The Web      Powered by
powered by Yahoo!


Return to Transcripts main page


FCC Cracks Down on Radio; Barry Bonds Under Fire

Aired December 3, 2004 - 20:00   ET


PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening and welcome. Glad to have you with us as we wrap up the week here.
In Major League Baseball, the doping scandal just deepens, with one of the greatest players of all time, Barry Bonds, at the center of the storm over steroids. He's a hero to millions, but will that last?

And the government is cracking down hard on smut radio with record fines. But wait until you hear some of the programs the FCC won't touch.

But we begin tonight with the ongoing crisis over sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. It has been two years since it first exploded in Boston. Well, today, on the other side of the country, dozens of people who say they were molested have reached a record settlement with the church.

In a moment, I'll be talking with two people who say they survived abuse by priests, but, first, the settlement. No one is revealing the exact amount, but sources say this is the largest in the history of the church, far more than the $85 million it agreed to pay in Boston.

Drew Griffin has the rest of the story.



DREW GRIFFIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was an extraordinary moment. After two years of litigation and three days of intense negotiations, the abuse victims, their lawyers and the bishop of Orange County gathering outside a Los Angeles courtroom late last night to say, it is over.

TOD BROWN, ORANGE COUNTY BISHOP: I am pleased to announce that the plaintiffs and the Diocese of Orange have reached a settlement which is both fair and compassionate.

GRIFFIN: Bishop Tod Brown read his apology.

BROWN: Of forgiveness and reconciliation.

GRIFFIN: Then promised to personal repeat that apology in writing to all 87 victims. With that, the victims there, one by one, offered him forgiveness. The record settlement will try to compensate for decades of abuse and cover-up, abuse that victim Joelle Casteix says is unimaginable. What she wanted in this settlement wasn't just money, but the proof of the horrors and the cover-up she and the 86 others endured.

(on camera): That was part of the settlement that you wanted?

JOELLE CASTEIX, ABUSE VICTIM: Yes. And if I can do nothing else, I want to make sure that everybody knows the extent to which the horror ensued in the Diocese of Orange, the horrible things that happened to so many innocent kids. And until the documents get out and until people can actually see them and read them in the press, they'll have no idea.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): The settlement of the Orange County case now paves the way for the next painful step in Southern California's chapter of the Catholic Church scandal. The focus now is Los Angeles. The largest archdiocese in the nation is facing nearly 500 claims of alleged abuse. More than 200 priests and church officials have been accused.

Richard Sipe is a former priest, author and expert in the field of clergy sexual abuse. He says the case against the Archdiocese of Los Angeles will dwarf all others.

RICHARD SIPE, CLERGY ABUSE EXPERT: Los Angeles has far bigger a problem than Boston ever had. The breadth and the depth of the sexual activity and corruption in L.A. is unequaled by any archdiocese in this country.

GRIFFIN (on camera): And where do you attribute blame for that?

SIPE: The blame has to go upstairs. These people know.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): And the Los Angeles district attorney says he will stop at nothing to find out if a conspiracy existed to hide abusive priests.


ZAHN: That was Drew Griffin reporting for us tonight.

Joining me now from Los Angeles, two people who say they were abused by priests in the Orange County, California Diocese, Edward Landry and Joelle Casteix, who you just saw in that piece.

Good to have both of you with us.


CASTEIX: Thank you.

ZAHN: Joelle, what does this settlement mean to you on an emotional level?

CASTEIX: This settlement is huge on many, many different levels. I think the most important thing for most survivors is the fact that we get that handwritten apology from the bishop. And the importance of that is that, had that happened 30 years ago, when the diocese was first founded, none of us would of been here and none of us would of been abused.

ZAHN: Edward, it's quite striking to see the picture of many of you who were involved in this suit actually hugging the bishop when he finally apologized. Help us understand, even in greater detail that Joelle just explained why that was so important to you.

LANDRY: Mainly, the things that we look at as far as being able to move on with our lives, being able to help our families, being able to survive. Without forgiveness, we're not going to be able to ever achieve that.

And in order to get to a point where not just us, the physical victims could recover, the diocese could recover, our families, my parents, my children, my friends, the people that love me the most, so they can recover as well, it all has to start with forgiveness, and forgiveness of the perpetrator, forgiveness of the diocese, and the length and duration that we had to endure, but then back directly to the bishop.

What he had to say was just so powerful. It meant the world to me. My parents, I know it meant the world to them. And I think the hugs that I gave the bishop personally was just -- I think it was a big step for me and my family and to allow my closest loved ones to be able to recover and heal as well.

ZAHN: Joelle, when you reflect on this long, painful journey you've endured, did you ever think you would ever be able to forgive the man who abused you?

CASTEIX: You know, it's interesting, because it's been much easier for me to forgive the man who abused me than it has been for me to forgive the church.

The man who abused me is sick and he has a problem. And what should have happened is that the diocese and the people who hired him and allowed him to stay should have stopped him and given him the help that he required. And so -- but, instead, they ensued this horrific cover-up and fought me and fought me and fought me until now we had to come to this kind of settlement.

So I forgive my perpetrator and now I'm working to forgive the church.

ZAHN: Do you think you'll ever get that apology from above?

CASTEIX: From -- excuse me, from the bishop?

ZAHN: From the upper church hierarchy.

CASTEIX: Well, the bishop said he was going to do it. And there are certain things that I, as a partaker in this settlement, demand. And one is my documents. And the other is the apology that the bishop promised, because if he takes that -- if the bishop takes that first step, I'm willing to go the rest of the way.

ZAHN: Joelle, what is in these documents that is so critically important to you?

CASTEIX: The documents go from the moment my abuse started until as recent as two years ago, when I contacted the diocese.

ZAHN: And what age do you allege the abuse started?

CASTEIX: From when I was 15 until I was 17. And he was a lay teacher. He wasn't a priest, but he was covered up by the same mechanism that covered up for many of the priest abusers.

And the tragedy is that the school knew what was happening to me. I went to administrators. I looked for help. And they turned their back on me. And they told me, oh, isn't it wonderful to be in love? And here I am, I'm a child. I had emotional problems. My parents were not there for me. And then I was being raped. And nobody was there to help me.

And, in fact, they turned their backs on me and hoped that I would go away. And that's just tragic, absolutely tragic.

ZAHN: I just get chills when I hear you are saying that.

Ed, because I know that also reflects your story. You talked about having to live with this horrible secret for so many years. And there is something you said about silence kills -- quote -- "It almost killed me and left my three children orphans."

Help us understand how deeply you felt that.

LANDRY: That's that's a tough one. And that's one where I think only the victim will really understand how that silence really affects you.

For me to be able to try and describe it would almost be impossible. I think about the people that were before me 10, 15 years ago. They spoke out and it was like they weren't hurt either. People just didn't believe them. And they laid so much out on the line and still everything they laid out on the line through interrogation and scrutiny, it just -- they became revictimized again and again and again and again. And so why would anybody else want to come out and say anything?

And, you know, for me and my family situation, we, as victims, I myself, for example, I protected my parents. I protected their faith in the church. I protected the fact that the institution that they believed in was, in fact, giving great care to us and there were no problems. But that wasn't true. And you can only take it so long until you get to the end of your rope, where you want to know what is really -- what's really wrong with me. Why am I not able to succeed? Why am I not able to have a good working relationship? My parents have been married for 40-plus years. And they've given me nothing but great examples. But because of the silence that I've had to carry with this great secret, it's just devastating to the morale of any individual. And to rise above is like getting up to Mount Everest. And when you jump off that mountain, it's like 40 elephants off your back.

ZAHN: Well, I know I have spoken with dozens and dozens of you over the years who have been a party to the suit. And they all agree that the toughest part of the journey was actually deciding to go public with it through the court proceedings.

Edward Landry, Joelle Casteix, thank you for sharing part of your stories with us tonight. And good luck to both of you.

LANDRY: Thank you, Paula.

CASTEIX: Thank you very much, Paula.

ZAHN: My pleasure.

And there is more ahead on the church abuse scandal.

And then, a little bit later on, the darkening cloud over a star athlete.


ZAHN (voice-over): The greatest player of his era, a hero to fans young and old. But now, after the steroid scandal, will the achievements of Barry Bonds forever be tainted?

And as the ruins of 9/11 still smoldered, he was the most wanted criminal of our time, public enemy No. 1, pursued by armies, hunted around the world.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I truly am not that concerned about him. I know he's on the run.

ZAHN: So where is Osama bin Laden?

And our question of the day: Can the United States win the war on terror if Osama bin Laden isn't captured or killed? Click on to and vote. The results and more coming up on PAULA ZAHN NOW.



ZAHN: And welcome back.

There are thousands of people who say they are victims of abuse by Catholic priests. According to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, there were more than 10,000 abuse claims between 1950 and 2002; 80 percent of the alleged victims were male, typically between the ages of 11 and 14. More than 4,000 priests have been accused. And it's cost the church more than $500 million. But has the Catholic Church learned anything from this crisis?

Joining me now, Father Tom Doyle, an advocate for victims of clergy abuse, and Father Thomas Reese, editor of "America" magazine, a national Catholic weekly.

Welcome, gentlemen. Glad to have both of you with us.



ZAHN: Father Reese, what do you think the impact of this settlement in Orange County might have on other archdiocese?

REESE: Well, I think that the bishop in Orange County tried to solve and resolve this by mediation. And I think that's the preferred method that people should try, that bishops should try to do.

And I think this is going to encourage more bishops to resolve this through mediation, through negotiation with the victims.

ZAHN: The incentive being what?

REESE: Well, the incentive is that, I mean, this is a better for the victims. It's better for the church. It resolves the cases without having to go through a lot of litigation, which can be very painful for the victims, as well as for the diocese. And, you know, it resolves it in a way that is -- can be much more compassionate and fair, as the bishop of Orange County said.

ZAHN: Father Doyle, does this just break your heart to see this come to this conclusion, where there is actual evidence and proof, we're told, in the court documents of overt abuse by priests against parishioners?

DOYLE: Well, as you know, I've been involved in this for several years, so this is -- it's not shocking to me, in the sense that what we have here are a large number of victims and one global settlement for a large number.

This same scenario can be repeated many, many times over throughout the United States and in several other countries. What is heartbreaking about it is that it even had to happen, that it took this settlement of, you know, several million dollars to get the institutional church to acknowledge what it had known what going on for decades.

What is heartbreaking is what had to happen to these victims, in spite of the fact that there were negotiations. And the fact remains that they are brutalized when they go through the legal process to get to where they are.

ZAHN: Does the church hierarchy, Father Reese, just not get it, or is there complete arrogance?

REESE: Well, I think that the church hierarchy gets it now much better than it did in the past. The bishops got together in Dallas 2 1/2 years ago and set up a charter that defined for them and set the regulations for them on how to respond and how to deal with child sexual abuse.

I think that, you know, the bishops have their act together now pretty well in responding to any abuse that occurs now. The problem in Orange County was abuse that took place 30, 40 years ago. And, at that time, the church was terrible in responding to this abuse. And, you know, the abuse itself was terrible, as Edward said, but it was the response of church leaders that really made it even worse for the victims.

And, you know, and, now, I think we see that bishops are getting it and that they realize that, for the good of the victims and also for the good of the church itself, they have to respond compassionately and swiftly in dealing with these cases.

ZAHN: Father Doyle, what Father Reese just says he thinks the bishops get it. The fact is, a lot of Catholics feel, until the laity has more power in the church and until you give more women power, this will continue to happen. Do you agree with that assessment?

DOYLE: I agree with that assessment.

I think that -- I don't think the bishops -- I think what they get is that this issue is something that can no longer be ignored or treated as a minor issue. And I think what they get is that they can't run from it and hide it any longer. But I do believe that the truth, that the fact remains is that the bishops, in many ways, not all of -- not every one, but I think as a group, are approaching it from an organizational or administrative manner.

This is something that required, as one of your guests, Joelle, said so eloquently, it required compassion and one-on-one assistance 30 years ago, not today. Had that been done then, had they understood that this is something that's absolutely beyond devastating to human beings, to be sexually abused by a cleric, had they understood it clearly then, we would not even be sitting here tonight.

I do agree that it has exposed the whole clergy abuse nightmare over the past 20 years, has certainly exposed the fact that the lay people are furious. They're not just angry. They're furious in many quarters. And there's a significant number that are still in denial, that don't believe this is really happening. But it's exposed to the fact that they have to be included as adult members of the institutional Catholic Church, not simply people who are yes men and women who simply pay, pray and obey. They have to be part of the whole program.


ZAHN: I guess you'd all agree this settlement in Orange County certainly has to be a wakeup call to those who have been in denial about the severity of this problem.

Father Reese?

DOYLE: There have been wakeup calls all -- for the past 15, 20 years.

ZAHN: Yes. You've got that right. I guess different gradations of seriousness here that we're addressing here this evening.

Fathers, thank you both. Appreciate your time.

DOYLE: Thank you.

ZAHN: Coming up next, we turn to a question that's been hanging in the air for three years now. Where is Osama bin Laden? Has the trail gone cold?

We'll look at that straight out of the break.


ZAHN: And welcome back.

Today, as the president nominated Bernard Kerik to be secretary of homeland security, he noted Kerik's leadership as New York's police commissioner on September 11, 2001. The president said Bernard Kerik understands the challenges America now faces, a sentiment echoed by Kerik himself.


BERNARD KERIK, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY NOMINEE: There isn't a day that has passed since the morning of September 11 that I haven't thought of the sacrifices of those heroes and the losses we all suffered. I promise you, Mr. President, that both the memory of those courageous souls and the horrors I saw inflicted upon our proud nation, will serve as permanent reminders of the awesome responsibility you place in my charge.


ZAHN: And assuming he will be confirmed, one of Bernard Kerik's main concerns will be getting bin Laden. And that concern will be addressed tomorrow when President Bush meets with the president of Pakistan.

Andrea Koppel has that story.


ANDREA KOPPEL, CNN STATE DEPARTMENT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): With its mountainous terrain and ancient tribal culture, South Waziristan in Pakistan top the list of most likely hiding places for Osama bin Laden and other senior al Qaeda leaders.

But two years after Pakistan's military mounted an unprecedented campaign to hunt down bin Laden, a Pakistani general made a surprising announcement recently. Pakistan's military would withdraw from the Waziristan's provincial capital because bin Laden, he said, wasn't there.

LT. GEN. SAFDAR HUSSAIN, CHIEF OF NORTHWEST PAKISTAN: If he was here in the tribal areas, I can assure that he wouldn't have escaped my eyes and ears.

KOPPEL: Other Pakistani officials quickly denied the trail for bin Laden had run cold, insisting they have more than 70,000 Pakistani forces deployed along the Afghan border and have incurred hundreds of casualties.

(on camera): But on the eve the President Pervez Musharraf's meeting with President Bush, White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan suggested ever so gently:

SCOTT MCCLELLAN, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Well, I think there is always more that can be done.

KOPPEL (voice-over): Paula Zahn sat down with President Musharraf several months ago and discussed the hunt for bin Laden.

ZAHN: Is the United States putting increased pressure on your government to find Osama bin Laden before our national elections?

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF, PAKISTANI PRESIDENT: No, not at all. There is no pressure on us whatsoever. And how can there be pressure on us? What pressure? I mean, we are operating with all our might, with all our forces.

KOPPEL: Musharraf himself has been the target of several al Qaeda-linked assassination attempts. This videotape from South Waziristan obtained by CNN has an unmistakable message.

Hamid Mir, a prominent Pakistani journalist, says Musharraf intends to ask President Bush to beef up U.S. forces in Eastern Afghanistan.

HAMID MIR, JOURNALIST: That the U.S. Army should put pressure on al Qaeda from Afghan side. We will put pressure on al Qaeda from Pakistan side. We will squeeze them and then we can get some of them.

PETER BERGEN, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: What happens in Pakistan is absolutely critical with what happens in the war on terrorism. If Pakistan is not serious about going after al Qaeda, we have a huge problem.


ZAHN: That was Andrea Koppel reporting for us tonight.

Once again, our question of the day is: Can the U.S. win the war on terror if bin Laden isn't captured or killed? Please vote now at We'll share the results with you at the end of the hour. And from national security to our national pastime, baseball, and the scandal that now threatens the legacy of super slugger Barry Bonds.

That's next.


ZAHN: Well, the dirty secrets of American sports is further unraveling. The steroid scandal spread to some of the nation's biggest stars, thanks to leaked grand jury testimony and the words of the man at the center of a federal investigation. Victor Conte founded a San Francisco lab called Balco. He's now accused of dealing steroids and other illegal drugs to athletes. Well, this week, Conte said he supplied drugs to Olympic gold medalist Marion Jones, one of the fastest women in the world. And Conte says he was sitting, quote, "a foot away from her as she injected human growth hormone into her leg." While Marion Jones has repeatedly denied using steroids and so has the best player in baseball, Barry Bonds. But, today, he became the focus of the scandal, putting his many accomplishments in question. Larry Smith reports.


LARRY SMITH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Who is Barry Bonds? Nineteen years ago, he was a slender, speedy first round draft pick of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Son of former major league all-star Bobby Bonds destined to surpass his father's legacy, bold enough and talented enough to dream of challenging that of his Hall of Fame godfather Willie Mace. As Bond's stature in the game has grown so has his reputation of being surly with reporters.

BARRY BONDS, BASEBALL PLAYER: Next question. Next question because it was stupid.

SMITH: Lukewarm even with teammates and colleagues. Barry has never cozied up to the public. He has done it his way and advertisers have stayed away from signing him up as their pitch man. The storm over steroids won't help. Bonds reportedly testified before the grand jury that he used a clear substance and a cream given to him by close friend and trainer Greg Anderson. His attorney Mike Rains had this to say this afternoon.

MICHAEL RAINS, BARRY BONDS' ATTORNEY: He doesn't know they were steroids. My client is hardly a chemist. My client was told to take flaxseed oil. This is a clear substance. He had no reason to disbelieve his best friend. So, no, I don't acknowledge my client took steroids. I won't. He won't.

SMITH: Since joining the Giants, Bonds has become the best player of his era and arguably the greatest of all time. At age 40 when most athletes have either retired or are playing with diminished skills, Bonds is actually improving. He recently earned his fourth consecutive MVP award giving him a record seven overall. As the most feared player in baseball history, this year, Bonds drew a record 232 walks. And became just the third player to hit 700 career home runs. He will go into the 2005 season just 11 homers shy of catching Babe Ruth for second on the all-time list and only 52 away from Hank Aaron's record of 755. But will Bonds' records be tainted?

FAY VINCENT, FMR. MLB COMMISSIONER: Here is a man who is at the peak of baseball history. He's about to go by Henry Aaron. He's about to go by Babe Ruth in terms of home runs in a career. And, yet, look what this will mean to him. His legacy is almost certainly hurt. He'll never be able to prove that his performance was not enhanced by drugs. I don't think you'll see him on a Wheaties box or in a Coca- Cola ad and those things will add up. Nobody gets away with this. I mean, I think the drug policy is flawed, but these guys are paying a very severe price.

SMITH: Will Bonds be stripped of his accomplishments to date? History says no. Shoeless Joe Jackson might have been chased from the game a year after the Black Sox gambling scandal of 1919 and banned from the hall of fame, but his numbers remain. Darryl Strawberry battled drug addiction through most of his career but is on next year's ballot for induction into the hall of fame. And since baseball's limited testing for steroids is relatively new, there is no way to prove which of Bonds' records may be tainted.

Who is Barry Bonds? Despite the controversy, he has, so far, remained the game's greatest modern icon in the eyes of some fans and most likely in the eyes of baseball history.


ZAHN: That was Larry Smith reporting for us. Joining me now from Jackson, Mississippi, a former teammate of Barry Bonds, Jeff Brantley, who spent 14 years in the Major Leagues and is now an analyst and a very good one at that for ESPN. Welcome.

JEFF BRANTLEY, ANALYST, ESPN: How are you doing, Paula?

ZAHN: I'm fine, thanks. You just heard Barry Bonds' attorney basically denying that his client used steroids, saying he used flaxseed oil, another explanation that he thought his client is using. Arthritis cream, does that even pass the laugh test?

BRANTLEY: Well, Paula, let me ask you something. If you've got a nutritionist, you've got a dietitian, you've got two trainers, you've got someone who runs with you to make sure that you run right, you've got someone that works out with you to make sure that you work out right, wouldn't you think that they would know the difference between flaxseed oil and what Barry Bonds was actually taking?

ZAHN: Well, you'd think they would, but do you think they did know that?

BRANTLEY: I think they definitely knew that.

ZAHN: So what does this mean to Barry Bonds' records? Will they hold?

BRANTLEY: Well, I think that they will, Paula, simply because we have -- we have not ever had testing in baseball that is going to prove otherwise. And I don't know that we're going to have it any time soon. We didn't test when we had the drug issues back in the seventies. We didn't have any problems with the amphetamine deals. When Ken Caminiti went down, you know what, nobody cared. Do you know when they cared about Ken? Is when he was playing on the baseball field and he was the MVP. That's really all they care about. When you hit the home runs and you're a great player, that's what people care about.

ZAHN: But don't you think these are different times and that people will care about this record being tainted? Particularly with all of these very public allegations.

BRANTLEY: I don't think that they will. I think if they did, I think Barry Bonds comes out next year at the ballpark and plays the same type of game that he's done in the past and you know what? He's going to get a standing ovation and everybody is going to love him because he hits the ball over the fence. Everybody loves offense. Now, if you want to get right down to it and Barry says, well, I used steroids, but nobody -- nobody tested me for it. Nobody can prove that I did or I didn't. And to be honest with you, until we actually have a testing program that is going to say, OK, you did this, this, and this, guess what? We don't know whether he did it or not, other than the fact we have to go by his word. The only reason that Jason Giambi came out and said that is because of what has already happened to him. He's on his own, actually.

ZAHN: Sure. Jeff, finally tonight, at what point do players who are not abusing any of this stuff band together and say, look, we're going to take on the players union. We're tired of being humiliated in front of American public. We got to put a stop to this.

BRANTLEY: We went through the same thing with the drug issue many years ago. I served on the executive board. We went through the same issues at that time as the executive board is facing now. The bottom line is is who is going to point the finger? How do you point a finger if -- let's say that you're a Scott Rolen and you play third base for the St. Louis Cardinals, you've never touched anything in your life and you're a great ballplayer. How do you point a finger at anybody that's using steroids when there is no proof? Testing is the only way we're going to have proof.

ZAHN: You raise some very interesting issues for us all to consider. Jeff Brantley, thank you for your time tonight.

BRANTLEY: All right, Paula.

ZAHN: Good to see you. Well, there has also been a storm of controversy and record fines for indecency in broadcasting but the air waves still hum with offensive programs so who is offended and why is no one stopping them? When we come back.


ZAHN: The battle over the public airwaves is heating up again. Recently during a radio call-in show, radio shock jock Howard Stern confronted FCC chairman Michael Powell, accusing him of being a danger to free speech.

Stern has been cited by the FCC for making indecent comments on his show.

And in an op-ed piece in today's "New York Times," Powell said the law requires the FCC to regulate indecent content on public airwaves. He writes, "We do not watch or listen to programs hoping to catch purveyors of dirty broadcasts. Instead, we rely on public complaints."

Well, the FCC's indecency rules apply to broadcast TV and radio, because they use public airwaves. That doesn't apply to cable. But while explicit content may be out, there is some very offensive programming the FCC can't touch.

Here's Thelma Gutierrez.


THELMA GUTIERREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): From Los Angeles to Chicago to Seattle, something in the air is making some people squirm.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get 'em all right now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go on back to Israel.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you refer to Condoleezza Rice as Aunt Jemima?

GUTIERREZ: It is shock radio, where these derogatory and racial slurs go beyond the usual controversial talk to build ratings.

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D), CALIFORNIA: In my view, there shouldn't be any room for those kind of remarks on the radio.

GUTIERREZ: California Congressman Adam Schiff is not alone. Last month's presidential election showed some of the country is very concerned about values and morality, especially over the airwaves.

Who can forget the outrage over Janet Jackson's exposed breasts seen during the Super Bowl halftime show on CBS? It's clear, sexually explicit material on air is not tolerated, but most everything else is fair game on the public airwaves.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Drop the bomb. Kill everybody.

GUTIERREZ: But what about derogatory racist comments? On November 12, during Yasser Arafat's funeral, this was said against Palestinians on Don Imus' national radio show.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're all brainwashed, though. That's what it is. And they're stupid to begin with, but they're brainwashed. Stinking animals. They ought to drop the bomb right there, kill them all right now.

GUTIERREZ: Los Angeles rabbi Steven Jacobs says he's deeply bothered by this kind of talk.

RABBI STEVE JACOBS, TEMPLE KOL TIKVAH: If the same attack were to throw a bomb on blacks or Jews, there would be an outrage in the organized community.

GUTIERREZ: Johnny Angel has his own radio show in Los Angeles. He says he's trying to do something about what he refers to as hate on radio.

JOHNNY ANGEL, LOS ANGELES RADIO HOST: I'm not saying I'm the greatest talk radio host that ever lived, I don't have a bad bone in my body, but I would never resort to this kind of crap, never.

REV. LEONARD JACKSON, FIRST AME CHURCH: People of like minds must come together on these issues.

GUTIERREZ: The Reverend Leonard Jackson of the First AME Church in Los Angeles, Rabbi Jacobs and Hussam Ayoush of CAIR, the Council of Islamic-American Relations, launched a joint effort to put a stop to hate talk.

JACKSON: We must be concerned when one minority is depicted as the so-called enemy. OK? We must stand up for the right of all minorities.

HUSSAM AYOUSH, CAIR: Whether it's the Latinos, the African- Americans, the Jews, the Polish. Today it happens to be the Arabs.

GUTIERREZ: In March, a skit about the Iraqi constitution aired on a Los Angeles radio station, which later issued an apology.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Section 5: Everybody in the name of Allah should be given 72 virgins upon entering heaven. The virgins, however, will not be hairy Iraqi women but lovely Japanese schoolgirls.

AYOUSH: It's extremely hurtful. One has to wonder, isn't there a way to poke fun at politics and political affairs and current affairs without having to resort to dehumanizing and ridiculing?

JACOBS: How do we profess values of how we treat one another? Thou shall not hate another in thy heart.

GUTIERREZ: After complaints were filed, an FCC spokesman told us they have no jurisdiction over racism on airwaves. Offensive as the slurs may be, they are protected by the First Amendment, and so those complaints go nowhere.

SCHIFF: It really is kind of a terrible irony of the current situation, that you can prohibit the showing of Janet Jackson's breasts on a halftime demonstration, but you can't prohibit hate filled, racist speech that many people would find far more destructive.

GUTIERREZ: But the congressman says there is plenty the public can do, like writing letters to stations and boycotting products. SCHIFF: The only really effective way of dealing with this problem is organizing the power of the dollar to force this content off the radio and off television.


ZAHN: That was Thelma Gutierrez reporting for us.

Joining me from Washington, Ibrahim Hooper, the communications director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations. Mr. Hooper's organization complained to the FCC about Don Imus' November 12 show.

Also joining us from Washington tonight, conservative radio talk show host, Armstrong Williams.

Great to have both of you with us.


ZAHN: Armstrong, I'm going to start with you this evening and quickly review what Don Imus said on his show about Palestinians, calling them brainwashed, stinking animals: "They ought to drop the bomb, kill them all right now."

Does it make sense to you that nudity or partial nudity is off limits, but this kind of language can go unchallenged?

WILLIAMS: Yes, it does.

ZAHN: Why?

WILLIAMS: The highest form of protected speech in this country is political speech. It should never be curtailed. I would never use it. You would not. I find it to be offensive.

But that's the beauty of the freedom of speech. It's what separates us from any other country in the world is the beauty that we have the freedom to express whatever we believe, whether it's offensive, whether it's derogatory.


ZAHN: But Armstrong...

WILLIAMS: ... as the Congressman said, if we don't like it, let the marketplace decide.

But when it comes to nudity and indecency, the bar is much lower for that kind of behavior and activity than it is for political speech.

ZAHN: Would you let that kind of language used -- be used on your show, Armstrong?

WILLIAMS: No, absolutely not. I wouldn't use it. But I would defend someone else's right to use it, even though I hate it and despise it. That's the meaning of freedom.

ZAHN: OK. But what if that same guest used slurs against blacks and used the "N" word?

WILLIAMS: They do it to themselves. Everyone does it. That is nothing new. We've had these debates where blacks use it against each other. Whites have used it. Everybody uses it.

But I would fight for their rights just as much as I would for anybody else. You cannot have where you curtail some freedoms and then allow others to express theirs. You've got to have a consistent policy on this.

And I think the FCC is right. They should stay out of it. It's no place for them. They should regulate issues of indecency like Janet Jackson and ESPN and Nicolette Sheridan.

But when it comes to political speech, we should always fight to protect that, because that's what gives us the kind of freedom and the kind of power we have as Americans, free citizens, that separates us from the rest of the world.

ZAHN: Ibrahim, you just heard what Armstrong had to say. How would you police this?

IBRAHIM HOOPER, COUNCIL ON AMERICAN-ISLAMIC RELATIONS: Well, it's not so much a matter of policing. We're firm believers in the First Amendment.

But the First Amendment is a two-way street. Somebody is free to be a bigot or a racist, as we see everyday, but we're also free to protest. We're free to go to the advertisers. We're free to go to the companies that own these programs and distribute these programs, as hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people contacted the Imus program and MSNBC and NBC to express their concerns.

ZAHN: Do you think it will make any difference in the debate at all?

HOOPER: It makes a difference. I think when people don't challenge hate speech, it's perceived as normal. It's legitimized. And unfortunately, in the post-9/11 era, we've seen the legitimatization of anti-Muslim hate speech. And that's something we need to speak out about, because silence means consent.

ZAHN: All right. But, Armstrong, we also need to make the distinction here that we're really talking about radio and public airwaves. Cable television is a different thing altogether.

The bottom line here tonight, Armstrong Williams, is it really a two-way street?

WILLIAMS: Listen. There are contradictions. There -- there's inconsistency. Obviously, I would like to see them have the same policy for cable. But it's different, because they feel that is something you decide to buy and purchase. It's not open airwaves where just anybody can access it.

I think -- you know, I find it offensive. It upsets me. I get really disturbed. I hear it. But I would defend their right to say it.

But most Americans are decent. Ninety percent of us would never say those things because we don't feel that way. But we should defend the right of the 10 percent that want to say it. It creates a debate.

And like the rabbi -- like the imam said, we should protest. We should go to advertisers, but I would never, ever not defend their right to say those bigoted, ugly things that they say. That is a part of being America -- Americans in this country.

ZAHN: In closing tonight, you agree this, obviously, it stokes the debate, but you also think this could lead to unintended consequences, you think, like violence? A brief answer on that, sir.

HOOPER: Well, we see it every day. We just saw it near Richmond, Virginia, a gas station burned down, anti-Muslim, anti-Arab graffiti left at the scene. And we think they were attacked because they were Sikhs. They weren't even Muslim, but they wear a turban, so bigots, not being brain surgeons, think anybody who wears a turban is an Arab or a Muslim.

So we see the results of this kind of rhetoric.

ZAHN: And you see those slurs, you think, being repeated on radio, and maybe leading people to some of those actions.

Ibrahim Hooper, Armstrong Williams, thank you both for joining us tonight.

WILLIAMS: Thank you.

ZAHN: Well, 'tis the season for giving. The streets are filled with reminders of the holiday spirit. So this one ought to ring your bell. Target stores saying no to the Salvation Army. We'll explain why.


ZAHN: Welcome back.

An old Christmas tradition looks a little different this holiday season in some stores across the South. Standing next to the Salvation Army's red kettles, cardboard bell ringers. Not enough volunteers, it seems, to help out.

And another change of tradition. Shoppers won't find those kettles outside Target stores.

Some thoughts now from Tom Foreman on a decision that is baffling a lot of people.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the most important sales season of the year, when merchants scratch and claw for every dollar, one of the biggest retailers, Target, may have stumbled into a public relations mess.

Target has grabbed headlines and apparently infuriated customers coast-to-coast by banning Salvation Army bell ringers. That's right. Crack open that vintage case of New Coke and fire up the Betamax. This is one of those corporate decisions, which seems to defy common sense.

(on camera) Salvation Army volunteers have collected change outside of shopping areas for more than a century to help poor people. But Target says on its web site their company gets so many requests from various charities to use the property, including some charities which customers may not like, they finally had to say no to everyone.

(voice-over) A special recording on the customer service line says Target still wants to help the Salvation Army.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This decision, in no way, diminishes Target corporation's commitment to its communities.

FOREMAN: And they add they told the Salvation Army all about this almost a year ago.

Still, Mervyn's, which was also considering banning the bells, just yesterday, said, "Hold your horses, Ebenezer Scrooge," and has re-welcomed the Salvation Army back to all of its stores saying, "A commitment to the communities where we do business is important to us."

Make no mistake about it, Target gives a fortune to charities: $2 million a week, according to the company, and some of that money goes to the Salvation Army.

(on camera) But last year, Salvation Army bell ringers pulled in $93 million, about a tenth of that in front of Target stores, standing in the cold and the rain and the snow, collecting money for food, shelter, clothing, for poor people.

(voice-over) After an election in which Americans reasserted their concern about values, even appearing to step on an iconic Christian charity at Christmas time seems like a very bad idea.

But despite threats of boycotts by national Christian groups, Target says its decision will stand and the bell ringers won't stand here anymore.


ZAHN: Tom Foreman reporting for us.

The late night comics are very much in the Christmas spirit, though, with a little politics in the mix.


JAY LENO, HOST, "THE TONIGHT SHOW": The president and Laura Bush sent out a record two million Christmas cards this year, President Bush and Laura, two million Christmas cards. Whereas, President Clinton only send out 500,000 Christmas cards but to be fair, President Clinton did send out nearly five million Valentine cards. So that's...

DAVID LETTERMAN, HOST, "LATE NIGHT WITH DAVID LETTERMAN": Earlier tonight down in Washington, they had the lighting of the national White House Christmas tree. They threw the switch and the tree came to life. And it worked so well, they're going to try the same thing with Dick Cheney.


ZAHN: Ouch! The results of our question of the day when we come back.


ZAHN: Now on to the results from our question of the day. We asked, "Can the U.S. win the war on terror if Osama bin Laden isn't captured or killed?" Twenty-one percent of you said yes; 79 percent said no.

As always, not a scientific poll. Just a sampling of your opinion, at least those of you that logged on.

That wraps it up for all of us here this evening. Thanks so much for joining us tonight. Appreciate your dropping by. "LARRY KING LIVE" is next with psychics who say they can solve crimes.

Have a great weekend. Hope you'll be back with us again Monday night. We'll be here.


International Edition
CNN TV CNN International Headline News Transcripts Advertise With Us About Us
   The Web     
Powered by
© 2005 Cable News Network LP, LLLP.
A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines. Contact us.
external link
All external sites will open in a new browser. does not endorse external sites.
 Premium content icon Denotes premium content.
Add RSS headlines.