Skip to main content

tv   PBS News Hour  PBS  September 25, 2018 6:00pm-7:00pm PDT

6:00 pm
captioning sponsored by newshour oductions, llc >> woodruff: good evening, i'm judy woodruff. on the newshour tonit, president trump criticizes a woman who says she was sexually assaulted by brett kavanaugh, calling the accusations "a con game" by democrats then, the president addresses the united nations reaffirming hio"america first" approach foreign policy. emplus, we kick off a new s, "the plastic pro as discarded bottles and gs threaten the health ofumans, animals and thenvironment. to even if we stop today, to use plastic, if we snow, this plastic that is out there, we're still going to have to deal with it for the next hundreds of thousands of years, maybe, because it's not going to go away. >> woodruff: all that and more on tonight's pbs newshour.
6:01 pm
>> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> kevin! >> kevin. >> advice for life. life well-planned. learn more at >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions: >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. urand by contributions to bs station from viewers like you. thank you.
6:02 pm
>> woodruff: senate republicans are largely circlingagons around supreme court nominee brett kavanaugh tonight, again allegations of sexual misconduct. a thsday hearing is still on tap, and president trump is accusing democrats of "con game" tactics to defeat the. nominati lisa desjardins begins our coverage. >> let's be clear: from the very beginning, he has been strong andal unequivn his denial. >> desjardins: from republicans, a multi-pronged, all-outefense of a supreme court nominee tay fr the white house communications >> does the prt still have full confidence in judge kavanaugh? >> yes, he does. >> desjardins: from republicans in the senate... >> we ve never been, and do not wish to be a society in which a single uncorroborated allegation can float out across decades. >> desjardins: ...and even from brett kavanaugh himself, taking the uncommon step of sitting
6:03 pm
down for an interview that aired on fox news last to knock down two on-the- record allegations: christine blasey ford, told the "washiton post" that kavanaugh sexually assaulted her in high school. and debldah ramirez, he "new yorker" he exposed himself to her in college. day, at the u.n. general assembly, president trump went on open attack, particularly at ramirez who said admitted she was drinking when her incident happened. >> and there were gaps, and she said she was totally inebriated and she was all messed up. and she doesn't know it was him, but it might have been him. "oh, gee, let's not make him a supreme court judge because of that." >> desjardins: kavanaugh himself did not criticize his accusers, but instead defended his teenage self as good and innocent. >> i was focused on trying to be number one in my class and being captain of the vsity basketball team and doing my seice projects, going to church. i think all of us have probably done things we look baoo on in high sand regret or cringe
6:04 pm
a bit, but that's not what we're talking about. we're talking about an allegation of sexual assault. i've never sexually assaulted anyone. >> desjardins: but other accounts emerged with a different picture of kavanaugh, including one from a freshman- k year roommate anaugh's at yale. james roche says in a statement that, "although brett wasd, normally resere was a notably heavy drinker ... and that he became aressive and belligerent when he was drunk." and as for ramirez's allegatn in the "new yorker," roche says: "debbie has a right to be heard and i believe her." white house press secretary sarah sanders signaled this morning that republicans would "be open" to seeing ramirez appear before the senate judiciary committee this week. on capitol hill, the halls were jammed with reporters looking for formation amid the rhetoric. judiciary democrat dick durbin i toue with mcconnell's defense of kavanaugh. >> one moment he sounds like he's sympathetic to dr. ford and what she's been through, calling for fairness, and then, before
6:05 pm
he catches a breath, he calls her chargen unsubstantiated smear. >> desjardins: attention and journalists have focused on undeded senators, like republican lisa murkowski of alaska, who could decide orvanaugh's fate and today >> it's very imptant to take allegations of those who have come forward, to take them seriously. i think it is important that we have a process that is viewed as credible and rescted. >> desjardins: that heoring, withand kavanaugh, remains scheduled for thursday. newshour has confirmed that republicans hope to vo on final confirmation for kavanaugh by early next week. for the pbs newshour, i'm lisa desjardins. >> woodruff: we'll hear from both sides of the kavanaugh divide after the news summary. in the day's other news, comedian bill coy was sentenced to 3 to 10 ten years in prison for sexual assault. the judge denied bail and sent him immediately off to jail.
6:06 pm
cosby is 81. he was convicted of drugging and assaulting a woman in 2004, but some 60 women ve accused him of similar crimes going back 50 years. william brangham joins us, for a full report, later in t program. pope francis conceded today thal the ca church's sex abuse scandals are driving people away from the church. in estonia, the pope acknowledged that the church needs to address those concerns honestly. he spoke to a crowd of young people, as he wrapped up a four- day visit to the baltics. >> ( translated ): we ourselves haally need to be converted. we have to realizet in order to stand by your side we need to change many situations that put you of we know that many young people do not turn to us for anything because they don't feewe have anything meaningful to say to them. this is very bad when a church behaves in such a way that young people believe that it cannot give anything to their lives. t >> woodruf pontiff's comments came as german bishops
6:07 pm
released a report that nearly 3,700 germans were abused by catholic clergy between 1946.nd 20 more than half were 13 or younger. iran has issued a new threat to retaliate for saturday's attack on a military parade. the attack, in ahvaz, killed at least two dozen people.of cials blamed arab separatists, backed by arab states. today, a news agency close to the hard-line revolutionar guard posted a video depicting potential missile attacks onud arabia and the united arab emirates. the governmentf china demanded today that the u.s. cancel arm $330 millionsale to taiwan. china claims taiwan as a province. in beijing, the foreign ministry waded that the arms deal wo inflict "severe damage" on u.s.- china relations. >> ( translated ): it harms china's sovereignty and security
6:08 pm
interest. we express strong dissatisfaction and firm opposition to this arms we have olemn complaints with the u.s. side. taiwan is an inalienable part or chinese terr nobody can waver chinese gont's resolution and will to safeguard our national sovereignty and territorial integrity. >> woodruff: the arms sale comes amid growing tensions between the u.s. and china over trade. back in this country, deputy attorney general rod rosenstein remains on the job, pending a meeting tomorrow with president trump. white house spokeswoman sarah sanders declined to say today if mr. trump still has ence in rosenstein.y she said oat he "has confidence in the system." rosenstein has denied that he talked of taping the president, or removing him from office.e voc from hurricane "florence" triggered new warnings today. ter the storm hit coastal north carolina, the town of georgetown, south carolina is
6:09 pm
bracing for historic flooding. authorities there are urging some 8,000 people to leave their homes. rising rivers could put parts of the town under 10 feet of water, with more rain to come. grizzly bears are now protected from hunting ain in wyoming and idaho. on monday, a federal judge restored federal protections for the animals, and blocked the first grizzly hunts in the lowes tes in nearly 30 years. the judge ruled that the u.s. sh and wildlife service was wrong to decide last year that the bears were no long threatened. and, rising interestates and oil prices weighed on wall street today. the dow jones industrial average lost nearly points to close at 26,492. the nasdaq re 14 points, but ths&p 500 slipped three. still to come on the newshour: how lawmakers are responding to gations against brett kavanaugh.
6:10 pm
president trump addresses the onworld at the united nati bill cosby is sentenced to ison for sexual assault, much more. >> woodruff: we return now to our lead story: the confirmati now in question of president trump's supreme court pick. senator chris coons, a democrat from delaware, is a member oe f diciary committee and is set to question judge brett kavanaugh d his accuser christine blasey ford this thursday. senator, what do you expect the happen on thursday? en well, what i hope hap judy, is that the senate judiciary committee will show that we've learned some lessons since the hearing with professor anita hill and justice thomas 27 years ago. i hope there will be a respectful and open and appropriate questions asked of dr. ford and of judge vanaugh
6:11 pm
and that we will conduct this not as a trial but as a jober interview we're trying to get to the truth of the allegations brought forward by dr. ford. >> woodruff: senator, as y rou know, tublicans are saying they are going to bring in an outside council, lawyer, who is experienced in prosecuting sex crimes to do the questioning. what are democra going too? c i expect all the senate democratic judiciamittee members will do our job. we will question judge kavanaugh and dr. fordnd try androvide the sort of open and level or fair environment that will help us get to the truth. i'm concerned by press reports that republica are hiring a prosecutor specialized inx prosecuting crimes, and instead of doing their job in questioning the witnesses will hide behind this prosecutor. that also implies they may be going for tone that is more prosecutorial of dr. ford, which i think will simply discourage other victims of sexual abuse
6:12 pm
from coming forward with their allegations in other contexts. >> woodruff: president trump is already weighing in, as you knowon this todayaying that it is a con game that democrats are playing, that he has referred repeatedly to false accusations being made by not just dr. blasey ford but deborah ramirez, another woman who knew brett kavanaugh she says at yale. how much concern is it that republicans seem to have made u thnds. the senate majority leader has already said that brett confirmed.ill be >> and the senate majority enader, republican mitch mcconnell, alsonced dr. ford as being part of a smear campaign agast brett kavanaugh. it's striking to me how much the tone has changed e st week. president trump to my sur last week said that he welcomed an open and fair hearing and inr thet couple days stayed quiet on this matter. a number of republicanenators,
6:13 pm
senators flake and murkowski and collins called for there to be fair and openearing where dr. ford was heard out. that tone has now changed sharply. and as you noted, president trump now denouncing the whole process of trying to hear these allegations as sexual assault against judge kavanaugh. >> woodruff: do you think there is chance the committee will also hear at any point from deborah ramirez, this other woman, the second woma >> i think we should be hearing from mark judge, who is alleged to be in the room during dr. ford's alleged assault, and we should hear from debbi ramirez. frankly, judy, more importantly, the f.b.i. should bein condu a prompt but thorough background investigation of all the different allegations and witnesses who have been mentioned or brought forward. i'll remind you that when professor anita hill was in front of the judiciary committee, t then-bush administration directed the f.b.i. to do this and in a matter oa feways. they came forward with 20 different witnesses who testified to the committee at that poi. if t trump administration had
6:14 pm
followed through and had the f.b.i. do theirob, thatould already be completed and the hearing this thursday would be a much fuller and more appropriate hearing of allegations against judge kavanaugh. woodruff: what about the republican pushback on that that he's already had six f.b.i. investigations? >> he has had background investigations, but not one which there were allegations of sexual assault. i have spoken to folks who have done f.b.i. background investigations in other context, and they say they have a sort o typical script that they follow. they look into standard questions. it is not a standard question to say when you were in high school, when you were in college, did ou engage in drunken sexual assault. so that may veroty well have been part of the previous background investigation. >> woodruff: can your mmittee, the judiciary committee, get to the truth on thursday? >> i think we can. if we have a broader range of witnesses, and if the members of the committee or the outside council retained by the republicans conduct themselves in a fair,easured, and
6:15 pm
appropriate way. it's more my concern that that will not happen and this will be about political neat andushing forward with a confirmation vote than it will be about getting to the truth. >> woodruff: senator chris coons, a member of the senate diciary committee, thank you very much. >> thank you, judy. >> woodruff: and >> woodruff: wnow hear from a supporter and friend of judge brett kavanuagh. travis lenkner is former clerk for the nominee and is an attorney in chicago travis lenkner, welcome to the news hour. does judge kavanaugh think he is going to get a fair hearing? >> judge kavanaugh looks forward to the hearing on thursday. he has been looking forward to the chance the testify under oath before the senate judiciary committee since he started asking them for the opportunity to do that more than a wk ago when the allegation from dr. ford was first published i the "washington post." so i know that, you know, now that about eight days willave passed since he was wanting that opportunity. he's looking forward frankly to the chance to testify under oath and to do so publicly.
6:16 pm
he's already spoken to the committee multiple times on background investigation calls under penalty of felony, but to testify publicly, to tell his story and to do so under ooh t the committee and to the american people is something that he's wanted to do for many days now.>> oodruff: the questions are still out there, travis lenkner, about why the committee, why judge kavanaugh hasn't wanted to have an f.b.i. investigation of these charges. you just heard senator coons bring it up again. why not? what's wrong with that? >> well, judge kavanaugh has said he will dove whathe senate judiciary committee asks him to do. and he's gone through everf step e process that they have put in front of him. so he's the nominee.r it's not m to comment on what process the senate should be running. it's their article one advise and consent responsibility that they're executing at this point. so he's answered all the questions they've put in front of him. i would say, though, the f.b.i. background investigation really would serve to gather witness
6:17 pm
statements from other people who were supposedly at the events that are in question. the senate has gathered statements. in terms of dr. fo's allegation, everyone else that dr. hrd named asing been pret present at the gathering has now give an statement on th record to nate judiciary committee saying they don't remember that gathering or any of the conduct alleged, and in the case of a female, a woman who was there, one of dr. ford's best friends from that period, she said sheoesn't even thi she knows brett kavanaugh. so the committee already has the statements iess think that they would be getting from the f.b.i. if the f.b.i. were the ones taking the statements instead. >> woodruff: i think... i hear what you're saying. i also hear others say when the f.b.i. is out there doing the investigation, asking the questions, that it's... that people feel more compelled to come forward with the whol c story and yold apply that to these second set of accusations now that have come from the woman who says that judge kavanaugh, when he was a freshman yale, exposed
6:18 pm
himself to her. >> well, as to the sond allegation, judy, i think what's important for viewers to remember is that this is a story that "the new york times" itself refused to run. there is not a single eyewitness to corroborate this story, and that's after both "the new yorker" and "the new york times" reported th each outlet had spoken to dozen, dozens of judge kavaugh's classmates and contemporaries without finding anyone to corroborate it, and there are stateon the record from people who knew him at the time who say tthat t is not only out of character for what they knew of him, but it owould have been the tal campus and the talk of the dormitory had anything like that occurred. so again, i think we have all the information we need not mention "the new york times" reporting that as recently eeas last the accuser in that episode was e-mailing friends and classmates from yale saying that she herself could not be sure that it was judge kavanaugh she was rem >> woodruff: i know "the new york times" is saying that it doesn't disputor knock down "the new yorker" story, but i just want to say, you're saying
6:19 pm
that there are those who.... you're rig there were no eyewitnesses who have come forward at all att yale, here are people who knew judge kavanaugh as a freshman, in fact, his has put out a statement, his freshman roommate saying, among othe things, that brett kavanaugh was a notably heavy drinker and couldbe bridge bridge rent, soome people were getting a different picture of how much drinking took place, not just in college but also in high school. >> well,au judge kav in his interview last night ayknowledged that he, like i think all of us, have had times as a young boy or young girl, a youngan man or w when he would look back and cringe oe say he wd he behaved differently, but those things are far from what has been alleged here. sexual assault is abhorrent. judge kavanaugh, i can't eve believe i have to give tv interviews to say it, finds it so. he has said he did not do that in high school. he did ns t that at any time. i know there will be a discussion in the hearing about behavior during those phases of
6:20 pm
his life. but even to sayra someone beer in high school or college is a far cry to say that sexual assault ever came close to occurring. >> woodruff: i'mri just h now that the judiciary committee committee is saying there will be a vote on friday morning, so that would be a vote the day after the committee hears from judge kavanaugh and from dr. christine ford. just very quickly, does judg kavanaugh expect that he will be confirmed as the senate majority leader has said? >> i can't spe for his expectations other than i know he's expecting to go to the hearing on thursday, to tell the truth, to look every member of the committee in the eye and to be very... unfortunately to have to be very express and personal about a younger phase in his life and intimate details of his life, but he wants to do that,no frankl because he wants the tab, though i know he does, but it's far more imp for him to defend his integrity and clear his name and make sure peopn know the type of per he really is. >> woodruff: travis lenkner
6:21 pm
who was a clerk for judge kavanaugh in the in the appellate court. thank you veryouuch. >> thank >> woodruff: the president spoke to the united natio, ns todd sought to explain his "america first" worldview to the rest of the world, and outline threats as he sees them. but as nick schifrin reports y om the u.n., mr. trump's go- it-alone philosos challenged repeatedly by other leaders. schifrin: president trup walked into a room he once chastised as a club w are people haood time, and rejected the u.n.'s internationalism, for renewed nationalism. >> sovereign and independent nations are the only vehicle where freedom has ever survived, democracy has ever endured, or peace has ever prospered. >> schifrin: but among the world's highest level gathering of leaders, what president trump
6:22 pm
cas sovereignty has been unpopular. he pulled out of paris climate agreement signed by 196 untries. he pulled out of the iran nuclear deal, negotiated with europe. and over arab and european objections, he moved the us embassy to jerusalem over the president calls those decisions achievements, but they got him off to an inauspicious start. >> in less than two years, my administration has accomished more than almost any administration in the history of our country. ( audience murmuring ) >> schifrin: someone in the audience yells something-- >> so true. audience laughing ) didn't expect that reaction, but that's okay. ( laughter ) >> schifrin: but president trump vis unapologetic, and repeatedly defended his wor. >> we reject the ideology of globalism. and we embrace the doctrine of patriotism. >> schifrin: it was left toro to defend the world order and defend multilateralism.
6:23 pm
french president emmanuel macron spoke for called president trump's reference to sovereignty a veil for unilateralism. >> ( directly to isolationism and to conflict. generalized clashes, men against men. do not accept the erosion of multilateralism. don't accept ouvehistory unraling! i'm not getting used to this and i'm not turning my head to ire our childrenatching. >> schifrin: macron received an extended ovation, as did u.n. secretary general antonio guterres, who warned against what he call and implicitly criticized president trump's policy of separating children at the u.s. border. >> those who see their neighbors as dangerous may cause ahreat where there was none. those who close their borders to regular migration only fuel the work of traffickers. >> schifrin: across town, th u.s.' top diplomat and the u.s. national security advisor appeared befora group that has advocated for iranian regime change. the u.s. is pursuing a pressure
6:24 pm
campaign against iran that has driven iran's currency to a record low, and flooderrency exchanges. iran is also coping with protests by iranians criticizing government corruption. today president trump suggested he was forcing iran to the negotiation table. >> iran is a much different country today than it was a year ago. i think that at some point we will have meaningful discussions and probably do a deal, i don't see how it works for them otherwise. >> schifrin: europeans are meeting with iran to try and get around u.s. sanctions. but many companies, including european airbus, have pulled out of iran. and today iran's president hassan rouhani rejecalogue withthe u.s. >> ( translated t's ironic that the u.s. does not even conceal its plan for overthrowinghe same government it invites to talks. on what basis and criteria caner we ento a negotiation with such a government? >> schifrin: all day, president trump did the rounds, and gave toasts to the u.n. but he did n spare his criticism, including against historic u.s. allies he says rip
6:25 pm
the u.s. off on trade. >> we defend these nations for nothin moving forward, we are only going to give foreign aid to those who respect us, and, frankly, a our friends. lawyer the west earn european, , the u.n. itself will continue to talk about multilateral im, but their leaders have failed to convince president trump to change course, and they ait they can't preserve what's been called the western liberal order on their own withou the u.s. is so the best thing they can do is buy time as the u.s. focuses on what it calls sovereignty. judy? >> woodruff: nick schifrin, we thank you. stay with us, coming up on the newshour: what can be done to counteract the mounting plastic problem. onhow the trump administra policies are affecting rapidly rising drug prices. and why education has become a key issue in the wisconsin governor's race.
6:26 pm
but first, comedian and actor bill cosby was tod sentenced to spend three to ten years inon state pror sexual assault. william brangham has the latest. >> brangham: it was a striking sight this afternoon: bill cosby, in handcuffs, being led out of a pennsylvania courthse. five months ago, cosby was found guilty of drugging and sexually assaulting andrea constand back in 2004. at that trial, several other women who alleged cosb similarly assaulted them testified against him. today, judge steven o'neil said the evidence sometimes from cosby's own words was "overwhelming" that cod planned to drug and assault constand, and he declared cosby a "sexually violent predator." mary claire dale of the associated press has been covering this cosby caserom the beginning, and i spoke with her earlier today. >> well, the court officers and the judge tried to keep a close
6:27 pm
tab on emotion and cosby himself was surprisingly relaxed through most of the day. even after ththree to ten-year sentence was handed down and cosby's lawyers and publicists were taking off his watch and tie while the judge decided whether he had to go to prison that day or later, even during that t cosby was still loose, laughing with his lawyers and publicists, and andrea constand sitting not very far away was staring straight at the judge quietly and somewhat solemnly as the judge delivered the final sentence and delivered remarks about the trauma that she's endured,t not j at the time, but in the years since. >> brangham: constand herself got a chance to speak. what did she say in. >> actually, yesterday she took the stand and gave only a fews wof testimony in terms of her victim impact statement. she had sent a five or so page setter to the judge that detailed... she she has gone from a person who was
6:28 pm
confident, secure, really looking forward to the years ahead of her y somebodo now finds herself stuck in midlife, because she questions her own strength given that she was not able to re mbu cosby that night. and the judge said, you know, she was a strong professional athlete, but cosby had to give her those drugs because she would have been agtoight him off. but yesterday she took the stand very briefly and saijue, i have been heard. mr. cosby has heard me. you have heard me. what want is for you to do you see to be justice." >> brangham: i understand thean sentence is three to ten years. do you have any sense of how much time he actually might spend in jail? >> right. it's interting, ten years being the maximum sentence that the judge could have assigned. so he did go toe thximum if cosby does not get paroled sooner. so after three years, he will be able to go to the parole board, but d.a. kevin steele noted today that andrea constand and her family can write to the parole board andight that.
6:29 pm
my guess is that they well might depending on the situation or where they are in their lives at th ti. but cosby will have to persuade a parole board that he is no longer a danger to the community and to other young women. judge o'neil today took a point to say even though the defens said he's 81 and the recidivism in sex assault cases foran of his age is nearly zero, o'neil said that he believes cosby witins a danger, that drugs and with his power and moneywealth,ccess, he might well still be a danger to other people. >> brangham: all right, mary claire dale of the associated press, thank you so much. >> thank you. >> brangham: so what ds this sentence, and the larger #me-too movement mean for the victims? lili bernard is one of more than 60 women who have said cosby, raped, druggerced or sexultally ass them since the mid 1960s. bernard was an actress who appeared on e cosby show in
6:30 pm
the 1990s, where she says cosby took her under his wing but thn drugged her and raped her. bernard's allegations were noted incln this case, but she and a number of other survivors attended today's sentencing and the earlier trial. thank you very much for being here. i know that you and so many of the other victims of mr. cosby's crimes have beenollowing this case so closely for so long. i wonder, did you ever imagine at today would actually ce? >> i did not. i really believed that he would go to his gave as a free man, so this was an absolutely unexpected outcome. >> brangham: what is it you think turned the tide? was it simply andrea constand and h rerular saying i must have justice in this case, or what was it?
6:31 pm
>> absolutely andrea was a gate big part of it. i have called her the joan of arc in the war on rape becausee it ts tremendous courage to stand up against such a goliath, aevered, beloved, iconic father figure in the "entertainment tonight" industry who just has hundreds of millions of dollars at his disposition to put up a good fight. she withstood the victim blaming and shaming on the stand. she's an incredibly courageous person, and her family demonstrated during their victim impact statements how they served for her as a source of strength and uniowty and, as a springboard for her to be able to have voiced her suffering for the world. so the "me too" movement, andrea constand was theheatalyst of "me too" movement, and then came the brave survivors of campuswh rapeo started the anti-campus rape movement. in 2012, 2013, 2014, that provided a fertile ground for the cosby survivors who started
6:32 pm
speaking out in the end of 2014 and 2015 to just continue with this fight to, join the battle, to join the army. so there is more of an awareness in society and there's been a shift in culture toward believing women, toward valuing women's lives. absolutely. it's a new culture, a new day. >> brangham: when you were assaulted by mr. cosby, you were a very young actress at the time. he tried to be a mentor to you and then allegedly committed these horrible acts. i know that you confronted h you went to him and said, don't ever do this to me again, but it knt that was a very difficult thing for you to do. i know your agent tried to dissuade you from talking. >> i toll him that i would report him to the police. >> brangham: go ahead. please. >> i didn't say "don't ever do this to me again." that was implicit again
6:33 pm
but i did tell him that i would report him to the police, that i wuld go to the hospital and find out exactly what he slipped into my sparkling apple cider and that what he was doing a sense incest because he called me his daughter. i have answering machine recordings where he says, "you're one of my kids." he made it very clear that i was to look upon him as a father figure. he told that to my dad and ms y cous the cosby studios. he told that to my mother on the phone. so it was very clear that the mentoring relationship we had was many preparation for my guest starring role on "the cosby show" was a paternal one, a platonic, paternal one. wso it devastating to be betrayed like that. i did not realize that all of this, you know, support that he was showing for me, thisri ing, because he was introducing me to the production team, the writers and telng em that i was going to be starring on "the cosby show," that he would be writing a role for me, and he encouged th to visit the off-broadway
6:34 pm
productions i was acting in in eater. i did not understand all of this stroking, all of this lifting ut of myg skills, and he also commented that i was a great painter, was nothing that grooming so i that he could place me in a place vulnerable that i would trust him enough to, you know, take drink of sparkling an pi cider. >> brangham: lili bernard, i know this has been a momentous day for you. i appreciate you talking with us. >> uh-huh. my pleasure. my pleasure. ank you. >> woodruff: plastic pollution is considered one of the largest vironmental threats facing humans and animals. the material is intend to last much longer than a lifetime. but that also means its impact on the planet lasts a lifetime --o. 40% of all plastater
6:35 pm
bottles, bags, straws and utensils-- are used only one dume before being discarded. amna nawaz and pr lorna baldwin kick off a series this week about our global plastics problem. a warning: viewers may find some of the images involving injured animals disturbing. >> nawaz: along cots across the globe, waves of plastic are washing ashore. this beach in the dominican republic is inundated every day. this stretch of nd on australia's christmas islands swamped by debris, coming mostly plastic is clogging landfills from thailand to kenya. y? plastic is virtually indestructible, and it doesn't break down easily. but there are also so many different types of plastic, in t cabe hard, or in some cases, impossible, to recycle. and yearound the world, our appetite for plastic keeps on growing. more than nine billion metricc
6:36 pm
tons of plasve been produced since 1950-- the weight equivalent of 27,000 empire state buildings or more than a billion elephants. roland geyer at the university of california santa barbara is an industrial ecologist who quantified the problemith he says of all that plastic, an estimated 60% still exists on earth today. >> we estimate that off the nine billion metric ton that humankind ever produced, maybe 20 to 30%, is still in use. and the rest, so that's about six, 6.5 billion metric tons has become waste. >> nawaz: and it's ended up in landfills. >> it's ended up by then landfills, in the environment. a tiny fraction was recycled. and then an equally small fraction was incinerated. >> what can be made with plastics? cosmetic containers and cockpit housings, radios and razors. >> nawaz: plastic was a new material that transformed the consumer lancape. when lrge scale production began after world war two, the potential for growth seemed
6:37 pm
unlimited. >> this paratrooper floating down to mother earthis depending on plastics to get him there safely. >> nawaz: the durable material did, and does, make some aspects of life more safe. >> look, here is the new bandaid plastic strip with new superstick. >> nawaz: not to mention, more convenient. and ultimately, over d aades of use,isposable way of living evolved. its future was so limitless that g 1967 dustin hoffman wasen this career advice in "t" graduate." >> i just want to say one word to you. just one word. >> yes, sir. >> are you listening? >> i a >> plastics. >> nawaz: the plastic problem is so pervasive that our own porting teams keep runni into it around the world. it doesn't matter how isolated the location. plastic has found its way there, as jeffrey brown found on easter island in the south pacific. >> brown: not a place you'd expect plastic pollution, but i thwhat was found by a cleanup crew on this rocky bch
6:38 pm
just in the last few minutes. >> nawaz: scientists say nearly every sea bird eats plastic trash, mistaking it for fish. and plastic particles are in many of the fish we eat. >> this is sort of the problem. the fish es that and we eat the fish. >> brown: yeah. the fish eat the plastic and then we eat the fish. >> yeah. and in our blood maybe exist plastic in the blood. >> nawaz: and john yang found out how plastic specifically impacts turtles when he visited the pacific beaches of costa ca with wildlife biologist helen pheay. >> single use plastic is an absolute nightmare for turtles. >> yang: and this is stuff you've just picked up on the beach here. >> i literally just found this here, yeah. this is a really clean beach and yet wherever you go, you find plasti plastic gets into the marine environment, it breaks down into tiny little eces called microplastics, and anything that eats in the ocean will inadvertently eat the plastic,at and killing turtles. up in florida, theve got a hospital now, when a turtle comes in they no longer say, does the turtle have a plastic
6:39 pm
in its belly, they now say how muchlastic is in the turtle. >> nawaz: in 2015, a marine biologist's video went viral, documenting the painful process as she removed a plastic straw stuck up a sea turtle's nose. >> this is becoming more and more common, it's not a one off anymore. and these are things that we don't need, we don't need single use plastic, nobody needs a straw. and if y do need a straw for whatever reason, like your child or something, then you don't need it tople made out of tic. >> nawaz: now, banning plastic sitems like straws and bams to be all the rage. cities, municipalities and companies like starbucks and marriott have announced bans are on the way. they follow in the footsteps of countrielike rwanda: in 2007 it was one of the first to ban plastic bagsountrywide and now it's considered one of the cleanest places in the world. but conservationist max bello told jeffrey brown that's still not enough.
6:40 pm
>> even if we stop today, to use plastic, if we stop now, this plastic that is out there, we're still going to have to deal with it for the next hundreds of thousands of years, mayb because it's not going to away. >> nawaz: join us all this week as we take a closer look at how the plastic we use every day is creating problems for the entire meanet for generations to for the pbs newshour in santa barbara, california, i'm amna nawaz. >> woodruff: tomorrow amna will take a look at some potential t solutions to plastic problem. >> woodruff: during the 2016 election campaign, president trump repeatly pledged to bring down prescription drug prices.ra and his adminion has taken some steps in recent months, inheuding trying to increase
6:41 pm
number of generic, or non-branda name products,able for to substitute for high cost drugs. ceey've also lowered the p medicare pays initially for some medications. feeling political pressure, some drugmakers have announced temporary price freezes. but a new analysis, by the associated press, findsha there been far more price hikes than cuts. while price increases did slow somewhat, the analysis found there have been 96 price hikes for every price cut in the first seven months of this year. journalist elisabeth rosenthal watches health care costs. she's the author of a book on the subject called "an american sickness," and she's the editora in-chief oer health news. elisabeth rosenthal, welcome to thn newshour. som, what is this a.p. analysis telling us? >> well, it's showing us how hard it is to bring down drug prices and that the president,
6:42 pm
despite his narrative of saying these companies are getting away with murder, isn't making a whole lot of headway. i mean, that'sretty extraordinary. 96 up to one down. >>oodruff: but they do show there is some slowing in the rate of increase, is that right? > well, they do, but when you're saying slowing and the rate of increase, that means they're still going up, and these prices are already for many drugs at extraordinury ers and unaffordable for many americans. so they shouldn't be going up at a slower pace. i think we really need them to come down. >> woodruff: now, we know, elisabetheh rosenthal, what drug companies say. they say we need this additional money because we're doing experiments, we're trying to come up with new drugs to solve other problems to cure other yelnesses, and that costs money. >> they say that, and that is true, but i think what we see, which is extraordinary to me, is that over time the same exact drug, a vaccine for
6:43 pm
pneumococcal pneumonia, a cancer drugill go up,ill trouble, will triple over time. now that isn't how any rea.l market wor right? when things get older, thees pro down because hey, you've recouped your investment with the high price in the beginning, so why should it keep going up? that defies economic logic and it defies healthcare logic, and frankly, it defies the drug companies' own logicuf. >> woo so when the president of the united states says, as president trump said in may, he said he would be announcing massive drug price cuts within two weeks what actually happened after that >> well, you know, a bunch of companies started off just doing, you know,usiness as usual and announced price hikes, then president trump came back and shamed them. shaming works a little bit some a whole bunch of companies, probably half a dozen have said, okay, we're not going to do prichikes this year, but, hey, we're going to pause, but what
6:44 pm
happens next year? no promises. there as i said, we' talking about price hikes of old drugs now. we're not talking about a new fabulous cancer treatment. we're talking about an annual 10% price hike on an o drug, and i don't think we have a good explanation for why that is occurring. >> woodruff: as somebody who has studied this for a long time, what do you think it takes? i mean, w gt is itng to take? are we talking political pressure from a presint or somebody else? what does it take? >> i don't think shaming is enough to make it happen. so i think the president proposed some ideasike allowing greater generic competition, allowing biosims, which are complex molecules to be done on a gener.ic bas but that only affects a small number of drugs, maybe ten to 15
6:45 pm
right now. the ja nation, we've seen in this country don't lower prices. the epen, you know, there was a brouhaha. it was $700. a generic m wnt it $350. p.s., the epipen in 2007 was $100. so sou know, we'rerting with this crazy high price point some what wilanit take? iell you what other countries have found is that it kes some sort of price setting, some kind of national price negotiation. >>oodruff: government action. >> yeah, basically large-scale government action. i mean, maybe when amazon and jpmorgan chase anderkshire hathaway get together, they'll have that kind of clout, but, you know, whether the market and these market manipulations can do it, i think secretary azar today said you need to give it time. mean, my feeling is, yes, maybe some of them would work over time, but we're running out of time here. people are hurting right now, and these prices ar extraordinarily high right now.
6:46 pm
>> woodruff: the other thing we see about drug pricing is frankly a lack of transparency. we don't see what it is inside theseacompanies that isng to these price increases, do we? >> no, and i think number of politicians have called for that. s number of states are calling for that, which interesting. there's a lot of action at the state level right now.e a sts saying, if you want the raise prices, okay, explain why you need to do this. we want justification. so far at a federal level, it's been kind of willy-nilly. why do we raise prices? well, economists would say because they can. >> woodruff: it sounds like you're saying in the near term we're not going to seemu change. >> slow change, but we find in kaiser family foundation surveys, 80% of people want te government to do something. 40% say they're worried they can't afford their medicines. we see young people dyingca e they can't afford understand -- insuli this is an acute problem, so a
6:47 pm
long-term solution is not going h really be enoight now. i hope voters, you know, realize that and start putting on those political pressure, because id think we do n a solution. >> woodruff: we're paying attention now, and let's hope a lot more people pay attention. >> i hope so. >> woodruff: elisabehath rosenthal, you very much. kaiser health news. >> thanks. >> woodruff: now, how education is emerging as a flashpoint in the midterm elections. the issue is front and center n the wisconsin governor's race. the republican incumbent, scott walker, is squaring off agaist the state's longtime superintendent of schools. pos indicate the race is t clos special correspondent lisa stark of our partner "education week" went to wisconsin for our weekl segment, "making the grade." >> reporter: it's a raucous
6:48 pm
welcome on the firstay of school at maple tree eleukntary in mil. >> welcome back. >> reporter: students,heered on by city and district officials, and tony evers,wi sconsin's schools chief and the mocratic candidate for governor. 20 miles away, in the city ofrr waukesha, the t governor, republican scott walker, is opening the school year at la casa de esperanza, a charter school. walker, running for his third term, is getting an award froxp la casa, fording school choice. education is a key issue in this race, 40% of voters say it's their first or second most important concn, edged out only by the economy. >> this is our message of thei yearve my public school and i vote. >> reporter: heather duboiads bourenane the wisconsin public education network, a non- partiatsan group that adv for public schools. >> it's about making sure thats whomever gected is held
6:49 pm
accountable to the highest possible standd of doing the right things for kids in schools. >> reporter: b how best to do the right things for students is what's at stake in this election. >> you couldn't pick a starker difference. >> two entirely differentiv perspe. >> reporter: on one side, governor walker, who soon after taking office, slashed school spending to balance the ate budget. and he faced tens of thousands of protestors after weg unions, pushing legislatio known as act 10, that did away with most bargaining rights for teachers and many other public employees. the anger spilled over into a recall attempt, which walker survived. >> just like you guys, all getting ready for school. >> reporter: now walker is bompaigning as the education governor, after ting state money for schools by $636 million in his most recent budget. why are you the education governor? >> again, because we've not only
6:50 pm
made the largest historic investments in state history, which is important, but because of act 10-- because of our reforms those dollars are overwhelmingly going into the classroom where they have a real impact istudent success. >> reporter: on the other side, evers, whose been the state f school's chiefor nine years. he argues he's the real school champion, calling for a big bump in education spending, an extra $1.4 blion. >> clearly my lifelong journey has been all about public education and being a teacher and administrator and frankly i've fought for our schools instead of bringing them dow >> reporter: school funding has been a been political flashpoint in more than a half a dozen states this year, including west virginia, arizona, oklahoma; as teachers walked out to demand higher salaries and more money for schools. this passion is still playing in many election races. in wisconsin, outside money is pouring into the race fromns
6:51 pm
vative and liberal groups. both candidates have taken to the airwaves. he and i'll never play politics with the kids or schools. >> in wisconsin, we're rethinking k-12 education. o >> reporte of the big dividing lines: school choice. walker has expanded charte and more significantly, voucher programs, which let lower income res use state education thllars to help pay private school tuition, sog evers doesn't support says jim bender, .th school choice wiscons >> i think superintendent evers would be fine and dandy having all the education reform models gone a everything just turned back to the same old school district. that's it. no innovation. >> reporter: but education professor julie underwood calls walker the private school governor, and says traditional public schools are not tnefiting from his policies. >> in 2011 we to largest budget cuts we've ever had to
6:52 pm
public schools and that's never really been restored. we've got schools whbarely staying open. they are worried about meeting children's needs and you tote know, to qn old movie, they're mad as hell and they're not going to take it anymore. >> reporter: in a recent poll, 61% of voters said it was more important to increase spending t public schools than to property taxes. what does that say to you? >> it says fund our schools. people are begging for it. erthe people are passing rda voting to raise taxes on themselves to keep their schools inusiness at record rates.or >> rr: governor walker believes the property tax measures are passing for different reason. >> we've done such a good job at cutting property taxes that it's s longer a factor as mucht was a decade ago. >> reporter: both candidates are pointing fingers at each oth over wisconsin's achievement gap, perhaps the worst in the nation, black students do not do
6:53 pm
as well academically as white students. evers says he's proposed fixes, lker hasn't funded them. >> we need to continue to work on that issue going forward in the state and we wl, but we have to have a properly funded system in order to make that happ. we can't take money away and expect people to have miracles happen in their classrooms. >> reporter: but mark morgan, who heads the state republican party, blames evers' leadershipv >> tons has failed to act multiple times in fixing, you know, either failing schools or taking bad teachers out ofhe classroom. >> reporter: and that controversial act 10aw passed seven years ago-- it's still creating waves. walker supporters say districts, free from union contracts, can now reward top teachers. >> we shall not be moved. >> reporter: but opponents, who still gather at the capitol everwork day, argue teacher retirements and turnover are up- leaving less experience in the classroom.
6:54 pm
r ♪ i do believe, waln't be governor someday soon, ♪ someday soon! >> reporter: the race has gotten contentious-- walker accuses t evers of failio fire aed teacher who viornography at school. >> tony evers should have revoked the teacher's license, but he didn't. >> have you seen these false attack ads. >> reporter: evers argues state law at the time didn't allow him too so. >> that's why tony evers workedt with both s to change the law. >> reporter: even as this battl heats up, educators are putting their efforts into getting students settled for the new school year. >> catch it, say your name! >> deon. >> reporter: trying to tune out the political noise, says la casa school leader maria ayala. >> we need to get away from all the politics and really focus in on the children and what their needs, what we can do for them
6:55 pm
and their families. >> reporter: a focus that will continue long after election >> make sure you work together! >> reporter: for "education week" and the pbnewshour, i'm lisa stark in waukesha, wisconsin. >> woodruff: and a reminder, ond hat's the newshour for tonight. i'm judy woodruff. join us online and again here tomorrow evening. for all of us at the pbs newshour, thank you and see you soon. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> the ford foundation. working with visionaries on the frontlines of social change worldwide. >> carnegie corporation of new york.
6:56 pm
supportingednnovations in ation, democratic engagement, and the advancement of international peace and security. at >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and individuals. >> this program was made possible by the corporation for blic broadcastin and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc captioned by media access group at wgbh
6:57 pm
6:58 pm
6:59 pm
7:00 pm
♪ ♪ - this week, we do the near impossible. we show you how to make pita bread at home. f oolproof, it will puff every time. then we do a fattoush salad, we use grapes instead of tomatoes. and, finally, we travel to the west bank to make our favorite palestinian chicken dish, which is musakhan, shredded chicken with onion, mac, spices, pine nuts, and tahini. so stay with us icas we do middle east clas, coming up next on milk street. - funding for this series was provided by the following.


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on