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Newsroom/World View

NEWSROOM for November 17, 2000

Aired November 17, 2000 - 4:30 a.m. ET


ANNOUNCER: Seen in classrooms the world over, this is CNN NEWSROOM.

SHELLEY WALCOTT, CO-HOST: The week winds down and NEWSROOM winds up for one more show. Welcome. I'm Shelley Walcott. Here's a look at the lineup.

Topping today's news, the counting continues and so does the waiting in the still undecided race for the U.S. presidency.

We point and click onto "Editor's Desk," where we'll talk about the convergence of society and cyberspace.

Southeast Asia is our next stop, when "Worldview" travels to another Vietnam.

And finally, we get a taste of artistry in action as we "Chronicle" the extraordinary life and works of Gordon Parks.

The world watches and waits as the United States' post-election controversy enters its 10th day with no definite sign of who will become the nation's 43rd president.

The Florida Supreme Court cleared the way Thursday for counties to conduct hand recounts of ballots. Upon receiving the green light, Palm Beach and Broward Counties went forward with their counting. It's uncertain whether amended tallies will mean anything since Secretary of State Katherine Harris says she won't accept ballots counted after last Tuesday's deadline.

The Gore campaign asked a state court judge Thursday to overrule Harris's decision.


DAVID BOIES, GORE CAMPAIGN ATTORNEY: Obviously we would hope that once the counts have been completed, those counts would be accepted. I doubt if the Florida Supreme Court meant to have these counts go forward only to have them be ignored.


WALCOTT: Meanwhile, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta is weighing a Bush campaign request to block hand counts entirely. The Bush camp wants the election process completed this weekend.


GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The way to conclude this election in a fair and accurate and final way is for the state of Florida to count the remaining overseas ballots, add them to the certified vote and announce the results, as required by Florida law.


WALCOTT: Some members of Congress are looking into whether television news organizations are partly responsible for all the election chaos. On Capitol Hill Thursday, one Republican charged that by calling the Florida race for Gore before the polls closed, the media may have dissuaded up to 10,000 people from voting.

As Brian Palmer reports, such accusations have caused the media to take a serious look at its performance during elections.


BRIAN PALMER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The fallout from election night 2000 continues to spread...

REP. BILLY TAUZIN (R), LOUISIANA: The evidence is mounting that there was some kind of bias in this system.

PALMER: ... now with charges from Republican members of Congress that TV networks -- CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN and FOX -- skewed their coverage to favor Al Gore.

TAUZIN: There was a long delay for calling the states for George W. Bush compared to a much shorter delay for calling the states for Al Gore.

PALMER: That delay, says Congressman Tauzin, discouraged Bush supporters from heading to the polls. Tauzin's remedy?

TAUZIN: We'll have a hearing, and the burden will on the networks and on VNS, this Voter News Service, upon which apparently everybody depends now, to prove to this nation that the election coverage, which now apparently has the -- an effect of affecting the result of our presidential elections, may in fact have been intentionally biased.

PALMER: Not so, Democrats say.

REP. ED MARKEY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: In fact, the news media is biased in favor of only one thing: calling each race first.

PALMER: The news networks declined to be interviewed on Tauzin's charges. CNN chairman and CEO Tom Johnson told Tauzin in a letter, "I state categorically there was no intentional bias in the election night reporting." (on camera): All of the networks have acknowledged there were problems with their election night coverage and are conducting internal reviews of their procedures.

(voice-over): One target of criticism and reform is the Voter News Service, or VNS, created by TV networks and the Associated Press to gather election data.

STEVE BRILL, "BRILL'S CONTENT": It's the networks' fault. They formed a cartel and then they relied on the bad product that the cartel produced, and then, even though the product was just an exit poll, they declared it as if it was a fact.

PALMER: Brill says the networks should not all rely on one polling service. Others critics say networks shouldn't predict winners until the polls close.

KEN AULETTA, "NEW YORKER": We are in the business of getting it right. And if technology speeds things up so much that we can't get it right, then we've got to slow it down.

PALMER: Slowing down in the age of the Internet may not be easy, but critics say it might be necessary to regain public confidence.

Brian Palmer, CNN, New York.


WALCOTT: Other news of the day now: A key figure in the fight for human rights has died. Hosea Williams was at the forefront of the civil rights movement in the 1960s, organizing marches and demonstrations led by Martin Luther King Jr. More recently, Williams was an organizer of holiday dinners for the poor, feeding thousands every year in Atlanta, Georgia. Williams died Thursday after a long fight with cancer.

Catherine Callaway has this look back at his life.


CATHERINE CALLAWAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Hosea Williams was on the front line to the civil rights struggle for four decades. Inspired by Martin Luther King Jr., Williams and John Lewis organized the march known in Selma, Alabama known as Bloody Sunday, which left more than 80 people injured.

The police violence that day led to the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Williams would later re-walk his steps across the Edmund Pettus Bridge.


HOSEA WILLIAMS, CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST: I was thinking how we suffered, how we bled, how we was brutalized, how Dr. King told us that the sweetest walk you'll ever take is to that ballot box. And we made that walk. (END VIDEO CLIP)

CALLAWAY: Williams was also by King's side that fateful day in Memphis, April 4, 1968 when King was assassinated. Williams would work the rest of his life to keep King's dream alive. He served as a national executive for the SCLC, pastor of King's People Church of Love Incorporated, Georgia state representative, Atlanta councilman, and a county commissioner. Williams received national attention once again in 1987 while on a march in Forsyth County, Georgia.

Williams and others marching for integration were pelted with rocks from an angry crowd. Williams, undaunted, returned for a more peaceful march.

Williams' work included more than marches and public service. He also organized programs like the Feed the Hungry dinners he provided in Atlanta every holiday season. He once said that the greatest thing he ever did was to give up his career as a scientist to associate with Martin Luther King.

Williams' legacy may be in his longevity, his lifelong dedication to helping others.

Catherine Callaway, CNN, reporting.


WALCOTT: In just a few short years, the Internet has become a big part of people's everyday lives. In 1990, only a few researchers knew about the Internet. But by last year, 150 million worldwide were connected to the information superhighway. More than 50 million American households and millions of businesses are already hooked up and the number is growing.

How will this pervasive technology shape the future? Eileen O'Connor takes a look.


EILEEN O'CONNOR, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Remember when you used to laugh at the household gadgets in "The Jetsons"? Now people aren't laughing, they want them.

MARSHALL COLEMAN, AOL: We asked people what did they expect to have in about 10 years from now, and people told us, I expect all of my rooms to be wired for online in 10 years, the same way they're wired for electricity now. I expect robots, I expect thinking computers.

O'CONNOR: Marshall Coleman is a vice president at America Online, which is set to merge with CNN's parent company, Time Warner.

A survey of people who use online services, commissioned by AOL and conducted by Roper, shows two-thirds of those surveyed say they believe science fiction like "The Jetsons" will become a reality within the next 10 years with the invention of a thinking computer. Two in five, some 40 percent, say they will do just about all their shopping online within 10 years.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: While cooking dinner, Robin sees they're out of a few other things. She scans them into an electronic shopping list.

O'CONNOR: Companies like Microsoft have developed a model home of the future where just about all aspects of life are programmable, banking on what this survey shows, that more people are using more technology faster than predicted.

YUSUF MEHADI, MARKETING V.P., MICROSOFT: We believe that technology is really becoming very pervasive, and it's going to be something natural that people use, not just in their homes, but even when they carry their cellular phones or their pocket PCs.

O'CONNOR: The Microsoft house even keeps salesmen from ringing the door during dinner. The computer allows them only to leave a message. Harvard professor and author Robert Putnam has studied the effects on society when people get together less often.

ROBERT PUTNAM, HARVARD UNIVERSITY: I think there's some risk that we'll believe that there is a -- some kind of other community, a virtual community in which you interact with people, faceless, nameless people in cyberspace and that that will be just as good as the real friends we used to have.

O'CONNOR: According to the survey, though, 41 percent of online Americans say they have reconnected with someone they had lost touch with via the Internet. This reunion of a long-disbanded youth group was organized online.

Putnam says increased use of technology will be a good thing, if people use it to connect more with others.

PUTNAM: In that kind of sense, we can think of the Internet not as a substitute for real connections, but as an aid, a support.

O'CONNOR: And maybe giving us more times to get together.

Eileen O'Connor, CNN, Washington.


WALCOTT: We spin the globe to three "Worldview" destinations today. Our stories take us to Asia and Europe. And we'll visit Russia to meet native people living on the land. Then we'll head to China where Harry Potter is the reading rage. But we begin in Vietnam, where U.S. president Bill Clinton is paying a historic visit.

Thousands of people lined the streets for Mr. Clinton's arrival in Hanoi on Thursday. He's the first serving U.S. president to visit Hanoi, a city that the Americans bombed during the Vietnam War. More than 50 U.S. corporations have sent executives to Vietnam during President Clinton's visit in hopes of working their way into the country's mostly untapped market of 78 million people.

More from Richard Blystone.


RICHARD BLYSTONE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Another Vietnam, two words that have haunted U.S. foreign policy for a quarter of a century. But this, too, is another Vietnam, with the mystery but without the menace.

For America, the war was to contain communism, but the winner was Vietnamese nationalism. The Hanoi water puppets play out the old themes. Legends of the paddy fields, of life, though it isn`t for culture that half the country`s economy in the 21st century still feels the yoke of tradition.

Vladimir Lenin, father of Soviet communism, still atop his pedestal here. Revolutionary leader Ho Chi Minh still revered by those who struggled for him. But his heirs impose a discipline that's better received in some parts than in others. More than half today`s Vietnamese were born after the war, and to many the old doctrines seem irrelevant.

The first postwar years saw socialist Vietnam trail ever farther behind. Now, having allowed free enterprise in the door, it's one of the world`s top rice exporters, though still a kitten among the Asian tigers, would-be investors battling red tape and dissidents paying dearly for singing out of tune as the old revolutionaries struggle to keep control over the boundless energy of their people.

Brash modern buildings thrust up over straight-laced Hanoi. New clubs and cafes sparkle in the evenings. A people used to a hard life starts to savor the sweet life.

(on camera): Once the prize in a Cold War struggle between giants, now a small, backward country almost obscured by the turmoil in Asia, the Middle East and the U.S. election, Vietnam isn`t asking any grand gestures from President Clinton.

(voice-over): But tickets for his speech are in demand at the University.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This means that the position of Vietnam in the world politic and the political arena will be increased.

BLYSTONE: Hopes, too, that the president will bring something more solid, like help with the birth defects that Vietnam claims come from the wartime defoliant Agent Orange.

And for those who lived through it all, hand on heart, veteran Win Van Fook (ph) swears he's put it behind him already.

Richard Blystone, CNN, Hanoi.


WALCOTT: China is thousands of miles from Wales, but the "Harry Potter" craze has already spanned the distance from the home country of the series' Welsh author.

Harry Potter, a young sorcerer in training, was born in the mind of writer J.K. Rowling. Harry is a lonely orphan with glasses who discovers he's actually a wizard and uses his powers to battle the forces of darkness.

The first four books in Harry's adventure series have all been bestsellers. Available in more than 100 countries and 25 languages, the "Harry Potter" books have earned numerous awards, as well as untold praise from fans.

Chris Riker details the rise of "Harry Potter" enthusiasts in one Eastern country.


CHRIS RIKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Long lines of eager young readers and their parents greeted Harry Potter's arrival in China. Publishers are hoping China's huge market will add to already massive global sales figures.

ZHONG JIA, GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL (through translator): I came today to buy "Harry Potter" books for my child. I've known about this book for quite a long time, and when I heard it was coming out in China, I was really happy.

RIKER: The first-print run of 600,000 copies covered the first three books in the Harry Potter series. It's the biggest first- edition run of a work of fiction in the history of the People's Republic of China. Anxious fans-to-be are happy they can finally buy what their overseas counterparts have enjoyed in recent years.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I haven't read it yet, but one of my classmates went to the States and got a copy and she told me all about it.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD (through translator): It's really interesting. The plot of the story is really moving.

RIKER: But the introduction of Potter mania to the P.R.C. has not been without controversy. The books were rushed to stores because pirated copies have been circulating there, chalking UP strong sales. In China, the real "Harry Potter" books are printed on special green- tinted paper to try to foil counterfeiters.

The books are also up against concerns about their content because they talk about magic, monsters and sorcery. They've been subject to criticism as promoting superstition. When the People's Republic was founded in 1949, the government outlawed what it called "feudal superstition."

The first three "Potter" books are being sold as a trilogy. By Chinese standards, they're not cheap. But if the throngs of people snapping them up are any indication of the spell that Harry Potter has cast on the rest of the world, well, it's also falling on China as well. Chris Riker, CNN.


TOM HAYNES, CO-HOST: We turn now to the largest country in the world, Russia, a vast land that stretches from Europe to Asia. We head to one of its most remote regions, the Kamchatka Peninsula, an area containing the only active volcanoes in Russia. We'll visit a state nature park and a group of people who have special rights to hunt, trap and fish in this wilderness area.

Gary Strieker takes us there.


GARY STRIEKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At this time of year, pink salmon spawn on the Itcha River. For those who live here, it's a time of plenty.

Like other native Evenis in this region, the Adukanova (ph) family stockpiles smoked salmon and caviar for the long, harsh winter that will soon close in on the Kamchatka Peninsula. Life is not easy here, but these people want nothing else.

Artem (ph) supports his family by hunting and trapping. He says he'll never leave here because this is his land.

This land is also part of Bystrinsky State Nature Park, a wilderness of mountains and forests covering some 13,000 square kilometers, about 5,000 square miles, a UNESCO World Heritage site sheltering rare plant species, abundant wildlife, and the headwaters of major rivers.

For centuries, this was the home of aboriginal people, the Evenis, before the Soviet government forced them into towns and villages to work on state farms. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, families like the Adukanovas came back here to ancestral land that is now a state nature park, and the authorities here have allowed them to stay.

The director of Kamchatka's parks points out the return of native people would have been impossible under the Soviet system. "But we're helping to preserve their culture and lifestyle," he says, "and they will help us to preserve the park."

(on camera): This is a new idea not only here in Russia, but in other parts of the world, that local people should be allowed to remain and live inside a national park and play an active role in park conservation.

(voice-over): In this park, some 30 families like the Adukanovas now live in remote camps along the rivers, surviving by, once again, hunting, trapping and fishing. And if they use these natural resources sustainably, conservation groups, like the Worldwide Fund for Nature, support them. MARGARET WILLIAMS, WORLDWIDE FUND FOR NATURE: We used to work very heavily in areas where no people were allowed, and now we're finding new ways to work side-by-side with local people. It's in their interest to protect the resources, and that's our goal too.

STRIEKER: This pilot project supplies these families with hand- powered radio stations, allowing them to keep in touch with each other and with those on the outside. The next step is training programs to help them protect their resources, to improve their living standards, and to enforce laws against poaching. According to the plan, these people will eventually take responsibility for managing this park.

She says the park is a good thing and that her family and all the others here will always watch over it.

Gary Strieker, CNN, on the Itcha River in Kamchatka, Russia.


WALCOTT: Gordon Parks, one of America's pioneering photographers, turns 88 this month and his extraordinary life and works are being commemorated in a new documentary.

Our Phil Hirschkorn has this profile.


PHIL HIRSCHKORN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The man behind the piano is sometimes labeled a modern renaissance man. He's a composer, an author and film director. He's Gordon Parks, best known for his work as a photographer. Now, 88-years-old, he's the subject of a new documentary produced for HBO.

The photographs of Gordon Parks are gripping for their range and their honesty: children at an interracial camp, a grease worker, a beggar in Paris, or portraits of icons like Muhammad Ali, Duke Ellington or Ingrid Bergman.

From Parks' point of view, a successful picture starts by having respect for your subject matter.

GORDON PARKS, PHOTOGRAPHER: If they don't want to give to you, you're not going to get good photographs of them. If they don't trust you at that moment, they are not going to give you the expressions and things that you want.

HIRSCHKORN: One of Parks' first photos was of his father, a farmer in rural Fort Scott, Kansas. Born in 1913, Parks was the youngest of 15 children. His mother and father were poor, but Parks says he never felt deprived.

PARKS: I had a lot of love, but there was discrimination, there was poverty all around us, and segregated schools. You couldn't eat in certain drugs stores or certainly not restaurants. And at the theaters, if you took your little girlfriend to the theater, you had to eat upstairs. My mother and father wouldn't allow me to let that stop me. They said, a white boy can do it, you can do it, and I demand that you do it better.

HIRSCHKORN (on camera): When Gordon Parks saw pictures of people suffering during the Depression, he realized if those photographs could attack poverty, then he could attack racism. So Parks decided to learn how to use his camera as a weapon.

(voice-over): Parks spend $7 1/2 on a used camera and taught himself how to work it. At his first steady job as a government photographer, Parks produced this picture of a struggling cleaning lady posing in front of the American flag. He called it "American Gothic," just like the famous painting by Grant Wood.

PARKS: The important thing about trying to show bigotry with a camera was that you just couldn't photograph a bigot and write "bigot" underneath the photograph, you had to go to the source of bigotry, which was how people lived and what they were suffering.

HIRSCHKORN: In 1948, "Life" magazine hired Parks, its first black photographer. He stayed on the staff until 1970. This work was part of a retrospective by the museum of the city of New York that toured the U.S. for two years.

Even when capturing just a moment in life, Parks is a storyteller. His essays on gang violence, American Muslims, or segregation in the South focus on real people, like Willie Causey (ph) and his family in Alabama. Parks shines a light on inequality anywhere, showing rich diners in Portugal and the beggars right down the street. He personalized the slums of Brazil in images of an ailing little boy named Flavio. Magazine readers often responded to his work.

PARKS: In Flavio's instance, $30,000 were sent in by people in America in the first three weeks after the story came out.

HIRSCHKORN: Parks bought Flavio a house in Brazil.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're still strong.

PARKS: How are you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm fine, thank you. And you?


HIRSCHKORN: Visiting him there in 1999, the first time they'd seen each other in 22 years, a moment captured in HBO's film.

Gordon Parks hasn't shared only other people's lives, but his own. He has written numerous books of fiction, non fiction,and poetry, starting with the best-selling autobiographical novel "The Learning Tree."

In 1969, Warner Brothers asked Parks to direct a film version of his story, and in doing so he became the first black director for a major Hollywood studio movie. Two years later, Parks directed "Shaft," a huge box office hit about a police detective. On three of his other movies, Parks even composed the music.

Though he's never formally studied music, Parks has written a piano concerto, a symphony, and music for a ballet about the life of Martin Luther King.

PARKS: So many people could do so many things if they just tried. But they're frightened off because they haven't been trained to do this or trained to do that. I wasn't trained to do either one of the things I'm doing. I wasn't trained in photography necessarily. I just picked up a $7.50 camera and went to work.

HIRSCHKORN: And never placed limits on himself. As Parks likes to say, if you want to do something, just try.

Phil Hirschkorn, CNN NEWSROOM, New York City.


WALCOTT: And that wraps up today's show. From all of us here at NEWSROOM, have a great weekend.



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