CBS declines comment over 'Amazing Race' controversy

Reality show accused of insulting Vietnam veterans


This is a rush transcript from "The Five," March 22, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

BOB BECKEL, CO-HOST: I told you I wasn't going to let up on CBS for disgracing American war heroes and I meant it. Today, "The Five" reached out again to CEO Les Moonves and "Amazing Race" executive producer Jerry Bruckheimer, and again, they refused to apologize. Not only that, they wouldn't even comment on this disgrace.

I'm calling on them to apologize to Vietnam vets after sending reality show contestant to the wreckage of an American B-52 bomber shot down in Hanoi. Greg first told us about this story Wednesday.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Teams must make their way to the B-52 memorial, site of wreckage of a B-52 bomber and where they find there.

CONTESTANT: Here? Wait, wait, wait. Oh, there's the U-turn board.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a double U-turn.


BECKEL: "The Amazing Race" episode also broadcasts communist propaganda. I spoke today with Senator John McCain. It was 40 years ago last week he returned to Vietnam after being POW for over five years. He says regardless of how this happens, CBS owes veterans an apology.

Eric, I assume you agree with Senator McCain, obviously.

ERIC BOLLING, CO-HOST: Yes, on this one, I actually do agree with Senator McCain.

Bob, can I just do this? Can I give this back to you? Because you have been on this from the very beginning. Greg brought this story. It really hit home with you. And it's really resonating.

I'll tell you on Twitter, my Twitter feed lit up last night after the show. I've never seen -- I probably never got more tweet and all more response to how proud they were of you stepping up, standing up for the Vietnam veterans.

BECKEL: Dana taught me how to do a hashtag last night and it blew up after that. It was going on all night.


DANA PERINO, CO-HOST: I'm glad we can share that moment.

BECKEL: Yes, it was.

GREG GUTFELD, CO-HOST: In the past, hashtag meant something else to you.


BECKEL: Yes, it did.

Dana, let me ask you something from the strictly public relations standpoint. Why? Why do they not say I'm sorry?

PERINO: I think it's partly because of the Fox News syndrome that Greg has talked about. That if Fox News brings this up, then it's crazy black helicopter conspiracy. But they don't realize, and somebody should have been helping them get out of their way, is that Greg didn't come up with the story on his own. There's a Vietnam vet e-mailed him -- what was it, Sunday night?

GUTFELD: Yes, he e-mailed me after the show and he's actually very polite about it. He just said, "I'm watching this. This is kind of weird."

BECKEL: This is how you found out about it?

PERINO: From a viewer.

GUTFELD: Yes, got an email. That's when -- I took the e-mail and forwarded it to the producer. I go, this is crazy.

And he made this great point. He says, you know, are there going to be three legged races in Gettysburg? A potato sack race in Normandy? A tug of war at Abu Ghraib. I mean, he was like -- he had good humor about it, but it bothered him.

BECKEL: Yes, for sure. Andrea, what do you think from -- strictly from a public relations standpoint as well? Why do you think -- do you agree with Dana that it's because it's FOX? Because we bring it up? Or is it -- I mean, How can you be that stupid and insensitive?

ANDREA TANTAROS, CO-HOST: Well, I think that has something with it, absolutely. But what they should understand is this has grown bigger than FOX News. I mean, this is a lot of viewers that are upset with this. And I don't know if they're just tone deaf and they think that this will blow over and just trying to ride it out?

But the first rule is, when you step in you-know-what, fix it.

Clarify, apologize and move on. Instead, this has gotten so much bigger.

And they haven't stopped the bleeding and they should apologize ASAP because I don't think it's going away. It's just getting bigger.

GUTFELD: You know what? I think it is, though. I think it's about age. I think that, you know, they are thinking. OK, the average age of a Vietnam vet is probably over 60 at this point.


GUTFELD: Probably the mid-60s.

You know, generally, these shows now are run by emasculated metrosexuals who are chasing mentality of a 16-year-old girl. They don't care about anybody over 55. They don't.

BECKEL: I just -- you know, I spoke also today to the commander of the American Legion, who sent a letter to CBS demanding an apology. They have 2.5 million vets they represent. He said that he wants to tell CBS that none of them will be watching that show again and wanted to thank by the way, "The Five" for bringing this forward.

But he was -- it was a very poignant discussion, you know? (INAUDIBLE) I had opposed Vietnam War myself as it began. He said, I followed your career, Bob, I know you did. He said, but you've done the right thing here. And it was almost -- it got very emotional in the end of our conversation.

And this guy felt he himself was a Vietnam veteran. He felt this against the core of his being.

BOLLING: I'm against boycotts. I hate boycotts. I think the better thing to do is to man up and apologize. You say something wrong -- I have been there first hand doing this. I misspoke.

They should absolutely apologize. Now, if this thing is already taped and they can't get the show to apologize on tape, they can run something at the end of one of the shows. Hey, we're sorry for the insensitivity to the Vietnam vet or all Americans for that matter, or all Americans for that matter.

PERINO: You know -- oh, sorry.

BOLLING: Can I just do this very quickly? Karl Rove had something to say. He wants -- he's got a message for you, which is going to appear later on tonight on Greta. But he has a message. Watch.


KARL ROVE, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: God bless Bob Beckel for standing up on this issue. This was tone-deaf, insensitive, callous and stupid on the part of CBS to do this. They allow themselves to insult every Vietnam era veteran and their families and those particularly who cherish the memory of someone lost in that conflict by doing this. I cannot imagine what idiot producer at CBS did this. And CBS ought to take action.

And Bob was right to stand up and say about it and I really applaud him for doing so.


BOLLING: You can certainly as two times I agree with Senator McCain and Karl Rove in the same --

PERINO: In one show.


PERINO: And my worlds are colliding.

TANTAROS: And all of us agree with Bob.

PERINO: You know, the guy says it's a double U-turn. Actually, it's a double mistake. Having contestant goes there in the first place. So, it's either ignorant or willful.

And now you add a triple U-turn -- triple mistake, because now instead of just saying we meant no offense and we will be more sensitive in the future, and letting this go, because we would never talk about it again.

Now, you have primetime shows covering it.

I would also imagine that there are a lot of Iraqi and Afghan war vets who will stand with the Vietnam veterans say, we're not going to -- we're going to stand with them because this could happen to us in the future. And we want people to know the sacrifice was and how we fought for our country and our freedoms and what our country asked to do.

GUTFELD: I do think that these producers, you know, they probably think Ho Chi Minh is a type of sushi and POW is a new song by One Direction. So, I have -- we should have a reality show where they send contestants to a location where Americans have died. And the first contestant to recognize and refuse participation gets to punch the producer in the face.

PERINO: I was thinking about the contestants. Wouldn't it be great if one of those contestants actually came forward and said, you know what?

I didn't know, or I'm ashamed or I apologize.

TANTAROS: And the producers, at first we chalk this up to this is likely a producer who doesn't know better, and an executive who does know better. But to your point, Dana, it does appear like they know better. And that's what's upsetting, because people aren't taught the lessons of history and the sacrifices that our troops made.

That's why if it is about Fox, it's really insulting, because it's not about Fox News. It's not about the viewers. It's about the veterans who made the sacrifices. It's about the atrocities. It's about the evil. And you know what, Bob? I'm not sure a lot of people understand it. And what's most shameful is, now they do. They have no excuse. Executives can't say we didn't know. We weren't sure. They know, they are choosing to not say anything. That is what is upsetting.

BOLLING: I don't think it's about Fox. Jerry Bruckheimer is not a 20-something. He's been around and he knows what is going on. And, frankly, I don't think he's partisan. I think he's just a guy who blew it.

This is more about character. Character meaning Bruckheimer or Moonves, both of you guys probably should -- one of you should stand up and say we blew it. We're sorry. But do they have the character to do it?

BECKEL: Well, let me just say, I got thousands and thousands of tweets. I haven't that many since I started the tweet thing.

And Dana got me turned on this thing. Now, I'll tell you, for the first time, about 99 percent of them is favorable, which for me is exactly opposite of what it normally is.

GUTFELD: Don't get used to it.


BECKEL: Let me ask you something here, Greg, you made a good point, you think it is possible that made a decision their audience is younger.

Not Vietnam connected. And therefore, this was just fine to go ahead with it?

GUTFELD: I think it was, if anybody had noticed it, their assumption was their audience is too passive and distracted. It operates under the assumption of what's really the big deal? That was 40 years ago. Who cares?

I think that's how they look at it. The problem is, there are so many outlets for that kind of opinion. In fact, if you look, most colleges are an outpost of anti-militarianism and anti-Americanism that we've come to accept. And I think all we're asking is, can you just not put it in a reality shows we like to watch with our families? Just that, you know?


PERINO: Well, what if they -- they could have gone to Vietnam.


PERINO: And even if the Vietnamese government said, OK, we're going to have you go here and here, but they could have scripted the show differently.


PERINO: I mean, they could have said, and we know what happened here.

We are not for this. We are for freedom.

You know, they could have made it -- please forgive me, it's a banned phrase, a teachable moment.

GUTFELD: Yes, it is a banned phrase.


BECKEL: I'm sorry.

TANTAROS: Don't you think that old -- even if older veterans or older viewers are hearing about this story, don't you think that they are talking about it to their kids, to the younger generation? I think that's it's actually permeating and getting larger and I think they are hoping let's ride it out over the weekend and it will go away.

PERINO: We should find some vets to go up against the contestants of "The Amazing Race" and see who would win.

BECKEL: Yes, I am so absorbed in this. I get madder believe it or not, every minute. If I said this before, excuse me. But Vietnam defined by generation. It was the defining moment.

And not just for the 850,000 Vietnam veterans but for an entire generation of the baby boomers, and it was a painful, painful experience for everybody.

At the very least, you could have thought about that and said, Vietnam, gee, that almost ripped America apart. Maybe this is not the kind of place we should go and bring the memories of that back up. So, I'm sorry. Go ahead.

GUTFELD: No, I was going to say -- I haven't heard a single person, not even CBS or even on Twitter that says, oh, it's not that big of a deal. Like, I don't -- nobody is actually, I mean, this is what's weird. There's not even -- nobody's defending it.

TANTAROS: And silence has never been louder, I think, by not saying anything. They are screaming they endorse this, or they know they screwed up, so which one is it?


BECKEL: How did they get away with it?

BOLLING: Did they, though, Bob? We contacted them twice, right?

BECKEL: Three times.

BOLLING: Three times. Did they have at one point they said, we have no comment? Is that not a comment in and of itself?


BECKEL: Dana, you know this. Isn't "no comment" a pretty indictable statement to make?

PERINO: Yes. It's basically -- you know, showing the hand.

TANTAROS: Mean it (ph).

PERINO: I mean, they'll simply waste a no comment if it's national security-related. You can say no comment, with the -- we'll get back to you later. But this is basically shut up, Bob.

BECKEL: I shut up, Bob. Well, I have heard that before.

All right. We'd like to know your thoughts on this whole issue with CBS. And should CBS apologize to Vietnam vets?

Go to and vote in our poll. We'll let you have a chance to send it to CBS a message what about you think. So far, 3,000 of you have taken the poll. And overwhelmingly, I think like something like 3,000 said apologize and 50 said don't.

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