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tv   CNN Newsroom With Pamela Brown  CNN  July 17, 2021 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT

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team usa is ready for the olympic games... ...and so is sharon! she got xfinity internet and mobile together... so she has the fastest wifi you can get at home... wow! ...and nationwide 5g on the most reliable wireless network... oh my gosh! up to 400 dollars off her wireless bill! wow! cheer on team usa with xfinity internet. and ask how to save up to $400 a year on your wireless bill when you add xfinity mobile. get started today. if you're unvaccinated, the risk is incredibly high. it may in some areas be higher than it's ever been because there are not mask mandates.
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>> 99.5% of deaths from covid-19 are monday unvaccinated individuals. >> the warning signals were alarming but also didn't really give us enough time to adequately keep up. >> get vaccinated. you're less likely to get sick and wind up in the hospital. >> social media platforms and other tech platforms are seeing a rampant spread of disinformation and it's costing people their lives. >> what's your message to platforms like facebook? >> they're killing people. the only pandemic we have is among the unvaccinated. i'm pamela brown in washington. welcome to our viewers in the united states and around the world. you are in "the cnn newsroom" on this saturday. any hope you may have. a carefree, covid-free summer is likely history. cases are on the rise in all 50
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states. the pace of vaccinations is down. and a frustrated dr. anthony fauci blames rampant misinformation for the lack. >> if we had had the pushback for vaccines the way we're seeing on certain media, i don't think it would have been possible at all to not only eradicate smallpox, we probably would still have smallpox and we probably would still have polio in this country if we had the kind of false information that's being spread now. if we had that back decades ago, i would be certain that we would still have polio in this country. >> take that in. meantime, canada has not had the same access to vaccines as the u.s. but it now has a higher percentage of its population fully vaccinated. and as for how this pandemic got started in the first place, i've learned that several senior biden administration officials, including the president's national security adviser,
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believe it's just as possible that coronavirus escaped from a lab in wouluhan, china, as the possibility that it emerged naturally in the wild. i'll have more on that in just a few minutes. but let's go to los angeles county where masks are making a comeback. at midnight, an indoor mask requirement goes back into effect for both vaccinated and unvaccinated people. this comes after more than 1,900 new cases were reported yesterday alone. back in mid-june, daily cases were around 200. cnn's paul vercammen joins me from l.a. paul, you've been talking to people there. people were so happy to see these mask mandates end. how are they reacting now? >> reporter: well, it's mixed right now. how will this play out? will it be sort of status quo, go with the flow, or more high drama? what better place to talking about it than here in patty's. look at those head shots, we're in the shadow of the tv and
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movie studios. the sheriff jumped onstage again, he issued a statement saying he will not enforce the mask mandate, instead asked for voluntary compliance and will focus elsewhere. when you talk to people, it's very mixed. at one table alone, the husband, vaccinated, the wife not. >> i think it's good. i think it protects people. i think anything to protect people, and i don't mind the incoin con convenience of doing it. most of the time i'm outdoors anyway. when i go into a market, i put the mask on, i've got it in my back pocket and we go from there. >> i don't like anything that's mandated. i haven't seen the evidence to show that it protects you, the virus is so small. show me the science. not just what people -- you know, what the media says. i think if you have cold symptoms, any kind of symptoms, you should be honest and wear a mask to protect others.
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>> reporter: so here inside the restaurant, the employees wear their mask. the owner mandated this for them even without this rule that's going into effect. but then the people tonight will have masks inside. when you look right outside, they will not be required to wear masks. this is very much a case, pam, of people here in los angeles county, trying to sort out this now revamped mandate. reporting from los angeles, i'm paul vercammen, back to you. >> they've got that going on there, the cdc still says if you're vaccinated, it doesn't recommend wearing a mask indoors, but with these cases rising, with so many people unvaccinated, we could be seeing more of this. we'll have to wait and see. paul vercammen, thank you so much for that. joining me with more is dr. william schaffner, professor of infectious diseases at vanderbilt university medical center. dr. schaffner, nice to see you. do you share dr. fauci's belief
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that we would still be battling smallpox and polio if we had had the same level of disinformation around when we were fighting those diseases? >> i think dr. fauci had a great insight. you know, at the time when we were vaccinating against smallpox, children and adults all came forward to be vaccinated. when polio virus vaccine first was available, the line stretched down the block, of parents and children coming in to be vaccinated. and there was not this kind of pushback and grousing and hesitancy and concern. and we would still have measles. we would have tetanus. we have german measles. we would have mumps. all these illnesses have disappeared because we universally have vaccinated our children and as adults, have come forward to be vaccinated. we can get covid virus under
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control. but we all have to come in together and do this. we all have to roll up our sleeves and get that shot. >> just to put this into perspective a little bit more, if you saw the unvaccinated rate for these other diseases from years ago, polio, measles, and so forth, what would life be like now, if there was the same amount of disinformation and hesitancy to get the vaccine on these other serious diseases, how would our life be different now? i just want to put that in perspective. >> well, just let me give you a local example. we have a wonderful, large, modern children's hospital. vanderbilt used to be a leader years ago in the care of a certain disease. and we had a ward dedicated to it. but when we built the new hospital, we don't have to put in that ward. why not? because it was the polio ward. we have no more polio. we don't have to do that anymore. and the doctors and the nurses,
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the technicians, can devote themselves to the care of children with other diseases. we eliminated polio. we could profoundly reduce covid if everyone were vaccinated. >> given the reality of the situation right now, do more states or counties need to bring back mask mandates like we're seeing in l.a.? >> well, what's happening is, local health authorities are looking at their local circumstances. if they see transmission increasing with more cases, more hospitalizations, here and there, they're going to ask people to put back on their masks and go into much more serious social distancing. those decisions will be made at a local level. >> should the cdc reconsider its mask guidance for vaccinated people indoors? i mean, this guidance is across the board, but given the high
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unvaccinated rate in parts of the country, do you think that guidance should be amended? >> i think the cdc is looking at this literally on a daily basis and watching it closely. i'm not going to make a recommendation to the cdc, sitting here. but they're watching this very closely, and cases are going up around the country. >> quick question on what we should do if we're vaccinated, given all these breakthrough cases we're seeing. we just saw it with these texas lawmakers visiting washington, they tested positive for covid even though they've been vaccinated. how routinely should we be getting tested if we're vaccinated and should we quarantine if we're showing symptoms and we're vaccinated? >> sure. remember, the vaccines are keeping people out of the hospital with serious disease. we're reducing the likelihood of transmission. but we can't get it down to zero. even vaccinated people, and remember, vaccines are 95%
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effective, even vaccinated people could still get mild cases. if you develop symptoms, please get tested, and yes, if you're positive, stay home. >> right. that's important advice, especially so many parents like myself are wondering about this because i have two young children under the age of 12 who aren't eligible for a vaccine. i think a lot of parents are just wondering what do we do. dr. william schaffner, thank you for helping us with the guidance that we need. thanks so much. >> thank you. and this just in from texas. dozens of people who went to escape the heat at a water park instead needed decontamination showers after a chemical leak. at least 34 people have minor irritation on their skin or problems with their breathing. this is happening at the six flags hurricane harbor splash town near houston. the fire marshal's office says the incident is confined to one
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attraction at that park. temperatures there today are in the 90s. and still ahead on this saturday, new details in the search for the origin of the coronavirus. as my cnn colleagues and i learned, several senior biden administration officials now believe the lab leak theory is as credible as the idea that the virus emerged from nature. plus i'll talk to an arkansas nurse on a mission to get more people vaccinated after her own mother passed away from the virus. her message to people who haven't gotten the shot. and days after meeting with the vice president and members of congress, a group of texas democratic lawmakers face a covid scare, as i mentioned earlier. i'll talk to one of them coming up in the show. plus is there any future for the republican party that does not include former president trump? this week, the house minority leader sat down with the former president again. formula gop congressman deborah riggleman will join me live to talk about it, coming up. stay with us. when you have an irregular heartbeat, it's more.
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for the united states of america, i christen thee john lewis. may god bless this ship and all who sail in her. [ applause ] >> and with that, the late congressman john lewis' name will go on, one year after the civil rights icon's death. actress and activist alfre woodard krichristened the u.s. y ship. lewis helped lead the 1965 selma march where he was nearly beaten to death by state troopers. president biden urged congress to pass the john lewis voting act.
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the chaos within the republican party, driven by its de facto leader donald trump, continues to overshadow its future. former congressman denver riggleman of virginia, thanks for coming on. there's so much to discuss. i want to start with the most powerful republican in the house, that would be of course minority leader kevin mccarthy, once again meeting with former president trump. what many would call kissing the ring. he says they're talking about fundraising, special elections, and targeting vulnerable democrats. yet they met just hours after that explosive tell-all about trump that came out by these two "washington post" reporters. they say the joint chiefs chairman feared trump would attempt a coup after losing and that he saw parallels between trump's lies about the election and rhetoric from hitler. how much more can republicans simply ignore in the name of staying on trump's good side because it's good for them politically? >> i think it's really difficult to ignore because i think they're looking at polling and
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fundraising. when i was in the rcc, people were saying, these aren't doing very well, you should hit these messaging points. in my district, there are still some people believing in stop the steal and anti-vaxx pushback and things like that. but when you look at the fundraising, kevin as a political calculation has to go to marble or bedminster, wherever the former president is, he has to go there because that's how they'll win these districts. looking at these r plus five, r plus ten districts and above, this is where they think the message is. with the fundraising, with the polling, the excitement in the republican base, they're making that political calculation that will carry them to the midterms in 2022. >> by supporting trump and his message that the election was stolen which we know wasn't true and other lies, isn't that also then endorsing those lies by supporting him? >> yes. you know, when you look at stop the steal, you think about --co
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sp conspiracy theories, stop the steal is sort of any nesting beh election integrity as a cover term. i think people believe it, they think the election was actually stolen. if you go to my district in the fifth, you go there in certain counties, you'll see well more than half who believe the election was stolen. they believe there's some type of socialist takeover happening right now. that sort of hyperbolic messaging is working for the gop. >> say you were still in office and you wanted to stay in office, stay in power, as a republican -- >> i would be s.o.l. right now. >> how would you be able to do that and deal with constituents who are overwhelmingly supporting trump and this lie? how do you do that?
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>> you've got to remember, i've only been out six months. when we were going through this, i remember people saying, listen, you are a traitor, you are evil, right? you have turned your back on god, things like that. and, you know, it's just very interesting to me that when i would go into some of these meetings, i would meet with people, i would tell them the truth, the facts. listen, i had to brief generals. i've been yelled at a lot, my wife yells at me a lot, i'm used to it. you have to be unafraid to spout facts on a level, with a smile, maybe politely confrontational, but if you're that fearful, if you're career is that important where facts don't matter anymore, i really don't have a whole lot to say to you politically. and i think me not having a political background, pam, allowed me to spout facts when i had to. but it hurt me. and people have to not be afraid to lose if we're going to push republicans forward after 2024. i think the gop is really strong through 2024, i think you'll see a slide after '28. right now people are afraid to spout facts because they'll lose
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their primaries, it's that simple. >> let's talk about the evolution, misinformation around the big lie, now we're seeing misinformation around vaccines. it seems to be divided politically, right? you look at the number of people who are still unvaxed and how it's split politically between democrats and republicans, you look at how many republicans believe the election lie. what do you make that have? >> pam, not only is it -- we talk about stop the steal being baked in, i think this anti-vaxx message is baked in. i think it's good against evil, apocalyptic theory, that socialism is being injected, no pun intended, into the populace. i think when you're looking at social media, this digital virus is exacerbating the real virus. that's what scares the hell out of me. if i'm losing friends and family over this in a way that's not -- i would say it's not delicate, right? it's forceful. and you have individuals that aren't afraid to spout this type of nonsense for money or grift,
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if people are looking at this as a money making venture, it's working. i tell people there's a follow the money element to this, an evangelical element to this, there's nsa and fbi looking at everybody's files, people who don't understand how this works. you get this umbrella of crap that you're throwing at the wall. some people think it's chocolate. that's a scary thing for people. that's the issue i have. >> it's so interesting hear dr. schaffner say, people were lining up to get the polio vaccine, the measles vaccine. the only difference between then and now, really, is the misinformation on the internet that is so easily accessible. but you mentioned that you personally have dealt with this. you've had family members and friends who have different points of view, should we say. what has your experience been? >> initially i thought it would be sort of -- something where we could have that discussion, over a beer, over a whiskey, over a
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coffee, i could have that discussion, i could say, hey, here's the facts, here's the data. what happens is it's immediately emotional and i've turned against the family, i'm a traitor to the country, i'm being paid by george soros, i'm a democratic operative, i'm a secret democrat, i was always sort of a trojan horse that was going to the republican party, i was trying to change the sexual orientation of children. i mean, and those things, i'm a pedophile because i'm against qanon. what do i have hidden in my closet? how grotesque is that? this this pushback i get. it's not like, oh, it's okay, denver, we just don't agree with you. it's, you're going to hell. i take a drink and, i don't know, i hope not. and if i do, well, it's going to be hot. >> you can't reason with them, is what you're saying. >> yes. and when you have that religious bent to it, and i was raised very religiously, somebody said that god will heal me. i'm like, isn't science from god? that makes people angry.
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i have to be incredibly careful how i actually sort of present these arguments because if you use too much humor they feel like you're mocking them. if you're too forceful, they want to fight. it's finding the compassionate way to do it. my friends and family, it's been pretty brutal. you lose sleep, with close family members it's almost shocking. it's like somebody throat punches you every day when that happens. >> i'm sorry you've had to go through that for standing up for facts and reality. former congressman denver riggleman, good to see you here in person, appreciate it. more than a year and a half later, we still don't know how the coronavirus started. but senior biden officials believe the lab leak theory is as credible as the natural explanation. that story, next. ancestry helped me learn more about the man behind the medal. he was a father to two young daughters. he was a scout and he knew the land better than anyone.
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dramatic shift on the genesis of the coronavirus pandemic. i've learned along with my team members, colleagues here at cnn, this senior biden officials including national security adviser jake sullivan now believe that the theory the virus accidentally leaked out from a lab is just as credible as the theory that it was transmitted through nature. this is a jaw-dropping reversal, frankly, from a year ago when many democrats scoffed at the lab leak theory as the former president was politicizing the virus, former president trump. i want to bring back dr. william schaffner, professor at vanderbilt university medical center division of infectious diseases and josh rogan, senior political analyst and
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"washington post" columnist. josh is the author of "chaos under heaven." thank you, gentlemen, for coming on the show to discuss this. dr. schaffner, let's start with you. this afternoon on cnn, we heard from dr. anthony fauci, the nation's point man on the pandemic. here is what he had to say. let's listen. >> i together with many highly qualified vaccinologists -- virologists, i mean, in a paper by renowned virologists from all over the world indicate that although we keep an open mind that it could be a lab likeak, that the most likely explanation is a natural evolution from an m animal reservoir to a human.
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>> dr. schaffner, what are your thoughts? >> we don't have definitive information. i tilt on the natural evolution side of the equation. but, you know, it's really annoying that the chinese government has kept much of this information secret. it doesn't allow a complete international investigation of this. you have to wonder what it is, if anything, they're hiding. and that casts a pall of suspicion over this. we don't know definitively. like dr. fauci, my mind is open, i would like more information. >> josh, when you look back, how much this has been politicized, right? i mean, democrats largely downplayed, even dismissed the lab leak theory. then you had president trump and other republicans embracing it. of course there was a conflation, right? there is a difference between having a sample in a lab accidentally leaking out versus engineering something. how much did politics in your
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view contaminate such an important discussion? >> it was politics and confusion and a lot of other things that caused us to get into these things about the lab leak theory. the lab leak theory is not a political or even a scientific question, it's a forensic question. that's why your reporting from inside the biden administration was so important, pamela, because they're looking at more than what dr. schaffner and anthony fauci are looking at. they're looking at not just the virus. they're looking at intercepts, intelligence, data, the parts of the lab that they didn't tell us about, the research they were doing that they didn't tell us about. so they have a larger body of information than any of us are dealing with. and if they're looking at that larger body of information and they're saying, hey, kind of looks like the lab leak theory is getting more and more credible, we should take that seriously, because that means that, you know, whatever you thought last year, more information keeps coming in. we'll have to wait to see what they come out with in 90 days and we'll have to continue the investigation after that and press the chinese for access. what dr. fauci just said, for
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every 21 scientists that lean toward the natural origin, i can find you 21 scientists that lean toward the lab leak, amongst them robert redfield, the head of the cdc, david baltimore who won a nobel prize. scientists totally disagree with this. and i respect dr. schaffner's opinion but he doesn't have the information that jake sullivan has. we don't have it. so we'll have to let the investigation play out. to my mind, it seems like if you really do have an open mind, that you don't say, i think it's the natural origin theory, the truth is we don't know. i could make a circumstantial argument in either direction, if we're being honest. you just have to say we don't know. >> let me ask you, dr. schaffner, and i want you to respond to what josh has said, but isn't it true that this could have been a sample taken from a bat and brought to the lab and accidentally leaked out and you wouldn't be able to determine that just through science alone? >> sure. that's exactly right. and that's why we have to consider the other option.
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i said i was leaning toward the natural origin. it's happened twice before, with sars and mers, so we know these viruses do that. there are a whole host of other viruses that have come from the animal kingdom to us. hiv, for example. influenza does it all the time. zika, west nile virus. so this has happened many times before. you know, the most common things occur most frequently. so yes, i'm inclined to think it was a natural event. but i do have an open mind and we need the investigation. if there is more information, bring it forward, please. >> and i think that's a key point, because what i hear from you, dr. schaffner, is that science alone will not be able to solve this mystery for us, right? >> of course not. we need a complete investigation on the ground. and that laboratory ought to be
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opening its doors, all of its records, to an accredited international body. they evaded that when the world health organization sent a team in. and that made all of us, as i said before, and i'm sure josh agrees with this, that that makes you suspicious, they're hiding something. >> and our sources, josh, in the biden administration, who were part of this 90-day review, say that china has not been any more cooperative during the review. what more do you think the biden administration needs to be doing to push china on this? it is so important. we're still experiencing this pandemic. >> i think it's a great question, because on the one hand, the biden people are saying to you and to me and to other people, hey, it probably might be the lab. on the other hand they're not really doing everything they need to do to check that out. in other words they're not putting any pressure on the chinese government to actually let us into the lab and let us do the real investigation. w.h.o. spent a year trying to be nice to the chinese government, trying to ask them politely.
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it didn't work. now the biden administration is going to say, let's let the w.h.o. try again. insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. i say we should sanctions the labs, all the chinese labs until they let us in. if they don't let us in, we shouldn't be collaborating with labs that have zero transparency, zero accountability during a crisis. this is a pandemic that affects the whole world. to dr. schaffner's point, you know, it's not as if they're covering up the market, right? we've looked at 80,000 animals that came into the market. we never found one, zero animals connected to the outbreak. they're covering up the lab. and they're not going to let us in unless we really bring our pressure to bear. then we have to look into our own labs, we have to look into our own research. that includes nih, niaid, u.s.aid. that's what congress is trying to do. that's what, frankly, dr. fauci is resisting. there is a reason that dr. fauci is leaning towards the natural origin because if it turns out to be the lab theory, then all
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of our collaboration with the wuhan labs should be called into question and we should be raising biosafety standards rather than looking at wet markets all over china. >> dr. fauci is resisting, you're saying he's not turning over documentation that's being asked for? >> mostly republicans, that's why he can avoid doing this, showing us documents of all the work, everything you know what's going on in these wuhan labs. they haven't done it. they need to do it. the biden administration needs to release the intelligence it has. 90 days of a secret investigation is not going to crack this. this is an ongoing problem. there's no statute of limitation on 3 million deaths. people around the world who are suffering want to know how we got into this mess. that's going to require a lot more transparency from the chinese government, from the biden administration, from dr. fauci. that's what congress is pushing
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for. that's what's needed if we have any hope of getting to the bottom of this. >> as we've said from the beginning, we just don't know how covid originated. dr. william schaffner, josh rogan, thank you both, interesting discussion. more to come on "cnn newsroom." former president barack obama is calling on congress to act after a federal judge rules his daca program is illegal. ♪ when technology is easier to use... ♪ barriers don't stand a chance. ♪ that's why we'll stop at nothing to deliver our technology as-a-service. ♪ voiceover: riders. wanderers on the road of life. the journey is why they ride. when the road is all you need, there is no destination.
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tonight former president barack obama is joining president biden in urging congress to protect child immigrants. this after a federal judge in texas declared an obama-era program known as daca illegal. the program offered protection to immigrants brought to the u.s. illegally as children. those people known as dreamers. cnn's joe johns joins me now. joe, what does this ruling mean for the nearly 1 million dreamers currently protected by daca? at the very least it means more uncertainty for them. >> reporter: that's for sure. he essentially invalidated the law. he said this program was against the law, it violated the administrative procedures act. and another reason he said, essentially it never was passed by the united states congress. there wasn't a formal rule making period for daca. he postponed a ruling until it
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goes through the appeals process. the president responded in a statement saying he was deeply disappointed, he indicated they're going to start a rule making process for daca. he said the administration will appeal, also indicating that congress needs to get started on a permanent fix for the 636,000 people in the program. president barack obama, as you mentioned at the top, also weighed in on this. of course, this program started back in 2012 under obama's watch. he said it's well past time for the congress to act. one interesting note, it was just about a year and one month ago that the united states supreme court essentially threw out all of the trump era challenges to daca. but here we go again. once again, 636,000 people now in limbo over their status. back to you. >> all right, joe johns, live
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for us from the white house, thanks, joe. the chummy days between the white house and facebook founder mark zuckerberg are long gone after the president accused the company of killing people with vaccine misinformation. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ you bring your best. we'll block the threats. ♪ cyberprotection for every one. malwarebytes
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president biden says facebook has blood on its hands. >> they're killing people. i mean, look. the only pandemic we have is among the unvaccinated. and they're killing people. >> the white house is insisting the social media platform is not doing enough to stop the spread of covid misinformation. within hours facebook issued an extraordinary response, saying "the fact is that more than 2 billion people have viewed and today, the company accused the president of scapegoating facebook, quote, president biden's goal was for 70% of americans to be vaccinated by july 4th. facebook is not the reason this goal was missed.
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joining me now are "new york times" tech reporters cecelia congress and shelia frankel. they are the authors of a new book, "the ugly truth: inside facebook's battle for domination." so you both know the facebook world very well. talking to so many different sources for this book. how does this episode between the white house and facebook compare to your reporting on facebook's handling of misinformation? >> listening to that statement just now by facebook, i was really struck by how similar it is to what we document in the book. which is that when facebook is in its own way attacked, when it has negative pr or articles it doesn't like, it likes to deflect attention. it's a pattern that we show again and again throughout this book. and that statement about how many people have seen positive information about vaccines or the pandemic is interesting, but it doesn't tell us how many people have seen misinformation. how many people have been exposed to those who are anti-vaccine. >> right. i also found the statement
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striking. it was very defensive in its tone about biden missing his goal and by the way, we don't know how much the goal was missed, frankly. we don't know how much of a role misinformation played in that. but why have facebook's efforts to curb the spread of domestic misinformation have been so successful to date? >> this statement comes after very, very frustrating talks for months between the white house and facebook. so the tension is so strong right now. one of the reasons why facebook has so much trouble with misinformation, spreading it, is because it's hard for them to police the amount of content that courses through the platform every single day. the volume is just so high. they rely actually on machine learning, which is just not smart enough to catch a lot of this misinformation. and they rely on people to report problems. the volume of misinformation is so strong, and facebook has been able to take some of it down,
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but the white house is just absolutely not enough. >> it's sort of like compared to a game of wlak a mole. and in the book, you write about how facebook's business decisions backfired, writing, by pushing people into groups, facebook had made it possible for fringe movements, including militias and conspiracy theorists to organize and recruit followers on the site. even when facebook took the step of instituting an outright ban, many could slip through the cracks with deadly consequences. so why did facebook promote this group platform and does it help explain this wave of conspiracy theories we see today? >> absolutely. and i think facebook's own data really shows that. when facebook made the decision to push people into groups, they described it as taking the conversation from a public square into a private living room. the problem is that in those private living rooms, you were surrounded by like-minded people, which were often pushing these really conspiratorial
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ideas. when that sort of strategic shift happened, we saw a group not just of conspiracies like the anti-vaccine movement, but also, i would note, qanon grew hugely. this is a right-wing conspiratorial movement that believes that there's a global cabal of elites that are pushing a certain type of ideology. we have seen a number of incredibly damaging conspiracies grow since facebook started pushing people into those small groups. >> i want to also bring up russia, cecelia. facebook has admitted that russia interference in the 2020 election -- but yet it seems to be unwilling to work with the white house in finding a solution to misinformation on its platform. why is that? >> well, facebook actually does not -- did not prioritize their own sort of security findings that they had been finding for months, by the way, before they became public. before facebook brought them to the public. they were prioritizing growth. and that's really what the crux of our book is trying to show people, how did facebook get to
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even this point today, where the president says that facebook is leading to deaths. and a lot of that is because they're not prioritizing the right things. they weren't throughout its history. it was always growth first and engaging on the website and building this large advertising model. and our book shows you why these decisions were priorities and how the leaders were really behind these human decisions that put growth first. >> right. and help us understand a little bit more about how much facebook dragged its feet on the russian disinformation campaign during the 2020 election and how much does it recognize its role in facilitating that and facilitating the current information campaigns out there right now about the vaccine. >> absolutely. i mean, when we were reporting for this book ourselves, i think we were shocked at how much we uncovered in terms of facebook executives kind of hearing warnings from their employees over and over again, about how much they were finding on russia's involvement in the 2016 elections. and making the decision not to go public until almost a year
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later, october 2017 is when facebook finally decides to tell the public what they know. and we document in this book for months ahead of that, they were filing internal reports, they were starting to find russian ads and still not disclosing how much russia had done during the platform. >> and just, cecelia, back to the question of sort of taking responsibility. i mean, you can't improve a situation, theoretically, unless you take responsibility, recognize what you did wrong and apply solutions moving forward. how much do the executives at facebook feel responsibility for russian misinformation and the current misinformation campaigns we're seeing spread on facebook now. >> i think there is definitely a recognition that there were problems and mistakes made. there were mistakes made. one really important thing to remember, and we really showed this in our book, is that the power lies in many ways with one individual. and that's the ceo, mark zuckerberg. he's making and he has made the
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most consequential decisions when it comes to misinformation and speech. and particularly speech by politicians, including the former president donald trump. and so when it comes to responsibility, although the question really needs to be posed to one particular individual, and that's mark zuckerberg. >> all right. cecelia congress, sheera frankel, thank you so much. look forward to reading your book. >> thank you. after months of seeing coronavirus cases fall, they are now rising in all 50 states. it is so bad in one missouri county that they asked the state to fund a covid-only treatment site over fears local hospitals could run out of space. i'll speak to that county's health official, up next. i'm searching for info on options trading, and look, it feels like i'm just wasting time. that's why td ameritrade designed a first-of-its-kind, personalized education center. oh. their award-winning content is tailored to fit your investing goals and interests. and it learns with you, so as you become smarter, so do its recommendations. so it's like my streaming service. well except now you're binge learning. see how you can become a smarter investor
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rising covid cases slowing vaccination rates and hospitalizations going up. now more communities say, they need help. plus, texas lawmakers now positive for covid. three so far. they met with members of congress and the vice president. tonight, they're taking precautions in the nation's capitol. and german towns devastated by flooding. dozens of people are dead, hundreds are still missing at this hour.


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