tv PBS News Hour PBS October 9, 2015 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT
captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> woodruff: good evening. i'm judy woodruff. on the newshour tonight: the u.s. defense department ends its program to train syrian rebels in the fight against the islamic state. then: chaos on capitol hill-- republicans scramble to find someone to lead the house of representatives. mark shields and david brooks are here to analyze another very full week of news. plus: a very different political fight over letting dogs run free in a national park. >> people love dogs like their children. my family, we don't do things without the dog-- we don't go to the movies because we can't take the dog. i moved to san francisco because
i think of it as a progressive place and dog friendly. >> woodruff: all that and more on tonight's pbs newshour. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: ♪ ♪ moving our economy for 160 years. bnsf, the engine that connects us. ♪ >> supporting social entrepreneurs and their solutions to the world's most pressing problems-- skollfoundation.org.
>> the ford foundation. working with visionaries on the frontlines of social change worldwide. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and friends of the newshour. >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> woodruff: a rising chorus of
republican voices in the u.s. house of representatives urged paul ryan today to run for speaker-- and heal a badly divided party. the wisconsin congressman held the number two spot on the g.o.p presidential ticket in 2012, but it remained unclear if he'd go after the top job in the house or if rebellious conservatives would support him. we'll have the story in full, later in the program. president obama faced gun-rights protesters this afternoon in oregon, after last week's community college shooting. hundreds of people gathered near the airport in roseburg as the president arrived to meet with survivors and victims' relatives. later, he emerged with the mayor and governor. >> we're going to have to come together as a country. we stand by the families. we feel for them. >> woodruff: the roseburg gunman killed nine people and wounded nine others before taking his
own life. shooting episodes broke out at two other colleges across the nation today. in flagstaff, arizona, a gunman opened fire on four fraternity brothers at northern arizona university; killing one. police charged a freshman with murder. later, in houston, a student was killed outside a housing complex at texas southern university. police detained two people. the u.s. military has admitted failure in its effort to train rebels in syria. the goal was 5,400 fighters, but it only fielded 60. today's announcement means weapons will go instead to kurdish fighters battling the islamic state group. we'll debate what the u.s. should do next in syria, after the news summary. this year's nobel peace prize goes to a group that pushed tunisia away from civil war after the "arab spring" revolution of 2011. the "tunisian national dialogue quartet" includes labor, industry, human rights and legal groups. they helped fashion a caretaker
government led by mehdi jomaa. >> i am happy for tunisia because through the quartet is the recognition of the tunisian experience and successful experience in the democratic transition and as well a recognition of the method and the way we handle and we manage the difficulties in tunisia. >> woodruff: tunisia's revolution sparked the "arab spring", but it's the only country in the region to build a democracy since then. instead of peace, a new wave of violence is gripping israelis and palestinians and it reached a new peak today as israeli troops shot and killed six protesters. the trouble erupted in chaotic scenes along the gaza border, where young palestinians rolled burning tires and threw rocks. meanwhile, the leader of hamas in gaza praised a recent rash of stabbing attacks on israelis.
there were more stabbings today, including an apparent revenge attack by a jewish man who knifed four arabs in southern israel. in iraq, at least 35 people died in a mortar attack in the country's east. 45 others were wounded. police say the bombardment hit villages around baquba, in diyala province. the islamic state group has staged several recent attacks there. migrant arrivals on the greek islands have surged to at least 7,000 a day, trying to beat the onset of winter. more arrived on lesbos today, as the international organization for migration reported a sharp increase from september. meanwhile in italy, the first wave of eritrean refugees departed for sweden as part of the european union's new relocation plan. >> this relocation scheme is a really important step towards stabilizing the refugee crisis in europe.
it can only work if it takes place at the entry points of europe and it can only work if robust facilities are created above and beyond what we have in italy. >> woodruff: more than half a million migrants have fled to europe so far this year. back in this country, the city of north charleston, south carolina will pay $6.5 million in the killing of an unarmed black suspect. the settlement with walter scott's family was adopted last night. he was short repeatedly as he ran from a white policeman last april. the officer was fired and is now charged with murder. the u.s. house today voted to lift a 40-year-old ban on crude oil exports. supporters said lifting the ban would create jobs and lower prices at the pump. opponents said it would benefit big oil at the expense of consumers. the white house has warned of a veto if the bill clears the senate. and on wall street: stocks
finished out a winning week. the dow jones industrial average gained 33 points to close above 17,080. the nasdaq rose 19 points and the s&p 500 added just a point. for the week: the dow gained well over 3.5%. the s&p rose 3.3% and the nasdaq was up 2.5%. still to come on the newshour: the pentagon pulls the plug on a program to train syrian rebels, republicans in the house struggle to find a new leader, mark shields and david brooks on the week's news and much more. the pentagon announced today that it is canceling a program to train and equip moderate rebels fighting the islamic state. ultimately only a few dozen fighters participated in the half a billion dollar program. and some of the weapons they were given by the u.s. ended up
in the hands of isis fighters. defense secretary ashton carter dropped news of the program's overhaul during a meeting with his british counterpart, in london. >> i wasn't satisfied with the early efforts in that regard, and so we are looking at different ways to achieve, basically the same kind of strategic objective which is the right one, which is to enable capable motivated forces on the ground to retake territory from isil and reclaim syrian territory from extremism. >> woodruff: the pentagon effort was widely derided for producing only a handful of trained fighters. now, its focus will shift to arming kurdish forces in northwestern syria who've made gains against the islamic state. separately, the c.i.a. continues training moderate rebels to fight the assad regime.
all this comes as the situation in syria has shifted dramatically, with government troops starting a renewed offensive in hama and idlib provinces. they've been helped by russian cruise missiles, launched from ships in the caspian sea, plus russian air strikes launched from air bases inside syria. but in a "60 minutes" interview airing this sunday on cbs, president obama argues russia is hurting itself and not his leadership. >> if you think that running your economy into the ground and having to send troops in, in order to prop up your only ally, is leadership, then we've got a different definition of leadership. >> woodruff: u.s. officials also charge the russian campaign is targeting western-backed rebels, and not the islamic state, as it claims.
we take a closer look now with p.j. crowley, former assistant secretary of state for public affairs during the obama administration. he also had a 26-year career in the u.s. air force and david kramer, former assistant secretary of state during the george w. bush administration. gentlemen, welcome to you both. >> thank you. >> woodruff: so p.j. crowley, what do you think? is it a good thing for this program to train the rebels in n sir syria is ending? >> it was a fawmplet it was a good idea but so heavily structured to try to avoid -- so you would have assistance going just to the good guys with the white hats and avoid assistance bleeding over to the guys with the murkier hats. it was so heavily structured, it had very modest results. i don't think we're surprised that this is not a program that is by itself going to tip the scales on the battlefield. >> woodruff: david kramer, how
do you see it? >> i agree it was a failure and should have been changed a long time ago. my problem is the timing of the announcement. it makes us look weaker because of the russian military intervention than we perhaps are. the program wasn't designed to deal with the assad regime and the assad regime is the real problem. >> woodruff: the kurdish fighters, is that a good substitute? >> this should have been done years ago. this has produced so few results means it is a failure but i would have preferred they just did it without making a imig public announcement like. this we look like we're running away from the russians. >> woodruff: we look like we're running away? >> i don't put this in the context of a u.s.-russian strug overall syria. we have our issues with russia. i think they can be handled
beyond sir. i can't but the context behind this is two judgments by the obama administration -- the first is that we want politically to get rid of bash bar, the sooner the better, but militarily we're not going to go to war with bashar al-assad to achieve that result. obviously, we made one judgment, russia is making a d. judgment. in terms of the syrian conflict, it's not just one conflict, it's several, and the obama administration has yet to develop -- see where there's a military course of action that makes the situation better at an acceptable price or at an acceptable level of risk. >> woodruff: so you're saying the administration doesn't have an approach yet? >> the administration does not have a military approach to syria. it has a plausible military approach to iraq, but the reality here -- and i liken this a little bit to the bosnia experience in the early 1 1990s, is we may tragically have to
wait a period of time before the opportunity presents itself for a peaceful negotiated settlement. unfortunately, all the combatants in syria believe they can achieve their objectives through military action. >> woodruff: david kramer, why isn't waiting an option? >> we've had 250,000 people killed, half a syrian population displaced since this started in 2011, we have russian intervention, we have massive refugees flowing to europe, the russian bombing will increase the rings going into europe, jordan destabilized, turkey having enormous problems, russia violated territorial integrity by invading airspace. possible article 5 implications since turkey is a member of n.a.t.o. it's festered and only gotten worse. >> i agree we've thing david
said, it doesn't lend itself to a clear position unless we're ready to insert ourselves into an iraq-level effort to take control of the situation in syria and try to impose a solution. and as we saw in iraq, that has had very significant, you know, unintended consequences. >> woodruff: what about that? there is the real war. if the u.s. gets involved, it gets sucked in, dragged in and can't get out. >> the turks were prepared to send forces in if the u.s. provided support. so we should create safe, "no fly" zones for any people threat northbound the areas, whether syrian or russian planes, any attacks on those zones, we would have to respond to. there are bad decisions that have to be made but that's where we are and unless we do that we will continue to see people get killed, we will continue to see people flee syria, so there
isn't any good solutions. we have to find the least worst option. >> woodruff: isn't that an entire new level of risk, u.s. planes get shot down, u.s. troops get potentially captured, not to mention a potential conflict with russia. >> we have the turks who have indicated their willingness to go ahead. we may have other countries including from the gulf though not great contributors to this operation. the united states could provide the air support, provide the cover that way. i think there is a way of doing this without putting u.s. forces on the ground, but there aren't any good options here. >> woodruff: why is that one approach that could work? >> safe zones are an appealing approach but involves a decision to go to war against bashar al-assad. and that just has its own set of circumstances. you know, what the united states -- >> woodruff: what's the biggest drawback to that? >> it's a very constrained space. we see situations now where, you
know, russian planes and doing what they're doing, bleeding over into, you know, turkish airspace. the one thing we need to avoid above everything else is making a syrian civil war into a direct conflict between the united states and russia. we don't want to do that in ukraine or syria. so i think the obama administration is just -- has just decided right or wrong that there is not a military solution to the situation in syria that has materialized yet so it's showing patience. as david said, that is tragic for the syrian people but the that's in the mean time is focused on what it believes is its vital interest, defeating and degrading the islamic state. >> woodruff: what are the main concerns you have about doing that? what are the liabilities if the u.s. continues to wait, as p.j. crowley -- >> despite what the president said in the "60 minutes" clip, what putin has demonstrated is he will come to the defense of
his allies. the united states is not coming to the defense of the forces it tried to support and train. so the image of the united states is we aren't there, we aren't reliable, russia will be there in the greatest time of need. that makes me incredibly uncomfortable. putin is taking a bad situation and making the best of it. we are taking a bad situation and i fear making it worse by doing nothing. >> putin has a bad hand. in the process, his ally are iran, our allies are sunni state allies. over time, that is a more sustainable position. do i think we should confront russia but we could do it in other ways, avoiding, making sure putin is able to play syria across ukraine. we don't have to leap into a civil war. >> woodruff: valuable conversation. thank you both. >> thanks very much. you, judy.
>> woodruff: the house has gone home for the weekend, without republicans deciding on a choice for the new speaker. but the loudest rumblings today involved the party's 2012 vice presidential nominee, who now chairs the ways and means committee. political director lisa desjardins has the story. >> reporter: house republicans gathered this morning, waiting to hear from the man who's now at the center of their political storm. >> i have nothing new to say. >> reporter: until now, congressman paul ryan of wisconsin had flatly rejected running for speaker. but the pressure kept building, and the appeals grew louder. >> i did everything except carry his gym bag this morning, trying to get him to do it. the fact is, paul ryan is the right man, right now. >> reporter: peter king of new york spoke for many moderates who had backed speaker john boehner, and then kevin mccarthy, who dropped out yesterday. >> i think paul ryan right now has the clout, he has the stature, that he can overcome, he can bring sides together.
it would be hard to confront paul ryan on this and say he's not a good republican, say he's not loyal. >> reporter: even conservative jason chaffetz of utah, who's running himself, said he would support ryan. but members of the freedom caucus, who helped push out boehner and derail mccarthy, weren't joining any bandwagon, yet. >> remember for us much of it has to do with the process, empowering individual members and the constituents who send us here. so it's not always about the personality; a lot has to do with the process. >> reporter: others, like charlie dent of pennsylvania, worried that even ryan may not be able to bridge deep divisions in the republican caucus. >> the bigger challenge is not who to put in the speaker's chair. the issue is how do we change underlying political dynamic that got us in this position in the first place. >> reporter: for now, a spokesman says ryan is still not running for speaker. and boehner says he'll stay on as speaker until a successor is
finally elected. for the pbs newshour, i'm lisa desjardins. now to the analysis of shields and brooks. that's syndicated columnist mark shields and "new york times" columnist david brooks. welcome, gentlemen. so please explain what is going on. mark? >> turmoil, chaos, toxic upheaval and those are the friendly terms to describe what's going on in the republican caucus. what you basically have is a group of republicans, one-sixth of the house republicans, who view their election as a mandate to stand up and oppose the democratic president and his overreach, by their judgment, in power, to frustrate him, to oppose him and to repeal what he's done and not accept responsible of the governing party of which they're a member to govern. it's the majority party, so
they're essentially holding the entire caucus hostage. >> woodruff: holding the congress, the house. >> holding the house. means the majority cannot operate, the house, speaker boehner after four years said i've had enough, leaving. kevin mccarthy his heir apparent could not get to the 218 -- you have to get a majority of your own caucus, 240 house republicans, you have to get 218 of them in order to get elected speaker. so i guess that's it pretty simply. so there is paralysis, quite honestly, and the party is in turmoil and has an implication nationally in the presidential election because this is supposed to be the governing example of the republicans. >> woodruff: david, why has it gotten to this point? >> as usual, mark is not critical enough of the republicans (laughter) they don't believe in the democratic process. there is a way to do elections.
you have an argument, valuate the candidates, have a vote, the majority wins and the minority says we'll go along for the greater good. 40 didn't believe in that, mccarthy would have had it but they said we're going to road block. there has been a set of institutional practices built up within that institution and they're just not playing by those rules. so as has been true of the tea party for a long time, they're good at destruction, not so good at construction. soto me, it's deep. this has been a party throughout the entire political system that's lost the art of deliberative argument and coming to conclusions. and to get elected, especially as a republican, you have to be radical, revolutionary, outsider, your language has to be totally radical. >> reporter: and we're seeing that in the presidential race. >> right, if you adopt a radical rhetoric then the normal practice of poll tocks,
compromise and accepting defeat for the greater good, gets washed away and to me it's a mental problem. >> woodruff: is it going to get solved, mark? at some point, they will have to choose a speaker of the house of representatives. >> at some point, yes. when you have a group in the party who believes compromise is collaboration and that cooperation is surrender, abandonment of principle, that makes it very, very difficult. i think david's point is very well taken. i mean, the republican party and the "wall street journal," nbc, poll, 25% favorable, 45% unfavorable. that's a big weight to carry if you're running for president and if you have this animal house behavior on tall vision, you say what's the point of electing a republican? it's just a gifto the democrats. >> woodruff: but you also have the view, when donald trump announced this, i saw yesterday at an event where he was, i
believe it was in nevada, david, the crowd cheered that kevin mccarthy pulled out, meaning there was nobody. chris christie said yesterday the country doesn't really care who is speaker of the house. >> i think for him that was a dodge. even christie, pretty establishmenttarianism, he's been attacking the republicans as much as president obama so that's a cheap applause line. if you look at the polls and ask do you want there to be a government shutdown, vast majorities of republicans do not want a government shutdown, they do not want chaos on capitol hill. so they're, a silent majority, sitting out there and looking and thinking, this is my party? my goodness. and i happen think coming winter, there will be a reaction against all this as there was against ted cruz the last he and his ilk did a government shutdown and there will be a
swing. >> woodruff: you mean the primaries? >> when ted cruz did a government shutdown last time, the established wing of the party was strengthened, and i think this maihem with ted cruz involved, by the way, will strengthen the rubeios, bushes, the john kasichs. >> woodruff: this represents thousands of people. >> in 1996, bob dole who ran for the republican nomination had a long career as senate republican majority leader and because of the behavior and the chaos at the time caused by the house republicans led by newt gingrich and closing down the federal government, bob dole had to distance himself. he resigned from the senate and as senate majority leader to say yobt belong with these guys and i'm surgically separated from them. and if you're a presidential
candidate and say okay, you will get elected president and these are the people you're going to deal with and govern with, so it is -- the prince charming, the rescuer is paul ryan, chairman of the house ways and means committee. >> woodruff: says he's not interested. >> says he's not interested. the one advantage paul ryan brings to it, in my judgment, his true blue credentials as a conservative are unimpeachable. the great strength of nance pelosi when she was a speak around a consequential speaker was she could go to liberals in her own caucus, especially women for example, on the healthcare, and say, you're going to come and compromise on this and say to latinos, you're going to compromise on this, because her credentials were solid. he could do that. >> you believe that he could persuade conservative members of the house that they should go along with funding planned parenthood and raising the debt
ceiling? >> i think his credentials are strong and believable, but he could move them to the point where we have to advance our cause and advance it. i think that's the one thing he brings that boehner and mccarthy have their doubts about them because as they were conservatives to you and me, they were not to the true believers. >> woodruff: do you agree? boehner's not exactly bernie sanders. paul ryan does not do it. buns they get their dream job, they should have their dream job. i'm on the tea party list and, oh, he was for immigration reform, against government shutdown, this or that you begin to see him chipping away. so i think at the end of the day, as i said earlier, i think the problems are pretty deep, and, so, i hope he doesn't do it for his own sake and i don't think he would be that effective. >> woodruff: let's talk about the other party for a few minutes. the democrats have their first debate coming up next week.
it's going to be hillary clinton and four others, bernie sanders and three others. i was fortunate enough to be able to talk to secretary clinton this week and she made news, david, biff splitting with the president on the new trade agreement, the trans-pacific partnership, and on top of other moves, she seems to be making to the left. is this a smart move for her politically or not so smart move? >> well, she was under fierce questioning, you know, so she had to choose on her heels. i think it's crazy, personally. she has talked in favor of the t.p.p. 45 times in public and calls it the gold standard of the trade agreement. i think she absolutely knows what she believes about it and is flipping for political expediency. maybe it buys you something on policy ground because you don't have an air griewment with bernie sanders on trade. but it's character. if her main doubts, the doubts
about her are about authenticity and trustworthiness, flip-flopping this nakedly doesn't exactly help. >> woodruff: mark, she says she's not changing her mind, that she never really committed one way or another and now that she's looked at it, she doesn't think it's the right thing to do. when somebody appears to change their public position, if they come our way they're growing, if they go the other way, they're caving. and hillary clinton had never take an position on this. 82% of congressional democrats had been against giving fast-track authority for this trade agreement. this is an agreement forged between a democratic president and a republican congress in the business community. what's the new york on hillary clinton? she's too close to the establishment. now she's taken on the sta establishment, the "new york times," "wall street journal," they were for it. the last thing they were for was
the invasion of iraq. so quite honestly, i mean, i don't think she could be accused of flip-flopping. >> woodruff: was it smart for her to do? >> i don't know. i mean, i think it probably -- you know, david's right. it cuts down an opportunity of criticism for her in the first debate but i don't think she would do it just for that. he's trying to solidify the democratic nomination. >> you should go to the olympics for long jump. she was on the record, cnn had a list and i read them all, 45 different statements about this specific treaty, the gold standard, because it sets an environment for open and fair and free trade, and, i mean, she's on the record with lots -- it was her statement it was part of the deal. >> woodruff: for the record, she says it was early on and -- >> and the two things she mentions to as complaining against went in her direction in the course of the negotiations, didn't go away from her i
understand why she did it for political expedience. >> to the best of my knowledge, she hasn't said anything on it for two years. she was a good team member, backing what she was pushing for at the time and trying to convince democrats, i assume, at the time. but now she's a free agent. it's her own record. >> woodruff: what do you look for in this debate, mark? is this a showdown at the okay corral? >> to borrow one of david's phrases, look for a signature moment for the candidates introduced, the jim webb and martin o'malley, this is their chance, and lincoln chaffee. so to get a sense of the dynamic. bernie sanders has a great advantage. bernie sanders hasn't changed a position in 35 years, so he doesn't have to agonize over am i changing or qualifying in any way. he should be anxiety-free. >> i wonder how strongly they
will go after her on character and personal matters. >> they don't. mark says they won't but that's my instinct, too. that's her vulnerability and maybe they have to. it's sort of normal to go after each other. they may play gentle. >> woodruff: i think we'll be watching. david brooks, mark shields, we thank you both. stay with us. coming up on the newshour: charlayne hunter gualt has the latest conversation in our race matters series and a battle in san francisco over keeping dogs on a leash. but first a warning: our next story contains graphic images of children and adults severely disabled by mercury poisoning. it may be disturbing to some viewers.
the newshour's p.j. tobia has the report, the latest in a series by photographer larry c. price. it was produced in partnership with the pulitzer center on crisis reporting. small scale gold mining is widespread throughout the developing world. it's one of the biggest sources of mercury pollution on earth. the health effects of this heavy metal are dramatic and deadly. >> reporter: this is nyimas. she lives in indonesia. just eight years old she has the body of an emaciated toddler and severe brain damage. her head is massively oversized. she suffers from hydroreceive las, a buildup of fluid in the brain. caring for her is difficult. >> she is still like a baby and she often cries. it's difficult for her to speak. i have to watch her all night.
she'll ask me to turn her over. it's just me by myself. no one else helps. >> reporter: nyimas' illness is one of what some indonesians call the uncommon diseases. medical experts say conditions like this are all too common in the area, mercury intoxication, when people ingest the toxic metal. >> there are many people who have mercury all around her. in front of our house. my husband burns it as well but i don't let him do it here. >> reporter: gold mining is done in the area and mercury is key in the process. it separates rock from gold dust in ball mills. later their hands form mercury and gold into a ball. the mercury is next burnt away with torches, plumes of toxic clouds flow through the villages and lungs and blood dreams of
inhabitants. when nyimas' mother was pregnant with her, her father worked in the business. the village uses the protest 24 hours a day. dr. stephan bose-o'reilly is a doctor who tries to educate indonesians about the dangers of working with mercury. >> there are these big fish ponds and next to them are the rice fields, and the people feed on the local fish and rice, and the rice and the fish have mercury. >> reporter: medical and environmental studies have shown 10% of people in some parts to have the country suffer from mercury intoxication. mercury poisoning can be found throughout the poor centrally located island in the indonesia.
but it can be found in asia, africa and the americas and one of the biggest contributors to global mercury pollution. as a toddler, this girl had trouble walking and her condition worsened. this 12-foot bamboo hut became her entire world. her mother suffers from hearing loss and gets head airstrikes also symptoms of mercury poisoning. in tests by bali bokus last spring, 20 children leaving near hot spots suffered from multiple issues including neurological problems, bone deformities, seizures, deafness and paralysis. three of the children died. one was ditha. she passed away last week. but it's not just children. this man was 45. >> this man was a healthy farmer living here, doing mining work, like crushing ore. a up with of years ago he
started to become sick. he felt that he can't coordinate his movements anymore, that he can't walk properly anymore. >> reporter: his condition worsened by the month. >> this man has a neurological disease. it disables him. he has problems following daily routines. he's really sick. >> reporter: dr. bose-o'reilly says the illness surrounds him day and night. >> you can even hear it in the room. >> reporter: according to tests conducted in the area, mercury levels are 50 times safe levels recommended bid the united nations. he worked with mercury most of his life. shown in mid 60s test bid a doctor from bali bokus. he barely can carry out simple hand-eye coordination tasks like touching his nose while eyes are
closed or placing the matches back in the box. he died weeks after the pictures were taken. >> these kind of activities are normal. it's not more or less than elsewhere in indonesia in hundreds of places like this, in villages where gold mining is performed. >> reporter: in 2014 the indonesian government banned importation, trade and use of mercury in gold mining but they're not enforced and mercury is still easy to come bay in some places. this will doctor admits mercury use is widespread throughout the country. >> 800 hot spots including 250,000 workers. >> reporter: even still, he says the government has not done much to stop the use of mercury. >> in mining, what we have done
is a bit limited, but we try to find the better choice. >> reporter: people nu nyimas' village don't talk much about the dangers of this heavy metal even as it sickens them. >> we've never spoken to our neighbors about it. nobody in the village discusses it. >> reporter: so mercury continues to be used, producing golden products and deadly silence. for the pbs "newshour", i'm to p.j. tobia. >> woodruff: next the latest conversation in our race matters series. tonight charlayne hunter gault looks how the color of your skin effects your view of racial tensions. >> here in the psychology department of the university of massachusetts am hurst, classes like this one focused on issues of race and the vastly different
perceptions between blacks and whites of racial progress, with blacks far more pessimistic than whites by almost every measure. one of the department's leading scholars who studied the racial divide and how to narrow it is linda tropp, director of the peace and violence program. thank you for joining us. >> sure. >> reporter: you've written a lot about race and how it's a taboo subject because it's anxiety-producing. what did you mean by that? >> yeah, if we think about the types of behavioral manifestations of anxiety, things like making less eye contact, shifting away, standing farther back, maintaining greater social distance, all of those might be manifested due to racial anxiety, but they may be per southeast as racial hostility or rejection. >> reporter: why is there racial anxiety?
>> because so much of our focus has been on reducing prejudice and we haven't focused on equipping people with the skills to navigate cross-group intersections successfully or with ease, comfort and confidence, and i think what often happens is when we feel anxious we kind of shut down. we're more likely to depend on stereotypes and how we perceive people and respond to people. so if we give people opportunities for real engagement across group lines and there has to be repeated actions, can't be just one experience. and often for folks who say i tried and it went terribly, i remind them when you first learn to play tennis you don't know how to hold the racket or a language, you're not fluent, and they take time to cultivate. the longer with practice, the greater ease and comfort we experience. >> reporter: how do you see fear as a part of this whole equation on both side? >> yeah, absolutely. well, fear, especially from the
perspective of members of the black community who are being policed, you know, lives are at stake. i can understand completely how there might be fear, and, you know, talking with students about the manifestation of fear, it's also this sense that members of the black community are not part of the community that police are designed to serve and protect. there is a sense of separation that i'm considered a perpetrator of crime, not necessarily part of the public that should be protected so the police are not serving me. from the white perspective, i think there's a lot of fear, especially when you think about white police officers in black communities, i think there is perhaps been a bit more distance between the police force and members of the community. so i would be a strong advocate of community policing. we actually spend more time in the neighborhoods, get to the shop keepers, getting a response of how people respond to you, helping them see you're not necessarily a threat.
and you can see if you only interacted with the romantic partner when you have to fight about something, that relationship is probably not going to go very well. if you have many other varied types of opportunities to build, you know, a relationship or have interactions, you're likely to cultivate a baseline or foundation of trust so that when conflicts come to the surface, you're more willing to give the benefit of the doubt and entertain alternate perspectives. >> reporter: what do you think of the discourse going on in the country today? it seems to mecc me -- >> people are nor selective in media outlets they pay attention to. it's important to establish the alternate viewpoints of the different groups, that they have valid perceptions and i think rather than necessarily having sound bytes going back and forth as part of the broader idea
you're describing, we should understand why people think that way and have bigger understanding across the lines. >> reporter: who has to take responsibility for more constructive dialogue about race and racism? >> i think people on all sides have a bit of vonsability to take. i think, in particular, white people need to be less concerned about how they will be perceived and more focused on learning about others' perspective and i think to the extent they do that, i think people of color will be receptive to that and be more willing to engage in conversation. i focus on the responsibility of whites first because i think oftentimes people of color or black people in particular will complain about feeling you have to educate white people, and it gets tiresome, and especially in these types of discussions where race enters your life on a
day-to-day basis, to have to say, yes, race is an issue, seems tiring and taxing. >> reporter: so if you have a situation like we have in this country today where we don't talk about solutions as much as about the problem, how do you get past that? >> i think multifaceted approaches are most important. to share a little of the work me and my colleagues have done, focusing on groups and giving people opportunities for meaningful, close interactions across group boundaries tends not only to reduce president but also reduce our anxieties about cross group interactions in the future. >> reporter: finally, it used to be said it is always darkest just before the dawn. and during my generation, it was always darkest just before it gets pitch black. where do you fit that analysis in the future of race relations in this country? >> some of my colleagues will tease me, but i try to be hopeful and, at the very least,
the way i see my work is i think, on some level, there will likely always be biases between groups, but i think what's the alternative? if we don't try to fight for greater integration and greater social justice, then those entities and factors that try to pull groups apart will only become stronger. so that's kind of where i find myself. >> reporter: sounds pretty positive to me. >> we have to do what we can. >> reporter: thank you for joining us. >> thank you very much. >> woodruff: finally tonight, a very different kind of political battle-- this one over dogs. and where they should be able to run free. special correspondent spencer michels reports. >> reporter: every morning before work, high tech entrepreneur samir ghosh and his wife join their two-year-old son on the floor of their san francisco townhouse playing with
soki, their 10-year-old portuguese water dog. >> people love dogs like their children. my family, we don't do things without the dog; we don't go to the movies because we can't take the dog. i moved to san francisco because i think of it as a progressive place and dog friendly. >> reporter: but ghosh is worried that the places he takes his dog for a walk or a swim, like crissy field, a former army air strip, may soon be off limits for off-leash dogs like soki. those places are within the golden gate national recreation area, an 80,000 acre national park in and around san francisco, that, unlike all other national parks, has allowed dogs to run free in some areas for four decades. >> my understanding is they're going to make it completely illegal for dogs in this section. let me ask you, is it reasonable to say you can't play fetch with your dog? >> reporter: of the 408 units in the national park system, only s
only one-- this one-- is in the midst of a battle over dogs. it's more a war than a battle. it's been going on for 14 years. on one side is the national park seservice, which has been trying to come up with a new dog policy. christine lehnertz is park superintendent. >> many of the dogs and owners or guardians have behaved well. but there are enough conflicts, we can't leave them unaddressed. >> reporter: the park service says it can document 95 dog bites and attacks over four recent years, plus 2,700 other dog incidents, in addition to many that are never reported. and it points to a loss of native vegetation in several areas where dogs have been allowed off leash. cindy margulis is a birder and executive director of the golden gate chapter of the audubon society. >> dogs are notorious for trampling vegetation, for
scaring off species, particularly shore birds. and that means you've got to be super careful where there's wildlife and sensitive areas, and understand that folks are entitled to be there without having their experience interfered with by dogs. >> reporter: on the other side are groups of dog owners who have demonstrated at park service meetings over the years. they charge that some that some officials have tried, unsuccessfully, to get the word "recreation" taken out of the name of the golden gate national recreation area, or the g.g.n.r.a. sally stephens runs the san francisco dog owners group. >> they're trying to get rid of the recreational mandate. we were promised this original recreational use, and they're going back on their promises. basically what the park service is planning to do will amount to the largest loss of public access in the g.g.n.r.a.'s history.
>> reporter: while most national parks include wilderness areas, this battleground is a stunning compilation of government owned properties. the presidio of san francisco, a repurposed army base, is part of the park, as is fort funston, a coastal battery now used for hang gliding and dog walking along popular trails near the beach. and there's ocean beach, where the continent ends. off-leash dogs are allowed, but would be curtailed under proposed rules. the golden gate national recreation area also includes alcatraz island, and across the golden gate bridge, muir woods and muir beach, where huey johnson often walks his dog off leash. johnson, a longtime environmentalist, was in on the early planning of the park, but today he's critical of the management, which wants to eliminate most of muir beach as an off-leash area. >> the park service is just not been able to handle the urban park concept. in national parks like yellowstone i wouldn't have a dog loose.
but here...that's why it's here. >> reporter: but amy meyer was in on the parks' founding too, and she supports the park service as it wrestles with what she believes are too many dogs. >> this national park brings a huge number of people from all over the world. they expect to see wild animals, a habitat that fosters birds, they're gonna want to do hiking, biking, and most of those things are not fully compatible with free running dogs. >> reporter: meyer says the population of the area has tripled since the 1970's, when the park founders endorsed off- leash areas. today, the park gets nearly 18 million visitors a year, the most in the nation. have you seen damage? >> most certainly. just watching the dogs rip up the dunes at fort funston. there hasn't been a rabbit out there since the 1990's. >> reporter: during the many years the park service has been
studying the situation, it has compiled thousands of pages of documents: studies, comments, revised plans. >> is anyone going to read all this? >> that is only volume one; this is volume two. the n.p.s .is a federal agency, and we have to follow federal law. we can't cut corners. >> reporter: lehnertz, the park superintendent, says she is trying to come up with a compromise, suited to the urban park. >> we do manage g.g.n.r.a. differently because it's in an urban area. but we have certain mandates, as a federal agency, that we have to meet in every area. >> reporter: still, she says, when the rules come out: >> the golden gate will have the most liberal policy for allowing dogs off-leash. we think dogs are great. we don't want to take that away. >> reporter: the park service will announce new proposed regulations this fall, then allow for more public comment, and come out with a final set of rules in about a year. but the topic is so contentious, it could well invite lawsuits
that might delay it further. for the pbs newshour, i'm spencer michels, in san francisco. >> woodruff: on the newshour online: the pope has a new advisor and he's a rabbi. rabbi robert alper was one of more than 4,000 people who submitted jokes through a contest called "joke with the pope." alper will now carry the honorary title of "comedic advisor" to pope francis. along with the title, alper was awarded $10,000 to donate to one of three charities. read more about the contest, and the joke that won it, on our home page: pbs.org/newshour. and now an update on a story we reported in july. it centered on the university of
phoenix and how the for-profit school targeted active duty military and veterans. this week the pentagon put the school on probation. they will not be allowed on bases to recruit or attend career fairs. and no new students will be able to use tuition assistance from the defense department. you can watch our original report, done in partnership with reveal and the center for investigative reporting, on our website: pbs.org/newshour. tune in later tonight for "washington week." and tomorrow's newshour weekend looks at high speed rail in texas. that's the newshour for tonight. i'm judy woodruff. have a great weekend. thank you and good night. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by:
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>> funding of this presentation is made possible by the freeman foundation, newman's own foundation, giving all profits from newman's own to charity and pursuing the common good, kovler foundation, pursuing solutions for america's neglected needs, sony pictures classics, now presenting "truth," >> what's their next move? >> the president may have gone awol. >> he never showed up. >> do you have these documents? >> tonight, we have new