CNN Europe CNN Asia
On CNN TV Transcripts Headline News CNN International About Preferences
powered by Yahoo!
Return to Transcripts main page


President Bush Speaks Out in Affirmative Action Case; Has Culture Declined With Foul Language

Aired January 15, 2003 - 18:00   ET


ANNOUNCER: This is LOU DOBBS MONEYLINE, for Wednesday, January 15.
Here now, Lou Dobbs.

LOU DOBBS, HOST: Good evening, President Bush said the University of Michigan's admissions policy is unconstitutional. That Michigan policy grants preferences to minority applicants. The president said he will file a brief with the Supreme Court tomorrow that opposes the policy. This is the biggest affirmative action case to reach the Supreme Court in a quarter of a century.

White House correspondent Suzanne Malveaux reports.


SUZANNE MALVEAUX, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Bush is throwing the weight of the White House into what some considering to the most far reaching affirmative action case the Supreme Court has faced in a generation.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Quota systems that you use race to include or exclude people from higher education and the opportunities it offers are divisive, unfair, and impossible to square with the constitution.

MALVEAUX: In a brief to be filed with the Supreme Court, the White House will argue there are better options to achieve diversity than affirmative action.

BUSH: Systems in California and Florida and Texas have proven that by guaranteeing admissions to the top students from high schools throughout state including low income neighborhoods, colleges can attain broad racial diversity.

MALVEAUX: Solicitor General Ted Olson and conservative Republicans have been pushing Mr. Bush to take a hard line against racial preferences. To state it is never justifiable and even unconstitutional for public universities to use race as part of their admissions. But Mr. Bush's political advisers were concerned such a rigid stand would turn away minority voters, particularly Hispanics. Who the White House has been activity courting for bush 2004 presidential bid.

Mr. Bush won the presidency with 35 percent of the Hispanic vote and 9 percent of the African-American vote. President ran in 2000 as a passionate conservative aware then and now to bring more minorities into the Republican fold. A need highlighted following Senator Trent Lott's controversial remarks praising Strom Thurmond's segregationist bid. Comments that caused Lott the Republican leadership.


MALVEAUX: And the White House is already criticism from the Congressional Black Caucus and the Democratic leadership. Mr. Bush is pushing forward what he calls affirmative access alternative to achieving diversity -- Lou.

DOBBS: Suzanne, thank you very much.

The president's opposition to the University of Michigan's admission policy comes at a politically sensitive moment. Last month, then Majority Leader, Senator Trent Lott was forced to step down after he made racially insensitive comments. President Bush ran as a compassionate conservative during presidential campaign, and this president has assembled the most culturally diverse cabinet ever.

Kitty Pilgrim has the report.


KITTY PILGRIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Bush came out strongly on the issue of affirmative action when running for president. He embraced what he called affirmative access loosely define as equal opportunity and an opportunity for people to realize their potential. Here is what he said August 14, 1999.

BUSH: I want to end the quotes, racial preferences, policies that tend to pit one group of people against another. That's what I mean by affirmative access which stands to a stark contrast to a system that says all we got to the do is meet a government imposed quota.

PILGRIM: Then Governor Bush supported a 10 percent rule that guaranteed students who graduate the top 10 percent of the class automatic admission to the state's school. Again, opportunity to the deserving. President Bush came under criticism during the NAACP national convention in Houston in July 2002.

Speakers said the Bush administration ignored civil rights and after the election groups opposed to civil rights have ascended to power. President Bush replied in a press conference that his national security adviser and secretary of state, two power positions are held by minorities. But some look more at language than the record.

WILLIAM SPRIGGS, NATIONAL URBAN LEAGUE: The continued use of the term affirmative access at least for undergraduate admission makes, again, something which is complex and needs to be debated fully into something that is a bunch of jargon.

PILGRIM: President Bush came out forcefully in the recent flap over Trent Lott's comments but the incident raised the issue of minority support for the Republican party. In the last election, President Bush won only 9 percent of the black vote but more than a third of Hispanic-Americans voted for him.


PILGRIM: President Bush's track record stands up as consistent and conciliatory, diversity appears to be the consistent goal despite the language surrounding the issue -- Lou.

DOBBS: And the great emotion. Kitty, thank you very much.

Joining me our senior political analyst Bill Schneider -- Bill.

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: The problem is affirmative action doesn't mean one thing it means different things, really two different things and I think the president's message is preferences, no, outreach, yes. What's the difference? Outreach means steps to help disadvantaged groups meet the prevailing standards of competition, the president endorses the steps and Republicans endorse the steps. Preference means suspending the standards so that you make exceptions for certain groups for women or minorities.

They don't have to meet the same standards of competition as everyone else, the president says those are unconstitutional in his view, the Supreme Court will have the last word on that. The problem for the president when most Americans are asked do you support affirmative action, they say Yes because in the popular conception, affirmative action means outreach. So that tomorrow if the headlines in the newspaper say President Bush opposes affirmative action, that's going to be a political problem for him.

DOBBS: A political problem that the White House undertook, the president speaking today which is the birthday of Martin Luther King, which we'll celebrate it next Monday. Knowing full well the great controversy would surround this case, what was the political assessment in making this decision on the part of the president?

SCHNEIDER: The president I believe is saying he's sticking to his principals. And this is the principal articulated in the campaign. It's of course, exactly what conservative wanted him to do, but for him to say he's changed his views on affirmative action, a fundamental issue, he's going back on what he said when he was governor and what he did as governor of Texas, I think he felt that would have been more costly. When in doubt, when there is political pressure on both sides, the best thing to do, the smartest thing to do is stick by your principals.

DOBBS: Bill Schneider, thank you.

My next guest is the founder, the president of the Rainbow/Push Coalition. He is respected civil rights leader of course, Reverend Jesse Jackson, the founder of the Wall Street project, which encourages Wall Street firms to hire minorities and increase diversity.

Good to have you here.


DOBBS: Little surprise that the president has taken this position, it has been rumored. There is great discussion that the president might be more muted in his support in this case against the University of Michigan. What are your thoughts?

JACKSON: He wants to make illegal the remedy that made Colin Powell's service possible. Colin Powell came out of a pool established by Jimmy Carter when race was a factor among other factors. Mr. Bush got legacy points from Yale, a school that gets federal grants, because his parents and grandparent went there. So, he supports legacy points for the privileged but against race as a factor for the underprivileged. In the case, gender a factor, rural a factor, ability to pay a factor, over 50 a factor, race is one of 13 factors.

DOBBS: One of 13 factors and as the president pointed out in his address this afternoon, 20 points because a person is a member of a minority, an ethnic group. Only 12 points having perfect SAT scores. This policy in the specific case of the University of Michigan does at least if the superficial level look to be flawed in that regard.

JACKSON: Race is the deepest flaw in our culture. Two-hundred years of legal slavery, 3/5 human in the constitution, requires the civil war to mitigate. A supreme court ruling that blacks nor whites, bound to respect, segregation legal for the quota has been zero up until 35 years ago.

DOBBS: When you say that race is the most profound element and issue, at what point do we make a decision that neither racial discrimination or preference will be permitted in this society? How will we make that judgment?

JACKSON: The point I am making at which the playing field is even. Why is race not an issue on the football or basketball court? Because the playing field is even the rules of public and the goals to clear. African-American and Hispanics access to capital, industry, technology, health care, and life options are not the same. So this is a conservative remedy to include and to call it quotas is an intentional, misleading, race wage.

DOBBS: What would you call it?

JACKSON: Affirmative action. It is a plan to offset negative action where race is a factor, ability to pay is a factor. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) is an affluent proportionality. Quota is zero. Zero, you cannot vote because you are black. Zero, you cannot get a bank loan because you are black. Zero, for that. Zero has been the quota. Dr. Bolinger (ph) was careful not to use absolute numbers but use race as a factor among other factors.

DOBBS: In point of fact, would you -- and you've studied this issue and have been at the forefront of civil rights for almost 40 years now. Well, actually, better than 40 years.

Is there a better way to approach the issue of achieving diversity? A student -- and let's talk specifically about universities, law schools, graduate schools. Is there not a better way to achieve diversity than to go about a system that either intentionally or subconsciously works toward a percentage?

JACKSON: If so, he has not recommended it because women cannot...

DOBBS: No, I'm asking you.

JACKSON: ... because women cannot get their fair share of access, say to athletic budgets in (UNINTELLIGIBLE) to something called Title IX. Those who have been locked out...


JACKSON: But in some sense gender and race on the same category of people who've been locked out by gender, locked out by race where zero has been the quota.

To call this quota is a calculated, intentional, misleading and inciting to fear. It really turns people against black people and brown, as if blacks are taking advantage of whites.

When I think about young black and brown men in the war tonight, about to face the battle zone, and we're disproportionate there because of patriotism and because of race and economic condition. And inverse proportion in universities is a painful thing to be set by America's president.

DOBBS: America's president. This president saying out of principle saying that he does not believe there should be a quota, that there should not be a racial preference. He's taking about affirmative access. At the same time...

JACKSON: Affirmative action is a P.R. Affirmative action is the law. He wants to reverse the law that has opened up access to people who've been locked out by law. And that is what is so misleading. By calling it quota it incites fear.

One would not think that there are 13 other categories of consideration in this. He just kept saying race and quota, which is calculated to create fear.

DOBBS: Would you like to see the University of Michigan or Yale or any number of other schools get rid of legacy points? Would you like to see them get rid of calculations or athletic contributions?

JACKSON: Legacy points are based upon privilege, in part driven by race. And so, as was in "The Wall Street Journal" today, it shows at Harvard and at Yale, these (UNINTELLIGIBLE) federal grant.

You may miss getting into Harvard or Yale, but they get federal grants because your parents went there. You get points not because of your grades or character, because your parents and because you have money.

DOBBS: Well, would you like to see that change as well?

JACKSON: Absolutely. Legacy points should have not have the weight that they have. They may be points, but they should not get the points that they do have. But don't compare legacy...

DOBBS: No, no. I was calling on your comparison.

JACKSON: ... with the legacy of slavery and segregation...

DOBBS: Well let's be clear, since you put it that way, Jesse. You're the one who made the comparison, not me. The issue of affirmative action, 25 years since the Bakke decision. We are seemingly in so many ways, no farther along, the progress seems minimal, in achieving educational levels for minorities in this country at the secondary level that this case is, as the attorneys put it, right.


DOBBS: How do we get away from this issue? How do we get to the point where we don't have this discussion in the next 25 years.

JACKSON: Well if there's a commitment to even the playing field and have public and consistent rules.

Why are 900,000 black men in jail and 600,000 in college, and 80 percent on a non-violent drug charge? Because when Governor Bush's daughter was caught on the crack hit three times that's automatic jail for most people. But for her, a small sentence and rehabilitation. Love and care, compassionate conservatism.

DOBBS: Well if you believe that, doesn't it strike you that we have got to do something different than what we've been doing for the past 40 years in this country? That we've got to start thinking about new ways? And I'm not suggesting that it's affirmative access or anything else. But the fact of the matter is that affirmative action has not resolved the issue in 25 years and we need to be doing a lot more.

JACKSON: The fact is that it's slow and incremental.

You know the federal studies now show that black and Brown people pay a skin tax. We pay more for automobiles, than white mortgage lending, pay more for housing, more for health. In other words, it costs to be black. We pay more for fewer services, live under stress and don't live as long.

So to ignore the uneven field based upon race today is unfair. And Mr. Bush has not met with civil rights leadership or labor one time in two years. And (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Ashcroft over the attorney general's position who has this history of relationships with White Citizens' Council is the kind of act of meanness.

DOBBS: Well you call it meanness, but let's put that in some perspective and context, too. We're only -- we're less than two years into this president's term. None of the conditions that you've described were different two years ago under President Clinton who'd been in office for eight years.

You've been working in civil rights your whole life. We have had program after program in this country. The results do not satisfy you. They don't satisfy any American who is interested in equal opportunity for everyone.


JACKSON: ... was satisfied because it was federally protected. The right to vote, we are satisfied, is federally protected. But including those who've been lock out historically, some plan to include is a conservative remedy and now he wants to reject that remedy.

DOBBS: So long as you continue to put this in the context of conservative and liberal -- in the report by Kitty Pilgrim, 9 percent of blacks supported President Bush in the 2000 election. Nine percent. Is there at some point a suggestion that there's a political remedy that requires a broadening of the base on the part of both the Republicans and the black leadership of African-Americans in this country in terms of their political initiatives?

JACKSON: Well, in that sense many whites feel that including blacks and browns is a zero sum gain. So maybe if they have a constitutional right for education for all children, a constitutional right for health care for all of Americans then no one would feel threatened because all would be protected and no one would be left behind. We would no longer have a zero sum gain fear.

DOBBS: Jesse Jackson, we're going to have to leave it with that word. We appreciate it. Each if we have to leave on the word fear. Jesse Jackson, thanks.

JACKSON: Well let's choose hope and not fear.

DOBBS: Then let's end it with hope.

JACKSON: Well, the president has to change his position from what he said today.

DOBBS: And a few folks have got to change the way they do business all the way around this country, unfortunately. Thank you, Jesse Jackson.

JACKSON: Thank you, Lou.

DOBBS: That brings us to the question on our poll tonight. The question is is it time to affirmative action and racial preferences? Cast your vote at We will have the preliminary results coming up.

These are the results of last night's poll. The question, nearly all of you, by the way, said we should be concerned that a small number of companies now own or control almost all national network television, radio, newspaper and Web properties. Only 4 percent said we should not be concerned. And I would remind you again that in the history of this broadcast, that is the largest margin of preference in any poll that we have ever conducted. Not scientific, but very interesting.

Coming up next, a lot of interesting issues. Thousands of Marines today ready to ship out to the Persian Gulf. We'll have a live report from the USS Bonhomme Richard.

Also tonight, Ed Lavandera has the very latest for us from Barksdale Air Force Base on the friendly fire hearing there -- Ed.

ED LAVANDERA, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Lou, for the first time we'll be able to take you as close as we can possibly get to what it was like to be two American pilots flying over Afghanistan last April when four Canadian soldier were killed in a friendly fire bombing -- Lou.

DOBBS: Thank you, Ed.

And on Wall Street today stock prices fell across the board. The Dow tumbled 119 points. The Nasdaq lost 22. The S&P down 13.

And sports utility vehicles make up 20 percent of the auto market in this country. But are they safe? The government's top auto safety regulator says no. We'll have the story.


DOBBS: A judge in Virginia ruled that the sniper suspect John Lee Mafvo, 17 years old can be tried as an adult. He is one of two sniper suspects. This ruling means Malvo could be sentenced to death if convicted of those crimes.

This country's leading carmakers today defended the safety record of SUVs and pickup truck. It followed critical remarks but the government's safety top regulator for the industry. Jeffrey Runge said the death rate for roll over crashes involving SUVs is three times that of the rate for passenger cars. Runge was quoted as saying consumers should think twice before buying an SUV or light truck.

A safety scare of another kind kept officials concerned and busy in Texas today. 30 vials of bacteria that could cause bubonic plague were stolen from Texas Tech Health Science Center in Lubbock. But officials later said all those vials have been accounted for. The FBI says the vials were destroyed by one of the researchers.

In Washington a further testing has determined there is no anthrax at a Federal Reserve mail center. Initial tests on a letter addressed to Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Roger Ferguson had come back positive.

Nearly 10,000 sailors and Marines will ship out from the West Coast Friday for a possible conflict in the Persian Gulf, a war with Iraq. The seven ship task force leaves San Diego for the Persian Gulf.

Frank Buckley reports. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

FRANK BUCKLEY, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Lou, 10,000 sailors and Marines are going to be headed to the Persian Gulf region, leaving on Friday. We're getting an opportunity to be aboard one of the seven ships that are leaving on Friday. A couple of days in advance to see some of the activity that's taking place on pier 13. Hundreds of Marines are gathering and collecting their, gear and coming aboard this warship that we are on, the USS Bonhomme Richard.

Inside the ship, we see many of the vehicles aboard this ship. They've been coming and loading this ship for the past several days. Joining me is the commanding officer of the USS Bonahomme Richard.

Captain, first of all, give us your feelings as you are getting ready to go on this deployment?

CAPT. STAN DEGEUS, USS BONHOMME RICHARD: Frank, we're ready to go on the deployment. It's a short notice deployment. But, you know, we're prepared to support operation Enduring Freedom again. The ship came back six months ago, so it's a short notice and quick turnaround but we're here for the war on terrorism, and support higher authority tasking. We worked diligently to get the families and the crew prepared, and ready for our potential operations.

BUCKLEY: And you were telling me earlier about this quick turnaround, normally it's 18 months between deployments. This time it's a very short turnaround. What do you say to your families, you have kids, a wife, what do you say to them?

DEGEUS: Well, it's a seven month turnaround and that is a heck a lot shorter than 18 months. But the families, I want to tell you, are the real heroes here. This is the price of freedom that all Americans need to realize, that these families are supporting us 100 percent. You know, the idea is to keep them well informed and prepared, so that they can take care of business while we are away preserving our freedoms. But it's a stretch, you lose the dance recitals and the basketball games and all, but that's the price we pay, that's our mission. We do it willingly. The families are the real heroes, they're support base for us.

BUCKLEY: Captain Stan Degeus, thank you very much.

Commanding officer of the USS Bonhomme Richard, one of the seven ships deployed on Friday.

Lou, back to you.


DOBBS: And this is the second day of the friendly-fire hearing in Louisiana. This hearing will determine whether two American pilots will be charged in the accidental killing of four Canadian soldiers in Afganistan. Eight other Canadian soldiers were wounded in this incident.

Ed Lavandera at Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana.

Ed, what can you tell us about today?

LAVANDERA: Well, Lou, the second day of testimony in this hearing has just wrapped up. And of course, the headline is the videotape of the view from the both the F-16 fighter jets, that Major Bill Umbach and Major Harry Schmidt were flying over Afghanistan just outside of Kandahar when this friendly fire bombing occurred. As you see the screen there you notice it is divided into four quadrants. The left side of the screen is what Bill Umbach would be seeing. The top part is the heads-up-display. The right side is what Harry Schmidt would be seeing.

So the top part as I mentioned is the head's-up-display and the bottom is the target pod. The bottom right-hand corner, you'll see, Harry Schmidt dropped the bomb on the Canadian soldiers in the live- fire training exercise. And over the course of this tape, which last several minutes, you hear a conversation between two of the pilots and a AWAC surveillance plane that's flying overhead.

The pilots ask for permission to fire warning rounds into the area. They were denied that permission as they try to survey the situation and figure out who is on the ground. You hear the pilots saying that they continue to see ground fire they perceive coming toward them. And then they ask for -- Harry Schmidt declares he's rolling in, in self-defense that's when the bomb is dropped.

After you see the explosion, ten seconds later you hear the voice from the AWAC surveillance plane saying that these two pilots should clear the area, that it is friendlys on the ground. So, that's say breakdown what it is on the tape. Of couse, the Air Force investigation, the military investigation has been conducted during the last nine months, concluded. And they found the pilots acted -- did not follow the proper rule of engagement, and not followed the proper discipline in the situation like this.

They say that those two pilots should have gone to a higher altitude and not left the area, and that is why we are at this hearing. But of course, the attorneys for the two pilots say in a moment of war they were never told the Canadian soldiers were working on the ground below them, that they had actually been told to be on the lookout for similar type ground fire coming from the area, because al Qaeda forces were working in the area. So, that is the information they have gone into the scene with and that's why this accident happened. Of course, they say had they known it was Canadian soldiers they would never have fired and this accident would never had happened -- Lou.

DOBBS: But unfortunately it did happen, Ed. And we are now, you in particular are witnessing and reporting on the first such hearing on charges ever conducted by the military. How soon do we expect to have a decision.

LAVANDERA: Well, this hearing will last probably well into next week, perhaps longer, it's hard to say. And what will happen next is the investigating officer here will take all of the information, all of the evidence presented and put that before General Clarkson here at Barksdale Air Force Base. And then it will be up to that general to decide whether or not the two pilots should be court-martialed. So this could take several more weeks after the hearing is wrapped up.

DOBBS: Ed Lavandera, thank you very much.

Coming up next, we begin a series of special reports on culture and decline, tonight we focus on the explosion of profanity in television, music and film.

Peter Viles has a report -- Pete.

PETER VILES, CNNFN CORRESPONDENT: Lou, ahead, bad language, how did we become such a nation of profanity and what is it doing to our children.

DOBBS: Peter, thank you very much.

We will be joined by expert Deborah Tannen and advertising legend next Jerry Della Femina. That's next, stay with us.


DOBBS: We begin tonight a series of special reports that will examine troubling changes in our culture; changes in the values once cherished in our society.

In television, there is now the celebration of the dysfunctional.

In sports, an absence of good sportsmanship.

And in daily conversation in this country, vernacular of the street has been overwhelmed by language of the gutter.

We want to you know from the outset that you may find certain elements of this report offensive, although we've taken every precaution to eliminate the most offensive language.

Peter Viles begins our series of special reports "Culture in Decline."


VILES (voice-over): As a basketball referee, Doug Scott has been hearing the language of teenaged boys for a long time.

And it is getting worse.

DOUG SCOTT, HIGH SCHOOL REFEREE: There are certain words, and I'm certainly not going to say them, but words that are commonplace today that are part of the kids' everyday language are things that we might have punished our kids for 20 years ago.

VILES: It's not just teenagers. Educator Ron Del Moro hears it from 7-year-olds. RON DEL MORO, EDUCATOR: I'm talking about first-graders, second- graders, you know, 7, 8-year-olds now, using some of the language, sometimes inadvertently, of that children of 10, 11, 12 used to use just 10, 15 years ago.

VILES: It wasn't always this way. "West Side Story" shocked America 40 years ago with violence. But the language was clean.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now you all better dig this and dig it good. No matter who or what is eating you, man, you show it, and you are dead!

VILES: Times changed, though, and so did Hollywood.

This was "Goodfellas," 13 years ago.


JOE PESCI, ACTOR: You said it. How do I know? You said I'm funny. How the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) am I funny? What the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) is so funny about me? Tell me. Tell me what's funny.



VILES: And cable television is a culture of cursing, from "The Sopranos" ...


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you hearing this?

How the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) would Patsy know we clips phones?



VILES: To "South Park."


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That (EXPLETIVE DELETED)! That big, smelly (EXPLETIVE DELETED), sniffing (EXPLETIVE DELETED). I'm going to get him.


VILES: And in the music business, Eminem is king.


EMINEM, RAPPER: Will Smith don't got to cuss in his rap to sell records. Well, I do, so (EXPLETIVE DELETED) him and (EXPLETIVE DELETED) you too. (END AUDIO CLIP)

VILES: So do kids hear this stuff? You bet they do. Charlotte is 10- years-old.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They just want to express those feelings with the words and it doesn't really offend me because I know I'm not supposed to say it.

VILES: It's an old debate: whether the media causes the changes in the culture or only reflects them. But in either case, the media does profit from profanity.

PROF. JAMES TWITCHELL, UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA: Profanity really is sort of the electric fence that is strung around the edge of what a culture considers acceptable from an advertisers' point of view, getting as close to that if not over that electric fence is indeed what you have to do to get people to pay attention.

VILES: That is not to say there are no limits. If you play basketball on Mr. Scott's court, the rules are clear: no bad language.

SCOTT: It's a zero tolerance policy. There will be no tolerance whatsoever for any cursing, taunting or baiting. Let's just play this game with respect and enjoy it today, guys. Shake hands.


VILES: There is a small town in New Jersey that recently tried to ban profanity. They realize they couldn't do that because the constitution protects free speech. They came back, rewrote the law so it effectively now bans fighting words, which appears to be permissible under the First Amendment, Lou.

DOBBS: And which one might suspect will be tested, as almost everything else these days. Pete, thank you very much.

We're joined by Deborah Tannen, who is a professor of linguistics at Georgetown University and the author of the book "The Argument Culture," and a legend of the advertising industry in this country, Jerry Della Femina.

Thank you very much for being here.

Good to be here.

DOBBS: Professor, let me begin with you, if I may.

What is the reason for what is an obvious -- in your judgment -- an obvious decline in standards of language in modern media?

DEBORAH TANNEN, LINGUISTICS PROFESSOR: One thing that we're seeing is just a breakdown in the barrier between what we said in private and what we said in public. So years ago, perhaps men at work used that language, maybe even kids used it. Perhaps more boys more than girls. But we didn't see it in our public language.

The -- what we see now is that both television, rap music, movies; they are trying to create what they think is the coolest teenaged culture, and by presenting it, they're also reinforcing it because kids are watching it and thinking that's what's cool. They want to sound cool, too.

Does this represent, in your judgment, a decline of values in our society?

TANNEN: Well, you know, as a linguist I don't tend to subscribe to what we call in linguistics "The world is going to hell in a hen basket and language is leading the way" school of thought, and I just said the word right there, didn't I? Although I guess that's tame these days.

But I feel that it's the whole compendium of influences on kids is very regrettable. So people, kids are being exposed to sex, to drugs, to violence at much earlier ages and they're really not ready for it. So the language itself doesn't worry me as much as the other aspects of it.

But I do think language can be a good barometer of that, and the fact that teachers now -- I was recently on a panel where some teenaged kids were saying that teachers use that language to be cool. I think if we all think more in terms of setting standards for kids and encouraging them, that you might talk that way with your friends but don't do it in a public situation.

DOBBS: Well, Jerry, advertising is blamed for a great deal in this country. We're looking at some rather provocative advertising right now. You might say successful advertising in that it's garnering our attention.

What is your reaction? Do you see a shift? A decline in values?

JERRY DELLA FEMINA, DELLA FEMINA, ROTHSCHILD, PERRY: You know, I don't blame advertising, for the first time we're in this.

The fact is I've had a child in every decade since the 50s. It's true. So I get to see how children behave. And my 13-year-old son gets, you know -- you just can't miss it. It's on television, you get to hear the language in front of your parents.

I could never listen to language or use language like that in front of my parents. Kids now watch sexual situations, see and hear language that is absolutely, I mean, I was shocked but my son is sitting there and there is no way to get away from it. You can't go to a movie without doing it. They rent "Scary Movie" or whatever that movie is and it's a horror show.

I don't -- and it's not that we're being permissive. It's all over. There is no way to get away. DOBBS: You say we're not being permissive, yet you said, referencing your 13-year-old son, he gets to see this in front of his parents. He gets to -- it sounded somewhat permissive to me.

DELLA FEMINA: Do I jump in front of him and say, Wait a second we happened to go by a cable station and that word came up? You know, the fact is, Did you see this movie? I already saw it at my friends' house. And the movie is on again. It's filed with profanity.

The fact is -- the music. They listen to music. Thirteen-year- old kids listen to music that the station is on. You hear it. It's full of vulgarity.

There is no -- and the fact is maybe it was different in my time. I mean, I remember when I was a kid and came home one day and I sat down off of the street, 16-years-old and I started to eat and I had my head down and I said. This is nobody's blank rate chicken. And then, I said, Did I use that word? And I looked up and my parents were staring there with smooth -- they couldn't -- they were frozen. And I said, Oh, I used that word.

DOBBS: Are we better off today than we were then....

DELLA FEMINA: I think I agree...

DOBBS: In terms of whether we call it a permissive culture or one in decline?

DELLA FEMINA: It's just change. It's different. It's -- you know, it's -- there's no way to get away from it. It's not going to go back.

DOBBS: And then -- how -- and I want to go back to you professor as well, and like you both to deal with this.

If we are to use the language of the gutter in our homes and are to experience it in television in all mass media in all forms, teachers, as you suggest, trying to be cool, are using language in the classroom. Where in the world is our -- where in the world do our young people find the highest common denominator if we are all descending to what is the lowest common denominator?

TANNEN: I think parents can set standards and inform just kids that perhaps what they hear is not what they want to use.

You know, it's funny. Kids used to want to be little adults. Now we see adults wanting to be big teenagers. The teenage aesthetic is what the movies after; television also is aimed at that adolescent male culture.

And I think parents can, like the coach that we saw in your material just earlier can say, Yes, you're going to hear it out there, but let's not use it in here. And the most important thing still is for parents to teach kids values. And so if you do have situations where you might use bad language and still show respect for other people.

What I worry about in "The Argument Culture" is when we approach other people not as human beings we respect, but just someone in our way to push out of way. So we should still stay focused on the people. That's what's most important more than the language.

DOBBS: Jerry, you get the last word.

DELLA FEMINA: I don't use profanity. But the fact is -- there's no question. I hear it when I'm in a situation. You go to a movie and you're going to see and hear it. It's there. It's part of our lives.

And quite frankly, I don't know. There is no answer. Yes, you could say, I don't want to you that kind of language, but can you say I don't want you to hear that kind of language? I don't want you to see that movie? Because I'll tell you right now, other than "Bambi" there isn't a movie left where you don't have a sexual situation or something or language that is totally different. It's different then when we were younger. I don't want to say I think -- do I think it's bad? Sure. But do I think it can be changed? never.

DOBBS: We will continue this exploration, Professor. Thank you, Jerry, thank you for being with us.

Coming up next here -- and Peter Viles for that excellent report. The crew of the space shuttle Columbia will take off tomorrow on a mission unlike any other it's made recently. We will have a special report for you on that.

And a major court victory for the entertainment industry. It was a big deal, billions of dollars at stake. Tim O'Brien is covering the story -- Tim.

TIM O'BRIEN, CNNfn CORRESPONDENT: Lou, the Supreme Court says Congress has broad power to extend existing copyrights and they are worth billions. It was one of the most closely-watched cases of the term. We'll have more on that story, coming up.


DOBBS: Space shuttle Columbia today cleared for blastoff from Cape Canaveral tomorrow morning. The shuttle's crew will include Israel's first astronaut. The crew will carry out scientific experiments. This is the first shuttle mission for three years that didn't involve the international space station or the Hubble telescope.

Meanwhile, two astronauts from the international space station today spent more than six hours on a space walk, carrying out routine maintenance. The space walk, delayed for 20 minutes when an exit hatch wouldn't open, it was quickly fixed and into space they went.

Back here on Earth, a major entertainment company won a victory that would help protect their profits for years to come. The Supreme Court ruled that Congress was working within its powers when it extended certain copyright protections for another 20 years. Tim O'Brien reports.


O'BRIEN: Had it not been for the court's ruling, "Steam Boat Willie," the debut of Mickey Mouse would have been fair game starting this year. The whole world could commercially exploit the 1928 classic.

But the U.S. Constitution says Congress has the power to give such works copyright protection for a, quote, "limited time." In 1998 Congress extend the existing copyright for such corporate-owned works from 57 years to 95 years and the Supreme Court ruled that Congress was within its rights. Justice Ruth Ginsburg pointedly observing the Court was only reviewing the law's constitutionality, not its wisdom.

The law was challenged by a New Hampshire man who wanted to post books for free on his Internet Web site.

JONATHAN ZITTRAIN, ATTORNEY FOR PLAINTIFF: A whole range of opportunities to take work that is old and sort or been lying around and is ready for rejuvenation, and allow anybody with an interest in working with the work to do so, that opportunity is now largely lost.

O'BRIEN: The financial stakes in the case were anything but Mickey Mouse. Disney earned billions just from licensing Mickey Mouse products.

United Airlines had to pay $500,000 to use Gershwin's 1924 hit "Rhapsody in Blue" in its commercials. Had the court ruled the other way, the airlines and everyone else could use it for free.

Charlie Chaplin films and other big hits like "The Jazz Singer" were also about to enter the public domain, but not now.

TOM WOLZIEN, ANALYST SANFORD BERNSTEIN: The people who created this are long gone, but the companies they created are still with us as are the characters and the characters have been a foundation of those companies for a good long time.

PAUL CONNUCK, INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY LAWYER: Under the Constitution these grants are to be for, quote, "limited times". And if every few years there's a lobby that pushes for further and further extension, at what point are the times no really longer functionally limited?


O'BRIEN: The question for the justices, are there any limits on the word limited? Answer, yes. This time extending the limit 20 years was OK. It doesn't necessarily mean if Congress should add yet another 20 years down the road, the high court will go along -- Lou.

DOBBS: Tim, thank you, Tim O'Brien.

And in tonight's MONEYLINE poll, the question, is it time to end affirmative action and racial preferences? Cast your vote at We'll have the results coming up here in just a few minutes.

Also tonight, Bill Tucker will be here with a special report -- Bill.

BILL TUCKER, CNNfn CORRESPONDENT: Lou, insider trading. Could it be a family affair on Wall Street? We'll have the report coming up -- Lou.

DOBBS: Bill, thank you.

Also coming up, a California (sic) pardoned by President Clinton at the end of his term is in jail tonight. That story and more just ahead. Stay with us.


DOBBS: Lehman Brothers Internet analyst Holly Becker at the center of an investigation over insider trading. This investigation revolves around whether Becker's husband knew about privileged reports from Lehman analysts.

Bill Tucker has the report.


TUCKER, (voice-over): Holly Becker, Internet analyst with Lehman brothers and her husband Michael Zimmerman a trader for SAC Capital Advisers find themselves at the center of unwelcome attention. Did Becker the analyst tell Michael the trader anything he should have known before anyone else knew, and how would anyone know?

JOSEPH MCLAUGHLIN, SECURITIES LAWYER: We are talking about people who share the same home. It's more difficult but circumstantial evidence has been used to establish the fact that information did change hands and was abused.

TUCKER: It's reported that Becker did have a computer supplied by Lehman in her home that allowed her access to Lehman's internal network in which case there might be a computer trail.

IRA WINKLER, HEWLETT-PACKARD: Unless the couple turn against each other or somebody decides to do the valiant thing and either takes credit for going ahead and looking without permission or giving somebody permission to look at things they shouldn't have, this will be hard for prosecutors to specifically point to one person or the other.

TUCKER: Lehman isn't commenting except to issue this simply statement saying "The firm will not comment on the investigation except to say that it does not involve the firm."


TUCKER: No comment as well from David Braski (ph) the attorney representing Ms. Becker and her husband. Complicating the case is they are Internet stocks, which are in question, which by mid 2000 hit their peaks and were rapidly on the way down from the heights. Ms. Becker was among the first to turn negative on these stocks. And yes, Lou, AOL was among the stocks in question.

DOBBS: Becker one of the better known Internet and media analysts.


DOBBS: All right, thank you very much, Bill. Bill Tucker.

Thirty-six executives have been charged in all of corporate America in the past period of corporate scandals. It began with the collapse of Enron, four of them from Enron. Not a single executive has been sentenced to serve time in prison, it has been 410 days since the Enron bankruptcy.

The SEC voted unanimously to crack down on corporate use of pro forma accounting. Under the new rules, companies are barred from presenting pro forma resulting that don't comply with formal accounting rules. Companies are also required to clearly define the standards used to measure performance, and companies must provide any announcement of corporate earnings to the SEC. The practice of using pro forma results objected to because it usually underflates profits or understates losses.

The sharp sell off on Wall Street today. One hundred-thirty five billion dollars of market cap erased. After four days of modest gains the Dow fell 119 points, the Nasdaq dropped 22, the S&P 500 down 13.

Christine Romans is here to bring us up to date.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, WALLS STREET CORRESPONDENT: Yes, about half of the recent four day rally pulled back, and two stocks down for every one stock that rose. Volume a brisk 1.4 billion shares and almost two thirds of that volume at lower prices. In the end the Dow down 119 points near the low of the day. Intel's capital spending a problem here. Dupont and ADP warned. Bank of America profit, Lou, that rose 27 percent but financials were still very weak. And IBM tumbled, it reports an 11 percent profit decline is expect. Really the only bright spot were the oil driller, oil prices up above $33 a barrel here today, and some of the names did quite well. Well that was about the only bright spot.

DOBBS: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) makes $9 billion that is not quite good enough.

ROMANS: Not today it wasn't.

DOBBS: Well, also some disappointments in terms of the economic news.

ROMANS: PPI was weak, only food and energy prices increasing. But...

DOBBS: When you say weak? ROMANS: Weak. Well, outside of food and energy, you had some pullbacks and a lot of different lower prices. And the problem is that manufacturers probably can't raise prices, that's what really hurt the manufacturing stocks today as well. Also the beige book report, Lou, saying words like sluggish, subdued, soft, also a small business survey that said price cutting is rampant. So, there is anecdotal evidence that is worrisome about the economy.

DOBBS: It wasn't so long ago when we talked about a disappointing producer price we would be talking about inflation.

ROMANS: Well, it meant that inflation was tame. And now they are looking at the other side of the coin.

DOBBS: Any help from the Yahoo!, Apple earnings after the bell?

ROMANS: Not really. Apple had it's second consecutive quarterly net lose. Yahoo! had an eight cent profit. Both of the stocks though are down after-hours. So a little disappointment overall in the tone of the tech earnings this time around. We'll see what happens tomorrow. Thirty-one S&P 500 companies report tomorrow. Among them IBM, GM.

DOBBS: This is the day the market's been waiting for, it will be fascinating to watch.

How about the money on the sidelines.

ROMANS: Not earning very much money. In fact, it's record low, right now. Taxable money, Lou, earning 0.84 percent if you just got your money in a money market.

DOBBS: Well, sounds like there's an opportunity there. We'll see.

Christine, thank you as always.

A California man who was pardoned by president Clinton is tonight in jail. Alman Glen Braswell (ph) has been arrested on the Internal Revenue Service on tax evasion charges. Those charges stem from dietary supplement business. Braswell as you recall was pardoned by president Clinton for a 1983 fraud conviction involving a hair growth product. That pardon generated considerable controversy when it was learned the president's brother-in-law was paid $200,000 to work on Braswell's case, a new case appears imminent.

"CROSSFIRE" is also imminent.

Let's go to Paul Begala and Tucker Carlson in Washington -- Tucker.

TUCKER CARLSON, CO-HOST "CROSSFIRE": Lou, 49 years after Brown v. board of education we are arguing about discrimination in education. The president came out against, it Democrats say his coming out against it is a form of discrimination. The affirmative action debate continues here on "CROSSFIRE". PAUL BEGALA, CO-HOST "CROSSFIRE": And then, Lou, as if cameras in the courtroom weren't controversial enough, there is a proposal in Texas, a judge ordered cameras into the jury room itself. Catherine Crier will debate Jeffrey Toobin, that is worth the price of admission itself.

And then NFL versus Las Vegas. The NFL doesn't want to run Las Vegas travel and tourism ads. I guess with the felony convictions in the NFL they don't want to besmirch their reputation, should be fun, Lou.

DOBBS: I'm glad you are protecting the NFL. Thanks a lot. Paul Begala, look forward to it.

Coming up next, the results of tonight's MONEYLINE poll and we'll hear your thoughts on American culture. Stay with us.


Here are the results to this point in tonight's MONEYLINE poll.

The question, "Is it time to end affirmative action and race preferences?" Seventy-one percent of you have voted, yes. Twenty- nine percent of you have voted, no.

You can continue to vote through tomorrow evening, of course. We will have the final results in tomorrow night's broadcast.

Lets take a look at your thoughts.

Wilma from Evansville, Indiana has a slogan to submit to the administration for its economic stimulus package. She writes, "As an ordinary citizen, the message I receive from President Bush's economic plan is 'Leave no millionaire behind."

James Jackson, from Missouri thought last night's interview with Professor Boyle on the friendly fire incident which four Canadians were killed, eight others wounded, was insightful. He wrote, "I believe it places the genesis of this tragedy where it truly belongs, not with the pilots but with the system which is supposed to ensure incidents such as this do not occur."

Cheryl Bullock of Ontario said, "Why can't the Americans and Canadians in command come together and take full responsibility for what happened?"

And on the decline of American Culture, Jason Gurley sees a bright side. "When a culture declines another arises to take it's place and maybe, just maybe, we can do a little better with the next one."

That's one form of optimism.

Peter Harrison of Washington says, "The truth is that American culture is always in the process of redefining itself. That means that some values necessarily decline while new values arise. We can never stop the process of change. Only guide it."

One hopes.

Send your thoughts to us, That's MONEYLINE for this Wednesday evening.


Culture Declined With Foul Language>

© 2004 Cable News Network LP, LLLP.
A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines. Contact us.
external link
All external sites will open in a new browser. does not endorse external sites.