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tv   National Security Legal Experts on Threats to Democratic Institutions  CSPAN  October 31, 2018 12:24pm-4:43pm EDT

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[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> if you missed any of this conversation you can see it in its entirety on our website type eeoc in the search bar. from this we transition to a security forum with former director of national intelligence james clapper and former cia director michael hayden. they are joining other national security officials to talk about the threat to democratic
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institutions. it's hosted by george mason university in virginia. we join it live in progress. >> but if you to are both right now sitting on top of use intelligence community, would you be meddling and russian affairs as a defense is a good offense kind of maneuver? would you be advocating for doing the things to russia that they're trying to do to us? >> so, i think i would be in the mode of imposing costs, doing what it is they do to us i don't think would in any way be reciprocity. just a totally different system. and so -- >> i have weaknesses. >> yes, but they have different leverage points. leverage points might be the fact that you've got the strong people around putin who are living very, very well, and most of the country is not.
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in reviewing how and why and what degree they live well and others don't i think would be a very useful tool. it is a fascinating dialogue, jeff, march, the outgoing commander of cyber command and incoming commander, mike rogers and paul, separate points in front of the armed services committee and intelligence committee the as by senators, well, units of the the presents given to specific directions but it if he asked her what can i do, what would you do? and both of their answers were, separately, outgoing incumbent, was they have paid a high enough costs. you need to impose costs on the russians, which is not at all defending against the russians. it obviously would be in favor of defendant but that's not what they were proposing here. they were proposing costs, more
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action. and as cyber, commander, they were in essence asking for political and legal guidance above the normal threshold of cyber espionage, but below the threshold of what anyone would define as armed conflict. in other words, a very aggressive cost imposing strategy against the russians, not preventing them from doing what they do but making them come to the own conclusions that was probably a bad idea. >> well, , the other aspect of this you have to consider which we went into the obama administration, particularly with respect to reacting to russian meddling, contemporaneously was what would be the counter retaliation? that's what tempers, i think,
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from a political, or policy standpoint, the juice of cyber as a defensive weapon. because unless you're pretty confident in your ability to withstand a counter retaliation and you are resilient enough to recover from, you want to think twice before you take actions like that. so to answer your question, jeff, if it were me sitting there i would say, i certainly think that it would be appropriate to keep up a menu of things, options that policymakers, include policy policymaking of one to decide on but also be sure to point out what the downsides are. you may recall the reason, what occasioned or heightened the strong personal animus that vladimir putin had for hillary clinton was because of her alleged role in promoting what he felt was another -- in 2011
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so this is cleared of all ability of theirs. the decision is do you want to export that which we certainly could. but you need to think about okay, what are they going to do as a counter to that. the obama administration took a lot of criticism for not doing more at the time, and that's part of the calculus that we get into because it's not as though we didn't seriously consider all of this at the time. >> i need to add though something jim suggested earlier and i want to highlight. what we just talked about here is pretty much the equivalent of the painkiller. the fundamental issue is not russia. on an issue is the united states, and we would have a degree of this problem, i think i series degree of this problem even without russia.
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i can't bring his premise the russians flip the elections i will simply say it's unknowable. if that were interesting. will not talk about it or donald trump is the legitimate president so now the question is, how is president trump governing? that's the core issue. >> one more question on that come as intelligence chiefs if you are in office right now would you be comfortable sharing very, very sensitive intelligence information about russia with the president of united states? [inaudible] >> there's no choice. you are obliged to the forthright and fulsome with whatever sense of intelligence you have. >> let me ask you this question about our friends of democracy never quit talking about a a symptom that message of a cause.
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years ago, and it article, the unit history which posited essentially that the world had come to the conclusion that market democracy of liberal democracy wasn't in . come anybody agreed this was the way record organize our society in the future. three or four years ago president obama spoke regularly about a more art of universe that was long bent toward justice. there was a kind of feeling for the previous several presidencies that time and human behavior were on a dislike on the site for democracy, democratic development and that we were aiming toward something, for the widespread adoption of an american model. i'm surprised, a lot of other people were surprised but just how fragile this idea is and him winning if that for you is among the bigger surprises of the last couple of years or how you think about the durability of american
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democracy and the democratic experiment? >> that's like it as a question but answer it in a minute. >> that's a very heavy question. i do recall president obama speaking about this, both rightly and publicly, they great institutions, the values, norms of this country which have been durable but they are all at the same time so fragile. and if the practitioners and supporters of those institutions, norms, standards and behavior choose for whatever reason not to work with them that we're in real trouble. i think these institutions are a lot more fragile than people think. i think there's, taken for granted because the way we been for so long. i do think it's one of the
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reasons why mike and i have chosen to speak out, to make that point. to try to educate the public about the fragility of our institutions. >> noting something interesting about this seems now a normal conversation with these two gentlemen but imagine ten or 15 years ago these two general and being considered political dissidents in our country, i mean, you're not exactly from let's say haight-ashbury. i mean, something remarkable has happened where people, nnsa, for goodness sake -- >> let me jump in here because i want to talk about mike. [inaudible] >> do you hear that? [laughing]
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attention on deck. i never gave a thought to speaking out or going on television or any of that. my dad was a single intelligence officer for 28 years. we're in a different mode here. i will always be indebted to my cable because -- michael hayden. snowden and its aftermath. mike did a great public service to this nation into the intelligence committee because he could go on the two and explain things to people that i spent days trying to get clear to all the laws before i could say anything. and i remembered that model, prototype example that mike sent, and he continues to set. and i said it's my turn, i'm going to do the same thing.
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>> back to your original question, how fragile visit, i begin the book by reminiscing about walking through wartime sarajevo, about 1994, beautiful city, formally and you could see on the skyline extend with the austrian government buildings you had steeples and minarets and onion shaped domes. this had been a vibrant, intolerant city. you could see in the hills above it serbian artillery and you could see in the streets below the result of the serbian artillery. what struck at the moment as i was walking through was not that they were different from us, but how much they were not different from us here so the thought that i had, i've kept in my heart, that city was host of the winter olympics ten years before that. the nearest civilization is actually very thin. and although it may be our
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natural right, arthur of natural law, it is not a naturally occurring phenomenon and, therefore, needs energy and nurturing and care, and we should not take it for granted. >> how fragile really is it, because we've been doing this for over to her jews, the 1860s were not an apex for the system but we came out of the 1860s as one country. i mean, on the other hand, it seems remarkably durable and seems a bit fantastical to think a reality tv star can undo what took americans 240 years to build. we talk about this in layers, this when you're democracy civilization. >> so to respond i don't think he can undo it in four. >> kenny and do it in eight? >> yeah. the sound your from across the river our institutions digging
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in. and following what our perception is, the rule of law. and how long can they withstand? we have been the presidency is very powerful office. read the federalist papers. there are reasons we wanted to act with dispatch, right? let me give you another historical moment and i will be really efficient about this. i don't think it's 1860. i think think it's the 1890s. very quickly, in the 1890s there were a lot of turmoil in the country. fundamentally because we were trying to adjust the institutions that had governed us as an agricultural society and to convert those institutions into one's that would serve an industrial society. and we actually have populist president, twice james bryant. he wanted to monetize silver, ruin the financial class for the
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benefit of the debtor class which would've prevented industrialization. now, the kicker is he lost, twice. we were going through, and we got teddy roosevelt and the ken lay, and we got a get on with it adjusting the institutions still anchored in a first principles that adjusting them, the sherman antitrust act and so on to govern an industrial society. we are now trying to do the same thing, just the institutions of an industrial society to govern a postindustrial information age interconnected age, fill in the blank society, all right? are populist ran for president again and he won. and his response to this is we don't want to become that loose society. we don't want to be globalist. we don't want to be protectionist we don't want to be -- all of the things that
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society is, he is pushing back against. so my fear is not just that kind of general brittleness of these institutions. my fear is were not getting on with it. and we are not making the adjustments. and so -- [inaudible] and so it's just not a static, they worked for 250 years, why will it work they work for the next 25? it is, no, we've got to make changes and if we refuse to make changes they will fail. >> we're going to go to questions in one minute before we do i want to pivot from what you said to the future. you talked about the institutions across the river. actually, it's on the site of the river i was thinking of. i would ask a very specific question -- >> the zip code is still a d.c. zip code. >> let's talk about both sides of the river for a minute. i want to ask you a narrow
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question that leads to the question. how do you buttress the laws and institutions so that they withstand the changing norms of this president which is his say, let's talk about the pentagon nca, throwing the justice department, whatever you want, the fbi. how do you buttress those for the next two or six years so that they maintain their coherence and cohesion and a commitment to constitutional democracy? and the larger question is, when to think about the future, how do you defend the parts of america that you believe are worth defending, the parts of the system that are worth defending? take it now and go big or just go back to bed, both of you take that question. >> i think it's a pretty ponders
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question. i observed, whether it's conscious or not, but a lot more local activism. you travel around the country and you see what governors are doing and mayors of cities. they are trying to get on with its right for their communities, the states or whatever. i do think the activist groups need to try to keep, and the media, need to keep the administration honest and call him out, continue to calling out with our distortions. i think there's a lot of -- at
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the individual level i get asked and ensure mike does, , too, wht can we do? what you can do is next tuesday, is vote. that is and ever, a cherished future of our system and we, all of us, as individuals need to protect it by exercising. >> the challenge is how the institutions push back against the most norm busting president in our history without violating their own norms? and so, for example, in front of you now are two career intelligence officers on the edge of violating their own norms by being here the fact were both under contract with seen income as you suggested earlier, my goodness, that's really different. >> we are not alone. you have maclaughlin, phil mudd,
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john brennan, all of the because we deeply feel about what is going on in the country. the line -- talk to another -- [inaudible] >> but the unifying thought i think that we share is that this isn't normal. we shouldn't pretend that it is normal. we should keep emphasizing it's not normal. but again, how do we do that without violating our own norms? jin is career military. i am career military. donald trump is the commander-in-chief, no question about that. i'll give you a real-world example. how does the northcom commander talk about the security theater that is his operational order to send 5000 troops to the southern border? i mean, look at the moral and
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professional dilemma that the officer is in, obeying what is undoubtedly a legal order, but clearly done for political rather than strategic or tactical effect. what is it he allows himself to say? and something you won't see, what is it he allows himself to tell his people? what does he tell his troops? >> very good question. why don't we -- some over here and it will come back to the there is one mic or -- >> from the bottom of my heart and i'm sure everyone's bottom of heart, thank you. [applause] >> so what you talk about is so fundamental to the survival of our democracy and the world --
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>> can you hear me? >> it so fundamental. thank you for what you are doing as former senior government and intelligence officials, and there are some other form officials, but there are very few current officials or republicans in congress that are willing to say the line has been crossed. and accepting your point that in order to do that you to violate your norms. at some point that line gets so dangerous. the example you just use of a valid military order, is the commander-in-chief, he can give orders, but when will we start to see, what will it take for members of the military, members of the administration, or republican members of congress to start to stand up and say,
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it's gone too far? >> let me start with the institutions and to quickly jump to congress. again, the institutions have to try to observe their norms. you realize that fixing a norm busting policy by busting your own norms adds to the damage being done to institutions and processes. you really have got to be careful. this is probably not going to help him. with tv cameras rolling but i think dan coats is been quite masterful over the last six to eight months. he doesn't pick a fight, doesn't beat his chest but he answers questions about geostrategic issues and a very straightforward, honest way and it seems to be fairly indifferent whether or not he is on the same page as the hymnal or not as the folks down to the joint chiefs and the secretary, i think their response to the transgender van tweet by the
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president was about as close to the edge as you can get. and there the issue was the president tweeted from the residence one morning when he was scheduled to give a long briefing on his options regard to transgender troops, right, 80 tweeted it's over, they are done, they are not going to be in the military. and the problem for the chiefs was that they may or may not have had a different view three, four, five years ago by transgender troops, and now they were there troops and they had a moral commitment to these people because they were on the team. the ethic would not allow them to abandon them. the issue is still under study and the department of defense budget if institutions in the executive branch. what is odd is it's a constitutional limit on the president should be article one guys pick should be the
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congress. that only is congress not limiting the president to date, the president has been lifting his party in congress to beat up the agencies of the executive branch that he cannot seem to bring to heal simply by executive fiat. i've never seen anything like that in my life. >> the fragility of our institution. i think, i i completely agree h mike about dan coats and another one i would site is chris wray, director of the fbi. they have been out there picking fights but when the occasion calls for, they very quietly and effectively made the point you to be made. i thought it was a very courageous thing dan coats did after helsinki, that statement he came up with. i'm thought about this could be it, but he stood on a principle, and that's why i think there's a really double burden, heavy
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burden on the leaders of these institutions, particularly, to thread that fine line as mike characterizes it between standing up for what's right and not violating the norms. >> i want to second the motion that, thank you very much for being here. you guys are the best of america, and my question is -- [applause] what do you do about saudi arabia in light of current events? >> i tell you -- [laughing] >> this obviously is a company policy, and mike may disagree with this but i think we should of been much more stalwart response to that. and i mean by that come cutting
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off diplomatic relations. conveying a message that that behavior is completely unacceptable. and arms deals be damned. >> explain what -- >> i diplomat, the term that is used in the diplomatic world for telling somebody to leave. >> the ambassador did it to himself. >> he left. he is technically welcomed to return. >> right. >> but we didn't do that. and this, you know, trying to rationalize behavior, i mean, the president does have what we call very elastic evidentiary standards that he conveniently applies and that is certainly the case here. >> i i wrote a piece for the hi, 10:00 yesterday, about 1300 words on on this and i try to
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walk through. first point i want to make is this possible tough call for the president. this is not an easy question for any president. we talked earlier about, the words matter and he set the context and okay, he's not responsible for the synagogue killing, but you know. actions matter and that's what we've been complaining for two years. what we have done in a with the kingdom is personalized it. between the young minister of just about everything in the white house and the crown prince, a 37 euros and a 33-year-old. we don't will not have an ambassador in riyadh, we haven't even nominate an ambassador to riyadh. rather than having the structures of government which i think jim, it gives a better chance of being i think tougher as you suggest after the murder,
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we have this thing based on a personal relationship which is structurally procedurally wrong. and if you keep doing stuff wrong, over time that things, there will be consequences for that. what i point out in the article is they did, they intended and he had to know. all right? and now the intel guys have got to stand in the room, giving the president that information and refusing to budge. and, frankly, in that private moment, having the price vice president of international student advisor and saying, you realize if the other branch asks us, we're going to tell them the same thing, too. that's hard. and again back to institution i to go until george bush wrote an present -- unpleasant things but i never felt it would threaten my -- i i worked for the
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president. >> there was a question right over here. >> former cia. now teaching at the catholic university of america and they teach undergraduates about intelligence and security. a lot of them are interested in those careers. what do i tell them? what advice you have over these people in college who are interested in serving the country intelligence and the condition? >> i know mike has done the same thing i've done we have trooped around a lot of colleges and universities, and i have personally found it very encouraging, very motivating that there are a lot of great young people out there that are very interested in public service, cynically in the national security arena. and in intelligence. now, what i tried to tell them is what attracted me, but i was
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motivated to stay in as long as they did, that it is a noble profession. sacred public trust. there's the satisfaction you get by being part of a larger than yourself and contrary to the safety and security of the country. and i have been uniformly, no college or university that i've been to, and they? and small ones, and i have come always run into a cadre of our young people that still want to serve and are still interested in it, despite the current atmosphere. >> what i generally safe for young folks is go do it, work hard, make this president better than he otherwise would be. and i say take good notes, keep them in the drawer. [laughing] you have to protect yourself. i have a different story, the more senior you get here in the more senior you get, the more
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i'm saying he may not want to go do this, all right? because if you are a very senior person in the administration, you have to decide, number one, whether you have any effect. and that's how this will be on you forever so if you not have an effect, you ought to think twice but be on that at ethical level, will you be the guardrail you think you're going to be, or will your presence give the administration more legitimacy than it would otherwise have? >> so you're in the job right now in the presence has sent 5000 troops down to the order to deal with his imaginary crisis you say no? do you quit? do you do it? >> know what is common on, your come on the front lines have to make. but this is just the kind of
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question that i think that secretary mattis would have to think long and hard about. let me say one of the thought. go back to the intelligence part look, if we have the current turmoil and you also want have a session, he and i would be a and you all would be complaining about all the stuff we used to do in government, all right? what is surveillance, detentions, interrogations, targeted killings, all stuff. those are edgy things and things that we legitimately need to debate and argue about and are we right. but the only take their legitimacy, the only take their legitimacy by being attached to a higher moral purpose. you doubt the government embraces that higher moral purpose, this loses its legitimacy and its validity.
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>> one more. i will say in the end, those are really highly personal decisions. having come to doubt myself a couple of times, what you wait is, well, if i resign, is that going to be more disruptive that if i stay? and i think, you do way those kind of factors and i'm sure jim mattis, you know, he thinks about that as well. anybody in those positions would. >> one more back there. >> thank you all for coming. i have a question about this administrations diplomacy. our president has kind of cozied up to autocrats and has disrupted our relationships with
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our traditional allies. normally, president go visit candid on the first trip abroad. he went to saudi instead. and so, and you hear him talk about this lovefest kim jong-un. what is a long-term impact of the disruption in our traditional or strong, with our strongest allies, and what kind of damage is this doing or is this likely to be doing in terms of the willingness of our allies to cooperate with us and share intelligence with us, work with us on bigger global issues? >> two weekends in -- >> by the way, i want to say director clapper, i've read your book this summer. it was fantastic. thank you, and a look forward to reading yours, general hayden. >> i appreciate the plug of the book.
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well, let me give you one example, bill, that i can't speak fairly authoritatively to and so one time in australia the horrific time i had with this chilean national university, spent a month there last year this year, just got back. there's great concern i know among australians and canadians particularly, and the british, our closest five allies, about the path of america. our we going to get out of the traditional role we played championing democracy ever since world war ii? we kind of set the framework for the international order. this is very disconcerting to our friends and allies overseas. when i told the australians this year is look, you just can't
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keep wringing your hands over your discomfort with the behavior of this administration. and i said you need to look, if i can be so presumptuous, american telling them, you need to look for opportunities to fill those boys. you need to find alliances you can form. if you proceed the leadership void, and of the people have to fill it. and you know, you see people, you see like japan, china stepping up to that and figure out ways using power they can help fill the leadership void, with the tpp which i thought was a terrible mistake to withdraw from that. ..
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intelligence relationships with lots of countries around the world. those are pretty deep and durable and i believe they will at least to this point have withstood the assaults, if you will, caused by confusion about our leadership role. it's a juxtaposition to embrace autocrats and at the same time, diss our traditional friends and allies. it's very disconcerting to me. >> it's a great question, and good point to end on. the american strategy of the world will not last. the last 75 years, it's written down, ncs68, authored by paul nitzka.
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i actually downloaded it and reread it. one of the most used words in the document, it's a strategic document that truman requested, one of the most used words in the document, and there are pages of paeons to this concept as being something necessary to ensure a world in which american values could survive, was the word diversity. it is throughout the document. it also called for a robust american role in order -- american values, american society, american democracy cannot survive in a world that is hostile to those values and therefore, we must do what we can to create a world in which those values are survivablsurvi. there are three things within the document less clear than the pillars of our approach, back to your question of how tough is this, how much longevity will it
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have. there are three things that governed our course of action. number one, immigration is a natural advantage to the united states. alliances are a strategic asset. and free trade is good for america and good for the world. all three of those now are not assumptions. all three of those are jump balls in american society and i think that's one reason why you get, i get it, too, so much nervousness. jim talked about australia. i was in norway in late august. i'm walking around a trade show, got recognized and a norwegian came up and talked to me, made a couple mild complaints about where we are as a country, then said i grew up in a world in which a great and powerful nation wished my country well. my grandchildren do not live in that world. >> thank you to you both. it's very fascinating. thank you all for coming. [ applause ]
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>> thank you, everyone. our next panel starts here at 1:15. i look forward to seeing you back in your seats in the next 12 minutes. thank you.
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>> so a break in the security forum with former director of national intelligence, james clapper and former cia director michael hayden addressing some of the threats to democratic institutions. it's hosted by george mason university in virginia. the break expected to last about 15 minutes. we will return with live coverage at that time. in the meantime, a discussion on voting rights from earlier this week. >> the book "who's counting, how fraudsters and bureaucrats put your vote at risk" and here in washington, kristen clark, president and executive director of the lawyers committee for civil rights under law. to both of you, thanks for being with us. let me begin with the "new york times" sunday review blocking the ballot box, elections are not just about who is running,
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it's also about who is allowed at the polls. kristen clark, how do you answer that? >> you know, i think it's an important question for us to be asking a week and a half out from the midterm election cycle. this midterm election season has been like none other in the sense that we have seen widespread and rampant voter suppression efforts at the local and state level in many communities across the country, and ground zero for this, perhaps, has been georgia. we have seen local officials on the ground in places like randolph county working to shutter seven of nine polling sites in an area that is rural, has a large african-american population. we were able to defeat that effort. now we're fighting secretary of state brian kemp at the state level, who has resurrected a discriminatory scheme called exact match, where he rejects or flags as pending voter registration forms that have
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information that doesn't match perfectly information in the state's data base. we know these data bases are riddled with errors and so the likelihood you may have a number or space or hyphen that doesn't square perfectly with the data base's is incredibly problematic. this is a season where we see officials really erecting unnecessary and burdensome hurdles and barriers to make it harder for americans to have their voice heard on election day. >> let me follow up on that point because there's a piece this morning in the "weekly standard" saying don't blame him. the voter suppression rap on brian kemp is unfair, pointing out those provisional ballots are actually real ballots those people will have a chance to vote, to make sure they are the right individuals. who's right in this? >> well, i don't think this is a case of all good versus all bad. i think we have two civil rights at stake here. one is for many years, we have had voter suppression and
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complete discriminatory behavior, especially in the american south. we passed the civil rights bill to make sure there wouldn't be poll taxes, to make sure there wouldn't be discriminatory literacy laws. we need to extend those rights into the future and make sure that everyone has the right to vote without being intimidated. at the same time, all of your viewers have another civil right, which is the right not to have your ballot canceled out by someone who shouldn't be voting, someone who is in prison, hasn't gotten that are rights back, someone who moved out of state, someone who's dead, someone who doesn't exist, someone who is a non-citizen, and 16 years ago, when there was a bipartisan coming together after 9/11 and the florida recount, we passed the help america vote act. the democratic co-sponsor of that bill, senator chris dodd of connecticut, said we can do both, we can both protect the right to vote and we can make sure it's hard to cheat. we can do both and that's what the law did. part of that law said the federal government in exchange for giving the states money to
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buy better voting machines, had the right to go in and sue the state if those data bases were riddled with errors. in some states, 15%, 20%, 25% of the people on the rolls are inaccurate. well, the obama administration for eight years specifically said we are not going to sue, we're not going to enforce that provision, so you had data bases in georgia that were riddled with errors. the legislature passed the law, it went through judicial review and it said if there's not a match, you have to go to the polls, cast your provisional ballot or bring your i.d., and show that you are who you say you are, and correct the error. those provisional ballots are going to be counted if the voters' information is accurate. i don't think we want to make this more divisive than it has to be in this overheated election season. i think we can do both. we can protect the right to vote and we can protect the integrity of the ballot. >> in an op-ed published today, you write major problems with our voter registration system
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have been tolerated for years. a 2012 report by the pugh center found that more than 1.8 million dead people were registered to vote. in 2.75 million were registered in more than one state, a total of 24 million registrations were either invalid or inaccurate, making the system vulnerable to fraud. kristen clarke, your response to john fund's op-ed. >> you know, i agree with some of his points. all americans deserve the right to vote. we struck down literacy tests and poll taxes but he's being disingenuous by not recognizing the real threat. here in 2018, some of those efforts he talked about from the '60s, we have left behind, but no doubt today we see officials purging the registration rolls, undertaking so-called consolidation of polling sites, implementing measures like exact match and these are schemes that, when we look, they
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disproportionately impact minority voters and lock out the voices of eligible americans who deserve to have their voices heard. the real threat to the integrity of the process that he talks about comes when we talk about things like russia. russia working actively to undermine our elections. machines that are outdated and hackable. issues playing out right now in texas, where voters are putting their vote on a machine and you have the state recognizing that there is an issue where those votes are being switched over to another candidate. let's talk about machines we need to update and modernize them. let's deal with the russia threat and not focus on these rules and barriers that really lock out americans from our polls. >> john, your response? >> well, of course we should worry about updating our machines. we spend one-tenth of the money we spend on atm machines at banks on our voting machines.
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we should upgrade them. but kristen mentioned texas. you might want to be interested in knowing that in texas, the attorney general has indicted four people in a voter fraud ring which was basically stealing people's absentee ballots from mailboxes, filling them in or going to elderly homes and assisting them improperly filling out their ballots. it turns out that scheme was paid for by the former director of the democratic party in ft. worth. so of course there are problems in texas but there are also problems on the voter fraud side. you know, we always are told that voter fraud doesn't exist. well, one of the reasons we can say that for some people is we don't actually look for it. in 2013, the new york city department of investigation which is the official city agency looking into fraud and abuse, sent out a bunch of undercover agents. what they did is they went and tried to vote in the names of people who were dead, people who were pel felons or people who h moved out of state. they made 61 attempts to vote.
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97% of them succeeded. 97%. in other words, because they didn't ask for i.d. in new york, anybody could walk in, give a name and could vote. the only three times they were stopped was when there were mistakes that were so obvious that no one would have not noticed them, and because the felon who was trying to vote in the name of the son of the election official he was dealing with was being impersonated by one of these undercover agents and the mother said you can't vote, i know my son and you're not my son. so if we had investigations along this line, we would find there are problems everywhere. we should look at the voting machines. we should look at the hacking. we should look at voter integrity. we should look at these rolls that have 24 million inaccurate entries which the obama administration didn't address. and we should look at voter fraud. we should look at all of these things and not cherry-pick them. >> let me put one other issue on the table, john fund. this is a piece available on the "new yorker" website. voter suppression tactics in the age of trump. he quotes the nonpartisan
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brennan center for justice that 99 bills in predominantly republican legislatures designed to diminish voter access in 31 states around the country. is that true or not? >> well, unfortunately, since the help america vote act, this has become too partisan an issue. i wish that were not the case, because i think voter integrity is something both parties can come together on. in rhode island they had a serious voter fraud problem in providence a few years ago. the democratic secretary of state ralph morell partnered with the senior democratic minority state senator, howard metz, in the legislature and the speaker of the house, mr. fox, who was also african-american. all three of them passed a voter i.d. bill in rhode island which is overwhelmingly dk emocratic. it was signed by the governor, who was not a republican. that law is working well today. i wish we had that kind of cooperation not just in rhode island but other states. this has become heavily politicized.
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i don't think it needs to be and i don't think it should be. i think there are ways to compromise. maybe we can discuss the things coming up in which, rather than spend money on all these legal lawsuits, we can actually get people i.d.s, clean up the voter rolls, improve the voting machines and give everybody confidence our elections are free and fair. >> talking about access to voting and the "new york times" sunday review is focusing on this very issue. two pieces blocking the ballot box and also, how to make a vot voter, remind voters about their ability to cast their ballots. from your standpoint, kristen clarke, does this prevent people from going to the polls? >> we don't want to discourage or deter people from going out and exercising that most sacred right in our democracy, the right to vote. we want to make it easier. when we look at how the united states measures up to other modern democracies around the globe we are always near the bottom when it comes to turnout and participation. that's for one reason. that's because we have become
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adept in some ranks of the country for promoting voter i.d. laws and other restrictions that make it harder to get on to the registration rolls. we should be talking about automatic voter registration. making election day a holiday. easing the rules on early voting and absentee voting and doing everything that we can to make sure eligible americans are able to exercise their voice on election day. instead, what we have are people who tout isolated examples here and there of vote fraud that don't measure up. what john fund leaves out is that denominator, that out of hundreds of millions of votes cast in elections in our country, vote fraud is not widespread, but instead, what we see are laws that have measurable impact on tens of thousands of voters who want to participate in our democracy. >> we want you to participate in
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this conversation. 748-8001 for republicans, 748- -- >> i am honored to be here for this important panel about the future of the rule of law. it is especially exciting for the national constitution center to collaborate with ypo and the antonin scalia law school to discuss these crucial questions. the constitution center is a unique nonpartisan, nonprofit created by the u.s. congress to increase awareness and understanding of the u.s. constitution among the american people. the best way to understand the challenges before us is to educate yourself about the constitution and i want you all to do that by going to the constitution center's online interactive constitution, which brings together the top liberal and conservative scholars in america nominated by the federalist society and the american constitution society, to write about every clause of
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the constitution, describing what they agree about and what they disagree about. that remarkable model is a reminder that the u.s. constitution is the great charter of human freedom that unites us in these polarized times and will be the anchor for our discussion about the future of the rule of law. we have a remarkable series of panelists. you have their bios. we will jump right in because our goal in this important session is to identify what are the central challenges to the rule of law and to begin to talk about solutions. so david frist, ken baker, and david, i will begin with you because you have worked with the independent counsel and you are the world expert on this question. when you look at the independent counsel and congressional oversight and presidential interactions, what do you see as the greatest threat to the rule of law? >> well, right now there's a considerable amount of debate about the correct scope of
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congressional oversight, and it's obviously in flux between the justice department on the one hand, certain members in the legislative branch on the other hand. one of the most interesting aspects of that stress right now is i think our system is well designed to accommodate inter-branch rivalries where the executive branch on the one hand, legislative branch on the other are having a fight about whether and to what extent certain documents or information has to be conveyed from the executive to the legislature. what's interesting here and what i think our system is maybe not as well designed to accommodate is where you have not just an inter-branch rivalry but an intra-branch rivalry where you have essentially the justice department, the fbi standing up for traditional prerogatives that are dear to them and important to them to maintain the integrity of their investigations, you seem to have the white house aligned with certain elements of congress in a different point of view, and that's an unusual split and it
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puts an unusual strain on the system, the separation of powers that we have. >> very interesting and important observation. congress designed ordinarily to check the presidency, maybe working with the presidency in this case as you are suggesting to undermine an independent investigation. jim baker, you served in the fbi at the highest levels and left the fbi under much muted circumstances. when you look at the relationship between the fbi and the white house, what do you see as the greatest threat to the rule of law? >> well, thanks for having this panel. thanks to everyone who spent time setting up. i appreciate the opportunity to be here. two things, i guess. i guess the greatest threat to the rule of law seems to me to be a lack of sustained support for the institutions of justice, i'll call them. a lack of support of those institutions over time by the american people. if the american people don't support and trust those
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institutions, then the system will not work. that's the bottom line. if i can just back up a bit and maybe this will help explain how i'm thinking about this. in preparation for this panel and through the course of my career and working with ken and david for many, many years, trying to think about what are we talking about when we talk about the rule of law, what does that mean. it's pretty tough to boil it down, i think, but i guess the way i would think about it in general, throw out a few concepts, it's really a rule-based system that, where the rules are clear, they apply to everybody, everybody, throughout the system, including the president and everybody else in the country, that we by and large agree what those rules are, and that the rules produce results that most people think
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are appropriate, that they're just, that they're fair, that they enable in this country americans to achieve the goals and objectives that are set forth in our founding documents like the constitution, declaration of independence. so when i say that what we need in order to have -- in order to protect the rule of law, the folks in charge of ensuring that we have the rule of law need to make sure that they have the sustained support of the american people over time. they need to figure out how to do that. the rule of law to me in some ways, it's not a goal in and of itself. it's not an end. it's a means. it's a means to achieve these other things that we want in this country, such as security, freedom, prosperity, justice. and -- but you can't, in my opinion, you cannot achieve those things if you don't have the rule of law. the american people need to pull
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together and believe that it is in their interest to support those institutions that provide civil society, like the fbi, like the justice department, like the other institutions of government. like the federal courts. if you don't support them, then you, the american people, are going to be at a place you really don't like because you don't appreciate how important the rule of law is to your prosperity, justice, security, et cetera. if it breaks down substantially, then we are all going to suffer substantially. >> a crucial point. liberty lives in the hearts and minds of the people when it dies there no court can save it. you are suggesting in the words that are coming up on the screen, public confidence, just and fair, suggests the legitimacy of the institutions themselves is crucial to the rule of law and when public confidence decreases in a polarized time, that itself may be the greatest threat. ken, you have been in addition to many distinctions including candidate to replace jim comey
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as fbi director, you have been a very distinguished prosecutor. as you look from the prosecutor's perspective, arguing before juries and trying to enforce the rule of law, what do you see as the greatest threat? >> yes. let me echo what jim said and thank you all for having us. this is a very timely session. i listened to mike and jim in the last session and left feeling more patriotic than i walked in and that's a testament to those two men. let me follow on something my colleague said here about the respect for the institution. i think we are realizing now, i'm going to talk about this in the context of the justice department, where i spent almost my whole career in government. you have to -- you sort of have to continue to nourish the respect for the justice department, its norms, its processes, and its pursuit of fact and truth and right. that has to come from all parts. it has to come organically out of society, of course, in order
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to get that, justice department and federal prosecutors, agents and the like need to earn that respect. it also has to come from within the government. i think what we're seeing here is actually not just a lack of respect but we are actually seeing methodical assaults on the respect that is accorded to the justice department. look, every president in the past has had his -- not his or her, but his friction with the justice department, because the attorney general and the people under him or her play a different role than any other cabinet department in the country. yes, the attorney general answers to the president, yes, he or she is the cabinet officer and a political officer who is answerable politically to the president, but also and more importantly, that person is the
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guardian of civil lib rt eertie justice. that's the higher calling that person has to respond to. you can go back to every administration, see where a president has gotten upset or frustrated with an attorney general, because he or she is doing something or pursuing a case that's contrary to the president's interests. what you haven't seen, however, is sort of methodical effort on the part of the white house to then sort of dismantle the construct of respect for the justice department and its processes that have built up over the last 200 some years. i think what we're seeing is an effort to sort of condition people into ultimately being skeptical about whatever is generated by this justice department or the special counsel's office, in order to condition people into questioning it, being skeptical of what might come out later on. there's a sort of constant drumbeat of criticism and also, an allegation or sort of this
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ongoing allegation that the department is politicized, and that way, when findings do come out, the assumption's going to be oh, those are just, you know, politics. this isn't just from the white house, just from the president. you are hearing it from other parts of government, from congress as well. i have never seen that. i never thought i would actually live to see as cynical an effort to kind of tear down the reputation the department has but we are seeing that and it's really important that the people who are in position right now, good people, are standing up, doing their jobs, answering the president but also making sure to stand up for their institution. i think those people are playing a very important role. >> that is a crucial point. direct assault on the legitimacy not only of institutions but also of facts, you're suggesting, themselves may pose a great threat on the rule of law. we should have at least one other round on the civic examples. david, you mentioned
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congressional and presidential attacks on the independent counsel. what has the president done in particular that you think poses the greatest threat to the rule of law and what might he do in the future that concerns you most? >> that's a pretty tall order. i think it's a lot of what ken just described, which is he has, i think, undertaken a systematic assault on the perceived integrity of the justice department and the fbi, and to some extent also the rest of the intelligence community, and you know, if to the extent that is not just an instrumental effort designed to plant a seed to grow against the possibility of adverse findings coming out but if this in fact reflects some genuine mistrust, that in itself is actually very disturbing, that the head of the executive
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branch has really lost faith in the integrity of his own subordinates. it's also very disturbing i think from the perspective of the people who work in those agencies. they certainly feel it from a morale perspective and one of the things i think the intelligence community sort of building off what kep wn was sag about doj and the bureau and jim was saying about the bureau, the intelligence community desperately does not want to get drawn into these political debates. an important element, a really crucial element of their culture, is to stay out of that. when they have been drawn in in the past, when they have gone in voluntarily, even, it's ended very badly for them and for the trust and confidence that the american people would have in them and that they want to have. they would like to report the facts and then cleanly hand it off to the policy makers to make
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judgments based on those facts or whatever information they can provide. they really don't, i think, want to get dragged into these larger political and metapolitical debates that i think they are being drawn into and being used as fodder for. i think that's one of the big risks that i see. if that continues, it will affect the trust and confidence of the american people in those important institutions. it could result in them being drawn into very bad activities. we have a terrible history in this country, in the period up to the mid 1970s, of grotesque abuses. we don't want to see that. we don't want to see corrosion of the underpinnings that have kept that in check. >> jim, you talked about public confidence being crucial as the rule of law. david just said the president's attacks on intelligence also sort of undermines that confidence. can you tell us again, this is supposed to be an institutional, not a partisan question, what has the president done to
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undermine confidence in the rule of law, so far as it concerns you most and what might he do in the future? >> he fired the director of the fbi because he didn't like the fact that the director of the fbi was supervising an investigation of the activities with respect -- the activities of a foreign power, hostile foreign power, in the united states concerning an election. that's the biggest thing that has happened. >> yet everyone agrees he had the legal right to do that but you're suggesting that undermined the norms. >> well, i'm not everyone. so i'm not sure about that supposition. i don't want to go too deep into that, but i would say that -- let me just speak in general. >> forgive me for presuming. there are good legal arguments on both sides of hard questions. what of the argument the firing of jim comey was legal? >> in general, it seems to me
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the president has certainly substantial authority as general hayden talked about last panel, the president has substantial authority under article ii and as a result of all the statutes that congress has passed to give him even more power, as well as the fact that the president has the bully pulpit which today includes twitter and can communicate directly with the american people and can lead the country in a number of different ways. the president has hard power and soft power in a way that no other figure in the country has. so the president has a lot of authority under article ii. the president doesn't have unlimited authority under article ii and the president has to execute his responsibilities under article ii fully and in conformance with his other responsibilities in connection with the constitution.
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so what i mean by that, for example, the president cannot take an action in my opinion as part of his executive authority that would be contrary, for example, to his oath of office. that would be contrary to his obligation under article ii to take care that the laws are faithfully executed which means the whole body of laws, the whole mass of laws. what president lincoln talked about in the 1860s. that is the president's responsibility, to somehow make sure that all those laws are executed properly and that the country is protected, and that the constitutional form of government is protected, especially from a foreign power. so without commenting directly on the president's -- this president's actions with respect to director comey, i think we need to view a president, a president's actions, in context and consistent with all of the responsibilities that a president has under the
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constitution, not just pick and choose parts of the constitution or articles or clauses and view them in isolation. >> thank you for that. ken, when the president was seeking a replacement for director comey, you were among the most popular candidates from fbi officers themselves, which was a great tribute. what are your thoughts on jim's suggestions that the firing of jim comey may have posed a threat to the rule of law, whether or not it was technically illegal, and what are the president's responsibilities under the take care clause that may be challenged? >> i will do a classic d.c. move and actually answer the question before. the one before is what's the worst thing, it's very important, what is the impact of sort of the current environment on people on the ground in law
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enforcement. prosecutors and agents who are doing the job. we are federal prosecutors and i think about what it's like now to stand up in front of a jury and say as a prosecutor, when i did it, 150 years ago, whenever it was, i stood up, you had this sense abroad in the news, there were facts and there were unalterable facts and the job of the jury and the job of the prosecutor was to lead the jury to those facts, and that's still the job, obviously, and it's the opposite job of the defense attorney to get up there and argue the facts as he or she sees them. i just wonder, this isn't something that's going to happen overnight, but i just wonder whether sort of the drip, drip effect of constant talk of fake news, of assertions by people, and this is across the board,
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this moment now, i think we realize now we are coming to this moment for a long time. this didn't happen with one election or one political term, this has happened over time. we now have people hating facts in a very bold-faced way that they know are wrong. these are people at highest levels of our government, throughout government, and it's being discussed publicly that this is an absolute lie. maybe i just have a rose-colored view of my childhood but i don't remember that being the case. i just wonder whether that's going to have an impact on the american people who then make up the juries who are listening to government officials say things are facts. that's sort of the jury trial is the most obvious example of it but you can imagine, you know, that's what you do as a prosecutor. you are asserting a version of facts and you just wonder whether that's going to breed skepticism over time. that's one of the issues i'm very concerned about.
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that's a very sort of practical, process-based rethreat to the re of law. people no longer have confidence, not just confidence in prosecutors because they should -- juries should always be skeptical what prosecutors say because we have a job to do, but sort of skeptical about the enunciation of fact, the finding of fact. i just wonder whether that's really going to undermine what is one of the most wonderful legal systems in the world. >> david, we are seeing that polarization of facts in everything from juries to the recent supreme court hearings where people viewed the same facts through a different lens. i will return to the future question. what is the thing the president might do in the future that you think would pose the greatest threat to the rule of law, threaten a constitutional crisis, although the definition of that term is important, and given the polarization of facts, how might america react? >> i will answer that at least provisionally. then i want to bounce back off
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what ken just said. i can imagine a couple of things that would provoke a real crisis maybe in the near term if the president did not like and claims not to believe in the integrity of the outcome of an election or the apparent outcome of an election, whether it be the midterms or whether it be the next presidential election, that is where i think you could get into some really, really deep water really fast. and if he questions the legitimacy of the apparent outcome and claimed possession of the white house was nine tenths of the law and he was not going to relinquish possession at the extreme, i'm not suggesting that he would do that, but if you are looking for a frightening hypothetical, you can take that one to bed with you tonight. just spreading joy and good cheer. i think two things that ken's
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comment provoked in me. one was this horrified feeling of yeah, we are guys now who talk about the old days when we were prosecutors and somehow, i don't know what happened, but we're old now. and the other thing is just sort of listening to the wisdom of jim and ken, i'm struck at the relationship between rule of law and culture and how for good or ill, i think it's a source of both hope and maybe concern, you see how contingent culturally rule of law is. my constitutional law professor in law school said if three generations of americans in a row hates the u.s. constitution or any part of the u.s. constitution, it will not keep them in check. we will have some change, whether that's through the official amendment process, whether it's through some kind of court packing plan or whether it's some other method. what i think we have seen here
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is an illustration of the continuum on which rule of law at the constitutional level, the statutory level, the regulatory level and even down at the sort of sub-law norm level, are all connected up and it's i'm sure very disturbing, it can be very disturbing for those who really think of the rule of law as an ultimate safe harbor, immune in some absolute way like the laws of physics from the turbulent forces of our politics over time. that could be very disturbing. maybe it is turbulent all the way down. on the other hand, it's a source of hope because we are constantly, whether we want to be or not, in a process of renewing and changing our culture, including our respect for rule of law, and so we can stop the assault on the rule of law and we can, as a country, through our ongoing back and forth and conversation and events like this one, renew our
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commitment and our faith there. so we as a country are in the driver's seat. it is contingent, for good or ill at some level, i think, we can really bend and stretch and change, but that means renewal is also available to us even if things are not going well at any particular moment. >> i will ask each of you about what you suggest to encourage that renewal in a moment. jim, do you want to take a crack at the halloween hypothetical as well? what's the thing that could happen that would most threaten rule of law? >> i'm not going to take a crack at that one. there's a lot of hypotheticals and so on. i would, if you don't mind, pick up on what david was talking about in terms of the culture which loops back to what i was talking about earlier. as experienced managers know, the most important aspect of any organization is the culture. that's what really makes or breaks the success of an organization. so when you start talking about the united states, one of the
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things that we have had, yes of course we have had very, very bitter differences throughout our history, but we have had a political culture that has embraced, that has valued the rule of law as something to be cherished, something that made us different from other countries, something that made us special, something that made us exceptional. the rule of law has made us exceptional. so to the extent that there's an erosion in that through this sort of drumbeat of criticism about the institutions, about the people in the institutions, about the rules and so on, i think that's what will undermine the rule of law over the long run and maybe i'm worried a bit that it may be faster than three generations in terms of how david was talking about it. it could be quicker than that. i don't know. we are in a very volatile world where information spins around extremely quickly. i would adjust whiled just whil
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the floor here, we are in a different era. when people talk about going back to something in the past, that's wishful thinking. something significant has changed. our political culture has changed. i think that we all need to adapt to that. we need to figure out how to operate in this new environment. the way the president operates in terms of the media and interacting with people, and the way that folks respond to that i think is going to be a permanent fixture of our politics going forward. however you want to calculate it, some substantial percentage of the people in the united states support the president and appear to do so very strongly and even when the president leaves office, they will not just magically disappear. they have views and they have perspectives and i think that it's incumbent upon those of us who agree with them about a lot of things, disagree with them
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about a lot of things, but to figure out and understand how they think, how they view the rule of law, how they view political institutions, how they view the outcomes of these institutions. as general hayden was saying, many, many folks in this country feel the winds of globalism and other factors in their faces, undermining their ability to achieve what people describe as the american dream. i think if those of us who are trying to defend the rule of law don't focus on that, then we are not going to be able to defend it effectively over the long run. >> okay. ken, you can take the halloween hypothetical if you would like, but on the thought you are probably not going ton't wa to do that, we can turn to solutions. the three of you identified an urgent national closeness, the undermining of a common understanding of facts and undermining of the legitimacy of our democratic institutions which is making it impossible for red and blue america to perceive the rule of law in the
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same way. this group has convened to come up with solutions to this urgent question facing our democracy and we have about 20 minutes left to solve it. ken, first to you. start at the prosecutor level. you are arguing before a jury, you have these jurors who see facts in different ways. how do you speak to them in a way that can help them converge around a common understanding of facts? >> look, i think that's a reality i think they've got an additional cross to bear, additional challenge than we did when we were going into court, because there is sort of greater skepticism and there's wider divergence in the way people are viewing facts and there's belief in the fallibility of facts. you have to meet with a higher level of evidence and you need to go on recognizing that. i think, though, in terms of just how to deal with this, this
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being the criticism and sort of the love in a lot of ways that's coming from all directions, it goes back to what i think, david, you said, the people who are running the justice department are really the guardians of the culture and the mission of the justice department. they have to keep that in mind with every decision they make. i have been very proud of the people who are in those positions who have, and this is not a white house versus doj thing, not doj versus congress thing. it's just doj trying to deal and operate in these very rough seas. so you have situations where statements have been made that are contrary to the culture or the mission of the justice department and the leadership has stood up. a for instance is at one point, just sort of an off-the-cuff
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comment by the president at some point, he said maybe when you put these bad guys in the squad car, it's okay, cops, if you knock him around a little bit. look, i don't remember the context in which he said that. i understand we watch tv and the heroes on cop shows often get a couple extra licks in and nobody seems to have a concern about it. but it's absolutely imperative that the leaders of a law enforcement agency have strictly black and white rules about things, and not allow any deviation, even if it might be human nature, after like a highly charged, you know, case or whatever, get a bad guy, maybe it's sort of human nature that you would take a lick but you cannot sanction that as the leader of a law enforcement agency. you recall chuck rosenberg, head of the dea at the time, and he issued something to all personn personnel, and once again,
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whether it was a joke or what, i don't remember, but just to be absolutely clear, he said that is not something that we can countenance. that was chuck realizing that something that might have been some sort of off-the-cuff comment that wasn't intended as, you know, a recalibration of the rules of engagement for law enforcement officials could have that impact, because it came out of the president, because it came from the president. so he was thinking long-term. he was thinking about how to maintain the culture of his agency and he did a real service to the dea at that time. that's the kind of thing we have seen over and over where i think the leaders of our justice department have sort of, i think the intelligence community as well, have sort of been watching for this incoming and making sure not only just to protect themselves and protect the department but also protect the culture which is so critical to its effectiveness and frankly, its alignment with the law and our constitutional values. >> that's a great example.
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david, in that severity, can you identify profiles in courage and exams of individuals standing up to the rule of law that strike you as instructive and if you want to put any other solutions on the table, that would be great. >> i was going to mention the example with chuck as well because i found it to be very compelling. i have seen chris wray in congressional testimony be very strong and very clear that he is going to follow the facts where they lead and he's not going to be pushed around or influenced by the kind of partisan political concerns and i have been impressed by the strength of those statements. i think that's another example. it doesn't have to be quite as discreet as chuck's thing which was impressive, too. i have been impressed by chris when he's stood firm for what the fbi does. i think broadly speaking, it's a question of renewing our national faith in the rule of law and our respect for it which
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means a lot of different things. it can mean doing certain things, it can be refraining from different things. and finding common ground where we can. some of that's going to be very difficult. for example, i don't think either political party right now, at least any party while they're in power with the ability to do it, is going to voluntarily implement the 60 vote rule in the senate which is obviously a way of bringing people towards the center. one can imagine some kind of bargain in which we all agree that 12 years from now, regardless of who's in power, we will have the 60-vote rule then. that's an example of something that's harder to implement but one can imagine it having a centering effect. i think one of the things that we may find over time is that people maybe get fed up with some of the extreme behaviors, whether those be outright lying or questioning facts. there are behaviors undertaken now with alarming regularity
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which not very long ago, certainly in our, i already commented on how old we are, in our lifetimes would have been absolutely and immediately disqualifying, i think. and you know, it would have been like the person's having a breakdown. they are obviously unfit. it's not limited just to the president, frankly. some of our national riddle of faith may be an intolerance for certain kinds of extremist behaviors. so part of the rule of law is tolerance and some of it is intolerance for certain kinds of ab aberant behaviors that will be out of bounds. that's an important thing to recapture as well. where do we want to be on what's in and what's out of bounds for people in the national political life. >> that is very healthy. you both identified a profile in courage, chris wray and also a structural change, resurrecting the 60-vote rule which reminds
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us that this is not a partisan question of the president's behavior alone, but changes in our institutions themselves like the senate which has become so polarized that both parties are pushing things through on party line votes. it didn't used to occur. in 1960 there was a 50% overlap between the most liberal republican and the most conservative democrat. in congress today, there is no overlap and the signature achievements of both president obama and president trump were pushed through on party line votes with no votes from the other side, the affordable care act and the tax law, unlike what is presumed before us. you have identified structural changes that can take place. great brainstorming. structural or profiles in courage or other solutions, we must hear your views on how to resurrect a culture of the rule of law. >> to quote somebody from a movie, how do i know, i can't even explain how the toaster works. but a couple things come to
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mind. i'm sort of back with ken with his prosecutor and if i could add, fbi agents in the courtroom. i think a couple different things real quick. the main thing is integrity. people in the system have to maintain their personal integrity and professional integrity at all times. that includes always telling the truth. always telling the truth. even if it hurts. even if it hurts in the short term, because in the long term, you will be better off for it. telling the truth to juries, acknowledging facts that don't fit but dealing with them in some effective way, always telling the truth to a court. those types of things. telling the truth when you are part of the justice system is essential. if you don't do that, you're not going to have the integrity that is required to serve in those kinds of positions, you really shouldn't be there. but i have confidence that people who are attracted to this line of work have such integrity and just need to make sure that they operationalize that, if you will, every single day. the other thing i think is for
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folks in higher levels of the institutions to think deeply about what their values are and to have those very clear in their minds, and in order to be able to confront the situations that they will confront, because many of the situations that they have to confront today, there is no book to look up and answer to a particular type of question. we are in a new place. norms that we are used to are and have been broken. so people i think, myself, often found myself in situations where there was no precedent. there was no clear precedent. there was no book to go to. there was no case i could look up how to deal with this particular situation. so myself and others were doing their best to try to figure out how best to stick to our values which i would submit are core american values, how to implement those values in this situation this is novel.
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i think that's one of the biggest challenges that you face and related to that, i think, the thing that loops back to integrity, which is speaking truth to power. when you have an opinion that is different from what somebody else's is who might have a position higher than you, you need to say -- you need to speak your mind. in my opinion, that's what the american people are paying you for. it's not just to go along and be a yes person. it's to speak up, have integrity and you will have to deal with the consequences. those consequences, the short term nature of those, pale in comparison to the long-term benefits for yourself, for your family, for the country. >> a crucial point. the word integrity is on the screen and you are reminding us that it's central to the success of the constitutional system. the great chief justice and former president william howard taft introduced the noble tradition of confessing error when the government thinks it should not have won its case because of a constitutional
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violation. you are suggesting that that kind of self-restraint both on the part of officials and also of citizens themselves is necessary for the success of the rule of law. this is really important brainstorming. just another thing i will throw into the mix. is the structural challenge of social media a big part of this? the fact that citizens are making decisions at warp speed that officials are communicating with their most idealogically mobilized base, is challenging the madisonian notion of reason rather than passion prevailing and if that's part of the challenge to the rule of law, what on earth can we do about that? >> again, your second question, i'm not sure there is much we can do about that. there's this thing called the first amendment. in terms of diagnosing the problem, yeah, social media is exacerbating the problem but it's not a problem that started with social media. you can go back and look at the 24-hour news cycle. the fact that you now have news
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outlets that are sort of perfectly happy to be identified as being on one side as opposed to the other, not the walter n conkrite kind of approach. you go to certain parts of this country, they get all their news from one channel and you go to another part, they get it from another channel and it's filtered through a particular filter. these phenomena have developed over the last decade or two which are leading to greater polarization. a greater manipulation of facts and truth. and i think it led to countless things i would call social ills which include deeper divides politically in our country, deeper divide about the values of our country, and a generation of strong feelings to the point of hate that are leading to some
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of the horrible tragedies we saw just in the last week or two. >> that is a crucial point. polarization is the underlying cause of this collapse of agreement about facts and the rule of law and that's caused not only by social media but by older technologies like cable news and by other broader causes, like the big sort which is leading red and blue america to live in different geographic areas and consume different media and that is a problem that is not easily solved. i think that we have just a moment for questions from the audience so let us do so. yes, sir. >> thank you. my name is herman, and i must say i'm a little surprised or shocked at the lack of balance so far at this conference. i was expecting a little more from george mason university. but i mean, there's been a lot
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of hand-wringing by the panelists about rule of law under president trump. i'm wondering if the panelists had as much hand-wringing when obama was president. you had like federal law against use and possession of marijuana, the president decided just to ignore states that were passing laws to legalize marijuana, you had his executive order involving daca, then you had the defense of marriage act which obama had decided we're not going to defend it. did you all have the same concerns about the rule of law when mr. obama was president? >> that is a crucial question. it is urgently important on this panel that we identify which of the changes we're talking about are unique to this administration and which are not. you are correct, sir, that president obama used more executive orders at this point in his term than president trump
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has so david, it's a tough question but let's -- how do you answer it? is this just bashing against the current administration or is the current administration doing something different in kind as well as degree than the previous one? >> well, full disclosure to begin, i was in the first two years of the obama administration so i probably ought to be, you know, taken with a great deal of skepticism in anything that i say here. i think that every administration faces rule of law challeng challenges, as either jim or ken said, every justice department gets into tension with the white house. i think it was more pronounced in the clinton administration, another democratic administration there. attorney general reno dealt with that as she did. it's certainly not a set of problems or challenges that are unique to this administration. on the other hand, i am wary of
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suggesting that there is an equivalency there. i do perceive, i do perceive the trump administration and the president in particular as, you know, in a different class of challenge to a different degree and i think it is different in ki kind. the difference between extreme difference in degree and difference in kind can itself be fuzzy but it's no doubt in my mind that it's different than what we saw in the obama administration in which i served in the political position and the george w. bush administration in which i served in a political position. in the clinton administration and in the george h. bush administration, which was the president when i started at doj. so i don't say for a moment that these problems are unique to the trump administration. i do think societal factors, social media and other factors are in play here and
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polarization of the country is not just a symptom but a cause. but i also don't want to suggest that i believe personally that this is just more of the same out of this president as we have seen from the prior three or four. >> the question is so important, all of you should answer it. we have identified structural changes that preceded this administration, from social media to polarization as well as particular actions as well as the use of executive orders. ken, do you think that the threats to the rule of law that we're seeing are unique to this administration or not and is it a difference in degree or kind? >> that's a fair point and a fair question to ask. when i heard about this conference, and other conferences like it, the question i had, is this going to be this administration bashing conference or is it going to be an attempt to sort of isolate what is different about now and think about the implications and then think about the solutions. i like to think our panel has done the latter and i do agree
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with david that we are in a different age right now but it's naive for anybody to say this is all the fault of the administration, because this administration is both a cause and a symptom of where we are right now. i think one of the things we're realizing as we sort of look back at where we are, realizing that a lot of these developments, a lot of these sort of new social phenomenon, started a long time ago. that's just where we are now. of course, this administration came along with its approach to things but you know, we have been -- to the extent that people don't like where we are now, it's not so easy to just -- voting is very important, but we have to look at some of the underlying problems that have gotten us to where we are right now. also, i think this has been made clear in the discussion, this isn't just one branch of government. this is -- the hill has been a real problem, talking about the department of justice and the assault on the department of justice, the most direct assault in many ways have come from the
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hill. that's something, that's not new. we have had political assaults on the justice department. not criticism. criticism is appropriate. but efforts to sort of tear down the justice department in the past. i think you are seeing it sort of at a new level, especially when it comes to some of the russia related issues. so this is not -- should not be personalized to one government official, one president. obviously he, once again, is part of this, but also the cause and a symptom. you need to sort of look at it across the board. i think we are in a bad place right now. unless we sort of step back and really think about deep solutions to this, recalibrating our approach, it's only going to get worse. >> jim, same question. it's urgently important that our analysis be nonpartisan and structural rather than personal to one administration. is what we're seeing a cause or a symptom, is this president
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unique or not? >> the president is obviously different from other presidents. even he himself says so. that's what he says. i think the word i mentioned was integrity. i worked in the government under five different presidents and i think maybe seven or eight attorneys general. i would have to go back and figure that out. i think that integrity has been critical throughout for everyone in the system from the president on down, who is connected to the rule of law. i think that's the main thing we need to be focused on. that's not something you just achieve and then you're done and you can just kind of move on. you have to maintain integrity every single day in every single thing you do and throughout the institutions. that's critically important. i think as a result of that culture of integrity, that is profound at the department of
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justice, at the fbi. we have strong institutions. we have strong institutions that have great cultures, and that are enduring. they require, as i said earlier, they require the support of the american people over time to be successful. everybody, including yourself. so i do think -- and there have been issues under different administrations that i have been involved in, where i was concerned significantly about making sure that we were adhering to the rule of law, adhering to the rules, promulgated by law, and so i think it's something that we have to make sure that we maintain consistently over time, but i think we have to recognize that this president is different, has said things that are different about the institutions of justice that no other president has said, and we have to think about what that means. we have to think about what that means in terms of the impact on those institutions, in the short term, in the long term, and make
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sure we end up with a country that we want and want to live in. >> thank you again for that question. i will just say on behalf of the constitution center, that whenever i host a conversation like this, i ask citizens to separate their political from their constitutional views. in other words, don't ask what you think the government should do as a partisan matter but what the government may do under the constitution and recognize there are often good arguments on both sides of the constitutional questions. if you view things in those constitutional terms, one strong theme i have heard emerge from this really illuminating panel is that lack of faith in the institutions of government by citizens of both parties may undermine the constitutional structure itself and that is not a partisan point. it's a reality of our society that has many complicated causes and we are beginning to try to identify what to do about it and we will continue to do that. thank you. >> my question is to you, jeffrey. you wrote an article in "the atlantic" about what james
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madison would do. you talked about the mob and how he defined a mob, passion versus reason. i would like you to elaborate on that. let's segue that into solutions. we have talked about the 60-vote solution. maybe if you could start with the madisonian definition and move that towards some solution that would get us back to this central place where we can all talk to each other and not be as polarized which i think is the objective, it's the objective in this conference isn't right or left, the objective of this conference is a better democracy. help us get there. >> thank you for that. just as quickly and intensely as possible, because we are going to talk more about this solutions problem, that piece argued that madison and the other framers meant to set up not a direct democracy but a representative republic. they had read about athens and rome, they were afraid of the mob. they believed that in all large
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assemblies, passion never fails to wrest the scepter from reason. so that is why they were afraid of faction. they defined faction as a majority or minority animated by passion rather than reason devoted to self-interest rather than the public good. we have been talking about the many ways in which passionate factions or mobs have gained ascendancy ranging from the imperial presidency which communicates through executive orders and communicates directly with the people, something president obama as well as president trump did and would have been a madisonian nightmare because he feared direct communion between the presidency and the people, to a congress that now doesn't deliberate but rules by party line votes rather than regular order, to a polarized judiciary to a media and perhaps this is the most important thing, that allows immediate decisions with no time for deliberation. madison thought that the
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extended republic that made people find it hard to communicate would allow passions to dissipate but with 24/7 cable and with twitter polls, we have brexit votes and other instant decisions that would have appalled the framers. we will talk about solutions this afternoon. i don't have a laundry list of magic bullets, but you have heard today that institutional changes would be helpful, whether it's the 60-vote rule or return to regular order that makes it necessary for bills to be moved through committee rather than just imposed by party leadership, to facebook's recent decision to put higher on the news feed stuff that you actually read. so it turns out fake news travels more quickly than real news because people will pass on a sensational headline without reading it. facebook creepily knows whether or not you read something so they can decide not to put high on the feed stuff you share without reading and only stuff
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you actually read. that's a modest solution but it gives you a sense of the technological solution to this madisonian problem which is forcing people to think before they speak and vote and dig in their heels. those are two teasers. i'm sure we will solve the problem this afternoon. but in that -- well, if that's the madisonian problem, really fast deliberation that allows virtual mobs to coalesce, does any of you have a solution to that problem? slowing down deliberations, not allowing people to declare allegiance to their tribe before they have had a chance to listen to the other side? >> other than switch to decaf, not really. >> that would be cruel and unusual. >> i sometimes look at the problems we've got through the lens of the russians because you can see how they have undertaken an effort to try to exploit these divisions and we have some windows into that.
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i think it's actually instructive to see that. i think they are trying to introduce sort of a virus into the body politic and i think the solution that i tried to say here several times is a whole of nation response, not just a whole of government even response. we have to develop antibodies to these kinds of viruses. some of these viruses are self-generated, and i don't know exactly, if i did, i certainly would be sharing it, how to get people to be more deliberative, to be more skeptical about what they read on the internet, but i think ultimately, this is still a cultural thing. we have a very rapid change in the environment. we have, i think, a non-trivial change in the presidency. we are slower to adapt to that and our institutions are facing the strain. but i guess i am still optimistic that over time, one of the great strengths of an open society which i think our adversaries don't fully
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appreciate is how resilient it is, and i think culturally, through each individual becoming more skeptical about what they read on the internet and maybe reading before sharing, these kinds of low level changes across a population of 300 something million people can, over time, have an effect. we can develop the antibodies, we can develop the cultural responses that will help deal with some of these threats, so over time, you can mark me down as optimistic about america despite the incredible challenges that we're facing today. >> great. the russian example is very instructive. jim, a solution to the madisonian -- >> i don't know about solution, but i think people need to reorient themselves away from what is in their own personal interests to what is in the interests of the united states of america. in that sense, they need to put america first. in that sense. that the interests of the united states come first, before my
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personal interests. if you go talk, for example, to people in the united states military, who are willing to give their lives, their lives and everything they have and everything they ever will have, for this country, i am just in awe of people who are willing to do that. if you think of the sacrifice they are willing to make for all of us, everybody else in this country needs to think the exact same way. if they don't, then they're not really executing their responsibilities and they're not claiming their true birthright as an american, because what we get to do is give to this country. that's what we get to do. we are able to sacrifice everything for something that's as important as the united states of america. >> that is beautifully put. that is exactly what the framers thought the health of the republic depended on, people putting the public good before private interests and the whole system was designed to promote that patriotism. >> and we need leaders who are willing to emphasize those types of values. >> that's crucial.
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ken? >> just i guess one point that i think we have said maybe in different ways, but we also have to have a respect for the truth in the face of political agendas. that's what i found to be the most disillusioning aspect of the whole justice kavanaugh episode, was, you know, we can spend all day talking about different issues regarding that, but the thing i found really distressing was how many really intelligent high level people got up and said i believe x because there are two different narratives, i believe x without looking at the facts. and people were driven by political agenda and then maybe sort of more gut level preferences for one side, one version of the facts or the other. but it was one after another without regard to the fact you had some really sober voices saying look, let's look, on this side you have x, on this side
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you have y. they were few and far between. i think that was a really unfortunate aspect of our political system that played out there for all of us to see. talking about how to get ourselves out of this mess, i think political leaders need to be held responsible for not sort of exercising their gray matter in a responsible way and actually looking for the truth as opposed to just saying what they want the truth to be for their own political reasons. >> that is a central point as well. maybe that's a good -- as good as any point on which to end, that the framers thought that we would be guided by reason rather than passion and that meant investigating facts before making up our minds, and not allowing political or personal allegiances to sway us from our duty to cultivate our faculties of reason. that's what jefferson said so beautifully and what louis brandeis said so inspiring, the
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most galvanizing opinion about free speech, the whitney case. those who want our revolutions believe at the final end of the state was to make men free to develop their faculties and in its government that deliberative portions should prevail over the arbitrary. that's really what i'm hearing from this remarkable panel. that unless we can step back and set aside our partisanship and allow the better angels of our nature to motivate us to be guided by reason rather than passion, then the rule of law itself will collapse. i'm going to end with a note that ken did, hearing a thoughtful discussion like this and recognizing that this bipartisan group of public servants is agreeing in their analysis of the structural problem and identifying solutions makes me optimistic about the future. please join me in thanking them. [ applause ]
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>> we will begin our next group in about 15 minutes. snacks and drinks are outside. >> so we are taking a 15-minute
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break in the security forum on threats to freedom and democracy live from george mason university. coming up, we will hear about international institutions and the trump administration. earlier, nebraska senator ben sasse spoke at the national press club. here's part of his remarks. >> there's so much that i want to talk about that isn't officially on our agenda but it feels like she gave us 15 jumping-off points. one of which is she mentioned that i wrote a 520-page dissertation. there's an old joke among humanities ph.d. students you write a 500 page dissertation because you didn't have time to write a 200 page dissertation. that's what i did in my underedited project. up here today, we have been talking about dead animal twitter. i would like to follow that lead, if we can follow that a few times in question and answer. if i can tee someone up to please ask about twitter, i think twitter is going to be relevant to some of the things we are going to talk around a little bit in my comments today.
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dead animal twitter wasn't something i thought we would get to go to but i have a 7-year-old boy and we live in the country. we have three dogs which is a sign of people who make bad life choices. we also may or may not have outdoor cats. we probably do, but if they are members of the audubon society here, i'm not going to claim these cats are fed by me. but they deliver dead animals to our front stoop every morning and my 7-year-old and i think that this is something the world needs to know about. so that's the main reason i'm on twitter. you also said that the purpose of lunches like this is to try to make news. i want to be a good guest. i'm grateful for the invitation. betsy, thank you for having me. but i want to say that why i wrote this book, frankly, is because the obsession we have with short-term news i think might be crowding out whatever we should define as the other thing, the other side of news. we consume lots of information and i think wisdom literature might be the alternative to news
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but not exclusively. my goal is not to say i want to duck making news but i do hope that i can persuade you that some of what's broken in our time and place is claims of things like a 24-hour news cycle which i'm going to posit over the course of our time together doesn't actually exist. there is no such thing as 24 hours of news, that 320 million americans actually need, and that means there's a tension between the ways we consume and the ways we might get to a sense or recover a sense of an american "we" so i'm grateful for the invitation. we are here to talk primarily about the book. i know in question and answer we will end up in other places as well but i want to tell you something about the structure of the book so that then i can dive deeper on one third of it. i structured this project them, why we hate each other and how to heal, around the collapse of traditional tribes, the rise of or the ramping of political
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tribalism or anti-tribes, then the third third which comprises nearly half of the book, is a constructive argument about what do we do, what does it look like to recover habits of rootedness in a digital age that is increasingly whispering to us, you can be rootless. i think one of the ufundamental tensions in the moment in which we live is happiness literature is starting to tell us things that people who have had grandparents have probably known for millenia which is that most everything that drives whether or not humans are happy are intimately connected to place. the four biggest drivers of whether or not you are happy statistically are do you have a nuclear family, do you have a few deep friendships, not senate friendships, my good friend, the colleague from such and such state who is sort of about to -- not social media friends, but actual friends. do you have friends. number three, statistically, the number one driver, the number one corellate with happiness, do
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you have meaningful work, do you have important vocations, do you have a sense of calling, do you have co-workers. that's the number one driver of whether or not people are happy. not do you make a lot of money, not is there a co-worker three cubicles down that talks loudly and annoys me. not do my back or knees hurt at the end of the day but do i think somebody needs me. do i think my work matters. if the answer to that question is yes, statistically you are almost certainly happy and if the answer to that question is no, you are very, very unlikely to be happy. fourth, do you have a theo logical or philosophical framework to make sense of death and suffering. do you have a worshipping community. family, friends, meaningful work, all three of those are highly tied to place, and sort of world view questions about death and suffering, partly tied to place through worship and community. three of the four drivers of happiness are about rootedness and we are living through a digital revolution, through a moment where we are constantly told we are bigger than place.
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we can just traipse across, we can skim across the surface of place and we can be anywhere. but it turns out the more that you think the world is so flat that you don't actually have to have roots in a place, the less likely you are to be happy. the more likely you are to actually expand the denominator of potential unhappiness because of news we take in from afar and the investments that we make less in the place where we actually live. so i wrote this book because of i think the implicit tension between rootedness which drives happiness and rootlessness which is one of the byproducts both for good and for ill of living through a technological revolution. the digital revolution we are living through isn't something that came apart about last year. we are decades into the digital revolution and my guess is we are many, many decades or a century away from figuring out what it looks like to have transitioned from a world that's mostly about atoms which is almost all of our ancestors have known, physical material, stuff and place to a world heavily driven by bits and those bits are going to drive economic
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output bigger than anything the world has ever known. we are going to have more high quality, low cost stuff than anybody in all of human history. yet it seems strange that we could live in a time with the greatest material prosperity ever, middle class americans are the richest people at any time and place in all of human history, yet we have lots and lots of anxiety and discontent and if you want to sort of make this precise about something that is closer to a news talk, we will have our third year of declining life expectancy this year in the u.s. we have never had this before. we didn't have good data on life expectancy during the civil war. we probably had at least three years of declining life expectancy during the civil war. but since we have been measuring things like this for a century, we have never had three years of declining life expectancy and right now, we have ramping depths of despair. overdoses, opioids, suicide, things like that have displaced car accidents which on mortality tables from 80 years ago until five, six, seven, eight years ago, car wrecks were always the
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biggest driver of death, particularly among anybody under the age of 60 or 65. thou we're displacing those deaths with depths of despair. that's a weird thing to be paired with so much material surplus. so i wrote this book to talk part one about the decline of the natural tribes, the good tribes, the tribes of place. we have a statistical collapse of the nuclear family, particularly among the 70% of americans that have the least educational attainment. we have a rapid decline in friendship. i graduated high school in 1990. the average american had 3.2 friends in 1990. the average american today has 1.8 friends. i'm defining this again in the sense of somebody who loves you, it's not a transactional relationship, it's that if you see someone who is your friend and they're happy, you're happy. you don't choose to be happy, you just are because you love them. when my kids hurt, i have 17 and 14-year-old daughters and a 7-year-old boy, when one of my
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kids hurts, i don't choose to hurt. i just hurt because they're part of me. i love them, right? a great friendship is like that. it's like somebody in your family. we have been having a friendship in america in the last 27 years. the level of work, we have rapidly declining average duration at a firm. average duration at a firm in the 1970s, i was born in 1972, average duration at a firm for primary breadwinner in the 1970s was two and a half decades. average duration at a firm for an american today is 4.2 years and getting shorter. what does that mean? it means it's much less likely that you have life-long co-workers. guess what? males in particular are terrible at building new friendships after age 25. so if you don't have the built-in chance to have co-workers that you just work next to on the assembly line for decade after decade after decade, it's incredibly unlikely that males replace relationships after 30, 35, 40, 45. as we have more mobility in the economy, not for everybody, but
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as the economy becomes more mobile in a digital economy, over time, a lot of males have this atrophy of relationships. when you ask middle aged and older men who their best friend is, 60% of them say their wife. when you ask middle-aged and older women who their best friend is, 29% say their husbands. there's a lot going on there. there are a whole bunch of culture war fights we have. i have a friend, a couple that lives down the road from us in rural nebraska and the husband is a big stockbroker, announced he's retiring next year. his wife's standard line is oh, no, he's going to have twice as much time and make half as much money. but there's just so much about the way relationships develop over the course of life that when you don't have co-workers over life, it means you have less sense of assured project and we are meant for me. all of these natural tribes are atrophying. that's part one of the book. part three of the book is constructive stuff, what do we do about it and hopefully in question and answer you will help lead us there. i want to focus for our 25 or 28
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minutes that i will consume before we get to question and answer together, i want to focus on the middle third of my book, because it relates to being in a venue like the national press club and before an audience of people who are doing a job which celebrates the first amendment. so the five freedoms of the first amendment. ...
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we need to be a part of tribes. we need to be part of a group. we need to feel like there's a place where everybody knows your name and where you belong.
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so if you have less place, you are likely to have more attempts to make community of idea. but it turns out almost all the economic incentives of our time to mediate distance and so when i say mediate i mean something broader than just reporting. i mean the mediation of being part of a community that isn't just people who live on the same block, when you mediate a distance between things it turns out almost all of our economic incentives are to anti-tribe rather than constructive tribe. what are you against rather than what are you for. let me give you seven quick thesis, then i will go through them slower. when time gets called on me hopefully i will persuade you, hopefully have said something provocative enough you want to keep talking about it in question and answer. thesis one. there is no we in american media consumption today. there is no we in american media consumption today. the reduction of barriers to entry has meant we have gone from a world where almost
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everybody had a local newspaper and maybe a sense of one national newspaper or regional newspaper and three broadcast channels to a world where barriers to entry have fallen so rapidly that today, 93% of american households have access to 500 or more broadcast or cable channels. in that world, it means almost everybody belongs to more fragmented niches which means the incentives inside media organizations are toward fan service. there are no 70% audiences. almost everybody is writing or broadcasting for some subset of a 1% audience. so almost all the economic feedback loops are toward an intensification of saying things that you presume your audience needs to hear. or wants to hear. number two, my point i made earlier, there's no such thing as a 24-hour news cycle.
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there is no such thing as 24 hours of news that the media and america needs. chyrons are lying to you. before you even get to the question of whether or not the substance in the headline at the bottom of your cable news channel is true or false or accurate or biased, it isn't true that everything that's being shouted at us from cable news channels is breaking. most of it is not breaking and most of it isn't news that you need. number three. the obliteration of straight reporting versus editorial or commentary is a really big deal. we don't pay nearly enough attention to it. we know that cable tv has been swallowing print for decades but there would be an argument 15 or 20 years ago that perhaps the internet could foster a culture that returns to some of the virtues of print media which is more deliberate, more dispassionate and more amenable
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to thinking about that distinction between straight reporting and editorial commentary. >> i want to briefly introduce or panelists. we have the former deputy director of the cia, held a variety of jobs at the u.s. government including treasury department but ended his career in the government at the cia. the first-ever special representative of the muslim community served in the bush and obama administrations at the state department. then les munson who served most recently as my boss. >> traumatic. >> i'm sure it was. under then ranking member bob corker. today, we are going to talk about international institutions, our alliances and the impact of this post-truth world and the challenges to rule of law under these alliances. i thought i would start with you, dave. one of the things we often think about with international institutions, we think of of
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course, state department, the u.n., nato, traditional institutions. i know there are these informal grou groups. tell us a little about sort of the impact of the modern era and what we have seen over the last, not just the recent presidency but the prior presidency and the change in discussion we have been having, what impact has that had on more informal institutions? >> first, thank you for having me. so there are a whole host of informal institutions, alliances, in the intel world that are -- >> they are listening in now. >> that are enormously important. however powerful u.s. intelligence community is, we are enormously enhance our ability by being able to share information with other intel
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agencies throughout the world and i think probably the most important and i think the intel alliance most people have heard of is this five eyes alliance. >> what is that? >> it is a quasi-formal alliance of u.s., canada, australia, great britain and new zealand. it's a somewhat odd collection of countries that has been in existence for long enough that when it was first created it made sense. >> it made sense because those were convenient places to collect intelligence. >> and allies. close allies with whom you would feel comfortable sharing. the concern about how an alliance like that operates in a post-truth environment and for other intel alliances is that the idea of sharing intelligence has sort of imbedded in it a
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high degree of trust. >> they can't rely on us and to the extent this slops over into how others approach the intel function, we can't rely on them. you can't get behind the intel that's being passed off. there's a threat coming from this person in that country. we're not going to share our sources and methods necessarily. although within the five eyes construct it's a little different. generally speaking, you can't get underneath the information. >> so is the concern that the intelligence information might be used for political purposes and therefore is less reliable,
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is that the concern? >> i think the concern, that, but i think a slightly less pungent variety. which is that the concern that there may be some spin put on the ball for political is that a fair criticism? is that a similar concern? >> so a, it's not a fair criticism. b -- >> i have to distinguish between
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the domestic use of intelligence which was i think the criticism was domestic purposes, the intel was being shaded to support the deal, as opposed to what i have been talking about, sharing with international allies. what concerns me, so i'm going to set aside the sort of domestic aspect. what concerns me about an environment in which among allied intelligence services or not so allied intelligence services with whom we share an interest. much less effective. at the end of the day it is all dependent on this sort of blind faith, blind trust that what you're getting is real. when that starts, it's i think
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very hard to get that done. >> let me bring sara in. one of the things you're right i think a lot about is this impact of counterterrorism operations and the impact on counterterrorism efforts particularly countering extremism of this post truth world. what impact does things that they've just talked about this since that made our allies can't trust us, whether it's because one administration changes step about a deal or political process and an agenda. what impact it in he doesn't have on her effort to counter the house and terrorism? >> i want to thank you again for inviting me to a part of this conversation i think it's important what was just said about what is truth. when we are looking at the population of people that are most affected for terrorist organizations, in fact, recruit whether we're talking isis or right now different types of
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extremism, we're looking at an ideology of us versus them. however you define that's what we're looking at. for the generation that is going up what does it mean to be truthful? i want us to understand how young these people are and how they are absorbing what is truth and what is not truth. not just what's on the device but what they are absorbing in their day-to-day life. if you think that's not going to make a difference to her national security and our bottom line you are grossly mistaken because one of the things we don't do as government is to look at the cultural context in which an people are being raised raised, how their absorbing their own truth, what their consciousness is. that plays a huge role in a way which we think about what i like his art will have to do to actually prepare for the future. having said that, the other piece of this is what you talked about in terms of formal alliances, how will it erode the way which we think about the structures that we need to be able to stop the bad guess and doing what they are doing.
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one is certainly in the heart powers space around the we have to do to make sure that the traditional military component is working. but in the face of the softer ideological war that we are fighting it already got going so well. we already are having problems getting a system working globally. >> why is it harder? >> how much time do you have? >> we should get into why. why's it so hard for us to win wars -- we have it right but why are we not winning. >> was deeply the united states government has gone all and in putting this soft power wort? >> no, but why haven't we? we've been talking about since the bush of the administration. this is a war of ideas, the war we can't necessarily win but we can empower moderate voices. >> with given a lot of words and
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speeches -- we have given -- talking about who is president, it's about our content and a willingness to put the resources behind the ideas. almost 20 years after 9/11, solutions are available and affordable. we don't have the will to actually do this. but, in fact, no other country in the world has actually gone all in either. >> not just as. >> it isn't just us but boy, do i think we are leaders in this world, and we think we ought to make a grander effort to scale what we used taxpayer dollars to do and fight thee as infant ideology so that young people don't get recruited. having put them all on the table, let go back to what that means for the end people out there who try to understand what truth is. bad guys manipulate facts, make kids believe what they want you to believe. what does truth actually mean? this is a larger philosophical question we could be asking but
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makes a difference for those of us who are in this space all of you are here today are obviously interested in national security. we cannot look at that component of this. when i think about the traditional alliances we have, i think of what will happen to them but i also think about what's happened to millennials and generations come pick a subject, climate change, human rights. they are performing in from alliances. we are not waiting for the traditional alliances to do thing to buy particular issues. >> on twitter? >> not just on twitter. it's a way in which that act. it's the way they organize their lives. they are not waiting for hierarchical structure or a time in which they have been greater to be able to do something. >> they are organizing out. >> they are organizing about themes and ideas both online and off-line. and i think those kinds of alliances are going to make a difference to the way we think about when we talk about dvd or
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other things. that is what i actually really think we ought to come as government, spent some time thinking about what that actually. >> one of the things general hayden talks about is this idea that the social media era is pushing allis to register we're all getting worse. we think, we're being pushed to the perimeter. do you see that happening with young people? if so, that is deeply troubling. if therefore reduced and from alliances whether it's online or whatever manner, i mean is that going to come are we in big trouble? >> i wouldn't say, depends on the issue, are we in big trouble. on something like climate change we america doesn't lead. it's a great thing that civil site and others are leading. on the issue of extremism if you're fighting back against the ideology of us versus them and
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no government is leading interests of society that are forming groups, that's a great thing. but if you take more nefarious perspective on this whole thing, it's not so great. it's come pick and people running from each other how to do that things, in the context of this past week, and america let me just be really clear to say that the extremists who are advocating a particular type of america that is defined by a race and religion, they are learning from like-minded thinkers in other parts of the world, particularly europe. so they are not forming formal alliances to the five eyes or something else picking up forming through connectivity around themes that make sense and they are learning them mostly in the online space at the moment. >> usurped at the age, usaid, foreign relations committee. she really be worried about this devolution into the spin from
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alliances and kids and extreme skating together online? is this a a real concern? if it is, is our current environment getting better or worse? if it's making it worse, what do we do? >> well, so we wasted and to that. how much time do we have? i don't think human nature is changing. i think we are basically the same construct we were a couple generations ago. we have new technology, easier way to communicate. we need to kind of remember who we are as united states of america. yes, we have government but we are government of the people. david i know, he served in the administration. now he doesn't. you and i served in the administration. now we don't producer of the government. the real source of power is the people. we shouldn't have the arrogance to think that we should be manipulating our people or rain can enter or construed in and in some way. >> even when they have lost their way?
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>> people will always lose their way. it's an age of humanity. what we had that maybe other places don't quite have or don't have yet is freedom for our people to express themselves in a fair and reasonable way and in a way where there's accountability. our young people, and i have two of them in my house who don't really agree with me on anything, feel free to have conversations and use and they're much more mature i think that i would give them credit for to their face, but we should not be at all reluctant to embrace a world in which power is default to the people took that is the basis of our country. that is our strength. that is her sweet spot. >> you said accountability, right? what about the fact on twitter today there's a little accountability did you can be anonymous, you can be anybody, you can be a russian bot or real person and say what you want about the president, former or current but they may be,
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depending on what you said, crazy or wrong but they take responsibility for what they're saying. what about anonymous speech? we have a long tradition of anonymous speech in this country going back to our founding. >> there's a whole issue that people get very worked up about on campaign-finance reform, who is funding candidates, who was funding local action committees. those are all important conversations to have. i personally think a a little t of anonymity is occasionally okay and that you should always have a starch in some of what's to give a lot of money to a certain candidate. that's not always useful. we are also developing as we mature in the social media space and understanding that the people are willing to put the name to connects with the say t matter and these thoughts are infected bots and that's irrelevant. we are dealing with the challenge. yes, it is a challenge. it's why we can deal with and we are dealing with.
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>> farah come to see the anomalous issue being a problem common to see young people being radicalized anonymous speech or is it speech they are looking for you want to go find anything they move into the radical space? >> let me be very clear. the only way you can make sure that young people don't find that ideology appealing used to make sure that the messaging and what they're hearing and observing is authentic and real. >> so not less speech, more speed? >> yes, but it needs to be authentic. and needs to be authentic speech to those who are actually confronting that. >> that has to resonate with them. >> it has to be authentic. that means if you have some supersecret person in the background putting those messages out and those kids don't believe what they're you'g is real, it's not going to work. >> so it can be -- [inaudible] >> i'm just saying that what we
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know, we will not 20 is after all the star to come in small islets work that we've done, that the thing that sticks is one young person buys into the person is actually telling them something, and that's the only real thing that we know. >> i think one of the smartest things, my old agency did was create a human twitter several years ago. they got roundly criticized on the hill for it by people who were little more pro-havana prn the bush administration was. what a a wonderful idea to actually give the cuban people a way to express their own actual use and share them with each other. that is something we should be embracing. >> what about that? everyone talks about iran. everyone says, it's positively there many people, a horrible regime and arenas, quds force, and it only i running people,
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are we putting bluejeans rocky music thing with every new people, what are we doing there? >> we're doing actually in iran what lester just described in cuba which is as agenda is a whole host of things. again, american companies doing things and iran, there is an exception for social media, the idea being with ty to facilitate the use of social media in iran so that people can express themselves what lester was describing. >> calico back to something lester said? >> please. >> about to pick up on his household -- [inaudible] which is that he's allowing his children to express himself. but lester is the head of the household, models -- he models
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truthfulness. he shows his children this is the proper way to engage in civilian discussion. and i think that one of the real problems that we have, and we can do a whole bunch of like the last civilization, this administration. there was a seeming lack of modeling good behavior at the top of our -- the government household, exactly. and i think that keeps down into our society. it seeps down into what people are doing on social media. i do worry that its conduct into our government. and where you see, look, you can see it in governmental ethics. it's no surprise that there are a number of senior administration officials who are doing things that make you cringe if you have any modicum
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of sense about what you think, all this crazy stuff that like has never happened before. it happens because they are modeling with the president is doing. i think the same is true in the public discourse, and i think in how come i'm worried it's how our government operates because you see the president effectively getting away with it. it's an accountability question. and if he gets away with it, if he gets away with saying there are, isis members in the caravan, or congressman come back and get a tax cut -- >> mexico will pay for. >> it is utterly bs. he knows it is bs but he gets away with it. one of the real things we need to grapple with is accountability.
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it's cost. it's making it so that there is an incentive to tell the truth in the short-term because the long-term consequences are dire. >> canada challenge you on that? the same question could be made about the bush administration, right after 9/11. surveillance of the united states. with a substantial amount of america's communications being collected. we kept it secret for a decade. and then of course with the obama administration, the president wins the nobel peace prize less than a year into office. he doesn't tell the american people but the fact he is negotiating with iran, makes a deal, uses statutory authority caucused in providing to get the deal done. the same criticism, isn't this sort of what you describe as the problem with the leadership at the top, couldn't it be made, couldn't the argument be made
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that that is a reflection of the way the american people, american people that voted for president trump, what do you believe enough margin or what, popular vote or electoral college, but elected, he was elected by our process. so isn't part of that the reaction of what came before? if that's the case, is there a right to be concerned and maybe the okay with the post-truth world because under president bush and president obama. >> no. >> i knew that wasn't the answer. i knew that was going to be the answer. >> so i would, on the typology of truth, let me just posit something here which is way too simplistic but i think for my some cystic mindworks. there is objective truth to like climate change.
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you can debate all the rest about what is the cause of the fact that climate is changing is an objective truth and i think you you see alliances, institutions forming to deal with something that is an undeniable conflict with that in one bucket. the second bucket is logical deductible reasoning based on facts, okay? what the facts mean. and you have resulted from its on how come which are logic train is and where you conclude but you are beginning with facts and you have speakers that everyone agrees on. >> you have logical, and your logic is transparent. what worries me about the world, i think, again this is overly simplistic, but i think the bush world, the obama world there were a whole host of their
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disagreements about that second category, about here's what we know about the iranians, does it make sense or not make sense to do a nuclear deal. i i think what the problem we ae facing today is in that first bucket with is objective reality that is either being denied or being falsehoods being manufactured. and that's where i think the danger lies for governance, and i think it's where institutions that depend on an approach where people are hateful to objective reality begin to weaken. and that's where my concern is. >> so farah one of the criticism of the state department was, is that there's a deep state can all this eurocrats and career government individuals who are
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sort of undermining the political agenda of the president. this by the way, in republican administrations for a long time. is that a real concern? if it is, what impact, if any, or is this where question of whether you telling the truth or shading the facts even, is that okay if you're facing a deep state where you have no choice but to respond in kind? is this something to? >> oregon has been around for a while, right? our government has been around for a while. various ways across our government so this is not something you that there are people there who have committed their careers to serving our nation, upholding the constitution, every single one of us when we served had to put her hand up and her other hand on, i mean, we made a pledge to be truthful, to defend the constitution. that's what you do when you become a public servant.
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.. being still go as fast as the nature of the rocker c we had here. you need to is where we hire-- are, but the fundamental piece of doing what is in the constitution that allows us to navigate our essential and i also will say in sort of modeling behavior that was brought out i think it's important to think about changes that have happened within the state department. i don't know the numbers, but the falloff of people who are interested in serving our nation, what that actually will mean if they don't have any belief that you can actually be a public servant without a
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hard-core position on one thing another that you can go forward as decades past that we have done and then, also, those in the system today understanding a different reality, how is that actually going to impact as 20 years from now when they have risen to a place or they have even more power than they have? and i think a lot of us-- a lot about that because i think about my own career serving as a political appointee for a republican and a democrat. i think i am one of the only people that have done that through bush and obama and a for me how lucky it was to be around people who are honorable, who were dedicated to the constitution, who are public servants. you model your behavior on ethical standards they put forward. if you are young person navigating through the state department today, what are you looking at?
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i haven't been in the administration so it's unfair for me to say what it feels like , but i think there's a larger issue here i goes to the question you are talking about. truth can always be wet piece of the way in which we talk about it in public been manipulated, but the things that are actually fact, the sun is shining, those things can all be manipulated and i think we haven't spent enough time as a nation and those of us within the interagency coming back to the basics and talking about public service in terms of what it means to be a public servant and why you'd ever entered the-- entered the field if you don't believe your primary responsibility is to defend the constitution, to be honorable and represent as you said this incredible american diverse group of people. >> what about that? what about the political's and career at institutions like the
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state court fbi or doj where if it you believe they are under deep criticism, under attack from the top, is the right thing to go in and serve and fight the power or go in and servant salute and do what the president says because he's the leader or in the middle and sort of state often crazy as the anonymous opera-- author of the op ed said ion in and trying stop the insanity and play into what is the deep state narrative? >> i think the op-ed you are talking about, the anonymous op-ed in the "new york times" a couple months ago that seemed-- [inaudible] that's my personal theory. i don't know if it was a great idea to publish it, but the message-- >> you just said you liked anonymous speech on occasion. >> i do, absolutely. >> not that one?
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>> the message is good. helps the cause of the people who i think are in administration or trying to do the right thing and curtail the crazy. i don't think it helped that mission to publish-- >> because now the president knows and he will react? >> perhaps, but the message is not wrong and i think that's a lot up folks serving in the administration. i also think we should not take too seriously the rhetoric of the president. pay attention to it, be mindful of it. he is sitting on a show that is meant to get rated and irritate people. >> it works. >> or to give them joy. that's the purpose of his shtick , i think so while a lot of it concerns me i think the holes deep state argument is not a super serious argument for how to run a government. of those of us that have served know there's always kind of a bit of tension between the political and career folks to
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matter what party is in charge and it's always the political's to get the careers to adopt the current important agenda of this administration because we are going to be here for three more years and we better get this done. and they are going to be here for 15 more years and need to survive other administrations, so i don't put a lot of worry in the whole deep state question. getting back to the question of truth in objective truth, i think it's a great discussion to have. i think clearly we have an administration where it's okay to exaggerate and lie and make stuff up to make your point and people should be called into account for that and they are and we should keep doing that and we shall participate in that one thing we should be careful not to do, i think, that is easy to do today is assume we know the motives of the people we are talking about work that we know where their heart is or we know what they are thinking we know the explanation for their behavior.
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we should let people claim for themselves white as they say certain things. we should not assume they are racist. we should not assume that they are socialist and not assume they are trying to destroy the united states of america. we should stop saying those things unless it's objectively true. >> let's talk about that. you say the president is putting on a show and is part of the rating thing and not substantive and we could ignore and get to the real heart of things, but in my own household when the president was the nominee before he became the nominee my son who is a little white kid, but he's a muslim, six years old and said daddy, if donald trump is elected do we have to leave the country and i guess the question is my family, doesn't that sort of. [inaudible] truth or whatever it is, there
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are dark people in the caravan or whatever, doesn't that have a corrosive effect on what our own institutions-- as our international relations and alliances? >> of course. >> so can't we not pondered often just-- just, you know, the president being the president. >> let's put it in context. it's not good for him to say those things. they are not helpful. they are not helpful friendly to parts of his agenda. it's very destructive. on the other hand let's take the example of the deep state. i don't think this administration is trying to destroy the civil service or foreign service specifically. they may have different views about what to do on certain policy issues but i don't think they are out to destroy with the deep state would be. we need to be careful in our reaction to what he is saying, keep it in the zone of what is material and what is it and i
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think-- we talked about this with your son when this was going on and i am sympathetic and it's one of the reasons i find this administration disturbing. we should be honest about that affect. it's not rhetoric that's welcoming to all americans and it should stop and we should go in a different direction. >> i wanted to-- if you don't have any faith that something truthful is being said in a time of noncrisis, what the heck are we going to do and there is a crisis? that's what i would like to know. >> i went to pick up on that. i was thinking about going back to the intelligence community example and thinking about this and the sort of utter bs about who is in this caravan. compare that to i think it was in 2011, when there was the
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plots against the saudi ambassador. you know, this guy was going to blow up coughing the lotto and it was the iranians behind it and they were coming through mexico; right? >> real terrorists in the caravan. >> coming through mexico and we relied on the belief that we could go to the mexicans and say there is a honest to god real life bad guy in your country coming here. they helped us pick the guy got picked up and everything turned out fine. you are talking or less was talking about the fact that there's a corrosive effect of saying that there are honest to god bad guys in a caravan.
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that is my broader point i want to make is we talked to sort of the idea of america doing work around the world, diplomacy and all the rest, there-- and i firmly believe this and i have seen it in having the privilege of being able to interact with folks around the world that there is an idea of america that it stands for something different than the totalitarian or quasi- totalitarian out there and one of the essential elements is that its truth, justice and the american way. >> truth comes first. >> truth comes first. if we don't model truth from the highest of the government that has a palpable impact on how the world perceives us, how the government's precedent--
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perceive as how people who are trying to encourage to work with us-- it has an impact. it is addressed a radiance. it is real life and makes a difference and it isn't necessarily tangible in the immediate instance, but in the long run it's-- it harms our national security. >> i went to start in opposite order than go to audience questions. less, you had 180,000-foot big picture for some challenges we have identified and 110,000-foot the state department, you know things you could sort of do tomorrow to fix things, what you got and and david this question is coming to you to. >> so, 80000-foot. on the republican. i might find a us senator to
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insinuate himself with the present to the point where he gets appointed to the cabinet and subvert the administration from within. i don't know if anyone is trying to do that. may be someone who was more a mckinney act a couple years ago may be doing. that's my 80000-foot strategy. my 10000-foot strategy would be to stop with the ridiculous missions that attempt to zero out various foreign aid programs he's getting my vote anyway and it's not really should stop doing that. a president, whoever he or she is need for those tools to conduct american foreign policy properly and should stop coming out with the ridiculous budget. >> 8000-foot, 10000-foot? >> i'm going to be very annoying. look. i'm a practical person.
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we had half the administration has gone through looking forward i think you have to-- we didn't talk about the private sector and i want to talk about that for a moment. i think the leadership vacuum around moving forward on critical ideas have been through social good and companies i'm not talking about. on talking about a larger movement. >> this is the audience to talk to. >> there is a new moment in time in america and around the world for businesses on a different value system and we don't have enough time to get into all of it, so i went i would say that big fix is the next generation of ceos working with civil society organizations to move forward on a series of important things to make change-- >> also cutting a check. >> absolutely not. on the immediacy of who we are as americans is how i look at it. i really believe there should be
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a marshall plan around the issue of civics and who we are as americans that integrate both american history and a consciousness around democracy in our constitution took i think we have lost eight-- >> at home. >> at home and i think we need to start now. >> i absolutely cannot improve on that. so, what i will do instead is second your first point about the importance of the private sector stepping up and playing a role. there are gaping holes in our current society of leadership. you see some business leaders taking that. i think there is a lot of open field here for business leaders to get involved and not get involved in a way where they need to make a decision between their bottom line and social responsibility, but where those
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things emerge and understand that. my 10000-foot suggestion is vote get the hell out and vote. your basket your friends to vote vote multiple times. >> he's a democrat, so there you go. we have about 10 minutes for questions. we want to give you a five minute break, so i see a question right there in the back. >> i always say where is the united in the united states. everything is a partisan issue and that is the-- we talk about the culture of the institution that is the message we are sending to the younger generation. they watch anything on tv whatever the democrats like the republicans don't and vice versa , so within our own country we set bad role models.
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we also talk about words like truth, fact, integrity. i believe at some point those words did have a real definition. now, everyone has their own definition. if the glass is half full or half empty it's both, so how do we define what those words mean so we have a platform we can actually operate on? i agree with you, sarah, civics and education. needs to be discussed, what is right and wrong and at the adult level it's not being done. how are we teaching our younger generation? >> you play a role in both of these places. you served in republican and democrat administration, but would you make of the bipartisan question and the question of how to convince people that truth is a value that needs to be treasured? >> i appreciate what you said and how you set it, so thank you for saying that. it really means a lot to think
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about that word united and how we should explore that as a nation. can i take it a bit more broadly? one of the things-- there is a bio somewhere. i worked on violent extremism since 911 on words for both administration and ideological fights. what i know is that that is not a republican issue. it's not a democratic issue. it's a issue for humans all over the world to stop young kids from getting recruited, so when i went about doing what i did i was not looking at it from one political perspective or the other. and i say that because what i know when you are able to find that common unified goal, people melt down and begin to work together on that thing fighting hate, whatever that thing is we can find a way, but it's the articulation of how we do that so i would say to you, not only do government people need to
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speak about these things in a different way, that parents and teachers and community members need to talk about it in a different way. kids will reflect in that way and that brings me to my second point. in my role as special representative in communities i traveled to nearly 100 countries on behalf of our nation. it is a incredible thing to think about. the number of millennial's globally who are getting this toxic us versus them and not having any recourse and i don't want to leave us on a negative note. i went to really focus on the positive because in that exploration through these conversations at a local level i saw hope. i saw the capacity for local communities to make a difference and that's where i answer your question. how do we make sure that at a local level, your own local lover in your neighborhood, what are you doing to make sure and i'm not trying to sound like pollyanna here, but when you
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start at a nano level it could move into a macro and i may get and make a difference, so that is my answer for your question and for the ceos in this room if they want to get onboard with the a marshall plan for america, let's do it together. >> question in the middle somewhere. right there, ma'am? >> hello. my name is suzanne nash, probably one of the rare people in this room that has-- i'm a native. my mother's side of the family has lived here for over 150 years. i almost came in costume today. in my family civic participation is something discussed because it's a given. everyone in one generation or another has worked in civil service somewhere the local government are the federal government. what i find shocking i guess
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it's part of my dna at this point is that so many adults much less younger generation children don't really get the idea of civic participation and i love the idea of the marshall plan. it's been something bouncing around in my head and i will e-mail you later because i would like to bring it to my kids school. how do we as parents help our kids become a beacon for getting those ideas out to their peers and friends because i'm doing that with my own children, but we are like not normal. something i would love to bring to my kids school. i am on the board and i could it's a great idea. >> it's a great concept of a city on a hill. >> i think that is right. look, to pick up on that first question about the civil service i think one of the encouraging things you can convey to folks about the united states of america and the optimistic
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viewpoint is there are in the civil service people who work in democratic republican ministrations. for the record i worked in a republican administration-- [inaudible] these folks who i have seen them at treasury and saw them at the cia in large large numbers, people who take their oath to the country not to any particular presidents and they are still there. by and large they are not undermining the president. they are doing the policy implementation for this president as they did for the prior one. i think we understandably focus on the president and the cabinet and the crazy, but there-- this country still works and works
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largely because we have people in the civil service who dedicate themselves to working for this country and so i think that is something you can convey to your kids, something they can hold onto that is good and true in this world and i think it is -- imagine my coke i was agree with me on that? >> we will take one last question in the front. >> my name is alex. i must say i-- [inaudible] i agree with you, sir, i think a great amount of what our current president does is shtick. the only thing serious about is --
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[inaudible] >> may not be picking up. our apologies. i will repeat it. >> the only thing i have been able to determine is the current president is-- but it is about is his own position and pursue to happiness. that's an opinion and i am a independent, but i'm very concerned about as many of you all are and as i think many of the nation are is the division in our country and i believe the shtick is creating a situation where it's polarizing that division. again, don't think i have said that any person hasn't noticed is obvious. i'm sure there are people who are uneducated through no fault of their own are not very smart through no fault of their own or their own fault on both sides of
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the aisle. i've had occasion as many of us had to-- many of them fall into on the republican side and i'm very concerned about shtick polarizing some of these people who cannot think critically who may be undereducated, ill educated or stupid and i don't know where this is going to lead to those people. clearly, it's been in the news. again, i'm not saying anything that has probably not crossed your thoughts this week or did we see some examples of that this week? i don't know the answer to that. perhaps. i just wonder if anyone wants to comment on that. >> you get the last word. what about that? the shtick, sort of the base potentially concerns about-- >> it's a totally fair concern and it's hard-- it would be really hard to refute the notion
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that the shtick had something to do with the recent events. how indirect, i don't know. it's hard to refute that. i would concede that up front. in terms of what can people do, i will end up with going totally micro. my son plays on a basketball team at his high school and one of the other parents who i'm very friendly with this on the other side of the aisle from me and we became friends because of our kids were friends and teammates and about a month ago she e-mailed me and said can we get coffee i'm really worried about the direction of our country and i want to talk to someone who doesn't agree with me on every single point just to have the conversation. i thought this is amazing. we went to a coffee shop in the strip mall by our houses and sat there for two hours, half the time we were both obliged to go somewhere else talking about racism, about bigotry, about the
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state of the economy, about politics, the fact that we didn't agree on various things and the rather substantial number of things we did agree on it it was just the two of us talking, friends. i'm sure-- may be occasionally we voted the same way. it was an incredible conversation, i mean, there's no reason everyone can to do that. yes, there is division in this country. see someone who is not being divided. talk to someone who doesn't disagree with-- who disagrees with you. the fact that you can talk to someone that isn't coming from the same place you are and that's the real unity. we shouldn't all agree on everything. we should always be able to talk to each other. >> on that note. thank you very much. [applause].
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[inaudible conversations] >> five minutes and we are on to our next panel. thank you. [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
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>> a brief break here in the security forum addressing some threats to democratic institutions and to freedom in the amended states hosted by george mason university in virginia. of next week spec remarks from bill kristol, frank fresno and journalist josh rogan of the "washington post". this is live coverage on c-span2 [inaudible conversations]
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[inaudible conversations] >> we are about to get started with our last panel.
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if everyone would begin taking your seats, that would be great. >> if everyone would take your seats, we are about to get
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started with the last panel of the day. >> hello. i'm a fellow and also a former official at the department of homeland security so welcome. happy to have you. and went to introduce our guests pretty much know them from tv or anything they've done over the years, but this panel-- there's been a lot of focus on rhetoric in the previous panels and we will get to that for sure in the latter part of the panel, but with the state of media and the way it's changed over the past 15 years we want to really kind of discussed the way it's changed and the way that it's a viewed as a distributor and validator of information in today's environment and so with that i will kick it over to frank. i was going to surprise you on this one and to let you kind of going to what you think about the state of media today and the way it's changed over the past
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20 years or so and the challenges in journalism right now as a validator of information. >> everything is fine. [laughter] never been better. look, i think it's a very serious issue and one that has complexity. first mistake people make to include the president of united states and sarah huckabee sanders to use the word of media as a single word is one of the most plural words in our vocabulary. for example the other day when she said at the podium after the horrors in pittsburgh that the first thing the president did was to condemn the attacks in the first thing the media biz was to come-- condemned the media was flat wrong. there is no the media. first thing that virtually everyone i know in the media-- [inaudible]
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where has the media gone? i joined cnn and cnn was four years old, a baby network still referred to as chicken little news. we do not have access. we did not have an audience to speak. we quickly saw how this was going to revolutionize the information experience because it created the opportunity for people to watch events from around the world and that was significant, but that time the cable dial has come along and gotten crowded. digital dial has come along and gotten crowded, social media has gotten horrifically crowded so it's turned into an industry so the audience is much more fragmented than before. it's being bombarded with less brand loyalty. brands are much weaker and we talked journalism we can't talk journalism without talking the prices which is the local and regional level where they-- des
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moines register or hartford current whatever the economics have imploded, staff has disappeared when people see journalism in their communities don't see it anymore. that's undermined confidence in journalism. perhaps, and i could go on for hours because it's something i wake up thinking about. perhaps, the biggest single change has been this kind of rush to argument and opinion that has now really overtaken so much. cnn person on the air i was an anchor and they would bring bill kristol on and i would interview bill kristol one i won and ask about the president or whoever, the politics, how are we going to pay for and now bill kristol comes on, josh comes on and i have 10 other people and you get three seconds and you are talking cable world now and goes right to the opinion. i wrote a memo when i was the road chief to my reporters and
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said when you are doing live shots please try to avoid two words, this is a true story, this is true. please try to avoid the words i think. the audience actually doesn't care what you think. the audience cares what you know, what you have seen, what you can report and what you have heard. be the eyewitness, not the judge let the jury be the judge. that is probably one of the most significant changes. there are excellent efforts out there to provide transparency and explanation to the public that the public needs. i think you have perspective-- like margaret does she has the word perspective, you hover over prospective. the post tries to distinguish between news, opinion, editorial and explain on an ongoing basis.
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the disinformation front, as i said, is an industry and it will get a lot worse as other things come along that are designed even more to confuse and anger. >> i went to touch back on the misinformation and disinformation that goes on both domestically and foreign actors, but first i want to touch on what you set a little bit and chime in about the fractured environment in the audience specific nature of a lot of our media today where really you have the publication catering to a specific audience because that's what's driving their ad revenue and you-- i don't have a years ago-- yeah, 95 so the cusp of that conservative revolution, but what is your perspective around the way that targeted news has changed? >> first, we are asking a
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difficult question and address the elephant in the room which is halloween obviously and i'm amazed as halloween is about to fall, but maybe you are here for the same reason i am to avoid it. i told my wife i was on this panel and she said you can probably get back for trick-or-treaters and i said no, no, i have to say, very important. it would be rude to leave to quickly and then probably have to have a bite with someone. >> i have to get home because we have about 400 trick-or-treaters if i don't go back my wife will not let me home again ever. >> part of the reason i live in the un- apartment. >> we used to go up and down the elevator trick-or-treating because that's what you do when you live in an apartment. >> that's what doormen are for. >> anyway, it's good to be here. what was the question again?
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i mean, there are so many things that's happened obviously. technological, economic, political, international are-- it's hard to disentangle, a perfect storm in a certain way. you have unusual-- i would say heightened politics for various reasons, more intense, more fraud, more divisive and it media fragmenting social media with huge technological changes which i think we have not seen the end of which frank suggested and not fully come to grips with in terms of the actual technology and the economics so everything changing at once has created a situation-- maybe we are like everyone in the middle of one of these moments and people are sort of frustrated and anxious and think the world is coming to an end and 20, 30 years later people look up and say society is functioning and
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maybe even better because of the different opportunities that's a plausible argument. one thought tv would destroy culture in the 50s and 60s. had a conversation, absolute conventional wisdom a very high-level conventional wisdom phd's and social. just down to the chairman of the fcc idiotic medium never do anything good is going to destroy high culture and of course, now tv because of different technological changes partly in cable and the ability to have 60 hour programs or whatever like breaking bad has some of the best high level artistic contents. uba watches and think some of the shows are at the same level of the great movies of the past that we now look back on nostalgic as real british are, so not that that's a perfect analogy, but the internet i was
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hopeful about and really did think-- i went to college and you depended-- they weren't many columnist and you couldn't get newspapers apart from the one published in your city, maybe the "new york times". opinion and commentary and really news coverage. you couldn't just go online and read six intelligent comments about what had happened with saudi arabia. you couldn't read the reporting and you couldn't read agents from the side of the spectrum and someone from that side of the spectrum and click on an interview and that is pretty good. we shouldn't lose sight of that they be in the fairly scuzzy bathwater that we are living in and that is not fake, i mean, that really is happening. i find this with students ought often that they are informed about things and debates can be done at a pretty high level
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pretty quickly and you can learn a lot pretty quickly forgot not know a lot about large parts of the world. of course, what one learns is whatever whoever is most prominent at the time, but it's better than the old days when you really depended on alleged experts helping you think and you got either 22 minutes of the use from abc cbs and nbc which means you got 90 seconds on that topic or whoever the particular commentator was at the time for the post or newsweekly and maybe they were wrong, i mean, there are reasons-- you can argue the modern media makes mistakes like the process of vietnam much like hr mcmaster's book with decision-making in vietnam. you know, it is a certain way in which the can ability, the checks on real foolishness, the
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ability to challenge theories of, you know, and so forth is a good thing. i do want to mention that because we are also alarmed, understandably, about the partisanship that divides us and we forget the upside. i do think it's-- final point, too much fatalism, you don't have to click bait. economics are tough, but it's been going for 20, years and we don't do what others do and other magazines on the right have done and maybe they are making a little money or losing less money than we are, but there are other models and their profit-making models. universities in the us don't make money and decided to depend on tuition. metropolitan museum of art, etc. it's not a crazy model for the media. those no reason people couldn't do that. it would insulate you a little
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from the click bait, so maybe we are in a transition where you say the hartford current in the des moines register and it's a real crisis in local news because if you think congress has declined in the last 20 years look at state legislature in those places are not filled with paragons of virtue and integrity-- integrity, necessarily produced three some oversight if there were 70 newspapers. he began there were 23 reporters regularly covering the capitol in springfield, illinois state politics and now there are three with the 23 reporters, all the governors were in jail so maybe that's why they are in jail on the other hand. maybe we are in transition. the one thing i think it's really hard to get one's head around is social media and disinformation. that is a new thing, i mean, we have had propaganda before and disinformation before,
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obviously. and intelligence and counterintelligence efforts before, but the ability to do it as we saw a glimpse of in 2016 the immediacy of this and the ability-- obvious sort of the different scale on which it could be done and ease of which it could be done both intentionally by russia and call it unintentionally or organically, some say false reporter something pops up somewhere and it gets read by people who believe it or a mixture of people who believe it and persons who want people to believe it, but there is no one source like russia and suddenly it's all over the place and it's right on facebook and in other ways and websites pop up and that is, i think, is the hard-won to come to grips with. >> josh, i will kick it back to you to respond to be inactive at the "washington post" right now
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and reporting. what are you seeing as some of the corrupting horses in journalism and problems or challenges you have in validating information you're getting and everything else? >> sure. first of all, thanks for having me at this conference. i have been working now, for about 15 years and i came into the business working for a japanese newspaper in their washington dc bureau and that was when the internet was just taken over journalism and no one knew what to do about it. over the 15 years i've seen nothing but chaos in the journalism industry. it's all-- for my generation the fact that the journalism business is in chaos, that technology is disrupted is the way we were brought up in that is not something new spirits it's been something we have been forced navigate. for the first few years the internet was all about we will build beautiful webpages and put a headline here in a picture
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there and drag down menu here and it will be wonderful and people will come to it everyday and they will love it. that persisted for a couple of years and then it switched to what i call the search model. now, we have google when webcrawler and if we just put the right keyword in the headline at the very top of the article and people will go to these search engines and find our articles and we will get a bunch of traffic and everything will be okay. then, it switched to social. now, what can be shared and what do people want to pass on to their trusted filters and in each stage of this evolution through the journalism process its change because if you are writing for a beautiful webpage you are writing for an editor, per search engine you are writing for an algorithm, if you write for social you are writing for people and trying to access what people care about and it changes your process and your priorities and your choices. that's natural.
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that worked for a couple of years and then we got a super platform like this facebook and like just all of the-- directed towards doing what these companies wanted which often made no journalistic sense at all. i remember one company we are doing 15 minute personal web videos and i'm like that doesn't make any sense. there like don't worry facebook will pay. changed again. now, we are sort of innate appearance of balancing. i can just speak for the post and i don't speak for the post, but i worked there. they are trying to figure out how to diversify and how to build resilience into their model or a mix of graphic subscriptions whatever it is to create some sort of, you know, system that can survive all of this chaos. i think they are doing a good job. they are profitable in the richest man in the world is our
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benefactor and that seemed to be going well as far as the plan and then all of a sudden the trumpet thing hits. you know in an industry characterized by chaos and disruption this was unexpected and it's hard to overstate the disruptive and corrosive effect that the trumpet administration has had on the way generous stick do business. earlier this year i had what i thought was a-- i got like this, you know, secret document all about the chinese trade negotiations in the chinese that this document and i have it and i'm okay i got the document. i read an article about the-- wrote an article about the document. the administration came back, no everything's good of a 100%
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sure, published the article, go on cnn at 6:00 a.m., have the document and the chinese trade, you know negotiation. president sees that and tweets about it and i'm like the president of the united states is aware of something i wrote, isn't that a good day in the life of a working journalist? what did he tweet? there is no document. fake news. cnn should issue a retraction. none of this happened. wow, the president just kind of called me a jerk and a liar so it's like-- wilbur ross got up and was asked about it and he's like, we got the document. unlike, man, what the hell do you do with that? i mean, how do you navigate that? so, for the rest of the life of that story, which was at the pentagon papers but it was a good story, i was proud of it, 50% of the people that read that story will think it's totally
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false there is no way to get them back and of course it's just my reputation and credit ability. the president of the united states calling me a liar. you know, unsolvable problem and it sort of, you know-- so what's it like to work-- it's not just the president. working with the trumpet administration there's as we talked about on the last panel sort of a culture of go screw yourself. this peers down-- talk about modeling good behavior, it's throughout the industry now. and a lot of people inside the administration doing good work who care about journalism and believe they have a responsibility, but for anyone that doesn't believe that they have-- [inaudible] with the pentagon. there was a six-month period with the pentagon didn't have any press conferences. unprecedented. what-- you know jim mattis like
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him or don't like him he has not talked to the press in six months. that's crazy. rex tillerson had chris's import not bringing reporters on his plane. pompeo doesn't bring reporters either, so what's going on there? in congress, i have seen senators tweet insults at female reporters accusing them of things they aren't even guilty of. unprecedented. you never seen that before. it's just, you know, for that part of the, you know, washington discussion that was to use the media there is no response that will work. the "washington post" we have a sort of clear response to that which is we are not at war, we are at work. the ministration can do what it wants or call us names, we will do the same thing we always do and try to do with the best we can and be transparent about how we do it. i think that's the right approach. thank you.
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didn't say that to get applause, but i will take it. i think the question i struggle with is like is there any going back? right now, we are in this crazy symbiotic relationship with the administration. journalism business is doing well, "washington post" is profitable cnn ratings are up despite what the president says. we are fighting each other and depending on each other at the same time. but, it's so broken and the ability to sort of check things and have one record of what happened on a given day is so destroyed that when we have a new administration and have-- can we go back to that? can go back to that on either side? now that these norms have been shattered are they repairable? now the media is so diversified and spread out we can talk about that more. you can choose your own adventure, so is there official
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lawmaker that works with the media organization or report that they don't agree with or won't get good coverage with? i don't have the answer to that question. i think right now, we are all on a sugar high. everyone gets something out of the media were with the administration including that the media and administration. that has got to end and what we will be left with after that is the real crisis for the media which i guess is to come. >> so, just to pull all the pieces i think y'all touch on a little bit, you are right that people in government positions or companies even if we are going to make this a bit broader , they are choosing not to engage with the media like they used to because it's not necessary for their end goal. how does that-- you know, what context do they have for that-- feels like a change in norms
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because there's twitter and facebook and other things where people in power can go straight to the people and that's a validated through the source and they believe that one politician that represents them in congress and no one else, so how does traditional media respond to that and still maintain a relationship with the press, with their consumers and how much of that is on the consumer to go and have those responsibilities to get good information? >> because i talked last let me talk first. i will be quick. partisan media is not new. yellow journalism is not new, part of the american tradition. opinion journalism is not new. on the things have their place, they have their audience and their validity in my view. we are not going to be able to sort of put the genie back in the bottle. that is out. what i think you see happening, hopefully, you want to is that
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the credibility issue will be self-selecting. what was the biggest story in the news yesterday? this crazy twitter from-- trump guy that has like a seat in the white house press briefing, total trolling conspiracy theory website, you know, they were cooking up a crazy story about robert mueller and now there will be an investigation. that's a self-selecting event. over time, educated consumers can make educated decisions based on a track record. ..
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you have a little bit of informal attempts to do that, but it's very different model, so one check and a free market
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that allows the free market work which is a basic transparency of information about the product from accountability of the product both in the private sector, but we don't want that in the media. very low standards which probably is a good thing. on the other hand, people get poisoned by an ad, the committee has a huge incentive to avoid in the future both reputational and financially. i mean, you have a little bit of that-- the media goes way overboard. very little instability. the molesting is a rare case where they may be able to actually make people pay a legal penalty, but that's extremely case. knowingly bribing people to say falsehood about a public official i think there's that
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probably and if you think about the markets there's another aspect of the market where people actually know something about this. bad many drives out good. no one thought that by itself if you let that also, you can imagine that in the media, so hopefully at some point the one answer to that is reality in life and in general and also consumer behavior and if you get
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sick eating something and you have to stop eating it. huge amount of fear mongering and scaremongering about particular policy and things to happen you would think okay then that's kind of discredited. you can do an awful lot of fear mongering and it doesn't quite happen and the fear mongers say, it's coming. it's coming. the conspiracy is so deep that you don't quite see yet how bad it is and we have had this in the past and every democracy, obviously. i would say the caravan thing is a good example. the last caravan peter daut and it wasn't dangerous and mostly threatening types, not middle easterners they are complicated policies.
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threat to the united states of america is a little crazy, but i'm amazed, i don't know what you have found her how much people have raised it to me, not crazy people are well-educated people-- i was given a talk in newport beach and california which is a nice place if you have not been there, people in newport beach are not poorly educated or living on the margin , middle america sort of wages stagnation and all that stuff and they are the beneficiary, the beneficiaries and they were very alarmed about it. seems to me it's a huge problem, i mean, they are not getting it in if they get in they will disperse and have 7000 more people-- let's say they all come to california. i don't think you will really notice, but you'd understand it's a dangerous, so that's what worries me the most so i do
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think you have in the web and thinking about it recently, i mean, donald trump in my opinion is a demagogue and we have had demagogues before. george wallace coming name it. right and left, would say. we have not had a demagogue become president and that's qualitatively different. mccarthys-- you get some people unfairly accused of things in their careers are damaged, mess up our politics-- born policy i would say. of little craziness for three or four years, that it ended today he's marginalized, eisenhower takes care of a quietly. the senate rebelled against him and people got sick of it and five years after mccarthy you could write a history of american foreign-policy from 1945 to 1985 and he probably be pretty short. conclude at the end of the day he really did make much.
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.. you can be as confident about that with president. finally, it's what you said, coming together of trump as president, with the social media phenomenon, and the politics and the media in the echo chamber problem in all of this stuff is just public. maybe it's not luck. it indicates having a perfect storm. it would have less ability to be a successful synagogue. the social media, with out print
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trump as president, would be doing stuff and some congressman would be echoing them and some people would be talking about it and it would be, what about this? it would be like the bush and obama years. most of the parties went about their business. coming together of the demagogue with the social media and try playstation, eckel chamber aspect of things, is a you uniquely dangerous. >> if you are not familiar, you should probably read it. he argues that social media is not evolutionary. what makes it revolutionary for the first time, we have the technology that does not -- it breaks the one to many model.
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the king to his subjects, the president to the citizens. the new york times to the readers. everybody is empowered and that is a fundamental change in the information equation in the power equation. that is critical to understand whether we are talking about how to get people on a help your diet, how to counter some of these things that you are talking about. that is a very substantial amendment. >> you don't depend on the one restaurant reviewer or the papers here in virginia. you read 100 reviews. by putting the restaurant owner put up reviews, i find this personally, i'm sure you'll do two. the consumer reports aspect of social media is great. the crowd sourcing. you can learn from it. >> when you read it --
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>> it's a different model. it's not incremental differences. it's a different way of information spreading. i think facebook is unique. even more than twitter -- those things are post which everyone reads the same thing. ultimately, the get away with making sure the reviews are authentic. what are they agree whether or not the restaurant across the street is better or not. i'm not on facebook, but the fact that the material you get is tailored to you, it's frightening that when you reek in york times or the journal, you get what you see. it's self tailored on what you have chosen previously.
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that has a certain self-fulfilling character and an echo chamber is character. i think it is different from other things. >> it's not just facebook but does that. the washington post does it as well. they realize what type of content that you are clicking on and they feed you content on the front page that is aligned with what -- i think i have a policy that also shows you the other side as well. they choose to show you the opposing feel. >> the differences, less mr amount of russian intelligent. [laughter] a lot less than facebook. >> my point is, at the end of the day, -- the only people you have a choice, it's a little bit like that. it's still very much old-fashioned.
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>> i mean, a lot of people can go off different technology, it's not really about the technology. it's about the content in the human and the choices. twitter is not responsible for what goes on. the people are responsible. people kill people, not guns. guns make it easier. that was a human revolution. i think the younger generation of journalists, what we're technology agnostic. sure, these companies are entities and they have personalities and leaders and humans and so we've got to do something about this technology. no, it's a way people use the technology. its way the companies operate. either have standards or they don't. they are selling their platform
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to foreign intelligence agencies or they are not. that's not the platforms fall. artificial intelligence is different. it's ones and zeros. it's not a moral entity in and of its self. overall, we need to focus on the humans and less on that. >> guns with people do kill more than people without guns. society's work on happen to be incredibly readily available. to have higher murder rates than other societies that don't. that's not the main thing and -- it has to be taken into account and thinking about -- it doesn't mean we cut crime in this country, we cut murders by 80%. >> it's not a perfect analogy in the sense that we give our go
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hopefully -- they the power to regulate weapons. that's how it works for journalism. that's because of the first amendment. once we start getting the idea that government should regulate journalism, it's a slogan to authoritarian meeting environment. >> the first thing government should do is understand. in my view, the most aggressive, they don't relate to his policies. i was talking about this outside. cut taxes, cut taxes. you want to raise taxes, raise it. have that debate, fine. but what has happened in the present environment, and this is, i think, i've covered reagan's, where he had a big riff and it brought a canopy
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count ability and he didn't words exactly, but he did. i actually think he believed that. now we have a situation where the president is methodically undermining confidence in a series of institutions. the press is one of those. as we talked about with the courts, the most significant thing that the court has is this kind of compact with the public that this is a legitimate -- they don't have guns. they can enforce things things but there is that notion of public support. just as there should be with a free press. understanding it will get the wrong, sensational, unfair, all those things. sometimes maybe a lot of things. i think that's -- : : :
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there is a broader effect on journalists worldwide that i think is dangerous and unfortunate.
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there is nothing to talk about. i will just look at it. whoever needs the microphone. great. the comment that struck home most with me. being on the sugar high that you need to break that habit because the sound is often at an airport. some missed truth that the president has spoken and it stays up there for two or three minutes. and you can't hear the sound. when i get my a washington post feed. there will be 25 articles 15 of them will have trump's name in them. that's a sugar high for sure. how do you break that. since it was my comment i guess i should respond. the incentives are all desert started.
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that may have mortal policy. remember when the that news division. in order to do the journalism that is important. but, the point is that trump will go away. sooner or later. one way or another. hopefully he will not be the president of the united states. some of this is a little overstated.
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they understood this is the claim at least. this is a liberal light at the time. at least not consistent. i also think it's something that has been there forever. i think the problem. i come back to the fact if you didn't they wanted to be a slightly demographic forever.
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never in the moment of crisis or emergency. they examined those accomplishments on your predecessor. that is very different though. i guess i'm a little country on this. the platforms, i wonder if we would be having this discussion if donald trump had chosen not to run for president. and the more general flavor of our politics wouldn't feel quite as much worse as it was.
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that would seem more to me like it that he did miss a previous administrations. it's hard to know. you don't go back to the way it was. how much does he leave a trump if i'd politics behind him. i would have been somewhat optimistic a few months ago where all and that accommodation. they were exactly sounding like trump they were just too timid to take him on. in the democrats opposed him staunchly but they didn't really sound like trump either. i am now more word having going through this election cycle that you are can have the trump effect could be deeper and harder to get beyond that himself. i like to answer. the way in which it is always felt.
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if there can have the congressman they have to cover it. as of the journalists fault or the politicians fall. you're watching that on tv. has always punched the weight. it has been disproportionately influential on cable television. they can do less of that, they could have a much more and i'm same day i'm talking about msnbc facts cnn all of them. we are in a moment of national peril. we are gonna make a deliberate effort to do that. once an hour bring in a tight what's really happening.
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tell the story from the state department. there is a gigantic brain train. they don't even know they exist. for arms control or any of those. regardless of those. although it takes is someone in a leadership position to say you're mr. doing this. that will be terrible. this is what they've said. bad for the country great for the network.
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at a fox or special risk port. i think it would be a manageable situation. i would not be a crisis it would not be whipping things up this way. as i come back fox news, evening shows are unique of will watched shows. i think the kind of problem i think all of the problems are manageable. if you don't had host purposely in conjunction with the white house it's not as
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true of all things. that strikes me maybe it's not perfect. maybe there's too much arguing. that is not whipping up a trick or anger. cable television can't lead us of the crisis. they have unplugged. the thing that cable television have in cambridge. they've been covered on all other parts of the internet for a very long time. you name it where the young
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people are that's where all of these things had been will discussed. and it's a failure i'm not the just the media industry. but a lot of these panels and nice universities. this discussion was among the elite. what is going on with politics. those people are not necessarily going out. as the huge shift happens if we as national security want to play in the debate as a future with you realize that they are already happening. is a generational term that i think we have wrapped up.
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just a quick question to jump in. with a lot of people that did this and they are ceos of companies. we are looking for practical things that they can do. the partisan journalism. here i can to put it back in. this is what it is. i hear all the time. morning brew which delivers to the millenials. is there an opportunity for business people it just tells the truth. if it's impossible maybe there's an opportunity there. it's possible.
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the idea of creating a place in this echo system they led to congressional hearings. in almost doesn't exist anymore. i think the idea of building a place that everybody will go to is very difficult. i think we can build a place that offers alternatives and that is marketed out and goes out into the ecosystem. that's how they are trying to market themselves. you will find that they are consuming their news on buzz feed and now this.
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there is a young man have a graduate of ours who has been out of school for a few years. his up at nbc now. he has created just in it's a three minute digital only newscast goes out and it's consumed in the hundreds of thousands and at times millions by younger viewers and they are not getting it via cable they're getting on this. it's a totally different experience. i do think you could bring people together. i think there are funding opportunities if that's what you're getting at. it's called face the facts. it was not fact checking but we had ten categories.
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the research shows that if i tell you your kin and is run you will observe that they are wrong your neck and it change your mind about the job itself. i thought a lot about the business thing. it can do a lot. you can find a website. you can find local news sites in every major capital in america. has everything else work in america. how do schools get supplies beyond for a lot of these things. i think they could do more. we are supported with that. there was several good aggregators now.
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we will see how they do. and how they market themselves. that makes it easier not harder for a little bit of money. one can start a lot of things. you can't make people watch them. that's a question of whether they invest in the right talent. and find the right market opportunities. thinking about media, news and information. as a place they should think about putting some of their philanthropic dollars that serve not been the case in the past for various reasons. the millenials are going crazy about the caravan of immigrants. social media in millenials don't want old-fashioned tv.
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and they are in social media land and there been duped. they are less duped by fox news. there are issues with it way that it works. those are all things we think about. and a lot of the challenges. i do think they could do an awful lot more than it does now at least take efforts. a lot of the efforts to support local things don't end up working. i think in some ways it's a more authentic conversation. it is vulnerable to these kind of things. one actionable idea for you is using basic what block chain
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brings. they can use it to fund the journalism that they support. over time the coin system. if you are looking for a new idea in journalism. think about that for a couple seconds. we to wrap up. i will kick it over to you. i would just like to think you. i would like to thank the panelists today we've heard some tremendous insight and you guys had been great so let's start with that. i would like to incorporation the national security institute.
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in general hayden who did a lot of work. [applause]. i would like to close where i started. i think we heard them loud and clear that we live in unique at times. it's not like any other times. the very concept of truth in facts are under attack like never before. the institutions are under stress like never before. your different views of what the impact of that work. here's the key thing i think you could take away. we the people in this room are the ones that need to make the difference. there are many ceos in this room we need to stand up and make the difference wherever you are.
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on the political spectrum getting involved is what will help make a difference. what can you do you have a lot of ideas that are being thrown out here. you could put on a conference. i'm a restaurant guy. there are things that you can do to make a difference. don't take for granted that our democracy is gonna be like it has been. democracy is in a unique set of challenges we the people in this room. so i think you for that. and i reminded the group that there is a solution session 5:00 in hazel hall. it is in your folder. we will continue the conversation and everyone has a short break. and i think you very much for all of your attention. you are wonderful.
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[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] this week on the washington journal we are looking at battleground states the most competitive races of the midterm election.
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join us for our live a campaign in 2018 call in during the washington journal. at semi 7:00 a.m. eastern. with six days until the midterm elections we have more life a debate coverage this week. the candidates indent their district. that's live at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span. that is life for morgantown west virginia at 7:00 p.m. eastern. after that in the 22nd congressional district claudia tenney in the debate live coverage. sunday on q&a.
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seven years ago the people at the united states go out on what they thought was a great liberal campaign. somewhere along the line we lost the objective. it was an internationalist and a great civil libertarian. it would've match in obama perhaps. here was a man who was a liberal and at the same time assessable to the role of government in the economy. only to a great degree. i not all all the things about him were appealing. there is a part in the book where we have roosevelt asking
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them to consider the vice president. the typical fdr. they said no. in kentucky's six congressional district. they debated the demographic. earlier this week. on the state capital of frankfurt. this is courtesy of the educational television. welcome to kentucky tonight. thank you so much for joining us. the candidates in the sixth district race.


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