Guests: David Dreier, Larry Lyttle, Barry Kemp
FRANK LUNTZ, HOST: We are back in California. Coming Monday, two words no one could have ever have predicted: Governor Schwarzenegger? What could we expect from the Republican-ator and how will it affect the rest of America? Congressman David Dreier spills the beans.
And is television a reflection of reality or the other way around? Will you be seeing next year? The creators of “Judge Judy”, “Coach” and “Newhart” let us in on their secrets and let us gaze into their television crystal balls.
There is a lot of news you can use straight ahead, I’m Frank Luntz and these are AMERICA’S VOICES.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want to see some vision. I want to see not just bashing Bush.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the war for the future of the Middle East.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You have to invest in children. They are our future.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It’s still about the economy.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Should we not be rebuilding Iraq?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There are so many people in this country are suffering.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You guys are so politically insane.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LUNTZ: After months of accusations and allegations, just hours from now, Arnold Schwarzenegger will be sworn in as governor of California.
Panel, you are all Californians, give me a word or phrase to describe how you feel towards Governor Schwarzenegger with just hours before he becomes governor? Andy?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hopeful.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Intrigued.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hopeful.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Doubtful.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Impressive.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He may want to hold onto the acting career.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Let’s roll.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are getting a leader.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Very unsure.
LUNTZ: My very special guest has been labeled one of the 10 most influential men in Washington, chairman of the all-important Rules Committee and campaign chairman for Arnold Schwarzenegger.
David Dreier, welcome to AMERICA’S VOICES.
REP. DAVID DREIER ®, CALIFORNIA: Nice to be here. Welcome to California, Frank.
LUNTZ: I love coming back. I have to tell you-
DREIER: This is America, by the way.
LUNTZ: This is America right here.
LUNTZ: You have been the entertainment for all of America for the last few months. We got more television cameras here, more reporters. You heard what they had to say. What should we be expecting from Governor Schwarzenegger is this.
DREIER: Governor Schwarzenegger has succeeded, Frank, in capturing the imagination of Californians. The term “hopeful”, which came forward I think is a very important one. One of the tasks I had in leading his transition effort has been try to make sure that the campaign promises he made over that extraordinary two-month campaign are in fact fulfilled.
LUNTZ: Give me three examples.
DREIER: For starters, if you look at the cabinet, he will be fiscally conservative by appointing people like Donna Ardawin (ph), who was budget director in Michigan, New York and Florida, to come in and make some of the tough decisions. Californians know with a $38 billion deficit, some tough choices have to be made.
LUNTZ: Basically, he will make the tough choices that the White House has not made?
DREIER: Well, I will say that he is going to make some tough choices and he will have to work with the Democratic legislature in doing that, but he will make some recommendations. He will repeal the tripling of the car tax, one of the top priorities in his campaign. Will he pursue goals which do that, but at the same time focus on our environmental problems. He’s appointed a guy called Terry Tamminen, who will be the director of Cal-EPA, who is really, really focused on environment, but also wants to pursue a balanced policy in that area.
LUNTZ: How do you react, so far? What you have seen from Arnold, has he exceeded your expectations, fallen short? Anybody?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Seriously impressed me.
LUNTZ: Why do you say that?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, he’s not-he hasn’t even become governor yet, he’s bringing in all kinds of-like he said, Donna Ardawin (ph), is probably one of the most fiscally conservative people around. But even her detractors will admit she is really sharp.
LUNTZ: The people that he’s bringing around him, the people on his transition team.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That’s sign of a good leader, having good people around him. You don’t have to be the smartest person to be a leader, but have smart people around you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want a smart leader...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We’ve got lots of Democrats involved, too. It is a bipartisan group that is another thing that is encouraging about it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Two points: With respect to that, I think we shouldn’t underestimate the performance of having a leader who actually is smart and does know what he is doing. It doesn’t simply rely on his advisers.
Now, with respect to Governor Schwarzenegger, I didn’t support him, but I am cautious. I am hopeful that he will govern with the sort of moderation that he suggested that he would at the outset of the campaign.
LUNTZ: Your reaction so far?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I’m very confident, I’m very confident he’s going to get it done and he’s going to save California. I have read up on him, on what he’s done with his life.
DREIER: You even know how to say the name of the state well. You’re doing great with that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The new pronunciation.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This guy, he sets goals and he gets them done.
He doesn’t just talk. This is a guy who...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When we had the fires, he went out to Washington. He didn’t sit around-well, I have another couple weeks before I’m governor. He went to Washington and started lobbying people on the Hill to try to get as much money as he could for us.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think he was there at the time and he sort of brought it up because it was in the news.
I guess I am concerned, because I read he was going to suggest borrowing $20 billion to cover some of the budget short fall. So what I was wondering is, how is that different from the $20 billion the Democrats were going to borrow?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Actually, when he proposed doing, he was doing it by way of an initiative. It would be something the people would vote for and he could further the mandate that he already has, which is a very important thing for (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
DREIER: This would not be a unilateral decision he would make. What this campaign was in large part about taxes. He talked about the fact we are overtaxed. Workers compensation is a priority, which unfortunately, has forced many businesses to leave the state.
What he said is that he wants to get the economic engine of California moving again. Now, if we can get a very, very positive economic growth package in place, I am convinced we will have the revenues to mitigate the burden of that $20 billion.
It is not to say we won’t face it. There is been tremendous spending but he put together a group focused on getting us moving again, which I think is a positive thing for Democrats, Republicans and Independents alike.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He is the only person-he can go in there and shake it up. It is the special interests have owned this government long enough. I think he was the only person who could go in because he is completely from the outside. What a generous individual. The man makes so much money doing his movie career and here he is willing to step into public service, which does not pay very well.
And he’s not able to...
LUNTZ: I know you don’t feel this way.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ...and he cannot run for president. He wants to make a difference. He wants to help California.
LUNTZ: Your reaction?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is Hollywood. That’s what the whole recall
has been to me. I just moved to California two months ago so I am new here, but from a national perspective, from somebody who has come from, I’m from Michigan, this seems right up California’s alley.
I just-it is Hollywood to me.
DREIER: You’re absolutely right about that, Yvette. California is a very unique place.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What other state would a recall have taken place, I mean it’s just...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I grew up in California, so as someone who is a native, I would like to respond to that. Because I agree with your point, I feel that having spoken to a lot of people who are Democrats but yet they voted for Arnold Schwarzenegger, who were very passionate about it. There is something about California that makes people want to be a part of that Hollywood scene and having grown up here, I notice that that seems to have been a draw. That’s why I am doubtful.
LUNTZ: Do you want to be part of the Hollywood scene?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, I don’t. My concern-I very doubtful and did not vote for Arnold Schwarzenegger. In fact, I voted against the recall.
I just feel that we need to focus on the economy and who’s going to be the best person or the best party for making some changes. Now, it is true that he may have a plan. I guess in some ways I am hopeful he will find a way. But I am concerned that this-what we are-what he’s decided upon doing is putting a Band-Aid on.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is not solving the problems.
LUNTZ: So, Congressman, in the few seconds we have left. After 100
days, how should we judge Governor Schwarzenegger? How should we grade him?
DREIER: Well, as you know, he said clearly, we didn’t get to the problems that we have today overnight and will not solve them overnight. I don’t think in 100 days you will be able to say, my gosh, all of a sudden everything is cured.
But I do believe that within 100 days he will have taken steps towards dealing with workers compensation, which has forced businesses to leave the state, towards repealing the tripling of the car tax, towards insuring that undocumented immigrants don’t jeopardize our security by having driver’s licenses.
I know he’s already-he takes the oath of office Monday. He is calling special session the next day to focus on these issues. So I don’t know, Frank, that they will be cured in 100 days, but I do know this, he will have taken bold steps towards implementing the will of the people of California.
LUNTZ: I do find it interesting even people who didn’t vote for him would use the word “hopeful”.
DREIER: Yes, I think that’s great, and something that’s necessary.
LUNTZ: Great. It is time to say hasta la vista, baby, to the Arnold debate.
When we come back, will you pay less for your medications or more for gasoline? We’ll get the truth about energy, prescription drugs, and tax cuts from Chairman Dreier and our panel. You’re watching AMERICA’S VOICES where you have a voice.
LUNTZ: Welcome back to AMERICA’S VOICES on location in California, where the rising cost of energy was a big factor in the recall of Governor Gray Davis. But it is not just a California issue. The recent blackout in the East raised a lot of questions about our energy system in America.
I want you to tell me, what exactly do you want from a national energy policy? What would you want Congress and the White House to focus on?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They need to focus on renewable energies, renewable fuels and alternative energy practices.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because, one, we will run out of oil. Two, let me back up for a second. We need to reduce our dependence on oil from the Middle East. It is in our national security to do that.
LUNTZ: Elena, what would you want?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would look at the infrastructure. The infrastructure that’s built for the electrical grid across the country dates back to post-World War II. It is getting old. The country was a lot smaller, a lot less population then. You can talk about renewable energy but unless you have an infrastructure that can support a growing economy, you are going to have problems. So, I think infrastructure is the focus.
LUNTZ: Elena, what do you want?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I agree with the concept of renewable energy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want it safe and cheap.
LUNTZ: Safe and cheap?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That’s all I want.
LUNTZ: I was going to say, doesn’t anyone in California want cheaper gas prices?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want to have something in there that keeps it from being abused. Right now I see my utility bills and they just put it all in there, sometimes doubling. I say how can this be possible? And they can’t explain it. If you don’t pay it, they cut you off, so you just pay it.
The department of utilities in our city, they are the richest department.
LUNTZ: I want to you focus on national. We are joined again by California Representative David Dreier.
You’re debating right now, a reform, a big change to energy policy.
First, what are the key factors? Second, are you ever going to pass it?
Well, first, it really includes virtually everything that has been raised here in the discussion so far. There is a focus on renewable energy. President Bush, in his State of the Union message called for moves in that direction. But at the same time we obviously need to look at the power grids across this country and make sure that the infrastructure is brought up to speed.
We need to focus on transportation. Mass transit is a way to deal with part of the energy problem. Are we going to be able to put together a package at the end of the day? I think we are. I’m very encouraged.
The last issue was a debate over the use of ethanol versus oil. I think there is a compromise on that. This is a measure that will be focused on job creating and getting the economy growing as well as making sure energy is affordable.
LUNTZ: But it is not going to include oil exploration ANWAR, is it?
DREIER: It is not going to include exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. And I appreciate your using the word “exploration” as opposed to “drilling”, which is you know what those critics have said. Because with today’s technology, obviously, exploration in that area could be done clearly in a very responsible way that would not jeopardize the environment.
LUNTZ: So, basically the Republicans caved on that issue.
DREIER: Well, there is an issue called compromise. I have always believed, Frank, you don’t compromise your principles, but should always be prepared to compromise for principle. And that’s what happened here.
LUNTZ: You’re nodding your head no.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is very disappointing. We have these resources up there and we could explore that very safely and we are just letting it go.
DREIER: Well, we’re not letting it go, Mark. What we want to do is we want to make sure that we do in fact get an energy bill that will create jobs and move us toward self-sufficiency. Unfortunately, the votes were not there for it. It is really part of the legislative process when it is going to be filibustered.
LUNTZ: Roger, do you trust the Republican when’s it comes to energy policy?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think when it comes to energy policy, it is
absolutely married to campaign finance reform. If we really want to have
effective changes in energy, we really need to understand where the money
is given, who is receiving it and why. I think everybody has a tremendous
DREIER: All of that information is available. All that information is available, Roger.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is available, but it is not out there.
DREIER: It is on the web, it is in the newspapers. I mean, it’s ...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you really believe, Congressman, all of the people who vote for you are truly aware of everybody who gives you money?
DREIER: I want to make sure they have access to it. I am happy to provide information to any of any constituents or to anyone, whether they are constituents or not, as far as who supports whom.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People have access to good schools, too, but they don’t necessarily go to ...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This Republican Party, today, is not really geared to protecting the American public and providing the governmental leadership that’s needed to preserve-I use the concept of laissez-faire. Our energy, our transportation is all part of the-out there, the public enterprise. You are in this to make money. But the Republican Party should, as in the beginning of the 20th century, under Teddy Roosevelt, who went after the muckrakers ...
LUNTZ: OK, let’s keep it to the 21st century now.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But it is the same concept. We have to put a cap on what the Republicans are doing right now.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How can we trust a party that won’t even let the people on the other side of the aisle voice their opinions? Or, it’s-I just came from Washington ...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can’t stop them from voicing their opinions.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, they do, very well.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Blah, blah, blah.
LUNTZ: That is an interesting point. This gentleman is the chairman of the Rules Committee. He decides what and how the opposition party can speak.
DREIER: It is so interesting to hear you say that. One of the reasons that we, 10 years ago, won the majority was that we were shut out from having the opportunity to say things and offer amendments and different proposals. I will tell you, when we won the majority, we provided a guarantee that the Democrats could offer this-well, this is inside baseball-something called a motion to recommit, basically being another bite at the apple. We provide them substitute motions so they can let their ideas get out there. And that is something we pursue vigorously.
LUNTZ: You’re giving a dirty look. Do you feel like your voice isn’t heard?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think that the management of the House has been very antithetical to open dialogue between differing points of view. I think this is a general matter, that Congress has been run to avoid hearing and avoid the airing of conflicting viewpoints.
DREIER: You see, that can’t be done, though. There are rights guaranteed to the minority, which didn’t exist when we were in the minority that are there today.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right.
DREIER: So we provided a greater degree of openness and there is an equal time for debate on each side. There was never more debate on one side of an issue versus another. It is always divided equally. That is part of the process as James Madison envisioned it.
LUNTZ: Very quickly...
LUNTZ: You respond.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But you head the Rules Committee, you know where the control really lies and that you can keep a voice silent. And in fact, the Rules Committee does do that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They often do.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I agree.
LUNTZ: And we need to get out...
DREIER: I agree with you, there are times we do in fact limit debate and prevent ideas from being considered, but we try to make those as few as possible. That is part of the responsibility of management.
LUNTZ: At least on this show, everybody gets a chance to be heard.
Chairman Dreier, I want to thank you very much for coming.
DREIER: You bet, Frank. Thanks for having me.
LUNTZ: And when we come back, “They Said What?” Or in this week’s case, “He Did What?”
Don’t go away there’s a lot more ahead.
It happens every week. Somebody in the public eye, with cameras rolling says something so unexpected, that your first reaction can only be, “He said what?” Well, this week’s clip it is not so much what is said, but what it shows. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: Who can take on George Bush and change the direction of the nation? John Kerry, a leader on national security, a decorated combat veteran, served on the Intelligence Committee, the Foreign Relations Committee. John Kerry, he is fighting for you against the Bush tax giveaways for corporations and wealthy, and his health care plan covers the uninsured and holds down costs.
SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I’m John Kerry and I approve this message because it is time to do what’s right for America.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LUNTZ: I have to tell you, they made such a big deal in Washington about using that tiny, little clip, that opening footage of Bush and the aircraft carrier. Am I wrong? Is this a big deal over nothing?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are not wrong. It is ridiculous. They blew it completely out of proportion. It is just a travesty that everyone in America is seeing this every day on the news.
LUNTZ: Why do you think this became such a big issue? It was a two-second clip?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, it was not only a two-second clip, but it was a clip of something that everybody knew was going to be in a campaign ad. Nobody predicted it would be in a Democrats’ campaign ad.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is red meat, it is red meat, for the Democrats. The Democrats will see that two seconds and remember it as 20 seconds. And the Republicans will see the two seconds and say, like, what? It is purely a red meat ad that all it is.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Actually, I think the inverse is true. I think the Republicans are the ones that are saying that-seeing that two seconds and say saying-making it feel like 20 seconds.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Republicans in the room, we all went, what?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Democrats aren’t complaining about it at all.
In fact, I don’t think most people watching the ad are even going to remember or know that they saw it. It is so quick and fast.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: By the end of the ad you forgot that it was in there.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The problem is that when, that incident, when Bush landed the carrier, all of the Democrats screamed, he will make it into a big commercial. He will make it into a big commercial. He shouldn’t have done that. And Kerry turns around and puts it into one of his commercials. He is the first one who actually politicized it.
LUNTZ: OK, but let’s be honest here. You remember that phrase, “Mission Accomplished”? Now, OK, the president never said it, but it was up there on that ship. Isn’t this kind of embarrassing for the president right now for that to have been up there?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The “Mission Accomplished” was for the Abraham Lincoln, whose mission was accomplished.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You’ve got to be ...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ridiculous. It was put there by the White House and they asked the White House to ...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ridiculous. I mean it was put there by the White House and obviously mission has not been accomplished.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Actually, it was specifically disavowed as having not been but there by the White House, it was put there by the crew of the aircraft carrier and specifically referring, as she said.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That’s not true.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: As they do when they return to port.
LUNTZ: Go ahead.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ...would allow the president of the United States
to appear in a picture by accident -
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don’t think so.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am sure they were delighted. I am just setting the facts straight as to where the banner came from.
LUNTZ: Go ahead.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How is it-this is the part that is just totally incongruous. The president of the United States appeared on the aircraft carrier, I think it was May day, maybe, and said we are done-well, we are not.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, no, no, he did not say we were done. He declared the end of major combat operations, a significant difference.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There has not been an end to major combat. When people are being shot down out of the sky in helicopters, you tell the parents of those 16 soldiers, who died, that there is an end to major combat.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That is a demagogic statement.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That is not true.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Major combat operations are over, the war is over.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, it is not.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is now an occupation and it the resistance...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is not over. We just began today ...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We just began today operation sledgehammer, somebody’s hammer. It is not over.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right, that is a specific combat action, as opposed to major combat operations.
LUNTZ: OK, I have to bring this to a close. But I have to tell you one thing, I remember when Jimmy Carter delivered that so-called “malaise” speech. But guess what, the word malaise never appears in the speech, but it is what everybody remembers.
I think this president will have a problem with everybody remembering the phrase, “Mission Accomplished”.
When we come back, we be talking all about the future of television and will start with TV lawyers. You can learn more about real law from “Judge Judy”, thank you, or maybe not. There is a lot more to come on AMERICA’S VOICES.
LUNTZ: Welcome back to AMERICA’S VOICES.
Coming to you from Hollywood, where television is king. So in this part of the show, we will talk television. Almost as long as there’s been television, there have been courtrooms on television. But we have come a long way from the fantasy of Perry Mason to the reality of Court TV.
There is a clear difference between “Law & Order” and “Judge Judy” but as the number of legal shows on TV has grown, so has American public’s knowledge of the legal system, right? Well, maybe not. Let’s ask our panel.
Do you ever watch-you’re a lawyer, right?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am.
LUNTZ: Do you ever watch “Judge Judy”?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.
LUNTZ: You don’t?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is on in the middle of the day.
LUNTZ: So that doesn’t teach you anything about the legal system?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I will say, I any think Judge Judy does not provide a realistic model for what the courtroom is like. She is far more engaging and fun and chatty than most of the judges I have ever encountered.
LUNTZ: And she’s much less expensive than most lawyers I have ever encountered. Judge Judy, is she a positive impact, a positive role model for courts and the legal system?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I plead guilty, I have never seen her in my life.
LUNTZ: Not once.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not once.
LUNTZ: Judge Judy, Sandra, to you watched her?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have seen an episode before, because I started hearing from people outside of the legal profession that they love the show and Judge Judy knows everything. So, I started watching an episode. It is more entertainment oriented definitely. She is not as bad as some of the others, I must say.
LUNTZ: Who don’t you like?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I really don’t like that type of genre.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Judge Judy is an entertainer, strictly an entertainer. The people who are on her show are canned. The stories are canned. It is not real life. Real life takes place in the American courtroom. I have been in an American courtroom. I have gone into small claims court and pleaded a case, nothing happens like it does on Judge Judy.
LUNTZ: Are you a lawyer, by the way?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I am not.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That is so disappointing.
LUNTZ: So you were being sued at the time?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.
LUNTZ: You took some strong shots at the show. My special guest is the man behind “Judge Judy” and “Judge Joe Brown.”
Larry Lyttle, welcome to AMERICA’S VOICES. You heard what he had to say, canned, fake, all of that. You heard some negativity. It is your show. You created it. What impact has it had on America?
LAWRENCE LYTTLE, PRES., BIG TICKET TELEVISION: I think it has had a profound impact on America. I wanted to just say one thing - Howard?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Richard.
LYTTLE: Richard, the show is not canned. The show is quite real. All of the cases are real. They come right out of small claims court for the most part. And what it is about you’re not wrong about one thing — it is about, if television is embracing people and entertaining them, it clearly has that effect. It intentionally has that effect.
But “Judge Judy” conducted her courtroom in New York City, as the chief of the Family Court In New York City, exactly like that. In fact, when I met her, I had seen a tape that she brought, where she was interviewed by Morley Safer, on “60 Minutes” where they had a camera in her courtroom.
And while you are probably right for the most part, Richard, for the most part courtroom decorum, Tanya said that as well, is not specifically like our show but, in fact, her courtroom was exactly like that. And she was able to facilitate and motivate and get things done in a matter that was both compelling and entertaining. That wasn’t her mission there. Her mission now is to do that. But it is not canned it is so real.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don’t see what the problem is with it. I mean, I mean see why everyone is so disparaging. If people are enjoying it and they’re learning something about the law, then what does it matter? ...
.... If a courtroom doesn’t really look like that. They are not pretending to be in law school.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The problem, I say this as a lawyer, what it does is try to teach us-
LUNTZ: I’m sorry to hear that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I add to admit it up front.
The problem is it teaches people, deliberately or not, is the way to solve problems is sue people. Problem this society has, and especially out here in California, is the overt litigiousness of this society. Nobody can solve a problem, nobody can get into an accident, nobody can stub their toe, without filing a lawsuit and bring a class action.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: “The People’s Court” did this at the end of every “People’s Court”, “Remember, you have a problem with somebody, take them to court.”
LYTTLE: I must tell you, with all due respect, Tony, we might be in a litigious society, that might be the case. But the reality is the litigation and suing people is an absolute fact, and it is a civil way of people having discourse to try to resolve their conflicts.
LUNTZ: Wait, wait, will all due respect, I watched-I admit this -
” I watched a little bit of the Rosie O’Donnell trial.
LYTTLE: Right. Which was ridiculous.
LUNTZ: Which was not civil, in any way.
LYTTLE: It was in-civil.
LUNTZ: So this is positive? This is a good development for our country?
LYTTLE: No, this is not. This is a fact of life. People have disputes and they cannot resolve their disputes with discourse. And I must tell you, I am not an attorney, but I would virtually guarantee and the attorneys here can say yea or nay to this. If you have a problem and you are unable to resolve it, what better form, what better solid conform than have people come in a court and try to resolve it with a third party to mediate.
LUNTZ: You were nodding your head, no.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Anything we do in this country that encourages people to sue each other is bad for business, by the way ...
LYTTLE: We are not encouraging...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And it is bad for the country. People have spent way too much money and way too much time ...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Excuse me-on the legal profession as it is.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I confess to being a lawyer, too.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They’re everywhere.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I think what is stunning to me is how many TV shows there are that deal with the law and how many people consider this country to be litigious, and yet most people who I know, and I think most of America, are very afraid of the courtroom. And they don’t sue and they don’t go out there and they don’t necessarily treat other people with respect. And they don’t necessarily treat themselves with respect because they are not aware of the laws that protect them.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go do business in Europe or any other country in the world.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I’ll do that on Europe’s Voices next week. In America...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The point is there is a civil way to do things and there is a way to stay out of courts. People in other countries are amazed that we put so much time and so much effort putting deals together to prevent ourselves from being sued. That is what business is about in this country.
LUNTZ: Larry, go ahead.
LYTTLE: I’m confused about one thing: Is there the supposition that is being propagated here “Judge Judy”, “Judge Joe Brown” is encouraging people to sue one another?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it is the direct opposite.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.
LYTTLE: Mark, you’re the smartest guy here so far.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The reason is, people see these cases on television and if they are thinking of suing, and they see this and they see and they see what common sense brings, by seeing a Judge Judy, they will say, no, I am not going to bring that to court. It’s ridiculous.
LYTTLE: Can I tell you, sir, I not only embrace that-and I don’t embrace this for commercial reasons-I truly think, first of all, we are not going out saying, hey, you have a problem with this guy. Come on here, we will resolve it. We don’t do that.
This is a fact of life. What we are doing is this. I think if there is a conceit here-and it was not my conceit, but if it is a conceit with some brilliance, is the fact that what we have shown is that people can resolve their conflicts in a speedy, expeditious manner, and hopefully fairly.
LUNTZ: And we have to wrap.
But I have to say one thing, this week Congress debated for more than 30 hours getting justices put onto various courts. Right now Americans have a lower opinion of the legal system, of lawyers, judges than at any time in history.
Now “Judge Judy” is still getting great ratings but there is something wrong with the legal system when so many are fed up.
LYTTLE: Yes, but listen, what we are not doing here-what we have no interest in making social commentary about the legal system. What our mission is to entertain, is to resolve people’s problems and in a way, you know the odd thing about “Judge Judy”, I am surprised nobody here-I have talked about this lot, “Judge Judy” is a talk show. It really is.
LUNTZ: That has to be the last word.
LUNTZ: Larry Lyttle, thanks for listening to AMERICA’S VOICES.
After the break, on TV, does art imitate life or the other way around? One of the great sit-com creators is coming up next.
LUNTZ: Welcome back. We are in Hollywood and talking television. Let’s talk about the impact television has on society. I want to know, is there one show on TV, either now or in recent times, that best reflects America, American life, the American family?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Does anyone expect television to reflect the American family? I think television is entertainment because they set up these bizarre circumstances. You have got all of these different characters trying to live together in one house. And these other shows, I don’t think they are trying to reflect society, I think they’re trying to make people laugh.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There are a lot of shows that deal with families and not four 20-year-olds something living in a house together. They all reflect some values we have with our families. But they try to put a twist on it to add entertainment because it is television.
LUNTZ: Any show that is out there, that if I want to say, to Europeans, to other people not from this country, this is how you understand Americans. Is there anything out there?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: “Arrested Development”.
LUNTZ: Really? That mean we are all nuts?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, that is the name of the show, “Arrested Development”.
LUNTZ: I know, I have actually seen it and we are all crazy.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I think so.
LUNTZ: So basically, you’re saying that Americans really need a lot more value.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
LUNTZ: Any show out there?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, it is not extreme. It is funny. He makes America funny.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: “America’s Funniest Home Videos.”
LUNTZ: “America’s Funniest Home Videos”?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That is perfect.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You’ve got it right there.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: “Taxi”.
LUNTZ: Why “Taxi”.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: “Taxi” I think was about people’s desperate hopes for the American dream. That show was about the pursuit of the American dream.
LUNTZ: Now, this was not rehearsed. But “Taxi” is part of the repertoire of our guests, Barry Kemp, among his credits, the creation of 12 series including “Newhart”, with Bob Newhart and “Coach”, starring Craig T. Nelson, and you actually started early on with “Taxi.”
Is there something about television that is reflection of American life or are you just about entertainment?
BARRY KEMP, TV PRODUCER: Well, “Taxi,” it is interesting that he says that because “Taxi” was really about-it was about people’s dreams. It was about people who weren’t making it. I don’t think anybody ever has a fantasy about living and working in a garage, but I think people do have a fantasy that a lot of us are trying to get someplace that we aren’t right now.
And if you have to work in a garage, those are the people you would like to work with, because everybody was pulling for everybody. If Bobby was going to act, everybody went to watch Bobby act. If Tony had a fight everybody went to watch Tony fight. From that standpoint I think it filled something we want to believe.
LUNTZ: Yes, but Bobby never won a fight-
KEMP: You mean, Tony.
LUNTZ: Tony never won a fight. Bobby couldn’t act. They never achieved their dreams.
KEMP: Wait, wait, wait, don’t say that.
LUNTZ: Well, at least on the show they couldn’t act.
KEMP: It was almost like the American nightmare, wasn’t it?
KEMP: I think it dealt with the reality most people don’t get to where they wanted to be, at least from that standpoint. I think the reality of “Taxi” was you got fulfilled in other ways. They thought it was about career, and it was really about relationships and friendship. I think that was the underlying tone of that show.
LUNTZ: Shouldn’t we feel good about what we are watching TV? Is television a reflection of America or rejection of America?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bits and pieces, like he says, TV’s about moments, and comedy is about adults acting like children. So, I hope it is not the way homes are being run.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think our real issue here, with all due respect to the great shows Barry’s been involved with is reality television. I think that reality television, which is displacing a lot of comedies and dramas is in my mind the crack cocaine of network programming. We are shortening attention spans, focusing on the worst human behavior and lowering nation’s sights about who we ought to be.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I like those shows because there is genuine drama, and because you don’t know what will happen. And because in most television, everything seems to be recycled and we are watching dramas that are ripped off from dramas that were ripped off from other dramas and comedies ripped off from other comedies. Or I guess you can is say pay homage to-
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But none of them accurately reflect American life, they can’t, by nature otherwise they be boring.
LUNTZ: I have a problem, which is the “Fear Factor”, which basically pays people or who encourages people to do the most disgusting, horrific stuff.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But throughout history you have always had freak shows that people have always been willing to pay for. It is the modern-day freak show.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you look at reality television, we started with shows like “Rescue 911” and “Top Cops.” They were aspirational, they were about heroes. And some smart guy, and I’m not saying the pejoratively, some smart guy at the network said, Hey, what if we throw the seven deadly sins that this reality idea and see how much of conflict and addictive drama we can give to people.
LUNTZ: Hold on.
Barry, is there room for another “Coach,” someone with a good heart? Is there room for “Newhart”? Is there room for these families that actually get along with each other and like each other and friends that treat each other with respect?
KEMP: Ken Lamatras (ph) when he was president of CBS, once said to me, I think we are in the business of broadcasting not narrow casting. I think he was right. I think there should be room for that. I think we portray a very, very small segment of society.
I think the reality shows, to me, are the fakest shows on television.
There is not a hint of reality in any of them. Sorry.
But I understand they are appealing to a very, very almost primitive kind of need to watch people expose themselves, if you will. But I don’t think it makes us feel very good.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is very important that people have a laugh at themselves. That’s what comedy shows do. If you turn on murder mysteries, you see people being killed. You turn on hospital shows, you see people being maimed. We live under a lot of pressure in the news, what’s going on around us, we have to be able to laugh. We have to be able to look at something and enjoy ourselves looking at it and not feel threatened and these shows do that.
LUNTZ: Barry-OK, quickly.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It needs to be more than that. When drama was created by the Greeks, the ideal was to enlighten. There was a purpose to it. It served a very important social cause. We lost sight of that cause and we’re suffering as a result.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We don’t always need a cause.
LUNTZ: So, look into your crystal ball, look into the future. Will there be comedies like “Coach” and “Newhart?” Will we be stuck with reality programs like “Fear Factor?” What do you see as the future?
KEMP: It will always reflect something current, but in fact television does continually recycle and regenerate itself. I don’t think it is a surprise one of the most popular shows in the 1970s was “Happy Days,” which reflected life in the 1950s. It is not a surprise to me that one of the most popular shows now is “That ’70s Show.” It will just keep going on. If you really have a crystal ball and you want to come up with a show, come up with “Life in The 1990s” and pitch it 10 years from now, and you’ll sell it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is always a rear-view mirror.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If you really want to do something for society, you shouldn’t be watching TV, you should be out doing that-TV has its value-but if you really want to get into society and actually have an impact, you will not be sitting in front of your television.
LUNTZ: Hold up, do me one favor, don’t turn off the channel until the show is over.
Barry Kemp, I want to thank you very much for taking the time to appear on AMERICA’S VOICES.
When we come back, is your voice represented on TV? We will see what the panel thinks and we’ll also tell you how voted on last week’s poll question. Take a look at it right here.
LUNTZ: We’re back on AMERICA’S VOICES. Where this week it’s all about TV. Last week we asked you to tell us if the Reagan’s TV movie should air on the Showtime cable network after CBS dumped it.
And 63 percent of you said, yes, it is fictional and filmmakers can interpret it events as they choose. Only 37 percent of you said, no, if the film is inaccurate it shouldn’t even be shown on pay cable.
Now, here is this week’s question: Do opinion programs on television represent your opinions or do they ignore you?
Tell us, either yes, I feel my opinions are represented; or no, my opinions are ignored.
Go to our Web site at Voices.msnbc.com, and let your voice be heard.
Now it’s time to see what our panel thinks. Are your opinions heard by talk shows? Are your opinions heard by the news networks? Or are you ignored?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think I’m largely ignored.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think that right-wing talk shows are really dominating the airwaves now. They are doing it because they get better ratings. But I think that basically centrist or liberal ideas are largely unheard.
LUNTZ: Stacy, do you feel ignored?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, other than this particular show, I agree with Andy.
LUNTZ: Way to go. Good response.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The-what I hear is there have been people who are on the left who have tried to get shows who are outspoken, published writers, and can’t get air time. I know Franken has got a show coming.
LUNTZ: Al Franken.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right, and we will see if that’s an opportunity.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jeanine Garofalo.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ...and we will see if that is an opportunity.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: By the way, as someone who has-I spent my life in the TV business. This idea that somehow there is a conspiracy that keeps left-wing voices off the air is absurd. The people who are making these decisions are just trying to get people into the advertisements. They would put anybody on who could get a rating.
LUNTZ: Do you feel ignored or do you feel there is someone out there that speaks your points of view on these various shows?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I have to actually look at the last election cycle and look at who was able to get on the air and who wasn’t. I’m naturally not very experienced at getting on talk radio. But I certainly was given tips that if I wanted to I had to basically change my story about what I wanted to say and once I got on I could actually say what I wanted to say. To actually be coached like that is somewhat disturbing. It leaves me somewhat disillusion that we can always represent everyone’s opinions.
LUNTZ: Do you also feel ignored?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely. The FOX newses of the world-not MSNBC, of course-are very, very, very busy giving out opinion as news, and that provides a basis for ignorance.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wait a minute. We’re concentrating on talk radio and FOX news when left of center has had basically hegemonic control over media...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hegemonic?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, complete
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Virtually complete control over the dissemination of information. CNN doesn’t lean any further to the left than FOX news does the right and vice versa. For the first time, you have one cable news network that has something of a bias.
LUNTZ: Go ahead.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Which news shows do you want to talk about that dominated television and were to the left? Let’s go, quick.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All of the networks.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All of them?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, Dan Rather, Peter Jennings, Tom Brokaw.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Could we have an example of Dan Rather’s communism? Let’s talk about it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I didn’t say that Dan Rather was an avowed Communist.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They’re all registered Democrats. There is no ambiguity about that.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Whether he’s a registered Democrat, so now that means his reporting is necessarily partial? You’re suggesting it’s partial?
LUNTZ: Tanya, Tanya, there could be implied bias, what shows you choose to put on, what tone you take in a certain story.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There is no question about that, but I think it’s also true that people now who are center or left of center, are so afraid of the right wing and this liberal media bias, the myth of the liberal media ...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Talk about the real world.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ...that they propagate that now the left is ...
LUNTZ: James, go ahead.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The problem is-and I kind of agree with Rick a little bit, but I think the problem is and the reason I’m not represented is because when you get on radio or on television, what appeals to people is the extreme. The extreme right and the extreme left. I am neither.
In fact, without changing my opinion very much, in the last 20 years on anything, I find I have moved from being a somewhat moderate Republican to being a liberal Democrat. And I can’t actually recall a Republican I voted for president, so I guess that makes me a Democrat really, and I’m not telling the truth.
LUNTZ: It also makes you a target for the CIA, but we’ll get into that at a different time.
LUNTZ: Panel, if I asked you what you wanted to hear, what you wanted to see on talk shows, what would it be? What is the issue that you don’t hear? Forget about ideology. What’s the issue that you’re not hearing enough about?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think that we should hear more about the litigiousness of society, the things I was talking about earlier. I think there is a lot going on with respect to that and the impact it’s having on our economy reaches into every aspect of society. It involves insurance rates. It has to do with all the things that are going on with the strike right now with the labor unions.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think the unspoken issue is the gap between rich and poor and how it’s growing.
And that’s all the time that we have got for AMERICA’S VOICES this week. We are proud we are the only show that gives real Americans like you the chance to be heard on television. I hope you will check us out next week at this time.
Remember, whether you agree or disagree, keep talking and keep listening. Honest debate promotes new understanding. I’m Frank Luntz, thanks for watching.
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