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I am curious to know what kind of spikes Anderson Cooper, John Stewart and Stephen Colbert are seeing on their shows due to the writers. ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks for joining us. .. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think people are entertained by seeing people flirt with danger. .. But first, Erica Hill, from "HEADLINE NEWS," has a " Bulletin". SMITH, MARY COOPER ANDERSON, WHISPERIN' BILL. I HOPE FANNY HILL OR MEMOIRS OF A WOMAN OF PLEASURE FLIRTING WITH PETE.
He was killed just yesterday when he was stung in the chest by a stingray, while shooting a documentary off the Great Barrier Reef. Not surprising, given all of his fans, there has been a huge outpouring of emotion from mourners all over the world, especially in his hometown.
Those are the images you're seeing right there. All day long, people young and old have been dropping off flowers and messages, leaving notes for Steve Irwin, for his family. He was as good under water as he was on top of the land.
He loved the water. He was a very accomplished diver. He was comfortable anywhere there was wildlife. He's been diving for, I don't know, 10, 15 years, with sharks, with everything that would kill you in the water. But I never thought he'd take a hit from a stingray. Irwin became known as the crocodile hunter to his many fans because he handled and wrestled crocodiles.
It often seemed like a crazy, dangerous stunt that few in this country would dare to take on. Eddie Snyder admits it. He's a bit crazy. All right, if you guys are ready, I'm going to do that and let go of his bottom jaw. It's a weird twist on the saying, using your head. For 16 years Snyder has been handling and wrestling alligators, a skill he learned from the Seminole Indians.
You may not agree, but Snyder sees what he does and what Steve Irwin did as similar. If I start touching him, he's going to feel a lot more threatened. Unlike Irwin, there's no conservation message here.
The people come here to watch Snyder handle an eight footer named Floppy, for some of the same reasons they watched Irwin. That's what's exciting about it. To see someone handle a dangerous animal. I think people are entertained by seeing people flirt with danger.
The reptile's reputation makes watching Snyder perform all the more intriguing. This year alligators have been responsible for three fatal attacks in Florida. We need her out quickly. This one killed a jogger west of Ft. They are found regularly in backyards and even under cars. Even experienced trappers like Todd Hardwick ph have almost been done in by a gator's nearly inescapable death roll. The danger, the exhilaration are exactly the reasons year-old Caleb Goodman ph started tangling with alligators six months ago.
I didn't think I'd have to wrestle him. Goodman says while Irwin's death was a freakish accident, it served as reminder. It is kind of a wake-up call. Just, you know, pay attention to what you're doing. Advice he got and took from his teacher, Eddie Snyder.
I guess the key is you never get overconfident, right? Yes, that's how you get bit. Is by getting too confident. Snyder has been bitten countless times. The fingers he lost were not from a gator bite, they were from a shotgun accident.
But the injury makes him doubly careful to protect his good hand. Every time we do get bit, it's scary. But at the same time, thrilling. Which is why they do it and why the people come to watch. So, let me get this straight. He blew off several of his fingers with a shotgun and now he's got one good hand left and he's wrestling alligators. Steve Irwin's untimely death has many wondering if some of these so-called animal reality shows are going too far, pushing the boundaries of nature just to lure viewers.
CNN's Ted Rowlands takes a look. As you can see, I am just feet away. On the big screen movies like "Grizzly Man" show what most would consider unthinkable.
A man filming himself within arm's reach of wild grizzly bears. That man, Timothy Treadwill pha self-proclaimed activist, educator and amateur filmmaker and his girlfriend were attacked and killed by a grizzly bear. He ultimately weighs pounds.
In he was left in critical condition when a white tiger mauled him during a show. He brought education and knowledge about the natural world to so many people who never had access to that kind of information. And he did it in a very entertaining and fun way. While few if any would argue Irwin's expertise in the animal world; others are left concerned, wondering, is competition for an audience driving people into a wildlife danger zone.
British Wilderness Expert and Television Host Ray Meer ph says TV's demand for sensation pushed Irwin to be too daring, telling Reuters, quote, "He clearly took a lot of risks and television encouraged him to do that According to Nielsen data, animal programming with inherently dangerous content like "Discovery's" shark week, yield better than average ratings. Welcome to "Going Wild. Still others in Irwin's line of work, like Jeff Corwin, believe their jobs have greater purpose than just ratings and definitely understand the risks involved.
Well, the reality is that there's always a risk when you work with wildlife. And you do your best to take precautions, you know. As for myself, I want to make sure that when I'm doing hands on work with wildlife, we have a legitimate reason behind it. Whether it was entertainment or education, Irwin paid the ultimate price doing what he loved most. The question is did working at Ground Zero cause those health problems?
We'll investigate that when continues. And a new report released today says that seven of 10 first responders who rushed to Ground Zero to help are suffering lung problems, and some have already died. The doctors who wrote the report say that there is no doubt that the toxic rubble at Ground Zero was the cause. What is less clear and far more controversial is whether Ground Zero is to blame for all the other illnesses, including cancer that first responders have developed.
CNN's Randi Kaye investigates. On September 11th, five years ago, as word spread America was under attack, hundreds of emergency responders rushed to the World Trade Center. I remember you couldn't see your hand in front of your face, number one.
I remember constantly coughing and constantly gagging. Rich and John were used to life-threatening situations. They'd been partners in narcotics for more than a decade. Now retired, they're no longer fighting to keep drugs off the street, they're fighting to stay alive. Right now I'm on borrowed time; 5 percent only live as long as I have. John is battling leukemia; Rich, severe asthma and double kidney failure.
Both blame their illnesses on exposure to toxins like benzene, dioxin and asbestos at Ground Zero. But could exposure even over a period of months make them so sick so fast? After all, both were diagnosed within just two years of the attack.
Or it is it possible they and thousands of others who claim Ground Zero made them sick too, were predisposed to these illnesses?
I want you to breathe real deep in and out through your mouth. The program has screened more than 16, first responders, half of whom are in need of treatment. Well, there's no question that people have developed very high rates of respiratory illnesses. By that I mean new onset sinusitis among people who never had sinus problems before. And people who have developed asthma who never had asthma before in their lives. People like Rudy Washington who gets regular exams at Mount Sinai. As Mayor Rudy Giuliani's deputy, he worked seven days a week at Ground Zero, coordinating rescue and recovery efforts.
This is the first time he has agreed to be interviewed about his illness. Also, mysterious spots and scarring on his lungs. After two, three, you know whatever exposure you had was done. After the second day or so, we were taken in with smoke, basically, from the fire. That real heavy contamination where you had asbestos, fiberglass and all of that stuff, now which shows up on my lungs. But in the years since, he's become a regular at the E.
But, still, Rudy considers himself lucky. So far, no sign of cancer. This is a list of the cancers. It was the worst toxic waste site ever. Worby says more than of his clients have cancer, 1, have severe respiratory ailments. More than 60 of them are already dead. So why then are doctors saying it is still too soon to make the connection between cancer and Ground Zero? Randi Kaye's report continues in a moment.
Before the break we told you about the thousands of Ground Zero responders who have become sick since working on the toxic pile of rubble in Lower Manhattan five years ago. It's not just lung problems they're suffering from, hundreds have developed cancer. What is in dispute is whether Ground Zero is to blame.
When al Qaeda attacked the World Trade Center, September 11th,more than 50, rescue workers poured through the rubble, searching for survivors, clinging to hope and then cleaning up. Thousands of those people got sick, some of them are dying, many already dead. Was it the exposure to deadly toxins released when the towers collapsed? Or could it be coincidence that the victims were predisposed to the cancers and respiratory illnesses that are killing them?
Consider this, when the towers fell all of the material used to build them and everything inside them turned to dust, which was inhaled by everyone at the scene. Rich's kidneys are failing. John has developed leukemia. At any point were you given a mask to wear?
Eventually we were, yes. How long was eventually? I would say the first two weeks we didn't have anything. It took about three weeks to get a mask and then a couple weeks later they told us it was the wrong filters and then they started issuing masks months and months later.
And the soot that was in the air, rescuers brought it home with them. We'd take a shower and my shower would look like a barbecue grill. And you wake up in the middle of the night, with, in the corner of your eyes and it would drip on your pillow, would be like black liquid.
And, you know, same thing you'd like clean your ears out you just, chunks and chunks of black would come out.
I mean, your teeth, when you scrub your teeth and you'd spit in the sink and it would just be literally like a barbecue grill. At Mount Sinai's screening center, Dr. Stephen Liven says it's too soon to know if there is a connection between Ground Zero and cancer. How do you explain cancer showing up in World Trade Center workers and rescue crews? Many, many of the people who responded were construction workers.
So it comes as no great surprise that cancer will occur in such a group. That's true of the firefighters, as well. I want to meet these scientists. I want to meet the doctors from Mount Sinai. I want to put them in the room and show them the number of bladder cancers, tonsil cancers, throat cancers, stomach cancers, lung cancers. Attorney David Worby did his own research. He says more than 60 of his clients have died from cancer after working at Ground Zero. And suggests the unique combination of toxic materials could speed up the formation of cancer.
Levin doesn't buy it. Cancers that are occurring now are unlikely to be related to the World Trade Center exposures, but we can't say with percent certainty that none is.
Is Anderson Cooper, of CNN, Single or Married?? And is he heterosexual??
Based on your expertise, how long after exposure do you think it would take for someone to develop cancer? There is generally a minimum of 15 years that has to pass from the exposure to a cancer causing agent to the time you can really diagnose that cancer. And frankly, in most cancer types, that latency period, that delay is more often 20 and 25 years. Is it possible that we could see something in the World Trade Center mix of exposures that could accelerate that?
It would really violate our understanding of the biology of cancer, but we can't close our minds to the possibility. What do you think? Levin does say leukemia, which John Walcott has, can show up within five years of exposure. But he wonders if John may have developed leukemia even if he had never worked at Ground Zero. And because Mount Sinai is still waiting on federal funds to study this possible link, it may be years before doctors know whether or not any direct correlation between cancer and Ground Zero can be made.
I have one question for him, where am I going to be in 20 years, when you're done with these, you know, whatever kind of studies you want to do, where am I going to be? Where is John going it be? You know, where are the people that are walking around that are sick, where are they going to be? You know, some people don't have 20 years. While he waits for answers, Rich remains focused on staying strong. Now, only able to lift a third of what he used to. But he's eating well and praying a healthy kidney comes his way.
And, John, after six months of chemotherapy, he has hope. His leukemia is in remission. The days of coaching high school hockey are over, he's too weak. So, instead, he skates the ice with his daughter. In the face of death, family is top priority. Ahead onhistory made today, in the news business we should say. Anderson, we're keeping a close eye on the sixth named storm of the hurricane season.
Tropical Storm Florence is still churning in the Atlantic. It is slowly gaining power and could threaten land sometime next week. But just where, well, nobody knows for sure. As of tonight, Florence had sustained winds of around 45 miles per hour. Experts believe it may reach hurricane strength within a few days.
In western New York, one of the largest manhunts in state history continues. Hundreds of armed state troopers are searching for Ralph "Bucky" Phillips. He's a fugitive who is believed to have shot two troopers, killing one of them. Phillips has been on the run for five months now, after he used a can opener to cut a hole in the jailhouse kitchen and escape.
In Louisiana, the owners of a nursing home where 34 patients died during Hurricane Katrina are suing the government. They claim local, state and federal authorities did nothing to help residents, to help evacuate residents at St. The couple were arrested last year for negligent homicide and are now facing more than 30 lawsuits of their own. And Warren Jeffs, in Purgatory tonight. Purgatory is actually the name of the jail where he's being held in Washington County, Utah.
Jeffs is, of course, the leader of a polygamist church. He was extradited from Nevada to Utah earlier today and will appear before a judge tomorrow. Jeffs is charged with two felony counts of rape as an accomplice -- Anderson. Today was a big day for Katie and for Rosie. We don't have to use their last names, of course. We know who we're talking about. Did their debuts live up to the hype? We'll take a look next on Well, finally mark this date on your calendar.
Some are glowing, some are not. No matter what is being said, the fact is she is making history and we wish her well. By the way, Ms. Couric wasn't the only closely watched debut on TV today. CNN's Jeanne Moose takes a look.
It was a double launch day. Will Katie's future be rosy? It would be hard for it to be as rosy as the hype. Katie Couric makes history.Anderson & Erica 11.16.09
Katie is on our team now. Even Katie herself made jokes about being plastered on New York City buses. I've decided the ultimate irony would be if I got hit by one of the buses with my picture on it because then I could tell them they were really publicizing me to death. No, Katie wasn't hit. Will her new newscast be a hit? It began with an introduction by Walter Conkrite.
They started with a meaty piece featuring access to the Taliban and Afghanistan, but it was a celebrity scoop that had jaws dropping. Yes, Suri, she does exist.
Newscast also featured a segment called "free speech" that lets an invited guest sound off. Morgan Spurlock, director of "Super Size Me" went first. Today's news has become just like professional wrestling. Future free speechers are expected to range from Rush Limbaugh to Bill Maher.
When it came time to sign off, Katie played other signoffs. Good night and good luck. You stay classy, San Diego. And asked viewers to suggest a sign off for her. Over at "The View," Rosie seemed to enjoy her first outing. The view of both women have been clouded by having had their pictures photo shopped to have them appear slimmer. Rosie ditched her old hair style. I had that crazy, crazy hair cut that scared America to death. So, you know, it's going to be long from now on and I'm taking my medicine, so everything is fine.
Everyone in our audience is going to go on the real cruise. It was written by the composer who won Oscars for the music in "Titanic. The show's executive producer was quoted as asking for theme music that must be urgent and serious, yet light. According to the "Wall Street Journal," Katie told the composer she didn't want the theme to have a Manhattan skyline sort of feeling. She wanted it to have a wheat fields blowing sort of feeling. And we wish them both well.
The other debut today, it's tonight's shot. After much speculation about where she's been and whether she even exists. We have, well you saw it earlier on the evening news, the pictures, Suri Cruise. She and her mom and pop, Katie Holmes, Tom Cruise. In case you don't know, they appear on the cover of the latest edition of "Vanity Fair," set to hit newsstands tomorrow.
And Baby Suri is already sporting a full head of hair there. The baby was, of course, born back in April. No one had seen her until now. Which brings us to the other point about Governor Richardson's position on driver's licenses. New Mexico has actually gotten more restrictive in the past year and a half. In Februarythe governor tightened the rules on undocumented immigrants, issuing an executive order requiring two forms of ID from immigrants to prove they are who they say they are.
Before that, they could show only one. But whether it's licenses for undocumented immigrants or just toughening the requirements that made New Mexico safer, critics say that's not the point.
Thanks, guys, for coming back with us. Let's start with you, John. Hillary, two weeks ago, talking about immigration. Such a big mess, actually, that it made all the front pages.
Last night, huge change. First, let's listen to it. I'll ask you the question on the other side. It makes a lot of sense. What is the governor supposed to do? He is dealing with a serious problem. I just want to add, I did not say that it should be done, but I certainly recognize why Governor Spitzer is trying to do it and we have failed.
Now, this is the kind of question that it's sort of available for a yes or a no answer. Kind of a mess the last time. John, what do you think happened and how important was that change? Immigration now is what everybody's talking about. What happened was she got knocked on her heels for the first time in this race and she was at risk of losing the national momentum when she has to start focusing now on fighting state by state.
Iowa is very close right now and so she went for clarity as opposed to confusion, and she gave a one-word answer, no. As president, she would not support illegal immigrants getting driver's licenses. It was the correction she needed to make.
The Democrats are still divided on this issue. Some of her rivals have different opinions. And Soledad, the Republicans are fighting over immigration too. It's the quicksand of American politics now.
It's going to be interesting to watch. All right, David Gergen, let me ask you a question. This issue, as you well know, had dragged down Hillary Clinton's campaign. They just couldn't get beyond it. They really couldn't -- for the last, you know, weeks until this debate last night. Is it sort of successfully stomped out?
I think she successfully pivoted off it last night. That is, after two weeks of stumbling around, they then got Governor Spitzer to withdraw it in New York so it's no longer alive as an issue there. And then she managed last night by just giving a one-word answer, no. Uncharacteristically short, but she made no news on the issue, and instead allowed Barack Obama uncharacteristically to stumble around on the answer.
So, you know, I think that she has put it away for now and she can move back to health care and other issues. And as you say, Barack Obama, I mean, really, really stumbled.
Let's play a little bit -- I mean, a little bit.
We had to edit down a fair amount because it went on and on and on, of what Barack Obama had to say on this issue last night. Do you support or oppose driver's licenses for illegal immigrants? I am not proposing that that's what we do. What I'm saying is that we can't be Because this is the kind of question that it's sort of available for a yes or a no answer. Either you support it or you Senator Obama, yes or no? I am going to be fighting for comprehensive immigration reform and we shouldn't pose the question that somehow we can't achieve that.
They were good, Candy, when people are kind of laughing through your answer and the wolf whistles that we heard. How bad, how damaging was that for his campaign? Well, I think it was bad. I mean, you know, one of the problems is not just that people are laughing through the answer, but whenever somebody says to you, yes or no, and you feel the need to go on, regardless of whether the question is nuance, regardless of how fair this is, it looks like you're trying to obfuscate here.
I mean, it was like Clintonesque. It was just almost a mirror image of what went on with Hillary Clinton. Now, he was -- if you go back and parse it, as we say. It was pretty clear what he was saying, but he just needed to say it right up front. We heard a lot, John, of booing, a pro-Hillary crowd in that debate, I thought heavily so.
And how do you think it affected the debate? Well, the campaigns get equal number of seats, but I think there is a pro-Democratic unity crowd in there. She was very effective early on, a very smart campaign tactic, and a trademark Clinton tactic -- her husband's as well as hers -- to say, hey, let's not go negative here.
Why are you attacking me? You're helping the Republicans. In fact, you're reaching right into the Republican playbook. The Democrats know they're going to have a tough race in the fall and Hillary Clinton was playing to the big Democratic audience, saying, you know, criticize me on policy, but don't get personal here. David Gergen, I need a short answer because we're out of time.
Pundits think of this as a horse race -- who was first? Who came in second? Does the American people think of debates that way too? These are the -- the chatter out of these debates has a big impact. And last night, of course, it was the biggest debate audience of the season. Over 4 million people watched this. I think this debate did have an impact last night. And it forces now all of the candidates, they have to take it away from Hillary Clinton on the ground in Iowa.
Can they do it? Yes, they still have time to do it. It's going to be tough, but they can do it. On the other side of the globe, a massive and deadly storm. Erica Hill has that and much more in our bulletin. Soledad, the death toll is rising in Bangladesh. The government estimates at least people were killed when cyclone slammed ashore last night.
But local media said that that toll is actually more than twice as high. Meantime, rescue and aid workers are struggling to reach the survivors. Some were even using elephants to move debris. Here in the U. The march was organized and led today by the Reverend Al Sharpton. And the South getting a little drought relief.
And man, do we need it. Federal biologists have now agreed to a plan which would keep more water in Georgia instead of releasing it down to Florida.
Fish and Wildlife Service says the plan will not jeopardize entire endangered species, although some may die. Well here's -- oh, just really, you know, terrible, gosh, to think about that. Let me tell you about, "What were they thinking," Erica. Take a look at this. This video appears to take road rage to a whole new level. Have you seen this? Two men caught by a traffic camera, fist fighting. Can you see them there? They are -- have stopped on the interstate -- This is in phoenix.
Now they're -- look, they're getting over in the other side of traffic. People are like, oh my gosh. This is just awful.
Cars swerving to try to keep away from them. Much more to the story. Cops say that they are boyfriends. One of them had threatened to commit suicide by throwing himself in front of traffic. The other one was trying to tackle him to save his life. They both ended up being -- look, it just goes on and on and on.
They were both arrested on domestic violence charges. Oh my -- it's amazing that they both survived that. All right, Erica, thanks a lot. Monday, wake up to the most news in the morning, including a new call for "Made in America. We're going to see how American toy companies are stepping up and whether you can take comfort in the "Made in the U. Our Consumer Reporter Greg Hunter is looking out for you. It all begins at 6: Soledad, back to you. And tonight, it happens all across the country, a young teenager wrestles with issues of self esteem and finds a friend on the Internet.
But for year-old Megan Meier, there was no happy ending. We'll tell you how cyber-bullying turned deadly for this girl, when continues. And if you're a parent or you're a grandparent and you don't know what I'm talking about, well, then, I would suggest that you find out. It's where teenagers chat and socialize and sometimes flirt. But for one troubled girl, the social Web site was used as a horrible game by a person that no one would have suspected.
And as a mother, I can tell you it's a story that's going to leave you very shocked, very sad and probably very angry. Gary Tuchman has our report. What happened here is horrifying. Why it might have happened will leave you incredulous. She was just a good girl. Tina Meier of suburban St.
Louis is the mother of Megan Meier who had lived a challenging childhood. She got bullied in school and she had big self esteem issues. She had struggled with depression since she was in the third grade. Megan's mother and father allowed her to set up a MySpace account under their supervision, and said their year-old swooned when she got her first affectionate note ever from a boy named Josh Evans.
He thought she was really pretty. Posted on her comments on her pictures, you know, this is beautiful. Your eyes are beautiful. For about a month, Josh sent her instant messages, saying things like lucky me and lucky you because you are my number one. But Megan's mother and father started getting suspicious because although the notes were not explicit Because you are my number one. But Megan's mother and father started getting suspicious because although the notes were not explicit, their parental instinct told them something wasn't right.
I did contact the police department, and I called and asked to be transferred to the cyber crimes division to see how can I check to see if this MySpace account is real. Nothing you can do.
Former Anderson Cooper flirt buddy Erica Hill out of NBC and now back to HLN
And then one day It was a whirlwind. It was Josh saying horrible things to Megan. Megan saying things back to him. From a boy who just a day before meant everything to this lonely girl. One in particular cut deep. Megan was distraught beyond words. This is the part I'll never forgive myself for because she -- she was looking for me to help calm her down like I normally always did.
And be there for her. And I was upset with her because I didn't like the language that she was using. And I was upset that she didn't listen to me and sign off when I told her to.
And so I was aggravated with her about that and told her that she knew better, and she just said to me, "you're supposed to be my mom. You're supposed to be on my side. It was too quiet for too long in that upstairs bedroom. Tina left, walked upstairs. I didn't really pay much attention to it. And then I just heard a blood curdling scream. I just saw her hanging from her closet. When she just screamed, I was right there. I tried picking her up. I held her, and I yanked the whole closet thing out of the wall, and Tina ran and got a knife so I could cut the belt from around her neck and then started performing CPR.
She had tears the entire time running down the side of her face the entire -- until she passed away. Megan was pronounced dead the next day. When Ron Meier came home from the hospital, he wanted to find Josh Evans, let him know what he had done to his little girl. The first place he tried to look was Josh's MySpace page.
It was deleted, the whole Josh Evans no longer existed. A month passed, as the Meiers struggled with their grief, searching for answers why their daughter went to such extremes and who was the boy who drove her there. Then a neighbor told them something stunning. Josh Evans was actually the creation of a mother who lived on the same block as the Meiers -- a mother who actually went to Megan's funeral.
According to an official police report, that mother acknowledged it. The report saying, in the months leading up to Meiers' daughter's suicide, she instigated and monitored a MySpace account which was created for the sole purpose of communicating with Meiers' daughter. The Meiers were told the other family wanted to find out from Megan why she was having a dispute with their own year-old daughter.
As if my daughter would have killed herself with a gun, they loaded the gun for her. We are not reporting the name of that other family to protect the identity of their daughter.
But did go to their home to try and get their side of the story. The woman's father answered the door. In a soft voice, the grandfather said it was sad, but then would not say if he thought the police report was wrong. Have you talked to these people since then? And what have you said to them? Probably things that I can't say on camera. And what have they said back to you?
Give it a rest. Now, at this point if you're waiting to hear what law enforcement is doing in an effort to get Megan and her family some justice, well, you may be waiting forever. County prosecutors, the county sheriff's office and the FBI say there is no indication whatsoever a crime has been committed. So there are no plans to do anything legally.
After initially telling us they weren't even investigating the case anymore, the prosecutor is now telling CNN his office will review the situation. But more than a year has gone by since Megan hanged herself. Tina and Ron Meier, who have separated, partly because of the stress, were told by lawyers it was best to stay quiet, but they no longer are. They are angry and feel they owe it to Megan to speak out. Maybe your story would help the welfare of another child. That's what we hope.
Joining us tonight, the host of the radio show "Love Line," Dr. Gentlemen, I have to tell you, this is a horrible story. I mean, after, like, 20 years in the business, this kind of is up there with the worst. How is this not a crime, Jeff? How is it possible that this is not a crime? You know, this is a story, it makes you want to scream.