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tv   PBS News Hour  PBS  March 17, 2017 6:00pm-7:01pm PDT

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captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> woodruff: good evening, i'm judy woodruff. on the newshour tonight... >> i reiterated to chancellor merkel my strong support of nato and need of allies to pay their fa share for the cost of defense. >> woodruff: in his first meeting with the leader of germany, president trump signals a hard line and confronts questions about his charge that president obama wiretapped him. then, on a tour of asian capitals, secretary of state rex tillerson talks tough on dealing with north korea's nuclear program. and it's friday, mark shields and david brooks analyze this full week of news. plus, jeffrey brown sits down with author neil gaiman to
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discuss the stories of norse mythology in his new book. >> from my perspective, it was the joy of just going, this is part of the heritage of the human race. let me give it to a new generation. >> woodruff: all that and more on tonight's pbs newshour. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: ♪ ♪ moving our economy for 160 years. bnsf, the engine that connects us.
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>> our tradition has been to take care of mother earth, because it's that that gives us water, gives us life. the land is here for everyone. >> the ford foundation. working with visionaries on the frontlines of social change worldwide. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions: and friends of the newshour. >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you.
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>> woodruff: the veteran german leader, the new american chief executive. chancellor angela merkel and president trump met today at the white house in what many thought would be a moment to smooth relations after a rocky start. it's far from clear that was the outcome. chief foreign affairs correspondent margaret warner has our report. >> warner: chancellor merkel was greeted warmly outside the north portico of the white house. yet minutes later, an odd scene in the oval office: merkel offering to shake hands, but getting no response. >> do you want to have a handshake? >> warner: in a joint news conference later, they did exchange compliments in prepared statements. >> our alliance is a symbol of
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strength and cooperation to the world. it is the foundation of a very, very hopeful future. >> ( translated ): we had a very good first exchange of views so i'm very much looking forward to the talks we will have over lunch. >> warner: but the body language between the two leaders at their first meeting was not warm, perhaps reflecting their sharply different styles and views. mr. trump, the businessman- turned politician, who campaigned on "america first." and merkel, political veteran, now europe's most vocal defender. it's been a touchy long-distance relationship up to today. last year, candidate trump accused merkel of "ruining" germany by accepting hundreds of thousands of syrian refugees. >> i don't know what went wrong with her. i don't know what went wrong. angela, what happened? what happened angela? >> warner: today, the chancellor was asked whether she had any
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reservations about the president's combative style. >> ( translated ): people have different abilities, different characteristics, traits of character, have different origins have found their way into politics along different pathways. well that's diversity, which is good. sometimes it's difficult to find compromises but that's what we've been elected for. >> warner: two of those areas of difficulty: nato, and the european union. mr. trump has repeatedly criticized nato states for not paying their share of the common defense. he said today he had pressed merkel to boost defense spending to two percent of economic output, the alliance's stated goal. >> many nations owe vast sums of money from past years. and it is very unfair to the united states. these nations must pay what they owe. >> warner: merkel repeated bonn's pledge to get to 2% of g.d.p. within the next seven years.
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( translated ): nato is of prime importance to us. it was not without very good reason that we said during our summit meeting in wales, that also germany needs to increase expenditure. we committed to this two percent goal until 2024. >> warner: the president has also criticized the e.u., germany specifically for running huge manufacturing trade surplus with the u.s. today, he said: >> and the united states has been treated very, very unfairly by many countries over the years. that's going to stop. but i'm not an isolationist i'm a free trader but i'm fair trader. germany has done very well with its trade deals with the united states. i give them credit for it. >> warner: merkel noted that any trade agreement has to between the u.s. and the e.u. >> ( translated ): will it be of benefit to both countries, or not? let me be very honest and very candid. free trade agreement with the united states of america has not been all that popular with germany either.
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>> warner: merkel's dealings with president trump may affect her own popularity at a crucial moment. she's seeking a fourth term as chancellor in elections later this year, and faces challenges both from the left and the right. for the pbs newshour, i'm margaret warner. >> woodruff: in the day's other news, president trump defended the white house's handling of his claim that president obama had him wiretapped. his press secretary, sean spicer, had quoted a fox news analyst who suggested british intelligence handled the wiretapping. the british flatly denied it and complained to the white house. but, at his news conference today, the president dismissed the furor. >> all we did was quote a certain very talented legal mind who was the one responsible for saying that on television. i didn't make an opinion on it. that was a statement made by a very talented lawyer on fox. and so you shouldn't be talking
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to me, you should be talking to fox. >> woodruff: fox news issued a statement today saying it has, "no evidence of any kind" that mr. trump was surveilled at any time. but, with german chancellor merkel looking on, the president then connected his own claim to allegations in 2013 that the obama administration monitored her phone calls. >> as far as wiretapping i guess by this past administration, at least we have something in common perhaps. >> woodruff: meanwhile, the justice department said today it has complied with congressional requests for any information on surveillance during the campaign. it gave no details. there's new trouble for the secret service. te agency confirmed today that someone stole a laptop from an agent's car in new york, yesterday. it was parked near her brooklyn home.
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the secret service says the laptop has multiple security layers and does not contain classified information. a week ago was on the ground nor 16 minutes before being arrested. he did not inter the building but he got close. president president trump today ramped up his push for the obamacare replacement bill. he met with conservative republicans, and said he's "100 percent" behind the measure. later he predicted it will pass "pretty quickly." other lawmakers said changes to the bill are in the works, and house speaker paul ryan said the process is going well. >> there are people from middle and right who have various concerns. and we're trying to make sure that we address as many of these concerns as possible without destroying the bill. and without losing votes but adding votes. we're really doing well we're feeling very good. >> woodruff: in the senate, four republicans have now come out
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against the bill, leaving it short of a majority. in yemen, 42 somali refugees were killed last night when they were under attack at sea. survivors said they were trying to flee yemen to sudan, when a naval vessel and a helicopter gunship opened fire. shiite rebels in yemen blamed a saudi-led coalition. the coalition had no immediate comment. the pentagon denied today that a u.s. air strike targeted a mosque in syria's aleppo province. activists and a powerful rebel group said the attack killed nearly 50 people, mostly civilians who had gathered for prayers. but a u.s. military photograph showed the mosque still standing, while a building across the street was destroyed. a pentagon spokesman said the strike killed dozens of al-qaeda fighters, not civilians. the international energy agency reports that worldwide carbon emissions remained flat in 2016. emissions fell in the united states and china, the two
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largest emitters, thanks to greater use of renewable, nuclear and gas power. still, the agency says it's not enough to prevent the continued rise of global temperatures. and, wall street finished the week on a so-so note. the dow jones industrial average lost nearly 20 points to close at 20,914. the nasdaq rose a quarter-point, and the s&p 500 gave up three. for the week, all three indexes gained a fraction of a percent. and, nobel-winning poet derek walcott died today, at his home on the island of st. lucia. his work focused on the caribbean and earned him renown as one of the greatest writers of the second half of the 20th century. he won the nobel prize for literature in 1992. derek walcott was 87 years old. still to come on the newshour: the secretary of state talks tough about north korea during his first trip to asia. a major physicians' group speaks
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out against the republican health care plan. mark shields and david brooks analyze the week's news. an author's inspiration from norse mythology, and much more. >> woodruff: secretary of state rex tillerson at one of the tensest places on the planet: the border between north and south korea. it's the second stop on an important, three-country whirlwind tour of asia, where allies and adversaries are both close at hand. hari sreenivasan has that. >> let me be very clear: the policy of strategic patience has ended. >> sreenivasan: from south korea, secretary of state rex tillerson signaled a tougher line on dealing with north korea, including the possibility of a pre-emptive military strike. >> certainly we do not want to, for things to get to a military
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conflict. if they elevate the threat of their weapons program to a level that we believe that requires action, that option is on the table. >> sreenivasan: tillerson spoke in seoul after visiting the demilitarized zone that separates the two countries, and the truce village of panmunjom; north korean soldiers looked on, snapping pictures. the secretary arrived at a time of mounting tensions. north korea has test-fired ballistic missiles twice in the last three weeks, as u.s. and south korean troops conduct elaborate, annual joint exercises. the north also carried out two nuclear tests last year. yesterday, in japan, the secretary said 20 years of attempts to curb pyongyang's nuclear ambitions have failed. >> in the face of this ever- escalating threat, it is clear that a different approach is required. part of the purpose of my visit to the region is to exchange views on a new approach. >> sreenivasan: this morning,
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president trump weighed in. via twitter, he wrote: "north korea is behaving very badly. they have been "playing" the united states for years. china has done little to help!" the chinese have condemned north korea's nuclear and missile tests. but they also oppose deployment of the u.s. ballistic missile defense system, known as "thaad," to south korea. tillerson answered today in seoul, before heading to beijing tomorrow. >> while we acknowledge china's opposition, its economic retaliation against south korea is inappropriate and troubling. we ask china to refrain from such action. >> sreenivasan: the south korean foreign minister underscored the u.s. argument that the missile defense system is not aimed at china. but the recent ouster of south korea's president, in a corruption scandal, could change the landscape. the liberal candidate favored to win the presidency in may says he'll review the thaad deployment, and consult with china. for more on the secretary's trip to asia, and the significance of what tillerson had to say in
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south korea, we turn to veteran diplomat kathleen stephens. she was u.s. ambassador to south korea during the obama administration. she's now at stanford university. how significant were the secretary's remarks? >> well, i think they were very significant and closely listened to and heard throughout the region as well as here. in fact i think first extensive press conferences as secretary of state. it was indeed a very tough message but i think he picked his words pretty carefully. a lot of what he had to say was a inforcement of what had been the obama administration policy, but an indication that he wants to toughen it up. >> is this our chief diplomat that is saying talking hasn't been work. >> there hasn't been much talking with them over the l eight years. one thing that did strike me about secretary tillerson's remarks was that he was quite specific and categorical saying
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now is not the time for talks. i actual lie would have liked have seen him keep the door a little bit ajar on that because i think when you do have a new administration in washington, there will soon be a new administration in seoul there's a good argument for trying to climb that mountain one more time and seeing what's possible diplomatically. at the very least it helps you build the coalition you need to increase the pressure of diplomatic approach. >> he's advocating tougher sanctions will they work? >> sanctions are a very blunt instrument. and they have been against north korea a have been toughened and broaden through security and bilateral action by the united states, actions by south korea and japan, china has also participated although there's never been satisfaction i think with china doing or as much is it possibly school.
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but will sanction work, i think they can bring pressure on the regime, they are bringing pressure. will they lead kim jong un to make a choice that he's ready to trade his nuclear and missile program for lessening of sanctions for other benefits. i think that the chance of that working are far less promising perhaps than they have been. but it doesn't mean you give up on sanction. but has to be only one part of your approach. >> sreenivasan: given what we know and don't know about north korea's leader does this prod him to come to the table or just anger him more at times his actions have not been predictable. >> well, i think what we know about him who has now been in power for five years that priority, his priority has been to accelerate and consolidate his nuclear weapon and ballistic missile capability. to date, the sanctions the isolation, the -- for that matter of carrots that have been
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offered to do otherwise have not been sufficient. so, i am pessimistic about them. but i think that continued pressure is important because you don't know what the timeline is for getting somebody to the table. and i think secretary tillerson is right, indeed it was something that the obama administration emphasized that china also plays a very important role. but i think sanctions have to be combined with some kind of exit ramp are that has to be into something that allows him to start to make some adjustments, given where he is in the program we have to her our sights of what he need to do to get into talks. that is one part of mr. tillerson's presentation that concerned me a bit. he stated perhaps for tactical reasons, was long been his approach that basically north korea need to give up everything before we get to a diplomatic process. i do think it has to be a process probably a slow process but certainly the principle
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which was held by obama administration which mr. tillerson reinforced there need to be readiness to say they are prepared to move toward -- is important. that is one chinese have also agreed to need to reinforce. >> sreenivasan: something of interest in south korea is not who mr. tillerson met been, didn't seem to meet with any of the opposition leaders he talked to an administering that is lame duck. how significant -- how much likely to change after south korea has a new election? >> right. it's a tricky question in the middle of an election campaign how go you can manage those meetings. i have some sympathy with the diplomatic nuances of trying to do that. but certainly, less than two months time, south korea will have a new president. the election is on may 9th that new president will take care, i guess immediately. and it is dark dash looks now that it's going to be most likely a president from the part
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of the political spectrum that has tended to lean toward trying a little harder on the engagementing a well north korea. in any event any new south doreen -- korean from the will want to look at that, very important not to close off too many options, before that new government gets in place. then to see with seoul as well as with beijing what along with deepened pressure, deepened sanctions, more countries participating and pressuring north korea what might be possible in terms of a fresh diplomatic approach, some kind of grand bargain that address our core interest in seeing all of the peninsula with no nuclear weapons in north korea but find a way to get into talks on if that basis. >> sreenivasan: thanks so much. >> my pleasure.
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>> woodruff: president trump and the republican leadership in the house are working to pass a healthcare bill later next week. but there's still criticism and concern about the impact of this bill, including among lawmakers, governors and, of course, among voters themselves. there are also a number of powerful interest groups who are directly involved in healthcare and are expressing reservations. tonight, jeffrey brown hears one of those perspectives. >> brown: in 2010 the american medical association, the largest physicians group in the country, lobbied for the passage of the affordable care act. fast forward to today: the group is publicly opposing the proposed house republican health plan. doctor andrew gurman is its president and he joins me now. welcome. >> thank you, delighted to be here. >> can you boil down the essence of the op sick, what is wrong with this plan? >> we know that people who don't have health insurance are sicker and die younger, it is a basic principle that people who has
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insurance shouldn't lose it and don't have health insurance should get it. we're afraidnd this bill that wouldn't happen. >> take parts of it. the tax credit emphasis. why wouldn't that work or who would that not work for. >> we're concerned that the poorest and sickest among us would be the ones most affected. i'll give you an example. these are numbers from the kyser family foundation. someone who is 60 years old under affordable care act might get subsidies of up to between 9,000 and $13,000 to buy insurance depending where he or she lived. under the proposed legislation that subsidy would be $4,000, in the across the board, it is virtually impossible to purchase insurance at that age for $4,000. >> do you see an impact on your own patients? are you hearing the worries? >> the worries that my patients have, have to do with high deductibles and availability of insurance. i can give you example of someone i saw last week in my
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office, a carpenter, makes between $20-30 in a good year, he need to have surgery on his hand. he has a $6,000 deductible. that's a big problem. >> to push back a little bit many doctors have complained about the aca, right, about too many regulation, gets in the way of the doctor-patient relationship, takes away choices on patients. you are also getting push back from the white house about -- that you and other interest groups are opposed because it hits you financially, you doctors, financially. how do you respond? >> there was no question, there are things in the affordable care act that need to be fixed. there are various ways that that could be done, repeal and replace is one of them but we don't know what the replacement is. the ama clearly stated that we think that the american people should see what the proposed replacement is so that we can have effective discussion regard knowledge whether it's better or worse than what we have now. there are many things in the affordable care act that could
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be fixed rather than replaced. >> the repeated claim behind this of course is that obamacare is collapsing. do you see that? >> well, there's no question that the markets which were created under the affordable care act need to be stabilized. >> finally is president says we're going to get through all this, we're going to get a new health plan. do you think that will happen? with will it take to get the ama on board? >> the ama stands ready, willing and eager to work with congress in order to get this right and to make it work for all americans. >> again, do you think it will happen? >> i hope so. >> you do hope so even though you oppose what is on the table? >> iope at the end of this process we have a health care system that works for everybody in america. it's already -- just need to make it work for us. >> dr. andrew gurman, president of the ama, thank you. >> thank you for having me.
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>> woodruff: and to the analysis of shields and brooks. that's syndicated columnist mark shields and "new york times" columnist david brooks. welcome, gentleman. let's pick up on the conversation, david, that jeffrey brown was just having with the head of the american medical association. president trump is saying again health care overhaul is moving along very well. he's going to move through the house, what do you see as prospect? >> >> i'm amazed that they did it first. of all issues to tackle health scare probably the hardest one. and so every four or eight years some president, let's did health care first. it hurts them every single time. whether the prospects of this bill are good i tend to doubt. it has very few fans in the senate. it has two wings of opposition which are in contradiction. what we call the coverage caucus
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who want more expensive bill that will cover more people. the freedom caucus wants less expensive bill to cover less. they have to win both of these groups. how do you do this when they are mutually contradictory. the senate is very daunting, you're asking the house members to vote for something that will take away coverage that already exist for a bill that probably doesn't have great prospects in the long run. i personally bet they get flew the house because it's so hard to go against sitting president as his first major thing. i wouldn't want to bet on the event passage. >> woodruff: the main argument they are use knowledge gets closer to the vote is the political vote, you want go against your president. >> it's an argument that used in 1993, the democrats and bill clinton and his major budget and tax increase. which, by the way, included a btu tax that house members voted on, it passed the house, very difficult vote and died in the senate.
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several conservative democrats walked away from it left the house members with a vote that they really couldn't -- became politically mortal, tabling. i think the same thing is true here. and for good reasons, judy. the republicans, pledged in 20 2010, they pledged in 2012 and 2016 that was the one pledge they had, repeal obamacare. really did take on almost a moral imperative or political imperative. but, judy, this is going to radically overhaul the affordable care act and medica medicaid. you heard dr. gurman with his interview, reality is, providers are not going to provide coverage. they're not going toake on as patients people under medicaid because they won't have the money to pay for it. they are talking one figure that jumps out beyond all the
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questions of deductibles, $24 million -- 24 million americans, that's the congressional budget office, estimates. republicans just recoil. that is the number that -- going to lose coverage. lose coverage. that just is -- that is truly unforgivable. it's more indefensible i think politically indefensible. >> woodruff: you're talking about the bill as it sits in the house, in the senate almost certain to see changes. >> but which direction? first on the 24 million it's a neat trick to do that because simply repealing obamacare would have taken coverage from 23 million. the replacement subtracts a million. which is interesting trick. republican party just hasn't figured out where it sits on this issue. i think you could have a very good flea market system modeled on switzerland, a lot of individual markets, pay people
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pay for their health care and cost and -- supply and demand pressures to get costs down, but you have to spend more to make it universal. you actually have to make it univsal. republican party hasn't gotten it there. probably would be extensive. some of the wanted to go sort of in that direction, ted cruz, rand paul, want to go in the other direction. they just don't think it's the government's job to be in the field of distribution. and this aca was very distribution is. the republican party hasn't figured it out or donald trump hasn't figured it out. he ampaigned as a populist, i'd be handing things to my people. and what this bill does is it takes things from the trump voters. the middle age people, 50 to 64 get hammered just above medicaid threshold. working class they get hammered. so what is the one piece of the bill that has been there in all the versions is the tax cut for making over 250. it's a weirdly anti-donald trump
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bill that he has gone along with because i think the house republicans led the way. >> i can't argue with any point that david made. i just say, inconceivably, donald trump changed the face of the republican party, he carried 403 counties that voted for been barack obama. they were considerably more white than the country is, they were considerably less educated than they were struggling, working class. he has turned his back not simply on the health care, this bill does, but on the budget. it takes the have nots and it takes from the have nots and have lesses gives to the have mores, it is absolutely a robin hood in reverse budget. i just -- really to use david's word, hammers the very people who voted for him especially in rural areas in america. >> woodruff: what about the
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budget n. >> just some things are mystifying. why they eliminated the an matchian regional development. why they severely cut the great lakes region, michigan, wisconsin. why have to put those specific cuts in the budget, fine, republicans will try to get rid of cpb corporation, but why they have put those things, it's mystifying. it seems to go in direct contradiction to everything he stood for in the course of the campaign. there's a theory going around in political science has some resonance today, you have moments where you get political party has -- knows what they believe and they are all on board. then periods of disruption where they are internally divided. the argument is jimmy carter was an example. the democrats shift away from old style liberalism, they were in ii nally divided. donald trump is like jimmy carter he comes at a time when the republican party, that he himself is internally divided
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you get these weird contradiction of campaigning one way then governing in very opposite way. >> woodruff: both of you are saying the same thing, about the budget. >> no point in wrapping. >> just as david, a congressional reporter in politico, they are turn their backs on republican endorsed programs. jerry ford with community development grants. bob dole pushed and champion of food aid, they're going to cut that. it was ronald reagan found the money for heating 'cities tans for poor people. it's amazing. same budget, that paul ryan passed in 2013, but then he was negotiating with democratic president because he wanted to get cuts in entitl entitlement h
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towards taming the budget deficits. but now he's got republican president, passing the same constant. i don't know where the pick up is. >> i was looking for the political philosophy that might be inherent in a budget. some of them are just weird evee national institutes of health. that is a an advance in scientific growth. doesn't seem republican. they are investing in everything that is hard power. they're investing the military, homeland security, everything that is about threat and fear. they are disinvesting in everything that has to do with compassion, care, thinking, innovation. it's almost like emotionally consistent, just hardness and toughness and fear. and everything just just has to. >> woodruff: even some republicans are saying this is just the first shot from the white house. we'll have our own crack at it. in the few minutes that we have left, mark, let's talk about the
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president continuing to double down on his intention that he was wiretapped by former president obama. he said it, he said it again today, his spokesman, sean spicer has come up with evidence they say at least cited news stories, british government pushed back on one of the claims that sean spicer made yesterday. what does this say that this is something the president won't let go of in the face of almost universal lack of evidence. >> it is universal. when you lose president nunez the chairman of the -- >> woodruff: republican. >> been donald trump's apologi apologist, explained that donald trump was actually a political neophyte. this is a man who ran as you might disagree with him, judy, but you know what he says. he says what he believes and he believes what he says.
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he tells it like it is. and now we're down to figuratively, literally, i don't care about -- he said this about the president of the united states. he 'cuesed the president, said it was a fact that the president of the united states did this. it was wrong. it was unfair. it was unjust. as unjust when he charged ted cruz's father had been involved in the assassination of president kennedy. first african american president was not an american, but now the president. now he's president. it doesn't matter of the macho or vanity, when the president of the night states reassures allies, confounds the world, reassures the world, alarms people. i said last week, i do not believe when the crisis comes that there's going to be credibility for this man. >> woodruff: how do you explain? >> one thing that struck me this week donald trump is most talked about american in the history of our country. wherever you go, people are
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talking about donald trump. and people abroad that's all -- anywhere in the world people talk about that. he does it in part through this. through saying things and making criticized and -- but he is the center. the second thing he demonstrates through this, again i'm just trying to illustrate why y he got elected president, why these things don't seem to kill him. his first center of attention. >> woodruff: figuratively. >> right, exactly. and the second is that force, he shows force. i was listening to talk radio today there is a lot of support for donald trump through that guy, is tough enough to stand against everybody and be forceful. he never withdraws, he never backs down, just force, force, force. remember when jeff sessions recused himself from that investigation on the russia thing, trump report thely blew his top because it was withdrawal, legitimate step back
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but partial withdrawal. trump is always forward, forward. >> woodruff: no sign of any change on that. david brooks, mark shields, thank you both, have a great weekend. >> thank you, judy. >> woodruff: now, a new work from neil gaiman explores deities, dwarves and giants. jeff is back with this otherworldly addition to the newshour bookshelf. >> brown: the mighty thor: god of thunder, as portrayed by jack kirby in his 1960's comic book series. one-eyed odin, highest and oldest of the gods, from roger lancelyn green's "myths of the norsemen." >> i would have been six years ol i first encountered the, just the idea of these norse gods.
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the mighty thor and i looked, i remember looking at them and going 'this is amazing.' >> brown: these stories of the norse gods were read and absorbed by the young neil gaiman. now 56, gaiman has sold more than 15 million books, as one of today's leading writers of fantasy and science fiction-- the clash of the very human and the otherworldly. the british-born gaiman first gained fame for his comic book series, "the sandman." he would go on to write much more in many genres, including novels such as:" neverwhere"," american gods, and "the ocean at the end of the lane." and he's now done his own retelling of the old tales, titled "norse mythology." we spoke recently at scandinavia house in new york. >> i'd encountered the stories of the greeks, even of the egyptians. you look at the supreme gods, the top gods. you look at zeus, you look at ra, and they are powerful and all wise and to be aspired to
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and yet here is odin and if he turns up at your house, he'll probably turn up in disguise and you know, leave with half your cutlery, possibly having seduced your daughter. >> yeah. >> these are unreliable people. >> when i started writing the stories and i started working on this book about four years ago, from my perspective, it was the joy of just going this is part of the heritage of the human race. let me give it to a new generation. >> brown: so tell me what you're doing in this book, you're you're not, you're re-writing the myths, are you trying to >> i suppose i think about them as if i'm taking old folk songs and then perhaps orchestrating them, arranging them for modern ears. i'm going back to the icelandic versions of these stories, that
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remain to us written in a post- christian world. picking the versions of the stories that i like, not changing things. not creating in the sense of retelling. retelling as if you were telling a joke you love but telling it for modern ears. >> brown: so you had some fun with this? >> i had a lot of fun with it. >> but what i didn't do is invent stories. >> brown: you write about these gods as though they are still with us to some degree and of course in your writing, that's a motif. >> yep. >> brown: do you feel that? that the gods are with us? >> i feel like the gods are ours. and we are allowed, we created them. human beings get to create gods and human beings get to tell stories with gods. we carry our cultures around with us. we carry our background around with us. we carry our histories and our families' histories and our ancestors histories around with us. >> brown: gaiman himself has
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long been a kind of cult hero to his fans, who follow him and his work in progress on his blog and on twitter. he's reached broader audiences with adaptations-- a film version of his novel," coraline"... an upcoming television series based on "american gods"... and much more to come. >> for me it's all part of the giant, same thing, which is storytelling. what fascinates me, what drives me is the urge to tell stories. what then drives you is going, where is this story best told? how can you tell this story as one thing? sometimes how can you move this story from one medium into another? >> brown: you wrote about when you achieve some success the fear that you'll be uncovered as
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a kind, what your wife called the fraud police, right? and you refer to it as the imposter syndrome, where this is all too good to be true. >> absolutely, fearing that it will be taken away from you at any moment when people notice that you are simply making it up. and i guess it's worse for a writer because you are simply making it up. >> brown: yeah, you really are. >> you know, you look around and you go well doctors, they've at least learned things and you know, architects must know how to architect. but i'm just a guy who makes stuff up and people happen to like it and maybe tomorrow they won't like it and maybe there will be that knock on the door and there will be that guy in the suit with a clipboard saying right, we're onto you. you have to go and get a real job now. >> brown: in the meantime, look out: t norse mythology ends with ragnarok, the apocalyptic end of the world. >> one of the things that i love about ragnarok is yes, it's the end of all times, it's terrible, all of the people are killed. everything is destroyed and yet,
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even as ragnarok finishes, you're told but, there are two human beings whose names are life and life's yearning, who are still hiding successfully and they will repopulate the world. and yes, the sun is destroyed but a new sun with come up, fresher and brighter than the old one. >> brown: until then, from new york, i'm jeffrey brown for the pbs newshour. >> woodruff: and we'll be back shortly to hear a writer's thoughts on how stories influence our beliefs. but first, take a moment to hear from your local pbs station. it's
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>> woodruff: finally tonight, "atlantic" magazine writer derek thompson, author of the recent book "hit makers," looks at how stories help us understand and even change the way we see the world. it's the latest installment of in my humble opinion. have a listen. >> one thing i learned writing a book about pop culture hits in entertainment is that stories are weapons, for good or ill. movies like frozen can teach us inclusiveness. movies like 1915's "the birth of a nation" can teach us prejudice. for example, take one of the most ancient and universal myths: vampires. for hundreds of years, people didn't understand death or disease. why did people get sick in bunches? why did people often die after friends? so, all over the world, different civilizations made up the same story: death comes from
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the dead. before the 1800s, the belief in vampires stretched from transylvania to china. albanian vampires ate intestines, while their indonesian brethren drank blood. in eastern europe, they discriminated against people they thought might become vampires-including the disabled, atheist, and even seventh children. today we know germs exists and vampires do not. it's tempting to say it was just a stupid story. but the truth is that vampires were a perfect story. it didn't just explain the mystery of death. even more, it explained the chaos of life with a spectacular tale that empowered villagers by telling them that everybody had the capacity to fight evil-- with potions, garlic, prayers, chastity, stakes, swords, and fire. we've come a long way since vampires. or have we?
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even today, society is bound by the stories that we tell each other. in an office, loud women are bossy, but loud men are assertive. an outspoken white friend is authoritative, but an outspoken black person is threatening. are men smarter than women? or whites smarter than other races? there is no scientific basis for these ideas. they are stories that had to be invented, constructed, told, and believed. from the time we are children, we hear stories about the way the world ought to work-who should we trust? who should we fear? these are social narratives, passed down like bedtime stories, across generations, telling us how to live and what to expect. science finally killed the folk belief in vampires. but how do we drive a stake through misogyny and prejudice? history is full of men and women
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who successfully championed justice and equal rights. empathy and equality are powerful stories. they need equally powerful storytellers. >> woodruff: on the newshour online right now, it's a startling image that has spread quickly across the internet: a syrian man sitting in his bombed-out bedroom in aleppo, listening to music from a record player. we talked to the photographer who captured the moment of reverie. find that on our web site, later tonight on "washington week," the white house sparks an international incident by suggesting british intelligence helped the obama administration wiretap trump tower. why is the president doubling down on his unsubstantiated allegations? find out tonight on "washington week." on pbs newshour weekend tomorrow, an interview with the
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director of "newtown," a documentary about resilience after the mass shooting at a connecticut elementary school. >> woodruff: that's tomorrow that's the newshour for tonight. i'm judy woodruff. have a great weekend. thank you and good night. >> it's hard not to feel pride as a citizen of this country when we're in a place like this. >> supporting social entrepreneurs and their solutions to the world's most
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pressing problems-- >> and the william and flora hewlett foundation, helping people build immeasurably better lives. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and friends of the newshour. >> 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
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hello and welcome to kqed "newsroom." coming up on our program, california and other states gained a legal victory when federal judges blocked president trump's latest travel ban, but the fight is far from over as the trump administration plans to appeal. almost two moss into trump's presidency we hear from a tea party republican thrilled with trump's performance so far. first, bring up ongoing coverage of the first 100 days of the fru trump administration. a lot of to do about the travel ban. on monday joined five other states to a new executive order targeting travelers from six muslim majority nations. supporting the suit, javier says the


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