tv Book Discussion CSPAN August 24, 2014 6:30pm-7:36pm EDT
charles lewis talks about the subject of his latest book at the way people in positions of power control information and manipulate the truth to achieve their goals. from the national press club in washington, d.c., this is just over an hour. >> i'm the executive director of the pulitzer prize-winning center for public integrity. [cheering]
i like saying that. [laughter] anyway, welcome to everybod eveo do so for the symposium. the subject tonight is truth. i want to think c-span for filming this and broadcasting it later. and i especially want to thank the distinguished journalists that are here tonight along with concerned citizens and along with colleagues, book lovers, donors, potential donors come the family members of potential donors to reappear here today to talk about charles lewis, the founder of the center for public integrity 25 years ago and his great new book which i think everyone has seen it you can buy a copy in the back. "935 lies: the future of truth and the decline of america's moral inegrity." imagine for a moment if you will if he had not quite 60 minutes 25 years ago in 1989 and if he had not started the center for
public integrity. so, imagine there is the center for public integrity the last 25 years. a night in the lincoln bedroom in the white house might still be for sale to the highrolling presidential donors. officials of the fcc and other agencies might still be taking thousands of trips paid for by the media companies and the companies they regulate. then members of congress might still be taking millions of dollars from lobbyists for their own all expense paid trips to the nice locations to play golf. if there had been no center for public integrity, than the potent issue of the campus assault i not be as high on the national agenda. halliburton might still be getting the lion's share of the pentagon's no-bid contracts. global cigarette smuggling might in fact be fueling even more terrorism around the world. if chuck hadn't started the center for public integrity
there would be no international consortium of investigative journalists. that is icij committee reporting team of 185 journalists in the 65 countries doing cross-border investigations. they are the ones that put global tax havens on the international agenda. if there are no icij, there would be no quotas for fishing in the southern pacific ocean. there would be the quotas in the atlantic would be easily circumvented as they have been by deluding the industry for so long until we reported on it. there would be no 600 alumni of the center for public integrity. those that have spread the high-quality no stone unturned journalism around the world. finally had there been no center for public integrity, there would be no accounting carefully of the 935 times that the top
officials of the george w. bush administration said that iraq had weapons of mass destruction or that iraq was linked directly with al qaeda. we know both of those were not true but they were repeated 935 times leading up to the iraq invasion in 2003. "935 lies" is the name of the book he will read from in just a moment. but in short, without charles lewis leaving 60 minutes and starting the center for public integrity, there would be no dedicated watchdog in the corridors of power like the center. and all those bad things i talked about might not have been stopped and the good things might not have happened. i have a favorite quote from the book. this is a description he gives when he talks about what his thinking was when he created the center for public integrity. my dream was a journalistic
utopia. no one would tell me who or what not to investigate and the final story would be unfettered by time and space limitations and by the power of the corporate or the government interests bent on tearing the truth. here to tell you more firsthand one of the alumni of the center is bill allison am i going to have him come out in just a second. he's the director of the sunlight foundation and investigative journalist in his own right he worked at the center for nine years. years. he's co-authored the cheating of america and was a key editor in the series of books the buying of the president. he is also an expert on dark money in politics. so, bill. [applause]
>> thank you. thinking about the center, it's hard to realize that 20 years ago i thought i would first begin when i discovered the center that 20 years ago we thought of news organizations as being newspapers or radio stations were tv or magazines and a nonprofit dedicated to doing just investigative journalism was a very strange idea in 1994. and i can remember how strange i thought it was. i was working for the philadelphia inquirer and discovered it at the stacks of the annenberg library at the university of pennsylvania. and there was a study called america's frontline trade officials by the center of public integrity about a subject i was looking into at the time involving the trade officials working for the investigative journalists at the philadelphia
inquirer. and i thought what is this and who are these guys but it was amazing. it was a report that no limitations of tying or space went through 74 current and former at the time u.s. trade officials have found that 47% had gone on to lobby for the foreign companies into the top trade negotiators and the trade negotiations and treaties have a huge impact. this was somewhat revolutionary as a report that came out. there was a gal investigation and congressional hearing and of course this is all before i have discoverediscovered the reporten knew about it. it became a campaign issue in 1992 overseas trade and these trade officials added bill clinton issued an executive order and in the very first days of office damning the trade officials from lobbying the interest. so this effort had a huge impact
and it wasn't the only center report that i started bumping into lots of them. amazingly, there were things about his name and the center's name that we would keep turning up stories about the big corporate donors traveling with cabinet secretaries, political party chairman who are also lobbying. there would be fbi investigations. he really had an impact but they were knocking out one story after another and i kept thinking who are these guys in from the outside looking in front the philadelphia inquirer it seems like this incredibly professional slick organization. and of course later i would discover -- [laughter] a lot of the stories were fueled by desperate dashes to the finish line beginning in the press conference barely on time releasing the findings and then coming back for a pizza party in the oval office and the endless
media calls not being able to eat the pizza because there were so many reporters calling about the findings. but that was later. i first saw chuck went come here at the national press club i saw him on tv and he was giving a press conference about his first book buying of the president which came oupresidentwhich cams this -- because i worked at the inquirer and "the new york times" actually syndicated the book i got to read the excerpts over the wire and it was amazing. here was a book i'd never seen anything like this before that looked at the two presidential candidates, their relationships with those politicians, what they had done for them in return. they documented it was just incredible. simply put in the word that makes me think of chuck and the center is an amazing effort.
at the press conference one of the things i loved is that he asserted at one point that the clinton administration was the most ethically challenged. i wasn't able to find the tape so i'm going to say ethically challenged that he had seen up until that point in a reporter and the question and answer session challenged him on that point and he started rattling off the number of independent counsel investigations and inspector general investigations and the number of congressional investigations into just chapter and verse this wasn't an opinion, this isn't what we see on some of the people who make assertions on cable news. this was backed up with evidence and that is something the center has always trying to do is let the facts speak for themselves and that was one of the great lessons i learned from chuck. a year later after that press conference i started at the center and over the next eight
years there were too many amazing projects to mention. the senator documented conflicts of interest in all 50 states. exposed the no-bid contracts in iraq and afghanistan war given to the big donors in the bush campaign and the gop and this was just months after we toppled the deficit trade in animals to the international arms dealers who won that conflict. just an incredible body of work year after year and a lot of those all nighters sprinting to the line that just kind of a fantastic work. one of the things that i think is just the most amazing thing to me working with him and i saw this time and time again whether it was a junior researcher orsini seasoned professional he didn't know about washington about a conflict of interest about somebody going through the revolving door he always had a sense of shock and it's genuine.
you can't fake that no way get out of here. i've heard that so many times. [laughter] it's the enthusiasm you have for the work of the time that the budgets of the commercial news organizations are shrinking allowing them to do less and less investigative journalism, chuck and the center is more and more in-depth leave no stone unturned reporting. and he brought together the veteran reporters, talented beginners, people in between and set them loose. and most of all, he infected all of us with a relentless enthusiasm for getting to the truth. thank you very much for having me. [applause] i want to bring up a longtime member of the center for public integrity board. she was also the chair of the board and is also the author of
her own new book hearts fools and the war in hungary. marianne is a former writer at u.s. news & world report and has written for "the new york times" magazine, esquire, harpers, hare republic "newsweek" among many others. so, marianne please. [applause] >> thank you and congratulatio congratulations. when somebody is accused of havinhaving the face of a choiry and the heart of an assassin -- [laughter] one is usually not inclined to consider this to be a complement. and yet in the case of chuck lewis, it is. after all, this combination and if you add some kind of frightening level of intelligence is what made
possible this extraordinary career. since 1977 h 1977 he's been a journalist trying to get the bastards and trying to make a difference in the best places around abc news, cbs. but had he stayed in those places, we certainly would probably not be gathered here today. and i was trying to think of what and where we might be if he had, and i suppose that my imagination failed into the fact that my imagination failed as a testament to the guest of honor in our wonderful writer that it is impossible to imagine him doing anything else. and what he did was to change journalism. it began at a baseball game as many things do with his great buddies. the three of them obviously on
the cheap beer and cheap seats came up with an audacious idea which was to basically start a nonprofit investigative news organization that would do first-class investigative reporting that gave it away to other reporters who were not really doing their job this might persuade them to do it. this was all fine when they were in their right mind that when they came up with the name the center for public integrity, one does wonder if they might not have had one beer too many. [laughter] after all they were not slaves to branding the street. but nonetheless, it is a great name and with the center is abouset outto do and what chuckd his entire career on doing is systematically investigating the abuses and the use of power. i got this from his website.
in relation to the public policy decision-making processes in the united states and around the world. the around the world part came later. so it began in 1989 he got a bunch of great names and stuck them on the letterhead. he described the first of the projects but it was the kind of report. that is the kind of report that foreshadowed the hundreds of other ones that followed. meticulously written and reported. a subject when we talk about trade officials let's face it you didn't know you were interested until you started reading. and then you'v then you discovet scoundrels people could be and where the public trust was being violated, what kind of money they were yanking out of our pockets. and you could also see the
extraordinary result of that kind of reporting. so, he's made a difference. and there are so many books reports, appearances, articles that he has produced that i'm not going to spend any time. i commend her sitting at one of the board meetings and 1996 or 97 and it was the usual group of impractical journalists talking about angels dancing on the head of a pin or the version of that. and in our case it was should send her take money from corporations or not which led to great discussions and always the same answer. he came up with this idea about the international center for investigative reporters. something that would be due in the original investigative reporting. and it's not that we almost left him out of the room, but we must
all have faith in the other impracticality in the possibility of trying to put together this group of people not just in this country but all over the world. and of course he did that with the internationals consortium of investigative journalists. now with over 160 reporters. he's led the charge on all of these major issues that we have seen on the front pages and he has also led the charge and have been touring so many young people coming young journalists looking for the idealism that the journalism should actually embody. over the hundreds of hours of interviews and the 23 iconic national journalistic treasures he spoke with, he's also been a historian and has provided all of us with a record that we can
treasure which is all to say that this new book years and years in the making might be seen as the culmination of his work. but knowing chuck it is probably only the beginning of something brand-new, really audacious and a great channel for the assassin that we have always on our side. thank you. [applause] >> okay. it's time for chuck. he's the author. 935 lives the future of truth and the decline of america's moral integrity. there are lots of things i could say that all of them are good actually. but i will only say one thing. really, this is a fantastic book. you will really enjoy it and get a lot out of it creates a good
read. he n. bodies what he writes about so passionately in his book. charles lewis. [applause] thank you. that's magnificent. of those comments are humbling to put it mildly and we can just send everybody to the bar right now. [laughter] there are so many things to talk about i will try to be efficient. where do you start? first of all, there are some magnificent people here tonight but i want to honor and point out.
most notably, my family all of which is in the front row. my mother, dorothy lewis. [applause] she has literally the last line in the book. i said an american original if ever there was one. and there is a story about her in the book. there is a little bit of memoir stuff. i try to keep it limited, but there was some. my fabulous daughter cassie -- [applause] i have so many stories i could tell. she wanted to see the office when she was a little girl about seven or eight or something and she said i really want to see the office. and i said kathy i don't know if you want to see it. it's not very big. she said no, really.
because i was working basically at home. okay. so i drove her into dc to the corner of 19th, and she was looking at this great big marble building and i said that's where i am. we walked in and o it's a post office and there is a p.o. box -- [laughter] she also once went to a news conference where i got totally shellacked. i was ambushed by the people we were investigating and there were 80 reporters and attend cameras on tripods. it wasn't pretty. and she had to watch. there was no blood but it just was not a pleasant. so you've put up with an awful lot. her wonderful husband, peter, who is a town of many things. welcome for the first time i think to this room. my son gabriel who is turning 40 next week. [applause]
and i'm going to come back to you. no, she won't let me read the section. there is a section about my wife. please read the last page. she basically said that's it. [laughter] but my wife has put up with 16 years and six books. this book was coming to see that it was rough i'm continuing to lie here but basically, to give you an idea, nine years, three main districts, to publishers and a partridge in a pear tree. [laughter] this was an ordeal. but back during i think it was the last president bill clinton gabriel was 3-years-old and they were walking by the highway. he said c. my room, that's where my daddy lives.
[laughter] that's one of our family stories. i won't tell any more. we have from end to end elaine from princeton and jim. so thank you so much for coming all over the country. they are not my family, but -- sorry. yes. i was going down the road. but sorry. you should have sat over here. i have trouble. my sister, my only sibling -- [applause] and tom and eagle scout by the way. [applause] into doing very well. [applause] before i get into something a
little more substantive i want to say this book is not call doom and gloom also very is a fair amount of that. it's also about heroes and there are two of my heroes in the room tonight. they were investigated for the power project and we although a debt of gratitude to both of them when i tell you who they are and what they did. right next to marie gilbert is morgan. [applause] morgan is the u.s. reporter who in 1962 wrote the story about the fella to m-mike scandal that basically changed the lives of thousands of mothers who did not use that drug and did not have
the front o children in the unid states. he found out that the pharmaceutical industry was pestering the scientists asked i think the food and drug administration. and he found out 70 times or something they had tried to get her to change her mind and say yes and she had adamantly refused. they did all this stuff and it's a great story. page number one for president of the united states it's the talk of public service award and the u.s. government and by the way it was never approved in the united states. so you did many other stories and you are throughout the book. [applause] to my left is very. haven't had a chance to say hello. [applause]
for those who don't know the watergate editor who in fact put them together as the watergate team is along with a whole long career. [applause] there are moments of course today not just in the past but where did journalists get it right and do good work and obviously especially the center for public integrity, pulitzer prize winner and whatever the number is up to. i'm losing count. it's excellent. very exciting. so, that i -- this book is a tough book. essentially it is unvarnished and that is a fair assessment. i did quite a 60 minutes.
the precise story about why i quit and exactly what happened, i mean exactly what was said and what i said it's all there. that's not the only story. there is also an exchange. rich is in the book. my buddy at 60 minutes there is a story where we worked with mike wallace about the industry and we had a small problem the owner of cbs was also the owner of a tobacco company. he tried unsuccessfully to prevent us from publishing or airing the story. and we said that the owner of cbs declined to comment. and i don't know if c-span allows cursing but i'm just quoting what happened here there
was a 20th anniversary celebration of 60 minutes at the tavern on the green of the big 6-0. i don't get out much as you heard usually it is pizza at 3 a.m. kind of thing. so anyway, i'm there and mike wallace had a grand twinkle in his eye and i thought now what. i could tell there were too many times i've seen that look. it was after it is that we coproduced and he really initiated. he said come here. there is somebody that i want you to meet. and i said okay. mr. clueless i walked over and he said this is charles lewis, the producer that shoved the
of that stuff. and so i essentially what i decided was there is something really bothering me about information. and i noticed the year after, we noticed there were no weapons of mass destruction, even the president said there weren't any . the commission and many other studies. authoritatively shown there was no w wendy. i noticed a year later 60 percent of the people still thought it was there. while. and that really shook me because i thought, well, okay. now the truth does not matter any more. we don't really need the truth because we believe what everyone to. end than nine was fascinated by the role of the media. well, and also my victim was
always watch what they do, not what they say. i always kind of a center of you should wear hip waders something whenever you hear a politician camino, hold on to your wallet, brace yourself. always skeptical, but that did not realize that they had that effect. being in retentive. eight and nine researchers. we actually counted the statements. we did a report. it was a pretty massive story all over the world. i gave it to the center. i had the funds. a small support organization for the center, but the center was the center. we did it together. so it was all over. with then white house to file
within hours the white house announced it. the new york times coverage, ap jumped on it within minutes to beat everyone had it. npr, morning edition, unit. but is still bothered me. then i thought, well, attentiveness would be the next step provoke what does this happen a lot? then i started looking. of course, yes, it does happen lot. so i started -- and this is the problem. i started looking. how often the leaders, does this happen? in my lifetime even. and i came to see and you will see in the book, it happens a lot. in fact, we have been lied to our whole lives. actually, that maybe it could cue if you don't mind. the don't normally do readings, but apparently aren't supposed to do reading. we will be brief. and the part of my wife she does not want me to read.
i said that the iraq war deception with this hundred and 35 public shan was lies is simply the latest and most egregious story of truth betrayed that i have witnessed or reported on over the past five decades. my career has coincided with the tragic time in american history in which all served as increasingly come to dominate our public discourse in which the bedrock values of honesty, and transparency, accountability and integrity we once took for granted have been steadily eroded. during this time we have been lied to innumerable times by our government, various corporations , other organizations. not only does it happen often but it happens with impunity, with little or no public accountability. the mess began the iraqi war reflects the astonishing sense to which there are clearly discernible patterns of deception. the sad truth is than s.
citizens of this republic we almost never have access to real-time truth which is in quotes about the most egregious abuses of power. truth revealed as events are unfolding so that we and our elected officials can act to prevent or remedy the crimes. so once again, being in all retentive, and then felt compelled to then look at the most notable the sessions by corporations that -- and then also by government. and it will not surprise some of you. it may surprise others who do not know me as well. my favorite part of this book naturally is the appendix. it is true. and i had one researcher help me for five years on us. we actually, no kidding, wind and identified what i felt were will we decided we did not have a big, elaborate scientific
analysis, but it would seem to be the ten most egregious, what are called orderly consequential deceptions by corporations and then by government. so the ones for government -- don't read all ten, but i will give you an example. the real time should factor. alarming. this is not new. 1932, u.s. public health service launches on treated to skeet syphilis study of 609 former black males. forty years later a whistle-blower steps toward nap breaks the story. 32-72 buried in 1944 the federal government sponsors human radiation experiments on the americans that they stand for decades and number in the thousands. they were injecting humans with plutonium. can you imagine? when does it become public?
1993. the albuquerque tribune. eileen melson breaks the story. decades. and there are many cases the one that is -- that is the most analogous to the iraqi war would be the vietnam war. i have a chapter on that which kind of comes right after the prologue. and, of course, you look at the reception. we basically were provoking in instigating and invading the air, water, and land ruffian on for months before they attacked us. they get a resolution for war. basically the defacto equivalent within six days. there are only two dissenting u.s. senators. that became the declaration of war. the truth of all when was it officially, formerly emerging? 1971. think of this.
we have operation rolling thunder in 64. the early part of 64. in the fall of 64 lyndon johnson is left with the landslide. one of my key close, will never go nine dozen miles to be in them. anyway, some he lied. he was planning everything and just said. these are examples. there are all listed in carefully analyzed, tobacco, the first city in the world of tobacco the was conclusive, notable, and written about.
there had been 15 different studies the surgeon general if they wanted to. they would have done the surgeon general report they give it a fancy name shares split the tobacco research institute. essentially it is running. anyone who did in the digging in all. they would have noticed the person doing this thing was not a scientist. they were doing the studies, and there were just stalling for years while they were making money. those are just examples of how many people died in a 20th-century from tobacco. of 100 million people died according to the who. how many in this century? 1 billion with a b.
who has been exporting tobacco around the world? every president since jimmy carter in 1979 literally from every u.s. trigger for the and then to now has her tax electives their child to open up markets to the state for little teenage kids and candy cigarettes. so we have a problem here with true of to put it mildly. it is a serious problem. we don't have any idea what the truth is. apply with impunity. they will never be caught, never held accountable. that is a really keep part of the book. anyway, i could talk for couple of weeks. that would be wrong. there are chapters in here also by u.s. foreign policy. i met the defense minister under the president and chilly.
he was assassinated on the streets of washington eight blocks from where i was going to grad school. i met him at his house. they pulled up in the driveway, the same driver where they put the radio detonated a bomb 18 months later. at the tender age of 21i have actually never met anyone who was murdered. summit age 21i had a feeling working for some place in the government or any place was not going to work for me. i felt somebody -- things are happening in no one was looking. it was irritating to put it mildly. i have a whole chapter on the secret wars from the 70's through the 80's. and all of the laws that were broken. all of the lives that had been lost. in iraq alone $2 trillion.
$2 trillion. 138,000 possibly higher civilians alone on all sides. there are 60 to 80,000 american soldiers today who are going to be -- have health problems of the rest of their life. the medical bills are still going up because these are chronic problems that will never go away. so my basic message in the book won't surprise you. we better deal with the spirit if we can't accept the truth then we don't have any idea what the information is. we are not going to have honestly -- we don't have a democracy and we don't have an open and free discourse in this country which is the precept of democracy. it's why we have self-government of the people, by the people, for the people. we are supposed to know what the hell is going on. they don't. and partly because they tune out
but partly because they are continuously misled. so the note about where i am now which we did not mention and i apologize. i wanted to say today i continue to do mischief in addition to the book at the investigative reporting workshop and american university. eighteen university based newsrooms. the workshop is the largest out of the country and the only one in the d.c. area. and if everyone at the investigative reporting workshop can raise their hand it would be helpful. i won't name everyone. thank you. [applause] and window cochrane is the one who is toward me to american university. it has been great. i have been there eight years now, 250 students. a workshop at 75 students, 60 investigative reports, five
co-produced documentary's with frontline, showtime. he added. cadillac senior producer at the workshop and senior editor. you have like six titles to my think. and she also was at the center and the earliest days. we have john sullivan here who was jointly hired with the "washington post" senior editor who won the pulitzer prize. and we are sharing him with the washington post. he is on the investigative team of the post, he teaches cranston's and tied the news room in a way that has never been done before. he is also on the faculty of american university. wonderful. last but absolutely not least we have the one who keeps everybody in line basically every minute and as an exceptional job we are all indebted to you. a managing editor.
[applause] the former deputy managing editor of "usa today" for photos and graphics. our website much of a nice among other things. anyway, i could talk for a couple of days, but it would be wrong. yap. so why don't we do questions. and if you have a question -- i could have a big wind up, but let's just talk. there is actually a mike. so we want to make sure you talk into the mike. there are folks, you know, all kinds of people including opposition researchers that may actually be wanting to sue the center, you know it -- just kidding. i was teasing. anyway, but anyway i am sure that this is to the whole u.s. go crazy. anyone that has a question about anything. i have things. i also have a chapter in this
about race, truth and race. and the lack thereof. and i have -- i do a lot of history about that, about what happened going back 50, 60 years i investigate a lot of civil rights related issues are was at the networks. that is a part that we really talk about in this country. so this has a lot of unusual chapters. it is written by a guy who has attention deficit and also takes nine years to write a book. as my wife will attest. any questions or curiosities or anything? crazy. mild manic repair. of. of course. >> in your research was surprised to the most. >> this is not a planted question, i swear. this is not the most surprising,
this one really kind of blew me away belly this puts all of us in this room and proper perspective. just when you think you have discovered something that is so special of no one ever knew what you run across -- the reason there are scores, maybe hundreds a box in the bibliography does not do it justice. the original manuscript was about twice as long. get along. where is alan greene. yes. this guy with the great shared. thank you. the publisher was chopin words barely randomly. just kidding. not. and i rejected the at it. they were not happy with that. he rejected the manuscript. i said, alan, help.
for months and months in manage to do over 1,000 perry did you ever count the number? thousands of -- how many? knock 40. thousands of pets. and i actually -- now, in a good way. i can barely tell the cut. it's still read like i had written it. it was exciting. the other man is curve was not like that. so anyway, i do want to thank you. i apologize. i should have seen the blue shirt. zero with in a surprise me. i do this. my family accuses me of digressing so one of my biggest concerns is about the future of journalism. by the way, chris higgins, you are hiding back there. you helped us at the workshop,
the financial manager, i beg your pardon. hiding back there, very modest fellow. anyway, the pulitzer prize applications went down 30% over the last 25-30 years. and they opened up the category to nonprofit organizations because what had happened commercially we lost about one-third of all commercial print journalists in the united states. that's unbelievable. we have the same number of professional paid reporters today as we had in 1972, the ear of watergate. the problem is we added 100 million people. the budget of the federal government has gone up 18 times. every major city in america, of you that i know of deadliest have been tracked. half as many reporters today as they did then. that is a problem. no one is investigating. twenty-seven states have no
reporter watching their congressional delegation here in washington. one third of your foreign reporters around the world. i can't go on and on. it is really rather serious. why it is serious, i will read one other thing. maybe we don't have time. i don't know. i will keep going. so in a society increasingly beset by public relations, advertising, and other artificial sweeteners manufactured by message consultants and communications flacks how does an ordinary citizen decipher truth amid the pseudo events and vast thicket of unreality which stands between us and the facts. so aptly described, speaking by daniel in his classic 1962 book the image, a guide to pseudo events in american. hourly librarian of congress and one of the most distinguished historians who died in 2004 call
for americans to disillusion ourselves. what ails us most is not what we have done with america but what we have substituted for american we suffer primarily now from our vices are weaknesses but allusions. we are haunted by the images we have put in place for reality. that is what he wrote. and then i am reacting. tragically his prophetic vision about american substantial allusions was not heeded. indeed, the thicket of unreality today nearly half a century -- it is a half a century. when he rode it was nearly. now we are past. anyway, it has become practically impenetrable. a ratio of public relations specialists and a professional journalist and the united states was roughly 11. by 2012 the ratio had increased to 4-1 likely
leading to an even worse tickets if their current disturbing trends continue. and that study and that information was first founded by professor robert mcchesney. his co author, john nichols. those statistics are terrifying in the project those numbers or go up to a different ratio. everyone has websites and everyone has press releases water scooter bad. you can see that the dan has done thicker than. there have been studies that 50 percent of all news comes from press releases. and so you get one this is a problem. i will stop. really truly any other questions? i know that time is wasting. we have seven or eight minutes. and if i forgot anyone else
please wave my way. yes. i forget to mention your earlier. and teasing. i'm teasing. thank you. >> in all the stories he told in the book did you find any commonality to the back stories? any commonalities? reaction from the government >> well, yeah. not to be good. the come easily that they were lying about whatever happened. they would kick the can down the road, not to acknowledge it. they don't respond. that is as old as time itself. reporting, back to euros and back to great journalism, journalism, as we all know, many of us who do this work
from our reporting is hard work. and it takes years. i mean, there is -- it is only alluded to unfortunately. the project i did all the research about the has 51 produced segments. i interviewed 25 journalists. what was interesting, the fellow who brought down joseph mccarthy was not a word are murrow. it was murder of the post. he was assigned to watch everything that joseph mccarthy said for four full years. by the time he got into year two and three he knew what he had heard before. he also know what little evidence there was. the army hearings less
because of a series he did that he says lebron about the end of mccarthy within months. and so great investigative reporting usually takes a long time. it is not. >> stuff. so one of the victim's car and a need to have time and attention to the work. the best work or or is involved or lot of time and attention. we have always noticed a lot of people. this book had 18 or 20 researchers helping me for nine years. and i apologize. i have not read all of their names. many of them are here tonight. kate, are you so here? anyway, these are two of the folks who were here earlier. anyway, those are patterns
that the perseverance necessary to do the work, if it costs money and at the glibness by which the charts i'm not enologist is fairly standard. i don't know of that is what you are wondering. >> any of the patterns in the stories that you tell whether it be as you pointed out it took years for the truth to emerge. >> right. very few stories. once in awhile you get lucky sometimes someone leaks to the patriot to act. that happened. it was very cool. we would like to have more of those. please send them -- no, i'm just getting. but usually it is not a tip for a leak. in my experience.
wall of a lot of people don't read documents. we seem to have some a fetish about borrowing in the thousands of pages of records that no one else reads. since the mid to late 90's we have been computerizing those records of that we could do digital switching. the center was among the first in the country to do that work. so anyway, we just need more time in more money. generally the close or the patterns. appreciate your question. will lolland's. >> how you deal with of after investigating suspicious of think clearly cash back to at. >> it's happening right now. he could go to prison because he is not willing to give up his source.
we don't know how that will play out. it is uncertain. you know, i -- that is a problem. you have threats, death threats. mike wallace and will bergman and i once had a death threat in kentucky. a state trooper told us to leave immediately. we did not believe him. restate and were not killed and did the story. the criminal conduct -- the issue is less being prosecuted, although this current administration has gone after six different legal investigations where they are criminalizing investigative reporting by actually going after the leader which, of course, now they're going to try to force the reporter to identify the leader in open court which is unbelievable. the current administration, the obama administration has used the as peanut shack six times. the only president in u.s.
history. no other president in my knowledge has used it more than twice. did we have in india that was going to happen? no. and did he ever mention drones in 2008? now. could i go on about every single president? yes, but i want. that is a problem being prosecuted. a much bigger problem outside the u.s. ..
>> and a. >> zero lot of the folks when are not suits. they are the working under analyst -- journalists themselves with the accountability reporting. so they started these things with their houses also. 100 just in the last four or five or six years. the investigative news network is the groups that bill and i and a couple others foundered -- the last chapter does have hope it is
called the future of truth and it shows ways people are trying to a large the public space and that is my aim professionally that is why i have 250 students. in to make sure this is the hieroglyphics and it is practiced in the future but more importantly we don't depend on one place just like one source, move them out. there are crazy wild ideas that if any billionaires are listening. [laughter] these ideas could take off. so there is a little bit of. what is the alternative? so this is your eave vents.
[laughter] [applause] >> walter isaacson then what did john your reading list? >> what is the the hillary clinton -- tim geithner and i did those one on my ipad but, new book is justice minister will go back santry read a couple of assessment of lot to me one of them was the moviegoer. that was by my bet right now