Guest: Bob Jensen, Jack Burkman, Sal Severe, Bridget Maher, Ava Cadell, Yale Galanter, Pam Bondi, Marc Klaas
MONICA CROWLEY, GUEST HOST: Scott Peterson has been exposed as a liar and an adulterer, a man who murdered his own wife and unborn child and dumped their bodies in the San Francisco Bay. The defense says his life is worth saving. But if this man doesn‘t deserve the death penalty, who does?
Then, until this week, if you live in the state of Connecticut, you could be prosecuted for child abuse if you used a belt to spank your child. Now a state court says that‘s wrong. A victory for parents‘ rights or a blow to child safety?
And does Zarqawi watch CNN? The Pentagon must think so, because they may be using the news media to win the war. Should the media be used as a tool in the war on terror?
ANNOUNCER: From the press room, to the courtroom, to the halls of Congress, Joe Scarborough has seen it all. Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
CROWLEY: Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. I‘m Monica Crowley, in for Joe.
Scott Peterson murdered his wife and unborn child, dumped them into the San Francisco Bay, and has yet to show remorse. If we don‘t give this cold-blooded murderer the death penalty, then to whom do we give it? That‘s the question tonight on SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
Yesterday, Laci Peterson‘s mother, Sharon Rocha testified, rising from the stand and screaming at her former son-in-law. She wanted to be a mother, she said. That was taken away from her. Divorce was always an option, not murder. Sharon Rocha said, on the first Mother‘s Day after Laci‘s murder that she lay on the floor in a fetal position all day, crying, because her daughter should have been there. She was sobbing on the stand, and so were most of the jurors.
Today, the Peterson‘s were on the stand in their son‘s defense, asking the jury for mercy. Ultimately, 12 jurors will decide life in prison or death by lethal injection. If we don‘t give this cold-blooded killer the death penalty, then to whom do we give it?
Joining me right now, Yale Galanter, attorney for O.J. Simpson, Norm Early, former Denver district attorney, Florida state prosecutor Pam Bondi, and Marc Klaas, the father of Polly Klaas and the founder of Klaas Kids, an organization trying to stop crimes against children.
Nice to see all of you. Welcome.
CROWLEY: Marc Klaas, I want to begin with you, because your family suffered a tragedy just like this, when your daughter Polly was brutally murdered. I want to get your thoughts on the penalty phase in the Peterson trial. Do you think that Scott Peterson deserves to die for what he did?
MARC KLAAS, KLAAS KIDS FOUNDATION: Well, I think, if anybody deserves to die, it would be Scott Peterson. After all, he has engaged in the ultimate betrayal.
He not only betrayed his family bonds and murdered his wife and unborn child, but he let his—he let her family and his family just flail for the next 116 days. We‘re even now seeing the ripple effects of the crime that he committed, as people are begging, people are sobbing, people are going through just extraordinary emotional upheavals.
Listen, this individual is obviously a sociopath. He has absolutely no consideration or respect human life, except for his own. If, in fact, he were to get the death penalty and at some point be led down towards the gurney and have an epiphany and then understand the value of life, I think that alone would justify executing him.
CROWLEY: Marc, the man who murdered your daughter Polly, he was also given the death penalty. Did you support that?
KLAAS: Oh, absolutely. I am very much a believer in the death penalty.
But I think there‘s a couple of things that people have to understand about the death sentence and the death penalty in California. No. 1, there are 629 men currently sitting on death row in a state that has executed 10 individuals in the last 25 years. The great irony of the death penalty in California is that an individual like Richard Allen Davis, who killed Polly, and Scott Peterson, who killed Laci and their unborn son, Conner, will extend their life by decades simply by going on to death row, where they will be in a protected environment, where they will be in a lockdown and where others will not be able to get their hands on them, whereas, if they were to go into a general population, they probably wouldn‘t last a month, as Jeffrey Dahmer didn‘t last a month. They would probably be Dahmered very quickly.
CROWLEY: Yale Galanter, let me go to you, because you represent O.J.
Simpson currently. O.J. Simpson was acquitted of his double homicide case.
But he was found liable in a civic case.
Your thoughts. Do you think that Scott Peterson deserves the death penalty?
YALE GALANTER, ATTORNEY FOR O.J. SIMPSON: No, I don‘t.
You know, unfortunately, men are the most likely candidates to murder their significant others in the country. Other than the high profile of this case and the media spotlight on the case, there‘s really no aggravating circumstances here that would make this case a death penalty case.
CROWLEY: Well, wait a minute. When you say aggravating circumstances, the murder of his wife and also the unborn child. He is convicted of killing two people in this case and also in a premeditated way. Now, if that‘s not an aggravating circumstance, I don‘t know what is.
GALANTER: Well, premeditation in and of itself is not the one aggravating circumstance. All first degree murders involve premeditation.
Then what you have got to do is you have got to look at the aggravators and mitigators. But the fact is, this wasn‘t a stranger-on-stranger crime. This isn‘t somebody walking into a 7/Eleven, killing four or five people. This isn‘t somebody taking a shotgun on a highway shooting people. This isn‘t a Timothy McVeigh, where somebody‘s blowing up a building and 300 or 400 are killed. This isn‘t the World Trade Center bombing. This is not that type of heinous crime.
GALANTER: It‘s a bad crime. It‘s a serious crime, but it‘s definitely not deserving of the death penalty.
CROWLEY: Bad crime, that‘s an understatement. This is a double murder. This is a double murder. And her body was found dismembered. Her torso was found. The unborn child‘s body was also found. So are you trying to suggest perhaps that 3,000 lives on September 11 are somehow different than the loss of these two lives?
GALANTER: Well, no, any loss of life is very significant, but in this case, the jurors found him guilty of first degree murder as to Laci‘s death and second degree murder as to Conner‘s death. So he‘s not even eligible for the death penalty on the second count.
So the real issue is whether or not there are enough aggravating circumstances as to the first count. And the truth of the matter is, is we don‘t even know how he did it. We don‘t know whether it was a heinous crime. We don‘t know enough about the crime, and the prosecution never proved enough about the crime...
CROWLEY: All right, but we do have a conviction. We do have a conviction.
GALANTER: And that‘s all we have. We have no other facts to indicate that this is a death penalty case.
CROWLEY: Well, that‘s pretty significant because now he‘s facing the death penalty.
Norm Early, let me go to you. You are also a defense attorney here.
How do you feel about the death penalty. Does Scott Peterson deserve it?
NORM EARLY, MSNBC ANALYST: I‘m sorry, Monica. I‘ve never been a defense attorney. I was elected district attorney in Denver, Colorado.
CROWLEY: I apologize.
EARLY: And I still keep my prosecutorial leanings.
However, in this case—and it‘s rare that I disagree with Marc. And I find myself more in agreement with Yale. As a prosecutor, we handle many, many cases where women are murdered and they are with child. And in 85 percent to 90 percent of those cases, it is the father of the child who has committed the murder. And the issue here is, what makes this case different from all those other cases? What makes this case different from the ones that happen in crack houses or the barrios or the ghettos of this country?
And in those cases that happen in the barrios, the crack houses and the ghettos, we don‘t ask for the death penalty. Why are we asking for the death penalty under this circumstance? In both cases, you have a parent who is dead, a mother. And you also have an infant who never has given—has taken a breath.
CROWLEY: But isn‘t that a call for the individual prosecutors, then? What you‘re suggesting is that prosecutors in this country should be applying the death penalty standard across the board.
EARLY: And that‘s what defense attorneys do all the time. They hold us based on proportionality to the same standard from one case to the next.
How is it that we justify the death penalty this case when we have not sought the death penalty in other very, very, very similar cases? And I think that‘s a real big issue here.
CROWLEY: Pam Bondi, you are a prosecutor. Is that correct?
PAM BONDI, FLORIDA PROSECUTOR: Yes. I‘m a current prosecutor in Tampa.
CROWLEY: All right.
Why should Scott Peterson get the death penalty?
BONDI: Well, first, let me start off by saying, every prosecutor that I know, especially in my circuit, we all take the death penalty very, very seriously, the gravity of the proceedings.
It‘s the most serious crime there is. And it‘s the most serious prosecution and penalty you can seek. Scott Peterson killed—no, Laci was not a stranger. It was worse. She was his wife, with his unborn child. And I think one of the biggest things the prosecution has going for them are the facts of the case. And that is an aggravator.
The facts of the case, no, he doesn‘t have a prior record, which would be another aggravator. But the facts of this case are so egregious. And what you do under the law is you look at each case individually. And I can tell you, we never, ever, ever determine whether or not to seek the death penalty on someone based on their income, based on the neighborhood they live in.
You look at the heinous facts of this case and why Scott Peterson deserves to get the death penalty. Also, in this case there‘s very, very little mitigation. So far, we have absolutely no remorse. He‘s still not even admitting that he committed the crime. And one of the biggest mitigators for defense attorneys is mental mitigation. And here, they have absolutely none, no mental mitigation in this case.
CROWLEY: They didn‘t even try the insanity defense, Pam. They didn‘t even try to go there.
Marc Klaas, let me go back to you, because what we saw in the courtroom yesterday was really gut-wrenching. Laci Peterson‘s mother, Sharon Rocha, took the stand and at one point stood up and started screaming at Scott Peterson, her former son-in-law. And you just saw two years of outrage and grief and anger come pouring out of this woman, raw emotion on display.
When you see that kind of raw emotion—and you certainly experienced this with the murder of your daughter. And you went through this kind of trial process. Does that kind of raw emotion really affect jurors in the penalty phase? Does it affect their ability to be objective, and should they be objective?
KLAAS: You know, I know that in our situation we went through many of the similar—the very similar process that they‘re going through here, yet it took the jury five days, both in guilt and penalty, to come to a decision.
What I do know, from the victim‘s point of view, is that she has sat through a couple of years now under a gag order, sitting through several months of a trial, listening to this be about Scott, about Scott, about Scott, about Scott, about excuses, about justifications, about trying to wiggle out of the crime that he committed.
And this has been her first public opportunity to vent the anger and frustration and grief that she has felt for all this time. And I think she did an absolutely magnificent job. And of course it‘s going to affect a jury. There‘s no question about that. I wasn‘t there, but I understand that many members of the jury and other members in the courtroom were crying right along with Mrs. Rocha as she recounted her story and displayed her grief for all to see.
CROWLEY: Marc, did you speak in your trial on behalf of your daughter? Did you give a victim impact statement?
KLAAS: Well, I did.
I also took the stand during the penalty phase, and then I did give a victim impact statement. I did something a little bit different from Mrs. Rocha. I didn‘t know Polly‘s killer. He was a predisposed psychopath. Everybody knew that. I addressed no words to him at all until the very end. I wanted to impress the jury, I wanted to impress the judge and I wanted to impress the public at large as to what this meant to my family to lose my daughter, how, at that point, we had not even begun to recover from the devastation, that the ripple effect had affected numerous people in our family and outside of our family.
And only at the very end did I address the killer himself. And I said to him, I hope that when you get to where you‘re going, you say hello to Dahmer, you say hello to Bundy, and you say hello to Hitler.
CROWLEY: Well, good for you. Good for you, Marc. That‘s what I have to say to that.
CROWLEY: Who is speaking to me? Is that Norm or Yale?
CROWLEY: Norm, what do you think about those victim impact statements?
EARLY: Oh, we have fought for years—and I‘ve been involved in the victims movement for many, many years. And we have fought over and over again to give victims and their families the right to electrocute.
We think it‘s very important that when a judge considers what has happened to a family, to a victim, to a community in this case that they have all the input they possibly can have.
But what happened to Marc‘s daughter, Polly, in the world of a prosecutor is far more egregious than what happened under these circumstances. And I‘m not talking about just the heinousness of a crime, because death is death. But under prosecutors‘ resources, we see all the time individuals who have been murdered who are with child.
The issue becomes for a prosecutor, how do you distinguish this case from previous cases? And the fact that the body washed up in the bay and the fact that all these other things occurred in this case do not distinguish from the fact that we‘re dealing with a death, and we‘re dealing with the death of a child and the death of a parent.
CROWLEY: All right, Norm, hold on to that thought, because—hang on because we need to take a quick break.
But we‘re going to have much more of this debate straight ahead.
Don‘t go anywhere.
And, remember, we want to hear from you. Should a man who murdered his pregnant get the death penalty? Shoot us an e-mail to Joe@MSNBC.com.
And coming up, how do you discipline your children? Do you ever spank them? Well, depending on what state you‘re in, you could face charges of child abuse if you do that. We‘ll be debating that later.
Don‘t go anywhere.
CROWLEY: Does Scott Peterson deserve the death penalty? If not, who does?
That debate continues when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns.
CROWLEY: Welcome back to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. I‘m Monica Crowley, in for Joe.
Scott Peterson murdered his pregnant wife, Laci. Will the jury sentence him to death?
I‘m back with my panel, defense attorney Yale Galanter, former Denver district attorney Norm Early, Florida prosecutor Pam Bondi, and Marc Klaas of KlaasKids.org.
Pam, let me go to you, because homicide is the leading cause of death among pregnant women. It seems to be somewhat epidemic here. And what struck me in our previous conversation on this program is that we seem to be putting a greater emphasis on the perpetrator‘s rights than on the victim‘s rights. Will you speak to that?
BONDI: Sure, absolutely.
If you‘re referring to everything in the trial was about Scott Peterson, except, this is a death case, and the defense has the right, I believe, and I think judges give a lot of latitude. They give a lot of discretion to defense attorneys in death penalty cases. And I believe that pretty much all the evidence should come in that the defense wants to get in regarding the victim impact, regarding any type of mitigation, because it is the most serious of crimes.
But that‘s why it‘s so important as well to have the victim impact testimony from Laci‘s family, because, again, this is the first time the jury really got to hear how Sharon Rocha was dealing with this, how her family has to live with this for the rest of their lives. And, yes, everything is focused on the defendant at the trial. Very, very little gets to come in about the victim, about her life.
And this is the time when the jury gets to hear it. And the victim impact testimony, what that demonstrates to the jury—and the judge will tell the jurors this—is, it demonstrates the victim‘s uniqueness and what makes her—made her so important to the community, why she was such a special person to her family. And, again, I‘m so glad Norm has fought for victims‘ rights and victim impact statements to come in, because that is such a tremendous, tremendous thing for the jury to get to hear. It‘s very powerful.
As we heard, the jurors were all crying. And I think they could really appreciate what this family was going through and more about really what Laci was about.
CROWLEY: You know, Yale Galanter, it was really striking to me to hear you and Norm oppose the death penalty, particularly in this case. I am for it. I do believe Scott Peterson should die for what he did to Laci and his unborn son.
But what was striking in your comments—and you can tell me I‘m wrong in my interpretation—and Norm‘s comments as well is that you seem to be suggesting, well, it‘s only a pregnant woman and her child, and that there are other kinds of circumstances where we should be applying the death penalty and not particularly in this one.
Am I wrong to see your comments that way?
GALANTER: Here‘s where you‘re wrong, Monica.
Your emotion and your decision for wanting the death penalty in this case is based on everything you‘ve heard in the media, all the coverage in the case and the emotion of the case. Sharon Rocha‘s comments to that jury were very emotional. They do have an impact. And what Pam said is absolutely correct.
On the other hand, what Norm said is also correct. The death penalty should only be based on fact. It shouldn‘t be based on emotion. And our country, Redwood City, the media has put such a spotlight on this case that everybody‘s emotions are running very, very high.
CROWLEY: But shouldn‘t they be running high, Yale, in a case like this?
GALANTER: Hold on, Monica.
We have decided as a society that not all murders deserve the death penalty. Only the most heinous, egregious murders deserve the death penalty. We don‘t even know how Scott Peterson killed Laci. When the prosecutors put their theory in front of this jury, they said to this jury, it‘s either strangulation, suffocation. We don‘t know. We don‘t know those aggravators. We don‘t know if he chopped her up or if he strangled her or if he killed her while she was sleeping.
CROWLEY: But, Yale, isn‘t that all irrelevant at this point, because the prosecution was able to get a conviction with the limited amount of evidence that they were able to put in front of that jury.
GALANTER: It‘s not irrelevant, because, unfortunately, as everyone else on the panel has said, in our cities, this occurs every day.
The only thing that makes this particular crime unique is that the cameras and the microphones and the media spotlight is on it. This is not an unusual homicide, Monica. I wish I could tell you it was, but it‘s not. I was a prosecutor for five years. I‘ve been a defense lawyer for 20 years. This is very commonplace. You can walk into any courthouse in America where they practice criminal trial law and you will see this going on all the time.
CROWLEY: But what you guys seem to be suggesting, you and Norm—and, Norm, let me address this to you.
CROWLEY: Is that one life is worth more than another, that somehow one murder is worth more than another, and that we‘re applying the death penalty sort of in a scattershot way. Maybe that‘s the problem.
CROWLEY: Let Norm respond.
EARLY: That‘s the essence of the problem, Monica.
We must treat similarly situated defendants in the same fashion. And we must do regardless of the victim in the case. Now, if in every case where there is a child in a mother‘s womb and there is a murder, if, in every one of those cases, the death penalty is being sought, so be it. Then that‘s what the standard is. But why select one case over another?
There must be consistency within our criminal justice system.
I think Scott Peterson is not a very nice person. As a matter of fact, I think he is scum. I think that he probably deserves every single thing he gets. And if the standard in this country is going to be that when a husband or father kills a wife who is pregnant, he shall be put to death, then that‘s what the standard should be.
But it has not been the standard up to this point. And how do you distinguish this case from all the rest of the cases where it has not been the standard? That‘s the problem.
CROWLEY: Marc Klaas, let me go to you, Marc.
CROWLEY: Because you obviously experienced this with the brutal murder of your daughter. And what I have found in taking a look at some of this research is that juries that vote for the death penalty do it not necessarily as punishment against the perpetrator, but they do it out of a fear that that killer is going to end up back on the street somehow, that they don‘t necessarily buy life without parole. They don‘t believe that life without parole really means life without parole.
Have you found that in your experience?
KLAAS: Well, that‘s absolutely correct.
You will have anti-death penalty proponents say that we summarily execute innocent people. But the reality is, is that we can prove that individuals who have been on death row have been released back on to society, only to be put back on death row for subsequent crimes and ultimately convicted.
That happened in one of the 10 cases that occurred in California over the course of the past 25 years. The criminal justice system in America is rarely what it claims to be. Nobody that is sentenced to death, or only 10 percent of those sentenced to death are executed. Individuals that are sentenced to life without parole oftentimes find themselves back on the streets in 20 or 30 years.
A life sentence generally means 20 years. A 10-year sentence, if it‘s a nonviolent sentence, means somebody will be out in five. And oftentimes, people are sentenced to prison and then probated and never spending a day in prison. So people are absolutely correct in understanding that a death sentence in the United States is nothing more than another layer of protection between us and the bad guy.
BONDI: And, Monica, that frequently comes up in jury selection. In almost every death case I‘ve prosecuted, in jury selection, you have a potential juror raise their hand and say, you know, does life really mean life? They‘re always concerned that a defendant will get out eventually, even if they are sentenced to life in prison.
And judges make it clear to juries that life does mean life. But it‘s always in the back of their mind. I think they‘re always concerned about that, that a defendant will get out.
CROWLEY: All right, finally I want to do a round-robin here and ask each one of you what you think this jury is going to do, life or death.
Pam, to you first.
BONDI: Well, I hope, based on the aggravating circumstances and the very, very little mitigation that the defense has presented, that it will be a death recommendation. I think all 12 jurors, I think once we got this final cohesive group of jurors, I think that they really bonded and I think they believe the prosecution theory. They came back guilty as charged. And I think they‘re going to come back with a death recommendation.
CROWLEY: Yale Galanter, what do you think?
GALANTER: I think the primary mitigating factor in California is lingering doubt. I think the jury is going to recommend a life sentence and come back with life based on the lingering doubt. This jury struggled. It wasn‘t until after Judge Delucchi excused the two jurors who wanted to hold everything up that they came to the verdict. I think it‘s definitely a life sentence.
CROWLEY: Norm Early, life or death for Scott?
EARLY: I think the 12 people who eventually decided this case had no lingering doubt. They came to the conclusion very, very quickly. They felt that he was guilty of first degree murder. And I think that it‘s quite probable that they will, in fact, give him the death penalty.
CROWLEY: Marc Klaas?
KLAAS: I agree with Norm.
But I would defer to Mrs. Rocha. I think that whatever she wants and considers justice in this case is the justice that should be served.
CROWLEY: Yale Galanter, Norm Early, Pam Bondi, and Marc Klaas, thank you all so much for joining us in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY tonight.
Up next, a Connecticut court says it‘s OK to spank your kids, even if you leave a bruise. Is this a victory for parents‘ rights or does a Connecticut judge deserve a time-out?
Then, it‘s the administration‘s newest ally in the war on terror, the mainstream media. We‘ll tell you how CNN helped fool terrorists in Fallujah.
Stay with us.
CROWLEY: Is spanking an acceptable form of discipline or is it child abuse? That debate in just a minute.
But, first, let‘s 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.
CROWLEY: Welcome back to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. I‘m Monica Crowley, sitting in for Joe tonight.
Do you have kids? Do you spank them? Is it OK to spank them? Once a common practice, spanking has since fallen out of favor among the progressive parents of today. Or has it? In a rather stunning decision on Monday, an appellate court in Connecticut ruled that state law allows a parent or a guardian to use—quote—“reasonable physical force to maintain discipline.”
Here to talk about this incendiary issue are Dr. Sal Severe, a school psychologist and the author of “How to Behave So Your Children Will, Too!” Bridget Maher from the Family Research Council, and certified sex therapist Dr. Ava Cadell.
Welcome, everyone. Nice to see you. Thank you for being here
BRIDGET MAHER, FAMILY RESEARCH COUNCIL: Thank you.
AVA CADELL, CERTIFIED SEX THERAPIST: Thank you.
SAL SEVERE, AUTHOR, “HOW TO BEHAVE SO YOUR CHILDREN WILL, TOO!”:
CROWLEY: All right, Bridget, let me start with you.
In the Connecticut ruling that came down this week, the court said that the State Department of Children and Families can no longer place a parent on the child abuse and neglect registry just because bruises may be visible on that child.
Here‘s the quote from the court: “If we were to adopt the statutory interpretation urged by the Department of Children and Families, the mere application of a parent‘s hand to a child‘s backside that results in even minimal bruising would, as a matter of law, require a finding of physical abuse. We do not believe that the legislature intended such a result.”
Well, this seems like a giant victory for common sense, Bridget. What do you think?
MAHER: This is definitely a victory for parents, because parents should be able to decide what forms of discipline they want to use on their children. And normal spanking is not child abuse. Parents can lovingly and responsibly spank their children without injuring them.
CROWLEY: Dr. Sal Severe, let me go to you, because the court did find in its ruling, and they used the word reasonable. Reasonable physical force may be used on a child. So we‘re not talking about physical abuse here. We‘re just talking about a moderate spanking or two to discipline the child. Isn‘t that right?
SEVERE: Well, yes.
I certainly believe that parents have the right to discipline their children. But I would guess that, if it‘s leaving marks, bruises of some kind, then maybe the parent has gone a little bit too far. And that‘s the issue I would have with this ruling, absolutely.
CROWLEY: Dr. Ava Cadell, you are a certified sex therapist. Do you have a problem with spanking on some sort of psychosexual basis?
CADELL: Well, I do.
First of all, I think it‘s wrong to teach children that violence is the way to sort out a problem. It‘s not the solution to any problem. But I do have patients who were spanked as children, and it has resulted in some sexual proclivities, including sadomasochism, bondage and pain...
CROWLEY: But, you know, Dr. Cadell, I really think that in those cases, there are some other intervening variables going on here, because most American children, I think, are spanked or disciplined physically in some way, shape or form, and certainly the majority of them do not grow up to have those kinds of psychosexual problems that you‘re talking about.
CADELL: Well, I don‘t think that most children are spanked, not today in the new millennium.
I think that the smart parents, the ones who are educated, who can control their anger, communicate to their children. They reward their children for good behavior, and then they take away things that the kids enjoy when they‘re misbehaving.
MAHER: The fact is, though, that most parents approve of spanking. They think it‘s an effective form of discipline, and they think it can be used right as long as it‘s administered in a loving, controlled manner.
CADELL: How can spanking be administered in a loving, controlled manner?
CROWLEY: Hang on. Hold on.
CROWLEY: Because I want to raise a fantastic quote, because this comes from Dr. James Dobson of Focus on the Family.
And he says—quote—“In those situations when the child fully understands what he is being asked to do, but refuses to yield to adult leadership, an appropriate spanking is the shortest and most effective route to an attitude adjustment. A boy or girl who knows that love abounds at home will not resent a well-deserved spanking. One who is unloved or ignored will hate any form of discipline.”
So, Dr. Cadell—and, Dr. Severe, I want you to address this as well.
CROWLEY: But let me go to Dr. Cadell first.
If a child knows that they‘re surrounded by love in the home and that this form of discipline is done with love because they are trying to restrain the child or modify the child‘s behavior, what‘s wrong with that?
CADELL: Well, the problem is that violence promotes more violence.
And it‘s letting the child know that it‘s OK to hit another child, or when they grow up to hit their spouse. I mean, the problem is there are no boundaries. A little tap on the butt to one family might be adequate, whereas to someone else it could be a huge, you know, bruise and a beating. And so I think that just should be eliminated.
MAHER: But that‘s not spanking.
CROWLEY: But that‘s not spanking. That‘s crossing the line into abuse.
SEVERE: That‘s correct. There‘s a big difference.
MAHER: That‘s beating a child. That‘s not spanking.
CADELL: I know. But people don‘t—there are no boundaries today. I mean, somebody can spank someone lightly. Somebody else can spank them hard.
CROWLEY: All right, Dr. Severe, let me go to you.
CROWLEY: Because it seems like with these progressive parents today, they put the child in the corner. They call it time-out. Time-out doesn‘t seem to be cutting it in a lot of these cases, because young children don‘t understand it. Older children don‘t respect it.
So isn‘t there room here for some sort of more aggressive disciplinary action?
SEVERE: Well, not in my opinion.
And I want to comment on something that was said earlier. I‘ve been working with parents for about 30 years, and there are far fewer parents today who use spanking than when I first started in this business. I do think the time-out, using consequences, are very good alternative forms of punishment that teach more of a lesson. The bottom line is this, Monica.
Why do you want your children to behave? Do you want them to behave because it‘s the right thing to do and you want them to have good self-esteem, promoting self-control and self-management, or do you want them to behave because they‘re afraid if they don‘t they get in trouble? So the problem with spanking, not only does it emulate violence or certainly it emulate hitting. Adults are not allowed to hit other adults. Why should they be allowed to hit children?
The other point is that when children are spanked, they often lose self-esteem, because they feel that they‘re unworthy of their parents‘ love. So, Dr. Dobson‘s quote, part of that‘s very accurate. In a loving, supportive environment, children are more understanding of punishment. But I don‘t think that it needs to be corporal punishment.
And this is an issue that will always be debated, because corporal punishment, unlike any other issue in parenting, it really sits on the fence between a child‘s rights and the parents‘ rights. So it will always be debated.
CROWLEY: Bridget, what about the parents‘ rights to exercise reasonable authority over their children? This discussion really centers on the children‘s rights, but what about the parents‘ rights to discipline their children in a reasonable way?
MAHER: Definitely. Parents should be able to decide what form of discipline is appropriate.
And in most cases, parents use verbal discipline or time-outs or grounding first. But they may have a very willfully disobedient or defiant child and spanking may be their last resort. Parents should be able to use this as they see fit. And by spanking, I just mean one or two swipes on the buttocks, you know, just enough to make them feel minor pain, not to injure them, but just enough to get their attention, so that the child can see what they‘ve done to misbehave.
CROWLEY: You know, I am so proud of this court in Connecticut because cases like this really are a distraction. It takes time and resources away from the real child abuse cases, because we‘re stuck investigating these kinds of things, which are nonsensical, and the real abuse cases get cut short shrift.
Dr. Severe, Bridget, Dr. Cadell, thank you so much for joining us tonight.
Coming up next in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, is CNN the most trusted name in news for Middle Eastern terrorists? The Pentagon must think so. Stick around and we‘ll tell you why.
ANNOUNCER: Tonight‘s SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY challenge: Which famous anchor did Tom Brokaw replace on “The Today Show” in 1976? Is it, A, Roger Mudd, B, Barbara Walters, or, C, Diane Sawyer? The answer co up.
ANNOUNCER: In tonight‘s SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY challenge, we asked:
Which famous anchor did Tom Brokaw replace on “The Today Show” in 1976?
The answer is B. Brokaw anchored “The Today Show” from 1976 to 1981, before moving on to “Nightly News” in 1983.
Now here‘s Monica.
CROWLEY: Should the Pentagon use the media to win the war on terror?
On October 14, Wolf Blitzer told his CNN audience—quote—“There‘s a major U.S.-Iraqi military offensive in Fallujah under way right now. We‘re standing by for a full report.”
He then went to a Marine lieutenant in Fallujah, who reported—quote
· “Troops crossed the line of departure. We had artillery fire, prep fire going out. Aircraft had been moving through the area all day, helicopters providing transport. There‘s definitely an effort under way. It‘s going to be a long night.”
The only problem, it wasn‘t exactly true. The real invasion was three weeks away. And “The L.A. Times” suggests in a report this week that the report was used to find out how terrorists would react to the real invasion of Fallujah.
Joining me now to discuss if that‘s a good strategy or just proof that the Bush administration is lying about the war on terror, Republican strategist Jack Burkman and University of Texas journalism professor Bob Jensen.
Gentlemen, welcome. Nice to see you.
JACK BURKMAN, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Monica, good evening.
CROWLEY: Well, a senior Bush administration official told “The Los Angeles Times”—quote—“Information is part of the battlefield in a way that it‘s never been before. We‘d be foolish not to try to use it to our advantage.”
So, Professor Jensen, deliberately planting disinformation to confuse the enemy seems so obviously a good idea, seems so obviously to be common sense in wartime. What‘s your problem with that?
DR. BOB JENSEN, UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS: Well, first of all, we should recognize that the military lies all the time. Militaries from every country lie. I don‘t think anybody‘s shocked about this.
What we‘re talking about, though, is a systematic policy of using the mainstream media, which of course not only goes out to the enemy. It‘s not only a communication that the enemy will hear. It‘s what the U.S. public will hear. And that‘s what the problem is. Should the U.S. military be systematically involved in trying to deceive the U.S. public as well, which is a product of this?
Now, again, I think we shouldn‘t be shocked. The U.S. military, both before, after, during the Iraq war, put out false information to try and build support for the war. That‘s what militaries do. That‘s what governments do. We might remember the famous I.F. Stone line. Governments lie. They do that to consolidate their power.
So I think the question is, should we sort of give this the stamp of approval? And I think the answer is no.
CROWLEY: Hold on, Jack, one second.
Professor, but spreading disinformation that‘s not geared toward the American public. It‘s geared to the enemy. And in this case with the Fallujah offensive, we were spreading disinformation to see how the enemy would react, meaning that that was designed to save American lives. What‘s wrong with that?
JENSEN: Well, first of all, you have to ask a fundamental question, which is, is the military engagement the U.S. engaged in a fundamentally moral and legal war? And that‘s a question we might want to take up.
But, beyond that, I think we should distinguish between three kinds of disinformation or psyops. There‘s a lot of traditional psyops aimed at the enemy on the battlefield to undermine their morale.
JENSEN: Well, let me finish.
BURKMAN: There‘s an issue as to what—the issue is what Monica posed. You didn‘t answer it, whether you‘re deceiving the American public or whether you‘re just doing it to save lives.
BURKMAN: If it was done in a tactical situation to save lives, it‘s a very different story.
Look, I‘m sure our friend Wolf Blitzer is probably miffed over this. He‘s probably miffed that he was a tool. But, look, any time this is done to save lives, it‘s certainly morally justifiable. And, no, you don‘t get into the broader question of whether the overall war is justifiable. That‘s a completely different issue.
JENSEN: No, of course you get into it if you have any moral sensibilities.
Every nation that goes to war claims it‘s engaged in a moral effort, but it‘s the job of the news media to evaluate that. And I think it‘s a separate question, but it is not one we should dismiss.
BURKMAN: Let‘s say this didn‘t happen and let‘s say 1,000 men died because of that. Would you prefer that alternative?
JENSEN: Well, first of all, that‘s a false alternative, because you can‘t predict that.
BURKMAN: But I mean were that the case.
CROWLEY: All right, wait. Wait. Guys, one at a time here.
Jack, I want to you address a very important question here, because a former deputy chief of public affairs for the U.S. Army who served in Baghdad just wrote this: “Propaganda permeates our society, especially in election years. So if we don‘t harness it in wartime, it isn‘t because we don‘t know how. We understand how to influence behavior as an art form and we do it damn well.”
My question to you, Jack, is, the enemy certainly uses all of its media outlets, Al-Jazeera, the official Palestinian media, Al-Arabiya, the Internet. They use all of their media outlets. Why shouldn‘t we be using ours to get our message across?
BURKMAN: You pose exactly the right question.
There‘s no reason why we shouldn‘t. If you go back to things like D-Day, in many cases, the press didn‘t even know for several days. If you go back to the battle of Gettysburg, this is an American tradition. This has gone on for a long time. Think of the thousands of and tens of thousands of people who would have died at D-Day if information had got out.
Look, the media has unprecedented access. We‘ve gone so far as to have embeds. Most of the world probably looks at that and says, imagine a society that‘s so open, they have reporters and lawyers following around the troops. And now the media complains.
And, again, I‘m sure CNN‘s not happy about the fact they were duped and used as a tool. But the media—now the media complains that they don‘t have total access and they don‘t have total information. Part of the issue, Monica, getting into the—the media elites in this country have regarded themselves first as journalists and then as Americans for a long time.
There were issues with Reuters. There were issues with ABC News over using the word terrorist because they called it an emotionally charged American term. It‘s about time the media is doing what the public wants and doing what market forces want. And first you‘re an American helping your country. Then you‘re a journalist. That should be the order of priority.
CROWLEY: Professor Jensen, we are dealing with a very unconventional enemy here, an enemy that cannot be deterred, an enemy that wants to die for its cause and kill as many of us in doing that.
So, how do even out the playing field here? If the enemy is using all of those media outlets, how do we even up that playing field?
JENSEN: Well, first of all, I think you‘re wrong in claiming that stations like Al-Jazeera are enemy outlets. They‘re not. They‘re independent stations that report...
CROWLEY: Oh, you can‘t claim that Al-Jazeera is not a tool of al Qaeda.
JENSEN: Of course I can claim, because they‘re an independent channel which does report the news from an Arab perspective.
JENSEN: But I think you could ask the same kind of question you just posed about the enemy about the U.S. empire, about the U.S. military, which is furthering, not from my point of view a war to liberate Iraq, but a war to extend and deepen American control.
Now, the U.S. media should be asking critical questions about that as well. I think the claim that the U.S. journalists should be Americans first and journalists second confuses the role of media. It also confuses what should be the role of a citizen, which is not to accept government policy, but to scrutinize government policy.
And if one comes to the conclusion, as I think reasonable people would, that the U.S. invasion of Iraq is illegal—I would also argue it‘s immoral—and that it is a war designed to further American imperial designs in the Middle East, not to liberate Iraq or deal with what are of course now fictional rationalizations about weapons and terrorist ties, I think those are the relevant roles of the media.
Listen, I‘m not going to defend the media too much.
CROWLEY: All right, hold on to your thoughts, though, because we have to take a quick break.
And, Jack, I‘m going to let you respond when we come back.
Is all fair in love, war and propaganda? We‘re going to back with our final thoughts. Don‘t go away.
CROWLEY: Tomorrow night in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, did a federally funded abstinence program lie to kids about the facts of life?
More SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY ahead.
CROWLEY: Welcome back.
Jack Burkman, one final question for you.
Where would you draw the line in terms of using the media to get our message out?
BURKMAN: I think just where you did before, Monica.
If you‘re deceiving the American people, for instance, if lying about a number of casualties. If they say 10,000 were killed and 20,000 were killed, I think that should not be done. But anything in a tactical situation to save lives I think should be done.
I would ask the professor this. And I‘ve not yet heard an answer. If deaths would have resulted, if 1,000 deaths or 500 deaths would have resulted from the truthful release of information in the CNN situation, assuming, arguendo, that‘s the case, would you still support the position you do?
CROWLEY: Professor, quickly, yes or no?
But I also would not support—I would support actions that stop the killing of Iraqi civilians, for instance, which is another issue we haven‘t had time to discuss, but which the U.S. media and military might have something to say about as well.
CROWLEY: All right, gentlemen, thank you both so much.
Jack Burkman, Robert Jensen, thanks for your time tonight.
And thank you for watching. I will see you tomorrow night.
“HARDBALL WITH CHRIS MATTHEWS” up next.
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