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tv   Open Phones with Ken Burns  CSPAN  October 23, 2016 8:30am-9:01am EDT

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whether or disasters. in fact, there's even some cynical reporters who write easily to deal with is whether born disasters because of the lesson from his father and that's what he so focused on whether born disasters. after his election 2005 katrina happened and he no longer has that reputation as being good at dealing with those disasters. when they needed it didn't work out so was the flyover. he was flying back to washington and they veered around new orleans and you looked down at that picture, the infamous picture taken of him was really a disasters picture from a pr perspective. >> why was it so bad? i've never understood why, he was looking at them that they want the plane to land and sea everything? >> i'll tell you, it's a good question, so the problem with the president going to disaster area is that you take up
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resources that the first responders should be using on dealing with the disaster. if the president comes to an area, he set up a security cordon and should motorcade. who's running the motorcade was the first responders, the police, the fire from all those people are supposed begin with disasters and then have to do with the president the there's good reason for the president not to visit. but in flight over it appears he was callous, that he didn't care, that he was in air force one a protected and all these people were suffering below. in my book, in 1968 lyndon johnson is dealing with the riots and the aftermath of martin luther king assassination. and johnson is in marine one flying over the riot torn areas of washington, d.c. there's a picture taken of him at that moment that looks eerily like bush flying over the katrina area. so the lesson, getting back to your question, that's less than
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one, but the other lesson is sometimes it makes sense or president to go to disaster area, sometimes it makes sense not to. but you should never ever be photographed in a flyover. >> so how do you prepare for the disaster that is unforeseeable, the unknown? i know your book is about -- it is quite possible -- it is absolute to the next president will face a crisis. we don't know what the crisis going to be but they are going to face a crisis. and increasing and prices, they can bring certain skills, attributes and preparation. i think preparation is really important. one thing at the new government is that we're much better at it with disasters after we had tabletop exercises. one thing i would say is that if the federal official shelf at the disaster area and start handing out his discards, we
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have already failed. that means they don't know the areas of responsibility, they don't know what people are supposed to do and it's just not a good way to work things. but if you do these exercises, if a senior officials participate in them, often they do for them to their deputies of deputies of deputies, but if they participate and they are much better at dealing with it. i cover story in the book of what happened in the 2009 -- i told you i prepared, worked on preparing the bush influence a plan that was supposed to be just the avian flu. 2009 happen and a swine flu outbreak happened, not avian flu. so already the plan is for some other type of disaster. you need to be nibbled to it's called the all-hazards approach. to take the disaster, prepare for it but when it comes yet used the same building blocks even if the disaster is a bit different if you. this happening 2009 and, not a
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single senior official at obama's hhs confirmed, it's 2009, senator daschle is nominated, that blew up and so they're behind other nominations and not a single senior official was there. like it is a to the avian flu plan that we prepared and they adapted it to swine flu and they did a very good job of it, mostly career officials. there some people might have a cdc committee patient our chief medical officer at cdc at the time did such a good job that he parlayed into a job at abc news at his nether chief medical correspondent. but he had prepared him i know that because i was in the government and the new they had these exercises. there was one federal official who did a terrible job and that was joe biden. he had legislative experience but not executive experience. he went on tv and said exactly what you are not supposed to say in a flu epidemic which is i don't think anyone can go in
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enclosed space right now which was a disaster for transportation, economy. robert gibbs had to walk it back. he was the press secretary, and not very subtly. he walked it back. it was like is protecting joker he just threw go under the most. joe can take it but i thought about it, the vice president biden had real government experience in the legislative side of things but not the executive site. the executive site is different and unique you prepare. >> you wrote a book on communication and twitter and the modern age. how does that change disasters? with the flyover now the president can tweak them this is what i am seeing, this is what i expect we will see out of obama, the tweets about matthew in the next few days so you can feel that he is come and from hillary and from trump. >> i think president obama's twitter feed had about 16 million followers.
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it's constantly growing numbers. it matters in part, it's a great tool, great resource but it matters what the president uses it for. is that too is overly political a lot of people check out. one of the things i talk about any book is the need of some kind of bipartisanship of neutrality when it comes to dealing with disaster. the flu doesn't care if a republican or democrat is in the white house. whoever is president needs to maintain a certain level of credibility, watch levels of partisanship and needs to step above the fray. twitter is a good tool but you have to make sure you use the twitter account wisely the entire time, not just when there's a disaster. >> i want to say one more thank you for this lovely event. >> i'm going to wrap up by saying you should buy a book. they a great christmas books. >> and thank you to my wife who couldn't be here tonight. [applause]
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>> so interesting. >> thank you. [inaudible conversations] >> booktv is on twitter and facebook, and we want to hear from you. tweet us, or post a comment on our facebook page,stival c spit where please be joined by ken burns, document a filmmaker and author whose most recent book is more of a children's book "grover cleveland, again!."
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where did this come from? >> guest: exclamation point. saw them the very lucky fatheren of four daughters ages 35 to five, and when they got to bee five years old i would read thes bedtime stories and then lie with them and decide the and they would gradually learn and i would pop in their coveted george, they would to washington. i went to john and they with the adams. then when they got to the middle of the pac ago grover, they would see clinton. i with you benjamin, they would say harrison. i would say grover and physically the again and it was a we should do a children's book to introduce people to the president would say kleven, i would say benjamin david sadie harrison, and then they would get very excited and i said we should do a children's book to introduce people to the presidents. to introduce them as human beings and to tell about their families
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and their siblings, and their pets and hobbies. talk about the central features of their administration without necessarily going into sex scandals, you can talk about race, you can talk about money, you can talk about things that went wrong, but you could communicate love for the idea of a service. the extraordinary variety of people went there. we have people with great physical disabilities who are president for longer than anybody else but cannot stand on their own. we have people who are just [inaudible] [inaudible] >> history disappear and my thought is the word history is mostly made up of the word story plus a hello. we are to be telling our children interesting stories. >> host: and ken will be with us
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to take our calls. we'll put the numbers up on the screen. . . behind washington and lincoln.n. just because lincoln took care of the greatest.
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franklin roosevelt took of the two next greatest presidents. grover cleveland is very interesting. he won three national elections in a row. but as is the peculiarities of the american democracy, it's the electoral vote that matters. grover cleveland that out when he won the popular vote, was president, won the popular vote again the but wasn't president. won the popular vote again and was present again. the only person to have two non-consecutive terms. >> host: do we attribute or blame our presidents of too much? >> guest: i think so. the founders would be shocked to come back and understand that in for basically trn since franklin roosevelt that the president has been by far and large the most important person in the government.
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they always assumed there would be times as they were in the 19th century, in fact most of the 19th century when what happened at the other end of pennsylvania avenue on capitol hill mattered much more than with executives were doing. in presidential powers were nott associated with a cold personally. now there's something manageable about the cingular the of the presidency. so we tend, in congress seems willing to go along with this abdication. have sort of moved everything to the other end of pennsylvania. >> host: before we got started we are talking about the gettysburg address and abraham lincoln. what were you saying transferred i was just wondering in this age of mediated with wonderful, glorious c-span whether we know how important it was. it would be very clear that only you would cover it. chances are the main networks and the cable might say there was a dedication of a cemetery
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but i can imagine the cynicism of somebody stand up in front and side while he was talkingtag the president came to gettysburg to try to distract attention from his disastrous military camping out west, meaning tennessee in chattanooga. and we never hear. we would hear on you guys but then with this tsunami of information would be no 150, 153 years later, that this is the declaration of independence to point oh what's best for census on the record equal but the guy who voted own slaves and now he's doubling companies think we really do mean it and will have a new burst of freedom. no one has replaced that 2.0 since he delivered it. >> host: please include your
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first name and city. with all your documentaries, did the book and become first? you have a company books with many of them. >> guest: now, but the word always comes first. i want to make the clue. it is very much the dynamic of our media culture that the word and image are in some out in conflict with one another. you know that's not the in the beginning is the word with us and so when we begin a project we don't have a set research. and which will limit the amount of time we can learn things we have is that writing period in which we encode everything we've learned and then like the tablets delivered from mount sinai, shoot and edit based on the. we never stop research and we never stop writing. and we write unconcerned with what we have images to
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illustrate and more portly perhaps we go and find those images unconcerned with whether it's going to fit in on paragraph two of paid seven of episode one. we just want both of those things operate and in the editing room becomes like a house and senate committee room, the place where you hammer out the difference, or the horsetrading goes on. that's wonderful. for us we would never say that one thing is supreme. obviously, it's a visual medium. people remember the pictures but if you ask why they like the civil war series they will talk about the solid blue letter, the beautiful music, all of these are oral. they might not say i love the pain of richmond in ruins which look like berlin at the end of world war ii which is true and is effective. they remember the words that i think would take it from the bible a fairly interesting and authoritative source that in thh beginning is the word.
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>> host: who were the sharks tragedy a minister, his wife, they lived a wonderful existence in massachusetts, probably the biggest drop was what is going to see on sunday and then i got a call from the church leadership in january of 1939 to go to prague and to try to get jews another refugees out that within a month she was dodging gestapo agents. he was laundering money in foreign capitals. the writing and invisible ink. you couldn't make this up, it's so dramatic. we decided about last week called defying the nazis, but the story of them, tom hanks read the voice. it's a good story and reminds us because we're in a refugee crisis second only to the second world war how critical these things are. >> host: baseball, jazz, the civil war, what's next? >> guest: i'm just finishing with lynne novick at 10 part 18
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our series on the history of vietnam war which i think will be our best work. it is a controversial subject but i think we made a pretty straightforward when i try to say this is definitively what happened to we are raising a lot of questions, adding a lot of voices coexist within the american experience but also we've of the great good fortune to interview some vietnamese and vietcong soldiers as well as a bright of south vietnamese agents and characters come and to think it will be a fairly complex portrait of a very complex subject. >> host: on pbs when? >> guest: starting sunday september 17, 2017, 1 year from now.e year fro >> host: a book a company into? >> guest: yes as you can imagine, the soundtrack is we phenomenal and we got about 90 people we want to introduce itio to you. i think at the end of this
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year's juno folks who'd just had thanksgiving with. >> host: ken burns as a guest. jeffrey, you're on the air with ken burns. >> caller: hello. i can't believe i'm talking to you. i'm looking forward to your doca documentary. i am just one of your many fans. i was first introduced to your work through the civil war in 1989, and i have one comment. and it's simple. when i heard you were on booktv i wanted to call you just to personally thank you for teaching so many of us so much about our history. >> guest: thank you so much. house of representatives jeffrey -- >> guest: we have a complex society which we would you
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well-to-do more history but a fortunate we less of it and that's what makes this book are so important to there's people like jon meacham, david mccall is in your buddy just got a book on the wright brothers. i think collectively have a group of people including c-span, including public broadcasting that is interested in trying toto rescue our path from this all consuming presents. that's our job tried one david mccall said in a chair and talked about his most recent book, the wright brothers. jim is an king george, virginia. callback hello. i wanted to thank ken burns for all the work you've done in this area, and in particular i wanted to bring up the issue of what happened when campaigns divide people 50/50, 50% of the people love one candidate and hate the other and, therefore, theyemoni demonize them. demonize them, usually the rest of their career.
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after they leave. >> guest: this is a central that i think american democracy. abraham lincoln understood thiso he said that no european or asian or african army could take us over, that it will going to die we would die by suicide. we saw that in your suicide in our civil war but i think he is doing arthur schlesinger, jr. now deceased said there's this but you're exactly right. our campaigns have default from issues to demonizing the other. we should only be demonizing are accepted enemies and we should be saying i disagree with you about this point, but you're not a bad american, but we challenge whether there are americans, whether they are a good person, whether they are saying, this is ridiculous. it distracts it's a media circus and may add to ratings but it doesn't advance our knowledge. this to lots of important questions about health care, about foreign policy, about
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domestic policy, about the economy that no one is addressing because it's all those circus about who can land the hardest blow. i couldn't agree with you more. i started a nonprofit called the better angels aside after lincoln's first inaugural when he appeals to "the better angels of our nature." it is usually important we seek democratic republicans alike if they went to get along. we have to forget how to disagree without being disagreeable. then we will sever country. very good point. >> host: is this campaign unique? >> guest: now. here's what it is. since the beginning of contested election, 1800, john adams and thomas jefferson. if they've been bitter and vitriolic come but i think someh of the differences have metastasized in the last few election cycles. that is to the judgment of the
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republic. it just me that people would say i disagree with what you're going to do and maybe their surrogates would do things, but now we've lost our temperamental judgment and we're just saying couple things about the other and we really had to come back down to earth. the problem is it's hard to excite your base and then tell them but really, we don't mean that. you know? we are all the same. americans, 99% of us, want essentially the same thing for ourselves and our posterity and our country. some of us just go about it a different way than the other rest of us. it's hugely important, just talk about the issues and rather the demonization as jim was saying. this is where we're going to get into trouble and we have an election cycle where all of the bad features come of all of election of 1800 or 1928 when he went after al smith because he was catholic and because he
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supported a repeal of it prohibition, it's all in one grab bag this time and it just is pretty low. >> host: ken burns, this is from those in decatur either illinois or georgia, what do you think a donald trump presidency would compare to a past president? >> guest: i don't know. i know it is almost unanimous among historians that this is the least qualified and the most temperamentally unsuited personh that's ever run for national office, it was almost zero grasp of foreign policy, that has a strange infatuation with a russian dictator. he said he admired his power. and garry kasparov to escape the soviet union sent admiring thats is like admiring arsenic as adm strong drink. there's lots of things that mak this very troublesome for
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americans and i think more than that it's been the demonization of the other. the dem his opponents first in the republican primary. hit 16 of 17 other opponents and when you get the kind of schoolyard bullying stuff, you keep the conversation and you make it impossible to go back to a playing field in which we can talk about real issues. so i think that the democratic nominee is not without her own issues but are of the issues of a politician who's been in the national scene for decades and the function of her being, part of this machine that is demonize the other. these issues are i think the lactic and in my opinion this qualify him. >> host: chris rutledge pennsylvania text message, thanks for all your wonderful films and projects. tell us how your daughters and women in your life have influenced your projects. >> guest: i don't know why they haven't. that may have been the easy and simple way to do.
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what a lovely. i am blessed with four daughters. they have been my life. my wife is there, a constant companion and reminder of a a network with my oldest daughter. we made a film called the central park five with her husband david mcmahon, the film maker and we've also concluded a film recently this spring on jackie robinson. w are working on several more projects. they are my life.myto my tombstone i want to read good father, nothing else. i would be happy. >> host: next call is conrad from gastonia, north carolina. go ahead. >> caller: hello. i saw you in 2003 at the louisiana purchase at monticello, that cold morning. you give a good speech guesstimate thank you. >> caller: my question is, andrew jackson and john quincy adams in the election of 1824,
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who was jefferson fond of and polling for? the reason why i'm asking this is that when i visited monticello many, many years ago, jefferson in his dining room had pictures above the wall of people he had fond memories of, and jackson was one of them. >> guest: jefferson dies in 26 are you talking about the pennyi 1826 of an old man. i don't know the answer to that question certainly. i imagine that happens, the son of his dear friend also at times his mortal enemy, publicly that some affection because that already patched something up but he would've recognized in andrew jackson the kind of at least morphing of the democratic ideal that he had espoused, the small
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government, devolve into states more agrarian come and get jackson would go on toe consolidate, just as you would say the most important featureth of thomas jefferson's presidency was not small government at the espoused all his life, not states' rights of the purchase of louisiana which a big government, doubling the size of the country is a pretty big gesture. one of the things i like about working even on a children's book, you don't even see even. yet to see even. giunta delving deeply is to get into some of the things in our jazz series with marsalis, sometimes the thing and thehe opposite of a thing is also true. i think you can find it withyoua every president and within every presidential election and with every sort of thing. i would just remind you for, if hubert humphrey had one of the presidency, richard nixon probably would've been the biggest critic if hubert humphrey had the guts to open up relations with china. i don't think of it would have. it took only a and that the
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commerce like nixon to go toto subway to second, we are not recognizing the most populous country on earth, into this landmark event in foreign policy.k so nothing and the opposite of thing happened at the same time host the from the new book "grover cleveland, again!." this is about john adams, 1770, a group of people start attacking british soldiers inta boston. five american columnist doctor c it was called the boston massacre. the lawyer john adams agree to defend the enemy soldiers because he believed everyone has a right to a fair trial and he won the case. guess but this is why we love him for being so audacious and obstinate. he thought jefferson county said you're a better writer but nobody likes me. but look at that. he was a man of extraordinary principle. we may go back to americanam
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history, with a look at that and delve into the qualities of leadership, it's always summit that could possibly appear in "profiles in courage." it's always somebody who's willing to serve the country and place the country's interest above their own self-interest. it's always a person who haste sympathy for the other.. that's what i was very surprised to find with a hallmark of theea greatest president, that each one could put themselves in the shoes of the other. even some who oppose them and understand them and walk a mile in their shoes. i think of americans vote for the person that housed the quality of leadership that if he even is a children's book review there will be no problem. we will go on through all time. >> host: huntington station new york you are on booktv with ken burns. >> caller: hi. i just want to echo a lot of the comments that are being made about your abo
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i was particularly thrilled with your civil war because it was the first time i'd seen a series that dealt with african-american contribution, to this country.. and baseball come i never see a series of baseball. it talked about the negro league. i just want to ask, i think you're a leader in the pantheon of the civil rights leader at a time after the '60s when things were a bit quiet and t happen to work for ford or exiso at the time that was due redlining. this african-american museum, i think you deserve a place in a from what you contributed to african-american -- >> guest: thank you. that is such a nice thing to say. .. version of our past. we had put african-american history in february which is our coldest, darkest and


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