tv PBS News Hour PBS November 21, 2017 3:00pm-4:01pm PST
captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> woodruff: good evening. i'm judy woodruff. on the newshour tonight: ( cheers ) celebrations break out in the streets as zimbabwe's president mugabe resigns, ending nearly four decades of rule. then, as the flood gates open, revealing sexual abuse long ignored, a national conversation over how to respond takes hold. plus, opera gets political. jeffrey brown talks with composer john adams about keeping his art relevant. >> i don't think particularly opera has any chance of continuing to be a viable, living entity if it doesn't really discuss and address the issues of our own time. >> woodruff: all that and more,
on tonight's pbs newshour. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> bnsf railway. >> 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: zimbabwe is alive tonight with hope and relief, after robert mugabe resigned as president. the 93-year-old finally gave way today to overwhelming pressure.
john ray of independent television news is in harare, and begins our coverage. ( cheers ) >> reporter: joy... unconfined. what had become a titanic battle of wills between an entire nation and just one man, settled at last. it is a victory for the people, and tonight they are celebrating a rebirth. >> i'm super, super excited mugabe is gone! we have been suffered for a long long, long time. so we are super excited. 37 years. 37 years in power... ahhhh. >> this is the man who made 20,000 people... >> reporter: the end came as a special sitting of parliament became his impeachment. still, mugabe could not himself utter the words, "i resign." instead, a letter arrived. a confused huddle of officials, and then uproar. ( cheers )
its contents were read by the parliament speaker. >> "i, robert gabriel mugabe, in terms of section 96 of subsection 1 of the constitution of zimbabwe, hereby formally teer my resignation as the president of the republic of zimbabwe with immediate effect." ( cheers ) >> reporter: as word spread, they came running. hundreds of them across the square in central harare that has become a focus of protests. it is as if a 37-year shadow has been lifted from their lives. they can barely bring themselves to believe it. robert mugabe is no longer their
president. it is exactly one week since the military moved in, and two nights since his last, bizarre public appearance. mugabe alone, a man out of time. the last time harare celebrated like this, it was to greet robert mugabe as their new leader, in a land he liberated from white minority rule. this is a second liberation, every bit as special. >> woodruff: that report from john ray, of independent television news. we will address zimbabwe in greater detail, after the news summary. in the day's other news, the u.s. military launched a new air strike in somalia, and said it killed more than 100 al shabaab militants. u.s. africa command reports that it happened 125 miles northwest of mogadishu, part of a stepped- up u.s. air campaign there. a teenage suicide bomber in nigeria blew himself up at a mosque today, killing at least
50 people. the blast turned the worship site into blood-soaked ruins. police say the attacker detonated the bomb as he mingled with morning worshippers. the militant group boko haram was immediately suspected. here in the u.s., president trump today voiced suppot for roy moore. the president criticized democratic nominee doug jones, and said, "we don't need a liberal in there." he played down claims that moore pursued at least six women when they were teenagers. >> if you look at what is really going on, and you look at all the things that have happened over the last 48 hours, he totally denies it. he says it didn't happen. and, you know, you have to listen to him also. you're talking about-- he said 40 years ago, this did not happen. so, you know. >> woodruff: meanwhile, michigan
congressman john conyers denied allegations of sexual misconduct made by former staff members. and, pbs cut ties with veteran journalist charlie rose over multiple similar accusations, while cbs fired him from its morning show. we will have much more, later in the program. in pakistan, an associated press investigation finds rampant sexual abuse of young boys at islamic schools, known as madrassas. the a.p. reports that there have been hundreds of cases over the past decade. but it says the problem is hushed up, especially since clerics are often the perpetrators. >> everybody is too afraid of talking about these things because, "a," they're afraid of the people who run these madrassas, and whose power to harass people has been increasing over the years. >> woodruff: the a.p. investigation found that clerics
who have abused students often pay police not to pursue cases. the trump administration today announced new economic sanctions against north korea. they hit north korean shipping firms and chinese trading companies that do business with pyongyang. the president also spoke with russian president vladimir putin on the phone about north korea and syria. mr. trump called it a "great call." russia has confirmed a surge in airborne radiation over the ural mountains. it says that levels of a radioactive isotope, ruthenium- 106, spiked to hundreds of times normal levels, in late september. a state-owned nuclear processing plant in the region denies it was responsible. russian authorities say the radiation poses no health risks. nearly 60,000 haitians now have just over 18 months to leave the united states. last night, the department of
homeland security ended a special residency program that began after haiti's devastating earthquake in 2010. opponents of the move say that conditions in haiti have not yet improved enough. on wall street, tech stocks led the market higher today. the dow jones industrial average gained 160 points to close at 23,590. the nasdaq rose 71, and the s&p 500 added nearly 17. and, two lucky turkeys are off the menu this thanksgiving, part of a presidential tradition. the gobblers, named "drumstuck" and "wishbone," were officially pardoned by president trump at the white house today. they will live out their days at a farm in virginia. still to come on the newshour: what's next for zimbabwe without robert mugabe. weighing how we deal with the consequences of sexual misconduct. the f.c.c.'s plan to roll back internet neutrality rules. and, much more.
>> woodruff: we return to our lead story, the resignation of robert mugabe. for a closer look at what his 37-year rule left behind, and where zimbabwe's people hope to go now, i'm joined by blessing zulu, a reporter for the voice of america, and previously a reporter in zimbabwe. and, ambassador johnnie carson. he was assistant secretary of state for african affairs under president obama, and ambassador to uganda, kenya and zimbabwe over the course of his decades of foreign service. he's now a senior advisor at the u.s. institute of peace. and we welcome both of you to the news hour. ambassador carson, i will start with you. 37-year career. that means you were just beginning as robert mugabe was first taking power. what do you make of this big
news today, his stepping down? >> this is an important occasion for zimbabwe. robert mugabe is regarded as the george washington of his nation, the country's first black african president. there was so much hope in the early days of his presidency that he would lead his country forward. instead, over the last 20 years, we have seen a tremendous regression, both politically and economically, in zimbabwe. the country is economically on its back. >> woodruff: blessing zulu, how do you sum up 37 years? what has he meant for zimbabwe? what shape is the country in right now? >> over the past few years, the
economic ambassador has correctly pointed out he's the biggest letdown. many zimbabweans were hopeful. the country has everything you can think of, land, member -- minerals, but unfortunately the economic problems just worsened, and it was clear that mr. mugabe could not stay long. >> woodruff: there is a universal agreement, isn't, there ambassador carson, that the country is much worse off now? >> absolutely. the economic situation is absolutely deplorable. unemployment in the country runs at approximately 80%. the currency is virtually worthless. few supplies are hard to get, and it is a country deeply in debt to the international financial institutions and also to private companies.
it is over a billion in arrears to the bretton woods institution. inflation is on the rise, and some 10% of the population, mostly professionals, teachers, doctors, lawyers, accountants, have fled the country over the last decade and a half and are now resident in places like south africa and botswana. >> woodruff: and blessing zulu, there have been health crises, as well, practically everywhere you look in the country. tell us something about the man expected to replace him. >> i talked to the speaker of parliament shortly before i came in, and they say he's likely to be flown in tomorrow or the day after because he is still outside the country. many believe that he is in south africa. and after years, many zimbabweans are hoping that maybe he will change. but some are a bit cautious.
mugabe's replacement may be a problem. he's been in the same government since 1980. many regard him as mr. mugabe's enforcer. political analysts might think there is not much to celebrate. >> woodruff: ambassador, carson, things could be exactly the same under mugabe's successor? >> that is really possible. zimbabwe has thrown out a dictator, but it's not clear if the country is moving toward the reform that many zimbabweans watch. this new man is virtually a younger version of robert mugabe. in many wayhe is a clean of from robert mugabe. he, like mugabe, spent many years in prison and was tortured while he was there. he came out a very bitter man. he is, like robert mugabe, very
articulate. he's very resilient. he's very disciplined. he, however, has served as the enforcer,, as blessing said, serving initially as the country's intelligence chief for nearly a decade, and responsible for some of the country's worst human rights violations. in 1980 and again in 2008 and '09 when robert mugabe stole an election. >> woodruff: so blessing zulu, if that's the case, what is there to hope for for the people of zimbabwe? >> mainly i guess they're hoping that maybe this military intervention might indicate that zimbabweans are simply tired. because as you see, the military is coming in to remove mugabe. continues tan teen chiwenga led
the rebellion. >> woodruff: so there is nobody elms on the horizon who they can look to for help? >> the opposition has been weak, but it does exist. there are individuals who are part of the movement for democratic change. morgan tsvangirai, individuals like that, who are committed to democracy, economic reform, and political reform, and there are other individuals who were part of zanu-pf who were thrown out... >> woodruff: the ruling party? >> the ruling party, who were thrown out some time ago. joyce maguru. so there are voices that can reflect the kinds of reforms politically and economically that people want. it is important, though, that there be an effort to ensure that these people are part of the government and are not marginalized by the new leadership. >> woodruff: well, there is much yet to unfold in zimbabwe. we'll be watching in the days to come. maybe we'll have a new leader known for sure by tomorrow.
blessing zulu, we thank you for coming in, voice of america, johnnie carson, thank you. >> thank you. >> woodruff: let's turn to the almost non-stop fallout from sexual misconduct revelations. in our latest pbs newshour poll, done in conjunction with marist collge and npr, we asked about sexual harassment. more than 20% of people, including 35% of all women, say they have experienced sexual harassment or abuse in the workplace. nearly 30% of all people say they have personally seen someone harassed or abused. meanwhile, the allegations continue to reverberate. lisa desjardins begins with this report. >> reporter: there was news nearly every hour, including the president's first personal words
about alabama senate candidate roy moore, stressing moore's denial of allegations of sexually assaulting teen girls. earlier, the spotlight had been on another powerful man. michigan democrat john conyers, now the latest accused of sexual misconduct, is the top democrat on the judiciary committee, which oversees the justice system. overnight, buzzfeed news reported that in 2014, a former staffer filed a complaint alleging conyers fired her for rejecting his sexual advances. the report says he settled that case, with money from his office budget, and that other staffers filed affidavits that conyers touched them inappropriately and regularly asked for sexual favors. in a statement this afternoon, the michigan democrat "vehemently denied the allegations," and insisted he settled the case to "save all involved from the rigors of protracted litigation." and in yet another story about u.s. lawmakers, colorado
congresswoman democrat diane degette told msnbc that a fellow house member physically assaulted her years ago. >> i was in an elevator, and then-congressman bob filner tried to pin me to the door of the elevator and kissed me. and i pushed him away. >> reporter: filner left >> reporter: filner became mayor of san diego in 2012. he left that office under a cloud of different sexual harassment allegations. and, finally there was news about minnesota senator al franken, accused of inappropriate touching or kissing. nbc released a letter it said was from several dozen women who worked with him on "saturday night live." they defended franken, saying he treated them with respect. complaints about members of congress seldom become public, because anyone filing a complaint must sign a nondisclosure agreement. and unlike most of the federal government, neither the freedom of information act nor the federal records act apply to congress. so members don't need to keep emails or other records of what they do, nor make any of that
publicly available. and congress is far from alone. "usa today" looked at america's statehouses, and found that in the last year, "at least 40 state lawmakers in 20 states have been publicly accused by more than 100 people" of sexual misconduct. and late this afternoon, disney animation chief john lasseter-- one of hollywood's most powerful-- announced a leave of absence from his job at pixar following a story charging that he was known for grabbing and kissing woman. for the pbs newshour, i'm lisa desjardins. >> woodruff: with resignations, suspensions and firings announced daily as new stories come to light, it is prompting ever more questions about what the consequences should be. we explore that now with maya raghu. she is senior counsel at the national women's law center who focuses on women's issues in the workplace, including sexual harassment. and, rebecca traister. she is a writer-at-large for "new york magazine" and author
of the book "all the single ladies: unmarried women and the rise of an independent nation." and we welcome both of you to the program. maya raghu, i'm going to start with you. there are so many cases we're hearing about now, so many accusations and now resignations and so forth. it's coming very fast. but i want to ask you about what's happening to the accused. some of them are losing their jobs. some of them are subject to legal prosecution. a few of them. how do we determine what should happen to these men? >> so you raise an excellent point, judy, which is that there is what is happening and what should be happening. and really there are two forms of consequences or accountability here. there is the legal consequences, as you mention, and then there is this broader cultural accountability, that is going to come from many different sources. so in terms of legal consequences, obviously as we've seen, many of those come from the employer.
they can conduct an investigation, and they should conduct a thorough one when they receive complaints, and fen if this person is found to have engaged in that behavior, they can have disciplinary consequences including firing. they can also be sued by an individual victim if there was a sexual assault. but what accountability looks like really depends on what the victim looks like. >> woodruff: well, let's talk a little bit about that, rebecca traister. setting aside a clear legal question here, how do we determine the degree of seriousness and what should happen to these men? >> well, i don't know that it's our job to determine the degree of seriousness. in part that is for the investigation. one of my anxieties about this moment is that it's being produced by women coming forward and telling their stories of the harm done to them, but in part because of a media and the
public's immediate question: which is what is going to happen to the guys, are they going to resign, are they going to be fired, and in part because in some cases employers are very quickly announcing they're going to fire a given person. i think that the conversation is shifting so swiftly to the harm being done to men, they're losing their jobs, their reputations are being damaged, but in part the focus on the immediate punishment and the immediate announcement of consequence means that we wind up talking more about the harm being done to the accused than the systematic and structural harm that's clearly been done to the women, who are making the allegations. >> woodruff: very good point. and we'll continue to think about that, maya raghu. it is the case, i think, that some of these women may make their own decisions based on what they see happening to these men. so what is the recourse for a man, you know, whether he runs
his own company or is a lower-level employee, whether there is an h.r. department or not. is there going to be a clear kind of recourse in these situations? >> many times there are often isn't, and that's part of the reason that so many victims are afraid to come forward. because even though many companies do have h.r. departments or do have sexual harassment policies and do have a complaint procedure, they're not really effectively implement, and sexual harassers aren't being held accountable. so people see that, and they sigh that if they come forward, they are taking an enormous risk with their jobs and their reputations and their careers and in the end people might just tell them, you're lying, we're not going to do anything about this, or we do an investigation that this is someone who we want to protect. >> woodruff: and it does send a signal to these women, doesn't it? if they're making an accusation and nothing happens, which has been the case so much in the past, that's going to be different than if they see
consequences. >> well, that's the tricky part of this situation. so the fact that this is a new phase of treatment of these kinds of issues, because, in fact, even in many of the specific cases we're talking about, complaints have been made, people filed human resources complaints against harvey weinstein, there was a woman who went and complained of assault. nothing happened. even though that was reported. the same was true certainly about roger ailes, where his harassment of women was detailed in a book and nothing happened to him. bill o'reilly, the lawsuit breakthrough by andrea mac macmakris was very public and widely reported. he kept his job some the fact that there are any consequences at all right now is part of the reason that i think we do wind up focusing so much on repercussions because this is a very new thing. look, a year ago 16 women came forward and accused donald trump of assault and he got elected
president. we have been living in a no-consequences universe. it's not just that someone might come forward and not get results and not have sats -- satisfaction, not see any consequences, but they themselves might be published. look at the story of charlie roads. one woman tells a mutual friend and she's promly fired by charlie rose. >> woodruff: and maya raghu, is this going to make a difference, the fact that these men are losing their job? is this going to make a difference in how comfortable women feel coming forward or not? >> well, again, i think it might empower some women to come forward and make reports through formal systems, but let's remember, those systems in schools and workplaces have failed victims for so many years that it's going to take a lot of work by workplaces, by looters to rebuild trust and ensure that there is accountability for people who are harassers and predators, and again, i want to go back to my point about what accountability looks like depends on who the victim is.
so we are hearing about very high profile people in media and entertainment, both women who are coming forward and the people that are being held accountable and accused, but there are people of color, women of low-rage jobs, l.g.b.t.q. people who are terrified of coming forward who don't have the power to come forward and whose stories aren't being told and frankly the peers in those industries, like the music industry, aren't holding the perpetrators accountable. >> woodruff: and those are, in fact, many of the stories that we want to continue to try to focus on here on the news hour. maya raghu with the national women's law center, rebecca traister, we thank you both. >> thank you. thank you. >> woodruff: the trump administration appears poised to pass a new set of rules that could change the landscape of the internet, and it could do that by potentially changing how
consumers access the video, music, stories and other content they see online. jeffrey brown has the story. >> brown: we're talking about rules aimed at protecting what's called "net neutrality," passed during the obama administration. the idea was to ensure that internet providers, including big companies like verizon, comcast and at&t, treat all content on the web equally. they provide a kind of highway, and are not allowed to charge more-- or even block your ability-- to see content from other companies, like netflix, facebook and google. today, f.c.c. chairman ajit pai proposed rolling back many of those rules. he says the digital landscape has changed, and government should stop "micro-managing" the web. instead, he says companies should be transparent about their policies. for a closer look, we're joined by kim hart of the news website, axios. for the record, she worked in the f.c.c. during the prior administration, but she has
returned to her reporting roots. welcome to you. >> thanks for having me. >> brown: so the first thing we need to do is remind people more about what net neutrality is, what the current rules do. >> right. so two years ago under the obama administration, chairman tom wheeler put in place some pretty strong rules that would prevent internet service providers like at&t and comcast and verizon from blocking, slowing down, or allowing fast lanes on the internet. that basically allows you, as a consumer, to reach any kind of content from any company or service provider on the web. >> brown: so the fcc chairman, mr. pai, is appointed by president trump. not a surprise. he came in to this talking about how we should deregulate more internet and this whole world, right? >> right. from the beginning, even before the 2015 net neutrality rules were passed, he was very clear he did not think it was appropriate to add that kind of regulation on to the internet.
he was very clear that he thought that adding burdensome... what he called "burdensome" regulations on to these i.s.p.s would discourage them from investing in their networks and making sure more and more people got online in hard-to-reach areas. >> brown: we have been covering this for years. it's always been seen as one set of really big companies, telecom companies, against another set of really big companies, like the googles of the world, the con tetd makers. >> right. and that dynamic has been shifting a little bit, too. you know, ten years ago when this debate really started to heat up, companies like google and facebook and netflix were little guys. they were really small compared to the big internet service providers. so they felt strongly they needed protections like net neutrality to make sure that they could get their services and the content they were hosting in front of consumers without being slowed down by the big guys who could pay more money to comcast or at&t to
speed their content up. is they were really active in this fight. but over the years, as we all know, google and facebook and netflix have become pretty large players. >> brown: pretty big. >> they're media companies in their own right. they host content. they produce their own original content now. so they have a lot more market leverage than they did even a few years ago when this debate happened. so while they all say that they support open internet and the net neutrality principles, it's not as big of a threat to their bottom line as it was just a few years ago. >> brown: so if this is rolled back, what about consumers? consumer groups were opposed to ending net neutrality. >> yes. consumers have been commenting on this issue in droves at the fcc. millions of comments filed on this issue, so consumers really engaged. i think what today's announcement means for consumers is that they will have to read the fine print more on their
plans. basically without having these blanket bans on slowing down and outright blocking and gate keeping kind of conduct on the internet, i.s.p.s will have to disclose what their new plans are going to do, so they'll have to let consumers know up front if they will be subject to data caps or if content from one particular provider will be sped up over others. >> brown: that's the transparency part, but it's on consumers to make sure of that. >> it shifts the burdens on consumers to make sure they're aware of the provision in their plan so they're not hit with a bigger bill. >> brown: briefly, the full commission votes in december. pretty clear it will pass i think, right? >> yes. >> brown: there will be legal challenges to come? >> almost certainly. every time the fcc has taken action on this issue, it's almost immediately challenged by the parties on the opposing side. we can expecting those on the tech industry side to be very
vocal about how this is going to fundamental change the way that consumers travel around the web. >> brown: all right. so the fight continues. >> the fight continues. > brown: kim hart of axios, thank you. >> thank you. >> woodruff: drinking and hazing have long been a fact of life with fraternities around the country. but, a series of recent deaths has put a new spotlight on that culture and some tragic consequences. now, a number of universities are feeling pressure to make changes. one key question: how significant will they be? it is the focus of our weekly segment, "making the grade." john yang has our look. >> yang: colleges and universities across the country are crack down on the sometimes-deadly antics of greek life. ohio state university suspended all fraternity recruiting and social activities following investigations into alcohol
abuse and hazing. greek life also came to a halt at texas state, florida state, and michigan state, all after reports of alcohol abuse, sexual misconduct, hazing, or pledge fatalities. >> we know it's happened. we know it's happened at other universities. and it's obviously not just a problem for florida state. it's a problem for just about every major university. >> yang: new criminal charges have been filed against fraternity members in the n one of the most prominent hazing deaths, the case of 19-year-old pennsylvania state university pledge tim piazza. investigators say he died after being given at least 18 drinks in less than an hour and a half. >> tim is not just our son anymore. he represents every son and daughter of every family that has someone that they want to send to college that may want to participate in greek life. >> yang: a case that's intensifying calls for changes in college fraternities. for more on the increasing pressures on college fraternity,
we're joined by john hechinger, a bloomberg news senior editor and the author of "true gentlemen:the broken pledge of america's fraternities." john hechinger, thank you for joining us. we just heard in that taped spot about the number of colleges taking action against fraternities. are we reaching a tipping point do you think? >> the really shocking aspect of what we're seeing now is that this is not a record number of deaths. we of had four this year. but in 2012, we had seven. so there have been other times when colleges and fraternities could have taken action, and they didn't. i hope we're at a turning point. i see more concern, and i see more colleges shutting down fraternities for indefinite ban, just somewhat unusual? i have to say, a lot of those bans after several weeks or several months disappear because from fraternities are such a powerful force on campuses. >> yang: you talk in your book about the obstacles to doing
something about fraternities. >> well, i mean, fraternities are ingrained in higher education much more than i ever realized before i started researching this book. they own $3 billion in real estate. they house 250,000 students, more than any other landlord except for the colleges themselves. their members are among the most loyal alumni, and so they're not... it's not like getting rid of some small subculture. it's focusing on something that is really central to what most universities are about. >> yang: you say alcohol is the well spring of most fraternity vice is. it that simple fa if they were to ban alcohol in flats that most of these problems would go away? >> well, nothing is that simple, but it would make a huge difference. i look at one national fraternity that more than a decade ago had a policy of having dry chapter houses, and
they cut back dramatically on the number of deaths and other injuries. their insurance rates, which is one way i look at this since i'm a business reporter, declined by more than 90%. so, yes, it would make an enormous difference. it wouldn't end the behavior, but it would certainly reduce it. >> yang: the authors say that haisessing and tests of manhood and alcohol tests go back to the 19th century, sort of predate the from fernty system. if they were to ban drinking at fraternity, would it move somewhere else on campus life? >> well, fraternities added something special, and that's pledging, which is this weeks or months-long period where the youngest, most vulnerable men are asked to have these tests of their tolerance and their manhood and often asked to drink until unconsciousness, and that's all of the young men who died this year were pledges. and that's not a coincidence. so another step that
universities could take is to ban pledging. it's very hard the hide an entire pledge program. and the fraternity that i focused on in my books, sigma alpha epsilon, it banned pledging three and a half years ago. before then it was the deadliest fraternity in america. it happened more deaths, ten over almost a decade. since then it hasn't had any deaths, and its race of injuries have declined more than 90%. so there is some evidence that that is a step that would make some difference. >> yang: one case that's getting a lot of attention is penn state. new charges have been filed. is that going to be enough to drive changes in fraternity life on other campuses? >> the penn state case is so horrifying on the one hand, because you have a young man forced to drink until he can barely stand and then fall down a flight of stairs while his
"brothers," so to speak, refuse to call for help over an entire night, and he dies of traumatic brain injuries. it's appalling. but what was really special about penn state is the documentation. they had surveillance footage of what happened, and just over the last week, the prosecutors found out that they had been misled by the police that there was actually other footage showing that the fraternity members had forced him to drink 18 drinks in an hour and a half. so i think that just the visceral sense of just how much this was... how irresponsible this was is getting a lot of attention, and it should, because in many of the other cases i looked at, there was similar behavior, there was horrifying forced drinking, a refusal the call an ambulance, even attempts to cover up the crime. i think that that will make a
difference. there's no way you can explain away the surveillance footage. >> yang: and fraternities will also point out their community service, that they do good in their communities. >> and that's absolutely too. i call the book "true gentlemen" because i wanted to look at their values and a lot of the good they do in campus. they raise $20 million a year for charity. their alumni are among the most loyal donors. they create a a career network that leads the higher incomes after graduation. you might earn one-third more if you join a fraternity, even though actually you grades might be lower. and so that is powerful and they also had a very big impact on sort of the shape of higher education in america. they in a sense kind of created this residential college system, the focus on extra curriculars and sports that we all take for granted. but from the beginning, they had this dark side, and the question that i'm looking at in the book
is can they disentangle their dark side from some of their more laudable traditions? >> yang: john hechinger, the book is "true gentlemen: the broken pledge of american that ternities." thank you, john. >> woodruff: and an apology. earlier in that report we said michigan state had suspended fraternity activity. it was actually the university of michigan. >> woodruff: and now, a new look at the 2016 campaign from a central player. donna brazile was tapped to be the interim chair of the democratic national committee the day before the convention in philadelphia last summer. she offers her take in a new book, "hacked: the inside story of the break-ins and breakdowns that put donald trump in the white house."
she is getting pushback from many in the clinton campaign for her analysis of went wrong for democrats. >> what i have said to my friends and former colleagues is that something happened in 2016 that we need to get to the bottom of. it's not about hillary clinton. it's about our hack and about democracy. it's about a foreign country, a hostile foreign country, trying to destroy her. and yes, it's about the democratic party fighting through this and also fighting to be relevant at a time when the party was being taken over by one campaign. i was the chair of democratic party. my focus was on winning not just the oval office, but every race in between, all the way down to school board races. and the decision by the clinton campaign to help bail out the dnc gave them control over three important departments. they made my job impossible as chair. if you're the chair of the party and you cannot send your own resources to get out the vote to persuade voters, then it's very tough to do my job. >> woodruff: you say the
primary process wasn't rigged, but you're saying it was a foregone conclusion what was going on at the dnc? >> they began to hire vendor, pay for consultants, using money being raised under the name of a democratic national committee at a time when our primary process was still under way. >> woodruff: but the effect of this book overall is to hurt hillary clinton. she comes outs of this looking very bad. her campaign comes out looking very bad. was that your intention? >> my intention was to write about the dnc. i think that book really ill -- illustrated how hillary clinton faced a huge hail wind in 2016. her party was under attack and her campaign was under constant attack. there was a hacking that took place, and i volunteered my time to elect hillary clinton. i spent every day working to elect hillary clinton and eliminating the debt. >> woodruff: but do you worry
about having burned all these bridges with all these people you worked with for all these years? >> judy, as a woman who has been active in the democratic party since the age of nine, i have been involved in 11 presidential campaign, 7 as a campaign staffers, 21 seasons in the democratic primary, we had a very competitive primary in 2016. i believe it's important to learn the lessons in the 2016 race so that we will not make those mistakes again. i believe that hillary clinton ran the strongest possible campaign given the odds that were against her. not only the russians and the hacking and the interference, but we had a media obsessed on covering donald trump. >> drew: one episode in the middle of this campaign was when you were accused and you later acknowledged it had happened of giving your commentative for cnn and you were accused of giving the hillary clinton campaign one of the questions that was going
to come up in a primary debate. you said later this was something you would always regret. >> no question, you easy. i regret that. my job was to expand thforum. cnn benefited from that. i was a cnn commentator along with being the vice-chair of the dnc. i wanted to give the candidates a heads up in expanding the debates, we would include some difficult questions that the minority community wanted to answer, and i wanted to give both campaigns a heads up. >> woodruff: but in retrospect, you're saying that was a mistake? >> absolutely. it's been blown out of proportion. cnn has never said anything to me regarding debate topics. >> woodruff: i was struck that you wrote early in the book you thought of yourself, and i'm quoting here, "as an actress" in some ways playing the parted that t producers wanted do you play, either the part of the "b" word, who stands up to the g.o.p. talking points, or they might ask me to be cool, calm donna, the voice of reason. i think some people would listen
to that and read that and say, that's troubling. >> in 2008 people were upset with me because they said i'm black i wasn't supporting barack obama. i'm a female, i'm not supporting hillary clinton. and i kept saying, why should i have to support either one. i can support both of them. my job as a commentator is to give me point of view. >> woodruff: two other quick things. you mentioned president obama. you're critical of what he did to the demratic party. you say that he and others have basically stripped the party bare. you said he didn't pay enough attention. he didn't raise money for the party. was he good or bad for the country and was he good for the african american community? >> he was fantastic for the country. that's another reason why i stepped up to become chair of the democratic party. judy, when you lose 900 legislative seats, i'm in the blaming him for all 932 legislative seats, all 60 some odd house and senate seats, 11 gubernatorial race, but this happened under his watch. it is the responsibility of the president when he's a democrat
to help the democratic party. president obama, michelle obama, we all miss them in the white house. but we have to rebuild the democratic party, and that's what i hope to do, as well. >> woodruff: last question is about president clinton in the wake of the harvey weinstein, the avik roy -- roy moore and al franken. questions are being raised about president clinton and what he was accused of doing in the monica lewinsky episode. should he have stepped down as some are saying he should have? >> we should focus on what is happening now, which is we have a lot of women coming forward with their stories. we should believe them. we should encourage them. but i think, you know to, try to go back and relit gait the 1990s, i haven't had much time to do that. >> woodruff: you think the women who were accusing bill clinton should have been believed? >> it was toxic at the time when people thought that these women were politically motivated.
and that's one of the reasons why i think we're having this conversation again. we should not take our eyes off of what's happening in alabama, a race that is scheduled for december 12th, a candidate who has been accused of being a pedophile, who was beened from the mall because of his activities. so i think we should focus on what we're discussing today, and let historians write about whether or not what happened in the 1990s should be relit gaited. we can also go back and relit gait clarence thomas and anita hill. there are so many episodes that we can go back and relit gait, but right now this is before, and we should encourage these women who are speaking up and tell them we believe them so they can tell their truth. >> woodruff: donna brazile, the book, as you say, is "hacked." thank you very much. >> thank you. >> woodruff: and finally tonight, john adams is one of the world's most acclaimed and
performed contemporary composers, known especially for operas including "nixon in china" and "the death of klinghoffer." adams turned 70 this year, and has been honored around the globe. all that culminates tonight in san francisco with the opening of a new opera. jeffrey brown is back with that story. >> brown: composer john adams says it was three notes that helped launched his new opera. >> it just goes, ba dum dum! ba dum dum. and i didn't realize until afterwards, but it was just kind of a musical image of somebody with a pick just chipping away at stone. ♪ ♪ >> brown: premiering at the san francisco opera, "girls of the golden west" tells of individuals caught up in the california gold rush of the 1850s, a story of high hopes and a shattered american dream.
it's set deep in the sierra- nevada mountains, an area adams knows well. he lives in the bay area, about four hours away... and has been coming to his small cabin in the sierras since the 1970s. >> i had this very romantic notion that i was never going to have electricity here. i was just going to read all of tolstoy by candlelight. but that lasted about 24 hours. >> brown: adams recently took us into the small towns of downieville and sierra city... that helped fire his imagination for the new opera. >> brown: ...and, with his dog amos, breathtaking trails in the sierra buttes >> what always interests me in a work of art is what i call its locale. so, a lot of my stories,
particularly this one, really reflect my experience of being an american artist in my own locale. >> brown: the california gold rush has been romanticized in opera and books before. "girls of the golden west," which we watched being rehearsed, presents a more raw tale, one with echoes to today, in which immigrant and white cultures clash with tragic results. adams credits longtime collaborator and director peter sellars with the idea. >> the problem is that the stories are all told from the white perspective, and we're sort of turning that upside down and getting, you know, the women's point of view and the mexicans' point of view. it's not just an academic exercise. it's actually a very thrilling human experience to do this. >> brown: to find those characters, the pair dug through primary sources-- photos, letters, diaries, lyrics to old
songs. the opera's libretto, which sellers crafted, is made up entirely of historical texts. just weeks before opening night, sellars worked with his singers in a large rehearsal space at and spoke to us. >> john is such a master at this point, and he has scene after scene, you go, "that is just overwhelming!" >> brown: were you surprised by all this source material? was it something you knew? >> the more you dig into it, the more you dig into it. and as soon as you start to ask the questions most people don't ask, of course the answers are so rich, and so satisfying, and open up vistas. >> brown: in those texts, the pair found characters like louise clappe, who went by the name "dame shirley." she's sung by julia bullock.
>> brown: a highly-educated woman from new england, she came to a california mining camp with her doctor husband. there, she wrote dozens of letters describing life around her in frank detail. >> living in a mining encampment for 18 months in the middle of winter, it's just mindboggling how they survived, and yet she always kept this fantastic sense of wit and her ability to size somebody up. she's an amazing character. and she's real, that's what's so great. >> brown: another central character, josefa, sung by j'nai bridges, is a young mexican barmaid, also based on a real- life figure. in the opera's tragic finale, josefa is hung from a bridge by a mob of white miners after she killed a man in self-defense. adams sees the new work as a more honest version of history.
>> i like to think of it as that i'm making poetry of it, and-- >> brown: making poetry of history? making poetry of history, and when you read even the best history books, you basically tend to stay on the surface. but to stop in the way that shakespeare stops and says, "now, hold on a minute. what really happened between these two people that caused them to behave the way they did?" that's the poetic level. >> brown: it's not an unfamiliar goal for the 70-year-old composer, who's often mined history for source material. ♪ ♪ his "nixon in china" centered on president richard nixon's landmark visit to the country in 1972. the "death of klinghoffer" told the story of the 1985 hijacking of a cruise ship by the palestinian liberation front and
the subsequent murder of a jewish passenger. and "dr. atomic" brought the making of the atomic bomb to operatic life. it's all led adams to be labeled sometimes as a "political" composer. but he sees it otherwise. >> it's really more a comment on people's prejudices about classical music, that if it's an opera, it should be about goddesses and gods. or some fairy tales. i'm writing about my life. i'm writing about experiences that have happened in my own lifetime. and i don't think particularly opera has any chance of continuing to be a viable, living entity if it doesn't really discuss and address the issues of our own time.
♪ ♪ >> brown: "girls of the golden west" premieres tonight at the san francisco opera and will run until december 10. for the pbs newshour, i'm jeffrey brown in sierra city, california. >> woodruff: magnificent. and that's the newshour for tonight. i'm judy woodruff. join us online, and again right here tomorrow evening. for all of us at the pbs newshour, thank you, and we'll see you soon. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> bnsf railway.
man: i was the perfect soldier. i always put the mission first. announcer: after 3 tours in iraq, one wounded warrior returns to build a new life. woman: to those that are coming back, they have been changed. announcer: filmmakers alix blair and jeremy lange document the daily struggle... man: these are my antipsychotic pills. i feel tranquilized a lot. announcer: to heal the unseen scars of war. man: when i start to black out and get the flashbacks, i lose control. woman: hopefully eventually it will get better, but it might not. man: i tried to get help. i tried to kill myself. it didn't work. we want to be able to have normal lives. we don't want to be like this. announcer: "farmer/veteran"-- now, only on "independent lens."