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'Scarborough Country' for June 27

Read the transcript to the Monday show

Guest: Jeff Skoll, Mike Walker, Beau Barron, Linda Allison, Arlene Ellis-Schipper, George Burgess, Tim Dicus, Robert Redford

JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST:  Two vicious shark attacks in three days off the Florida coast, killing a 14-year-old girl and taking a teenage boy‘s leg.  Tonight‘s top headlines:  Thirty years after “Jaws,” it‘s still not safe to go back in the water. 

Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.  No passport required, only common sense allowed. 

New developments also in the case of missing teen Natalee Holloway, suspects released from jail in Aruba, while friends hold an emotional fund-raiser back at home in Birmingham.  But it‘s been four long agonizing weeks and still no sign of Natalee. 

Then, more Tom Cruise unleashed.  His movie opens this week, but nobody‘s talking about the “War of the Worlds” as much as the war of his words.  Hollywood‘s asking tonight, is this risky business hurting Tom Cruise‘s career?

Plus the Sundance Kid comes to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, Robert Redford on his new project, his famous film festival, and yes, President Bush‘s record on the environment. 

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. 

Now, in just a few minutes, we‘re going to go live to Aruba for the very latest on the search for Natalee Holloway.  And we‘re going to be talking to two of Natalee‘s many worried friends back in Birmingham. 

But, first, those two shark attacks off the coast of the Florida Panhandle; 14-year-old Jamie Marie Daigle died after she was bitten this weekend by a shark during her vacation.  And this morning, 16-year-old Craig Hutto lost his leg to a shark.  Tonight, he‘s in stable, but critical conditions—condition—and authorities have stepped up beach patrols and, in some locations, they have closed beaches. 

Now, friends, today, I drove up and down the beaches, the Panhandle of Florida.  I can tell you personally.  I‘ve been living here for 30 years.  My family and I have been on these beaches.  We understand sharks are out in the water.  Everybody knows.  When you fly the helicopters over the Gulf Coast along that line of beach that I drove up and down today, you know sharks are out there.  But, usually, they‘re far out there. 

Today, we‘re getting images of sharks that are far too close.  Here‘s some video of just sharks far too close to shore.  I‘ll tell you what.  I can‘t speak for other parents, but I can tell you what I told my two teenage boys.  Stay out of the water.  I‘ve been swimming these waters, I‘ve been going to all of these beaches, again, for the past 30 years.  I haven‘t seen anything like this and certainly nobody else that I‘ve talked to in Northwest Florida along the Panhandle of Florida has seen anything like we‘ve seen over the past few days. 

Now, with me now tonight, live from Panama City, one of those beaches I‘ve been talking about, NBC‘s Mark Potter is in Panama City Beach with the very latest. 

Mark, tell me, what‘s the update on the young boy who was attacked and lost his leg earlier today? 

MARK POTTER NBC CORRESPONDENT:  Well, good evening, Joe. 

Sixteen-year-old Craig Hutto is indeed here in Panama City in the hospital.  He‘s in intensive care, but doctors say they do expect him to survive.  In an attack this morning, his right leg was nearly severed by a shark attack, a shark suspected by experts of being a bull shark.  They don‘t know for sure, but that‘s likely. 

He and other boys were fishing.  They were actually out in the water in water that may have been waist to chest deep.  They were out there throwing bait, throwing shrimp.  And it‘s possible that that act itself, using live bait may have drawn the sharks in to them according to the experts. 

Because of that attack, the beaches in Gulf County itself are indeed closed, as you mentioned, and they will stay that way until at least 11:00 a.m. tomorrow, when the authorities can reassess.  Now, meanwhile, 80 miles away in Walton County, law enforcement officials are stepping up the beach patrols there.  They are also flying helicopters along the shoreline looking for sharks.

And that‘s because of the other incident you talked about on Saturday;

14-year-old Jamie Daigle was killed by a shark 100 yards or so from shore.  She was out there on a boogie board with another friend.  At the time of that—of that attack, there were no lifeguards along the 26-mile coastline in Walton County.

But, to be fair, there also had never been a reported shark attack in that county at that time.  Experts also believe that a bull shark was involved in that attack.  There was an autopsy today in Pensacola.  And witnesses on the scene on Saturday said it was pretty clear to them that she had been mauled by that shark, suffering multiple bites, a very, very sad case, Joe. 

SCARBOROUGH:  These are remarkable images that we‘re showing our viewers right now. 

And, of course, there‘s a picture of beautiful young Jamie.  But we‘ve been showing images of these sharks right off the coast.  What in the world can law enforcement officers do to protect people from getting attacked?  Obviously, this is the height of the tourist season, between now and the Fourth of July weekend.  We get flooded with more tourists now than ever before.  They can‘t shut down the beaches.

But, at the same time, with sharks coming this close in, it doesn‘t seem like a lifeguard can do anything. 

POTTER:  Well, there are things they can do, Joe. 

They can tell people to use common sense, to stay close to shore, to swim in clear water, to not swim at dusk and dawn, when the sharks likely feed.  Don‘t get far off shore.  Sadly, the two young girls were way off shore.  They were on the wrong side of a sandbar, where there was deep water.  And it‘s suspected that that‘s where bait fish were swimming and sharks were chasing them.

And then, all of a sudden, the two girls appeared.  There are—in the case of the boy, perhaps he was in murky water, that area—and you‘ll hear from your guest in a moment who told me that that‘s an area that is known for murky water.  You shouldn‘t be out there throwing bait, which you throw out and then bring back to you.  That could attract sharks your way.

So, again, the bottom line is to be careful, use common sense, stay close to shore.  The sharks are there.  We saw them too, Joe, just like you did, and they‘re out there.  But, if you don‘t get isolated, if you don‘t get too far out and you stay in clear water at the right time of day, your chances are very good that you‘re not going to have a problem. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.  Great advice, Mark Potter.  Thank you very much.  I greatly appreciate that update tonight. 

And now let‘s bring in Tim Dicus.  He‘s on the phone.  Now, Tim was surfing off of Destin, Florida, on Saturday and he became a hero as he tried to fight off the shark that killed Jamie Marie Daigle. 

Tim, thank you so much for being us tonight.  Obviously, you and I have both swam these waters before, I for 30 years.  I don‘t know how long you‘ve been out there, but I can tell you this.  I understand when you get out beyond the second sandbar you‘re in dangerous territory, but what about these reports of all of these sharks that are coming in very close to shore?  Have you seen that over your years in Northwest Florida or anywhere off these coasts? 

TIM DICUS, SHARK ATTACK WITNESS:  Well, for the last two years, there has been a slight increase that I‘ve noticed.

But you know, even—even when I‘m surfing a lot of the times, as I do—I don‘t know if you‘re familiar with surfing—as I do a bottom turn, I‘ll go by tourists that are standing maybe waist deep in water.  And there will be a four-to-six-foot shark going, swimming right in between them.  And they don‘t even know it‘s there. 

And the shark pays as much attention to them as he would maybe a pier pilings.  But I think that happens probably more regularly than people suspect.  I talked to one of the plane pilots that fly the banner signs down the beach.  And he said, you would be amazed how times—how many—how close people are to sharks most of the time. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, you know, Tim, I‘ve actually flown up and down the coast of Florida with Coast Guard, also sometimes with members of the Air Force, and you do see sharks out in the water. 

I want to ask you, though, specifically about your case.  Here you have this tragic case of this young girl from Louisiana.  And I understand, while she was being attacked by a shark, you actually went out, tried to save Jamie and were actually punching the shark in the nose.  Tell us what happened. 

DICUS:  Well, I was out surfing. 

I was about—I was just inside the outer bar.  And they had drifted just off the edge of the outer bar into the deep water.  And it really had concerned me.  So, a few minutes later, I heard a scream.  And when I looked over, I saw one of the girls swimming frantically towards the beach.  And Jamie had disappeared.  So, I immediately started to paddle over to see if she needed any assistance.

And it was obvious that there was a very large blood spot forming in the water there.  And by the time I got over there, it probably was about 20 feet across. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And so what did you do then? 

DICUS:  Well, she was out in the center of the blood pool.  So, I knew the shark was still in there.  I could see the agitation of the water around her. 

So, I waited kind of for the agitation to get on the other side of her.  And then I swam in and grabbed her by her shoulder straps and pulled her up on my surfboard.  And when I grabbed ahold of her...

SCARBOROUGH:  But—but—but the—but the shark—the shark kept coming after her and you, right? 

DICUS:  Well, the shark was after her basically. 

I think, when I came into the scene, it confused the shark.  And when I grabbed her by the shoulder straps, he broke off the attack, because he didn‘t really know what was going on.  And he wanted to get a better evaluation of the situation.  So, he broke off to the left and came back around to check out what was happening.  But, by that time, I‘d gotten her up on the surfboard.  So, she was out of his reach by then. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right. 

Tim Dicus, thank you so much, a tragic story.  But God bless you for your efforts to save young Jamie. 

And I—listen, let me just say, tonight, our thoughts and prayers are certainly with Jamie‘s family, a tragic, tragic ending to what was supposed to be a fun and wonderful vacation. 

So, a lot of people that are vacationing this time of year, not just in Florida, but all up and down the East Coast especially, are asking the question, how big of a danger are shark attacks at U.S. beaches this summer?

Here to answer that question is George Burgess.  He‘s the director of the Florida Project for Shark Research. 

George, thank you for being with us. 

I understand you observed the autopsy of Jamie Marie Daigle and you‘ve now gone to Panama City to investigate the attack of Craig Hutto.  What can you tell us about these two attacks that just took place 80 miles from each other? 

GEORGE BURGESS, DIRECTOR, FLORIDA PROJECT FOR SHARK RESEARCH:  Yes.  First of all, I‘d like to echo your comments regarding the family of the unfortunate victim.  I‘m very sorry for their loss. 

The chances of a single shark being involved in these two incidents are actually—is very low.  It‘s very unlikely.  What we see here, of course, is the situation that you alluded to earlier.  This is the height of tourist season in the Panhandle area of Florida.  We‘re getting thousands of tourists coming in, in June.  And what we have is an increase in the number of people simply entering the water. 

And shark attack fundamentally is an odds game.  And the more sharks and the more people you put together, the greater the chance you have for an interaction. 

SCARBOROUGH:  We‘re getting more reports of these shark attacks obviously over the past three years.  Is that because we‘re paying closer attention or because the shark attack numbers are going up? 

BURGESS:  Well, actually, if we look at the data for the last four years or so, they‘ve been going down. 

But that said, decade by decade over the last century, the number of attacks have gone up.  And this is largely a reflection of the fact the human population has gone up at a very large rate and aquatic recreation has become an extremely popular pastime. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Man, I‘m afraid you‘re right.  You‘re mixing—you‘re mixing two different species, two different cultures.  And, unfortunately, the results are tragic. 

George Burgess, thank you so much for being with us in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY tonight.  We‘re going to continue following this story and we‘ll be back to you.  Thanks for being with us. 

Now, coming up next, we‘re going from Florida to Aruba for the very latest in the case of Natalee Holloway.  She‘s been missing now for four weeks.  The question is, does the release of the father of Joran Van Der Sloot and the other man mean that the investigation has gone back to square one? 

And what are Natalee‘s close friends at home saying? 

Stay with us.  Complete coverage coming up next. 



ROBERT REDFORD, ACTOR:  I think you have a leader that, in my opinion, comes from a privileged place, is somewhat spoiled, narrow, limited, and arrogant. 


SCARBOROUGH:  The Sundance Kid himself comes to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY to talk exclusively about his new project on PBS, a documentary you won‘t want to miss, plus, talk about some politics. 

Hey, we‘ve got a big night in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.  We‘re just getting started.  Stay with us. 


SCARBOROUGH:  Is the Natalee Holloway investigation under trouble—in trouble?  We‘re going to be here with the very latest. 

Plus, does Hollywood need Cruise control?  We‘ll be answering that with an insider who knows when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns. 



SCARBOROUGH:  Well, it was a happy homecoming for Steven Croes.  He‘s the party boat deejay who had been in custody since June 17, before he was released today.  There are now still three suspects in custody, as Paul Van Der Sloot was also released yesterday.  And the search for Natalee Holloway continues, entering a fifth long week. 

With us now live from Aruba with the very latest is NBC‘s Martin Savidge. 

Martin, what can you tell us tonight? 


Well, you mentioned two releases in the past 24 hours, Steven Croes probably not that big a surprise.  He was the deejay on the party boat and just never seemed to figure prominently in the investigation.                 

But then, yesterday afternoon, you had the release of Paul Van Der Sloot.  He is the father of Joran Van Der Sloot, one of the prime suspects in this case.  And that was a shock, a shock because his arrest was so shocking, a prominent legal official on the island.  You figure that investigators had to have pretty good evidence against him if they moved to arrest him.

And then, suddenly, he is released just a couple of days later.  And that brings about the realization of, well, wait a minute here.  Maybe—maybe they didn‘t have good evidence against him.  And if they don‘t have good evidence against him, then the mind starts naturally going, well, do they have good evidence against the three young men last seen with Natalee Holloway, who continue to be in custody?  That same process is occurring to the family. 

This is Beth Twitty, Natalee Holloway‘s mother. 


BETH HOLLOWAY TWITTY, MOTHER OF NATALEE HOLLOWAY:  At this point, you would think that you‘re well into it and you‘re progressing right through it and you‘ve almost got your answers.  And, after this weekend, I don‘t think it‘s any surprise that, you know, we were devastated. 

That was such a huge setback, that I felt as if I was taken back to May 31 at 2:00 a.m. in the morning. 


SAVIDGE:  So, that‘s the feeling from the family members.  And it really sums up a lot of feeling on the island. 

But the prosecutor‘s office says don‘t think it‘s a major setback.  They are pushing forward with their case, and, if need be, they could rearrest these suspects.  And they are considered suspects, even though they have been set free—Joe.

SCARBOROUGH:  Martin, is there any evidence at all that Joran or the other two boys are cracking?  We‘d heard before that the father could possibly be released just to pressure the son to start talking—or could be arrested just to make the son start talking. 

Any evidence at all that that may be happening? 

SAVIDGE:  No.  In fact, perhaps that‘s why the father was let go.  I mean, if that was the tactic, bring in the father, add pressure to the son, it did not appear to impact the son‘s testimony, at least from what we‘ve heard from the investigation. 

So, you let the father go and pursue other means.  But there‘s been no major breakthrough that we‘ve heard of coming from these interrogations.  Now, keep in mind, the process here is very closed-mouth when it comes to how the prosecutor‘s office and the investigation moves forward.  They are not ones to daily update the media as to how they‘re doing—Joe.

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.  NBC‘s Martin Savidge, thank you so—so much for that report.  Greatly appreciate you staying up with us and bringing us up to date with the very latest. 

Now, friends, let me tell you something.  This is—this is, again, one more setback for this family.  Obviously, Natalee‘s mother and father very upset.  When they went down there, looked for their daughter, found out that the three young boys that she left with that night, well, they were let go and not brought back in for 11 days.  They finally arrest the father, bring him in, think that‘s going to be a big crack in the case.  He is let go.  A lot of disappointment. 

But let‘s go back live to Aruba and try to—try to bring in somebody that can help us out and understand what‘s going on, Arlene Ellis-Schipper.  She‘s an attorney in Aruba. 

And, Arlene, thanks a lot. 

If you could, please give us some insights to where we‘re going in this case.  Why would they have picked up this father, who, again, about as high-profile of an arrest as they could have made, and then let him go two days later? 

ARLENE ELLIS-SCHIPPER, ARUBAN ATTORNEY:  Well, they haven‘t let him go.  The prosecutor didn‘t let him go. 

Mr. Paul Van Der Sloot was taken into police custody, as I understand from the declarations of the prosecution office, because of suspicion of involvement in the disappearance.  However, as—our system works like this.  Then you are filing for an extension of this police custody.  A judge of instructions then assesses whether there‘s—the arrest was, first of all, rightfully made and whether there‘s enough suspicion. 

And, apparently, there was not enough reasonable suspicion, according to the judge of instructions, at this moment. 

SCARBOROUGH:  So—but, I mean, if you‘re going to make a charge, which the prosecutor‘s office made, that he was involved in the disappearance of Natalee, that is just, again, as explosive of a charge as you would expect.  Does the prosecution officer—the prosecutor‘s office usually make these types of charges without having any evidence to speak of to back the charges on? 

ELLIS-SCHIPPER:  Well, charge is the wrong legal term here. 

In our system, we‘re dealing with reasonable suspicion of involvement in a criminal offense.  And what makes this case difficult is because we are not knowing what the criminal offense is, that you just have a suspicion of a criminal offense.  And then you have suspects to be suspected involved in a suspected criminal offense.  So, it makes it very complicated, which makes your case hard against someone.  And I think that is what makes it so difficult to understand here. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes.  Is there—and, you know, I know there‘s a lot of us frustration in the United States.  I think prosecutor‘s offices up here may be a bit more talkative with the press to keep them up to date with what‘s going on. 

In Aruba right now, again, you have a reasonable suspicion the father may have been involved in this case.  He‘s arrested.  Then he‘s let go and we don‘t hear much.  Is that just the M.O. down there?  They don‘t talk as much to the press as prosecutors may do in the United States?  And is it causing any frustration down in Aruba right now? 

ELLIS-SCHIPPER:  Well, that is the custom here. 

As we have a much earlier grip on suspects, they cannot just reveal inside information of cases, because people are not charged as of yet.  Charge would imply that you know what happened.  It is normal here.  And, yes, I would have to admit that we, at Aruba, are also frustrated.  We all want this case to be resolved as soon as possible. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, Arlene Ellis-Schipper, thank you so much for being with us again.  We really do appreciate it. 

And I‘ll tell you what.  And this is the thing I don‘t understand, OK?  This is a prosecutor‘s office that‘s made a lot of mistakes.  There‘s no doubt about it.  I‘ve been talking to you about it since day one, the second they arrested those two young black men simply because they spoke with white tourists that went down to Aruba.  I called them out on that, called them out on releasing those three boys.

And now, of course, here you have them arresting this father.  And here are the words, reasonable suspicion in the involvement of the disappearance of Natalee Holloway.  That is an explosive charge.  And to bring the man in, let him go two days later causes serious problems, as far as I‘m concerned. 

Let‘s go back now to Aruba once again and talk to Natalee‘s aunt, Linda Allison. 

Linda, thank you so much for being with us. 

Obviously, we heard earlier tonight that Beth was devastated by these events.  Talk about how the family is doing today. 

LINDA ALLISON, AUNT OF NATALEE HOLLOWAY:  Well, obviously, we do feel that it was a major setback to hear the news that Paul Van Der Sloot had been released. 

You know, you heard that testimony—or you heard the explanation from the guest that you just previously had on.  And it‘s frustrating.  You have this person trying to explain it.  Can you understand that?  It‘s just very difficult. 

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, that—yes, I could not understand anything, Linda.  I mean, they‘re talking about how this man—and, again, I‘m going to say the quote again—they had reasonable suspicion to believe he was involved in the disappearance of Natalee.  That‘s explosive.  And 48 hours, they let this guy go. 

ALLISON:  Yes.  And...

SCARBOROUGH:  I just don‘t understand it. 

ALLISON:  It‘s hard to understand.  It‘s so hard to understand. 

And it‘s the Dutch law, and it‘s one of those things that we‘re used to U.S. laws.  And, when you get in another country, that‘s what we‘re dealing with. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Linda, you know, we keep hearing Beth and others in the family, hearing you come on, talk on these shows.  And, obviously, you all seem very strong in front of the camera.  How‘s the family doing, though, when the lights turn off and you all are just talking among yourselves? 


Well, I do have to say, we put our game face on when we‘re out searching.  And we do have our emotional moments when we‘re behind closed doors. 

SCARBOROUGH:  But, you know, it‘s still possible, though—you all still believe Natalee could be alive somewhere on that island, right? 

ALLISON:  Yes, absolutely. 

Until they tell us something otherwise, we want to have that happy homecoming with Natalee as well. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right. 

Well, you know, like I always say, we‘re praying for you.  You know, crazier things have happened.  We hope she shows up healthy and safe.  And we greatly appreciate you being with us, Linda. 

ALLISON:  Thank you so much. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right. 

More from Aruba when we come back.  We‘re going to be talking to two of Natalee‘s friends for details, not on what‘s going on, on the search, but what‘s being done for Natalee in her hometown of Mountain Brook, Alabama, as the search continues. 

And later, Tom Cruise spinning wildly out of control.  Is the way he‘s acting risky business for his career?  And will the movie studios blame him when his movie goes belly up? 

Plus, celebrating people who make a difference, and not for profit, that‘s just one of the things legendary actor Robert Redford is talking to us about in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. 

That‘s straight ahead.


SCARBOROUGH:  More on the search for Natalee coming up.  We‘re going to be talking to two of her close friends who were with her on the trip.  That‘s next. 

And, also, Robert Redford is here in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY to talk about his latest project. 

But, first, here‘s the latest news you and your family need to know. 


SCARBOROUGH:  In Natalee‘s hometown of Mountain Brook, Alabama, they‘ve been holding fund-raisers and doing everything they can do to help Natalee‘s family out in this search. 

And earlier tonight, two of Natalee‘s friends, William Morris and Beau Barron, came to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY to tell us about their efforts in their hometown to keep hope alive and to help Natalee‘s family out with fund-raisers. 

The first was a cookout. 


BEAU BARRON, FRIEND OF NATALEE HOLLOWAY:  It ended up just being great, everybody.  It was a great turnout.  And we raised a bunch of money.  And I think we got around $2,500.  And, really, it‘s really brought the community together and just gives us all hope to see that everybody is still, still really concentrated on the case and nobody is really giving up.  So...

WILLIAM MORRIS, FRIEND OF NATALEE HOLLOWAY:  We also raised a lot more money than from the cookout.

We had a—we had this fund-raiser this past weekend at one of our local restaurants that we‘ve been going to ever since we were in elementary school.  And, actually, a band that we‘ve also been listening to that‘s actually kind of hit it big lately came back and played for us.  And they raised over—a little over $20,000.  And all the money is going into a Natalee Holloway trust fund.  And it‘s all going towards the family and just expenses that just are so hard to be paid by them. 


SCARBOROUGH:  Now, throughout this month-long ordeal, we‘ve been focusing on the hunt for Natalee.

But tonight, Beau and William shared their thoughts about Natalee, the young girl they know. 


MORRIS:  I don‘t know a person that just doesn‘t like Natalee.  She‘s not mean to anyone.  She‘s just an outgoing, beautiful, just nice girl that everyone is missing and ready for her to come home. 

It‘s hard, but it‘s also just a reminder that we just have to keep praying for her.  And the more we can do here, it just makes everybody feel so much better.  People have actually—we‘ve—Natalee‘s closest friends have braided these—oh, just thousands of these bracelets.  And people have been wanting them all over the state.  And there‘s—also, there‘s local, like, local businesses giving money.  And everyone is just chipping in just to bring Natalee home. 

BARRON:  She‘s a smart girl.  She‘s level-headed.  And she has just a bunch of common sense.

And just the fact that something like this would ever happen to her just blows my mind.  And, so, I mean, it‘s just really hard to come to grips with.  But we all—we just—we‘re trying to all take it in stride, so...


SCARBOROUGH:  All right.  Great thanks to William and Beau for being with us tonight.  And we will, of course, bring you the very latest on the search for Natalee and how her friends are holding up. 

And, of course, as always, our thoughts and prayers are with all of them tonight, as well as Natalee‘s family. 


TOM CRUISE, ACTOR:  Matt, you don‘t even—you‘re glib.  You don‘t even know what Ritalin is.

If you start talking about chemical imbalance, you have to evaluate and read the research papers on how they came up with these theories, Matt, OK?  That‘s what I‘ve done. 



SCARBOROUGH:  Oh.  That was Tom Cruise going after Matt Lauer Friday on “The Today Show.”  With his summer blockbuster, “War of the Worlds,” opening on Wednesday, Tom Cruise is everywhere.  But a lot of the time, he isn‘t talking about his new movie.  And his new outspoken pose, well, it‘s raising a lot of Hollywood eyebrows. 

NBC‘s George Lewis reports. 


GEORGE LEWIS, NBC CORRESPONDENT (voice-over):  With his new film, “War of the Worlds,” opening this week, Tom Cruise has been dropping a few bombshells of his own, proposing to actress Katie Holmes in Paris, making the rounds of TV talk shows, jumping up and down on the furniture, prompting this reaction from Oprah Winfrey. 


OPRAH WINFREY, HOST:  You are gone.



MATT LAUER, CO-HOST, “THE TODAY SHOW”:  I am not going to go out and say, get your kids on Ritalin.  It‘s the cure-all and the end-all. 

CRUISE:  Matt, Matt, Matt, but here‘s the point.  What is an...


LEWIS:  Then, sparring with Matt Lauer on “The Today Show,” Cruise lashed out at psychiatrists and the drugs they prescribe. 


CRUISE:  Here‘s the problem.  You don‘t know the history of psychiatry.  I do.  I‘m saying that drugs aren‘t the answer, that these drugs are very dangerous.  They‘re mind-altering, anti-psychotic drugs. 


LEWIS:  This morning, a noted psychiatrist fired back. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Mr. Cruise may be a halfway decent actor, but when he starts to play doctor, he‘s being totally irresponsible. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  In our industry, we say he‘s off message, which is a very polite, dignified way of saying he‘s—he‘s gone bonkers. 

LEWIS:  Tom Cruise belongs to the Church of Scientology, a controversial religion that courts celebrities and preaches against psychiatry.  Cruise has ignored advice to downplay his connection to Scientology. 

(on camera):  And with his film set for its Hollywood premiere tonight, many are wondering whether the off-screen behavior of Tom Cruise will help or hurt the movie at the box office. 

(voice-over):  Anne Thompson, a columnist for “The Hollywood Reporter,” says Tom Cruise can probably get away with it. 

ANNE THOMPSON, NBC CORRESPONDENT:  He‘s doing what he wants to do, because he‘s a powerful movie star and he can do whatever he wants. 

LEWIS:  Even if it isn‘t something fans expect from a suave, debonair, leading man. 

George Lewis, NBC News, Hollywood.


SCARBOROUGH:  With us now to talk about what‘s going on with Tom Cruise is Mike Walker of “The National Enquirer.”  He‘s also the author of “Rather Dumb: A Top Tabloid Reporter Tells CBS How to Do News.”

Thanks so much for being with us again, Mike. 

What‘s happening in this Tom Cruise meltdown and how‘s Hollywood responding? 

MIKE WALKER, AUTHOR, “RATHER DUMB”:  Well, Hollywood is exactly saying he‘s off message. 

Whether he can get away with this or not remains to be seen.  It‘s almost usually like there‘s no such thing as bad publicity, but this is starting to border on it.  I mean, that whole repressed anger thing, that Matt, Matt, Matt, you know, you can see the—Tom Cruise, very simply, has been suppressing a lot of things over the years. 

And one of the things he‘s been cool about is his involvement with Scientology.  Well, Scientology and Tom Cruise have decided that here we have two great big movies, both about otherworldly things, if you will.  Here we have the religion Scientology, which a lot of people are surprised when I tell them this is a religion that is based on the fact that our souls are contaminated by the souls of dead aliens who came to Earth 75 million years ago.  This is not a “National Enquirer” story.  That is absolutely what they believe.

And Tom now is proselytizing.

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, the question is, why now, though?  Why now? 

Why is Tom proselytizing now?

WALKER:  Why?  Because it‘s a perfect time.  You‘ve got these two great movies.  They‘re in the news.  He‘s got Katie Holmes.  The whole world is watching him.  And it isn‘t so much anger, as I think he wants people to now know the message. 

Tom Cruise is the top gun of Scientology, OK?  And they and Tom both believe that now is the time to recruit people to this religion, which, by the way, dirty little secret, they‘re not increasing converts.  They have been dropping in membership.  And this is a terrific time for Tom to get out there.

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, Mike, let me ask you this. 

Let me play you, first of all—I want to play you Tom lecturing Matt Lauer about his position on psychiatry.  Take a listen. 


CRUISE:  This is a very important issue.  This is a very...

LAUER:  I couldn‘t agree more. 

CRUISE:  And you know what?  You‘re—you‘re here on “The Today Show.” 

LAUER:  Right. 

CRUISE:  And to talk about it in a way of saying, well, isn‘t it OK and being reasonable about it, when you don‘t know and I do, I think that you should be a little bit more responsible in knowing what it is, This is a very important issue. 

Couldn‘t agree with you more. 

You‘re here on “The Today Show” and to talk about it in a way of saying, well, isn‘t it OK and being reasonable about it when you don‘t know and I do.  I think that you should be a little bit more responsible in knowing what it is. 


SCARBOROUGH:  He goes on “The Today Show.”  He attacks a guy that everybody seems to love, Matt Lauer, and then this bizarre Katie Holmes thing.  Why Katie Holmes?  Why now?  Why the supposed overacting? 

WALKER:  Why not?  Tom did what he always does, time for a new girlfriend.  He made a list, as I put in my column this week.  As I put it, it was a list of four.  And the list was Jennifer Garner, Kate Bosworth, Jessica Alba, and Katie Holmes.

And he had his representatives contact them all.  They all came to his house.  He talked to them ostensibly about starring in a movie.  And then, like in Jennifer Garner‘s case, he took her out, wined her and dined her.  Kate Bosworth he didn‘t think was a suitable candidate.  Finally, he got to Katie Holmes.  They met at his house and that was it.  It was sushi in the sky with diamonds after that, and then, of course, the meetings with Scientology, and this whirlwind, not only romance, but a conversion of a very conventional young Catholic girl to this, what some people call a bizarre religion. 

And I have no grief against Scientology.  Believe what you want.  But Tom is pressing it on us. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Wow.  I‘ll tell you what.  That is a remarkable story. 

Thank you, Mike Walker.  I‘d like to follow up with you in the coming days, get your sources on that last story about those women lining up and coming over.  I don‘t think I‘d do that to find a wife.  Find out whether Tom really did or not. 

Now, coming up next, one of the greatest movie stars of all time has a great new project.  And Robert Redford is in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY to talk about it, along with some other favorite issues. 

Stay with us.  We‘ll be back with that in a second.


SCARBOROUGH:  Actor Robert Redford has a new project, a documentary about people around the globe who are trying to change the world in their own small way.  The documentary is called “The New Heroes.”  And it premieres Tuesday night on PBS. 

Now, Robert Redford has teamed up with  Jeff Skoll.  He is the co-founder of eBay and also the head of the Skoll Foundation.  And they‘re producing this film. 

Earlier, they told me what it takes to be a new hero. 


JEFF SKOLL, FOUNDER, SKOLL FOUNDATION:  Well, I think there‘s really been a movement in the last 20 years where people are seeing that there are problems in the world, environmental degradation, and people that can‘t afford health care, crimes, drugs, terrorism, and so on.

And they‘re saying the traditional institutions can‘t solve all of these problems, so we‘re going to take matters into our own hands.  And so these people who today we call social entrepreneurs are finding these problems around the world or in their communities and they‘re taking action themselves.  And the amazing thing is, an ordinary person can really make a great deal of difference in these problems. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Robert Redford, obviously, you can pick and choose your projects.  Why did you decide to get involved in “The New Heroes”? 

REDFORD:  Well, it tied nicely to—to issues I‘m concerned with and things I feel passionate about.  I mean, obviously human rights and the condition of human rights is one.

And the idea of using film in a way that makes a little—quite a lot, actually, what we do at Sundance, at the nonprofit suit at Sundance focusing on independent film, is to raise the voices of independent people around the world, to increase diversity, as some areas might be shrinking.  So—so, for me, the idea of using film—I mean Jeffrey is a social entrepreneur.  And he‘s bringing—he‘s bringing the idea forward of social economics and social responsibility and putting it in a form. 

And the role that I would play would be to do what I do.  I mean, I‘m more on the art end or the content end.  And that is to use film in a way other than just something as restrictive as just straight-out entertainment.  And that is, say, is there a way that we can take these people, who need to be celebrated, their voices need to be heard, and who can be so inspiring to other people when they see the courage and the commitment that they exhibit around—from an impoverished position, sometimes against incredible odds of corporate—or, you know, greed and corruption?

But that‘s the reason that I‘m involved, because it ties to a lot of things I‘ve tried to do over 30 years in my work and particularly in the environment to raise awareness about what‘s at stake.  And so, that‘s my role in this. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And why do you think the Bush administration has such a blind spot on the environment? 

REDFORD:  Well, I think—I mean, look, this is a personal opinion, so it will have to sit that way.  I‘m not a politician.  I think you have a leader that, in my opinion, comes from a privileged place, is somewhat spoiled, narrow, limited, and arrogant.

And that‘s my personal view.  And the policies that come from that, the people he puts around him, attitudes about the environment are just—display a kind of ignorance, more than anything else.  They seem to be enjoying shredding the environment to create support for something that might be yesterday‘s news, rather than tomorrow‘s future. 

So that‘s hard for me to witness.  I don‘t think you‘re going to change it because of the arrogance.  They seem to enjoy it.  I don‘t know beyond that why this is.  I think that the thinking in Washington right now is old.  It seems like they‘re operating in the ‘50s rather than the year 2000.  It‘s a new world we‘re living in and a new future.  And a lot of our resources have already disappeared.  And communities are now living closer together.  Cultures are living closer together.  Somebody better start paying attention to foreign culture and history and what the environment really means, rather than something treated like an enemy. 

It just is mystifying. 

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, you talk about Sundance. 

This past weekend, I was up at the Nantucket Film Festival.

SCARBOROUGH:  And a young filmmaker came up to me and talked about a film that she was making, a documentary about the electoral process in South America and in Central America.  And it‘s a remarkable film.

And it really drove home to me that what you started at Sundance—and, obviously, it began before that—but what you specifically started in 1991 really unleashed a cultural revolution.  Could you have ever imagined, 14 years later, what you started in 1991 would lead to? 

REDFORD:  Well, no, Joe, I couldn‘t. 

First of all, it actually started before that in reality.  I don‘t think it came to the awareness factor until around 1990, ‘91.  But it started in 1980.


REDFORD:  And it was a rough start to begin with, because I—it was not easy to get support.  People did not think there was much future in independent film and why would I waste time with something like that.

But, in time, as it grew and increased in value and awareness, I was encouraged.  But I didn‘t think I could anticipate the broad reach that it would have and that we would move into the international marketplace with this idea.  No.  No, I didn‘t.  I‘m glad to hear that story, because that‘s why we‘re there. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.  We‘ll leave it there.

Robert Redford, Jeff Skoll, thank you so much for being with us.  I greatly appreciate it.

REDFORD:  Thank you, Joe. 

SKOLL:  Thank you.  It‘s been wonderful. 


SCARBOROUGH:  We‘ll be right back. 

And I‘ll be telling you why I‘m banning the new Hillary-bashing book. 

That‘s next. 


SCARBOROUGH:  Coming up, we are talking about the latest Hillary-bashing book. 

But do you want to be the smartest person at work tomorrow morning?  Check out my morning read.  You‘re going to get the latest hot stories of the day.  And you can find it at

We‘ll be right back.


SCARBOROUGH:  The sizzling best-seller that defames Hillary Clinton is the topic of tonight‘s “Ethical Edge,” part of MSNBC‘s new effort to focus on ethical issues in America. 

Now, a lot has been said in media circles this past week regarding Ed Klein‘s unauthorized biography of Hillary Clinton.

The charges are explosive, accusing President Clinton of rape and the New York senator of engaging in sexual practices that, if believed, would derail her presidential aspirations.  You know, the rumors are thinly sourced.  The material is lifted in great part from other works of fiction against Hillary.

And when I learned that Mr. Klein was booked on SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, I asked questions.  What were the stories?  Who were the sources?  And, most importantly, what was the relevance?  After learning the stories were inflammatory, the sources were weak and the book‘s relevance was less than zero, I canceled the booking.  Why?  Because it was the right thing to do. 

But being the contrarian I am, I just wonder, if other networks aren‘t allowing Mr. Klein on, then why did they allow Kitty Kelley during the presidential election?  Just curious. 

We‘ll see you tomorrow night in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. 


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