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STARTING POINT WITH SOLEDAD O'BRIEN

New Details Emerge Regarding NFL Player's Alleged Murder- Suicide; Couple Survives Tree Falling on Their Car; What is Black in America?; "Reporting the Revolutionary War"

Aired December 5, 2012 - 08:30   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. You're watching STARTING POINT. A tree flattens a couple's car. They're inside and able to walk away. I won't say without a scratch, but they're not harmed too badly. They will talk to us about how they were able to survive that.

First, though, I want to get to Zoraida Sambolin, who has a look at some of the other stories making news today.

ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: I'm glad you're talking to them. I'm really curious about that.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton once again talking about the red line in Syria and how to bring the civil war there to an end.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HERMAN CAIN, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: -- desperate Assad regime might turn to chemical weapons or might lose control of them to one of the many groups that are now operating within Syria. And so as part of the absolute unity that we all have on this issue, we have sent an unmistakable message that this would cross a red line and those responsible would be held to account.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAMBOLIN: Yesterday NATO foreign ministers approved Turkey's request for patriot missiles to defend its borders from violence spilling over from Syria.

The chaotic scene following Jovan Belcher's alleged murder-suicide is captured in 911 calls just released by authorities in Kansas City. Belcher's mother made that call after finding his girlfriend, Kasandra Perkins, shot and barely breathing.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is she bleeding?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can't tell. In the back it look like.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. We don't want -- go ahead. Where is your son at?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just get the ambulance here please.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're on the way. Where is your son at?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He left.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He left?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They were arguing and he shot her?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, they were arguing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What's your son's name?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Please just get the ambulance here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ma'am.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have to get the baby.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAMBOLIN: Police say after shooting his girlfriend Belcher drove to Arrowhead stadium where he killed himself after thanking the Chief's coach and the general manager for all they had done for him.

The parents of a girl with leukemia who was taking out of a Phoenix hospital say they did it to protect her. They say the 11-year-old was receiving bad care that was threatening her life. The girl's arm had to be amputated because of an infection. The parents say they believe she was infected in the hospital. The hospital says she already had it. Because of the infection, doctors inserted a catheter in her heart. Authorities have said the girl could die if she does not return to the hospital.

Premenopausal breast cancer patients who are currently taking the hormone blocking drug Tamoxifen may benefit for taking the drug twice as long as previously thought. Current treatment recommendations are for estrogen positive breast cancer patients take the Tamoxifen for five years after their tumors have been surgically removed. Now a just released study from the United Kingdom found that when women took the drug for 10 years, their chances of the cancer coming back or dying from the disease were significantly reduced.

A cute little clip form the rapper's documentary called "Where I'm From." Jay-Z is riding a New York City subway when an older lady chats him up, but she has no clue who he is. Check it out.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAY-Z, RAPPER: This is the last show.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And you're going by subway? JAY-Z: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm proud of you. Say your name again.

JAY-Z: Jay-Z. Jay-Z.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAMBOLIN: Oh, you're Jay-Z? I know about Jay-Z.

(LAUGHTER)

SAMBOLIN: Listen to this. Jay-Z was on to his way to the last of debate performances in Brooklyn, riding the subway. You know, Christine says that is the best way to get there because it gets a little crowded.

O'BRIEN: Unless you have a driver. He has like 15 people with him.

ROLAND MARTIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: But it's still pretty cool, though.

O'BRIEN: It's awesome.

MARTIN: She's going, hey, what's up?

O'BRIEN: Some pictures to show you from Oregon. A 100-foot tall tree fell and crushed the roof of a car. Inside was a couple. Somehow they're able to survive and escape with not too many injuries. Chris Natelborg, who was in the driver's seat, had a fractured shoulder and his wife was unscathed. They both joins us this morning. Congratulations. The pictures look absolutely horrible. Chris, tell me what kind of damage you have. I know -- I saw pictures where your arm was in a sling.

CHRIS NATELBORG, SURVIVED TREE FALLING ON CAR: Yes. I just had a fractured shoulder joint and so just doing some at-home therapy. But it should be a pretty quick recovery.

O'BRIEN: Walk me through what happened. Obviously, you were in the car and all of a sudden, did you hear a noise this sounded like oh, my god, this tree is about to collapse on us?

NATELBORG: Yes. We had just pulled up and were parked, sitting in the car. And we heard -- it sounded like a tree blowing in the wind, but then we saw the tree in front of us to our left coming at us. And we hardly had time to react.

O'BRIEN: What did you do?

NATELBORG: We just instinctively got down as low as we could. Tymona got down on the floor in the passenger compartment there. And I just leaned over the center console. The roof ended up on my back my chest was on the center console.

O'BRIEN: Walk me through. When the tree falls does it fall like we see in the movie, slowly and collapse and crushes everything? Did it fall quickly? Was there a moment when you suddenly said oh, my god, it's over and we're mostly OK? Walk me through that.

TYMONA NATELBORD, SURVIVED TREE FALLING ON CAR: It kind of -- it felt pretty quickly. We kind of heard something. We saw something falling away from the car and it was part of the tree that fell the opposite direction. But then the majority of the tree came towards us. And it came pretty quickly, so there really wasn't much time to react.

And once it did fall, once we realized we were all OK, it was nice to be able to talk with Chris and be able to talk to each other about not having any injuries and, you know, pull out my phone and call 911 and just go from there and figure out what the next steps were.

O'BRIEN: What an incredible luxury, to be able to call from your own phone and call someone to come in and rescue you. Were you crying? Were you in hysterics? Were you calm?

NATELBORG: I was remarkably calm. I surprised myself. I guess I was just kind of shocked by it all. Tymona was upset but she was calm enough to call 911. And so after she got off the phone with them, it was a little more emotional. And we just consoled each other and said everything was going to be fine. I was moving. She was moving. Paramedics were there within 10 minutes.

O'BRIEN: Were they stunned when they saw --

NATELBORG: It all happened pretty quick.

O'BRIEN: Were they stunned when they saw the condition of the car and how mostly fine you were? Every time I see that video it's just stunning.

NATELBORG: Yes. We were told later the paramedics were probably more nervous than we were when they pulled up and saw the scene. They were shocked that -- specifically that I was alive because of the condition of the car.

O'BRIEN: Wow. So now you look back and I've heard you said you feel lucky, which sounds really strange, but I guess luck that it wasn't somebody else in that spot, right? Explain that to me.

NATELBORG: Yes, we feel really blessed. Definitely someone was looking out for us. And we're very thankful for the opportunity to walk away from that. And, yes, like you said, fortunate it wasn't anybody else or anybody else wasn't there also when the tree fell.

O'BRIEN: It's great to be able to interview you. And not do it from a hospital bed or have anything more serious than that.

NATELBORG: Yes.

O'BRIEN: Chris Natelborg and Tymona as well, thank you for talking with us.

NATELBORG: Thank you for having us.

O'BRIEN: Still ahead on STARTING POINT, it's a question that many people call racially ambiguous are often asked what are you as Americans get past seeing color of skin. We'll talk about that straight ahead.

You heard about the Revolutionary War in history class, but what were the news accounts of the war like when it was actually happening? From the Boston Tea Party to the signing of the Declaration of Independence, a new book explores how newspapers covered the war as it was unfolding. You're watching STARTING POINT. We'll take a look at that, coming up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O'BRIEN: This coming weekend on Sunday, on CNN, we will premiere my documentary, "Who is Black in America?" Among the people we're going to meet, two young women who are constantly asked the question, what are you? That's because they're racially ambiguous. And how they describe and answer that question is the topic of our documentary. Here is a preview.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(MUSIC)

NAYO JONES, PHILADELPHIA YOUTH: If I had a word to describe me, it would mostly be quirky. I'm in a band. We do like progressive alternative rock kind of. At first when people meet me they don't really know what I am. People will ask me, what are you?

O'BRIEN: And 17-year-old Nayo Jones is a singer, a talented poet, a high school senior. But that's not what people want to know.

JONES: Recently after I had one of those experiences I sort of started writing things and I was like, Becca deals with the same thing. Let's make this a group piece.

JONES: What is it you want to do?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't know. Pick a poem.

O'BRIEN: Becca is Nayo's best friend. They do spoken word poetry together.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It starts off and it's like, girl, you are so pretty. What are you? The quintessential question for the tan skin girl with soft kinky curls and a frizz that doesn't seem to quit because answering human simply isn't enough for them. They can't handle my racially ambiguous figure.

BECCA KALIL, NAYO'S BEST FRIEND: They itch to know just what I am. It helps them sleep at night if they can just pin down the reason for my green gong happy birth potato red skin.

O'BRIEN: The young women are being ask to categorized themselves racially.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am beautiful. O'BRIEN: In a country that has historically put most people into one of two boxes, black or white.

(on camera): Can you decide if you are black or white?

JONES: I don't think anybody else gets to pick for me. When it comes down to it, it's what I say about myself that's the most important.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O'BRIEN: Or is it, in fact? Or is it what society says to them?

MARTIN: A huge -- huge issue.

O'BRIEN: My documentary is called "WHO IS BLACK IN AMERICA?" it premieres on Sunday December 9th at 8:00 p.m. We replay it at 11:00 p.m. And of course I'll be online tweeting as well as the documentary is playing.

MARTIN: You have no idea how major it is.

O'BRIEN: It drives people crazy.

MARTIN: My -- my aunt passed for white for the entire adult population and when she died her daughter would not tell my grandmother that her sister died because she did not want her showing up at the funeral until two months later.

O'BRIEN: A lot of crazy stories around it.

MARTIN: Yes and that was last year.

O'BRIEN: And also this is just in to STARTING POINT, he's been criticized for taking the photo of a man moments before he was killed by the subway. Now the photographer is speaking out. We're going to (inaudible) what he's saying straight ahead.

And we know it is history but when the revolutionary war happened it was news, of course. A new book explores how those unfolding moments were covered.

You're watching STARTING POINT a short break and we're back in just a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SAMBOLIN: Welcome back to STARTING POINT. New this morning we are hearing from "The New York Post" photographer who was shot -- who shot rather this controversial front page picture. It shows 58-year-old Ki Suk Han who was pushed off a subway platform desperately trying to climb off from the tracks before he was struck and killed by that oncoming train.

On NBC's "Today Show" Umar Abbasi says he was in no position to save that man.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UMAR ABBASI, PHOTOGRAPHER: If this thing happened again with the same circumstances, whether I had a camera or not and I was running towards it, there is no way I could have rescued Mr. Han.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAMBOLIN: Abbasi admits he has since sold that photograph.

Meantime police are questioning a suspect who says -- who they say has implicated himself in that crime -- Soledad.

O'BRIEN: Such an interesting debate over that question.

So let's talk history for a moment if we can. Most Americans of course learning about the revolutionary wars through their text books, on movies occasionally. You check out the History Channel and there will be a documentary about the war.

But Todd Andrlik's new book, "Reporting the Revolutionary War," Americans now see a different side of the birth of our country as it was reported in real time by journalists of the day. The book features articles and images taken from the author's personal collection of new original newspaper prints from the late 1700s gives a fascinating account of Americans who witnessed the war unfold firsthand, as it happened.

The author is with us this morning. Nice to have you with us. I appreciate it.

So first of all, I know that we often look at historical accounts are an interpretation of history. But you want it to go to your own account. Why do it this way?

TODD ANDRLIK, AUTHOR, "REPORTING THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR": Well for 200 plus years, historians have referenced these newspapers in footnotes of their own analysis and interpretations.

O'BRIEN: Right.

ANDRLIK: So I wanted to -- for the first time ever really invert the traditional history book and provide full color access to the original newspapers that were the only mass media of the day.

O'BRIEN: These are your documents. Where do you get them from?

ANDRLIK: So very much like American pickers, I traverse the -- the earth looking for historic documents in rare book shops and with historic dealers and eBay.

O'BRIEN: Wow.

ANDRLIK: You name it these are very much available just like any other historical collectible.

O'BRIEN: Interesting. Ok so let's look at some of the examples from the book. Here is the first-known coding (ph) of taxation without representation. May 10th, 1764, five weeks after the British passed the Sugar Act, which we all know from our studies is really what kicked of this whole entire thing.

"Our other advices by the packet are that a Scheme of Taxation of the American colonies has for some time been in Agitation" -- with a capital "A" -- "that it had been previously debated in parliament, whether they had the power to lay such a tax on colonies which had no Representative in Parliament."

That was an editorial. How much of these and how powerful with the editorials of the time that's spurring people into action?

ANDRLIK: Extremely important and extremely powerful in that these are what fanned the flames of rebellion and sustained loyalty to the cause throughout the war. So a lot of historians are on record as saying without newspapers there would have been no American revolution.

O'BRIEN: Could people read? I mean was everybody -- what was the amount of the population that was reading newspaper?

ANDRLIK: Well, America was one of the most literate societies in the time, particularly the northern colonies and in New England. Literacy rates were very high.

MARTIN: I used to be executive editor of Chicago Defender. And it was always stunning to go back and literally read in real time back in 1906 and '07 and '08 and '09. As you were doing this, were you sitting here getting the ebb and flow of the story and you were saying how it was moving in so many different ways?

ANDRLIK: Very much so, yes. It triggers in you an intense passion and enthusiasm for history that you previously didn't have. And so for me -- for instance here -- I brought with me the April 21, 1775 issue of the "New Hampshire Gazette". So two days after the battle of Lexington and Concord perhaps the biggest breaking news of the 18th century, "War Starts", the American revolution has begun. This is only one of two newspapers printed on American soil of about 40 at the time that print the news on its front page. And the only newspaper of those 40 to print it with a headline -- bloody news.

MCKAY COPPINS: What was the other front page news of that day? What were the other newspapers saying?

MARTIN: Not the Kardashians.

ANDRLIK: Well, the other newspaper that printed it on the front page was the "Georgia Gazette" in Savannah. But front page news was typically essays, foreign news, advertisements because pages two and three, the inside pages were typeset later in the week. And so there you would normally find the latest news.

COPPINS: They were talking about royal babies then, right?

O'BRIEN: Let me read the Salem, Massachusetts "Essex Gazette" because they talk about the Boston Tea Party. They applied themselves to the destruction of the commodity in earnest and in the pace of about two hours broke up 342 chests and discharged their contents into the sea. A watch as I am informed was stationed to prevent embezzlement and not a single ounce of tea was suffered to be purloined by the populace."

And this, of course, makes me think back to what we all learned in school right. Nobody stole the tea. They just ditched into the ocean.

ANDRLIK: Yes, that's one of the most popular eyewitness accounts that appeared in the newspapers of the period. And there you learn that somebody did try to pocket the tea and that they were quickly seized and pummeled by the other rebel colonists participating in the Tea Party.

(CROSSTALK)

MARTIN: Their editorials make today's folks look like wimps. I mean they used to write some really tough editorials.

ANDRLIK: You're actually right. Yes. This is where bias and propaganda was perfected. So much like we have the left and right- leaning media today, there were patriot and loyalist newspapers back then. That's where you really see the fires start.

O'BRIEN: The book is called "Reporting the Revolutionary War: Before it was History, it was News". I love that. Todd Andrlik. Nice to have you with us. Appreciate it.

ANDRLIK: Thanks for having me, Soledad.

O'BRIEN: Pleasure.

"End Point" is up next. We're back in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O'BRIEN: Welcome back. "End Point" now. Yes, Roland, why don't you start?

(CROSSTALK)

MARTIN: No, no. I wanted to say something Randy Weingarten was on. In this country of a mind-set that says if I fail at anything in college, at least I can teach. It's amazing how we say education is so important. You had all the time in school. So when she said a part of the deal is to change what happens in college. That's right. We need people who want to be teachers, who are trained, who are effective, who are professions. It shouldn't be the job of last resort.

O'BRIEN: Will Cain?

WILL CAIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Will Cain. The issue with the photographer and the subway photo continues to burn on the Internet here and I think you and I just had an interesting exchange. What is the job of the photographer? What is his primary responsibility? And I think it's first to be a human being. Whether or not he could have saved him, I would have liked to have seen him try.

O'BRIEN: McKay Coppins, is that a better version of what happened with your first name?

COPPINS: Not yet. But on the fiscal cliff, the stuff to watch there is the Tea Party and grassroots movement. It's not dead. Conservatives are still angry at Republicans who have proposed the plan they have now.

O'BRIEN: That little civil war is interesting to watch.

COPPINS: It's going to be an important thing to watch over the next few days.

O'BRIEN: All right. I thank you guys. I'm worn-out this morning. A lot of like --

MARTIN: My mother's maiden name.

CAIN: You want to talk about my name?

O'BRIEN: No.

See you then.

MARTIN: Will Cain -- four letters each. Wow.

O'BRIEN: "CNN NEWSROOM" with Carol Costello begins right now. We'll see everybody back here tomorrow morning.

Hey Carol, good morning.

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Hi, Soledad. Happening now in the Newsroom. Fire Bob Costas? The sportscaster responds to critics calling for his job.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

BOB COSTAS, SPORTSCASTER: This is simply a case of some people don't agree with it or they don't agree with what they think I was saying.