.  I‘m just saying, from a P.R. standpoint—and Bo will tell you, sometimes, that plays a very important role in how a judge handles a case—she better put it behind her quickly and better apologize to the people of Georgia, who wept and searched and spent tax dollars trying to find her. 

So, coming up next, how widespread is the liberal bias at taxpayer-funded Public Television?  The man in charge wanted to find out and now he‘s getting blasted by elites and by our friends at “The New York Times.”  So, the question is, is Public TV afraid of balance?  That‘s tonight‘s SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY showdown.

And the country is still buzzing about Laura Bush stealing the show this weekend.  Can Laura teach Hillary something about humor?  Stand by.  We‘ll have that with somebody that interviewed both of them.

That‘s when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns. 


SCARBOROUGH:  Thirty years after the end of the Vietnam War, tough questions on whether the anti-war crowd caused us to lose it. 

That‘s when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns. 




You‘re looking at scenes, of course—that‘s not outside my house—that‘s Chicago 1968, the Democratic Convention, obviously, a major day for the anti-Vietnam War movement. 

And as we mark the 30th anniversary of the end of Vietnam, it may be time to question the idea of whether the war was wrong and terribly immoral to the United States and Vietnam.  I mean, after all, that‘s what we‘ve been hearing from the media and also from historians and academics for the past three decades. 

What I found this week and more remarkable is some in the press still seem to be spinning this war and the aftereffect.  That‘s the subject of tonight‘s media watch. 

Let me just show you a couple of samples of what I saw this weekend and what the media thinks of Vietnam thirty years after the last U.S.  troops came home. 

“The New York Times” wrote—quote—“Thirty years later, cake and credit cards in Saigon.  To the eyes of visitors here, including international journalists gathered for a reunion, the market economy and capitalism seem to be doing just fine in Ho Chi Minh City,” a happy story after all.

Meanwhile, “The L.A. Times” says this in their headline: “Thirty years after the fall of Saigon, a firmly communist nation has a flourishing economy, social freedom and deep ties with the U.S.”

Remember that term, flourishing economy. 

And finally, Reuters blasted this headline: “Vietnam celebrates the end of U.S. conflict; 30 years later, the fall of Saigon marked with festivities and a focus on the future.”

And, of course, the Reuters story also—and I said this in my blog at Joe. MSNBC.com—Reuters talks about a great economic rejuvenation and how wonderful things are in that country. 

Well, are these headlines accurate or just wishful thinking?  Let me give you some numbers here on what is actually happening in this greatly rejuvenated economy.  Right now, if you look at the per capita of Vietnam, it‘s $550 a year, $550 a year.  And, I mean, it ranks at the bottom of other countries in Asia. 

Burma, Thailand, Malaysia, South Korea, Japan and China, all obviously do much better than Vietnam.  In fact, I find it interesting that South Korea that was similar economically before the U.S. went over there and fought that war in the 1950s, that now South Korea has a per capita income of $14,500 per year, to Vietnam‘s $550 a year.  Again, Vietnam ranks near the bottom in Asia. 

And there are a lot of people, a lot of journalists this week who have been talking about, well, their economy has grown at 7.5 percent, second fastest only behind China and Asia.  That‘s like saying my son makes a 23 on his statistics examination and when he makes a 30 on his statistics examination, I run around the house holding the report card saying, it‘s improved 30 percent.  Bottom line is, he‘s still failing. 

The Vietnamese economy is still horrible.  It‘s gotten no better.  Now, there is another great editorial in an op-ed in “The New York Times” on Sunday talking about how the war may have been winnable.  You haven‘t heard talk like that in “The New York Times” in 30 years.

To talk about that article and much more is Stephen Morris.  He is of Johns Hopkins University.  He wrote the article.  Also with me are MSNBC political analyst Pat Buchanan.  And also we have with us tonight one of the anti-war activists, leading anti-war activists of the Vietnam War era, former California State Senator Tom Hayden. 

Thank you all for being with us. 

And let me start with you, Mr. Morris.  You wrote the article.  I read it in the Sunday “New York Times.”  You‘re actually saying—and this is what we really want focus on tonight—that the Vietnam War was winnable, but the anti-war protesters were the ones that got in the way. 

STEPHEN J. MORRIS, JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY:  It was not only winnable.  It was actually virtually won.  The problem was that we didn‘t realize how well we‘d been doing.

The U.S. government and the American people didn‘t know how well we were doing, but I happen to know for two reasons.  One was because I was over there during the war.  I was there in 1970 and 1972.  And the second reason why I know is because I‘ve had unique access to the archives of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, including their intelligence services and I‘m aware of the fact that they have a judgment that the United States and the South Vietnamese, who they supported, were well capable of defending themselves if the United States kept providing economic and military aid to the south. 

In other words, the North Vietnamese suffered grievous defeats at the hands of South Vietnam and the United States and that the Soviet Union believed that they could not win the war militarily. 

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, Tom Hayden, what he‘s saying right now is opposite of everything that we‘ve heard in the media, on college campuses, reading history books on Vietnam.  He‘s basically saying America could have won that war but for the efforts of people like you.  How do you respond? 

TOM HAYDEN, FORMER CALIFORNIA STATE SENATOR:  Well, I didn‘t hear him say that. 

But it‘s a novel theory.  It‘s, I think, a very strange argument to rely on Soviet sources, because, clearly, the Soviet Union had an interest in a bilateral relationship with the United States and at distancing themselves from their North Vietnamese allies to an extent.  So, obviously, anybody who followed events knew that that Soviet Union was proposing political negotiations, instead of the fight going on. 

But the big picture to remember is that the United States dropped seven million tons of bombs during that period, twice the tonnage of World War II.  We committed 500,000 young men.  We lost 55,000 killed, hundreds of thousands wounded or damaged.  So it‘s not like we were fighting with our hands behind our back. 

And the search for an explanation for the defeat should start with the battlefield and should include the anti-war movement, but the idea that it was lost at home goes all the way back to the arguments in the ‘50s about who lost China.  I think we ought to move forward and stop spinning a kind of amnesia here. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Pat Buchanan, Stephen Morris makes an argument that, again, seems counterintuitive to us today, which is that actually America responded to the Tet Offensive.  We always heard that, after Tet, 1968, America had lost the war.  He‘s actually saying, because of our military response to Tet, after the Tet Offensive, America was in its strongest position. 

We had routed the North Vietnamese, the communists and, in fact, if we had just kept fighting, we would have won that war.  I haven‘t heard anybody say that in 20 years. 

PAT BUCHANAN, NBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  Well, let me say, I was in the White House, Joe.  We won the Vietnam, at least the first phase of it. 

Tet in 1968, February—it began in January—Tet completely

destroyed the Viet Cong infrastructure.  It was ruined.  After that, I mean

·         50,000 dead.  After that, they had to rely more and more on North Vietnamese troops.  I was in the White House at the end of 1972, beginning of 1973.  American casualties were at zero. 

Every single American ground soldier was home from Vietnam.  Every single provincial capital was in the hands of the South Vietnamese.  Mr.  Kissinger had negotiated something in Paris that I didn‘t think was ideal.  Richard Nixon had won the war.  He had ended it with honor in January of 1973. 

What happened then was not the anti-war movement, which was pretty much dead and gone by then.  The American establishment, the media and the Congress of the United States, rather than let Richard Nixon win a war they could not win or could not end in five years, sabotaged and undermined him every step of the way. 

Watergate broke in March of 1973.  For 18 months, Nixon was preoccupied, his presidency broken.  As a consequence of that, it was not until 1975, when 12 divisions of North Vietnamese troops out of North Vietnam invaded the south and crushed the south.  They were forced to fight, as Mr. Morris wrote, a poor man‘s war, even by the General Giap‘s own estimation. 

That‘s why South Vietnam lost.  It was lost in Washington, D.C., not by the anti-war demonstrators, but by the people on Capitol Hill and the in the national press, who couldn‘t stand the idea that Richard Nixon had succeeded. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Tom Hayden, I remember watching a PBS documentary.  A North Vietnamese general had said, we knew we could never win in the jungles of Vietnam.  We knew we would have to win on the streets of America. 

Respond to that, if you will. 

HAYDEN:  Well, I interviewed a lot of those people and that‘s certainly not the impression I got.  They said, we‘re certainly not depending on international opinion.  We‘re depending on our own fighters. 

What Pat said is partly true, but the anti-war movement did influence Congress to cut off funding.  And the big hole in the argument here is, why did the North Vietnamese army find it so easy to defeat the South Vietnamese army?  I think that, if you look at Kissinger‘s memoirs, he argues much the same, that we should have stayed.  But he says we could have continued the stalemate or continued the fight for 15 more years.  Does anybody in America think that would have been a good idea? 


SCARBOROUGH:  Hey, Pat, Pat, let me ask you this question.  You know, I‘ve always argued that Vietnam is really—it‘s the cultural divide in America.  It‘s the fault line.  Even more than religion, it is still the fault line today.  And I always argues that.  And then of course we had John Kerry‘s presidential run, which I believe in effect proved it. 

Why is it today, 30 years after Vietnam, it is still a fault line that runs down the middle of American politics? 

BUCHANAN:  Here is why. 

Look, we lost 58,000 guys there.  All of us know guys who went in there.  Mr. Hayden and I were on opposite sides of that war.  You committed everything you had, your beliefs.  Many of us feel, Joe, that 58,000 guys, everything they died for was poured down a sewer by politicians in Washington.  The United States could have won the war.  We believed it was won.  And it was not won.  Everything was lost. 

And I think, on both sides of that divide, the anti-war side got to calling us murderers and things like that, simply because we supported a war that John F. Kennedy and Johnson took us into.  On our side, I think we believed rightly that what was happening out there in the streets and the Congress was undermining a cause for which these guys were bleeding and dying.  Joe, it lasted from ‘63 in real terms or ‘65 to ‘75.

And something like that, this generation is going to carry that to their grave.  And when you saw that swift boat thing, the fellows who were conservatives in that era or supported the war and the people who were anti-war, it brought it all back up.  In the end, Reagan was right when he said—and he was attacked for it—it was a noble cause. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, thanks a lot.

I‘ll tell you what, good people on both sides, but the debate still continues. 

Gentlemen, thanks so much for being with us tonight.  We greatly appreciate it. 

Coming up next, teaching abstinence in school, a new study shows it could be working.  So, why are some in Congress trying to get rid of the programs?  A SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY showdown coming up straight ahead. 

And Laura Bush brings her humor to the show and steals the spotlight at the White House correspondents dinner.  Coming up next, what lessons can Hillary Clinton learn from this first lady? 


SCARBOROUGH:  Kids want it.  Parents support it.  But some senators are saying abstinence education programs don‘t work and should be axed at once.  We‘re going to be debating that in a second. 

But, first, here is the latest news your family needs to know. 


SCARBOROUGH:  Welcome back. 

You see, what usually happens at 30 after they play all that music and show my picture again.  But we got to see Milissa for a second there fixing her hair, got to see me doing this.  The excitement of live TV, baby. 


SCARBOROUGH:  Speaking of excitement, I hear that even teenagers support abstinence.  You know, a recent poll said more than 90 percent of teens say society should teach kids to abstain from sex until they finish high school, 92 percent. 

So, and I wonder if parents were actually conducting that survey.  So, it seems strange that Democrats are planning to introduce anti-abstinence legislation that would abolish federal abstinence education programs and give the money to safe-sex public health organizations.  It‘s whipping up a big debate, of course.

With me to talk about is Dr. Jennifer Berman.  She is the author of “Secrets of the Sexually Satisfied Woman”—hasn‘t talked to any women that I‘ve known lately—and the director of the Female Sexual Medicine Center at UCLA University. 

That would only be my wife, of course. 

I want to ask you about this survey.  First of all, I am skeptical.  I see in this new Zogby poll, a respected pollster, that 92 percent of high school students say they support abstinence programs.  Do you believe that? 

DR. JENNIFER BERMAN, FEMALE SEXUAL MEDICINE CENTER:  Well, I think you brought up a good point, is, how was the study designed and were parents involved in that? 

And abstinence means what?  Until you finish high school, until you get married, until you‘ve gone through college?  I think what the children or what kids are saying is that they need information and it is really up to the families and each individual child to determine when and if they‘re ready to have sex.  Abstinence is just a time—what you‘re talking about is a time frame.  Until they‘re 15?  When you finish high school, you can be anywhere between 15 to 17, and that is still relatively young, in my mind. 

SCARBOROUGH:  But, you know, there are surveys out right now that talk about how unwed mothers, unwed teenagers, in large part, that‘s happening.  The numbers are declining.  And, in large part, that‘s because—not necessarily because of these abstinence programs, but because more and more teenagers are choosing abstinence than chose it in the ‘70s or the ‘80s or the ‘60s. 

BERMAN:  Well, they could be choosing abstinence, and they could be choosing safer sex practices, and they could be choosing a whole variety of other things.  So, it‘s not only abstinence that is the reason why teen pregnancies are going down. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Do you think it‘s a fact of—do you think teaching abstinence in school is effective? 

BERMAN:  Alone, absolutely not. 

I mean, again, I think that there have been enough studies that show that abstinence education is not necessarily effective.  In fact, it can be ineffective in providing children with mixed messages, if they‘re getting one message at home, another message at school and sometimes incorrect information.  And, really, knowledge is power. 

What‘s dangerous is a little bit of knowledge, which is what happens in these abstinence programs.  They have a little bit of knowledge.  They don‘t have enough information.  They aren‘t informed to make safe choices and smarter and wise choices.  And what they do is, they end up having sex perhaps later and oftentimes suffer the consequences, either... 

SCARBOROUGH:  Ill-prepared, yes.

You know, there was—“Washington Times” cited a Heritage study that said that of federal dollars that are spent on sexual education, only $1 in $12 is spent on abstinence programs.  Do you think that‘s such a dangerous mix, one in $12 going towards abstinence?

BERMAN:  There are millions being dumped into these—or were being dumped into these abstinence programs.

SCARBOROUGH:  No.  What I‘m saying is, out of every $12 that the federal government spends on sexual education, only $1 goes towards abstinence teaching.  I mean, you don‘t think that‘s harmful in and of itself, do you?  That seems to be a small percentage.

BERMAN:  If you‘re looking at relative to what, relative to... 

SCARBOROUGH:  Relative to the $12 that is being spent on teaching about contraceptives and abortions and other options. 


BERMAN:  Well, the other options is where the children can really get into trouble. 

Abstinence is clearly an option and should be part of the entire sexual education, which includes safer sex, issues about intimacy, issues about pregnancy, issues about risks related to pregnancy and having sex and not having sex.  It is one of the options that we‘re confronted with.  It is not the only option.  And where we get into trouble is teaching a closed-minded, fixed system and that‘s really where kids really don‘t have enough information. 

And also they‘re getting mixed messages between their friends, their families and the school.  We all need to be on the same page. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, Dr. Jennifer Berman, as always, thanks a lot for being with us.  We greatly appreciate it. 

BERMAN:  Thank you. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Coming up—well, actually, let‘s do it now.  Republicans are at war with PBS.  That is what “The New York Times” would have you believe if you read their front page story today. 

PBS, which has come under fire for recent programming like “Postcards From Buster” and over the years for giving a platform to talking heads like Bill Moyers now faces a bigger challenge from within the head of the Corporation For Public Broadcasting.  Kenneth Tomlinson, a Republican, came out against PBS alleging a liberal bias in its programming.  And he has begun implementing steps to overcome it. 

So, what is the problem with trying to be more fair?  Why the frustration?

With me now to talk about it is Brent Bozell.  He, of course, is the founder and president of Media Research Center.  And Steve Adubato, host of two PBS shows and the author of “Speak From the Heart.”

Brent, let me start with you. 

I was surprised to see the headline on “The New York Times”‘ front page that the head of PBS, the head of the Corporation For Public Broadcasting is saying he‘s going to clamp down on liberal bias and try to be more fair.  Were you surprised? 

BRENT BOZELL, MEDIA RESEARCH CENTER:  Well, I‘m not surprised that Ken Tomlinson would try to do it.  I‘m surprised—and I‘m not surprised that “The New York Times” needs smelling salts to recover from him doing this. 

You know, what triggered this, as I understand it, is the outrageous idea on Ken Tomlinson‘s part that something has to be done about this bias that is out of control.  And what did he do?  He appointed two ombudsmen to look at the programming.  One is a former editor of “Reader‘s Digest.”  Another one, Ken Bode, is someone who has had a long distinguished career in journalism on his own side.  One is more conservative than the other.  One is pretty liberal. 

And, together, I think it‘s the perfect mix as a double ombudsmen formula.  And there are those people who are having fainting attacks because they don‘t want any kind of scrutiny over their product, which would be perfectly fine, as far as I‘m concerned, with the exception that they‘re getting $300 million a year from the taxpayers. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Steve, “The New York Times” got an ombudsman, which I think has been a very important step for that paper.  What‘s wrong with PBS looking inward and saying; you know what, we‘ve been accused of having a liberal bias for years; maybe we do?

What‘s wrong with that? 

STEVE ADUBATO, MEDIA ANALYST:  You know, Joe, anyone could accuse anyone of anything.  You have Brent on a lot.  He‘s a—quote—

“conservative.”  It doesn‘t make you biased.  The point is, you have lots of different points of view.  That‘s the story with Public Television. 

I‘ve been a part of the Public Television, the PBS flagship, WNET, Channel 13, in New York for over a decade.  And let me tell you my experience, not someone‘s point of view, but my experience.  PBS is not a broadcast entity, like other national networks.  Here‘s the point.  Local autonomy is the rule, meaning, in a local system, we decide who goes on the air.  We‘re the ones who have diverse points of view there. 

No one has ever said to me in the 15 years that I‘ve been part of Public Television, this is a point of view.  This whole ideological liberal-conservative thing is a joke.  It is an effort on the part of many...

SCARBOROUGH:  Wait a second.  Let me ask you, Steve.  Hold on a second.

ADUBATO:  Sure.  Go ahead.

SCARBOROUGH:  I‘ll let you finish up.  You say it‘s a joke. 

But you know what?  I can say that “The New York Times” slants left.  I can say that “The Chicago Tribune” slants right.  I can say that FOX News slants right.  I can say that CNN may slant center-left. 

ADUBATO:  You could say anything.

SCARBOROUGH:  No, I could say that.  I think most Americans would agree with me also. 

ADUBATO:  I‘ll tell you what most Americans...


SCARBOROUGH:  Are you saying that there is no way we can make that sort of judgment that Bill Moyers is a center-left journalist? 

ADUBATO:  Joe, Bill Moyers has been a proud part of Public Television for a lot of years, but he‘s not all of Public Television.  Here is my point. 

You cited before the Zogby poll in another story, the Heritage study poll.  Well, how about the Roper study poll that says that 38 percent of Americans are—quote—“very satisfied” with PBS, while only 21 percent are satisfied with cable?  Sixty-two percent say that PBS should actually get more funding from the government. 

My point is, we have in Public Television a very intense checking system, check and balance system.  It‘s the American public, most of whom say Public Television is the most respected nationally known entity in the nation.  The bottom line is, PBS and checked and rechecked.  And the bottom line is, if Congress doesn‘t want to provide the money, then don‘t do it.  But don‘t do it on ideological grounds, because it‘s just not legitimate. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, speaking of ideology, let‘s listen to what Bill Moyers said on his program now in March of 2004. 


BILL MOYERS, PBS:  And even if Mr. Bush wins reelection this November, he too will eventually be dragged down by the powerful undertow that inevitably accompanies public deception. 

The public will grow intolerant of partisan predators and crony capitalists indulging in a frenzy of feeding at the troughs in Baghdad and Washington.  And there will come a time when the president will have no one to rely on except his most rabid allies in the right-wing media.  He will discover too late that you cannot win the hearts and minds of the public at large in a nation polarized and pulverized by endless propaganda in defiance of reality. 


SCARBOROUGH:  You know, Brent, I really don‘t know where to start. 

BOZELL:  Well...

SCARBOROUGH:  I really just don‘t know where to start.

BOZELL:  Joe, let me correct you.  You said Bill Moyers is center-left.  There is nothing center about Bill Moyers. 


SCARBOROUGH:  Well, I was trying to be fair. 

BOZELL:  Well, I‘m being fair as well. 

ADUBATO:  That‘s a good thing to try to be.

BOZELL:  But, look, but, look, Bill Moyers said on his show recently, before it went off the air, he equated American servicemen doing an air campaign over Iraq with terrorists beheading innocent civilians. 

SCARBOROUGH:  So, why is Congress still paying for this? 


BOZELL:  Well, let me finish here.

This is a man who is extreme to the left.  I find it interesting, Steve, that when a conservative is mentioned, you have no problem whatsoever labeling that person as a conservative. 

ADUBATO:  And there is nothing wrong with that. 

BOZELL:  As well you should, as well you should.  But I have yet to find you determine that anyone is a liberal. 

ADUBATO:  First of all, liberal/conservative, Brent, the way I see the world and I think the way most Americans see the world is not in red and blue states, conservatives and liberals. 

And, Joe, let me tell you something.  You have me on the show not because I‘m a—quote—“liberal,” but because, hopefully, you think that I have a legitimate point of view.  All I‘m saying is that, when you have “The NewsHour With Jim Lehrer” and Jim Lehrer is asked to moderate presidential debates, is that because the Bush people and the Democrats see them as a liberal?  No.  But they respect him.  They know that most Americans respect him as a powerful part of PBS. 

You can take any quote from anywhere.  Joe, I can take a quote from you.  I can take a quote from Brent, put it on the air and say, you know what?  That is—MSNBC is conservative.  The fact is, anything can be taken out of context and that‘s exactly what is going on here. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.  Thanks. 

You know what?  I‘m glad you come on and you do have a lot to say.  I don‘t know what your politics are.  And I appreciate you coming on, Steve. 

ADUBATO:  Appreciate being here, Joe. 

I can say, though, to my audience that I think it‘s quite clear that Bill Moyers is far, far to the left and, just generally, PBS has been far to the left also.  But Steve makes a great point.  And Brent and I have talked about this before on my radio show.  It seems that some people in Congress don‘t have the nerve to step up to the plate and hold them accountable, say be more fair and down the middle or we‘re going to strip you of your public funding.  Maybe that is starting to happen right now. 

We‘ll be right back in a second. 



SCARBOROUGH:  Hey, welcome back. 

Saturday night at the White House correspondents dinner, Laura Bush stole the show and had the A-list crowd in hysterics when she took over the podium from her husband.

With me now to talk about it is Julia Reed, who profiled the first lady for “Vogue” and is also the author of “Queen of the Turtle Derby and Other Southern Phenomena,” like leaving your 16 bridesmaids waiting for you to come back from Vegas.


SCARBOROUGH:  But we‘ll talk about that on another night. 

You have profiled Laura Bush before.  Were you surprised by her coming-out party the other night? 

JULIA REED, “VOGUE”:  No.  She‘s always had an edge. 

The idea that she‘s this sort of dumb—not dumb, but sort of zombified Stepford wife is ridiculous.  When we did the photo shoot for the twins at “Vogue,” she came in and they were in these big old prom dresses that they didn‘t end up wearing, because she said, God, that looks like I wore to my eight grade dance. 

She can let—she just—the thing is that she‘s not under the impression that America wants her to sound like Don Rickles on most days and that people didn‘t elect her husband because of what she thinks. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, what kind of person is she?  Is she comfortable in her own skin?  I guess that is the key.

REED:  Yes. 

I think she‘s like possibly the most comfortable person in her own skin I‘ve ever seen and incredibly secure.  She grew up close-knit Midland sort of family.  Unlike George Bush, she stayed there her whole life.  And then she had some teenage tragedy to deal with and then she—which she obviously did.  And then she married into the Bush clan, which ain‘t easy. 

She finally actually said what all of us have known all along, that Barbara Bush is more like Don Corleone than Aunt Bee and that—and then George‘s grandmother, George Bush I‘s mother, Dorothy Bush, was even tougher than Barbara.  So, I mean, she‘s weathered a lot of tough broads in her time and come through it.  I mean, there‘s a famous story about when she met Dorothy Bush.  And she sort of raised an eyebrow and said, well, now, what do you do?  And she said, I read and I smoke, which is a nice way of saying, you know what? 



Hey, Julia, stay with us.  When we come back, we‘re going to talk about the comparison between her and Hillary Clinton. 

We‘ll be right back in a second. 


SCARBOROUGH:  We‘re back with Julia Reed. 

Julia, you also interviewed Hillary Clinton, I think for that Evita layout that “Vogue” did, some incredible...

REED:  We did a lot of Hillary layouts.

SCARBOROUGH:  Some incredible shots of her. 

Compare Hillary Clinton with Laura Bush. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, I think you said it the best. 

I think that Hillary‘s obviously found her way now, but it took a

while.  I mean, when I look at the first piece we did on Hillary during the

·         ‘91, even before the campaign, first campaign, got off in earnest, she still had like the long hair and the hairband and the whole thing. 

I think it‘s frivolous to say, but you can track it through the hairstyles.  She was remaking herself every other minute.  Laura Bush has essentially looked the same since she was a kid.  I think she‘s way more comfortable in her own skin.  Also, we didn‘t have to see this sort of strange, diabolical marital pact be played out for us.  It wasn‘t—

Hillary obviously has said, I‘ll stick by you through Gennifer Flowers and God knows what else, but I got to have health care. 


REED:  I mean, like I said, Laura Bush, she doesn‘t think that anybody really cares what she says.  I mean, she‘s championed the causes that she cares about.  I think it was great that she went to Afghanistan.  More people should.  We‘ve almost forgotten about the place.

But I just—I think that people are more comfortable because she‘s more comfortable with herself.  And that really shows.  And that‘s why her approval ratings are so high.

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, well, hey, thanks a lot, Julie.  We appreciate it. 

And we‘re going to have you on tomorrow night talking about the runaway bride.  And you‘re going to tell your—the backstory to it, a story that you wrote about it in “Vogue.”  Thanks for being with us tonight.  We greatly appreciate it.

And thank you all for being with us.  We‘ll see you tomorrow night in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, where we serve dark meat and white meat.


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