Guests: Anne Bremner, Richard Armitage, Drew Pinsky, Christopher Hitchens
JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST: Tonight‘s top headline, Michael Moore unfiltered and caught on tape. The “Real Deal”: Sorry, Mike, you can‘t defend the indefensible.
Hey, welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, where no passport is required and only common sense is allowed.
Does Michael Moore really hate America? We are going to be showing you exclusive video of the man behind “Fahrenheit 9/11” making explosive statements defending Osama bin Laden a year after the attacks. And we will let you be the judge. We are also going to be talking to the man who debated him, “Vanity Fair”‘s Christopher Hitchens.
And, boy, is there outrage in the Big Apple and across America, as a man convicted of killing his own daughter gets out of prison early and hops into a waiting limousine. It‘s justice gone terribly wrong, and we have got the story.
Then, Britney is back off the market, confirming she is engaged to a father who has got another baby on the way. And his pregnant ex isn‘t happy. Britney Spears says she is a role model for your children, but is she the kind of role model that your girls should be looking up to? We are going to be asking teen expert Dr. Drew Pinsky.
Plus, I am going to be asking Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage what the handover of Saddam Hussein means to America and to the free Iraqis that the tyrant once oppressed.
ANNOUNCER: From the press room, to the courtroom, to the halls of Congress, Joe Scarborough has seen it all. Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, well, well, Michael Moore is running scared. It‘s time for tonight‘s “Real Deal.”
After boldly proclaiming that he is going to debate anybody anytime anyplace anywhere, Michael Moore is proving once again that he is not a man of his word. Now, of course, you know we have challenged Mr. Moore to debate on our show for months now. We have asked him to come on SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY and defend his April 2004 statements declaring that the United Nations should not send troops to Iraq because more Americans need to bleed and die there, and that those killing Americans in Iraq aren‘t the enemy, but rather they are the revolution the and Minutemen, who are sure to win their battle against the occupation.
Now, we know that Moore‘s claim on “David Letterman” and other shows about debating us was just another lie, but we were really surprised today when we learned now that Michael Moore‘s spokesman is afraid to come on our show not just to debate us, but debate “Vanity Fair”‘s Christopher Hitchens. It seems that Mr. Hitchens debated Moore a few years back and beat him up very badly after the Flint folly proclaimed that Osama bin Laden was to be considered innocent until proven guilty.
This, of course, was a year after bin Laden admitted to killing 3,000 Americans on September 11. For those who have seen “Fahrenheit 9/11,” you know that Michael Moore‘s claim of bin Laden‘s innocence reveals yet another glaring hypocrisy in the central theme running through his latest mockumentary, another brazen claim, another Michael Moore lie.
And yet the Democratic establishment continues to embrace Michael Moore. You know what? It‘s a national disgrace. And it‘s tonight‘s “Real Deal.”
Now, as I said, “Vanity Fair”‘s Christopher Hitchens is with us. He debated Michael Moore in 2002 at the Telluride Film Festival and was surprised that Moore still considered Osama bin Laden to be an innocent man one year after September 11.
Christopher, thanks for joining us.
Can you tell us when Michael Moore and his spokesman are afraid to come on our show and say—and, in fact, they told us, we are not coming on SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY if Christopher Hitchens is there. What is that all about?
CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS, “VANITY FAIR”: I didn‘t know that until just now, but I am not sure if it‘s an honor or not, to be frank with you.
I wrote 4,000-word review of this film, which is full of lies and is itself a lie, on “Slate” magazine, what, nine days ago now. And I said to them, you have a war room, you claim, you have lawyers, you claim, who will sue anything you don‘t like. You have a rapid response team, so bring it on. And I know, without boasting—I hope I don‘t seem arrogant, but...
SCARBOROUGH: Never, sir.
HITCHENS: That was that week‘s most blogged piece, as the Internet specialists say. In other words, it was the most linked article on the Internet. A lot of people read it. And it flatly calls him as a liar and a fraud and a coward.
SCARBOROUGH: What were the most fraudulent claims, Christopher?
HITCHENS: ... traitor to journalism. And I said, so, get back to me.
Not one word from, who is this guy, Chris someone.
SCARBOROUGH: What was the most fraudulent claim that Michael Moore made in this movie?
HITCHENS: Well, that‘s a very tough question, but I think I would phrase it like this.
He says, if you think Americans are fighting in Afghanistan to protect Afghanistan and America from the Taliban and al Qaeda and hold an election in Afghanistan, the first one in its history, and to defend it from barbarism, Moore says, you are totally wrong. The whole war is about Bush family private business and a pipeline, a natural gas pipeline. I think he suggested an oil pipeline, built by Unocal.
Now, I know and anyone who knows anything about it knows, that deal was canceled in 1998, when Bush was still governor of Texas, as a result of Mr. Clinton bombing the al Qaeda camps in Afghanistan. The theory isn‘t even worth arguing about. It‘s a whole-cloth fabrication, as well as a terrifying insult to Americans in Afghanistan who are fighting on the front line against barbarism. So that‘s one enormously important lie.
And then he says the Saudi Arabia control all of American foreign policy through private interests. And then you wonder, well, why does President Bush, who is their puppet, continue to knock over regimes that Saudis are in favor of, like the Saddam Hussein regime or the Taliban one? The Saudis so much hated regime change in Iraq, they made American bases move to Qatar, out of Saudi territory.
You could go on and on. He says that the White House at high level let the bin Laden family fly out of the country in a secret, surreptitious, sinister manner. And he had interviewed Richard Clarke months before. And Clarke says straight out, I made that call. Richard Clarke is the moral hero of the film. Michael Moore had the chance to ask the man who knew. Either he didn‘t ask Clarke, who authorized those flights, or Clarke told him it was me and only me, and he didn‘t think it was good enough to use.
SCARBOROUGH: Now, Christopher, you...
HITCHENS: Either way, that‘s below the level of trash TV, trash journalism.
SCARBOROUGH: You brought a tape of yourself debating Michael Moore in September 2002 at the Telluride Film Festival. And here‘s what he said about Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda. Let‘s take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL MOORE, FILMMAKER/AUTHOR: It seems as if he and his group were the ones who did this, then they should be tracked down, captured, and brought to justice.
HITCHENS: Do you mind if I break in and say...
HITCHENS: Ask you, what is the “if” doing in that last sentence?
MOORE: What is the who?
HITCHENS: What is the “if” doing in that last sentence of yours?
MOORE: Well, all people are innocent until proven guilty in this country.
HITCHENS: So you have no...
MOORE: Even the worst piece of scum.
HITCHENS: I feel I have to press you on that. You regard it as an open question, the responsibility of Osama bin Laden?
MOORE: Until anyone is convicted of any crime, no matter how horrific the crime, they are innocent until proven guilty. And as Americans...
HITCHENS: No, that‘s all I asked you.
MOORE: Never leave that position.
HITCHENS: I‘m sorry. So bin Laden‘s claims of responsibility strike you as the ravings of a clowns, say?
HITCHENS: OK. Fine.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HITCHENS: And doesn‘t he look gorgeous?
SCARBOROUGH: He does. This is a year after 9/11.
HITCHENS: And so smart and so clever at catching people saying something dumb in the street. Can you imagine what he would have said or Terry McAuliffe, this fatuous chairman of the DNC, would have said if President Bush a year after 9/11 had said, well, I think the jury is still out on Osama bin Laden, we can‘t do a thing, and also referred to him as if he was a well placed citizen of Rapid City or somewhere, an American citizen with all the protections of the Constitution? It‘s beyond farce.
SCARBOROUGH: You know, Christopher, though, let me expand on this tape a little bit, though, because, as you know, you have seen the movie. I have seen the movie. Here you have Michael Moore saying a year after 3,000 Americans are killed...
HITCHENS: Murdered. Murdered. Murdered.
SCARBOROUGH: Murdered, murdered—that Osama bin Laden is innocent until proven guilty, and yet, in this movie, at the very beginning, he criticizes George Bush for not assuming the bin Laden family is somehow guilty, then letting them out of the country. Complete hypocrisy.
HITCHENS: That‘s why I looked to see if I still had the tape, because I thought, now, a guy who was 100 percent opposed to the war in Afghanistan at the time—that‘s Michael Moore—he thought it was a war for oil, a war for pipelines, an unjust war—why is he suddenly saying he is against the Iraq war because it‘s the distraction from the hunt for Osama bin Laden? You follow my point here?
SCARBOROUGH: Of course.
HITCHENS: Why does someone who thought that Osama was innocent and Afghanistan was no problem suddenly switch in this way? Because unless he says that he was dead wrong all along and Osama Laden was innocent and wronged, he can‘t say that everything else is a distraction from the hunt for Osama.
So it‘s bait and switch. It‘s the work of a moral cretin and a political idiot. And it‘s up to the Democratic National Committee to say, do they want to continue being photographed with this man as we go into a very important election, not just in the United States, I might add, but first Democratic elections to be held in Iraq and in Afghanistan?
In a few months, we will know the outcome of all these. In all three cases, Michael Moore says that the enemy is George Bush and Saddam Hussein and Mr. Zarqawi and Mr. Bin Laden are no problem. Indeed, they are—what a wonderful way to celebrate the Fourth of July weekend, by the way. Indeed, they are the Minutemen. They‘re the staunch American revolutionaries.
Does he tell this to the widows that he goes and exploits?
SCARBOROUGH: Well, Christopher....
HITCHENS: Does he say to them, I love the people who killed your son or your husband or your father?
SCARBOROUGH: They are the Minutemen.
HITCHENS: Does he dare do that? If he does do that once and film himself, I will say he is courageous.
Let me read you a couple of quotes here. And I put these quotes in here because I wanted you to respond and actually tell me what it meant about the Democratic Party that you have got Terry McAuliffe and other people embracing this man.
Here‘s what Michael Moore had to say on the people killing America‘s troops in Iraq, and it‘s a follow-up on what you are saying: “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. And they will win.”
And here‘s more, Christopher. He said on the same day: “The majority of Americans supported this war once it began. And, sadly, that majority must now sacrifice their children until enough blood has been let that maybe—just maybe—God and the Iraqi people will forgive us in the end.”
And, of course, there, Michael Moore is saying he doesn‘t want the United Nations or other countries‘ troops to go into Iraq because he believes more Americans need to die there, or, as he says, their blood needs to be let.
SCARBOROUGH: So, correspondent for “Vanity Fair.”
HITCHENS: Don‘t step over where he says, God and Iraqi people won‘t forgive.
You are effectively, with the Michael Moore presentation, you are looking straight down the gun barrel of an al Qaeda video. God and the Iraqi people won‘t forgive? He is talking the language of jihad. This guy is on the other side in the most essential war that this country or society or culture has fought in a generation.
HITCHENS: Against Islamic totalitarianism.
Why is he against it? If you want my personal opinion, as someone who has observed Mr. Moore down the years, I don‘t think he has any principles at all. He will do anything to get applause, as you can see from the little clip you just showed. He likes applause from stupid crowds and he punches the applause button.
I would like to know, and I wish you would ask—and perhaps Mr. Lehane could be made to answer this question—who is distributing this film in the Middle East? I would like to know that now. How much money does Mr. Moore expect to make, since he is so interested in money making from Middle Eastern sources? How much does he expect to make when the film is shown in Beirut and Algeria and Cairo?
He must already know who his distributors are and how much he expects from the revenue. He is going to show this film that applauds the murder of Americans, Iraqis, British and Kurdish people all over the Middle East. He expects to do very well out of it. Well, I would like to know where he thinks the money is coming from and if he thinks it‘s worth it.
And I hope he can relax and enjoy that money.
SCARBOROUGH: All right, well, we are going to look into that, Christopher. Thank you for being with us.
SCARBOROUGH: I think, as you know, it bears repeating that the U.K. “Guardian” reported just last week that Hezbollah has already contacted his distributor in the United Arab Emirates and offered their support and their help in distributing the movie. And I think that says an awful lot itself.
Now, coming up, there‘s a man who beat and killed his daughter, but now he‘s back on the streets of New York. We have got the story on the release of the monster Joel Steinberg next.
Then, she‘s a role model to millions of girls, whether parents like it or not. She‘s about to get married for the second time this year to a man who is expecting a child with another woman. What messages do these choices send to your teen daughter? And why are celebrity magazines celebrating Britney‘s bad behavior?
We‘ll have that answer coming up.
SCARBOROUGH: A monster is released from jail in New York City, and the people of New York aren‘t happy. We are going to be talking about convicted child killer Joel Steinberg getting out of prison and walking into his limo.
That‘s right after this short break.
SCARBOROUGH: Convicted child killer Joel Steinberg got out of prison after serving 17 years for beating his 6-year-old adopted daughter to death. The little girl was found naked, bruised and not breathing three days after her father attacked her. The reason, the little girl was staring at him.
After his savage attack on the 6-year-old girl, Steinberg smoked cocaine instead of calling for help. Today, he left prison in a limousine, after serving only two-thirds of his 23-year sentence.
Court TV‘s Lisa Bloom is here and so is defense attorney Anne Bremner.
Let me start with you, Lisa Bloom.
I want you to take a look at the front cover of “The New York Daily News.” It got Steinberg‘s picture. And it says, “Let him feel every New York eye burning straight through his rotten soul. Joel Steinberg doesn‘t like to be stared at. That rattles him. That‘s why he broke apart a little girl with his bare hands.”
Lisa, there are Americans, not only in New York but across this country, wondering, how does a man that beats up a little 6-year-old girl for staring at him, then as she lies there bleeding in a pool of blood, then freebases coke, doesn‘t call for help, and gets out of prison 17 years later?
LISA BLOOM, COURT TV ANCHOR: Well, the answer to the question is, is that he was convicted of voluntary manslaughter, not of the top charge of murder, which probably would have carried a life sentence. That was the jury‘s decision 15 years ago.
And he got the top sentence possible on that manslaughter charge, which was eight to 25 years. He served two-thirds of the sentence. And, under New York law, he is allowed to get out. I think it‘s a terrible thing. When you read the details of how he brutally beat the 6-year-old girl that he illegally adopted to death, how she was probably sexually abused from the age of 2 -- that was testimony from live-in girlfriend, Hedda Nussbaum, who he also severely beat over and over again during their relationship—he is a prime candidate for a life sentence, but that‘s not what he got, Joe.
SCARBOROUGH: You know, again, there‘s a problem, as I was talking to you earlier today about the subject—there‘s a problem with the laws in this country with a judicial system in this country that allows a beast like this to get out of jail after serving only two-thirds of his term.
Why not force—if a jury is going to sentence this guy to 25 years, why can‘t we keep him in jail for at least 25 years?
BLOOM: Well, in fact, I understand that Governor Pataki has said that he thinks it‘s unfortunate that Joel Steinberg has gotten out. And under the newer laws passed since his sentencing, he probably would have been in longer.
But I will tell you something else, Joe, that‘s disturbing. This man has never taken responsibility for what he did. Even to date, he maintains his innocence. It‘s clear that he beat this little girl to death. There‘s no doubt about it. And yet he is walking around saying he didn‘t do it, so he has got no remorse. He takes no responsibility. He is on the streets walking around in my city. Doesn‘t make me too happy.
SCARBOROUGH: You know, this is what Steinberg‘s lover, Hedda Nussbaum, said when she testified a trial.
And of course, here we are looking—I want everybody to look at the sweet little girl that was beaten to death by this beast and left lying in blood on the floor. And while she was bleeding to death, her father decided at that time he was going to freebase coke. He wasn‘t going to call authorities. He wasn‘t going to get help for his little daughter. He was going to allow her to lie there and die.
And this is what his live-in lover said. She said that Steinberg beat his daughter to death for staring at him and described the scene after it happened. This is what she said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HEDDA NUSSBAUM, FORMER GIRLFRIEND OF JOEL STEINBERG: She was lying in his arms, limp. And I said, what happened? He said, what‘s the difference what happened?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: Anne Bremner, I know you are a defense attorney. How does anybody defend a monster like this against the charges of beating to death this little 6-year-old girl?
ANNE BREMNER, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, somebody did, and somebody convinced a jury, like Lisa said, to convict him of a lesser charge.
And the jury system is what we rely on. And the jury found him guilty of something far lesser than what he was indicted for. You know, monsters get out of jail. He didn‘t get a life sentence. He didn‘t get a death sentence. He was convicted of manslaughter. He may have a sentence for life of being stared at every day in New York, because people know what he did, and he may have a life sentence of that, very difficult case to defend.
BREMNER: But there was a successful defense in this case to a certain degree.
SCARBOROUGH: There was. And, Anne, I want to play you a clip of what Joel Steinberg said during his trial.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOEL STEINBERG, DEFENDANT: I understand the meaning of remorse. I don‘t have remorse.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: No remorse.
SCARBOROUGH: I want to show a picture of this little girl again.
Now, let me ask you something. Of course, this happened back in 1989. Certainly, the judicial system has become a lot more conservative since this little girl was beaten to death, since this guy got manslaughter.
I want to ask you, Lisa Bloom and Anne Bremner, do you believe that, with three strikes, you are out, and with all the judicial sentencing guidelines and all of these new sort of tough law-and-order programs that have been enacted in jurisdictions across America, do you think Steinberg would have gotten a tougher sentence if this had happened in 1999, instead of 1989? Do you think he may still be in prison or may have even gotten the death penalty for killing this little girl?
BLOOM: I think he would have gotten the top end of the sentence, closer to 25 years, rather than 15 years. But I still don‘t think—he is not going to get life in prison on a manslaughter count.
And I will tell you, one of the things the jury was hung up on was his girlfriend, Hedda Nussbaum, the woman with the horribly bruised, beaten-in face that you could see on that tape. They weren‘t entirely convinced, I think, that she had nothing to do with it. She was not charged with any crime. She testified against him. And she has since been working with battered women, and good for her, trying to educate them and steer them away from the life that she had.
She has had to flee New York since Joel Steinberg has been released yesterday. She is still in fear of him, Joe, 15 years later.
SCARBOROUGH: Anne, why doesn‘t this guy—we keep talking about manslaughter. You can only get 25 years for manslaughter. Why not convict him of first-degree murder? What does it take?
BREMNER: Well, and we would have to ask the jury that.
One thing that came that‘s good from this case is, this put a face on domestic violence victims and child abuse victims, because he was a successful lawyer, someone that people were shocked that he could have done this. And there was so much attention gained about this case. It had so much media attention that, you are right. Today, there would be a far tougher sentence. I think a jury would be far tougher on him and that he would be serving a lot more time.
And, so in a way, that‘s a very good thing that came from this case. He had no remorse. He is a monster, and very difficult to defend. But his live-in girlfriend didn‘t do anything—and I know she is finding her redemption of years and years of working with domestic violence victims, but she didn‘t do anything to help the 6-year-old child. And that‘s such a tragedy.
SCARBOROUGH: I know. It is such a tragedy. It is so deplorable.
BREMNER: It is.
Well, thank you, Anne. I appreciate you being here.
Lisa Bloom, thank you again for being with us.
And up next, Britney Spears did it again. She hooked up with another expectant father. And this time, she plans to marry him, she says. And she claims to be a role model. Is this what we want for our daughters when it comes to role models?
Then, Washington is whispering that John Kerry‘s vice presidential pick could be none other than Hillary Clinton. You better believe I have got issues with that.
So stick around.
SCARBOROUGH: Britney Spears says she is a role model, but at the same time, she‘s now marrying again, the second time in a year to a guy whose girlfriend is pregnant. We will be debating that, what it means to your children.
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 back to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
SCARBOROUGH: The last segment touched all of us.
What we want to do is, we want to put up a phone number for all of you out there. Looking at those pictures of Lisa Steinberg beaten to death by her stepfather, adopted father, if you are out there, if you know of anybody that is being abused, if your older sister or younger sister or brother is being abused, call 1-800-4-A-CHILD.
Obviously it‘s confidential. There‘s so many people—I know this happened 20 years ago, or almost 20 years ago, but we know it‘s still happening every day out there. Again, 1-800-4-A-CHILD. That‘s Child Help USA. They‘re one of the oldest and the most respected agencies that take care of child abuse. So dial that number.
Anyway, now going from those sort of serious problems to the type of problems that parents have to deal with every day with their young daughters that just go to school and looking at the outside influences. Britney Spears, she is an outside influence, obviously. And Cupid had speared Britney now for the umpteenth time, an exclusive interview with “People” magazine that reveals that Britney is engaged to one of her backup dancers who has a 2-year-old daughter and another child on the way. It‘s the second time she has been linked to an expectant father.
And here to discuss whether kids should be looking up to Britney Spears and the media‘s role in the glorification of the diva are adolescent mental health expert and author of “Cracked: Putting Broken Lives Together Again,” Dr. Drew Pinsky, and also our favorite blog pundit, Ana Marie Cox. She‘s editor of Wonkette.com. And we‘ve got “Village Voice” columnist Michael Musto.
Let me begin with you, Dr. Drew.
Here we have a girl, a young woman. It‘s a second marriage in less than a year, second time she has been linked to an expectant father. Is this just a diva acting out or is this a young woman with some serious psychological issues?
DR. DREW PINSKY, AUTHOR, “CRACKED”: You know, we don‘t know her, and certainly these kinds of issues aren‘t being well portrayed by the press.
But the fact is, if we are to believe that her family was stable and there was a relatively stable upbringing for her, boy, the only way I can understand this behavior is some sort of acting out. My addicted patients frequently act out like this. I don‘t know anything personal about what her history is, psychiatrically, or with substances.
But, boy, I would be very worried. This is somebody really seriously acting out. Why she would be acting out with men who are expecting children is really the most outrageous parts of this. After all, there‘s going to be carnage left behind by the disruption of these relationships. And it‘s sad that somebody who claims to be a role model for young people would potentially be infecting them with these kinds of attitudes.
Let‘s face it. The culture does affect young people. Things like cutting and substances, these are things that they learn about in their culture, and there is a contagion to them. It makes me very concerned that she is sort of advocating, hey, I will do whatever I want. It doesn‘t really matter what happens to other people. And she has said as much in people.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, you say that she is leaving carnage behind, sort of this personal carnage behind in her own life.
But, also, the people that you treat every day in your practice, when you try to put broken lives back together of young children, of preteens, of teenagers, what kind of impact does pop culture have on these people that come into your office that you treat every day? Britney Spears, for instance, does she have an impact on these young people‘s lives?
PINSKY: Well, there‘s no doubt the culture does. And the icons in the culture, of course, have an impact.
And, as I said, there‘s an element of contagion about the behavior. But the fact is, our culture offers young people solutions. In other words, we have got a culture filled with disrupted families. We‘ve got a lot of young people suffering and trying to regulate. And they look into the world for solutions to how they are feeling. And the kinds of solutions they are being offered are things like extreme behaviors, about sex, about acting out in relationships, dramatic relationships, substance use.
These are all the kinds of solutions that our culture offers and really end up being the problem.
SCARBOROUGH: Michael Musto, let me bring you in here.
Beyond her clothing, or her lack thereof, the increasingly sexual content of videos, and the married man and expectant father she was seen in compromising positions with last year, Britney‘s first marriage came during a Las Vegas bender and lasted 55 hours. Her new fiance has a 2-year-old daughter. The girlfriend he is leaving is eight months pregnant with her second child. And who could forget her kiss with almost grandma Madonna.
Michael Musto, of course, we are talking about what kind of influences this has on young girls. What sort of responsibility do you think the media has? Do you think “People” magazine is wrong to put Britney on the cover and seem to glorify this type of behavior to young adolescents, preteens, and teenagers, that look up to Britney Spears?
MICHAEL MUSTO, “THE VILLAGE VOICE”: Absolutely not.
She is a gigantic star. I had no problem with the Madonna kiss. If anything, that was a big yawn. But some of the other decisions she has made have been bad decisions. But that‘s not to denigrate the fact that she is a huge money maker who has a lot of talent. Maybe it‘s not singing, but she definitely knows how to make a splash.
Of course she is acting out. She was a child star. She never had a childhood or an adolescence. And now this is finally her chance to kind of step back, pull out of her tour at great expense and do things that she thinks is right, but are actually wrong, as everybody else can see. And the media is clearly portraying this marriage as a mistake.
I don‘t think it‘s going to be a bad influence on any kids who are going suddenly run out and buy—go and marry their Kevin Federlines of their own. If they would, these would be the same people who would jump on a lit barbecue grill because they saw that on MTV.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, she did say this about being—two years ago, this is what she said about kids looking up to her. And this is what she told a woman‘s magazine.
Britney said—you‘ve got to roll it, so I can read it—quote—
“I‘m a role model to a lot of girls, and I would never want to do anything to jeopardize that title.”
Ana Marie Cox, obviously, this woman is a cultural icon for these shabby days. Do you think TV and Internet providers and magazines and all of us are sort of glorifying this type of behavior, promoting it? What‘s our responsibility?
ANA MARIE COX, WONKETTE.COM: We are covering it right now. We are talking about it. Obviously, it‘s something that we pay attention to.
I think what‘s interesting about Britney is that people I think—she has just become a part of the culture as a character. I think for kids today, they see reality television. They see TV. They see the Internet, and all these people just become icons and characters and there‘s no sense that they have a real personal life that has consequences and emotions, and they might hurt someone, hurt someone‘s life, like people aren‘t thinking about that woman in her eight month of pregnancy.
They are thinking about Britney, who is just Britney. I actually was thinking about whether or not this was going to influence kids to be like her, though. And I am just not sure how many other adolescents have backup dancers to marry. So I don‘t think we need to worry about that specifically.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, so you don‘t think that what Britney Spears does with other people, whether it‘s backup dancers or not, has an impact on what a 6-year-old or 16-year-old girl thinks what normal behavior may be?
COX: I think, as Dr. Drew was saying, there is something in our culture that the only solutions we offer adolescents who are upset or angry are these solutions that are acting out, that are trouble-making.
But, then again, like how exciting would it be to have—on “The O.C.,” have everybody work out their problems by talking to each other? I think it‘s not exciting, it‘s not interesting to watch families have a discussion. It‘s much more interesting to watch Britney break up a family. So...
Dr. Drew, I am going to give you the final word. What should parents do when their kids come to them and say, I want to go to a Britney Spears movie or I want to buy a Britney Spears C.D. or I want to watch a new video that is coming out by Britney Spears?
PINSKY: I would say basically caveat emptor.
The fact is that parents have a very tough job to do in today‘s culture. And you have to monitor everything your kids see. And if you have a problem with the kinds of action, activities, behavior that your kids are being exposed to, I would think twice about purchasing those things.
SCARBOROUGH: All right, thanks a lot, Dr. Drew. As always, you are great. We appreciate you being here. Ana Marie Cox and Michael Musto, thank you also.
And still ahead, I am going to be asking Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage what is awaiting Saddam Hussein as he is handed over to the Iraqis.
And I have got issues with the notion of Hillary Clinton as vice president and with nudist summer camps for teens that the ACLU is supporting.
I‘ll tell you about both of those coming up next.
SCARBOROUGH: Welcome back.
I‘m reading something in the prompter that I just refuse to read to you.
But I will tell you this. I‘ve got issues.
So after I say that, you got to roll it, we make the sound and then I go on like this.
OK, now that we have gotten that taken care of, do you remember John Kerry, you know, the guy running for president, with the long face? Well, now he‘s chasing corporate leaders‘ money and votes. And earlier this week, he told them this—quote—“I am not a redistribution Democrat. Fear not. I don‘t want to lead a party that loves jobs and hates the people who create them.”
Well, Matt Drudge reported earlier today that Kerry is seriously considering making Hillary Clinton his vice presidential candidate in an effort to spice up the Democratic ticket. This comes just two days after the New York senator told a wealthy crowd in San Francisco—quote—I love this quote—“We‘re going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good.”
Take things away from you on behalf of the common good? Gee, that sounds an awful lot like an income redistribution Democrat to me. The Kerry-Clinton ticket is still just a dream for Democrats, and she is already upstaging him.
Now, speaking of upstaging, a new lawsuit challenges a Virginia statute banning nude summer camps for teenagers, saying it violates their constitutional right to privacy. The American Civil Liberties Union sued in federal court to keep the state from shutting down a nude camp for juveniles in late July, proving once again that the ACLU is more interested in defending radical causes than protecting civil liberties.
The group decided to fight the Virginia law, which was passed in March, aimed at banning Camp White Tail for promoting nude camping for children as young as 11 years old. Now, again, the ACLU claimed that the ban on fifth-grade boys running around in a camp naked with nude 18-year-old counselors invited these kiddies‘ right to privacy and association.
No wonder most Americans don‘t take the ACLU seriously anymore. And we are going to have a lot more on this issue tomorrow night on SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. I bet you knew we would.
And for the last week, I have been calling on Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry to rebuke the politics of hate that are being preached by supporters, like Michael Moore. Now, Kerry spoke at a Jesse Jackson conference seeking support from the Rainbow Coalition.
But later, at the same conference, Jesse Jackson compared Republicans to slave traders, saying—quote—“They intend to push the ideology OF The Confederacy and continue to challenge of the vision of the Union.”
What the hell does that mean? And while Kerry supporter Jesse Jackson is suggesting that George Bush supports slavery, another John Kerry supporter, Michael Moore, is making movies that show young children, Iraqi children, supposedly being killed by U.S. troops, who, in the next scene, laugh about listening to heavy metal music while shooting at whatever moves. It‘s politics of hate and it‘s going to backfire on the Democrats if they don‘t do something about it soon.
Meanwhile, in the real world, Iraq took into custody the man responsible for the death of one million Arabs. I asked Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage what the transfer of Saddam Hussein meant to him and to the Iraqi people.
RICHARD ARMITAGE, DEPUTY SECRETARY OF STATE: Can‘t imagine the feeling of satisfaction I have not for myself and not for this government, but for the people of Iraq. As I said, over a million of them, a million people have died at his hands.
There are so many families in Iraq who will finally be able to have resolution to their suffering by this. I think tomorrow is going to be a banner day when these, as I say, 12 bad boys are paraded before an Iraqi judge and hear the charges against them.
SCARBOROUGH: Mr. Secretary, how significant is it historically for this country?
ARMITAGE: I think it‘s significant in two ways.
First of all, and most significantly involved, I think, the prime minister, Iyad Allawi, had a plan to show to the people of Iraq in word and deed right off the bat that Iraq was sovereign. And taking possession of Saddam and these 11 other bad boys I think is a graphic demonstration of that.
Second of all, I think it brings a lot of satisfaction to more than one million families in Iraq to know that they are going to see a process in which those who committed so many terrible crimes are held liable.
SCARBOROUGH: You know, Mr. Secretary, I have been speaking with military men and women over the past year that have been serving in Iraq. I got several e-mails yesterday from them talking about how proud they were about the transfer of power.
And, yet, “The New York Times” called the transfer of sovereignty to this new Iraq government hollow. What is your response?
ARMITAGE: Well, cynicism runs ripe in certain quarters in the United States.
I would have had a different view. And that is that there‘s certain amount of optimism out there now that, one, there‘s a very good sovereign government of Iraq. We are going to be developing partners who will actually fight for their country, where they might not have fought for occupiers. So I take a slightly different view from “The New York Times.”
SCARBOROUGH: There were reports in “The New York Times” and in “The Wall Street Journal” over the past several months that al-Sadr was actually talking to leaders in Iran and may have been getting some of his guidance from them. Any evidence that that‘s the case, that maybe the Iranian government was helping al-Sadr in his efforts to destabilize Iraq and the Shia areas?
ARMITAGE: At one point in time, the Iranians sent a delegation to Baghdad. They spoke with us and our British friends about Muqtada al-Sadr. We informed them that we didn‘t believe they had any role in trying to right that situation.
My understanding is that the Iranians, as a general matter, have come to the belief that Muqtada al-Sadr is actually harmful to what they want to bring about. He is so erratic.
SCARBOROUGH: Mr. Secretary, the top movie in America right now is Michael Moore‘s “Bowling”—not “Bowling For Columbine,” but actually Michael Moore‘s “Fahrenheit 9/11.”
And, in this movie, there are a lot of suggestions that the United States‘ policy is governed by George Bush‘s closeness with the Saudis. I am not going to even get into all the crazy conspiracy theories. But I think the question that most Americans do want to know is whether the Saudis are our friends or our foes in this fight in the war on terror. Where are they right now?
ARMITAGE: First of all, I think I will take the opportunity to note that the beginning of relationship with the kingdom of Saudi Arabia actually started with Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and it has been upheld by every president, Republican or Democrat.
They have—our friend who has up until now been too I think content with their situation in the world to be aggressive with terrorism. However, since May of last year, through the terrible bombings they have suffered, they have developed into a very reliable counterterrorism partner. We do need more help from them on a whole host of other regional issues. But right now, the concentration is on counterterrorism.
SCARBOROUGH: All right, thank you so much, Mr. Secretary. We greatly appreciate it.
ARMITAGE: Thank you, Mr. Scarborough.
SCARBOROUGH: And coming up next, the historic handover in Iraq was far from our first. Think we‘re getting a better batting average than .500 for launching democracies?
Stick around to find out. We‘ve got a lot more coming up straight ahead.
SCARBOROUGH: As all you SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY aficionados know by now, the ACLU is supporting nudist camps for teenagers. We are going to be talking a lot more about that tomorrow tonight.
But stick around, because we‘ve got a lot more SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY straight ahead.
SCARBOROUGH: Boy, that was some shocking video. You mean Saddam Hussein once had a shotgun that he just fired off indiscriminately into the air? I never saw that one before.
With the historic handover this week, SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY viewers are wondering, what is our track record with such events? So here‘s the deal with U.S. military handovers. Of the 13 handovers that America has been a part of, eight countries are now free democracies. Vietnam and Cuba? No, they are communist states still. Haiti is unstable. Afghanistan and Iraq are on their way to free elections.
Of course, Germany and Japan are the two most successful nations we have transformed. And they, in turn, transformed their regions. But we still have a 100,000 troop group of Americans stationed in those countries right now. And our so-called handover of Vietnam, well, that wasn‘t nearly as graceful as MacArthur in Japan.
But America isn‘t the only country to have some difficulty with handovers. Of course, the former leader of the Soviet Union was bullied into handing over Russia by a Moscow mayor known for binge drinking under Moscow bridges. But things worked out A-OK for Russia, Yeltsin and even Gorbachev. And there are many reasons for hope as well in Iraq.
To learn more about U.S. handovers in Iraq and elsewhere, you can log on to MSNBC.com. And if you want to contact me and tell me what a great guy I am or how much you hate watching my show, you can do that, too, at Joe@MSNBC.com. I love hearing from you. Keep those e-mails coming.
And we will see you tomorrow night.
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