tv 2018 Annapolis Book Festival CSPAN April 28, 2018 12:00pm-2:01pm EDT
welcome back to the 2018 annapolis book festival it's great to have you all here here in annapolis not far from the sea which is rising as we speak. those of you at home or in high ground you can watch it for the next hour. we've a couple of good books to talk about on the subject of climate change i should tell you that the term of art in the science is a tipping point and i think there are some reasons to believe when it comes to politics and public perception we might be at a tipping point but it's truly the best of times in the worst of times. i fewer debates in newsrooms about getting the other side to talk about climate change i
tell them now we don't get the other side to talk about the merits of whether the earth is flat or not. and it usually allows the discussion to move on. i spent a lot of time fending off the journalistic constraint on the one hand. it is bought and paid for to so-called balance out. review science. another piece of good news. seven and ten americans now believe climate change is happening we should applause -- applaud that. that was not given too long ago. 51% say we should do something about it but only half of them think all of this has to do with human activity. we still have some work to do. when asked if they would spend $10 a month more for climate
change acts in policies 60% are opposed to that idea. we have this mess in washington that we don't need to detail too much for you. i will tell you this in the absence of leadership by the administration they had deniers and skeptics. in the absence of that icy some good news in places like annapolis in sacramento. and new york city where local leaders and state leaders are taking action and this is my attempt to where rose-colored glasses. to the extent that what is happening at epa and mr. pruitt has perhaps ignited some grassroots concerns that maybe wasn't there.
maybe they poked at the bear a little bit. maybe people are coming around and just maybe this could backfire on those that want to continue business as usual with the calamities that lie ahead. they are detailed starkly frankly in these books. it's written by denise robbins who is sitting here right now. with the teams of authors give us a little talk. that should give us about 20 minutes for questions afterwards. and then the madhouse effect. and driving us crazy michael man who is a legend among atmospheric scientists. for those of you that follow the story.
i'm sorry about that part of it they just gravitate towards the micah. please welcome denise robbins. [applause]. i'm really honored to be here today. alongside very other talented people. it has done very well. thank you for assigning your life to that. i would also like to honor and the co-author who could it be here today. if you'd like to see the picture he's there. if he's there today.
continent by continent. i just want to talk about the three big driving forces behind climate refugees which are sealevel rise extreme water events. there tends to be a combination of the others. they are displaced due to climate and weather events. that's about one person getting displaced from climate and weather events every second. about 200 million people by 2050.
the region of the world most well-known. people feel like they have to move if they want to live. the former president. who held a press conference underwater. right before the united nations conference in 2009 to lower their carbon emissions. there is also a lot of interesting cases right now happening in the past several years. we had people seeking refugees. and they are not formally protected. it is a very rigid definition. you need to be clean because you are persecuted.
for your race or ethnicity. interesting case is when a lawyer try to argue on behalf of the family leaving. they were being persecuted by puzzle -- fossil fuels. that doesn't really work out because the question then becomes why are you trying to move to a place it's more of what you are being persecuted by. it doesn't hold up to this definition. the definition needs to change. and the type of people that seek refuge should get that help. while this is an issue in the pacific islands. right now it is seeking into the gulf of mexico.
it has lost 98% since 1955. in a native american tribe there has no to write very for the climate refugees because they actually refused government assistance. to go to higher land in louisiana. that has been in many years many years in the making and they haven't actually moved yet. it has been solved under the trump administration. hopefully that will happen in the next couple of years. it is also happening all around the country. there are people that fear they need to move.
them seem un-american. they are set we will keep seeking this term. it signifies the natural disaster. in the side. with stream weather. hurricane maria and puerto rico was the worst hurricane in the past 100 years. resulted in the entire island having a blackout. and hundred 85,000 puerto ricans have been permanently
relocated. i will say it's interesting that no one brought up the refugee versus the evacuate debate with hurricane maria. and may because people don't consider them to be americans. that was another interesting thing to come out of that. warmer oceans and air. to rebuild these communities. sometimes there is no turning back. to the communities that are going to get rebuilt. when we were working on this book the syrian refugee crisis really took off and exploded and it was also very interesting.
connecting the root causes of this crisis to climate change. and that has to do with farmers. what happened in syria among many other things to make it drought and i forget which is exact scientific term. this caused 75 percent of agricultural land to suffer 80% of the cattle the million farmers ended up leaving their communities and moving into the cities because that way of life was no longer obtainable. we have this massive influx into the city and people of different ethnicities and backgrounds meeting for the
leaving your community and trying to make a new life. in fact there is a lot of cases like this. i want to mention we also have solutions to addressing these threats. on one of them is to address agriculture practices. that have historically been large monoculture basically a lot of farming practices can be changed to address things like drought in africa as an example of that it's pretty cool. the region right under the savanna desert has been facing
a lot of several african countries got together and decided to address this and came up with something called the great green wall. they would literally fill the forest and try to stop this from happening. that would keep moisture in the ground and help the natural ecosystem regrow. it didn't exactly work out but ended up being a metaphorical wall. that have actually been working and stopping that there. a sealevel rise. by adapting to it. there are also humanitarian measures that countries can take to take the definition into their own hands. new zealand has this pilot
program where they are issuing a hundred visas to claimant refugees a year. so people in the pacific islands can achieve refugee status in the country. due to climate change. this is just a pilot program and it's something that could be dial-up if it works. it elsewhere. the best way to solve the problem is try to prevent it from happening in the first place. very quickly doing everything we can to switch to renewable energy very quickly doing everything we can to switch to renewable energy is just some other campaigns that my current organization is working on in maryland. just to close before we turn it over i wanted to emphasize that we wrote this book to emphasize that climate change
is a human problem not an environmental problem these times and in numbers and statistics they aren't personal accepting the fact that they show how this problem is going to touch every person in the world. eventually and if you know anyone that was in puerto rico or texas or california you probably already know this. it's just a hammer home the idea that climate change is not about saving the cheese is a world of action and a world of acceptance. is a world of action and a world of acceptance. i appreciate that. take it away with michael and tom.
while we're waiting for were waiting for that i will just jump in here and think denise very much this is a title the title of our book to the left and the authors standing in the little tiny thermometer world on the right. i want to think all of you for taking the time to come and listen to this. it means you some interest meetings like this are an example of the failure in the salvation about democracy the failure is people and government are not responding to a problem that is a crisis it's groups like this that come together that can help put the pressure on to get the the governmental problems solved in the climate problem solved. michael is a hero of mine. think about how funny it is a
claimant scientist is here in a room like this talking about getting people to understand this problem. his job is to do the science and is laid out. his work has been done for the most part 20 years ago that is all he needed to do in theory he and other scientists discovered the problem communicated the problem and in all these decades we had been pestering this question from every single possible way. there is nothing left to debate about it and yet here we are he's in the position not only that his science it was deliberately made. to destroy him personally and professionally. he is still fighting for the climate and if that is not a definition of a hearing i
don't know what one is. for the work that he is doing over the years using this part. for doing some of the hardest hittingcommentary in our meeting today. many of the issues that challenge us but of course climate change in particular so it was a delight with this project came together working with them to tell the story. it's a story about the science and about the politics.
the climate change denial is driving us crazy. we've a book about climate change based on cartoons. that's something we might be able to get the president to read the paperback edition of the book comes out later this spring and tom and i have a lot of trouble getting everything that's happened over the last year and a half into one chapter we strived to do so and the chapter is returned to the madhouse. we will talk a little bit about the way we like to do
this we have a tagteam approach where we put up our cartoons and tom provides the artist and the commentary and i comment on the science. this came up earlier this issue of skepticism. it's a very important thing science. the great carl sagan described as the connecting machinery of science. too often we allow those who are not at all skeptics their contrarians they are climate change deniers projecting the overwhelming consensus of the world scientist based on the flimsiest of arguments that don't hold up to the slightest bit of scrutiny. and too often those who call themselves as skeptics in the climate change discourse are really just cranks dressed up as galileo for every galileo there are thousand bozo the
clown's. and too often it's the voice owes voices -- the bozo i will just add to that. it's actually worse when they're not genuine skeptics they are deliberate liars they are taking the vocabulary and the methodology of science and deliberately prostituting it to make political points to confuse the public to give that motivated policy for elected officials a cover to not do anything but the fundamental aside from the fact that we are destroying the planet which is a big enough planet -- problem the policy issue that is so
egregious here is the introduction of the lie into public discussion everybody comes to policy discussions every american and everybody in the democracy with some level of evidence of fact k we will present your case with a certain emphasis here and there. we are past that. this is the introduction of the big lie into american politics and it is destroying we are destroying our politics as a functioning democracy by allowing the sly and the acceptance of line just out and out lying is an acceptable part of american politics i'm
not kidding about that. i'm in washington every day. i know the people and government. even the bad actors know that they are lying. they understand it but they feel like they can get away with not addressing the problem under the cover of life and its corrupting every single conversation that is happening in that city. and it has gotten at least twice as bad since 2016 and it will continue. >> since this is a literary event we will quote upton sinclair. it's very difficult to get a man to understand something if his salary depends on him not understanding it. to interpret the ongoing campaign. and those who advocate for them to deny the overwhelming
evidence of climate change. one of them is the way that we frame discussions denise did a really nice job in talking about these super storms this is not a coincidence. the fact that we are seeing record intensity around the world and the theory is actually pretty basic care. it goes back to the laws of thermo dynamics. it provides more energy to intensify these storms and by the way a warmer ocean surface produces more moisture. when you have a system stall like harvey did in houston there were to record amounts of moisture in that storm available to produce record flooding.
these unprecedented and super storms and wildfires in droughts and heat waves it's not a coincidence the impacts of climate change are no longer subtle we are seeing them play out in real time on our television screens in our newspapers. and the idea that you can't prove that. .. .. there is no question that we are. this is a loophole that this is -- that we can lose a planet through. >> climate change denial, there
is this hierarchy, the stages of denial. the most severe stage, the most fundamental stage of the nihilist estate is not happening. how many in this room have heard the claim by talking tos that global warming stopped, there was a hiatus in global warming? 2014 was the warmest year on record until 2015, which was the warmest year on record, until 2016 which was the warmest year on record, good news, 2017, not the warmest year on record, only the second warmest. it is happening, it is not natural. as al gore tells us you do have to remove the frog at the end of the experiment. stuffed temperatures change all the time stovetop temperatures change all the time. no, the fact that people die of natural causes is not used as an argument to absolve the
murderer. this is as absurd an argument as that. we can't explain the warming we have seen and all the other changes we have seen in the climate, increases in extreme weather eventss from natural causes. if it was natural causes alone the climate would have actually cooled over the last half-century. natural causes were acting in slightly the opposite direction. some of the warming is caused by human activity, that is a copout, still a denial. what the science says is more than 100% of the warming is caused by us. natural factors were offsetting some of the warming. >> if you followed the history of the argument, the climate changes all the time is a recent addition. early on in the first half of the argument, the warming is
going to show up, you will see the warming even if you don't see it now. the deniers said we don't see any evidence, there is no evidence. there was evidence but it was more subtle than it was now. they say if there were warming you would see it. where's the evidence? during that time the evidence became unmistakable. the atmosphere and the planet were warming, it was irrefutable. as soon as that happened, then they said it is warming but that happens all the time. a new argument, when somebody keeps changing the rationale for doing what they are doing but the outcome is the same, protect the fossil fuel industry, a really good indicator of what the actual
motivation is. >> it is happening, okay, maybe it is happening but it is natural. it is not natural, maybe it will be self-correcting, hundreds of feet of shiva level rise will the topical powered power plants. if it is not self-correcting it is a good thing. our epa administrator, scott pruitt, recently migrated to the new stage of denial that it is a good thing, it will help human beings flourish. what is magic about these arguments is they go down the same path of inaction and that is what special interests care about. they don't care about the nature of the argument but where it leads them. it is not a good thing, it is too late to do anything anyway, this is a brilliant cartoon that appeals to my artistic sensibilities. it conveys how ridiculous that is. it is not too late.
we can still take the action necessary to avert catastrophic warming of the planet but we have to act now, we have to transition dramatically away from fossil fuels towards renewable energy. anything to add? >> i want to save some time. >> geo-engineering, the title of our chapter, the idea here, maybe we will continue to burn fossil fuels but we will do something else, we will engage in another unprecedented planetary intervention, shoot particles into the stratosphere, dump iron into the ocean and maybe we will get lucky and this will magically cancel out the effects of global warming. the title of our chapter is geo-engineering or what could possibly go wrong? i will leave it at that. the real path forward is policy, the paris accord, a monumental achievement that
doesn't get us -- it gets us on the right path. it doesn't solve the problem but gets us on the right path. all the countries of the world save one, one president threatened to leave the paris accord, to pool out of the paris accord, the president appears to have problems with pulling out. the path forward. we run into this wall. it is not the wall that trump promised to build. it is this wall between the evidence of climate change and the reality that trump himself denies. tom and i realized -- in august a year and a half ago, we didn't have a trump cartoon and realized may be this guy could be relevant to what happens in
this election, we should include one and this was the cartoon. so what we have seen under trump is an effort by him and those he has appointed 2 offices like scott pruitt, the real ethical lapse we should talk about with scott pruitt, the real ethical lapse is to dismantle half a century of environmental protections that were put in place by both republican and democratic administrations. that is the true ethical lapse for which you should be removed from office. we do face an uphill battle right now and it feels like the forces are aligned against us when we look at congress, when we look at the presidency and who occupies the oval office right now. the good news is a lot of
progress taking place, seem to be turning the corner in how we frame this discussion. in public discourse, the state level, the city level, states banding together, northeastern states with virginia and new jersey joining in. all of these efforts to accelerate the transition, and to incentivize renewable energy, to accelerate the transition that is already underway. if we don't like the directions our policies are taking, in 250 days we have an opportunity to say we want to see a different direction. we are making progress everywhere else, we need to make progress at the national level. we need a president who will get behind the global efforts, a prisonlike macron, and a
congress that will support that action. we can make sure our voices are heard again. in 250 days at the voting booth we can say we once politicians who will act in our interests rather than for the special interests. the planet really does lie in the balance. >> i think -- >> thank you, gentlemen. >> and start lining up. this goes back to what tom was talking about. in the scientific community. they call it the carl sagan
effect, scientists, those days of publishing in the ivory tower, sending out papers and hoping it will change the world are over. you and jim henson and others, when you got into the scientific world, are you comfortable with it. i feel obligated to tell you you got to keep doing it. it is a mission at the heart and soul of science. a couple words. >> i didn't come to politics, politics came to me. the atty. gen. of virginia tried to subpoena my personal emails. the effort was struck down by the courts, he went on to run for governor of virginia. i went on the campaign trail
with his opponents, terry mcauliffe because i fully understood the threat the governor would represent to the governor of virginia. he won that election. can -- just to the south of us in the chesapeake bay area to work on an oyster farm on this island's upcoming to the effects of sealevel rise. it is true. it is real. i didn't come to politics, politics came to me. when i realized i had an opportunity it wasn't what i signed up for, to do climate modeling but when i realized whether elected or not i was put in position to influence the conversation about the greatest challenge we face as a civilization. i feel privileged to be in a position to do that. if i were to do it over i would
make the same decision. >> thank you for the dramatic -- [applause] >> you are focused on chesapeake bay now. i ran into an oyster man doing this story and he might be in tangiers which is greatly at risk and i was asking his thoughts on climate change. he doesn't believe in it. i said you are literally campaigning to try to preserve your own island with seewald etc.. what is it you think of doing this? he says it is just the erosion. it is not, it is climate change. he refused to even enter into the lexicon of climate change. the run into that idea? people who are absolutely in the crossroads of this and still are reluctant to admit what is happening? >> yes. first of all, if you live
somewhere people are telling you you have to leave, you will do everything in your power to not believe that. if you grew up there all your life, your family is there, accepting the science, taking it to the extreme level of your departure is a reason for people to shut down. especially in the case of tangier island, i recall reading that the mayor reached out to donald trump early last year and asked him for help because the island is drowning and trump said you are fine. it is erosion. you will be fine. the pres. tells me i am fine, nice thing to hear. the culture of the island is something like 99% -- i can imagine if you're in a community work everyone bands together in disbelief, very
difficult until it is at the point of being forced to move. hopefully other people can look at those instances and prevent it from happening to themselves. >> take some questions from the audience. go ahead. >> i want to thank the panel for an excellent overview and compelling subject. what advice would you give an audience like this, primarily laypeople, on the most effective thing we can do as citizens, in addition to however we might vote and in addition to buying your excellent books? >> i will take a quick stab at
that. because the nature of this is a collective action problem, recycling in your kitchen is not going to come as great as it is, is not going to solve climate change. i think the two things, the most important thing, i don't know, michael's reluctance to get into direct political advocacy, but as an opinion commentator i have no such restriction. november is critical. look at where the biggest problem is, the united states government right now, look what tools are available, i would say do everything in your power to overturn the current house and senate. it will not solve the problem, but it will be a significant step in the right direction.
other than that, i would try to become engaged in some environmental organization of your choice, local or national, to reinvigorate those organizations with members, with money, and that is again a large-scale approach. it is such a big problem that you have to think globally, act locally. think globally and act nationally and be my advice. >> i agree completely. that is critical. we need a check on this white house and the efforts to dismantle half a century of environmental protections. voting is the easiest way to impact that. there are so many ways we can express ourselves, use our voices.
what gives me optimism is what we have seen, we talked about tipping points, we are in the midst of a cultural tipping point in how we think about guns. common sense gun laws. we went through a tipping point moment some years ago on marriage equality. we are going through a tipping point moment on guns and one of the reasons is these kids who have found their voice, kids who have grown up in a world of social media and they are basically out doing nra lobbyists, this huge sort of infrastructure that exists to pollute our public discourse but these kids have found a way to penetrate through that noise and the moral authority of their voice has allowed them to connect with the american people in these kids have been on the sidelines for a couple
decades. they haven't been voting, millennials have not been voting. we have seen the reawakening of that demographic and that has huge implications for potential to make progress on this issue. as they realized, if they want to protect their own futures they need to speak out and you are seeing that on climate change as well. we can do things in our daily lives that reduce our carbon footprint and make us healthier, save us money, things we ought to do anyway to send a good message to friends and family and neighbors but to solve this problem we need action at the highest level and politicians to express our interests, not the special interests. >> i would like to emphasize, states and localities, taking policies into their own hands
and federal administration policies. on top of changing the federal landscape, state policies to promote renewable energy and move away from fossil fuels are at a turning point. maryland and fracking last year which was groundbreaking victory. [applause] >> the organization i speak for, chesapeake climate, virginia and dc. getting involved with local legislators, your voice is so much louder than calling your federal legislator. every single phone call, they actually track, that is important to them. so much higher. i would say to get most effective votes get involved in
local policies. >> next question? >> good afternoon. you talk about optimism. if you have a greater sense of optimism, at the state level, we are probably going to hit our paris climates numbers anyway given the decline of coal, rise of renewable energy, i see china tripling use of solar, wind power, how much optimism should we have that baby the private sector driven by economics will see the rise of more renewable energy and electric cars, not to discount washington but set them aside and move in that direction? >> there is a saying that the stone age didn't end for want
of stones. the fossil fuel age will not end for want of fossil fuels. it will end because we found something better. the rest of the world recognizes that. the world is moving on. we are seeing dramatic movement towards renewable energy. at the stick of the us has gone from being a leader under the previous it ministration to being the skunk at the garden party frankly. the only question, the only decision we have to make is are we going to be part of the solution, part of the great economic revolution of the century which is the clean energy revolution or are we going to get left behind at the train station? if we follow the current policies of this white house we will get left behind at the train station. this is about our competitiveness. i'm optimistic that the world is moving on and we will solve this problem. i want the united states to be part of that and that is
something we can make sure happens. >> i have a different take on that. i'm torn between optimism and pessimism and my optimism is the technology is available, the recognition is coming. the problem is the clock is ticking. i am not sure you can use the word solve the problem at this point. it is making sure we don't -- we limit the number of degrees and the amount of the problem. we have already got problems. you don't see a way to roll those back, you can build a seawall but that does not make the sealevel go down. it is a matter of time. there is debate how much time and how much warming. i don't think we have the opportunity to wait a second.
putting a price on carbon almost by definition would accelerate the progress. >> one quick thought. our former national science advisor, john holderman, back when we had a science advisor in the white house, what is it we need to do, how is that we are going to confront this problem? a combination of three things. adaptation, adapting to those changes that are now inevitable, and here in annapolis we will deal with several more feet of sealevel rise over the next century so no matter what we do, we have to adapt to those changes that are inevitable. we have to mitigate, prevent the changes that are still preventable by reducing carbon emissions by putting a price on carbon, incentivizing renewable energy.
and adaptation, mitigation and one more option, suffering. we have to decide how much each of those is tolerable. it is my hope we will minimize this suffering, engage in adaptations that are necessary but we will mitigate those changes that we still can and we do that by getting off fossil fuels as fast as we can. >> one more question. >> good afternoon. getting off fossil fuels faster. one of the ways we can do that, we can in our own communities start to change their home. i have a proposal, our proposal, nonprofits, if you create a foundation, nonprofits
changing, green energy, you will show everyone how to do it and how it can be done and in addition you will learn what it costs and the cost to educate a full generation and a lot of kids are interested. witnessed the marjorie stoneman kids. they want control of their lives and their future. i say the name of the foundation -- >> can you get a question? >> i have no question. >> say the name of the foundation. >> magical.org. i have copies of proposals with my website on it. >> one more question and we will call it. >> i am an educator and i teach fifth grade. the curriculum we have is
filtering in education for our environment which is a wonderful thing, we have great problems -- programs going on. what i find difficult is the level of reading material that comes out for our students is way above their heads. very technical. >> pictures are good. >> my question -- >> oval office ready. probably good for fifth-graders. >> that is fantastic. can you suggest any other resources as far as literature and if not, my challenge is the two of you, if you want to start developing educational material because we are here because we believe in this but i have a captive audience every
day for 180 days. i can do so much with them and get them on board because they are the ones who will eventually make the policy decisions. >> i promise this lady and i did not talk before the event. my latest book which just came out on earth day is available online. a children's book, i collaborated with a children's author and illustrator. the title of the book is the tantrum that saved the world. it is about a girl, becoming very frustrated because these animals keep showing up at her door, polar bears, swarm of bees, sea turtle, people as well who are displaced by climate change. she gets so upset that she throws this tantrum and decides she has got to do something about the problem. it is empowering and she
creates the change she wants to see in the world and makes sure the adults in her life do the things necessary to make sure we don't degrade the planet for future generations. it is -- a sort of susie and quality. there is a second section which will provide context, the science behind how climate changes impacting them. the book is aimed at 55 to 10-year-olds and we think it can grow with children. they can read the story, parents can read the story to them when they are younger. over time they can really appreciate the additional contextual material we provide and there is an action plan with it. how kids can make a difference now. thank you for that question. >> thank you for that one. we need a tantrum or two to make some change.
best-selling autobiography a higher loyalty. he will discuss several of the issues he faced as fbi director including the russia investigation, hillary clinton's emails and his views on donald trump. watch james comey on booktv on c-span2 in prime time monday at 7:00 eastern. >> on c-span next week in prime time at 8:00 eastern, health executives on challenges facing hospitals and the state of american healthcare. >> since the start of obamacare, they do go for screening more effectively, it has driven down all 3 of those because people got identified and diagnosed earlier. >> dr. priscilla chan, the wife of mark zuckerberg, discusses philanthropic efforts. >> we are rethinking the way primary care works and the way education works, we take a whole child approach and thinking about what each student needs to succeed. >> a conversation with supreme court justice clarence thomas and justice stephen breyer. >> we have a criteria.
the criteria -- did the lower courts come to different conclusions on the same question of federal law. >> thursday at 8:00 eastern, a look at how the criminal justice system handles people suffering mental illness. >> since 1980 the number of people going to jail has tripled and their sentences have increased by 166%. as you peel back the onion and try to figure out what has happened, what you find is most of this is due to untreated mental health, illness, substance abuse disorders. >> friday, legal experts discuss surveillance and privacy in the modern era. >> in my world we have the us not regulating even when we see bad problems, the eu regulating a lot, even more than they should.
we have not had good enough imagination. >> next week in prime time on c-span. >> for nearly 20 years, in depth on booktv has featured the nation as best known nonfiction writers for live conversations about their books. this year we are featuring best-selling fiction writers for our monthly program in depth fiction addition. join us live sunday, may 6th at noon eastern with thriller fiction author david baldacy with his book the following which is number one on the national fiction list. 's other novels includes legal game, the fix, absolute power which became a major motion picture, and 30 novels. he has a 6 novels for younger readers which include the finisher, the keeper and the width of the world. during the program we will take your phone calls, tweets and facebook messages with our
special series in depth fiction addition sunday, may 6th, live from noon to 3:00 pm eastern on booktv on c-span2. >> black and white. booktv live coverage of the annapolis book festival continues now. next up is april ryan talking about the presidency in black and white. >> i would like to thank everybody in the room for coming. it is my pleasure to welcome you today and i would like to thank the organizers of the and apple this book festival, i'm delighted to introduce urban radio network's correspondent and bureau chief april ryan. [applause] >> she is a political analyst for cnn and an author.
her prior work includes at mom's need, mothers raised in black and white and the book we are talking about today, the presidency in black and white. just as an aside april has another book coming out later this year. >> in september. >> we will be talking about that a little bit. >> i have a lot to talk about. i tell it, i tell it. >> we will do some telling in a minute. april ryan has been covering the white house since january 1997, the second term of the clinton administration, she covered him, george w. bush, barack obama, the beginning of the donald trump administration, interviewed first ladies, hillary clinton, laura bush, michelle obama. april is really reporter of color who regularly covers this beat, and she just gets a lot of grief for it. one of the things i did in preparing for this was to go back over the last year and a
half, seeing what happened to you. someone has given it to her again. that is not even half of it. >> that is the public stuff, you don't know what is going on behind the scenes. >> >> is sean spicer telling you not to do that. don't shake your head. >> did i shake my head or make a face? >> i don't think i did anything. >> lost my head. >> what happened? >> i don't know. he is probably watching hey, sean. he likes to talk about me on fox. >> you had a question about the trump administration in terms of perception and trying to give you an answer and you were
looking, pressing as reporters do, asking until they get an answer and he wouldn't answer. >> had advice for me and i stopped shaking my head and i asked him within three months of the administration and i asked him, i said something about russia. people think i ask about just black issues. russia must be in the urban agenda area too. i said sean, it was something about changing the image because early on, they were really having a problem with the image when it came to russia. this new administration, hope and change, they were dogs, i heard they were grown, dogged by russia and so many other
issues. i said any president once a winning picture. when you see a president of the united states there's a picture of strength, confidence, command but with all that was happening the winning picture was not there. i asked a simple question about the look. how will you revamp your image? then we got into this thing about you have russia, resting on his salad, and it was very odd. i was like i just looked and i dropped my head. i didn't shake my head in that moment. it kept going on and on and ultimately it was unbelievable. i believe i am older than he is and have been around longer than he is at the white house
but was told to stop shaking my head like a child but that is okay. where is he now? [applause] >> i have to slip in my absolute favorite meme of paul ryan. poor mr. spicer misspoke and made a startling claim, you know where i am going, that hitler did not use gas against his own people. there is this unbelievable moment in the press room. i went back and thought -- what? you could see people -- >> i was in shock. >> you were not the only one. >> this was shocking. >> ashley was ahead of me, her eyebrows telling the story. it was a moment that i had
never seen. you do not address one atrocity with that atrocity. the holocaust touched that. you don't touch slavery. so many atrocities people don't understand, they want to re-create, change the narrative, you can't change history, can't change the pain, the death, you can't change the hurt, you can't change the fact that people are saying never again and you -- you can't do that. >> as a coda to the story, mr. spicer did admit a mistake and did an apology a couple days later. the moment itself will never be forgotten. he did say he was sorry and
recognized his misstep and issued a full apology but didn't come for a couple days. have you ever been surprised like this in previous administrations or taken aback as you were recently? >> during the clinton years i was shocked with the monaco situation. i'm still journaling as a reporter but as a human i said he couldn't do that. his daughter is around that age. i was shocked. during the iraq war, i remember the day it started i was sitting in karen hughes's office and karen hughes was president bush's special assistant and advisor to the pres. and i knew something had
happened, she got a call and i was nervous, i was in shock, nervous as a human being. as a report i will do my job but i understand the magnitude of what was happening, something was going on. those were moments the kind of shocked me. during the obama years, what really shocked me, this was on the racial note, i am not one of those people who cried the night he was elected. i was one of the people who marked history in shock because i never thought it would happen but what shocked me was the disdain for this president.
the night he was elected i happened to be at the white house, many people were in grant park and other places. i was in the best place ever. spontaneous crowds were erupting in front of the white house, kids from georgetown, george washington, howard, running through the streets, the bushes were still up because president bush would go to bed at 9:30 but the lights were on at 11:00, that barack obama would be the 44th president of the united states of america and these kids were in the street, black, white, mostly white, thinking they had made a difference, they changed the tide. i saw this hope in young people, this hope that maybe we are getting something right, that we are the difference. weeks later i am hearing we are
going to get him out, one term, we want him to fail. i was shocked by that. i was shocked, history is cyclical. when you have great strides, this is not about politics or policy. great strides racially, there is a pool and an imaginary rubber band that has its boundaries, keep stretching and stretching and it breaks, can't put it back together. i think we stretched it and we are in the post obama era. pres. obama was a moment in this nation with you like it or not. we have never been post-racial, never ever ever ever. what does that look like. >> a whole new set of people you are following. >> i have a whole set of people
following the. i am a lean in. is this good? leaning in. >> a bunch of new people. >> every few years i'm following a bunch of new people, that is not new. >> a bunch of people following who are now saying where did you come from? i have been here 21 years. new people feel i am invalid. here is the thing, the founding fathers, white men -- made this wonderful thing called the constitution. a whole bunch of stuff in there. one thing in particular i will talk about that amendment that
shields me. or the snapchat or anything social media or the internet but the wisdom to understand their need to be checks and balances and the fourth estate. george w. bush, people swearing i was a republican and barack obama. they swore i was a democrat. now -- i am doing my job. later they said i was a republican. i must be doing my job well because can't figure it out, they want to call me a liberal journalist, call me whatever you want but i will do my job. back to the founding fathers, they had the wisdom to understand it is going to be a group of people who ask questions that hold you accountable to the american
public, transparency, the press is evil and we don't want them, because you don't get the information, the back and forth, the transparency during the day. the question and answers, it is not about us but about you giving information. freedom of the press is freedom of information for the republican public. and i am chastised, what is the problem? i have an agenda, don't try it with me because i'm not the one. [applause] >> i am serious. i'm exercising what our founding fathers set in place. did you not read your civics
lesson you your government lesson, you may not have gone to school but guess what, the tide has changed. >> we do you get into it? >> early on. when i was shaking my head. >> never before. and i'm not going to -- >> there was some critical pushback of you which seemed extremely out of place. we talked about this and the white house press secretary. those who are supporting those who feel i'm disgraceful, race baiter, i want to interview him.
no matter what you think of him, and what makes him tick, this or that or the other, that is my job, not my job to hate him or like him. and get to work with these people and there should be an adversarial relationship, i am still what -- i'm working on it. we are so tribal now. and so many friendships have broken up, you are over there and i am over here. it changed the dynamic and what happened? with that, when we are tribal we have people who dislike donald trump who are actually received death threats. i'm tired of saying it is just
me. if i put it out there the atmosphere will change. and the people who think i am against the pres. are threatening me. there are other people who have gotten death threats. it is not just me. we need, the heat needs to be dialed down. my boss came into the white house, it is not just me saying, we are getting death threats. we have got do something. it comes from the head, the pres. and tonight is a big night for us. the freedom of the press, freedom of the press, press freedom, white house correspondents association dinner, the pres. is not
attending. maybe today could be that shift come putting it out in the amateur could be that shift. my life or her life should not be in jeopardy and people need to know what they are saying, words mean something but maybe we can shift the atmosphere. i am a mother of two kids, divorced mother of two kids and i'm doing my job. i'm not backing down. to want to take my life over asking a question that is legitimate? >> are other reporters getting similar threat? >> i know at least one. i don't want to say their name but a friend, they talked about it. i don't want to put it out for him. >> let's talk about what you have written about in your book, that has to do with how you covered each pres. the questions you have asked. at the end of your book you give the president a report
card and on your report card you grade the man they get grades, on different topics that include administration diversity, apology and reparations, domestic outreach, international outreach, jobs and unemployment and they get an overall grade. april does not give anybody in a. >> you want to know what i gave this president so far? >> why don't you tell? >> if i had to give him a grade right now when it came to race relations in this nation he would get an f. if i had to give him a grade right now. [applause] >> but i am holding out hope, i'm giving him an incomplete because there is time to change. you have kanye west but what
about the rest? let's not even go there. he is running for president in 2020, or 2024, he loves donald trump and doesn't want to run against donald trump. and administration to cover. chris kardashian was the first lady's mama, something upstairs, a little more in chicago. they have pets. this president doesn't have a goldfish. i am telling you, every
president has a pet >> start with something small. >> we were looking at pres.s and you gave different pres.s different grades. you give clinton a b plus. >> that is understanding certain things. he should have acted. when he knew better, and it is unfortunate. and could have done better. and the time, the political atmosphere, those who were for and against in his ear.
unemployment has been bad for black america the time we were brought here in ships. two times greater, mainstream american is not miss or conjecture, we have to ask ourselves why and seriously take a hard look, each pres. is dogged by that issue. and bring a folding chair, the first black woman in 1972, on the democratic ticket. bill clinton, what he did, he brought a lot of african-americans to the table. it wasn't windowdressing. they discussed issues, and the
most african-americans, the face of the administration, largest minority face of the administration on all levels, cabinet, top-tier, what have you. the positives, you have more african-americans under bill clinton, home ownership is a key to unlocking a lot of things economically. i am taking care of my dad, and long-term care. johnny, jill, amy and shanika go to college. you use that home. i'm from baltimore, we have been renters community.
homeownership is huge. and homeownership is huge. africa was huge. he put africa in the forefront. that sub-saharan portion of africa. we are trying to figure it out. it is a viable the china has gone in, making infrastructure to take its oil and minerals. a lot of things on the table, you try to work with trade, there are so many things he tried to do in the race initiative, the race initiative, 20 years ago, william jefferson clinton wanted to heal the racial
divide. what are we talking about. taking a knee, how it is unpatriotic, about police involved shootings. it is not about our soldiers, it is not about our flag, not about iran some. we are patriotic people and when you think about this i will digress, dr. king said he wanted to make the comfortable uncomfortable, but so different. and a nation is grappling with the issue of race. and laws on the books, you have brown versus board, voting rights act, and still have
problems. it is not a legislative issue but a heart issue. bill clinton wanted to attack heart on matters of race that we still can't get right but there was something called the lewinsky scandal that got sidetracked but that was huge. looking at that, you can never imagine what will happen down the road, can you? would thought we had the first black president or hillary clinton or bernie sanders would run, who would thought donald trump would be president of the united states? i used to watch the apprentice just to hear for the love of money. i did. he is putting the ojs out there. now, he should be doing that
now. i'm just joking. >> bill clinton got a b plus. >> he had the foresight. and start only that, bill clinton, everybody wanted to call him the first black president, whatever, he had an understanding we were a nation at a certain time that would be majority minority, the nation, right now we're in the moment, the majority of babies born in this nation are a minority and that was 20 years ago and we are grappling with who should do this and you come -- with stupid stuff. instead of looking at people as
people. we can't get this right but he was so concerned about it. that he wanted to meet with the black press and black white house press corps and members of the press corps were black. we want to get off the record with him. and i am shocked about it. we wanted it off the record. many of the mainstream journalists received off the record with the president, go into the oval office and talk with him and he knows who you are. i run into him in the hallway and say you need to call me by my name and he did. we needed those 1-on-1 like the abcs, major news organizations,
he wanted to talk about his race initiative was floundering. we wanted off the record. you want to give us that. we are going to appeal to the senses, what he likes, soul food. it is true and he comes to me all the time. remember the show, the dinner we had? that is why i have a heart attack, that is not why you had your heart attack. i did a jesse jackson impersonation really well but i can't anymore. when you are around these people you get to know their rhythms or whatever. john kennedy junior's funeral, and it will throw things off
the table. we didn't think we were going to have the dinner because so many things were happening. lamonica stuff was heating up and when john kennedy junior came up it was a my gosh and the service was next day. he came to the dinner and we were in shock. we actually got the leader of the free world to sit down and break bread with us, to garlic fried chicken, potato salad, green beans, put it all on one fork. it was the most amazing night. it really was. there were 10 of us or so breaking bread with the president of the united states talking about issues of race, how to heal the racial divide.
it was an amazing night. he was so engaged with bill clinton, it is like a monologue. and go on and on, they had to pull him out, 11 something, you have to go. you are engaged in the conversation about so many topics on race but to this day we are where we are. >> i want to advance to pres. george w. bush, you gave them an overall grade of b-. that was an interesting grade because you rated him very highly on some things. >> katrina was enough said. people died. enough said. an issue of states rights but
people died. he had a heart for race and people didn't see that. i got to know this president very well and i will never forget our conversation, he would tell me things like i'm not pandering to you. people of different backgrounds, brings a texture that is not normally there. a lot of times, i love my colleagues. they are the hardest working people. we are always on. looking to see what happened overnight on the phone always. when you think about the issues raised in the briefing room, normally what happens is the first two rose lead. the only time there are issues of minority communities or
communities they consider specialty media like christian communities, black news, hispanic news, asian community, is not the mainstream in their eyes, but a crescendo moment. the tray vons, katrinas, it is sad. there are issues on the table from every community and it is unfortunate is not heard because there is not texture in the room to represent that. i wish there were more people of color, minorities in that room. and the year after katrina. and i stood in the briefing
room podium and walking to the press office, they were waiting for the press secretary, he is right. . here is another thing. he picked up and bill clinton's baton and ran with it. he did more for africa than bill clinton. the republicans around him, the karl roves and the rest of them felt it wouldn't make a difference because the black community -- come on, that is sad. it is a hard issue and an economic issue, a health issue. >> what did he do about africa? >> he and bill clinton devised a plan to bring generic drugs
into africa, from malaria, transfer of aids, that malaria is terrible in africa and trade. it is all about helping boost the economy. it is a holistic piece. this president really worked in sub-saharan africa and bill clinton helped him. it within a limousine ride. these things you don't know, nuances you just don't know. another piece, we had a conversation about race.
we always talked about race but when john mccain and sarah palin and barack obama and joe biden were running against one another he let me know he saw subtle and overt racism happening in the country. he made me aware he saw it. he followed through with it in letting me know. the person that i knew in that white house you didn't see on tv. he was hammed up for a reason, by a lot of republican ideology and those around him. he had a heart for it. he had condoleezza rice in his ear all the time and they are close to this day. and she is someone who believed in, she called it targets of opportunity, it is called
affirmative action if you want to know. so the day after barack obama was made president of the united states, was elected president of the united states without the electoral college. you have to quantify and qualify nowadays because we saw that with al gore. we didn't know who would be our president. what is this? i have never seen this. and it happened again. within a cycle of 20 some years. this is how volatile -- how tender things are. we have to really work at nailing these things down. going back to the day after the election. when there's a new occupant in 1600 pennsylvania ave. george
w. bush was following tradition, reporters came out into the rose garden, waited for him but i wanted to see his demeanor, the nuances of the story, i wanted to see what he thought about it. i walked over to the french doors, still in the rose garden, i walked over to the side to look into the oval office through the french doors and i saw him very upset, walking, pacing back and forth, people like steve hadley, national security adviser, why is he so angry? there were two people by me, a friend of mine who worked at the white house and all of a sudden, he peers out the door and he sees me and mind you, he is angry. he sees me as we are waiting
for him to announce the change in history on many levels. he sees me and he does this. the tension in the room immediately breaks. steve hadley, who did he look out the window, that is april. and not only that, george w. bush intrinsically knew that barack obama had an uphill battle, number one, being the next president but 2, being a black man, the first black man in the job. he left him alone. he did not go after him. for better or for worse during that eight your pure go, he let him run the ship. >> i will jump to barack obama. you gave him a b plus. >> i gave him a b plus. you got to read the book to
understand. no matter what you think of a pres.. i'm not going to say that. times have changed. i have got to change that one. the three pres.s i have covered i can say this, who had governance, they have done the best that they know how. this president -- we are still learning him and how he governs. i cannot say that as of yet. when it comes to barack obama, you have to remember as soon as he came in the tea party rose up. there was immediate opposition to him. he had to strategically walk a fine line the first term to gain a second term.
the first term barack obama and second her barack obama were totally different people but what i will tell you is one of the main reasons he has that b plus is the accountability when it comes to issues of policing. when it comes to issues of policing. this is one of the greatest thing, steve jobs was in our lives for a moment. i am serious. people are taking videos. the news is getting out. we have seen walter scott, freddie gray who never should have been taken into custody. in baton rouge, we have seen what happened in sacramento, we saw a local issue, a man in a
police chokehold, saying i can't breathe. but the problem is there is still no justice, no accountability. we have been beating the drum in the black community from the time the slave was brought here, since slavery. it is the truth. the issue in the black community, considered myth and conjecture, now you have the video to prove it. what happens next? is the thing. the reason why he fell into it by mistake, talking about skip gates, a knee-jerk reaction. he goes home to get to his house and the neighbors call the police on him. >> a professor at harvard. >> the one who tells you your genealogy when you watch on
pbs. police come and handcuff him in his own home. he is trying to explain he actually lives there. >> this is my house. >> and the pres. knows him. he was in trouble for that. and then it continued to happen. trayvon was before the second time and we saw the shift. when he said he could be my son. what did he mean? what do you think he meant? sometimes we are so smart we hurt ourselves. what do you think he meant? barack obama is a black man. now you know who he is but
before i don't care. before he became president of the united states, he had the same problem just being black. what happens at starbucks? that is all i am going to say. i am going to starbucks too. >> it is a quarter of. we have time for one or two more questions. if you want to talk to april, i will you take questions from people who appear at the microphone. >> have you enjoyed the conversation so far? [applause] >> i'm pleased to be here today. >> do you see donald trump's policy is a paradigm shift meaning permanent or drastic change when it comes to press relation and the pres.'s office? >> yes, i do.
it is a big shift. this president is showing the next occupant of 1600 pennsylvania ave. how to act with us. not only that, i talked to the ambassador of the eu, the european union in the last couple months and it was all about the issue of fake news. european leaders are very concerned because what happens, this is trickling over there. once people, the nations, the people of the nation start saying this is fake, they don't trust the press and they don't trust leadership and acted breed anarchy. they are trying to get a handle on it. not only that but it disrupts -- we were founded on certain
freedoms. this president on january 20th at 12:01, 2017, took the oath to uphold the constitution, within that is the first amendment. what is happening? he is not fulfilling his oath. there is a dangerous dance we are doing right now with this. i am praying, we have seen how some reporters have gotten hurt. this is not a joke. this is not a joke. i hope i answered your question. >> what strategy would you recommend to increase communication and decrease the partisan divide? >> call it out. when you call it out you have to bring facts to it. people like to spin and say they want a positive story. i believe in giving a whole story, not two sides anymore because you have a republican president, some leaving office
who don't like the old part president or the policies. you have to give that sided his side and go here and there. it is all sides, whatever the issue is about is all sides. we have to give fact, more so now than ever before. it is incumbent on us to be journalists worth our pin and pad and sources. we have got to give you the truth, no fake news here. [applause] >> you say the presidency in black and white. do you predict in the future it is possible we are fertile for history to repeat itself and see another black or brown person come to the office of the presidency?
[laughter] >> i am sad about that. i'm a person with hope. i have so much hope. what i am seeing now, we are so tribal, so divisive, and i feel sorry for the next person who runs for office. this is a whole different way of campaigning. we are seeing gutter politics at its best and we haven't even seen them go for the jugular yet. race is still an issue. looking through the prism of skin color instead of seeing you as a person. i am afraid we are too far gone from the dynamic of let's try to be one, try to not worry about racism, worry about the issues on the table but race and gender are on the table more so than ever before. i am sad, i pray that i am
totally wrong but i don't see in the next election, i don't even see kanye. you can get any kind of person to run for president but i don't think, i don't think, no. not in the next two election cycles. i don't think so. >> in a similar vein, the likelihood of a female president? >> that is on the table. i am so heartened by people rising up who are activating. it gives us hope. when there's radical activism there is change. it could change the dynamic. me 2 rose up out of pain.
women are running for office out of pain, to say no more, i can do this. politics is a weight male-dominated landscape. even when barack obama was president, nancy pelosi said you have to crack the gas ceiling, it is a marble ceiling, it is still there but they are cracking every movement, every female, every woman who is elected, is hope. hillary clinton won the popular vote. >> it was the electoral college. i pray that we can see people for people. we still worry about people
dealing with healthcare that a woman is at the table particularly when dealing with our issues. we are still dealing with that kind of stuff. for every stride there is a drawback. i pray that we can see that happen one day. >> this will be the last question. what does your heart tell you about healing this racial divide? >> what does my heart tell me? take off the journalist had. got to stop talking at each other and find common ground and build on that. we are all people, this country was founded on bringing all sorts of people here. we love our country, we have a lot of flaws but we love and want to make it better. challenging the system does not mean you are unpatriotic. it means you want to make our
country better. it means i am in this boat with you. if we are drowning you are not worried about my color but getting the water out and paddling to safety. and love each other up when we get to safety. you don't care about mike other than but why do you care about it now? if we say we love a higher being and all of what i read in the religions i have viewed it is about treating others the same. where are we now? if we say we espouse a higher power and we have that power in us, we are doing something different, something is what we have to do, self evaluation. we have to do self evaluation to see am i holding someone down? and this last piece.
sen. lankford and tim scott have something once a month on sundays. i forget the name of it. >> sen. james lankford of oklahoma and scott of south carolina. they have something on sunday where they ask people, have you had people of other races for dinner? no, but in your home. that is a big thing. can you come together with another race and have civil conversation? put the facts on the table and if you do that, i have written three books about race and they all come in, people marched with dr. king and people out there on the front lines now and if we could use our heart instead of this and this it will be better off. i know it is a hard issue, it
journalist ronald kessler with his book the trump white house, changing the rules of the game. he is interviewed by sandy thomas of liberty consulting. >> like a boxer he is always bobbing and weaving and counterpunching. it is all an act. his top 8 for 26 years when she joined the organization, she knew him better than anybody on the social side and she said there are two donald trumps, one of the when you see on tv who makes these outrageous comments to get attention for his brand, and even if it creates negative public city he still becomes the center of attention every day in conversation and the media. there is the other donald trump, the one insiders know who is just the opposite, he is thoughtful, he listens, he is very careful about making decisions. ..