Guests: Michael Musto, Craig Crawford
KEITH OLBERMANN, HOST: Good evening from Los Angeles.
Tomorrow night, hear a special comment, Newt Gingrich‘s plan to save the country by destroying freedom of speech. His speech at a First Amendment dinner in New Hampshire, akin to an arsonist giving the keynote address at a convention of firefighters.
Tonight, the president‘s summit with Iraqi Prime Minister al-Maliki, for reasons too arcane to waste your time with.
Alison Stewart pinch-hits for me this evening. Please give her your full and undivided attention.
ALISON STEWART, HOST: Which of these stories will you be talking about tomorrow?
Summit? What summit? The president of the U.S. stood up by the prime minister of Iraq. No go today on that meeting between Bush and Maliki. Maybe Mr. Maliki reads “The New York Times” and saw the story about the leaked Bush administration memo that basically says he couldn‘t lead his way out of a paper bag. Maybe.
The commander in chief getting used to the cold shoulder, Senator-elect Jim Webb, formerly known as the man who ran against the macaca senator, now making a name for himself for getting in the face of a sitting president at a recent White House reception. Is it an early indication the Democrats won‘t wimp out when they take over Capitol Hill in January?
Horror-movie spoof, or real-life threat? Four students are expelled for killer teddies. The kids are fighting in court for the right to go back to school.
The Pam Anderson-Kid Rock bust-up. Is “Borat” really to blame?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is, like, the first time that I think a movie is responsible for breaking up a celebrity couple.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEWART: And the best viral video clips of all time. There are millions available to you online. But tonight on COUNTDOWN, we got your top 10 viral videos, you downloading fools.
All that and more, now on COUNTDOWN.
Good evening. I‘m Alison Stewart, in for Keith Olbermann.
From a diplomatic standpoint, it‘s never a good idea for a member of your administration to pass notes trash-talking the foreign statesman with whom you‘re scheduled to meet on the very day you‘re scheduled to meet him.
And from a public relations standpoint, it‘s kind of bad news when a newly elected lawmaker decides not to play nice in your very own presidential sandbox in a Cindy Sheehan kind of way.
Our fifth story on the COUNTDOWN, somebody get the president a sweater. Two chilly receptions for Mr. Bush.
In Jordan today, Iraqi Prime Minister al-Maliki suddenly postponed his high-stakes summit with the American president. More on exactly why in just a little bit.
The other frosty moment happened at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, a recent reception for freshman members of Congress. Now, you didn‘t hear it from me, but incoming senator Democrat Jim Webb of Virginia, who has a son serving in Iraq, apparently tried to avoid the president by skipping out on the receiving line and not having his picture taken with Mr. Bush. But the president tracked him down, and when he did, their conversation went something like this.
“How‘s your boy?” the president asked. Mr. Webb‘s reply, “I‘d like to get them out of Iraq, Mr. President.” “That‘s not what I asked you,” Bush said. “How‘s your boy?” “That‘s between me and my boy, Mr. President.”
Well, boy, oh, boy, Senator-elect Webb, who wore a pair of his son‘s combat boots on the campaign trail, was said to be so angered by this exchange that he apparently told a pal he was tempted to slug the president.
To help us make sense of what this all means, let‘s call in our own Craig Crawford, also of course, a columnist for the “Congressional Quarterly.”
CRAIG CRAWFORD, “CONGRESSIONAL QUARTERLY”: Oh, well, this had fisticuffs, it sounds like, and...
STEWART: Something happened. What (INAUDIBLE) -- does this qualify as a breach of conduct, or a new kind of plain talk, or a (INAUDIBLE) macho moment?
CRAWFORD: Well, Jim Webb‘s—he‘s going to be a different kind of senator. I thought that when I first met him early on in this campaign for the Senate from Virginia. And, you know, he is not a phony guy who‘s going to play the politician phony game, and, you know, be -- He‘s the sort of guy that—he‘ll stab you in the front, not, not—he won‘t stab you in the back. He‘ll—you‘ll see him coming. I think he showed that with the president.
STEWART: Now, in D.C., does Mr. Webb and those like him who have with family members serving in Iraq, do they have a certain moral authority when it comes to discussing the war?
CRAWFORD: Definitely so, and particularly since they are so few of them. The—one of the great stories of this Iraq war is, I don‘t think we‘ve ever had a war in history with so few members of Congress or members of the White House with any relatives actually serving in the war that all these folks started and are managing.
So it will give him some extra moral authority, I do think. Not—and he also is very careful not to wear it on his sleeve. He did wear his son‘s boots, but he wouldn‘t do any TV ads featuring his son. And I think that‘s part of what happened. I mean, anybody who knows Webb knows that talking about his son is not something for small talk at a party.
STEWART: It‘s quite personal to him.
STEWART: For obvious reasons.
Let‘s talk about his future. Senator-elect Webb, he got a seat on the Foreign Relations Committee. Does that raise the stakes of the six weeks of hearings that Senator Biden plans to hold on Iraq?
CRAWFORD: Absolutely, because if Biden goes forward with the hearings he‘s planning, and they get the kind of coverage I expect they‘ll get, and the tough questions, you‘ll see Webb right in the middle of it. I mean, he Washington—he has the military background, he served in the Reagan administration. He‘s got his son over there, he‘s got a lot at stake and campaigned vigorously against the war throughout the Senate race.
So he‘s very much empowered to get tough in those hearings. And again, he is not your typical politician, so he‘s not going to sit there and speak in Masonic tongues and this—you know, the senatorial hieroglyphics that so many of them do. He‘ll come right out and—I think a lot of people will relate to his plain-spokenness.
STEWART: It‘s interesting, while it‘s refreshing at this point, could it ever prove be to problematic for this freshman congressman?
CRAWFORD: Mavericks don‘t do well in Washington. They get a lot of attention, and I expect he will. What‘ll be interesting to see is if, down the line, he does play a little more ball. He‘s indicated he‘s going to—not going to toe the line for his party, he‘s certainly not going to for the president.
We see mavericks come and go. Sometimes they change their own stripes. John McCain used to be a maverick. I don‘t think he is as much anymore. I think he decided to start playing more political ball with, you know, the likes of President Bush, for example.
STEWART: President McCain, maybe that‘s why. President McCain.
Hey, before I let you go, the Democratic leader of the Senate, Harry Reid, says his party has big plans for, among other things, reintroducing the stem cell bill. So I wonder if this Iraq issue, while it‘s clearly the most important issue, might be the start of something bigger.
CRAWFORD: Yes, there‘s a lot of eagerness in Washington, Alison, to get Iraq behind them, but to get some new sort of new policy on track. Everybody waiting for that Baker study group. Mainly, so that Republicans don‘t have to defend the president anymore in Iraq. They don‘t want to talk about it. Democrats have other items on the agenda, like you mentioned, stem cell.
So, yes, I think we‘re going to see a lot of activity. However, the president‘s still there and has the veto pen. So my guess is, we‘re going to see a lot of hue and cry and lots of vetoes and yelling back and forth, maybe some fisticuffs, before it‘s over.
But I don‘t think a lot‘s going to get done till we get a new president.
STEWART: Craig Crawford of MSNBC and the “Congressional Quarterly.”
Thanks a lot, Craig.
CRAWFORD: Good to be here.
STEWART: Until today, there were probably many Americans who only knew Mr. Webb as the guy who beat the fellow who liked to drop the M-bomb, as in Senator George “Macaca” Allen. Tonight, they would not be alone in wanting to learn more about the senator-elect from Virginia.
For that, we turn to correspondent David Shuster in Washington.
Good evening, David.
DAVID SHUSTER, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Alison, good to be with you.
STEWART: What has been the chatter in D.C. today about this back-and-forth between President Bush and Jim Webb?
SHUSTER: Well, this was the confrontation that I think a lot of people who know Jim Webb, who also know President Bush, had been waiting for. Jim Webb, during his Senate campaign, was outspoken on Iraq. That was his number-one issue. People knew how sensitive his son‘s service is to him.
And Webb has not minced words, either with the Republican opponent, George Allen, or with President Bush. So it‘s not necessarily out of character that he would simply not want to have a conversation with President Bush. I think it‘s also not out of character that he would stand his ground and be very icy with the president, with the president bringing this issue of his son up.
STEWART: Does he have a reputation as someone who goes off script, even off the script of etiquette?
SHUSTER: Yes and no. He may—he doesn‘t really go off script, but I think his script is one that most Americans, most people in Washington, don‘t tend to follow. You recall that Jim Webb wrote some fairly racy novels. He has said some things in articles that he published about women serving in combat that got him in a bit of trouble during this campaign.
But he is very outspoken, and the idea that Jim Webb would have some sort of niceties, or be polite, if his buttons are pushed, like clearly they were when the president talked about his son in Iraq, that is an issue that is near and dear to Jim Webb. He‘s a former Marine, he is a tough guy, and he‘s certainly not one whose personality would have him backing down from anybody.
STEWART: As you mentioned, a former Marine, was first in his class, the Marine Corps officers at Quantico. What else does he bring to the discussion, when we‘re talking about the war in Iraq?
SHUSTER: Well, the big, the big issue, of course, is Vietnam. Not only was he a Marine, but he was injured twice, two Purple Hearts. He got the Navy Cross, Silver Star. He was a platoon commander in Vietnam, has seen combat up close and personal. He also served as the lead counsel for the Veteran Affairs Committee in Congress.
And then he was Navy secretary for Ronald Reagan, the first military veteran to serve as Navy secretary in the history of the Navy.
And so to him, it‘s not just a matter of, yes, he has seen combat, but he has also been in a policy position. And for him, that‘s why this issue of Iraq is so important to him.
STEWART: Well, that‘s an interesting point. He was in a policy position under a Republican president, as you just mentioned, in the Reagan administration. So could this be problematic for him at all, since he clearly isn‘t your average Democrat?
SHUSTER: Well it could as far as Jim Webb is concerned on some key Democratic domestic issues. For example, Jim Webb, he is opposed to any sort of gun control. He has also spoken out about raising taxes. So the Democrats might not be able to count on him on those issues.
But the reason why he has so much appeal to Democrats is because of his experience as a veteran, his perspective on foreign affairs, and the fact that he is somebody who has a vested interest in what is going on in Iraq, because it is part of his family. And he is tough, and he‘s not somebody who backs down on that issue.
STEWART: And before I let you go, we‘ve seen that video over and over again, and we‘ve talked about his son‘s combat boots, which really came to be a symbol. Do we know if the senator-elect plans to keep on wearing them?
SHUSTER: No. Apparently, the day after the election, when—a couple days after the election, when he was finally—when George Allen conceded and he had a sort of victory speech a couple days later, at that point, you saw him, as he was in this video, raising the combat boots. At that point, he was no longer wearing them. It was symbolic, a lot of his supporters say, that he was now moving on from a campaign to coming to Washington.
But I would bet that you may—it‘s going to be sort of the elephant in the room for anybody who has a discussion with Jim Webb about Iraq. I bet that at some of those hearings that he will be in, his questions will be a lot more pointed, because everybody‘s going to know that he has a family member who is there.
This isn‘t just a matter of policy, this isn‘t just some sort of esoteric argument of what to do. For him, this could be about life and death involving his own family. And I think everybody who knows Jim Webb, who knows what‘s going on in the Senate, is going to be watching that.
STEWART: MSNBC‘s David Shuster. Thanks, David.
SHUSTER: Thanks, Alison.
STEWART: Iraq‘s leader does not extend an olive branch following a leaked White House memo that criticized Mr. al-Maliki‘s lack of control in Iraq. So he decides to exert some control over today‘s meeting, by canceling.
And restoring order in Baghdad. We‘ll plan to send in 20,000 more U.S. troops into the capital city, create order, or just put targets on the backs of more young men and women?
You‘re watching COUNTDOWN on MSNBC.
STEWART: When President Bush spoke yesterday of his upcoming meeting with the Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, he said, quote, “We‘ll continue to be flexible.” Hope Mr. Bush was in full fleximode today, when Mr. Maliki decided to show him the hand.
In our fourth story on the COUNTDOWN, their meeting was rescheduled. But brunch with former secretary of state Colin Powell likely not happening anytime soon either, as Mr. Powell has chimed in saying Iraq is embroiled in a civil war. Speaking at a business forum in Dubai, Powell said of Iraq, quote, “I would call it a civil war. I have been using it,” civil war, “because I like to face the reality.”
All this ahead of the Bush-Maliki meeting, which may now happen tomorrow.
Our chief White House correspondent, David Gregory, is traveling with the president in Amman, Jordan.
DAVID GREGORY, MSNBC CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Alison.
It was on board Air Force One en route to Amman that the president was told that Prime Minister Maliki would not be meeting with the president and King Abdullah of Jordan, nor would he be having dinner with them.
But tonight, the White House strenuously denies that it was an angry reaction from Maliki, based on that critical White House memo.
(voice-over): In Amman tonight, dinner with the king, but the Iraqi leader is missing, a no-show for what was billed as an important discussion about the region.
The official reason, Maliki and King Abdullah met earlier in the day.
But there appeared to be more to the story.
The Iraqi leader is under intense criticism at home for his summit with the president, and his decision to skip dinner looked a lot like an angry reaction to the emergence today of a White House memo critical of his leadership.
America‘s ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalizad (ph), tonight.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GREGORY (on camera): Do you really expect people to believe that this was not a snub of the president?
ZALMAY KHALIZAD, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO IRAQ: Oh, absolutely, it was not a snub of the president.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GREGORY (voice-over): The White House memo, written by Stephen Hadley, the president‘s national security adviser, was hardly a vote of confidence for the embattled Iraqi prime minister. In a classified assessment of Maliki, Hadley wrote on November 8, “The reality on the streets of Baghdad suggests Maliki is either ignorant of what is going on, misrepresenting his intentions, or that his capabilities are not yet sufficient to turn his good intentions into action.”
White House officials insist they do trust Maliki, even admitting they have gathered intelligence on his actions, spied on him, leading the White House to conclude he is working to resist pressure from Shi‘ite groups.
Still, aides say the president expects more, and quickly. And the memo emerged as the White House is stepping up pressure on Maliki to develop a strategy to reduce the violence.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KHALIZAD: I understand that the American people are losing patience.
GREGORY (on camera): And so is this White House, no?
KHALIZAD: Things have not gone as well as we would have liked to see them go in the time frame that we are talking about.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GREGORY (voice-over): The memo also raises the possibility of sending additional U.S. troops to Baghdad, and the prospect of Secretary of State Rice convening a summit between Iraq, Iran, and Syria.
(on camera): And back in Washington today, the Baker-Hamilton report announced that it will release its report on Iraq on December 6. It is described as a tough evaluation of the situation on the ground, but apparently does not contain any magic bullet solutions, Alison.
STEWART: David Gregory, thanks to you.
The problem for Mr. Maliki have mounted in advance of his meeting with President Bush. Today, the controversial Shi‘ite leader Moqtada al-Sadr made good on his promise to pull his supporters from the so-called unity government.
Al-Sadr‘s 30 members of parliament and five government ministers walked out. The reason, Prime Minister Maliki went ahead and decided to meet with President Bush, despite al-Sadr‘s threat, a man “Newsweek” calls the most dangerous man in Iraq. If that may provide yet another reason why Mr. Maliki postponed the meeting, and may also reinforce perception of Maliki‘s weakness, ignorance, and/or duplicity, as suggested by that leaked memo.
Meanwhile, as our chief Pentagon correspondent, Jim Miklaszewski, reports, more American troops may be on the way.
JIM MIKLASZEWSKI, MSNBC PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Alison, political or not, some U.S. officials are clearly concerned about today‘s walkout by Sadr‘s followers. One senior official told us that it could signal the beginning of the breakup of the Iraqi government, and, quote, “By our own definition, that‘s civil war.”
This, as military commanders are considering sending even more U.S. troops into Iraq.
(voice-over): With sectarian violence out of control, the U.S. military is making plans to beef up American forces in Iraq.
NBC News has learned the U.S. military is looking at a temporary increase of up to 20,000 troops. That could be done by extending the tours of three brigades of soldiers who have already spent a year in Iraq, and by accelerating deployment for two others brigades, sending them into Iraq earlier than scheduled.
The Army will also activate four battalions of reserve combat engineers, some 2,800 troops. Their mission, help build security barriers in Baghdad around heavily congested areas, like open-air markets, prime targets for suicide car bombers.
The U.S. military is also pushing Iraqi officials to send more Iraqi security forces into Baghdad.
But sectarian differences within the Iraqi military itself could lead to more violence, if Shi‘ia soldiers moved into a Sunni neighborhood, or visa-versa.
GEN. PETER PACE, CHAIRMAN, JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF: There are some units around Iraq that, if moved into Baghdad, would not be helpful.
MIKLASZEWSKI: In Washington, the nominee for secretary of defense, Robert Gates, offered up new criticism of the Iraq War. In a 65-page questionnaire for the Senate Armed Services Committee, Gates said, “In hindsight, I might have done some things differently.”
As for launching the war in the first place, Gates warned, “Preemptive force should be based on very strong evidence. And it‘s a decision that must not be taken lightly.”
(on camera): Despite that criticism, or maybe because of it, Gates is expected to win quick Senate confirmation, and be sworn in as secretary of defense within the next two weeks, Alison.
STEWART: Jim Miklaszewski at the Pentagon. Thanks to you.
A killer teddy bear, a homemade movie, and some high school students. The movie got them expelled from school, and now the ACLU has stepped in to try to get some of them back in class.
And what do you get someone that already has everything? How about a jet car? Someone has stolen Oddball‘s coolest wheels ever.
That and more, ahead on COUNTDOWN.
STEWART: Mr. Keith Olbermann usually begins this segment each night with an anniversary. So I‘ve decided to give it a shot. It was exactly 24 hours ago that we last heard the words, “Let‘s play Oddball.”
Sorry, I (INAUDIBLE) been here 12 hours.
We begin in Paris, with this exciting final moment to the French National Championship of Speed Ironing. Four men and two women were in the running for the coveted Golden Iron award. But in the end, it was a former member of the French army. He used his training to iron a pair of chinos and shirt in just three minutes.
See, the French army can do something.
To Hillsborough County, Florida, where stop the presses, a car was stolen. But not just any car. Somebody stole the Green Mamba. It‘s a 300-mile-per-hour jet car valued at more than $300,000, and it was taken from the parking lot outside its owner‘s apartment. Last night, deputies found the car in a Tampa chop shop, but it was too late. The Green Mamba was basically in little tiny mamba bits. Jet engine gone.
Police are asking for your help. If you see anything suspicious or anyone around town showing off their brand-new jet engine who doesn‘t apparently appear properly trained and licensed, call the Tampa PD immediately.
And finally, to the Internet, where everything old is new again. And proof of that, we offer this five-year-old video, which has made a comeback as one of the most popular videos on the Web right now. It‘s when beer meets children‘s television. Don‘t ask, just watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What‘s up? (INAUDIBLE).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yo, pick up the phone.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hello?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who‘s that?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yo, where‘s Dookie?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yo.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE). Hello?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE).
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEWART: Never gets old.
OK, we‘re just starting with the viral videos. The crazy antics on the Web entertain millions of procrastinators every day. What‘s the best of the best? We‘ve got your top 10 viral videos of all time coming up next.
And is this the top divorce excuse of all time? “Borat” made us do it. Yes. Inside the Pamela Anderson-Kid Rock breakup.
But first, time for COUNTDOWN‘s top three newsmakers of this day.
Number three, Morgan Conatser of Taqueen (ph), Arkansas. He‘s been arrested for shoplifting an electric guitar from a music store. The store owner says he noticed Conatser was walking funny and had a strange bulge in his pants. It was a guitar in his pocket, and he was not happy to see the cops.
Number two, another shoplifter. You may remember her from the car chase in last night‘s Oddball. Turns out she led police on that dangerous high-speed chase because she didn‘t want to get arrested for walking out of a store with a bunch of clothes she didn‘t pay for. Police say when she was arrested, she was wearing a pair of stolen shoes that still had the price tags on them.
And at number one, Julianne Mitrovoska of Melbourne, Australia. She had more than 500 guests at her extravagant Greek Orthodox wedding. She surprised her new husband and family by paying for the whole thing herself, with $123,000 she embezzled from her employer. Something borrowed, something blue. I didn‘t pay for my wedding. I know how she feels.
STEWART: Welcome back. I‘m Alison Stewart, keeping the seat warm for Keith Olbermann. Of all the videos, of all the ads, of all the Internets, what really grabs your attention, the dumb stuff.
Our third story on the COUNTDOWN, one company using its own estimations has compiled the cream of the online crop.
STEWART (voice-over): It has made office life across the world finally bearable. It supplied the COUNTDOWN crew with a lifetime supply of Oddball. Where else but amid the thousands of videos on the Internet would we find our nightly dose of crazy animals, more crazy animals, idiots, more idiots, cool tricks, creepy films, and weird science?
Now we find out just which of these videos you love the most. Thanks to a marketing company, predictably called the Viral Factory, which compiled a list of the top 10 most watched viral videos ever.
At number 10, proof that editing, music and voice track can making any, the “Shining Redux.”
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Meet Jack Torrence.
JACK NICHOLSON, ACTOR: I‘m outlining a new writing project.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He‘s a writer looking for inspiration.
That is scarier than the original. Number nine, the so-called Afro ninja. Don‘t try this at home. Walk it off, dude.
STEWART: Now that‘s far more scary than the original.
At number nine, the so-called Afro-Ninja. Don‘t try this at home.
Walk it off. Walk it off dude.
At number eight, an oldy but goody, the Cola 2001, where freakishly bendy kids square off against other freakishly bending kids.
And speaking of bending, at number seven, with three hundred million views, the so-called Trojan Games.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is the spread.
STEWART: Obviously advertising the condom of the same name.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can he hold it? Can he hold it?
STEWART: At number six, another ad, this time for John West Salmon, pitting man against Kung Fu fighting bear.
At number five an old COUNTDOWN favorite, hail the exploding whale.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Chunks of whale blubber fell everywhere. Everyone on the scene was covered with small particles of dead whale.
STEWART: Just bring an umbrella next time.
Number four, singer Kylie Manogue (ph) advertising Agent Provacateur, viewed 360 million times. Personal favorite of mine actually.
And we can‘t afford to show you number three, but you‘ve probably downloaded it at some point anyway. It is the Paris Hilton sex tape, alias “One Night in Paris.”
Coming in second, no pun intended, it is native New Jersian Gary Brolzma (ph) and his Numa Numa kid video.
OK, so now you‘re going to have that stuck in your head all day. Finally, number one, with a whopping 900 million views, the Star Wars kid, who last we heard, tried to sue the buddies who put the video on line, but had settled out of court, cha ching.
We, and the millions of web heads who created their own Star Wars videos using your footage, salute you Star Wars kid, king of the Internet.
STEWART: I salute you.
Moving from one of a kind to a multitude. If you have noticed a striking similarity between the people used to advertise different products on the web, this time it is not you, really. The other time it was you, but this time no. If you think the faces tend to blur together and look the same it is because, as our correspondent Lisa Daniels reports, much of the time they are the same, literally.
LISA DANIELS, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Two identical pictures, two very different ads on the web. One is for Met Life Employee Benefit, the other Viagra.
DONNY DELITSCH, CNBC: There is so much more content that more and more stock photos will end up in more than one place.
DANIELS: All because of the growth of digital libraries, offering generic images that marketers can buy very cheap and use in ads. The risk, stock photos come with nonexclusive rights, meaning two companies, like J.P. Morgan Chase and WellPoint, can buy the same image without even realizing it.
(on camera): It all comes down to money. Stock images are much easier to produce, but you risk that another company will use the same image. Companies prefer to have a custom produced image, but that requires a photo shoot, a photographer and a lot more money.
(voice-over): Money that is worth spending on ads in newspapers or magazines, but apparently not on web ads for things like Dell computers or pamphlets by Washington Mutual. Photo agencies offer millions of different images, but here is the problem.
JONATHAN KLEIN, CEO GETTY IMAGES: There are very few concepts and messages that advertisers are wishing to communicate. Now, what tends to happen is companies want similar things at similar times.
DANIELS: Especially banks, insurance companies and pharmaceuticals. And they are not the only ones. This photo appeared on Republican Brett Chundler‘s (ph) 2005 New Jersey gubernatorial campaign website. The original one featured Democrat Howard Dean. But double ads aren‘t just a problem for advertisers and politicians. They are also confusing for consumers who are trying to differentiate between brands.
As the Internet grows in popularity, companies may start rethinking their strategy as more consumers realize they are seeing double.
Lisa Daniels, NBC News, New York.
STEWART: A home made horror flick earned four students a lot more time at home, expelled for “The Teddy Bear Master.” The ACLU is now fighting on behalf of the students.
And the clip of the day on daytime TV, Danny Devito shows up for the View, how shall we say, after viewing the bottom of a class. Cheers Louis. Details ahead, but first here are COUNTDOWN‘s top three sound bytes of the day.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I feel like there is much --- there is much penis going on here which is nice. It looks like the flavor of the lamb is not—tends to hold up with these favor strong flavors of lamb, but I like it a lot.
DAVID LETTERMAN, THE TONIGHT SHOW: NBC has announced that they will now refer to the Iraqi war as a civil war. They are calling the conflict in Iraq a civil war. That‘s NBC News, and President Bush responded. He said no, no, no, no, no, no, no, it is not a civil war until it becomes a series of Time Life books.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She wanted to do something extraordinary at 80.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Flexible is not a problem.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Most of us wouldn‘t do it at 18.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It has been terror and torture.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: As she spins and flips 10 feet in the air without a net.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sometimes it hurts after.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEWART: A home made horror movie scaring up a bunch of trouble for its student makers. Danny Devito‘s TWI, talking on TV while intoxicated. And is it even possible that Borat could be cited in the divorce papers of Pam Anderson and Kid Rock. It‘s all next. This is COUNTDOWN.
STEWART: Moving on to our number two story on the COUNTDOWN. Most kids would be psyched to stay home from school, watch YouTube, get out the Play Station. But in Indiana, two expelled high school students are trying to sue their way back into school with the help of the ACLU.
The two teenagers are among four students kicked out of a Hoosier high school for making a movie titled “The Teddy Bear Master.” Here is the plot, demonic Teddy bears attack a fictional teacher. One problem, the fake teacher shares the same name with a real life teacher, prompting school officials to believe the whole thing to be a threat to the educator. The movie makers were expelled for the rest of the school year. Our affiliate WTHR‘s Alex Sands has a story about the not so warm and fuzzy tale of psycho Teddy, (INAUDIBLE).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am the Teddy bear master.
ALEX SANDS, WTHR: It is a home made movie --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You heard him, get out of here.
SANDS: -- made by students --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get up Puffy Puffington.
SANDS: -- that is now at the center of a legal battle. The movie is billed by its teenage creators as a South Park inspired spoof of the 1980‘s horror film, “The Puppet Master.” But school administrators say they consider the movie a threat, because a possessed character orders evil Teddy bears to kill a fictional teacher with a real life name.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is a character with the last name of Clevinger, which has the same last name as a teacher.
SANDS: In an often seen in the movies moment, the real life Clevinger learned of the movie from the school‘s principal, who learned of the movie from a parent. When the county prosecutor decided no laws were broken, the teacher requested a protective order from police. School records show the students were then expelled for the rest of the school year.
ISAAC IMEL, EXPELLED STUDENT: It is like a nightmare because I never expected anything like this. They say, you know, students are a priority at our school, but, I mean, I just kind of feel like I‘ve been taken advantage of.
SANDS: With the help of the ACLU, one of students with a minor role in the movie is suing the school corporation to have his expulsion reversed.
JACKIE SUESS, AMERICAN CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION: There is no threat in there. Nobody is threatening anybody‘s life. There is clearly no serious threat to harm anybody. There‘s no slander. These are the things, though, that the school has claimed and they are just not in there. It was, you know, their expressive activity that took place completely off of school grounds.
STEWART: From forbidden movies to drunken television, and our segment of entertainment stories, Keeping Tabs. We begin with the highlight of daytime TV today, the View, with special guest Danny Devito. Please enjoy this clip where Devito explains that he was out all night partying with George Clooney. Then, as he tells a story about visiting the White House, it becomes clear that Danny might still be halfway in the bag.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Danny has been out partying all night with—tell them. I‘m so jealous.
DANNY DEVITO, ACTOR: George.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Clooney.
DEVITO: No I knew it was the last seven lemon drinks that was going to get me.
ROSIE O‘DONNELL, THE VIEW: Yes, exactly. Have you been to sleep yet?
BARBARA WALTERS, THE VIEW: Don‘t do it now.
DEVITO I was there during the Clinton‘s last stint, which was really nice. The place had that kind of Clinton feeling. I didn‘t go after, you know, numb nuts—
WALTERS: You‘re waking up, aren‘t you?
DEVITO: Trying to, like, you know, figure out what to do with our country and our women and men in the military. OK.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEWART: Somebody get that guy a cup of coffee and get this man a lawyer, for schizzle. Calvin Brotus, better known as Snoop Dogg, has been arrested, again, third time in three months. Last night Snoop had just finished an appearance on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno when his car was pulled over when he was leaving the NBC studios, according to a police spokesperson. Snoop and two members of his entourage were arrested after police searched the car and later his home, possessing a weapon and illegal drugs, transporting Marijuana and having a false compartment in his vehicle was the case that they gave him.
Just when you thought you were through with your Tomkat related cringing, a report now the couple has been approached to record a love duet. This has just got to stop. It‘s got to stop. Apparently someone heard the couple singing You‘ve Lost that Loving Feeling at their Italian wedding this month and thought, Tomkat the album, what a great idea. Various sources tell various tabloids that various obstacles stand in the way of this ever happening. But Tom Cruise is reportedly gung ho over the idea and that is reason enough not to do it.
From newly weds in love, to newly weds saying their goodbyes. Is Borat really to blame for the demise of Pam Anderson and Kid Rock‘s marriage? And new naughty details on what was the last straw in the Brittany/K-Fed split. Michael Musto provides analysis next, on COUNTDOWN.
STEWART: Actress Pamela Anderson and hip hop star Kid Rock were married only four months when they filed for divorce a few days ago. And in our number one story on the COUNTDOWN, the reasons for the split are surfacing fast, such as reports that the Baywatch star spent too much time partying naked, while Kid was home with the kids. Anderson told Blender Magazine that when she went out in Hollywood, quote, I usually end of nude in David LaChapelle‘s studio taking crazy pictures. That could do it. But another reason for the break up, and maybe an all time first, came in the form of a movie, as in Borat, Cultural Learnings of America For Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakstan. Our correspondent is Peter Alexander.
PETER ALEXANDER, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For those of you keeping track, Pamela Anderson and Kid Rock‘s marriage lasted exactly 121 days. The straw that reportedly broke the couple‘s back, Borat.
SASH BARON COHEN, BORAT: My name is Borat.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, that‘s good. I‘m not used to that, but that‘s fine.
ALEXANDER: Anderson and Rock filed for divorce Monday, citing irreconcilable differences. Their rocky marriage reportedly wound down last month after the couple attended a private screening of the movie.
KEN BAKER, US WEEKLY: This is the first time that I think a movie is responsible for breaking up a celebrity couple.
COHEN: Look, there is a woman in a car. Can we follow her? And maybe make a sexy time with her.
ALEXANDER: So how could it happen?
BAKER: The whole premise of Borat is that Borat wants to make sexy time with Pamela Anderson. Kid did not know the premise of the movie. He was really upset that she had become this sort of sex object of Borat. He flipped out on her in front of a group people, told her she was a horrible person and called her names that I can‘t repeat.
ALEXANDER: Anderson spoke out about the divorce on her website, “I would like to resolve this amicably,” she writes. “Truth is (Kid Rock) is great in many ways, we just don‘t belong together.” Most people apparently agree, except for the folks at GQ Magazine. Next month‘s issue names Anderson and Rock newlyweds of the year.
COHEN: What, how about that. Isn‘t that amazing.
ALEXANDER: Peter Alexander, NBC News, Hollywood.
STEWART: As for the other high profile celebrity split between Britney Spears and Kevin Federline, Fed-Ex now to those in the know, there are nasty rumors that a tipping point came when Federline had an alleged affair with a former porn star. Two questions, one, is there anything such as a former porn star and two, who is really surprised? Anyway, the tabloid Star Magazine has the scandalous, if not necessarily reliable, scoop. In 2005 Federline met Kendra Jade, who‘s website describes her as a, quote, adult superstar, while his wife was visiting family in Louisiana. And that the two remained friendly.
Apparently what happened in Vegas did not stay there. A source said, quote, Kevin and Kendra had sex at their friends apartment multiple times starting in early October. That would have been one month before Spears filed for divorce. The source said that K-Fed and Ms. Jade were not romantically involved, quote, they were just friends who have sex. Well all righty then. I‘m not a lawyer, but friends with benefits, not really a legal term. But, I guess anything is possible.
It‘s time to call in Village Voice columnist Michael Musto, also author of the upcoming book, “La Dolce Musto, Writings by the World‘s Most Outrageous Columnist.” Good evening Michael.
MICHAEL MUSTO, THE VILLAGE VOICE: Hi Alison.
STEWART: Pamela Anderson and Kid Rock first. We have got the Borat issue, we‘ll get to that, and then we have the naked issue. Let‘s talk naked first, because that‘s kind of fun. There‘s more of Ms. Anderson talking about her nights out in Hollywood, saying that the nudes, crazy pictures were, quote, usually a night out for me, 4:00 or 5:00 in the mornings, lying across a car in David‘s studio. Now, Kid Rock‘s particular problem with his wife‘s nude pictures on some other dude‘s car. I mean wasn‘t she in Playboy?
MUSTO: Yes, she is an equal opportunity disrober. I mean this woman has made the world her gynecologist and she‘s fabulous, OK. Besides, he should relax, Kid Rock, because I know David LaChapelle, the photographer in question. He‘s gayer than Liberacci. OK, he‘s out, and this guy would not make her into a sex symbol. He only sees her as an art object, not a sex object.
STEWART: Or a hood ornament apparently.
MUSTO: Yes, exactly.
STEWART: Now to Borat, in this movie, a character, not a real person, wants to make sexy time with Pam Anderson and literally bag her and make her his wife. He throws a bag over her head. Now, can you figure out what part of that, sort of, sweet but sick story is troubling for Kid?
MUSTO: I guess Kid Rock didn‘t get the memo that this was a comedy. I mean, even kids get it, but not Kid Rock. He thinks this is something to take seriously, like Beef Jerky or armpit hair. It‘s really absurd. And he‘s sitting thinking, oh, he‘s trying to bag her for sexy time. That‘s what I do. This is appalling.
STEWART: One last question on those two, who exactly did Kid Rock think he was marrying anyway? I mean, he is cranked that she‘s a party girl?
MUSTO: Gain, he didn‘t get the memo. I think he thought it was Pam Dawber. They were going to go out for milkshakes. Or Pam Tillis, go out for flap jacks. This is Pamela Lee. She‘s trash. She is such trash that Boy George picks her off the curb every Wednesday for community service. And I love her, once again.
STEWART: Rock and Mindy. It could have worked out. Let‘s talk about K-Fed and a porn star. Any reason not to believe this dalliance occurred?
MUSTO: Well K-Fed was doing with it a porn star for a while, Britney Spears. I‘ll be here until Thursday, check out the ribs. No, no, no, no, I don‘t believe this, because it would have meant that he actually did something. K-Fed would have had to have left the house, met someone other than Britney and consummated something. I don‘t buy it. I think actually that Britney dumped him because he couldn‘t even do it with a porn star on the side.
STEWART: Star Magazine also asked former Porn Star Kendra Jade, we‘re still a little fuzzy on the former part, for a comment and she said, quote, I‘m in a committed relationship. You talk to publicists all day who spin words—I don‘t know if you talk to porn stars who spin words—but what does that exactly mean?
MUSTO: It‘s double talk. It‘s like I didn‘t inhale, I never had sex with those women, with that woman—wait, both of those were from the same guy, weren‘t they. Look, she‘s basically saying, I don‘t cheat, but she‘s not saying on whom. I mean, maybe she means on K-Fed. I‘m more confused than Britney when it took her an hour and a half to watch 60 Minutes.
STEWART: OK., I got that one. Yes, got it. As long as we‘re talking about—let‘s get off the people who aren‘t getting along. Let‘s talk about the people are just getting along famously. We have not talked to you since this whole Britney Spears/Paris Hilton friendship has blossomed. Is this just a match made in heaven?
MUSTO: It‘s wonderful. I mean it proves the same as the great leveler. I mean, here you have this kind of wild, rich heiress and this self made trash star and they play on the same level field because they both have, kind of, overactive, shall we say, mid sections and under active upper regions. It‘s like if Grace Kelly was hanging out with Margery Main (ph).
STEWART: Sort of. I had a Freudian slip on the air yesterday. I said they were going to be best friends forever, but I said breast friends forever, but I think I might have been right.
MUSTO: That‘s not a slip at all. We‘re now officially going to call them breast friends.
STEWART: The two were slated to co-host the Billboard Music Awards, but apparently Britney pulled out. Does that mean that some P.R. handler got a hold of her.
MUSTO: Oh, I hope this is true, because we have to break up this brain trust of Paris and Britney, and we have to break up all these brain cells and have—maybe put one here and one there. Actually that‘s it, one here and one there. Also, I hear, Judy Dentch (ph) and Kate Blanchett have a movie coming out and they were very threatened by those two. They were going to sweep all the awards and steal all their prestige. And so this is good news for dame Judy and Kate. I made that up.
STEWART: Michael Musto of the Village Voice. It was good though.
Thanks a lot.
MUSTO: Thank you.
STEWART: That does it for this Wednesday edition of COUNTDOWN. I‘m Alison Stewart, in for Keith Olbermann. He will be back tomorrow night. Thank you so much for watching. And now kindly direct your attention to Mr. Joe Scarborough from the view, with the view from “SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.”
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