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PAULA ZAHN NOW

Interview With Ward Churchill; NFL Under Pressure to Conform to Decency Standards

Aired February 4, 2005 - 20:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


PAULA ZAHN, HOST: Thanks so much. And thank you all for joining us tonight. Welcome.
Among some of the stories we're following tonight, the campaign to get sex off your TV and the raging debate over free speech.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN (voice-over): On a Colorado campus, passionate opinions.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I stand up for the Constitution.

ZAHN: Raw emotions.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everyone of you that's standing here doing nothing...

ZAHN: Over a professor who pushes all the limits, who says we had it coming on 9/11.

Tonight, my exclusive interview with Ward Churchill. Where are the lines when it comes to free speech?

And if you're looking forward to the Super Bowl, so is he.

BRENT BOZELL, MEDIA RESEARCH CENTER: If I see something that deliberately is offensive, you bet you I'm going to speak up.

ZAHN: Too much sex? Not enough clothes. They're glued to the tube on a mission to clean up the airwaves one show at a time. Tonight on PAULA ZAHN NOW.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: The First Amendment guarantees our right to free speech, but sometimes speaking freely can provoke a much stronger reaction than you ever intended. And that is what is happening to university professor Ward Churchill whose comments about 9/11 are being denounced as evil and inflammatory. That may cost him his job. I'll be speaking with him in a couple of minutes.

But first, let's look at some of what he's written. You'll understand immediately why it is so controversial.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) ZAHN (voice-over): September 11, while the nation was coming to grips with the horrific images in New York, Shanksville and at the Pentagon, one American was putting his thoughts to paper. Calling victims of the terrorist attacks "little Eichmanns," in a direct comparison To Hitler henchman and Holocaust engineer Adolf Eichmann.

His name, Ward Churchill, a Native-American activist, Vietnam veteran, and tenured professor with the University of Colorado's ethnic studies program.

Churchill's September 11 essay went on to describe Pentagon victims as quote, "military targets, pure and simple." And characterized some of the World Trade Center victims not as innocent but as quote, "braying, self-importantly into their cell phones arranging power lunches and stock transactions."

That essay was later expanded into a book which went largely unnoticed until last month when the Colorado professor was invited to speak at Hamilton College in upstate New York.

The national media soon picked up on it. And by Monday, Churchill bowed to pressure, stepping down as chairman of the ethnic study program.

In the interest of free speech, Hamilton College officials initially vowed to honor their invitation to Churchill despite pressure from New York governor George Pataki.

GOV. GEORGE PATAKI, (R) NEW YORK: Let him speak. Let him say his hatred, spew his hatred, let him put out his support for terrorism, but not at a respected forum here in New York.

ZAHN: And by Tuesday, Hamilton College officials canceled the event.

Back on the Colorado campus, protests against Churchill...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everyone around here is welcome to come sign our petition to have this mad man fired.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's still being a cheerleader for terrorism. He's still saying they should attack us again. Nothing has changed.

ZAHN: And matched by counterprotests.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE; Professors should be allowed to express their feeling and thoughts and ideas.

ZAHN: And the fact he remains an active professor doesn't sit well with Colorado Governor Bill Owens.

GOV. BILL OWENS, (R) COLORADO: When you say in essence they had it coming and they deserved it, that is beyond what we should be paying for through our tuition and through our taxes to the University of Colorado. If he had any sense of moral authority, he would have resigned. ZAHN: Earlier this week, Colorado state legislators approved a resolution condemning Professor Churchill calling his remarks evil and inflammatory.

TED HARVEY, COLORADO STATE HOUSE: And we do not accept the pronouncements of Professor Churchill, rather we denounce them as being being disgusting, vulgar, repugnant.

ZAHN: But throughout the firestorm, many of his colleagues have defended his right to free speech.

PROF. EMMA PEREZ, UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO: We asked the faculty and the Department of Ethnic Studies at the University of Colorado Boulder stand in full and unconditional support of our colleague Ward Churchill's freedom of expression and first amendment rights.

ZAHN: Churchill himself says he's received more than 100 death threats. And claims that his truck was vandalized. His daily life now is in the media spotlight.

WARD CHURCHILL, UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO: I am going to think about my class. Get out of my (EXPLETIVE DELETED) face.

ZAHN: Yesterday, an emergency meeting of University of Colorado regents erupted into chaos. The regents will spend the next 30 days reviewing Churchill's speech and writings before making any decisions about his fate. In the meantime, the regents apologize to the nation for the writings of their professor.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: Given the chance to speak freely about Ward Churchill's opinions many New Yorkers would start with a Bronx cheer. And that's a loud one. But they won't get a chance do it in person. His speaking engagement, as we mentioned, at a college in upstate New York was canceled this week sparking a whole new debate about freedom of speech.

Here is Maria Hinojosa.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MARIA HINOJOSA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Even at picturesque Hamilton College, 5 hours north of New York City, the events of September 11 were never far away from Matthew Coppo. His father died in the Twin Towers.

MATTHEW COPPO, FATHER KILLED ON 9/11: It's a little remembrance thing that -- it has been 3 years, but it doesn't seem like three years.

HINOJOSA: So he was angry when he read in the campus newspaper that Ward Churchill had been invited to speak at his college. The Colorado professor who once wrote that the people who died September 11, like his father, were not innocent victims. COPPO: For him to stand up and preach that all the September 11 victims deserved it and then to reference them to Nazis, I don't understand why the school would want to give him that.

HINOJOSA: Coppo wanted him disinvited and a debate broke out on campus over Churchill's right to free speech. The national media was not far behind. And soon there were death threats against the school president and the controversial speaker.

JOAN STEWART, PRES. HAMILTON COLLEGE: At this point, the question of security outweighed the right of any particular individual to speak. And I had reluctantly to cancel the event.

HINOJOSA: Churchill's speech was canceled. But the night he was supposed to speak, students continued the debate around campus in forums closed to the media and the public who students felt had hijacked their debate. They signed a free speech banner and donned t- shirts saying the mark of an educated mind is that it can entertain an idea without accepting it.

Thomas Acampora, also lost friends and co-workers on September 11, he says he's disgusted by Churchill's writings, but wanted an opportunity to challenge him.

THOMAS ACAMPORA, STUDENT: It is at the heart of this academic community that we engage views that we don't find that hurt us, that upset us, that make us angry.

HINOJOSA: Nancy Rabinowitz that invited Churchill to the campus.

NANCY RABINOWITZ, PROFESSOR, HAMILTON COLLEGE: The irony is that this was a conversation that was to be held about the limits of dissent. And now we see the limits enforced by the terrorist threat of violence.

HINOJOSA: The debate also continued on the pages of the campus newspaper, which questioned whether a college should let violence silence speech.

BRITTEN CHASE, COLUMNIST, THE SPECTATOR: People can threaten violence now. And they can have an impact on what will be said on the college campus.

HINOJOSA: Even Matthew Coppo is unhappy with the outcome.

COPPO: It is the worst possible ending to this whole thing. I mean, if he had come, it almost would have been better just for we would have his free speech. And we would probably have a silent vigil just honoring everyone who died. And no violence whatsoever was -- no one wanted any violence. And for this -- for it to end this way was pretty terrible.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: Once again that was Maria Hinojosa giving us a sense of how college folks are reacting to this. Coming up next, you're going to meet the man at the center of this growing firestorm. Ward Churchill joins us from Denver in an exclusive interview in just a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: And welcome back. As we've seen, Professor Ward Churchill has stirred up a firestorm of controversy. He joins me now from Boulder, Colorado.

Professor, I wanted to start off by reading part of your essay. You say that it has been distorted since you wrote it. And I want to read, specifically, what you wrote about September 11, 2001.

Quote, "The Pentagon building and those inside compromise military targets, pure and simple. As those in the World Trade Center, they were civilians of a sort, but innocent, give me a break. They formed a technocratic core at the very heart of America's global financial . to which the military dimension of U.S. policy has always been enslaved. And they did so both willingly and knowingly..."

Then you go on to say. "If there was a better, more effective, or in fact any other way of visiting some penalty befitting the participation upon the little Eichmann's inhabiting the sterile sanctuary of the Twin Towers, I'd be interesting in hearing about it."

Those are direct quotes from your essay. You have described it as stream of consciousness writing right after the attacks. Are there any words you would change in that today?

WARD CHURCHILL, COLORADO UNIVERSITY: Actually not. I would probably add a few words to explain the meaning of the "little Eichmanns" phrase. But in terms of changing it, I wouldn't. The reference was to -- the thesis on banality of evil that was produced by Hannah Arendt a long time ago.

ZAHN: Let's come back to your "little Eichmann" comment for a moment. We're going to put that back up on the screen so you can help us understand what you really meant.

In essence you're calling the 9/11 victims little Eichmann, referring to Adolf Eichmann, of course, who organized the deportation of Jews into the concentration camps. Can you understand why 9/11 families are outraged by this as well as anybody who has any experience with the Holocaust?

CHURCHILL: Actually, I think you're wrong in some part on both counts. But, yes, in general, I can understand the sense of outrage and that's what I was attempting to engender. I wanted to engender a response comparable by that experienced and manifested by peoples elsewhere when they are treated in a similar fashion as a matter of course in the U.S.

ZAHN: How can you possibly equate...

(CROSSTALK) ZAHN: ...professor, how can you possibly equate the activities going on in the World Trade Center, people waiting on tables at the windows on the World Restaurant, police officers on duty that day, stockbrokers, with the actions of Adolf Eichmann?

CHURCHILL: You are, I believe, mixing apples and oranges there. I don't believe that there...

ZAHN: I'm just reading what you wrote.

CHURCHILL: Any reasonable definition by which you can consider a food service worker or janitor or even a fireman or a random passerby as being a member of a technocratic core. How do you to define pushing a broom as being a technical operation? It was rather clearly stated who I was talking about.

ZAHN: How do you say that, sir? I'm going to put that back up one more time on the screen.

CHURCHILL: OK.

ZAHN: I'm curious how you think of someone reading this would see any differentiation between anybody working in the building that day. I mean, basically you said befitting their participation upon the little Eichmanns inhabiting the sterile sanctuary of the Twin Towers.

CHURCHILL: And immediately before that I had made reference to a technocratic core. Is there a definition that I'm unaware of by which a janitor becomes a technician? Or a food service worker become a technician of empire? It's reasonably restrictive articulation. It could perhaps be clearer.

(CROSSTALK)

ZAHN: But what can you say to them to make that clearer? What would you want people to understand?

CHURCHILL: The people who perform the technical functions that results in the impoverishment, immiseration and ultimately the deaths of millions in order to maximize profit. and I don't believe that there is any reasonable definition by which food service workers, firemen, janitors, children, random passerby fit that definition. And it is clearly articulated. You just read it.

But I would have gone further to explain the Eichmann reference to be a framed by Hannah Arendt that Eichmann was essentially a bureaucrat, a a technician. He killed no one, but he performed technical functions with a great degree of proficiency and full knowledge that the outcome of his endeavor would be essentially mass murder.

ZAHN: Let me come back...

CHURCHILL: And I don't believe it is any great mystery that there is cost and consequence to the way the U.S. does businesses work as usual and its projection of economic dominance upon the planet. I think that's a reasonably clear proposition.

ZAHN: Let me come back to the victims of 9/11 one more time. Because I have had the opportunity to speak with many outraged family members. They have read this essay over and over again. And here is what really upset them.

You went on in the essay to say that 9/11 terrorists were not cowards, they were not fanatics and that their actions were not insane but actually, in your words, a normal response. I don't know how anybody could view a terrorist act as a normal response.

CHURCHILL: I think I also used the term gallant in that connection. And it was done as part of a strategy to evoke the response that has been evoked. I was using the same sort of nomenclature and definition that would, for example, designate someone who is sitting at a computer console on a missile frigate 1,500 miles away from a target pushing a button to send death and destruction down upon whoever happens to be in the target zone, be they a civilian, be they noncivilian, whatever, and then designate them a hero.

ZAHN: Well you have succeed in evoking a response, sir.

And how can you not say that your writings constitute being proterrorist? You've heard the governor of New York accuse you of that, the governor of Colorado and even some of the folks you just heard in the pieces we aired.

CHURCHILL: I think terrorism as a phenomena should be quelled. But if you deal with any phenomena, you first must define, and more importantly understand it. And what I'm saying this is a perfectly comprehensive response to the way the U.S. projects itself in the world. It is as simple as that.

When you are not only causing the incurrence of -- when you're causing children to die in mass numbers somewhere else and you refer that as to being something worth the price, or when you designate the civilian casualties in another country as being so much collateral damage, you've utterly devalue and dehumanize those people in addition to killing them.

ZAHN: But, sir, you're not saying that there is a parallel universe between terrorists purposefully striking innocent civilians and governments -- are you accusing U.S. government of purposefully killing innocent Iraqi women and children? Is that what you're saying here?

CHURCHILL: I do know that the Pentagon sits and does computations on the extent of collateral damage to be anticipated. And that collateral damage is actually human beings, civilians, noncombatants. And yes, they are factoring it in.

ZAHN: Factoring in. But does that mean they want to kill them? That they want to do that on purpose? Or that happens as a result of a military target.

CHURCHILL: I don't know the people of 9/11 specifically wanted to kill everybody that was killed. It was just worth it to them in order to do what it was they decided it was necessary to do that bystanders be killed. And that's essentially the same mentality, the same rubric.

And yes, I do believe that that is official state terrorism when you do computations of collateral damage. I also believe the United States is conscious that it is a war crime and it doesn't care, because there is no one to impose the rule of law upon it. It acts as a unilateralist fashion.

ZAHN: All right. So, you're telling me tonight, in spite of everything you've written, you're against terrorism?

CHURCHILL: I am against terrorism.

ZAHN: So if you're against terrorism -- I'm sorry, I still don't understand. You're saying on one hand the terrorism directed against the United States was justified. So, why isn't that being proterrorist?

CHURCHILL: I didn't say they were justified. I didn't actually say that.

ZAHN: They had it coming, basically what you said.

CHURCHILL: I didn't actually say that either. You can adduce from the Eichmann metaphor or analogy what you might believe to be the fate they had coming, but I didn't actually say that. What I did say...

ZAHN: Yeah, but it sounds to me you just said you wanted to provoke us. That's what you wanted us to induce, isn't it?

CHURCHILL: I wanted you to be provoked, you in a generic sense, to understand the nature of the response elsewhere when people are treated that way. This is not my voice, this is the voice of logic attending the event I was hearing the morning of 9/11.

And remember, this piece was originally written on 9/11 at the request of Indie (ph) Journal. It said, we need a gut response to this very rapidly.

And CNN no less than any other network before the buildings came down was already describing this as being senseless. And I'm saying to myself how can they know that? Senseless means with no purpose. How do we know they had no purpose? We can agree with it, we can disagree with it, but that's an absolute misrepresentation of the reality. What is the purpose and why? That's what...

ZAHN: All right, I want to come back...

(CROSSTALK)

ZAHN: I want to come back to the whole issue surrounding 9/11 families. Tonight, you said you wouldn't take back anything...

CHURCHILL: Actually, I would like to finish that answer, if you don't mind.

ZAHN: ... you've written. Well, let me just say this. Tonight, I think you're more clearly laying out what you in your judgment constitute victims on 9/11. Do you think you owe an apology to the families who read the same essay...

(CROSSTALK)

ZAHN: ... I read who thought that you were referring to their loved ones, the waiters in restaurants, the janitors in the building, as somehow being responsible for kind of fueling the military industrial complex?

CHURCHILL: I don't believe I owe them an apology, because I don't believe I included their families, the people you're talking about, in. I think some other people have very conscientiously attempted to put those words in my mouth. And I think it may be that quite a number of people who have been impugning things to me that I didn't actually say could well and truly owe an apology. Media sources that have me calling for the deaths of millions of Americans. Nowhere in there do I do that.

My object is to figure out if we're going to solve this problem, how to go about it. And first thing is to understand the nature of the response. And my thesis basically was that any people subjected to the kind of degradation, devaluation and dehumanization, say the Iraqis, or say the Palestinians, will either respond in kind, or people will respond in their name in kind. And it doesn't matter whether they're Arabs or they're Americans. And that actually in the last 10 days has been -- well, actually more like five days...

ZAHN: Right.

CHURCHILL: ... has been borne out pretty thoroughly.

ZAHN: OK...

CHURCHILL: There's terrorism being undertaken in the name of the 9/11 families (UNINTELLIGIBLE) outraged.

ZAHN: We have time for just one brief last question, professor. Do you think you're going to end up being fired?

CHURCHILL: Actually I don't.

ZAHN: You have said that if the University of Colorado does fire you, quote, "they don't want do that unless they want me owning this university." Does that constitute a threat?

CHURCHILL: I read that. I don't remember the statement, actually.

ZAHN: If -- that has been widely quoted in a number of different sources.

(CROSSTALK) ZAHN: Would you change what you said if that's what has been printed?

CHURCHILL: If that was what I said, it would be a wildly hyperbolic statement. I don't recall saying it. I have heard it said that I said it on Bill O'Reilly last night. And this is the way this whole process has been working. One media figure says something and attributes it to me, and then it is attributed by a number of other media figures to me.

ZAHN: All right, so what is the truth tonight?

CHURCHILL: I will contest the firing.

ZAHN: You will contest the firing. And would you sue the university?

CHURCHILL: I would contest the firing, certainly. Of course, I would sue the university, for breech of its own rules.

ZAHN: So you're saying tonight you never threatened the university?

CHURCHILL: In terms of my contract -- I'm threatening no one. There is a threat that something may be done to me. And I would respond if it were in fact done, but I don't know for a fact that there is anything of the sort going to be done. Do you?

ZAHN: I have no idea. I'm just observing from here.

CHURCHILL: Well, we're in the same boat there. They're not talking to me either.

ZAHN: Professor Ward Churchill. There certainly are a number of discussions going on with the regents in your state. We will be following it closely from here. Ward Churchill, thanks so much for your time tonight.

Coming up next, we turn to an entirely different subject -- a soldier bound to duty. He's had many close calls. He's made many sacrifices on the battlefield and at home. You'll meet him coming up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: And welcome back. We have seen the first partial results from Sunday's national election in Iraq. Voters in the southern part of the country went heavily for the political party of Iraq's top Shiite Muslim ayatollah. The secular party of interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi is running second. Results from Iraq's Sunni and Kurdish regions haven't been tallied yet.

Also, the Pentagon says three U.S. soldiers have been killed in separate incidents in Iraq over the past two days. A top defense official predicts 15,000 U.S. troops could be coming home soon, shrinking the total of U.S. forces to 135,000. But you're about to meet one soldier who is going back for a second tour of duty. As CNN's Michael Schulder reports, Sergeant Major Bob Gallagher has been in the line of fire so often, his buddies call him the Metal Magnet.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SGT. MAJ. BOB GALLAGHER: Good morning.

MICHAEL SCHULDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Good morning.

(voice-over): It is 4:00 a.m. near Ft. Stewart, Georgia, and Sergeant Major Bob Gallagher is making his wife coffee and warming her car. She has a long drive ahead of her to a fire station where she's the only woman firefighter in the county.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Bye.

B. GALLAGHER: I'll see you later on tonight. I love you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I love you too.

B. GALLAGHER: Be safe, all right? It's really foggy out.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'll be fine.

SCHULDER: Only a few more days left until Bob Gallagher heads back to the war in Iraq.

The Gallaghers' 14-year-old daughter Casey has already witnessed the toll a long deployment takes on her mother.

CASEY GALLAGHER, DAUGHTER: It is weird, because the last time he went over there, mom spent like half the time he was over there sitting in bed watching the news. And it was just crazy, because she wouldn't get up from the bed. She was really sad and all.

SCHULDER: His last time in Iraq, Sergeant Major Gallagher's leadership was tested here, beneath the overpasses of Highway 8 at the edge of Baghdad. He and his men are outnumbered by enemy forces. Gallagher is hit by shrapnel in his left calf. A fellow officer works to stop the bleeding while Gallagher limps into position and continues fighting.

Gallagher and his men prevail.

As a boy, Bob Gallagher did not seem destined to become a leader.

B. GALLAGHER: Good morning.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good morning, Sergeant Major.

B. GALLAGHER: How is it going?

I was a juvenile delinquent. My mother passed away when I was young, 6, 7 years old, left my father to raise myself and my two brothers. I did not finish high school. I just decided on my own, I'm -- either I'm going to stay in this town and probably wind up in jail, or I'm going to get up and go. And I got up and went.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How did you do on your time?

B. GALLAGHER: I did a little over three miles, 24 1/2 minutes.

SCHULDER: He joined the Army, got his high school equivalency diploma, and has risen to become the highest ranking non-commissioned officer of the 3rd Infantry Division's 1st Combat Brigade.

B. GALLAGHER: No problems last night?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, Sergeant Major.

B. GALLAGHER: OK. All right, thanks.

What's up with you? You got a break? You still got a girlfriend?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Yes. I remember her name, too.

SCHULDER: After this day's rigorous physical training, Sergeant Major Gallagher will have what some would call a "Come to Jesus" meeting, a final opportunity to impress upon the several hundred who answer to him what will be required to accomplish the mission and survive.

B. GALLAGHER: On your feet.

SCHULDER: The deployment will be long, 12 to 18 months, they're told.

B. GALLAGHER: And I'm telling you it a marathon.

SCHULDER: Twelve to 18 months of vigilance.

B. GALLAGHER: Supervise the maintenance on your vehicles, and you'll pay attention to it more when you're happy ass is on one of these trucks and it breaks down, you know, three miles down the road.

SCHULDER: Twelve to 18 months protecting each other.

B. GALLAGHER: OK, but take this to the bank, no one moves alone at any given time. Buddy teams, at a minimum.

SCHULDER: Twelve to 18 months of staying alive.

B. GALLAGHER: Helmet, groin protector, hearing protection will be worn. Gloves, ballistic eye protection. Of the 42 soldiers that have lost their eyesight, I believe that all 42 were not wearing protective lenses. It's non-negotiable platoon sergeants.

Make sure your squad leaders know and understand that. With that uniform, I can guarantee that the effects from direct fire or indirect fire will be reduced. This is the helmet I was wearing in Mogadishu. Shrapnel from an RPG blast.

SCHULDER: Twenty-three years of front-line experience, including the deadly battle in Somalia known as "Black Hawk Down" are some of the reasons Gallagher's men and women trust him.

B. GALLAGHER: But that one right there probably would have put a whooping on me.

SCHULDER: Reasons for his wife to lose sleep.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You can't take it one day at a time. It just gets too much. You know, you take it one week at a time and at the end of the month you check it off. You know? And just wait, and just wait for him to come back.

SCHULDER: One last thing we about Bob Gallagher we learned while looking at what he calls his 10 square feet of wall space where photos of his past military battles hang.

(on camera): When this is all over, if you want one more picture on that wall, what kind of picture do you envision? What would you like to see?

B. GALLAGHER: Being at a retirement ceremony upright, walking with a smile on my face, with my wife on my arm.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: Based on his performance, he'll probably get that wish. Gallagher and the 3rd Infantry Division led the charge to Baghdad in the spring of 2003. They are replacing a unit that has been losing on average 12 dead a month, and many more than that wounded.

Coming up next, the church sex abuse scandal and its devastating impact on the faithful.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would be reluctant to send my children to another archdiocese school. In fact, I won't send my children to another archdiocese school.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAHN: The fall of a former priest and the pain of its parishioners. That story when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: A jury in Boston has gone home for the weekend as it deliberates in the sex abuse trial of defrocked priest Paul Shanley. He has been called the most hated man in Massachusetts.

A former student accuses him of raping and abusing him 20 years ago, starting in the second grade. If convicted, Shanley could get life in prison. The case, of course, has shaken the Catholic Church and the whole Boston area. And for that community, it's a painful reminder of how the church has failed in its mission.

Here is Chris Huntington.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHRIS HUNTINGTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): If former priest Paul Shanley is the public face of Boston's Catholic sexual abuse scandal, then Tom and Fiona O'Brien and their twins stand for all of the Catholics in Boston now privately bearing the burden of their church official's conduct.

TOM O'BRIEN, PRESENTATION SCHOOL FOUNDATION: It's like they're in a bunker at this point in time as a result of their handling of the sexual abuse cases.

HUNTINGTON: In a bunker perhaps because the Archdiocese of Boston is believed to be nearly bankrupt after paying $85 million to settle more than 500 claims of sexual abuse. To save money, the church is now closing dozens of parishes and parochial schools.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Suzanna Parish (ph) must close.

HUNTINGTON: Among them, the church the O'Briens used to attend which is now closed, and their daughter's school, Our Lady of the Presentation, slated to shut down in June.

"Boston Herald" columnist Mike Barnacle says the school closing and the Shanley trial across town symbolize all that is going wrong with the Catholic Church in Boston.

MIKE BARNICLE, "BOSTON HERALD": The diocese is going to take the building back and use it for diocesan business purposes, a diocesan tribunal in which they will bring priests and other specific problem areas of the diocese here.

HUNTINGTON (on camera): A Catholic courthouse.

BARNICLE: A Catholic courthouse kind of a thing. They're taking it back from the school community.

Shanley is merely the dark cloud in the weather forecast for the church in greater Boston. Both the trial and what is happening with this school and other schools and other parishes that are closing, that the church now in America, specifically the church in Boston, they are now forced to preach the gospel of the bottom line rather than the gospel that we all grew up listening to.

HUNTINGTON (voice-over): The Archdiocese of Boston wants to turn the school into a tribunal because the current one used mostly for marriage annulments is being sold, along with several other buildings and land to Boston College to raise much needed funds.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The best use is our use. HUNTINGTON: The O'Briens and their neighbors are well aware of the church's financial priorities. They've raised $2.5 million and offered to buy the building to keep it going as a school. An offer that the church has flatly rejected. Tom O'Brien reflects his community's frustration that the Archdiocese of Boston needs to convert a school into a courthouse because of debts from the sexual abuse settlements.

O'BRIEN: It struck as almost as like kind of a cruel and ironic joke that, you know, we seek family services and continuing mission, and what they're providing is their own needs and -- and really services that aren't appropriate for school building.

HUNTINGTON: Many Boston Catholics say that even with the ouster of Cardinal Bernard Law and its promise to be more accessible, the church remains as arrogant and secretive as ever. Jim Post (ph) runs Boston's biggest Catholic lay group.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The bottom line is that until there is a genuine apology that people believe, there will be no restoration of trust.

HUNTINGTON: Outside the Shanley trial, Bill Gately (ph), an advocate for abuse victims, says little has changed in the church.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No matter what the outcome of this case, it is important to realize and have before the public how much he has done to so many people. We talk about it as if it is a crisis that has come and gone. But it's part of the Catholic culture. It's part of the culture of the priesthood.

HUNTINGTON: The Archdiocese of Boston declined CNN's request for an interview or a statement, saying it does not comment on litigation. As for the O'Briens, they say while their own faith remains firm and they have joined a new parish, they will not send their children to another school run by the archdiocese.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't think that they want to be involved in children's education anymore, which should be the thing that they consider the most important. You know, there's going to be no Catholics left if they're not going to cater to the youngest members of their community. And you know, I think it's going to be very sad.

HUNTINGTON: And sad because even in the wake of the sexual abuse scandal, with Paul Shanley now facing a possible life sentence, the Catholic Church in Boston is still struggling to find its mission, especially when it comes to children.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: Something so many parents are concerned about. Just to give you an idea of how the church abuse scandal has affected this country, because of victims' concerns, Ford has decided not to run a commercial during the Super Bowl. It showed a clergyman having less than holy feelings about a car. Now on to another question of morality, one that leads directly to your home. Is there too much sex on TV? Stick around for the crusade to bring a moral vision to your set, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: When Paul McCartney performs during halftime at the Super Bowl, you can be pretty sure he's not going to sing "Why Don't We Do it in the Road." After last year's uproar over Janet Jackson's unfortunate wardrobe malfunction, the NFL is being very careful, even vetting the lyrics of the ex-Beatles' songs.

Some of the pressure on the NFL comes from a group you may not even have heard of. And its influence goes far beyond Sunday's game.

Here's David Mattingly.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We kissed, FYI.

DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The next time you sit down to enjoy your favorite show, think about this. Someone else is watching the same program, looking for potentially offensive material and, if necessary, ready to call the authorities.

BOZELL: What I'd like in a perfect world? I'd simply like Hollywood to go back to what it once did better than anyone, which is tell the American story and tell it correctly, respecting the audience.

MATTINGLY: Brent Bozell is the founder and president of the Parents Television Council, an organization now playing a leading role in one of the most politically charged dramas in Washington: the push to clean up primetime TV. It's a campaign that's been gaining momentum ever since halftime at last year's Super Bowl.

BOZELL: I think what it did was to show the nation's largest audience exactly what is going on in some circles in Hollywood, perverting the popular culture.

MATTINGLY: Eight hours a day, five days a week, PTC analysts pour over every minute of primetime shows and catalog incidents of the big three: sex, violence, and bad language. And since they began 10 years ago, they claim to have documented a trend.

MELISSA CALDWELL, PARENTS TELEVISION COUNCIL: Not only are we seeing quantitatively much more violence, sexual content and foul language, but qualitatively, what we're seeing is much, much worse.

MATTINGLY: They also take note of advertisers and examine more subtle content they consider detrimental to the image of families. Take, for example, this scene between a married woman and another man, from the hit show "Desperate Housewives".

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I really need our friendship back. CALDWELL: We would record it in our database as a marriage relationship, the treatment of a marriage relationship. There are certain topics like that that we will track.

MATTINGLY: The findings are collected for research and folded into the PTC web site. That's where they also post a ratings system.

In the last week of January, only three out of the top 20 shows were green lighted for family viewing. A committee also selects the worst clips of the week and encourages members to complain to the FCC, the networks and the advertisers.

JIM LEMON, PARENTS TELEVISION COUNCIL: I think it's the worst message we can send to kids is that adults don't care about the messages they're exposed to.

MATTINGLY: Jim Lemon says he was just a typical parent, watching the Super Bowl with his family last year. He was so outraged at Janet Jackson's wardrobe malfunction that he joined the 40,000 new names on the PTC's e-mail alert list in 2004.

Now 100,000 strong, they say, it's a cyber army capable of instantly firing off hundreds of complaints using electronic forums on the PTC web site. This amounts to what some have labeled a complaint factoring.

ADAM THIERER, CATO INSTITUTE: Recent surveys have revealed that upwards of 98 to 99 percent of the complaints filed at the FCC about certain types of shows on television or radio are filed by the Parents Television Council.

MATTINGLY: Parents Television Council offices actually look more like a warehouse than a factory. We found stacks and stacks of videotapes, 100,000 hours of recorded primetime programming in all, each of them containing evidence the PTC now uses to drive a legislative agenda.

(on camera) The council is aggressively lobbying Congress for passage of much bigger fines for broadcasters and for a law that would force the FCC to act more quickly on all of those complaints its members are filing.

(voice-over) And this week the PTC labeled MTV a smut peddler, the first shot in a new fight over basic cable, where the FCC has no jurisdiction over content. It's part of an agenda critics call censorship.

THIERER: They claim victory in things like getting Howard Stern driven off the public airwaves or getting FOX Television fined $1.2 million for some of their latest indecency fights.

So you can't claim that you're not in favor of censorship if you're boasting getting personalities driven off the airwaves as a success story.

BOZELL: They're saying that they have the right to say whatever they want on the public airwaves. But those who own the public airwaves are exercising censorship if they exercise their free speech and speak out against it. Who's the censor here?

MATTINGLY: Observers say the hand of the PTC is among those at work in the added sensitivity surrounding this year's Super Bowl ads and the scrutiny of the halftime show. And if it becomes something more than a football game, this is one watchdog ready to bite.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: They certainly are, aren't they? David Mattingly reporting. The Parents Television Council is also urging President Bush to appoint a new FCC chairman who will make broadcast decency enforcement a priority.

Larry King is coming up at the top of the hour, the man who keeps on racking up those exclusives. You made a lot of news with Secretary Rumsfeld last night, Larry.

LARRY KING, HOST, "LARRY KING LIVE": Well, we were everywhere, Paula, and same thing might happen tonight. Snoop Dogg is making his only appearance on TV or anywhere to discuss the lawsuit and rape charges filed against him. He'll be with us at the top of the hour. There's been settlements offered and declined. It's a major story. Snoop Dogg, of course, probably the major rap act in the world.

And then we're going meet Eiseley -- Eiseley, rather, Tauganis. She's an up and coming model who was disfigured in a drunk driving accident. She'll be on and then her mother will be on with us.

So it's an exciting show ahead. And you have a great weekend, Paula.

ZAHN: Thank you, Larry. We have it off because we're not covering the Iraqi elections this weekend. And I expect to see you in the newspapers for all the right reasons, because you're making more news tonight.

KING: That's right. You don't want to be in for the wrong reasons.

ZAHN: No, exactly.

KING: Go get them, Paula.

ZAHN: Be looking for that name. Thanks, Larry.

Super Bowl Sunday isn't just football's biggest day. It's also the biggest day for wagering in Vegas. You can bet on that one.

I said that, didn't I?

But first, a different kind of indulgence this Sunday: super consumption, by the numbers.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) ZAHN: Well, Super Bowl certainly means big money in many ways. And when the Eagles and the Patriots -- go Patriots -- go at each other on Sunday, more than $600 million in legal bets may be riding on the game.

Now for most of the gamblers who lay down money on Sunday, it's just fun. But for a few it's an addiction, and the consequences can be disastrous.

Sean Callebs introduces us to one compulsive gambler.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SEAN CALLEBS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Forget the playing field.

MIKE HERRON, FORMER GAMBLER: I didn't like watching sports unless I had money on it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You want 709 money line (ph)?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

CALLEBS: Gamblers will tell you the real Super Bowl action is right here in Las Vegas.

ROBERT JACKSON, SPORTS BOOK DIRECTOR, MGM MIRAGE: When you make even a $10 wager, you feel like you're into that game. I mean, you're part of that game. You're part of the team. You're the coach. You're the player.

CALLEBS: For him, MGM Mirage Sports Book Director Robert Jackson, he talks a mile a minute these days. For him, the Super Bowl is Christmas, New Year's Eve, all the big holidays rolled into one.

JACKSON: There's nothing better than this weekend, because it's our biggest single event.

CALLEBS: You can bet on almost anything: which team scores first, number of points in the second quarter, the third quarter.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're welcome.

CALLEBS: Vegas gamblers legally wagered more than $81 million on last year's game. This year it could top $100 million, with another $500 million bet online.

But people like Mike Heron of Denver know the dark side this electricity fuels.

HERRON: I would get so excited about Super Bowl Sunday just because it was a big betting day.

CALLEBS: For a period of seven years, Mike lived for sports gambling. And he says it almost ruined his life. HERRON: It got to the point, though, towards the end that I didn't feel a difference between winning and losing. It was that out of control.

CALLEBS: Without his wife, Lara, knowing, Mike says he received and maxed out three credit cards, burned through their home equity line of credit, even drained a bank account set up for their infant son.

HERRON: I had a lot of guilt towards that. And it's one of those things that, you know, I knew in my mind it was wrong to do.

CALLEBS: Yet he couldn't stop. Finally out of options, out of cash, and $18,000 in debt to a bookie, Mike broke the news to Lara, and she in part blamed herself.

LARA HERRON, WIFE: I had no idea. I -- I mean, that's the hardest thing because through, you know, the constant lying, you start to question yourself like is there something wrong with me, am I crazy?

CALLEBS: Tom Brewster is the director of an addiction research and treatment center with the University of Colorado. He says between two and four percent of the people in the U.S. are compulsive gamblers.

TOM BREWSTER, DIRECTOR, ADDICTION RESEARCH AND TREATMENT CENTER, UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO: You can see the pictures...

CALLEBS: And new research, brain imaging, shows chronic gamblers could be driven to excess in much the same way as drug addicts or alcoholics.

BREWSTER: We're looking at their brains to see if their -- what's firing, what's going on. What are the similarities of that disorder compared to cocaine use, for example, or heroin use?

L. HERRON: That's the best one of our daughter.

CALLEBS: Brewster says Mike's story is typical. But the Herrons did the right thing.

MIKE HERRON: Sometimes, you know, you just have to swallow your pride and say I can't do this alone, you know? I need help.

CALLEBS: It was that attitude that led Mike to Gamblers Anonymous.

It wasn't easy. His family paid off the debts, restored their son's bank account money. And it's been two years since Mike Herron last made a bet.

And while millions will be watching the game, and thousands of others will be watching betting boards, Mike is scheduled to be at his weekly 12 step meeting on Sunday, his life under control and no longer tormented by the desire to make a bet. (END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: We wish him continued good luck with that recovery. And that was Sean Callebs reporting.

As many as 10 million Americans may gamble so much it gets in the way of their lives. That figure is from the National Council on Problem Gambling.

Well, the odds are very good, I hope, we'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: There you see it: six percent of folks will call (ph) off for work on Monday. Are you guys coming?

All right. Well, some of us will be here. Good night. Have a great weekend.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com


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