Guests: Wendy Wright, Betsy Hart, Patricia Ireland, Jon Alvarez, Drew Pinsky, Ruth Westheimer, James Hirsen, Ed Asner
JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST: Tonight‘s top headline, after blasting the president over the war, Hollywood has grown strangely silent lately. The “Real Deal”: Are they fearing more backlash or just taking a breather before a second wave of attacks?
Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, where no passport is required and only common sense is allowed.
Hollywood elites and Bill Clinton team up tomorrow night for a night at the Apollo. Their goal, to take out George Bush. Legendary entertainer Ed Asner is here to tell us why Hollywood hates Bush so much.
Then, is it art imitating life? The movie “Mean Girls” is ruling at the box office. And in the real world, violence among school-age girls is skyrocketing. We‘re going to be asking Dr. Drew Pinsky about this alarming trend.
Plus, a groundbreaking new study claims they have found the solution to teenage pregnancy, but you‘re not going to believe what they‘re prescribing. Dr. Ruth Westheimer will be here to weigh in.
ANNOUNCER: From the press room, to the courtroom, to the halls of Congress, Joe Scarborough has seen it all. Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
Bill Clinton and the Hollywood elites are lining up to bash George Bush. It‘s time for tonight‘s “Real Deal.”
You know, the left-wing Web site MoveOn.org continues to move into America‘s political mainstream tomorrow night as they play host to Bill Clinton and a slew of Hollywood stars who are trying to end George Bush‘s presidency. Now, as a former member of the Judiciary Committee, I always fought for the intellectual rights of the creative community, so that got me invited to Hollywood events like the Grammys, where I quickly found out that when it came to politics, Hollywood was the most close-minded community I had ever encountered.
Agents, celebrities and rock stars were always eager to talk to a real-life congressman until they found out I was a Republican. Then they sniffed. They raised their noses and simply walked away. Now, as somebody who‘s had a long affair with Hollywood and rock music, I never took those snubs personally, because I always found the left-wing pose was little more than an act. Like the latest fashion craze sweeping through Hollywood being, liberal on the left coast has always been in.
That‘s why none of us should be surprised to see that most of Hollywood‘s elites are lining up once again to try to beat a Republican president. It‘s so predictable, so conformist, so sad. I mean, really, wouldn‘t you expect more original thought from America‘s leading creative community? Well, actually, no. And that‘s tonight‘s “Real Deal.”
As I said, Hollywood and the recording industry are going to join the left-wing activist group MoveOn.org for a fund-raiser tomorrow in Harlem, New York. In the spotlight, former President Bill Clinton.
I asked MSNBC‘s entertainment editor Dana Kennedy why Hollywood insiders despise President Bush so much.
DANA KENNEDY, NBC ENTERTAINMENT EDITOR: Well, for one thing I think they‘ve been a little quiet, though, lately.
Stars like Susan Sarandon and Sean Penn and Janeane Garofalo, who were so vocal at the start of the war, have been rather silent, I think you have to agree, until recently, I think in part because they were really reviled and mocked for coming out against the Bush administration and coming out against the war so early on. I think they‘ve all kind of had the attitude, let‘s see if this administration hangs itself with enough rope, the with-enough-rope theory.
And, of course, with what‘s coming out lately, the prison abuse scandal now, that you could argue that they‘ve given themselves enough rope. But I think that, traditionally, Hollywood has prided itself on being a liberal kind of play. And they see Democratic presidents as really cooler. Bill Clinton and his saxophone just always seemed cooler to people in Hollywood.
People like Dick Cheney, even George W. himself, have more of a Fred MacMurray, paternalistic vibe. That never appeals to people who think they‘re hipsters.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, and, of course it obviously is a very progressive culture, but you‘re exactly right. And I‘ve noticed this, that a lot of Hollywood stars, a lot of producers, agents, basically the powerful movers and shakers, have really backed off over the past two, three, four months, and haven‘t been criticizing the war.
Do you think in part that‘s because they did face a backlash from earlier statements they made against the Bush administration and this war?
KENNEDY: There‘s no question.
And, again, this war was so complicated because of the whole implications of 9/11. It was complicated in that way, much more re better off?differently than the Vietnam War. To come out against this war back when it first started was very, very dicey. You were automatically unpatriotic and un-American if you came out against it. Susan Sarandon and Janeane Garofalo have stated that they really did feel a backlash. And they really have their careers to worry about.
People like Al Franken and Michael Moore are dining out on the Bush administration. It‘s directly tied to their careers. I think Michael Moore‘s new documentary, “Fahrenheit 911,” may bring a lot more celebrities talking once someone finally sees that film. You know Disney of course has said they won‘t distribute it.
But once someone sees it, I think we‘re going to see a whole more celebrities start talking.
SCARBOROUGH: James Hirsen, let me bring you in here. You‘re, of course, with NewsMax.com. You also wrote the book about “Tales From the Left Coast.”
I want to read you a couple of quotes that Hollywood celebrities have said over the past year about George Bush and this war. We, of course, have a quote from Sean Penn. And he had this to stay about the Iraq war commentary. He said: “Who the ‘blank‘ are we to say whether the Iraqis are better off? We have a dictatorship in this country. Our government is presently the greatest threat to our people.”
And my favorite—and she is my favorite—Gwyneth Paltrow said: “I think George Bush is such an embarrassment to America in the way that he doesn‘t take the rest of the world into consideration.”
James, obviously, Hollywood has always leaned to the left. They‘ve been against the Republican Party for some time. But don‘t you think this new strain of anti-Bush political movement in Hollywood is actually more potent than ever before and could cause a real problem for the president?
JAMES HIRSEN, AUTHOR, “TALES FROM THE LEFT COAST”: Well, I think it is a problem, and especially since instead of focusing on these kind of over-the-top statements, what we see now are Hollywood people following the model of Rob Reiner, rather than the model of Sean Penn, in that they‘re getting involved in raising money, you know, Barbra Streisand coming out of retirement for the 800th time and is going to be doing a duet with Neil Diamond singing that song, “You Don‘t Send Me Dollars”—I mean flowers, flowers. That‘s what I meant.
HIRSEN: And the idea being that stars can bring in bucks, and politicians have known that for a long time. John Kerry has courted this for many years. Actually, they ought to really love John Kerry since, in the ‘80s, he got involved in a celebrity dating game with people like Morgan Fairchild, Michelle Phillips, Catherine Oxenberg, people that would make Bill Clinton jealous.
And yet, they really aren‘t that warm to John Kerry. They‘re more motivated, as you pointed out, by this hatred for George W. Bush. But that doesn‘t mean that they can‘t still bring in the bucks for Kerry. And they can also influence the content of films. In addition to Michael Moore‘s film, we have films coming out that attack Karl Rove, “Bush‘s Brain,” “Tour of Duty” that elevates the heroism of John Kerry, and a movie, a fiction movie called “Silver City” that has a character that looks an awful lot like George Bush, except a caricature.
SCARBOROUGH: Let me bring in Ed Asner—Ed Asner, obviously a Hollywood star with us tonight.
Ed, you‘ve heard a lot of talk, heard us talking about Hollywood and why they dislike George Bush so much. Is this new to George Bush or wasn‘t there—do you think there was a same level of animosity in the 1980s, say, towards Ronald Reagan? Or are what we experiencing now with this anti-Bush feeling in Hollywood really something that‘s unprecedented?
ED ASNER, ACTOR: Oh, I think the heat and the volume and the volatility has probably never been greater. But I think it‘s never been greater on the street to those people who are opposed to George Bush and his policies, if you can call them policies.
I must take issue with some of your previous guests who play up the glitter and galore of Hollywood stars. They haven‘t been vocal in recent months because the war is going on. They don‘t—George Bush doesn‘t need them to screw up. He‘s doing it on his own with this ill-planned war, ill-conceived peace, so that they‘re waiting to see how much more he‘ll screw up. At the same time, they are busy supporting the more progressive candidate, John Kerry.
SCARBOROUGH: Ed Asner, was there a conscious decision in Hollywood among stars? And, of course, I know there is no secret, Trilateral Commission-type meeting every Thursday night at the Palm or anything like that.
But was there a conscious decision by stars, agents, writers, others in Hollywood to back off some of the more harsh statements that were made earlier in the war and say, hey, let‘s sit back, be quiet, we‘re not helping our cause by going out, making over-the-top, extreme statements?
ASNER: I can‘t speak for the body of Hollywood performers. I only know that I haven‘t been quiet.
I belong to a group called the 911 Commission, which is working very hard following the trail on 9/11 and trying to exacerbate and prove the tremendous sins and mistakes and perhaps even crimes that were committed in terms of pre-9/11 and the cover-up afterwards. We‘re hearing commission after commission talk, but little substantive has come on.
Today, for instance, I just heard that Karl Rove—I had heard it before, but I forgot—that on Joseph Wilson‘s wife, the CIA operative, that during the week of her exposure that Bob Novak so expertly did that he was going around saying she was fair game. Now, these kinds of tricks certainly don‘t endear Hollywood people, particularly progressives anywhere, as to the attitude and behavior of this administration.
I also noted with interest in “The New York Times” over the weekend, talking about American prisons, and they were saying that the most brutal prison system in this country is Texas, where George Bush executed 150 people. And I‘m sure that it will come news to him that Texas is that brutal to its prisoners, just as it came news to him that we were beating up on Iraqi prisoners.
SCARBOROUGH: All right, Ed Asner, keep it right there.
And we‘ll be right back with more.
Also ahead, Michael Eisner blasts back at Michael Moore, defending Disney‘s decision to pass on the director‘s latest documentary hit piece on the president. I‘m going to be asking my panel if it‘s censorship or a sensible decision by Disney.
And then a new wave of girl-on-girl violence is sweeping through our schools. Why are our daughters beating each other up, instead of helping each other get ahead?
And the assassination of Chechnya‘s leader is amazingly caught on videotape. We‘ll show you the rest of this shocking footage a little later.
So don‘t go away.
SCARBOROUGH: Filmmaker Michael Moore is whining because Disney won‘t distribute his film. Was it just a publicity stunt for his anti-Bush movie, and will it mobilize the rest of Hollywood?
We‘ll be talking about that in just a minute.
SCARBOROUGH: Filmmaker Michael Moore and Disney are locked in a battle over his upcoming movie, “Fahrenheit 911,” that‘s critical of President Bush. Now, Disney is preventing its subsidiary, Miramax, from distributing the movie. Moore claims it‘s censorship. Disney claims he‘s only facing shock for publicity.
Let me bring in Flavia Colgan.
Flavia, I‘ve got a quote here from Michael Moore which I think says it all about this guy. And I‘d like to know, if you were running a movie studio, whether you would promote this guy‘s film. He said—this is what he had to say on April 14 about Iraqis shooting American troops: “The Iraqis who have risen up against the occupation are not insurgents or terrorists or the enemy. They are the revolution, the Minutemen, and their numbers will grow. They will win.”
I mean, here‘s a guy, a Hollywood guy who‘s comparing terrorists in the Middle East to our founding fathers. Don‘t you find that offensive?
FLAVIA COLGAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Look, I don‘t always agree with everything Michael Moore has to say, but I think one of the most important things to keep in mind, for those who support the war, even, is that we don‘t want to undermine that which we‘re fighting for.
And if we believe that we‘re a democracy, a beacon of light around the world, we should feel confident and proud that we can allow difference of opinion to enter into the marketplace.
SCARBOROUGH: You‘ve got the freedom as a movie studio head not to let this guy promote his—what you consider to be hate speech in your movie studio. Isn‘t that your democratic right also?
COLGAN: Absolutely, it is their right.
And I think one of the reasons this story has become more poignant, though, is a much larger issue that transcends just Michael Moore‘s movie, and that is that we have a very serious problem attacking the very fabric of our democracy, which is that five media conglomerates, Disney being one of them, owns and operates 70 percent of prime-time viewing, as well as movie studios, cable TV, radio and so forth.
And what that means is that a lot of diverse opinions are not able to
get through, and that they constantly have to loom through the prism of
both their real estate holdings, their corporate holdings. And that always
doesn‘t benefit the consumer and
SCARBOROUGH: Listen, but Michael Moore, though, used the media conglomerate Time Warner to promote his last book, a best-selling book. This guy that is railing against corporate interests is flying around in their corporate jets, making millions and millions of dollars. This guy‘s getting rich off of George Bush.
COLGAN: I don‘t know that Michael Moore is flying around in anyone‘s corporate jet.
COLGAN: I haven‘t heard or read anything about that.
SCARBOROUGH: He is.
COLGAN: Well, I don‘t know about that, Joe.
SCARBOROUGH: OK, let me bring in Jon Alvarez of Pabaah.com, a Web site by self-described patriotic Americans boycotting anti-American Hollywood.
Now, on your Web site, Jon, you suggest boycotting celebrities including Al Pacino, Bruce Springsteen, Dustin Hoffman, George Clooney and Eminem, Julia Roberts, Bono and 185 celebrities for what you call unpatriotic views.
Can‘t you separate out what political statements they make and what movies they‘re in or what C.D.s they release or what other artistic endeavors they engage in?
JON ALVAREZ, PABAAH.COM: Well, Joe, what we‘re doing is, we‘re basically keeping the American public informed about who their entertainment dollars are supporting. So it‘s up to the American public to decide if they actually want to boycott the next Julia Roberts movie because of what she said about President Bush, or whether or not they want to support an Al Pacino because he comes out and he abuses his star status to attack the Patriot Act, which is working to keep America safe.
We‘re just presenting the information based on what these celebrities have said and done. We‘re not making any of this up. We‘re just presenting it. And if they can‘t support America in her time of need, then why should America support them?
SCARBOROUGH: I want to ask a follow-up question.
So, OK, let‘s say I like Will Ferrell. I want to go see “Elf.” Ed Asner happens to be in “Elf.” Ed Asner is on your boycott list. Am I un-American because I go see “Elf” with my family?
ALVAREZ: Not at all, Joe. In fact, you‘re probably just an average person who is unaware that your money was supporting the career of someone like Ed Asner, who constantly speaks out against America, signed the Not In Our Name statement, basically calling our soldiers mercenaries, and called for resistance to American policy by Americans and resistance to American actions by soldiers. You‘re supporting his career.
Most Americans didn‘t even know that Ed Asner was playing Santa because in the previews for the movie “Elf,” they didn‘t even show Ed Asner. I think that‘s part of the reason why you‘re seeing Hollywood being so silent in 2004, because they got Dixie Chicked in 2003 because of all their crazy statements about America.
SCARBOROUGH: Ed Asner, I have got to let you respond. Go ahead.
ASNER: Well, I think he‘s full of crap, first of all.
Secondly, I never talked about American soldiers being mercenaries. That‘s a very clever game they play: By attacking the war, we attack our troops. We don‘t support our troops.
ALVAREZ: I have the Not In Our Name statement that you signed. Did you sign the Not In Our Name statement of conscience.
ASNER: Yes. What does that say about mercenaries?
ALVAREZ: It says: “What kind of world will this become if the U.S. government has a blank check to drop commandos, assassins and bombs wherever it wants? Sound like you‘re calling someone an assassin.
ASNER: The government has dropped assassins and has commandos. I am not talking about our troops, though. So you don‘t stretch it that far, OK?
ALVAREZ: You signed the statement and you‘re calling for resistance.
ALVAREZ: I signed the statement, and I‘m proud of it. And I‘m just very sorry that our government didn‘t believe in the statement.
SCARBOROUGH: Let me bring in Dana Kennedy right now.
Dana, one day after claiming on his Web site that Disney was blocking distribution of his film, Michael Moore admitted that it was a publicity stunt and that he had known Disney‘s position for a year.
He said this—quote—“Almost a year ago, after we‘d started making the film, the chairman of Disney, Michael Eisner, told my agent that he was upset Miramax had made the film and he will not distribute it.”
We talked about this last week, but this is obviously a very interesting follow-up on the whole Michael deal. As we sit here and we fight about First Amendment rights and creative expression, does it hurt Michael Moore‘s efforts that he puts up on his Web site that he just found out about this a couple days ago, but now we find out later on that he actually knew about this for over a year and that it does, in fact, look a P.R. move?
KENNEDY: I think Michael Moore really is bigger than that. Whether positively or negatively, I don‘t think it‘s going to effect him that much, because his whole deal, Joe, is being a contrarian and being a larger-than-life character and being a rabble-rouser. So I this is part of his whole shtick.
I think—what I said before, too, I think his documentary, “Fahrenheit 911,” we haven‘t talked about what‘s in that documentary. If you believe what he says, he‘s tracing rather spooky ties between the bin Laden family and both George Sr. and George W. He‘s talking about the Bush Administration‘s very strange decision to whisk out members of the bin Laden‘s family right after 9/11. He‘s talking about—he investigates a private international firm that specializes in turning around failed defense companies and selling them for a profit.
And he says that—and George Sr. has apparently acted as an adviser to that company for several months after 9/11.
KENNEDY: So I think when this stuff comes out, say what you will
about Michael Moore, but he is not a corporate journalist. He does go
beyond a lot of what the White House
SCARBOROUGH: Well, Dana, don‘t even get me started on our relationship with the Saudi government. I mean, I could talk for three hours about that straight.
SCARBOROUGH: I want to bring in James Hirsen because he has actually talked about Michael Moore and Michael Moore‘s credibility.
James, are you concerned that this new movie by Michael Moore this new documentary, may hurt George Bush as we head toward the election?
HIRSEN: Well, no, I think it will. I think it will get distributed. I think Michael Moore is playing the victim. He‘s a master of public relations, and he‘s not a journalist.
And if you ask him, he‘ll say he‘s not a journalist. Michael Moore is an entertainer. He plays fast and loose and mixes fact with fiction. He shouldn‘t have gotten an award for a documentary. As I said on the show before, Joe, it‘s a fake-umentary. And I do that this decision is part of the fact that the First Amendment right of free speech is exercised in the context of a free market. That‘s what we‘re talking about.
He knew this for a year. He sat on his hands. And he‘s going around on these TV shows with this hangdog look wearing his costume—and that‘s what it is—looking like he shopped at the Salvation Army, when he‘s worth tens of millions of dollars, lives in the Upper West Side of Manhattan and, as you pointed out, not only flies around in a private jet, but here in California on his book tour was being driven around in a chauffeur-driven SUV.
SCARBOROUGH: All right, Flavia, I‘ve got to give you the last word.
COLGAN: No, I‘m just outraged and I take major umbrage with the sophomoric and outrageous charge that somehow speaking your mind and trying to get people civically engaged is unpatriotic.
I see people like Ed Asner and celebrities out here all the time not showing up at cameo red carpet performances, but talking to groups that are about to go canvas, standing out in the rain in Wisconsin, getting young people to register to vote, speaking at house parties where people can only afford sometimes to write $50 checks. That‘s what Hollywood is doing right now.
They‘re not cowering in a corner because they hate George Bush. That‘s juvenile. They‘re bonding together on issues that they care about and trying to raise money and raise awareness for things that they feel will make America the country that they believe in. And they‘re true patriots.
SCARBOROUGH: I can tell you as somebody that ran a grassroots campaign on the other side of the political spectrum, I respect anybody that goes out there and gives a damn about their government, regardless of whether they‘re conservatives or liberals or Democrats or Republicans. I just think we should all be respectful of the other side.
Thanks a lot, Dana Kennedy, Ed Asner, James Hirsen, Jon Alvarez and Flavia Colgan. As always, we appreciate you being here.
And coming up next, young girls in America have become more aggressive and violent lately. One girl even beat another into a coma. How did high school turn into a grudge match for girls? We‘re going to be asking Dr. Drew Pinsky.
Plus, Planned Parenthood wants to arm your children with condoms on prom night. And one study has an answer for teen pregnancy. And you‘re not going to believe their shocking solution. Dr. Ruth Westheimer will be here to talk about it all, so stick around.
SCARBOROUGH: You‘ve heard about “Mean Girls” and “Girls Gone Wild,” but new stats say we now have to worry about girls gone violent. What‘s behind this surge in violence among young girls? We‘re going to find out in a minute.
But, first, let‘s get the latest headlines from the MSNBC News Desk.
ANNOUNCER: From the press room, to the courtroom, to the halls of Congress, Joe Scarborough has seen it all. Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
SCARBOROUGH: You know, the No. 1 movie in the country is “Mean Girls.” And there‘s been a wave of best-sellers about bad behavior from our teenage girls. And girl-on-girl violence is now in the headlines, too.
In just one case, three teenage girls in Seattle face assault charges after they beat, kicked and bit one of their classmates unconscious during a school dance. What‘s causing this disturbing behavior?
I‘m joined now by Dr. Drew Pinsky. He‘s the author of “Cracked:
Putting Broken Lives Back Together.” Betsy Hart of the Scripps Howard News Service, and Patricia Ireland, political consultant and former president of the National Organization for Women.
Dr. Drew Pinsky, let me begin with you.
What is causing this upsurge in violence among young women?
DR. DREW PINSKY, AUTHOR, “CRACKED”: No one knows for sure, Joe, but I can tell you one thing I see in my clinical practice, which is that there is a clear correlation between the lack of an adequate intimate relationship during development and the onset of a lack of empathy and impulse control disorders, including aggression and violence, later in adolescence.
So fairly clearly, this is at least some of that. Why it‘s disproportionately in women is not at all clear. It‘s kind of interesting, isn‘t it, that we have a hit movie called “Mean Girls” and we all kind of accept the fact that women are sort of passively aggressive? But now that they‘ve become overtly aggressive and even violent, now we‘re disturbed by it.
It may be the same impulse just sort of breaking into a more overt form.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, break that down for us. At the beginning of your statement, you were talking about a lack of role models and things like that. Explain it to us, so people that graduated from the University of Alabama can understand.
SCARBOROUGH: I graduated from Alabama. I‘m not insulting an entire state. Go ahead.
PINSKY: Hopefully you‘ll understand that—what people have to understand is, one of the extraordinary things about the human being is that the first five or so years of life are extremely important.
What happens during those years, maybe in the first 10 years, has a disproportionate influence on everything else that is to follow, that the brain is wiring. And if there are traumas and disconnect, a lack of trust and attunement to caring others, there can be a disruption of this normal developmental process, to the point where the good, late-developing phenomenon like empathy, impulse control, those sorts of phenomenon don‘t develop. And so you have kids that enter adolescence with the inability to even understand that other people have feelings, the inability to regulate and choose subdominant impulse, to contain aggression.
They just can‘t do it. And you see a higher incidents of mental illness, particularly in incarcerated populations. You see PTSD, borderline personality disorder, various other kinds of things like mania that contribute to this impulsivity and aggression.
Patricia Ireland, a generation ago, violence among teenage boys was 10 times more common than violence among girls. Today, that ratio is, of course, only 4-to-1, as you can see on the screen. Feminists have long wished to blur the distinction between males and females. And I know you‘ve probably heard some people say, you‘ve gotten what you have wanted, Patricia Ireland. You‘ve broken down this barrier, and now, because of people like you, we‘re seeing women becoming more aggressive and beating up other women.
PATRICIA IRELAND, FORMER NOW PRESIDENT: Well, I‘m not sure, first of all, that there has been a skyrocketing rate of increase in girls violence.
That closing of the proportion, that is, boys moving from 10 times the violence of girls to four times the violence of girls, could be the boys committing less violence. It could be that both are coming down. And I‘d love to hear some of the data that would confirm that there is a skyrocketing, as opposed to a perception, because we know that, for instance, people who live in the suburbs perceive crime to be going up, when, in fact, it‘s going down overall.
PINSKY: I have some data.
IRELAND: I‘d love to hear some of that. Is it actually going up in that way?
PINSKY: Aggravated assaults increased by 88 percent amongst boys, 134 percent amongst girls.
IRELAND: OK. So it is going up and it‘s going up faster among the girls.
SCARBOROUGH: Could that be because of an increase in divorces, more latchkey kids, all the things that Dr. Drew was talking about, and that there‘s a disconnect, and maybe you don‘t have the type of parental support for people five years and younger?
IRELAND: Well, I do think it raises the whole question of how we raise our children to be healthy, emotionally, physically, spiritually healthy, to be well-educated, when so many of our families have to have all the adults, and sometimes the kids as well, in the waged work force.
It‘s a problem that has not been resolved. It‘s part of the unresolved work of the women‘s movement, and I would say of the culture as a whole. But I would really object violently to saying that it is because of women striving for equality that we have girls‘ increase in violence. I think that we need to address the problem of increasing violence among boys and girls and look at the remedies, look at the prevention methods, rather than singling out women striving for improving our lives as being part of the cause.
SCARBOROUGH: Now, Betsy, you wrote actually a column about this phenomenon. And this is what you said: “Arguing that women are the keepers of virtue makes feminists wince. They maintain that if men were more like women, our culture would be a better place. Ironically, we‘ve seen women becoming more like men to the detriment of all.”
Explain what you mean.
BETSY HART, SCRIPPS HOWARD NEWS SERVICE: Well, first of all, I was afraid that Patricia was going to turn into a mean girl there when she referred that she would violently object. So I hope she doesn‘t violently object too much to this.
It‘s not so much that women are responsible for the way men behave, by any means. It‘s more I think that women are a barometer in any culture. And in any healthy society, you do see women behaving more virtuously. They are less violent. They are less sexually permissive and aggressive—promiscuous and aggressive. When those things begin to degenerate, for whatever reason—and Patricia and Dr. Drew have both touched on what I think on some very viable reasons for what we might be seeing happening—you do tend to see the generation in the culture as a whole, because it‘s a symptom when we see women behaving what is traditionally more like men.
And what I see is the irony in that is that it does seem like historically women have said in a way, we need to feminize men. If only they could share their feelings and change more diapers, wouldn‘t the world seem to be a more peaceful place? What seems to have actually happened is that we have lost the idea of women that we need to civilize men, not feminize them, and in fact we‘ve become a little bit more aggressive, certainly sexually promiscuous and aggressive, whether or not that is really where our appetites are.
And we‘ve seen that has really hurt women as a whole. Now that that‘s happening when it comes to violence and physical aggressiveness, I think that will add to the danger and the coarsening of society as a whole as well.
SCARBOROUGH: Dr. Drew, with my middle school teenage boys, I notice that middle school girls seemed to be extraordinarily aggressive sexually compared to what they were like 20 years ago or so. Is there a connection between sexual aggression and physical aggression, beating up other girls?
PINSKY: Well, there sure could be.
The connection I would make is that when kids come into their adolescence and they are unable to regulate—I spoke earlier about how the connected trusted relationship with a trusted caretaker helps people build regulatory mechanisms, so they feel whole, they feel viable, they feel worthwhile. When they hit adolescence without those mechanisms in place, they start looking for solutions to how they‘re feeling, and the kinds of solutions that our culture offers, sex, drugs, extreme sports, all kinds of thrill and arousing experiences.
And girls are very hotly encouraged, very thoroughly encouraged, to take on these same kinds of strategies.
SCARBOROUGH: All right, Dr. Drew Pinsky, Betsy Hart, thanks for being with us.
And, Patricia Ireland, stick around. We have got more questions for you straight ahead.
And next up, Planned Parenthood wants to send your teenagers off to prom night with confetti and condoms and suggests that having oral sex may be a good way to prevent pregnancy. We‘re going to ask renowned sex educator Dr. Ruth Westheimer if Planned Parenthood is leading our kids down the wrong path.
ANNOUNCER: Tonight‘s SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY challenge, which company has Dr. Ruth not done an advertisement for? Is it, A, Coke, B, Honda, or, C, Herbal Essence. The answer coming up.
ANNOUNCER: In tonight‘s SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY challenge, we asked, which company has Dr. Ruth not done an advertisement for? The answer is, A, Coke, although she has been featured in Pepsi ads.
Now back to Joe.
SCARBOROUGH: All right, for most parents, prom night means fancy dinners, limo rides and pretty dresses, but you could be surprised at what Planned Parenthood has in mind for the big night. According to teenwire.com, which is sponsored by Planned Parenthood, what your kid really needs is a prom survival kit, containing breath mints, confetti, condoms, and $10 contraceptive services coupons.
We have got Dr. Ruth Westheimer. She is, of course, a sex educator and author of “Musically Speaking.” Patricia Ireland, former president of the National Organization for Women, and Wendy Wright, senior policy director for Concerned Women For America.
Dr. Ruth, let begin with you.
Should adults at Planned Parenthood really be prepping teenagers on how to engage in anal sex?
DR. RUTH WESTHEIMER, SEX THERAPIST: Joe, you know very well what I‘m going to say to you. The answer is absolutely no, because, first of all, what they have to do is to make sure that everybody has sexuality education and not to say, here is a condom. Go out and do it.
Now, I don‘t know who found that Web site, and I don‘t know how many people really know about it. But you, Joe, are responsible that now, many more people think that people like myself would say, yes, give out condoms and tell kids to do whatever they want to. I‘m saying, if a young person decides to be sexually active, yes, go to Planned Parenthood. But don‘t turn that around and say, here is a condom, and God forbid, if you don‘t use it, it‘s been wasted.
But you, Joe, are responsible for that. So loud and clear, everybody have a great time at prom night. Kiss and hug and hold hands and go home to sleep.
SCARBOROUGH: OK, Dr. Ruth. You know what? I didn‘t make this stuff up. Planned Parenthood did. I don‘t think I‘m responsible for the Web site.
But let me bring in Wendy Wright.
Wendy, here‘s some more advice from the Planned Parenthood Web site. And, obviously, they‘re a very respected organization in many political quarters. They say: “Condoms help protect your partner during vaginal or anal intercourse. To be effective, they must be used with every partner every time you have intercourse.”
Respond. This is to teenagers, after all.
WENDY WRIGHT, SENIOR POLICY DIRECTOR, CONCERNED WOMEN FOR AMERICA:
And, you know, I ran this Web site by a doctor friend of mine. And he said if he were to give out that information, it would be considered malpractice.
First of all, let‘s look at—they‘re encouraging multiple sex partners. That‘s very dangerous to kids. And second, condoms, there is no evidence that condoms are effective against preventing most forms of sexually transmitted diseases. Planned Parenthood, unfortunately, is obsessed with teaching kids how to have sex. In fact, if you go on the Teenwire Web site—and I encourage adults to go on, because, on the Web site, in the initial page, they try and discourage adults from going into the Web site, but encourage kids to.
And once you go in, you realize why they don‘t want adults looking at it, very graphic, detailed information, and very inaccurate, medically inaccurate information.
SCARBOROUGH: Pat Ireland, respond to that.
IRELAND: Well, I certainly have a difference of opinion about a lot of what Wendy has said.
And among the things that I think we have to do is be realistic about what kids are undertaking in their activity. I‘m not sure that carrying a condom makes them more likely to have sex any more than having a first aid kit makes you more likely to cut yourself. I think that we really do need sex education in the schools that actually educates about sex. And that‘s a lot of what‘s on this Web site.
To put our heads in the sand and pretend that if we don‘t talk about it, they won‘t do it is really not an effective plan for helping kids understand not just the physical and the disease possibilities, the pregnancy possibilities, but also the emotional responsibility that goes with having sex.
SCARBOROUGH: Dr. Ruth, let me give you an explanation from the education director at Planned Parenthood. They said this—quote—“We just wanted to make a little bit easier for sexually active teens to practice safer sex.”
Do you buy that?
WESTHEIMER: I only buy that if that young person really is sexually literate, really loves the person that they are going to have sex with and has made that decision. Then I do agree that sexually active teenagers should use condoms.
But not to turn it around and to say that every teenager is going to be active. The condoms have to be available. But the decision when to be sexually, that has to be made by the youngster, and I hope has to be made on knowing with whom they are going to be sexually active, because they will never forget that first sexual intercourse episode.
SCARBOROUGH: Wendy Wright, you know, the latest solution to teenage pregnancy in a study in Great Britain may surprise some. They are recommending to children under 16 that they indulge in oral sex to prevent pregnancy. Do you think this type of study, what‘s happening with Planned Parenthood, is sending some very confusing signals to preteens and young teenagers?
WRIGHT: Well, this is like an anti-cigarette campaign going around and saying, use chewing tobacco instead.
They‘re so focused on, first, encouraging kids to be sexually active and then saying the only downside of being sexually active is getting pregnant, when, in fact, there are many other complications, including the sexually transmitted diseases. There are up to 30 different kinds of STDs and all but one can be transmitted orally and can be deadly.
So it‘s completely irresponsible for this so-called study—it‘s really junk science—to say that the way to cure the problem of teen pregnancy is to encourage oral sex.
SCARBOROUGH: Patricia Ireland, I‘ll give you the last word. We‘ve got 30 seconds.
IRELAND: Well, I just want to put out here as a really important concept for all these kids who are going to their proms that you want to have good sex. And you‘re not going to have good sex if it‘s casual, if it‘s multiple partners.
I‘m just here to tell you from experience, the best sex that you‘re going to really enjoy is with somebody you love. So I think that‘s a much better idea to spread that notion than the notion that, oh, you‘re going to get diseases.
SCARBOROUGH: All right, Dr. Ruth, Patricia Ireland, Wendy Wright, thanks for being with us.
And, boys, if you‘re watching at home, you‘re going to get diseases.
And straight ahead, a national tragedy in Chechnya caught on tape, as the president is killed by terrorists in front of thousands of onlookers.
We‘re going to show you more of that disturbing video right after this short break.
SCARBOROUGH: Rush Limbaugh is comparing the Iraqi prison scandal to a fraternity prank. Now liberals are after him again. We‘ll be talking about that tomorrow night on SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
But we‘ve still got more straight ahead.
SCARBOROUGH: You know, a profound reminder this weekend that the war on terror is a global war and that the war is far from being over.
The slain president of Chechnya was laid to rest today just one day after this bombing caught on tape took his life. Nobody claimed responsibility for the attack, which killed six and injured nearly 60. But suspicion fell on separatist rebels who are fighting Russian and Chechnyan forces. Now, the United Nations issued a statement saying it condemns the terrorist attack, adding that terrorism is one of the most serious threats to international peace and security.
Don‘t miss SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY tomorrow night, because we‘re going to be debating what credibility the United Nations has left after its latest scandal.
And also make sure to join MSNBC for full coverage of the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing tomorrow, with testimony on the Iraqi prisoner abuse scandal. That begins at 9:30 a.m. tomorrow morning. We‘re going to have Major General Antonio Taguba, who prepared the report on the prison abuse in Iraq.
Plus, the anniversary of the landmark Brown vs. the Board of Education case is next Monday. And Sunday night, MSNBC is going to be bring you “The Battle For America‘s Schools: How Children Won and Lost.” You‘re not going to want to miss that either. That‘s Sunday, May 16, at 10:00 p.m.
And also, again, make sure to watch us tomorrow night. We‘re going to be talking about the left‘s latest attack on Rush Limbaugh. Poor Rush Limbaugh. Why can‘t they just leave that man alone?
Well, thanks for being with us tonight in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. We‘ll see you tomorrow. Have great night.
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