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tv   Goodbye 2021 A Year to Remember... and Forget  MSNBC  January 1, 2022 3:00am-4:00am PST

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>> that's all for this edition of "dateline." i'm craig melvin. thank you for watching. you for g ♪♪ welcome to the nbc news now special "good-bye 2021," a year to remember and a year to forget. i'm joe fryer. >> and i'm stephanie sellers. >> the year started with a lot of hope for new beginnings as covid vaccines became widely available, but 12 months later, covid continues to impact us. we're going to get an extra take. >> and there's certainly no shortage of news to talk about from the january 6th riot to the
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billionaires' space race, and, of course, free britney. >> and if you were looking to see things settle down a bit in 2020, it was 2021 that said, "hold my beer." ♪♪ >> five, four, three, two, one. >> in the closing moments of 2020 as the ball dropped above a sparsely populated times square, a weary nation cautiously hoped for better times, dreams that were quickly damping. 2021 was just six days old when a mob of trump supporters stormed the u.s. capitol, hoping to overturn the presidential election. the images from that day captured in the capitol rotunda and speaker pelosi's office, in the senate table, their
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indelible portraits of a deadly uprising that stunned the world, yet failed to stop lawmakers from certifying the election result. >> joseph r. biden jr. of the state of delaware has received 306 votes. >> in the days that followed, the streets of washington looked more like a war zone as things focused from afternoon insurrection to an inauguration. at a scaled down ceremony, president biden was sworn in as the 46th president. >> i, joseph robinette biden. >> the outgoing president refused to stick around for the festivities, but could not escape another impeachment. >> the president of the united states incited this insurrection. >> accused of inciting the riots, donald trump became the first president to be impeached
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twice. he was later acquitted by the senate. >> donald r. trump, former president of the united states, is not guilty. >> it was a dramatic start to a year still dominated by covid. >> we learned this morning that the pandemic has now taken 400,000 lives in the u.s. >> as the country emerged from a deadly winter, vaccines became more available, first to the most vulnerable, then to all adults, and event annually to most kids. despite the shot in the arm, more americans died from covid this year than last as the more contagious delta variant surged and hospitals filled again, treating mostly unvaccinated patients. >> now we are treating patients in the hallways. >> mask mandates sparked rage. at school board meetings. >> let the parents make the decisions. >> as classrooms cautiously returned to in-person learning.
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>> i'd rather wear it because i don't want to get killed by covid. >> our vocabularies expanded to include new terms, barack threw cases, boosters, and by year's end, omicron. ♪♪ as the pandemic raged, so did nature's fury. >> we're huddled under all the blankets that we have. >> in february, a deadly ice storm paralyzed texas. wildfires continued to rashage the west while hurricane ida carved a path of destruction from louisiana to new york. and this month more than 100 were killed by a sears of rare december tornadoes in kentucky and surrounding states, one twister cutting a path more than 200 miles long. ♪♪ it was a year of fatal
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tragedies, the astro world concert in houston, the condo building in surfside, florida. >> it just felt like an earthquake. who ever thinks a building is going to collapse on you. >> without notice, the 12-story tower partially collapsed, killing more than 100 people as people slept. tragedy struck in new mexico while alec bald within was handed a gun, firing a real round, killing a cinematographer. ♪♪ some of last year's biggest stories led to this year's biggest trials. >> we, the jury, in the above-entitled matter as to count 1, unintentional murder by committing a felony find the defendant guilty. >> a jury found former minneapolis police officer chauvin guilty. in georgia three white men were
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convicted of murdering ahmaud arbery. >> we the defendant find the defendant carl j. rittenhouse not guilty. >> rittenhouse was found not guilt on all three charges after killing three men last year. amid a growing chasm in mid-america that pointed to tensions and pointed debates over abortion and transgender right. political harmony was noelusive. they passed a bipartisan infrastructure bill and voted to make juneteenth a federal holiday. and if you thought politics would settle down after the last election, think again. the year started with democrats flipping two senate seats in georgia and ended with republicans flipping the governor's seat in virginia. ♪♪ overseas, america ended the
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20-year war in afghanistan, pulling the last remaining u.s. troops out of the country. the world watched as the taliban rapidly regained control and desperate afghans tried to flee. >> kabul is falling now. >> the chaotic days of suicide bombers killed 13 service members, all of it sparking international criticism with how the withdrawal handled. president biden stood by his decision. >> after 20 years of war in afghanistan, i refuse to send another generation of america's sons and daughters to fight a war that should have ended long ago. in october world leaders gathered once again in person in rome for the g20 conference in glasgow for the u.n. climate conference, notably missing queen elizabeth, forced to bow out over health concerns. it was a challenging year for the royal family starting in
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march when prince harry and meghan markle sat down for a headline-making interview with oprah winfrey. >> there's a conversation with you. >> with harry. >> about how dark your baby is going to be? >> potentially, and what that would mean or look like. >> that conversation i'm never going to share. >> the royals also said good-bye to the queen's husband of 70 years, prince philip, one of many notable deaths. bob dole, cicely tyson, steve about sondheim, "the sound of music's" christopher plummer. ♪ aidle wise, aidle wise ♪♪ >> and so many more. it was the year "jeopardy!"
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struggled to find a permanent host. >> britney was finally freed from her conservativeship, that our friends reunited, and that movie blockbusters made their long-awaited return along with broadway and adele. the olympic flame belatedly burned one year later than planned as tokyo hosted the 2020 games in 2021. superstar gymnast simone biles traded high scores for high praise when she withdrew from several events to focus on her mental health. >> i have to focus on my mental well being, and that's what i did. >> tiger woods starting swinging again following a serious car crash in california, and billionaires raced to space. even captain kirk took a trip to the final frontier. >> i'm so filled with emotion,
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that i just -- it's extraordinary. >> an inspiring reminder of what the future holds. >> i win in america. >> we reflect on a year dominated by vaccines and hope 2022 offers a shot at something even better. wow, what a year. and you can't talk about 2021 without mentioning the global fight against covid and the huge medical breakthrough that was the distribution of covid vaccines, the shots created, evaluated, and authorized in just month was the first for vaccine development. millions around the world lined up to get a shot and months later lined up to get a booster, but it wasn't without controversy. let's take a look back. >> this morning, a grim new national record, more than 4,000 covid deaths reporting in a
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single day. hospitals are facing a crisis of epic proportions. >> 100 million shots in our first 100 days in office. we're on day 1. >> with full fda approval, johnson & johnson's vaccine will be the third go into arms. >> get vaccinated. the vaccine that's available to you, get that vaccine. >> all adult americans will be eligible to get a vaccine no later than may 1. >> reporter: in new york city where people are getting vaccinated are now able to enjoy some live music in the same space that served as a field hospital just a few short months ago. >> a tragic milestone in the battle against the coronavirus. this is globally. the death toll has toppled a staggering 3 million people. more than 575,000 people have lost their lives to the coronavirus. that's nearly 20% of the worldwide total. >> reporter: some starts are
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starting to turn down government shipments due to lack of demand. >> new cdc data shows 8% of people have missed their second short moderna or pfizer vaccines. >> our goal by july 4th is to have 70% of adult americans at least one shot. >> pfizer's emergency use authorization now clears the way for 17 million children to immediately get vaccinated. kids 12 to 15 years old, mostly middle and high school students now qualify. >> if you get the shot, you basically can ditch the mask nearly everywhere, the cdc says. >> america is on a rebound, new covid cases rebound since last summer. >> this year it's going to be a big summer. >> the delta variant first discovered in india, could soon become the dominant strain in the u.s. >> so far, only 53% of the country is vaccinated. >> some states are only hitting
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a third of their population. >> 67% have received at least one dose. that's short of what the president wants. >> this week doctors say it's feeling like deja vu. >> tonight an alarming delta surge, the u.s. seeing more covid cases since last sum 'eers peak. >> the plan for every adult to get a booster shot eight months after you got your second shot. >> it provides a vivid reminder of the devastation of the coronavirus pandemic. more than 670,000 white flags are planted along the national mall, each one symbolizing an american life lost to the coronavirus. >> authorized by the fda late today, booster shots for the adults fully vaccinated with moderna and johnson & johnson could be days away. >> they all reached the same
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conclusion about vaccine mandates. >> i didn't have much of a choice in the matter, that i was being forced to do something, to put something into my body. >> i felt that what they were doing, what they have done, is they basically held for ransom your health insurance, your benefits, your livelihood, your career in some cases. >> some promising news, of course, this afternoon, authorizing the pfizer vaccine for 5- to 11-year-olds. >> they signed off for vaccines for all adults. >> president biden plans to speak to the americans. >> what is it about this variant that worries you? >> what we've seen is this kind of very rapid rise in infections, and we've seen that in a part of the country in a population where we thought that people had a lot of immunity, and the fact that this virus is now spreading so rapidly and so
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easily, it seems, it's a highly transmissible variant, but also that it may well better get around some of the levels of our immune protection. >> the cdc says the first confirmed case in the u.s. of the omicron variant has appeared now in san francisco. >> hitting another terrible milestone in the u.s., you see it here. 800,000 deaths in this country. in 2021 symptomatic of the things we took for granted returned to some kind of normal like going out to a restaurant or spending time with loved ones over the holidays. there are still reminders we're still living with the impact of the pandemic and likely will for a little while locker. >> that's right. joining us, dr. john torres. always great to see you. this year much like last year has been this roller coaster. we think it's better. we have these events and concerts to say, hey, it's a
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return to normalcy, and then we have to start pulling back a little bit. it was about this time last year delta spread and now there's an increase in hospitalizations. now we have ohm krob. what can we expect in this upcoming year. >> you're right. it looks exactly like a roller coaster. all of a sudden delta hits. we're going into the third wash. now we've got omicron. it's one of those things where we're going to see the roller coaster ride for a little bit. my hope is during 2022, we're going to calm down and get to a new normal. delta and omicron took us by surprise, took us by storm, and put us on our back feet a little bit. now we're on our front feet. we just need to use those tools. >> looking ahead, a couple of key questions people have, are we going to need another round of boosters in 2022, and are we ever going to get rid of these masks?
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>> i think the masks are going to be with us to a certain context. if you look at asian countries, they use masks all the time. they use them if somebody is feeling sick as a courtesy to other people. you're going to see that. that person's not feeling well. thankfully they're wearing a mask. i don't think we'll be wearing it to the basis we are now, which is basically all the time. we are getting sick of it. i think you're going to see some of these mask recommendations come back at least temporarily. >> how about boosters? >> my guess is in 2022, we're not going to have to get another booster shot. what we're not going to do, we don't want to chase variants. we don't want to every time a new variant comes out and say, okay, we need a new boster. we say these shots are holding up fairly well against omicron. >> dr. john torres, thank you so much, and happy new year.
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>> you bet. happy new year. the trauma is going to impact people who live there, their family members, the first responders, those that have been down there trying to help. it is very, very, very real. >> those devastating scenes from the recent tornado destruction in kentucky, they're one more example of weather extremes this past year. many of those deadly systems are connected to climate change. in june the u.n. wrote 2021 is a make or break year for climate action. here in the u.s., it sometimes felt more broken than not as we saw unprecedented weather across the nation. nbc's al roker takes a closer look. >> 2021, another blistering year of climate and weather extremes from wildfires and drought to catastrophic hurricanes, almost no state escaping unscathed. this year seemed to pick up
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where 2020 left off, with one major exception. four years after withdrawing from the paris climate agreement, newly elected president joe biden bringing the u.s. back into the fold. >> we can no longer delay or do the bare minimum to address climate change. >> the deal bringing together world leaders, pledging to do their part to stop the earth from warming past 1.5 degrees celsius. signs to see anything beyond 2 degrees would be catastrophic. as winter carried on, texas endured a cataclysmic event when extreme arctic cold caused by a breakdown in the polar vortex send icy air plunging the south, leaving residents freezing without water and in the dark for days. >> we haven't had water for ten days. for the first couple of days, we collected snow and were melting the snow. >> with the climate change unfolder faster than before,
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what happened in texas may no locker be a once-in-a-lifetime event. it's crumbling and ill-fitted infrastructure. in the northwest it was sporadic weather patterns connected to climate change that created a once-in-a-millenia heat wave, resulting in some of the highest temperatures recorded ever in a region. seattle and parts of california da soaring well above 100 degrees. at least 228 people dying in washington state and oregon alone. >> electricity went off, and, so, it's quickly getting warmer and warmer. >> reporter: kicking off an unpress e dented summer of heat, 2021 will go down in history as the hottest summer on record in the united states, mega fires in the west burning for months. the bootleg fire becoming the biggest this year. the dixie fire becoming the second largest to ever scorch
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parts of california. >> i didn't know where i was, whose house was what. it was just a wasteland. >> we're just grateful to be alive. we've got each other. >> reporter: the 2021 hurricane season, while not as prolific as the record-shattering 2020 was still an overachiever. there were 21 named storms including hurricanes. four were category 3 or higher. category 4 hurricane ida covering louisiana. >> we're looking at imminent landfall of this storm. >> the deadly hurricane flattening entire communities, leaving millions of people in louisiana without power. some outages lasting for months. ida then slashed a path of destruction into the northeast, dumped up to ten inches of rain in some parts of the region. some areas seeing one-night all-record totals in the month
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of september. new york city taking a direct hit from the tropical storm with subways turning into walls of water and floodwaters pushing cars down the streets. basement apartments were submerged, trapping residents. while the east got too much water, the bone-dry west in its second decade of extreme drought finally hit a tipping point, lake mead dropping to its lowest level on record year with unprecedented restrictions on how much water the state could use from the kinecting arizona water system. >> the pie is shrinking. >> to help address the issues t bipartisan infrastructure bill was signed into law in november. included are historic levels of funding for climate resilience and weatherization, clean energy investments, and capped orphaned oil and gas wells.
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>> despite the cynics, democrats and republicans can come together and deliver results. >> this should be where the story ends and once did until a wild and rare week of extreme weather struck in december, tornadoes tearing through kentucky and neighboring states, killing scores and leveling multiple towns, entire communities left in ruins. >> mayfield will be okay. it's just going to be a long time. >> just five days later, a historic storm leaving a trail of destruction stretching from the west coast to the great lakes. as 2021 comes to a close, a country weary from a prolonged pandemic braces for what is certain to be another year of extremes. i'm al roker, nbc news. al, thank you. now, we're just starting to look back at 2021, including what
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happened a mere six days in. the capitol riot rocked the country, and the reverberations continue almost a year later. plus, the last stop. the frontier in space that will have historians talking for years to come. years to come. plaque psoriasis, the tightness, stinging... ...the pain. emerge tremfyant®. with tremfya®, adults with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis... ...can uncover clearer skin and improve symptoms at 16 weeks. serious allergic reactions may occur. tremfya® may increase your risk of infections and lower your ability to fight them. tell your doctor if you have an infection or symptoms or if you had a vaccine or plan to. emerge tremfyant® with tremfya®... ask you doctor about tremfya® today. (vo) subaru and our retailers believe in giving back. that's why, in difficult times, we provided one hundred and fifty million meals to feeding america. and now through the subaru share the love event, we're helping even more.
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one of the most memorable
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stories i covered this year were the massive protests that erupted across cuba. cubans pushed to the brink by the pandemic, a shortage of basic food and supplies, they rose up and they demanded that their communist government change, they wanted freedom for the people, people that until a few short years ago really weren't allowed to own their own cellphones. cubans wanted a new vision for their country, and they wanted to be the authors of what that vision looked like, and the world listened. we listened, and we told their story. welcome back to our nbc news now special as we look back at 2021. perhaps the most consequential day of the week happened into the knew year, january 6th. it was a day that tested our democracy and will live on in the american consciousness for years. >> nbc's frank thorp looks back at the deadly insurrection at the capitol and the fallout that continues one year later. >> reporter: january th, 2021, a
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day designed to be forgettable now seared into our memory. it started when they gathered the electoral votes. and the other year just a formality, but this time a catch. outside the white house, then president trump pushing his vice president to overturn the election results. >> i hope mike is going to do the right thing. i hope so. i hope so because if mike pence does the right thing, we win the election. >> reporter: the crowd fueled by repeated lies from the president of the united states and others that the election was stolen, marching to the capitol. for the next four hours, a shocking siege. [ chanting: usa, usa ]
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>> reporter: drawing rioters from huddling close by, shots fired outside the u.s. chamber, a riot with police, bipartisan pleas for mr. trump to tell his supporters to stand down. hours later, this video. >> so go home, we love you, you're very special. >> reporter: by 8:00 p.m. that night the building had been cleared, lawmakers returning to finish their job. then vice president mike pence rejected his boss's demands and declared victory for joseph biden. >> joseph r. baden has received 306 votes. >> reporter: democrats quickly voting to impeach president trump for inciting an insurrection, making him the first president in american history to be impeached twice. the capitol was fortified with thousands of federal troops lining the halls for the first time since the civil war, and on
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january 20th as president trump refused to attend, joe biden became the 46th president of the united states. >> we need all our strength to persevere through this dark winter. >> reporter: as mr. biden went to work, congress turned to accountability, but in the senate's impeachment trial, mr. trump was acquitted with minority leader mitch mccome choosing not to convict a former president. >> we have no power to convict and disqualify a former office holder who is now a private citizen. >> the rioters themselves facing justice almost immediately. federal prosecutors scrubbing social media for evidence. alleged rioters found in all 50 states. the election investigation involved 700 arrests, 158 guilty pleas, and dozens of convictions. by the summer after fiscal phen
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fences came down, physical scars remained. >> i think that's what sticks with me the most. i felt sad, anger, just there were a lot of emotions going through my mind. i'm still trying to process it. >> if you were fighting that day, i don't think this will ever feel normal. i'll walk in and say, you know, that's where this happened. it's har to get that out of my mind because it was such a traumatic experience for a lot of people. >> before deciding whether to co-sponsor a decision with a republican, we always check to see whether they result it or not. >> if you didn't know the footage was from january 6th, you'd actually think it was a normal tourist visit. >> a bipartisan senate probe found capitol police lacked the resources and training needed to respond. federal agencies failed to warn law enforcement officials of key
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intelligence, and key misinformation led to a delay in the national guard being deployed. >> we all remember the haunting words and an officer on the radio asking, does anyone have a plan. the answer, sadly, was no. >> reporter: and in the house, a select committee, with two republicans placed on the committee by speaker pelosi. >> the american people deserve to know what happened. the people who did this must be held accountable. >> it's an egregious use of power. pelosi has broken this institution. >> reporter: voting to ask the justice department to charge the forter trump staff with contempt of congress. the committee's work expected to last months into the new year, hoping to find answers that no one thought would happen. frank thorp, nbc news, the capitol. turning now to the new president, ever since joe biden
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took the oath of office in january, he's had to face challenges known and unknown. covid, afghanistan, the economy, and climate change. >> but with all of that on the agenda, was he able to keep the promises that got him elected in the first place? nbc correspondent monica alba takes a look. >> reporter: every year a president is in office tests the power of promise, marked with campaign pledges kept and those still unfulfilled. >> we're going to keep up the fight until we get it done. >> reporter: before joe biden was even sworn in, he knew the coronavirus pandemic would largely define the beginning of his term. >> to heal, we must remember. >> reporter: honoring the hundreds of thousands dead on the eve of his inauguration. >> this is democracy's day, a day of history and hope. >> the biden-harris administration launching a massive effort to get americans vaccinated. >> it's time to act. we can reduce suffering in this
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country. >> leading to the president's first legislative victory in march in the form of a $1.9 trillion covid relief bill as 100 days in office marked more than 100 million covid vaccine shots administered. >> go get vaccinated, america. >> reporter: still many refused to roll up their sleeves, even as new variants brought spikes and surges. >> it's just become a political issue, which is a sad, sad commentary. >> reporter: the biden administration's vaccine mandates for federal worker, contractors, and private businesses challenged in courts. >> it's not about just go and get the vaccine. it's about having the choice to get it. >> reporter: rules and enforcement across the country, a tangled web, as u.s. covid deaths topped 800,000, and normal never quite returned. >> do not wait. go get your booster if it's time for you to do so.
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>> reporter: overseas, high-stakes challenges on the world stage as the u.s. rejoined the paris agreement, the international treaty on climate change. >> the united states is determined, determined to re-engage with europe. >> reporter: while also placing sanctions on russia, ahead of a critical face-to-face summit with vladimir putin. the president announced his decision to withdraw all troops from the country by the 20th anniversary of september 11th. >> we'll do it responsibly, deliberately, and safely. >> reporter: underestimating how quickly the taliban would retake control, resulting in a chaotic and deadly evacuation. >> i'm president of the united states of america, and the buck stops with me, but i do not regret the decision to end america's fighting the war in afghanistan. >> we meet with the eyes of
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history upon us. >> reporter: climate, also a key part of the president's domestic agenda, revoking a permit for the keystone l pipeline and also keeping his word and repealing the ban on transgender personnel in the armed forces. >> trance jen dper if qualified in any other way can certain in the government's united states military. >> reporter: on capitol hill, a scaled back $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill is signed into law. >> america let's moving again, and your life is going to change for the better. >> reporter: while the president's second half of the economic agenda, a massive social spending climate demand is in limbo with other major priorities still stalled in
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congress. like voting rights. >> the people need to act. >> reporter: creating a pathway to citizen ship. >> the promise of protection for immigrant families. nothing has changed. >> reporter: and making roe v. wade the law of the land. >> abortion still needs to be legal. >> reporter: with much still unfinished, the president will now take the country into the new year of change and challenges ahead of the critical 2022 midterm elections. monica alba, nbc news, the white house. coming up, how britney arks dell, and taylor got their groove back in 2021, a look at the pop culture moments that we can't stop talking about. but first billionaires in space. the next frontier in the final frontier.
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one of the most memorable stories i covered this year was about nfts. nfts, you say? nonfungible token. what we have discovering is this is going mainstream. it's kind of like back in the early '90s when katie couric asked, internet, what's internet? well, nfts are here and apparently here to stay with great value. d apparently here to stay with great value.
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the most common side effects were nausea, stomach pain, and indigestion. with nurtec, i treat migraine my way. what's your way? ask your doctor about nurtec to find out! welcome back to our nbc news special "good-bye 2021," a year to remember and a year to forget as we look on the past year. it was a landmark for space. we're not talking about the billionaires' space race. here's nbc's tom costello with more. >> ten, nine, eight. >> seven, six, five, four. >> three, two, one. >> emission. >> fire. >> fire. >> reporter: from new mexico to texas to florida, put 2021 down as the year the private space
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race came roaring off the pad. >> for the next generation of dreamers, if we can do this, just imagine what you can do. >> reporter: billionaires richard branson, jeff bezos, and elon musk bringing commercial space travel one rocket ride closer for all of us back here on earth. on his first trip elon musk brought along one of the female astronauts that never flew. then captain kirk himself. 90-year-old william shatner choked up with emotion after landing back on earth. >> what you have given me is the most profound experience i can ask. >> reporter: on september 15th it was the four civilian astronauts on board a spacex rocket that made space history on a three-day orbit around the world. >> we can see the entire perimeter of the earth, which is so beautiful.
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>> reporter: the trip, part of a fund-raiser for st. jude children's hospital where crew member haley was treated for childhood cancer. space tourism is still way out of reach for most of us earth linkings. >> it's important for you that this becomes accessible to everybody. >> that's why we started it. i think ultimately the price will come down to a level where an awful lot of people will be able to do it. >> reporter: but bezos and musk aren't content with joyrides around the earth. musk's spaceship has won a nasa contract to carry astronauts to the surface of the moon. that same system could eventually fly on to mars. a and jeff bezos planning to build a commercial space station, a sort of commercials by park. the u.s. is not alone. china is putting astronauts in space, already building its own
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space station, with plans to put humans on the moon as soon as 2030. and then there's mars, the ultimate goal. this year nasa pulled off yet another first. after landing a rover on the surface, it flew a helicopter, a drone, really, over the martian surface. here's nasa's animation, and here's the actual chopper flight, so far from earth it had to fly itself, making 500 calculations per second. >> we have done it. this is the first time i've been able to say we've done it. >> reporter: it's a vast universe holding billions of galaxies and hundreds of billions of planets. so what are the chances that we're not alone, that life exists on at least one of those planets? the problem, we humans love describe five and we tend to think of aliens as the characters we see on tv and in the movies. >> e.t. phone home. >> our understanding of life
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doesn't mean that we understand all the options or all the possibilities of the various life forms that may be out there. >> absolutely true. yes, just because we understand our own life doesn't mean we know what to predict of how life might form in another -- different environmental. >> reporter: but have aliens already visited us? what about navy pilots. >> why do ufos always look like exactly what we'd expect them to look like from all the movies we've watched, right? what i always like to say, if it sounds like a science fiction story, it is. >> reporter: frank does believe life exists beyond earth, but he hasn't seen compelling evidence that they visited earth yet. if there's life out there, experts say it's probably many light years away, and each light year is a 37,000-year journey.
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we're talking 100,000 years to get there or maybe even further, so you'd better pack an overnight bag. tom costello, nbc news in washington. coming up, pop goes the year from britney to simon, "squid game" to the royals. the moments that stunned, shocked, and captivated us in 2021. and speaking of the royals -- >> one of the most memorable stories for me over the past year was really the death of prince philip. this was a huge historical figure, a man who stood alongside the queen for more than 70 years, a front row seat to so many historic events. i remember his grandchildren paying tribute to him, us getting to know him through them. prince harry calling him the master of the barbecue. that line will always stick with me. and prince william saying he was really the heart of the family. this was a covid funeral, and for a family, really, that is so
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tied to ceremony and pageantry, it was so simple, behind palace walls, staying true to the essence of a man, a man who said he didn't want a fuss. fuss. we hit the bike trails every weekend shinges doesn't care. i grow all my own vegetables shingles doesn't care. we've still got the best moves you've ever seen good for you, but shingles doesn't care. because 1 in 3 people will get shingles, you need protection. but, no matter how healthy you feel, your immune system declines as you age
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one of the most important stories i covered this year was the movement to free britney spears. my coverage began in june at the courthouse. we all ultimately culminated in a celebration outside that same courthouse in december, celebrating a free britney, but key questions remain, how did this happen to one of the biggest superstars in the world? we witnessed in 2008 our very public breakdown which resulted in the conservatorship. we knew she was under the control of her father but as we shent back to work, and it was really only a small group of her most ardent supporters asking the question, what is going on here? what does that say about pop culture and what does that say about the media? 2021 was a big year in pop
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culture from the breakout shows and music to the moments that captured us all and of course we can't forget about britney. >> joining us now to recap 2021's major entertainment headlines is brian baltazar, and we have with us brianne heldman, a senior editor at "people," good to have you both with us. >> thank you. >> the breakouts in tv and music, i want to start with tv and two of the shows that come to mind. ted lasso and the squid game, two shows not at all alike at all. what was the appeal? squid game, why was it so appealing? >> it came out of nowhere for most of us. this is a concept that's really dark. you would fall in love with the show and then have to explain to someone it's like the systematic execution of contestants trying to win money. it's so out of nowhere, you would never think i'm going to watch this dubbed over show and be completely drawn in. greet performances and a plot
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like you've never seen before. reflective of a weird time we're living in. >> says something about our minds right now. >> it really does. >> on the flipside, you've got "ted lasso". >> the two shows couldn't be more opposite. ted lasso is the nice guy show. people live and they win sports ball games. >> technical term, right? >> yeah, you know, this is had a huge year, second season, won a bunch of emmys. jason sudeikis is on a roll with this series. >> let's talk about music and you've go two of the biggest names, adele and taylor swift, both putting out albums about love and heartbreak and crying and all those things. they just can't do anything wrong, can they? >> can we talk about adele? this is not a person who releases an album every year or every other year. her last one was five years ago. so when she drops something she's taken a lot of time on it and you know you're going to
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love it. the ramp up, the emotional preparation we all have to do, buying tissues and things but then she's got this amazing audience on tv, and she's the first artist this year to have sold a million albums, the first one of this year, remarkable since it just came out in november and now she has a vegas residency, making as much money as she's going to make from the album itself this year. >> crazy. >> absolutely. >> you're the biggest taylor fan. >> i was thinking this year, what is amazing is to get a ten-minute version of a song she wrote years ago and to get that -- something we'd all been waiting for, if you're a swifty like i admittedly am. >> taylor put out so much music this year, capping the year with the rerelease of taylor's version of "all too well," the ten minute version, taylor is known for throwing easter eggs all over her lyrics, who the song is about and how they did her dirty, and, you know, i'm like dionne warwick, i want to
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know when that is going to return. >> exactly, that's a good one. now let's talk about moments that really did just shock us, move us, first one, simone biles pulling out of competition at the olympics. just walk us through kind of what kind of effect that had. >> well, this is a first, really, i mean, i think the world, the u.s. in particular, had hugely high expectations for simone biles and no one felt those expectations more than her. and this was the first time we really saw someone poised to win it all, step back and say, i need to do something for myself, despite all that you want from me right now i can't give up to that. i'm going to do what's right for me. she's the most decorated olympic female medalist there is, so she -- winning athlete of the year from "time" magazine is really a credit to being the best at what you do, but also knowing when you need to be the best at taking care of yourself. >> absolutely, and such an important moment to discuss the importance of mental health, which also comes into the next question i have for you, brianne, this interview with
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harry and meghan and oprah, and just what it exposed they had been going through. really, i think the ripple effects of that and the conversation around it cannot be overstated. tell me about what you thought about that. >> really, they opened up about their mental health, meghan spoke about even contemplating suicide at one point. while she was still living in london. they opened up about having babies, and dropped some real bombs about the royal family and how the royal family had treated them. >> and people -- it shows that they were still very fascinated by the royals because 17 million people watched that oprah interview showing so whether you love them, hate them or are fascinated by them, people are really into that story and want to know more. this is the first time we really got a look kind of behind the curtain of what's going on there. >> not polished. >> wild. >> another story that got so much attention is britney spears, she was in that conservatorship for more than ten years, finally freed from it, starts with the "new york times" documentary, step by step, it gets to where she is now. this is a huge moment, isn't it?
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>> 13 years in the making. can you imagine? she spent her entire 30s kind of being ruled by these adults who may or may not have been taking advantage of her, taking her money, it's all still coming out. and now we get to see what being an adult looks like for britney spears. she has said she has no intention of touring again, but will she put out music? she is engaged so maybe 2022 will bring us a wedding for britney spears and hopefully it will all just be happy, good, smooth sailing for her. >> there's also one we've gotten to now see behind the curtain, posts what she wants on social media. >> and the power of the fans, the fans really drove this movement. >> oh, yeah. >> they refused to believe that it was all that we saw on instagram and facebook, and they were very vocal about it and then the power of a documentary to show, and get people to pay attention. we've seen that before. how documentaries and the power of television, like we're watching right now streaming, is really -- it can drive people to act. in a really spectacular way, and
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britney has said what a credit it is to the fans that fought for her. >> brian and brianne, thank you so much for joining us, it's a fun segment to close out the year. before we go, here's a look back at some of the most powerful pictures of the past 12 months. >> photo editors at nbc news.com curated a gallery of images capturing the most significant moments of 2021. >> that does it for our nbc news now special. good-bye, 2021, a year to remember, and forget, thanks for watching. >> let's hope 2022 is full of things that are unforgettable in a good way. we hope you and your family and loved ones had a wonderful holiday. happy new year. our retailers hag most. t now subaru is the largest automotive donor to make-a-wish and meals on wheels.
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it's a new year, and first up on msnbc, the world rings in 2022, under the shadow of the omicron surge. how people across the globe changed their celebrations to try and stay safe. remembering a star, from the early days of television to the mary tyler moore show, an iconic role on the golden girls, fans say thank you for being a friend to comedy legend betty white. in colorado, the fight against the destructive historic wildfire turns to rebuilding. hundreds of famie

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