What's News at "New York Times?"; What Will Children Learn About September 11?
Aired August 20, 2002 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: CROSSFIRE. On the left, James Carville and Paul Begala. On the right, Robert Novak and Tucker Carlson.
In the CROSSFIRE tonight: What's the news at one of the nation's most influential newspapers? Conservatives say the "New York Times" new boss is going for influence instead of what's fit to print. Best- selling author Ann Coulter is among our guests.
What will your children be learning about September 11? We've done our homework on the controversial plans of a national teachers union.
And Martha makes a delivery. Will a House committee think it's a good thing? Tonight on CROSSFIRE.
From the George Washington University, James Carville and Tucker Carlson.
TUCKER CARLSON, CO-HOST: Good evening and welcome to CROSSFIRE.
Tonight, Martha madness. Why is everyone picking on a nice lady who cooks, decorates, and gives Congress her phone and e-mail records without being subpoenaed? Also, reading, writing, and some awfully strange lessons about September 11. You should know that we're awaiting a news conference in California on the fate of missing girl Nichole Taylor Timmons. We'll go to that live when it happens.
But first, as we do every day, let's start with the best political briefing in television, our CROSSFIRE "Political Alert."
It's primary day in Georgia, a state with two of the biggest personalities in Congress. In the seventh district, sitting Republican Congressman John Linder and CROSSFIRE fixture Bob Barr are battling for what is considered a safe GOP seat. In the fourth district, resident embarrassment and conspiracy nut Cynthia McKinney is trying to fend off a challenge from fellow Democrat Denise Majette. McKinney made headlines earlier this year when she accused President Bush of knowing beforehand about the terrorist attacks of September 11. Despite a visit and endorsement from Louis Farrakhan, she's been in trouble ever since.
Then last weekend, McKinney's campaign recorded endorsements from celebrities, like Rob Redford, Magic Johnson, Andrew Young and Bill Clinton. The only problem: the endorsements were taped years ago during other campaigns. Redford, who had the decency to be embarrassed, complained. Clinton, who still apparently supports McKinney, did not complain. And he ought to be embarrassed, but, of course, he's not. He supported the crackpot.
JAMES CARVILLE, CO-HOST: He supported her in a race, probably against the Republicans, some time ago. Y'all will never get over the fact that Bill Clinton was the greatest president in the last 50 years. You'll never get over the fact that this guy in here can't walk and chew gum at the same time.
CARLSON: He supported Cynthia McKinney.
CARVILLE: Finally, eight months after Enron went belly up, somebody is finally going to take the perp walk. Sources say Michael Kopper -- that's with a K in case you've never of him, and neither did I -- who managed Enron's overseas partnership is going to plead guilty to wire fraud and money laundering charges. Kopper is the first and so far only executive at Enron to get so much as a parking ticket in the wake of the company's collapse. We didn't know if any of his plea involves any deal to testify against his boss, former Enron chief financial officer Andrew Fastow. Sources say Kopper's trip to court could come as early as tomorrow.
CARLSON: You can't rush justice.
CARVILLE: There you go.
CARLSON: In news from the progressive front tonight, imagine a place where the image of Adolf Hitler is more vigorously defended than the American flag. Welcome to Massachusetts. Four years ago, a liberal in the Massachusetts legislature made it a crime for licensed gun clubs to use targets depicting Hitler or Saddam Hussein or Osama bin Laden or any other human image or silhouette, mass murderer or otherwise. Shooting pictures would be insensitive, the liberal said. Shooting or burning the American flag, meanwhile, is legal, even encouraged, as a thoughtful, valid expression of free speech. It all makes perfect sense in Massachusetts. It may make less sense at the Supreme Court, which is expected to consider the case this fall. Stay tuned.
CARVILLE: Who was the governor of Massachusetts four years ago? Who was the governor that signed this four years ago? Who was the governor of Massachusetts?
CARLSON: Unfortunately, we're going to a news conference now underway in Riverside, California about the fate of the young girl kidnapped and apparently now returned. Here it is.
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)
UNIDENTIFIED POLICE OFFICER: ... Sheriff's Office in Mineral County, Nevada. It's about 120 miles south of Reno. He advised me that he has in his possession one healthy, appears to be unharmed Nichole Timmons, also has in his custody a pickup truck and also a male suspect we identified previously. And he's very, very happy with the resolution of this case, as we are here, obviously.
He explained to me how Nevada Highway Patrol, using their Amber Alert system, received a tip about the vehicle traveling through his state. By the time it came through his jurisdiction, they had sheriff's deputies trying to locate it, eventually went through his jurisdiction into the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) tribal reservation, at which time a tribal officer pulled over the pickup truck and made the detention and the arrest of our suspect.
I want to thank everybody for the wonderful cooperation. I think that of the last couple of months, law enforcement has developed some very strong protocols in working with one another. And relying on the help of the...
CARLSON: And back to Washington. Ten-year-old Nichole Timmons has been found, apparently safe, the perpetrator apparently in custody. We'll, of course, keep you apprised as the story develops.
CARVILLE: Let the record show Tucker has refused to tell us who the governor of Massachusetts was four years ago, because he was a Republican.
Our valiant commander in chief would never try to keep our veterans from receiving all the benefits they're rightfully entitled to, would he? Well, he did kill a special spending bill last week that included money to improve veterans health care. Make note (ph) of that. What I really wanted was an explanation from the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Department of Veterans Affairs instructed Laura Downs (ph) to, quote, "ensure that no marketing activities enroll new veterans occur within your networks," end quote. In plain English, that sounds like the administration would rather not go out of its way to spend money on people who risked their lives for their country. This from a president who never showed up at an Air National Guard meeting...
CARLSON: If I can just correct misperceptions you've introduced to our audience, that spending bill included bits of pork like millions for the Smithsonian Institution's worm collection and other garbage put in there by greedy Democrats.
CARVILLE: Who was the governor of Massachusetts four years ago?
CARLSON: The governor of Massachusetts four years ago was a liberal like everyone else in the state. And like you, you ought to be proud. You can't...
CARVILLE: In other words, it was a Republican that supported Bush.
CARLSON: And now on to more reason. The man who invented the Internet has a new secret. That's right, Al Gore. He's getting ready to give the keynote speech to a group of federal, state and local government officials who thought they were coming to California for a conference on the Department of Homeland Security, surprise surprise. Instead, Gore intends to talk and talk and talk and then probably talk some more to them about, quote, "technology and the future of America." Of course, handlers say that due to the nature of the material he intends to present, no cameras or other high-technology recording devices will be allowed inside. The Gore irony watch continues.
CARVILLE: You know what? I think when the man...
CARLSON: It's kind of pathetic, isn't it?
CARVILLE: When he wins the presidential election by over a half- million votes...
CARLSON: Oh, he's president now?
CARVILLE: No, because the Supreme Court stole it from him.
CARLSON: Oh, really.
CARVILLE: But he won it.
CARLSON: This is so sad. So sad.
CARVILLE: Everything that you've prosthelisized has turned into a fact. The deficit is out of control. The stock market has plummeted. And these people don't know what they're doing in Iraq.
If you hear the whining sound of a desperate politician is probably coming from California. Republican Bill Simon still thinks he has finally got an issue that will divert attention from his laughable campaign for governor. Ready? Simon says his opponent, Governor Gray Davis, is dragging his feet on regulating a dietary supplement, Ephedra, because Davis got a campaign contribution from its manufacturer two years ago. Of course, Simon said he got a $10,000 contribution from the same country (ph), Metabolife, and won't give it back. No wonder Simon's campaign needs pep pills.
CARLSON: You know, the sad thing is Gray Davis will probably be re-elected governor, and even you don't support that. That's horrifying.
CARVILLE: Well, of course I support...
CARLSON: And now onto news, all the news that's fit to print. Every edition of the "New York Times" carries that motto in the upper left corner of the front page. For generations, the slogan has implied objectivity, news uncolored by opinion, bias or conjecture. But is the straight story still the rule at the "New York Times" or have the liberal, political views of its new editor tainted the world's most important newspaper?
Joining us to debate it, from New York, Richard Goldstein, executive editor of "The Village Voice," and author Ann Coulter. Speaking of the "New York Times," her book "Slander" is No. 1 on its non-fiction best-seller list.
CARVILLE: Mrs. Coulter, isn't this whole goofball right-wing attack on the "New York Times" just trying to cover up the fact that this administration's complete inept attitude in getting our allies, the American people, people in Congress, even members of their own party, to support a war with Iraq?
ANN COULTER, AUTHOR, "SLANDER": Well, CROSSFIRE chose the topic tonight. I was just coming to comment on it. I actually think it's rather old news that the "New York Times" promotes editorial positions on its front page. But as many have pointed out, I mean, it has been quite deceptive, the description of, for example, Henry Kissinger as being opposed to invading Iraq, but that really is not true.
And I also find it especially interesting how Representative Dick Armey from Texas, the Republican, who has been described in the pages of "New York Times," by the exact same reporter, in fact, as the crazy woman who had to be kept in the attic just a few years ago. Now that he opposes invading Iraq, is suddenly given puff pieces in which he's described as former economics professor, free market conservative, who has opposed wasteful spending. That is really the most striking thing about the "Times," that it will elevate anyone who agrees to its position to sudden status as senior statesman in the Republican Party.
CARVILLE: Let me read off some other Republicans that oppose war and then you can tell us what's wrong with them. Senator Richard Lugar of Indiana? What's the problem with Senator Lugar?
COULTER: Well, we are a big tent. We don't have these Stalinist control that the Democrats have, prohibiting, for example, popular Pennsylvania Governor Casey from speaking at our convention. We do have a big tent. Yes, I disagree with these people...
CARVILLE: Is there anything wrong with Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska?
COULTER: ... but I didn't think they were the crazy woman who had to be kept in the attic.
CARVILLE: Is there anything wrong with former Representative Jack Kemp of New York, or Brent Scowcroft, former national security adviser, of Lawrence Eagleburger, former secretary of state under Bush administration. Tell us what's wrong with these people?
COULTER: What's wrong with them? They're wrong on Iraq. That's all. They may be fine fellows and they're certainly good Republicans, but they're wrong on Iraq, and suddenly they're the only ones being who are being quoted in the "New York Times." And they go from being described as crazy ultra conservatives who need to be kept in the attic to being, oh, what does this senior statesman of the Republican Party have to say?
(CROSSTALK) CARLSON: James, James, now let's me go to Mr. Goldstein. And, Mr. Goldstein, thanks for joining us. Let me just say at the outset I love the "New York Times," read it every day, have all my life. And that's why it saddens me to discuss this.
I want to read you a quote from Howell Raines, the new editor, hasn't been in quite a year. This is from his book "Fly Fishing Through the Midlife Crisis." This is a quote from the book. "I was a correspondent in the White House in those days in the '80s. And my work, which consisted on reporting on President Reagan's success and making life harder for citizens who were not born rich, white and healthy saddened me. Reagan couldn't tie his shoes if his life depended on it."
Now, in addition to being sort of a cliched and boring and kind of stupid, that reveals how Raines for who he is, an unrepentant liberal. Fine. It was great when he was editor on the editorial page. But is it really responsible to elevate someone whose political views are so out in the open and so pronounced to take over the news pages? Why shouldn't that make readers nervous?
RICHARD GOLDSTEIN, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, "THE VILLAGE VOICE": Well, let me first of all say, you know, for a media critic, Ann Coulter leaves a lot to be desired. The "New York Times" never said that Henry Kissinger was against invading Iraq. They never said that. They said that he shared Colin Powell's positions on this. And, you know, he was on "Meet The Press" last Sunday. I know you were probably watching the McLaughlin report. But he was on there. And if he thought that the "Times" had misrepresented him, he would have said so and he didn't. Nor did they not quote...
CARLSON: Hold on, Mr. Goldstein. I want you to answer my question though. You have an unrepentant liberal in charge of the news pages of the most important newspaper in the world...
GOLDSTEIN: But I'm trying to show you, Tucker...
CARLSON: No, no. But I want you to break the larger question...
GOLDSTEIN: I'm trying to show you that the "Times" is accurate. The "Times" does accurate recording. They quoted hawks in that article, they quoted Richard Perle. They didn't just quote Dobbs (ph). This is a complete fabrication and it's an attempt by you hawks to muzzle the press so that there's no other option under discussion except for imminent military action.
CARLSON: Mr. Goldstein, if you could stop name calling for just one second, answer my question. If Ann Coulter, for instance, who is an unrepentant right-winger, good for her, much the same way Howell Raines is an unrepentant liberal, were elevated to the editorship of the "New York Times," the "Washington Post," some other important newspaper, in charge of the news pages, wouldn't that make you nervous?
GOLDSTEIN: You're saying that no liberal can be objective and that's outrageous. CARLSON: I'm not saying that.
GOLDSTEIN: Yes, you are. Because his political views of his own business. Doesn't mean he's not objective. It doesn't mean that the reporter on the story wasn't objective. He had enormous amounts of evidence to show that there's a split in the Republican Party. Ann Coulter herself admitted it. What's the problem with the article? What's the problem with the article? It was accurately reported.
COULTER: Can I respond to that?
CARVILLE: Why has this administration...
GOLDSTEIN: Where's your beef? Where's your beef here?
CARVILLE: I'm trying to -- the problem is not the "New York Times." The problem is the inept attitude of this administration. Ms. Coulter, do you have any advice for this administration, how they can convince one ally, one person in America, somebody, that this is a good idea?
COULTER: Seventy percent majorities in America have supported invading Iraq without the administration even having to make a case for it since January in poll after poll after poll, as I cited in my column last week. Americans keep saying they support this invasion. And we're not about to invade. The administration hasn't even made the case for it. But the American people, unlike the "New York Times," remember 9/11, know there are a lot of madmen out there. And we ought to take out this despot with his arms on weapons of mass destruction.
CARVILLE: I actually agree with you. They haven't made the case. What I'm trying to say is you're a best-selling author. Tell them how they should make the case. You're right, they haven't. They've been inept in doing it.
COULTER: I don't think they any need help. The case will be made in full and not through leaks here and there on an occasional press question before we invade, and I hope that comes soon.
CARLSON: Mr. Goldstein, you said a minute ago that the "New York Times" never described Henry Kissinger as being opposed to war. I just want to read you an exact quote from the Todd Perdham (ph) story that describes him as part of a group of leading Republicans who are warning Bush against going to war with Iraq.
GOLDSTEIN: That's not what they said. That's not what they said. They said that he was part of a group that said the administration was not prepared for military action and that they hadn't made a case that it was necessary. And if you look at what he said on "Meet The Press," he said exactly the same thing.
CARLSON: I guess...
GOLDSTEIN: You're making up -- you're fabricating a lie here to make a point.
CARVILLE: You're right, Mr. Goldstein.
CARLSON: I'm actually reading the clip right here. But if you want to continue calling names...
CARLSON: Why don't you stop, slow down?
GOLDSTEIN: Let me ask you something. What do you think of the saying, the truth shall set you free, because that's my motto as a journalist. It's really important.
CARLSON: Your motto appears to be polemics (ph) here, and I wonder if you'll just answer my question. I want you to listen to -- actually you've been name calling the entire time. Listen to an actual quote from the real op-ed from Henry Kissinger. Quote: "The overthrow of the Iraq regime and, at a minimum, the eradication of its weapons of mass destruction would have potentially beneficent political consequences as well." The guy has a nuance view, but he's not, judging from what he writes and says, an obvious opponent of the war against Iraq.
GOLDSTEIN: Tucker, here's the lead. Here's the lead of the story, OK.
CARLSON: Hit me with the lead.
GOLDSTEIN: Leading Republicans have begun to break ranks with President Bush over his administration's high-profile planning for war with Iraq, saying the administration has neither adequately prepared for military action nor made the case that it is needed. That's what Henry Kissinger said on "Meet The Press." He is typical of this group. They reported the story accurately. You people are making a red herring here.
CARLSON: Mr. Goldstein, you're admitting the fact that he hadn't appeared on "Meet The Press" when that story ran. So, get it together, Pat.
GOLDSTEIN: He appeared after it ran. And if he had a problem with it, he would have said so on the air. You're creating a red herring to stifle discussion and recording of the facts. And that's really a shame, Tucker. It's just in your interest to do so, but it's not in our interest.
CARLSON: Well, unfortunately, as much as I'm enjoying this colloquy, we're going to have to take a quick break. In a minute, we'll turn to a style section and ask our guests if the "Times" is on to a genuine social trend or merely pandering to political correctness.
Later, this isn't living, it's a media and congressional feeding frenzy.
And our "Quote of the Day" comes from a congressional Republican who is ready to pick a fight with Attorney General John Ashcroft. We'll be right back.
CARLSON: Welcome back to CROSSFIRE.
We're discussing the changing times, the "New York Times." This Sunday, the paper served notice that beginning next month, in addition to the usual wedding announcements, the Sunday style section will also publish reports of same-sex commitment ceremonies. In the CROSSFIRE tonight are "Village Voice" executive editor Richard Goldstein and Ann Coulter, author of the currently No. 1 best-selling book "Slander."
CARVILLE: Ann, I have a real problem with the "New York Times." Actually, I have had a problem with Mr. Raines' editorials on Whitewater. But I have a real problem with what's happened before at the "Times." Already, 70 newspapers print gay unions, including the "Washington Post," the "Chicago Tribune," the "San Francisco Chronicle," "Atlanta Journal-Constitution."
Don't you think Mr. Raines is a little late in coming along and publishing these things, and aren't you willing to congratulate him for doing this right now, and saying too little too late, but thank God he's joined the chorus here?
COULTER: Well, I hardly think it's as egregious as the constant rooting for Saddam Hussein and trying to keep Saddam Hussein in power. But I do think the posting of gay unions is a little bit ridiculous. And I think it looks like a parody out of "The Onion." Will they be showing them, you know, in full regalia getting dressed? Will we know which one is keeping his last name? I mean, I just think it's not doing a service to gays. I think it makes them look ridiculous.
CARVILLE: Well, Mr. Goldstein, you want it. So, you want to tell her why you think this is a good idea?
GOLDSTEIN: Of course I think it's a good idea. I mean, you know, the thing is, you know, we're talking about two human beings in a loving bond, a deeply loving bond, that is in terms of its emotion, exactly the equivalent of a heterosexual relationship. And what's so sleazy about the way Ann Coulter comes at this is that she has no respect for love, no respect for the bond, sees only the idea of who's going to have whose name, who's going to be in a regalia, as if you wear drag in a same-sex wedding. This is the bigotry that stands in our way so often in terms of achieving social justice in this country.
CARLSON: Ann Coulter, do you have respect for love?
GOLDSTEIN: Well, maybe certain kinds of love. COULTER: I must say, I thought we were talking about Saddam Hussein and the "New York Times." I didn't realize I was going to be the topic tonight or I would have prepared more fully.
But, no, I mean, the wedding pages, they're always done for the bride's sake. I think most grooms find the whole wedding ceremony something, you know, they're forced to go through and a little bit preposterous. So, I'm having -- having two grooms, I just can't imagine anyone wanting that. I'd just as soon get out of it altogether. I would take that as one of the advantages of being gay and not try to get in on it.
GOLDSTEIN: I'm no authority on the advantages of being gay, but I can tell you something. The New York City council, in the same day that the "Times" made its decision, passed a resolution by a wide majority honoring same-sex marriage and offering benefits to people who do it. And so the "Times" is reflecting the consensus of feeling and opinion in New York City, even if it doesn't apply to the hollow where Ann Coulter lives.
CARLSON: Richard Goldstein, let me just ask you a quick question here...
COULTER: I think the contracts are different from these photos. I mean, contractual benefits I can see a good argument for. Photos in the "New York Times" nuptial section, that's just embarrassing.
GOLDSTEIN: If those pictures embarrass you, Ann, that's your problem.
COULTER: No, it would embarrass me on behalf of gays showing up in there. And it just shows really how out of touch...
GOLDSTEIN: I'd thank you to leave that to gay people to decide.
CARLSON: Unfortunately, Mr. Goldstein, Ann Coulter, we're going to all have to meet at James Carville's house later for dinner to continue this discussion. We really appreciated having you both on. Ann, you more than him, but thanks very much.
Still to come, sensitivity, diversity, and the evils of America. Do those sound like the lessons of September 11? A left-wing teachers union says they do.
Also, a recipe for excess: take one stock market scandal, add just a pinch of Martha Stewart.
And next, our "Quote of the Day." A top Republican tries to talk some sense into the U.S. attorney general. We'll be right back.
CARVILLE: Congress passed so the-called Patriot Act in the wake of September 11, that gave John Ashcroft's Justice Department broad powers to go after terrorists. But members of the House Judiciary Committee want to be reassured that Ashcroft isn't going after the Constitution. They sent the Justice Department a list of 30 questions. It's been ignored. Two deadlines have passed. The committee chairman, James Sensenbrenner says he's going to start blowing the fuse if there are no answers by Labor Day week. That includes hauling Ashcroft himself up to Capitol Hill and forcing him to testify.
Sensenbrenner gets our vote for the "Quote of the Day," saying, "I've never signed a subpoena in my 5 1/2 years as chairman. I guess there's a first time for everything. If you want to play, I've got a secret, good luck getting the Patriot Act extended."
CARLSON: You know what the last sentence of this says, James?
CARVILLE: What is that?
CARLSON: On Capitol Hill, congressional prerogative trumps partisanship. Ignore them at your peril. Every president (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
CARVILLE: You know, The Constitution gives Congress power. I wish the people would give the country a Democratic Congress in November.
CARLSON: I don't think so.
Next, rapid resolution to the latest missing child case. CNN's Connie Chung has details in just a minute.
Also ahead, lesson plans for September 11. Is the bottom line blame America first? For some, it is.
And later, why are there some people who can't stand Martha Stewart, doilies and all? We'll ask that and other important questions. We'll be right back.
CARVILLE: Obviously, September 11 won't be just another ordinary day in America's classrooms. This week, the National Education Association's Web site put up links of dozens of lesson plans covering kindergarten through high school. It's no surprise, right-wingers found something they didn't like. Pretty soon, they were screaming suburbia's (ph) teachers are trying to poison the minds of unsuspecting patriotic children. Nothing could be further from the truth. But when has that ever stopped the right wing before?
Here to talk about what should be teaching on September 11 are Jean Abinader, managing director of the Arab American Institute; and Sandy Rios of Concerned Women of America.
CARLSON: Mr. Abinader, I want to put up on the screen -- doubtless you've seen this a hundred times, but the now famous suggested guideline from the National Education Association, a wing of the Democratic Party. Here's what children ought to be taught on 9/11. "Some of our country's darkest moments resulted from prejudice and intolerance from our own people because Americans acted out of fear. We must not repeat terrible mistakes, such as our treatment of Japanese Americans and Arab Americans during times of war."
Now, nobody disagrees that those were terrible mistakes. School children learn about them all the time. But my question to you is, why does the anniversary of the slaughter of 3,000 Americans give rise in some people to this desire to ruminate on America's sins? Isn't the implication really that America deserved it, is responsible for what happened on 9/11?
JEAN ABINADER, ARAB AMERICAN INSTITUTE: I don't think so. I mean, when I got the notice this morning about the story, I actually went to the curriculum and went through it. And that's not what it says.
CARLSON: That's actually an exact quote from...
ABINADER: What I'm saying is there are 12 different units. And this one unit, which is on tolerance, says these words, and I think you're accurate. But the rest of them are very clear about the causes of terrorism, how do you deal with terrorism, how do you deal with fear in the classroom, how do you deal with fear in your life.
So, I think it's a real balance, and I think to pick out one piece of it and say, jeez, we're trying to glorify punishing America, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) because we're not. What we're really saying we want to look at what makes America strong, what makes America great after September 11, and we want to look at the ugliness, but we also want to look at the good things that happened. And I think that's what's reflected in this. i think to pull this one quote out is not fair to the overall curriculum, at least that I looked at on the Internet today.
CARVILLE: Have you looked at what this, Mr. Brian Lippincott (ph), actually said?
SANDY RIOS, CONCERNED WOMEN FOR AMERICA: Mr. Brian Lippincott? I know about the curriculum. You mean, what it says in the curriculum?
CARVILLE: What is it -- I have it right here. Tell me what your...
RIOS: What is it that bothers me?
CARVILLE: What bothers you about it? RIOS: Well, there's one -- there are several actually references, Jean, maybe you didn't see these. But there was one where they talk about the images of the Palestinians, you know, cheering after the bombing, and talk about how bad that was because it caused us not to like Arab Americans.
CARVILLE: Well, should we dislike Arab Americans? I like this man right here. Seems like a dear fellow to me.
RIOS: I'll tell you what's missing. You know, educators talk a lot about critical thinking, and that's what's missing here. It is -- there are a couple of things that are totally -- that are half-truths, James.
CARVILLE: Well, let me read to you...
RIOS: Can I finish my thought please?
CARVILLE: Go ahead.
RIOS: To teach that Islam in every case is a peaceful religion is not true. For many Arabs, for many Muslims, probably like Jean here, it is. But for those that take the Koran literally, in its entirety, it does talk about holy jihad and killing the infidel, which is Christians and Jews. So, it is also true that radical Islam is our enemy. So, we must discern between those that are radicals, that embrace all of jihad, and those that embrace the peaceful part of Islam. And I think it's up to, actually, folks like Jean and his organization to distinguish themselves from the radical elements.
CARLSON: You said you read the curriculum and it had in there the causes of terrorism. I think we both agree that Sandy outlined the cause of terrorism on 9/11, which is this radical cult...
ABINADER: I looked at three sections. I looked at the early grades, I looked at the middle grades and I looked at the high school because I have two kids who are in high school. And what it said was exactly what you were talking about, Sandy, critical thinking. It said go to the newspaper. It didn't tell them which articles to pick. Pick five articles, look for some answers and answer these questions. And none of the questions held back on who did it or who to blame or what lessons we should draw from it. It was very open-ended.
CARLSON: Did it explain their religious beliefs, because in all the talk about Islam and what it means as a religion of peace, the Islam that was represented on 9/11, this cult within Islam, the Wahhabism or whatever species of Islam it was, has not been explained to most Americans and I don't know why.
ABINADER: Well, I can tell you that from what I've -- and I've been on tons of these shows, as you know, most Americans don't understand it who think they understand it. Wahhabism is no more dangerous in terms of fundamentalist belief than the fundamentalism in Christianity or the fundamentalism in Judaism. RIOS: Oh, Jean, don't go there.
ABINADER: The expression of it...
RIOS: That's not true, Jean. It's ridiculous.
ABINADER: The expression of it, the expression of extremism is the problem. But people having fundamentalist belief is not a problem any more than fundamentalist Jews or fundamentalists Christians.
ABINADER: Well, sure, I'll tell you a number of them. One called the Ku Klux Klan, one is called the One Nation. We have Americans in this country, they talk about one nation under God.
RIOS: Jean, that is not true.
ABINADER: Let me correct you about something, Sandy. Let me show you a little bit of ignorance on your part.
RIOS: OK, show me...
ABINADER: My name is Jean Abinader. If you knew anything about Arabs, you'd know that having a French name means I'm a Christian. So, here I am as a Christian talking about fundamentalist Islam...
RIOS: Then, Jean, you know as well as I do...
ABINADER: ... and because I understand that in Islam, as you pointed out, Sandy, there are 1.2 billion Muslims. And because some extremists have captured some of the things that are going on and they wage war in the name of that, does that mean we paint the whole thing wrong?
CARVILLE: Let me show you something a great fundamentalist, a person I'm sure you agree with all the time, said, and tell me if you agree with him or not. This is the Reverend Franklin Graham, son of Billy Graham. Let's see what he said about Islam. We're going to post it up there.
"We're not attacking Islam, but Islam has attacked us. The God of Islam is not the same God. He is not the son of God of the Christian or Judeo-Christian faith. It is a very different God. I believe it is a very evil and wicked religion." That is a fundamentalist Christian. Do you agree with this fundamentalist Christian?
RIOS: Yes, I do.
CARVILLE: You think Islam is a very wicked and evil religion?
RIOS: I think when it teaches holy jihad...
ABINADER: I think it's pathetic.
RIOS: James, why does that offend you so much? They killed 3,000 people.
CARVILLE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) people in these mosques in these countries that are praying, that are working, that are good Americans, that pay taxes here. They're not evil people. They're good people. And for you to suggest that and Franklin Graham to suggest that is just wrong, god damn it, it is wrong.
RIOS: James, you're dripping.
CARVILLE: I'm not dripping.
RIOS: You're drooling.
CARVILLE: I don't think you ought to tell these good people that's what it is. It irritates the hell out of me.
RIOS: Well, I'm sorry to irritate you. The truth is hard to take.
CARVILLE: They're not evil people. There are good Muslims in this country.
RIOS: No, he didn't say that. Of course, he did not say...
CARVILLE: Well, yes, he said it's an evil and wicked religion.
RIOS: The religion that teaches killing the infidels is wicked.
CARVILLE: He didn't say that.
RIOS: He did say that.
ABINADER: Excuse me. Obviously, let me go back to my Christian roots. I went through 16 years of Catholic school, 12 of which I had to take some kind of form of catechism. We read the Old Testament and New Testament. And if you read...
CARLSON: That really was an amazing outburst. If we can just stop and appreciate that for a minute.
ABINADER: And I have to be very clear about this. If one wants to be honest about religions calling for jihad, one should look at the Old Testament and look at the Israelites and their so-called being chosen people and what that meant in terms of the inhabitants of the land of milk and honey.
CARLSON: Let me just ask you a quick question. I've heard everything you're saying. A lot of times, I think some of it's valid. But today in the world in 2002, there is no religious movement that threatens peaceful civilizations more than this cult within Islam. I'm not saying it's Islam. I'm saying it's this perversion of Islam...
ABINADER: The extremist of Islam.
CARLSON: ... whatever language you're going to use. To say that that's the same as the Ku Klux Klan, which is like eight retarded guys by the stage, is totally phony and you know it. So my question is why can't -- where is the explanation of the religious beliefs of these people? Why are we so afraid to explore them?
ABINADER: I don't think we are afraid to explore it.
RIOS: You are, Jean...
ABINADER: I think the openness of these materials said, you kids go and you pick the materials, you come and you analyze the stories. You can't say that Islam hasn't been analyzed to death in terms of the news media. I think it's really instructive if people can go look at Islam and pick up on what you said and say, OK, how do the extremists differ from mainstream to the same way how do extremist Christians differ from mainstream Christianity.
RIOS: You know what? I have to tell you that...
ABINADER: But I think, somehow, not understanding the religion is something that is -- can be interpreted in many different ways. Look at Iran. They call themselves Muslim. Look at Sudan. They call themselves Muslim. All those are very, very different...
RIOS: I would say that all over the world, one of the biggest problems we have, Jean, you know that, is radical Islam. It's happening in Sudan. It's happening in many countries. And, James, I don't know why that offends you so much. They just killed 3,000 of our people.
CARVILLE: That's the most -- you know what? I tell you what offends me. It offends me...
RIOS: That doesn't offend you?
CARVILLE: What offends me is that people expect me to hate Muslims because some assholes, some criminals, ran a building (UNINTELLIGIBLE). This is what Franklin Graham said, and you'd agree. He called Islam a very different God, a very evil...
RIOS: He did not say...
CARVILLE: Of course he did.
RIOS: He did not say hate Muslims, James. That's different. Critical thinking, remember? CARVILLE: If I think people that go to mosques are practicing an evil and wicked religion of what you agreed with, then there's something wrong with them.
RIOS: To the point that they embrace holy jihad is evil and wicked...
CARVILLE: But he didn't say that. He didn't say that.
RIOS: No, but that's what Islam teaches.
CARVILLE: You know what? I'm not going to...
RIOS: They teach their kids to kill themselves.
ABINADER: Why is it so wrong, and I go back -- first of all, you're using jihad in the wrong way, but I'm used to that. But, No. 1...
CARLSON: We're just going to give you 15 seconds. We're almost out of time. I'm sorry.
ABINADER: OK. Why is it that when we say jihad, all at once, the electricity flows and, boy, this is a really horrible thing.
RIOS: Because people are dying because of it, Jean.
ABINADER: But once we say the word crusade, which is anathema to people fro the other side of the world, it doesn't have any implications?
CARLSON: Maybe because one took place 1,000 years ago, and this is taking place now.
ABINADER: But the mentality toward Islam is still the same as it was 1,000 years ago. But some people, particularly people...
CARLSON: As much as I've enjoyed this conversation and we have much more to say, we're just plum out of time. Thank you both very much.
Coming up in our "Fireback" segment, a viewer who noticed a connection between the president's vacation and the direction of the stock market.
And next, what is a nice lady like Martha Stewart doing in everybody's frying pan? We'll get to the bottom of it. We'll be right back.
CARVILLE: Welcome back to CROSSFIRE, which might be my last one after that outburst. We're coming to you live from the George Washington University in downtown Washington, D.C.
This afternoon, Martha Stewart's attorneys gave a congressional subcommittee over 1,000 pages of documents, e-mail messages, records from her business manager, information about phone numbers involving Martha's sale of a stock in a company called ImClone. She happened to sell it the day before the stock tanked, and investigators want to know if what Martha did -- if Martha was illegally tipped off. The odd thing is a whole lot of people seem to be cheering against Martha Stewart. Why is that?
Joining us from New York is "Forbes" magazine managing editor Dennis Kneale -- Dennis.
CARLSON: Dennis, thanks so much for joining us.
DENNIS KNEALE, MANAGING EDITOR, "FORBES": Thanks for being here. I'm worried I should put on a hockey mask to get ready for you guys, but go ahead.
CARLSON: No, James has cooled down. The guys with the hypodermic needles came out and all is better now.
But, you obviously are a business reporter. So, correct me if I'm wrong, this is my understanding of it. Martha Stewart is accused, or at least by implication, accused of averting $43,000 in losses earlier this year in ImClone. At that time, she was worth about $606 million, give or take 100 million.
CARLSON: Now, is the idea that -- I mean, A, is it even plausible that someone that rich would go to this length to avoid such a small loss? And, B, if true, is it really a big deal?
KNEALE: I mean, what we've been arguing all along is that this is not a big deal. This has been blown way out of proportion by a bunch of politicians who are having so much fun grandstanding in Washington, and going on TV shows like this one, to get more headlines and to get more publicity.
But on the other hand, just for a minute, let's remember that any crime, just because a smaller sum of money is involved doesn't make it less of a crime. If supposedly she acted on insider information that the rest of us didn't have at the time, that's a crime. That's a problem. That is especially angering to millions of Americans when our retirement funds are going into the toilet because the markets are crashing. We want one throat to choke. We've decided it's going to be Martha's.
CARLSON: So you're saying that Martha Stewart is becoming a symbol, a throat, as you put it?
KNEALE: Sure. She's a really wonderful face to hate.
CARLSON: Isn't that completely unfair? Isn't that antithetical to the whole idea of justice though?
KNEALE: Sure, look, it's entirely unfair. I think that, frankly, they will never convict Martha Stewart. I'm not even sure she did anything wrong. The SEC has a very broad definition of what makes an insider a true insider. Yet Martha, this company, the shares she sold, ImClone, she's not on the board of directors. She's not employed by the company. She doesn't owe them anything. Her broker calls and says I think you ought to get out of this stock, wouldn't you have sold if your broker called and said get out of this stock?
CARVILLE: Dennis, the thing that sort of cracks me up is I actually don't hate Martha Stewart, but everybody I know does. Explain to me why they do and why am I supposed to hate her? I don't understand. She looks...
KNEALE: This has been really fascinating to me, because I think Martha -- I happen to think she's wonderful. I think -- I mean, how many women have come along in the world of American business and built an empire the way she has?
Now, the reason the backlash is coming is because I think she makes all of us feel a little incompetent and she makes us feel inept at the things that she does. And she's so perfect about everything. And, by the way, that attention to detail is exactly why she would end up risking the loss of 200, $300 million of value in her own stock by trying to avert a loss of $45,000 on a $200,000 trade. She just couldn't stop herself once she had the information.
What's bothered me and what's made me feel sorry for her is that as the scandal has broken, have you seen one friend come forward and defend her publicly? Martha Stewart is alone in the world, and I feel bad for her. I can't help it.
CARVILLE: Do you want to date her? (UNINTELLIGIBLE). I think she's a babe. How old is she?
KNEALE: She's a striking woman.
CARVILLE: Yes, she is. You know, she looks pretty good to me. Actually, I was channel surfing a week ago and I saw a show, and she seemed OK to me.
CARLSON: The bathing suit episode.
CARVILLE: I'm not going to go out and buy her book or anything, but I mean, I can't find a dear friend of mine -- a great guy is Emeril Lagasse. I have a hard time following his recipes, but I still love him. Maybe I'm inept.
CARLSON: Well, I mean, isn't this part of a larger problem having to do with disproportional punishment? The Congress is now making it a 25-year penalty, 25 years in federal prison, for securities fraud. Compare that -- I'm not defending securities fraud -- but compare that to the penalty meted out to the average violent rapist, I mean, pulls a stranger off the street, beats her up and rapes her, sex criminal. He's not going to get 25 years in prison. He's just not. Isn't that weird?
KNEALE: No. She's -- in fact, they will never convict her of anything, mark my words. She'll never be convicted. You'd have to prove that in that phone call, that the chairman of the company said, hey, I've got some insider information, you know it's insider, go ahead and trade on it. They'll never prove that.
I hope she doesn't settle. I hope she fights all the way to the Supreme Court because we need to know what a true insider is. And all the Supreme Court has ruled is that a lawyer inside a law firm that was working on a deal, that lawyer is an insider. But that doesn't mean a bartender who hears a tip from someone who heard it from a CEO, that doesn't make the bartender an insider. And yet, that's what the SEC argues, and this is how far they try to extend it. It will be awfully interesting to see the implications of the case as they emerge.
CARVILLE: OK, you hit on something that I'm sort of curious about. You said that no one has jumped to her defense. And, apparently, there was a very critical biography of her written that said all the people that work for her hate her. Is she personally that unpleasant a woman or what?
KNEALE: I mean, I don't think that anybody can be that successful if they are as bad as the critics say that she is. She's driven. She's ambitious. She has a vision and she tries to deliver it. That's what got her to where she is. And, of course, there's always going to be detractors, and it made for great copy. And I kind of admire what she's done.
I think that she is a hero of capitalism. The problem I have with all the reporting on this is we act like the Martha scandal is every bit of the same import as Enron and WorldCom. WorldCom hid $7 billion in accounting fraud. Martha Stewart did a trade where maybe she avoided a $45,000 downside. Yet, we spend even more time talking about Martha. And I think it's because our fascination with her continues. She is everything that we are not.
CARLSON: And it must be said, she makes great centerpieces.
KNEALE: Yes, she does.
CARLSON: Dennis Kneale, thanks so much for joining us. You're fantastic. We appreciate you coming on.
Next, it's your turn to "Fireback" at us. One viewer has a suggestion for how parents can fight back against the NEA's politically correct lessons about September 11. Your kids will love it. We guarantee it. We'll be right back.
CARLSON: Welcome back. Coming to the end of this history making CROSSFIRE. It's time for our "Fireback" segment. Let's go to the e- mail bag. First up, Joyce Anderson in Moreno Valley, California writes: "If the National Education Association wants to indoctrinate our children instead of the basic reading, writing and math, I say let's boycott the schools on September 11. Parents, keep your kids home that day."
Joyce Anderson, incidentally, is 15 years old. No, it's a great suggestion. Good work, Joyce.
CARVILLE: All right. "If Mr. Bush and his administration want to go war so badly, why not strap Bush, his extreme right-wing war hawks and all the so-called pundits that have never been in a war in fatigues and send them to the frontlines," Michael Espejo of Moline, Illinois, I guess. I can't read the whole thing.
Actually, Senator Hagel suggested that Richard Perle lead the advance into Baghdad, who is one of the great hawks that ever served. So, Michael, you and Senator Hagel are singing from the same hymnal, as we would say.
CARLSON: OK. And here, Marg from Prince George, British Columbia writes in reference to a show we did last night on adultery. "My husband," she writes, "had an affair, and it did nothing for our marriage. It just made more work for me, worked for two days and two nights to throw out all of his personal belongings out on the driveway and lock the doors on him."
And I bet it was worth the work, wasn't it, Marg?
CARVILLE: We've got a budding Mary Matalin out there.
"Bush's summer vacation has been great for my portfolio. Maybe he should stay gone another month," John Patrick -- well, whatever.
CARLSON: Why don't you pronounce his hometown?
CARVILLE: Never. You do it.
CARVILLE: Wisconsin. Hey, John from Wisconsin...
CARLSON: Wisconsin, all right. To our audience, our first question. Yes, sir.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: James, all the years I've seen you and Mary together -- my name is Bill Ryan (ph). I'm from...
CARVILLE: Hey, Bill.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dubai, United Arab Emirates. And in all the years I've seen you and Mary together, this is the first time I've ever seen and agreed with you. Thank you very much for your outburst, appreciate it.
CARVILLE: Well, all right.
CARLSON: Well, that's a little scary.
CARVILLE: I got one vote, anyway.
CARLSON: Yes, hi.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi. My name is Melissa. I'm from Washington, D.C. And my question is -- not question, my comment is with the divorce rate of well over 50 percent, we don't need to worry about loving, stable, committed gay couples undermining heterosexual marriages. Heterosexuals seem to be doing that well enough on their own.
CARVILLE: You know, what I always like to ask these people, how is a gay person a threat to my marriage? I've never figured that out. If I don't take care of my kids, if I don't teach them right, if I don't love my wife and provide them with the kind of home they need, it's not gay people's fault. It's my fault. You ought to quit blaming them for stuff we don't do.
CARLSON: No. But, James, I think it's fair to say that Richard Goldstein from the "Village Voice" was very annoying.
CARVILLE: No, he was not.
CARLSON: Yes, he was. Another question. Yes, sir.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm Anthony. I attend the George Washington University.
CARLSON: The George Washington University?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The -- I'm so un-PC. I go here. I don't know what I'm doing.
I feel that the sole reason that the news media is harping upon the profiting of Martha Stewart is because they wish to profit from or to present the imperfect side of a woman that has profited from not only being completely on the ball, but making pretty good fried chicken.
CARLSON: And, as James Carville's pointed out, not bad looking for 60.
CARVILLE: Not bad looking. I just never knew anybody north of the Mason-Dixon line that could make good fried chicken. I'm agnostic on that, as Martha can do it.
From the left, I'm James Carville. Good night for CROSSFIRE.
CARLSON: From the right, I'm Tucker Carlson. Join us again, we hope, tomorrow night for yet another edition of CROSSFIRE. "CONNIE CHUNG TONIGHT" begins immediately after a CNN "News Alert." See you tomorrow.
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