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tv   PBS News Hour  PBS  November 3, 2015 3:00pm-4:00pm PST

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captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> woodruff: good evening. i'm judy woodruff. >> ifill: and i'm gwen ifill. >> woodruff: on the newshour tonight: it's election day in much of the country. voters pick new leaders and decide on issues, from pot legalization to l.g.b.t rights. >> ifill: also ahead this tuesday: pipeline politics. the company behind the keystone xl pipeline asks to hold off on a decision. >> woodruff: and, we talk with the woman in charge of the upcoming u.n. climate change summit. >> the major, major shift that we had where we were in copenhagen to now is that countries have increasingly
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>> ifill: plus, could building more dams be a solution for drought-stricken california farmers? >> ifill: all that and more on tonight's pbs newshour. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: n
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an on board explosion, and there are reports of mysterious debris at the crash site. said not to be passed. it's hoped the examination of flight recorders due to start tonight could turn rumors into answers. all that's known at this stage is that the russian airbus appeared to break up in midair after leaving the egyptian red sea resort of sharm el-sheikh and that all 224 on board perished. egyptian investigators say they will solve this mystery but warn it could be a long process.
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they announced today that chinese president xi jinping and taiwanese president ma ying-jeou will meet saturday in singapore. it's the first such meeting since 1949, when communists won china's civil war. >> woodruff: the head of u.s. pacific forces played down tensions with china today, over disputes in the south china sea. last week, the u.s. navy sent a warship past chinese-built islands, through waters that beijing claims. at a meeting there today, admiral harry harris said the move wasn't meant as a threat. but a top chinese general complained it soured relations. >> ( translated ): i had planned to have a good talk with
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you on the south china sea issue. however, regardless of the solemn representations of the chinese side, the incident has created a disharmonious atmosphere. we are resolute in our determination and will to safeguard our sovereignty and maritime rights. >> woodruff: at a separate meeting in malaysia, china's defense minister told u.s. defense secretary ash carter that there's a "bottom line" on challenges to china's territorial claims. he did not elaborate. >> ifill: the iraqi politician who played a key role in promoting the u.s. invasion in 2003, has died. state t.v. reports ahmad chalabi had a heart attack and passed away in baghdad. after 9/11, the exiled leader helped persuade officials in the bush administration that saddam hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction. that turned out to be false. chalabi later served as iraq's deputy prime minister. he was 71 years old. >> woodruff: the vatican faces new exposes today in book form about gross financial
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mismanagement. the associated press reported merchants in the temple, tealings of wasteful spending, outright greed and entrenched resistance to pope francis' reforms. a second book claims that money from a hospital foundation went to renovate a vatican official's plush apartment. >> ifill: back in this country, republican presidential candidate donald trump dismissed his rival's complaints about debate formats and questions today, but he did not confirm reports that his campaign plans to negotiate its own debate terms with tv networks. the billionaire celebrity was asked about the issue at a news conference in new york. >> i'll go anywhere they want. i don't care too much about the debates. look, i'm the one that gets all the nasty questions anyway. i like the debates. i think they're good for me, but we have to be treated a little bit fairly. but as far as i'm concerned, i really don't care that much. i just want to debate. i think debating is a good thing.
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it's healthy. it gets everything into the open. >> ifill: separately, trump accused the u.s. federal reserve of keeping interest rates low at the request of president obama. the white house flatly rejected that claim. >> woodruff: japan's takata corporation will pay $70 million in u.s. fines for mishandling a hunting air bag recall. it could reach a record $200 million if the company fails to comply with terms announced today. takata now admits it delayed recalling more than 20 million air bag inflators that can explode with too much force. >> ifill: the u.s. auto industry is now on track for a record year in sales. most major automakers saw double-digit gains last month. gm led the way with sales up nearly 16% from a year ago. and on wall street, the dow jones industrial average gained 89 points to close at 17,918. the nasdaq rose nearly 18 points, and the s&p 500 added more than 5. still to come on the "newshour,"
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from legalizing marijuana to lgbt rights, voters go to the polls to decide. the controversial keystone pipeline, is it effectively dead? the woman in charge of the upcoming global climate change summit and much more. >> woodruff: the presidential election may still be a year away, but a handful of states voted today to elect state and local leaders and decide on a number of important ballot measures. issues ranged from the legalization of marijuana to the expansion of lgbt protections. for a look at the big races and voter initiatives around the country, we are joined by reid wilson of the web site and newsletter "the morning consult." welcome, reid wilson. let's start out talking about some of these major ballot measures around the country. ohio looking at legalizing
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marijuana, but in a limited way. tell us about that one. >> ohio would become fifth state along with the district of columbia to legalize marijuana for recreational use, but there is a little twist here. as states create new laws about marijuana, they have to come up with new regulatory structures. nobody has ever regulated marijuana because it's always simply been illegal. so what ohio is thinking of doing is allowing ten groups, ten businesses to control production for the first four years or so. it seems a way to sort of control what makes it to the market and to sort of demand some quality, however, there are a lot of people who are worried that they're essentially handing over monopoly control of a major industry -- and it is a major industry, there are millions at stake here -- to a small handful of people. >> woodruff: so if it passed, it would set a precedent? >> well, every state who has legalized marijuana does it in a different way.
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washington state regulates it like alcohol. colorado does it in a slightly different way that allows sellers to grow their own marijuana. everyone is trying to figure out what's the right way to do these things. the big question is with what is going to come on the ballot in 2016. there are at least 17 states considering some kind of marijuana legislation or ballot initiative, including ten alone in the state of california. >> woodruff: you were telling us that's a way the look at several of these ballot measures. let's talk about two of the city measures. in houston you have voters looking at non-discrimination protection for lgbt individuals. this has become very controversial, and a lot of focus on public restrooms. >> it has. last year a non-discrimination law passed the city of houston. this measure, if it passes, would repeal that previous non-discrimination measure. and the focus on restrooms i think sort of hints at the next step in the fight over gay rights. the focus on restrooms has to do with those who are transgender. now, there's public support for
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non-discrimination against those who are transgender has lagged behind public support for non-rim nation against gays and lesbians. so this is a way to sort of shift the focus from a question that opponents of this non-discrimination law would lose to some other element that they might have a better pathway toward a majority public opinion. >> woodruff: again, hotly controversial there in houston. meanwhile, san francisco is looking at an initiative on air bnb. this is the company that helps you rent out a room in your house, rent out your apartment. tell us about that one. >> what this legislation would do is limit the ability of homeowners to rent out their apartments on a short-term basis, their apartments, their home, whatever room they have to rent, it would limit it to 75 days a year. currently most homeowners can rent out their place for 90 days a year. so it's a small little change, however, it does have to... it does speak to this larger battle between the traditional economy and the rising sharing economy. we've seen big legislative fights in cities across the
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country over uber, as uber takes on the taxi industry. now we've got air bnb taking on the hotel industry, both of whom have millions of dollars at stake in this. >> woodruff: as far as we know, first time air bnb has been on a ballot. >> first time we know. >> woodruff: let's look at these races. you have a contested governor's race in kentucky. you have interesting state senate races in virginia. let's look at those. >> so in 2010 and 2014, one of the overlooked consequences of the republican wave that swept power in congress back toward the republicans was that it swept even more power back to republicans in state legislatures. there are very few democratic state legislators in the country these days compared to before the last election. in ducky, one of the very few democrats who still governs a southern state is term limited, so the two candidates who are running, attorney general jack conway, the democrat, is probably slightly favored, but only slightly, over the republican businessman.
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you may remember him. he ran against mitch mcconnell two years ago, last year rather in the primary. matt bevin has run a very poor race at the moment, but it's a very heavily republican state. what really matters to the outcome of this race is what voters are thinking about when they head into the polls. are they thinking about national issues and president obama, his approval rating is at 34% in kentucky, or are they thinking about how the outgoing governor, steve bashir, the democrat, has run the state. his approval rating is at 59%. democrats want to focus on statewide issues. republicans want to focus on the national. >> woodruff: finally, a word, reid wilson, about the senate races in virginia. right now both houses in virginia are controlled by the republicans. >> and the senate is only narrowly controlled by republicans, just by one seat. there are about four races we're all closely watching, a couple down near richmond, a couple down here in the washington suburbs. this is a case where democrats lost so many legislative seats, they have a chance to win back a chamber tonight. it's... maybe this is a preview
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of 2016 and how democrats can do that. >> woodruff: governor terry mcauliffe doing a lot of pacing tonight. >> there you go. >> woodruff: reid wilson giving us a preview of all those races. thank you very much. >> thank you. >> ifill: the long-running debate over the keystone pipeline has taken another sharp turn, as the company behind its construction asked to suspend a review of its plans, triggering many questions about whether the obama administration is planning to reject it anyway. >> given how long it's taken, it seems unusual to me to suggest that somehow it should be paused yet again. >> ifill: white house press secretary josh earnest expressed skepticism today over "trans- canada's" abrupt request to suspend the keystone application process. the company said it wants to wait for state-level reviews and litigation to play out.
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but earnest said another motive may be at work. >> there's no doubt that this debate has been heavily influenced by politics, and the president is doing his best to try to shield the actual process that will consider the merits of the project from those politics. >> ifill: earnest said the president still plans to decide the issue before he leaves office in early 2017. if approved, the pipeline would connect oil sands in alberta, canada to refineries along the gulf coast, passing through six u.s. states. it would carry 800,000 barrels of oil a day. the application process began in 2008, but a final decision has been delayed time and time again. the president has remained publicly non-comittal about the project, but, in south carolina earlier this year, he offered some pointed criticism.
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>> we're not going to authorize a pipeline that benefits, largely, a foreign company, if it can't be shown that it is safe, and if it can't be shown that overall it would not contribute to climate change. >> ifill: in february, the president also vetoed a republican bill to force construction of the pipeline. environmental groups opposed to keystone argued today that trans-canada is now hoping a president friendlier to the project will be elected next year. wyoming senator john barrasso, a leading republican and pipeline supporter, agreed. >> by putting the pause button now that allows things to stay active, in my opinion, until after the 2016 election, when we may have a republican president in office who can then approve it. i think the fear right now is that the president was getting ready to oppose it and put a final close-down on it and this just keeps it alive. >> ifill: for now, the state department continues its review of the project, with no end date announced. >> ifill: how much this latest twist in the pipeline is driven by politics, and how much by
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policy? for that, we turn to juliet eilperin, who covers the white house for "the washington post." you also cover the environmental matters, juliet. so we know... we heard what josh earnest said. the president is going to decide before he leaves office, but there's a listening period of time between now and then. where do we know or where do we think, what does your reporting tell us that the administration is in this process. >> my sense is the administration has been debating whether to give a final decision in advance of the u.n. climate negotiations that are at the end of this month. there's an argument one way or another. you could say this would help give added momentum for the global fight against climate change, or they could wait until after this period. the move by transcanada is a little unexpected. it throws more uncertainty in the process. that's one of the things they're awaiting. my sense is from my reporting is that the review is finished, the determination is made, and it's a question of when are they going to announce what they're going to do.
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>> ifill: the assumption amongst many parties is the decision that's been made is against the pipeline. >> yes, that's my sense of where they are, and it's certainly interesting to hear senator brasso and others to say they assume that's where it is and they would like this decision delayed so the next president who could be a public could decide it. >> ifill: what's behind transcanada's decision to request the pulling of the plug? how would a delay for them affect the outcome here? >> really the only question is that it would give them an opportunity to potentially make the case before a different administration. >> ifill: that's it? >> aside from that, there's no real benefit, and when you talk to them, they say they're not interested in withdrawing the application, which would be ultimately... >> ifill: they could do that if they wanted to. >> they could do that, but i talked to them just today, and they have no interest in doing that. so given, that it seems very unlikely they would do that. >> ifill: a lot of
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environmental organizations you would think would be dancing a victory dance aren't. >> no, they're worried it could be put over to the next administration, where they don't have a commitment, particularly if it's a republican. if it's a democrat, all the democrats are opposed to it. but that's not the case in the g.o.p. so they really want the president to reject this so that's done before he leaves office. >> ifill: are they pressuring the white house at this stage? they are not letting up on the previous pressure of the white house to go ahead and make this decision. >> they are pressing very fiercely. all the groups opposed to it issued statements. whence transcanada asked for a delay, there is no variation. they're all saying, this pipeline needs to be rejected by president obama before he leaves office. >> ifill: part of transcanada's reasoning is there are still unresolved issues, especially the path of the pipeline through nebraska. what is that challenge and where does it stand? >> it's kind of complicated, but the easy way to put it is they had a route through nebraska, which essentially was thrown out
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over procedural grounds stemming from a lawsuit. they have detailed three possible routes, all of which have been on the table before with a couple slight alterations. and so a state commission has to approve that, and that process could take between 7 and 12 months. >> ifill: there's a southern route that's already approved. >> exactly. we're talking about this upper route, which is 1,179 miles that goes to steel city. the connection from steel city down to the gulf coast was approved by the obama administration. the president went out and talked about t increase accessibility to oil. so that's been up and running and it's profitable. >> ifill: pardon me. in canada, we now have the potential of different leadership. stephen harper, the former prime minister, was very much in favor of. this now we have justin trudeau. is there a different political climate many. >> there's a slightly different political climate, although
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incoming prime minister trudeau has said he's in favor of this pipeline. that said, when he talked to the president right after his reelection, he emphasized that he thought the relationship between the u.s. and canada is broader than one pipeline and also talked about the importance of balancing economic interests against environmental priorities. so clearly there's a little wiggle room on that front. >> ifill: what role does the state department play in this decision process between now and the end of the president's term? >> they need to issue a national interest determination to essentially say whether or not this cross border permit is justified on the basis of the u.s. national interest, which is a very broad issue. at that point the president could intervene if he wanted to or not. so at this point it is seen that whatever the state department does it would be in concert with the white house. it would seem quite unlikely they'd issue something and then the president would do something. >> ifill: so that's next shoe waiting to drop.
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>> waiting to drop. >> ifill: juliet eilperin with the west coast. thank you. >> thank you, gwyn. >> woodruff: stay with us. coming up on the newshour: dams, the problem or solution in a drought-stricken state. teenagers screen time spikes to nine hours a day. and author john irving reveals his creative process. >> i always get endings first. i can't tell you why, but i do. there is a sense that i always have as a writer that my endings are always predetermined for me. >> woodruff: but first, in just a few weeks, countries from around the world will meet in paris to try to reach a new agreement on limiting or reducing greenhouse gas emissions. but prior climate summits have often hit a wall over disagreements about economics,
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development and what should be the ultimate goals. as the paris conference nears, jeffrey brown explores the prospects ahead. >> brown: last year marked the warmest for the planet since records were first kept, lending new urgency to calls from scientists and many leaders for slowing greenhouse gas emissions. to that end, the paris summit could present a major opportunity. a key goal: find a way to slow the rise in global temperatures to about two degrees celsius or by the end of the century. president obama, who traveled to alaska this summer to show the effects of warming, has made it a central focus of his second term, including new limits on carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. in recent months, china, india and the european union have all announced long-term plans. but a similar conference in copenhagen six years ago failed to reach a deal. and there are questions about whether voluntary commitments
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will work this time, and continued political opposition here and abroad. christina figueres is the u.n.'s point person in charge of the paris summit. i sat down with her in washington earlier today. welcome. let me start with the big question, six years in copenhagen widely seen as a failure. now paris. have things changed. >> well, you know, i often said that copenhagen was the most successful failure of the united nations because we learned an awful lot from copenhagen, but, yes, things have changed. >> brown: is that good spin? >> no, no, no. truly we made actually a very in-depth study of everything that went wrong in copenhagen so that we could learn. so it's definitely the case. but, you know, in addition to the way that we handle conferences nowadays, in addition to that, what has changed dramatically is the context in which this meeting in
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paris is going to take place for many different reason, technology perhaps being one of the very salient differences where we had before it wasn't really sure whether renewable energies would be able to compete with fossil fuel. today we have the answer, yes, they are already competing. so, you know, technology is definitely much better. finance is already beginning to flow. we already have $2.6 trillion that's already moving into green technology. >> brown: let me stop you on finances then because i want to get to some of the continuing problems you face. the pledge by industrial countries to help poorer countries with $1400 billion -- 100 billion a year. that part hasn't happened. >> it is a pledge to help developing countries with $100 billion by 2020. reports a couple weeks ago show that in 2013 the flow was at $51 billion. in 2014 the flow was at $62 billion. we don't have the numbers for
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2015, obviously also not for next year, but there is already a trend going up and hence a very good possibility we will be... that they will be able to get to $100 billion. those numbers that i quote have not been accepted by developing countries because there still has to be a discussion about methodologies, definitions and assumptions. but order of magnitude, it shows that we're moving certainly in the right direction. >> brown: political will is more thanghe it was? >> political will is definitely there. >> brown: give me an example. where do you see that? >> it's very simple. all you have to do is take a look at the 157 national climate change plans we are already received and counting because we will receive more before paris. so 157 different countries. every single one of the industrialized countries, every one, and over 100 other countries have buttah putt in writing what they're going to do
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to contribute to bringing emissions down as well as making their infrastructure more resilient. >> brown: most of that non-binding agreements from these countries. a lot of experts continue to question that. circumstances change. politics change. how do you know they stick to it? >> well, first of all, i don't know of anything binding that is actually a guarantee. the kyoto protocol is the best example of that because we have countries adopt the kyoto protocol and not ratify. we had countries adopt, ratify and still not comply. so even if it's legal and binding, that's not a guarantee. i think one of the major, going back to your first question, the major, major shifts that we had between where we were in copenhagen and now is that countries have increasingly understood that addressing climate change is not just a global issue. it is actually also a national priority. it is national development opportunity. so they're no longer seeing as
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having to choose between what is important nationally and how they can contribute globally and they're beginning to see the coincidence. that to me is a much more compelling driving force because countries will operate in their own interests. >> brown: going into this conference, one of the huge goals, major goals holding the warming to two degrees celsius, already declared unreachable, according to your analysis. >> the sum total of all of those climate change plans make a huge dent in both the growth of emissions, that would have projected without those climate change plan, and certainly in the core responding temperature. so without those climate change plans, we would have been where we were if copenhagen, for example, moving into a scenario of a world that would have warmed four, five, six degrees centigrade. today, with these climate change plan, assuming they're implemented awb we can talk
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about that, we're moving into a world that currently, with the current level of effort, would warm somewhere between 2.7 to 3 degrees. a major improvement. is it enough? no. >> brown: huge dent but not enough. >> not enough, which is why paris is not just going to be the receiving vessel for those climate change plans as currently being planned, but rather it will understand that that is the floor of global effort and certainly not the ceiling. >> brown: you talk about the political will being there, but continued scepticism from many quarters in this country in congress, where, of course, we're now in a presidential campaign again where you hear about opposition to making changes in the economy, in policy for climate change. you are still facing that. >> yes. but what i see is an increasing support on the part of certainly the private sector as well as
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different subnational governments, whether they are state or city level or president obama's clean power plan, but more importantly than that, more importantly, let us remember that this is not the first time, that this country has grappled with the question of do we stay bound in a operating mode that has been prevalent in the past, or do we move-to-toward something completely new? it is not the first time. and if you look at the history of the united states last century and this century, it is a very tough call. but the u.s., as every other country, eventually does make the right choice, and there is only one right choice to make. and i am very confident that this country will make the right choice.
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clearly. >> brown: thank you very much. >> thank you very much for the invitation. >> ifill: a storm swept across california's bay area yesterday. but the inch of rain it brought with it is scant relief for a state that's experiencing one of the worst droughts on record. one potential solution - building more reservoirs to store unpredictable rainfall, which could mean more dams. newshour special correspondent spencer michels reports on the viability of such a proposal and the consequences for the golden state. >> reporter: it may be the sign of a hopeful farmer: a biplane spreading fertilizer on a dry field in california's central valley. there's no irrigation in this part of the valley, so, for now, rain is the only way these crops will grow, and there hasn't been
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much of that for the last four years. and the reservoirs, like folsom lake near sacramento, that normally fill the canals and make the crops bloom, are depleted. folsom is just 17% full. tim quinn is executive director of the association of california water agencies. >> reporter: and what's the solution to this, build another reservoir? >> well, if we'd had more water going into storage, we could still have more left than we've got today. >> reporter: and that's important, says quinn, not just to californians. >> we're a big part of this economy. we provide food to the nation and to the world. >> reporter: quinn, and many in state government, want a comprehensive solution including conservation. >> we do need to build more dams, and we also need to connect them with more underground storage. >> reporter: but building new dams goes against a recent trend in some states, including washington, of actually
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demolishing dams, mostly for environmental reasons like protecting fish and restoring wildlife habitat. these days in california the mood is quite different. since the gold rush, building dams and canals has been california's answer to unpredictable rain and snowfall. to get the water from where it falls in the mountains hundreds of miles away to the dry farms and populated areas, californians have constructed more than 1,400 dams, including shasta dam on the sacramento river. in 1968, the state dedicated oroville dam, tallest dam in the country, and sent water south to farms and cities. for many farmers and those whose livelihoods are tied to farming, the success of those dams is a key to what needs to happen now. grant garland is vice president of bar ale, a livestock and poultry feed mill in williams, california.
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>> we could solve the problems fairly easily by building something like the equivalent of five more lake oroville's, and we'd have plenty of water to store, and we'd have hydroelectric power for both agricultural or urban and industrial purposes, and for the environment as well. >> reporter: that sentiment is echoed in radio ads playing in "ag" communities in the central valley and on the internet. >> "the solution is more dam storage." >> people are frustrated. they don't have as much water as they want. they want to do something with somebody else's money. >> reporter: ron stork is policy director for friends of the river, an environmental group. >> when you do the arithmetic, the big dams that are being proposed right now wouldn't add more than 1% to california's developed water supply. the real solution is to recognize that you can't develop much more water.
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>> reporter: stork, and other environmentalists, like university of california fish biologist peter moyle, allege that dams have created major problems in rivers for the native fish population, especially in the drought. >> you get these severe problems, the environment always seems to lose. >> reporter: more dams, he says, will exacerbate the situation, especially for salmon. >> there are many places where the flows below the dams are simply not adequate to support big populations of salmon. >> reporter: besides, moyle says, new dams don't make economic sense. >> essentially, all the good dam sites are taken. so whatever dams you build to try to increase storage, you're really picking at the fringes. >> reporter: nevertheless, a year ago, spurred on by the drought, californians approved a $7.5 billion water bond, that requires spending $2.7 billion on water storage. several projects are vying for that money, including a plan to
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raise shasta dam by 18 feet, even though the present lake rarely fills. another project would add a second dam and reservoir behind friant dam near fresno. on a river that largely is depleted of water, most of it channeled to san joaquin valley farmers. some politicians want to remove federal protections from the mostly wild and free flowing merced river, below yosemite national park, so a reservoir can be enlarged. there's almost no disagreement, especially in the drought, that california needs more water storage. but building more dams and reservoirs, in a state where every major river is already dammed, strikes some people as a waste of money, a lot of money. one proposal would put this valley under 350 feet of water, with a big dam at the other end. >> it's a very bittersweet
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situation. i don't want to lose my home of 40 some years. >> reporter: mary wells lives in the hamlet of sites, which would be inundated by the reservoir. but most of her farm lands are beyond the proposed lake. >> we all ultimately look on the other side of these hills, and that's where our livelihood is. the trees, the rice fields, they all need water. and if i'm to sustain the business i've created as a fifth-generation farming family, we have got to have additional water. >> reporter: wells raises cattle, and grows hay, almonds and rice on land beyond the reservoir site, most of it irrigated. she has served on various water boards, and has advocated for decades to dam her valley and develop more water, even though private landowners, like her, who benefit will have to pay for
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at least half. >> reporter: the argument is that these things cost a lot of money, and why should the >> reporter: but not everyone agrees this is the best use for water. a water policy analyst for aqua alliance in nearby chico says the state should encourage more unirrigated land. >> california really needs to put a moratorium on the expansion of irrigated agriculture on land that is currently being used successfully as ranch land. california has already overextended its water-based agriculture. and grazing is a very suitable use for the land up there. >> reporter: besides, he says, the cost of sites reservoir, as much as $4 billion, could make the price of water prohibitive. >> this water will never be
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affordable by farmers who need very inexpensive water. >> reporter: as the state continues to grow, keeping up with the demand for water will remain contentious. the water bond money will be allocated sometime next year. for the pbs newshour, i'm spencer michels in california's central valley. >> woodruff: most of us are spending more time with screens than ever before. from t.v. and computers, to the smart phones we carry in our pockets. a new report on media use by teens and 'tweens shows that may be even more true for children. the survey of 2,600 kids between the ages of eight and 18 paints a picture of constant connection. children between eight and 12 reported spending an average of four and a half hours a day
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using a screen, and nearly six hours consuming media of any kind. among teenagers, average screen time was more than six and a half hours a day and almost nine hours with media overall. those totals don't count educational uses in school or for homework. joining me now to dig into the findings is james steyer. he is the c.e.o. of common sense media, the nonprofit children's media rating organization behind today's report. welcome to the "newshour," james steyer. so just remind us, your organization looks at how young people use media. >> that's right, and how it affects their lives, how it affects them in school. then we advocate on behalf of kids in schools across the country. >> woodruff: so you did this survey. you said 2,600 people, 8 to 18. what were the findings. >> well, the sheer volume. nine hours a day on average is what teenagers spend with media
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and technology. that's way more than they spend with their parents, teachers, even more time than they spend sleeping. the number-one abdifficult in their life is media and technology. >> woodruff: you made a distinction between the 'tweens versus teenagers. how are they spending that time? what are they doing? >> well, first of all, there is no one archetype. there is no one-size-fits-all kid. you have kids on social media, watching tv, listening to music, even reading books, remember them? and then doing different forms of media, but the bottom line is the sheer volume of time that kids spend today means they have a 24/7 reality with media and technology that's shaping their lives in so my -- many ways. >> woodruff: and a lot of what they're doing is multitasking. they're listening to music while they do their homework or they're watching tv while they're doing something else. >> that's right. and as parent of four kids, you can't multitask and concentrate
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on your homework, but two-thirds of teenagers surveyed say they continue to multitask while they're doing their homework. they're supposed to be reading homework, but they're texting their friends. >> woodruff: we start to hear their brains are wired differently and they are able to multitask. >> the truth is multitasking doesn't work. so of my colleagues did a major study on this at stanford an showed you simply can't have two conversations at once and you can't concentrate on more than one thing well. think about how important it is to concentrate on information. so the multitasking, finding this study has very big implications for schools, and also for parents giving guidance to their kids. >> woodruff: what are the implications, and how much do parents know? you asked these teenagers and 'tweens hope do their parents know about what they're doing. what did they say? >> they said they don't know very much. we didn't grow up with these devices. that's a big part of it. i think that one thing we really
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see from this study is that parents need to look in the mirror. you have to look at your own behavior. if you're glued to your cell phone all the time. if you're bringing your devices to the dining room table or to the restaurant and you're not having conversations with your kids when you're present with them because you're too busy with e-mail or text message, what example are you setting? so i think this report, while it displays this remarkable impact of mead yes and technology on kids, it also sends a clear message the parents about their own behavior. >> woodruff: what about schools, teachers, educators, what can they do in what should shea think about? >> i think first and foremost, every kid in this society needs to learn digital literacy and citizenship, the safe, smart, ethical use of digital devices. we all hear about cyber bullying and privacy violations and really not so good stuff that happens on media and technology platforms some schools need to teach this like they taught drivers ed or sex ed. it's a basic part of life today. the second thing you can do if you look at mull pi tasking.
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teach kids you can't do your homework while you're facebooking your friends. you need to concentrate. this is an ongoing challenge. but i think the report is a message to everybody in this country. about we have to recognize that this is a reality that our kids are living in. there's something we can all do to make sure it's a positive reality for our kids. >> woodruff: how much of this is made harder by the fact that so much of it is out of sight of parents or any other adult in that child's life because so much of it is on a device that others can't see. >> that's a great question, judy. in the old days we talked about no tv in the bedroom. no video game in the bedroom. when you have teenagers, you have to say, you can't take your cell phone to bed. it really interferes with sleep. you have to have very different rules, but i think it's important for parents to understand phones get in the way of sleep. they stimulate the brain. you should have place not in the bedroom and not in the dining room where devices can be parked. i think we're literally having to set new rules of the road for
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families and for young people across the country. >> woodruff: if parents are out there watching, this and teens themselves and educators, where this they go to... is there a set of rules to follow, or should every family try to figure this out for themselves? >> i think there are rules. shamelessly i'll say common sense media gives out tips and tools to everybody, but i think every school in this country should be teaching the basics of digital citizenship to parents and to kids. this is important to educate parents about it as it is to kids. i think there are rules out there, and they're not that complicated. it's basic common sense. you need to put the device away at times. you need to remember that the most important conversations you ever have are face to face. in the long run, the jeanie is out of the bottle. this world's here to stay, so we have to set new rules for our kids and for ourselves. >> woodruff: and maybe sometimes take that device away from your child. >> absolutely. judy, by the way, if they're a teenager, that's a hard thing to do, but absolutely you should do
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that. media and technology are a privilege, not a right, and that is part of parenting. you have to take the device away. i'm sorry to tell you that, but every parent including the steyer family needs to do that, yours, too. >> woodruff: thanks for the advice. james steyer, common sense media, thank you. >> good the see you, judy. >> ifill: a poor child who sorts garbage in mexico grows up to become a prominent american writer. how did that happen? the new novel, "avenue of mysteries", takes us through a life that includes a host of other vivid characters, events and places. its author is himself a prominent american novelist, john irving, whose books include "the world according to garp", "ciderhouse rules", "a prayer for owen meany", and other bestsellers. he joined jeffrey brown for our newshour bookshelf conversation.
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>> brown: john irving, welcome to you. >> thank you. >> brown: so the story of a writer, he's named juan diego. in your head we meet him old and new. in your head, did you see him first as an older man or as a young boy? >> i saw him first as a child, then as an adolescent. i saw him as a dump kid, an orphan... >> brown: literally, a dump kid, he works... >> yes, they're called "children of the rubbish." and it's still true today, as it was in 1970, that children are the workers in the dump that do the sorting and the sifting of the stuff that's there. >> brown: and so "the avenue of mysteries" is the specific story of this man, juan diego, and in a sense, how we become who we are. >> yes. it wouldn't be the first time for me that the focus of a novel
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begins at that threshold age in early adolescence, when an adolescent is becoming an adult, a child is becoming an adolescent. i've always believed in a story, if something traumatic or calamitous enough happens to a kid in a formative age, that will make him or her the adult they become. >> brown: in this case, the kid, he works in a dump, but he picks up books, right? and he learns to read, he teaches himself to read, he teaches himself languages. did that interest you, the sort of book as a way into a larger life? >> oh, very much. it was the perfect connection to the jesuits interest in him. given the high priority the jesuits have always put on education, the fact that there was a kid who taught himself to
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read, the "dump reader," they call him, they were more inclined to think he could be one of their children, in their orphanage, because he was so teachable that he already taught himself. >> brown: there's also-- there are many vivid characters in here; one is his sister, lupe, right? who is clairvoyant-- knows what's in people's minds. that, of course, allows you to have this mix of realism, real realism, right? in the dump-- but also a sense of... magic. >> this is the third time i've been tempted to bring a character into a novel who is partially informed of what i always know. >> brown: you're smiling as you say that... >> well, because i always get endings first. i can't tell you why but i do.
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there is a sense that i always have as a writer that my endings are always predetermined for me, and this is now the third time that i've given some part of that gift-- it's a dubious gift, if you are a child especially, and you bear the burden of it-- at least the conviction that he or she knows what's going to happen. it's a burden for those characters, especially if they're young and innocent in other ways. lupe has-- she has these two ancestors in earlier novels. but when a character like that happens to me, a clear repetition of a character that i've invented before, i'm not even aware of the repetition until it's too late to turn back, it's already there.
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>> brown: but you, the author, are clairvoyant in that sense, right? you have said you write backwards. you know the ending of these stories. >> i do. i'm not proselytizing my method. i don't believe that one writer should tell other writers how to write. it's just long been my habit when i'm thinking about a novel, when the characters begin to form, when the story begins to emerge, i always know more about the ending, and the aftermath of an ending, than i know about the beginning. and so there's a construction that works from back to front. i don't begin a novel until i've written, not just the last sentence, but usually as a result thereof, many of the surrounding final paragraphs. so that in addition to knowing what happens, i know what the voice is, i know how
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melancholic, or not, i know how i sound, when i'm telling the story at the end. >> brown: this story is notably about an author, in older age, looking back, filling in that story. so i suppose the requisite question is about whether you are, yourself, in retrospective mode, and how one becomes an author, or novelist. >> i think in earlier novels, the main characters who were writers, were exactly, as you say they were, an attempt on my part to understand my own origins, but in this case, because of what happened to juan diego as an older man, he would almost have to be a writer in order to live as much in his imagination as he does. i don't want to say so much that
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i give the story away, but i'm not so sure if this character weren't a fiction writer, i'm not so sure that he would get in quite as much trouble as he does. >> brown: and that interested you. >> it did. i'm a worst case scenario person. i'm only interested in a story because-- i kind of go like a magnet to the worst thing that can happen. >> brown: and hopefully the reader will want to come along, right? >> yes. yes. >> brown: the novel is "avenue of mysteries." john irving, thanks so much. >> thank you. >> woodruff: on the newshour online: the aroma of a freshly- brewed cup of coffee can strike a punch to your senses just when you need it. but what is it about coffee's
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scent that makes it so sublime in the morning? we visited the newly opened museum of food and drink in new york city to learn a little about the smells and flavors that make us fall in love with the things we eat. and drink. learn more on our home page: pbs.org/newshour >> ifill: on "frontline" tonight, an investigation with pro-publica into the unsolved murders of a string of vietnamese-american journalists in cities across the u.s. in the 1980's. "terror in little saigon" focuses on an anti-communist organization called "the front." its goal: to restart the vietnam war, in part by using a secret assassination squad to target the journalists who disagreed with them. that's tonight on most pbs stations. >> woodruff: and tonight on "charlie rose," f.c.c. chairman tom wheeler on net neutrality, media mergers and the upcoming auction of television airwaves. >> ifill: and that's the newshour for tonight. on wednesday, actor jeff daniels
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at home on screen, stage and his native michigan. 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. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: ♪ ♪ moving our economy for 160 years. bnsf, the engine that connects us. >> the ford foundation. working with visionaries on the frontlines of social change worldwide.
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>> support also comes from >> carnegie corporation of new york. supporting innovations in education, democratic engagement, and the advancement of international peace and security. at carnegie.org. >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org
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>> this is bbc "world news america." >> funding of this presentation is made possible by -- the freeman foundation, newman's own foundation -- giving all profits from newman's own to charity and pursuing the common good, kovler foundation -- pursuing solutions for america's neglected needs, and sony pictures classics -- now presenting "truth." >> ladies and gentlemen, dan rather. [applause] >> what's our next move? >> i might have something for the election. >> the president may have gone awol? >> he never even showed up. >> parts of his file, they've tossed in the wastebasket. >> do you have these documents? >> tonight, we have new information. >> these blogs are saying the memos can be recreated.

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