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tv   HAR Dtalk  BBC News  November 13, 2018 12:30am-1:01am GMT

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we've been looking at the philippines. a special report shows how fake news on social media is being used as a platform to re—write the country's history and confuse its citizens. the un is warning of catastrophic consequences for yemen if its port hudaydah is destroyed. reports suggest more than a 100 people have been killed in the past 2a hours, with much of the fighting taking place in residential neighbourhoods. and this sad news is being read on stan lee — the co—creator of spider man, the hulk, iron man and the x—men — has died in los angeles. he was 95. he was one of the key creators responsible for the success of marvel comics. now on bbc news, hardtalk.
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welcome to hardtalk from washington, dc. i'm stephen sackur. president trump is an extremely effective communicator. in and day out, his messages dominate the news agenda and yet he professes nothing but contempt for what he calls the fa ke but contempt for what he calls the fake news media. what is going on here? what is the trump presidency doing to america's political culture ? doing to america's political culture? as a part of the bbc‘s beyond fake news season, my guest todayit beyond fake news season, my guest today it is the editor of the washington post, martin baron. in the midst of all this hostility, who is the real enemy of the american people? martin baron, welcome to hardtalk.
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from the outside, it looks as though there is a state of unrelenting trench warfare now between the white house and the news media in washington. is that the way it feels to you? i don't see it that way. the white house has said and particularly the president has said that he is at war with the media. he has said that from day one, his very first day in office when he went to the caa and told caa officers that he was at war with the media, the we're not or, we are doing ourjobs, as outlined in the first amendment of the constitution, which calls for us of the constitution, which calls for us to examine the public characters and measures, as james madison, the founder, it said it from the beginning. you saw suggesting you can simply ignore what is coming out of the trump white house, but when
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the president himself talks about your newspaper as one of the pillars of the fake news media, when he calls you an enemy of the american people, you can't ignore that. well, ijudge ignore people, you can't ignore that. well, i judge ignore it people, you can't ignore that. well, ijudge ignore it may also make sure that it ijudge ignore it may also make sure thatitis ijudge ignore it may also make sure that it is not a distraction from what we are supposed to do. i think we understand well what our mission is and our mission is to try to get the facts to get at the truth, and the facts to get at the truth, and the matter how many attacks he ventures against us, we're just going to continue doing that i think we are very focused on our mission. is not just about you we are very focused on our mission. is notjust about you of course, it is about the president and the news media more generally. —— it is. we have just seen one of the most remarkable performances i have ever seen it from a leader, and let's face it this is the most important leader in the world, in front of the massed ranks of the american news white house correspondence, he accused some of them of being at horrible, of being discussed in, he
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clearly believes they are lying. he has now revoked the white house pass of one senior correspondence working cnn. is there an obligation on you, as one of the most senior figures in the washington media elites, to take a stand? well, we have taken a stand andi a stand? well, we have taken a stand and i had taken a stand and i have spoken about it very often. i have said that this has a cumulative effect, i have pointed out that we are not the opposition party. i pointed out the flaws in the state m e nts pointed out the flaws in the statements that he is making, and that this is having a very deleterious effect on the role of the media in the united states and it is inappropriate for a president to say things like this that are flatly untrue. in particular, when journalist in the room with the president and he has behaved in the way he has recently behaved, do you believe us journalist have to reconsider how they respond to him? for example, in this particular example where the president refused
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to ta ke example where the president refused to take questions on certain journalist, where he has now abandoned one particular journalist, is incumbent on the otherjournalist in the white house press corps to show solidarity? for example, to consider walking out of news conference. —— banned. consider walking out of news conference. -- banned. that is one option, and other option is another reported at the very same question oi’ reported at the very same question or to give another reporter more time to ask a question that the president has cut off. there are plenty of other options besides walking out. what would you like to see happen? well, i would like to see, the white house decided to withhold or rescind the press could credentials for a cnn reporter and obviously, that is completely inappropriate. the white house correspondence's association has said in a statement that is inappropriate. other news organisations have spoken up and said that was inappropriate and my hope is that the white house will see the error of its ways and restore its credentials. we know
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what it is like to have credentials withdrawn, we had our credentials withdrawn, we had our credentials withdrawn by the trump campaign during the presidential campaign. so we know what that is like, but we also know that we have to adjust, we have to keep doing ourjobs and most importantly, what the press can do is continue asking the kinds of questions that need to be asked. but there at times on certain critics of there at times on certain critics of the media here in washington think that it has become a circus, donald trump as the ringmaster, he is dictating the terms of the relationship and journalists are frankly dancing to his tune. yeah, well, some people say that, ijust not happen to believe that is the case and the important thing is that we are not dancing to tune. the important thing is that we do journalism, we report stories, we do the hard journalism. the best thing the hard journalism. the best thing the media can do is continue to ask ha rd the media can do is continue to ask hard questions of the administration the way it should do and not be intimidated. let me ask you about something that happened a while ago,
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it was something that made news at the time, i do not know if you were there, maybe you were, maybe you we re there, maybe you were, maybe you were not, but it was the white house press correspondence's unit, invited to speak was the comedian michelle wolf and she said this all of the reporters, some of the washington elite reporters gathered in the room, she said the truth is you do not want to admit at the trump has helped all of you, he helped sell your newspapers, your books and your tv. it helped create this monster and now profiting off in. tv. it helped create this monster and now profiting off inlj tv. it helped create this monster and now profiting off in. i guess it isa and now profiting off in. i guess it is a pretty cynical view of what is happening. there is no question that coverage of the trump administration has led to higher ratings, more suspensions and readership and all of that. it has been commercial gold for the washington post. in the short run, it has been commercial gold in some ways, absolutely begin the long one, it is highly corrosive the long one, it is highly corrosive the role of the press in the united states. it is highly polarising and we have very polarised state of
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information in the us as well, and over the long run, that is not a good thing for business. let me ask you about a small little word, lie. it isa you about a small little word, lie. it is a word that does appear in your paper. you have actually fact checking team who were caught and put the number on the number of lies, untruths and misleading state m e nts lies, untruths and misleading statements that stack up from the trump administration month by month, i think you are well into the thousands now. 6000, something like that. is that right? yeah. there are some journalists and i'm thinking for example the former editor of the wall streetjournal who says in his opinion, journalists need to be much more careful about the use of the word lie, because he says he is that word, to not only know that what is being said is fake or wrong but you also have to know about the intent. well, i actually agree with him on that and that has been our policy. we have been very cautious in our use of the word lie. we have used it sometimes we don't use it all the time. when we have been able to
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document that what the president said, that the president knows that what saying false, then we have used the word lie, that he knows it to be, to other falsehood. how can you know what he intends? a great example, talk about the meeting with the russians in trump tower, that involve donald trump junior, the russians in trump tower, that involve donald trumpjunior, when donald trump junior was expected involve donald trumpjunior, when donald trumpjunior was expected to issue a statement responding to initial press reports about that meeting, that statements, we wrote that that statement was dictated by the president of the united states. the administration denied that. up and down, they deny that. later on when they had to respond to the special counsel, they issued a letter to the special counsel acknowledging that the president himself had dictated that statement. so we said that the president lied, it was clear that he knew that he had dictated, he had dictated the statement, he knew that he had dictated the statement, and yet he allowed his administration to declare to the entire world that he
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had not dictated the statement. that isa had not dictated the statement. that is a clear lie. what does that say to you? you call that a lie, and frankly a huge number of people in this country shrugged their shoulders. sure, and that is concerning and that is, we have a very polarised society and polarised consumption of information. people will just be dismissive consumption of information. people willjust be dismissive of what we report a what other people will be dismissive of other news organisations, but the reality is that i think we have to look over the long run. it is important to look back, for example, at the time of watergate. look, that investigation was under way by the washington post and other news organisations, and a lot of people viewed that investigation is being com pletely viewed that investigation is being completely is. they viewed the washington post as being essentially the opposition party to the nixon administration. —— partisan. and they did not believe what the washington post was reporting at the time. well, it turned out that the reporting was solid, reporting was later validated, and ultimately,
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people came to realise that the washington post had done its duty. people came to realise that the washington post had done its dutylj spoke recently to the former editor of the guardian, aaron moss project, i dare say you probably know him quite well and he says this, he says by 2017, it seemed to many that news was the thing that helped many people understand the world, that will be wheels of society, pollinated communities and kept the authority ‘s honest. news in that sense was broken. —— alan rusbridger. do not believe is broken, i believe there is excellent journalism that is being practised today. some of the bestjournalism that has ever been practised as a matter of fact. i do think that we have a broken information ecosystem at the moment, and we have an administration by now that is trying to disqualify the press as an independent arbiter of facts, and not just to disqualify independent arbiter of facts, and notjust to disqualify us as an independent arbiter of facts, but to disqualify other institutions as independent arbiters, so law
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enforcement and intelligence agencies, the court system, scientists, all of them, to disqualify them and say the white house itself, the administration itself, is the only source of truth. and that is what they would like to have. that this, if i may say so, goes deeper thanjust have. that this, if i may say so, goes deeper than just the trump administration and its behaviour is because if you look at polling evidence amongst ordinary americans, there are some very disturbing figures. —— but. for example, clearly according to a range of polls, more than 40% of republicans, tens of billions of people across this nation, agree with the idea that the media is indeed the enemy of the people. the three quarters of registered republicans believe that the media routinely makes up stories about the current administration, there is a crisis of trust here. —— three quarters. i think there is a crisis of trustee and the administration has done a good job, not a beneficialjob at an effective job of suggesting to the american
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public that they can't believe what they read in mainstream american press. still piling all of the blame on donald trump and his associate. and not piling all of the blame... are you suggesting that there is nothing that the media needs to look at and wonder about whether it may be partly responsible for this lack of trust too? i think we do share some of the blame and i think there are things we can do to help restore trust. i cannot be sure that, i cannot guarantee that. i think we need to be a lot more transparent about how we go about our work, to show more of our work, to talk more about who we are. there are an incredible number of stereotypes outplacement, and stereotypes about who we are as journalists. i think we need to talk about our professional background, how we acquire our expertise, and also talk about the reporting process along the way. that is a very interesting point. the use of suggesting that there might be some inherent, maybe unconscious bias is within the media organisation such as your own, buyers as they do affect the way you see the world and report the world?
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—— biases. see the world and report the world? -- biases. look, everybody comes to the world with their own preconceptions and emotions and things like that. people have been talking about that now for 100 yea rs. walter talking about that now for 100 years. walter lippmann wrote a book in the 1920s we broached the idea of objectivity, and the idea of objectivity, and the idea of objectivity is hardy set aside your own preconceptions and try to get the facts in the most objective way possible? that does not mean that it is balance, 50% on 50% on that side, but how do we strip away a preconceptions are now emotions and almost in a scientific way, try to get the actualfact? almost in a scientific way, try to get the actual fact? but are you in a way, feel that there are understandable reasons why some people in the united states of america today could look at organisations like the washington post, and say it you are a guy who is working in a factory in ohio or michigan or where ever, you might
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feel that that organisation has a set of attitudes, and moral outlook, which is so far removed from yours that you can't necessarily trust that you can't necessarily trust that the way it is a report the world can really relate to your own life and reality. well, i certainly understand that, and that in fact is the case. that is how we are viewed in certain sectors of american society. do you think that your own newsroom is a good reflection of the united states of america today? well, i think we do quite a good job of — we get people from all over the country who grew up in a lot of different backgrounds, who grow up on farms, pennsylvania, south carolina, people like that. we have people who served in the military and we would like to have more people who served in the military. we have a photographer who is a refugee. we have people who went to state schools, who went to ivy league schools, who grew up in small towns. we have two people who went to evangelical colleges, one of them grow up in a home of 12 kids and she was homeschooled.
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now, people would be surprised that we have people like that on our staff. we do have people like that on our staff and we welcome people like that on our staff. let me ask you something somewhat different. there is worrying evidence that there may be a connection between the toxic political culture that we see in washington right now and examples of very real abuse, sometimes even threats of violence aimed atjournalists. do you feel — and you've got long experience — that there is more danger in the world right now for reporters that there has been before? in the united states, yes, it has gotten much worse. there are a lot of threats against our journalists. we've had to increase our security increasingly. and that started in the last presidential campaign. increase your security in what sense?
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i cannot give details. but in many ways we have increased security. for individual reporters and for our headquarters. some of your reporters in certain situations had you have bodyguards? we have not gone that far, but there are reporters in the united states who do have bodyguards, particularly journalists who work for some of the television networks. arthur salzburger, the publisher of the new york times, he told donald trump to his face that trump's rhetoric — quote — "will lead to a rise in threats and ultimately a rise in violence." he meant towards journalists. do you echo those sentiments? i think he is correct, absolutely. the kind of rhetoric that has been used makes life more dangerous for journalists. it has already led to threats and it is a dangerous path to travel. the — one of yourformer papers, the boston globe launched the "not
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the enemy" initiative when they got a whole range of newspapers, mostly in the united states, but some overseas, as well, hundreds of them, to join a declaration just insisting that the media was doing a vitaljob to society and should not be in any way characterised as the enemy. the washington post refused to sign that collective letter. why? well, i wasn't involved in that. that was the editorial page. in this country, for the most part, there is a sharp division between people who are responsible for covering the news and the people who write editorials. i am responsible for the news and features coverage. i have nothing whatsoever to do with the editorial... then may ask you, would the washington post have been well advised to actually sign up
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to a joint declaration that involved so many newspapers around this country of the world? quite honestly don't think that it would have made a difference. i think one thing we try to do is to avoid suggesting that the media in the united states is a monolith, and that it behaves as a monolith. the washington post has written unnumerable editorials about the administration's posture towards the media. we have written about that in our news coverage as well. i don't think we need to act collectively with news organisations around the country in order to effectively make that point. i suppose one big question for you is whether you truly believe that this organisation, so identified with its history with exposing the truth behind the pentagon papers, the watergate scandal, do you believe that your own organisation is capable of running, resourcing those sorts of expensive investigations today? yes, i do. we are doing those investigations and in many ways i think those
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kinds of investigations are the business model. because the public wants us to do that. they see us as their representative in holding government accountable. and they support us as a result. that is why they subscribe to us. when you look at it, yes, there is a lot of focus on trump, but what people really want is an independent news organisation that is holding their government officials, their politicians, and the policymakers, accountable. can you truly call yourself independent when you owned by one of the — actually, the richest man in the united states, jeff bezos, owner of amazon? can you really call yourselves independent? i think we can. i think the proof is in the work we do. if anyone looks at our work in holding powerful individuals and government officials and policymakers accountable, they see that we do it in a non—partisan way. butjeff bezos, in terms of this background, his values, of what he was to get out of the washington post, this is a different environment. you suggest he wants to get anything
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out of it other than us being a good newspaper, a good news organisation, and what he really wants is for us to be a vibrant, self—sustaining, independent news organisation. and that is the message that he has sent to us. does he want you to investigate the way in which the biggest tech companies in the world use their global presence to avoid paying tax, at least, as many people see it, a fair share of their global tax? that is your statement. if it's worth investigating, yes we will. and we have. have you looked at amazon's tax affairs around the world? yes we have. and we have done a lot of critical stories about amazon. he said when he got here that we could cover him and amazon in the way that we cover any other company. he has reiterated that on multiple occasions and we have taken that to heart and that is what we have done. we have at any number of negative stories about amazon, and we haven't heard
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from jeff bezos on that matter. he doesn't get involved in the news coverage. you don't talk to him every week? every two weeks we talk about business tactics, strategy, technology, things like that. we never discuss — we never discuss coverage. he has not assigned a story, suggested a story, nor suppressed a story. he has not critiqued a story nor criticised the story. he has told us those are our decisions and that is how we — that is how we do business around here. we're almost out of time, but there is one other subject we must talk about, and that is your thoughts onjamal kashoggi. i knew him a little bit. we interviewed him on my show. you knew him, of course, because he was a contributing columnist at the washington post. on october two he entered the saudi consulate in istanbul. we know that he was brutally murdered. do you think the us government has done enough to insist to the saudis that the full truth come out
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about the murder ofjamal khashoggi? now, it has not. there is no question that they have not done enough. it does appear that the administration would like this issue to just go away, because it wants to have a strong relationship with saudi arabia, and it doesn't want an issue like this to get in between the interests of the united states and the interests saudi arabia. and so we don't see a very aggressive posture on the part of the administration about investigating this brutal murder. this brings us back to where we began — the relationship between donald trump and the news media in washington. you have in editorial terms basically accused the trump administration, and this has been a word that is used in headlines, "enabling" the abuses of the saudi arabia's crown prince. is that really fair to call donald trump an enabler,
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in essence, of the murder of a guy who wrote a column for the washington post? well, you are citing our editorials, and as i pointed out, i have nothing to do with our editorials. i'm the executive editor, but the editorial page doesn't report to me, but to the publisher of the news organisation. to end with a personal note, we have talked about the importance ofjournalism. i guess in many ways the loss ofjamal kashoggi brings home the degree of the commitment to genuine expression, freedom of expression. it brings possibilities and also dangers. there is no question. this was an effort not just to suppress dissent but to extinguish the actual dissenter. there is enormous risk in free expression, and that is why we need to work so hard to protect it. marty baron, we have to end there. thank you very much will be on hardtalk.
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many of us began the new week with frequent and heavy showers and that brought some in press of cloud formations. an excellent example here in somerset. we also saw sunshine and when you put sunshine and shower together it is a perfect recipe for rainbows. more showers through the early hours of tuesday that will fade away from any southern and eastern areas and generally become confined to northern england and parts of scotland. a chilly end to the night across the highlands of scotland. through tuesday morning there will still be showers, particularly for western
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scotland, north—west england and these will start to fade and for most a mainly dry day. spells of sunshine in the cloud that will build across northern ireland, the western islands of scotland ahead of rain through the evening. a breeze if not windy day. these are average wind strengths through the afternoon but still quite gusty, particular for the western coasts. in terms of temperature, ten, 1a celsius through tuesday afternoon, still on the mild side. through the evening, the rain already in the west will slowly start to push eastwards and that is likely to become heavy for a time across parts of northern ireland, north wales, north—west england and western scotland. patchy rain for the midlands but otherwise for central, clear southern and eastern england it should stay mainly dry, clear spells to temperatures building up to nine or 10 celsius. for all it is a mild night. all tied in with this front which is still with us on wednesday. notice that squeeze in the isobars so it becomes windy, particularly
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for the irish sea coast. continuing across northern ireland is the rain clearing through the day and it will continue across western parts of scotland. further east, spells of sunshine with help from the foehn effect. eventually that rain will pull away from northern england. further south, much of england and wales stays mainly dry and it is a mild day for all. 13, 16 celsius. 16 celsius we could find across parts of murray and aberdeenshire. and with this warm air as we go through wednesday we pull it up from the south. the front is still fringing northern and western parts of the uk so we could still see a little patchy rain at times but most it becomes dry and there will be spells of sunshine. temperatures above average for this time of year, 14,15 celsius but bear in mind towards the end of the week where it looks settled we could see mist and fog and that could be slow to clear. it will change for the weekend to mainly dry mild, light wind, still clearing with some mist and fog.
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i'm sharanjit leyl in singapore. you're watching newsday on the bbc. the headlines: fake news and the philippines, how social media's being used as a platform to re—write the country's history and confuse its citizens. there are so many biases when it comes to the government. some people say, this is the hero, so who really is the one telling the truth? the united nations warns of catastrophic consequences for millions, as the war in yemen intensifies. i'm kasia madera in london. also in the programme: and stan lee, the creative mastermind behind marvel comics, dies at the age of 95. and china reverses a decision to relax a 25—year—old ban on trade
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