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North Korean Crisis; Debating Drones; Psy Time or "Sigh" Time?; Generation Jihad

Aired April 12, 2013 - 16:00   ET


JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: All eyes on Pyongyang to see that Kim Jong- un will actually do.

I'm Jake Tapper and this is THE LEAD.

The buried leads. We have two stories today you likely won't see much about anywhere else, one, the horrifying case of a Philadelphia doctor accused of acts of barbarism, the other, serious questions about U.S. drones abroad. More than a decade after 9/11, is the U.S. now creating more terrorists than we're killing?

The money lead. It is like the biggest cable channel in the country, except it is not on cable. Average users watch an hour-and-a-half of Netflix every single day. Can the popularity last? Is TV being changed forever?

And the pop culture lead, God help us, 1.5 billion people watched his video for "Gangnam Style." And while I'm still trying to get that internal earworm out of my head, Psy just released a new single. Does he have another hit on his hands or will he suffer the curse of the Macarena?

We begin with the world lead.

A huge mistake, that's what America's secretary of state says North Korea would be making if it goes ahead with a missile launch that could happen any minute. John Kerry is attending talks in Seoul, South Korea, which is only about 30 miles from the DMZ that separates the country from North Korea.

Kerry warned that America won't tolerate North Korea as a nuclear power, but he also said the U.S. will consider resuming talks with Pyongyang, but not if Kim Jong-un continues to test the world's patience.


JOHN KERRY, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: It is a huge mistake for him to choose to do that because it will further isolate his country and further isolate his people.


TAPPER: Kerry also downplayed a report from the Defense Intelligence Agency which claims North Korea already has nukes that can be delivered with missiles, though their accuracy is not reliable.

Both Pentagon and intelligence officials were quick to say that the North has not fully tested or developed that kind of capability. That intelligence came out yesterday during the congressional hearing, but it was not supposed to. Defense and administration sources tell CNN that someone mistakenly marked it declassified. And you thought you slipped up at work the last time you accidentally hit reply all.

I want to talk more about the situation with Nick Burns, former undersecretary of state during the last Bush administration.

Mr. Burns, thanks for joining us.


TAPPER: So, isn't the most likely scenario that we see that North Korea launches the missile, it goes over Japan, while Secretary of State Kerry is there, and it goes into the ocean, and neither South Korea nor the U.S. do anything to militarily respond?

BURNS: Well, Jake, I think it is reasonable to assume that coming up to the centennial of Kim Il-Sung's birth on Monday, that the North Koreans will be true to form and do what they have done in the past. They will probably launch some kind of ballistic missile. Who knows where it is going to be headed.

I don't think it will be headed toward Japan or South Korea, the territory. I don't think the North Koreans want to provoke a crisis here, but they certainly want to make a statement. And in that respect, the United States had to do two very different things over the last week. It's been a tough balancing act. They have had to be very tough and firm, as Secretary Kerry was today, in saying that we will defend our allies, South Korea and Japan, and saying that, the United States, of course, is a stronger party here.

Yet, on the other hand, you saw that we're trying not to provoke the North Koreans. This is a very untested, inexperienced young leader there. And Secretary Kerry said there is a possibility of talks, but he framed it, I thought, in a very effective way. He said only if in the process of those talks North Korea goes back to denuclearization, that is, it rolls back its nuclear program.

So I think the administration has hit both notes in a very effective way. We will have to wait and now see how the North Koreans react.

TAPPER: Although I should say you have been a bit critical of the Obama administration in their not using China adequately to influence North Korea. Can you explain what you mean by that?

BURNS: Well, Jake, I have not been critical of all of the Obama administration. I have been critical of China.


BURNS: China is the country that has the most and the greatest influence on North Korea here through the provision of food and fuel to the North Korean economy.

And North Korea could not exist without that Chinese support. And I am concerned that the Chinese government, at least on the surface, has not been pushing hard enough on the North Koreans to cease and desist. And I would also say that Russia has this obligation because Russia has a trade and military relationship with North Korea.

And so I think it is really incumbent upon those two countries to use their influence to contain this very irresponsible young leader in North Korea.

TAPPER: So, do you think there is anything the U.S. could be doing with China to encourage them to take more action or do you think our hands are tied there?

BURNS: I think the United States sent a very effective message to China about 10 days ago, earlier in this crisis, when we sent the B-2 and B-52 bombers over South Korea during the military exercises and the F-22 planes from Japan to South Korea in a show of force.

And that was really also a message to the Chinese, you need to get into this conflict in order to pull the North Koreans back or else the United States will have to do what it must do by treaty, and that is to show support and if necessary defend Japan and South Korea who are defense allies and treaty allies of the United States.

And perhaps the Chinese have been more engaged. It doesn't appear to be, although there are indications, both from Foreign Minister Lavrov, the Russian Foreign Minister, today and President Xi Jinping a couple of days ago that they're frustrated by the North Koreans, because who in their right mind would support a leader in North Korea who threatens an incendiary attack on Manhattan and threatens Austin, Texas, and threatens Seoul, South Korea?

TAPPER: All right, Nicholas Burns, thank you so much.

BURNS: Thank you, Jake.

TAPPER: The late Hugo Chavez called a U.S. president the devil. He also claimed America gave him cancer. How do you follow that act?

Two men are trying in Sunday's presidential election in Venezuela. One is Chavez's handpicked successor, his former right-hand man, Nicolas Maduro, who is acting president right now. Maduro is campaigning hard on Chavez's memory, even told a rally that the spirit of Chavez visited him in the form of a bird. Polls show he is the heavy favorite. The opposition candidate is Henrique Capriles, who is considered the more moderate of the two.

Capriles ran against Chavez and lost in October by 10 points. Not exactly a squeaker, but he did get closer to beating Chavez than any opposition leader before him.

Coming up, did you know Apple has a way to tell you -- to tell if you're at fault if your iPhone stops working? They do. But plenty of customers say it is bogus and that could mean hundreds of dollars back in your pocket. More on that in our money lead. That's next.

And traveling soon? You might want to bring a certain plant with you as protection from those tiny hotel bedbugs.


TAPPER: Our money lead, it's Friday, time to plan out your weekend of wasting your life in front of your television to watch an entire season of "The Walking Dead" or "Breaking Bad" or "The Six Million Dollar Man." Just me on that last one maybe?

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings posted on his Facebook page that Netflix subscribers used the service for four billion hours over the last three months. That's like watching the movie "White Chicks" 2.2 billion times. We did the math. We like to be thorough here.

An analyst with BTIG calculates that this likely makes Netflix the most watched cable network, even though Netflix is not a cable network. Is this another sign of Netflix taking over the home entertainment industry?

Joining me now is Rocco Pendola, columnist for

Rocco, thanks for joining us again.

Put this in context for us. Four billion hours, that sounds impressive. Is it if you compare it with other cable channels?

ROCCO PENDOLA, THESTREET.COM: Well, I love Netflix, first of all. Let me just say that. I pay my eight bucks a month.

I would pay $20 a month for Netflix. It's a fantastic service. And of course four billion hours as a number is impressive, there's no question. But it's a bit out of context. First of all, there is bad math when the guy from BTIG comes up with whatever it is, people are watching it 87 minutes a day or whatever he said.

You have to factor in some outliers, like the parents that flop their kid in front of the TV for six hours to watch -- you know, watch cartoons all afternoon to get them out of their hair, the people that do this binge viewing, as you alluded to. That kind of throws off the average a little bit.

But more importantly than that, it isn't a surprise that they're up 25 percent. Cable watching is up. VOD, video on demand, that's also up by about 40 percent. It is really up across the board and Netflix is just participating in that upside.

TAPPER: So, Netflix is also creating its own content. We have discussed that before, the upcoming show "Hemlock Grove." It's obviously also another show, and there are a lot of comparisons to HBO. Is that a fair comparison?

PENDOLA: Absolutely not.

Time Warner, the parent company of CNN, I mean, you know, HBO, 20 years ago or 30 years ago wasn't even on after midnight. I remember it would go dark. And then all of a sudden they built this massive brand, but it didn't happen overnight. And it is just pure arrogance on the part of Reed Hastings to think that they could come out with "Sex and the City," "Sopranos," "The Wire," all these shows, one after the other, which is what they have to do.

"House of Cards" was mildly successful. "Hemlock Grove" is getting awful reviews. And "Arrested Development," you know, it is not going to be the second coming. And it is expensive for them to do this. It's expensive for them to do everything they do, international expansion, buying third-party content from the big content providers, and doing their own programming.

What that tells me -- and this is no secret to those of us that cover the company closely -- is they're not going to be able to charge $8 a month forever. They need more revenue. They're burning cash. They have had to raise cash twice in the last couple of years. And these content providers aren't going to give them premium quality stuff when they're only charging $8 a month for it. It dilutes the premium nature of their programming, so they will not continue doing it.

We already saw that happen with Starz a couple of years ago. I love Netflix. I know a lot of people watching do. Expect to pay more for it in some way, shape or form really soon.

TAPPER: All right, Rocco Pendola, thank you for the advice. I appreciate it.

PENDOLA: Thank you, Jake.

TAPPER: Getting out of a multimillion-dollar lawsuit, apparently there is actually no app for that.

According to Wired, Apple has agreed to pay $53 million to settle a suit over iPhone warranties. A class-action suit accused Apple of refusing to replace or repair broken phones under the company's warranty. That means hundreds of thousands of customers will now be getting cash payouts. The company says it did nothing wrong.

If you haven't yet, this is the last weekend to get your taxes in order. They're due on Monday. Get to work on that mind-numbing task. That's how I think of it, but actually there is a surprising number of you who are looking forward to it. And we don't just mean accountants. According to a new Pew Research poll, about a third of Americans either like or love doing their taxes, mostly because of the refund.

But it is still like a root canal for most of us; 56 percent either dislike or outright hate doing their taxes, the most common reason, the hassle of the paperwork.

Google death. No, I don't mean you should Google the word death. I'm talking our nickname for a new Google feature. When you log off from this life and sign into that social network in the sky, Google will still be there for you. The company has a new service that helps you decide what to do with your online presence after you die. It is called the inactive account manager. You can bequeath your YouTube account or Picasa photo album to a friend or have your entire online identity wiped clean, just wiped off the face of the earth. The changes take effect if your accounts go silent for a long stretch, but you will get a heads-up so that your online identity isn't accidentally killed off before its time.

If you're a lover of great music, like I am, then I'm sure you thought the exact same thing when you heard Psy's youtube hit song "Gangnam Style." And that is, I can't wait to see what he does next.

Well, Psy's latest song was just released. While it won't necessarily be the most horrific thing launched from the Korean peninsula this month, it may come in second.

We'll judge it together in our "Pop Lead". That's next.


TAPPER: "The Pop Lead", a little lighter fare for this block. Just when you finally started getting through the day, without the threat of that "Gangnam Style" song slowly driving you insane, South Korean rapper Psy is back with another taunting tune. It sounds eerily similar to his first international hit, which became a YouTube sensation.

But the question remains, can lightning strike twice or will he go the way of Frankie Goes to Hollywood and the Weather Girls, a not so exclusive club of one hit wonders?


TAPPER (voice-over): One-point-five billion hits and counting.

However annoying or overplayed you might think it is, apparently people still cannot stop dancing to "Gangnam Style."

And that demand creates demand. So, regardless of quality, when you create the most watched YouTube video of all time, and an international dance craze to boot, you have to do an encore. And for Korean pop star, Mr. Gangnam Style himself, Psy, the pressure to create another global hit has been mounting for months, resulting in tweets with the #painofcreation.

ALINA CHO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's hard to beat a billion views on YouTube, though. Do you feel --

PSY, KOREAN POP STAR: I'm not going to beat that. And I cannot beat that.

TAPPER: Psy told CNN's Alina Cho in November he did not have a magical formula for success.

PSY: People describe this as phenomenon. And, you know, unfortunately we cannot analyze phenomenon.

SIMON VOZICK-LEVINSON, ASSOCIATE EDITOR, ROLLING STONE: Writing a great pop song is a lot harder than it looks.

TAPPER: Simon, an associate editor at "Rolling Stone", reminds us that musical history is littered with the carcasses of failed second attempts.

Remember Right Said Fred's follow-up to "I'm Too Sexy", or Vanilla Ice's second act after "Ice, Ice Baby." I didn't think you did.

And how about Chumbawamba?

They never did get up again.

VOZICK-LEVINSON: One hit wonders I think are going to become more and more common in this day and age because of the Internet, YouTube hits are now counted towards the billboard charts. It's easier than ever. It's sort of come out of nowhere with one incredibly catchy song and, you now, end being known by millions and millions of people.

TAPPER: Psy's attempt at a second sensation hit the airwaves and Internet just hours ago. His new single "Gentlemen."

Wait, what was that lyric?

That's mother father gentleman, although the pronunciation is open to interpretation, which Psy seems to be embracing.

So will "Gentlemen" go all "Gangnam Style"?

VOZICK-LEVINSON: It's almost impossible to create another hit on the Web with "Gangnam Style." "Gangnam Style" was sort of a freak occurrence. It was just all the right combination of, you know, factors that, you know, contribute to it becoming a hit. And it's very, very hard to replicate that.

TAPPER: So that would be no. Sorry, Psy. But 1.5 billion views on YouTube so far, that's not nothing.


TAPPER: To be fair, Psy actually released several successful albums in South Korea long before "Gangnam Style" became a global phenomenon.

#tag, you're it. Take a walk down memory lane. What was your favorite one hit wonder? For me, Eddie and the Cruisers "On the Dark Side."

What about you? Tweet us @TheLeadCNN. Use the #onehitwonder.

Homer works at the nuclear power plant. But he's the real chemist in the family. The Simpsons pay tribute to "Breaking Bad" with a little mashup this Sunday. And Marge is the danger.


TAPPER: A little treat for you "Breaking Bad" fans. Of course, cupcakes substituted for crystal meth in that clip. "Breaking Bad" comes back for its final season this summer.

He was an improv legend who inspired acts from Robin Williams to Jim Carrey. Jonathan Winters died last night at the age of 87. Some of his best characters were the ones he made up, but his appeal proved cross generational when he appeared on the '70s comedy "Mork & Mindy".


JONATHAN WINTERS, ACTOR: You used to be the best friend that I ever got, or is it?


TAPPER: Winters also appeared in nearly 50 movies including the 1953 hit "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World."

Let's check in our political panel in the green room. Lynn Sweet, Ross Douthat, and Albert Polks (ph). I had a great trip written by somebody, but my -- what the -- I can't even read this. It's on the teleprompter.

You know what? The same thing happened to President Obama a couple of years ago. The guy drove off with President Obama's teleprompter and he just got seven years in jail.

Lynn, fair punishment?

LYNN SWEET, CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Fair -- Jake, where is my teleprompter?

TAPPER: Tough to do it without the teleprompter. I feel for the president. We'll talk about that and more in our "Politics Lead". That's coming up.


TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.

"The Buried Lead": It almost doesn't matter which side of the abortion debate you're on, the accusations out of a shocking Philadelphia trial will make your jaw drop. It's a story that many in the media are staying away from. But not THE LEAD.

In other world news: they're taught to hate the U.S. while they're still losing baby teeth. THE LEAD goes inside a school training the next generation of jihadists, where U.S. drone strikes may only bolster the desire to kill Americans.

And "The National Lead": sleep tight and don't let the bedbugs bite, with this home remedy. Scientists think they found a way to get rid of the little blood suckers and doesn't involve spraying your covers down with a nasty pesticide.


TAPPER: One of our very leads today, also a world lead, part two, of our look at a decade of drone strikes in Pakistan, a policy that has complicated the relationship with a critical partner in the fight against terrorism. Yesterday, we broke the news that former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf told CNN's senior international correspondent Nic Robertson that Pakistan secretly signed off on U.S. drone strikes while he was in power.

Today, Nic takes a look at how the strikes are affecting civilians stuck in the crossfire -- Nic.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Jake, as the debate in Washington over drones remains mostly theoretical, here in Pakistan, the impact of the drones is very real, killing not just terrorists, but women and children too, raising the possibility that the stealth weapons are creating a new generation of radicals.

(voice-over): A few years ago, the Taliban held sway here.

We're in the Swat Valley, a few hours drive from Pakistan's capital, and the Army are taking us to see the next generation of jihadists. In this classroom, trained child suicide bombers and killers. Boys as young as 8, all from poor families, all weaned on Taliban propaganda, not about Osama bin Laden, but U.S. drone strikes -- according to this school official, who also hides her face during Taliban attack.

SCHOOL OFFICIAL: They do drill into them a hatred against the Americans. And the drones, they talk about the Americans conducting the drone attacks and killing civilians.

ROBERTSON: The drones operate out of U.S. bases in neighboring Afghanistan -- and according to the White House -- target al Qaeda and Taliban, hiding in Pakistan's tribal border region, not civilians.

Karim Khan (ph), who is from that tribal region, tells me his brother and son were killed in a drone in late 2009.