Guests: Harvey Levin, Michael Levine, Michael Smerconish, Mort Zuckerman, Philip Brenner, Jill Dobson, Andy Hill, Pat Brown
TUCKER CARLSON, GUEST HOST: Coming up: Mel Gibson on his way to dry out, but will it be enough to put out the firestorm over his drunken anti-Semitic rant? Could his career be over? As we said, there is a mugshot. We‘ve got it. We‘ll show it to you. Does this mean “The Passion‘s” critics were right, Gibson does really have a problem with the Jews? Is that the fact? That‘s our “Showdown” tonight.
Plus, we go live to the Middle East. Tonight, Israel says there will be no ceasefire. We‘ll tell you why the U.S. is only making matters worse in that region. And one of America‘s most controversial filmmakers makes a movie about 9/11. Tonight Oliver Stone fires back and tells us what message he wants America to hear.
Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. I‘m Tucker Carlson, in for Joe Scarborough tonight.
First up, startling reports about one of the world‘s most famous men. They are rocking Hollywood and the country. Just a short time ago, NBC News heard from Mel Gibson‘s publicist, who confirmed that the actor has now entered, quote, “an ongoing program of recovery,” whatever that means. This while we get our first look at Mel Gibson‘s mugshot. Here‘s how Mel Gibson looked that night. According to police reports leaked to TMZ.com, an inebriated Gibson threatened a sheriff‘s deputy and said, quote, “F-ing Jews. The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world.” Gibson then asked the deputy, quote, “Are you a Jew?”
Here with the latest, NBC News‘s Jinah Kim live in Burbank—Jinah.
JINAH KIM, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Hi, there, Tucker. Last week here in southern California, all we could talk about was the heat, and now we‘re talking about that mega-star, Mel Gibson, taking the heat.
The latest in these developing story is that the deputy who arrested Mel Gibson for allegedly drunk driving says he now feels badly about any potential damage that he has done to the star‘s career, his reputation. In an exclusive interview with the Associated Press, Deputy James Mee (ph) said that he didn‘t take any of what Gibson said seriously. He said it was just, quote, “the booze talking.” And this is a very forgiving attitude, coming from a man who is himself Jewish. And as we just heard, some of the most inflammatory remarks that Gibson allegedly made were anti-Semitic. However, Mee does say that since the incident, he has had a hard time sleeping—Tucker.
CARLSON: Jinah Kim from Burbank. Thanks, Jinah.
Tonight, I spoke to Harvey Levin, the man behind the celebrity news site TMZ.com. That‘s the site that broke the story.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HARVEY LEVIN, TMZ.COM: I‘ll give you another layer to this. What I‘m told is that Mel Gibson—you know, he blew a .12, which is definitely drunk. But I‘m told he was not, like, out of his mind drunk, in the sense that, you know, sometimes people almost have an out-of-body experience, that he wasn‘t really having that kind of, you know, breakdown, that he was kind of in control, enough that he knew what he was doing but was kind of unedited and going off. And I guess it makes it a little more troublesome.
CARLSON: It certainly makes it a little bit more odd, a lot more odd.
I don‘t think I‘ve ever heard of anything like this before.
LEVIN: Before I actually physically got the papers, I called the lieutenant at the station, and I said, I heard he said F-ing Jews, and that he—and I mentioned a couple of other things. And she said to me, No. She said, I‘ve been here the whole day, and I mean, I never heard anything like that.
Well, it turns out she totally had heard this, that the deputy dealt with her, the deputy who wrote the original report dealt with her, and she was one of the people who said, Take this stuff out. So for some reason, they didn‘t want this out, and they were trying to hide it.
CARLSON: How do we—I mean, that—that doesn‘t make—I mean, that kind of defies common sense. Why would the Los Angeles Police Department, which presumably does not have a cut of Mel Gibson‘s future movies, risk the profound scandal that‘s going to result if that ever came to light that they were trying to cover up his behavior (ph)? Why would they do that?
LEVIN: Well, first of all, it‘s the LA County Sheriff‘s Department.
LEVIN: And Gibson has a history with them. I mean, he did a public service announcement for them. He‘s helped with charity events with the sheriff himself. So he does have a history with them.
Now, why did they do it? You know, why did they let him go twice before? There are a lot of whys (ph) in Malibu. I mean, there are stars who really are treated a little bit differently, and part of the reason is because, you know, they really do have a lot of power and money and they can create a lot of grief for deputies who do arrest them or come down on them. And Mel Gibson, in many ways—you know, Mel Gibson said to this deputy, I own Malibu. You know, in some ways, Mel Gibson may be right, based on what we see here.
CARLSON: Boy. It‘s just a different world, different from cable news anyway. We can‘t get away with that. Harvey, thanks a lot for coming on.
LEVIN: My pleasure, Tucker.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: Well, you know Mel Gibson is in deep trouble when Michael Jackson‘s former publicist calls his situation, quote,”a nuclear disaster.” Celebrity publicist Michael Levine is here with us now. Michael, this seems to be following the most predictable possible script: Famous person gets in trouble, famous person blames substances, famous person disappears into rehab. Is this what you‘d recommend if this man was your client?
MICHAEL LEVINE, CELEBRITY PUBLICIST: Well, I don‘t know what I‘d recommend because I think the possibility of recovery is so implausible that—I think this is really career-ending. You know, I‘ve been doing this for a long time, about 25 years, with hundreds of major celebrities, and I can‘t remember a more perfect storm of disaster. These comments are just—and of course, there is a video and audiotape of this, and I can only imagine if that‘s released. It seems to me that there is just no way for him, no matter what he does, to escape the wrath of both his audience and the industry. The other thing that...
CARLSON: Hold on. Just one sec. Before—I Just want to make certain that our viewers know how‘s he‘s responded to this so far. here‘s part of his apology. Quote, “I acted like a person completely out of control when I was arrested and said things I do not believe to be true and which are despicable. I‘m deeply ashamed of everything I said, and I apologize to anyone who I have offended.”
I mean, you know, it‘s not—it‘s not defending his indefensible remarks to say that is a pretty abject apology. You don‘t think that‘s enough?
LEVINE: No, I don‘t because there was a suspicion among many, Tucker, that, of course, he had some feelings of anti-Semitism...
LEVINE: ... and this, of course, is—to say this is a smoking gun is somewhat understated. I think the other that I—I‘ve heard so many insiders tell me today, Hollywood insiders, and all kinds of diverse people, including people who‘ve had drinking problems, that alcohol is much more of a revealer than a concealer and that it has an almost truth serum-like capacity on people, and it allows people to express what they really believe but...
CARLSON: Oh, I don‘t know about that. I mean, that‘s—you know, that sounds like someone who doesn‘t drink very much told you that. People say things they don‘t mean. The weird thing here is the context. Apparently, Gibson just started randomly talking about how the Jews were evil, you know, coming out of nothing, which is...
LEVINE: That‘s exactly right.
CARLSON: I mean, that—that really is—that is, in my view, very damaging.
LEVINE: And beyond that, Tucker—I mean, Tucker, you know a little about the red states, how the red states going to react exactly, his conservative fan base, to his comments to the woman sheriff. I don‘t think that‘s going to go over...
CARLSON: Well, I don‘t know. I don‘t know that the anti-Semitic remarks are going to go down as well as people in Hollywood think. I mean, people in Hollywood and Manhattan think that everyone in the center of the country is an anti-Semite. That‘s a crock, in fact.
LEVINE: No, I think you‘re right. I don‘t think...
CARLSON: ... support Israel more than people on the coast do. But what do you...
LEVINE: I think you‘re exactly right.
CARLSON: ... think about this? Ari Emanuel issued a statement today. Of course, he‘s a big-time agent in Hollywood, saying—well, let me read it to you. Quote, “People in the entertainment community, whether Jew or gentile, need to demonstrate that they understand how much is at stake in this by professionally shunning Mel Gibson and refusing to work with him, even if it means a sacrifice to their bottom line.”
Now, those are easy words to say. Do you think that people in Hollywood will actually turn down money to avoid working with Mel Gibson?
LEVINE: Yes, I, in fact, do. I think there are some who will, and that is because he‘s considered so radioactive right now. I don‘t know of anybody—and I have a pretty good Rolodex in this industry. I don‘t know anyone that wants to be in the Mel Gibson business right now...
LEVINE: ... for very good reasons.
CARLSON: I—I—you know, I totally believe that. I think people will say, you know, This is—he‘ll go on, everything‘ll be fine. That‘s too cynical. This guy‘s in—this guy really screwed up.
LEVINE: I agree.
CARLSON: Mike Levine, thank you very much.
LEVINE: Oh, this is—I think it‘s career-ending.
CARLSON: Yes. I tend to agree with you.
Well, still ahead on SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY tonight: Does Mel Gibson‘s outburst prove his critics were right about his movie, “The Passion of the Christ”? Is it really an anti-Semitic film after all?
Plus: Syria tells its troops to be ready, possibly signaling a wider and disastrous war in the Middle East. Will there be a ceasefire before America‘s enemies send their troops to Lebanon?
And later, director Oliver Stone takes on his most controversial subject matter yet, September 11.
CARLSON: Welcome back. Mel Gibson‘s arrest for drunk driving is prompting renewed accusations that the actor and director harbors anti-Semitic feelings and that some of those feelings were on display in his hit movie, “The Passion of the Christ.”
Here now, radio talk show host Michael Smerconish. Michael!
MICHAEL SMERCONISH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Hey, Tucker~!
CARLSON: I don‘t buy this. I mean, I don‘t think there‘s any question, if the comments are true, if they were, indeed, uttered by Mel Gibson—and it sounds like they were—that he‘s an anti-Semite and deranged, I mean, honestly. But that doesn‘t make his movie anti-Semitic. I saw “The Passion of the Christ,” and I‘m not Catholic, so I didn‘t understand a lot of it, but I didn‘t see any anti-Semitism in it. I didn‘t even understand the accusation that it was anti-Semitic.
SMERCONISH: Well, I thought that the movie adhered to the Scripture. I don‘t have a beef with the movie, per se. But Tucker, I mean, you know, if you get me hammered, I may slobber a little bit and tell you I love you, but I think that things that I say are largely the way that I feel. I think these comments are so bizarre that I believe in the truth serum argument. You got a look at the real Mel Gibson when he made anti-Semitic comments. I mean, it‘s the last thing in the world that would occur to me if I were inebriated and blew a, you know, .12.
CARLSON: Well, of course. And I‘ve spent some—a considerable amount of time inebriated, actually, in my life, and I‘ve never said anything like this, nor thought it. No, there‘s clearly something wrong, deeply wrong with Mel Gibson, deeply wrong, if, in fact, this is what he said. And again, it sounds like it is.
However, you can—and I think, in a lot of cases, you ought to separate the artist from his art. I mean, most of the art that we enjoy, consider great, was produced by pretty sick people, in some cases even sicker than Mel Gibson appears to be. And yet we enjoy their art for what it is, not for the person who created it. And I think you can do the same with his film, “The Passion of the Christ.”
SMERCONISH: But now I think what I hear you say is, Well, he‘s probably an anti-Semite, but at least it didn‘t spill over into the movie. You remember the way this all began? His father was revealed to be somewhat of a whack job by “The New York Times” magazine...
SMERCONISH: ... and then Peggy Noonan did an interview with Mel
Gibson that turned into a “Reader‘s Digest” profile. And she said to him -
and I‘ve got the transcript in front of me—You know, you‘re going to have to go on the record. The Holocaust happened, right? And the most significant part of his answer was to say the Second World War killed tens of millions of people. Some of them were Jews in concentration camps. I mean, I don‘t know why he‘s struggled in the past when he‘s had ample opportunity to simply say, The Holocaust occurred, and upwards of six million individuals lost their live. Had he said that, I think that, you know, this issue...
CARLSON: I mean, I don‘t...
CARLSON: I don‘t know. I mean, look, the question about his father -
I must say, my heart went out to him. His father clearly is a full-blown wacko. But it‘s not his fault. I mean, you‘re not responsible for your parents and you shouldn‘t be held responsible for them. And I don‘t know. That is the one thing that has always made me feel sorry for Mel Gibson. I feel much less sorry for him now, now that we know that he‘s got these horrible views himself. But well, his father‘s views are not his fault.
SMERCONISH: I‘m not blaming the sins of the father on the son, but when he had opportunity to repudiate his father, at least on the merits...
SMERCONISH: ... and not talk about personal issues, you know, he took a pass. He didn‘t do that.
CARLSON: Yes, but let‘s be totally blunt about the movie here. You know as well as I that attacks on “The Passion of the Christ”—which, actually, I didn‘t care for as a film, but that‘s irrelevant. Attacks on that movie were, in a lot of cases, attacks on Christianity itself. I don‘t think that move was anti-Semitic, even if its author clearly is.
SMERCONISH: I agree with you. I don‘t believe that the movie itself was anti-Semitic, and I remember watching it carefully—as a matter of fact, seeing it a couple of times. If you recall, there was some dialogue that was uttered in a foreign language on the screen that didn‘t show up in the script at the bottom, and that was an accommodation to Jewish groups that had raised an objection to Mel Gibson. But I thought that the movie, on the merits, was not anti-Semitic. But this is so bizarre.
SMERCONISH: This—this is so unusual. I think this is the way the guy really thinks. And I‘ll tell you something else. You know, drunk is .08. He was a .12. And I don‘t want to quibble over the numbers, but there‘s hammered and then there‘s really hammered. He was not really hammered.
CARLSON: No, that‘s right. You know, I mean, look, this is an act of a man who‘s in the process of destroying himself. I mean, you don‘t say things like this unless you‘re so—you‘re in a such a fevered state, you know, you‘re spending your day brooding about “the Jews.” I mean, you are crazy, essentially.
SMERCONISH: You got to be. And you know how this ends. This ends with a couple of tears and a Barbara Walters interview.
CARLSON: No, I don‘t think it does. I think—I think this ends with a very lonely—a very lonely man, ostracized by his peers.
SMERCONISH: I‘ll take that bet.
CARLSON: Michael Smerconish, thanks.
SMERCONISH: Thanks, Tucker.
CARLSON: Time now for “Beat the Press,” a segment we do every day on my show at 4:00 and 6:00 Eastern. First up, Fox‘s Bill O‘Reilly. On his talk radio show last week, O‘Reilly offered his critique of American foreign policy. Confused about what we ought to be doing in Iraq? Well, here‘s Bill O‘Reilly‘s solution.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
BILL O‘REILLY, HOST: The reason we‘re not winning in Iraq, in my opinion, is because we didn‘t level Fallujah when we should have leveled it! Level it! Give every civilian 24 hours to get out and blow the hell out of it!
I‘m an intellectual. I mean, macho doesn‘t get you anywhere in this world. It really doesn‘t. You swagger around being a macho guy, and you‘re not going to get anywhere.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You can be macho...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ... and still be smart.
O‘REILLY: No. You‘re not going to win the war being macho.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
CARLSON: Let‘s see. The solution in Iraq, just level it, turn it into a parking lot, an ice rink, just kill everybody, knock every building down, pulverize it to dust! On the other hand, macho solutions are no solutions.
This is what happens when cable news does foreign policy. Bill O‘Reilly, he‘s intellectual.
Next up: “The New York Post” took a dig at CBS anchor Katie Couric over the weekend. Here‘s what they wrote. Quote, “Couric had fellow passengers aboard a New York-bound jet on the warpath this week when, as their plane was about to taxi to the runway, she got out of her seat and begged the pilot to allow one other late-arriving producers to board,” end quote.
Whatever Couric said, it worked. The producer made the flight. Now, it is very, very fashionable to beat up on Katie Couric, and it‘s pretty easy some of the time, but in this case, slow down. Think this through. If Katie Couric had held a New York-bound jet for her own reasons, for her make-up case, for instance, or to get a haircut on the runway, like Bill Clinton did lo those many years ago, it would be worth criticizing her. Here you have an on-air personality, a famous, well-paid one, doing everything she can to help someone who works for her, a producer. She‘s going out of her way to help someone who‘s beneath her. Good for Katie Couric. Good for her.
And finally, one of our own, New York‘s NBC station, WNBC, which last week decided to address the issue of imaginary friends. The station devoted more than two minutes to a piece advising parents how to react when they find out that Mary‘s little friend, Jane, isn‘t a real person after all. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How should parents react? Some suggestions. Don‘t let the imaginary friend be your child‘s only companion. Be alert for more general social withdrawal. Don‘t let your child use the friend to avoid blame. Kids should be responsible for their own actions. Let your child know it‘s OK to have this friend. It may allow your child to deal with difficult real-life situations. But don‘t let the friend dictate family life. Everyone should follow family rules.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: OK. Can we be completely honest? If it weren‘t for weather and fear, no one would watch local news. But the fear can sometimes—sometimes really spin almost out of control. The idea that you ought to be terrified of your child‘s little friend, as if this is an early warning of schizophrenia, so you ought to buckle your seatbelt and be very, very afraid—too much, crossing the line, even by the incredibly low standards of local news.
Well, how‘d you like to “Beat the Press”? If you would, give us a call, tell us what you‘ve seen. Operators are standing by 24 hours a day. The number here, 1-877-BTP-5876. That‘s 877-287-5876.
Coming up: All he wanted was a Big Mac, but all this McDonald‘s customer got was a knuckle sandwich from this thug. And later: Some parents would punish their kids for underage partying, but Lindsay Lohan‘s mom actually defends her daughter‘s bad behavior. Is it time to kiss this mean girl good-bye?
CARLSON: Time for tonight‘s “Must See S.C. (ph),” some video you must see. First up, New London, Connecticut, where security cameras caught this amazing video of an 85-year-old man plowing his car right into a crowd of people. It happened at a boat festival. The driver says his gas pedal got stuck and he could not avoid the crowd. Officials allowed him to keep his license, but he‘s being charged with one count of reckless driving. Incredibly, nobody was hurt in the crash -- 28 people were, indeed, hurt, no one was killed in the crash. Amazing.
Next up, Grand Prairie, Texas. Police there on the hunt for this fast food fugitive, who attacked and robbed a fellow McDonald‘s customer last week. The man on the right was clocked by the thug, who then stole the guy‘s wallet. The victim was left with a broken jaw.
And we lighten things up with the annual lawn mower races across the pond. Forty teams battled it out during this 12-hour race, all to attain the crown of best lawn mower racer in England. The finely tuned athletes raced all the way through the night and into early morning, cutting corners literally all the way to the finish line. This year‘s winner was a Brit who was competing in the race for his seventh year in a row. Congratulations.
Coming up: Israel plans to step up its war against Hezbollah, even as many across the world call for a ceasefire. How much longer will the U.S. let the offensive continue? Is the U.S. even in control of the situation? The latest on that live.
And later, Hollywood behaving badly. We‘re not talking about Mel Gibson, we‘re talking about Lindsay Lohan. Her mother‘s unusual defense of her daughter‘s behavior coming up.
CARLSON: Still to come, he‘s made some of the most controversial films of the last 20 years. Some say he‘s the last one who ought to be making a movie about 9/11. Tonight, Oliver Stone fires back.
And later, Lindsay Lohan. A Hollywood heavyweight gives the party girl a written smackdown. Now her mother is jumping in. Can you spell “denial”?
Welcome back SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. I‘m Tucker Carlson, in for Joe tonight. Those stories in just a few minutes, but first day 20 of the battle between Israel and Hezbollah.
Israel ignores mounting international pressure, including pressure from the U.S., for a cease-fire and says instead it will call up more troops, widen the ground offensive, and continue pounding southern Lebanon, this after a 48-hour bombing moratorium in the wake of the air strike on Qana, Lebanon, which left over 50 people dead, many of them children.
As Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice briefed the president tonight after returned from the region, the question remains: How badly is the Israeli strategy hurting the United States and its efforts in the Middle East, if at all?
Joining me from the northern Israeli city of Haifa, NBC‘s Peter Alexander.
Peter, what‘s the latest from there?
PETER ALEXANDER, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Tucker, good evening to you.
Well, what is it, 4:30 in the morning? Excuse me as I stutter so early in the morning here already, and we are still hearing loud booms in the distance. It is a familiar sound. It‘s unclear whether it‘s outgoing artillery, whether it‘s an explosion. We assume it‘s not an explosion here today. There were only two mortar strikes throughout this country, 156 rocket strikes yesterday, to give you a sense of the lull we have experienced here.
Across the border, though the ground invasion, as the prime minister of this country, Ehud Olmert, indicated, continues, they say the fighting goes on. There was a motivational-type speech, his second speech before the country tonight. It was televised nationally. He spoke to the mayors of the cities in the northern part of this country, and many of the folks who listened to this, the commentators afterwards, said this speech was really for the troops, telling them that, while you‘ve heard other words about cease-fires from Condoleezza Rice, this war is not over. Our effort continues to remove terror from northern border—Tucker?
CARLSON: Peter, there have been convicting reports on the extent to which the Israeli army has been able to hit Hezbollah‘s rocket sites. You said there are still, even after 20 days, rockets coming over the border from Lebanon?
ALEXANDER: Yes. Yes, the largest number, more than 150 rockets. And only a few days earlier, U.S. intelligence sources were telling NBC News that I‘ had only depleted about one-third, one-third of Hezbollah‘s rocket arsenal.
This is such a significant time, based on what happened in Qana just yesterday. That may be the watershed moment in the Arab world, where many of the more moderate Arab governments had initially been opposed to what Hezbollah had done, and, of course, Egypt and Jordan that have peace treaties with Israel had as best they could be supportive of this effort to root out the terror groups in the north in Lebanon.
However, now, it has changed. All of a sudden, for example, in
Jordan, they are saying that they will provide medical aid to the victims
of Israeli aggression. Egypt this week, Hosni Mubarak, the president
there, saying that it‘s significant that make it clear that they are
pushing for a cease-fire to try to stop the aggression by Israel, as well -
CARLSON: Peter Alexander is Haifa, thanks a lot, Peter.
Well, the question remains: How is the fighting in the Middle East affecting American interests? Is it at all?
Here to answer that question, Mort Zuckerman. He‘s the editor in chief of “U.S. News and World Report.”
Thanks a lot for joining us.
MORT ZUCKERMAN, EDITOR, “U.S. NEWS AND WORLD REPORT”: My pleasure.
CARLSON: See, I think everybody—I certainly count myself among those—who understand perfectly well why Israel is fighting Hezbollah in Lebanon. Good for Israel. But isn‘t it true that, at some point, if the United States, which is of course the world‘s largest supporter of Israel, says in public there ought to be a cease-fire, and Israel essentially blows off the United States, and, says, you know, “No,” that‘s bad for U.S. interests, it makes the United States look weak, doesn‘t it?
ZUCKERMAN: Yes, that hasn‘t happened yet. I think there is a clear understanding on the part of at least the Bush administration as to what the rationale is for the Israeli response to Hezbollah‘s insurgent entry in Israel. But even more than that, I think the United States has long felt that Hezbollah is a major enemy of the United States, not only because it is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Iran, because, after all, they were the ones that blew up 241 Marines in 1938, blew up the Khobar apartments, et cetera. They have been one of those terrorist groups that we have been mostly concerned about...
ZUCKERMAN: ... so it‘s very difficult for us to sort of come out and say, “Don‘t attack them when they‘re attacking you.”
CARLSON: And, yes, this is by no means a defense of Hezbollah, of course. And they are our enemy, and they say it out loud. And good for Israel for thumping them.
But two points: One, we have said pretty clearly we would like a cease-fire. And the prime minister of Israel has said, in no uncertain terms today, you‘re not getting one. So there is distance between the U.S. and Israel.
ZUCKERMAN: No. What we said was, if you listen to the president, he says we want a sustainable cease-fire. And he wants the political conditions to be in place so that, whatever cease-fire is arranged, is one that continues and can last, as compared to the ones that were arranged before, which never lasted and just proved to be a cover for Hezbollah to rebuild its military forces. That is something that the United States may be alone in the world, although for a while Britain supported them. That idea of a sustainable cease-fire is different from a cease-fire.
CARLSON: People around the world, it seems to me, don‘t see a clear distinction between Israel and the United States. They see them as pretty much the same country. Do you think that‘s good for the United States?
ZUCKERMAN: Well, I think it all depends which part of the world you‘re talking about. Certainly there is such hostility...
CARLSON: Well, how about Europe and the Middle East?
ZUCKERMAN: Well, let‘s start off. Certainly, let‘s talk about the Middle East. Certainly, the Arab world and the Muslim world is so hostile to Israel that the affiliation of the United States with Israel certainly has cost the United States, in terms of their public support and their support in public opinion, without question.
In Europe, of course, it‘s a variable thing. It all depends which countries you‘re talking about. But by and large, the Europeans have also bought into the Palestinian narrative. And as far as they‘re concerned, they have a lot of Muslims coming into those countries and living there, and they are concerned about their relations with their Muslim populations.
CARLSON: Right, no, of course, and so they pander to those populations, and part of me says—I look at this and say, “Who cares what the rest of the world thinks? And good for us for doing what‘s right and standing by Israel. That‘s how I feel.” On the other hand, wouldn‘t it be useful for the United States to be seen as a little bit more of an independent voice, a little bit more of an independent arbiter, maybe a little more even-handed? Wouldn‘t that be useful for us to be seen that way around the world, or should we not care at all?
ZUCKERMAN: ... but there have been many occasions—I mean, beginning with President Eisenhower who, after all, stopped the 1956 attack into Sinai against Egypt...
CARLSON: Well, that was 50 years ago.
ZUCKERMAN: ... et cetera, yes, but you could go through every president, right up to and including Bill Clinton, who did not agree with Israeli policy.
CARLSON: But not including George W. Bush. See, that‘s the difference. This is the first president that I know of, since 1948 when the country was founded, who has not even attempted to sort of be, you know, an honest broker. This president has said, “I‘m an Israel‘s side, period.”
ZUCKERMAN: Let me give you a recent example where it was the United States that forced Israel into doing something it didn‘t want to do, which was to include Hamas in the electoral process. It just happened this January. This was something totally opposed by the Israeli government; indeed, it was also opposed by Mahmoud Abbas, Abu Mazen, who was the head of the Palestinians.
ZUCKERMAN: And yet we forced it down the throats of both of them. As we did, for example, the agreement to have Israel pull completely out of Gaza, including the Rafah border. So it all depends where you start from.
The United States has its own policy interests. It does put them forward. At this point, there is convergence, as the American administration sees it, with respect to what Israel is doing, vis-a-vis Hezbollah.
CARLSON: All right, Mort Zuckerman. That‘s a good point about Hamas, by the way. We never should have done that. I‘m on Israel‘s side.
CARLSON: Thanks a lot for joining us.
ZUCKERMAN: All the best.
CARLSON: Next up, if director Oliver Stone is involved, controversy usually is not far behind. This time, Stone‘s feeling the heat over his latest film, “World Trade Center.” Some of Stone‘s critics think a film about 9/11 is too soon, and they‘re worried that conspiracy-minded directors like Stone are the wrong people to do it. “Dateline‘s” Ann Curry sat down with Oliver Stone to address his critics.
ANN CURRY, NBC NEWS ANCHOR (voice-over): September 11th traumatized the nation. Close to 3,000 people were killed in a single day. Now, one of the America‘s most controversial filmmakers, Oliver Stone, is releasing a movie about it. It‘s called “World Trade Center.”
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We‘re prepared for everything.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not this, not for something this size.
CURRY (on camera): Why do you think America is ready now to see what happened at Ground Zero that day?
OLIVER STONE, DIRECTOR: I think there is something to be said for facing the fears, facing, confronting it, demythologizing it.
CURRY: There was a lot of concern about you making this film because you do deal with politics, because you talk about conspiracy theories.
STONE: The movie is a simple, clean story of what happened that day. There are no politics in that movie; it‘s about what people do under pressure.
CURRY: It‘s the story of two Port Authority police officers, John McLoughlin and Will Jimeno, who ended up trapped in the rubble of the Twin Towers. The towers collapsed on the two men. But unlike so many others, they survived. Stone uses their story to shrink the overwhelming tragedy of September 11th to a scale small enough to understand.
STONE: These two men were at the epicenter of the collapse. To do this story was just to concentrate on the small man, like “Platoon,” the man in the field, the eyewitness.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mommy!
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hey, baby.
CURRY (voice-over): The movies also follows their wives that day, as they waited for word on what happened to their husbands.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is Daddy coming home?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don‘t know.
STONE: Each of these two wives comes to a place where they have to accept that their husband is dead or not going to be home. How do you tell your children? How do you live with it for the rest of your life?
CURRY: In an effort to recreate that horror, Stone, built a huge replica of the debris at Ground Zero. He flew in dozens of policemen and firemen who had been at the scene that day to make sure the details were accurate. And he would stuff the actors into impossibly tight spaces for hours at a time.
STONE: So it‘s no fun to do this kind of movie, and I can‘t say every workday was, you know—it was a merry dwarf whistling off to work. It was hard.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can still see the light.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
CURRY: The spirit of selflessness, dedication, and gratitude that existed among people on September 11th is exactly what Stone hoped to capture in the movie, “World Trade Center.”
STONE: It‘s a reminder of the essential behavior of people under duress, that there‘s goodness in these people. And you see it constantly emerge through that day, what the best in people do to each other to help each other.
CARLSON: Boy, it‘s sad. Do you really want to relive that? Well, if you want to, you can watch the movie for yourself. It premiers across the country next week.
Up next, Lindsay Lohan‘s public smackdown over her hard partying and horrible work ethic. Does this mean Hollywood is saying “enough is enough” with out-of-control stars? Probably not.
Before we go to break, though, a quick heads up to the residents of Lower Manhattan. If you happen to see this androgynous-looking man picking through your trash, don‘t be alarmed. Chances are it‘s ‘80s pop icon Boy George. The former Culture Club singer was sentenced to trash-picking duty after cops found cocaine is his Manhattan apartment last year. Now, we know we‘re still a few weeks away, but we could not resist showing you what it might look like when it actually happens. Good luck, Mr. George. We‘ll be watching.
CARLSON: Cuban President Fidel Castro has temporarily given presidential power to his brother, Raul, because of an illness. Castro underwent intestinal surgery today and will undergo a couple of weeks of recovery. He says the government transition is merely temporary. Castro will turn 80 in August. He has led Cuba since 1959.
On the phone now is Philip Brenner. He‘s an international relations and U.S. foreign policy professor at American University in Washington.
Professor Brenner, welcome. What does this mean that he‘s turned over power to his brother, Raul?
PHILIP BRENNER, AMERICAN UNIVERSITY: Well, it‘s likely that he‘s very sick. He‘s been ill before and hasn‘t turned over power to his brother. He‘s been incapacitated with broken bones or when he had a fall a few years ago, and there was one period where he wasn‘t seen in public for a month. But at no point in that time did he turn over the power to his brother, so this suggests he‘s very ill.
CARLSON: How much younger is Raul?
BRENNER: Four years younger.
CARLSON: Four years younger, so he‘s still an elderly man?
BRENNER: He‘s an elderly man. And what Raul, who is in charge of the military, would probably do would be prepare for a transition toward the next generation while he controlled the military.
CARLSON: Would it be a hereditary transition? Would Fidel‘s kids take over?
BRENNER: No, not at all. They‘re not political people. They have not been leaders. No, there were people in place who were running the economic ministry, the foreign ministry. That‘s who‘s likely to take over.
CARLSON: Well, speaking of transitions and plans for them, does the
United States government have a plan? I mean, if Fidel dies—and he will
presumably things will change dramatically there. What are we going to do in response?
BRENNER: The U.S. government does have a plan. A presidential commission released a plan a month and a half ago, but that plan is really a fantasy, because it assumes that the U.S. military would walk into Cuba and we would be showered with roses, similar to the way we felt would happen in Iraq. And it‘s a fancy. The Cuban people don‘t want Miami dictating to them what the future will be.
CARLSON: Well, we‘ll see about that, Professor Brenner. I guess we‘ll know when it happens. But what about—I mean, the embargo, I mean, is the obvious question. We have an embargo against Cuba. Are we going to keep it up once Fidel dies?
BRENNER: Well, the U.S. policy has long been waiting for Fidel to die. And you‘re exactly right: It‘s likely to end, but not in the near future, not if Raul Castro is in power. It will take the passing of the Castro brothers until the embargo ends.
CARLSON: All right. Professor Philip Brenner, American University, thanks a lot.
BRENNER: Thank you.
CARLSON: Well, from foreign policy to a very domestic story, actress Lindsay Lohan is back in the headlines and back on the set of her new movie, “Georgia Rule.” The actress is under fire after a Hollywood honcho sent her a letter blasting her for partying when she should have been working.
Quote, “You have acted like a spoiled child and, in so doing, have alienated many of your co-workers and endangered the quality of this picture. Moreover, your actions have resulted in hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage,” end quote. High drama.
Lindsay Lohan‘s mother, Dina, was on “Access Hollywood” tonight, defending her daughter. Here‘s what she said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DINA LOHAN, MOTHER OF LINDSAY LOHAN: I mean, OK, I mean, she‘s a human being, you know? She got, you know—there was a day where she was a little bit late, and they worked the schedule around her and it was fine.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: Yes, so what is going on with Lindsay? Joining me now from “Star” magazine, Jill Dobson.
Jill, how out of control is Lindsay Lohan? And, by the way, how old is Lindsay Lohan?
JILL DOBSON, “STAR” MAGAZINE: Lindsay is not yet 21. And yet, despite that, she is living the life of a 21-year-old. She‘s getting into all the L.A. clubs, and we think that‘s because, in L.A., being famous seems to be the most important thing of all, and these clubs love that she comes, because then they get their name in all the media and they get more publicity.
But Lindsay‘s mom seems to be in denial, and at the same time not exactly denying these allegations. She just kind of comes out and is complaining that people...
CARLSON: But, I mean, denying what? I mean, Lindsay Lohan likes to go out and get loaded, I guess, like a lot of 20-year-olds, but does she do it more than most? I mean, it is there the suggestion that she has a problem with drugs or alcohol?
DOBSON: I don‘t think there‘s been the suggestion that she is addicted, but there‘s certainly the suggestion that she‘s using—or that she‘s going out a lot, she‘s doing it to the point that she claims that she‘s exhausted on the set of her films, misses work. And as the producer on the movie, “Georgia Rule,” said, “We don‘t believe this is exhaustion. We think it‘s a result of all your partying, and we‘re going to take action against you if you don‘t start showing up to work on time.”
CARLSON: Has she done anything—and, you know, some of my back issues of “US Weekly” haven‘t arrived, so forgive my ignorance, but has she humiliated herself in public that we‘re aware of?
DOBSON: Well, first of all, it‘s the back issues of “Star” magazine.
CARLSON: Oh, right...
DOBSON: You should be reading, of course.
CARLSON: No, I keep current on that.
DOBSON: She‘s been out a lot. I mean, we have pictures of her every week at a different club with different guys. She‘s having her life. She‘s having a lot of fun. But at the same time, the producers on the various films she‘s working at are dealing with the consequences. She‘s been hospitalized several times when she was on the set of “Herbie: Fully Loaded,” last year‘s film. She was hospitalized for exhausted.
CARLSON: Let‘s be honest, Jill. If you had to hang around the set of “Herbie: Fully Loaded,” you‘d be loaded, too. Jill Dobson of the “Star” magazine, thank you.
We‘ll be right back with “Joe‘s Justice.”
CARLSON: Welcome back. It‘s time for tonight‘s “Joe‘s Justice.”
And we‘re asking for your help in solving unsolved crimes. Tonight in Phoenix, Arizona, 1.5 million people are locking themselves inside their homes because a serial killer is on the loose. Late last night, a 22-year-old woman, Robin Blasnik, was shot and killed while out walking near her home in Mesa, Arizona. Blasnik was found dead by a neighbor who heard a single gunshot about 11:15 p.m.
Now, Mesa and Phoenix police are comparing notes to determine if she was shot by the serial shooter. That suspect has been out on the streets of Phoenix since May 2005 and is believed responsible for 35 shootings. Five people have been murdered; 17 wounded. The killer works at night, also targeting horses and dogs.
Here with the very latest is Sergeant Andy Hill from the Phoenix police department and Pat Brown, criminal profiler and author of the book, “Killing for Sport.”
Welcome, both. Andy, do you see any significance in the killer targeting dogs and horses? What does that mean?
ANDY HILL, PHOENIX POLICE DEPARTMENT: Well, first of all, Tucker, we don‘t 1.5 million people locking themselves in their homes. We have a very proactive community that‘s out and calling us regularly, being very active with block watch groups.
The serial shooter case began with a series of shootings of animals, but that was last year. We really haven‘t had an animal shooting since January. That suspect or suspects in a series of possibly related shootings seem to be focusing on people, shooting from a vehicle, and we have no real suspect description yet, other than random victims, out alone at night, and no witnesses.
CARLSON: Well, how do you know it‘s the same guy?
HILL: Well, we have some forensic evidence that indicates that, and we haven‘t said it‘s the same guy. We haven‘t said that at all. It‘s the media that‘s been pushing that. What we‘ve said is there are a series of related shootings, we believe, possibly one suspect.
CARLSON: You hate to think more than one person in your area would be doing something like that, wouldn‘t you?
Pat, do you see a connection potentially between killing animals and shooting people?
PAT BROWN, CRIMINAL PROFILER: Well, Tucker, what happens with a lot of serial killers is they have—when they start getting into killing, they work on animals first because that‘s not such a bad crime and it‘s something you can play around with and see how it feels, because you‘re not actually killing people. You‘re just killing, you know, an animal, like a hunter.
So that‘s way you can target it, feel what it‘s like, practice, do your target shooting, and get your emotions under control. And when you decide that works pretty well and you get that going, then you might decide this isn‘t not enough fun, now I‘m going to move on.
It probably means the guy is a teenager, at least in his late teens, probably not somebody in his late twenties, that age range. I‘m guessing young in this crime. You start with the animals, and then you move on.
BROWN: So I‘m guessing late teens.
CARLSON: Sergeant Andy Hill, is there anything that we know about this killer beyond what sort of handgun he used, for instance? Do we have any other information about him or speculation, form of speculation about who this person might be?
HILL: Well, we have a few possible vehicle descriptions, and we have some minimal possible suspect descriptions. But there really, Tucker, isn‘t anything definitive, because—and, again, the M.O. is key here for us. We have a very connected M.O., in the terms of random victims, always alone, no witnesses, small sedan-type vehicle, maybe light colored, and nobody is really seeing anything. It‘s threatened a lot of communities around—not just in Phoenix, but it involves Mesa, and Scottsdale, and some other outlying areas, as well.
CARLSON: So there‘s basically nothing you can do to protect yourself from a killer like this?
HILL: Well, sure there is. You cannot be out alone between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 4:30 a.m. And if you are out, you need to be really be cautious and careful. If anybody sees suspicious vehicles, we need to have calls from people, and we‘ve gotten a tremendous amount of calls from the public. At some point, those will be fruitful for us, but for right now we need the help with the public to continue with those calls.
CARLSON: Pat Brown, finally, does it sound to you like these shootings are being committed by the same person?
BROWN: Well, likely we have a good portion of them being committed by the same person. It‘s hard to believe there‘s a whole bunch of people doing this. There could be a second person. But my guess is the major part of them are being done by one person.
And I think we want to take a look at if this person is using, like, a handgun, and he‘s a fairly young character, let‘s take a look, folks, out there at some young men who are really into maybe their video games where they‘ve been shooting people, maybe some paintball games where they‘ve experienced how it feels to do the shooting and practice at all these targets.
This is like an extension of that into real life. Take a look at the people you know. Are they in Mesa? Are they in Phoenix? Where are these people at that hours, between 10:00 and 4:00 and in the morning? Do you know somebody you could call to the police with that person?
CARLSON: All right. Sergeant Andy Hill, Pat Brown, thanks both very much.
That‘s all we have tonight. I‘m Tucker Carlson. Joe is back tomorrow night. We‘ll continue to monitor the situation out of Cuba. Have a great night.
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