tv Charlie Rose PBS November 4, 2017 12:00am-1:01am PDT
>> stewart: welcome to the program. charlie rose is on assignment. i'm alison stewart. we begin tonight with more on russia's attempts to influence the 2016 campaign. >> bob mueller knows a whole lot that we in the media and the public don't know. he knows a lot. there was material -- you know, i'm very familiar with paul manafort's business, his work in the ukraine. there was material in the indictment that i had never seen before, i had suspected. it was fascinating. you can get, when you're a prosecutor like him, when you can get cypress to hand over banking records, you can get behind the veil, and manafort really had cast a veil over his activities and was lying about them. the papadopoulos part, it just shows you there are not many leaks coming out of, you know, out of mueller's operation. i think a lot of the leaks are
coming out of the fence, as they often do. he is running a very tight ship. some shoe will drop next but not clear which one. >> stewart: we conclude with griffin dunne, director of new documentary "joan didion: the center will not hold." >> throughout her whole life, the things she writes about is a world in disorder and eventually her life became a world of disorder, and she's trying to make these connections. >> stewart: nick confessore, alexandra suich bass and griffin dunne, when we continue. >> rose: funding for "charlie rose" has been provided by the following: >> and by bloomberg, a provider
of multimedia news and information services worldwide. captioning sponsored by rose communications from our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose. >> rose: we begin tonight with politics, the special counsel's investigation of russia's role in the last presidential election close to the trump campaign. money laundering and conspiracy indictments for paul manafort and rick gates, both pled not guilty. the bigger news may be a former campaign advisor papadopoulos pled guilty to playing to the f.b.i. about his efforts to establish a relationship with the russia's. nick confessore is with me, political investigator for the "new york times." manafort joins the campaign to help wrangle delegates in march. in june he takes over as campaign chairman and by august
he's out. >> correct. >> rose: all this has to do with the campaign. yet the indictment has to do with the work in the ukraine. why is that relevant? >> for years and years before he joined the trump campaign, paul manafort was working abroad at the intersection of business and politics. he would export american tile campaign consulting to places like the ukraine and do business with oligarchs in the ukraine and russia. he had business ties. where it connects, as he was coming on the trump campaign, he was still in contacts with some of the oligarchs and the russian contacts and appeared he owed debts or had financial relationships outstanding with some of these people in eastern europe an russia and that is the crux of why there might be more here for the counsel. but the reason he's in trouble right now is because, as he was working for the ukraine, he was lying about working for the ukraine. under u.s. law if you're working
for a foreign power you have to register in washington and provide detailed disclosures. he did not do that. he claimed he was working for some center in london and turns out he was running the lobbying campaign for a ukrainian political party. >> stewart: this indictment was incredibly detailed. we found out about bank accounts. we found he spent $850,000 on clothing in four years. that kind of detail, who is that giving pause to in the administration right now? >> a great question. i think if you are on the inside in the white house right now, this is a terrifying time. bob mueller has access to tax returns, was able to get bank accounts from cypress paul manafort had access to and was able to chart money flows. so if, as we know, the trump family had business connections in russia which was trying to do deals with them, was selling apartments to wealthy russians and if, as we know, people in the trump orbit like michael
cohn were doing a lot of business with people in russia and eastern europe. it's easy to understand mueller will have access to the money flow and will be able to see it and track it and if anything suggests a running financial relationship between trump and his world and some of these interests, it's going to show up. >> stewart: how bide a weather does mueller have? >> technically, it's not that wide. but he is allowed to investigate crimes he discovers in the course of the investigation, so he was not appointed to inquire as to whether paul manafort was working for the ukraine and hadn't registered under the foreign agents act, but he did find that out in the course of investigating and now there's a prosecution and a trial set for next year. >> stewart: last week about this time it was leaked there would be an indictment and over the weekend i'm sure you heard a lot of people, who is it going to be, flynn, manafort? a lot of people thought it would
be former national security advisor michael flynn. do you know why it wasn't? were you surprised it wasn't flynn? >> i had my money on either flynn or manafort and gates, and the reason is those two twice or those three men are the lowest hanging fruit in the investigation. paul manafort was already under federal investigation for some of his activities in eastern europe and the ukraine and russia, he was already under the gun, and flynn we already know had, likewise, not disclosed properly that he was working on behalf of a foreign government, in this case turkey. that stuff has been reported, it's been out there, there's plenty of stuff on the ground for the prosecutors to look at. so i'm not surprised it would be some mix of that, but there are a bunch of sealed indictments in that courthouse that have not come out yet and we're waiting to see who's next. >> stewart: the name no one said last friday is george papadopolous. i'm going to guess most people didn't say george papadopolous. he's a new player to a lot of people here. who is he the most concerning
for right now? >> i think he's the most concerning for donald trump and jeff sessions. you saw the first pair of indictments come out with gates and manafort and, instantly, the trump white house said, see, no connection to russia, it's not about the campaign, it's all bogus. then a few hours later out comes the papadopoulos indictment and what it shows, actually more of a guilty plea, i should say, and what it shows is that, in fact, this was a named foreign policy advisor who sat in meetings with sessions, sat in a meeting with president trump about president trump and trying to arrange meetings back and forth with russian interests and the russian government. >> stewart: the trump administration puts him as basically an intern. >> it's true. what we're seeing with manafort and papadopoulos and sam clovis
who was a foreign policy advisor but not a guy with a huge amount of expertise in foreign policy, but sornlings what we're seeing is a side effect of the nature of trump's campaign. he could not get the best people in republican politics. he could not get the top shelf foreign policy advisors so ended up with carter page, a guy who claimed to be an oil executive but actually works out of shared office space at trump tower, and papadopoulos who is a guy who falsified his credential on his resume which shows you the actual level of qualification. he's not a heavy hitter but one of the five who the campaign put on its foreign policy committee at an early stage and was clearly empowered to be working on behalf of the campaign in setting his foreign policy and what we'll find out is how much the other trump officials, the senior officials on the campaign knew about his intersections with and conversations with russians. >> stewart: it shown a light that jeff sessions misremembered
again. >> yeah, you know, sessions has been towing a line on meetings with russians and russian ambassadors and he's changed his story again. it will be fascinating to see what the whole paper trail is. we know there are pictures of the meeting and a lot will depend on what sessions can credibly say about what he knew about the conversations and what kinds of permissions or authorizations papadopoulos had and what he was kind of carrying back and forth in terms of information, offers, ideas. >> stewart: what does it say to you as an investigative reporter that no one knew about george papadopolous, or most people in the know didn't know about him? >> well, we knew who he was. we knew he was on the circle of the five foreign policy advisors, but i think -- >> stewart: it didn't leak even. >> it didn't leak and, look,
that tells me that bob mueller knows a whole lot that we in the media and the public don't know. he knows a lot. there was material -- you know, i'm very familiar with paul manafort's business, his work in the ukraine. there was material in the indictment that i had never seen before, i suspected. it was fascinating. you can get, when you're a prosecutor like him, when you can get cypress to hand over banking records, you can get bind the veil and manafort had really cast a veil over his activities and was lying about them. the papadopoulos part, it just shows you there are not many leaks coming out of mueller's operation. i think a lot of leaks are coming out of the fence as they often do. he is running a very tight ship and there's no -- i mean, some shoe will drop next but it's not clear which one. >> stewart: let's talk about the court proceedings so far. we learned a lot of interesting things. paul manafort has three
passports, among them they consider him a flight risk and he and gates are on house arrest. what did we learn from thursday's court proceedings going forward? >> aside from his vast wardrobe, we render he had set up transactions in the spierps that are fascinating and in some ways the indictment lace out paul manafort as a case study on how wealthy americans avoid taxation and i had their money. so i was fascinated by it. the trick, you park your money in offshore accounts and bring onshore just the stuff you want to pay or you have your offshore companies pay your bills directly to your vendors, whether the person decorating your house or somebody else. so we really saw in great detail how that works. the other piece was those three passports, i suspect we're going to hear more about them, why did he have three passports? sometimes you get an extra
passport because let's say you visited israel as a business person and you want to visit some islamic or muslim country that doesn't like israel, you may want a second passport where the entry and exits from israel are not on there. once you have them, it is easy to use them to cloak or hide the places you're visiting from. you can use one passport to get to london, use the other to get to cypress, and hide a lot about your movements until somebody pulls the passports in and compares them. so i suspect we'll hear more about what the purpose of those three pass pores was and i don't think it's an accident or he lost the passport. >> stewart: the judge was not amaze muse -- was not amused or pleased that the lawyers went to the media. how do you think she's going to conduct the courtroom and how long do you think we'll be involved in the trial. >> is this a great question.
i think manafort and gates are maintaining the indictment is misleading, they've not done anything wrong and are going to fight it. the interesting question is whether these two men have enough money left to spend on lawyers to fight this kind of a case. but, look, it's going to proceed almost on its own track. you will see a case essentially built around tax evasion, money laundering and failure to disclose working for a foreign power and what i will focus on and watch for is whether the progress of that trial creates opportunities for or additional pressure for mueller to use to get these guys to tell him more things about donald trump. >> stewart: what's next in mueller's investigation, from where you sit? >> it's a tight ship, but what see just based on the public facts, right, what you see is an experienced prosecutor doing two
things, moving extraordinarily quickly, very, very fast. he indicted paul manafort within days, i believe, after getting the records from cypress of manafort's bank accounts. and, two, he's moving outside-in. he's got papadopoulos as a cooperating witness. it's possible he was actually cooperating in the investigation before the indictment was unsealed and the plea was unsealed. there is a lot george papadopolous could be saying, and we'll find out whether there were any conversations he had while wiretapped with people in the trump world. that's going to be very interesting to find out. i suspect we'll learn more about that in the months ahead. >> stewart: the obvious question everyone wants answered is how close it was, if there was collusion within the trump circle. outside the obvious, what's the question that interests you? >> the i would say a question i'm really intrigued by is
whether -- so we know about two prongs of the russian effort, right? one was to try to help the trump campaign, offer them damaging information on hillary clinton, get involved with him for various reasons. the other was this social media information warfare campaign, setting up thousands and hundreds of pages on facebook, twitter and orthosocial media platforms, using this emto divide the country, push divisive content and target voters. a real open question no one has been able to answer yet is whether those two efforts crossed paths. whether there was any exchange or collaboration between the trump campaign in terms of its voter targeting and what the russian intelligence agencies and proxies were doing to go after american voters. that i think is a critical, huge question. >> stewart: aside from all this, the president's duties go on. he's about the take off on this long trip to asia, five stops and eleven days.
will this investigation have an impact on that trip many any way? >> it already has. he's been tweeting about fake news and a host investigation within minutes of his planned depar churr on this trip. on the other hand, we've often seen that times sheas tropical storm are so busy for the president that some of his opinion distinct to engage, to get on twitter, to start fights are a bit repressed, he doesn't have time as much. we saw that on his trips to the middle east. the kind of twitter how itser quieted down for a couple of days. it's possible we'll see that. i'm not sure where he is will effect what bob mueller is doing on any given day. >> stewart: nick confessore, thank you very much. >> thank you. >> stewart: some of the social media ads bought and paid for by russia in the last election were on display in capitol hill this week.
shocking. representatives of tech giants facebook, twitter and google testified before house senate committees about russia's attempts to influence the 2016 campaign and what should be done to prevent it from happening again. alexandra suich bass joins me from san francisco where she covers the tech industry for the "economist." alexandra, what were the main questions senators wanted answered during this testimony? >> this senators are interested in the extent of the russian campaign and trying to get their heads around it. initially, the tech giants were very evasive and really underplayed the threat russians nip late nerns in the 2016 election. they found fake accounts and bots, et cetera, targeting americans that might have influenced their votes.
the senate was pressuring tech giants for how widespread the manipulation went and what the giants will do to make sure nothing like this happens again particularly in the 2018 election. >> stewart: did the tech giants offer details? >> the tech giants showed us some of the ads and fake accounts for the first time. there were some really fascinating ones. for example, hillary clinton dressed up as the devil battling jesus and it was said, if you want jesus to win, like this ad. and then, of course, if you've liked it or engaged the ad you can be targeted for similar material. we've seen that around 150 americans, which is a huge percentage of americans, were exposed to this content on facebook and instagram. so in the hearings, we were able to see, a, the extent of the russian messaging and, b, some
of the specific messages, which i think were surprising in their directness. >> stewart: it's interesting in washington, the hearing, the tech giants and senators seem to be talking past one another because the tech folks kept saying but we're a platform, it's sort of the "i don't recall" of the tech industry. explain why they want to stay with that we we're just a platform "saying. >> right, it's kind of similar to nra that says guns don't kill people, other people kill people. they basically don't want to have any responsibility for how their tools are being used, the internet giants in this case. they are very wary -- i think they're being cautious but they also have good reason to be. so if you look at internationally how platforms are being used, they get constant takedown requests for authoritarian governments or
requests by users. so turkey, for example, egypt. so they have to really be careful in establishing the peres tent that they're willing to comply with governments in that regard or that they're responsible for hate speech or anything like that that occurs on their platform. so that's why they're saying we might accept advertising but we're not your typical media company. i think where their response was really insufficient is facebook especially has done this audit where they found a few thousand ads, they say, that were paid for in rubles. i think that's the equivalent of saying, you know, the police investigate crimes based on which homes the front door has been left open, and looking just at rubles as a sign when the russians were responsible for adds i think is insufficient. what the senators didn't get at is to ask for a complete audit of all ads.
facebook, twitter and google offer really sophisticated tracking tools when it comes to marketers and advertisers, so companies like coca-cola or unilever, for example, but in this case they're deflecting and downplaying their ability to do a full audit. >> stewart: many of the senators seemed unsatisfied with many of the answers they got. senator feinstein particularly said you do something or we will, to these giants. should they be afraid of that threat? what could congress do? >> so i think that there's tremendous fro from frustratione general counsels there, not the c.e.o.s, were trying to be humble but had many questions. i think that frustration bubbled over when it came to the? >> when it comes to actions i think there is a disconnect between the rhetoric now and the
feeling america has been betrayed by the charge tech giants and a disconnect from what they're really able to do. so, right now, there are a couple of things being considered, one is to propose -- there has been a bill proposed that would require more transparency when it comes to political advertisements, basically bringing digital ads to the same standards that television ads and ads on other media are held to. i think that's very sensible. the tech giants are saying -- they're broadly in favor of transparency and they're actually going to implement more transparency and disclosure about who's paying for ads on their own but that they're not quite sure of the details of the regulation -- the proposed regulation and whether or not they will support it. and then, of course, this week, we saw a proposal for tax reform which would be highly favorable to the tech giants by lowering the corporate tax rate.
and,o, on one side, you hear these very angry, disappointed claims coming from the senators, and then you have the reality that there is not that much that's being suggested that looks close to passing that could change their fortunes or behavior. >> stewart: let's look at the optics of what we saw. we did not see familiar faces sitting behind that table. in fact one editor at the columbia of journalism tweeted tech c.e.o.s will show up for magazine covers. devos, burning parties, just not senate hearings. we didn't see zuckerberg, sandberg or jack dorsey. what was that about? >> it was more pointed, not only did they not show up but mark zuckerberg was in silicon valley at facebook on an earnings call and announcing earnings and
revenues and seeing their stock surge so it was a day of dissident realities, if you will. i think if you're looking at the tech giants' interests which is to not submit your c.e.o. to very hose tell you questions and give journalists the ability to talk about mark zuckerberg's or jack dorsey's humbling in front of the senators, they made the right choice in sending their general counsels whether, who were excellent lawyers and talking around the issues and sometimes not answering very specifically. but i know it disappointed the senators, and i wouldn't say it's out of the question that there would be another hearing that the tech bosses might be forced to show if we get more investigations and disclosures into the extent of the interference. we might have a second act. >> stewart: something you have been reporting about at the economist is sort of the isolation of the tech giants.
they don't necessarily feel aligned at this point with the democratic party or the republican party. what happened that they ended up being a little bit on an island to themselves in terms of political power and political capital? >> it's exactly right. they really are an industry with no political party. they used to be able to depend on the democrats for sympathy becausetimes, i think, were very tech forward under president obama's administration, a lot were put in top seats, they had given heavily to the democrats, but democrats really feel betrayed by the tech platforms. they feel like the russians were able to influence the outcome of the 2016 election for the worst because of the company's lack of oversight of advertising and fake accounts. so the democrats have turned away from tech, and the republican party today isn't as predictably anti-regulation as they used to be, and pause of
the populist strains going through both parties now, it's playing really well to criticize tech and you see, actually, senator elizabeth warren on the left and others on the right, steve bannon, talk about regulating tech as utilities are breaking up big tech. so, again, that goes to the rhetoric. i write about it as a tech-backlash in washington. but it's unclear that either side really wants to own the tech industry and work on their behalf right now. >> stewart: and we shouldn't suggest the tech industry is doing a rope-a-dope and sitting there out. they are spending enormous amounts of money on lobbyists, correct? >> they are. in one accepts, they are very well positioned because these are incredibly successful and profitable tech companies, they have a lot to spend and have learned from the mistakes of their predecessors, so what microsoft didn't do well and why
they ultimately saw a lot of backlash in washington is they didn't manage their washington relationship early. so google and facebook were a lot earlier to put people in washington, set up large offices. we see amazon doing the seam thing. the reason they're many a difficult position is there's a few reasons. one is that their interests are all so diverse. so some tech companies are coming out in support of issues, on others against it. so you see that with something that's being proposed right now that would hold tech companies responsible for sex trafficking that occurs on their platforms with heavy fines. oracle, a tech giant from the valley is actually in support of it. google isn't. so you see a disconnect amongst the giants of what's in their interests. and a further problem is that they have to lobby a lot of different government agencies. unlike, say, pharmaceuticals where, you know, you know that you really need to be on top of
the f.d.a. and what they're considering. tech is regulated by so many different groups, the ftc, the fcc and others, and, so, in the past, they have really struggled to focus that are attention and know exactly where to put it to avoid pushback and manage the reputation. >> and to circle back to my last question to what we first started talking about. obviously, these hearings were about the 2016 election and russian interference, but this could go to any kind of false information being put on these platforms. that's actually the big-picture issue, right? >> yes. i think the big-picture issue now and we actually have it on our cover for the "economist" this week is social media bad for democracy. a few years ago, there were so many problems that facebook
and google, et cetera, would help with democratic movement, include new voices that weren't possible to hear through established media, and we did see some of that, we saw it in the ukraine, we saw it in egypt, and then, today, i think we're seeing the dark side of speedia. we're seeing how these platforms can be used for bullying, abuse, terrorists and other extremist's content, for hate speech. so i think the big picture is, is social media going to bring us together or pull us apart, and are we able to get social media firms to take responsibility so that their platforms can be used for good rather than for evil. >> stewart: alexandra suich bass from the "economist," so, k you so much. >> thank you for having me. >> rose: joan didion is among the most celebrated writers of
the last 50 years. now she is the subject of a new documentary by her nephew actor director griffin dunne. here's the trailer. >> my first notebook was given to me by my mother with the suggestion that i amuse myself by writing down my tots. i tinted have any clear picture of how to do it but i had a clear sense that i wanted this to continue. ♪ >> joan didion is quite extraordinary. >> and unexpected. joan's writing would grab the reader. what a fresh voice. ♪ >> she's writing about all sorts of disorder. >> i always found that if i examined something, it's less scary. >> she wanted to go there. she wanted to get in on that. ♪ ♪
>> my husband, my daughter an me, we finally got a house. >> everybody showed up at this house, stephen speilberg, martin scorsese, warren beatty. >> everything seemed to be going so well. >> the interesting part of the story is the failure to plan for misfortune. >> i got a call saying, i have something terrible to tell you. john died. >> john and then quintana. grief. it's the hardest thing to write about. she did it as a reporter. >> it was a coping mechanism, it turned out. >> she makes her do things nobody ever made her do before. >> it was incredible.
changed my perceptions in a way she certainly hadn't expected. >> joan didion rightly earned distinction as one of the most celebrated american writers of her generation. ( applause ) play. >> i didn't plan it that way, which is very like life itself. >> rose: i'm pleased to have griffin dunne back at this table. wow, seeing all that. all the people we have known and lived with. >> bob silbert. >> rose: what made you do this? >> i was making a short film. joan asked me to do a trailer to accompany the promotion for "blue knights." >> rose: right. and we had a great time doing it, went from location to location, and she read her book. she loved being involved in the process. at some point during this time, i became aware or realized there had never been a documentary about her, by her own choice.
so i just pushed my luck and asked if i could do it, if she would agree, and it took her all of -- she went, um, okay. , and that was it. ( laughter ) and i went, oh, my god, this is a big one. >> rose: why did she never become a filmmaker? >> become a filmmaker? >> rose: yeah. you mean like directing? >> rose: like nora ephron. i wanted to make sure what kind of film we were talking about. >> rose: because she loved film. >> she does. she started as a reviewer in vogue many years ago. >> rose: why didn't you ever become a filmmaker. >> i'd love to see that. the actors would have to lean in to hear her direction, which is also a great quality. >> rose: exactly right. so you set out to make this, and tell me, so, you read
everything? >> i did. >> rose: you first got to dive into the deep end. >> for the moment, she said yes. i went, oh, boy, this is a subject who is beloved, that people have ownership in, that they have such personal connections, you know, it's influenced writers to become writers, and people moving to new york. >> rose: right. so i knew i had to get it right, and the first thing i did was read everything she's written in chronological order, starting with her first article on self-respect for "vogue." >> rose: right. and just went all the way through. and when you're related to someone, of course, i'd write -- we would get john and joan's books for christmas every year, inscribed, you know. and, of course, we read the books and the times that they came out, but never in one sitting, and never -- they're still your family, so you don't, like, think of, like, literary
references while you're talking to them, right? >> rose: right. so i had that perspective of actually seeing the woman who was my aunt who also dug deep throughout her entire writing profession, who wrote to find out what she thought. >> rose: she said, in part, i write to see what i think. >> exactly, exactly. and she'd been doing that. you know, the fascinating thing about unself-respect, which has become kind of a moral tone for so many people, you know, she's writing about living a life, accepting, you know, the nces, being able to live in the bed that you've made. it was written when she was 20, 21 years old, and it is so wise, and the character that wrote that, the person who wrote that has virtually unchanged. i mean, she came to new york a
fully-formed human. >> rose: at 22. how about that? yeah, exactly. she came to new york as a fully-formed californian, too. >> rose: to write for "vogue." yeah, she won a contest. >> rose: yeah, exactly. and you could either go to paris or go to new york, and she chose new york, thank god. >> rose: thank god because we benefited from the fact. >> we certainly did. >> rose: yeah. was she happy with -- i mean, with participating? >> yeah, well, atypically sort of indifferent. it took my six years to make it and an entire year would go by and she wouldn't have how's it going. >> rose: how long did it take to write? >> six years. not working every day. as the money would come in, i would get shooting. you know, it was a process of stop and start. but, you know, and i would say, hey, you know, i just sat down with david hare and we had a
great conversation, he sends his love. she would go, okay. >> rose: not what did he say? does he like me? >> no, you can't get that stuff out of her. >> rose: oh, glad you talked to david. hope he's well. that's great. >> yeah. but i'm not even sure she thought i was actually going to finish it. i worried about it every day, until all the money came in from netflix. and she -- but then i showed it to her. i showed her a cut i would never have shown -- >> rose: three hours, or so? three-hour cut. i wanted to give her the opportunity to say, hey, stop this right now is that take a look at this. >> in this light, all narrative was sentimental. in this light, all connections were equally meaningful and equally senseless. try these.
on the morning of john f. kennedy's death in 1963, i was shopping in san francisco for a short silk dress in which to be married. a few years later this dress of mine was ruined when at a dinner party in bellaire, roman plan ski accidentally spilled a glass of red wine on it. july 27, 1970 i went to the magnan high shop in beverly hills and picked out at linda sabian's request the dress in which she began her testimony about the murders of sharon at a time polanski's house. i believe this sob a nonsensically chain of accordances but in the jingle, jangle of that morning in the te summer, it made as much sense as anything else did. >> what fascinates me is she writes to know what she thinks.
and, you know, throughout her whole life, the things she writes about is a world in disorder and, eventually, her life became a world of disorder. and she's trying to make these connections, these nonsensical connections. of course, the time, you know, late '60s, manson, you know, assassinations, none of these things could make sense. >> rose: did she feel greater -- as she began to write both journalism and novels, did shelf one was more hermetier than the other? >> i think she started as a non-fiction writer and i think -- i mean, she loves stories, you know, in novels she
writes and doesn't know where her novel is going to go. >> rose: we're sitting here talking about her like she's somewhere. >> she's probably going to watch this. hi, joan. but i think her interest is always particularly strong in essays and nonfiction and whiching about politics -- writing about politics. >> rose: bob silver lped her write as politics, bob silver who recently died, he played roles in this world of media. >> he was someone that said, joan, how would you like to go to salvador and write about this brutal civil war? and she leapt to it. and he seemed to know, from reading her earliest essays,
that she would actually mack a beautiful transition into writing about american politics. not that she didn't have any interest, she just didn't think that would be her strong suit. >> rose: her strong suit was culture or something else? >> i think her strong suit was the personal essay of her confronting, you know, everything from being a mother to, you know, things that would be these insights that she would have that other people would relate to so strongly in their own lives, he saw that, actually, you could write about cheny, such a devastating piece that he should be hiding under a bed from the moment he reads et, you know. and just have character insight into, you know, deciphering the message that the poll degrees don't want you to hear and what the media is really saying, the
underlying message. that turned out to be her strongest talent in her political -- in writing about salvador. >> rose: how does she differ from airia auriana felacci. >> reading her essays and interviews, i think she's much more aggressive. >> rose: clearly that. and more assertive and is very much on the equal plain. join is quieter and in that quiet world, she's very comfortable in, makes other people talk to her. that's why she likes writing about musicians because they're just let it all unfold, so she could hang out with morrison, and morrison probably wasn't the
effusive speaker either, an enigmatic and difficult personality, but she would just be joan and they'd open up. >> rose: she and john, how long were they married? >> they were married in 1960. >> rose: i would love you would go to restaurants and see them together eating. >> yeah. >> rose: i watch this when i'm in new york and go out to eat. were they talking to each other? they were always talking. >> they carried the conversation from the cab. >> rose: from the house to the cab to the restaurant. >> yeah, they were just constantly, just always interested in each other, and, you know, there's another thing about john and joan being in a restaurant, you know, people often never believe they weren't competitive and, you know, one more famous than the other and, you know, being, you know, competitive in that way. john was very -- when john would
be at ellios, for example,. >> rose: that's when you would see him more. >> exactly. if he saw someone craning to see joan and saw he was blocking their view, he would move. >> rose: that's great. i just love that about john. >> rose: i do, too. there was a time in which they thought they might divorce. >> yeah, which we found out by reading "life magazine," the famous piece that was -- that she wrote while -- during an oncoming tsunami in honolulu, she is there, quintana is very young, and she and john are there mulling over whether they should split, and she makes this equation between the seismic shifts outside the window of their hotel room and what's
going on between them, and we as family members and my parents and brother and sister, we had no idea. they've always been john and joan, one word. >> rose: absolutely. they read everything each other wrote? >> so john actually edit that piece. she wrote it about thinking of getting a divorce, leaving my husband. how do you like it? do you think that paragraph is good? i don't know. not so sure. ( laughter ) >> rose: it's unbelievable. it's incredible. i love that. >> rose: when she found out she was going to have quintana, when she was born, she gets a call from the hospital? >> yep. it was like a call just out of the blue. i think they weren't really thinking about it a whole lot. they wanted to have a child, they couldn't have a child, and one of their friends knew the
gynecologist at the hospital, and this guy just called and said, we have this baby in st. john's hospital, and they got in the car right away, and they -- >> rose: went and picked the baby up? >> they picked the baby up, drove home on 405, and joan bonded with quintana. as a two-day-old infant. >> rose: and then john dies, heart attack. >> heart attack. he'd always had heart issues. his ticker, as he would call it. >> rose: yeah. and, you know, hwould write about it, of course. you know, he became fascinated with the valves and all the art art -- arteries that would go through his body. he wrote about it quite beautifully, almost like -- he compared it to music and the symphony of the body, but, you know, quintana, on christmas eve, was admitted to hospital
with septic shock and was very serious, and i think the trauma of his worry for quintana brought on the heart attack, and it was sudden and unexpected and, as john writes, you know, life changes in an instant. >> rose: go to clip 4. this is from this show. this is joanne talking about writing, the year of magical thinking, which is the book about that year. here it is. this is probably the first book you've ever written without john. >> yeah. i had written a couple of pieces after he died but before i did the book, but this is certainly the first book. i mean, my first novel was written before we were married, but he still read it. >> rose: he would read
everything. you talked to him. >> yeah. so that's something i miss because he would give me a sense of being safe. if eh said it was okay, then i would proceed. and if he said it wasn't okay, then i would rewrite. >> rose: and you would do the same thing for him? >> yeah. so that was kind of a thing -- you grow to rely on that. and, group, at the time it happened -- and, you know, at the time it happened, somebody said, well, you can develop new readers. well, it's not real will you the same. nobody else has that investment. >> rose: this is another clip. this is clip number three. she's on this show talking about how she learned the rhythm of writing. here it is. this is in 1992. >> oh, my. >> rose: goodness, gracious. 1992. >> i taught myself how to type.
i'm not a touch typest. i still do it this way. i taught myself how to type by typing sentences, teaming out hemingway's sentences over and over again. >> rose: looking for -- just how they worked, because they appeared to be so simple, but you would come away from a string of them with these overwhelming feeling of whatever he had in mind for you to feel. so, i mean, obviously, something was going on in the sentences. >> rose: people -- you know what was going on was a withholding. there was withheld information in these sentences, and it had to do with a rhythm. i mean, i can't exactly explain it. >> rose: but you got it. yeah. well, then, she described what she's famous for, the withholding. >> right. and, you know, learning to do that by typing hemingway's
sentences is kind of ingenious. >> rose: there is a famous story, which i do not know whether it's true or not and i want to believe it so badly, is hunter thompson was at the public library and somebody happened to be there and went over and said, hunter, what are you doing? and he was reading shakespeare. and they said, what? he said, i'm trying to get the rhythm. >> no kidding! i want to believe that, too. >> rose: don't you want to believe that? >> i'm sure he was reading something really bloody, too. >> rose: and then the death of the daughter. >> yeah, quintana. you know, it was -- you know, from -- it took her weeks to recover from the first visit to the hospital affidavit septic shock, an, so, the funeral for john wasn't going to happen
until she was able to attend. and she wanted to go to california, to go to malibu with her husband jerry. they were newly married. but it was like the next day and she was already quite frail, you know. she had just been out of the hospital. the plane lands in lamb l.a in s and she falls and hits her head and goes back into coma, which required a great deal of physical therapy to get past it when she came out of the comba. you know -- coma. she was in a wheelchair and she had to learn how to walk and move, and it was, i think, just a part of her just started to sort of break down. she just really didn't want to be around much longer. >> rose: what do you want us
to come away from in this documentary? >> i want people to feel that they've witnessed a life lived, someone who, you know, came from descendents of homesteaders, who -- you know -- >> rose: the donner party. who came out with the donner party -- and this is john's character -- you don't take short cuts. >> rose: exactly. an it's a morality she's lived her whole life by, and she is -- you know, she's outlived all her friends for a reason. she's, like, from strong western stock. >> rose: what is amazing, when you would hold her arm, it's like this thin. >> yeah. >> rose: and i'm afraid i'm
going to -- >> yeah. >> rose: and yet you know that, within her, is a strong -- like a bull. >> no, i mean, i see -- you know, i see a john wayne movie in that soul. i see cattle ranches and, you know, just people. >> rose: all that stuff from the west. >> all that stuff from the west. and i wouldn't have seen that had i not made this movie, you know. she was my aunt and john's wife who i've known all my life. but i saw -- and i've grown up hearing about her, you know, described as, you know, bird-like but strong and fierce on the inside. but i really saw that. you know, it's something i will never unsee. you know, i see that strength inside of her like i never had before. >> rose: the title is "the center will not hold."
>> the paraphrasing of the second coming, the yates poem. >> rose: right. and she used it in slouching towards bethlehem, her most famous essay in the '60s and, you know, she was writing about -- everybody else was writing about peace and love and the hippie movement and, you know, everybody riding around the volkswagen bugs, and she goes there and she's looking at families that are falling apart, she's looking at runnaway children, she's looking at the center of families, of the fabric that had been pretty strong in the '50s when she was growing up and before then and, here, the '60s had come along and, you know, society just was falling apart at the seams, and that whole decade was one of just massive chaos. >> rose: thank you for coming.
thank you for having me. >> rose: griffin dunne. "joan didion: the center will not hold." thank you for joining us. see you next time. for more about this program and earlier episodes, visit us online at pbs.org and charlierose.com. captioning sponsored by rose communications captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org
newsroom. i'm thuy vu. coming up on our program, this week's key political developments from special counsel bob mueller's indictments to the gop tax reform proposal. also, as puerto rico continues to struggle torecover from hurricane maria, we'll talk to two california nurses who traveled there recently to provide aid. but first, a look at the investigation alleged russian interference in the 2016 election. this week, executives testified before congress about the role their companies played in allowing russian misinformation to spread in the run-up to the presidential election. the questions revolved around how russian operatives were able to pose as americans and spread content through facebook, twitter and google onnish