Guests: Katrina Vanden Heuvel, Anne Kornblut, Roger Cressey, Bob Kohn, Steve Adubato, Chelsea Handler
JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST: Tonight: Bill O‘Reilly and his Fox friends continue their war on NBC, still claiming there are no conservatives at this network. We‘re going to debate that, and I‘m going to tell Mr. O‘Reilly why I‘m a real conservative and he‘s not. That‘s coming up.
But first, meltdown in the Middle East. On the same day that a U.N. report reveals the staggering loss of life from the Iraq war, massive explosions killed nearly 70 students at a Baghdad university. And today, we learned tens of thousands of Iraqis died violent deaths last year alone because of the all right.
And tonight, amid the carnage and bloodshed, NBC News is reporting that to the south, Saudis are mapping out plans to make a move into Iraq, and to the east, America appears more likely than ever to be planning for a coming war with Iranians over nuclear programs and their activities in Iraq.
Iraq, Iran, the Saudis and the surge—is America and the world on the brink of a bloody regional war? Here now to sort it out, “New York Times” reporter Anne Kornblut, Katrina Vanden Heuvel—she‘s the editor of “The Nation”—and MSNBC political analyst Pat Buchanan.
Katrina, it is hard the imagine the meltdown in Iraq getting much worse, but here we are now, we‘re hearing saber rattling from the Saudis in the south, we‘re hearing in Iran in the east. Have we pushed this civil war to the brink of a regional bloodbath?
KATRINA VANDEN HEUVEL, “THE NATION”: When President Bush gave his speech the other night, Joe, what was stunning was not simply an escalation in defiance of the American people, in defiance of Congress, in defiance of the Iraqi government, in defiance of the best elements of the U.S. military, in defiance of the Iraqi people, but the saber rattling toward Iran and Syria.
This man is in the death embrace of the neocons, and he is contemptuous for the best elements of the Iraqi Study Group plan, which was to engage Iran and Syria and to engage in regional diplomacy with neighbors in the Middle East. Instead, we are facing what Donald Rumsfeld once put as one of his rules—when this administration is faced with an insoluble problem, make it bigger, and make it bigger at the expense of the people of the Middle East. Iraq, as you said, Joe...
SCARBOROUGH: Well, you know, Katrina, I want to...
VANDEN HEUVEL: ... is already a humanitarian catastrophe.
SCARBOROUGH: ... play you a clip—hold on. Hey, Katrina, hold on, OK? I want to play you a clip of Tony Snow to build on your point. Tony Snow was asked today whether the United States was provoking Iran, possibly provoking them into a coming war. I want you to listen to what the White House spokesman had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TONY SNOW, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: When you talk about provocation, the movement toward the development of a nuclear program with the public pronouncements of President Ahmadinejad, those are provocative. When you have him traveling the world and talking about killing large masses of people, that‘s provocative. When you have the presence of Iranians on Iraqi soil, killing Americans, that is provocative. What the United States is doing in Iraq is protecting—is doing force protection. We‘re protecting our people, which is not only what you‘d expect, it‘s the smart and wise thing to do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: Katrina, not backing down at all when asking whether they‘re provoking Iran about possibly going to war. Is that sending a signal that, in fact, we are possibly planning for war with Iran?
VANDEN HEUVEL: Well, I mean, Joe, you heard the speech yourself. You heard about aircraft carriers going into the region, Patriot missile systems being given to countries in the region. The Iranian president has made odious, horrific statements, but what we are doing is encouraging the hardliners like the Iranian president and not encouraging reformers in Iraq.
The elections last year were a setback for this president. I have sources which are talking about secret impeachment proceedings against the Iranian president. What we are doing is strengthening his hand. What we are also doing is in violation of international law, in violation of intelligence estimates, which (INAUDIBLE) this country, Iran, is 15 years away from any real nuclear program.
We must engage. We must engage in regional diplomacy. We cannot afford more war, chaos, carnage with an overstretched military.
SCARBOROUGH: All right. Let me bring in Pat Buchanan here. Pat, that, of course, is to the east of Iraq. If you look south of Iraq, according to NBC‘s Andrea Mitchell, the Saudis have now privately told the White House that they‘re not going to stand by while Iran‘s allies take control of Iraq. This meltdown that you‘ve warned about for months seems to be more possible than ever. What happens if the Saudis move on Iraq or Iran?
PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: I think, clearly, if Iraq—the government in Baghdad collapses, there‘s a good probability that Iraq‘s going to come apart. And I would assume that the Jordanians and the Saudis would help the Sunni, who would be pretty much at the mercy of the government and its armed forces, Joe.
I think, not only that, the surge here is—could aggravate this situation from a couple of counts. One is you got the Americans attacking Muqtada al Sadr, the most popular man in the Shia region, a real militant who heads the Mahdi Army. Secondly, Maliki government is going to bring down, I understand, a couple of Peshmerga brigades, combat brigades to take on the Shia. You are really looking at a potential war of all against all, and it...
SCARBOROUGH: And Pat, you‘re talking—when you talk about the Shia, you‘re talk about 60 percent of the population there. I think most conservatives would believe, though, that al Sadr needs to be taken out as quickly as possible. Do you agree with that?
BUCHANAN: You know, Joe, he was not taken out two years ago in Najaf, and Sistani gave him a benediction and saved him. But I‘ll tell you, the Mahdi Army now is the strongest military force in the country, outside the United States. And if Maliki and the Americans take it on, you‘re going to have a Shia versus Shia war there, as well.
Now, Iran—look, to Iran, a Shia Iraq is of vital national interest.
They got rid of Saddam Hussein. They want a friendly government on their
frontier, as we would want a friendly government in Mexico. So you‘ve got
I think the Iranians would really resist another hostile government in Baghdad.
SCARBOROUGH: You know, Anne, the prospect of this regional war with the Saudis and the Iranians pouring into Iraq would seem to me to further bleaken the politics surrounding George Bush‘s troop surge. What are you hearing up on Capitol Hill? What does all of this chaos and the possibility of coming regional war do to the politics of a plan that‘s already unpopular with Democrats, a lot of Republicans, and most of the American people?
ANNE KORNBLUT, “NEW YORK TIMES”: It‘s pretty—I have to say the mood is pretty dismal up there. There are a few—Senator John McCain is among them—who argue that the prospect of that kind of a civil war, of Iraq coming apart at the seams, of the Saudis an the Iranians fighting some kind of proxy war through the Sunnis and the Shia—that only bolsters their argument that more troops are needed to really get control.
But what we‘re hearing increasingly from Democrats, especially those
thinking about running in 2008, and now a growing number of Republicans,
even Republicans—not just Senator Hagel, who has often been cantankerous
toward the administration, but others—Senator Voinovich is one recently
who are arguing...
KORNBLUT: ... and certainly Senator Brownback, Norm Coleman, Gordon Smith—who are speaking in increasingly dire terms, not calling for immediate withdrawal, but really questioning the execution of this and whether the military is being handled correctly. We‘re going to see General Petraeus up on the Hill some this week, getting a lot of tough questions about what they can do to actually make this work and really asking tough questions about whether the increase in the number of troops will have the right effect.
SCARBOROUGH: So Anne, the president could—we could see within the next week or so the president facing a full-scale rebellion among his own party, among the Republican ranks, right?
KORNBLUT: Well, we‘ll see, I mean, in the next couple of weeks. But we‘ll have first a resolution in the Senate, followed by one in the House, talking about the increase in troops. It‘s unclear right now how critical of the administration it will be, how many Republicans will sign up. Democrats are hopeful they can get a large number of Republicans on board, which would again be bad news for the administration. All of that said, the administration has not always listened to critical voices, you know, starting with the Iraq Study Group. So it remains to be seen how they would handle that kind of an uprising in Congress. We just don‘t know yet.
SCARBOROUGH: Katrina, what is the biggest danger, would you say, of this possible—let‘s forget about Washington, D.C.. Let‘s talk about the real dangers of this possible military attack on Iran, which, again, Pat Buchanan‘s been talking about night after night, that there‘s sort of like this drumbeat of war, and in fact, Pat and many other people believe that this White House is intentionally provoking the Iranians into doing something stupid that will allow us to launch missiles or send fighters in there, take out military targets. What‘s the biggest danger of that?
VANDEN HEUVEL: Well, I think what we‘re witnessing, Joe, is a president who is isolated, who cares more about his legacy, a president who has committed the greatest foreign policy disaster in American history, cares more about his legacy than he does his responsibility to the nation or to the troops, and that he is willing to expand and escalate a war into possibly Iran so as to deflect attention from the tragedy, the chaos engulfing Iraq. So I believe...
SCARBOROUGH: Are you saying this is sort of a “Wag the Dog” scenario, where a president actually doesn‘t go to war to distract from a sex scandal, he actually goes to war to distract from another war?
VANDEN HEUVEL: I believe that. I mean, I think we‘re seeing the very real possibility of that. Anyone who listened to his speech last week had to be struck, again, that in defiance of democracy, in defiance the Republic, in defiance of those who chose and voted for a change of course November 7, this president has said that he will embark on a course that may well even further undermine and endanger the security of this country and is now—has a vice president who says that the Congress doesn‘t have an appropriate role to play in matters of war and peace. The Congress must now have the guts to stand up to a president who is so isolated that we now have moved from denial to deception to full delusion.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, you know, Pat Buchanan, we talk about Congress stepping in. We certainly—and a lot of people coming on this show saying the Democrats in Congress need to step in. But if you look at the polls out there, Pat, Americans say that they don‘t think George Bush has a plan to get us out of Iraq. The numbers—I think it‘s 26 percent say George Bush doesn‘t have a clear plan to win in Iraq. But then you ask them about the Democratic plan, and even fewer Americans believe Democrats have a plan for Iraq. I think the number is 21 percent. So what these polls show is you got 21 percent of Americans think Democrats have a clear plan for Iraq. So the American people are telling the Gallup organization, We don‘t really trust the president, but we trust Democrats even less.
BUCHANAN: Well, that‘s right...
SCARBOROUGH: So what‘s the solution? Where are the leaders? How do we win this war? How do we get out?
BUCHANAN: All right. Well, first, you‘re exactly right. And the president makes this argument when he says, Look, I considered this approach of stay the course. That‘s slow-motion defeat. I considered pulling out rapidly, as the Iraq Study Group—that‘s accelerated defeat. This is the best thing, I think, for the United States. The truth is, Joe, militarily, the war is lost in the United States. Militarily, it‘s not lost in Iraq.
But let me tell you about Iran. The force pushing for war include the Saudis, for attacks on their nuclear installations, the Israelis are almost hysterical about it, the Israeli lobby, the neoconservatives. And I don‘t believe Cheney and Bush want to go home with the Iranian nuclear project unresolved. By that, I mean delayed or smashed or impeded for a decade. So you‘ve got these very powerful forces.
Now, let‘s suppose Mr. Bush orders an air strike on an Iranian target 10 miles inside Iran, which he says has been providing these sophisticated IEDs that are killing American troops. And he says, I hit that target because I‘m commander-in-chief and those are our troops and I‘ve got to defend them. How many Democrats do you think would stand up and say, This is outrageous aggression?
SCARBOROUGH: Well, let‘s ask Anne. Anne, how many Democrats are going to stand up to this president not only on Iraq and the surge, but also on Iran? Do they have the stomach to stand up to a president that‘s willing to go after Iranian targets that he might claim will help the Iranians develop a nuclear weapon, especially when Iran‘s obviously been the epicenter of terror on the earth since 1979?
KORNBLUT: The clear hope from the Democrats is that they won‘t have to face the question of military attacks on Iran anytime this year. And so far, the evidence is that they may not have to face that question. Democrats, on the other hand, have been extremely tough on Ahmadinejad, all the frontrunners, have. And there‘s nothing to be lost by being rhetorically very tough. Of course, they argue that we should be in discussions—even some Republicans argue that we should be in discussions with Iran, the way we, you know, spoke to our enemies during the cold war, the Soviet Union.
But I would say on the question of what the Democrats do and there not being a Democratic plan, that so far, it‘s true there are a number of different Democratic ideas across the spectrum, but there are a couple things that I think will be interesting to look for in the next few days, with Senator Barack Obama announcing that he‘s running, Hillary Clinton and then the State of the Union, Jim Webb giving the response. I think those will be very—three very interesting moments for Democrats on Iraq the next...
VANDEN HEUVEL: Joe, I think what‘s really interesting...
SCARBOROUGH: There‘s no doubt. I was just going to say, Anne, Jim Webb—anytime Jim Webb delivers any address, let alone the Democratic response, it‘s a very interesting event.
Anne, Katrina and Pat, thank you so much for being with us. I‘ve got to say, my prediction is if the president makes a military move on the Iranians, I just don‘t think the Democrats are going to stand up and oppose it. That‘s my guess. We‘ll see what happens when it happens.
Coming up: The dangers of a military-industrial complex comes into clear view with a stunning NBC report that shows how the Army may have killed life-saving weapons systems from being tested as a favor to a defense contractor. Was Eisenhower right? More of our exclusive NBC News investigation next. And later: Bill O‘Reilly at it again, accusing NBC of leftist leanings. We‘ll show you what he and his Fox friends and saying today, and I‘ll tell you why he‘s the one who‘s not a true conservative.
And speaking of Fox, they‘re great hit show “24” is under attack after showing a nuclear bomb exploding over Los Angeles. Did the network‘s doomsday scenario go too far, or is it inevitable in the age of terror? The truth behind the latest Jack Bauer controversy coming up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: That was President Eisenhower‘s farewell address, warning Americans about the dangers of war profiteering. Now, more than 45 years later, new fears that it could be happening again.
In part two of an exclusive NBC News investigation, some Pentagon officials have stood in the way of a weapons system that could save American lives tonight in Iraq and Afghanistan. It‘s a system called TROPHY that literally shoots rocket-propelled grenades out of the sky. Well, NBC News has learned that the U.S. Army blocked the system because of a contract it‘s developed with Raytheon to develop a similar system. But now we‘re finding out that the Army went even further than we thought to block efforts to test TROPHY on the ground in Iraq, ignoring the advice of the Army‘s own engineers.
NBC‘s senior investigative correspondent, Lisa Myers, is here with that stunning report she brings us tonight—Lisa.
LISA MYERS, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Joe, the Pentagon‘s Office of Force Transformation scoured the world for technology to protect troops from RPGs and found the Israel system TROPHY. Since our initial reports in September, we‘ve learned that some of the Army‘s own experts agreed it was a promising technology.
(voice-over): Since our first reports, the Army brass has repeatedly told Congress that TROPHY is too flawed to battle test in Iraq, but documents obtained by NBC News reveal that the Army‘s own engineers gave the system high marks. In the summer of 2005, Army engineers working with a team from the Navy analyzed six RPG defense systems. They declared TROPHY the best and most technically advanced and mature.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They‘re all for it.
MYERS: Phil Coyle, the Pentagon‘s former chief weapons tester, reviewed documents obtained by NBC.
PHIL COYLE, FORMER PENTAGON CHIEF WEAPONS TESTER: The Army‘s own engineers said that it was the system that was the most ready to go.
MYERS: The Army‘s number three official also declared the system, though not perfect, good enough to seriously consider.
RAY DUBOIS, FORMER Army UNDERSECRETARY: It appeared that TROPHY was mature enough that it needed to be looked at seriously and not ignored.
MYERS (on camera): But Pentagon sources, Army documents and e-mails reveal that other Army officials went to great lengths to stop TROPHY, even from further testing.
(voice-over): First, Pentagon sources say the Army refused to allow TROPHY to be tested on an Army Stryker, forcing testers to ship this one in from Israel. Cost: $300,000. Second, after Pentagon tests found TROPHY 98 percent effective, an Army colonel threatened a Navy engineer overseeing the testing. This document says the Army colonel vowed to “take down” TROPHY‘s key Pentagon supporter and warned the Navy engineer to be careful.
Pentagon sources and Army documents strongly suggest top Army officials saw TROPHY as a threat to a $160 billion program, the Future Combat System, FCS, under which a favorite contractor, Raytheon, would incorporate an anti-RPG system built from scratch. The Army denies that had anything to do with it, but this Army document reveals that Army officials cited FCS as a reason to block battle testing TROPHY.
Coyle says the troops need help while FCS is being developed.
COYLE: The whole idea is to get, you know, new equipment that can really make a difference to U.S. soldiers and Marines in Iraq. So I just don‘t understand the reluctance.
MYERS: Now, the Army declined to answer questions or to explain its own document. It agreed to, then canceled an interview. It did provide a statement saying that the Army is developing an anti-RPG system and always acts in the best interests of America‘s soldiers—Joe.
SCARBOROUGH: Thank you so much, Lisa. That is so shocking. Oh! Tell you what, you need to write your congressman and senator and get to the bottom of that. Really stunning. American lives are at risk in Iraq and Afghanistan tonight, and they don‘t need to be.
Coming up next: Condoleezza Rice gets an indecent proposal from Jon Stewart. “Must See S.C.” is coming up: And later: Bill O‘Reilly gets by with a little help from his friends at Fox News in his war against NBC. We‘re going to show you O‘Reilly‘s latest punch at us and why it could be backfiring.
SCARBOROUGH: Hey, it‘s time for tonight‘s “Must See S.C.,” some video you just got to see. First up: Hollywood may have its Golden Globes, but we in the news business have our own big night, the awards for the best generic stock video. Jane Pauley shares one of the night‘s big winners.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Here are the nominees for best stock footage in the category of America‘s health.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: WWBT Richmond with obese people shot from a (INAUDIBLE) walking on city streets; WKAR Minneapolis with close-up of random women smoking; and NBC News with close-up of pharmacist moving pills from one side of plastic tray to trough on the other side.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And the Stocky goes to—Yes! -- WWBT Richmond, obese people on a city street!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: And finally, Barbara Boxer stirred up a hornet‘s nest last week for implying that Condi Rice isn‘t paying a personal price for the Iraq war because she doesn‘t have kids. Well, last night, Jon Stewart tried to change all of that by seducing the secretary of state.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JON STEWART, “THE DAILY SHOW”: I hear you don‘t have a personal stake in this war, that you know of. Or perhaps tonight, we can change all that. Obviously, I didn‘t come a-courtin‘ empty-handed. I brought you this giant book of Russian history all about the uprising of the Ukrainian Cossacks in the 17th century.
I‘m about to redeploy my troops, and you‘re in for one hell of a—surge. Oh! Escalation. No, augmentation. Let me—let me make this real clear, baby. I got to work early tomorrow, so I won‘t be able to stay. I guess you could call that my exit strategy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: And coming up next, Bill O‘Reilly steps up his war against NBC, even as Mr. O‘Reilly‘s claims get more outrageous, is the public starting to tune it out? We‘ll debate that next.
And later, the new season of “24” explodes with controversy after it shows a nuclear attack over Los Angeles. Is this FOX fear-mongering or reality TV?
SCARBOROUGH: Coming up, the fallout over FOX‘s nuclear blast. We‘re going to look at the controversy sparked by “24” and ask, could a terrorist really explode a nuke here in the United States? That story straight ahead.
But first, Bill O‘Reilly has declared war against NBC News, attempting to convince America that this network has taken a sharp turn to the left, that it‘s becoming TV‘s bastion of liberalism. Today, Mr. O‘Reilly‘s network joined in on the air, as well as on the Web, posting occurrences of alleged NBC bias.
The FOX News morning show, “Fox and Friends,” has also spent the past few days asking the question, why is NBC afraid of the liberal label? And today, they even got a phone call from Bill himself. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL O‘REILLY, FOX NEWS HOST: There is no question NBC‘s gone to the left. I mean, I‘ve documented it 100 times. You‘ve got Tom Brokaw out there, you know, screaming about Saddam being executed and how much violence there‘s going to be. There was no violence, Tom.
When the whole organization lurches in a certain direction and they have a lot of influence in the country, most people are afraid to say it. I‘m not. And that‘s why this mini-controversy has ensued.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: And Bill went on to claim there isn‘t a conservative left at NBC, which is certainly news to me, since I‘m just as conservative today as I was in Congress, when I was a regular conservative commentator on FOX News. So if I haven‘t changed, who has? Well, Bill O‘Reilly.
While I spoke out against massive deficits and debts, then and now, Bill is only offended, I guess, by reckless government spending when a Democrat‘s president. And the same goes for military adventurism. I opposed it when Bill Clinton was president, and I oppose it now. My positions are identical to what they were in 1994 when I got elected to Congress and was regularly called a conservative champion by FOX News hosts.
I guess there is a great difference between being a conservative stalwart and a political suck-up.
With that said, what‘s behind FOX network-wide decision to launch an all-out war on NBC? Here now is Bob Kohn. He‘s the author of the book “Journalistic Fraud.” And we also have MSNBC media analyst Steve Adubato.
I guess I‘ve got to start with you, Steve. It‘s not really fair, since everybody that‘s employed by NBC is a liberal, you‘re probably going to be slanted to the left, also. What do you make, though, of Bill O‘Reilly and FOX News‘ war on NBC? Are we a fair target?
STEVE ADUBATO, MEDIA ANALYST: I‘m not saying this because we‘re friends and I‘m on the show with you, but you just made the argument: It‘s absurd.
He conveniently ignores the fact that you served here as an anchor in primetime and you served in Congress, casts votes, stood there and did what you did as a conservative. I know they called you a conservative, because I actually was a regular guest there for many years before I came over here. And I know they called you that.
My point is this: O‘Reilly conveniently leaves out certain pieces of information that go against his argument. When he goes after David Gregory and sees he‘s far left for what he did to Tony Snow, and then Tony Snow turns around and apologizes to David Gregory, and says, “David, I was wrong when I did that,” O‘Reilly leaves that out. He does it consistently, because he‘s illogical, irrational, and out of control, and he hates that he‘s being called on it right now.
SCARBOROUGH: And, Bob Kohn, of course, today we heard Bill O‘Reilly talking about Tom Brokaw, criticizing the execution of Saddam Hussein, the way it went down. I did the same thing the night after it happened. And Charles Krauthammer with the “Washington Post” did the same thing.
ADUBATO: President Bush did it.
SCARBOROUGH: President Bush did the same thing. Yes, I mean, most conservatives did the same thing. I guess what I‘m saying, Bob, is Bill has a point, not just about NBC, but, as we know, the media has long been liberal. You‘ve got Evan Thomas with “Newsweek” who‘s admitted that. You‘ve got the political director for ABC News who‘s admitted that. That‘s not news. It just seems like Bill O‘Reilly is stretching a bit too much here, isn‘t he?
BOB KOHN, AUTHOR: Well, you‘re calling it a war against NBC. And what‘s really happening is it‘s a feud. It‘s on both sides, but you‘re only reporting one of the sides. Let me give you a couple of examples.
Chris Matthews on “Hardball” last Thursday, he listed three of the worst despots of 2006, that it was Kim Jong Il, Hugo Chavez, and, guess what, Bill O‘Reilly. You had today Norah O‘Donnell do a report on this 24-hour show that you‘re going to be talking about later, about the nuclear explosion at the end of the show. You know what Norah O‘Donnell did that was part of her news report? She said, is FOX warmongering? And is FOX trying to help the Bush administration?
ADUBATO: It‘s a legitimate question, Bob.
KOHN: So NBC is definitely doing the same against FOX News. It‘s not a war against NBC; it‘s a feud between FOX News and NBC. It‘s quite an interesting feud. I think it‘s kind of helping everybody. But I don‘t know why you‘re calling it a war.
ADUBATO: Joe, here‘s my sense.
SCARBOROUGH: Steve, is turnabout fair play? Is O‘Reilly just punching back?
ADUBATO: It‘s an all-out war, but let‘s be really candid about how this thing started.
KOHN: It takes two to fight a war.
ADUBATO: It takes two, but here‘s the thing. O‘Reilly doesn‘t necessarily have a problem with you, Joe, which is why he doesn‘t talk about you. It‘s easier, it‘s convenient for him to ignore or act like you don‘t exist.
He has tweaked and has been for a long time that Keith Olbermann in the show that proceeds this one has gotten under his skin. O‘Reilly is only comfortable when he‘s on the attack. When he‘s being attacked on the substance—whether he agrees or not is a different story, and they can engage in a discussion—he can go after Keith. The problem is, he decided not to mention Keith‘s name. So what does he do? He has to attack an entire network.
KOHN: You‘re making my point. Keith Olbermann for two years now has been waging his war against Bill O‘Reilly and FOX News.
ADUBATO: That‘s not a liberal war. Listen, Bob...
KOHN: That‘s a liberal warrior. That‘s what‘s going on.
ADUBATO: Listen, Bob, if you characterize—Keith has taken on O‘Reilly, whether you agree with Keith or not. He‘s taken him on, on certain things that O‘Reilly has done. Why does that fall into the conservative or liberal category?
SCARBOROUGH: Hold on one second—Hey, Bob, here‘s the point, though. I mean, if we want to talk about this in warfare terms, it seems to me that Olbermann has had a rifle shot directly towards one host at FOX News, whereas Bill O‘Reilly—and this is what this comes down to—Bill O‘Reilly can‘t mention Keith Olbermann‘s name on the air anymore because he just helps Keith Olbermann. And Keith‘s going to sign a huge whopping contract, in part because Bill O‘Reilly always took his bait.
So is that why he‘s attacking all of NBC News? Because it‘s one thing to go after Keith and say...
KOHN: It‘s not just Keith Olbermann now. It‘s Chris Matthews. It‘s the “NBC Evening News.” I mean, the liberal slant is throughout the network. And that‘s what he‘s rallying against, both the so-called objective news, as well as the commentary program.
KOHN: He‘s not going to mention Keith Olbermann‘s name. He‘s not going to mention your name.
ADUBATO: Why not?
KOHN: Why not?
ADUBATO: Why doesn‘t he mention Joe‘s name?
KOHN: It‘s very smart. It‘s very smart not to mention Joe‘s name, because why should he—you know, his ratings are five times, 10 times...
ADUBATO: It‘s intellectually dishonest, Bob, and you know it. The reason he doesn‘t mention Scarborough...
KOHN: ... why should he mention his name to bring him up?
ADUBATO: Forget about Olbermann.
KOHN: Come on. That‘s just common sense.
ADUBATO: Forget about Olbermann. Don‘t you agree that the reason he doesn‘t mention Joe Scarborough‘s name, who got elected and served in Congress after 1994, everyone knows that Joe is a conservative. Why doesn‘t he mention his name? It has nothing to do with ratings. It‘s because it goes against his argument, Bob.
KOHN: You‘re right, it does. And, frankly, I think O‘Reilly is making a huge mistake by saying that everybody an NBC is a liberal. That‘s not true. Joe Scarborough is a living example of that. And I don‘t think O‘Reilly serves his own case by using unqualified terms like “everybody.” Certainly the whole network is leaning left.
ADUBATO: And look at you, Bob. You‘re on the air here a lot. You‘re a regular guest.
KOHN: I‘m here defending the poor guy.
SCARBOROUGH: You are. You are defending him. And Bill O‘Reilly, as I‘ve said time and time again—and this is what is so interesting about Bill O‘Reilly attacking me by saying there‘s not a conservative on this network—I‘ve always defended Bill O‘Reilly when nobody else would, other than a few people like you and me. But he also, though, when he goes after Tom Brokaw this morning, going after Tom Brokaw like we‘ve already said, and he attacks Tom Brokaw when Tom Brokaw is saying the same thing that Pulitzer Prize-winning neocon Charles Krauthammer has said...
ADUBATO: And President Bush.
SCARBOROUGH: ... and what I‘ve said...
KOHN: Wait a minute.
SCARBOROUGH: Hold on a second—and what President Bush has said, when President Bush compares this to Abu Ghraib, he hurts his case, as he does when he gets a body language expert trying to analyze poor Andrea Mitchell‘s movement on the air. It‘s a farce.
KOHN: You can‘t compare Krauthammer to Tom Brokaw. Krauthammer has been a conservative commentator and always has been. He expresses his opinion daily. Tom Brokaw is known as a news man.
SCARBOROUGH: But Bill O‘Reilly though—Bill O‘Reilly brought up Tom Brokaw to attack Tom Brokaw because Tom Brokaw voiced the same concerns that Charles Krauthammer, George Bush, and myself has.
KOHN: If Tom Brokaw is going to preserve his credibility as a news man, he really shouldn‘t be expressing his opinions in public, unless he‘s no longer a news man, and maybe I‘m mistaken.
SCARBOROUGH: He‘s a bit of a senior statesman. I want to know what Tom Brokaw thinks, because Tom Brokaw has seen so much happen since the mid-‘60s.
ADUBATO: Again, again, O‘Reilly doesn‘t mention that the president on “60 Minutes,” another network, said it was a mistake. It was like Abu Ghraib. It was a terrible mistake, the Saddam, you know, hanging the way it was. The bottom line was it looked bad.
SCARBOROUGH: We have to go. Bob, I‘ll give you the last word. We‘ve got to go.
KOHN: This show hasn‘t shown all the things that NBC has done to attack Bill O‘Reilly. Start showing that, and then we‘ll see some fair and balance here in terms of this feud. It‘s not a war.
SCARBOROUGH: All right. Hey, Bob, fair enough. Thank you, Bob Kohn. Thank you, Steve Adubato. We‘ll be right back talking about “24” and a FOX show that I absolutely love. So does my son.
SCARBOROUGH: Now to a FOX war of a different kind. The sixth season of FOX‘s “24” is off with a bang. Take a look at the climax to last night‘s episode.
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SCARBOROUGH: Scary stuff. That‘s right, a mushroom cloud over Los Angeles. It is frightening to watch, even on a fictionalized TV show. And for some critics, it‘s hitting a little too close to home. Even the show‘s executive producer had this to say. Quote, “This season threatens to be too real. We live in a parallel universe, and the details of this season especially are frightening because they feel so real and plausible.”
“Newsweek” magazine even called the show a neocon sex fantasy. I guess that means I‘m a neocon, because I love this show. But is FOX just fear-mongering or could this really happen?
Here now to sort it out for us, NBC terror analyst Roger Cressey.
Roger, is it possible for a nuke to be detonated over Los Angeles, Washington, or any other major city?
ROGER CRESSEY, NBC TERRORISM ANALYST: Well, Joe, it‘s a worst-case scenario. But in terms of the highest consequence, it‘s also the lowest probably. So let‘s keep in mind that “24” is fiction. It is a TV show. And while it‘s based on some very plausible scenarios, there‘s still a bit of a reach, though, in terms of what we have to deal with and what we should worry about in the terrorism fight right now.
SCARBOROUGH: And you also have, of course, the bus attack scenario in multiple cities. Is that possible?
CRESSEY: Well, I think the scenario that they‘re using the most at the beginning of this season, which is the multiple suicide bomber scenario, is very real and very plausible, because we‘ve seen it in the Middle East, we‘ve seen it in South Asia, and we‘ve seen it in Europe, with the London bombings last year. So that scenario is credible.
Of course, you know, FOX, like every show, takes some artistic license, compressing events and other things for reasons of trying to get it all together in 60 minutes or so. But the suicide bomber phenomenon, yes, that is real.
SCARBOROUGH: And, you know, to me it seems—the frightening thing, the most frightening thing about “24” is there aren‘t Jack Bauers running around to save us, are there?
CRESSEY: No, no such thing. Let me tell you, CTU is just a piece of fiction. I joke to people, Joe, that we shouldn‘t worry about the terrorists or the nukes in “24.” If the terrorists just went after the cell phone network that America has, Jack Bauer and CTU would drop to a halt because these cell phones, and they‘re talking over unsecured channels, and it‘s all going so fast, if only it worked that way in the real world, my friend.
SCARBOROUGH: Let‘s also talk about—these episodes talked about how political correctness—the first night of this two-hour special, we saw how political correctness could have actually hampered the Jack Bauers of the world from tracking down terrorists. Is that a concern in the real world that we may be afraid to profile people of Middle Eastern descent because of political correct concerns?
CRESSEY: No, I don‘t think so. I think the question is not ethnic profiling. The question is behavior profiling. We do that now in a number of locations, including some airports. It doesn‘t matter if the terrorist is white-skinned, is dark-skinned, is Muslim, Asian, or European. If they‘re acting in a specific way and their behavior is suspicious, that‘s what you go after.
Because, Joe, as we‘ve seen, with how Al Qaeda has evolved as a movement, they‘re looking for non-Muslims to conduct attacks in the West. So the idea of us worrying about political correctness and not going after potential Muslim terrorists because of it, frankly, misses the reality of the threat we‘re dealing with today.
SCARBOROUGH: And, finally, we have to go, but could it be that terrorists are actually learning from “24”?
CRESSEY: No, I don‘t think so. That gives Hollywood too much credit. I think terrorists are pretty creative in their own right. And as I‘ve said, we‘ve seen the suicide bomber phenomenon around the world already. So Hollywood can continue to come up with these very interesting and entertaining scenarios, but they‘re not giving Al Qaeda anything they haven‘t already thought of.
SCARBOROUGH: Except for those cell phones. When you go around and talk to the terror network, stay on the cell phones.
SCARBOROUGH: All right, thanks so much. Greatly appreciate it.
Coming up next, the Golden Globes go to E!‘s Chelsea Handler. Here unique wrap-up of the awards next in “Hollyweird.” Oh, she looks so snazzy.
SCARBOROUGH: Hey, tell your agent if you don‘t win a Golden Globe next year, he‘s fired. It‘s time for “Hollyweird,” baby.
First up, the awards show everybody is talking about, the Golden Globes. We‘re joined now by miss Golden Globes herself, Chelsea Handler. She‘s the host of E!‘s “The Chelsea Handler Show,” which I think won about 10 Golden Globes last night. She‘s also the author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning book “My Horizontal Life.”
Chelsea, I hear you were there last night. Please, please, give us the lowdown.
CHELSEA HANDLER, “THE CHELSEA HANDLER SHOW”: I was there, Joe. I was there.
HANDLER: And just like every other awards ceremony I go to, I was incredibly intoxicated, so I don‘t remember everything. But Angelina Jolie was there, ranting on and on about her foreign babies. And Sacha Baron Cohen won, and your girl, “Ugly Betty,” won. And other than that, it was incredibly, incredibly boring. I think the most surprising thing of the entire evening was finding out that Jeremy Irons is still alive.
SCARBOROUGH: He‘s still alive, really?
HANDLER: Yes, he made an appearance last night. It was very unsettling.
SCARBOROUGH: Yes, but you look at those cuffs, I mean it looks like he‘s hanging—it‘s hanging on him like a corpse. I guess that‘s the style wherever he‘s from. But let‘s talk about—you got breaking news last night about “Desperate Housewives.” Tell us about how they spent a lot of money to digitally retouch footage on the show.
HANDLER: Yes, apparently they‘re spending over $100,000 a year to take nipples out of the show because some of the cast members refuse to wear bras. If they‘re spending $100,000 a year to get nipples off the air, they need to find a better system, a cheaper system, and an easy solution would be maybe just turning the air conditioning down on set. There‘s an idea.
SCARBOROUGH: Or another idea wear a bra. Actually, we understand it‘s $100,000 an episode. And certainly, if we were to do the same so we wouldn‘t have to see Rosie O‘Donnell‘s private parts, it would be worth every dime, but Rosie O‘Donnell, of course, continues her quest to class up “The View.” I want you to take a look at Rosie today.
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UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: If you are starting to cry, have a Kleenex nearby. Spill some juice from a cup. Eva cleans it right up.
ROSIE O‘DONNELL, HOST, “THE VIEW”: Here‘s a secret, my friends. Now I‘m wearing Depends.
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SCARBOROUGH: Why is Rosie O‘Donnell singing with toilet paper?
HANDLER: Well, first of all, I want to say speak for yourself when you say that you don‘t want to see Rosie O‘Donnell private parts, OK, because obviously we don‘t all feel that way.
SCARBOROUGH: Of course not. You love her.
HANDLER: You know that I have lesbian tendencies. Yes, I have a very, very strong soft spot for her, so to speak. I had no idea she was still in diapers, so I‘m a little disturbed by the whole interview. I didn‘t even know she wore panties.
SCARBOROUGH: Does that change the way you feel about Rosie, the fact that she‘s in diapers still?
HANDLER: I think it would just mostly affect our positioning when we were in the act of making sweet, passionate love.
SCARBOROUGH: All right, yes. OK, thank you so much for that.
Now, the “New York Daily News” is reporting that the NFL Network has turned down Britney Spears‘ offer to appear in a Super Bowl add. They wanted to go with someone a little more classy, like her ex-best friend, Paris Hilton. Making matters worse, TMZ is reporting K-Fed is also getting his own Super Bowl ad. It looks like Britney is being shut out.
HANDLER: I know. That is cold. And the best part is that they‘re giving K-Fed a commercial for some like insurance program that, you know, Vanilla Ice or some other loser did a commercial for years ago. And the best part is—like, first of all, I saw—I met K-Fed in Miami at some New Year‘s party and had the honor of speaking to him for well over 2 ½ minutes. And if they‘re expecting him to speak English on this commercial, they‘re in deep trouble, because Penelope Cruz has a better command of the English language than Kevin Federline.
SCARBOROUGH: Ouch, that hurts. Hey, Chelsea Handler, thank you so much. Congratulations on your 10 Golden Globes and the Pulitzer Prize.
HANDLER: Thank you, Joe.
SCARBOROUGH: I hear you‘re up for the Nobel Peace Prize next year.
Good luck. I‘m voting for you.
HANDLER: Thank you very much.
SCARBOROUGH: That‘s all the time we have for tonight. We‘ll see you tomorrow night in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
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