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Pixar Ends Relationship With Disney; How Does Media Coverage Effect Presidential Election?; How Does America View Corporations?

Aired February 1, 2004 - 15:00   ET


ANNOUNCER: From New York City, America's financial capitol, this is IN THE MONEY.
JACK CAFFERTY, HOST: Good afternoon. Welcome to the program, I'm Jack Cafferty. Coming up on today's edition of IN THE MONEY:

The TV heebie-jeebies.


HOWARD DEAN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We're going to South Carolina and Oklahoma and Arizona and North Dakota and New Mexico! We're going to California and Texas and New York, and we're going to South Dakota! And...


CAFFERTY: All right, all right. See whether media coverage of the White House campaigns gives us the best president we can get.

Plus, slamming the suits: top democratic candidates for the nation's highest office hammering corporate America. Find out what that says about the public's view of business and of President Bush.

And plaid, bad, and rad: forget the football, we're going to show you how the Super Bowl turned in to the showdown of the year for the advertising industry.

Joining me today, as always, a couple of our IN THE MONEY veterans: CNN correspondent, Susan Lisovicz, who has the inside track on the subtleties of the upcoming championship football game. And "Fortune" magazine editor-at-large Andy Serwer.

I'm just teasing. But, who's going to win? Patriots or those other guys?

SUSAN LISOVICZ CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the smart money's on the New England Patriots.


ANDY SERWER, "FORTUNE" EDITOR-AT-LARGE: So, where does that leave us, then?

CAFFERTY: Yeah. You know. Well, I'm betting on the Patriots.

SERWER: Are you?

LISOVICZ: You have a bigger payoff if Carolina wins.

CAFFERTY: The Panthers time to the big game, right? I think history says if it's your first time maybe you get a little of the...

SERWER: Yeah, it's really tough. You know, it's really amazing that the whole country is just focused on this. There's a lot of other stuff going on. Frank Deford, the great sports writer, I think wrote this an really interesting story about how football has just really beaten up on baseball, basketball, never mind hockey, and has really become the premiere sport that we focus on. I'm not sure why. He said gambling might have something to do with it, though. But, it sure takes up everyone's attention. Doesn't it?

CAFFERTY: It does an you have to give the NFL a lot of credit for the job they've done marketing this sport. It's a -- you know, the quality of the athletic competition is probably as good in the NBA or major league baseball, but they've figured out how to market football.

SERWER: Well, I'll tell you another thing too, Jack, the teams are a lot healthier in football than the other major sports, as well.

CAFFERTY: You mean in terms of parody?

LISOVICZ: How is that possible?

SERWER: Yes, well I think it has to do with revenue sharing, TV contracts, the way they've structured things, again speaks to the NFL being able to handle the league and run the business better than, I think, the other leagues do.

LISOVICZ: And that's -- I'm sorry -- and that, as an avenue, is contributing, let's remember that as well.

SERWER: How much are those ads, Susan?

LISOVICZ: 2.34...

SERWER: 30 seconds.

LISOVICZ: ...million dollars. Yeah. So, it's up from last year.

CAFFERTY: Now, let me ask you this, Susan...

SERWER: Since she knows all this.

CAFFERTY: The Panthers are a seven-point underdog, my question is, do you think running a three four or a four three, given the best chance to defend against Brady on the...

SERWER: Say, Nichols defense. Nichols defense.

LISOVICZ: Nichols defense. CAFFERTY: There you go. And, we'll give you three cents change.


DEAN: And then we're going to Washington, D.C. to take back the White House! Yeah!


CAFFERTY: A lot of people how heard that now famous Howard Dean "I Have a Scream" speech in Iowa, if they were there in person, say that it actually looked a lot worse on TV than it looked if you were in the auditorium. Whether they're right or not, it's hard to deny that the media has a powerful effect on how we view the presidential candidates. After all, we know what the media tells us and we focus on what the media tends to focus on. For a look at whether that helps or hurts the democratic process, we're joined now by Howard Kurtz, media reporter for the "Washington Post" and host of "Reliable Sources" here on CNN.

Howard, nice to see you.


CAFFERTY: So, Howard Dean was quick criticize TV for replaying, ad nauseam, that clip of him getting a little carried away after the Iowa caucuses. But, when it came time to try to soften his image, where did he turn? He ran to the television media to do the interview to Diane Sawyer and to try and tone down this perception that he had coming out of Iowa. What do you make in the way television, in particular, is handling the democratic primary campaign?

KURTZ: Mediocre at best, in my view. First of all, television, along with the rest of organized journalism was wrong twice about Howard Dean. First missing his rise last year, and then telling all of us right up until the day before the Iowa caucuses that he was the overwhelming favorite, well, it didn't turn out that way. The endless replaying and laughing mocking about the -- Dean's red-faced rant in Iowa, it was a legitimate story, it was quite -- you know, quite a compelling moment when the whole country was watching to see what -- how Howard Dean would handle his first defeat, but we just pounded that thing into the ground and he's got a legitimate complaint. And finally, I see very little issue coverage, right now. It's all horserace, all the time, in the democratic primary.

SERWER: Hey Howard, Andy Serwer, here. Great article, by the way, on journalists making contributions to political causes.

KURTZ: Thank you.

SERWER: You don't have to worry about me doing that, I'm way too cheap. Don't bother checking up on me. Interesting -- you know, this whole thing about political coverage goes back to Teddy White and Fallows, and are we looking at the form rather than the content? So, it's been going on for quite a while, this debate. Are we worse off now, or better are we improving because we're conscious of this? KRUTZ: Well, I think that we're all kind of stuck on fast forward now, not only because you an accelerated political calendar, because there's so many more media, so many of us, so many websites, so many cable networks, that it does seems that the thing is moving at a break-neck pace. Now, sometimes that can be good for a candidate that's on the rise. When the candidate is declining, however, as Dean seems to be doing, that can be very difficult, no matter how many Diane Sawyer interviews you do and Dean is going on "Meet the Press" this weekend to try to steer the conversation back to what the candidate wants to talk about.

LISOVICZ: Howard, so your view that the media's more into the horserace rather than the issues, is perhaps because of the competition, more websites, more cable networks, more blogging, that kind of thing? I mean, has it been helpful at all? In other words, have you seen more debates? Has there been any -- anything that's been constructive for the voter out of this?

KURTZ: Well, I'm glad there were a lot of debates on television, they're not drawing huge audiences, unfortunately, but at least they're there for people who are interested. I do think that -- you know, the media provides some important information in the campaign, and I'm not against the horserace. We all know who's going to win, we all want to know how everyone's doing in the seven states that vote on February 3rd. But, there's been almost no discussion, for example, about of the fact that Dean is the only remaining candidate in the race who would roll back all of the Bush tax cut, including those in the middle class. Maybe that's a factor in why he hasn't done so well, instead it's all polls and strategy and predictions. And, my biggest complaint about the coverage is that too many people get in front of this camera and they say, "I'm going to tell you who's going to win, Iowa, New Hampshire, who's not going to win." Everyone had written off John Kerry, well guess what? John Kerry's in a pretty good position, now. So, it's this rush to judgment that I think is a product of the modern media age that sometimes makes us look pretty silly.

CAFFERTY: Let me -- let me just pick a small bone on the issue of tax cuts, though. It seems to me that of all the issues, that one has been as widely reported as any of them, and maybe even more so. I think it's common knowledge that, to some degree, all those democrats think that the Bush tax cuts have to be changed in some way. Yes, Dean wants to get rid of all of them, but each candidate wants to roll back some portion of them, either the tax on the rich or whatever. What I haven't heard a lot of discussion about is, what to do about a national healthcare plan, how they would solve the Iraq problem, everybody says -- you know, they're critical of the administration, but I haven't heard a lot of coverage of -- you know, specific plans on what we'd do about Iraq, what we do about health insurance, what we do about funding for education. On the other hand, if you get into a detailed discussion with those things, don't people's eyes tends to glaze over? Aren't we a nation of quick, fix-it, give me the polls, who's going to win? I got to down the street, I'm late for my train -- you know that kind of stuff?

KURTZ: Sure, Jack. But, that's the challenge of journalism, to make this stuff interesting and compelling for people who are, after all, in the process of picking the next president. It's a lot easier, a lot more fun to talk about the latest tracking poll and what it means. Did Kerry use Botox? Is Dean too angry? We all enjoy that kind of stuff. But, there are serious issues, here, and you raddled off several of them. I'd like to see more coverage -- one of the things that makes it hard is we've got eight candidates and it's very hard for the media to walk and chew eight sticks of gum at the same time.

CAFFERTY: Let me ask you...

KURTZ: So, we would like to have a -- we would like to have a...

CAFFERTY: I want a prediction, Howard. How long is Kucinich going to stay in the race?

SERWER: Oh, come on! Let's stop belittling Kucinich!

LISOVICZ: You're bad.

SERWER: That's a real sin by the media, this belittling, Jack.

CAFFERTY: That's...

SERWER: Belittling Kucinich.

CAFFERTY: It's a legitimate question. You've got nine votes in New Hampshire and eight in Iowa.

SERWER: OK, that's a legit -- OK, ask Howard -- Howard.

KURTZ: Well, I don't like to make predictions, but I think in the case of both, Kucinich and Al Sharpton, I think they'll stay in the race a long time, because they're not really running to win, they're real long-shots to put it delicately, but they -- they like the forum, they like the lights, they like the debates, they like the opportunity to get their ideas out. So, I don't think we'll see any of those gentlemen dropping out any time soon.

CAFFERTY: On some days, Sharpton is by far and away the most entertaining in the field.

SERWER: He says great stuff, doesn't he, sometimes?

CAFFERTY: Great stuff.


LISOVICZ: And you know, Howard, I'm curious; there was a really interesting story in the "New York times" this week about how electronics, of all things, have changed political reporting, that some veteran political correspondents complained that the candidates don't come to the back of the bus and chat with them anymore because you might have a camera in your cell phone or you're recording a conversation secretly -- you know, you have laptop on your lap. Has that really impacted the relations that the reporters on trail and the candidates themselves, in your view?

KURTZ: Well, it also helps journalists because to be able to -- you know, get stories by e-mail and file by cell phone and wireless makes our life a lot easier than when some of our predecessors were lugging around those heavy typewriters back in the '70s, but I do think that something has been lost, and it's not just because of cell phone cameras. Because there's a huge pack now, the trails of Howard Dean and John Kerry or John Edwards, there is very little opportunity for a give and take in a more informal setting, off the record, in a way that used to enable us, those in the news business, to get the know the candidates a little bit better. Now, early on in the campaign, I went out with Howard Dean a year ago. I spent two days with him, I had dinner with him. You really can get a feel for the person, but once it becomes a bubble, once it becomes a tarmac campaign, once we're into the heart of the primary season, it really is a kind of an us and them situation, and there really is a lot of distance created by the constant presence of TV cameras, and in a way, that's a shame.

LISOVICZ: The glare of the TV lights. Howard Kurtz, the media reporter for the "Washington Post" and, of course, the host of CNN's "Reliable Sources." It's a great show. And, thank you so much for joining us.

KURTZ: Thank you.


The biz bashers: Democratic candidates are beating up big business in the White House race. See why they're counting than strategy to win vote.

Also ahead, high stress and low spirits: Psychological problem are on the rise among U.S. troops in Iraq. We'll look at what might be causing the moral crash.

And the place where cool is hot.


SERWER: What was that?

LISOVICZ: Madison Avenue turned the Super Bowl into an ad industry touchdown. Find out how it happened.


LISOVICZ: The democrats traditionally paint themselves as a party of "the little guy," so it's no wonder that they're going after big business in this year's presidential campaign. The thing is, they wouldn't be talking that way unless he thought voters were listening. So, let's find out who's got it in for the suits and whether that strategy is a winner this year. For that, we bring in "Fortune" magazine senior writer, Bill Powell.

Welcome, good to see you. BILL POWELL, "FORTUNE" MAGAZINE SENIOR WRITER: Thank you very much for having me.

LISOVICZ: Well you know, it's interesting, everybody's talking that way, all the democrats, but they're getting contribution from big business, too. Like for instance, John Kerry, the current front- runner, has a lot of Wall Street endorsements.

POWELL: Although not as many as...

LISOVICZ: As George Bush.

POWELL: Or as he'd like, but yeah, it's true. I mean, there's a question as to whether the rhetoric will turn into reality, if and when any of these guys gets elected, I think that's quite a legitimate question, but at least for now, on the campaign trail, the rhetoric plays well with democratic primary voters.

CAFFERTY: To what degree, thought, is some of this hypocritical? John Kerry is probably the wealthiest member of the senate, or certainly one of them, by virtue of his...

SERWER: Another democrat may be Corzine.

CAFFERTY: Yeah. Matrimonial ties to one of the great fortunes in the country. Wesley Clark bill himself as an outsider when, in fact, he was a big time Washington lobbyist who made tons of money lobbying the powers that be after he left the military. I mean, are we getting sold a little bit of a bill of goods, here?

POWELL: Well, and Howard Dean just appointed a classic Washington insider lobbyist to run his...

CAFFERTY: Yeah, Al Gore's guy, right?

POWELL: Right.


POWELL: run his classically, outsider insurgent campaign. I think there is an element of hypocrisy to it. On the other hand, defenders of John Kerry, for example, will argue that FDR was also a patrician, yet also wrapped himself in populace rhetoric and implemented programs that were very helpful for working class and poor Americans. So, I don't -- I don't necessarily think there was a contradiction, there. It depends on what you do once in office.

SERWER: Bill, to follow this up, I mean, you're suggesting the Democratic Party has traditionally used this sort of rhetoric. Is it more stepped up this time because of the economy, because of the scandals that we saw in corporate America -- CEOs taking too much? And will it work? I mean, that's the big question. Will it work?

POWELL: There's no question it's stepped up even from 2000 when Al Gore -- at the acceptance speech, you remember, talked about powerful forces who were out to get you. This time it's broader. All of corporate America, the fortune 500, Andy, I have to say they use that phrase all the time.

SERWER: It's good! That's good.

POWELL: Will it work? My answer to that question is simply, are there going to be jobs by November or not? Right now, I was surprised -- I was in Iowa for about a week. I was surprised at the extent to which this rhetoric kind of resonates among the unscientific pool of voters that I was able to talk to in a week. But nonetheless, I think more than anything if jobs aren't created in decent numbers by November, then this rhetoric, politically, has some resonance.

CAFFERTY: So, what degree is this perhaps a bum rap on the Bush administration? And, what I mean by the question, it was, it was Bill Clinton that signed NAFTA. It was a democratic president that entered into the some of the trade agreements that are responsible for a lot the jobs that we see disappearing overseas. It wasn't the republican administration at all.

POWELL: Well, you know, I think this is -- you asked about hypocrisy earlier, and I think this is the area where, certainly, Kerry, Edwards, and even Governor Dean, when he was governor, where it's almost complete hypocrisy, because all were -- all supported NAFTA, and supported Clinton signing that. So, to say now that these trade agreements have to be revisited and they need global -- we need an international minimum wage, we need global environmental standards, it's fine to say, bu, you've never going to get that, No. 1.

CAFFERTY: Of course not.

I mean, it's fantasy to think that -- you know, President John Kerry will go over to China and convince Hu Jin Tao to -- you know, raise the minimum wage of China to the U.S. I mean, it's just not going to happen.

CAFFERTY: In your dreams!

POWELL: And, so I think on this issue in particular, on the trade agreements, for guys who voted for those trade agreements, as you say, under President Clinton, yeah, there's an element for hypocrisy, no question.

LISOVICZ: But, you know, Bill -- you know, it's one thing to go after your opponent. OK? Everybody can attack the president on his policies, but then which when you say big business, you start saying: the HMOs or energy companies, these are, not only, very wealthy corporations, big industry, but they employ vast amount of people who may not necessarily want to vote for you if you're painting them as part of this evil empire?

POWELL: I think that's -- that's very right, which is why I would suspect that as we move to a general election that you'll see some of this rhetoric sunk...

LISOVICZ: Softened?

POWELL: ...down a little bit. Softened a bit, I would expect that for exactly the reason you point out. People work for these companies, and they vote.

LISOVICZ: And they're not evil.

No, of course not.

SERWER: Well, not necessarily. Some of them are.


SERWER: Hey Bill, let me as you the last question, here. How does Bush counter this?

POWELL: He's got to counter it with a growing economy, A and, B, I think the tax cuts issue cuts -- you know can cut both ways. I think if you're the president, you can say, wait a minute, you say I'm not on the side of the little guy, but -- you know, I have given the -- even the middle class, a tax cut. I've given them the childcare -- the child tax credit. That's how you, I think, you -- and not how I think they will, I think they already are starting to counter this attack by saying, wait a minute -- you know, we're on the side of giving tax relief to average Americans. They're on the side of raising taxes.

SERWER: All right.

POWELL: That'll be a pretty stark divide in this campaign, I think.

SERWER: Great. Covering the rhetoric wars, my colleague, Bill Powell, senior writer at "Fortune" magazine, thanks for coming on.

POWELL: Thank you, Andy.

SERWER: Ahead on IN THE MONEY: Its movie are aimed at children but its profits are purely grown. Pixar is a hit making machine, in Hollywood, and now it has ended its partnership with Disney. We'll check the fallout.

Also coming up: Singing the Baghdad Blues: Signs of stress are on the rise for U.S. troops in Iraq. We'll look at what's making the war especially tough.

And supercharging the sales pitch: The ad business goes all out to grab your attention with its Super Bowl commercials. See why the game matters less these days, well to some, than the stuff between it.


LISOVICZ: Now, let's check the week's top stories in our "Money Minute."

The Federal Reserve decided to keep interest rates steady at 40- year lows, but the Fed hinted hikes could be on the way by dropping its promise to keeping rates the same for a considerable period of time. Both the stock and bond markets reacted to the news with sharp sell-off on Wednesday afternoon. The Martha Stewart trial hit a stag when defense lawyers and prosecutors withheld a key document from them. The defense tried to get the case dismissed over the issue, the judge refused, opting for a delay instead.

And a federal judge in Alaska has ordered Exxon Mobil to pay $7 billion in damages and interest because of the 1989 Exxon-Valdez oil tanker spill. The payments would go to fishermen and property owners; the company is expected to appeal.

SERWER: All right, Susan. The company behind some of the biggest animated films of all time is looking for a new partner. On Thrusday, Pixar CEO, Steve Jobs, said the company was ending its 12- year partnership with Disney.

Under the old deal, Disney distributed blockbuster Pixar movies like "Finding Nemo" and "Toy Story," movies that made billions of dollars for both firms. Now, though, Pixar will likely seek a new partner to distribute feature films. Pixar shares, up about 40 percent over last year, though off their highs they hit last fall. That makes Pixar our stock of the week.

I don't think it's too strong to say this company revolutionized the moviemaking business, because it's a new genre somewhere between live action and animated films. They call it animated films but, it's computer-generated movies. And every single movie they made was a smash hit, unbelievable track record. What's Disney doing?

LISOVICZ: Well, and it comes at the worst possible time for Disney, or I should say specfically for Michael Eisner, he's been leading the company for 20 years. There's a very public campaign to oust him. Roy Disney, if that sounds familiar, nephew of Walt Disney, resigning from the board and now Disney meets two weeks with analysts and after that, annual shareholder's meeting. Disney just lost a very valuable partner.

CAFFERTY: On the other hand, it's Disney. We're not about the ABC Widget Company, this is Disney. They own the sequel rights to films like "Finding Nemo," so they can probably find another animation studio that would be willing to collaborate on what is sure to be a huge blockbuster. They have the marketing muscle and expertise and distribution network for motion pictures that Pixar doesn't have access to, at this point. And they can probably find somebody to team up out there, who doesn't want 90 percent of the profits on everything that goes to the box office. I'm not sure it's a terrible deal for Disney.

SERWER: Yeah, I think -- you see, I think you hit -- the last point is exactly dead on, because -- you know, you can have a good business, but what's it worth? I mean, what's the deal worth? No question Pixar's a great company, does great things, but how much are you willing to give up? Pixar is going to go around to Sony and Warner and say, "OK, how would you like to partner up?" The team -- the terms of the deal have got to be right, otherwise it's simply not worth doing. Steve Jobs, the guy who heads this, I think he's a real business genius, understands technology and entertainment as well as anyone in the world, but a hard, shrewd businessman and he's going to be asking for a lot.

LISOVICZ: Yeah, he will be. But, you know, at the same time, Disney's been making cuts in its own animation business and some of its films -- you know, have not done that well.

SERWER: Oh, that's true.

LISOVICZ: This is the company that came out with "Snow White" and "Fantasia" and -- you know, some of its films like "Pocahontas" and "Mulan," they haven't -- they haven't been "Lion King," let me put it that way. So, its relationship with Pixar has been stellar.

CAFFERTY: Wall Street reaction to the announcement that they're getting a divorce, Pixar stock up substantially, Disney down a little. Do you buy the stock of either company at this point?

SERWER: Well, I certainly wouldn't buy the stock of Pixar. I mean, that stock has doubled in the past two years, there's always people talking about a lot of hot air in that particular thing. People get very, very excited by it.

Disney -- I think, Disney is an interesting situation. At some point -- you know, I hate to say this, Michael Eisner, but there's going to be a successor. You have shown an inability to get along with a whole lot of people. I mean -- you know, Katzenberg, Ovitz, Jobs, I mean...

LISOVICZ: Well, Harvey Weinstein of Miramax.

SERWER: Harvey -- well, that's an understandable, perhaps. But, I mean, at some point, there's going to be a new person here, and this company's going to get revitalized.

Jack, as you said, they've got an awful lot of great businesses.

CAFFERTY: And the economy's beginning to play into Disney's hands a little bit, things like the theme parks, and the amusement parks are starting to do a little better.

LISOVICZ: But, it's still got ABC and that's still a laggard in primetime.

SERWER: Oh, everybody's got some issue, right?

CAFFERTY: Yeah. Except us.

SERWER: Yeah. Except this company.

CAFFERTY: We're going to step out here, for a minute and deal with other own issues. When we come back -- the issues being trying to make a couple of bucks for the front office. When we come back: The mood on the front lines: We're going to check the morale of U.S. troops in Iraq, see what challenges they face once they come home. We're going to talk to a man who knows. He was in the Marine Corp. during the first Persian Gulf War.

And, big game hunting: U.S. advertisers spending millions on the Super Bowl. Find out how they go about getting their money's worth.

Stick around, we're back in a couple.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's he doing?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's he doing?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whatever he's doing, he sure seems to like it.



CAFFERTY: If you think it's hard watching television pictures about what's happening in Iraq, and it is sometimes, imagine living there or fighting there. This week Britain's "Guardian" newspaper reported that one in five U.S. service men and women posted to Iraq will suffer from posttraumatic stress syndrome.

That is according to senior military medical staff. Earlier this month the "Associated Press" quoted the Pentagons top doctor as saying there is a high number of suicides among U.S. horses on duty in Iraq. For a Marines eye view of the Iraq war and why it's so tough on our troop there's, we're joined from Iowa City by Anthony Swofford who served as sniper in the first Gulf War and wrote a memoir about it called "Jarhead." A Marines chronicle of the Gulf War and other battles. Anthony nice to have you with us thanks for joining us.

ANTHONY SWOFFORD, AUTHOR, "JARHEAD": Thank you for having me.

CAFFERTY: Let's talk of the suicide report. Why would the suicide rate be higher in the Iraqi theater than it would have been in the "Desert Storm" theater or the Vietnam Theater or Korea or any one of a number of combat theaters in previous times?

SWOFFORD: Well, you know, this war they're for an extended period of time and going out on patrol every day, and, really, their lives are threatened and on the line each day I think. And the longer that people spend in a combat theater, the higher the stresses are. And you know as well, it's guerrilla warfare, and the stress is intense on them.

This war versus Vietnam -- you know, I'm not aware of the figures, but I imagine that it has to do with the long-term possibilities of being on the ground, and again the real stresses of the guerrilla urban warfare environment. LISOVICZ: Anthony, does politics enter into this trauma at all? The fact that this is not a popular war overseas, the fact that the chief weapons inspector recently departed. Chief weapons inspector has said no signs of any weapons which was the reasons why the U.S. went in and one of the reasons why the U.S. went in the first place. Does that enter in at all?

SWOFFORD: I think it will be more of a problem in the long term, because it's important when people fight, are injured and see their friends die, to believe they've fought for a reason and that the reason they were inserted into this situation was just. I believe that long term what seems to be the falsification of intelligence, certainly the gross misreading of intelligence.

Is going to be how the affect on the psychologists of the people who are over there serving, because, again, they need to feel that they fought and they've sacrificed for a reason. And that they weren't sent over there as puppets.

ANDY SERWER, CNN ANCHOR, IN THE MONEY: Anthony I read your book last year. And I got to tell you, it was disturbing and chilling and enlightening also. One thing that really struck me is when you came back from combat; you sort of tossed out in the streets. And you kind of freaked out a little bit you had some adjustments.

What more should be done for soldiers who come back?

SWOFFORD: I think a lot more should be done. My return, really I was in Saudi Arabia, it was a few weeks after the end of the warfare, and 16 hours later I was driving my car home to hang out with my buddies who had just been in college. And to essentially, I was supposed to re-enter civilian life, civil life. And warfare is not a civil endeavor and that's very problematic, as it was in Vietnam.

I understand now they're keeping troops on the base when they return to the states for a bit of time, 30, 60, maybe even 90 days. They may be requiring them to go through counseling, and that's really smart. That's essential to the -- a slow re-entry into civil society is much better than the way that I entered which was abrupt and really just as violent as the way I entered war fare.

CAFFERTY: What was it that kept you from completely derailing once you got home? Because that was a possibility, wasn't it?

SWOFFORD: It sure was, you know ironically, still staying in the Marine Corps I think, for another 18 months helped me. Because you know unit cohesion is important. And I was in the Marine Corps and I continued to serve with the same men who I'd been to combat with.

And that was a safety net being around these same men who had experienced the same thing that I had. It was important that we stay together. I think that people who left our unit and went to other units or got out of the Marine Corps right away, I imagine that they didn't fare as well as those of us who stayed in the Marine Corps and had each other as sounding boards. SERWER: All right, we're going to have to leave it at that. Obviously some really interesting stuff Anthony. Anthony Swofford, author of "Jarhead." Thanks very much for coming on.

Up next on IN THE MONEY, we will take a closer look at the mega bucks advertisers spend on the Super Bowl. And you can tell us what you think about this year's ads, or anything else on our show. Our e- mail address is


LISOVICZ: This weekend the New England Patriots and the Carolina Panthers square off in Super Bowl XXXVIII. And while millions of people around the world will tune in for the game, millions more will be watching for the commercials. Joining us today is a woman who believes the ads are now more important than the game itself. Bernice Kanner is the author of "The Super Bowl of Advertising: How the Commercials Won the Game." Welcome.


LISOVICZ: I really love watching the commercials, and have for a long time. So I've seen the sneaker wars, I've seen the cold wars, I've seen all the dotcoms come and go. And I guess this year, we are going to see sort of the sex wars with Levitra (ph) and Sealis (ph) squaring off?

KANNER: We call this dysfunction wars.

LISOVICZ: Ooh, you said it!

KANNER: Indeed I think that scares me a little because Americans watch this program to be entertained. And pharmaceutical advertising as a rule is not entertaining.

CAFFERTY: To the degree that the games have often been one-sided and a little less than entertaining, doesn't that sort of force you to focus on the commercials? I mean if it's a great game you'd probably pay less attention to the breaks?

KANNER: Indeed, people pay more advertisers pay more to be in the beginning of the game because if it's a blowout, people tune out. But this didn't become the advertising showcase right away when it started in '67. Advertising ran run of the mill commercials that they ran every day.

There were a few bright spots in those dark ages, when Coke launched "I'd like to teach the world to sing" and mean Joe Green and then 1984 apple came along with the famous commercial why 1984 won't be like 1984. And that set the groundwork for this to be the Super Bowl of advertising.

SERWER: All right Bernice, two-part question first of all does this really work? We know Pepsi's got a big campaign, they're going to spend a lot of money, and they have traditionally for years going against Coke. Do their sales really go up? Talk about that for a little bit, about the soft drink wars. And then I got to ask you, who's going to win the game?

KANNER: Well, it's more than soft drink. It's Bud has tracked every year that its sales rise significantly after its commercials, and Pepsi has been able to ride this rather old-fashioned media event right out of the kitchen, and become a real contender to Coke. So, yes, it does work, but it doesn't work for every company, and it doesn't work for every kind of product.

You can't insult your audience as "Just for Feet" once did. You can't give them real rational benefits. You've got to give them an emotional or rug pull, and then you can't bore them. You bore them; they have these great expectations of what they're going to see on this event. You bore them you've lost them. And you know people come to this event to watch the game.

Every other day advertising is the enemy. They want to tivo you out. Now they don't get up to go to the bathroom or the fridge they want to watch this because they want to be a part of the fraternity or sorority tomorrow. I think sorority. Because 40 percent of the audience is women, more women watch this than watch the academy awards, which are known as the Super Bowl for women.

CAFFERTY: Tell me a little about the psychology that causes sales of something like Budweiser or Pepsi to rise? We all know about Budweiser beer and Pepsi-Cola's a soft drink. The product tastes the same the week before the Super Bowl as it does the week after the Super Bowl.

What is the subtle thing in those ads that causes people to go out and walk in to the store shelves and begin to buy the product in increased numbers over what they bought before the ad ran?

KANNER: There's no recipe for a great ad. Certainly, you can run any type, but people are attracted to great advertising, and feel they want to give something back. And they say along Madison Avenue, that the best way to kill a mediocre product is run great ads. Years ago, Burton Harry Peels was so beloved by his New York audience that they went out and bought the beer just to celebrate the advertising, if you will. They bought the beer, tasted the beer, hated the beer and never bought the product again.

CAFFERTY: I remember that.

KANNER: So in a sense, great advertising can kill a mediocre product much faster than mediocre advertising.

LISOVICZ: Hey Bernice, I have a two-part question. One is what the tone of the overall commercials tell us? Because you really see a lot of post-9/11, the recession, the rise and fall of the dotcoms. I'd like to know your opinion about that and of course Andy's too chicken to ask you again, whom you think is going to win.

SERWER: We got to know Bernice. You must have some insight here. KANNER: Well, definitely know I think AOL will win, because of the halftime show that is really intriguing. I think Staples will win, because I've yet to see boring Staples ad. I think Charmin will win because they got something soft and strong for your end zone.


SERWER: Funny.

KANNER: (CROSSTALK) may not win. I think Coke, rather Pepsi and Budweiser win every year and I think they'll win again this year. But clearly, there are going to some losers. Every year people walk away with egg on their face.

LISOVICZ: Who are they? Who are the losers?

KANNER: Well, think about the year 2000, when you had the dotcom bowl and they walked away, or Just for Feet which ran a commercial, with four white guys in a Humvee track a black barefoot Kenyan runner, drug him and forced shoes on his feet. The was certainly a loser.

And earlier in 1985, Burger King certainly got egg on its face, when it introduced the world to Herb the nerd, the only person in America who has never tasted a whopper. So I think that monster is not going to come across anywhere near as well as it has in the past. We all love that commercial where the kids talk about growing up to be a brown nose, a "yes" man. This year isn't as good.

CAFFERTY: What is the cultural statement to be made by the fact that the most widely viewed event on television in this country is going to be dominated by commercials for sexual enhancement?

KANNER: Well, I don't think it's going to be dominated. You've got two players in it, and it's a new category, but every couple of years a new category does comes on.

CAFFERTY: Well let's address that category. I mean what does that say about this nation here?

KANNER: Well they say that it's a dual audience because this is a product that is designed for men and women, and women are so critical to making the decision. And it also says that this is the way to reach men. One of the few wide spectrums and it also says that a lot people must be interested in this product, and that the companies have deep pockets.


CAFFERTY: You are to be commended for the grace with which you handled that little deal. Bernice thanks for coming on and talking to us about it. It's fun stuff and it's interesting. We've learned something.

KANNER: Thank you.

CAFFERTY: Bernice Kanner, author of "The Super Bowl of Advertising."

Coming up on IN THE MONEY, as we move along, bats and birds. Too cold for baseball, but Wastler's found a Website where you can knock some penguins around.

And while your sitting in front of the computer, please, unburden yourself. Write to us about the things that trouble you. E-mail us at, and we'll attempt to make your life better.


CAFFERTY: Crazy lawsuits not a rarity in this country, not by a long shot. But some cases deserve special attention, and ridicule, and duration and contempt. Here to help us heat some of that upon them is my pal the Web master Allen Wastler has this year Stella Award.

SERWER: Stella!


ALLEN WASTLER, MONEY.COM: Actually it is named after Stella Liebeck, who sued McDonald's for the hot coffee.



WASTLER: they come out every year, they come out with their awards. And what they think were the craziest, most outrageous lawsuits. And of course this year the good one, the guy who sued over the Oreos' cookies, having fat. Remember that?


WASTLER: And another one suing McDonalds's, for being -- you made me fat. My favorite the guy got struck by lightning in the parking lot of an amusement park. Sued the amusement park. But here we go. Second runner up, this is Wanda Hudson. Wanda was -- well she got kicked out of her house and sort of found an aboard in the storage lockers and she accidentally got locked in there for 63 days.

CAFFERTY: Oh come on.

WASTLER: Turned around --

CAFFERTY: Come on!

WASTLER: She barely had enough food to survive for 63 days.


SERWER: Have some Oreos in there --

WASTLER: She sued; she was awarded $100 grand. The jury was not informed of her past history of mental disturbance. So that might have been a factor. LISOVICZ: It was on appeal.

SERWER: Lucky, that's winning the lottery.

WASTLER: First runner-up. Doug Barker, he loved his dog. God told him adopt this stray dog and he just lavished --

SERWER: Wait a minute his name is Barker and he's got a dog?

WASTLER: Yes, so he lavished attention on -- never bought it a collar. He left it with a dog sitter one night while he and his girlfriend went out on a date. The dog got at way. He spent $200 grand hiring - not $200, $20,000, taken out full-page ads, he hired psychics; he hired a witch to get the dog back. Finally two months later he went to a place where it was lost, found the dog, turned around sued the dog sitter for a $160,000.

CAFFERTY: I wonder how much he would have spent if the girlfriend would of disappeared?

What is number one?

WASTLER: Number one, city of Madeira, California. Officer Marcy Noraga (ph) she had a rowdy suspect, she had him handcuffed to the back of the car. He started kicking the window. So she reached to taser him, but accidentally grabbed her gun instead and sort of shot the guy.

CAFFERTY: Sort of shot the guy?

SERWER: You sound like the defense attorney.

WASTLER: The city of Madeira, is expecting a wrongful death suit.

LISOVICZ: Did he die?

WASTLER: So they sued Taser. To say you got to take responsibility for this, because it is too easy to confuse a Taser with the gun.

SERWER: There you go its Tasers fault.

WASTLER: That's the number one.

CAFFERTY: So they -- the fact Taser made it look too much like a real gun is the bases, it is a frivolous -- the wrongful death suit makes a lot of sense.

SERWER: Well it would be like the witch looking like the girlfriend in that other one.

CAFFERTY: Now you say you're hungry for some baseball but it's still weeks until spring training? Our man Wastler has a place for you to go. WASTLER: Oh, yeah. we got it for you. Our fun site of the week, you can just be the abominable snowman and wind up on an old penguin there. Penguin drops, that's the trick if you want to get the good yardage, you got to get the hop, that is the trick to this game. Go for that don't go for the fly. You go for the fly -- and look, bong!

LISOVICZ: Is this a --


SERWER: Very upset about this.

WASTLER: Any way for your amusement.

SERWER: Calling out penguins. All penguins should really be watching this. This is really bad stuff.

LISOVICZ: No penguins were hurt.

SERWER: All right, Allen Wastler that was great stuff, Web master extraordinaire thanks much.

Just ahead, we read your viewer e-mails. Right. Our e-mail address is But first, Susan's has this week's edition of "Money and Family."

LISOVICZ: Holiday debt hangover is a common problem this time of year. So here are a few tips to reduce the pain. First, out of the balance on each credit card, and figure how much to set aside monthly to pay down the cards. It is a good time to contact your credit card operator and ask for a lower interest rate. They'll often accommodate your request, particularly if you have another card offer on hand to mention.

Interest rates are low now, but several economists say they may rise later this year. So focus on paying off any of your high interest debt first and then lock in to a low-fixed interest rate credit card. Check out or for more information. I'm Susan Lisovicz for "Money & Family."


CAFFERTY: Time now to read some of your e-mails, to our question of the week about which Democrat has the best chance to become the next president of the United States and beat George Bush in November. Highly unscientifically I might point out and the results of our question, quite different from the national numbers right now.

For example, General Wesley Clark led the pack of our viewers 43 percent of our emailers chose Clark. John Kerry a distant second with 26 percent and Edwards came in third. Dean, Lieberman, Sharpton, Kucinich and the draft Hillary contingent, far behind.

SERWER: Kucinich, he is on the move!

CAFFERTY: I am heart broken. Sarah in California one typical Clark supporter she wrote this, "Clark is the only one with experience working with other cultures while striving for the betterment of his own people."

And of course Washington is nothing if not another culture.

But John in California letting outside forces make his choice for him he wrote, "If the New England Patriots win the Super Bowl, then the Democrats should nominate New Englander John Kerry. But if the Carolina Panthers win, they should nominate Carolina John Edwards. Hey, it's no dumber than the primaries."

All right, here's the e-mail question for this week -- how much do you learn about the presidential candidates from television? Send your answers to We'll read some of them next week. You can also check our show page at That is where you can learn more about upcoming shows. Get the fun sight of the week address. If miss it the first and you want to get this weeks fun site, it is about hitting penguins with a ball bat.

Thanks for joining us for this edition of IN THE MONEY. Thanks to our regular gang, CNN's National correspondent Susan Lisovicz. "Fortune" magazine editor at large Andy Serwer and managing editor Allen Wastler.

Join us next week, Saturday at 1:00 Eastern, Sunday at 3:00 or you can watch Andy and me all week long on "American Morning" meaning at 7:00 Eastern Time, Monday through Friday. Thanks for watching and see you soon.



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