Return to Transcripts main page
ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Passenger Jets Nearly Collide Mid-Air; Exclusive: New Details On MH370 Satellite Data; Is Gluten-Free Food A Joke?; California Wildfire Doubles in Size
Aired May 16, 2014 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Breaking news, a near collision between two 757s full of passengers. New details on what could have been one of the worst aviation disasters in history. A passenger on one of the planes is OUTFRONT to talk about the nightmare.
Plus, the search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. New exclusive information to OUTFRONT about the satellite data at the center of the search.
And the police commissioner calls President Obama the n-word in a private conversation. The woman who exposed him and leading the calls for him to resign is with us. Let's go OUTFRONT.
Breaking news tonight, new details on what could have been one of the worst aviation disasters in history. Federal investigators tonight are looking into what caused two 757s full of passengers to nearly collide over Hawaii on April 25th. Both planes were at their assigned altitudes, meaning this near collision could have cost hundreds of lives.
And tonight we are learning what caused the near miss. Rene Marsh just broke the news. Rene, I mean, this is an incredible story. We're going to be joined by someone on the plane, who actually is the only reason we seem to know this happen about this sudden dive and this near collision. What happened?
RENE MARSH, CNN AVIATION AND REGULATION CORRESPONDENT: What we now know based on information from the NTSB as you just stated there, these two planes, they were assigned to these altitudes. So they didn't move this on their own. They were told by air traffic control to essentially climb to the altitudes that they were at. Sources are telling me that this is an indication that this was a mess up by air traffic controllers, essentially telling the planes where to go and they did, and essentially, they were on this course here where they could have potentially collided mid-air.
And of course, that would have been a very bad situation. We're talking about two planes traveling perhaps at around roughly 500 miles per hour. We do know that they were about eight miles apart. So at that rate, they could have been on top of each other within seconds, Erin. Just to reset what happened here, we know that it was United Airlines Flight 1205. It was going from Hawaii and going to California. It was 33,000 feet mid-air over the Pacific when there was that alert, the collision alert system went off inside of the pilot's cockpit warning that something was wrong. At that moment, within 60 seconds, that plane dropped some 600 feet. And boy, the people on board, they felt it. They got the scare of their lives. And now we know, Erin, that it was because air traffic control assigned them to those altitudes.
BURNETT: Assigned them to the same altitude. Incredible. Rene Marsh, thank you very much. I want to bring in Kevin Townsend now. He was on that flight. He wrote about that experience in an essay called, "Two weeks ago I almost died in the deadliest plane crash ever."
He joins me now on the phone. Kevin, look, your essay is impossible to not to read. If it weren't for you, they wouldn't have looked into this and found out what happened. You're cruising along at 30,000 feet. You're about to eat. You're watching your movie and what happened?
KEVIN TOWNSEND, PASSENGER ON FLIGHT 1205 (via telephone): Well, out of nowhere, the plane just took this sudden dive. We dropped about 600 feet and it was incredibly violent. It was very scary. It was over incredibly quickly and there is really no indication of this. It was a cloudless sky. None of us expected. It was shocking.
BURNETT: I mean, were -- were things flying around? How dramatic? I can only imagine how terrifying that would be, but how dramatic was it? I mean, I know you said you could hear things breaking?
TOWNSEND: Well, it was shortly after we had finished our ascent to cruising altitude. So we were only at cruising altitude a little bit. The fasten seatbelt sign was off, but I don't recall any passengers being in the -- people started screaming. There were unsecured things that started falling. But thankfully, no one was bounced around.
BURNETT: Thank God there was no one out of their seat belt. Did they then explain? Because I know you said you wanted to find out what happened. And your description of what happened in the cockpit, you know, involved them looking out and seeing another plane and a lot of profanity.
TOWNSEND: I wouldn't say a lot of profanity. I think the pilot reacted as anyone would if you see an aircraft coming at you hundreds of miles an hour. I think they reacted exactly how they were supposed to. They responded and I'm thankful for that.
BURNETT: We just learned that this was caused by air traffic control, that they had both of these planes at the same altitude. How does that make you feel?
TOWNSEND: Wary. I initially looked into this and spoke to the flight crew after we landed, because I know that flights flying a certain direction east or west are assigned altitudes with about a thousand feet of buffer.
TOWNSEND: So I was curious if we were incorrect or the other flight was incorrect. From talking to them, it seemed like my flight, the United 1205 Flight was at a generally correct altitude. But of course, it's up to air traffic controllers to assign direction.
BURNETT: Right. Well, Kevin, thank you very much. And of course now, we can report, as you heard Rene Marsh with the breaking news. Both of these planes were flying at the altitude they were assigned, which would have, of course, have ended in a head-on collision.
Miles O'Brien and Arthur Rosenberg join me now. Miles, you just heard Rene with this breaking news. You can imagine, you just heard Kevin talking what it was like to be on the flight. It is frankly a miracle that nobody was up and walking around because the person could have been killed.
This was an air traffic control decision. You got two planes going at 600 miles an hour, full at the same altitude because they were where they were supposed to be. How could that happen?
MILES O'BRIEN, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: Well, there is a convention in air traffic control westerly flights fly at even altitudes. Easterly flights fly at odd altitudes. That's generally what keeps everything separated. Controllers do have the discretion to put an aircraft on the opposite direction for various reason, traffic or there is turbulence, any number of things.
Obviously, when that happens, you want to confirm that this is what you should be doing and air traffic control needs to be very careful and wary of the fact that they have done just that. Now, if two planes are headed on a collision course like that, all kinds of alarms should be ringing inside that air traffic control facility, unless this, at this particular point in the flight they were not under positive radar control. I don't know exactly the story on that.
O'BRIEN: The point is it is ultimately up to the air traffic controller. They can at their discretion assign planes in opposite directions at the same flight. But it's their responsibility to watch out for that. And let's remember, that T-CAST, the Terminal Collision Avoidance System saved the day here. This is a reminder of the layers of safety saved a lot of lives.
BURNETT: Arthur, but you just heard the words Kevin used. Described it as violent. Just think about he also writes in his essay that's a moment where you just realize we're all essentially apes flying in this little metal tube. And we just take it for granted and the incredible fear people must have felt. Now people go -- and this was purposeful. Not with mal intent --
ARTHUR ROSENBERG, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: Sure.
BURNETT: But they were doing what they were told do. ROSENBERG: Well, look at it like this. Two airplanes coming at each other at 600 miles per hour, that's a closure rate of 1200 miles an hour, or about 2,000 feet a second. When those pilots saw it and the traffic control avoidance system alert went off, it's screaming in the cockpit to one pilot to dive and to the other pilot to climb.
So you have basically this and that is an incredibly violent maneuver that opposes a lot of Gs. People are flying all over the cabin if they're not seat belted in, which is why you should always wear a seat belt, unless you have to go to the bathroom or do something else on an airplane. But the T-CAST system worked. Air traffic control, if they were --
BURNETT: Do pilots generally do what it says? I know there have been some instances where the system tells you to do one thing and the pilots override it. They might do another and it's often the right thing to do. They did what they were told they had a second to make a decision.
ROSENBERG: In an emergency, all bets are off. A pilot can do whatever he believes he has to do for the safe operation of the airplane. But mistakes are made by air traffic controllers, perhaps as Miles said they weren't in a radar environment, which might explain this. But the system worked. An accident did not happen, even though it was a very scary and violent situation.
BURNETT: All right, thanks to both of you. And OUTFRONT next, we have breaking news on Flight 370 tonight. Only OUTFRONT, we have exclusive new details on the satellite data, the data, what it was that determined the search area.
Plus, the myths associated with going gluten-free. You may think it makes you healthier or skinnier. But think about it this way. It's a multibillion industry, and it might just be cashing in on your insecurities.
And the heroic cat who clobbered the dog and saved a boy has moved on to the next big thing.
BURNETT: Breaking news, exclusive new developments in the hunt for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. The Inmarsat data, tonight we are learning exactly what raw data Inmarsat says it gave the Malaysian government. This data is the holy grail of the search for Flight 370 because Inmarsat's data is the reason the entire world is looking for the plane in the Southern Indian Ocean.
Sources close to Inmarsat are giving OUTFRONT new details on the raw data telling OUTFRONT exclusively, the raw data is just 14 numbers. This information has been included in the briefing given to the investigative team. Also note the Inmarsat analysis on the raw data has also been given in briefs to the investigative team in an electronic format.
All right, so the interpretation is that not only they didn't just show the Malaysians what they did, they have given them their analysis in an electronic format. Here is the thing that may have you stunned, just 14 numbers. That's incredible. Many were expecting reams of numbers and calculations.
Joining me now Richard Quest, Arthur Rosenberg and Miles O'Brien. Great to have all of you with us. Let's begin with you, Richard. You've been talking to your sources. You have more details what exactly the 14 numbers are. Drum roll, please.
RICHARD QUEST, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: Right. The 14 numbers, they are the time that it takes for the aircraft to make its signal up to the satellite and to the ground station and the time for it to get back again. There are seven in all, which is where you get the 14 numbers. There are no reams of raw data. Let me say that again. There are no vast tomes.
There are no volumes there are two sets of log, those relating to MH370 and those used to make the comparisons. Those logs are -- what is the raw data by which everybody has then gone on to do their analysis. My understanding quite clear is that that data has been provided to the Malaysians.
BURNETT: Yes. And they are saying that in electronic format, everything, Miles O'Brien, but here is the thing, 14 data points?
O'BRIEN: You know, I'm sorry, this whole thing is starting to sound a little childish to me, frankly. But let me just tell you. I'm going try to translate what I have gotten from some mathematicians who gave me a lot of complicated stuff on what they're wanting. But basically, what they want are information on the algorithms which underlie all of this. The offsets, the margin of error on some of the distances travelled on the ground.
It's incredibly complex stuff, which goes to how they got to those numbers. And here is a key one. This one, I think we can all understand, how does Inmarsat know that the failures on board that aircraft do not in some way change the data? In other words, if all those communication systems were failing, how do they know that doesn't affect the way that that information was being returned and the Doppler Effect was figured and the direction was ciphered out? It's the narrative behind the 14 numbers.
BURNETT: Go ahead, Richard.
QUEST: Because that's why they did the specimens of the other 777s both on the northern corridor and on the southern corridor. And that's why they're able to conclude that it was the southern corridor because the correlation between others and MH370 was connected.
BURNETT: But Arthur, mediate.
ROSENBERG: Richard, hold on a sec. That's the whole point. First of all, Inmarsat is a multinational billion corporation whose corporate credibility and trustworthiness is on the line. They said we did not have the data. The Malaysians have it. The Malaysians said Inmarsat has it. Hold on a second. BURNETT: Hold on, Richard, one second.
ROSENBERG: Right now there is no reason, there is no pre-calculation, ICAO Annex 13 or otherwise why they should not release the data. And the analysis that Miles is talking about, the BFOs, which I call the Doppler shifts, the Doppler fingerprint, they must release it, and there is no good reason why they shouldn't.
ROSENBERG: And if Inmarsat is worried about their business, their shareholders on a worldwide basis are going to be a lot more upset with the way they have handled this if they don't come forth.
BURNETT: Richard, I want to take this as two parts. Let's start with at least can we all agree that there is more data than 14 data points? There is the analysis. They're saying they submitted that. But everybody -- there was more than 14 data points here.
QUEST: Hang on. The raw data upon which everything else cascades, and I agree with both miles and Arthur that the cascading effect coming from that is clearly much greater.
QUEST: But this idea that there is somehow a vast treasure trove of information being withheld, my understanding is simply it's not the case. Now, to Arthur's point, they say they don't have the data. Of course, they say they've got the data. What they are saying is they've got the data. Malaysia's got the data. Everybody involved has seen the relevant data. That's what they're saying. As for Arthur's --
BURNETT: What about the point that Arthur is saying that they have the ability, Inmarsat to share with you, with Miles, with Arthur, with scientists around the world, and they're hiding behind this treaty, saying, we can't, only Malaysia can. Arthur says that doesn't add up. The treaty doesn't work that way. They can release the data. You say no.
QUEST: Listen very carefully.
ROSENBERG: I am.
QUEST: Arthur is wrong, right? Section 5.12. Section 5.26 brackets big. Section 6.2. Time and again, in the ICAO Annex 13 treaty makes it clear the responsibility for the release of information rests with the currents or registry. And if Arthur is now suggesting that somehow there can be an implied consent because Malaysia has said that it's OK to do so, that won't wash with Inmarsat.
BURNETT: Very quick response.
ROSENBERG: Richard, first of all, you are just wrong. Here is the bottom line. First of all, ICAO Annex 13 is a framework which Malaysia has played footloose and fancy free throughout this investigation. Now, even if this information were somehow not prohibited from disclosure by Malaysia, which they have said it's OK, get it from Inmarsat. The only two pieces of information that are precluded are the progress of the investigation and the findings of the investigation.
QUEST: Nope, nope.
ROSENBERG: Whatever parenthesis you're reading from my good English friend, I say go back and read a little closer because you are missing the point.
BURNETT: Hold on. I got to give the final word to Miles.
O'BRIEN: I just have to say one thing. All this talk about ICAO Annex 13, subchapter, whatever. It is positively inhumane. Where is the humanity of Inmarsat and the Malaysians? Release the data, the narrative, the analysis, the algorithms, lay the cards out on the table once and for all. This is childish and inhumane.
BURNETT: We can leave there it. Thanks to all three of you. That debate will continue.
OUTFRONT next, gluten-free. It's all the rage, right? New questions on whether it's all a myth. Did you know Starbursts are gluten free?
Breaking news on the wildfires in Southern California. Tonight thousands more homes threatened. One man under arrest tonight for arson. We're going go live.
BURNETT: The big business of gluten-free food, but is it all a big joke? A recent study shows a lot of people who think they're sensitive to gluten aren't. In fact, a lot of people on a gluten-free diet don't even know what they're on. Here is what happened when a gluten-free dieter tried to explain to Jimmy Kimmel what gluten actually is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Its wheat in products such as like bread or pastas, rice.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why do you avoid it?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It makes you fat. I mean, like I said, I haven't researched it to the fullest. I have a girlfriend from Russia. She actually just got me into it. So she is reading a book about it.
JIMMY KIMMEL: OK. The Russians know about gluten and Putin. They know about both of those.
(END VIDEO CLIP) BURNETT: Gluten is actually a composite of proteins found in foods made from wheat and certain other food. But thanks to the Russian and her gluten-free friends. It's $10 billion industry expected to go 50 percent just by 2016.
Joining me now, Dr. Mark Hyman, the medical director and founder of the Ultra Wellness Center. He helped President Clinton find a healthy lifestyle after a 2004 quadruple bypass surgery. We have seen the results of that he is thin and fit, a lean mean machine.
Here is the deal. We went to a supermarket. We went to a whole foods, and all of the sudden everything says gluten-free. And they charge you a little more. And gluten-free, it must be free of something bad. I'm going to buy it. But you know what? Potato chips, Starbursts, soda.
DR. MARK HYMAN, AUTHOR, "THE BLOOD SUGAR SOLUTION": They're all gluten-free.
BURNETT: They can charge you more for the same thing you were buying before. It is a hoax?
HYMAN: Basically, my rule for food is if it has a health claim on the label, it's probably bad for you. If you it says gluten-free, you probably want to stay away unless it has a label. Avocados are gluten-free. Salmon is gluten-free. Gluten-free cake and cookies is still cake and cookies is still cake and cookies.
BURNETT: So my Starburst is not OK. Here is the thing. People are buying into this.
HYMAN: That's right.
BURNETT: The number of people who are buying gluten-free food, 5 percent of households, it doubled in just a couple of years. Basically you're telling people, you're just basically paying more for food than you need to pay for?
HYMAN: Yes, absolutely. Gluten is a real issue.
BURNETT: For some people, a very serious issue.
HYMAN: So it's gone up by 400 percent celiac disease in the last 50 years, a real increase. We've seen an increase in heart attacks and cancers from people who are gluten sensitive, which can affect up to over 20 million Americans, 8 percent. And there is a whole group that might have gluten sensitivity that is not the typical kind. It may not be testable on a lab test. So there are people who are sensitive to it and react to it and should be off of it. But for a lot of us who can tolerate it. It's fine.
BURNETT: Right. For most people, this -- would you know?
HYMAN: You would know because you feel badly. But most people don't know what is going on with them. They have what I call FLC syndrome. They feel like crap and when you feel like crap, it's good to try an elimination of the common foods that trigger that there is an article today in "The New York Times" by Dr. David Littlewig called "Why are you hungry?"
And it's really about the process of refined carbohydrates like bread, rice, cereal and pasta that make you hungry and cause overeating. That's another reason to avoid gluten products because you are going to gain weight from eating the processed foods.
BURNETT: All right, so you helped a lot of people get in shape, President Clinton, and Larry Summers, talk about spelt. He is close -- gluten free. Would you put them on gluten-free?
BURNETT: You put them on gluten-free?
HYMAN: Yes, there are reasons people have allergies or have joint pain or have issues. There are 55 different diseases.
BURNETT: You don't buy into the big picture.
HYMAN: Very individualized, absolutely.
BURNETT: Thank you very much. I appreciate it. So basically, the bottom line is you don't need it, but check it out if you have FLC syndrome.
HYMAN: That's right.
OUTFRONT next, breaking news on the wildfires raging in California. The largest wildfires just doubled in size. We're live.
Plus, a police commissioner under fire after calling President Obama the "n" word. Our next guest is the woman who blew the whistle on him.
BURNETT: Breaking news: crews are battling at this moment to contain wildfires raging across San Diego County, California. The flames have already burned through 20,000 acres, the biggest fire just doubling in size. Thousands of homes and businesses in jeopardy, 176,000 evacuations.
In the town of Carlsbad alone, which is 25 miles outside San Diego, flames have caused more than $20 million in damage already. And there is still no clear cause of the unprecedented wave of fire.
Investigators are treating each blaze like a crime scene, and moments ago the San Diego County district attorney announced the first arson charge in connection with this disaster.
Gary Tuchman is OUTFRONT from San Marcos, where flames have doubled. This is that site. They have doubled in just the past 24 hours. And that fire is only 10 percent contained, a true disaster. And, Gary, what are they doing to get the fires under control? Last night, it was 5 percent contained. Tonight, only 10 percent. They are struggling.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, the firefighters have been working very hard over the last few days, Erin. They were greatly helped today, though. The greatest aid is high humidity and lower temperatures.
We still have gusty winds right now. But it's much cooler than yesterday, about 15 degrees cooler. Right now, it's about 82. Yesterday at this time, it was 97 here in San Marcos. And the humidity level has gone up. So, it's helped them a great deal.
But you see what happened where I'm standing right now. Right now, I'm on top of a hill above San Marcos. Yesterday, at this time, we were on the bottom of the hill looking up. We saw flames right here.
And we said to ourselves, this house is going to be hit by the flames. And now, we're at the house. You see what happened to it.
These are the garage doors right here. And you can see there is so much rubble here. You can't see any personal belongings anymore. The house was just totally decimated.
Fortunately, the most important news is that the people who lived here, the family evacuated like many people know to do, like most people know to do, because this is a fire danger area. They got out. They have come back and seen the devastation, but are grateful they're alive.
But what's interesting about this and what is so sad about this is that this house is destroyed. Every other house on the block is OK. It's often what we see during tornado coverage where one house will be destroyed. The rest of the houses will be fine. That's what happened a lot during fires. This house is gone.
But right now the danger in this particular part of San Marcos seems to be alleviated, because tomorrow the expectation is the temperatures will go down even further. The humidity will continue to climb. And they're hopeful at this point that the worst is over -- Erin.
BURNETT: Gary Tuchman, thank you very much. Reporting live from the center of that fire, as we said, which has doubled in size overnight.
Well, now, a racist remark overheard in a restaurant has some residents of a small town calling for their police commissioner to resign. According to a complaint filed with the town of Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, 82-year-old commissioner Robert Copeland was heard calling President Obama the "N" word.
Now, he was heard doing this during a private conversation in a restaurant. But then word got out, and many of the town's residents are outraged.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a public office. And I just want to simply say there is absolutely no room for this anywhere in public office. Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Copeland was silent during last night's town meeting. But when a group of residents confronted him in the parking lot afterward, he made no apologies.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COMM. ROBERT COPELAND, WOLFEBORO, NH: I admitted what I did. I made no bones about it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: With me now is Wolfeboro resident Jane O'Toole. She is the one who filed the complaint after hearing the commissioner's comments.
So, Jane, I mean, tell me how this came about. You were out to dinner with your husband, and what happened?
JANE O'TOOLE, WOLFEBORO, NEW HAMPSHIRE RESIDENT: We were sitting there having dinner, actually celebrating my eighth year cancer-free. We had just returned from Dana Farber in Boston. We just wanted to relax.
And very loud -- well, we heard someone ask Mr. Copeland if he watched a local TV show called "Chronicle." And he piped up and said, no, I don't watch TV because every time I do, all I ever see is that F-ing "N" word, which was an obvious poke at Obama.
It was extraordinarily loud. It wasn't like we were listening in on a quiet conversation. It was loud and just reverberated through the restaurant.
BURNETT: And you have recently moved to Wolfeboro, right? So when you heard this happen, you didn't actually know who it was, right? You didn't know the commissioner?
O'TOOLE: No, not at all. Actually, as I left the restaurant, I just quietly said -- I passed him and quietly said is someone here tossing around the "N" word. And he puffed up and turned around and said, yes.
So, no, I did not know he was a public official in the town. So the next day I went to the restaurant and just asked if they knew who this person was. And at that moment, I found out he was indeed the police commissioner and was running for reelection actually.
BURNETT: That's amazing. So you actually did confront him about it, right? That was your way of making sure, is someone tossing that word around. You described he puffed up and said, yes. He has been unashamed about it.
BURNETT: We're going to share a statement in a moment. What made you decide to go forward and pursue it? That was a big decision to make. It takes a lot of time.
You have people coming after you. It's a big thing to do. What made you do it?
O'TOOLE: Well, I sat on it for a long time. This incident happened in March, March 6th, actually. And the next time I took action was about the beginning of April when I first wrote a letter to the town manager.
I have some friends in town. I wanted to find out what they thought. I was wondering if I would suffer any repercussions from bringing this to light.
And a lot of people said to me, don't -- don't rock the boat, you know. It's a small town. Don't.
But I just -- it just didn't sit right with me. And so my first step was I wrote a letter to the town manager, who then actually copied to it the board of selectmen and also to the police commission.
BURNETT: All right. Well, Jane, thank you very much for taking the time to share what you went through and how hard it was for you to do it. I think it's important to understand it wasn't easy. It wasn't like Jane went running to somebody to do it. She really, really thought long and hard, and it was difficult.
Joining me now is Mike Paul, reputation management expert, and our legal analyst Paul Callan.
OK. So, you just heard what Jane had to say. What do you think?
I mean, she went to him on March 6th. First of all, she took a long time to come forward. She thought long and hard about it. Right after she went up to him in the restaurant, I heard people throwing around the "N" word. He puffed up and said that's right. Unashamed.
PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, she's very brave to, you know, approach a stranger like that. I think it's a tribute to her integrity, that she did that.
But he puffed up and he admitted to it. And he subsequently admitted to it. He doesn't care that it's a racial epithet, that it's derogatory and is offensive. He endorses it and accepts it.
So -- but he has the right of free speech in this country. And for that reason, the voters are going to have a hard time getting him to resign, if he doesn't want to.
The First Amendment is going to give him protection. I don't agree with what he says. I think he should be thrown out of office. But you know something? The First Amendment says even speech we hate, we will protect under the First Amendment. BURNETT: And so, Mike, let me ask you that, because the commissioner did put out a written response that I want to quote from. Here is what he said. "While I believe the problems associated with minorities in this country are momentous, I'm not phobic. My use of derogatory slang in reference to those among them, undeserving of respect is no secret. It is the exercise of my First Amendment right."
Does he have the right to make those comments in public and not be removed until the voters have the opportunity to remove him?
MIKE PAUL, REPUTATION MANAGEMENT EXPERT: You mean, the wolf, the wolf of Wolfeboro? I mean, come on, this is ridiculous.
Yes, he absolutely has the right, and I agree with Paul. But he also has the right to have accountability, harsh accountability. This is a person that needs to be boycotted. The town needs to be boycotted.
This is -- I applaud Jane for speaking up. That's what we did in the '60s, right? We spoke up. We took action. We knew there was going to be accountability for our actions as well.
This gentleman needs to have a boycott. Anyone that is thinking about going to Wolfeboro should say you know what? I'll get my gas somewhere else. I'll get my groceries somewhere else. And I want to apply so much pressure to this town that the town itself will be so unattractive to him that he would want to step down.
BURNETT: All right. Paul, what do you do when you put this in the context of other incidents, though? You got Donald Sterling, racist remarks, horrible, inappropriate, but he thought it was a private conversation, and it was recorded. And now, we all know what happened there.
In an elevator earlier this week, Jay-Z and Beyonce and Beyonce's sister there is a punching incident and now the whole world cease it. There doesn't seem to be privacy anymore.
CALLAN: No, there isn't privacy anymore.
PAUL: I'm so glad you said that, because I didn't expect you to agree.
CALLAN: Privacy is gone because of technology.
BURNETT: When you know someone says something, how do you then with the societal norm the way it is now -- I mean, everyone knows it's a hateful, awful thing to say. How do you protect someone like that?
CALLAN: But there is something people have to understand. And I think this is the biggest misconception about the First Amendment. Everybody says I can say whatever I want. The First Amendment protects me.
The First Amendment protects you from government interference. You can't be put in jail for using derogatory language or racial epithets. But your employer can fire you. And Donald Sterling is learning that the NBA can knock him out of office or there can be a boycott.
BURNETT: It's a private group.
CALLAN: That's a private group.
So, the First Amendment has to do with the government's relationship with its citizens, not a businesses relationship with its employees.
BURNETT: So, you agree with Mike? Mike, you're saying --
CALLAN: No, I disagree with the boycott. It's a terrible way to punish the good people of Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, who have had a meeting already. They're angry at this guy. They want to force him out of office. Why put them out of business? They're doing the right things.
PAUL: The NAACP, the National Urban League, the National Action Network, Rainbow-PUSH should all be listening. This is an opportunity for a boycott. I absolutely disagree.
Yes, it is something that the town is living with. They're living with a racist police commissioner right now.
CALLAN: They have no impeachment statutes, and they have no recall statute.
PAUL: You're an attorney. You're an attorney. So this is not a legal action.
CALLAN: The poor local grocer who is trying to scrape a living, you're going to boycott him because this dopey police commissioner.
PAUL: -- police commissioner in that town anymore, with such pressure that nobody wants him there.
CALLAN: You know, I don't know. It's a tough thing. It's tough to fashion a solution that works.
BURNETT: I do want your feedback as we continue to cover this story. So, please come to our Facebook page, come to our blog. And, of course, you can always tweet me.
Speaking of free speech, OUTFRONT next, a super power so paranoid you cannot even do a search for the term "change in subway ticket prices."
Plus, a truck meets an overpass and gets creamed, literally.
BURNETT: There is an alarming new crackdown happening in China right now as the country is about to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Tiananmen Square. The communist government is more repressive than ever. The government has been blocking residents from searching the Internet about controversial increases in subway fares. David McKenzie is OUTFRONT in Beijing.
DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The trouble began with a small private get together in early May, remembering the victims of the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown. This a group portrait of the graying intellectuals and professionals.
And today five sit in prison cells, detained by the Chinese government without trial. Causing the greatest outcry perhaps famous rights lawyer Pu Zhijiang who has helped reform China's notorious system of labor camps.
When I met him last year, he felt immune from the reaches of the communist party.
"I think I'm fine," he told me. "I'm moderate. The government has treated me well. And I'm a veteran lawyer."
But in China, there is an invisible red line, by commemorating the Tiananmen Square massacre nearly 25 years ago, they crossed it.
(on camera): And they ended up here at the notorious Beijing number one detention center, housed with common criminals.
It seems that the communist party of China is unwilling to come to terms with its history and would rather silence even moderate voices of dissent.
(voice-over): Charged with picking quarrels and troublemaking, one of their lawyers say they face constant interrogation, at this sprawling facility.
Activists call detention preposterous.
WILLIAM NEE, AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL, CHINA RESEARCHER: If having a small gathering in a private setting is picking a quarrel, you know, what isn't?
MCKENZIE: Every year before the Tiananmen anniversary, the party is on high alert. But this year is different, says Amnesty, saying scores have been arrested in a nationwide crackdown.
(on camera): This is a public space, I'm allowed to report.
(voice-over): It's part of a trend, they say, of shutting out all critical voices.
Like when another prominent lawyer pushing for government transparency was jailed for four years in January. And we felt the sharp end of party power.
NEE: And I think in times where they're nervous they come down to the default strategy, which is stability above all else.
MCKENZIE: Well, I put the disturbing facts of the story to the Chinese government. They said that, quote, "China should not be based on the criteria of the United States and that freedoms here are at historic highs" -- Erin.
BURNETT: I mean, historic highs, but we see that video of you trying to cover a story getting beaten up and pushed into van. I mean, you experienced this. It seems like the communist party affects just the day to day life that we in this country cannot even imagine.
MCKENZIE: Well, it affects every aspect of daily life for people living here like me. And of course, mostly for Chinese, you know, Twitter and Facebook, all manner of expression, is blocked here in China, people go to Chinese sites, and as you mention, things like subway fare increase, block on Weibo, a NASDAQ-listed Chinese Web site, which is a lot like Twitter here in China.
And there are all sorts of phrases blocked there.
So, China and Chinese are looking for ways to express. But often those expressions are clamped down and frequently people put in jail, Erin.
BURNETT: All right, thank you very much. David McKenzie with a fantastic report out of China there.
Is there intelligent life out there? Well, for more on the modern hunt to aliens, I want to turn now to -- what a segue -- to CNN's "INSIDE MAN", Morgan Spurlock.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Area 51, all of this stuff going down, why are we so obsessed with UFOs?
MORGAN SPURLOCK, INSIDE MAN: Well, I think that it's not that we're just obsessed. It's this idea that we want to believe that there's something else out there. We've just never had any proof.
And what we do in this episode, what I love about it, is we find not kooks, you know, somebody in a field with a tin foil hat, is what you envisioned, we find real scientists, people who have dedicated their lives to tracking, studying and trying to answer the question what is out there? Are we alone in universe?
BURNETT: So do you believe there are UFOs when we look at the evidence?
SPURLOCK: I think there is never that, we are the only ones that exist in the universe is unlikely. Have there been little green men who walked the neighborhood -- I don't know if I believe that s much.
There seems to be -- as we live in the world where there's so many more cameras and things that are tracking us on a daily basis, there seem to be a lot fewer photographs of actual aliens and space ships than they were in 1950. So I think that, you know, the jury is still very much open.
But I hope I'm around when they come. It would be great. Just as long as it is not like Independence Day --
BURNETT: Right. I mean, there's some scenarios -- right, I mean, I totally -- how can you not believe there is intelligent life out there? But you don't believe they visited earth yet?
SPURLOCK: You know, again, from the evidence I saw when we were making this show doesn't point to a real likelihood that they were here.
BURNETT: Right. Well, I can't wait to see the evidence because I want to see them when they come.
SPURLOCK: You and I are going to be there when they come. Practice your keyboard, tong, tong, tong --
BURNETT: Thank you, Morgan.
SPURLOCK: Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: And Morgan's awesome "INSIDE MAN" airs this Sunday at 10:00 Eastern.
OUTFRONT next, a trucker loses his top. Jeanne Moos, next, on how -- watch it -- that happened.
Plus, a new level of fame for the hero cat who showed a dog who is boss.
BURNETT: So this is what it looks like when a semi carrying 25,000 pounds of cream cheese has the top of its trailer ripped off. It was an unpleasant situation for the driver and police and bagel fans. The number tonight is 320,000. That is roughly how many bagels will go without cream cheese due to this accident. By the way, everyone was OK, people-wise.
But we want to get to the bottom of how this accident happened. And for that, we turn to Jeanne Moos.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Too bad trucks can't duck because that white truck up ahead is on a parkway with low overpasses where trucks are not allowed to be.
Brace yourself. It's all over after the next overpass. As the dust settled, college student Nabil Azad brought his car to a stop.
NABIL AZAD, FILMED TRUCK CRASH: The reaction was oh, crap.
MOOS: Nabil had pulled out his camera as soon as he saw the truck driving where it shouldn't be on Long Island's Meadow Brook Parkway.
After the impact, he drove around the debris and stopped to check on the driver who was not injured. Dwight Smith told Nabil he was from North Carolina and was using GPS to navigate.
AZAD: He was really distraught and really upset about what just happened.
MOOS: Actually, these things happen all the time.
There is a low railroad trestle in Durham, North Carolina, that gets hit so often that a resident set up a camera --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just a hobby.
MOOS: -- to record the accidents. He then puts them on his website called 11 Foot 8, that bridge is called the Can Opener.
But we've never seen this type of can opened. Quite this up close and personal.
When we showed the video to other truckers they were unforgiven.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I make mistakes just like everybody else. But, you know, that was stupid.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He probably wasn't much of a truck driver.
MOOS: The driver told police he didn't see "no truck" signs, where he got on the parkway, although there is a smaller one.
Police say he will probably be fined somewhere between $350 to $500. Some commenters said that Nabil was a jerk for not warning him.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get alongside him and tell him, you know, to pull over. Tell him you got a flat tire, wave over.
MOOS: But Nabil said there wasn't time between overpasses.
AZAD: It's not an easy task to stop a truck. And more importantly if I sped up next to him, what if at that moment he went under the previous overpasses and everything fell on top of my car.
MOOS (on camera): So what was the truck carrying anyway? What was splattered all over the highway?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It looks like insulation.
MOOS: Well, it was insulation, but he was carrying 25,000 pounds of cream cheese.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A giant cream pop.
MOOS (voice-over): The truck got creamed, as one poster commented, "Well, it fits under there now."
Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.
BURNETT: And you can lick the highway.
All right. And update now, earlier this week, Jeanne introduced you to Tara, that heroic cat who body slammed a dog, saving a 4-year-old boy. Remember this? Boom! It has had more than 17 million views, and it's giving Tara some major cat cred.
She has been asked to throw the first pitch of a minor league baseball game. The Bakersfield Blaze, they're going to let her do it, we called them. How is she going to do it? How is she going to do it? Anyway, they wouldn't tell us exactly how. But they say they have a trick up their sleeve.
Judging from this on-field video, it could be a catastrophe.
Anderson starts now. Have a great weekend.