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Interview with Martha Zoller, Nancy Skinner, Alan Nathan

Aired March 15, 2003 - 07:35   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Well CNN will be providing coverage today of rallies all over the world on both sides of the Iraq issue. Nowhere, of course, is the debate more heated than on talk radio. This morning, a panel of radio talk show hosts joins us to fill us in on what they are hearing from their listeners.
Here in Atlanta are Martha Zoller of WDUN. From Cincinnati, Lincoln Ware of WDBZ. In Boston, Nancy Skinner of "Good Day USA." And Alan Nathan of "Radio America" in Washington. All of you, thanks for joining. We actually lost Lincoln Ware, but we hope to get him back at some point during the next couple of minutes.

Martha Zoller, let me start off with you. What are you hearing from your listeners? A lot of support out there for President Bush or opposition?

MARTHA ZOLLER, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Well, in north Georgia, north metro Atlanta, there is solid support for President Bush. It is overwhelming. There are going to rallies all over the area today to support President Bush, as well as to support the war effort, mainly because they believe the time has come. That we've had 12 years of inspections, we've had 17 resolutions, everything has happened strongly.

And we've had diplomatic options and they haven't worked. So now it's time to go in and finish the job.

COOPER: Alan Nathan, what are you hearing?

ALAN NATHAN, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Well, their understanding is, essentially, that the war protesters today just aren't like they used to be. I was a Vietnam War protester myself, but I'm a centrist. And I believe that even though I'm still proud to have been a Vietnam War protester, I think the activists today really don't have a clue.

They seem to only be against war that occurs between countries. But when it comes to individual governments waging war against their own people, they're nowhere to be found. If a war from without can rescue people from the war from within, then that's a good thing. We're bringing about their freedom.

Even the French might be best served by recalling the following: During the '40s, when Germany occupied their country, you might want to recall that they were perfectly willing to accept collateral killing. Why? Because they knew it was the only way to get the allied forces returned to them the freedom they lost. Why is it the French now believe it's OK to deny the Iraqi people that same opportunity? That's what my listeners are aware of.

COOPER: Nancy Skinner, is there a lot of anti-French attitude among your listeners?

NANCY SKINNER, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Absolutely. We have both reactions, really, Anderson. Ours is one of the very few shows that does represent all political opinions. My co-host, Doug Stephen (ph), is more moderate conservative, our producer is conservative, I'm more liberal. So our callers are free to express all their opinions, and they do.

And we had the whole discussion this week about whether it should be freedom fries or French fries. It turned into a very animated discussion. You know some people called in and said, OK, now what are we going to do with the Statue of Liberty? Should we cover it up, like John Ashcroft covered up the breasts of the statue at the Justice Department? Because it's out of hand that we're acting childish and immature when it comes to that issue.

People aren't listening to the Dixie Chicks now. You know we're talking about good and evil and the pope and god an patriotism. And this is the stuff that really makes talk radio roll.

COOPER: Well, Martha Zoller, how about it? Should we give Louisiana back to the French?

ZOLLER: Well, no, we certainly shouldn't do that. But I think that the French should really say what their real motives are here. That anything backed by the Untied States their going to oppose.

The U.N. has really not worked in this instance. There's only been two wars since the inception of the U.N. that have been approved by the U.N., and that was Korea and the last Gulf War. And there have been a lot of other wars that have happened since then.

But as far as people's opinions being expressed, because there might be consensus -- I mean we do the same thing on my show. We don't screen people out. Any opinion is welcome. But in our area, where we are strongly military, we have a lot of folks that are in the military, there are several thousand people that are in the Gulf now that are in our listening area that we hear from on a regular basis that they want to support the troops.

There comes a time when you have to get behind the commander in chief and you have to get behind the military -- wait a minute. Let me finish and then you can jump in. There comes a time where it's time to say we have to get behind the commander in chief. Not that you should squelch discussion, but that it's important that you let the troops know that they are supported. You can't say it and then argue.

SKINNER: OK. Well, you know what?

COOPER: All right -- Nancy Skinner. SKINNER: Let me jump in here. We're a nationally syndicated show, so we don't just represent one region. We probably get more opinions across the board.

But nobody -- this is the thing -- nobody is saying these anti- war protesters are not supporting the troops. And to have these pro- war rallies say that they are and we are not to people like myself, who -- that is not true. We do support our troops. In fact, we want them to stay alive, we want them to come home.

COOPER: Well let me jump in here. Alan Nathan, you said you were a Vietnam War era protester. I mean can you be anti-war and pro- troops at the same time? Can you...

NATHAN: Yes, I believe you can. But you can be pro-choice -- pro-choice, listen to me -- you can be pro-troops and still anti-war. You can be anti-war and still be supportive of the armed forces. But, unfortunately, there are a lot of folks who are parasitizing (ph) off the virtues of that perspective for another agenda.

ANSWER, Act Now to Stop War and End Racism, is very much an anti- American drive. Yet they get to parasitize (ph) off the sinews of the aforementioned perspective, and that's wrong. Look, right now, people are mobilizing against this war in ignorance. Actors like Mike Farrell, people like that, they're absolutely imbecilic how they so passionately embrace the U.N.

The U.N. Human Rights Commission is comprised of people like Sudan, Syria, Cuba, China, Zimbabwe. It's chaired by Libya. The U.N. Disarmament Committee, it's headed by Iraq. After a while, we have to come to terms with certain realities. And one of them is that this body politic is cerebrally maladroit and in desperate need of disarmament itself.

COOPER: All right. Let me...

NATHAN: We need to get rid of the government of Iraq and then get rid of the U.N.

COOPER: Let me jump in here, because Lincoln Ware in Cincinnati, the satellite is back up and we are very pleased he's able to join us. Lincoln, what are you hearing from your listeners?

LINCOLN WARE, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Well, 80 percent of my listeners are African-American. The other 20 would be the white listeners. But, for the most part, the African-Americans won't agree with anything that George Bush is for, short of reparations.

So they are against the war. They feel like the United States are being big bullies, it's all about oil, and they don't want any parts of it.

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