Guests: Randy Gurley, Mark Lunsford, Jasmine Trias, Vonzell Solomon, Kim Komando, Mark Lester, Leah Hulan
RITA COSBY, MSNBC ANCHOR: Hey, Michael, you did a good job filling in.
Thanks so much. And thanks to all of you at home for joining us tonight. I‘m Rita Cosby coming to you live and direct from LA. We start with an all points bulletin right now for three inmates who are on the run after a brazen jail escape. They‘re all considered very dangerous. One of the men was charged with capital murder. And he has escaped from jail once before. Joining me right on the phone is Lt. Randy Gurley. He‘s with the Van Buren County sheriff‘s department. Lieutenant, how did they get out?
LT. RANDY GURLEY, VAN BUREN CO. SHERIFF‘S OFFICE: They made a hole in the roof in the ceiling of their pod and we up through roof and out the top.
COSBY: And what time of day did they do it and where were the guards?
GURLEY: It happened about 2:45 in the morning and the guards were in the control room.
COSBY: How far away were the guards from the scene and did they see anything unusual? Six guys getting out?
GURLEY: Well, they are inside of a pod themselves which is inside the main pod. And they have windows that they can look in all of the pods. Unfortunately, they were busy or something and did not notice that this was happening.
COSBY: Now three of the inmates are still on the loose. I know you got three of the guys. They‘re believed to be in a stolen 1995 Pontiac Bonneville. Where are you guys looking right now for the three that are on the loose as we‘re looking at the car and the plates?
GURLEY Well, we have information that they‘re headed towards south Texas and trying to cross over into Mexico.
COSBY: And how complicated does that make it for you that they are on the way to the border?
GURLEY: IT makes it really complicated because we‘re not even positive that they took this car. It came up missing at approximately the same time that they got out. We‘re relatively sure that they have this car. But we have no reports of them being in the car. And we have not located the car.
COSBY: One of the guys, William Charles Callahan, he was in jail for murder. This is the second time he escaped. How did that happen?
GURLEY: Well, first time he went out the same way he went out this time.
COSBY: Shouldn‘t there have been extra protection around him?
GURLEY: Yes ma‘am. We did—we locked him down for sometime. And we thought we had secured the top of the cells where they could not get out. We put some plate, some four foot wide, eight foot long plates steel metal on top. Our pods are 25-foot high and we have a lower and upper. SO we put the metal probably eight to 10 foot out past where they should have been able to reach.
COSBY: Obviously, they still got out. You did get three of them. This is an amazing story, lieutenant. I understand that three of them actually had money somehow and I want to ask you how you got it, how they got it. They went to Wal-Mart and bought clothes. Did anybody see three inmates at Wal-Mart?
GURLEY: What happened was, the way they got their clothes and money, one of the guys (INAUDIBLE) that we had in custody here was, we had him charged with some theft of a motor home and things. The city actually had him charged. The motor home was sitting behind the chief‘s house. And someone made arrangements to put some money and some clothes in there. And when he got out, he went and got money and clothes changed into to his clothes. He went in and bought other clothes at Wal-Mart and other things for the other escapees.
COSBY: Well everybody, let‘s put up the number again as we‘re looking at the pictures everybody, of course, call 911, call authorities if there‘s any information. There‘s the number there at the sheriff‘s department 501 745-2112. Again, three men on the run, one wanted for capital murder, all are considered dangerous. And everybody, we‘ll keep you posted tonight if we get any information. Lieutenant, thank you very much.
Now let‘s move on to a major decision from MySpace.com that may change the way that child predators have access to their prey. After big time pressure from parents, the networking site is making some big changes. The site‘s owners say that it will now limit access to the profiles of younger teens and increase privacy for all users. But do these new restrictions go far enough? Here‘s NBC‘s Tracie Potts (ph).
TRACIE POTTS, NBC CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The stories made parents shudder. Internet predators caught red handed on Dateline, NBC.
The 16-year-old who ended up in the Middle East last week to meet a man she met on MySpace.com. The 14-year-old who says she was raped by a man she met on myspace. She sued. And today, that Web site announced adults can no longer contact teens without already knowing their email address or full name. But what about adults who lie about their age?
JOHN WALSH, HOST, “AMERICA‘S MOST WANTED”: If we can put a man on the moon, we can figure out a way that these Web sites can figure out the ages of these kids and verify it.
POTTS: A new survey finds almost 2/3 of teens post pictures and personal information on Web sites like this. 14 percent have met face to face with someone they met online. These teens are trying to convince their peers to be careful.
BRYTANI CAIPA, INTERNET SAFETY SUMMIT REPRESENTATIVE: Because the Internet is in your home, there‘s a false sense of security and so we don‘t want them to feel so secure.
POTTS: MySpace, spacebook, IMing, chat rooms. Many parents don‘t know the lingo. They want to protect their kids but don‘t know where to start.
JACALYN LEAVITT, IKEEPSAFE.ORG: It seems like kids are born text savvy now and parents feel like the computer immigrants.
POTTS: Semantic (ph) and ikeepsake.org unveiled this new parent tutorial that explains step by step how to secure your home computer and how to talk to your kids about Internet safety. Tracie Potts NBC News, Washington.
COSBY: Tracie, thanks so much. And joining us now to talk about these new rules and whether they go far enough to protect children is Mark Lunsford. His nine-year-old daughter Jessica was kidnapped and killed by a sex offender. And also with us is radio talk show host, Kim Komando, who‘s also the author of “Kim Komando‘s Guide to Computer Security and Privacy.” You know Mark, when you hear these stories about adults getting access to kids, how disgusted and angry are you? You had a sexual predator living across the street.
MARK LUNSFORD, JESSICA LUNSFORD‘S FATHER: It is pretty disgusting. It‘s pretty shocking too. There‘s ways that we can prevent these things from happening. I mean lik7e John said, if we can send a man to the moon, we ought to be able to control this on the Internet. But not only that, I think a lot of it relies on the Web sites. It‘s a chat room and a blog. And I think some of it relies on the parents too. I mean, parental control, just like we do our TVs.
COSBY: You bet. In fact, Kim, you have this great book out. You have some basic rules for parents and I want to put it up because parents need to be on the alert, especially when you see what‘s been happening and the story that we‘ve got coming up with a 16-year-old went over to the Middle East to meet somebody that she met online. Let me show you - these are some of the pointers you have, how to protect your kids. This is important. Of course, parents need to learn how to use the Internet to save their kids. Discipline your kids about the Internet. Bad things can happen to good kids, that message. Watch what the kids do online all the time. And keep up to date about new dangers online. Do you think, Kim, with all of the information that‘s out there, that parents are still knowledgeable? Do you think they are still sort of clueless about how far their kids can go online?
KIM KOMANDO, NATL TALK SHOW HOST: I got to tell you, Rita. Parents just really have no clue and they have no idea that the kids are going online and they‘re posting all these personal profiles.
COSBY: Why is it? After all this time?
KOMANDO: I don‘t know Rita. Maybe they have this false sense of security. A lot of parents still use the personal computer and they use the Internet almost as if it‘s a babysitter. And they may sit down with their kids and they explain the rules. But you know what they don‘t do? They don‘t go back and check. They don‘t install monitoring software for example, that tells them exactly where the kids are going, what they are posting and more importantly, who they are really talking to on the Internet.
COSBY: (INAUDIBLE) This is what one attorney had to say about a case.
This is a case of a teen who was allegedly raped by someone she met online.
And this may get you guys angry. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KURT OPSAHL, ATTORNEY, ELECTRONIC FRONTIER FOUNDATION: Just as you wouldn‘t hold the book store liable for what‘s published in a book that it sells or a cafe for what‘s posted on its bulletin board. This heinous crime was perpetrated by somebody using myspace, but it‘s not myspace‘s responsibility.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSBY: (INAUDIBLE) MySpace isn‘t liable or isn‘t responsible for anything being the communicator?
LUNSFORD: Well, I think they are responsible. I think they have to hold some responsibility and so do the parents. But there is technology out there and add zone, the company that I‘m a spokesman for, they‘re working on this to develop a better technology so we can monitor these types of Web sites which are a cross between a chat room and the blog. If you just did the chat rooms, then you ruin the integrity of something else and you don‘t want to do that. So, you got to come up with programs that will work both sides, the blog and the chat.
COSBY: You know, Mark, you really have been fighting against these sex predators unfortunately because of what happened to your beautiful daughter. And you and I talked a lot unfortunately during that time. As you look at it, how many predators are out there, not just across the street, but online from the research you have done?
LUNSFORD: Oh, my goodness. I couldn‘t - I wouldn‘t be able to even tell you a number like that. I can‘t imagine.
COSBY: Overwhelming right?
LUNSFORD: Yeah, it‘s all overwhelming, online, absconded, registered. I mean, the numbers are huge and we have to understand that there‘s more out there that we don‘t even know about it and we do need to gain control over the Internet somehow through technology and that‘s what we‘re doing is we‘re working on programs that can do that. And I mean, we already have one for just for law enforcement. But we need to develop stuff for, like, Web sites like myspace. But at the same time, the parents needs to use parental control too.
COSBY: You bet And Kim obviously that‘s one thing you talked about a lot, this new change that they‘re talking about, changing the age, screening it, adults can‘t have access after the first name, full email address. Can adults lie to get around this (INAUDIBLE) ?
KOMANDO: It doesn‘t really work, Rita. I mean what they need is a bona fide age verification system. I can get online right now and say I‘m 14-years-old and guess what, I‘m not.
COSBY: And how angry does this make you? Here today and all these changes, is this just window dressing?
KOMANDO: You know what, they need to make some changes. Why? Because they need to follow the money trail. The advertisers don‘t want to spend their money where it‘s known that there‘s a lot of sexual activity so to speak. MySpace is nothing other than a candy store for predators and parents need to realize that instead of just saying, oh, Johnny is online blogging. What they need to do is to do something about it. Now these software programs, the spectersoft (ph) and the pctattletales that will tell you exactly what‘s going on. These are good products, but just keep in mind that kids also know a way to work around it and that‘s why I always recommend that you but the kids‘ computer not in the bedroom. You put it in the family room. So this way as you‘re walking by, you know exactly what they are doing.
COSBY: Great points. Kim, thank you very much and Mark, you keep up that great fight that you‘ve been doing. We appreciate you so much.
Everybody, still ahead, for the first time you‘ll hear why a girl who met a man halfway around the world on MySpace.com actually left the country to meet him. That‘s not all that‘s coming up. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You always think it can‘t happen to you. But we‘ve all went through this. It doesn‘t seem real. You know, I would have never dreamt. But now I will not have a computer in my home.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSBY: And you may think that all of the people trying to meet kids online are right here in the U.S. But believe it or not, a 16-year-old Michigan girl flew halfway across the world to meet up with a stranger she met on MySpace.com. Authorities intercepted Catherine Lester in Jordan before she could meet up with a 20-year-old Palestinian man. But now that she‘s home, she may be in some serious legal trouble. There‘s a lot of issues facing this case and joining us now on the phone for an exclusive interview is Catherine Lester‘s sister Mary. Mary, first of all, why does your sister say she did this? What drove her to do this?
MARY LESTER, SISTER FLEW TO MIDDLE EAST TO MEET STRANGER: According to the interview that I heard today, I guess she loves this man.
COSBY: In fact, they‘d been talking quite a bit since, right. I was reading somewhere five hours a day?
LESTER: From what I heard, ever since the end of December last year.
COSBY: And how do you think this whole process started online? Are you angry that she had access to a 20-year-old guy online?
LESTER: Well, you can‘t safeguard it.
COSBY: And how frustrating is that for you as a family member?
LESTER: It‘s very frustrating. I mean this has devastated our family.
There‘s no control over this.
COSBY: How worried were you when you realized that your sister had met some stranger online and traveled thousands of miles?
LESTER: Honestly, I felt my heart drop.
COSBY: And ow you found out about it? Tell us sort of how the family was finally alerted to this?
LESTER: When we got a call from the FBI.
COSBY: What did they say?
LESTER: They said that she did in fact fly out of JFK and was on her way to Imman, Jordan.
COSBY: What was the family‘s reaction?
LESTER: We just, we bawled. We couldn‘t believe it.
COSBY: And then what did you do and what did the family say about this?
LESTER: We just stayed by the phone and let the FBI do their job, hoping that they would catch her and that she would come back safe.
COSBY: Do you have any idea or the family that, A, she met somebody online and B, that she flew thousands of miles to the Middle East?
LESTER: They‘re just hoping that this myspace thing can be put under control. That‘s all we can do.
COSBY: Did you have any idea that she had been in communication with some stranger or were your family?
LESTER: None. She hid everything.
COSBY: This is what he had to say. This is the Palestinian man. He made some comments just recently and he said he‘s also in love with your sister. This is what he had to say. And in the comment, we don‘t have it queued up, but in the comment he says we love the same things, the same songs. We have similar dreams. I fell in love with her. What do you think about the relationship? I know she just turned 17 today.
LESTER: This thing is, if you loved her so much, then why did you have to sneak her and hide this?
COSBY: What do you think of myspace? What would you want to say to MySpace.com and also, to that man?
LESTER: That this needs to be regulated. These parents and myspace need to keep these kids safe because if it happen to us, it will happen to anyone.
COSBY: It‘s a very important message and Catherine, we thank you very much for being here, the sister of Mary Lester who went over to Jordan after meeting someone online.
And now, who is to blame for stories like this where teens travel halfway across the world to connect with a stranger that they met online? Do we blame myspace or do we blame the parents? Let‘s bring in the legal experts, victims‘ rights advocates Gloria Allred and also defense attorney Rebecca Rose Woodland. Gloria, what do you make of the story first of all of the 16-year-old, meets a man online, now is in love. The family had no idea?
GLORIA ALLRED, VICTIMS‘ RIGHTS ADVOCATE: Exactly Rita and apparently, the young man, who is 20-years-old, is reportedly, at least according to the Associated Press, a high school dropout spends about 10 hours a day on the Internet. But they both love music and he thinks she‘s pure and apparently wants to be married to her. I don‘t know what kind of life they‘re going to have if they do decide to have a life together when he‘s a high school dropout even though he works in his dad‘s business delivering goods, but this is a dangerous situation because we don‘t know what she would have encountered if she had gone over there. He said that she wanted to convert to Islam. We don‘t know whether that‘s true or not. We don‘t know whether she would have even fit in the culture over there or wanted to stay there or what his intentions were. He said she would have slept in his sister‘s bedroom. How do we know that that‘s really true? We don‘t know one way or the other. I think the parents have to take responsibility. MySpace.com has to take responsibility because they know that sexual predators are going to go on there looking for young people. And because they know that, they have to make some restrictions and requirements, such as they are doing today.
ALRED: And parents need to get involved as well.
COSBY: Rebecca, who is to blame here? When you look officially at this particular case?
REBECCA ROSE WOODLAND, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Rita, we have to say myspace creates a situation where they know that there are young children, young individuals on their Web site. But the parents have to monitor, they have to monitor their children. They have to go in and say, we‘re aware that this is a problem. MySpace has to definitely set regulations, but the parents have to go in and say, what are you doing tonight. Who are you talking to? Who are your friends? Where are you going? It doesn‘t have to be an interrogation. It has to be a communication with your child.
COSBY: And Rebecca, let me show you the numbers because this is pretty astounding. An estimated 87 million user on myspace. More than 20 million are registered as minors. These are just the ones that we know about Rebecca.
WOODLAND: 87 million. Now, there are sexual predators. There are rules and regulations when they come out of jail. They have to be registered, some states you can‘t live in a certain distance away from a school. But on the Internet, they are in your child‘s, so to speak, bedroom. I mean, it‘s a very serious situation and everyone has to be aware of how dangerous this can be. I mean this poor man that just lost his daughter. That‘s tragic.
COSBY: What do you think is in store Rebecca? Gloria brings up a good point. How do we know that this guy wasn‘t going to rape her or do something horrible when she got over to sleep in the sister‘s bedroom.
WOODLAND: How do we know his story is even accurate or true? How do we know anything? I mean the child is 17-years-old. Is she emotionally able to make a commitment to someone she doesn‘t even know other than online? She‘s never spent time with him. She‘s never even met him in person.
ALLRED: I think that‘s one of the reasons we have to also educate the young people because the truth is, parents are not going to sit with their kids every night and figure out what their kids are doing on the Internet. It would be great if they could. But it‘s just often not the reality. Often parents are working two or three jobs and they are not able to do that. So, we‘re going to have to teach children about the risks, about the dangers in this brave new world out there and understand that this is a real risk that they may be involved with and how to be careful about those risks.
COSBY: Let me put up real quick. These are the changes at myspace is instituting and I want to ask you Rebecca if you think it‘s just all show, better security settings for 14-15-years-old, helps protect them from strangers over 18. That‘s again if you register your right age, full privacy settings for all members and also age appropriate ad placements. You know, that you can only sort of target folks over a certain age with particular types of advertising. Is this enough Rebecca? Don‘t folks - we talked about this before - kids know how to get around this. Adults know how to get around it.
ALLRED: Well, I think the problem is the predators. We want to make sure the predators can‘t get to these children.
COSBY: And don‘t you think - if they‘re slimy enough to do what they‘re doing, they‘re slimy enough to figure out a way to get through this?
WOODLAND: Sure. That‘s why I think myspace needs to do something to verify the age. You can say whatever age you want to say. You need to verify the age. And I have agree with Gloria, that before the children even go on myspace, before they‘re on the Internet, that parents need to sit down and explain that there are bad people in the world. That‘s the most basic thing I can say.
COSBY: Absolutely. Both of you, thank you so much. Still ahead everybody, a bombshell revelation from “American Idol” contestant Katharine McPhee. Wait until you hear what she‘s been hiding throughout the entire show. Her dark secret unveiled. And we‘re tracking the hunt for sniper (INAUDIBLE) Would a bounty hunter have a better chance at finding them? We asked that to a fugitive expert by the name Bond Girl, there she is. She‘s coming up next.
COSBY: An all points bulletin continues tonight for one of the FBI‘s most wanted, Darren Mack, who‘s suspected of stabbing his estranged wife to death. He‘s also wanted for questioning in the sniper shooting of Judge Weller in Reno. Right now, we have the only reporter who has spoken to this judge since he was shot and survived. Joining us live from “America‘s Most Wanted,” Ed Miller. Ed, what is the judge‘s biggest concern tonight?
ED MILLER: Good evening, Rita. When you start shooting judges, it‘s like going back to the wild, wild west. So the judge‘s biggest concern is for his own safety and for his family‘s safety. He‘s very careful. He doesn‘t want to say anything that might possibly provoke the shooter to go after him again. So he‘s very, very concerned about not saying anything and he‘s surrounded by armed guards. He‘s in a secret location as is Charla Mack. That is the estranged wife of Darren Mack. Her attorney is also in a secret location and as is Darren Mack‘s first wife. So, we have three people all in hiding, scared to death that Darren Mack may come back and go after them.
COSBY: How much did he know that this guy was just on a fuse that was about to snap?
MILLER: Well, that‘s a good question. The judge knew that there was a smear campaign against him and for people that don‘t know what was going on, they were going through a divorce and Darren Mack was very unhappy about some of the judge‘s rulings. You and I both know that there‘s thousands of people that go through divorces and many of them are very unhappy with the judge‘s outcome, but very few go to the lengths that this guy did, to start a smear campaign against m. So the judge knew that something was up, as soon as he was shot, he apparently made indications, I know who did this. You know, or words to that effect. Call my wife. Make sure that she‘s safe.
COSBY: You know, in fact, we talked to Darren Mack‘s cousin, who in a bizarre twist, as you know, he called him right after he disappeared, didn‘t say that he had the done the shooting or done the stabbing or anything that he was accused of. But this is what the cousin told us about the relationship, Darren Mack with the judge.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEFFREY DONNER, DARREN MACK‘S COUSIN: He was pre occupied with people finding out how unfair and unjust the judge was. He never, ever indicated that there would be any type of violence towards the judge whatsoever, never.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSBY: And you know, when you hear this, how did he describe Daren Mack.
MILLER: Well, we should point out that Judge Weller is a highly respected judge. He obviously doesn‘t want to say anything that would prejudice the case, nor do we. But you know, this was a questionable guy and he‘s concerned about his questionable behavior and again, he just doesn‘t want to do anything, say anything that would set him off. He, at this point, wants more protection for judges everywhere.
And I think you will see in the weeks and months to come that he‘s going to have to make plans, making a rather public statement that judges everywhere cannot be putting their own lives at risk. That, for example, he‘s not going to be able to go out with pizza for his kids because he‘s looking over his shoulder, that some angry guy may be after him. Judges in his opinion need to be protected, because they are special, by what they do for a living.
COSBY: You bet. And they deserve all of the full protection. It‘s outrageous that somebody who‘s upset over a decision would take it to this length. You know Ed, how is the judge doing?
MILLER: The judge is doing well. And we should tell that you he is recovering. His wound, he‘s much better. He started to do some court business again.
COSBY: Where was he shot? What part was he shot in?
MILLER: In the shoulder. The bullet went from three football fields away, it went for quite some distance. They used, or I should say, the shooter used the same type of rifle that was used in the D.C. sniper shootings, the ones with the laser scopes, that can shoot from very far distances.
And during the D.C. Sniper stuff, “America‘s Most Wanted” tested those rifles to show that even if you are a terrible shot, you can hit someone from very far away. So, he shot from a parking garage. The shooter, he was three football fields away and was able to hit the judge. And the bullet shattered the glass and parts of the bullet, it disintegrated, but it did hit the judge as well as one of his assistants, barely hurting her. But the shrapnel did hit the judge.
COSBY: Well, I‘m glad he‘s doing better. Ed, thank you very much for providing insight.
MILLER: Thank you, Rita.
COSBY: He deserves all of the protection that he wants at this point, especially him and his family.
So how do you catch a man on the loose whose got a lot of cash? There were reports that Darren Mack had $9 million. Does that mean that he could skip town?
With me now is bounty hunter Leah Hulan, who‘s also the owner of Grumpy‘s Bail Bonds in Tennessee. Leah, how do you catch a guy who has this much in terms of bucks? And also, sounds like a lot of contacts?
LEAH HULAN, BOUNTY HUNTER: It does. Every investigation has a life of its own. And I haven‘t been abreast of all of the facts on the case. We‘ve been very busy with our own fugitives this week and last week. So I would have to really investigate and find out the basic facts first. One of the first things that we do, we investigate and talk to all of the people surrounding him.
COSBY: Yes, who do you talk to? Especially in a case like this, where, you know, he may be paying off somebody?
HULAN: Right. Well, because he has so many resources, he has a lot of potential to be able to get out of the country a lot easier than anybody else. But I would pull his credit card records and see if he might be using credit somewhere.
I would pull phone records and see who he may be talking to. We would also coordinate with other law enforcement agencies. As bail bondsmen, we really don‘t have a lot of access to information like law enforcement agencies do. So, we really depend a lot on the other organizations communicating with us.
COSBY: Now, what about changing his appearance, you know, changing his hair color, he knows everybody is looking for him.
HULAN: Yes, what was the question again?
COSBY: How complicated does that make it if he were to go to all these great lengths, look totally different. His picture is everywhere and he may not look like that now.
HULAN: Right. That‘s something that would be hard to determine. You could have, I guess you could have people who could sketch different pictures of him with or without a beard. But mostly, I would start with everybody surrounding him. There‘s has to be somebody that he knows that has information.
One of the reports that I read was that he frequented some establishments. I think one of them was the Bunny Ranch. So, he had to talk to somebody at the Bunny Ranch. I would go around and I would talk to everybody, investigate everybody that he had come in contact with. Somebody knows something.
COSBY: You know, knowing that this guy is armed. They went to his home and said they found what could be bomb making materials. They found a laser scope. And we just heard from Ed Miller that a laser type scope type rifle was used on the judge. How careful would you be if you were trying to tracking this guy down?
HULAN: I‘m really not the person out in the field tracking them down. Luckily I have the good sense to hire experts. I happen to be married to my number one expert tracker, who has had a lot of experience with weapons.
COSBY: How risky is it?
HULAN: Well, it‘s very risky.
COSBY: Leah Hulan, thank you very much. We appreciate your insights. Good to see a woman out there tracking those guys down. We appreciate it so much.
HULAN: Thank you.
COSBY: Now, there is a lot more coming on MSNBC tonight. Let‘s check in with Tucker Carlson with a preview of what he has on tap with “THE SITUATION.”
TUCKER CARLSON, MSNBC ANCHOR: Well Rita, a new proposal to test everybody who works with children. That means day care workers, teachers, clergy with a machine that measures genital response to child pornography, the idea is to catch child molesters before they molest. Is it Orwellian? We‘ll talk to the advocate.
Plus a new poll shows New York is the politest city in America. Let me repeat that. New York City, the politest city in America, if not the world. Believable? I don‘t think so.
COSBY: Well, if you talked to me, you would say so, don‘t you agree?
CARLSON: Rita, you are a bit of sunshine in a dark, cold city.
COSBY: Thank you, that‘s very polite of you. Tucker thank you and we‘ll tune in in a few minutes, it should be a good show. Thanks so much.
And when we come back, the secret that “American Idol” contestant Katharine McPhee has been hiding during the whole composition. Her shocking revelation and reaction from two former contestants coming up.
Plus a look at the real life behind the reality star Simon Cowell.
Simon like you have never seen him before.
COSBY: A bombshell announcement tonight from “American Idol” favorite Katharine McPhee. This season‘s runner up is revealing for the very first time in “Teen People” magazine that she has battled bulimia. This announcement, of course, comes just days before the highly anticipated “American Idol” tour, which kicks off the fifth of July.
Joining us now to talk about the tour and the pressures of being in the spotlight, our season three finalist, Jasmine Trias. She has two big albums out and she looks great there. One that went gold in the Philippines. She is working on a new album and will be in a movie soon. She is action packed. And also with us on the phone is season four finalist Vonzell Solomon. Her latest CD is entitled “My Struggle.”
Jasmine, let me start with you. What‘s your reaction that Kat is admitting she had bulimia?
JASMINE TRIAS, FORMER AMERICAN IDOL CONTESTANT: Wow, I think that‘s kind of surprising because when I first met her, she seemed like a very sweet girl, down to earth. I mean, she didn‘t seem like she was struggling with something like that, so serious. But when you are in the spotlight like that, there are a lot of pressures. And it‘s such an intense experience. Sometimes you just feel that you always have to go to extremes to meet the expectation.
COSBY: You know and Jasmine, how much pressure is there to be thin, to look great? Is that internal or does that come from the judges? The fans? Where is that coming from?
TRIAS: It‘s kind of internal. I think after you experience something like that, when you become a celebrity overnight, something you start to believe the hype and it starts to really get to you mentally. So you really have to stay grounded. And I think that‘s very important. You always have to remember where you came from and not to let all of that pressure get to you so much. Because I mean, people like you for who you are. I mean, that‘s why they like you initially. So you don‘t have to change for nobody.
COSBY: Absolutely. And Ruben Studdard, you‘ve got all these folks who—maybe it‘s a different standard for guys. But we‘ve seen women and men who had a little extra weight, but what do people say? They‘re real, right Jasmine?
TRIAS: Yep. That‘s right. I mean, it‘s a tough business. You really have to know who you are and stick with that.
COSBY: You bet. Vonzell, I know we‘ve got you on the phone. Were you surprised to hear Katharine McPhee saying she had bulimia?
VONZELL SOLOMON, FORMER AMERICAN IDOL CONTESTANT (on phone): Of course. This is my first time hearing anything like that and it‘s very surprising. But it‘s not shocking to me because I know you have to deal with a lot of pressure behind the scenes. And I just take my hat off to her, I‘m very proud of her for pushing forward and staying strong throughout the competition.
COSBY: And we‘re hearing that this was before the competition started.
SOLOMON: Oh, it was before?
COSBY: Yes, that‘s what we‘re just hearing. Because the news is just coming into us too. So, what does that say to you, this was prior to?
SOLOMON: Wow. Well, you know, Hollywood affects us all, even when you‘re not really living in Hollywood or there yet. I mean, you see all the celebrities on T.V. and in magazines and you want to be just like them. And you hear about their story and how—the things that they do to get to where they are.
And I don‘t know, I really feel sorry for her that she had to go through that. But look where she is now. She got over it and it‘s cool. But it bears a lot of pressure, especially on girls to be super thin and to be, like, beautiful, as most beautiful as you possibly can be.
It‘s crazy. But you‘ve just go to—I have a strong support system with my family and I just lean on them for support and ask them, you know, for my guidance. So they have been my right-hand people ever since.
COSBY: That‘s great. You know, Jasmine, it‘s pretty amazing. I want show. This is what she said because a lot of people noticed that about Katharine doing the show, obviously throughout, she lost 30 pounds. It was pretty obvious.
This is what she had to say. She said, “You start doing something you love doing and the weight just started falling off of me. I was still eating.”
That‘s what she‘s saying. Now we‘re just getting some new details. It‘s literally just coming into me, Jasmine, that she was battling bulimia for five years and that she actually also went for treatment. And again, this is before she actually was on “American Idol.” What‘s your reaction, Jasmine?
TRIAS: Well, you know, I‘m just kind of proud that she came out with it and she‘s actually making it public and sharing her story and letting people see what she‘s going through, so maybe she could help other people that are also going through the same thing. You know, I mean, it‘s pretty shocking. Wow, you know, five years of going through something like that. That must be pretty tough, and at the same time, having the pressure of “American Idol.” I really give her a lot of credit. So my hats are off to you, Katharine.
COSBY: And look, she‘s revealing it in “Teen People” magazine, so hats off to her. I agree with you Jasmine. Look, she‘s speaking out. Do you think maybe she‘s hoping other people can learn from this?
TRIAS: Oh, absolutely, absolutely. I think it‘s great that she‘s sharing the story because you know, a lot of teenagers nowadays, peer pressure is a big issue. And so I think it‘s great for her to be sharing the story in the “Teen People” magazine to reach out to those students who are under kind of pressure.
COSBY: Absolutely, a lot of guts to come out and say that. You know, let me show—this is amazing. Just the history and the success of “Idol” and the intense—obviously and tension and pressure on them.
These are the top selling “Idol” singles. And these are from first-week sales, this is sort of the history going back. Clay Aiken, of course, Ruben Studdard, Kelly Clarkson, Taylor Hicks now. Do you think Taylor‘s going to move on, Vonzell, to be as popular as some of these other folks that we just mentioned?
SOLOMON: I definitely think so.
COSBY: Do you think he will surpass it, Vonzell?
SOLOMON: Yes—well, I don‘t know. I wish him all the best but he‘s
I was at the finale, Jasmine was there also. And I don‘t know about you, Jasmine, but when I was in the audience, he really touched me. He got me up on my feet and dancing. And I tell you what, there‘s something about him that really touched me and so...
TRIAS: ... I agree.
COSBY: Jasmine, yes, did he have the same effect on you, Jasmine?
TRIAS: Yes. I mean, I wasn‘t that much of a fan for Taylor. But when I saw him perform live at the finale, I became a fan. I mean, he really gets you up off your seat, dancing. He really sells a song to you and that is so important in the business nowadays. I mean, you have to be marketable, you have to sell the song, you have to sell yourself. And I think he‘s going to do very well.
COSBY: You bet. Gals, thank you both very much. I‘m fans of both of you, thank you. And when we come back, a side of “American Idol” of Simon Cowell you have never seen before. We‘ll take you to his Hollywood home. Is he as snarky in real life as he is on T.V.?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SIMON COWELL, AMERICAN IDOL JUDGE: I‘m quite normal, really.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK, any hidden talents of your own.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: None?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Simon?
COWELL: I‘m being serious. I‘m hopeless at everything.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSBY: Well, you may love him or hate him, but there is no denying that Simon Cowell is one of the most powerful people in television, with more than a dozen hit shows. But what does Simon Cowell do when he is not in front of the camera, criticizing people? Maria Menounos talked to Simon about his personal life, and his new show “America‘s Got Talent.”
MARIA MENOUNOS, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Where did the idea for the show come from?
COWELL: Because I hate rules and regulations, I absolutely hate rules. I thought what if we did a show where we just said their are no rules, and that is a show I would watch.
MENOUNOS (voice-over): But, it‘s not just the show that the public seems to be interested in, it‘s Cowell himself, from coast-to-coast, sea to sea, the question is asked ...
COWELL: I would classify that as quite mediocre.
MENOUNOS: ... Is Simon Cowell in real life the same as he is on TV?
COWELL: Karaoke with capital K.
MENOUNOS (on camera): How do I put this a nice way? I guess I won‘t.
You are a little snarlly.
COWELL: You know, your real personality comes out, but it wasn‘t
planned in advance. I mean, I am quite normal, really
MENOUNOS: OK, any hidden talents of your own?
COWELL: No. I am serious, I am hopeless at everything.
MENOUNOS (voice-over): Everything, that is, except being himself.
COWELL: Once you know you get bored, then life‘s OK. Because you just go right I can‘t do this anymore.
MENOUNOS: Taking control has launched his career and put the Brit with the old school cool, front and center in the eyes of the public and the lens of the paparazzi. It‘s something he feels comes with the territory.
(on camera): You have a pretty good relationship with the paparazzi?
COWELL: You know, there is a pact that you sign, if you go on TV and people are interested and they may want to take your picture and stuff, so when I hear celebrities bleeping about invasion of privacy and people taking their pictures, well, don‘t go on TV. Because no one‘s taking a picture of my accountant. Right?
MENOUNOS (voice-over): But his accountant is plenty busy. Cowell is worth a reported $90 million, with an entertainment empire spanning two continents, 14 shows and more than 70 top-30 records.
(on camera): Where does it all end? Where do you put your feet up, at what point?
COWELL: Well, the day it stops being fun is the day you have to stop.
I just enjoy the buzz so much, you know, and I love it.
MENOUNOS (voice-over): So much, in fact, that he has not taken the time to enjoy the fruits of his labor.
(on camera): Do you eat your grapefruit?
COWELL: You know, I didn‘t know they were grapefruit. And I do like grapefruit. Let‘s go and get one.
MENOUNOS: You are exploring
COWELL: Yes, my last day here and I just found the grapefruits.
MENOUNOS (voice-over): It‘s a rare oversight, but he is not taking the fame and fortune for granted.
(on camera): You are, or have become the ultimate power broker, how do you balance all of the power?
COWELL: Let me tell you something Maria, there is only one group of people in the world who have power, and that‘s your audience, and they control you and you cannot control them.
MENOUNOS (voice-over): And that‘s OK, Simon says, as long as he is reaping the benefits.
COSBY: Simon at home. And a big reminder, everybody, I am here in Los Angeles where I have an all access pass to the finalist of “American Idol” as they get ready for their highly anticipated summer tour. We‘re going to be talking to all of them tomorrow. I cannot wait.
Also, be sure to log on to our web site Rita.MSNBC.com, Rita.MSNBC.com, for full details about our special tomorrow night, again, all access idol, plus formal Idol winner, the big Teddy Bear, Ruben Studdard will join me live, as well as last year‘s runner up Bo Bice. We have a packed show and you have to tune in for this, I can‘t wait, tomorrow night here at 10:00 PM Eastern time.
And still ahead, road rage leads to a cat fight caught on tape, and this is one very creepy story that will have you thinking twice next time you hand over your car keys to a valet. That‘s next.
COSBY: And a word of warning, be wary of the guy that parks your car. Take a look, this man copied a woman‘s apartment key, then used it to break into her home, where he hid a camera in her bedroom. What‘s even more disturbing, he even hid himself underneath her bed for three days. This stalker met his victim in a hospital, where he was working as a valet. He was finally caught by the woman‘s boyfriend. Today the stalker thankfully was sentenced to three years in jail.
Also caught by Cosby tonight, a road rage incident at it‘s worst. Get this, two women are involved in a little fender bender and then sparks fly. Take a look. They both get out of their cars and start pummelling each other, right in the middle of traffic. The duo did not realize that they were being taped by a surveillance business across the street, and now one of the woman faces assault charges and may have to pay the price for her public road rage.
And I want to close tonight with a tribute to my alma mater, Greenwich High School, in Greenwich, Connecticut. Just a few hours ago, several hundred students in the class of 2006 graduated in style amid a lot of fan fair. I wish that I could be there celebrating with all of you as you reached this milestone, but from thousands of miles away here in Los Angeles, I am sending you my very best for a great future. My most important words of advice to all of you is, do what you love in life, follow your dreams and it will never feel like work. Congrats to all of you at my favorite Greenwich High School and to all of the other grads across the country tonight.
And that does it for me on LIVE AND DIRECT. Let‘s go to Tucker in
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