Guest: Shmuley Boteach, Lisa Bloom, Joe Madison, Rachel Maddow, Janet Parshall, Josh Gerstein, Niger Innis, Mandy Dawson, Roger Bowen, David Horowitz
JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST: Campus radicalism out of control. Now some states are doing something about it.
Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, no passport required and only common sense allowed.
Ward Churchills of the world, watch out. There‘s a new movement afoot to stop radical venom in our classrooms. So why are campus leaders afraid of it?
And they‘re done picking the Michael Jackson jury. Opening arguments are days away, but did the embattled king of pop get a jury of his peers or the jury he deserves?
And a Chris Rock skit is causing a racial fight in Florida.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “THE CHRIS ROCK SHOW”)
CHRIS ROCK, COMEDIAN: Have you ever been face to face with a police officer and wondered, is he about to kick my ass?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: Calls for A Florida Cabinet secretary to resign because he showed that skit to the NAACP. But if he is A racist for showing it, what does that make Chris Rock?
ANNOUNCER: From the press room, to the courtroom, to the halls of Congress, Joe Scarborough has seen it all. Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
SCARBOROUGH: Hey, welcome to the show.
University of Colorado radical professor Ward Churchill continues his “I‘m not sorry” tour. Tuesday night, he delivered a fiery rant at the University of Hawaii explaining why he still thinks America deserved to be hit with the September 11 attacks.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WARD CHURCHILL, PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO: Obey the law, you won‘t be doing what it is that causes a natural and inevitable bitterness of response that is going to result in mass fatalities among Americans. Simple as that. Do unto others as you would have them do to you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: Ward Churchill isn‘t the only one who is angry. Americans are angry and they‘re fighting back against what they perceive to be campus radicalism.
At the forefront of that fight is David Horowitz. He‘s drafted an academic bill of rights to make campuses more diverse. Mr. Horowitz is the president of the Center For the Study of Popular Culture and the editor of FrontPageMag.com.
Hey, welcome, David. Thanks for being with us.
DAVID HOROWITZ, EDITOR, FRONTPAGEMAG.COM: Evening, Joe.
SCARBOROUGH: I want to ask you a question a lot of Americans are wondering tonight, as they see this radical professor day in and day out. Are Churchill‘s views the exception or the rule on college campuses?
HOROWITZ: Well, there are thousands of Ward Churchills on college campuses, and there are whole departments and programs that express his views that America is a terrorist state, that one man‘s terrorist is another man‘s freedom fighter.
It‘s a well-known principle of group psychology that, if you fill a room with like-minded people, the center of the room is going to move to the extreme. Our faculties are 90 percent to 95 percent people of the left, so, of course, you are going to get a lot of Ward Churchills as a result.
SCARBOROUGH: You know, David, you have been fighting this for a while. And we are going to talk about your bill, but you have been fighting this fight for some time.
But it seems, over the past month or two, maybe because of Ward Churchill, an ideological civil war seems to be on the brink of breaking out on college campuses across America. Why?
HOROWITZ: Well, we have been on the move—we have been on the move a long time. I think that this is just perception.
Ward Churchill has done wonders for making the American public realize how bad things have gotten on our college campuses. And my movement for academic freedom is not to stamp out radicalism. I think a university should have a diversity of views. The problem is exemplified by what happened at Harvard.
Here you had the president of Harvard, a very distinguished academic himself, raised a legitimate question at an academic conference, and the lynch mob came out calling for his head, and the lynchers were led by professors.
HOROWITZ: And what‘s going on there is a campaign to prevent people from asking questions that are politically incorrect.
SCARBOROUGH: But you know, David, right now...
SCARBOROUGH: Right now, though, Ward Churchill is saying that you and your bill of rights are actually dangerous to academia. And Tuesday, he named you personally. And then he said this in reference to your latest efforts.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCHILL: What has been announced is not an attempt to purge me, although they certainly got that in mind in Colorado. Fat chance. It‘s a purge of the academy, the conversion of the institutions across the board into bloc cheering sections for the red, white and blue, as they define it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: David Horowitz, do you really think that it‘s a safe thing to put governments in charge of what professors can and can not say?
HOROWITZ: Well, look, the reason I have gone to legislatures, I went to the president of Colorado University two years ago, and I told her that she was going to have a problem with radical professors in the time of a war on terror who are going to step out of line and damage the university, and that the solution was not to fire these professors, although Churchill is a fraud and should be probably fired on those grounds, but not to fire radical professors but just get some diversity in the mix, get other points of view.
The American public will support a marketplace of ideas in education. What they won‘t support is a left-wing monolith with extremists like Churchill as their part of the mix.
SCARBOROUGH: Let me bring in Roger Bowen. Roger is the general secretary of the American Association of University Professors. He obviously disagrees with you, David.
Roger, let me read you parts of David‘s academic bill of rights, have you respond. He says: “Professors will not use their classrooms for political, ideological, religious or any religious indoctrination. Students will be graded on their answers, not their political or religious beliefs. And professors should make students aware of their viewpoints.”
Roger, a lot of Americans look at that and say, it‘s innocuous enough.
What is wrong with that?
ROGER BOWEN, GENERAL SECRETARY, AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF UNIVERSITY
PROFESSORS: Well, there‘s nothing wrong with it. We have been saying that for 90 years. We were founded in 1915 on precisely those principles.
SCARBOROUGH: Do you support David‘s plan, then?
BOWEN: Well, no, I think you asked David the right question. Do you want government to intervene? Ask the question, do you want government to make sure the Joe Scarborough show has a liberal or a radical to counterpose your values and your statements?
I think it‘s a bad idea. If you believe in the marketplace of ideas,
marketplace of ideas should not be regulated. And I find it ironic that we
have a conservative here who is known for his lack of balance insisting on
regulation in the marketplace of ideas. There‘s a contradiction there, and
I think Mr. Horowitz needs to deal with it in an honest way. And pointing
to the Ward Churchills of the world—and there are not thousands of them
· I am amazed that Mr. Horowitz has done the math. There are not thousands. I think pointing to him is feeding into a public frenzy.
BOWEN: And I think that‘s wrong.
HOROWITZ: Well, look, it‘s only leftists that think that I lack balance.
But the reality here is that the American Association of University Professors is in extreme bad faith here, first of all because they could have embraced—I took this academic bill of rights, as I say, to the presidents of universities in Colorado and New York.
In Colorado, when we got our bill through the Education Committee, finally, the university presidents woke up, and they came to us and said, would you withdraw your bill if we put it in place ourselves? And we said, of course we will, because that‘s what we want to happen. I wrote to the American Association of University Professors to support my—this as a university policy. Originally—Roger Bowen is right. It‘s based on 90 years of...
SCARBOROUGH: OK, but, David, let‘s cut to the chase. I really don‘t care...
SCARBOROUGH: No, no, no, no, no. I don‘t care about all of this. We are talking about whether campuses are radical or not. You have said there are 1,000 Ward Churchills out there.
SCARBOROUGH: He says there‘s not. But let me say this, though. I mean, last year, two professors did a large-scale survey of American professors and how they vote. Politically, this is what they found.
Anthropology professors vote Democratic by 30-1, sociology professors 28-1, political science professors 6-1. And on average, professors vote Democratic 15-1.
Roger, you talk about the free marketplace of ideas. It does—I don‘t want the federal government getting involved in the state government, but it does cut both ways. You guys have got to let some conservatives get tenure.
BOWEN: Hey, may I speak?
SCARBOROUGH: That was to you.
BOWEN: I would love to have more conservatives, but I think many of them prefer to go into banking or perhaps into economics.
BOWEN: But let me address the question. Let me address the question.
We do need more conservatives in the academy. I encourage conservatives to go into the academy. I encourage Mr. Horowitz to apply for an academic job. And the first thing that he will discover is that the search committee will not ask him whether he is a Republican or a Democrat, but, instead, they will look at his credentials. And if he has a Ph.D. and he is well trained, and certainly smart, I grant that, I think he has got a good shot of getting a job in the academy.
SCARBOROUGH: There you go, David.
BOWEN: Now, come on, Mr. Horowitz.
SCARBOROUGH: There you go, David.
HOROWITZ: That‘s completely ridiculous.
Look, the bill is necessary. The legislatures are necessary because the other side, as represented by Mr. Bowen and by these university presidents, will not even acknowledge that there‘s a problem until they have a hammer over them. The minute they recognize that and take steps to reform their institutions, we will withdraw the legislation.
SCARBOROUGH: Roger, are oblivious to this threat until there‘s a hammer hanging over your head?
BOWEN: Well, I think the academic bill of rights is dangerous, and it‘s also impractical.
And the question is, is Mr. Horowitz going to attend classrooms across America and monitor what faculties say for intellectual or ideological bias? Or is he instead really saying that what we need, the conservatives want is a kind of affirmative action on ideological grounds, so that we will guarantee that, for every Democrat in the academy, there will be more Republicans.
He also ignores a Carnegie Foundation study, looked at faculty, self-identification in terms of ideology between 1997 and 2001. And what that showed is that more faculty were declaring themselves middle of the road, not left-wing.
I think Mr. Horowitz does not understand higher education, but he is certainly encouraged—at least I encourage him to voice his views about ideology in the classroom. I think we need to have that discussion.
SCARBOROUGH: All right, David Horowitz, I will give you the last 15 seconds.
HOROWITZ: Oh, thanks.
Well, we are defending a liberal student in California who was given an F by a pro-life teacher because he took a pro-choice position. We are defending a conservative student who was failed, an A student, because she said she was going to a conservative conference in Washington. There are manifold abuses which I could sit here all day and talk about.
SCARBOROUGH: All right.
HOROWITZ: And until the universities recognize this and put their house in order, it‘s necessary for legislators to go in and make them do it.
SCARBOROUGH: All right, David Horowitz, Roger Bowen, this is not the last we are going to be hearing of this subject, I guarantee you that. Thanks for being with us.
And still ahead, charges of racism against a high-ranking Florida official for showing a Chris Rock video. But if he is racist, what does that make Chris Rock?
And is there trouble ahead for Hillary Clinton? A former fund raiser who is now in jail is talking. We‘ll tell you what he is saying straight ahead.
SCARBOROUGH: Days before he is hosting the Oscars, a Chris Rock video leads to a race fight in Florida. That explosive story and much more when we return.
SCARBOROUGH: Comedian Chris Rock caused a stir last week when he said that only gay men watch the Oscars. And now, three days before the biggest night of his life, Rock is again making news, but for an old comedy routine called “How to not get your ass kicked by the police.”
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “THE CHRIS ROCK SHOW”)
ROCK: Have you ever been face to face with a police officer and wondered, is he about to kick my ass?
ROCK: Well, wonder no more. If you follow these easy tips, you will be fine. If you have to get a friend to ride, get a white person.
ROCK: A white friend can be the difference between a ticket and a bullet in the ass.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: Now, believe it or not, Florida‘s juvenile justice secretary, Anthony Schembri, who is white, played Rock‘s four-minute video during a meeting with the NAACP last summer. He‘s also known for another reason. He‘s the main character from the hit—actually, the main character from the hit TV show “Commish” is based on him.
Now black state legislators and the NAACP say using the video was racist and they want him fired. A spokesperson says that the video was shown to illustrate how the media contributes to racial profiling. But, if showing the video is racist, does that make Chris Rock racist?
With me now to talk about it is Democratic State Senator Mandy Dawson. She is one of the law makers calling for his removal. And, also, we have Niger Innis with CORE, the Congress Of Racial Equality.
Let me begin with you, Senator.
Do you think it‘s possible that the senator showing—or that the commissioner showing this clip proves that he may be racist?
MANDY DAWSON (D), FLORIDA STATE SENATOR: Well, let me start by saying that the problem that we are having is not with Chris Rock. The problem that we are having is the fact that he thought it appropriate to play this on state time as an indication of, I guess, that it‘s OK to behave that way.
So, I think people have racist tendencies, and that certainly was insensitive and not in good...
SCARBOROUGH: So, you are saying that Schembri may be racist because he showed this video?
DAWSON: Well, I‘m—there are other indicators that would say that.
Mr. Schembri has a lot of racial problems. So, call it what you want. Yes, I think that he obviously is racist to even think that he can play such a tape, particularly to the NAACP.
SCARBOROUGH: All right.
DAWSON: When they were there to speak about problems.
SCARBOROUGH: All right, let‘s play another clip from this Chris Rock show that was aired at the meeting that concerns you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “THE CHRIS ROCK SHOW”)
ROCK: When an officer approaches your car, be polite.
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Is there a problem, officer?
ROCK: And stay in your car with your hands on the wheel.
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: What the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) do you want, (EXPLETIVE DELETED)
ROCK: Unless you want your as kicked.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: Senator, a lot of Americans are asking tonight watching this and hearing what you say, well, is Schembri is racist for playing the tape, does that make Chris Rock a racist for actually putting this tape together?
I think the problem is that Mr. Schembri indicated that he uses this tape as a part of his teaching tools. And now Chris Rock, no, Chris Rock is poking fun at racism in America. So, for Mr. Schembri to take such a...
SCARBOROUGH: Well, what if Schembri was—what if Schembri was black, instead of white? Would he be racist then?
DAWSON: Well, he would certainly have problems in dealing with young juveniles, as well as obviously people who encounter law enforcement.
SCARBOROUGH: All right. Let me play another clip from Chris Rock‘s show. And he gives some advice on avoiding police brutality.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “THE CHRIS ROCK SHOW”)
ROCK: Here‘s a tip you should never forget. If your woman is mad at you, leave her at home, because a mad woman will say anything.
UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: He got weed! He got weed!
ROCK: If a woman is mad at you, there‘s nothing she would like to see more than you getting your ass kicked.
UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: That‘s right.
UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: Take his weed, too.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: Niger, I got to ask you, what is a white secretary of juvenile justice doing playing that tape to the NAACP?
NIGER INNIS, THE CONGRESS OF RACIAL EQUALITY: Well, I have to see the tape in context. I would have to see what he says before and after playing the tape.
SCARBOROUGH: Was it a smart move, though, Niger? Was it a smart move?
INNIS: I think it depends. It depends, Joe.
I mean, look, Chris Rock is not only funny, you know, but some people have called him the Mark Twain of our age, or the black Mark Twain, because he—often, in his humor, there‘s some wisdom in the humor. And I don‘t think he—Chris was just poking fun, if you will, at white racists, but he was also poking fun at bad behavior on the part of blacks or others that might get stopped by police.
Look, Eric Adams, a black man, 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement, has a seminar teaching young blacks how to deal with police if they are stopped. And be polite and be—speaking properly, turning down rap music in the car is a part of that teaching. It‘s very commonsensical. So I would have to see the entire class within context before I would throw out the race card on Schembri.
DAWSON: Well, I am surprised. What determines what is common sense, and why would a black child have to turn down his music and who determines? And that‘s the point. The problem is...
INNIS: Because we want to save black lives. That‘s why, Senator.
DAWSON: The problem is that this is inappropriate to be used as a teaching tool for law enforcement or anyone.
INNIS: Have you seen the class, Senator? Have you seen the entire class?
DAWSON: Yes, I have.
INNIS: And what is racist about the class? Not the video. What is racist about the class?
DAWSON: This sends a message that, be careful about black people who police stop. Well, why not be careful about whites that police stop?
INNIS: What did Schembri say in the class to reiterate what you just said? Please tell me, since you saw his class.
DAWSON: As well as the fact that it was very clear when the NAACP brought this issue to us, they were clearly offended, because they didn‘t see it coming.
INNIS: No, I am not talking about the NAACP. I am talking about you, Senator. You said you saw the class. So I want to know what Schembri said in his class.
DAWSON: No. I‘m sorry. I‘m sorry. I‘m sorry. I thought you said, did I see the clip? I‘m sorry. No, I don‘t...
SCARBOROUGH: OK. I‘ll tell you what.
INNIS: No. I would suggest you see—Joe, I would suggest you and the senator and I myself ask Schembri to see his entire class within context.
SCARBOROUGH: All right. Well, I will tell you what. We are going to have to leave it there.
SCARBOROUGH: We thank both of you for being with us tonight. Thank you, Senator. Thank you, Niger Innis from CORE.
I want to read Schembri‘s statement. “He said: No attempt was made to contact this office at any time to verify the facts of this issue, the context in which the video was displayed or to discuss the topic with the secretary. We do not understand why there‘s been—was no time to do this, since the meeting happened last summer.”
Certainly has been a long, long lapse.
Anyway, it‘s time now for a “Flyover” of SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, the stories that the mainstream media misses as they fly from New York to the left coast.
We begin tonight in Illinois, where state legislators are hoping that the word sorry will cut down on medical malpractice suits. A new bill would ask doctors and hospitals to say they are sorry when they screw up, in hopes of avoiding litigation. Don‘t worry about that scalpel that we just left in your chest. Just know that we are really sorry.
And our next stop tonight is Morgan Hill, California, where cops arrested bad boys after they videotaped themselves acting out scenes from the TV show “Cops.” Police confiscated the video from the boys showing them conducting fake pat-downs and pulling out fake bags of cocaine. The teens were arrested on charges of—quote—“possession or use of a realistic-looking toy gun in public.”
And coming up next, what do Barack Obama and Paris Hilton have in common? Well, I‘ve got issues with both of them.
And they are done picking Michael Jackson‘s jury. Did he wind up with a jury of his peers or the jury he deserves? I am going to be talking with a former confidant of the great gloved one in a second.
SCARBOROUGH: The political operatives behind the swift vets campaign ride again. This time, they are blasting AARP, as being pro-gay and anti-soldier. We will debate that with our all-star panel coming up in a minute.
But, first, let‘s get the latest headlines from MSNBC.
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: Hey, welcome back.
A jailed former fund raiser for New York Senator Hillary Clinton is talking, and what he is saying could put a speed bump right in the path of a future presidential bid for Hillary Clinton.
In an article in today‘s “New York Sun,” Aaron Tonken, who is doing a five-year sentence in federal prison for mail and wire fraud, claims Mrs. Clinton‘s 2000 Senate campaign hid millions of dollars in donations. Bolstering Tonken‘s allegations, the latest indictment last month of David Rosen, the national finance director for Mrs. Clinton‘s 2000 campaign. Now, he‘s charged with four counts of causing false reports to be filed with the Federal Election Commission.
With me now is “New York Sun” investigative reporter Josh Gerstein, who wrote the story.
Josh, read the strategy, some shocking stuff in there.
Tell me exactly what this convict is claiming Hillary Clinton and her campaign team did.
JOSH GERSTEIN, “THE NEW YORK SUN”: Well, this fellow, whose name is Aaron Tonken, he says that the campaign hid millions of dollars in what they call in-kind contributions, meaning expenses that were picked up by someone outside the campaign.
And this happened right at the end of the 2000 campaign, and he says that that was just never reported to the FEC. And one would say, well, who cares? Well, apparently, how you report those things affects how much money is available to you to run your campaign. At that time, you had this hard-money/soft-money split, and hard money was very important. It‘s a complicated formula, but the argument is that, by hiding these expenses, Senator Clinton had more money to spend on her campaign.
SCARBOROUGH: And which is, of course, obviously illegal.
Now, are Senator Clinton‘s people concerned that either this person in prison or Rosen, who is going to be facing trial, may flip and sing like a bird against her?
GERSTEIN: Well, they haven‘t told me that they are concerned, but they are saying such nice things about David Rosen at the moment, saying that they are confident that he is going to be cleared and that he has worked very hard for campaign, that suggests to me that there is some concern on their part that he might flip, or although they are not eager to see that happen, obviously.
SCARBOROUGH: Why should we believe a convict talking about a senator from New York state?
GERSTEIN: Well, Joe, you‘re right. He has got huge credibility problems. He is a convict. He has described himself in a book he‘s written as a con man.
And there really wasn‘t a hell of a lot of reason to believe him until recently, and then we found out that the federal government indicted Senator Clinton‘s top fund raiser on charges that basically completely parallel what Mr. Tonken has been saying. And so I thought it was important to go out and talk to him and find out what else he had to say about the investigation.
SCARBOROUGH: And, really, the big news from your story today, as I read it in “The New York Sun”—and that was just a gripping, gripping story—is the fact that the feds were going after Hillary Clinton in 2000, while her husband was still president of the United States.
GERSTEIN: Yes. Yes, there‘s no question about that at this point. Based on what Tonken says, he says he was given wiretapping equipment for his home and was told to record any conversations that he had with the first lady or the future Senator Clinton at that time, as well as with her two—two of her top aides.
So, there‘s no question that the FBI was after Mrs. Clinton in 2000. They apparently didn‘t get her, because the Justice Department said this investigation is basically concluded. They don‘t expect anyone else to be indicted. But the way this plays out could still end up being very, very embarrassing for Mrs. Clinton at a politically sensitive time for her.
SCARBOROUGH: All right, Josh Gerstein, thanks so much for your work, I mean, again, a fascinating story. You are out in front on it. I will guarantee you, the rest of the national media is going to be following it, too, because there‘s going to be trial at the end of the year. And I‘ll tell you what. Senator Hillary Clinton may be called.
Now it‘s time for our all-star talk panel, where virtually any issues is on the table. And, tonight, we‘re happy to have with us Janet Parshall. She is the host of “Janet Parshall‘s America.” We also have Rachel Maddow. She‘s host of “Unfiltered” on Air America. And we‘ve got Joe Madison, affectionately known as the Black Eagle and host of his own program syndicated by Radio One.
Let me begin with you, Joe.
Here we have stories coming out about Hillary Clinton. As we move towards 2008, can Americans expect to hear more and more stories and more and more investigations about Hillary Clinton, just like they heard about Bill Clinton?
JOE MADISON, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Oh, yes, in a word. I will leave it at that. Of course.
MADISON: And you know it, and we are all going to eat it up, and people are going to defend Hillary or they are going to oppose it. She is at the top of the food chain, so, yes, it‘s going to happen.
SCARBOROUGH: You know, David Geffen said, Joe, that she was too divisive to be president of the United States? Do you agree with that?
MADISON: You know, I don‘t agree with that.
Quite honestly, I just don‘t. I mean, the simple reason is that I like many of the positions that she takes. Take, for example, what Charlie Rangel said about her the other day, you know, in terms of trying to get her to support certain legislation. I think she is like any other politician. You have to prod her to get what you want, like you have to prod any politician. And, right now, politics is divided. Are we not a divided nation? Of course we are. The last presidential election showed that we are almost equally divided.
SCARBOROUGH: We certainly are.
Now, let‘s turn now, Rachel, to the return of the swift boats. USA Next, a lobbying group that helped fund the Swift Boat Veterans For Truth that helped defeat John Kerry is now taking aim at AARP, and their opposition to the president‘s plan to reform Social Security. They went so far as to say AARP supports gay marriage and is anti-soldier.
And, yesterday, of course, we had Rock the Vote on. And they have got this—basically this teen group who is now opposed to Social Security reform. Is it just a 527 campaign all over again? Are we going to be seeing these groups get on TV and fighting and yelling and scratching and clawing for the next four years?
RACHEL MADDOW, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Well, it looks like it. I mean, USA Next has said they want to spend $10 million against AARP. They don‘t want to spend $10 million promoting the president‘s plan on Social Security. They literally want to spend $10 million tearing down AARP.
I do think it‘s kind of funny that they decided to do it by saying that AARP loves gay marriage. That was a real surprise to me. I thought that was an unusual choice. But, with $10 million, you can probably make almost anything stick. I just want to know who funds these guys.
SCARBOROUGH: Janet, is AARP pro-gay and anti-soldier?
JANET PARSHALL, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Well, the Ohio chapter of AARP said they were opposed to marriage legislation in that state, so I think there‘s some credibility to that.
But I think the bigger issue here is what AARP has done to try to make sure that we don‘t offer to America‘s young people the opportunity to privatize some of their Social Security. That‘s the bigger issue.
Look, the president, to his credit, wants to touch that third rail. This is a man who could coast now for the rest of his tenure, doesn‘t have to touch this hot topic. But you know what? I have adult kids who are going to paying in right now. And, by 2018, it‘s not going to be there. I am glad somebody wants to do something about fixing a problem, even if it‘s not going to be broken on his watch. That‘s the bigger issue.
MADISON: I wanted to jump in on this, if you don‘t mind. And that is, I think there should be a legitimate debate about this.
PARSHALL: I agree.
MADISON: But, you know, you do not attack AARP.
Look, I am old enough now to not resent my elders who get into movies at half price because they have an AARP card.
MADISON: Look, they are for seniors. They are pro-seniors. They are an excellent group. It‘s amazing how this group didn‘t come after them when they supported President Bush on the medicine, the prescription legislation that came out. They didn‘t try to destroy them then.
So, I mean, each group has—can agree or disagree with a position and fight for it, but this is not an honest debate. This is a group that likes to trash and burn. And, quite candidly, I am like the other individual. Who is funding these people? And let‘s have honest debate about this.
PARSHALL: Let‘s have an honest debate about the AARP. They‘re somewhat of a sacred cow for seniors.
MADDOW: The AARP...
PARSHALL: I wonder if the average American knows—I wonder if the average American knows that the federal government over the last 15 years has given $1 billion to AARP?
And, by the way, you referenced some of their record. Let‘s talk about the fact that AARP opposed private medical savings accounts. It‘s time to examine them. I think that‘s fair game and part of the debate.
MADDOW: Wait a second. If you want to have a debate about...
MADISON: Their membership opposed it. They‘re a membership organization.
SCARBOROUGH: All right, go ahead, Rachel.
MADISON: I‘m sorry.
MADDOW: If you want to have a debate about Social Security, why is the debate then about AARP?
MADISON: And gays.
MADDOW: AARP is a private membership organization. And gays, exactly. That was a wild card -- 35 million members.
And USA Next, which won‘t disclose their funders, wants to take a million members away from AARP. They are not talking about Social Security. They are just trashing the seniors group. Why are they doing it? Who is funding them, and when are the Republicans going to say whether or not they agree with this?
President Bush should denounce these ads. And the fact that he hasn‘t makes all of us who are concerned about this very suspicious about who is funding this.
SCARBOROUGH: Joe, I will give you the final word.
MADISON: Oh, me?
MADISON: Well, let me tell you...
MADISON: Thank you.
Why don‘t they trash Alan Keyes? He has got a gay daughter. Trash Vice President Cheney. He has got a gay daughter. Are they pro-gay? I mean, listen, let‘s not buy this foolishness. That‘s the final word. Let‘s have an honest debate based on facts, not this trashing of an organization that has members that support it.
SCARBOROUGH: All right, thanks so much. I appreciate it. Joe Madison, Janet Parshall, and Rachel Maddow, we greatly appreciate you being here.
Now, coming up next, no wonder Paris Hilton‘s Sidekick was hacked into. You are not going to believe what her password was that she used to protect it.
And jury selection for Michael Jackson‘s trial is done, but did he get a jury of his peers? We‘ll tell you that when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns.
SCARBOROUGH: I drink tap water, and I‘ve got issues.
First of all, I‘ve got issues with the disturbing finding of rocket fuel in women‘s breast milk and dairy milk. Scientists have discovered that a chemical found in rocket fuel is also in breast milk samples from 18 states. They also found it in dairy milk from all but one sample from 11 states.
This stuff is the leading cause of mental retardation in children, and is polluting drinking water. Right now, the levels are not yet toxic, but they are quickly on the rise. I got three words for you, drink bottled water.
I have also got issues with Illinois freshman Senator Barack Obama. In today‘s “Washington Post,” Senator Obama says—quote—“Andy Warhol said we would all get our 15 minutes of fame. I‘ve already had a half-an-hour. I mean, I‘m so overexposed, I‘m making Paris Hilton look like a recluse.”
Hey, Obama, you can‘t even come close to Paris Hilton‘s overexposure. For instance, I doubt even half of America knows what the name of your favorite pet is, which brings me to my next issue with none other than Paris Hilton. I told you earlier this week how Paris Hilton‘s Sidekick phone was hacked into and its entire contents can now be found online.
So, how did the hacker do it? It turns out that Paris‘ password is protected with a question, what is the name of your favorite pet? And the hacker correctly guessed Tinkerbell. Nice, Paris. You protected the entire life and information of your friends with a question that even I know the answer to. But you know what, Paris? If your amateur porn ever stops being lucrative, there‘s always a job at the CIA.
And they‘re done picking Michael Jackson jury. On Monday, and the lawyers are going to be delivering their opening arguments, front and center, the king of pop, and in the front row, a jury that is mostly white and Hispanic. There are no black jurors. But the alternate panel was also picked today. And that does include one black man. And that could spell trouble for Jackson‘s defense.
When asked, do you think Michael Jackson is guilty or not, 52 percent of blacks thought Michael Jackson was innocent; 59 percent of whites thought he was guilty.
With me now to talk about this and much more is Court TV‘s Lisa Bloom. And we also have radio host and former Jackson confidant Rabbi Shmuley Boteach.
Let me begin with you, Rabbi. Is this where it all may end for your friend Michael Jackson, with a jury that, let‘s face it, doesn‘t sound like it‘s very positive for him?
RABBI SHMULEY BOTEACH, AUTHOR, “FACE YOUR FEAR”: Well, Joe, Michael Jackson‘s sinned before God by making himself into an idol literally, and this has cost him greatly.
The only hope for his redemption is humility. It makes no difference who the jury is. If they see him as a mannequin, rather than a man, if they see him as a beast, rather than a being, if he‘s a super star, instead of soft, supple flesh, they will have no sympathy for him. They will not believe that he is the target of some extortion.
And yet he continues to believe that celebrity is a panacea. He invites all these stupid late-night comics, because they‘re famous, into the trial, believing that this magic celebrity stardust will convince the jury that this is king of pop. You can‘t convict him.
SCARBOROUGH: So, you are saying he still doesn‘t get it?
BOTEACH: Look at the way he walks in and out of the courtroom, smiling, waving. Show humility, for God‘s sake. Show the jury that you understand not just the seriousness of these charges, but how deplorable they are.
Americans cannot abide a pedophile. Michael has got to show that he is a humble man. And he still doesn‘t get it. The scariest thing for me is that Michael is not running—that Michael is running this trial. We knew that Mark Geragos lost control of his client when Michael jumped on top of an SUV, but you can see it still.
What—which respectable lawyer, Thomas Mesereau included, would allow themselves to get up and announce they are inviting Jay Leno as a witness? This is laughable.
SCARBOROUGH: Lisa Bloom, let me ask you that. Is all of this going to hurt Michael Jackson, and the fact that he still doesn‘t seem to get it, that he is inviting Jay Leno and other stars to his trial?
LISA BLOOM, COURT TV ANCHOR: Well, listen, Rabbi, I will leave the theology to you, if you leave the law to me.
Now, Tom Mesereau is an outstanding defense attorney. I named him defense attorney of the year a couple of years ago on my show on Court TV for the work he did in the Robert Blake case. Don‘t underestimate him. This is a potential witness list. This is not an actual list. And he is required by law to put on there every name of every witness that he might call, because it has to be disclosed to potential jurors early on to see whether they are related to any of these people or know any of these people.
It doesn‘t mean that Jay Leno will necessarily be called. And, by the way, a lot of these celebrities have relationship to the accuser, not to Michael Jackson. And that‘s why they are on the defense witness list.
BOTEACH: Well, Lisa, Lisa, I will leave the law to you if you leave the common sense to me.
BOTEACH: Michael Jackson needs redemption not just through a jury, but in his life in general. And if Thomas Mesereau doesn‘t get that, then, unless the image of Michael changes out there in TV land, it will—then he can not achieve vindication in this courtroom.
BLOOM: But here‘s the problem.
BOTEACH: The country is—the country convinced that this is not Peter Pan. It‘s “Peter Porn.”
I actually know that Michael Jackson has an incredibly insightful, beautiful side. When I saw how profound he could be, we sat down and did...
SCARBOROUGH: I‘ll tell you what, though. Let‘s go to the Peter Porn bit. Go ahead, Lisa.
BLOOM: Here‘s the problem with what you‘re saying, because he can‘t express humility and remorse and also simultaneously say that he is innocent. He is going to look guilty if he comes across that way.
That‘s why he comes in strutting, putting his hands in the air. And, by the way, he is not dancing on the SUV anymore, much more humble. He‘s showing up on time for court, except for the time that he supposedly had the flu. So I think Mesereau is having an effect on him.
BOTEACH: Listen, Michael Jackson in that trial is Michael Jackson the superstar. It‘s what destroyed his entire life.
I told him years ago that, if he continues along this way, believing that he is not just above the law, but he‘s above basic rules of living, you can‘t live as a secluded hermit. Your kids need friends. You can‘t never have a relationship with friends, with family.
This is Michael Jackson the superstar. Wake up to what you are seeing, always waving at the fans. The jury has got to see that he walks in as a man who, even if he hopefully is innocent, because I don‘t believe Michael is a molester, but that he understands he‘s made statements that have probably sickened them, that he thinks it‘s innocent to share a bed with...
BLOOM: Well, I agree with you there.
SCARBOROUGH: You all stay with me. There was an explosive new development regarding actually the accuser in this case. And I am going to ask Lisa and the rabbi about that in a minute, when we return.
SCARBOROUGH: Michael Jackson‘s jury has been chosen. And you know something? It looks awfully white. But can he still get a fair trial?
More on that when we return.
SCARBOROUGH: Michael Jackson‘s child molestation case starts Monday.
We‘re back with Court TV‘s Lisa Bloom and also radio host and former Jackson confidant Rabbi Shmuley Boteach.
I want to ask you, Lisa Bloom. This is from “THE ABRAMS REPORT.” NBC News‘ Mike Taibbi is reporting that the alleged victim in the Michael Jackson child molestation case has previously accused both of his parents of abuse.
If that is, in fact, the truth, is that Michael Jackson‘s ticket to freedom?
BLOOM: Absolutely not.
We already know that this accuser, his father actually pleaded nolo contendere, which is the same—it‘s like it‘s a guilty plea—to physical abuse of various members of the family. I don‘t know anything about any report of the accuser saying that his mother had abused him. That‘s news to me.
But, look, some kids are abused by multiple people. And when the accusations are proved to be founded, I don‘t see why that would undermine his credibility.
SCARBOROUGH: Rabbi, tell me what your biggest concern is going into this trial. As somebody that was Michael Jackson‘s spiritual adviser, a close friend, are you more concerned that he‘s going to get convicted or that he‘s going to walk away scot-free because of his celebrity?
BOTEACH: Well, the great fear, of course, is that Michael will stop doing the moonwalk and he will start doing the perp walk.
I think that prison would be a tragedy for Michael, because he still has so much to offer, if he could only redeem his life from the corrosive and rapid decline that we‘ve witnessed the past decade. And it is dangerous both ways.
If he wins, Michael might see this as another victory, that he is untouchable. I don‘t see that there has been a shock to the system, where Michael just gets how much he‘s declined materially, professionally. The country doesn‘t like him. He still doesn‘t get it.
SCARBOROUGH: All right.
BOTEACH: But I‘ll tell you one more thing.
SCARBOROUGH: Rabbi, we‘ve got to wrap it up.
BOTEACH: I don‘t believe that his accuser is credible. I know the kid. I know the family. I have always believed that they were too attached to him.
SCARBOROUGH: All right.
BOTEACH: Having said that, his problem is not going to come from his accuser. It will come from himself.
SCARBOROUGH: Thank you, Rabbi. Thank you, Lisa Bloom. Greatly appreciate it.
That‘s all the time we have for tonight. We‘ll see you tomorrow.
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