Return to Transcripts main page

CAMPBELL BROWN

Airline Passenger Bill of Rights?; Interview With Maryland Senator Ben Cardin

Aired August 12, 2009 - 20:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CAMPBELL BROWN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Tonight, here are the questions we want answered.

Is this the best we can do in the health care debate?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are in debt up to our eyeballs.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want to build on what is right with our system.

BROWN: Another day, another senator shouting to be heard, how the truth is getting lost amid all the noise.

Plus, who is to blame when passengers are trapped in grounded planes?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: God makes the weather. The airlines decide to keep passengers out on the tarmac.

BROWN: How do we put a stop to this? Is it finally time for a national passengers' bill of rights?

Also, did this TV anchor get the scoops on murders because he helped commit them? Police charge that he ordered hits on drug dealers in a ploy to boost ratings.

And Farrah Fawcett's best friend talks about the actress' final days.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANNOUNCER: This is your only source for news. CNN prime time begins now. Here's Campbell Brown.

BROWN: Hey there, everybody.

Those are the big questions tonight, but we're going to start as we always do with the "Mash-Up." It's our look at all the stories making an impact right now, the moments you may have missed today. We're watching it all so you don't have to.

And more questions, some answers and a lot more yelling at town hall meetings across the country today. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I need know what are you doing to these insurance companies that are putting everything in their pocket and just laughing at everybody else?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is really not about health care reform or insurance reform. It's a bill about government control.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How can you possibly be talking about cutting funding for Medicare right now?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want to hear it from Obama. I want to hear it from Pelosi and company how this is about we, the people, and not about taking money out of the free enterprise capitalistic people that made us a great country and putting it in government pockets.

(APPLAUSE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If this is so good for us, the American people, why has Congress excluded themselves and their family from this program?

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would you be willing to go ahead and add amendments to the bill yourself to stop the tort problem?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are in debt up to our eyeballs, and you all are doing nothing but putting more debt on us and our children, and it's got to stop.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't the government in the health care business, period.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's the rush?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: A lot of misinformation informing some of the questions you heard there. For example, on Medicare, it's true President Obama has proposed billions in cuts. He says the cuts would bring more efficient care. But it is false that Congress has excluded itself from any health care reform package.

And not just the audience that appears to be confused on some of the issues. In some cases, it is the lawmaker. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. CHARLES GRASSLEY (R), IOWA: There's some fear because in the House bill, there's counseling for end of life. And from that standpoint, you have every right to fear.

You should -- you shouldn't have counseling at the end of life. I don't have any problem with things like living wills, but they ought to be done within the family. We should not have -- we should not have a -- we should not have a government program that determines you're going to pull the plug on grandma.

BROWN: Is this true or false?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, we rated that one our lowest rating, pants on fire, on our truth-o-meter on PolitiFact.com. And the reason is there's just no such thing in the health care bills.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: And he, of course, was talking there about the death panels that you heard Senator Grassley reference.

Once again, and again, there are no government death panels determining whether to pull the plug on grandma.

Today, though, on another point, the White House had to do some fact-checking of its own over a claim President Obama made in New Hampshire. This was yesterday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: His own facts were fuzzy. This is what he said about the AARP.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: AARP would not be endorsing a bill if it was undermining Medicare. OK? So I just want seniors to be clear about this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: While the AARP agrees it would never support a bill that undermines Medicare, in a statement, its chief operating officer called any suggestion of endorsement -- quote -- "inaccurate." Gibbs cleaned it up this way.

ROBERT GIBBS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I don't think the president meant to imply anything untoward.

QUESTION: He just misspoke?

GIBBS: Right.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: The president is going to hold another town hall on health care Friday in Montana.

At a town hall in Nigeria today, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton making some news by comparing elections there to elections here. This involved a discussion of Nigeria's problems with widespread voter fraud.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BRIAN WILLIAMS, HOST, "NBC NIGHTLY NEWS": Another off-the-cuff from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton making news tonight, this time in Nigeria.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Talking about Nigeria's problems with rigged elections, she brought up an election in the U.S. In 2000, she said, our presidential...

HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: In 2000, our presidential election came down to one state where the brother of the man running for president was the governor of the state. So, we have our problems, too.

CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS: Aides said she was not being editorial. She simply was making a point about how candidates should accept election results even if the vote might be flawed.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: This is going to raise eyebrows.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, I mean, sure. One of the questions that Hillary Clinton got when she was running was, essentially, will the real Hillary Clinton stand up? And it looks like she's Friday doing that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: The secretary travels next to Liberia and Cape Verde.

There is a presidential election in Afghanistan next week. So, today, hundreds of U.S. Marines and Afghan troops launched a new push to take some control from the Taliban.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: Action here from the front lines of the war in Afghanistan. Look at these images, U.S. Marines mounting a helicopter assault to seize the held Taliban-held Dahaneh. Their operation beginning before dawn this morning, with Marines fighting their way into the town, while others battled militants in the surrounding mountains.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Their main tactic right now is to secure Afghans to help them go out and vote to make sure that they feel comfortable enough to vote. But Afghanistan is only eight days away from its second ever presidential election. Eight days will not be enough for these Afghan villagers to feel confident enough to go out to the polls.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: There are 41 presidential candidates, but current Afghan President Hamid Karzai is considered the front-runner.

Back in Washington, some incredible star power at the White House. President Obama presented 16 people with the nation's highest civilian honor, the Medal of Freedom.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stephen Hawking.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Billie Jean Moffitt King.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sandra Day O'Connor.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sidney Poitier.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Kara Kennedy, accepting on behalf of her father, Edward M. Kennedy.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stuart Milk accepting on behalf of his uncle Harvey Bernard Milk.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Mpilo Tutu.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: And check out now Joe Medicine Crow High Bird.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: ... Plains Indian war chief. He goes to the White House in full regalia today. Quite a picture.

And speaking of sights, check out this one. It's surveillance tape. This is from a heist in London that takes $65 million worth of jewelry.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Expensive suits, apparently every bit the sophisticated gentlemen, they talk their way past security of the door. But once inside, these men pulled out handguns, threatened staff and stole 40 million pounds worth of gems and jewelry.

Outside, a witness filmed the men leaving the store, shouting threats, the hostage with them, before they fired a warning shot in the air, and then escaped in a blue BMW. (END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: Police arrested a suspect today, but say he's not one of the men in the tape.

And have you seen the video of Miley Cyrus from the Teen Choice Awards? Mild controversy over her dancing. Well, here's the punchline. This is courtesy of Jimmy Fallon last night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JIMMY FALLON, HOST, "LATE NIGHT WITH JIMMY FALLON": Miley Cyrus, she danced around what looked like a stripper pole on top of an ice cream cart.

(LAUGHTER)

FALLON: Now, to be fair, Miley said it wasn't a stripper pole. It was a purity abstinence pole.

During her performance, Miley was wearing short shorts, a tank top, and biker boots, and said, this represents where I come from. Apparently, Miley Cyrus comes from Britney Spears' house.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: And that is the punchline. Or that is the punchline.

That is also the "Mash-Up."

When we come back, finger-pointing going on and on over the planeload of passengers that was stuck on that tarmac for hours this weekend. Why can't the airlines seem to get this right?

And is all the shouting at these town halls changing anybody's mind about health care? We're talked to a senator who repeatedly faced anger like this today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think that the Obama administration has already started to restore trust in health care by the...

(SHOUTING)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BROWN: The outrage is growing after passengers aboard a commuter plane were practically held prisoner for almost seven hours on the tarmac in Rochester, Minnesota. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Trapped all night inside a small plane parked on a runway, that's what happened to 47 passengers who boarded what was supposed to be a three-hour Continental flight to Houston to Minnesota's Twin Cities late Friday night. Thunderstorms caused the flight to be averted to Rochester, Minnesota.

And by the time the plane landed there, all the TSA screeners had gone home. And the crew apparently was at its maximum work hours.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We became increasingly frustrated. And, also, everybody at that point was pretty exhausted. People had children crying. The whole atmosphere of the plane was just one of sort of deteriorating emotional stability.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right now, as it stands, the airlines can hold you indefinitely. And they don't have to provide you with food, water, hygienic toilets, or any medical needs.

There's no culpability for the airlines at all, which is why we're pushing for a law in Congress.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: And Washington is getting involved here. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has announced an investigation is now under way.

And Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, also among those on the federal level demanding some answers now, she's joining us tonight to talk about this.

Senator, welcome to you.

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D), MINNESOTA: Well, hello, Campbell.

I know you would know that you wouldn't to be sitting on that sardine of a plane with a baby on your lap.

BROWN: You can imagine? As a mother, when I heard these stories, it made me crazy.

But I know you're hearing from a lot of people because this happened in your state. But we have heard stories like this over and over again happening all over -- all over the country. Why? Why does it keep happening?

KLOBUCHAR: I don't know. The airlines have not been that crazy about our bill. And we want to get this done. Senators Snowe and Boxer have taken the lead on our Commerce Committee. I'm one of the co-sponsors.

We want to get this passenger bill of rights through Congress soon, because time and time again -- in June, 278 planes alone were left on the tarmac for more than three hours. Oftentimes, airlines do allow passengers to go into the terminal. And they can do better than three hours if they want. But at least let's set a minimum standard, so people can have a rule to look to and say, well, maybe we should get these passengers off early because there's a law that says they can't stay on for more than three hours.

These passengers were on there for six hours. The toilet was smelly. I have talked to constituents from my office who knew were only -- were only an hour-and-a-half away from the Twin Cities. And they're sitting on that plane, knowing how close they are to that airport. It was just crazy.

BROWN: You, I know, reached out to the two airlines involved here, Continental and Express Jet, asking them to clarify their conflicting stories about why the passengers were treated this way. Have you heard anything?

KLOBUCHAR: We haven't heard anything back yet. I know that they have apologized to the passengers. They have given them a $200 flight credit and a $50 certificate.

But this doesn't change it for other passengers going forward. And what we're hoping will happen is, we can pass this passenger bill of rights and we can get to the bottom of what when on here. Our airport officials at the Rochester Airport said these passengers could have come into the airport. So we really want to get this clarified.

BROWN: And I know you're also asking the FAA to respond. What should they do? What can they do? Are there consequences, could there be, for the airlines?

KLOBUCHAR: It's possible that there could be consequences because of rules that were violated that the airline didn't follow, and we want to get to the bottom of that.

But most of all, this just shouldn't keep happening. First it was JetBlue, then this. These small commuter planes with passengers sitting there, it's like common sense has gone out the window, but they couldn't open any windows. So, we need to change this.

BROWN: So we keep hearing about the passenger bill of rights, but beyond setting minimums, I guess, on the hours they can hold you on a plane, explain to us, briefly, if you can, just what it would really do in terms of giving people some relief, that -- sort of the commonsense relief that people are craving.

KLOBUCHAR: Well, first of all, it would provide that if passengers are stuck on a plane, there has to be food. There has to be toilets that are working.

Second of all, set the minimum of standards. Have a hot line so passengers can call about delays. And once you set these standards, I think the airlines have been and will be doing better. So, it doesn't mean -- you could let somebody onto the terminal in half-an-hour, an hour. But if we have the standards, imagine, those pilots on that plane would have realized, we just can't keep these people on this sardine can all night. We have to figure this out or we're going to be violating the law.

So, the main thing about this is to say, we need a passenger bill of rights so they can't keep messing around with people. (CROSSTALK)

BROWN: It's been two years, though, since this bill was introduced. Why hasn't it passed already? What are we waiting for, just another horrible episode?

KLOBUCHAR: Well, it has gone through our Commerce Committee.

And what's happened here is that it's part of the FAA reauthorization, which is really important, as you look at what happened over the Hudson River this last week, because it also contains updated safety measures for our airports, an updated air traffic control system. So, the good thing to do here would be to combine these safety measures with the passenger bill of rights and get this through Congress, so we can really go into the next generation of air travel.

Our country does not have the most updated equipment at our airports and we need to change that.

BROWN: You're absolutely right. It's a huge issue.

Senator Amy Klobuchar joining us on this tonight to talk about it.

Thanks so much for your time. We appreciate it.

KLOBUCHAR: Thank you so much, Campbell. I will think of you the next time I see a baby on an airplane.

(LAUGHTER)

BROWN: OK. All right. We appreciate it.

When we come back: an incredible story tonight. The TV host of a real-life TV crime show accused of setting up the very murders he was covering. Just why were his camera crews on the scene so quickly time after time?

And, then, also, a nasty fight last night at the Tigers/Red Sox game. And now the punishment has been handed out. We're going to show you what started it all.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BROWN: Now a look at some of the other must-see stories of the day.

Mike Galanos from HLN's "Prime News" is at the CNN Center with tonight's "Download."

Hey, Mike.

MIKE GALANOS, HEADLINE NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Campbell.

Let's get right to it. Mystery on the high seas tonight. A huge Russian cargo ship has vanished, and some suspect pirates in the European waters. Now, the ship is called the Arctic Sea. It was carrying a load of timber and a crew of 15 from Finland to Algeria. Almost two weeks ago, the captain radioed that the ship was raided in the waters off Sweden by masked men claiming to be police. Since then, nothing.

And keep your eye on this one. A rescuer became the rescued amid the typhoon devastation in Taiwan. Watch this video now. You see the small raft there? It gets swept away by the raging floodwaters. The guy is clinging for life there, thankfully able to cling to some debris before getting pulled to safety. Now, disaster teams are trying to reach survivors cut off by flooding, mudslides. At least 103 are dead in Taiwan's worst natural disaster in a half-century.

Well, once the lockdown ends, it's going to cost $5 million to $6 million to clean up after a huge prison riot in California. CNN affiliate KABC toured the destruction of the prison in Chino. That's east of L.A..

Authorities say the racially motivated riot left most of the housing units just uninhabitable, one dorm completely gutted by fire. It took guards four hours to get Saturday's mayhem under control. We're hearing 250 injured, 55 taken to hospitals. That was bad.

This ugly as well, thankfully, no major injuries here, base brawl last night in Boston. Kevin Youkilis gets hit by Detroit's Rick Porcello. The pitcher does a good job here using Youkilis' aggressiveness against him, throws him to the ground. You see both benches clear. No one seriously hurt, as I said. Now, Major League Baseball suspended both Youkilis and Porcello for five games. They will also be fine.

Really, this started -- this is like two games' worth of bean brawls at each other before this erupted.

And, finally, this one -- if you really believe that age is just a number, then a 96-year-old great grandmother parasailing in South Carolina, hey, that's not going to surprise you. It was Pauline Sherman's first time. It was her great-granddaughter's idea. Now, Pauline says she might do it again for her 100th birthday. But until then, she's going to stick to the knitting and the crochet. She's going to be 97 in September. How is that?

BROWN: Mike, that's inspiring me.

GALANOS: It is.

BROWN: My grandmother is turning 90 this year.

GALANOS: Oh, that's awesome.

BROWN: So, I don't think I'm going to be able to talk her into parasailing, but maybe something else.

GALANOS: Yes. And this lady is no thrill-seeker. She has never driven a car and that's only the second time she's even been on a boat.

BROWN: Wow.

GALANOS: Yes.

BROWN: That's great.

Well, good for her, great, great story.

GALANOS: There's hope, yes.

BROWN: Thanks, Mike.

GALANOS: OK, Campbell.

BROWN: When we come back, Farrah Fawcett's best friend is joining us. She's going to share her some of her memories.

Plus, how you can make yourself heard over tirades like this one?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Your government has lost the faith and trust of the American people.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This government is out of control. We are in debt up to our eyeballs. And you all are doing nothing but putting more debt on us and our children. And it's got to stop.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What are you going to do about it?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BROWN: Another day in this make or break month for health care and another beating for another member of Congress. A crowd in Hagerstown, Maryland, shouted through a lot of what Democratic Senator Ben Cardin had to say this afternoon.

And he's joining us right now.

Senator Cardin, welcome to you.

SEN. BENJAMIN CARDIN (D), MARYLAND: Hi, Campbell. It's a lot quieter here.

(LAUGHTER)

BROWN: I bet it is.

I want to give people a little sense of what you have been through this week. You have held two of these town halls so far this week. Let's take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How are you going to look at my children in their eyes and tell them they're going to have a better future with $99 trillion -- say it with me -- $99 trillion that you did and your cohorts up on Capitol Hill? How are you going to look at my children?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Your government have lost the faith and trust of the American people.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think that the Obama administration has already started to restore trust in health care by the...

(BOOING)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: Now, this went on and on and on. I know you know it did. Again, I said you had two of these this week.

But let me start by asking you how it felt to stand up there and sort of get hammered over and over again.

CARDIN: Well, Campbell, the purpose -- I have been doing town hall meetings for a long time. I think they're a very valuable part of the political process.

Those who went through the entire town hall meeting, we had many opportunities for good questions to be asked and answers to be given. I was able to get, I think, some points across. I was able to get some information out there.

Clearly, there were those that were there who were interested in just making a point and being noisy. But that's part of these town hall meetings.

BROWN: But who are those people? Is this a very vocal minority or are these your constituents who are really concerned? Do you have a sense for whether this is an organized small group of people or a lot of people you represent?

CARDIN: Well, Campbell, there are a lot of people concerned. They want to know what's in this bill. They want to know how it affects them.

And that's the reason we have town hall meetings, to try to get information out to them. But, clearly, there was a minority there today that wanted to e noisy. And that was one of the things they wanted to do. They just wanted to be heard. They wanted to say things that were not directly related to a health care bill, their mistrust for government, their cynicism. They wanted to get those points across. And they used that opportunity. And there was a reaction. But the overwhelming majority that were in that room wanted information. They wanted questions answered. We had a chance to talk about some of the myths that have been out there, some of the misstatements.

So, I think it furthered the process. I was disappointed that people were noisy. But that's part of the process.

BROWN: Well, do you think you were able to get through to people? Because, as you said, a lot -- we have seen it over and over -- of people feeding false information, misleading the public. Are you able to correct people and do you think the facts are coming through? Or what we're all seeing on TV, it's been over a week of this now, is it all kind of a show?

CARDIN: Well, I think those that were in the hall and stayed through the entire the town hall meeting, I think those that saw the broadcast that was on C-SPAN last night of my Monday night town hall meeting, I think they got a sense of some of the information.

They feel a little bit more comfortable about some of the concerns they may have had. Our main objective is to make people feel comfortable that they're going to be able to keep their current insurance, that we're trying to get health care costs down, we're trying to expand preventive care. We have reform in there for health insurance so they can't discriminate against you.

And you have guaranteed packages, reducing and eliminating the caps on insurance protection. I think when they heard those facts, the majority of people that were listening that weren't there to try to disrupt or to just be no on any type of health care reform felt a little bit better about the process.

BROWN: We were talking about trying to stick to the facts. And earlier today, at one of his town halls, one of your colleagues, Republican Senator Chuck Grassley, said that -- this is a quote -- "People have every right to fear that reform could result in a government program that determines if you're going to pull the plug on grandma."

What do you think of that?

CARDIN: Well, I just disagree with Senator Grassley. There's nothing in these bills and there will not be a provision that will be supported in Congress that would do that.

BROWN: But he said -- but that's been stated now multiple times. Do you believe that he's deliberately spreading false information?

CARDIN: I don't want to comment about Senator Grassley. I don't know exactly in what context he said that.

I can tell you this. There are groups that are spreading that provision, that statement about pulling the plug. It's absolutely false. There's no merit to it at all. And I think it doesn't advance the debate in the Congress. BROWN: That said, there are also some legitimate concerns, as you pointed out, people are raising about reform. And a big one here, you have got to concede, is the cost.

I mean, if we're honest with ourselves, it's almost impossible to imagine a plan that is actually going to be deficit-neutral. Don't you think people are justifiably upset about their inability to get what appears to be an honest answer about the numbers?

CARDIN: The reason we can't give the specifics on the numbers is, we don't have one bill. We don't have the bill out of the Senate Finance Committee yet, which is the committee that deals with the numbers.

But one thing is clear. A bill, a major reform bill, is not going to move through the United States Senate and through Congress unless it reduces the growth rate of health care costs in America and unless it is budget-neutral. It's not going to pass the United States Senate if those two standards aren't met.

The president has also indicated -- I was with him today when he said he would veto the bill if it is not deficit-neutral. It's going to be deficit-neutral and it's going to be a cost curve if we have a bill. And I think we will. I'm confident about that.

That's -- the primary objective is to make health care more affordable, accessible to all people in this country. You want all Americans to have access to affordable quality health care.

BROWN: All right.

CARDIN: We're paying for those who have -- don't have insurance today. We have got to do a better job in doing that.

BROWN: Senator Ben Cardin, we appreciate your time tonight. Thanks for coming on.

CARDIN: Thank you.

BROWN: It is still hard to believe that any knowing mother would knowingly drive drunk or high, but that is what police said a New York woman did when she crashed a minivan full of kids into an SUV. Are moms under the influence more common than we think?

That when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BROWN: The horrific crash in which a wrong-way driver killed herself and seven others set off a national conversation about women and alcohol.

New York authorities say the driver, 36-year-old Diane Schuler, had smoked pot and drank at least 10 vodkas before the collision in which her daughter and three nieces were among those killed.

We want to bring in three people to talk about this with us tonight.

Joining us is Susan Cheever, who is an author who wrote about the crash for Salon.com. And we should mention she hasn't had a drink in 17 years ,but believes, in some way, that can relate a little bit to this mother. We will ask Susan about that. Also with me from Orlando is Laura Dean Mooney, who is the president of Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Her husband, Mike, we should say, was also killed by a drunk driver going the wrong way. And, in Los Angeles, addiction specialist Howard Samuels joining us again.

Good to see you, too, Howard.

Susan, let me...

HOWARD SAMUELS, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, WONDERLAND CENTER: Good to see you, Campbell.

BROWN: Let me start with you here.

So many people heard about this crash and thought, how could this happen? How could this mother have done this? I mean, it -- they were shocked. But -- but you had a little bit of a different take on this.

SUSAN CHEEVER, SALON.COM: Well, I see people sort of demonizing this mother. And I'm certainly not here to exonerate her. What she did was against the laws of man and God.

But it seems to me that we might look at the fact that we live in a culture of drinking, where our president, when he wants good press, talks about beer. And we live in a culture of driving. And when these two cultures intersect, it's a disaster. And they intersect often.

In other words, 36 people a day die of drunk driving. So, let's let the families mourn their children. That happened almost three weeks ago. Let's try to save the 36 people who are going to die tomorrow because of drunk driving.

Let's look at ourselves. Let's look at our culture, instead of pointing the finger at something that's already happened.

BROWN: But -- but did -- did you see something in her? I mean, I -- I don't know if you would define yourself as an alcoholic. I know you haven't had a drink in a long time. But did you relate to her on a personal level?

CHEEVER: I think I related to her mostly as a mother. In other words, having five little children in a car is certainly an amount of stress that I never inflicted on myself.

So, I can imagine that, if you the way dealt with stress was vodka, that you might drink quite a lot of it. But, as I say, I feel as if we should leave this woman behind. She's dead. She can't be punished any more. I feel that this is an opportunity for us to look forward and see what in our culture allowed this to happen. I mean, everyone around her says, oh, we didn't know, we didn't know. Is that because our culture is so alcoholic that we don't even notice when somebody has a problem that leads to this magnitude of tragedy?

BROWN: Let me -- let me go to Dr. Samuels on this.

"TIME" magazine had a story this week that -- that basically says that this accident is a wakeup call of sorts to women. Pretty hard, though, to scare an addict straight. Is it a wakeup call, in your view?

SAMUELS: Well, I think it's an opportunity, because, listen, I have been on the front lines of fighting addiction and alcoholism for close to 20 years.

And, you know, this is nothing new with women. I mean, it's women. It's men. It's working-class. It's celebrities. It's across the board. Alcoholism takes no prisoners. And, you know, she, obviously, to me was an alcoholic.

You don't ingest that kind of level of alcohol and smoke pot on an outing with your children unless you're alcoholic. So, what has to happen here is that we have to use this as an opportunity to educate the families.

To me, the crime is, that family was oblivious to the signs that this woman had been an alcoholic and drinking to that kind of extent. That's why we need to use this as an opportunity to talk about this.

I mean, I'm going to come up on 25 years clean and sober on Sunday. OK? I have spent my life fighting this disease, because I am a recovering addict, alcoholic. And there are so many people out that need help, and we need to get them some help before they kill more people.

BROWN: Dr. Samuels, I know you have said that women and men both handle addiction differently. Why are women addicts sometimes better, as we have heard a number of people say, at -- at hiding it?

SAMUELS: Well, I think, because, you know, they become more isolated. They're at home. They're taking care of their kids. I have dealt with a lot of women and mothers who take pills during the day, who drink during the day. They're isolated. They get depressed.

And there are many -- there's much stress with raising kids. I mean, it is probably one of the most stressful jobs you can have as an individual. And I think that these mothers really do need some support groups and help in order to deal with that stress, and not be so isolated.

BROWN: Let me let you respond.

CHEEVER: I think there's also tremendous pressure on women to look right, just tremendous pressure. And one of the things that I have noticed in writing about addiction is that women will spread their addictions very thin much more often than men. In other words, there will be a little bit alcoholic, a little overeating, a little sexual acting out, a little bit of stuff with money, in order to keep it looking OK.

BROWN: Right. But let me ask you, when you struggled with alcohol, were -- did you hide it? Were there people...

CHEEVER: Yes, absolutely.

BROWN: ... among your group of friends who...

CHEEVER: Nobody...

BROWN: No one had a clue?

CHEEVER: Nobody ever thought I had a drinking problem.

BROWN: Wow.

Let me go to Laura. And I apologize for only just now getting to Laura.

We were having some technical problems, Laura, with your signal there. And it's ironic you're representing Mothers Against Drunk Drivers here. Drunk driving up, though, we were reading, among women up 29 percent in the last 10 years. Does that surprise you?

LAURA DEAN-MOONEY, PRESIDENT, MOTHERS AGAINST DRUNK DRIVING: Well, it is surprising, but it's not terribly surprising.

You know, women are picking up some of the terribly bad habits that men have. Men are still the leading drinkers. They're still the leading cause -- the people who cause the most drunk driving crashes.

I think this just was a terrible example of a tragedy that happened. A woman got caught by dying in a drunk driving crash. You know, my heart breaks for those families, because, like you mentioned, I lost my husband in a wrong-way drunk driving crash, too.

This is another bad example, though, of how people make terrible decisions. They people don't have to drink and drive. She could have stopped. Perhaps she could have done something different. But she chose to drink and that. And not only that -- she had those innocent children in her car.

BROWN: Right.

DEAN-MOONEY: Our belief is that every kid deserves a sober driver.

BROWN: A very good point there.

Laura Dean-Mooney joining us from Orlando, appreciate it.

Howard Samuels from Los Angeles, thanks, Howard.

SAMUELS: Thank you, Campbell.

BROWN: And Susan Cheever with me in the studio.

Appreciate it, everybody.

CHEEVER: Thank you.

DEAN-MOONEY: Thank you.

BROWN: When we come back: Did a TV host actually sanction murder so he could jack up the ratings? We're going to look at why police are making that amazing accusation when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BROWN: Anybody who works in television will tell you ratings are a matter of life and death.

Well, we don't usually mean that literally, but a TV host in Brazil may not have gotten the memo. Police say his TV crime show was always first on the scene of a killing because he ordered the murders himself.

And Mike Galanos is back with us tonight.

Mike, a pretty unbelievable story. What's going on here?

GALANOS: It is.

You know, I remember listening to an old radio guy. And he used to say -- his tag line was, if you don't like the news, go make some of your own.

(LAUGHTER)

GALANOS: And that is the accusation here, Campbell. That's what we're talking about.

The guy in question's name is Wallace Souza. He's a Brazilian TV host. And that -- what you -- you laid it out there. He's accused of ordering at least five hits. And then they're first on the scene. And they bring the footage. And that's how they're getting content for their TV show.

A little background on the guy, he's a former cop. He had a hit show in 1989, parlayed that into a political career. But let's fast- forward. So, the guy's on the scene there in Brazil. Let's fast- forward to this show. It's called "Canal Livre."

They hype up the show as, we're showing you the crime. We're first on the scene with the footage. They say they use the journalism and the investigative techniques.

Well, here's what the cops are saying about their investigation. Let's listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANTONIO REGALADO, STAFF REPORTER, "THE WALL STREET JOURNAL": His big theme was how crime was going out of control. And it turns out that he -- he may actually have been part of a crime wave, in which his TV show was also first on the scene at these murders, which helped raises suspicions.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GALANOS: All right, there you have it, again, creating content for the show, as you said, Campbell, to drive up the ratings.

You wonder, where do they get this information? Well, they're saying -- police are telling the Associated Press, former employees, security guards who work for the Souzas -- allegedly, he's part of a gang, former police officers involved in drug trafficking. That's how they got the info here.

BROWN: So, Mike, any explanation? Have we heard anything from Souza himself yet?

GALANOS: Yes, I will kind of expound on what I said.

Again, here -- first off, he denies all allegations, denying everything. And then you're getting the line. We have heard it. We have heard it in newsrooms: Oh, we have good sources. We listen to police scanners.

But you have got to wonder, Campbell, how are you first on the scene at least five times over? You're beating the police to every one of these murder scenes.

BROWN: Yes.

GALANOS: And, then, of course, you promo your show right there. Hey, we're first. We have got our pulse beat on the crime that is out of control here.

BROWN: Those are some very good sources. Interesting stuff.

GALANOS: Yes.

BROWN: Mike Galanos with the story for us tonight -- Mike, thanks.

GALANOS: Unbelievable. Yes. Thanks, Campbell.

When we come back, Farrah Fawcett's best friend -- she was there with her from the moment she was diagnosed with cancer until her very last breath. Alana Stewart shares her very personal memories of Farrah's courageous battle when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BROWN: Many of us were struck by the bravery that Farrah Fawcett displayed in the last few months of her life.

We saw her battle with cancer firsthand in a documentary shot by her longtime very close friend, Alana Stewart, who traveled the world alongside Fawcett searching for a secure.

Well, now Alana Stewart is sharing her memories right out of her own diaries in this new book, "My Journey with Farrah: A Story of Life, Love, and Friendship."

And she is joining us tonight to tell us some of her stories.

And tell us first how you found out that Farrah had cancer? She didn't tell you, did she?

ALANA STEWART, AUTHOR, "MY JOURNEY WITH FARRAH: A STORY OF LIFE, LOVE, AND FRIENDSHIP": I was -- well, I hadn't heard there. I was with my daughter, Kimberly.

And, actually, we were out of the country. And my daughter came in and said, "Mom, does Farrah have cancer?"

And I said, "What are you talking about?" And she -- and I said, "Where did you hear that?"

And she said, "On the Internet."

And I said, "No, that's ridiculous."

But I went right to the phone to call her just to make sure. And she took a long time to come to the telephone. And my heart sank, because I knew that something was wrong. And when she answered, I -- I asked her if she was OK. And she started to cry and said no. And she told me.

And I -- I couldn't believe it. She was the last person in the world I or anyone else would have ever thought would get cancer. I mean, she was so beautiful and strong and healthy. And -- and she seemed indestructible.

BROWN: You were so close to her and so close to Ryan O'Neal. So much has been written about them, about their 30-year partnership. What was their relationship like? And do you think he truly was devoted to her?

STEWART: I believe the two of them were devoted to each other. I mean, they -- for 30 years of ups and downs, and it was a volatile relationship. And there were times they weren't together. But they always stayed in touch. They always loved each other. And I kind of always knew they would end up together.

BROWN: Really?

STEWART: Yes, I really did. And -- and he did ask her to marry him toward the end. And she did say yes. And, if she had lived, I think they would have gotten married.

BROWN: Farrah obviously a celebrity, and, frankly, more than that. I mean, you could say an icon, really. She was.

This book, though, is more of a universal story about fighting cancer, isn't it?

STEWART: It's about fighting cancer, and it's a tribute to her and her battle and her courage and her inspiration. But it's also a tribute to friendship.

You know, it's a tribute to our friendship. And it's a tribute to the bond between two women going on this journey together and all of the life's lessons that I learned through this journey.

BROWN: And you didn't sugarcoat things in this book.

STEWART: No.

BROWN: I mean, you didn't. You made a point of really putting it all out there.

STEWART: Well, I didn't because Farrah didn't want to sugarcoat things in the documentary. I mean, she was the one that made me film things that I was squeamish about filming or that I thought was -- you know, sometimes, I would think it was too invasive.

And she would go, no, film it, because this is what cancer is like. You know, people need to know this. And if she was going to do it, she was going all the way, you know?

BROWN: She saw herself as kind of a role model for -- for many cancer victims.

STEWART: Well, because so many people wrote her letters and said thank you for your courage and your inspiration. And she also talked about her cancer, anal cancer, which was a cancer that a lot of people were kind of embarrassed to talk about.

And she got so many letters from women in particular that would say, thank you for talking about this, because I now I don't feel ashamed. I have the kind of cancer that Farrah Fawcett has.

BROWN: You're also really honest in this book about sort of what you struggled with in how you talk about this, how you talk to someone who has cancer.

STEWART: Well, I think anyone who is friends with or a parent of or a loved one, a mate of anyone struggling with a terminal disease, whether it be cancer or anything else, I think that you go through a whole emotional roller coaster yourself. And there's a lot of uncertainty.

I mean, there were times that I was terrified. I was frightened. I was uncertain. I didn't know if I was doing the right thing or saying the right thing. And, yet, you have to be strong for that person. I mean, Farrah was very strong and very determined and had incredible courage. And she kind of brought out my courage. I mean, I found an inner strength that I never knew I had. You know, I used to, like, faint at the sight of a hangnail.

(LAUGHTER)

STEWART: And I found this in -- incredible strength within me that I think, you know, comes from a higher power.

BROWN: Finally, I have just got to ask you, because one of the things I loved is, you write a lot about food in this book.

(LAUGHTER)

BROWN: I mean, you guys spent a lot of time cooking together. And I think a lot of us think, oh, they're Hollywood stars. They have got cooks and chefs.

And it was like, no, you're in the kitchen a lot.

STEWART: No. Well, neither one of us had cooks or chefs. We love to cook. And we're both from Texas. And I think that's how we bonded in the first place.

BROWN: Yes.

STEWART: And there's nothing that made us happier than staying home on Christmas Eve, making pecan pies and...

(LAUGHTER)

STEWART: ... or going to some Tex-Mex joint and having Tex-Mex food.

BROWN: Yes.

STEWART: And we truly did love to eat. And we loved to cook.

(LAUGHTER)

BROWN: It's a fascinating read.

Alana Stewart, appreciate your coming up and sharing your stories with us.

STEWART: Thank you. Thank you so much.

BROWN: All right.

We will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BROWN: Amid the bloody conflict between Israelis and Palestinians rages a battle for hearts and minds with few, if any, boundaries. Even children's television is fair game. Sure, there are Muppets teaching kids to spell and count, just like here in America, but, as chief international correspondence Christiane Amanpour shows us in tonight's breakout story, the innocence stop right there.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A teenager with a gun, a boy who straps a bomb to his body, these are the images that many in the West have of Palestinian youth.

Hamas, the party in power in Gaza, makes no excuse for preaching violent resistance to children. Hamas Television runs this weekly program for kids.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

AMANPOUR: Ahmed Yousef is one of Hamas' political leaders.

(on camera): With the Mickey Mouse and the jihadis and the suicide bombers and Kalashnikovs, what lesson are you trying to teach the children?

AHMED YOUSEF, HAMAS POLITICAL LEADER: They have to be well- prepared for the future. And that's why the Palestinian are showing serious -- seriousness. To keep our dignity and our independence, we have to sacrifice our life.

We either get victorious, or we die for the good cause.

AMANPOUR (voice-over): The Hamas message is everywhere.

DAOUD KUTTAB, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, "SHARA'A SIMSIM": We have no chance to win with the Israelis with violence. I mean, militarily, strategically, we have no chance.

AMANPOUR: Daoud Kuttab reaches the children with an American innovation, Muppets.

AMANPOUR (on camera): Why did you choose the Muppet as the figure?

KUTTAB: Anything that the Muppets do, anything thing that they say, any ideas that they transmit, the children accept.

(MUSIC)

AMANPOUR: Daoud produces "Shara'a Simsim," the Palestinian version of "Sesame Street." Elmo from the American show speaks Arabic in "Simsim." He teaches children their alphabet and their numbers. But the Palestinian Muppets, Haneen, a 5-year-old furry girl monster, and Kareem, an energetic rooster have a very special role, Muppet diplomacy.

Listen to what they're saying.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR (singing): ... without asking why. All people are the same.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

AMANPOUR (on camera): Daoud, Muppet diplomacy it says here in the "Sesame Street" book. Is there such a thing? Is it really possible to win hearts and minds and change behavior through a Muppet show?

KUTTAB: Boys are a problem in our society. And they see their parents being humiliated. They think that they're the men of the house and they have to do something. But they can't do anything. So, we're trying to tell them that your energy is OK, but let's channel it in a different way.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: You promised me that you would not do the coocoo (ph), no.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

AMANPOUR: And girls?

KUTTAB: We want girls to feel proud of themselves and their culture. We had a problem at one time of children not feeling proud of being Palestinian.

AMANPOUR (voice-over): And, unlike real Palestinian boys and girls, Muppets can travel anywhere, into Gaza, or into Jerusalem's Old City, to visit places that are important to Palestinian culture.

KUTTAB: We cannot teach children respect for anybody else before they have pride and respect in their own society.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BROWN: And a whole lot from Christiane Amanpour, her reporting on "Generation Islam," a two-hour CNN event. That's tomorrow, 9:00 p.m. Eastern time. That's, again, tomorrow night.

And that's going to do it for us -- "LARRY KING LIVE" coming up next.

Have a good night, everybody. See you.