Return to Transcripts main page

Early Start with John Berman and Zoraida Sambolin

Palestinian Reporter On Israeli T.V. With A Unique Perspective; Demand For Handguns Soars In U.S. Amid Rising Crime Concerns; Survey Of Economists: Inflation Will Keep Slowing. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired April 24, 2023 - 05:30   ET



CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Quick hits around the globe right now.

Kenyan police have exhumed 21 bodies thought to be followers of a Christian cult who believed they would go to heaven if they starved themselves. Earlier this month officials rescued 15 others.

Peru has extradited its former president Alejandro Toledo from the U.S. to face charges in a $30 million bribery scheme. He has denied the allegations. Toledo is now in Lima to undergo a medical examination.

This 25-acre Scottish island could be yours for just $190,000. Barlocco has beautiful views -- lovely, right -- but there's no buildings, there's no existing sources of water except for just a flood pond, really hard to get to, and when you get there there's really nothing to do.

All right, here is a reporter with a unique perspective in a region where most people pick sides from birth. Suleiman Maswadeh was born in East Jerusalem to a Palestinian family. As a correspondent for Israel's public broadcaster he walks a fine line in a city that's often roiling with controversy and tension.

CNN's Hadas Gold joins us live from Jerusalem. Tell us the story. How unusual is this situation, and why is it important?

HADAS GOLD, CNN JERUSALEM CORRESPONDENT: Well, there are several Palestinian reporters for Israeli T.V. Suleiman Maswadeh I think stands out because of not only his personal story but also how he is breaking barriers on what he is reporting while facing some pretty unique challenges from his own community. Take a look.


SULEIMAN MASWADEH, KANN 11 CORRESPONDENT: (Speaking foreign language).

GOLD (voice-over): Nearly every evening on Israeli news channel Kann 11, one of the top reporters speaks Hebrew with a very slight accent. Suleiman Maswadeh is a rare entity in Israeli media -- one of very few Palestinians reporting in Hebrew, and not just on Arab issues.

GOLD (on camera): How do you identify yourself?

MASWADEH: I don't know because I was born in Israel to a Palestinian family -- to a Palestinian culture and I'm not ashamed to say that I'm Arab Palestinian but I also live in Israel. I also feel Israeli in some ways. I don't know -- I'll just say I come from Jerusalem and I'm a journalist, and that's two of the most important things of my identity.

GOLD (voice-over): Maswadeh grew up in the old city of Jerusalem playing soccer in the Al-Aqsa mosque compound, attending a strict Islamic boy's school. Though he now reports the news in fluent Hebrew --

MASWADEH: (Speaking foreign language).

GOLD (voice-over): -- he did not learn the language until he was 20 years old, which is just seven years ago.

GOLD (on camera): What prompted you to want to become a reporter?

MASWADEH: Back in the second intifada I lived in the altar in Jerusalem. And you remember that the explosions and the buses in Jerusalem. I did not know what's happening. I didn't speak Hebrew and I just looked at the T.V. and I felt that I want to be there. Like, I want to report. I want to do something.

GOLD (voice-over): His journey to journalism was not a straight one -- working at a hotel, studying accounting at a Palestinian university, and then learning Hebrew before attending an Israeli college. Maswadeh landed an internship with the Israeli public broadcaster Kann's Arabic channel, and after a jump to the network's main Hebrew channel he became Jerusalem correspondent where he's covered everything from clashes between police and Palestinians in refugee camps to Israeli politics.

MASWADEH: (Speaking foreign language).

GOLD (voice-over): His first major scoop put the spotlight on his constant internal dilemma -- how to balance pressure from his community versus the story.

In 2020, Maswadeh showed how COVID restrictions were being violated at the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, one of the holiest sites in Islam. The backlash was swift.

MASWADEH: And I remember that my grandfather calling me and telling me that everyone there is talking to him and telling him that what his grandson did was a shame to the community.

GOLD (voice-over): Maswadeh says he feels like is an important voice for Palestinians in the newsroom. Here, he breaks the Ramadan fast this year with dates at his desk, teaching his colleagues the blessing. Though he says his family is proud of him, he also says they want him

to quit. When he visits them in Shuafat refugee camp he does so only late at night for his own protection.

GOLD (on camera): You said you receive death threats. Do these come from Israelis, from Palestinians, and how do you deal with that?

MASWADEH: I get death -- I got death threats from both sides but it was mainly from Palestinians who don't like the fact that I work for Israeli T.V. My answer to that is this is where you make things different. Like, I can make affect on people's life through Israeli T.V. I feel that I'm given a message for Jewish people that if you give all the people -- the citizens of East Jerusalem a chance like I got, everyone can be like me.


GOLD (voice-over): Last month, Maswadeh was promoted to be a political correspondent and is even anchoring, vowing to continue breaking barriers with every report.


GOLD: And as part of that promotion Suleiman is also moving from his hometown of Jerusalem to the skyscrapers of Tel Aviv. Quite an incredible rise for a young man who seven years ago did not even speak the language he now anchors in -- Christine.

ROMANS: Wow, that's amazing. All right, Hadas, thank you so much.

Just ahead, the ex-Minnesota police officer who shot Daunte Wright set to be freed today. And increased gun violence ultimately leads Americans to more guns.


MIKE MARINELLO, OWNER, SOUTH SHORE SPORTSMAN: In the immediate aftermath, in most states, it would lead to an increase in sales.




ROMANS: All right, here is today's fast-forward lookahead.

Former Minnesota police officer Kim Potter is set to complete her two- year prison sentence today for the fatal shooting of Daunte Wright. Potter drew her gun instead of her taser when trying to subdue Wright at a traffic stop.

President Biden will welcome three Tennessee House lawmakers to the White House today. Justin Jones, Justin Pearson, and Gloria Johnson all faced an ouster vote by Republicans. Pearson and Jones were forced out but later reinstated. Jury selection begins in the trial of the accused gunman in the shooting at Pittsburgh Tree of Life Synagogue. Robert Bowers could face the death penalty in the deaths of 11 worshippers.

Advocates say the uptick in mass shootings in the U.S. is fueling sky- high interest in gun ownership from personal protection to worries about rising crime.

CNN's Miguel Marquez has more on just who is buying guns and why.



SHELBY, GUN OWNER: Why can't I get it?

MARQUEZ (voice-over): They don't want their last names used. They are friends, colleagues, and gun enthusiasts.

MARQUEZ (on camera): What gun or guns do you own now?

SHELBY: I have a Ruger and Rossi, both rifles.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): Both from Long Island -- New York City adjacent -- both professionals. Jenn has her permit but is yet to buy a handgun.

MARQUEZ (on camera): And why do you want to buy a handgun?

JENN, PURCHASING FIRST HANDGUN: I've been wanting to buy one for years. I'm also someone that lives alone for a couple of years now so probably for safety mostly, but I do enjoy coming to the ranges and shooting.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): She's trying them out, seeing which one is the best fit for her.

Shelby, like many Americans, made the decision to arm up during the pandemic.

MARQUEZ (on camera): Do you feel safer having a gun?


MARQUEZ (on camera): Why?

SHELBY: Because I'm not sure the chaos is over and I just feel like a lot of people have guns and it would be good to have. I'm a single female, I live on my own, and why not protect myself?

MARQUEZ (voice-over): The number of both state and national instant criminal background checks -- a check required before one can purchase a gun -- and a rough indicator of how many people are either purchasing or possibly being issued a gun permit surged during the pandemic from under 30 million to nearly 40 million. Today, in states like New York, officials say there's a backlog of gun

permit applications with more applying every day.

MARINELLO: The licensing agencies are inundated with applications. During COVID, the applications quadrupled.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): Even in a state like New York where gun ownership is highly regulated, business at South Shore Sportsman never better.

MARINELLO: Forty percent of my clientele comes from New York City.

MARQUEZ (on camera): From New York City?


MARQUEZ (on camera): The five boroughs?


MARQUEZ (on camera): All five?

MARINELLO: Yes. Staten Island to the Bronx.

MARQUEZ (on camera): And what are they buying?

MARINELLO: Handguns if they have a license, like the gentleman that just left, or shotguns.

MARQUEZ (on camera): Right. Nothing in the chamber?

MARINELLO: By checking the chamber.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): For many, the constant headlines about crime drives them to gun ownership. For others, it's the mass shootings and the fear of not having a gun if everyone else does.

MARQUEZ (on camera): What effect do all these shootings and major events have on your business?

MARINELLO: In the immediate aftermath, in most states, it would lead to an increase in sales because everybody looks at the news. And although that's a terrible event, they say the same thing -- there's going to be a new law.

MARQUEZ (on camera): So there's a rush to get in to buy a gun.

MARINELLO: There's a rush to get the stuff that they think that they're going to lose.

MARQUEZ (on camera): So who out there is buying guns and why? We met a lot of people in the medical profession, retirees, housewives -- all of them gun users. And it's not just concerns about the pandemic or about crime that is driving gun sales. It all becomes a bit of a feedback loop. The more they see violence, the more concerned they are that everyone else around them is armed, the more they feel they, too, need a gun.

Back to you.


ROMANS: All right, Miguel, fascinating. Thank you for that.

Coming up on "CNN THIS MORNING" new details on the harrowing evacuation of American diplomats from Sudan's battle zone.

And next right here, Bed Bath & Beyond adding another "b" -- bankruptcy.



ROMANS: All right, your Romans' Numeral this morning, 14,000. That's how many non-seasonal workers are at risk of losing their jobs after Bed Bath & Beyond filed for bankruptcy on Sunday. Three hundred sixty locations, along with its 120 Buy Buy Baby stores, will remain open for now. The company said it would seek it sell some or all of its business. If it can find a buyer store closings will stop. If not, the company will likely go out of business.

All right, looking at markets around the world right now, Asian markets finished mixed. European markets are down a little bit this hour. And on Wall Street, stock index futures are leaning lower here.

Markets fell last week under a crush of corporate earnings results. Earnings down some six percent, so far, for S&P 500 companies. The Dow snapping a four-week winning streak.

We'll hear from First Republic Bank and Coca-Cola today, and big tech companies later this week -- Microsoft, Meta, Google on tap. This week we also have new home sales data, the first reading for first-quarter GDP, jobless claims, and the Fed's preferred measure of inflation, PCE.

On inflation watch, gas prices held steady at $3.67 per gallon.

All right, the hottest inflation in 40 years will likely keep cooling. That's according to Bankrate's first-quarter survey of economists. Remember, inflation -- consumer inflation got up to 9.1 percent last summer. That was a heart-stopping level -- not the highest we've ever seen, of course. Not as high as it was in the '70s but it was certainly jarring. And as it has been cooling it has still left a mark on Americans' personal finances.


Let's bring in senior U.S. economy reporter for, Sarah Foster. So nice to have you here this morning. Thank you for dropping by.

OK, so you have this survey that's showing most people expect that inflation is going to continue to cool, but we also know that inflation has left a mark on people's personal finances. So, first, tell me about the expectations for inflation here.

SARAH FOSTER, SENIOR U.S. ECONOMY REPORTER, BANKRATE.COM: Thank you so much. It's great to be here.


FOSTER: We found in a survey of economists recently that 88 percent said that inflation is likely to cool but, of course, we all know that inflation is leaving scars in Americans' wallets.

And so we found that nearly half of Americans with credit card balances say that they've added to that credit card debt because of inflation. Nearly half have also delayed retirement savings because of inflation. And then pretty close to two-thirds also say that they're saving less for emergencies.

And so we all know that these are three of the most important steps --

ROMANS: Right.

FOSTER: -- that you can take with your finances. If you delay them it could come with consequences down the road.

ROMANS: Well, specifically, that delaying your investments. I mean, even putting in less money for a little bit over the long period can be really devastating to a retirement balance.

FOSTER: We did some calculations and we saw that even if someone at 25 delayed their retirement savings for just a three-year period, by the time they were 70 they would likely miss out on almost $200,000 in earnings, which is a large number. And, of course, these younger Americans have actually been hit a little bit harder because if you look out to someone who was, say, in their 60s by the time that inflation hit and they had to delay their retirement savings, they'd only miss out on about $9,000.

ROMANS: Meantime, you talk about people putting more money on those credit cards. Twenty percent -- a record high for credit card debt. Remind people how dangerous credit card debt at 20 percent is sitting there on a card.

FOSTER: And we just saw credit card rates notch a new record high, according to Bankrate data, of about 20.22 percent.


FOSTER: And, of course, that depends on your credit score. For someone who maybe has a little bit lower of a credit profile, they could face even higher charges.

We did similar calculations and if you, say, had the average balance, which is about $5,900, on your credit card, it would likely take you 25 years and about $3,300 in interest to pay that balance off if you were only making the minimum payment. ROMANS: One hundred percent bad debt. Bad debt, bad debt, bad debt. That money is sitting there at 20 percent. And the store cards are even worse.

Sarah Foster, thank you so much, at Bankrate. Nice to see you this morning.

FOSTER: Great to be here.

ROMANS: All right, the Warriors and the Kings playoff game came down to the wire but Golden State held on to win and even their opening- round series.

Coy Wire has this morning's Bleacher Report. Hey, Coy.


The defending champion Warriors -- they needed what was essentially a must-win game at home against the Kings. They've been playing inspired, right? Golden State protected a three-point lead with 1:40 to go.

And Draymond Green protecting the rim, Christine, first denying Harrison Barnes and then a monster block on big man Domantas Sabonis. Draymond making his presence felt after being suspended a game earlier in this series for stomping on Sabonis' chest. Well, here he just stomped on Sabonis' pride -- breathing snot bubbles.

What an incredible play -- followed by a real headscratcher. Warriors up five. Steph Curry calls a timeout. The problem was they didn't have any, so that's a technical foul. The Kings are back in it -- 122-126 and De'Aaron Fox feeling it. Thirty-eight points and a huge three to bring Sactown to within one -- under 30 to go.

And after Curry missed, Fox would have the ball again. Look at Curry's defense. He has to pass to Harrison Barnes and Curry is on him, too. The final shot is no good.

Golden State holds on to win by one. Heroic hustle from Steph -- 32 points on the night for him as well. The Warriors tied the series at two apiece.

Stanley Cup Playoffs now. The Kings looking to take a 3-1 series lead against the Oilers. Viktor Arvidsson doing his part, turning on the spin cycle, scooting past the defender. Then, close your legs, Stuart Skinner -- got him. Kings up 3-0 after one. Will Ferrell doesn't know what to do with his hands.

But somehow the Oilers fight back to force overtime. And Evan Bouchard catches the Kings slipping an incredible pass from behind his own net. Comeback complete. Zach Hyman getting it done.

And L.A. -- they had won 16-straight playoff games when leading by three -- not this time. The series is now tied at two.

Four game fours today across our WBB family of networks. Leafs at Lightning, then Avs at Kraken on TBS. And then basketball on TNT. Bucks at Heat followed by Grizzlies at Lakers.

Now, for all you Knicks fans out there sweating out your series with the Cavs, Josh Hart was caught on a hot mic with a special message for you -- listen.



I would not play basketball if I could sing, bro. If I could sing bro, I'm going on tour.



WIRE: Now if that doesn't get your morning started right, Christine, I don't know what would. Knicks win 102-93 going up 3-1, and Hart scored 19 points and hit all the high notes, baby.

ROMANS: Oh my gosh, that was something. All right, Coy, I want to make that either my alarm or my ringtone. I'm not sure.

WIRE: Yes.

ROMANS: We'll be right back. Thanks, Coy. We'll be right back.


ROMANS: Our top of the morning, the top movies at the box office.


Clip from Illumination "The Super Mario Bros. Movie.



ROMANS: "The Super Mario Bros. Movie" is number one.

Here's number two.


Clip from Warner Bros. Pictures "Evil Dead Rise."


ROMANS: That's the horror film "Evil Dead Rise."

And number three.


Clip from STX Entertainment "The Covenant."


ROMANS: That's "The Covenant" starring Jake Gyllenhaal.

All right, thanks for joining me this Monday morning. I'm Christine Romans. "CNN THIS MORNING" starts right now.