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Is Don Imus Really Racist?; Student Suing Principal after Suspension
Aired April 10, 2007 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
GLENN BECK, HOST (voice-over): Tonight, Imus slapped with a suspension.
DON IMUS, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: I will serve the suspension and then I will try to make this right to the best of my ability.
BECK: But is the I-man racist or does he just hate everybody?
And Obama drama. Barack, now the latest Democrat to boycott the FOX News debate.
Plus, the verdict on the Anna Nicole Smith paternity test. Who`s the real daddy? Drum roll, please.
All this and more, tonight.
BECK: As Don Imus continues to apologize for his offensive remarks, MSNBC as well as CBS Radio have announced they will suspend him for two weeks. Now the Rutgers women`s basketball team has agreed to meet with Imus, alone, at an undisclosed location.
Here`s the point tonight. In today`s world, the next Don Imus could be Rosie O`Donnell. It could be Bill Maher. It could be me. It could be you, and here`s how I got there.
This is what Imus had to say on "The Today Show" this morning. It was part of his mea culpa tour.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
IMUS: I don`t think it`s a slap on the wrist. I think it`s significant and I think, because I`ve tried to -- and I haven`t been on some P.R. campaign, by the way, to try to -- to try to make up for these repugnant comments I made. Because I don`t have a P.R. agent. I`m not represented.
I apologized to these young women on my program yesterday morning, but it was comedy. It wasn`t a malicious rant. And I wasn`t angry. I wasn`t drunk. I wasn`t stating some sort of philosophy. As I said yesterday morning, I`m not a racist and I`ve demonstrated that in my deeds and my work.
All right. Let me be absolutely, 1,000 percent crystal clear here. What Don Imus said was disgusting and indefensible. However, that describes his entire radio show. He`s been doing this for 30 years. I could literally fill an entire hour of examples of Don Imus being racially an insensitive jerk. But in the interest of time, let me just give you a couple of examples.
When Imus appeared on "60 Minutes" in 1998, he said that his sidekick Bernard McGuirk was there to do "N" word jokes. He said that, but for the grace of God Snoop Dogg would be eating monkey carcasses back in Africa. He also referred to Lynn Berman, the sports caster, as Lenny the Jew.
Hello. Those remarks are just as awful, if not more so. Why then was he fired? Why is he fired? Why are people calling for his head now on this issue? He hasn`t changed, and quite honestly, I`m sad to say, I don`t think society has changed either. We are, after all, an uncivil society, one that he helped pioneer.
This is what we do to each other now for entertainment purposes. You know that, right? It`s only getting worse. It`s not getting better. And if you don`t believe me, check out the first few weeks of any season of "American Idol", when the judges are basically laughing at troubled people and tearing them apart. You can`t really say that America`s family show, "American Idol", is helping create a culture of civility.
Don Imus is a guy who has been offending people from all walks of life for three decades. I don`t know Don Imus, but I don`t think he`s a racist. I really truly believe -- I think he hates everybody equally, including himself. He is basically your bitter old uncle who you kind of ignore when he says a bunch of crazy stuff at Thanksgiving. The only difference is this guy is getting paid millions of dollars for it.
But here`s the scary thing that I think everybody is missing in this. If Imus ultimately gets fired for his remarks, how does that affect our First Amendment rights? Don Imus is not Mel Gibson. He`s not a guy that you always thought was nice before he made a bunch of hateful remarks on the side of the road.
Don Imus was never nice. What he said was offensive, but who did this surprise? If Imus goes, who`s next? Is it Keith Olbermann? Is it Rosie O`Donnell? Is it me? Is it you? Who needs to be shut up next?
We need to stop forcing people to shut up and, instead, we should start appealing to people`s better nature and say look, man, that wasn`t cool and let the system work.
You know what? If you don`t like my opinion, if you`re screaming at your TV right now, don`t try to get me fired. Change the channel. It`s the American way of doing things.
So here`s what I know tonight. What Don Imus said was indefensible. But it shouldn`t have been said, even as a joke. It wasn`t funny. However, let`s not all jump on the bandwagon of firing people who you knew going in this is the ticket I`m buying.
You know what it is? It`s like -- it`s like going to a Sharon Stone movie and then being shocked that she flashed her lady parts all over the screen. Of course she said. It`s Sharon stone. That`s what she does with her lady parts.
It`s the same thing that could be said about Don Imus. He has a 30- year track record of being a nasty old jerk. It`s what made him popular in America.
Here`s what I don`t know. Why now? Why not when he made other hateful comments? Why was this the straw that broke the camel`s back?
Joining me now, Michael Smerconish. He is the host of "The Big Talker" on 1210 AM, WPHT in the morning. He`s also the author of "Muzzled: From T-Ball to Terrorism, True Stories that Should be Fiction".
Michael, cut to the chase. Why this -- this statement?
MICHAEL SMERCONISH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: I have an answer for you. I don`t know if it`s accurate, but you and I know this well. We live in an age where now, because of the Internet, largely, there is -- and bloggers - - such scrutiny of every single word that gets uttered and parsing of every syllable, every sentence that I think it`s a different environment.
And you`re right. He has been doing it for a long time. He`s an equal opportunity offender. He`s been offending white people, black people, pink people, green people, everybody. But the climate has changed.
And what I don`t like is the selective enforcement of decorum. If Chris Rock said this on HBO, it would have gotten a laugh, and there`d be no controversy. And you know that to be the case. The rappers say this each and every day, and nobody holds their feet to the fire. This is different.
BECK: You know what? I have to tell you. I have Al Sharpton on in a couple of minutes. That is my first question out of the gate. Where are you, on the rappers, my friend? Are you trying to put them out of business, as well?
SMERCONISH: And listen, I have to tell you, Glenn, I`m uncomfortable that Al Sharpton is the arbiter of good taste. Am I the only one who remembers Tawana Brawley? And that fraud that was perpetuated in large part by your next guest. And I think he needs to answer for that.
BECK: OK. We are in an uncivil society. We are -- the thing that really bothered me about this, and I think -- you don`t have to be black to be offended by Don Imus and this comment. And I think the women`s basketball coach said it best. I want to play this clip from today`s press conference.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VIRGINIA STRINGER, COACH, RUTGERS UNIVERSITY WOMEN`S BASKETBALL TEAM: Whether you`re a businessman, whether you`re a camera person, whether you`re a government official or whatever, who amongst you could have heard the comments and not been personally offended?
It`s not about the Rutgers women`s basketball team. It`s about women. Are women hos? Think about that. Would you have wanted your daughter to have been called that?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BECK: See, now this goes back to the rappers. I looked up some rap music today. It`s horrible the thing that these songs are saying about women. But this is our society. We have turned into an uncivil society, and it kills me, Michael.
Don Imus, the reason why he`s a legend in radio, and you know this, he pioneered shock radio. He was way before Howard Stern. It appears as he`s being shot by the gun he built.
SMERCONISH: There`s no doubt about it, and I think it`s not just in the shock world. I think it`s all over the culture in television, in particular. How about that show "Jackass"? I mean, people tune in to watch folks get hurt, to get hurt verbally, to tune into a Don Imus, or to visually watch it on the television program like that.
Or the point that you made about reality TV and the opening few episodes of "American Idol", where they`re simply goofing on the contestants. But whatever the reason is, that becomes a magnet.
BECK: Well, Michael, you`ve got the same thing. You talk about the show "Jackass". We just did a story on this program just a couple of weeks ago about these girl fights that are happening on YouTube.
BECK: People are not being seen as people anymore. It`s -- everything is entertainment. And the media, do we have any responsibility?
Michael, you`re on our flagship station on PHT in Philadelphia. Do you feel any responsibility at all when you do things on the radio and say, what am I contributing to society? Does the media play any role by feeding us what we`re asking them to feed us?
SMERCONISH: Well, I feel responsibility, but you know, my moral compass, the same as yours, is I have to go home at night and face my family. It`s not so much what goes on in the industry as it is what goes on at home.
I`ve got to say one other thing about this. You know, I see folks whose outrage is carrying them all the way to the bank right now. This story is leading the very network that has now suspended him for two weeks.
SMERCONISH: And they keep putting it out. And putting it out.
BECK: I mean, did you notice that was "The Today Show?"
SMERCONISH: "The Today Show". It was like Glenn, I`ve appeared on "The Today Show" many, many times, but not in a 20-minute block. Are you kidding me? And then when they cut Imus loose, they brought in a panel to talk about it more. And they`re all so offended.
BECK: I know. So do you think he`s going to be fired or not, Michael?
SMERCONISH: I think he will not be fired, and let me make it clear. I don`t think he should be fired.
BECK: I don`t think so either.
SMERCONISH: The public flogging and humiliation is what he deserves. Now let`s get over it. And let the man continue to earn a living, but hopefully he clean ups his act.
BECK: Michael, thanks a lot.
Joining me now is a man who is no stranger to controversy. For the past 30 years, he has made a radio career out of, honestly, offending people. He is on this program for the first time.
Welcome to the program, Glenn Beck. An honor to have you on the program. And it really is. It`s a nice tie there.
BECK: No, really. Seriously, the honor is all mine.
BECK: No, no.
BECK: If I could say what a privilege it is to finally be making an appearance on your program.
BECK: I have -- I`ve watched your show now for a long time, and I`m a real admirer of yours. The things that you do for -- the thing that you do for kids, it`s beautiful. It is.
And let me just say this. If there were fewer Imuses in the world and maybe just a few more Glenn Becks, I don`t think we`d be having this conversation right here right now.
BECK: How true that is. Unfortunately, we`re all out of time. So thanks for joining us, Glenn.
Coming up, our discussion continues on the Don Imus suspension. We`re joined by the one and only Al Sharpton and his thoughts on the limits of free speech in the hot seat. Next.
Plus, Barack Obama drops out of a debate sponsored by FOX News. Remember when he said he was sick of partisan politics? Yes, things have changed. Don`t miss tonight`s "Real Story".
And the father of Anna Nicole Smith`s baby, the long-awaited news from the Bahamas.
BECK: All Imus, all the time.
But joining me now is Reverend Al Sharpton as we continue talking about Don Imus and the right to free speech and the responsibility that comes along with it.
Al, thanks for joining me again this evening.
REV. AL SHARPTON, CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST: Thank you.
BECK: I just want to start with a clip from yesterday`s interview with you and Imus on your radio program.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
IMUS: I can`t get any place with you people. But I can get someplace with Jesus.
SHARPTON: You people? Who is "you people," Mr. Imus?
IMUS: You and this woman I`m talking to.
REV. CAROLYN KILPATRICK (D), MICHIGAN: I`m Congresswoman Kilpatrick.
SHARPTON: She`s Congresswoman Kilpatrick.
IMUS: Oh, don`t try to hang that on me. That`s jive.
SHARPTON: What`s jive?
IMUS: What you said: What do you mean by you people? You know what I meant, about you two people. Like I would say you two people.
SHARPTON: There`s a whole lot of people.
IMUS: That`s not even fair. You said you were going to be fair. Keep your word.
SHARPTON: I`m being fair.
IMUS: Keep your word.
SHARPTON: I`m being very fair. I`m being very real.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BECK: OK. Reverend Al, do you believe Imus really said that with racist intent?
SHARPTON: I don`t know. As someone that has called people nappy headed hos, you should ask what they mean around anything.
BECK: He has said -- I just want to make this clear. You and I spoke yesterday. I agree with you 100 percent; this kind of language has no place. Where we disagree is what should happen to him.
But let me just -- let me just come back to this guy has said -- he`s called Arabs ragheads for years. And nobody said boo. He called Len Berman Lenny the Jew and nobody really said anything. Why is it now that this particular statement has got everybody up in arms?
SHARPTON: I think a better question is why no one stopped him when he was saying those other ugly things.
BECK: But you`ve been in New York City since 1970.
SHARPTON: Well, first of all, when the National Association of Black Journalists raised this and actually we got it, we acted. No one had raised what you said. I would have supported that then, and I would now. And have done that in other cases.
BECK: Are you saying to me that you didn`t know that Don Imus was saying these kinds of things in New York City for the last 30 years?
SHARPTON: I did know that Don Imus was saying offensive things. I did not know he was saying the things that you are saying now, as ugly as they are. And, again, I think that there should be something done -- have been done about it, and that`s all the more reason why he should not be returned to the airwaves because what you`re saying is that this is the way he conducts himself.
BECK: Oh, yes.
SHARPTON: So why should anyone trust that he`s going to come back as he`s gone on television this morning and saying he`s not going to behave this way. You`re telling me he doesn`t know how to behave any differently.
BECK: OK. Here is -- here is something that came out of this basketball conference today with the team members. This is Kia Vaughn. Listen to what she said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KIA VAUGHN, RUTGERS BASKETBALL TEAM MEMBER: It hurts a lot. It does hurt. And there`s a lot that should be said. There`s a lot that I want to say, but you know, you can`t say it.
And I would like to speak to him personally and, you know, and express how I feel face to face and ask him after you`ve met me, as a person, do you feel in this category that I`m still a ho as a woman and as a black African-American woman at that? I achieved a lot, and unless they have given this name a ho any other definition, then that is not what I am.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BECK: This is what really bothers you, right?
SHARPTON: Absolutely. I mean, that is what hits me to the core. As I said, I have two daughters. And when I heard that, I heard him calling my daughters, who are not thugs, not in the street, not doing wrong, in college.
It`s like she said, when you excel, people call you that anyway. I had to come forth, and many others have come forth.
BECK: I have to tell you, it`s -- I have -- I have three daughters, and it`s not just if they excel. Calling your daughters -- this is why this story reaches me, is because it is just so offensive on so many levels.
But here`s some women who have really accomplished something and to call them, you know, nappy headed hos is offensive.
However, Ludacris has a song called "Hos". "Can`t turn a ho into a housewife," apparently good advice from Ludacris.
How about Tupac: "I get around, all respect to those who break their neck to keep the hos in check."
Notorious BIG: "Ain`t that a slut who" -- and it goes into describing things that she does with her butt, different kinds of showers she likes and calls her a ho. DMX: "It`s all good. I`ve done it all to hos. Dominican hos, country hos, from sister to country hos."
Three-six Mafia: "I heard it`s hard out there for a pimp. Couldn`t keep up with my hos." Uses the "N" word. I mean, this is everywhere with rap.
Now I know you`ve given -- you know, you`ve gone out, and you just had a press conference a couple of weeks ago. Will you tell me that you are trying to get these guys fired from their record contracts as much as you`re trying to get Don Imus thrown off the radio?
SHARPTON: No, what I will tell you is I`ve said that these record companies -- ironically, the same conglomerate owns some of the record companies that you`re talking about, owns the radio station that Imus is on. These record companies ought to be hit so that we will take the profit out of that.
BECK: But you are not saying that with Don Imus. You are saying...
SHARPTON: With Don Imus...
BECK: You are saying, "I want you fired."
SHARPTON: Don Imus is on a federally regulated radio station and television. If these guys were talk show hosts, I`d be marching to get all of...
BECK: These guys are being played not only on radio stations, but they`re also connected right to our daughter`s ears with their iPods.
SHARPTON: Glenn Beck -- Glenn Beck...
BECK: This is much more hazardous.
SHARPTON: I am surprised. You have a good research department. I was surprised that when I met with the FCC about this about 18 months ago...
BECK: What I`m asking you...
SHARPTON: You don`t want the answer to that.
BECK: I do want the answer. Al, you and I have talked about this.
SHARPTON: I`m the guy that went to FCC and talked about this language and violence in hip-hop. "Nightline" even did a extensive report on this. So you don`t have to sell me. I want to know where all the people, including Mr. Imus, who claimed to be outraged by it, where were they when I were raising this, because it was...
BECK: I will be with you any time. We just don`t put people out of business, out of political correctness. Let`s encourage people to shed that.
SHARPTON: You cannot correct the rapper if you don`t have the same courage to stand up to people like Don Imus.
BECK: I`ll be with you. Reverend Al Sharpton, back in a minute.
BECK: You remember the good old days? When you wanted to make fun of a teacher or a principal, you`d just, you know, pass a few notes around. Worst case scenario, you`d toilet paper their house. Whatever.
Well, now welcome to the world of MySpace. It`s taken it to a whole new level. There`s a new story out. This one comes from Pennsylvania. It`s a high school principal. He is suing one of his students for creating a fake MySpace profile about him.
The profile made fun of his weight, described him, quote, as a "boozing, MILF chasing swinger." If you don`t know what it is, ask your 7- year-old son. And much, much more.
As you can imagine, it created quite a buzz in the school district. All the juicy details were posted on SmokingGun.com. Managing editor Andrew Goldberg joins us.
Andrew, what can you tell us that is fit for prime time? What other details were there?
ANDREW GOLDBERG, MANAGING EDITOR, SMOKINGGUN.COM: Well, this sort of story, this is why they invented the Internet. Basically, so that you can come and look at it there.
But it`s basically a principal. It`s a high school principal at the time. Now he`s in the same district but he`s in the middle school. And students posted MySpace pages, which is where, you know, kids communicate all the time today, except that they took his picture off the school district web site and posted a profile.
And basically, the kid, the main kid in this was making fun of his weight. Everything was big. And you know, he drinks big kegs. He goes big skinny dipping. He steals big amounts of stuff when he goes robbing. He smokes big blunts. You know, it goes on and on. He takes a lot of big pills.
But then there were nastier and nastier things. It got around the school. There were multiple profiles posted, and it resulted in the suspension of the kid.
BECK: OK. Now, the kid is suing the principal.
BECK: How did that happen?
GOLDBERG: Well, what happened is he got a ten-day suspension. And then he -- you know, in court filings it says, like, he`s a honor student. He does well. He was on the college track, A.P. -- A.P. classes.
And not only did he get suspended, but when he was returned to school, he was put into a special group of classes where he wasn`t in the regular classes. It was a three-hour school days.
And he wanted to go to Penn State. That was one of the schools. And there was a hold put on his admissions because he had been suspended. He felt that -- and the ACLU took his case. He felt that his civil rights had been violated.
BECK: What is surprise there, the ACLU running to his rescue. You know, you actually -- you were talking to one of our producers before we went on the air, and you actually side with the kid.
GOLDBERG: I feel like, you know, I think absolutely I understand how hurtful this is for the principal. I understand it`s a horrible thing. It`s embarrassing. It disrupted school.
But at the same time, the kid was at home. He was at his grandmother`s house when he put this profile together. This was not on school time.
BECK: So do you have to be at school to slander or libel somebody?
GOLDBERG: Absolutely not. But that`s a different issue, whether or not he deserves school suspension. I mean, the whole argument his family is making, his parents are making, is that we discipline our child for activities that take place outside of the school, which is what they`re saying they did.
BECK: What did they do? What are they claiming that they did to him? Because this happened while Grandma was watching the son, I understand, and he was busy on the computer and Grandma.
GOLDBERG: Well, how they ended up disciplining him, I can`t answer that, but they say they handle those things.
I mean, I`m not fully on the side that this kid doesn`t deserve some sort of punishment. It`s just where do you draw the line of outside school activity? And is this guy a little too sensitive about this profile being passed around?
BECK: I have to tell you -- you know, everybody -- you have to understand. We have to teach this to our kids the power of the Internet. It is a powerful, powerful thing, and that is out there forever.
Andrew, thanks a lot.
Coming up, Barack Obama drops out of the debate sponsored by FOX News, and it`s going to cost him some votes. I`ll explain why in tonight`s "Real Story", next.
BECK: Welcome to "The Real Story."
We are 82 weeks away today from this country electing a new leader of the free world. Aside from the Hillary Clinton and John McCain zombies that are in their basement right now trying to figure out how to defeat everybody else, the rest of us real people actually have a lot of work to do in that time.
And even though it could be just one day, just one day, that could derail the whole thing -- just look at Imus -- you`ve got to admit that Barack Obama has so far captured the hearts and imaginations of a lot of people. Republicans and Democrats alike are looking at Barack Obama saying, "This guy is a guy who seems to get it."
He seems to be, at least to me, a guy who is just as sick of partisan politics as the rest of us. And, like the rest of us, he`ll let you know right off from the start. He`s a guy who is out to change things.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), ILLINOIS: I`ve been struck how hungry we all are for a different kind of politics. America has faced big problems before, but today our leaders in Washington seem incapable of working together in a practical, commonsense way.
Politics has become so bitter and partisan, so gummed up by money and influence, that we can`t tackle the big problems that demand solutions. We have to change our politics and come together around our common interests and concerns as Americans.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BECK: That is the way I feel. Isn`t that the way you feel? Stop with the partisan politics. Get away from the money, et cetera, et cetera. Unfortunately, the real story tonight is it`s all starting to look like an act with Barack Obama.
He has now joined Hillary Clinton and John Edwards in refusing to participate in a presidential debate because it`s being sponsored by the FOX News Channel. How exactly do you sit there and talk about coming together as Americans when the first thing you do is pull out of a debate just because that`s what George Soros and MoveOn.org wants? Talk about shooting yourself in the foot and throwing every ounce of credibility that you have with somebody like me, somebody who really does believe that it`s about right and wrong and not left and right.
Why wouldn`t you want to go on every network you could and just get your message out about bipartisanship to as many people as possible, especially those on the other side of the aisle?
Do you remember Ronald Reagan? Does anybody in America remember Ronald Reagan? He didn`t win in a landslide with just Republican votes. He reached out to both parties. If a Democrat did that same thing today, if a Democrat put America first, they would be president in a heart beat.
You know, I want to make this clear: I couldn`t vote for Barack Obama because his politics are literally left of Dennis Kucinich. Not kidding you. But I have admired him, and I`ve respected him. Honestly, the first chink in his armor with me on that, today.
Now I realize, gosh, he might just be another politician. Ben Smith is from the Politico. How do I have this wrong, Ben?
BEN SMITH, THE POLITICO: Well, I mean, as you said, I`m not sure yours is the vote that he`s going for. But I guess -- I don`t think that Obama -- you know, Obama`s problem with Democrats right now is that people don`t always see him as a fighter.
And with the kind of rhetoric that you like, the stuff about reaching out, he`s taken sometimes by Democrats to say he`s not going to stand up to Republicans, he`s not going to fight. And I think that -- so for a lot of Democrats who are very hostile to FOX News, who, by the way, see FOX News as part of the kind of partisan rancor that you`re decrying. I mean, so there...
BECK: Hang on just a second. This is not -- you know, you want to go do a debate on my show? Well, you know what? You can say a lot about me. You want to go on Bill O`Reilly? You can say a lot about Bill O`Reilly.
This is a FOX News -- this is not -- this is -- this is not the Bill O`Reilly show doing the debate. And how do you dismiss such a vast audience? Fifty percent of the FOX News audience, 50 percent, is Democrats and independent.
SMITH: Fifty percent is registered Democrats and independents. It`s actually a very conservative audience, though. I think they voted 88 percent for Bush in 2004. So just on the kind of Democratic primary calculation, I think it is that it doesn`t mean that much.
But I also think what Obama`s people will say is that they see the entire network as conservative and that they -- I`m sure your own corporate, you know, masters have their own angle here, but that they see the entire network as conservative.
They were particularly upset when FOX sort of most enthusiastically picked up a very thinly sourced report that Obama had been educated in a madrassa a couple of months ago, a sort of extremist Islamist education. And I think they tossed a FOX reporter off the plane for a while there. And I think they`ve been maybe waiting for an opportunity to kind of make their point about that, and maybe this was part of it.
BECK: You know, here`s the interesting thing. How did you choose somebody to be president of the United States if they can`t get into a debate with somebody like FOX? I mean, I didn`t -- I`m on CNN.
SMITH: But I don`t think FOX is going to be in the debate.
BECK: No, I understand that, but they won`t even allow it to be carried on FOX. I`m on CNN for a reason. I chose CNN, and I actually think it`s a better place to be for a conservative than FOX because I`m reaching people who would never go to FOX. I mean, there`s something to be said to not playing to your own choir all the time.
SMITH: There is. Yes, you`re right, but I think that politics is changing a little. And I think this is in a way something that the Republicans discovered first and in the 1990s spent a lot of time attacking the "New York Times," attacking the so-called mainstream media, and used that really as kind of a rallying cry. And I think Democrats and liberals are now in some way learning the same thing, both attacking the mainstream media and the more explicitly conservative media.
BECK: Ben, thanks a lot. I think it`s time we start uniting back together before we just tear every last shred of us apart.
Let`s move to President Ahmadinejad. He had an announcement yesterday about Iran`s dramatic expansion of their nuclear program, and it was pretty well-covered by the media, but what wasn`t as well-covered were two other pieces that are far more important, these announcements that Iranian officials made yesterday.
First, there was a statement by Iran`s vice president saying that they would install, not 3,000 centrifuges, but 50,000 centrifuges. Now, I`ll tell you why that`s significant here in a second. But even more important was a comment by Iran`s chief nuclear negotiator. He said, quote, "If they pressure us further, we will have no choice but to reconsider our membership of the NPT."
The NPT, by the way, is the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, which has several requirements, not the least of which is the peaceful use of nuclear energy.
The "Real Story" tonight is that Iran`s nuclear game has changed. We just don`t know it yet. I`ve been trying to tell you this without putting to you sleep, but let me try to quickly explain how these announcements tie together and what they really mean.
In order to secretly make a nuclear bomb from uranium, you`ve got to do two things first. You`ve got to have thousands of centrifuges all running together. And, gee, 50,000 would do the trick. Second, you`ve got to get the U.N. inspectors out of your country, because, unlike plutonium, enriched uranium, weapons-grade uranium, literally lights up U.N. Geiger counters like a Christmas tree. You spot that from a million miles away.
That`s why the comment about withdrawing from the NPT is so significant. Once they leave that treaty, there is no reason to keep the inspectors around anymore, and we become blind.
For all of the grandstanding, and the press conferences, and the national nuclear day declarations, the inspectors are our last line of defense, and it`s the only thing that really matters. Mark my words, America. If those inspectors are forced out, it may be days, weeks, or hours, but we will have no choice but to be forced in. And that is not a good thing.
Mario Loyola, he is a former Pentagon consultant. He writes frequently about Iran`s nuclear program for "The National Review."
Mario, we`ve spent some time on the phone here trying to figure out exactly how can -- explain, if you will, the industrial scale and the significance of going from 3,000 to 50,000.
MARIO LOYOLA, FOUNDATION FOR THE DEFENSE OF DEMOCRACY: Well, what they`ve announced here is basically the beginning of a dress rehearsal for the production of a large amount of weapons-grade uranium.
Now, what they`re doing is more modest than that. It`s only a couple thousand centrifuges, 2,000 or 3,000, what they`ve established at Natanz now. And what they`re going to do is figure out how to make a large quantity of good quality, lightly enriched uranium, and that`s what they say they`re going to do.
And that would be fine, but the danger in that is that, once they`ve figured out how to do it, they`ll be 99 percent of the way to figuring out how to operate a 50,000-centrifuge cascade and how to use in a way that produces highly enriched, weapons-grade uranium.
BECK: OK. And it`s really -- is it like a setting? Because when you`re making fuel, you only have to have it at, what is it, 3 percent enriched uranium?
LOYOLA: That`s right. The way that experts talk about it is they say, you spin the uranium gas, uranium hexafluoride gas through the centrifuge cascade a couple of times, and that produces lightly enriched uranium, but you spin it...
BECK: And that`s for fuel?
LOYOLA: Right. And that`s to fuel a light-water reactor, which doesn`t really present -- which is a pretty safe deal. I mean, that`s what the Russians are building them at Bushehr. But if you spin it many times through the same cascade, if you spin lightly enriched uranium many more times through the same cascade, you can enrich it up to 90 percent, which is what you need to make a nuclear warhead.
BECK: And there`s no way that you would have highly enriched uranium for fuel? You just wouldn`t do it. And that is the stuff that the Geiger counter just -- I mean, if you`re an inspector and you`re anywhere in the region of one of a highly enriched uranium plant, will your Geiger counter go off?
LOYOLA: What they do is they take soil samples and atmosphere samples at the sites that they suspect where...
BECK: And it will go off?
LOYOLA: Yes, they can detect it very easily. Now, they can produce - -highly enriched uranium can also be used in a hard-water reactor, which they`re also building, which is what the North Koreans did. And that`s the route that you need to take in order to extract fuel rods that have weapons-grade plutonium, and they`re not worried about that.
BECK: But that is -- they`re 10 years away from that, right?
BECK: OK. Mario, thank you very much. That`s "The Real Story" tonight.
Up next, the Anna Nicole baby sweepstakes has reached yet another new low. The tale, straight ahead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BECK: There are certain words that you cannot say in any context on the airwaves. We`ve learned that from George Carlin, remember?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So the words that I say (bleep), now, (bleep)...
BECK: I cannot use, for instance, the f-word. Not the new f-word, the f-word classic. Oh, gee, look, the border looks like it`s (bleep) now, (bleep) the border. I can`t use that word in any context with the FCC. If I say the f-word classic, I`ll get fined and there`s a good chance I`ll get fired.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BECK: But now we`re talking about language, and it`s not about the FCC. Now language lines are being drawn, and it`s new every day it seems.
The winner is -- yes, that`s right a court in the Bahamas has finally released the results of the DNA results revealing Larry Birkhead as the father of Anna Nicole Smith`s daughter, Dannielynn. Wow, I`m surprised.
It`s really tragic that this game of, you know, "who`s your daddy" took so many months to end. But what`s worse is, this story won`t go away. It`s still far from over.
Question: Will anyone contest the DNA results? Oh, yes, they`re going to. Will the father and the child live together? Will Anna Nicole`s mother have any role in her granddaughter`s life? Minor aside, will the little Dannielynn and her real dad get the half-a-billion-dollar fortune from Anna Nicole`s very dead, very ex, very, very old husband?
Let`s check in now with Court TV`s Lisa Bloom? Lisa, I mean, it`s a never-ending story.
LISA BLOOM, COURT TV ANCHOR: Good questions, and here`s where we stand. Larry Birkhead gets to give the big "I told you so" to the world today. He`s been saying for seven months he`s the daddy. The DNA proves it, 99.9999 percent says Dr. Baird. He is the daddy.
All right, Howard K. Stern says he`s going to bow out and let Larry Birkhead have sole custody. That`s a loaded word, because...
BECK: Wait, wait, he says that?
BLOOM: That`s what Howard Stern said today in front of all the microphones, OK, but that`s not the end, Glenn. Don`t get too excited. It`s not over yet, because there`s still Virgie Arthur, as you say, the mother of Anna Nicole. She filed for custody in the Bahamas. She`s still fighting for custody. She was very cagey in her press conference today, did not say she was giving up that fight. And so that fight will continue this Friday in the Bahamas.
BECK: Now, this is interesting because Bahamian law actually favors any female relative, right?
BLOOM: Well, yes. Now, it`s not a guarantee you`re going to get custody if you`re a female, but they seem to think that babies and small children do better in the custody of a female. And so Larry Birkhead has to show he`s going to be a good daddy, he can support the child, he can love her, he can raise her.
BECK: Can`t she just show a picture of Anna Nicole and say, "This woman raised her"? Can he just do that?
BLOOM: Well, Virgie Arthur actually, by all accounts, gave Anna Nicole a pretty stable childhood. Anna Nicole turned out wild as a teenager. Virgie shipped her off to other family members at the time. And Virgie raised Daniel for the first six years of his life, while Anna was achieving fame and celebrity. And then Anna took him back. So Virgie has got a track record that she can show the Bahamian court, "Hey, I`m a good mom, let me raise the baby."
BECK: Weird alliance. And I`ve heard rumors on -- and, by the way, speaking of rumors, did anyone take those rumors that were going around that Anna Nicole`s son was the father of the baby? Did you hear those?
BLOOM: I did hear it. We certainly never reported that.
BECK: Oh, my gosh.
BLOOM: It`s not true. Now, (INAUDIBLE) has put that to rest. She may have been off-beat, but she wasn`t that off-beat.
BECK: Now, tell me about the weird alliance between Stern and Birkhead?
BLOOM: You know what it`s like? It`s like "Survivor Bahamas."
BECK: It is.
BLOOM: It`s like "Survivor." They have to ally themselves to try to get the baby and the pot of gold. It used to be Virgie Arthur and Larry Birkhead, way back a month ago, in Judge Larry`s courtroom in Florida, they were allied against the evil Howard Stern, right?
Well, since everything shifted to the Bahamas, things changed. You know, Larry Birkhead got rid of his lawyer, Debra Opri. He started to meet with Howard Stern, tried to work things out behind the scenes. Howard Stern got different lawyers. And now it`s Larry and Howard allied against Virgie Arthur. I can`t tell you exactly why, but they want to keep her at least from having custody.
BECK: Do you think there was any deal made that Howard K. is going to, you know, get some money or anything like that?
BLOOM: I think there has to be. I think there has to be, realistically. How did Howard change his position so dramatically? And, by the way, Glen, you really put your finger on it. You know, Howard is getting lauded today for being such a great guy for backing off. Why did it take seven months, you know, and guarantee that this baby is going to have the trauma of going from the only dad she`s known to a new guy?
BECK: I was just going to say, because he knew he could get money out -- I think -- he knew he could get money out of it if he dragged it out, because no court wants to separate this poor, little child from the only dad she`s ever known.
BLOOM: Exactly. It`s got to be. Now, we don`t know. We`re just speculating. Howard Stern has hired an aggressive lawyer, Lin Wood, to go after anybody in the media who says bad things about Howard Stern. That shows that he`s very sensitive now about his public image. That also may be part of why he said, "Look, if Larry is the dad, he can have the baby." Again, he`s saying that now. He didn`t say that before.
BECK: All right. So the next chapter is Friday?
BLOOM: Yes. And, of course, don`t forget, we have the inquest into the death of Daniel Smith. That continues this week. We have an estate battle over J. Howard Marshall`s $450 million. That continues, as well.
BECK: Yes, the death of the son is really the only piece left that interests me. I`d like to know what really happened to the son. Lisa, thank you very much.
BLOOM: Thanks, Glenn.
BECK: We`ll be right back. Final thoughts in just a second.
BECK: Hey, let`s go to e-mail.
Dennis in Alabama writes in, "Why is there no outrage in other mediums or other talk show hosts about the obvious miscarriage of justice with Dog the bounty hunter?"
You know what? I`ve got to tell you, I don`t know the answer to that. I had Dog and his wife, Beth, on the radio today, and it was absolutely incredible. These people need your help to avoid being railroaded by one or two governments in an abuse of power that is of legendary proportions.
We have a man who has freed us from somebody who has been convicted of dozens and dozens of brutal rapes, and we`re dragging his family through the mud for absolutely no reason. Please, go online to DogtheBountyHunter.com and sign his congressional petition. And, also, don`t miss our sit-down interview with him and his wife right here on Thursday night.
Devin in Canada writes, "Why isn`t the free world doing something to stop this crazy Tom from acquiring nukes? Why are we waiting for the day when we all say, `Shucks, why didn`t we see this coming?` And our kids are living in the United States of Iran."
Actually, for you, I think it would be the Canadian States of Iran, but who`s counting problems here? The real reason we aren`t doing anything, as I see it, is because we`re thinking of the situation in Iran like men think about their health. We stay away from the doctor until we`ve got a cantaloupe-sized tumor growing out of our back and we can`t put our pants on anymore. Then we buy bigger pants. Then we finally do something once our wife says, "Go to the doctor, will you?"
Jim in Florida asks, "Glenn, has anyone else wondered how cold it would really be if we didn`t have global warming?"
Jim, yes, this actually occurred to me today. Sheryl Crow was kicking off her biodiesel-powered bus tour of colleges to raise awareness about global warming in Dallas, which today was 17 degrees below its average. And it`s also far colder than normal all across the country.
One thing we do know is, if there were no global warming, Dallas would have been about 18 degrees colder than normal. Yes, I`m just saying. Devastating, isn`t it? By the way, the BBC had a story today that snowy forests are now increasing warming. Really, I`m not kidding you. BBC, trees in the snow are causing warming. It`s those evil trees absorbing the warmth instead of reflecting it off the snow.
So the conclusion is obvious: Cut down all the trees, you know, let`s say north of Ohio. Problem solved.
And, finally, this comes in at GlennBeck@CNN.com. "I`m interested in a free signed copy of Dr. S. Gupta`s book." Bruce, Orlando. Well, you`ll have to pry it out of my hands, because I`m reading it now. Maybe I`ll sell it to you on eBay.
By the way, don`t miss Mitt Romney on the radio, tomorrow.