Guests: Yale Galanter, Lisa Bloom, Eileen Garcia, Robin Hvidston, Deborah Sattler, Jeff Brown, Michael Gross, Jerry Johnson, Patrick Cubbage, Chris Mourtos, Frank Yocum
MICHAEL SMERCONISH, GUEST HOST, “SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY”: Everybody stay right where you are, because we‘ve got a big night in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. The cartoon “South
Park” tries to make a statement during this holy week. But what ended up on the air, it‘s shocking. Did the show go too far? That‘s in our showdown tonight.
Plus, do you remember the story of that anti-gay pastor who protests at military funerals? Well tonight, a new twist on that fellow that you won‘t want to miss.
And three stories from the P.C. blotter that you‘ve got to see to believe—the P.C. crime blotter, that is.
But first, tonight, what may be a major blow to the prosecution in the Duke lacrosse gang rape investigation—a just-released audiotape from the first cop to see the accuser after the alleged assault. Now listen to this.
(BEGIN AUDIO TAPE)
DISPATCHER: 10-4, you need a medic truck? Are you 10-4?
POLICE OFFICER: She‘s breathing and appears to be fine. She‘s not in distress. She‘s just passed out drunk.
(END AUDIO TAPE)
SMERCONISH: Passed out drunk. Did you hear that? Plus, just hours ago, MSNBC‘s Dan Abrams obtained an email that suggests that one of the lacrosse players will be working with police as soon as tomorrow. Or does it?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAN ABRAMS, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: In hand, I have an e-mail which, if true, could have been a turning point in the investigation into a gang rape allegation made against members of the school‘s lacrosse team. It‘s from the e-mail address of one of the players, sent to at least half of the team members in groups of three, with the subject line, “Sorry guys.” The message: I am going to the police tomorrow to tell them everything that I know. The problem? According to his lawyer, the player who allegedly wrote the e-mail didn‘t write it, didn‘t send it, and was in class when it was sent.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMERCONISH: The case gets whackier by the day. Joining us now, from “COURT TV,” Lisa Bloom and criminal defense attorney Yale Galanter. Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
YALE GALANTER, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Hey, Mike.
LISA BLOOM, ANCHOR, COURT TV NEWS: Thank you.
SMERCONISH: Lisa Bloom, I love you, even when I disagree with you, which is usually...
BLOOM: Back at‘cha.
SMERCONISH: ... usually the case. Are you ready for my loaded question?
BLOOM: I am ready. I got my seat belt on.
SMERCONISH: You got a seatbelt on, because I got the legal pad out tonight. Here‘s the way that I stack up what we know about this so far. You‘ve got a woman claiming that she was raped—credibility always key in these cases. She‘s an exotic dancer. She‘s also someone who once stole a taxi and then tried to run over a member of law enforcement. She can‘t identify anybody involved in the attack, apparently. They‘ve denied it. There‘s no DNA. The pictures that the defense lawyers claim to have would contradict that sequence which she‘s putting forth. Now you‘ve got a police officer arriving on the scene, taking a look at her and saying she‘s drunk. Why are they pursuing what would appear to be such a flimsy case?
BLOOM: You know, Michael, you‘re right. Only women who are sober, only women who have never committed crimes can be raped. And as far as the rest of the women are concerned, I guess they are just unrapeable. And if something bad happens to them, we should just drag them through the dirt. You got one line from a police dispatcher, who probably took a quick look at her and said she looks like she‘s drunk and passed out, when the forensic nurse actually examined her at the hospital—somebody who‘s trained to deal with a rape victim—she said, my goodness, this woman has injuries consistent with somebody who‘s been raped. And as for Dan Abrams‘ e-mail, he says if it‘s true, it looks like some kid is finally turning against the team. Otherwise, why would he say, sorry guys. Looks like he‘s going to support the woman‘s story. Only now he says, through his lawyers—through his lawyers—I didn‘t send that e-mail.
So that doesn‘t add up to a whole lot as far as I‘m concern. The D.A.‘s continuing to investigate. That‘s the right thing to do. Let him investigate. Let‘s not jump to conclusions either way.
SMERCONISH: But he sounds to me like he already has jumped to a conclusion. He‘s the fellow who you know has already said that he believes that a rape occurred in this case. I‘m wondering, what could he possibly have? Yale, perhaps you‘re the wrong guy to ask that question of, but what evidence could there be that we‘re unaware of?
GALANTER: There is no evidence here. This case gets worse by the minute. Normally I say cases get worse by the day and the week. This one is going down the tubes every single minute. What‘s most significant about this first contact with the police officer, Mike, is not so much the fact that he says she was dead drunk. It‘s the fact that the dispatcher says to the police officer, do you want a medical truck? And he says no, she‘s just drunk.
BLOOM: Why don‘t they ask the woman?
GALANTER: Lisa, this is a woman who allegedly was gang raped by three men, sexually assaulted, anally, vaginally. She complains up the kazoo...
BLOOM: And who does go to the hospital.
GALANTER: ... She complains about all these injuries that she has.
And here‘s a trained...
BLOOM: And the nurse finds the injuries.
GALANTER: ... law enforcement officer, who observes her about an hour and a half after the event, has the opportunity to call medical personnel to help her. And he says no, she‘s just dead drunk.
BLOOM: Yale, how do you know what kind of training this guy had?
SMERCONISH: But Yale, Yale, what you‘re saying...
GALANTER: ... any bruises, any lacerations or anything.
SMERCONISH: Yale, you‘re saying that the protocol in a case like this
Yale Galanter, you‘re saying that law enforcement would come up the scene. And even if they believe that they just have a garden variety drunkard, and not someone who‘s been the victim of a vicious rape—you‘re saying that the protocol would demand some kind of a visual inspection. And if that occurred in this case...
BLOOM: Of her genitals? Are you out of your mind?
SMERCONISH: And if...
GALANTER: ... Every police officer is trained. If they see cuts, bruises, lacerations, they get medical help...
BLOOM: You think she‘d get an examination of her genitals when she was in the parking lot, Michael. Come on.
GALANTER: ... because a police officer doesn‘t want to be sued for not getting proper medical advice. I mean, Lisa knows that.
SMERCONISH: Lisa, let me get in on this. But Lisa, you have to...
BLOOM: Her injuries were not visible.
SMERCONISH: But Lisa, you have to have an explanation...
GALANTER: Oh come on, Lisa. She said she was raped, assaulted, by three different men.
BLOOM: That‘s correct.
SMERCONISH: Yale, hang on a second.
Lisa, there has to be some explanation to be offered by this woman as to why, when the police arrive on the scene, she doesn‘t say I‘ve just been raped.
BLOOM: OK, can I answer that?
BLOOM: I‘d like to hear the tape where she says I was not raped. The tape that you played is an officer. You got one sentence. We don‘t have the rest of the context. The officer—who we don‘t know what his training is, whether he had any training in rape trauma—apparently takes a look at her and concludes she‘s drunk and passed out.
SMERCONISH: But why isn‘t the first thing out of her mouth...
BLOOM: When she goes to the hospital, and the person trained in...
SMERCONISH: Why isn‘t—wait a minute...
BLOOM: ... she concludes that she was raped.
SMERCONISH: Why isn‘t it the first thing out of our mouth, I‘ve just been raped? Why isn‘t the first thing...
BLOOM: We don‘t hear anything out of her mouth. We don‘t hear her on that tape.
SMERCONISH: All right. Let me—I want to play something else for both of you.
BLOOM: I mean, give the woman a break.
SMERCONISH: The call...
BLOOM: She‘s not even speaking for herself there. It‘s a cop speaking for her.
SMERCONISH: The call that you‘ve heard, which was that transmission from the radio reporters, came in at 1:30 a.m. At 1:22 a.m., eight minutes previous, is the original call from the security guard at the Kroger Grocery Stores. Now, let‘s listen to this. And then Yale, you analyze it first.
(BEGIN AUDIO TAPE)
DISPATCHER: What‘s the problem, tell me.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The problem is, it‘s a lady is somebody else‘s car, and she would not get out of the car. She‘s like—she‘s like intoxicated, drunk or something. She—I mean, she won‘t get out of the car, period.
(END AUDIO TAPE)
SMERCONISH: Yale Galanter, what do you make of that?
GALANTER: I mean, listen, the Kroger security people are calling 911.
They‘re concerned that there‘s a really a passed-out, drunk woman in the car. They don‘t see any injuries. Again, they don‘t see any signs of physical trauma or any type of assault at all.
BLOOM: I cannot believe I‘ve hearing this...
SMERCONISH: It‘s not a—it‘s not a...
GALANTER: ... and we all know usually what assaulted people look like.
SMERCONISH: In other words, it‘s not a call where the woman says I‘ve got someone in a car out front...
SMERCONISH; ... and she‘s just been raped. Lisa?
BLOOM: You know, I‘m sure that this $5 an hour Kroger security guard has a lot of training in rape trauma. And if you‘ve ever seen somebody in a state of shock, they do look like they‘re drunk and passed out. And by the way, she might have been drunk, and passed out, and also have been raped. None of these people—I‘m sorry to say—are looking at her genitals. That‘s where the injuries are found by the rape trauma nurse. And I don‘t hear a word from either of you gentlemen about that forensic nurse‘s conclusion.
SMERCONISH: But Lisa, common sense dictates...
GALANTER: Lisa, let‘s talk about that—wait a minute...
SMERCONISH: Wait, common sense...
GALANTER: Let‘s talk about the forensic nurse.
SMERCONISH: Common sense dictates, Lisa, that a rape victim is going to tell a police officer, who‘s first to respond, I‘ve just been raped. And we don‘t have it in this case.
BLOOM: And she does immediately claim that she was raped. That‘s why she‘s getting the rape exam at the hospital, Michael. I can‘t tell you the name of every police officer that she said it to that night. But we don‘t have any statements that she didn‘t say it.
GALANTER: Lisa, other than her word, we have nothing to conclude that police did anything wrong.
BLOOM: We have a guy who looks at her and says she looks like she‘s drunk. That‘s all you have.
SMERCONISH: All right. Yale, hang on a second. I‘ve got to run past Lisa Bloom from “COURT TV” my theory in the case, because I know she‘ll be shocked and horrified about it.
BLOOM: Bring it, bring it.
SMERCONISH: Here it is. I offered it in my column in the “Philadelphia Daily News” this morning, as a matter of fact. And here‘s the predicate, Lisa. I see case after case, where you‘ve got these high-profile jocks, the big man on campus, who gets stung with a rape allegation. And then months later the case implodes. And what I offered today was this:
“The unathletic are getting their chance to vent at those who are.
They crucify these young men with gleeful speed.”
You‘ve got to admit—when you think of Kobe Bryant, we just had a case in Philadelphia with two basketball players. The jocks are targets.
BLOOM: OK, two responses to that Michael. I know you called your article “The Revenge of the Nerds.” Am I a nerd, Michael? Am I a nerd in your eyes?
SMERCONISH: I wouldn‘t say that about you as far as you know.
BLOOM: I‘ve been called a lot of things, but I‘m not a called a nerd. Secondly, I just ran the New York Marathon. You want to have a race around Central Park and see who‘s less of a nerd, you or me?
SMERCONISH: Are you challenging my nerd-dom?
BLOOM: I‘m challenging the idea that journalists who report the facts are somehow afraid of lacrosse players at Duke. I mean, give me a break.
SMERCONISH: I think it‘s...
BLOOM: I don‘t even know how the game is played. I hardly consider them big men on campus. They‘re children to me.
SMERCONISH: All right. Yale, my nerd theory means what to you?
GALANTER: Well, you know, I love the article. But I got to tell you, Mike, I think what‘s going on up there is really these boys are being attacked more for their social status...
GALANTER: ... than because they‘re athletes.
SMERCONISH: But they‘re—it‘s their...
GALANTER: I mean, they‘re people...
SMERCONISH: It‘s their jock social status. That‘s the point I‘m trying to make. They get their social status from athletics.
GALANTER: Listen, I don‘t think it matters the fact that their jocks.
BLOOM: You know...
GALANTER: The fact that these people have a certain social class, a certain elitism at Duke compared to the other people in the community, I think that‘s why they‘re being attacked. I don‘t think it really has anything to do with the fact that they‘re on the lacrosse team.
BLOOM: And let‘s not forget the racist language, the despicable e-mail, the fact that they‘re drinking 12 hours straight instead of doing something useful. I would think a conservative family guy values like you, Michael Smerconish, would not be advocating that, would not be standing behind that.
SMERCONISH: Well, wait a minute. Let me be very clear...
BLOOM: We tell them then to get to work, do something useful with their lives.
SMERCONISH: Hold it. Let me be clear. I‘d never defend their use of the “n” word or any of the racist statements that they are alleged to have made.
BLOOM: How about getting drunk all day and hiring strippers?
SMERCONISH: But, wait a minute. I want to tell you something. The strippers and the beers, come put the cuffs on me and a lot of other guys who went to college.
BLOOM: At age 18 where it‘s illegal? Are you defending violating the law?
GALANTER: Michael, I‘m in complete agreement with you and Lisa that the e-mail with the racial epithets is horrible.
SMERCONISH: I‘ll tell you what I‘m advocating...
GALANTER: ... drinking beer and hiring strippers since the beginning of fraternities.
SMERCONISH: ... Lisa, what I‘m defending—what I‘m defending are, I‘m defending college guys doing what college guys do. I don‘t mean rape, and I don‘t mean racist statements.
BLOOM: What about when it‘s against the law?
SMERCONISH: But let‘s not prosecute these guys for rape, because they hired strippers. And at the same time...
BLOOM: I don‘t hear anything about them breaking the—
SMERCONISH: ... you want to forget that she‘s a stripper?
BLOOM: Do you advocate underage drinking? Is that OK with you, if the drinking age is 18?
GALANTER: They‘re college boys, Lisa. That‘s what college boys do.
BLOOM: So you do advocate under—So underage drinking, that‘s OK.
GALANTER: They drink beer, they hire strippers, and they have parties.
SMERCONISH: But see, Lisa...
GALANTER: That doesn‘t mean they committed a crime.
SMERCONISH: ... this is what has me so upset. What has me so upset is the fixation, respectfully, that you have on their underage drinking...
BLOOM: I think it‘s a big problem.
SMERCONISH: ... And yet I‘ve not heard you utter a word about the fact that this woman gave a lap dance to a taxi driver...
BLOOM: Which is legal.
SMERCONISH: ... stole his cab...
SMERCONISH: ... and then tried to run over a cop.
BLOOM: That‘s a terrible thing to do, but that was years in the past.
She did the crime, she did the time. It‘s over and done with—
SMERCONISH: All right, well I have question for the two of you.
BLOOM: ... compared to a bunch of guys who get away with illegal behavior over and over. And even you, Michael Smerconish...
GALANTER: Lisa, the only thing this prosecutor had...
BLOOM: ... conservative family values guy, are defending this.
SMERCONISH: Lisa, wait. I have a question.
GALANTER: ... drunken ...
SMERCONISH: Time out. I only have a minute left, and I want to ask 30 seconds of each of you what thoughts you might have on this. Where‘s the other dancer? Lisa, where is she? Why haven‘t we heard from her?
BLOOM: Because so much of this investigation is under wraps. We don‘t know most of this investigation. That‘s why I‘m saying we shouldn‘t jump to conclusions based on one sentence that‘s leaked to some journalist. We should let this investigation go forward. Believe me, the police have talked to that dancer. They have a statement from her. We just don‘t know what it is.
SMERCONISH: Yale, what do you think? Where‘s the other dancer?
GALANTER: The other dancer has definitely been interviewed by law enforcement. But the two dancers were not friends. They parted ways as soon as the party ended. We know for a fact, based on the defense‘s pictures, that when the complaining witness left that party, she left with a smile on her face. And she was very happy.
BLOOM: And nobody has seen those defense pictures either. Only the defense has them.
GALANTER: All right. The pictures will be out soon, Lisa.
SMERCONISH: Thank you both. Lisa Bloom, still love you.
BLOOM: Love you too, Michael.
SMERCONISH: Yale Galanter, you‘re not so bad yourself.
GALANTER: Take care, Michael.
SMERCONISH: Appreciate you being on SCARBOROUGH COMPANY (sic).
When we come back, do you remember this guy?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FRED PHELPS, PASTOR, WESTBORO BAPTIST CHURCH: I‘m a Bible preacher. This nation‘s under the wrath of God almighty, and this nation needs to be told that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMERCONISH: Ooh. I remember him. The antigay pastor who‘s protesting at military funerals. Tonight, has he met his match? A new twist coming up.
And later, controversy is no stranger to “South Park”, but has the show gone to far this time? Stay with us.
SMERCONISH: While Washington debates what to do about illegal immigration, a group of women are taking matters into their own hands. Most cities have places like this, where day laborers, usually undocumented workers—they wait to be hired. And usually the police, they do nothing to shut these areas down. But three women in California are taking matters into their own hands. They go to day labor sites. They take pictures of people who hire the workers and then post those pictures on the Internet.
Joining me now the self-titled Gilchrist Angels, Eileen Garcia, Robin Hvidston, and Deborah Sattler. Welcome three of you ladies to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
GUESTS: Hi. Hello. Thank you.
SMERCONISH: Robin, let me start with you. I‘m curious. Who‘s doing the hiring? Are they small businesses, or are they private individuals? You know, do you see a homeowner show up and want to hire the day laborers?
ROBIN HVIDSTON, GILCHRIST ANGELS: We see a combination. We will see, like, construction companies, homeowners. During the Christmas season, we would have companies that put up Christmas lights, for instance. So we see a variety of companies, homeowners. It‘s a whole cross-section of individuals. And...
SMERCONISH: And what do you do when you see them? So you see somebody pull up, they get in a conversation with a day laborer. I‘ve got a notification that I know you‘re using, that says attention employers. And you let them know that they‘re about to engage in illegal conduct. But walk me through what you typically do?
HVIDSTON: Well, typically what we do is we elbow in right with the day laborers. So when the employer pulls in, we have signs basically denouncing the employer, because that is who we‘re targeting as we protest.
SMERCONISH: Here‘s the flier, by the way. We‘re showing the flier and—so everybody at home gets a look at it. And it lets them know, you‘re violating federal law, right?
HVIDSTON: Correct. And what we do is we hand them the flier that you‘re demonstrating there to let them know we will be photographing them if they pick up a day laborer. And we will post the information on We Hire Aliens.com. What we discover is in many cases the employer leaves. So while we‘re doing our protest, it actually is a deterrent to employers picking up at day laborer sites.
SMERCONISH: Eileen Garcia, it sounds like dangerous work. I mean does it ever get heated when you‘re engaged in this activity?
EILEEN GARCIA, GILCHRIST ANGELS: Yes, it has, many times. And usually we‘re the ones that are being attacked. They‘ll have counter-protesters that will show up. And these aren‘t the day laborers. Our policy is that we have no contact with the day laborers. We don‘t speak with them. We don‘t look at them. We don‘t motion to them. So it‘s the counter-protesters, other Americans that oppose what we‘re doing that show up. And we‘ve been physically attacked in the past.
SMERCONISH: Deborah Sattler, where does the inspiration come for three California women to decide they‘re going to take matters into their own hands?
DEBORAH SATTLER, GILCHRIST ANGELS: I think we all just got tired that
the people that are supposed to be doing something about this situation
wouldn‘t do anything about it. And it got to the point where we couldn‘t -
you can‘t walk on your streets anymore. There are certain neighborhoods where you have to tell your children you can‘t go there. You can‘t use this gas station, because you‘re afraid. And this is our community, and this is where we live, and we‘re afraid to be, you know, walking the street and going to the stores.
SMERCONISH: Robin, we have just a minute left. What happens after you post this information on the Internet? Is there any follow-up by the feds? We Hire Aliens.com sends it out so that individuals can actually call the businesses. It‘s reported to ICE and to the state. So there is a whole area where the information goes to the authorities. And we also follow up with phone calls. So what we do is we document and turn the information over to the various authorities.
SMERCONISH: Well, hopefully the authorities will take a page out of your book, ladies. Thank you for your good work. Thank you Eileen Garcia, Robin Hvidston, Deborah Sattler.
GUESTS: Thank you.
SMERCONISH: It‘s been a privilege for me to fill in for Joe all week long. And in case you missed it, things got a little out of hand here on Tuesday night, when we talked with a fellow named Pastor Fred Phelps. Now, this is the guy who uses military funerals to protest gays in the military. I want to play for you a part of our discussion from SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY on Tuesday night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PHELPS: God‘s wrath is upon this nation. And he‘s pouring out that wrath by killing these soldiers and maiming these soldiers in Iraq and sending them back in body bags.
SMERCONISH: Joining me now—All right, enough of you.
PHELPS: ... but the same day Lot went out of Sodom...
SMERCONICH: Hey, zip it.
PHELPS: ... it rained fire and brimstone from ...
SMERCONISH: Cut his microphone. I‘ve heard enough of this guy with the fiery eyes. Enough of him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMERCONISH: Wouldn‘t let me get a word in edgewise. Well listen, turns out that there is a silver lining to this story. A group of ordinary citizens called the Patriot Guard Riders, they go to these funerals to shield family members from the demonstrations. Joining me is now Jeff Brown, the executive directors of the Patriot Guard.
Hey Jeff, great to have you on SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. And I applaud your organization. Paint the picture. What happens where these folks show up and then you‘re there. What do they actually do?
JEFF BROWN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, PATRIOT GUARD RIDERS: Well, normally if they‘re there at a funeral where we are, the local law enforcement will have a section barricaded off or roped off, where they have to stay within those boundaries.
SMERCONISH: Are they silent? Is it just their signs...
BROWN: Oh, no. They‘re very vocal.
SMERCONISH: Saying what?
BROWN: I don‘t know how far I can go on television. Their probably favorite chant is “America turned the country over to fags, and now your sons are coming home in body bags.”
SMERCONISH: All right, so—we get the picture.
SMERCONISH: So in other words, you‘ve got a grieving mother. You‘ve got a grieving father. You‘ve got folks who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for their country, because they‘ve lost a son or a daughter overseas. And now as they‘re trying to put their loved ones to rest, they show up with their antigay message.
SMERCONISH: And it‘s not a silent message. It‘s a vocal message. Now your crew arrives. And what do you do, create some kind of a human shield?
BROWN: Well, it depends on what the family wants us to do. First of all, let me state, Michael, we‘re not a protest or counter-protest group at all. Our main objective is to honor a fallen American hero and their family and community.
Secondly, at the family‘s request and with permission of local law enforcement, we will attempt to shield the family and the mourners from any protesters that are present. Now, depending on the logistics involved, we will line up in front of them, holding American flags, to block the view from the mourners going into the service, et cetera. There have been a few instances when a family has asked us to rev our engines to drown out their chanting.
SMERCONISH: Jeff, how do you resist the temptation to throttle these guys?
BROWN: Well, I don‘t think there‘s probably a single member in our organization—and we‘re over 24,000 now in the United States—that didn‘t join based on revulsion regarding Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church.
SMERCONISH: Well, let me just show everybody a little bit more of Fred Phelps.
SMERCONISH: I asked him to defend his position and here‘s what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SMERCONISH: ... gays in America?
PHELPS: I‘m proud of it. And that‘s the only thing that can be classified as gospel preaching.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMERCONISH: I mean, this is a guy who, under the guise of gospel preaching, thanked Al Qaeda...
SMERCONISH: ... for sending the airplanes on September—does this knucklehead show up himself? I mean, is he there? Is his family there? Or does he stay behind the scenes?
BROWN: He has shown up at a few that I‘ve been at. His family, his church is, from what I understand, made up mainly of his family and extended family. There are several attorneys involved. Fred is reportedly a disbarred Kansas attorney himself. So, yes, he‘s been at a couple of them that I‘ve seen him at.
SMERCONISH: Let me just ask you quickly—do we need a law or do you have this under control?
BROWN: Well, we kind of view him as relatively insignificant anymore.
When he‘s got a dozen people there, and we show up with 350 to 500...
SMERCONISH: That‘s great. That‘s great.
BROWN: ... You know, there are a lot of families that, were it not for the notification that he applied for a permit, would never know that he was even there.
SMERCONISH: All right. Jeff Brown, God Speed. Good job. We‘re so glad that there‘s a silver lining to that story from the other night. We appreciate you being here.
BROWN: Thank you, sir, very much.
SMERCONISH: When we come back, a shocking scene, even for the folks at “South Park.” Why last night‘s episode is sparking outrage this holy week. Is the show making an important point or crossing the line?
And later, you‘ve heard of lady‘s night, where bars use, you know, drink specials to get women through the doors? Coming up, meet the bar owner who had to stop that time-honored tradition because of one man‘s P.C. complaint. Stick around.
SMERCONISH: The cartoon “South Park” tries to make a statement this holy week. But what ended up on the air, it‘s shocking. Did the show go too far? That‘s our showdown tonight. But first here‘s the latest news from MSNBC world headquarters.
SMERCONISH: Do these newborn quadruplets look like a security risk
to you? I‘ll ask their dad why were they put through extra screening at
the airport. It‘s part of our PC Police Extravaganza.
And they won $13 million, so why was this Florida couple arrested for money problems? We‘ll find out in Fly Over.
Welcome to “Scarborough Country.” I‘m Michael Smerconish in for the big guy tonight. Those stories in just minutes.
But first, the boys over at “South Park” are at it again. They chose last night‘s episode, right in the middle of Holy Week for Christians, to unveil their latest headline-grabbing cartoon. Now, in the episode, the character Kyle persuades a FOX network executive to air an episode of the show “Family Guy,” which includes an image of the Islamic prophet Mohammed. Take a look at this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CARTOON FEMALE TEACHER: Quiet, students. Quiet.
CARTOON FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Once again, we have just learned that the
“Family Guy” episode, featuring Mohammed, was only part one of a two-
parter and part two is going to air next week with Mohammed uncensored.
CARTOON FEMALE TEACHER: What?
CARTON MALE: Why would they...
CARTOON FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Fox studios claims that the “Family Guy”
writing staff has demanded the Mohammed character be seen in full view.
CARTOON GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I want to
assure the American people that, as president, I have exhausted every
possible solution. Unfortunately, Mohammed will appear uncensored on
“Family Guy” tonight at 7:00.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMERCONISH: Later in the show, right as we‘re about to see the image of Mohammed, this message appears on the screen, “Comedy Central has refused to broadcast an image of Muhammad.”
It‘s what comes right after that message that sparked outrage among Christians. An image of Jesus Christ defecating on President Bush and the American flag. It‘s so offensive we will not show it on “Scarborough Country.” The question is did “South Park” go too far?
Joining me, Reverend Jerry Johnston, a evangelical pastor with the First Family Church, and civil rights attorney, Michael Gross.
Welcome gentlemen. We appreciate your being here.
MICHAEL GROSS, CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY: Thank you.
REVEREND JERRY JOHNSTON, PASTOR, FIRST FAMILY CHURCH: Thank you.
SMERCONISH: Michael Gross, let me begin with you. If the point was to illustrate hypocrisy, I think they came up with apples and orange comparison. Because the point of the cartoon of the prophet Muhammad with a bomb coming out of his turbine, was to say that some are acting in his name with evil intentions and killing people through explosions. There was no message coming out of this, other than, let‘s see how far we can push the envelope.
GROSS: Mike, the message is censorship. And there was no excuse
for it. It is never, ever permitted to punish someone for what they
have said or to prohibit them from saying it. The truth emerges in the
marketplace of conflicting ideas. Don‘t stop people from expressing
themselves. That‘s all the first amendment says.
SMERCONISH: Did you have an opportunity -- I watched it. I refused
to allow it to be shown here tonight. But I watched it to make sure I
knew what I was talking about. It wasn‘t funny. It was just vile. It was filthy.
GROSS: I could argue that the point is not whether it is funny, but whether it teaches something about tolerance, whether it teaches something...
SMERCONISH: That‘s so ridiculous.
GROSS: But that‘s not the point. The point really is it doesn‘t make any difference if we suppress them. Look, argue the point. That‘s good. Don‘t suppress them, and that‘s what they‘re fighting against.
SMERCONISH: Reverend Johnston?
GROSS: They were censored.
SMERCONISH: Reverend Johnston, no coincidence here we are in the midst of Holy Week as this thing is playing itself out?
JOHNSTON: Just more attorneys with psycho-lawyer-babble talk. The
fact of the matter is Comedy Central obviously thinks less of Jesus
Christ than they do Muhammad. And Stone and Parker are another example
of just how far we have fallen as a nation, spiritually.
It is Holy Week. Eighty million evangelicals, millions of God-fearing
Catholics are looking forward to the weekend to honor a Christ that has
risen from the dead. And here in the middle of it, we have not only
anti-Christian animation, Jesus defecating on the president, a
president that‘s deeply loved and respected, but it‘s anti-American.
You just talked about a minute ago, young men and women giving their
lives for the United States. It is pitiful and sad that a lawyer would stand up in the midst of what we are trying to do as a nation and defend two young deviant minds like Stone and Parker.
SMERCONISH: Michael Gross, are there any bounds? I mean, I can come up with some hypotheticals that would be pretty gross.
GROSS: No, the law is clear, unless -- and we‘re nowhere near this,
unless it is clear that there is a present danger that the listener to
the speaker will violate the law violently, and that the speaker knows
that. Now, you‘re nowhere near that. Nowhere near it. What you are
JOHNSTON: The FCC has boundaries and—why do we bleep out expletives? Come on.
GROSS: Just don‘t watch the show. The great majority of that you are hear whining...
JOHNSTON: The fact of the matter is the FCC fined a number of television stations for the Janice Joplin incident. Yes, there are bounds. There are limits. And this is clearly over the top.
GROSS: No, there are not. The Brooklyn museum put on an exhibition
that contained a painting, like it or not, of the Madonna with elephant
dung on it.
JOHNSTON: I remember.
GROSS: And Mayor Giuliani thought he could shut down the museum,
let along the museum and the painting. And the federal court told him
what the first amendment is all about. We learn by listening to others.
JOHNSTON: Let‘s go back to the FCC. We‘re not talking about art in
museums. We‘re talking about television across the country. And we‘re talking about two young creators that continually do all they can to push the envelope.
GROSS: Free speech.
SMERCONISH: Michael Gross? Michael Gross?
GROSS: I hope so. Don‘t ever suppress that.
JOHNSTON: ... and during Holy Week, desecrating the name of Jesus Christ.
SMERCONISH: Michael Gross, let me ask you, my consistency question,
if I may? You are saying, I hope, that the prophet Muhammad, with the
bomb coming out of the turbine, should have been run in newspapers all
across the country?
GROSS: Absolutely. When you give in to that you reduce, you suppress free speech. It‘s much, much—Look, I don‘t care if it‘s the Ku Klux Klan telling me that they‘re going to kill me or anybody for no reason whatsoever.
SMERCONISH: Reverend Johnston, let me ask you...
GROSS: They call that distinction?
SMERCONISH: The political cartoon, the prophet with the bomb coming out of the turbine, should newspapers in the United States have run that cartoon? Mr. Gross says yes. I say yes. What do you say?
JOHNSTON: Well, I believe that anyone has the opportunity. But
we‘re talking about the context, again, of this television show.
SMERCONISH: I know, but answer my question.
JOHNSTON: And we need to be respectful. Obviously, not every Muslim is into bombings and jihad.
SMERCONISH: But, Michael Gross, if there had been a cartoon of the
Prophet Muhammad defecating on an Islamic flag, I would have said it‘s
disgusting and outrageous. And it shouldn‘t have run. It‘s not a
political statement that I‘m afraid of.
GROSS: Mike, has anyone made an attempt to figure out what it was that they were trying to say when -- by the way this image, which you haven‘t run, wasn‘t allowed by Comedy Central. Nobody‘s been allowed to understand. It‘s not so simple.
JOHNSTON: Oh, this is absurd.
SMERCONISH: Why not consider it?
GROSS: Michael, I‘ve never been one of the message guys.
GROSS: I‘m not afraid of free speech.
SMERCONISH: I go to a movie with my wife and we walk out having seen two different pictures, because she gets what they‘re trying to tell us. I don‘t know what they could be trying to tell you with Jesus defecating on the president. All they‘re trying to tell you is they have sick minds.
GROSS: Don‘t be afraid to listen to an opposing point of view.
Much, much safer than suppressing it.
SMERCONISH: Reverend Johnston, you get the final word. Go ahead, sir.
JOHNSTON: The final word is this is Holy Week. And it‘s all about honoring Jesus Christ. And we‘re talking about over 100 million evangelicals and Catholics that are repulsed by this. We need to send a message loud and clear to Comedy Central. We need to shut off the “South Park” show and pray that God, somehow, will revive a wayward nation that is mistaking blasphemy as entertainment.
SMERCONISH: Michael Gross, do you watch that show?
GROSS: That would be a serious violation of the law to suggest.
Not only, now, the first amendment would you be violating, but that provision that separates church and state never ever should be used to favor one religion over another.
JOHNSTON: That‘s so absurd.
SMERCONISH: Stop already. Michael Gross?
JOHNSTON: The FCC obviously monitors TV for a reason.
SMERCONISH: All I want to know is do you watch that show? Do you think it‘s funny? It‘s not even funny.
GROSS: No, Frank, I do not. But I am more interested now that I ever was before.
SMERCONISH: Stick with “Curb your Enthusiasm” if you‘re looking for a couple of laughs. All right?
GROSS: Thanks, Mike. Good advice.
SMERCONISH: Thank you, Reverend Jerry Johnston and Michael Gross.
Appreciate you men being here.
I‘m joined by Tucker Carlson, host, of course, of “The Situation with Tucker Carlson.”
Tucker, what was the situation tonight?
TUCKER CARLSON, HOST, “THE SITUATION”: Oh, Michael, we will have much more on the “South Park” controversy you‘ve just been talking about.
Plus, a new documentary on Rudy Giuliani, who, by some accounts
now, the front runner for the republican nomination for president in
2008. It purports to reveal skeletons in his closet. I just watched it
about 15 minutes ago. It‘s pretty interesting. We‘re going to talk to the man who made it.
SMERCONISH: Wow. Thank you, Tucker.
CARLSON: Thanks, Michael.
SMERCONISH: Be sure to tune into “The Situation.” It comes up next at 11:00.
And coming up here on “Scarborough Country,” some Boy Scout troops get a rough lesson in the dark side of the Internet. See who snatched up their tiny Web sites.
It‘s lady‘s night and the feeling‘s right for a lawsuit. Wait until you hear this story of the PC Police run amok.
SMERCONISH: Hey, welcome back to “Scarborough Country.” I‘m Michael
Smerconish, and it has been a privilege for me to guest host for Joe all
week long and to share stories with you from my brand new book
“Muzzled,” which just hit the New York Times best-sellers list.
In the book “Muzzled,” I argue that political correctness is killing
America. And tonight, I want you to meet three guys I talk about in the book because you need to hear their stories. They are Patrick Cubbage, Chris Mourtos and Frank Yocum.
Men, welcome to “Scarborough Country.”
PATRICK CUBBAGE: Good evening, Michael.
FRANK YOCUM: Good evening, Michael.
SMERCONISH: Patrick—let us begin with Patrick. You served your country in Vietnam. You‘ve got a son who‘s serving his country now. In the aftermath of September 11, you want to assist and serve your country again. What did you do for a living?
CUBBAGE: I was working as an honor guard General Doyle Cemetery in New Jersey.
SMERCONISH: And as an honor guardsmen, you‘d be there grave side with the grieving kin at a military funeral. What were your responsibilities, Patrick?
CUBBAGE: Either to fold the flag, present the flag, or play military taps.
SMERCONISH: And you had a custom and protocol of saying what, as you would present an American flag to a grieving next of kin of a veteran?
CUBBAGE: God bless you and this family. And God bless the United States of America.
SMERCONISH: And as a result of saying “God bless you and God bless the United States,” what happened to you?
CUBBAGE: I was terminated.
SMERCONISH: You got that God bless you and God bless the United
States from where? Is it something you made up and decided?
CUBBAGE: No, no. From the Department of Defense protocol.
SMERCONISH: A printed protocol?
SMERCONISH: Would you offer that if it was a nonreligious service?
CUBBAGE: No, I wouldn‘t. It was only if there was a religious preference involved there, I was to say that.
SMERCONISH: And so, for example, you‘ve told me about an incident where a car pulls up, they‘ve got a fish on the back Bumper sticker that symbolizes their born again. You would present, in a circumstance like that, the family with the flag and you‘d say God bless you, and you were fired for it?
CUBBAGE: That‘s correct.
SMERCONISH: Did you fight them and get the job back?
CUBBAGE: Yes. I went through the Rutherford Institute, John
Whitehead, who contacted me and told me that, not only was he familiar
with the constitution, but he was an officer with the honor guard
service in the military.
SMERCONISH: And when you came back on the job, did you last?
CUBBAGE: Well, not really. We thought we won, but they changed the rules. And now you can‘t say it. Only a clergy member can say it.
SMERCONISH: So an honor guardsmen—everybody needs to know this in “Scarborough Country.” An honor guardsman ion a military funeral cannot present a flag and say God bless you and God bless the United States.
CUBBAGE: That‘s correct.
SMERCONISH: All right.
Chris Mourtos, what do you do for a living?
SMERCONISH: What do you do for a living, big guy?
MOURTOS: I own the restaurant I bought in New Jersey.
SMERCONISH: And it‘s your bar and restaurant in New Jersey? Have you
had that time honed tradition of ladies‘ night, you know, where you cut
the cover charge and drink price?
MOURTOS: For about 26 years.
SMERCONISH: Twenty-six years. And in the course of 26 years, how
many people complained about women paying less for drinks at your bar
MOURTOS: Just one.
SMERCONISH: One guy. And as a result of that one guy, what happened?
MOURTOS: A lawsuit got started about two years ago and we all
thought it was kind of funny in the beginning. And actually, I thought
it went away. And then one morning on my way to work, listening to your
show in the morning, Mike, I heard the name the Coastline so I turned
the volume up and found out the state of New Jersey ruled having ladies‘
night was unconstitutional because it was violating some people‘s civil
SMERCONISH: And really, all you‘re trying to do is—I mean, come on, we all know this, when you have a ladies‘ night, you‘re not looking for the ladies, you‘re looking for the guys, right? Because the guys follow the women.
MOURTIS: On the average any ladies‘ night, or the ladies‘ promotion, 70 percent of the customers will be men.
SMERCONISH: Unbelievable. So now ladies‘ night—you can‘t say
God bless you at a funeral. You can‘t have ladies‘ night at a bar in
Let‘s meet Frank Yocum.
Frank, how are you? Welcome to “Scarborough Country.”
YOCUM: Good, Michael. Glad to be here.
SMERCONISH: How many children do you have?
YOCUM: I have four.
SMERCONISH: Four born incrementally or four born in one shot?
YOCUM: No, we did it all in one shot.
SMERCONISH: The infamous, or famous, Yocum quadruplets. Your wife gave birth in a high-risk pregnancy, right?
YOCUM: That‘s correct.
SMERCONISH: And this was out in Phoenix?
SMERCONISH: And we‘re taking a look now at a photograph of Claire
Yocum and the four quadruplets. At a time when you‘re ready to leave
Phoenix and fly back home, walk us through what transpired at the
Folks, you‘re not going to believe this.
YOCUM: Well, we had—flying was a problem. The doctors didn‘t all
agree that we should even be flying because of the severe compromise in
their immune system. They couldn‘t be subject to germs. So we worked
with American West Airlines and the airport to get us through as quickly
as possible. And everything went great. And no one could have been
They call our name out and we think, boy, they‘re going to board us first and go through the aisles and touch people. They say no we‘re going to do secondary screening.
SMERCONISH: In other words, you‘re there. Your wife is there. The quadruplets are there. And, Frank, they‘ve been born prematurely, so consequently they‘re wrapped in gauze. They‘ve got tubes and medical devices attached to them, right?
YOCUM: Yes. I mean, you barely...
SMERCONISH: And the TSA decides that in a post 9/11 world, they need to waste some resources on your four kids because, what, they looked at Mohammed Atta?
YOCUM: One was a terror, but he‘s a not a terrorists. But no, I mean, they were—the biggest one was five pounds. They were so small and couldn‘t even move, and with wires coming out all over. I don‘t know what they were thinking.
SMERCONISH: And what did they do? Did they unwrap the kids?
YOCUM: Yes. They unwrapped the kids and they went through all their bags. Each kid had a bag that the hospital prepared because they had to have ear plugs in, they had to have medicines at certain times. We were on a four-to-six hour flight. Everything was sterilized. And they went through everything.
YOCUM: They were great, the people that did it. It‘s just the fact that they did it was unbelievable.
SMERCONISH: It‘s nuts. It‘s a waste of resources.
All right, no God bless you at a military funeral, no ladies‘
nights in New Jersey. And we‘re stopping quadruplets instead of looking
for terrorists who resemble terrorists. I defy anybody to tell me that political correctness is ruining our quality of life here in America.
You can read those stories in a book called “Muzzled.” I know, because I wrote it.
Thanks, men, for being here. Appreciate your being on “Scarborough Country,” very, very much.
When we come back, police going it into bars, arresting folks for being drunk. It‘s a tactic that‘s sparked outrage across the country. And tonight, a major new development.
A must see SC, it‘s a new extreme sport. But when things go wrong, it can get pretty lonely. We‘ll show you, coming up on “Scarborough Country.”
SMERCONISH: It‘s time for another fly over of “Scarborough Country.” First stop, deep in the heart of Texas, where you no longer have to worry about being arrested for being drunk in a bar. The state officials say they‘ve suspended their crack down on public intoxication. The state made news last month after reports undercover officers were going into bars and arresting people for drinking too much. More than 2,000 bar customers have been arrested since last summer. Police defended the program. They say that it helps keep drunk drivers off the road.
Next stop, Virginia, where the local Cub Scout troop lost its Internet address to a porn site. Several years ago, Pack 216 created a web site. But they forgot to tell the current troop leader. The registration for Pack216.org expired. It was bought by a company that turned around and sold it to a porn site. Now, the scouts are out of luck. Police say the deal was fair and square. And the foreign company owns the domain.
And finally, Pasco, Florida, home to a couple of lotto losers. Alex
and Rhoda Toff (ph). Now, they won $13 million in the Florida lottery,
but they say they didn‘t know how to pay taxes. Now they‘re under
arrest. The $13 million proved not so lucky for the couple. The money‘s gone. Their house was foreclosed on two years ago. And they live in a trailer park with no electricity or running water. Now the IRS says they want more than a half million dollars in back taxes. The couple says they wish they‘d never won.
And one more thing to show you tonight. It‘s not “Green Acres,” but it‘s a good thing if you‘re ready to live life Martha Steward style. Head on down to suburban Atlanta. Wannabe domestic goddesses will be able to live in Hampton Oaks Subdivision. This is a housing development designed by Stewart. Locals are jokingly referring to the 800-home subdivision as Marthasville. If you‘re interested in one of the New England inspired homes, you better move fast. The developer says he already has 700 interested buyers.
We‘ll be right back. And don‘t forget, “The Situation with Tucker Carlson” is just minutes away. So stick around.
SMERCONISH: Time for tonight‘s must see S.C. That‘s video you must see.
Tonight, a couple are rescued.
First, an Alaskan man is probably having second thoughts about hopping on this extreme sport. It‘s called ice surfing. This surfer got stuck. Tried to use his coat as a wind sail. And after hopping, had to swim to shore. Once he got there, he refused treatment and took off.
Around the world to Sri Lanka, where it took villagers rescuers three days to rescue a wild elephant trapped in a pond. More than 100 people using rope and their own strength were able to get the elephant back on his feet. The elephant fell in the pond after he was shot by poachers. He‘s expected to make a full recovery.
And that‘s all the time that we have tonight. I‘m Michael Smerconish.
Joe Scarborough, thank you for the privilege of sitting in for you this week.
Joe will be back on Monday.
And “The Situation with Tucker Carlson,” it starts with right now.
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