Why Did YouTube Flag David Zucker's Political Spoof?

This is a partial transcript of "The Big Story With John Gibson," October 12, 2006, that has been edited for clarity.

JOHN GIBSON, HOST: Now for the Big Story making waves on the Web. A political spoof which was reportedly too risk to be a GOP campaign ad, but it's made its way onto the Internet:


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In the year 2000, in an evident to stop the North Koreans from building nuclear weapons, President Clinton's Secretary of State Madeleine Albright gave North Korean leader Kim Jong-il a basketball signed by Michael Jordan. The Democrats gift had two major results. The first was this. And the second was this.


GIBSON: Reportedly the YouTube Web site made viewers confirm they were 18 years old to see this. That certainly didn't happen with "Death of a President," a film in which President Bush is assassinated. Why slap a warning label on this one?

Here now, the Hollywood filmmaker responsible for this ad, David Zucker. He was the executive producer of both comedies "Scary Movie," and way back, "Airplane."

Mr. Zucker, thanks very much.


GIBSON: Just to go to YouTube first, they appeared to think that this was too hot for even them. Did that surprise you?

ZUCKER: Well, no. What surprised me was that the Republicans even came to me in the first place to ask me to do this, knowing what I do. But — and we did submit two adds to them, and they seemed to like one pretty much, but that was the tamer of the two.

And this one they were strangely silent on. I don't think they knew exactly what to do with it. And they may have been planning to release it later or maybe two weeks before the election, but I think the events kind of overtook it.

GIBSON: By the way, in the spirit of being fair and balanced, "The Big Story" tried to get a comment from YouTube but we were unable to reach them.

Now, Mr. Zucker...

ZUCKER: How about a comment from Madeleine Albright if you're really fair and balanced, John? I mean, why isn't she on?

GIBSON: Well, Madeleine Albright — that's a good point, Mr. Zucker. I'd better get to her right away.

ZUCKER: Do I have to read her statement myself?

GIBSON: Do you have it there?

ZUCKER: I do have it. She said "During the two terms of the Clinton administration, there were no nuclear weapons tests by North Korea. Through our policy of effective, constructive engagement, the world was safer."

GIBSON: Sandy Burger said that on this program a couple of days ago. I take it you don't agree.

ZUCKER: Well, I think that that — it's just shows that they haven't really learned from it. Now, John McCain has been on the airwaves pretty much in the past couple of days really kind of admitting his culpability in it, because he said, you know, he was in the Senate at the time. But you know, our ad really wasn't directed against Madeleine Albright so much as the policy of appeasement.

And it just doesn't work. These guys are all evil, whether it's the guy in Iran who has got nukes now or Arafat, which they tried to engage him for eight years. It just never seems to work. So that's really where we poke fun at.

GIBSON: Mr. Zucker, what happened? You are a Hollywood movie producer. And I can't remember another one saying the things you are saying. What happened?

ZUCKER: Well, you know, I was a Democrat for my whole life as was my family for, you know, generation after generation. And I think 9/11 kind of changed my mind. Wait a minute. I said, wait, this is real. And I think I thought that the most important issue facing us is security.

I mean, it had to be more important than my environmental interests or my pro choice attitude or just any other opinions I had. It just was security above all. And I just wasn't comfortable with the Democrats' response and so while I voted for Gore and Lieberman in 2000, in 2004 was the first time I'd ever voted for a Republican president.

GIBSON: Now, I take it you still feel that way, you still feel that the Democrats in their current stance are not tough enough on security?

ZUCKER: No, they haven't changed at all. I mean, they're defending — I mean, McCain isn't really proud of his culpability, I mean, to the extent that in the Senate he was, but they are all — you know, Carter hasn't learned anything.

And I don't think Madeleine Albright has learned anything, nor Clinton nor the people who would be the heads of all the committees, like Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid and Conyers. I mean, they're all — I don't think they get the concept of being nice to our enemies won't make them nice to us, nor will it make us safer.

GIBSON: All right, Mr. Zucker, you are a long-time film producer, a lot of big hits. There's a controversial movie right now, "Death of a President," in which President Bush is depicted as being assassinated. What do you think about the fact that that movie was produced?

ZUCKER: Well, you know, I haven't seen it and I haven't really read much about it. I just don't know if it was done in good taste or if it's bad taste. All I know is — and I haven't read really that much about it, but I do know I'm very offended when entertainers go to foreign countries and start bad mouthing a sitting president, including the Dixie Chicks and even our former President Carter who has done that.

GIBSON: But it's a depiction which looks much like the assassination of Lee Harvey Oswald by Jack Ruby, in which the president is in the Oswald position and Ruby is this assassin. And the — you can see it's George Bush's head. He's shot.

ZUCKER: Although, you know, people say, who am I to ever comment on this but I think that's in poor taste. I mean, I'm the guy who had Peter Graves telling a kid, "Have you ever seen a grown man naked?" But there's good bad taste and there's truly bad taste.

And when you are talking about a sitting president depicting it in that way and it's not meant in fun or as a satire or in any way to be light-hearted, I think that is bad. I would definitely object to that. But as I say, I haven't seen it yet.

GIBSON: David Zucker, a film producer, made a commercial for the Republicans which they weren't allowed to use, and now even YouTube is trying to censor it. Mr. Zucker, it's always good to talk to you. Thanks.

ZUCKER: OK, thanks, John.

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