Skip to main content

tv   PBS News Hour  PBS  November 10, 2010 6:00pm-7:00pm PST

6:00 pm
on the "newshour" tonight, we get the details of the long anticipated proposal from lori montgomery of the "washington post." >> lehrer: then, judy woodruff previews the coming confrontation over currency and trade at the world economic summit. >> ifill: from haiti, jonathan snow of "independent television news" reports on the ground, ten months after the earthquake. >> for the vast majority there is aid, not development. their emergency, more permanent
6:01 pm
by the day. >> lehrer: jeffrey brown explores political involvement rules for journalists. >> ifill: and we examine reform efforts in the nation's largest public school system, as new york city school chancellor joel klein steps down. >> lehrer: that's all ahead on tonight's "newshour." major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> opportunity is a powerful force. set it in motion, and it goes out into the world like fuel for
6:02 pm
the economy. one opportunity leading to another and another. we all have a hand in it, because opportunity can start anywhere and go everywhere. let's keep it moving. >> and by the bill and melinda gates foundation. dedicated to the idea that all people deserve the chance to live a healthy productive life. and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting.
6:03 pm
and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> lehrer: the two chairmen of the commission on cutting the federal deficit laid out a long list of recommendations today. they ranged from raising the social security retirement age to 69 to eliminating the mortgage interest deduction on income taxes. republican alan simpson-- a former wyoming senator teamed with democrat erskine bowles, who was chief of staff to president clinton. bowles said the plan is a starting point. >> senator simpson and i put what i think is a strong balanced proposal out there to deal with what i think is the most predictable economic crisis this country has ever faced. every single member of congress knows that the path we're on today is not sustainable and that if we don't bring these
6:04 pm
deficits down and eventually get the balance, we are headed for disaster. >> lehrer: and to lori montgomery, who has been covering the story for the "washington post." >> thank you for having me. >> lehrer: what few words would you use to characterize the bowles-simpson proposal? >> well, i think for one thing it was a big surprise to just about everybody that they put out such a sweeping and comprehensive proposal. i talked to members of the commission who as late as last night were expecting to see, you know, sort of a list of options with numbers beside them. and this is a dramatic, stark and bold effort to actually balance the budget. and i'm not sure anyone was expecting that. >> lehrer: what are the, to you at least going through it, what are the most stark, the starkest? >> well, the idea that they would completely wipe out the tax deductions, known as tax expenditures, these things are worth more than $100 billion a year.
6:05 pm
as you mentioned they include things like the mortgage interest deduction, the tax-free treatment of employer provided hashl, there's stuff in here that touches everyone. and they would just wipe it out. in exchange for some lower tax rates, but they would suck some more money out of the tax code. raising the retirement age, we were sort of expecting that. but there are a number of other reforms that they are proposing that would also serve to lower benefits for wealthier retirees, that will be very controversial. and they've got more than $200 billion a year in discretionary spending cuts, which is something like a 20% reduction in pentagon and other agency budgets. >> lehrer: i notice you mentioned the pentagon. 15% cut in defense spending, and they even outlined, if i read this correctly, some specific weapons systems that should be eliminated. >> that's right. what's been surprising to many people is that there are some republicans that are willing to embrace this idea. if they're going to sell social
6:06 pm
security cuts to liberal democrats who right now are screaming the loudest about this plan, they are going to have to have some serious reductions in military spending in there too. >> lehrer: give us a feel for reaction. there's been a lot of it in the last couple hours. nancy pelosi said this is just right off the top is unacceptable. >> simply unacceptable, that's exactly what she said. there's an interesting dynamic developing. i guess i should mention first of all that the white house also has been a little, like, this isn't the starting point very sort of noncommittal at this point. but an interesting dynamic developing both on and off the commission. many of the members, except for the most liberal members, the champions of social security, are very reluctant to outright criticize this thing. they're calling it a serious effort, something that they have to respect. and nobody is for it, but nobody is totally against it either.
6:07 pm
then you've got some people on the outside, long-time balanced budget advocates who are calling this thing a breakthrough. this is a serious plan. we can't go back to pretending that, you know, eliminating ear marks is going to solve our budget problems any more. >> lehrer: but on the other side norquist said that this was a camouflaged way, i'm paraphrasing, to raise taxes, he said it's unacceptable from his point view as well. >> that's right. they're calling it a trillion dollar tax increase. but it's interesting that these very extreme reactions are coming from the far end of the party. of each party. i think that there is a middle ground that is going to try to massage this thing, and could bring this whole debate back to life in a way that i think everybody was assuming it would
6:08 pm
not be resuscitated. >> lehrer: give us a feel now for the process. what happens next? >> well, that's a little unclear as well. so the deficit commission, the 18 members of the deficit commission, which include about a dozen members of congress, were meeting into the afternoon to go over this thing, make sure they understand it, go through all the details. they're going to get together again next week to begin to seriously take it apart. everyone i spoke to said that they've got some alternative proposals that they want to offer. they said that's great and they're going to be open to taking those ideas. but if you're going to put something back in that increases the cost of the plan, they want to see where you're going to pay for it. so you've got this sort of interesting dynamic developing where it's possible that a proposal could emerge that would have these deficit reduction goals intact. now, it's also unclear when they're going to vote on and it
6:09 pm
how they're going to vote on it. they're supposed to release the report by december 1, they haven't said when the commission will vote on the plan, if it will vote on the plan. and some commission members are raising the point, well, we haven't talked about whether or not we can take pieces of this thing and vote for that. so even though maybe we can't endorse the entire thing, maybe we can take, you know, a la carte, if through, go for the spending cuts. >> lehrer: am i correct in that there's 18 members of the commission, as you say, some of members of congress, but it takes 14 for it to take this, whatever they finally end up with and put it on the floor or put it before congress. am i right about that? >> that's right. the commitment from house speaker pelosi and senate majority leader reid is that if 14 of the 18 members agree on something, they'll vote on it, put it on the floor during this congress, which means before the
6:10 pm
end of the year. now, i don't think anybody, a, it seems pretty unlikely that a plan of this magnitude could get 14 votes. even if it did get 14 votes, they are insisting that this offer still holds, but you talk to members, they want to go home they want to solve the bush tax cut problem and get out of here. i can't imagine that there's actually going to be an extended debate on raising the social security age before christmas. >> lehrer: so had erskine bowles says this is a starting point, that's literally true? >> i think that's right. what people are now saying in the budget word is at least we have a credible plan for reigning in the debt, at least we now can see what it would take. we have a presidential commission, the chairman of a presidential commission saying here's what it would take to get there. and in a sense whatever happens on the hill had in the next couple months, the ball has moved forward on the debate and it now needs to be picked up in
6:11 pm
the president's budget in february, it need to be picked up in the budget resolutions that both parties will put out in march, and it needs to be picked up in the vote that will be taken on whether or not to raise our debt limit yet again, which will happen sometime in the first part of next year. >> lehrer: okay. got it. lori montgomery, thank you very much. >> thank you. >> ifill: still to come on the "newshour": the looming currency dispute at the world economic summit; a haiti update; ethics questions for journalists and change at the top for new york city schools. but first, with the other news of the day. here's hari sreenivasan in our newsroom. >> sreenivasan: president obama shifted his focus today to the problems of global economic recovery. he did so hours after concluding his latest appeal to the muslim world. the president's asian tour took him this evening to south korea for a major summit on world economic problems. the gathering of 20 nations formally convenes tomorrow. mr. obama arrived in seoul after a strikingly personal address to
6:12 pm
more than 6,000 university students in jakarta, indonesia. he spent four years there as a child, and he began today by saying, "indonesia is a part of me..." >> i first came to this country when my mother married an indonesian named lolo soetoro. and as a young boy i was... as a young boy i was coming to a different world. but the people of indonesia quickly made me feel at home. and while my stepfather, like most indonesians, was raised a muslim, he firmly believed that all religions were worthy of respect. >> sreenivasan: the president then renewed his call again for a new era of u.s. engagement with the muslim world. >> but we also know that i went to cairo last june, and i called for a new beginning between the united states and muslims around the world-- one
6:13 pm
that creates a path for us to move beyond our differences. i said then, and i will repeat now, that no single speech can eradicate years of mistrust. >> sreenivasan: mr. obama praised indonesia for its efforts to stamp our terrorism and he stressed again that the war on terror is not about religion. >> america is not, and never will be, at war with islam. instead, all of us must work together to defeat al qaida and its affiliates, who have no claim to be leaders of any religion, certainly not a great, world religion like islam. >> sreenivasan: in a show of respect, the first couple toured a mosque in jakarta that is the largest in southeast asia. but clouds of volcanic ash from mount merapi forced the obamas to leave indonesia earlier than planned to avoid being grounded. the official death toll from the volcano jumped to 191 today. it roared back to life two weeks ago and has since forced more than 350,000 people to evacuate. general motors reported today it
6:14 pm
made $2 billion in the third quarter. the strong showing was fueled in part by sales of new models in north america. and, the labor department reported fewer americans filed first-time claims for jobless benefits last week. it was the third decline in four weeks. on wall street, the dow jones industrial average gained 10 points to close at 11,357. the nasdaq rose more than 15 points to close at 2,578. talk of taxes was in the air at the u.s. capitol as house republicans met to plan their transition to power. the man in line to be speaker-- john boehner-- stood firm on extending the bush-era tax cuts, even for wealthier americans. otherwise, they'd expire at the end of this year. >> i've only said this about 500 times. i think extending all of the current tax rates and making them permanent will reduce uncertainty in america and help small business begin to create jobs again. you can't invest when you don't
6:15 pm
know what the rules are, when you don't know what the tax rates are going to be next year. that's why making these permanent would be the most important thing we could do to create jobs in the country. >> sreenivasan: president obama had wanted to keep the tax cuts only for the middle class. but since the election, white house officials have suggested he might consider an across-the- board extension for a year or two. in alaska, elections officials began counting nearly 100,000 write-in ballots in the u.s. senate race. republican turned independent lisa murkowski is trying to keep her job through a write-in campaign. the overall write-in category finished ahead of republican nominee joe miller in last week's election. the democratic candidate in the race already conceded. violence erupted in london today, as thousands of students protested plans to triple college tuition to $14,000 a year. crowds stormed a building where the ruling conservative party has its main office. we have a report from tom bradby of "independent television news." >> reporter: at the end of the march, a few students charged
6:16 pm
into, and a long standoff began. the court yard outside the building filled up and the temperature began to rise. a few bottles were thrown. one or two connected. the students kept charging the doorways to try and get in, and get their colleagues inside out. shortly after that, the students did get in. and it really did begin to turn ugly. the students repeatedly tried to smash the glass front of the doors, filled, one would imagine with bomb proof glass. before long, they got up onto the roof. the police officers on the ground were gradually reinforced
6:17 pm
some of their colleagues now in riot gear. but they were taking casualties of their own. the students set off fire extinguishers and threw whatever else came to hand, and as the afternoon wore on, many seemed to have mixed feelings. >> i don't think that most of the people out there are looki looking... we did need to make a point. >> reporter: the national union of students said it condemned the violence utterly. the anger of the students here was certainly real, as the violence may not have done their cause much good. many predicted riots as a result of the cuts. today we got one. elsewhere in europe, investors dumped irish bonds amid growing fears that ireland may need a bailout from the european
6:18 pm
union. and in france, a new cost- cutting pension reform measure became law, despite of widespread protests. it will raise the partial retirement age to a minimum of 62, and the full-time retirement age to 67. u.s. health officials have announced plans for large, graphic warning labels on cigarette packs. they're designed to illustrate the dangers of tobacco use. some of the labels show diseased lungs, to demonstrate what smoking can do to healthy tissue. others warn against exposing children to second-hand smoke from their parents. the long-term decline in smoking in the u.s. has stalled since 2004. more than 20% of american adults about 46 million people still smoke. those are some of the day's major stories. now, back to gwen. >> ifill: as the president meets today with global leaders in south korea, we examine currency and trade and the disputes they cause. judy woodruff has the story. >> woodruff: global leaders mustered in seoul today for what could be a downright contentious meeting of the group of 20, the world's leading economies.
6:19 pm
the chief irritant: the u.s. federal reserve's plan to pump $600 billion into the american economy over six months by purchasing u.s. treasury bonds. it's designed to drive interest rates down and spur expansion and hiring. it could also lower the value of the dollar, making american exports cheaper. on monday in new delhi, india, president obama publicly defended the policy. >> the worst thing that could happen to the world economy, not ours-- not just ours, but the entire world's economy is if we end up being stuck with no growth or very limited growth. and i think that's the fed's concern, and that's my concern as well. >> woodruff: but euro zone nations, plus china, russia and emerging economies accuse the u.s. of currency manipulation-- a charge
6:20 pm
washington has long leveled against china. other critiques focus on possible inflation. but with that rate now below 2%, fed chairman ben bernanke has insisted the real danger is deflation, or falling prices and wages. there's also friction over trade. new figures today showed that for the first nine months of 2010, the u.s. trade deficit was 40% higher than last year. treasury secretary tim geithner has proposed linking trade deficits or surpluses to a nation's overall economic output. that's angered germany and china which enjoy massive trade surpluses with the u.s. for more we turn to eswar prasad, a professor of trade policy at cornell university. he's also a senior fellow at the brookings institution and a former economist at the international monetary fund.
6:21 pm
and zanny minton beddoes, economics editor of the "economist" magazine. thank you both for being with us. >> my pleasure. >> woodruff: let me start with you, remind us again what the federal reserve was trying to do when it took this $600 billion, putting it into the economy buying bonds. what was the goal? >> well, trying to boost the u.s. economy. the fed looks at the u.s. economy and sees unemployment at almost 10%, much much higher than it would like. sees inflation uncomfortably low worries about deflation, as your report announced. and it wants to boost the u.s. economy. traditionally what the fed would do is cut short-term interest rates. but short-term interest rates are already at zero, so you can't do that any more. so it's now going another route and that route is designed to bring down long-term rates, and the idea is we have -- and that boosts the economy in several channels. it encourages investment, it boosts asset prices and the
6:22 pm
third is it might mush down the dollar and that's the one the rest of the world is very unhappy about. >> woodruff: so it's only within a few days since this started. has it had an effect so far? >> in the u.s. probably not. but it is having a big effect on the rest of the word. even the prospect of the u.s. federal reserve purposing -- pumping money into the economy has already led to fluctuating markets around the world. and the falling dollar is what many are concerned about. because most economies have been relaying on exports. not just china, but germany, japan. and so the u.s. dollar's value falls, you're going to have serious problems about where these exports go. for emerging markets, there's a left money flowing to them, they're getting higher inflation the currency values are rising, and they're getting these big asset market bubbles because of all the money coming in. so they don't like what the u.s. is doing.
6:23 pm
>> woodruff: zanny beddoes, are all these countries angry at the united states at this policy? and who is angrier than everybody else? >> i think they're not all that angry. the more sane part of the argument and people who have done a lot of rhetoric before this big meeting in seoul and there's a lot of people who are relefd, particularly the chinese and germans that they're no longer the focus of everybody's attention thashs the u.s. is, i think what president obama said is right. that the world economy would be much much worse off if the u.s. was stag nabt or let alone in deflation. i think the way most policy makers around the world do this is, this policy of printing money to buy bonds, we're clearly going to prop up the u.s. economy, then that would be a good thing for the world economy. but what people worry about is that it may not be that effective and it does have a negative effect on some other cries -- countries or they perceive it to. >> woodruff: are they going to
6:24 pm
do something about this at the meeting? what's going to happen? >> they're going to vent. the reality is that having the u.s. economy grow strongly is a good thing for everybody. but the problem is that in the short term, even in the u.s. it obvious the benefits will be much greater than the risk. but as far as the rest of the world is concerned the benefits are very tenuous. but the risks are very immediate. because the dollar's value is falling, plus you're getting all this money flowing to specialties like the emerging marketss so they're going to try to figure out a way to resolve this. ultimately people want the u.s. economy growing and they understand that the u.s. is doing this basically because it's going to help the u.s. and the rest of the world. but it going to require action by other countries as well. and whether other countries are willing to step up to the plate and start absorbing more exports and more demand itself is the big question. >> woodruff: so does it matter what president obama says at this meeting or not? about all this. >> i think does it matter. because the point of these gatherings of the g20 is to an a
6:25 pm
sort of discussion group, if you will, all the right countries are represented, the g 20 is the economies both emerging and rich. if they are coming up with a common strategy, a common way forward, that's a very good thing. that's what they did at the height of the crisis in 2008, early 2009. the g-20 was seen as successful because they said we're not going to allow a second depression, we're going to stimulate the economy. now if it appears that they are bitter, shouting at each other, blaming each other, that has a very negative effect. but if they're around the table and they come up with something, even if it's not terribly detailed but a kind of joint statement, then that's a very useful thing to do. >> woodruff: what about the other issue that's been out there for months and months, people have been looking to be discussed at this meeting, and that is this ongoing global concern some countries are exporting too much, other
6:26 pm
countries are consuming too much. >> the whole issue is framed in the context of jobs because this has been a recovery that has been very little employment growth and even the economies are doing very well, like the red hot emerging market economies, and the exports are generating jobs, which is why every country wants to make sure it maintains export growth. every country is trying very hard to keep its currency values down. this is the big risk here if these countries don't get together and come up with a sensible solution, you could have more explicit trade protectism or financial protectionism and that's not good for anybody. >> woodruff: so what are the prospects, zanny, and where does the u.s. come out of this? >> well, i think the prospects are not as gloomy as many think. i think they will not have a shouting match there, at least not a public shouting match, and that there will be some broad framework that they will sign up on. it won't be anything terribly detailed, we'll all be able to
6:27 pm
say this is all just a lot of guff, but there will be, they'll smile and i think, the... i think it's not been terribly helpful. the federal reserve, because these are related, this rebalancing that eswar talked about, the basic shift that has to go on in the wore economy is that we have to stop relying on the u.s. to be the spender and the spending has to come more from emerging economies, that has to happen, everyone knows it has to happen and that's what the g20 is trying to manage, that process towards that. this action by the trfsh is understandable in the u.s. context, i think it probably makes sense, but it has been a dig diversion from the focus -- a big diversion of the focus at the g20. >> i think the reality is that the dollar has to follow the long run. the problem is nobody wants it to happen too soon and they don't want it to happen right now. i don't think the other emerging
6:28 pm
marketss are going to be very happy to be told to keep their trade surpluses at a certain level. so i think we will get a sligh slightly... there will be substantial differences in terms of actual policies, and whether after they go back home the g20 countrys will actually do what is necessary for this global rebalancing, that i'm far less sure. >> that's what i hope would happen. i'm with eswar, this is a long road, it's not going to happen overnight. but having these kind of meetings is actually useful in going in the right direction. >> woodruff: thank you both. >> lehrer: next tonight, a return to haiti. i.t.n. correspondent jon snow covered the aftermath of the calamitous january earthquake. he returned this week to report on what's happened since. here is what he found.
6:29 pm
>> reporter: in january close by on a basketball court floor, we found the wounded, a women with a desperately infected eye. and the pastor traumatically injured and in urgent need of medical help. likinson was simply an untrained volunteer at the time. there was also the woman begging us to get three dead bodies out of her house. ten months on the basketball court floor has been covered and likinson is still here still struggling to manage the 70 families-- 300 souls surviving here. a sort of order prevails.
6:30 pm
marizet had indeed survived but her eye a casualty of the quake. the old lady with the three dead in her house is still here. the three dead were not family but strangers thrown into her home by the force of the quake. how is she now? >> ( translated ): the aftershock for me is that at my age things still seem confused, but with christ everything is beginning to get back into place. >> reporter: we met jean rodriqez a un translator five days after the quake.
6:31 pm
>> ( translated ): my wife is nine months pregnant. this baby is a miracle >> reporter: rodriquez has money, and relatives abroad. he's done better than anyone else we met. for the vast majority, there is aid not development: their emergency tented encampments more permanent by the day. the community is intensifying. little stores on the narrow camp
6:32 pm
high street shared joy at a the gaming table, too, pedicures even. at the far end of the camp, oxfam is shipping in the elements for still more toilets. workmen toil to keep pace with the urgent cholera driven need for sanitation. just over a mile away, despite the state of the presidential palace, there is now a functioning government of sorts in haiti. the u.n. and others depend upon the prime minister for delivery. i sat down with him this morning. there seems to be a blockage. who is the problem? >> it's the scale of the problem. for example, we started with 1.5 million people in the camps. now you have 1.2 or 1.1 which means you get out 200,000 people.
6:33 pm
>> reporter: but when you're in the camps, people don't know how long they're going to be there. there's insecurity and a lack of trust. >> lack of trust. i don't know if you can go there. you don't see any hunger and that's the big achievement. >> reporter: out along the dusty market street beyond the presidential palace, there is one phoenix that defies the apparent lack of progress since the quake: it can be seen rising rapidly from the ashes of the totemic iron market. sheer brute capitalist drive has overwhelmed political obstacles. it will reopen for business by christmas. it's the brainchild of denis o'brien an irish telecoms billionaire who owns the biggest phone company in haiti. >> we wanted to demonstrate to the people of port-au-prince that one, we can rebuild something of this scale and beauty back to where it was. but also it will hopefully encourage other people to do the same and move quickly to rebuild other parts of the city.
6:34 pm
>> reporter: time and again here people have told me in the streets here that's exactly what they think the governing elite is not doing. >> ifill: but more immediate problems await, as floods increase the risk of spreading cholera from the countryside to the capital, port-au-prince. the associated press reports 600 people have already died from the infectious disease, and 10,000 have been hospitalized. >> lehrer: next, journalism and politics. jeffrey brown has our story. >> that's november 9, seven days since the republicans took control of the house. mr. boeher, where are the jobs? >> brown: keith olbermann was back to his usual combative self last night on his msnbc show, "countdown." as he returned from a two-day suspension for making campaign contributions to three democratic candidates. all three appeared on his program-- one the same day as the donation. >> this advice mr. bush.
6:35 pm
shut the hell up! >> reporter: olbermann, a consistently strong liberal voice, is the top-rated host on msnbc and served as one of the network's anchors on election day. last night, he said he hadn't been aware of parent company nbc's policy that contributions had to be approved. he apologized for that, but added much more, including this: >> i think we saw where the political contribution system is working for transparency in democracy and where it is failing transparency in democracy. i made legal political contributions as a us citizen, near midnight eastern on thursday october 28. by 10:00 p.m. eastern thursday night, november 4, those contributions were public knowledge. and that's the point. i gave and you found about and judge me for good or for ill as you felt appropriate. >> brown: news organization have traditionally banned political advocacy and contributions by employees and most still do. but rules can differ. joe scarborough, another msnbc host and a former republican
6:36 pm
congressman made a political contribution in 2006 but received prior approval. for its part, fox news does not ban its hosts from giving to candidates. sean hannity, for example, contributed a total of $9,800 this election to one republican candidate's political action committee and directly to another's campaign. and fox news' parent company, news corporation, gave $1.25 million in donations to the republican governors association in the midst of the midterm campaign. and gave another million to the u.s. chamber of commerce, which worked to defeat democratic candidates. the proper bounds of political advocacy or participation for journalists come into play in a variety of activities, including attendance at rallies such as recent gatherings on the washington mall held by fox's glenn beck. and later comedy central hosts jon stewart and stephen colbert.
6:37 pm
for the record, "newshour" guidelines require that staff "not engage in any activity that would compromise, or appear to compromise, our commitment to unbiased reporting." and we explore some of these issues now with geneva overholser, director of the university of southern california's annenberg school for communication and journalism. her many past positions include editor of the "des moines register" and ombudsman at the "washington post." and brian stelter, media reporter for "the new york times." brian, i'll start with you because you've been covering the story. how clear are the rules on political contributions in this case and in other newsrooms as you looked around? >> keith says he baby aware of this policy at msnbc. the policy is for business donations unless you have the permission of your boss at msnbc. most of the employees i smoke to there were well aware of the policy and they are kind of surprised that olberman says he
6:38 pm
did not know about it. the policy allows some wiggle room, it allowed joe scarborough four years ago to make a donation because he got permission in advance. on the other hand it also allows msnbc to turn you down and say now, you are not allowed to make this for whatever reason. they think it's important to have that wiggle room because that way they could have come up with a plan to make this information about his donation public. that way it wouldn't have again on television and attacked the opponent of one of the people he donated to without disclosure. >> explain for people the traditional thinking on this. >> well, objectivity has been a central ethic of journal indiana the modern era, and the thinking is that, as you know, if we can show that we've apurchased a story with a completely open mind, and been fair minded about it, then people will have a
6:39 pm
stronger sense of the story's credibility. the trouble is that we are in a new kind of wild west atmosphere now. it's never been totally clear that the public thought about this as a safe guard with the same strength that we did, as journalists, you know. but in this current environment, it's kind of an anything goes, we're headed toward a different mode of being transparent or figuring out what the new ethics are, so right now we're looking at little thin slices of defending the turf. we have keith olberman saying, you know, i'm paid to give my opinions or people are saying it's no surprise that he's giving his opinions, that he works for a larger corporation, nbc, which is still kind of hewing to the traditional standards of objectivity. it a very interesting time. >> brian, for example, where you work at the "new york times",
6:40 pm
are the standards clear for you as a working journalist? are they clear for someone that our audience would know, paul drug man, for example on the opinion page, who as our audience knows has another job as a princeton economist. >> right. one of the first things you receive when you walk into the times as an employee is this, i wouldn't call it a thick book of rules, but it's a significant publication, dozens of pains in length, that spells out the ethics policies both for journalists here and for columnists and commentators like the columnists that appear on the op ed pains. in both instances donations like the one that olberman made are not allowed pretty much under any circumstances. that makes it pretty clear. but i think the tension with keith olbermanes that he's a different kind of journalist, he's an opinion journalist in a way that resembles the partisan press of 100 years ago in america. he's a person who is an anchor, he has news values, seems to
6:41 pm
present a news cast. but from a clearly liberal point of view. i think what he's saying with these donations is that the rules haven't caught up, to figure out how to handle someone like him who is presenting news but from a clear point of view. >> well, geneva, you're saying also that this is confusing to the public, right? nobody on the one hand doubts that olberman generally prefers a democratic candidate or that sean handity generally prefers a republican candidate. but is the public confuse bid the rules? >> i'm not sure the public never completely understood the rules. we show that we are approaching a story with an open mind. people who believe that we approach a story with an open mind may feel that's important or they may feel they would like to know what you're view is, that we've arrived at a story and come after great deal of reporting to an opinion of our own and they may want to know what it is. i think what's happening right now is, as brian says, there's a
6:42 pm
lot more partisan journalism, and to the public people who are defending a little tiny slice of virtue here, are confusing. who could be surprised that olberman would have supported a democrat, just as no one would be surprised that hannity would support a republican. so it to the public this feels like, wait a minute, the virtue is that olberman could carry on in his opinion mongering and ends up, which is really what he's paid to do, voicing his opinions, but it's only when he puts his money where his mouth is that he's misbehaved. you know, this doesn't compute for the public, i think. >> i think she's right, that there's a sense here that mean viewers of msnbc actually prefer the news cast that he does that has opinions, and i think there's a growing sense that certainly not agreed upon by everyone, but a growing sense that maybe should put all their
6:43 pm
cards out on the table. that instead of the view from nowhere, you should show here's where i stand and here's where i'm coming from and what i believe. that's by no means universal. and i think many news organizations would bristle at that notion. but you're seeing more of that at a place like fox news, which does not discourage donations at all. >> but do you see executives in the aftermath of this starting to rethink that? you spoke earlier, this is a situation where you've got nbc sort of mainstream organization dealing with msnbc which operates in this cable news world, you've fwt people like olberman, hannity wear different hats at different times. >> right. >> i think we're going to have -- >> go ahead. >> i think we're going to have a lot of different responses, just as you say, we have all these decisions. i think it's increasingly going to demarch indicate a given news organization's position in the
6:44 pm
marketplace, and that will be good, there will be organizations who do say it matters to us to be as objective as we can, we consider that part of our fair minded delivery of the news. and then the news viewer or reader or consumer can come to that knowing that. i think it is going to be more and more about trarns parent sit this is who we are. but not trying to stuff everybody into the same sock because they're not in that sock any more. >> brian, what do you see happening in newsrooms in the aftermath of this? >> msnbc for one is going to take another look at this policy and review it. orberman says it needs to be adapted to what he sauls 21st century journalism. but clearly some organizations value object activity above all else. i look back at the interview of george w. bush this week when the publisher of bush's book was looking around trying to figure out who to give that first interview to, there weren't a lot of options. there aren't that many
6:45 pm
nonpartisan anchors they could get the interview to, and they ended up going with matt lauer. i think people that are in matt lauer's position will benefit in the future because when you're releasing a book or doing a first post presidential interview you're going to want to go with an objective nonpartisan news man. >> all right, why don't we leave it there. thanks very m.. >> thanks for having me. >> ifill: finally tonight, after eight years as head of the nation's largest public school system, chancellor joel klein announced yesterday he is leaving to rejoin the private sector. klein, who was appointed by mayor michael bloomberg, will be replaced by cathie black, a former magazine and newspaper publisher. klein's tenure has garnered both praise and criticism and it has helped drive a national debate about school reform.
6:46 pm
sarah garland, staff writer for "the hechinger report," a non- profit news organization that focuses on education, has been following all of it. she joins us now. >> thank you. >> ifill: what is the significance of joel klein's departure given everything he was trying to accomplish in new york? >> well, i think what will happen is that it won't be as, a drastic change. bloomberg has brought in someone who is very likely to carry on what joel klein was doing. for him, you know, he's moving on and to the media world. but at lies for the next three years bloomberg will be trying to consolidate what he's done in new york. >> ifill: when joel klein came to this job he came to it saying he would apply business principles to the job of trying to turn around a troubled public school system. is there any way to measure how well that's worked? >> you know, there have, i was actually at a conference today
6:47 pm
where academics were looking back at the record of test scores and graduation rates. and in terms of graduation rates there were significant gains and no matter how you measure it, conservatively or through the administration's eyes you saw a 20-point gain in the graduation rate. so that was very significant. i think there was also problems at the same time in test scores, there were gains but this year you had a change in the tests that they had used previously to measure progress. so the gains that they thought they had made were cut down significantly. so that caused some problems for bloomberg and also for klein. ifdz on one has been they could say they had some good news, but also some unclear news. what about things like joel klein tried to create a network of smaller schools in new york city. is that something that he can
6:48 pm
claim success at? >> you know, there was mixed reviews on that. i think the small schools did have some important results. you saw higher graduation rates at some of those schools and one of the reasons that they actually implemented that was this is a very huge reform where they opened up dozens of these small schools, the reason they did that is because they have seen that those were schools where you could get low income kids graduating at higher rates. at the same time, there was i lot of scrutiny of these schools and the way they were opened and what often ends up happening is that at first in the early years they didn't have to accept english language learners and special education students, they were given a break and now it's changed. but it meant that those higher need students who were harder to end indicate ended up going into the big dropout factory type schools so they got a lot of criticism for that.
6:49 pm
>> ifill: as here in washington d.c. and other... this was some resistance from school unions and from parents even. >> yes. they had, i was listening to actually bill klein talk today at this conference and spoke with him briefly as well, and he admit to the fact that he didn't do very well when it came to getting community support, which is very important in terms of making sure what he did actually is long lasting. because he was, because he came in through mayoral control where the mayor controls the school system. these reforms could basically be voted out. so because he didn't get as much support as he wanted from the public, that basically endangers their agenda. >> ifill: the approach did gain some national following. >> yes, absolutely. i was listening to an official today from charlotte who was
6:50 pm
saying, basically compared new york city, made the comparison that they were like an older sibling so they were now trying a lot of the reforms that new york had done and looking to what new york did well and what didn't work out so well and doping -- copying what they've done. so many of the federal news that arnie duncan has been making andle waysed -- embraced. closing. >> ifill: cathie black who has never worked in the public schools sent her own children to private school in connecticut, she was appointed in that same mold of going outside the way things are always done. how was that received today in new york? >> people are pretty shocked all around, even in the department of education, there was very, i was talking to someone who is sort of a top official today who had no idea that this is
6:51 pm
happening until a few minutes before the rest of us found out. so i think there is a lot of shock. joel klein was saying she's going to go through what i did, which is the vut any of her past and people criticizing her for not being an educator. i think there's a lot of surprise, but again bloomberg was looking for somebody not necessarily who comes from the education world but somebody who can implement the way he sees reform being necessary which is bringing this business model that's transforming principles into c.e.o.s. >> ifill: sarah garland, thank you so much. >> thank you. >> lehrer: again, the major developments of the day. the chairmen of a bipartisan presidential commission took aim at the federal deficit calling for an array of tax and spending changes. president obama arrived in south korea for a summit of the 20 major economic powers. and in london, there were violent protests against
6:52 pm
tripling college tuition as part of a government austerity plan. and to hari sreenivasan, in our newsroom, for what's on the "newshour" online. hari? >> sreenivasan: education correspondent john merrow writes about what's next for new york city public schools after the depature of chancellor joel klein, that's on the rundown news blog. we've posted the full proposal for reducing the deficit from the chairmen of the presidential commission. margaret warner looks at the numbers behind the numbers in a new poll of afghans asking if they think their country is on the right or wrong track. plus you can see more images of the new fda warnings for cigarette packs and see how they compare to similar labels around the world. all that and more is on our web site, >> lehrer: and again to our honor roll of american service personnel killed in the iraq and afghanistan conflicts. we add them as their deaths are made official and photographs
6:53 pm
become available. here, in silence, are ten more.
6:54 pm
>> ifill: and that's the "newshour" for tonight. on thursday, we'll look into what the u.s. china currency wars could mean for exports and for jobs here at home. i'm gwen ifill. >> lehrer: and i'm jim lehrer. we'll see you online and again here tomorrow evening. thank you and good night. major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by:
6:55 pm
>> i want to know what the universe... >> looks like. >> feels like. >> from deep space. >> to a microbe. >> i can contribute to the world by pursuing my passion for science. >> it really is the key to the future. >> i want to design... >> a better solar cell. >> i want to know what's really possible. >> i want to be the first to cure cancer. >> people don't really understand why things work. >> i want to be that person that finds out why. >> innovative young minds taking and by the alfred p. sloan foundation. supporting science, technology, and improved economic performance and financial
6:56 pm
literacy in the 21st century. and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions captioned by media access group at wgbh
6:57 pm
6:58 pm
6:59 pm