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Deposition Shows Rupert Murdoch Acknowledged That Fox News Hosts Endorsed False Stolen Election Claims; Dilbert Distributor And Book Publisher Drop Creator Scott Adams Over His Racist Remarks; Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) Releasing New Book As 2024 Buzz Heats Up; Governor DeSantis Releases His Book "The Courage To Be Free"; To Call Or To Text?; "Cocaine Bear" Performs In The Box Office. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired February 27, 2023 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening everyone. I'm Alisyn Camerota. Welcome to CNN TONIGHT.
New revelations from that $1.6 billion Dominion lawsuit against Fox. We'll tell you what Rupert Murdoch said under oath about multiple Fox hosts and the lies they were peddling about the 2020 election. CNN's still digging through the court documents tonight, hundreds of pages worth, so we'll have more in a moment.
Plus, the racist rant from the creator of the Dilbert cartoon.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCOTT ADAMS, CARTOONIST: So, if nearly half of all blacks are not okay with white people, according to this poll, not according to me, according to this poll, that's a hate group. The best advice I would give to white people is to get the hell away from black people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: Well, now newspapers across the country are dropping the Dilbert cartoon. The creator plans to be canceled, but maybe that's just the free market at work. We'll discuss.
Also, does a bear do cocaine in the woods? Well, this one does. Why movie audiences are hooked on Cocaine Bear.
Okay. But we start with the new revelations about Fox and Rupert Murdoch. Here with me in the studio L.A. Times Columnist L.Z. Granderson, CNN Legal Analyst Elie Honig, CNN Media Reporter Oliver Darcy and Mark McKinnon, Executive Producer of the Circus. Gentlemen, great to have you all here.
Let's dive into what Rupert Murdoch said under oath because it's fascinating. Oliver, should we do a dramatic reading between the attorney and Rupert Murdoch.
OLIVER DARCY, CNN MEDIA REPORTER: As long as you're Murdoch.
CAMEROTA: I'm going to be Murdoch. But wait a minute. Can anybody else do an Australian accent here?
ELIE HONIG, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: McKinnon.
L.Z. GRANDERSON, OP-ED COLUMNIST, LOS ANGELES TIMES: You've got the gear.
CAMEROTA: All right. We may have to call you in as an understudy. Okay, Phil, this is what it says. This is the newly-released excerpt from all of these court documents from the $1.6 billion Dominion voting systems lawsuit.
DARCY: Right so this is -- I'm a Dominion lawyer. You are aware now that Fox did more than simply host these guests and give them a platform? Correct?
CAMEROTA: I think you've shown me some materials in support of that.
DARCY: In fact, you are now aware that Fox endorsed at times this false notion of a stolen election?
CAMEROTA: Not Fox, no, not Fox, but maybe Lou Dobbs, maybe Maria as commentators, stop, timeout. They are Fox. They are Fox hosts. When he says not Fox, that's a lie, they are Fox hosts.
DARCY: They make up Fox. And he controls, he has the ability, as he admits later on, to control the programming of Fox. So, if he doesn't like what Maria or Lou or Sean Hannity are saying, he has the ability to call them up on the phone and say don't do this on my network, or else.
CAMEROTA: Okay. Keep going, I'm supposed to ditch my accent, because my accent -- I have a general accent for anything, and that's just what I use but it has nothing to do with being --
GANDERSON: I could see Meryl Streep is shaking her boots right now. You keep going.
CAMEROTA: Okay, thank you. I like this. Go.
DARCY: We went through Fox Host Maria Bartiromo, yes?
CAMEROTA: Yes, come on.
DARCY: Fox Host Jeanine Pirro.
CAMEROTA: I think so.
DARCY: Fox Business Host Lou Dobbs.
CAMEROTA: Oh, a lot.
DARCY: Fox Host Sean Hannity.
CAMEROTA: A bit.
DARCY: All were in the document, correct?
CAMEROTA: Yes, they we're.
DARCY: About Fox endorsing the narrative of a stolen election, correct?
CAMEROTA: No. Some of our commentators were endorsing it.
DARCY: About their endorsement of a stolen election?
CAMEROTA: Yes, they endorsed.
Okay that's the point. Here is the point, he's drawing a distinction. You guys are commentators, I'm a -- well, you're also an anchor here and a reporter. I am a host. There is a difference. There's a difference in responsibility.
As commentators, you can offer your opinions but you can't make things up out of whole cloth or we are supposed to call you on it. As hosts, we cannot make up lies out of whole cloth. That's not what you do at a real network. That's what his hosts were all doing.
DARCY: I think it's important to point this out. At a news network, what we do at CNN, what other news organizations do, is they try to find out what the truth is and then relay that to their audiences.
And, of course, is not always perfect. Sometimes there are mistakes, but that's what they do.
In this case, we are seeing that Fox knew the truth, knew that the election wasn't stolen, it wasn't rigged against Trump. They knew this behind the scenes, the highest ranking people, Rupert Murdoch, as well as Fox CEO Suzanne Scott, they knew this, as well as Hosts like Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingraham, on and on it goes. But they hid that truth from their viewers, and worse, they fed them the nonsense that they were trashing privately behind the scenes. That's not what a news network does.
MARK MCKINNON, FORMER ADVISER TO GEORGE W. BUSH AND JOHN MCCAIN: Well, I'll ask Elie, who is the expert on First Amendment law. I mean, this certainly helps meet that threshold, doesn't it, when you are knowingly lying.
HONIG: It does.
MCKINNON: Which he admits here in the deposition.
HONIG: So, here's the legal standard that we need to be looking at. It's called actual malice. And it means, to say something false, but to do it either knowing that it is false or with reckless indifference to the truth or falsity of it.
And here, look, the text, I think, established the knowing false of the other, and here is the keyword from the segment that you just read, endorsed. Because here's the defense that Fox is going to make. They're going to say, we were just presenting newsworthy coverage. We were showing what Donald Trump was saying, what people around him were saying. That undoubtedly is newsworthy. We were transmitting that, we were broadcasting that.
But here, we have Rupert Murdoch saying, we endorsed it, which is exactly what the plaintiff's -- what Dominion is going to say. He is going to try this whole thing, well, it was them. It was my four key anchors, it wasn't us. That's not going to fly for the reasons that you just set up. So, that notion of endorsing is going to be crucial.
CAMEROTA: So, how much trouble are they in?
HONIG: Well, I think they are in big trouble potentially losing a verdict here. I mean, look, I think that these texts fairly clearly establish actual malice. I'm not sure they're going to recover $1.6 billion. This is a company that has been valued even before this at a fraction of a fraction of $1.6 billion, but I like their odds on winning a verdict here.
GRANDERSON: And besides, I mean, yes, right now, that is their value. But there is no way for them to say without a shadow of a doubt that the value that was damage today or in 2020 won't impact what the revenue could have been, say, in 2032.
So, yes, I can see them saying, yes, today, this is your value, but because of these lies, you've been devalued going forward, and how do you quantify that?
HONIG: Yes. I think that's exactly right. I think the argument will be, you've essentially killed our businesses here, because we rely on local officials, state officials to hire us to do the duty of election logistics and now we're done. And so maybe you take the current value and you multiply it out to see in the future.
GRANDERSON: Especially if you stretched it out, right? So, if you look at say the red states. The red states may not necessarily want to have Dominion be part of their election cycle going forward, right?
HONIG: Or anybody for that matter.
GRANDERSON: But particularly like those that may be Trump-leaning, right? So, obviously, now, whatever those number states or elections are, they may have lost that simply because of the lies that was told about them in 2020.
MCKINNON: Yes. But they still have a good business with Venezuela.
CAMEROTA: Well, I want to read one more excerpt because I think that this one is also really disturbing. So, during Trump's campaign, Rupert provided Trump's son-in-law and Senior Adviser Jared Kushner with Fox confidential information about Biden's ads along with debate strategy.
But on election night, Rupert would not help with the Arizona call. As Rupert describe it, my friend Jared Kushner called me saying this is terrible. I could hear Trump's voice in the background shouting. But Rupert refused to budge. And I said, well the numbers are the numbers. By this point, Rupert knew no fraud had occurred.
Is it fair to say you seriously doubted any claim of a massive election fraud? Oh, yes. And you doubted it from the beginning? Yes. I mean, we thought everything was on the up and up. I think that was shown when we showed Arizona.
The point Oliver is that he shared debate strategy with the Trump campaign and confidential information about Biden's ads?
DARCY: I think there are two ways to look at what we're seeing now. One is the legal case, so whether Dominion has any legal action against Fox and whether they win.
But also outside of that, this just exposed Fox News for what it is, right? And in this case, we're seeing now that Murdoch was seemingly willing to help Jared Kushner and the Trump campaign have an edge over Biden. We saw in the previous filing, where he talked about do whatever you can to help in the Georgia special election. I'm assuming he didn't mean help the Democrats. And so it really has exposed Fox for this GOP propaganda arm that it has been for some time but we've never seen the evidence like this. I mean, we've never seen it from the horse's mouth.
MCKINNON: Not fair and not balance clearly now. And interestingly in 2000, during that presidential campaign, someone sent our debate tapes for the Bush campaign to the Gore campaign, they went to prison.
CAMEROTA: Is that right? I remember that story and -- yes, I mean, I remember that story. And that feels like justice. I mean, that feels right. Because the fact that he was sharing debate strategy, Joe Biden wouldn't have known that.
MCKINNON: This was a lowly assistant, not Rupert Murdoch.
CAMEROTA: And yet here, I mean --
HONIG: Yes. I mean, look, it's horrible journalistically. I'm trying to figure out what the crime is.
MCKINNON: Yes, I was going to ask you that.
HONIG: I don't know. I mean, there's got to be more to that story. I mean, it's not necessarily a crime. It's horrible journalistic practice to do this. It goes to the intent perhaps there was a lie to an FBI investigator or something that would give it a criminal hook. But, yes, look, if -- how this becomes relevant in the defamation lawsuit is you say, look, here's their motives laid bare. They're not trying to play it down the middle. This is the argument the Dominion is going to make.
GRANDERSON: Yes. I hate to be the person to bring this up, but it's not as if there hasn't been other examples of exactly we are talking about with other networks including this one with Donna Brazile and the rumors that she gave questions to Hillary Clinton.
CAMEROTA: But then you do lose your job.
GRANDERSON: But you do lose your job, exactly.
CAMEROTA: After that, because it's unethical.
GRANDERSON: But what happens to the viewers? They start thinking, you are just like them.
And so when I think about this story in particular and I think about these quotes and I go, okay, or Brian Williams lied about the bodies floating down the street in New Orleans, and he still got a show, right? We've seen other stories of credible journalists and caught in a lie. So, I think we're at a point in our industry in a way where we need have a come to somebody meeting, it could be Jesus or whoever your spiritual guide is, but we need to get back to defining what objectivity is, defining what opinion is and making sure those lines aren't blurred anymore.
CAMEROTA: I hear what you're saying L.Z., and I think that that's a good point, and I understand that the trust to medias low. But those that you're describing didn't lead to an insurrection.
GRANDERSON: No, you're right, absolutely.
CAMEROTA: And so, I mean, the level that these lies and how pervasive they were and how much they ginned up up the audience was worse than what Brian Williams did.
GRANDERSON: I agree 100 percent. I'm just saying in terms of viewership, how do you tell that to a viewer that his lies are worse than those lies?
CAMEROTA: I got you. All right, thank you all very much.
Next, the creator of the workplace comic, Dilbert, has been, well, let go from several newspapers after a racist rant that he posted on YouTube. He knew what he was doing. So, why is he the victim?
CAMEROTA: Of course, you know the long-time cartoon Dilbert. It's been around for more than 30 years. Well, now, newspapers across the country are dropping Dilbert after its creator, Scott Adams, went on a racist rant in which he said, and I'm quoting, the advice I would get to white people is to get the hell away from black people, end quote.
Joining me now, L.Z. Granderson, former Professional Tennis Player Patrick McEnroe, Jessica Washington, Senior Reporter for The Root, and Mark McKinnon.
Should I play more of what he said? I mean, should I just --
GRANDERSON: Is it Australian?
CAMEROTA: No. It's just -- it's -- no, in American. Should I play more? Are we good with that? Okay. All right, here we go. Here's another sound from his rant.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ADAMS: The best advice I would give to white people is to get the hell away from black people. Just get the (BLEEP) away. Wherever you have to go, just get away. There is no fixing this. This can't be fixed. This can't be fixed. You just have to escape.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: Well, I mean, Jessica, I barely know where to begin.
JESSICA WASHINGTON, SENIOR REPORTER, THE ROOT: There is a lot to say there. I mean just can't believe he would go on a public platform and say something like this, especially when you have so much to lose. You know you've had this popular comic for 30 years. You must know what you were saying is incredibly racist. There's no other way to spin that. So, I just can't believe you have this career that you care about theoretically and then you are going to go about and say this. It must be what you really feel.
CAMEROTA: And we will get to the fallout for him in a minute. But before we get to the fallout, I want to talk about what he was responding to, which are these cockamamie poll, alleged poll questions. I don't know what on Earth, what reputable poll on Earth would ask these questions, Mark, but here they are. First question, do you agree or disagree with the statement, is it okay to be white? What does that even mean? I mean, that is basically the respondents just over half agreed and 21 percent said they don't know, because they don't know. How do you answer that question? I mean, it's so ripe for misinterpretation.
MCKINNON: Oh, completely, and it's so fly to me. First of all, there're two ways to interpret that. Is it okay for white people to be white? But also if you're a black respondent saying is it okay for me to be a culture and be white, right? Well, that would be one way to read it.
CAMEROTA: It could be anything. I mean, it could be --
MCKINNON: And it's ridiculous example. And the history of this saying is it's from a white supremacist catfish.
CAMEROTA: This is a Rasmussen poll. We don't use Rasmussen at CNN because it just doesn't -- the methodology doesn't meet standard polling standards. So, the question itself is cockamamie.
PATRICK MCENROE, FORMER PROFESSIONAL TENNIS PLAYER: Now you know why CNN doesn't use it.
CAMEROTA: Absolutely, but we've always known it. I mean, they're baiting people.
MCENROE: Completely. I mean, that's another layer to this whole issue. The first layer is I actually have to admit I followed Scott Adams on Twitter, okay? And I would watch him, he do these coffee chats in the morning. And I remember literally watching him a couple of days ago watching this and I'm like, did he just say that? I mean, what exactly could he possibly be thinking?
CAMEROTA: Had you ever heard him say objectionable things before?
MCENROE: I never heard him say anything like that. I know he's sort of got a conservative slant to him and to the different things he talked about. I try to follow different people of all different backgrounds to hear what's out there. But when I heard that, it was just bizarre.
And in the aftermath of it, he said, well, now, I'm being canceled. That's my punishment. I'm like, dude -- I mean, because of the First Amendment. I said, well you've got the right to say whatever you want but so do magazines and newspapers and us have the right to then react to what you said, including those people that put his comment.
CAMEROTA: It's called the free market.
CAMEROTA: And if they don't think that he represents what they want their audience to buy, they don't need to write it. By, the way, you can still get the Dilbert cartoon at dilbert.com, so he's not being canceled.
GRANDERSON: Well, I don't believe canceling exists to begin with. I believe in accountability, and I believe in people using the phrase cancel culture to hide accountability. But I actually can't think of anyone who's been canceled, particular canceled by black people. Because if we really were canceling things, I don't think Dilbert would be high on the list.
But I'll just say it. I didn't know it was a thing until the story came out.
So, it's just sort of like you're giving us a lot of credit for power we don't possess. Because if we possess the power, I think a lot of things in Congress will be different, I think a lot of the legislative, we would think, I think reparations would have already happened if we had that much power. Instead, you're thinking is Dilbert that we're all after? I really don't think so.
CAMEROTA: He says -- so, here is his response, Scott Adams, the creator Dilbert, says, an obvious question for those who canceled me is do they disagree with my point? So far, I have not seen it. I only seen disagreement with my use of hyperbole. That's how far he is into his own echo chamber he is. It doesn't see anybody who disagrees with his own point. Well, here it is. Here it is, Scott.
MCENROE: You don't have to look that far.
WASHINGTON: Plenty of people who disagree with him. And what I just have to say is companies making a decision about who they want to platform and including racist language is one of the things that they want to think about before they decide, hey, there's only a few amount of people were going to put in The Washington Post, who we're going to put in the L.A. Times, and we want those people to represent our values to a certain extent. That is not canceling anybody, that is deciding we have a limited amount of space and where do you use it in a way that feels appropriate and respectful and there's nothing wrong with that.
CAMEROTA: USA Today CEO was quite clear about it. Here's what he said. He said the decision was easy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE REED, CHAIRMAN, CEO, GANNETT CO. INC: It was frankly an easy decision.
We found the remarks hateful, hurtful and just crossed the line.
Look, we believe in free speech. We believe in creating a place for different points of view, but there is a line that gets crossed where things become racism. And that's not an area we choose to traffic in or participate in.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: Does that gentlemen look like or sound like he's leading a woke mob?
GRANDERSON: I did appreciate the comment palette (ph), though, the combination there.
Racism is free speech. If you say something racist, that still falls under the First Amendment, you're still covered under free speech. So, I just think that a lot of people who have this mindset, if you will, are used to the fact that having someone respond to the racism is also free speech and that the repercussions of your statements fall under free speech.
MCENROE: It's just remarkable that he can live in this place. He's obviously been an incredibly successful guy, talking about what's happening in the corporate world and the corporate offices. And he's been hugely successful. And then to be so brain dead to think that people -- no one disagrees with what he is saying or he hasn't heard of. I guess he's not watching CNN.
CAMEROTA: I guess not. I mean, I don't even understand what his interaction with the real world is if he thinks that people don't disagree with him. GRANDERSON: I don't know what his interaction is but I will say this about the recent history of this country. What he has said has played out. That's the white fight of this country right in urban cities. They got away from people of color for a variety of reasons, but that was the impetus. So, what he is saying is from an era this country that has documented our history is the simple fact that he is saying as if he is still living in that history as opposed to where we are today.
CAMEROTA: Friends, thank you very much.
Now to this, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis getting ready to launch his new book. What he really wants readers to know about the real him. We'll discuss, next.
CAMEROTA: All right. Tonight, Donald Trump's biggest Republican rival thus far is making moves in what maybe a soft launch of his bid for the White House. Governor Ron DeSantis is putting out a new book titled The Courage to Be Free, Florida's Blueprint for America's Revival. And it focuses on his culture war battles against what he calls wokeness and woke corporations. Several of the party's biggest donors are cutting him seven-figure checks ahead of a potential 2024 run.
We're back with L.Z. Granderson, Patrick McEnroe, Molly Jong-Fast joins and Mark McKinnon.
Okay. Guys, let me do another reading. That's all the rage tonight.
MCKINNON: Which accent?
CAMEROTA: No, I'm just going to use mine. I've learned my lesson.
Okay. So, this is about the woke battles that he prides himself on. So, this is from Governor DeSantis' new book. The battles that would be fought in Florida from defeating the biomedical security state, I think he means COVID shutdowns, to stifling woke corporations, to fighting indoctrination in schools strike at the heart of what it means to be a Floridian and an American. Mark, this is his calling card. I mean, this is what he is staking is brand on.
MCKINNON: 100 percent. And it's all about grievance and, by the way, a lot of is COVID related, and that is really launched him. He's gotten to the right of Donald Trump on COVID and he's attacking Donald Trump on COVID for being too permissive about the vaccines and the shutting down of government. So, that's created an opening for Ron DeSantis.
And, listen, it says a lot that this guy has turned a swing state reliably red now. He won Miami by 20 points. Hillary Clinton won it by 20 points. That's how much of a swing it was. So, I mean, there's a reason why there's Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis and then at distant --
CAMEROTA: And so if he can do it in Florida, can he do it in the U.S.? In other words, is Florida a test case for across the U.S., they would respond to the same thing, or is a Florida unique in some way?
MCKINNON: Well, listen, I think the Republican base is responding well beyond Florida and I think he's got a blueprint is going to roll out. And I think he's got potentially very -- a ton of potential in the Republican primaries. The question is, has he tapped too far down that work well to run in a new general election and be successful?
MOLLY JONG-FAST, HOST, FAST POLITICS PODCAST: I just don't understand how you sell Trump-ism without Trump, right? Like this is a less charismatic guy who's not as funny and not as entertaining, and he's going to somehow convince the Trumpy base that they should love him instead of the guy who created Trumpism?
CAMEROTA: Well, some people used to say --
MCKINNON: But what they like is he's a fighter.
CAMEROTA: Yeah. They like the fighter aspect; I agree with that. But also, what some people used to say when Trump was president was, yeah, I object to him, I object to his style, I don't like all the coarseness, but I do like his policies. And so, if you feel that way then you get --
MCKINNON: I don't think that's true.
MCENROE: I think that's exactly where he is coming from though, because I think exactly, Alisyn, you're spot on. I've had -- I've got so many people come up to me over the last few years and said, you know, love Trump's policies, love some of the things he was trying to do on immigration and cutting taxes and all these different things, but if we could just get rid of the personality of Trump.
Now you've got a guy in DeSantis who's in my view even smarter. He is certainly more calculating.
JONG-FAST: He's smart.
MCENROE: Trump is throwing a lot of stuff out there, gets him into trouble, also gets him a lot of people that like him because of that. Because to me, he feels authentic. DeSantis feels to me very calculating and extremely smart which I find also extremely scary.
JONG-FAST: But he's Jeb Bush without the charisma.
CAMEROTA: I'm so glad you brought up Jeb Bush because I was very interested to hear today that Jeb Bush -- well, it wasn't today. I guess it might have aired today, but in any event, on a Fox special. Jeb seems to be a fan. So here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BRIAN KILMEADE, FOX NEWS HOST: Is this Ron DeSantis' opportunity to
run for higher office?
JEB BUSH, FORMER GOVERNOR OF FLORIDA: I think it is. He's been a really effective governor. He's young, I think we're on the verge of a generational change in our politics. I kind of hope so. I think it's more time for a more forward leaning, future oriented conversation in our politics as well.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: Lots of headlines, LZ. Are you calling that an endorsement? I don't know if that's an endorsement but he seems to be a fan.
LZ GRANDERSON, OP-ED COLUMNIST, LOS ANGELES TIMES: I don't know if it's an endorsement. If it is an endorsement, who cares because the Bush family has been basically kicked out of the Republican Party in terms of power anyway. To me it looks more like a person who is trying to latch on to someone who had to train moving a certain direction because he's been jettisoned from his party.
His son has been jettisoned from the party; the family is basically out of the Republican P0arty in terms of power. This seems like a play to try to say, hey, don't forget about us. We can help you if you bring us in. As far as DeSantis versus Trump is concerned, one, they both have charisma, right. We all have a charisma. It's who you are charismatic to that matters.
And I believe that DeSantis is charismatic enough to Trump voters that it will work. You don't have to fully beat Trump, you just need to be enough to attract Trump voters, and I think he does that.
JONG-FAST: My question is, though, I don't know -- Trump is not going to go quietly, so we don't have Trump being like, oh, vote for DeSantis. He's got my endorsement. I can't possibly win. Trump is going to just go after DeSantis.
MCENROE: What to your point about Bush, the Bush family, was Trump. They got them kicked out of the Republican Party. So, he's going to absolutely try to do the same with DeSantis.
CAMEROTA: And what do you think about Jeb being a fan of DeSantis?
MCKINNON: Well, I think he sees the writing on the wall and he knows that Trump can win, and he thinks that DeSantis can. He's a generational candidate. He'd be a much better candidate. I mean, Trump is the human Hindenburg floating over the Republican Party.
And they all know, I mean, people, you know, who have half a brain in the Republican Party know that Trump is a loser. I mean, he lost not only an election, a presidential re-elect, but he lost the House and the Senate for the first time in 100 years.
CAMEROTA: Let's talk a little about another candidate who has not yet thrown his hat fully in the ring, that's Joe Biden. And there's an interesting piece in "The Atlantic" by Mark Leibovich who talks about -- the headline is "The Case for a Primary Challenge to Joe Biden: There must be some free-thinking Democrat who is willing to get in the race." Any of you had any thoughts on --
MCKINNON: I love that. I think it's -- I think he's exactly right. I think it'd be good for the party; I think it'd be good for Biden to have somebody out there challenging him and keeping, you know -- you want some spring training at the very least.
JONG-FAST: Marianne Williamson's in already.
GRANDERSON: Let's not do that.
GRANDERSON: I don't want to necessarily say that President Biden shouldn't run for re-election, but I do think it is important that we remember some of the lessons, particularly from the Democratic Party when it comes to individuals who perhaps are holding positions of power beyond extended period of time and what that could mean going forward. So --
CAMEROTA: But I mean, you're allowed to have two terms.
GRANDERSON: You are allowed to have two terms, and I'm not suggesting he should not take advantage of that. He does certainly has record to run on. My question is, how do you continue to call yourself the part of the future, when you continue to present views of the past?
MCKINNON: That's exactly right. And that's why it was so great when Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer handed over the baton to a new generation of leader. Biden said during the campaign that he intended to be a transitional president.
MCENROE: It'd be nice to see a lot of politicians do that, to hand it over. I don't see that happen very often on Republican or the Democrats itself.
JONG-FAST: But I would argue, you know, the voter's chose Biden. They like him, right? A lot of people and the pundit class didn't like him. A lot of pieces like this were written. And then in the midterms, Biden, like, really ran eh table in a way that none of us thought he would.
CAMEROTA: Here's what Mark Leibovich has to say about that. He says his party overperformed in the midterms. He seems to be humming along fine -- feisty State of the Union there, muscular visit to Ukraine there, and endless jokers to the right. He has achieved important things, has clearly enjoyed the gig and appears quite eager for more. The difference in Biden's case, of course, goes directly to the second reason for his special predicament. It begins with an 8."
GRANDERSON: His age. JONG-FAST: Yeah.
GRANDERSON: His age. I mean, and that's a real conversation to be having. I honestly believe that Joe Biden has done plenty to substantiate his desire to run for reelection. But it's not about whether or not you should, because (inaudible) what does the party need and what does the country need? And I think personally if he were not to run for reelection, he would go out with cheers. Why? Look at what he has accomplished.
MCENROE: The problem is who would take his place? That's the problem. And I think --
GRANDERSON: That's not a problem. It's an opportunity.
MCENROE: Okay. Let me -- let me correct myself. Who can win?
JONG-FAST: Right. I think --
MCENROE: Who can win because Biden --
MCKINNON: I think a lot of people can beat Ron DeSantis that Joe Biden can't.
JONG-FAST: I mean, I also think Biden versus Trump, they have a four- year age difference. So, I mean, if that's the way it plays again and not one wants to see that again.
MCKINNON: Well, you're betting on it being Trump then. That's a big bet on it being Trump.
JONG-FAST: I mean, I'm just saying.
GRANDERSON: I don't want a person versus person. I want ideas versus ideas. I think this is what the midterms election actually said, was that people want to talk about ideas, legislation. How are you going to help me?
MCENROE: Listen, Mark's point is not that he shouldn't run. He's just saying let other people (inaudible).
CAMEROTA: Tell us about the circus while we have you. And you're --is it focusing on DeSantis?
MCKINNON: Well, it is. It's (inaudible) on the Republican Party and DeSantis and CPAC which you know, of course, is the annual convention that where Trump initially got his initial attention back in 2010, '11, '12. You know, it became a sort of, you know, the launching pad for Donald Trump and, well, Donald Trump specifically. But the interesting thing is that DeSantis is not going this week.
Mike Pence is not going. So, does the CPAC mean what it used to mean? And what kind of a reception will Donald Trump get now at CPAC and will it have the same impact that it has?
So, it's the Disneyland for Republicans, and it will be very powerful. A lot of people going and, but it's a great place to -- but, I mean, with DeSantis's book coming out and CPAC, this is kind of the starting gun for the Republican Party.
MCENROE: Don't say Disney and DeSantis in the same sentence.
CAMEROTA: All right. Thank you all for those perspectives. Okay, what's your first reaction these days when someone calls you on the phone? Are you annoyed? Are you upset that somebody is calling instead of texting? The proper phone etiquette for 2023, next.
CAMEROTA: It's a rude call someone on the phone? That's the question Ms. Manners tackles this morning in "The Washington Post." So, what does our panel think? It hadn't -- it hadn't even occurred to me that this was possible, but I have noticed that for the past, oh, probably maybe five years, I am annoyed when someone calls me on the phone. But I thought it was just me and I didn't know why I was annoyed. But it turns out that something has shifted in our culture and now we are annoyed when the phone rings.
MCENROE: This happened to me, it was like 15 years ago when I was covering Wimbledon for ESPN, which we do every year. And I was communicating with some British people in London and, don't call me. I mean, they were so far ahead of us to think just text. Everything was text.
And I was like wow, this is weird. And now, I call my wife. There's a message, should I call her? There's no chance she's going to answer the phones. Send her a text. So, the best thing to do when you want to talk to somebody is say when are you free --
CAMEROTA: By text.
MCENROE: Yeah, by text. Send a text. What time are you available? What's a good time? I'm free between 2:00 and 2:45, let's talk then. That seems --
CAMEROTA: And then chances are they will still won't answer, but still, at least you tried.
MCENROE: Let's hope for the best, right.
CAMEROTA: I totally agree.
MCENROE: That's a good etiquette.
CAMEROTA: LZ, do you like when people call you on the phone?
GRANDERSON: No. But that's a very specific reason. Because I get so few phone calls, there's only two people who will call me, really. My son and Scam Likely. Those are the two people. And my son calls me like once every 3 to 4 days, so Scam Likely calls me a lot. So, I'm already irritated because I'm assuming it's a spam call to begin with.
MCENROE: Although the government is doing something right because now it comes up as a spam call.
CAMEROTA: Yeah. Yeah. Thank goodness.
MCENROE: They've got that down.
CAMEROTA: Yeah. Do people call you? Do you -- are you happy when they call you?
JONG-FAST: I mean, I think it is sort of old-fashioned that people are texting each other to ask them if they can call.
JONG-FAST: Yes. It's like something out of the 17th century, we're writing each other notes to ask if we can call on the phone.
GRANDERSON: Dear Mr. Dawsey (ph), may I call you at the phone?
JONG-FAST: I'm delighted to get a phone call and I have lots of children and I'm always delighted to hear from them.
CAMEROTA: How many do you have?
JONG-FAST: I have three, but they're teenagers, so whenever they call me up (inaudible).
CAMEROTA: Well, I'm excited when my kids call. They're in a different category. When my teenagers call, I'm delighted. And also, anyone who I knew before texting was a thing is grandfathered in.
CAMEROTA: So, any of my high school friends can call me, that's fine. We have --
CAMEROTA: For sure. We have a history of calling each other. But after texting was a thing, I'm like how dare you?
MCKINNON: I texted and asked if I can send a letter.
MCENROE: That's -- that's real old-school there.
MCKINNON: That's really old-school. CAMEROTA: Or a telegram. Well, it's great. Are you annoyed when
people call you?
MCKINNON: Yeah, kind of. I mean, I just find it so much more efficient to text and, you know, I can't remember the last time I talked to (inaudible).
MCENROE: What's your number by the way?
MCENROE: Yeah. Definitely with teenagers, I have three teenage daughters. Texting is a way to go. You want to get them to pay attention? (inaudible) and they'll see, oh, its dad now.
MCKINNON: It's just efficient. I mean, this way at least I know --
MCKINNON: -- sets up a text to call, I know somebody actually want to talk.
CAMEROTA: That's right. All right. Good. We're all in agreement. Meanwhile, it is all the rage at the box office. "Cocaine Bear" pulling in $23 million over the weekend. But wait till you see how the story all started.
CAMEROTA: Well, that is true. "Cocaine Bear" need I say more? It made 23 million in its opening weekend. That's right.
Americans spent $23 million to watch a movie about a bear on cocaine. And when a 175-pound Black Bear does a whole lot of cocaine, well, things go exactly the way you'd think.
CAMEROTA: It turns out that this whole crazy story is loosely based on a true story. This happened in the 80s, of course, when a Black Bear died of an overdose of cocaine. So, we went digging in the news archives and found this real 1985 report from our affiliate WXIA.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNKNOWN: The 200-pound bear fell victim to one of three duffel bags full of cocaine dropped in North Georgia in Knoxville, Tennessee three months ago when parachutist and reputed drug smuggler, Andrew Thornton, plunged to his death. Thornton's parachute failed to open. He had 77 pounds of cocaine strapped on him. GBI Agents found a second bag a short time later. They ran across the dead bear in Fannin County last week while looking for the third bag, what they believed to be the last of the Thornton batch.
UNKNOWN: Bear probably got an initial rush and perhaps became disoriented and somewhat confused because of the sensation. But cocaine acts fairly rapidly in the central nervous system and in large quantities depresses the heart and it is quite likely then that the bear had difficulty breathing and difficulty maintaining his heart rate and essentially died slowly.
UNKNOWN: The medical examiner said the bear had been dead for at least six weeks. GBI Agents recovered none of the cocaine. They said it could've been blown away by the wind or simply dissolved. One thing is for sure, the bear did not eat 75 pounds of the stuff. Patricia Hunt, 11 Alive News.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: Okay. That's an old-school local news right there. That was awesome.
GRANDERSON: He looks just like John Oakes (ph).
MCENROE: Remember a couple of days ago there is a history of the white dust floating in the air or somewhere. Where was that in the country?
CAMEROTA: I think it's called snow.
MCENROE: No, this was something else. There are so many things in this country that are happening that I look at and, you know, it upsets you a little bit as someone who, you know, loves this country. And then I see this, (inaudible).
MCKINNON: (Inaudible) you can come up with this idea.
MCENROE: Then I say, God bless America, you know? I mean, unbelievable.
CAMEROTA: What is the magic of "Cocaine Bear"? Why is everybody running out to the theaters to see it?
GRANDERSON: Because it's stupid. I saw the "Meg" in theaters, twice. Giant sharks in prehistoric days, chasing around people, eating boats, the whole nine yards. It was dumb as hell and I love every minute of it.
CAMEROTA: That's awesome.
MCKINNON: And I think that's part of the power (ph), that it is so ridiculous. I mean, it's like a really good bad B movie, you know. It's just, like, yeah. Cocaine and bear, let's go.
CAMEROTA: Molly, you are an intellectual heavyweight. You can't wait to see this? You can't wait to see this movie.
JONG-FAST: I'm taking my kids this weekend. There is a place for stupid in American culture.
GRANDERSON: Yeah. It's called politics.
JONG-AST: It happens to be a very wide lane and, you know, I think "Cocaine Bear" is right in there, you know.
GRANDERSON: And think of all the sequels.
CAMEROTA: No, I mean, it's funny. I would be interested if I thought it were just a dark comedy, but it's actually a slasher film which makes it less appealing to me, like there are moments where you have to (inaudible) and its scar.
JONG-FAST: It's a bear as the slasher.
GRANDERSON: Wish they would be whether they were on a cocaine or not.
JONG-FAST: Right. It's a nature film.
CAMEROTA: It's a nature film.
MCKINNON: It's actually getting very, very good (inaudible). It's getting very good reviews. And Elizabeth Banks, I mean, she's terrific and I think it's great that she took this on (inaudible).
CAMEROTA: She is the director and she said that what sold the project to her was the name alone, "Cocaine Bear."
CAMEROTA: Thank you all very much. Okay. Now, to this. The debate over the origins of coronavirus is back in the spotlight after a Department of Energy lo confidence assessment, that yes, it could have leaked from a Chinese lab. But the intelligence community is still split about what actually happened, so we are going to break down all of the latest for you, next.
CAMEROTA: A new assessment from the U.S. Energy Department is reviving the debate over the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Department of Energy says the virus likely came from a lab leak in Wuhan, China. That's is where the first cases of the virus appeared. But sources tell CNN that it's a low confidence assessment and the minority view within the intelligence community. Four other U.S. intel agencies believe it's likely the outbreak started after the virus jumped from an animal to humans.
I want to bring in CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Sanjay, great to see you. So, let's talk about where we are tonight. So, there are two leading theories, basically the theory that the -- about the origins of the coronavirus, either it spread from animals to humans in the wild or it leaked from a lab in Wuhan. What type of evidence would prove it one way or the other?
SNAJAY GUOTA, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, first of all I should point out that the labs that we're talking about here, Alisyn, they have studied coronaviruses for a long time.
That is not new information. I mean, reporters who've been covering this know that.