updated 5/18/2005 8:15:27 AM ET 2005-05-18T12:15:27

Guest: Mort Zuckerman, Robert Jensen, Courtney Anderson, Ann Bremner, David Horowitz, Eleanor Smeal


SCOTT MCCLELLAN, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY:  This report caused serious damage to the image of the United States abroad. 


JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST:  Tonight‘s top headline, the White House turns up the heat on “Newsweek” magazine for its deadly reporting error.  But and arrogant media goes on the attack.  Don‘t they get it yet?

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

America‘s image seriously damaged, as “Newsweek” put American troops‘ lives in danger.  And why is the mainstream media coming out swinging instead of making things right?  An explosive debate straight ahead in our “SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY Showdown.” 

The Jackson trial is down to the wire, and the defense is bringing on the big guns.  On the list, Elizabeth Taylor, Larry King, and Jay Leno.  And testimony today that could assure Michael Jackson walks.

And the movie‘s No. 1 in the country, from Hanoi Jane to Hollywood heavy weight, we are going to give you the inside story and tell you how some are still banning Jane Fonda‘s movies in middle America.

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

SCARBOROUGH:  Good evening.  Welcome to our show. 

It‘s been a day of high drama at the White House, as a firestorm over the “Newsweek” story about flushing the Koran down the toilet, continues to grow. 

Now, just hours ago, White House press secretary Scott McClellan was attacked for suggesting that “Newsweek” needed to work harder to clean up its Middle East mess.  Take a listen. 


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  With respect, who made you the editor of “Newsweek”?  Do you think it‘s appropriate for you, at that podium, speaking with the authority of the president of the United States, to tell an American magazine what they should print?

MCCLELLAN:  I‘m not telling them.  I‘m saying that we would encourage them to help... 


MCCLELLAN:  No, I‘m saying we would encourage them—look, this report caused serious damage to the image of the United States abroad.  And “Newsweek” has said that they got it wrong.  You‘re absolutely right, it‘s not my position to get into telling people what they can and cannot report.


SCARBOROUGH:  You know, I think that response from the press at the White House is absolutely remarkable.  Acting as if it‘s the White House‘s fault that 17 people are dead because of “Newsweek‘s” reporting. 

Also tonight, secretary of State Condoleezza Rice offered a biting reaction while meeting with the British foreign secretary at the State Department. 


CONDOLEEZZA RICE, SECRETARY OF STATE:  I frankly think it‘s appalling that this story got out, which was not—let‘s just say it was not on a very good basis, and it has done a lot of damage.  And we are doing our best to let people know that there is a story to be told about how the United States deals with this issue, and it is a story of respect. 


SCARBOROUGH:  So the question now is, what does it mean for the future of mainstream media, and will it hurt the effort of our troops as they fight in war-torn regions in Afghanistan, in Iraq, and across the world?

With me now to talk about this more, Mort Zuckerman.  He is the editor in chief of “U.S. News & World Report.”  We also have MSNBC political analyst, Pat Buchanan, the author of “Where the Right Went Wrong.”  And also, we have Dr. Robert Jensen.  He‘s a journalism professor at the University of Texas. 

Pat Buchanan, let me begin with you.  You‘ve been a communication director at the White House.  Do you believe that Scott McClellan and the White House operation is off base telling the media that they have made a terrible mistake, and giving them specific steps of how they need to clean it up?

PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC ANALYST:  If I were the press secretary I would have been more direct than that.  I would have said, “Listen, ‘Newsweek,‘ you have given aid and comfort to the enemy in a time of war.  By publishing so inflammatory a report, which you knew was going to inflame that whole region of the world, you have not only put at risk American lives and men, you have put at risk the cause for which these guys have gone to fight and die. 

“Simple common sense, you could understand the impact of what you were

going to do, and you cannot absolve yourself of responsibility for what was

done simply by saying, ‘Well, we had the story.‘” 

So I think there‘s more to this than simple journalistic failure.  I mean, this is a failure of moral judgment, Joe. 

SCARBOROUGH:  I think it is too, but Pat Buchanan, now let‘s move to Mort Zuckerman, from somebody that was a communication director at the White House to somebody who‘s obviously been very involved in the media. 

Mort Zuckerman, how do you take the White House giving instructions to the mainstream press on how they need to cover a story and how they need to correct for journalistic errors?

MORT ZUCKERMAN, “U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT”:  Well, I do think that it is not inappropriate for the White House to say, “Listen, you guys made a mistake, and you‘ve just got to make sure that your reporting practices and your editing practices are such that these mistakes are not to be repeated.” 

I don‘t disagree with that, but I do think that a part of what this country is all about is freedom of the press, including sometimes the freedom of the press to make mistakes, which “Newsweek” did, and they acknowledged it, and they have retracted the story.  And the reporter who did it is one of the best reporters in the business, and I think it was just a mistake that he made, and it was an honest mistake. 

Now, I will say another thing, that it is not, it seems to me, inappropriate also for the United States to say to the rest of the world, you know, this is a part of what the United States is all about.  It is freedom of the press, and we do make mistakes, but we also do uncover a lot of things that ought to be uncovered.  We do educate and speak to the American people in an appropriate way. 

And I think, for example, if you have to look and see what‘s happening in the Muslim world in terms of the way they attack, frankly, Christians and Jews and others of other faiths, we don‘t sit around and riot and attack Muslims under that basis. 

I think the reaction on the part of the Muslims, frankly, simply reflects failure to understand what the United States is about.  And in part, I do believe that it is up to our political leadership to try and educate the world on who we are and what we stand for. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, certainly, a lot of those people and the governments that they run, are the last people that need to be giving us lectures. 


SCARBOROUGH:  I want to talk about Michael Isikoff, though, who is the reporter who reported on the Koran story for “Newsweek.”  He had this to say in “The New York Times” today. 

Quote, “Neither ‘Newsweek‘ nor the Pentagon foresaw that a reference to the desecration of the Koran was going to create the kind of response that it did.  The Pentagon saw the item before it ran, and they didn‘t move us off it for 11 days afterward.  They were as caught off guard by the furor as we were.  We obviously blame ourselves for not understanding the potential ramifications.”

But Bob Jensen, is it really the White House‘s duty?  I mean, I—I read something from a member of the mainstream media who actually accused Scott McClellan and the White House of treason for not properly vetting these “Newsweek” documents first.  Is it really Scott McClellan and the White House‘s duty to do that?

ROBERT JENSEN, PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS:  Well, I think it‘s the duty of the United States news media to point out the scapegoating of “Newsweek” doesn‘t absolve the Bush administration of its role in provoking this kind of resentment and violence around the Muslim world. 

It‘s not one story in “Newsweek” that‘s at issue.  It‘s U.S. policy, which has spurred incredible resentment in this part of the world.  Again, the White House is looking for an easy way out.  And the problem isn‘t “Newsweek.”  The problem is U.S. policy.  The problem...

SCARBOROUGH:  But professor, if you look at news, if you look at the reporting over the past week or two, “The New York Times” on Sunday talked about how the terrorists in Iraq were losing the battle for the hearts and minds of Iraqi people. 

You had other mainstream publications over the past several weeks talking about the great advances that American troops were making in P.R.  outside the capital of Afghanistan.  That now seems to be undone and seems to go against what you‘re suggesting tonight, that U.S. policy has caused these type of disruptions.

JENSEN:  Well, that‘s what you read in the U.S. press.  Go read the press around the world.  You often will find a very different account of whether or not the U.S. is winning hearts and minds in either Afghanistan or Iraq. 


JENSEN:  In other words, I think—I think we should put the blame where the blame belongs, on failed U.S. policies, not on the news media. 

BUCHANAN:  Joe, let me get back into this.  Let me disagree with my friend Mort.  I don‘t care if it were vetted, and the report were exactly right.  You don‘t publish that as responsible, thoughtful journalists, because—I know what the Islamic world is like.  So does Mort Zuckerman.  It is explosive on matters like this. 

We saw Salman Rushdie‘s book.  I mean, people were rioting all over the Middle East.  You should know these things as a thoughtful man.  This isn‘t to defend the Islamic position. 

But knowing that, why in heaven‘s name, even if true, would you put something out?  The only effect of it can be damaging to your cause, your country, and to our people?  What is the benefit of putting this in “Newsweek” magazine, and sending it out to the world?

ZUCKERMAN:  The benefit is telling the truth. 

SCARBOROUGH:  It seems to me, Mort, I see Condi Rice out there, the secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice.  We‘ve been told to call her Condoleezza, to be more respectful. 

But Condoleezza Rice out there attacking “Newsweek”.  We saw Donald Rumsfeld earlier in the week doing the same thing.  This seems fairly unprecedented to me.

Usually the White House would say, we would ask such and such news source to be more responsible in their reporting, but it seems this White House is going on the attack in a way that I haven‘t seen a White House do the past quart quarter century. 

ZUCKERMAN:  No, I think it is quite remarkable.  And let me just say that, as a general rule, I think where you have somehow or other a knowledge or even a judgment that something that you publish might cost the lives of people, particularly, for example, of Americans in a battlefield condition, where you don‘t want to publish information that might cause American deaths, I know we have in the past avoided that kind of publication. 

And Pat, in one sense, is right, but I think in another sense is not right.  I really don‘t believe that “Newsweek” foresaw that this might be one of the consequences. 

Look, we have hundreds of different media outlets.  I have been in a dialogue with the Arab ambassadors to the United States, while they attacked everybody in the United States who said something negative about the Muslim faith.  But we can‘t—we can‘t deal with that kind of a world. 

BUCHANAN:  Mort, you‘re a very savvy guy.  We are Americans.  We don‘t care what these people say, but we saw what happened in Salman Rushdie‘s book, which I understand was not even published in Israel for sound reason. 

And a lot of these things, we ought to understand what we‘re dealing with, if we‘re a great world power.  That is an inflamed situation.  It is a volatile part of the world.  They are deeply fundamentalists.  We know it.  They‘re not like us. 

And “Newsweek” is savvy people.  I don‘t say they‘re malicious.  What I‘m saying is I cannot believe the ignorance of judgment that would put something like that in the magazine.  What good would it do, Mort, to put that in there?

SCARBOROUGH:  Robert Jensen, let me bring you in here and ask you, Robert, the thing that concerns me is this comes out the same week that a poll is published by the University of Connecticut, saying that only 39 percent of Americans believe what they read in newspapers, believe what they see on TV as far as news goes. 

Aren‘t you concerned that this further degrades mainstream media‘s reputation in the eyes of the American people?

JENSEN:  Well, I‘m very concerned about the state of public response to the media.  But the problem, as I‘ve said over and over again, isn‘t that the American press is too aggressive.  The problem is the American press is too passive with dealing with power. 

I find it interesting Pat Buchanan says the truth doesn‘t matter, that the role of the press is essentially roll over to power. 

BUCHANAN:  That‘s silly.  I didn‘t say that. 

JENSEN:  It‘s not silly.  Let me finish.  To say that America is a great power.  One of the roles of the press is to point out when great powers act like barbaric nations and go to war illegally, and go to war... 

BUCHANAN:  Listen, I opposed this war from the beginning. 

JENSEN:  That‘s...

BUCHANAN:  I thought it was a mistake.  I said so every day on TV.  But when your guys have gone to war and Congress has voted for it, mistakenly, and their lives are at risk, you don‘t undercut your men in combat. 

And anybody at “Newsweek,” anybody is going to have to know that‘s an inflammatory item, the result of which is going to be bad, and it turned out to be devastating. 

Now “Newsweek” is trying to exonerate themselves, “Well, we checked it out.  It turned out to be true.”  You can‘t exonerate yourself—exonerate yourself of responsibility for the consequences of what you do as a journalist. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, Pat Buchanan, thank you so much.  Mort Zuckerman, and Bob Jensen, as always.  Greatly appreciate you being here. 

Let me just say for the record again, Michael Isikoff is one of the best reporters, not only in Washington, D.C., but also in America.  He‘s not a glory boy either.  You know, you see a lot of guys that are posers.  Isikoff is just a tough day-in-and-day-out reporter that just happens to break some of the biggest stories in American journalism. 

That‘s why I think it‘s unfortunate that some people at “Newsweek” are still—I don‘t know.  Trying to offer mitigating defenses for this.  I don‘t think there are any defenses in this case. 

Coming up next, big day at the Michael Jackson trial.  Is the King of Pop about to walk, or is he planning to have a parade of celebrities help him walk free?  We‘re going to be asking two court watchers and talk about the latest developments in that case. 

And also, Jane Fonda‘s comeback.  It may not extend to all parts of SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, but let me tell you something, she had the No. 1 movie in America.  We‘ll tell you all about it coming up in a second.



SCARBOROUGH:  Day 54 of the Michael Jackson trial brought some very interesting developments, as two social workers testified. 

When they met with Jackson‘s accuser, he denied the pop icon had ever molested him, had ever touched him, had ever spent the night in bed with him.  Question is, does this spell the end for Tom Sneddon and the prosecution?  Does it mean Michael Jackson walks, or will it take parade of Hollywood‘s biggest stars to get the former prince of pop off the hook?

Here to talk about today‘s developments and the parade of celebrities soon to show up at the show trial, former defense attorney, Courtney Anderson.  We also have former prosecutor Ann Bremner. 

Courtney, let‘s begin with you. 

Not a good day for the prosecution, as you have two social workers that are employed by the same state that employs the prosecutor, saying that they talked to the boy, and the boy said he was never touched by Michael Jackson.  How devastating is that for the prosecution?

COURTNEY ANDERSON, FORMER DEFENSE ATTORNEY:  Well, if the jury sits there and listens to these social workers and believes here are trained professionals who said that they had initial interviews and then even a follow-up interview, and they believe that nothing untoward happened, then, yes, it‘s a pretty devastating day for Mr. Sneddon and the prosecution. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Ann Bremner, two social workers interviewed this boy, the boy says Jackson didn‘t touch him.  In fact, let me read it.  Irene Peters, she‘s one of the social workers and she met with Jackson‘s accuser, and this is what she said today in court, talking about the meeting. 

Quote, “I asked him if he‘d ever been sexually abused by Michael Jackson, and he became upset.  He said, ‘Everybody thinks Michael Jackson sexually abused me.  He never touched me.‘  The accuser said Michael was very kind to him and treated him like a father.”

Ann, it doesn‘t get any worse, does it, for the prosecution than that?

ANN BREMNER, FORMER PROSECUTOR:  Well, it would be bad except for the fact that the molestation hadn‘t happened yet.  This interview preceded the molestation, so nothing had happened.  The boy was telling the truth, so it‘s not damaging. 

The prosecutor just needs to keep to their time line, show the jury that the molestations started after this.  So, you know, this means nothing.  It simply was, you come in and you say, is anything happening?  No.  Because it wasn‘t.  The boy told the truth.  The state‘s case is still on track. 

SCARBOROUGH:  So, Ann, you‘re telling me, and again you know how jury members work. 

BREMNER:  Oh, yes. 

SCARBOROUGH:  They use—they use common sense.  And they‘re going to be thinking, OK, so you‘ve got this kid who people are saying Michael Jackson molested.  And an investigation starts up.  But Jackson hasn‘t touched him, until the investigation starts up. 

And then after the state investigation starts up, Jackson says, “Well, you know what?  Now I‘m going to molest the child.”

BREMNER:  right.

SCARBOROUGH:  Do you think that‘s really going to play with the jury of Michael Jackson‘s—well, not peers. 

BREMNER:  Not his peers. 

SCARBOROUGH:  We‘ll just say a jury. 

BREMNER:  I think in this case it will.  You know, everybody gets so much information every day they lose their common sense.  The common sense in this case is this. 

Back, you know, when he settled that $26 million case, don‘t you think he would have stopped molesting?  No.  He kept doing it.  We heard a roll call of boys, his special friends. 

Three hundred and sixty-five nights he slept with one boy, who‘s a claimed victim.  He can‘t stop himself.  This was the boy du jour, or the boy of the year, or 365 days. 

And even after he settled the case in ‘93, he was traveling with kids in Europe, while under investigation. 

And one final thing, the complaints that they were investigating were from third parties who saw a documentary saying, “I think Michael Jackson is a child molester.  Check him out.”

This was not a complaint from the boy or his family, so these were general complaints of citizens, or you know, people that were concerned in the industry of counseling, et cetera, that said check out Michael Jackson. 

So he‘s reckless.  He can‘t help himself.  That‘s what he does.  He‘s a pedophile.  Once a pedophile, always a pedophile. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Courtney Anderson?

ANDERSON:  I want to make a couple of quick points.  One, I believe there was testimony today that one of the social workers said that the accuser said he had not even slept in the bed with Mr. Jackson.  The mother said that, too. 

So there‘s a problem, because even if this is in the prosecution time line prior to the alleged actual molestation, certainly the prosecution‘s arguing that the sleeping in the bed with Mr. Jackson had already occurred. 

Also, it‘s not illegal for Mr. Jackson to have had these children over the years that he‘s befriended and spent time with.  And we also want to remember, the families always brought their children to this ranch and gave them permission. 

And someone like Mr. Culkin has come forward and said that, even though other witnesses said he was a victim of molestation, he got on the stand and said, no, he wasn‘t. 

So I don‘t think that this case is over, and I don‘t think that right now the prosecution is too happy with the way things are going. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Ann Bremner, you know, if you‘re the prosecution right now, you‘ve got to see, as my first year tort professor said at the University of Florida College of Law, you should see this next one coming like a freight train out of the mist. 

You got Liz Taylor coming into court.  You‘ve got Jay Leno possibly coming into court.  Chris Tucker, Larry King, live for the jury. 

If you look at the Robert Blake trial, and you look at some other celebrity trials, jury members are obviously swayed by celebrities.  If you‘re a prosecutor like Tom Sneddon, you see this coming, what in the world can you do to defend yourself against the onslaught of celebrity that can kill your case?

BREMNER:  Well, you know, what you do is you say, none of them were there.  These things happened in private. 

And you know, Michael Jackson, it was asked of his ranch manager, how many special friends were boys?  All of them.  How many special friends were women?  One.  Liz Taylor.  One.  OK?


BREMNER:  And then finally, the answer was I think Liza Minnelli, too. 

And the prosecutor said, “I guess we‘re up to two.” 

These celebrities, we don‘t know what he does in private.  They don‘t know what he does in private.  And some, Jay Leno, Larry King, they‘re fact witnesses on other issues.

So you know, let the circus begin, but what bearing does it really have on the case in terms of whether or not he molested this child?

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes, but that sounds great in theory, but at the same time, we‘ve seen how juries in this these cases...

BREMNER:  I know.

SCARBOROUGH:  ... in these high profile cases are all star struck.  So it really doesn‘t matter, does it?

BREMNER:  But you know, this jury, and I‘ve watched this jury for so many weeks now.  They‘re the wild card in this case.  You know, they‘re solid.  They are on time.  They‘re not prima donnas.  They‘re not high maintenance.  They‘re not star struck.  And I think they‘re doing the right thing every day, just assessing credibility. 

They‘re not star struck by Jackson or Macaulay Culkin, and I would expect they‘ll stay that way through this whole case. 

And you know, the question is whether or not they—they go with their hearts and find guilt here or go with their minds and look at a lot of the mood music that‘s been created by the defense in this case, and part that is celebrity witnesses. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Courtney Anderson, I personally think that they are star struck.  All the reports we heard, after Macaulay Culkin testified, showed they were sitting there, staring at a child star that a lot of them, may not have grown up with but their kids grew up with. 

I think they‘re going to allow Michael Jackson to walk, in part because of the power of celebrity.  What do you say?

ANDERSON:  I don‘t know necessarily if Mr. Jackson is going to walk, and I have said that previously.  I believe.  I do, though, think that the celebrity situation is a factor.  But I think here‘s the underlying question: would Mr. Jackson be on trial at all if he wasn‘t celebrity?  I mean, Mr. Sneddon and the task force of California...

SCARBOROUGH:  I think he‘d be in jail, Courtney. 

ANDERSON:  Well... 

SCARBOROUGH:  You don‘t think he‘d already be in jail?  What if his—what if his name were—Courtney, what if his name were Mike Jackson, and he lived in South Central L.A. and he hung out with boys in his apartment?  I think he‘d already be serving time. 

ANDERSON:  I don‘t know.  I really don‘t know, and I don‘t think that there would be this much, 85 witnesses, and this type of case that‘s been put on by the prosecution. 

If Mr. Jackson is guilty of these crimes, I, like anyone else, certainly would want justice to be served.  I do, though, think that there‘s some personal animosity.  And I do think that his own celebrity status is part of what‘s led to this circus atmosphere. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.  Thanks a lot. 

Again, I just have to say, I think if he were a poor African-American male in South Central Los Angeles, he would have already been serving time back in 1993. 

Courtney Anderson, Ann Bremner, thanks so much for being with us in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.  We greatly appreciate it. 

Coming up, are women as good as math as men?  Well, if you‘re talking about me, of course they are.  But the answer to that question, a little more difficult, and it may cost Harvard University—count these numbers, baby -- $50 million.  We‘re going to shine a light on that when we come back. 

And later on, what does a bear do in a trailer park?  Anything it wants.  Some SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY video that you‘ve got to see, coming up. 


SCARBOROUGH:  You want to see the No. 1 movie in America?  Well, that‘s Jane Fonda‘s new movie, but if you do, don‘t bother going to one town in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.  We‘ll tell you why the owner of a theater is banning it, refusing to show it.

But first, here‘s the latest news that your family needs to know. 


SCARBOROUGH:  I‘m Joe, I had a burger for breakfast, lunch, but for dinner I had a burger, and I‘ve got issues. 

First off tonight, I‘ve got issues with the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.  Well, it seems that PETA, the animal rights activists who never saw protest they didn‘t want to join, are now trying to indoctrinate children. 

Now that 12 states have passed laws saying you have to teach, quote, humane education classes, PETA has latched on their web site, TeachKind.org, scare tactics to get people to teach children the PETA way, saying the serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer learned his trait by dissecting a fetal pig in school.  And it also offers lessons plans, like cut out dissection, and my personal favorite, meet your meat, to say that chicken are people, too. 

You know, PETA says they‘re just trying to help kids learn, but I say, kids, listen up to Uncle Joe, and always remember this.  A burger is a terrible thing to waste. 

Now, I‘ve also got issues with Howard Dean.  The head of the Democratic National Committee addressed Massachusetts Democrats this past weekend, and he said the following about House Majority Leader Tom DeLay. 


HOWARD DEAN, DNC CHAIR:  I think Tom DeLay ought to go back to Houston where he can serve his jail sentence down there courtesy of the Texas taxpayers.


SCARBOROUGH:  You know what we call guys like that in middle America? 

A runaway beer truck. 

This is the same head of the DNC who called the Republican Party evil, said Jesus was a Democrat, and now he‘s saying that Tom DeLay should go straight to jail, don‘t pass go.  So much for the lofty American concept of being innocent until proven guilty. 

And finally I‘ve got issues with Federline fever.  Britney and Kevin Federline‘s home movies, premiered as a reality show, gag, tonight on one network. 

And today on “Ellen,” the two made their first joint appearance since announcing Britney‘s pregnancy.  During the show, the host surprised the pair with some baby gifts. 


ELLEN DEGENERES, TALK SHOW HOST:  To start off, we got you some—you need diapers, you know, because babies—I don‘t know a lot about them but you‘ll need diapers.  And we got you, “Oops, I did it again” diapers. 

You‘re out and the paparazzi, you‘re always dealing with that, so you can wear this.  “I‘m not Britney Spears.”  You can wear, “I‘m not Kevin Federline.”  And then the baby is, “I‘m not their baby.” 

And then the thing that I think you‘re going to really love.  I‘m very excited about this.  We gave one to Gwyneth Paltrow.  It‘s this pram, it‘s this little pram, but we pimped it out for you.  Come see, for the baby.


SCARBOROUGH:  Nice, well, we‘ll have to see if the gifts are all jokes or if they actually could be needed. 

Now, from a hot story to a hotter story, behind the ivy covered walls of Harvard University.  In January, the president of Harvard, as you remember, Lawrence Summers, came under fire when he suggested innate differences between the sexes and how those differences could explain why women don‘t succeed in science and math as much as men. 

Of course, Summers apologized, but the firestorm rages on.  And now he is pledging $50 million of Harvard‘s money to help improve the climate for women and minorities on campus. 

Here‘s some of what the money is going to go to.  To create a position of senior vice provost of diversity, publish status of women and minorities reports regularly, enhance maternity leave and child care policies for faculty.

Are Harvard and Lawrence Summers trying to buy diversity at Harvard?

With me now, David Horowitz.  He‘s the president for Students for Academic Freedom and author of “End of Time.”  And also Eleanor Smeal from Feminist Majority Foundation. 

Eleanor, let‘s start with you.  Is this too little to late or do you think that Lawrence Summers has finally turned over a new leaf?

ELEANOR SMEAL, FEMINIST MAJORITY FOUNDATION:  Well, I think it‘s good for women and good for minorities, and I‘m glad that something is coming of this terrible episode, in which he essentially said that women couldn‘t cut it in math and science, even though the data is overwhelmingly that we can and that there is bias in hiring.  And in fact, he himself had a record of only promoting very few women. 

SCARBOROUGH:  David Horowitz—yes, David Horowitz, $50 million to promote diversity, a good idea?

DAVID HOROWITZ, PRESIDENT, STUDENTS FOR ACADEMIC FREEDOM:  This is $50 million of extortion money.  This is a disgrace to Harvard and to the American university system. 

Here, a distinguished scholar, Larry Summers, made a perfectly reasonable suggestion.  The issue wasn‘t whether women can do math.  The question was why there weren‘t more women at the top of the field. 

I mean, we‘re watching the national basketball championships.  Ninety percent of the multimillionaires on the floor are black.  There are some great white players, but when you, you know, take—you look at who‘s at the top of the field in basketball, it‘s black males.  They play the game better. 

The fact is that what happened at Harvard is what Larry Summers made an intellectual suggestion.  He also suggested there might be discrimination.  Before you know it, these radicals who are anti-intellectual had him on his knees.  They wanted him fired. 

SMEAL:  They weren‘t radicals. 

HOROWITZ:  Now he‘s buying them off with $50 million for what? 

There‘s nobody—nobody has been producing a shred of evidence. 

SCARBOROUGH:  You say no evidence.  Hold on a second, David.  Let me -

·         let‘s read this.  Now, last year, only four of 32 professors offered tenure in the faculty of arts and sciences were women.  That‘s four out of 32.  I mean, that‘s some pretty strong evidence, isn‘t it?

HOROWITZ:  Yes.  If you look at the conservatives on the faculty, you‘ll find that probably there were no conservatives offered tenure.  You know, they could use the $50 million to create a department for conservatives, where they won‘t be blacklisted. 

SMEAL:  This is math. 

HOROWITZ:  The fact is that just because only four women were hired does not in itself mean anything. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Eleanor, should we create quotas?

HOROWITZ:  Out of study (ph).  You‘re just throwing money at them. 

SMEAL:  First place. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Eleanor, should we—hold on a second.  Eleanor, should we create quotas at colleges like Harvard and universities like Harvard, saying that half the people that become—that become tenured professors must become females?

SMEAL:  No one is talking quotas, but four out of 32 is ridiculous.  But let‘s go back to what Horowitz has just said about radicals.  We‘re not talking radicals. 

He had a vote of no confidence from his faculty.  The people who objected were serious women scientists, who said that here he is in a flagship higher university in the United States, saying things like women don‘t—might not be able to cut it and don‘t have the innate ability in science and math, or girls.  And that we should study it. 

We don‘t need to study this.  We know that women can achieve, in fact, they are getting not only Ph.D.s, but are way into the pipeline and should be doing better, if it wasn‘t for bias.  And this is to do, is to get rid of the discrimination and bias, which he showed in his speech. 

HOROWITZ:  This is...


HOROWITZ:  It‘s a total fiction.  He never said anything like that. 

He said that maybe three reasons why women are not at the top of the field. 

One is that they don‘t want to work 80 hours a week because they have children.  The second was there might be lingering discrimination against women, and the third was there might be different aptitudes. 

And the fact is, the scientific fact is there are different aptitudes between men and women.  Women are better verbally.  Men are better at math and science. 

SMEAL:  First place, we‘re good enough. 

HOROWITZ:  The idea of buying off—they are radicals.  There‘s only 200 out of 1,200 Harvard professors voted to censure Larry Summers.  They were radical feminists and leftists on the faculty, who felt that what he said was politically incorrect.  These are commissars.

You can‘t even raise an intellectual issue these days without being brought to your knees and forced to humiliate yourself, which is what happened to him, apologizing for a thought crime.  This is a disgrace. 

SMEAL:  It isn‘t.  It isn‘t a disgrace, and...

SCARBOROUGH:  Eleanor, what do you say—Eleanor, what do you say to

David Horowitz‘s suggestion that if you want to talk about real diversity -

·         you could hear this from a lot of people in middle America—then you need to start setting up a process that would allow conservative scholars to be able to advance in an academic environment like Harvard or Yale or Columbia or Berkeley?

SMEAL:  First place, conservative scholars are advancing.  And—and you know, this is that old thing, somehow there‘s a liberal bias. 

This is not liberal/conservative we are talking about.  This is—what we‘re saying here is that women and minorities have not been advancing, as their numbers would indicate in the pool.  They‘re in the pool of Ph.D.‘s. 

And in reality, the whole thing about women—for him, the president of Harvard, to raise that there might be an innate inability for women, and that‘s essentially what he said. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Eleanor... 

SMEAL:  And all kinds of evidence. 

SCARBOROUGH:  ... can we imagine that, for argument‘s sake, when they‘re having—when they‘re having debate behind closed doors, and it‘s not for attribution. 

SMEAL:  It wasn‘t behind closed doors. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Is it—is it not OK for him to just bring it up for argument‘s sake?  And at the beginning, didn‘t he say, Eleanor, didn‘t he say, “You know what?  Let‘s at least have this discussion.  I‘m going to bring up three issues.  Let‘s talk about them.”  Should the guy...

SMEAL:  Remember, this was not a small room or something.  This was a major conference.  And it was on women‘s advancement.

So—and for him to throw it out, that somehow we can‘t cut the mustard, when all of the objective data shows we can.  And by the way, people who raised the objection were women who had been fighting discrimination, who have been winning.  In fact, the major person who did it was a professor from MIT who helped to integrate MIT. 

These are not just anybodies.  These are full scientific and mathematic professors who had had it...

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.

SMEAL:  ... that here we have a president of a major university who was retrograde. 

We‘re talking about—we‘re discussing whether or not we should educate women, in essence, what you‘re saying, or if we can really make it at the highest degree.  We can and we will. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, David, will this—David, final words.  Will this quiet Summers‘ critics down?

HOROWITZ:  Pardon? SCARBOROUGH:  Will this quiet Summers‘ critics?

HOROWITZ:  No—Summers‘ critics, look, the more—you pay off extortionists, they just extort more.  There is no evidence whatsoever that there‘s discrimination against women at Harvard, and he‘s given $50 million to save his job. 

What‘s going on here is a demonstration of anti-intellectualism.  You can‘t have a politically correct—incorrect idea. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.

HOROWITZ:  There are no great women composers in the entire history of music. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.

HOROWITZ:  But there are great women writers, who go back for thousands of years. 

SCARBOROUGH:  To be—to be continued down the road there.  All right, David, we‘re going to have to leave it there.  David Horowitz, Eleanor Smeal, thanks so much for being with us.  This debate will continue to rage on. 

Coming up next, speaking of debate that has continued for some time, a movie‘s making millions, the No. 1, actually, movie at the box office, but certainly not in one town.  Why are some people in middle America finding it so hard to forgive Jane Fonda?

And later, bear on the loose in an Oregon neighborhood, and it‘s a perfect excuse to bring back one of the all-time great pieces of tape from SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY‘s vault.  Stay with us.  We‘ll be opening up that secret vault in just a minute.



SCARBOROUGH:  The owner of two movie theaters in Kentucky is refusing to show last weekend‘s No. 1 film, “Monster-in-Law.”  Why?  Well, seems it‘s a protest against its star, Jane Fonda.  Here is theater owner Ike Boutwell, telling us why. 


IAN BOUTWELL, REFUSING TO SCREEN FONDA FILM:  I was a flight instructor, taught hundreds of military pilots to fly.  I could not get the picture out of my mind of her cheering the gun crew on that had just shot down an American B-52. 


SCARBOROUGH:  With me now is MSNBC entertainment editor Dana Kennedy.

Dana, we can talk about protests all you want.  I think the big story here, though, is that Jane Fonda is back.  She‘s got the No. 1 movie of the year—not of the year, of the past week, despite the fact that there‘s been an awful lot of controversy leading up to it. 

Does this show that Jane Fonda is finally back as a Hollywood star?

DANA KENNEDY, MSNBC ENTERTAINMENT EDITOR:  I think it does.  I‘m amazed after 15 years she could make a movie, also with Jennifer Lopez, who hasn‘t had a hit in quite awhile, and beat out Will Ferrell and Robert Duvall, who had the other big movie of the week, “Kicking and Screaming.”  But they came in No. 1. 

They also made—the movie made a lot more money than the studio, New Line, thought it would, making $24 million this weekend. 

It‘s a pretty formulaic movie.  But I think one reason it did so well is that Jane Fonda retains her movie star allure, I think, even after all these years.  I don‘t think anybody looks better, Joe, at age 67, literally.  Obviously, she‘s had work done, but it‘s been really subtle.  She looks fantastic. 

The part is really beneath her in a way in this movie.  It‘s not a fantastic movie, but she is really wonderful in it.  And I was happy to see her there. 

I interviewed her several years ago, and I liked her tremendously.  Even though I think she was misguided, and I don‘t blame anybody who‘s mad at her, I still liked her very much. 

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, the thing is, I‘ve heard other critics saying, movie critics saying that this movie was beneath her, but at the same time, a little bit of mainstreaming for Jane Fonda.  That‘s not a bad career move, is it?

KENNEDY:  No, it‘s not a bad career move, especially if you‘ve been absent from the screen for 15 years, you‘re a woman, and you‘re 67.  Because as you know, in Hollywood, Joe, once you hit 40‘s, it can be a little difficult, which she talks about. 

But I think that Jane Fonda always surprises people.  She‘s almost like the way Madonna is in a way.  She reinvents herself.  And you can never believe what she says. 

I say that with affection, because when I did interview her for “The New York Times” a few years ago, I spent quite a bit of time with her in Atlanta.  And she swore to me, up and down, she would never act again, in a very sincere way.  And I don‘t think she was lying then.  But she just changes her mind. 

That‘s why I think that the people who dislike her so much for what she did, and again, I don‘t blame them, but she changes so much, like a different person every decade. 

SCARBOROUGH:  She is.  She is.  From Three Mile Island, to athletic fame, and obviously, Vietnam War protest, and now back as a mainstream movie star. 

Thanks a lot for being with us, Dana Kennedy. 

KENNEDY:  Thanks, Joe. 

SCARBOROUGH:  We greatly appreciate it, appreciate the insight.  And it is, it‘s a fascinating story.  Jane Fonda does keep reinventing herself.  And now she‘s reinvented herself back to where she started from, as a Hollywood star. 

Coming up next, forget the runaway bride, we‘ve got the runaway bear. 

That‘s in a minute.


SCARBOROUGH:  If you want to find out more about what‘s going on in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, be sure to check out my web site at Joe.MSNBC.com and read my latest blog.  Stick with us.  We‘ll be right back.


SCARBOROUGH:  There‘s a wild side for some people in one Oregon neighborhood today.  Take a look at this.  A wild bear on the loose. 

Bear appears to be about four feet tall.  It was first spotted early morning, running around and digging through trash cans in Oregon.  So far, authorities have had no luck in capturing the animal, but they‘d like to either tranquilize the bear for relocation or chase it deep into the woods, which sounds about like what some fraternity members tried to do to me when I wanted to abolish the student government at University of Alabama. 

But the story has sparked memory in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY of a simpler time.  We thought it would be a perfect chance for us to dust off a SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY favorite, the bouncing bear.  Take a look. 

Wonder what PETA has to say about that? 

You know what, friends, actually, I‘ve got a confession to make, but for the PETA segment earlier, we probably wouldn‘t be running this tape right now.  But that‘s all the time we have left—oh, I‘m supposed to tell you the bear was fine.  Happy ending for everybody.

Make sure you catch Imus tomorrow morning and catch us tomorrow night in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.


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