White Nationalism and The 2020 Campaign | The New York Times Close Up with Sam Roberts

White Nationalism and The 2020 Campaign | The New York Times Close Up with Sam Roberts


♪ ]THEME MUSIC] ♪>>I’M SAM ROBERTS OF THE NEW YORK TIMES. AND WELCOME TO THE “NEW YORK TIMES CLOSEUP.” THE TIMES PUBLISHES TOUGH, SOMETIMES HIGHLY CRITICAL STORIES ABOUT PUBLIC FIGURES LIKE PRESIDENT TRUMP AND HARVEY WEINSTEIN. IT ALSO REPORTS ON MANY PEOPLE WHO ARE NOT WELL KNOWN. IT’S UP TO REPORTERS AND EDITORS TO MAKE SURE THE STORIES ARE ACCURATE, BUT IT’S UP TO A NEWSROOM LAWYER TO ENSURE THE TIMES AVOIDS LEGAL JEOPARDY. THAT’S NOT ALWAYS EASY IN AN ERA WHEN THE PRESIDENT ATTACKS THE PRESS AS “THE ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE.” TIMES DEPUTY GENERAL COUNSEL DAVID MCCRAW WILL TELL YOU HOW HE TACKLES THAT CRITICAL JOB. BUT WE BEGIN WITH THE POLITICAL IMPLICATIONS OF A RISING TIDE OF WHITE NATIONALISM. THE ISSUE FLARED UP WHEN PRESIDENT TRUMP SAID THERE WERE, “VERY FINE PEOPLE ON BOTH SIDES” OF THE 2017 NEO NAZI RALLY IN CHARLOTTESVILLE IN WHICH A WOMAN WAS KILLED. JOE BIDEN’S VIDEO ANNOUNCING HIS PRESIDENTIAL BID PUT THE ISSUE, AND TRUMP’S COMMENTS, BACK ON THE POLITICAL FRONT BURNER.>>HE SAID THERE WERE, “VERY FINE PEOPLE ON BOTH SIDES.” VERY FINE PEOPLE ON BOTH SIDES? IF WE GIVE DONALD TRUMP EIGHT YEARS IN THE WHITE HOUSE, HE WILL FOREVER AND FUNDAMENTALLY ALTER THE CHARACTER OF THE NATION.>>HERE’S WHAT TRUMP SAID LAST WEEK WHEN HE WAS ASKED ABOUT THE BIDEN VIDEO AND HIS OWN ORIGINAL CHARLOTTESVILLE COMMENTS.>>YOU LOOK AT WHAT I SAID, YOU WILL SEE THAT THAT QUESTION WAS ANSWERED PERFECTLY. I WAS TALKING ABOUT PEOPLE THAT WENT BECAUSE THEY FELT VERY STRONGLY ABOUT THE MONUMENT TO ROBERT E LEE, A GREAT GENERAL WHETHER YOU LIKE IT OR NOT.>>TRUMP HAS DOWNPLAYED THE THREAT OF WHITE NATIONALISTS, SAYING THEY’RE JUST A SMALL GROUP OF PEOPLE. SO IS HE WHITEWASHING WHITE NATIONALISM, AND WILL THIS BE A MAJOR ISSUE IN THE 2020 CAMPAIGN? MARA GAY IS A MEMBER OF THE NEW YORK TIMES EDITORIAL BOARD. DR. HEATH BROWN IS A PROFESSOR AT CITY UNIVERSITY. CHARLOTTESVILLE WHITE NATIONALISM, HILLARY CLINTON CALLED THESE PEOPLE, ABSTRACTLY OF COURSE, A BASKET OF DEPLORABLES. THE DEMOCRATS, NOW 21 OF THEM. IF MAYOR DE BLASIO JOINS, 22. HOW ARE THEY GOING TO APPEAL TO THESE PEOPLE? OR ARE THEY GOING TO WRITE THEM OFF?>>IT’S INTERESTING. I WOULD JUST WANT TO SAY RACE AND RACISM IS ACTUALLY IN THE HEART OF OUR POLITICS AND HAS BEEN FROM THE BEGINNING. IT’S GOING TO BE THE CENTER OF THE CAMPAIGN WEATHER DOG WHISTLE POLITICS OR MORE EXPLICIT.>>THEY PASSED THE — OF THIS ISSUE.>>AT THE END OF RECONSTRUCTION, EXACTLY. IT’S NOTHING NEW. TRUMP HAS METASTASIZED THE NATIONAL DISEASE, SO TO SPEAK. NOT JUST THE DEMOCRATS, BUT PREFERABLY ALL CANDIDATES, WHICH MAY NOT HAPPEN, REPUBLICANS, AS WELL, IS THAT THEY NEED TO MAKE IT CLEAR THAT RACISM, BIGOTRY, ANTI-SEMITISM IS DISQUALIFYING. THAT’S SOMETHING THAT DIDN’T HAPPEN IN 2016. A LOT OF PEOPLE SAW THE PRESIDENT OR CANDIDATE IS SAYING RACIST OR SEXIST THINGS, AND THEY VOTED FOR HIM ANYWAY. THAT’S VERY UPSETTING. I JUST THINK THAT EVERYBODY NEEDS TO CALL THAT OUT.>>HOW DID WE GET FROM 2008, WHEN THE COUNTRY, AND I SAY THIS PROBABLY TRUE OF A MAJORITY OF PEOPLE, FELT GOOD ABOUT THE FACT WE ELECTED A BLACK PRESIDENT, TO 2016?>>LOOK, THAT’S A MILLION-DOLLAR QUESTION. MY WHITE GRANDMOTHER VOTED FOR BARACK OBAMA TWICE IN MICHIGAN AND THEN VOTED FOR DONALD TRUMP, ONLY RECENTLY ADMITTED IT, REGRETS IT. I’M NOT SURE EXCEPT TO SAY I THINK THIS IS A COUNTRY WHERE WE CAN PLAY TO PEOPLE’S BETTER ANGELS OR NOT, AND YOU REALLY DO SEE THE IMPACT OF A GREAT AMERICAN LIKE BARACK OBAMA APPEALING TO THE GOOD IN PEOPLE. PEOPLE WANT TO DO THE RIGHT THING. VERSUS SOMEONE LIKE DONALD TRUMP WHO, I BELIEVE, IS A FASCIST, AND DOING THE EASY THING, WHICH IS TO USE FEAR TO GET ELECTED.>>DO YOU WRITE THESE PEOPLE OFF IF YOU’RE A DEMOCRAT? OR IS THERE SOME WAY TO APPEAL TO THEM? MAYBE YOU DON’T NEED THEM TO GET ELECTED. TRUMP HAS THAT BASE THAT MAY NEVER GO AWAY. HOW DO YOU REACH BEYOND THE ORDINARY DEMOCRATIC BASE AND GET TO THAT CENTER?>>MUCH OF THIS HAS TO DO WITH MOBILIZATION. THAT’S PART OF WHAT THE ANSWER IS, HOW COULD THIS HAVE HAPPENED IN 2008? AND THINGS CHANGED SO MUCH. SOME OF THIS IS THE MOBILIZATION OF COMMUNITIES THAT SOMETIMES APPEAR TO BE AT THE MARGINS. BUT THEY’RE SORT OF HIDING. THIS IS A GROUP THAT HAS ALWAYS BEEN AROUND, BUT AT CERTAIN TIMES SEEMED TO RISE UP IN WAYS THAT ARE SHOCKING AND DISTURBING. THE LAST COUPLE OF YEARS, WE’VE SEEN EXACTLY THAT. WHAT I THINK WE WOULD LIKE TO SEE, AT LEAST TWO THINGS. ONE IS THE MORAL LEADERSHIP. THE SECOND IS A SET OF POLICIES THAT TAKE THAT VISION AND MAKE IT REAL. THERE ARE SPECIFIC WAYS THAT SOME CANDIDATES HAVE PROPOSED THAT TRIED TO ADDRESS SOME OF THE ROOT CAUSES OF RACISM AND SOME UNFORTUNATE OUTCOMES. THAT’S A DEBATE WE’RE LIKELY TO SEE AMONG DEMOCRATS, NOT JUST THE MORAL CONVERSATION, BUT THE VERY SPECIFIC POLICY CONVERSATION.>>DOES AN ISSUE LIKE REPARATIONS OR THINGS LIKE THAT BECOME MORE RACIALLY DIVISIVE? IS THAT SOMETHING DEMOCRATS SHOULD STAY AWAY FROM, AND STICK TO ECONOMIC-SOCIAL ISSUES? OR ARE THOSE THINGS MORE IMPORTANT?>>I’LL LEAVE THAT TO YOU.>>I WANT TO HEAR WHAT YOU HAVE TO SAY, TOO.>>I DON’T THINK ANY ISSUE IS OFF THE TABLE. DONALD TRUMP MADE IT CLEAR THERE IS NO ISSUE THAT’S NOT A PART OF THE CONVERSATION. FOR THAT REASON, EVERY CANDIDATE SHOULD BE ADDRESSING REPARATIONS, WHETHER THEY SUPPORT OR DON’T SUPPORT IT, AS WELL AS OTHER ISSUES. HEALTH CARE, CHILDCARE, WHAT HAVE YOU, ALL HAVE THESE IMPORTANT RACIAL DIMENSIONS. CANDIDATES NEED TO BE VERY CLEAR ABOUT HOW THEY UNDERSTAND THE IMPACT OF THOSE POLICIES. IT’S THE ISSUES THAT SEEM MOST DIVISIVE, BUT ALSO THE ONES WE DON’T THINK ABOUT, LIKE HEALTH CARE. HEALTH CARE IS A DEBATE ON WHO HAS AND WHO DOESN’T HAVE HEALTH CARE. RACE IS A DETERMINING FACTOR.>>PLENTY OF POOR WHITES DON’T HAVE HEALTH CARE, TOO.>>I COMPLETELY AGREE. I ALSO THINK CANDIDATES NEED TO TALK ABOUT RACE AND RACISM BECAUSE IT IS A DEFINING ISSUE. THEY CAN ALSO WALK AND CHEW GUM AT THE SAME TIME. WHETHER IT’S HEALTH CARE, OR ACTUALLY INCOME INEQUALITY, WHICH IS AN ATTACK AGAINST DEMOCRACIES AROUND THE WORLD, THAT IS AN ISSUE THAT’S JUST AS IMPORTANT TO A WHITE REPUBLICAN IN MICHIGAN OR KANSAS OR KENTUCKY AS A HISPANIC DEMOCRAT IN NEW YORK CITY, AND I THINK THERE’S A LOT OF ROOM THERE TO BUILD COALITIONS AROUND COMMON GROUND.>>IF THE ECONOMY IS HUMMING ALONG THE WAY IT IS NOW, IS ANY OF THAT GOING TO MATTER?>>I THINK IT IS. WE SHOULDN’T FORGET THIS IS A PRESIDENT WHO HAS NEVER HAD A POSITIVE APPROVAL RATING. THE REASON FOR HIS NARROW VICTORY, THERE MAY BE MANY MOTHERS OF THIS DISASTER, BUT IS REALLY BECAUSE OF THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE AND THE DISPROPORTIONATE POWER PEOPLE IN RURAL AREAS HAVE. THE DEMOCRATS WEREN’T ACTIVATED, AS YOU SAID, IN THE WAY TRUMP SPACE WAS. YOU HAD THIS LOPSIDED AFFECT WHERE TRUMP WAS ABLE TO WIN BECAUSE OF THAT IMBALANCE. I THINK FOR DEMOCRATS, AS WE SAW THE TURNOUT IN THE MIDTERMS, WAS COLOSSAL. PEOPLE VOTING IN THE MIDTERMS, THEY ARE GOING TO VOTE IN THE GENERAL ELECTION. I THINK ANGER AGAINST THE PRESIDENT SHOULDN’T BE UNDERSTATED.>>WHAT ABOUT IMPEACHMENT? IS THERE A RISK IN FIRING UP FROM SPACE? OR ARE THEY GOING TO BE FIRED UP ANYWAY AND THE DEMOCRATS, GO AHEAD AND SAY, WE’VE GOT A CASE OR WE’RE GOING TO BUILD A CASE AND WE SHOULD PROCEED? I CAN’T UNDERSTAND READING THE MUELLER REPORT, WHICH I ACTUALLY DID, HOW YOU ACTUALLY KNOW THE RUSSIANS ARE INTERFERING WITH AN AMERICAN ELECTION AND YOU’RE VIRTUALLY COMPLICIT WITH IT, AND THAT DOESN’T AMOUNT TO SOME SORT OF, EITHER CRIMINAL OFFENSE OR TREASON.>>WE’RE AT A POINT WHERE PARTIES NEED TO FOCUS ON THE PEOPLE THAT ARE GOING TO VOTE FOR THEM. ANY DEMOCRAT THAT WORRIES TOO MUCH ABOUT THE MOBILIZING EFFECT OF PURSUING THE RIGHT THING, AND IF YOU DRAW THE CONCLUSION IMPEACHMENT IS THE RIGHT THING TO DO, AND WORRY ABOUT MOBILIZING A COMMUNITY THAT ISN’T GOING TO SUPPORT YOU ALREADY, YOU’RE WORRIED ABOUT THE WRONG THINGS. SMART POLITICIANS CAN CHEW GUM AND JUGGLE AT THE SAME TIME. THIS IS A CASE WHEN THEY PROBABLY HAVE TO DO THAT AND THEY SHOULD DO THAT. THIS IS THE RIGHT THING TO DO IF THESE THINGS HAPPEN THE WAY YOU DESCRIBE.>>GO AHEAD.>>I COMPLETELY AGREE.>>DON’T YOU GUYS FIGHT OVER ANYTHING?>>NO. MAYBE. WE’LL SEE. THE ISSUE IS THAT NANCY PELOSI DOESN’T WANT TO HAVE TO PURSUE IMPEACHMENT. SHE’S VERY CAUTIOUS BY NATURE. BUT THE PRESIDENT AND HIS AIDES ARE FORCING THE DEMOCRATS INTO A BOX WHERE THAT MAY BE THE ONLY OPTION LEFT IF THEY WANT TO FULFILL THEIR ROLES AS A CHECK AND BALANCE ON THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH. AND SO I DON’T KNOW IF THERE IS ANY WAY TO AVOID IT.>>ALMOST ASKING FOR IT, IN A WAY.>>THEY ARE, THE WHITE HOUSE IS.>>THE DEMOCRATS ARE GOING TO DEBATE NEXT MONTH. WHAT SHOULD THEY DO TO DISTINGUISH THEM FROM THE PACK?>>I THINK THAT THEY NEED TO TELL THE AMERICAN PEOPLE WHAT THEIR VISION IS FOR THE COUNTRY RATHER THAN JUST ATTACK DONALD TRUMP. AND THAT’S THE MAIN ISSUE. THEY HAVE TO TELL A STORY ABOUT THE COUNTRY AND THEMSELVES AND WHERE WE’RE GOING FROM HERE THAT ISN’T JUST, WE HATE TRUMP. THAT’S JUST MY FIRST THOUGHT ABOUT IT.>>WHAT DO YOU THINK?>>SOMEONE WHO SAYS PUBLIC POLICY, THEY HAVE TO TALK ABOUT ISSUES. THE TIME OF ABSTRACT DREAMING IS BEHIND US AND THE MOST EFFECTIVE CANDIDATES ARE THE ONES WHO WILL BE ABLE TO ARTICULATE SPECIFIC POLICY PROPOSALS ON THE ISSUES WE CARE MOST ABOUT. IT’S NOT JUST ABOUT THE DETAILS OF TECHNOCRATIC GOVERNANCE, BUT THE THINGS THAT MATTER MOST. BUT ALSO COMING UP WITH SOLUTIONS.>>I DO THINK ELIZABETH WARREN HAS DONE SO MUCH OF THAT. SHE’S NOT QUITE YET BREAKING THROUGH THE WAY YOU WOULD HOPE ANY CANDIDATE WHO HAS THE KIND OF INTELLIGENT POLICY PROPOSALS. SHE STILL MAY GET THERE, BUT I DO THINK YOU HAVE TO COMMUNICATE. AND BOTH TRUMP AND OBAMA ARE BRILLIANT COMMUNICATORS AND WE MIGHT BE MISSING THAT.>>THANKS TO MARA GAY AND HEATH BROWN. COMING UP NEXT, DEFENDING FREEDOM OF THE PRESS AND KEEPING THE TIMES OUT OF LEGAL PROBLEMS, AND DOING IT AS THE PRESIDENT ATTACKS THE MEDIA AS FAKE NEWS. ♪>>LAWYERS FOR NEWS ORGANIZATIONS USUALLY OPERATE UNDER THE RADAR, BUT NEW YORK TIMES DEPUTY GENERAL COUNSEL DAVID MCCRAW FOUND HIMSELF IN THE NEWS IN THE HEAT OF THE 2016 PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN. DONALD TRUMP THREATENED TO SUE THE TIMES AFTER THE PAPER PUBLISHED A STORY ABOUT TWO WOMEN WHO ACCUSED TRUMP OF GROPING THEM. MCCRAW’S RESPONSE TO TRUMP’S LAWYERS BECAME A VIRAL SENSATION. IT READ, IN PART, “NOTHING IN OUR ARTICLE HAS HAD THE SLIGHTEST EFFECT ON THE REPUTATION THAT MR. TRUMP, THROUGH HIS OWN WORDS AND ACTIONS, HAS ALREADY CREATED FOR HIMSELF.” MCCRAW’S REPLY ENDED UP, MORE OR LESS, SAYING “SEE YOU IN COURT.” NOW MCCRAW HAS WRITTEN A TERRIFIC NEW BOOK ABOUT HOW HE MAKES SURE HOT BUTTON STORIES DON’T GET THE TIMES IN LEGAL HOT WATER. IT’S CALLED “TRUTH IN OUR TIMES.” IT IS A BOOK THAT YOU OUGHT TO READ AND THAT YOU WILL ENJOY READING. THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW SAYS, IT IS THOUGHTFUL, ENTERTAINING, AND AS A WRITER AND A LAWYER, DAVID EXCELS AT BEING BOTH. THANK YOU FOR JOINING US AND CONGRATULATIONS ON THIS BOOK. YOU SAY SOME FAIRLY CONTROVERSIAL THINGS YOU WOULDN’T EXPECT A LAWYER, MUCH LESS A WRITER, TO ADMIT. ONE OF THE THINGS YOU SAY IS THAT MANY JOURNALISTS ARE BIASED, BUT NOT IN THE WAY MOST PEOPLE WOULD EXPECT. WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY THAT?>>THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME. I THINK MOST PEOPLE THINK WHEN WE TALK ABOUT BIAS, HE’S A REPUBLICAN, HE’S A DEMOCRAT. THE BIAS I’M TALKING ABOUT ISN’T ABOUT POLITICAL PARTISANSHIP. IT’S ABOUT THE UNDERLYING PREMISE OF WHY PEOPLE GET INTO JOURNALISM. THEY GET INTO JOURNALISM TO BE CHANGE AGENTS. NOBODY SAYS RICH PEOPLE SHOULD HAVE MORE MONEY, FEWER REGULATIONS, THE LITTLE GUY SHOULD GET SCREWED MORE. THEY DO IT BECAUSE THEY WANT TO BRING ABOUT SOCIAL CHANGE. THAT NECESSARILY MEANS THEY WILL DO CERTAIN KINDS OF STORIES. BUT THE IMPORTANT POINT I LIKE TO MAKE IS THAT DOESN’T MEAN THE STORIES ARE BIASED. ONE OF THE THINGS — I WAS AT A JOURNALISM CONFERENCE OVER THE WEEKEND, THE GREAT JOURNALIST, HE TALKED ABOUT REPORTING AGAINST RESOURCE AND THAT’S SO IMPORTANT. TRY TO PROVE YOURSELF WRONG. PROFESSIONAL JOURNALISTS TRY TO DO THAT NO MATTER WHAT THOUGHTS THEY BRING TO IT, THEY WANT TO GET IT RIGHT.>>AND ONE OF THE THINGS YOU SAY AS A LAWYER, WHEN YOU LOOK AT THESE STORIES, YOU TRY TO LOOK AT IT FROM THE POINT OF VIEW OF THE SUBJECT, OR VILLAIN, AS IT TURNS OUT TO BE.>>THAT’S RIGHT. WE GOT THE STORY RIGHT. WE DON’T HAVE IMPLICATIONS WE DIDN’T INTEND IS TO LOOK FOR THE COUNTER NARRATIVE. THAT PERSON IS BEING WRITTEN ABOUT WHAT HIS STORY IS GOING TO BE. IF I CAN GET SATISFYING ANSWERS FROM OUR PEOPLE, I KNOW IT’S GOING TO BE OK.>>ONE OF THE THINGS THAT ALWAYS STRUCK ME IS THAT LIBEL LAWYERS DO NOT TELL YOU WHY YOU CANNOT PRINT A STORY. THEY HELP YOU WRITE A STORY IN A WAY THAT IT CAN BE PRINTED.>>THAT’S RIGHT. THE SUPREME COURT, BEGINNING IN 1974, SENT A VERY CLEAR MESSAGE TO JOURNALISM AND JOURNALISTS. AND THAT WAS, BE BRAVE. DON’T HOLD BACK. THE LAW IS HERE TO PROTECT YOU. I THINK LAWYERS WHO INSTILL FEAR CUT AGAINST THAT AMERICAN TRADITION, CUT AGAINST WHAT THE SUPREME COURT INTENDED. MY WHOLE POINT OF VIEW WHEN I’M DOING STORIES IS, WHAT CAN WE DO TO GET THE STORY ON THE WEB OR IN THE PAPER?>>AND THE LIBEL LAWS ARE STILL IN GOOD SHAPE?>>THAT’S WHAT I THINK. I WAS SURPRISED HE DECIDED TO TAKE UP THIS ISSUE. I DON’T KNOW TOO MANY SERIOUS PEOPLE THAT SAY THE BIG PROBLEM IS RICH GUYS DON’T GET TO SUE ENOUGH. THAT’S NOT SOMETHING THE AMERICAN PUBLIC THINKS IS MISSING. IT’S DONE EXACTLY WHAT JUSTICES WANTED TO DO. 1964, THEY WANTED TO STOP SOUTHERN OFFICIALS FROM TRYING TO SILENCE NORTHERN PRESS WHO WERE THERE TO TALK ABOUT THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT. THEY CREATED A FIREWALL TO STOP THAT, STILL WORKS TODAY. YOU DON’T SEE THAT FROM PUBLIC OFFICIALS AND FIGURES. THAT’S A GOOD THING.>>WHAT HAS TECHNOLOGY DONE IN TERMS OF CREATING LEGAL PROBLEMS WITH THE PRESS, FOR JOURNALISM IN GENERAL? OBVIOUSLY, WIKILEAKS, PASSING OF DOCUMENTS THAT ARE SUPPOSED TO BE CONFIDENTIAL, HOW HAS THAT AFFECTED OUR LIABILITY AND OUR ABILITY TO FUNCTION?>>THERE’S A LOT OF DIFFERENT THINGS YOU CAN POINT TO. ONE OF THE THINGS THAT COMES TO MIND IS THAT WE’RE NOW SUBJECT TO LAWS IN EVERY COUNTRY. WE’RE SUDDENLY AVAILABLE IN A BIG WAY ALL OVER THE WORLD.>>BECAUSE WE ARE –>>ON THE INTERNET. WE HAVEN’T FACED FOREIGN LIBEL SUITS, BUT WE HAVE TO KEEP IN MIND THAT POSSIBILITY. I THINK ALSO THE ENORMOUS CHANGE TAKING PLACE HERE IS THE POWER OF THE GATEKEEPERS. THEY USED TO BE IN PLACE, WHETHER THE WASHINGTON POST, CBS NEWS, THE NEW YORK TIMES, AT THE TIME OF THE PENTAGON PAPERS. IT’S JUST NOT THERE ANYMORE. I THINK THAT HAS PUT PRESSURE ON THE LAW. THE SAME RULES THAT APPLY TO THE WASHINGTON POST AND NEW YORK TIMES IN 1971 WITH THE PENTAGON PAPERS, APPLICABLE TO THE PERSON WHO’S GOT A FACEBOOK PAGE.>>AND DO THEY APPLY THE SAME WAY?>>THEY DO AND THAT’S PART OF WHAT THE STRUGGLE IS. HOW DO WE ADJUST TO THAT NEW INFORMATION ENVIRONMENT? IN SOME WAYS, THE ABSENCE OF GATEKEEPERS, OR THE DIMINUTION OF THEIR POWER IS A GREAT THING. IF SOMETHING HAPPENS, CITIZENS NO LONGER HAVE TO WAIT TO GET THE MESSAGE OUT. I USE THE STORY OF THE GUY DRAGGED OFF THE UNITED AIRLINES FLIGHT. IN THE OLD DAYS, SOMEONE WOULD HAVE HAD TO CALL A NEWSPAPER. THEY HAVE TO FIND AN EDITOR, FIND A REPORTER, AND THREE DAYS LATER YOU HAVE A STORY. INSTANTLY, THE STORY GOES OUT AND IT HAD A WAY OF HOW AIRLINES TREATED PEOPLE. FOR THE MOST PART, PEOPLE ARE AWASH IN INFORMATION, HAVING TO BECOME THEIR OWN GATEKEEPER. LIKE ALL OF US, THE TENDENCY IS TO READ THE THINGS I AGREE WITH.>>WHAT PRESSURE DOES THAT PUT ON US TO GO AHEAD WITH THE STORY WE MIGHT BE MORE CAUTIOUS ABOUT?>>I THINK THE SAME STANDARDS APPLY. WE HAVE TO BE BETTER EVEN THOUGH WE HAVE TO BE FASTER. THE THING WE BRING TO THAT MARKETPLACE, THAT’S JUST OVERWHELMED WITH INFORMATION, IS OUR TRADITION, AND OUR VALUES, THAT WE TRY TO PLAY IT DOWN THE MIDDLE, GET THE FACTS RIGHT –>>AND WHEN WRONG, ADMIT IT.>>AND CORRECT IT. INTERNET HAS BEEN A GREAT TOOL FOR THIS. THAT’S THE REASON WHY LIBEL SUITS HAVE BEEN DOWN. IF WE HAVE AN ERROR, WE PUT IT UP, IT’S EFFECTIVE, PEOPLE LIKE THAT. FOR THOSE OF US WHO ARE IN THE OLD MAINSTREAM MEDIA, THERE’S A REAL OPPORTUNITY HERE. I THINK OF THE INTERNET AS THE BIGGEST HOTEL BUFFET YOU’VE EVER SEEN. IF YOU’RE FEASTING ALL DAY AT THE DESSERT TABLE WITH CABLE NEWS, IT’S GOING TO FEEL REALLY GOOD FOR A WHILE, BUT NOT A GOOD PLAN FOR THE LONG-TERM.>>OUR NEW PUBLISHER HAS DONE A GOOD JOB STANDING UP TO THE WHITE HOUSE. ONE OF THE THINGS YOU POINTED OUT IN THE BOOK, NO INTELLIGENT RESPONSE CAN SUFFICE WHEN SOMEONE IS SAYING THIS IS FAKE NEWS OR THE PRESS IS THE ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. HOW DO WE RESPOND TO THAT KIND OF ATTACK?>>REALLY HARD QUESTION. ONE OF THE POINTS I MAKE IN THE BOOK, IT DOESN’T MATTER HOW FREE THE PRESS IS IF IT’S NOT BELIEVED. THAT’S THE DARKNESS WE’VE BEEN EXPERIENCING. THE ATTACK HAS BEEN ON THE LEGITIMACY OF THE PRESS. NOT TAKING ON PARTICULAR STORIES, DEBATING ON WHAT THE FACTS ARE, BUT INVITING PEOPLE TO DISREGARD. THAT’S A REALLY DANGEROUS THING. I THINK THAT IF YOU’RE A JOURNALIST, YOU HAVE TO DO WHAT YOU ARE DOING, NOT BE INTIMIDATED, BE RESILIENT. IF YOU’RE THE PUBLISHER OF THE NEW YORK TIMES, YOU’RE CALLED TO DUTY TO SPEAK TO THE PRESIDENT, SPEAK OUT. I HOPE MY BOOK CONTRIBUTES TO THAT. I RECEIVED AN EMAIL THE OTHER DAY THAT GOT TO THE PROBLEM, AND IT BEGAN, “WHY DID YOU WRITE THIS BOOK?” THE PERSON WAS SAYING YOU SHOULD BE WRITING FOR YOUNG ADULTS. WE SHOULD BE TEACHING PEOPLE HOW IMPORTANT THESE INSTITUTIONS ARE, FREE PRESS, ELECTIONS, WHATEVER. WE NEED TO GET THE MESSAGE OUT EARLIER.>>THE FRUSTRATING THING I FIND IS THE PEOPLE THAT READ THE NEW YORK TIMES, IT’S LIKE PREACHING TO THE CHOIR. HOW DO YOU REACH THOSE OTHER PEOPLE WHO BELIEVE THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION THAT THERE IS FAKE NEWS, THAT WE ARE THE ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE? IS THERE ANY WAY TO PERSUADE THEM?>>I HAD AN INTERESTING EXPERIENCE ON BOOK TOUR. I WENT BACK TO MY HOMETOWN, MIDDLE OF ILLINOIS, FARM TOWN, AND I TALKED TO A GATHERING OF 75 PEOPLE, AND I’M SURE 75% WERE TRUMP VOTERS. I DID NOT LEARN TO VALUE FREE PRESS ON THE STREETS OF MANHATTAN. I LEARNED IT ON THE STREETS OF MONTICELLO, ILLINOIS. WHEN YOU’RE GROWING UP IN ILLINOIS IN THE 1960s AND 1970s, YOU KNOW ONE THING, THE GOVERNOR GOES TO JAIL. THE SECRETARY OF STATE, WHEN HE DIED, HAD SHOEBOXES FULL OF MONEY. YOU LEARNED THAT, YOU COULDN’T TRUST GOVERNMENT. THAT’S WHY YOU NEEDED A FREE PRESS. I’M DISAPPOINTED THAT BELIEF HAS FALLEN OUT OF CONSERVATIVE CHARTER. THAT’S THE MESSAGE WE NEED TO DELIVER.>>THE PRESS IS THERE REGARDLESS OF YOUR POLITICAL AFFILIATION OR IDEOLOGY.>>I’M SO DISAPPOINTED WITH REPUBLICANS IN CONGRESS WHO KNOW BETTER THAN WHAT THE PRESIDENT IS SAYING.>>THE BOOK IS “TRUTH IN OUR TIMES.” AND I’LL ADD MY THOUGHTS ON “CODA” NEXT. ♪>>MAYBE IT’S BECAUSE MUNICIPAL EMPLOYEES ARE CALLED PUBLIC SERVANTS THAT NEW YORKERS TAKE A GREAT DEAL OF WHAT THEY DO FOR GRANTED. EVERY SO OFTEN, THOUGH, WHEN WE’RE NOT COMPLAINING ABOUT THE CITY BUREAUCRACY AND HOW LONG IT TAKES TO GET SOMETHING DONE, OR HOW NOBODY’S LISTENING TO YOUR COMPLAINT, OR HOW YOU CAN’T FIGHT CITY HALL, YOU MIGHT TAKE TIME TO CONGRATULATE THE WORKERS WHO GO OUT OF THEIR WAY TO MAKE NEW YORK A BETTER PLACE. IF YOU WANT TO BE CYNICAL, YOU CAN SAY THAT’S WHAT THEY’RE PAID FOR. BUT THERE’S A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN JUST DOING YOUR JOB AND GOING THE EXTRA MILE, FOR WHICH THERE’S USUALLY NO EXTRA PAY OR RECOGNITION. MOST OF THOSE EFFORTS, SOMETIMES HEROIC, GO UNHERALDED. LAST WEEK, THE POLICE FOUNDATION HONORED FIVE COPS WHO’VE GONE ABOVE AND BEYOND THE CALL OF DUTY. THE AWARDS ARE SPONSORED BY DALE HEMMERDINGER, THE FOUNDATION’S FORMER CHAIRMAN. ONE, A THREE-TIME CANCER SURVIVOR, HAS TRANSFORMED COMMUNITY POLICING FROM A CONCEPT TO A REALITY IN BROWNSVILLE. ANOTHER, A VETERAN OF IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN, FENDED OFF FIVE SUBWAY LOITERERS. HE USED HIS FISTS AND HIS CLUB. HE KEPT HIS GUN HOLSTERED UNTIL BACKUP ARRIVED. AND WHEN ONE OF HIS ASSAILANTS FELL ONTO THE TRACKS, THE OFFICER, STILL DEFENDING HIMSELF, CALLED IN TO HAVE THE POWER TURNED OFF SO HIS ATTACKER WOULDN’T BE RUN OVER BY AN ONCOMING TRAIN OR ELECTROCUTED. LATER THIS MONTH, THE FUND FOR THE CITY OF NEW YORK WILL HAND OUT ITS ANNUAL SLOAN PUBLIC SERVICE AWARDS. THIS YEAR’S RECIPIENTS INCLUDE THE BRONX BOROUGH DIRECTOR OF THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY, THE ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR OF EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AT CONEY ISLAND HOSPITAL, A 44-YEAR SCHOOL SAFETY VETERAN AT THE JOAN OF ARC PUBLIC SCHOOL COMPLEX. MANY OTHER CONSCIENTIOUS PUBLIC EMPLOYEES DO THEIR JOBS EVERY DAY AND REMAIN UNSUNG. IF YOU’RE ONE, AND YOU’RE WATCHING, THANK YOU, TOO. THESE DAYS, WHEN EVERYONE IS DOWN ON GOVERNMENT, EVEN A LITTLE GRATITUDE CAN GO A LONG WAY. FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES AND CUNY-TV, I’M SAM ROBERTS. ♪ [THEME MUSIC] ♪

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