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PAULA ZAHN NOW
Bush Defends Invasion of Iraq; FCC Cracks Down on Four-Letter Words
Aired March 19, 2004 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening. I'm Soledad O'Brien, in for Paula Zahn. It's Friday, March 19, 2004.
O'BRIEN (voice-over): One year later, President Bush defends the invasion of Iraq.
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Each of these attacks on the innocent is a shock and a test of our will.
O'BRIEN: Mission accomplished, or are U.S. troops even more the enemy today than they were then?
How far would you go to get Brad's eyes or J.Lo's thighs, or Pam's best assets? Fans who submit to surgery, silicon, even sex changes to look like their idols are the next step in reality TV.
And the FCC cracks down on one four-letter word. We can't tell you what it is, but should the government outlaw words? And how are poor comedians supposed to make a living?
O'BRIEN: All that's ahead tonight, but first, here's what you need to know right now. The standoff continues tonight on Pakistan's northwest border. It's been more than 24 hours since reports that Pakistani forces may have trapped Ayman al-Zawahiri, the number two leader in al Qaeda. "NEWSNIGHT" anchor Aaron Brown is in Pakistan's capital, Islamabad -- Aaron.
AARON BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: Well, good evening to you. It's morning here, Saturday morning, and this has been a very tough day for the Pakistani side. Let me try and give you briefly the lay of the land, what's going on, as best we can understand it. The fighting has been ferocious. The Pakistanis have taken significant casualties. We don't want to put a number on that, though by 10:00 Eastern time on "NEWSNIGHT," we'll be talking with the chief military spokesman for the Pakistani army, and we'll get a better sense of that.
In just a pure military sense, what's happened is you've got a very well-trained Pakistani army and well-equipped on one side, you have a very well-trained, less well-armed, but certainly highly committed al Qaeda troops on the other side. The al Qaeda side owns the territory. They own the high ground. And this is a classic battle situation. If you own the high ground, it is easier to pick off the other side from there, and that's basically what's happening. Is it a standoff? Wouldn't go quite that far. The Pakistanis say they have now laid a double circle around these villages, where the al Qaeda people are. There's one perimeter and then a second perimeter to keep them from escaping, but right now, escape or surrender doesn't seem to be the issue. The issue itself seems to be a war, and in some respects it's a war that has been going on up there or a battle that's been going on up there since Tuesday.
O'BRIEN: Aaron, considering the fierceness of the fighting, are there any expectations about how long this battle could last?
BROWN: Well, these things last as long as they last. It is in some respects, a question -- there are a lot of questions in play to give you an answer to that. Will the Pakistanis at some point say we're going to cut our losses and pull away? I think that's unthinkable. Will the al Qaeda guys on their side say at some point, we have taken as many casualties as we can take, what we need to do now is get out of Dodge, that's a possibility that they'll try and escape. There are numerous, numerous escape opportunities. There are tunnels in mountain passages, you're not talking about flat ground or hills, you're talking about very rugged mountain terrain, and we can assume, though we can't know this, we can assume that when they moved into the area, they also figured out how to get out of the area.
So the battle itself could end in a variety of ways, and to put -- to say it will end in 12 hours or two days I think is something that we're not comfortable talking about here.
O'BRIEN: Aaron Brown for us this evening. Aaron, thanks.
More now about the region where the fighting is taking place. It is an area of unfriendly mountains and often unfriendly people. That alone makes it a tough enough opponent. The ongoing battles are happening at Pakistan's northwest frontier province. It's a region called South Waziristan. It's semi-autonomous, with strong sympathies for the Taliban regime and also al Qaeda. Nearly all the men carry AK-47 assault rifles or other weapons, and family feuds are frequent and often deadly. The people there have long resisted outside interference, but right now that is exactly what they have.
Time now to go deeper into the possible whereabouts of Ayman al- Zawahiri. Hamid Mir is a Pakistani journalist who's written a biography of Osama bin Laden, and also extensively has written about al Qaeda. And he joins us this evening from Islamabad. Nice to see you, Hamid, thanks for being with us. Give me a sense about this battle. Are you expecting that al-Zawahiri is going to be captured, or he will be killed at this location?
HAMID MIR, JOURNALIST: Yes, you're right, the battle is going on there. Very lethal, very bloody battle. But the chances of the capture of Dr. Zawahiri are very grim. I don't see the possibility. Because the sources on the ground, the officials on the ground are not ready to confirm that they have surrounded Dr. Zawahiri. They are telling us that they have arrested some people, and those arrested people were investigated, and they got -- got a lot of information from them, and according to that information, Zawahiri is not there.
The other sources on the ground say that maybe Zawahiri was in that area six to eight weeks ago, but when Pakistani troops moved into that area, he slipped inside Afghanistan. So the possibility of his capture is very grim.
O'BRIEN: So if you're getting word that maybe he's not surrounded or maybe in fact he's not there at all, is there a sense, considering the fierceness of the fighting, that there is another high-value target inside?
MIR: Yes, this is the possibility, that maybe some big Chechen commander or maybe some very important Arab commander of al Qaeda is there, and that's why 300 to 400 al Qaeda fighters are trying to protect him. And now they have concentrated on a mountain, on the peak -- of a mountain, and this morning, maybe in the next four to six hours, the Pakistan forces are going to use some choppers and F-7 (ph) planes. They are going to bomb the area, and they will bomb the area, and I think that today is the decisive day.
O'BRIEN: You do think that. Well, why do you think there are so many people who believe that, in fact, it is al-Zawahiri who is inside, as opposed to what you're telling us, which is a pretty good chance that it's not?
MIR: I don't know why some people are saying that Zawahiri is there. The sources present on the ground, whether they're officials or they're local people, they're not ready to confirm. They say that Zawahiri was there some weeks ago, but they have never seen him right now, and the possibility about his presence there is very grim.
O'BRIEN: We were talking just moments ago to Aaron Brown, who said, obviously, you cannot put a timeline on when you expect a battle to end, because, of course there are so many different options. For example, with all the mountainous routes out of there, escape is one option. But give me a sense of a timeline, if you can. When do you think this potentially could be over?
MIR: You see, the Pakistani forces, they are putting a lot of pressure. They have engaged them in a bloody battle, and today they are sending more troops there, and we are expecting a new operation with a lot of air support. And I think that maybe in next five to six hours, they will be in a position to tell you that whether they have arrested some high-level target or not. So I think that the Pakistani military officers will be in position to tell you something hard, that whether they have arrested someone or not, because they have got some dead bodies. They have arrested some people. And they are investigating them. And I think they will get some information, and then they will use that information, and that's why they have planned a new operation today.
O'BRIEN: So you're expecting more concrete information within about 24 hours. Journalist Hamid Mir joining us this evening. Thank you very much.
Here's another story that you need to know right now. The U.S. Army dropping all charges against a Muslim chaplain accused of mishandling classified documents at Guantanamo Bay. In a statement, the Army says it cleared Captain James Yee because of national security concerns that would arise from the release of the evidence if the case proceeded. Captain Yee was originally accused of espionage and he was jailed for 76 days. The Army says Yee can return to his home base at Fort Lewis in Washington.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: My fellow citizens, at this hour, American and coalition forces are in the early stages of military operations to disarm Iraq, to free its people, and to defend the world from grave danger.
As Iraqis join the free peoples of the world, we mark a turning point for the Middle East and a crucial advance for human liberty.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'BRIEN: But there are still serious problems in Iraq. Just today, more explosions were heard in Baghdad near the so-called coalition green zone. One year after the war, has there been any improvement when it comes to peace and freedom? Joining us this evening from Wilmington, Delaware, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Joseph Biden. Nice to see you, Senator, good evening. Thanks for being with us.
SEN. JOSEPH BIDEN (D-DE), FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE: Nice to see you, Soledad.
O'BRIEN: Last March, as you well know, explosions were rocking Baghdad. They did so again today, as you also know. How troubling are those images again now since they're so similar to what we saw a year ago?
BIDEN: Well, they are troubling, Soledad, but I do think the president's right. There has been real progress. The people of Iraq are much freer. The people of Iraq have a chance now to actually have a Democratic republic. The people of Iraq are in much better shape than they were a year ago.
O'BRIEN: 70 percent, in fact, of Iraqis who were surveyed said they think that things are good today. 56 percent of Iraqis say they think things are better now than they were last spring. It sounds like a fairly decent endorsement of the actions in Iraq. Would you agree with those numbers?
BIDEN: I would. Within Iraq, the Iraqi people understand it. They are impatient, and they are now worried about this U.S. occupation. That's why it's so important, Soledad, that we, in fact, take the American face off of this and bring the international community more front and center, turn Mr. Bremer's responsibilities on June 30, when he leaves, over to the United Nations, a high commissioner reporting to us and the security council, and bring in NATO.
O'BRIEN: Do you think, if the level of violence continues up until the hand-over on June 30, that that actually should be considered for postponement, push it back?
BIDEN: Well, I think that is a greater argument for agreeing now with our allies and our friends as to how we're going to govern that country and deal with that country after Bremer leaves. I don't think it should push it back, but it should create a sense of urgency so that we get a consensus as to how we're going to proceed once power is turned over.
O'BRIEN: On the one-year anniversary, the president held a speech this morning. Here's a little bit of what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We set out to encourage reform and democracy in the greater Middle East as the alternatives to fanaticism, resentment, and terror. We set out to break the cycle of bitterness and radicalism that has brought stagnation to a vital region and destruction to cities in America, Europe, and around the world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'BRIEN: Has he been able to accomplish these goals that he set out to do?
BIDEN: No, but I wouldn't have expected him to have accomplished them by now. But the biggest problem that I see, Soledad, is that he doesn't make a distinction between the violence going on in Iraq and the violence that is directed toward us and our Spanish friends and others. They are separable. We could -- the Lord could come down right now this evening and say I guarantee you there will be not one more additional act of international terror in the next decade, and we still have a multi-billion dollar, multi-year problem in Iraq.
And conversely, we could bring about peace and security in Iraq and does anybody think al Qaeda will not still be attempting to blow up trains, planes, and buildings in the United States of America? So the problem that I have with the president's characterization is a similar one that other people around the world have, and that is it's too simplistic. The idea, if we don't stop them in Baghdad, they'll be in Boston. In Baghdad, people blowing us up are not just al Qaeda people, they are Baathist military people, they are Shi'a and other people fighting over control of that country who could give a darn about what we do in the United States.
And so they're separable problems. We have to look at them separably even though they overlap. If we fail in Baghdad, international terror will increase. If we succeed in Baghdad, in Iraq, it will not be the end of the international terrorists. You need two different prescriptions.
O'BRIEN: If it's attracting more international terror, though, in Iraq, do you say, looking a year out, that it's been a failure or it's been a success?
BIDEN: Well, it's been both. Some parts have been a failure, and some have been a success. We've not handled the aftermath very well. We handled the planning, the administration handled the planning after Saddam fell abysmally. I think everyone acknowledges that. They told you there would be enough oil to pay for the war. There never was going to be enough oil to pay for the war. They told you the Iraqi army would be able to be stood up. No one ever believed they would be able to be stood up. They told you there would be a police force in place to keep order. They told us we'd be greeted as heroes. Senator Lugar, a conservative Republican, and I and many others said there's no evidence of that. Plan better. They decided not to plan. That's made everything else we've had to do more difficult.
O'BRIEN: Senator Joseph Biden with an assessment one year in. Senator, nice to see with you. Thanks for being with us tonight.
BIDEN: We can still succeed. We can still succeed.
O'BRIEN: Let's hope you're right. Thank you, sir.
Political guru Karl Rove. He's known the Bush family for years, and his advice helped put George W. in the White House, but how much influence does he have on national policy?
And this time it is a veteran newspaper reporter accused of faking stories. How does fiction wind up on the front page?
And those eyes, those lips, that body. Do you really want your wife or girlfriend getting cosmetic surgery to look like Britney?
O'BRIEN: Who is the most powerful person in the White House? Maybe not the president. According to a new documentary called "Bush's Brain," it argues that top adviser Karl Rove's ambition and political skill were crucial to propelling George W. Bush into the White House and may have been the key to the president's decision to go to war in Iraq. Joining us this evening from Austin, Texas, Wayne Slater of the "Dallas Morning News." He's also the co-author of "Bush's Brain," the book on which the documentary is based. Nice to see you, Mr. Slater. Thanks for being with us.
Good to be with you, soledad.
O'BRIEN: Thank you very much. As you well know, many people consider Karl Rove actually to be the most powerful unelected official in America. Here's a chunk from the documentary.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL MILLER, AUSTIN POLITICAL CONSULTANT: If you look at the circle of people who sit down and make big decisions in that administration the seats at that table are few and far between, and Karl has the first seat.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'BRIEN: Realistically, what kind of power does Karl Rove have?
WAYNE SLATER, "DALLAS MORNING NEWS": He has enormous power. I know there's some people inside the beltway and some people around the country, those few people who have ever heard of Karl Rove, who say no one can be so influential. The president of the United States is the president and makes the final decisions, but Karl Rove is a guy who, beginning 15 years ago, began to put together the blueprint to elect George Bush president of the United States. And the two men, Karl Rove and George Bush, respect each other, understand each strength, and Rove is an absolute political genius who has more influence right there in the White House than any other single adviser.
O'BRIEN: The documentary depicts fairly controversially, I think, Karl Rove as absolutely instrumental in the administration's decision to go to war in Iraq. How accurate do you think that is?
SLATER: I think the key here is that look, Karl Rove never went to the president and said, hey, let's go to war. This is a good political thing. That is clearly not the way it worked. And to the extent, I don't think the documentary exactly says that. If someone comes away with that idea, the more realistic assessment is that the president gets advice from a small group of advisers. He makes a decision, or considers a decision to go to war against Iraq.
Karl's role in this case, as it has been in every important issue since the time George Bush was governor of Texas, is what are the political implications of that? And remember, Karl went to a group of high Republican operatives one year before we went into Iraq, and he said, after the war in Afghanistan, we can go to the nation with this issue. It was Karl who said the president can be a war president. And that's a winning political formula.
O'BRIEN: The documentary depicts Karl Rove truly as sort of the brains behind the operation. Let's listen quickly to another chunk of the documentary before I ask you a question about it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAME MOORE, AUTHOR: Bush knows that he's nowhere without Karl. He doesn't get reelected. He doesn't have policies. He doesn't have politics. And he's more or less just a ship without a sail without Karl.
ROVE: Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'BRIEN: It sounds like James Moore is saying there that President Bush would not be president without Karl Rove. Do you think that's true? Do you think that's accurate and fair?
SLATER: You know, I think it is fair. I think you can make that argument. I've known President Bush for ten years. I've known Karl Rove for 15 years. And what I know is that George Bush would very likely not be the president of the United States if not for Karl Rove. It's not that the president could not be president. It's not that he lacks the capability or the opportunity. It's that Karl Rove added that element, that drive, that architecture, the blueprint, that beginning in 1990, started the road of George Bush, first as governor, and then as president.
I think George Bush would have been a very successful son of a president and a man who would have been successful in business. But I don't think he would have made that leap to a race, a successful race for governor and president had Karl Rove not been there every step of the way.
O'BRIEN: An interesting documentary based on an interesting book. Wayne Slater, thanks for being with us tonight.
SLATER: Good to be with you.
O'BRIEN: Coming up, we're going to have the story of a U.s. marine, one of the first to die in Iraq. His family says he was worried, but not for himself.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He said, look, if anything happens to me, I just want you to make sure that I can trust in you because you bring the family together to make sure that my sister is taken care of.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'BRIEN: And the FCC cracks down on radio's top shock jock. We're going to hear from a comedian who thinks it's no laughing matter.
O'BRIEN: There are two Marines who will forever be remembered as the first to give their lives in combat during Operation: Iraqi Freedom, one of them wasn't even a U.S. citizen until after he died. Here's CNN's national correspondent Frank Buckley with an exclusive interview with that Marine's family just one year later.
FRANK BUCKLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A year ago, when the military officers came to the front door of this home in Southern California, Nora Mosquera just knew.
NORA MOSQUERA, FOSTER MOTHER: They didn't have to tell me what it was, I knew that one of the two casualties of that day, one of them was my son. And it was very sad.
BUCKLEY: Lance corporal Jose Gutierrez was killed in action in one of the first engagements of the war.
LILLIAN CARDNES, FOSTER SISTER: Why was it him? And why at the beginning. BUCKLEY: Marine Corps officials later confirmed that Gutierrez was killed by friendly fire. His family members accept that as an accident of war. And they are proud of how Gutierrez came to fight as a U.S. Marine, because he wasn't even from the United States.
ENGRACIA PAZ, BIOLOGICAL SISTER, (through translator): Because he came to give his life for a country that was not his.
BUCKLEY: Engracia Paz was Jose's sister in their native Guatemala. This is the foster family that took him in in America. Jose Gutierrez died on a battlefield far away from either home.
(on camera): His long journey to Iraq began here, in central America. This is where he was born, in Guatemala City, whereby all accounts, he had a very difficult life. His parents died when he was a boy. He was poor. At one point, he literally lived on the streets of this city.
(voice-over): The story of the boy who made it to America only to die in Iraq was front page news in Guatemala. Louise ARodrigez of "Prensa Libre" says one reason readers were so interested, their loved ones are also in America.
LUISA RODRIGUEZ, PRENSA LIBRA: For every ten Guatemalans, four of them has a family in the United States.
BUCKLEY: In Jose's case, he hitchhiked and hopped trains across 2,000 miles to get to the U.S. As a teenager in the care of Casa Alienza, the Central American branch of Covenant House, someone told him that America was the land of opportunity.
MOSQUERA: He came to the United States and he found out that everything that this social worker, American social worker in Guatemala had told him was really true and even more, he was so grateful.
BUCKLEY: Joining the Marine Corps was a job, but family members say, it was also about serving his new country.
CARDNES: He never forgot where he came from, but at the same time, he gave back to the place that gave him so much.
BUCKLEY: He also knew that combat would be dangerous, and before he shipped out, Jose made arrangements.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He told me that in the event anything bad happened, he wanted to be buried with his parents, in his homeland.
BUCKLEY: And that's why at this dignified cemetery in Guatemala, there is one U.S. Marine who is finally home. Frank Buckley, CNN, Guatemala City.
O'BRIEN: And we'll be right back.
O'BRIEN: Welcome back. Here are some of the headlines you need to know right now. Fierce fighting continues near the border in northwest Pakistan, where thousands of the country's troops are battling between 300 and 400 al Qaeda fighters. The troops have cordoned off a 19-square-mile area in the mountainous region, and they believe al Qaeda's No. 2 man, Ayman al Zawahiri, may be inside. The troops are using both ground and air forces, and they're sustaining lots of casualties. The U.S. is providing reconnaissance information, advice and logistical help, but U.S. officials stress the operation is in Pakistani control.
A Berlin museum shutting down because of a statue made of wax. Today the bank that owns the building housing the gallery asked it to leave out of fear that the company would be associated with what the statue represents. So why is a piece of art creating such a stir? CNN's Stephanie Halasz has that story.
STEPHANIE HALASZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): If you think Adolf Hitler had vanished from Germany for good, think again. At this gallery, behind other historic figures stands the leader of Nazi Germany in wax.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think that it's a bit strange that he's standing in the same room with Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt. But at the same time, it's part of German history, and I think it should be shown.
HALASZ: The German dictator who plunged the world into a massive war and was responsible for the murder of millions of people shares the exhibition with other, more innocent figures -- Diana, the Princess of Wales, William Shakespeare. There are stringent laws against displays of Nazi-era symbols in Germany, but showing images of Nazi leaders is not illegal. Still, this Hitler might be the only one you see in a German museum.
WOLFGANG WIPPERMANN, HISTORIAN: First of all, I would think it is tasteless because Hitler was not a hero or a good man. He was a mass murderer. And I don't like it. And the second reason is I don't agree with it because it is also dangerous because pictures of Hitler, all pictures, are propaganda pictures and very effective.
HALASZ: But the organizer of the exhibition believes there is nothing wrong with putting Hitler on display. "We simply say these people existed, some played a good and some played a bad role, and we show them both," she says.
(on camera): Adolf Hitler died here, in a bunker underneath what is now this kindergarten. Fifty-nine years after his death, Germans are still wrestling with how Hitler is portrayed in a culture that is hypersensitive to him and his legacy. Stephanie Halasz, CNN, Berlin.
(END VIDEOTAPE) O'BRIEN: Here in the U.S., on the front page of today's "USA Today," a very embarrassing story about one of the newspaper's top reporters. It says he made up parts of at least eight major stories. Jack Kelley resigned from "USA Today" back in January. He denies making things up. But after him, Jayson Blair at "The New York Times" and Stephen Glass of "The New Republic," readers have to wonder just how is it that such blatant frauds get into print anyway.
Joining us this evening from Watertown, Massachusetts, Alex Joins. He is the director of Harvard's Shorenstein-Barone Center. Also joining us tonight in Washington, the media critic for "The Washington Post," Howard Kurtz, who also hosts CNN's "RELIABLE SOURCES." Nice to see both of you gentlemen. Thanks for being with us.
Mr. Jones, let's begin with you. Do you think Jack Kelley essentially is just another Jayson Blair?
ALEX JONES, HARVARD UNIVERSITY CENTER FOR PRESS & PUBLIC POLICY: No, I think he's worse than Jayson Blair because he was a much more distinguished journalist. Jayson Blair is kind of a pathological liar, but I think that what Jayson Blair did, although it was very, very embarrassing to "The Times," was kind of penny ante. Jack Kelley was really one of the stars of "USA Today," and I think that the betrayal and the sort of -- you know, the blow to "USA Today" is what happens when someone who is really trusted -- I mean, they nominated him for a Pulitzer Prize five different times. He was a finalist one year. And I think that this has got to be very painful for "USA Today," and I salute them for taking it on head on.
O'BRIEN: Howard, would you agree that Jack Kelley was more distinguished, or would you say, essentially, he was just a better, more thorough liar over more time?
HOWARD KURTZ, MEDIA CRITIC, "WASHINGTON POST": No, he was far more distinguished than Jayson Blair. In fact, when I broke the story of his firing in January, I talked to him, and he insisted to me that with the exception of one lie to the paper, he had never fabricated or plagiarized a story. That obviously turned out not to be true.
The details of the deception here, Soledad, are incredible, to the point of reporting on the dramatic drowning of a refugee on a boat in Cuba. Well, it turns out that woman is alive in the United States. The most interesting contrast here is that while Jayson Blair never left his Brooklyn apartment while faking datelines on stories from around the country, Jack Kelley actually got on planes and went to Pakistan and the West Bank and pretty dangerous places, and yet he felt the need to embellish his reports to come up with the perfect scene, the too-perfect quote or anecdote. There were whispers about this guy for years. Unfortunately for "USA Today," they turned out to be true.
O'BRIEN: Well, Alex, you know, to follow that, why? Why possibly cave into the pressure? He was obviously a wonderful writer. Why go the extra step to lie and make things up? JONES: You know, Soledad, I thought about this as I was coming over here tonight. Of course, we don't really know the answer because he has not admitted that he did anything wrong. He hasn't -- I mean, the wording is very interesting. He's not admitted -- not said he didn't do it. He said he didn't do anything wrong. I don't know what to make of that.
But I can only say that what strikes me is that maybe he's just addicted to being the great reporter who has the perfect story, as Howie said. You know, he had this terrific knack for being in exactly the right place at exactly the right time and having a quote that was a knockout. And you know, it's addictive, this glory and this sort of fame. That's one of the things that goes -- one of the rewards of journalism. Money isn't the reward, but there is a certain amount of fame and celebrity and -- you know, and respect that goes with being recognized as a first-class reporter. And a lot of what Jack did, apparently, was to sort of burnish his image.
O'BRIEN: Howard, there are certainly many people would say, Wow, that terrific knack actually raised a lot of red flags. And in fact, we heard from "USA Today." They apologized. They called his sins sweeping and substantial, saying they say they failed their readers. Is it possible to catch these lies? Are the editors, to some degree, to blame? Or frankly, if someone's going to make up sources and make up quotes, you can't really catch them?
KURTZ: Well, it might be difficult to catch them one or two times, but the amazing thing about the Blair story and now the Jack Kelley story is there was a pattern of deception over such a long period of time that this clearly raises questions about who was minding the store. How come some of these stories, which nobody else was able to match because they were so perfect, they so dramatic from around the globe -- how come none of those stories brought an investigation before this?
In fact, I'm reporting in tomorrow's paper that in a meeting with management today, one "USA Today" reporter stood up and said, We warned you for years about Jack Kelley and you didn't listen, and there's been a breakdown of trust at the paper because of this. In fact, people who were seen as complaining about Kelley were told, You should be like Jack Kelley. Jack Kelley is a star. You should emulate him. Well, obviously, things look very different to the top editors at "USA Today," and they have to bear some of the responsibility for what happened over a 10-year period, just as the top editors of "The New York Times," unfortunately, were forced to resign because of all of what came out in the Jayson Blair story.
O'BRIEN: In retrospect, they have gone back to look at some of the receipts and they've seen, for example, he was turning -- he didn't have hotel receipts or turn in hotel receipts or things just didn't really match up. And in retrospect, they were able to do that. Do they need to overhaul the system, so that they're actually doing these sorts of things before it becomes a problem, not months later, when it's an investigation?
KURTZ: Well, I don't think that every reporter on every story should have to prove that he, you know, actually ate at such-and-such a restaurant. But I do think when you're writing controversial, high- profile stories from around the world, where there are things that can't be checked or you're relying on unnamed sources, as Jack Kelley often did, there has to be a higher level of scrutiny.
And I think, clearly, News organizations have proven themselves, some of the best news organizations, including my own, not to be terribly good at double-checking when they trust the reporter. It's a business that runs on trust. To some extent, it's very difficult to defend against. But clearly, the extent of the deceptions here by Jack Kelley -- they even found scripts in his computer, which -- where he encouraged some of his sources to lie to the paper to justify that what he reported was true, when apparently, it wasn't true. Clearly, the system hasn't worked very well. They don't have an ombudsman, for example. "The New York Times" decided to hire an ombudsman after the Jayson Blair embarrassment.
O'BRIEN: Yes, some of the allegations are truly shocking. Howard Kurtz joining us this evening, Alex Jones, as well. Thanks, gentlemen. Appreciate it. Oh, and Howard, we should plug your show, as well. Be sure to join Howard on Sunday, 11:30 AM Eastern, for "RELIABLE SOURCES." His guest is Jayson Blair. Thanks, guys.
Remember when Bono let that four-letter word fly on live TV? Well, the FCC wants to make sure you never hear that one again. Good manners, sure, but are we losing our sense of humor? And our very own Jeanne Moos plumbs the depths of a dilemma: how to build a cool bathroom without alienating half the human race.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE CARLIN, COMEDIAN: So the words, as I say (DELETED) and (DELETED)...
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'BRIEN: Comedian George Carlin's "Seven Words You Can't Say on TV" inspired a Supreme Court case nearly 30 years ago. Now, in the post-wardrobe-malfunction era, the FCC is renewing its crackdown on indecency on TV and radio, this week singling out one of those words. Rather than get into any trouble, we're going to let you guess which one. But should the government be in the business of outlawing words? We're going to give that issue the "High Five" treatment tonight, five quick questions, five straight answers direct and to the point.
We pose them this evening to the comedian Colin Quinn. He is the host of "Tough Crowd" on Comedy Central. Nice to see you. Thanks for being here.
COLIN QUINN, COMEDIAN, HOST, "TOUGH CROWD": Hello.
O'BRIEN: Let's get right to it. Why do you think the government's in the business at all of banning words? QUINN: Well, I just think a lot of people get offended. You know, I mean, let's face it, our culture is psychotic. And it is, you know, a total -- like, it's got certain overtones of Roman -- fall of Roman empire, Sodom and Gomorrah. You can't deny it. But so they're pretending to try to do something about it. But not only is it too late, but ultimately, you know, it's, like, ridiculous to think one channel you click and people can curse, and then one channel you click, and people can't. It doesn't make -- it's not going to work. It's crazy.
O'BRIEN: Is it harder for a comedian to be funny if you don't have in your repertoire curse words?
QUINN: As long as -- if they were said everywhere, no comedians would curse because they always say what can't be said. So I mean, if you got rid of cursing, in three years, it would be played out. I feel like the people that want cursing outlawed are going the wrong way, and the people that are trying to fight for the right to curse are making a mistake because then there's going to be no forbidden things for them to jump. So they both should take each other's techniques and tactics.
O'BRIEN: So then does it bug you that the government gets into saying what you can say and what you can't say on TV?
QUINN: Well, only because they don't have the same taste as me, you know what I mean? Like, Howard Stern I would let say whatever he wants. And other people, I wouldn't, you know what I mean, if I was in charge. But I mean, so...
O'BRIEN: If they're funny, they can do it, but if they're not funny, no.
QUINN: Exactly. And then there's -- you know, it's such a, you know, arbitrary -- you know, it's just hard to call it, you know what I mean? It's hard. But I understand people -- you know, if you got kids, you don't want them to grow up as maniacs, but, you know, it's too late anyway. Look at this -- I mean, everything, you know? It's just different channels. It's so ridiculous to have the same TV, and you have one channel click, and there's everything, and one channel click, and there's nothing. And no -- people say, Don't let them watch that other stuff. You can't stop kids. They're going to watch whatever they want. So you might as well put it everywhere and get it done with. It'll be boring in three years, nudity and cursing, if they'd do it all over.
O'BRIEN: Could you do your act without foul language in it?
QUINN: I've done it without foul language.
O'BRIEN: Really? Was it funny?
QUINN: I don't care what the public says, I -- it was funny.
(LAUGHTER) QUINN: No. I mean, yes, but I mean, I use a certain amount of cursing if I'm doing some kind of character that would speak that way, then you kind of want to use the real authentic dialogue. So I can do my act without it, but there's certain -- if you're doing certain people that talk that way and you say "friggin' " and it's not really -- you know? It's like "The Sopranos." If they couldn't curse on there -- those guys talk like that. But like I said, I feel like, you know, the networks have their hands tied with this stuff, you know?
O'BRIEN: Where do you think it ends, I mean, with the government cracking down? Is this just the beginning, do you think?
QUINN: Every network is arbitrarily making these decisions. That's mean-spirited, is the term they use for certain things. And it's interesting to see what -- depending on your race, your sex, whatever it is, what's considered mean-spirited and what's not. It's very interesting. And that's another censorship, but nobody wants to get near that one, either.
O'BRIEN: So that's the tip of the iceberg, then, you're saying.
O'BRIEN: Colin Quinn, very interesting. Thanks a lot. Nice to see you, as always.
QUINN: Thank you, Soledad.
O'BRIEN: Just ahead tonight, the latest twist on celebrity worship, fans who want to look exactly like their favorite stars. Well, now some plastic surgeons are willing to help their dream come true.
O'BRIEN: Not coming soon to one of the nation's busiest airports, urinals shaped like giant female lips. That is the decision announced today by Virgin Atlantic, which, until word leaked, planned to put them in a luxury lounge at New York's JFK Airport. Who else to report on this weird story but Jeanne Moos.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): If you think ordinary urinals are yucky, imagine one that had some women fleeing.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, my God!
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, my Gosh! Oh!
MOOS: It's called the "Kisses" urinal, and Virgin Atlantic had to kiss it good-bye after a storm of criticism.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Degrading and humiliating.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What were they thinking? MOOS: What they say they were thinking was how quirky and fun it would be to have the artsy urinals in the men's room at Virgin's JFK clubhouse.
(on camera): Offensive or funny?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Both.
MOOS (voice-over): Virgin's clubhouse for upper-class flyers features everything from a waterfall to computers. Plans to install the "Kisses" urinals are what caused mouths to drop.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's awful!
MOOS: The urinal is the work of a female designer from the Netherlands.
MEIKE VAN SCHIJNDEL, BATHROOM MANIA: You know, the first response from all the guys is, like, Oh, my God, it's got teeth. And then they say, It doesn't close, does it.
MOOS: Meike Van Schijndel's company, Bathroom Mania, produces everything from a flower pot toilet to a hammock bath. She's had over 2,000 inquiries about buying the $600 urinal.
(on camera): You know, I mean, basically, it's guys relieving themselves in a woman's mouth.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oy, oy, oy!
VAN SCHIJNDEL: It didn't even cross my mind when I was making it.
MOOS (voice-over): The artist says she just thought the design was sexy.
(on camera): Would you feel comfortable using this urinal?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, when you got to go, you got to go.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: With a smile on my face.
MOOS (voice-over): But the smile was wiped off Virgin's face when the National Organization for Women scheduled a protest. In the middle of it, word came down that Virgin had backed down.
PHILIP REED, NEW YORK CITY CITY COUNCIL MEMBER: Now, isn't that terrific? Somebody's come to their senses.
MOOS: Virgin says the level of public concern was the kiss of death for the urinal. Critics had a proposal for Virgin officials like CEO Richard Branson.
JOHN LIU, NEW YORK CITY COUNCIL MEMBER: With their own face being on these urinals. I think that's what they should do.
MOOS: It doesn't pay to be a potty mouth. Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.
O'BRIEN: And coming up: Just how far would you go to look like Brad or Jen? How about under the knife? Plastic surgeons asked by their patients to make them look exactly like their show business idols. Why? And is it even possible?
O'BRIEN: Usually it's an agent or a studio executive who says, Baby, I'm going to make you a movie star, not your plastic surgeon. But on a new MTV documentary series, plastic surgeons work hard to transform regular people who want to look exactly like their favorite celebrities. How common is this?
Joining us this evening, Dr. Scott Glasberg. He's a board- certified plastic surgeon. Nice to see you.
DR. SCOTT GLASBERG, PLASTIC SURGEON: Nice to be here.
O'BRIEN: How common is this?
GLASBERG: More common that you than you might think, actually. Patients come in routinely and will bring pictures with them of celebrities. Sometimes it'll be a family member that they want to look like or...
O'BRIEN: But they're saying, I want J-Lo's nose, or are they saying, I want to be J-Lo?
GLASBERG: Well, that's our job to sort of weed that out. If it's just a nose, it's OK. But when they want to be the person by the procedure, that's where the problems come in.
O'BRIEN: Who do people want to look like? Which celebrities?
GLASBERG: Britney Spears. That's a common one.
O'BRIEN: What do they want from Britney?
GLASBERG: A body, a face.
O'BRIEN: Plastic surgery can't totally do that.
GLASBERG: Pamela Anderson's another one.
O'BRIEN: I'm going to assume the breasts from Pamela.
O'BRIEN: That's probably more doable.
GLASBERG: Absolutely. And believe it or not, men often come in and often ask to look like Brad Pitt. O'BRIEN: OK, can you take a guy who walks in on off the street and say, I can do enough plastic surgery to turn you, person X, into Brad Pitt?
GLASBERG: No, and I won't do that. And actually, those are the patients who I usually won't operate on. Usually, there's something ulterior behind their reasoning for wanting to do that, to impress someone else, to get a job that they think they can get just by having a procedure done. And that's the problem.
O'BRIEN: You say you won't do it, but can any surgeon do it?
O'BRIEN: I mean, can you literally take someone and make their face look totally different?
GLASBERG: No, you can't make someone look like another person. You can improve features. You can change those features. You know, it's funny they call this reality TV because it's just not realistic to think that you can make someone look like someone else just by operating on them.
O'BRIEN: MTV says this is a documentary. They are not paying for people to have plastic surgery. They don't recruit people to get it done. These are people who basically follow people who want to do this. Is there any up side to showing this? Is there any up side to talking about it?
GLASBERG: There is. There's education of the public about plastic surgery, and that's always a good thing, to hear about the procedures, to hear the risks, to hear about the safety issues. Those are all important for the public to know. But unfortunately, the overwhelming theme of this show is to look like a celebrity. And unfortunately, it's just not a reality, and that's the problem.
O'BRIEN: Are these people mentally unstable?
GLASBERG: I wouldn't go so far to say that, but clearly, there are psychological components that these patients have that need to be addressed and need to be assessed. As plastic surgeons -- people think of us simply as sort of cosmetologists, someone who can make you prettier. But in essence, any consultation with a patient needs to look at the psychological reasons as to why a patient's going to have her procedure. And if it's a good reason -- you know, to enhance your own body image and self-image -- that's a good reason. But for other reasons -- to look entirely like somebody else -- usually, there's something more behind that.
O'BRIEN: We don't have a ton of time, but I'm curious to know what happens when the patient gets all unwrapped from the bandages and you know what? She looks good, but she's not J-Lo.
GLASBERG: Well, that's -- that was the point I was going to make. That's a problem. And you have a really good esthetic result and something that both the patient should be happy about and the surgeon can be happy about and help build on that relationship. But unfortunately, the end result is the patient's not happy because they're simply focusing on looking like someone else.
O'BRIEN: It is a strange phenomenon, isn't it...
O'BRIEN: ... the new step in reality TV.
O'BRIEN: Dr. Scott Glasberg, nice to see you. Thanks for coming in...
GLASBERG: Thank you very much.
O'BRIEN: ... and illuminating some of this weirdness, I've got to call it, for us.
GLASBERG: Thank you.
O'BRIEN: We appreciate it. Thanks and good night.
And thanks to all of you, as well, for joining us this evening. "LARRY KING LIVE" is up next. Have a great weekend. Paula's back on Monday.
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