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Teen Testifies to Congress on Part in Internet Porn; Actor John Corbett Releases Country Album
Aired April 4, 2006 - 19:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
A.J. HAMMER, CO-HOST: Paris Hilton as Mother Teresa. I`m not kidding. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York.
BROOKE ANDERSON, CO-HOST: And has political correctness gotten out of control? I`m Brooke Anderson in Hollywood. TV`s only live entertainment news show starts right now.
HAMMER (voice-over): On SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, child porn on the Internet. Tonight, a teenager`s shocking story of how he went into the sex business with his web cam in his own bedroom when he was just 13 years old.
JUSTIN BERRY, VICTIM OF INTERNET CHILD PORNOGRAPHY: I was paid by more than 1,000 men to strip naked, masturbate and even have sex with female prostitutes while on camera.
HAMMER: Tonight the startling story of Justin, the Internet, child predators, and what every parent needs to know.
Jennifer Aniston`s new friends protecting her. Tonight the tense face-off on TV`s biggest morning talk show with two of her co-stars while promoting her new movie. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT with the story of what Jen was asked and the riveting exchange that followed.
ROSIE O`DONNELL, COMEDIAN: Hi, I`m Rosie O`Donnell, and if it happened today, it`s on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.
ANDERSON: Hi, there. I`m Brooke Anderson live in Hollywood.
HAMMER: I`m A.J. Hammer live in New York City.
Brooke, tonight we have a story that have riveted us and sickened us throughout the entire day, a disturbing story that will horrify any parent with a teenager.
Kids hosting live Internet porn shows from their own bedrooms, often without their parents even knowing about it. Now, these porn shows are viewed by online predators with very, very dangerous results.
Today in Washington, 19-year-old Justin Berry told a congressional committee about his very own unbelievable story, as a shocked TV audience looked on. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT has that story, but I must warn you the report is very graphic.
BERRY: I was the king of my own universe. All I had to do in exchange was strip and masturbate while -- while alone in my room.
HAMMER (voice-over): With TV news channels providing live coverage, California teenager Justin Berry shocked a nation with his sick, graphic story of exploitation and abuse by sexual predators he met on the Internet.
BERRY: For five years, beginning when I was 13 years old, I operated a pornographic web site featuring images of myself loaded onto the Internet by web cams. Paid by more than 1,000 men to strip naked, masturbate, and even have sex with female prostitutes while on camera.
HAMMER: Justin says it all began six years ago when he first hooked up his web cam to his bedroom computer. His picture and contact info were automatically uploaded to an Internet directory. He says all he wanted to do was meet kids his own age online, but within minutes he was getting messages not from kids, but from online predators.
BERRY: One afternoon a few weeks after setting up my web cam, one of these men approached me online with a proposal. He would pay me $50 if I took off my shirt for a few minutes while sitting in front of my web cam. He explained to me how to set up an account on PayPal.com, an instant online money payment system.
I was excited about the $50. Taking off my shirt seemed harmless. I did it at the pool. The money arrived, and I took off my shirt. My viewers complimented me, and it felt good.
HAMMER: Justin began setting up his own web sites where child porn addicts would pay to watch him live as he did unspeakable things right in his own room, right under his mother`s nose.
BERRY: As more clothes came off, more people contacted me. The compliments were endless. The gifts and payments terrific. I thought I had achieved online what eluded me in real life. I was popular.
HAMMER: Justin says his online audience reached more than 1,500 people, and he made hundreds of thousands of dollars. He became a star in the twisted world of online child porn. Soon perverts were arranging to meet Justin in person, meetings that often ended in molestation.
BERRY: After my first molestation, I began to act out sexually. I was dangerous. Part of me wanted to die, and every day on camera part of me did.
HAMMER: Justin`s recovery began when he befriended "New York Times" reporter Kurt Eichenwald, who was doing a story on Internet child porn. He convinced Justin to go to the Justice Department. It was then Justin began to fear for his life.
BERRY: At that time I was concerned I would be killed by the adults who would be harmed by my testimony and were frantically searching for me.
HAMMER: Now Justin is 19, his Internet porn days behind him. But he has a sobering reminder for parents everywhere, that the same thing could happen to their kids.
BERRY: Web cams and instant messaging give predators power over children. The predators become part of that child`s life. There are hundreds of kids in the United States alone who are right now wrapped up in this horror.
HAMMER: So here`s the thing: as Justin just mentioned, his story is not a rare one. It`s just the one getting all the attention right now. In just a couple of minutes I`m going to share with you some numbers that are going to make you absolutely cringe.
But first, let me turn to Ernie Allen from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, joining me live from Washington, D.C.
Ernie, thanks for being with us.
ERNIE ALLEN, NATIONAL CENTER FOR MISSING AND EXPLOITED CHILDREN: Thank you, A.J.
HAMMER: This is a whole lot more common than people think, isn`t it?
ALLEN: It really is. This is an exploding problem with the advent of the Internet. These guys are coming after kids. They`re going into homes via the Internet, and children are being victimized.
HAMMER: I mentioned that there are a lot of statistics out there. Let me run down some of these numbers that will just make parents and anybody watching really sick.
One in five children online is sexually solicited. One in five. One in 33 was told by a stranger to meet them somewhere, called by them on the phone, or was sent money by them.
Now, if that doesn`t make you crazy, listen to this, only a quarter of the kids told a parent that this was actually going on, which means basically that 75 percent of all these kids that perverts are preying on aren`t telling anyone.
So, Ernie, what`s going on in this country when parents don`t even know that this is happening?
ALLEN: Well, we face the challenge in which too many parents don`t know how to use the computer. Kids are smarter about technology than the parents, and parents have a false sense of security: My child is at home. He is in his room. She`s doing something that`s good for her future.
They need to understand that when you`re online, you`re in public.
HAMMER: We`re hearing what you`re saying. We`re seeing Justin in front of Congress today, and I`m curious as to what can be done about this. I want to ask you about that in a second.
But first, let`s listen to some more of what Justin had to say at the congressional hearings.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BERRY: In my personal opinion, the law enforcement effort is no match for them either. Until recently, I never understood why these child predators always laughed about the government. Now I know the child predators are at least partially right. They have little to fear from law enforcement.
Based on my case, efforts to prosecute these people are riddled with mistakes and bureaucracy. Unless something changes, hundreds or even thousands of children will be lost forever.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAMMER: I was feeling such anxiety as I was watching this live on CNN today, and Justin says lost forever. Lost forever because of bureaucracy. Pretty scary to think about. So can`t you do something about it?
ALLEN: Well, A.J., something is being done about it. The FBI`s Innocent Images Initiative, homeland security`s ICE, their cyber-crime center, their 46 Internet crimes against children task forces. Cases are being made. People are being prosecuted, but this is a massive problem, and it`s really going to take more resources and more effort.
HAMMER: And of course, it`s going to take the parents making sure they know what`s going on. Really quickly, I want to run through some basic tips that your organization has for parents.
No. 1, you should absolutely open up a discussion, be honest with your kids.
There are also computer filtering features that you can use, which are basically pieces of software to regulate the content your kids can access. Make sure you know about that stuff.
No. 3, put the computer in a family area. We heard Justin saying this was going on in his own bedroom. Mom didn`t even know about it.
And No. 4, do a search on your child. And I guess basically what you`re saying is go to the various web sites, go to the MySpace sites and see if your child is out there.
ALLEN: Absolutely. You need to be involved in your child`s life. You need to learn what he`s doing and talk to them about these problems. Don`t wait until it`s too late.
HAMMER: Ernie, thanks for joining us tonight, and thanks for your efforts with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. I appreciate you joining us from Washington D.C.
For more information, go to their web site, which is NetSmarts.org.
ANDERSON: There is the universal agreement on the evils of child pornography, but when you`re talking about legal adult porn, the issue gets a little cloudy. Some say it`s no big deal, just a form of entertainment that has been around forever, but others say online porn, especially, is addictive and can even damage your brain, not to mention your relationship.
Coming up later in the show, we`re going to look into a debate that`s raging right now. Is porn entertainment, or is it down right dangerous? That is still had on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.
HAMMER: That is a debate that is definitely going to get loud.
We want to hear from you on this very subject for our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT question of the day. We`re asking Internet porn: is it dangerous? What do you think? You can vote at CNN.com/ShowbizTonight or e-mail us at ShowbizTonight@CNN.com. Your thoughts later in the show.
ANDERSON: Here at SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, we are on official Tomkat baby watch. Katie Holmes is about to give birth any minute now, and on a German television show Cruise said he had a private plane and two pilots standing by in case she went into labor.
Much has made of reports that it will be a so-called quiet birth, without any extraneous noise from the mother or anyone else, which is something that Scientology recommends.
One of Cruise`s biggest supporters all along has been Rosie O`Donnell. We asked her what she thought of the concept of quiet birth.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: I think everybody should do it the way that it feels best for them. You know, I have friends who have had home births, and I think are you out of your mind? And I have friends who have given birth in hospitals and said it was, you know, horrific. And you have to do what`s right for you. You know, and I think they`ll figure it out.
You know, he, I have to say -- of all the people I`ve ever met in show business, he`s one of the kindest men I`ve ever met, and I really like him. And I think that it`s hard for most people to imagine how difficult it is to be one of the most famous men in the world, and that`s what he is.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Kind words from Rosie. Rosie also told us that sometimes it`s hard to balance your celebrity with your humanity and that she loves Tom and she always will.
HAMMER: And now SHOWBIZ TONIGHT continues the Katie Couric countdown with some big news on the horizon. We`re now at 26 days from the end of Katie`s contract at "The Today Show".
Rumors, of course, have been swirling around for months, but now tonight we can, in fact, tell you all indications are that Katie Couric will be leaving NBC to anchor the "CBS Evening News". Several reports say the official announcement is coming down tomorrow. They`re saying possibly from Couric herself on "The Today Show", which will, of course, shake things up at both CBS and NBC.
Make sure you stay tuned to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. We`ll have a lot more on this on tomorrow night`s show. I rarely get to say this just in, but just now in from the "Hollywood Reporter", we can say that they are reporting 7:30 tomorrow morning on "The Today Show" Katie Couric will be making the announcement.
Moving on now, Jennifer Aniston protected by her friends. The tense TV face-off that everybody is talking about. The question that started it all and who came to her defense is coming up next.
ANDERSON: Plus, what does Paris Hilton have in common with Mother Teresa? We are not kidding about this one, and we`ll tell you why they`re even in the same sentence. That`s coming up.
HAMMER: And you know him from "Sex in the City" and "Northern Exposure." now a whole new exposure for John Corbett as a musician. He`s got a great album, just out, and he`s going to join me live coming up in the interview you`ll see only on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fade up. It`s Tuesday night. And SHOWBIZ TONIGHT is live with a sit-down interview from John Corbett in just a second. But first Brooke in L.A. Preset seven, dissolve. Go.
ANDERSON: Thank you, Charles.
Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, TV`s only live entertainment news show. I`m Brooke Anderson in Hollywood.
Well, we`ve got something you just have to see. It happened on TV this morning. Jennifer Aniston is now making the rounds promoting her new movie "Friends with Money."
And as you know, between her split with Brad Pitt and her relationship with Vince Vaughn, her personal life is under a microscope. And that can make for some very tense moments, like this morning on "The Today Show" as entertainment reporter Jill Rappaport interviewed Aniston and her co-stars Catherine Keener and Joan Cusack.
Watch what happens when Rappaport asks Aniston about reports that Oprah Winfrey is planning an $8 million wedding for her and Vaughn. Let`s just say it got a little testy.
JILL RAPPAPORT, ENTERTAINMENT REPORTER, NBC`S "THE TODAY SHOW": I just want to know if I`m going to the $8 million wedding, you know.
CATHERINE KEENER, ACTRESS: I thought you weren`t going to go there.
RAPPAPORT: No, I`m not. I just wanted to...
KEENER: But you did.
RAPPAPORT: It`s frustrating because those rumors do get out there.
But it`s nice to know you have people to support you so that when someone likes me asks a question, Catherine can bury me.
KEENER: I didn`t mean to.
RAPPAPORT: She can just take her foot in my mouth and go -- that was good, Catherine. Mama bear. More like mama cougar.
KEENER: I know, sorry.
RAPPAPORT: You hear about that $8 million wedding, you`d like to be invited. I`ve never been to a wedding...
KEENER: Well, you won`t be now.
RAPPAPORT: Definitely not.
Oh, that`s for sure, but a message to Vince Vaughn: I, too, can be a wedding crasher. Now, "Friends with Money" opens Friday in select cities. Very interesting. A little tense there at the end.
MATT LAUER, CO-HOST, NBC`S "THE TODAY SHOW": Cold in that room there for a second, didn`t it?
RAPPAPORT: A little chilly.
LAUER: OK. You tried.
ANDERSON: A.J., I think Jill handed it -- handled it just like a pro the way they responded.
HAMMER: It`s tough, and we occasionally are put in that position, but, you know, the thing that keeps coming up and people keep saying to me, it is a fine line that has to be walked.
Obviously, the stars rely on the fans to some extent, because the fans have to perpetuate the stardom, and, you know, keep them employed and, you know, keep watching the shows and the movies that they do. So obviously, the more famous somebody becomes, the more people want to know about them. It`s a tough area.
ANDERSON: It is a tough situation, A.J., and their job at interviews like these is to promote their movies. Our job is to ask those questions that the fans want to knowing about and ask what`s newsworthy.
But the bottom line is we have to be respectful in the way we conduct interviews. And we hope, in turn that, the interviewees will be respectful as well, but that doesn`t always happen, unfortunately.
HAMMER: Definitely needs to be a two-way street.
All right, Brooke. Well, someone else certainly knows what it`s like living in the public eye, and has known that for a long time, the guy poking me right now, John Corbett who you, of course, saw as "Sex in the City", as Carrie`s boyfriend, Aidan. Of course, you saw him in that little independent film that became the biggest grossing indie of all time, "My Big Fat Greek Wedding." We all remember him from his role as Chris on "Northern Exposure".
Well, John is now blazing a new trail in his career as a country musician. He has just released a brand new CD titled "Simply John Corbett." John Corbett joins us live here in New York.
Not just a little CD, one of the top 100 downloaded CDs on iTunes today.
JOHN CORBETT, ACTOR/MUSICIAN: Yes, it came out today, April 4. Our big debut. We`ve been working for a year for this day. It all came down to today, and it was neat to go in the record store right here in Times Square and see it right there next to Toby Keith and Keith Urban.
HAMMER: Right there in the music racks. Before we get to that, I just have to ask you from the standpoint of being a star, being somebody who has been in the public eye for a long time, and certainly you`ve been in interview situations where people are asking you questions maybe you`re not that interested in answering, does it just come with the territory, and have you learned to just accept it or find a way to deal with it?
CORBETT: The thing I find is, you know, I get asked the same question over and over again because, you know, I`ve been sort of famous since 1990 with "Northern Exposure", but I always feel that it`s the first time they`re asking me the question.
So if they`ve got the courage to come up and talk to me, even a person on the street, let alone a journalist, I`m going to give them the answer as if I`ve never been asked it before. You know, it`s just kind of a courtesy and a respect.
HAMMER: And we appreciate that. Actually I had that same conversation with Harrison Ford, and he says he has a hard time sometimes making it seem fresh and not feel like he`s lying.
And, you know, I opened up this CD, and I was reminded that, in addition to being a big star in your own rite, you were also in a very high profile relationship. We`ve just seen Jennifer Aniston, who was in a high profile relationship. Bo Derek, who shot the artwork for this CD. Now how do you guys maintain your privacy, because I know it cannot always be easy?
CORBETT: Well, we try. I mean, look, I did "The View" yesterday. We played on "The View". And Bo came and sat in the audience, and Barbara Walters did her first interview, and so they gave a shout-out to Bo, and she talked to them for a little bit, you know.
But when we -- when we go to a premier or something like that, you know, we get out of the car and we both go our separate ways and do the red carpet. And, you know, I always find it weird when one celebrity who`s dating another is standing there and the other one is just sort of waiting. Say it`s my night or her night.
HAMMER: Right, right.
CORBETT: So we just take our -- you know, we deal with things. But we -- we live a really quiet life in central California. We don`t do that many celebrity things together, so when we do, it`s kind of a fun night out.
HAMMER: It seems like you found a balance, and with this CD, I have to say it`s a great listen.
CORBETT: Show them the cover so that they get a look at it.
HAMMER: Put that cover up there, Charlie. Take that full screen of the cover.
CORBETT: There. That`s it.
HAMMER: So there you are. Bo took that picture. It`s a great listen. It`s a solid album. You can sing. You know what you are doing.
HAMMER: It is not the first time somebody better known as an actor has tried to make it as a musician, from Kevin Bacon or Russell Crowe to Jared Leto, among them. So how do you let people know that they should buy into this concept? I mean, you`re seeing success today on iTunes, but how do you let them know that they can get past what they know from you?
CORBETT: Well, the iTunes is great, but we came out January 30 with our single, "Good to Go", and the next day "Billboard" magazine called us up and said you made country music history, highest debut by an independent artist on a -- highest debut by a new artist on independent label in the history of "Billboard" magazine. Yes. And we`re number -- today we`re No. 43 on the "Billboard" charts.
HAMMER: Now it`s selling itself. So...
CORBETT: People are taking us serious.
HAMMER: So it`s a creative pursuit, just like acting is, but what is it you get from being a musician that you don`t get from being an actor that fulfills you so much?
CORBETT: Staying on stage playing to 500, 600 people a night, and playing for an hour and a half, and moving them. You know, moving them literally. Their heads are like this. Their feet are like this. They`re clapping.
HAMMER: It does come back to what you get from the audience.
CORBETT: Man, yes.
HAMMER: So if you could be on stage in front of half a million people opening up for, you know, Garth Brooks, let`s say?
CORBETT: I wouldn`t want to open for Garth Brooks, because I`d only get a half hour.
HAMMER: You need all the time you can have.
CORBETT: Playing for an hour and a half, two hours, yes. And I really do like playing 500, 600 seaters because, you know, you -- I went to see Toby Keith recently, and it was great, but there was...
HAMMER: It was too grand.
CORBETT: ... you know, 20,000 people there, and you know, it`s hard to connect with 20,000 people. It`s great to connect with 600, 700. JohnCorbettBand.com, by the way. Find out where we`re playing in your hometown.
HAMMER: And congratulation on the initial success of the album, which is called "John Corbett". You`ll find it in stores today.
CORBETT: Thank you.
ANDERSON: Question for you, why are we giving sports trophies to losers? That`s just one question Michael Smerconish is asking in his new book about political correctness, "Out of Control". He joins us live coming up.
Plus, is the Internet -- in the Internet age, porn is everywhere. Is it harmless, though, as entertainment or is it down right dangerous? We`ll get into that debate coming up.
ANDERSON: And there`s at least one person out there who thinks Paris Hilton is just like Mother Teresa. We`re not kidding, and we will fill you in next.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dissolve, and music, and stay tuned for more from SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. Say hi to New York. Master, roll your break and headline.
HAMMER: Coming tomorrow on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, the asexuality movement. That`s right. I said the asexuality movement. We`ll introduce to you a couple, a man and a woman, very much in love, but don`t have sex. How does it affect their relationship? Just how many people are asexual? These questions answered tomorrow night on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.
ANDERSON: OK. If you`re standing up, you may want to take a seat for this story.
SHOWBIZ TONIGHT has confirmed that Paris Hilton will not be playing Mother Teresa. Still standing? OK. A story has been floating around the Internet that an Indian movie director wants the hotel heiress to play the role of the Nobel Peace Prize winning nun. And we`re not kidding about this one, guys. The director thinks Paris resembles Mother Teresa, who was known for her work with the poor and died in 1997.
But just a short time ago I spoke with Paris during an interview for her new season of the TV show "The Simple Life", and Paris pooh-poohed the rumor.
ANDERSON: What is this we`re hearing today about you possibly being cast in the role of Mother Teresa?
PARIS HILTON, HOTEL HEIRESS: I read that, too, but I didn`t even hear about it yet from anybody.
ANDERSON: You didn`t hear about it?
HILTON: I read about it on the Internet, but...
ANDERSON: There`s no meeting set up or anything? Well, apparently he said that you and Mother Teresa have similar features. What do you think about that?
HILTON: I don`t know. I don`t think we really look alike.
ANDERSON: Would you ever consider doing something like that?
HILTON: No. Not really. I like playing, like, characters that are fun.
HAMMER: Just the thought of it. And you know, obviously, this director has only seen her physical features and doesn`t know a thing about Paris Hilton, because that`s ridiculous.
ANDERSON: Yes. And she said that she wouldn`t be interested. She likes her comedy, she said. And A.J., you may remember in "House of Wax", her death scene elicited laughter from the crowd.
HAMMER: Yes. This ain`t going to happen, and we should all be happy for it.
All right, Brooke. Well, is ladies night unfair to men, or are the PC police just out of control? That`s one example from a new book that says political correctness has run amok. We`ll talk to the book`s author live, coming up.
ANDERSON: And porn is all over the Internet. Some say it`s addictive and could even damage your brain, not to mention your relationship. Coming up, we`ll look into a debate that`s raging right now. Is porn entertainment, or is it down right dangerous?
HAMMER: Also, tonight George Clooney versus Stalker. Clooney rallies the troops against a celebrity web site that`s telling you where celebrities are and what they`re doing. We`re going to tell you if his plan is working. That`s coming up. And SHOWBIZ TONIGHT will be right back.
HAMMER: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. It is 31 minutes past the hour. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York.
ANDERSON: And I`m Brooke Anderson in Hollywood. And you are watching TV`s only live entertainment news show.
HAMMER: Brooke, we were laughing about it in the morning meeting, when we hear that men are complaining because ladies` night means it`s unfair for the men because ladies get to drink cheaper. When we`re hearing that kind of complaint, has political correctness run amok? There`s an author of a book dealing with that very subject. You`ll talk to him in just a couple of minutes.
ANDERSON: He is steaming mad, and we will hear all about it, A.J.
Also, George Clooney is steaming mad. He`s waging war on this Web site, Gawker Stalker. It`s the site that posts celebrities` whereabouts sometimes immediately, complete with a map. And we will tell you how Clooney is trying to shut down Gawker Stalker in just a few minutes.
HAMMER: I couldn`t be happier that he`s doing that.
But first, tonight, Brooke, we`re talking about porn on the Internet and everywhere. It is a $12 billion-a -year business. It has never been more mainstream, and that`s basically because you can get it everywhere. You can get it on the Internet. You can get it on your cell phone. You can even download porn to your iPod these days.
So what about it, just harmless entertainment that lots of people want or, as a lot of people argue, is it downright dangerous? Definitely a tough topic.
SHOWBIZ TONIGHT is taking it on tonight. And joining us live from New York, Robert Peters, he is the president of Morality in Media, and from Hollywood, Mark Kernes, who is the senior editor of "Adult Video News," the leading trade magazine of the adult video industry.
Gentlemen, thank you for being with us tonight.
ROBERT PETERS, PRESIDENT, MORALITY IN MEDIA: You bet.
MARK KERNES, SENIOR EDITOR, "ADULT VIDEO NEWS": Thank you.
HAMMER: Let`s get into it now. All right, as I mentioned, Robert, thanks to technology, porn is basically ubiquitous. It is more available than ever before. Clearly, people want it. So, Robert, basic question we`re asking tonight: What is the harm?
PETERS: Well, there are many harms. Certainly, the subject of addiction will come up, and the professionals disagree on what constitutes addiction, but I have read a lot of articles over the year. And it`s my understanding there`s a part of our brain that gets activated, whether we`re talking about an addiction to drugs, to alcohol, to gambling, or to sex, and particularly pornography.
The same part of the brain gets active. There`s a chemical. I`m not in a position to say that pornography, quote, unquote, "damages" the brain, but it does change it, just like any other addiction.
And I would add that, prior to the Internet, typically when you heard people talking about pornography addiction, it was within the religious community. And kind of one way that I put it is the Internet to some extent, there`s been a silver lining behind the cloud, because today it`s not just the religious community that`s talking about addiction to pornography.
Secular councils are talking about people whose marriages are being wrecked, who are losing their jobs because of addiction to pornography. And in my opinion, the evidence is overwhelming that pornography addiction plays a role in many sexual crimes against children and adults.
HAMMER: All right, well, let`s get into it. Let`s start with the first couple of things that he mentioned, Mark, addiction being primary, marriages being disrupted, another thing that Robert mentioned. How do you respond to that?
KERNES: Well, I`ve heard all those myths many times. The fact of the matter is, is there is such a thing as obsessive compulsive disorder. It can manifest itself in many, many ways: addiction to gambling; addiction to, yes, to adult material; addiction to milk; addiction to roast beef.
The point is, is it`s not the material that`s a problem; it`s the manifestation of the disease, which is obsessive compulsive. And that`s what you treat. It really doesn`t matter where it comes from. You have to treat the disease.
HAMMER: Robert, let me ask you something point-blank, and let me put it to you in the form of an example, because, after all, pornography is considered part of entertainment. People use it in many ways to entertain themselves, however that may be.
Let`s say you`re an adult. You live alone. You don`t have any kids. You`re not addicted it. It hasn`t affected that part of your brain. You like to go to a Web site a couple of times a week, pay your fee. There are consenting adults on the Web site, nobody under the age of 18. The content is extremely graphic, but nothing illegal is going on here.
So what really would be wrong with somebody doing that?
PETERS: Well, there are laws on the books, both at the federal and state level, which make it illegal to sell hardcore pornography. There are specific laws at the federal level that apply to the Internet. Now...
HAMMER: All right, Robert, let me be specific then...
KERNES: That`s not correct.
HAMMER: ... because I`m talking right now about a porn Web site, for instance, that would not fall as illegal under any of those laws. I`m just talking about your basic Web site with some pornography that I`m allowed to go see.
PETERS: Well, A.J., you know, there are Web sites out there that limit themselves to what is genuinely considered softcore pornography, but as soon as they get into the world of hardcore pornography, as I understand the law, and I`ve been working at it for 20 years, they can be prosecuted under the federal-state obscenity laws.
Now, that doesn`t mean that every Web site that sells pornography on the Internet is going to be prosecuted. But as long as they`re peddling hardcore pornography, in my opinion, they can be prosecuted under federal and state laws.
HAMMER: Mark, when people start talking about -- go ahead. Go ahead.
KERNES: Yes, that`s not true. The vast majority of material out there is entirely legal. The Supreme Court has considered this question many times, and there is only a very small amount of material that even it will say is illegal.
And, in my personal opinion, under the Constitution, none of it is illegal, because the Constitution says we have freedom of speech, so that`s simply not the case. The vast, vast majority of material out there poses no legal problems whatsoever.
PETERS: Well, I suppose part of the answer to Mr. Kernes is we`re going to see whether that`s true, I think, in the months and years ahead, because I would anticipate that there`s probably going to be more enforcement, particularly of the federal obscenity law, in the next two to three years than we`ve seen probably in the last 12.
HAMMER: But, Robert...
PETERS: And I think a lot of people who are telling everybody, "What we`re doing is legal," are going to discover that they`re going to either have -- you know, they`re going to be fined or they`re going to go to jail, and they`re going to discover that the law is the way I have described it.
HAMMER: But, Robert, every time this subject comes up, you know, talking about what`s obscene, what`s not obscene, where do we draw the line? And when it comes right down to it, aren`t you looking to legislate morality?
PETERS: Well, I tell you, the Supreme Court has drawn the line, and at one level it`s drawn it very broadly. As I read the Miller case, if it`s hardcore pornography, which means explicit, graphic depictions of, you know, anal, vaginal, whatever type of sex you can imagine, it can be prosecuted.
Now, in terms of legislating morality, there was this 1973 Supreme Court case that enunciated a number of legitimate governmental interests at stake; one of them was protection of public morality. I think most people are glad that government can play a role in public morality, but it also pointed out...
HAMMER: Mark, I`m guessing you have a different opinion on that.
HAMMER: I`m running out of time; I`ve got to give you the last word here.
KERNES: Well, thank you. The Supreme Court in Lawrence v. Texas just two or three years ago said the government doesn`t have any interest in promoting public morality. And the fact of the matter is, yes, we probably will see a lot of prosecutions, but since the obscenity laws are so vague, that that`s the reason they can prosecute them, most of them will be found not guilty because people like to watch adult material. It`s that simple.
HAMMER: Mark Kernes, Robert Peters, it`s a conversation that will continue. I do appreciate you taking the time and joining us on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.
KERNES: Thank you.
HAMMER: All right, we want to ask what you think. We`ve been asking it all night for our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT "Question of the Day." Chime in. Internet porn: Is it dangerous? A hot-button issue for sure. Vote at CNN.com/showbiztonight. E-mail us at showbiztonight@CNN.com. We`ve got your thoughts later in the show.
ANDERSON: Coming up, George Clooney fighting back against a celebrity stalking Web site. Tonight, we`ll tell you the unique way he`s going after Gawker Stalker.
HAMMER: Plus, should all little leaguers get trophies so no one`s feelings get hurt? Or is political correctness totally out of control? The author of a new book thinks so. He`s fed up. You get to meet him live, next.
Plus, we`ve got this.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look at that!
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ANDERSON: It`s one of the saddest days in U.S. history, 9/11. Tonight, why some are upset over a new 9/11 movie and the studio`s response. That`s next. Stay with us.
ANDERSON: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. I am Brooke Anderson in Hollywood, and this is TV`s only live entertainment news show.
OK, so have you ever felt like you just can`t say what you really want to say because you`re afraid you`ll offend somebody? Do you think that the P.C. political correctness police are ruling the world? Well, if so, you`re not alone.
Philadelphia radio host Michael Smerconish is so fed up in his new book "Muzzled," he writes that not only is political correctness out of control, it`s threatening our safety.
Michael Smerconish joins us live from Philadelphia. Michael, great to see you.
MICHAEL SMERCONISH, AUTHOR: Hi, Brooke. Thanks for having me.
ANDERSON: Of course. Now, at the beginning of this book, you have a warning that you say it`s not for the easily offended. So is it safe to say, Michael, that this book is not P.C.-friendly?
SMERCONISH: Yes, I think so, Brooke. I think I also say that, you know, if you`re standing there in a pair of Birkenstocks and sipping a latte, the thing just might not be right for you.
ANDERSON: You need to go to the aisle that says fiction on it. Now, what might offend people about your book?
SMERCONISH: Hopefully nothing. I mean, hopefully people will read my book and they will say, "You know, this fellow has got a point," that these incremental changes in every aspect of our lives would not have been in and of themselves that big of a deal until September 11, but now, in the aftermath of September 11, you step back, you look at it, and you say, "It permeates every aspect of what`s going on around us, and it`s invaded the war on terror."
And by that, I mean that we`ve become sissies at home, and we`re becoming sissies in the war on terror, as well.
ANDERSON: Let`s talk more about specific examples of political correctness; there are so many of them in the book. What is one, Michael, that just -- you think about it, it enrages you, steam comes out of your ears when you think about it?
SMERCONISH: Well, steam comes out of my ears with virtually all of them. I mean, first of all, by race. You know, you can`t talk about race in this country. I have examples of newspapers, including my own, having apologized after putting mug shots of individuals wanted for murder on their front cover.
And, Brooke, they didn`t apologize because they were incorrect in the story; they were apologizing because there were no Caucasians represented in the coverage.
There was a story recently in Delaware where the headline said "Bearded Man Wanted for Rape." And, I thought, "Wow, what a strange headline. Is he pink, brown, or an Indian chief?"
Now, they were willing to tell me that he had a beard, that he drove a Chevy, that it was blue and had four doors, but they would not tell me the color of his skin. Why? Because they said we`re going to paint with a broad brush. Every kid does get a trophy for showing up in athletics. We are so darn afraid...
ANDERSON: You know, what`s wrong with that, Michael? I have to say, some kids do need a little bit of encouragement to keep trying. The participation trophies in little league aren`t so bad.
SMERCONISH: But that`s not the way the world works. I mean, you got that job because you competed at CNN Headline News and you`re good at it, and that`s the lesson, and you were rewarded for it, and that`s the lesson we want to teach.
Listen, I want my three boys to go out and compete someday with the kids who are getting all of those participation trophies, because I`m trying to reach mine to believe that they`ve got to go out, and they`ve got to fight, and they`ve got to win.
Brooke, do you know that, in grade schools across the country, no longer is red ink being used because it`s believed to be too harsh on the psyche of young people? I kid you not: They are using purple ink, the color of Barney, so as not to injure the young minds of Americans.
ANDERSON: That is a little bit outrageous. I think the red ink will get their attention, say, "Hey, you need to buckle up, get some better grades." Also, Michael, one that a lot of the women out there are probably familiar with, ladies` night. But it`s not ladies` night in one state anymore, is it?
SMERCONISH: It`s unbelievable. In the great state of New Jersey, at the coastline, which is outside of Cherry Hill, a guy named Chris Mourtos runs the place. And like everywhere else, he has ladies` night. Why does very ladies` nights? It`s not to attract ladies; it`s to attract ladies who attract guys, because guys are there to meet the ladies.
So they cut the coverage charge, and they cut the drink charge for the women. One guy walks in, Brooke. He`s offended that women are paying less as a cover than he and less for their drinks than he. He files a legal challenge, and now, worst of all, he`s successful. And ladies` nights are now in limbo in the entire Garden State.
ANDERSON: Oh, if he couldn`t have it, then he thought nobody else could. And, Michael...
SMERCONISH: Can I tell you one more? At Harvard University, a couple of enterprising undergrads, they want to start a room-cleaning business. Great idea. Everybody has a filthy dorm room. So they say, you know what we`ll call it? DorMaid. Harvard says, "Oh, wait a minute, maids, that`s a sexist term. Fellows, you can`t call it DorMaid." That`s what I`m talking about.
ANDERSON: And you`re saying, Michael, that this isn`t just about being annoying. You`re saying political correctness could actually threaten our safety. How so?
SMERCONISH: All right. I do try to make a very serious point, but I want to make you laugh, and then I try to make you cry, because I think that this mindset, this limp-wristedness, if I`m allowed to say it that way on CNN Headline News, it permeates the war on terror.
It`s the reason, for example, that we don`t profile, because, well, we don`t want to offend anyone`s sensibilities. Wait a minute! Offend sensibilities? Hey, Brooke, none of the terrorists look like you.
Now, I want you to be screened at an airport, but I don`t want to waste any time with you if there are people standing behind you who have race, gender, ethnicity, and religion, and appearance in common with those 19 terrorists on September 11th.
It`s the same mindset. It`s the same mindset that makes us get worked into a lather about nine individuals at Abu Ghraib who were knuckleheads, staging a naked pyramid and what they did. But, come on, we have 140,000 good troops over there. Let`s get over it, already.
ANDERSON: Quick question, about 10 seconds, is there anything deemed P.C. that you think is OK?
SMERCONISH: Nothing I can think of right now. I keep thinking and searching, but no.
ANDERSON: OK. We will end it there. It`s been a lot of fun.
SMERCONISH: Thank you.
ANDERSON: You definitely don`t hold back. Michael Smerconish, thank you so much. His new book is titled "Muzzled: From Tee-Ball to Terrorism, true Stories that Should be Fiction," and it hits stores today.
HAMMER: Well, tonight Universal Studios says it will not pull the controversial trailer for its film, "United 93." As SHOWBIZ TONIGHT first told you yesterday, a theater in New York City yanked the trailer after getting a bunch of complaints from moviegoers over the weekend. The movie is based on what happened aboard United Flight 93 when it was one of the four planes hijacked on September 11th.
Well, today a Universal executive told the "New York Times" it will stick with its plans to show the trailer now only before R-rated films or, quote, "grownup PG-13 ones." SHOWBIZ TONIGHT showed it to some people on the streets here in New York City, and this is what they told us.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don`t know if I`d really have that much interest in seeing it as, like, I don`t know. I think it`s too soon for that, you know? Maybe another generation, so they can know about it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it`s one of those stories, unfortunately, that they haven`t let die yet. And I think something like this I can imagine would be hard for the families to relive, and I think -- I definitely don`t want to see it. Put it that way.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it is going to upset a lot of people, but I think people need to see it. Somebody has to do something, and I think that`s what this shows, that people were just not sitting back and, "Oh, somebody else will do something. I don`t have to do anything." We don`t live in that kind of world anymore.
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HAMMER: Universal tells us its film and trailer, honest representation of what happened on September 11th.
ANDERSON: Tonight, Oscar-winning actor George Clooney is leading the fight against a celebrity stalking Web site. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT first told you about Gawker Stalker a few weeks back. Now, the site encourages fans to write in as soon as they see a star out in public, and then their location is posted soon after.
Well, this has some stars steaming mad, saying they could be in danger from crazed fans. But now George Clooney is stalking back.
ANDERSON (voice-over): It`s the latest innovation in celebrity obsession, and it`s under attack by one of Hollywood`s biggest and brightest stars. Oscar-winner George Clooney is trying, in essence, to shut down a Web site called Gawker Stalker.
It posts real-time information about the whereabouts of all of your favorite famous people, primarily in Manhattan, complete with a map, all of the info coming from celebrity sighting sent in by an e-mail or text message by the site`s legions of fans. But the site`s critics have called it a major threat to the safety of the stars.
STAN ROSENFIELD, GEORGE CLOONEY`S PUBLICIST: We`ve come up with a plan that could work to help render this Web site not so effective.
ANDERSON: Clooney, via his publicist, Stan Rosenfield, sent an e-mail last week to other publicists, urging them and their clients to join in the fight against Gawker. The e-mail read, quote, "Flood their Web site with bogus sightings. A couple hundred conflicting sightings, and this Web site is worthless."
ROSENFIELD: It is a First Amendment issue. They have every right in the world to have freedom of speech, but what we`d like to do is provide them with enough information that will make their information that they do put out suspect.
ANDERSON: Gawker.com is quick to defend itself, saying the site isn`t harmful, that the celebrities` information is already out there and that they`re not to blame.
JESSICA COEN, CO-EDITOR, GAWKER.COM: If you found out George Clooney were getting a cup at Starbucks, had the time to click your Web site, run downstairs, get to that Starbucks, and inflict bodily harm, I think that`s something that not any single Web site can take the blame for.
ANDERSON: Clooney`s efforts appear to be making a difference. The site has been inundated with fake star sightings, many of which are about George Clooney, including, "George Clooney`s with me and helping to reset all of my clocks to daylight savings time," "George Clooney at the Beverly Hills Hotel," "I saw Clooney on the moon."
In truth, Clooney is now in New York City working on the film "Michael Clayton."
ROSENFIELD: I just want people to realize that this is not a case of a celebrity whining. This is a case of, you know, protecting somebody`s right to privacy and not putting them in any danger. What we`re concerned about is not so much the fan, because the fan is nothing but good intentions. We`re concerned about somebody who might be a legitimate stalker.
ANDERSON: Seriousness aside, Clooney, known as a prankster, in all likelihood is having a bit of fun with this spirited Gawker Stalker smack down. He ended his e-mail with this: "Just make them useless. That`s the fun of it, and then sit back and enjoy the ride."
ANDERSON: And Gawker Stalker isn`t backing down. It`s fighting Clooney by issuing a public challenge. The first person to snap and send in a cameraphone picture of the actor will win DVDs of Clooney`s "Ocean`s 11" and "12" films.
Stay with us. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT will be right back.
HAMMER: Well, throughout the show we`ve been asking you to vote online on our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT "Question of the Day." We`ve been asking: Internet porn: Is it dangerous?
Here`s the vote so far: 70 percent of you say yes; 30 percent of you say no. Among the e-mails we received, we heard from Karen in New York, who writes, "Anything that can harm a child is dangerous and should be taken off the net."
We also heard from Lenny in Ohio who says, "Look, just viewing what you want will not hurt anyone else. Get a grip!"
Brooke, I believe that the obvious lesson we learned tonight and today is that you just absolutely have to know what your kids are doing on their computer. Make it your mission.
ANDERSON: Monitor your children. That`s right.
HAMMER: Absolutely. Well, that is it for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York.
ANDERSON: I`m Brooke Anderson in Hollywood. Thanks for watching, everybody, and stay tuned for the latest from CNN Headline News. Good night.