tv PBS News Hour PBS June 6, 2017 3:00pm-4:01pm PDT
captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> woodruff: good evening. i'm judy woodruff. on the newshour tonight: as the trump white house juggles political battles on multiple fronts, its g.o.p allies in congress confront a packed agenda and a limited summer calendar. then, separating fact from fiction-- why some school teachers are focusing on giving younger generations the tools to navigate today's complex media landscape. >> when they're using their phones, they may know how to make something work, but they don't have the ethical piece, the emotional intelligence piece. it's a wilderness out there for some kids. >> woodruff: and, a new broadway hit with a message-- how the musical, "dear evan hansen," is
giving teens hope for getting through high school's isolation in a social media world. >> the chance to sort of connect and realize that nobody's experience of loneliness is unique and that everybody at some time or another feels on the outside looking in is a really powerful thing right now. >> woodruff: all that and more on tonight's pbs newshour. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> and by the alfred p. sloan foundation. supporting science, technology, and improved economic performance and financial literacy in the 21st century. >> supported by the john d. and catherine t. macarthur foundation. committed to building a more
just, verdant and peaceful world. more information at macfound.org >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions: >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> woodruff: russia is denying that it tried to hack u.s. voting software and equipment before last year's presidential election. the online magazine "the intercept" reported the allegation, based on a national security agency document. a kremlin spokesman dismissed it today, saying: "this assertion has absolutely nothing to do with reality." in washington, the u.s. secretary of homeland security-- john kelly-- was asked about it at a senate hearing. >> are you deferring the
investigation of this to the f.b.i. or is the department actually engaged in investigating the penetration or attempts to penetrate the voter files in this country immediately before the election by the russian government? >> i share your concern i don't disagree with anything you said relative to the sanctity of our voting process. clearly it should be an interagency investigation and that is taking place, d.h.s. will be part of that. >> woodruff: the ranking democrat on the senate intelligence committee-- virginia's mark warner-- told "usa today" that the russian cyber-attacks were even more extensive. but he said he does not think actual votes were changed. and reality winner-- the georgia woman charged, apparently, with leaking the n.s.a. report-- remained in jail. her mother called her "a patriot." president trump today waded into the political conflict over the persian gulf nation of qatar, where the u.s. has 10,000 troops.
saudi arabia, egypt, bahrain and the u.a.e. broke ties with the kingdom on monday-- and accused it of supporting terror groups and iran. jordan scaled back ties today. today, mr. trump appeared to endorse the move in a tweet that said: this in contrast to yesterday, when the white house said the president wanted to work with all the parties, to de-escalate the situation. british police have identified the third suspect in saturday's deadly knife and van attack in london. he was 22-year-old youssef zaghba-- an italian national of moroccan descent. all three attackers were shot dead by police. also today: hundreds across the country gathered for a minute of silence to remember those who died or were wounded. meanwhile, the mayor of london-- sadiq khan-- brushed off criticism from president trump. the president has written a
series of tweets ridiculing the mayor since saturday's attack. but today, khan said he's much more concerned about the invitation extended last year to mr. trump to come to great britain. >> i really couldn't be bothered about what donald trump tweets, i'm not-- i'm don't how to tell you this, but i really don't care. what's the important issue is that, you know, prime minister theresa may offered donald trump a state visit, moments after he was elected president. i said at the time, i don't think a state visit was appropriate and my views haven't changed. >> woodruff: the white house did not respond directly to khan. instead, a spokesman said the president appreciates the queen's invitation to visit. in france: a man swinging a hammer attacked police outside notre dame cathedral in paris today. he allegedly shouted "this is for syria" and struck one officer before being shot and wounded. dozens of police took over the scene, and blocked at least 600 people from leaving the cathedral. they were slowly being released later in the evening. there's word that riding-sharing giant uber has fired 20 people
after an internal investigation into sexual harassment and other complaints. various news outlets report the moves were announced today at a staff meeting in san francisco. a law firm investigated more than 200 allegations of sexual harassment, going back to 2012. and on wall street: the dow jones industrial average lost 47 points to close at 21,136. the nasdaq fell 20 points, and the s&p 500 dropped six. still to come on the newshour: republican leaders in congress struggle to their to-do list before the august recess, the fight begins in the isis- stronghold of raqqa, teaching students to tell the difference between fact and fiction, and much more. >> woodruff: members of congress
returned to washington today for what could be a make-or-break few weeks for republicans' packed agenda. that as the russia investigations and the upcoming testimony of former f.b.i. director james comey continue to add complications for the party. lisa desjardins reports. >> the senate will come to order. >> reporter: from the senate floor... >> good morning, this hearing will come to order. >> reporter: ...to committee rooms, to capitol hill hallways. congress is back from recess, and facing big issues with little time. senate republicans are at a pivotal point-- trying to write their health care bill. >> we had another of our ongoing discussions about the way forward on health care. we're getting closer to having a proposal that we'll be bringing up in the near-future. >> reporter: they would like a vote this month, but democrats point out republican senators don't yet have a plan with enough votes on their own. >> i have a message for our republican colleagues, it's very
simple: abandon repeal, stop sabotaging our health care system, and you'll find democrats waiting to work with you to improve our health care system. >> reporter: the white house meanwhile stressed the will on healthcare, but not the way. >> they're going to work their will. and i think they're all going to come together. these-- by and large-- every elected republican in the house and the senate campaigned on this for the last seven years. >> reporter: but with healthcare still unfinished undone-- that means a backed up gop agenda-- with infrastructure, tax reform, spending bills-- not to mention raising the debt ceiling-- all needing attention soon in order to pass. >> what a great team this is, what an unbelievable team. >> reporter: all of that brought the g.o.p.'s key leaders-- house and senate to the white house to meet with president trump today. >> so we're working very hard on massive tax cuts, and we're working very, very hard on the health care. and i think we're going to have some very pleasant surprises for a lot of people. >> reporter: but even this meeting had a nod to fired f.b.i. director james comey's
big hearing this week. >> i wish him luck. thank you everybody. >> reporter: and the cloud that continues to hang over the president's own agenda. for the pbs newshour, i'm lisa desjardins. >> woodruff: and lisa joins me now, along with our own john yang. so john, i'm going the start with you. you just heard what lisa's reporting about what they're doing on the hill. what is the white house doing? >> the white house is pushing infrastructure. yesterday airway, tomorrowwater way, thursday streets, friday permitting processes. you might think that means they have an infrastructure bill ready to go. no. this is concept, proposal, broad policy bills. they don't have a timeline for when they'll have an infrastructure bill ready to introduce in congress. they don't even know whether it will be one bill or a series of legislative packages. they're still on the drawing board. >> woodruff: sounds like it's still early. lisa, talk specifically about the time crunch. what is congress dealing with here? >> i think congress is looking at essentially a 60-yard field goal to try to get everything done that it has to.
it has to be perfect. look at the calendar, what congress and republicans hoped to do this year. this is what they wanted to happen, have healthcare passed in february and march and then tax reform, we'd with talking about a bill right now. that's they wanted. let's look at what's actually happened. the calendar now has healthcare, that was not passed until may. and then senate is dealing with it now. so what's happened to tax reform? well, that's been kicked back because we see the debt ceiling and the spending bill coming up this summer, further jamming the calendar, meaning tax reform might be pushed back to the fall, judy, and as john said, this is one reason there's not a time line for infrastructure. it simply doesn't fit, and it's not clear that all these things fit either. we're never seen congress be able to get this much done in that amount of time. >> woodruff: john, as lisa suggest, in addition to i infrastructure, there is more the white house wants to get to. >> they have two things on their wish list, one thing on their
must-do list. on their wish list, a healthcare vote before the august recess. they hoped to have that done by now. then as lisa pointed out, they want the tax bill introduced after labor day. they were hoping to have that passed by august. the must-do list, they've got to raise the debt ceiling, big debate inside the administration, do you do that clean with nothing attached to it, or do you have spending cuts and other spending reforms in order to get conservatives, fiscal conservatives to vote for it. >> woodruff: so lee centennial park again, back to the hill, when republican leaders hear all this, how do they think they can get it done, or do they really? >> reality is a tricky concept right now on capitol hill. this is what i've gotten from sources i trust. they believe there will be a senate vote on healthcare before august. now, there's big questions over whether the house and senate will come together on a healthcare package after that. that's very much in question. tax reform: people are openly talking now that they're not sure they can actually get that done. i'm hearing voices in the republican party saying...
>> woodruff: this year? >> this year and maybe not in the next cycle because there's so much heavy lifting. they're now even starting to say maybe that becomes a tax cut instead of sweeping tax reform. >> woodruff: and meantime, john, at the white house, the president is saying something, his aides and spokespeople are sometimes often say something different. >> he keeps talking as if healthcare is ready for a vote in the senate. he talks about it as if tax reform, a tax cut bill is ready for a vote in the senate, and everything is just two weeks new york two weeks we're going to have a great plan, but this is put off well into the future. >> woodruff: in fact, lee centennial park we were talking about this earlier, what the president is saying, john is reporting in some of these expectations that he's putting out there and tweeting about, including about other subjects, but then members of congress, leadership have to react, all of that is having an effect on the agenda. >> i think until now many republicans have been able to
shrug it off as much as they themselves were frustrated by it. but today, judy, senator been corker, generally a trump ally, was literally speechless when he was told about the president's tweet about qatar. i also have to say, though, even though i think these distractions are affecting the agenda now, something bigger than that still is that republicans can't agree. that's still the basic problem. republicans in the house and senate and in the white house have not come up with plans on these items. that's still the essential problem. >> woodruff: well, a lot of moving parts, and i know the two of you are going to continue to report it. as we speak, there's news coming out of the white house and the hill tonight on all this. thank you very much. lisa desjardins, john yang. >> woodruff: for three years,
the islamic state group has held the syrian city of raqqa, which it made the capital of its so- called "caliphate." now, u.s.-backed syrian groups-- with the help of american and coalition troops, and air power- - have begun the battle to re- take the city. jeffrey brown reports. >> reporter: they are called the "syrian democratic forces", and they've fought their way to the outskirts of raqqa. now, the fighters of the s.d.f. say they're ready for the main assault: >> ( translated ): morale is high and military readiness to implement the military plan is complete and in coordination with the u.s.-led coalition to fight terrorism. >> reporter: backed by u.s. coalition air-strikes, the kurdish militias of the s.d.f.-- and their arab allies-- reached the city's northern and eastern gates last week. but the u.s. military says the battle for the city itself will be "long and difficult." in neighboring iraq-- by
comparison-- the fight to re- take mosul from isis has raged since october. and the fight for raqqa may be complicated further, by the crisis between the persian gulf state of qatar and other arab nations. president trump sided with saudi arabia and others today in the confrontation on twitter. the u.s. has about 10,000 troops in qatar, and a major air base used to launch strikes against isis. the pentagon says its posture in there won't change. state department spokesman heather nauert: >> we can't to cooperate with qatar and other countries in the region in the fight against terrorism. >> reporter: meanwhile, turkey is keeping a nervous eye on the fighting at raqqa, less than 60 miles from its border. the united states is now supplying heavy weapons to the syrian kurds of the s.d.f. they are allied with turkish kurdish militants, whom ankara and the u.s. consider terrorists. >> ( translated ): despite our
many warnings, our ally, our friend, the united states has unfortunately entered into a cooperation with a terrorist organization. we will immediately retaliate if there's a threat to our nation, our country and to the safety and lives of our citizens. >> reporter: the u.s.-led coalition also announced today that it had bombed what it said were pro-syrian regime forces in southern syria. the pro-government elements had reportedly entered a restricted zone near what is known to be a u.s. and british special forces base. and we look at the fight that lies ahead in raqqa with: joby warrick, national security reporter for "the washington post," and the author of a pulitzer-prize winning history of the islamic state entitled "black flags: the rise of isis." and, andrew exum, a former army ranger who served as deputy assistant secretary of defense for middle east policy from 2015-2016. he's now a contributing editor at "the atlantic." welcome to both of you. andrew exum, let me start with you.
how significant is the raqqa offense hitch? what are the stakes here? >> i think it's significant, although we shouldn't overstate the degree to which this will really herald the end of the islamic state. if you rewind to two years ago when the islamic state was spreading across syria and iraq and threatening our allies in turkey and jordan, we claim up with a plan to try to squeeze the islamic state from multiple different directions. parted of what we've been trying to do is apply simultaneous pressure. the idea was to eventually get to a duel capitals of the islamic state in raqqa and mosul. obviously the fight for mosul began last year. we weren't able to git to raqqa by the time that president obama left office, in part because we were still waiting on some pretty big policy decisions, including arming the syrian kurds, who have born the brunt of the fight in syria. but we now appear to be knocking on the doors of raqqa. the fight should last several months.
it's going to be extremely difficult. but once this is over, it harolds perhaps the end of the islamic state as an actual quasi state, but we should expect it to exist for quite some time as a terrorist organization, as insurgents. >> brown: joby, fill in more about the practical difficulties, especially vis-a-vis what's happening in mosul where it's dragging on. >> remember, this is the true capital of the islamic state. they're going to fight for the last man. this is the end game for them in terms of keeping this caliphate alive. we see what they've done to mosul. they held on forking a months and the place still hasn't fallen. we can expect all kinds of complications in the battlefield itself, everything from tunnels and sniping and sophisticated defensive techniques. they're not going to let this go easily. >> brown: and the u.s. role is airborne? >> mostly airborne. we have allies we're relying on to do the fighting on the ground. we have advisers on the ground
and people doing ar tilley work, but it's really a fight for our allies and not for us on the ground. >> brown: andrew, if you allow yourself to think ahead, assuming a defeat of isis, what would be next? where are they being pushed to? >> well, first off, i think the defeat of isis looks different in iraq than it does in syria. in iraq we've worked through an iraqi state. that state is flawed. it's weak. it's grown in some ways more federalized as the war has gone on and as the kurds have really been able to flex their muscles in the north. but nonetheless, it is a state. in syria, by contrast, the conflict, which may not involve the islamic state past next year, the conflict should be expected to last for quite some time. the turks are obviously going to be very concerned about who controls northern syria, who controls raqqa. is it going to be the kurds with their arab allies? that might be unpalatable to say
the least to president erdogan in ankara. so i think we should expect syria the remain unfortunately quite a bit of a mess for the foreseeable future. >> well, this, joby warrick, gets very confusing for all of us watching at different times, all the different players. you think about the race to defeat isis and the potential aftermath and the chaos that could be there, as well. >> yeah. you think about the oddity of this, that we are arming a non-state actor, essentially a kurdish militia, who is against one of our nato allies, turkey. these two see each other as mortal enemies, but we're all on the same side trying to reclaim the city from the islamic state. what happens afterward, we don't know. does turkey allow an enemy to control this part of the country? i don't think so. does that mean another war breaks out after isis is gone? it's very complicated and very dangerous.
>> what about the role of the syrian government itself at this point? >> well, this is where it gets complicated, especially down in the south where you're starting to see some syrian government forces push up against some rebels that we have been supporting to try to defeat the islamic state. after iraq, yeah over the which the syrian government hasn't tried to make a claim, the next big isis stronghold has a small hold of the regime, where the regime does want to project forces some u.s. forces and u.s.-backed forces are going to start bumping up the syrian regime's coalition, which of course includes russia and hezbollah as well as iran. so the geography is just getting to get more complicated after the islamic state's falln both mosul and raqqa. >> brown: joby, we referred to the dust-up involving qatar in
our open. does that involve isis? >> it's interesting to see the president himself getting involved in this with a twitter blast over the last 24 hours, basically taking the saudis side against the qataris who are our ally and host to one of our major military facilities. >> brown: andrew, explain the role qatar plays and why it might have some implication. >> the u.s. military is running the entire air campaign out of qatar. we have several thousand troops. there i think that's one of the reasons why after the president's tweet, which echoed not only the saudi, but the emirate us from administrations with qatar, that's why you see the state department trying the clean up that, but i'm sure secretary of defense mattis and the secretary of state were frustrated to say the least to see the president get so far out there with his tweets this morning. >> brown: all right, joby warrick, andrew exum, thank you
very much. >> thank you. >> woodruff: stay with us. coming up on the newshour: the dangers that arise when aid workers start to pick sides, the surprise broadway hit, "dear evan hansen," and a student finds ways to communicate despite his stuttering. but first, helping children distinguish between false information and fact-based news. it's a distinction increasingly a problem for adults. and to be clear, we're referring to false information disguised as a legitimate news story. not reporting that people dislike for political reasons and label "fake news". in washington state, educators and media literacy advocates have joined together with legislators to address the problem. special correspondent kavitha cardoza with our partner "education week" traveled there recently, part of our weekly series, "making the grade."
>> this was the front page of the "seattle post intelligencer." >> reporter: niamh o'connell's third grade history class at bertschi school is analyzing old news stories, looking for evidence of bias. >> people, if they don't know how to analyze it will just say "oh wow, that's true!" >> reporter: fred coddon looks at the choice of words used in a story about japanese internment camps during world war ii. >> notice how they're wording it like "japanese" instead of "japanese-americans?" >> reporter: what was the purpose of that? >> the purpose was to say, "we're not imprisoning 'american citizens', or as they put it 'we're not evacuating american citizens, we're evacuating japanese.'" >> and why do they use the word "evacuate?" >> i saw some fake advertising for the japanese internment camps. they said they were "assembly
centers." >> reporter: so they made it seem really cool and actually it wasn't? >> yeah. >> reporter: o'connell uses examples from the past so these kids can become smarter about media messages in the present. even though they're only eight years old. >> i want to learn how to like analyze it myself and have my own opinion. >> they soak up everything around them. i think it's important for kids to be able to control the interpretations that they hear and see every day instead of the interpretations maybe controlling them. >> reporter: recognizing bias in news stories is one form of "media literacy." spotting when the news is entirely fabricated-- like these stories-- is something else entirely. often these stories are designed to look as if they come from legitimate news organizations, and are meant to be easily shared on social media, resulting in confusion over what's real. during the recent election season, there have been reports of a concerted effort to spread
fake news, in a bid to influence public opinion. a recent stanford university study of almost 8,000 students showed they were "easily duped" online. researchers found "overall, young people's ability to reason about the information on the internet can be summed up in one word: bleak." you've been working on media literacy for how long? >> about 40 years. >> reporter: claire beach is a media literacy advocate and former teacher. she says just because kids are comfortable with social media doesn't mean they're savvy about the information they're consuming. >> when they're using their phones, they may know how to make something work, but they don't have the ethical piece, the emotional intelligence piece. it's a wilderness out there for some kids. >> reporter: she's worked with lawmakers like democratic state senator marko liias to encourage media literacy classes in grades "k" through 12. >> i was reading a stunning statistic that just since 2003
to today, humanity has created more information than we created in all of human history up until 2003. so the pace of information, the pace of data, the pace of what our students are exposed to is rising exponentially. >> reporter: how do you convince people this is not about politics, it's about critical thinking? >> both of the bills that i've passed have had bipartisan support. whether you're a democrat or a republican, right or left, we want people to go into the voting booth educated and prepared to make the best decision for our communities and if people can't discern fake information from real information, that really corrodes the basic institutions of our democracy. >> reporter: the law in washington state encourages educators to develop policies around media literacy and to share resources. it also allows districts access to federal technology funding. this new law in washington is being used as a model by about a dozen other states. advocates want to see media literacy taught in all 50
states. >> there's clearly growing momentum to pass this kind of legislation. >> reporter: jim steyer founded common sense, one of several organizations, dedicated to media literacy. >> here are five ways to spot fake news. they've also worked with harvard university to create free lesson plans and online resources. the essence of media literacy is critical thinking. every child in america needs those skills. particularly when they live in this 24/7 media and technology world where they're just bombarded with information, oftentimes it's inaccurate. >> reporter: these students are in catherine sparks' english class at edmonds-woodway high school. >> it's crazy how many people actually trust these sources. >> you can't distinguish the difference anymore. >> it can get 1,000 re-tweets and it isn't even true. >> reporter: sparks uses the play "hamlet" to talk about fake news. >> it's about spying and lying
and how that creates a ripe environment for the proliferation of fake news. >> reporter: sparks has created untrue stories based on the play. >> in act one, scene two, when he says "o, that this too, too solid flesh would melt, thaw and resolve itself into a dew!" sure, it could be a metaphor but hamlet has a shocking flesh eating illness! >> reporter: could you actually support that with evidence from the text? good luck! fake news is not news you disagree with. fake news is fabricated news. >> reporter: sparks believes letting her students create their own fake news, will teach them how to critically think through some of the information they receive. what words are used? who benefits? is there any truth to the story? >> it's got to be dramatic! like absurd things you're like what? >> this is a juicy story! >> it's entirely fabricated. >> what would be the outcome of producing this story?
>> if the public saw this they'd think, "oh my gosh, there's so much drama and scandal going on!" >> what's been the most painful about the proliferation of fake news in the media is to watch my students start to distrust everything. >> reporter: that's exactly why state senator marko liias says media literacy is so important. >> at its bedrock, when our founding fathers created this country, the reason why they were so committed to public education was to make sure that we had an educated citizenry. >> anything that says "share if you're outraged," that's a bad sign. outrage is just the lifeblood of fake news. >> reporter: for the pbs newshour and "education week," i'm kavitha cardoza, in seattle, washington. >> woodruff: aid organizations-- especially those working in
conflict zones like yemen-- say it's crucial that they remain politically neutral. they say it's the only way they can safely do their jobs. but a recent investigation by "the new york times" reveals how one company may have endangered that neutrality for many humanitarian groups. william brangham has that story. >> reporter: unicef and the red cross are two of the humanitarian groups working in yemen, where a brutal civil war has killed or injured at least 12,000 people. "the times" today revealed that a logistics company known as transoceanic development was not only helping those aid groups get their supplies into yemen, but the company was also secretly helping u.s. special forces do the same. "the times" reports how this dual relationship could drive suspicion that the aid groups were somehow acting as agents of the u.s. government. i'm joined now by eric schmitt, he's one of "the times'" reporters who broke this story. and by daryl grisgraber. she's a senior advocate at refugees international, an aid group with operations throughout the middle east.
she previously worked for amnesty international. welcome to you both. eric schmitt, i'd like to start with you. let's just go over some of these details again. so this logistics company, transoceanic development, is working to deliver and help deliver aid supplies to yemen for these aid groups while they're also doing some work for u.s. special forces. can you explain those two relationships a little bit? >> right, the transoceanic is a global logistics company, and its job is really to ferry materials and shipments all over the world for various customers. a couple of its customers, as you mention russia the red cross, and for unicef. and in this case, they did some warehousing, they did some basic bringing materials and shipments of supplies into yemen that would then be delivered through other humanitarian organizations to the needy in that strife-torn country.
so that's one of their jobs. they were very open about this. and when mr. darden was kidnapped, his story became quite public, because... >> woodruff: this is. >> brangham: this is the central corker the in your story who is organizing this organization in yemen. he was kidnapped by rebels there and was then released after several years. >> that's right, scott darden was the country director for transoceanic. he was rock at the front end for getting these shipments of aid into yemen. so that story is quite public. what's new here is that it turned out that transoceanic and mr. darden were also working on secret contracts involving shipping similar types of materials into yemen for the military, specifically for the very specialized special operations forces, the commandos, who are operating in yemen today. >> woodruff: and. >> brangham: and just for the record, there's no evidence that the aid groups had any idea the company they were hiring to do work for them was also doing
this work for the u.s. government. >> that's right. spokesmen for both unicef and for the red cross said they had no idea that transoceanic was carrying out these kind of contracts with the military on the logistics side of things, and had they known, they may have opted for another company, but i must say, there arein' a lot of companies that get into these kind of very dangerous war zone type of places. so it's not unusual to find a company like transoceanic dealing with multiple kinds of customers. >> woodruff: so daryl grisgraber, what is your reaction? you read this story. wht was your response? >> initially we were all quite dismayed as humanitarians, because there's meant to be a very strict separation between military assistance, political assistance, and humanitarian assistance. there is quite a lively debate that goes on in the humanitarian world about keeping those separate and when and how is it possible to combine them. but the reaction is because these got combined, it's going
the look bad for humanitarians everywhere. so humanitarians tend to be under suspicion anyway because they're foreigners often in the country when we talk about the u.n. they operate very significantly on trust, building trust with the people they serve as well as the governments that allow them the operate. and to know now that humanitarian principle of neutrality in particular has potentially perceived to be compromised is going to affect all humanitarians. >> brangham: so the concern, just to spell it out even more clearly, is that if a government or groups operating in a certain country somehow thought that you were receiving shipments from a company that was also working for a partisan group in that nation, as well, the humanitarian aid workers might come under attack? >> for sure. organizations could be banned from operating in a country. the humanitarian individuals could come under attack. and it's really important to remember that this just erodes
the trust that allows humanitarians to do work everywhere and get access to the people who really need them the most, because that often involves really emphasizing the fact that you are neutral and not on the side of the conflict, so it's okay for you to be serving people. >> brangham: eric schmitt, in your piece you remind us there was a more notorious incident where the c.i.a. was operating in pakistan, and literally did blur these very lines that we're talking about. can you tell us what happened in that story? >> sure. in an effort to try and determine whether osama bin laden was actually hiding in a walled compound in abadabad in pakistan, they did door-to-door inoculations hoping that somebody would come to the door, they would be able to come inside, take inoculatios from presumably family members, and then get some type of d.n.a. readout on this. well, this all came to light, of course, after the death of bin laden, and it very much
jeopardized not only the doctors that were involved, but it basically turned much of that community in pakistan against polio vaccinations. it became actually... it was very counter productive for public health reasons for that country and the c.i.a. said it wouldn't do that again. >> brangham: daryl grisgraber, what is your sense of what revelations like this could do for the effort in yemen right now? >> well, there are relatively few aid groups operating in yemen because of the security situation. there are in international non-governmental organizations that had to withdraw their staff, so compared to the need in yemen, there are really very few groups addressing it. if this breaks trust or puts humanitarian under fire, it will be completely comprehensible that organizations pull their staffs out of, there and that means even less help for potentially 17 million people might begin starveing to death in a few weeks. >> brangham: all right. daryl grisgraber, eric schmitt, thank you both very much.
>> thank you. >> thank you. >> woodruff: as this year's tony awards approach this sunday, we look at one of this season's biggest broadway hits, and the impact it's having. jeffrey brown is back with the story from new york. ♪ cause you'll reach up and you'll rise again >> reporter: "dear evan hansen" is a high school musical... ♪ you will be found >> reporter: ...but one in which the loneliness and pain of teen life is front and center, and the sense of isolation intensified in today's social media world. at the famed sardi's restaurant recently, star ben platt said audiences are clearly finding a connection. >> people that come to the show feel, right now, especially with sort of hyperconnectivity online and with people feeling instantaneously judged all the time, i think people recede into
these sort of bubbles. >> ♪ can anybody see, is anybody waving? the chance to connect and realize that nobody's experience of loneliness is unique and that everybody at some time or another feels on the outside looking in, or feels that they can't really fully be present, or that they aren't one of the whole, but rather on their own, is a really powerful thing right now. >> reporter: the 23-year-old platt grew up around movies and theater-- his father, marc, is a major producer of hits including "wicked". before this production, ben was known for roles in the "pitch perfect" films... >> ♪ i've got the magic now everybody wants some presto ♪ magic >> reporter: ...and, in the musical, "the book of mormon." he plays evan hansen as a young man so insecure he can barely speak. it's an acclaimed performance of teenage awkwardness and vibrant singing.
>> this role is certainly the biggest challenge i've had so far in my life. it's a huge blessing in that way, too, because i feel like i'm using all of the proverbial tools that i have in my belt, which is all you want as an actor, is to feel like you're really being able to show everything you've got. vocally and physically and emotionally and all of that, it requires a lot from me. >> reporter: when a classmate commits suicide, evan hansen is mistakenly seen as his one friend. evan is suddenly a subject of interest to his classmates and the other boy's family. he gains a girlfriend and even a kind of instant celebrity when a speech he gives about suicide goes viral. but it's all a misunderstanding, destined to come crashing down around him. steven levenson wrote the story. >> it's very much this singular story of this person in the world that we know very well. but struggling with these things that hopefully are things that we all know and experience. but we never wanted it to feel like learning. or didactic. we never wanted to teach the
audience a lesson or to talk about technology. we just wanted to tell this story and hopefully illuminate something about the world in doing this. >> yeah and like in all great theater writing, those themes get expressed through that story. and those things become a part of evan's story and a part of his world. >> reporter: director michael greif previously staged two pulitzer-prize winning musicals- - "rent" and "next to normal," that took on complex contemporary issues, such as drug addiction and bipolar disorder. you clearly feel that musicals can tell difficult stories. >> certainly. i grew up seeing a lot of different kinds of musicals and the musicals i was always particularly drawn to were-- "man of la mancha" i think was the first musical i ever saw, talk about a musical with serious purpose and dark themes that are expressed. you know musicals that really do say something real and authentic about the times that they were made in. >> reporter: "dear evan hansen"
has certainly struck a chord with audiences, and many have shared their gratitude, and own stories via emails and social media. >> i brought our 15-year-old daughter and 13-year-old son to the show. their older sister, our 16-year- old daughter, died by suicide a little over a year ago. we are still devastated. but it helps us when people talk about mental illness with understanding and compassion as you did in your show. >> the "dear evan hansen" soundtrack has saved my life." >> last night, i found out my dear high school friend had taken his own life on thursday afternoon. i am devastated by this loss but grateful for having a show like "dear evan hansen" to turn to. i just wanted to thank you for getting me through this incredibly difficult time. #youwillbefound >> reporter: ben platt hears such stories every night. >> when i get the opportunity to meet fans after the show or hear from them online or via letters they feel really comfortable divulging really personal things and opening up about their own struggles. >> reporter: really, to you? >> certainly, with anxiety and
with self-harm and with inability to connect and all sorts of things. and that's an incredibly beautiful thing, and i want nothing more than for the show to encourage that and to be able to receive things like that. >> reporter: it's no spoiler alert to say that the show does end on an upbeat note. this is about finding your way through pain. >> just as a writer, just philosophically, i want to leave the audience feeling some kind of hope and some kind of-- i'm not interested in grim and i'm not interested in torture, watching things that just make you feel awful. because we have enough of that in the world. and evan, i think, ultimately in the story what was so exciting was finding that the story really was not about a suicide but more about a character saving his own life. >> reporter: as for the actor playing that character, as broadway's hottest young star, his life will never be the same. is all this pretty heady stuff, all this attention? >> it's incredibly heady. it's been my dream since i was a really little kid to just be in
the broadway community at all, and to do musical theater as a job. so now for that to be true and to be doing it in a show that's making this big of a mark, and in a role that comes around not ever is like, very hard to fathom. but it's wonderful beyond my wildest dreams. >> reporter: ben platt, steven levenson, and michael greif all received tony nominations, among the nine garnered by "dear evan hansen," including one for best musical. for the pbs newshour, i'm jeffrey brown on broadway. >> woodruff: and it's gratifying to know that show is having an effect. and we'll be back shortly with our continuing student reporting lab series, "limitless," about people living with disabilities, tonight focusing on a high school student who strives to overcome a speech impediment. but first, take a moment to hear from your local pbs station. it's a chance to offer your support, which helps keep
programs like ours on the air. for those stations still with us, we take a second look at scientists' efforts to use sophisticated robots as a way to better understand microscopic marine life. special correspondent cat wise has this story, which originally aired last fall. >> reporter: at the crab cove visitors' center in alameda, california, the main attraction is no surprise. crabs. >> it's pointed, so that means it's a-- ? >> male. >> reporter: on a recent afternoon, a group of children on a field trip at the center headed outside to the nearby beach with naturalist morgan dill for a talk on the creatures of the cove. >> we've got clams, we've got oysters. would you like to see a crab's baby picture? this is the cute little baby crab. so this is their larval stage, and they go through this stage
and they're out there, but we don't actually know too much about them, but this is their baby picture. >> reporter: dill's lesson highlighted a gap in her-- and other scientists'-- otherwise detailed knowledge of the crab's life cycle. >> sometimes when you flip them over, they've actually got eggs on their abdomen. and they're holding them there, and there's hundreds of eggs. and so often the kids will say, okay, so where do they go from there? we tell them they go back out into the bay, but we don't really know how long they're out there, when they're coming back, and are they at the whim of the current or not. >> reporter: the answers to those questions have long been a mystery to those who study the oceans. but it's not just the whereabouts of baby crabs that's perplexing. more than 70% of all marine organisms start out life as tiny microscopic larvae. creatures like sea urchins, anemones, lobsters, shrimp, and a wide variety of fish. many look like little aliens. >> we know so little about this life stage, because it's so incredibly difficult to study.
>> reporter: steven morgan is a professor of marine ecology at the university of california, davis. morgan has spent most of his career trying to figure out what happens to marine larvae before they become adults and are easier to track. >> on land, we can radio track mountain lions by putting collars on them and their offspring, and so we know exactly what's happening to populations. but in the sea-- imagine trying to follow this microscopic larval stage for weeks and months in the plankton while it's developing. we can't do that. >> reporter: the conventional wisdom in his field, says morgan, has been that the larvae float passively in the big turbulent ocean, and it's sheer luck if they are able to stay near shore, or at certain depths that they prefer. >> people tend to think of them as larvae being carried by currents, much like dandelion seed on the wind, and they have little control over where they're going. >> reporter: but morgan never
bought into that theory, and in recent years he and a small number of other scientists around the country have done tests-- in labs-- that show the larvae can in fact control their movements more than previously thought. it turns out they are pretty good at swimming up and down in the water column. but what do those up and down movements mean for them when they are in the ocean? are they showing us they do have some control over their fate? to figure that out, morgan has enlisted the help of some cute, but very sophisticated, robots. for the past two years, morgan and his colleagues have been deploying swarms of these devices, affectionately called "larvae bots," off the coast of northern california. they are programmed to mimic the larvaes' up and down behaviors as the float freely in the water. their buoyancy is controlled by an internal bladder filled with oil. and they are packed full of instruments and sensors and a g.p.s. tracking system. the goal of this research-- which is funded by the national science foundation, also a
newshour funder-- is to find out where the larvae bots are going, and how they manage to get there. >> this is a new information that hasn't really existed up until now. so we're sort of cracking the black box of larval behavior. >> reporter: in fact, data coming back from the larvae bots shows that they stay remarkably close to shore when programmed to go up and down at certain times of day. and that's what morgan thinks many of the larvae are doing too-- they seem to know how to use the currents and tides to go generally where they want. >> so the one way that they can actually have some control over where they're going and their destinies is actually to move vertically between currents that are stratified, moving in opposite directions. so if they can simply just regulate their amount of time in surface and bottom currents, and that will determine how far offshore and along shore they're actually going.
>> reporter: while robots seem to be revealing clues about the larvaes' behavior, the question remains: why does it actually matter if, in fact, the larvae are better navigators? i posed that question to a man who would really like to know where larvae are going. >> knowing that information is a big deal. there'd be a lot of benefits to us from a science standpoint, as well as from a management standpoint. >> reporter: bill douros is the west coast regional director for n.o.a.a.'s office of national marine sanctuaries. douros says it's difficult to manage and protect diverse populations of marine life, without knowing where the youngsters are. >> if we knew better where the larvae go after they're released, we might better design and may shrink even some no-fishing areas and no-take areas that are set up to protect abalone and crabs and other parts of the ecosystem. >> reporter: he also says larval movements can impact much larger species. >> the larvae which are part of this plankton food chain ultimately predict where whales are going to be. if we knew where the whales were going to be in the next three days, we might reroute ship
traffic, to separate whales from ships, so that they don't get struck by ships. >> reporter: for his part, steven morgan knows that his research and conclusions might still be a tough sell for many of his fellow marine scientists. >> i'm hoping that these robots, where we're actually doing experiments in the ocean, will convince some of the skeptics and get more people, more investigators and marine scientists, to think that way. because it's a hugely important question. >> reporter: back at crab cove, naturalist morgan dill and a group of curious kids are hoping they can soon get some answers for their important questions. for the pbs newshour, i'm cat wise in california. >> woodruff: and now we continue
our series, "limitless," stories filmed and edited by middle and high school students, about people in their communities who are living with disabilities. tonight we meet a teenager who worked through his speech impediment to become a gifted communicator and leader. the video was produced by the student reporting lab at communications arts high school in san antonio, texas. the student correspondent is graduating senior alexandria gonzalez. he even has people, family and friends, cheering for him. when trevor was three years old, he was officially diagnosed with a speech impediment also known as stuttering. stuttering is a communication disorder that is interrupted. you may sometimes see unusual facial movements or bdzdy
movements that are associated with stuttering. according to the stuttering foundation, there are about three million americans who stutter, which is about 1% of the general population, and it is more common in males than females. >> one of the downsides of having a stutter for me is that sometimes it just makes it really hard to speak and to really put yourself in out there because you're afraid of what others will think. but with me, i love to speak, and i just love talking with all these people. so i guess it seems sort of ironic that someone with a stutter would be going to a communications school. >> part of trevor's success has come because he is so comfortable with everybody here. he's very involved in things, and is he's used to everybody around him. >> trevor is a proud member of the peer assistance and
leadership program, otherwise known as pals. >> watching him sprint down the track next to a special needs student really is what i -- where i think he shines. that's where he amazes me and all the pals for that matter. >> in addition to being a leader and role model, trevor has also been a great asset to the communication arts recruiting team. >> trevor is the very best recruiter i've ever seen. he winner crowd over and he's so sweet and so engaging that every middle school student just loves him and wants the listen to him, wants to be his friend, wants the talk to him. >> i think this is probably one of the best things because it forced me to go and to speak and to really put myself out there. ♪ ♪ >> woodruff: what an inspiring series this is. >> woodruff: you can see more of
these stories from young journalists across the country at studentreportinglabs.org. also online, go-go music was born and bred in washington d.c., but changes in the city have put the funky music genre in danger. can go-go keep up its national following of fans? read more our website: pbs.org/newshour. and that's the newshour for tonight. on wednesday: we talk with vice president of the united states mike pence. i'm judy woodruff. join us online and again here tomorrow evening. for all of us at the pbs newshour, thank you and see you soon. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> the ford foundation. working with visionaries on the frontlines of social change worldwide.
>> carnegie corporation of new york. supporting innovations in education, democratic engagement, and the advancement of international peace and security. at carnegie.org. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and individuals. >> 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 6 media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org >> you're watching pbs.
. >> rose: welcome to the program. we begin tonight with coverage of the aftermath of the terror attack nses london am we talk to most, is he in london and john micklethwait with me in new york. >> one of at sailment is known to security forces, someone who had been on their radar for a few years. he was someone who was known in the neighborhood as an extremist. and people locally had reported him to authorities. but he had dropped off the authorities radar screen just in the last year. they concluded after investigating him that he was not planning an attack so they decided to stop investigating him. that is really a major issue today with this whole question of police having so many people to keep track of, so many people on thary radar screens. >> rose: we continue with a conversation of the polit when