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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Interview With Dr. Phil; Outrage Grows Over Rutgers Suicide
Aired September 30, 2010 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: And thanks for watching, everybody.
Tonight: The attorney general of Michigan says one of the men working for him is -- quote -- "clearly a bully" for singling out a college student for attack in person and online. Yet, he says he can't fire him. "Keeping Them Honest," we have uncovered new evidence suggesting otherwise and new pressure from Michigan's governor to can this guy.
Also tonight: new details and possible new charges in the case of the college student who jumped off a bridge after his roommate used a Webcam to stream images of him in his room with another male student on to the Internet. It's a case that shocked the country. Dr. Phil McGraw joins to us talk about what happened to 19-year-old Tyler Clementi.
And later: a medical mystery solved, 360 M.D. Sanjay Gupta following up on a woman with an illness no one could identify -- how disease detectives figured it out and saved her life.
We begin, though, tonight "Keeping Them Honest" with new developments in the bizarre case of an assistant attorney general of Michigan who for months has been targeting an openly gay college student.
Now, last night, on the program, the attorney general of Michigan said he couldn't discipline his employee, the assistant attorney general, even though he thought what he was doing was bullying.
Well, tonight, we have new evidence suggesting that the attorney general of Michigan actually could do something about it if he really wanted to. The attorney general was implying there weren't any grounds yet to dismiss the staffer. It turns out there may be.
We will show you the evidence in a moment, and you can decide for yourself.
First, though, I just want to bring you up to speed on what is a truly odd story. Take a look. This is the assistant attorney general, Andrew Shirvell, the man on the left there. For months, he has been targeting the Michigan of University student body president, Chris Armstrong.
Shirvell has set up a Web site devoted entirely to attacking Armstrong. Now, this is a screen shot of one blog posting. It's got a picture of the college student, Chris Armstrong, with the word "resign" scrawled on his face, a rainbow flag there, and a swastika in the center.
Now, there's months of posting like this, page after page on this guy's blog, unproven allegations, smears. He calls the college student a Nazi-like recruiter for the cult that is homosexuality. That's a quote. He also calls him a privileged pervert. He has even called him Satan's representative on the student assembly.
Now, in addition, Shirvell, who is a public official, has shouted down the college student, Armstrong, in public, on campus, and has appeared outside Armstrong's home videotaping at night.
I interviewed Shirvell two nights ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: I have got to ask you, you're a state official. This is a college student. What are you doing?
ANDREW SHIRVELL, MICHIGAN ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL: Well, Anderson, basically, if you have been involved in political campaigns before, you know all sorts of stuff happens, and this is just another tactic bringing awareness to what Chris really stands for.
COOPER: This is not some national figure. This is a guy who's running a student council.
SHIRVELL: Well -- well, Anderson, as a private citizen, and as a University of Michigan alum, I care, because this is my university. And I wasn't the only first person to criticize Chris.
In fact, long before I started the blog, a couple of weeks before that, the Alliance Defense Fund, a well-known legal Christian foundation, put out an alert about Chris. So, I'm not the only person that has criticized Chris, and I'm not the first person to criticize Chris.
COOPER: But you are the only person -- you are the only person running this blog, which is putting Nazi swastikas on this guy. You're -- you're a grown adult. Does that seem appropriate to you?
SHIRVELL: Well, like I said, this is a political campaign. This is nothing personal against Chris. I don't know Chris.
COOPER: What do you mean it's nothing personal? You're outside his house. You're videotaping his house. You're shouting him down at public events. You're calling him Satan's representative on the student council. You're attacking his -- his parents, his friends' parents. I mean, you can't say it's not personal.
SHIRVELL: Well, Chris -- in any political campaign, you have to raise awareness and issues, and that's one way of doing it, is by protesting.
(END VIDEO CLIP) COOPER: Well, let's remember, Mr. Shirvell is not in a political campaign. He's not running for anything, nor is Chris Armstrong. He's a student body president. He's already won.
Mr. Shirvell insists he's exercising his free speech. And last night on the program, his boss, the Michigan attorney general, Mike Cox, latched on to that, saying he doesn't like what his employee is doing, but he can't fire him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Why is he still employed?
MIKE COX, MICHIGAN ATTORNEY GENERAL: Well, for a number of reasons.
Here in America, we have this thing called the First Amendment, which allows people to express what they think and -- and -- and engage in political and social speech.
And, more on point, the Supreme Court, both the United States Supreme Court in 1995 in a case called the U.S. vs. Treasury Employees said that civil service employees in the federal system, and, by extension, in the state system, have free First Amendment rights outside of the work, as long as it doesn't impact their performance of -- of -- at their job.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, I later asked the attorney general if he could not in fact discipline Mr. Shirvell under a clause in the state's civil service law barring conduct unbecoming a state official.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Do you think this is unbecoming?
COX: Certainly, it's unbecoming of civil discourse. It's unbecoming of common courtesy. And, you know, I -- quite frankly, I -- I -- I feel embarrassed for Mr. Armstrong, you know, that he has this unwanted attention.
But, again, Anderson, this is speech put on a blog. Now, if there's conduct that's verified, for instance, if a personal protection order was sought by Mr. Armstrong and granted in the Michigan civil service or a disciplinary code, we could start looking at things in terms of perhaps sending to an employee assistance program.
COOPER: So, if there was a restraining order or something filed or there was a lawsuit by Mr. Armstrong against Mr. Shirvell, you might look at this differently or that might change your ability to do something?
You know, it's -- there's a spectrum between pure speech and actual physical actions. Now, clearly, if he was stalking him and violating the criminal law, action could be taken against him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: So that was last night.
Today, we learned that Chris Armstrong actually filed for a personal protection order back on September 13. Take a look. This is the actual application.
He says -- quote -- "The actions that Mr. Shirvell has taken over the past four months have been incredibly distressing." That's what Chris Armstrong wrote. He alleges a pattern of harassment and defamation online.
And he accuses Shirvell of calling his supervisor when he was interning in Congress in Washington, asking him if he knew Armstrong was a racist, which, by the way, Mr. Shirvell acknowledges on his blog doing.
He also says that Shirvell protested against him outside a nightclub in Ann Arbor, which Mr. Shirvell also acknowledges on his blog. The hearing on the case is reportedly scheduled for Monday.
We also learned today that the University of Michigan has actually barred Andrew Shirvell from setting foot on campus, a campus police spokeswoman telling the local newspaper they're basing it on an investigation involving -- and I quote -- "potential harassment or stalking or intimidation."
This no-trespassing order was read to Andrew Shirvell on September 14. So the no-trespassing order involves action, not speech. So they would perhaps seem to weaken Attorney General Cox's claim that there's no cause at all to fire Shirvell.
Either the attorney general is unaware of the orders or Mr. Armstrong's application for protection order last night when we spoke, or he just didn't mention them. We put in calls to his office tonight. We have yet to hear back.
Michigan's governor, Jennifer Granholm, she weighed in today on Facebook -- she's a former attorney general -- and said in her Facebook update -- quote -- "If I was still attorney general and Andrew Shirvell worked for me, he would have already been fired."
By the way, we discovered today that Mr. Shirvell's blog is still online, but it's no longer open to the public. As you can see -- let me show you a picture -- there, it says, "This blog is open to invited readers only."
Not sure how one gets invited. Joining us is senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin and Jim Tierney. He's the former attorney general of the state of Maine, as well as director of the national state attorneys general program at Columbia University's law school.
Jeffrey, last night, it sounded as if the attorney general of Michigan perhaps didn't know that his employee had been banned from the campus and that Mr. Armstrong had applied for a protection order. Would that make a difference?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: It would make a huge difference, although I think just the blog alone would have been grounds for firing.
But when you add up to the fact that he has now been apparently officially barred from the campus, that there is an order -- a request for a restraining order pending...
COOPER: Which the judge, by the way, didn't automatically grant. There's going to be a hearing on Monday.
TOOBIN: Right. And the judge I think is proceeding cautiously, saying he wants to -- she wants to hear from both sides.
But there is such ample grounds to fire this guy or, at least at a minimum, to suspend him, that I think Attorney General Cox's position is increasingly just implausible in the extreme.
COOPER: Jim, you're a former attorney general in the state of Maine. Would he -- this guy still be on your staff if you were the attorney general?
JIM TIERNEY, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF LAW: No, of course not. I don't think he would be in any real place in the country. But there are some civil...
COOPER: Wait. Is Michigan not a real place?
TIERNEY: But there are some civil service rules here that I don't -- I'm not an expert on Michigan civil service law.
but I will say this. A.G. offices are not democracies. OK? There's a boss. And you don't work 9:00 to 5:00 when you work for the attorney general, because you become kind of a symbol. You are a walking symbol of law enforcement. You're the way the world is supposed to be.
You can't enforce a law if you don't follow it. And so you really have to be above reproach if you're going to work for the state A.G. And that's why Mike Cox has a great office. He's very aggressive. They have done a lot of important things. But, on this one, I don't understand it.
COOPER: But there is a statute in the civil service law which says you can be disciplined for conduct unbecoming a public official.
COOPER: Certainly, Mr. Cox seems to agree that this is unbecoming and certainly not appropriate behavior. He's arguing, though, that it's a free speech issue.
TIERNEY: Well, it's not -- it's not free speech. He does have the constitutional right to free speech.
What he doesn't have is a constitutional right to a job. OK? So, that's the issue at hand. And so the question really becomes, if you can't fire him or if you think you can't fire him, then suspend him. And if you can't suspend him, put him in an office and tell him to play solitaire all day. But you don't let him sign public documents. You don't let him walk around. And you don't let him identify himself as a law enforcement officer of your state. You can't do that.
COOPER: Is this, Jeffrey, stalking? Because I was reading the Michigan penal code, which defines stalking -- I want to put it on the screen -- as a willful course of conduct involving repeated or continuing harassment of another individual that would cause a reasonable person to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed, or molested, and that actually causes the victim to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed, or molested."
Would -- would that apply? Because, I mean, I guess the argument could be that this Chris Armstrong could be argued to be some sort of a public official in that he's a student body president.
TOOBIN: I read that definition today, and I thought to myself, bingo. This is exactly what Armstrong is being made to feel.
Remember, it's a subjective standard, that -- meaning that causes him to feel. It depends on how he feels. Armstrong, obviously, when you read that really chilling summary of his affidavit, when he's asking the court for protection, the list of things, not just blog posts, but physical contact, in the sense of showing up at things, that Shirvell has done over the past several months, it's scary as hell.
And -- and Armstrong is obviously scared. And that is definitely, at least in my opinion, within the definition of stalking.
COOPER: Jim, have you ever seen a case like this?
TIERNEY: Well, no. We wouldn't be talking about it every night if we had.
TIERNEY: Now, I have seen places where assistant A.G.s have engaged in misconduct, both in classified states such as Michigan and in unclassified states such as my own.
And what happens is, if you get a serious charge -- and this is way beyond serious charge -- you -- you immediately kind of say, turn in your badge here. You have got due process, but we're not going to let you continue to walk around, because, you know, assistant A.G.s are in court in Michigan every day in front of judges, and they carry with them the reputation and the culture of a terrific office.
COOPER: Because it also affects the perception of that office, wouldn't it?
TIERNEY: On all kinds of matters.
COOPER: And, I mean, if a -- would a gay person in Michigan feel comfortable, not only having Andrew Shirvell represent them as an attorney for the state, but going even to the attorney general's office, if this guy is employed there?
TIERNEY: Well, and it's way beyond gay people. It's about how we treat each other.
We're all God's children. We're all citizens. We all have constitutional rights. And if you don't feel that the A.G.'s office calls it right, if you don't think that every person on that staff is with you in enforcing the laws in the Constitution, then you have a perception problem that's hard to put away.
COOPER: Let me just argue devil's advocate here. What if this was reversed, and the assistant attorney general was a gay employee for a very conservative attorney general, and the attorney general felt, well, that's inappropriate and conduct unbecoming. Could they be fired?
Because that's -- that's -- the argument of those who say that this is a slippery slope, that if you fire this guy for his ideas, then you can fire anybody.
TOOBIN: This isn't about ideas.
TIERNEY: It's not about ideas.
TOOBIN: This is about his harassment of a single individual. The -- the...
COOPER: I'm trying to come up with something.
COOPER: ... point.
TOOBIN: But, I mean, that's why I don't -- I don't think the -- the -- the analogy holds.
And the other point is, he has no recourse, Armstrong. I mean, he -- he has nothing to do, except go to court, to try to get relief from this person, because he's operating unimpeded by his own employer. And you have to remember the political context here.
Mike Cox is a conservative Republican, unsuccessful candidate for governor, who has a history of not being particularly friendly to the gay community. Shirvell is a political ally, a campaign worker. It certainly raises the question of why he's protecting him, perhaps because they are ideologically in sync.
TIERNEY: Well, I'm going to put some distance between myself and my friend Jeff on that.
I don't think that you can -- you could make this a political ideal. He's a boss. He's made a personnel decision. I think he's made it wrongly. I think this new information that there actually was -- basically been ordered off campus and this injunction, if that assistant A.G. hasn't told his boss that, that's -- that's excuse enough.
COOPER: Right. Right.
So, that's why we're really curious to hear from the attorney general's office did he know of this, and, if he didn't know of it, did Shirvell tell anyone on the staff? And, if he didn't, that would seem to be also pretty -- pretty damning stuff.
TOOBIN: Well, it would be yet another grounds for firing, but not the only one.
COOPER: Jim Tierney, I appreciate your expertise.
COOPER: It was good to have you on the program, Jeff Toobin as well.
Let us know what you think. Join the live chat at AC360.com.
We're going to continue to follow this case. As we said, that hearing is on Monday.
Up next: Sarah Palin saying that we're not checking the facts about a Democratic politician. The question is, has she really checked her facts? See the tape. You can decide for yourself, "Keeping Them Honest," ahead.
And the new heart-wrenching details about the final hours of Tyler Clementi's life, his intimate private life broadcast live on the Internet by his college roommate. The kid killed himself. Dr. Phil McGraw joins us to talk about that case and the growing problem of cyber-bullying.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. PHIL MCGRAW, HOST, "DR. PHIL": It's very likely that he did not anticipate that there would be people that would have compassion, and, in fact, would -- would -- would relate to his pain and help him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: "Keeping Them Honest" tonight, today, in slamming a campaign attack ad from Democratic Congressman Alan Grayson, Sarah Palin accused us of not doing our job.
She tweets: "Grayson's twisted campaign ad insults to media -- adds to media distrust problem. He blatantly lies in his vile rant, but greedy media run it anyway who fact-check -- with no fact check."
Now, we have nothing against either Ms. Palin or Congressman Grayson. We think choosing political sides is your job, not ours. Ours is holding public figures accountable when they play fast and loose with the facts that you need to make political decisions.
So, "Keeping Them Honest," here's the fact check that we did -- indeed, we did do -- on Mr. Grayson's ad days ago. Watch.
COOPER: Five weeks away now from the midterm elections, and two new campaign ads distort the facts through clever editing.
One ad belongs to a Democrat, one to a Republican. We're calling them out tonight because anyone who wants your vote and your trust shouldn't try to get it by insulting your intelligence with trickery.
The first ad is by Alan Grayson, Democrat of Florida, running against Daniel Webster, whom he calls Taliban Dan.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, ALAN GRAYSON CAMPAIGN AD)
REP. ALAN GRAYSON (D), FLORIDA: I'm Congressman Alan Grayson, and I approve this message.
NARRATOR: Religious fanatics try to take away our freedom in Afghanistan, in Iran, and right here in Central Florida.
DANIEL WEBSTER (R), FLORIDA CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: Wives, submit yourself to your own husband.
NARRATOR: Daniel Webster wants to impose his radical fundamentalism on us.
WEBSTER: She should submit to me. That's in the Bible.
NARRATOR: Webster tried to deny battered women medical care and the right to divorce their abusers.
WEBSTER: Submit to me.
NARRATOR: He wants to force raped women to bear the child.
WEBSTER: Submit to me.
NARRATOR: Taliban Dan Webster, hands off our bodies and our laws.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Now, labeling your opponent the Taliban is obviously deeply offensive and just flat-out wrong. Taliban stone people to death, murder American troops.
Is this what really passes for political discourse today? If a Republican did this to a Democrat, liberals would be outraged. It's a low blow.
But what's also false this ad is the way Congressman Grayson has edited Mr. Webster's statements, repeatedly him playing saying, "She should submit to me, submit to me." It sounds all very ominous.
We asked the Webster campaign for the context of those statements, and they sent us this video of the full statement Mr. Webster made to a conservative religious group about keeping a journal and writing down verses from the Bible.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WEBSTER: Find a verse. I have a verse for my wife. I have verses for my wife. Don't pick the ones that say, "She should submit to me." That's in the Bible. But pick the ones that you're supposed to do.
WEBSTER: So, instead, that you love your wife, even as Christ loved the church and gave himself for it, and as opposed to, wives, submit yourself to yourself to your own husband.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: So, whatever you may think of Mr. Webster and his belief and politics, the actual statement he's making is not the ominous command to women portrayed in Grayson's commercial.
COOPER: So, that was our coverage. Joining us now, Tea Party supporter Dana Loesch and political analyst Roland Martin.
Dana, I don't want to presume that Sarah Palin watches this show every night, or if at all, but there were plenty of people, not just me, pointing out the Grayson ad is completely dishonest and wrong. Don't you think it's a little disingenuous for her to suggest that, you know, all the media -- or the "lamestream" media, as she calls it -- is giving Grayson a free pass?
DANA LOESCH, ORGANIZER, ST. LOUIS TEA PARTY COALITION: Well, Anderson, thanks for having me back.
I want to extend to her the benefit of the doubt. I like to always extend people the benefit of the doubt, just in case I may be wrong about their -- about what they're saying or about their judgments.
But, in this case, I mean, clearly -- and I do appreciate the way that -- that you did fact-check this, and other media outlets did as well. And I think that whenever anyone in the media does -- when they do what they're supposed to do, when you have the media that says, hey, look, regardless of what side it's on, this is wrong, this -- we're the watchdog for the people, this is what we're going to do, credit has to be given where credit is due.
And I think it would be great to later see a tweet from former Governor Palin to say, hey, that was great. Thank you for fact- checking this, because this needs to be done.
I think the -- the big thing is that, sadly, in our current culture, it seems to be more the exception, rather than the rule. And we need more exceptions.
ROLAND MARTIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: But, Dana, I understand your point, but why don't you just come out and say it? She was wrong. She made a flat-out mistake, but not only that. When you have people who follow her, and they believe everything that she says, they take that as fact.
Not only did Anderson's show fact-check the Democrat. He also fact-checked the Republican. So, the question is, will Sarah Palin have the audacity to criticize a Republican who also distorted a particular commercial?
COOPER: But -- but let me jump in here, Roland. Let's not make this about how good a job we did on this show, because, frankly, no one really wants to hear about that.
COOPER: But Grayson has now sent out a fund-raising letter basically making fun of Sarah Palin for tweeting about his ad. He calls her a -- quote -- "half-baked Alaskan" and asks, "What is it about Sarah Palin and Twitter? Is Palin fond of tweeting because she can draft a tweet on her palm? Is it that 140 characters represents the maximum length of Sarah Palin's attention span?"
I mean, it goes on and on like that. Why should Grayson now be trying to make hay out of this, rather than addressing -- frankly, we have tried to get him on this show to defend that ad.
COOPER: He won't come on.
MARTIN: Because he's doing what a lot of politicians do on both sides. And that is, they want to use anything to their political advantage.
COOPER: But I have got to say, the media was all over Chris O'Donnell for ducking...
COOPER: ... from the national media. I don't hear a lot of media folk attacking Grayson for being MIA on this issue.
MARTIN: Well, again, and he should be rightly criticized for it at well.
But what you have is, you have political hypocrisy on both sides. That's the problem. And they're in the middle of this crazy election. They don't care. If it raises more money for them, they will keep doing it.
COOPER: Dana, I want to -- let's move on and talk about...
COOPER: ... Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski, running a write- in campaign in Alaska against Joe Miller, obviously the Tea Party candidate who won.
A new CNN poll shows the race is a statistical dead heat. She's taking the fight directly to the Tea Party Express in a new ad, basically saying they're trying to buy the Senate seat for Joe Miller.
I know you're no fan of hers. Are you worried that this race is tight? Do you buy that it's tight?
LOESCH: I am a little bit concerned. I do think that Lisa Murkowski -- I -- I am not a fan of Lisa Murkowski at all, whatsoever.
I think that she is a disgrace to the Republican Party. I think she is a disgrace to conservativism. I think she is a disgrace to the Tea Party movement that she once courted, by the way, and now she's trying to go up to blast, because she lost the people's vote, that people in Alaska -- that's what the primaries are about. That's what elections are about. She lost the people's vote.
She should gracefully step aside and show true class and show what being a true conservative lady is and endorse this candidate.
COOPER: Roland, what about that, that people had a right to vote, and they voted for Joe Miller?
MARTIN: Dana, let's do a quick fact-check. The people did not vote. Republicans in the Republican primary voted. Remember, Senator Joseph Lieberman lost...
LOESCH: It's still an election.
MARTIN: No, no, no, no, no, one second, one second. I didn't interrupt you.
LOESCH: You did.
MARTIN: Lieberman lost to -- lost to Ned Lamont. What happened? He then ran as an independent in the general election, and actually won. Does the process allow for a write-in? Yes, it does, just like...
LOESCH: That's great. That's fine.
MARTIN: No, no, no, no, no, no, no.
LOESCH: No, no, no, no.
LOESCH: You interrupted me. Now it's my turn to interrupt you, Roland. It goes both ways.
COOPER: We get your point, Roland.
Roland, the thing about this is, is, regardless, the people overwhelmingly voted for Joe Miller. They preferred Joe Miller over Lisa Murkowski. She lost the election, period.
You don't come in...
MARTIN: So, why is it tight?
LOESCH: I'm not finished.
You don't come in as the second place, and say, OK, well, I'm still going to run, because she is showing that she cares more about getting this seat than she does about enacting the will of the people...
MARTIN: Actually, you can.
LOESCH: ... because, if she cared about the will of the people, she would listen to them, because they made their voices known at the box, at the ballot box.
COOPER: We have got to leave it there.
Dana Loesch, I appreciate you being on, Roland Martin as well.
LOESCH: Thank you.
MARTIN: Thanks a bunch.
COOPER: Still ahead on 360: just a shocking story you need to know about. A Rutgers University freshman, a talented, accomplished violinist, commits suicide by jumping of a bridge.
It's what drove him to do it, though, humiliation through cyber- bullying, that is so disturbing. We will talk to Dr. Phil about this and give you the details on the case.
Also, it looks like White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel will take a big step tomorrow -- that story next.
COOPER: In a moment, we're going to talk to Dr. Phil on why bullying drives some teens to commit suicide, what to do about it.
But, first, Randi Kaye is here with a 360 bulletin -- Randi.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, the government of Ecuador has declared a one-week state of emergency after violence in the capital killed one person and wounded others.
Members of the national police force took to the streets to protest what they claim is a cut in benefits. Ecuador's president met with the protesters, but was taken to a hospital after someone lobbed tear gas at him -- looking there now at live pictures at that hospital. Now, late tonight, the president said he believed he had been kidnapped by police, since he was not being allowed to leave the hospital that he had been taken to.
Sources tell CNN that Rahm Emanuel will step down as White House chief of staff tomorrow. It's been an open secret that he wants to run for mayor of Chicago, but an announcement of his candidacy is not expected tomorrow.
A rare glimpse of North Korea's heir apparent. That country has released a photo of Kim Jong-un, youngest son of leader Kim Jong Il, who was promoted by his father this week to the rank of four-star general.
Here's a question for you: does Earth have a twin planet in outer space? Astronomers say they've discovered a planet that actually may support life, that has gravity similar to Earth's and likely has water on its surface. But no earthlings are going there any time soon. It's 120 trillion miles -- that's right, trillion, with a "T" -- away from here.
And oh, it is good to be Snooki. The star of the reality show "Jersey Shore" has signed a deal to write a novel...
COOPER: Oh, please! Please.
KAYE: ... about love, big hair, and rock-hard abs at the beach. What else would she write about? The working title, Anderson, is "A Shore Thing."
COOPER: She's not going to write a novel. She's not going to write a novel.
KAYE: That was my question.
COOPER: I'm sorry.
KAYE: No way, right?
COOPER: Not the word that -- maybe a novel will be written, and she's going to slap her name on it, her one name on it, but there's no way. There's no way she can write a book.
KAYE: No way.
COOPER: I don't believe she's capable of it.
KAYE: She's going to need a lot of help with that one.
Randi, we'll check in with you a little bit later on for more updates.
Up next, a Rutgers University student committing suicide after a roommate secretly recorded a sexual encounter, broadcast it live on his Twitter page. A shocking story we'll talk to Dr. Phil about.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DR. PHIL MCGRAW, TV HOST: This is someone that took a video of someone in an intimate act. Doesn't matter whether it was a gay sex act, a straight -- it doesn't matter. I mean, that would be a horrible experience for anyone. And to do that can be really devastating.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: An update on our -- also, doctor detectives series. They've been waiting nearly a decade for a diagnosis. Sally Massagee's medical mystery solved, her life transformed. You're going to see just how far she's come. Ahead on 360.
COOPER: We've done a lot of reporting over the years on bullying, but in the last couple of weeks, we've seen a number of new, heart-breaking examples of just how dangerous it can be. Little kids who have killed themselves after being tormented.
Just last night, if you were watching the program, I talked to the parents of this boy, 13-year-old Asher Brown, who lived in Texas. He Shot himself to death one week ago. His step-dad found his little body in the bottom -- bottom of a closet.
His parents say Asher was constantly bullied by four other kids because he was small and because he was gay.
The story I want to talk about now, though, is the kind of bullying unlike anything we've seen with little kids. Take a look at a picture of 18-year-old Tyler Clementi. He just started his freshman year at Rutgers University in New Jersey. He was a talented violinist.
Today a medical examiner confirmed that a body pulled out of the Hudson River yesterday is Tyler's. He committed suicide, apparently, by jumping off the George Washington Bridge.
Now, on the day of his suicide, it looks like Clementi posted a note on his Facebook page. It said simply, "Jumping off the GW Bridge. Sorry."
The story that has now been revealed about why he did this is, frankly, just sickening. It appears that Tyler is the victim of a kind of cyberbullying, allegedly at the hands of two other Rutgers students, one of them his own roommate.
Prosecutors say those two students turned on a webcam and taped Tyler having a sexual encounter in his dorm room with another man. They actually streamed the images live on the Internet.
Now, they've already been charged with invasion of privacy, and they may also face a charge of bias. Tyler found out about the cyber spying and was distraught, angry that his roommate and roommate's friend seemed more concerned about the fact that Tyler was gay and less about the violation of his privacy. He wrote about it on another Web site's chat room, saying the fact that people he was with, meaning his roommate's friends, "saw my making out with the guy as the scandal, whereas I mean, come on, he was spying on me. Do they see nothing wrong with this?"
CNN hasn't been able to confirm that that post was authored by Tyler, but the Web site confirms the post was traced back to Rutgers.
A short time ago, I spoke about this with Dr. Phil.
COOPER: It seems strange at this time where there's a higher acceptance of gays and lesbians in this country, we're seeing a rash of young people killing themselves.
MCGRAW: You know, I think the problem is that they're losing control in that they don't get to announce what they want to announce when they want to do it if somebody outs them so cruelly and so brutally.
I mean, think about what happened here. This wasn't someone that just said, "This is a gay classmate of mine." This is someone that took a video of someone in an intimate act. Doesn't matter whether it was a gay sex act, a straight -- it doesn't matter. I mean, that would be a horrible experience for anyone. And -- and to do that can be really devastating to a person psychologically.
Now, and the thought is, you cannot unring this bell. Think what had to be...
COOPER: Once it's out there, it's always out there.
MCGRAW: It's out there. Digitally, it's out there. It can never go away. Every job interview, this could be pulled up. Every application to another school, this could be pulled up. And so this person just feels like, "You know what? I am damaged irreparably and forever." And that's the kind o desperation that leads to an act of suicide.
COOPER: I read a friend of one of the guys who was charged, Ravi, who did this, or allegedly did this, commented, "It wouldn't have been any different if a girl had been in the room."
I find that hard to believe, though. I mean, if this guy had, you know, his roommate clearly seems to have been, you know, titillated or whatever at the fact that his roommate was gay.
MCGRAW: Well, clearly, he thought this made it more sensational and more scandalous, which suggests a real bias. It suggests a real homophobic sort of reaction on this student's part, which makes it particularly more damaging to the kid.
I mean, who knows whether this young man's family knew that he was gay or not. So this just backed this young man into a horrible corner, and he sees no option, no escape from that. And when you have that kind of desperation, you talk about an alone feeling. Imagine what this young man's last 24 hours of life had to be like, as he saw this and had people start telling him about it. And then the moments he spent on that bridge at the end, thinking, you know, there's no other way. There's nowhere to turn.
COOPER: And in a way it relates to the kind of cyberbullying stuff that you and I have been covering lately which is, you know, now, because of technology, bullying which used to just happen in schools is happening -- it follows kids at home. It's online; it's everywhere they go.
MCGRAW: You know, it's terrible. And, of course, the thought of the victim is that everybody in the world has seen this, and that everybody in the world is going to respond to it like the mean- spirited person that created it.
Now, you know, you and I may have been shown that video and said, you know, the terrible thing here is the person who did this and felt compassion for this person.
But it's very likely that he did not anticipate that there would be people that would have compassion and, in fact, would relate to his pain and help him. Had he known that. Had he had that thought in his mind, then he might not have done it. He might have reached out for help.
And I've not heard anyone say that he did, in this ensuing period of time, reach out for help with a counselor at school or otherwise to get some kind of support.
COOPER: Dr. Phil, thanks.
MCGRAW: Thank you.
COOPER: Dr. Phil is just one of the experts and educators who is going to join us next week as we take an up-close look at bullying: why it's happening; how the Internet makes it even tougher for kids today; and what all of us can do to try to stop it or at least limit it. We're also going to hear from kids who have been bullied, including "American Idol's" Crystal Bowersox. She survived years of taunts when she was in school and even violence at school and home.
Here's a preview of some of what we taped.
MCGRAW: For kids that are 16 years old, two years can look like a lifetime.
CRYSTAL BOWERSOX, "AMERICAN IDOL" FINALIST: A long way away.
MCGRAW: Crystal, you had an outlet because you had the music, but so many kids that don't have sports or don't have music, all they have is just going one step in front of the other. And every one brings them closer to pain. And that's why we can't leave them alone.
I so worry that parents say, look, this is just kids being kids.
MCGRAW: No, it's not.
COOPER: Some say, "Well, look, this is something I went through. This is something every generation goes through."
MCGRAW: But that is not true. This is the loneliest time in that child's life. And you don't want to go to school, you know, hysterical like your hair's on fire running in there, saying, "What's happening to my child?" Want to go in and partner with the teacher. Partner with the counselor, partner with the administrators, but don't leave that child alone.
And you were alone, because you had the same thing at home. And that is the worst case you can be in. And children that are bullied are two times more likely to attempt suicide than kids who aren't bullied. I mean, it's double.
COOPER: One of the things in Tyler ease case that we now know is that he didn't really know who to turn to after this incident at the Rutgers campus. We've learned that from some of his online postings. He wasn't sure, really, what to do, if he'd just be making matters worse by reporting this.
Join me for "Bullying: No Escape," a special town hall, next Friday, October 8, here on 360.
And also, all next week, frankly, every single night we're going to be devoting part of the program to -- to he subject of bullying.
We're also going to have on Ellen DeGeneres. I spoke with her today about the state of bullying, what seems to be a crisis. We've seen so many kids in the last, really just the last couple days alone and the last couple weeks taking their own lives. We're talking about 13-year-old kids, 11-year-old kids hanging themselves in their closets, in their bedrooms, shooting themselves in the head. Something's got to be done about this.
Ellen made a recent Facebook post, really a passionate plea to teens suffering from intolerance to try to speak out and try to find help. Take a look.
ELLEN DEGENERES, TALK SHOW HOST: One life lost in this senseless way is tragic. Four lives lost is a crisis. And these are just the stories we hear about. How many other teens have we lost? How many others are suffering in silence?
Being a teenager and figuring out who are you is hard enough without someone attacking you. My heart is breaking for their families, for their friends, and for our society that continues to let this happen.
These kids needed us, and we have an obligation to change this. There are messages everywhere that validate this kind of bullying and taunting, and we have to make it stop. We can't let intolerance and ignorance take another kid's life.
And I want anyone out there who feels different and alone to know that I know how you feel. And there is help out there, and you can find support in your community. If you need someone to talk to or if you want to get involved there's some really great organizations listed on our Web site. Things will get easier, people's minds will change, and you should -- you should be alive to see it.
COOPER: The other thing to remember is that it does get better. It gets better as you get older. It gets better as your circumstances change. And that's the thing that a lot of kids, I think, lose sight of, especially when they're in the midst of the horror that is bullying.
Again, all next week we'll be focusing on it and that special on Friday.
Still ahead tonight, a team of doctor detectives cracking a complex medical mystery. A woman whose muscles were growing out of control finally gets a diagnosis, and her life is literally transformed. Her remarkable recovery ahead.
And a surprise performance by America's -- "American Idol's" Crystal Bowersox right here in our newsroom. After the taping, she kind of stayed around and played for all of us. We'll show you that. It's tonight's "Shot."
COOPER: Tonight we continue our "Doctor Detectives" series with a remarkable update on Sally Massagee. You may remember we introduced you to Sally last week. Three-sixty M.D. Sanjay Gupta has been followed her story for more than a year. She'd been searching for years for a diagnosis, but no one could tell her why her muscles were growing out of control. Sanjay met her at the National Institutes of Health. Time was running out.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): at 53 years old, Sally Massagee was physically ripped.
SALLY MASSAGEE, PATIENT: Everybody assumed that I spent a whole lot of time in the gym.
GUPTA: But Sally didn't lift weights. In fact, whatever was causing her body to bulk up uncontrollably was also taking away her ability to live her life.
MASSAGEE: It was very frustrating. I -- I was losing the ability to do -- to do the things I loved to do. It became increasingly difficult just to walk. At some point I knew if it continued it would kill me.
GUPTA: She'd seen countless medical specialists. No one had an explanation. That's why Dr. William Gall and his team of world-class specialists at the Undiagnosed Diseases Program was trying to solve the mystery.
This is super impressive. I mean, you literally see a cleavage right in the middle of her back because those muscles are so big.
Dr. William gall Is the program's lead investigator.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bottom line, bullet's not involved. It's not acromengally (ph), just confined to the muscle. What in the world could this be?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, at the Undiagnosed Diseases program, Sally went through a grueling week of exams and tests, including a muscle biopsy that ultimately proved to be the key to solving the mystery.
Against a lot of long odds, Sally got the diagnosis she was so desperate for, led to a stem-cell transplant a little more than -- a little over a year ago. Sally came to New York this week to show Sanjay and me just how much better she is today.
COOPER: It's great to see you smiling and happy.
MASSAGEE: Thank you. It's great to be here.
COOPER: The last time we saw you, you said things were improving slowly, little by little. How about now? How about today?
MASSAGEE: They continue to improve. It's very exciting. I feel normal now. I feel 100 percent, which is really great.
COOPER: I heard you had a big moment this morning.
MASSAGEE: Yes. I was able to put on my wedding ring this morning. I hadn't been able to wear it since January of 2008. My fingers are smaller, and so I was able to get it on.
COOPER: Can I see?
MASSAGEE: It's still a little tight but I just really...
COOPER: Wow, that's great. So that's the first time since 2008 that you can put on your wedding ring?
MASSAGEE: Yes. Yes. Everything is like that.
COOPER: Everything had grown -- grown bigger.
MASSAGEE: Right. Right. I couldn't reach up to reach my ears to put on earrings, and now I can put on earrings. I was...
COOPER: You know, Sanjay, some people seeing this would think, well, look, gaining muscle, I mean, not necessarily for Sally but for some people that would be a great thing. You know, not working out, you're gaining muscle. But obviously, I mean, it's incapacitating.
GUPTA: Completely. And it's funny, to hear you describe it, because just the complete lack of movement and then you -- the protein is actually making her muscles probably weaker. She's not getting stronger, she's becoming less limber, weaker, and just the simplest things become impossible to do.
It can get worse than that, even. Those muscles can get so big that it can start to actually crush somebody, including the rib cage and some of the internal organs.
COOPER: We all expect doctors this day and age to not be able to at least cure us, at least know what is the -- is our problem.
MASSAGEE: Right. I came to realize those assumptions that I had, you know, that they're going to have the answers, period, that I'm entitled to them having the answers. They're the doctors. They should know. And it's very frightening.
COOPER: It must have been a huge moment for the doctors at the UDP to figure out what it was.
GUPTA: Yes. I mean, it's interesting. They -- they have become quite accustomed to failure. They say 85 to 90 percent. And they tell Sally, patients like Sally that when they come in, so there's no misconceptions that the likelihood is not high that they're going to solve things.
But when they do, not only does someone like Sally get a treatment, but they find something that they really haven't found before. They describe something that they haven't described before. That's the thing I found so fascinating. Because of Sally, other patients who are afflicted with this are going to come to a diagnosis much more easily now and get a treatment much more easily now. So that's how science moves.
COOPER: And how do you -- what's your advice for people who are facing something that they don't know what it is? I mean, how did you get through?
MASSAGEE: There are a lot of things. One of them is to maintain hope and to maintain a positive attitude. I really decided early on that bathing my body in adrenaline and fear hormones, stress hormones was not helping it. You know, so you have to learn what to do within yourself to focus on positive things and to enjoy life. And that's a part of it, too, especially if your life is going to be shorter. You don't know how long it's going to be. Savor the parts of it that you have, you know? Every moment is so precious. And then you realize that, and the time with your loved ones, really savor those times.
And one thing, too, is that it's a team -- it's a team approach that the patient needs to participate as well as the doctors. If they need to know something that they haven't asked about, volunteer it, you know? Or if they forget something, volunteer it. It's -- you need to be in there thinking and talking, too, and not just waiting for them, passively waiting for them to take care of it.
COOPER: Well, it's so great to see you smiling and happy.
MASSAGEE: It's so exciting. Yes.
COOPER: Sally, thanks for being with us.
MASSAGEE: Thank you.
COOPER: Sanjay, thanks.
COOPER: She looks great.
Tomorrow at 8 p.m. Eastern on CNN, you can watch Sanjay's in- depth special report. Sally's search for a life-saving diagnosis and also 6-year-old Kylie, two complex medical mysteries. Where do the clues lead? It's a fascinating story at 8 p.m. tomorrow.
Still ahead tonight, did Georgia Senator Saxby Chambliss find the person in his office who sent that hate-filled death threat to a Web site? A dramatic development tonight.
And "American Idol" Crystal Bowersox -- well, entertained us all today after a taping, an impromptu concert. We'll show you some of her surprise performance in our newsroom. It's tonight's "Shot."
COOPER: Following a number of stories tonight. Randi Kaye joins us with a quick "360 News & Business Bulletin" -- Randi.
KAYE: Anderson, Georgia Senator Saxby Chambliss today fired a staff member who posted an anti-gay slur online. Writing from the Saxby office, the employee allegedly declared, quote, "All gays must die." His response to a Senate vote on the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. In a formal apology, Chambliss said that such comments are, quote, "simply unacceptable."
Flood warnings are in effect today from southeast to Maine as Tropical Storm Nicole moves north. Torrential downpours stranded cars, toppled trees and caused major delays at airports all along the East Coast. Fisher-Price is recalling about 10 million toys, including baby play areas, tricycles, and highchairs. In most cases, the toy company is concerned about possible choking hazards.
And yabba-dabba-doo. The Flintstones are 50. Your children may know them as a funny-looking multivitamin, but Baby Boomers will remember Bedrock's Fred, Wilma, Barney and Betty from the prime-time cartoon series that premiered 50 years ago today.
And of course, you can't forget my favorite, Dino.
COOPER: Dino, yes.
KAYE: Special place in my heart for Dino.
COOPER: All right. Well, we have a special place in our heart for Crystal Bowersox after today. You know, we taped a special that's going to be on next Friday about bullying, and after we were done, because Crystal had been bullied when she was in school, she basically give us a live concert in our newsroom. And it was pretty amazing.
Her voice is incredible. I mean, you know, you see people singing on "American Idol" and stuff, and you think, OK, they need a lot of practice. She just took out a guitar and just started singing and just knocked everybody dead.
COOPER: Take a look at some of what she did.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Her voice is just incredible. She actually wrote that song, one of the songs. She's recording an album right now. She's really great.
So Crystal, thank you very much for doing that. And certainly one of the best days we've had around here in a long time.
COOPER: Randy, thanks for being with us. Go ahead.
KAYE: I picked the wrong day to be out of the office.
COOPER: I know. I felt bad everyone wasn't around.
Up next, new pressure to fire the law enforcement official who singled out a college student for attacks online and new evidence in the case.