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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Iran's President Speaks Out; Ted Cruz's Crusade; Iranian President's Interview Highlights Challenges; Dr. Drew Recounts Battle with Prostate Cancer; Companies Selling Fake Online Reviews
Aired September 25, 2013 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everyone. Welcome to "AC360 Later."
Lots to talk about tonight. The head of insurance giant AIG compares criticism of big Wall Street bonus us to lynchings. Is he for real? We will talk about that. Also, Iran's president talked about the Holocaust with Christiane Amanpour. Now some in Iran say he didn't actually say what he actually said. We will talk about that. And Dr. Drew Pinsky's surprising revelation about his battle with prostate cancer. He joins us tonight.
We begin though with Senator Cruz's take-no-prisoners crusade against Obamacare. He brought the Senate, as you know, to a halt talking for more than 21 hours in an effort to keep Senate Democrats from restoring Obamacare funding that the House spending bill cut.
In case you missed it, here's his talkathon kind of distilled down to basically about a minute. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: Madam President, I rise today in opposition to Obamacare. If you go to the 1940s, Nazi Germany, look, we saw in Britain Neville Chamberlain, who told the British people, accept the Nazis. Yes, they will dominate the continent of Europe, but that's not our problem.
I'm a big fan of eating White Castle burgers. You do not like grown eggs and ham? I do not like them, Sam I am. They did not like Obamacare in a box with a fox in a house or with a mouse. Obamacare is the opposite of listening to the people. I can tell you, as I said at 2:30 in the afternoon yesterday, that I intend to stand against Obamacare as long as I'm able to stand. And at this point, I feel confident that at 9:00 a.m., I will still be able to stand. There will come a point when that is no longer the case. But we have not yet reached that point.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Cruz's marathon speech drew cheers from his Tea Party supporters and fund-raising appeals, but also brought some of his fellow lawmakers to the boiling point, including a lot of Republicans.
At the table tonight, chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour, CNN contributor and Republican analyst Ana Navarro, who is currently a fellow at Harvard's Institute of Politics, also legal analyst and criminal defense attorney Mark Geragos, and in our fifth chair tonight joining us for the first time "New York Times" op-ed columnist Frank Bruni.
Great to have you.
You wrote about Cruz just recently.
FRANK BRUNI, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": I did. He's sort of irresistible.
COOPER: Yes. What did you make of his 21-hour marathon?
BRUNI: Well, I think he accomplished what he wanted to in a certain sense, which is we just watched a whole reel of him.
COOPER: And you think that's what it really was about?
BRUNI: I think it was about the visibility of Ted Cruz. It wasn't about stopping Obamacare, because it's not going to stop Obamacare. Late into the day I was starting to see comparisons of his fauxlibuster...
COOPER: His fauxlibuster?
BRUNI: Yes. Credit to Maureen Dowd.
I'm also wondering, does a fauxlibuster burn calories.
BRUNI: There are a lot of comparisons to him and Wendy Davis and like why did the media frown on him and why did they make her a heroine?
There's a difference between the two. She wasn't trying to embarrass her party. She wasn't setting a standard of purity for her party colleagues that they can't live up to. Ted Cruz has made a mark for himself, but he's also in the process embarrassed a lot of his colleagues. he's rallied a lot of conservative groups against Republicans who are running for reelection.
He's doing this on the backs of his own colleagues. I think in the long run it will come to hurt him.
ANA NAVARRO, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: He hasn't embarrassed all his party.
BRUNI: No, but you can only get so far in politics if nobody likes you. And he's got a serious affection deficit right now.
COOPER: And I just talked to Congressman Peter King, a Republican, who calls him a fraud and is furious at him. And there are a lot of Republicans who are.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This has finally exposed truly the ridiculousness of what's going on, the dysfunction in this country.
We just heard President Clinton give a really interesting talk about how it's now the politics of division, how nobody can get anything done, how obviously when people actually work together you can actually get things done and fix things.
And I come from outside the world. I have a great respect obviously for America's fantastic democratic system. But this is just laughable. It's risible, this. You come from the parliament in England. You have great debates there, right?
COOPER: Where they're shouting at each other and yelling at each other in a way we don't do here.
MARK GERAGOS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: ... flourish that you don't have here.
This was theater and it was bad theater. And it was never designed to be effective.
AMANPOUR: Nazi Germany?
GERAGOS: He knows going into it. This is not a dumb guy. This is somebody who understands there was a parliamentary way that they were going to stop him. This was all to fire up his demographic.
NAVARRO: I completely disagree with what he's doing. I don't like it at all. I feel like that woman from the infomercial, the weight loss infomercial, Susan Powers, stop the insanity. That being said...
COOPER: I love that you're quoting Susan Powers, who I haven't heard from in quite several years.
AMANPOUR: But it is stop the insanity. Come on. Come on. Come on. Come on.
AMANPOUR: We're going to shut down the government? Seriously, guys?
GERAGOS: That's not going to happen. I mean, he's doing this for one reason and one reason only, to raise his profile. And that's what it is. And he succeeded and we're talking about it. It's the lead story.
AMANPOUR: Yes, but they say it may happen. Maybe it will.
COOPER: Let's bring in our senior congressional correspondent, Dana Bash. She's standing by.
Is this going to happen? Is there going to be a shutdown? What are you hearing reaction to what Cruz did among Republicans on the Hill today?
DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It depends who you ask. The vast majority, I think everybody at the table is right, think that this is just crazy, because not only is it a losing proposition, it is so hard to explain.
It is so mired in procedural gobbledygook. I am kind of a Senate geek and I get the procedure. And explaining it on television is impossible. Explaining it for them is very, very difficult. That is a big problem when you can't communicate your message.
Will the government shut down? Tonight, we heard that the Senate is probably going to have a final vote Friday or Saturday. The House is probably at this point going to send something back that the Senate can stomach. So it looks like it's going to be avoided, but I have stopped predicting with this Congress.
NAVARRO: Dana, can you tell us about the Republican lunch? I read something today about what happened with Senator Boozman. I'm wondering if you heard anything about that.
BASH: I know that there was a lot of derision inside the Republican lunch and that is definitely part of the big problem here.
The last thing that Republicans want to do right now when they're looking ahead to the next election, particularly in the Senate, 2014, they desperately want to get back control of the Senate, is to be divided and not be able to get out there and have a message that they think is really going to help them, because the Senate as everybody knows is very different from the House when you talk about demographics. You're talking about whole states and not just districts, which tend to be very conservative when Republicans are representing them right now.
It's very, very difficult. And it is an ugly chapter right now inside the Republican Party. And that is exactly what Ted Cruz is happy about, I think, because this is why he came in, to rage against the man and rage against the establishment.
COOPER: But it's interesting. Frank, I was reading Twitter and reading Erick Erickson and Sarah Palin on Twitter, people who are supporting what Ted Cruz is doing. They say he is standing up for principle, that he's trying to make Washington listen. You just don't buy that?
BRUNI: Well, I don't understand what the principle is here. He's not going to stop Obamacare by doing this. He is -- if you listen to that speech and the one on Monday, he's saying a lot of things that are entirely untrue.
He's making it sound like the public has never gotten a chance to weigh in on Obamacare. They did in the most recent congressional elections. They did in the presidential election. The public has gotten to weigh in on Obamacare through whom they have decided to elect or not reelect. They chose Barack Obama over Mitt Romney, they gave control of the Senate to Democrats.
He also pretends that Obamacare has come along and proven to be a failure.
NAVARRO: That's why I think what's happening right now in the Senate is in my view counterproductive. If you look at the newspapers every day right now, there is a different story of the negative impact that Obamacare is going to have.
And instead of us focusing on that, we are focusing on this spectacle.
GERAGOS: It's counterproductive from Republicans' standpoint. It's actually been very productive for not shutting down the government, because he's polarized your party.
NAVARRO: Thank you for pointing that out, Mark. I thought I hadn't noticed.
GERAGOS: And I think he's pushed a lot of the people who may have been -- stand shoulder to shoulder before he kind of did the Dr. Seuss thing today, and now I think they're going to do the right thing.
NAVARRO: ... the Senate floor, for example, compare those who in the Republican Party who don't agree with him to appeasers before World War II. I just think that's inappropriate.
AMANPOUR: It's outrageous.
BRUNI: It is a very flawed law. And we're seeing each day ways in which it's flawed, as many laws are. But we don't yet know really how it's going to play out.
And there are ways to roll it back or overturn it. There are legislative ways to do it that follow tradition. And then there are gimmicks and threats and brinksmanship like this. And I just think this is...
NAVARRO: Rand Paul said today, you guys, we want to overturn this. We want to fix this. The way to do it is through election.
Rand Paul -- and I don't know, Dana, if you find this as interesting as I do, but he seems to be straddling the fence here and trying to be on all sides. What do you make of that? Because we have got potential 2016 candidates.
BASH: Three potential 2016 candidates. It was fascinating to watch the dynamic with him and Marco Rubio, who you might know a little bit, Ana, and also Rand Paul trying to sort of one-up each other in reaching out to this very important base.
And I know that we're talking about sort of the fool's errand that maybe when it comes to vote counts that Ted Cruz is on. But maybe he will be laughing all the way to Iowa and to New Hampshire and to South Carolina, because this is incredibly important. This group of Republicans are incredibly important.
NAVARRO: And to the bank.
BASH: And to the bank, right.
AMANPOUR: But all of this is constantly cast -- and perhaps I'm naive to think it wouldn't be, but constantly cast in this horse race. Right? What about getting things done for the American people?
What about the politics of disagreeing, but nonetheless being able to get things done? What about politicians actually having to answer to their constituents? Their constituents don't want this. Poll after poll after poll shows that the American people want politicians to actually work together to get things done, rather than to be extremists like this, whether it's on the left or on the right.
GERAGOS: The problem is, is his constituency right now is a very discrete number of what are called Tea Party or hard-line people.
GERAGOS: And that's who he's appealing to.
COOPER: And this is being used as a fund-raising appeal.
AMANPOUR: Horse race instead of getting the job done.
NAVARRO: And also by Democrats on the other side, and it's being very effective frankly on both sides.
COOPER: Right. And all sides do this when there's these kinds of filibusters.
NAVARRO: Wendy Davis did it when she was on her marathon.
COOPER: Dana, thanks for joining us.
As we head to the break, something for the panel and you at home to think about. The CEO of AIG, the big insurance giant, actually said in an interview that criticism of outsized bonuses to company executives on Wall Street, the aftermath of the financial meltdown, was akin to the lynchings that happened in the South. Really? We will talk about that ahead.
COOPER: Some of your tweets there. Thanks very much for tweeting with us and watching us.
Is it possible that some Wall Street executives are so just clueless that they don't understand that when the financial industry nearly wrecked the economy five years ago and they received tax-funded bailouts that people on Main Street why justifiably angry about it, especially when they learned that many executives still received huge bonuses?
Robert Benmosche, the guy right here, CEO of insurance giant AIG, told "The Wall Street Journal" this week that criticism of those bonuses was ignorant and that "it was intended to stir public anger to get everybody out there with their pitchforks and their hangmen nooses and all of that, sort of like what we did in the Deep South decades ago. And I think it was just as bad and just as wrong." That's what he said.
He's comparing criticism to outsized bonuses to lynching, a time in this country when people, mostly African-American men, were hanged from trees by angry mobs.
Back with our panel, Christiane Amanpour, Ana Navarro, Mark Geragos, Frank Bruni from "The New York Times" and we're joined by Matt Taibbi, former -- excuse me -- current contributing editor at...
COOPER: ... over "Rolling Stone." His article, "Moving the Pension Funds," is in the current issue. It's not the article about Miley Cyrus.
What do you make of this, these comments? Does it surprise you at this point?
MATT TAIBBI, NATIONAL AFFAIRS EDITOR, "ROLLING STONE": I think this goes straight to the top of the clueless post-crash CEO comments pyramid. You had Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman Sachs who said he was doing God's work. You had the guy from Berkshire Hathaway, Charlie Munger, who said people in foreclosure should suck it in and cope.
But I think this is worse than that. This is probably the most clueless thing that any...
NAVARRO: Chapter one of public speaking for dummies is, do not use painful events as metaphors and comparisons. You stay away from the Holocaust, you stay away from rape, you stay away from slavery, you stay away from lynching. This is just ridiculous.
BRUNI: We had Ted Cruz comparing Obamacare to Nazism. We live in the era of analogy bloat. We really do.
NAVARRO: Joe Biden told a group -- a black audience they want to put you back in chains. This is something that...
BRUNI: And that was an excessive statement as well, yes.
NAVARRO: Insensitivity, it is not partisan.
COOPER: There's something ridiculous about people using the Nazi analogy all the time. There should just be a rule Nazis are Nazis and you don't talk about Nazis unless you're talking about Nazis.
BRUNI: You should end the show with a Letterman-like top 10 list of metaphors you cannot go to ever, ever, ever.
TAIBBI: Look, in this case, here's another thing you can't go. No white person can ever go where Benmosche went with these comments.
Here's a guy who is a millionaire who makes $13 million a year as the CEO of essentially a tax-subsidized company, and he's nailing himself to the cross of black victimhood in front of "The Wall Street Journal." That's the ultimate no-no.
BRUNI: While "The Butler" is at the top of the box office.
TAIBBI: Exactly. Exactly.
GERAGOS: As somebody who periodically sues insurance companies, they are so tone-deaf. This is not unusual.
You put these guys on the stand and you see them testify, they have no clue. Jurors look at them like they're alien beings. They don't understand. They're in their own insular world. They just don't get it.
NAVARRO: I think it's also -- I don't think anybody of any color should go there.
We just saw recently Russell Simmons who took on our colleague Don Lemon, called him a slave on Twitter, and then did something like upload a very offensive video of an African-American heroine in their history, in our history, the U.S. history.
He got a lot of feedback, a lot of backlash from that, had to take it back. So it's not color. To me, it's not color-sensitive. It is rationale. It is freedom First Amendment freedom.
GERAGOS: It is First Amendment freedom. But, at the same time, you're going to take the backlash when you get it and it's well- deserved.
AMANPOUR: Meantime, again, it obscures the real facts.
I was talking to Sheila Bair, the former head of the FDIC, fifth anniversary of Lehman crash. Things are still too big to fail. It has not all been resolved. Banks are big, big, big now. In the three years of the recovery, 95 percent of the income gains went to 1 percent of the people.
AMANPOUR: The gap keeps getting wider and wider and wider. And these are real issues that we have to focus on.
COOPER: Have we learned any lessons from what happened? Do you think -- has Wall Street learned any lessons?
AMANPOUR: Some lessons, but it not all...
GERAGOS: Wall Street hasn't learned -- they haven't learned any lessons at all.
COOPER: You don't believe they have?
TAIBBI: I think that's the news value in these comments, is that these guys are still completely clueless. They genuinely -- I think what's so interesting is they genuinely see themselves as the victims in this whole scenario. They really feel put upon, really.
GERAGOS: They think the idea of taking taxpayer money and then being restricted, they think that is somehow violative of capitalistic principles. That's how out to lunch they are.
BRUNI: But it's that attitude in comments like that have given -- for example, to take this local -- Bill de Blasio's campaign the traction that it got. It's that sense that the haves don't understand what the have-nots are going through and even feel besieged themselves by...
GERAGOS: Like I say, I just come from the perspective of being in courtrooms. You see this class kind of distinction and this class warfare played out almost every day in civil courtrooms where people are fighting about money all the time. COOPER: And, Matt, you write about this all the time. Could it all happen again? Could the same kind of thing happen again?
Look, what was our solution to the crash in 2008? We took all these corrupt, failing companies and instead of breaking them up or letting them go out of business, we merged them together into even bigger and more dangerous companies. So AIG was sort of the exception because it was essentially taken over by the government. But the rest of them were sort of shotgun-wedded to each other. And we have this sort of constellation of too big to fail companies that are even more dangerous and unstable than they were before.
COOPER: Because they're so much bigger?
TAIBBI: They're so much bigger and they're more too big to failure than they were before.
COOPER: Too big to failure.
NAVARRO: OK. So in the first two blocks, we have told our viewers that government's dysfunctional and Wall Street is dysfunctional. So, if you all feeling very optimistic about America right now, have a drink.
AMANPOUR: Well, people know.
Look, you see the polls over and over again. People don't want this. People do not want what their elected officials are giving them. They want something different. They want -- they don't want these extremes. They don't want this polarization. They don't want this whatever it is that leads people into the echo chamber and just all listening to themselves.
BRUNI: And 20-hour fauxlibuster are not going to get us out of it.
AMANPOUR: Right. And they want people to get together and work, to get together and work, despite their differences.
COOPER: The stock market now is at an all-time high. There's that pressure just as an individual investor to feel like, well, you got to get back -- got to get back into it.
GERAGOS: Well, as soon as the individual investor gets back into it then you will see a crash. That's the scam that is the stock market.
TAIBBI: But the stock market going up is actually kind of representative of this dichotomy that we have, because everybody on Wall Street, they are doing great. It's the rest of America, the people who are out there living in real cities, they're the ones who are having trouble getting real jobs.
GERAGOS: This stock market has run up at the same time that all the people who had their pension funds obliterated in 2008 have been afraid to get back in it. And when they all come back in it is when this thing will crash again.
BRUNI: And let's not forget that unemployment has dipped below 8 percent, it's still not at a number that anyone should be happy about. It's almost like people are breathing a sigh of relief because it's gone in that direction. Well, it's still pretty high.
NAVARRO: ... even more for people like Hispanics, for African- Americans, for women, for the young people.
AMANPOUR: I interviewed the prime minister of Italy. He told me his nightmare is the exodus of young people from Italy just trying to find a better job somewhere. The brain drain in Spain, it is the same thing. it's just a catastrophe.
COOPER: How many people actually went to jail in the wake of...
TAIBBI: There was Bernie Madoff. But he had no connection...
GERAGOS: How many bankers? I mean, they didn't prosecute anybody at a certain level or above. Nobody.
I mean, the guys who were getting prosecuted are guys who are checking the wrong boxes on loan applications and U.S. attorneys are picking up the low-hanging fruit. I mean, the idea that you couldn't prosecute -- I could give you case after case where they could have prosecuted, they could have convicted. They didn't do it.
GERAGOS: They just refused to.
Well, the Department of Justice and Lanny Breuer, who I like and who I have known for years, said...
TAIBBI: They were afraid to lose.
GERAGOS: They were afraid to lose. That was kind of their trepidation about all of this, because clearly there were numerous people, numerous people in the banks who were foreclosing on, for instance, people who were in Iraq.
Well, that's a crime under the current state of the law. Did anybody get prosecuted for that? No, not a single one.
TAIBBI: And you had even worse situations.
GERAGOS: What about the robo-signing?
TAIBBI: Robo-signing, HSBC, where they -- here's a bank that admitted laundering $880 million for a couple of Central and South American drug gangs.
GERAGOS: And they got fined.
TAIBBI: They got fined. They got a fine. Nobody did one day in jail. We have people in Rikers Island right across the river here who are doing time in jail for having a joint.
GERAGOS: I have had clients who thought it was a good deal in situations like that if they could just get less than 18 months on just putting out an application on a loan that was not true, but they paid the loan back. So there was no loss.
It was kind of the old Chick Hearn no harm no foul. Yet they can't come up with a way to prosecute some banker who's orchestrating all this and the derivatives and everything else? It's nonsense.
COOPER: We have got to take another break. Matt, great to have you here. Thank you very much.
Everybody else on the table, stick around.
Up next, Christiane's interview with the president of Iran. Christiane asked him about the Holocaust. He answered, but now some in Iran are saying he didn't say what he actually said. We will get to that next.
COOPER: Hey. Welcome back. There's a lot to talk about.
Christiane Amanpour's groundbreaking interview with Iran's new president. The two talked yesterday after the President Hassan Rouhani addressed the U.N. General Assembly. He had no hateful messages, like his predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. In fact, Rouhani said the Holocaust did happen.
Yet some Iranians today in the news agencies there said he actually didn't say what he said. Before we get to why they're saying that, here's the exchange from the interview. You can hear for yourself.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: One of the things your predecessor used to do from this very platform was deny the Holocaust and pretend that it was a myth. I want to know you, your position on the Holocaust. Do you accept what it was? And what was it?
HASSAN ROUHANI, IRANIAN PRESIDENT-ELECT (through translator): I have said before that I am not a historian and that when it comes to speaking of the dimensions of the Holocaust, it is the historians that should reflect on it.
But, in general, I can tell you that any crime that happens in history against humanity, including the crime the Nazis created towards the Jews, is reprehensible and condemnable.
Whatever criminality they committed against the Jews, we condemn. The taking of the human life is contemptible. It makes no difference whether that life is a Jewish life, Christian or Muslim.
For us, it's the same. The taking of a human life is something our religion rejects. But this does not mean that, on the other hand, you can say Nazis committed crimes against a group; now, therefore, they must usurp the land of another group and occupy it. This, too, is an act that should be condemned.
There should be an even-handed discussion.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Christiane is back with us, as well as the rest of our panel.
So, Fars, Iran's news agency, said, "American news channel CNN fabricated the remarks made by Iranian president in response the network's question about the Holocaust. CNN aired its interview with Rouhani on Tuesday. The news channel added to or changed parts of his remarks when Christiane Amanpour asked him about the Holocaust."
AMANPOUR: Well, piffle, ridiculous.
COOPER: Piffle? Is that a British term?
AMANPOUR: I'm not even going to dignity that with even a comment.
But what I can say is that we put the entire transcript out online. We have got the entire 56-minute interview, if anybody at Fars cares to read it. We have his translator. I speak Persian. I know what he said.
It's ridiculous. But it does actually show -- and frankly, this happens all the time. And by the way, Fars is always busy making up complete fabrications about what other world leaders say. But it does show how difficult, how very, very difficult it will be for Rouhani to thread this needle, walk this tight rope, to come towards the United States and the west. He told me he had full authority from the Supreme Leader to do that, to negotiate, to make a -- you know, chart a different course.
COOPER: What is the difficulty that he faces?
AMANPOUR: The difficulty is this. That the hardliners just don't want it to happen. And there is still a group of very, very powerful hardliners for whom resisting the Great Satan, resisting the United States, is their raison d'etre and has been since the beginning of the revolution.
They don't realize that time has passed them by and that the Iranian people do not want this. The majority of the Iranian people want exactly what Rouhani is saying. Moderation, a relationship with the west, freedom at home. All of that kind of thing. Obviously they want much more than what Rouhani is saying.
COOPER: One of the things he told -- one of the things he told you yesterday in the interview was that he has the approval of the Supreme Leader.
COOPER: A lot of people maybe don't realize there's a Supreme Leader, religious leader in Iran that's the real power.
AMANPOUR: That's correct. And he's given him the authority, at least that's what Rouhani told me, to negotiate on the nuclear fight and on other issues around the Middle East and also to negotiate directly with the United States. It is not a small thing that he's named his American-educated foreign minister. First of all naming that man as foreign minister is pretty dramatic. And he has put him in charge of the nuclear file and other negotiations.
President Obama announced that he's put Secretary Kerry in charge. So the two will be talking in their -- in their group meetings. But Fars wants to discredit Rouhani. That's what they want.
COOPER: Let me just put Piers asked former President Clinton about -- about what he said. I just want to play that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PIERS MORGAN, CNN ANCHOR: And he, compared to the interview that I did with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad last year, struck a much more conciliatory tone, particularly in the fact he admitted there had been a Holocaust, which is certainly nothing that Ahmadinejad would ever admit to. What do you think of that? How important is that kind of concession?
BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, first of all, I think it's an interesting commentary on the world in which we're living that admitting that the Holocaust occurred qualifies as being a moderate.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Of course President Clinton is right. I mean, the Holocaust happened. And the kind of stuff that the Iranian president, Ahmadinejad, did over the last eight years, bringing Holocaust deniers, having these ridiculous conferences in Iran, standing here at the United Nations doing that. But it's not the majority of the people who believe that.
GERAGOS: And this is my kind of maybe out of left field comment about the Holocaust deniers and everything else. We are -- our greatest ally there is Turkey. In that region. Yet Turkey denies the Armenian genocide.
And we -- to the point where Obama as a candidate would talk about it as "When I'm in office, I will recognize it. And I'll recognize the genocide." And he's been completely stultified when he's here. So there is -- there is a political dynamic here that's at play, I think, that is a little hypocritical.
NAVARRO: Let me ask you this. I read later today that he had had -- that Rouhani had an off-the-record meeting with a number of journalists.
AMANPOUR: An informal meeting, yes.
NAVARRO: Informal, where he basically reiterated what he said to you yesterday.
AMANPOUR: He did.
NAVARRO: Those journalists pressed for it to be on the record. So I'm wondering timing-wise was that before or after...
AMANPOUR: After what he said to me.
NAVARRO: No, no, no. Was that before or after Fars came out?
AMANPOUR: That I don't know. But here's the thing. What he said is what he said. What Fars wants to do is discredit him. And as you know, there are hardliners on both sides that do not want to see in their own different ways a rapprochement between the United States and Iran.
And that's what's going to happen. That's going to be the big, big, you know...
GERAGOS: Your point is great. And you should elaborate on it. Fars spends all of their time misinterpreting what other world leaders say.
AMANPOUR: Yes. A lot of their time.
NAVARRO: The last two days we have seen that he couldn't shake President Obama's hand yesterday because it was too complicated. And now they are clarifying, denying what he said regarding the Holocaust. It is a reality check as to hearing just what this rapprochement is all about.
AMANPOUR: It is a reality check. It really is. And it's also -- correct, it is a reality check on their side, but it's also a reality check for this side.
You know, as ugly and as painful and as bitter as it might be, unless this side can also give some in negotiations, these so-called moderates are going to go back home without anything, and then that window is going to close. If -- this is what I've come to the conclusion. If the nuclear crisis, the nuclear issue is going to be resolved between the west and Iran without force and without war, which I don't believe the United States wants or anybody wants, then it has to be negotiations. If there's going to be negotiations, that's not a capitulation. You can't demand surrender. You have to figure out compromise. And as you know, compromise requires both sides of compromise. So Iran has to do its maximum, obviously, to provide transparency.
COOPER: Got to take a quick break. During the break I have to figure out what piffle means. Not sure about that.
Just ahead, Dr. Drew Pinsky joins us to talk about his battle with prostate cancer. He's talking about it publicly for the first time, how it was found, how he beat it. What you need to know. We'll be right back.
COOPER: Welcome to AC 360 LATER. Thanks for joining us.
Dr. Drew did something extraordinary yesterday. He revealed that he recently battled prostate cancer. He had surgery in July to remove the tumor. His doctors caught it before it spread. He wrote about how his cancer was found and why he credits his wife for saving his life.
More than 200,000 men in the United States are diagnosed with prostate cancer every year, but for most of them it's a very private matter.
Dr. Drew joins me now along with Christiane Amanpour, Ana Navarro and Mark Geragos and Frank Bruni from "The New York Times."
Dr. Drew, why did you decide to talk about it? And what do you hope it accomplishes?
DR. DREW PINSKY, HLN ANCHOR: There really were three reasons. One was there were some bizarre rumors starting to swirl about, about me. And I thought I needed to set the record straight, No. 1.
No. 2 it is Prostate Awareness Month.
And No. 3, this is a common condition, and my story was so illustrative of the complexities of what goes on with this condition that I thought I really wanted to try to raise awareness about it and teach men about prostate cancer.
Before I get into that, though, I got to tell you one of the first people I saw about five days after my surgery, Mark Geragos.
COOPER: You guys are lifelong friends.
GERAGOS: We are. And our sons are very close, as well. His triplets and my youngest, Jacob. But do you see this -- you should see in the set here, Drew. They've got these pictures of Susan, your beautiful and lovely wife. And, you know, the biggest part of this story is that somehow this story never made it out with Susan knowing about it.
COOPER: Is that right?
PINSKY: And to be fair, Mark, it was you and her wife, your wife. They're good friends. The both of them kept the secret.
COOPER: I know more about your sex life than you want to know about here, post-operation.
PINSKY: And that's one of the important messages to put out here, if I had a robotic prostatectomy. And it used to be that was an open procedure. Three weeks in the hospital, and you could look forward to urinary incontinence and erectile dysfunction. Now functions are normal after these procedures. Not 100 percent certainty. People have been critical of me for saying that things went so well for me. They have. And most men can look forward to that if they need this surgery.
Prostate cancer, the other thing is, it's something you can wait on. Just because the "C" word, the cancer word, is applied doesn't mean you have to get it out right away. It's complicated, and my message is for other men, is if you get diagnosed -- and many men will -- work with your physician to figure out what the right timing is for you based on your grade, volume and position of your tumor.
COOPER: When do you get checked? I mean, I'm 46. I don't think I've ever had this checked. When do you actually get checked? Or when should you?
PINSKY: I suspect -- I suspect you have been checked. I just suspect. I'm just saying. And that's a big part of the check.
COOPER: I think I would remember that at the doctor's office, to be honest.
GERAGOS: It's a blood test.
COOPER: It's a blood test?
GERAGOS: Well, they have to do the PSA.
COOPER: So what do you recommend?
PINSKY: It's actually very controversial. It's actually very controversial. The American Urological Society is -- if you don't have prostate cancer in your family they're questioning whether PSAs should even be done.
When I first arrived at my active surveillance program they looked at me and said you probably shouldn't have been biopsied. Turned out I should have been biopsied. And I had a kind of aggressive tumor that, again, we couldn't see it as such at the time at which I was diagnosed. And it was, again, just the judgment and intuition of my physicians that led to this being taken out in exactly the time it needed to be taken out before I would have been in real serious trouble. Fifty is clearly where screening needs to begin for sure. Whether you do PSA, whether you do digital rectal exam, whether you do both is between you and your physician.
The fear is if we do too much screening there will be too much expensive intervention, too many -- you know, too much mortality from all these surgeries.
I am a big fan of the screening. My professional organization, the American College of Physician, is a little more aggressive with screening than the Urological Society.
COOPER: Was there a fear you had at all in talking about this? I mean, sort of embarrassment, you know, for a guy to talk about this; it's not something you hear every day.
PINSKY: Yes. You know, as a physician it didn't bother me; it hasn't bothered me at all. It doesn't bother Mark Geragos either, clearly, to talk about my sex life and my prostate. But no, it didn't bother me, because this is just -- it's simply another organ system. It's something that afflicts many millions of men. It's a common condition. And we should be talking about it very matter-of- factually.
The problem is most men are fearful of even getting into screening, for fear that something is going to be found, because in their mind, it means the end of their sexual relationship; it means urinary difficulties. And the fact is, we live in a day and age where the technology has progressed to the point that you don't have to worry about those consequences really so much at all.
BRUNI: I just had a question. I'm a little confused about the screening thing. I remember reading the news stories last year that I think there were federal recommendations that do a whole lot less screenings. Do you disagree with those? Do you think those were a little hasty?
COOPER: They raised the age or something.
PINSKY: Absolutely. Had I been screened specifically by the guidelines, I would be dead. Specifically.
PINSKY: And people -- again it's like the Ford Pinto guys. People tried to judge what the cost-effective ratio is of screening. And in fact, had I done it by the guidelines of the various societies, I would have been in big trouble.
My society, because my father and uncle had prostate cancer, says I should have been screened. But by the way, when I went to biopsy, I still had a normal PSA. It just had progressed rapidly. It was the intuition of my physician that I needed to go a little further. I thought -- personally, I thought they were way -- going too far.
BRUNI: You think that less screening message was the wrong one? That it sent...
PINSKY: Well, it depends on what the -- what the goals are. I mean, if it's saving an individual's life, it's not. It's the wrong one. But if it's being cost-effective medicine, which is really the way we practice medicine these days, it is the right message.
AMANPOUR: And there was...
PINSKY: We're always very concerned about overdoing intervention.
BRUNI: It wasn't just about cost effectiveness if I remember correctly. It was about false positives. It was about treatments that weren't necessary.
PINSKY: That's exactly right.
AMANPOUR: And obviously, same thing about mammograms. Exactly. Seeing the two ladies at the table. All this controversy a few years ago about oh, no, you know, you shouldn't actually be tested this many times at this age, et cetera. And there was a big controversy over it.
NAVARRO: And it was exactly the same as he's been saying. And the survivors of this -- and I have many, many friends who are breast cancer survivors, including, you know, people in Congress -- talk about this very strongly. And got some of that pushed back.
COOPER: The bottom line, Drew, is I would assume you're saying is to have that conversation with your doctor. I mean on a one-on-one basis.
COOPER: Not just use national statistics.
PINSKY: That's right. These are guidelines. They're guidelines. They're screening guidelines. And your specific genetic circumstance needs to be sorted out between you and your doctor.
Again, I thought they were going too aggressively with me. Turns out they were not. There was a tributary of my tumor heading towards the surface of my prostate. Had we gone even a few more months with that surveillance, I could have been in big, big trouble.
So based on their judgment -- and by the way, my wife's intuition to go get a physical, which I was fighting off, as well. I just thought, you know, everyone's making too much of everything. They were all correct.
It was that you can't be objective about your own health care. You need an individual sitting there thinking about this and applying their judgment and objectivity.
NAVARRO: Well, it sounds like she saved your life.
PINSKY: She did. NAVARRO: So I'm hoping you gave her a lot of jewelry.
GERAGOS: Susan's not jewelry challenged.
PINSKY: Good shot.
COOPER: Hey, Dr. Drew, I'm glad you're doing all right. And speaking out on this. Thank you so much, Dr. Drew. Great to have you.
Up next, cracking down on fake online reviews. Have you ever gone on, like, Yelp or one of these Web sites to check out a review? Why you can't believe every glowing review you read on sites like Yelp or even negative reviews. We'll talk about it ahead.
COOPER: We've all heard the saying do not believe everything you read. Nowadays, maybe it should be don't believe, really, anything you read, certainly on the Internet.
You know those customer reviews on sites like Yelp, Citysearch, Trip Advisor? Many are actually not written by customers, it turns out, but by others, including companies that actually sell fake reviews.
New York's attorney general is cracking down on false online reviews, settling cases with 19 companies so far after a sting operation.
We're back with our panel.
You've done restaurant reviews. I mean, A, are you surprised by this at all?
BRUNI: I'm not surprised. You know, when I left that gig and had a bunch of Q&A's with people, the most common question I got was would Yelp, would Citysearch, would Menu Pages put formal reviewers out of business? And I said no, they won't, because what people already know and will learn more and more over time is you cannot trust those.
BRUNI: You know, we want to think of the Internet as word of mouth writ large. Right? But word of mouth is from mouths you know. You know if they've got conflicts or vested interests.
The Internet you don't know, when you're reading something, if that rave about a restaurant is a chef's mother. You don't know what any more than if you know the guy who's flirting with you is really named Carlos Danger.
The Internet is a realm of masks and scams.
COOPER: Same thing with hotel reviews.
BRUNI: Yes. COOPER: I mean, they're wildly all over the place. And so much of it is about -- also, I've always looked at it from the flip side. My partner owns bars in the city. And one aggrieved customer who can be a very rude person can put a review up on these things and destroy a small business.
BRUNI: Or get her friends to do it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Vengeance.
AMANPOUR: It's a matter of trusting your brand.
NAVARRO: Has anyone offered to pay you to write a good review?
BRUNI: Only once. Only once.
AMANPOUR: You have to trust -- you have to trust people.
AMANPOUR: It's where you get your news from. You have to trust your newscasters. You have to trust your reviewers. Frank Bruni and our own, you know, Anthony Bourdain. That's who I go to.
BRUNI: That's what -- I mean, that's why people seek out your interviews. They know who's doing the interview.
NAVARRO: One of my (UNINTELLIGIBLE) is Zagat. When I go on a world tour to a new city, I call Lee Schrager (ph) or I go to Zagat online. What about that?
BRUNI: Well, I mean, I think that's a broader survey of people and that's a little bit less corruptible, but it has its own flaws, which we could go into the whole process.
GERAGOS: You've got to buy in.
BRUNI: ... the smart person triangulates. Like when I go -- When I'm traveling somewhere and I'm trying to figure out where to eat, I do look at Yelp and those sorts of things. I do look at whatever the local Zagat is. But then I also ask people I know. And I think if you kind of look for where the overlap of all the sets is, that's when you know you're in a zone that's trustworthy.
But when you're just using the Internet, as the attorney general's report showed, unless we're all talking about, you really, really don't know where these raves or where these pans are coming from. Because people can launch, and do launch, orchestrated campaigns.
GERAGOS: You can get competitors who are going to try and torch your place, or you've got somebody who just got fired.
BRUNI: You have a lot of cousins. Right? COOPER: Talking about the anonymity of the Internet, which I mean, you see this on Twitter. You see this in all sorts of online forums, that that's -- allows people to just say things they would never say in real life.
GERAGOS: Which is why you purposely shame people on Twitter.
COOPER: I like to shame -- I like to shame...
GERAGOS: You do like to shame.
COOPER: Not to shame. I like to read somebody's Twitter history and respond with some specific suggestions to them.
GERAGOS: Right. But the Internet is all...
NAVARRO: If we compare hate tweets, we might be pretty even.
BRUNI: You also don't know -- there's one other thing we haven't touched on. You also don't know what that person's experience or authority is.
You know, I've read raves on the Internet about restaurants and probably the person went there and had one burger. You know, didn't try other things on the menu. I've read screeds, and the person probably went there and, again, had one meal on one night when maybe the chef was sick.
COOPER: When you do a review, or were doing reviews of restaurants, I mean, how many dishes would you try?
BRUNI: Like all of them. We would -- in the "Times," we...
BRUNI: If I can give a shout out to "The Times" and our current critic Pete Wells. I mean, we have a system where, if you're giving a restaurant a star rating, which can have enormous economic impact, you go back at least three times. You go with other people so that you can fan out across the menu, try things, that you can try things more than once.
BRUNI: It's never going to be scientific. But these things have enormous economic consequences. And you have to be really responsible about them. And "The Times" is lucky that, even in this horrible journalistic economy, we still are funded well enough that we can do this.
COOPER: When you were doing this, did you have to hide your identity? I mean, did you never want to be photographed and recognized?
BRUNI: I didn't. I didn't do any. I wouldn't have been on a show like this.
AMANPOUR: You wouldn't go in in your name.
BRUNI: Why is this about me all of a sudden?
NAVARRO: This is about Yelp.
AMANPOUR: But you wouldn't have gone in under Bruni either, right?
BRUNI: No, no. I used all sorts of different names.
NAVARRO: Now you covered politics. You covered the Vatican.
NAVARRO: And then you were a food critic. How does that happen in only one lifetime?
BRUNI: I have -- my little brother says I don't have a career; I have an attention deficit disorder.
COOPER: Do you say that's true? What's next?
BRUNI: Journalism is (UNINTELLIGIBLE). I don't know. Fashion critic? No.
COOPER: Listen, thank you so much for being on the table tonight. It was fun. It was a good discussion. I want to thank everybody on the panel, as well.
Thanks for watching and thanks for tweeting us, as well. That's all the time -- As long as you're real person and not a fake person. That's all the time we have for AC 360 LATER. We'll see you again tomorrow night, 10 p.m. Have a great night.