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BP Defends Leak Response; Kids and Race in America; Alleged Suicide Nurse; Serving Time and Going Green

Aired May 19, 2010 - 23:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening again. Tonight, "Keeping Them Honest": oil coming ashore in Louisiana and threatening to ride a current toward Florida. So why isn't BP making an effort to measure just how much oil is pouring out of that broken pipe? We ask BP's managing director tonight.

Also ahead, what do your kids think about skin color? About race? If you think they're color-blind, you need to see the results of our pilot study. Tonight, how kids learn to care about skin color and where they're getting ideas about race; influences inside the home and out.

And later, a crime so disturbing it is hard to believe; a man posing as a female nurse online counseling depressed people allegedly to kill themselves. Several did. Who would do such a thing? We'll find out tonight in "Crime and Punishment."

First up though, "Keeping Them Honest". BP, they say they're being transparent but how come it took weeks for them to release video of the oil leaking into the Gulf? And how come they aren't even trying to measure how much oil is leaking now? You're about to find out.

After weeks of telling us no thanks, BP tonight agreed to answer our questions.

First though, the latest. The oil is coming ashore. CNN's David Mattingly here in Venice, Louisiana. You can see he's scooping it out of the coastal waters there.

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal saying, this isn't sheen, it's not tar balls. It's deadly, heavy oil in delicate wetlands; dark sheets of it coming under the booms. Clearly, not all of the spill can be seen on the surface.

And farther out to sea, early indications that fringes of the oil slick have reached the loop current. You can see it in this new satellite shot taken on Monday. It's that long finger at the bottom of the frame. The loop current flows around Florida and out of the Gulf.

BP in the meantime pointing to progress, now claiming they're siphoning off 3,000 barrels of oil a day directly from the leak, up from 1,000 earlier this week. However, the company is still maintaining there's only a total of 5,000 barrels actually leaking everyday.

For the first time tonight, you'll be able to hear it directly from the top of BP.


COOPER: Joining us now is BP managing director, Bob Dudley. Thanks so much for being with us. Mr. Dudley, a number of scientists and engineers have estimated that the actual amount of oil gushing into the Gulf everyday is somewhere between 20,000 barrels a day and 70,000 barrels.

Your company continues -- and the government continues -- to use this 5,000-barrels a day figure which is really a three-week-old estimate made from satellite images by NOAA. Why are you still using that figure?

BOB DUDLEY, MANAGING DIRECTOR, BP: Because it looks like the best estimate from the surface response and the plume that we see at the base of the well itself.

COOPER: Have you actually measured the plume?

DUDLEY: Anderson, this is -- this is -- it is similar to taking a soda can and shaking it up and popping it off. There's a tremendous amount of gas in this crude oil. So measuring that is difficult and we have a whole set of activities that are going on underneath the sea almost underground architecture to contain the spill at one end of a pipe that's laying over from the well head as well as the work that we're doing on the blowout preventers.

With the estimate itself -- appears to be a reasonable estimate. It's not exact. That's what we see at the surface. I think figures of 70,000 barrels -- I even heard a figure today of 100,000 barrels a day which is very alarmist. And in reality, we're containing it at the surface. We're now producing about 3,000 barrels a day in the surface. There's been a noticeable reduction in that plume.

COOPER: But your own people have called the 5,000-barrels-a-day figure highly uncertain, highly imprecise -- and that's from your own people. And your company has repeatedly said that you can't measure the amount flowing out of the broken pipe.

But according to numerous independent scientists and engineers, that's simply not true.

I want to read something from "The New York Times." they said, and I quote, "For decades, specialist have used a technique that was almost tailor-made for the problem with undersea gear that resembles the ultrasound machines in medical offices. They measure the flow rate from hot water vents on the ocean floor. Scientists said that such equipment could be tuned to allow for accurate measurement of oil and gas flowing from the well."

And according to "The Times," BP was talking to two researchers from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and was going to have them fly out and then told them not to come out after all; they were going to conduct volume measurements.

DUDLEY: Anderson, we've got a small city going on a mile and a half down below with between 10 and 12 robots that are manipulating the blowout preventers nearby and the work that we've been doing to design the containment systems. So we've had a whole set of parallel engineering tracks in place.

That's what we need to be deploying the resources on is shutting that well as well as controlling it. It's a very difficult flow rate to measure using those techniques with a gas-oil ratio of 5,000-1 right now.

It is, again, that soda can analogy is not far off and that's what we're seeing now when we produce to the surface -- 3,000 barrels a day, 13 million cubic feet of gas along with it. It's a very gassy substance.

COOPER: But you had people -- I mean Steven Wereley of Purdue University, a Mechanical Engineering Associate professor, you know, who's an expert in computational particle tracking you know, has measured just from the little bit of video that's been released so far, he came up with this 50,000 to 70,000 barrels leaking everyday.

If you'd release more video, I mean why not allow people to extensively study, you know, the video that's been released? Tim Crohn (ph) of Columbia has come up with other figures; others at Berkeley have as well.

DUDLEY: We've -- we've released the video feeds all over the place. Not only through the Unified Coast Guard Command Center but we've sent it in to Congress. There are people looking at the plume.

COOPER: Wait a minute, wait a minute. It took 23 days for you to release a 30-second video clip and that came only after pressure from the White House and the media.

DUDLEY: I think we have -- we have provided information in all directions through this. We have nothing to hide. In fact --

COOPER: But why did it take 23 days to release a 30-second clip of video. I know today you're going to be releasing a lot more video but that's only after pressure from senators and congress people this week.

DUDLEY: Anderson, I'm going to ask you to come down with your crews and visit the engineering center we have. You can see it. The feeds are going everywhere. What we have been focused on --

COOPER: Well -- well, let me just stop there, because apparently when "ABC News" visited last week, or the week before you guys released the video, you turned off the feeds so they couldn't see that there were feeds and it was only once information leaked out that there was a live feed and media started requesting it that you guys released it.

I'm just asking why did it take so long to release a 30-second video clip?

DUDLEY: I can't tell you. I think we've been absolutely open. There have been streams of people who have come through the engineering command center in Houston and we've been streaming information to the Unified Command Center, which the Coast Guard leads in Robert, Louisiana.

Anderson the manifestation of the -- the spill at the surface it doesn't show anything like that. I saw some of the reports by the Perdue professor which was based on the velocity of the clouting coming out of the well. Again, I think he's missed the fact that this is a highly gaseous well that's coming out at the end of the pipe and that's evidenced by them now containment that we have at the surface going on.

COOPER: Wait, I mean, he claims that he's -- his calculated for that but would like, you know further access to just long strings of video to be able to fine tune and hone. I mean, it's just seems like if it takes three weeks to release the 30-clip of video.

You know, I mean, if you want this to be completely transparent, why not invite, you know experts to look and analyze and give them as much video as they need to analyze the velocity. You know, you guys have made statements saying that it doesn't really matter how much is flowing out because it doesn't impact you know your full court effort to clean it up.

And I have no doubt you're making a full court effort to clean it up. But it doesn't make sense to me to say that it doesn't matter how much is flowing out. I mean, don't the American people have the right to know how much oil is polluting the Gulf?

DUDLEY: Anderson, I believe that estimate is -- is a rough estimate, it's in the range and it's based on L the data that we have is fine. What we don't have time to do is stop and to experiments. We've got -- again, an underground architecture down there; robot vehicles with umbilicals working on containing and then closing off the leak. This has been a constant effort down below.

COOPER: But I don't think anyone is asking to stop your efforts, I mean, you know, there's plenty of people who can -- apparently experts who can look at video. I mean, why not allow them.

DUDLEY: All of that is available, all of that is available.

COOPER: Why cancel the people coming from Woods Hole Institute?

DUDLEY: I -- I don't know anything about that Anderson. I'm sure that the offshore logistics here -- we've got four rigs offshore, we've got seven ships offshore there. There are planes working with the dispersements and we are trying to manage this, really an underground city or air traffic controller of the remote operated vehicles.

I don't know anything about that, but that -- that base is scarce, we have lots of visitors. We have a thousand people working on the Sub Sea Command Center in Houston. It works 24 hours a day, there's 400 people in one center rotating overnight. We've got parallel tracks of engineering focused on containing it and shutting off the leak.

COOPER: Do you --

DUDLEY: It is the most important thing we're focused on.

COOPER: Do you believe it is not important for the American public to know exactly how much oil is leaking out of that pipe?

DUDLEY: I think what we're going to do, we're producing into it now at 3,000 barrels a day. There's been a noticeable reduction on that and what we see at the sub-surface. We're going to shut it off and we're going to clean it up.

COOPER: All right, great but --

DUDLEY: I don't know what else you could ask for.

COOPER: But what I'm asking is do you think it's important that the American people to know exactly how much oil is pouring into the Gulf.

DUDLEY: Anderson, I think there's a lot of things that are important for people to know. The most primary thing is why those blowout preventers failed, that's almost unthinkable in the oil and gas industry with the multiple redundancies that we have.

We need to get to the bottom of that through investigations. We all want to know what happened on the rig, why it happened and we want to know what we can learn from the spill response which has been actually very, very swift by the Coast Guard from moments after the spill.

We have managed to contain the oil offshore with the exceptions of some locations. And I've seen the footage today, which is very devastating, in the southeastern tip of Louisiana. We all want to clean it up and move on. We'll do studies for long time about the amount of oil from the spill.


COOPER: We have a lot more to talk about. We'll have more with Bob Dudley after the break.

And later, what makes some kids white and African-American biased towards lighter skin color? What makes others more color-blind? Some answers from our eye-opening pilot study on kids and race.


COOPER: "Keeping Them Honest" tonight, talking with BP managing director, Bob Dudley. Before the break, we were discussing the impact of all that oil leaking into Gulf of Mexico. Let's pick up where we left off. Part two of our conversation, "Keeping Them Honest." (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: So you won't be able to study how much oil was spilled unless you actually know how much is pouring out every day. I mean, there are scientists who are now saying, look, unless -- unless you know how much is pouring out, it's going to affect how future responses are done. That the response of this spill will become a model for future responses and if the modeling is all wrong, based on how much is actually pouring out, we're going to get future spills wrong as well.

DUDLEY: Well, this spill -- this is actually a leak so it's different than a spill, which is something we're going to learn from. We have responded to a spill and a leak really at a rate of a close to 100,000 barrels a day. And we've got boom, we've got one and a half million feet of boom around the coast.

The dispersants are injected, it's dispersing the oil. The dispersant is doing what it's designed to do, to break it down so that we can recover it. We had controlled burns on the surface today. The weather has been our friend offshore today. And what we -- the natural process of the dispersants, break it down, small droplets of bacteria eat it. That -- that's what it's designed to do.

And I think we're making progress on that, although I have to say, I'm devastated by some of the sites today we saw. We've cleaned up the beaches in Louisiana but there is oil in portions of the marsh down there.

COOPER: I'm still, you know, we didn't get an answer as to why it took 23 days to released video which guys had accessed to. But CNN has now learned that you've agreed to provide access to the -- the 24- hour live feed that you have of the leak to Barbara Boxer, Senate Committee. You're giving it to the committee. Why not allow Americans to see that -- to see that 24-hour feed that your executives are seeing all day long?

DUDLEY: Anderson, we've given that feed through the -- the Coast Guard command centers. We can't really give the feed without an approval from the Coast Guard and the government. We've -- we've given those feeds to multiple parties. I don't know exactly who they all are. But it's not only Barbara Boxer, there's other feeds into the Interior Department and the Department of Energy, I'm sure who have been very helpful with us.

COOPER: Well, actually I mean, Barbara Boxer wrote a letter to your company and today -- said, that you guys are basically said that to their committee that it was up to the Unified Command, that it wasn't just your decision.

But she seems to contradict that. She said and I'm quoting from this letter that she sent you two days ago. She's says, "We're writing to reiterate our request that BP provide us with all video records of the DeepWater Horizon Well associated spill. After our initial request, BP suggested the video is released under the authorization of the Unified Command. We have contacted the Unified Command and to date have not identified any restriction on BP's ability to release these records."

So you're saying essentially, you guys are free to release the video as you wish, so why not release this to the American people so they can watch this thing 24 hours a day, if they want?

DUDLEY: Well, I'm not sure. I think we have, Anderson. I don't know exactly where it's all going, but we're not hiding anything from this. Again, we -- this is not a leak on the bottom that we're watching, we have a complex system of robots around it with umbilicals down there. We're not stopping to go through a process of measuring it. We are trying to contain it first and then we want --

COOPER: But you do have a live feed of watching it?

DUDLEY: We do in the Command Center. It's not all the time, it depends on the location of the robots but we have a feed on it.

COOPER: Ok. And you don't know why that wouldn't be released to the American public?

DUDLEY: Well, Anderson, we have had -- we are working under a Unified Command structure that is led by the U.S. Coast Guard in Robert, Louisiana and so BP is not going to do anything that is outside of that command structure. If the command structure agrees we release it, we release it as we have.

COOPER: Well, ok, no -- you haven't released it to the American public and again, Barbara Boxer says it's really up to BP but I'll move on.

I want to ask you about the dispersants that you're putting into the Gulf. Is it correct to say that no one has ever dumped for this amount of dispersants before and not just on the surface but underneath the surface?

DUDLEY: I don't know.

This is the dispersant that's been used in the Gulf of Mexico for -- for more than 20 years. It's the preferred Coast Guard use of dispersement. It seems to be very, very effective, it's doing its job. The long term consequences of it -- of that much dispersant are something that we've absolutely need to study. BP is already gathering scientists and want to know -- we want to know the impact of that and many others about this accident.

COOPER: So you don't really know is the long -- at this point, you don't know the long term impact of this amount of dispersants underneath the surface of the -- underneath the surface and on the surface?

DUDLEY: Not this amount, no. But we see it doing its job and it's effectively a dish soap that breaks the oil into small droplets and then the bacteria eats it. It's non-toxic, it's biodegradable, that what it's designed to do.

COOPER: But I mean, a number of environmentalists have raised concerns about it and in fact, according to the "New York Times", I'm quoting, "BP continues to stockpile and deploy oil dispersing chemicals manufactured by a company which it shares close ties even though other US EPA approved alternatives have been shown to be far less toxic and in some case nearly twice as effective.

That basically, you're using products, I think I may have the name wrong, called Corexit (ph), and according to the "Times," they say 12 out of the 18 EPA approved dispersants were found to be effective than Corexit according to EPA data. And the toxicity of the 12 was either comparable or 10 to 20 times less, according to EPA. So if there's less toxic things out there, why not use it?

DUDLEY: Anderson, the EPA is very thorough in their testing of these. And I can't tell you the shades of gray and the rankings of various characteristics of it. I do know that this particular product and there's two products that we're using, had been stockpiled and they were available for immediate response.

And when we submitted the original spill response plan, they were in that response. The EPA is very thorough about such things. So I think we're a -- we're -- and they do not have these same concerns that you mention.

COOPER: According to their own reports, there are less toxic and more effective dispersants to use. They may not have had them on hand but have you made any effort to -- in the nearly four weeks of this spill to actually get other dispersants in there that are less toxic, that are actually more effective in the Gulf although it may not be ones connected to your company.

DUDLEY: Well, it's not connected to the company. I don't know anything about that. It's a commercial product that's available and is used the Gulf.

COOPER: One of the members of the your board is an executive for the company that owns these dispersants.

DUDLEY: I think I would know that. And I can't tell you. I don't know anybody who is actually. That company supplies these products used all around the world. We are working with the EPA to look at other dispersants and looking at their availability and the potential of putting those into action. I do know that.

And this is one of the things that we will look at in the near term here. There's no question we're going to will look at any option here to make sure this is the most effective response, contain it at the surface, select it, burn it, keep it off the beaches. We're not going to do anything except try to make this the most effective oil spill response in history.

COOPER: You said that the EPA wasn't concerned. The EPA director actually said that, quote, "I'm amazed by how little science there is on the issue" in front of a Congressional committee. And she said that she's working BP and others to, quote, "get less toxic dispersants to the site as quickly as possible". Do you have a timeline on when that may occur? DUDLEY: Well, you have -- we have to get into the unified command certainty in Robert, Louisiana on that. There's no question that that's where they deploy the resources and allocate and prioritize resources. I'm sure if that's what she said, that's what we're doing, no question about it. I can't tell you tonight.

COOPER: Finally, I want to try to clarify something I read in a "U.K Times" article. Tony Hayward on May 13th, the CEO, your boss at BP said that he -- he promised that he was going to stay here until we have fixed it. That was his quote, staying in America until we fixed it. According to the "UK Times", he's now intending to be in England tomorrow for a board meeting and to celebrate his 54th birthday. Is that true?

DUDLEY: Well, I just saw him before we came here. I don't know anything about that. Tony has worked tirelessly over the last month. He's been all across the Gulf States and met with governors in the claim centers on the beaches to see and talk with people to make sure the spill responses is going well. He's been overseeing the engineering activities that we have daily.

I don't really know but I can tell you he's one hard working dedicated guy on this.

BEHAR: I have no doubt about that. I just think, you know, he made this promise and I just wanted to verify the "UK Times" report. So we'll try to check back with BP on that for tonight's broadcast.

Bob Dudley, appreciate your time. Thank you.

DUDLEY: Thanks, Anderson.

COOPER: Well, we did get back to BP after that interview to find out if indeed Mr. Hayward, the company CEO, was leaving the country. BP wouldn't comment but a source close to the company said he was going to a board meeting; the source didn't comment on the birthday party. So much for the promise to stay here until it's fixed.

Just ahead tonight, police say he preyed on suicidal people around the world over the Internet, pretending to be a female nurse, encouraging people to end their lives, even showing how to tie the noose. A remarkable Internet sleuth who caught him and the shocking truth about why he might get away with all he's he's accused of; "Crime and Punishment" tonight.

And later litter kids, as young as 5 years old, many with clear ideas about race and skin color. Tonight, more on our pilot study: what influences kids when it comes to skin color and what parents can do about it.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Show me the ugly child. Why is he the ugly child?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's really, really black. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Still ahead, more on our pilot study, kids and race in America; our findings are eye-opening. Tonight, we'll look at what's shaping the way kids think about race.

But first Brianna Keilar joins us with a "360 News and Business Bulletin" -- Brianna.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, Bangkok turned into a war zone today as Thai military forces cracked- down on anti-government protesters. At least five people were killed in hours of intense street battles that ended when anti-government leaders surrendered. A citywide curfew is currently in effect.

In Afghanistan, nearly a dozen insurgents and a U.S. contractor were killed today in an early morning attack on Bagram Air Base. The Taliban claimed responsibility. This is its second major assault in and around Kabul in two days.

And a setback for the Wall Street reform bill. Senate Republicans and a number of Democrats today delaying a final vote on a bill, raising a few last minute amendments just as it appeared headed for approval. Senate Democrats fell short of the votes needed to end debate. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said that they will try again tomorrow.

And in California, former NASCAR driver, James Neal, has been slapped with a month in jail after leading deputies on a high speed highway chase. Officers actually lost sight of Neal after he reached 140 miles per hour.

COOPER: Yikes.

KEILAR: They caught up with him when his engine blew, and you know, Anderson, he never did win a national race as a NASCAR driver. I think we see why.

COOPER: Yes, unbelievable.

Brianna thanks.

Coming up on 360, stalking chat rooms for suicidal people -- this is just such a sick story. Police say a man pretending to be a female nurse for years encouraged others to kill themselves. They believe he did it for the thrill of the chase. Disturbing story on tonight's "Crime and Punishment" report.

Also tonight, fascinating look at kids and skin color.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Show me the smart child. And why do you say she's the smart child?

UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: Because you know usually that skin of people, they are more smart than I am.


COOPER: How is bias formed at an early age and why? Where does it come from? Findings from our pilot study ahead.


COOPER: All this week, we've been getting an eye-opening education from kids about race and bias and what skin color means to them. In a pilot study conducted on behalf of 360, psychologists interviewed more than 130 kids in eight different schools, and they found that white kids as a whole have a higher rate of what they call white bias, assigning positive attributes to light skin and negative ones to darker skin. We also learned that black kids also have a bias toward whites but not as much as white kids.

If you want more details about exactly how the pilot study was conducted, you can check out our Web site at

We also showed you some parents who were shocked to know what their kids said. The findings are controversial, and they're unsettling at times. But for all of us, a key question is where does bias come from?

Tonight, we look at the influences from outside the home that may have a direct effect on kids. Joining us, Soledad O'Brien; also, actress, professor and playwright Anna Deveare Smith; and Michael Eric Dyson, author of -- professor of sociology at Georgetown.


COOPER: Soledad and I talked to two different panels of parents who watched their kids' tests. And a lot of issues emerged, obviously, around race. One issue that came up was beyond their parents. What is influencing kids' ideas of race? Let's listen.


COOPER: I don't have kids, but I would imagine one of the greatest concerns is the messages that your kids are receiving once they leave your door. I mean, you're only with them for a certain amount of time, and they have their friends and, you know, are seeing things on televisions, and -- and those messages are all around.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On the part of parental responsibility, I've noticed that the media that we allow them to be exposed to does have a lot to do with forming their perceptions and perspectives.

I've -- I've caught myself, my wife and I have caught ourselves with TVs just playing in the house, and there'll be a television show about police chasing folks. And 9 times out of 10 the folks that are being chased look a certain way. And so that's the guy that's bad.

And I noticed it, as a matter of fact, yesterday on a show, that all of the guys that looked a certain way with a darker hue were taken away in the police car on the show. And the one person who was released had a lighter hue of skin. So --

COOPER: You think you get messages from that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sure. Absolutely.

COOPER: Let's look at Laura Andrew.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Show me the dumb child.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why is he the dumb child?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because he's really black.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. Show me the nice child.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why is he the nice child?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because he's the whitest.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Show me the mean child.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. Why is he the mean child?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because he's darker than these.

COOPER: I saw you shaking your head. Where do you think that message came from?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's hard -- I mean, our family, the neighborhood we live in, again, I think the media, you know, maybe the TV shows he watches. It comes from everywhere.

It's coming from me, I'm sure. You know, I was raised in a very white community. So, clearly, I've, you know, grown up with these -- with my own prejudice, I'm sure. It gets passed on sometimes, you know.

COOPER: And just so you know, I mean what we've seen -- I don't want any of you to feel bad. Because what we've seen is not any different than what we've seen no matter where we've gone. I mean, it's everywhere.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it's more of a fundamental issue, not necessarily just looking at the response from the kids but looking overall how society is built and how it sustains itself, because it's not changing. Because the economic ladders that people have to climb, you will always have people in, I guess, imposed type of barriers to their advancement. And that will be reflective on how they can raise their kids and what schools they send them to and all the other things that can help to alleviate some of the responses that we see that were not pleasant.


COOPER: It's interesting, that that mom, Laura, she's a teacher. And she was stunned at what she saw her little boy do. ANNA DEVEARE SMITH, ACTRESS: Yes. I think that before we even get to the media, I think what this last father was talking about is extremely relevant, the economy. And that even makes me think, should we be striving for more financial equity and just give up on this project to influence people's attitudes?

MICHAEL ERIC DYSON, PROFESSOR, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY: Well, think it's both/and, not either/or. Because what you just indicated there is, you know, the concentrated effects of poverty. So that the people -- it's not true that white people are not poor, because most people who are poor happen to be white.

But the concentration effects of poverty are different for African-Americans and Latinos. That means that you're living in a poor household. Your parents tend to be much poorer than white parents. You live in a neighborhood where, at least when you're poor and white you see some other role models, the people who are upwardly mobile and climbing the ladder of success, where you don't see that in black communities.

SMITH: Let me quickly, quickly say why, though, to this. Because when Kenneth and Mamie Clark did their first experiment, which is so important to all of us, I wouldn't be here if they hadn't done that.

It again, influenced the desegregation of schools. And it seems to me that your test does indicate that -- again, that African- American children are not leaning towards -- have a white-leaning bias to the extent that they did when that first test was done.

However, the economic situation does not necessarily seem to me correlate with the fact that the kids feel better about themselves.

DYSON: Right.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I think that is true, but, to me, the bigger -- when people argue for a seat at the table, you know, you have all these diversity councils. You have people saying, you know -- this is the exact reason why. Because in the media, you have an opportunity to shape the coverage.

And what I say to my kids is, we have conversations about -- we'll watch a story on the local news about a welfare mom who's invariably black. And I'll say, "You know what's interesting? Who do you think -- who do you think the most welfare moms are? Do you think they're black or white?"

And they'll say, "They're black."

I say, "Actually, they're white. Why do you think we might see welfare moms who are black on TV? Why do you think that will happen?"

And they'll throw out a bunch -- I'll say, "You know, a lot of news organizations are in urban centers. What's the easiest thing to drive to? It's just faster to run out and find a black welfare mom than go rural and find a white welfare mom." So there are many things that you can highlights to kids what the bias that they're seeing. Maybe it's unintentional. But the bias that they're seeing. And my kids look at TV a completely different way.

SMITH: I was talking to one black director right after Obama won, and he was trying to get a movie made about a romance between a black man and black woman in New York, and he just couldn't get any traction. He's a very good director. I said, "What are you talking about?"

And he said, "Well, it's foreign sales."

I said, "What are you talking about? The biggest romance between a black man and a black woman is seen all over the world right now: Michelle Obama and Barack Obama."

It doesn't help. So I think that, even if it's just an excuse, it has an impact on what narratives actually get made.

DYSON: Well, think, for instance, about "Precious". A lot of black people I know said, "I'm not watching that." It's the story of pathology once again. The light-skinned black people are the ones who are the girl's redeemers. The dark-skinned black people are all evil.

And as a result, and I try to say, "Well, it's more complex than that. I think this is a true story that is a slice of life." The problem is not that "Precious" is not an accurate reflection of African-American culture.

COOPER: Other stories aren't being told.

DYSON: It's that other stories are not being told, and this is the only one that gets green-lighted and the other ones don't get green-lighted. So --

COOPER: How do parents go about counteracting those messages? I mean, getting back to what we talked about in the past days. Just talking?

DYSON: We've got to hammer them away with the narratives. We've got to tell the truths of stories that are not often broadcast, literally and symbolically. When you begin to challenge those stereotypes in your own lives and your kids begin to see that, they even have experiences of different --

COOPER: It's not just talk; it's action.

DYSON: It's action and talk.

O'BRIEN: And I would add to that, let them talk about race, as opposed to shutting them down with "in this family, everybody is equal. We don't see color." Because guess what? They see color.

COOPER: We've got to leave it there. We're way over time. Anna Deveare Smith, thank you so much. Michael Eric Dyson, as well. Soledad, thank you.


COOPER: So 60 years after desegregation, as disturbing as it may be to think about, even little kids form thoughts and ideas about skin color and race. The biases may be diminishing, but they are still there.

Tomorrow, we're going to talk with Grammy Award-winning artist and activist John Legend about where we go from here. That's tomorrow night, 10:00 p.m., on 360.

You can join the live chat right now at; a lot of folks on it. I'm on it myself. Let us know what you think.

Coming up: a man who allegedly trolled the Internet, creating suicide pacts with others, encouraging them to die and doing it just for the thrill; details on that ahead.


COOPER: "Crime & Punishment" tonight, police in Minnesota say a man was posing online as a female nurse, trolling the Internet for years, looking for people who wanted to kill themselves. They say he would offer his friendship, his encouragement, telling them it was OK, and actually helping them to do it with advice.

Randi Kaye reports.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When 18-year-old Nadia Kajouji disappeared in 2008, her family tried desperately to find her.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Please, please, please. I love you so much.

RANDI: But her body would later be pulled from a river in Ottawa, Canada -- suicide.

But as tragic as Nadia's death was, there was something else, something unexpected.

(on camera): A search of her computer files, police say, showed Nadia had been chatting online with someone called Tammy who used the e-mail address Falcongirl, and that the two had entered into a suicide pact. Only Nadia followed through.

(voice-over): It was about the same time Nadia died that this woman, a 65-year-old self-proclaimed computer illiterate named Celia Blay, living in the U.K., grew suspicious about a person she said seemed to be conning people online to commit suicide.

Blay was depressed and visiting chat rooms. The person claimed to be a female nurse. So Blay and a friend set up their own sting and managed to get their first glimpse via Web cam and were shocked to learn she was really a he.

His response?

CELIA BLAY, UNCOVERED THE SUICIDE SCAM: He says, I pretend to be a woman, because that way, if they come looking for me, they will come looking for a woman.

KAYE: Celia then tracked down the nurse's name and address, even the church he attended. He was actually a male nurse from Minnesota, a husband and father who investigators now say preyed on depressed people.

BLAY: He gave them that little nudge over the edge. He knew exactly what he was doing. He knew the psychology of it.

KAYE: Instead of getting them help, 47-year-old William Melchert-Dinkel (ph) allegedly encouraged them to take their lives by entering into false suicide pacts, giving step-by-step instructions how to die, even offering to demonstrate how to tie the noose via Web camera.

BLAY: He practically worked through a script, very formulated. He'd be very sympathetic. He'd call them "Hon" and say, "I understand." He'd say that he was also depressed. He'd say that he worked in an emergency room and because of his experience he knew that the most painless way of committing suicide was hanging.

KAYE: But despite what Blay uncovered, she says she got nowhere with authorities in the U.K. So she called police in St. Paul, Minnesota, near his home.

SGT. PAUL SCHNELL, ST. PAUL POLICE DEPARTMENT: Celia Blay, by many standards, teach a lot of us about that diligence and perseverance in an investigation, because she really put her feet to the ground, her fingers to the keyboard.

KAYE: Using computer forensics, it didn't take cops long to figure out Melchert-Dinkel may have helped a man in Britain kill himself. That time, the nurse used the name Li Dao and an e-mail address police tracked back to Melchert-Dinkel's computer.

Police documents show an e-mail from Li Dao in 2005 was found on this man's computer, giving 32-year-old Mark Drybrough (ph) instructions how to hang himself. It reads, "You can easily hang from a door using the knob on the other side to tie the rope to. Sling it over the top of the door. Attach the noose or loop to yourself. Then step off and hang successfully."

In Minnesota, it's a felony to advise, encourage or assist another in suicide. Melchert-Dinkel is charged with two counts of assisting suicide. Cops say they found photos of Nadia, the college student, on the nurse's computer.

Melchert-Dinkel hasn't entered a plea yet, but the police affidavit says he, quote, "Estimated he had assisted five or less individuals in killing themselves" and admitted, quote, "entering into 10 to 11 suicide pacts online," characterizing it as, quote, "the thrill of the chase".

He added he, quote, "only encouraged suicide and never told anyone to do it but told them it was up to them".

The State Board of Nursing revoked his license last year. But still, his lawyer told us his client has no plans to plead guilty. The lawyer said Melchert-Dinkel is not a monster, adding, "You're looking at a police affidavit conducted under conditions that were stressful, to say the least. He engaged in a series of events that he certainly regrets."

(on camera): Prosecuting William Melchert-Dinkel may not be easy. Minnesota law doesn't specifically address assisted suicides involving the Internet or suicides that occur out-of-state. So while he may admit to having encouraged suicide, if he didn't physically help kill anyone and simply gave directions, he may walk free.

Randi Kaye, CNN, Miami.


COOPER: Still ahead a prison goes green with some unexpected result; what inmates say about gardening, bee-keeping and other organic hard labor.


COOPER: In tonight's "One Simple Thing" report where hard labor means helping the environment. It's happening at one prison in Washington State. And what began as a way to raise revenue has now taken on a whole new meaning. As you'll see going green has been good for the inmates.

Here's Patrick Oppmann.


PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN ALL-PLATFORM JOURNALIST: Make no mistake, we are in a prison. Acres of barbed wire keep the 2,000 inmates from going anywhere.

But on the other side of the fence, guard towers share the landscape with gardens.

(on camera): Inside these walls the concept of prison labor is being changed dramatically. Prisoners here plant some stable crops, raise bees and recycle tons of waste. It's a kind of work these inmates say want to do.

TOBY ERHART, PRISON INMATE: Of course I'm in prison, but I like the freedom of working out here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 130 of these trays a day?


OPPMANN: Inmate Toby Erhart (ph) discusses with a visiting ecologist a project to replant an endangered type of grass.

ERHART: I don't feel like I'm languishing you know. There's good work going on here, and it's for a good cause, and I enjoy it, and it helps immensely. I look forward to coming to work every day, how many people can say that on either side of the fence.

OPPMANN (voice-over): Prison officials say they first went green for the financial not environmental benefits.

PAT GLEBE, PRISON SUPERINTENDENT: Just in the garbage sorting center alone, we're seeing probably $150,000 to $200,000 a year. I got into it for simply looking at budget, a way to save money. What I found is it benefits every piece of the facility organization.

Offenders like it, the place looks better, they're learning new skills.

OPPMANN: But a drop in violence among inmates in the services prisoners are now providing have convinced administrators to expand the program to other state prisons, in broad (INAUDIBLE) -- be on the green.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Be a good girl.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She's a good girl.

OPPMANN: Convicted murder Gerald Belgard (ph) helps train shelter dogs that would have been destroyed.

GERALD BELGARD, PRISON INMATE: They get abandoned and forgot about, you know what I'm saying. And I can relate to her being locked up in a kennel, I'm incarcerated. I'd rather see her go to a good home than perish in the Humane Society somewhere.

OPPMANN: Whether it's taking care of canines or growing greens, the inmates here live with a purpose.

Patrick Oppmann, CNN, Aberdeen, Washington.


COOPER: "One Simple Thing". That does it for 360. Thanks for watching.

"LARRY KING" starts right now.