Internight MSNBC - October 22, 1998

18. "Transcript of first segment of Internight"
Posted by LizzieB on 19:45:44 10/22/98

I will try to get the rest of the transcript up later. I had to stop and make dinner, etc., so am way behind as it is. A transcript shows better than a summary how Tracey tries to wiggle out of everything, so felt the need to do this rather than just a summary -- it is very time-consuming, however.

If you have a chance to watch the repeat, it is worth your while. Nothing new, but interesting dynamics.

John Gibson made it sound like this program was the result of Anne Louise Bardach's statements on another show, when she criticized the accuracy of the crock. I got the impression Tracey requested rebuttal time.

Guests were Bardach (Vanity Fair author - she was on the phone), Michael Tracey, Peter Boyles, former prosecutor Victoria Toensig, and defense attorney Pam Metzker.

They showed a clip of Bardach on the previous show, talking about the sloppy reporting in the crock. In particular she mentioned that Jeff Ramsey had no way of contradicting what Officer French had said.

Gibson: Michael, I know you want to go at Anne Louise right now. Hey Michael, a fact is a fact. Was Jeff Ramsey there to see that this didn't happen as Anne Louise reported it, or was he not there? Was he present at that house at the moment that Rick French, that particular cop was there?

Tracey: Yes. Jeff Ramsey arrived in Boulder on the 26th, the same day that JonBenet's body was found. Jeff Ramsey was in the house. The point about Annie Bardach's piece in Vanity Fair - two points really - one, it's extremely widely read, the other, it is riddled with inaccuracies. If I can just mention…

Gibson: She says the same about yours, but go ahead…

Tracey: Well, let me tell you. She says for example that only a midget or small child could go down the basement window. That's demonstrably untrue. She didn't check it. She said that John Ramsey flew his private jet back to Atlanta for the funeral. That's untrue, it wasn't his jet and he didn't fly it. She makes references to Jeff. She says John Ramsey left the house for 90 minutes. That's untrue. There's a whole series of things in her article that aren't…

Gibson: Michael, Anne Louise volunteered to be in your documentary and you could have put her fanny on the griddle if you wanted to. Why didn't you let her?

Tracey: That again is not true. She was invited. She was invited to take part. I mean, the story about why she didn't…Annie Bardach was invited to take part in our documentary. She also says, for example, we didn't speak to the police in the documentary, we didn't speak to law enforcement. Of course we invited the police to take part in the documentary. We're not brain dead.

Gibson: Michael, what do you think about people calling it an infomercial?

Tracey: I think it's ridiculous. Basically, people who call it an infomercial are those who cannot stand the fact that we take apart the story that was told about this case. As I've said to you before many times, our documentary was not about proving the guilt or innocence of Patsy Ramsey and John Ramsey or indeed of anybody else. It was about re-interrogating the media story and demonstrating that the media coverage of this particular case overwhelmingly was a public lynching of these two people whether they are guilty or innocent, and we took that story apart. I can imagine for Annie Bardach it's deeply embarrassing to have it demonstrated on national television that her Vanity Fair piece was deeply flawed in a factual sense.

Gibson. Oh, Michael, you just invited her to call…is she on now? She'll be here any second.

Tracey: Oh, this is a surprise,

Gibson: Well you know, you caused it, so she'll be on in a second. Peter Boyles, you've picked a bone with Michael many times.

Boyles: I want to ask Michael, what time did Jeff Ramsey arrive in Boulder?

Tracey: I believe it was in the late afternoon, early evening.

Boyles: Well, now what time was the body discovered?

Tracey: The body was discovered around 1:00, Peter.

Boyles: What time did the officer say (Tracey interrupts) that Patsy was looking through his fingers. Just a second. Don't interrupt me. What time did the officer say that Patsy was looking through her fingers and feigning… (Tracey keeps interrupting - he makes faces throughout the segment, but I won't note it each time as it would take up too much of the transcriptl) What time did all this happen? I'm going to tell you right now, John, if you can shut him up for a minute. That's the issue, is when John Ramsey brought the little girl's body upstairs, Jeff Ramsey was not in the house. That's when the officer - be quiet Michael - that's when the officer reported Patsy. I'm sick of this guy. That's when the officer reported Patsy looking through her fingers sideways and feigning tears. Jeff Ramsey was not there, and in Michael's spinumentary he claims that Jeff witnessed that. That is a blatant lie by Professor Tracey.

Tracey: Peter, as ever you get things wrong.

Boyles: No I'm not, that's correct.

Tracey: Peter, now let me finish, please. What we say in the documentary is that that particular statement, which is in a police report, was spun in such a way as to make the case…

Boyles: That's not what you say in the film.

Tracey: Shut up. I made the film, Peter.

Boyles: I know, and I've watched it, and that's not what you say in the…play the Jeff Ramsey clip, John.

Gibson: Finish, Michael.

Tracey: Can I finish the point, please. The point is…

Gibson: Jeff Ramsey claims to have been there to have seen this. Was Jeff Ramsey there?

Boyles: He was not.

Tracey: I'm sorry, if you look at the script, and I know that script rather well since I helped David Mills to write it…What we say is that that particular story, that Annie Bardach quote, and it was quoted elsewhere, was used to make a very basic argument. There was a larger argument which was that the Ramseys and Patsy in particular were not property grieving.

Boyles: You say Jeff was there and saw this, and that's not what happened.

Tracey: We were addressing the issue of whether they were grieving or not.

Boyles: No you weren't.

Tracey: Yes we were.

Boyles: I saw your film 5 times. You said Jeff Ramsey witnessed Patsy and it didn't happen.

Gibson: Michael Tracey is under fire. Anne Louis Bardach is on the phone. Annie, are you there?

Bardach: I am. He's got the facts completely wrong. Let me clarify this. Rick French arrived at the house at 5:52 a.m. You just heard Michael Tracey say that if Jeff Ramsey arrived he arrived in the evening.

Tracey: Annie, you said he was in Atlanta.

Bardach: And what is in the story, it says that when Richard French gets there, he observes Patsy, and that she is watching him while she is grieving, and that he found this is odd. And he reports this, by the way, he didn't just say "after 1:00 when the child is found." So Michael Tracey has just been caught in one of his factual errors.

Tracey: It's not a factual error at all, Annie, you can…

Bardach: By his own admission, Jeff Ramsey does not arrive until that evening.

Tracey: You say he wasn't even in Boulder.

Annie: In this report, in this statement, is that he arrived in the morning. This is at least 12 hours before Jeff Ramsey even gets off the plane. And that is precisely, it illustrates my point. This is continuous throughout this infomercial.

Gibson: Before I let Michael go at you here, did you refuse to be in his documentary.

Bardach: No, I offered many times.

Tracey: You did not.

Bardach: I spoke with him, I spoke with Dan Glick. I made myself available at my home in California, I made myself available in Miami. I was doing an investigative series for the New York Times and I was working in Miami and San Juan. In fact, I told my partner and editors I might be doing this thing, and he never showed up. At one point he asked me if I wanted to come to Boulder.

Tracey: Annie, let me ask you a question.

Gibson: Michael Tracey is under fire. I've got to give him a chance to respond. Michael, take a clear shot.

Tracey: As usual. Annie, why did you write in your Vanity Fair piece that only a midget or small child could go into the basement window.

Bardach: Michael, listen, let's stick with one issue at a time. You lied about Jeff Ramsey being in the house when he wasn't in the house. Let's take one lie at a time.

Tracey. I didn't lie. In fact, I seem to recall that the Rick French statement involved a later part of the day.

Bardach: No, no, you're incorrect. It says right here - I will read it to you if you like - he arrived at 5:52 a.m. French reported, "Subsequently French told colleagues he had been struck by how differently the two parents were reacting." This is before the child's body is discovered.

Tracey: Are you reading from the police report?

Bardach: You completely misquoted me. It's factually incorrect, and you don't even have the decency now that you're caught red-handed to say "I apologize."

Tracey: Oh, please, please, please.

Bardach: That's exactly what you're accusing other journalists of doing, and that's exactly what you just did.

Tracey: That's not what I'm saying.

Bardach: Okay, then you're saying that you wanted me in your documentary. I spoke to you and Dan Glick and made it abundantly clear that I was available and willing…

Gibson: Okay, thanks Anne. Michael, look, obviously you two are not going to be at the same dinner party. But, a fact is a fact. Was Jeff Ramsey there to see this or not? Anne says, and you seem to say that he didn't arrive until the evening, and this event took place in the morning…one gets the impression that Jeff Ramsey made the claim in your documentary in order to knock down the notion that Patsy was peeking out of her fingers to see how this cop behaved towards her because it's good for the Ramseys.

Tracey: No, I understand the point. The point we were picking up on was a slightly larger one was that basically the way in which that particular story was played, was spun, was to suggest that in a general sense the Ramseys were not grieving. So what we then did was talk to a number of people who were in the house on the 26th and 27th and beyond, of which Jeffrey Ramsey was one.

Boyles: They weren't in the house on the 27th, Michael. Don't play that game, Michael. They never went back after the 26th

Tracey: Peter, I'm talking about the Fernie's house, I'm not talking about the house on 15th Street. There were a number of people who we spoke to and we wanted one very basic question, we wanted to ask them one very basic question: From your standpoint, were the Ramseys grieving in a meaningful way, or were they were being manipulative or cold.

Gibson: Victoria Toensig, let me draw you into this. Let's just say for argument's sake, and I know Michael will argue with it, that he's putting forward the Ramsey's side of the story. Whether it's true or not, do they have a right to do this? Should they be subject to criticism because they put their story out? They're not under oath in any documentary, they can say what they want to the public, I mean…

Boyles: Don't call it a documentary, John.

Gibson: Well, you know, I'm doing it because Michael came on, Peter. I understand…

Boyles: Call it an infomercial.

Gibson: Well, then I get in trouble with Mike. Victoria, do they have the right to do that?

Toensig: Well of course they have the right to do anything. This is a free country last time I checked. If course they have the right. Here's what it is…I didn't see it, I was hiking the hills of California, thank God, when this thing was being played. I didn't get to see it, but I go back to my initial reaction and I think what most people, most of the viewers out there have, and that's that they did not behave in a way that most of us as parents would have behaved if it were our child. Why weren't they just beating down the police station to say, "I want to talk to you, let me tell you all I know." All of us would have done that, and that's where we have the trouble, and I think that's why people are publicly doubting them.

Gibson: The answer to the question, Victoria, is because the police thought the Ramseys were guilty almost from the beginning.

Toensig: Not from the beginning, not from the get-go.

Gibson: Not from the very beginning. Right from the beginning they screwed things up because they thought they were kidnap victims. Peter, i'll let you talk, and we'll let Pam Metzker talk, she wants to help Michael Tracey out. The question is the Ramsey documentary. Is Michael right to call it a documentary, is Peter right to call it an infomercial, do the Ramseys have the right to go out and defend themselves at a time when the grand jury is meeting? Is it in any way a bit of grand jury tampering?

Commercial break.

21. "Second Segment of Internight"
Posted by LizzieB on 20:24:24 10/22/98
Include Original Message on Reply

I'll do the last segment after I walk the dog.

Gibson: We're doing our best to keep this down to a dull roar of animosity. Pam Metzker, would you jump in here? I don't know what Michael Tracey's intention was, you heard what he said, but Michael did say a while ago, and he'll probably want to jump in and make an explanation now, that he was not going to air this thing while the grand jury was in session. It is in session. Should they have restrained themselves while the grand jury is considering this?

Metzker: Why? Let me just say this, they have a perfect right to go out there and proclaim their innocence, they have a perfect right to make public appearances, and if they have good counsel, their counsel is telling them, "get on out there and make a good impression now before someone else goes into the grand jury and dirties you up." They're doing what they should be doing if they think they might be targets of a criminal investigation.

Gibson: Anne Louise Bardach is going to make one last comment to correct the record on something. Anne Louise?

Bardach: Yeah, I just want to make an overall comment. I have never voiced an opinion about their innocence or their guilt, and I also stand behind them. They have every right to defend themselves and Michael Tracey has every right to make an infomercial on behalf of the Ramseys, which he has done. But where I have a problem is when he makes a completely biased piece of advocacy on their behalf and he whitewashes and tells us a documentary, because it is, in fact, as we just demonstrated, riddled with mistakes, like the opening…

Gibson: All right, Anne Louise. I can't let you pick more fights. We've already gone down that road. Hey, Peter Boyles, what difference does it make? I mean, Michael does his thing, it's out there, I mean, so what? Half the world think the Ramseys had something to do with this, and if two or three people decide watching this decide that maybe they didn't, so what?

Boyles: And I agree. I look at that infomercial and I say, "so what?" But the point is that it's used to attack the press and it's used to attack the media. Professor Tracey came to me and said to me, personally, in our office, that this would not air until after the grand jury had completed its work. Ask him now why he said that?

Gibson: You know what, Peter, because we're going to run out of time I'm going to give Michael the last word. Michael, can you answer that? Why is this going on while the grand jury is working?

Tracey: As ever, Peter gets it wrong. What I said to him was…

Boyles: You're a liar, Michael, you said that to me.

Tracey: Well let me finish. Don't call me a liar, Peter.

Boyles: You're a liar. You said that to me, Michael, and then you aired it.

Tracey: Peter, you're very rude.

Gibson: Michael, the last word, go ahead.

Tracey: What I said to you, Peter, was we had established a legal agreement with the Ramseys, setting out the terms of our relationship, no editorial control, independence, etc. They wanted to put in a clause which said that they did not want us to air this while the grand jury was seated. We sold it to A&E before the grand jury had been announced. On that basis, we went to their representatives and asked for a waiver, and they gave us the waiver…

Gibson: More from Michael and Peter after this break.

Commercial break.