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CNN NEWSROOM

Media Bias in Thrill Kill Suspects Coverage; Conservatives Embrace Ashton Kutcher; Dead Man Revives, Shocks Family; Glitch Halts NASDAQ; De'Marquse Elkins Baby Shooter Trial

Aired August 22, 2013 - 15:30   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: OK. So, take a seat and pay attention because I have been wanting to talk about this one. This is a very interesting story. You're going to want to watch this.

A young man, a college baseball player from Australia gunned down at just 23 years of age by three teens in a small Oklahoma town. His girlfriend is today struggling to come to terms with the murder of Chris Lane and what's being called a thrill killing.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SARAH HARPER, CHRIS LANE'S GIRLFRIEND: It's the hardest thing you could ever imagine happening. Like, there's still a lot of shock and disbelief and a lot of anger and sadness that's just every emotion flooded in.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: So is it just the shocking details of this crime at last getting people upset?

For conservative radio show hosts, for some of them, they say there's an elephant in the room that the mainstream media aren't talking about, and that's race.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GLENN BECK, CONSERVATIVE RADIO HOST: There's something missing here. Can you tell me what that is? Can you tell me what that is? What's missing in this story?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And they do it every time.

BECK: Do it every time. Every time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So you almost are guaranteed that if the race isn't mentioned in a story like this, it's because they're black.

RUSH LIMBAUGH, CONSERVATIVE RADIO HOST: Boy, they're being drawn to this reluctantly. They really don't want to get anywhere near this.

And the reason they don't is because this is black-on-white crime. And that doesn't happen!

In the mainstream media world that they portray, in the mainstream media world that they present us each and every day, black-on-white crime doesn't happen.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: OK. So let's talk about this now with Ben Ferguson. He's a CNN political commentator. He's the guy right here on this monitor. Mark Lamont Hill, sitting next to me, a professor at Columbia University and host of "HuffPo Live."

I intentionally did not read the notes on how either of you feel about this because I just wanted to come naturally to you.

MARK LAMONT HILL, PROFESSOR, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY: Fair enough.

LEMON: All right. They have a point that Trayvon Martin, race became an issue in this, but this didn't. Do they have a point?

HILL: No, they don't have a point.

First of all, the media coverage on this has been probably more intense than it was on Trayvon right after it happened.

It took months for the Trayvon Martin controversy to come to the national media, and it only came to the national media, because he wasn't arrested.

Because there was no arrest, because there was so much dysfunction in the process.

Here, the alleged killers have been arrested, they've been charged. If this would have happened with Trayvon, we wouldn't even know who Trayvon was.

LEMON: Is that -- but many people are saying that is making an excuse because race is a third rail in this country.

And anyone who is -- if you are talking about, if it would have been three white guys and would have done that to a black guy, immediately, the media would have jumped to race.

Ben Ferguson? Go ahead.

BEN FERGUSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yeah, well, not only that, but you would have had Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and many other leaders out there would be exactly what they did with Trayvon Martin.

And in this case, it's a white kid that's profiled. We now know from some of the tweets from one of the guys that had the gun, that he said, "White people disgust me," and another time he said, "I hate all white people."

And there was multiple tweets based on race in there, dropping the "N" word, and then saying, I'm going to get the whiteys and that kind of thing.

This is a crime that it's pretty obvious had some racial implications to it. Truly, by those that did the crime, they go out and find a random white person who's running and kill him.

How does race not be a part of this? And even the issue of, can it with a hate crime? I think --

LEMON: All right, Ben. Hold on, hold on.

HILL: Ben, those are straw men. I have yet to meet anyone who says killing a white person isn't a hate crime. They said, we're going to kill a white person. That is by race. It's a hate crime.

That's not the issue. The issue is if there is a double standard or not. And there is not a double standard.

FERGUSON: And there is. I think there is.

HILL: Hold on --

How, Ben?

LEMON: Here's the difference. When you have something like Trayvon Martin that comes out and you have marches and you have pastors and you have people going out there and all they're doing is beating on race, race, race.

And then the same exact thing happens --

LEMON: Hold on, hold on. Let's do point by point here.

So you said, you have pastors coming out. No one's stopping white pastors from coming out and saying anything about it.

If it is, white pastors can have the opportunity to come out if they want to, Ben?

FERGUSON: And who would cover that? And more importantly, they would say, they're racist, because they're coming out --

LEMON: We have white pastors coming out.

FERGUSON: Because of the double standard.

(CROSSTALK)

FERGUSON: That's the whole double standard.

LEMON: We're talking about, is there a double standard with the media? I think you're talking about, is there a double standard with the law?

FERGUSON: I think the media --

HILL: There is no media double standard --

LEMON: I'm talking to Mark.

HILL: The media doesn't jump every time a white person does something to a black person. White people rob, rape, kill black people all the time and vice versa. The media doesn't cover every ordinary local crime.

The reason Trayvon got covered by the national media, there was a spectacle because of the unrest, a set of issues that didn't work properly.

The reason this isn't being swarmed by the national media because everything worked properly. The guys were arrested. They should have been arrested. They were charged. They should have been charged.

Again, if George Zimmerman had been arrested and charged, we wouldn't have even known who Trayvon Martin is.

And, Ben, you have to acknowledge the national media did not jump on Trayvon Martin.

(CROSSTALK)

FERGUSON: Mark, here's part -- Mark, here's part of the issue with the double standard. Are these young men even, have the possibility of being charged with a hate crime, based on the laws we have today, even though you admit this obviously was a targeted killing of a race?

And we never see African-Americans when they target someone specifically on race, be charged with a hate crime the same way that if it was flipped around. Why aren't they charged with a hate crime here?

LEMON: Here's the thing, though, Ben. I understand what Mark is saying, because it has been, what, a week now since this has happened. And it took weeks before there was national outcry with the Trayvon Martin case.

I understand, as I'm sitting and watching this on my days off. I'm watching all the networks. And as the information comes out, there may be information that comes out, as you look in your social media, as you look at whatever they were writing online or to each other, that may come out in the coming days.

But to immediately jump on it and say there is a double standard, I think is jumping the gun a little bit here.

FERGUSON: All right. Well, I'll get -- I'll say this, OK? If there is a gang initiation that happens in this country, and two or three or four African-American men go out and shoot a white guy, how often does that get covered?

HILL: When does that happen? You're making a hypothetical --

FERGUSON: It happened to me. It happened to me. It's not a hypothetical. It happened to me as a human being.

No one cares about that article because that is not an issue where there is a race involved per se.-

HILL: Can I ask you one quick question? Can you admit that we've talked about -- can you acknowledge that we've talked about this killing of the Australian baseball player far more than we talked about the killing of Trayvon Martin a week after it happened?

FERGUSON: I think as soon as it goes national, that's obvious.

And I think -- but Trayvon Martin, the way that race was used to continue that forward was far outside of this and even remote possibilities. That was over a year-long case in the public media.

LEMON: OK, go with me on this. Can you back the prompter up? I want to put those tweets in there a little bit because they've gone and I don't have the page for them.

Can we go back? Because I want you to go through -- I want to go through what they said online here to see if Ben actually does have a point, OK? And if had been investigated earlier, might he have even more of a point, OK?

So after the shooting -- or before the shooting, James Edwards, the youngest of the three, tweeted this, that he and his friends were ready to take some lives.

Back in April he posted, 90 percent of the white people are nasty. He posted rap videos and talked about being a gangster.

What does this say about the culture and the kind of people or person he might be?

HILL: Well, in conjunction with the acts that he allegedly committed, they say a lot.

But there's no way ahead of time that we can look at someone who does rap music and does criminal intervention.

If we did that, we would intervening on half of America.

LEMON: But you don't think the media would be jumping on this if the situation was reversed and they say, oh, well, 90 percent of black people are bad and we're going to go out and kill people?

HILL: I think people would look at that as a sign of something problematic and use that as evidence of a hate crime. A week after the murder, it's too early to say we haven't done it.

LEMON: Mark, I've got to go. Quickly, hurry up.

FERGUSON: Here's the core issue. If this would have been switched and those tweets would have gone out, we would have had the first charge be a hate crime, and there still has not been a hate crime charged to any of these three people. That is the double standard at its core.

HILL: Why wasn't George Zimmerman charged with a -- LEMON: Listen, there's a lot to discuss here. It's a great conversation. It's worth asking, and I think that both of you make some really good points here.

HILL: I'm convinced that he agrees with me.

LEMON: But we have to remember there's someone who is dead and it's a tragic story all the way around.

Thank you, guys, appreciate it.

We'll be right back right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: There's a murder trial in Georgia I want to tell you about. The story the victim's mother told police was so bizarre, they found it hard to believe. The crime so callous, it shocked the nation.

Sherry West said two teenagers tried to rob her as she pushed her 13- month-old son in his stroller in Brunswick, Georgia. And when she refused to give up her purse, one of them shot and killed her baby.

The mother talked exclusively to CNN two days later. She had this message for the gunman.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHERRY WEST, INFANT SON SHOT IN STROLLER: That I hate you and I don't forgive you. And that you killed an innocent human life and that I hope you die for it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Now five months after Antonio Santiago was killed in his stroller, the main suspect, De'Marquise Elkins, is on trial, and this morning his alleged accomplice described what happened when the mother refused to give Elkins her purse.

I want you to listen closely to 15-year-old Dominique Lang.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: After they were struggling with the purse, did De'Marquise say anything else?

LANG, ALLEGED ACCOMPLICE IN BRUNSWICK BABY KILLING: She still refusing, and then he threatened the baby.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you tell us how he threatened the baby?

LANG: He counted down by five seconds.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you go through that?

LANG: He was like, five, four, three -- and then she stopped him. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What did he say or do after she didn't give him the purse?

LANG: He threatened the baby again.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: After he threatened the baby again, what did he do?

LANG: He counted down again.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Make it all the way to one?

LANG: No, ma'am.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Susan Hendricks covering the trial. Susan, what did Lang say happened next?

SUSAN HENDRICKS, HLN ANCHOR: Yes, it is chilling to hear, when you listen, that there was a countdown involved in this, Don.

He says that he saw Elkins shoot one shot at the ground, another shot at the mom, Sherry West, and here's what he said about the third shot. Listen here.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Was there a third shot?

LANG: Yes, ma'am.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you know where the gun was pointing before the third shot?

LANG: I don't know if it was at the baby or at Sherry.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you describe what direction or angle it was pointed in?

LANG: Like this.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And what was in that direction?

LANG: The baby and Shirley.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HENDRICKS: So he said he never saw baby Antonio get shot, but I'll tell you, Don, at cross-examination time, it was ugly. He admitted to lying not once, not twice, but when I left the courtroom, they were up to 16 lies.

So this was supposed to be the state's star witness and he didn't turn out as the state was hoping that he would.

LEMON: All right. Susan Hendricks, thank. Appreciate that, Brunswick, Georgia.

So just how did liberal-leaning Ashton Kutcher become a darling for the Republican Party? Yes, that's right, the Republican Party.

It's all in what he said. The details are next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Prominent conservatives such as Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin, and Mike Huckabee are singing the praises of a most unlikely Hollywood figure and that would be Ashton Kutcher. Kutcher, who portrays Steve Jobs in a new movie about the Apple founder, recently gave an audience of screaming teenagers some valuable career advice.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ASHTON KUTCHER, ACTOR: When I was 13, I had my first job with my dad, carrying shingles up to the roof. And then I got a job washing dishes at a restaurant. And then I got a job in a grocery store deli. Then I got a job in a factory sweeping cheerio dust off the ground.

And I've never had a job in my life that I was better than. I was always just lucky to have a job.

And every job I had was a stepping stone to my next job. And I never quit my job until I had my next job. And so opportunities look a lot like work.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Amen, brother. That's all I have to say.

I mean, Jake Tapper's here. He's CNN's Washington correspondent, host of "THE LEAD," of course, that follows this problem.

I think he's right on, but when did working hard or having a solid work ethic become only a conservative value?

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR, "THE LEAD": I don't think it is, but conservatives are saying, like the aforementioned Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee are talking about someone like Ashton Kutcher who are preaching conservative values.

This often happens. You hear somebody say something that sounds like common sense and one political side or the other says this is exactly what we stand for

I think in this case conservatives did a very good job of pouncing on it and making it, co-opting it as their own.

As you know, Ashton Kutcher is a very well known Democrat. He campaigned for Kerry-Edwards and I think last year gave $50,000 to Democratic candidates.

LEMON: Yeah, you know, the past couple of weeks, I wouldn't know anything about anything that you're saying. That's sarcasm actually. But, you know, it's interesting because, when someone from Hollywood says something like that, many people are surprised by that because -- is it because Hollywood is considered a left-leaning place?

And when you think about, especially California -- many people think -- I'm just saying California, don't get me wrong here, that people don't really work here. The work ethic is in the Midwest.

Do you think that's part it have?

TAPPER: I think it's part of it, especially in terms of conservatives looking askance at Democratic-leaning California.

As you know, part of show business is making it look like there isn't a lot of effort, but there is a lot of effort that goes beyond -- even behind "Dude, Where's My Car," there are a lot of people working very hard on that movie, even if the result was not necessarily you would hold up as an example of hard work.

But Ashton Kutcher is somebody who works very hard. He is a very savvy businessman, not just producing "Punk'd" and making a money that way, but he got in on the ground floor, if not the ground floor, some of the first few floors like Skype and Foursquare.

He's smart and a smart investor. We'll take a look at him coming up on "THE LEAD," and we'll be talking to somebody who counseled Bradley Manning on his desire before he "wikileaked" on his desire to be a woman, and then we'll talk to where that amazing Antoinette Tuff, talked that gunman down and school safety in Georgia.

LEMON: All right, see you on "THE LEAD" in just a few minutes.

After a bizarre snag today, the NASDAQ is back up and running. We'll tell you about that next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: NASDAQ trading after being down for three hours, NASDAQ's own shares have tumbled about four percent.

Maribel Aber joins us now from the NASDAQ trading center. Maribel, what happened? Why did the NASDAQ, if I can get those words out, shut down?

MARIBEL ABER, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Don. That is the big question. What was the problem there? What happened?

We're still looking at that. In fact, trading, as you said, in NASDAQ stocks closed or halted at 12:20 this afternoon. They're calling it a "technical issue." You could not trade any NASDAQ stock anywhere around the world.

NASDAQ is home to some 2,700 stocks, some of the most wildly held technology stocks, Don, Google, Cisco, of course, here, not to mention the likes of a Staples or a Facebook. Imagine, you couldn't trade Apple anywhere in the world. So testing started around 2:30 with two securities. Full trading resumed at 3:25, but you know, as you can see, not a lot of volume here.

A spokesman for NASDAQ said they don't anticipate any discrepancies for the buy and sell orders for the stocks that were halted, but, Don, we do not know what the larger impact is. It's not clear.

NASDAQ hasn't been able to clarify the source of the problem and how wide that impact would be.

Don?

LEMON: Not good. Hope they find out.

Thank you, Maribel. Appreciate it.

Pronounced dead by doctors, a man's family was even allowed to see his body and say goodbye. So why was he on CNN "NEW DAY" this morning?

Doctors want to know the same thing. You're about to hear from him next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: A stunning medical mystery in Ohio has some people calling it a miracle. Forty-five minutes after Tony Yahle was declared dead, he came back to life.

Doctors have no explanation.

He spoke this morning on CNN's "NEW DAY."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TONY YAHLE, DECLARED DEAD FOR 45 MINUTES: I actually feel really good. The last guess the doctors had was it was a possible viral infection that got me.

The week before, we had been on vacation, and I had a cold. But as for any actual evidence, they have nothing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: A very happy family. Glad he's OK.

"THE LEAD" with Jake Tapper starts right now.