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tv   PBS News Hour  PBS  November 16, 2018 3:00pm-4:01pm PST

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captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> woodruff: good evening. i'm judy woodruff. on the newshour tonight: evacuees face an uncertain future, as hundreds remain missing in the aftermath of california's deadliest-ever wildfire. then, a federal judge sides with cnn in a lawsuit against the white house over the revocation of a reporter's press pass. it's friday. davidbrooks and ruth marcus break down the week's political news, as a new congress arrives in washington. and, our fall films series continues with "widows," a heist thriller with a big twist, set in chicago. >> i think we're seeing things we havinen't seen beforehis picture. the convention always has to be brokene, because otherwise, see the same film all the time.
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>> woodruff: all that and more, on tonight's pbs newshour. >> major funding for tas pbs newshoureen provided by: ♪ ♪ moving our economy for 160 years. bnsf, the engine that connects us. >> consumer cellular understands that not everyone needs an unlimited wireless plan. our u.s.-based customer service reps can help you choose a plan based on how much you use your phone, nothing sre, nothing
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>> woodruff: it's been one week since california's deadliest fire ever destroyed the town of paradise. as of tonight, 63 are confirmed dead, and 631 missing. that is double the previous count of missing, but it likely includes some who survived. the fire also wiped out 9,700 homes in paradise, and it displaced 52,000 people. special coespondent cat wise reports from nearby gridley on one family who fled. >> reporter: a welcome moment of rest for mother and daughter. carolina restrepo and her three children now live in a red cross shelter in gridley, ilifornia. ( prayispanish ) >> reporter: they came here after e fleeing mp fire, which engulfed their hometown of pradise last thursday. she filmed this cene footage as their family drove through the flames. >> i was with the three kids in the ca le, trying to comfort
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them. but in the same moment, my mind was totally, like, no clue. like, i don't know if we're going to make it. >> reporter: now, the only possessions they have left are donations. restrepo was working as the manager of a newestaurant in town when she first heard the news. >> so, one of my customers thought there was time. ohe told me that he needs leave. and i d ask him why he sat they are evacuating my neighborhood right now. >> reporter: she dropped everything and rushed to gather her children from scho. >> the first image i saw, it was that all the teachers huggingth kids, because it was raining ash. it's raining ashes everywhere, dark, because the smoke was thick and they were trying, putting as much kids in the school buses, you know, getting out of the town, and a lt of parents running, crying, you know, taking the kids. >> reporter: it ended up being
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a five-hour journey through an inferno. >> flames everywhere, the car was like an oven temperature. you can't even touchephe glass. >>ter: what happened next was an act of bravery and kindness that very likely saved the family's >> a gy.entleman, a and he looked at me and he saw my kids and he just opened my car doors, said, let's go. >> repter: the stranger somehow managed to navigate them out between the abandoned cars. >> then we saw the most beautiful light, a flashlight from a fireevn, in between ything, like, showing us the a way to go out. >> reporter: they had escaped, but many others weren't as lucky. a week after the fire, there are now new questions about why paradise officls didn't call for a total evacuation sooner. and, why residents like carolina didn't receive emergency alerts, leavinmany trapped in idlock. >> we knew that there was going to be an issue with bottlenecking. >> reporter: phil john is the
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chair of the paradisyridge fire sa council. it's a volunteer group that helped craft an evacuation plan for a town that also lost 80 homes in 2008's humboldt fire. but john said this fire was unlike any before it. >> it didn't work perfectly, obviou but thousands of lives were saved because of the foresight of so many people that worked so hard to create that. but, who could guess that a town would behat dry, that every single bit of our fuel would just explode, when the embers come f.lying acro >> reporter: back at the red cross shelter in gridley, melissa thompson is one of many residents still searching for answers. >> oh yeah, that's his shed right therat i believe his place. >> reporter: when we met up with her lanist night, she was le that her dad's house had been destroyed, but there was no informion yet on her own home. thompson is from magalia, five mes from paradise, and says she still hasn't heard if
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some of her friendand neighbors are alive. >> his name is tracy hodges. he's been, he's likether, he's a stubbn man. i can't get my gmail to give me my contacts, so i cat get his number >> reporter: carolina restrepo says she hopes to one day thank the stranger who helped her mily. >> i hope to see him again someday soon. yeah, of course i have his.ace he you know, i totally can't forget that face that save us. >> reporter: she and her family will be at the red cross shelter for the foreseeable future, but she's committed to rebuildingei life in the town they've come to call home. >> reporter: carolina's story is one of many ha rowing accounts we've heard here in ths couple of days. judy. >> woodruff: cat, so hard to listen to that. so thankful she and her family escaped. i want to ask you about the number of missing ople. it w over 300 yesterday. now it's jumped to over 60at0.
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behind that? >> reporter: that's right, w judy, a big jump up overnight last night. i talked to a press person from the butte county shceiff's ofoday and she told me there is a very large team now work mng full time on thesing persons list. they pull people in from other agencies. part of the reason for that jump in -- on the missing persons list is due to the fact that they have been consolidating different person lists over the last couple of days. i was also told that, in so cases, it's taken people several days to report their loved ones missin h now they de that, over the coming days, as investigators have more time to come shelters like this and focus on individual cases, that those nuomers will cdown. there will be another update tonight at 6:00 p.m. pacific ueme, but until then, there's obviously a lot ofions about that big jumpup. >> woodruff: and here we are, cat, what, it's been about a
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week since this all got underway, and you have people livingrs in shel what's the story on whether they're going to be able to get back into any sort of housing situation? >> the estimates are now that more than 11,000 structures burned in this fire. many of those are homes. now, that is a staggering number. last night, wlke about how this county had a very limited housing stock prior to ldthe ires. shelters around the area are very full. i believe there may be only couple of shelters at this point that have openings. motels, hotels completely booked. i spoke today with a fema okesperson who told me that hay are here -- they are here on the ground, registering people in northern and southern califrnia, some 11,000 individuals have, so far, applied for government assistance. that is a big number. e fema is in rly stages now of talking to local and cit authorities here, trying to figure out what the needs of the
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community are. they're trying to figure out are people wanting to stay here in this area?y will te leaving to other places? but in terms of a long-term housng solution f this community, it's very much still in the early days. >> woodruff: such a massive undertaking is what it sounds like. well, cat wise reporting tonight from a red cross shelter in gridle california. cat, thank you. >> reporter: thank you. >> wooe druff: in y's other news, there is word that north korea has released an american that it detaine last month. ate-run news agency identifies him as bruce byron lowrance, and says he illegally entered the country through china. te today, the associated press reported that he had been put on a fligtoht bache united states. president donald trump said he has answered written questions from robert mueller, the special counsel in the russia investigation. but, he said, he has not yet submitted the answers. mr. trump spoke aftea bill signing tohe gavhee no details t
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questions, but said he wked on them himself. >> my lawyers aren't working on that, i'm working on that. i write answers. my lawyers don't write answers, i writanswers. i was asked a series of questions, i answered them very easily. you have to ways be careful en you answer questions with people that probably have bad intentions. but, no, the questions were very routinely answered by me. >> woodruff: meanwhile, acting attorney general matthew eritaker reportedly says is no reason to end the special counsel's russia investigation. that is according to senator lindsey graham's office. a spokesman says the south carolina republican met with whitaker yesterday and came away reassured. georgia republican brian kemp effectively claimed the governor's race, when democrat stacey abrams ended her bid. abrams claimed widesreead voter sussion, but said she has no legal recourse. >> i acknowledge that former
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secretary of state brian kemp will be certified the victor in the 2018 gubernatoriallection. but watch an elected official pwho claims to represent the ople, in a state suppression on thee peos been truly appalling. be clear, this is not a speech of concession. >> woodruff: wirams said she mount a federal lawsuit against the georgia election system, for future races. meanwhile, democrats picked up anotheour u.s. seat in california for a net gain so far inhe midterms of 37. the president said today he plans to nominate the acting head of the environmental protection agency to be its permanent chief. andrew wheer is a former coal industry lobbyist. he became acting administrator after scott pruitt resigned in july, over an ethics scandal.
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wall street wound up a losing week with some modest gains today. the doinw jonestrial average rose nearly 124 points, to close at 25,413. the nasdaq lost 11 points, and the s&p 500 added six. for the week, all three indexes dropped 1.5% to 2%. and, seven americans today received the presidential medal of freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor. the recipients, all chosen by presidtrenp, included elvis pressley, babe ruth, and former supreme court justice antonialn , all honored posthumously. the four living honorees were utah senator orrin hatch, former pro-football greats roger staubach and alan page-- who lathter served on minnesota supreme court-- and philanthropist miriam adelso still to come on the newshour: a federal judge sides with cnn in white house.inst the major changes are made to federal government guidance on
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the handling of sexual harassaument and ass on college campuses. leaders at facebook deny they ignored russian trolling on their platform. and, much more. >> woruff: the fight between the white house and cnn's chief white house correspondent, jimd acosta, continday. today, a federal judge ruled that acosta's pass must be reinstated. as yamiche alcindor tells us, the ruling was a temporary win for cnn. >> alcindor: president trump versus cnn, a case that centers around this exchange last week at a white house press conference. >> mr. president, are you worried about indictments coming down in this investigation? mr. president? >> i'll tell you what: cnn should be ashamed of itself, having you working for them. you are a rude, terrible person. you shouldn't be working for
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cnn. >> alcindor: white house press secretary sarah sanders said acosta was being punished for "placing his hands" on a white house intern. she latiter tweeted out an video of the exchange. u.s. district judge timothy friday afternoon, acosta returned to the white house and reacted to the ruling. >> that's my cwo to go back to . >> alcindor: in an interview with fox news today, mr. trump said the white hnise is now plng to come up with new rules for press conferences. >> nobody believes in the first amendmhaent morei do, and if i think somebody is acting out of sorts, i will leave. i will say, "thank you ver much, everybody, i appreciate you coming," and i'll leave. and those reporters will not be too friendly to whoever it is that's acting up. >> alcindor: the president has often sparred with a number of reporters-- incl ting myself. e campaign trail, you called yourself a nationalist. some people saw that as emboldening white nationalists. now people are also saying-- >> i don't know why you'd say that. that's such a racist question.
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>> do you want him to rein in robert mueller? >> whaa stupid question that is. what a stupid question. but i watch you a lot. you ask a lot of stupid questions. >> alcindor: for years, president trump has said the medidoes not cover him fairly. >> no. when you report fake news, which cnn dootes ayou are the enemy of the people. >> alcindor: the president's supporters have embraced his strategy. >cnn sucks! >> alcindor: today's ruling is just one step in what may be a long battle over press freedom and the white house. yamiche, we weab just talking t this. covering the white house is simply more contention than when i covered it decades ago, isn't it? >> it is. after this ruling, president trump is talking about
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decorum, but covering ofhe trump white house is not an orderly thing. the president has lashed out at reporters, frequently interrupts reporters when you're trying to ask a questio s saraders has questioned the integrity and the fairness of reporters so, often peoe think reporters are being rude when they're watching at home on tv. really, i s can sayetimes from experience you have to talk over the president or sarah sanders in orer to get a question in and in order to finish a thought. >> woodruff: well, thank you, yamiche. it's important to get your perspective. >> thanks. >> woodruff: we continue our look at the president's relationship with the press, with margaret sullivan, "washington post" media columnist and longtime journalist. and marc lotte he served as press secretary to vice president mike pence, and as special assistant to the president. welcome to both of you. and, marc lotter, let's start with you. this judge today ruled on narrow grounds. he white house had to give jim acosta his pass back because he had been denied due process.
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so where does that leave us? >> i think long-term it's a win for the white hous actually for future presidents because this was a very tailored t cision ts not related around the first amendment and unrestricted access to the white house but on a due process side. and the president and press secretary sarah sanders indicated they're going to develop procedures and protocols to follow and that will give them the future ability toake necessary actions if decorum and ocedures are broke >> woodruff: mar mark -- marthar sullivan, do you think we are today? >> i think it was a clear win for press rights, and as marc says, w on process grounds, it does give jim acosta his press credentia i back, whichs important and, you know, the judge did give -- you know, givt somehought and some -- some of his reasoning had to doith first amendment issues. s i think that pressed a vo
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cats, preedom advocates can feel very good about this, know, this of you was a case in which the complaint by cnn was joined by many press organizations, news organizations and advocacyor nizations. so i'm very happy about it. >> woodruff: marc lotter, is there evidence on either side on whether jim acosta's first amendment rights were violated? >> well i don't think it was from a first amendmentp stanoint, i think it was procedural. >> woodruff: but from a larger question theudge will deal with in the next few weeks? >> i don't think there is a fundamentalent right to have access to the white house. as an organization, cnn has very many press credentials. they can come and go. this was one-time limitation for a specific violation of those protocols, and govnment s long done this. i can only imagine what a federal judge would do or maybe even a federal judge in this case if a photojournalist showed
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up with a camera or a reporting device. they have norms and procedures ceand, in this case, s they thought those were violated, they took the steps they did, will write the procedures out now and maybe it will be a little more clear moving forward. >> woodruff: i want to ask about that, margaret sullivan, what aut this point marc just made, that the white house has a right to determine who covers it? >> i don't think that's the casi in a sitn in which there is general press access like this. the preside can decide i'm going to give an exclusive interview to lester holt, let'sn say, but a case like this in which there is, you know, many members of the press, there's no reason to think, from past lawsh -- past cases that he can pick someone out and say, no, you know, i don't like you, you can't come, rather, there is arn untanding from a 1977 case
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that,in a situationike this, there does need to be genel access. >> woodruff: but marc lotter, the white house argument in the last few days has beenoe get t decide who covers us. i don't remember a white house making at argument before.e >>l, in the case again, though, we're talking about the decorum and procedures about the white house briefing room or white house access igeneral. i mean, we have seen in many occasions where a president wl call on a reporter, the mic will be handed to them, but actuall they were talking about the reporter bind them. we've seen where the reporter will turn around and give that microphone to someone else. when we have basic violations of kind of those customs and norms, there needs to be some sort of action that the whiteouse can take. that's why they're going to develop these procedures. they willevelop some sort of guidelines for those procedural things and hopeful we won't have those kinds of issues in thee. fut >> marc lotter -- margaret sullivan, are there guideline for decorum that you think both
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the press and the white house can agree on? >> i mean it is a littleich to talk about decorum when you think of the way the president has treated and spoken about the news media as the enemy of the people and as, you know, the scum of the earth, essentially. i mean, i don'tee howhe white house gets to lecture about >> wo: what about that, mark? >> well, let's remember, i mean, thete's been a battleen the press and the president since the founding days of our republic, and i would also point out that president obama's administration actually secretly surveilled reporters and their families. they obtained phone records from the associated press and subpoenaed e-mails and phone records from "new york times" reporters. so there's never been -- there ease always been an uneasy balance between the two, an that's the way the system is set upo be, and i thi it works that way. sometimes we'll see it pushe too far one way or the other but i think we'll find balance in thend.
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>> woodruff: marc lotter, quickly, i think most people would agree this president has been tougher in his criticism of the press than any president in modern memory. >> i think he's been very pointed in his commentary on that and especially when he points out to bissues os or things that would be constituted, as he likes to say, fake news . would like to see a level playing field and to see things covered in a fair and unbiased fashion. he'll call that out.w thy the president would view it, i believe is the the same first amdment rights that apply to the freedom of the press also apply for the speech to criticize that press if, in fact,e disagree in terms of what the coverage is. >> woouff: margare sullivan, where do you this headed? do you see a smoother working relationship between the president and the press? >> no, i don't' i dothink that the relationship between the news media andsi pnt trump's administration is ever going to be particularly smooth. he actually does, i think, want and uses the press as kind of a
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foil. so i don't see it smoothing out. but i do think it's heartening that this initial ruling suggests that the president can't picnd choose who covers him. >> woodruff: well, markk, m margaret sullivan -- well, marc tter, margaret sullivaone more episode in the ongoing saga of president trump and the press rps. we thank you both very much.ha >>nk you. >> woodruff: the trump administtion today proposed new rules on how colleges must investigate allegations of isxualnduct, harassment and assault. as amna nawaz explains, guidelines enacted by the obama administration that expandimed protection for vi and accusers were already rescinded by education secretary betsy vos. now, she's laid out new standards.
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>> nawaz: it's a dramatic change in many ways, one that devos says balances the rights of the accused, and that some colleges say is overdue. some women's groups argue, it's a major rollback. among the changes: the ruonles narrows the defini of sexual harassment, requiring the conduct to be severe, pervasive anfe"objectively ive." the prior guidelines defined it as "unwelcome conduct of a sexual nure." accused students could bring lawyers to miscondwt hearings anuld have the right to cross-examine, although the parties could not question each other directly. it also gives schools more flexibility, and lthe number of cases they havto investigate. devos said the proposed rules are grounded in the principles of due process. scott jaschik is the editor of "inside higher ed," d he joins me now. we canallum to the "newshour". >> thanks. wanted to ask you about school's responsibility first. the vice president issued aid statement and today's proposed rollback would return us to the days when school swept
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rapend assault under the rug and survivors were shamed into silence. there were changes into how ilhools respond and when they have the responsy to respond. what the difference with the new rules? >> with the new rules, you have different measures of guilt, different measures of what is vered by the rules and different rights for the accused. but prior to the oma administration, there were case after case, decades, many would say, in which many women who brought such accusations were ignored particularly when the cases involved athletes or powerful individuals. thatesn't mean obama got it right or devos is getting it right or wrong, but there have been problems with this issue for a long time and, for much of the time, it was the people bringirgng c who were ignored or >> so, i case, specifically, when it comes to school responsibility, for example, is it fair to say it limits the number of cases they
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situally have respility to investigate? >> yes. although it's unclear exactly how this will play out, but the newules would say it has to be sort of a direct college program. now, se fear this would eliminate any complaints aboutof ampus conduct. the rules issued food make a point that it's not just geography, but there are a number of ways that the definition of sexual harassment that you mentioned, all of thesh gs mean fewer cases would actually go forward. >> that definition changed, too. a lot of people were wondering were there a lot of frivolous claims brought under the broader definition that necessitated more ecic language? >> i'd question that because, frankly, any woman who brings a complaint is subject to a lot of time, energy and maybe mocked and not believed. i don't think people bring complaints just for the hell of it. this is a difficult thing for women to do. > also to the point of
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cross-examination which caught a lot of people's attention, what are people saying the impact e'sld be in terms of peo willingness to come forward? >> that's the thing. in a lot of th cases, the women are choosing to go to the campus because of the police because they want a speedier, more tsupportive process thay might get from the judiciald system, cross-examination for a victim of sexual assault can be veryraumatic and can be discouraging, and what people are pointing out is these arei not,n fact, criminal proceedings. >> well, you know, the administra we are adding rules and guidelines because they weren't that specific before and, when you have reliable outcomes, that will make people more willing to engage and come forwardth what's beeresponse to that? >> i'm not sure most people agree with that. i think some people who a cheering these new regulations would be content with fewer cases coming forward. the reality isa there's also broader discussion going on
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under the obama administration, vice president bidenened president obama and others were speaking out and saying this a problem that women are being se come forward, we'll support you, campuses need to do more. they're hang ago different message today. >> the due process is at the heart of this. it is true guidelines were pretty broad. therewere complaints about that. these new guidelines, they say, are rooted in supreme court precedent. there's an argument to be made for that, too. >> it's also true colleges have messed up on due pcess in a number of cases. i don't think you can say due process isn't an the question is do you have due orocess in ways that a encourage victims to come forward? and i don't know that that needs to be an either or. i think, also, again, it's isr gel tenor, are people encouraging people to come forward? are people saying there is a real problem with sexual assault on campus, which i think there is substantial evidence there
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is. >> do you feel this tips the balance in favor of one side or the other moving forward? >> it is a pendulum swing away from support for those bringing charges toward the other side,bu i would also point out, in this issue, i think there's going to be uncertainty, cases that are disputed. i don't think, under the obama guidelines or und these, you had any sure thing of clarity in what would happen. >> scott jaschik, thank you for your time. >> thank you. >> woodruff: stay with us.g comi up on the newshour: we continue our fall films series, with a look at the heist movie,ws "wi and, david brooks and ruth marcus analyze the week's litical news. but first, facebook has been in the headlines. as william brangham explains,
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there are new revelations about how the social medt giant has deth the discovery of a massive, long-term disinformation campaign by russian operatives masquerading on its website. >> brangm: earlier this week, the "new york times" published a long investigation into how facebothok first discovere russian campaign, what it did about it, and how it then employed somctpretty tough cs to push back on its critics. for the record, the newshour works with facebook on some video projects. the story was called "delay, deny and deflect: how facebook's leaders fought through crisis," and one of the reporters on that story, sheera frenkel, joins me now from los angeles. thank you very much for being yere. i wonder i could start by telling us, at first, when facebook fst discovered this russian activity on facebook -- and just for the record, we're not talking abo people in st. petersburg posting pictures of their babies, we're talking about something a little
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re malign -- what did facebook discover? what wnsere the russ doing? >> this was back in spring of 2016, the year of the presidenal elections. someone on facebook's security team starts to see known russian actors looking at accounts connected to the presidential campaign. flash forward, theyee these known russian accounts trying to share e-mails with reporters, and they start to get a sense that that very summer that there's a bigger campaig and influence operation likely underway. >> and when facebook becomar of this, how did executives react? >> tleere il of awareness. at that point in that summer, the security team that found the information had taken it up the chain to their people, and cheryl sdberg does sit at the top to have the chain. unclear at this point how much she was told about. after the elections, marks
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zuckerberg gen the stage in front of the people and says the same people realized whatever is happening at the company is not making its way tu erberg. >> so a little bit after that, we had the came bridge analytica scandal where it wasd revea facebook allowed this mining access to huge amount of data. this is in the midst ofhe russia investigation, the president calling it a witch hunt. what were the critics saying? >> you've got to remember this was a year for tube even before cambridge analytica. they were hit again and again by reports that the russians hit a platform and ey weren't finding it. then the "new york times" said there was a huge breech of privacy at facebook, that they allowed the political firm to dpat around kee the data. so facebook was facing calls
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from critics, from politicians at the it needed to be regulated, and they go on the offensive. they hire an external p.r. te they actually hired a number of external p.r. teams but one speceffically was calleders and they essentially try and change the narrative about their company. >> and what was the narrative that was going on at the time and how did they try to c it? >> there was a sense that -- there was actually a campaign, i should say, called delete facebook. private people were calling on one another to get rid of facebook saying it couldn't be trusted. advertisers and were pulling t and politicians were calling for them to be regulated.he we say it inead reasonline of our stories but it was basically to deflect criticism. facebook said we're sorry, won't happen again,we're investigating what happened and, at the same time they were on the apology tour for what happened, they hired a p.r. firm to try to t people to try to write and talk about something else. >> and one of the critics i know, george soros, the
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billioeanaire financehad been very critical of facebook and apparently they were also spreading but were not completely inaccurate but were not really in good faith stories about soros and hidden potentially unding this criticism. >> and soros was in fact funding some of those gros so there was a grain of truth there. what they were trying to do isat deflecntion from the company and say, hey, the real story here is soros funding facebook movemts. the real story isn't us, it's companies like apple and google and you should ask them what they're doing ant private and serity. so tim and again we see a pier company trying to deflectte ion. >> facebook said in a call as times prior, we understand that this is a problem, we're trying to address it, wre trying to put an end to this malign use of ouform. does your reporting indicate that they are actually doing things differently now? >> you know, i've covered facebook a le,tle whnd when i read the transcript of
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the call i had a little giggl toyself because i think they used the exact same wording after cambridge analytica and after the first congressional hearings in which they admitted russia bought advertisements on the platform. they said again and again they're sorry, investigating what happened, but nothing in that compa changed -- the leadership is still the leadership, the people making lls with still making calls. so i'm wondering even with all the newrograms implemented, the security personnel they've hired, how much can reay change when the same executives are steering the ship. >> sheera frenkel of the "new york times," thank you so much. >> thank you. >> woodruff: now, an acclaimed director puts his own mark on a much-loved film genre. jeffrey brown continues his "fall rofilms" series,the toronto international film festival. >> you have no idea, do you?
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or do you choose not to know? >> brown: on its face, "widows" is a heist movie, a stylish thriller with star power, and plenty of explosions, debo es, and plot twists. but the day after its debut at the toronto film festival in september, director steve mcqueen told me he also wanted something more. >> i want to sort of stimulate in people's minds, the things which are around them. again, it is a rollercoaster ride, a thrilling one, through our current social, economic environment. >> brown: mcqueen was born and raised in london, the son of working class immigrants. he made his name first as an artist-- his work in vdeo and other media exhibited in promient galleries, a winner of the u.k.'s prestigious turner prize in 1999. his first three feature films were all tough-minded and harrowg ing, tak subjects seldom tackled in commercial
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cinem20a: "hunger", i, about the 1981 hunger strike by irish nationalist bobby sands. 2011's "shame", a drama about sex adn,dictiogain starring michael fassbender. and then the breakthrough of "12 years a slave"icn 2013, won an oscar for best picture, and a directing nomination for mcqueen. with that history, some critic wonder why mcqueen would now turn to the well-troheist genre. >> i don't know what the surprise is, because i'm a storyteller, and i want to go where i feel the best stories are, so that could be anywhere. >> brown: it's a genre we're kind of used to. it, it has its own particular tropes, whereas your earlier films, i think they're exploring something that in many ways we haven't seen before. >> i think we're seeing things we haven't seen before in this picte. the convention always has to be broken, because otherwise we see the sa film all the time. i mean, that's hollywood really, but that's not how i wanted to handle this particular
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understanding of a heist picture. >> brown: indeed, this is a heist film with a twist-- many of them. mcqueen adapted it from a 1980s british tv series of the same name, in which the widows of men in a gang of thieves attempt carry on after their husbands are killed. mcqueen watched it as a boy, and a seed was planted. >> i just related to the protagonists, these women who were dcaeemed not to bble and being judged by their appearance, similar to how i was being edlopon as a 13-year- old black child in london at the time. >> our husbands aren't coming back. we're onur own. >> bwn: his film transplants and updates the action to present day chicago. >> what i learned from your husband and my father ishahat you reapyou sow. >> let's hope so! >> brown: with an all-star and diverse cast, led by viola davis as veronica, forced to take on a dangerous scheme after the violent death of her husband, played by liam neeso
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>> my husband left me the plans for his next job. all i need is a crew to pull it off. >> why should i trust you anyw? >> because i'm the only one standing in the way of a bullet in your head. brown: embedded in the story, as in contemporary life: issues of race, class, political corruption and, of course, gender, with the women as fully formed, complex characters, in the lead. >> i this whole thing goes i want my kids to know that i didn't just sit there and take it. >> the best thing we have going for us is being real. >> why b? cause no one thinks we have the balls to pull this off. >> brown: mcqueen enlisted writer gillian flynn, the chicago-based bestselling author of "gone girl" and other thrillers, as his co-writer. >> what's cool about a heist film is the teamwork and the men figurioung each otheand the men figuring each other's skill
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sets out. and to me, that's always such a male thing. s?u know, it's, how do men work? how do men make te i mean, that's always what male society is about. so to get to see it, women do that, i think is a very cool and veryunique sort of thing, and ,t feels very groundbreaki because it feels very real. >> brown: i heard you speaking on the stage before the premiere about the need to make films that look more like the real world, where the people look more like real people in the wod. >> i was thinking about the people who go to the movies, the people in the audience, wanting to reflect them onto the screen. that's all. that screen has to be a mirror reflecting back on the reality of its surroundings. that's all. pretty simple. >> brown: and that is not the case. >> i think it's not, as we know. i mean, that's why people make a big deal about the whole idea of diversity, as if they don't look out their window. mean, it's our reality. >> brown: do you see things changing, in film, in the
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culte? >> slowly, slowly. it use be that every film was about every other film. you know, the main protagonist, his best friend used to be black and hesed to-- or, she used to-- sort of disappear fairly quickly, within the first 20 or 15 minutes. so let's hope we get a fair and proper reflection of our reality. and if you wanalto keep cinema e, one has to cater to the people who pay to go and see it. >> brown: steve mcqueen's "widows" opens nationwide november 16. for the pbs newshour, i'm jeffrey brown at the toronto international film festil. >> woodruff: as lt wait for res from a handful of still-unresolved midterm races, the newly-elected freshmen in
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congress were getting familiar with washington this week. for analysis on all that's heating up for this new class of legislators get comfortable in washtitungton, w to the analysis of brooks and marcus. that is "new york times" columnist david brooks, and "washington post" columnist ruth marcus. shields is away before we talk about this new congress, let's talk about our lead story tonight, and that is this judge's ruling today that cnn should get -- the cnn correspondent jim acosta should have his pass press returned by the trump white house. they took it away last saying he had behaved in a way that was disrespectful. it's a temporary win, looks like, for cnn, but, in the longer term, david, what do we see in this relationship betwn the white house and the press? >> i see it as a parable of american decline.(l ghter) a little, actually. when you have grownups bvi like grownups you don't have big confrontations. very certain sets of man ners if we gto a dinner party, probably we behave decently in a
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civil-mannered way and we have a pleasant dinner party, and youat can do with a press conference even though more contentious. then one person breaks the norms, in this case the t president, an other people get more rude and then ends up having someone sue each other. so what acosta did wasn marly rude, but given the atmosphere the trump atmospherel set, within the bounds of what is normal, the white house overreacted, so i think this is basically a win for civility. it's just sad where we he to be in a case where people are shouting at each other in this way. >> what should we expect between the white house and the press? >> what we should ex something we have not gotten from the this president, from the start of this administration, which is an understanding that, yes, the media is going to oybe ag, but we are not the enemy of the people, we are going to bee cotious and sometimes maybe even a little bit observ open sp
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rouse and grandstanding but not scum, as he likes to call us at rallies. and tolution to the frustration that every single president has felt is not whatsi only this pnt has done which to yank the hard pass of a reporter and basically stop him from being able to easily do his job. and david calls this a win for civility and it may be but it's a very scary moment, i think, in american democracy. i'm looking at the brief the dlstice department filed and said more brthere is no first amendment right of access to the white house, where the white house has determined it wants to scale back i itser actions with a particular journalist, denying that h journalistd pass is a permissible way to accomplish that goal. and what i would asks what would conservatives be saying if the barack obama white house had kicked fox news out or even anal indivibnoxious fox news reporter? we have not tolerated that
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previously, and we shouldn'tto rate it now. >> woodruff: it is a change in approach, isn't it, dave? >> yeah, well, they basically, as ruth read, it's the maximal possible interpretation that we have a right to control who comes here. even though it's a public house, it's not donald trump's house, p it's theple's house. on the other hand, you know, there's just such a vast middle here. the e house, their argument is clearly ridiculous aththe totally control, when they're just doing a public service, they'ra part of a public servant. oarntiond if there's a completeu emaker, the reporter, that person doesn't get e monopolize room. president smith, president jones should have some discretion onif so is well outside the bounds. nobody in that white house room is well outse the bounds now. we've had confrontational people before, sam donelson, helen thomas could bena confrontati. they work for professional news organizations and do their job
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within the realm of the human variable. so the one extreme which is the white hsse position clearly wrong. the other extreme that anybody should have complete access, at is also wrong, it's a question ofiscretion. >> woodruff: and, ruth, the concern on the part of the press is, if there is a decision made by the white house to limit who can cover, we're looking at potentially a chathge in ability of the press to do its work. >> you hav te to be ab get -- you have to be able to be in the briefing. inu have to be able to bthe press room to be able to see the president, you have to be able go onthese trips, and the rtainly, if you stood up and cried fire in a crowded briefing room or started shouting obscenities, yes. in fact, the norms would be you colleaguld come down on you, but that, as david said, is not what happened here. just to sort of argue one point on the president's behalf, i'm not arguinghat he needs to
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grant interviews to reporters that he doesn't like or news organizations that he doesn't like, just equal access.b and,y the way, he manufactured this moment, he didn't need toji call o acosta. he was looking for a fight or an issue, and he got it. >> it is an underlying theme in this administration thathere is such thing as institutional power in this white house, it's personal power. they're not concerning the presidency, they're serving donald trump and everythingtr p says goes. it's the unwillingness to recognize they'rec in pub office, serving public duties and acting public roles, that is the theme throughout the administration. >> woodruff: all new congress that arrived, many of them dlsd, avid, we're seeing a founger group, more female morning people o color. they, many of them, and many of the existing members who were reelected, among the democrats, are saying they're not sure they want the same leadership, and
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so, you're watching out in the open what may be what is already an interesting fighte ben nancy pelosi and some of the people who don't think she should be speaker. s >> yea's speaking very confidently she will be speaker. i don't see wheree the confide comes from. about 20 said they will not support. i think she can only afford to rese 16. there lot of people who are still untheeclared. the new class, the ones i've met, are very refreshing, very nonideological. especially the people who had military service, it's how do ge this job done sort of attitude. they look like america much more than the otr class,ey're a sign of the vibrancy of the democratic party, frankly. they're moderates. twbethirds of the new m were endorsed by the new democratic caucus, the more moderatmo group all these caucuses. so the attac ponasey is generally from the center, not from the left.
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>> woodruff: how do you see this playing ou >> well, i think there's two responses to david's point, one is mathematical and the other ps tical. mathematically, even though she can only lose a certain number,g you cou out of this, might be a little too cute by behalf, but it happened with newt gingrich, john boehner and previous speakeraces, you lower the number you need by simplletting people vote present so they're not violating the pledge to >> woodruff: a little bit of a weasel. in a little but weasels have happened befor politics, i would point out. the second point is you can't beat somethg with nothing. part of her confidence comes from who is actually going to take her on and have the chance of winning. the thing i find puzzling about this is dalyd corre points out that this, while an incrd dibly young verse and interesting caucus, it is not a caucus of .fty crazi it is a pretty conservative
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caucus. those are t folks who need somebody exactly like nancy pelosi in the speaker's chair to make sure that the caus stays disciplined, that it doesn't erstep its bounds, things that will make the republican or the republican-leaning districts they came fm vote them out in 2020. these are exactly the people, oiom my of view, who should want nancy pelosi there. >> woodruff: there are risks,, daviren't there, for some of these democrats if they put some unknown figure in there, right? >> putting on my democratic hat, if i were a democrat, how would i think? >> it would be a pink hat. >> woodruff: what color would it be? >> yeah, a little pretentious hat, i would probably vote for her. she's always been an external drag. republicans love running against nancy pelosi but she's been annothing bu internal bonus because she's been a veryef ctive speak around raises money like nobody's business.
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if i were adormal stand democrat, i would say it's a tough two years, we want somebo t who's beenre before who's very disciplined and the extra drag diminishes because il 2020 reans will be running against the presidential nominee not against nancy pelosi and to me it would be a win to keep her. >> why are weki t about tossing out one person who was at the helm of ts enormous success? this was the biggest democratic class since 1974 and democrats are talking about tossing out the person who helped them get there, doesn't make sense. >> woodruff: and fudge -- e'll see if she runs but she was talking about how she's not going to decide david is exactly right, nancy pelosi is externally th republican's favorite boogiewoman, to coin a phras but she's the one who can keep this faccious caus on the
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investigate and narrow, not to lurch for impeachment or crazy investigations and to drive them back to victory in 2020 whenc they run against somebody who's not nancy pelosi, npublicans. >> woodruff: oka even two minutes left. i want to ask about what we can expect the two parties to work together on. the president came out this week, david, criminal justice reform. in a way interesting because he os criti the left saying it does gotten far enough. a lot of criticsrom theight saying he's caved, not tough enough. is this oan examplef something that could happen? we know mitch mcconnell the jority leader isn't quite enthusiastic. >> the state system is much faster than the federae system and tates red and blue have y en making reforms part for budgetasons, partly for humane reasons. there are a lot of people in these prisons who have been good citizens anddrisoners an there's no reason to pass them. they passed what they call
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criminal menopause, they're 60 years old, they won't do anything badhey will be fine and let people like that out. there are always goo reasons do this. the right is law and order. the left is won't take half a load. francis perkins, big add mirror of hers, s shed take behalf a loaf because you can get the other later. take what you can get. i think that's a good attitude. i wish more on this issue would take half a loaf. >> woodruff: said with his democratic hat on. >> i don't know what hat i'm putting on but i think the left is willing to take the loaf. i think the real question will be from the right and in partcular the clk ticking, can you get this cone in a lame duck session where you need to do a lot of spending deals and have a majority leader who might not be thrilled. thrilled to the president, fraternal order of police, coach
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bothers and others who are willing to do this. >> wooeuff: we appreci it, david brooks, ruth marcus. and that is the newshour for tonight. i'm judy woodruff. have a great weekend. thanyou, and good night. >> major funding for the pbs newshoedur has been provy: >> financial services firm raymond james. >> bnsf railway.>> consumer cellular. >> supporting social entrepreneurs and their solutions to the world's most pressing problems-- >> the william and flora hewlett foundation. for more than 50 years, ing ideas and supporting istitutions to promote a better world. >> and with the ongoing support
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of these institutions and friends of the newshour. >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. trand by cutions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc captioned by media access group at wgbh >> you're watching pbs.
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amanpour. >> thank you, mr. speaker. >> cha in britain as government ministers resign in protest over the prime minister's brexit deal. and uncertainty at the white use. as trump weigh as shakeup. the democratic mid-term victory keeps growing and 2020 speculation begins. will democrats look to senator kirsten gillibrand, who wants to restore the moral compass of this country. and as the president keeps us his verbal assault, who will protect the rule of law? i speak with award-winning author and natiol security