Guests: Pat Brown, John Nichols, Tom Zovko, Garth Estadt
ANNOUNCER: DEBORAH NORVILLE TONIGHT.
The truth about Audrey. Her mysterious disappearance touched off a desperate search. Then an intense police manhunt for an armed kidnapper.
But now the truth is out. This man never did exist.
Tonight what really happened to Audrey Seiler.
A parent‘s grief. He went to Iraq to make it a better place but Army veteran Jerry Zovko‘s mission was brutally cut short in Fallujah. One of four American civilians ambushed, murdered, and then horribly mutilated by a cheering mob.
Tonight, Jerry Zovko‘s family remembers their fallen hero.
Girl talk. She flashdanced her way to the big screen and big fame in the 1980s. Now she‘s flashing a whole new image on television.
JENNIFER BEALS, ACTRESS: What the hell do you think you‘re doing?
ANNOUNCER: Jennifer Beals speaks “The L Word.”
From Studio 3-K in Rockefeller Center, Deborah Norville.
DEBORAH NORVILLE, HOST: And good evening.
It seemed kind of odd, and it turns out it was. It now appears as though 20-year-old University of Wisconsin student Audrey Seiler wasn‘t kidnapped after all.
Police say there are inconsistencies in her story. And that suspect she described, well, they‘re not looking for him anymore.
When Audrey was recovered in a marsh after she‘d been missing four days, she said she‘d been kidnapped outside her apartment building Saturday morning. Surveillance video shows Seiler walking out of the building wearing just her sweats.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ASST. CHIEF NOBLE WRAY, MADISON, POLICE DEPARTMENT: As we continued to investigate this reported abduction by Audrey, she was presented with these confirmed inconsistencies that resulted in Audrey admitting that, in fact, she had not been abducted at her apartment at all.
Audrey is now reporting that the suspect depicted in the sketch abducted her from a different location in the city at knifepoint.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NORVILLE: Madison police conducted a huge search. Dozens of volunteers traveled from Seiler‘s hometown in Minnesota to help look for her.
She was found on Wednesday just two miles from where she first said she was abducted. She was cold, she was dehydrated and police say it now appears she may have planned her own disappearance.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WRAY: Audrey reported that the suspect used duct tape, rope, cold medicine, gum, and knife—and a knife against her. In the evening hours last night what we were able to confirm is that the items that police officer Camholst (ph) is holding there are items that we were able to get videotape showing Audrey going into a local store purchasing these items.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NORVILLE: And police also say that Seiler‘s computer had been used to search for information on nearby parks and wooded areas and the extended weather forecast.
Cops are now calculating the amount of money that was spent on the investigation and the search for Audrey.
For more now we turn to MSNBC analyst and former FBI profiler Clint Van Zandt. Criminal profiler Pat Brown is with us as well. And we‘re also joined by John Nichols. He‘s the associate editor of “The Capitol Times.” That‘s the newspaper up in Madison. He‘s been covering this case from the beginning.
John, let me start with you first. What‘s the general reaction around town after this press conference from the police today?
JOHN NICHOLS, ASSOCIATE EDITOR, “THE CAPITOL TIMES”: Well, not so much shock today. Really, around town the rumor mill had been saying since Thursday morning that something sounded very wrong about this case.
Although it did take an even bigger twist at the end. No one suspected that they‘d find the physical evidence of a faked-up kidnapping.
NORVILLE: And when that was presented there at the press conference, what was the reaction in the room among the assembled media?
NICHOLS: People really were shocked. You realize there was a press conference late this morning ,and the police had said that was the end of it. There weren‘t going to be any more press conferences.
The assumption was that they were going to go back and spend a good deal more time talking to Audrey Seiler, trying to get her to, for lack of a better term, crack and admit that she hadn‘t been kidnapped.
Then there was this very hastily called press conference. No one knew quite what was going to happen there. The assumption was that Audrey herself would acknowledge that she hadn‘t been kidnapped.
Instead, they came in with this remarkable physical evidence, the details about the computer. And I would say that you saw a lot of seasoned reporters who, if they didn‘t have their jaw dropping were at least wide-eyed.
NORVILLE: A lot of head scratching going on, I‘m sure.
Pat Brown, why would a 20-year-old do a hoax like this if indeed that‘s what this is?
PAT BROWN, CRIMINAL PROFILER: That‘s a good question, I‘m sure.
We‘re all going to look forward to the answer to that.
I can think of two possibilities. One is that she simply wanted a lot of attention, and the other possibility is that she had some other behavior going on that she wanted to cover up what was actually happening.
Back in the incident that happened one month prior, where she was supposedly assaulted, the body was moved a block and her—but her purse was still there and she was still clothed. So we‘re not looking at a rape. We‘re not looking at a robbery.
She says she doesn‘t know who hit her. That right away set up those red flags that doesn‘t make sense. That‘s not the way predators or attackers behave, and her behavior as a victim didn‘t really work either.
So one question is right there. What happened? Was she seeking attention then or did somebody she know assault her and she just wanted to cover up what she was doing with that person?
So it could be she wants attention. It could be that she‘s covering up some other behavior that she‘s been involved with that she doesn‘t want her parents or her friends or somebody else to know about.
NORVILLE: And based on what we heard at the press conference today, there was a great deal of time spent planning that escapade, as well. Let‘s give a listen again to the press conference with police and follow up with that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WRAY: Information obtained from Audrey‘s computer indicates persons were on the computer during the time she was reported missing. Preplanning on the computer, searches Madison—she had preplanning on computer searches: Madison wooded areas, parks, weather conditions for a five-day forecast.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NORVILLE: Clint, you hear something like that, and it certainly sounds like this was premeditated and preplanned on this young lady‘s part. On the other hand, if police drop the investigation altogether, aren‘t they walking a bit of a tightrope on that score?
CLINT VAN ZANDT, FORMER FBI PROFILER: Well, I think they‘ve walked a tightrope very well on this case. They were trying to serve both this young lady—I mean, the last thing you want to do is make someone a double victim, Deborah. You don‘t want her to be a victim of a kidnapping and then a victim of community doubt both. I mean, that would be devastating to a person.
And yet the flipside is they have 41,500 students who are wondering about this armed predator that‘s out there somewhere, and law enforcement owed an investigation and a response to the community.
And I think they did a good job taking their time, balancing the investigation, preparing the case one way or the other, either support the kidnapping or support that it‘s a bogus case, that it‘s a hoax.
And I think law enforcement did that and came out with the information today to allow the community to say, OK, this is a terrible thing, but at least there‘s not another predator walking amongst us.
NORVILLE: There was a huge sigh of relief when Audrey did turn up safe.
And, John, now there‘s some talk about the huge expense that your community, police department incurred in trying to find this young woman. Searches like this don‘t come cheap. Is there going to be a bill handed to someone?
NICHOLS: Well, indeed they don‘t come cheap. There is no question that you‘re in the tens of thousands, probably the hundreds of thousands.
And it‘s not just our community. The state of Wisconsin, highway patrol, the capital police, and our state capitol, the University of Wisconsin police, and then all sorts of other forces, going all the way down to Illinois. It‘s a lot of money.
NORVILLE: What‘s the estimate? What do they think it cost?
NICHOLS: People are talking in the hundreds of thousands. I don‘t think anybody really knows yet.
I mean, one of the things that happens is that when you‘re in an emergency situation like this, cost isn‘t thought about. People just move. And when you start to assess, it gets difficult.
But the bottom line is that now there is a bit of a debate. The question is really about Audrey Seiler‘s mental health. If she was a deeply troubled person, perhaps with a serious mental health problem, that is—you know you‘re not going to go out and present a bill.
By the same token, if it looks like this was really a lark or something planned to get publicity for some other purpose, then the anger is there. You hear it talked about a lot on our talk radio here in town.
NORVILLE: But there‘s also sympathy as well.
NICHOLS: What‘s that?
NORVILLE: There‘s also sympathy as well in that event.
NICHOLS: There‘s a good deal of sympathy, and there‘s also an immense sympathy for the parents. There‘s a sense that they‘ve been on an amazing roller coaster ride. And they supposedly are cooperating tremendously with the police. Which is a very—compliment here.
NORVILLE: Clint—Clint, let me ask you this. If this is a troubled young woman, I don‘t imagine anyone sending a bill to her. If it‘s a young woman on a lark, is it conceivable that she would be prosecuted?
VAN ZANDT: Well, she could be...
NORVILLE: She never filed a police report.
VAN ZANDT: She could be. You know, one of the things, of course, that the district attorney is going to look for is criminal intent. Did she intend to commit a crime, or was she simply trying to engender some type of attention and she just got caught up in this thing and it just took off without her being able to—at 20 years old, I mean, she‘s a young girl.
She‘s not—she‘s a woman, I understand, but the behavior is that of a young girl who is immature. And I guarantee you her Master Card doesn‘t have the ability to cover this one.
NORVILLE: I‘m sure it doesn‘t. And finally, Pat Brown, I guess we‘re all reminded that your computer can tell a lot more about you than you might like. There‘s a lesson learned on that score, as well.
BROWN: Well, when people try to commit crimes and they‘re not very good at it, they really have no idea how they‘re going to be investigated, so they leave clues everywhere.
But I want to say one thing. I‘m a little bit angered, as maybe some people are, at this being a hoax. Because not only does it cost a lot of money from the community and from the police department, it takes away all the manpower. And there are so many cases of real missing people out there, murders that haven‘t been solved. And these go unsolved, leaving predators out there to kill other people.
So while all this money is being spent on something bogus it could have been spent for real public safety and to solve real crimes. And it‘s really a shame and we really should be very angry about it.
NORVILLE: Brings to mind the story the boy who cried wolf one time too many.
NORVILLE: Clint Van Zandt, Pat Brown, John Nichols, thanks to all three of you for being with us.
VAN ZANDT: Thank you.
JOHN NICHOLS: Thank you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: Coming up, she‘s not a real lesbian, but she plays one on
BEALS: This is my home. This is my family.
ANNOUNCER: Jennifer Beals explains the true meaning of “The L Word.”
But next, horror in Fallujah. Four American civilians, victims of a brutal and public death far from home. Now family and friends try to cope with the shocking deaths of their loved ones.
DEBORAH NORVILLE TONIGHT is coming right back.
NORVILLE: The pictures on Wednesday from Fallujah, Iraq, were the most shocking we have seen from the war in that country.
Four American contractors ambushed while stuck in traffic, their bodies burned, mutilated, dragged through the streets and then hung from a bridge.
The four men, a former Navy seal, two Army veterans and an as yet unidentified fourth victim all worked for Blackwater USA based in North Carolina. It‘s a company that provides security training and guard services to clients around the world.
Paul Bremer, the top American administrator in Iraq, says there will be a heavy price to pay for the Fallujah murders. American officials have said the U.S. response will be, quote, “Deliberate, precise, and overwhelming” and that those responsible for the ambush will be brought to justice.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL BREMER, U.S. ADMINISTRATOR IN IRAQ: The acts we have seen were despicable and inexcusable. They violate the tenets of all religions, including Islam, as well as the foundations of civilized society. Their deaths will not go unpunished.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NORVILLE: One of the men killed, 32-year-old Jerry Zovko, joined the Army when he was 19 years old. He spoke five languages fluently.
Another victim, 38-year-old Scott Helvenston, served 12 years in the Navy. He appeared on two reality television series, including “Combat Missions.” And he appeared as a stunt man and had even helped train Demi Moore for the movie “G.I. Jane.”
Joining me now from Cleveland, Ohio, is Tom Zovko. He‘s the brother of former Army Ranger Jerry Zovko. And in Scranton, Pennsylvania, is Garth Estadt. He‘s a close friend of Scott Helvenston.
And gentlemen, thank you. I am so very sorry for your loss. Thanks for being with us tonight.
Tom, let me ask you first to tell us about your brother. He was an amazing linguist, spoke five languages. And I gather he was a pretty funny guy, too.
TOM ZOVKO, BROTHER OF JERRY ZOVKO: Yes, he was very outgoing, that‘s for sure.
NORVILLE: And he thrived on where the excitement was. He chose to go to Iraq, and he‘d already served as a military man in some pretty dicey places as well.
ZOVKO: That‘s—That‘s true.
NORVILLE: Why was it so important for him to be where the action was?
ZOVKO: Because that was the place he was most—he could add the most benefit to. That‘s where he wanted to be.
NORVILLE: And what did he tell you about Iraq?
ZOVKO: He said it was a place that was in desperate need of help.
NORVILLE: And he wanted to be there to give it.
ZOVKO: Yes, yes.
NORVILLE: Tell me a little bit, Garth, about your friend Scott. You-all met how?
GARTH ESTADT, FRIEND OF SCOTT HELVENSTON: It‘s so sad, and thank you for honoring Scott. He was just my close friend. I just—I can‘t even imagine that he‘s not going to be coming through my door to give me a big hug.
He was the greatest athlete I‘ve ever met in my life. He was a competitor. He was not scared of anybody or anything. Always wore his heart on his sleeve, and I just miss him. He was my friend. I feel very, very fortunate, and America‘s very, very fortunate to have people like him fighting for our freedom.
NORVILLE: Did you and Scott have a chance to talk about what he would be confronting when he went over to work security with Brightwater—with Blackwater?
ESTADT: Yes. Yes, we did. We talked about it a little bit. The last I had heard from him was either this past Friday or Monday. I‘m not sure, which because he didn‘t have access to a phone then. We were e-mailing back and forth.
And he was just getting ready to go into Iraq. I guess he had been in Kuwait for the last couple of weeks. We were e-mailing back and forth and just getting him acclimated. And he just had a list of things that he wanted me to pick up for him, and he said once he had gotten a hard address in Iraq he would send it to me. And he just...
NORVILLE: So he hadn‘t been there very long?
ESTADT: No he wasn‘t, ma‘am.
NORVILLE: That‘s just terrible.
ESTADT: I just couldn‘t even imagine when I saw the footage on TV, and I just—I hadn‘t known that that was my friend they were doing that to. And he deserved better than that.
NORVILLE: Do you think those pictures should have been on television, Garth? People have mixed feelings about that. Some say the war has been too sanitized and then you see something as terrible as this, and as you said, you just can‘t believe something like that could happen.
ESTADT: Deborah, I haven‘t even thought about it. I just—I haven‘t even thought about whether they should be on or not. I just can‘t believe that my friend is dead, and he‘s not coming back.
ESTADT: And I‘m proud of him. He was doing the right thing. I loved Scott. Scott loved me, and I‘m very, very proud of him. And I just—I don‘t - I haven‘t even thought about that.
NORVILLE: Tom, I know your brother went over there, as you said, to try to help the people there. And I know, like the other gentleman, here your family saw those pictures before you realized that was your loved one who was a part of this incident.
Should that kind of thing be on television?
ZOVKO: Deborah, I personally feel that the world should see what‘s going on there. I‘m personally trying not to—personally try not to watch it, because—in fact, not to even think about it at this point, because I know what happened. And I don‘t want to keep reliving it. And I choose not to, and I—but yet I—it‘s nearly impossible to tear myself away from the TV.
I think—I think it‘s necessary for the world to see what‘s really going on, you know, but there‘s—you know, there‘s different levels of exposure, sure. But you know, the truth must be told.
NORVILLE: And I know your mom was quoted as saying, despite this awful situation, she feels strongly that the American troops should stay in Iraq. How do you feel about that?
ZOVKO: You know, my mother and I both feel the way my brother felt. If—He went there for a reason, and he went there to—to make sure the job was completed, to do what had to be done.
So we‘re both, you know, going—following him in that line of reasoning. So that‘s what I feel about it. You know, I really—I would not second-guess—I wouldn‘t second-guess him.
NORVILLE: You know, one of the things that I think came as a surprise to a lot of people is that your brother and Scott were working as security people and that, in fact, the American government has had to hire outside firms.
Why did your brother sign on to do something like that? I know he‘d done military work before when he was still in the service. Was this—was it the money; was it the excitement? I‘m sure these are very well paid jobs.
ZOVKO: It was a mixture of everything. It was what he wanted—it was where—it was a mixture of everything, you know. It was where the—where he could add the most benefit.
You know, he could have been a police officer. He could have been a marshal. He could have gotten a job in law enforcement anywhere in the United States with his background. He chose to go there.
And, Garth, your friend Scott, the same thing with him? He was just trying to make a difference?
ESTADT: With Scott, in reference to him, I was very—and I don‘t mean to say the same thing as Tom, for Scott it was a mixture of it, too.
He—I‘m so proud of him to put himself in harm‘s way. He was going there
· of course they pay these guys well, and they deserve that.
ESTADT: They are in harm‘s way and they have skills that most people can‘t even hope to attain. And I just...
NORVILLE: We know it‘s a tough time for you.
ESTADT: I‘m just going to miss my friend.
NORVILLE: I know you will.
Tom Zovko, I know it‘s a tough time for your family. Our thoughts are with you.
Garth Estadt, our thoughts are with you and with Scott‘s family, as well. And we thank you both for being brave to talk about these loved ones on television tonight.
ESTADT: Thanks for honoring Scott.
NORVILLE: We‘re happy to do that.
ZOVKO: Thank you.
NORVILLE: When we come back, Jennifer Beals. She burst onto the scene in the movie the “Flashdance.” Now she‘s turning heads on Showtime. The show‘s called “The L Word.” We‘ll talk about that next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (singing): She‘s a maniac, maniac on the floor.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NORVILLE: It‘s been more than 20 years since Jennifer Beals, barely out of high school, burst onto the scene in “Flashdance,” transforming a generation of American girls into sweatshirt-ripping maniacs and turning herself into a pop culture icon.
After the movie she went to Yale, and ever since then she has been busy. Beals has appeared in over 50 movies. Stop looking at her bottom, folks. Playing a variety of roles including the femme fatale opposite Denzel Washington in “Devil in a Blue Dress.”
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BEALS: Believe me, if you‘re thinking that French (ph) had anything to do with Coretta‘s death, then obviously you don‘t know very much about it. He doesn‘t go around beating people. He prefers to use a knife as his weapon.
DENZEL WASHINGTON, ACTOR: And what do you prefer to use as your weapon?
BEALS: Why don‘t you search me and find out?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NORVILLE: Now Jennifer is starring in another groundbreaking role as Beth Porter, the biracial museum curator in Showtime‘s controversial program “The L Word.”
It is the first dramatic series to revolve around the lives and loves of lesbian women.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I‘m saying it feels like you‘re running from something.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How can you say that when you‘ve barely known her for two and a half hours?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don‘t need to you defend me.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What I want to know is how you justify pushing me so hard to come out as a black woman when all the time you‘ve let us mistake you for a straight woman.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NORVILLE: And Jennifer Beals joins me in the studio now.
It‘s so nice to meet you. Welcome.
BEALS: It‘s nice to meet you.
NORVILLE: You know, the “Flashdance” thing. I wonder will it ever not be a part of the obligatory Jennifer Beals, you remember her from “Flashdance.” Do you ever get tired of hearing that song?
BEALS: I don‘t—I don‘t get tired of talking about the film, but I also realize that I‘ve done so many things since then that it‘s also nice to talk about more recent projects.
NORVILLE: Absolutely. I mean, I think back where I was when that movie came out. That was a long time ago. But it sort of underscores what an icon the film was. I mean, it really was an anthem for a generation. It created a fashion look, and you were someone that women in that role really related to.
BEALS: Yes. I think the film meant a lot to a lot people. And for that I‘m grateful. And I think it helped a lot of people in some ways.
NORVILLE: How so?
BEALS: I think the underlying message of the film is to follow your heart and to follow your dreams. And I think a lot of people are told from very early on that they should just—their lives should just be about making money. And at the expense of their feelings or what they truly want to do.
So I think that film liberated some people, just judging from the letters that I received...
NORVILLE: Is that kind of...
BEALS: Well, you know, saying within the whole context of pop film.
I mean, it‘s not, you know...
NORVILLE: Yeah, but you know...
BEALS: Not a Pulitzer Prize winning book.
NORVILLE: But isn‘t it great that people do get meaning out of something that really is a pop piece of moviedom? I mean, I think that‘s kind of extraordinary. I wonder if that‘s not a little bit of your own mantra, because you‘ve done—you‘ve worked so consistently. Fifty movies, that‘s—I don‘t know when you get vacation, but that‘s a lot of work, and yet you‘ve really been very eclectic and very selective in what you‘ve chosen. What‘s been your modus operandi as you‘ve gone forward?
BEALS: It has been following—for the most part it‘s been following the parts that really speak to me in a more profound way. I mean, every now and again I take a job because I have to pay my mortgage, but by and large it‘s really about what excites me, what do I think is going to excite me.
NORVILLE: What excites you about “The L Word?” It‘s certainly part of what appears to be a trend—there are now I think nine lesbian or gay-related TV shows on, which is pretty remarkable it‘s, what, 1 percent or 3 percent of population, depending on which survey you look at.
BEALS: Right, but I think what‘s interesting now, at least according to the Human Rights Campaign organization, 314 percent more people are coming out of the closet than have been in previous years.
NORVILLE: And you think programs like this one will help them feel confident to do that?
BEALS: Well, I don‘t know about that. But I think that the fact that you have this much programming—because really, I mean, what‘s on television also has to be supported by the economy, because people are buying advertising time for these shows. So I think there‘s a recognition among advertisers that this community is growing, because more people are saying to themselves, you know, I don‘t want to live in a closet. It‘s much too painful. I want to come out, and I think that‘s being reflected, also, in the programming and the advertising.
NORVILLE: In the movie, it‘s called—it‘s a program that‘s called “The L Word,” why don‘t they just come out and say “The Lesbian Word” or “The Lesbian Show?”
BEALS: Well, I think the point of the title is that it speaks to the invisibility of the community, that this is a group of people that have been largely invisible in the culture, and when they have been visible it‘s oftentimes as a vampire or the serial killer or something like something...
NORVILLE: Never the normal person who gets up in the morning, goes to work, has...
BEALS: Concerned about, you know, love or loneliness or their job or starting a family. One of the things that interested me so much about my character, Bette, was that on one hand she‘s this very driven, type A personality, and then there‘s this other side of her that is so much more diffident than anyone could possibly expect. And I think for me to play that opposition was really interesting.
NORVILLE: For anybody who has got kids, because in some time zones we‘re on when the kids might be in here, I want to tell you, now is the time to tell the little guys to go in there and get a snack, because you might not want them to see the clip that we‘re about to show, because there are some scenes in “The L Word” that get pretty steamy, and one of them involves you with the woman who plays your love interest. We‘re going to roll the clip and then we‘re going to just talk about what it‘s like to be a part of this kind of scene, which is a typical love scene with maybe an atypical couple.
NORVILLE: Here it is, “The L Word.”
Whoa. What‘s your husband say about scenes like that?
BEALS: Do you know what‘s so interesting? Is that to me if that were a heterosexual love scene, you wouldn‘t have to say to the audience, you know, send the children in for a snack. I mean, I don‘t think that you would, or would you?
NORVILLE: Well, I think it depends on what the nature of the involvement is. And I think, yes, at least I would. But you‘re talking to a mom with three kids.
BEALS: So when you have people on and they have a love scene and you show the clip, you don‘t warn them or you do?
NORVILLE: You know what? We probably wouldn‘t use that clip, because a kiss like that between a man and a woman...
BEALS: Is no big deal.
NORVILLE: It‘s no big deal, we‘ve seen that a lot, and I think that‘s really the big difference. Not everybody has seen a kiss like that.
BEALS: Right. It‘s interesting. Because at the end of the day it‘s about love and how you show love and how you share love. And, to me, that‘s so much healthier than some of the things that we see on television, in terms of violence and corruption and things.
NORVILLE: You are a happily married woman, you have two stepkids that you‘re helping to bring up, but I wonder when you‘re in a role like this, does it—by association become a fact that you‘re expected to be an advocate for the gay and lesbian community? Not that you might not have been anyway.
BEALS: I don‘t think anybody expects me to be an advocate for any community. It is my pleasure to talk about issues that I have learned about on the show, because, frankly, as a heterosexual woman, there were so so many things I didn‘t even consider. Like I didn‘t even think about gay rights, really, very often. I didn‘t even know that sexual orientation is not a part of the federal hate crime bill.
NORVILLE: And do you think shows like this will further the acceptance of gay marriage, for instance, because that‘s certainly a big political issue right now?
BEALS: Well, I think what it will help do is point out that the ways in which we‘re similar are much more numerous than the ways in which we‘re different, and by following these stories as truthfully as we can, a group of people who at one time were perhaps misconstrued as being deviant will be seen to be like anybody else, with their own ambitions and their loves and their loneliness, and I think that in some ways can be helpful.
NORVILLE: All right, quite a museum curator. Jennifer Beals, a pleasure to meet you. The show is called “The L Word” and it plays on Showtime.
When we come back, gas prices just keep going up, so we had to ask how much oil is out there really? And is there a chance we could ever run out? We‘ll find out next.
NORVILLE: Maybe a little late to tell you this, but today was National Walk to Work Day, and with gas prices on the rise and OPEC cutting oil production, you just might want to walk. So we had to ask tonight, how much oil is there and how long will it last? All day MSNBC and our colleagues at NBC News have been taking a look at the rising costs of gasoline. National average for a gallon of gas is now a record $1.76 a gallon, which causes a bit of a pinch in the pocket when Americans pick up the pump. Is there anything folks can do? Bill Nye the Science Guy has got some ideas and he‘s with us this evening. It‘s nice to see you, sir.
BILL NYE, THE SCIENCE GUY: It‘s so good to be seen.
NORVILLE: Indeed it is. One of the things is the less there is, the more it costs. So the first question. How much oil is there out there?
NYE: Since I was a kid there‘s been 50 years of oil. There‘s 50 more years of oil and that‘s been going on for almost 50 years so one of the grim prospects of the future is not that we will run out of oil, it‘s that we won‘t run out of oil, that as oil prices continue to increase, people will find more and more innovative and complex and frankly more expensive ways to produce oil so that we‘ll always have some oil or if not oil per se we‘ll have some fossil fuels around—coal or natural gas that can be used to create some sort of gas that could be used in automobiles.
NORVILLE: So you‘re saying it‘s not going to be the availability but the price that‘s going to have people looking askance?
NYE: Well, yes. That‘s what‘s going on today, isn‘t it? Heavens, by the stars, yes. Now I remember back in the oil crisis in the 1970s people had gas lines and stuff where the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC, decided just to reduce production. Ha-ha-ha-ha.
NORVILLE: And here is what Jimmy Carter said about that. Let‘s just go back to the 1970s and hear what the president of the United States had to say back then.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JIMMY CARTER (D), FMR. PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There are no short-term solutions to our long-range problems. There is simply no way to avoid sacrifice.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NORVILLE: Jimmy Carter asking people to make a sacrifice. He also did a lot of press conferences wearing the cardigan sweater, said turn down the thermostat. Don‘t use as much fuel. It didn‘t really work and he got voted out of office. How much do people want to conserve?
NYE: You tell me. If the price were $2.50 a gallon, you probably would drive less. Now there are so-called technologies available. There are hybrid cars now, and I remind everybody hybrid cars are not—they are not electric cars. Hybrid cars are not electric cars.
NORVILLE: Hybrid cars are what?
NYE: They‘re gas-powered cars with an electric first gear, an electric low gear and this is to combat the horrible, terrible engineering problem that goes as follows, where do cars waste gasoline? Two places, at idle when you‘re at a stoplight and when you merge onto the freeway and you punch it. You punch it to pass somebody. And if you think about it you‘re driving around with this very big engine whose function is to perform at that...
NORVILLE: At the higher speed.
NYE: Right. At the time when you need all of this torque, literally all of this power, torque per second. And so you provide that with a big engine. The rest of the time you‘re carrying around the dead weight of that engine and all the fuel and air and systems you need to keep the thing running.
NORVILLE: Now a lot of stars we hear driving these things.
NORVILLE: Yes, the hybrids. How much better gas mileage can you get on one of these things than a regular car?
NYE: It‘s about twice, about twice as good. Suppose you had to fill up half as often so your gas instead of costing, what is it today, $1.75 national average, instead now would be half of that which I think is 86 cents.
NORVILLE: And finally someone who doesn‘t want to spend as much at the pumps for their gasoline and is thinking buy a hybrid car, is the price tag on the car going to be off-putting?
NYE: Well, not right now. Not to go on and on about the hybrids. There‘s two very popular Japanese manufacturers that make them and they‘re $22,000, $24,000, about half the price of a sport utility vehicle but it‘s a different way of looking at the problem.
NORVILLE: That‘s what it‘s going to take. Bill Nye, the science guy, you always find a different way to look at things. We thank you for doing so with us tonight.
NYE: Thank you.
ANNOUNCER: Up next, he was the first American journalist to lose his life in Iraq. He left behind a wife, two boys, and his writings on the perils and absurdities of covering a war. Tonight, a buy the book tribute to award-winning journalist Michael Kelly when DEBORAH NORVILLE TONIGHT returns.
NORVILLE: It‘s been one year since award-winning journalist Michael Kelly became the first American reporter killed in the Iraq war. Kelly, an editor for “Atlantic Monthly” was embedded with the Third Infantry Division when his humvee veered off a road and fell off a cliff on April 4. He was 46 years old. A husband, and the father of two, Michael Kelly was also a prolific writer who compiled an incredible body of work of American life from the mundane to the monumental. Michael Kelly‘s widow, Madelyn, has collected some of his writings in a new book entitled “Michael Kelly:
Things Worth Fighting For.” She joins me now from Boston. Thank you so much for being with us tonight.
You‘ve had so much to deal with in the last year, coping with your husband‘s death, dealing with your two little boys, and yet somehow in less than six months, you took this enormous body of work and culled it down into this incredible volume. Why was it so important to you to do this so quickly?
MADELYN KELLY, WIFE OF JOURNALIST KILLED IN IRAQ: I think it really was for the boys. I wanted them to have a sense of who their dad was and he had left behind such an enormous body of work in a fairly short time. That I felt it afforded us the opportunity of capturing, you know, it in one place and I was actually just reading some of the pieces to them in the car on the way over and they were howling with laughter and I just love the idea that they can have that, they can really get to know him a little bit through the years.
NORVILLE: Which pieces get the boys laughing? Because they‘re 4 and so they‘re little kids and they have a real easily pushed laugh button, I‘m sure.
KELLY: I was reading them, “A Walk in the Woods with a 4-year-old” which is full of questions like, you go into the basement for tornadoes, right? And one of them being 4 and the other one who actually had said the line when it was written, they both howled with that. And then one of the e-mails to them where he‘s talking about how he‘s telling the Kuwaiti people all sorts of things that the president of the United States is a baboon called Bad (ph) and his wife is an elephant named Elly (ph), because Elly and Bad (ph) were the characters of their favorite nighttime stories that Mike always told them, and they were all—Elly and Bad (ph) were always getting into terrible scrapes, and so now they laughed at that. That was funny.
NORVILLE: The humor of Michael Kelly is something that everybody who ever worked with him or everybody who ever knew him speaks a great deal about, and it‘s something that you went to great pains to make sure you captured in the book. There was one e-mail where—it‘s an e-mail to the family, and he talked about the list of things that he had in his backpack, and he said, there‘s a picture of Tom, a picture of Jack, a picture of mommy, and one picture of Waldo Waldiferous. What was that all about?
KELLY: Waldo Waldiferous Walrus was the made-up mayor of Slomscot (ph), and Mike was always—he was another character in stories, Waldo Waldiferous Walrus would make an appearance in stories. Actually I don‘t think that the boys knew that Waldo Waldiferous Walrus was actually a fictional character until fairly recently. I think I remember Tom saying at some point, maybe it was in the past year, certainly within the past two years, there‘s not really a mayor named Waldo Waldiferous Walrus, is there?
NORVILLE: Yeah. Along with all of the silliness, there‘s a great deal of seriousness, and both you as a journalist and your husband had covered the first Gulf War. And Michael had gone there in a way that reporters weren‘t allowed. He was a unilateral. He went out into the field, and did the same thing again the second time around, although embedded with the 3rd Infantry Division. How much did the two of you talk about the very real safety and security issues before he went over this time around?
KELLY: This time we actually didn‘t talk very much about it. We talked more about the sort of political, you know, were there chemical weapons? When—would they be used? In the first Gulf War, it seemed so much more dangerous. I mean, Mike did things like drive through minefields by accident and he was—he had to escape from Kurdistan by sort of climbing through a river with his laptop on his head, and things like that.
So this seemed, I think, relatively safer to us. Again, in hindsight, it‘s easy to see how silly that was. But we were much more concerned with things like was he wearing his chemical suit and his gas mask, things like that.
NORVILLE: Do you kick yourself now for not having had that conversation together?
KELLY: I don‘t. I mean, I wish—obviously I wish things had turned out differently, but I—I just—you know, had we known that this was going to happen we wouldn‘t—it wouldn‘t have happened.
NORVILLE: And in closing, how do you think he would feel about the progress of the war thus far?
KELLY: I think he, you know, ultimately he was a reporter and whatever his personal feelings were, he always reported things, and he would have looked at whether—what do people know and when did they know it, and how things are going. I know he was interested and concerned about what the plans were on the other end. OK, we can take Baghdad, but then what? And he was asking those questions already. So I think he would have been critical, meaning he was a critical thinker, not that he—I mean, I don‘t know whether he would have criticized—but he would have looked at it in a critical way.
NORVILLE: Well, and he would have looked at it in a way that would have been very eye-opening for all of his readers.
The book is called “Things Worth Fighting For,” it is by Michael Kelly, his collected writings. And we should note that the Kelly Award will be handed out a few weeks from now, a $25,000 prize for those who, like he, fearlessly pursues the truth. Madelyn Kelly, we wish you and your boys well. Thank you.
KELLY: Thank you.
NORVILLE: And coming up next, is the mistrial in the Tyco corporate corruption case all the blame on the juror nicknamed Miss Trial? Maybe not.
NORVILLE: And finally today, “Deb‘s Download,” the Tyco case. As you‘ve heard, the judge declared a mistrial in the case citing the intense outside pressure placed on one of the jurors. That juror would be juror No. 4, the 79-year-old woman who flashed the OK sign to the defense several days ago. Now, flashing that OK sign was a dumb idea on her part and it might well have been an issue if there were an appeal in the case.
But we‘ll never know that, because an even dumber idea was publicizing that woman‘s name in the paper. “The Wall Street Journal” did it, then “The New York Post” plastered it on the front page under the headline “Ms. Trial.” The result was not only huge publicity. Justice could probably proceed, as it has so many times amidst the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) of the press, but while justice may be blind, jurors can be fearful, and juror No. 4 started getting threatening letters at her home. She was viciously excoriated in Internet chat rooms, and none of that would have happened if the press had kept her name out of the papers.
Though the press violated no laws in doing so, they violated some ethics.
Well, now jurors who‘ve talked say they were close to a verdict, and Dennis Kozlowski and Mark Swartz left court with a litlte bit of a smile today. No doubt pretty hopeful of their chances of a not guilty verdict the next time around.
The press was within its right to report that woman‘s name. That doesn‘t mean it should have. I‘ve been a reporter for a pretty long time and I‘ve always thought of us reporters as maybe needing to remember the words of former Supreme Court justice Potter Stewart, who once said “journalists spend too much time worrying about what they have the right to do and not enough time about what is the right thing to do.” As reporters, we‘re supposed to be there to report the proceedings of the court, not throw them into disarray. Certain members of the media embarrass us all by not doing the right thing.
Send us your ideas and comments to us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and that is our program for the week. Monday, Cal Ripken Jr., the baseball great, is going to be on the program. Maybe I‘ll llearn how to pitch. Have a great weekend. Thanks for watching. And up next, Joe Scarborough. He‘s got the Saudi Arabia‘s role in the price of oil these days. “SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY” is next. Have a good weekend.
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