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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  August 15, 2014 10:00am-10:31am EDT

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population, that was a finding that was interesting. host: jennifer ortman with the senses bureau and richard johnson with the urban institute. thank you to both of you. that is it for our program today. another addition of "washington journal" comes your way tomorrow morning at 7:00 a.m., see you then. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2014] ♪ >> the asian american journalists association is hosting its annual convention here in washington this week. coming up this morning at 11:00 eastern, we will take you there live for discussion of the role
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of race in the upcoming elections, how communities of color are being portrayed by the media, and engaging in the election process. later this afternoon, we will return to that panel for discussion looking at the media and how it covers asian american and immigrant issues live here on c-span. we will also take you to the center for the national interest, looking at the ongoing conflict between the russia and ukraine. that will start at 12:30 eastern here on c-span. coming up tonight, c-span's american history tour takes us around the country for stories from the civil war. we will look at the old slave mart in charleston, south carolina, civil war era medicine, as well as the battle of chattanooga and the impact of the union's victory there over the confederacy. here is a quick look. scenea remarkable late that day, the union tro
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multiplepenetrate at points almost simultaneously and sent the confederate army retreating off of missionary ridge to the east and back down into georgia. with that union success on november 25 and a brief pursuit on the 26th and 27, chattanooga is now firmly in union hands, termed by the union army over the coming winter into a giant supply base similar to our forward operating bases today. it is from chattanooga that following spring that william tecumseh sherman will take a combined union army group and from chattanooga toward atlanta and into that military disruptal heartland and it and destroy much of it and bring the war to be close in the spring of 1865. time believethe
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that union success here at was a signal of ultimate union success in the war. some have said that this was the death bell of the confederacy. >> and you can watch c-span's american history tour of the civil war tonight starting at 8:00 eastern here on c-span. also in primetime on c-span2, we will have more from book tv with hillary clinton on her memoir. also ben shapiro and glenn greenwald. it is american history tv, sports and history. that is tonight starting 8:00 eastern on the c-span networks. >> hi, i am sarah. >> and i am shelley. the buses of interactive, multimedia education center and along with your television c-span's we bring public affair coverage to you and your community. we also visit schools and book
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festivals, lyrical and historic events throughout the country. >> to learn more, go to and for questions and comments, you can e-mail us at, or send us a tweet @cspanbus. we hope to see you in your community. >> up next, a look at the relationship between the government, free press, and whistleblowers, including a look at edward snowden and the "new rison.mes" james ris >> good afternoon, everyone. here to host and moderate the w.e.b. du bois session, 2012 thomas, 2012 journalist of the year and senior justice correspondent for abc news. he joined in 2000 and reports
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for several programs including world news, "good morning america," and "timeline." he was a key member that won the edward r. murrow awards for the capturing of osama bin laden, the tucson shooting spree and assassination attempt of gabby giffords, and the newton school massacre. he's a key member covering the terrorist attacks of 9/11. he has won a peabody, a dupont, and an emmy. he has received an emmy for his coverage of president barack obama's inauguration. please welcome pierre thomas. [applause] national association of black
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journalists conference. this year, focusing on equipping members for the shifts taking place in newsrooms across the country. you can look forward to some great panels, workshops, and seminars including today's session, government and the media. we will address some of the challenges facing our industry specifically actions by the government, which appear to infringe on the truly free press. journalists subpoenaed to reveal sources, the justice department looking at months of records from the ap, the white house restricting access from to many presidential events. how do we operate going forward? fundamental challenges that stretch to the heart of what we do. today, we have some of the nation's top journalists here to discuss the challenges. they have confronted these issues first hand. we will have time for questions from the audience, but first i would like to introduce our illustrious panel. first, we have steve adler.
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he is the editor-in-chief of reuters news. before joining reuters, he was editor-in-chief at "business week," where during the five-year tenure they won more than 100 awards. he is a graduate of harvard law school and served as editor of "the american lawyer." please welcome stephen adler. ♪ next we have dean baquet, the first african-american executive editor of "the new york times." after graduating from columbia university in 1978, the new orleans native who went to work for his hometown newspaper. in 1988, he won a pulitzer for his work leading a trio of reporters who uncovered corruption in the chicago city council. please welcome dean bacquet. [applause]
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is brian carolist villano. he is the vice president and managing director for u.s. news at the associated press. he served as the asia-pacific news director. he led the ap coverage of the 2011 earthquake-tsunami in the nuclear crisis in japan. please welcome brian. [applause] ♪ we're going to get right to it. thank you, everyone for coming. we will try to move it along quickly. in 2006, james risen is a "the
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york times" reporter. in 2006, he released a book called "the state of war." they have issued a subpoena for his sources. he says he will not reveal his sources. they have sided with the government and he faces possible contempt of court, possible fines if he will not testify. dean, give us a sense of how james is doing in the impact on him and his family. >> it had a huge impact on jim. he has built a network of anonymous sources. that is his bread and butter. it's been a lot harder from him. it's been harder for him to make new sources.
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his current sources are nervous about talking to him. things get slowed down because it's not like you can exchange e-mails or have phone conversations. that said, kudos to jim who is a particularly tenacious reporter, if you look at over the last year while he has worked up against this problem of the government going after him, he's broken big stories one or the two or three lead reporters when "the new york times" had to catch up with the post and others with the snowden issue. that is his bread and butter. and has certainly held him back. his mood -- he's nervous. i don't think is nervous because he is worried about going to jail. i think he's nervous because if you imagine covering a beat and suddenly all the people are nervous about dealing with you in particular, this is the beat you have covered for a decade, i
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think that throws you off your game. >> it is at the heart of what we do in our profession. how has the paper sought to support him and keep him aggressive? >> we have helped support him in the legal arena. i talk to him a lot. i make sure that he is deeply involved in washington coverage and he's in all of the national security meetings. mainly, i'm a pain in the butt to him to make sure that he's is working on snowden. we throw big stories at him and give him ambitious assignments. it would be too easy to tell him to chill out for a year while it plays out, but that would not be good for him or the paper. mainly, we make sure to throw assignments at him and that they get good play. that's been helpful to him. >> dean, i want steve and brian to jump in.
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when you have a reporter asked by the government to give up sources, what is at stake for our entire industry? >> first off, the answer to any self-respecting news organization is a strenuous "no." what is at stake is not only that particular story but our very relationship with the government and our relationship with the government should be adversarial. i guess that some old way of thinking but it really should be. our role in society is to ask hard questions and tried to find out things government does not want us to find out. the moment you get the names of your sources to government, you wipe out one of the primary missions of the press which is to find out things you don't want to find out. and to ask them hard questions. you lose that.
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>> one example from yesterday in what is happening. you go out there and you do a story on the government does not like it. it's a story about the securities and exchange commission and we were in the room when they made the decision involving the verdict. they did not like the story. it obviously came from something inside. think about what they did and what impact that has. they went to our reporters and asked for the source of the story. then they got their inspector general to do a multi-month investigation were they interviewed 53 employees at the sec. they went through the e-mails of 39 employees and checked all of the visitor logs and at the end of it, they could not figure out who our sources were so i felt good about that. but the effect of that, what was
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the message that was sent? the message was sent to never talk to a reporter because your job is in jeopardy. we don't want reporters to know about these things. the poisoning of the potential of getting transparency in government just from that one event, you see that everywhere in the government. it impinges on our ability which is sharing on with the public what's going on. >> brian. >> in the case that steve just described with the ap phone records situation with the department of justice is part of a really troubling trend. i'm not super optimistic it's going to get better any time soon. it really calls to journalists to alto our primary function, which is to hold the government accountable. >> given the war on terror and the covert actions we see our government taking, has it ever
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been more important for journalists to be digging in and finding out what the hell is going on? >> it has never been more important. if you think about the state of foreign policy, for instance, the u.s. is engaged in at least two possibly three undeclared relatively secret wars in pakistan where it is running extensive drone operations. in yemen and some could make the case for parts of africa, too. these are dangerous missions that have large applications for those countries, large implications for foreign policy in the united states, and they were embarked upon with no debate. there was no debate in congress, no discussion about how the u.s. should manage a war in yemen. it's our job to find out what's going on in yemen. it's more important than ever that we find out what's going on in places like yemen to the
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country can have its own debate even if government chooses not to have it. >> it seems like we've reached a point where national security concerns whether they exist or not trumps the first amendment. in many cases, the first amendment does not even part of the conversation. unless we are talking about it amongst ourselves. >> right. >> i want to move onto a story that really struck me as well. ap gets the scoop in may 2012 about terrorist in yemen wanting to blow up a plane using a new kind of underwear bomb. the government wants to know how you did it. the justice department goes out, goes through a court, and secretly obtains two months of
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telephone records of reporters and editors at the associated press. brian, your reaction when you found out the government had done this? >> outrage. the justice department violated its own guidelines. they were guidelines that existed governing these types of investigations for decades. the two primary ways in which this particular investigation violated them was these kind of subpoenas are supposed to be as narrowly drawn as possible. this was a hoover operation where phone records for 21 phonelines, including our former washington bureau that the ap had not even occupied, and the harvard connecticut bureau where one reporter worked seven years before he transferred to the washington bureau and was involved in the story. that gave insight into hundreds of ap reporters, far from any stories that might have had anything to do with this particular scope. the government had no
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conceivable right to know any of that stuff. the second way it violated the guideline was there was no prior notification and we found out a year after it had broken that at some point i had got these phone records spanning 40 days and there was no opportunity for us to challenge that, no process of judicial review, and they cited a loophole that had always existed but turned out to be very gigantic loophole, which was that prior notice was required unless doing so would substantially impair the the integrity of the investigation. and they took a very broad interpretation of that which was to say that the leaker would know if it had been made public , but after they announce the investigation, about two days actually the story broke, it was already widely known. >> when you confronted doj officials with what they did, did you get an audience with the attorney general? what was their reaction to your outrage? >> they convened a very high level group of media representatives and government officials. the justice department changed those guidelines.
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we think they have changed them for the better so the exception for prior notification requires the attorney general to sign off , and instead of a presumption violating the integrity of the investigation, they have to prove that it will. the guidelines are stricter but they have not been tested yet. >> how striking was it that something like that could happen? them looking at your phone records, and the most senior levels of the justice department not signing off, it sounds like that's what happened. >> that's exactly what happened in this case. but striking, i think in some , ways, the revelations of the nsa and snowden, the ap case seems a sort of quaint now because we now know the government is able to access everything for everyone, journalists or not. i think that journalists who have operated in more restrict did countries have always sort of assumed they were being watched, and now we should
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assume that the united states is one of those countries, and we have to take december cautions those same precautions as if we were operating in china, north korea, tehran. [no audio] they focus on violations abroad and now they have gotten very focused on the u.s., which i think is really illuminating. they are starting a campaign called the right to report where they will be [no audio] these are the kinds of problems that we at reuters see everywhere in the world. -- there is way more issues in turkey, tehran, everywhere else. that we are now thinking about the u.s. in the same category as troubling. -- is rather troubling.
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>> and on a practical level, when you pick up your phone at the ap offices do you now , wonder? >> sure. we should all wonder if we were in the office or any other journalism shop. >> i'd like the reaction of the other two panelists. when you heard about this case, what was your reaction? >> i find this case more troublesome than the risen case, the most troublesome. for two reasons, first the sheer audacity and scope of the efforts of the investigation. but secondly, as he said, the fact that it's sort of did not even have to get approval at the highest levels shows that, i would argue -- and i would attribute this to the post-9/11 era -- i think the view of government after 9/11 that secrecy was so important, especially on national security
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matters, it became so pervasive, so powerful, so ingrained in a generation of government officials that they felt comfortable doing something that 25 years ago even would have required a real discussion. we are going to go after the records of a major american news organization. i think the fact that that can be done at the mid-level and even surprise eric holder says a lot about how entrenched that secrecy is in the government. >> the white house has been restricting access to many events and distributing its own photographs and then giving access to the media, not letting us do the work ourselves. we just had a case recently involving some former astronauts that got some coverage.
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steve, talk about why this is a particular problem. >> i care about the photographs. we take photographs and it's important. you don't want the record of what goes on in your administration to essentially be pr. there is talk about what is independent journalism and what is an institution going directly to the public with their own message, and in some level, that's fine. companies do that as well. people are using twitter to disclose things, and up to a point that's ok, but on the other hand, you do have to worry there is not a value placed on independent journalism. we were involved in lobbying with the white house to give us more access. we have gotten a little more, but it is not much. it is not everything you would
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want. >> did they understand why? >> i think only partly. i think one of the troubling things we are all facing is this is the administration that said it would be the transparency administration, and there's been a lot of language around the importance of transparency. we all believe that the government belongs to the people and we are representatives of the people and we are all fairly idealistic about that. we think the government works better when it is transparent. fresh air is the best disinfectant. it does not like the government feels that way, and you see that in the white house and all of the executive agencies. they just make it very hard. it's harder to get press passes, it's harder to get into meetings. you get handlers who sit with you more. part of the problem is this is a practical problem, but also this is a symbolic problem because we do not want to be a society that believes it's important for the public to know what's going on
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and it's important for independent journalism to exist in a really robust way. it does not feel like the administration feels that way. >> is this administration more restrictive or less restrictive than past administrations? >> i asked the washington bureau before coming here what they thought. they do feel its more restrictive than it has been in the past. they are little bit more upset about it perhaps than they might have been because this administration bills itself as being more transparent and they feel deceived by that. there has been an increasing desire to control the news. there has always been some, and look, we accept that. journalism isn't for the faint of heart. there's a constant back and forth with any government, and that's fine. we also believe that a democratic government should believe that a free press is important and should at least try to facilitate that in a general way and that's the kind
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of place where we end up taking thinking we are not so sure that is true. >> i think it's part of a trend that began before obama was elected, but i certainly think it's a gotten more dramatic. the trend has gotten worse. social media has given the obama administration is a lot of elected officials the plausibility that they're going straight to the people, but they can manage the message. there's no reason to believe it is an honest presentation of information. i also think that the way the obama administration has handled access has given other governments, state and local governments, a roadmap for how they can "handle the media." we saw in new york with the bill de blasio administration, who also said he was going to run the most transparent administration in history that , he tried to close his swearing in to the press. many protested and they
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eventually opened it, but in the first 100 days of his administration he held 53 event closed to the press around his schedule and 30 others with restricted access, and that was just in the first 100 days. whack>> wow. >> i think the obama administration is more secretive, but i think i agree that it is part of a continuum. i think there was an amazing confluence of events starting with and more forcefully led by 9/11. i think 9/11, i think the bush administration was more philosophically secret, and i think 9/11 told them that it was ok. i think the press did not challenge it enough. and then along came a whole new way of covering candidates, i think social media making it easier for candidates and politicians to sort of communicate with people without going through the mainstream media.
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which is good and bad. i think all of these things came together -- a secret avermen environment, the ability to commit it differently with people. the constant campaign that politicians go into. i think all of those things came together and they reached the full flowering in the obama administration, but they began overtime and built. >> we are not without our own resources. nobody should feel sorry for the media. some of the changes that have occurred actually benefit us. so much more access, -- electronic media. we have more ways to get information. there are way more players. the so-called mainstream media may be somewhat in decline, but you have blogs, "the guardian"
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because of digital, al jazeera because of digital and television. you have all of the smaller organizations. if you are out there trying to get information, and you are working hard to get it out, you have more ways than you did in the past. in some ways, it's an arms race. the administration has more tools, but so do we. >> and more outlets to publish it if you buy the argument, which i think everyone now buys , that the press was not aggressive enough in the buildup to the gulf war. i think today there would be a lot more places, including the "guardian," which is more activist news organization, more blogs, more places were where questions would have been raised. i agree with steve -- that is healthier. >> i want to get to edward snowden in a moment. as news executives, how are you trying to manage and deal with social media and the fact that people can go around and talk
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directly to the public themselves? how do you try to use the social media to your advantage? [laughter] >> well, there are so many different ways where social media factors into the way we do our work. it's interesting when a public official takes social media, often that is the news itself, and the reaction to that is news itself. we all use social media to develop new audiences and broadcast content. it is a powerful newsgathering tool, especially in terms of finding people who may have something to say about a specific event or topic. it is woven into the newsroom in so many different ways. it is just part of the daily journalism now. >> i worry less about the ability of politicians to get