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In the Crossfire

Is Michael Jackson out of control?

Rocca: "I think that Michael Jackson needs to be judged on the content of his character, not on the bleached mocha latte light color of his skin."

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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Michael Jackson is making headlines again after he dangled his baby boy from the fourth floor balcony of a Berlin hotel on Tuesday to show him off to fans below.

The "King of Pop" responded to the incident in a statement which said, "I made a terrible mistake. I got caught up in the excitement of the moment. I would never intentionally endanger the lives of my children." Has Michael gone over the edge?

Mo Rocca from Comedy Central's "The Daily Show" joined "Crossfire" hosts Paul Begala and Tucker Carlson to defend Jackson.

CARLSON: I'll admit I've got some concerns about Michael Jackson. Do you think they're founded?

ROCCA: Well, here's what troubles me. I don't think that we should be imposing one standard of child rearing on everyone else...

I mean, the fact is that pop stars are nontraditional caregivers. You may not choose to dangle your baby out of a window, [but] Michael Jackson does. If Mariah Carey had a baby, who knows where she'd dangle it.

But the point is, that baby is safe and sound. And that really is what matters.

BEGALA: Mo, let me read you a comment though from Mr. A. Sydney Johnson, the president and CEO of Prevent Child Abuse America. And he says this, "It is a painful reminder that even the most well-intentioned among us sometimes act in ways that put children in danger of being abused or neglected."

Do you agree with Mr. Johnson that Michael Jackson was well-intended when he held his baby off a balcony?

Jackson and baby
Jackson held his baby son over the railing of his fourth-floor hotel window.

ROCCA: Well, let me explain. I've looked at a lot of different polls, and the research I have shows that American babies are inordinately afraid of heights, and I think what Michael Jackson is doing is he's inoculating his baby against vertigo.

BEGALA: That's a valid point. I hadn't thought of that.

CARLSON: But see, in a vacuum I might buy what you're saying. You make some compelling points.

ROCCA: Oh, please.

CARLSON: You are making the same case that Al Gore is making in his new book about families.


CARLSON: But there is a history here with Michael Jackson. I'm not simply talking about allegations of child molesting. I'm also talking about the problems of course with his nose.

And I want to read you a quote from a plastic surgeon ... who says this, quote, "Short of wearing a prosthesis for your nose, you could take tissue from the forehead or the back of the ear to build up the area, but I don't think he wants that. It seems like he's fairly comfortable with the way he looks which is unfortunate because it's a bad reflection on all of plastic surgery."

ROCCA: Look, Michael Jackson has made a bold choice. So many people I know complain about their nose, and they're too lazy to do anything about it. My problem with the criticism of the way he looks is [that] I think it's tinged with a certain amount of prejudice. I think that Michael Jackson needs to be judged on the content of his character, not on the bleached mocha latte light color of his skin.

I mean, for too long celebrities with bleached mocha latte light skin have been the targets of persecution.

BEGALA: That's a very important point.

Mo, the King of Pop, Wacko Jacko was in Berlin to receive what's called a Bambi Award.

ROCCA: Right.

BEGALA: Any idea what that is or what he did to earn such a prestigious award?

ROCCA: It is an award on behalf of children.

Look, I think we need to step back and take I think a historical perspective. My good friend ... has written a wonderful piece about JFK in the Atlantic Monthly. John F. Kennedy suffered so much pain through his life in large part because of the operations he had to undergo for different ailments.

Michael Jackson too has gone through five rhinoplasty operations. They're very painful, and I think we know that severe pain impairs judgment. So I'd like to think that Michael Jackson's baby-dangling incident is sort of his Bay of Pigs fiasco.

We know that the Bay of Pigs was followed by the Cuban missile crisis triumph. So I'm excited. I'm actually looking forward to Michael Jackson's Cuban missile crisis resolution.

CARLSON: I'm glad you brought the political angle into this, Mo, because as you know, for many years, Michael Jackson has been a particularly good fund-raiser for the Democratic Party. I'm wondering if you're thinking he's going to be in as much demand now that he's dangled his son out the window?

ROCCA: You know, I think that if there's anything both parties can agree on, it's the importance of family. And I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that in a way I was kind of moved by yesterday's scene you know, because the statistics show that American families continue to break down, and yet Michael Jackson's baby trusts him enough to allow him to dangle out a fourth floor window. And there's something I think kind of poignant about that.

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