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tv   Open Phones with Wesley Lowery  CSPAN  November 19, 2016 11:25am-12:01pm EST

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and the koch brothers. and murdoch controls the media machine and norquist controls the individuals and got them to throw out article 6 of the constitution, sign a pledge to him and the koch brothers control the local political structure in all the conservative states from top to bottom, getting justices-- >> tell you what, jerry, let's talk to somebody who has been in the political system for many years and get his perspective on whether or not an individual, a group can control, another group of people like that. >> guest: well, as i said in answer of an earlier question, the word conspiracy which sounds as if people have come together and conspired to follow a common course of action. i think is over the top. i think the people that have listed for their own reasons, their own backgrounds or
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political orientations happened to have come to a conclusion that is similar, but whether they colluded to do it or execute it, i don't see the evidence of that. i believe that the way in our democracy that you respond to points of view that you disagree with is not to try to shut them down, but rather to provide alternatives and america the owner manual, i think, gives a lot of examples of where people have done that. as an example, here in florida, there had been a county which had had an anti-discrimination ordinance that did not include gays and lesbians and other transgender individuals and the
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lbgt community came together with the business community and instead of this being exclusively a human rights issue, it became a combination of human rights plus the adverse effect that failure to provide protection to that important segment of the population was meaning in terms of lost jobs, and lost economic growth for hillsboro county. that coalition, which came together from different perspectives, but with the same objective, was an i believe to get the county to reconsider and adopt not only an expanded human rights ordinance, but also a registry program that preceded the gay marriage constitutional steps that have been taken by the federal court. so, the fact that a people see
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something that they don't like is not a signal of being indifferent or leaving the field, it's a signal to suit up, find other people who share your opinion for whatever reason and go to battle effectively. >> host: and let's hear from irene, who is in pine meadow, connecticut. irene, you're on with senator bob graham. >> caller: hi, senator. actually it's bristol, connecticut and my question is, do you see in the future any changes in the electoral college because our-- a couple of our presidents have not been our presidents, they've been elected by the electoral college, the popular vote had won. do you see any changes in that? is there a possibility? >> pragmatically, no. the electoral college is of of considerable benefit to smaller states.
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that's why it was adopted back in 1787. it was part of the great compromise that led to our constitution. one of the contending issues in a number of areas, including representation in the congress, was between the big states who said we have most of the people and the small states who said, if the system is tilted towards the big states, we will be disadvantaged. so, they're all kind of compromises. this is one of them. but i-- today i think it's unlikely that states, which are small in population, and therefore, have a disproportionate influence on the selection of the president, are going to give that up and it would require three fourths of the states to vote for a constitutional amendment for them to do so. i don't think it's likely to happen. >> host: and our last call for senator graham comes from
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kathleen in rolling bay, washington. kathleen, you're on book tv. >> caller: thank you, govern governor-- or senator graham. i'm sorry. yes, i'm worried, many people are worried about that president trump will pull out of the paris accords. i'm really involved with many environmental issues and i'd like to know how-- what you think about this and how we can assume that president trump and his staff will look at this issue, considering that president trump does not believe in climate change. >> guest: well, i certainly believe in climate change. it's hard for anybody who lives in south florida not to believe in it. we're seeing on a consistent basis the effects of climate change.
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we have particularly associated with high tide, periods of time when the sea water is coming up through the storm pipes rather than going-- than the water, surface water going into and down into the pipes. we've seen a consistent pattern that every year is warmer than the preceding year, which was warmer than the year before that. i think it's something that we need to believe with. i really believe if you were a conservative which says let's don't take unnecessary chances, that the consequences of global warming being a nonreality, which i think are very minimal, is that we have a more sustainable energy system. we have less pollutants in the air. the consequences of it being
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true and not dealing with it is disastrous. so, i believe a person who abides by true conservative principles would say, let's deal with this problem because the consequences of failure today to deal with it are so enormous. i hope that arguments like that might be persuasive. i think donald trump is fundamentally a smart person. he understood what it was going to be necessary for him to get elected president, but now, let's see and give him a chance to function when the decisions are not theoretical or rhetorical as in a campaign, but they are real life and will have an effect on the 315 million americans for whom the president is responsible. >> host: here is the book "america, the owners manual you can fight city hall and win"
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senator bob graham, and co-author chris hand. senator, as always, we appreciate your taking calls on c-span. >> guest: thank you very much for the opportunity. >> host: coming up in a minute, washington post reporter wesley lowery. here is his book "they can't kill us all" about his reporting in ferguson and baltimore and we'll be taking calls with him as well. after that, you're going to hear from jane alexander, author and actress. you're going to hear from james carville who is here at the miami book fair earlier this week, scientist james glick, and authority stephen johnson, best seller, he'll also be taking your calls, dave berry, senator bernie sanders today as well. that's all coming up and you can find it all on our website, the entire schedule at booktv.org. we will be right back with author wesley lowery.
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>> here is a look at some of the best selling nonfiction books, according to the books and books bookstore in coral gables, florida. topping the list, bruce springsteen, born to run. and next is the cooking for jeffrey. followed by national book award winner mary oliver's reflections on her life as author and poet in upstream. fox news host bill o'reilly and historian martin dugard's recount of america's defeat of japan in world war ii, killing the rising sun. our list continues with "the
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hidden life of trees" and "appetites" followed by amy schumer's memoir, "girl with a lower back tattoo", and chip and joanna gaines. "when breath becomes air", a current look at the nonfiction best sellers. many of those authors have or will be appearing on book tv. you can watch them on book tv.org. >> book tv is on twitter and facebook and we want to hear from you. tweet us, twitter.com/booktv or post a comment on our facebook page. facebook.com/booktv. >> here is a look at this year's winners of the national book award. nonfiction award "history of racism in america, stamped from the beginning" representative
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john lewis and representative lewis' digital director won the young people's literature award for the third installment of the book on the civil rights movement and march. national bookstore for the underground railroad. a poetry award for the book "the performance of becoming human". make sure to watch book tv's coverage of the national book awards this sunday at 10 p.m. eastern time. >> here is a look at authors recently featured on book tv's afterward, our weekly author interview program. discussing research on the impact on immigration on the u.s. economy. and argued how income inequality has contributed to economic growth. columbia law professor explained the way the way that
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society has been affected by advertising. and gary young on his investigation of gun violence in america. former senate majority leader george mitchell explores the potential for peace between israel and palestine. harvard business school professor explores the motivation of white collar criminals and this weekend, washington post columnist sebastian maltby talks about the career of former federal reserve chairman alan greenspan. >> what i call the new york school. there was a school based in new york around the national bureau of economic research which was focused on just counting the economy, creating the aggregate data which we see in the statistics which hadn't existed in the 30's and how you generated the best quality data and having got his start not modeling, not for taking data for granted and in the building
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of complex mathematical connections between the data points. >> afterwards, airs on book tv saturday and sunday at 9 p.m. eastern, you can watch all previous afterward programs on our website, book tv.org. >> and book tv is live at the miami book fair. this is the 33rd year that the festival has been held. and held on the campus of miami-dade college in north downtown miami. we are now joined on our book tv set by wesley lowery, the author of this book "they can't kill us all", ferguson baltimore and a new era in america's racial justice movement. mr. lowery, where did did you get the title for this book? >> the title comes from a sign from a vigil after antonio martin. after the grand jury decision become two years ago now to not
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charge the officer in ferguson. one of the reasons we stuck with it, we thought it captured the ethos and feeling of so many of the people who had taken to the streets the last few years. there's been a shooting and seemed like it's happening for a certain period, but we're going to rush to the streets because there's power in numbers. >> host: do we have any idea who left the sign? >> we don't. that's one of the demonstrators one of the nights, there was a few dozen properties, it wasn't one of the massive nights, but i remember seeing that and making a note in my notebook, it captured a lot of the feeling that i'd been seeing and hearing from demonstrators. >> host: what was your feeling in ferguson? >> i got to ferguson, two days after michael brown had been killed and i with the post coverage congress. a very different beat. and i happened to be free, a back packed. and i covered a senate race in michigan and we were having a conversation around the office,
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hey you see what's going on in missouri, what's our coverage plan? i initially offered hey, i can call some of the congressional representatives and call for a federal investigation, get a d.c.-ish scoop. an editor said, can you go, get on a plane? i should sure, why not. got on the plane and went to ferguson and landed on the 11th for what i thought was going to be a few-day assignment. i thought tomorrow's paper, maybe get a feature story for the weekend and be back for sunday football that weekend at home. instead ended up staying in ferguson two, almost three months. almost full-time, we had a ferguson bureau there. and as i was there, on the second or third day i was there, myself and another reporter were actually arrested during the coverage of the protest. and we were the first two of what would end up being dozens of reporters at some point in time were taken into custody by police there. there was day after day of demonstrations. there were mass arrests.
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people being arrested at times indescriminately and at times with cause and we were caught up in that and a whirlwind and i became one of the figures of the story. >> host: wesley lowery is our guest. you've heard the beginning of the story. if you'd like to call in and talk with him about some issues surrounding ferguson, the black lives matter movement, et cetera, and some of the racial issues that the country has faced in the last couple of years. we want to hear from you. 202 is the area code, 748-8200 if you live in the eastern time zone, 8201 for those of you in the pacific time zone. is this a black and white issues we're facing or black and blue issue? the. >> guest: in some ways both. we know this is a country that as president obama would
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describe it was an original sin. we built racial ininequity into the fabric of our nations, we've spent hundreds of those, we didn't spend the first years doing anything about it, happy with the way we had it. but making up for that. because of that there's a historic relationship between black communities and law enforcement, that dates back to the days when police officers were slave catchers. there's always been historic relationship. it's interesting, the former chicago police superintendent gave a speech recently where he talks about so many of the policies, whether it be during jim crowe, whether it be people who were leading the lynch mobs or enforcing housing or school segregation historically have been police officers. the police have for all of american history been the face of physical oppression for black and brown americans. sometimes we talk about how can we rebuild the relationship or restore when in reality we need to be talking about creating a new relationship because
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there's never been a good relationship between black americans and the police. >> host: wesley lowery, cleveland, ferguson, baltimore, minneapolis, new york, charleston. we had a black president during that time. is that coincidental or is there a connection? >> i think that cuts in two directions. first, you know, i do think it's coincidental we've seen unrest and police shootings every year of our modern history. this was going on during the bush years, during the clinton years. we might not have been talking about it or covered it as a media in the same way, but these issues always existed, but i do think that the presidency of barack obama activated a level of activism and political anxiety that perhaps had not existed prior to him and i think that worked in two different ways. first, in the book i try to pro vile many of the young activists who go to the
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forefront and become the faces of the protest movement. many of them had their entry into politics through the election of barack obama. voted in 2008 for him or 2012 for him, 20-somethings, many for the first time. many canvassed to are him. and i think very often the turn of phrase we needed to have a black president to understand the limitations of a black presidency, right? barack obama was elected on this mandate to change washington as we knew it, to bring us together. as the speech he talks we're not a black america, a white america, a hispanic america, in the election night speech, he said we're not a collection of blue states and red states, but we're a united states. he was incapable of bridging this gap. our politics are more divided if not more so. so many voters, so many people who projected onto president
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obama the hope for a different country for a different world, for a politics where outcomes and experiences would not be defined by race, then became remarkably frustrated when that prophesy was not coming true. that trayvon martin was still dead and we were having conversations about race and ethnicity in colleges and cultures and seeing diversity issues in our popular culture, and i'll never forget an activist looking at clair mccaskill, the senator from missouri during a town hall and she was encouraging the protests, encouraging activism, but she said, you know what you guys need to do register to vote and turn out, what we often hear how people should politically engage and i remember an activist saying, i voted for barack obama twice and michael brown is still dead. that the president could not erase the history. >> host: "they can't kill us all" is the name of the book.
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wesley lowery is our guest, a reporter with "the washington post" and let's take some calls and hear from ryan in sedona, arizona. hi, ryan. >> caller: hi, how are you doing? i've go the a few comments to make. thank you for writing your book and standing up for us people, but i'm a white american and if i was black in america, i'd probably be dead. i've already been denied health care for a preexisting condition. i've already been locked up in prison for something that's now legal. i was fired from my job because of the economy. i'm trying to be the best american i can possibly be and now i'm suffering from other health conditions that i've also been poorly cared for in this free country that we live in. if we did go back 40, 50 years ago, you know, 60 years, and
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white women treated poorly with black women, indian, black americans. >> host: tell you what, ryan, i think we've got your point. wesley lowery, is there a larger picture that we can draw from your book and tie it into ryan's experience. >> guest: of course, ryan, i appreciate the call-in and sorry for what sound like a difficult set of circumstances. i think that we all as americans can empathize with each other, one of the things we've seen over the last eight years on both sides of the spectrum are these large protest movements that have been born out of political frustration. right? this begins with the tea party following election of barack obama, occupy wall street on the left. resurgence of republicans and tea party again in 2014 as they take the senate and then black lives matter is born or movement for black lives. and i think that speaks to it, very often we want to set up a juxtaposition, you either work within the system or outside of the system. why won't the protesters go vote? that type of sense. in reality what i see as
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democratic beauty in the active protests, in many ways it's our original means of interacting with our government. it's what this country was founded on and i think that it's unsurprising to me that the obama years, and the time we're in now and likely the trump years moving forward, have been marked by street activism and the street protests. as the president described it eloquently when he was campaigning, a time when gridlo gridlock, why hasn't the economy been turned around and why wasn't there health care. and people who voted and felt like they did everything right, many people in ferguson unlike what a lot-- people living in ferguson made it out and done everything right and couldn't understand why they were treat this had way or that they hadn't achieved they thought was the american dream. so i think that ryan's call kind of feels into the ethos
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and feeling across the nation as i interview people. >> host: and let's call from sid calling from st. louis, very close to ferguson. go ahead. >> caller: thank you for writing the book and i have one question. in the view of the new administration and donald trump being famous or notorious for the central park issue with not even still acknowledging that the men who were initially convicted were innocent, how do you think that they're going to deal with his administration with the policing of minority communities and immigrants and what do you think the community needs to do? because i have black male children, i have white children, i have hispanic children, i have immigrant children all in my extended
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family and i'm afraid for them. >> host: thank you, ma'am. >> guest: thank you so much for the call and i think that that's a really important question, something i've been reporting a lot about now and thinking a lot about. what we see very often after times of unrest, especially times of unrest between minority communities and police, you think about years during the '60s and the 50's and 40's we often see a law and order backlash, nixon in 68 and trump now in 2016. the obama administration has been specific and aggressive to trying to use the department of justice to address these issues. most activists think they haven't gone enough. and the obama administration did more than any other to police, provide community policing resources and also to require information from police departments. one project i worked on was tracking police killings and
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how many people were killed by the police, that data is not kept. donald trump said we don't believe that the federal government should be reporting this data and don't want to harass them. he stated many times he wants to restore more law and order and said in a questionnaire to the international association of chiefs of police that he wants to rebuild the relationship between the federal government and local police departments, which sounds to most observers essentially he wants to be less critical of local police than perhaps the obama administration has been and so, what we know about the potential new attorney general, jeff sessions, or senator jeff sessions is that he also has had certainly a law and order streak. so, it seems very unlikely that many of the steps taken during the obama years to an empty to reform local policing will be continued. and i think what that most likely means is that for people who want to see changing in local police, there's going to be a need, certainly, to work at a local level because i don't think the federal
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government cavalry won't be coming in certainly in the next four years. >> host: the report that "the washington post" did on shooting. is that available on the website? >> yes it is. >> host: where is the best place to find it? >> google fatal force, the name of the project. >> host: fatal force. >> guest: it's on the site. or washington post police shooting data base. what we've done and still working on this, we have now for two years in real-time attempted to track fatal police shootings and tracked 990 of them last year in a real-time searchable data base and you can see each one. i don't know what the number is exactly for this year so far, but we're about on pace to have the same number of fatal police shootings and-- all of that data is in real-time. >> host: "they can't kill us all" is it difficult for you as a reporter for the post to put in your point of view? >> sometimes, i believe in transparency, honesty and fairness and i think those are most important.
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one thing that was difficult covering the stair-- i take it back, it wasn't even difficult, but present covering this story, at one point i became part of it reluctantly and i wasn't too happy about it, but also, that i was a young black man writing very often about the deaths of young black men or old black men who looked like my father or young black women. i think that that sometimes we lie to ourselves when we believe there's some type of objective neutral that exists. as reporters and journalists we bring our live experiences into the stories we cover, whether that's what stories we believe are worthy of our coverage or not. whether it's-- how hard we work to get that extra interview or sympatheti sympathetically, and be honest who we are. >> host: can't kill us all. 24 unarmed black people have been shot and killed by police while black men and women make up just 12% of the nation's
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population, they accounted for nearly 25% of those who were being shot and killed by the police. ken in southfield, michigan. you're on with wesley lowery, author of "they can't kill us all". >> caller: mr. lowery, i take a different view on all of this. why are young black men constantly involved with the police in terms of police altercations and i go back to the rodney king affair. i remember on the 10th anniversary of rodney king incident, they interviewed rodney king and here is what he admitted. he says, well, i was on parole at the time and i knew that my only chance was to put up a fight, which is what he did. by putting up a fight he became the victim. whereas if he was the parole armed robber at the time of that event and he knew he was going to go to jail unless he put up a fight. why are there so many altercations and why don't people--
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why do people resist arrest out there on the street when they can settle issues when they get back into the courtroom? >> let's hear from wesley lowery. >> guest: of course, ken, i appreciate the question, a fair question, what i get a lot from readers and people write in reading articles. why there's so much scrutiny of the police and less scrutiny of the criminals. first of all, i think that there is a point to be made about that. obviously, i don't think that people should be necessarily resisting assess or fighting with police officers, certainly not killing police officers, it's always a tragedy when an officer is killed and we've seen many cases of that, right? but i do think that when we-- and it's hard to explain why people who are breaking the law break the law, but i do think that there is something to be said for an undoing of the police legitimacy in many communities in that one of the reasons that we follow the law. when you think about our criminal justice system. our criminal justice system only can work in the majority
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of the people follow the law. there are far fewer police officers than there are citizens. if we all went out and decided to rob a bank tomorrow, there would not be enough police to catch us, couldn't do it. the system only works when it's seen as legitimate and see a deterrent and a reason not to do it. i think there are a lot of things that break down legitimacy of a community of law enforcement. historical reality, the fact there's never been a positive relationship r relationship between black and brown communities. skop stop and frisk, and the homicide clearance rates. in many of the communities when people really need the police, the police are unable to solve their crime. all of those things i think at times can act as a delegitimizing of a police department and police officer,
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likely leads people to less comply with officers. the other thing to note, when we analyze incidents, whether rodney king or martin brown or sandra bland, whichever you'd like to analyze, while i think there are fair questions to ask, it's our job as a media and society to hold our police officers to different standards than a paroled armed robbery. every action is done in our name. every boot to the face of rodney king and bullet to the back of walter scott was done in the name of the taxpayers and i think we need to require a certain level of accountability and standard than someone who is breaking the law. >> host: ray calling from kilgore, texas, ray, you're on tv with author wesley lowery. >> caller: i think mr. lowery has a myopic few of everything. the problem with the black lives matter movement is, there's more white people killed by police than blacks, and of all the black people
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that are attacking police officers or attacking someone else is killed justifiably with all the others and shouldn't have gotten killed. if you all would quit doing the racist type deal, the white people would join up with you and have a movement to get deter some of this. we've all had some policemen that have not done right and treated us wrong, but far more often, the black people are resisting arrest and they're running from the police and they're fighting police-- >> ray, i think we've got the point. wesley lowery. >> guest: ray, i really appreciate the call. i think that it's another point i hear often. you're right. one thing we know from our study at washington post, before we did this piece and the guardian newspaper did a similar project, we didn't know. we literally didn't know who was being killed by the police how often and what race.
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the majority of people shot and killed by officers are white. but the majority of people in the united states are white. it's important to look at percentage of population as black men are 6% of the population yet 24% of the people shot and killed by the police it speaks to disparity, but i think the point that you make is interesting one, and people make it often. is it an issue of race or more broadly police use of force. one thing i will say we've run the numbers. we've looked at what are the precipitating issues, black men and women are not likely to be more likely to be violent. and shot and police by the-- and speaks to the implicit view is there an implicit bias.
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are black people more violent and the use of fatal force? it's a question that researchers are looking at and we're continuing to look at. thanks for the call. >> host: "they can't kill us all" is the name of the book. the authority is washington post reporter wesley lowery and again, "the washington post" website, if people want to see the report that they put together, they can google or search washington post fatal force. >> guest: fatal force or police shooting data base. >> host: and we're showing it to our viewers as we speak. mr. lowery, thank you for coming on book tv. >> guest: thanks for having me. >> host: the coverage of the miami book fair continues. we have our book tv bags and bus and we're going up to the miami-dade campus and hear from author and actress jane alexander.

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