tv Charlie Rose PBS April 9, 2013 11:00pm-12:00am PDT
welcome to the progra we bin thievening with the national security correspondent for the "new york times." his new book is called the way of the knife. it's about how the c.i.a. is exchanged in a new kind of warfare. >> now we're in this new phase where john brennan has just taken over the c.i.a. and has signaled that he would like to get the c.i.a. to some extent out of this para-military business. been and has been very much at the center of it over the last four years under... in his job at the white house. we'll see what happens. there's a lot of former c.i.a. ficers who he turns to and has
turned to who have warned him that it's not a secretive arm of the pentagon. >> charlie: and we conclude talking about media today and what makes it so exciting and changing. >> everything changed all at once. it's feeling like that with tie vee. a lot of people in the technology businesses or in the media businesses will tell you that once the consumer decides, it doesn't really matter. what companies decide, what gornmes decide that they're the ultimate authorities. and people decided that they want to consume television in new ways. what it threatens is business models that have been in place for many many many years. >> charlie: mazzetti and carr when we continue. funding for charlie rose was provided by the following:
focused on america's new approach to warfare. he draws on his writing for a new book called "the way of the knife: the c.i.a a secretarmy and the war at the ends of the earth." it chronicles the intelligence agency's transformation into añr para-military organization. dexter filkins writes the story of how the c.i.a. got back into the killing business is as chilling and dramatic as a spy novel. except it's true. mark mazzetti has laid out an extraordinary tale tracking the spies as they track the terrorists. i am pleased to have him back at this table. welcome. >> thanks very much. charlie: so, tell me how you came to this book. >> well, i had been reporting on intelligence for about seven years now. before that i was covering the military. >> you realize when you're covering the military and the intelligence world, increasingly you realize you're covering the same thing.
they have converged so much over the last 12 years in these wars outside of the war zones so i decided that it was probably after the bin laden raid which sort of highlighted this. you had navy seals who were operating under c.i.a. authity. this was... this very dramatic example of this convergence that i thought i should try to write a book about subject. >> charlie: let me break that down. they were operating under c.i.a. authority or the c.i.a. had found bin laden's place and then they turned it over to special forces to carry it out? >> well, the c.i.a. had found the place but then in order to do the mission, they actually put the seals under the control of the c.i.a. director. >> charlie: leon panetta was calling the shots. >> he was calling the shots. there was a commander on the ground who was sort of running the operation but panetta had control. >> charlie: he could have called it off. >> he could have called it off. it bass under the authorities to operate in pakistan the military
can't go there. and the c.i.a. has what they call covert action authority. so they did it under c.i.a. control. >> reporter: covert action authority from the congress? >> well, it comes from the president. and congress signs off on it. it's how the c.i.a. operates around the world. they carry out covert actions which are technically deniable. the president auorizes them under what they call a finding. and you're basically authorized to go break the law in other countries and you have the presidential authority to do it. if it goes badly, the u.s. can deny knowledge of it. now in this case, if the bin laden operation had gone badly it would have been pretty hard for the united states to deny any knowledge of what happened. >> charlie: the president seems to like this. >> the president seems to have embraced this kind of warfare. it certainly started under the bush administration in a big way after 9/11 but president obama has, as he's drawn down... as
he's ended the war in iraq and drawn down in afghanistan we have seen these ramping up of wars in places like pakistan and yemen and parts of africa. he said in his inaugural address a couple months ago that a decade of war is coming to an end. but it's the decade of the very public wars. and the other secret wars are continuing. >> charlie: why is it better to do it secretly? >> well, i think that presidents throughout history have relied on the.i.a. to carry out secret missions because if it goes well, then you don't have to... you can maybe take credit for it. if it goes badly, you can deny it. and it doesn't have some of the messy consequences that, for instance, the iraq war has. >> charlie: i thought the argument would be they could do it better. >> well, they sometimes can do it better. if you can avoid blow-back. the big issue of the c.i.a. is if you can do a secret operation stealthily without consequences and without blow-back, that's when the c.i.a. is at its best. there's been certainly plenty of
cases in histy where covert opations have gone badly and there has been blow-back. i think that the... so there has been certainly this... i mean, the c.i.a. has been very ascendent during the obama administration, very powerful under several c.i.a. directors. >> charlie: it is argued by some that if david petraeus had come to the c.i.a., he would have expanded the sort of para-military phase of the c.i.a. military. do you believe that? the c.i.a. agenda? >> well, i think that certainly the... petraeus' tenure was very short at the c.i.a. but there are evidences that he was certainly continuing along those lines of where it had been going. and actually i have a scene in the book where the former c.i.a. mike heyden is meeting with petraeus before petraeus takes over. >> charlie: under bush, you mean not under bm. >> and he basically says that the c.i.a. is basically more of a para-military organization
than at any time in its history. it's looking like the o.s.s. which is the office of strategic services under world war ii. you, david petraeus, your job is to make sure it doesn't just become that. and so petraeus. >> charlie: that it doesn't forget its other mission. >> that doesn't forget its other mission. >> charlie: which is intelligence and assessment of information. >> espionage. gathering intelligence. >> charlie: the whole notion of the c.i.a. as sort of being also data oriented in a place where they compile information beyond what they do in espionage, they take great pride in their ability to collect information and analyze it. >> that's right. that still goes on. there are a lot of c.i.a. analysts. and the... and a lot of those analysts have been redirected over the last decade to this targeting, you know, manhunting and targeting. sort of away from the classic kind of intelligence analysis operations. and so petraeus, i think, continued a lot of what was
happening. and in his tenure... now we're in this new phase where john brennan has just taken over the c.i.a. and has signaled that he would like to get at the c.i.a. to some extent out of this para-military business. now brennan has been very much at the center of it over the last four years under... in his job at the white house. so we'll see what happens. he's getting... there's a lot of former c.i.a. officers who he turns to and has turned to who have warned him that the c.i.a. can't be just a smaller more secretive arm of the pentagon. >> charlie: is the danger that they become that and they forget the function or there's something dangerous when para-military standing alone that the c.i.a. shouldn't be doing. >> i think it's a little bit of both. the danger is you have duplicatn of special operations. and that we already have one pentagon. so why do we need the smaller secretive pentagon when we already have, you know, joint special operations command and
that type of thing? the other danger is just the secrecy and the transparency and the lack of transparency is that if the default way where you go to war is in secret with fewer people able to see operations, signing off on operations, the greater danger that things could go badly. so that's i think part of the risk. >> charlie: who is nick mohammed. >> nick mohammed was a pakistani taliban leader who rose to prominence in 2004. he was sort of an enemy of the state of pakistan and was facilitating some of the al qaeda figures who were coming over the border from afghanistan into pakistan. >> charlie: facilitating meaning? >> meaning they were escaping the war in afghanistan... >> charlie: finding a safe place for them. >> he was working with them and he was running attacks around the tribal areas into greater part of pakistan and over the border into afghanistan. he ended up being the first victim of the c.i.a. drone strikes.
i mean, it was the first c.i.a. drone strike in june 2004 that killed nick mohammed. it's sort of an interesting story about how the c.i.a. had been pushing to get armed drones into the country for some time. and getting a lot of resistance from president pervez musharraf of pakistan. in a way, they came to this meeting of the minds, the c.i.a. and the pakistani spies and said, well, this guy is... >> charlie: the i.s.i. ... the i.s.i. this guy is your enemy. and, you know, we can help you with your enemy. we would also like some regular access to the tribal areas for drone strike. >> charlie: placed we'd like to take out. and the pakistanis said okay? >> they said okay. that was the first strike. and there were a trickle of strikes in subsequent years but it wasn't really until 2008 where the drone wars in pakistan really, really escalated. >> charlie: where do you think drone warfare is today in terms
of resistance to it in some quarters in the united states? >> well, it's interesting. it's been going on for a number of years. you haven't heard a lot about it in the public. there doesn't... there doesn't seem to be a lot of public concern about this method of warfare. it was only in the last few months you started to hear members of congress talk about how we need to know a lot more about these drone strikes, this drone program. i think one of the amazing things was that you went... during john brennan's confirmation you found that members of the senate intelligence committee who are authorized to get this information hadn't even seen the legal opinions signing off on these drone strikes. so there's a very, very very small number of people who have their eyes on this. and then you saw the famous filibuster by senator rand paul. and that sort of brought it into public prominence as well. >> charlie: i'm asking the question you think it's growing, that somehow there are people saying, we need to keep... pay
more attention to this. we can't allow it to get out of hand. >> i think that's growing. i think, you know, when you look at public opinion polls, people generally still support these... these operations. but you are finding greater concern about this sort of default method of warfare. this secret warfare. i think congress, for whatever reason, is starting to examine it more. we'll see what happens. president obama said during the state of the union we will have greater transparency. we just haven't seen it quite yet. >> charlie: this is how you begin your book. prologue to war, a quote from a soie spy good intelligence work controls, being the leader of the english whatever it was, control has always preached... good intelligence work control has always preached was rested on the kind of gentleness. they were the exception to his own rule.
they weren't gradual and they weren't gentle either. these are the people who did the dirty work for british intelligence. you start this by saying the burly american spy was brought into an interrogation room amid a clatter of ringing mobile phones and cross talk among the cops speakin mish-mash of languages. the investigators try to decipher the facts of the case. america? you're from america? yes, you belong to the american embassy. >> yes the anxious american voice boomed above the chatter. i showed the police officer it's somewhere. this is you're talking about raymond davis. here's a picture of raymond davis. you tell his story. who is raymond davis and what is the story that makes him the subject at the beginning of your book? >> raymond davis was a c.i.a. contractor who, former special forces officer. and he was in pakistan in lahore in early 2011, and part of a team that was doing some work on a pakistani militant
grougroup. he ends up chooting two people on the street after they approach his car. with guns drawn. and what happened afterwards is this incredible story of a third person being killed after an american car tried to rescue davis, kills a third pakistani. davis ends up in jail. and there's this hole behind-the-scenes negotiation between the united states and pakistan to get him out of jail. when i went to pakistan last year what was pretty incredible to me was that, you know, the bin laden raid is what we talk about here in the united states. and the davis episode was so overshadowed by the bin laden raid here. on the streets in pakistan people talk about raymond davis. people talk about this episode as a much bigger deal than the bin laden raid. >> charlie: why? because in many ways it seemed to confirm so many of the conspiracy theories that happened in pakistan, that the c.i.a. had to deploy this secret
army inside of pakistan to wreak havoc. all of these guys were doing their work under the noses of the i.s.i., and i mean there's conspiracies that they're all secretly hoping to steal the nuclear weapons in pakistan. and so here's this guy who is caught in lahore after having shot two people and so he's the boogie man. you talk to people. raymond davis is the symbol of the c.i.a. r amok. i have a scene in the book where the head of the group is ginning up... it was at this rally that i attended. he is invoking raymond davis as the evil villain encapsulating what america is doing. and the crowd went wild. it was just sort of, to me, sort of showed how much this episode was important in sort of the fracturing of america's relationship with pakistan. >> charlie: take a look at this. this is the subject that we have
inquired often about on this program. here is stan mcchrystal, general stan mcchrystal talking about how the j.s.o.c. realized it had to be an intelligence organization that also did op erlingses. we had this wonderful force that was a little like a bullet. if the intelligence was provided to us and someone made a decision when to pull the trigger and we were aimed at the right location, that this force, this counterterrorist force would go and it would create great effects, great precision, great speed and whatnot. but what we found was the apparatus didn't exist to provide us that intelligence, that understanding. it also didn't allow us to move quickly enough, learning in each step. so instead of being this wonderful entity that sits behind glass and when you get perfect, they break it and you go, we realized we had to be an intelligence organization that also did operations. >> charlie: the c.i.a. is doing both intelligence and operations and they are saying, they do
intelligence and operations. >> right. the soldiers are the spies and the spies are soldiers. >> charlie: right. and what he's talking about, you know, in many ways had its origins shortly after 9/11 when donald rumsfeld, the defense secretary, was just incensed that his organization, this giant pentagon, couldn't go where he thought al qaeda was. first of all the c.i.a. gets into afghanistan first. that makes him mad. >> charlie: they're already in pakistan. >> and then he gets this briefing about where al qaeda is. >> charlie: they're in afghanistan. >> they're in afghanistan. he gets this briefing from one of his commanders. he said this is where al qaeda is. he said when are we going to go there? they said we have to rely on the c.i.a. we can't go there. there's some push over time to get expanded authorities to allow the military to go into places beyond traditional war zones away from the hot battlefields into other countries to do intelligence
gathering work. and so mcchrystal comes in to j.s.o.c. at a time when their authorities are expanding and their capables are expanding and their budge hes are expanding. because of that, you know, j.s.o.c. is now operating over all the place. >>harlie: there's also this question, whether these missions operate on a kill-or-capture motivation. >> i think that if bin laden, if they had come into his room and he had his hands up and he was by himself and it was very clear that he was giving himself up, i think they might have captured him. >> charlie: that was almost the circumstances it had to be in order for him to survive. >> in order for him to survive. charlie: how does the kill-or-capture argument play out? >> well, this is an intense debate rightow because if you look at the record of the obama administration, they've killed a lot more... a whole lot more people than they've captured. almost count on one hand the
senior figures who have been captured. >> charlie: for the simple reason it's easier. >> in some ways it is but it's also less risky. and the circumstances are, they say, well, if you go into the tribal areas, if you're talking about the tribal areas of pakistan, how do you capture them? the pakistani cops can't go there. the u.s. troops can't go there and so it's a situation where you can kill someone with a drone. in yemen though there are arguments where people have been killed where... i mean a lot of questions have been raised about, well, this person was in a village. you could have sent troops there. so this is part of what i think that the administration is getting aate low of criticism for. is whether it's a kill-first strategy. >> charlie: where do you think all this is going? and who will decide? >> well, i think that the obama adminiration has pledged that there will b more transparency about all of this.
that they will tell congress and, as president obama said, the american public more about it. what they're trying to do is do what they call a play book which is develop rules for doing these kinds of operations. by means under what circumstances can someone be captured and under what circumstances can they be killed? my colleague, a terrific story last fall which is about how in the days before the election when there was concern that obama might lose, they were frantically trying to finish the play book because, you know, president romney took in and there were no rules in place he would do what he wanted. after the election, they figured they had more time. they're still working on this play book. but it does show how much a lot of this has been done on the fly. even so many years later, we don't have very, very clear rules in place about how to do
this kind of war. >> charlie: what is the assessment today of how the c.i.a. is doing intelligence? >> what's happening in north korea right now. one of the episodes i took about in the book is the... how many people in the obama administration really felt that the c.i.a. was behind the curve on the arab spring. that, you know, it would be unfair to criticize them for not predicting that someone in tunisia would set himself on fire and it would set off this revolt. but there was a cascading series of revolts -- egypt, libya -- that many thought that the c.i.a. didn't quite get... didn't do a good job on. wasn't able to brief the president on in a timely manner. and one of the concerns was... >> charlie: did the white house think that? >> they thought that at the time. they certainly thought that. brennan, interestingly, alluded to it in his confirmation hearings talking about how... he was asked the question about the arab spring. he was very diplomatic but he
made it sound like there were instances when the c.i.a. needs to do better. one of the interesting things about doing counterterrorism work for the c.i.a. is you become very close with spy services of her countries, the libyans, the egyptians, the pakistanis. and they will help you hunt down militants but they're not going to tell you what's going on on the street. they won't tell you if there's dissent. they won't tell you if there's a revolt about to happen because they may or may not know and they don't want the c.i.a. to know. the c.i.a. needs to also be acting independently of these liaison spy services if they're going to get intelligence about what's happening in egypt, what's happening in tunisia. that's sort of tradoff. >> charlie: what is the one question you would most like to know the answer to? >> there is so much. i figure i've said when you're covering intelligence if you know 10% of what's going on, it's a small success.
but i would like to know... let me just say one thing that is really interesting to me. the rules for the so-called signature strikes that they do. >> charlie: targeted? well, it's actually... they're doing strikes where they don't know the name... they don't know who it is they're striking but they're basing it on a pattern of activity. so the rules got loosened in 2008. so instead of saying, okay, we know so-and-so is on the ground we have them in our sights. we are going to hit him. the rules loosened to say there's a bunch of i'm down there, they fit a pattern of activity. they may be heading toward the border of afghanistan. they seem to be, quote, military-age males. and they're now authorized to strike. and i think it's one of the things that reporters most need to find out. i think the public most needs to find out about how these sort of strikes are carried out.
that's just one example. >> charlie: looking back at iraq and afghanistan, have we changed our approach to interrogation? >> definitely. i mean, the... one of the things i write is if you just look at the c.i.a., the c.i.a. had this period of three, four years where they were doing these interrogations that became enormously controversial, right? everyone knows the story. a lot of congressional pressure. a lot of threats of prosecutions. and the first strike in pakistan came just a month after the completion of this internal c.i.a. report that detailed some of these abuses in the prison. in the prisons. and in many ways it shifted the mentality in the c.i.a. of, in many ways it's easier to kill than capture and interrogate. so i mean the c.i.a., th sa is pretty much out of the
interrogation business at least in the sense that it was in the early days after 9/11 secret prisons, water boarding, that type of thing. that's all out. but what has been put in its place is less clear. whether we're heading people to other governments, other countries to do it. i think that's still a little bit unclear. the military has its own rules of interrogation, but the c.i. c.i.a., i think, and many people are glad about it in the.i.a. that they're not doing this anymore. >> charlie: because it puts them in a bad place. >> and people said, you know, we never should have been doing this in the beginning. i mean, we have no trained interrogators. the f.b.i. does this. the military does this. so how did we get into this in the first place. >> charlie: mark mazzetti national security correspondent for the "new york times." shared a pulitzer prize for the reporting on the intensifying violence in pakistan and afghanistan. has won numerous other page rm journalism awards including the
living ston aard. also has written for l.a. times, u.s. news and report and an economist. this book is called "the way of the knife." people like dexter filkins as i quoted in the introduction and tom ricks have said the u.s. fought three wars after 9/11 iraq afghanistan and the one in the shadows. this is an authoritative account of that third war conducted by the c.i.a. and military special operations in yemen, east africa and most of all pakistan if you want to understand the world we live in, tom ricks says, then you need to read this book. "the way of the knife." thank you, mark. >> thanks for having me. charlie: back in the moment. stay with us. david carr is here. he writes a media equation column for the "new york times" for 25 years. he's covered the media as it relates to business and culture and politics. he joins me now to talk about some of the enormous changes going on in the worlds of media
and journalism. we love david carr. we're pleased to have him back at this table. welcome. >> we're pleased to be at this table, charlie. >> charlie: let's just start by you wrote a column recently about cable. >> right. charlie: but i want to broaden that to television. you believe it's a big-time to be covering television because interesting things are happening. >> what it means me think of is music where people said everything is going to change, everything is going to change. nothing changed and then boom. >> charlie: everything changed. everything changed all at once. it's feel being like that with tv. a lot of people in the technology businesses or in the media businesses will tell you that once the consumer decid, it doesn't really matter what companies decide, what governments decide that they're the ultimate authorities. people decided that they want to consume television in new ways. what it threatens is business
models that have been in place for many, many, many years. you know, the bundled cable where if you get this, you're going to get that. if you get... >> charlie: you can't do it by an alphabet election. >> sure. if you're going to wat netrk tv that commercials are baked into it, the dvr is not a new technology. now we have dish coming along with the hopper and saying, you know what? we'll give you the ability to record network programs and to zap television commercials all at once. you can imagine what less moonves thinks of that. >> charlie: not much. it's like you are going for the whole thing right there. it's an existential threat. >> charlie: is it fair if the network pays all that money to put all those correspondent all around the world and then... for that coverage, whether it's a conclave in roam or wherever it might be. they can't charge for what they broadcast or people can pick it up and do things with it and skip the commercials which
provide the income for the networks? >> that debate, which is a real one, and an authentic one reminds me aate low of the newspaper debate. when people started aggregating and repurposing our content to whatever they wanted. it's like, look, it costs us a lot of dough. >> charlie: nobody stood up and railed about that more than you did. >> right. for all the good it did. what we've done instead is turn toward the consumer said, look, if you want this information, if you want to support how it's gathered, how about subscribing? you know what? that turns out okay for us. it turned out 640,000 subscribers. in the instance of television, i think that both the networks and basic cable have an argument in that, look, all this content has to be paid for somehow. and the threat has come from people who are going overhe top. if you think of the tv business
or any media business, you have the device. you and i have spent a lot of time at this table talking about the revolution and devices. once those screens were in existence, the little ones, the little bigger ones, then it comes down to the pipe and what's in the pipe. afternoon once you have those devices there's going to be some disruption and long, long-held models have been eporated. if youhink abou there's th big debate over late night, leno is going to give way to jimmy fallon. who will be the king of late night? probably no one. who leads at late night? abc, nbc, fox? is it cbs? no, it's something called dvr. >> charlie: more people... dvr can deliver more of an audience than any of the others. >> yeah. ratings 3.7, four million people watching. every single night.
>> charlie: whatever they dvr they watch. >> yea when you come home at night and you've... we're all working later. let's face it. we come home at night. do we want to get right to sleep or do we want to get rocked? we want to watch... we want to watch, you know, go on netflix and see something. go on our dprks v.r. and find the last episode. i'm not sure we want some guy cracking wise about what happened that day because you know what? we already know what happens that day. >> reporter: or we can watch it some other way. here's what's interesting to me. there are two things that everybody talks to. all roads lead to two things. one is mobile. the other is the cloud. because you can store whatever you want to in the cloud. mobile gives you capacity to watch television wherever you are, even live. and gives you a capacity to watch all kinds of things that have been brought to you by apps or whatever else. so, it means that the choice now is in the hands of the consumer. it is the personalization of tv.
>> yeah. we're in the pull world rather than the push. i'm going to set this up like i want it set up. i'gointo program my own mediated universe. i'm going to watch some stuff on the go. >> charlie: and i'll watch it when i want to not when you tell me it's going to be on. >> yeah. it was a charming, charming era in american history when we would all meet at 8:00 on wednesday night and tuck in for whatever. they would build a big camp fire. >> charlie: or 7:00 on sunday for "60 minutes." >> absolutely. we'll all gather around the bonfire and go to the water cool the nextorning we have al seen the same thing. it doesn't happen that way anymore. >> charlie: who are the winners and losers. >> some of the insurgents are interesting in that barry diller has come up with something called aerial.
well, he invests money in it. he didn't invent it. little dime-sized antennas stacked in a farm. each antenna has the name of an individual subscriber so it can pull down a signal in the air, right? and it can store whatever programming you want there. so it takell the available broadcast signals in the air and people can watch it any time they want on any device they want. >> charlie: so what happens, the networks argue that you're taking my signal through a local station off the air as they used to do with antennas. >> correct. harlie: and it was free to do it then. it will be free now. less moonves of cbs says no no no no. >> absolutely not. what they're seeing is we make billions in retransmission fees. we don care ifou're going over the internet. you're retransmating our signal and grabbing it out of the air. what people would call this is kind of a regulatory work
around. it's not really the technology itself is not that inspired. antennas are as old as television itself. >> charlie: this is in the court. what is going to happen? >> well, so far i mean they haven't done very well on the west coast. they're staying away from there in terms of expansion. they've announced they're going to roll out to 22 american cies, large an small. and thatpeople for $12, $13 a month are going to be able to have subscriptions. see, part of the reason it's important, charlie, is it gets at live, american idol and sports. that's what the network business is. if you, you know, if you're at a network if you're fox, if you're nbc, if you're cbs, you have spent all that money on the nfl. somebody can just grab that signal and pump it out wherever they want without helping you. you know, the networks have
paid, you know, over a billion dollars to the the nfl. so you can see why they're very, very concerned about protecting that franchise. >> charlie: i'll bet you barry diller took a hard look at the law before he said go ahead. >> people would argue that one of mr. diller's expertises is not really technology but litigation. and the fact that he knows his foes very well. after all, mr. diller worked at paramount and worked at abc, famously helped invent the fox network. you know, i saw him. i was working on a story. i asked him in all seriousness, i said, you're just having fun. going after all the people you normally have over to your house or your boat for cocktails. he said, "it's not like that. i'm not doing this for the heck of it. the consumer has decided. change is coming. and we want to do our best to
make sure there's an opportunity for us here." >> charlie: i want to come back to my question, who are the winners and the losers? internet companies? people who supply content? >> oh, it's such a nice time to be making content because if you think of... if you think of the windows that are opening up over and over, you have, you know, i-tunes will probably be getting in the original programming business. netflix. i know you and i are both fans of house of cards. and at $8 a month, i mean what a better deal than tat. >> charlie: and watch it when you want to. >> yes, yes. you have companies like intel, like sony over and over. amazon commissioning original programming. if you have a show in your back pocket not a bad time to pull it out. >> charlie: they paid $100 million to do that. >> one of the interesting things about that, charlie, is they
knew the house of cards, they knew you and i would like it. >> charlie: exactly. the reason they did is they took, hey, you're kind of a kevin spacey guy. they drew the convenient guy gram. you like david finch movies. you watch the british version. right in the middle. >> charlie: they had me on all four of those. >> before the first episode launched they checked off your name. you know what? they showed you when they were advertising the show, the trailers that they showed you were cushion tommized to you. >> charlie: people that i know who paid their $8 and got house of cards, most of them, my friends, they started watching on the weekend. they didn't just watch one episode. u told me to get house of cards i got it. i watched five episodes over the weekend. >> you pushed the button. it's set up to engage serial viewing. you wake up, you know, five, six
hours later you're surrounded by fast food wrappers and candy. and coffee. you go, where did that time go? i learned this the hard way because i was trying to recap it episode by episode with one of our washington reporters. by the time we got done like a week ago, nothing but cribbi he everybodhad readyeen it. >> charlie: i saw it like in a week. all 13 episodes. i guess they're coming back with another 13 episodes. >> they're going to drop them all at the same time again. i'm not for it. i think if you build things by episode, it creates worthed of mouth on social media and it brings other people into the fold. >> charlie: first of all, network programming, cable programming, streaming programming. from people like netflix. >> network programming is in a great deal of trouble if you look elsewhere from other than live and nfl. nfl did very, very well. this year. the problem with networks is you
can't... it still is the last refuge of mass. it's a way to roach a lot of people which is why at this year's up fronts which are in a couple weeks, advertiser will still be using networks but what was the leading show on television this year? it was a show about zombies on basic cable. and two things are at work there. one is the number... >> charlie: are you talking about a particular demographic group or overa larger number audien people watching on. >> on this season they won in a so-called demo. >> charlie: 18 to 49. the last episode of the season if you eliminate football and other live was 12.3 million, the last etch sowed of walking dead. they had a show about walking dead that was just talking about walking dead. it beat everything that nbc had. part of what you're looking at is there's cable over here and there's broadcast over he. there's 100 million cab
households now. >> charlie: you're talking about basic cable not hbo or show time or those pay television cable networks. >> they're tougher and tougher to tell apart. aren't they. >> charlie: there's also this. do you watch breaking bad. >> yes. charlie: do you like it? yes, i came around really slowly. i was a person who got counties. >> charlie: i would think you would love it. >> my issues, i have a rather textured background. the authenticity of the transactions underway, i was somewhat skeptical about those. and i gradually. >> charlie: you know something about dealing in drugs and the personality of people who use drugs. >> i did not buy him as a thug. charlie: you never could buy that. he could make that transsnition. >> but as it turned out i was wrong. they were right. what we're seeing here is where culture is storing excellence right now. if you think about where the big ambitious stories are being told, think back to lena dunnh
came out of south by south west. >> charlie: you saw her there and then wrote a column. >> yeah. but i know you saw her here not that long ago. she could have come out of there with her nice little movie. i'm sure she had some offers to make a bunch of other nice little movies. what did they do? she made a deal with hbo and now she is baked into the culture that the way a director of a second film never would be. she's telling the story that arcs over many many hours. whether it's house of cards o girls we're seng movies that last eight hours, 12 hours, 13 hours, many different seasons. a lot more time for character nuance. >> charlie: that's cable which you think is coming back and coming back strong. there's also streaming, netflix and the like. they are seeing... they are seen as a challenge to cable because more people watch netflix in prime time than watch cable.
>> right. people got habit ated to you-tube. what happened with netflix i've covered this company on and off for years. it used to be the biggest user of the u.s. postal service. three years later they were the biggest user of download space on the internet. i've never seen a pivot like it in my life. they've made some missteps around pricing. the thing that netflix i think did right is when you use the technology, it worked. and i think that once you realize that you could watch television over the internet and it would not take any more fussing around, the die was cast. the choke point in, whether it's broadcast, cable or over internet television has been navigation. it's hard to find what you want. and the television when they
figure out navigation, boy, katie bar the door. if you can walk up to your television and say i want to watch the fifth episode for the second season of girls, a whole long tale of content. that's going to surface. >> charlie: that's not far away. it's sort of here in aay. charlie: exactly. think about your remote right now. you're sort of like hitting your television with a stick and hoping something great pops out. but what if you could just tell it, look, this is what i'm looking for. when it gets done, it just says to you audibly, you know, if you like that, you're really going to like this. you know what? your friends are recommending it as well. it will be pretty easy to push play on that. >> charlie: how do you characterize your marching orders from the "new york times"? >> you know, w ar in an a of great tumult. when i was asked to do a media column in 2005 i said i have no interest in that.
nothing ever changes. we keep talking about the sky falling. nothing changes. nothing changes. and i said i'm a general assignment reporter. i enjoy the transition. friends of mine at the paper said, look, bud, how many columns do you think the "new york times" is going to offer you? take the column. and as soon as i took it, big chunks of the sky just started falling out. the newspaper. >> charlie: right time, right place. >> the newspaper industry in 2006 just like tipped over in plain sight. what they want me to do is look over the hill not get stuck on the rear view. not be in a not tall gist and talk about the era that we live in. it's sometimes difficult because i work as a significant actor in the business but in general what they want me to do is to find the people, the technologies, the artifacts that are driving change in our environment and sort of the difference between
media and technology at our place has been marching together. i think we got a pretty robust snts. >> charlie: how do you go about doing that? >> i watch my children. i watch their friends. i see what's happening at my house. when i look at my night stand and see what is piled up on it that's in my i-pad. what's piled up on my dvr? what's happening in terms of music, the fact that i haven't touched my i-tunes library in many many months because i'm stenin to pandora and others. if an old geezer like me is to longer... what does that mean for radio? and when i listen to this over and over for absolutely nothing, what does that mean for the artist on the other end. >> charlie: what does it mean? it means he's going to have to sell a lot of t-shirts i think because he's certainly not making... >> charlie: have to get a big reporting contract. >> i think that model is gone.
the new breaking through is selling out, is, you know, you sell your musi to behind the volkswagen commercial. you maybe head to broadway with something that works. >> charlie: and then there is media where your daughter works. tell us who vice media is and what you think of them. >> i wrote a story about vice three years ago. it was partly because i was attracted to the founder. jane smith seemed like a swashbuckler. the type you and i have covered and written about for many years, larger than life figure. you know, he can talk a great gain. can he execute it? and the reason i was interested in him, charlie, is it seemed like kind of a post agency play. what i mean is by... after ad agencies where ad agencies are set up, we'll ghary an audience. you'll advertise against it. some portion of those will be interested in your product.
vice was in the business early on of building out entire verticals programming and content for specific sponsors. and, you know, other organization includg buzz fe, inuding atlantic, including a number of media brands are now on the business of building branded content. vice just when you underestimate them, they... >> charlie: like dennis rodman in korea. >> yeah. you can talk about the propriety of playing basketball with the guy who has got, you know, missiles aimed at our shore right now but they did get to gab, right? now they've got to deal with hbo. they have a show going on there. they have a content-sharing arrangement. >> charlie: what is the new show th're doing? >> it's a half hour of news programming on hbo. i think what it's pitched as is the next sort of version of what happened if "60 minutes "and
jackass had an off spring? they sort of pulled off. i don't think it's perfect in anyway. i have to tell you just on a personal level, when i was... my daughter is 24. when i was 24, i wrote a sory about police violence for a little wely in minneapolis. it's an important story. people got fired. stirred up. i think 30,000 people probably read it. my daughter not that long ago did this thing about these little microorganisms. they can survive in space. she found this really cute naturalist stuff. i did what all dads do, just pat her on the head and say that is adorable that you made that ten million hits on you-tube. i just thought what else do i need to know about how much things have changed? you ow, a young peon of some ambition can access that level of audience.
things have changed remarkably. we have a great friction-free distributor of content in the internet. too bad that it destroyed so many business models on the way but it is still breath taking. >> charlie: but content is king. you know what? that's the only thing that has survived through all this tumult is that horrid old cliche. content is king. for a while we didn't even dare say it. you know what? it keeps coming true over and over, what endures. >> charlie: they find more and more ways to deliver it. so there's more of a need for it. >> there's a need for it. charlie: take you-tube. how many channels are on you-tube now? >> but what does it take? if content is infinite, what does it take to stick out from it? still the metric is quality over and over. >> charlie: that s that's the argument i thought you would make. that is the notion that we still need somebody to stand there and say, ian make this better.
let me shape it. >> i do think that they said let's chop down all the trees so that a whole new bed of flowers could emerge. i see a lot of trees still standing. n.p.r. still a very significant force. pbs still a very significant force. "new york times," wall street journal over and over. "60 minutes" still ranking. i do think that there is a desire over and over oth part of people. maybe less so among the incoming cohort to have information that not just engages but that you can rely on and thuft. >> charlie: what apps do you read every morning? >> you know, charlie, i'm stuck on the twitter. i have to say it. here's thing about twitter is i have a large following on twitter. >> charlie: how many people follow you?
>> 400,000. charlie: pretty good. that's fine but it's not like, say, your ratgs. i don't know how many of those people are actually interested in me. but even if it's 10% or 20%, it's still very significant. i like twitter for listening. what i think of it as is... you know, early on in the life of the consumer internet there came these rss feeds that would send stuff toward you, create a content. on twitter i have all of my competitors all the people i think i'm smart, all the women and men who run businesses in my space again and again telling me what they're reading and thinking about. in that second, i mean, what could be more valuable than that? what could be more timely than that? it's true that i've done my share of tweeting but i'm mostly interested in being able to listen. the thing about the phone itself -- and i think this has
profound implications for media -- is if you look at the real estate on your phone, right? is this big. what won't fit on there? >> a business model. just won't, right? so you have start to think of what is my phone full of? it's full of things that are useful to me. it's full of maps. it's full of a designing app. full of a reading app. you know, my phone, whatever it is that i need to make my way through the day. i think more and more media is going to have to think, what can i do to earn a button on there? people will feel compelled to, as they do for so many apps, to pay for it because it's useful. >> charlie: i know peoe who do what i do pay more attentiono what they're going to tweet almost than they do pay attention to what they're doing. >> i think that's such a danger in that if i graft the number of my by-lines against when i
started tweeting, it's not really a great trend. i think you tend to think when you tweet something out, well, "you know, i talked about that. i said something about that. no, you didn't. you typed 140 characters and sent them off into outer space. the able to engage and express long thoughts is part of what i'm in the business of. i've tried to ramp back the tweeting both in terms of how much i look at it and how much i tweed out so that when i step up to a long, complicated story i'm not paralyzed with fear because i've lost my ability to think in terms of the longer shore. >> charlie: how often do you tweet a day? how many times? ten? >> i'd say under ten. i mean different things move me. my neighborodayade a hover craft for buba watson. >> charlie: we did a story about that on cbs this morning.
>> okay. he was moving the hover craft from his backyard into his front yard. that seemed like a tweetable moment to me. mark mazzetti who i know you talked to, i thought that story he did was extraordinary. i want to be a signal tower of things that are interesting, things that are cool. things that are important. but not to excess, not to the point where iet to t endof my day and i say, boy, i really need to do my job now. there's a danger as a journalist right now that between asking people what they think on twitter and facebook, between putting together the story, integrating social media elements and proceed promoting it on social media, dealing with the comments that come in that you're going to do less of what this sort of string is supposed to get wound around which is so you've got to keep a balance. >> charliethank you.