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STARTING POINT WITH SOLEDAD O'BRIEN

Tel Aviv Bus Explosion; Man In The Middle; Clinton Meeting With Morsy; Deadly Bus Collision In Arizona; Documentary: O.J. Simpson Didn't Do It; Food For The Troops; Murdoch Accused Of Anti-Semitism; The Technology Of War

Aired November 21, 2012 - 07:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back, everybody. We're following breaking news this morning. Just a short while ago, more carnage in the battle between Israel and Gaza, a bomb exploding on a bus in Tel Aviv.

At least ten people have been injured. It happened right in front of Israel's National Defense Headquarters. The U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon condemning the bus bombing saying that there are no circumstances that would justify the targeting of civilians.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is now trying to negotiate a ceasefire in Gaza. She's already wrapped up talks in Ramallah this morning with the Palestinian Authority Leader Mahmoud Abbas.

And also, with the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, she'll be in Cairo later to meet with the Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy.

CNN's Reza Sayah is for us this morning. So let's begin with that meeting, the Clinton/Morsy meeting. What are the expectations as she heads to that meeting?

REZA SAYAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think the expectation is for these two key players to do something to end the ceasefire. And I think the spotlight now is on U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Washington.

It looked like the U.S. is broadening its role, busy day for Mrs. Clinton today, meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The next hour or two, she's going to meet with Egyptian officials including Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy.

Whenever there's a flare-up in the Middle East between the Palestinians and the Israelis, certainly Washington wants to present itself as playing a key role. But the dilemma with Washington is that they certainly have sway with Israel, but they have no relationship with Hamas.

Of course Washington views Hamas as a terrorist organization, and I think this is where Washington, today, Secretary Clinton, will depend on Egypt, that does have a relationship with Hamas. Of course, Hamas was born out of the Muslim Brotherhood, and that's why, Soledad, over the past few days, Egypt has emerged as an important player if there's going to be a cease-fire.

O'BRIEN: You know, it was interesting, Reza, to hear Shimon Peres praising Morsy. I thought that was -- and he did it a couple times in a very strong praise and it made me feel like Morsy has a lot of pressure on him.

And maybe in light of this more recent bombing, this -- this -- this bus explosion, whatever it ends up being that, that blew up the bus, he's got a lot of pressure on him in the position that he is in to try to help negotiate and navigate towards some kind of at least de- escalation, doesn't he?

SAYAH: It's an unenviable position and you have to put yourself in his shoes. Remember the Muslim Brotherhood regime that came in promising change from past policy, a policy under the Mubarak regime that played the role of idle bystander.

They promised to change their policies. They delivered a lot of tough, fiery rhetoric, but they have in many ways tried to play the same role of peacemaker. They still have a relationship with Israel.

They have explicitly said they're going to honor their peace deal with Israel. And of course, they have that relationship with Hamas. But, so far, they haven't been able to hammer out a ceasefire.

Yesterday they came out and said they were close. Today, seems like violence is escalating but they're still hopeful.

O'BRIEN: Reza Sayah for us this morning. Thanks, Reza. Appreciate the update. Let's get right to Sara Sidner. She is in Tel Aviv where as we were reporting there was a bus explosion happen around noontime in, in Tel Aviv.

Tel Aviv, of course, is the second largest city in Israel, and really known for, for being an economic hub, a home to for example the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, corporate offices, and research and development centers.

So clearly this was an explosion that has absolutely undermined and terrified some of the people there from some of the reporting we've been hearing that bus explosion happened 10 people we're told at least have been injured.

No deaths reported at this point we continue to monitor the story. We're trying to get Sara Sidner up for us live. We're having some issues with her transmission we'll try to fix that and bring her to you live so she can update us on what's happening there.

In the meanwhile, let's get right to Brooke Baldwin for an update on some of the other stories that are making news today. Good morning.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning. Good morning. Police in Arizona still have no idea why a man drove his pickup truck the wrong way on a highway. The 78-year-old man was killed instantly when his pickup exploded in a head-on collision with a tour bus. The tractor trailer then tried to avoid the collision and side swiped the bus. Nine people on the bus suffered non-life-threatening injuries.

A Florida death row inmate claims he is the one who killed Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman while O.J. Simpson just waited nearby. There's this new documentary. It's called "My Brother, The Serial Killer."

It tells the story of convicted murderer Lynn Rogers, set to air on the Investigation Discovery Channel tonight. The father of Ron Goldman is blasting the film's producers.

Fred Goldman told CNN, quote, "The overwhelming evidence at the criminal trial proved that one and only one person murdered Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman." That person is O.J. Simpson and not Glen Rogers.

The man who made Elmo famous has quit Sesame Street. Here he is. Puppeteer Kevin Clash, he has resigned after now a second man accused clash of sexual assault when he was just 15 years old.

All of this comes just a week after similar claim was made then recanted. Clash worked as a puppeteer for Sesame Workshop for 28 years. He says he's leaving with a very heavy heart.

Cleared of harassment and child endangerment, Douglas Kennedy the son of late Senator Robert F. Kennedy, acquitted yesterday of twisting a nurse's arm and kicking another one as he tried to leave a suburban New York City hospital with his newborn son.

His attorneys argued Kennedy wanted to take his son out for, quote/unquote, "fresh air," back in January, and that the staff overreacted.

O'BRIEN: -- never take a newborn out for fresh air, really?

BALDWIN: Not something you want to do I suppose.

O'BRIEN: Glad to see it's all been resolved.

BALDWIN: And now this. This will make you hungry: as we look to Thanksgiving, a taste of home for thousands of American soldiers serving in Afghanistan for the holidays here.

This year, the Defense Logistics Agency will deliver to the troops here. We have 60,000 pounds of beef, 20,000 pounds of ham, 45,000 pounds of turkey, mouth watering yet, 28,000 sweet potatoes and 5,800 pies have been delivered overseas.

It will make for Thanksgiving feast and Christmas feasts for more than 200 locations in Afghanistan, and maybe this is just a southern gal in me, anyone do marshmallows on the sweet potatoes?

O'BRIEN: Still ahead on STARTING POINT this morning, News Corp's Rupert Murdoch is trying to take back, apologize for kind of sort of controversial tweet about Jews in the media.

You know what? Stop tweeting about Jews in the media. Was the apology really an apology? No, it was a non-apology apology. We're going to show you what he said straight ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O'BRIEN: Welcome back, everybody. The News Corp. CEO, Rupert Murdoch did something amazing on Twitter recently. He managed to sound both anti-Semitic and pro-Israel in the same 140 characters.

Here's how it went down. He tweeted this first, why is Jewish-owned press so consistently anti-Israel in every crisis? The result was a controversy almost instantly.

Howard Kurtz is the host of CNN's "RELIABLE SOURCES," Washington bureau chief for "Newsweek" and the "Daily Beast." Lauren Ashburn is the contributor for the "Daily Beast," editor-in-chief of the dailydownload.com.

Nice to have you both with us. So let's start by showing that tweet. He wrote tweet it again why is Jewish-owned press so consistently anti-Israel in every crisis? And it set off a little bit of a firestorm. What happened? What was the reaction?

HOWARD KURTZ, HOST, CNN'S "RELIABLE SOURCES": The reaction was that people said this was outrageous. I found it stunningly offensive, Soledad. First of all Jewish-owned press, the old stereotype of Jews controlling the media, and then saying anti-Israel, somebody needs to keep this guy away from the Twitter.

RICHARD SOCARIDES, WRITER, NEWYORKER.COM: He loves it. He's always on Twitter.

LAUREN ASHBURN, CONTRIBUTOR, "THE DAILY BEAST": He does. So are a lot of other powerful people, CEOs. I think what they don't realize is that they have a very large audience here. They don't have a PR person saying you really probably shouldn't say that.

They're tweeting in their beds at night or in their studies all by themselves and sending off these missives that otherwise would have been more carefully crafted.

KURTZ: Nobody says no to these people. Soledad, it took Murdoch two days to apologize, which --

O'BRIEN: Well he tweeted, right, his apology?

KURTZ: That, I wouldn't even consider that an apology because it wasn't clear what he was saying.

O'BRIEN: Here's what he tweeted. Jewish-owned press in quotes now "has been sternly criticized" suggesting link to Jewish reporters. Don't see this but apologize unreservedly.

ASHBURN: What does that mean? I don't even understand the first part of the sentence.

O'BRIEN: I think it means someone told me to apologize.

ASHBURN: Here's my non-apology.

DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDETN: In the beginning part he talks about Jewish owned media. That's like, come on, give us something that's not 100 years for thousands of years old and just flat wrong.

But, sort of lay out the elephant in the room and talk about it. I think part of the second part talking about anti-Israel is that that is where his corporation and specifically talking about the television network, Fox, tries to position itself. Tries to position itself as a place where people who are pro-Israel go.

KURTZ: But that's the problem, then, is that --

BASH: I'm not defending it.

KURTZ: When Murdoch spouts off and these are his personal views and he's 81 and he's the corporate chief and no one's going to tell him not to, it does reflect badly on Fox News.

And in addition to that, the reason that semi-apology doesn't work because he then had to write a letter to the anti-defamation league to do the full grovel because there was enough heat to make Murdoch realize that he had to walk it back.

O'BRIEN: He tweeted this, too, can't Obama stop his friends in Egypt shelling Israel?

SOCARIDES: I mean, don't you think this is all part of the marketing, though, of Fox, and part of, how they get attention, and I mean, you guys follow this, this is your business. I mean, it seems to me that this is part of Fox marketing.

ASHBURN: No. I think this is part of your kind of crazy uncle, firing off.

SOCARIDES: See I think -- that's what they want you to think. But I don't think that's what it is. I think it's very deliberate.

ASHBURN: More Machiavellian?

SOCARIDES: Yes, I do.

KURTZ: I talk to people who work in the media empire and some were cringing at this like there he goes again. Also Rupert Murdoch presided over the phone hacking scandal and the London tabloid to be giving moral instruction about how the press should behave. It's a little bit off.

O'BRIEN: Petraeus resignation, timing, everything, suspicious, there has to be more to the story. I don't follow him, but I'm going to start. Honestly. BASH: I thought to myself, we're going to get this guy more followers.

KURTZ: Reminds me of Jack Welch who tweeted that the Chicago gang meeting was cooking the unemployment numbers.

ASHBURN: Who said the election was a sham and a travesty.

O'BRIEN: -- call for the march on Washington. Donald Trump?

KURTZ: Armchair billionaires for change.

O'BRIEN: Martin Luther King's march on Washington all these years later.

SOCARIDES: You know Rupert Murdoch, right? What do you think?

WILL CAIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: We were together last week. I told you guys during the break, it's an interesting conversation. But Twitter is its own little world where your personality is developed in a way that's almost completely independent of who you are.

I have trouble seeing how do you become -- you can be someone wholly independent on Twitter doesn't reflect who you are. That's not an excuse for Rupert Murdoch --

O'BRIEN: It's so wrong --

CAIN: Really?

O'BRIEN: Actually Twitter --

CAIN: Have you ever met somebody in real life that you follow on Twitter and you've never met and said that's not who I thought you were?

O'BRIEN: I think people no filter right what you get is the unedited not necessarily polite maybe more real version and that they kind of clean up the real when they know they're going to be held accountable.

And I think if you're an executive where you know you know you're, you're -- your PR team is going to say you know, not feeling this. Now that you've written it down longhand, let's not send that.

ASHBURN: There have actually been studies that talk about this exact trend, how people are more snarky on Twitter than they would be --

O'BRIEN: But that's -- I think that really -- I think that is the real --

KURTZ: When you work for a news organization, nothing gets published. Nothing gets put on the air without some other set of eyes saying the tone here is off. When you're just sitting there in your bedroom going click, click, click, it said you are seeing the --

CAIN: Lifetime of social interaction we develop through face-to-face communication. Thousands of years of human interaction and now we --

BASH: In your underwear and do whatever you want to do --

CAIN: Odd relationships --

BASH: If you are above 70 and you are worth tens of millions of dollars -- before you hit send.

ASHBURN: It doesn't matter because these guys can do whatever they want and no one will tell them no.

SOCARIDES: Yes, and I think it's totally -- I think this is part of a plan.

KURTZ: A five-page memo?

SOCARIDES: I think it's part of a plan to build his following --

ASHBURN: His following isn't very high, 368,000 people --

SOCARIDES: It's going to be more after this. That's for sure, right?

O'BRIEN: He's a little bit off his rocker. It's awesome. I like that.

ASHBURN: Except when it hurts people.

O'BRIEN: Yes, but I like it on Twitter.

KURTZ: This is what people like about Twitter is the candor that they see.

ASHBURN: Yes.

KURTZ: But sometimes it's not -- reporters have got suspended and lost their jobs over saying in politic or insensitive things. So it's a dangerous weapon.

O'BRIEN: And when you run the company --

ASHBURN: Kids have also lost scholarships over racist comments after President Obama --

O'BRIEN: -- have lost their spot on the team as well. So the takeaway as Dana said, if you're not over 70, just count to ten before you hit send and realize --

ASHBURN: Realize that Twitter is really your new hometown newspaper, right? Don't tweet anything you wouldn't want on the front page of your hometown newspaper.

O'BRIEN: All right, I like that advice. Better start doing it. Still ahead, just kidding I'm kidding. Still ahead on STARTING POINT, we're going to talk about drones. We'll go behind the scenes to check out some of that technology that has been behind Israel's defense.

Plus deer hunting for bargains, mother deer hits the stores, kind of crazy. Back in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: Welcome back to STARTING POINT. Quick check of some of your top stories including the New York soccer mom who was allegedly moonlighting as a million dollar Madame is out of jail. Anna Cristina may now be deported to Scotland.

Cristina pleaded guilty to promoting prostitution. As part of a deal, she agreed to a six-month sentence, but was released yesterday on time served.

And today is the day those giant balloons featured in the Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade get inflated. Thousands of people come by the staging area on Manhattan's upper west side just to witness the spectacle. Among the new balloons this year. You have Papa Smurf, Elf on a Shelf and you have Hello Kitty.

And cue the deer video, three deer in Iowa apparently just trying to get a jump on Black Friday deals. There she goes. A doe entered a Kohl's Department Store in Iowa through the automatic doors. Two fawns waited in the vestibule for their mother. Employees managed to get all of them back outside. No word on what the deals the deer were looking for.

CAIN: Did you say deers?

BALDWIN: Deer, singular.

O'BRIEN: For days now, we have been seeing warplanes, rockets and drones crisscrossing the sky over Gaza. CNN Money got an inside look at the technology behind the drones.

Laurie Segall joins us with more. You were on vacation and shooting this story.

LAURIE SEGALL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I was. I thought this is fascinating technology. We should go take a look and sadly it became newsworthy. You know it's safe to say that drones are becoming a staple of modern day warfare.

Just days before the conflict broke out. I visited one of Israel's largest defense manufacturers and got a look at one of the country's most valuable resources.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SEGALL (voice-over): You can often hear the humming, a mind game that's becoming more prevalent. Before the booms and the blasts, drones were in the air space over Gaza and they'll be there long after the ceasefire is reached.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Normally doing patrols over Gaza and the west bank, but now they're ubiquitous, hundreds of them are flying around.

SEGALL: Just days before the conflict between Israel and Hamas broke out. CNN Money was on the ground in Tel Aviv to get an inside look at the manufacturing of the drones.

We visited the country's biggest defense manufacturer, Israel Aerospace Industries. Owned by the Israeli government, IAI does $3.5 billion in annual sales.

Of that about a quarter goes to the Israel Ministry of Defense. They make one of Israel's most valuable tools.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We can see the UV position.

SEGALL: UAVs or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles often referred to as drones are planes without pilots and here they're operated with the click of a mouse.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sometimes you just need to get footage. This is something that is better to be done by an unmanned capability.

SEGALL: Some UAVs serve as surveillance tools. Others can carry weaponry. Here is how they work.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The flying wheel is retractable. And actually just commanding a direction, speed and altitude and then the UAV will follow my commands.

SEGALL: They are controlled by pilots on the ground.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When I want to land or take off, I just need to click and the UAV perform it.

SEGALL: A short drive away, a valuable part of the drone is hand crafted, high-tech cameras.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You see a very small ball. Inside there's very, very much high technology including electronics, stabilization, lot of software.

SEGALL: That allows the drones to see far away and function as a surveillance tool.

IGAL MEVORACH, ELECTRO-OPTICAL PAYLOADS, IAI: The main requirement nowadays, if you see a person a few kilometers away and he's holding something, you want to know whether it's a gun or maybe just a stick and he's an innocent civilian.

SEGALL: And in the future, the drones could get smarter, even smaller. CNN Money got an inside look at the latest yet to hit the market, a surveillance drone the size of a butterfly aimed to alert soldiers of danger ahead on the ground.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

O'BRIEN: Wow!

SEGALL: Soledad, this is just the beginning. The pilot I spoke to, he said in the next 50 years, we can expect unmanned commercial aircrafts. That means planes without pilots and it seems pretty high tech right now. Many people say, many folks building these UAVs say this is the future.

O'BRIEN: OK, I'll let them try that out before I hop on a plane that's unpiloted by a human being. Interesting technology though, and especially that little butterfly drone, that size.

I would imagine, one of the problems with drones being really the size of a small plane, it's hard to be really surreptitious when you are trying to take those pictures. People can hear the buzzing and now they can see them.

SEGALL: Well, we spoke to the guy. He didn't want to go on camera talking about it for safety reasons, but he said something like this. If you look at what's happening now, ground invasion, a soldier could -- the contemplation of a ground invasion.

Soldier could essentially put this butterfly like, you know, drone ahead and see if there's any danger ahead. That's the use case we could see for this kind of thing.

O'BRIEN: That's amazing. Thanks for that. Appreciate it. That's wonderful.

Still ahead this morning on STARTING POINT, breaking developments in the crisis between Gaza and Israel, possible retaliation for that bus bomb in Tel Aviv. We're live with the Tel Aviv police chief and our correspondents on the ground. STARTING POINT is back in just a moment.

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