tv PBS News Hour PBS November 20, 2014 6:00pm-7:01pm PST
captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> woodruff: president obama lays out a series of executive actions to secure the border and halt deportation for some undocumented immigrants. and he challenges congress to pass comprehensive reform. good evening, i'm judy woodruff. >> ifill: and i'm gwen ifill. also ahead this thursday, we get a response from republican congressman darrel issa. plus, the analysis of david brooks and e.j. dionne on the political implications of the president's address to the nation. >> woodruff: then, as winter approaches, the challenges mount for refugees and the displaced worldwide whose numbers are at their highest since world war
ii. >> people see that in the middle east it's warm, but it's not. some areas are were cold. they have negative temperatures. and people can suffer tremendously because many of them have very precarious shelter. >> ifill: an american veteran of the vietnam war returns to the country for one last mission to disarm unexploded bombs left over from the conflict. >> the defense department estimates that about 10% did >> the defense department estimates that about 10% did not blow up as designed. they fell to the ground in tact, now today 40 years later they're exploding and they kill and maim people. >> woodruff: plus, remembering the life and work of the acclaimed director, mike nichols who captivated audiences on screen and stage. >> ifill: those are some of the stories we're covering on the newshour.
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i. president obama sidestepped congress tonight outlining a series of executive actions on immigration. ordered an increase in border security, expanding the number of criminals to be deported and opened the door for possibly millions of undocumented immigrants to remain in the country legally. here is some of what the president had to say in his address to the nation from the east room of the white house. >> my fellow americans. tonight, i would like to talk with you about immigration. for more than 200 years, our tradition of welcoming immigrants from around the world has given us a tremendous advantage over other nations. it's kept us youthful, dynamic, entrepreneurial. it has shaped our character as a people with limitless possibilities, people not trapped by our past but able to remake ourselves as we choose. but today our immigration system is broken, and everybody knows it. it's been this way for decades, and for decades we haven't done
much about it. when i took office, i committed to fixing this broken immigration system, and i began by doing what i could to secure our borders. today we have more agents and technology deployed to secure our southern border than at anytime in our history and, over the past six years, illegal border crossings have been cut by more than half. although this summer, there was a brief spike in unaccompanied children entering at our border, the number is actually lower than in two years. overall, the number of people trying to cross our border illegally is at its lowest level since the 1970s. those are the facts. meanwhile, i worked with congress on a comprehensive fix and last year 68 democrats, republicans and independents came together to pass a bipartisan bill in the senate. it wasn't perfect, it was a compromise, but it reflected common sense. it would have doubled the number
of border patrol agents while giving undocumented immigrants a pathway to citizenship if they paid a fine, started paying their taxes and went to the back of the line. an independent expert said that it would help grow our economy and shrink our deficits. had the house of representatives allowed that kind of bill a simple yes or no vote, it would have passed with support from both parties and today would be the law. but for a year and a half now, republican leaders in the house have refused to allow that simple vote. now, i continue to believe that the best way to solve this problem is by working together to pass that kind of common-sense law. but until that happens, there are actions i have the legal authority to take as president, the same kinds of actions taken by democratic and republican [02:15:22.828]
presidents before me, that will help make our immigration system more fair and more just. tonight, i'm announcing those actions. first, we'll build on our progress at the border with additional resources for our law enforcement personnel so that they can stem the flow of illegal crossings and speed the return of those who do cross over. second, i'll make it easier and faster for high-skilled immigrants, graduates and entrepreneurs to stay and contribute to our economy, as so many business leaders have proposed. third, we'll take steps to deal responsibly with the millions of undocumented immigrants who already live in our country. i know some of the critics of this action call it amnesty. well, it's not. amnesty is the immigration system we have today. millions of people who live here without paying their taxes or playing by the rules, while politicians use the issue to scare people and whip up votes at election time, that's the real amnesty. leaving this broken system the way it is. mass amnesty would be unfair.
mass deportation would be both impossible and contrary to our character. what i'm describing is accountability, a common-sense, middle-ground approach. if you meet the criteria, you can come out of the shadows and get right with the law. if you're a criminal, you will be deported. if you plan to enter the u.s. illegally, your chances of getting caught and sent back just went up. the actions i'm taking are not only lawful, they're the kinds of actions taken by every single republican president and every single democratic president for the past half century. and to those members of congress who question my authority to make our immigration system work better or question the wisdom of me acting where congress has failed, i have one answer-- pass a bill. i want to work with both parties to pass a more permanent legislative solution, and the day i sign that bill into law, the actions i take will no
longer be necessary. meanwhile, don't let a disagreement over a single issue be a deal breaker on every issue. that's now how our democracy works, and congress certainly shouldn't shut down our government again just because we disagree on this. americans are tired of gridlock. what our country needs from us right now is a common purpose, a higher purpose. i know the politics of this issue are tough. but let me tell you why i have come to feel so strongly about it. over the past years, i've seen the determination of immigrant fathers who worked two or three jobs without taking a dime from the government and at risk any moment of losing it all just to [02:23:30.886] build a better life for their kids. i've seen the heart break and anxiety of children whose mothers might be taken away from
i've seen the heart break and anxiety of children whose mothers might be taken away from them just because they didn't have the right papers. i've seen the courage of students who, except for the circumstances of their birth, are as american as malia or sasha, students who bravely come out as undocumented in hopes they could make a difference in the country they love. these people, our neighbors, our classmates, our friends, they did not come here in search of a free ride or an easy life. they came to work and study and serve in our military and, above all, contribute to america's success. scripture tells us that we shall not oppress a stranger, for we know the heard of a stranger-- for we know the heart of a stranger. we were strangers once, too. my fellow americans, we are and always will be a nation of immigrants. we were strangers once, too. and whether our forbearers were
strangers who crossed the atlantic, the pacific or the rio grande, we are here only because this country welcomed them in and taught them to be an american is about something more than what we look like or what our last names are or how we worship. what makes us americans is a shared commitment to an idea that all of us are created equal and all of us have the chance to make of our lives what we will. that's the country our parents and grandparents and generations before them built for us. that's the tradition we must uphold. that's the legacy we must leave for those who are yet to come. thank you. god bless you. and god bless this country we love. >> ifill: right after the president's address we spoke with republican congressman
darrell issa of california. he argues the executive actions the president outlined tonight are not legal and over step his authority. >> it was well-delivered, it was passionate, but it isn't supported by law or constitutional authority. since 2001, i've served on the judiciary committee. i've authored bills that included some of the provisions the president wants to do. i also am the author of the stem visa, the skills act that would have done what he said in his speech he wanted to do, but no provision will be possible, which is the best and the brightest as they cross that graduation line and get their diploma, there's nothing he can do for them if they don't fit his criteria. so when he says that we're going to do more for high-tech, it's not within this proposal, and, quite frankly, a 33-page report only released today by the justice department reaches the conclusion that he doesn't have a legal authority for what he's about to do.
>> woodruff: we look now at the political implications of the presidents announcement with new york times columnist david brooks. and, washington post columnist e.j. dionne. has the president helped or hurt the cause of immigration reform? >> he certainly hurt it. no question about that. whether he improved the lives of the 5 million who were covered, probably. but hurt the cause of immigration reform, in the sense that republicans are working to pass a real bill to give the people a path to citizenship, they are totally burned. he's made it confrontational. he's hurt the cause of anything passing in the next two years. there was a small window we could have had something to pass, small business, to show government could function a little. but by being so confrontational with this after punting on it in the last three or four months during the campaign, he's thrown the gauntlet down to the republicans so they will be confrontational back and we'll be back in a period of dysfunction. >> woodruff: e.j., was he
speaking to the people he was confrontational with, the latino voters the republicans want to get back in their fold as well as democrats, or a broader american audience? >> i think he was speaking to a broader american audience to try to win the larger argument on immigration, to begin to create some pressure on the republicans. i think the notion that he should wait some more just doesn't work because he waited and waited and waited. it was a year and four months and 24 days ago that the senate passed that bill -- a bipartisan bill. a lot of compromise in that bill. speaker boehner said, i'm going to do it, and he never did it did. i think his calculation here is, a, he was tired of deporting people. i think the most effective line in his speech was "are we a nation that accepts the cruelty of ripping children from their parents' arms or are we a nation that values families?" i think he is tired of being the president who did this and wants to at least help the four or
five million he can help this way and by mixing it up, may create a new pressure on republicans. he didn't believe the promises they were going to pass something. >> woodruff: that was my question. you were saying they were working behind the scenes but we haven't seen evidence of that. >> presidents don't get to decide what bills come to them. sometimes they're disappointed. in a few years, we could have president bush or ted cruz who says repeal obamacare and that bill doesn't come to them. that doesn't give them the right to unilaterally stop enforcing obama care or e.p.a. rules and that's what's happening, we've had a series of executive orders that ratchet things up and go outside the normal legislative process, but this is the difference of an executive order that's much bigger, the next presidents go up another degree with flimsy legal arguments and we'll evolve into a nation of
dictators. >> woodruff: before they say they agree on the plight of the individuals, what about the precedent david talks about? >> the precedent was set by president reagan and president george h.w. bush, almost exactly the same circumstance. they helped about a million and a half illegal immigrants, many like in the president's proposal where they would have had to rip families apart. he's not breaking new legal ground. the numbers are higher because the number of illegal immigrants is higher. this is not a new dictot here. there are a lot of things he would like to do tha that are ie senate bill that he didn't do because he said explicitly the president didn't have the power. >> woodruff: does this poison the well for anything else to
get done in the near term this congress, this one or the new one? >> ifill: the post popular phrase is poison the well. >> let's drink on it. yeah, i think it does. let's face it, we're still in a dysfunctional city. there was a small window to get a few things done. don't think that's going to happen. >> i think the well was poisoned a long time ago. donna ba silisaid if wells were this poisoned by president obama, there would be no republicans left. and, so, i think we've had a poisoned well for a long time. i think this is just an attempt to shake things up. >> ifill: i think it's fair to say no one is drinking from this well. >> woodruff: e.j. dionne, david brooks, thank you both very much. >> thank you. >> woodruff: in other news today, there was no rest for the snow weary around buffalo, new york. as another two feet of snow fell
on a region already buried under five to six feet. roofs strained under the weight, and some caved in. scores of streets and major highways were still closed, and a fleet of plows, loaders and dump trucks worked to clear them. governor andrew cuomo appealed to people to stay home, and let the work crews do their job. >> this is, i believe, the largest deployment of its kind ever. literally thousands of people across the state coming in to help and hundreds of pieces of equipment. we're in a much better position than we were yesterday, but we're still not home and there are more chapters in this story before its done. >> woodruff: at least ten deaths are now blamed on the storm. >> ifill: cold gripped much of >> ifill: cold gripped much of the u.s. this week, but it turns out last month only last month the world experienced its hottest october ever, the average temperature topped 58 degrees, and the national oceanic and atmospheric
administration says it's the fifth month this year to set a new high. at this rate, 2014 is likely to be the warmest year since record-keeping began. >> woodruff: secretary of state john kerry arrived in vienna today for the latest round of talks on curbing iran's nuclear program. iran and six world powers face a monday deadline, but kerry said he's optimistic about reaching a deal, despite little outward sign of progress. as he left paris, he brushed aside talk of extending the deadline into march. >> we are not discussing extension. we are negotiating to try to get an agreement. it's that simple. and look, you know, if you get to the final hour and you're in need of having to look at alternatives or something, we'll look at them. i'm not telling you we're not going to look at something, but we're not looking at them, not
now. >> woodruff: separately, the head of the united nations nuclear agency reported iran has again failed to explain suspected research into nuclear bomb-making. the tehran government has long denied it's trying to develop nuclear weapons. >> ifill: israeli authorities moved today to demolish more homes after a spate of palestinian attacks. the latest targets belong to families of the two cousins who attacked a jerusalem synagogue on tuesday, killing five people. the families of two palestinians involved in other recent violence were notified that their homes will be destroyed as well. >> woodruff: back in this country, the university of california board of regents has voted to hike tuition by up to five percent a year for five years. the regents approved the plan today for the entire ten campus system. they said the increases could be eliminated if the state approves more funding. tuition had been frozen for three years, and governor jerry brown and many students opposed the increase. >> ifill: former virginia senator jim webb is first out of the blocks in the 2016 presidential race.
he announced last night that he's formed an exploratory committee on running for the democratic nomination. no one else in either major party has taken that official first step. former secretary of state hillary clinton, though unannounced, is widely considered the democratic frontrunner. >> woodruff: on wall street today, encouraging news on housing and corporate earnings helped push stocks higher. the dow jones industrial average gained 33 points to close at 17,719; the nasdaq rose 26 points to close near 4,702; and the s&p 500 added four, to finish at 2,052. >> woodruff: still to come on the newshour. congress grills airbag manufacturer takata over deadly defects. the struggle to meet the needs of more than 50 million refugees and displaced people worldwide. ride-sharing company uber comes under fire for cut-throat business tactics. an american veteran cleans up the unexploded bombs of the vietnam war.
and remembering the life and work of acclaimed director mike nichols. >> ifill: the growing recalls and string of revelations over exploding air bags were the focus of an often tense senate committee hearing today. at least five deaths have been linked to the air bags, and lawmakers wanted to know why. hari sreenivasan has the story. a warning: some of the images might be disturbing to some viewers. >> sreenivasan: they're designed to help save lives, but the spotlight today was on air bags that explode, causing injury and death. air force lieutenant stephanie erdman went before the senate commerce committee to recount her 2013 accident. >> when the impact occured, shrapnel from my car's airbag shot through the airbag cloth and embedded into my right eye and cheek. i was instantly blinded on my right side. i felt rushing blood running
down my neck. i was terrified. what happened to me was gruesome. the photo that the e.m.t. took of me with the schrapnel embedded in my eye is scary to look at. but i believe that this is necessary to grab the attention of those who have the ability to do something, and keep this from happening to anyone else. >> sreenivasan: the japanese manufacturer takata made the air bags. their inflators can fire with too much force, sending metal shards flying. lieutenant erdman's honda is one of about eight million cars in the u.s., made by 11 automakers, that have been recalled for the problem. they're largely limited to states with high humidity that can affect the inflators. takata's quality chief apologized today, but would not support a nationwide recall, as n.h.t.s.a., the national highway traffic safety administration, wants. >> senator, it's hard for me to answer yes or no, so if you allow me. >> it is not hard for you to answer yes or no.
do you support the nationwide recall of airbags that the department of transportation has issued, yes or no? >> again senator, if we identify the technical data from any incident to support n.h.t.s.a.'s new directions and work with automakers. >> i'm going to take that as a no, you do not agree. >> sreenivasan: another democratic senator, claire mccaskill of missouri, took honda and chrysler to task for confusing language used in recalls. >> we have been had more recalls in the last year and a half in american car manufacturing than in the history, probably more in the last year than we've had in many, many years combined.
the problem is i don't think that people that are driving these cars understand the risk because you guys aren't even comfortable with whether or not you're telling n.h.t.s.a. it's a service campaign or a safety recall. >> sreenivasan: honda acknowledged at the hearing that it violated a federal law that requires faster reporting of potential defects. n.h.t.s.a., too, has come under fire. but acting administrator david friedman said his agency now has automakers running scared. >> no more hiding information. no more hiding behind attorney- client privilege. no more waiting to prove beyond shadow of a doubt that there's a problem. no more fighting us when we have clear evidence of defects. they need to act much more quickly. and n.h.t.s.a. needs to continue to act more aggressively and more quickly to keep them in line. >> sreenivasan: just last night president obama named his nominee to head up nhtsa-- transportation expert mark rosekind.
the position has been empty for nearly a year. >> woodruff: we take a closer look now at the world's surging refugee problem which the united nations point person on the issue calls a mega-crisis. he spoke to chief foreign affairs correspondent margaret warner earlier today. >> warner: for nearly a decade, antonio guterres has overseen the u.n. high commission for refugees agency's far-flung operations around the world. recently, his agency issued a staggering new report-- there are now more than 51 million people worldwide who are refugees or displaced in their own lands-- more than any time since world war two. the conflict in syria, and now in iraq, makes up more than one- quarter of that toll, as millions seek refuge in turkey, lebanon, jordan and northern iraq. guterres is in washington this
week to spread the alarm. i spoke with him today at the u.n.h.c.r.'s washington office. high commissioner guterres, thank you for having us. you've been at this job for nine years. is this worst you've ever seen in terms of displacement? >> undoubtedly. and i think things will get worse before eventually they start to get better. you have seen a multiplication of new crisis. mega-crisis, old crisis of the war and on and on. and all this reflects the lack of capacity in international communities to prevent conflicts and to timely solve them. >> warner: now many respected research institutions and even president obama said recently, if you look back over the decades, there are actually fewer armed conflicts in the world than there used to be and fewer people killed in armed conflicts. if that's the case, why are we seeing more displaced people? >> well, we are witnessing different orms of fighting. in the past, we have wars between the state and the rebel groups. now we have conflicts. national forces against national forces. religious accomplishes, rebel
groups, benefiting from this chaos. sometimes someone is a bandit in the morning and member of a militia in the afternoon. which means that the impact on the civilian populations is much larger than the impact of classical conflicts of the past. >> warner: and they're also less controllable by political leaders then. >> well, i think political leaders have this impression that they can trigger a conflict because as the international community today we live in a world without global governance system. but we also live in a world where power relations became unclear. so political leaders that there is an environment of impunity. and there is also an environment of unpredictability and they think that they can trigger a war and go on with that war, let's see what's happening in south sudan and then the humanitarians will come in and clean the mess. the truth is that we no longer have the capacity to clean up the mess. >> warner: now when you say the
humanitarian the structure can't deal with it. now are you talking about both your own agency and n.g.o.'s and all these neighboring countries that all are involved in this? >> look at lebanon. one-third of the world's largest population now is foreign. syrian refugees, palestinian refugees. can you imagine the impact on the economy, on the society, schools, infrastructure, water, electricity, lebanese poor people competing for jobs with syrians. willing to work for whatever price. so salaries are going down, prices are going down. a huge impact. the same in jordan, the dame in the northern part of iraq. there is no way the international community is supporting these countries as they need. >> warner: let's talk about syria and iraq. winter is approaching-- in fact winter is here in some parts of higher elevations. your agency has said you're $58 million shortfall just to get to the end of this year. what are you going to do? how are you going to choose who to help? you can't help everyone. we are moving money as much as
we can from all kinds of savings everywhere to be able to increase our capacity locally. we are asking the other partners to enhance their efforts. but, indeed, it's an enormously challenging situation. people think that in the middle east, it's warm. but it's not. in winter, some of these areas they have negative temperatures, snow, floods. people can suffer tremendously because many of them have very precarious shelter. >> warner: will you have to essentially ration care? >> we are trying to avoid it at all costs. last year it was possible outside syria, for the refugees outside syria, to avoid any casualty due to cold temperatures or bad weather. inside syria, unfortunately, the capacity is much more limited, even for security reasons. i hope we'll be able to do the same this year, but now we have an additional problem in iraq. and, as you know, most of the refugees are in kurdistan. in kurdistan you have also very,
very low temperatures and a very harsh winter. >> warner: what is the impact of all of this on the refugees themselves and the wider world? if the funding needs aren't addressed, for starters. >> that means an enormous amount of suffering for the people. but there is another dimension. i believe what we do is important for humanitarian reasons, but we are dealing with a world in which these crises are not only humanitarian crises. they are also threats to regional peace and stability. we have fighters from all the over the world in the region, when will they go back? and we can't imagine the risks with that. to support the local communities, that people feel abandoned, frustrated, angry, is absolutely essential. also to help stabilize the area and to help avoid what could be
the creation of an environment that would affect the life of the radical groups. that is why it is important to bring the element and think outside of the box on how to fund humanitarian efforts in the world. >> warner: and so, if the answer is to think outside of the box-- you've been traveling around trying to raise this alarm-- what more can the west do other than write bigger checks? >> warner: what i'm really asking about here is: you said that the nub of this is that you have these conflicts, and once they start, they just rage on and on and on. is there a role in for the international community in resolving some of these? >> yes, but unfortunately you see the security council paralyzed. and, as the power relations are not clear, people feel a sense of impunity and they go on doing what they're doing. we need an international community able to come together to forget about differences, contradictions, different perspective and realize that in
the wars of today nobody is winning, everybody's losing. i hope that the division that we are witnessing-- sometimes the memory of the cold war divisions, the sunni-shia divide, the divide between sunnis, those that support muslim brotherhood and those that are against, that are making, not cooperating with each other in relation to these conflicts. i think these are much less important than the threats that today are there and that are serious threats for everybody, thank you. >> ifill: now, the backlash against uber. the ride-sharing company exploded onto the tech scene with outposts in cities around the world. but lately, it's been getting attention for how it's built its business, and the manner in which it competes. newshour economics correspondent paul solman begins our look with this background. >> reporter: the ride-sharing mobile phone app, uber, which in four short years has become all the rage in more than 200 cities around the world. but growing almost as fast as its customer base: its ruthless reputation. this week, the internet news
site buzzfeed reported that at an event he thought off-the- record, uber executive emil michael raised the prospect of hiring operatives to dig up dirt on reporters critical of the company. might this be a p.r. problem, he was asked. "nobody would know it was us," he replied. michael's particular target: sarah lacy, editor of tech website pandodaily, an outspoken critic who has called uber management misogynistic and urged readers to remove the app from their phones. when the remarks became public, michael retracted them, in a statement: "they were wrong no matter the circumstance, and i regret them." on twitter uber ceo travis kalanick went him one better: "his remarks showed a lack of leadership, a lack of humanity, and a departure from our values and ideals." and yet another uber executive has been accused of tracking the location of a buzzfeed reporter
doing a story on the company. brazen? uber the top? uber has had that rap for awhile. it has reportedly been cutthroat in its quest to expand, ordering rides anonymously, for instance, from archrival lyft, only to cancel them. it employs contractors to lure drivers away from the competition. and more generally, the company faces continued backlash from taxi owners like san franscisco's hansu kim, who charges that uber doesn't face the same regulations he does. might this put you out of business? >> yes, and not just me, the entire taxi industry. >> reporter: meanwhile, uber's own drivers have taken to the street over decreasing pay. >> when you actually really do the math, we're making less than minimum wage. >> reporter: uber declined a request for an interview about its latest woes, but earlier this year, spokeswoman rachel
holt told us that uber is changing the world for the better. >> taxi companies have traditionally had monopolies. everyone kind of gives the same mediocre level of service. and so what that means is, there hasn't been much incentive to improve. but now there is. and that explains why economists approve of ride-sharing services and, given uber's lower prices, why it's been a customer favorite. >> i love uber because it is so convenient. you can just do it right on your phone and they show up for you. >> reporter: the high tech question of the week, though: if, as they say, culture eats strategy for breakfast, will uber's culture upend a strategy that had the company valued at a stunning $18 billion because it was transforming transportation as we know it? >> ifill: for a closer look at why uber is under fire we turn to jan dawson, chief analyst for jackdaw research, a tech research and advisory firm. thank you for joining us. let's back up a moment.
$18 billion, paul solman just told us is how it's valued. how did uber get so big so fast? >> well, they've done it by getting out in front of a lot of their competitors and being the first into a lot of the markets, a lot of the cities where they operate and by spending a lot of money in marketing and promotions and subsidies to undercut the competition, to get both drivers and customers on board and to get there really quickly, and the numbers leaked this afternoon suggest that in some major cities the run rate even last december was 200 million plus per year in a single city in dollar terms, and that's just rapid growth, and it's come as a result of spending an awful lot to get out there quickly to sign up customers and sign up drivers, and that's driving up valuation.
>> ifill: they created a business model that hadn't existed before at least in ride sharing, but did they also cover their bets by basically setting out to crush the competition? >> yeah, the problem with uber is it's a simple model. it's a simple app tied to a base of drivers and just connects the customers with the drivers and gets the car to show up when and where you need it and helps you pay for it. it's not that differentiated and there are other alternatives like halo in the u.k. and elsewhere, they're all similar. if you have a problem not that differentiated, you have to compete on price and sales, essentially, and that's what uber's done, it's been very aggressive around both of those things. that's where a lot of the current problems seem to be stemming. >> ifill: that's what i want to talk about. how does a company go from great! that's cool, that's new, that's so easy, to that's so arrogant, i'm going to take them off my
phone. how did that make that leap? what happened in between? >> the problem stems from the lack of differentiation. whenever you have that situation, you end up competing as aggress iflt as possible and incentivizing both your own employees and contractors who might be working on your own behalf to do whatever it takes to sign up customers, to sign up drivers. and when you have that kind of mentality and that kind of attitude, it's very easy for people to start creeping over the line between proper behavior, questionable behavior and ultimately immoral behavior, and that seems to not to apply just to third-party contracts they've employed to try to sign up customers and drivers but to the executives themselves if the reports are to be believed. >> ifill: it might also suggest jealousy is involved from competitors or just poorly-managed p.r. >> yeah, the problem with uber is there's a narrative building up now. it's not just one story here and there, but a consistent picture emerging of a frat boy image, do what it takes regardless of consequences, rules to be
broken, written and unwritten, using uber in inappropriate ways, and when that narrative builds up, you start to have problems because every new story feeds the narrative and it's very similar, arguably, to what happens with politicians sometimes. gerald ford and his clumsiness, mitt romney being out of touch with the people, so forth. these things take on a life of their own. uber is facing that narrative problem now. >> ifill: what is uber's defense in all this and how are they planning to turn it around? >> they've hired david plouffe who has a past in that world to help them manage their reputation. >> ifill: the president's former campaign manager, right? >> exactly. they're borrowing from the political world to solve the problems. they're addressing it in two key ways, one is hitting some of this head on, whether the apology for the new story that came out this week or trying to
get positive messages out there in how they're trueness forming the transportation business, whether it's talking about all the people they're helping to find jobs now and get an extra income, whether it's the way they're undercutting taxis and improving customer service and so on, that's part of the narrative, so addressing negatives head on and building their own narrative, both which are working to some extent but not completely. >> ifill: maybe free coupons along the way. jan dawson, jawdeau research, thank you. >> woodruff: we turn now to vietnam and one american veteran's mission back to the country to help save those he once fought. special correspondent mike cerre reports. >> reporter: 50 years ago this spring, the first contingent of 3500 marines was sent to vietnam. by the end of 1965, the american
military force had grown to more than 200,000, marking the start of one of the country's longest wars. the united states government and veterans organizations work on meaningful the 50th anniversary of the vietnam war, there are a handful of american vets living and working in vietnam cleaning up the dangerous legacies left behind from the war. >> i'm chuck searcy from athens, georgia. when i came to vietnam in 1967, i couldn't find vietnam on a map. i came here because i'm a veteran of the war and ended up staying, working on humanitarian projects related to the consequences of the war, which is unexploded ordinates. >> reporter: more than 100,000 veements have been killed or maimed by uxos since the end to have the war in 1975.
here in quang tri, the zone that separated south and north vietnam, more bombs are believed to have been dropped than in all europe during world war, two many cluster bombs containing hundreds of small but lethal bomblets that were supposed to have exploded on impact. >> the defense department estimates 10% did not detonate as designed so when they fell to the ground intact, now, today, 40 years later, they're exploding and kill and maim people. >> reporter: a community newspaper publisher and small business administrator in washington after the war, searcy first came back to vietnam in 191992 as a tourist. he moved to hanoi nearly 20 years ago to work with american veterans organizations on restoring diplomatic relations with vietnam. afterwards, he took on the uxo,
unexploded ordinates problem as his job and mission. >> for me, vietnam was an unclosed chapter in the sense that, when i left, it was a painful experience, and it's one of the reasons that i hoped that i would come back and in better circumstances because that was a terrible state in which to leave things. >> reporter: this unexploded bomb was spotted by a farmer at the ellen of his rice patty less than 30 yards from his home and where his children play. having attended one of searcy's bomb education classes, not only did the farmer know what it was, he knew how to call one of searcy's more than 20 bomb removal teams trained to safely blow it up in place rather than risk trying to remove it. before leaving, the bomb squad found two more uxos in the farmer's field.
>> the seriousness of the unexploded ordinate situation in vietnam is beyond what most americans can imagine. we dropped about 15 tons of ordinates in this part of the world in the most heavily bombed area of the warfare. hardly a tree left standing in quang tri province when the war was over. an explosives expert is searcy's chief technical officer. adversaries during the war, they now work together as allies. >> at a time, we were bombing, all the earth was shaking and a lot of smoke. not until the mission was over that we knew we were alive. after the war, i came back and became an engineering officer.
>> the real challenge in vietnam is not how to clean up every bomb and mine but how to make vietnam safe, but that does not mean that every bomb and mine needs to be cleaned up. it means people have to understand the problem, they have to be part of the process of solving the problem, which is to know how to call in explosive ordinates explosive teams who will come in immediately and clean up the ordinates they found. >> reporter: project renew set up educational programs for preventing accidents along with prosthetic services and occupational programs for the unfortunate victims of uxos. >> the management of the problem will have to be continued for a
long time to come, but nobody should be killed, nobody should have an accident or should be injured, lose an eye, arm or leg in the future. >> reporter: most of project renew's funding is from former relief agencies in norway and japan. rather than private or public funding from the united states. >> if my grandchildren lived in an area where we had to worry about land mines, everybody in the country would come together. >> reporter: after senator patrick lahey's visits tripled funding the projects throughout southeast asia including vietnam. >> after the soldiers and airmen and marines go home, you recognize that the hurting doesn't stop. >> reporter: sam perez, a u.s. navy admiral, heads up the state department's weapons removal office. he's charged with administering
this increased u.s. funding to non-governmental agencies, such as searcy's project renew, as well as the mine action group and peace trees. they coordinate activities with local officials in the military but the actual survey and bomb removal work is done by vietnamese cruise the n.g.o.s have hired and trained. >> you see tangible action by our government to make that right. >> reporter: the military expression "clean up your brass" after firing your weapons is something both secretary of state john kerry and secretary of defense chuck hagel are familiar with as vietnam veterans themselves. chuck searcy is hopeful the start of next year's vehement war anniversaries will draw more funding from the u.s. and other american veterans for one last mission in vietnam. >> i think the most appropriate, the most meaningful commemoration of the war for us
americans will be to come together to help vietnam make this country safe from cluster emissions and other ordinates. we could have full closure. >> reporter: mike cerre reporting in quang tri province, vietnam. >> ifill: we learned today of the death of a broadway and hollywood legend producer and director mike nichols' career on stage and screen spanned five decades. jeffrey brown has our look back at his life and work. >> brown: mike nichols was prolific and hugely successful on the big screen, small screen, and on stage. winner of an oscar... >> until this moment my greatest pleasure in the graduate was making it. >> brown: ...9 tony awards, 4 emmy's, even a grammy award. washington post film critic ann hornaday:
>> he honed a double sensibility, on the one hand he was extremely sophisticated, very cosmopolitan, maybe even a little bit rarified. on the other hand, he had superb instincts about what pleased an audience. >> brown: nichols own story had its own improbable beginnings, he was born in germany, his family fled the nazis, and he arrived in the u.s. at seven speaking little english. he would eventually attend medical school at the university of chicago. but then his life take a turn when he met actress elaine may, and the two formed a successful comedy duo. >> it is a moral issue! >> a moral issue. >> and to me that is always so much more interesting than a real issue. >> brown: his first film featured the high powered cast of elizabeth taylor and richard burton in an adaptation of edward albee's "who's afraid of virginia wolf." that was followed by "the graduate", which earned him an oscar for best director, created scenes that became woven into american life, and brought fame to a then unknown actor
named dustin hoffman. years later, hoffman spoke when nichols was given an a.f.i. lifetime achievement award. >> god bless you sir, you are more than a great director, you're a real artist down to your toes because you're insanely courageous. you took a chance on me-- you should never have done that. >> brown: film critic hornaday says nichol's sense of casting was another way he influenced american film and theater. >> when he cast dustin hoffman in the graduate he broke open the idea of the classic american leading man. it was the mid '60s, the ascendance of people like robert redford, the blonde, blue-eyed, guy next door as the all-american leading man, and here comes dustin hoffman who does not fit the description
but, nonetheless, what nichols recognized is he had great magnetism and great gift as an actor. >> successes followed in the next decade. >> brown: a string of other successful films followed over the next decades, including, "and these show his range," "carnal knowlege," "working girl," "the birdcage," and "closer." nichols talked about his approach to directing in this pbs "american masters" interview. >> well i was talking about shooting a scene. i said, "what you do is you keep shooting until the thing happens that nobody could've planned and say, ok, now we can go on." that's the whole-- that's what a movie is. namely, it's the place in which unconscious meet both in the making of, and the seeing of. that's what they're for. >> brown: in the theater, nichols was equally at home and talented. his first broadway show
"barefoot in the park," in 1964, earned him his first tony. later efforts included the mad- cap musical, "monty python's spamalot." and an update of the classic arthur miller play, "death of a salesman," just two years ago, starring philip seymour hoffman. for television, his work included an acclaimed adaptation of tony kushner's epic "angels in america." it featured meryl streep, who'd appeared in numerous nichols works, on stage and in films, including "silkwood." >> you have created a quality, an essence, that is composed of wit, race, outrage, delight, skepticism, and true love and in doing so, you have shown us how a person can become essential. you're one of our eras essential artists, mike. >> brown: in an interview for wnyc's "green space" series, nichols spoke of actors and
acting. >> it's the most mysterious thing, acting, and the people who can really do it, the thing that characterizes them every time, all of them, is that they wont and can't talk about it. they wont go near it and who can blame them? would you? would i? no. because you're afraid its going to go away. stay the hell away from it. >> brown: nichols, married for more than 25 years to diane sawyer of abc news, was once asked about his favorite works. >> i have many. you know, it's sort of like asking about your kids. you know, what's your favorite kid? what's your favorite memory? it's your life. it's what you love. it's what i love as much as, in fact, my family. and, i'm very lucky. i feel lucky. that's what i mostly feel. >> brown: mike nichols died of cardiac arrest last night.
>> woodruff: again, the major developments of the day, president obama announced a series of executive actions to block any deportations for up to 5 million people living in the u.s. illegally and increase border security. and a top official at takata corporation apologized for deaths and injuries cause bid his company's exploding air bags, but he refused to endorse the idea of a nationwide recall. >> ifill: and that's the "newshour" for tonight. friday, we'll kick off special pbs coverage of the miami book fare a. as the country's premier authors descend on florida.
i'm gwen ifill. >> woodruff: and i'm judy woodruff. for all of us here at the pbs newshour, thank you and see you later. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> united healthcare, online at ♪ ♪ moving our economy for 160 years. bnsf, the engine that connects us. >> lincoln financial-- committed to helping you take charge of your life and become you're own chief life officer. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and... >> this program was made
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