tv PBS News Hour PBS September 1, 2015 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT
captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> woodruff: good evening, i'm judy woodruff. >> ifill: and i'm gwen ifill. >> woodruff: on the newshour tonight: saying he is "well aware" of the pressure on women to have an abortion, pope francis gives priests permission to forgive them. >> ifill: also ahead this tuesday, fighting extremism in the middle east. tunisia grapples with home grown terrorism, and an exodus of young men who are joining islamic state militants. >> woodruff: plus, why race matters today. we kick off a year long series with a look at how economic mobility can amplify racial divisions. >> 25% of the gap in earnings between blacks and whites that is driven simply by the fact that blacks tend to grow up in neighborhoods that are much
worse, on average, than whites. >> ifill: that and more on tonight's pbs newshour. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> and the william and flora hewlett foundation, helping people build immeasurably better lives. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> ifill: this was another wild day on wall street and markets
around the world. the selling started after china reported its industrial activity hit a three-year low last month. the dow jones industrial average lost 470 points to close below 16,060. the nasdaq fell 140 points, and the s&p 500 dropped nearly 60. all three were down about three percent. and the price of oil fell eight percent, after a three-day surge. >> woodruff: a county clerk in kentucky refused again today to issue marriage licenses to same- sex couples, even after the u.s. supreme court rejected her appeal. instead, kim davis said she's invoking "god's authority." in a statement, she declared: "it is not a light issue for me. it is a heaven or hell decision." davis also squared off against same-sex couples who came to her office seeking licenses, and left, voicing their frustrations. >> we thought the injunction would do something but it's
pointless. they have an injunction from a federal judge that is pointless. no one can force her to do her job. she can continue to deny us and treat us like second class citizens that's just how it is. there's nothing we can do about it. >> woodruff: a federal judge has summoned davis to appear thursday to face a possible citation for contempt of court. >> ifill: california will sharply scale back its use of solitary confinement in prisons, in a major victory for inmates who sued over the practice. they argued that isolating gang leaders indefinitely, sometimes for more than 10 years, was cruel and unusual punishment. the new policy limits solitary confinement to gang members who commit new crimes in prison. >> woodruff: the latest batch of hillary clinton's e-mails as secretary of state drew scrutiny today. last night, the state department released another 7,100 pages from the private computer server that clinton used in office. 125 held information that's now
deemed classified, but was not when the e-mails were sent. state department spokesman mark toner was asked about that today. >> it's very difficult for us and i said this before to go back and judge what the circumstances were at the time this information was shared and make a judgement on whether that information was classified at the time. it's not a black and white issue. it's not a clear issue. we see nothing at this point in time up until now that would indicate that any of this information was marked classified at the time. >> woodruff: the e-mail issue has weighed on clinton's campaign for the democratic presidential nomination. she now acknowledges it was a mistake to use a private account for official e-mails. >> ifill: in thailand, authorities have made another arrest in last month's deadly bombing at a bangkok shrine. officials say he resembles the man spotted on surveillance video planting the bomb. the suspect is a foreigner and was detained in eastern thailand, near the cambodian border.
after his arrest, officers displayed his belongings and sent him to bangkok for questioning. >> woodruff: the drama surrounding the mass migration across europe of people fleeing violence and poverty in syria, libya, and other nations, took a new turn to chaos today in budapest, hungary. james mates of independent news, reports from the scene. >> reporter: the scene this morning as crowds of migrants, many refugees from back home, tried to crowd on to trains at the austrian capital in sr viena and from there to a welcome promised in germany. yesterday all trains were canceled. tickets or no tickets. chaotic decision making. people genuinely in limbo. they want move out of hungary as quickly as possible. for the time being, they're
going nowhere. limbo is not comfortable on a scorching hot day. they could find little shelter and even the shade was precious. there are as many children as adults here and no indication at all where they will be spending tonight. the underground station beneath the main terminus is perhaps the most likely, packed full today except when rumors spread that they were to be taken to transit camps. these buses were here to take the refugees away, but none were going. looks like they brought up some bulls here. are they going to take you somewhere? >> no, no. they go to the camp. >> reporter: will you go. is this no, of course not. >> reporter: hundreds of miles away on hungary's border with serbia, the flood of refugees into the european union continues unawaited. hungary says from now on all these people must register for asylum for them. they will do everything to avoid
that. afraid they will be caught on the borders by hungarian police. >> we hope we will pass peacefully because we don't want to stay there. >> reporter: europe's supposedly strict rules on borders and refugees now hopelessly inadequate to deal with the sheer numbers of people coming. >> woodruff: elsewhere, fights broke out at the greek border with macedonia, when hundreds of people tried to rush crossing points. >> ifill: anti-government protesters in lebanon briefly occupied the environment ministry today in beirut. it was the latest move in a campaign that started with demands to collect garbage on time. roughly 30 members of the so- called "you stink" movement staged a sit-in today. they chanted slogans and called for the minister's removal from office. >> woodruff: the united nations today confirmed that "islamic state" militants in syria have blown up the 2,000 year-old temple of bel. satellite images showed the main structure and a line of columns have been reduced to rubble. it had been one of the best- preserved sites in the ancient
city of palmyra. >> ifill: back in this country, a transportation department panel is calling for airlines to be more up-front about fees and seat size. the committee found change and cancellation fees are often hidden. it also expressed concern about the space between seat rows, especially if passengers have to evacuate. it's gone from 34 inches to 31 on most planes. >> woodruff: it turns out that most people's hearts are older than they are so to speak. the centers for disease control reports high blood pressure, obesity and other factors can accelerate the organ's aging process. the c.d.c. estimates that on average, american men have hearts that are nearly eight years older than their actual age. for american women, the age difference is about five and a- half years. >> ifill: and, los angeles will be the u.s. candidate to host the 2024 summer olympics. the united states olympic committee announced the decision today, after boston pulled out of the race.
los angeles will compete against paris, rome, budapest and hamburg, germany. still to come on the newshour: the pope allows priests to forgive catholic women who have had abortions. ice breakers, drilling for oil and conserving the arctic wilderness. and much more. >> woodruff: the pope's statement on abortion today was a surprising move and seen by many as the latest in a series of steps he has taken to make the church more open and inclusive. pope francis announced he will give all priests the discretion to forgive women who have had abortions. the pope said that could be done during the upcoming "year of mercy," lasting from december of this year to november of 2016. in a letter, he wrote: "i am well aware of the pressure that has led them to this decision... i have met so many women who bear in their heart
the scar of this agonizing and painful decision. what has happened is profoundly unjust... the forgiveness of god cannot be denied to one who has repented..." the pope's words come just weeks before his first visit to the united states. elizbaeth dias covers religion for "time magazine" and will be traveling with the pope. so welcome. as i understand it, elizabeth, bishops have already had permission to grant forgiveness to women who have had abortions. what is significant about what the pope is saying? >> pope francis extended something give ton bishops, the power to forgive sin in the catholic church to all priests. this can speed up the process for opening the doors to whoever wants to come to the church and whoever else, they can receive the gift of mercy as the pope is
calling it throughout this jubilee year. >> reporter: what's the significance of that? this comes as we just noted a few months before the so-called "year of mercy." put this in that context. what is he trying to do? >> pope francis has been the pastor pope from the beginning. he's very focused on what issues people and families are facing around the world. so it's important to note this letter, when he announced this provision for abortions, it came after he talked about provisions for how do we bring people who are sick into the church, how do we open the doors for the elderly, for the incarcerated. so it's really in this h larger context of making sure that people who have experienced division and have been alienated from the church for a whole host of reasons. so that can change for them. >> reporter: it's notable this is specifically about abortion. i was struck by the language. he said "i am well aware of the
pressure that has led women to this." he went on to say "i've mutt so many women who bear in their heart the scar of this agonizing and painful decision. how unusual is it for a pope to be writing like this? >> hid tone has made him catch headlines ever since he was named the pope. pope john paul ii made provision for all priests to give this absolution about 15 years ago, but i think -- >> reporter: for a short period? >> right, for a short period of time. i think it's certainly unusual in terms of their reaction that the pope garners, and i think he knows exactly what he's doing here. he knows bringing this up especially at a key time, coming to the united states, that's going to create waves and allow him to have other kinds of even bigger conversations. >> reporter: i notice vatican officials made a point today of saying this isn't about changing church teaching and doctrine. what are they trying to say?
>> i think there is a lot of pushback against the media thinking oh, my goodness, this pope is suddenly not catholic. well, that's obviously not true. they're trying to put this into context and help people who might not understand you can still be ex communicated or you are ex communicated for the sin of abortion. so that's something that's not changing. but making sure that people are aware of that and knowing who the pope actually is and what he's not doing is sometimes just as important as what he actually is. >> woodruff: elizabeth dias, what do we expect the practical effect is? this is only a one-year period starting in december till next november. how many parishes -- >> it's a good question. it's interesting to see what women decide to come forward. it's not just for women who had an abortion, it's a woman who
procured abortion, leaving room for headicle providers and anyone who's related. the pope didn't put this just on women which is also notable about how he sees the broader context. >> woodruff: how do we read this three weeks before the pope comes to the united states? >> in covering the pope, he's always doing something specific, so i know that this is in advance, you know, three or four months ahead of the actual year of jubilee, so he is setting the stage for that in advance of -- centered on the bishops, on the family, which is october. but you have to think he knows that abortion, sexual issues are hot-button topics here, and i almost wonder if taking that off the table, handling that before he comes gives him more room to talk about other things that are on his mind -- immigration, incarceration, climate change. >> woodruff: elizabeth dias with "time magazine," we thank you. >> thank you so much.
>> ifill: the president is trekking up a melting glacier in alaska today on the second of a three-day trip to call more attention to, and for action on, climate change. but it's a moment that's also stirring its share of criticism. as the arctic warms, the ice is thawing, opening the way to shipping, tourism and mineral exploration. the russians have rushed in, leaving the u.s. to play catch- up. so today's white house call to speed construction of massive ocean icebreakers. right now, the u.s. has just two, compared to russia's 41. the announcement came as president obama visited alaska and appealed for action on global warming. >> climate is changing faster than our efforts to address it. that, ladies and gentlemen, must change. we're not acting fast enough. >> ifill: mr. obama spoke monday
evening at a climate summit in anchorage, where he also warned of the consequences of inaction. >> if we stop trying to build a clean-energy economy and reduce carbon pollution, if we do nothing to keep the glaciers from melting faster, and oceans from rising faster, and forests from burning faster, and storms from growing stronger, we will condemn our children to a planet beyond their capacity to repair: submerged countries. abandoned cities. fields no longer growing. >> ifill: to draw attention to the effects of warming and his proposal to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 28%, the president set out today to hike a melting glacier. but he's also found himself under fire for giving the green light to royal dutch shell to drill for oil off alaska's northwest coast. that's sparked protests by environmental advocates in the pacific northwest who argue oil exploration will damage the arctic and contribute to climate change. for more on the president's trip
and some of the issues following him to the arctic, we turn to robert bryce, he's a senior fellow at the manhattan institute, and has written widely on oil and gas and other energy industries. and, michael brune, executive director of the sierra club, an environmental group. michael brune, i want to start with you and ask you overall what you see as the significance of the president's visit to dark tick. >> well, it's very significant. the president made climate change a top priority of his administration in both terms and going to the arctic is a great place to showcase the threats that climate change has both on the economy as well as the environment because there is no place that is warming faster than the arctic any where else around the world. >> ifill: robert bryce, what's your take on that? >> well, i can't argue temperature issues. i think what's interesting, though, is that the president has given the green light to drill in alaskan waters, and i think it's a pragmatic move.
while he is talking about climate change, there is a conflict between some of this climate change discussions and what he said saturday in his radio address, he says our economy still has to rely on oil and gas, as long as that's the case i believe we should rely on domestic production than foreign impores, and i think that's a positive move and clearly the oil and gas sector has been one of the true bright spots in an otherwise lack luster economy during his presidency. >> ifill: is it fair to the president and the white house to judge his environmental record by this decision on drilling or is that actually a dark spot on a record in which he's reducing greenhouse gas emissions and taking other actions? >> i think it's fair to say that the president has done a lot on climate, and i want also fair to say his record is far from perfect. one of the things that the president has done has been able to help us curb our oil consumption by making our cars and trucks and all vehicles more fuel efficient. he's also begun to lead us away
from coal and the production of lex triesty and natural gas and to shift more towards clean, renewable energy. but drilling in the arctic is just the wrong way to go, and it threatens to undermine a lot of the progress that the president has made. >> ifill: let me ask robert bryce about that because you see it as an unalloyed good. we did a story not too long ago on this program about the oil glut, the increase in shale production. why is there a need for offshore oil drilling in alaska? >> i'll make a quick point and one is alaskan energy has been a strategic asset to the u.s. for a century. this idea of arctic drilling is hardly new. the arctic national wildlife refuge has been a flashpoint for decades but we have been drilling in alaska for decades for the most part very safely. but as far as the broader game the president is look toward as well is the enormous amounts of
recoverable energy resources in the arctic, the department of energy estimates them at something on the order of 400 billion barrels of oil equivalent in natural gas and oil. that's four times the proved oil reserves of kuwait. so for the u.s. to just forgo the arctic resource at this time, i think it would be a big mistake. >> ifill: we'll let michael brune respond to that. >> so drilling in the arctic might have been a good idea in 1923, but it's 2015. the world has changed, and we should change with it. scrambling with russia to race to see who can drill in the arctic first is like racing to see who can light the fuse on a time bomb. you know, supremacy in the arctic shouldn't be defined by who gets to destroy it first. we have an ability right now to rebuild our economy in the 21st century and do it in a way that doesn't poison our air, doesn't poison our water,
doesn't put our climate at risk and that is by investing in clean energy, which i will say to robert is growing at a much faster rate than the rest of the economics particularly the oil and gas industry. >> ifill: i want to ask you both, is there a reason why those two things can't co-exist -- that is, increased drilling and increased clean energy and reducing emissions and reducing dpeddens on coal, why can't that all work together for good? i'll start with you. >> well, i'll make two points. one is that natural gas has been a critical part in the u.s. reducing co2 emissions. the natural gas displacing coal in the domestic generation sector has been a key fact in the fact the u.s. has reduced co2 emissions by 500 million tons in the last decade alone, more than any other country in the world including germany. if we're serious about clean
energy and climate change, we should be serious about nuclear energy. the sierra club has been adamantly opposed even though nuclear is reducing co2 emission morse than any other form of energy. >> ifill: mr. bryce. the sierra club's policy, we look at all energy sources with a few different criteria, what's the cheapest, cleaners and what can come on line the quickest. we know nuclear power ranks dead last in all those categories. what we also know is clean energy is dropping in cost as it increases in installations. the more clean energy that gets installed, the lower the costs get, whereas fossil fuels are becoming more and more expensive with the current exception of oil right now. wheat are seeing across the united states is that increasingly communities are moving past coal, beyond natural gas and, in some cases, beyond nuclear power, investing in energy efficienty, investing in solar and wind. they are cutting costs, they are saving rate payers money and
helping to stabilize the claimant and reduce air around water pollution. what is not to like about that? we can build an economy on clean energy. we should not be investing in dirty oil particularly from the arctic. >> ifill: do i see agreement coming from the other side there in. >> well, look, there is no question i'm adamantly favor in natural gas. it's been a key factor in the u.s. reducing co2 emissions. but the hard reality is what the president said, we need oil and gas. globally, there are 1 billion automobiles, we have roughly 400,000 airplanes, tens of thousands of boats, all run on oil. the idea we'll quit using oil is simply not true. the sierra club has been spinning the idea we can run the world on renewables, it hasn't and won't be true. we need oil and gas. >> ifill: i don't think that's initially what the president is saying which is what we are talking about today. we'll leave it there now, michael brune of the sierra club and robert bryce of the manhattan institute.
thank you very much. >> thank you. >> woodruff: stay with us, coming up on the newshour: efforts to stop young tunisians from joining terrorists at home and in the wider middle east. confronting economic challenges that heighten racial divides in the u.s. and, a tale of youth, morality and murder. jonathan franzen on his new novel, "purity." president obama is one senate vote away from clinching the iran nuclear deal. opponents need 67 votes to block the nuclear agreement-- that's enough votes to override an expected presidential veto. to win out, the president, therefore needs 34 votes. today his total reached 33, thanks to the support of two senate democrats, chris coons of delaware and bob casey of pennsylvania. the controversial accord aims to restrict iran's nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of
economic sanctions. senator casey joins us now from capitol hill. senator casey, thank you for being here. this deal has been the subject of millions of dollars worth of negative advertising, a lobbying campaign. you've spent a lot of months looking at it. why the decision to support it? >> well, judy, fundamentally, the decision was because you have to decide up or down on this agreement as it relates to the basic question of how do we stop iran from developing a nuclear weapon. short term and long term. short term because they are just two to three months from so-called breakout, having enough fissile material for a bomb. so that weighed on me heavily. what's the best way to do that? youettyou either have to vote fr against it. i think voting for it is in furtherance of the goal of preventing them from getting a nuclear weapon. there are other reasons as well,
some involving constraints put on the iran nuclear program for the long-term. principally you get to the basic question about stopping them from developing a nuclear weapon. >> woodruff: for how long? ell, certainly even the opponents would concede that ability to constrain their program goes for a decade if not longer and, after a decade, even after the constraints begin to be lifted, what iran is supposed to do at that point is, if they choose to, to develop a civilian nuclear program for nuclear power. if they do something other than that and take steps to develop a nuclear weapon, then we have a whole range of options, and one of the reasons i spent so much time on the deterrence issue is because of my concerns about the out years. >> woodruff: let me ask you about another argument made last
night. gwen interviewed a former arms controls negotiate. he said for decades if iran is allowed to become a threshold nuclear weapons state that will stimulate what he called a cascade of nuclear proliferation in the middle east, that as soon as iran has this capability that other states are going to want to join and have the exact same ability. >> we're at a point where they are a threshold nuclear state now. they are two to three months from having enough fissile material to get a bomb. step two is getting the device made, then weaponizing it. so they are far too close right now, and what we don't want to have is the worst of all worlds where we talk away from -- walk away from this substantial effort that we've led for years, telling everyone in our coalition to make sacrifices and impose sanctions and live by those sanctions and put pressure on iran, then we tal walk away f
the deal were not voted in favor of. we walk away, then the interim agreement falls, so there is virtually no lights on their program, no surveillance, and all the while going forward they'd get sanctions relief from other countries, in a sense. so the worst of all worlds is they have a stronger economy because of some of the sanctions relief plus they're very close to developing a nuclear weapon or even have one, and then you have the worst of all worlds. that's the fastest way to greater danger and i think proliferation in the region. >> woodruff: how hard was it to go against, again, the fierce israeli argument, the argument by israel's prime minister netanyahu that this threatens israel's existence? >> well, from the very beginning and throughout my eight and a half years in the senate i've worked very hard to make sure we take steps to secure israel and,
ultimately, the backstop or the fortification for this agreement and for israel's security is their own capability. we're the only country in the world that has the military capability to take out iran's program today, tomorrow and into the future. that's the ultimate backstop for israel. i think there is a perfect alignment between what we should do for our own security and ensuring the security of israel. i don't think they are discordant in any way. i believe their agreement enhances our national security and also enhances the security of israel and the region. >> woodruff: i finally want to ask you about -- and very quickly -- as we reported earlier, democrats supporting the president are just one vote away from having enough votes to block an attempt to override a presidential veto, should it come to that. any doubt in your mind now that supporters are going to get that additional vote? >> i would be very surprised if that vote was not forthcoming.
i don't know exact numbers or how remaining senators will vote but i think if i had to make an educated guess, i would say we have enough votes to sustain a veto. >> woodruff: senator bob casey of pennsylvania, we thank you very much. >> thank you, judy. >> ifill: we turn now to tunisia, the birthplace of the arab spring. the country earned high marks for its constitutional and political reforms following the overthrow of its dictator in 2001. but it also has a much less flattering distinction, as the leading exporter of extremist fighters to iraq and syria, and more recently, as the site of high profile terror attacks. newshour special correspondent yasmeen qureshi traveled there to find out what's driving the uptick in violence. a warning-- some of the images may be disturbing. ♪ ♪
>> reporter: popular tunisian rapper dj costa wrote this song when the arab spring began in 2011. >> reporter: he joined thousands of young tunisians in calling for more freedom and economic opportunity. four years later, what dj costa didn't anticipate is that many of the generation who joined him in demanding democracy are now fleeing the country to join islamic state. what was his name? >> youssef. >> reporter: dj costa's brother is one of over 3,000 tunisians who have left to fight in syria. how was he recruited? >> ( translated ): he was lonely and depressed after two of his friends died. during ramadan he spent a lot time at the mosque praying with a group of people, sometimes 15 days in a row without going out. they became like family to him.
he was vulnerable and it was easy for them to manipulate him. >> reporter: his younger brother, youssef, traveled to syria twice, and on his second time joined islamic state. he was killed last november while fighting. >> ( translated ): you know, the man who goes to syria is not the problem. the one who gives him the means to get there is the problem. my brother was a soccer player. he loved clubbing and partying, so he always felt guilty. he felt that he had to redeem his sins, so he turned to religion. >> reporter: after losing his brother, dj costa made it his mission to try and prevent more young men from joining islamic state. he works with mohammed rejeb, whose brother also fought with isis. his brother returned alive, but was psychologically scarred and refuses to discuss his experience. picture after picture shows tunisians as young as ten years old who have left to fight in syria.
>> ( translated ): as you can see, he looks like any other teenager of his age. he was a normal guy. can you imagine such a teenager? they manipulated him and convinced him that he has to join the isis to fight for their ideology. >> reporter: videos like this one are used by isis recruiters to attract young men to fight. once they arrive in syria it's believed they give them a drug called captagon, an amphetamine that gives fighters energy and helps them cope with pain. this year, tunisia's growing terrorism problem wasn't only exported. on march 18, 2015, three gunmen stormed the iconic bardo museum in tunisia, killing over 20 people and injuring dozens more.
four-months later, a gunman walked onto a beach in the popular tourist area of sousse and opened fire. 39 people were killed, and 36 more injured, almost all tourists, making it the deadliest attack in tunisia's recent history. most of the gunmen were tunisian citizens who are believed to have trained in neighboring libya, a country with which tunisia shares a 300 mile border. in libya, lawlessness and civil war have allowed islamic state to gain territory, and created a hotbed for recruitment and training. youssef cherif is a tunisian political analyst who has studied the arab spring and tunisia's terrorism problem. what do you think drives a young tunisian boy to go to libya and train with an islamic state organization? >> we have people who are fed up with their lives in tunisia, fed up with the economic situation, fed up with the political situation. the propaganda of isis portrays, you know, the self-proclaimed
state of isis as paradise on earth where you get jobs, money, wives. sadly, this is now the representation of the freedom fighting in the region. 30 or 40 years ago, it was marxist guerillas with at least more progressive opinions and views. but now the representative of freedom fighting is isis. >> reporter: tunisia is a country of just 11 million people. yet estimates suggest that it has sent more islamic fighters to syria than any other country. >> many people expect tunisia to be this secular quasi-european country that is supposedly very different from the arab world. indeed, tunisia is different but not that different. tunisia is a muslim-arab country that went through dictatorship for decades. that has a lot of anger among its population, especially among its youth.
the same youth of the arab region. the same ones who demonstrated and who created the arab spring and who now still who do not see fruits of the revolution. >> reporter: they don't see the fruits of their struggle and many still can't find any work. youth unemployment is a big problem across the middle-east, and the rate in tunisia is as high as 40%. we've come to the suburbs of tunis to speak with some youngsters about the problems they face finding jobs. el omran is a poor neighborhood in the suburbs of tunis. many young tunisians in this area protested during the arab spring, hoping that democracy would bring jobs. mohamed mansour is one of them. four years later, he and most of friends remain out of work. what were you hoping would change after the revolution? >> ( translated ): we thought that we would develop the
country, that we would benefit from the revolution, and that the government would at least provide jobs for people. but as you can see, half of the people are unemployed. but we didn't get anything. >> reporter: do you have any friends in the neighborhood who have gone to fight in syria? >> ( translated ): yes, i have a friend who went to syria. we were in the same high school. each one of us chooses his path. if he is right, then god bless him. if not, i hope he would come back to tunisia because his parents are in pain. we are all muslims. we both love islam but my understanding of it is different. i don't think that islam means death and violence. >> reporter: as tunisians grapple with life four years after the arab spring, the country clings to a tenuous grip on democracy. and in the wake of the new terrorist attacks, the government is cracking down in the name of security, causing some tunisians to worry that the democracy they once fought so hard for could crumble like others across the arab world. >> we have now people who are fighting freedom in tunisia and
waging wars against the liberty oppressed that we are having against democratization of the country in the name of fighting isis and fighting terrorism. and this is very dangerous, because this is what we had in the beginning of the era of ben ali. one of the worst eras we had in tunisia in terms of freedoms and human rights. in the name of security, we crush liberty. >> reporter: for decades, tunisia's picturesque coastlines and old world charm have attracted millions of tourists each year, many of them from europe. but now the loss of tourism dollars and the jobs that go with them will cause even more economic hardship, and that could frustrate many more young tunisians. meanwhile, dj costa uses the only tool he has, his music, to counter the messages of isis. >> ( translated ): what we are doing is dangerous. i have already received death threats but that doesn't
frighten me because we are on the right path, and i believe we have to make sacrifices for the common good. >> reporter: he hopes it will be enough. for the pbs newshour, i am yasmeen qureshi in tunis. >> woodruff: tonight we launch "race matters," a year-long series focused on finding solutions to some of the country's most pressing racial issues. special correspondent charlayne hunter gault will be our guide. she begins tonight with a conversation with harvard university visiting professor raj chetty. a recipient of the macarthur foundation genius award, chetty's research focuses on mobility and ways to increase
the outcomes for all children including african americans. >> reporter: professor chetty, thank you for joining us. >> thank you for having me. >> reporter: you've written that where children grow up shapes their prospects as adults. explain that. >> so, we find when looking at very large data sets, covering the american population that where a child grows up in america, which county they happen to grow up in, has a profound affect on their chances of moving up in the income distribution. >> reporter: like, what cities? >> atlanta's a good example of a city that's quite sprawling, where there's a sharp division between where blacks and whites live, between where low-income and high-income families live. and lots of cities in america look like that. detroit is another example of a city that looks like that. and those cities, they're various reasons you might think you know, you'd get lower mobility in those areas, lower upward mobility. one of which is kids from disadvantaged backgrounds come into less contact with children from more affluent backgrounds. there are fewer role models, fewer people to kind of look up to and see the different career paths that you might pursue.
they also have less resources in their public schools, so another strong correlated factor that we find is the quality public schools in an area. cities that tend of have better schools for middle income families, they tend to have much better prospects for kids moving up in the income distribution. >> reporter: you've looked at some five million children. in the past few years. tell me about the dallas experiment, and how it confirms what you've just been telling me? >> every extra year you spend in a better environment makes you more likely to go to college, less likely to have a teenage pregnancy, makes you earn more as an adult, makes you more likely to have a stable family situation, be married for instance, when you're an adult. so, in many dimensions, you see substantial improvements. now, the dallas study that you're referring to, or more generally, a set of work related to what's called the 'moving to opportunity' experiment, which gave families housing vouchers to move to better areas, confirms what i just described to you. >> reporter: you're talking about black families. >> black families and white families, this experiment
involved a very large number of black families. >> reporter: but, poor people. >> exactly. families earning something like $10,000 a year. so, really the low-income population. and what this experiment did is, it gave these families vouchers to rent apartments in better areas, in lower poverty areas. and, you got these vouchers just through a lottery. so, by chance you might've gotten a voucher, and i also applied for this program, and i didn't get a voucher. and what that does is it sets up an experiment, where we can compare t outcomes of your kids with the outcomes of my kids, and test exactly like in a science experiment, whether this policy really seems to matter. does where you grow up matter? and what we find is that there are really substantial effects for kids who move at young ages to better environments. if you move to a lower poverty area, when you were say like five or eight years old, your earning 30% more as an adult, you're 30% percent more likely to go to college, there are all these very big improvements for both blacks and whites in many cities around the u.s.
>> reporter: vouchers have been in effect for 45 or so years. and, many of them have not worked. >> yeah. so, i emphasize the result that if you move kids at young ages, you see substantial gains? but >> reporter: how young? >> below age eight, let's say. so, you know, when kids are early on in their lives. but, if you look at kids who the other aspect, which is very important, is we've had, we have a big program as you mentioned of housing vouchers in the u.s., where we spend about $20 to $25 billion a year. giving families vouchers to move to different areas. those vouchers don't really encourage you in a particular way to move to better neighborhoods. they give you a voucher to rent and what we find is, it really matters where you move, right? >> reporter: well, one of the things i read about your experiment in dallas was from the dallas housing authority chief, who said that the reality is that many benefited, but some have fallen under the bus.
so, how successful is this experiment? and, is it in a position that you can broaden it out -- >> yeah. >> reporter: -- to other locations? >> so, that's a great question. so, this experiment -- >> reporter: i try. >> -- the moving to opportunity experiment was conducted in several cities around the u.s. baltimore, chicago, new york. los angeles and so on. we find pretty similar results across all of those areas. what makes it challenging as a policy that you'd kind of want to scale up to address poverty in the u.s. more broadly, is you can't move everyone, right? you can move a small number of families, but your policy can't be you're just gonna take everybody who lives in neighborhoods that you're worried about, and move them somewhere else. and so, ultimately, i think to really have an impact on poverty in the u.s., you have to go in and fix the neighborhoods that don't seem to be doing so well. for example, the city of baltimore is really detrimental. we estimate that if you grow up in baltimore, you earn 30% less than if you grew up in the
average place in america. and ultimately, the solution can't be you're going to move everybody out of baltimore. you've got to figure out how you can fix things in baltimore, i think. >> reporter: how do you see this affecting the racial climate in this country? >> 25% of the gap in earnings between blacks and whites that all of us know about is driven simply by the fact that blacks tend to grow up in neighborhoods that are much worse, on average, than whites. and so, because we have this vast disparity across areas in the u.s., in terms of the opportunities they're giving kids, we're actually amplifying these racial divisions. and i think that is an angle we >> reporter: when you look at these communities that you've talked about, what is the cost of racism? >> i think there's a cost in terms of things like lost innovations that would occur, if these children were better, given better opportunities. so let me give you an example. in some work we're doing at the moment, we look at where inventors come from, people who have patents. and we find that if you look at very talented kids who are scoring at the top of their
class in terms of math scores for instance in third grade, if these kids are white and they're from affluent backgrounds, they're quite likely to go on and become an inventor, go on to patent something. if they're from a, bla-, if they're black, or if they're from low-income families, they're much, much less likely. something like ten times less likely to go on to become inventors. so why is that an important fact? it says that if we give black kids and low-socioeconomic status kids, even among white populations, better opportunities, not only helps them do better, but if they invent something that ends up benefiting society as a whole, they come up with a new drug or the new, next iphone, that's gonna help everyone, right? >> reporter: thank you for joining us. >> woodruff: for more on the series please find the race matters page on the pbs newshour website.
>> ifill: finally tonight, a new addition to the newshour bookshelf. not many writers these days stir attention like acclaimed novelist jonathan franzen. today marks the release of his latest novel, "purity." jeffrey brown paid him a visit to talk about it. >> that is the curlew again. in the summer they just get these amazing rust pink colors. the rest of the year they go gray and camouflage. >> brown: the long-billed curlew, the least sandpiper, the heermann's gull. everywhere you look there are birds. here at the moss landing wildlife area on the california coast, oddly enough in the shadow of a power plant. and jonathan franzen, a dedicated, even obsessed birdwatcher, knows them all. >> brown: it's a pastime, he says, that repays patience and a keen eye for the unexpected.
much like the work he's best known for: writing novels. he will spend time with me and then we'll see him or her looking where everyone is not looking and that i definitely recognize from my own practice of fiction. >> brown: franzen lives in the seaside town of santa cruz, but was raised in a rather different setting, in the suburbs of st. louis. he gained critical attention from his first two novels, but not many readers. that changed with the 2001 publication of "the corrections," a sprawling novel about a dysfunctional midwestern family, which won the national book award and established him as one of the nation's best- known writers. when his next novel, "freedom" arrived in 2010, "time magazine" greeted it with a cover story proclaiming franzen the great american novelist. now, comes "purity," a book, he says, about youthful idealism.
>> i think one of the great subjects of fiction is self- deception and i think idealism, because it is paid very little attention to the way the world works is inherently self- deceiving. and i'm not casting stone, without blame. i was a very, very angry idealistic young person myself, so i know whereby i speak. >> brown: "purity" unfolds on an even largler canvas than franzen's previous books, with multiple, connected characters moving through time and geography-- from a poor neighborhood in contemporary oakland, to the last days of east germany, from the bolivian hideout of a julian assange-type figure, to a denver investigative media startup. "purity" is the name of a lead character, a young woman, but it's also a theme.
>> whether it's the tea party or silicon valley or the terrorists. there's something in the air with this obsession with purity, ideological purity, political purity, moral purity, linguistic purity. i thought there's something there. it gradually dawned on me that i had chosen to write a book about secrets, because there is a lot of anxiety, somewhat formless anxiety, about what it would mean to be in a society where secrets were impossible. what that would do to a sense of self, what it would do to intimacy, to have no secrets. >> brown: these things you're talking about-- secrets, security, silicon valley, terrorism. these are big subjects in our world today, sort of framed onto some characters that you make up. >> you know, my territory is big shames and big anxieties. so rather than trying to bring the news the way the newshour does, i am writing about characters but i'm paying attention to what i'm ashamed of, what other people are ashamed of and what we're all anxious about.
and that's the way some of the larger stuff starts filtering in. >> brown: franzen does love to mix it up, though, on the tennis court, as i found. and in strongly-argued essays, and in often very heated public disputes. among much else, he famously questioned whether he wanted to be on oprah winfrey's book club list when she selected "the corrections," wondering aloud if it was beneath him. he's taken numerous opportunities to blast social media like twitter and, by name, fellow prominent writers who use it. he recently took after environmentalists for focusing too much on vague battles over climate change rather than winnable ones such as, say, saving birds. and, perhaps most persistently, he's been criticized for his portrayals of women characters and as a white male who gets outsized attention while others are ignored. and he hasn't hesitated to fight back. why are you such a lighting rod in all these disputes?
>> well, i do have strong opinions. and i think strong opinions, plus visibility, plus a certain understandable resentment of my privileges equals a lot of attention. >> brown: but you like putting yourself out there? >> well i'm trying to explore ideas. you don't like what i'm saying? argue with me. that can be done in a loving spirit. that is, in fact, how you come up with a new understanding. the problem now is that a lot of the lightning doesn't take the form of considered argument. it takes the form of "nyah, nyah, nyah." one liners about how i'm an annoying person. >> brown: birds, on the other hand, and some excessively cute otters, ignore jonathan franzen, and that's just fine with him. is there a kind of wackiness to all of this?
>> of course. it's a completely silly pursuit. ]it's a big game. but the idea for much of my life i was just so driven by ambition in my 20s and 30s. it's no coincidence that i started watching birds after the success of the "the corrections," because for the first time in my life i felt like i was allowed to take a week off and do something that gave me pleasure. >> brown: so this is tied to a relaxing of ambition? >> yes, but then being who i am, i became ambitious about seeing every species of bird known to man in north america. >> brown: "purity" comes out today to huge pre-publication sales and attention. from moss landing south of santa cruz, california, i'm jeffrey brown for the pbs newshour. >> woodruff: on the newshour
online: a long run can feel like a chore, until it hits you-- the elusive "runner's high," the euphoric feeling that can strike during an endurance workout. well scientists think they have pinpointed its origin, and it's tied to the same hormone that tells you when you're hungry. see how it works. we have an explainer, on our home page. pbs.org/newshour. >> ifill: a correction before we go. in my report on tunisia, i said the overthrow of the former dictatorship was in 2001. it was in 2011. i regret the error. that's the "newshour" for tonight. >> ifill: and that's the newshour for tonight. on wednesday, we'll look at new partnerships between doctors and lawyers to help disadvantaged patients overcome legal obstacles that could interfere with their health care. i'm gwen ifill. >> woodruff: and i'm judy woodruff. join us online, and again here tomorrow evening. for all of us at the pbs newshour, thank you and good night.
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