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Movie Mogul Targets NRA; China Mobile Starts Selling iPhones; Duck Dynasty Nose-dive; Target Wasn't The Only Target

Aired January 17, 2014 - 06:30   ET


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Among the changes he's expected to reveal: new limits on phone record collection by ending the metadata program as it currently exists; the appointment of a public advocate to argue before a federal surveillance court that oversees the NSA, and scaling back surveillance of foreign leaders.

New developments this morning in the fight for Syria. Secretary of State John Kerry says the Obama administration's goal has not changed. It still wants to set up a transitional government that does include President Bashar al-Assad. But the secretary reassured both sides, the opposition and the regime that they will have a say in the country's future. The opposition is nearing on a decision on whether we'll even attend next week's peace offering in Geneva.

Now to Georgia where routine Army training flight ended with a deadly, hard landing. One member of an elite helicopter unit was killed. Two remaining crew members were injured. They were members of the Night Stalkers. That's the same group that flew Navy SEALs into Pakistan during the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. The Army is investigating what went wrong there.

So that diet soda that you think is helping you lose weight turns out it probably isn't. A new study confirms that overweight people who drink diet beverages end up eating more calories than those who stick with the sugary drinks.


BERMAN: The researchers believe artificial sweeteners could be blamed, activating the reward centers of the brain and making diet drinkers seek even more food. Why bother? Why bother with any of it?

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Jeez, that's tough.

BERMAN: Tough news.

CUOMO: So you don't get the taste and wind up eating more calories.

BERMAN: The lose-lose we like to say.

CUOMO: You wanted to depress me?

BERMAN: I'm sorry, man.

CUOMO: That's right. I'm over it.

Big shot movie producer Harvey Weinstein has gun rights advocates in his sights. The Hollywood mogul says he's working on a movie that will take down the NRA. Weinstein made the stunning announcement in a radio interview with Howard Stern. And developing this morning, he says one of the most respected actors in Hollywood, already on board.

What's going on here? Let's bring in CNN's Pamela Brown with details -- Pamela.

PAMELA BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you guys.

Harvey Weinstein is a known movie mogul turned activist. This week, he promoted his latest movie, "August Osage County", and a radio interview with Howard Stern. But he quickly turned the bull's eye on his new movie in the works aimed at the NRA.


BROWN (voice-over): Harvey Weinstein is one of Hollywood's powerhouse filmmakers, known for producing "Pulp Fiction", "Django Unchained", and "Rambo".

SILVESTER STALLONE, ACTOR: Live for nothing or die for something.

BROWN: Now, he's taking direct aim at America's post powerful lobby, the NRA.

HARVEY WEINSTEIN, MOVIE PRODUCER: They're going to wish they weren't alive after I'm done with them.

BROWN: Weinstein has long been a supporter for stricter gun control, expressing his hatred for firearms in an interview with Howard Stern.

HOWARD STERN: Do you own a gun?


STERN: You don't have any gun?

WEINSTEIN: I never want to have gun. I don't think we need guns in this country. And I hate it and I think the NRA is a disaster area.

BROWN: Weinstein told Stern he's taking his fight all the way to the big screen. And he's bringing in the big guns.

WEINSTEIN: I'm going to actually make a movie -- I shouldn't say this, but I'll tell it to you, Howard. I'm going to make with movie with Meryl Streep and we're going to take this head on.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's made all his money off these violent films and now he's blaming guns for the violence and he's blaming the NRA for the violence. And now, he's going to make another multimillion dollar film with Meryl Streep.

BROWN: According to "Politico", the yet-to-be-named film will reportedly be based in Washington. The plot revolving around the powerful influence the NRA wielded to defeat a gun control bill in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting.

STERN: A documentary type thing?

WEINSTEIN: No, a big movie.

STERN: A big movie?

WEINSTEIN: Like a "Mr. Smith goes to Washington."

STERN: That will move people to perhaps rethink the whole gun situation?

WEINSTEI N: Those gun stocks, whew, I don't want to be involved in that stuff. It's going to be like crash and burn.

STERN: Really? You really envision this?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The problem is he's got 5 million law abiding good Americans who are doing nothing but defending themselves and their families who he thinks he's going to persuade to suddenly hate their own group.


BROWN: And the NRA told CNN it has no official comment at this time in response to his interview and we also reached out to Meryl Streep's reps, but no word back yet on whether or not she's signed on for this new project.

So, we'll be keeping an eye for it, for sure.

BOLDUAN: Definitely has people talking about it.

BROWN: That's right. Here we are.

BOLDUAN: Exactly.

CUOMO: Do you think it helps? Do you think it galvanizes?

BERMAN: I think it galvanizes. I think any time that the NRA is brought up in discussion, the NRA rallies around itself and gets ready for a fight like this. You know, I mean, Harvey, why do you need to talk like that at all in an interview? No matter what your cause is, why do you need to talk like that?

CUOMO: J.B.'s perfectly right for two reasons. One, as Pamela and I were discussing before we got into this, a little bit of hypocrisy here. A guy's made a lot of movies where violence is the main catch. All of a sudden he's saying he hates guns and he's against it as a culture.

BERMAN: He's been promoting that culture. BROWN: Right, and how much has he profited off of those movies. So, that's what the critics are saying.

CUOMO: And also the idea that further division is the answer when it comes to guns is unintelligent, you know? If it has been a movie that try to find some way everybody can get on the same page, then I think he might have more success. But who knows? We'll have to see who gets to sign on.

BROWN: Yes, we will see. It'd be interesting to see how this all plays out.


BOLDUAN: Thanks, Pamela.

CUOMO: Thanks for teeing it up there.

BROWN: Yes, no problem.

BOLDUAN: Coming up next on NEW DAY, the brick and mortar blues. Retailers rocked by sagging holiday sales with more people than ever shopping online. Could your favorite store be in trouble? Can they survive?

CUOMO: And were feathers permanently ruffled? "Duck Dynasty" is back. But do all the viewers come back? That's the question. We have the answer, straight ahead.


BOLDUAN: Welcome back. Let's go around the world now.

Starting in Russia where President Vladimir Putin is visiting Sochi today, three weeks before the opening of the Winter Games. CNN's Phil Black has the latest on the ongoing security concerns there.


PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Vladimir Putin is in Sochi today to meet with Olympic volunteers. As the answer of citizens that will wear brightly colored uniforms across the city, helping visitors spreading the Olympics spirit. Putin's goal is to maintain a positive message about the games which are now just three weeks away.

But Russia's final preparations continue to be shadowed with serious issues, concerns about security and the threat of terrorism, and ongoing international criticism the government here is deliberately encouraging intolerance against Russia's gay community.

Back to you, Kate.


BOLDUAN: And in France, shocking new claims about the French president whose alleged affair with an actress may have gone on much longer than originally claimed.

Here's Erin McLaughlin with the latest on that.


ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: New details about French President Francois Hollande's alleged affair with actress Julie Gayet. According to the tabloid "Closer", the alleged affair is actually two years old. That they used to go away for weekends together to the south of France.

Since the allegations emerged, a week ago, neither has confirmed nor denied the affair, but Gayet is not happy. She's suing the tabloid "Closer" for invasion of privacy.

As for the French first lady, Valerie Trierweiler, well, she's still in the hospital suffering from exhaustion. She's told a French radio station that he has yet to visit her because they've barred him from doing so.

Back to you, Kate.


BOLDUAN: Erin, thank you.

And to China now where after six years of negotiations, Apple's iPhone is finally available for sale this morning.

David McKenzie is in Beijing with more.


DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Apple's done a major new deal in China with China Mobile. It gives them access to a possible pool of 700 million customers for their iPhone. It's so important that Tim Cook, the CEO, was in town to plug the deal. They hope that this deal could give them a competitive edge.

Kate, back to you.


BOLDUAN: David, thank you.

CUOMO: All right. Let's talk a little business shall we? Poor earnings reports, a rash of store closings this week. What's that going to do? It's going to raise serious questions about the future of brick and mortar retailers, actual stores as opposed to online.

Here's a take a look at numbers here. 2013 holiday shopping season, sales were up 3.8 percent. We have to dig down as Christine Romans tells us we must. These are the non-store figures, mostly online driving this, 9.3 percent.

So let's bring it back to Christine Romans. Shall we? We have her in here. Because we see overall traffic down 14 percent.

What are we seeing here? Sales are up, but it's where they're up, right?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: We're seeing a smart shopper, someone who looks online for great prices, maybe goes to the store first to see if they like something and buys it online. And that's a real interesting new scenario for retailers. You know, Best Buy's stock yesterday slammed down 28 percent, after it said holiday sales were weaker than expected. And the CEO there made it very clear, the Internet is cutting into foot traffic at retail stores.


ROMANS (voice-over): After a rocky holiday shopping season filled with heavily promoted deep discounts, some retailers now are being forced to close their doors. In the past week, discounter Loehmann's started liquidating. J.C. Penney and Macy's announced store closures and thousands of layoffs.

And although their doors remain open, Best Buy says their holiday sales slumped. So much so its stock plunged 28 percent Thursday. Once staple at the strip mall, Filene's Basement and Circuit City are all shut down.

So what happened to America's shopping habit? The internet. Shoppers are just getting smarter. They're show-rooming. Going to the store to see the item at brick and mortar stores and then looking for the lowest price online. And when shoppers do hit the mall, they're prepared.

UNIDENTIFEID MALE: I got all kind of coupons, $15 off this, you know, $50 off this and that.

ROMANS: That's squeezing profit margins. Traditional retailers extended holiday hours, but it's hard to compete with 24/7.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Toys "R" Us announced this week that its stores will remain open for 87 straight hours leading up to Christmas.

Not to be outdone, the Internet will be open all the time always forever.

ROMANS: The results, online sales are rising, sales at physical stores falling.

Retail analyst Burt Flickinger says the holidays weren't a total bust.

BURT FLICKINGER, RETAIL ANALYST: It's a tale of two different sides of retail. For luxury and off price, it was terrific. For Nordstrom's and Bloomingdale's and the other upscale department stores, Tiffany and specialty did extremely well.

(END VIDEOTAPE) ROMANS: Now, foot traffic for retailers over the holidays is half what it was just three years ago. That's according to ShopperTrak which monitors mall visits across the country.

And, you know, guys, some experts think many of those shoppers will never come back. You know, shoppers want a lot. They want to be able to get what they want, not pay for the shipping, be able to return it. All of these are expensive changes. Retailers like Target and others, they do online and they do brick and mortar, but you have big competition from Amazon over stock and consumers are savvy and they want -- what they want cheap and they don't want to pay for shipping.

BOLDUAN: And they are making their opinions known. Everyone's calling it an Amazon Christmas.

ROMANS: That's right.

BOLDUAN: Thanks, Christine.

ROMANS: You're welcome.

BOLDUAN: Let's get to the weather.

And, Indra, please tell me, are you joking about a blizzard?

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: No, ground blizzard since we talked about this --

CUOMO: What?

PETERSONS: We talked about this -- some of us are a little slow on it. We're not going to name names here.

So obviously, we have some video for us today. We can actually show you what it looks like out there. So let's take a look at the video right now. If we have it. Do we have it? There we go.

CUOMO: I like the song. A flip song.

PETERSONS: All right. You only have like less than an inch of snow in Fargo, yes. Look at this, there is so much wind out there. Almost 70 mile per hour winds that you can't see. So that's why it's a blizzard because the visibility is still less than a quarter of a mile.

So visual is always better explainer. That's what it looked like. Also show you another video, because we take you down towards Nebraska.

And notice, same winds just as strong. So, there's no snow on the ground but rather some dirt, so you have a dust storm. Another way to look at it, may get a lot easier for you guys. We're going to show you. Again, here come the winds. So, if there's snow on the ground, you can actually see where the snow is. You're going to get a ground blizzard. If you go down to where there's dirt, you get a dust storm.

See, I like this. I love when I have visuals to explain to you, guys. That's a little -- right here. All right. (INAUDIBLE) making its way east. That today is going to bring some snow towards the Ohio Valley and again even towards the northeast. Now keep in mind, these systems, there are several of them out there, in fact, three, one, two, three if you want to count them.

They're all going to keep moving as we go throughout the weekend, so we're going to continue to be looking for some light showers, kind of a wintry mix between rain and snow as they kick on through. So, in the Midwest, Ohio valley northeast, showers all weekend long.


BOLDUAN: -- dealing with these winds. Thanks, Indra.

PETERSONS: Sure thing.

CUOMO: So much clearer now. The visual made it much easier.

BOLDUAN: Exactly.

CUOMO: We're going to take a break here on NEW DAY. When we come back, the reality show, "Duck Dynasty" is back. The viewers, are they sending a message after the recent controversy surrounding patriarch, Phil Robertson? How will we judge? The ratings. They're in. we have them. We'll discuss.

BOLDUAN: Also ahead, a parking lot pileup. Why the driver of this BMW says he lost control causing the crash?





CUOMO: An abrupt change from ZZ top to "Duck Dynasty" (INAUDIBLE) because the show is back, but it turns out millions of the show's viewers are not. The season five premiere of A&E's hit reality show suffered severe ratings decline Wednesday night. Viewership sank by nearly 30 percent compared to the season four premier.

Raises a question. What is it? Is the situation with Phil Robertson's controversial comments about gay men and African- Americans, is that the cause? Did it do some lasting damage? Nischelle Turner has the latest for us from Los Angeles. What is the word, Nischelle?


NISCHELLE TURNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The word is the bird, Chris. I just thought --

CUOMO: Didn't work (ph).

TURNER: That didn't work.


TURNER: That didn't work. So, what the word is, is that millions of viewers did not come back. Now, the reason, we're not sure. But let me show you the viewership last season as compared to the premier this season. We'll put a little graphic up there. Last season, season four, they premiered with 12 million people.

I think it was actually like 12.1 million people. It made "Duck Dynasty" the number one rated non-fiction series telecast in cable history. This season, the premier was 8.5 million, almost four million viewers stayed away. It was down 28 percent from the season four premier. Now, the question is, did Phil Robertson's comments have anything to do with this?

That, we just don't know. I will tell you this, because a couple times we've seen this in the past with cable shows. I remember a couple years ago we did a story about the show, "The Game" on BET. They'd premiered with like seven million viewers. The next season, their premier was like three million viewers. Sometimes, viewers just come and another season, they may not come back.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: It felt to me like there was much less promotion around this premier than there was for season four. Season four, you know, I saw ads everywhere. Everyone was talking about it. It felt like this time was much quieter as if A&E didn't want to draw attention to it. Was I imagining that?

TURNER: You know, that's a good point. That's a good point. The promotion may have had something to do with it. I did see promotion for it and I think I started just paying more attention to A&E itself after these comments. So, you did still see promotion on the network, but as far as, you know, industry wide, you may be right. There may have been less promotion going into this season.

BOLDUAN: And Nischelle, I know industry experts were expecting it to be at least on par with the season four premier, but was there -- it's kind of at least on par with last winter's premier, right?


TURNER: We should say this, though, 12 million people watching a cable television show is phenomenal.


TURNER: Those are enormous numbers. 8.5 million people, still enormous numbers. I mean, those are really good numbers on cable television. Some cable shows celebrate when they get a million viewers or if they get two million viewers. That's like, let's shut down and have a party. So, 8.5 million viewers is still pretty darn good.

I mean, we're kind of, you know, splitting hairs here because those are still great numbers. And 12 million at the time, I remember when we did this, it was a big deal because those numbers are almost unheard of.

CUOMO: Right. The attrition is not unusual. Well said, Nischelle Turner. Thank you for tying it all together for us. Appreciate it.

TURNER: I tried. The word's not the bird.


BERMAN: It is time now for our "Must-See Moment." Take a look at this.


BERMAN (voice-over): This is stunning, folks. That was an attempt at parking, I suppose in Stuart, Florida. A 27-year-old Jonathan Libratori (ph) claims he was using his automated park assistant in his 2013 BMW. That's when the car parks itself. He said the vehicle suddenly accelerated, crashed into another car, and landed on top of it.

Now, BMW insists the park assistant does not control the vehicle speed. Police are investigating whether Libratori hit the accelerator by mistake.


BERMAN (on-camera): I don't think anyone programs a computer to park like that.

BOLDUAN: No. That is wild, though.

BERMAN: Crazy.

CUOMO: Safe assumption, good moment. Thank you, J.B.

Coming up on NEW DAY, Target, got to hear this, not the only retailer hacked by hackers, obviously. Federal investigators are now warning the Black Friday security breach was a lot bigger and more sophisticated than anyone suspected. There's also a very good chance your personal information was compromised because of how vast it's been. We'll tell you.

BOLDUAN: Also ahead, a Texas man slapped with handcuffs for warning drivers about a speed trap that was ahead. He says it's free speech. The police do not agree. So, how much trouble is this guy facing?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Consumers need to be aware right now.

CUOMO: New warning. The U.S. government says hackers behind a Target attack are poised to hit again. Other retailers may have already been hit. The methods are so advanced the stores may not even know it. We have everything you need to know.

BOLDUAN: Here come the subpoenas. The Chris Christie bridge drama heats up. Nearly 20 people called for the investigations. The governor is not one of them, but who are they and what do they know?

CUOMO: Speed trap flap. Caught on video, this man just trying to warn of a speed trap straight ahead, and then, he's arrested himself. Was he breaking the law or just helping out fellow drivers?

Your NEW DAY starts right now.

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


CUOMO: Welcome back to NEW DAY. It Is Friday, January 17th, seven o'clock now in the east.

New this morning, disturbing details about that Target hack attack. We're learning target wasn't the only retailer hit. There are clues about who's behind it and their level of sophistication which we now know is off the chart. Let's bring in chief business correspondent, Christine Romans. Boy, we call it the Target attack, but now, we're going to have to call it something else.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it's bigger than that. A lot of what investigators know about the hack attack since being kept under wraps. Cyber forensic expert still sifting through all the clues, but what we do know is homeland security is worried this is not isolated.


ROMANS (voice-over): An international and nearly undetectable malware may have corrupted point of sale systems of multiple retailers. A bulletin distributed to retailers by the Department of Homeland Security suggests that shocking holiday breach affecting Target stores across the country has potentially affected a large number of retail operations, a cyberattack that has already compromised the credit card data of 40 million target customers and the information of up to 70 million more.

ROBERT SICILIANO, MCAFEE ONLINE SECURITY EXPERT: Now with this new information that many other retailers could potentially been breached, that number could potentially double in the next couple of weeks.

ROMANS: According to a cybersecurity firm called iSight who is contributed to the investigation, many retail organizations may not know that they've been infected. The software contains a new kind of attack method that is able to covertly subvert network controls and common forensic tactics concealing all data tranfers.

SICILIANO: It's an unknown exploit. One that they haven't seen before.

ROMANS: ISight called the malicious computer code "Kartoxa," a Russian word because parts of the code were written in Russian.