Guest: Laura Schwartz, Kinky Friedman, Steve Adubato, Belinda Luscombe, Tom O‘Neil, Bex Schwartz, Katrina Szish
JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST: Right now in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, Cynthia McKinney booted from office but still number one in our hearts. She punched a cop, said 9/11 was an inside job, but today her campaign manager is blaming her loss on the white man, while McKinney is blaming machines. Meanwhile, the day after Lieberman‘s loss in Connecticut, Michael Moore tells Hillary and friends that their days are numbered. Plus, why is bashing Jesus good business in Hollywood? A new video trying to sell records by showing Jesus as a gambling, womanizing drug addict. Then a Gallup poll reveals TV‘s top hosts. Hold on for the shocking results that have put some of us in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY on edge.
Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. No passport required, only common sense allowed.
We‘re going have all of that straight ahead, but first—when the Grateful Dead saying that song that talked about, you know, what a long, strange trip it‘s been, well, they just had to be singing about that sweet retiring grand dame of Washington politics. Yes, friends, of course, I speak of Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney. Now, McKinney lost her seat in Congress four years ago, became an embarrassment to her district and her party when she claimed that George Bush knew about 9/11 on 9/10. But Lazarus returned from the political grave, getting reelected in 2004. Given one more chance to redeem herself, Madam McKinney once again chose to embarrass her constituents and her party, this time by punching a Capitol police officer who failed to recognize her eminence.
But last night, the sweet Georgia peach got squeezed by her Democratic Party opponent, losing by a whopping 18 points. And while her campaign manager blamed the defeat on white people, McKinney instead used her concession speech to blame the landslide loss on machines. Cuckoo!
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. CYNTHIA MCKINNEY (D), GEORGIA: Let the word go out, we aren‘t going to tolerate any more stolen elections!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: And to make sure voters remembered who they sent to Congress to do the people‘s business, McKinney‘s staffers tried to beat up members of the media not once but twice on election day, the first time as McKinney looked on from her car, the second time late last night.
Today all we have are scattered pictures and smiles she left behind. Godspeed, Cynthia McKinney. We will miss you, but we will always, always have our memories.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCKINNEY: This whole incident was instigated by the inappropriate touching and stopping of me, a female black congresswoman.
even begin to twist my words...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tell us what you said.
MCKINNEY: Whatever it is that I said is already on the tape. So you can replay the tape.
Anything that is captured by your audio, that is captured while I‘m not seated in this chair, is off the record and is not permissible to be used. Is that understood?
minimum wage with a baby on the way.
The news media didn‘t tell you about that because they wanted you to focus on my hair.
I am sorry that this misunderstanding happened at all, and I regret its escalation. And I apologize.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: Oh, that was touching, wasn‘t it, Michael? I miss her already. Right here. It hurts right here.
Now, while McKinney was getting trounced in Georgia—right here, it‘s a deep, deep penetrating pain, I think it‘s heartburn—the man who would have been vice president, Joe Lieberman, was beaten by unknown Ned Lamont in Connecticut. Lieberman‘s support for the war in Iraq hurt his campaign, but today it was Michael Moore who jumped in to take credit and declare an all-out war on Hillary, an all-out war on John Kerry and an all-out war on other Democrats who supported the war. Moore told these Democrats they were as good as doomed. Quote, “Lieberman and company made a colossal mistake, and we‘re going to make sure they pay for that mistake. Payback time started last night. To every senator and congressman who continues to back Bush‘s war, allow me to inform you that your days in office are now numbered.”
Here‘s Kinky Friedman, independent candidate for the governor of Texas, Laura Schwartz, former adviser to President Clinton, and Pat Buchanan, MSNBC political analyst.
Laura, I got to start with you because you know the Clintons worked for him. Do you think Hillary Clinton‘s quaking in her boots tonight that Michael Moore has declared that she‘s political toast?
LAURA SCHWARTZ, FORMER ADVISER TO PRESIDENT CLINTON: You know, I believe that the anti-war left, and right, for that matter, are whipped enough over this war, due to Bush‘s incompetence and the Republicans‘ rubber stamp in Congress, we don‘t need Michael Moore. Michael Moore should take a serious look at the Democratic Party and unite and walk forward with us, just like Joe Lieberman needs to do in Connecticut.
SCARBOROUGH: So is Hillary Clinton in trouble because she supported the war, like Lieberman, and still supports this war?
SCHWARTZ: No. I mean, she‘s explained her war vote time and time again. She...
SCARBOROUGH: And I still don‘t understand it, Pat Buchanan.
SCHWARTZ: She didn‘t side with President Bush, she sided with...
SCARBOROUGH: I mean, Joe Lieberman loses because he explains his war vote. Hillary Clinton is in power because she hasn‘t explained her war vote, right? I mean, is that the new politics of the Democratic Party?
PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Listen, Hillary is moving, Joe. She is moving. She‘s got three years. She‘s not up this year. But I‘ll tell you this. The emergence of Michael Moore is the best news Karl Rove has gotten since Patrick Fitzgerald gave him that clean bill of health.
SCARBOROUGH: That‘s good news! And Kinky Friedman, what do you think about Lieberman running as an independent? Most political talking heads would say the guy‘s going to win it. Is this the year of the independent in Connecticut and Texas?
KINKY FRIEDMAN, CANDIDATE FOR GOVERNOR OF TEXAS: I‘ll tell you, I agree with Pat. That‘s—I think these guys—I think these fringe groups have taken over the political parties, and here you are throwing out Lieberman after—I mean, he agrees with 90 percent of what they agree with, right? He‘s been around for 30 years, and now he‘s—you know, they get rid of him.
SCARBOROUGH: But this is good news for you, though, isn‘t it. You‘re going to have an independent...
FRIEDMAN: Oh, definitely.
SCARBOROUGH: ... in Connecticut winning. You‘ve got politicians on both sides getting more and more extreme, while you‘ve got probably 80 percent of Americans in the middle. So guys running for governor in states like Texas who don‘t have the first name Kinky probably have a pretty damn good chance of winning elections, right?
FRIEDMAN: It‘s looking better and better for the independents. Plus, the turn-out I think in Connecticut was—what was it, Joe? It was 50 percent more than they expected? And that‘s good. The bigger the turn-out, the better we‘re going to do.
SCARBOROUGH: Now, Laura Schwartz, I wrote yesterday on MSNBC.com that I believe that in off-year elections, the Democratic base would be more likely to go out and vote for somebody like Ned Lamont. I mean, that‘s how George Bush got elected in 2004. Karl Rove said, Forget everybody in the middle. We‘re going to play to our hard-core base. Is that what Democrats are going to do this year?
SCHWARTZ: I think so, Joe. I mean, we kind of proved that last night, didn‘t we, with Ned Lamont. I think the Democrats can appease the left by talking strongly and criticizing Bush‘s—you know, Joe Lieberman didn‘t criticize President Bush enough. And so when you look at, like, Hillary Clinton, who justified her war vote under false assurances and faulty evidence, she‘s been a consistent and persistent critic of President Bush. That‘s a big difference between Joe Lieberman. And I think you‘ll see that really rise up among all members of the Democrats, and the Republican Party, as well, in order for them to hang onto some seats come November.
SCARBOROUGH: Pat Buchanan, you know, your old boss, Richard Nixon, used to always talk about how when you were in the primaries, you went to your base, you went to your extremes. When you got to the general election, you ran to the middle. That‘s not the case anymore, is it. You look at 2004, Karl Rove tries to get hard-core conservatives voting for their man, said, Screw the center. Hillary Clinton is planning to do the same in 2008. Isn‘t that the best advice you can give Democrats this year, run liberal candidates, bring out your base, beat the Republican Party?
BUCHANAN: No, no. It‘s the best thing you can do in a Democratic primary in a blue state. What Lamont did was exactly right, energize that anti-war base. But I‘ll tell you this, Joe. In a general election, once you got the base energized, you got to get that last 5 or 6 percent. And those folks aren‘t the red-hots. They‘re the ones that vote against the opposition.
So I‘ll tell you, I‘m not sure about what you say there. And I‘ll tell you this, Joe Lieberman‘s not going to win this race, Joe. I‘ll tell you this, in three or four weeks, you watch—the polls show him down, the only way he can come back is start chopping and cutting Lamont. That‘s not Joe Lieberman‘s style.
SCARBOROUGH: Not at all.*
BUCHANAN: People are going to say, Hey, Joe Lieberman, what are you doing, Joe? Why are you cutting the guy down? What is the argument for Joe Lieberman? He‘s given up on the war issue, which is a big issue, so what is his argument, Joe? He doesn‘t have one.
SCARBOROUGH: Hey, Kinky, could the argument be that both parties are extreme, vote for the new independent?
FRIEDMAN: That could certainly be. I think the mood of the country is really, really independent. I mean, I think the winds of change are really blowing right now. And all the—the way I see Lieberman, he‘s very—he‘s pro-America, unashamedly, and he‘s pro-Israel. And these liberals are not.
FRIEDMAN: And that‘s the problem.
SCARBOROUGH: And you know, Kinky, as your buddy, Imus, says, his opponent is a pencil-necked geek.
SCARBOROUGH: Thanks so much, Kinky...
BUCHANAN: He‘s also a winner.
SCARBOROUGH: He‘s also a winner. He‘s a pencil-necked geek. Who won last night? Kinky Friedman, Laura Schwartz and Pat Buchanan, thanks so much for being with us.
Still ahead: a controversial new music video showed Jesus smoking, drinking and gambling. That sounds like my college friends. Why does trashing Jesus Christ sell records in Hollywood?
And Eisenhower said, “I shall go to Korea.” Now Lindsay Lohan declares it‘d be totally awesome if she could hang out in Iraq. Hey, GI Joe, looks like the pop tart‘s headed your way. Look out!
And up next: Who‘s the most hated person on TV? Here‘s a hint. She‘s replacing the second most hated person on TV! The results of a stunning new poll coming up.
SCARBOROUGH: The producers of “The View” may want to take a look at a new Gallup poll of who‘s hot and who‘s not on TV. Now, ABC brass showed Star Jones the door because they said was too unpopular with viewers. But the poll finds new co-host Rosie O‘Donnell actually has a higher unfavorable rating, 60 percent hating Rosie, compared to 45 percent just simply detesting Star Jones. And that‘s just one of the surprises from the poll.
Let‘s talk about it with “Time” magazine‘s Belinda Luscombe and also media analyst Steve Adubato. He‘s also the author of “Speak From the Heart.”
Steve, let‘s talk first about ABC‘s “The View.” I want to get in all the news people in a second. But “The View” is interesting because it looks like ABC, who had to know this, have selected somebody who is one of the least liked figures in broadcast TV. Why would Barbara Walters and ABC make that screw-up decision?
STEVE ADUBATO, MEDIA ANALYST: Look, Joe, I will tell you, as a media analyst, I don‘t try to name the network and name the problem, but this is an easy one. Here‘s what I mean. They blew it. Rosie O‘Donnell is a fun guest to have. I guess she used to have a great fun talk show a few years ago. She did a lot of bits. She had this whole thing going where she was apparently in love with Tom Cruise. That clearly appears not to be the case.
Now, here‘s my point. She‘s not a moderator. A moderator‘s job is to
make other people look good, to set up other people to have fun, to create
controversy. Rosie‘s perception, in the eyes of many, frankly, is that
she‘s a somewhat mean person. Whether she is or not, I don‘t know, and it
doesn‘t really matter. Perception is she‘s not a lot of fun. She doesn‘t
laugh at herself. She‘s mean-spirited. I don‘t know how the heck she
replaces Meredith Vieira, who in this particular poll, Joe, had a very high
very high likability factor. I think they blew it.
SCARBOROUGH: And of course, as Henry Kissinger said back in 1971, when it comes to daytime TV, perception is reality.
ADUBATO: It is.
SCARBOROUGH: Or was that about politics? Belinda, what did you take out from the poll?
BELINDA LUSCOMBE, “TIME” MAGAZINE ARTS EDITOR: Well, first I took out that people just don‘t like brunettes on TV. I don‘t know what it is. Except perhaps for you, Joe.
SCARBOROUGH: And you. That‘s a great (INAUDIBLE)
LUSCOMBE: Yes. Thanks.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, what—so what do you do with Katie Couric, who‘s sometimes a brunette, sometimes a blonde?
LUSCOMBE: Yes. I think, you know, Katie Couric—the point is, you don‘t have to have likability to be on TV. I think, you know, reality shows have shown us that people will tune in to see people they despise doing things they don‘t like. People like to watch people they don‘t like on TV. There‘s a dozen talk show hosts—not you, of course, Joe—but a dozen talk show hosts that make this quite plain, that, you know, it‘s actually more fun to see people doing hateful things. And I think, you know, that might work for “The View.”
ADUBATO: (INAUDIBLE) not on “The View.”
SCARBOROUGH: Yes, not on “The View.”
ADUBATO: (INAUDIBLE) different.
SCARBOROUGH: That‘s more of a (INAUDIBLE) But let‘s talk about CBS.
I think the most fascinating part of this poll had to do with what CBS did. And they could have saved themselves a whole bunch of money. Current anchor Bob Schieffer has an 85 percent favorable rating—that is amazingly high ...
ADUBATO: Yes, it is.
SCARBOROUGH: ... compared to new anchor Katie Couric, 72 percent. And Schieffer‘s unfavorables are so low that, Steve, this guy not only is one of the most likable newscasters, but he certainly has long been one of the most trusted. So you trade in Bob Schieffer for Katie Couric?
ADUBATO: Well, I‘ll tell you about—I‘ll tell you, this is my problem with the poll here, Joe. Bob Schieffer, a class act in our industry. Frankly, if all of us were as good as Schieffer, media would be better off, broadcast would be better off.
But here‘s the problem. Schieffer has a very low negative rating, actually lower than Katie Couric‘s, but frankly, what the poll doesn‘t measure is how interesting people think you are. The fact is people—many people—CBS is counting on this—perceive Katie Couric to be if not a more likable person than Bob, she—then a more interesting person. And that‘s what the poll doesn‘t show. Are people going to come in night after night and watch you?
And obviously, Joe, if that were the case at CBS and they were making money hand over fist, Bob Schieffer would not have been dumped, if you will, for Katie Couric. So that‘s what they‘re counting on. Even if she‘s not as, quote, “likable,” she‘s more interesting to watch.
SCARBOROUGH: And Belinda, I guess that‘s what you‘re saying. What applies to “The View” also applies to “The CBS Evening News.” And just because Schieffer is well liked, respected, and just an icon in the news industry, right now, in the current environment, if Katie Couric‘s more interesting and draws more eyes, even if she‘s less liked, less respected, that means ratings and dollars for CBS.
LUSCOMBE: Absolutely. I mean, I think Schieffer has a bit of the “that guy” syndrome. You know, I don‘t—I‘m not exactly sure who that guy is, but I‘m sure that he‘s a great guy. He‘s a great-looking guy. He seems really trustworthy.
Also, you know, the networks really need at the moment to attract younger viewers, and Bob Schieffer just isn‘t going to bring that. He isn‘t going to bring—he looks like—he looks like your—your grandpa, and you don‘t want to hate him because it‘s not right to hate your grandpa. But you—but you—you know, you want (INAUDIBLE) younger people to tune in.
ADUBATO: But Belinda, I have to add this. I agree only to an extent with what you‘re saying. You have to be likable enough. And again, I wish Rosie O‘Donnell all the best. Obviously, if her other career were going as well as she would like it to on Broadway and in the movies, she wouldn‘t be doing this. But the fact is this. You have to like her enough. I‘m not sure people like Rosie enough to go back night after night—excuse me—day after day, like they like Meredith Vieira. I don‘t see it.
SCARBOROUGH: All right, Steve, thank you. Thank you so much, Belinda.
And let me just say this about Bob Schieffer. When Bob Schieffer took over “CBS Evening News,” it was dead last, and he turned the ratings around over there. Schieffer not only did a great job on “The Evening News,” Schieffer also continues to do a great job on “Face the Nation.” Those ratings continue to go up. So again, I don‘t understand it, but then again, I‘m not in charge of CBS. The guy who is, is very rich and very smart. I‘m sure he knew what he was doing.
Now, the fact that my dear friend Oprah and I were not included on the list didn‘t go over so well in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. Scarborough! Mr. Scarborough! How do you feel about not being on (INAUDIBLE) top personality list?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The congressman is not answering...
SCARBOROUGH: Hold on. Hold on. Hold on. Hold on.
SCARBOROUGH: Hold on! Hold on and I‘ll tell you. You want me to tell you about this (DELETED) list of his? I‘ll tell you about the (DELETED) list. (DELETED) I‘m thinking about making up my own (DELETED)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it‘d be brilliant.
SCARBOROUGH: The list of people whose (DELETED) I‘m going to kick!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You‘re a genius.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: Did I say that on TV? Several times? I don‘t know what came over me. I should have been on the list!
Coming up, a five-finger discount for the whole family when mom and kids are caught on camera shoplifting next in tonight‘s “Must See S.C.” And later, KISS rocker Gene Simmons opens up about life, sex and Mel Gibson. That‘s when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns.
SCARBOROUGH: (INAUDIBLE) tonight‘s “Must See S.C.,” video you just got to see. First up, Topeka, Kansas, where wrecking crews took down this 68-year-old bridge in a controlled implosion. (INAUDIBLE) people crowded around to watch the demolition were supposed to be safe from the flying debris, but it wasn‘t so controlled because two onlookers were nailed by flying trash. Fortunately, they were able to walk away with only minor injuries.
Next up: You know what they say, a family that steals together stays together. Well, this surveillance video out of New Hampshire shows a family working as a team to rob a jewelry store. Police say the mother and grandmother directed the two young children you‘re seeing now to pocket more than $2,000 worth of jewelry. The family is still on the loose, but police say they‘re close to tracking them down.
Coming up next, Suri Cruise ready for her close-up. “Vanity Fair” dumps millions of smackeroos to get a picture of Tomkat‘s baby. And next, a new music video that would make Madonna blush. Why trashing Jesus is becoming big business in Hollywood.
SCARBOROUGH: And coming up on SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, is it finally proven that is Suri Cruise is alive? We‘ve got new baby pix on the way.
Plus, rock stars don‘t retire. They don‘t fate away. They just get reality TV shows. Kiss‘s Gene Simmons goes one on one with Rita Cosby to talk about his.
Welcome back to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. We‘re going to be talking about those stories in minutes, but first the rock band Everclear has a new video out called, “Hater.” It shows Jesus smoking, drinking and driving, looking at online porn, gambling, and having an orgy, and doing squat thrusts with a cross.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: Now, the band‘s lead singer, Art Alexakis, says he‘s a devout Christian, but members of the flock aren‘t amused. Now, predictably, the video is generating a lot of controversy, but of course this isn‘t the first time a musician has done something like this.
It started with John Lennon in 1966 when he said the Beatles were bigger than Christ. That didn‘t go over so well. Or Madonna‘s “Like a Prayer” music video back in 1989. Christians were offended by that, too, and, of course, Madonna continues to offend Christians.
With us now, Flavia Colgan, an MSNBC analyst and a graduate of Harvard Divinity School. We have Bex Schwartz. She‘s a pop commentator for VH-1. We also have Tom O‘Neil from “In Touch Weekly.”
Flavia, just when you think you‘ve seen it all, just when you think the shock factor has been played out, you‘ve got Madonna mounting a cross by the Vatican, and then you‘ve got Everclear, a rock band that my kids like a lot, defaming Jesus‘ name, painting him as a drunk, an online porn addict.
What‘s going on here?
FLAVIA COLGAN, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: This video is so offensive, Joe, I mean, it has Jesus Christ rolling a joint from the Bible. And you know what? This just shows that there is a constant anti-Christian bigotry going on, because if this was a video about Muhammad, people would be in the streets lighting fire to stuff. And “The New York Times” and every newspaper would be reporting on it.
But you know what? Because it‘s Christianity, you‘re probably the only show that‘s going to do something on it. And, you know, as a Catholic, I find it offensive, but we‘ve dealt with this far worse for thousands of years, so I‘m sure we‘ll survive.
And this is just a pathetic attempt by a has-been rocker, unfortunately, to use this type of vile thing to make money and then to try to inoculate himself, like you said, “Oh, I shouldn‘t be criticized because I happen to be a practicing Christian, and I‘m trying to make some deep philosophical point.”
Well, clearly I‘m not deep enough, because I watched the video and all I saw was a bunch of garbage.
SCARBOROUGH: I don‘t get it. Tom O‘Neil, of course, it‘s not just Everclear. It‘s also Madonna. We talked about “Like a Prayer” in 1989, Pepsi, sorry. They endorsed that video. But moving forward, Madonna even now is mounting these huge crosses across Europe and even right by the Vatican. Why does this stuff sell?
TOM O‘NEIL, “IN TOUCH WEEKLY”: Well, let‘s argue in favor of it for a second here. There is a context for Madonna getting on that cross. Behind her are pictures of children from Africa being shown. In the audience, she‘s passing the hat trying to raise $3 million to open an orphanage in Africa. Here point is, she is singing the voice of the victims of AIDS in Africa. That‘s her message. And when you look at the whole thing, it‘s legitimate. Now, in the case of this Everclear...
SCARBOROUGH: So why does she mount a cross for that, though? I mean, you can‘t even show pictures of Muhammad on cartoons, but yet Madonna gets a free pass for pretending she‘s Jesus Christ.
O‘NEIL: She‘s not pretending she‘s Jesus Christ. Well, in a way she is, but what she‘s doing is, behind her, remember, are all of these pictures of these children from Africa, the orphans who are suffering from AIDS, and she is speaking their voice. What‘s behind that cross is a whole video display of these children, and she‘s trying to raise money for an orphanage.
SCARBOROUGH: Bex Schwartz, it wasn‘t too long ago that Everclear was one of the top bands in America, a very hot band with Capitol Records. Do you think this is a move by a desperate band to grab headlines or...
BEX SCHWARTZ, VH-1: No, I totally don‘t think it‘s desperate at all. I think it‘s an awesome, awesome, awesome video. When was the last time we were actually buzzing about a video? Now they‘re all about girls and cars. This one actually—it‘s art. It‘s provoking. It‘s making people think. I think it‘s totally wonderful. And good for them for taking on the hypocrisy of religion.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, how does that take on the hypocrisy of religion, having Jesus rolling joints with scripture?
SCHWARTZ: Because he‘s dedicated the video to Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, and it‘s all about the hypocrisy, you know, of saying, “I‘m a good Christian, and I follow the Ten Commandments,” but it‘s only to kill...
COLGAN: Well, fine, but you know what? Bex, here‘s where your argument breaks down. If he did a video about Jerry Falwell with gay Teletubbies, I‘d be with him, but the point is he‘s using Jesus Christ. And Jesus Christ was all about love, and tolerance, and inclusiveness. So him making it seem like Jesus Christ...
SCHWARTZ: ... it‘s not Jesus, but it‘s just a guy wearing a crown of thorns. I mean, are you implying your perception that it is Jesus? It‘s just...
COLGAN: Oh, I‘m sure everyone looking at MySpace is getting this, you know, confused message. I doubt that that‘s what people are taking from it.
I do think you bring up one interesting point that I think—I watched your show on Friday night, Joe, and you had a great segment with Brent Bozell, who I think is out to lunch, and he was basically trying to make this moral equivalency argument between what Mel Gibson did and stuff like this.
And I do want to say there is a very big difference between what people do for artistic reasons and the type of hate-filled words that Mel Gibson spewed when he was in a drunk tirade. And so I do think that we have to separate—you know, I think Roman Polanski is a child molester because he hooked up with a 13-year-old, but I still think “Chinatown” is a good movie, if you see where I‘m going with that.
SCARBOROUGH: Tom O‘Neil—and I do, Flavia—Tom O‘Neil, in the end, though, provoking Americans...
SCARBOROUGH: ... even if it stuns millions and millions of Christians who find this video deeply offensive, this is a kick start for Everclear, isn‘t it? I mean, shocking still works in rock ‘n‘ roll, what, how many years are we, 60 years after “Rock Around the Clock”?
O‘NEIL: Yes, but, Joe, what everyone is missing here is this guy is not just a Christian. He is a devout Christian. And the message of this is a devoutly Christian message. He‘s saying that, if you find so offensive and impossible to believe that Jesus would do these things, then you, if you‘re a devout Christian, do these things, then you‘re a hypocrite. He says this isn‘t Jesus in this video; it‘s the anti-Jesus. And you know what? That‘s a legitimate message, I think, to take.
COLGAN: If he‘s a devout Christian, he‘s going against the very principles of the Judeo-Christian framework, which is you shouldn‘t use God‘s name in vain. Not to be technical about it, but he‘s using Jesus to basically make a lot of money and create a lot of buzz...
O‘NEIL: It‘s not in vain at all. His message is very positive.
COLGAN: Well, I guess I missed it then. I think there‘s a lot better ways to portray hate and that message than what he did in the video. And I agree with you, Tom, that Madonna‘s thing is a little bit different, because she is trying to raise awareness, but I thought that this video was just ridiculous.
SCARBOROUGH: I think you can raise awareness without raising yourself on a cross right by the Vatican. That‘s just me. I don‘t know.
Bex, talk about the buzz that is surrounding this video, though. I asked Tom whether controversy still sold in rock music. I said 60 years—
I‘m from Alabama. I‘m not too good in math. It‘s actually 50 years since ‘55 and “Rock Around the Clock.” But it‘s working, isn‘t it? There‘s a buzz about this video, whether it‘s on VH-1, MTV, or MySpace.
SCHWARTZ: There is a huge buzz. There‘s no such thing as bad publicity. Also, if you go to MySpace/HaterJesus, which is the video‘s Web page, HaterJesus has like 8 million friends, so clearly they‘re doing something right.
SCARBOROUGH: And why is that, Tom?
O‘NEIL: What‘s the question? I‘m sorry, Joe.
SCARBOROUGH: No, I mean, why is that? Are we just so predictable that, if you shock us, we can‘t avert our eyes and may go out and buy your CD?
O‘NEIL: I think we‘re all being a little too sensitive here. Like last night, you had a guest on all upset about “Talladega Nights,” the Will Ferrell movie, and he was talking about the scene at the dinner table where they‘re, he said, making fun of the Baby Jesus. They weren‘t making fun of the Baby Jesus.
He isn‘t mocking Jesus in this video. Madonna isn‘t mocking Jesus in that video. What they‘re doing is they‘re turning things back, using irony, in the case of “Talladega Nights,” what they‘re thanking everyone for at that dinner table isn‘t the love of each other, isn‘t the bounty of this food. They‘re thanking them for KFC chicken and Taco Bell. That‘s hilarious.
SCARBOROUGH: OK. And obviously millions and millions of people agree.
COLGAN: Here‘s the point, Joe. You and I both know, if this were Muhammad, Joe, you and I both know, if this were Muhammad, this would not be—you know, this would be getting a lot more coverage than just you doing this segment on it. People would be outraged. And that‘s the point.
SCARBOROUGH: No doubt about it, and you‘re exactly right, Flavia. The “New York Times” would be writing scathing editorials. It‘s just a double standard.
But anyway, thanks, Flavia, thanks, Bex, and always thank you, Tom O‘Neil. We appreciate you being with us.
Now, coming up next, it‘s a hard rock life for Gene Simmons. From his new reality show to thousands of female fans, the Kiss star is in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, next.
And later, a Hollyweird wedding for Jennifer Aniston with my main man, Vince Vaughn.
SCARBOROUGH: You know, I have long been known as the talk show host with a giant tongue, but Gene Simmons is the rocker with a giant tongue, Kiss bassist Gene Simmons, that is. And he‘s got a new reality show under his belt. It‘s called “Gene Simmons‘ Family Jewels,” and it‘s going to be on A&E, featuring the classic rocker dad uncensored in the comforts of his own home.
Now, MSNBC‘s Rita Cosby sat down with Simmons and his longtime girlfriend and mother of their children, Shannon Tweed. And true to character, Gene had no problem candidly opening up about in front of the cameras, about marriage, and about Mel Gibson‘s meltdown.
SHANNON TWEED, MODEL: Today‘s my birthday. You get to be me for the day. OK, so here‘s what you have to do. Here‘s your list.
GENE SIMMONS, KISS BASSIST: Got to do the chores, vacuum. What a stupid birthday.
RITA COSBY, HOST: Again, how did it feel, Gene, now to have another hit?
SIMMONS: It doesn‘t suck.
COSBY: Gene, you are one of the most successful entertainers ever. You‘re also quite controversial. How does it feel to let the cameras into your personal life?
SIMMONS: Well, I have to tell you that, being an only child, I‘ve often craved attention. You‘re willing to jump on a coffee table and tap dance and do whatever has—or stick out your tongue, whatever it is, just to say, “Look at me. Don‘t ignore me.” Having said that, I have to say, in all honesty, that Shannon and our midgets, as we call them, Sophie and Nick, were not all that crazy about doing the show.
COSBY: Here you are, this guy. Everybody knows you‘re, you know, the tongue, the makeup, but yet you‘re a pretty disciplined dad. You‘re also coaching your son to get into the rock business. Is that what makes it interesting, there‘s two sides to Gene Simmons?
SIMMONS: No, I think it‘s one side. Say what you mean, mean what you say. And that is: No nonsense. Whether I get up on stage, it‘s a take-no-prisoners attitude, or whether I‘m at home with everybody, the rules are really simple. I‘ve never been high or drunk in my life and don‘t smoke. Those are the same rules for everybody. Shannon daily is the keeper of the household, literally. She goes to school every single day and serves lunch to a thousand kids.
TWEED: I was a lunch lady. I moved up to PTA president now.
COSBY: It‘s amazing, because looking at you guys, you know, you are obviously great parents, as well. You know, one of the things, Shannon, you guys have been together, what, 23 years. You threw him, what, a surprise wedding?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It‘s an honor and a pleasure, after over 20 years of...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... for you to finally get married to Shannon.
COSBY: Do you want to be married to him? Does it bother you? Does it bother you you‘re not married yet?
TWEED: You know what? You be quiet. It kind of bothers me, because I was brought up traditionally. You know, the Disney movies, and the prince came and carried her off, and they got married and lived happily ever after. I mean, two out of three ain‘t bad. But I should be able to get married and divorced like every ever married woman.
SIMMONS: You know, that is a point. And that is that I believe in the Catholic notion that, if you take an oath in front of God, and your loved ones, and everybody else, you should be held liable.
COSBY: There have been reports that, what, you‘ve been 4,700 women.
Is that true?
COSBY: How do you know? Do you keep track? Do you keep a list?
SIMMONS: There are photos, and Shannon has seen those photos.
COSBY: And, Shannon, you look at these pictures, what do you say?
And you‘re still with this guy.
TWEED: You know what? He didn‘t always have good taste, I must say.
COSBY: Do you have a current girlfriend now?
COSBY: Other than the beautiful woman you‘re next to?
TWEED: Are you on crack?
SIMMONS: Well, you know, conceptually speaking...
TWEED: No, he doesn‘t. He‘s be missing a limb if he did.
SIMMONS: All the women who have ever lived and ever will be are my girlfriends. I love all women. Any guy that tells me he doesn‘t love all women is a liar.
COSBY: And, Shannon, what is it? You‘re a beautiful woman. What is it about Gene Simmons that you stay with him all these years?
TWEED: I have no idea. I have no—let me see that tongue again—
I don‘t know.
COSBY: Gene, how did the tongue thing start? How did that all happen?
SIMMONS: The god‘s honest truth is that I was in the seventh grade, and there was a girl in front of me whose name was Stella. I‘d always get in trouble because she‘d turn around and say, “Do that silly thing that you do with your tongue.” And every time I‘d stick it out, you‘d hear the girls around here—because they‘d all be watching—they‘d sound like turkeys about to led to a slaughter. You know, like this? They‘d all sound like, you know, they were about to be slaughtered. And I couldn‘t figure it out. And then once I figured it out, all the power on Planet Earth is mine, yes.
COSBY: On a much more serious note, lately a lot of people, especially Jewish people, have been very disgusted by what Mel Gibson said. What did you think?
SIMMONS: Well, Mel Gibson, first and foremost, you have to say is a very talented filmmaker, and he happens to be born with the right genes. However, for the record, his father‘s come out, not only with anti-Semitic diatribes, but is also very anti-Catholic. He‘s condemned the church and the Pope in particular and disavowed that the Holocaust happened under the German Nazis of World War II.
Having said that, Mel Gibson has never distanced himself from his father, who hopefully is on crack, because then you‘d have a reason for that. So I think it‘s fair to say that Mel Gibson—and I‘m told by people who drink—that, when you get drunk, it brings down the censors. I think it‘s fair to say from Mel Gibson‘s own mouth that he‘s a very talented filmmaker who‘s a bigot, anti-Semite and anti-Catholic. I think that‘s fairly accurate.
COSBY: So you think this is what he‘s been all along and now it just came out?
SIMMONS: It‘s a good thing, because you and I are talking about it on television and the conversation is happening.
TWEED: Alcohol, the truth serum.
TWEED: I think you don‘t—you say what you mean. You just didn‘t mean to say it.
SIMMONS: Patrick Swayze is on crack if he believe that Mel Gibson was just—oh, he was just saying those things, the alcohol talking. That‘s actually incorrect. Alcohol is you talking without the censors.
COSBY: I want to end on a fun note. Here you are, you know, you‘re in front of an international audience. Is this the right time to propose finally and make it right to Shannon? Or to me, Gene, whichever one you want to do. I‘ll give you a choice.
SIMMONS: You know, I‘ve...
TWEED: We‘ve actually secretly been married for 30 years.
SIMMONS: Oh, that‘s not true! You know, I‘ve often suspected there‘s a conspiracy of women. You know, before the guy gets up, “OK, let‘s go, and we‘ll set him up, and the last question is going to be, when are you going to get married?” You are all witches, and you‘re all designed to torture us.
You know, I can imagine myself six feet underground and all of you women will be talking even then. “When you were alive, you could have”—shut up! I‘m dead! Let the worms eat me. Give me some peace. That goes for you, too, Cosby.
COSBY: Gene Simmons, we love you. Obviously, 4,700 women love you.
And I love you, too. Thank you so much.
SCARBOROUGH: Forty seven hundred and one women.
Chris, let‘s go to—Chris, how exactly does one keep up with 4,700 women? Being with 4,700 women, it‘s like a clicker?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: John, I hope my wife is watching. I wouldn‘t know.
SCARBOROUGH: Exactly. That is the correct answer from the very married E.P. Chris Lee (ph). Thanks so much.
Now, coming up next, the long wait can soon be over. Suri Cruise‘s baby photos finally on the way? Some are asking what went wrong, and what happened? Why did it take so long? And of course, we‘re also talking about Lindsay Lohan going to Iraq. Whew, thank God.
SCARBOROUGH: Time to take a trip to Hollyweird. First up, the breakup leads to an engagement. “US Weekly” breaking the news Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn engaged. To give us the details, from “US Weekly,” Katrina Szish, and senior editor of “In Touch Weekly” Tom O‘Neil.
So she loses Brad, but she gets Vince Vaughn. Is she trading down?
What‘s the deal here? What‘s the story?
KATRINA SZISH, “US WEEKLY”: She went from the ultimate Hollywood guy to the closest-to-real guy in Hollywood you could possibly get. She‘s going opposite spectrum here. She went from a very public relationship to a very private relationship. She still hasn‘t admitted that she and Vince are an item; however, they are now engaged.
SCARBOROUGH: They‘re going to get engaged. So where...
SZISH: They are engaged.
SCARBOROUGH: ... where did this start?
SZISH: The relationship started on the set of their film in Chicago, and it really progressed from there. And that‘s why a lot of people say, “You know what? This is a rebound relationship. She didn‘t date anybody else.” And that‘s true. But if it works, it works. So we like to think she finally found the one.
SCARBOROUGH: So we‘ve got to ask you this question. I had a friend of mine ask, how are you, Jennifer Aniston, you go from having this hunk, Brad Pitt, to having a very normal-looking guy, who I think is one of the funniest guys out there...
SZISH: People say the hunk to the chunk.
SCARBOROUGH: The hunk to the chunk. As a woman, do you prefer the hunk or the chunk, if you‘re Jennifer Aniston?
SZISH: I think you prefer the chunk, because the chunk is going to love you no matter what.
SZISH: You like that? Classic.
SCARBOROUGH: That is so desperate, so desperate, if you‘re—and, Tom O‘Neil, if you‘re...
SZISH: He is a real guy.
SCARBOROUGH: He is a real guy, and he‘s a funny guy.
SZISH: And he‘s a nice guy. Not that Brad isn‘t, but it‘s just different.
SCARBOROUGH: Tom, it sounds like Katrina‘s saying he‘s got a good personality. But it works for her, right?
O‘NEIL: Yes. I think she kind of wants this regular, grounded guy now. The idea is they may even move to Chicago, which is where he‘s from. His family still is there. That may be where they get married.
But let‘s talk about this engagement. This is the engagement, non-engagement mystery that‘s been going on for some time now. “US Weekly” is in a little bit of trouble, actually, because the editor went on “The Today Show” this morning and announced this, and then a publicist denied it. But the publicist denies everything, so you can‘t trust what he has to say.
We believe that they were actually engaged two months ago, when Vince gave her that nine-karat canary diamond rock on her fist. If that‘s not an engagement ring, I don‘t know what it is.
SCARBOROUGH: And let‘s talk about—let‘s move from that to trooper Lindsay Lohan. The teen queen is telling “Elle” magazine she wants to go to Iraq with Senator Hillary Clinton and perform for the troops.
Tom, what‘s the deal here? Is it kind of like Eisenhower saying, “I shall go to Korea”?
O‘NEIL: Yes, this is a girl who cannot resolve her battle with Paris Hilton, she‘s going to go into a war zone? You know, she better be careful. There are a lot of terrorists over there. If any one of them has seen “Herbie: Fully Loaded,” she could be in big trouble.
What she wants to do is draw this parallel between herself and Marilyn Monroe, who was famous, of course, for entertaining the troops in Korea, especially during her marriage days to Joe DiMaggio. And that‘s a glamorous kind of sacred Hollywood memory. And Lindsay thinks she actually fits into that legend. That‘s ridiculous, but she thinks so.
SCARBOROUGH: It is ridiculous.
You know, Katrina, I saw her—the first time I ever saw her in an interview was “Mean Girls,” Tina Fey‘s great movie.
SZISH: Great film.
SCARBOROUGH: And I thought, “Hey, this girl has a future.” But she has just unraveled slowly but surely.
SCARBOROUGH: Is she trying to be—of course, there was the picture of her on the cover of “W” with Meryl Streep.
SZISH: Meryl Streep.
SCARBOROUGH: Talk about good positioning. And now this Iraq thing. Is she trying to make people forget all the problems that she‘s had, trying to be serious?
SZISH: I think Lindsay‘s had a rough road growing up. She wants to be the party girl, she wants to be the serious actress, and I think this Iraq statement is something that is part of that move towards growing up, move towards being serious. “I‘m not a party girl. I‘m serious, and I can do things like Angelina Jolie can, and Madonna can, and I‘m not just a Paris Hilton former best friend.”
SCARBOROUGH: And quickly, our thoughts and prayers with Robin Williams tonight. He has checked himself back into rehab.
SCARBOROUGH: I mean, nothing serious happened. He‘s doing it to be preventive. Talk about that real quickly.
SZISH: Yes, he was sober for the past 20 years, and he recently started drinking again. And just for his own protection, for his own peace of mind, he checked himself into rehab, which, as we know with the situation with Mel Gibson, is definitely good to be proactive.
SCARBOROUGH: And who knows, Tom O‘Neil, that could have been a wake-up call for him, right?
O‘NEIL: I think it was a big wake-up call. He doesn‘t want to be outed now. And the timing of this is very good for him. His movie, “The Night Listener,” is out in theaters right now. It got very good reviews. His next two movies open in October and November, so he‘s got two months now to look after personal business because the tabloids do it for him.
SCARBOROUGH: Yes, no doubt about it. Finally, very quickly, 15 seconds, Suri Cruise. Is there a Suri or not? Are there photos or not?
SZISH: We believe there is a Suri, and we‘re hearing that the photos will debut in “Vanity Fair,” taken by Annie Leibovitz. And if you‘re going to introduce your new baby in a family portrait to the world, this is the way to do it.
SCARBOROUGH: Yes, I was thinking about calling her to have my baby‘s pictures taken.
SZISH: I‘m actually on the list first.
SCARBOROUGH: Are you really?
SZISH: But I don‘t even have a baby.
SCARBOROUGH: But I didn‘t have like the $80 million required to get Annie down to Pensacola, Florida.
SZISH: Yes, no problem.
SCARBOROUGH: I know. Thanks a lot, Katrina, as always. Greatly appreciate it.
SZISH: Thanks, Joe.
SCARBOROUGH: Thank you so much, Tom. That‘s all the time we have for tonight. “LOCK UP: THE CRIMINAL MIND” starts right now.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
Copy: Content and programming copyright 2006 MSNBC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Transcription Copyright 2006 Voxant, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No license is granted to the user of this material other than for research. User may not reproduce or redistribute the material except for user‘s personal or internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may infringe upon MSNBC and Voxant, Inc.‘s copyright or other proprietary rights or interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of litigation.