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PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT
Child Star Todd Bridges Talks About How Charlie Sheen Can Beat Addiction; Saving Charlie Sheen; 12-Year-Old Accused of Killing Parents; NPR Scandal
Aired March 9, 2011 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PIERS MORGAN, HOST: Bright light, big problems. Tonight Hollywood weighs in on Charlie Sheen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Are you under the influence of any substances?
CHARLIE SHEEN, ACTOR: No. Nothing, I'm under the influence of you.
(END OF VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Three stars who know what it's like to hit rock bottom. Mackenzie Phillips, Daniel Baldwin and Todd Bridges.
TODD BRIDGES, FORMER CHILD ACTOR: I recognize his ranting right now, that he's doing. I recognize all that. That was me at one time.
MORGAN: The truth about rehab and how they think Sheen can save his own life.
And later, the crime that shocked the nation. A 12-year-old boy charged with shooting his parents to death and wounding his brother and sister. Tonight my exclusive interview with that boy's brother and uncle.
And caught on tape. NPR, the scandal and your money.
This is PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT.
Joining me now are some Hollywood folks who know all about addiction. Mackenzie Phillips, author of "High on Arrival," actor Daniel Baldwin and Howard Samuels, the founder and CEO of the Hills Treatment Center. He's also clinical psychologist and a recovering addict himself.
Before we begin let's take a clip from Charlie Sheen's latest YouStream show "Sheen's Corner."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHEEN: Now that I have your lazy (EXPLETIVE DELETED) attention, world. Sit back and rejoice for the Malibu messiah, the condor of Calabasas, the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) warlock of your jealous face sits before you, undigested humus trading real estate for this fire dance.
(END OF VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Daniel Baldwin, let me start with you because you're a good friend of Charlie's. You've known him a long time. You've partied with him. You've been through similar drug problems yourself.
When you watch what's happening with Charlie right now, what are you thinking?
DANIEL BALDWIN, ACTOR: P.T. Barnum. I think that it's like watching a car in its last two laps at the Indy 500 being on fire and you're no longer wondering whether or not the guy is going to finish the race. You're wondering whether it's going to explode and how many people it's going to take with it.
MORGAN: I mean it's a very damning prognosis you paint there. You're obviously, as I said, a good friend of his. Yesterday TMZ boss Harvey said that he thought Charlie Sheen may be possibly acting now, that he was enjoying the attention playing up to it, all the stuff of waving machetes and so on. This all may be part of some elaborate ploy to promote himself.
Do you accept any of that?
BALDWIN: I think maybe the whole machete thing might have been something that he's running and gunning with right now but certainly the home tape that he did the night before, I fully recognized and I heard a clip that you had, I think it was Todd Bridges who made the comment of, yes, I've been there, I know that -- I know that guy.
I've been in that room with Charlie before and I know that face and I know those mannerisms, and everything. I don't buy for a second that he's sober, no.
MORGAN: I mean are you seriously worried that Charlie Sheen is slowly killing himself here?
BALDWIN: Yes, I don't even think it's slowly right now. You know, I think that something really bad is probably going to happen. They talk about in the 12 Steps about hitting a bottom and the sad thing about hitting a bottom is there's always another bottom waiting for you, and then I'm hoping that maybe something he has that moment of clarity that it wakes him up and maybe he sees himself on a monitor or whatever carrying on the way he is.
But it's going to be one of those girls gets killed or something awful happens, you know, and I hope we don't lose our friend over it.
MORGAN: He said to me when he appeared on the show last week that he was now sober. He produced negative drug tests to prove that. Or allegedly prove that. Do you think he's sober? You said earlier you don't think he is.
BALDWIN: Well, I went through and was remanded by the county of Los Angeles to go through what's called Prop 36 and I remember the first time when they told me I had to give my UA, a man stood in the stall and said, no, no, no, I need to leave -- I need to see the urine leave your body into the cup.
I highly doubt anyone is standing in Charlie's house in Bel Air watching the urine go into the cup. And if they are, it's not anybody that I would trust to turn in a UA and say that it was unequivocally negative. So, you know -- here's something.
Charlie said to you guys that he would debate anybody. I'll come on the show and debate with Charlie over the 12 Steps and whether he's sober or not. And then I'll yank a hair out of his head and we'll have it DNA tested and see how long he's been sober.
MORGAN: I mean that's -- actually quite interesting challenge if he's watching. Let's do that. Because I think that's a key part of what's going on here. What we believe and what we don't believe.
Mackenzie, let me come to you. You've been through a very similar story to Charlie Sheen.
MACKENZIE PHILLIPS, AUTHOR, "HIGH ON ARRIVAL": Yes.
MORGAN: And you come out of other end. You've been sober for just over two years now. You know you too were fired from a hit show because of your drug problems. They said that your behavior had had a detrimental impact on that show.
MORGAN: You've been right at the abyss where Charlie Sheen appears to be now. I know that when you watch the interview that I did with him, you felt that in some way this was also part of the enabling of Charlie Sheen. Allowing him to continue behaving like that. I would take issue with that but I got the point.
PHILLIPS: No, I did, Piers. I felt like a -- you know, Charlie has a longstanding history of violence against women. And when he gave you his explanation of oh, I was trying to comfort her or shield her, I mean I feel like you just -- because -- maybe because of your friendship you glossed over it without saying wait a minute.
MORGAN: Well --
PHILLIPS: Let's look at this, let's look at that. Let's look at this instance.
MORGAN: Yes, let me take you up on that. There was an interesting piece in "The New York Times" about this in which it detailed a lot of allegations against Charlie. What I would remind everyone they were allegations.
PHILLIPS: They were allegations, but I mean, look what happened in Aspen last year and he -- he basically pled out to them. He said, yes, he didn't deny that he had attacked Brooke Mueller. I mean the man has an anger issue, a rage issue, and I think the more that people like you who have this incredible platform to come from who are -- I don't want to use the word enabling but who are sort of egging him on, tickling that little funny bone that says, yes, yes, this is -- hey, I've got, you know, Aunt Donna's DNA and I feel like people love to watch a circus, right?
MORGAN: I mean I'm told --
BALDWIN: But it's not funny anymore.
MORGAN: No, Mackenzie, here's the thing. I would -- I would take part of that. Here's the problem. Charlie Sheen is not just some degenerate guy we picked off the street.
PHILLIPS: Of course, he isn't.
MORGAN: Let's remind ourselves what we're dealing with here. He is the -- currently until last week the highest paid --
PHILLIPS: No, no, he's an addict.
MORGAN: But wait --
PHILLIPS: Who gives a crap about how much he's paid or how famous he is.
MORGAN: Mackenzie, I understand. Let me just make the point then. There are two strands to the Charlie Sheen story. He is an addict according to you. He denies that. But I can see the evidence is pretty compelling. He might be. But he also is of hugely successful actor. The top of his game.
PHILLIPS: Not anymore. He's not at the top of his game.
MORGAN: Until he was fired. But there are two sides to the Charlie Sheen story. He is a legitimate news story. Certainly this is a guy to be interviewing.
PHILLIPS: Right. But if we sort of reframe the way we're looking at him instead of as a legitimate news story, as a cautionary tale, people are dying on the streets on a daily basis all over this country, all over the world, and Charlie is basically saying, I cured myself with my mind.
You know, that doesn't happen. Ask Dr. Samuels. It doesn't happen.
MORGAN: Let me do just that. I mean when you hear him talk like that, what are you seeing, the classic signs of an addict in your view?
HOWARD SAMUELS, THE HILLS TREATMENT CENTER: Oh, without question. I mean, what people don't seem to understand is that crack cocaine is probably the most potent drug there is known to mankind when you smoke it. It fries the brain. Now, Charlie has been smoking this drug for a long time and even he talked about --
PHILLIPS: Slamming seven-gram rocks.
SAMUELS: Yes. Exactly. In the pipe. Now I've treated a lot of hard-core crack addicts. That is -- it becomes cocaine psychosis, OK. They become delusional. They become grandiose. They become entitled. They become just like Charlie Sheen.
MORGAN: Let me -- let me take you up on that again. You're making a claim about him being a crack cocaine addict. You're making claims about a series of beatings of women, which he disputes. He disputes both those things. His friend Daniel obviously knows him very well and he's very worried about what's going to happen to him.
The flip side of this, and I come back to his position as a top actor and so on, Charlie Sheen says, look, how I lead my life is my concern. And by the way he said, there are lots of more important things going on in the world. There's Libya. There's Egypt.
PHILLIPS: But look at the message that we're giving to the young people out there who are considering, do I have a problem? Am I on the edge? What we're doing is we're taking it to the next level saying, it's OK to be this way because you are the highest paid actor on television.
SAMUELS: And being the face of CBS which is, you know, supposed to be a family, you know, network and the families out there, and he's working with a 9 or 10 or 11-year-old boy, so he comes into the set, he's off a crack run, he's been with a few hookers the night before, what do you think he's talking about with an 11-year-old?
MORGAN: Well, look, he --
PHILLIPS: Well, no, no. I take -- I have to take issue with you there. I mean I really do.
MORGAN: But, Mackenzie, I mean, look --
MORGAN: He's not the first guy that's partied too much in Hollywood. Let me --
PHILLIPS: Look, I got fired from one day at a time from partying too much.
MORGAN: Let me bring Daniel back into this.
Daniel, you've heard --
BALDWIN: Let me just --
MORGAN: -- what we've been debating. Obviously passion is running high here.
BALDWIN: I did. And let me just say two things. Number one, if it looks like a horse and it has black and white stripes, anybody in the planet is going to go, hey, that's a zebra. This is a zebra. You're not wrong in your speculation. No one here that's watching this awful car about to crash is out of line by speculating it's going to crash and it's on fire. This is a zebra so make no mistake about it. Forget about all the stories and claims from publicists and representation of lawyers. He's in trouble right now. Period.
MORGAN: And Daniel --
PHILLIPS: If it walks like a duck, if it quacks like a duck, it's a duck.
MORGAN: I get it. I get it.
PHILLIPS: I know you do.
MORGAN: Let me ask Daniel and Mackenzie. You both have been in this position. You've been the zebra. What was it -- Daniel, let me start with you.
What was it that finally snapped you back into normal life again?
BALDWIN: I don't think I had ever been afraid of the drug itself before. And I can recall in the last few times that I had been using cocaine and as the doctor just explained I was smoking cocaine which is the most highly addictive.
And I can remember having to look at my watch and wait in between times that I could light up again because my heart was palpitating so hard I was afraid I was going to have a heart attack. So I literally watched my watch and go, OK, I think it slowed down enough that I can do another one.
So I had never looked at my mortality versus overdosing type of thing and at the end it was that bad. You know, I was getting the numbness down my left arm.
MORGAN: And Mackenzie, for you, was it -- Mackenzie, for you, was it getting fired from the show that finally woke you up?
PHILLIPS: No. My god no, that happened 25 years ago. I, like Daniel -- and hi, bro, we're family. Daniel's brother Billy is married to my sister Chynna, so love you.
I would -- I was shooting heroin and cocaine speedballs in my room as a 49-year-old woman and I remember thinking, is this the one that's going to kill me?
I got up and I was going to New York to appear on "The Rachael Ray Show" for a reunion of "One Day at a Time." Thank god for the LAPD. They busted my ass trying at LAX trying to go through security with three grams of heroin and two grams of cocaine in my pocket.
And I right now just want to say, you all saved my life. You know, I mean an addict will not change unless their back is up against the wall. MORGAN: Howard, what we hear -- it's fascinating debate because until now, I totally accept news organizations including this show. We've allowed Charlie to have a platform and perhaps have not been as censorious as perhaps we ought to have been.
We've now heard from two high-profile former addicts saying this is real, this is dangerous, this guy is going to die. Charlie would probably be watching that disputing it but then denial is a key part of what goes on here.
From your point of view as an expert in addiction, what's the move now? Does somebody have to go in and save Charlie Sheen? Or does he have to save himself?
SAMUELS: I think it's got to be a combination of both. I think it's got to be a combination of everyone that really loves Charlie Sheen to use some type of major intervention.
I'm sure there's already been interventions done in the last number of weeks and months but you can't give up. You've got to continue fighting for your family member. I mean the only reason I'm sitting here is because my family did an intervention on me 26 years ago and saved my life even though I didn't want to get sober.
Charlie Sheen doesn't want to get sober yet. So it's a combination, the intervention, but then the only thing that creates the psychic shift, because we're talking about a psychic shift that has to occur that Daniel had, Mackenzie had and that I've had, is intense personal pain.
That is the only thing that creates the shift.
Now how do you create that pain? You get fired from your job. Thank god CBS did that. Finally.
MORGAN: But it seems to be not having a lot of effect on Charlie.
SAMUELS: Well, not yet.
PHILLIPS: I think they should hit Charlie in his pocket and I hope the reason that we haven't heard from Martin Sheen in a week and a half is because he's planning a conservatorship. Hit him in the pocket.
MORGAN: Daniel, let me end with you where we started really. You're a close friend of his. You've been through this. You're clearly very fired up about what you see is happening to your friend.
You've put your life back together. You lost a lot of weight recently. Look in great shape. Do you worry every day yourself about a relapse? I mean if Charlie used to go down this road how difficult is it?
BALDWIN: It won't be easy for him as the doctor just mentioned. At the level he's at now I don't think he even wants any help. One of the most telltale things that came and I watched the interview -- actually I thought you did a great job with it, because when someone is in that stage of denial you can't push them that hard. You just let him do his thing and then I think that was smart of you.
And I will tell you that one of the things that came out that was most shocking to me is not a single member of that cast through this awful situation has reached out to him.
Now you ask Mackenzie was on the show when she had trouble, if those people didn't reach out to her. When I was on television and this was -- I was going through this, other cast members on "Homicide" and different people that I knew in the business reaching out to me.
None of them called Charlie. You know why? Because they're so sick and tired of his crap and his denial that he has a problem that they've given up. They're just tired of it. And that's unfortunate.
PHILLIPS: You know but -- as long as there is still breath in the lungs, there's no reason to give up hope.
Am I right, Dr. Samuels?
SAMUELS: Right. Absolutely. That's why intervention after intervention in order to wear him down, isolate him and get a little love in there, and let him know that people really love this guy before you die.
MORGAN: Well, look, I'm very grateful to all three of you for coming in. It's been a very important contribution to this debate.
The Charlie Sheen saga continues unabated. I hope we come back in a few weeks and hopefully Charlie has sorted himself out and is back to --
SAMUELS: Let's hope so.
MORGAN: -- the path that you guys have taken. So thank you all very much.
PHILLIPS: Thank you, Piers.
MORGAN: When we come up my exclusive with the brother and uncle of a 12-year-old boy accused of killing his parents.
And later former child star Todd Bridges, his thoughts on Charlie Sheen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRIDGES: Anybody who's in addiction, you know that there's three things that can happen. You know, either mentally crazy for the rest of your life, in prison for the rest of your life or you die. That's all there is to it.
(END OF VIDEO CLIP) (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
MORGAN: The nation was shocked to hear this story and I warn you the details are disturbing. A 12-year-old Colorado boy accused of shooting his parents to death, wounding his sister and a brother.
Joining me now exclusively is Wally Long, he's the boy's uncle, and Jacob Long, his brother.
Thank you both very much indeed for joining us. I can't even imagine what your family is going through right now. A harrowing story. It's really hard to imagine.
Let me start with you, Wally. I know that you visited the boy who's accused of committing this appalling atrocity. What was that meeting like for you? How was he?
WALLY LONG, UNCLE OF 12-YEAR-OLD ACCUSED OF KILLING PARENTS: Well, sir, I think he was doing very well. He seemed to be doing OK. It was just a very generic conversation. We didn't talk about a whole lot. Just how were things inside the jail and he said things were fine. He didn't really like the food and he said -- complained about that but he was just a very generic conversation.
I went to him just to show him -- just to show him as hard as it was for me to do that people still love him. I know what he did, what he may have did, allegedly did, was horrible but I just wanted to show him a little care and concern, I guess.
MORGAN: I mean he's a 12-year-old boy.
W. LONG: Yes.
MORGAN: I've got a 13-year-old son and a 10-year-old son, so a very innocent age. Do you think he really has any concept of what's going on here?
W. LONG: To be honest with you I couldn't answer that question. I don't know what -- you know, what's in his mind and what's going on. I really couldn't answer that.
MORGAN: Jacob, let me ask you. I mean, this is your little brother that we're talking about here. He's now in prison. Who knows what fate now awaits him. What has this experience been like for you?
JACOB LONG, BROTHER OF 12-YEAR-OLD ACCUSED OF KILLING PARENTS: It's been traumatic experience, traumatic for all of us. And I'm not -- I'm not really sure what to think yet.
MORGAN: You've obviously lost your parents in these devastating circumstances. What kind of people were your parents?
J. LONG: They were very nice people. You couldn't have asked for a nicer people to be your parents. Very loving. Very outgoing. You couldn't ask for two better people.
W. LONG: I'd agree.
MORGAN: Was there any warning at all here, Jacob, about what might be coming? I mean was there any unhappiness in the family? Was there any stress or trouble that you could look at and say well, maybe we should have seen warning signs here?
J. LONG: Absolutely none. I mean I went over there after I got off work and I was there until 10 minutes before it happened and there was -- I mean kids running around. Everybody was having a good time, absolutely no indication. Just a very happy -- you know, happy small town family.
MORGAN: When did you hear what had happened?
J. LONG: Probably 20 minutes after it had happened. I mean I left there and went home, took a shower and I got out of the shower and people were calling me wanting to know what was going on. And I took off across town to find out what had happened and why nobody got ahold of me. And when I got there I found out -- I found the news, found out what had happened.
MORGAN: And I mean what was your reaction? I mean it's just such an extraordinary thing to have happened to your family. What-- how do you possibly come to terms with it?
J. LONG: It is just absolute disbelief. Just surreal. I couldn't -- I mean I didn't know what to say. It was shocking to say the least.
MORGAN: Do you know where he got the guns?
J. LONG: No idea. I mean, that's part of the case and that's not something we could really even talk about if I knew.
MORGAN: And obviously we remind ourselves this is all (INAUDIBLE) at the moment. We don't really know exactly what has gone on here.
Obviously we do know that the terrible impact on this family, Wally -- let me come back to you -- is just shocking. You still have two young children who are badly wounded. You've lost your brother and his wife.
I mean, what do you think will happen next for this family?
W. LONG: You know, we will just continue to pull together like we had this last week and take care of one another. Discussions have been made of what's going to happen to the younger children and we haven't got very far along in that process yet but we will take care of these kids one way or the other. That's going to be for certain.
MORGAN: I mean you've known this boy for 12 years. Did you get any kind of inkling that something like this could ever happen?
W. LONG: No, I never saw anything like this. We've spent a little bit of time with the family living in Missouri and Colorado. There wasn't a lot every day but we spent some time with the family and I never saw anything like this. He seemed to be a happy kid. Just played like kids do.
MORGAN: In terms of --
W. LONG: My kids got along with him when they were together.
MORGAN: In terms, Wally, of what he's now facing in terms of charges, if he's convicted as an adult he would face a life sentence.
Do you think that is the correct way this should proceed?
W. LONG: That's a hard question for me to answer. And I really don't know that I can at this point in time. My -- as with many people, my emotions are very conflicted on that issue and I just -- I could say one thing right now and five minutes later probably change my mind.
I don't know. I think somebody that commits a crime like that would deserve life in prison, but on the other hand he's a 12-year-old boy so I don't know. It'd be hard to answer that question.
MORGAN: Jacob, let me just ask you, obviously you're the oldest child here. You've got two of your siblings badly wounded. Another one is in prison and you have others who are probably sitting there wondering what on earth has happened to them.
What can you possibly say to them?
J. LONG: Man, I don't know. It's -- I mean everything is -- it's so hard. I mean it's not something that you can ever prepare for. And to have something like this happen -- I mean we're all kind of lost just getting through it day to day.
W. LONG: Yes.
MORGAN: Well, we're all extremely moved, I think, by what's happened to you and your family. It's a desperate situation. I wish you whatever we could wish you now, I mean I just hope that justice seems to prevail. We find out what happened and that may give you some kind of peace for this.
I know in the meantime a memorial fund has been created with the proceeds to benefit the Long children. Donations can be made to the Childs of Marilyn Long Memorial Fund send to the Bank of the West, located at 502 14th Street, Burlington, Colorado, 80807.
And I thank you for your time, both of you. It must have been extremely difficult thing to do.
W. LONG: Thank you.
J. LONG: Thank you.
MORGAN: And I wish you all the very best, I really do, in what has been an awful situation for you and your family.
J. LONG: Yes, thank you.
W. LONG: Thank you very much.
MORGAN: Coming up, the scandal that's rocking NPR. And why your money is at stake.
MORGAN: Dark days for NPR. Vivian Schiller, their chief executive officer, was forced to resign today just one day after another executive was caught on tape bashing the Tea Party.
The video shows NPR's former senior vice president of fundraising meeting with activists who were posing as members of a Muslim education fund, ready to write NPR a check for a tidy $5 million.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The current Republican Party, particularly the Tea Party, is fanatically involved in people's personal lives and very fundamental Christian. And I wouldn't even call it Christians. It's this weird Evangelical kind of move.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The current Republican Party is not really the Republican Party. It's been hijacked by this group that is --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The radical racist Islamaphobic Tea Party people?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And not just Islamaphobic, but really xenophobic. I mean basically they are -- they are they believe that the white, middle-America, gun-toting -- I mean, it's scary.
(END OF VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Joining me is NPR ombudsman Alicia Shepard and Andrew Breitbart, author of "Righteous Indignation: Excuse Me While I Save the World."
Let me start with you, Alicia. You've lost your fundraiser and your chief executive, Vivian Schiller, over this. Was she right to go?
ALICIA SHEPARD, NPR OMBUDSMAN: Well, first, let me explain that as the ombudsman of NPR, I am not representing NPR. I speak for the listeners and online viewers of NPR. So was she right to go? Was a decision made by the NPR board of directors? And it's not my business to make that decision.
But I do think that, you know, what happened -- that Ron Schiller video is just a big black eye for NPR. And it's really -- it's so unfortunate because there's just so many people who are involved in public radio who do a really good job every day. And I don't think that he reflects the views. MORGAN: No, I mean, it's a good day, I would argue, for your listeners today if somebody like that has been removed from the equation. I suppose a position in terms of a chief executive is where does the buck stop? Can you be responsible if you are chief executive of such a huge organization for everything that everybody in it does and says?
SHEPARD: Well, as I understand, the board basically decided that there have been too many things that have happened recently that would make it -- that hindered Vivian Schiller from actually going ahead and doing her job. Because really what's at issue here is public funding for the public radio stations. There's 900 of them around the country, and public broadcasting for television stations.
And so that is really what is at issue. And for NPR to become the focus draws attention away from the fight that public media has been fighting up on Capitol Hill to not have their funding cut.
MORGAN: Would it be easier if the NPR simply wasn't funded by the government?
SHEPARD: Well, certainly not right off the bat. And NPR is not funded by the government. The 900 public radio stations I mentioned are funded by -- they get about 90 million dollars a year. And then those public radio stations are members of NPR. They pay for NPR's programming.
So there's no direct money going to NPR. So the people that would be really hurt are the public radio stations and the public television stations around the country.
MORGAN: Andrew, let me turn to you. Is this kind of stunt fair game, do you think?
ANDREW BREITBART, AUTHOR, "RIGHTEOUS INDIGNATION": Well, of course, it's fair game. It was a week and a half ago that CNN itself said of a prank that was done on Governor Scott Walker -- they named the prankster CNN's person of intrigue of the day. So the problem here is that James O'Keefe and many other people like Lila Rose are held to a different standard.
Often in the history of journalism you have people like Hunter Thompson, Paul Krazer, Abbie Hoffman, who have been outrageous in trying to get their points across and have used journalism to do so. And they have been given their own wing of the J schools because they have the politically correct left of center view.
James O'Keefe is despised by the liberal culture on -- by the coastal elites, you know, media that is based in New York. Media based in New York and Washington despite him and Lila Rose for their politics.
MORGAN: It's sort of a chicken and the egg, isn't it? This guy's opinions wouldn't have received wider airing if Mr. O'Keefe and his skulduggery hadn't been at work. You yourself have been up to skulduggery before. You know, you stitched up Shirley Sherrod pretty spectacularly. So it is -- I come back to the same question. Is it really fair, this? I don't come at it from a particular moral point of view. But just is it fair? This guy wouldn't have said this stuff if he knew he was being recorded, would he?
BREITBART: No, but this is done all the time. NBC and "Dateline" dressed up as Muslims and walked through Nascar to try to get the American people, the Tea Party extremists that Ron Schiller and NPR, you know, allude to, to try and get them to say intemperate things about Muslims. This is done on "To Catch a Predator." This has been done in the media forever.
As I said, this is because of James -- the reason people are talking about the tactics and whether or not they're correct is because an avowed conservative is using the tactics that the left of center media has used for years.
MORGAN: Forget left or right for a moment, though. Let's just discuss the tactics. Doesn't matter to me which side of the political persuasion you come from. Where is the line drawn? I mean, you are an activist, for want of a better phrase.
BREITBART: I'm not.
MORGAN: Well, you are, really, aren't you?
BREITBART: No more so than Geraldo Rivera -- than Geraldo Rivera is.
MORGAN: I would call him an activist, too.
BREITBAT: You're British. I think we're moving towards where the British are. I read the "Guardian" in the UK -- in the UK and -- and I -- because I know it's a left of center paper. And I don't have a problem with it being a left of center paper. It's avowedly left of center. And it's able to tell truths.
I think that we're ending this era of false objectivity in this country. People have opinions. NPR has a left of center opinion. And it should embrace it.
MORGAN: Where do you draw the line?
BREITBART: If James O'Keefe, who is an independent journalist, comes to me with something that doesn't sit right with me, I'm going to pass on it. I think that we have to live with our consciences. And what, you know -- the public is going to judge whether or not a tactic is over the line. But I don't think what he did is over the line. It comports with what the mainstream media has been doing for years.
MORGAN: The problem, it seems to me, Alicia, coming back to you finally, is how do you stop this happening again? You're now an easy target for these kind of stunts. And you have a lot of employees. How do you ensure that somebody else isn't right now getting stitched up?
SHEPARD: Well, I think that it's a cautionary tale, that this is a new world we live in. We live in public. The mike is always on. And people need to be very careful about what they say. You know, every journalist has opinions and a bias and maybe -- and an agenda. But they're professionals.
The way that Ron Schiller behaved was not professional. Who talks that way to complete strangers the first time you meet them in public?
BREITBART: Well, first of all, I will say this: the best coverage on this incident has been NPR. It's been impeccable. And I as a conservative will say that it is the most reliable and best resource for me to get news on how people who are left of center think. I respect NPR more than you would actually think.
But NPR has fed this false narrative of the Tea Party as racist. In fact, it had a thing on its website called "How To Talk Tea Bag." The Tea Party is trying to defend itself against an onslaught of nonstop mainstream media attacks.
MORGAN: Let's be grown up. They're not all choir boys, are they?
BREITBART: I could accept that.
MORGAN: Let's not get too carried away. And, of course, the answer, I suppose, to stopping further entrapment like this is for people to stop saying stupid things.
Anyway, thank you both very much.
Coming up next, a former child star who knows all too much about addiction in Hollywood. "Difference Strokes" Todd Bridges and his advice to Charlie Sheen.
MORGAN: Todd Bridges knows what it's like to have a very public fall from grace. He was a beloved star from the '70s and '80s sitcom "Different Strokes," who ended up a very real-life drug dealer and pimp. He tells the story of his incredible fall and rise in the book "Killing Willis, Difference Strokes to the Mean Streets to the Life I Always Wanted."
Todd Bridges joins me now. Todd, so confession time.
TODD BRIDGES, ACTOR: Yes.
MORGAN: I was born about two months before you. And I sort of grew up on "Different Strokes" in the '70s and '80s. It was one of my favorite shows.
BRIDGES: Thank you.
MORGAN: And reading your book was a kind of -- it was almost like a sort of terrible moment of awakening for me.
MORGAN: This show, which I loved which, and seemed so sweet and warm- hearted, had suddenly turned into this nightmare for everyone involved.
BRIDGES: Yeah, because we had -- it was a very -- our families were very close to one another. And they were very similar. Gary had two parents who cared not really much about him more for the money. Thank God I had a mom that was real loving. But I had a father who was an alcoholic and abusive.
Dana had a mother who wasn't around a lot. I remember going one day to Dana's house. Where is your mom? She's like, oh, she's gone. I'm like, OK. Then her mother got really sick and passed away.
So when you come from those kind of backgrounds and you're a child star, which you're already dealing with the press and stress in certain ways, and then you're dealing with that at home also, there's really no escape for you. So it's going to come out somewhere.
MORGAN: You're the only one still alive from that show. Isn't that heart breaking?
BRIDGES: It's heart breaking because who would ever have thought that? When I was going through what I was going through, they all thought I would be the first one dead. But the miracle of God is why I'm still here.
Because I really believe that my life has spun around for the more positive to really help people who are suffering from addiction. And I just suffered from addiction, suffered from child molestation, suffered from abuse. It's a true blessing that I'm still around.
MORGAN: How have you come through this? How did you manage to avoid the terrible fate that befell your colleagues?
BRIDGES: Because I woke up one day, 27 years old -- I remember it was my last court appearance. I was going to court. And the judge says to me you either can go to rehab or go to jail and right then the light clicked on. And I realized that I had to do something different.
MORGAN: What was the moment drugs took over your life? You were doing it on the time of the show with Damon.
BRIDGES: But the thing about it was at the time I was addicted but not addicted. I was a functioning addict, which means that I didn't do it when I had to work. There was none of that. I never did that. If I did it on Friday and Saturday, Saturday night came, I was cleaned up by Sunday. I was fine.
When the show ended and I found out I had no more money -- my money had been ripped off by accountants -- everything caught up to me. My mom was telling me you need to go see a psychiatrist. I was like I don't need it. This was back in the early '80s. If you went to a psychiatrist, you were considered looney. That's what I thought. And all my friends thought that. I was like I don't need to see a psychiatrist.
But everything caught up to me all at one time. When it all caught up to me, I just wanted to forget. And I didn't know that -- you think that you can do drugs and you'll be OK or you're not going to get addicted. I didn't know that that is where I would end up. You know, no one knew that.
But it happened. I got addicted and I ended up in this crazy path of life.
MORGAN: You moved quite quickly from taking cocaine in a regular way to crack cocaine. You did 12 grams a day.
BRIDGES: Even more than that. It got to the point to where it went from crack to shooting methamphetamine. That's how bad it got. That's what -- what really brought me into treatment was methamphetamine. Because that was just -- almost destroyed my live.
MORGAN: What was rock bottom?
BRIDGES: Rock bottom for me was one day I was at a motel. And I remember sitting there and I had no shoes on, no shirt on, just got locked out of my room. And the crazy part about it was that still wasn't -- but I got it at that point -- you know what I mean -- where something was wrong. But I couldn't quite click it in my mind.
The day that it finally clicked in my mind was the day I was in treatment. And they locked me in at four points. And I had two straps on my feet and two straps on my arm and they put me in a diaper. And that's when I realized that something was wrong. This was a far cry from Willis Jackson.
MORGAN: The relationship you had with Gary Coleman was a really extraordinary one. Incredible chemistry. And yet reading the book, you fell out with him on the show quite quickly.
BRIDGES: The third season. The third season because after his father came down, things changed. Gary in the very beginning was a great kid, sweet, got along with everyone. And then if you -- he's declined after his father came, changed his whole life.
He started being told he was a star. He started being told that he deserved this, he deserved that.
MORGAN: When did you hear that Gary had died?
BRIDGES: I was actually out at Lake San Antonio on my jet skis. And they called me. And I was like, what? And the whole circumstance was kind of mysterious, kind of scared me a little bit. And, you know, I just felt bad because I loved Gary. And we were starting to really mend our relationship towards the end.
MORGAN: What is your life like now? You've been clean 17 years.
BRIDGES: Eighteen years.
MORGAN: It's a great achievement.
BRIDGES: It's one of the best achievements for me in my entire life.
MORGAN: Do you look in the mirror and think, I'm proud of what you've done.
BRIDGES: I'm not only proud of what I've done, but I'm proud of what God was able to do with me. That's what made me proud, because without him I wouldn't have made it this far. And I'm proud of what I could do with other people. People that are struggling with addiction if I can get to them, I can help them, because there's a lot of things that -- why people struggle with addiction.
And people think it's just OK, he's lost his mind. You know, he's out there. That's not it. A lot of stuff has to do with early childhood. A lot has to do from things that are in their heads to this very day. And addiction is the only thing that covers it up.
MORGAN: In the end, you're living proof that it does work, that if you could just deal with it, you can survive it. Right?
BRIDGES: That's exactly right. And the thing is, through -- like I said, through acceptance is the key to recovery. And that's -- if you don't get that, you're never going to get it.
MORGAN: Back in a moment with Todd Bridges on Charlie Sheen and the truth about rehab.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRIDGES: Whoever let him do the rehab at his house should be slapped. That is not a place -- I don't care what anybody says. That's not a place for recovery.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRIDGES: Arnold, you've got nothing to worry about, because the Guch (ph) is the one in trouble.
GARY COLEMAN, ACTOR: What you talking about, Willis?
BRIDGES: Arnold, ain't I your big brother who loves you, who worries about you?
COLEMAN: And takes care of you, yes.
(END VIDEO CLIP) MORGAN: Todd Bridges, former child star, "Different Strokes," is back now. Todd, when you see what's happened to Charlie Sheen, what goes through your mind?
BRIDGES: Well, for me, I know that addiction is very powerful. And when you're going through what you're going through, it doesn't matter how much money you're making, who's around you. When the addiction calls, it calls.
Until he gets to what the real problem -- the core of the reason why he's using drugs, it's going to be tough for him to stop. I just hope that one day he realizes before it's too late.
MORGAN: Do you recognize the signs in Charlie --
BRIDGES: Oh, yeah. I recognize his ranting right now that he's doing. I recognize all that. That was me at one time.
MORGAN: Why do people do that?
BRIDGES: Because for me, I think what I was going through -- I call it cocaine psychosis. When you start getting this grandiosity. You think that it's everyone else's fault. It's not mine.
I remember being there, always. It's your fault, your fault. I wouldn't be this way if it wasn't for you. It's your fault.
It doesn't come around and you don't realize that it's your fault until you get sober. You've been sober for a while, then you're like, that was my fault.
MORGAN: Do you worry what will happen to Charlie if he doesn't get help?
BRIDGES: Yeah, everyone -- anybody who is in addiction, you know what -- there's three things that can happen, end up mentally crazy the rest of your life, in prison the rest of your life or you're going to die. That's all there is to it. Nothing else that can happen.
MORGAN: Have you met Charlie Sheen?
BRIDGES: I know him. I met him years ago. You know, if I can get around him, maybe I can help him figure out what he's dealing with, and what he's going through. But addiction is something that you're not going to stop until you're ready. If you're not ready, it doesn't matter what people say. It's going to go in one ear, out the other.
MORGAN: What about the argument that he shouldn't have been fired? Because what he does in his private life is his business.
BRIDGES: The thing is when you're working for somebody, making a massive amount of money, you have to have consideration to me of what they're saying. If they tell you not to ride motorcycles, it's in the contract. OK, you can't get on a motorcycle. You can be fired for that. If you're creating such a hysterical thing for your show and making it look bad, you need to stop. That's something that has to happen. He has to figure out what he needs and what he should be doing. But when you're in your addiction, ain't going to happen. Not going to figure it out when --
MORGAN: If you got a chance to talk to him, what would you say to him?
BRIDGES: A lot of things, but I would try to figure out the core of his problem. For instance, I'll give you a good example. When I was in the heat of my addiction, I was facing 15 years to life. Do you think that would have stopped me from using drugs? You think it would have, right? I went right back out about got high again when I beat the case two weeks later.
So see, it doesn't matter what people throw at you or what's there. When you're in the heat of your addiction, nothing can stop you. It's like a locomotive going full steam ahead. And the only thing that can really stop you at that point is you. Until you're ready to stop, you're going to continue that locomotive.
My whole thing was, whoever let him do the rehab at his house should be slapped. That is not a place -- I don't care what anybody says. That is not a place for recovery.
MORGAN: He has to get somewhere where he can't have a normal life?
BRIDGES: When you've got all your things in front of you, how do you get sober? If I would have had everything in front of me when I was going through my treatment, I don't think I would have made it. I went to sober living and stayed 17 months.
Sold my house, wouldn't go back to it. Didn't want to go near that house. And I got 18 years. So obviously it means something. For someone to say -- because I watched Charlie say the 12-step program doesn't work. It worked for me. And it will work for anybody who works it. No such thing it won't work for you. It won't work for you if you don't want it.
MORGAN: You've got to really want it.
BRIDGES: It didn't work for me when I didn't want it, because, heck, I didn't want it.
MORGAN: If Charlie Sheen is watching, you are living proof that you can come through this. Todd Bridges --
BRIDGES: I hope I can get to him and help.
MORGAN: Thank you very much.
When we come back, a sneak peak at what's coming up on PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) MORGAN: Tomorrow night, me and the original rock 'n' roll wild man Kid Rock on life, love, sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll. It's an extraordinary encounter.
And then on Monday, the one and only Simon Cowell as you've never seen him before.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Do you think it was a mistake to get rid of Paula?
SIMON COWELL, "AMERICAN IDOL": Certainly, yeah. We didn't get rid of her. They just couldn't agree to a deal with her. It was never the same show. I mean, me, Randy and Paula had this unbelievable chemistry. And that's what I always think of as "Idol."
MORGAN: What do you think of Steven Tyler and J-Lo?
COWELL: Good. I like Steven. I think Steven has his own personality. Jennifer is a star. Randy has suddenly turned into a bit more like me. And I think he always wanted to do that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Don't miss that, coming on Monday, a great interview with Simon Cowell.
Now here's my colleague, Anderson Cooper, with AC360.