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tv   Consider This  Al Jazeera  May 16, 2014 1:00am-2:01am EDT

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a controverseal addition treatment. it could be a life saver... >>the reset button has been hit what is this teach us about the brain? >> can ibogaine cure heroin addiction? only on al jazeera america the va's heath care scandal ignites on capitol hill. a woman's whose father-in-law died while waiting months for care joined us. wild fires engulf parts of californian forcing the closure of a university and theme park. as ukraine fights the separatists, we speak to an american close to putin, but now calls him his enemy number one. one of the powerful women in america fired.
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i'm antonio mora, welcome to "consider this," here is more on what is ahead. new fall out from the deadly mine explosion in turkey. >> 280 dead. 100 minors trapped under ground. out. >> a full suit and tie, taking a ground. >> our american heros dying at hospitals. >> had i stayed the course of va, i would have been dead. >> any adverse incident like this makes me mad as hell. >> fires in california. >> thousands of people forced to flee. >> the situation is more dire with each hour. >> the incident set social incident on fire. >> jay z and beyonce haven't addressed the video. >> there's no such thing as privacy we begin with the explosion
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of dangerous wild fires across southern california forcing thousands from their homes. record-high temperatures, dry winds stretching firefighting resources to the limit, as firefighters battle nine blazes. homes, businesses, schools and a nuclear power plant had been evacuated as the fires rage. it could be days before the situation is under control. joining us from st. marcos california is brian rooney, al jazeera correspondent. thank you for joining us. that is where a fire broke out. forcing a university to close down. with the winds and textures nearing 100 degrees, what are the firefighters telling you. >> it's hard to fight fire. when it's 100 degrees, and the humidity is low. they attack it from the air. helicopters, aircraft, firefighters don't get out ahead of a fire on the ground.
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it's far too dangerous. have you to depend partly upon the terrain and wind and weather, and good luck to coral and contain it. >> how many people have been evacuated. damaged? >> the evacuations are a shifting number. figures - 20,000 homes outside san diego. yesterday and today about 13,000, it's in numbers of homes, not people. the damage - so far, we'll get better numbers in a report. so far not that many houses have burnt, considering the amount of ground that burnt. it's 14 square miles of area that the fires burnt through. only a handful of houses and complex burnt, several counting. >> the fire department chief, which was an area worst hit. lego land is there and closed down.
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they said that the blazes this early in the year are unprecedented, and he has been at it for 27 years. there are serious concerns that the long-term drought will make nightmare. >> there's always that concern. this has happened in a cycle for several years now. the wildfire season came earlier, september and october. that's when it's hottest in this part of california. i should caution you that you have seen many years when they are warning that it can be a terrible firefighting season, but then it doesn't happen. it depends on the weather, wind patterns, good luck, and keep in mind that a lot of these fires are set by human being intentionally. it depends on the activity of the fire bugs. >> the investigation is going on. they don't know how they started? >> no.
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keep in mind, unlike other parts of the west, you don't get dry lightening strikes in california. it's human activity as to whether it's accidentally on purpose. they are looking for clues. sometimes they find the people that set the fires. >> thank you for keeping us updated, brian rooney, in southern california. turning to the mine disaster in turkey, the worst in history. close to 300 minors are considered dead and little hope held out for more underground. two days after fire and carbon monoxide gas devastated the coal mine. mass funerals have been held and prime minister recep tayyip erdogan called for three days of mourning. anger against the government is building. police used water gas and tear gas agains demonstrators in ankara, protesting against conditions in
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the mine, and a claim by recep tayyip erdogan that mine deaths were common around the world. protesters held scogans saying "it's not an accident, it's not fate, it's murder." i'm joined by andrew simmonds from soma turkey. good of you to join us. is there a chance that the trapped miners may be alive? >> reporter: highly unlikely. all the rescue workers we spoke to, and government officials and the ministry believe that the carbon monoxide in the mine has killed everyone. and now we are in a position where the figures, as they stand now, 282 miners dead. they have been recovered, but inside an unknown number. it's, at least, 100 estimated left. and as i say, it's likely they are all dead, but there has been a lull in activity, that the pit
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had behind me. that is unclear in terms of why because they are saying now that a fire was extinguished about 24 hours ago now. completely extinguished, but we are not getting any increase in the recovery of bodies, it's unclear what is going on, and that is worrying relatives of the dead, who are queueing up, wanting to know word of their loved one, in desperate stakes. the enormalitity of grief is hard to describe. the area is consumed with a level of emotion rarely seen in this sort of accident because of its absolute sheer enormity. >> and the grief extended throughout the country, it's not just grief, it's anger. the turkish mining industry has a terrible safety measures, according to some reports,
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according to a gas blast that killed 263 workers, an opposition politician filed a proposal to have turkish mines inspected because there has been so many incidents, is the safety record what is driving the government? >> it's a combination of factors. yes, there is, with grief, anger in many cases, but here it's very big indeed, because people want to know why so many questions raised about the mine, there was a move towards getting questions answered in parliament. they were blocked. that was not - did not follow through, and we are getting a situation now where the government is on the defensive saying it's done all that it can. it has regulations, and the regulations were inspections. the last inspections, two of them, were in march, and this
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mine passed with flying colours. it has to be said that many experts say the standards here in turkey are not the same as rest of europe. the government needs to act on this, it seems. they have promised a full inquiry. president abdullah gol was at the site on wednesday, and he said that there would be a revision of the regulations, there needed to be a review, and he said there needed to be unity also among all turks, to address this disaster and make things right in the future. >> the conditions there have been described as perilous, a graveyard for miners because of those companies, and certainly the government has not helped itself by using the water canons on people, and the picture of recep tayyip erdogan, the prime minister's aid kicking a protestor - awful pictures that we have seen from turkey. andrew simmonds, appreciate your time.
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thank you for your reporting. now to the disturbing allegations that veterans suffered or died six because they were not able to see a doctor in time. the nation-wide scandal exploded when a doctor at a phoenix arizona va hospital blew the whistle that as many as 40 doctors died because of delays getting attention. he highlighted a secret list concealing long weight times, some lasting more than a year. at his first congressional hearing, veterans' affairs secretary faced tough questions from lawmakers and vowed to take action if an investigation found that vets died waiting for appointments. he said he would not resign. >> any adverse accident like this, makes me mad as hell. i can use stronger language, mr chairman, but in deference to the committee i won't.
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>> he says a review will be completed by august. lawmakers were concerned it would lead to delays or death. sally barnes breen joins us, her father-in-law, a navy veteran died of bladder cancer whilst awaiting an appointment to see a va dr.. and also the director of the legions national legislative division who attended congress. they called for the resignation of the visit a secretary and others. sally, sorry about your father-in-law, allegations are appalling. you are your father-in-law's primary carer, he had bladder cancer and refused treatment. he was told to see his primary care doctor, he waited for months, and you didn't get a call from the hospital until after he died. >> correct.
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administration? >> yes. >> why. what should have been done? they should have given him a list. why was it hard to get him an appointment? >> he was on a secret list. >> a list that shunted people aside and hid them so they could establish that people were seen more quickly that they were? >> correct. they made bonuses off well. >> lewis, the secretary said he was mad as hell, qualifying saying he was aware of a number of isolated cases where there is evidence. he promised an investigation, but said that there has been a bit of a rush to judgment. that is though there are reports of elaborate schemes like the list that sally referred to to hide the backlogs that exist across the country.
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we see them in south carl, florida, washington state, similar allegations. the secretary will not resign, you and the american legion want him to step aside. >> yes, i do. more than step aside. >> lewis. >> thank you. sally, on behalf of the american legion, we are extremely sorry for your loss. >> thank you. >> these are tragic stories, your welcome. we called for secretary and secretary hickey and petzel to resign. it's because of a long standing systematic leadership failure that we have seen. originally we were big fans and we went to bat for the secretary when a "time" magazine article asked him to resign. we thought he had a tough job, we acknowledged that and felt he had the tools and resources.
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over the past year we saw systematic failures, like with the secret list, construction problems. e saw delays in care, dirty equipment used. >> on the other hand other veterans organizations call for him to stay, arguing we should wait until the investigations are over, and back logs were worse when he took the job five years ago. >> some of the other organizations are starting to think that. phoenix was not the reason we called for secretary shinseki's resignation, it was a final
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straw in a list of systematic leadership failures. strong leadership will turn it around and we believe in the va. the american legion was a strong supporter of the veterans administration. 50 years later we advocated hard and lobbied hard for the department to be a cabinet-level position. we have skin in the game. we are invested in the department of veteran affairs. >> sally, the whistle-blower, dr sam foot, said it was normal to wait up to nine months to see a doctor in phoenix. was that your experience even before the final experience with your father-in-law. >> yes, we had to register him. we waited all those months to get in to see a doctor, period. he got sick, we still had to wait. i don't under. they are going to fire them. or wait until august. people are dying off as pop did.
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it's unfair. it's unethical, it's a disgrace and evil, and why do we, the people, the veterans, the heroes, why do they have to wait. i don't get it. >> it's a disgrace all the people that fought for our country had to wait. >> lewis, veterans of world war ii, are senior citizens. they are the influx of veterans. their own data shows that the number of primary care visits rose by 50% in the past three years. there were increases in nurses and staff. the number of full-time primary care doctors rose by 9%. how in the world did anybody think wait times could get shorter. how did they think they'd fall about the 14 day rule? >> it's an excellent point. once veterans get in and see the
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primary care or specialty care, they love the care. the veterans that we work with and polled and question, once they get in, they love the health care team. it's getting though the door, in to see the team that is the problem. every time va went before congress asking for money, it was granted. it's hard to see what money they need, if, in fact, they don't know there's a secret list of veterans waiting to be seen. >> why does this happen? there's a center for investigative reporting saying the allegations are not new, there were reports in 2005, 2006 and "12 about the va manipulating data. the head of the committee a year ago wrote the white house saying
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there was an alarming pattern of serious wait time. it seems like a lot of people knew this was going on. >> it's a systematic failure, and what we believe is that there were incentives to make it look like there was no waiting period, that the department of veteran affairs has a policy that stays every veteran that wants a medical appointment will be seen within 14 days of their request. when they exceed the 14 days it counts against them for bonuses and promotions. it's in their financial interests to create the lists or tell veterans, we don't have an appointment. call back next month and we'll try then. sorry? >> absolutely, sally. >> i want to know when a man walks in, i brought a gallon of blood. what gives them the right to dismiss him. isn't that an emergency room? is the va an emergency.
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seen. >> so they dismissed him, rite. >> he should have been seen immediately. >> here is the trick. when they dismissed him like an animal, they gave him an appointment for a rumahtologist. why? he had arthritis, yes, but i came in with blood. why didn't they keep him? >> you know, the word scandal is used loosely. in this case it is very appropriately used because it really is a terrible scandal that the heroes have been treated this way. sally lewis, appreciate you issue. >> thank you. coming up, as the crisis in nigeria reaches a fever pitch, i'll be joined by a key player from the state department. with ukraine torn apart, a former ally of vladimir putin joins us with surprising advice on the u.s. role.
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harmeli aregawi is tracking the stop stories. >> an officer goes beyond the call of duty to do a good deed. people on social media are not only praising him, they are joining him. while you watch join the conversation on twitter and sation on twitter and
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pressure builds on nig
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junior, the u.s. -- nigeria, u.s. and the world to do more to rescue more than 200 school girls kidnapped by boko haram. in kenya thousands marched through the capital nairobi demanding they do more to bring back the girls. rallies from texas and other places in u.s. called for the girls to be freed and to punish boko haram. i'm joined by the deputy assistant secretary of state for the department's bureau of african affairs. your boss told the senate committee that freeing the girls from boko haram is a top priority of washington. that is a big change. how is it that going to translate to action in nigeria? >> thank you. freeing the girls and having them returned to their homes, families is a top priority for
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the united states government. that is why we are doing all that we can to support the nigerian government's efforts to find the girls and bring them back home. >> is the u.s. considering going further, sending more resources beyond the teams already there, and the aerial surveillance that is in pleas? >> as you know, we have added unmanned aerial surveillance to help with the search for the girls. at this point i can't say, i can't speculate on what other measures may be needed. let's see what happens. we are in close coordination with the nigerians and abuja, and along with members of the international community. let's take the first step, locating them and find out what may be needed. >> some nigerian security forces have been accused and found responsible for documented human rights violations. in his testimony on thursday, secretary jackson said:
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. >> is this an added problem. is this a question of whether it's a violation of u.s. law to work with foreign security forces that had been accused of abusing human rights. >> there's no question that we are not violating the u.s. law with what we are doing, and our assistance to the nigerian government. it has been part of our regular conversation with the nigerian government about their approach to counterterrorism. we advocated and stressed they need a comprehensive approach. we are concerned about the reports and evidence of human rights violations on the parts of some of their members. we are not and would not be wanting military assistance to elements we know to be tained or to have admitted violations. >> according to the new york
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times, all 20 women met with the secretary of state, john kerry, on tuesday and they asked for a special forces team to find and rescue the girls. senator john mccain has been vocal saying: >> can the u.s. act independently under an international law if it were to save lives? >> you know, i think we should really not get ahead of ourselves. our first goal is to help find these girls and support the nigerian government to bring them back home. i can't say what kinds of assistance may be required after that. but let's work - we are focussed on trying to find the girls. >> the department of defense, someone in charge of the pentagon said that boko haram was getting more dangerous, nigeria failed to
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mountain effective campaign against them, and they engaged and four soldiers were killed in an ambush. are you hopeful anything will happen, unless the u.s. gets more involved? >> the reason we sent the team to work with the nigerian government is because we are focussed on that, and, of course, our expectation is that we are going to find the girls and bring them back home. it is hard work. part of our approach to working with the nigerian military and government is to talk about the comprehensive approach they need to have to deal with terrorism and boko haram. so there has to be not only a military response, it's got be a response that deals with the community and the vulnerability yes of the north, so that the youth are not attracted and recruitment is more difficult.
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>> in the nigerian government, president goodluck jonathan withdrew his offer to trade imprisoned boko haram fighters with the girls. is he following u.s. advice on how to deal with terrorists. >> u.s. policy is not to encourage or allow criminals to benefit from their own criminal activities. the nigerians have the lead on this. we are there to provide our expertise from our experiences and lessons learnt, what president goodluck jonathan or the nige jan government decide to do, it's their decision, they have the lead. >> appreciate you joining us, and let's hope the efforts have safely. >> thank you. now to a man who was once a friend and supporter of vladimir putin, but now describes himself as the russian president's number one enemy. american-born businessman bill
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browder ran a large export firm. he was expelled. now he's devoting his life and wealth to exposing corruption in the creme len, and has created a law, in the name of a corruption whistleblower who died whilst awaiting trial. oligarchs and vladimir putin - he supports actions. he joined us from london. good to have you with us. let's start with your story. how did you go from being a trusted friend of putin's to being described as his enemy number one. >> i was in russia as a big investor. we discovered corruption in all the companies we invested in. i started exposing the corruption. at first when i exposed the corruption, he seemed approving of it, because
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i was going after his enemies. it was after he arrested the richest oligarch in russia and put him in gaol that the other oligarched came to him and said "what should we do so we don't get arrest?" and he became the biggest oligarch. but i was no longer his friend, i was inconvenient when i exposed corruption. i was expelled, declared a threat to national security and other terrible things happened after that. >> you said initially vladimir putin seemed like he was bringing back disorder. it changed with the moment, where basically he just got on russians. >> well, he didn't get on the payroll. i think he became the mafia boss. he said "i'm in charge. you have two choices. we can take everything away interest you or take half away
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from you and you keep the other half." most of the guys said "we'll give you half and keep the other half." a few said no. famous russian oligarchs that said nowhere ran out of the country, put in gaol for died in mysterious circumstances. >> in light of the interdependence between vladimir putin and the oligarchs, you were critical of the sanctions. you were more supported as people came in under the web of the sanctions, targetting some in vladimir putin's inner circle. are they making a difference, especially while europe waffles with imposing tougher sanctions? >> that's a good question. the key to controlling russia or to stopping russia or influencing russia is all about vladimir putin and his money. vladimir putin has a lot of money. he doesn't keep the money in his own maim, but in the name of his
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friends. i call them oligarch, trustees. if you want to have some impact on vladimir putin, or get them to stop invading ukraine, what the united states did was nothing. and then you got a list of russian business many looking after vladimir putin's money. it was a strong step. it hit vladimir putin in the pocket book. what is shopping and disturbing about the response to ukraine, is that europe has not. if you look at the european list, they are waving around the list looking at those that are sanctioned. there are no oligarchs on the list. you are not hitting vladimir putin in his own money. those people are not the ones that hold vladimir putin's money. >> prime minister is talking about a 10% reduction in employees, you talked about how the russian economy is brittle.
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could a downturn that hurts a putin. >> absolutely. in the end vladimir putin has had a couple of different phases of his presidency. the first phase, oil prices were rising. everyone was better off. we don't care about the corruption and authoritarianism. after 2008, it kind of levelled out. then he had to turn the screws, and turn the screws more and more as people are no longer getting better off. he has to control them in other ways. it's a protest. when he was re-elected president, they protested. people started going out on the streets in moscow. if people's well being, standard of living goes down. he's in trouble. >> you've become a human rights crusader, we were paying a lot
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of attention to human rights issues in russia. the barack obama administration proposed and added new names under the act in light of the games. you had a lot of support for the law. from senators and cosponsors. the administration has until may 17th to expand the roster of russians banned for human rites violations. with everything happening in happen? >> i imagine they are in a bit of disarray in the state department and the treasury about who to sanction. they are busy trying to figure it out. they have a deadline. there's a federal law in place. right now they are thinking about the invasion of ukraine. while the aggression is going on outside of russia, there's a depression inside of russia. they are cracking down.
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it's going from a soft authoritarian to a tote tall tarian, and we need the act named after my murdered lawyer, to protect civil society and create a cost for doing that inside of russia. at the moment i'm worried and can only hope that on the 17th, when there's a deadline for the state department to come up with new names, if they dox. >> i know your concern for your own safety, speaking out for human rites. i wish you the left in all your efforts. pleasure to have you with us. thank you. >> thank you. >> time to see what is trending on the web. >> this is a heartwarming story. people on social media from around the u.s. praise a south carolina cop that went behind the call of duty. it started from a 911 call from cameron simmons, making a call from a phone outside a convenience store near his home.
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he was upset after fighting with his mum and told the police department he didn't want to live at home any more. call. >> i said "you have it good, you have a roof over your head." and i told him i'd try to help him out. here we are now. >> turns out the fight between cameron and his mum was about a video game. when the officer took cameron home, he saw he didn't have a bed or furniture in his room - just a garbage bag full of clothes. cameron's family fell on hard time after moving from texas to take care of a sick relative. >> my heart went out. i saw the little things he needed i could give him, to make him a happier kid. >> days later he and his brother dropped off a bed, desk and used regame, among other things, and a photo of them hugging has gotten popular on facebook. it received 50,000 likes and has been
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shared 6,000 times. cameron's family received donations from good samaritans near and far. let us know what you think. tweet us. he set up a fund account to people can donate. a great story and way to use social media. straight ahead, was sexism involved in the firing of one of the powerful women in social media. and talking about social media - jay z's fight with his sister-in-law go viral while important stories often go there's more to financial news than the ups and downs of the dow. for instance, can fracking change what you pay for water each month? have you thought about how climate change can affect your grocery bill? can rare minerals in china affect your cell phone bill? or how a hospital in texas could drive up your healthcare premium?
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i'll make the connections from the news to your money real.
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>> on techknow... >> so, this is the smart home... >> saving the environment >> the start point for energy efficiency, is to work with the sun... >> saving you money >> we harvest a lot of free energy >> and so we're completely off grid here >> how many of the appliances were almost a little too smart for us? >> techknow every saturday, go where science, meets humanity. >> this is some of the best driving i've ever done, even though i can't see. >>techknow >> we're here in the vortex... only on al jazeera america
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a major shake-up at the "new york times" is bringing to the fore concerns. jill abramson was fired, the publisher said he made the decision because of an issue with management in the newsroom. the "the times" wonnate pulitzer prize -- won eight pulitzer prize under her rein. her ab bankrupt dismissal raises questions about whether women in the work place, whether breaking the glass ceiling means they can fall off a cliff. a gallop poll showed that people would prefer a male boss to a female. john seigenthaler asked jill abramson about breaking through the glass ceiling earlier this year. >> it's a fact that i'm the first woman to have the job as executive editor. it's been important to me to promote the careers of other
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women editors here at "the times", who i thing are incerdibly talented. >> joining us from washington d.c. is a reporter from split coe who -- plit coe who authored an article. plit coe has been on the story for a long time. you guys broke the story that there were issues with jill abramson's management style in a piece saying she was brisk, difficult, condead surrendering, stubborn, impossible - it went on. she was not happy with that piece and admitted she cried when she read it. how big a role did that management style play in her being fired? >> i think her management style had a roll in her being fired, but i think the nraive is overblown right nowed. the main issues that the publisher had with jill abramson was about how she dealt with
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co-worker and others. now, definitely there's something to be said about being a woman in a powerful position, but the tipping point was when she tried to break-in on an executivered tore from "the guardian" to be a coe managing editor with dean baquet, now the executive editor, and she went about doing this without talking to anyone about the process, and that was the tipping point after a few months of tensions within the "new york times" newsroom, leading to her departure. >> a lot of her defenders, talking about the role of women in the work place, whether the adjectives hurled her way, would have been used for a male editor. in the past haven't they - press. >> definitely. >> there was an executive editor who was pushed out in 2003, after the jason blair scandal. that was as bloody as an execution. there was no big public
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embarrassment that preceded jill's departure, which is why her exit is a shock. >> there was reports that jill abramson confronted the "the times" leaders about her pay, after learning she made less than her predecessor. that exploded turning it into an issue of women in the workplace. "the times" denied it, but it's been fuzzy in the denials. >> they deny saying she was comparably paid. the "the times" is different to some media organisations, there are caps. they said she was paid the same in terms of how long she'd been there. bill keller had been there for longer. they said it was not significantly different and the publisher, arthur sholszerger put out a memo saying the rumours were not true, and restore the staff of the "new york times" that jill was paid
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appropriately for her role. >> you coauthored a pass and said: . >> you write that her firing was uncommonly bloody. the new executive editor, dean baquet, he cited a quote that great editors can be humane and jill abramson taught him the value of great ambitious. that was not nice. >> there's a lot of veiled things, jill had an illustrious career and was a fantastic report are. she had a read deal about taking small details and put them into an interesting argument giving you a look into what was happening behind a story. she had gone up the willeder. she was -- ladder. she was washington bureau chief and at "the wall street journal."
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some said she didn't have an approachable nature that some may be looking for. dean has a different reputation among the staff. he's kinder. he said in his opening speech to the staff at executive editor, that he would roam the aisles, talk to people. a note to a different style that he has. >> jill abramson got applause when it was announced. but women staffers have been speaking out and according to capital new york, some female editors were disturbed by jill abramson's dismissal. >> they brought it up in the meeting with the publisher. they were concerned how it would look with a swift execution of the first executive editor. something they need to remember is dean is the first african american editor. all the story about sexism is overshadowing his
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accomplishments as the first editor. >> it's an important story getting a lot of attention. pleasure to have you with us. >> thank you for having me coming up, why do some incidents like jay z's fight with his standard set twitter on -- sister-in-law set twitter >>america tonight investigates a controverseal addition treatment. it could be a life saver... >>the reset button has been hit what is this teach us about the brain? >> can ibogaine cure heroin addiction? only on al jazeera america real reporting that brings you the world. >> this is a pretty dangerous trip. >> security in beirut is tight. >> more reporters. >> they don't have the resources to take the fight to al shabaab. >> more bureaus, more stories. >> this is where the typhoon came ashore. giving you a real global perspective like no other can.
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>> al jazeera, nairobi. >> on the turkey-syria border. >> venezuela. >> beijing. >> kabul. >> hong kong. >> ukraine. >> the artic. real reporting from around the world. this is what we do. al jazeera america.
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>> we have to move out of here right now >> i think we have a problem... >> we have to get out of here... >> they're telling that they they don't wanna show what's really going on... >> mr. drumfield, i'd like to speak to you for a minute... >> this is where columbia's war continues... >> ...still occupied... >> police have arrived... you see the blast scars from a bomb that went off... today's data dive goes up for sale. a very pricey sale. christies auction house is having a billion dollar week, setting a record for the most lucrative auction on tuesday, selling
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$744.9 million words of paintings in three hours, $53 million more than a prior record last fall. it beat its record by 50%. more than 22% came from the two top lots. barnett newman's "black fire one", and francis bacon's "three stutedies for a portrait of john edwards." it came is day after visity sold 136.6 million in an hour, including an andy war hole screen of an tribunal chair. christy's turned to social media to promote the sales, posting a commercial on instagram featuring chris martin riding his way through the auction house. [ singing ] >> into
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no, this is not your father's auction house. $58 million on wednesday. the total for the week $974.46 million. they had a record-breaking jewellery sale in switzerland. if you three that in, christies topped $1.1 billion. >> coming up, social media's contrast from the kidnap girls over jay z's elevator fight with this is the 900-page document we call obamacare. my staff has read the entire thing. can congress say the same? >> i'm joie chen, i'm the host of america tonight, we're revolutionary because we're going back to doing best
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of storytelling. we have an ouportunity to really reach out and really talk to voices that we haven't heard before... i think al jazeera america is a watershed moment for american journalism ght's events,
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the bring back our girls campaign calling for the release of nearly 300 kidnapped school girls in nigeria has gone viral on social media since it began in late april. it's a drop in the bucket compared to the attention given to the leaked video of jay z being attacked by wife beyonce's sister. it's tape the world by storm -- taken the world by storm. what is it that makes some viral sensations more popular. a professor of television and popular culture and the founding director of the byer center for television and popular culture joins us. you have to
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be living under a rock not to have heard of the jay z video. why in the world do we care? >> it's not just on the internet. you turp on regular - what we thought of as serious news channel and they are playing it. it's making me lopping for last month, when the malaysian plane was covered 24 hours a day. that's beginning to look like the era of edward elmaro and classic news broadcasting. i start to think i myself - this is not just the great unwashed that is appealed to here. it's the great washed. when i'm flipping through the channels, if i encounter a serious discussion about crimea, i know that is more important. i know that that is something that i should know about as a
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citizen of a republic. but i have to say, i'll more interested in hearing three people speculate with no knowledge whatsoever about what it is that beyonce's sister was kicking jay z for in the editor, until the video got out. >> why? is it the celebrity culture, or moral sprorpity sprk soup ear yority that we see them doing things and we think we are better than they are. >> we have heard the story of the gods behaving badly as far back as homer and others, filled with celebrities kicking each other in elevators - metaphorically so. part of the sense of superiority, mocking, we don't feel so bad we are not celebrities. the other thing is we know these
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people, we share them. if you told me about your crazy sibling or uncle, it means purpose. same if i told you about someone in my family. we all immediately under when we start having a conversation about toronto mayor rob ford, or when we talk about jay z and beyonce and her sister. we share that. >> can the same thing be's - not the -- thing be said - not the sharing, but the reaction with the donald sterling racist comments. soars issues were raised -- sears issues were raised. but the enormous attention, was it as much about seeing a billionaire get his comeuppance. >> i think so. there's a lot of shoigenfreud where you see a guy owning a basketball franchise, has all this money and you can't believe
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he says what he says first of all, it's exciting to see people who have been caught on tape. we used to have a tv series called caught on tape. there's that quality to beyonce's sister and donald sterling. and then it's that the story develops. donald sterling is caught on tape saying outrageous things, then comes to apologise in an official venue and says things that are almost worse than what got him in trouble in the first place. it becomes a continuing story line that i have to confess i have been as interested to follow as anyone else. i'm not saying it's a good thing. it's interesting. let's face it. problem. >> i think it's true. this conversation, in some ways, i guess, is part of the problem. should we not have it? >> there's a more serious side and social media can be used to positive effect. look at what happened with the bring back our girls movement. by that going out on twitter it
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forced attention to a terrible story mostly being ignored. >> that's right. there's a number of cases. the ones people any, where you didn't have journalists practicing and social media was all we had. in this particular case of bring back our girls, that became a dig story in the eyes - editorial meetings of media organizations because it was trending to strongly on social media. it is true. there are stories that can fall between the cracks that can be caught by social media that are important stories that we ought to hear about that are not just about silly scandals. social media is simply a meal, as it's called. social media. all kinds of important stuff gets communicated through it, and all kinds of stupid stuff.
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and sometimes the stupid stuff is what the doctor ordered for millions and millions of people. >> on the other hand the stupid stuff may not be what the doctor ordered because we have seen a high jacking finance om none, high jacking viral centred. ann colter used it to bring up a conservative point, and it was hijacked by anti-drone activists at the expense of hundreds of girls that lost their freedom. it makes me wonder what people are thinking. can't they leave things alone. >> we are talking about - this is the internet, the anonymous internet. anyone that read the comments section - it could be something as such as a bad review of a movie, knows how incredibly vicious human beings can be on the internet in a way that i hope that they'd never be if
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they were identified or in person. horrible things happen in social media, wondrous things happen in social media. i suppose it's true of new communication mediums since the signals. >> unfortunately we see both sides all the time. i guess we should be grateful to see some positive elements in bringing attention to important issues. robert thompson, good to have you on the show. the show may be over, but the conversation conditions on the website >> every saturday, al jazeera america brings you controversial... >> both parties are owned by the corporations. >> ..entertaining >> it's fun to play with ideas. >> ...thought provoking >> get your damn education. >> ...surprising >> oh, absolutely! >> ...exclusive one-on-one interviews with the most
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