Guests: Patrick O‘Connor, Bob Kohn, Drew Pinsky, Rita Cosby, Susan Filan, Tom O‘Neil, Courtney Hazlett, Dawn Yanek
JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST: Tonight, talking about bizarre, O‘Reilly‘s obsession with NBC News gets more bizarre by the minute. We‘re going to show you how the Fox fixation is keeping him from covering real news. That story is straight ahead.
But first, breaking news out of Great Britain. Tony Blair will be announcing tomorrow that the United Kingdom is abandoning Iraq and President Bush, NBC News confirming that Prime Minister Blair will announce a dramatic withdrawal of British troops from Iraq, leaving the president abandoned by the world leader that even the British called, quote, “Bush‘s lapdog.”
The news couldn‘t come at a worse time for a president who‘s watching his own party as they eat their own, Republicans raising money to target Republicans who voted with 60 percent of the American people and against an increasingly isolated commander-in-chief on this surge. So will the bloody civil war in Iraq lead to a political war of words in America that will divide the Republican Party and ultimately lead to America‘s retreat from Iraq?
Here to talk about it all, Craig Crawford of “Congressional Quarterly,” Patrick O‘Connor from Politico.com and MSNBC political analyst Pat Buchanan.
Craig, Tony Blair has been the president‘s ever-faithful ally. Does this speedy retreat now mean that the president does stand virtually alone on the issue of Iraq?
CRAIG CRAWFORD, “CONGRESSIONAL QUARTERLY,” MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:
Well, the coalition of the willing becomes the coalition of the leaving, I suppose now, Pat (SIC), and it does put the president in the hot seat. But I‘ve got to say, now we‘ll get a test of Pat‘s chaos theory, that if we leave Iraq, everything goes to hell. Now we‘ll see if the areas where Britain is leaving descend into chaos. I sort of think it‘s more like the domino theory with Vietnam,, which didn‘t pan out. When we left Vietnam, everybody thought all of Indochina would go communist. That didn‘t happen. Even China itself is moving to capitalism.
SCARBOROUGH: You know, Craig, though this retreat from Blair comes at a terrible time. You know, Baghdad, as you were saying, continues to spiral into an endless cycle of violence. What about the surge?
CRAWFORD: Well, I think the insurgency may overwhelm the surge, in the end. We‘re seeing very little sign that it‘s working. However, it‘s not really there yet. They‘re dribbling it in. I mean, one of the dirty secrets of the surge, I believe, is they were in such a hurry to get it going so that it became inevitable, as Congress started to vote against it, that they weren‘t quite prepared. And so we‘re not going to get a good test of it, probably, for a while.
But I‘ve got to wonder if we‘re going to see some choreographed victories on the ground out there, Joe, where Maliki tells the bad guys to, Get out of the way, the Americans are coming, and we go in there and hold and maintain, they go dark so that we can say we‘re winning, and then pull out and then they come back.
SCARBOROUGH: They come right back, which, of course, is what they‘ve been doing in Anbar province for quite some time.
CRAWFORD: They call it whack-a-mole.
SCARBOROUGH: Yes. Exactly. Pat, what do you make of the White House saying today that Britain‘s retreat could be a good thing because it means that now Iraqis are proving they can take care of themselves?
PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, they do have this point, Joe. The British troops are down in the south, the Shia area, where there is less and less—I mean, far less problems than you‘ve got up in Baghdad. They‘re down in Basra. They‘ve turned authority over to the Shia in a lot of places. I mean, something like 80 percent, I think, of the British people want out. Blair‘s going to be leaving himself. I think he‘s just starting the movement out to prepare the ground for the guy that‘s going to succeed him, Gordon Brown.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, you say—I mean, you‘re saying, though, that things are going better in the south of Iraq.
BUCHANAN: Oh, sure.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, if that‘s the case, how about them coming up to Baghdad and helping us out? Why do the British leave, if they‘re a “coalition of the willing,” while we‘re ramping up, sending in 20,000 new troops?
BUCHANAN: Everybody‘s gone, Joe. The Italians have gone. The Spanish have gone. A lot of the East Europeans have gone. Eighty percent of the Brits want out. They think the war was a mistake. I don‘t think Blair politically could send the troops up north right now. There‘s no doubt—I don‘t think he‘s cutting and running, but they‘re clearly cutting and walking...
SCARBOROUGH: Here‘s what I don‘t understand, though.
BUCHANAN: Well, let me try to clear it up...
SCARBOROUGH: Explain to the American people...
BUCHANAN: All right.
SCARBOROUGH: Explain to the American people, if you will...
SCARBOROUGH: ... why is it, regardless of their ideology, regardless of whether they love George Bush or can‘t stand George Bush, regardless of whether they think this war was the right thing to do or a mistake—explain to the American people why Great Britain‘s leaving, the Italians are leaving, everybody else is leaving, and we‘re surging more troops in there. Have we truly become the world‘s 911, where it‘s our men and women that are going to bleed and die for a war that nobody else believes in? Nobody!
BUCHANAN: Well, you have a point, Joe. The United States has become Globocop, the policemen of the world. We‘re the ones that are making the haul in Afghanistan, all over the world. Korea, Vietnam, we did most of the fighting. And the American people are tired of it, Joe. We are at the end of Pax Americana.
And the American people, let me say it, are somewhat immature. I saw a poll tonight where something like 60 percent want victory in Iraq, but they‘re not willing to put in half a million troops for 10 years, if that‘s what‘s required. And so I think the American people...
BUCHANAN: ... are going to come to the realization that this war is being lost.
CRAWFORD: Joe, I got a...
SCARBOROUGH: I thought we won the cold war. I mean, are these the spoils of the cold war, that we‘ve got to run the whole damn world ourselves now?
CRAWFORD: I don‘t think we can afford to win the cold war, perhaps, if this is the price that we‘ve got to pay.
BUCHANAN: Well, we...
CRAWFORD: But I‘ve got to ask you, Pat—Pat, you backed away from that question. If you‘re saying if the areas where Britain pulled out are going to be just fine, what happened to your chaos theory? If we pull out, the whole place falls apart.
BUCHANAN: Well, the point is...
CRAWFORD: I mean, why isn‘t that an argument for the United States to pull out, as well, if things are going to go so well?
BUCHANAN: Well, let me try to explain to you. The problem is right now, Craig, is in Baghdad and Anbar province. That‘s where 90 percent of the killing is taking place. The Shias have got complete control of the south. The Kurds are not really a problem in Kurdistan. So this is where the real problem is in the war.
And let me tell you, there is a party that‘s fearful that there‘s going to be chaos and a horror show, and that is the gutless Democrats, who are terrified to cut off funds because they know what‘s going to happen when they do it.
CRAWFORD: Oh, he‘s moving the ball there, Joe.
BUCHANAN: Moving it up field!
SCARBOROUGH: Moving it up field. Patrick, let me bring you in here. And Buchanan just punted the ball. He may call it moving it up field, I say he punted it up field. Patrick, you‘ve been reporting about how badly things are going for the Republican Party. You‘ve got groups like this Victory Caucus that are now turning their guns on other Republicans who are opposing this surge. I mean, how bad is that for the GOP?
PATRICK O‘CONNOR, POLITICO.COM: This has been a tough issue for them all year. This group is so new, you can‘t really tell how much influence they‘re actually going to be able to wield over the party or some of the members that they target. But this is not a good sign for Republicans, if you‘ve got a group on the right trying to kind of outflank them (INAUDIBLE), trying to figure out what they‘re going to do on the spending issue and how they‘re going to beat back Democratic leaders when they start to bring these supplemental spending bills to the floor.
So I—you know, I mean, this issue has not played well for Republicans for a long time, clearly. It was difficult for them last November. Democratic leadership came back feeling that they had a mandate, at least on this particular topic. I think it‘s going to get a little fuzzy when they move into the funding issue because I don‘t know that their party is really unified around this issue...
SCARBOROUGH: Well, that‘s exactly...
O‘CONNOR: ... the war or the surge, so it‘ll be curious.
SCARBOROUGH: That‘s exactly what Pat Buchanan‘s saying right now. He doesn‘t think that they are going to stand up to it. But I want both of you to look at this montage of some Republican lawmakers that are still—you talk about moving the ball forward and charging 100 miles an hour ahead, there‘s some guys that sound like they‘re almost questioning the loyalty of those who are opposing this surge, that 60 percent of Americans support.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. TERRY EVERETT ®, ALABAMA: It can only do harm to our troops and bring aid and comfort to the terrorists.
REP. DANIEL LUNGREN ®, CALIFORNIA: The fanatics‘ perception of success only serves to embolden those who seek to kill us!
REP. RICK RENZI ®, ARIZONA: It offers no hope, encourages no victory and contains no solutions! Mr. Speaker, this resolution is a cruel message to our brave soldiers on the front lines.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: Craig, that‘s some tough, tough language from people that I know and like and respect. But talk about how if you vote with 60 percent of the American people, you‘re providing aid and comfort to the enemy.
CRAWFORD: Well, when you break it down, though, Joe, and you look at the core Republican voters these votes are trying to speak to, and you look at the polls, the poll Pat referred to—I agree with—you know, it‘s an interesting one, though, showing people thinking we can win the war but not willing to commit the resources to do it. But still, there‘s a view out there that we can still win this war. And I think that what is sometimes missed in these polls, it‘s not that the American people are against this war because of the high casualties, it‘s because we‘re losing. It‘s because we seem to be losing.
SCARBOROUGH: Pat Buchanan...
CRAWFORD: If people thought we were winning this war, the support would be high if we had triple the casualties.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, and I‘ll tell you, and I‘ve said that time and time again, Pat Buchanan. It‘s not the question of whether 3,000 people or 30,000 Americans have died. It‘s not a question of whether we‘ve spent $200 billion or $2 trillion. It‘s the fact that Americans believe that we are wasting lives. They believe we are wasting billions and billions of dollars because it doesn‘t matter how many people we send into Iraq, if these people don‘t want to govern themselves, if they keep blowing themselves up and blowing our people up at the same time, there‘s very little we can do about it, right?
SCARBOROUGH: Pat, how do we win this war?
BUCHANAN: I don‘t think we are going to win it. I think we‘re going to lose the war.
SCARBOROUGH: It can‘t happen, can it.
BUCHANAN: Let me—look—sure it can, but you‘re not going to put in the troops for the time. Of course, quite frankly, the American people decided it‘s not worth it.
Joe, we‘ve got Baghdad on the Potomac. You‘re going to have a Shia-Sunni war inside the Republican Party. And if they try to cut off funding, it‘ll start in the Democratic Party. And then we got a Democratic-Republican war. It‘s going to last for two years because George Bush is not going to walk away from this war and have it collapse on his watch.
So you‘ve got 23 months of bleeding and fighting in Iraq and fighting and battling here in this city politically. This country is going to be just like it was in 1974 and ‘75 by 2008-2009.
SCARBOROUGH: Pat, it sounds like you‘re suggesting that George Bush is going to prolong this war because...
BUCHANAN: He‘s not going to lose it. He‘s not going to lose it.
SCARBOROUGH: He‘s not going to be—he‘s not going to allow himself to be the guy that goes down in the history books as losing this war. But at the same time, it sounds like you say that that strategy of just covering himself is going to exact a terrible toll on the Republican Party over the next 23 months.
SCARBOROUGH: It‘ll tear the Republican Party to pieces. But let me credit Bush and Cheney to this extent, Joe. They genuinely believe if we pull out the way an awful lot of people want, a real disaster, humanitarian and strategic, will ensue. They are honest about that, and they don‘t want it to happen on their watch. So I don‘t challenge their honesty, I just don‘t know how we avoid it, given the strategy he‘s pursuing.
SCARBOROUGH: Patrick, I want to show you some of these Victory Caucus ads that the Victory Caucus Web sites put up, and they‘re going after a conservative Republican. He‘s getting hammered by other conservatives, Ric Keller. Talk about how ugly this fight is going to get within the Republican Party.
O‘CONNOR: I just think it‘s a very difficult question for leadership to ask their members to go on record supporting the president right now on anything regarding Iraq. By the same token, I think it‘s going to be very difficult for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to get her members behind the funding issue that John Murtha is trying to push right now, putting requirements on the money that they allocate for Iraq.
I don‘t think this is—clearly, this is much harder for Republicans because their president is in the White House. He‘s the guy that‘s really driving this—the military movement over there. But it‘s also difficult for Democrats right now. I mean, they‘re going to have to answer tough questions, particularly Democrats in red states or in Bush districts, about whether or not they support their leadership on some of these questions about whether or not, you know, you stick requirements on the money that‘s allocated for the war effort over there.
SCARBOROUGH: No doubt. Hey, Craig, we‘ve got to go, but very quickly, talk about Republicans going after that leftist, Ric Keller.
SCARBOROUGH: Is there a more conservative guy in Florida?
CRAWFORD: No. And I‘ll tell you, you know, he barely won the reelection, compared to most incumbents, although that is a safe district. His comment about comparing it to mowing the neighbor‘s lawn, going into Iraq, and having the neighbor not appreciate that, was really off. I mean, I think a better comparison of what we did in Iraq was like taking your car and running over the neighbor‘s lawn mower, so that he can‘t mow his own lawn...
CRAWFORD: But he‘s getting a lot of...
BUCHANAN: Makes you wonder why...
CRAWFORD: He‘s getting a lot of ridicule for that one.
BUCHANAN: Makes you wonder why Hillary voted...
SCARBOROUGH: What‘s that, Pat?
BUCHANAN: Makes you wonder why Hillary voted for it.
SCARBOROUGH: All right. We‘ll leave it there. Patrick Buchanan...
CRAWFORD: Next time. Next time, Pat.
SCARBOROUGH: ... continuing to move the ball down the field. Thank you, Patrick. Thank you, Pat. Thank you, Craig Crawford.
Coming up next: Why does Bill O‘Reilly spend more time talking about his obsession with us at NBC than the war in Iraq? We‘re going to look at why Bill‘s attacking us again and show you just how far he‘s taking things now.
Plus: Two of the men claiming that the father of Anna Nicole‘s baby finally get their day in court but wind up being upstaged by a crazy—and I mean crazy—judge. His wild courtroom antics and what they mean for the case, coming up.
And later: Britney heads to rehab. Has she finally hit rock bottom? And can she get rid of her problems as fast as she shed her hair? And did she cut her hair for legal reasons? We‘ll explain that when we return.
SCARBOROUGH: Bill O‘Reilly is at it again. Now, while the war in Iraq rages halfway across the globe and America‘s deadliest enemy, al Qaeda, is reportedly rearming—use (ph) arms against us—what does Bill O‘Reilly spend night after night talking about? NBC News, of course.
Now, on last night‘s show, Bill O‘Reilly continued his jihad against this network for what he says is a sharp turn to the left. Take a look at Bill‘s latest smear, what he would call a smoking gun that he has pointed against NBC News.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL O‘REILLY, HOST, “THE O‘REILLY FACTOR”: More evidence that NBC News is now a committed left-wing organization. After Republican Mitt Romney announced he was running for president, NBC News correspondent Chip Reid trashed him.
CHIP REID, NBC CORRESPONDENT: He‘s barely out of the starting block, so I‘m going to go right for his knees. Number one, he‘s a Mormon, and evangelicals have a problem. Number two, he‘s a flip-flopper.
O‘REILLY: Oh, he‘s a flip-flopper. Now, it‘s pretty hard to believe when you understand that Mr. Reid covers Congress for the “NBC Nightly News With Brian Williams.” Nice objectivity.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: Nice objectivity. Well, are Bill O‘Reilly‘s attacks on NBC justified, or is the guy just obsessed? Here now to talk about it, MSNBC media analyst Steve Adubato, and Bob Kohn. He‘s the author of the book, “Journalistic Fraud.”
Bob, let‘s talk about the latest...
BOB KOHN, AUTHOR, “JOURNALISTIC FRAUD”: Sure.
SCARBOROUGH: Of course, he goes after Chip Reid, attacking Chip for suggesting that Mitt Romney may have flip-flopped on some social issues.
SCARBOROUGH: What‘s wrong with that?
KOHN: Well, I actually have seen a lot of Chip Reid‘s programs, segments, on NBC, and I find him to be a pretty objective and straightforward reporter. I don‘t really detect much bias in his news reporting. I think he made a mistake by going out and saying that, accusing Mitt Romney and stating that he‘s a flip-flopper. I think that‘s stating his opinion...
SCARBOROUGH: So you think Bill O‘Reilly may have been right to say that Chip Reid was biased by accusing Mitt Romney of flip-flopping.
KOHN: I think it‘s not a good idea for a straight news reporter that‘s on “The Nightly News” giving straight reports every night—and he is a—seems to be a straightforward reporter, up and up—to go on another program and start stating his opinions about some of the candidates. If—you know, I just think that‘s—that‘s just providing...
STEVE ADUBATO, MSNBC MEDIA ANALYST: Hey, Joe...
KOHN: It reduces the...
SCARBOROUGH: OK, but—Steve, though—hold on a second, Steve, because I want us—and I certainly know Bill O‘Reilly will be watching this. Bill, I want you to take a look at what Fox News chief political correspondent Carl Cameron said about Mitt Romney in December.
Quote, “On social issues like abortion, Romney calls himself pro-life, but during the 1990s, he was pro-choice, a flip-flop that conservatives say raises serious questions.”
Steve, I am shocked and stunned.
ADUBATO: Well, you shouldn‘t be because the fact that Mr. Romney, Governor Romney, is a Mormon is a fact. The fact that he‘s altered his position over time, when he ran for governor in a very liberal state, Massachusetts, and now he runs in a very conservative primary for the presidency in the Republican Party, he‘s changed his position. That‘s not a matter of...
SCARBOROUGH: He‘s flip-flopped.
ADUBATO: ... opinion, that is a fact.
SCARBOROUGH: He‘s flip-flopped.
ADUBATO: He‘s flip-flopped...
KOHN: No, no, no!
ADUBATO: You don‘t need an analyst to say that, Joe.
KOHN: No, no, no! He didn‘t say that he flip-flopped on the issue of abortion. He said he‘s a flip-flopper, OK? That was stating his opinion on him.
SCARBOROUGH: He‘s flip-flopped to social issues. Come on, Bob!
ADUBATO: You know, Bob—that‘s a technicality, Bob, and you know it. Listen, if O‘Reilly is going to hinge his entire argument that NBC is leaning to the left...
KOHN: No, he‘s not.
ADUBATO: ... over this technicality, it‘s not going to work.
KOHN: Well, you know, I don‘t think he‘s hinging his entire argument on it. He‘s got—accumulated a tremendous amount of facts against NBC.
SCARBOROUGH: Let‘s look at another one. Hold it. Let‘s look at another one of his “facts.” He also targeted MSNBC‘s Contessa Brewer. Let‘s take a look at this attack.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
O‘REILLY: Also on NBC News, Amanda Marcotte, the anti-Christian blogger, who was fired from the John Edwards campaign, was given the softball treatment by Contessa Brewer.
CONTESSA BREWER, MSNBC ANCHOR: Amanda, it‘s great to talk to you today. By the way, what are you going to do for a job now?
AMANDA MARCOTTE, BLOGGER: Hopefully, go on writing, since that‘s what I was hired for and have been doing for a long time now.
O‘REILLY: All right. During that interview, Ms. Marcotte, who wrote that Mary, the mother of Jesus, had sex with the, quote, unquote, “Lord,” portrayed herself as a victim in front of the sympathetic NBC News interviewer.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ADUBATO: Joe, this is laughable.
SCARBOROUGH: Sympathetic? That‘s—O‘Reilly cherry-picked that one question from the end of Contessa‘s interview. I want to show you some of the questions he didn‘t show his audience.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BREWER: They were calling for Edwards to fire you. Instead, you resigned. Can you tell me why?
This has gotten a lot of attention for former senator John Edwards. Do you feel bad about what you wrote, just because of the impact that it‘s had on him?
You posted on a blog speculating what would have happened if the Virgin Mary had taken an emergency contraceptive. Were you wrong in what you wrote?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: Bob, I mean...
KOHN: Well, you know...
SCARBOROUGH: O‘Reilly looks silly, does he not?
KOHN: Hey, Joe, there‘s a lot of selective editing going on around
today, and you just showed one example. Right after that interview, right
after O‘Reilly showed that, he had two analysts on. One was a liberal and
one was a conservative, and they both discussed that. What‘s wrong with
that? I mean, I don‘t particularly think that was a particularly egregious
example, I would agree with you. But you know, the accumulation over time
and the latest report that “NBC Nightly News”...
SCARBOROUGH: Doesn‘t that show he‘s obsessed?
SCARBOROUGH: I mean, the guy is obsessed with NBC.
KOHN: No, he was obsessed...
SCARBOROUGH: He takes Contessa Brewer at the end of a tough interview...
KOHN: He was going after “The New York Times” a couple of years ago...
ADUBATO: Forget about “The New York Times.”
KOHN: ... now he‘s going after NBC.
ADUBATO: He‘s done with that. Joe, here‘s the problem...
KOHN: He‘s going to go after somebody else. He‘s a media watchdog.
What‘s the problem with that?
ADUBATO: Bob, here‘s the problem with your argument. So far, there are two points that have been raised tonight, that O‘Reilly raised. The first one on Chip, it was a weak argument. I was there in the studio with Contessa as she was doing that interview. I was doing the next segment with her. It is so far out of context to take the end of the interview...
KOHN: You know...
ADUBATO: ... as Joe Scarborough said. You saw everything he did.
This is a weak argument, too.
KOHN: You know what‘s ridiculous here?
ADUBATO: Where‘s the cumulative argument he‘s making?
KOHN: OK, well, you‘ve been watching the show. You‘ve been putting on these examples on night after night. But here‘s the ridiculous thing here. I mean, he‘s—Fox News Channel has, like, 10 times the ratings as MSNBC, yet this network is trying to tell Bill O‘Reilly what he should be producing and saying on his show.
ADUBATO: I don‘t think that‘s...
KOHN: That‘s the irony here.
SCARBOROUGH: No, we‘re not!
KOHN: Of course you are!
KOHN: You‘re criticizing...
SCARBOROUGH: Of course, you know what‘s so fascinating is, you know, Bill O‘Reilly goes after “NBC Nightly News,” and you‘re about to do the same thing. My God, what do they have, three times the audience of Bill O‘Reilly?
KOHN: He‘s not telling you...
SCARBOROUGH: Is it just about how many people watch his show?
KOHN: He‘s not telling you what to program, like you‘re trying to tell him what to program.
SCARBOROUGH: No, we‘re not!
KOHN: He‘s telling you if you do a program, do it straight.
SCARBOROUGH: You know what I‘m telling him?
KOHN: That what he‘s saying.
SCARBOROUGH: I‘m telling him that we have important issues to talk about across the globe. If you look at our show every night, we talk about Iraq, we talked about Iran at the top, we talked about nuclear proliferation last night. We talked about the coming war with Iran.
ADUBATO: Sure. And he doesn‘t.
SCARBOROUGH: We talk about Pakistan.
KOHN: He doesn‘t?
SCARBOROUGH: Take a look at Bill O‘Reilly‘s show just over the past week. Let‘s see how much time he‘s devoting to this NBC jihad, as opposed to, say, an important story like the war in Iraq. We counted a total of 47 references and attacks to NBC, dwarfing the 20 times he mentioned Iraq.
KOHN: So you‘re trying to tell him...
SCARBOROUGH: But he‘s—but hold on a second. It gets worse. Some further digging shows that 11 of those Iraq references were during segments where he was bashing NBC.
KOHN: You‘re trying to tell him how to program his show.
SCARBOROUGH: I‘m saying this guy is being self-righteous. You know what I‘m saying? It‘s biblical, really.
KOHN: Oh, come on!
SCARBOROUGH: Before you look at the plank in our eyes, you know, check the plank out in your own eyes, Bill O‘Reilly. Stop being self-righteous.
KOHN: So “The Nightly News” appoints—“The Nightly News” now appoints Keith Olbermann, that liberal nutcase that you have going on before your show...
ADUBATO: There it is, Joe.
KOHN: ... to go on “The Nightly News” to give commentary.
SCARBOROUGH: A nutcase?
ADUBATO: There it is. There it is.
SCARBOROUGH: Is going to do commentary?
KOHN: Yes, why don‘t they put Ann Coulter...
ADUBATO: That‘s the entire argument, Joe.
KOHN: ... on “The Nightly News”?
SCARBOROUGH: Hold on a second. Stop for a second. Has it come down to the fact now that your news analysis—you called somebody on our network a nutjob? What does he have to do with Bill O‘Reilly obsessing over “NBC Nightly News”?
KOHN: I think Olbermann has called O‘Reilly a lot worse than that.
ADUBATO: Joe, let me answer that. This is about Keith Olbermann. This is about the fact that O‘Reilly may have greater ratings, but he‘s frustrated by Olbermann. He doesn‘t go after Olbermann. You ever notice that? He doesn‘t talk about...
KOHN: Why is he frustrated?
ADUBATO: One second, Bob.
ADUBATO: One second. And he also doesn‘t mention you, Joe. You know why? Because you have credentials as a Republican conservative in Congress.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, actually...
KOHN: He‘s got five times the audience as Olbermann! He‘s not worried about Olbermann at all. It‘s NBC, who wants...
SCARBOROUGH: He‘s not worried about Olbermann?
KOHN: ... to put Olbermann on “The Nightly News.”
KOHN: No, he‘s not!
ADUBATO: He‘s doing a public service, Bob.
SCARBOROUGH: He is obsessed by Olbermann, Bob!
KOHN: No! Why is Zucker or whoever at NBC is—why are they putting Olbermann, a real liberal, a devout liberal, as a commentator on “The Nightly News”? Why are you guys doing that if you‘re not left-wing? Give me a break!
ADUBATO: What about the person he‘s up—right up against? What about Joe Scarborough? Is he a devout what? He is a devout conservative...
KOHN: Well, at least...
ADUBATO: Wait a minute!
KOHN: At least put Joe Scarborough on “The Nightly News.” Why are they putting Olbermann on?
SCARBOROUGH: Well, let me tell you something. I‘ve been on the “Today” show repeatedly. The “Today” show has a much larger audience, I think, than any other news show on NBC. So I mean, we have conservatives...
KOHN: You‘re a drop in the bucket compared to the liberal Matt Lauer and Katie Couric, when she was there.
SCARBOROUGH: The liberal Matt Lauer? Give me a break!
ADUBATO: You can‘t make up...
SCARBOROUGH: And by the way, Katie Couric? She‘s at CBS now, so you‘re going to have to take that up with Moonves, all right? We‘ve got to go. Bob, I‘ll give you the last word. Go ahead.
KOHN: The last word. You know, I think there is something going on at NBC. Last week, Brian Williams lost against Charlie Gibson on ABC.
SCARBOROUGH: Oh, I know!
KOHN: ... they‘re losing share because they‘re going as liberal as Katie Couric.
SCARBOROUGH: Yes! Yes! And what...
KOHN: Katie Couric‘s in the toilet on ratings...
SCARBOROUGH: Yes, whatever.
KOHN: ... and Brian Williams is losing it, too. That‘s what‘s going on here.
SCARBOROUGH: You know what? as we say in the South? Even a blind squirrel can find a nut every once in a while.
SCARBOROUGH: How many weeks do you have to be at number one? I mean, it‘s got to be boring for Brian after a while. Thank you, Bob Kohn. Thank you, Steve. Greatly appreciate it.
Coming up next: The fight over Anna Nicole‘s body turns into a sideshow—kind of like the one we just saw—thanks to the judge presiding over the hearing. We‘re going to show you his courtroom antics today and what it means for this already bizarre case.
But first, a different way to settle a custody dispute next in “Must See S.C..”
SCARBOROUGH: It‘s time for tonight‘s “Must See SC,” some video you‘ve got to see.
First up, the president may not be known for giving the world‘s greatest speeches, but that doesn‘t stop David Letterman from counting him among the greats.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FRANKLIN DELANO ROOSEVELT, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The
only thing we have to fear is fear itself.
JOHN F. KENNEDY, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: But if you share with me the concern that failure is not an option, then what is—then what‘s your—what‘s your—what‘s your...
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: And, finally, all the developments in the Anna Nicole saga may make your head spin, including the judge‘s controversial solution to the paternity battle.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Today, a Florida judge ruled that DNA tests will not be allowed as evidence. Instead, paternity will be determined by a spirited game of “Spin the Baby.”
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: And coming up next, real disorder in the court, as the judge in the Anna Nicole case turns an already bizarre hearing into a media freak show. Will anything be resolved as long as this guy is in charge?
And later, Britney Spears heads to the hottest spot in Hollywood:
rehab. But will treatment really help the pop star get her life back together? That sad story coming up.
SCARBOROUGH: The Anna Nicole Smith circus moves to a Florida courtroom and with an outrageous judge acting as ring master. The case continues to take more bizarre turns.
Today, two of the men claiming to be her baby‘s father sat less than four feet away from each other, and Anna Nicole‘s estranged mother accused one of them of killing her daughter and grandson. That was just the beginning. As if this story needed a sideshow, the judge presiding over the case offered his own brand of strange entertainment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LARRY SEIDLIN, BROWARD COUNTY JUDGE: I‘ve pretty much heard this case. I heard everything.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Your honor...
SEIDLIN: I jogged almost four miles this morning. My head‘s as clear as a bell. My primary purpose right now, which is to give peace, tranquility, and love, and closure to Miss Smith‘s body. I don‘t want a dysfunctional Dannielynn; I want a solid Dannielynn. I want a girl that grows to play the piano, violin, plays a little tennis.
You are getting stressed for no reason. Oh, we‘re on a different—twice now we‘ve been on a different signal.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK.
SEIDLIN: I‘m going to get you some juice.
It‘s a piece of paper that‘s purported to be a will that causes me to lose more hair than I‘ve already lost.
I‘m not worrying about how they dissect this case down the road. I just worry how I feel when I‘m one day on a park bench feeding the pigeons.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: MSNBC‘s Rita Cosby was there for all the action today, and she joins us live with the latest tonight. Rita, what in the world went on today? And what‘s on the docket for tomorrow?
RITA COSBY, HOST: Well, it was certainly a wild day in court, as you just heard some of the clips. By the way, Joe, that judge, Judge Seidlin, was a former New York cabbie, so I‘m sure he kept his customers very entertained when he was a cab driver years ago. He certainly kept us entertained in the courtroom, and he seemed to keep a very lively courtroom.
But at certain points, it was very contentious, as well. In fact, Virgie Arthur, who‘s Anna Nicole Smith‘s mother, got on the stand today. She‘s also going to continue tomorrow. And Howard K. Stern testified right before her and said some very pointed, very tough things for her to hear. He basically said Anna Nicole Smith hated her mother, that they had a very strange relationship, very distant relationship.
And they also played a clip of Anna Nicole herself speaking in an interview, where she said, “I cannot stand my mother, that I would not allow her to have access to my child,” and even suggested that there were some beatings and even used the word “rape” when she was a teenager, some very strong allegations.
However, we heard a very different picture from Virgie Arthur, who is Anna Nicole‘s mother, when she got on the stand. She just said she tried to save her daughter from drugs. She tried to do all she could, and she sounded like a mother who was very upset that there was some distance between her and her daughter, but a mother who sounded like she tried to do all she could.
And, in fact, tomorrow we‘re going to hear more from Virgie Arthur, as she takes the stand. And we have some pictures, too, that we know will be shown in court tomorrow. These are some images that they hope to show before the judge, who‘s going to be deciding this case. These are pictures of Anna Nicole Smith and Virgie Arthur many years ago, showing that they had a close relationship at certain points in their lives, and also pictures with her with Daniel, who‘s the now-deceased son of Anna Nicole Smith, again, showing that there was a bond, at least at a certain point in their lives.
Also tomorrow, we‘re going to hear from Larry Birkhead, who says he‘s the real father of little Dannielynn, who‘s the daughter of Anna Nicole Smith. He‘s expected to testify at some point tomorrow. And I asked him today what he thought of Howard K. Stern‘s comments. He said there were a lot of lies, and he believes tomorrow—he said, quote, “The truth will set everybody free.” He said, “I feel good, I feel strong, and I can‘t wait to have my day in court.” So tomorrow is going to be a lot of fireworks, and we‘re going to be watching it closely, Joe.
SCARBOROUGH: OK, Rita, we‘ll hear from you tomorrow night. Thank you so much. MSNBC‘s Rita Cosby in Fort Lauderdale, I greatly appreciate it.
Now for some analysis on this case and the bizarre judge presiding over it all, we‘re joined by Susan Filan, MSNBC legal analyst, and Tom O‘Neil, “InTouch Weekly‘s” senior editor.
Susan, let me begin with you. You‘ve been around a lot of these courtrooms. Have you ever seen anything like you saw today?
SUSAN FILAN, FORMER CONNECTICUT PROSECUTOR: No, and I never hope to see anything like it again. I lost hair today, Joe.
SCARBOROUGH: Wait. Is this judge angling for a TV show?
FILAN: Absolutely. The first time I saw him, within 15 minutes, I said, “He wants to be the next Judge Judy or Judge Larry.” I mean, he‘s absolutely grandstanding, grabbing a spotlight. He‘s completely lost his marbles with respect to how to proceed in a courtroom, how to maintain decorum, how to maintain dignity, how to proceed, how to rule. I mean, it‘s actually embarrassing.
And today he got himself in a hamster wheel. He got himself in a chicken-and-egg situation that he couldn‘t get himself out of. He kept saying, “I need to know who the father is. No, actually I don‘t. No, yes, I do. No, I don‘t.” Why don‘t we let the paternity thing be heard here? Ah, we‘ll let it go to California.
I mean, it was crazy. And the parties, you could see, were totally freaking out, like this loose cannon, this windmill is actually going to decide something as important as this.
SCARBOROUGH: I couldn‘t imagine being a lawyer in front of this guy.
It would be an absolute nightmare.
And, Tom, give us the very latest in the paternity battle. Who‘s the daddy? What did we find out?
TOM O‘NEIL, “INTOUCH WEEKLY”: I don‘t know, because we thought we were going to find out as part of this case, which was really just called, this court action, in order to decide who gets custody of this body. I‘m not so sure. My guess is Larry Birkhead.
But let‘s also point out what happened today, which really made this unconscionable. At one point during these proceedings today, they heard from the coroner‘s office, who said, “Look, Anna Nicole‘s body is rotting. If this isn‘t wrapped up before Saturday, her body cannot be on public view.”
Let‘s say the mother gets control of this body and wants a public showing. Anna‘s face—this is what they heard today—is contorting so fast that she‘ll be unrecognizable by Saturday and unable to put on public view.
What did the judge do? He had all this time for grandstanding today, and all this stuff to talk about his running and jogging and all this, but they cut short the cross-examination of Howard Stern while he was making all these contradictions about the son, Daniel. The lawyer wanted to get in there and straighten this out, and he said, “No,” end of that.
He had the authority to go all night and he didn‘t. This is a sham.
SCARBOROUGH: And, Tom, of course, this is the same guy who, a while back, was talking about how her body is on ice, which, of course, was so insensitive, and say, “That baby will stay there for a long time.” And so now it‘s decomposing. The guy‘s crazy.
O‘NEIL: Yes. Yes. I think so. And especially since—you know, it‘s one thing that he accommodated all that time for his own showcasing moments, but when it came down to solving some of these legal issues, he cut it short, and said, “Eh, unimportant.”
SCARBOROUGH: And, Susan Filan, what happens tomorrow?
FILAN: Oh, Heaven only knows. The other thing that he did today that was so outrageous is he had a lawyer in the galley who wrote the book on probate court. And in the middle—when the judge who didn‘t know the law himself, when he got confused, and the lawyers in his courtroom didn‘t know it, he turned to this person who wrote the book. And he said, “Counsel, you ask the questions. You know the law. Come on, educate us. Have at it. Come on. Make this thing tick. Talk Carpenter (ph).” He was citing famous cases.
“Just, you know, let it rip. Do your thing. Come on, help us out here.”
FILAN: I mean, I‘ve never seen anything like it. So tomorrow—yes, tomorrow you‘re going to hear Virgie Arthur. You‘re going to hear Larry Birkhead. You‘re going to hear more of Howard Stern. But are you going to hear—are you going to hear, Joe, a ruling, a decision? That‘s what we‘re waiting for, and it‘s a no-brainer. The son‘s in the Bahamas.
SCARBOROUGH: Not until he gets his syndicated show. Susan, we‘ve got to go. Tom O‘Neil, thanks so much. Greatly appreciate it.
Coming up next, Britney Spears checks into rehab. Is she going to be able to recover from this public spectacle? Inside her trip to rock bottom, next up.
And later, Britney‘s old flame gets back together with his ex, a possible Justin-Cameron reunion ahead in “Hollyweird.”
SCARBOROUGH: Tonight, Britney Spears‘ manager has confirmed that the pop star ha checked herself into an L.A.-area treatment facility. The news, of course, comes just four days after the haircut seen around the world, where Spears chopped it all off, leaving the pop princess bald and a lot of people concerned.
So what led Britney to the breaking point? And will rehab help her get her life and career back together?
With us now, professor of psychiatry at USC and host of “Loveline,” Dr. Drew Pinsky. He‘s also the author of “Cracked.” And also, “OK” magazine senior reporter Courtney Hazlett, who has exclusive details from Britney‘s former nanny.
Tell us about that, Courtney. This is a—the portrait you wrote was about a very sad, lonely, disturbed woman.
COURTNEY HAZLETT, “OK” MAGAZINE: That‘s exactly right, Joe. It‘s definitely a portrait of a woman who understands that her career is at a very serious turning point. She also understands that she‘s got two kids to take care of and she might not be fully equipped to do so. And she also has the difficulty of not having a really close support system.
Her mother, Lynne, is extremely, extremely worried about her, but at the same point in time, Britney doesn‘t have a solid group of friends around her. She doesn‘t have extended family members rallying around her. Really, all she‘s got is this very, very concerned mother who‘s having a hard time really connecting with her daughter, Britney.
SCARBOROUGH: And a bunch of sycophants around also that allow her to behave very badly, right?
HAZLETT: That‘s absolutely right. Britney Spears, you know, when you become as famous as she was and as wealthy as she was, a few years back, the “Forbes” list estimated her fortune at, you know, well over $125 million, it‘s very difficult for people to say no to you.
And so for so long all she was hearing was, “Yes, Britney, yes, Britney,” and that‘s something the nanny confirmed to us, as well. Nobody was telling her, “Hey, you need to focus on your career. You need to keep these appointments. You need to keep your time in the recording studio.” It‘s costing her, really, her career.
SCARBOROUGH: You know, Dr. Drew, John Lennon used to always talk about how Elvis Presley wasn‘t killed by drugs. He was killed by the sycophants around him. How important was it for Britney to go into rehab and get away from the sycophants that have been surrounding her?
DR. DREW PINSKY, “LOVELINE”: Well, it‘s critical. As we talked about last night, when she was shaving her own hair, her bodyguard stepped up and said, “Hey, she can do whatever she wants.
Don‘t get in the way of this.” And that, to me, is astonishing, that someone who is engaging in bizarre behavior has no one who cares enough about her around her, at least more so than their own jobs, to step up and go, “Honey, we‘ve got to do something about this.”
Now, the reality is she was unraveling so fast that I was very concerned that she wouldn‘t survive this. I really believed we had another Anna Nicole on our hands here. And now thank God she is in treatment. So I‘m personally relieved that we‘ve seen this at least progress to the point...
SCARBOROUGH: So you believe that, if she didn‘t go into rehab, she could have died?
PINSKY: Listen, the statistics on addiction are just that, that the probability of dying of addiction is higher than dying from most cancers. And so here you have somebody who had been—who had left impulsively a treatment program in Antigua, bad prognostic sign, bizarre behaviors following, no one to capture her and get her to proper care, and, yes, that‘s a horrible situation. That can lead to very serious outcomes.
Now, she is in appropriate care now, and hopefully she‘ll get what she needs, engage in treatment, and we‘ll see a new person emerge.
SCARBOROUGH: Courtney Hazlett, was she fit to be a mother in the state that she was in, according to this nanny?
HAZLETT: Well, according to the nanny, she is a woman who really loved her children. There‘s no doubt about that whatsoever. She just didn‘t have—you know, she never took a parenting class. She didn‘t know how to raise these kids. You know, she didn‘t know that their teeth need to be brushed as often as they need to be brushed, really simple things that come naturally to so many people.
Britney had no idea. You‘re talking about a child star who never had a proper adolescence, who never had the real-life experiences that teach you the differences between right and wrong. And Dr. Drew is absolutely...
SCARBOROUGH: Why did she shave her head? Why did she shave her head?
HAZLETT: Well, reportedly, Kevin was threatening, “Hey, we‘re really going to come down hard on you soon if you don‘t go into rehab, if you don‘t get treatment. You know, we‘re going to get you drug-tested.” And we‘re hearing that she said, “OK, fine, go ahead and try to get my hair for a drug test. I‘m going to shave it all off.”
Now, sadly she didn‘t go through far enough and say, “OK, I need that hair.” And as we all know, the hair is reportedly being sold, you know, for charity or what not. But that just goes back to more that she‘s surrounded by all these people who want to profit off of her and who really don‘t have her best interests in mind.
PINSKY: It‘s true...
SCARBOROUGH: And, Dr. Drew, I guess we‘ve seen this also with child stars. Go ahead.
PINSKY: Well, more than that, it‘s how we see the recent death of Anna Nicole Smith. No one stepped up. I‘ve met people who tried to help her along the way. You know, there were other addicts in recovery trying to come to her aid, and she ceremonially dismissed all of them. But there was no one in her inner circle who cared enough about this woman to step up and say, “You‘ve got to do something.”
Listen, addicts are very hard to get into treatment, under the best of circumstances. You have to have leverage; you have to care a lot. And as was pointed out earlier about Britney, they have all the control and all the leverage, so it becomes very difficult to get them to treatment.
And often they will get to point where they‘re nearly dead before they‘ll come in. The reality is—I was thinking about this case earlier. I treat a lot of celebrities. And by the time we get them to treatment, what you hear about in the press is far less than the reality. The reality is often...
SCARBOROUGH: Very tame.
PINSKY: ... imagine the worse, and multiply it times 10, and that‘s what‘s really going on.
SCARBOROUGH: Wow, Dr. Drew Pinsky, thank you so much. Great job on the “Today” show today.
Courtney Hazlett, stick around. “Hollyweird” is next.
SCARBOROUGH: Patch the crack, it‘s time for “Hollyweird.”
First up, “Life and Style‘s” reporting exes Justin Timberlake and Cameron Diaz were stopped hanging out in L.A. this weekend. Here now, let‘s bring in editor-at-large for “Life and Style Weekly” Dawn Yanek. Still with us, “OK” magazine‘s Courtney Hazlett.
Dawn, what‘s the story on Justin and Cameron?
DAWN YANEK, “LIFE AND STYLE”: Well, we‘ve heard that they have called a truce, and they‘re taking these little baby steps to becoming friends again. Justin was actually hanging out with Martin Scorsese at the Whiskey Bar in L.A. Cam walked in around 1:00 a.m. They snuck out, had a little bit of a heart-to-heart. So a reconciliation is not on the horizon just yet, but they are certainly being civil to each other.
SCARBOROUGH: Goodness gracious. So, tell us what you know about it, Courtney? They getting back together?
HAZLETT: We‘re not hearing exactly that they‘re getting back together, but they‘re definitely talking. And I think in this, you know, circus atmosphere that Hollywood can be, we‘re really happy when people act civilized. We‘re all for it.
YANEK: And you never know what can happen. It is Hollywood.
SCARBOROUGH: Yes, it is. Hey, and speaking of “Hollyweird,” Lindsay Lohan is telling a British magazine she‘s worried her younger sister will follow in her partying footsteps. Tell us about that one, Dawn.
YANEK: Well, Lindsey Lohan is saying that her younger sister is a bit of trouble. She said she looks up to her. And, of course, Lindsay, believe it or not, is a role model to a lot of young girls, her sister in particular. And she‘s like a protective second mom to her. She wants to make sure she doesn‘t go down the bad path.
SCARBOROUGH: Oh, my God. And, of course, Paris Hilton is already there. She celebrated her 26th birthday this weekend in Vegas. The “New York Post” reports she celebrated with a monkey, goats and midgets, just like one of your New Orleans birthdays. Tell us about it, Courtney.
HAZLETT: I beg to differ. But in terms of Paris‘ birthday, she‘s been known to have midgets around her, actually, at many of her party. Strange, I know. The truth is stranger than fiction in some cases.
But, you know, this is interesting, because actually for a person who purports to want to be taken seriously in Hollywood, how can you really be taken seriously when you bring in, you know, circus animals to your birthday?
YANEK: Good question.
SCARBOROUGH: You know, it worked for me in Congress. It will work for Paris. Courtney, thank you. Dawn, we‘ll see you tomorrow night, talking Iraq.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
Copy: Content and programming copyright 2007 MSNBC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Transcription Copyright 2007 Voxant, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No license is granted to the user of this material other than for research. User may not reproduce or redistribute the material except for user‘s personal or internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may infringe upon MSNBC and Voxant, Inc.‘s copyright or other proprietary rights or interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of litigation.