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Northeast Hit Again; YouTube Shooter Identified; Tiger Woods Returns to Masters; Former Sinclair New Director Speaks Out. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired April 4, 2018 - 06:30   ET


[06:31:52] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: We are following some breaking news.

Four marines are presumed dead after their helicopter crashed during a routine training mission. Military officials say that their chopper went down in southern California about 20 miles north of the U.S./Mexico border. The names of the crew members have not yet been released pending notification of their families. The cause of this crash is under investigation.

DAVID GREGORY, CNN ANCHOR: Waves of arctic air and more snow may actually be headed to the northeast, if you can believe it. We're still waiting for spring. Maybe it's coming at some point.

CNN meteorologist Allison Chinchar is here with the forecast this morning.

What have you got?

ALLISON CHINCHAR, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Well, we've got three different systems that will actually be making its way into the northeast over the coming days. So let's start with the one for today.

Now this one is really just a rainmaker for cities like Boston, New York, Washington, D.C. And it stretches all the way back towards Louisiana with very heavy rainfall.

This forecast is brought to you by Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, packed with goodness.

But let's also take a look at what happens going forward. Here you've got the rain that moves forward through the early portion of the day. Some snow does wrap back around for areas of the Great Lakes, as well as upstate New York and Pennsylvania.

It's also going to be windy. If you're waking up this morning across any area of the northeast, you are going to notice it. Over 75 million people under some type of wind alert. Gusts over 60 miles per hour in some of these locations.

But once that system makes its way out, we have this next system coming through. Now, this low pressure system on Friday is mainly going to be rain for the coastal cities and snow for interior New England. But it's this system down to the south, this is the one we have to watch, because as we get closer to the weekend, it impacts the southeast first, Alisyn, but that may end up bringing even additional snow to the northeast as we head into the weekend.

CAMEROTA: How dare you.

CHINCHAR: Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.

CAMEROTA: All right, change that forecast the next time we come to you.

Allison, thank you very much.

So we do have some new details about the shooting at YouTube's headquarters and a possible motive. Someone who witnessed it all joins us next.


[06:38:07] GREGORY: We are learning a lot more this morning about the woman police say opened fire on YouTube's headquarters in northern California. A law enforcement source telling the "L.A. Times" this morning that they're combing through videos that appear to show the shooter railing against YouTube for filtering her content.

Joining us now, CNN law enforcement analyst James Gagliano and Zach Vorhies. He's a software engineer at YouTube who actually saw the shooting aftermath.

Zach, let me start with you. Thank you so much for being with us.

Tell us what you saw yesterday, what the scene was like.

ZACH VORHIES, WITNESSED YOUTUBE SHOOTING AFTERMATH: Well, yesterday the scene was chaos. The way that it started out was, we were all at our desks doing our work like a normal day. A fire drill was pulled. And so everybody got up and they exited the building.

And what happened was we exited the building -- this is YouTube right here. We exited the building in the back here. And the mass of people came down.

I was ahead of everybody because I was on a skateboard. And I got to about this area right here. Here was the conflict zone. I saw a man that was agitated. And he was yelling to somebody, do you want to shoot me?

I looked over, and I saw that there was a victim that was shot in the stomach at this area location over here. So I turned around and I started escaping down the parking structure. And then I was able to escape this way.

GREGORY: Now, Zach, do you know any of the people involved?

VORHIES: I do not know any of the people involved. And that's a question that I've been trying to research, actually. CAMEROTA: Yes. Zach, very quickly, do you know -- when you heard

somebody say, do you want to shoot me, do you know yet if the shooter was personally connected to anybody at YouTube?

[06:40:08] VORHIES: I don't know that, no.

GREGORY: Let me ask -- can I ask one other question based on what you were showing us, which looked to be almost like, you know, like barracks on a football field, which raises the question about security there and how easy it is to get on the campus of YouTube without any I.D. or any -- even if you do have I.D., to break through any security.

VORHIES: Yes. Well, it's actually possible to get into YouTube through the parking garage during business hours. And so what I believe might have happened is that she ended up coming in through the parking structure, into here, walking past the gate and then coming through a one-way door that was located here.


VORHIES: And if she did that, then she would have access to the courtyard.

CAMEROTA: That's really helpful, Zach, for us to see all of that.

So, James, this is a female shooter. How unusual is that?

JAMES GAGLIANO, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, it's quite the anomaly, Alisyn. When you look at it from the percentage of the percentage of the population that females make up, it's roughly half the population. And yet females commit only about 7.6 percent of the murders every year.

I went back and looked at FBI statistics for active shooter situations. From 2000 to 2016, over the course of those 16 years, there were about 240 incidents. And during that time, only nine of them the perpetrators were females. That is less than 4 percent. So quite the anomaly.

GREGORY: The ability to get access to a campus like that is one issue. And you, obviously, if you're an investigator, have to look at what the relationships were like. Why she would want to be there in the first place.

GAGLIANO: And police, when they're responding like a day like yesterday in real-time, have to go through a very quick calculus. Is this a mentally disturbed person, is this a domestic dispute, like the initial reports were, is this somebody with a grievance, which this appears to be, or is this an active shooter that's just intent on ratcheting up a body count? So in real-time the police have to do that.

Now, they did a great job yesterday of moving to the sound of the guns and post-Columbine that's what we're telling folks and telling them that's what they need to do. CAMEROTA: Interesting, today would have been her birthday, the

shooter's birthday, according to her brother. I think that she would have been 39. Is there -- do people do things on significant dates?

GAGLIANO: Yes. I mean if you look at the psychological studies on mass shootings, they all have their different reasons for doing those things. I think she left behind quite the digital footprint. And all of that digital exhaust, everything that she uploaded to YouTube, all of her social media accounts, her cell phone contacts. The important thing for police right now is determining motivation. Why is that important? Because it helps us predictably understand if one of these things could happen in the future, how to predict it, and, second of all, did she have any help, any material support, unwitting or witting?

GREGORY: Zach, what are you hearing in terms of what YouTube is telling employees today?

VORHIES: They've been pretty silent. And I -- and there have been a couple e-mails, but I don't feel comfortable disclosing the contents of that.

GREGORY: Can you at least characterize, you know, any of them in terms of general messages?

VORHIES: Yes. All meetings are canceled.

CAMEROTA: You're not going to work today?

VORHIES: I am not, no.


Zach, thank you very much for walking us through what you saw happen there on the campus.

James Gagliano, thank you very much.

GREGORY: When we come back, we'll switch gears. Sinclair Broadcast Group defending itself this morning after making news anchors read material warning viewers about, quote, fake news. Now a former news director who worked for the company is speaking out about why he was not on board with that decision. He'll join us coming up.


[06:47:53] GREGORY: I'm still fired up about March Madness, but now it's time to talk about the Masters. Teeing off tomorrow, all eyes on Tiger Woods. Can he actually win it?

Coy Wire has more in this morning's "Bleacher Report."

Hey, Coy.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Top of the morning to you, David Gregory. This "Bleacher Report" brought to you by Ford, going further so you


Now, less than a year after spinal fusion surgery, not only is Tiger Woods back at Augusta National for the first time since 2015, alongside Jordan Spieth, he's favored to win it. At 42-years-old, Tiger's chasing his fifth green jacket. A lot of buzz around the course yesterday when he played a practice round with Phil Mickelson. It's one his oldest rivals with whom he now is apparently best of friends. If Tiger can pull off a win, it would be his first major title in nearly a decade. He says it's miraculous that that is even a possibility.


TIGER WOODS, FOUR TIME MASTERS CHAMPION: The pain, I'm just sitting there and the amount of times that I have fallen because my leg didn't work, or I'd just have to lay on the ground for extended periods of times. It -- those were some really dark, dark times. But that's why I said, it's -- it is a miracle. You know, I went from a person who has spent -- who really had a hard time getting up, walking around, sitting down, anything, to now swinging the club. That is a miracle, isn't it?


WIRE: Alisyn, the par 3 competition is later today, where the kids of the players, usually the caddies, and our Andy Scholes is there in Augusta to bring us the action, which starts tomorrow.

CAMEROTA: Very exciting.

OK, Coy, thank you so much.

So a former Sinclair news director is speak out now about what's going on inside those newsrooms. We find out why he quit, next.


[06:53:38] CAMEROTA: So what was going on behind these promos that we've all seen now virally from Sinclair TV stations?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The sharing of biased and false news.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: False news has become all too common on social media.

ALL: More alarming, some media outlets publish these same fake stories - stories that simply aren't true, without checking facts first. Unfortunately, some members of the media use their platforms to push their own personal bias and agenda to control exactly what people think. And this is extremely dangerous to our democracy.

(END VIDEO CLIP) CAMEROTA: Well, in a new op-ed, a former Sinclair news director explains why he quit. He claims the company was forcing an editorial slant that was far afield from journalism.

So joining us now is that man, Aaron Weiss. He was a news director at a local station in the Midwest that was bought by Sinclair Broadcasting Group.

Aaron, thanks so much for being here.

AARON WEISS, FORMER SINCLAIR NEWS DIRECTOR: Thank you, Alisyn. Great to be here.

CAMEROTA: So you were at a Sinclair station in 2013, or a station that was bought by Sinclair. And you started to see troubling things. Like what?

WEISS: That's right.

Pretty quickly after the acquisition happened, we started getting these must-run pieces that would come down every day from corporate. And they've been well documented from many places and --

CAMEROTA: But what were those?


CAMEROTA: I mean those must-run pieces, like, what was the subject matter of the things that were being forced down your throat to run?

[06:55:02] WEISS: The must-run pieces were generally political. Some of them were pre-produced packages from corporate. Some of them were scripts that anchors were expected to read. And the expectation was that they would be read entirely untouched without any oversight. And they were of a quality that for me, as a news director, I would look at these scripts and if one of my fresh out of college reporters in market 147 had brought these scripts to me, I would have sent them back. But corporate expected us to run them untouched.

CAMEROTA: And they had a conservative slant, correct me if I'm wrong. They often had a conservative slant.

WEISS: They did.

CAMEROTA: And did they have anything to do with your local community, the news you were supposed to be covering?

WEISS: No. They were entirely national. And they did have a conservative slant.

And, don't get me wrong. I have no problem with conservative slanted news or liberal slanted news. But own it. The problem with what Sinclair does is they co-op the credibility that local anchors have built up in their communities over years and decades and used that credibility to promote a political agenda. And that, to me, is what is so ethically inappropriate about what Sinclair does. CAMEROTA: So, Aaron, when you saw that promo that we just ran of all of those different local anchors having to say exactly the same script, parroting whatever corporate wanted, what did you think?

WEISS: My heart broke. My heart broke for the anchors who were forced to do that. I knew several of them. And as someone who grew up in the local news business. My mom was an anchor in Tucson, Arizona, for 30 years. And I imagined if she had been forced to do something like that when I was a kid and forced to make a decision about her ethics versus feeding her family and keeping a job in a business that she loved, I couldn't imagine doing it. And so my heart goes out to all of those anchors who were forced to basically do -- it's the equivalent of a proof of life hostage video.

CAMEROTA: My gosh.

And so since you've written the op-ed for "The Huffington Post" where you reveal all of this, I mean you go public with the sorts of things that were not journalism that you were forced to do, what's been the response?

WEISS: You know, I've heard from folks all across the industry, colleagues who worked for Sinclair, colleagues at other station groups, all of them uniformly grateful for me saying what I did because as someone who's now out of the business, I have the freedom to say that now.

Who I have not heard from, surprisingly, is anyone still inside Sinclair. They have successfully locked down the company where anyone inside -- and we've seen some memos that have been leaked, threatening anyone who dares to speak out to anyone publicly about this.

CAMEROTA: Oh, my gosh. And so what's your advice to the journalists who are still working at Sinclair stations?

WEISS: I mean, number one, stay strong and hang in there. Many of them are trapped by multiyear contracts that have severe penalties if they try to leave. And we know that Sinclair does enforce those clauses in the contract if they try to leave.

And then, beyond that, if you do have the opportunity to go work for a station group that respects quality journalism and having worked for many station groups over the course of my 14 years in local news, Sinclair really is unique. It's the only one that forces journalists to carry the political agenda of its corporate owners. So if that opportunity arises to go work for a station group that respects quality journalism, then you should go do that.

CAMEROTA: And what's your advice to viewers of Sinclair news stations? What should they know?

WEISS: My advice to viewers of all local news, find out who the local stations are. Find out who owns them. Be on the lookout for commentary pieces. Be on the lookout for national pieces that come down from corporate with a bias and be aware of what your trusted anchors, who you might have known for years, if they're now being required to read things that they wouldn't have otherwise. Know what you're consuming.

CAMEROTA: There you go. News literacy, as we say.

Aaron Weiss, thank you very much for your candor. It's great to have you on.

WEISS: Alisyn, thank you so much for having me.

CAMEROTA: Thanks to our international viewers for watching. For you, CNN "TALK" is next. For our U.S. viewers, NEW DAY continues right now.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

CAMEROTA: And, good morning, everyone. Welcome to our NEW DAY. Chris is off. David Gregory joins me.

Great to have you here.

GREGORY: Thank you. Good morning.

CAMEROTA: We do begin with some breaking news at this hour.

Fears of a trade war are escalating this morning after China announced it is imposing tariffs on $50 billion worth of American goods, including soy beans, airplanes and cars. This move is sending U.S. stock futures plunging. Dow futures are down more than 500 points right now. And this retaliation comes after the Trump administration detailed new tariffs on Chinese imports.

[07:00:01] GREGORY: Also this morning, "The Washington Post" reports that Special Counsel Robert Mueller has told President Trump's legal team that the president is a subject but not a target of the Russia investigation.