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tv   News  Al Jazeera  January 19, 2016 8:00pm-9:01pm EST

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>> now everybody in this country can hear them. >> getting the story first-hand. >> they have travelled for weeks, sometimes months. >> what's your message then? >> we need help now. >> you're watching al jazeera america. hello. i'm john seigenthaler and we begin in washington where the u.s. supreme court is set to take up an important case. they will decide if president obama has the power to stop immigrants from being deported. it is filled with harsh dments about immigrants. -- comments about immigrants
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>> reporter: this case is really a block buster, it has to do with presidential authorities, separation of powers. ment justices have signalled they wanted to hear this-- the justices have valuated that they want to hear this case. >> reporter: groups rallied outside the court house last week urging the justices to take the immigration case. on tuesday they got their wish. now they're hoping for a ruling allowing the president executive action to stand which would ease deportation fears for more than four million undocumented immigrants. the high court will decide if mr obama overstepped his authority in ordering that illegal immigrant parents, whose children are american citizens, could apply to stay and work in the u.s. temporarily. president obama had no comment when asked about the court taking up the case.
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his spokesman repeated the white house defense >> the kinds of executive actions that the president took a little over a year ago now were clearly consistent with the precedent that was established by other presidents, and clearly within the confines of his authority as president of the u.s. >> reporter: but 26 states with texas in the lead have argued otherwise. two lower courts have sided with the states stalling the president's immigration action. texas attorney-general said: >> reporter: this woman who ran the immigration service under president clinton and now works with a research group says the decision could have broad ramifications. >> if the supreme court says that this was the wrongful use of that authority, it really
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throws up for grabs or throws into the air longstanding assumptions about how immigration law is enforced. >> reporter: this case comes in the middle of a heated presidential campaign with the top g.o.p. candidates taking a hard line on immigration >> i understand this issue better than anyone running >> reporter: and democrats, a win of the court could cost them flit kally >> it makes it possible for democratic candidates to say vote for me, vote for me, so that we can go back to congress and fix this >> reporter: either way it will be high drama for both parties and their core supporters. >> reporter: and the court's decision, of course, will affect millions of people living in this country, but it could also affect what future presidents can do, whether they can take these executive actions, not just on immigration, perhaps, but maybe on a host of issues. this will be a big one
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what happens after the supreme court rules on the case? >> reporter: we should hear what the court decides sometime in late june. if they side with the president and they will move forward to implement this executive action and sign up these folks who want to stay in this country with some sort of quasi status for a couple of years. if the court was against the admission and just stops everything in its tracks, and congress isn't going to take this up, they haven't been able to pass anything before in immigration and they're not going to do it in the middle of the presidential campaign thank you. the supreme court considers the case and politicians argue about it, million $of undocumented immigrants who want to stay in the u.s. are in limbo. heidi. >> reporter: close to four million undocumented immigrants whose children are u.s. citizens or legal residents may qualify
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for this special deferred action on deportation. that if the supreme court rules in the administration's favor. this may come as early as june. the future of these depends on it. it has been a roller-coaster of high hopes and low disappointments for this woman and her family since the president announced his executive actions on immigration in 2014. at first it looked like they could receive permission to lawfully live and work here. she had plans to finish her at theing in dental surgery in u.s. >> translation: it was a dream come true to improve our future with the work permit and a better job. >> reporter: she is among the four million undocumented immigrants who may have qualified because they have u.s.-born children, but president's program never took effect halted by a lawsuit filed by texas and other states
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claiming he lacked authority to take the executive actions. >> translation: we had already prepared documents for the application and made plans, but then suddenly the opportunity disappeared. we still hope though that it will happen. >> reporter: meanwhile, the obama administration's recent raids targeting central american women and children for deportation has sent mixed messages to the immigrant community >> officers have entered the bedrooms of sleeping children to snatch them from their homes and put them in these jails. >> translation: i'm worried they will knock on my door. i'm scared they take me away from my daughter who was born here and deport me >> reporter: if the supreme court rules in the white house's favor, at best the obama administration would have seven months to put its immigration plan into action. all of which can be undone with
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a stroke of a pen by a new president. >> reporter: meanwhile all the democratic candidates said they support and, in fact, may even expand the president's executive actions. the five top continueders have said they would end these orders thank you. a senior scholar at the center for latin american studies. she say former deputy chief of staff to president bill clinton and she joins us tonight. what do you think it means that the supreme court has taken this case? >> well, i think it is very good news because it means the courts can end the uncertainty, as you heard from the stories, there has been a tremendous up and down. these are families, lives being torn apart. so having resolution will be very, very good news. now, it is true there is a chance the court may go the other way, but i think that the
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president and his legal staff at the department of justice and homeland security have worked very carefully. executive action, presidents, both republican and democrat, have taken these actions before thousands of young immigrants, as you know, has already stepped out the shadows to qualify for the president's earlier action on immigration executive actions that is. those remain in effect. what's the status of those cases, of those people now? >> well, it's still based on an executive action and so that could also be undone by a change in presidency who doesn't share those same beliefs. i think what is important here is this is not a blanket executive action. it is still - it is the exercise of prosecutorial discretion, a case by case analysis to make
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sure that the president applying meets the criteria-- person applies and meets the criteria and there are limited authorities it's ironic, i guess, that the supreme court has decided to take this case right in the middle of an election year where immigration is one of the most contentious issues, right? >> it is certainly. i actually think it shows a lot of courage on part of the court because it is a very hot potato and it's going to continue to be that way all the way to election day in november. it's also an important issue in terms of administrative procedure and the power of the president and this is important regardless of who becomes president. what are the limits of presidential power a lot of people waiting to hear because it would affect them. it's good to have you on the
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program. thank you very much. tonight the u.s. environmental protection agency says it will review its handling of the leading contamination crisis in flint, michigan. the governor is facing pressure to resign over this matter. he addressed this situation during his annual state of the state speech tonight. our correspondent is at the state capital. >> reporter: right off the bat the governor in his speech tonight said skwoshgs did the i'm sorry and i will fix it". there has been a lot of blame about why this water crisis happened. the people have blamed the city manager, who had near absolute powers to change the city's water supply. the governor has laid some blame at the mich began department of inenvironmental equality. -- michigan. he did say the buck stops here >> no-one of this great state should endure this catastrophe. government failed you.
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federal state and local leaders by breaking the trust you placed in us. i'm sorry most that i let you-- most of all that i let you down. you deserve better. you deserve accountability. you deserve to know that the buck stops here with me. >> reporter: many of the governor's critics have used that line what does he know and when did he know it. the protesters here tonight really talked about transparency. they demand transparency in the governor and he did offer some of that. >> tomorrow i will release my 2014 and 2015 emails regarding flint to you, the citizens, so you will have answers to your questions about what we've done and what we're doing to make this right for the families of flint. anyone will be able to on read this information for themselves at mich because the most important thing we can do right now is to work
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hard and work together for the people of flint-- michigan. >> reporter: among the people in the audience tonight was the local paediatrician, the woman who discovered that led levels in children around flint what high. she is the one who really blew the lid on this thing. the governor thanked her for her efforts. he is calling for more money, 28 million dollars, to up the number of national guard members in flint, also to pay for school nurses in the schools to help them check for led levels in children and one of the most important things is this, helping to solve the water crisis with the utilities. a lot of people in p flint are refusing to pay their water bills, obviously, because the water is polluted. so the utilities are threatening to cut off their water supply. the governor is asking for some two million dollars to figure out that problem i'm assuming the governor didn't have must have to say to
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the critics who wanted him step down-- to step down tonight? >> no. he gave no plans about resigning. some are asking for criminal charges to be filed against him. some of those critics we talked to. a congress woman says she wants him to stay in office and fixes it and that he understands the enormity of the problem in order to fix the water crisis in flint, the city will not only have to clean up the water, they also must upgrade the failing infrastructure and that won't be cheap. flint is not the only place dealing with that. our correspondent joins us >> reporter: certainly not. this highlights a problem. cities have been pushing off maintenance projects to keep water bills low. that might start catching up to them. many places are struggling to
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replace old pipes. water systems in this country are actually more than a hundred years old. so every day about 700 water mains break around the nation losing more than 2 twil i don't know gallons of clean drinking water every day because of leaky prips, broken mains and faulty meters. there is a huge gap in funding. unlot potholes in bridges, water systems are out of sight and out of mind before it's too late. the american society of civil engineers barely gave the country's water system a passing grave. they gave it a d. to fix it all it will cost more than a trillion dollars over the next 25 years thank you. violent crime rates in the u.s. could be on the rise. data suggests that the number of murders increased by 6.2% in the first six months of 2015. that's compared to the same period in 2014.
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violent crime overall rose by 1.7%. on the other hand, the f.b.i. said that property crimes fell by 4.2%. the justice department says the overall violent crime rate remains historically low. next, corruption, incompetency, a troubling assessment of afghan security forces one year after they took over the fight against the taliban. saving detroit, the health of the automotive industry seven years after the bail out.
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a sobering report on the number of civilians killed in
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iraq. the united nations says nearly 19,000 people have died in the last two years, most of them killed in violence between i.s.i.l. and the iraqi government. more than 36,000 civilians were wounded during that time. about 3.2 million people have been forced from their homes. now to afghanistan where the u.s. military says corruption is a major problem for afghan security forces. officials say afghan soldiers are not reenlisting leading to a shortfall of 25,000 troops. >> reporter: despite this month's combat of a u.s. green beret on the front lines, the u.s. is no longer doing any of the fighting against the taliban. a spokesman for operation res ol ute support gave afghan forces a mixed report card saying they
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had performed fairly well when it came to preplanned missions but not so well in a crisis. some of the toughest fighting has been in afghanistan southern helmand province. a long time stronghold. he pointed to i number of problems with the afghan military unit doing the fighting there, the 215th core, including short staffing, bad leadership and widespread corruption >> there are three fundamental things that have to happen in the unit. soldiers have to be paid on time, fed on time and they've got to be given leave when they deserve leave. if one of those things or accommodation of no ethings doesn't happen, then the soldiers will leave. sometimes they will come back, but, obviously, that is no way to run the organization >> reporter: it may seem something that's not directly related to combat, but afghan soldiers are paid in cash and records kept by hand. that means it's easy to siphon off money or to pretend to pay people that don't exist.
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the average afghan doesn't have access to an at m or a bank account, so the u.s. believe that helping to set up a computer database and direct deposit for the troops will help to motivate them to stay in the army. there are signs the forces are improving. afghanistan conducted two night-time raids entirely on its own. afghan troops backed by afghan aircraft to free prisoners. they were executed without loss of life or equipment. while the taliban has been able to make what he called contemporary gains, he insists that they were not able to hold ground or to govern now to politics. donald trump has been touting a big announcement for the past couple of days. tonight we know what it is. at a rally just a short time ago he received the endorsement of presidential candidate sarah pa
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meddling. >> only one candidate's record of success proves he is the master of the art of the dill. he is beholden to no-one but we the people. he is perfectly positioned to let you make america great again. are you ready for that iowa? no more pussy footing around. our troops deserve the best. you deserve the best donald trump said he is honored to have her endorsement, calling her a high quality person. president bernie sanders has suspended his running. three members of his team were hurt in an accident. president obama will visit the detroit auto show tomorrow. the focus is on recovering
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trying to recover in the auto industry. 640,000 industry jobs have been created since the government's multi million dollar bail out. >> reporter: president obama is expected to highlight the tens of thousands of jobs that were created as a result of that bail out seven years ago. the city of detroit has made some strides over the past year, but the president's visit comes at a time when the city struggles with its crumbling school district and unemployment. in 2009 general motors and chrysler was on the brink of bankruptcy. auto worker and leader reason done mower recalls the days of uncertainty >> we didn't know what was going to happen with all of our jobs, how it - it was a very scary time in nigh life personally >> reporter: today the big three
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auto makers are thriving. sales are up and there's job growth. last year a record 70 million vehicles were sold. makers have generated more than 640,000 new jobs since the bail out >> i think the obama administration had preforesight. i think it reldz that if-- reldz that if g m and if chrysler had gone ound, ford would have gone understand as well. -- under. >> reporter: under the obama administration the government shelled out some 85 bill watson: i don't know dollars >> if the auto industry had gone under completely, you would have lost close to clee clee three million jobs. >> reporter: all three auto makers re-organized and the uaw agreed to what he describes as painful concessions >> we needed to make it work.
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not just to save our own jobs, but our business and company. we all came together and did that as a union with the company jointly did that. it wasn't a good time for any of us. we did what we had to do >> reporter: on wednesday obama will become the third president to visit the northern american international auto show in detroit. the last being president bill clinton back in 1999. the president is expected to tout the industry's turn around >> president obama realises that detroit is the future of america, that if we cannot make detroit right, we can't make america right. >> i'm glad he took a chance with us. i'm glad obama took the chance >> reporter: obama's deal with the auto makers may have stopped short. the sales of suvs have driven the industry's come back. while business is booming for the big three. work is still hard to come by in
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the city. according to a new workforce study out tuesday with a population of around 683,000. there is about 258,000 jobs within its borders. simply put, there are not enough jobs in detroit. >> reporter: this will be the president's 18th visit to michigan as president. it will be a very short visit. he will arrive at around noon and wrap things up just after five thank you. coming up next on the broadcast, a new treatment for ms that doctors say is getting dramatic results. plus the rising amount of radiation reaching the u.s. from japan's nuclear plant.
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researchers studying ms are reporting remarkable results with an experimental treatment. the study involves chemotherapy and stem cell transplants. doctors are using these methods to treat relapsing, remitting ms. about 85% of patients are initially diagnosed with that form of the disease. the new treatment is being described as a way of rebooting the ms patients immune systems. dr richard bird is chief of diseases. he joins me from chicago. welcome. tell us about the progress that has been made with these trials and what it shows. >> we did our first patient in
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1994 and then with time as we slowly gained experience we've expanded and we're doing quite a few patients now with very promising results. in fact, we had a publication in the journal american medical association just last year of 151 patients in how they did it with this therapy over the years after the treatment. what was remarkable compared to all the standard therapy out there is that the stem cell treatment allowed them to improve neurologically, that is, the neurologic deficits that they are reversed, not all, but many of them what does that mean? >> well, let assay, for instance-- let's say you have foot drop, that improves. it goes away and you get function back and you can lift your foot. it depends, different patients have different areas of deficits. depending on the part of their brain or spinal cord that is being attacked by this disease talk specifically about the
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other symptoms that, the ms symptoms and what this therapy actually does. >> in ms your immune system attacks your brain and spinal cord. we really are our thoughts in our brain. obviously, it can affect your thoughts, you can often get a cloudy cognition and have trouble thinking, have trouble multi tasking, to i point you can't even care for yourself. but it affects everything that we do and how we interact. it can affect vision, the ability to move from just a foot to a leg, to half your body to your entire body or just an arm or as time goes on more and more problems with moving. it can affect the ability to feel and touch. it affects balance. you don't really know where you're standing, you're falling all the time, you're walking like a drunk person or you can't walk at all because your balance becomes so bad after the therapy, then what happens? these are people who can't walk
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and then they can walk? >> it depends. we reserve a lot of these problems that they have had. not haul of them, but we - if we get it when it's-- not all of them, but we can make people run that were confined to a bed. we're getting where they're-- them where they're not active and they're having problems walking. the level of recover varies between people and by looking at the mri over time before they come to us, where they are currently in their disease, we have a pretty good idea of how much improvement we're going to get, but you really have to look at each patient and be able to tell that to them before starting the treatment. also after this they don't need any other treatment for ms. what we report in our article is only 10% relapse out to five years after our treatment. in fact, we didn't report in the journal but we now have patients 10 years who have never
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relapsed, they got better and they stayed being better without new disease activity that's a fascinating story. thank you for sharing it with us >> thank you when americans enlist in the army they're entitled to free health care for the rest of their lives. in rural areas where doctors are scarce that is often hard to come by. >> reporter: across the region we will be in unsettled pattern the rest of the week and through the weekend >> reporter: across here people are starting their work week. for this doctor his week begins and ends today. it is his last day at the valley's main veteran's affairs clinic here. he resigned after just four months on the job. he says the case load was overwhelming and support from veteranss affairs far too
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little. he is the third doctor to come and go at the clinic in three years. this clinic is not unique. rural medical centers for veterans have problems retaining quality doctors nationwide. but in a place that has one of the highest concentrations of veterans in the u.s., the lack of access to quick steady medical care impacts many. 10% of the nearly 50,000 residents served in the military. for more involved care, residents have to travel hours. >> reporter: they travel to denver, a five hour trip there and another five hours back, and that's in good weather. vietnam veteran martin knows this mountain road well. he drove it five times to get
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hearing aids. now he needs a hirn i can't operation. that will require more trips to denver. in winter the usual 10-hour round trip drive can last longer >> i may have misjudged the severity of the weather. it took almost nine hours to get to denver. i think that was the stress test. just getting there. >> reporter: veterans advocate also served in vietnam. he volunteers to drive vets to far away appointments, care promised to them when they signed up to serve >> the very bottom line of paper states for your service to the country, you will be given health care for the rest of your life. that is not being fulfilled today. >> i like the doctor. i felt like i got good attention from him. he examined me and he put the need for surgery as urgent.
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>> i'm angry about some of this stuff. >> reporter: dr rise says he has worked up to 70 hours a week, almost twice the time that his contract called for. he says the clinic needs two doctors. 11032 vets were being treated fwi him at this clinic. that pit sound like a lot of patients for one doctor. but his is 128 less than what is required before they even consider bringing in a second doctor. the manager says the search for the doctor's replacement is on >> when i see a gap in coverage, that really pains me. i cannot to find ways to recruit because the veterans deserve a full-time md. my only primary goal is the treatment of the veterans down there. >> there is a long history of struggling with veterans' care
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in the valley. it is just that the system moves very slowly. there's no sense of urgency. >> reporter: veterans in the area went six months wot a physician before dr rise came on borrowed in september. the appointment weight times waited significantly during his short tenure. when he took over in september almost 27% of appointments took longer than 30 to schedule. the most recent veteran affairs data three months later shows a significant drop in wait times to just under 17%. however, those 30 day wait times were far short of the national average >> should they expect-- what should they expect? >> things to be done more promptly. >> i think in this day and age with the kind of health care that is available to the masses that it shouldn't be anything less for the people who served
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our country. >> reporter: as for a permanent replacement for dr rise, it will likely take months according to the va's regional manager. there is an interim doctor who al jazeera america wanted to talk with, but the va refused to allow it a new study has found a rising amount of radiation from japan's fukushima plant. it is reaching the pacific coast of the u.s. still an extremely small amount of radiation, but no federal agency is monitoring it. jake ward has that story >> reporter: the good news is that on the pacific coast of the u.s. it looks like fukushima radiation cannot hurt you >> if you were to swim in the water here, every day, your doze would be about a thousand times less than a single dental x-ray >> reporter: the bad news is that no federal agency can tell you how much radiation is actually in the ocean.
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this man is one of the only researchers who monitors it >> we can't find support among the u.s. federal agencies for this type of ocean activity site. you would think that an agency like the department of energy might pick this up because they study these things, but as soon as we get into the ocean salt water that's not their responsibility. >> reporter: he had to crowd fund his research and that fact reveals an alarming gap in our nation's radiation warning system. radio activity at sea falls into the gaps between federal agencies. the national ocean and atmospheric association does not have a monitoring network. other radiation is looked for, but not at sea. when it comes to detect radiation in the air it is covered. et epa has a system of monitors which detects radiation. this calls in am beent-- ambient
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air. this sends information by satellite to the labs which checkout the radiation levels to make sure they're acceptable. this device will pick up radiation in the air, of course, but it won't pick up anything out of the water. you have to sample sea water in order to do that. even if raid active debris were to have it show up, it won't show up. you have to sample sea water. enough private money has been sampled from 200 sites. measuring the radiation in the ocean has many uses. it acts as a sort of tag for tracking whole schools of tuna as they my grass across the pacific. just like other events of the atomic age, it offers a way of dating the age of ocean life by
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the presence of fukushima's radiation in their cells. except for the work of a few crowd-undered scientists, we would otherwise have no idea whether our oceans pose a radiation risk to our health coming up next on our broadcast the protest over the oscar nominations and what needs to be done to make hollywood more diverse.
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a cast of hollywood a
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listers have emerged, all condemning the lack of diversity in this year's academy awards nominations. >> reporter: the nominees are. >> reporter: the oscars are just about a month away, but the buzz isn't about who is not nominated but who isn't. the frustration over the lack of diversity leading to a boycott. spike lee and an act yes saying they won't attend this year's ceremony >> begging for acknowledgment or even asking diminishes dignity and diminishes power. we are a dignified people and we are powerful and let's not forget it. >> i am the wrong person to have discovered this >> reporter: her husband will smith was looked over for his role in kon concussion. >> what are you doing here? >> reporter: along with others,
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spike lee blames the hollywood studios saying: his film was also passed over. the critically acclaimed straight out of comp. tonne did get get an option. the oscars controversy reflects a wider problem >> the fact that the motion picture industry like so many other institutions is very slow to change, not a very diverse institution. you have a situation where essentially white males are dominating the industry. >> reporter: and the president of the academy also expressed frustration over the lack of diversity. she is promising to take action to alter the maybe up of the group's member ship
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>> we are working inside the academy in order to make sure we have inclusion, especially in the area of membership >> reporter: that may not be enough come oscar night when a lot of potential viewers say they will boycott watching the show > our guests are here tonight to talk to us about this. welcome to both of you. you just heard the president of the association talk about what the academies doing. why isn't it enough? >> well, because we haven't seen systemic change and that's what we really need. it really has to be a two-pronged attack. as spike lee mentioned, it needs to be the academy, not just the members of the academy, but the voting system of the academy nub addressed, bsh bsh-- must be
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addressed, but we have to put emphasis on the hollywood on the types of films because they can only nominate quality work that has actually been made when i listen to whoopi goldburg on the view, she talks about it's not that white people are sitting there and watching and saying that's very white, i'm not going to nominate that black movie. she has suggested it is simply about the fact that there aren't block rolls and not enough black roles in the movies. what do you say? >> that's, obviously, an important part of the problem. let's face it, it is an industry that is dominated by white men. more important than what happens in front of the camera, we need to look at what happens behind the camera, the people who are writing the stories, those making decisions with what is being written and what budget. this determines the quality of
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the project and what has to be recognised by the academy that is different than boycotting the oscars, right? >> no. it is not. it is a multifaceted approach. when we say we will be having counter programming on oscars night because we don't - we want to support those who support us. so i believe that movie with goers and-- movie goers and those interested, should express their concern, not only with their dollars with what they go and see, but also with respect to their viewership on oscars night let me push a bit more. are you suggesting that there are too many white members and that they simply vote for white people. is that what you're suggesting? >> no. that's not what i'm suggesting at all. in fact, i want to make it very clear that this is not a race issue. this goes across all strata to
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include social or sexual orientation, gender, those with different abilities. everyone should be able to see themselves represented on the screen in rich, text ured nuanced stories. so we know for a fact that the academy is an over 94% white, the average anal is approximately 63 and that it is over 70% male. i would like to think that they can expand their comfort zone and view more movies. right now the issue is that there is not even a requirement that those who vote on the films and categories view the movies before they vote this has been a question before. it has been raised before. why do you think it has become such a big issue now? >> i think that we are so far out of step with where we are as a nation. if you think about the industry, if you think about what the
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academy is recognising, we're in a society that is more than about 51% female, we're about 39% minority, becoming more minority every day, and to have two years in a row where you have not a single person of color nominated among the top acting roles, it is pretty egregious. i think people are fed up. i think the boycott, putting attention on this, keeping the pressure on is what is needed to really have the industry take a look in the mirror and figure out how to do better why do you think that chris rock shouldn't be the host? >> i didn't say that. i think that chris rock should be the host. i think that he was chosen in part because he is well-known for his political and social commentary and he say brilliant comedian. he has done it before and he will do a great job again. i don't be watching, but i wish him the best
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there is a movement pushing chris rock not to be part of this program. do you think that is a good idea? >> i think that chris rock should do what is best for chris rock. i think that he signed his contract knowing full well what the inclusion and diversity issues are with respect to film, and so maybe it was very intentional. we've seen chris rock speak out already on his twitter feed calling the oscars the white bet awards. i think that is a tease of what we're going to see from him ons cores night. i won't be watching but i do support his position will you be watching? >> i don't usual lip don't, so i probably won't. i study what happens at the oscars and what happens in the industry, but i think the point that folks are making who are planning the protest are important points. i fully support those efforts. i will be watching from afar and
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taking note of what happens and studying this is part of our forthcoming report that comes out, i guess, right before the oscars i want to hear what chris rock has to say about this. i do. thank you both of you. >> thank you. >> thank you coming up next in oscar nominated documentary explores mental illness, the death penalties and brotherly love. i will talk to the directors of last day of freedom.
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the department of veterans affairs estimates one out of three vietnam veterans suffers from ptsd. an oscar nominated documentary traffics one such vet. he didn't receive treatment. during a psychotic flash back he ran into an innocent woman's death and beat her to death. his brother found out and had atto decide whether to turn him in. have a look. >> oh, god, what will my neighbors think? will they think that i'm a bad person, that we're bad people? what will my mother think? would she understand that i had to do what i did?
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my guests are the film's directors. welcome. it's good to have you on the program >> it's good to be here. >> thanks this is a powerful documentary. he turns his brother into the police and police aassure him that he won't receive the death penalty. then what happens next? >> what happened next is basically he is facing the whole legal procedures with an attorney at the time, the first attorney was not fully equipped, to say the least. because it was an election year there was also a lot of political push. the governor didn't quite step in and basically he spent the next 20 years on death row before he was executed why were you attracted to this story? >> we felt that, first of all,
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he was an amazing story teller. he hit on so many issues, veterans rights, politics. we thought it was a humanising story. he is faced with a dilemma that if we were aware of the fact that someone has done a crime in our family, do you stand by them or go to the police and get him the help he needs. >> when he left those two tours of duty in vietnam, he wam to america for yet another tour of duty. >> he is going to be in some sort of institution that is going to help him. i think for him to have somebody in his community being killed was kind of a terrible thing. of course, later on after that he had to face his own guilt of both the original crime and then turning in his brother. we're talking about a veteran
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who came back from war really in such an emotionally traumatised state. he didn't get any mental health care or services. >> my little brother was out there in limbo land fighting these battles >> and things fell apart. bill feels that that story will help no change so many things, not just the death penalties itself, but also the systems that support veterans there's no question about his guilt, but what do you think needs to change? >> he doesn't get a fair trial. his lawyer is drunk during most of the trial. the jury didn't get to hear any of the testimony and, in fact, several of the people on the jury said that they would not have convicted him to death had they known that he was a veteran with ptsd. that was not exposed. there are was utter racism in the trial too. so many places where it feels like it is a broken judicial system
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you both decided to tell this story through animation. tell us how difficult that was? >> we're first time film makers, but we're artists. we told stories before, and it was putting the story together. it was obviously just how time consuming it is. >> there are nearly two thousand dlaugs in this film. one of the things we wanted to do was to make sure that the metaphors of this fact that it is endlessly cycling through, often the emotional states that he feels as well as bill feels in certain places in the film. >> he asked me if i could get him to confess. >> because you're replicating his state of mind you just described yourself as first-time film makers. you've just been nominated for an academy award. >> yes tell us what this is like?
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>> it's really fascinating. i mean, it's incredibly honoring and kind of not real until we get some minutes over a day or something all of a sudden, wait a minute, we just achieved that. it's incredible >> we have spent so much time with bill, hearing his story t hearing other stories of victims and also family members of people impacted by the death penalty. we really are excited that issue is coming. one of the things we really liked about bill's story which we didn't mention before was the fact that he was in favor of the death penalty until it came knocking at his door. i think that was something that the issues in the way that he is able to unpack those issues and hopefully the animation translates that differently brings up that dialogue, which is all we want. we want to have the conversation the documentary is called last day of freedom. congratulations.
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good to see you. thank you very much >> thank you. >> thank you that's our brad cast. thank you for watching. i'm john seigenthaler. see you back tomorrow. ali velshi on target is next i'm david shuster in for ali velshi. an update on the nomination race. establishment fears are growing that donald trump may be unst unstoppable. two weeks until the iowa caucuses and there is now every indication that