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CNN NEWSROOM

5-Year-Old Fatally Shoots Sister; Marketing Guns to Kids; Mountain Dew Pulls "Racist" Ad; "Homeland Insecurity"; Witherspoon: I Said "Crazy Things"; "He Had a Song for Everybody"; Wildfire Gutting Homes in California

Aired May 2, 2013 - 14:30   ET

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


MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: But some do wonder if you could blame the gun manufacturer for marketing to children -- Brooke.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: You know, when you hear about this horribly tragic story and you sort of wonder where gun violence falls in terms of, you know, claiming lives of kids, you actually looked at a study. What is the leading cause of death for kids?

SAVIDGE: Well, I mean, first and foremost, if you're talking about accidental deaths, motor vehicles would be the absolute tops, but if you talk about other things, if you talk about say, a gun accidentally killing a child, the latest statistics that we have from the federal government, 2007, there were 138 kids who were killed accidently by a gun, drownings, 1,056.

So, clearly, drowning is a much greater threat to a child than is a gun, but nobody's going to be banning water. Guns, they trigger all sorts, excuse the pun, of debate in this country. When you have a tragedy like this one, it will once again divide people -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: Martin, thank you. I want to stay on this now and just take a closer look at how this crickett rifle is marketed towards kids. Let me show you this web site. This is crickett.com, and the company's slogan is "My First Rifle." You see it right there on your screen.

So when you click on kid's corner, you see a bunch of kids. Here they are, holding rifles. You see shoulder stock colors ranging from pink, blue, red, these are images from earlier, by the way. The site now said, we visited it, now it says it's under construction.

The last time we checked, but Susan Linn is here with me in Boston. She is the cofounder and director of the Campaign for a Commercial- Free Childhood. Joining me now so nice to see you.

SUSAN LINN, THE CAMPAIGN FOR A COMMERCIAL-FREE CHILDHOOD: Thanks.

BALDWIN: Hate the circumstances.

LINN: My heart goes out to that little boy and his parents. It's just horrible.

BALDWIN: But when you look at the web site, Susan, and you see the marketing and the pink rifles, what do you make of all that?

LINN: You know, it's even more than that, the logo for this company is a cartoon character, a cricket holding a gun, and any time a company has cartoon characters, they are targeting children, they are marketing to children. And that's just despicable.

BALDWIN: What about the argument, though, and we heard a little bit of it, Ben Ferguson, this conservative radio host, just again, he said this when talking about this last night with Piers Morgan. He says you can't blame the gun for a situation where you have a dumb parent, dumb parent.

LINN: It's always easy to blame parents. We don't know the circumstance of this family yet, at least I don't know the circumstance of this family, but even if we're talking about parental responsibility, we need to talk about corporate responsibility, as well. And what right does a corporation have to target children with marketing for guns, for real guns?

BALDWIN: Again, a family could say, listen, you know, we went through the checks and balances, we thought this out, we got this little boy a gun for his birthday, the family's saying it was in a safe area of the home. We don't know the circumstances specifically. Again, responsibility, shouldn't that fall with mom and dad, as well?

LINN: Not entirely. Of course, it falls with mom and dad, but what about corporate responsibility? I mean, are you saying that corporations can do anything they want and they don't --

BALDWIN: No, certainly not.

LINN: Right. I mean, so, what in the world would give a corporation a right to target children as young as 5 and maybe younger with advertising for guns, to make them want those kinds of guns? Everything we know, you know, young children, they don't have the judgment, and it's even more confusing, because kids are marketed toy guns all the time, as well, and all sorts of violent media. So, we live in a culture where kids are inundated with violence, and a 5 year old can't tell the difference between a real gun and toy gun.

BALDWIN: So you think corporations and also parents, as well. Susan Linn, thank you, I appreciate it.

LINN: Thank you.

BALDWIN: Speaking here of marketing, have you seen this Mountain Dew ad? It is turning heads today. It is drawing some serious heat because coming up next, we're going to show you this ad that now has Pepsi apologizing.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: OK. Take a goat, a police line-up, and a battered woman and you get controversy and all kinds of backlash today. Just ask Pepsi. The company's pulled an online ad for Mountain Dew, one critic labels, quote, "arguably the most racist commercial in history." Others call it out for making light of battered women here.

I'm going to show you the whole thing and then we're going to talk about it on the other side. Here you go.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right, Ma'am, we got them all lined up. Nail this little sucker. Come on, which one is he? Point to him.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't think I can do this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's easy, just point to him.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's wearing the doo rag. Come on, one with the four legs.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thought you were going to catch me, keep your mouth shut, keep your mouth shut. Get out of here. I'm going to do you up. Keep your mouth shut.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can't do this! I can't do this! No, no, no! No, no, no, no, no!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She's just got to do it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're never going to catch me.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BALDWIN: OK, Peter Shankman, my friend, and branding and social media consultant. I mean, look, I watched the whole thing and I'm like, I don't know, I kind of have no words. Is this an ad where they were just sort of, like, what were you thinking, or is this the only way to try to target an audience for a product like Mountain Dew, which apparently are young guys who might find this funny?

PETER SHANKMAN, BRANDING AND SOCIAL MEDIA CONSULTANT: Well, here's the thing, in my spare time, I'm a sky diver, I'm technically their audience, we have a saying, if you're going to be stupid, you better be tough. There's a very similar saying for this advertisement, if you're going to be edgy, you better be funny.

This ad, number one, is not funny. There's nothing humorous about it at all. Number two, if a little back story, this was produced by a group called Odd -- what's their name, Odd -- yes, they run a show called "Loiter Squad" on Adult Swim, and it's Odd Future.

They run a show called on "Loiter Squad" on Adult Swim and this was the cast of the show on Adult Swim. It's a show that airs on Adult Swim around 12:15 in the morning and appears to about 20 people, eight of whom are awake at that time.

So you're taking a group that has a cult following in L.A. and making it national. Whoever was in charge of this ad, I seriously hope he is looking for a job today. This was a mistake on so many different fronts.

BALDWIN: Here's what I do know, the ad is the work of this rapper by the name of Tyler. He's a creator and these men in the line up are, apparently, his buddies. So his manager has written this on Tumbler, let me read this for you and our viewers, it was never Tyler's intention to offend. Tyler is known for pushing boundaries, challenging stereotypes through humor. He says, this is someone who grew up on David Chappelle so.

SHANKMAN: Right.

BALDWIN: So then -- the company's turned over creative control to celebrities, I mean?

SHANKMAN: You can make something funny and you can push the boundaries of humor. Look, I'm all for pushing the boundaries of humor. The Kate Upton Hardee's ad, where she's riding over a burger, you know, that's amusing because there's no way a woman eats a burger and stays like that. There's humor.

Then there's stuff that doesn't make sense, a talking goat in a line up accused for beating a woman where everyone else in the line up is African-American, maybe I'm not getting it. OK, maybe I'm not that target audience, but again, that target audience is at 12:15 in the morning, not a national brand part of a multinational conglomerate.

BALDWIN: I just saw it and made me wonder, you know, where are the checks and balances, who would have green lighted something? Again, wasn't meant for TV, but here's what Mountain Dew said. This is a tweet from Mountain Dew, guys, made a big mistake. We've removed the offensive video from all our channels so hash tag fail. Good move?

SHANKMAN: Let's touch on that for a second. You know, companies do this deliberately. We also have to look at, like, the Ford ad --

BALDWIN: To create buzz, is that the point?

SHANKMAN: The Hyundai ad, as well, they are never targeted for TV, but they know they are going to be talked about because they drive edginess and controversy. The difference here is that this is a little pass the plan and no one finds this funny. This is not a good interaction with Mountain Dew in any capacity.

You can look at the Hyundai ad, OK, that was terrible, but it was done on speck. It was done without anyone's permission. This was done by Mountain Dew. This wasn't an agency doing it and then getting in trouble. This was done by the brand, and the people at the brand, I know the people at Pepsi. They are a lot smarter than this. Somewhere the ball was dropped and somewhere the chain went down.

BALDWIN: As they said, hash tag, fail. Peter Shankman, thank you.

SHANKMAN: Thanks, Brooke.

BALDWIN: Here in Boston, two weeks ago tomorrow the entire city was shut down on lockdown. Some Americans find that to be disturbing. We're going to break down the debate over homeland insecurity. Civil liberties, check out the cover of "Time" magazine next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: For some, the scary thing about Boston wasn't just what the bombers did right here on Boylston Street, but how the authorities acted afterwards.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANDREW SULLIVAN, FOUNDING EDITOR "THE DISH": I do think, frankly, obsessing about this particular incident kind of helps terror.

ANDERSON COOPER, HOST, CNN'S "AC 360": How's so?

SULLIVAN: I don't think we should shut down an entire American city because two losers have a couple of pressure-cooker bombs.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A lot of people --

SULLIVAN: I think a little it's in order.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: That was "Sunday Times" columnist and former "New Republic" editor, Andrew Sullivan, and there's also this blog post from former presidential candidate, Ron Paul, Congressman Ron Paul about Boston and Watertown shutting down in the Boston area as investigators pursue that surviving suspect.

Sadly, we have been conditioned to believe that the job of the government is to keep us safe, this is Ron Paul speaking, but in really, the job of the government is to protect our liberties. Once the government decides its role is to keep us safe, they can only do so by taking away our liberties. That is what happened in Boston. This is unprecedented, and it's very dangerous.

Well, now check out the cover of "Time" magazine, because this issue is tackling civil liberties versus national security. New cover reads, quote, "Homeland Insecurity, do we need to sacrifice privacy to be safer?"

Joining me now is Michael Scherer, "Time's" White House correspondent. Michael, welcome. You know, this piece, it really digs into the actual rules on the books for investigators to monitor someone, i.e. this now slain suspected bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev, but before anyone knew even that name, the Obama administration set up this Sensitive Operations Review Committee, SORC, what was that?

MICHAEL SCHERER, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, "TIME": That's right. So after September 11th, the FBI reviewed and revised its investigative guidelines for agents, especially those investigating terror suspects, and one of the big changes there was that agents could go now around and investigate things without clear evidence or even the suggestion of evidence of a crime.

They just have a suspicion and they could do what was called assessments of that situation. In 2011, President Obama revised those guidelines one more time. He actually expanded them in a lot of ways, now these assessments could include database searches of people using public records and things like that.

But they actually pulled back a little on how the assessments could deal with religious communities and mosques and they set up this new committee to oversee that. It was part of a White House effort, a broader White House effort, to really build closer ties and cooperation with the Islamic community in the United States around these issues.

They wanted not to be seen as an adversarial relationship, and there was a backlash in the years prior surrounding that. But striking that balance between how much we should be basically like the soviets or Russia, one of the interesting things we've seen in this case, is that clearly, the Russian security apparatus was much more aggressive in monitoring this family than we were.

We didn't have wiretaps up or anything like that and how much we should be like we are traditionally like to think of ourselves in America.

BALDWIN: You know, and to your point with the Obama administration and the role of especially imams in the Muslim community to be ever vigilant and to be leaders in the community, I've talked to imams here in Boston. They agree, especially in the wake of what happened.

But when you think of someone like Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who was disruptive in this mosque in Cambridge multiple times and told to leave, do you think after what happened, do you think the administration will be, I don't know, more or less in favor of monitoring a place like a mosque?

SCHERER: Well, I think there's no doubt the administration will continue to do what they've been doing, which is trying to build these ties. We don't know -- we're not saying in this article that he would have been caught had the FBI had different regulations in place.

I don't know if -- you know, undercover agent at that mosque would have had a different reaction than the people at that mosque. Clearly, he was not welcome with the behavior he was exhibiting. What we do know, though, is that the White House and Congress are reading the same polls we're producing in our magazine.

And that shows there's been a dramatic increase in the percentage of Americans who are concerned, first, about civil liberties and then about terrorism. If given a choice between we need to put stronger laws in place and procedures to protect against terrorism or really protect civil liberties, people are much more likely to choose civil liberties now than they were, for instance, after the 1996 Atlanta Olympic bombings.

So we've had a drift in the country since September 11th, you know, to actually promote civil liberties as a central issue, even in the face of what we saw in Boston.

BALDWIN: It's an excellent cover story, Michael Scherer, "Time" magazine, thank you.

SCHERER: Thank you, Brooke.

BALDWIN: A real-life drama for actress Reese Witherspoon. Just ahead here, what she's now saying on being arrested for disorderly conduct charges. Her own words next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: Reese Witherspoon says it was panic that led to her run-in with an Atlanta police officer that ended with her arrest on disorderly conduct charges. Remember, the actress pulled the "don't you know who I am" card when her husband was pulled over for alleged drunk driving two weeks ago.

Well, today Witherspoon did her very first TV interview since that arrest, and here is what she said on "Good Morning America."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REESE WITHERSPOON, ACTRESS: It's one of those nights, you know, we went out for dinner in Atlanta. We had one too many glasses of wine. We thought we were fine to drive and we absolutely were not. And it's just completely unacceptable and we are so sorry and embarrassed and we know better.

I have no idea what I was saying that night. I saw him arresting my husband, and I literally panicked, and I said all kinds of crazy things. I told him I was pregnant, I'm not pregnant. I said crazy things. If you only heard me laughing, because I have no idea what I was talking about.

I am so sorry, I was so disrespectful for him and I have police officers in my family. I worked with police officers every day, I know better. And it's just unacceptable.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: Again, Reese Witherspoon charged with disorderly conduct. Her husband is charged with DUI.

And now he was a country music legend who lived the good times and the regrets he sang about. George Jones, today, thousands of fans, huge names in country music and politics gathered in Nashville for his funeral. Brad Paisley, former First Lady Laura Bush, The Oakridge boys, Travis Trid, Tania Tucker even Kid Rock. But one really summed it up as far as why country music fans really connected with George Jones. Here is Charlie Daniels.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHARLIE DANIELS, MUSICIAN: George Jones' voice was a rowdy Saturday night uproar at a back street beer joint, the heart broken whale of one who wakes up and finds the other side of the bed empty, a far off lonesome whistle of a midnight train, a bride as the ring is placed on her finger, the memories of a half asleep old man dreaming about the good old days, lost love, lost innocence, good and bad memories and experience that were just too much for a human being to deal with.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: George Jones hailed today by his peers as the greatest voice in country music was 81.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: Here we go, hour two. I'm Brooke Baldwin live here in Boston, but I want to begin this hour with what's happening right now in California, Southern California, to be exact. Flames are ripping through entire hillsides threatening homes and lives.

Look at this. This is the summit wildfire. It's in Banning. It is all of 40 percent contained. Almost 3,000 acres have been scorched, and at least one house so far has been destroyed. Firefighters, we're told, did make some progress overnight, but strong winds today could complicate their efforts.

Paul Vercammen is live for me in Newbury Park. Paul, these are stunning pictures. Tell me what you know.

PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, let's just talk about what we can see right now, Brooke. What I do know, it's more than 2,000 acres have been burnt. So far, they say that no houses have burned, but this is an absolute pitch battle unfolding in front of us right now as they try to save this upscale neighborhood.

This is called Palermo Estates in Newbury Park. Firefighters have gone down the streets, and there are now flames on both sides of the street. You can see the houses right here are threatened. All of these houses have composite roofs, not wood shake.

In another era, you would see spot fires catch wood shake roofs and skip along so far, no houses burning in this area. We understand that three RVs burned on the other side of this hill in some sort of storage area, and I'll have Gabe go ahead and pan over to my right.

If you can see just a little bit of smoke up there, Brooke, it's also burning on that side. We witnessed firefighters digging in, defending the backs of these houses and doing so successfully. Also, helicopters have been making some expert drops, laying down water.

I want to give you a sample of just how widespread this fire is now. You can follow me over here. This is going to seem like an odd move, but this is Newbury Park. It gives you a sense of what the neighborhood is like.