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PAULA ZAHN NOW
Airport Cargo Security Gaps?; New Formula For Radio Station Success?; Lung Cancer Causes
Aired August 9, 2005 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everyone. Glad to have you with us tonight.
You've probably seen it, but never even realized it. Tonight, a glaring security gap in the war on terror.
ZAHN (voice-over): The passengers go through security. But, when you fly, has anyone checked the cargo just under your feet?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are we safer or just as vulnerable as 9/11?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are probably as vulnerable or maybe more vulnerable.
ZAHN: The gaps in cargo security. In a CNN investigation, insiders speak out.
A warning about a new threat to children. Why would perfectly normal kids want to choke themselves?
SAM MORDECAI, BROTHER OF GABRIEL: It is a like sensation like kind of thing, like that we had never experienced.
SARAH PACATTE, MOTHER: It's almost like a drug to the children that like this game. They crave it.
ZAHN: The warning signs that could save your child's life.
And the latest formula for radio success: Ditch the deejay, make some listeners angry.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: JACK-FM (ph). Resistance is futile.
ZAHN: Is your favorite station next on the list?
ZAHN: And we start on the "Security Watch" tonight.
A new CNN/"USA Today"/Gallup shows a slim majority of us now believes the war on terror is going well. But three-quarters of U.S. think Osama bin Laden is planning a significant attack on America.
Now, if that's true, what you are about to see may frighten you. If you have ever flown on an airliner since 9/11, you know the drill. Your checked bags are X-rayed. Your carry-ons are X-rayed. You go through a metal detector. They check your shoes. Sometimes, they pat you down. Sometimes, they even make you take your belt out of your pants, that whole drill. You know that. You can't even, though, get a butter knife on the plane, right?
Well, that is if you're a passenger. But wait until you see how easy it is to get access to the tons of cargo airlines carry on the same planes you fly.
Here's Drew Griffin.
I'm told that we are apparently having problems getting Drew Griffin's piece up.
We are going to take a really short break and bring that to you on the other side.
ZAHN: And welcome back.
Nearly four years after 9/11, and the hunt for Osama bin Laden continues in earnest. According to our new CNN/"USA Today"/Gallup poll, a little more than half of us think it's likely he'll be caught or killed. But more than 90 percent of us say it won't make much difference, that al Qaeda will still be a threat, all this just a few days after the Al-Jazeera television aired another threatening videotape from al Qaeda.
Since 9/11, those messages have become almost a regular event. And I think we all want to know why, after all of this time, no one has been able to track down the people who are delivering the tapes to Al-Jazeera.
Here's national security correspondent David Ensor.
DAVID ENSOR, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Osama bin Laden and his deputy Ayman al-Zawahri, are believed by U.S. intelligence to be hiding in the high mountains along Pakistani-Afghan border. From there, their propaganda tapes are moved somehow to Doha, Qatar, to the headquarters of the Al-Jazeera Arabic-language TV network.
OCTAVIA NASR, CNN SR. EDITOR FOR ARAB AFFAIRS: Al-Jazeera says that the tapes are dropped off at their doorstep. They never explain who drops off the tapes or where, what location exactly.
ENSOR: The man who reviews them, Al-Jazeera's editor in chief, Ahmed Al Sheik, told CNN that -- quote -- "We are just suddenly, without any prior notice, informed that, today, a tape is arriving. And then we receive it." The former head of the CIA's bin Laden unit says there may not be much point in trying to track it back to the source.
MICHAEL SCHEUER, FORMER CHIEF OF CIA BIN LADEN UNIT: Surely, if they are delivered by courier, the courier that delivers them is going to know nothing about al Qaeda or bin Laden or his location. I think it's just as likely that, sometimes, they get them in a -- in a compressed digital file. Sometimes, they get them by courier. Sometimes, they get them through by the mail.
ENSOR: The latest tape of Zawahri is eight minutes long, Al- Jazeera's top editor says. But he decided to air only two minutes of it.
"We do not put on air all that is contained in the tape," Al Sheik told us, "because we feel that most of it is really nonsense. Al-Jazeera," he says, "only airs what is newsworthy." U.S. intelligence officials will not talk about whether they watch Al- Jazeera offices or try to follow couriers who may deliver tapes. But present and former officials say it is all too easy to deliver a tape with no way to trace its origin.
SCHEUER: We assume the enemy is stupid, that they are going to send some guy with a videotape and walk up to the door, so we can watch him do that, and then we can follow him back to Osama bin Laden. It is not going to happen that way.
ENSOR: Even if they do not lead to a capture, the tapes do have intelligence value, Scheuer says, insight into the mind of the adversary.
SCHEUER: They keep telling us repeatedly, we don't hate what you're society does or how you lie or women in the workplace or that you drink Budweiser. That's irrelevant. We don't like it, but we are waging war against your foreign policy.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): There will be no salvation until you withdraw from our land, stop stealing our oil and resources and end support for infidel corrupt rulers.
ENSOR (on camera): Each tape, every word, every frame, is carefully analyzed by U.S. intelligence, looking to glean any sort of clues. For example, there was a tape that came out in December of 2001, this one, where they noticed that this arm of bin Laden's never moves on the entire tape and concluded that he may have been wounded in the shoulder.
(voice-over): In the latest tape, Zawahri looks confident.
NASR: This a man who feels very comfortable going outdoors and shooting his message, which was pretty long. He doesn't look concerned about his safety or the surroundings. He's very comfortable. He's threatening. He's gloating. And, basically, he's calling for more attacks.
SCHEUER: Brand new, first-class, professionally produced video of Ayman al-Zawahri shows up at the door. One -- that suggests to me that perhaps we are overestimating the damage we have done to al Qaeda.
ENSOR: But the more U.S. intelligence can learn about al Qaeda's fugitive leaders, whether from tapes or more secret sources, the sooner, say officials, those leaders will be neutralized, or, better yet, captured.
ZAHN: That is a big if or maybe, David Ensor reporting.
The more troubling thing, too, is that al Qaeda is now using more than just TV to spread its message of hate. Increasingly, it's relying on the Web. According to a series of articles this week in "The Washington Post," they are training, communicating, planning, preaching, propagandizing and recruiting, all of that in cyberspace.
And because the Internet is so vast and uncontrollable, intelligence and law enforcement agencies haven't been able to block or hinder any of that kind of activity.
Still ahead, a warning for all of you parents out there. Your children may be playing a game to make themselves pass out, but is it a thrill that can also kill them?
ZAHN: A story out of Idaho this summer has exposed something, as a parent, I wouldn't have believed. Kids looking for a high are playing something called the choking game or the feinting game. Basically, they are suffocating themselves.
Here's Thelma Gutierrez with one family's tragic story and how they are trying to warn others before it is too late.
PACATTE: I have a little bit of anger, but mostly desperation and an urgency.
THELMA GUTIERREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's a game played across the country.
MORDECAI: Like hyperventilating and then go, like that kind of, just like right on each side.
GUTIERREZ: Children, some using ropes and belts, to cut oxygen to their brains to make themselves pass out. It is called the choking game. The results can be deadly.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
OPERATOR: How old is the person?
CALLER: She's 13! OPERATOR: So, is she breathing at all?
(END AUDIO CLIP)
GUTIERREZ: Thirteen-year-old Chelsea Dunn of Idaho, 13-year-old Gabriel Mordecai of California, and 14-year-old Jason Linkins of North Carolina all died after playing that game. Details of how it is played, once passed around schoolyards, are now on the Internet.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is cool, because when you are out, it is like sleeping.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dude, that game is so fun.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You actually dream stuff.
GUTIERREZ: Paradise, California, where Sarah Pacatte was raising her four kids, where 13-year-old Sam and his twin brother, Gabriel, spent many carefree days.
MORDECAI: I couldn't do like the things, like, that I do with him, like, with anybody else.
GUTIERREZ: Gabriel, Sam's brother and best friend, died in May while playing the choking game.
PACATTE: It is very hard to watch Samuel be without his brother. It is -- we miss him so much.
GUTIERREZ: A boy taught Gabriel and Sam how to play the game.
MORDECAI: He was like, hey, have you guys ever did this? We are like, what? He was like, well, here, let me show you.
GUTIERREZ: The boys showed them how to hyperventilate.
MORDECAI: He went back like this. And then, like, somebody right here on each side, not right here, like cuts their arm like blood there, kind of like cuts off the blood flow to your brain, I guess, or something. And you like kind of like pass out for a few seconds. It's like sensation like kind of thing, like, that we had never experienced, I guess. And, like, it feels like weird, kind of like...
GUTIERREZ (on camera): What was Gabriel's response?
MORDECAI: It is awesome, something like that.
GUTIERREZ: He liked it?
GUTIERREZ: And you didn't?
MORDECAI: Well, I really didn't like it that much. But I kind of did because like pressure.
GUTIERREZ (voice-over): When Sarah found out her sons were playing, she told them to stop.
PACATTE: Gabriel was argumentative about this game.
GUTIERREZ (on camera): What would he say to you about it?
PACATTE: Well, what's the big deal? I'm not taking any drugs. I'm not drinking anything.
I said, the big deal is that every time you cut your oxygen off to your brain, you are causing brain damage, little by little.
GUTIERREZ (voice-over): But Gabriel loved the sensation.
PACATTE: It is almost like a drug. They crave it. They crave the high that they get from the lack of oxygen.
GUTIERREZ: Gabriel began to play alone.
MORDECAI: And then, one day, he was doing it to himself, like to himself, like, I guess you can do it and he was doing it to himself. And then I -- like, he stopped, because I told him to or I was going to tell mom.
GUTIERREZ: Despite Sarah's numerous warnings, Sam says Gabriel kept doing it, often while she was at work. Looking back, she now realizes there were warnings signs.
PACATTE: A couple months before he died, he became very hostile, very angry. He complained of horrible headaches. His -- then he -- then I started seeing bloodshot eyes.
GUTIERREZ: But, at that time, Sarah thought maybe her son was smoking marijuana. She never imagined Gabriel putting a rope around his neck and choking himself for a rush.
(on camera): You never put two and two together.
PACATTE: I never did put two and two together, no. And the day before Gabriel died, I looked at his neck. And I went up to him and I said, what is that? And he looked at me kind of funny and he said, don't worry, mom. It's not a hickey.
GUTIERREZ: One evening, while Sarah was preparing dinner, Sam went into his room and saw his brother.
MORDECAI: I walk in there. And he is sitting down, with his math book and stuff on his lap. And the movie is playing. And I was like, oh. But he has a rope around his neck. But he's -- like I said, he's sitting down. So, I was like Gabe, get off that your neck and whatever.
And I started like getting dressed more. And, like, I look over at him, because he didn't answer me. And I looked at his arm. And it was blotched, like purple and like white and stuff. And then, like -- then, like, I guess I yelled like, Gabe.
PACATTE: And when I got to bedroom, the door, Samuel was across the room, behind his brother. And he was holding his brother up underneath his arms.
GUTIERREZ: Gabriel was airlifted to a hospital in Sacramento. Sarah and Sam made the two-hour gut-wrenching journey by car.
PACATTE: Sam kept yelling at him, fight, Gabriel. Fight.
GUTIERREZ: They prayed at Gabriel's side. But 15 hours later...
PACATTE: He died on life support. Yes, his body shut down, even though he was on life support.
GUTIERREZ: Sarah says their apartment is too quiet now.
PACATTE: I miss the fighting. I would give -- I would pay to hear -- have them fight. I would gladly give them my life, just so these two could fight.
MORDECAI: We saw a turtle and I got in and grabbed it.
GUTIERREZ: Sam and Sarah take some comfort from all the memories and from the words in Gabriel journal.
MORDECAI: "I plan to go through all four years of high school at Paradise High School with A's and B's. Then I plan to go to college for four years. I plan to send my mom about $500 a month to help support her."
PACATTE: I'm angry. I'm hurt. I'm -- I have guilt, so much guilt, because I didn't save my baby. What a beautiful child. What a beautiful gift. And he's gone in a flash, just a flash. Just a blink of an eye, and my boy is gone.
ZAHN: That was Thelma Gutierrez.
We spoke with a child psychologist about how you should handle this matter with your children. He told us to talk with them about choking, just as you would about smoking and taking drugs. Be firm. Be serious. And look for signs of playing the game, like bloodshot eyes, marks on the neck, and closed doors.
Coming up, we change our focus quite a bit, Dana Reeve's shocking disclosure. After all she's been through, she's now has gone public with the fact that she has lung cancer, even though she doesn't smoke. How did that happen to her? And could it happen to you, too?
ZAHN: Still ahead, we have admired her loyalty, her great strength, but now a new battle. Nonsmoker Dana Reeve has lung cancer. And her announcement highlights a disturbing new trend. That's coming up.
But, first, at 25 minutes past the hour, it's time to check in with Erica Hill at Headline News to update the top stories.
ERICA HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Thanks, Paula.
Another U.S. Marine died in combat in Iraq today, the 26th Marine, 37th American military death so far this month. Meantime, at the Pentagon, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld said it was reasonable to expect more violence as Iraq heads toward its December elections. But he adds, the insurgents are not gaining ground.
Deeply suspicious is how the president describes Iran's nuclear program today. He criticized Iran for resuming atomic enrichment, but called its willingness to keep talking with the Europeans a positive sign.
A brazen courthouse shoot-out in Kingston, Tennessee. That's near Knoxville. And a dragnet tonight for an escape inmate and his wife. Police say she opened fire on armed guards who were escorting her husband. One guard was killed.
And Texas Rangers pitcher Kenny Rogers will be suiting up for tomorrow's game. An arbitrator overruled Major League Baseball, ending Rogers' 20-game suspension for a confrontation with two photographers. Rogers has missed 13 games.
And, Paula, that's the latest from Headline News at this hour.
With that, we'll hand it back to you.
ZAHN: Thanks so much, Erica. We'll check back in with you a little bit later on in the hour.
Coming up next, a medical problem that may shock you. Why are women who have never smoked before getting lung cancer? Coming up, could it happen to you?
ZAHN: Now finally back to the story we were having some technical problems with a little bit earlier on, our "Security Watch" investigation about cargo on airliners. It turns out it is remarkably easy to get access to the tons of cargo airlines carry on the same planes you fly.
Here's Drew Griffin.
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is the line most passengers don't see, thousands and thousands of trucks a day lining up to bring millions of tons of cargo onto passenger planes. And how much of that gets inspected? How much of that even gets looked at before it is placed right into the belly of the plane you fly? According to this Federal Aviation Administration inspector, on most of the flights this inspector oversees, almost none.
(on camera): You've been in this business a while. Are we safer or just as vulnerable as 9/11?
FEDERAL AVIATION INSPECTOR: In respect to the cargo, we are probably as vulnerable or maybe more vulnerable.
GRIFFIN: More vulnerable?
FEDERAL AVIATION INSPECTOR: Cargo still has a lot of loopholes, where something can get on that airplane.
GRIFFIN: Fearing employee retaliation, the inspector has asked not to be identified.
As CNN crisscrossed the country over three months, at airport after airport, we saw how easy it would be for terrorists to get explosives or lethal chemicals onto an airplane, to tamper with loads on cargo trucks and how simple it was for us to drive down this road outside Chicago's O'Hare Airport and walk right up to containers sitting outside a Post Office air cargo facility.
(on camera): And you can see, anybody could come out to any of these and put anything inside them. These are unit load devices that will be loaded into the bottom of a plane. We are standing outside O'Hare Airport. This is where a federal airline officer brought us because of the concern of safety.
(voice-over): And for the next three days, we kept coming back to this spot and seeing the open gates and the cargo containers left unattended. A spokesman says the Postal Service relies on employees here to report any suspicious activity, and told CNN so many airlines need access to pick up and drop off cargo, the gate is left open for convenience.
This other veteran airline employee has spent years on the tarmac, working for a major airline. He doesn't inspect cargo, but he sees it being loaded onto planes every day. Like our inspector, he has asked that his identity be concealed.
(on camera): From the time that 18-wheeler comes into the airport, to the time the cargo is unloaded and placed on a plane, is there any government, airline, local police screening that's going on?
VETERAN AIRLINE EMPLOYEE: None that I notice. The only government agency that I ever see on a consistent basis that would inspect freight is if it's livestock-related, there's somebody from the USDA.
GRIFFIN: So cows will get inspected, but large crates won't?
VETERAN AIRLINE EMPLOYEE: That's from my observation. Yes.
GRIFFIN: What he observes on a daily basis is the complex world of airport cargo operations.
VETERAN AIRLINE EMPLOYEE: You can't open up a crate when it's right at the airport, ready to be loaded, just to look inside, to see what's in there.
GRIFFIN: At the airport facility itself, we're not talking about any X-rays, you haven't personally seen any bomb-sniffing dogs or anything like that?
VETERAN AIRLINE EMPLOYEE: I haven't. I'm not saying it's not there, but I have never seen it in my time doing this, and I've been doing this for -- for many years.
GRIFFIN: And this FAA inspector says trucks and cargo-holding facilities are often left unlocked. The holes in air cargo security may be a surprise to you, but should be no surprise to Congress. For nearly a decade, vice presidential commissions, congressional reviews and federal reports have pointed out the pressing need for more security in the cargo holds of planes.
When the 9/11 Commission looked again at air cargo security, they've concluded nothing changed.
LEE HAMILTON, VICE-CHAIR, 9/11 COMMISSION: It created a huge risk for the American travelling public, because we thought it was quite easy, really, to get explosive devices into air cargo.
GRIFFIN: CNN has tried to find out from the Transportation Security Administration what percentage of air cargo is being inspected. TSA tells us the information is secret for security reasons. There might be another reason: It could also be embarrassing.
HAMILTON: The information we had -- and this is now two or three years old -- was that 5 percent or less of the air cargoes were being inspected. I hope more than that are being inspected now, but I don't think it's anywhere close to 100 percent.
GRIFFIN: What the airline industry likes to day is that 100 percent of cargo is screened. James Mayair is president of the Air Transport Association, a lobbying group that represents the major U.S. carriers.
That does not mean inspected.
JAMES MAYAIR, AIR TRANSPORT ASSOCIATION: It does not mean physically, we do not physically inspect 100 percent of the cargo going aboard our planes. No, we don't.
GRIFFIN: What the airline industry does say is 100 percent of cargo is screened through the air industry's known shipper program.
MAYAIR: In some cases, it will be physical inspection. In some cases, it will be explosives detection. In some cases, it will be canine. In other cases, it will be, as all cargo going on passenger aircraft is -- comes from a known shipper program, it will be screened through the known shipper program.
GRIFFIN: In fact, the known shipper program is the backbone of air cargo security. What is it? Mark Hatfield is federal communications director for the Transportation Security Administration.
People on the inside who have been talking to us say it's a pencil whip situation. If the paperwork is good, it goes on the plane.
MARK HATFIELD, TSA: It's a process by which the airlines, the carriers actually are required to go through a series of steps to identify and know and vet the shippers, so that there is not any kind of mysterious entity out there.
GRIFFIN: The government allows more than 400,000 companies to certify their cargo as safe. Airlines therefore assume cargo from those shippers is safe. The TSA maintains the whole system is safe.
In such a humongous system, how can any agency ensure that?
HATFIELD: No agency can, which is why it's vitally important that we're partnered with industry.
GRIFFIN: But the FAA inspector we talked to sees flaws in the system. Some carriers are so lax in handling cargo, the inspector actually avoids flying on them.
FEDERAL AVIATION INSPECTOR: I know about this. And I can choose which airlines and which planes I want to fly on. The general public doesn't know that there should be some serious concerns about how cargo is handled.
GRIFFIN: The TSA's Hatfield says the agency has 200 federal inspectors nationwide. They don't actually inspect any cargo. They just make sure the airlines are following the rules.
And the only way the airline knows what's in those crates is a piece of paper?
FEDERAL AVIATION INSPECTOR: That's my understanding. I'm -- I'm not aware of the process prior to the freight arrival to the airport, but when it gets to the airport, whatever was done to inspect that freight has been done.
GRIFFIN: Both the TSA and the air industry admit the system is far from foolproof, but say they are working on improvements. But neither expects cargo to ever get the same scrutiny as you and your bags.
MAYAIR: I would love to be able to sit here and tell you that we've got the technology and that we're doing that. That is the gold standard. But against millions of dollars of investment right now, we don't have the technology.
GRIFFIN: Technology may be the long-term solution, but in the short term, CNN's investigation has shown open gates, unattended cargo containers and insecure truck routes.
HAMILTON: You see that throughout the system, there are opportunities for the terrorists to get at that container and to put explosives onto it. And we're just not as alert to that as we ought to be.
GRIFFIN: Two weeks after our first visit, we're back at this same mail facility at O'Hare.
The gates remain wide open. And take a look at this. Remember those unit load devices we saw two weeks ago, just sitting right out in the open? Here's some more, outside the fence that's not even locked, open for anybody to get inside.
An open invitation to terrorists here and throughout America's air cargo system.
ZAHN: All right. That was Drew Griffin. Congress has told the Transportation Security Administration to tighten up air cargo security by next week. So what is the TSA doing about it? Well, it's proposing to screen all 63,000 people at airports who actually have access to cargo, and make airport cargo areas as secure as passenger terminals. And the agency says it's taking over the known shippers list that Drew referenced, but there's little they can do to tighten security at all 400,000 known shippers who handle this kind of cargo. One official did tell CNN that some in the airline industry are unhappy with the changes, and because of that, it's doubtful any changes will happen by next week -- that deadline we just mentioned, set by Congress.
Well, at one time, protesters railed against radio stations that played Elvis or the Beatles, or maybe even the Monkees. But when these demonstrators were singing "Hit the Road, Jack," recently, exactly what didn't they like?
ZAHN: We focused on Dana Reeve and her heartbreaking news tonight. After caring for her paralyzed husband Christopher Reeve for the better part of nine years and enduring his death, Dana Reeve has been through a lot, and been through it very publicly. Today, though, she revealed she's fighting lung cancer. It came in a Web site statement, she said, quote, "to head off a tabloid story."
In the statement, she says she's optimistic, and quote, "Now, more than ever, I feel Chris with me as I face this challenge. As always, I look to him as the ultimate example of defying the odds with strength, courage and hope in the face of life's adversities."
Well, this time yesterday, we were all talking about the death of Peter Jennings to lung cancer. Jennings smoked for yeas. Dana Reeve did not smoke, and that's a reminder that lung cancer is not just a disease that strikes smokers and heavy smokers. Medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen joins me now, and I guess the question then on all of our minds tonight, Elizabeth, is how does a nonsmoker like Dana Reeve contract lung cancer?
ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Paula, in some ways, the answer is the same no matter what kind of cancer it is. Usually, we just don't know why someone gets cancer.
Having said that, there are a few things that might come into play when a non-smoker gets lunger cancer. For example, radon, that's a gas you may have heard about, that can be in some older homes. That may play a role.
Secondhand smoke, that may also play a role.
In addition, some people have occupational exposures at their work. They might be exposed to some kind of industrial chemicals; sometimes that has something to do with it.
Also, there are some genetic mutations that make some people more prone to get lung cancer. And so, that may be part of it too, but unfortunately, there's no really good answer. It's not like when a smoker gets lung cancer, where it's much more clear.
ZAHN: And it's not clear exactly how far along Dana's cancer is, what stage it is, how she's being treated. Frankly, it's none of our business and none of us would know about it tonight if it weren't for a tabloid that went public with the story last night, and she had to confront that, came out with her own statement today.
But do you think that she has a higher chance of survival because she was a nonsmoker?
COHEN: You know, when you look at the statistics, Paula, it's not exactly clear. But there is one thing that is clear, and that is that when a nonsmoker gets lung cancer, they are more likely to have a certain genetic mutation that ends up actually being a good thing. There is a new drug called IRESSA, which actually is a drug that many people have used as an experimental drug, and IRESSA is particularly helpful when someone has that genetic mutation. And that genetic mutation tends to happen usually among women and among nonsmokers.
And earlier today, Paula, I talked to a woman who has this genetic mutation. And she is on this drug, and she says, for her, there is a ray of hope.
COHEN (voice-over): Three winters ago, Sandy Britt had a feeling that something was terribly wrong.
SANDY BRITT, LUNG CANCER PATIENT: I had noticed over the winter that I was getting one cold after the other.
COHEN: Sandy, who was 43, told her doctor she was worried about lung cancer. Her father and brother had died of the disease. She says the doctor told her not to worry.
Three years later, the suspicions turned out to be true. She was diagnosed with lung cancer so advanced it had already spread to other parts of her body.
Doctors told her she had eight months to live.
BRITT: I really believe that the reason I was ignored was that I was a young, healthy-looking woman who never smoked.
COHEN: She says if it had been caught earlier...
BRITT: I could have been saved. I was, you know, at that point, it was completely curable, and now it's not. Now I have a terminal diagnosis.
COHEN: Sandy Britt, Dana Reeve, part of a group you don't hear much about.
Studies show that as many as 17 percent of newly diagnosed lung cancer patients are lifelong non-smokers; 80 percent of those patients are women.
BRITT: There is a whole subculture of us that people don't know about, and I can get lung cancer. If Dana Reeve can get lung cancer, then nobody is safe. Anyone can get lung cancer.
COHEN: Sandy says it's bad enough that she has a fatal disease, but people who don't know her well often assume she brought it on herself. But she's never smoked, not ever.
BRITT: People don't care, because they say, well, you know, you smoked, you brought it on yourself. It absolutely infuriates me to have lung cancer, to have a smoker's disease when I actually hate smoking. You known, I -- I belong to American -- you know, Americans for Non-Smokers Rights. I do everything possible my whole life to avoid it.
COHEN: Sandy is fighting for more money for lung cancer research.
BRITT: Twice as many women die from lung cancer than breast cancer, but breast cancer is something that everybody knows women get. So I think it's just more -- it's more logical, it's more easy to accept.
COHEN: Her statistics are on target. But today, thanks to an experimental therapy, Sandy has lived three months longer than her doctors expected. But she's also writing her will.
BRITT: One to five years. If I'm lucky, I'll live five years. I mean, it could be anytime.
COHEN: While she's still alive...
BRITT: You know, my mantra is, I'm a miracle, I'm going to go the distance. And I, you know, I do hope and pray that I will be one of few that actually survives this disease. I mean, I am a realist, and I have to plan for the fact that there's a good chance I'm going to die.
ZAHN: But she certainly has maintained a sense of hope as well. So, Elizabeth, what are some of the warning signs that we all should be aware of, the possibility that we've contracted lung cancer?
COHEN: Right. Let's go through the list, because these are some of the signs that Sandy had that her doctors sort of said, oh, don't worry about it, except for one of them, and we'll talk about that in a second.
Chronic cough, hoarseness. Those are two of the signs that you would want to look for, especially if this is unusual for you, this isn't something that happens to you a lot.
Another one is coughing up blood. And that's obviously something that's pretty unusual.
Another one would be loss of appetite, and in addition, weight loss.
But as you can see, Paula, all of these, except for coughing up blood, are really pretty general. I mean, people often sort of have a loss of appetite, or get a little bit hoarse. And that's one of the reasons why lung cancer is often diagnosed at a pretty late stage.
ZAHN: It's hard to take any of this news that we have heard over the last 48 hours or so.
Elizabeth Cohen, thanks again. Dana Reeve, of course, putting the spotlight on this today, when she confirmed that she is in fact undergoing treatment, and she says that she and her doctors are optimistic about her prognosis.
"LARRY KING LIVE" is coming up in about 13 minutes from now, with more on Dana Reeve and Peter Jennings. Hard to believe that we heard about all of this in the 48-hour period, isn't it?
LARRY KING, HOST, LARRY KING LIVE: Yeah, and she didn't smoke.
ZAHN: I know.
KING: We'll have a major panel discussion about Dana Reeve, including Laurie Downey, the widow of Morton Downey Jr., and Alan Landers, the former Winston man will be on with us, and a famed doctor who deals with it all the time.
And we'll open with Brian Williams, Bob Schieffer and Bernard Shaw, all contemporaries of the late Peter Jennings. That's all ahead at 9:00 Eastern, with your phone calls. Thanks, Paula.
ZAHN: See you then. Thank you, Larry. And coming up this Sunday, join Dr. Sanjay Gupta for a special "CNN PRESENTS: Taming the Beast," inside the war on cancer. That's Sunday at 8:00.
Still ahead, have you heard this on the radio yet?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 93.1, JACK-FM, playing what you want.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAHN: So, who is this Jack? And is he really playing what you want? Get the story before he shows up on the radio near you.
ZAHN: Well, certainly times and tastes change in popular music and so do D.J.s. You're favorite may vanish soon. If you don't like it, blame JACK. So, who's JACK? Well, actually, as Sibila Vargas explains, it's more of a 'what.'
SIBILA VARGAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Records were already relics at radio stations when that Madonna single first hit the air waves, but recently the D.J.s are also disappearing. In their place, there's JACK.
COGAN: 93.1 JACK-FM: Playing what we want.
VARGAS: JACK's no D.J. JACK's not even a person. It's what industry observers are calling the fastest growing radio format to debut in the past decade.
JACK was born in Vancouver, British Columbia with no D.J., just a cast of pre-recorded voice-overs and a much larger play list than most commercial radio formats.
With an eclectic sound ranging from The Pet Shop Boys to the Pointer Sisters, Steeley Dan to Sugar Ray, tried and true hit music from the 1970s through the 90s.
Rick Dees, who hosts a national-syndicated weekly top-40 radio show, appreciates the competition's variety.
RICK DEES, RADIO PERSONALITY: People used to come up to me and say, "Hey, Dees, you play the same ten songs over and over and over," and I used to have to say, "No. No. No. It's the same nine songs over and over." So, long live JACK.
VARGAS: JACK's success in Canada has inspired stations in the states from New York to L.A., Philadelphia to Dallas, Chicago to Seattle, to adopt JACK's anything-goes approach to music. In Los Angeles, KCBF F.M., recently segue from classic rock, to JACK F.M. and program director, Kevin Weatherly, insists despite the seemingly random nature of its sound, there's a method in the madness.
KEVIN WEATHERLY, PROGRAM DIRECTOR: You can hear anything at any time, but you know, we -- you know, there's a lot of time-thought put into the flow and making sure that we're hitting different genres, different decades.
VARGAS (on camera): The development of JACK F.M. is a reflection of the radio audience that's increasingly turned to other sources for music: The Internet, satellite radio and the ever-popular iPod, with some stations telling listeners they're like you iPod on shuffle.
WEATHERLY: It's not meant to be arrogant or to come off as, "Hey, this is my little radio station. I'm playing what I want." That's insane. You know, the idea at the end of the day, is to get ratings.
VARGAS (voice-over): While JACK's debut in Los Angeles made it the market's top-rated station for it's target demographic, elsewhere, listeners are less enthusiastic.
In New York, where JACK replaced WCBS F.M.'s oldies format in June, the response was outrage. Their cousin is legendary radio personality, "Cousin" Brucie Morrow, one of the many D.J.s who was fired when JACK came to town.
"COUSIN" BRUCIE MORROW, RADIO PERSONALITY: You see, when radio's done properly, it has emotion. It's not bland. It's not boring. It's not in-your-face, as some of these formats are, like this JACK or Mel or Bob or Bill or Brucie -- whatever they're calling the format. Radio has to have the emotion. It has to have the ability to communicate. When you don't communicate, you don't have radio.
WEATHERLY: All I know is in the first three months with no jocks, it's come on and had a pretty good impact on a lot of established personalities in the market.
COGAN: 95.5 KLOS: Playing Southern California's best classic rock.
VARGAS: Uncle Joe Benson is one of those personalities unceremoniously told to hang up his headphones when JACK hit Los Angeles.
UNCLE JOE BENSON, RADIO PERSONALITY: JACK and all it's off- shoots are a response to management not having a clue as to how to reach an audience.
WEATHERLY: Mindless chatter that's not compelling or entertaining is an irritant and we wanted to come on and reduce the amount of irritants. At the same time, we're not void of personality.
COGAN: If you've got no request, we've got no problems.
VARGAS: JACK's personality is actually created by writers and producers and given voice by Howard Cogan, who perfers to remain in the shadows behind the microphone.
HOWARD COGAN, VOICE-OVER ARTIST: Who is JACK? He's a charterer. He's not the life of the party, but he's the guy talking about the life of party or making fun of the life of the party. I think we just -- we add a little flavor. You know, come for the music and stay for the smart-ass comments.
BENSON: Come back in six months or a year. See how many JACK stations are still around then.
COGAN: JACK F.M.: Resistance is futile.
ZAHN: Let's see. That was Sibila Vargas reporting. You will surely recognize my next guest, Micky Dolenz of a former member of the group The Monkees, which you know, he's the third one over there, right? I can't see so well at this angle. What you may not know is he was also the former morning D.J. of New York's WCBS F.M., which switched to the JACK format.
Good to see you, Micky. So, we should make it clear that you had a big party to celebrate your 100th broadcast and then you got fired because JACK came to town. That had to sting. Did it?
MICKY DOLENZ, FORMER MONKEE: Not really. No. I'm not -- I wasn't a professional radio man for the last 40 years. I was brought in as a personality. I had a great time. I have no regrets. I meant a lot of wonderful people and had a lot of fun doing the show. I didn't like getting up at 4:30 in the morning...
ZAHN: No. Of course, no one does.
DOLENZ: But I had...
ZAHN: But that's certainly isn't what your compatriots are saying. You have guys who've been in the business -- I mean, you're lucky because you have other outlets to rely upon financially. These D.J.s who spent 30, 40 years of their life doing this think that -- they view themselves as reducing an irritant, as one support referred to.
DOLENZ: No. Of course not. That's a little harsh and of course in its very early days, you know, Chow and Lye (ph) back in 1950, was asked what he thought the effect of the French Revolution would have and he said it's too soon to tell and I think that, that's -- there is a lot of truth in that here.
This is -- JACK's only been around about a year. I've had dinner parties longer than a year. It's very early days. It's a novelty still and you know, we are a country and a nation and a civilization that loves our novelties for just a little while and then all of a sudden, something else comes a long. It's way, way too early to see if this is going to really catch on and stay and have legs, as we say.
ZAHN: But you're a guy who grew up on radio and I'm just curious if you think what America really wants -- this younger demographic that everybody seems to be going after wants to just listen to a jukebox or do they want a personality driving it?
DOLENZ: Well, one of things that drove this -- one of the things that drove this thing with JACK is what was mentioned earlier, is that there are so many other ways to get your music now. This is very similar to what the television industry went through back 20, 25, 30 years ago, with cable television.
Funnily (sic) radio, being an earlier broadcast medium than television, never went through that kind of transition. It's always been, up until very recently, a broadcast medium. It was the only way you get radio was through broadcast -- terrestrial radio as they say.
But then, satellite radio came along and iPods and the ability to be your own disc jockey; to go an burn your own disc and have it with you anywhere, any time, any place and basically play your own music.
So, the entire industry is being shook up by the fact that there are other ways to get your music. I have 30 or 40 channels on my television at home...
DOLENZ: ... That I plan -- and I can turn on oldies. I can put on the '50s or the '60s or the '70s or the '80s or the '90s or just one week in 1968.
ZAHN: Sure, but Micky, you know we all know that you've got to change to stay relevant, but the bottom line in the 25 seconds we have left: Do you think based on this latest development, radio as we once knew it five years ago is dead?
DOLENZ: No, I don't think so. I think there will be even more diversity as there is on television. This is like saying was broadcast television dead when cable came along? No. I don't.
I think that it's going to be much more narrow-casting. There's going to be stations and satellite stations for everybody in every possible taste with disc jockeys, without Disc Jockeys; with music, without music. All kinds of different possibilities. I think -- and I don't mind JACK. I like a lot of music they were playing, as a matter of fact. And by the way, it does have a disc jockey. It has that guy's voice, which is a personality.
ZAHN: Well, you sound -- that was a politicy (sic) answer. Maybe you'll end up getting another one of those D.J. jobs again. Micky Dolenz, thanks for joining us tonight. Good luck to you.
DOLENZ: Not at 4:30 in the morning. ZAHN: Yes. You don't want that. Thanks, you all, for joining us tonight. We'll be back same time, same place tomorrow night. Good night.
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