11:59 AM ET, May 19th, 2015

New Docu-Series from Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman, in association with HBO and Mark Herzog, Premieres Thursday, June 11 Premiere Episode Explores TV of the ‘70s and Features Legendary Producers and Actors including Hanks, Garry Marshall, Norman Lear, Bob Newhart, Valerie Harper, LeVar Burton and More CNN will launch the new eight-part documentary series, The Seventies, […] Full Post

May 24th, 2015
02:58 PM ET

Rep. Gabbard to Jim Acosta on CNN's State of the Union: ‎"...you can't train into someone the will to fight.”

Today on CNN’s State of the Union, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) and  Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), joined senior White House correspondent Jim Acosta to discuss if the United States is losing the battle against ISIS and whether the war against ISIS requires U.S. combat troops in Iraq.

Text highlights and a transcript of the discussion are below

MANDATORY CREDIT: CNN’s “State of the Union”

VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS

Rep. Adam Kinzinger tells Jim Acosta that he supports a GOP proposal to send 10,000 troops to Iraq.

http://cnn.it/1JNhUO1

Dem and GOP lawmakers agree: ISIS gaining ground

http://cnn.it/1ITbhu9

 

TEXT HIGHLIGHTS

Gabbard on whether she agrees with Obama saying that the US is not losing the battle against ISIS: “I disagree with the president on this. ISIS has gained momentum, in particular over the last week… I met with a Sunni tribal leader last week in Washington - they are begging for arms, heavy weapons, ammunition, to be able to fight against ISIS to protect their families and their tribal lands and their territories, but still to this point, both the U.S. and the central Iraqi government is failing to provide that, and, therefore, ISIS continues to be able to grow.”

Kinzinger on the proposal to send 10,000 U.S. troops into Iraq: “Yes, it's reasonable… let's think about where we have been here. And the question is, are we winning against ISIS? Eighteen months ago, I called for bombing ISIS when they moved into Fallujah…  I was accused of wanting to start Iraq three. But we saw what happened then as it went on. ISIS grew. And eventually people got engaged and wanted to destroy them. We are seeing this movement continue to grow… I think we have to do the force that is proportionate, and, frankly, the violence proportionate necessary to push back ISIS.”

Gabbard on the Iraqi lack of will to fight ISIS: “I think it's important for us to really focus on what our mission and goal and objective should be, which is defeating ISIS. Let's look back to Iraq several years ago, where we had over 100,000 U.S. troops there training these Iraqi security forces. After the United States pulled out, you saw how these Iraqi security forces lasted. They cut and run - they cut and ran and dropped their weapons when they were faced with their first real battle with ISIS. So, the issue here is not about how many U.S. troops can be sent to train these Iraqi security forces, because you can't train into someone the will to fight.”

TRANSCRIPT

THIS IS A RUSH FDCH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN ANCHOR: I am joined now by two lawmakers who have a lot of familiarity with what is going on in Iraq, Democratic Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard. She served two tours of duty in the Middle East. and Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger, who served as an Air Force pilot in Iraq.

Thank you very much, Congresswoman, Congressman, for being here on STATE OF THE UNION this morning. Let's get right to it. President Obama said earlier this week that the U.S.-led coalition is not losing this battle against ISIS. Congresswoman, I will go to you first. Is he right about that?

REP. TULSI GABBARD (D-HI): I disagree with the president on this.

REP. ADAM KINZINGER (R-IL): Well, maybe, I guess... (CROSSTALK)

ACOSTA: Let me go to Congresswoman Gabbard first, Congressman. And then we will get to you in just a moment.

KINZINGER: Oh. Please.

ACOSTA: Congresswoman, what do you make of that, the president saying the U.S.-led coalition is not losing?

GABBARD: You know, clearly, ISIS has gained momentum, in particular over the last week, as we have seen the ground that they have gained both in Iraq and Syria.

And I would like to just break it down to what I see as the basic problem here, especially in Iraq, where we are seeing the Sunnis continue to be persecuted by the central government in Baghdad. Their distrust for the central government, this Iranian-influenced Shia militia has really created a situation where, just as a matter of survival, they have no place else to turn to protect their families and their communities other than to ISIS.

You have this solution. You have got the Kurds, the Kurdish Peshmerga, and you have Sunni tribesmen who are literally begging - I met with a Sunni tribal leader last week in Washington - they are begging for arms, heavy weapons, ammunition, to be able to fight against ISIS to protect their families and their tribal lands and their territories, but still to this point, both the U.S. and the central Iraqi government is failing to provide that, and, therefore, ISIS continues to be able to grow.

ACOSTA: What do you make of that, Congressman, the president's assessment last week that we're not losing?

KINZINGER: Well, of course, you are not losing and you are not winning because we are not really engaged in this fight.

At some point, we're going to have to understand that the goal is the destruction of ISIS. The president, when we began this - this - this attack, I guess, on ISIS, he said, you know, we are going to do it, we are going to bomb them, we're going to hit them, but we're not going to put troops on the ground.

And, in essence, what the president did was say, look, we need to destroy ISIS, until that takes boots on the ground, in which case the existence of boots on the ground is worse than the existence of ISIS. I think the president needs to stand in front of the American people and frankly lead on this and say, look, this is a cancer that is growing in the Middle East.

This is not just a situation where, if the house catches on fire, it will burn down and then we just look at a burned-down house. This is now a house on fire in a densely packed neighborhood, where this is going to spread to other places.

So, I think we have to be very aggressive at stopping this cancer now in Iraq, in Syria, in Libya, where it's existing. And I think we have to show a big, major blow to the - to ISIS, because right now you have a lot of people that are sitting in their basements looking on the Internet that want to join ISIS not because they want to be martyrs, but because they want to be part of something big.

And until we show that the chance of martyrdom increases greatly by joining ISIS, I think we are going to continue to see this problem with foreign fighters.

ACOSTA: And I want to toss out to our senior international correspondent, Arwa Damon, who is joining us from Baghdad.

And, Arwa, you have been joining this conversation here. Obviously, we will get to the congresswoman and congressman in just a moment.

But is ISIS being pushed back? Is ISIS losing ground? That is something, those are two assertions that the White House was making last week to sort of cool down all of the second-guessing that's been taking place here in Washington. What can you tell us from the ground there?

ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, look, first of all, one has to continuously keep in mind that the battle lines here are constantly shifting, and small chunks of territory do regularly go back and forth.

But following the fall of Ramadi about a week ago, ISIS did quite quickly push into various other smaller towns located to the east of Ramadi. Now, the Iraqi government has managed to recapture some of them, but not only on its own.

You had a unit that was comprised of the Iraqi army plus, and this was arguably the deciding factor in all of this, the popular mobilization units. And this is this Iranian-backed Shia paramilitary force. And it was largely due to them that they were able to accomplish these very small victories in the grander scheme of things.

They are using the Sunni tribes, we're being told, using them to hold ground, but these Sunni tribes are very underarmed when it comes to the potential threat that they might be facing by ISIS.

But, look, the government at this stage has no choice but to use these unconventional fighting forces. As has been painfully clear at this point, the Iraqi government does not have its own units directly under its own command that are capable of taking on an entity like ISIS.

ACOSTA: And so let me go back to Congresswoman Gabbard about this.

I mean, what is - it seems that we have a strategy in place in terms of providing air support to the Iraqi security forces on the ground or the Peshmerga in the Kurdish areas to the north, but it doesn't seem like any - that is a - an effective strategy at this point, that it is just not working.

You can get into semantics as to whether we are winning or losing or failing, but that strategy just doesn't seem to work. So, I mean, what do you propose, do you think, at this point?

GABBARD: Yes, Jim, I would like to point out a couple of things.

I think that there is definitely more that we can do in providing these decisive blows with airstrikes against these ISIS strongholds. But the Iraqi government actually does have a choice. They have a choice by arming directly the Sunni tribesmen. As your correspondent just pointed out, they are woefully underequipped.

They have the will to fight. They are on the ground begging, saying, please give us the heavy weapons, the arms, the ammunition that we need to be able to fight against ISIS. Instead, the Iraqi government is relying completely on this Iranian-backed Shia military. The U.S. government is now saying, well, we're going to expedite more arms, more ammunition, these anti-tank weapons, to the Iraqi government, when we see that these Iraqi security forces have cut and run and left their weapons for ISIS at a few opportunities.

And these weapons are getting into the hands of the Shia militia. And I want to point out something that happened in the Armed - during - while we were going through the Armed Services Committee hearing process for the National Defense Authorization Act, where I co- sponsored an amendment that would authorize the U.S. government directly arming the Kurds and the Shias.

We had a leader of this Shia militia, Muqtada al-Sadr, as we were going through this hearing live. Quote - he said, "If this bill is passed, we will have no choice but to unfreeze the military wing that deals with the Americans, so it can start targeting American interests both in and outside of Iraq." So, when you look at this, these are the people that the United States is aligning itself with who are essentially saying we are going to come out and attack you if you don't do what we want.

ACOSTA: And, Congressman, I want to ask you this, because you heard some fellow Republicans this week, Senator Lindsey Graham, John McCain, talk about a proposal to send in roughly 10,000 troops into Iraq, primarily to do training and provide intelligence, that sort of thing, not to go and fight house to house in combat situations.

What do you make of that proposal? Does that sound reasonable to you? What do you think?

KINZINGER: Yes. Yes, it's reasonable. I am not sure the exact number, but let's think about where we have been here. And the question is, are we winning against ISIS? Eighteen months ago, I called for bombing ISIS when they moved into Fallujah. At the time, we thought it was al Qaeda, because they had yet to go through their divorce.

I was accused of wanting to start Iraq three. But we saw what happened then as it went on. ISIS grew. And eventually people got engaged and wanted to destroy them. We are seeing this movement continue to grow. And I think, at this point, we have to understand that every day that goes by where we don't push this cancer back, where we allow them to put car bombs in areas - in alleys, we allow them to put IEDs in towns that they occupy right now, every day that goes by, the cost of liberating Iraq or the cost of defeating this cancer is only going to increase.

So, I think we have to do the force that is proportionate, and, frankly, the violence proportionate necessary to push back ISIS. The president likes to talk about the fact that we are not going to send 200,000 troops into Iraq. I agree. I have not even heard a single person ever say that we need another 200,000 troops back in Iraq.

(CROSSTALK)

ACOSTA: You think that's a straw man argument? You think that's a bogus argument?

KINZINGER: I think it's absolutely a straw - I think, absolutely.

If you see how the president argues a lot, he likes to put two false choices up and say he is the one in the middle. I think the one in the middle right now is saying, what do we need to do to be able to embolden the Iraqi territory where it exists, to arm the Peshmerga - I agree with Tulsi - arm the Peshmerga, arm the Sunnis? The problem is, the Peshmerga can't liberate all of Iraq. They have a 600-mile border with ISIS as it exists today.

ACOSTA: Yes.

KINZINGER: They are struggling to maintain their own territory. It's a very complicated battle.

ACOSTA: And, Congresswoman - it is.

But I guess, what do you make of what Congressman Kinzinger just said there? He is OK with 10,000, maybe less, maybe more troops going in there? But you know this. Deployment after deployment, it's breaking military families across this country. On this Memorial Day weekend, that may not be the news they necessarily want to hear, more and more lawmakers calling for troops to go back into Iraq one more time.

How do you prevent mission creep from occurring, Congresswoman?

GABBARD: Well, I think it's important for us to really focus on what our mission and goal and objective should be, which is defeating ISIS.

Let's look back to Iraq several years ago, where we had over 100,000 U.S. troops there training these Iraqi security forces. After the United States pulled out, you saw how these Iraqi security forces lasted. They cut and run - they cut and ran and dropped their weapons when they were faced with their first real battle with ISIS.

ACOSTA: Right.

GABBARD: So, the issue here is not about how many U.S. troops can be sent to train these Iraqi security forces, because you can't train into someone the will to fight.

They don't have the will to fight, this Iraqi security force organization. You do have people who have the will and the courage to fight, and we have seen time and again with the Kurdish Peshmerga. Now these Sunni tribes are - are asking for the equipment that they need to...

ACOSTA: Right.

GABBARD: ... be able to protect their families and their communities.

KINZINGER: Hey, Jim?

GABBARD: And yet, unfortunately, we - we are still not taking care of it and dealing with the obvious.

ACOSTA: Well...

GABBARD: We have these boots on the ground there who are ready to fight.

ACOSTA: And we're going to have to wrap it up there.

KINZINGER: Jim, can I just...

ACOSTA: Well, Congressman, we have got to go, but we appreciate your time.

Well, go ahead and jump in there, if you have got something to say.

KINZINGER: Well, let me just say real quickly, the American military - the American military wants to defeat our enemies.

And - and I think they are ready to go. They're ready to be unleashed, which is necessary. And - and that's what they are called to do.

ACOSTA: All right, very good.

END

 


Topics: Arwa Damon • CNN • Jim Acosta • State of the Union
CNN Films and CNN Digital Studios Pick Up 'THE GNOMIST' at Tribeca Film Festival
April 28th, 2015
01:23 PM ET

CNN Films and CNN Digital Studios Pick Up 'THE GNOMIST' at Tribeca Film Festival

Director/Producer Sharon Liese’s Film to Stream Across CNN Digital Platforms During Fall Short Film Series

Fresh from its world premiere at New York’s Tribeca Film Festival, award-winning filmmaker Sharon Liese’s short film, THE GNOMIST, produced by Herizon Productions and Cynthia Wade, has been acquired by CNN Films and CNN Digital Studios, it was announced today.

“It is a huge honor to have my work selected by such a distinguished network,” says Liese. “I am thrilled that THE GNOMIST and its message will have this expansive reach.”

“We are delighted to be able to bring Sharon’s beautifully-crafted, novel true story to a wide audience via CNN’s robust digital platforms. On the heels of the success of our first series of digital shorts, we are extremely pleased that THE GNOMIST will become part of our fall series of extraordinary short-form films for CNN,” said Courtney Sexton, senior director for program development for CNN Worldwide.

THE GNOMIST is the true story of the mysterious appearance of fairy dwellings in a suburban Kansas forest and the psychic healing power of the magical experience shared by three former strangers.

“THE GNOMIST is an incredible story, beautifully told. It’s the perfect addition to CNN Digital’s continued push into long-form narrative storytelling,” said Chris Berend, vice president of video content development for CNN/U.S.

The acquisition of THE GNOMIST was negotiated by Stacey Wolf, vice president of business affairs, and Sexton, on behalf of CNN. THE GNOMIST will premiere internationally at Hot Docs Film Festival in Toronto (April 29) and continue to screen at other U.S. film festivals this spring. For more information on screenings, please visit www.thegnomistfilm.com. The film is expected to premiere on CNN’s digital platforms sometime in the fall.

Additional films for the fall series will include short films from Andrew Jenks (MTV’s World of Jenks) and Roger Ross Williams (GOD LOVES UGANDA).

CNN’s inaugural series of short films launched in March and includes the films UBAH!, about the uncommon life of Somalian supermodel and philanthropist Ubah Hassan, directed by Joe Berlinger; RAISING RYLAND, a journey inside the transgender experience as lived by a six-year-old boy, directed by Sarah Feeley; and THE 414S: THE ORIGINAL TEENAGE HACKERS, about a small, talented group of Milwaukee teens who hacked into dozens of prominent computer systems – including the Los Alamos National Laboratory – during the early days of the Internet, directed by Michael T. Vollmann. All three of these exceptional short films are now available via www.CNN.com/shortfilms.

About CNN Films

CNN Films produces and acquires documentary feature and short films for theatrical and festival exhibition and distribution across CNN’s multiple platforms.  Amy Entelis, svp of talent and content development, Vinnie Malhotra, svp of development and acquisitions, and Courtney Sexton, senior director for program development, oversee the strategy for CNN Films. For more information about CNN Films, please visit www.CNN.com/CNNFilms, www.CNN.com/shortfilms, and follow @CNNFilms via Twitter.

About CNN

CNN Worldwide is a portfolio of two dozen news and information services across cable, satellite, radio, wireless devices and the Internet in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide. Domestically, CNN reaches more individuals on television, the web and mobile devices than any other cable TV news organization in the United States; internationally, CNN is the most widely distributed news channel reaching more than 271 million households abroad; and CNN Digital is a top network for online news, mobile news and social media. Additionally, CNN Newsource is the world’s most extensively utilized news service partnering with hundreds of local and international news organizations around the world. CNN is division of Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., a Time Warner Company.

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April 20th, 2015
11:42 AM ET

CNN Honored with Two Peabody Awards

IMG_0742CNN has been honored with two prestigious Peabody Awards. The judges commended CNN’s Coverage of the Kidnapped Nigerian School Girls and CNN Investigative Reports: Crisis at the VA.

The judges' citations of CNN's reporting:
CNN’s Coverage of Kidnapped Nigerian Schoolgirls
CNN approached the Boko Haram kidnapping horror from many angles, even moving Isha Sesay’s daily show to Abuja to raise the profile of the #BringBackOurGirls campaign. Sesay’s tough, live-TV interviewing, along with high-risk field reporting of Nima Elbagir, Arwa Damon and other CNN journalists, made the network’s coverage comprehensive and indispensable.

CNN Investigative Reports: Crisis at the VA High-impact journalism, CNN’s investigation into delays in care at Veteran Affairs hospitals exposed a systemic VA breakdown, eventually leading to the resignation of VA Secretary Eric Shinseki, the passage of federal legislation, and a dramatic change in how veterans’ medical appointments are made, recorded and reported.

 


Topics: Arwa Damon • Awards • CNN • CNN International • Drew Griffin • Isha Sesay • Nima Elbagir
Novak Djokovic talks to CNN about winning Laureus Sportsman of the Year prize, chances at Roland Garros
April 15th, 2015
01:39 PM ET

Novak Djokovic talks to CNN about winning Laureus Sportsman of the Year prize, chances at Roland Garros

After winning the Laureus Sportsman of the Year award for the second time, world number one Novak Djokovic spoke to CNN’s Alex Thomas about taking the prestigious prize and his prospects at Roland Garros.

“This is certainly a crown for all the achievements I had in phenomenal 2014 season, that’s been highlighted with a Wimbledon trophy and a year end at number one of the world. And most importantly, my wedding and six months ago I had the honour to become a father…so all in all, it’s been the best year in my life so far,” said the 8-time grand slam champion.

When asked about his chances at Roland Garros and whether Rafael Nadal is beatable, Djokovic said: “Nobody’s unbeatable, I can tell you that. But he’s definitely an ultimate challenge on the clay courts.  He’s the king of clay. He has an incredible record at Roland Garros; he’s only lost one match in his entire career there, so - but he’s not the only player that I’m thinking about winning against on this surface. There’s Federer, of course, Wawrinka. I think it’s really a golden year of men’s tennis at this moment and I’m just trying to stay kind of self-disciplined and committed to this sport.”

FULL POST


Topics: Alex Thomas • World Sport
CNN Enters New Phase in CNN Freedom Project to Expose Modern-Day Slavery
March 31st, 2015
05:27 AM ET

CNN Enters New Phase in CNN Freedom Project to Expose Modern-Day Slavery

2015 to see CNN air new investigations, news reporting and engaging digital content

CNN is bringing viewers a renewed series of reporting and programming about modern slavery in the ground-breaking and award-winning editorial initiative, CNN Freedom Project.

Throughout 2015, CNN will air stories that uncover and expose modern-day slavery including human trafficking, child labour and the sex trade. There will be a focus on turning engagement with CNN Freedom Project into action, with an emphasis on education and harnessing the passion of young people to make a difference.

The aim of CNN Freedom Project is to bring greater global awareness to the problem of modern-day slavery and translate this awareness into real concrete action by donor countries, international organisations, NGOs and private foundations. Through passionate storytelling, investigative journalism, documentaries, live events, and viewer involvement, the CNN Freedom Project helps educate, motivate, and unravel the complicated tangle of criminal enterprises trading in human life.

FULL POST

March 12th, 2015
12:43 PM ET

Filmmaker discusses campus rape and allegations against fraternity in the headlines with CNN's Ashleigh Banfield

CNN's Ashleigh Banfield discusses sexual assault on college campuses and allegations against troubled SAE, a college fraternity recently also in the spotlight following recent revelations of a racist chant by members in a now-viral video of Oklahoma University chapter members.

Filmmaker Amy Ziering discusses THE HUNTING GROUND, a documentary she co-produced with fellow award-winning filmmaker Kirby Dick, with Banfield.  The film, now playing in New York and Los Angeles, opens more in several cities tomorrow, Friday, March 13, and includes allegations that involve the SAE fraternity and its culture.

THE HUNTING GROUND is executive produced by RADiUS and CNN Films.

###

March 11th, 2015
12:23 PM ET

CNN Films and CNN Digital Studios team to launch short docs series beginning today with 'The 414s'

At the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, CNN announced a new series of short films representing a collaboration between CNN Films and CNN Digital Studios.  These original short films directed by established and rising filmmakers will premiere exclusively across CNN’s digital platforms.  The first series of films begins today, March 11, with the 12-minute film, THE 414s: The Original Teenage Hackers, which may be viewed now via www.CNN.com, CNN’s mobile properties (including CNNgo) and CNN’s social footprint.  No authentication is required to view the film.

Whether called “snooping,” “raiding,” or “hacking” – what began as surreptitious activity for fun, eventually grew more deliberate when, in 1983, Milwaukee teenagers Neal Patrick, Gerald Wondra, and Timothy Winslow began experimenting with computer networking using a relatively new technology: personal computers.  The boys called themselves “the 414s,” an homage to the telephone area code associated with their hometown. FULL POST

CNN Takes a Close Look Inside the Life of The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall
The Prince of Wales, The Duchess of Cornwall and CNN’s Max Foster in the grounds of Birkhall, the royal couple’s private residence on the Balmoral estate.
March 5th, 2015
01:01 PM ET

CNN Takes a Close Look Inside the Life of The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall

CNN Spotlight: Charles and Camilla premieres Saturday, March 14 at 7:30 pm ET on CNN

Ahead of Their Royal Highnesses The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall’s official U.S. tour, CNN will air CNN Spotlight: Charles and Camilla – The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall – a half-hour special that includes an exclusive interview with The Prince and new footage of the couple. The program is scheduled to air on Saturday, March 14 at 7:30 pm ET on CNN.

Reported by CNN anchor and London correspondent Max Foster (@maxfostercnn), CNN Spotlight: Charles and Camilla gives viewers special access to the couple as they prepare for their joint visit to the U.S. March 17-20, a few weeks before their 10th wedding anniversary.  FULL POST


Topics: Max Foster
CNN Garners 5 Gracie Allen Awards
March 4th, 2015
01:22 PM ET

CNN Garners 5 Gracie Allen Awards

It was announced today that CNN has been honored by the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation with five Gracie Allen Awards. CNN's recognitions include:

Elizabeth Cohen

Outstanding Original Online Programming – Series for The Empowered Patient

Patricia DiCarlo

Outstanding Director – News

Rachel Nichols

Outstanding On-Air Talent: Sports Program

Isha Sesay

Outstanding Anchor – News or News Magazine

Every Day in Cambodia: A CNN Freedom Project Documentary

Outstanding Documentary

A complete list of Gracie Allen Award winners can be found here: 2015 Gracie Award Winners

 

 

CNN Exclusive: Manny Pacquiao on Floyd Mayweather Jr. showdown
March 3rd, 2015
02:41 PM ET

CNN Exclusive: Manny Pacquiao on Floyd Mayweather Jr. showdown

In an exclusive interview, world champion Filipino boxer Manny Pacquiao tells CNN his eldest children are most excited about his upcoming bout with Floyd Mayweather Jr., saying they would be on the “front row” at the Las Vegas showdown on May 2.

"My son and my daughter, they really wanted this fight to happen…Three years ago [they said] 'Daddy, I want you to fight Mayweather. I want you to fight Mayweather.' I said, 'Why? It's not my fault. He doesn't want to fight.' And now finally now it finally happened. They really, really want to watch the fight."

FULL POST


Topics: Ivan Watson • World Sport
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