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tv   Sen. Ben Sasse at National Press Club  CSPAN  November 25, 2018 10:35am-11:40am EST

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$5,000. the deadline for entry is january 20. for more information, go to >> when the new congress starts in january there will be more than 100 new house and senate members. democrats will control the house, republicans, the senate. new congress, new leaders. watch the process unfold on c-span. >> now, nebraska republican senator ben sasse talks about his latest book. "then -- why we hate each other and how to heal." this is just over one hour. hello everybody. welcome to the national press club. i am an editor at bloomberg
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news, and i am the 111th president of the national press club. before we get started, i would like to ask you to please silence your cell phones. if you are on twitter, tweet during the program. #npclive. the c-span and public radio audiences, please be aware that the generalare from public. any reaction you hear is not necessarily from the working press. and now, i would like to -- audience, please hold your applause until everyone has been introduced. starting from your right, we have lisa matthews, the video assignment manager for the associated press. she is cochair of the headliners team. we have sarah, who is the congressional correspondent at the l.a. times.
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we have dan friedman, correspondent in the washington bureau of hearst newspapers. coming in from this side, we have ellen ferguson, reporter at cq roll call and a member of the press club. maureen, who is the washington correspondent at usa today. we have philip, senior editor at agro pulse. we have betsy fischer martin, executive director of the women in politics institute at american university. she is also cochair of the press club headliners team. so. monthspast couple of have been any evidence, electoral politics are not for the faint of heart. 2014,his election in senator ben sasse, republican from the brassica, has not been shy to speak his mind.
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two years after his election, he surprised the nation and his party by deciding to not endorse donald trump for president. even after that election, he has continued to question administration policies from border issues to the trade war with china. perhaps this willingness to face issues head-on is due to his background. in contrast with his legal colleagues, the senator holds a doctorate in american history and wrote his dissertation at yale on the religious right's response to the attack on activities like school prayer in the 1950's. that dissertation was twice as long as the book we will be talking about today. but, it did when him some very prestigious prizes. me one second. senator sasse has also worked as a management consultant, held several positions in the george w. bush administration, and
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austin.n it was as an educational administrator where he found his highest profile job prior to his senate run. before he turned 40 he turned around the foundering midland lutheran college in fremont, nebraska, his hometown. sass rebranded the school as midland university. he balanced the budget, increased enrollment, and expanded programs as well as setting up a four-year graduation guarantee. the senate, senator sasse also works to make things better. he sponsors bills addressing everything from congressional workplace misconduct and anticorruption to presidential transparency. today, he is here to talk about his newest book. i remind everyone in the audience that this is his second
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book in less than two years. it is called "them: why we hate each other and how to heal." threaten to become more prominent, some things bind us together. senator ben sasse brings us. and ideas on how to reverse that in bring us back together as a country. sasseng today, senator will talk about what it will take in his words to pass along a country is great and free and opportunity-filled for the next generation as we were blessed to inherit our grandparents. so some of you in the audience here today already know this, but i and especially pleased to welcome senator sasse to the press club because he represents a state that is near and dear to my heart. my dad is from nebraska. vacations going between humboldt and omaha, and completely
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coincidentally, truly, my husband is from nebraska, from omaha. so, everyone, whether you have a nebraska connection already or not, please join me in welcoming senator ben sasse to the national press club. [applause] thank you, there is so much i want to talk about that is not officially on the agenda, but it feels like she gave us 15 jumping off points. she mentioned that i wrote a 520 page dissertation. there is an old joke among humanities phd students, you a 500 pageg one -- dissertation because he didn't have time to write a 200 page dissertation. we've been talking about dead animal twitter. i would like to follow that lead, if we can follow that a few times. if i can tease someone up to ask
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about twitter, i think it will be relevant to some of the things we will talk around. data animal twitter was not something i thought we would get to go to, but i have a seven-year-old boy and we live havee country, and we three dogs, which is a sign of people who make bad life choices . we also may or may not have outdoor cats. if they are members of the audubon society, i won't claim they are fed by me, but they deliver dead animals to our front stoop every morning and my seven-year-old and i think this is something the world needs to know about. that is the main reason i'm on twitter. purpose ofid the lunches like this is to make news. i'm grateful for the invitation. thank you for having me. but i want to say that why i wrote this book, frankly, is because the obsession we have with short-term news, i think might be crowding out whatever
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we should define as the other thing, the other side of news. i think that wisdom literature might be the alternative to news, but not exclusively. my goal is not du tock making but -- to duck making news, to tell you that part of -- things like a 24 hour news cycle. i'm going to posit that no such thing exists. the 320 million americans actually need. which means there is a tension between the ways we consume and the ways we might recover a sense of an american "we." primarilye to talk about the book. i know the q&a will lead to other things, but i want to talk about the structure of the book so i can dive deeper on one third of the. aroundtured the project
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the collapse of traditional tribes, the rise of, or the ing of political tribalism, or anti-tribes, and a constructive argument about what we do. what does it look like to inover habits of rootedness a digital age? i think one of the fundamental -- the happiness literature is starting to tell us things that people who have had grandparents probably known for millennia. that most everything that drives whether or not humans are happy are intimately connected to place. the four biggest drivers of whether or not you are happy, statistically, do you have a nuclear family? do you have a few deep friendships? not senate friendships, friends with the colleague from such and such state.
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not social media friends, but actual friends. number three, and statistically, the number one driver, is do you have meaningful work? important vocation, a sense of calling, coworkers? not to you make a lot of money, not is there a coworker three cubicles down who talks loudly, not, does my back hurt at the end of the day? but do i think my work matters? if the answer to that question is yes, statistically, you are almost certainly happy, and if the answer is no, you are unlikely to be happy. you have a theological or philosophical framework to make sense of death and suffering, you have a worshiping community? family, friends, meaningful work . all of those things are highly tied to place. questions of death and suffering are slightly tied to place. three of the four are about
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we are living through a revolution, a moment where we are constantly told we are bigger than place. we can just traipse across the surface of place and be anywhere. the more youout think the world is so flat that you don't actually have to have the lessa place, likely you are to be happy, the less likely you are to expand the denominator of potential unhappiness because of newsweek take in from afar. i wrote this book because of this implicit tension between rootedness, which drives happiness, and rootlessness, the byproduct of living through a technological revolution. the digital revolution did not come about last year. we are decades into it. my guess is that we are many decades for a century away from figuring out what it looks like to a transition from a world that is mostly about adams, what most of our ancestors have known
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, physical material and stuff in place, to a world that is heavily driven by bits that drive economic output bigger than anything the world has ever known. more high-quality/low-cost stuff than anybody in human history. yet it seems strange that we can live in a time with the greatest material prosperity in human history, yet have lots of anxiety and discontent, and if you want to make this precise, about something that is closer to news, we are going to have our third year of declining life expectancy in the u.s. data on lifee good expectancy during the civil war. we probably had about three years during the civil war. but since we've been measuring things like this for a century, we've never had three years of declining life expectancy and now we have rampant death and despair. overdoses, opioids, suicide,
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things like that have displaced car accidents. years ago,to eight car accidents were the biggest driver of death, particularly for anyone under the age of 60 and 65. now we have replaced them with despair.-- deaths of talk abouts book to the decline of the natural tribes, the good ones, the tribes in place. we have a statistical collapse of the nuclear family, particularly among the 70% of americans who have the least educational attainment. we have a rapid decline in friendship. i graduated high school in 1990. the average american had 3.2 friends. the average american today has 1.8 friends. i'm defining this again in an aristotelian sense, somebody who loves you, not a transactional relationship. you see them happy and you
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become happy, you don't choose to be, but you love them. when my kids hurt, i don't choose to hurt. . just hurt it is a part of me, i love them. a great friendship is like that. having a friendship in america in the last 27 years. on the level of work, we have rapidly declining average duration at a firm. 1970's, average duration at a firm for the primary breadwinner was two point five decades. average duration at a firm today for an american is 4.2 years and getting shorter. is much less likely you have lifelong coworkers. males in particular are terrible at building new friendships after age 25. if you don't have the built-in chance to get coworkers who you work next to on the assembly line for a decade after decade, it is incredibly unlikely that
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males replace relationships after 30, 35, 45. as we have more mobility in the economy, not for everybody, but as it becomes more mobile over time, a lot of males have this atrophy of relationships. when you ask middle-aged and older men who their best friend is, they say, 50% say they're white. 29% of women say --- 50% say their wife. 29% say their husbands. i have a couple down the road of us, the husband is a big stockbroker, announced he is retiring next year. his wife's standard line is he's going to have twice as much time and may cap as much money. there's so much about the way relationships developed over the course of life that if you don't have coworkers over life, you have less of a shared project. all of these natural tribes are
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atrophying. the second part is what we will do about it. i want to focus for our 25 to 28 minutes that i will consume before questions and answers, i want to focus on the middle third of my book because it relates to being in a venue like the national press club, before an audience of people whose job celebrates the first amendment. the five freedoms, religion, speech, assembly, protest, and press. i want to talk a little bit about the media, but not in the shorthand ways we are used to talking about the media in our political discourse. a little talk about it more broadly and look at the economics of our moment as well even though i don't usually speak from notes, i'm going to speak through seven theses. i'm going to tell you about the rise of anti-tribalism, and particularly, not just political
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tribes, but news media consumption tribes . i believe there are really only two kinds of communities. communities of place and communities of idea. do you sit next to somebody, is your body near somebody else's body? do you live in their neighborhood, work in their workplace, were shipped next to them? -- worship next to them? because of the digital revolution through which we are living, communities of place are in collapse. if you haven't picked up the book, hopefully you will. i'd traveled through a bunch of the data of what it means that place is being undermined in our time. animals,ans are social we need to be a part of tribes, , needo be part of a group a place where everybody knows your name. if you have less place, you are more likely to have attempts to
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make more communities of idea. it turns out that all of the economic incentives of our time, to mediate distance, and i mean broader than reporting, the mediation of being part of a community that is not just people on the same block. when you mediate a distance between things, it turns out almost all of our economic incentives or to anti-tried rather than constructive tribes. what you are against rather than what you are for. , andl give seven theses hopefully i will have said something provocative that you will want to keep talking about. number one, there is no we in american media consumption today. there is no we. the reduction of barriers to entry has meant we have gone from a world where almost everybody had a local newspaper and maybe a sense of one national or regional newspaper
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and three broadcast channels, to a world where barriers to entry have fallen so rapidly that 93% of american households have access to 500 or more broadcast or cable channels. in that world, it means almost everybody is part of smaller, more fragmented audience niches. the incentives -- not every reporter does this, but the incentives inside media organizations are toward fan service, not pretending to speak to a 70% audience. there are no 70% audiences. almost everybody is writing or broadcasting for a subset of 1% of their audience, so the feedback loops are toward the intensification of saying things you presume the audience wants or needs to hear. , there's no such thing as a 24 hour news cycle. better said, there's no such thing as 24 hours of news that the media of america needs.
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chirons are lying to you. before you get to the substance at the bottom of the cable news channel, whether it is true or false or accurate or biased, it is not true that everything being shouted at us is breaking. .ost of it is not breaking most of it is not news that you need. obliteration the of straight reporting versus editorial or commentary is a big deal and we don't pay nearly enough attention to it. we know that cable tv has been swallowing print for decades, but there would be an argument, 15 or 20 years ago, that perhaps the internet could foster a culture that returns the sum of the virtues of print media, which is more deliberate, more dispassionate, and more amenable to thinking about the distinction between straight reporting and editorial or commentary. i think the way the internet is producing news is much more like
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cable than like print, and i think that has huge consequences not just for a republic of 320 million people, but for the way the sub segments underneath think of what the media is. i don't think there is a thing ia" witha "the med capital "t" and capital "m." but people think they're such a thing as a new york and washington-based media, and they conceive of it as a group that fits in one of the tribes. 4, every site has the temptation to become click bait, by virtue of headline testing, economic incentives to become , and that sites accelerates the feedback loops that lead to a lot more confirmation bias in the way we
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consume information. when there is more information in the world, you might assume we would have more shared news. i think the likely outcome is toward a lot less shared facts because of the way we consume. of the effects of fragmented consumption is the chaean --he manmane good versus evil. the last quarter century, we've gone from 14% of americans conceiving of the other political party as evil to 41% of americans. ofpling in a quarter century people who think, when we disagree on politics, it is not that they think there are , butended consequences that they are actually ill motivated. that is a new thing and it does not bode well for a republic.
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number five, more of our politics is becoming symbolic. at one level this seems to be a necessary consequence, but necessary might not be the right word. a fairly certain consequence of more identity politics but i think there is more than that. later, tounpack that unpack something that may be more easily. the difference between country preferences and city preferences. there are great things across the history of humanity about living in the city. all kinds of things that come with density and scale. higher-quality music and art, professional sports teams. there are great things about living in the country. we live in the country, and a lot of it is about nature from my family. we spend a lot of time outdoors. there are virtuous things about loving the city and loving the country, or nature, and i think that one of the skews you
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could late on american politics badrban versus rural as versus good. many of you saw the reports, the two common variables are gender and educational attainment, so we end up with a stereotypical view of a younger woman, highly educated, probably living in the city, and an older, less educated male probably living in the country. that thene of the ways data analysts would say that you can visualize a depiction of polarization in american life. lots of the ways we divide the electorate or culture and of value laden. i want to pick some that don't seem that way, and it seems i could argue either side of the debate of what is great about living in the city or country. daughter and son, they get into heated debates, one of the things my wife and i do is make
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them trade positions. if you are so sure you are right, for the rest of dinner, you have to argue the opposite point. it would be useful in our politics to find things that clearly have deep cleavages and try to get people to argue the opposite side. urban/nearnow 82% suburban. so the divide in american politics is not necessarily about people's experiences of dense cities versus rural of the, but about some value assumptions about living in those kinds of places. lots of people buying the three best-selling vehicles in america, four-wheel-drive pickups. best ones are the ford f1 50 for decades and the chevy silverado for decades. lots of those people don't live in the country, they live in the suburbs. making, ands we are those symbolic politics are being expressed inside our political life. whenmute every week, and
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i'm home on weekends, it is amazing to me how much of the grassroots feedback i get from nebraskans about cultural and symbolic and consumeristic , and anti-media sentiments, rather than policy or legislative discussions aired that is discussed among my than auents -- far less discussion about the national media. i think we should unpack why that is. go to aay, to completely different topic, i should have said this at the outset. celebratet you all the first amendment. we should just say, as a people, this is 320 million americans, it shouldn't be red state versus rural, it shouldn't be republicans versus democrats. the free press is not an enemy of the american people.
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press's people living out their first amendment calling. in america, celebrating the first amendment as the beating heart of what we do together, those five freedoms, including freedom of the press, most people in this room have a free reporting and press and journalism for the american people. that doesn't mean we shouldn't also have debates about the collapse of the distinction between straight reporting and editorial is him, commentary. consumethat the way we cable and internet news, we don't reflect together. seventh, finally, i think that right versus left is not only not the only way to think of the spectrum of american life, i don't think it is the primary way. i think that a far more useful, and that doesn't mean good, hermeneutic is the
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intensification of the accession with federal politics, crowding out all other domains of life. economics, culture, many of you have seen the study, hidden tribes, that came out three or four weeks ago. --y folks have written good seven different cohorts. one of the most interesting takeaways is about 14% of americans are almost completely addicted to federal politics, but 8% are on the pretty far left and there is a larg rising group on the far right. david brooke called it the rich white civil war. the other 80%, the continuum they care the most about is not necessarily right versus left. it is, why does washington dc- centric discussion have to swallow everything else in american life?
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there were six months in my fieldwork in nebraska, the most commonly asked question i got espn seem to be about politics all the time now instead of sports. i'm a u.s. senator, why are you asking me? probably the only reason we turned our tv on in the past few decades, but it is still a strange thing. this was about six months to one year before the kneeling controversy, where the most common question i would get was about espn broadcasting and why politics seems to be crowding out sports. this seems to be a helpful loop back. those are my seven theses. you will eventually give me a hook, but i want to get through facts about those seven points. in the mid-1950's, i love lucy had a 68% share.
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when there were only three options for what you could watch, 68% of american households were watching "i love lucy." probably 98% of people were familiar with lucy and desi about characters -- if you had a spat with someone about politics, there was always a way to return to some common data. in the last 18 years, the most-watched serial programming, in 2014, for three weeks, sunday night football had a 14% share. the two most largely watched cable news programs are sean hannity, number one, and rachel maddow, usually number two. 1% of the public, and then 9/10 of 1% of the public. we act like we in washington, like people are consuming
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politics at this deep, constant and intense level, and i think there is a deep desire to not consume politics like this, but people don't know what to do because we don't have substitute data to go to as an alternative that gets us to "we." the obliteration of this distinction between straight news reporting and editorial/ commentary leaves me very worried about the moment we have deep fakes attack. and we are going to have them soon. i spend one third of my work week dealing with cyber issues and intel issues. at the top levels of the u.s. intelligence committee, there is a deeply held view that we sit at the precipice of a perfect storm. always tried to sell misinformation campaigns since the beginning of time. there's a bunch of old testament wisdom literature about sowing discord in your enemy's tent. in the past, it has been really expensive to tailor spying to a
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place where you have a prostitute for business partner, or bar or restaurant or hotel lobby. now we can tailor our intel to a digital resolution that has never been possible before. and you have russia being willing to do that tailoring because they have a collapsing economy and they want to create a bad guy abroad. so, russia is terribly clunky at their misinformation campaigns against us. but the real fear is that china since right behind russia, running scout team offense, looking at everything russia is doing and getting better at the moment they want to do this. the third variable of the deep fake revolution is simply the fact that we are so divided. whether the issue's race, geography, gender, guns, urban/rural, there are so many variables that you can pick at
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scabs about. when you get audio and video, which we will get inside the next five to 10 years or even five to 10 months. when you get audio and video that looks like a figure in american life did or said something that he didn't say or do, imagine during the kavanaugh hearings, if the day after dr. ford's testimony, you had a situation or video appeared where it look like brett kavanaugh was partying at yale, 25 years ago. or fake audio of chuck schumer ,uddling with michael avenatti trying to plan out a strategy for different attacks. where would walter cronkite the in american life, that could stand up and tell the people, we consulted these people in the ic and this audio and video is fake . as we collapsed the distinction reportingraight news
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and editorial/commentary reporting, we will rapidly spiral toward the world that almost everyone speaking at this moment is an advocate. in that moment, i don't know how you bring the american people back together. i will bring you one more stat/ -- actually, i want to do six of them but i know i won't get away with that. [laughter] 67%general public has a response rate to the question, do you trust the media right now? i think people who have the important calling you have need to wrestle with why that is. i will acknowledge that most of what we talk about will be nonpartisan. biasof that is political inside big parts of the media establishment because of shared background. meaning folks who work in journalism are far more likely to live in one of two big
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eastern cities and be much more highly educated than the american people and make similar political andout legislative priorities, but i think lots of it is actually the structural questions about the way we are consuming information. in a world where most people who work in media organizations, not the same thing as being a direct people whout most work in media organizations have structural incentives to get the people who came to your website .esterday to come back tomorrow in that world, it is much easier to say the things that you know, because of algorithms yesterday, got the clicks of the 1% of the audience you had. that will try to say things to translate the complicated world we are living through with this digital a 70 percent or 80% or 90% share of the electorate.
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if we can create a viral moment, even if it is negative against us, we will get a lot more eyeballs and a lot more clicks and that is the best strategy to get to the intensification of 1% people that we sold to yesterday. there are structural things in the way we consume media that make it more difficult to recover a sense of 320 million american people. we will talk about it in the order that you see fit. thank you for having me. >> you presented a lot of big ideas here. since we are in washington and we are having this conversation
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in washington, one of those two cities that you mentioned, you did say that there is a general obsession across the country with federal politics. i know you touch on this in the book. iu say this is a newer thing do not recall this of session to this level at the time we were in high school, for example. can you talk a little bit about that? how recent do you think it is? and moreas importantly portly, why do you think and what would need to change? >> i do believe that the rise of anti-tribalism is a response of the traditional natural tribe. when they atrophy, you need a
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new sense of we. having a shared enemy is not a good enough sense of we, but it is a common experience that people have. meaningfuly" was not content, but was broadly shared. when 68% of households are tuning into that there was a sense of something that everybody had as common grammar. we don't have any of that common grammar right now so when you have half as many friendships, statistical collapse of the nuclear family, again, robert putnam has done some very important work that the most important to america's divide is
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the education, high attainment education mobile class, 31% of america. if you grew up in a house where mom or dad greats waded from dad graduated from college, you're in the upper 31% and if you group up in a house where you had one parent or two but neither graduatessed from college you're in 69% of america and in that 69% the fatherlessness crisis is an epidemic that is hard for you to all to write about because what is the news hook to write today? but it's infinitely more important than almost anything else we're talking about. in city when you look at the collapse of traditional tribes, it means people look for groups to identify with that are farther away because they don't have the local ones and right now we're being served lots and lots of content that is mostly oppositional content instead of aspirational content. and so i think the ways we consume media and the downtown load speeds that follow the
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introduction of the iphone continue when we talk about clicks we're taking but choices that people are making and the types of things that they read. >> so, how do you think education plays a role in this? you talked about education and upward mobile here. do you think there's something we should be doing at the high school level or junior high or elementary school level to help our citizens become more informed and critical consumers of news which could perhaps help them get to a place where they're clicking on something that is more than sensationalistic. >> thank you. i do think that one of the questions that all of us should be asking our kids and teachers, if they're asking of our kids, is what is your definition of news of. and if you didn't have it for 7 days or ten days or 14 days, what would you lose? so when you go camping for a week, and you come back, and you
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try to figure out what you need that you missed? who would ever actually go back through some of the most clicked-beatty sharp-term sensationalist sites that we good to to figure out what the published seven days snag we all know that's obsolete and passing, not important content. but in, this is not to romanticize my grandmother's news consumption habits but i can remember in the late 1970's early 1980's so when my grandmother would be gone for a week and would come back to the farm and would want to read the local paper she missed last week. why? there were obituaries in it, kids kids who won sporting events, humans she had actual relationships with, and i think one challenge of our time, and i believe we will solve this, i just don't know we'll solve it inside the next two or five or ten years. i think we will recover the habits of rootedness and mindfulness in a rootless digital age. humans aren't happy if they're placeless. humans are happy when they have roots.
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actual,addiction is an real problem. ppens inling curve ha everything digital. we have learned about the human brain in the last 19 months and from all of human history combined until 19 months ago when one of the things were realizing is when teams are constantly saturated and bathed in content it is rewiring the frontal lobe. the frontal lobe for females isn't done until multiple years past and arguably the male frontal lobe is never completed. some neurologists think it's
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probably a late 1920's proposition. if some car drives by you on the interstate driving 120 miles an hour you can be sure to mail in these under 24. the insurance company algorithms about what to charge her property and casualty are random. they're based on human experience. we learn about the greatness of rewiring of the brain with digital addiction is fast and it's not good for us. we haven't figured out how to learn the new shared habits of what looks like to do mindfulness and rootedness in a digital age. what do you think needs to happen in order for people to look to consumer information that will make them feel rooted? something has to process. something needs to change. >> the collapse of local journalism is a horrible thing. one of the things the local journalism does is it tells our stories of people that have shared ideas. theology is the most important
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anchor in my life and that unites me across time and place not in my local community. one of the things about ideas that transcend places they lead us to sometimes think the place itself doesn't matter and since that's not true one of the best ways to develop those habits would be to have shared stories of people who are in their place. i think the collapse of local reporting is a big and bad thing. it's harvest season right now in nebraska and so when we were at a grain elevater yesterday where so much corn is being harvested. the agricultural revolution continues to ramp. we have produced more per acre than anybody has perceived possible. a lot of people are late getting crop out but when you take that grain and go to sell it to the elevater, they're full and can't take it so a lot is being dumped in giant piles.
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lots of things happen because of that. lots of extra deer come to steal the grain and then you hit them in your car. so when you're near and talking to these farmers, one of the most common topics is the fact that there's a subtuition for labor happening in the local community that is huge output is happening but with lots fewer labor inputs. when you're in small-town nebraska, three or four of the counties are kind of urban and the rest are very rural places, people are leaving and there's not a sense you're going to need kids again so people aren't moving back. so we're having massive out-migration. and the stories you useded to tell that were generational are now aging populations. so you have a combination of the economics of journalism with an out-migration and there's an
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attempt to figure out what is rootededness. i think lots of recentering around 100 to 300 metros require different story telling. >> what do you, so local crafts. press, what do you think can or should be done to restore a vibrant local press this there's a lot of reasons. >> one thing is, to your point about the relationship between the supply side of journalism and the consumption side. some of why the stories are written is because a lot of us read click beatty cotton candy stories. we're going to need to have more of 20 million americans embrace more of 320 million
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americans embrace the idea that you want to consume good local content that just requires knowing your maybors more. statsically happiness is highly correlated is knowing the people wo live two doors away from you. not going from 200 to 500 social media friends. some of the studies show that once you get to a certain point there's actually declining happiness as you spend more and more of your time grooming your online profile. social media is beneficial when it augments, not when it's substituting for relationships that you should have or used to have. i'm sometimes active from twitter. but i took 7 months off twitter starting christmas and only went back this summer when we talked about how the rules of when we will conceive of when and where twitter will be allowed this our lives. but i think of it as 20 of my buddies. guys that i was friends with in
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college we don't live the same place but get together every six months to two years. i think a huge part of what's going to be required is figuring out how to use digital and social technologies to augment relationships of place instead of substitute for them. >> when we're talking about newspapers, we received so many questions from the audience, thank you for those. do you think newspapers should continue to endorse candidates local or national? or does it blend the lines too much and seem partisan to readers who don't always understand the difference between news and opinion pieces?
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>> that's a great question. i haven't thought about it much. it seems to me that the editorial page of a newspaper is a defined space that people understand what it's there to do. it's a different thing than the front page of a paper. when i was a little kid, nebraska football addict, we're the winningest team in case you're curious. we're on a two-game winning streak, by the way. but that followed a six-game losing streak. but when i was a kid, i wanted to get to the sports section every morning when i got the omaha world herald off u the front stoop. my dad's requirement was you had to read a story on the front page before i could read the sports section. the bigger problem we face is, this is not to beat up on particular reporters either in this room or elsewhere. but right now the incentive even for print journalists is often to get on cable news to talk about your story in a format
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that has, not for everybody but there's a quipy certainty about the way we do cable news consumption that causes the editorial culture of the cable news format to consume even straight news reporting. i go back to that question about what happens with when there's fake audio and video. so what i want to see is more trusted brands. both journalistic enterprises and individual reporters who could be trusted in a time of crisis. i think we're obliterating that distinction between editorial and straight news reporting at the local level endorsing candidates seems to me most consumers of the tribune, the little paper in the 25,000 town near where we live that he they understand the distinction. show less text 00:44:45 do you see anyone emerging as a major
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-- they understand the distinction. >> you see anyone emerging as a major g.o.p. primary challenger to donald trump in 2020? >> i think that donald trump has basically captured the majority of the republican party over the course of the last 2-1/2 years. i think one of the things that's obvious about these 2 and a half years is that many of the settled assumption of what the parties stood for and core principles were held much more firmly than probably wasn'teded. -- probably warranted. i didn't know that. i'm a first-time candidate one of eight people out of the 100 who has never been a politician before, never run for anything before, and i had a pretty clear sense in the summer of 2013 when i got on a campaign bus for 16 months what i thought the top 3 or top 5 or top 7 issues that defined the republicans were and i think that's much less clear. so i think the personalization
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of national politics and the ability to grab a political party was far more possible than i thought and far more possible than most people thought. and who know what is that means for the future but i'm the second or third most conservative voter in the senate but i'm more certain of my conserveatism and less certain of what the republican party stands for. neither parties has a clear vision. it's difficult to imagine a platform committee standing up and articulating a big list of the 5 to ten major challenges america faces over the next 10-25 years. that's what i care about. the continuum matters to me but i care a lot more about past versus future issues. >> do you think that somebody might emerge as a serious challenger to president trump? i have no idea.
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but it looks less likely to me. it seems the republican party's electorate is pretty comfortable with the anti-positions that president trump takes on a lot of issues that's different than having a shared constructive sense of what our party is for. >> will you run for elected office again? >> i have 3 little kids and being the first-time candidate, my wife and i made a deal in 2013-2014 which we think one of the core problems in this town is the main long-term thought most politicians have is with their own incouple bansy and we think more mort is looking, more important. we'll have a look at what future callings but right now i have the two best callings which is to be raising three little kids and getting to serve this
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nebraska. >> it sounds like we should have you back. >> as long as we're talking about husker football and win streak, i'm in. >> is there a chance you would run for president? >> i honestly spent 16 months cleaning up then two-year-old baby vomit off the floor of a campaign bus and the thought of doing that in 50 states sounds absolutely terrible. so i think dodge county is probably far more probable. >> what are your thoughts on brett kavanaugh and what with were your thoughts for ?
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-- brett kavanaugh and what with were your thoughts for supporting him? >> i think that judge now justice kavanaugh's speech on the first day of his testimony, so we did whatever 38 hours of public hearings. i think day two would have been when he made his speech about the fact that the supreme court has no center aisle, there are no caucus rooms at the supreme court. and i often use the language of black robes rather than red or blue partisan jerseys that they wear. justice kavanaugh made a really good speech about the importance of the american people knowing that their judges are there to judge not to be policy advocates. i think that was a great speech. i want a world where americans regardless of whether you vote for democrats or republicans want a speech like that to be given by all of our nominees. obviously, we're this a terrible place right now. the public perceives of the judiciary as a third political branch.
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that is a bad thing. it is 32 years in the coming going back to the bork nomination in 1987 there has been an increasing hatfields and mccoy's sense that every next nominee should be the next blood bath. we already know what it looks like in venezuela when you have fistfights in the legislature. we know what it looks like when you politicize more and more of government. that is a terrible thing. and the way the confirmations have gone over the last 32 years leads the american people to presume that the curve is going to continue to decline and we have a big problem and i don't think any of us have a great idea of how we fix it. ultimately the senate is given by the constitution two charges advice and consent. i gave advice to the president in the summer of 2018 about the candidate that i thought was the single best he could have nominated.
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>> who was that? >> i haven't named her. >> could you now? >> i don't think so because i probably will be advising again in the future. so i advocated hard for one person but the president's short list of four was strong. i think the list he ran on is an important innovation. i hope future presidential nominees of both parties do that, run on an explicit list. one of the most important powers a president has is nominating people and telling the electorate who you would nominate is good. the president stuck to his list. i'm glad he's done that. i think all 4 finalists were strong. i spent about 150 hours reading materials and consulting. the f.b.i. did its 7th background investigation which included another 146 interviews and came to the conclusion that the yes vote was the right vote. >> what do you think the likelihood of president trump's
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getting a third pick for supreme court justice, what is the likelihood this? >> i'm a data nerd so as a historian i would want to consult with the frequency of next vacancy is. but it seems to me relatively high. the president is going to be president for two more or six more years but even if only two years we have an elderly supreme court. >> and somebody could resign. >> right. >> for example. if that happens who do you think the pick should be? >> i have an interesting relationship with the president. there are broad range of topics that we wrestle through some things i agree some things i disagree. but my basic tradition has been i want him as i think all 320 million americans should want, want him to succeed in the most important parts of his calling. to steward article 2 of the
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constitution for this time. so i give him advice this private and sometimes i argue with him in private and then some subset i discuss in public. but since i plan to lobby him on future supreme court vacancies i think i'll keep that counsel private. >> is it already somebody b on the list? >> most of my recommendations have been related to the list. >> i wish we had another hour but you sit on the senate judiciary committee which has oversight over the justice department. do you think they're doing show -- doing a good job supervising the probe by robert mueller? >> i do. i think that b robert mueller is a very important public service with a distinguished career and his investigation needs to run its full course. >> let me throw in one question about russia.
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what do you think, do you think we are doing enough to counter or stop election interference from, for example, russia or china? and if the answer to that is no , what do you think we should be doing? >> the answer to that is no but we're improving. so a number of good things are happening. one of which is that the secretaries of state across the country have relied on the department of homeland security much more in recent months. in our constitutional system elections are held at the state level and you have more and more states availing themselves of a lot of resources from homeland security. that's helpful. i think we've done more both article 1 and article 2 to call out russian interference. there's still way too much of it. putin presides and the only reason he can keep his people bound is by trying to cleep the the otherto keep s satisfied and in
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power in their horrible agreement they have against the russian people. so russia runs disinformation campaigns everywhere. and i think one of the thing that is the american electorate is going to theed to learn over time and the tech companies need to do a better job of and the u.s. intelligence communities, is how much disinformation is out there. but during the kneeling controversy for instance, and i cite this because now it's public and most of the disinformation campaigns russia runs are not always in public. but in the first 72 hours after the president decided to go after kaepernick a year ago, the two fastest trending hashtags in social media were to stand for the anthem and take a knee in the n.f.l. a huge share o of both of those were majority russian. we have to have an all of society not just an all of government sense but an all of -- sense that our divisions as
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abraham lincoln said are the only thing that coulder lever to our collapse. when you are a free republic, our free republic will live for all time or it will die by suicide. russia and china know that the best way to attack america is to pick at the scabs of our own internal hatreds and russia knows that's the only tool they have. they could never as lincoln said, they need us to kill ourselves. that's the only lever they have and we have to become much more sophisticated about the we that unites us before the particular policy issues that we should reasonably argue over. >> this pretty much takes us to the end. thank you very much for being with us today. i do have one more very short question for you. but first, i would like to let our audience know about some upcoming events. on monday, we have a luncheon
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and book event on leadership in turbulent times. november 13, joe ana brier on when your child is sick. and on november 29 is our 4th estate awards center we're honoring marty and dean of the executive editors of the washington post and the new york times. we do still have some tickets but they are going fast to please make sure to get your orders in. you know that is a fund raiser for our institute which does so much good work throughout the year. senator sasse, thank you very much for being here with us today. we have a small gift to you. we present one to our esteemed speaker. we hope you use it in good health for many years to come. i do have one last question. which is do you think the nebraska huskers really do have a chance of winning against ohio state this weekend? >> absolutely. >> there you have it. thank you, everyone.
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[applause] sasse will be signing copies of his book here to your right. if you have not purchased one yet, they are for sale outside the doors. if you would please align best lineup along here in front of the podium senator sass can sign those copies of the book. and we are adjourned. thank you all. >> democrats will meet on wednesday for a closed-door vote of speaker of the house and other leadership positions. nancy pelosi is expected to win the vote. at a recent news briefing, she was asked if she had enough votes to become the next speaker of the house.


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