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THE MCLAUGHLIN GROUP HOST: JOHN MCLAUGHLIN PANEL: PATRICK BUCHANAN, MSNBC; ELEANOR CLIFT, NEWSWEEK; MONICA CROWLEY, SYNDICATED RADIO COMMENTATOR; JAMES WARREN, THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE TAPED: FRIDAY, APRIL 10, 2009 BROADCAST: WEEKEND OF APRIL 11-12, 2009

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DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue One: Education -- the Panacea?

SECRETARY OF EDUCATION ARNE DUNCAN: (From videotape.) Well, I think ultimately we have to educate our way to a better workforce and a better economy. This is the only long-term way to really fix the economy.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: The cure for our economic meltdown is -- get this -- education. So says newly minted Education Secretary Arne Duncan, formerly chief executive officer for the Chicago public schools, and FOO -- friend of Obama.

Secretary Duncan is not talking about economic education. He's talking about education -- public schools. Unfortunately, the meltdown is bringing down American public schools. Massive personnel layoffs and massive program cuts are compensating for deficits in state and local school budgets.

The worst case is California. Twenty-six thousand teachers face lost jobs within two months when the school year ends. The state of California, not just the education sector, is wrestling with a $42 billion budget gap. Similar drastic shortfalls exist throughout the nation. President Obama is usually cool and reserved, but he was anything but that in a speech on the current state of American education.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: (From videotape.) Despite resources that are unmatched anywhere in the world, we've let our grades slip, our schools crumble and our teacher quality fall short. And other nations outpace us. The future belongs to the nation that best educates its citizens. And, my fellow Americans, we have everything we need to be that nation.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Help is on the way -- $100 billion of the $787 billion Obama stimulus package is reserved for education.

Question: The Obama stimulus spending bill gives money directly to states and cities. Will the distribution system and the amounts of money be enough to keep teachers in their jobs? Pat Buchanan.

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, it'll keep some, certainly, John. But what you've got up there is all straight propaganda. Since 1964, this country has poured trillions and trillions of dollars into education, the latest being No Child Left Behind, which doubled federal spending. Despite that, test scores have been falling since 1964; Scholastic Aptitude Test.

Some school districts are doing very well. Others, with the largest amounts of money of any school district, like Washington, D.C., $16,000 per pupil, per student, have the lowest test scores in the nation.

The truth is, what you need in education is reform before you give them another dollar. It is an industry that has failed the country because the products it turns out turn out worse and worse and worse every year.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is it a teacher problem?

MR. BUCHANAN: It is a problem of students, of teachers, of the culture. And you need reform by people who have not been involved in it, I think, in these last decades, when we've had a disaster.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: Well, people have spent decades now beating up on teachers. And in Washington, D.C. in particular, the teachers are left trying to fix a lot of social problems they don't have control over.

But the speech that the president made and his appointment of Arne Duncan as his education chief is about much more than the propaganda that Pat Buchanan just spewed. Duncan is challenging the education establishment. He has done things in Chicago. He has created community schools that are very successful. He's talking about expanding the school year. He is trying to reform the system. And he's a diplomat. He can work with the unions and he can work with the reformers.

And this administration is finally putting in the dollars to bring about some of the reforms that people have been talking about for years and that work, that work spottily around the country and that need to be expanded throughout the country.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Monica, hold on. I want you to respond to this.

Okay, the Obama plan.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: I think you'd all agree that the time for finger-pointing is over. The time for holding ourselves accountable is here. What's required is not simply new investments but new reforms.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: One: Early education -- $5 billion budgeted pre-K, early Head Start, Head Start.

Two: College for all -- $2.5 billion. By 2020, America stands number one in college graduates.

Three: Longer school year, from 180 days to 200 days, deeper into the summer.

Four: Teachers' merit pay; salaries pegged to classroom performance.

What do you think of what Buchanan said?

MS. CROWLEY: I agree with Pat. And actually what Obama is presenting here is a federalization of the education system in America. It's pretty radical. I mean, he's talking about federalizing education up to and including college for everybody, starting with universal pre-K.

Pat is right. The United States has poured more money into per student than any other country in the history of the world. And the results have been marginal. Now, if the reforms that Eleanor is talking about and that Obama is presenting do go into place, he's going to have to take on the powerful teachers' unions. And we'll have to see about that, especially on the merit pay situation, whether or not he's willing to go down that road and take them on and make sure that teachers are rewarded for performance-based results. Now, the other thing that we haven't talked about here is vouchers and charter schools. And what the Democrats in the Congress did, which Obama was silent on, a couple of weeks ago was to kill the voucher program in Washington, D.C., mostly minority and low-income children who have the opportunity with vouchers to go into private schools, not unlike the one that Sasha and Malia attend, Sidwell Friends in Washington. And they were thriving in these schools, John -- thriving. They had mentors. They had great teachers. And they were blossoming there. The Democrats pulled right out from under them 1,700 kids --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why?

MS. CROWLEY: -- that voucher program.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why did Obama do it?

MS. CROWLEY: He was silent on it. He didn't do it. The Democrats in Congress did it. But he was --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Was it a budgetary measure?

MS. CROWLEY: -- painfully silent on it.
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Was it budgetary?

MS. CROWLEY: It was budgetary.

But they didn't even grandfather in those almost 2,000 kids --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did he reverse it?

MS. CROWLEY: -- who had established a whole social network and academic performance there.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: He's cleaned up his act, though. He reversed himself as soon as this came through, right, when he heard the reaction. Is that correct?

MS. CROWLEY: Well, he started talking about vouchers and charter schools after the Democrats did that, but he didn't --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: I thought he put the money back in.

MS. CROWLEY: -- he didn't say anything about stopping what the Democrats were doing.

MR. WARREN: Right, but the point -- you caricature this as some, you know, kind of liberal conspiracy. The reality also is that there are a lot of things in here that liberal Democrats don't like. A signature part of this is something the media hasn't picked up on.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: What is that?

MR. WARREN: It's $5 billion in so-called incentive pay, which is discretionary to Arne Duncan. He can dole it out to whomever he wants. And there are clear criteria having to do with teacher and student performance and narrowing the gap between lower-income and higher-income kids -- $5 billion. You can't just --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: That's "b" as in "boy."

MR. WARREN: You can't just come and say, "Oh, we're going to do this stuff." You have to prove that you did it. Now, the merit pay money in this is pennies, Monica and Pat. It's like $200 million. No doubt the unions aren't happy with that. But Obama and Rahm Emanuel personally made sure that that $5 billion got in there. It was originally $15 billion in incentive pay.

And a final thing. If you look at this philosophically, it's not a lot different than what the Bush folks had. MR. BUCHANAN: Right.

MR. WARREN: I mean, Arne Duncan in some ways is sort of Margaret Spellings in drag when you look at what they're trying to do when it comes to teacher accountability.

MR. BUCHANAN: All right, Bush --

MR. WARREN: However, there is a big difference, which you guys will probably be unhappy about, in that they are seeing this not as a K to 12 thing --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Who's they? Who's they?

MR. WARREN: The Obama folks and Duncan. They don't see this as all about K to 12 --

MR. BUCHANAN: But Jim, the truth is --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let him finish.

MR. WARREN: -- but they see this as starting with early childhood education, believing that by the time you get to kindergarten, that's not when your brain turns on.

MR. BUCHANAN: But that's --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Hold on.

MR. WARREN: You'd better pump in money there.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's Arne Duncan's history in Chicago?

MR. BUCHANAN: Let's start some honest talk, for heaven's sakes.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: You're from Chicago.

MR. WARREN: Yes.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is he as good as they say he is?

MR. WARREN: He is --

MR. BUCHANAN: Hey, John --

MR. WARREN: -- not as great as some of the press -- he's a very bright guy.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Where does he send his own kids to school?

MR. WARREN: Like Obama, he's sending them to private school here. MR. BUCHANAN: Sure.

MR. WARREN: But the fact is --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why? Because he has standing, you know, visibility?

MR. WARREN: Because you look at how awful the Washington public school systems are. And if you're a parent, you're not going to send your kids --

(Cross talk.)

MR. BUCHANAN: John, let's get some facts on the table here.

MR. WARREN: Arne in Chicago sent his -- you know, I'm not sure. I think he sent his kids to public school in the Hyde Park area. But the fact is, his track record there is rather impressive with reform. But no doubt, you guys are right, when it came to dealing with the teachers' union, he couldn't get much done.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let me --

MR. WARREN: Seven weeks less of instruction in Chicago -- seven weeks less than the New York City system.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let me turn to Buchanan with this, but first, okay, merit pay for teachers.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: (From videotape.) Too many supporters of my party have resisted the idea of rewarding excellence in teaching with extra pay, even though we know it can make a difference in the classroom.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Conservatives like Buchanan want the principals to decide which teacher merits pay by reason of schoolroom performance. Liberals want union negotiators to set standards and decide which teachers get extra pay and give existing teachers, by the way, strong job protection.

What do you think of merit pay? Does that do anything for you?

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, look, there's a lot of teachers, as Eleanor said, who are excellent, doing a tremendous job, and ought to be rewarded. There are other teachers who ought to be swept out of the public schools because they don't belong; they're protected.

But let me say, John, you take this early education. Head Start is a great idea, but the truth is, kids by second and third grade are losing every benefit of it. It's disappearing.

MS. CLIFT: It's -- MR. BUCHANAN: Not everybody is equipped to go to college. Not everybody is equipped to graduate from high school, where you need to learn trigonometry and advanced algebra and write a good composition. People ought to start listening to courageous guys like Charles Murray and others, who have been completely dismissed for years.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Where does Murray want to send them, to a machine shop to learn --

MR. BUCHANAN: When I grew up, they had Bell Vocational, Chamberlain, all these high schools for guys who didn't like academics but were great with their hands.

MS. CLIFT: And they were basically used as dumping grounds. But I agree with you that we have to have new respect for vocational schools. I'm told that it's very much easier to get a Pell grant and an educational loan to go to a liberal arts college than it is to get any kind of vocational training.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: That's an injustice. That's an injustice.

MS. CLIFT: But if we're going to train workers for the 21st century, a high school diploma generally is not enough.

And a part of the Obama plan is that people need to spend one or two years, perhaps, at least, in some --

MR. BUCHANAN: They can't do the work.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let Monica in. Let Monica in.

MS. CLIFT: No -- in a setting that prepares them for the jobs that will exist. So that combines your criticism with the reforms that they're trying to put in place.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Monica, then James.

MS. CROWLEY: I like what Obama had to say on merit pay. My mother was a teacher. She worked really hard. There were other teachers in her school that were very poor teachers. They were protected.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did she get merit pay? Did she get merit pay?

MS. CROWLEY: She did at the time, but this was many years ago. Teachers' unions came in. They're protecting the bad teachers, not -- and they're disincentivizing the good ones. And if we're really going to have this reform in education, you have to be able to attract young, good, talented people. And the way you do that is by incentivizing them with salaries based on their performance --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is there any down side to merit pay deriving from any antagonism or jealousy on the part of teachers who do not get merit pay towards those who do get merit pay?

MS. CROWLEY: Yeah, but the alternative is what we have now, which is that you're bringing a lot of dead weight into the classroom with bad teachers who are being rewarded with a basic salary anyway.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did your mother, the former teacher, favor merit pay?

MS. CROWLEY: She did.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think? MR. WARREN: First of all, again, there's only 200 million bucks. It's pennies. Merit pay is not a big matter of the stimulus plan or the education plan here. And something you should also realize, Pat -- I know there's sort of a, you know, jaundiced view toward early childhood education. The data being generated now at Harvard and the University of Chicago about kids in the first three years of life, before they get to pre-K, and the difference in brain development between the kid who may grow up in Bethesda and hear 2 (million) or 3 million words spoken at home and the kid who grows up in Anacostia --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question --

MR. WARREN: -- it is stunning.

MR. BUCHANAN: What, do you want to take them out of the home?

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question --

MR. WARREN: They are too far behind.

MS. CLIFT: We talk a lot about closing the achievement gap. There's also an opportunities gap. And the kid that doesn't get the opportunities with the suburban parents, with the resources, government should step in, because society wins in the end.

MR. BUCHANAN: Eleanor, there is an achievement gap because there's a talent gap. Some people are excellent at sports. Others have great achievement because they're brainy kids.

MS. CLIFT: It's not just --

MR. BUCHANAN: You can spot it in first grade.

MS. CLIFT: It's not just God-given ability that differentiates people.

MR. BUCHANAN: It is a large part of it.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question: Is education the cure for what ails our economy, yes or no? Pat Buchanan.

MR. BUCHANAN: No, it is not, quite frankly. And I do believe in educating young people who don't have great academic ability for jobs in the economy, but we're exporting all those jobs to China and Asia and everywhere else. That's what these kids need. They can get out of high school and go into these jobs, but the jobs are going.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: President Bush did a good job with No Child Left Behind, but it was never fully resourced. And if we're talking about federalizing education -- we're talking about making dollars available for -- DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is education the answer to the economic problem?

MS. CLIFT: Valuable investments in our people are the key to a successful tomorrow. And that sounds like an ad.

MS. CROWLEY: Education over the long term, and reforms are desperately needed. We're not talking about short-term economic stimulus here, but over the long term, yes. The question is bringing in private-sector incentives so you bring in the best talent.

MR. WARREN: There's absolutely an inextricable link. And you can ask a lot of Pat Buchanan acolytes, Republican suburban businessmen, about the state of the public schools. And if there's one thing they could change in their communities, it would be to vastly improve them to ultimately generate a far more sophisticated, talented workforce.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: How about rewriting the trade laws, revising them, renegotiating them?

MR. BUCHANAN: That's --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is that the way to improve the economy? What's that got to do with education?

MR. BUCHANAN: You've got to bring the manufacturing jobs back. The guys I grew up with, when they left high school or flunked out, by 26 they had a good enough income to get married and buy a house, for heaven's sakes. All those jobs are gone. We've shipped them away.

MS. CLIFT: Now they've got to learn computer skills for the jobs that are here.

MR. BUCHANAN: They can't.

MS. CLIFT: Oh, I disagree with that.

MR. BUCHANAN: Some of the guys I grew up with couldn't. (Laughs.)

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Money is not going to do that much for education.

Issue Two: Cuba Libre?

SUSAN RICE (U.S. ambassador to the United Nations): (From videotape.) We need to allow Cuban-American families to send remittances to their relatives on the island and visit on an unlimited basis. We need a strategy, not just what's passive and perpetuates the status quo, which is the Bush-McCain approach, but that actually tries to catalyze change on the island. DR. MCLAUGHLIN: The U.S. embargo on Cuba has been in place for nearly 50 years. The stated merits of the original embargo may no longer exist, many believe, notably Republican Senator Richard Lugar. When Republicans were in control of the Senate, Lugar was chairman of the powerful Foreign Relations Committee.

Recently Senator Lugar, with his Latin American senior staff member, evaluated U.S.-Cuba relations and concluded that while economic sanctions have sometimes achieved their aims, as in the case of apartheid in South Africa, the U.S. embargo on Cuba after 47 years has failed to achieve its purpose; namely, to bring democracy to the Cuban people.

The Lugar report, submitted to Congress, recommends that the U.S. repeal all restrictions on family travel and family remittances to Cuba, both of which President Obama has already done. Cuban-Americans are now permitted to visit Cuban relatives in Cuba and stay as long as they want, and they can transmit money to them. The Bush administration had restricted travel for family members to once every three years, and only for immediate family members.

Question: Russia is building ties with Cuba. China is courting both Venezuela and Brazil. Isn't it time we did the same, lest Russia and China rule the backyard roost? Monica.

MS. CROWLEY: The Cuban trade embargo was put place after the Cuban communist revolution and Fidel Castro came to power, and it was originally designed to try to encourage -- well, first of all, it was designed to punish bad behavior by the communist regime in Havana. Then it sort of evolved over time to try to foster regime change there.

Well, we have not gotten that. Fidel is still on the scene, sort of. Now we have his brother Raul, who's consolidating power. Regime change has not come to the island of Cuba. And this guy -- the Castro brothers have survived 10 American presidents.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: So? So?

MS. CROWLEY: So my point is that the strategy has not worked, and I think it's time to rethink and perhaps lift the trade embargo, allow some of the visitation to go forward, and eventually --

MS. CLIFT: The Cuba embargo --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Have you heard about Cuban-Americans living in Florida?

MS. CROWLEY: Yes, I understand that. But the strategy that has been in place for 50 years has clearly not worked.

MS. CLIFT: The Cuba embargo is wrapped up with the politics of Florida, and the politics of Florida are changing. Witness the fact that Barack Obama won Florida this last time around. And the Cubans are but one of several Latin American constituents in Florida, and younger Cubans are not as adamant as their parents and grandparents.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: What is Obama's position on it?

MS. CLIFT: His position is to go with the flow and let Congress set the tone here.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: You mean, he's moving that away from --

MS. CLIFT: And you have --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- them the way he's moving health care away from them.

MS. CLIFT: And you have Republicans and Democrats pressing for change on Capitol Hill. And that's where it will come -- MR. WARREN: His position is still --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: When in doubt, let George do it.

MR. WARREN: His position is still technically for the embargo. But you know, as a Florida-phile, sunning as often as you do on the beaches of Miami, that you've got a clear generational change. According to the Brookings Institution, if you believe a poll they did a few months ago, 55 percent of Cuban-Americans are against the embargo. Something like 80 percent are critical of it.

But we are still throwing money, about $40 million a year, at groups to supposedly foster democracy in Cuba. We throw about $30 (million), $35 million at TV and Radio Marti so their signals can be jammed by the Cubans, only offering, I think, a sinecure for the elite Cuban-Americans that travel to --

MR. BUCHANAN: John, the embargo --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: What about the travel ban to Cuba?

MR. BUCHANAN: Let me say this.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right now it's been lifted for Cuban-Americans.

MR. BUCHANAN: I think --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: They can go there and they can stay as long as they want.

MR. BUCHANAN: All right, look, the purpose of the embargo was to bankrupt the Soviet empire. And we maintained it, and the Soviet Union paid $5 billion every year to keep that going. The Cubans had troops in Africa. They were a cancer that was active. They are now a cancer in remission.

I think what we ought to do, and what we're doing, is gradually lift the embargo. Let the Cubans travel there. Let them send money there. Let American tourists go there. That will be the best way to undermine that regime down there, in my judgment, John. I think we ought to do with the Cubans what we did with Eastern Europe in the late days of the Cold War.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Would it communicate anything, if we were to lift the embargo, to China or any other nation? What would it communicate if we did lift the embargo?

MS. CLIFT: Nothing. It would communicate that we're moving into the future and that we recognize this is a Cold War policy that has no meaning in today's world.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: So this would have a positive impact on China- U.S. trade -- MS. CLIFT: Yeah, that we're --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- or any country's trade.

MS. CLIFT: Yeah, that we're in the game and we're --

MR. WARREN: It might have a negative impact on China and Russian trade with Cuba. Why don't we get a piece of the action?

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, we're moving beyond the Cold War status. Would it send a message to this whole hemisphere?

MR. WARREN: Obviously.

MS. CROWLEY: John, let me add a caveat to what I said before. One of the reasons why we had the embargo in place was to punish bad behavior on the part of the Cubans and their alliance with the Soviet Union. A couple of weeks ago, the Russians were sort of floating a trial balloon that they might station Russian bombers in Cuba at the invitation of the Cuban government. If that does, in fact, happen, then the Obama administration should at least retain the option of adding additional sanctions; maybe lift the embargo but put some sanctions in there.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Would it send a message to Chavez and Ortega in Nicaragua -- Chavez in Venezuela?

MR. BUCHANAN: I think opening more and more communication and engagement with Cuba will help undermine the regime in Cuba, which is an ally of Chavez. I think we ought to do it as part of our --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: If we can do it with Iran, we ought to be able to do it in our hemisphere?

MR. BUCHANAN: And we ought to be able to do it with Iran.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue Three: Resurrection of Newspapers.

ROGER OGLESBY (Seattle Post-Intelligencer publisher): (From videotape.) The entire newspaper industry is going through a lot of financial problems right now. That applies to the print world. It applies to the online world. And there's a lot that needs to be figured out.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, a 146-year-old Washington State newspaper, has stopped printing. Other giants are still printing but in trouble. The New York Times suspended paying dividends; the Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News, both bankrupt; Tribune Company, the parent company of the LA Times and the Chicago Trib, bankrupt; San Francisco Chronicle, northern California's largest newspaper, lost $50 million in 2008. Question: Companies are going bankrupt all over America. When a newspaper fails, why does it create headlines? These other companies don't get any headlines.

MS. CLIFT: Because there are still a few newspapers left to write the headlines -- (laughs) -- is the short answer.

MR. WARREN: I would disagree with that in part. I think, on one level, there's initial coverage because we're very good at navel- gazing and writing about ourselves. But I think what's really interesting here, amid this sort of bubonic plague of declining revenues in which you're now seeing some of the weaker guys dying off, is the lack of public outrage.

A lot more people, you know, are all aghast about $165 million in AIG bonuses than the fact that these institutions, which are arguably central to a democracy, central in telling you what's going on in your community, and in ways most TV and radio people will admit, if you put a gun to their head, central to their existence everyday -- without the local newspaper, the TV and radio stations don't know what to do.

MR. BUCHANAN: I'll tell you --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, you're on to something, almost. But I still don't see why they're getting so many headlines --

MR. BUCHANAN: Here's why, John.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- unless there's a commercial angle.

If so, who gains from the disappearance of a newspaper?

MR. BUCHANAN: It's not commercial.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: The television station, right?

MR. BUCHANAN: No, the television stations are being hammered.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: So the television stations pump it out. The radio stations pump it out.

MR. BUCHANAN: John, here's why they get the attention is because we grew up with -- whatever you say about the Washington Post -- I may agree or disagree with it --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you do, as a matter of fact?

MR. BUCHANAN: It's a presence in the room. It is somebody like a relative, somebody you've known your whole life.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: The Washington Post?

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, the Post. So is The New York Times, the New York Post, whether it's conservative or liberal. And when it dies, it's like a figure you know well. It's like a president dying, quite frankly.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: I thought you read the Financial Times.

MR. BUCHANAN: I do read the Financial Times.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did you see the wonderful treatment it got in Advertising Age this week?

MR. BUCHANAN: I didn't read Advertising Age. I read the Financial Times.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah, but they've raised their prices on the Financial Times. Their subscriptions have gone out.

MR. BUCHANAN: It's $250 a year, because I just resubscribed for two years, John. It's a great paper, but it's small, narrow, focused -- MS. CLIFT: The ritual --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you mean, narrow?

MR. BUCHANAN: Because it doesn't hit a general audience.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let's not -- well, the subject matter is general. They cover --

MR. BUCHANAN: It's got a couple of hundred thousand circulation in the United States.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: They cover all the politics. The editorials are very wide-reaching, and the op-ed page.

MR. BUCHANAN: It's a global newspaper.

MS. CLIFT: But the ritual of going to the end of your walkway and picking up your newspaper, it conjures up an America of the 1950s. But it's also a ritual that generations have lived with. So there's a lamenting of the passage of this, because --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Somebody's putting the newspapers down.

MS. CLIFT: Yeah, but look, there's enormous demand for content. People just don't necessarily want it because trees are slaughtered and it arrives in a little plastic bag. We have the Internet now.

MR. BUCHANAN: When a newspaper goes under, the Internet beats the drum. Why? Because the Internet feeds off the absence of a newspaper.

MS. CROWLEY: Right. But a lot of these newspapers now are starting to think about moving to an all-Web presence, like the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Look, we've gone through a couple of different revolutions in this country -- agricultural, industrial. Now it's tech. And one of the big casualties of the tech revolution is the physical newspaper. That doesn't mean that investigative reporting is going to fall by the wayside and never exist again. It just means that the form will be different.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: They survived television, they survived radio and they survived newsreels. Why does anyone think the newspapers are going to disappear?

MR. WARREN: I don't think they're going to disappear.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: It's an inflated fear.

MR. WARREN: I don't think they're going to disappear, but one key -- MR. BUCHANAN: They're going to have a couple of --

MR. WARREN: -- one key actual empirical fallacy to your conspiratorial argument about feeding off their demise is the fact that when newspapers are dying or losing revenue, an equal amount of revenue is not proceeding to go into the coffers of the Internet.

MR. BUCHANAN: John, you're going to have a number of national --

MR. WARREN: So it's not exactly --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Are you sure of that?

MR. WARREN: Yes, very sure of it.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Out of time. Happy Easter. Bye-bye.



END.