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Did Hollywood Influence Virginia Tech Murderer; Star Marriages That Survive Rehab
Aired April 19, 2007 - 23:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
A.J. HAMMER, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT ANCHOR: Who is actually thanking Don Imus for his disgusting, racial comments about the Rutgers University basketball team? I`m A.J. Hammer.
BROOKE ANDERSON, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT ANCHOR: And Lindsay Lohan speaks out about rehab. Is she in denial about being an addict? I`m Brooke Anderson. We`re in New York. TV`s most provocative entertainment news show starts right now.
HAMMER: On SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, the horrific video left behind by the Virginia tech killer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHO SEUNG HUI, VIRGINIA TECH KILLER: You forced me into a corner and gave me only one option.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAMMER: Tonight, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT with the shocking questions. Should NBC have ever released the disturbing video? Plus, could the killer`s frightening manifesto actually inspire copycat killings? And did Cho Seung-Hui get his twisted, violent ideas from Hollywood? An explosive debate over the Virginia Tech massacre right here on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.
Star couples and addiction. Tonight, a revealing look at what celebrity husbands and wives do when their spouse is an addict.
How do they cope? And why do some marriages end up working while others fail? SHOWBIZ TONIGHT with a special look at star duos who deal with substance abuse.
ANDERSON: Hi from New York. I`m Brooke Anderson.
HAMMER: And I`m A.J. Hammer. Tonight, the raging controversy over the sickening video of the Virginia Tech killer.
ANDERSON: SHOWBIZ TONIGHT can tell you that this has been a day of anger and outrage, debate and division. NBC today went on the defense over its decision to release the self-made video of the man who slaughtered 32 students this week in a shooting rampage at Virginia Tech University. Was it insensitive to the families of the victims? Could it lead to copycat killers?
Tonight, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT is asking all the tough questions.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Disturbed, deadly, a killer speaks.
ANDERSON (voice-over): The entire world is speaking about the video manifesto Virginia Tech shooter Cho Sung Hui sent to NBC News during a break in his deadly rampage.
HUI: You forced me into a corner.
ANDERSON: And while everyone is united in disgust at the images of this disturbed murderer posing for the cameras, ranting and raving his own sick justification for his bloody rampage.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it`s really sick that he would do something like that.
ANDERSON: Now some of that disgust is being directed at NBC News for airing the manifesto in the first place.
MATT DOHNER, VIRGINIA TECH STUDENT: We were just hanging out, spending time with each other last night and the video was aired. It was the first time I had seen it actually, and my friend just kind of broke down crying right there in front of all of us. It`s just hard for all of us when you see that over and over again.
ANDERSON: Relatives of Cho`s victims are bitterly upset too, as NBC News "Today Show" found out the hard way.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I will tell you that we had planned to speak to some family members of victims this morning, but they canceled their appearances because they were very upset with NBC for airing the images.
ANDERSON: SHOWBIZ TONIGHT looks at the tough questions. Was NBC wrong in releasing this sickening video? Does it further our understanding of a national tragedy? Or does it glorify a mass murderer and encourage other sick people to use death as a way of getting famous?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ramblings of a mad man.
ANDERSON: On the "Today Show," Matt Lauer carefully explained NBC`s decision to air the image.
MATT LAUER, "THE TODAY SHOW": We made the decision because by showing some of this material perhaps it will help us understand or answer the question why? Why did it happen?
ANDERSON: NBC says it contacted law enforcement immediately after it received Cho`s package and waited before publicizing its release. And at the time, Virginia police praised the network`s sensitivity.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They`ve handled it with dignity.
ANDERSON: But after a day in which Cho`s face and his words were featured repeatedly on just about every news outlet on the planet, Virginia`s top state cop changed his tune.
STEVE FLAHERTY, VIRGINIA STATE POLICE: We were rather disappointed in the editorial decision to broadcast these disturbing images.
ANDERSON: On the campus of Virginia Tech, where emotions from the shootings are still raw, students are questioning the timing.
ADAM KRESS, VIRGINIA TECH STUDENT: I definitely think at some point it should have been aired. I`m not sure if right now was probably the best time.
ANDERSON: And there`s another more powerful concern about Cho`s video.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m concerned about the copycat factor.
ANDERSON: We all remember the Columbine high school shootings, where students Eric Harris and Dillon Clebold (ph) killed 15 people, including themselves. The two teens had hoped their rampage would make them famous and sadly, it did. During his disturbing diatribe, Cho paid tribute to the Columbine shooters, and some are worried that a future killer may be similarly inspired by Cho`s notoriety.
GREG MCCRARY, FORMER FBI PROFILER: Just as this guy identified with the Columbine shooters, somebody is going to identify with this guy.
ANDERSON: In a statement to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT about the manifesto, NBC News says, "we have covered this story and our unique role in it with extreme sensitivity, underscored by our devoted efforts to remember and honor the victims and heroes of this tragic incident. We are committed to nothing less."
Indeed many say it`s the victims who deserve the spotlight, not their twisted killer.
ADEEL KHAN, VIRGINIA TECH STUDENT BODY PRESIDENT: Let`s not show these images. Let`s not show these videos. Let`s show images of the students and let`s show images of these students who have given their hearts to this community and tried to repair and heal it.
ANDERSON: Still, even if every single media outlet were to decide to stop featuring Cho`s manifesto in this age of the Internet, the genie is already out of the bottle, and the debate over whether it was right to release it in the first place will likely continue, especially if the tragedy like this happens again in the future.
HAMMER: Cho Seung-Hui made it clear in his manifesto that he was inspired by the Columbine High School shootings, and now SHOWBIZ TONIGHT has even more disturbing information. Could Cho have also been inspired by a Korean film called "Oldboy?" I want you to take a look at this side-by- side comparison of the movie poster for "Oldboy" and this photograph of Cho, holding a hammer in, as you see, the same exact pose. Frightening indeed.
Well tonight we are asking, does violence in entertainment inspire copycats? Joining me now from Chicago, "New York Times" best selling author and national security expert Brad Thor, and with us from Los Angeles tonight, investigative journalist Jane Velez-Mitchell.
Jane, Brad, excellent to see you both. It`s just so difficult weeding through all of this. There`s a lot to talk about. And before we get to the entertainment aspect of this, Brad, what do you think? Do you think NBC, in releasing the video and then everybody showing it, has the potential to inspire copycats?
BRAD THOR, AUTHOR & NATIONAL SECURITY EXPERT: I think absolutely they do, A.J., and I`m going to make a prediction here. It`s a bad comparison. There`s a reason Major League Baseball got together and decided not to show the people running onto the field. And you`re going to see that this is going to have far reaching repercussions in the media. I don`t think you are going to see stuff like this anymore.
HAMMER: That`s a good analogy. Jane, what do you think about that?
JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST: Well, listen, I think that in terms of the truth, we always have to air on the side of the truth. I understand why all of these images are disturbing to the families, but at the end of the day, we have to inform the public, because otherwise is to remain in denial.
HAMMER: But on the question of inspiring copycats, Jane, do you view this as a real reality here, when you look at what happened? And Brad made a terrific point, albeit about baseball. But, you know, you show something and people may be inclined to copy it.
MITCHELL: Well, of course. And we`ve got reams of copycats that are already coming in. So that is going to happen. That`s human nature. But that happens forever. Copycats have always been an aspect of crime.
HAMMER: Well, of course, with this news that Cho admitted that he was inspired by the Columbine killings and in the aftermath of Columbine it all played out on TV and eventually in some movies. Cho was also known to play violent video games, Brad. Do you buy the argument that Hollywood contribute to the problems that some people suggest?
THOR: Listen, when we look at this, A.J., we have to examine this through the filter of how sick, how mentally deranged this guy was. There`s a whole stew that`s involved in creating a killer like this. And is Hollywood part of it? Sure. It`s not fair to lay it on Hollywood`s door step.
When the Secret Service analyzes school shooters, one of the things they have found is that 14 percent of them really gravitated toward violent video games. But 24 percent of them gravitated more towards violent books. So, as an author, I should be more concerned about books than video games, and I think the American public should be less concerned about the video game aspect here.
HAMMER: And I don`t think anybody is squarely pointing the finger at Hollywood in this case. Clearly there was a lot more going on with this guy. Jane, what do you think, is it fair to compare fictional violence with something of this magnitude? Somehow there may be a connection in the fact that it can plant at least ideas in people`s minds who may have a lot of other stuff going on?
MITCHELL: Of course it is. A.J., when this horror story first broke, we started talking about the connection between real violence and violence in film and on television. And a lot of people said, oh, you can`t make that leap. Well, now we have this movie. We see this image of this Virginia Tech killer with this hammer and it is eerily similar to this movie.
On top of that, the plot has a lot of parallels in this movie, which, by the way, won a prize at the Cannes Film Festival in 2004, which is an outrage in itself. This protagonist goes on a bloody rampage, seeking revenge and gets a very high body count. That`s exactly what happened in the case of the Virginia Tech massacre. So obviously there is a connection.
THOR: A.j., I have to disagree. This guy is a loser. He was a monster. He was a psychopath. And he was looking for people he could identify with. I don`t think the movie inspired him. I think he found someone he could identify with in the movie and I think it`s two different things here.
MITCHELL: Well, I certainly don`t think we can blame movies for all the violence in our society, but it`s part of our culture of violence. There is violence everywhere we turn. It`s on the news. It`s on television. It`s on film. When you try to escape from real life violence and try to get a movie, suddenly you`re surrounded with violence in a fictional sense.
So I think we have to look at our entire culture and say what is this addiction with violence that we have? What is this obsession with violence that we have? And like any addiction, it`s progressive. It gets worse and worse. You always have to raise the bar. That`s exactly what`s happening in our society.
HAMMER: And to that end, a lot of people are saying Hollywood needs to tone down on violence for good. Only a few seconds left here, Brad, but what do you think?
THOR: A.J., I`m going to tell you, as far as Hollywood is concerned, people around the world watch these movies. People around the world play these video games, and we are not seeing huge instances. As horrible as this was, this was a relatively isolated incident, and I think the problem here is the media should have told his manifesto in words and not shown it in pictures.
I think that`s what creates this pantheon of monsters like Clebold and Harris, that this guy was looking up to. I don`t think the problem is in Hollywood. I think it`s more in network, on the east coast.
HAMMER: I agree with you there, Brad, and we`ll be getting into that at 31 past the hour. Brad Thor, Jane Velez-Mitchell, the debate rages on and I thank you for joining us.
ANDERSON: A.J., you know, there`s been so much outrage over the startling racial things that Don Imus said. But get this, tonight somebody is actually thanking him for saying those words.
HAMMER: Which on surface seems like a very strange thing to do.
ANDERSON: Right, it does. And so who in the world would do that. And so we`ve got that coming up.
HAMMER: Also, Brooke, even after the rehab, even after the AA meetings, Lindsay Lohan still doesn`t think that she`s an addict. Lindsay`s speaking out about her emotional time in rehab. That is coming up. Also, couples and addiction.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For a while, I was like, yes, I`m going to divorce. I don`t want to divorce my husband. I love my husband. He was crazy at the time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Tonight, what celebrity husbands and wives do when their spouse is an addict. How do they cope? And why do some marriages end up working while others fail? A special look coming up next.
HAMMER: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York. I couldn`t believe this. Tonight, somebody is actually thanking Don Imus for his disgusting racial comments. Nike has an ad campaign that indirectly thanks Imus for jump starting a national debate on race. It starts off by saying, "thank you, ignorance," then "thank you for starting the conversation," followed by, "thank you for making an entire nation listen to the Rutgers team`s story, and for making us wonder what other great stories we`ve missed."
It goes on from there, and it ends with, "thank you for making all of us realize that we still have a long way to go." Nike, which has sponsored the Rutgers team for years, says it wanted to get people talking. Looks like a great idea.
ANDERSON: Certainly does, A.J. Now star marriages and addiction. I`ve got a revealing look at what celebrity husbands and wives do when their spouse is an addict. How do some keep their relationships together when substance abuse becomes a problem and others can`t keep it together? Tonight, we look into how celebrity spouses cope with drug and alcohol abuse.
DANNY BONADUCE, ACTOR: There`s a stocked mini bar in my room with a full bottle of Absolute. Please, god, I don`t think I`m going to make it.
ANDERSON: Danny Bonaduce and his wife, Gretchen, have been extremely open about Danny`s long battle with drugs and alcohol on their reality show "Breaking Bonaduce."
Danny`s ten-year struggle with sobriety was a major part of their marriage.
BONADUCE: If I had my way, we`d be doing this interview really drunk, and then I`d try to talk that lady into sex.
ANDERSON: But luckily, we`re not doing it that way.
BONADUCE: Those days are over.
ANDERSON: Those were the Bonaduces in happier times. After 16 years of ups and downs, Gretchen recently said they had irreconcilable differences and filed for divorce.
COOPER LAWRENCE, DEVELOPMENTAL PSYCHOLOGIST: I`m not surprised when a couple does a reality show and then gets divorced afterwards. Because there are a lot of things that happen in your life that you feel, but you don`t see. You don`t watch yourself. And then when you actually get to see how it all played out, and you go, oh, my god. Was that me? Was I living that life?
ANDERSON: "One Day At a Time" star Valerie Bertinelli (ph) and rocker Eddie Van Halen stuck it out for almost 25 years, but his hard-partying rocker lifestyle took its toll. After watching her husband go through several stints in rehab, Valerie called it quits and filed for divorce in 2005.
DAVID CAPLAN, "STAR MAGAZINE": Eddie`s addiction was a key factor in their split. He had a huge problem with drinking and alcohol. He even had an overall problem with addiction with smoking. Eddie Van Halen was diagnosed with a form of cancer from smoking. He then quit, and then after he quit, the cancer eventually went away with treatment.
And then six months after it goes away, the cancer comes back and Valerie was fuming. So this really demonstrated the problem that they had in their marriage, that Eddie was not really taking it seriously,
LAWRENCE: It`s so hard to be in the public eye to begin with, then throw in a disease, then throw in an addiction. It`s too much. And people get to a point in their lives where they realize, you know what, this whole marriage and this whole life is not about you.
ANDERSON: SHOWBIZ TONIGHT can tell you those aren`t the only star marriages to crumble under the weight of addiction. Denise Richards left husband Charlie Sheen in 2005 while she was still pregnant with their second daughter. Nasty allegations flew in divorce papers, including charges that Charlie, a longtime party boy, was addicted to pain killers.
Hillary Swank and Chad Lowe split in 2006, less than a year after Swank took home her second Academy Award. It wasn`t long after that she shocked the world with what was going on behind closed doors.
CAPLAN: Shortly after Hillary Swank and Chad Lowe divorced, Hillary gave an interview in "Vanity Fair Magazine," and she said one of the influences on why they split was his addiction problem. Hillary never mentioned what the addiction was and the revelation was really a surprise.
ANDERSON: Developmental psychologist Cooper Lawrence tells SHOWBIZ TONIGHT that addiction puts stress on any couple. But when you`re a celebrity with a huge career like Hillary Swank, that stress can sometimes become unmanageable.
LAWRENCE: She`s won an Oscar, and all these crazy things going on, enjoying her life. And then her enjoyment becomes stressful instead of I`ve worked hard to get where I am. And then that`s where resentment sets it.
ANDERSON: But substance abuse doesn`t always mean the end of the road for star marriages. Just look at Sharon and Ozzy Osbourne. They tied the knot in 1982 and are still going strong, despite Ozzy`s messy history of drug and alcohol abuse.
SHARON OSBOURNE, WIFE OF OZZY OSBOURNE: Ozzy was not in a good place health-wise with his drug and alcohol abuse. He was out of control.
For a while I was like, yes, I am going to divorce him. I didn`t want to divorce my husband. I love my husband.
ANDERSON: Sharon`s not the only one to stand by her man. Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban were only married for four months when Keith suddenly checked himself into rehab for alcohol abuse. Three months later, he emerged, and the couple says they are stronger than ever.
CAPLAN: He`s at Betty Ford. Nicole Kidman was very supportive while he was in rehab. And he`s written about it on his blog. So it`s interesting, because this is one celebrity couple that`s actually pretty open about the trials and tribulations that they`ve gone through.
ANDERSON: Cooper Lawrence says being open and honest is the best thing any couple can do, especially when it comes to addiction.
LAWRENCE: Communication is what it`s about in any marriage. So if a celebrity couple or any couple can see that that`s going to be the key to their healthy marriage, then yes, communicate, open up.
ANDERSON: Another star couple making it work through addiction, Robert Downey Jr. and his wife, Susan Levin. Robert made headlines for years with his multiple drug arrests and court ordered stints in rehab. But Downey says it`s because of Susan that he`s staying clean and sober.
HAMMER: And Brooke, we`ve got much more on stars and addiction. Lindsay Lohan, she just can`t seem to do it. After rehab, she`s still going to AA meetings. But she doesn`t think she`s an addict. Is she really going to stop the partying? That`s coming up.
ANDERSON: And, A.J., Neil Patrick Harris has a startling admission. Why he finally decided to come out and admit he`s gay. Pretty surprising stuff. That`s next.
HAMMER: Also, the horrific Virginia Tech massacre. The explosive question that everyone is asking: should NBC have ever released the killer`s chilling videos? It is a SHOWBIZ TONIGHT heated debate, and that is coming up at 31 past the hour.
ANDERSON: Some startling stuff from Neil Patrick Harris. He decided to admit he`s gay because he felt, quote, a witch hunt brewing. You may remember Neil as "Doogie Howser, M.D." Now he`s in the CBS comedy "How i Met Your Mother." On today`s "Ellen," Neil talked about how the media was starting to poke into his private life so that`s why he decided to come out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ELLEN DEGENERES, "ELLEN": So in November you decided to make a public announcement to say that you were going to come out. And what made you do that?
NEIL PATRICK HARRIS, ACTOR: I don`t know. There was a little bit of sort of media scrutiny heading my way. My life has been relatively open in my world. I`ve been dating the same guy for over three years. Our families know and we go out together all the time. But I just feel like, as an actor, part of your occupation is retaining a bit of mystery, so that you can be believable in many different types of roles.
So I never thought it was an obligation for me to like hold pinkies down the red carpet for me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Another really interesting thing, Neil`s character on "How I Met Your Mother" is a big-time womanizer. So he felt that people were about to come after him for that, and that`s another reason why he spoke up.
HAMMER: Well, Neil is making it work with his boyfriend. But what about Courtney Cox and her husband, David Arquette?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID ARQUETTE, HUSBAND OF COURTNEY COX: My responsibility to my wife is to be a good husband. You know, we have certain things that, you know, are deal breakers.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAMMER: Coming up, David Arquette tells me his secrets to making his high-profile Hollywood marriage last, which as we all know is not easy. That`s coming up.
ANDERSON: And, A.J., Lindsay Lohan, even after the rehab, even after the AA meetings, Lindsay still doesn`t think she`s an addict. Is she really going to stop the partying? SHOWBIZ TONIGHT investigates that coming up in just a bit.
HAMMER: Also, the horrific Virginia Tech massacre. The explosive question that everyone is asking today: should NBC have ever released the chilling videos that Cho Seung-Hui left behind? A shocking SHOWBIZ TONIGHT heated debate is coming up next.
HAMMER: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT for Thursday night. It is 30 minutes past the hour. I`m A.J. Hammer.
ANDERSON: And I`m Brooke Anderson. We`re in New York, and you are watching TV`s most provocative entertainment news show.
HAMMER: Well, coming up, Brooke, you know that everyone seems to be interested in what Lindsay Lohan is drinking or isn`t drinking.
ANDERSON: We want to know what`s in the glass.
HAMMER: Because it`s been a wild ride for Lindsay. She`s been to rehab; she`s been going to AA meetings. But there are still all of these pictures of her out at the clubs. What is going on with that? Now she`s saying she`s not even sure that she`s an addict. So is she in denial? We`ll be looking into that, coming up.
ANDERSON: Yes, what`s the deal with that?
Also, A.J., a really emotional and courageous story. Rene Syler, former co-host of "The CBS Early Show" is here. She got a double mastectomy to reduce her risk of breast cancer after both of her parents got the disease. We`re going to talk to her about that. And also she has such a respected career in news, so we`ll also get her take on whether those videos of the Virginia Tech should have been released.
HAMMER: But first tonight, the outrage over the video of the Virginia Tech mass murderer. From coast to coast today, NBC was taking heat for releasing the self-made video that Virginia Tech killer Cho Seung-hui sent to the network soon after he began his killing spree that left 32 students dead. This is a debate that is raging all day long in newsrooms and in living rooms across the country.
And joining me tonight from Washington, D.C., Matthew Felling, media director for the Center for Media and Public Affairs.
In Los Angeles, investigative journalist Jane Velez-Mitchell back with this on the program. Jane also the author of this soon-to-be released book, "Secrets Can Be Murder."
Let`s cut right to it. Matthew, should NBC have ever aired this disturbing video of this mass murderer, Cho Seung-hui.
MATTHEW FELLING, CENTER FOR MEDIA AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS: Yes, A.J. - I mean, I am normally a freedom of the press absolutist, where I think that more information out there, the more we get the story advanced, the better.
But I think - what did we learn? How did the story get advanced through this videotape? We found out that he was full of rage; we found out that he was unstable; we found out that he was full of hate. And he had a Jesus Christ complex. And in that sense, I don`t think that there`s anything we accomplished through the airing of this video, aside from terrorizing a lot of Americans and further putting the - the families into deeper grief - I don`t think there`s anything that we accomplished that couldn`t have been accomplished through a transcript or through video stills or something that showed a little bit more restraint.
NBC didn`t even have the competitive pressure like most media outlets have nowadays, where they think to themselves, `Well, everybody`s going to get this, so I have to put it out there first. Or YouTube`s going to get it.` They had sole ownership of this video, and that`s a lot of power. And they didn`t have to abuse it in this way.
HAMMER: Jane Velez-Mitchell, this video is now part of this terrible, tragic story. And the job of news departments and newsrooms and - and news organizations around the world is to tell the story.
You come from a news background. What do you think?
JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST: Well, first of all, I have tremendous sympathy for the families. I totally understand their outrage. If I were them, I may feel exactly the same way.
It`s a very tough call, but in the end I think we have to always opt with truth. We have to respect the public and the viewers to give them the whole story, not just part of the story. This is a very important part of the story, as one of the media execs who made the decision said, `This is as close as we`re ever going to come to being inside the mind of a mass murderer. And what can we learn it?`
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I learned something just by looking at his expression. We learned something by seeing that hammer. It was because that photo was shown that a professor spotted it and made the connection to the movie, "Oldboy." So we`re learning a lot from these images.
But that being said, I don`t think we should constantly play them over and over. Done now. Let`s stop running them. Let`s not put them in music montages and glamorize them.
HAMMER: Which a lot of news - a lot of news organizations have decided to do, and scale way back if not deciding entirely to stop showing it.
But what about that, Matthew? What about the argument that this video can actually give people signs to look for in a disturbed person? Does it not serve a purpose there?
FELLING: Yes, and that`s the most difficult part of this discussion. Because normally I`m agreeing with the other guest.
But today, I just have to say, if we had an al-Qaida terrorist who took out 20 people in America - who took out 50 people in America - or we`ve - we had a - a gentleman or a woman who took out the president, who assassinated the president, and they had a videotape, would we be so comfortable with running the videotape to show the gunman`s side of the story?
I think that there is news merit to it, but I think that`s the entire reason we have the news media to tell us the story, and to connect the dots. And I think that we have a whole country - a small fraction, a constituency - of unstable, of distressed and desperate people. And by giving this man a mouthpiece, by giving him a - a - a pedestal and a megaphone for the better part of 48 - the - 24 hours, we are encouraging, inciting, suggesting to other people who might be distressed in their day- to-day existence, that this is the way to get their grievances met and to get their grievances aired out.
And I think I am normally - I am normally on the other side of this. But I think we`ve taken it too far this time.
HAMMER: Yes, I mean, there - there`s a point there, Jane, and - and it`s a point that`s been well made over the last 24 hours, and in addition to the idea that it might suggest to people they can have infamy even in death, after committing such vile acts. Also there is the idea, as we talked about earlier on the program, of a copycat situation here.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, you can be a copycat for many reasons. I spoke to somebody who works in the gaming industry, and they were highly alarmed by that shot of the Virginia Tech killer holding up his arms with the two guns extended because that`s a classic stance from gaming. And of course, in videogames, the more points you get, the better off you are. And how do you get those points? By killing people.
So you can make parallels with any number of media and come up with the copycat scenario.
FELLING: Well, Jane and A.J.?
HAMMER: Go ahead.
FELLING: I think that if you are going to run this video - and normally, like I say - like I keep saying, I`m always on the side of running it, except in this case. If you`re going to run this, and you`re NBC News, you have it all to yourself. What is to be lost in letting the bodies get buried and letting the funerals occur? And maybe a week from now, do a "Dateline" special that says, "Deeper in the Mind of a Psychopath," "Deeper in the Mind of the Man Who Was America`s Nightmare."
You can get your advertising dollars; you can get the eyeballs. And yet you still allow America this brief mourning period, so we can process it before we have the - have it - have it exposed to us.
HAMMER: Jane, an appropriate mourning period? Would - would that have been OK? Or was it - was it really incumbent upon NBC and - and subsequently the other news organizations to go with the story?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I think once you open that Pandora`s Box of censorship, you don`t know where it`s going to lead. And I think the dangers of censorship far outweigh the benefits. We can all come up with our own favorite suggestions -- blur the face of the shooter, et cetera.
I think as a society, we have to censor less. And across the board, this very week, 172 people died in Iraq in car bombs; 220 were injured. That is at least five times the casualty rate at Virginia Tech. We should be showing more of that real violence, and showing the true face of carnage and horror, not less of it.
So I think as a society, we have to make these tough calls to show the ugly truth more and more often, not less and less often.
HAMMER: And - and I think, as - as with much of this case, the debate will continue and rage on. There`s a lot to talk about here. We`ll be continuing to talk about it here on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.
Jane Velez-Mitchell, Matthew Felling, thanks for joining us.
FELLING: Thank you.
HAMMER: And we`ve been asking you to vote on our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT "Question of the Day," on this very subject: "Virginia Tech Killer: Should NBC have released the videos?"
Keep voting by going to the Web site, cnn.com/showbiztonight. You can also write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We`ll be reading some of your e-mails tomorrow.
You can also vote on the SHOWBIZ TONIGHT "Question of the Day" by sending us a cell phone text message. The number to text to is 45688. If you want to vote "yes," write "SHOWBIZ Yes." If you want to vote "no," write "SHOWBIZ No." Once again, the number to send your text is 45688.
ANDERSON: A.J., you know, we`ve got a really brave woman joining us tonight. Former "CBS Early Show" co-host Rene Syler. You know, after both her parents got breast cancer, she decided to have a double mastectomy to try and reduce her own risk. She`s here with her very emotional story, and that`s coming up (INAUDIBLE).
HAMMER: Emotional and inspiring, Brooke.
Also, we were all very surprised to hear something that Lindsay Lohan said that after rehab, and after going to AA meetings, she`s not sure if she`s an addict. Is she in denial? Are her hard-parting days behind her? We`ll be looking into that, coming up, too.
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DAVID ARQUETTE, ACTOR: My responsibility to my wife is to be a good husband, you know? We - we have certain things that, you know, are deal breakers.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: So exactly what does David Arquette do to be a good husband to Courteney Cox? He tells us their secrets to marriage success, straight ahead.
SHOWBIZ TONIGHT for a Thursday night is coming right back.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: .up, go 3 music under. Stand by, A.J. Pre-set 1. Open his mike, and dissolve. Hit it.
HAMMER: Thanks, Gnarls (ph).
Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, TV`s most provocative entertainment news show. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York.
And tonight, we`ve just got to ask: is Lindsay Lohan in unbelievable denial? Lohan recently spent 30 days in rehab. She`s acknowledged going to AA meetings for the past year. And now, in a startling interview, she`s saying she doesn`t think she`s got a serious problem. Huh?
Joining me tonight in New York, Ken Seeley, new (ph) interventionist on A&E`s "Intervention."
Good to have you here in New York with us, Ken.
I - I want to read to you something that Lindsay Lohan said in this interview in "Allure" magazine, because it is just striking to me. Here`s what she told them.
Quote - "It`s so weird that I went to rehab. I always said I would die before I went to rehab. I don`t know that I`m necessarily an addict."
Well, aside from the interesting choice of words, I - I don`t know Lindsay personally. But from everything I know as a layman, it sounds to me like she is in serious denial here.
KEN SEELEY, A&E`S "INTERVENTION": Major denial. The poor thing, I feel so bad for her.
And that`s not uncommon. Americans that are out there that are suffering from addiction, the No. 1 symptom of addiction is denial. So she`s just going further back into her denial.
The reality is is that she`s just so sick, she`s trying to cover up. What I`m seeing happening is that she would rather say, `I`m not an addict,` so when she`s out there and people are watching her, they`re not seeing her use - when they`re - when she`s using, she`s not covering it up.
HAMMER: So in other words, it kinds of lets her off the hook in a way.
HAMMER: Because she always is going to be seen.
SEELEY: Exactly right.
HAMMER: .as we`re seeing her now, out at the parties, and - and she`s going to get spotted by the paparazzi, out at the clubs.
But here`s the problem, or - or the - the question that I`ve had as we`ve been talking about Lindsay Lohan. Do people who have spent time in AA, particularly over the course of a year, and who have spent time in rehab - I mean, do people do that who don`t have a problem or who don`t have an addiction?
SEELEY: Well, have you ever - have you ever "a normie," as they call them in rehab or in the 12 steps, ever go through treatment? I`ve never seen somebody that doesn`t really have a problem go through a treatment process. So..
HAMMER: I - I can understand.
SEELEY: .it doesn`t..
HAMMER: .certainly, you know, perhaps skirting with the idea to - to - to see if - whether or not it makes sense for you. Maybe you`re not sure if you have a problem and you`re trying to figure it out. But - but she`s gone through it.
SEELEY: That - that makes sense. But you would do outpatient, or you would go see a counselor. But to commit yourself and go through a 30-day process of treatment - you know, there - there is no mistakes. You know, there - it`s obvious she is - she`s going further back into her denial.
You know, I would like to see -- instead of her words, I would like to see clinical staff at the treatment facility saying what they believe.
HAMMER: Yes, but - but the fact is, we`ll never hear that.
SEELEY: Of course.
HAMMER: .because I imagine there`s a great amount of confidentiality involved.
And - and since she got out of rehab some two months ago, we`ve seen her repeatedly hitting the same clubs that were getting her into trouble in the first place -- and you and I have talked about this before -- it seems to me that these are the last places she should be going and spending her time.
SEELEY: She should be in 12-step meetings. She should be, you know, in counseling. She should be with other peers going through the same thing.
And imagine all the people that she could help if she would get the help herself. Because she`s a major role model across this country and the world, actually. And she could help so many people if she would only get the help herself.
SEELEY: But by staying in denial, it`s going to just make things even worse.
HAMMER: We know she comes from a broken home. I know she`s very close with her mother. But in the article, she says - quote - "I feel like a second parent in the sense that I helped raise my family."
Is it possible, Ken, she`s not getting the support system she needs?
SEELEY: I mean, I - it would be really helpful to have her family supporting her through treatment. I mean, that`s really beneficial.
But the reality is, is many people don`t have that. So you can`t blame that on the process. The process of treatment is what - she really has to be like a duck in water. She needs to jump in and really accept that she does have a problem.
Her behavior is so unacceptable.
HAMMER: Yes, let`s hope she does get all the help that she does need.
Ken Seeley from A&E`s "Intervention," I appreciate you joining us (INAUDIBLE)
SEELEY: Thank you, A.J.
ANDERSON: Tonight, the remarkable story of a TV newswoman who took a dramatic step to prevent breast cancer.
Millions of people used to watch Rene Syler every morning. She was one of the anchors on "The CBS Early Show." Now even though she did not have breast cancer, she made the decision to have a double mastectomy.
Her new book is called "Good-Enough Mother."
And joining me from Los Angeles tonight, journalist and author Rene Syler.
RENE SYLER, JOURNALIST: Hi, Brooke.
ANDERSON: Hi, there.
You know, before we talk about your unbelievable story, Rene, I want to ask you - you know, as a longtime newswoman, what are your thoughts on the tragic Virginia - Virginia Tech story? Specifically, Rene, about the raging debate over whether NBC should have released that video of the killer.
What are your thoughts on that?
SYLER: Well, I mean, I think we all have to understand that, you know, our hearts absolutely go out to the parents and the families that have been so impacted by shooting.
I think this is a - you can look at this one of two ways. Number one, you - you don`t want to give the - the killer the attention that he so desires in - in releasing that videotape.
I think the other thing though that it`s important to note is that if you can learn from a situation like this, one of the ways we`re going to learn from it is we`re going to examine some of the writings and - and - and the four-page note and the videotape that he left behind.
So I think this is really one of those situations that you can really see sort of both sides of - of that issue.
ANDERSON: Though it is kind of a gray issue, but do you think news organizations should draw the line at some point between being informative and potentially causing angst, maybe possibly harm to the families and the actual case? Is there a line anymore?
SYLER: Well, I mean, I think news organizations, first and foremost, their job is to inform. And I think they have to look at that - look at that, and - and ask, `Is this informing the public, and is this doing our duty for the public?` And if it is, then - then - then they - then they release the videotape.
ANDERSON: It is a difficult debate, and one that I`m sure will - will continue for a long time to come. Thanks for your thoughts on that, Rene.
And your story, which you tell in your book, is - is truly compelling. You were let go from "The CBS Early Show".
ANDERSON: .last year - late last year. And soon after, you made the decision to have the double mastectomy. Tell us why.
SYLER: Well, I had actually made the decision to have the double mastectomy before I was fired. I had - that had been in the works - in fact, I had been working on a - a story for it, for "The Early Show," when I was fired. So that decision had been made, and I made it probably in July of last year. Not - and it wasn`t something that I did, you know, overnight. It was years and years of painful biopsy.
ANDERSON: Well thought out, yes.
SYLER: Yes. You know, and I had talked with my doctors about this, and I - you know, this is not something..
ANDERSON: Mom and dad.
SYLER: My mother and father both had breast cancer. I - I think this is an important distinction: I never had breast cancer, which is what makes this decision a little bit controversial. You`re taking, you know, ostensibly healthy breast tissue - and, you know, it was.
But see, I really was - you know, I had been diagnosed in 2003 with hyperplasia atypia (ph), which is the stage right before breast cancer. So it wasn`t as though I was - had completely healthy breast tissue.
SYLER: There was something wrong.
ANDERSON: But it was more of a preventative measure from what you`re saying.
Well, you have two young children, and they`re on the cover of your book, and they`re absolutely beautiful.
But how do you explain this to them? How did they react about your really life-altering decision?
SYLER: Well, you know what? I told - they - they had been with me for a long, long time. You know, I had been having biopsies since my youngest - Cole (ph), my son, was - was 4 years old. And I would come back from these biopsies, and they would want to give me a hug, and I`d say, `Oh, Mommy`s a little bit sore, and here`s why.` They knew about my family`s history and my mother and father with breast cancer.
And ultimately, I made the decision, and I explained this to them this way, because I want to be with them for a long, long time; I want to be a part of their lives for a long time. I want to be their mom for a long time.
ANDERSON: How`s your health now?
SYLER: I feel great. I feel - I feel better now than I have felt in years. I absolutely - I had my last surgery about six weeks ago. This was a procedure that was done in two stages, the first being the mastectomy and the second being the reconstruction.
And you know what? I feel fantastic.
ANDERSON: That`s fantastic.
And very quickly, we`re - we`re almost out of time. But, you know, dealing with - as a newswoman, dealing with heartbreak and tragedy every day in your work, did that make it easier to deal with your real-life experiences?
SYLER: Well, I mean, I think that a lot of times people look at us on TV and they think, `Well, they - they don`t have real feelings.` But we`re as impacted and affected by the stories that we cover as everybody else.
As a mother, this Virginia Tech shooting was - was horrifying to me, just like, you know, the rest of the country.
SYLER: So I don`t know if it makes it any easier. It - we`re all still human.
ANDERSON: We are. And your story is inspirational.
Rene Syler, thanks so much for joining us.
SYLER: All right. Thank you, Brooke.
ANDERSON: Of course.
Her new book, "Good-Enough Mother: The Perfectly Imperfect Book of Parenting," is in stores now.
HAMMER: David Arquette and Courteney Cox Arquette have been married for eight years. You know, in Hollywood terms, that is an eternity. What`s their secret? How do they make it work? David tells me what he thinks their key to success is, next.
HAMMER: It`s time now for "Making It Work," SHOWBIZ TONIGHT"s continuing coverage of stars who make their relationships work in Hollywood and beyond.
Tonight, David Arquette and Courteney Cox Arquette. They`ve been married for eight years; they have a daughter named Coco. And as if that`s not enough, they work together. David and Courteney have a production company; it`s called Coquette. And they produce Courteney`s FX TV show, called "Dirt."
I sat down with David, and I asked him about their marriage and their secret to having a good relationship.
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ARQUETTE: The secret to our relationship is exactly that, is being honest with each other. Knowing - like, knowing where our boundaries are. Like, what - what somebody`s - you know, what somebody`s buttons are, and not doing something that could hurt him, or - or push any of those buttons.
I mean, and then, you have the relationships. And then you push those buttons, and then you deal with them. I mean, in - in every day stuff. And less - you know, less important things than the kind of stuff I was referring to.
But I don`t know. We just - you know, and then you try to be kind to each other. That`s the most important thing. When you can be kind to each other - and if you could keep that in mind. Even if you get upset about something, it`s really important to kind of step back, and `All right,` you know, `I love you, and let`s talk this out.` And I don`t - you know, `I don`t want you to feel this way.
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HAMMER: David directed the new horror film, "The Tripper." It is in theaters tomorrow.
ANDERSON: Yesterday, we asked you to vote on our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT "Question of the Day": "Celebrity Babies: Should stars keep their kids out of the spotlight?"
Eighty-four percent of you say, `Yes, they should`; 16 percent of you say `no.`
Here`s some of the e-mails that we received:
Laura from Massachusetts writes, "Celebrities should keep their children out of the spotlight. Their parents chose to be famous, not them."
Joseph from Mississippi says, "Yes, they should. Between the raging paparazzi and critics, they can be hurt physically, and mentally as well."
HAMMER: Yes, I think you got to draw the line somewhere.
Time now to find out what is coming up tomorrow, for Friday night on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.
Older women, younger men. Are Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher the new Hollywood trend? Why do stars like Demi, Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon go for younger men? And how do they make their relationships work? That`s tomorrow on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.
Also tomorrow, changing faces. Gene Simmons of KISS gets a new kisser, and his longtime love, Shannon Tweed, gets a little work done, too. It`s his and hers face-lifts. We`re going to be speaking with the doctor who did the surgeries. That is coming up tomorrow in the interview you`ll see only right here on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.
Get on a plane; go back to L.A.
That`s it for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York.
ANDERSON: Have a great night, everyone. I`m Brooke Anderson.
I hope you didn`t mean that in a bad way.
ANDERSON: "GLENN BECK" coming up next, right after the latest headlines from CNN Headline News.
HAMMER: Hollywood misses you.