tv The Media Show BBC News January 8, 2022 12:30am-1:01am GMT
one of the best known black hollywood actors of the past century, sidney poitier, has died. he was 94. mr poitier was the first black man to be awarded best actor at the academy awards in 1964 and paved the way for a new generation of stars. in the us, three white men who were convicted of chasing and then murdering ahmaud arbery, a black man, in the state of georgia, have been sentenced to life in prison. the case became a focus of protests by the black lives matter movement. the us have questioned kazakhstan�*s decision to seek russian military support to deal with a wave of violent unrest. russia says its deployment of troops is temporary. dozens of people have been killed during nationwide protests triggered by a rise in fuel prices. now on bbc news, it's
time for the media show. hello. welcome to the media show. we have reached the one—year anniversary of the storming of the stroming of the capital in washington, dc. it was a pivotal moment for america and for its media. we have seen some us journalists criticised for overemphasizing its importance and obsessing about it. others say journalists in the us have not found a way of describing the significance of what happened and are getting too much space to the idea that the us election was stolen. let's explore these issues and many more with our five guests. it is exploitive issues and many more with five guests. david folkenflik, national public radio. chris walker, a tech journalist based here in the uk. robert costa is from the washington post, susan ferrechio his chief congressional correspondent at the washington examiner. susan, i wonder for our viewers who do not know your
publication, tell us about it. we are a news website in a magazine based in washington, dc and our team of reporters cover breaking news, congress and the white house and politics in general and elections and we also have a team of opinion columnists added into the mix. we are grateful for you joining us. our final guest is zing tsjeng, editor in chief of vice uk. and zing, for people who don't know vice well, what is your editorial remit in charge of vice uk? we are a global youth culture website and we have a tv film studio and we are on tick—tock, social media and snap chat and we also publish a website very retro in this time and age for men and the audience and we have audiences all over the world from la to new york and london and asia. we are at a stage where websites are retro — that's where we have got to. unfortunately, if you're talking to people who are 18 and 19 years old it very much is.
let us go back to january the 6th of 2021. i would like to ask the three of you in the us to think back to that story as it unfolded and the journalistic challenges that it posed. let's begin with you, david. the unfolding of the story. on january six last year itself followed a predictable but grievous path - in the moment itself. there was a bit of disbelief- of what was happening in front of the eyes of those covering it live and those covering - it in person who were on oultes on what had been a peaceful. rally and soon became an angry mob turned insurrection - and siege of the capital. of quite some back families . even from a sector of the press that we may touch on today, |
the conservative press i think reflection of reality of how... it was a shock as any citizen would have but as you get further - from the event itself it quickly descends into i a politicisation to some degree on the left especially _ on the right but that day. i think there was disbelief and i think there was shock- and hoping there was grief and anger about what was i playing out in the capital building itself. you talk about the conservative side of us media. i wonder where you would describe npr's position in the media spectrum? we feel ourselves to be| very much like the bbc. we don't have opinionators on staff to tell people - what to think or how to vote. that you might find an editorial pages i of major american newspapers or on the editorial pages of the uk or even- in the way in which british newspapers are voiced. . we have a mandate to be fair to all sides to represent - people in their own voices . and do our best to make sure
we are tethered to reality. and that has been your goal for the last year as you can send yourself at the ramification of january six. susan, we're you actually in congress or close to it when january six happened? yes, i was. i agree with david in terms of how he talked about how it unfolded and the shocking nature of it. i worked in the capitol since the early 1990s and i've watched security evolve there over the years through various terrible incidents and i've seen how it increased and changed in terms of access from the public. you used to be able to walk right in and wander around and it became a fortress over the years and that was part of why it seemed so shocking to us that this huge group of people were able to in two steps access the capitol by pushing past the police and they were allowed to wander in in huge numbers without any security checks by the police. those two shocking things were happening so just from a security perspective
aside from the nature of why these people did this, that was ready extremely surprising to me and i have seen a lot of things going on in the capital. where were you as it unfolded? i was out by the building talking to the people coming in and out and trying to find out, the challenge for me was trying to get at why or what did he hope to accomplish. there were different types of people there. they were not a big monolith. which i think is unfortunate. i think the press reports it that way. there were different types of people there. many types and the most violent among them was probably the smallest group among them but still a large group of people. robert costa from the washington post, if i could bring you in here. do you think the fact that
there is only one film crew inside the capitol building. the itv news crew, the fact that many generalists were surprised this happened. was evidence that the us media as a whole just had not been talking to this section of society anywhere near enough in the weeks and months running up to january the 6th. no. i think the media was paying close attention to trump during the transition period and the attorneys for the media and for me at the time writing a book with bodies he did not know all of the facts about what was happening behind the scenes. you had a president coordinating a pressure campaign against his own department ofjustice state officials and his own vice president and other aides and lawmakers on capitol hill and at the time it seemed like this was more of an ego trip for trump to have a rally but it actually was the culmination of a coordinated effort to overturn an election which on january five, year today we were not really clear about an evidence of that is my own reporting, i was outside the hotel on the night of january fifth and hearing gullianni and bannon were inside and up to no good and didn't realy know the full picture until months later.
and it's very clear after we found this document that trump was not on an ego trip, he was notjust having a rally, this is notjust a spasm of a part of the country media was ignoring, this was an attempt to overturn an election and it took months to be piece together that story and we are still piecing together the story. reporting using deep background methods is something that goes many years back, bob woodward, your co—author used it a few years back, of course they must be in the 1970s. so is what you are saying that actually the story was extraordinary but he did not reveal any structural problems with the way that us media or us journalism works? i think we all need to step back in the media and follow the two words i try to follow every day which is to "assume nothing."
i think, what happened was not a failure of the media it was a failure of imagination, that the american democratic —— people in the media but also in politics could not really fathom that the peaceful transfer of power would be truly disrupted and i think as we move forward when you hear people say we need to cover democracy more apt to me is really an argument to have more of an imagination, sometimes a bleak one about what is possible in the united states and to be attentive to that. it interest —— an interesting way of framing it. david i can hear you trying to come in. i think we have to listen carefully to what bob costa has just said right there. in a sense, the media had done so much to hearfrom some trump supporters both in the period after but really every since the american media was taken by complete surprise on election night in 2016.
there was no failure to toughestjump supporters. to recognise the implications of what the media report was sharing. and there was an actual layer that makes it different from violent protest and as criminal activities that may ensue and this is different because there are structural forces at play and institutions placed in motion and open revolt against its leaders and there were efforts to leverage these powerful positions in government to overturn the will of the american vote. when we consider the description you have given us and the description roberts has given us, susan from the washington examiner i wonder if you feel that american media plus plus coverage of the fallout
from january six all the way through the last 12 months has been proportionate? i think it's been a little political. i think it is about trying to tie republicans to overthrowing an election and overthrowing the government. there are a lot of people who feel very strongly that trump's only term was undermined by democrats and the whole russian collision storyline that dominated its entire time i thinkjoe came to some of the behaviour we saw and that's a story line that also deserves consideration. obviously i'm not going to agreement the fellow guests on this issue but i feel like the reporting generally speaking is generally biased toward democrats in the papers and radio stations and that's just been a factor of life
here in america and for them to look as... idid not see it as democracy about to be overthrown. i saw it like i think i really do ego trip for president trump i think it had dire consequences. what he did in his final weeks in office. i don't know if i really felt like democracy was under threat. it seemed to me there was never a real possibility. as we consider your critique of how the liberal media in the us coverage january the 6th and the months that have followed. do we also need to factor in that donald trump was very good business for the liberal media in the us and january the 6th allowed his impact on us politics and his impact on their bottom line to reach beyond his presidency? i reject that premise. you are insinuating the media is driving its coverage in a transactional way based on clicks to follow trump and i don't think that's accurate. show me evidence of that. i could point to the fact that a tv network like msnbc
is spending a lot of time looking atjanuary six and the consequences of everything that have followed and you could argue that's justifiable but its critics would say it's a good way of driving ratings to inflate the importance of the story versus other stories. to give it a disproportionate amount of airtime. i don't know the intent. they are covering it a lot and that's a fair thing to say. msnbc is covering up a lot and framing it in a different way. cnn is covering it its own way. the option here is to not cover a major committee work on investigating an attack on the us capital and focus on biden�*s agenda and infrastructure. after but i see january six
in a different rate than the committee. the committee sees it framing at least congressman cheney has trump being idle that's not the story. trump may have been idle for a few hours but the story is there weeks prior and the intent was there the other reason i'm not giving msnbc credit here the reason they keep covering this is the aftershock of january six is not that this was an isolated episode. attempts to frame the 2020 election as if i get an election continue in a rampant rate in many states to the point where people are trying to run for office seeing the election was a lie and change election laws this is a pervasive new movement in american politics that deserves attention and scrutiny. david, what is your view of this, no one is suggesting this is not the story but it's the degree to which it's being covered. do you suspect liberal media
had incentives to be on editorialjudgements forfocusing on this? i want to be careful about accepting the idea of liberal media that the washington post is exactly the way the guardian is. american newspapers try by and large. he had sensibilities and outlooks and the experience —— i think the choices but they have outlook that is different than bees are expected based on the spectrum you might find in the uk. msnbc does play what happened onjanuary six the investigation in the aftermath to a greater degree and emma disproportionate degree than like npr or the new york times which does cover ingrate that's the kind of policy arguments and political debates that robert referred to. i would remind your cable does everything disproportionate. it never does things as a magazine with 17
different stories an hour. they cover three or more stories and they will do out of proportion regardless. analogy is this is fundamentally the story of our moment. it's wrong to say there were concerns about the integrity of these elections. organisations at times including the washington examiner which i respect and not of internists but let's be clear for your viewers it's a right of centre outfit whose ceo is currently campaigning for his publication by campaigning against their advertising against the credibility of the rest of the media and they have cast out the changes that were made because of the pandemic and not scare but those were evaluated and found not to affect the election. so i want to finish this thought. casting doubt on that element in the wake of thousands of lawsuits and hundreds of evaluations by election officials of the right on the left and republican and democrats is to give credence to something that's been discredited. what is interesting listening to all three
of you, is the degree of emphasis on the functioning of american democracy and if he can bring you in, you're editor in chief of vice uk i wonder if you have observed the story whether this marks a broader shift in generous interest in how democracy functions and how that's described to their audiences? i think it reflects a shift in the us but i think that contrasting that with what's been happening in the uk we still very much have a media focusing on the individual last year and you can contrast that with the way repeats covered in the us press for us to someone like kerry simmons and the differences between the uk and the us press is aping the us media right now is focused on democratic processes. the ways in which people can be disenfranchised of their votes
and the gerrymandering that occurs where in the uk for better or worse we are focused on the character of our politicians which is why when you see people criticise about the way he dresses are present to himself it still very much a personality driven political system. we looked at how this is impacted on the way it democracy as described in general is a 90 discussed the proportionate nature of how this was covered. let's turn to the tech giants because one strand of the story that has not gone away is the role of the tech giants. twitter and facebook have been accused of acting too slowly when it came down to taking posts inciting violence on january the 6th. they're also being accused of overreaching and interfering in politics of banning some political accounts of course the most high—profile example of that is donald trump his twitter account was suspended not long afterjanuary six and in the last few days congresswoman marjorie taylor
green has been banned from twitter permit me to sharing covid—19 misinformation and what more do we know to take a congresswoman off their platform? it's a different thing. donald trump removed from twitter because of his incitement to violence and marjorie taylor green had five strikes for covid—19 disinformation riches vitally important and i think the role that twitter and facebook and other social media platforms play in all of these conversations both national and international speak to their power. we are all preventatives of the old media and the light of motherly websites are getting ready to social media. we often forget that social media is a public space but is privately owned and there are rules in privately owned organisations. if you fall afoul of
them you get kicked off the challenge for social media platforms is you have to try and benefit both sides and keep both sides happy and what we have seen in this conversation is a politically polarised debate, so you're damned if you do and damned if you don't. are you uncomfortable if they are taking decisions about which politicians can and cannot reach the scale that twitter offers? i think social media in general has tried to tip the scales because they can. they're privately owned and can do what they want and they have banned a lot of conservative places and then people who have wanted to talk more informative me about covid—19 and lockdowns and vaccines and the effectiveness of vaccines and some of the people who have been banned it does not make a lot of sense they were stating
actual facts that from medical doctors about covid—19 they were taken off the platform because it's called under this strange covid—19 misinformation id and i feel like it because a lot of people to question the fairness of social media accounts. they are under the scrutiny of congress because they have got enemies and people are angry at them at the right and left so in the next year or two you will see the government try doing monitor and manage this and step in because they don't have friends on either side of the aisle right now so they are caught in the middle. but from my own perspective some of the people you see getting banned from facebook and twitter doesn't make a lot of sense and it doesn't seem fair. zing, i wonder whether you agree with the broader principles being raised here. but also the specific question about your business which
relies on these platforms. do you feel vulnerable they could at any point take a position against you or any other business? i think if you ask any editor of any publication that puts content out the answer is always going to be yes. because fundamentally it is one of the few issues i reckon everyone will agree with me on a have far too much power to decide what goes out and what does not and they have too much power to decide who gets hurt and who gets the maximum amount of reach. facebook or as it's now known meta— can choose to change its algorithm and it will not gather every single social media editor and publication into a room and explain this is what's going to happen and how it will affect their content. you just wake up one morning and you realise your content is not performing the same way it used to. this happened in a high—profile case in the uk this is an account about breaking news stories and hundreds
and thousands of followers and it's gone. tell us why. it's difficult to know. it was aggregating information amongst linking accounts that it owns and we don't really know and twitter has not definitively when said nor has the owner come out and spoke to the press. this lack of transparency that we are concerned about the many impact that social media platforms have but zings interesting points in terms of this idea of we are putting a lot of our eggs in terms of the media and baskets that we don't have control out. we will remember things like the media picked video in the late 2000 thousands early 2010s when suddenly facebook prioritised video content and people are hired to produce videos and regular
writers were fired on the back of that and suddenly facebook turned off that tap of traffic to the platforms ends setting me you find media having to move again and this is one of the big issues here we really are seeing the media platforms being led by social media giants. there's an interesting concept that here for example we forget in america with the first amendment these are private companies in the are enormous and they dominate the way in which people acquire information but also and yet they have their own first amendment rights to choices about who they are allowed to talk on their platform. that's not regulated by the government and yet there are questions about first amendment principles and pay and congresswoman being taken
off the platform who has the authority to speak to her constituents duly elected and that does raise significant concerns. i think there's been a lot of look at the claim made by conservatives that they are targeted and i think a time when there seems to be asymmetrical level of disinformation on this information from certain kinds of right—wing figures about covid—19 for example and the platforms are struggling to deal with it and there are ways to deal with it without which can be fully exploited. questions remain for how the media interacts with the tech platforms just to bring this discussion back in the last few minutes we have heard how you have written a book and how you covered that story and alloys and days that followed the storming of the capital say you've done a number of different types ofjournalism, and i wonder whether you think there are broader lessons that now need to be applied as the media continues to cover the story as it evolves.
my advice to colleagues would be to be vigilantl and vigorous and listening to what people are doing i in the country and that means not just talking to voters - but talking to state officials and local officials. - what's happening out in the country? - they need a constitutional crisis on the horizon if it . ever happens is injanuary 2025 a fault states of connectors - ——electors or way of| counting the votes is proposed broadly speaking inside the republican party and that seemsj to be a development based on my reporting that's - active right now. thank you. that's some final advice of the washington post. i will mention and bring us right back to january six this new radio for a series presented by gambrell looks at the build—up to january six and the causes of those riots and looks at the hearing on conspiracy theories
and you can listen to the entire series right now on bbc silence. —— bbc sounds that is it for this edition and thank you for watching and thanks to all of our guests and we will see you next week. hello. well, friday evening was clear and quite cold with an early frost, but now a weather front is sweeping across the uk and temperatures will actually be rising through the rest of the night and into the early hours of saturday morning. so, by the end of the night, it's raining heavily across western areas, mild, temporary snow across the highlands, and then that frost lifting across eastern parts of the country. i think many of us on saturday morning are in for some wet and
very windy weather at times. some of that rain could be torrentialfor a time. come the afternoon, it does look as if things will brighten a little bit, but it will be blustery with frequent showers, particularly out across western areas. but the rain may not clear east anglia and the southeast until after dark. here's the good news — after wet and windy early saturday, sunday is looking a lot better, much drier and brighter with lighter winds. bye— bye.
this is bbc news. i'm simon pusey. in the us... court in the us state of georgia hands out a life sentence to three white men who would perform vomited the black man i'm at arbery. and the aftermath of days of unrest in kazakhstan as security forces are ordered to shoot to kill protesters. in the us, three white men who were convicted of chasing and then murdering ahmaud arbery, a black man, in the state of georgia, have been sentenced to life
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