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Defining Moments in CNN's 25 Year History

Aired June 1, 2005 - 22:30   ET


ANNOUNCER: This is a CNN 20th anniversary special presentation.

TED TURNER, CNN FOUNDER: I dedicate the news channel for America the Cable News Network.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Turn camera three, one, center up.

DAVID WALKER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening. I'm David Walker.

LOIS HART, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Lois Hart. Now, here's the news.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Challenger now heading down range.

ANNOUNCER: Bringing you man's ambitious endeavors.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go with throttle up.

ANNOUNCER: And fatal flights. Revealing real life drama, live. Showing you moments of courage against oppression, apartheid, communism.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The wall represented the divide between east and west.

ANNOUNCER: And in times of war, CNN took you inside the battles.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Clearly, I've never been there, but this feels like we're in the center of hell.

ANNOUNCER: CNN bridged the distance, making the miles disappear.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We had a rocket-propelled grenade go right over the top of the CNN van we're riding in.

ANNOUNCER: With CNN, you're inside the courtroom.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We the jury in the above-entitled action...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I believe he murdered my sister, and I will always think that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just started screaming and crying and telling them not to shoot me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They were wearing all-black (INAUDIBLE) ANNOUNCER: And when brutal events unfolded...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: From the time that I was shot till the time I climbed out the window was about a three-hour period.

ANNOUNCER: ...when tragedy struck...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We received word from the hospital that, in fact, Princess Diana had died.

ANNOUNCER: ...we shared the world's grief.

Amid political showdowns and sex scandals...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I did not have sexual relations with that woman.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I'll never forget the chill that I had.

ANNOUNCER: CNN took to you the heart of the stories, then and now.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, I probably would do it again.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have learned that there has been a large explosion at the federal courthouse building in Oklahoma City.

ANNOUNCER: In the moments that mattered, CNN was there.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everybody was, like, looking up toward the sky, and I started running downtown toward the building.

ANNOUNCER: Celebrating CNN's 25th anniversary, join Paula Zahn, Anderson Cooper, Larry King and Aaron Brown with "DEFINING MOMENTS: 25 STORIES THAT TOUCHED OUR LIVES."


PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: Hi, everyone. I'm Paula Zahn. Welcome.

We all have images in our minds that define history for us, many brought to you by CNN. Twenty-five years ago, CNN founder Ted Turner's vision of a 24-hour news network became a reality, and in that time we've would watch the whole world change, shaped by events of great tragedy and triumph. We're going to look at them now through the eyes of the people that lived through them and our journalists, beginning with two painful moments that remind us of the vulnerabilities of space flight.


JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That day, it was so bitterly cold.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Launch of the 51-L mission planned for 11:38.

ZARRELLA: This was an enormous event because it was going to be the launch of Christa McAuliffe, the teacher in space.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Teachers are excited about this.

ZARRELLA: You know, she was so effervescent and had a great personality and smile.

GRACE CORRIGAN, CHRISTA'S MOTHER: She just loved life, and she loved to encompass everybody around her.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Big smiles today.

CORRIGAN: I think that's really the reason why she was chosen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everything going very well in the countdown.

CORRIGAN: My husband looked out and you could see the shuttle, you could see icicles on it, and he said then -- he said, you know, if I could go out there and take her off of that, I would.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just getting down to about three minutes, and they think they can do it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They are counting. The ice is cleared away.

BOB FURNAD, FMR CNN EXEC VICE PRESIDENT: The other networks had stopped covering shuttle launches. They had become routine. But CNN, because we're a news network, went ahead and covered it, and so nobody else had it and we did.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Three, two, one, and liftoff. Liftoff of the 25th space shuttle mission and it has cleared the tower.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Roger. Challenger.

ZARRELLA: We're watching the ascent of the vehicle when it goes up, and it was normal.

TOM MINTIER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So, the 25th space shuttle mission is now on the way.

ZARRELLA: Then you hear the call from NASA.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Challenger, go with throttle up.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Flight controllers here looking very carefully at the situation. Obviously, a major malfunction.

ZARRELLA: Everybody was waiting for Challenger to emerge from behind the cloud of smoke that we could see. Of course, that never was going to happen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) The vehicle has exploded. Director confirms that. We are looking at checking with the recovery forces to see what can be done at this point. ZARRELLA: First thing I did was just, quick, run up and get on the phone and try to report what I saw.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Silence. Get me into ZARRELLA, he's live at the Cape.

ZARRELLA: Everybody's just stunned. They're in shock. It's a situation where people are just sort of standing around here, because they're bewildered at this point.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right, we're looking at a live picture.

ZARRELLA: You could hear the chaos.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shut up and air. Open their mikes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In the center of the fire and the smoke you can't see anything.

ZARRELLA: As much chaos in the newsroom people, yelling and screaming, as there was, you know, at the NASA press site.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here are the spectators watching.

FURNAD: I remember a really gripping piece of video. It was a camera that was trained on Christa McAuliffe's parents, and as the shuttle exploded, the expression on her mom's face instantly changed to one of oh, my god, what has happened? It was clear her father didn't quite grasp it, because he had a look of puzzlement. Then when it was clear that he realized what had happened, it became a look of, oh, no.

CORRIGAN: Thinking back on it, I don't think it was that we didn't understand something horrible had happened, I think it was the fact that we didn't want to.

CROWD: Three, two, one.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK, they're heading down to the surface. Congratulations.

CORRIGAN: I think Christa would be very pleased to see the wonderful legacy that she has left.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is mission control.

CORRIGAN: Challenger Learning Centers are wonderful, wonderful tools for education.

That trip wasn't successful, but Christa's mission really was. It is her life.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Liftoff. CORRIGAN: Challenger was an education mission. She was going to teach two lessons from space, so it's continuing the Challenger mission.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Roger, Challenger.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Booster ignition and liftoff of space shuttle Columbia finally under way.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: After Challenger, you know, everybody paid a lot of attention to the launch.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Columbia Houston, you're go at throttle up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're copy (ph). Go with throttle up.

MILES O'BRIEN, CNN SPACE CORRESPONDENT: Phew, the first eight- and-a-half minutes, we're OK. We're home free.

Ah, we've got a little problem on the space shuttle Columbia. It has been out of communication now for the past 12 minutes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Columbia Houston, we did not copy your last.

O'BRIEN: And of course, 17 years later, it was just the other end of the mission. It was the re-entry.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's a live picture of the space shuttle Columbia.

O'BRIEN: Within a few minutes of the shuttle not appearing, WFAA fed that dramatic tape.

I see multiple trails there, and I count one, two, three, four.

It was obvious what we were watching was an in-flight breakup. Within a short period of time, NASA officially announced that the crew was lost. The real tragedy of the Columbia disaster is that if you substituted foam striking the leading edge of the wing for O-rings in the solid rocket booster, it's an identical story to Challenger. They repeated the same mistakes 17 years prior.

Look at that piece right there. What was that? A problem cropping up, explaining it away, and then ultimately seeing that problem lead to a tragedy.

We were within two weeks of announcing that I was going to fly in the shuttle. We had put together a deal with NASA, and I knew on that day my dream was certainly deferred, probably over. But in the grand scheme of what was lost, that didn't amount to much.


ZAHN: Next...

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TONY CLARK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You can see the enthusiasm. You can hear the applause.


ZAHN: Baby Jessica and the well.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'd probably say that that's one of the miracles that we've seen in our lifetime.



ZAHN: Welcome back.

In late July of 2002, the lives of nine coal miners hung in the balance. An accident at the Quecreek Mine in southwestern Pennsylvania trapped them 240 feet underground in a dark hole rapidly filling with water.


ZAHN (voice-over): Four 77 hours, America held its collective breath as emergency crews raced against time. Wedged in a fragile subterranean air pocket, surrounded by millions of gallons of rising water, the miners prepared for the worst.

HARRY BLAIN MAYHUGH, FMR PENNSYLVANIA MINER: I wrote letters to my wife and kids just telling them that I loved them.

ZAHN: Rescuers worked around the clock.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

CAROL LIN, CNN ANCHOR: We have just heard that the first of the surviving nine miners has just been pulled out and pulled to safety.

ZAHN: The grueling ordeal made them re-examine their beliefs.

MARK POPERNACK, FMR PENNSYLVANIA MINER: It strengthened my faith so much.

ZAHN: Seventy-seven hours, trapped underground was enough for some.

MAYHUGH: I haven't worked in the mines ever since the incident.


ZAHN: Joyous images of the miners being pulled from that hole reminded us of another rescue we carried live some 15 years earlier, when a baby named Jessica McClure, trapped in a well, captured the nation's heart. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

FIRE CHIEF JAMES ROBERTS, (RET.) RESCUE COMMANDER: Of course, this is a desert area, and really, the reason Midland got its start was because of underground water.

This backyard is a little bit different than it was in 1987. People who drill water well, primarily to water their yards. Of course, this is the well itself that she was in. If you look at that shaft, you just can't believe that a human would be in there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What started as a child's innocent game...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jessica McClure, trapped...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: People all over the world have been watching this story.

TONY CLARK, FMR CNN CORRESPONDENT: Jessica was 18 months old at the time. She was playing in the backyard. She had fallen 22 feet into the well.

When we got there, we found that some of the reporters had already gotten ladders. We did not have a ladder and so I started knocking on doors up and down the block.

The rescuers are making progress literally by inches.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Cameras and microphones have been dropped down.

CLARK: They could hear her crying a little bit, gurgling, so they knew that she was -- she was alive.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: With the lord's help and with your prayers, we know that little girl's going to make it.

CLARK: Chip and Sissy McClure were so young. I think she was 18. He was around the same age, and they were obviously worried parents.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It has gone frustratingly slow. As volunteer rescuers drilled, they found it tougher than expected.

ROBERTS: Well, this is what we were digging through. We didn't know it was going to take a couple of days. This is the actual indention of the hole that we drilled.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They drilled a shaft parallel to the one Jessica fell in.

ROBERTS: These guys were man handling this jackhammer sideways and drilling across there, and just -- some of the reasons that it took so long. Some 58 hours after we'd been going, everybody was pretty tired and we'd been through a lot and been through a lot of disappointment.

All of a sudden, I'm listening on the phone, and Steve says, Chief Roberts got her.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tony Clark in Midland, Texas. Tony?

CLARK: It looks like they're bringing her up right now. We've seen a lot of activity...

ROBERTS: But when she actually came up above ground, I couldn't believe it. I had to lean around some of the people and just make sure. And I saw that one eye opened and saw her moving, and I knew that we'd finally done it.

CLARK: You can see the enthusiasm. You can hear the applause as Jessica is brought out, the smiles. It has taken a long time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She is swathed in bandages and she's on a back brace and carried to the waiting ambulance to the cheers of the rescue workers and people that were surrounding her. It was quite a moment. And what happened after that is horns started honking throughout Midland. You knew that this was a city that was rejoicing at that moment.

ROBERTS: I don't know how she ever got out of there alive, knowing what I know now. As a matter of fact, I would probably say that's one of the miracles that we've seen in our lifetime.

CLARK: Looking at Jessica now -- she graduated from high school last year. Her parents have helped her keep a very low profile. But it's interesting that right now she is around 18 years old and that's the same age as her mom was at the time of this -- that she was trapped in the well.

I think that Jessica McClure story changed network news coverage, to show that it can put viewers at the scene of a breaking news story from start to finish.

ROBERTS: We welded it on that night after we got her out, and it says "For Jessica, 10-16-87, with love from all of us."


ZAHN: Still to come, the revolution televised around the world.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And when darkness fell, they moved in.



ERICA HILL, CNN HEADLINE NEWS: I'm Erica Hill at the CNN center. We'll go back to defining moments shortly, but first, the headlines. Starting off in Laguna Beach, just south of Los Angeles, where more than 300 hillside homes have been evacuated in the wake of a landslide. Early this morning, 17 homes were just damaged or destroyed, but no one was seriously hurt.

Closing arguments begin tomorrow in the Michael Jackson trial. After 13 weeks of testimony, each side will get four hours to wrap it all up.

And in Washington, the president said yesterday's revelation that Mark Felt was "Deep Throat" caught him by surprise. As to what he thought of it all, Mr. Bush said not for me to judge.

Now back to "Defining Moments: 25 Stories That Touched Our Lives."


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Nelson Mandela, a free man, taking his first steps into a new South Africa.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This was black South Africa's first chance to see the man behind the myth. The blacks saw a strong, determined leader. The white government may have seen more than it bargained for.

NELSON MANDELA, FRM. PRESIDENT OF SOUTH AFRICA: We are starting a new era of hope.

ZAHN: The world has changed a lot in the last 25 years. And CNN brought you pictures of it all.

When demonstrators stood up for what they believed in, squaring off against tanks in Tiananmen Square, we showed you the power of conviction.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hu Yaobang's death on the 15th of April, 1989 was the catalyst for everything that followed in that spring. Hu Jaobang was to many the Chinese's a symbol of hopes for reform. And he'd been ousted by communist party hard-liners two years earlier.

WANG DAN, EXILED TIANANMEN LEADER: Due to his death, we all think we have to do something like go to the street to show our sorrow for him.

BERNARD SHAW, FORMER CNN ANCHOR: CNN had been there to cover that historic summit between Deng Xiaoping and Mikhail Gorbachev. But the crowds just multiplied and increased. They had taken over Tiananmen Square, demanding democracy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Unbelievable we all came here to cover a summit and we walked into a revolution.

CYNDE STRAND, CNN PHOTOGRAPHER: We couldn't believe that the government tolerated this, that it had let it go on this far. They were being embarrassed, they were being humiliated on TV every night around the world. And they pulled the plug on it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And now, as we report to our viewers around the world, martial law has been declared in Beijing. I'm being told that the government officials are coming in to the CNN control room now.

ALEC MIRAN, CNN EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: And they said, we are here to tell you that the coverage of Gorbachev is over, your task is over. The bosses are saying that for us to go off the air, we would require it in writing.

Our policy is the government has ordered us to shut down our facility. We are shutting down our facility. Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can we sign off?

MIRAN: OK. Bernard.

SHAW: OK. We've heard the orders. We have our instructions from headquarters in Atlanta.

STRAND: After martial law was declared and they pulled the plug on our broadcast, we didn't have a way to get our pictures out. So we would do something called pigeon them out. And in those days, it was fairly easy to do. You would take a copy of your tape to the airport, a copy of your tape and you would find a sympathetic person to carry the tape for you. And in this case we had tapes taken to Hong Kong.

On the afternoon of June 3, I mean, you could feel it. You could just feel things were going in a bad direction.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The assault on Tiananmen Square is now under way.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE; Late in that evening, the soldiers began to move in. I could see below me little bicycle carts where people who had been shot were dumped in the back and then the rider would pedal furiously taking these victims off to hospitals.

DAN: One of my classmates came back from Tiananmen Square and he told me the troop shoot at the students.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And as dawn broke, the People's Liberation Army was in full control of the square. The student movement had been crushed.

It happened the day after the morning. A column of tanks had started to leave Tiananman Square. Out of nowhere, this man in a white shirt ran in front of the tank. The tank stopped. And for a heart stopping four or five minutes, there was this extraordinary drama. The big question was what would happen, would he be run over, would they shoot him.

DAN: I saw that picture. A young man standing in front of the tank. We never know who he is. And right now, nobody know where he is. I was arrested in 1989 in July.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wang Dan spent most of the decade after Tiananmen in China in jail. He's now a graduate student at Harvard University.

DAN: I think I was pretty proud of my role at that time, because I think finally I can really do something to change history.

SHAW: That was our contribution, being there, reporting what was happening. It was historic. The Peoples Republic of China is going to be the next superpower. And what we were able to do was to provide a window for the world to peek through and see that beneath the facade, there is much ferment, much unrest.

ZAHN: My colleague Anderson Cooper is coming up in the next half hour with a look back at these stories.

(voice-over): It was a verdict heard across the nation. And do you remember the intern who rocked the White House? And the stories from the killer tsunami. All ahead on this CNN 25th anniversary special.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The stock market plunges out of control as panic selling sends the Dow Jones Industrial Average into a head-long dive and triggers shock waves around the world.

JAN HOPKINS, FORMER CNN CORRESPONDENT: Here on the floor, you could see fear in the eyes of the traders. There was pushing; there was profanity.

LOU DOBBS, HOST, "LOU DOBBS TONIGHT": It is, indeed, a financial meltdown in terms of every major index on the stock market. The Dow losing 508.32 on the day. That is the largest loss in the history of the Dow Jones including Black Tuesday of October 29, 1929.


ANDERSON COOPER, HOST: Welcome back to this CNN 25th anniversary special, "The Defining Moments That Have Touched Our Lives." I'm Anderson Cooper.

Rodney King is a name linked to a tragic legacy of racial unrest and riots. Nineteen-ninety-two was a tumultuous time in Los Angeles, when many saw justice as out of reach. The decision in the King case did not help.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In Simi Valley, the four officers charged in the taped beating of motorist Rodney King in Los Angeles have been found not guilty. COOPER (voice-over): The verdict served as an accelerant for rage, touching off a firestorm in south-central Los Angeles. Amid the riots, another videotaped beating lodged in the public's enemy, the image of truck driver Reginald Denny being viciously attacked.

As the violence spread, a shell shocked King made a simple plea.

RODNEY KING, BEATEN BY POLICE: Can we all get along? Can we get along?

COOPER: Soon after the fires died down and the simmering tensions abated. Since then, observers say the racial dynamic of the city has changed.


COOPER: From the tensions that engulfed a city to the shock and grief that engulfed a town. Few of us had heard of Littleton, Colorado, before Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold went on a shooting spree at Columbine. Fifteen died that day. Others are still recovering from their wounds.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Nine-one-one. What's your emergency?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Apparently, it's a shooting at Columbine High School.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To our viewers who have been watching this developing situation here on CNN, we're getting coverage from four stations in the Denver area of a shooting at a high school in Littleton, Colorado.

PAT IRELAND, COLUMBINE VICTIM: When I first was shot in the library, I wasn't sure what had happened. I tried to stand up a couple times and realized that I couldn't, because one of the bullets had passed through the one side of my brain and paralyzed me on my right side.

The whole time that I was crawling across the library floor was just passing in and out of consciousness. From the time that I was shot till the time that I climbed out the window was about a three- hour period.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have a report on the second floor, a student is trying to climb out a window.

IRELAND: It was just an armored car that was driving by. And a SWAT team got hold of it somehow and just kind of plopped right on top of it.

I had to relearn how to walk and talk and read and write. Basically started out over from kindergarten or grade school level. Being such a competitor and not wanting to give up, not letting evil win in that situation. So I wanted to get better as quickly as possible and as best as possible.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We were uncertain what we were facing when Patrick led us through the building.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Patrick Ireland won the hearts of his fellow students, who crowned him homecoming king.

IRELAND: I graduated valedictorian from Columbine. I'd had a 4.0 through my junior year through the shootings. And then it had always been one of my goals to keep that up and graduate valedictorian.

And the support behind that was all my family and friends, just they were constantly around me, constantly giving me support. I graduated magna cum laude from Colorado State and had a 3.9 GPA.

Casey and I are going to get married this August. We went to CSU together. We met, actually, before classes started our freshman year.

There are times that, when I was in the library, whenever I would stop and take a break and, you know, thoughts would cross my mind that this would be so much easier just to stop here, lay down.

As soon as those thoughts started to come into my mind, I would think of all the different people I'd be letting down and all that I really had to look forward to in my life. And just the drive and determination pushed me and made me keep going towards accomplishing all that I accomplished.

When we return, war and remembrance.

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Their courage stands as a real triumph of the spirit of people under the kind of brutality that they experienced.



COOPER: It struck without warning. An earthquake off the coast of Indonesia unleashed a killer tsunami and a torrent of suffering. More than 200,000 people lost their lives. Towns, entire villages, were washed away.

CNN brought you the emotional stories of the victims and the survivors.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is 15, 20 feet tall, easy. Get in, get in, get in! AMANPOUR: The tsunami struck on December 26, 2004. Like many people around the world and many CNNers, I was on Christmas vacation with my family.

I came immediately to Sri Lanka. In the southern part of Sri Lanka it was hit very, very badly.

There were small fishing villages that had essentially been wiped out. Trees had been leveled. Cars, lorries, ships, boats, things had simply been displaced.

And, of course, people. So many people had been killed.

Many of the world's officials, certainly many of the aid organizations, the United Nations, had never, ever seen a disaster on this scale and of this magnitude.

The first story I did was about a little boy and his father. Little Cheyenne (ph) was 6 years old when the tragedy struck. He was traveling with his mother, his sisters and a cousin on a train which, ironically was called Queen of the Sea.

We took him back with his father, Ranjid (ph), to go and see the site of the devastation and the disaster.

The train tracks had been lifted from the ground and simply tossed aside, and the train carriages had also been tossed off the train tracks and were lying on their sides all down the length of that railway track.

Cheyenne (ph), the little boy, told us that the only way he survived was by reaching his little arms up to hold on to the luggage rack. And by doing that, he was able to keep his head above the water that had flooded the carriages. And he said that that was the last he saw of his mother and his sisters and his cousin.

And it was really tragic because this little boy, you could see that he was still traumatized. As he was trying to tell us the story, he was only coming out in halting statements and little fractions and fragments of conversation.

Ranjid (ph) says Cheyenne (ph) has still not yet shed a tear; he's still keeping that emotion inside. He says he misses his mother and his sisters. And Ranjid (ph), the father, is trying his best to help him get over this, help him try to understand what happened.


COOPER: Ethnic rivalries, crimes against humanity, genocide. We've seen it all in places like Bosnia and Rwanda.

We want to warn you that some of these images of war that you're about to see may not be suitable for all viewers.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) AMANPOUR (voice-over): One of the biggest stories CNN covered, certainly, throughout the entire decade of the 1990s was the Bosnia war.

(on camera) There's nothing subtle about the horrors of this war.

If anybody out there really cares anymore. CNN, Sarajevo.

(voice-over) We were covering the siege of Sarajevo, for the most part. That was the focal point of the Bosnia war.

The entire population is permanently bent double, as everyone tries to make it through the firing line and through another day.

The journalists and the civilians of the city suffered almost the same. People had to go out every day and try to find food for their children. There was no electricity, no gas, no water for many, many months.

The airport is officially...

One of the most poignant things that I remember was the airport straddled the Muslim part of the city and the Serb side of the city. In other words, if you could run across the tarmac, you could potentially escape the bombardments.

But the U.N. peacekeepers who were there were under strict orders not to let anybody out of Sarajevo using the airport. Some of them didn't want to escape forever. They just wanted to get out of the city and to be able to buy some food for their children in stores that were still functioning on the other side of the airport.

One father came back with just a rotten apple. That's all he could manage to get on the other side. And for that, he told us, he risked his life.

The massacre at Srebrenica started on July 11, 1995. Several months after the massacre, we met Horum Seulich (ph), who told us in chilling detail how he also had been marched to a killing field and had been lined up with hundreds of other men.

They had been sprayed with machine gun fire. And he managed to survive. It was only the weight of the dead bodies on top of him that protected him.

In the middle of the genocide of Bosnia, genocide was being committed in Africa in Rwanda.

The massacre of Tutsis was preplanned.

In three months in 1994, nearly one million people were killed, killed by machetes, killed by clubs, killed by people and their bare hands. It was Hutus on the rampage against moderate Hutus and Tutsis.

After the Hutus had rampaged through the Tutsi villages, the Tutsi army came from exile in Uganda and started to fight back. And the Hutus, almost en masse, fled across the border from Rwanda into Zaire. That, in itself, was a scene of biblical disaster. Cholera spread like wildfire.

Eventually, peacekeepers and others from around the world came with heavy bulldozers to dig mass graves. It was a very brutal and dehumanizing thing to witness.

The world failed in Rwanda. And the failure to give that country the attention that it deserved, cost nearly a million lives.

COOPER: Still to come...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This process is going to continue for awhile.

COOPER: Is that chad pregnant?

BILL HEMMER, CO-HOST, "AMERICAN MORNING": I think the lawyers were confused just as much as we were.







HILL: I have no personal vendetta against Clarence Thomas.

THOMAS: I deny each and every single allegation against me today.

HILL: After a brief discussion of work, he would turn the conversation to a discussion of sexual matters.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you ever refer to your private parts in conversations with Professor Hill?

THOMAS: Absolutely not, Senator.

BOB FRANKEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The chances of his confirmation as a Supreme Court justice hinge on who is believed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On this vote, the yeas are 52 and the nays are 48. The nomination of Clarence Thomas of Georgia is hereby confirmed.

THOMAS: I, Clarence Thomas...

HILL: It changed my life in ways that I had never really thought it would. I had no appreciation for the fact that there would be so much attention to this issue and that I would become a symbol of the issue.


COOPER: Being thrust into the spotlight has unexpected consequences. That is especially true in the world of politics.

CNN has covered the Oval Office, of course, since day one. The players have changed over the years, but the White House and the battles to win it have remained a constant source of news and drama.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hold on a second.

Don't touch here.

WOLF BLITZER, HOST, "WOLF BLITZER REPORTS": January 1998 I was CNN senior White House correspondent.

On 10 to 15 occasions...

When I heard that there was this young intern named Monica Lewinsky. And I really was shocked by it.

I spoke to one of his closest friends, Bill Clinton's closest friends. And I'll never forget the words he said to me, because they were chilling at the time. He said, "I've known this man for a long time. And when it comes to this kind of stuff, he's almost like an alcoholic who sees a bottle of whiskey. He sometimes can't control himself."

BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Ms. Lewinsky.

BLITZER: And I'll never forget the chill that I had as he was staring at me, making that statement.

LINDA TRIPP, RECORDED CONVERSATIONS WITH MONICA LEWINSKY: Imagine how you would feel if your boss' attorney called you a liar in front of the whole country. And imagine if that boss was the president of the United States.

It would have made no difference to me if it had been George Bush sitting in that Oval Office. It was about what I perceived to be subornation of perjury, obstruction of justice, that this was not about sex.

The notion that this was somehow or other motivated by money, well, seven years later, I've never taken a penny.

JUDY WOODRUFF, HOST, "INSIDE POLITICS": There it is. President William Jefferson Clinton is now the second president in the history of the United States to be impeached.

BLITZER: He will always be remembered as the president who was impeached, the president who had a sexual relationship with an intern at the White House. People will look back and say, well, what did he do that was so great, and they'll point to certain things, the economy. But there's no doubt that this story will always haunt Bill Clinton.

TRIPP: After this story hit, I removed all the televisions from my house, and for over five years, did not have a television in the house.

I'm a witness in a federal investigation. I am not speaking to the media.

And the process was horrifying. Did the sex need to be exposed? No. I think there were ways to handle it differently that would have certainly saved Monica from gross embarrassment.

My gut says probably, given the same circumstances and everything, yes, I probably would do it again.

I'm married. I'm living in Middleburg, Virginia, area, which is God's country and so amazingly beautiful.

BLITZER: Look, there are a lot more important stories than the Monica Lewinsky investigation. Having said that, the presidency was on the line. It was a very important story, which we could not ignore. And we didn't.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And I've got to go vote. I've got to go study the ballot, make sure I find my name properly on the ballot.


WOODRUFF: And the voting continues...

JEFF GREENFIELD, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: We were warned that there were some funny numbers.

WOODRUFF: A big call to make. CNN announces that we call Florida in the Al Gore column.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That state's going to flip. I really feel that way.

GREENFIELD: The Bush people go crazy. They were clearly convinced that the numbers were wrong.

CNN right now is moving our earlier declaration of Florida back to the "too close to call" column.

Having nothing else to say, I uttered the only words that ever got me on the front page of the "New York Times."

Too close to call.

Now, as it turned out, it was a smorgasbord that night.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: George Bush, governor of Texas, will become the 43rd president of the United States.

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Gore has retracted his concession.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are in a state of political suspended animation.

BERNARD SHAW, FORMER CNN ANCHOR: It's not over. It simply is not over.

GREENFIELD: It now becomes clear that Florida is going to decide it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Trust the people. Trust the people.


GREENFIELD: I think the one image that most people remember had to do directly with the chad.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dangling chads, pregnant chads and dimpled chads. Well, they can kiss my chad.

HEMMER: The only thing that's predictive about this story is that nothing is predictable.

I think the lawyers were confused just as much as we were.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Katherine Harris is a fine lady and they should lay off of her.

REP. KATHERINE HARRIS (R), FLORIDA: Election 2000 was certainly a difficult time in terms of the personal attacks. But following the law was really simple.

It is my duty under Florida law to exercise my discretion and deny...

I never regretted that I had a chance to be there at that unique moment in time.

I hereby declare Governor George W. Bush the winner.

HEMMER: That was a night for certain that we had felt that this story had reached an end. And boy, were we wrong again.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This remarkable development over the last few minutes as the United States Supreme Court has agreed to hear one of the two...

WILLIAM REHNQUIST, SUPREME COURT CHIEF JUSTICE: George W. Bush and Richard Cheney versus Albert Gore.

CHARLES BIERBAUER, FORMER CNN CORRESPONDENT: Bottom line here, the judgment of the Supreme Court of Florida is reversed.

JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It looks pretty devastating. It's bleak. It's confusing but not very encouraging.

HARRIS: It was a very isolating time. But at the end of the day our laws were sufficient, you know, and we elected a president without a drop of blood spilled and no coup d'etat.

AL GORE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Just moments ago I spoke with George W. Bush and congratulated him.

HEMMER: These are very competitive men. And when they reach that level, neither one wants to lose. But someone had to.

BUSH: Whether you voted for me or not, I will do my best to serve your interests, and I will work to earn your respect.

So help me God.


COOPER: I'm Anderson Cooper. Stay tuned.


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