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'Scarborough Country' for Nov. 20

Read the transcript to the Monday show

Guests: Michael Crowley, Terry Holt, Matthew Felling, Bob Kohn, Ashlan Gorse, Tom O‘Neil

JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST:  Memo to the president: You cannot win this war.  (INAUDIBLE) message on Iraq from none other than Henry the K.  Mr.  Kissinger, the same man who spent the last two years counseling Mssrs. Bush and Cheney on how to avoid another Vietnam, that same foreign policy icon who oversaw America‘s first defeat in war, has now concluded the United States military is headed towards its second.  The Iraq war is a lost cause, Kissinger believes, and he is part of an every expanding majority.

But if most of America has given up on Mr. Bush‘s war, will they embrace one of the incoming Democratic majority‘s most powerful chairmen and his proposal to push a military draft?  And how will this White House react to the stunning reality that if this war is to have a reasonably sane ending, it will be because empowered (ph) terror states like Iran and Syria will be asked to step in to keep the peace.  What a long, tortured path we‘ve taken since being too arrogant to allow France and Germany in on the spoils of reconstruction in 2003.  Ah, those were the halcyon days, weren‘t they?

To answer those questions, let‘s bring in former executive producer of NBC‘s “The West Wing” Lawrence O‘Donnell.  He‘s of course, a frequent contributor to the  Also Michael Crowley, senior editor for “The New Republic,” and Republican strategist Terry Holt.

Lawrence, let me begin with you.  Kissinger says it‘s over.  Is the White House finally listening?

LAWRENCE O‘DONNELL, POLITICAL ANALYST:  Well, they have to listen.  They have to hear it.  But there‘s really nothing much they can do about it.  Now, Kissinger says it is a hopeless exercise now, we can‘t win it by any definition of winning that we might come up with.  But he then says, in pure Kissingerian form, we must not leave.  This was his Vietnam calculation, that we must not leave.

And so now you‘re left with the princes of foreign policy on the Republican side of the world acknowledging that it‘s unwinnable, that there‘s no real achievement for us to get there, but of course, we must stay because if we leave, it will become unstable and it will be become a disaster, much like what they said about Vietnam, which the president of the United States—the second president of the United States in a row has just finished visiting as the completely stable country that it is today.

So the Kissinger doctrine in place now is, It‘s unwinnable, but we must stay, which is a horrible message to give to the American troops over there, to say, You‘re not going to win anything, but we‘re going to leave you there and an undetermined number of you are going to die in this exercise that you will not win, and at a certain point, when we feel enough face has been saved, we will remove ourselves from that exercise.

SCARBOROUGH:  But Michael Crowley, I mean, is this president going to be able to remain in denial, or will this Kissinger confession finally change his outlook?

MICHAEL CROWLEY, “THE NEW REPUBLIC”:  I think he can‘t be in denial anymore.  I don‘t think people are buying denial anymore, and I think people like Kissinger are making it impossible for him to be in denial.  I mean, the state of denial, so to speak, is finally coming to an end.

SCARBOROUGH:  But what about Kissinger‘s statement, We can‘t win the war, but we‘ve got to stay there?

CROWLEY:  Well, I mean it‘s just incredibly—it‘s horrifying, first of all, that we‘re hearing this right after the election.  I mean, it was clear that the election was something of a referendum on Iraq, and all these people are sort of coming forward now to say all these new and interesting things about the war that they presumably had been able to determine a handful of weeks ago.

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, you fire Rumsfeld the day after the election results come in, and now you have Henry Kissinger, the guy that‘s trying to prevent another Vietnam, coming out saying it‘s an unwinnable war but we have to stay there.  What if you were a father or a mother or a husband or a wife with a loved one over in Iraq, and you‘ve got military—or you‘ve got political leaders saying, We can‘t win this war, but we‘re going to stay there anyway?

CROWLEY:  Well, Joe, the amazing thing is—you know, that famous line of John Kerry from the end of the Vietnam war, “How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?”


CROWLEY:  I mean, it‘s an incredibly pertinent line right now, I mean, almost amazingly so, almost eerily so.  It‘s unbelievable that we‘re back in such a similar situation, but here we are.  And unfortunately, nobody has a good answer.  They just have incredibly bleak diagnoses, like we‘ve heard from Henry Kissinger.

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, Terry Holt, we‘ve all learned that after the Tet offensive in 1968, Americans turned against the war, but the poll numbers now against the Iraq war seem to be so much higher, 66 percent of Americans now disapprove of this war in Iraq, only 31 percent approve.  And as you know, Terry, generals since Vietnam have been telling us that we can‘t fight a war under those type of political realities.  Is it time to leave?

TERRY HOLT, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST:  Well, it‘s not, obviously.  We still have to get the Iraqis in the game here.  There are several brigades of Iraqi army people who have been trained, have been equipped, and they need to get in the game.  You saw Duncan Hunter from the Armed Services Committee today say that we need to move the Iraqi troops up to the front line, get them in this business, because after all, I mean, the violence that‘s going on in Iraq is Iraqi on Iraqi.  And it‘s tragic, but it is the circumstances that we face.

And I think there‘s actually, after this election, a range of options that may not have been viable prior to the election but that now are.  You have Senator McCain talking about bringing more troops in, perhaps, to oversee a stabilization and a redeployment.  You talk about the dialogue that can go on between Iraq and Iran and Syria and all of the important issues that can be discussed there.  And then you have this ability to put the Iraqi people in charge of their own destiny.  And ultimately, the president‘s policies from the very beginning have been about putting the Iraqis in charge of the Iraqi future...

SCARBOROUGH:  But Terry...

HOLT:  ... and that‘s got to be what it is.

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, in 2003, Terry, we wouldn‘t let the Germans and the French come into Iraq after we won that war in short order, the hot part of the military campaign.  Now we‘ve gotten to a point where we‘re going to bring terror states like Iran and Syria in and allow them to stabilize this country that we can‘t stabilize?

HOLT:  Well, I see what you‘re saying, Joe, and it does seem odd.  But the fact of the matter is that Iran and Syria have hundreds of miles of borders that impact directly the security situation in Iraq, whereas Germany and France, they were never in the game to begin with.  They were never in a position to put significant numbers of troops in the game.  In fact, you know, the French were in charge of an African project earlier this year.  They wound up sending a couple of hundred troops where they‘d promised tens of thousands.


SCARBOROUGH:  That is the rub.  I mean, the French don‘t have the people to go in there.  Lawrence...

HOLT:  Unless you want to surrender, you can‘t bring the French in.

SCARBOROUGH:  Now, Lawrence, obviously, things have deteriorated in a terrible way.  A lot of people are saying we don‘t have enough troops to win over there.  We can‘t do what John McCain wants to do by sending in more troops.  So Charlie Rangel, the incoming chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, as you know, the man that‘s going to be one of the most powerful people on Capitol Hill, had this to say about an upcoming military draft.  Take a listen.


REP. CHARLIE RANGEL (D), NEW YORK:  There‘s no question in my mind that this president and this administration would never have invaded Iraq, especially on the flimsy evidence that was presented to the Congress, if indeed we had a draft and members of Congress and the administration thought that their kids from their communities would be placed in harm‘s way.


SCARBOROUGH:  And of course, Charlie now is pushing, Lawrence, for a military draft.  Is that...

O‘DONNELL:  Well, you know, he...

SCARBOROUGH:  What‘s he—what‘s he trying to do, snatch defeat from the jaws of victory for Democrats?

O‘DONNELL:  Well, you know, he suggested this a couple years ago, and he was fairly open last time around about not being serious.  He says this time that he is serious.  What he makes, Joe, is a very, very serious point, which is to say we now have an American combat force that has no connection to the society at large.  We have a military culture in the United States...

HOLT:  That‘s just not right, Larry.  I mean...


O‘DONNELL:  Oh, yes?  How many combat veterans do we have on this panel tonight?  I don‘t like to hear...

HOLT:  There are dozens of...


SCARBOROUGH:  Hold on a second!

O‘DONNELL:  ... cowardly warmongers—


SCARBOROUGH:  One at a time!

O‘DONNELL:  Not one of us has the courage to put ourselves in a military uniform...

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, Lawrence...

O‘DONNELL:  ... or ever go into combat!  So don‘t you dare tell me...

SCARBOROUGH:  Lawrence...

O‘DONNELL:  ... that you are in any way connected to this military! 

You‘re as much of a coward...



SCARBOROUGH:  Hold on a second, Lawrence!~


SCARBOROUGH:  Hold on!  Lawrence, you are so out of line, I don‘t even know where to begin!  Walter Cronkite—I don‘t know if Walter Cronkite served in World War II or the Korean war, but Walter Cronkite could come on and talk about the Tet offensive.  Yes, I am connected to people who are over in Iraq right now.

O‘DONNELL:  Joe, you are connected...

SCARBOROUGH:  I know people...

O‘DONNELL:  ... Terry Holt is not.

SCARBOROUGH:  I know people...

O‘DONNELL:  Terry Holt is the typical...

SCARBOROUGH:  ... over in Afghanistan.

O‘DONNELL:  ... draft-dodging...

SCARBOROUGH:  I know people all the time that have to go over there. 

I know wives who have left their husbands!

O‘DONNELL:  I know you do, Joe.

SCARBOROUGH:  I know husbands that have 2-year-old kids they have hardly seen at all!  There are people who are connected to this war.  I don‘t think, though...

O‘DONNELL:  Does Terry Holt have any relatives in Iraq?  I don‘t think so.

HOLT:  No, but I have members of my church, members of my community, people that I have met with.  And Larry, come on...

O‘DONNELL:  And you would never dream of it yourself!  You live your whole life...

HOLT:  But Larry, look at the reality!


O‘DONNELL:  ... supporting this kind of war without ever—one minute of your life has not been spent contemplating military service yourself, have you!

HOLT:  But let me make a point to you, sir!

O‘DONNELL:  Tell the truth!

HOLT:  Let me make a point to you...

O‘DONNELL:  You‘re just like me, you wouldn‘t dare enlist in the military...

HOLT:  I‘m sorry, I just am trying...

O‘DONNELL:  ... because you are as afraid of it as I am!

HOLT:  ... to interrupt to make a point to you, and that is that people in Columbus, Ohio, and Indianapolis, Indiana, and Des Moines, Iowa, have friends and families that have suffered and sacrificed in this war.

O‘DONNELL:  And you don‘t!

HOLT:  And for you to suggest that a draft would make people hurt more, I think that‘s unfair to the millions of military families around this country...

O‘DONNELL:  What Rangel is saying is a draft will connect the military...

HOLT:  ... that have made a sacrifice.

O‘DONNELL:  ... to the wider American population, which is absolutely true.

CROWLEY:  Joe, may I budge in for a minute?  I think that maybe the key point is that political, and frankly, media leadership in this country.  So it‘s not that average Americans have no connection to the military or that tiny numbers of Americans do, but unfortunately, I think the people who make the decisions about war and peace in the corridors power and at the newspapers, to some extent, editorial boards—those people are all too disconnected from the culture of the military.

SCARBOROUGH:  And Michael Crowley—Michael Crowley, that‘s a great point.

CROWLEY:  And by the way, I am one of those...

SCARBOROUGH:  The fact is...

CROWLEY:  And that applies to me.  I‘m not trying to point the finger.


CROWLEY:  And it paralyzes my thinking about these issues.

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, sure.  And it‘s not that middle America is not connected to the loss that our men and women are suffering overseas.  It is a fact that elites—and because I‘ve got a TV show, by my definition before I got into TV what an elite would be, I would be one of those.  Elites in this country, people in the media, people in Congress, people in the executive branch, they are disconnected.

I remember hearing Doris Kearns Goodwin talking about her son deciding from Harvard to serve this country and talking about how she‘d go to dinner parties, and people would like at her like her son was out of his mind.  Of course, he wasn‘t.

HOLT:  Joe, does a draft make that happen?


SCARBOROUGH:  And Lawrence—let me ask that question to you, Lawrence, because we know how the last draft went.  I mean, the elites are still going to be able to keep their kids out of the draft.

O‘DONNELL:  Yes.  Tell that to John Kerry and everybody else from his Yale class who enlisted.  The draft put the pressure...

HOLT:  Whatever!

O‘DONNELL:  ... on people to...

SCARBOROUGH:  John Kerry...

O‘DONNELL:  ... face the decision...

SCARBOROUGH:  John Kerry went in in 1965...

HOLT:  The draft brought people in the middle...


HOLT:  Hold on.  Hold on.  Hold on.

O‘DONNELL:  My brother went in and I have cousins going in...

HOLT:  Go ahead.  Go ahead.  Talk.

O‘DONNELL:  ... who don‘t want to go in, and they had to go in!  So it did happen, and the draft did connect you.  Everybody had a draft number, and they had this relationship to this war at the time...

HOLT:  But does it make them a more effective fighting force?


O‘DONNELL:  Terry Holt gets to live completely apart from this war.

Not a single relative involved.  Nobody he cares about does he have to worry about going to Iraq.

HOLT:  Well, I wouldn‘t attack you personally, Larry.  I‘m sorry.


HOLT:  I‘m just not going to go there with you.

SCARBOROUGH:  That‘s an awful personal—that‘s an awful personal...

O‘DONNELL:  It is personal!

SCARBOROUGH:  ... attack, isn‘t it?

O‘DONNELL:  President Bush has two kids who belong in Iraq, and they‘re not there!  And if they had to...

HOLT:  Oh, my goodness!

O‘DONNELL:  ... go there, he would make a different decision!  It is a disgusting disconnect...


SCARBOROUGH:  Hold on a second!  Lawrence...

O‘DONNELL:  ... from military service!

SCARBOROUGH:  ... I don‘t know why you think that people who don‘t want to serve in the armed services should serve in the armed services...


O‘DONNELL:  People who are afraid of the armed services should not advocate war!

SCARBOROUGH:  Lawrence...

O‘DONNELL:  If you‘re afraid of being in the armed services...

SCARBOROUGH:  Lawrence...

O‘DONNELL:  ... you cannot advocate war!

SCARBOROUGH:  Lawrence, you are just so out of bounds tonight.  Let me finish my sentence.  We‘ve got over a million people that serve in our military, that do it proudly, that are proud of what they‘re doing, and as much as this may shock you and other people, they‘re very proud of what they‘re doing in Iraq.  They‘re proud of what they‘re doing in Afghanistan.  They‘re proud of what they‘re doing in the Balkans.  Don‘t tell them...

O‘DONNELL:  I‘ve had family in Iraq...

SCARBOROUGH:  ... that they‘re the dregs of society!

O‘DONNELL:  ... myself, Joe.  What I‘m telling you is if someone is afraid to put on a military uniform and afraid of combat, they have no right to advocate war.

HOLT:  Who‘s talking about being afraid?  We‘re talking about...

O‘DONNELL:  You Terry!  You‘re afraid!

HOLT:  ... a policy...

O‘DONNELL:  You didn‘t do it!~

HOLT:  Larry...

O‘DONNELL:  And you advocate war!

HOLT:  We‘re not talking about fear...

O‘DONNELL:  Just like President Bush!

HOLT:  ... or no fear.  We‘re talking about...

O‘DONNELL:  He was afraid of combat, and he advocates war.

HOLT:  Well...


SCARBOROUGH:  Hold on.  Did you say that about Bill Clinton also?

O‘DONNELL:  Yes!  Bill Clinton was a draft dodger, classic afraid, terrified draft dodger.


SCARBOROUGH:  OK.  And he sent our trips overseas...

O‘DONNELL:  That‘s right.

SCARBOROUGH:  ... and aren‘t you glad that he sent them to Bosnia and Kosovo?

O‘DONNELL:  I‘m not sure that I am glad that he sent them there.

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, there were a hell of a lot of people that were being killed there...


CROWLEY:  It rather tends to limit the 2008 Democratic presidential field.  I mean, Lawrence, I‘m sympathetic to a lot of what you‘re saying, but it makes it a little bit difficult for the Democratic Party to continue to exist...

O‘DONNELL:  Well, the Democrats will continue to be as hypocritical about it as the Republicans...


O‘DONNELL:  ... from war cowards loathsome!

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, we‘re going to have to leave it there. 

Lawrence O‘Donnell, you came to fight tonight.  Michael Crowley, Terry, thanks for being with us.

HOLT:  Thanks, Joe.

SCARBOROUGH:  It‘s an important debate you‘re going to be hearing in the coming future, I‘ll guarantee you that, if Charlie Rangel has his way.

Coming up next: Is Nancy Grace going to be found responsible for the death of one of her guests?  SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY learns the details of an upcoming lawsuit against the host and CNN, and we‘ll pass it on.  Plus, O.J. Simpson hunts for the real killer of his book deal.  Why did Fox finally get a conscience about the special that critics say would have helped O.J. profit over his ex-wife‘s murder?  And later: We‘re looking at the good, the bad and just the plain weird from Tomkat‘s wedding, including the infamous neverending kiss.  Good God, make it stop!


SCARBOROUGH:  Tonight SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY has learned that Headline News host Nancy Grace and CNN are being sued by the family of Melinda Duckett.  She‘s the mother of the missing 2-year-old who killed herself soon after the CNN host grilled her on air.  The law firm representing Duckett‘s family said She was misled by Grace and her producers, who told her she was going to be on the show to get the word out about her missing son.

Well, let‘s watch a clip of the interview that Grace decided to run even after she found out the young mother was dead.


NANCY GRACE, HOST, “NANCY GRACE”:  Where were you?  Why aren‘t you telling us where you were that day?  You were the last person to be seen with him!

MELINDA DUCKETT, MOTHER OF MISSING BOY:  And we‘ve already gone out and distributed the flyers this morning.

GRACE:  Right.  Why aren‘t you telling us and giving us a clear picture of where you were before your son was kidnapped?

DUCKETT:  Because I‘m not going to put those kind of details out.

GRACE:  Why?

DUCKETT:  Because I was told not to.

GRACE:  Ms. Duckett, you‘re not telling us for a reason!  What is the reason?  You refused to give even the simplest facts of where you were with your son before he went missing!  It is day 12!

DUCKETT:  Right.  With all media.


SCARBOROUGH:  You know, and the rest of that story is she continued on a two, three-month campaign against this lady.  She‘s still going after her, this dead woman.  And it‘s—I—I—it‘s disgusting.  We‘ve said it from the beginning.

Let‘s bring in Steve Adubato.  He‘s an MSNBC analyst, and he‘s author of the book, “Make the Connection.”  Steve, after all this controversy, after the possibility of lawsuits, after Nancy Grace beating this woman up on air, the young mother kills herself, she goes on a three-month jihad, why hasn‘t CNN muzzled Nancy Grace until now?

STEVE ADUBATO, MSNBC ANALYST:  Because they‘re cowards.  Because they assume that because not a lot of attention is being given to, I guess, CNN Headline News, where she airs, it‘s, like, OK, that argument that any publicity is good publicity—well, ask Fox after O.J. whether any publicity is good publicity.  I think CNN—I know CNN is making a terrible mistake, Joe.  They should have reined her in.  They should have slapped her wrist.  They should have said Nancy, look, you have said publicly that your role as a talk show host is really a continuation of your representation of the state, when you were a prosecutor.  No, Nancy, you gave that up.  You‘re no longer a prosecutor.  You do not prosecute cases on the air because these kinds of things happen.

And I‘ve talked to—I‘ve spoken to, prosecutors, Joe.  They don‘t want Nancy Grace doing what she did there because that‘s their job and she screws up the government‘s job and messes up a case.  Listen, I‘m not happy that this happened, but she deserved what she got.

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes, and let me show you what CNN has to say because, obviously, they‘re under a lot of pressure tonight as this lawsuit comes out.  The CNN quote is, “We stand by Nancy Grace and fully support her, as we have from the beginning of the matter.”

As you know, CNN, again, they really are one of the most trusted names in news, at least they have been since they went on the air back in 1980, 1981.  And yet here you have Jon Klein, who‘s president of CNN—this is a guy that got rid of “Crossfire” because he didn‘t believe “Crossfire” stood up to CNN standards.  I mean, where are the standards when it comes to Nancy Grace?

ADUBATO:  Well, you know what it is, Joe?  First of all, if you ever acted half as obnoxiously or prosecuted someone on the air and did what she did, I would hope that MSNBC would rein you in and you‘d get a slap you on your wrist.

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, and Steve—and that—and Steve, that‘s the thing.  NBC‘s standards would not allow us to run an interview of a lady who killed herself...

ADUBATO:  That was after the fact they ran it!

SCARBOROUGH:  ... after she was blindsided by us.  That‘s what I‘m saying.  So we would have never run it.  Forget the fact that, you know—that I would have—I would have been humiliated if we ever did that.  But NBC wouldn‘t have allowed us to do it.  Why...

ADUBATO:  Joe...

SCARBOROUGH:  ... is CNN allowing her to do this?

ADUBATO:  Look, here‘s my thinking.  No one can get inside the head of the corporate officials who run CNN, but here‘s my gut.  They‘re saying Nancy Grace is one of the only personalities that we have that people recognize.  So if people are talking about Nancy Grace, if there‘s a buzz about Nancy Grace, I guess it‘s good for our ratings.

Well, I have to tell you, Joe, obviously, we‘re in the ratings business.  Obviously, we‘re trying to get the get, meaning the great interview.  But is there no shame?  Is there no bottom line?  Is there no boundary, when a woman who commits suicide writes a note and says, I couldn‘t take it anymore, that she was impacted and you know, very sad over the Nancy Grace interview?  I‘m not saying Nancy Grace caused it, but this woman was emotionally and mentally unstable.  There was no effort on the part of the producers to vet that out.


ADUBATO:  And I‘m saying that CNN should right now nip it in the bud and say, Nancy, admit you were wrong, we‘re going to say we were wrong.


ADUBATO:  They‘ve done it for a lot less than that at other networks. 

CNN ought to be ashamed.

SCARBOROUGH:  The thing is...

ADUBATO:  And Nancy Grace is horrendous, in my book.

SCARBOROUGH:  The thing is, Steve, that Nancy Grace says she has no regrets.  And who knows, maybe she‘s right, maybe she‘s wrong.  She doesn‘t know.  CNN doesn‘t know.  But you would think they would show a little...

ADUBATO:  Some compassion, Joe!


ADUBATO:  Listen, I‘m not saying she...

SCARBOROUGH:  Show some...


SCARBOROUGH:  ... some compassion and also I think some judgment, just an ounce of prevention, as they say.  Now, let me ask you this, Steve.  Because of these ongoing attacks against the dead mother, does CNN face a big verdict, if for some reason, the mother‘s name is eventually cleared by authorities?

ADUBATO:  That‘s a great question.  I actually talked to a good friend of mine, a legal expert who looks at these matters over in New Jersey.  And he said to me, I have to tell you something.  What you just described, Joe, is exactly what it looks like they‘re going to go after, that they‘re going to say, Look—there‘s potentially a big judgment here.  I‘m not sure who‘s going to be on in terms of the family because the husband, in fact, was part of this interview process and Nancy Grace interviewed him.

My gut tells me that CNN and Nancy Grace are in for a huge legal fight, and even if they win it, ultimately, it‘s a big PR embarrassment and they can‘t afford it, and they could have avoided it by saying, Didn‘t handle it right.  I‘m amazed when people can‘t do that and won‘t do that, Joe.

SCARBOROUGH:  Oh, I am, too.  And I‘ll tell you what.  She has shown such contempt for this lady, such malice for this young woman, who was not a public figure until she made her one, that I think they‘re going to be in big trouble, if for some reason, the police decide to clear this lady down the road.  Hey, Steve Adubato, thank you so much for being with us, and it‘s great to have you on the MSNBC team.

Coming up next, TV favorites reinterpreted by Al Jazeera and other late night highlights next in “Must See S.C..”  And later: Who‘s guilty of killing O.J. Simpson‘s TV special?  We‘re going to look at Fox‘s sudden decision to cancel the deal with the Juice and what Bill O‘Reilly may have had to do with it.


SCARBOROUGH:  Hey, it‘s time for tonight‘s “Must See S.C.,” some video you just got to see.  First up: Warm up your Tivos, America.  Al Jazeera English is on the way.  And Jay Leno gives us a sneak peek of their primetime line-up.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Coming soon to the United States, it‘s the Al Jazeera network for America.  Check out our exciting dramas and hilarious sitcoms, shows like “I Love Uzi,” “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “30 Rocks,” “Dancing with the Shi‘ites,” “Extreme Makeover: Cave Edition,” “Saddam Squarepants,” “My Name Is Oil,” and of course, “Everybody Hates Israel.”


SCARBOROUGH:  Oh!  And finally, if you‘re on TV, you got to be really careful about what you say.  Not only is the FCC watching, but so is Jimmy Kimmel.  Here are a few examples with a guest appearance from Yours Truly.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  (INAUDIBLE) has chosen for us.  And we are so full of (DELETED)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  It costs $50,000 to have a wedding there.  And guess what?  Tom got it for free.  The town mayor wanted to (DELETED) him for choosing their town, so...





UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  That‘s pretty (DELETED) awesome.


SCARBOROUGH:  I was quoting a Bible verse.  What‘s that about?

Coming up next, the FOX faux pas.  The civil war won by O‘Reilly and FOX News.  How did Rupert Murdoch allow such a public battle over their killer deal with O.J. Simpson to go so bad?  And later, we have video clips on Michael Richards‘ racial tirade.  Why nobody is laughing at what Kramer said on stage in Los Angeles, and how he‘s going to try to fix it tonight on David Letterman. 

Then, on the scenes at TomKat‘s big, fat, Italian wedding, including why guests told the bride and groom to just stop kissing.



SCARBOROUGH:  Coming up, “Seinfeld‘s” Michael Richards‘ Kramer shocks “Hollyweird” with a racial outburst during his stand-up routine.  We‘re going to show you his ugly comments and what he and his former co-stars are saying tonight on David Letterman. 

And later, TomKat gets hitched.  We‘re going to take you behind the scenes of their Italian wedding and that never-ending kiss, which we hope is not on video. 

Welcome back to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.  We‘re going to talk about those stories in just minutes. 

But first, FOX cans the Juice.  In a bizarre ending to a very bizarre public debate, FOX announced today that they‘re canceling the O.J. Simpson TV special called “If I Did It.”  The two-part special was supposed to air next week on FOX, but the network was bombarded by criticism from FOX affiliates, other media outlets, and the families, but the loudest criticism and critiques came from within its own ranks. 


BILL O‘REILLY, FOX NEWS HOST:  Here‘s a man many believe did kill those two Americans, Nicole Brown Simpson being the mother of his two children, yet Simpson is participating in a project that is exploiting the murders.  Shamefully, the FOX broadcasting unit is set to carry the program, which is simply indefensible and a low point in American culture.  For the record, FOX Broadcasting has nothing to do with the FOX News Channel. 


SCARBOROUGH:  The O.J. special launched an all-out civil war with FOX. 

O‘Reilly was just one show that railed against the imaginary confession.  Finally today, though, the FOX mutiny led News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch to announce that they are scrapping both the interview and the book it‘s based on.  And he said this, quote, “I and senior management agree with the American public that this was an ill-considered project.  We are sorry for any pain that has been caused to the families of Ron Goldman and Nicole Brown Simpson.”

So what went wrong?  And is Bill O‘Reilly the most powerful man now at FOX or was it FOX who made the mistake by caving?  Let‘s bring in right now Matthew Felling.  He‘s media director for the Center for Media and Public Affairs.  And Bob Kohn, he‘s author of the book “Journalistic Fraud.” 

Matthew Felling, I thought what O‘Reilly did last week was absolutely

it was stunning, because Bill O‘Reilly can say that FOX News has nothing to do with FOX on the entertainment side?  That‘s like saying MSNBC has nothing to do with NBC.  We‘ve all got the same bosses; it‘s the same media company. 

What was your take on O‘Reilly basically launching a civil war against the hand that feeds him? 

MATTHEW FELLING, THE CENTER FOR MEDIA AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS:  It wasn‘t just a civil war, though, Joe.  It was a civil war under false pretenses.  And it was just a completely fictitious civil war, because here he was saying that FOX News has nothing to do with FOX Corp., but you might remember, about a year, year and a half ago, there was a show called “The Edge,” which was their attempt at taking on “60 Minutes,” their attempt at taking on “20/20.”  And it was a news program with Geraldo, with this guy named Bill O‘Reilly. 

And what did Bill O‘Reilly do when he had a chance to do investigative journalism in front of the country on Fox Corp.‘s own station?  He spoke with Jenna Jameson, a porn star. 

So now we have Bill O‘Reilly, the FOX News Channel icon of all that is right and correct, fighting the secular progressives, who probably...


SCARBOROUGH:  Well, hold on a second.  I mean, I understand you despise Bill O‘Reilly, but this guy is agreeing with you.  You believe that Bill O‘Reilly was correct, right, to go after FOX?  Shouldn‘t you be patting him on the back? 

FELLING:  Well, first of all, some things are correct even if Bill O‘Reilly says them.  And second of all, he was wrong to say that FOX News Channel has no affiliation with FOX Corp. whatsoever.  They do little program plugs for FOX entertainment programming on a regular basis on FOX News Channel.  And was he correct in saying that they had pushed it too far?  Yes, but this past week...

SCARBOROUGH:  I mean, he said it was a low point—he said it was a low point in American culture.  Again, I think that‘s fascinating when you consider that, as you said, he is actually affiliated with FOX. 

FELLING:  Yes, well, I mean, we hit a tipping point.  There‘s only so far you can go in terms of trying to police our culture and correct our culture and then on the FOX Corp. side saying, “Well, we‘re going to push the envelope.  We‘re going to do Eminem.  We‘re going to do ‘Married by America.‘  We‘re going to have people hooking up on ‘Temptation Island,‘” until those two hit.  And then a house divided against itself cannot stand, and this is what happens this past week, where finally we come to a boiling point. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And it certainly did.  And O‘Reilly wasn‘t alone in lashing out against his own network.  Geraldo Rivera launched this attack against FOX‘s decision.


GERALDO RIVERA, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT-AT-LARGE:  To interview this lowdown and dirty scum who played the black people for fools all these years by this pretend of innocence and then to give him this out, this, “If, if you did it, then how would you do it,” what is he, “CSI” now?  I think this is the worst idea.

O‘REILLY:  We‘re not going to watch it.  We‘ll have to read the transcript.

RIVERA:  We‘re boycotting.  We‘re boycotting.

O‘REILLY:  We‘re not watching it, and I don‘t think any sponsor will come in.  I bet you not one.

RIVERA:  I think it‘s only 50-50 that it ever sees TV. 

O‘REILLY:  Well, I agree with you.  It might not even go. 


SCARBOROUGH:  Bob Kohn, do you think FOX made the right decision by backing down to what Geraldo and what O‘Reilly basically were demanding? 

BOB KOHN, AUTHOR:  No, I think they made the wrong decision.  I was very disappointed with the decision, and I was very surprised to see O‘Reilly and Geraldo and the rest of these people against the broadcast of that interview and against the publication of that book.  I mean, what‘s...

SCARBOROUGH:  But, Bob, isn‘t it an exploitation?  I mean, isn‘t O.J.

Simpson just feeding off of the grief of these poor people? 

KOHN:  What‘s important here is not the grief of the four people.  It‘s not the disgust of the American public with O.J.  It‘s the truth; that‘s what‘s important.  In this case, it‘s the truth as to whether or not O.J. committed the murder. 

FELLING:  But, Bob, it‘s a fiction novel.

KOHN:  What Judith Regan—let me finish, Joe.  When Judith Regan says that she thinks this was a confession, OK, I mean, think about it.  Number one, if someone came out today and suggests that they had a credible story to tell, a credible book, a credible interview that they assassinated or were directly involved in the assassination of JFK, do you think we would try to suppress that book because we were worried about the Kennedy family and Caroline Kennedy?  No way. 

Number two, don‘t you want to convince the people who think O.J. is innocent that he‘s really guilty?  And what better way to do that than to have it out of the mouth of O.J. Simpson, if this is, in fact, a confession or close to a confession?  And we don‘t know, because we haven‘t seen the interview and we haven‘t read the book.  But if it was a confession, then we would get the people who think he‘s innocent to believe that he‘s guilty, and we‘d know the truth.  That‘s what‘s important. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Matthew Felling, get the truth out there.

FELLING:  Well, yes, you can‘t read a book that is a hypothesis, that is a fantasy, that it‘s a hypothetical, and then say that it‘s a news event. 

KOHN:  This is not somebody speculating about it.  This is out of the words of O.J. Simpson.  We‘re going to see his face—if we ever get to this program—see his face on the screen, get to look at his eyes, his body movements, and determine for ourselves and all the people in the public gets to see whether he‘s the guy who did it, whether he really is confessing.  Judith Regan sat there and her determination is that this was a confession. 

FELLING:  OK, so, Bob Kohn, you‘re the program director of FOX News, and now you‘re going to do “John Mark Karr: What If He Did It?”  A full hour-long special.  “Joran Van Der Sloot: What If He Killed Natalee Holloway?”  So are we going to have this new hypothetical news confessional?

KOHN:  If we don‘t know—anything that gives us the truth is more important than the sensibilities of the people who are offended by the truth.  I‘m really surprised that Murdoch would back down from the truth.  FOX News, which suggests that they‘re fair and balanced—and I do believe they‘re fair and balanced—but they also say, “We report, you decide.”  Now they‘re saying, “We‘re not going to report, and you don‘t get to decide.”  I think this was a terrible decision. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.  Bob Kohn, we‘re going to have to leave it there.  Thank you, Bob.  Thank you, Matthew Felling.  Fascinating, fascinating debate.  For more on O.J. Simpson, make sure to watch a special updated “Headliners and Legends” tonight here at 10 p.m. Eastern on MSNBC. 

Coming up next, Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes are still on their honeymoon, but people are already betting on when they‘re going to break up.  I put the over and under at three years.  The full TomKat wedding wrap-up is next. 

And later, “Seinfeld‘s” Michael Richards—he‘s Kramer, remember—he apologizes for a racist rant in a comedy club.  We‘re going to show you those controversial comments and what “Hollyweird” is talking about tonight on David Letterman.  


SCARBOROUGH:  Well, it was the kind of wedding only “Hollyweird” could dream up.  After a courtship that played like a publicity stunt, this weekend Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes finally tied the knot in Italy.  NBC‘s Peter Alexander has more on that spectacle.


PETER ALEXANDER, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over):  Tom Cruise always could sell a sequel.  His third trip down the aisle—this time with Katie Holmes, at this Italian castle near Rome—was a blockbuster. 

JD HEYMAN, “PEOPLE” MAGAZINE:  All that was missing was a jet pack or some explosives.  I mean, this was like “Mission: Impossible 4,” and he pulled it off. 

ALEXANDER:  Her dress, his suit, designed by Giorgio Armani.  So was the baby‘s outfit.  There were fireworks inside, too, including a never-ending kiss between a bride and groom who have never been shy about public affection, a kiss lasting so long, revealed Armani, it caused guests to yell, “Stop!”

In Italy, where the paparazzi got its name, flashbulbs showered each passing limo at the star-studded event.  Fans couldn‘t miss British pop star Posh Spice, whose headgear itself turned heads. 

Behind the walls of this 15th-century fortress, the bride walked past flag bearers in medieval costumes.  A Scientology minister presided over the vows.  Then, Tuscan tenor Andrea Bocelli serenaded the new Mr. and Mrs.  Cruise. 

The weekend was scripted like a Hollywood fairy tale.  And as it turns out, it was strictly ceremonial.  Tom Cruise‘s publicist says the official marriage happened here in Los Angeles last week. 

The newlyweds are now said to be vacationing in the Maldives. 

HEYMAN:  The honeymoon is only the beginning.  You‘re going to hear a lot more about these two in the next few months, and they‘re going to be back in Hollywood and bigger than ever. 

ALEXANDER:  One more thing about those now-famous photos.  The bride and groom appear to be the same height, but Katie is actually a bit taller.  As one British commentator put it, perhaps Tom is standing on the pre-nup. 

Peter Alexander, NBC News, Los Angeles.


SCARBOROUGH:  Here now is senior editor for “InTouch Weekly,” Tom O‘Neil.  Tom, we‘re not going to even talk about his height.  Tell me, what was the strangest thing that happened at the wedding, according to your reports? 

TOM O‘NEIL, “INTOUCH WEEKLY”:  Well, it has to be that kiss.  But, you know, I have another suggestion, and your camera panned over it.  It was the vows they took.  And now, I don‘t have the words in front of me, but it‘s very strange how they take the traditional wedding vows and tweak them almost as if they sound like old Puritan language from the 1600s.  You wouldn‘t expect that from Scientology. 

SCARBOROUGH:  No, you certainly wouldn‘t.  And talk about this kiss.  This, of course, the Hollywood version of Al and Tipper Gore‘s licking at the Los Angeles Democratic convention in 2000. 

O‘NEIL:  Well, what makes this so preposterous is, didn‘t this guy learn anything from jumping on Oprah‘s couch, you know, from trying to oversell this romance that he has with Katie?  We didn‘t believe it on the couch, and now he‘s doing this kiss thing that went on so long the guests were shouting to stop it. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Stop it—you know, it‘s almost as if he‘s trying to convince them of something, and I‘m not exactly sure what that would be, but we‘ll leave it to the viewers to determine.  So let‘s talk about the guest list.  It was a very star-studded event.  Posh Spice Beckham was there with her hat.  We saw Will Smith there.  Who else showed up, any surprises? 

O‘NEIL:  Yes, I think among the surprises were people like Jim Carrey showing up and J-Lo and Mark Anthony.  Who knew that they were all friends?  You know, there‘s no Scientology connection there.  Mysteriously missing were her friends.  Now, where was the cast of “Dawson‘s Creek”?  Where was James van der Beek?  Where was Michelle Williams and Joshua Jackson, that whole crowd?  It seemed to be almost all of Tom‘s buddies. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes, and who was Tom‘s best man? 

O‘NEIL:  Oh, the head of the Church of Scientology.  You know, at his last wedding, his brother was best man.  That‘s why I stumbled there for a second.  So it‘s interesting that he is now so deep into Scientology that he had the head of the church there standing in for him.  By the way, there are reports—unconfirmed—that the head of the church is on their honeymoon with them in the Maldives!



O‘NEIL:  Come on. 

SCARBOROUGH:  I sure would like to have a third party on my honeymoon.  Now, the oddsmakers are speculating that they‘ll split up.  And has odds at 6-5 the couple will separate before their second anniversary.  You care to place any bets on that one? 

O‘NEIL:  I think it‘s going to go a little longer.  The pre-nup agreement is set up so that she get $3 million per year.  So I think she‘ll hang in there.  I think they want another child.  And I think that it is, over the long haul, obviously doomed.  I think we all sense that, that it‘s just a matter of when. 

But if you don‘t believe it‘s doomed, consider this.  The photographer who took those pictures for this wedding were the same ones who took Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt‘s wedding pictures.  The wedding planner was the guy who did Nick and Jessica‘s wedding.  Bad omens all the way around. 

SCARBOROUGH:  It‘s going to be doomed.  Again, my over-under three years.  We‘ll see.  Hey, Tom, thanks so much.  Stick around, because “Hollyweird” is next.


SCARBOROUGH:  Hey, forget about attending the Scientology wedding of the year.  It‘s time for “Hollyweird.” 

Tonight, Michael Richards, the actor famous for his role as Kramer on “Seinfeld,” isn‘t getting any laughs after he yelled profanities and racial slurs at hecklers during his stand-up routine.  Take a look. 


MICHAEL RICHARDS, ACTOR:  Shut up!  Fifty years ago we‘d have you upside-down with a (bleep) fork up your ass.  You can talk!  You can talk!  You can talk!  You‘re brave now, (bleep).  Throw his ass out.  He‘s a (bleep)!  He‘s an (bleep)!  He‘s a (bleep)!


RICHARDS:  A (bleep)!  Look, there‘s a (bleep)!  Ooh, ooh!  All right, you see?  This shocks you.  It shocks you to see what‘s buried beneath you stupid mother(bleep).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  That was uncalled for.

RICHARDS:  What was uncalled for?  It‘s uncalled for you to interrupt my (bleep), you cheap (bleep!)


SCARBOROUGH:  Man, he was saying the n-word over and other again. 

Here now is editor-at-large for “Life and Style Weekly,” Ashlan Gorse. 

Also with us still, “InTouch Weekly‘s” Tom O‘Neil. 

Tom, I‘m just absolutely shocked.  What in the world‘s going on?  I understand he‘s going to be on Letterman tonight with Seinfeld to try to clean things up? 

O‘NEIL:  Yes, Jerry was set to be on Letterman‘s show anyway, so he asked Michael, you know, do you want to make an apology?  Do you want to explain what happened?  So we‘re going to see this on tonight. 

What is fascinating about his apology—this is no Mel Gibson blame-the-booze and take no responsibility.  From what we hear of press reports, he doesn‘t claim he was kidding.  He said he doesn‘t know where this came out of.  He apologizes sincerely to the people who took the brunt of it.  It sounds as if—as crazy as this whole thing one—that he handles it in a very mature, responsible way.

SCARBOROUGH:  Jeez.  Let‘s read for everybody his statement and, of course, Seinfeld did tape an appearance with Letterman tonight.  And this was Michael Richards‘ apology.  “For me to be in a comedy club and flip out and say this crap, I‘m deeply, deeply sorry.”

Ashlan, there are a lot of things that Hollywood can forgive, even some anti-Semitic tirades by Mel Gibson.  But, my gosh, running around yelling the n-word on stage?  It‘s going to be hard for this guy to recover, isn‘t it?

ASHLAN GORSE, “LIFE AND STYLE WEEKLY”:  I mean, I still have goosebumps just from listening to it.  I mean, that was—in anyway, that wasn‘t funny.  I mean, he really looked like he had kind of a psychotic episode on stage.  He just completely flipped out and completely lost it.

And he isn‘t blaming any substances for this, but we just don‘t know what happened.  I mean, he was really out of character, and he actually performed the next night with no incidences.  So we‘re just trying to figure out, where did this come from?

SCARBOROUGH:  And, Ashlan, that sort of racism, though, obviously—I mean, that‘s the best way to get shunned in Hollywood.  It‘s a place where you don‘t even have to run around saying the n-word.  It‘s politically correct already.  But you go out and prove yourself to be a racist—I mean, this guy‘s career is probably over, isn‘t it? 

GORSE:  I mean, the thing about Hollywood is they can forgive.  They can forget.  And he at least did come out the next day and say how sorry he was.  He isn‘t making any excuses.  But maybe they‘re a little more forgiving if you have an excuse for saying it, so we‘ll see happens. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes, if you‘re drunk.  And, Tom O‘Neil, can Jerry Seinfeld put his arm around him and save his friend? 

O‘NEIL:  No, I think you were right a second ago when you said his career is over.  I think it‘s been over before, so I think it has nowhere to go from here anyway.  He‘s one of those TV stars who was so recognizable in a caricature role, it‘s like the kids from “The Addams Family” or the guys from “Gilligan‘s Island” that will never be able to move onto a second role.  So this is the end of the line for him, and it‘s a sad end.

SCARBOROUGH:  It‘s over.  It is sad.  Tom, thank you.  Ashlan, thank you for being with us.  And that‘s all the time we have for tonight.  We‘ll see you tomorrow in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.



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