tv 2018 Brooklyn Book Festival CSPAN September 16, 2018 2:02pm-4:03pm EDT
>> thank you for turning out to this panel. i'm here to welcome you to a nation of states. not to be confused with the state of the nation. i am your moderator. i wrote a book called, nomad land which involved reporting a three-year journey around america and i'm thinking of this afternoon is a short road trip. we are seeing how far we can go in under an hour.your participation will be welcome as well. happily, we'll get to write a long shot gun today while these three talented drivers take the wheel. before i introduce them to you, i'm supposed to be this announcement. feel like i'm doing a break in the newscast. i would like to let you know that books by authors on this panel can be purchased at the barnes and noble where the
authors will be signing their books immediately following this program. authors, at the conclusion of the program, please go to your signing table. >> yes ma'am. >> anyhow, i'd like to introduce you to - - which i to line them up and turn of political affiliation. on the far left, we have doctor manuel pastor. is a professor of sociology and american studies and ethnicity at the university of southern california and the author of state of resistance. what california's dizzying descent and remarkable resurgence means for america's future. in the middle, we have new yorker staff writer, lawrence wright. and to my left we have new
yorker and new york times magazine contributor dan kaufman. - - and the future of american politics. fight. [let's get personal before the road trip too far into politics and what's going on and what the heck the future may hold i was hoping, i could get you guys to talk a little bit. all of you have a deeply personal connection to the work you've just come out with. i'm hoping you could tell us a little about them and how it shaped the project. i will let you start if you want. >> all right. well, i up in texas. abilene and dallas. i was in dallas during the kennedy assassination. something that marked my life because when you are from dallas during that period of time, people heated you. they hold you responsible. you actually did have a sense
that people thought you were a murderer. it was also politically off the rails. i fled texas and dallas as soon as i could when i graduated high school. i went to college in new orleans at tulane. it was the city least like dallas that i could find and i thought i'd never go back to texas. in 1978, i was working for a local magazine. some of your old enough to remember. i went back to texas to cover the 12 men that walked on the moon. and one of them was walking on a little german town called newport rules,new braunfels , t. i found myself at a dance hall and a band called, asleep at the wheel was playing and george strait was opening for them. the boys were dancing with longnecked bottles in the back
of their blue jeans and the girls had these aerodynamic skirts and everybody talked like i used to. the music was so familiar and the food and i thought, something's going on in the middle of texas. i was living in atlanta at the time. the lights were out in the middle of georgia. so i called my wife and i said, something's happening in texas. coincidentally, a month later, i got a call from the editor of texas monthly and we moved to austin. and that's where we've stayed ever since. this book came about because my editor at the new yorker asked me to explain texas. and i reminded him that i get paid by the word. so, the book came out. a lot of my colleagues have a hard time understanding why am still there. >> all right, thank you. >> my name is dan kaufman and i
grew up in wisconsin, in madison, which was famously divided as 30 square miles surrounded by reality. it was actually 50 square miles. i was also a fact checker for many years so i cared about these things. but in 2011, i moved to new york many years ago. in 1990. in 2011, scott walker, the governor launched an attack on the labor unions, public sector unions. my parents were involved with this protest to some degree. my mom was testifying too many people, many people stay throughout the night. they stayed in an effort to delay the bill. people from all over the state point not just madison, throw
down there and deliver these two-minute testimonies. sometimes driving 45-6 hours, simply install the bill. one morning i awoke to an email from my mom who was a very engaged citizen. there was a lot wisconsin had historically encouraged citizen participation. this is not just in madison but deeply rooted in the progressive era. she wrote me a very passionate email around these hearings that she witnessed. so i started writing about what was happening in my own state. it was just a little blog post for the new yorker website around but they call the cheddar revolution. it just blossomed from there and it culminated in this book. but during that period i became much more, i reacquainted myself with my own state and got to see many parts of it that were not familiar to me.
particularly like native american reservations in the far north. and milwaukee which i didn't know. my family is from chicago so we would often travel there to go to a big city. it was very eye-opening for me too although i knew the state fairly well. i got in with better through the six-seven-year odyssey. >> i was actually born in brooklyn. [laughter] my mom grew up in spanish harlem. i was loved being here for so many reasons. but mostly because spanish is spoken with so many curse words in new york. i sent a tweet out today saying it was sort of wonderfully nostalgic to hear - - be every third word. spanish speakers got that one. we actually moved to california when i was six months old. in 1926. because my sister had asthma and the doctor said moving to los angeles would be good for your asthma. this was back in the era in
which smoking filtered cigarettes was considered a way of toughening up your lungs for the future. so i up in california. and in some ways, it was his golden era. an era in which they were significant problems in terms of racial restrictions and housing and labor markets but the sense of a growing economy. a state that was investing in itself and its education and the kind of tremendous possibilities there were out there. when i went to the university, paid almost no money to go to the university.back then. i became engaged politically. i was an urban organizer for the united farmworkers. when i graduated at the end of my book, i graduated in 1978. that's when prop 13 took on a position that cut property taxes in the state.
and grandfathered in older, whiter homeowners. sort of locking in a generational advantage even as it was starving the state of local resources that would be needed for the next generation. i was asked, it was 1978, the university of california santa cruz. if you know about that university, it's quite the university. its mascot is the banana slug and at that time it had no grades. when i graduated, we refused to let them announce honors or who the student speaker was.it was me. we did a little gorilla theater and i emerged from the gorilla theater and gave a speech about proposition 13 and i was going to wreck the state. and it kind of turned out to be the story. in a way, i wrote this book is a bit of penance because i realize i should have just thank my parents for all they did. instead warning the state of
what was to come. got very immersed in the social struggles and that's what informs this book. >> thank you. for banana slugs, the cheddar evolution. back in the early 30s, u.s. supreme court justice at least popularized the phrase, laboratories of democracy. - - where power is concentrated on a federal level but also diffuse. right now we are having issues at the federal level. i did see your hat ma'am. for all of you that can talk a little about current experiment. anything you might find noteworthy from a laboratory perspective in your state. whatever it is you think might be most influential or we could
learn from the most. obviously, not all of those things are things we want to run from but possibly, we should. >> sure. for many generations, wisconsin was a laboratory for democracy. it pioneered the first unemployment insurance program. social security act was drafted by wisconsinites. loyal to an idea called the wisconsin idea and either was that placed a moral obligation on the university of wisconsin to serve the citizens of the state. the first worker's compensation bill was passed in these laws were replicated across the country. a lot of the new deal was altered by wisconsinites. more recently, the state has become a conservative laboratory.i love my book details this shift. the attack on the labor movement was located in many other states to bearing degrees. most recently in iowa where they passed a taccone inversion
of what's called at 10. which severely restricts collective bargaining rights for public employees. this has contributed to atomizing the state electorate. unions function in many ways, there are wages and benefits. but there's other things they do. they form a kind of way for workers to get together and share ideas about policies. it's really one of the only infrastructures on the progressive side and that is why they been targeted. so fiercely. this is a movement that goes back really to the new deal. there were a lot of people that never accepted the new deal. many of them in wisconsin and some of them started the - - society which is also in but more recently this movement against public employees was spearheaded by ronald reagan when he broke the air traffic controllers union. scott walker, the governor elected in 2011, consciously told a blogger in person
meeting david coke that he was mimicking reagan's act and this was going to change the course of history. and in fact, wisconsin did vote for donald trump and many people including myself, feel that at 10 which has decimated union membership in wisconsin contributed to that change. there's other ways that wisconsin has become a laboratory for the right . environmental laws. these environmental laws are being drafted by the companies themselves. that is really changed and i think you see this process all over the country. but it may be most visible and a place like wisconsin that had a very different past. it's such a stark contrast to how policy used to be created there. >> thank you. manuel. >> yeah, so, when you see the
title of the book. state of resistance, you might think was prompted by an election bid and it was but not by the one you think. it was prompted by the election of presidentobama in 2008. when it seems to me a lot of progressives , liberals, bum rushed to dc. thinking policy change could take place there. instead of going back and doing community organizing and social movement mobilization. that would have provided - - when he was right and held him accountable when he was wrong around the gigantic increase in deportations. into that vacuum, stepped the tea party. they were astroturf in. they actually spoke to real grassroots anger out there. in the eight years of the obama presidency, 900 seats in state senates and state assemblies passed from democratic hands to
republican hands. so i started writing this book in the summer of 2016, thinking like everybody else that hillary clinton would win and that people would make the same mistake of forgetting about the organizing and movement building and infrastructure for progressive social change. and instead try to change dc policy with clinton. and then of course the election happened. it made the book shift directions but actually also become quite more relevant. because when i realized the day after the election. i know how i realize because i had such a deep hangover. it was difficult to think. that the nation had just passed through its prop 187 moment. prop 187, the famous ballot in 1984 in california that stripped away services, social services and educational services from undocumented immigrants. but that wasn't the only element. what people forget is in the
early 1990s, 45 percent of the country's net job losses in the recession of the early 1990s occurred in california. people often forget that rush limbaugh again his talk radio career in sacramento in the late 1980s. so that perfect storm of demographic anxiety, economic uncertainty and profiteering from political polarization. we did it first. in california. and yet, 25 years later, california's one of the first two states to move its minimum wage to $12 an hour. it's proudly declared itself a sanctuary state in terms of refusing to cooperate with immigration and customs enforcement on most criminal justice matters. it's leading in terms of climate and trying to set new climate standards. and it's got a tremendous set of other sort of progressive
shifts that have happened. it's kind of the opposite of the story in wisconsin. what i've been afraid of and we can talk more about, this book is a counter to the following thing. some years into this transformation in california, there was a famous newsweek cover that had the title, altered states. referring to california because we are a hallucinogenic. about our sort of recovery and had a picture of jerry brown. it said how jerry brown saves california. that such an appealing kind of story and end american story when you pin it on one person who's going to save you. he screwed the state up when he was earlier. he spent time with mother teresa. he became inspired and came back. let's think jerry brown. the real story is about the social movement building and community organizing and mobilization and digging into
electoral politics that helped to transform california and inspiring the nation now in the form of alexandra cortez. and i wanted to tell that story. >> alright. [applause] all right larry, what's brewing in texas. >> sort of the opposite. when rick perry was governor of texas, who used to call them - - of democracy. [laughter] the conservatives had been in control of texas for so long that the mainstream conservative agenda is long since been acted. it's the tea party that still has his hunger and practically every statewide - - every single statewide official in the state is republican.
the opposite of california. where no republicans statewide office. but what's happening in texas is so consequential because texas is the second-largest day after california. it stands between california and new york.but it's the fastest growing. in 2050, which is not that far away, it's projected to double in size. at which time it will be about the size of california and new york combined. this has real consequences for the future. there are things about texas that are wonderful and worth emulating. it is an amazing job creating state. and that's why people come. they don't come for the scenery. people storming into the state because there are jobs available. and yet some of this job are
creation has come at the expense of social programs like becoming defiantly low tax state. well what is it that taxes, when you cut taxes, what suffers? primarily, the job of a state is to provide public education and infrastructure. and indeed those of the things that are most suffering. 10 percent of all schoolchildren in america right now are texans. and yet, we spent $2500 per student less than the national average. we are 49 out of 50. it's not a poor state but were doing poorly in terms of educating our citizens and future workers. given what a major portion of america that represents. it has catastrophic consequences i think for the
country. this upcoming legislature promises to be yet another attack on public education. in the recent nation's report card, texas fourth-graders ranked 45th in the nation. which is better than you would expect given that 49th out of investment. but in the last legislative session, thankfully that didn't pass, there was an attempt to take public education money and awarded to private schools. i don't know what's behind this exactly. what kind of mentality it is. is it just racism? it would be easy to make that case. but it's so shortsighted and unfortunately, a lot of the programs that we are implementing and have implemented in the past in texas, our models for the national government.
if you look at the texas economic model and the values it represents, it's replicated so much in the trump administration that we pioneered in ourlaboratory . the model for what the incoming administration has chosen to do. >> thank you. manuel brought something that i will selflessly ask. i'm also a journalist. you brought up how you've been working on your book for quite a wall when the trumpet election happened. when we were walking over, dan mentioned he had a proposal for a book out on wisconsin before the election. before that put a shift in the spotlight. i know it's really easy to see people come out and see how theydovetail with the current moment historically but so many times these projects are so long-standing , as a nonfiction writer, you're kind of hanging off the back of the car that is reality.
and bumping along with it. i wanted to ask dan and larry if you had an experience similar to manuel's at all. for you already working on when the election happened and how did you pick it or not. what you were doing? >> i think when david frederick assigned the story he thought texas would play a more prominent role in the election. because there were all these texas candidates in the primaries and people who had affiliations like jeb bush and someone. even carly - - carly fiona. she's a texan. in the whole field of republican primaries and i think david thought that it would play a bigger role and ted cruz would be a bigger factor. he was wrong about that.
but, in a way it freed me to write a book that was no so entirely tied to politics. because i wanted to include history and the culture as well. and politics in texas is a great show. it's never disappointing. so i had plenty to write about. >> yeah, i have been working on writing many articles about the transformation of wisconsin. and put together a proposal before hand. and then i think trumps victory solidified in people's minds, mainly my editor, that this was - - what had happened in wisconsin, a pre-staged the election results. and i think paved the way for them. similar things happened in michigan. the attacks on labor. i think you are expressing a lot of the country. it's turning into a version of what happened to wisconsin.
and i think that became a much more widespread interest. ... >> and the ideology that drives it is the kind of radical and they have an infrastructure to propagate that and it was very successful in wisconsin, so -- >> and you brought us there already, but anything else that you want to tell us about how
you adapted when the unexpected happened? >> the original tiet to feel book was america fast-forward which was title of the first chapter because the demographic changed between 1980 and 200 in california, two-thirds white and to the majority of people of color as demographic changed in the united states between 2050 and what people forget is how red a state california was. we gave you richard nixon and ronald reagan and there were many republican statewide republicans office holders in i -- and i think it's not the demography that changed the shift of the state, eliminated
bilingual education, eliminated affirmative action and launched to a much deeper criminalization than any other state between 1980 and 2008 while in the rest of the state the state prison population went up for four fold in california it went by six fold. so we were america fast-forward in terms of the bad and i think part of what happened in california was something that i have seen happen nationally too. the left got tired of losing, we are proud when we win with values, we lost but we were really clear about our values and people's lives get messed up in the process and so people really begin to develop a different way of doing voter engagement. something we talk about in the book, basically community
organizing meets electoral politics when you are trying to engame people between elections and sort of maintain the context, you can get occasional voters and try to use the civic act of voting which is sort of a democratic i think we all accept as a way to get people to go to marchs, city halls, to council meetings, et cetera, to get reengaged in politics. they are turn things on things like raising taxes in 2012 and 2016, beginning a process of incarceration which happened in nonpresidential year in which you are not supposed to be able to get younger and voters of color to come out. there's been a real sort of shift to engaging with politics and having community organizing meet politics, i think that's made us much of a difference as the demographic shifts but the
election of trump medma realize that it was more urgent to get this out and also pretty -- to give out lessons of optimism about what america can become if we don't give up and assume the other side won't win. >> all right, you both give me ideas for questions and anticipate my questions, so on the america, what would it become tip, we have done in terms of your connection with the states, we have done the president and i'm a nerd and means we are heading to the future, i'm hoping we can talk a little bit about what's going on in the states and where we are headed, is it a message of hope or imaginary tale? >> well, i had some thoughts
while manuel was speaking, when i was a boy, texas was blue and it's the state that gave us lyndon johnson and the great society thanked was in a time where nixon and reagan were coming along as you point out stereotypes that we have of two states is where we are now but the truth is there's constantly evolving and i think of texas and california as being like double, they resolve around each other, always in opposition, you never agree on anything but like our governor, our present governor, he's always talking about the danger of californiazation and the examples he gives are dreadful things like plastic bag bans an burdensome tree ordinance and
lately plastic straws, these are destroying america. and i'm in a band, even the drum near my band has a bumper sticker that says stop californiacation of music, i don't know what that means. the concept of california is what we are not and work it is other way, when i go to california and people say, where are you from and i say texas, you know, i get that a lot any way, where in texas, austin, forgivable. [laughter] >> this sense of being at odds is also accessment to vigor of our democracy and allow them to express themselves so differently and with sometimes dreadful consequences as we have seen in wisconsin, you know, in
kansas, places like that where the economies have taken a nose-dive because of ideology and other states a lesson into what happened when you do those things. >> i warned you are this will end up in cage match, it's getting closer, dan. >> where do i see the future? there's been a revival of some of the protests around like when the movement fell and governor walker did not revolve, it's like someone had died and there was, maybe some triumph among some people around supporting walker but wisconsin, it's a
very divided place now, the politics of resentment have really created a fisher in a state that's difficult to heal. when people lost bargaining rights, it's more than, again, more than wages and benefits, it's their dignity and the ability to have a elective voice and their working conditions, that mattered more actually because the unions gave the concessions on wages almost right away. it was really this idea that they could have a voice and not be subject to these wins, so a lot of anger. i have seen resurgence it was actually during the sanders campaign, some progressive elements were revived and sanders won the state by 13% and he seemed to ignite some formant feelings that i hadn't seen in a lot of people, one of the people
in chronical, who ran against paul ryan before he dropped out, he was labor organizer when i met him in 2012 and campaign caught fire because this anger and humiliation that had not been dealt with. on the other side, you have this republican infrastructure which is there and as far as i can see it it's not going anywhere, it's a long term, roar that's willing to accept peace-meal gains. one of the books legislative council and generate model bills and a lot of times they are very small bills that will chip away a public education and so forth but they had this accumulative effect and the movement goes back to 1970's and i'm looking at that on one side, i also some structural things that they
institute in the state, voter id laws, used to be the easiest to register to vote or one of the easiest. now it's become one of the hardest, the gerrymandering is so intense that people became demoralized and it was so extreme the partisan gerrymandering that the case went to supreme court who sent it back down because the plaintiffs denied have standing, but so there's a resurgence and trump is deeply unpopular at the same time i don't see these structural changes going anywhere and i think one thing i wrote in my book i feel like, while i would like to share manuel's optimism it's easy to destroy progressive achievements than to rebuild them at least that's what i was feeling at one point during the reporting of my book. >> thank you, and manuel, take us home? >> yeah, there's certainly been
political changes in california aside from not having a republican hold statewide office, there's been just many actual progressives with community organizing background who stepped up to be speaker of state assembly or president pro tem of the senate and the change has been dramatic that in the last section orange county which gave us the john burt society gave us a democratic for the first time since dawn of men, very significant change. one thing that hasn't come up that was part of that change was learn to go deal with race and racism, becoming, you know, there's an article out today in "the new york times" from political scientists taking a look at what really happened in the 2016 election particularly college educated and noncollege educated voters, a new book called identity politics which is arguing that it really was a racial anxiety and in particular
not just economic hardship but relative to other groups thinking that other groups are getting ahead that drove those photos and we somehow think -- a couple of things after the election, you remember that big conversation about is it race or is it class because americans can't hold two ideas in their head at the same time, i think what we realized in california is that race and racism were so toxic that they were getting in the way of us focusing in on what we needed to do economically and so we needed to address race and racism through conversations, through public policies, et cetera, and i think that's been kind of important lesson to bring up for the nation. california, though, i think has a long way to go right now. in a way the politics have changed but a lot of the ground has not changed, we are now the fourth most unequal state in the united states. we have the highest rate of
poverty if you adjust for housing costs, we are still kind of, you know, crawling our way above texas in terms of spending on education although it's looking better because we have decide today spend money disproportionately on english learners, low-income kids and foster youth and we have thicks pointed in the right direction and we will need to go something which is important lessons for progressives againly, people focus on winning power, we need to focus on wielding power, how you can actually use that to improve people's lives and we take our eyes off the ball, imagine how much more popular obamacare would have been been if the website would have worked the first month and congress was shut down but the website wasn't working as well, so people who want to make change need to start thinking about gompance and not just winning. >> thank you. [applause]
>> we are nearing the end of the road trip with the three gentlemen, we have time for couple of questions, if you have questions that aren't statements or opinion and have a question mark at the end, i will take them. sir in the front. [inaudible] >> texas is majority-minority state but hasn't had political shift california had even though demographics have become more nonwhites and i'm curious if you had explanation on that because liberals in the country we get off on the idea that the country is going to become more nonwhite and therefore more left-leaning and i'm curious about your opinions in texas? >> the question has to do with why in some ways minorities haven't made the impact in texas that, for instance, they have in
california and actually our demography is very similar, we are both majority-minority states. i think only hawaii and new mexico might be in that category, we have about the same 40% hispanic population. hispanics vote in california and they don't in texas and that would make a big difference. if you take ethnicity out of the question who doesn't vote anywhere, are the young, the poor and the poorly educated and there are a lot of hispanics in texas in those categories, but i think there's a more important thing is happening with hispanics in texas, they've never had a candidate who spoke to them who spoke to disenfranchise and charismatic and spoke their own language, there have been hispanic candidates, one wealthy houston businessman ran for governor but
he was not that kind of candidate. now, it's an interesting test coming up in november because there are two people running for senate and one the incumbent rafael cruz who is the hispanic who doesn't speak spanish very well and also canadian. [laughter] >> and his opponent robert frankies orourke known as childhood since beto who speaks spanish fluently and comes from the border, if he is the masiah figure he's aligned with hispanic community, he's gone to every single of 1264 counties, he's been to every one of them often times speaking in water burgers, the only way that's a
community hall in the -- if he wins it's legendary and consequential as john tower's senate election in 1960 when texas began the great revolution, when people say will texas ever become purple or blue , in november it could become purple fanned that happens, it totally recalibrates national politics because with texas in play then the whole game changes. >> very quickly, demography has possibility but demography is not destiny and unless you actually motivate and activate and shift political conscientious, you're not going get the results you're talking about. >> thank you. all right, i think we have room for one more so we have 3
minutes. all right. in the back and i think we have a microphone. thank you. >> yeah, i wanted to ask manuel, what's the status now of both in organizing and al their role in politics? >> continues to exist, continues to play a role in politics and two senses one is dfw itself and impact on labor in the state and the second that you can go to almost any latino labor leader of a certain generation and they calm up to united farm workers
so head of the county of federation of labor responsible for mobilization of undocumented immigrants who then mobilized, latino permanent residents and u.s. citizens to vote and transform los angeles came up to the united farm workers and just about to be elected to state senate but you can see that it really had a big formation on people but today it has less of a presence. >> all right, so i think the moment, i hope many of you will come say hello to everybody at the signing table and hope you have a great rest of your day at the brooklyn book festival, thank you. [applause] [inaudible conversations]
[inaudible conversations] >> and brooklyn book festival on book tv will continue shortly, you have been listening author talk about states and their governments, next up a look at the relationship between politics and journalism featuring authors april ryan, eli and linda greenhouse, book tv look right back with live
coverage. >> c-span launched book tv 20 years ago on c-span2 and since then we have covered thousands of authors and book festivals totaling more than 64,000 hours of programming, appeared on book tv dozens of times, here she is in 2003 on in-depth program. >> u grew up believing that i wanted to be educated and train sod that i would always be able to support myself and that's why i worked my way through college and got a master's and went to work and developed a little career on my own. i never said about marrying well but it is a fact that married people are better and they are better economically and the children are better off. >> you can watch this and many other book tv programs from the past 20 years online at
booktv.org, type the author's name and the word book into the search bar at the top of the page. >> how does that play out? well, in this book i was always trying to sort of gap welling the fact that is this book too small or is it about something that's much bigger than that, how can we get beyond the sort of nitpicky things and that's when i realized there was a way to talk about it in a much bigger way and that has to do with the actual america heartland and how we eat, we are producing all of the food in very industrial way, it's basically comes down to soy and corn that are fed to chickens, pigs and cows, that's like really what we are eating mostly, that's where most of our calories are coming from in this country and what's interesting is that all of these creatures and particularly corn and soy oil are very high in what's called the omega 6 fatty acid,
you didn't real there was a villain to the story and the omega 6 fatty acid, you go down into the weeds with the people, all the people associated with this omega stuff, i call it omega world, omega looks through the entire world in the lens of omega 3 and omega 6's, omega 6's and omega 3 compete for space in enzymes, people who say that omega 3's lead us to resolution and omega 6 lead us in inflammation. that's the idea here, the people in omega world says that we have this diet that's saturated with omega 6's and therefore we need to counterbalance it by taking in omega 3 supplements. omega 3's coming from seafood and so forth have high -- is coming from seafood, so you have this direct competition between these two molecules.
i had people that i interviewed for this book who say that this competition question, the ratio question, a little bit -- i have people who say it's the absolute most important thing but what i concluded from the whole thing there was actual competition between food systems, you really have omega 3 america versus omega 6 america, what does that look like? it's a little bit of a joke, suffice to say that there's actual competition going on between these two food systems, one that i believe is inherently healthier and one that i believe leads us to negative health outcomes and so basically a question of seafood versus land food and it plays out interestingly throughout american agricultural history, this is a map of my home state of connecticut, anybody here from connecticut originally? okay, there you go. so every dot on this map is a dam, so there's literally 3,000 dams in the state of connecticut. i'm from account, this --
connecticut, this is why people are so uptight. seriously, what were the dams for, they were used for grinding corn and grinding weed, grinding land food, what did they prevent and what did they destroy, seafood, salmon, all of the fish that ran up into the rivers that were heavily omega 3 replaced by foods that are heavily omega 6, we are seeing it throughout the landfall versus seafood competition, we are seeing in so many different venues, for example, i took this picture while i was working, the picture was taking while working in a story about the mississippi, so this, that giant pile there is fertilizer, nitrate fertilizer and people at the bottom and interestingly you know write took the photo walnut grove, minnesota where little house on the prairie takes place fpa could see that he would give you
a whooping. causes dead zone, the size of the state of new jersey. and we also have it right here in florida, we have land food directly competing with seafood, we have the sugar industry that's refusing to really, you know, that is very actively lobbying against controls on pollution runoff, and, you know, i took this picture just now over into miami, the amount of water that is repurposed and used that really should be running into the everglades and supporting fish nurseries that is being directed toward land food and agriculture and most recently i'm sure you're aware of what's going on in santabell and florida, the science on red tides are complicated but i talked to enough algea scientists to reach the conclusion that excessive amount
of fertilizers in sewage changes composition of algea, seem to favor high nitrate and if we are trying to resolve issue we have to look up stream and the way the land food is affecting seafood. so it comes down to that, land food versus seafood. another issue which is going on land food -- seafood versus the energy system, about 40% of all the dhoorn we grow in this country is actually used for ethanol for making oil and if we go down that road we realize that there's a whole other way that land food is competing with seafood in carbon area. when it comes down to it after energy production agricultural is the largest contribute today carbon on the planet particularly farming of corn and livestock. we referred to meatian much more potent as greenhouse gas.
melting at the icecaps, a picture i took in antartica, a whole captor which you can read, a pretty good read. and suffice it to say that on a platonic level, remember we were talking about the very bottom levels of where the ocean works, we will go from diverse system of complex life into what's called microbial loop, bacteria consumes and goes around and around and we never get to hire life. that's a serious scenario and i'm not saying that that's definitely where we are heading and we certainly had very high levels of carbon dioxide in earlier periods but the current system, the current ocean that we love depends on a certain concentration of carbon dioxide in the environment. if it changes to a degree we think we are headed, we are headed toward serious disruption
in food system. >> you can watch this and other programs online at booktv.org. >> book tv tapes hundreds of author programs throughout the country, here is a look at some of the events we will be covering this week, on tuesday we will be at the free library in baltimore to hear white house correspondent april ryan give firsthand account of her reporting during the trump administration. on wednesday antonio feliz will discuss biography at belmont books in belmont massachusetts, on wednesday we are at the heritage foundation in washington, d.c. where fox news host steve hilton will offer new ideas on the merits of populism. on thursday look for us at manhattan institute in new york city for heather mcdonald's thoughts on identity politics on college campus, on friday at the shelter island public library in new york andrea will offer her take on state of education reform and then on sunday we will be live at new york city's
largest free literary event, the brooklyn book festival. that's a look at some of what book tv will be covering this week. many of these events are open to the public, look for them to air in the near future on book tv on c-span2. [inaudible conversations] >> starting now pulitzer prize winning journalist and award winning journalist april ryan discussing the current relationship between the press, politicians and the public, this is live coverage of the brooklyn book festival on c-span2. [inaudible conversations]
>> my name is carolyn greer, hi. [applause] >> yes, now it is. carolyn greer, coproducer of the brooklyn book festival, this year we are privileged and honored to have 300 authors from 22 countries and i want to say something about our authors, every one of them here is doing this as a volunteer and that means that whatever speaking fees they get usually and things all waved, they have come here to share their hearts and minds with you and i know this subject is really important so i'm not going to use another minute of my time and of their time except to say thank them and thank you all for coming. [applause]
>> good afternoon, i have no card so i will introduce myself, i'm susan herman and i'm surprised moderator and that's why i wasn't on your list. i teach at school, constitutional law and the president of the american civil liberties union where we think about truth and journalism and many other things and i'm glad to have panel who had written three terrific rooms, next to me linda greenhouse who covered the u.s. supreme court for the new york times and linda currently teaching at yale law school and writes twice monthly opinion column for the time's website as contributing columnist. the latest book just a journalist which would be on sale today memoir in reflection on the practice of journalism today, latest of 5 books which include becoming justice blackman, biography of the supreme court justice who wrote roe v. wade and the u.s. supreme court of very short introduction.
next to linda is april ryan, many of you will also recognize, april ryan is a white house reporter for american urban radio networks and cnn political analyst, april has a unique advantage point of the only black female reporter covering urban issues in the white house, the position she has held since clinton when area, author of award-winning books of presidency black and white and mothers and race in black and white and latest book for sale under fire published in september 2018. last but not least eli, washington post staff writer and the author of ten letters, the stories americans tell their president, he won the pulitzer prize author, very high class panel here and was a finalist for the pulitzer prize for future writing in 2013, 2014 and 2016 and 2017, what happened to
2015? [laughter] >> and he's here all the way from oregon where he lives with his wife and two children and his book the current book rising out of hatred is actually being published on tuesday? >> correct. >> you are getting the advance word here. so what i want to tell you before we start is what's going to happen at the end of the program, the books by all the authors who you've just heard about will be purchased, can be purchased from barns&noble outside the building where the authors will be signing books immediately following the program. so at the conclusion of the program i want to echo the authors to not stop and talk to people who want to talk to you who come to the front of the room no matter how urgent they are to proceed immediately to signing tables and that's the sign for all of you that at the end of the program at about 3:50 you should leave the rooms so we can have people from next program come in and go down to signing table ifs you want to have -- talk to one of the authors perhaps buying books. okay, so that's my introductory remarks, the business. so i thought i would set the theme for our theme today, the
war on journalism and truth by quoting thomas jefferson's famous quote, where it left to be decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, i should not hesitate to prefer the latter. now that of course was jefferson before he became president and was in the cross hairs of the press. [laughter] >> later on he might have been more incline today agree with our current president donald trump who has referred to the mainstream media as the enemy of the people. so there are two extreme views of your profession so i wanted to start out with something general about how you see journalism but each of you you would like to comment a little bit on why you became a journalist and what you see the role in journalist in democracy today and wide journalism, you look like you want to start? >> i'm always the one that starts, first of all, thank you brooklyn book festival for having me and thank you all for coming in and tuning in. i started out in journalism, i guess, falling back on my home.
my parents both were news readers, consumers, i remember every night my father would sit on the couch and watch walter and i used to say, dad, this would technically make a person run from news, but i said dad, why are you always watching walter, that's the way it was, and, you know, back then it was facts versus opinions, the line is obscured now but as a kid i used to say dad why are you always watching the news he said because i'm going to find out when the world comes to an end. a child would normally run from that instead i ran towards it. and i believe that's what really started -- my parents were very much into community service, service and they were community minded an very much into news, what was happening, current events and that was i believe those were the building blocks
that started me in this business and started out as d.j., wait a minute, i don't like this because i didn't have, i wasn't quick enough, i like news, i fell back on what i knew but the current state of play today is dangerous. it's unprecedented. >> just what do you see your role generally as a journalist? >> the way i see it, what i grew up was walter kronki not being conservative journalist, not being a liberal journalist, not being advocate journalist but a journalist who asked questions in that room that others may not think of asking or can't ask so i think that the journalist who i believe i am is that journalist who tries to get all sides of the story and makes you make the determination of what
is happening. >> i'm going to go to eli, what do you think about journalism? >> so the kind of journalism that i do is what we call narrative journal i. it's longer stories, usually where i'm going spend a lot of time with the people that i'm writing about and i think it's those kinds of stories that drew me to journalism, stories that take place far from positions of power where people's lives are being deeply impacted by what's happening in the country and also people aren't paying enough attention to those places, i go and i spend a lot of time and i learn about people's experiences different from my own in the hopes that i can write about them truthfully enough honestly enough and when possible with enough empathy that people reading about them might understand, you know, other people and other experiences that are different from their own, that's what brought me into it and what i hope to continue to do. >> thanks, eli, linda, who are you as journalists?
>> you know, so i'm going to take a little bit of issues as april said maybe casually and maybe she didn't fully mean this when she said she used herself as somebody who presents all sides of the story, so i think the highest calling for a journalist not an opinion journalist which is what i am now, but back in the decades that i was a mainstream straight news reporter was, of course, not to tell you readers what to think but to empower them to come to an informed conclusion and if coming to an informed conclusion means informing that that some purported sides of the story are simply not correct and that they are hearing things that they should disregard or be skeptical about, that's partisan, that's really partisan. susan didn't invite me to talk about the book right this simply
so i will just simply say that the impetus for my book as journalist is to take a hard look at the norms of mainstream journalism that are embedded in which -- is the obligation to present all sides of the story even stories that only have one side, torture, for instance, i mean, "the new york times" tortured itself for years over whether to call water boarding torture when america does it, interestingly enough in the years before america started doing it when only other countries were doing it it was easy to call it torture and the mainstream media always did call it torture until we started, that's just one example. sometimes there are many sides, sometimes there's only one side but very rarely are two sides and a lot of journalism is redactive and presents two sides of the story, is the worth
really pondering, there's many nuances that get washed out in that construction. >> well, i'm glad linda you talked about the book because that's where i wanted to go next. you talk in the book about experiences that you had with the new york philosophy, at least at that time that a journalist should be neutral and who should not be expressing judgments or opinions about politicians or issues not only not in their nonopinion writing, not only in columns but even outside and i don't know if you want to talk about the issues when you became the story, you talked about becoming the story, when you became the story is about the time's philosophy at the time and if you want to talk about that i want to through what's changed in "the new york times" since then. >> yeah, was anybody at the earlier panel that i was on? a couple of people. a couple of people heard me tell a story of what sort of got me interested in this which was the reaction by the journalist establishment to talk a gave to a private gathering in 2006 in
the middle of the bush administration when i received an award and i was trying give a substantive talk and, you know, gratitude for that and i said among other things that -- that my generation, the generation of the 60's had not actually succeeded in making things a whole lot better as we kind of knee yeefly assumed when we got to be running the country. but that we had an administration that was trying to create a legal black hole in guantanamo and was outsourcing policy to religious right and those who heard me describe a few hours ago, that was a common understanding certainly for any new york times reader, the supreme court two years before then in the case bush, you cannot create a legal black hole in guantanamo, the detainees have a right to get before a federal judge, anyway, i wasn't trying to be be provocative and reflecting the world as i saw it
in private exchange that somebody got a hold of and made a big journalistic scandal about it and entire establishment came down on me that i was completely wrong to express my opinion on these matters and i said what's this about, you know, all i said were things that were objectively accurate, so that, you know, started me down the road of saying what are the norms that bind mainstream journalism and in what way do those norms empower readers to better understand the world or disable readers from understanding the world of the writers, as the journalists have come to understand, this was hard work of digging in and reporting. >> and in your book you talk not only about the criticism but what you were actually writing but what you did in personal life like attending an abortion march, extreme idea how neutral reporters were supposed to be.
>> yeah, i call that chapter of the book accidental activists because i didn't intend to be activist, i thought i was asking as a citizen and so the inquiry of the book really is into the line between if there is a line between journalist and citizen and at one extreme maybe some people think i'm one extreme but at least in different extreme is a very fine journalist for many years, top editor at the washington post lenar dowty who believed that journalists should not vote and said upon retirement that he made an effort, maybe it succeeded, maybe it didn't to rid his mind of all opinions so that he would be completely, quote, objective about what the postwas covering and when i read an account of his retirement speech i thought, really, is this the highest and best use of this man's intelligence to rid himself of all opinions an how does that serve, you know, anybody?
but that is the trational view, objectivity, fair and balance and, you know, what we have seen in our politics is that the political actors understand journalism pretty much better than journalists understand it themselves and so they are able to exploit that norm by being, for instance, the other side of the story, which is a story that could be full of bs but it's the other side and in the book i talk about certain individuals by name and organizations that exist to be the other side of the story and give right-wing foundation money in order to do that,. >> so that was "the new york times" and washington post, at least part of it then, the new york times has evolved as many of us have noticed so i have a sample story from thursday which is a story about the hurricane and what happened in puerto rico and on the front page of "the
new york times" it says, mr. trump has also been busy awarded himself good grades for past hurricanes, then it says always about me president could not restrain himself for long and then it says, the statistic that 3,000 people had died that trump falsely called it a made-up number by democrats out to get him. okay, new york times view of objectivity neutrality, et cetera, seems to have shifted over time, so the question that i want to invite eli and april to talk about and linda you too is whether the bar has moved under the trump administration, should we have an understanding of what it means to be objective, neutral and balance? what's going on here? you want to start and let me point out there was a letter a couple of weeks, letter to editor from "the new york times" from trump supporter, the more you attack president trump the more we love him. so the other question here is do you worry about backlash? >> there is backlash.
what i'm dealing with is just by asking questions, straight questions that are not opinionated that are not opinion, i'm getting backlash, we are in a whole different time, there's this feeling not about -- it's about feeling and knee-jerk emotions, i believe there needs to be objectivity. i believe if we are going to want to read a newspaper or watch a report or listen to a report it needs to be just that, give all the sides, i'm not with you on torture there, all sides on torture, is it wrong, yes, it's wrong but a lot of sides more than one side but the bottom line is when you put something out there people need to understand this journalism thing is real and it's very serious because if we are not doing our job properly, you're not informed, that's the bottom line and if i don't want you to leave from a report that i give you feeling like well, this is her opinion, i want you to hear all sides of the story so i can give you information so you can be informed, whether you like it or not, that's my -- i'm very passionate about this because i'm under fire that's the name
of my book because of the fact that i want to push the truth and want to give facts and when i raise my hand to ask a question, they don't want to answer that because that's not what they've focused on or they want to craft it or spin it a different way. facts matter particularly in 2018 under this administration and if you don't know what's going on, you won't know and if we -- what you read to me was part editorial, i mean, yeah, we know the tweet about puerto rico was wrong, okay, the president is saying that those numbers weren't true, but i still believe, i mean, there's a spot in the paper or spot in the news for editorial, but i still believe in the midst of us knowing that the president spins things or even lies we still have to give you the facts, that's my opinion. >> could i ask you a question? so in if you were the editor of peter baker story -- >> i love peter baker.
i love peter baker, fine journalist, wonderful journalist. >> would you say, you know, authorities having studied the matter saying that 3,000 people died, president trump said that's not true only 30 people died -- >> i would bring in experts, i would bring in fema, i would bring in the mayor of puerto rico, i would bring in a whole bunch of people so you would know. see, that's the thing, i don't need to put my opinion in there if i'm doing my story correctly, you get all the information versus me giving you what i think. >> i think like where some of this gets complicated for me as journalist is i think as journalists our loyalty is to fact and fairps, objectivity is sort of empty word. it's impossible, like we are coming into everything from own experiences and informs everything we all see. i would say facts and fairness are paramount and in this moment in our country, it just so happens that facts and fairness
often leave journalists in oppositional place with power in government, but i think it's dangerous to, you know, in a story like this times story i also love peter baker, but i think where it becomes a little dangerous sometimes in tone and in presence we act as as journalists we are fighting against the administration because that's not our role, we are writing things that are truthful and factual and what i worry about sometimes for the times and also for the post in this moment is that there's a natural inclination for people and for institutions to cater to the parts of their audience that agree with them and now if you write for "the new york times" or if you write for washington post you pretty much know that everybody reading the paper is on one side of the country. but i also think that if you write in a tone that seems sort of dismissive or belittling, you are alienating another part of
the country and it's very important for media institutions to cover all parts of the country and try to do that and approach it with the same factfullness and fairness. >> eli is exactly right, we cannot come out snarky, we have to present the facts, we are being ward upon, warred upon, i'm the prime example, but the bottom line is, i'm in there to do my jobs, the other 100 or so people are in there to do their job and people can see what's happening to us, we have to continue to give the information so that we can just keep this time tested institution going. i mean, it's not a coincidence that the first amendment was number one, wasn't two or three or four, it was in the first amendment something called freedom of the press, checks and balances aren't happening in washington and now to try to give you the american public the information i believe -- i'm so with you eli on that.
>> there's a great -- the editor of the washington post marty baron who some people know because he was editor of boston globe before and character in spotlight movie but he said something that i found very moving and effective in terms of summing this up in terms of how i think about it, i think a lot of the media has in some ways joined together that the administration is at war with us, we will fight back in the war, marty said we are not at war we are at work, i think that's a really important way to think about it. >> yes. i mean, that's certainly fair. it might be interesting for a moment of journalism history, so of course, around the turn of 20th century we had a news media environment much like europe has always had and still has today where papers were officially identified with one part of the political spectrum or the other and the way the objectivity norm came into being was actually an
economic imperative that in order to appeal to readers and advertisers across the whole spectrum that identification with the political party or political movement read out of mainstream journalism and there was another reason too which was with the rise of union and so on, it was a management tool to enforce the objectivity norm because it kept the reporters kind of in their place. >> i want to talk a little bit about the whole question of what it means to be balanced. linda n your book you talk about he said or she said journalism, if 99 experts say one thing and the others say another, april, for the number of people who died in the hurricane of puerto rico, you would call the mayor of san juan or whoever it was,
so president trump would tell you that that person is a political enemy and distorting the number and he know it is right number. how do you judge what experts to call? you do call one expert on each side or -- >> i call congressional leaders who deal with issues, emerging issues, i talk to people, someone probably elijah cummings from oversight and reform, i would call fema, i would call somebody in the administration, i would find someone who is devastated devastated in puerto rico who lost family members, that's what good reporting is. you go in and work that story to give people information not just this is what the president said and this is what -- it's not he said, she says, we are in a position where we have to inform you, i take my job certify juicily -- seriously, that's what do i with all of my stories, i talk to leaders on the hill, i talk to people who are in position to know about
that situation. i talk about solutions, i talk about the issue, i talk about the problem and i bring all of the players on the table together to give you the story. >> i was recently reading something about the whole question of who gets the to be the experts in the newspapers and what you are describing an open and careful process but a lot of reporters admitted that they would use the expert who was quoted in the last newspaper article about something and there were some people who represent organizations -- >> those are new reporters, i mean, i started the white house with helen thomas and great reporters. >> there won't be reporters for too long. >> eli, you will get in trouble. [laughter] >> now we have definition of bad journalism. >> eli. >> april, good time to get to your name named under fire because you feel you are subject of a war. >> feel like, i am. >> having been a white house
correspondent -- >> four. >> if you like to talk about -- >> 21 years. >> different parties too. if you like to talk about what's different in terms of how the white house treats journalism and i would like you to hear what's difference for you and noting being objective journalist but the african-american woman on the beat. >> the only african-american woman covering urban issues, there are several african americans in that room. for the last four presidents -- well, in any administration there's always retaliation but never to this level, never like this. you never heard -- you know, i remember president clinton and n his worst day he still quoted the press, they retaliated but they still quoted the press. george w. bush, you know, i remember in his worst day they still quoted the press. i remember bear ak oak -- barack obama, i remember when he first became president and brian pill
yums had interview and were getting interview, don't you to worry about the press he said, i'm not worried about them, oh, my gosh, he quoted the press, the reality is this president for whatever reason he is not someone who has had governance experience, he doesn't understand the role of the press. he's played with the press, the entertainment press and some of the regular press around the world particularly here in new york but he's never had to have press embedded, so he doesn't understand the constitutional relationship with the president and therefore when he doesn't feel that the story is the right story or he's not painted in a good light, we are the enemy. when you say we are the enemy, there are crazy people out here that would put a target on your head. i've been doing the same thing for 20 years, something different except one question,
mr. president, are you a racist, but doing the same thing, never had this but why am i the only one that's picked up early on in charlottesville, they did -- the trump administration did this campaign ad talking about reporters that are supporting trump. the weekend of charlottesville, that's the weekend i received the nabj's journalist of the year in new orleans, every person on there was a tv talk show host, don lemmon, wolf blitzer, rachel maddow. i just asked questions, something is wrong there, this president was sworn in january 21st, 2017 to uphold the constitution and part of that constitution of uphold asking the first amendment, freedom of
the press, our founding fathers, i stand -- they never knew there was going to be social media, they never knew there was going to be a barack obama or donald trump and i'm sure some of the founding fathers had slave but i believe what they built for all of us, it is not right for a sitting u.s. president to do this and what makes us different, one of the things that make us critical and different from any other nation is the independent press, we are different from china and russia for that. that's one of the reasons why we are different. and for this president to think it's okay not to -- stir up the crowds in rallies against us, we are not criminals, we are writing stories for you to be informed. if you don't like the story, call the boss, tell them to shut down the page or whatever, don't threaten us. >> so eli april directly
confronted president trump by asking him if he was racist on the subject of race and racism. >> confronted him? i didn't confront him. it was a question. i wasn't in his face. >> i was choosing the word in -- >> words matter. [laughter] >> words certainly do matter but what i wanted to get to that eli found a different way to talk about racism in trump's america through the story of derrick black, eli, you want to talk about your book and how it grew from washington post article? >> sure, we have been talking about how it's a journalist's responsibility to inform the public but i think hopefully we often try to do more than that and we try to review, this book that i have coming out on tuesday is a book of sort of how a group of white nationalists derrick black was the young
ascending heir to the movement, the son of don black who started the biggest hate message board in the world, the god son of david duke and this group of people and the white nationalist movement did a ton of very effective work to spread the kind of racism and rhetoric that i think we now have surfaced all around us and in the white house. and derrick then later in his life after he had done damage went to college as older student and threw remarkable courage and active ism, civil resistance and people who protested his presence an made clear how dangerous these messages were that he was spreading and also through courageous outreach from people on campus who were the victims of the prejudices that he had been spreading, he had a remarkable transformation and now is rising prominence and trying to undo the damage.
i hope what the book does is it reveals something how you found ourselves in this moment and also potentially a possible way out. >> does the conversion of derrick black make you optimistic that in fact, that can happen to other people? >> sure, i mean, i think like the power of personal transformation is profound, unfortunately there's much else about history and where we are at right now where with race and divisiveness in general that does not make me super hopeful. i think part of that is because these problems are not new and this is not -- it's not that a few people hold racist opinions, this is stuff that's really embedded in the country's founding and unfortunately white supremacy is a big part of what this country has been and what it is and i think in order to confront that and get over it especially at a moment when we are seeing represented in huge positions of power it takes a lot of very sustained work by a lot of people to stair into some
of that ugliness and figure out ways to eradicate some of it. >> one of the interesting themes of your book what you do when you confront, there's the word again, when you come across somebody who is a white supremacist, the people who derrick went to college were right to include or befriend or talk to him or whether better to exclude him to make him pay a price for his beliefs and i feel like the whole question of how you approach other people also comes in your writing because you interview don black, david duke, other people who are white supremacists and white nationalists and i wonder did you worry about appear to go say that they were fine people on both sides? >> no, i didn't worry about that because i knew i wouldn't do it and i also knew that, you know, the book lays out the awfulness of this stuff in the way that it it is and i hope lays it out in way that is helps more people towns it and understand how dangerous it is. of course, it is true that, you
know, during this kind of work effectively requires spending time with -- with -- and as much time as possible with all different kinds of people and so the great thing about the book, yes, people like don black and even david duke passed through the book as characters and so do all of the activists on campus and people of color who have been wounded by people in those positions and, you know, i think hopefully as journalists we are not choosing one perspective to tell a story and we also don't have to make the binary choice of telling one story, that's a gift of a book that it's long enough that it can incorporate many people's narratives and experiences within it. >> i thought the audience might be interested in different of approach of washington post article and telling the story in the book, did you have a different sense of what your obligation was in terms of telling both sides or being objective or was the book a different form to you? >> the book was a different
form. i'm sure for both of you too, i think the wonderful thing about a book it has room the breathe, i wrote a newspaper piece that was long for newspaper piece but pretty much the transformation story of one story. the book is the story of many people through that same narrative, so frankly it just makes it much more honest because the more nuance and the more complication you can bring to stories it still never nuance complicated enough to be exact real life but the closer it gets. >> linda and april, you both in your books, the characters you write about are yourself, what was it like as a journalist as you say become the story, idea that you both had? >> you mean in writing the book or back in the -- >> yeah. both. >> yeah. >> that's one of your chapters is becoming the story instead of just reporting the story. >> yeah, i found it very unpleasant actually, but, you know, it was food for thought. and, you know, perspective, so i
mean, this is something that really plagues mainstream journalism and an example of maybe counter to the peter baker example that ran in the times not too, too long ago that really struck me as really kind of, so you remember the really sad story going on in nigeria about boka haron, trained to become suicide bombers, managed to escape, and new york times reporter met with them and, you know, told their story of -- of, you know, what happened to them in custody and how they escaped and so on, she's writing the story and she says, it's kind of the first-person account of this
that i know as reporter i shouldn't take sides but i believe that these young women were heros and i thought, shouldn't take sides? you have to apologize for thinking that these 18 young women victims who managed to escape and avoid blowing themselves up and killing hundreds of people, you need to apologize to thinking that they are better than their captors and to me that crystallized some of what we are saying. i mean, of course, perspective is -- getting everybody's perspective tells a story, tells long form, you know, journalistic story or the book, but i think the kind of norm in journalism dna apologizing for thinking that one side has more moral ways than the other is something that we really have to
think about and maybe struggle a little bit against. >> looks to me that you took story an opportunity, does that feel at all awkward becoming the story yourself? >> opportunity how? >> to talk about what was happening. >> well, it was -- it was tough, that book -- this last book they say it's my best book but it was tough because i had to really -- as a reporter we have to write the story, we are supposed suppe in the crowd and write what's going on and now i'm in the room and you see and you watch what's happening to me, it's very tough but at the same time more importantly i had to tell the story from the strange unique purge that i've been sitting for 21 years because if you listened to what they had to say, i'm the worst person in the world, i'm a racist and they are trying to discredit me.
i'm putting in context the other side of the story so you hear from my voice and those around me what has happened, so there's important to clear my name because i'm going to keep on doing what i do for my legacy, for my children and for their children. it's very important because when you have a president of the united states telling you to get people together, your friends, there's a lie about you that you're taking money from a political candidate, you got to tell your story, you have to straighten the record. i'm a journalist not on anyone's payroll but my own so it was tough but i had to do it and the darts continue. people are told telling press secretaries not to call on me. right now sarah huckabee sanders doesn't call on me and you need to know why and if i don't ask the questions on the room, the questions will not be asked. there's a large swath of america who won't give answers to questions that are needed.
>> so we have been talking a lot about journalism. i think it may be time to go to the other word of title which is truth, where could we start better than quoting rudy giuliani where saying truth is not truth. that's part of the problem we are having, is there solid ground there? if you look at fox news you believe that the greatest problem that we have with elections is voter fraud and if you look at cnn, the greatest problem that we have is voter suppression, i actually recently saw a cartoon that was tv meteorologist saying and now the weather for republicans. [laughter] >> really? >> isn't it cute? i like the idea, we don't share our marketplace of ideas so what does that mean in terms of journalism, what does that mean in terms of approach to truth? seems like nobody here is all sides of the story, all sides that they hear your story or your story but if they hear somebody else's they will hear different on all sides.
we no longer have one marketplace of ideas if we ever did. so what does that mean in terms of how journalists operate and also in terms of the impact on democracy? >> i mean, we are so historically polarized as country. for me the journalism that i do, one of the challenges of this moment is i think it's important for large mainstream media, for the new york times and washington post to try to go out and write about the whole country and to capture truth in nuance from a lot of different people's lives and perspectives and frankly, i mean, the scariest thing for me about this moment as a journalist in our country is not that i myself feel under attack, i haven't been through what april has had to deal with, i feel that the president's rhetoric about the mainstream media is something that's oppositional in the country unfortunately has been
tremendously effective in the 35% of the country that's his base and it's really important for the washington post and "the new york times" to still go tell stories in those places of the country, that's crucial other ol orization will only increase. it's much harder now even than it was two years ago for me to do those stories. i mean, i would say, you know, a few times a month i call somebody, you know, maybe a fisherman in southern louisiana who has never gotten a call from a journalist and say i want to go write about this climate change by riding with you on the boat for a week, fake news, screw you. that makes me worried about our ability to go out and capture the experience of what lies in the country are like so that's the thing that's often in my mind. >> yeah, to eli's point, just from a purely pragmatic instrumental point of view, i mean, the mainstream media and the new york sometimes missed,
you know, trajectory of the 2016 election by living inside the bubble that i'm willing to give most of us in this room are in and, you know, this caused a good deal of internal self-reflection and there are efforts to, you know, get out there and take the pulse of the country, people that couldn't find their way to time square, whatever, it's hard for the reasons that you say, i mean, it's not -- it's not who we are. there's the sincere effort being made because i think there's a sense of urgency to try to understand what happened in the country that seemed at the moment pretty inexpoliticsable and we know it has many explanations. >> you know, there's an important piece in this fight for truth or -- or report for
truth, i love the fact that the post has that lie detector thing going on, how many lies have been told and they come back with facts. so much fact-checking now, we are in a time when people think they can recreate history, they can reshape anything they want to and it's incumbent upon us to fact-check and to come back and say this is what happened, this is real, we don't have to give an opinion, just come back with the facts, nothing but the facts jack and that's just simple. >> yeah, it's such a confusing time in the world of just information and news in journalism and how it spreads and i'm starting to work on a story now about a guy who lives in the rural woods of maine and he's an internet troll, he creates these very dramatic stories about, like, racist stories that seem very, very far right and then they get
distributed on facebook and these people in like oklahoma see, here is a meme about michelle obama actually have two babies out of wedlock when she was in the white house and they share the stories on the pages thinking that this information is true. this guy in maine is a far-left troll who is trying to get people on the right to share misinformation so that he can then shame them and say you believe stupid things, like it's so confusing. [laughter] >> i think part of it is acknowledging that we are at this very confusing moment in terms of sorting out truth and not truth in our country's history. >> so who gets to sort of truth and not truth seems to be the president because he tells us what true is and what isn't in twitter account. what i want to know how worried are you about the cold war against journalists heating up. we've had times in history you journalists have been prosecuted
for saying things critical of presidents, do you know about matthew lyon who spent time in prison in 1798 for saying john adams has thirst for ridiculous pump and selfish -- can you believe it. any chance that journalists will be prosecuted, broadcast licenses will be lifted because people are critical of the president, how worried are you about the, quote, war? >> if they do that they are going down a road that's going to be hard to repave. i just think about watergate and i think -- and i know he's not here and sometimes i joke and say my name is bob woodward. and i think about what happened in watergate, think about this, you have the great journalists who broke the story, washington
post broke the story and what ultimately happened? you didn't have impeachment but resignation of u.s. president who basically was going after the press because they were telling the truth and what are we doing in 2018? i just keep thinking of that. there are people who see clearly what's going on and there are other people trying to support an agenda but if people i believe if not just journalists but if people were to join in and speak, people are afraid, people are like i don't want to rock the boat and some generally afraid, if you say something somebody will talk about you on the twitter and call you all sorts of names but i just don't understand, i mean, this is patriotism, we are following through with what our founding fathers did. i just don't understand to change this because you don't like what is said that's true, there's something wrong. history shows us this.
what happened in watergate, if you don't believe me google it. it's real and it's happening again and this situation with the russia stuff, this is not feeling, there is an issue of rule of law here, this is not made up, this is not a conspiracy theory, this is the president's own justice department, we are not creating this, this is not fake, we are getting information from them. >> we are almost out of time but i want to give you eli and linda how worried we should be and what you see in future, is this a swing or are we seeing democracy in decline? >> no, i don't think journalists will be prosecuted but i do think april touched on the whole fake news and the impact of social media and, i mean, the whole russia -- for those who grew up in the duck and cover generation and lived through the cold war and then saw the wall
come down and the fact that this kind of subversion of our media which is what really is, who knows what mueller will come up with, it's tip of the iceberg, we are also vulnerable to being manipulated on levels that even, you know, those of us who think is sophisticated and modern people and head games can be played on you through these techniques, that's what worries me not that journalists are going to go to jail for calling the president name, it's more complicated than that. i guess i think the truth is for us as journalists and hopefully other journalists in the country and i hope other people who have
become journalists is the only thing that we can do is do our jobs and try to do it really well and to build trust with readers because i think it's true, of course, that journalism in the country is under threat. there's a lot else that's under threat and people who don't have the same voices and are more marginalized it's our job to write about those threats in addition to reconciling with our own. >> what happens now is three terrific books for sale outside the signing outside the building, authors you have to bring your name card with you to put on the table so everybody will be able to identify you, i recommend everybody to read the books in addition to buying them and getting them signed. thank you all, thank you to our wonderful panelists for a great discussion. [applause]
whatever issues -- [inaudible] >> we talk about system and -- [inaudible] >> it's not the only thing. >> and going through traumatic places, some of them from sexual violence but -- >> c-span launched a book tv 20 years ago on c-span2 and since then, we've covered more than 15,000 authors spanning more than a thousand weekends. malcolm appeared in book tv 17 times, he talked about his book the tipping point. >> the structure was quite a familiar thing in television, he was invented by sesame street,
one of the cool things about sesame street incredible amount of research on television, ideas of how to make television works, started with sesame street and moved to mainstream from there. you could argue, i think, legitimately that sesame was the most important television show ever in terms of impact on the way television structure. >> you can watch this and many other book tv programs from the past 20 years online at booktv.org. type the author's name and the word book into the search bar at the top of the page. >> fall is a busy time for book fairs and festivals across the country, here is a look at some that are coming up. this weekend book tv is live from the brooklyn book fair. on saturday september 29th look for us at baltimore book festival which would be held in the city ice inner harbor, on october 11th through the 14th the wisconsin book festival that takes place in the state's capital city, madison demand that same weekend it's the 30th
annual southern festival of books in nashville. then later that month live at the texas book festival in austin. for more information about upcoming book fairs and festivals and to watch our previous festival coverage click the book fairs' tab on our website, booktv.org. >> in your book you talk about -- first used the phrase fascism, where did he get the phrase, what does that mean? >> first of all, i decided that what i wanted to do about the book was to do, put it into historical context so that people could really understand what it's about and musalini was the first fascist and it really came from a term of sticks and axe, emblem that the romans had
used and so they -- this group of people around took it as emblem and toughness and going back to cesar. >> as you point out in your book musalini came before hitler and was a politician but not all that successful initially, had some problems, didn't come from a wealthy family particularly, how did he rise up to get to the point where he could rule italy, did he win an election that got him to be the head of italy, let me go back a little bit on this because one of the things that i wanted to look at is what is the environment that produces fascism and without sounding like a professor which i am -- [laughter] >> the historical context is that there's certainly have been a lot of disruptions in society, some in late 19th century, early
20th century due to the industrial revolution and people during displayed in their jobs and then kind of a sense of division in society, the have's and have not's was arising in a different number of countries and then world war i had a real input into all of that and italy particularly, you know, we all make fun of italians, italian governments for a long time because they've had so many different prime steres and -- prime ministers and they had it all along and italy had different governments and then what happened was they had actually fought on the side of the allies during world war i but had not really benefited from it in anyway in terms of having alliances or being treated with respect. and so musalini was somebody that came from a poor family,
who was somebody that was from everything that i read more and more about him actually charming but he was an outsider and all of a sudden he fit in to try to resolve the situation of all the division that is were taking place in italy. in italy he initially was a leftist and they were trying to figure out how to deal with their various social problems and he got a group of people around him that became more and more politicized and he identified with them as an outsider to be able to bring some kind of order to things and so this group of people surrounded him and he was as i said very charismatic, this was the part that blew my mind frankly. he came to power constitutionally because what happened was king emmanuel of italy felt that the coalition government there was not working together well enough that they
needed to solve some of the problems that were coming out of world war i and he had mulasini take over the government, that's the part -- he didn't seize power in that particular david but he was so interesting, david, because he did say he needed to drain the swamp in italian. [laughter] >> he's the first one who said that. >> right. [laughter] >> he said it in italian, right? >> he said it in italian. he also in a lot of the things i read, he thought he had answers the everything that he was a stable genius. [laughter] [applause] >> okay. so what year did he actually take over? >> well, he took over in like early 30's. >> 30's, right. so actually when he was running the government for a while, did he do things that made him more
popular than he had been before he took office? >> yes, he did. he organized things well, he did make the trains run on time but he really did help in terms of the stability that people felt was necessary in italy. he, however, ultimately over did and did not deliver and he was hung. >> ultimately he was captured and what happened to him? .. ..
>> good afternoon. welcome to our panel called from the border: people in politics. i'm mary ellen fullerton, interim dean at brooklyn law school and for many years i have been a scholar of international refugee law and immigration law so you can imagine how much i looking forward to this panel on how much i enjoyed reading all three of the books that we're going to have a chance to talk about today. the authors come at the issues of people, borders, politics from multiple perspectives. we have photojournalists on our panel, we have a sociologist on our panel, a creative nonfiction writer and of course there are also many other things. i think the overwhelming experience i had while i was reading all of these books is how each of them uses arts in a profound way to send messages to us as individuals