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tv   The Eighties  CNN  March 23, 2019 8:00pm-10:00pm PDT

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flame. we see americans hating each other, fighting each other, killing each other at home. >> a long dark night for america is about to end. >> the following is a cnn special report. >> this is what impeachment looks like. >> only the cbs crew now is to be in this room during this. only the crew. no, no, there will be no picture. no. you have taken your picture. >> facing certain removal, richard nixon is moments away
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from re-signing as president. >> all secret service or any secret service in the room? out. >> there can be no greater fall from no greater height. ♪ >> fyffe men were nabbed in the democratic national headquaters in washington. >> white water controversy. >> i have nothing to say about it. >> he's thinking what am i going to do? >> andrew johnson's impeachment was over policy. he did not deserve to be president of the united states. >> i am not a crook.
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>> one thing leads to another. >> a great and profound crisis. >> you're in the office of the president of the united states. how can you talk about blackmailing, keeping witnesses silent. >> william jefferson clinton. >> i did not have sexual relations with that woman. >> the impeachment effort against him failed by a single vote in the senate. >> president nixon. >> aye. >> there it is. >> impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors. >> i have impeached myself. good evening.
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the constitution's impeachment clause was written by men who fought a revolution to escape the tyranny of kings and now they wanted to keep the president from becoming a monarch. in one version, the grounds for impeachment were treason and bribery. also proposed mall administration. but james madison said that was too vague. what if he asked a president were to cook up speculation. in other words, what if the president were a crook? so george mason of virginia came up with the additional phrase. high crimes and misdemeanors. and that is article 2 section 4 of the constitution. there was a moment in our history where it saved american democracy but at other times it's been turned into a cheap political trick hurled at opponents as a weapon. so which is it today? to answer that question, we need to understand the past so we
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know whether impeachment will work when we really need it. >> they're seriously talking about impeachment. >> they'll immediately try to impeach the president. >> well on our way to impeachment. >> the word impeachment was used at least 12,000 times in 2018 and that's just on cable news. >> i am impeachment, impeachment. >> impeach trump. >> thousands are in the streets out here this evening. >> this is just one day after donald trump was elected president. but the outcry is hardly surprising. donald trump is the most polarizing president in an already bitterly divided
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america. >> we will impeach him. the people said but he hasn't done anything wrong. oh, that doesn't matter. we will impeach the president. >> we have been through periods of polarization before. the difference now is that we don't have a common baseline of facts. we disagree on reality. >> that dangerous state of affairs, we disagree on the facts of reality itself is reflective of how americans feel about impeachment. in november exit polling, 77% of democrats favored removing the president from office. just 5% of republicans supported impeachment. is there evidence to support an impeachment case against donald trump? >> as a legal matter, there's
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enough material alleged now that if true would support an impeachment charge. >> but says harvard law school's noah feldman, that doesn't mean the president could or should be impeached. we'll explore that question later in the hour, but first we need to go back to understand what happens when democracy defends on impeaching the president. we now think of watergate as a time when america came together and forced a crooked president out of office but to richard nixon and the republican party, the watergate scandal was a partisan war. >> i had a partisan senate committee staff.
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special prosecution staff. media. in the fifth column i gave them a sword and they stuck it in and they twisted it. >> the real story of the war nixon describes is one that few americans know. it's a story of a small group of men who turned impeachment into an act of patriotism. it all begins on june 17th, 1972. >> five men were arrested early saturday while trying to install eves dropping equipment at the democratic national committee. >> why was someone breaking into the democrats campaign offices? >> i again proudly accept that nomination for president of the united states. >> richard nixon won the presidency in 1968 by promising to get america out of vietnam.
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♪ >> are you listening nixon? >> but as the war dragged on, the anti-war movement exploded. as nixon campaigned for a second term, he feared vietnam might give his enemies the ammunition to defeat him. and so his men planned a series of dirty tricks. >> i suppose he went up the wall. >> to cripple the democrats. one of them was the watergate break in. in 1972, nixon won re-election by a historic landslide. >> i richard nixon do so let mely swear. >> but the watergate story was still growing. so just weeks after the
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election, richard nixon declared war on the press. >> the press is the enemy. the press is the enemy. write that on the blackboard 100 times. >> sound familiar? you are the enemy of the people. go ahead. >> well, i called the fake news the enemy of the people. >> there are other reminders of the present day. donald trump directs particular anger at certain news organizations. >> it's like the failing new york times that's so bad or cnn that's so bad and so pathetic. they are the fake, fake, disgusting news. >> nixon went after the washington post that lead watergate coverage. >> i want it clearly understood that from now on ever no reporter from the washington post is ever to be in the white house, is that clear? absolutely none, ever, to be in.
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now that is a total order and if necessary i'll fire you. do you understand? >> i do understand. >> nixon hated the press because it was bigging into the very story that he was desperate to hide. that the white house does deeply involved in the cover up. nixon's approval rating soared but then came the crack in the white house defense. in the summer of 1973 all of america was riveted by the senate watergate hearings. >> what did the president know and when did he know it? >> as the country watched white house council john dean turn on his president. >> i began by telling the president that there was a cancer growing on the
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presidency. >> dean testified that the watergate burglars were blackmailing white house aids. >> the white house was now being directly subject to blackmail and i didn't know how to handle it. >> i told him i could only make an estimate that it might be as high as $1 million or more. he told me that that was no problem. >> it was john dean's word against the president of the united states. >> nothing less than richard nixon's presidency may ride on whether the public believes john dean or not. >> most republicans continued to stand by their president. but then, from a little known white house aid, a dramatic twist. >> my name is alexander, portal, butterfield. >> are you aware of the installation of any listening devices in the oval office of the president?
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>> i was aware of listening devices, yes, sir. >> it was a bombshell. >> the pressure is on the president to produce the tapes. >> had it not been for the tapes he would have completed a second term. >> instead he will spend the rest of his presidency trying to keep anyone from hearing them. >> the white house made it clear today that president nixon decided not to release tapes of his conversations. >> if i were to make public these tapes, the confidentiality of the office of the president would always be suspect from now on. >> he fought subpoena after subpoena. i never heard or seen such distorted reporting. >> even as he tried to tell the american people that watergate was a press creation. >> what is it about television coverage of you in the past weeks and months that has so aroused your anger. >> don't get the impression that you aroused my anger. one can only be angry with those he respects.
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>> mr. president. >> finally, a drastic step. >> nothing like this has ever happened before. >> the offices have been sealed by the fbi. >> a mass firing of the men pursuing the tapes. the saturday night massacre. >> the news sent reporters scrambling for their telephones. >> a profound crisis in which the president set himself against his own attorney general in the department of justice. >> does it have to do with the resignations attorney general? >> it might. >> the attorney general, the deputy attorney general and the special prosecutor were all out. it changes the politics of the situation for richard nixon.
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>> most demanded impeaching nixon. >> nixon was forced to appoint a new special prosecutor and as the months went on, he was forced to turnover the tapes. white house council john dean's system turned out to be entirely accurate. >> they were going to cost a million dollars over the next two years. >> it was clear, nixon's defenses were beginning to crumble. >> would you consider the crimes to be impeachable if they did apply to you? >> well, i have also quit beating my wife. >> the meeting will come to order. >> in july of 1974 in a packed
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hearing room, the committee began to debate removing the president. >> make no mistake about it, this is a turning point. whatever we decide. >> the committee chairman was a democratic liberal from new jersey. he was new to the job. some doubted whether he could handle it. >> a highly partisan prosecution if ever there was one. >> many were angry and still improvab improvable. for republicans, impeaching their president was political suicide so they kept holding out for more evidence. >> the weight of evidence must be clear. it must be convincing and let's keep to those two words. you can't substitute them for anything else. clear and convincing.
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but you can't and should not remove the highest office in the world for anything less than clear and convincing. >> but as emotions began to run high the facts were calmly recited and documented and something surprising happened. >> there's an obstruction of justice going on. someone is trying to buy the silence of a witness. >> the father of maryland's current governor was moved by the evidence. >> the thing that's so appalling to me is that the president when this whole idea was suggested to him didn't rise up and say get out of here you're in the office of the president of the united states. how can you talk about blackmail and bribery and keeping witnesses silent? this is the presidency of the united states.
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>> one, by one, they put conscious over party. >> i cannot condone what i have heard. i cannot excuse it and i cannot and will not stand still for it. >> i wish the president could do something to absolve himself. >> perhaps the most conservative southerner was walter flowers of alabama, he served as the segregationist george wallace's campaign chairman. >> i wake up nights, at least on those nights i have been able to go to sleep lately wondering if this could not be some sorted dream. impeach the president of the united states. >> but he did vote to impeach. even though he said it gave him an ulcer. even conservatives reached across the aisle to say thank you. >> it has been very fair. >> this has been both historic and honorable. >> republicans understood that they were not going to carry
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their base if they voted for impeachment. and some of them did it anyway. >> all of those in favor signify by saying aye. all of those opposed, no. >> aye. >> the committee improved three articles of impeachment. obstruction of justice, contempt of congress, abuse of power. >> no, no. >> aye. >> aye. >> no. >> no. >> aye. >> chairman peter rodino left the room and cried. official impeachment would come later with a full house vote but it never happened. nixon's wall of republican defenders had crumbled. >> there's a countdown of sorts
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on tonight. a countdown toward the end of the nixon presidency. >> tonight at 9:00 eastern daylight time the president of the united states will address the nation. >> it was over. >> i have never been a quitter. to leave office before my term is completed is abhorrent to every instinct in my body. but as president i must put the interests of america first. therefore, i shall re-sign the presidency effective at noon tomorrow. >> the impeachment the framers had imagined, it worked. democracy worked. >> there's the president waving good-bye and you hear the applause. >> the scandal itself triggered a loss of faith in government and in politicians.
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it would be 25 years before impeachment would come up again. >> your testimony is subject to the penalty of perjury. do you understand that, sir? >> i do. >> this time it was a completely different story. ear. their gps took them to places out of a storybook. and they called grandma when manny felt sad about not being able to swim. overall, they shared 176 pictures. but when the moment came, they held their breath, and watched their son learn to believe in himself.
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prewashing and removing stuck-on foods, the first time. wow, that's clean! cascade platinum. in 1978 a bright eyed 32-year-old bill clinton was running for governor of arkansas. >> i tried to bring out the best in people through politics but i haven't been very happy doing it. >> he and his wife hillary were also investing in real estate. >> a nice little patch of land in the ozarks. that plot of land on the white river, a two-bit real estate
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deal that ended up losing money would change the course of history. >> are you a subject or a target? did they read you your rights? >> decades later. the white water controversy. >> white water. that lead to a sex scandal. >> william jefferson clinton is impeached. >> that became the second presidential impeachment in american history. how on earth did that little corner of arkansas -- >> i hereby deliver these articles of impeachment. >> explode into a constitutional show down. >> somehow one thing leads to another and we're on the house floor debating whether the president of the united states
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should be removed from office. >> i did not have sexual relations with that woman. >> when we think of the clinton impeachment, we think of a certain white house intern but before there was monica, there were the mcdougals. jim and susan. he might never have been impeached if not for them. it was jim mcdougal that convinced the clintons to invest in white water and they had other financial ties as well. so when they landed in legal trouble for fraud. >> if i'm found guilty i'll go to the slammer. >> whitewater development is not going to go away. there's too many questions. >> the clintons came underfire too. >> questions have been raised about their financial and personal involvement with mcdougal. >> in the end nothing came of it but it planted the seed for something much bigger. something that would lead to this ultimate constitutional confrontation. >> there was a growing drum beat
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for a independent council to investigate white water. >> we did nothing improper and i have nothing to say about it. >> thank you. >> old story. >> clinton had a faithful story to make. block a special counsel and take a beating in the press -- >> it appears to be a case of the president's past coming back to haunt him. >> or give in, leaving himself open to a potentially limitless investigation. the president gave in. >> i don't want to be distracted by this anymore. let them look into it. i just want to go back to work. >> years later he would call that one of the biggest miscalculations of his presidency. >> one you have an independent council appointed with no budget or no limits, the prosecutor will keep looking for the crime until they can find it. >> the first special prosecutor -- >> as quickly and as thoroughly as possible. >> about to wrap up his investigation quickly. >> let's get out of the way -- >> he was replaced and his successor ken star was far more
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aggressive. >> our job is to gather facts and to get at the truth. >> expanding the inquiry way beyond whitewater. >> how is this whitewater. >> the investigation leads in all of these different directions. >> this is truly a wildly historic night. >> no one could have been happier with star's aggressive approach than newt gingrich and the republicans. >> there's been a sea change in american politics. >> we're winning. >> they had swept into congress in 1994. >> this is an earthquake. >> preaching a new gospel of strict orthodox conservatism. >> newt gingrich reshapes the republican party. our base wants this, we do this. we do not compromise with democrats. >> president clinton became the democrat the republicans despised the most. he was morally corrupt they said. >> i expected with marijuana a time or two and didn't inhale. >> created with the truth.
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>> i was bill clinton's lover for 12 years. >> and a womanizer. >> these tabloid allegations were false. >> they viewed him as almost an imposture as president. >> the law is the law. >> meanwhile, ken star had been digging into the clintons for more than two years for no avail. >> are you going to be working for congress or the courts or the public? >> his investigation was winding down. then out of the view, some explosive tape recordings came his way. >> i never expected to feel this way about him. >> conversations with monica. >> we fooled around. >> that were secretly recorded by her co-worker. >> if you get to orgasm that's having sex. >> no it's not. >> yes it is. >> no it's not. >> he expanded to look into her. >> my instant reaction was that's nuts. i couldn't believe star was
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going down this road. >> you understand, sir, that your answers to my question today are testimony that's being given under oath. >> yes. >> star learned that the president was testifying about her in another matter. >> it's just humiliating what he did to me. >> a sexual harassment lawsuit brought by paula jones. >> your testimony is subject to the penalty of perjury. do you understand that, sir? >> i do. >> in his testimony, clinton was not truthful about lewinsky. >> i never had sexual relations with her. i never had an affair with her. >> star now had a case for perjury. >> there's new allegations of infidelity and perjury this morning against president clinton. >> over the next few months, all hell broke loose. >> charges of sex, lies, and audio tapes. >> clinton kept denying the affair. >> there is no improper relationship. the allegations i have read are not true. >> but star was able to get her dress that had clinton's dna on
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it. the president was forced to tell the truth. >> indeed, i did have a relationship with mrs. lewinsky that was not appropriate. in fact, it was wrong. >> this goes into considerable detail. >> there was, in fact, semen on that dress. >> many viewers may find it offensive. >> they released a detailed x-rated account of the scandal. listing lying under oath and obstruction of justice. it's easy to forget in hindsight but bill clinton was in real danger of being pushed out of office. many of his fellow democrats were furious with him. >> let justice be done though the heavens fall. >> they came to the white house like the republicans did with nixon in 1974 and said your time's up, that would have been it. >> but clinton, the ultimate come back kid -- >> i never should have mislead the country. >> was able to rally the party and the country back to his side. >> i will continue to do all i
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can to reclaim the trust of the american people and serve them well. >> his behavior may have been reprehenceable but he was hardly the threat to the public that impeachment was designed for. the american public agreed. the democrats scored a shocking upset in the midterm elections gaining seats in the house. >> the lewinsky issue didn't carry any wait. >> newt gingrich that predicted a big republican victory. >> we had a chance to win startling victories all over the country. >> lost his job as speaker. >> sobering a disappointment election. >> impeachment is a two-edged sword. you may intend to use it against your enemy but it could very well hurt you even more politically. >> president clinton was thrilled thinking he was in the clear. >> on capitol hill, tom delay is known as the hammer. >> but hardcore conservatives
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were hell-bent on impeaching him anyway. >> the house has no choice but to proceed with an impeachment inquiry. >> some republicans preferred a lesser punishment for clinton. ce censure rather than impeachment but that took the option off the table. >> republicans were given a choice. either impeach him or let him off. which is it going to be? >> article one is adopted. >> we have witnessed history. >> the house impeached bill clinton almost entirely along party lines. >> the president re-signed and his legacy will be forever scarred today. >> on this article of impeachment. >> in the senate, he is easily acquitted. >> william jefferson clinton is not guilty. >> in retrospect it's viewed as a partisan effort. the american people spoke and said we don't really want to
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impeach this president. >> congress took the law that created his job. a bipartisan acknowledgment that things had gone too far. >> women will be silent no more. >> but today in the me too era, clinton's impeachment is being seriously reconsidered. his affair with a young intern seen by many as an abuse of power. >> my greatest mentor, hillary clinton. >> democrat kirsten gillibrand that holds hillary clinton's old senate seat and is now running for president said in 2017 that bill clinton should have re-signed. >> the kind of behavior tolerated a long time ago will never be tolerated today and we can't allow it to be tolerated today. rtphone. i became an engineer because of them.
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when george bush was sworn in as the 43rd president of the united states -- >> so help me god. >> the cloud of bill clinton's impeachment still hung over the country. >> the president of the united states, george w. bush. >> what no one knew then was a new kind of partisan warfare had been unleashed. every president that came after clinton has had to contend with impeachment fever. >> impeach bush. >> it no longer seemed unthinkable to impeach a president. >> he lied to us. he should be impeached. >> impeachment went from being something that you use only in terms of crisis to something you
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use for every day partisan battles. that is a horrible development for the american people. >> it is a grotesque sight. >> after one of the most traumatic moments in american history, the country came together. >> i can hear you. the rest of the world hears you. and the people -- and the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon. [ chanting usa ] >> the country supported president bush as he took the united states into battle to destroy sadam hussein's weapons of mass destruction. but there were none and the occupation of iraq was a tragic
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mess. >> an anti-war movement grew quickly. and it used impeachment as a weapon. >> bring down these war criminals, like bush, he needs to be impeached. >> impeachment talk got louder. >> will the house come to order? >> and democratic congressman introduced dozens of articles of impeachment. but the leader of the democrats, nancy pelosi wanted none of it. >> impeachment is off the table. >> disagreements over policy were not intended by the founders to be the basis for a serious attempt at impeachment. >> it's not a crime or a misdemeanor under the constitution to make a mistake. >> after bush's mistake, the country was totally polarized in it's view of the president. and the partisan gap was the widest ever reported. >> ladies and gentlemen, the president of the united states and the vice president of the
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united states -- >> impeachment fever would only get worse under the next president. >> change has come to america. >> in 2008, barrack obama was elected on a promise, to help heal the country's extreme partisan divide. but the candidate who had campaigned on yes we can ran into a wall of republican opposition. >> no you can't. >> the tea party formed around an almost fanatical opposition to barrack obama. in 2010, it propelled a wave of new republicans to congress. >> what does it feel like? >> it feels bad. >> this new hyperpartisan congress presided over a growing impeachment movement. >> when you promise that you're out to impeach the president, you can make a name for yourself. you can raise money. you can rally the base. >> impeach him.
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really? >> impeachment is not supposed to be used as a rallying cry to get people to vote for you. both sides played around with it. >> impeachment campaigns against president's bush and obama never gained legitimacy or real legislative support so one could argue who cares? it's only talk. >> if you play around with impeachment that way, over time, the american people are going to misunderstand it's constitutional power and it's necessity. >> when barrack obama left office he was more popular than george bush but the gap between the people who loved him and the people who hated him was even larger than it had been with president bush. >> the stark polarization of the last few years is the worst in american history with one exception. the period around the civil war on april 15th 1865 president
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lincoln was assassinated. the country was still deeply divided over the civil war. enter andrew johnson. the vice president who succeeded lincoln. johnson was a southern democrat who lincoln picked to create a national unity ticket. there's few things historians agree upon but this is one, andrew johnson was one of america's worst presidents. >> he was essentially an incredibly racist, neo-confederate that was dead set against congress's program of reconstructing the south. >> republicans in congress despised andrew johnson. >> he stood for the repression of african americans whom a war had just been fought to liberate. >> president johnson vetoed almost all the measures to give civil liberties and representation to blacks. the republican controlled congress decided to wage a political war. >> it set an impeachment trap for him. >> that trap was called the
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tenure of office act. >> congress passed a law over johnson's veto that said he could not fire his own cabinet members. >> when president johnson fired his secretary of war, the house approved 11 articles of impeachment against him. one of which accused the president of bringing congress into ridicule and disgrace. >> their entire approach to impeachment was partisan and ideological. however bad a president andrew johnson was, there were no grounds to remove him. >> the country was one vote away from removing president andrew johnson from office, essentially because congress did not like him or his policies. >> johnson basically agreed to cease all the behavior that had been so problematic to go along with the congressional reconstruction program. >> historians today regard the impeachment trap as unconstitutional. >> impeachment fell into disrepute. >> johnson's impeachment would serve as a warning about the
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at the end of each of my specials i have always stood before you and given you my views of the topic at hand. i'm going to do that now but in a slightly dicfferent way. i thought it best to ask the basic questions we all wonder about and then listen to what
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our experts had to say. it's important to understand that impeachment is a political process. and impeachable offenses at the end of the day, whatever congress defines as such. but we live in a constitutional republic history. so what can we say about the mandate of congress under which it can impeach a president? in other words, what are high crimes and misdemeanors? >> high crimes and misdemeanors, which is the phrase used in the constitution, has a very concrete specific meaning. high means pertaining to high office. so if your crime or misdemeanor has nothing to do with your office, you're not really covered by the framers' idea of impeachment. >> if you look carefully at the reasoning of republicans and democrats, who have voted for impeachment over the course of our history, you'll notice that they always come back to the idea that some action or some
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pattern of conduct by the chief executive represents a threat to our democracy and to our constitution. >> one of the questions we must all wonder about is why is it that we hear so much talk about impeachment these days? bush, obama, and now trump. >> impeach 45! >> when did this all start? >> it really has been about 20 years from the clinton impeachment that impeachment talk has so overtaken our political discourse. president trump came to office with about 1/3 of the american public already supporting his impeachment. that's extraordinary. >> and that gets us to the elephant in the room. has donald trump committed offenses that could be considered impeachable? like money laundering, which some suspect in his real estate deals. or fraud involving trump university. or tax evasion, which is why
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some theorize he won't show us his tax returns. >> crimes that trump may allegedly have committed before he had anything to do with the presidency, done count as crimes and misdemeanors and they would not be impeachable offenses in my view. >> what about the issue of obstruction of justice? >> obstruction of justice is a charge that was used both against richard nixon and against bill clinton. and if it's real, it's a very strong ground for impeachment. >> harvard law professor noah feldman says that when the president fired james comey he may have committed obstruction of justice. >> my own view is that he could have done so if he did it with corrupt intent. it's true that the director of the fbi works for the president and the president has the right to remove him on any whim that he might have. but the fact the president can remove comey doesn't mean that it's permissible for him to do it if he did it for gain. >> to prove that you'd need a smoking gun. >> it's very hard to prove corrupt intent. >> feldman does see possible charges in another case.
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michael cohen's sworn testimony that the president directed him to make an illegal payment to stormy daniels. cohen says it was made to influence the election. >> a president who distorts the electoral process and breaks the law in doing so is someone who is potentially impeachable. >> the president thinks it's a witch hunt. >> what about special counsel robert mueller's russia investigation? >> if there were evidence that donald trump further colluded with russians in a way that undercut the legitimacy of the election, that would be an even deeper parallel to the richard nixon case. >> to see the constitutional process through to its conclusion. >> of course we don't yet know what mueller may have found in his investigation. but there was one area where i was surprised to find considerable agreement among our experts. all spoke with wariness about wielding the sword of impeachment. >> impeachment is capital
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punishment for a presidency. it's something that congress should not consider unless all other avenues are no longer open. >> and what would an impeachment process look like in the deeply divided america that we live in today? >> a lot of folks think that impeachment just falls out of the sky like some kind of sword of damocles. and i'm here to tell you that it doesn't. congress has to decide whether impeachment is the right move. >> unless there is overwhelming proof that the majority of the country accepts, impeachment will not bring this country together. >> it creates a crisis of domestic governance. it activates the worst kinds of partisan tribalism on all sides of the aisle. the only circumstances where i would actively support impeachment would be where there was evidence so glaring that failure to impeach would essentially show the hypocrisy of the whole system. >> in other words, america might be too polarized today to be able to deal with an impeachment
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honestly and responsibly. that's a dark verdict on the state of our politics, but it rings true, and it has a worrying consequence. >> when you live in a world of broken politics and when you live in a world of extraordinary partisan polarization, it just may not be possible to generate the consensus necessary to use the impeachment power. that's a scary thought. there may be circumstances where we just can't wait for the next election. and i don't have a reassuring answer to that. >> throughout this special report i have tried not to tell you what to think about this explosive issue but to give you the facts and context to help you think. i hope i've succeeded. and that is our program tonight. i'm fareed zakaria. thank you for joining us. ♪
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♪ ♪ ♪ slowly but surely, the 1970s are disappearing. the 1980s will be upon us. and what a decade it is coming up.
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happy new year! >> as we began the '80s in the television world, the landscape was on any given evening 9 out of 10 people watching only one of three networks. >> more than 30 million people are addicted to it. social critics are mystified by its success. what is it? it's television's primetime prairie pot boiler "dallas." >> a move like that will destroy all of ewing oil and it will ruin our family name. >> i assure you, a thought like that never crossed my mind. >> brother or no brother, whatever it takes, i'll stop you from destroying ewing oil. >> "dallas" established new ground in a weekly hour-long show. that literally captivated america for 13 years. >> "dallas" is a television show which in some ways is rooted in the 1970s, and one of the crazy things that emerges is this character, j.r. ewing, as a pop phenomenon. >> tell me, j.r., which slut are you going to stay with tonight? >> what difference does it make?
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whoever it is has got to be more interesting than the slut i'm looking at right now. >> he was such a delicious villain everyone was completely enamored by this character. >> at this point, so many people were watching television that you could do something so unexpected that it would become news overnight. >> who's there? [ gunshots ] >> the national obsession in 1980 around who shot j.r. it's hard to imagine how obsessed we all were with that question. but we were. >> who shot j.r. is about as ideal a cliffhanger as you possibly could get. >> who did shoot j.r.? we may never get the answer to that question. the people who produce that program are going to keep us in suspense for as long as they possibly can. >> who shot j.r. and then we broke for the summer. then coincidentally the actors
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went on strike and it delayed the resolution. and it just started to percolate through the world. >> i remember going on vacation to england that summer and that's all that people were talking about there. >> we know you don't die. you couldn't die. >> we don't know that. >> well, how could you die? you couldn't come back next season. >> that's what i mean. i couldn't come back but the show could still go. >> but you wouldn't. what is that show without j.r.? >> well, that's what i figure. >> i guess if you don't know by now who shot j.r., you probably do not care. last night some 82 million americans did. and they watched the much touted "dallas" episode. it could become the most watched television show ever. >> who shot j.r. is a reflection of old-fashioned television. it's a moment that gathers everybody around the electronic fireplace, which is now the television set. >> one special american television program. a critic said it transcends in popularity every other american statement about war.
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and something special happened today to mobile army surgical hospital 4077. that will touch millions of americans. >> it was the kind of event that would draw the world's breath. stage 9, 20th century fox studios. the end of the korean war. the television version "m.a.s.h." >> it's been an honor and privilege to have worked with you. i'm very, very proud to have known you. >> there were those landmark times when shows that had been watched through the '70s and into the '80s like "m.a.s.h." had its final episode. and we were all sad to see them go. >> i'll miss you. >> i'll miss you. a lot. >> all over the country, armies of fans crowded around television sets to watch the final episode and to bid "m.a.s.h." farewell. >> the finale of "m.a.s.h." was unprecedented. 123 million people watched one television program at the same time.
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>> i really should be allowed to go home. there's nothing wrong with me. >> when we ended the show, we got telegrams of congratulations from henry kissinger and ronald reagan. the size of the response and the emotional nature of the response that we were getting was difficult for us to understand. >> who shot j.r. and the last episode of "m.a.s.h." are the last call for the pre-cable world of television. it's like they are the last time that that huge audience will all turn up for one event. >> all right. that's it. let's roll. hey. let's be careful out there. >> dispatch, we have a 911. armed robbery in progress. >> when quality does emerge on television, the phrase "too good for tv" is often heard. one recent network offering
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that seems to deserve that phrase is "hill street blues." >> "hill street" is one of the changing points of the entire industry in the history of tv. >> we had all watched a documentary about cops and had this real hand-held in the moment quality that we were very enamored of. >> the minute you looked at it, it looked different. it had a mood to it. you could almost smell the stale coffee. >> we didn't want to do a standard cop show where, you know, you have a crime and you have your two cops and you go out and catch the bad guy and you sweat him and he confesses and that's it. cops have personal lives that impact their behavior in profound ways. >> what about him? is he here or elsewhere? >> don't get excited. we're working on it. >> how is this for logic,
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ferillo? if he's not here, and if he's not elsewhere, he's lost. >> we didn't say that, counselor. >> never in my entire life have i listened to so much incompetence covered up by so much unmitigated crap. find my client, ferillo, or i swear, i'll have you up on charges. >> there would be these ongoing arcs for these characters that would play out over five, six episodes, sometimes an entire season. and in a way for certain stories, over the entire series. and no one had really done that in an hour-long dramatic show. >> these past four months, i've missed you. i had to find that out. come home. >> i think in the past people had watched television passively. and the one thing i think we did set out to be were provocateurs. >> you fill it out. >> what the hell is the matter with you, man? >> i'll tell you something. they don't pay me enough to deal with animals like this!
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the first thing they see is a white face and all they want to do is -- >> listen to me. it was a white man that pulled the trigger, not a black one. it was a white one. >> it set a trend. the idea that an audience can accept its characters being deeply flawed. even though they're wearing this uniform. and i thought that that was important, to finally get across. >> don't do it. no biting. >> we wanted to make a show that made you participate. made you pay attention. and i think that worked pretty well. >> and the winner is -- >> "hill street blues." >> 21 nominations. and we went on to win eight emmys. it put us on the map, literally. and that's when people finally checked us out. >> programming chief of one of the networks used to say to me about shows like "hill street" and "st. elsewhere" what the american people wants is a cheeseburger and what you're trying to give them is a french delicacy. and he said your job is to keep shoving it down their throat until after a while they'll say
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that doesn't taste bad. and maybe they'll even order it themselves when they go to the restaurant. >> nice for you to join us. >> the success of "hill street blues" influenced everything that came after. then of course you saw shows like "st. elsewhere koechlt." >> do you know what people call this place? not st. elegius. st. elsewhere. a place you wouldn't want to send your mother-in-law. >> when it first came on, it was promoted as "hill street hospital." >> you gave your patients the wrong antibiotics. you don't know what medications they're on. you write the worst progress notes. you're pathetic. pathetic! >> bill. >> what? >> dr. morning needs you right away. >> i'm sorry. >> "st. elsewhere" broke every rule there was and then built some new rules. >> called a little while ago. they ran a routine panel on that pint of blood. t-cell count was off. >> they would have tragic things happen to these characters. there was real heartache in these people's lives and you really felt for them. >> i've got aids?
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>> television at its best is a mirror of society in the moment. >> "st. elsewhere" challenged people and challenged you as an actor, much less the audience to think. the stuff they gave you was extreme in what they did, whether they were dealing with aids or having one of their main doctor characters raped in a prison. >> they tackled lots of difficult subjects. >> "st. elsewhere" was run by people trying to stretch the medium and in the '80s, television producers were encouraged to stretch the medium. >> clear. -sport legend, bo jackson... (bo) sup? guys - you don't need me. just tell people they get a great network and a great price with sprint. (sassbot) yes! you can get an unlimited plan and a super cool all new samsung galaxy s10e for just $35 a month. on an lte advanced newtork that's up to 2x faster than before. (evelyn) bo does...know. (vo) switch and get an unlimited plan with the
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a lot of people used to say i was there. now people say they watch it on television. >> a lot of excitement connected to sports in the '80s. you used to have to depend on the five minutes at the end of your local newscast. there just hadn't been enough. give us a whole network of sports. >> there's just one place you need to go for all the names and games making sports news. espn "sportscenter." >> what happens in the 1980s is sports becomes a tv show. and what are tv shows built around? they're built around characters. >> you can't be serious, man. you cannot be serious! you got the absolute pits of the world. you know that? >> mcenroe, the perfect villain.
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the new yorker that people loved to hate. borg the cool swede never giving any emotion away. >> what tennis really wants is to get its two best players playing over and over again in the final. whether they are john mcenroe and bjorn borg or chris evert and martina navratilova. that's what we want to tune in over and over. >> three match points to martina navratilova. >> this man has a smile that lights up a television screen from here to bangor, maine. >> and then there is magic johnson, this urban kid from michigan and larry bird, this guy who worked carrying trash. one plays for the los angeles lakers. the other plays for the boston celtics. it's a great story. >> lakers had several chances. here's larry bird. >> magic johnson leads the attack. >> look at that pass. oh, what a show! oh, what a show!
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>> when those championship games are in primetime and people are paying attention to that, television feeds into those rivalries and makes them bigger than they've ever been before. >> somewhat primitive skill. they're just as good as dead. >> every mike tyson fight was an event. because every fight was like an ax murder. when he fought michael spinks, the electricity, you could just feel watching it on teefgs. tv. tyson was made for tv because there was drama. >> it's all over. mike tyson has won it! >> not a lot of junior high school kids can dunk. especially at -- >> everybody tries. >> i think that he is starting to transcend his sport that he's becoming a public figure. >> michael jordan becomes the model that every other athlete wants to shoot for. they want to be a brand. and that's what television does for these athletes. turns them into worldwide iconic brands.
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>> the inbounds pass comes in to jordan. michael at the foul line. a shot. good! bulls win! >> athletes in the '80s became part of an ongoing group of people we cared about. we just had an enormous pent-up demand for sports and the '80s began to provide. thank goodness. >> cable television is continuing to grow. it's estimated that it will go into 1 million more u.s. households this year. >> with cable television suddenly offering an array of different channel choices, the audience bifurcated. that's an earthquake. >> i want my mtv! >> i want my mtv! >> i want my mtv! ♪ >> a new concept is born. the best of tv combined with the best of radio. this is it. welcome to mtv, music television. the world's first 24-hour stereo video music channel. >> music television, what a concept. mtv was pow, in your face.
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you were not going to turn us off. >> mtv did nothing but play current music videos all day long. so let me get this straight. you turn on the tv, and it's like the radio? >> i'm martha quinn. the music will continue nonstop on mtv music television's newest component of your stereo system. >> when mtv launched a generation was launched. 18 to 24-year-olds were saying, i want my mtv. i want my mtv videos. i want my mtv fashion. >> yo. >> mtv was the first network really focused on the youth market. and becomes hugely influential because they understand each other. the audience and the network. >> mtv had a giant impact. visually and musically on every part of the tv culture that came next. >> freeze, miami vice. ♪ >> friday nights on nbc are different this season thanks to "miami vice."
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it's a show with an old theme but a lot of new twists. described by one critic as containing flashes of brilliance nonetheless, shot entirely on location in south miami, the story centers around two undercover vice cops. >> i don't know how this is going to work, tubbs. i mean, not exactly up my alley style and persona-wise. heaven knows i'm no box of candy. >> television very much was the small screen. it was interesting about tony's pilot screen play for "miami vice" is that it was exactly not that. very much the approach was, okay, they call this a television series. but we're going to make one-hour movies every single week. >> here we go. stand by. >> action. >> police. >> they were just describing the show as a new wave cop show. >> yeah, it's a cop show for the '80s. we use a lot of mtv images and rock music to help describe the mood and feeling of our show. >> in a lot of ways you don't get "miami vice" without mtv because in a lot of ways "miami vice" was a long video.
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the music was such a big part of that show. ♪ >> there was an allure to using great music that everybody was listening to as opposed to the routine kind of tv scoring of that period. ♪ i can feel it coming in the air ♪ >> it not only wasn't not afraid to let long scenes play out. it would drag -- a car going from point a to point b could be a four-minute phil collins song. you know. and it was. ♪ oh lord >> being able to take a television series like "miami vice" and let's really kind of rock 'n' roll with this until somebody says stop or are you guys crazy, you can't do that, and nobody ever did. >> freeze! police. i don't keep track of regrets.
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after "m.a.s.h." went off the air, the next season there wasn't a single sitcom in the top ten. first time that had ever happened in tv history. the prevailing feeling was that the sitcom was dead. >> brandon tartikoff, nbc programming chief, says reports of the sitcom's death were greatly exaggerated. >> time and time again, if you study television history, just when someone is counting a form out, that's exactly the form of programming that leads to the next big hit. ♪ >> so 1984 "the cosby show" comes on. bill cosby is not new to tv. he's had other tv shows. but "the cosby show" is very different. it stands apart from everything else he's done. >> i wanted mine scrambled. >> coming up. >> they talked about parenting.
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before that, the kids were cool and the parents were idiots. "cosby" says the parents are in charge and that was something new. >> instead of acting disappointed because i'm not like you, maybe you can just accept who i am and love me anyway because i'm your son. [ applause ] >> that's the dumbest thing i've ever heard in my life! >> it helps the casting, if anything helps a lot in television. and the kids were just great. >> if you were the last person on this earth, i still wouldn't tell you. >> you don't have to tell me what you did. just tell me what they're going to do to you. >> unlike every other show on tv, it's showing an upper middle class black family. this wasn't "all in the family." they weren't tackling deep issues. but that was okay. the mere fact that they existed was a deep issue. >> the decade was waiting for something real. in other words, unless it's real, it doesn't seem like it moves anybody. if someone is feeling something, you get to the heart, you get to the mind.
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and fudge hit the hearts and minds, you've got yourself a hit. >> how was school? >> school? dear, i brought home two children that may or may not be ours. >> "the cosby show" brought this tremendous audience to nbc. and that was a bridge to us. our ratings went way up. ♪ sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name ♪ >> even the theme song to "cheers" puts you in a good mood. >> good evening, everybody. >> norm! >> what's shaking, norm? >> all four cheeks and a couple of chins, coach. >> by the end of the "cheers" pilot, not only did you know who everybody was, but you wanted to come back and see what was going to happen. >> it's like all you have to do is watch it once. you're going to love these people. these are universal characters, and the humor worked on so many levels. >> i was up until 2:00 in the morning finishing off kierkegaard.
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>> i hope he thanked you for it. >> you have to create a community that people are identifying with. and "cheers" gives you that community. >> i've always wanted to skydive. i've just never had the guts. >> what'd it feel like? >> i imagine a lot like sex. not that i have to imagine what sex is like. i have plenty of sex. and plenty of this, too. why don't you just get off my back, okay? >> in the first episode there was a rather passionate annoyance. i was saying, something's going on here. >> a really intelligent woman would see your line of b.s. a mile away. >> i never met an intelligent woman that i would want to date. >> on behalf of the intelligent women around the world, may i just say, phew. >> we saw what ted and shelley had together. we said oh, no. we've got to do this relationship. >> ted and i understood what
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they were writing right away. >> if you'll admit that you are carrying a little torch for me, i'll admit that i'm carrying a little one for you. >> oh, i am carrying a little torch for you. >> well, i'm not carrying one for you. >> diane knew how to tease sam. sam knew how to tease diane. and i guess we knew how to tease the audience. >> this incredible chemistry between the two of them ignited the show. that's what drove the show for the first five years. >> what's the matter? >> oh, i'm devastated. i need something expeditious and brutal to blast me into sweet oblivion. make it a mimosa. >> we had the luck to be able to rotate the cast and every time we put somebody in, they were explosions. >> there was something very
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special about that setting, those characters that i never got tired of writing that show. >> sophisticated surveys, telephonic samplings, test audiences. all of those things help to separate winners from losers and make midcourse corrections. but you can't cut all comedies from the same cookie cutters. all you can hope is that every night turns out like thursday. >> yo, angela! >> next. >> how rude. >> quick, i'll give him that. >> all television said, oh, maybe sitcoms are alive again. and that's all that it took. it took one success. >> a few years from now, something new may tempt the people who pick what we see. but it's a very safe guess that whatever gets hot for a season or two the good men and women who create good television comedy will be laughing all the way to the bank. delicious boost® high protein nutritional drink
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this is my last broadcast as the anchorman of the "cbs evening news." for me it's a moment for which i long have planned but which nevertheless comes with some sadness. for almost two decades, after all, we've been meeting like this in the evenings, and i'll miss that. and that's the way it is, friday, march 6th, 1981. i'll be away on assignment and dan rather will be sitting in here for the next few years.
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good night. >> uncle walter had dominated certainly cbs, but in a way the country. people used to say he was the most trusted man in the country. >> once walter cronkite retires, all three network news anchors within a period of a couple years switch over to a new generation. the '80s may have been the last gasp where people watching the media liked and trusted the media. >> nuclear arms and how to prevent global destruction are expected to be the major topic of president reagan's news conference tonight. that conference will be nationally televised within the hour. leslie stahl is at the white house. >> the white house is hoping -- >> in the '80s, women came into the newsroom. when i first joined, it was '72. and there were very few. by the '80s, there were more and more. the decade of the '80s was still a time of sink or swim. you had to be resilient in your own way to survive in a period when you were going up against a
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lot of people who still didn't think women had what it took. >> these are some of the most famous faces in broadcasting. all of whom happen to be women. >> the best producers, i'm going to get fired -- the best producers at cbs news are women. and they are at the level of taking hold and making decisions about individual pieces. they are not yet executive producers of all the news shows. but they will be. >> the past 24 hours, christine craft has taken her cause to many of the nation's news and talk programs. >> i didn't set out to be joan of arc, but i think what happened to me deserves some attention. >> reporter: christine craft had a very successful career but there she was in her late 30s and the tv station said to her, we're taking you off the air because you've gotten older and you're not as attractive as you once were, which was outrageous. and she decided to make an issue of it. she filed a lawsuit and it became a huge national topic of discussion. >> a jury said she got a raw deal because she is a woman. >> and so women in television
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news everywhere were asked, what do you think about christine craft. >> unfortunately in recent years the emphasis has been increasingly on physical appearance and to the extent this decision helped swing the emphasis back to substance and to good journalism i think we've got something to be happy about. >> it was important to make the point that what mattered was, what kind of reporter are you? but it took the christine craft incident, i think, to bring that conversation out into the open. >> this coming sunday, a new television network opens for business. cnn. cable news network. you're throwing all the dice on this one. >> why not? nothing ventured, nothing gained. >> well, on that original point, mr. turner, thank you very much, indeed. >> i wanted to see what was going on in the world. and there was no way that you could do it watching the regular television stations. news only comes on at 6:00 and 10:00. but if there was news on 24 hours, people could watch it any time. >> we decided on june 1 and
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barring satellite problems in the future, we won't be signing off until the world ends. >> it was widely believed it was a fool's errand. how could this possibly find an audience? well, he did. >> camera three. >> good evening. i'm david walker. >> and i'm lois harp. now here's the news. president carter has arrived -- >> television news before this was stuff that had already happened. for the first time, cnn brought the world to people in realtime. >> cnn, the world's most important network. >> i didn't do cable news network because somebody told me it couldn't be done. i figured it was a very viable concept, and i went ahead and did it. it was after we announced we were going to do it that the detractors showed up. >> is cable news network just going to be a new means of delivering the same kind of fare? >> no. it already does provide different fare. and cable news network is a perfect and maybe the best
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example of that. >> people love news. and we had lots of it. and the other guys had not very much. so choice and quantity won out. >> new york city, hello. >> the major catastrophe in america's space program. >> i am lou dobbs along with financial editor myron kandel. >> jessica mcclure trapped for almost three days now in a dry artesian well. >> the iron curtain between east germany and west berlin has come tumbling down. >> good evening, i'm pat buchanan, the conservative in "crossfire." >> the american people appreciated the new television. they certainly came to cnn in droves. >> mr. gorbachev and i both agree on the desirability of freer and more extensive personal contact between the peoples of the soviet union and the united states. >> we began to realize that the best way to get a message to a foreign leader was to have the president go in the rose garden and make a statement. because everybody was watching cnn.
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>> cnn was a breakthrough. it changed the whole world. >> it changed quickly. the network news business. that business that we weren't the only ones. and it was hard. it's hard to be on the top little perch and have to come down off it. >> a special segment tonight, the network news. the first in a two-part series on the profound changes taking place in television news. changes being brought about by business, competition and technology. >> there were a variety of reasons why people who worked at the broadcast networks were freaked out in the 1980s. one of them was cnn and the rise of cable. another was being taken over by foreign entities in corporate america. >> new owners spent billions buying the networks recently, and all of them want their money's worth. >> people began to find out that news could be a profit center. and that focused a lot of attention on us. a lot from people in wall street, for instance.
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>> if you think about the news divisions of cbs, nbc and abc, they were part of a really proud tradition. a journalistic tradition that really matters. we serve the public. this is not about profit and loss. the people who worked at those news stations were totally freaked out by what it meant they were now owned by these larger corporate entities. >> the television news isn't profitable at some point, there won't be any more television news on the networks. >> i worry about people only worried about money and power getting a hold of television. it has higher purposes than that. >> we have seen the news, and it is us. tremfya® can help adults with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis get clearer. and stay clearer. most patients who saw 90% clearer skin at 28 weeks stayed clearer through 48 weeks. tremfya® may lower your ability to fight infections and may increase your risk of infections. before treatment, your doctor should check you for infections and tuberculosis. tell your doctor if you have an infection or have symptoms such as: fever, sweats, chills, muscle aches or cough. before starting tremfya® tell your doctor if you plan to or have recently received a vaccine. tremfya®. stay clearer.
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sometimes ambition in a woman is considered to be a dirty word unfortunately. >> i don't hear the female voices reverberating in the halls of power in this business. >> i'm sure there aren't more shows about women. talking about who they are. >> directing seems to be an area that is almost impossible to break through. >> i think the '80s were the era when women were being looked at with a little skepticism, but definitely with more acceptability. you could see the door opening. but it wasn't wide open.
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>> cagney and lacey was huge. that there would be two women and they had a serious job and they solved crimes and were out on the streets. they were tough. that was emblematic or maybe out in front a little of what was actually happening in the country. >> so we're a terrific team. >> this is true. >> there had been by that point hundreds of buddy cop shows. but these buddies were women. that had never been done before. >> i didn't go after this job because i couldn't find anything else. all right? i did not come here because i needed some kind of work to help pay the orthodontist. this means something to me. >> what the hell are we talking about here? >> we didn't even realize this was going to be such a big deal. and strangely, all these guys would say to us, well, yeah. i mean, it's a good script, but who's going to save them in the end? >> come on.
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we're taking you out of here. >> my wife. >> you don't take one more step. you understand me? >> sergeant nelson, you have until 8:00 tomorrow morning to turn yourself into i.a.d. >> phyllis! >> if you don't, i will. > it was the time where you really saw an emergence of women on television who were not necessarily just 20 and blond and had a small role. but women who had substantial roles. ♪ thank you for being a friend ♪ travel down the road and back again ♪ >> it was unpredictable that an audience, a young audience, a not so young audience and lots in between, could relate to those older ladies. >> ma, if you couldn't see, why didn't you call me to come get you? >> i tried to. but every time i put in a dime and dialed, a condom popped out. i got five in my pocket. here, dorothy.
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a lifetime supply. >> she was recently named along with norman lear and gym brookes as one of television's most gifted creator writers. when you look back at the past women's role models on tv, it's easy to see susan harris's impact. >> susan harris was the greatest writer in my opinion of her generation of that time. singularly. so, you know, all credit to her for coming up with so many iterations of something so amazing. >> do you think there is a woman's voice as a writer? >> woman's voice? well, generally, they speak higher, softer. >> i should know not to ask that of a writer. >> yes, of course, there's a woman's voice. women have a different perspective. women laugh at different things. so yes, there very definitely is a woman's voice. >> oh, do you know how many problems we have solved over a cheesecake at this kitchen table? >> no, dorothy. exactly how many? >> 147, blanche.
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>> hi, brian. it's cutthroat primetime time this fall was some 23 new shows compete in one of the hottest ratings races in years. here's one just about everybody predicts will be a big hit. "designing women" on cbs. four friends forming an interior decorating business and giving each other the business. >> suzanne, if sex were fast food, there would be an arch over your bed. she created would be one of the funniest most unusual shows in designing women. they were a different group of women than you really saw on television. they were fiesty. they were sexy and linda's voice came through shining. >> men can get away with anything. look at reagan's neck. it sags down to here. everybody raves about how great he looks. can you imagine if nancy had that neck? they'd be putting her in a nursing home for turkey.
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>> they had given me 23 minutes to address whatever topic i wanted. it's a privilege. it's more than the president of the united states gets and it's thrilling to have that every week. i'd be lying if i said i didn't put my opinions in the show. >> you look like you're in need of male come ppanionship here. >> trust me when i tell you misassessed the situation at this table. >> i am a woman and i am a writer but i don't really enjoy being called a woman's writer. i think labels are harmful to us. >> with murphy brown, just about everything about that program felt new. the civil rights movement and the woman's movement had just begun to be reflected in the programming that you saw on television in the 80s. >> murphy, you know it's for men only. >> and they have great dinners with great guests and i don't get to go for one reason and one
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reason only and it has to do with something that you've got and i don't. a tiny, pathetic, little y chromoso chromosome. murphy brown was so popular and such a strong independent tough woman. >> no matter what you think of a guest or their views you're obligated to ask the questions in a dig anified manner. >> he thinks it's neat that his office chair swivels and he's calling me unprofessional. back. choose glucerna, with slow release carbs to help manage blood sugar, and start making everyday progress. glucerna.
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johnny carson is making the transition from the king of late night to a national treasure. he was a throw back to the old show biz stuff. >> it's been a long time. >> well, you have been busy with other things. >> the tide is starting to turn in terms of where late night television is going to go but johnny is holding out. he was not necessarily of his time in the 80s.
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but he did sustain a certain timelessness. he's the king. >> my next guest not only has a college degree but, he also has a high school degree as well. >> he's hosted the tonight show practically as often as johnny carson and now he has his very own show, weekday mornings at 10:00 on nbc. >> david letterman originally had a one hour daytime show and nbc after 13 weeks decided to cancel it. >> today is our last show on the air. have these people been frisked? >> it was a failure in terms of
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the ratings but not in terms of introducing us to letterman. >> thank you for being with us tonight. >> thank you for having me. i appreciate it. >> and in spite of all of this nonsense that goes around in the background. stay withes. don't give up. stay with us here in new york. >> dave is back in new york. you're going to host a late night television program that premieres on monday night. what are critics likely to say tuesday morning? >> i don't much care because i found a way to deal with that. pills and whiskey. >> you're on. >> oh, i'm on? i'm enjoying listening to you snort. >> they gave him the late night show after the tonight show and at the time people thought who is going to watch television at 12:30 at night? who's up? young people, college people. >> is it going well? this is the first show. this guy needs support, dave
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letterman. >> he was anti-establishment. he was thumbing his nose to any existing social structures. >> who are the women out there by the way? >> neighbors. >> i'll get rid of them. >> hey, excuse me. keep it moving. >> he spoofed the whole notion of talk shows. >> please say hello to tom hanks. there he is. >> no one could go on and try to steer it toward a point of view. i wouldn't stand for it. you were on to do one thing and one thing only. be as funny as the rest of the show. >> we could send a crew home couldn't we? >> as a comedian you wanted the biggest artist that you could get. he wanted his thumbprint out there and that's the most
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important thing. >> paul, do you have any accompanying music here for the small town news? paul schafer ladies and gentlemen. >> the show making fun of itself and turning itself inside out that way was something kind of new. >> don't we look like guys that you could see hanging around together? >> absolutely. >> would you like to hang around with me? >> no. >> i'll say this again. this is the stupidest show. >> i thought i would never want to do this show with you. >> now why? >> because you thought i was a [ bleep ]. >> there was one rule i keep trying to abide by and unfortunately i only get to it about 12% of the time and that is its only television. we're not doing cancer research. there's nothing sacred about


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