Guest: Michael Brown, Katrina Vanden Heuvel, Kellyanne Conway, Dorinda Bordlee, Holly McClure, Bob Kohn, Paul Levinson
JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST: Tonight‘s top headline, news flash: CBS News still hasn‘t fired the executives responsible for the Dan Rather Memo-gate scandal.
Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, where no passport is required and only common sense is allowed.
Dan Rather is stepping down in three weeks, but the other top producers implicated in the scandal are still there. What is CBS President Les Moonves waiting for?
And Chris Rock‘s controversial comments just weeks before he is scheduled to host the Oscars. There‘s no outcry for his bigoted statements. Is that just liberal hypocrisy or something else?
Jimmy Carter is getting a nuclear submarine named after him. And, friends, I have got issues with that.
ANNOUNCER: From the press room, to the courtroom, to the halls of Congress, Joe Scarborough has seen it all. Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
SCARBOROUGH: So, tonight, there‘s new information about the scandal over at CBS News on the report on President Bush in the National Guard service.
And there‘s word in today‘s “New York Observer” newspaper that more than one month after Dan Rather‘s network delivered its mea culpa, the key people responsible for the scandal are still at CBS News. And you know what else, friends? They are still getting paychecks.
Now, you‘ve got to remember, this all began last September 8, two months before the presidential election, when “60 Minutes” aired a report on how George Bush had tried to avoid service in the National Guard. And within hours, bloggers had discredited the story, and CBS knew it was in big trouble. But Dan Rather and the brass at CBS News spent the next 12 days stonewalling, still clearly in denial.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAN RATHER, CBS NEWS: Today, on the Internet and elsewhere, some people, including many who are partisan political operatives, concentrated not on the key questions of the overall story, but on the documents that were part of the support of the story.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: “Today, on the Internet and elsewhere.” Whatever.
Dan Rather finally apologized almost two weeks later, and CBS launched an investigation. Now, on January 10, the independent inquiry resulted in a 224-page indictment of that story and of CBS News. But now we learn, almost six months after that story aired, the key CBS employees involved in this scandal still have their jobs.
Now, in three weeks, on March 9, Dan Rather is going to sign off from his anchor chair for the last time. With us now to talk about the latest implosion at CBS are Bob Kohn. He‘s the author of “Journalistic Fraud: How The New York Times Distorts the News and Why It Can No Longer Be Trusted.” And we also have Paul Levinson. He‘s the director of media studies at Fordham University.
Gentlemen, thank you for being with us.
BOB KOHN, AUTHOR, “JOURNALISTIC FRAUD”: Sure.
SCARBOROUGH: Bob Kohn, CBS conducts an investigation. After the internal investigation comes back, they are told to get rid of four people. They fire one. They keep three, ask them politely to resign. Those people are still there. Now, you and I both know, if GM had done this, if Exxon had done this, if Enron had done this, if Microsoft had done this, and refused to fire the people that were told to be fired in an internal investigation, CBS, “60 Minutes” would scald them alive. What‘s going on here?
KOHN: Well, if any of those corporations did this, the CEOs would be gone from those corporations. That would mean Les Moonves, I think, or Andrew Heyward, who is the president of CBS News.
But I think what is going today with Josh Howard, one of the CBS employees who has refused to resign. He was asked to resign and refused. Well, either he is sincerely trying to clear his name and reputation or it‘s all about his package. I should say severance package, that is, how much you pay off a former employee or an employee to keep their mouth shut after they leave. Now, “The New York Times...”
SCARBOROUGH: Wait. Wait a second. Hold on a second, Bob, though.
This shouldn‘t be about this guy deciding when he is going to leave.
SCARBOROUGH: They had an independent inquiry. The independent inquiry said there were four people responsible for this scandal, responsible for smearing the president 50 days before an election.
SCARBOROUGH: And CBS is allowing the employee that put that on the air to decide his severance package and when he is going to leave? What don‘t I get about that?
Well, they are also looking at the legal issues here. And we don‘t—we haven‘t seen the contracts that Josh Howard or any of these other employees have with CBS. They might be concerned about breach of contract. And if they got breach of contract, they get a lawsuit. With a lawsuit, you get depositions. You get to look at the e-mails, and this whole thing falls apart.
So, CBS management has to be careful in how they let these employees go. Ideally...
SCARBOROUGH: Because, if they upset these—they upset these employees, and all of a sudden, you have a lawsuit, and you get to see the e-mail trail, then you will find out that CBS is lying about it.
SCARBOROUGH: You find out that maybe Andy Heyward knew a lot more about the story.
SCARBOROUGH: You find out that actually Dan Rather knew a lot more about the story.
SCARBOROUGH: You find out that people going to the very top of CBS News and CBS Inc. lied to the American people. Come on. That‘s really what‘s going on here, isn‘t it?
KOHN: That‘s exactly right, because it‘s not going to be the journalists now or the bloggers trying to find out what the truth is. It‘s going to be lawyers who are going to be finding out.
And you know what? That independent investigation, when they had all of those meetings at CBS, they didn‘t have any transcript of those meetings. It wasn‘t recorded. It wasn‘t videotaped. They didn‘t have a court stenographer there. It was all handwritten notes, so we really don‘t know what the truth is. And until this lawsuit occurs, we won‘t know.
SCARBOROUGH: Professor Levinson...
SCARBOROUGH: Professor Levinson, let me ask you to respond.
PAUL LEVINSON, DIRECTOR OF MEDIA STUDIES, FORDHAM UNIVERSITY: Sure.
SCARBOROUGH: To the point I made earlier.
SCARBOROUGH: Let‘s say, for instance, Microsoft had a lawsuit...
LEVINSON: Well, let me...
SCARBOROUGH: Hold on a second.
Microsoft had a lawsuit against them. They were told to get an internal investigation started up to find out what happened. They conduct an internal investigation. It comes back that they should fire three or four of their employees, and Microsoft refuses. What would CBS, NBC, ABC, and other news outlets do to that big corporation?
LEVINSON: Well, let me give you a real example, rather than a hypothetical example.
You know, the 1968 election was between Richard Nixon and Hubert Humphrey. And a little bit before the election, Drew Pearson, a very well-respected columnist, found out that Nixon had been seeing a psychiatrist over many years. And Drew Pearson didn‘t quite have as much testimony and explicit proof of that as he wanted, so he held up on the story until after the election. It turned out the story was true.
It turned out that Richard Nixon was elected president. And guess what? Most historians now agree that part of Nixon‘s problem as president, which led to Watergate, is he in many ways was psychologically unfit to be president.
SCARBOROUGH: Professor, what does that have to do with my question?
What does that have to do with my question?
LEVINSON: Well, what it has to do with your question is, your approach to CBS is to assume that they are completely wrong, that they lied to the American people.
SCARBOROUGH: It‘s a forged document.
LEVINSON: The document may be forged, but we don‘t know whether the story is true or not. Are you interested in whether the story is true?
SCARBOROUGH: Wait. Wait. Hold on a second. So you are actually going back to the beginning and you are actually saying that this story may end up being true?
SCARBOROUGH: You sound like Dan Rather.
SCARBOROUGH: You go to cocktail parties with Dan Rather on the Upper West Side of Manhattan?
LEVINSON: I am flattered that you think I sound like Dan Rather, because Dan Rather has been a great journalist.
And the fact is, we don‘t know whether the story is true or not to this day. The report that mentioned...
SCARBOROUGH: Bob, we have got to go back to the beginning, Bob Kohn.
KOHN: Right. Exactly.
SCARBOROUGH: ... true or not.
KOHN: Joe, I think if Paul is making—Joe, if Paul is making any point at all, it‘s that the cover-up is more important than what originally happened.
We know that Mary Mapes and Dan Rather, they were politically motivated to get out and to believe these memos were true documents, OK? But I think that‘s beside the point. What has happened today is really Josh Howard‘s complaint about what happened in the 12 days after the story broke and after everyone realized these were forged documents. I don‘t think we can go back to square one. These were forged documents. Everybody knows it.
LEVINSON: Yes. Excuse me. The issue...
KOHN: What is important here is, Josh Howard has to clear his reputation.
LEVINSON: Well, the issue is not whether they were forged documents.
That‘s just one of the issues.
The ultimate issue is whether the story is true or not, and I think the American people are interested in that.
KOHN: Look, without the documents, there‘s no story.
LEVINSON: No. There was a witness who said that the documents...
KOHN: That‘s all conjecture.
SCARBOROUGH: Hold on a second. Hold on a second, guys.
Professor, I am interested in the truth.
SCARBOROUGH: And I would like you to answer my question.
LEVINSON: OK. I will.
SCARBOROUGH: Let‘s say—let‘s say that Microsoft or General Electric or—the parent companies of this network. Let‘s say those two corporations were involved in a scandal. They decided to have an internal investigation to figure out who was responsible. And three, four five executives were cited.
Let‘s say these two corporations decided, the heck with it, we don‘t care what the internal investigation says. We are not going to fire them. You and I both know that CBS, “60 Minutes,” NBC, ABC would rip them apart. Why should it be any different for big media than it is for other big corporations?
LEVINSON: Good question. I will answer you.
CBS, like all other media, is trying to report the truth to the American people. They and their reporters...
SCARBOROUGH: How do you know that?
LEVINSON: ... may make mistakes. Well...
SCARBOROUGH: How do you know that?
LEVINSON: How do I know that? Because I have been watching CBS for 40 years, and this is the first time where there‘s ever been an allegation that they haven‘t reported the truth in a major way.
KOHN: No, it‘s the first time they got caught.
LEVINSON: Let me finish. Well, you know that. I don‘t.
I don‘t know that there‘s any other time that anything like this has happened. And so I think it‘s completely appropriate that, when you want to encourage...
SCARBOROUGH: Why don‘t they fire the four employees?
LEVINSON: I will tell you why.
Because there are two kinds of errors that a journalist can make. One is publishing a story that is false. The other is sitting on a story that is true. And CBS is right to be very careful about not making either kind of mistake. And to just wholesale fire people is not always the best answer.
KOHN: That‘s not the issue.
SCARBOROUGH: All right, gentlemen.
LEVINSON: Well, I think it is the issue.
SCARBOROUGH: OK. We are going to have to leave it right there.
The bottom line is this, friends. I promise you, if—Bob Kohn and Paul Levinson, we appreciate you being here.
But, friends, I promise you this. If any other big corporation in America, be it Exxon or Enron or Microsoft, had an internal investigation, we are told by those that they called to conduct the internal investigation to fire four people, they didn‘t fire those four, the media would be all over them.
But for big media, there‘s hypocrisy. Look, why am I telling you that? You know that. But big media doesn‘t know that. So, if you are listening tonight, CBS News, this is why middle America hates big media. Play by the rules that you try to make others play by.
Now, coming up next, is the liberal elite protecting Chris Rock? You would think his Oscar comments would have the left furious. So, why don‘t they?
And coming up, he gutted the military. So why does a submarine get the name Jimmy Carter? I have got big issues with that coming up.
SCARBOROUGH: So, why didn‘t Chris Rock‘s outrageous Oscar comments offend the liberal elite? It‘s just another example of their incredible hypocrisy.
That story coming up next.
SCARBOROUGH: So, did you hear the one about the white comedian who said black men in New York scared him more than Osama bin Laden? It‘s time for tonight‘s “Real Deal.”
You know what? You probably didn‘t hear that racist jokester who said that young men who were black were a greater threat to national security than al Qaeda. That‘s because no white comedian ever said it. But the man selected to host the Oscars, Chris Rock, has been quoted in recent days as saying he is more frightened of white men wearing flags on their hats than al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden.
Now, when Rock says it, everybody laughs. That‘s because Americans have been conditioned to be repulsed by bigotry, except when the bigots are black. For those who would say that Chris Rock should be able to compare white men with Osama bin Laden because he is a comedian, well, ask yourself this question. What would the P.C. police and media elite do in Hollywood if a white comic compared black males to radical terrorists who killed 3,000 Americans?
You know the answer to that. Don‘t pretend you don‘t. Not only would that entertainer be banned from the Oscar ceremony. He would also be out of work for the rest of his life. Now, friends, don‘t even think this is about Chris Rock being a racist. It‘s about America having a double standard when it comes to the issue of race.
If so-called civil rights leaders like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton want equal rights for all, then they need to walk the talk—walk the walk and then they need to talk the talk. And when somebody like Chris Rock makes a racist statement aimed at another race, these so-called civil rights leaders should be just as critical of Chris Rock as they would a bigot who is not black. And that‘s tonight‘s “Real Deal.”
Now, why aren‘t Chris Rock‘s comments about the Oscars getting criticism from the liberal elite? Hey, here‘s some more of what he has been quoted as saying—quote—“I never watch the Oscars. What straight, black man sits there and watches the Oscars? Show me one.”
So, let‘s get this straight. This is the same guy who fired off more than 35 F-words per minute in a recent performance. He said that abortion is beautiful. And he also said that white men, again, were a bigger threat than al Qaeda. Now, he is going to be coming to our homes on February 27 to present the Academy Awards. Should he be hosting the shows? Is there liberal hypocrisy out there?
With us to debate this issue, we have got the following guests, Holly McClure. She‘s entertainment critic for the Christian Broadcasting Network. And we also have Dorinda Bordlee. She‘s an attorney for Americans United For Life.
Let‘s begin with you, Holly McClure.
Chris Rock says abortion is beautiful. What would happen if there were a guest—host of the Academy Awards that had made a statement a few weeks before the Oscars aired and said, abortion is murder? Would that person be allowed to take the stage? Would that person actually be allowed to work in Hollywood ever again?
HOLLY MCCLURE, CONSERVATIVE COMMENTATOR: Well, first of all, thanks for having me on to talk about this, Joe. I appreciate it.
And you know what? No. Not only would he not be allowed to talk about it, but half the movies that Hollywood puts out and produces are pro-abortion. So, of course, they are not going to put on someone who is going to speak against it. But, you know, Bill Maher from “Politically Incorrect” got fired for saying much less than this and got his show taken away from it. So, I think it‘s such a double standard.
SCARBOROUGH: And we are talking about double standards also on the race issue, where this guy says that white men in America that wear an American flag on their cap are more dangerous, frighten him more than Osama bin Laden or al Qaeda. Should we just laugh that off or is that bigotry?
MCCLURE: Well, it clearly is bigotry,
And what I am most concerned about is, are we going to be presented this on Oscar night, the night that is supposed to be classy and that we are there to celebrate arts, entertainment, celebrate our most popular transport all over the world, which is entertainment? And we have set this night up to have a comedian who going to be coming on talking about issues like this?
Because, really, what else is he going to talk about? What else is going to skew? I am just really concerned he is going to use this as an opportunity to say those kind of bigoted remarks. And, yes, we are supposed to laugh at it and think that it‘s OK, because if we say anything against that, we would be bigots. It would be racist. We would be called names for doing that.
So, everyone has to keep mum and quiet about it and applaud it as if it‘s OK. And it‘s not. Hollywood has lost touch with such middle America, with all of America, I think, not just middle America. Hollywood is way off on this one.
SCARBOROUGH: Dorinda Bordlee, you think this is much ado about nothing. Why.
DORINDA BORDLEE, AMERICANS UNITED FOR LIFE: Well, I feel like this is kind of like “Casablanca.‘ I am shocked to find out that the left coast academy has hosted somebody that is a comedian that uses vulgarity. What do we expect?
But the point that we are missing—and again, I am a pro-life attorney—and what I see is that, I have seen his piece. I have seen the piece where he says abortion is beautiful, abortion is beautiful. I love going to abortion rallies to pick up chicks because you know they are sleeping around. That‘s a paraphrase of what he said.
And what he was doing in that piece, intentionally or unintentionally, was exposing a very important truth about how legalized abortion facilitates the sexual exploitation of women. It‘s satire. And it delivers a truth in a funny way. And people will listen to it, whereas they won‘t listen to me giving a speech.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, you know, last night, I talked to Bill Maher. I want you all to listen to what he had to say about the rock dust-up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL MAHER, HOST, “REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER”: This town needs, this country needs a breath of fresh air like that. Not to get back on the religious subject, but we do live in a puritanical society lately, the Super Bowl nonsense. People are just way, way too sensitive.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: You know what bothers me, Holly, is that, when somebody from the far left makes outrageous statements that are supposed to offend people in middle America or people on the right, then that‘s a breath of fresh air. If somebody from the right, like Rush Limbaugh, challenges the established order on the left, then, all of a sudden, he is dismissed as a racist. Respond to that.
And the point is being is, what is the breath of fresh air? What, the F-word used every other sentence, so we can hardly—we have to bleep out most of the show? You know, I understand what she was saying about sarcasm and having some underlying messages. But I kind of doubt that Chris is going to come in with a lot of heavy, interesting underlying messages in his repertoire that night.
I would dare say it‘s going to be mostly things to shock, because,
they said—that executive producer, Gil Cates, said this is going to be
what—get ready. He is going to shock. And that‘s what we are going to
be ready for. So, if a breath of fresh air is to be shocked to our senses,
to have to worry that our 12- and 13-year-olds can‘t watch the Oscars that
night as a family, as people used to do—and I am so tired of hearing
that we are all puritanical and it‘s the religious right and everything is
· we are not.
Look at the movies that are out. Look at what is up for Oscar nominations, as a matter of fact, this year. It‘s anything but depicting that we have all this conservative religious right and that‘s the mainstay of America right now. I wish it was, but it‘s not.
SCARBOROUGH: All right, thanks a lot, Holly. Thank you, Dorinda. We greatly appreciate both of you being with us.
And just to follow up on what Holly said, think about it for a second.
What is one of the hottest TV shows on TV? “Desperate Housewives.”
Puritanical? I don‘t think so. And I watch it every week.
One other thing, too. One other thing, because a lot of you out there are saying right now, hey, Joe, lighten up. This guy is a comedian. It‘s what comedians are supposed to do.
Well, let me ask you a question. What if Jeff Foxworthy had made a statement about black men? He is a comedian. What if Jeff Foxworthy said that, hey, you know what, I am scared of black men in New York City that wear Malcolm X T-shirts; I‘m more frightened of them than Osama bin Laden? You know what? That guy would never work in this town or any other town again.
Well, moving on, it‘s time for a flyover of SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. Of course, these are the stories that the mainstream media misses as they fly from New York to the left coast.
Our first stop tonight is Houston, Texas, where porn star Jenna Jameson is causing a major stir. Houston‘s mayor is fighting with the city‘s library to have her new book, “How to Make Love Like a Porn Star,” restricted to shelves. First Amendment defenders are fighting the decision, but it doesn‘t matter much, since all 12 of the library copies have been checked out for months.
And our next stop is Arizona, where legislators are considering a bill allowing people to bring their guns into any bar, restaurant or nightclub that serves alcohol. Oh, yes, guns and alcohol, that‘s a good mix. The question is, should gun owners be bothered with leaving their weapons in a car when they go inside to get a bite to eat? The law would forbid those carrying a gun to drink at the same time. Yes, good luck telling that to the man with a loaded shotgun.
And, finally, tonight, we take you to Burnet County, Texas, where this man tried to fake out cops, but he made one big mistake. He was wanted for child molestation, and he allegedly tried to fake his own death by digging up a corpse from the local cemetery, then setting the body down and putting it in his car, and then setting it on fire. It sounds like a perfect plan, right?
Well, the only problem was, the body he dug up was actually a woman‘s body. It didn‘t take long for the cops to track him down.
Still ahead tonight, much more. Normally, naming a submarine isn‘t something controversial, but I have got issues with one being named after former President Jimmy Carter. I‘ll tell you why.
And after the crushing defeat in November, are Democrats like Senator Hillary Clinton swinging to the right?
That‘s coming up next.
SCARBOROUGH: PBS spends public money on a show about a cartoon bunny and a real-life lesbian couple. How is that for alternative programming? Now the head of PBS is stepping down. Did she go too far? That‘s ahead.
But, first, let‘s get the latest news your family needs to know.
SCARBOROUGH: It‘s time now for our discussion of all things political, where nothing is off the table and everything is fair game.
With me now tonight, Katrina Vanden Heuvel. She‘s the editor of “The Nation” magazine. We also have Republican strategist Kellyanne Conway from The Polling Company. And we have MSNBC political analyst Pat Buchanan.
Now, Pat, you got to see CBS and Dan Rather up close and personal in the Nixon administrations and the Reagan administration. Do you think that CBS News may be not holding themselves to the same high standards that they have been holding Republican administrations to for years?
PAT BUCHANAN, NBC POLITICAL ANALYST: I didn‘t think the standards were all that high for CBS News back then, Joe.
But let me say this. I think CBS is damaging itself very badly with the way it‘s conducting this thing. The mess goes on. Dan Rather is still in the chair. But the big unanswered question that still puzzles me and should puzzle everybody, Joe, is who fabricated those documents, who forged them, who committed that felony to try to bring down the president of the United States? We know CBS was taken in by it. But who perpetrated the crime?
SCARBOROUGH: Katrina, you heard about “The New York Observer...”
KATRINA VANDEN HEUVEL, EDITOR, “THE NATION”: Probably Karl—probably Karl Rove.
SCARBOROUGH: Yes. I‘m sure...
SCARBOROUGH: He‘s already been blamed for the Osama bin Laden tape.
VANDEN HEUVEL: But, Joe, seriously...
SCARBOROUGH: Katrina, hold on a second.
“The New York Observer” today, of course—and just, again, to reiterate, “The New York Observer” today said that CBS News has refused to fire the three executives that were responsible for the forged document story. Don‘t you think they should be fired at once?
VANDEN HEUVEL: I don‘t. I think the scandal around this story is the way the report was handled, the inquisition at CBS.
I think the story—what CBS should have done is continued to do as much reporting—that‘s what the Edward R. Murrow network would have done in the good old days. They would have reported the hell out of the story, because you know what? Most news networks which have reported on Bush‘s National Guard record know that the document might have been forged—and that‘s still not clear—but the story is true about the favoritism he received, about his absences.
We need to get the truth. At this point, the larger issue, it seems to me, is the double standard of accountability. You have an administration which took a nation to war on lies, no accountability. The people who took us to war have been promoted. And yet, at CBS, people who made a mistake, some bad journalism, should be forced to continue reporting the story. We need the truth.
KELLYANNE CONWAY, REPUBLICAN POLLSTER: It‘s not bad journalism.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, Katrina—well, Katrina, what about a double standard with CBS News, that would absolutely rip a major corporation apart if they had launched an internal investigation, the internal investigation said these are the people responsible, you need to fire them, and then they didn‘t fire them? What if Enron or Exxon or IBM had done that? And you know CBS News, “60 Minutes,” they would be all over them.
VANDEN HEUVEL: There are a lot of problems with the report. I refer people to a very good piece by James Goodale, a First Amendment lawyer, in “The New York Law Journal.”
He pulls apart the way that that investigation, the internal investigation of CBS was run, the failure to call in people who could tell more. And the whole issue of documentation is still unexplained. Many stories—I would refer people to that article. And, again, I come back to the accountability issue.
SCARBOROUGH: All right, Kellyanne Conway, have these people been sent up the river? It sounds like Katrina is saying that, you know, maybe the document was forged, maybe it wasn‘t. What‘s the big fuss here?
CONWAY: The big fuss is that they probably broke the law. Someone did. So we need to know who.
I mean, the Democrats are the first to try to investigate and investigate who released Valerie Plame‘s name, the CIA expert, that 99.99 percent of the country still doesn‘t know who she is, but somehow that put her in jeopardy. They want to investigate, investigate, investigate.
But here someone clearly forged a document with a Word Perfect or, you know, a modern word processor that could not have existed back at that time. And I have to say, people don‘t need to read that article, Katrina. They need to read last year‘s election results to know. And they need to read the ratings of these major networks to know.
CONWAY: Wait. Americans are leaving them in droves.
SCARBOROUGH: But let‘s talk about them not firing them, Kellyanne.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, Kellyanne, why isn‘t CBS firing these executives that they were told to fire in the internal investigation?
BUCHANAN: They will try and sue, Joe.
CONWAY: Because those executives have more tenure than public school students—public school teachers.
VANDEN HEUVEL: Oh, that‘s ridiculous, Kelly.
CONWAY: You can‘t extract them out of there.
Katrina, you know that if CBS were being run like any corporation, beholden to shareholders, these people would be history. But you know what is going on? The people who probably are charged with firing them, as they well should, are people who are nervous about what else lies underneath. You think this was the only incident where there was a conclusion in search of evidence?
SCARBOROUGH: Well, I was just going to say, you know, what they are worried about is...
SCARBOROUGH: No, no. Hold on a second.
VANDEN HEUVEL: One of those producers did the Abu Ghraib story. And that was an important story.
SCARBOROUGH: Hold on. Katrina, Katrina, Katrina...
VANDEN HEUVEL: The Abu Ghraib story was reported by Mary Mapes.
SCARBOROUGH: So that allows...
VANDEN HEUVEL: No.
SCARBOROUGH: Katrina, so that allows them to lie? That allows them to make up documents?
VANDEN HEUVEL: No.
SCARBOROUGH: That allows CBS to conduct internal investigations and then turn a blind eye to it?
VANDEN HEUVEL: No.
SCARBOROUGH: You and I both know—hold on a second. You and I both know the reason why they are not talking about this, the reason they‘re not holding these people accountable...
VANDEN HEUVEL: I don‘t know that.
SCARBOROUGH: ... is because they are afraid that it will go up to Dan Rather, it will go to Andy Heyward. These people will end up being the ones that actually have mud all over their hands.
VANDEN HEUVEL: I have no brief—I have no brief for Andy Heyward.
BUCHANAN: Joe, what is going to happen—let me get in on this.
VANDEN HEUVEL: I have no brief for Andy Heyward or Dan Rather in this.
I have a brief for the fact that the White House launched a campaign to chill the media air in this country, and that is what we are seeing, the larger issues coming out at CBS‘ poor journalism around the story.
SCARBOROUGH: The White House can‘t make them lie. The White House can‘t—the White House can‘t make CBS lie.
VANDEN HEUVEL: We still don‘t know the full story of the White House‘s involvement.
BUCHANAN: All right, let me respond. Let me—Joe, here‘s what‘s happened.
They don‘t fire these guys for a simple reason. You fire them, and then what is going to happen is. these people will all sue CBS. Then you will have full disclosure and discovery and all these things. This whole thing will be reopened. It will go to court. Dan Rather will be brought into court. The people that did the investigation will be brought into court. They don‘t want it to happen.
These guys are playing hardball. I don‘t blame these three folks who were bounced out of there for fighting for their good name and their career. I don‘t know the ultimate details, but I can tell you, CBS didn‘t fire them because it doesn‘t want to fight in court with them.
SCARBOROUGH: And because they know, if they fight in court, there‘s discovery. There are e-mails.
SCARBOROUGH: There are paper trails.
SCARBOROUGH: They know they are in trouble. They have been lying to us about the cover-up, and they know they will be busted.
BUCHANAN: Joe—I have been there, Joe.
SCARBOROUGH: So, they‘re not going to fire them.
SCARBOROUGH: I know you have, Pat.
CONWAY: And, Joe, this is not an isolated incident. This is not an isolated incident.
SCARBOROUGH: Now, let‘s turn—let‘s turn from CBS to PBS.
SCARBOROUGH: Under fire for spending public money on a cartoon show that also featured a real-life lesbian couple, PBS president Pat Mitchell says she is going to step down next year when her contract expires. Mitchell had been the subject of the controversy over an episode of “Postcards From Buster,” in which a cartoon rabbit visits a Vermont friend who has lesbian parents.
Mitchell initially stood by the program, but then reversed course after receiving a letter from Education Secretary Margaret Spellings expressing concerns about the cartoon.
Pat, shouldn‘t young kids be able to see cartoons about lesbian couples in Vermont?
BUCHANAN: Here‘s what ought to be done.
Look, PBS, there was, they claimed, a need back in the ‘60s and ‘70s for alternative programming. I wrote Nixon‘s veto, urged him to veto it a second time. It would have killed it. They say they needed it then. It ought to be phased out. All government funding ought to be phased out. Then PBS, like us, Joe, ought to be allowed to do what it wants to do, put on the programs it wants, as long as we the taxpayers are not paying for it. And I think that‘s the solution to PBS.
VANDEN HEUVEL: There is crisis.
SCARBOROUGH: Let me ask a question, Katrina. Do you think that this is going to have a chilling effect on people who will follow in this lady‘s footsteps in the future at PBS? Do you think they are going to be too scared to put anything on that may ruffle the feathers of members of Congress?
VANDEN HEUVEL: I don‘t think just this episode, Joe. I think there has been a relentless right-wing, conservative campaign to falsely brand....
CONWAY: ... right wing watching PBS?
VANDEN HEUVEL: ... PBS a leftist conspiracy.
CONWAY: So ridiculous.
VANDEN HEUVEL: I know Pat Mitchell. She is a decent woman, but she came under enormous right-wing pressure, because of her good support...
CONWAY: Who is this right wing, Katrina?
VANDEN HEUVEL: ... for Bill Moyers, who did something very different than the partisan, ideological, taxpayer-funded program we now have on PBS, “Wall Street Journal.”
You have Dow Jones, a billion-dollar company, having a program funded by taxpayer money. I think that is the real danger. And I think we do need to rethink the role of public television in America.
And I think Pat Mitchell will contribute to that debate, but she can also contribute to the stories of how she came under enormous right-wing pressure. It has been a case, as Pat just mentioned, for decades in this country.
SCARBOROUGH: Kellyanne, respond.
CONWAY: This endless banter about—the endless banter about the right wing, the right-wing, the Christian right, the Christian right.
Katrina, this is why your party is in complete disarray, because you just don‘t get it. Did you not read the last election results? Same-sex marriage failed in places like Oregon and Michigan, which Kerry handled—he carried handily. It‘s not the right wing. It‘s people saying not right vs. left, but right vs. wrong. They don‘t want their kids looking at a cartoons with a bunch of lesbian mothers.
Are you attacking this nation‘s parents? It‘s not Jerry Falwell writing letters to PBS. It‘s regular Americans standing up and saying, I fight hard all day. I work hard. I pay my dues. I try to protect my kids from outside, external influences corrupting their minds and their bodies.
VANDEN HEUVEL: Kelly, do you have lesbian friends? Do you have lesbian friends?
CONWAY: Of course I do. Of course I do.
VANDEN HEUVEL: So why not represent the diversity of America on our television screens?
CONWAY: In a cartoon? In a cartoon?
VANDEN HEUVEL: The Democratic Party is not in disarray over the moral values issue.
CONWAY: In a cartoon on PBS? That‘s ridiculous.
BUCHANAN: Joe, let me get into this between these ladies. Look, Katrina has got a point.
SCARBOROUGH: Pat, do you have lesbian friends?
SCARBOROUGH: Go ahead.
BUCHANAN: Katrina has got a point.
Taxpayers shouldn‘t fund “Wall Street,” whatever it is, that show. Taxpayers shouldn‘t fund the lesbian, whatever they are. Pat Mitchell, I knew her, too. I used to be on her show 30 years ago. She is a nice lady.
Get the tax dollars out of it and let them be free to run ads, do ever
· whatever they want.
SCARBOROUGH: All right.
BUCHANAN: As long as we are not paying for it, Joe, I‘m happy.
SCARBOROUGH: We‘re going to...
VANDEN HEUVEL: Last word. There isn‘t going to be...
SCARBOROUGH: We‘re going to have to leave it there. Katrina Vanden Heuvel, I‘m sorry. We‘ve got to go. Kellyanne Conway, we are going to have to leave it there. And, Pat, thanks for your time.
Now, coming up next, I have got issues with a submarine being named after former President Jimmy Carter and some of the contestants in the Westminster Dog Show. Are they really all dogs there?
Stick around. That‘s coming up next.
SCARBOROUGH: You know what? Nobody has offered me millions of dollars for my memoirs, and I have got issues.
First of all, I have got issues with Sean Combs. Now, of course, the artist better known as P. Diddy accepted $300,000 from Random House back in 1998 to write his life story. Just one problem. He never actually wrote it. Puffy was supposed to turn in a completed manuscript in 1999, but Random House is still waiting to receive the book five years later.
But Combs isn‘t the only music superstar to come up short on his memoirs. Rolling Stones‘ Mick Jagger got a seven-figure advance for his autobiography, but gave the millions back when he couldn‘t remember anything of significance that happened in his life. I guess it was the summer of love, after all. No word yet on whether Puffy is suffering from similar amnesia.
And, secondly, I‘ve got issues with the Westminster Dog Show. Now, of course, the annual competition wrapped up in New York last night. And Carlee the German shorthaired pointer won the best in show. Now, 162 different breeds compete at Westminster, but I have got to take issues with some of the animals that actually qualify as dogs.
There‘s no way these creatures should be in a dog show. Dog? These look more like a dust mop or an oddly shaved cat wearing a white toupee and boots.
And, finally, I‘ve got issues with the United States Navy. The Navy said it was going to be naming a nuclear submarine for the 39th president of the United States, Jimmy Carter. Now, I don‘t know Jimmy Carter. Maybe he is a good husband. Maybe he is a good pinochle partner. But the fact is, he was a lousy president.
This is, after all, the man most responsible for gutting our military in the late 1970s, showing weakness in a way that encouraged Iran to seize American hostages, and let the communists in Russia know that they would pay no price for invading Afghanistan.
As president, Jimmy Carter‘s actions led to America having a hollow military. And as ex-president, Carter‘s foolishness led to North Korea getting nukes. So, why are we giving this guy his own nuclear sub? To hand it over to North Korea? I just don‘t understand.
Now, this Saturday, the Navy is going to commission the submarine Jimmy Carter.
With me now to talk about it is Democratic strategist Michael Brown.
And with again is MSNBC political analyst Pat Buchanan.
Let me start with you, Michael.
I take it that you think Jimmy Carter deserves this honor. Tell me why.
MICHAEL BROWN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, first of all, I don‘t think partisan politics should play a role any time a former president gets anything named after him, from an airport to a building to a school to a submarine to a ship. The kind of effort that they put in their public service, frankly, it doesn‘t—I am even shocked that this is even a subject matter we are even discussing, because, obviously...
SCARBOROUGH: But this guy helped—this guy helped gut the United States Navy and the military in the 1970s. You talked to any general or admiral on Capitol Hill in the ‘80s or ‘90s, they will tell you.
I mean, if you want to name public libraries after Jimmy Carter, fine. You want to name museums after Jimmy Carter, fine. I just have problems with us naming a nuclear submarine after Jimmy Carter.
BROWN: I‘m sorry you have a problem with that.
It‘s interesting to me, when President Reagan was president, the air traffic controllers went on strike, and they wanted to name an airport after him. I don‘t think—and I don‘t have a problem with that. He is a former president. And it doesn‘t—it shouldn‘t matter. This isn‘t even really something that we should even be discussing. I...
SCARBOROUGH: Pat Buchanan, give—let me ask Pat to give us a little historical perspective here.
Pat, I remember when I ran for Congress in ‘94, I remember, when I was on the Armed Services Committee, I heard time and time again from generals, from admirals, from people in the Pentagon that, when Jimmy Carter left in 1980, we had a hollow military. Give us some perspective.
BUCHANAN: Well, there‘s no doubt about it. They called it a hollow army in those days, and it was one of the things Ronald Reagan ran on, to rebuild America‘s military might.
There‘s no doubt it deteriorated in Jimmy Carter‘s terms—his term. He also indicated that, you know, we have gotten over inordinate fear of communism. The Iranian hostage crisis occurred. Jimmy Carter‘s foreign policy, with the exception of the Sadat-Begin peace agreement, for which he eventually got a Nobel Prize, I believe was a clear failure, Joe.
And I think the American people believe that looking back. But, look, Joe, cut him some slack. Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush got aircraft carriers named after them, 100,000-ton ships. And Jimmy Carter did serve after he left the Naval Academy under Hyman Rickover, who was the great nuclear submarine genius. And he put in time there.
And I agree with Michael to an extent. Look, it‘s a submarine. He served in the submarine service. I don‘t have problems with him being honored with that submarine‘s name.
SCARBOROUGH: Michael, wrap it up. Tell me why I am wrong about Jimmy Carter.
BROWN: Well, I don‘t want to make it about President Carter. He is certainly one of the greatest former presidents we have ever had, in the kind of public service he continues to do and will always do. I don‘t think it‘s about that.
I think it‘s about former presidents, whether we like them or not, depending on what political agenda we have. It shouldn‘t matter. Presidents put their life on the line, put their careers on the line in—in helping public service and helping the American people. Whether we agree with their issues or not, they deserve to have whatever memorialized issue is. And that‘s...
SCARBOROUGH: You know what, Michael? You know what, Michael? You may be right. I will just tell—I will just tell—thank you all for being with me.
I will just tell you, my biggest problem with Jimmy Carter, maybe it‘s just his reaction to what happened in Iraq a few weeks ago, when we had a historic election, which I predict will have the same impact as the Berlin Wall falling. Jimmy Carter tried to delay the elections, said they weren‘t going to succeed. And then, when they succeed beyond everybody‘s wildest expectations, except maybe mine, Jimmy Carter refused to make a comment—to even comment about it, because he was wrong again.
Well, anyway, thank you all for being with us.
Coming up next, a journalist may have finally uncovered the truth behind Michael Moore‘s so-called documentaries. Stick around. We‘ll give you that story when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns.
SCARBOROUGH: An investigative reporter may have uncovered how Michael Moore makes his movies. And the truth may now finally see the light.
Stick around. That story is coming up next.
SCARBOROUGH: Tomorrow night in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY: Flint, Michigan, the town that Michael Moore put on the map, has some pretty interesting things to say about Michael Moore.
Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am not sure the community has much use for Michael Moore.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Economic development officials say, more than 15 years after “Roger and Me,” the city has yet to shake what it considers to be an unfair representation.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A lot of times, they say, Flint, you have got image problems. GM is no longer around, but then you have to bring them a dose of reality, so to speak.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, up here, there are still jobs here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And they never left.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, they never left. And...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That‘s not the impression you get from “Roger and Me.”
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. No. No.
SCARBOROUGH: Going to be interesting. That‘s tomorrow night in
If the reporter that you saw in that clip looks familiar, here‘s why. He‘s the same guy we showed you last night getting up close and personal with a story subject. And, no, that is not Michael Moore roughing him up.
That‘s somebody else. And we are going to have that reporter in
SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY tomorrow night to expose the real Michael Moore in Flint, Michigan. And we promise, we won‘t be rough with him.
That‘s it for tonight. Thanks a lot for watching.
“HARDBALL” is next. I‘ll see you tomorrow.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
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