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In the Crossfire

Jerry Springer on news media 'hypocrisy'

(CNN) -- Jerry Springer, who is primarily known for hosting slugfests with often trashy subject matter on his talk show, stepped into the "Crossfire" with hosts Paul Begala and Tucker Carlson to discuss CBS' airing of the videotape on which Daniel Pearl, under duress, makes statements sympathizing with the detainees held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

CARLSON: Is it true - is it axiomatic that the more vulgar, the more transvestites, the better the ratings. Is that the way it works?

SPRINGER: No because otherwise Oprah wouldn't have these great ratings. ... Oprah's the best there is, hands down, and you're telling me she has these subjects on her show? I don't think so at all. No, there's no argument to that. Hardly any show is as silly and stupid as mine is, and yet they're all on the air. So no I don't think you can make that argument at all.

BEGALA: And we're doing the best we can to keep up with you, Jerry, but let me ask you about -- we're having an argument, I don't know if you heard in the last segment, about CBS's decision to ...


BEGALA: ... air part of that Daniel Pearl tape. They did stop the tape before Pearl was murdered, but they did show him being badgered. I wondered where is the line for you? Would have you gone all the way to show the murder itself or what would you -- where would you draw the line on something like that?

SPRINGER: No, I -- well one, I think what it really shows, you know, not to pick a fight, but it's to show the hypocrisy of straight news. I mean, they come at you and they lower their voices and they put on a tie so that you think they're serious and they talk about we're telling you what you need to show. Well, the truth of the matter is they showed that because it was great ratings and it got everyone else talking about it.

That's why they did it. They could have told the story without showing that tape, without hurting the family. I would argue that news exploits people and we don't. Now let me just tell you why. On our show, no matter how ridiculous it is, it's all voluntary. Whoever comes on the show desperately wants to be on. They talk about what they want to talk about, and they don't talk about or deal with issues they don't want to.

But on the news, no one went to this family and said is it OK - yes, good -- no one went to that family and said -- to the Pearl family and said is it OK if we show these pictures or ... will this hurt you? Will this make you feel bad? Hell, no, CBS said, 'Oh, this is great. People will love it. This is wonderful.' You could have told the story without showing those pictures.




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