CNN CONNIE CHUNG TONIGHT
Interview with Jermaine Jackson; U.S. Company Sued For Selling Tainted Blood
Aired December 31, 2002 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: This CONNIE CHUNG TONIGHT. From the CNN broadcast center in New York, Connie Chung.
CONNIE CHUNG, HOST: Good evening and Happy New Year. Do you have a hot date or are you going to sit back and watch TV?
Well, we thought we'd look back at a revealing discussion we had about the singer who mistakenly thought he was named MTV's artist of the millenium. You know him, Michael Jackson. We recently spoke with his brother Jermaine about all of these unusual things Michael's been doing. It's been a surreal year for Michael Jackson. We'll have that in just a moment.
Also tonight we will look at the tragic ramifications of tainted blood that went to unknowing patient.
We'll also look back at something that could happen to you. You take some pictures of your child, go get them developed and suddenly find yourself questioned by police. Why?
And considering the current situation with Iraq, what can we learn about Saddam from the other dictators Saddam studied so closely?
But first, that artist of the millenium of the year award we mentioned was the least of Michael Jackson's problems this year. He battled with his record company, his "Invincible" album turned out very vincible. He dangled his child outside a balcony in Berlin, nobody knows why and he was dragged into court for breach of contract.
In the middle of that battle, we spoke with Michael's brother, Jermaine, about Michael and the Jackson family, including their now legendary history.
CHUNG (voice-over): The sounds, the steps, the magic, the Jacksons.
When this band of brothers from Indiana landed on the scene in 1968, pop music would never be the same: the maturity, the stage presence, and, of course, the hit records. From the Jackson Five to the Jacksons, it was a dynasty in the making. In front of it all: the one who would become the megastar of the family, Michael.
By the late '70s, the popularity of these boys-to-men had faded some. And, in 1978, Michael took his act to the big screen, starring as the scarecrow in "The Wiz."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE WIZ")
MICHAEL JACKSON, SINGER: Out of the frying pan into the -- this is like a setup.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHUNG: It was, in more ways than one. The film's composer was the legendary Quincy Jones. And the very next year, things would change for Jackson forever.
The Jackson-Jones team was off the wall and off the charts. The Grammy success of Michael's first solo album put spark back into the family band. And, in 1981, the Jacksons embarked on the Triumph tour. But the power of five pale compared to what would happen next.
With hits like "Billie Jean" and "Beat It," the Jackson-Jones "Thriller" album redefined pop music in 1982. It earned seven Grammys, held the No. 1 spot for nearly 40 weeks, and still stands as the best-selling album of all time.
In 1984, all six Jackson brothers reunited again for the Victory tour, which grossed a record $75 million. At the time, it was the hottest concert ticket going and turned out to be the last time the Jacksons would tour together.
For years, success followed Michael. There were mishaps along the way, but nothing as shocking as what was about to happen. In 1994, the king of pop, the man who celebrated his love for the children of the world, stood accused of mild molestation.
M. JACKSON: I am totally innocent of any wrongdoing. And I know these terrible allegations will all be proven false.
CHUNG: Even his sister did not exonerate him.
LATOYA JACKSON, SISTER OF MICHAEL JACKSON: I have never seen him molest boys, never. But I have seen things that indicate that that's what he was doing.
CHUNG: Jackson's life was put under a media microscope: accusations that he had multiple plastic surgeries, his surprise marriage to Lisa Marie Presley. When that marriage ended, he married his dermatologist's assistant, Debbie Rowe, now the mother of two of Jackson's three children.
At times, Michael Jackson tried to fight off the negative publicity, accusing his own record company of racist behavior.
M. JACKSON: Racism is bad. And I've made billions of dollars for Sony. And they -- what they did was really terrible. And I just leave it up to some of their other artists, too.
CHUNG: Now, at 44, Michael Jackson is still making headlines, not with successful recordings, but because of bizarre antics. His recent appearance in court prompted Jackson-watchers to ask if what they were seeing was just a harmless act. But it was last month's shocking behavior in Berlin that caused others to ask serious questions about the pop icon. He dangled his 9-month-old son from a third-floor hotel balcony. Jackson later admitted that what he did was reckless. But even his diehard fans were wondering what their hero had become.
CHUNG: Few people are in a better place to know than Michael's older brother, veteran of the Jackson Five and his own solo career, Jermaine Jackson, who joins us now from Los Angeles.
Jermaine, thank you so much for being with us and talking with us.
I know you've seen that picture of your brother time and time again with his child over that balcony. What do you think was going on?
JERMAINE JACKSON, BROTHER OF MICHAEL J. JACKSON: Well, Connie, like I said before, Michael's intent wasn't to hurt his child.
He was caught up in the moment. And I'll say it again. You judge a person by their intentions. He is a wonderful father. He's a great dad. He's great to our kids, my kids. And that wasn't his intent at all. And I think the media has taken things out of context. Yes, it wasn't the wisest thing to do. But, at the same time, he was caught up in the excitement. But they never showed the 60-some thousand fans down there being excited about his presence.
CHUNG: But, Jermaine, you have seven children. You would never have done anything like that, would you?
J. JACKSON: Connie, we've all made errors in judgment. We've all taken our kids and tossed them up in the air. And now we find out that that's not the proper thing to do, correct?
CHUNG: Well, but I don't think -- being a parent, I couldn't imagine even bringing my child even close to the balcony in that way.
J. JACKSON: No. What it is, is being caught up in the excitement. And he said that he was excited about the children being out there. And that wasn't his intent, to hurt his child. Really, it wasn't.
CHUNG: Your brother has made a number of court appearances recently. And his behavior has been kind of strange. He was sort of making faces like the devil. And what was that all about, do you think?
J. JACKSON: That was during recess. And there were some fans in the courtroom. And he was saying hi to them. And they were making faces at him. And he was making faces back at them. But the way that was portrayed, as if he was making faces at the judge or whomever, that wasn't the case. But things are always revealed the wrong way, because this is what has happened. I think his consciousness has become a threat to society out there. And that's why whatever he does is being portrayed the wrong way.
CHUNG: What do you mean his consciousness has become a threat to society?
J. JACKSON: Meaning that Michael has put himself in the position to be economically independently strong financially. And they're going to say things.
I mean, I didn't see the clip that you showed. But to say racism, yes, there were words that Tommy Mottola referred to a rapper as a fat black N-word. And we know that that album -- I mean, you've seen the papers in New York.
CHUNG: Well, you've jumped onto a different subject. And I just want to clarify for our viewers that...
J. JACKSON: OK, I'll finish.
Irv Gotti was referred to as a fat black nigger, Irv Gotti. And these are things that go on. I mean, we look at the Enron situation. The record industry is the same way. And then there was something about his album and he's blaming Sony for the sales. But there are a lot of other artists complaining about sales. It was just in the trades in the last three months, there's $45 million to $50 million being lost at Sony. So, who's to blame?
CHUNG: Well, Jermaine, I know. Just so that we can clarify for our viewers, he did say that this record executive named Tommy Mottola was racist. But that's a different subject.
I'm just talking about your brother's behavior, which has been -- don't you think it's kind of strange?
J. JACKSON: But, Connie, when you show a clip and you say that he's accusing someone else of racism, then I have to defend that, because my brother wasn't brought up to be racist. He wasn't brought up to accuse anybody that way. But when someone refers to someone else that way, you have to depict that.
I mean, Michael's behavior is no different from -- there's the Einsteins, who were considered as brilliant minds. But they consider him as to be weird. They never spoke about Michelangelo's looks. And he's changed his looks many, many times, but he's gone on to do some incredible works.
There's William Shakespeare, who is never talked about, the way he looked. And I think this is just -- leave him alone. Leave him alone. Yes, we're a family. We're a family. And he's a family member.
CHUNG: I understand what you're saying. I think the only concern that people might have out there is that, sure, he can do whatever he wants, because he's earned the right to do that. But people are just concerned about his children.
J. JACKSON: No, his children are fine.
And, Connie, we've worked very, very hard over the years. I've referred to our family as an oak tree. There's some strong roots, strong root that go deep, deep, deep. And it is a tree that is beautiful. There are many different branches. There are many different family members. But, still, at the same time...
CHUNG: Do you actually see him with the family often?
J. JACKSON: Yes, yes, yes.
CHUNG: How often do you see him? How often does the family get together?
J. JACKSON: Connie, we are brothers and sisters. We get together, just like any other family. We have family day, when we come together. He'll bring his children over. We play. I have children his kids' age. And they play together.
But I think what it is, the media gets to a point where they want to sort of kick someone when they think they're down. No, it's not over with yet. We are never finished. We just pick our time and we take our breaks and we come back. And Michael is fine.
CHUNG: All right, Jermaine, don't go away. We're going to take a break.
And when we come back, we'll talk to a man who's been following the Jacksons for quite some time. And we'll continue to talk with Jermaine as well.
Stay with us.
CHUNG: When spoke to Jermaine Jackson recently about all the attention his brother Michael got in this year and not for singing. We wanted to get an outside prosective as well. So we brought in Emil Wilbekin, editor-in-chief of "Vibe" magazine and asked him for his impressions during a recent "Vibe" interview.
EMIL WILBEKIN, EDITOR IN CHIEF, "VIBE": Well, the interview was a very kind of basic interview, talked about Michael's influences, what music he was into Was he into hip-top, because Jay-Z had brought him out to a huge hip-hop concert here in New York? We talked about music, who his influences were.
And then we asked him things like what did he do for fun, which he said he liked to have balloon fights with his kids in the yard, stuff like that. He talked about 9/11 after the concert and going and hiding with Elizabeth Taylor, things like that. So, they were pretty basic. He didn't want to talk about plastic surgery or his augmentation. And he was very clear about that. But, for the most part, he was very, very professional and actually kind of gave a lot. We were pleasantly surprised.
CHUNG: Do you think he was normal-ish? Or was he sort of acting in this bizarre way that we've seen recently?
WILBEKIN: Well, at this point, he wasn't doing all these kind of bizarre things that we're seeing in the media. He was a little bit more behind the scenes.
The album had just come out. And he was really kind of promoting the album. So, we hadn't heard anything about racism with Sony or complaints about his album and how things were done. I knew that he was having some financial problems. And we talked about that a little bit. But it was pretty basic.
CHUNG: What do you make of this recent bizarre behavior?
WILBEKIN: I'm not really sure. It's kind of startling, because it's almost as if you're watching this pop superstar that you grew up with kind of like imploding and kind of breaking down in some kind of way.
The baby picture was very startling when it was in the newspaper. And I was at a photo shoot that day for the magazine. And everyone was really horrified to see that on the cover of the New York tabloids, because it's just such a scary thought. And then, two days later, to see the kids at the zoo with the burkas on, and just all these kind of bizarre things, it's kind of saddening.
CHUNG: Jermaine, you just heard what Emil Wilbekin said. And I wonder how you react to what he said. And I think, honestly, Jermaine, this is what people are thinking about Michael.
J. JACKSON: Well, I'll tell you, Connie, today, we have problems with kidnappings and things of that sort. To deprive your children the chance to go out and be a part of society, there's a problem with that also. So, he feels free with his children. At the same time, I think this -- we speak about the plastic surgery and this and that. If everybody who had plastic surgery in Hollywood were to leave town, there wouldn't be anybody here.
J. JACKSON: So, we can't talk about plastic surgery here. What we need to speak about, judge him on his music. Judge him on what he's done, because I'll say it again. Leonardo da Vinci, who had dyslexia, who gone on to invent some incredible things.
But we take someone who we feel -- we build them up and then we tear them down. And I don't think that's fair. I mean, yes, it wasn't the wisest thing to do with the child. But he came out and he said he was caught up in the moment. But, at the same time, when I look in his eyes and we hear him speak and we hear his heart, that's our brother. And we have to realize that -- look at the good things that he's done. And we are going to continue to do great things. And whether they talk or not, judge us on our music. Have you ever said that we did a bad show or he's done a bad record? No. No.
J. JACKSON: And -- go ahead.
CHUNG: You did mention -- you brought up the plastic surgery. And it was a funny thing that you said. And you're probably right. Nobody would be left in L.A.
But your brother did tell Oprah Winfrey at one point that he -- let's see, the words that he used...
J. JACKSON: Vitiligo.
CHUNG: Well, and that he was never pleased with his looks. So, why do you think he's had so much work?
J. JACKSON: Well, I'll tell you, Connie, Vitiligo, which I'll answer, that it is a discoloration of the skin that -- it's sort of like a disease that eats away at the pigmentation of the skin.
CHUNG: Yes. Yes.
J. JACKSON: But, at the same time, we have people who want to go out in the sun who want to become darker.
I think, if I don't like something that's wrong with me or that I feel that I want to improve, I would make a change. You would do the same, whether it's a hairstyle or this or that. But I think, because he's in the public's eye and because of who he is, every little thing is taken out of context.
J. JACKSON: We love him the same. We love him the same. He's Michael. He's the greatest dad. And the fans don't feel that way. It's the media that want to sort of try to portray him to be this "Wacko Jacko" and all these crazy names. It's just hurting.
CHUNG: Jermaine, I want to give you a chance to talk about your project. Just, can you give me 30 seconds on your project?
J. JACKSON: I think, with all this stuff that's going on, there are more important things.
We are focused on the AIDS problem in Africa with EarthCare. And I think, to talk about someone's color, the way they look, there are more important things. People are dying in Africa. And our focus -- we're a 501(c)(3) foundation, Earth Care. We are busy building clinics in Gabon in South Africa. And that's where my focus is. And that's where the world's attention should be, not on war, but people getting together to become one.
CHUNG: Well, Jermaine, kudos to you for all the work that you've done. And I know -- you really aren't recording anymore, are you? But you did want me to listen to something, so you'll have to send it to me. Will you do that?
J. JACKSON: I'll send it to you.
Jermaine Jackson, thank you so much for being with us.
And, Emil, thank you, too, as well.
Coming up criminal charges against a company that supplied tainted blood.
Stay with us.
CHUNG: Bad AIDS policies continue to reap painful dividends for years, decades after they were implemented. That's what Jermaine Jackson was referring to. And that's also the lesson of an unprecedented criminal charged being filed against an American company accused of criminal conduct in supplying AIDs tainted blood to patients in Canada.
How did it happen?
CNN investigative correspondent Art Harris tells the story.
ART HARRIS, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In Canada, white crosses left in past protests to mark victims of bad blood. Among them, hundreds of hemophiliacs who caught AIDS in the 1980s from the blood of strangers. One victim, a 15-year-old boy growing up in a small town outside Vancouver.
BRUCE LEMER, VICTIM'S ATTORNEY: He was a strong fellow. He was a good student. He was one of the sorts of kids that would have achieved something and makes it all the more painful to see someone cut down.
HARRIS: To prevents uncontrolled bleeding, hemophiliacs use what's called a clotting factor. It's made from the plasma of thousands of blood donors. Because the plasma is mixed together, one bad donor and contaminate a whole batch. By the mid '80s, Armour Pharmaceutical like other suppliers had begun to use heat to try to kill the AIDS virus. Now scientists thought, hemophiliacs would be safe, but...
DR. ALFRED PRINCE, NEW YORK BLOOD: We found that that particular heat sterilization process was not very effective. HARRIS: Armour was heating its product less than half as long as its competitors. When Dr. Fred Prince was hire as an outside researcher to run tests for Armour, he found the shorter time failed to kill all of the AIDS virus.
PRINCE: I found it was almost certainly not reliable.
HARRIS: Armour officials met in 1985 to go over the findings. Records show the company was hesitant to spend the money to lengthen its heating process, and was worried it might lose business in Canada and elsewhere.
(on camera): Armour called the test failures preliminary results. It's files show company V.P. Michael Rodel (ph) said it would be unwise to notify the government until Armour's own testing was complete.
(voice-over): The issue is not one of regulation, but rather marketing. In 1987 a doctor at this hospital in Vancouver was shocked to discover six of his hemophiliac patient his been exposed to AIDS. All, but one, were children. The youngest was five, others, 10, 13, 15.
LEMER: There wasn't anyone amongst the group that just wasn't basic salt of the earth sort of people.
HARRIS: Half those Vancouver patients are now dead. Each one a Canadian investigation found, was using the Armour clotting factor that research had indicated was not fully sterilized. A decade and a half later the Royal Canadian Mounted Police has filed charges against Armour, its former VP and three Canadian officials.
This is the first time an American company had ever faced prosecution in a case like this. If accused of criminal negligence, causing bodily harm to three Vancouver area victims, including the small town youth who died. Armour Pharmaceutical, in a statement, called the charges unfair and unjustified. It said it expects both the company and Dr. Rodel to be acquitted.
The names of the Vancouver patients have been kept secret through the years.
LEMER: They were mortally afraid of being identified because of the stigma that surrounded AIDS at the time.
HARRIS: And the court papers they list it only by initials, like J.A., who was 13 when he caught AIDS.
LEMER: He came from small in British Columbia. He loved the outdoors. Just a nice guy.
HARRIS (on camera): A decade ago in civil lawsuit. J.A. was asked what lay ahead in life. His answer: I have no future. But J.A. has survived. And now plans to break the silence of the past and testify against Armour when the case goes to trial probably next year.
Art Harris, CNN.
CHUNG: Armour has not yet entered a plea. The next court date is scheduled for January 28.
When we come back, another company under fire, this time for playing watchdog. Or is it big brother?
CHUNG: Should photo clerks be operating as cops? Should they be policing your personal pictures for signs of wrongdoing in criminal activity or pornography? Tamie Dragone is suing Wal-Mart because the store turned over to police her pictures of her 3-year-old daughter including shots in which the girl was partially nude. Prosecutors filed no charges.
At the time Wal-Mart said it was just following its policy of turning over suspected child pornography pictures or images of possible child abuse. Wal-Mart released a statement about its policy saying, quote, "This is a judgment call, but we err on the side of caution and protection of the children."
Wal-Mart officials declined to be interviewed on camera, but recently I spoke with Tamie Dragone from Hayes, Kansas, along with her lawyer Tom Boone.
Thank you both for being with us.
Tamie, tell us what happened.
TAMIE DRAGONE, SUING WAL-MART: Thank you.
TOM BOONE, ATTORNEY FOR DRAGONE: Thank you.
CHUNG: Tell us what happened, Tamie.
DRAGONE: I went to drop off my film. I dropped off my film and I took my daughter to dance class. I came back. We did a little bit of shopping. I went and I picked up my photos.
And it took the clerk a while to get me my photos. And once I picked them up, I thumbed through them, just casually looking at them. I left the photo counter after paying for my photos. When I was leaving, I did see the manager and two police officers walking towards the photo counter. I went to another part of the store. And I was shopping.
I had a uniformed police officer come up to me. And he said, "Is your name Tamie Dragone?" I said yes. And he says: "Are you shopping here with anybody? Are you here with anybody else?"
And I said, "No, just my children."
And he says, "We need to speak with you in the back." So, they escorted me to the back.
CHUNG: And that's when you were questioned about these photographs that you had taken.
CHUNG: Why do you think these photographs were suspicious?
DRAGONE: They didn't actually tell me that the photograph -- that it had to really pertain to photographs that I had taken. I really didn't know what it was about until I got into the back. The officer then pulled out these photos, which were completely innocent. And he referred to these, asking me who was in the picture. My daughter was swimming in the swimming pool with her father. She didn't have a top on. He wanted to know when were these taken, who took these pictures, where were they taken. And they were taken in July and I didn't even have them processed until September.
Previous to that, I've had pictures taken in April and June. And they had no problem processing those. And she was unclothed in those pictures also.
CHUNG: Now, you claim false imprisonment in your lawsuit. Why? Did they actually hold you there for a long time?
DRAGONE: Yes. They kept me there for 45 minutes.
They had a police officer in the room with me and my children. There was a police officer standing outside the door. The manager came in, questioned me a little bit. He went out, like they were deciding what to do. And then he came back in and asked me more questions. And, finally, at end, when I was allowed to go, the police officer told me, point blank, "We believe you, so we're going to let you go."
CHUNG: And, so you were like a -- but this is a statement from Wal-Mart: "This is a judgment call, since photos can be interpreted differently by different people. And we take such judgments seriously."
Wal-Mart also told CNN that six people on the staff looked at these photographs and they all agreed that they were alarmed enough to alert the authorities. Does that make sense to you?
DRAGONE: I don't disagree with Wal-Mart's policy. I disagree with how it was implemented.
My pictures -- a question at that point would have went a long way at the photo counter, instead of interrogating me and keeping me against my will for 45 minutes with my children present. The way everything was handled was just not appropriate.
CHUNG: When you say just one question at the counter, what would you feel would be -- would have been appropriate for you?
DRAGONE: I think the biggest question was who was the man in the picture, which was her father. And I think, when I said that to the police, he pretty much -- he said he believed me. They were going to let me go, after they interrogated me for 45 minutes.
CHUNG: But, in fact, the county attorney was assigned to look into your case and even consider charges. Do you know what charges they were considering?
DRAGONE: Sexual exploitation of a child.
BOONE: If I may interrupt, that is a felony.
And the minute they moved from store policy, when they called the officers in, they then were suspecting she was guilty of a class-C felony, which carries 32 months on the sentencing grid, sentence, if she's found guilty. It's what we call a border box. So, they moved from the store policy and they reached a conclusion based upon these pictures that have violated the state law.
We're not talking about the law enforcing Wal-Mart's policies. We are talking about the law enforcing the Kansas State law. And these pictures fall far short, Connie, of qualifying as a violation of that statute. That's the problem.
CHUNG: All right, Tom Boone, thank you so much for being with us.
Tamie Dragone, I'm a little incredulous myself. Thank you for being with us. We appreciate it.
A reminder: Wal-Mart says its policy is to turn over what it calls questionable pictures for further review by law enforcement authorities, Wal-Mart calls this case a judgment call.
When we come back, which infamous dictator did Saddam Hussein study and what can that tell us about Saddam? Stay with us.
CHUNG: Considering the situation in Iraq today, we wanted to take a hard look at a past dictator President Bush recently compared to Saddam Hussein.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The dictator of Iraq is a student of Stalin. Using murder as a tool of terror and control within his own cabinet, within his own army and even within his own family.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHUNG: One more thing, the two dictators have in common, the U.S. was willing, at some point, to work with each of them rather than against them. Stalin ruled the Soviet Union during the birth of the Cold War the conflict that shaped the war in the latter half of the 20th century. And he killed more people than even Hitler did. CNN's Moscow bureau chief, Jill Dougherty, tells how Stalin maintained his iron fist.
JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN MOSCOW BUREAU CHIEF (voice-over): When the killing finally stopped, an estimated 20 million people had perished at the orders of Joseph Stalin. No one really knows the true number. Even today, almost half a century since his death, new horrors are being unearthed, previously unknown victims still discovered.
His real name was Joseph Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili, a seminary student in his youth who wanted to become a priest. Instead, he became a Bolshevik revolutionary and named himself Stalin, Russian for man of steel.
Historian Roy Medvedev survived Stalin's 29-year rule and his has chronicled the reign of terror in a series of books.
ROY MEDVEDEV, HISTORIAN (through translator): No dictatorship in the ancient world, in the middle ages or in the modern world can compare with the violence and cruelty of Stalin's totalitarian regime with its narrow ideological base and its concentration of power in the hands of one person.
DOUGHERTY: Using the Communist Party as his weapon, Stalin forced millions of peasants on to collective farms, creating mass starvation. Then purged millions more from the ranks of the party. A nightmare, show trials, midnight arrests and slave labor camps.
Zoya Zarubina, a former Soviet military intelligence officer and translator, worked for Stalin at several international conferences. He was short, she remembers, pock-marked with a quiet voice.
ZOYA ZARUBINA, FORMER SOVIET INTELLIGENCE OFFICER: I mean his eyes were so piercing, you thought that you were standing there with nothing on.
DOUGHERTY: Her stepfather was thrown in prison so she automatically lost her job, but no one in her family dared speak out against Stalin.
ZARUBINA: The most important sentiment they had was to lick their wounds and to cry over the dead and to hug to those who are still alive.
DOUGHERTY: But as the guns of World War II began blazing, the worst dictator in the world became a major ally of the United States. Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin joined forces to defeat another dictator.
(on camera): But why would the United States take sides with a mass murderer? With a man who had brutalized his own people? Why make a deal with the devil?
(voice-over): Partly, says Roy Medvedev, it was ignorance of the extent of Stalin's horror.
MEDVEDEV (through translator): Right up to the end, the Americans did not understand the nature of the Soviet regime. It was actually difficult to understand. It was a very particular type of regime, an ideological government. For a democratic nation, that is hard to comprehend.
DOUGHERTY: It was simply a military alliance, the historian says. In war, you are happy for any ally.
Even today, after all the deaths and suffering, almost one- quarter of Russians still view Stalin positively. He remains an inspiration to other dictators. A man of steel who stopped at nothing in his pursuit of power.
Jill Dougherty, CNN, Moscow.
CHUNG: So how valid is it to compare Saddam Hussein to the late Soviet premiere, Joseph Stalin. Recently I put that question to NYU professor of Russian studies, Steve Cohen.
STEVE COHEN, NYU PROF. OF RUSSIAN STUDIES: You know, politicians, you know this, love to find lessons in history or what they think are lessons to justify their policies and that's what Bush is doing. He's saying Stalin was a very bad man. Saddam is a bad man. Therefore we must have his policy.
It takes some inflating of Saddam's evil to bring him to the level of Stalin. Stalin killed maybe a minimum of 20 million of his own people, destroyed families of another 10 million, enslaved 6 or 7 countries and perpetuated this tyranny on Russia and Eastern Europe for 25 years.
Saddam hasn't achieved that yet so it's a about the of a stretch. Also the fact is we are related to Stalin differently than we're relating to Saddam. They are both bad, but at some point does it matter who is the baddest?
CHUNG: You know when you say he hasn't achieved it yet, it is painful for me to hear that because the comparison is a little rough.
COHEN: Stalin was one of the worst tyrants. Probably one of two with Hitler of the 20th century.
Do we want to say if we're understanding history that Saddam is in that league? Or are we only saying that because we want to have the degree that we would persuade everybody, we have to make war against him? That's the question that has to be asked.
CHUNG: All right. There are many major U.S. allies that believe that Saddam Hussein is dangerous, but do not want to oust him by force. Why did the United States choose the so-called policy of containment when it came to Stalin?
COHEN: Well, you have to remember, of course, that Stalin was our ally in World War II. And there was no exaggeration to say with all of the respect to American fighting men that it was the Soviet army Stalin that destroyed Hitler's army. From Stalingrad in 1943 to the battle of Berlin it would have been hard at the end of the war to suddenly make war, hot war against Stalin.
Instead we waged cold war against Stalin. One of the reasons was that Stalin, by then had what we call weapons of mass destruction and there emerged the truism, the article of faith of the super powers that you would never attack another country that had the same weapons of mass destruction, nuclear in that case this we had because it was be mutual suicide.
What Bush is doing now is breaking with that doctorate, if in fact Saddam has weapons of mass destruction, we don't know for sure. But if he does, the wisdom of fighting Stalin was don't attack -- contain him. Don't let him expand. Don't let him increase his power. Don't let him endanger you any more than he has. It more or less worked.
CHUNG: One final part of this puzzle that I find fascinating is the question of sleeping with the enemy. The United States has done it before. Did it with Stalin and in Saddam's case, supported Saddam in the Iran-Iraq War. What are the consequences of doing so?
COHEN: Need a moral philosopher for this. Governments essentially argue without saying it, that the end justifies the mean. We fought with Stalin because Hitler was a greater menace.
During the Cold War, we were in bed with, to use your metaphor, all sorts of dictators in the fight against communism. Today, in the war against terrorism, we're embracing all sorts of dictators in Central Asia who maybe, arguably, just arguably, as bad as Saddam.
The thing about a democracy is we are obliged in debate whether that end justifies that means in countries like Stalin ruled or Saddam ruled, people don't have the luxury to have that debate. Part of the burden of living in a democracy is we have to make these moral judgments. Each of us have a different opinion of whether we should be in bed with dictators to destroy another dictator, and it's happened for 40 years and it's going on today.
CHUNG: Steve Cohen, thank you so much. Appreciate it.
COHEN: Good to see you again.
CHUNG: I want you to come back.
CHUNG: You come back, too.
CHUNG: We'll be right back, but first let's see how your money did on this last day of the year 2002 in tonight's LOU DOBBS MONEYLINE update.
CHUNG: Tomorrow, what happens if the person you bring into your home as a baby sitter tells the authorities you shouldn't have your kids anymore? It happened and you'll meet the mother it happened to.
You'll also meet a real life ex-cop portrayed by Robert De Niro on screen.
"LARRY KING LIVE" is up next. Thank you so much for joining us and for all of us here at CNN, happy New Year. And see you next year.
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