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Interview With John Snow; Cosby's Controversial Comments

Aired July 2, 2004 - 22:00   ET


JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: With the exception of the death of Ronald Reagan, it's hard to remember the last time this broadcast did not lead with the war in Iraq or a related story.
Four Americans were killed in Iraq in the last 24 hours and the country is still buzzing from Saddam Hussein's appearance in court yesterday. We'll get to all that in a bit but the story we begin with tonight is the economy and its election year spin-off, pocketbook politics.

New job numbers are out today and they were not as good as many economists had predicted. The economy is growing but the manufacturing sector still struggling and many of the new jobs don't pay as much as the old ones.

Jobs are what both the president and his Democratic challenger focused on today because with just four months to go before the election every economic indicator counts.

So, the White House is where we begin the whip. Elaine Quijano is there and she has been watching the spinning of the latest numbers, Elaine a headline please.

ELAINE QUIJANO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John, one set of new job numbers came out today, as you said. Republicans and Democrats are reading them in two different ways each group trying to lead voters to a different conclusion about where the economy is heading -- John.

KING: Thank you Elaine, back to you in a bit.

In Sudan, what some have called a slow-motion genocide continues. Jeff Koinange was there, Jeff a headline from you.

JEFF KOINANGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John, fear remains the overriding emotion in Sudan, as terrified refugees shared with their stories with U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan. The Sudanese government insists the crisis is being overblown by the international community. The question now is just how much of a difference will all the international attention make -- John.

KING: Back to Jeff in a moment too.

And Bill Cosby has done it again, raised issues in public that most wouldn't dare even mention in private. Jason Carroll is in New York, Jason a headline please. JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, Cosby's comments have definitely stirred up a lot of emotions within the black community, some saying his comments were too harsh, others saying he's making some tough but valid points -- John.

KING: Thank you, Jason, back with you and all of you shortly.

Also on the program tonight, rebuilding trust in the Catholic Church, a tough assignment for two young priests in Boston.

Also he once fought for freedom and against war, even as William Sloane Coffin ages some things never change.

And, as we fade to black tonight Marlon Brando. All that coming up.

Most years Labor Day would be the beginning of the real presidential campaign not this year. It's July Fourth weekend and we're already off to the races. As James Carville famously reminded the Democrats 12 years ago, it's the economy stupid and even with a war going on it still could the economy that decides this election.

Elaine Quijano looks at today's employment numbers and how the candidates hope, hope they're interpreted by the voters.


QUIJANO (voice-over): Steady and strong, that's how President Bush sees the economy even after new job growth numbers that fell short of economists' predictions.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: After all we've been through, a recession, a national emergency, a war, corporate scandals, and all of that means it's been a difficult period of time yet we're strong. We're getting stronger.

QUIJANO: Friday's Labor Department numbers, 112,000 new jobs created in June, amount to less than half of what analysts had forecast but the Bush administration maintains, thanks to its economic policies, the bigger picture is rosier than that smaller snapshot citing ten consecutive months of job growth with 1.5 million new jobs created.

DON EVANS, COMMERCE SECRETARY: Unemployment which peaked at 6.3 percent is now at 5.6 percent, 5.6 percent is below the average unemployment level of the 1970s and the 1980s and the 1990s.

QUIJANO: Yet Democrats read the numbers as a sign the economic glass is half empty. They point to a jobs deficit saying the jobs gained don't balance out the nearly two million jobs they say have been lost since President Bush took office.

SEN. JOHN KERRY (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: More than a million Americans who were working three years ago have lost their jobs and the new jobs that are finally being created are paying on average $9,000 less than the jobs that we're losing but guess what, as the wages go down your health care costs are going up, your tuitions are going up, your bills are going up.


QUIJANO: As for President Bush today he repeated a call to Congress for help in strengthening the economy by keeping tax cuts permanent by adopting a national energy policy and by reducing what the administration calls frivolous lawsuits -- John.

KING: Elaine, both candidates working quite feverishly to make their case. Who's winning the debate so far?

QUIJANO: Well, still four months out but a recent CNN poll found that most voters feel that John Kerry would be able, better able to handle the economy than George Bush. That was a 13 point margin, John Kerry 53 percent, George Bush 40 percent. At the same time, voters also ranking the economy as most important to them ahead of other concerns like terrorism and the overall management of government -- John.

KING: A critical debate to play out as we go on. Elaine Quijano at the White House thank you very much.

Earlier today I talked with Treasury Secretary John Snow about the new jobs numbers and their political significance.


KING: Help me understand your perception of the politics of this. You are traveling as one of the president's ambassadors, if you will, around the country a great bit in this election year.

If you look at the polling data, Senator Kerry is trusted more than the president of the United States right now when voters are asked who do you trust to handle the economy?

There is still a sense of unease, if you will, that the economy has truly turned a corner If you think things are so good and so encouraging why has not that message broken through and that optimism?

JOHN SNOW, TREASURY SECRETARY: Well, a couple of things there. One is the lags that are normal in these circumstances and second, of course, is the attention that Iraq, the transfer of sovereignty has been receiving.

But as I travel the country, John, it's unmistakable that people are much more optimistic. Businesses are hiring. Businesses are expanding and growing and there's a sense of an economy that's really hitting on all cylinders.


KING: The treasury secretary and his fellow Republicans may think the economy is hitting on all cylinders but presumptive Democratic nominee John Kerry disagrees and he's hitting the road over this long holiday weekend to try to get that message across.

CNN's Joe Johns is along for the ride.


JOHN JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Kicking off his summer campaign with a heartland bus tour starting in Minnesota. John Kerry's road show arrived here in Cloquet unfurling the flag on Fourth of July weekend in small town American, the candidate talking baseball, barbecue, patriotism and, of course, politics.

KERRY: We are going to bring an end to the Bush administration and march forward.

JOHNS: The campaign was clearly looking to project some Rockwell moments, while going after President Bush on a range of issues, including jobs and the economy on the same day the government reported unemployment held steady last month and that fewer people were added to the payrolls than expected.

KERRY: This administration says to you that this is the best economy of our lifetime. They say that this is the best that we can do. They've even called us pessimists. Well, I say to them the most pessimistic thing that you can say is that America can do better than we're doing today.

JOHNS: A recent CNN poll shows the president enjoys overwhelming support among rural voters. Democrats are looking to do better in the heartland than Al Gore did four years ago.

Among the other themes the campaign is trying to push health care and the war in Iraq, pointing out that rural communities are over represented in military call-ups. However all of this is being overshadowed, at least for now, by speculation about Kerry's choice of a running mate, so far no hints from Kerry or the campaign. The announcement could come as early as next week.

Three of the politicians frequently mentioned, North Carolina Senator John Edwards, Missouri Congressman Richard Gephardt and Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack. Kerry is scheduled to appear in Iowa with Vilsack on Sunday.

(on camera): Kerry's bus tour goes from here to another rally in Minnesota. He'll start the day in Wisconsin on Saturday. The tour wraps up in Iowa on Sunday.

Joe Johns CNN, Cloquet, Minnesota.


KING: If you still think your vote doesn't count well you sure don't live in Florida. As Jeff Greenfield reported last night, both campaigns are furiously working to gain the slightest advantage in the state that once again could be the tie breaker but some people just found out they might not be allowed to vote at all in 2004 and, again, it might be enough to make all the difference.

CNN's Susan Candiotti is in Miami with that story. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They went ahead and removed me. It's like guilty they took from innocent.

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Darren Jones was stunned when he opened a letter last month from the Miami- Dade Elections Office.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The court system has notified the elections department of your recent felony conviction, which is not true.

CANDIOTTI: True Jones is a convicted felon who served six months of house arrest but that was in 1998.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, I know this couldn't be right.

CANDIOTTI: Like all Florida felons are required to do, Jones applied for and got his voting right back in 2003 and says he proudly used his card to cast a vote in last spring's Democratic primary. Dade elections officials admit they goofed this time but can't explain it.

(on camera): What happened to Darren Jones is happening to others. CNN successfully sued Florida election officials to get a list, and this is just a part of it, of 47,000 suspected felons who could be dumped from voter rolls and, like the case of Darren Jones, we found mistake after mistake.

(voice-over): At 22, Sam Heyward was convicted of buying stolen furniture. In 1986 he won back his voting rights and says he hasn't missed an election, only to discover he's on the new suspected felons list.

SAM HEYWARD, VOTER: To find out that my name was still on the list and then they said well it may have some effect on your voting privileges, I'm like well I don't see how. I've been voting for the last 15 years.

CANDIOTTI: "The Miami Herald" reports that it documented more than 2,100 errors on the massive list. Of the 47,000 named, 39 percent reportedly are black Democrats. Twenty percent are white Democrats, 16 percent white Republicans.

With only about four months to go before the presidential election, 67 county supervisors now find themselves under orders from the capital to confirm the new so-called suspected felons list. Few, if any, are happy about it.

ION SANCHO, LEON COUNTY ELECTION SUPERVISOR: As an elections official asking me to conduct criminal background checks and spend most of my time in the criminal justice system would be analogous to asking doctors to do tax returns and is simply not our job.

CANDIOTTI: A spokesman for Governor Jeb Bush says the list is only a tool and insists election officials will have enough time to check each name before the next election.

The NAACP and ACLU settled a lawsuit against Florida two years ago. It called for improving the state's voter database.

HOWARD SIMON, FLORIDA ACLU: And if state officials placed an eligible voter on the list of people to be purged that is negligence on the part of state officials.

CANDIOTTI: For Darren Jones and others the mix-ups make them wonder what will happen in November.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's going to happen again. Trust me. It's going to happen again.

CANDIOTTI: Susan Candiotti, CNN, Miami.


KING: Now to Iraq where this week's rather quite handover of sovereignty hasn't resulted in an end to the violence. Four American soldiers were killed in three different incidents. That brings the total number of troop fatalities to 862.

Missiles hit two Baghdad hotels today a reminder that even if the war is over the battles go on. Three people were hurt.

Two Turkish hostages under threat of beheading were released by their captors. Three others were released earlier this week.

And yet another fascinating glimpse of Saddam Hussein from Thursday's arraignment. This time the world sees him with a trim beard, a western jacket and the universal symbol of police custody, handcuffs.

Ahead on NEWSNIGHT, one of the country's most influential African Americans says take responsibility for your life and he has some strong opinions about the "N" word.

And later on top of the world a tribute to the onward and upward spirit of American skyscrapers and the fearless men who built them.


KING: It's like the mother rule. You can say something bad about your mother but good luck to anyone else who disses her. That's the way the "N" word plays out for many in the African American community. It's offensive, it's said, by someone who isn't black but to some blacks it's perfectly OK and, in some cases, even considered a term of endearment.

You hear it on the street. You hear it, of course, in rap music but its charm is wearing thin among some who believe that personal responsibility needs to eclipse street talk, as CNN's Jason Carroll reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) CARROLL (voice-over): It's Bill Cosby's new routine but it's not comedy.

BILL COSBY, ENTERTAINER: The more you invest in that child the more you're not going to let some CD tell your child how to curse and how to say the word nigger is an accepted word, you're so hip with niggers, but you can't even spell it.

CARROLL: Cosby blames parents and the recording industry for promoting artists who use the word. For years this issue has been debated within the black community. In Chicago...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The "N" word is used in an endearing manner among African Americans.

CARROLL: A black university in Washington, D.C.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sometimes you need to come out with a shocking statement to get people to stand up and take notice.

CARROLL: A basketball court in Fort Greene Brooklyn.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I hate the word. It makes my skin crawl when I hear it no matter who says it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I feel that using the word nigger is just a way that we can, a way that us younger kids can express ourselves.

CARROLL: How do you justify it?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Like I said it's a brother.

CARROLL: But I mean, but you use the term as brother, you're saying...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My brother, yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't use it as the white people use it.

CARROLL: Industry leaders say rap lyrics can be provocative but also insightful.

RUSSELL SIMMONS, CEO, RUSH COMMUNICATIONS: Sometimes the poetry or the music is a reflection of conditions that we need to look at closely.

CARROLL: Cosby's main message take more responsibility. Stop blaming those outside the community for problems within it.

COSBY: It is almost analgesic to talk about what the white man is doing against us.

CARROLL (on camera): What about this thought of him saying that "we've got to stop, the community does too much blaming for problems that exist within the community," what do you think about that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think that's true.

CARROLL: You do think that's true?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Someone who is just exorbitantly wealthy making these comments about people who are poor (unintelligible) classes.

CARROLL: But Edna Hunt (ph) says many from her generation agree with Cosby.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You can't keep (unintelligible) up all the time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think that the heartfelt intent is to inspire and to raise the bar.

CARROLL: At least it is raised inspiring discussion.


CARROLL: But not enough people are taking advantages of some of the opportunities made by people who made sacrifices during the civil rights movement. Now, again, these are comments that we've heard before but hearing them this time from this man really seems to have struck a nerve -- John.

KING: Struck a nerve, Jason, and started a very public debate. From your reporting are there any obvious fault lines here? Is it a class debate? Mr. Cosby obviously is very well off financially. Or is it a generational debate?

CARROLL: Generational definitely, many of the older people that we spoke to seem to share Cosby's viewpoint, many of the younger people not so. Also socioeconomic, you find that a lot of people in the black community say well those who -- this is really a discussion between the haves and the have nots. The haves, who do not like this type of language and the have nots who say, look, this language is part of the street. And in terms of taking responsibility try living where we live and then talk about responsibility -- John.

KING: Jason Carroll for us in New York tonight, Jason thank you very much.

Now we want to continue this discussion now with the director and producer of a controversial and gritty new documentary called, you guessed it, "The N Word." Todd Williams and Helena Echegoyen join us from our Los Angeles bureau. Thank you both for joining us.

Todd Williams let me start with you with the same question I just asked Jason Carroll. Break this down. What did you learn in doing this documentary about how this debate breaks down within the African American community?

TODD WILLIAMS, AUTHOR, "THE N WORD": Yes, I mean there are certainly two sides. There are people who really do like to use it and freely use it as much as they can. And then there's the other side that sort of recoil every time they hear it. They're very bothered by it.

KING: And, Helena, in your experience, I saw the Reverend Jesse Jackson on TV earlier today and he said this is not a new debate in the African American community. It's just that white people are starting to notice it because somebody like Bill Cosby is stepping in. Is that a fair statement?

HELENA ECHEGOYEN, PRODUCER, "THE N WORD": Well, in our documentary, which airs this Sunday at 9:00 p.m., we talk about that phenomena. We talk about the fact that as hip-hop culture has gone global the word has been exported in a way that we couldn't have predicted.

KING: And Mr. Cosby talks about street language but, Todd, a lot of people who may have started on the street are making a lot of money off this, aren't they?

WILLIAMS: Yes, that's that same old mantra we hear all the time from rappers, which is, you know, basically greed is good, to borrow from Gordon Gekko and the movie "Wall Street" and that's what they're doing. Everything's fine as long as we're making money, you know, where...

KING: Helena do you -- I'm sorry, Todd, keep going.

WILLIAMS: No, I was just saying we're rappers. We hear a lot of people say, you know, we're businessmen. That's what we do, you know, and as long as they're making money they feel like it's almost, it's commendable in their mind.

KING: Let me ask you both your own personal experiences. In your everyday conversations do you use the word?

ECHEGOYEN: I don't. I mean I'm a business person. I don't find any occasion to use that word, you know. I don't use MF. I don't use the "C" word, I mean.

WILLIAMS: It's not a part of who I am. It's not part of my being. I don't make a point of using it. I mean but I also feel the need to censor myself. I don't feel like, ah, you know, I can't say this, you know. But, again, in the documentary we talk about context a lot.

It's also very much about context. I would never say it in mixed company. I would never say it certainly around in a group of white people. That would make them feel very uncomfortable and that's not something I would want to do.

But I mean does it have occasion to slip out here and there when I'm with friends, yes, yes, but I don't think it's doing any damage when I do it and it's something again we address in the documentary.

But, you know, in terms to address what Mr. Cosby is saying he's saying that this word does a lot more damage to the psyche of black America and that's what he's just trying to point out.

KING: In the documentary I know you explain the historical origins of this word. Help us.

ECHEGOYEN: Well, some peg it to the slave trade. Some say its origins are Dutch. Some say its origins are Spanish or Portuguese. Pretty much it's been tied, its derogatory context has been tied to the slave trade here in America and a desire to sort of give it a pejorative context.

KING: Todd Williams, who are you trying to reach with this powerful work, a broad audience, a specific niche?

WILLIAMS: Yes, I wanted -- you know what I really hope that everybody watches it because the broader argument in our documentary is that this word isn't just about the word nigger, it's about every racial slur in the English language.

And if you try -- people have been asking me why did I call it "The N Word" and why didn't I just call it nigger. The reason I called it "The N Word" was because I thought, you know, how ironic that we can't even call it nigger anymore.

If you were to use it on the show, John, you wouldn't say nigger, you would say the "N" word and I think that's sad because when you change that you're trying to change history.

KING: Let me jump in on that point. I was talking to the show's producer coming on. I was raised in Boston during forced bussing, during racial riots, and my father told me at a very young age if he ever heard I had spoken the word I might never speak again. How has the evolution of this word just over the last 20 years, say, both in the white community and in the African American community in terms of the use of the word?

WILLIAMS: Well, I mean it's obviously very, again, ironic that you turn on the TV you can hear white kids saying it. You hear them throw it back and forth pretty freely. I mean I've seen it. I've heard it.

There are clips in the documentary where a movie "Black and White" where there's a whole subculture. I don't know if it's as popular as it used to be but it's called "Wiggers," you know, white kids who think they're niggers, hence the title "Wiggers."

I think it's one of these words it's always going to be here, you know, and it will get pushed further, further and further back into the sort of recesses of the mind where maybe 20 years from now someone says it in open company and someone sort of snickers and laughs and says, "Oh my God, I can't believe you used the word nigger," you know, but I don't think it will -- you know we're a far more integrated society than we used to be.

KING: Helena, your opinion as this debate intensifies, will the word at least to some ever lose its sting? ECHEGOYEN: Well, I believe it's a generational thing. I mean even among older African Americans it's still extremely painful and rightfully so. I mean they've had experiences that we have not.

I think, you know, the same thing happens in Germany with the Holocaust. The same thing happens in Japan with the war as generations die off and as younger people revise their relationship to their own history words change.

KING: I want to thank you both. It's a fascinating subject and I want to thank you both for a fascinating discussion. Todd Williams, Helena Echegoyen, thank you for joining us tonight.

ECHEGOYEN: Thank you.

KING: Thank you. Good luck for your documentary.

Coming up on NEWSNIGHT, the second major diplomat in a week visits Sudan where a million people have been driven out of their homes. Will the latest high profile visitors make a difference?

And later a patriot speaks out about America, terrorism, and caring about both.

From Washington this is NEWSNIGHT.


KING: It's the practice of NEWSNIGHT every night to pay respects to Americans who have died in Iraq. The day when there are no more casualties to report can't come soon enough.

If we applied that practice to civilians killed in the civil wars in Sudan, it would take up the entire broadcast every night for weeks. The situation is so dire that United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan went there to see if he could make a difference, CNN's Jeff Koinanage now with that story.


KOINANGE (voice-over): U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan trying to see for himself the conditions in the refugee camps of Sudan's strife-torn western (unintelligible) region.

There was no hiding, the desperate refugees pleading with the U.N.'s top man to protect them from what many believe is a government sponsored militia, the Janjaweed they say have been raping, murdering and pillaging villages at will. They are a small band of former Arab tribesmen now shockingly well armed and continuing their rampage against Sudan's native black population.

Annan did his best to convince these people that help is at hand but many here still aren't ready to go back to their villages. "I would rather stay here and get free food and shelter like a beggar than go back and die" this man says. Annan's visit followed a similar trip by U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell the day before but it's too soon to tell just how significant the presence of two of the world's top diplomats will have on Africa's latest trouble spot but even critics here admit it offers the best hope yet for what many are calling the world's worst looming humanitarian catastrophe.


KOINANGE: And John, from Sudan, the U.N. secretary general heads to neighboring Ethiopia where he's expected to address the annual summit of the African union and likely press for more peacekeepers into the strife torn Darfur area, thereby sending a direct message to the Sudanese government that if it can't rein in the dreaded Janjaweed militia, then the African union will have no choice but to send in its own troops -- John.

KING: Jeff Koinange, for us tonight from Nairobi. Thank you very much Jeff.

A quick look now at other news around the world today. What was described as a moderate earthquake still did terrible damage in a remote region of Turkey. Eighteen people were killed, but officials report it could have been worse. Many residents had already left with their flocks for summer pastures in the nearby mountains.

In the Persian Gulf, up to 900 U.S. military dependents will be out of Bahrain. Pentagon sources tell CNN because of credible intelligence that the tiny nation could be the next site of a terrorist kidnapping or other attack on Americans.

And finally we'll leave it for to you decide whether this belongs under the headline "that was fun" or "gee I wish I hadn't done that."

Yes, that is Secretary of State Colin Powell dressed as one of "The Village People" and dancing up a storm. Lighthearted skits are a regular feature of the final night of the annual meeting of the foreign ministers from the Pacific region. As you watch Secretary Powell, it could have been worse. The Russians sang "Yellow Submarine."

Still to come on NEWSNIGHT, a new challenge for the Catholic Church, rebuilding trust.

And later, the birth of the American skyscraper, in still life.

Around the world, this is NEWSNIGHT.


KING: The stories of sexual abuse involving Catholic priests and their parishioners have been coming on an almost continuous stream. One estimate is that lawsuits have already cost the church over $1 billion. More important than any amount of money, the scandal has been done incalculable damage to the bond between a priest and his parish. Dan Lothian in Boston reports now on how two new priests fresh out of seminary are working to try to regain that trust.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In the name of the Father...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're not giving up...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... and of the Son...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is some pressure on us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... and of the Holy Spirit.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're good guys.


DAN LOTHIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Just out of seminary, father George Hines still faces another big test, helping rebuild trust in the church.

FATHER GEORGE HINES, IMMACULATE CONCEPTION: It is a critical time and we're under a lot of scrutiny.

LOTHIAN: Father Hines was attending St. John's seminary in Boston, as was Father Michael Drea when the priest sex abuse scandal broke three days ago.

FATHER MICHAEL DREA, ST. ANN'S CATHOLIC CHURCH: There was days when there was profound sadness...

HINES: When you walked down the street, you'd get questions. How are you doing this? Is this something that you really want to do?

LOTHIAN: As they sat in these classrooms they held strong to their faith and to a desire to polish the church's tarnished image.

DREA: I'm needed and I need commit to this and I need to be strong in the face of great sadness and great disappointment.

LOTHIAN: The seminary adjusted its curriculum to help young priests deal with new challenges.

FATHER CHRIS COYNE, PROFESSOR, ST. JOHN'S SEMINARY: Such as how one is viewed within the community in light of the abuse crisis, issues of identity, issues of relationships, issues of maturity.

LOTHIAN: There were also changes in the church, at Immaculate Conception in Malden, south of Boston...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The body of Christ...

LOTHIAN: ... where Father Hines is serving, counseling sessions especially with young people are conducted in rooms with windows. HINES: And that protects both the youth and the priest.

LOTHIAN (on camera): The newly ordained priests are also facing additional challenges, filling pews and offering plates. Attendance and contributions were already on the decline but were further impacted, say church officials, by the scandal. More than 60 churches in the archdiocese are closing.

DREA: It's going to take an awful lot of convincing to come back and to again place your confidence in the person who you feel has broken that sense of trust. So I need to earn that back.

LOTHIAN (voice-over): Faith of the fathers, determined to help the church move beyond the crisis one parishioner at a time.

HINES: As long as we are who we say we are, and that is holy men, I think people will see that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This mass has ended. Go in peace.

LOTHIAN: Dan Lothian, CNN, Boston.


KING: A quick look at some of the news around the country tonight. Four people are dead after what appears to be a murder/suicide at a meat packing plant in Kansas City, Kansas. Three others are hospitalized. Police are still trying to establish the motive for the shootings.

Titan's secrets will remain Titan's secrets, at least for now. After yesterday's spectacular clear pictures of Saturn's rings, the Cassini spacecraft couldn't see the moon Titan through what one scientist called an organic goo much like Los Angeles smog. Gee, you go that far away, still just like home.

And finally, the Buckles twins are finally headed home in separate car seats. Erin and Jade, who shared a chest and a liver, were discharged from the Washington D.C. Hospital today recovering well from the six-hour surgery that separated them.

Ahead on NEWSNIGHT, they are some of the most American of symbols built by some of the bravest of Americans, seen tonight from the beginning.

Also, he's 80 years old and still one of America's most passionate patriots.

From Washington, this is NEWSNIGHT.


KING: It's the July 4th weekend, when along with barbecues and beaches, Americans celebrate the values and ideals that formed this nation. The American spirit has always included a bit of the bad boy, a dash of the dangerous, and a fierce pride in being the first, the fastest, the tallest. There may be taller buildings out there now, but this is still the country that invented the skyscraper.

In his book "High Steel", Jim Rasenberger looks back at the upward explosion of the modern skyline and at the ironworkers who still risk their lives to touch the sky.



JIM RASENBERGER, AUTHOR, "HIGH STEEL": One of the really extraordinary things when you look into the past of New York City is how quickly the skyscrapers almost exploded out of the ground at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century. Until 1890, the tallest structure in Manhattan was the steeple of Trinity Church, which was 284 feet over Broadway, fairly tall, but in 10 years, you had steel frame skyscrapers that were 300, even 400 feet.

By 1912, you had the Woolworth Building going up, 800 feet tall. The Woolworth Building was the tallest building until the Chrysler Building in the late 1920's, when another huge building boom hit the city and then the Empire State Building, of course, became the tallest building until the World Trade Center. Even today, it's rare for a skyscraper to go up faster than two floors a week.

The Empire State Building towards the end was going up at five floors a week, an extraordinary rate that has never been matched since then. Ironworkers love to work on the tallest building. It becomes part of their legacy. Ironworkers do often look like they're on top of the world. And one of the wonderful things about ironworkers is they feel that way.

You feel very removed from all the hubbub down below and it can feel quite peaceful at times to be 800 feet over the ground eating your lunch on a beam. They leave at the end of the day and they can look back over their shoulder and say, I built that today. They can literally see the steel that they put up in the sky.

They knew the World Trade Center was going to be the tallest building in the world. For New York ironworkers, this was the place to be, in much the same way that the Time Warner Center was the place to be in 2001. The end of the 20th century and the start of the 21st century, we've lived through a radical transformation where technology and communications especially became one of the centerpieces of our economy.

Although, the Time Warner Center is sort of the headquarters of the revolution, it was still built pretty much the old-fashioned way by men getting up on steel, climbing steel columns, putting beams and columns together, doing this, braving the elements and risking their necks to do it. The Trade Center was topped out by the raising gang of a young Newfoundland ironworker named Jack Doyle (ph), who was 26 years old, had wanted to work on the World Trade Center since he first read about it when he was 18.

He not only worked on both of the towers, but he also worked on all seven buildings of the World Trade Center. When the whole complex went down, as he said to me, he saw 10 years of his work life just wiped out.

You have to understand that ironworkers had a very intimate connection with the towers of the World Trade Center. Every ironworker in New York just about tried to go down to ground zero right after 9/11. They knew that they had the means to help out with the rescue. They could cut steel. They could move steel. They knew how to hoist it and do it safely.

So ironworkers have fond feelings for the World Trade Center, and most of them can't wait to get back and rebuild it or build the freedom tower to take its place.


KING: Ahead on NEWSNIGHT, when he was a young civil rights activist, William Sloane Coffin spoke of equality and justice. Some things just get better, even better with age.

And later, a look back at the life and career of Marlon Brando, a break first.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He begins again to speak...



KING: There is a quotation from the economist John Kenneth Galbraight often applied to journalists that says "one should comfort afflicted and afflict the comfortable especially when they are comfortably, even happily wrong." However, there are few journalists or economists who can hold a candle to the Reverend William Sloane Coffin. A man who spent a lifetime speaking out against racism, against war, against poverty and a man who continues to afflict those of us who get a bit too comfortable with the way things are.

NEWSNIGHT's Beth Nissen reports.


BETH NISSEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He has been in the news, made news for decades as one of the original freedom writers for civil rights, as one of the most outspoken opponents of the Vietnam War, as senior minister at the interdenominational Riverside Church in New York City, condemning apartheid with South Africa, U.S. involvement in El Salvador, nuclear proliferation everywhere.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The journey from the head to the heart is the longest in the world.

NISSEN: William Sloane Coffin, now 80, has not been in the news much in the last few years. He had a stroke in 1999, which affected his speech, but not what he has to say and he still has a lot to say.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fourth of July is coming on and I'm feeling very patriotic, and I wanted to see my country do better.

NISSEN: It will surprise few that this long-time liberal lion is dismayed by the war in Iraq.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: War can be called unnecessary evil, but we have to remember, most necessary evils are far more evil than they are necessary.

NISSEN: Coffin is also dismayed by the millions of Americans who had doubts about the war, but did not express them, press them for fear of seeming unpatriotic.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's really so disheartening people think, we're patriotic, you know we're free as they watch the baseball game on television and drink beer, we're free, freest country in the world. No, come on, cheap, cheap patriotism.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Patriotism is a deep, deep love for a country. The real patriots in every country are those who carry on a lover's quarrel with their country. Lover's quarrel, that's what we need in this world.

NISSEN: Coffin understands the national desire in the aftermath of September 11 to pull together.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Unity is a beautiful thing, but unity in follow, unity in cruelty, unity in stupidity? What's the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) of unity in those cases? We're going about it the wrong way.

NISSEN: And focusing, Coffin believes, on the wrong foes.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT: North Korea, Iran, Iraq constitute an axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The axis of evil is environmental degradation, pandemic poverty, and a world awash with weapons. Now, that's an axis of evil. One of the greatest things we could do for our national security would be to take many billions of dollars and wage war against poverty in the world. Waging war against poverty would certainly greatly diminish the reasons for and the number of recruits for terrorism.

NISSEN: The United States has the resources, but not the will, he says, to fight for social and economic justice in a world of limousines and beggars. It is easier, he says, to budget more for defense, deploying more troops.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're being told we have to follow our fears, not be led by our values. We're imposing on the world. We're not leading the world. We're not an example to the world. You have to have courage, imagination, strong hearts, you know.

NISSEN: In what those who know him see as profoundest irony, the heart of William Sloane Coffin is feeling. He has terminal heart disease. For a few hours most days he works on a book he's writing, entitled "Letters to a Young Doubter". He tires easily. He rests often on the porch of his Vermont home. He describes himself now as an old man in a hurry to do what he can to improve this world before he leaves it, to urge his fellow citizens, fellow humans to take more, have more care.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Caring is the greatest thing. Caring matters most.

NISSEN: Beth Nissen, CNN, Strafford, Vermont.


KING: A man who speaks his mind and forcefully so. Agree or disagree, a right worth celebrating this holiday weekend.

Still ahead here on NEWSNIGHT, a look back at Marlon Brando.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm going to make him an offer he can't refuse.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You don't understand, I could have had class. I could have been a contender. I could have been somebody.


KING: Two Academy Awards called him best actor, but it doesn't take an Oscar to know that Marlon Brando is in a class by himself on stage and on screen. The actor died Thursday at age 80, after suffering pulmonary fibrosis, a fatal lung disease. We could wax poetic about his talents, but no one proves his gift better than he does. So, we remember him at his finest.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's all I know you (UNINTELLIGIBLE) loyal to me until death, until death, like a real son.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, I don't know.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you an assassin?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are neither. You're an errand boy, sent by grocery clerks to collect a bill.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I could have been a lot better, Charlie.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The point is we don't have much time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm telling you I haven't made up my mind yet.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well make up your mind before we get to 437 River Street.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I speak not to disprove what Brutus spoke.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want to know what your hopes and your dreams are that got lost along the way.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right, I'm going to do it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good, good, sweetheart. You're a sweetheart.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bravo. You're making sense.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because of the risk involved, my end's got to be six million.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Operator, I got a nut down here (UNINTELLIGIBLE) six million. No, no, send the paramedics, I think -- are you all right?


KING: I could watch that one over and over again. Unfortunately, though we're out of time. Wherever you're watching around the world, have a great weekend. If you're here in the United States, have a safe and fabulous 4th.

Thanks for joining us. Fun for me, I hope bearable for you. Have a great weekend. Good night from Washington.


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