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Larry King Live
Should Joan Rivers Be Suspended for Swearing?Aired July 27, 2000 - 9:00 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, she was suspended from her radio show for swearing on the air. Join Rivers -- Joan Rivers joins us from New York. Maybe I'll get suspended for that.
Also joining us, three other radio talkers: the former mayor of the Big Apple, Ed Koch. He hosts "The Voice of Reason." In Dallas, Janet Parshall, host of "Janet Parshall's America," and in San Diego, the often controversial host of "The Bob Grant Show," Bob Grant himself, next on LARRY KING LIVE.
We're going to spend our first few segments of the show with Joan Rivers, and then our entire panel will joins us to talk about the things that radio talk show hosts talk about everyday. But let's start with Joan Rivers, who by the way will be back on QVC with skin care line this Saturday night at 9:00. We'll ask a little about that later. Happy to mention it.
JOAN RIVERS, ENTERTAINER: Thank you.
KING: She was Suspended from WOR radio show, which is syndicated in more than 40 markets for what? And don't repeat the word. But what happened?
RIVERS: I will never -- I dared to slip and say one of the bad words on my show. And I -- they had an engineer in training, who had a seven-second delay, who just, you know, was in training and wasn't looking, and never picked it up, went out on the air, and I apologized. I'm not that stupid. And Monday morning -- that was Friday. Monday morning, I was told naughty, naughty, naughty, bring a note from your parents, and I was suspended without pay, which means there goes my Friday night Big Mac, and, -- because radio doesn't pay.
KING: I know that station well. Was it Bob Bruno who suspended you?
RIVERS: Yes, yes, yes.
KING: OK. He's been there a long time.
Joan, since there is a seven-second delay, why didn't they suspend the engineer?
RIVERS: I don't know. And I'm sorry, because he was -- you know, I'm what they call a hot personality, and it's a funny show, and you say probably a lot more things. And they shouldn't, I don't think, put a trainee on my show. I think that's wrong.
You put a trainee on a show like "Rambling with Gambling," which is easy in the morning, you know, and they're not going to be scared that he might say something, or think he's a rapper.
KING: In which context were you saying this word, which is a four-letter word, begins with "s"? It's a common word. In what context was it said? What were you talking about?
RIVERS: I had gone to through probably the most expensive restaurant in New York, and couldn't eat anything there, and I said, listen, I'm an easy guest usually, I will eat blank on a bun, and you know, think it's delicious, and then I realized what I said, and you go, I mean, as I said, I'm not that stupid, and you go -- and the young man wasn't looking at me or listening, and had seven-second delay and just didn't do it.
KING: Did you immediately apologize?
RIVERS: Well, I apologized, and then I called Puff Daddy, because I figured I'm on the road, I could be a rapper. Of course I apologized.
KING: Did you argue the suspension?
RIVERS: I think they have to do what they have to do for FCC. I didn't argue the suspension. Later on, I thought, America's values -- and I could say this word, I checked it out -- suck. I was taken off the air the same week that O.J. was brought back in. So I don't get it, you know. I don't get it. Rap stars sing, kill, take her pelvis, and slap it up against the wall, break her ass, you know, and as long as I guess you sing it, you can say anything. I don't understand it anymore, truly don't understand it.
KING: So you think there's a different set of values? Hypocrisy? What?
RIVERS: Larry, you know, people have been calling in. People have been calling me so much, and somebody said there is an 8:00 children's show on a network that says "Uncle Harry Sucks," at 8:00. I -- so I don't know. I truly don't know. I won't say it. I love my show. My show was a wild show. But I don't get it.
KING: Who's replacing you?
RIVERS: I hope Mother Teresa. I don't know.
KING: They docked your pay, too, right?
RIVERS: They took it away. I didn't call my accountant, because you know, he doesn't like to go after decimal points.
KING: Do you think there's a First Amendment question here. Forgetting FCC rules aside, should a performer in the context -- this is nighttime radio, right? This is not... RIVERS: Oh, it's 6:00 to 8:00, it's drive time, it's adult time. I don't know, I think there should be one set of rules, and I don't understand the rules anymore, I really don't. This morning, I was on "Howard Stern," my dear friend. And right before me, I'm saying words that were being said, a woman was talking about a bastard, and somebody's ass, and then Howard and I were discussing seriously, how you can't say my word, and Howard said, don't do that, and he meant it. So I don't know where it starts and where it stops. Don't know.
KING: There are the seven words you can't say, right? Who determined these seven? But you used to not be able to say "damn." When I started in radio, you couldn't say the word "pregnant."
RIVERS: When I was on "The Ed Sullivan Show," I was nine months gone. I had to say soon I'm going to hear the pitter patter of little feet, literally.
KING: With child.
RIVERS: With child. Couldn't say "I'm pregnant." The child was out already with the umbilical cord. We were doing a double, and couldn't say I was pregnant.
KING: So with all that goes on, with oral sex being discussed in a political vein in the United States Senate and Congress, there is some hypocrisy here, but still that standard exists.
KING: I also think -- and I had a lot of time to think this week. You know, I've have done nothing except -- I've had a great week actually. I also think because I'm a woman, and I'm white, and I'm middle-aged, nobody came to my defense. I think if I was a young ethnic, they would have said, leave her alone. I really believe it. My ladies don't fight, you know. They're off in Bergdorf's charging. They're not going to picket.
KING: So there was no storm of protests? What about the written press in New York, which can get awfully feisty?
RIVERS: They were adorable. They were -- they thought it was funny. The press was called up, and they have all been laughing about it. I mean, they asked me before I come back to bring a note from my parents. It's depressing, you've got to go to the cemetery.
KING: We'll be right back with more of Joan Rivers. Our talk show panel will assemble as well, and they'll be with us in a little, too.
Don't go away.
KING: We're back with Joan Rivers on LARRY KING LIVE. Do you expect to be any different when you return? When do you return? Next Monday? RIVERS: I return -- oh, no, no, no. Of course, I won't say the words. I have to buy George Carlin's record to find out what they all are. But, of course -- no, my show is a very light show, and a happy show, and it's a funny show, and you ad-lib around. And, no, of course I'm not going to change.
KING: Are you going to the conventions? Political conventions?
RIVERS: I haven't gotten my sleeping pills yet from my doctor, so I don't know if I'm going to show -- I -- how boring you can get?
KING: You have no interest?
RIVERS: Oh no, I'm going to cover them for E!, for fashion.
KING: You're going to discuss what the candidates and people in the crowd are wearing?
RIVERS: absolutely. It's not what you believe; it's how you put on a dress and present it.
KING: Is it true you have done a story about Geraldine Ferraro and bulletproof clothing? What was that about?
RIVERS: It was wonderful. It will be on our show that we're doing for E!. I interviewed her yesterday. And you forget, you know, every politician is -- really, she's a woman. You still want to be a woman. And, we were talking about -- I said to her, did you ever have threats, death threats? And she said yes, and they brought me a bulletproof raincoat, she said. but it made me look fat, I wouldn't wear it. I got it. Of course, I'd rather be dead than wear that. Who needs it? Isn't that true?
KING: Are you going to review, say, Hillary's hairdo in Los Angeles?
RIVERS: Oh, yeah we'll go through everybody. Of course. Of course.
KING: Who is among these political -- do you see a snappy dresser yet?
RIVERS: Well, I think.
KING: The president...
RIVERS: I think they changed Hillary totally, and she looks 100 percent better. I think that Mrs. Bush isn't bad. They've got to pull her up a little bit. We've got to get Nancy out to straighten her out. Tipper Gore looks OK, but some of them, you know, you just go oh.
KING: Are you impressed with Dick Cheney?
RIVERS: Yes, right.
KING: How about Al Gore?
RIVERS: I'm so pro-choice, I can't even deal with him, you know.
KING: How about Al Gore?
RIVERS: Those tight jeans turn me on.
KING: Joan, the...
RIVERS: I mean, they're all just so...
KING: Before we meet the rest of our panel, a couple other things. You are going to be a grandmother?
RIVERS: Isn't that great? Yes, Yes.
KING: Do you know what it is yet?
RIVERS: I do, but she hasn't announced it. I'll give you a hint, they're not going to name it "Joan," OK.
KING: OK, how does it feel about having a little boy, grandson?
RIVERS: It's just so great, and they're so happy, and to see your child and my son in law, who I adore, in such a good moment in their lives, it's wonderful. Someone today said to me, you are looking much too young to be a grandmother. That was me. But I can't wait.
KING: Does it make you feel old?
RIVERS: Oh, no. It's such a -- a continuity in the family, and we are such a small family. The whole family is wiped out by Hitler, and it's really so wonderful to see Melissa's continuing the line.
KING: And how are products going on QVC? The line going well?
RIVERS: Great. My life is in a wonderful place now, and I'm very aware of it, you know.
KING: Do you miss talk television?
RIVERS: I have the radio show, which is so free. You know. when you talk to us tonight, Larry, and you certainly know, you can say so much more on radio, and you can tell someone you're a fool, or you're wonderful, or don't you ever call me again, you're totally wrong -- you can be so much freer than on television.
KING: And you can dress anyway you like, too.
RIVERS: Anyway you like, and, I really don't care if someone slept with their father, you know. I look at "Jerry Springer," and I go, trash is trash, I don't want to deal with a big pig who is sleeping with her uncle. Their both fools if they want her, you know.
KING: On that note, we'll get the opinions of the rest of our guests, because "Jerry Springer" is in news with a murder that may be involved with that program.
Joan Rivers remains with us. Ed Koch, Janet Parshall and Bob Grant join us right after this.
KING: We're back. Joan Rivers remains with us. Let's meet the rest of our panel. Joan is in New York. Also in New York is Ed Koch, former mayor of New York City, and host of "The Voice of Reason" on WEVD Radio. In Dallas is Janet Parshall, radio talk show host, the host of Janet Parshall's America, chief spokesperson for the Family Research Council, and in San Diego, Bob Grant, attending a conference there. He hosts "The Bob Grant Show," WOR Radio, and he's has been doing this for a quarter of a century.
Before we talk about other topics, back to Joan. And Ed Koch, were they right in suspending her?
ED KOCH, FORMER NEW YORK MAYOR: I don't think so. I think the rule is ridiculous. And that the same FCC has no rule as it relates to racism, anti-Semitism, and radio stations can be devoted to hate, but you can't say an obscene word.
My own feeling is that if what you're doing is something that the listeners or watchers don't want, they'll turn you off, but I don't believe the FCC ought to have the rule that put her out of business for a week.
KING: So there should be no banning words?
KING: OK, Janet Parshall, what are your thoughts on suspension of Joan Rivers for a week and the general concept of freedom of speech versus rules?
JANET PARSHALL, FAMILY RESEARCH COUNCIL: Well, Larry, I guess I have a different take on the nature of talk radio, and that's what we all do. And I have to tell you, that I think that we are called to be stewards of the airwaves. In fact, I was thinking, that if all of us took complete and total license and used every expletive that came into our mind, if you stepped back, you put on a wide-angle lens, do you think America suddenly becomes better place because we all talk trash? You know, you don't have to use a lot of brain cells to use a four letter word.
And when Joan's grandson finally arrives into this world and he's sitting around her kitchen table someday, and as a five-year old, he look s up and says, "Grandma, I'll eat blank on a bun," is she going to be happy that her grandson starts talking like that?
RIVERS: I'll be very happy that my grandson isn't having a gun in the house, and I'll be very happy that my grandson's wife one day will have a choice of whether or not she a has to have a child or not have a child, and I'll be very -- I don't think saying a dirty word is anything when my grandson can turn on a rap record and be told if you're white and you're Jewish, you should be killed, or raped or something else.
I don't know who you are, I have never heard of you.
PARSHALL: Let me respond to that.
RIVERS: I don't want you to respond. I'm a comedian. I don't know who you are, but you sound like a fascist.
KING: Joan, she can respond. She hosts a very popular radio show.
RIVERS: Well, good for her.
KING: OK, and before we get Bob Grant's opinion.
RIVERS: She's a white fascist.
KING: Janet, though, as a strict observer of the Constitution, shouldn't the First Amendment go all the way, and shouldn't you be really allowed to let the public decide on taste?
PARSHALL: You know, Larry, there's a couple of issues there. Number one, first of all, we don't really have complete and full free speech. You know the old axioms; you can't yell "fire" in crowded theater.
KING: Only if -- there is an outbreak occurs. If you yell "fire," and nobody moves, you have not committed a crime; you have to cause something to happen.
PARSHALL: Exactly. And there's an appropriateness factor here, and I think maybe as a culture, we have to reinstate some of the appropriateness. Like I said before, it doesn't take any great brains to talk filthy on the radio, but there's another issue here. And the comparison to the rap records is wrong, because as a consumer, you can choose to buy or not buy that CD. We live in world of commercial radio. That means our avails are surround by our sponsors, and we become ambassadors for our sponsors, and our sponsors partner with us. And part of the move on the part of WOR, as I understand it, is that they felt that that was not reflective of the nature of the station, and that speaks also to nature of the sponsors. So there's a partnership there.
KING: All right, let's get Bob Grant's thoughts, who's had his share of controversy over the years. I think you've even been suspended, haven't you?
BOB GRANT, HOST, "THE BOB GRANT SHOW": A long time ago. I referred to -- a person asked me a question about a former mayor, not Ed Koch, but his predecessor, and I said, well, either he's uninformed or he's a coward, and for that, I was suspended. KING: Well, what do you make of the suspension of Joan for a word that's not proper, let's say?
GRANT: All right. Here we go. First of all, Joan does the show from 6:00 to 8:00 on WOR. That's right after my show, which airs from 3:00 to 6:00, and I'm delighted that her program follows me. It's wonderful to know that a person of her caliber is on the same radio station. But Joan is from the world of night clubs. She is not a radio-trained person. Larry, you're a radio trained person. I'm a radio-trained person. We just know that we don't use certain words. The Supreme Court says, seven words we don't use. The FCC enforces that. And I think it's a little tough for Joan to switch gears when she gets in a radio studio, and maybe she forgets that she's in a radio studio and might think still in the nightclub.
KING: Do you agree, Bob, with the ruling?
GRANT: The ruling? Do you mean the suspension?
KING: No, no. Do you agree with the suspension? Do you agree that seven words should not be used on the radio?
GRANT: Yes, I agree that seven words shouldn't be used on radio, whether they're those seven or a different set of seven. The Supreme Court has determined that those seven are -- hey, look, if I were to use any one of those right now, what would be your reaction, Larry.
KING: It wouldn't get on because we're in a six-second delay, and the reaction would be shock.
GRANT: Right, absolutely. So I think we could abide by those rules.
RIVERS: But, Larry, with all due respect -- and I'm not apologizing myself; I realize I said it wrong, and I went like this to the engineer, and they had a trainee engineer who didn't grab those seven seconds. Do you understand if they had had a real engineer on we wouldn't be sitting here tonight?
KING: So you were attempting not to get that on?
RIVERS: Oh, of course.
KING: But Ed Koch, Joan, says you should have the right to say it.
RIVERS: That's different to say I have the right to say it.
GRANT: Ed Koch doesn't really believe that. I can't believe Ed Koch thinks we should say those four-letter words any time we want.
KOCH: Of course I don't believe you should say these words any time you want. I believe that there is an obligation, on your part, to be appropriate. All I'm simply saying is that should not be the FCC's job; that's your job. And if, in fact, you're not appropriate, and you're injuring the station, they'll fire you. It is a matter of not defending the word; it's defending the artist, and the ability of the artist to make a judgment.
Now there are...
GRANT: Sounds like hogwash to me. How can you separate the artist from the word the artist uses?
KOCH: Bob, look, there are radio stations where all they do is spew out anti-black or anti-Semitism, and the FCC says, when there are protests to that, that is OK, you don't want to hear it, turn it off, and I agree with the FCC.
KING: All right, let me get a break and come back. We'll pick right up right up. We're right in the flow of things. and lots of things to discuss. We'll include your phone calls as well. Tomorrow night, Catherine Deneuve. And then Saturday, live from Philadelphia at the Republican convention, live all next week, and all next week, two live shows each night, at 9:00 and midnight Eastern, instead of the repeat at midnight, we'll be live both shows, two different shows every night.
We'll be right back.
KING: All right, Janet Parshall, we have hate talk, we have shock jocks, we have venting of rage, we have platforms, we have far right, we have far left, we have screaming, we have yelling -- all of it on talk radio, all of it happening daily. Is all of it, Janet, just part of the mix?
PARSHALL: It is part of the mix, and I suppose it's a buyer's market and you can listen to anything you want to, but again, that goes back to what I said before. I see myself as a steward of the airwaves, and I would dispute Joan's posture about the appropriate behavior, about saying on radio that there is a liberty there to say to people, I didn't like you, don't ever call me again. In fact, I think exactly the opposite. I think that I'm in a position of roll modeling appropriate behavior. And I believe to the marrow of my bones, that sometimes the way in which I handle my callers, even if I disagree, probably speaks with more eloquence than even than even the content of my response, and in my little way, and in my own sphere of influence, if I can model appropriate behavior, then I'm turning back and doing something good for this country. And the last I checked, I don't think we can do too much good for this country.
KING: All right. Joan, is there a different definition of "appropriate"?
RIVERS: I think absolutely. First of all, I'm sure she has very different show than I have. My show fun, and light and silly, and I think when someone calls me up says -- and i won't use the words again -- I hate the blankety-blank ends, meaning African-Americans, I think I have absolutely every right to say, listen, you ass, don't you ever call me again, or...
KING: All right. RIVERS: Sorry, I really don't feel -- I feel the steward of the airwaves, I say that, and I don't understand what she's saying.
KOCH: Can I put my two cents in?
KING: You may, it's your money.
KOCH: I see my show as both educational, and interesting and amusing. And when people call me, I have no hesitation in saying to them, You are boring, and you're off the air, because my job is to keep people listening to the show. And it is not intended to be rude, it's intended to keep the show going. So while Janet -- I'm not criticizing her, that's her show. That's her schtick, if you will. And if it works, more power to you. I like to think that people tune in and listen to me because they like the edge of the show.
KOCH: Bob Grant, you may be an original here -- would you say you're the original angry man of radio?
GRANT: No, I'm not original angry man of radio. The original angry man of radio, I think, was Joe Pine.
KING: Correct, yes, you're right.
GRANT: You know, and he's gone from scene a long time. Am I an angry man, though? I don't start off angry usually in the course of the program. Now, Ed talked about someone who will be boring, and he will say you're boring. Sometimes a person's voice, sometimes the way they speak, has nothing to do with their views, the content, sometimes just something about them will get on my nerves. And I say to myself, time and time again, today I'm not going to blow my stack. So far, so far, I don't think I have been able to do a show without blowing my stack.
KING: In other words, Bob, what everyone is saying is, to each his own? You do your own schtick?
GRANT: You have to. The worst thing I think a person behind a microphone or behind a camera could do is to be someone they're not. You just sink or swim with what you are, with who you are.
KING: We want to take a break and come back and get to some current issues. We'll discuss the "Jerry Springer" phenomena and what happened in that recent matter and what our panel thinks of it. We'll be including your phone calls, too.
Don't go away.
KING: OK, gang, we're back. We'll start with Joan and get your opinions on this, just briefly. A woman is told by her husband, come on the "Jerry Springer" show, we're going to reconcile on the show, you'll be surprised. He goes so far as to -- this is his ex-wife. He sleeps with her the night before to get her to go on the show where he's going to announce the reconciliation. She comes on the show. Instead of announcing the reconciliation, he announces that he's got a new wife, and goodbye to you, and stop stop bugging us. The show is taped. It airs a couple of -- a month or so later. The woman is murdered. Jerry Springer is devastated, is this the never-ending saga of what happens. Joan, your thoughts.
RIVERS: Oh, it is such an American tragedy, unfortunately. It is just awful. But, again it is all about 15 minutes of fame. And it is all about Joey Buttafuoco becoming a hero, and, O.J. Simpson having a site now we can go and find out, is he still looking for the criminal that really killed his wife? It is dirty laundry time. And people want to go on and bare everything and they don't realize what they are opening. It's a Pandora's box -- tragic, terrible.
KING: Janet, is Jerry Springer to blame? Or is it just a product of the -- what we now call an extension-of-reality television?
PARSHALL: Boy, I have to tell you, as I read the facts of this story and I see it involving -- evolving getting and worse and worse. What we have with this menage a trois, if your will, with the three, was a pool of gasoline. And what Jerry Springer was throw a match on it. So we shouldn't be surprised it started on fire. There are so many issues on this story, it's unbelievable.
I sat in disbelief and thought: Wait a minute. Congress debates the Violence Against Women Act. This man takes his first wife, the one who thought that she was going to be reconciled with on national television, we learn now his history of battering her, throwing her against a wall, giving her a concussion, restraining orders. And what do we do? We turn around and we give the batterer a platform. It also speaks to the woman who was the was victim in this case. And now she is a murder victim, more than just being a battered victim.
We understand that that is so stereotypical in a relationship where woman is battered, that she stays. You mean, even after all of that, you still love me? What an absolutely moral reprobate, this man. But again, yes, Jerry Springer is indeed culpable. And so is the American public who watched. It's bread and circus. We scream "Maximus! Maximus! Maximus!" on a regular basis, and vote thumbs-up or thumbs-down. So we are culpable as well.
KING: Ed Koch, what do you make of it?
KOCH: Well, Jerry Springer, Ricki Lake, I don't watch them. I have seen them on occasion. And I don't blame them. I mean, they are responding to an audience demand. I do find the audience that watches that stuff to be atrocious. And if you are asking the direct question, is Jerry Springer responsible for the tragedy that occurred? No. The public that turns the dial and watches Jerry Springer so that sponsors will keep him on the air, they are responsible.
RIVERS: But Ed, what about people...
KING: How about the responsibility...
RIVERS: But what about people that want to go on to -- she wanted to go on to have the reconciliation on camera. I mean, this whole madness for fame that this whole country is willing to do anything to get on. They will lie. I'm a millionaire. And you are not a millionaire -- anything to get on camera. Watch me go to the bathroom on big brother.
KING: Yes, what's going on. Ed -- Bob Grant, what do you think all this?
GRANT: Well, I tell you, Larry, it really is disgusting. But it is a reflection of what we are becoming in this country: dysfunctional families producing dysfunctional children who wind up appearing on "The Jerry Springer Show" not because they have a talent, not because they can sing, they can dance, they can play the piano, but because they are so dysfunctional, they are so warped, they have become absolute freaks.
Yes, it is a freak show, "The Jerry Springer Show," "The Ricki Lake Show." That's...
KING: All right, and why do we watch it? Why do people watch it in droves?
GRANT: Well, maybe their lives are empty. Maybe they feel titillated. Or maybe they are just as bad. Maybe the people that are out there, are just as bad. Why else would they watch it? You know, Jerry tried to tone down the show a while back. The ratings started to drop. So he went back to his original routine. And the ratings built up again. That is what the public wants. Unfortunately, that is what the American people are becoming.
KING: Ed Koch, is there a responsibility of the people who put these shows on to maybe not put them on? I mean, you don't give the public everything it wants. You could give them...
KOCH: Well, you pretty much give them what they want. Sponsors want audiences. And the people who own the television licenses want the sponsorship. So they give them basically what they want. I -- let me just tell you, there are only three or four station I watch. I watch the History Channel. I watch the public television channel and the news -- maybe the national networks. Television is awful.
KING: You throw a blanket on all of it.
Joan Rivers, what do you make of "Survivor," and these other off- shoot shows that are occurring of real people in real situations put into real...
RIVERS: Oh, well, they are not real situations, first of all.
KING: Put into fabricated situations.
RIVERS: Yes. You know you are not alone when you've got a cameraman and producer next to you all times, you know.
RIVERS: So let's get real here. I thought "Survivor" was fun. I got very upset when the older woman got knocked off first. I think "Big Brother" is...
KING: Took it personally, did you?
RIVERS: Yes, I took that totally personally. I think "Big Brother" is so boring. I thought the only one that was interesting was the first one that got voted off. And I only watched it once. I just think -- I don't want to see people go to the bathroom. And I don't want to see people do -- you know what, I'm very shallow. I didn't like the way it was decorated, so I never looked again.
KING: Janet, are we, in a sense, peeping toms?
PARSHALL: Oh yes, Larry, without you a doubt. It's TV voyeurism. You know, when we see ED TV and the Truman Show, I though, boy, this is really being reflective of life. And it's like the poet says: Most men live lives of quiet desperation. Again, what does it say about the human heart if you get your jollies, so to speak, by peering into somebody's interaction on supposed desert island, or in some where these people are going to held hostage for a while.
It is sad. It's reflective of the emptiness of the human heart. But it also, apparently, must be very profitable or these shows wouldn't stay on. But, again, what an opportunity is ours, in radio and television, to speak back into the culture, great ideas, first principles, transcendent truth, rather than constantly going down to lowest common denominator. And Larry, I believe we are at crossroads now. And we have an opportunity for good or for ill. And we, the people can determine it.
KOCH: If I could say this, Janet, not intended to be chiding, but I mean, you can have entertainment. You make it sound like the only thing that should be on there has to be uplifting. And you can hear the organ music. I think you can be entertaining...
PARSHALL: Why do watch the History Channel? Ed, why do you watch the History Channel?
KOCH: But that is not only thing I watch. I watch the "Masterpiece Theater" on public television. It's entertaining.
PARSHALL: Exactly. And I'm waiting for to you hear "Third Rock from the Sun," Ed. Is that on your viewing?
KOCH: No, I don't watch that. So what are we talking...
PARSHALL: I rest my case.
RIVERS: "Third Rock from the Sun" is funny. It's funny. And "Frasier" is brilliantly written. I'm a writer.
KING: OK, we're stretching as to what we like and (UNINTELLIGIBLE)
RIVERS: Bob, the -- let's switch gears, because we've got such limited time. I want to cover other topics of the day. "Today Show" put him on. "The View" canceled him. "Burden of Proof" put him on. A couple of other cable networks put him on. O.J. Simpson, should he be on?
GRANT: Absolutely not. It's an abomination. It's absolutely sickening and disgusting that this person -- everybody knows what he did, everybody knows of his guilt -- and yet this person is invited to be on a program, to hawk his wares, to be treated like he is a civilized member of society, when he is not. And if Barbara Walters did what she did in canceling her, hooray for Barbara, and shame on the "Today Show."
I believe the "Today Show" had him on. I refused to watch. Shame on you, NBC. Shame on all of you who had this butcher on your airwaves. He should be totally ignored!
KING: Joan? Joan?
RIVERS: I totally agree with Bob -- including CNN who had him, Larry.
KING: Yes, they did.
RIVERS: I just feel there is no place for this man on...
PARSHALL: One word come to mind, Larry, and that is charlatan. He so desperately wants to try his case, this time in the court of public opinion, that for $9.95 a hit, he will be happy to tell you -- a charlatan. And it's a shame.
KING: Ed Koch, are you unanimous in this?
KOCH: No, no, no, no. I don't agree with any of the three that just spoke. I would not watch him, but, I would not bar him. It is for the people who are filling that particular hour to decide whether it is an asset to their program or not, or whether they want to give voice to him. And I have utter contempt for him.
GRANT: Why would they want to give...
KOCH: I have utter contempt for him.
GRANT: Let me...
KOCH: But they have a right to it.
GRANT: Ed, let me ask you this question?
KOCH: Yes. .
GRANT: Why would they want to give voice to him? What would be their motive?
KOCH: Because they think, if they are going to have a wide audience -- the way to answer that is, not to watch.
KING: All right, let get a break. We will include phone calls and touch some other topics too, with Joan Rivers, Ed Koch, Janet Parshall, and Bob Frank.
Catherine Deneuve tomorrow night, and at the convention Saturday -- don't go away.
KING: Let's go to some calls. We go to Memphis, Tennessee, hello.
KING: Hello, go ahead.
CALLER: Yes. Joan, I would like to ask you...
KING: Go ahead.
CALLER: Do you think there is a double standard in radio and television, considering shows such as "Survivor" and "Big Brother" are allowed to show everything, and flaunt these episodes to get higher ratings?
RIVERS: Oh, I think a double standard, you mean by not allowing us to say the seven words?
KING: Yes, but -- and then showing things that, while not the seven words, certainly might be considered in poor taste.
RIVERS: Oh, totally. Totally. You know that. Look at "Baywatch." I mean, you know, of course. It is all about breasts and rear ends, of course. That's just it. Give -- you know, I'm from the school where -- even though I'm Jewish, all my friends went to parochial school -- give me rules and let me obey rules. But there are no rules. It is so blurred these days.
KING: Modesto, California, hello.
CALLER: Joan, why do you think they suspended you when Howard Stern and "Imus in the Morning" say far worse than you?
RIVERS: I -- because they don't say the seven words. That is what is so...
RIVERS: See, rap they can sing them, but they can't say them. It makes no sense -- no sense.
KING: Yes, there are those seven words that you are not allowed to say, that's true. RIVERS: And I...
KING: Two. And you said one of them.
RIVERS: I don't think they should have suspended me, because I truly -- it was not my fault. It should have been the seven-minute -- seven-second delay should have been dealt with. But they didn't have the right people on their board.
KING: But as Bob Grant would tell you, Joan, and you'll learn, you never say anything in front of a microphone.
RIVERS: Right. And I have learned it. And, as I said, I have learned it. You know, hey!
KING: Miami, hello.
CALLER: Yes, Joan, don't you think this is happening because you are a woman who used this word?
RIVERS: I think -- I truly mean it. I think if I was a young...
GRANT: Oh, that's absurd!
KING: Oh, it is not, Bob.
GRANT: That's absurd. If I had said that word I would have been suspend too, Joan, you know that.
RIVERS: If I were a young, a young -- if I were Chris Rock, right now they would be picketing in front of WOR. You know, I'm old, I'm a woman, and I'm a Jew. I'm out of here, you know.
KING: Chris Rock is on cable. And on cable, the FCC does not control.
RIVERS: I know, but Larry -- I know, but what I'm saying, of course, part of it is, I think, because I'm a woman. And a...
PARSHALL: Oh please. Please. As the other woman on this panel, Larry, can I respond, please?
KING: One at a time.
KING: And Joan, let her finish, Joan.
RIVERS: I don't want to hear her views. And I have no respect for her. I don't who she is, and I am not interested in her. If Ed Koch wants to say something, or Bob, I'll be delighted. I'm not interested in her responding as a woman.
KING: Janet Parshall -- because you don't --
RIVERS: Don't answer at a woman. I don't care that she has a uterus. Don't answer as a woman.
RIVERS: I am a woman. I will answer for myself.woman I will answer for myself
KING: Because you don't know her. She does have a very popular show.
RIVERS: Good for her.
KING: And she's a nice lady. You don't have to agree with her.
RIVERS: Good for her, but don't answer as woman. I am a woman, and I will not be told that a woman is answering as a woman.
KING: Janet, she believes that, as a woman, she is judged by a different standard. You must admit, historically, that is true.
RIVERS: Of course it is true.
PARSHALL: Well, but yes, but I'm dealing with present right now. And I'm so tired of the promulgation of theory -- more to point -- the mythology, that we are women, therefore we're victims. As Bob said before, I am white, I'm middle-aged, and I am a woman. And Bob is right. If I use that same word, I would have the same issue. Now, here is difference, Larry, I run my own board. So I hit my own dump button to make sure that I could take care of myself or any caller who would speak like that over the air. But please don't keep saying: Congratulations, I'm a woman and victim. I'm sorry, it's not the case.
RIVERS: Now wait a second. Don't you talk to me about being a woman and a victim, darling. While you were still in swaddling clothes, I was the first woman ever...
RIVERS: Whatever it is, you look good.
PARSHALL: You're welcome. You look fabulous.
GRANT: Hey, Larry, let's be careful. They're going to start pulling hair on his show. RIVERS: I broke every glass ceiling for every woman around, as far as what you are allowed to do, as far as being a host, and as far as headlining and as far as -- so don't talk to me -- I have never thought of myself as a victim, ever.
KING: OK, let me get a break and come back. Who knows what's next? Don't go away.
KING: We have not heard from his honor on this topic.
Ed Koch, are women still judged by a different standard?
KOCH: I think that women have not yet he achieved equality, regrettably, in our society in terms of pay. Although I think there Joan has, and more. But, yes, there is a difference in the way women are treated. Now, it doesn't mean that every woman can rely on that in explaining some of the things that happen. I think that Joan has in fact fought the battle and won, and broken the glass ceilings that prevented many women from entering different fields.
KING: Touch some other bases.
Were you surprised, Bob, at the report by four different groups that violence has its effect on children?
GRANT: I wasn't surprised at all. As a matter of fact, on this network, just prior to your show, Larry, they did an in-depth report on four or five cases in one state alone -- the state of California -- on how the level of violence has increased, on how children, 12, 13 years old, just don't know how to handle their anger, and commit acts of incredible violence.
KING: Are you surprised, Joan?
RIVERS: Oh, no. It is another one of those stupid surveys you go, why pay?
KING: No, this ain't a survey. This was the American Psychiatric Association -- American Psychological.
KING: These are the four major organizations that that deal with the way we behave.
RIVERS: No, but they did a study rather, not a survey.
RIVERS: You want to go, of course. But of course. You show children violence and more and more violence, they begin to feel this is the standard. This not so terrible, of course. I wasn't surprised at all. KING: Janet, when we group up, Batman hit people. I read that book. I saw violence in movies. Guy shots people. I didn't kill people.
PARSHALL: Right, right. But, Larry, you and I both know that that is a whole different caliber. Senator Sam Brownback is to be commended for holding this historic public summit on health and the connection between violence and our kids behavior. And you're right. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) groups: the American Academy of Pediatrics, Psychiatric Association, Psychological Association, Medical Association, all getting together on a full seminar, full day of examining the evidence.
And I have to tell you, I'm thrilled on the comments that I just heard. Because there was an era not too long ago where we said there is no connection, what we see has no ramifications whatsoever on our behavior choices. And there is good news stories percolating up, like the one coming out of Indianapolis, where for the first time, they are saying: Oh yes, those violent video games, you know, the ones with the triggers that shoot back like a gun. In here, you've got to get your mom or dad's permission, if you're under the age of 18, to use this. And the ACLU goes berserk, talks about, oh, now we're squashing free speech. And what we're going to have do is say, yes, we've got that liberty, but you know what, again, a transcendent ideal. Maybe we care so much for our kids, we'll give up a little bit of our liberties so we make sure our kids grow up strong, healthy and safe and understand the connection between choices and consequences.
KING: Ed Koch, you agree?
KOCH: I agree with what Janet just said. But I also believe that you cannot allow standards for children to be imposed on adults. So there has to be an opportunity. Maybe it is later hours of the evening, when adult themes, including violence, and other things that children ought not to see, because they are copycats, their minds are such that they want to copy, but they cannot place us in a situation where everything is televised and on radio on the basis of a child's standard.
KING: We'll get a break, come back, get in another call, and have our closing moments. Quick comments on some other things right after this.
KING: Cornwall, Ontario, hello.
CALLER: Hi. Hi, Larry. Hi, Joan.
CALLER: Joan, I just wanted to ask you, did you every think about quitting over this?
RIVERS: You want to know the truth. When they first called me, I said, I quit. Then I thought, am I insane? I love my show. I'm on every night. I can say what I want, I can laugh, we have moments that are hilarious where I can stop laughing. I thought, I'm too old to quit over this. I've been through humbled so often in this business. I was humbled again.
KING: What's the big topic these days, Bob?
GRANT: The big topic of course these days is politics, as it usually is. It seems as though we no sooner finish one election than the callers are talking about another one. It never ends, Larry.
KING: And in New York, is -- does Hillary-Lazio get more calls than Bush-Gore?
GRANT: Right now, I would say so, definitely.
KING: You think that will change? Ed Koch, you find that true?
KOCH: Absolutely. There is no question that the Senate race has captured the imagination, and I happen to be for Hillary and...
KING: And Bob Grant is for Lazio, surprise.
KOCH: Right. And I think that she will win. But the enormous feelings on both sides of that issue boggle your mind.
GRANT: Maybe the former mayor and yours truly ought to make a -- some kind of a symbolic bet on the Senate outcome, because I predict Rick Lazio will win.
KOCH: Good. I'll take you to dinner, and you'll take me to dinner, OK.
KING: A fair bet.
Joan Rivers, are you very involved in that race, very interested in it?
RIVERS: I am very interested in it obviously as a New Yorker, and whoever does my show, I'll vote for. I could be had for a sandwich.
KING: And, Janet, from your perch in Dallas, are you -- is there a lot of interest around the country in that race?
PARSHALL: Yes, I think there is, because I think that there is a connection, obviously, to the White House, so it's not just your average state or national senatorial race or state senatorial race, because there are national ramifications here.
But it's interesting, the whole idea of politics in general. Interesting survey by the National Association of Radio Talk Show Hosts. About 17 percent of listening audiences -- whoopee, their talking about politics. I think, again, one of our challenges is to get everybody to be a registered voter and then vote for candidates of their choice. What I bet all of us here is a kind of malaise that says, so what? It's an insiders business. Who has most money wins. Nobody cares. What connection to my life? And here is our opportunity, again, to infuse back in the idea of a representative form of government, one person, one vote. Make sure your registered. From dog catcher to president, make sure you get out there and vote. It's the best way we can serve all of us.
KING: Got a little over a minute left. Bob Grant, who's Gore going to pick as his running mate?
GRANT: The person I'd like to recommend is the person who would do him the most damage. But I predict he'll select Bog Graham.
KING: Bob Graham of Florida. Who do you think, Ed Koch?
KOCH: Well, I'm hopeful it will be George Mitchell. He's the best.
KING: The former senator from Maine and former leader of the Senate.
Janet Parshall, who would you recommend to Al Gore?
PARSHALL: It could be Kerry, but I think he's going to go with Graham when it's all said and done.
KING: You mean John Kerry of Massachusetts?
And Mrs, Rivers?
RIVERS: Mrs. Graham. I'd like to see a woman on the ticket.
KING: Is there any woman you favor? Mrs. Graham is not in politics. Mr. Graham -- you want someone from Florida.
RIVERS: Yes. I like Graham, so I hope maybe the wife would run.
KING: I thank all very much for an illuminating hour, and we look forward to your return to the airwaves on Monday, Ms. Rivers.
RIVERS: Thank you. Thank you.
KING: And you can watch Joan on QVC with her skin care line on Saturday night.
And we thank our guests very much, Joan Rivers, Ed Koch, Janet Parshall, and Bob Grant. Tomorrow night, a rare hour with Catherine Deneuve, an incredible lady. And then on Saturday night, we'll be in Philadelphia, with an hour live show on Saturday, and two live shows every night next week from Philadelphia as well, do the same in Los Angeles.
Thanks for joining us. Good night.
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