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Cold Weather Hits Midwest; Workers at Fast Food Restaurants Walk Out; The Responsibility of the Media; Will Jameis Winston Face Charges Today?

Aired December 5, 2013 - 07:00   ET


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What you need to know --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The challenge is to get them to go out into deeper water. They're all freely swimming now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What you just have to see.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I grabbed the two kids and ran back to my vehicle. If she hadn't stopped the vehicle, it could have been a real bad situation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo, Kate Bolduan, and Michaela Pereira.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. Welcome back to NEW DAY. It's Thursday, December 5, 7:00 in the east. And millions this morning are bracing for a major ice storm. The system that dumped some two feet of snow in the Rockies and upper Midwest is now getting ready to throw its next punch, heavy snow from the southern plains to the Ohio Valley and dangerous ice in southern states. We're going to cover every angle of this story. Let's start with Ana Cabrera in Denver. Ana?

ANA CABRERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Chris. The snow here has given us a break, but you can see there is plenty on the ground here in Colorado. It is a slippery commute this morning, but the biggest issue are the extremely cold temperatures. Negative 13 in Denver last night, setting a new record low, and only single digits for the highs today. Unfortunately this is just the beginning as this arctic air mass continues to spread.


CABRERA: A dangerous and drastic temperature plunge has millions shivering this morning across the country.

MANI MONIEK, BOULDER, COLORADO: Well, the thermometer in my truck said seven degrees when I was driving over here. So it's cold.

CABRERA: Overnight, the mercury dipping even lower, some places experiencing bone-chilling, feels-like temps of 30 to 40 degrees below zero, the arctic blast stretching from the southern Rockies to Duluth, Minnesota. This massive winter storm is unleashing strong winds along with heavy snow, a treacherous combination, creating poor visibility and super slick conditions.

CARRIE JOHNSON, WAUSAU POLICE DEPARTMENT: People started going into the ditch, losing control of their vehicles.

CABRERA: In Denver, a van rolls off a deceptively slippery road. And in South Dakota, a tanker truck slides off a snowy highway, the relentless pounding snow and ice, really piling up across the nation's midsection. It's a lot of hard work for residents trying to clear the driveways and sidewalks, and the heavy equipment struggling to keep up across the country's interstates and highways with some spots seeing more than a foot of snow in a matter of hours.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Anybody that can't find a place to be indoors, that's obviously a real problem.


CABRERA: We do know of at least one weather-related death, in Minnesota. A 16-year-old girl died in a traffic accident on her way to school because of the weather. Also, the power outages now popping up here in Colorado. We're learning there are more than 1,400 people without power this morning, again, in these negative and single digit temperatures. And we're told they could be without power for at least a few more hours. Chris, Kate?

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Ana, thank you so much for starting us off from Denver this morning. Let's get to meteorologist Indra Petersons who's tracking where the storm is heading.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Good morning. It looks like that dangerous weather is only going to be growing, as we take a look at Denver where Ana was, 14 degrees, feels like minus 20, temperatures near 80 degrees into the southeast. Behind it the freezing weather. It's right in between where you look at those temperatures, that will be the concern as this cold arctic air starts to plunge into that region where we have the threat of freezing rain. Notice Dallas today, the threat of an ice storm is picking up where we have Ed Lavandera right now, taking a look at that storm that's headed your way right now, Ed.

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Indra, the temperatures here have plummeted dramatically in the last 12 hours. I was out here in this park in downtown Dallas. Yesterday was 80 degrees. Now it's much, much colder.


LAVANDERA: Late Wednesday, city parks in downtown Dallas looked more like a California coast boardwalk.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're Texans. It's 80 degrees today and then the next day it will be 30? So people panic.

LAVANDERA: A massive arctic air and rain is threatening to turn these scenes of paradise into this. It seems like the Dallas-Ft. Worth area experiences epic battles with sheets of ice and sleet crippling the region every few years, causing power outages, shutting down schools, not even leaving children with snow to play in. City officials say street crews will be available to work around the clock, using about 70 trucks to spread a mixture of sand and salt on the icy streets if needed.

But this ice storm is threatening a downtown Dallas holiday parade on Saturday and the Dallas Marathon on sun. Slippery ice doesn't go well with marchers and runners. The last wicked winter storm was in 2011 in the days leading up to the Super Bowl hosted in the Dallas Cowboys stadium. Football fans struggled to navigate the treacherous roadways and street crews struggled to keep many roadways drivable.


LAVANDERA: And so they'll be watching here closely that fine line between this wintry mix and ice as this arctic air mass moves down this way here into northern Texas. We'll be watching very closely, schools, businesses, everyone will be monitoring late into the night to see how bad it will be when everyone wakes up on Friday morning. Indra?

PETERSONS: That's the biggest concern, exactly what you're talking about. Let's actually talk about what is freezing rain, how does this happen? You have cold air or snow way up high in the atmosphere. We talked about the temperatures in the middle zone. Notice in the middle it's warmer, so the snow melts. At the ground, below freezing temperatures again, which is the danger. You're talking about anything that falls freezing on contact, the roads, the bridges, the power lines, the limbs off of the trees breaking off, especially if you get over that half an inch mark.

This is what we're looking at, it looks like anywhere from Paducah all the way back to just east of Dallas. That's where we're seeing that threat for that ice storm growing throughout the day today, spreading into the evening tonight. And here's the worst part, yes, that first system moves offshore by early Saturday. But there is a second system behind it. Notice here's the first system as it kicks on through. There goes the second wave just like it coming through, Saturday in through Sunday. You're talking about freezing temperatures, a good 40 degrees below normal with a two-punch coming right behind it Saturday in through Sunday. Michaela?

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: It just sounds miserable. All right, Indra, thank you so much for that.

Let's take a look at the headlines right now. Vice president Biden trying to ease rising international tensions over China's declaration over an air defense zone. He met with China's leaders and voiced U.S. concerns, saying that Washington will not recognize the zone over the East China Sea. Both Japan and China claim to have sovereignty over the disputed region. Biden will head to Seoul later today.

Secretary of State John Kerry meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu right now in Israel. On the agenda, discussing the deal six world powers reached with Iran, a deal that Netanyahu has repeatedly criticized. Kerry will also try to push the Mideast peace progress forward by offering ideas for a West Bank security plan.

New revelations this morning about the NSA surveillance operations, "The Washington Post" reporting the agency is gathering close to 5 billion records every day on the whereabouts of cellphones worldwide. That means the NSA can track the movements of individuals and map their relationships. The agency's data base can reportedly store information on hundreds of millions of devices.

Walkouts are planned at fast food restaurants across the nation today. We're showing you a live picture outside a protest outside a McDonald's in New York City. Workers in 100 cities across the nation are expected to participate. They're demanding greater freedom to unionize and also demanding higher wages. CNN's Alison Kosik is with striking workers in Brooklyn. Alison?

ALISON KOSIK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Michaela. Striking workers yet to show up here at this Wendy's in Brooklyn. But as you said, protesters already outside McDonald's in New York City. What they're demanding is federal minimum wage go up to $15 an hour. Right now it's at $7.25 an hour.

This movement has certainly gained moment over the past year since that first walkout in New York City one year ago today. The critics of a higher minimum wage say this will hurt business because it will increase prices that will have to be passed on to consumers. It will also take away jobs with many saying it could cause automation, meaning employees will be replaced by things like touch screens. Michaela?

PEREIRA: President giving them a little support, also agreeing that that minimum wage has to increase. Alison Kosik, thanks so much.

In other news, a painting by illustrator Normal Rockwell has been sold for $46 million, set for auction record for American painting and for Rockwell himself. "Saying Grace" is what it's called. Originally appeared on the cover of the "Saturday Evening Eost," in 1951, their Thanksgiving issue. You can see a woman and a boy praying inside a crowded restaurant. The piece was sold alongside six other Rockwell paintings for a total of nearly $60 million.

CUOMO: Rockwell, illustrator or artist?

PEREIRA: Both. Can't you not be both?

CUOMO: I think you can. I think he's more of an artist than he's given credit for.

CHETRY: When your painting goes for $46 million, I think you qualify as an artist.

CUOMO: That's true. I read a book about Rockwell. He had such a big impact on how the country saw itself.

PEREIRA: Absolutely.

CUOMO: Not going to buy the painting, though. BOLDUAN: Really?

CUOMO: No. Give you 60 million reasons why.

Coming up on NEW DAY, 911 calls from the Newtown massacre are released and broadcast. The question is obvious. Should they be? A debate over the right thing to do, please weigh in.

BOLDUAN: Also ahead, decision day for Florida State University star quarterback Jameis Winston. Will he be charged in a sexual assault investigation? We'll be talking about it.


CUOMO: Welcome back to NEW DAY. We are approaching one year since the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary. Officials just released 911 calls made during the attack. Media outlets, including CNN, were then faced with a difficult choice, whether or not to broadcast those calls. CNN chose to broadcast, as did most others.

Now, is that right given the situation and the outcry from victims and their families? The sensitivities are obvious, the decisions are difficult. So let's discuss them. Bringing in "TIME" magazine editor at large, Jeffrey Kluger. Jeffrey appreciate you being here. You wrote a very intelligent, if I might say, about this, coming out on the side you don't see the value, you don't think not only should they be played, but you don't think they should be listened to. Explain.

JEFFREY KLUGER, EDITOR-AT-LARGE, "TIME" MAGAZINE: Exactly. There are two competing tensions here. I believe there's a constitutional imperative to release them. I don't see anything wrong with that.

CUOMO: The law is clear.

KLUGER: The law is clear. Release them. They're in the public domain.

The question is, is there a moral imperative then to turn away from them? And that turns on what we're getting out of that. I believe if the news media forbears from playing them or if they're out there anyway, if individuals forbear from listening to them, in some way we move away from a coarsening of the culture that gets what Aristotle and the Hindu sage Bharata called "as if" emotions. We're listening to these things. We're feeling emotions. They're not happening to us, but real people were dying.

CUOMO: So let's unpack that, two different main points there. First, you said the media move away. When does the media have responsibility to not allow access to information that could very well be of interest?

KLUGER: Well, and -- that's a very good point. Because you get into the question -- the paternalistic media and the nanny state media, who are we to say that other people shouldn't have access?

CUOMO: Yes, what's the line? KLUGER: Well, the line is I believe in the reality of the internet era, everything is porous now. If CNN chooses to or not to release them, if chooses not to or not, the point is, the information is out there anyway. So if you take a moral stand and say, 'We as a news outlet aren't going to do it, but we know the information is out there and we know it's then up to individuals to do it. We simply choose not to be the vehicles of that information.'

CUOMO: The second part is moving away from. Is that what you need to do in a situation that is too often repeated? Is there anything to the value of reminding -- we do this with war coverage as well --

KLUGER: That's exactly right.

CUOMO -- same consideration, as two people have covered it -- where we need to remember the pain because otherwise we forget the fix; we forget the issues that go into these. Do you see any suggestion there of value?

KLUGER: Well, that's -- it's a very good question. And I address that in the story. Are we galvanizing ourselves to rise up against these things? But here's my thought. If we're not galvanized by Virginia Tech, if we're not galvanized by Columbine, by Gabby Giffords, by Aurora, we're not going to be able to be galvanized.

You might be beyond being motivated if these things haven't moved you. If the scenes of the terrified children being led from Sandy Hook weren't enough to shake the sleep from your eyes a year ago, I'm not so sure hearing these acutely personal, acutely primal emotions from people who did not imagine they would one day be listened to is the one thing that's finally going to wake you up.

CUOMO: I wonder does the issue become how you use them? I say that for two reasons. One, you mention the Zapruder (ph) clip, which is -- of John F. Kennedy getting shot. They believe it's the best capture of the moment, best meaning most instructive.

Interestingly, you use it as an example of something not to watch. I would argue it makes the opposite point. The 911 calls, do they add value to a situation we already understand? Arguably, no. That film I would argue, yes, because it is the best representation of something that maintains mystery. But that's more of an academic conversation.

KLUGER: Right.

CUOMO: I think that there is something to be said here about how you use these tapes, because of exactly what you said. I have found the same three elements are introduced in almost all of these massacres. And unfortunately, we've had the opportunity to cover all of them since Columbine.

KLUGER: That's right.

CUOMO: Access to a gun, well tread ground. The polls move up and down on that. The country has to find its own balance, they're states, mostly. Mental health and its management or mismanagement -- huge, affecting families in ways that we still don't want to admit that we still stigmatize, but almost always involved in these situations.


CUOMO: Yet does not get approached with any real thought of change. And then the cultural messages.

KLUGER: Mm-hmm.

CUOMO: Glorification of violence that this is a way to exit this world and people will remember you.


CUOMO: How do we take those on if we don't harness the strength of the pain of the situations that we are forced to endure?

KLUGER: Well again, I think we do see the pain. I think we do -- we do appreciate the pain. I found more poignant than hearing these tapes, seeing the 26 paper -- handmade paper angels last year, that scene, that still photograph brings tears to my eyes.

Human beings are moved by certain very evocative images, very evocative experiences. And there are ways to be touched and to be moved by that. And I'm simply not so sure that the wiristic look into the real world terror of a person on a 911 call who may have had 30 seconds to live is necessarily the best way to come look at it.

CUOMO: Last point to touch on something, the media, why we're having this discussion. I like that we're having this discussion.

KLUGER: I do, too.

CUOMO: I think the media should have this discussion a lot more often about sensitivities involved and the worth and the tone that it takes and the tone that it allows. But it doesn't, and that makes me suspicious. Why are we having this conversation? Why are the messages from the networks so carefully parsed? Do you believe this is sensitivity or fear of reaction of the audience?

KLUGER: Well, I think it's both. I think people really do agonize over this. We -- as soon as the tapes were released, we had a robust exchange of conversations and e-mails at What's the right thing to do? These really are -- at CNN, at NBC, at -- these really are people of goodwill, many of whom are parents of small children who really are agonizing over what is the right thing to do.

CUOMO: If the numbers pop with the places that put them out today, if the numbers pop, what do you think happens tomorrow?

KLUGER: If the numbers pop, I think it's not necessarily the more cynical quarters but the more pragmatic quarters of all --

(CROSSTALK) KLUGER: The people say -- well, the people have spoken and we're justified in having done this. Whether we're morally justified is an entirely different question.

CUOMO: And that really probably is the most central question for the media, isn't it?

KLUGER: Yes, and unfortunately, it's one of those vague and undefinable questions.

CUOMO: Do you just go by what they want to watch, what you want to watch? The answer is, 'Well, that's ratings, but is it responsibility?'

KLUGER: Right. Exactly.

CUOMO: The piece is great. Thank you for the perspective.

KLUGER: Thank you for having me.

CUOMO: Kate, over to you.

BOLDUAN: Chris, thank you.

Coming up next on "NEW DAY", the moment of truth. Will the quarterback of the number one team in college football face a judge and jury for sexual assault? And what will it mean for the championship game this weekend?

Plus, are we looking at the end for troubled Toronto Mayor Rob Ford? The shocking new allegation allegedly involving gang members and blackmail.


PEREIRA: Welcome back to NEW DAY. It's 25 minutes after the hour. Here are the stories making news.

Millions of people are digging out this morning after heavy snow falls in the Rockies and in the upper Midwest. In some spots temperatures are dipping down to 40 below. Six deaths already blamed on this bitter, bitter cold. Heavy snow is also forecast from the plains to the Ohio Valley. Meanwhile, Texas, Arkansas and Oklahoma are bracing for a major ice storm.

Now to that deadly train derailment in New York. Transportation officials say the Metro North train was equipped with a warning device that could have alerted a dozing engineer, but it was at the other end of the train. In the meantime today, funerals will begin for the four victims of the wreck. We have learned that two passengers who survived have filed a notice of claim against the railroad, the first step in a negligence lawsuit.

A lockdown at Wingate University in North Carolina has been lifted after a shooting near the school killed two people and injured another. An investigation is underway. No students or faculty are believed to be involved in this incident. The identities of the victims have not yet been released.

Hackers have stolen roughly 2 million e-mail and social media passwords and user names. A new report from a cybersecurity firm says an untold number of computers were hit with malware affecting accounts with Google, Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo! among others. Steps have already been taken to inform many of the users whose accounts were compromised.

Florida police have released surveillance video of the moment a Miami Heat player was robbed at gun point. According to our affiliate WSVN (ph), Roger Mason Jr. was with his sister at a restaurant when four gunmen stormed in. They allegedly stole a diamond Rolex watch from the basketball player. Two of the suspects have been arrested. The other two are still on the loose.

An undercover DEA agent is being hailed a hero this morning. He saved a family from a burning truck. Harold Hurley (ph) was driving along Interstate 40 in Memphis when he noticed flames coming from a truck's exhaust. He turned on his emergency lights, got the truck to pull over with seconds to spar. Inside that vehicle a mom and her four young children. The kids were all in car seats. Hurley helped them all get out before the truck was engulfed in flames. Quick thinking, quick action, and lives were saved.

BOLDUAN: Look at those flames. My goodness.

PERERIA: Terrifying. Well done.

BOLDUAN: Thanks, Michaela.

PEREIRA: You're welcome.

BOLDUAN: Florida State is the number one college football team in the nation, but their star quarterback and Heisman Trophy favorite Jameis Winston may be facing sexual assault charges today. The alleged victim says she was raped, but the freshman quarterback says their encounter was consensual. Early Start anchor John Berman has more on this story.

Good morning, John.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Morning. So the state attorney on this case has announced he's holding a 2:00 p.m. news conference today to announce his findings. Now, a lot of legal voices will tell you if there was going to be an arrest, it's the arrest that would have been announced instead of a planned news conference. We will see. There's a great deal that hangs in the balance here, not just football for but the future for a young man and a young woman.


BERMAN (voice-over): A controversial criminal investigation that has rocked college football. Florida State attorney Willie Megs says he will announce today whether Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston will face charges for the alleged rape of a fellow student. Right now, Winston is the overwhelming favorite to win the Heisman Trophy. Just yesterday, the freshman was named ACC player of the year, the first underclassman in conference history to earn the title.

JAMEIS WINSTON, FLORIDA STATE UNIVERSITY QUARTERBACK: I'm just focusing on the ACC championship this week. We have to prepare for this week. And that time will come.

BERMAN: The Seminoles are headed to the ACC championship game against Duke.

WINSTON: We accomplished our regular season goal of being undefeated, becoming state champions. Now it's time to become conference champions and then, lord willing, we become the big man on top.

BERMAN: But if Winston is charged, he could spend game day behind bars. Florida State University has been reluctant to address the accusations with officials saying they cannot comment on an open investigation.

UNIDENIFIED MALE: He's already answered that question on numerous occasions.

BERMAN: The alleged assault was first reported last year. The accuser claims Winston raped her at an off off-campus apartment last December. Winston's attorney Tim Jansen says his client's DNA was found on the woman's clothing, but he insists the sex was consensual and Winston is innocent. Jansen told the Tallahassee Democrat that the quarterback will hold his own press conference after the state makes its announcement.

TIM JANSEN, JAMEIS WINSTON'S ATTORNEY: He would like to put closure to this so he can move forward for the ACC and a potential national championship. So that is our goal if Mr. Megs chooses not to charge.


BOLDUAN: All right, lots to talk about here. John is here and let's bring in our legal analyst, Joey Jackson, HLM legal analyst to talk more about this as well.

So there's two parts to this, and I think let's focus first on probably we could argue the most important part, exactly what happened in this case.