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Weather Threatens Parade; Holiday Travel Troubles; Hundreds Evacuated In Ohio; Haitian Migrant Boat Capsizes; Teen Hitman Back In United States; Planes In Disputed Airspace; Major TV Shake Ups; Giving Thanks

Aired November 27, 2013 - 07:30   ET


JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: But all of that could change first thing tomorrow morning.


CARROLL (voice-over): Up, up and away, maybe.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This wind could affect those balloons.

CARROLL: Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade giant balloons, will they fly or won't they? Jose Ramirez and his family are hoping to see them soar.

JOSE RAMIREZ, PARADE TOURIST: We came all the way from Puerto Rico to see the parade, so it would be a disappointment if we can't see the balloons.

CARROLL: Same sentiments from the Mastodano family.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They have to fly. Somebody has to make them fly.

CARROLL: Parade organizers aren't concerned about rain or snow. It's wind. Giant balloons like the all new Toothless from "How to Train Your Dragon" measuring 72 feet long and 36 feet wide could be grounded. That is if some forecasts are true and sustained winds reach at least 23 miles per hour Thursday or wind gusts top 34 miles per hour.

Macy's saying regarding the giant balloons, a determination is made on their inclusion based on real time weather data parade morning and not forecasts. So it's not helpful to discuss it now. It was a topic of discussion and concern for New York City police.

RAY KELLY, NEW YORK CITY POLICE COMMISSIONER: So we've had several meetings, I have a meeting today on it. We have instruments that give us the cross wind measurements. We've done a lot of training on this.

CARROLL: Both city and parade officials have learned from past wind- related balloon accidents, in 1997, a woman spent more than three weeks in a coma after the cat in a hat balloon struck a light pole which hit her. In 2005, two more were hurt in a similar accident involving the M and M's balloon.

Now improved weather monitoring devices are along the parade route and a police sergeant assigned to each balloon. Protocols are in place, new balloons like Snoopy and Woodstock and an updated Spongebob are ready to fly. But even if they don't, the Findley family will not be disappointed.

MICHELLIAN FINDLEY, PARADE TOURIST: The balloons aren't about Thanksgiving. It's about fellowship and family and just being thankful.


CARROLL: And that is one way to keep it all in perspective. Sixteen giant balloons are actually in jeopardy, but again for right now, parade organizers are saying everything is a go, they are going to make a final decision tomorrow morning. So everything is proceeding as planned. Later this afternoon at about 3:00, they going to be inflating those giant balloons. Fingers crossed they will able to fly tomorrow - Michaela.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Well, Jason, there are a lot of collective fingers that are crossed right now. Let's take a look at what conditions are like right now in New York City specifically in Manhattan. We want to see that the temperature isn't really an issue, but it's these wind speeds and the gust speed, 3 miles per hour, and 21 miles per hour for the gusts.

These are the numbers that parade officials are watching closely. As you heard Jason just say, if the sustained winds go above 23 miles per hour or the gusts are measured at above 34 miles per hour then they ground the balloons. What does that mean? It means that they are going to be looking at this forecast at parade time as Jason said.

This is the forecast thanks to our weather department that's been putting this together for us. The forecast for tomorrow, 20-mile-per- hour sustained winds and gusts of up to 31 miles per hour, it is just under the threshold. So these are the two numbers, the two numbers are the numbers that parade officials going to look at. As Jason mentioned, the parade will go on just without the balloons. But again, it's all about being thankful, right?

BOLDUAN: That's absolutely right. Keeping it in perspective, thanks so much, Michaela.

Coming up next on NEW DAY, his insults lasted longer than his talk show. We'll look at why Alec Baldwin got the ax from MSNBC.

CUOMO: And you don't want to miss this video, a comet headed toward the sun captured by cameras in space. How cool is that. We'll show you this later in the hour.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) PEREIRA: Welcome back to NEW DAY. Here are some of the stories making news. First of course, the huge complicating holiday travel for millions of people. Flights to and from the east coast is in jeopardy because of the rain, snow and strong winds. Over 100 flights already have been canceled. Roads are also slick making for treacherous driving conditions. Even after the rain passes, high wind going to be an issue and it may force the balloons to sit out he Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Happening now, hundreds of homes in Ohio have been evacuated after a train began leaking hazardous chemicals overnight. Police says a puncture in the 26,000 pound rail car caused the leak at Willard rail hard, about 400 homes in a half miles going to rail yard. About 400 homes have been evacuated to a nearby high school. The state's environmental department is monitoring the scene.

Tensions are heightened between the U.S. and China after two military planes flew over disputed air space on a training exercise. The zone is already in dispute because Japan also claims ownership of that space.

As many as 30 Haitian immigrants may have been killed when their overcrowded sailboat capsized off the coast of the Bahamas. More than 100 people were on board. Many of them were rescued after clinging to the overturned boat for hours. So far five bodies have been recovered and the search continues for more victims.

His young age and shocking on-camera s of his crimes grew international attention. Today this teen assassin is back on U.S. authorities. Mexican authorities released him from prison and deported the 17 why would. At the age of 14, he admitted to beheading at least four people. He says he was kidnapped at age 11 by a Mexican drug cartel and was forced to become their hit man.

A dramatic rescue captured on police dash cam video, a New Jersey officer pulling an unconscious drive from a burning truck. He's in critical but stable condition. The hero police officer was typically humble. He says he was just doing his job and that any one of his fellow officers in the case may place department would police department would have done the same thing. That man has certainly a few angels to thank.

CUOMO: Two major TV shakeups were announced. "60 Minutes" Lara Logan and her producer have been put on a leave of absence. Following a report on the attack on Benghazi in which their source was determined to be lying. Then MSNBC and Alec Baldwin parted ways after he was caught on camera using a gay slur among other things.

All right, here is a treat for you. CNN's senior media correspondent, brand new host of "RELIABLE SOURCES," Mr. Brian Stelter is here. Thank the news God that you have stuff to talk about. So good for us to discuss it, but is this true? This is not important because it's important to us because it's a small business and we care about each other. And what happens. Are we seeing a reflected view of bigger political battle waging in society? BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: I think we are. I think these are proxies for various scandals that happened. Let's take Lara Logan first. Her report on Benghazi was cheered by conservatives. It was hated by some liberals and some liberal media advocacy groups like Media Matters that immediately tried to tear to pieces.

It turns out that report was pretty easy to tear apart. Liberals were on to something in that case. And then the conservatives fell silent about all their initial celebrating. Let's take Alec Baldwin. In that case it was all sorts of people with different points of view that were upset by his comments.

Conservatives don't like him because he has a history of liberal political opinions. Some liberals were unhappy with what seemed to be an anti-gay comment he made. He has blamed the quote/unquote "fundamentalist" wing of gay advocacy groups. But in this case, it was all of these sorts of, you know, battles and this was a proxy for that.

CUOMO: Even Bashir, you know, what he said way over the line of any type of acceptable behaviour, however also in a political context that we see the sides come out on us.

STELTER: That's right. Because he was talking about Sarah Palin, what we saw some conservatives immediately go after Bashir in a way that we might not have seen if he worked for a different network. But because he worked for MSNBC, the liberal network, they saw an opportunity to pounce. And by the way, that's probably the right thing because they're holding MSNBC and Bashir accountable. That's what viewers should do.

BOLDUAN: And when people look at this from the outside looking in, they're often not just looking at what was done or done wrong. How the network reacted is often what is looked at in the aftermath. Let's talk about Lara Logan and the Benghazi report. People have been critical of her saying it took CBS a long time to say anything, to put in place an investigation and to take anyone of us are perfect, but none of us want to get a report especially one as significant as that wrong. Where do you see CBS fell short?

STELTER: It was October 27th when her report aired. Some of the information was pretty interesting, but the main source was discredited. Now it's November 27th, the entire month has passed and that's how long it took for CBS to release the results of their investigation.

BOLDUAN: What if they say they were trying to be considerate -- did that have any jerk reaction?

STELTER: That would be one thing. What it seemed was that they got defensive and tried to avoid any public comment instead of saying we're investigating it, taking our time and we going to tell you as soon as we --

CUOMO: The ugliest allegation was you didn't vet this guy because he was giving you what you wanted so that there was a lighter treatment and now you're calling it a leave of absence. And by the way, I don't know that it's the right move to do to Lara Logan. You know, to me, this now corporate action that's taking - might be reasonable. But do you believe that they are now fully showing what they're supposed to show?

STELTER: I think one thing is still missing. I think Lara Logan going to come back, but she hasn't explained her side of the story yet. And I say up she does that, there going to be lingering questions about whether she was out looking for a person, looking for information that just reflected her open views.

CUOMO: Earned her chops, works hard you can know for being a straight shooter.

PEREIRA: Each situation is a little different, Bashir, Baldwin and Logan. But there have been three different reactions from each of the people and the scenarios around them. What one do you think comes out the best?

CUOMO: And the worst.

STELTER: Martin Bashir is the one who is still employed and not having a leave of absence and not been suspended.

BOLDUAN: We are talking about the same cable network having two different reactions.

STELTER: That's right.

CUOMO: So why because you did argue it was the most vile things gay slur very bad.

STELTER: Major difference is that his apology seemed very sincere at least to his colleagues. I've heard from several people at MSNBC high up in the organization who say Martin Bashir truly felt sorry. And that might not have been the case for Alec Baldwin who denied saying what he said at first and then kind of gave a half-hearted apology.

CUOMO: We're talking about a bigger game afoot. When we had a media critic on to talk about this, he says the obvious, that it was wrong, he can't believe he hasn't been fired. My reaction is I can't believe the guy just said something so insulting. So we started asking, was there a bigger context, do you think t was just an insult.

STELTER: Just asking the questions, just saying the apology was impressive in terms of media apologies, URL takes a while to get to full contrition. I got lumped right in with the -- you're defending, you're part of it, you're part of this conspiracy against the right. And it made me feel like it exceed so much the bounds of what the facts suggested that there was another agenda afoot. See same thing or me being defensive?

I think these stories take on such a life of their own that a lot of people never actually see the original segments. I would encourage the next time this happens, go online, watch the original videos of all of these cases and that's the ultimate perspective because --

PEREIRA: They take a life of their own on.

STELTER: They sure do. And they are proxies for the broader political battles. Twenty years from now, we might be fighting about internet columnists, but right now it's television.

CUOMO: And also the media can be so unforgiving when somebody makes a mistake. But when it's us, there but for the grace comes up, but very different situations.

STELTER: That's right.

CUOMO: Brian, you're the man. Welcome. We are now thankful fo you. You go on the list of Thanksgivings.

BOLDUAN: Welcome to the marathon that is CNN.

CUOMO: Coming up on NEW DAY, what does a comet look like as it hurdles toward the sun? You have no question because we'll give you the answer. Very cool images coming up.

BOLDUAN: And we've been talking about it all morning. What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving? Many of you told us and we'll share some of our favorites from my weekly Instragram challenge when we come back.


CUOMO: That was my jam back in the day. Welcome back to NEW DAY. We're looking to the sky trying to check the weather, but we have amazing time lapse video to show you of a comet shot from space, it's heading for a Thanksgiving Day date with the sun. You can see the comet moving in from the left, the sun beyond the right edge there, you see the image hinted at by the steady stream of particles moving in from the right.

How cool is that? Look at that, we even put that band. That band is not in space, we're doing it to make it easier for you. I feel like Neil deGrasse without the genius, physics and beautiful voice.

This is what I've be excited about all day. I hope you can play along. Each week I challenge our Instagram followers to send in their best pic, we've done #follows here. This week #thankful and take a look at solve the inspiring submissions that came in from all of you.


BOLDUAN: What are you thankful for? Me, coffee, alarm clocks and family.

(voice-over): The challenge was simple, show us what you're thankful for. Your responses so special that in the spirit of Thanksgiving, we wanted to share and hopefully inspire.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm thankful for my students here at the academy especially our seniors doing whatever it takes to get into college. It is going to be the first graduating class from Lee Academy High School, class of 2014!

BOLDUAN: You are thankful for family.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This Thanksgiving and every day I just wanted to say how grateful I am to have such a great twin, Jen, as my partner in crime, basically she is like the rock of the family. I love you with all my heart.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I love you, too. I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving.

BOLDUAN (voice-over): Who could resist giving thanks for these little faces?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm Laura, here with my kids, Connor and Lucy. This is Connor, he's 4 months old, drinking a bottle. And this is my daughter, Lucy. She's 4 years old. Can you say hi, Lucy?

Can you wave? They bring me so much joy and so much love every single day and add so much meaning to my life, more than I ever thought was imaginable.

BOLDUAN: Mary Margaret is grateful, 21-month-old Tory got a second chance at life.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This past July at the age of 17 months, Tory underwent not one but two liver transplants. Going into this adventure I would have never thought a 1-year-old would be able to teach me anything but it's one of the most invaluable experiences of my life.

BOLDUAN: You sent photos of your furry friends, always by your side.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Good morning, NEW DAY. My name is Justine and this is my 11-month-old puppy, Theodore. I'm grateful to have him in my life because he puts a smile on my face day.

BOLDUAN: From coast to coast, you are thankful, for grandkids, role models, and thankful for loved ones, like this couple celeb celebrating 65 years of lasting love, and there's Blake and Melissa, thankful for each other and the many years together to come.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She has been my rock, my one and only for almost two years. She's been my best friend for almost four, and there isn't a day that goes by that I, you know, I'm not incredible thankful for her.


BOLDUAN: It is a joy of my week to connect with everybody. They send in the best stuff and I sent one out today, too. I had my #thankful for my goofy friends. I just posted this morning. The three of us together, we had so much fun together.

CUOMO: I was photo bombing there. That was a picture of just them.

BOLDUAN: He was not trying to eat our hair.

PEREIRA: He might have gotten a mouthful.

BOLDUAN: It's a great way to connect with our viewers and let them be part of the whole thing, so much fun and you still have some time to be part of #thankful. We'll keep it going for another week. I always do, it's impossible, but we pick a winner, a top submission and send you a thank you and honorable mention so we'll do that next week. Take part in the challenge, if you want to do it, you have to post to my Instagram @newdaycnn and let us know what you think.

CUOMO: All of the barriers to entry.

BOLDUAN: You just have to get to us so we can see it, #newday, we going to get it.

CUOMO: So many things you take granted that are fragile, people married forever, just married, dog with the humongous head, the mom able to videotape her own thing. Kid, meet other kid, amazing.

We'll give you a break so you can file one right now. I don't know if that's the right verb.


CUOMO: Coming up on NEW DAY, the powerful storm packing snow, sleet and rain is threatening your turkey day and it going to only get worse before it goes better. We'll go inside a major airlines operating center to show you how they're handling the travel nightmare.

BOLDUAN: And we'll talk with the family of the longest held American hostage in history, their efforts to bring the former FBI agent home ahead.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just want to take off and land on time. That's what I want.


CUOMO: Travel chaos, tens of millions are struggling to get home for Thanksgiving today, but a massive storm is battering the eastern half of the country. Air and ground traffic snarled. We'll give you the best routes to free tom.

BOLDUAN: We are spread out across the storm stone including live inside a major airlines' flight center. Can they get all of their flights off the ground this morning?

PEREIRA: Bad deal, President Obama struck a temporary agreement with Iran, but with no mentioned of the Americans being held hostage there. Some of the families are angry --