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tv   PBS News Hour  PBS  March 19, 2021 3:00pm-4:02pm PDT

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can get the tools they need to be ready for anything. oh we're ready. ♪ captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> woodruff: good evening. i'm judy woodruff. on the newshour tonight: new guidelines the c.d.c. relaxes some social distancing rules for schools, aimed at getting children back in the classroom. then, after the shootings. president biden meets with asian american leaders in atlanta, just days after the deadly spa attacks that have many on edge. plus, u.s.-china showdown. diplomats from the world's two largest powers square off in a heated meeting, thacould signal trouble ahead. and, it's friday. david brooks and jonathan capehart weigh in on the reluctance of some republicans
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to get the covid vaccine, and possible changes to u.s. immigration policy. 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. >> fidelity wealth management.
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>> consumer cellular. >> johnson & johnson. >> the john s. and james l. knight foundation. fostering informed and engaged communities. more at >> 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: the u.s. centers for disease control updated its guidance for schools today, paving the way for more students to return to the classroom.
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the c.d.c. said that students could safely sit three feet apart without barriers, rather than six feet, if they are wearing masks. it recommended keeping students six feet apart in common areas, like the gym or lunchroom, and they say teachers should keep a six-foot distance. william brangham joins me with more on all of this. >> so hello, william. this is a big announcement from the cdc changing the guidance from six to three feet. why did they say this is safe to do? >> you are absolutely right, judy, there is big guidance and six feet has been the than tra we have heard this entire pandemic. the cdc changed its guidance, they argue, because of the emerging science about how people get infected, how kids get infected and how best to protect against those infections. the first piece of evidence that a lot of us look at is that schools in europe have largely been reopened and they have not
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become huge hotspots for transmission so that is one piece of evidence but a very specific key piece of evidence that the cdc director rachel 0 linsky cited today was a study that came out of massachusetts .. this took two different cohorts of people. it had i think it was a half a million students, something like 100,000 staffers and it divided them up so that some of the schools did three feet distance, some of the schools did six-foot difference and there was no distinction in the two groups in infection rates, so it didn't matter whether the kids were six feet apart or three feet apart and also didn't matter whether the virus was particularly rampant in that local community. the infection rates were not the same. so that was a key piece of evidence that they pointed to. the important thing to remember in all of that in this massachusetts study is that mask mandates were universal so the cdc is saying, if you can guarantee that grownups and students wear masks, you can put
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them closer together. >> woodruff: so we know masks are important and now they changed the distance as we say from six to three, but we also know there is more involved to keeping children safe. >> the that's right. reducing risk for infection, there is no magic number, 60 is not magic, three feet is hot some magic number now, it is about reducing the risk in as many ways as you possibly can. one of the things that really has become important is ventilation, and that is clearing the air out where an infected person might be. earlier today we spoke with linsey marr, she a professor of environmental engineering at virginia tech and she studies how viruses move through air and here is what she she had to say. >> if we move to >> if we move to three feet, ventilation and filtration become even more important. at three feet, you're able to put more people in the classroom. there's a greater chance that there's someone who might be sick in there, who is releasing virus into the air.
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and then it becomes incredibly important to-- to remove that, which you can do either through good ventilation or, if you-- if you can't, it's hard to achieve that. and adding filtration by adding something like a portable air cleaner in the room. >> just to echo what she ask saying there, if there is a person who is inthe equitied inside a room and breathing that virus out, this is an airborne virus, that could be breathed in by others. this is why filtration is so key. open a window, open a door or in the case of schools, build better ventilation systems but that is a costly, expensive and not easy thing to do, but that is part of the challenge for schools going forward. >> woodruff: and william, we know there are a number of groups watching all of this very closely, school administrators, teachers and of course parents. everybody wants to get the schools open safely. how are they reacting to this news? >> you are absolutely right, judy. this has been an enormous topic of conversation amongst school administrators and all of the groups you cited and the
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reaction today was somewhat mixed. we did hear from some superintendents in places like texas and in florida who lieve this guidance, they like the cdc's evidence that they are citing and they hope that this is a further encouragement to safely reopening schools. others were a little bit more circumstance expect, andy weingarten the head of the big teacher unions in the united states they wanted a wait and see approach and look at the evidence more closel the same thing with betsyringle the head of the national education association. she said this is going to be particularly hard to do this new distancing guidance for urban schools and for schools generally who are still trying to come up with all of these covid protocols at once of masking, cleaning, staff training, ventilation, et cetera. they were also a little bit more circumspect about the evidence that has been cited and so they want further clarification from the cdc as to why you are really certain that this is a good idea. but in general, this is hope
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that this is a better piece of identified and that schools and teaches and -- teachers and parents can all get what we all desperately want which is to open schools again and get kids back in safely. >> woodruff: so we will continue to watch to see what the school systems do across the country. william brangham, thank you very much. >> you're welcome, judy. >> woodruff: in the day's other news, president biden and vice president harris met privately withsian american community leaders in atlanta. six asian american women and two others were shot and killed tuesday at three massage businesses. police have not named a motive, but the president vowed today to fight rising anti-asian violence. >> whatever the motivation, we
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know this-- too many asian too many asian americans have been walking up and down the streets and worrying, waking up each morning the past year feeling their safety and the safety of their loved ones are at at stake >> woodruff: mr. biden also issued a statement urging congress to pass a covid-19 hate crimes bill. authorities around atlanta publicly identified the remaining shooting victims today. in all, there were eight, including hyuhn grant, who was 51. paul michels, age 54. delaina yaun, 33 years old. and sheow-jeh tahn, age 49. the others were dow-yoh fung, who was 44. soon-chah kim, 69 years old. soon park, age 74. and young yoo, age 63. a judge in minneapolis refused today to delay or move the trial of a former police officer
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charged with george floyd's death. lawyers for derek chauvin argued that the city's $27 million settlement with floyd's family could unfairly influence jury selection. we will get an update, later in the program. the taliban is warning the u.s. against ignoring a may 1 deadline for leaving afghanistan as agreed to last year. the warning came a day after international talks in moscow. the militants insisted the u.s. abide by the agreement. >> after that, it will be a kind of a violation of the agreement. so, in that case, if there is action, of course there will be reaction. >> woodruff: taliban officials said they do support accelerating the pea talks, and the kabul government said the same. tanzania made history today, swearing in its first female president. samia suluhu hassan took the oath of office during a ceremony in dar es salaam, the east
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african nation's largest city. hassan succeeds john magufuli, an outspoken covid-19 denier. officials say he died wednesday, of heart failure. back in this country, the white house says that president biden will nominate former florida senator bill nelson to head nasa. the veteran democrat grew up near cape canaveral and flew on a space shuttle in 1986. if confirmed by the senate, he will be the space agency's 14th administrator. on wall street, bank stocks fell on news that the federal reserve is ending some of its covid emergency measures. the dow jones industrial average lost 234 points to close below 32,628. the nasdaq rose 99 points, and the s&p 500 slipped two points. and, the white house says that president biden is fine, after stumbling as he boarded "air force one" this morning.
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he tripped twice climbing the steps to the plane, and fell to his knees at one point. he appeared to rub his left knee, before continuing. an aide says high wind may have been a factor in the fall. still to come on the newshour: tensions rise between the u.s. and china, amid a heated first meeting. the jury takes shape in the trial of the police killing of george floyd. why some republicans remain reluctant to receive the covid vaccination. and, much more. >> woodruff: the first talks between beijing and the biden administration concluded today in anchorage.
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both sides described them as tough and candid, right from the opening moments. as nick schifrin reports >> thank you very much for making the journey to meet with us. >> schifrin: it was supposed to be a short photo-op. secretary of state tony blinken and national security advisor jake sullivan, opposite china's top diplomats, yang jiechi and wang yi. but immediately, and over three 2.5-hour sessions across two days, the u.s. criticized what it considers chinese misbehavior: the internment of muslim uyghurs, the destruction of hong kong democracy, increased threats to taiwan, coercing u.s. allies-- including the trial of a canadian today-- in secret behind police guard, and cyber attacks. >> each of these actions threaten the rules-based order that maintains global stability. that's why they're not merely internal matters, and why we feel an obligation to raise these issues here today. >> schifrin: in response, yang used his two-minute allotment to spend 16 minutes accusing the
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u.s. of hypocrisy. >> ( translated ): many people within the u.s. actually have little confidence in the democracy of the united states. the challenges facing the u.s. in human rights are deep-seated. they did not just emerge over the past four years, such as black lives matter. >> hold on one second, please. >> schifrin: blinken then changed the plan, and told the media to stay, so he could respond on camera. >> it's never a good bet to bet against america. >> schifrin: at that point, the u.s. camera left. the chinese objected, and called for the cameras to return, to resume the tit for tat. >> ( translated ): one can only cause damage to himself if he tries to strangle or suppress the chinese people. >> schifrin: yang's unabashed willingness to confront reflects president xi jingping's unwillingness to change behavior because of international pressure. xi calls for china to “stand tall in the east,” and has dramatically modernized china's military. the diplomats fronting that
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policy are called wolf warriors, after the movie series where a former chinese soldier wins the day and kills the american villain. actor and director wu jing told us in 2019, the film's nationalism reflects beijing's refusal to abide western criticism. >> ( translated ): in chinese modern history, china has been bullied for a long time. >> we can't continue to allow china to rape our country, and that's what they're doing. >> schifrin: but the u.s. is also more willing to confront. many trump administration initiatives remain in place: billions of dollars of tariffs. restrictions that go into effect on monday, on u.s. companies selling technology to chinese companies. and sanctions over hong kong crackdown, including 24 new sanctions just 40 hours before the meeting began. following the meetings, the chinese said there were differences, but... >> ( translated ): strategic dialogue is direct, frank, and constructive. it's very conductive to the relations between the two sides. >> schifrin: blinken said the u.s. and china could cooperate,
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even as beijing rejected the u.s.' handful of criticisms, from xinjiang to cyberspace. >> it's no surprise that when we raise those issues clearly and directly, we got a defensive response. but we were also able to have a very candid conversation over these many hours, on an expansive agenda. on iran, on north korea, on afghanistan, on climate, our interests intersect. >> schifrin: and for more on the meeting, and overall state of u.s.-china relations, we get two views. susan thornton was an american diplomat for 28 years, focusing on asia. she served as acting assistant secretary for east asian and pacific affairs during the trump administration. she is now a visiting lecturer at yale law school. and elizabeth economy is a senior fellow at stanford university's hoover institution. her most recent book is “the third revolution: xi jinping and
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the new chinese state.” >> welcome back to newshour to both of you, susan thornton let me start with you, you heard right at the end there both diplomats suggest these talks were constructive despite the tone at the beginning. do you support that? >> yes, i think this meeting was about restarting diplomacy with china after a four-year hiatus basically under the previous administration. and you do diplomacy to engage counterparts in private to try to find a way forward on areas where you have overlapping interests and secretary blinken mentioned there at the end a number of areas, north korea, afghanistan, iran, climate change, where there are overlapping interests, and to sit together with the other side and find out where those areas are and a way forward that's the art of the goal. so i think that the circus in front of the cancer to start off was a bit unfortunate, i am not
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sure that is necessarily productive way to start this off, but it looks like they were able to you know, savor something for the end. >> are these about overlapping interests and we are at the beginning of the meeting unproductive? >> i actually have a slightly different view from susan, i think, yes, there was some objective of trying to find some common ground and common purpose but i think at least the white house pretty clearly stated up front that they saw this opportunity to sort of lay out the u.s. position, how it was approaching china assort of the foundational principles of the u.s.-china relationship, you know, one rooted in values and alliances and multilateral institutions and also an opportunity to share se you know, pretty significant areas of concern, i think around human rights and regional security. so i think, yes, there are some areas of common purpose and common ground, but even in those areas let's face it, we are
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talking about high level agreement on things like north korea and afghanistan and iran, the path to getting actual constructive cooperation will be much more challenging. i do think climate offers a real opportunity, but i see it a little bit differently i would say than susan. >> susan thornton, as elizabeth economy was saying part of this is the bide administration saying they want to lay out their priorities, many of those mirror some of the trump policies and the biden team talks about confronting china from a position of strength, a reference to the domestic economy and allies. do you support that approach? >> well, i guess what i would say is that the laying out of our concerns with china has been done over and over again in public for the last five years, so i don't think there is much point in flying all the guy alaska and sitting down, risking covid protocols, et cetera to
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just lay out, again, our concerns. the chinese are well aware of the concerns and they made it pretty clear what they think of those and have over the past many years and it has not changed and doesn't really get you anywhere, i would say. so i think the point of going to alaska, again, is to get into private conversations to figure out how to manage the differences, how to engage in dialogue where you can find progress on areas and to figure out where the overlapping areas of cooperation are. and i don't know how much progress we made on that but i hope we made some. the issue about kind of coming at it from a position of strength, i mean, my preference would be, and frankly you know, maybe it is because i live in a rural part of the country where people just get stuff done, but i really think we need to calm down a a lit about china. i don't think that china is
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ten feet tall, i don't think america is going anywhere, and i think you know, there is a lot of miscommunication going on on both sides but the best way to deal with china is just to get into the details and start working. last, less talking and more doing would be my preference for dealing with the issues. >> elizabeth economy, take on those two points that there is no point in flying to alaska to air grievances publicly and that china is not ten feet tall. >> so i think again that the point is not simply to air grievances but really to say, this is how we are going on approaching this relationship, right? this is fundamentally different than the 23 trump administration tack it would issue. again this is an administration that has sort of outlined a strong commitment to values to american values, to alliances and to multilateral institutions to all three things represent a fairly significant break from what has has come before. in terms of whether cline is
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ten feet tall, no, i agree with susan it it is not ten feet tall but i think xi jinping presents a position of a reordered world order, china has a sense it wants to reconstitute the very geographic construct of its own country, right? it wants to claim taiwan and a wide swath of the south china sea and it wants the united states out of east asia as the dominant power. it wants its own values and technologies and political interests sort of embedded in other countries and you know, xi jinping talked about leading the reform of the local government system so he really does have a different vision of what world is supposed to look like over the next you know, ten, 20 and 30 years and so it may not be ten feet tall but i think its vision you know, is definitely ten feet tall and does require us to understand where he wants to take china and what that means for the united states and our interests. >> susan thornton, i only have one minute left, in 30 seconds
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do you do you believe that china is a fundamentally different country under xi jinping? >> i think that there is a lot of continuity that we see with xi jinping and i am not that surprised in china. it is not coming out of the blue, certainly there has been regression on human rights and in a lot of practices domestically and in china's domestic politics certainly now also vis-a-vis the united states they are starting to pursue a policy of indigenous asian of their industries but i think in general, the error that u.s. makes is in thinking we are going to have some kind of fundamental way of changing china. i personally don't think china represents an existential threat. i think we need learn to live with china and coo exist. they are not going anywhere but we are probably not going to be able to change them fundamentally. >> elizabeth economy, story, 30
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seconds, china not an existential threat? >> china pretty close to an existential threat, i agree we will probably not be able to change china until china inside itself wants to change chang but we can work with our partners to 0 challenge china where they threaten our fundamental interests. >> susan thorn son, elizabeth economy, thank you very much. >> thanks, nick. >> >> woodruff: jury selection neared conclusion today in the trial of derek chauvin, the former minneapolis police officer accused of murder and manslaughter in the death of george floyd. but a settlement between the city and floyd's family has loomed large over the trial. newshour special correspondent fred de sam lazaro is following
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the proceedings, and he joins us now. hello, fred. so the jury selection process has gone faster than many people expected. tell us a little about how it has gone. >> yes. way ahead of themselves, judy, judge peter cahill had allotted three weeks to get this process underway. how do you find people who have not been exposed to publicity from this case who have not come across this video thawent viral of floyd under the knee of former officer chauvin, but as it turns out, at least one of the people said she had never watched the video, several said they watched only bits and pieces of it, and of those who said they watched the video, all of them said they were perfectly capable of setting their feelings aside or influences of the video and judging this case based solely on evidence that came out of court. now these jurors were subjected to some proxy questions to tease out any potential bias, how do you feel about black lives
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matter? how do you feel about blue lives matter, that kind of thing, at the end of the day, we wind up with a panel that is about evenly split racially. this is a very race sensitive case, obviously, but in a county that is 74 percent white we have about an even split between white and nonwhite, the nonwhite being fairly diverse between multiracial origins and immigrant that is to say naturalized citizens versus american born black citizens. >> then, fred, you had the unexpected development while the trial preparations are underway that the city of minneapolis announced a $27 million settlement to go to the george floyd family. what effect has that had on the trial? >> well, judy, no party in the courtroom was terribly pleased to hear this. there appears this would imply
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an admission of guilt by chauvin's former employer. now there is also the fear that jurors could consider justice as having been done in this case and go more leniently on ciao strip, however which it cuts cahill said it cuts and recalled jurors who were already selected to make sure that this settlement and news of the settlement didn't impact their ability to be impartial. he had to dismiss two of these jurors and start back again. the judge could not conceal his annoyance at city officials for not waiting at least until a jury had been selected or a verdict had been reached before announcing the settlement. >> i have asked minneapolis >> i've asked minneapolis to stop talking about it. they keep talking about it. we keep talking about it. everybody, just stop talking about it. let me decide what the ramifications are. >> now, of course, despite his annoyance he did not go with a
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request from the defense to delay the trial or to move it to a new venue, figuring that this almost, there is almost no corner of minnesota that hasn't been inundated with publicity surrounding this case. >> woodruff: witness stand have to assume, fred, that this is consuming an enormous amount of conversation in the minneapolis community. tell us how are the residents there talking about? how are they dealing with it? >> tension has been building for a long time, judy, the spot where floyd was arrested, george floyd square is barricaded all off and controlled by community activists police have in many cases unable to get in there. the police chief vows to go back and retake area, top intersection to traffic. there is resistance to that and at types the tensions have boiled over into violence between police and some community activists across the city, and so there is a great
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deal of tension. this is a city that is on edge. it has been for some time and will be as we look forward to the trial's start. >> woodruff: and the trial still several days away. fred de sam lazaro reporting to us from minneapolis, thank you, fred. >> thank you, judy. >> woodruff: nearly 41 million americans are now fully vaccinated. but as many polls show, including our recent pbs newshour-npr-marist poll, one segment of the population remains steadfast in their opposition to getting a vaccine: republicans. yamiche alcindor reports on the role that politics is playing in the effort to vaccinate america. >> alcindor: across the country, vaccinations are ramping up. but a new public health chlenge has emerged: persuading millions of
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republicans to get the shot. >> i'm just not ready right now to jump in my car, run out, go to my doctor or wherever i have to go, and get that vaccine. >> alcindor: 65-year-old michael karr lives in tulsa, oklahoma. he's a supporter of former president donald trump. and, while he's eligible to receive the vaccine, he's still not sure if he will. what's the hesitancy there? >> i've never had the flu vaccine. i'm 65 years old. probably should be getting the flu vaccine, but i don't. am i chancing it? yeah, probably. but i just have never taken the vaccine before. i didn't really see the need for it. i'm kind of in that same boat with covid-19. >> alcindor: karr is not alone. according to a recent pbs newshour-npr-marist poll, 41% percent of all republicans say they won't get a covid-19 vaccine. that makes them the most vaccine hesitant demographic in the nation. and public health experts warn, if that opposition continues, it could significantly hamper
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the effort to slow the spread of covid-19. the virus has already killed nearly 540,000 americans. public health officials believe somewhere between 70% and 85% of all americans will need to take the vaccine in order to reach what's known as herd immunity. >> my fear of the vaccine is more than my fear of getting the illness. >> alcindor: last weekend, longtime g.o.p. strategist frank luntz conducted a virtual focus group with 19 vaccine- hesitant republicans from around the country. michael karr was one of them. >> when i say covid-19 vaccination, vaccine, adam, what do you think of first? >> a miracle, albeit suspicious. >> rushed. long-term side effects unknown. >> uncertainty. >> untrustworthy. >> alcindor: luntz worked with the de beaumont foundation, a public health nonprofit, to create pro-vaccine messaging aimed at conservatives.
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>> how are we going to get our country into this herd immunity if 35 million people won't take the vaccine for political reasons or partisan reasons or washington reasons? and the amazing thing is, it's probably donald trump's greatest success of his administration, the speed by which these vaccines were developed. and yet it's his own people, the people who voted for him, that are most hesitant to take it. who would have thought? >> alcindor: president trump was vaccinated against covid-19 before leaving the white house, but he chose not to do so in public. >> it's important for our fellow citizens to get vaccinated. >> alcindor: and he was noticeably absent from a recent ad featuring other former presidents who called on americans to get vaccinated. after mostly dodging the issue, earlier this week, he appeared on fox news and said this: >> i would recommend it to a lot of people that don't want to get it, and a lot of people who voted for me, frankly. but you know, again, we have our freedoms, and we have to
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live by that, and i agree with that also. >> being against vaccines has been seen now as a badge, or as a sign of loyalty, to the republican party. >> alcindor: dr. peter hotez is the co-director of the center for vaccine development at texas children's hospital. he says anti-vaccine sentiments already existed on the fringes of both the democratic and republican parties. but, in recent years, this movement has resonated most with conservatives who are skeptical of the government. >> it initially began in orange county, california, in response to a measles epidemic there. the california legislature closed vaccine exemptions and that kind of ignited this first politicization. but it was really in texas where it found a home to amplify. and now we have over 72,000 kids in texas denied access to their vaccinations. >> alcindor: and he says this movement was thrust into
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the national spotlight when then-candidate donald trump spread a well-known falsehood about vaccines. >> just the other day, two years old, 2.5 years old, a child, a beautiful child, went to have the vaccine, and came back, and a week later got a tremendous fever, got very, very sick, now is autistic. >> we've consistently underestimated how powerful this is and the deadly consequences that it's had for the american people, not only around anti- vaccine, but actually against science more broadly. because this is what led to defiance of masks and social distancing-- the anti-science platform that is now mainstream with the republican party. >> alcindor: hotez says these anti-vaccine viewpoints are often amplified by conservative media. >> how effective is this coronavirus vaccine? how necessary is it to take the vaccine? don't dismiss those questions from anti-vaxxers.
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>> alcindor: but the challenge for the biden administration is preventing that message from spreading. this week, the president called on local leaders to help in that effort. >> i urge all local docs and ministers and priests to talk about why-- why it's important to get to get that vaccine. and even after that, until everyone is, in fact, vaccinated, to wear this mask. >> alcindor: religious leaders, like seth nelson, a lutheran pastor in the rural community of ronan, montana. he was vaccinated in early january, and has been encouraging his congregation to do so as well. >> a number-one concern i'm hearing from church members who don't want to get the vaccine is that there's still is a lot of unknowns with how quickly it came to be implemented and distributed. and i think for some folks who've been, you know, felt forced to wear masks and distance and shut down and all that stuff, i-- i kind of get
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the sense that some-- some of them... resisting taking the vaccine as it is as much about them being able to kind of control something in a very uncontrolled situation. >> alcindor: despite the fact that conservatives are now the most vaccine-hesitant group, much of the public health messaging has been directed at black americans. that's created a perception that black americans simply don't want the vaccine, according to cheryl grills. she's a clinical psychologist at loyola marymount university. >> if people accept the argument that it's hesitancy that is the reason why we see such low numbers, then you don't have to go and look for other possible competing causes. it distracts us from looking at the real reasons that black folks are not getting vaccinated at the rates they should be in this country. it's not about hesitancy. it's about access. in addition to access, it's about having clear and credible messaging about the vaccine's
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safety. just talk to us. >> i probably needed to separate my reaction to the government involvement in this and look at just the science. >> alcindor: frank luntz says that same effort is also needed to convince trump supporters to take the vaccine. >> republicans believe in personal responsibility. well, what is more personally responsible than to take a vaccine that will not only keep you safe, it'll keep your family safe, your neighborhood safe, your friends safe? and they've got to connect the dots. >> alcindor: back in oklahoma, that's a message that seemed to resonate with michael karr. >> i would say now i'm leaning a little more towards being open to getting the vaccine. but again, i want it to be my decision. i want to be educated. not coerced. >> alcindor: it's a decision many republicans want to make for themselves-- but one that public health officials are now anxiously awaiting. for the pbs newshour, i'm yamiche alcindor.
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>> woodruff: and to maybe help us further understand the vaccine hesitancy among some republicans, and much more, we turn now to the analysis of brooks and capehart. that is "new york times" columnist david brooks, and jonathan capehart, columnist for the "washington post." so good to see both of you, my only faces on this friday night but serious stuff to talk about. thank you for being here. jonathan, i will start with you. why do you think so many republicans, 40, 50 percent are saying they don't want to vaccine and what do you think the prospects are for changing their mind? >> judy, i think part of the problem is the previous president spent the entirety of the pandemic, so a year ago we were hearing the president of the united states casting doubt,
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one, on whether the virus would come to the united states, and then, two, once it did get to the united states calling the whole thing a hoax. every day. and so if you are -- if you were a diehard follower of the president and listening to him telling you all sorts of false hoods, lies, misinformation about a pandemic that you also say is a hoax that it doesn't surprise me, it is shocking just an american a and someone who believes in science that so many, such a high percentage of republicans and particularly republicans who supported donald trump being very hesitant about taking the vaccine. i hope that the gentleman in yamiche's package will do what he says she going to do, educate himself and then decide to take the vaccine. that is all you know, dr. fauci has been trying to do, folks at the cdc, the nih, trying to educate the american people and
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tell them this is how we protect ourselves against this virus and this pandemic and these are the things we must do if we want to get to the other side and start to live what we used to call normal lives again. >> woodruff: david, how do you explain the thinking on the part of so many republicans? >> well, for generations if you asked americans do you trust the institutions of our society, you would get 70 or 80 percent trusting the institutions and then starting around the time of vietnam and water gat gate that began to decline and now it is about 19 percent and so people have built up over decades of what they perceive as failure and betrayal, a sense of distrust not only in government in congress but in science and in institutions and and there is especially true on the republican side, where the don't tread on me ethos has been strongest. i am hopeful that once you detach this there politics and make it a local issue where it is you and your doctor or you and your neighbor or you and your pastor that minds can
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change. people really do think on two different levels if you ask them a political question or poll they will give you a political answer but if it is the doctor saying you know, everybody around here is taking this test, or this vaccine, it looks pretty good, it is keeping us safe i think then once it becomes a local issue and not a political issue i think mind can change pretty fast and we still have that in the franklin focus group that he said, elsewhere that he really couldn't persuade people and the biden administration is working hard to do that, really reaching out the republicans, francis collins who is head of to nih and evangelical christian is talking to christian groups and so they are broadening the messengers. >> woodruff: and, jonathan, they are trying to change minds in that regard. the president also out this week, in fact, today marking the fact that 100 million americans have had at least one vaccination now and it is what just two months into his
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administration, he also is out around the country talking up the benefits of this covid economic relief plan and he was going to be in atlanta to talk about that, but today the triples became an opportunity to speak to the asian american community there, just a few days after these terrible shootings at three spas in the atlanta area. jonathan, what is the right message right now for the president at a time like this? >> well, i think in the remarks that the president gave just before we came on air, just as you were coming on air, are similar to the messages he has been giving when it comes to talking about the loss americans have felt as a result of the pandemic. in his remarks in atlanta, he targeted them to the asian american pacific islander community that feels and has felt under siege, under threat for more than a year because of
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the rhetoric that was coming out of the white house. and so by an accident of timing and coincidence -- the president and vice president were already going to be in georgia, in atlanta to tout the american rescue plan. but the fact that these -- that the shootings happened, the murders happened, that their trip took a more mournful purpose, but there is one other thing keep in mind here, judy. georgia flipped from red to blue and senators warnock and ossoff are in the senate because people came out and voted for them and wenow that because of a big turn without from asian americans in georgia that that helped put joe biden over the top in georgia and warnock and ossoff over the top in, i believe,oth of tir races, the general election race and the runoff races so this trip that president biden, vice president harris took today and
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is still ongoing has taken on so many layers of meaning that we can't even get into right now. >> and pick up on that, david, i mean, at a moment like this, how much difference can it make what a president says especially on this -- as jonathan said this is a subject that has political certainly, political ramifications. >> well one of the things we certainly learned in recent history is that the presidency is the cultural determiner of the country, and that can the ethos of the country reflects the presidency for good or ill, whether whether it feels like you are walking into a hailstorm or you have sunshine shining upon you and you know, biden ran on the soul of america i thought that was a very important part of his campaign i wasn't clear how he would translate that into the presidency, how do you actually use the power of the office to change the soul of america. i actually thought he should have a little agency within the white house, thinking about the
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culture, thinking about what is the american soul, how do we tell our story, how do question keep ourselves together? but events have certainly given him occasions to put that issue front and center and mostly a hate crimes and killings, unfortunately. and so what this episode shows is in the soul of america there has been a rising tide of bigotry, anti-semitism, anti-asian vines, rising tide of all kinds partly because of donald trump partly because of covid, partly because frankly there are a lot of lonely young men who have been sort of cut loose from society and who are struggling. and they are not in the communities and they do terrible things on occasion. and so the soul of america is about our moral fiber and not practicing bigotry. it is about our social connection and meshing people and then it is about expressing the values we share which i think president did today.
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>> woodruff: and this is not, jonathan, of course, the only tough question facing the president right now. there are more and more immigrants attempting to come into the united states across the southn border, children and families with young children, the administration is letting them come in, they are turning back single adults but it is adding up to a real challenge. the republicans are saying, this is joe biden's border, crisis, what do you make of his handling of this and also of the two immigration bills that passed the house this week? >> so when it comes to republican criticism of the biden administration i mean that is par for the course, that is to be expected, house minority leader kevin mccarthy calling it biden's border crisis. but the waves of migrants coming to the border didn't start the moment joe biden became president, they have been coming. i think that president biden
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talking about having a more humane immigration policy probably extent a message to folks who were trying get here through the southern border that the draconian measures and sort of inthrough main measures taken by donald trump would no longer be in force and maybe it is time to go, also keeping in mind that it is not just -- president biden isn't the only reason why folks are a trying to get across the southern border, people are fleeing, they are fleeing terror and gangs and crime and lack of economic opportunities in their own countries and they are moving north, seeking opportunities. now what we have seen, judy, is that the administration has gone from the president saying wanted more humane policy to the president going on television earlier this week and saying don't come. you have got the secretary of homeland security saying, don't come now. you have got the new ambassador for the border roberta jacobson
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saying don't come and don't come this way, come through legal means. so i think if anything the biden administration has to land on a consistent message and then it has got to figure out a way to work with congress to really get a handle on what to do about immigration. the two bills that you mentioned, judy, one goaling the dreamers and another one dealing with migrant farm workers it is not comprehensive immigration reform or policy, but these are two big pieces of the immigration puzzle that are working their way through congress. they made it their way through the house but the top part is, that we will be discussing forever it seems the tough part is going to be in the senate and wi the senate, will congress actually work to pass something that will actually alleviate a lot of the immigration problems in the country. >> woodruff: what about that, david? and sizing up how president biden is handling all of this? >> well the short-term problem
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with the biden administration they had a very unclear message in the beginning that said you can come but not yet which is not a clear message, especially since it gets filtered through these smugglers who smuggle people across the border for like 8,000 bucks and their incentive is people to say time to go they make money everybody they carry and you get a lot of misinformation spread across the border and a lot of people are coming we are at a 14 year high, the larger problem is we just never had a well funded asylum system. we don't have the facilities as is painfully clear during the trump years and don't have the judges so people come and get their hearings but sometimes it takes over a year to get the hearing and meanwhile they are in the country and if they think they are going to lose the hearing which two-thirds do then they don't show up so it is just a dysfunctional system, i think the biden administration is trying to ramp up and fix it, but who is to say at the won't just continue to fall behind? and the pain of that is, a, we have some chaos on the border, but, b, you get an awful political atmosphe for trying
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to pass immigration reform and asylum and immigration are different and worth remembering so we have given up i think wisely on the idea of comprehensive reform, too big of a lift but it is getting tougher to pass even these minor bills on things people could agree about like the dreamers and the border counties in texas shifted sharply to the republican, marklely the senator from arizona has to run again in 2022 if there is a lot of anti-immigrant sentiment it becomes hard for him and so in a weird way this border crisis is making the immigration bills a lot harder to pass. >> woodruff: well, whether they wanted to deal with this right now or not they are having to deal with it and we will continue to watch it. thank you both. david brooks, jonathan capehart. >> thanks, judy. >> thanks. >> woodruff:
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>> woodruff: and finally tonight, as we do each friday during the pandemic, we take a moment to share the stories of five individuals we've lost to covid-19. no home improvement job was too daunting for teresa trigg, her daughter told us. that strong work ethic had its beginnings in belleville, illinois, where teresa grew up before moving to arizona. she was a single, working mom, and her daughter said she would often work a 12-hour day and still make it to her softball games. teresa loved taking care of people, painting neighbors' homes and building wheelchair ramps. teresa was 66. 55-year-old anthony “darnell” davis used his voice for singing, and he encouraged others to use their voices to speak the truth, his niece told us.
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born in painesville, ohio, darnell went on to be the first african american firefighter in the county. he served for 24 years before retiring, mentoring many along the way. he started singing with his brotrs in church, and people called them the “davis five.” darnell's niece said he lived by the adage, “what's mine is yours.” 69-year-old deb trance mordecai was a real people person, her family told us. that quality served her well in her customer service roles at united airlines, where she worked for 47 years. her job helped feed her passion for travel. born in queens, new york, she loved to sing and play guitar on the family stoop. her husband glen was her dance partner for 39 years, and her brother said she was often the first and last person on the dance floor.
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since the 1940s, the sounds of chencho flores' accordion filled the austin, texas air. ♪ ♪ ♪ chencho played traditional "conjunto," a style unique to texas, with its roots in working-class mexico. his family told us chencho was mostly self-taught. his love for music was surpassed only by his love for family. to support them, he spent 37 years driving a cement truck. in his spare time, he loved gardening and fishing and passing on his musical talents to younger generations. chencho was 91. marjorie jacoby, who went by margy, was a vibrant, graceful do-gooder, her daughter said. she came from a family of pharmacists in philadelphia. at penn state, she studied education and met her husband,
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daniel. she worked her way up in the world of elder care with her kindhearted and humble ways, helping families through some of life's harde transitions. friends told us it was the 71-year-old's children and grandchildren who were the lights of her life. and our thanks to the family members who shared these stories with us. our hearts go out to you as well as everyone who lost a loved one in this pandemic. and on the pbs newshour and on the pbs newshour online right now, the latest episode of our podcast miniseries "the longest year," about the staggering toll the coronavirus has taken on america. this week, we look at how the pandemic made inequality in america worse. listen now on our website, that's, or search for "america interrupted: the longest year" wherever you get your podcasts.
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and that is the newshour for tonight. i'm judy woodruff. join us online and again here on monday evening. for all of us at the pbs newshour, have a great weekend. thank you, and good night. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> fidelity wealth management. >> consumer cellular. >> johnson & johnson. >> bnsf railway. >> the william and flora hewlett foundation. for more than 50 years, advancing ideas and supporting institutions to promote a better world. at >> supporting social entrepreneurs and their solutions to the world's most pressing problems-- >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions
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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. captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc captioned by media access group at wgbh
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oh, you think this is just a community center? no. it's way more than that. cause when you hook our community up with the internet... boom! look at ariana, crushing virtual class. jamol, chasing that college dream. michael, doing something crazy. this is the place where we can show the world what we can do. comcast is partnering with 1000 community centers to create wifi-enabled lift zones, so students from low-income families
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can get the tools they need to be ready for anything. oh we're ready. ♪ ♪ hello, everyone. welcome to "amanpour & company." here's what's coming up. >> it's important to call the main leaders of the world and put around the table just one thing, one issue,vaccine, vaccine and vaccine. >> the gladiator. brazil's lula back in the ring with a direct plead to president biden in a world exclusive amid a brutal third wave. the former president tells me bolsonaro has brought brazil to its knees. >> public transportation is part of public health. >> america's crumbling infrastructure. our walteri isaacson asks transportation secretary pete buttigieg about his plans to fix it. then we focus on
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mississippi's broken water systems. mayor chokwe antar lumumba tells me what it was like when the taps ran dry and dirty. ♪ "amanpour & co." is made possible by the anderson family fund, sue and edgar wachenheim iii, the cheryl and philip milstein family, candace king weir, the straus family foundation, bernard and denise schwartz, jeffrey katz and beth rogers. additional support provided by the funders and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. welcome to the program, everyone. i'm christiane amanpour in london. brazil's covid crisis keeps on going from bad to much, much worse with now. familiar scenes of m