tv PBS News Hour PBS December 18, 2015 6:00pm-7:01pm PST
captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> woodruff: good evening. i'm judy woodruff. on the newshour tonight: a vow to defeat i.s.i.s.; president obama looks ahead to his last year in office, in his end-of- 2015 news conference. it's friday. mark shields and david brooks are here, to analyze what the president said and the rest of the week's news. and, we head to the set of "downton abbey" for a look at how the british drama has captivated american audiences. >> one extraordinary difference is that, every word is written by one man. i don't know of any other television show that works that way. and i've to this day find it absolutely mindboggling. >> woodruff: all that and more, on tonight's pbs newshour.
solutions to the world's most pressing problems-- skollfoundation.org. >> the ford foundation. working with visionaries on the frontlines of social change worldwide. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and friends of the newshour. >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> woodruff: from president obama today, a year-end promise to target terror in the year to come. he spoke at a white house news conference, and sought again to allay public fears of potential attacks. at home, he called for americans
to stay vigilant, and overseas, he promised to pound away at the islamic state group. >> isil's already lost about 40% of the populated areas it once controlled in iraq, and it's losing territory in syria. squeezing isil's heart, its core in syria and iraq, will make it harder for them to pump their terror and propoganda to the rest of the world. >> woodruff: we'll have an extended report on the president's remarks-- on terror and a number of other subjects-- after the news summary. in the day's other news, wall street went down-- hard. the sell-off was driven by falling oil prices, the chinese economy and foreign reaction to the federal reserve's interest rate hike. and, losses accelerated late, as a variety of option contracts expired. in the end, the dow jones industrial average lost nearly 370 points, to close below 17,130. the nasdaq fell almost 80 points, and the s&p 500 dropped 36.
for the week, the dow lost nearly 1%. the nasdaq and the s&p lost a fraction of a percent. congress finished work today on sweeping tax cut and government funding bills, and headed home for the holidays. the senate gave final approval to a package that includes more than a trillion dollars in new federal spending for 2016, plus $680 billion in tax cuts over the next decade. >> we're proving you can actually enact significant long-term reforms, achieve conservative policy goals, and get them signed into law. so i'm proud of what the new senate has accomplished. i'd like to thank the many friends across the aisle who joined us in passing so many bipartisan reforms for the american people. >> months ago, democrats called on republicans to work with us to craft a budget agreement. we outlined three goals. we wanted to get rid of sequestration.
we were able to do that. we wanted to make sure there was parity between defense and the middle class. we wanted to make sure we kept these poison pill riders off the legislation. all three goals we had, we accomplished. >> woodruff: the budget deal already passed in the house, in separate votes yesterday and today, and later, president obama signed the legislation into law. european union leaders vowed today to wage an "uncompromising fight" against terror. their summit in brussels was the first time the 28 leaders have met since the november attacks in paris, claimed by the islamic state group. the group agreed to beef up immigration controls, crack down on gun-running and freeze financial assets of extremist groups. more than 990,000 migrants have entered europe this year from africa or the middle east-- and there is still no end in sight. the international organization
for migration put out the new estimate today, and said more than half are from syria. in geneva, a spokesman said people keep coming, despite temperatures getting colder and sea conditions growing more dangerous. >> the flows are so strong, even now, this late in the year, that perhaps by tuesday, or even before then, i.o.m. estimates that the million person mark will pass. this is almost five times last year's level, which is extraordinary. >> woodruff: the agency also reports at least 760 migrants have died so far this year-- with more than half of those in just the last two months alone. prospects for peace in yemen hit a new stumbling block today. talks in switzerland were halted after shi-ite houthi rebels suspended all meetings with yemen's government. the houthis blamed repeated violations of a cease-fire in yemen. both sides have ignored the truce, and troops loyal to the government captured a provincial
capital today, after two days of fighting. in iraq, the u.s. military says kurdish forces-- backed by heavy coalition air strikes-- beat back two major islamic state attacks this week. in the north, 500 fighters tried to breach kurdish positions, and at least 180 were killed. in the west, others attacked government lines outside ramadi. the briefer spoke on a video link from baghdad: >> in each place, isil was able to muster an offensive effort, which tells us that they've still got some fight left in them. however, and much more importantly, in each fight iraqi forces were able to rebuff isil's efforts. >> woodruff: meanwhile, defense secretary ash carter spent the day in afghanistan, promising u.s. support in the face of a growing islamic state presence. carter's one-day visit came after the u.s. commander in afghanistan warned that isis
militants from syria and iraq are gathering in the east. they're joining like-minded afghans to gain a foothold there. in the u.s. presidential race, the bernie sanders campaign accused the democratic national committee today of actively aiding frontrunner hillary clinton. the dispute began with an accidental breach of the d.n.c.'s database for voters. for half an hour, sanders staffers then allegedly used it to access some of clinton's voter data-- and the d.n.c. has now cut off the sanders access to all of its records. >> the leadership of the d.n.c. is now actively attempting to undermine our campaign. this is unacceptable. clearly in this case, it looks like they are trying to help the clinton campaign. >> woodruff: the sanders campaign has fired its data director for mis-using the clinton voter information. and later, it filed suit to regain access to the democratic
voter data. for its part, the d.n.c. rejected the accusation that it's playing favorites. the chicago policeman who fatally shot a black teenager last year, had his first court appearance today since being indicted. jason van dyke is charged with first-degree murder and official misconduct. police video released last month shows him shooting laquan mcdonald sixteen times. it triggered protests, forced the police chief to quit, and prompted federal investigations. and china's capital city is now under its second smog red alert this month. the wave of airborne pollution is forecast to hit beijing from saturday into tuesday. today, signs warned people of the risk and ordered half the city's cars off the road. officials said particle levels will be more than 20 times what is considered safe by the
world health organization. still to come on the newshour: the president's priorities for his last year in office; a resolution for peace in syria; mark shields and david brooks on the week's news, and much more. >> woodruff: back now to president obama's final news conference of 2015. today's session in the white house briefing room was a combination year-in-review and year-to-come. >> as i look back on this year, the one thing i see is that so much of our steady, persistent work over the years is paying off for the american people in big, tangible ways. >> woodruff: it was an upbeat assessment from a president soon to enter his final year in office. he claimed a list of successes-- among them, job growth and a surge of sign-ups for health care coverage-- and he promised more to come. >> for all the very real progress america's made over the
past seven years, we still have some unfinished business. and i plan on doing everything i can with every minute of every day that i have left as president, to deliver on behalf of the american people. since taking this office, i have never been more optimistic about a year ahead than i am right now. and in 2016 i'm going to leave it out all on the field. >> woodruff: at the same time, mr. obama acknowledged the growing challenge of confronting terrorism at home and abroad-- after the attacks in paris and san bernardino, california. even so, he vowed to defeat the islamic state group. >> and we're going to do so by systematically squeezing them, cutting off their supply lines, cutting off their financing, taking out leadership, taking out their forces, taking out their infrastructure. now in order for us to stamp them out thoroughly, we have to eliminate lawless areas in which they cannot still roam.
so we can disable them, we can dismantle much of their infrastructure and greatly reduce the threat that they pose to the united states our allies and our neighbors. our long term goal has to be to stabilize areas so they don't have any safe haven. and in order for us to do that in syria, there has to be an end to the civil war. >> woodruff: today, in fact, the u.n. security council approved a resolution that outlines a process for a limited cease-fire in syria, and peace talks. the u.s. wants the ouster of syrian president bashar al-assad, while russia supports him. but president obama made clear assad is still a central problem. >> assad is going to have to leave in order for the country to stop the blood letting and for all the parties involved to be able to move forward in a nonsectarian way.
there is only so much bombing you can do when an entire country is outraged and believes that it's ruler doesn't represent them. >> woodruff: the news conference also came just days >> woodruff: the news conference also came just days after more than 190 nations reached a landmark deal on arresting climate change. the president brushed aside republican opposition to the deal. >> right now, the american republican party is the only major party that i can think of in the advanced world that effectively denies climate change. i mean, it's an outlier. so, my sense is that, you know, this is something that may be an advantage in terms of short term politics in the republican
primary; it's not something that's gonna be a winner for republicans long term. >> woodruff: on the other hand, the president praised republican house speaker paul ryan's work on crafting the 2016 budget compromise. >> it was a good win. there are some things in there that i don't like, but that's the nature of legislation and compromise. i think the system worked. that gives me some optimism that next year on a narrow set of issues we can get some more work done. >> woodruff: later, the president and his family left washington, en route to california and a meeting with families of the san bernardino attack victims. from there, it's on to hawaii for the holidays.
>> woodruff: as we reported, late this afternoon, the 15 nations on the united nations security council voted unanimously to endorse a framework for a peace process in syria, after nearly five years of brutal civil war that's left more than 250,000 dead and millions displaced. for more, we go to hari sreenivasan. >> sreenivasan: and with me to explore the details of this deal, what's at stake, and the long road to this point is chief foreign affairs correspondent margaret warner. how big a deal is this? >> it's a big deal. you have all the members of the security council, not just the members to have the region who have been involved. some agree on resolutions setting up the process that will set up not only a cease fire between assad and many of his opposition groups on the ground
but direct talks between the two of them. and ban ki-moon secretary general committed to help. >> sreenivasan: so a lot of countries working toward this, but there are four major players and in the middle is bashar al-assad. >> that's right, the major division among many concerns his future. on one side, you've got the united states and the gulf states who began all this wanting assad gone as soon as possible, and both have supported opposition groups on the ground in different ways. but on the other side you've got russia a iran, both of them regard syria, and syria is a client state for different reasons, both of them have sent military assistance weapons advisors, even fighters and in russia's case bombs to try to shore him up. >> and there is tensions between the united states and russia. >> veryñi true.
there is a cross-cutting tension between the u.s. and russiañixdó which would be in this process. for a longçóñrñk involved and inserted itself jñ september and won itself a place at the table. > >> sreenivasan: saudi arabia. audi arabia leader of the sunni states and iran, of course, shiite state, huge historical rivalry for primacy in this region. >> sreenivasan: what do peace players get over their disagreements and agree to? >> one is threat of international terrorism. even the chinese foreign minister said we have to get the process going because of threat of international terrorism. they have come to the conclusion that they can never take on i.s.i.s. until the boil of the syrian conflict is done.
that is the original not only attracter but incubator of all of the thousands of foreignphile fighters coming in helping beef up the al quaida in iraq that became i.s.i.s., helping them establish this caliphate in the ungoverned portion of eastern syria and well into iraq and recognize there is no way to take them on. the second thing that they've agreed on is that, militarily, it:bevolved. every one of them, these four countries, has supported different groups on the ground and they now all realize they have been sucked into a quagmire. there is no military resolution, has to be political. >> sreenivasan: one thing at the dead center is assad. the next steps here, this agreement doesn't mention him by name, which is one of those central tensions you mentioned. >> absolutely, and they had to do it that way because the differences remain and had to finesse it. they talk about a political transition. the united states believes if you have a transition to an
inclusive nonsectarian government which they've agreed on, there is no way an autocrat for minority alawites can be head of that government, so they can eventually get to that point and the russians have signaled the united states they're not so much to assad as a united state. so the steps is to set up the cease fire in january and direct talks. it will be very hard. there are other disagreements including who gets to sit in for the opposition. this is just one step of trying to maintain the momentum to get to the political resolution. >> sreenivasan: getting to the cease fire, you have to know who's on the other side of the table. who is the enemy of assad and which countries think they should be at the table. >> the opposition which have never agreed on anything finally had a meeting in riyadh a week ago and chose the group that will choose the group to sit at the table.
it's very indirect. meanwhile, all these other countries, all of them, have different candidates that they want to nominate for too much of the terrorist to be at the table. so they include some groups that have been clients of iran and saudi arabia. all of this is still -- poor jordan is supposed to be creating this, so that all remains to beñijfñ resolved. >> sreenivasan: a big first step but thank you very much margaret warner. >> myñiçó pleasure. >> woodruff: stay with us. coming up on the newshour: cooking lessons for the homeless; and downton abbey, it's coming final season. but first, to the analysis of shields and brooks. that's syndicated columnist mark shields, and new york times columnist david brooks. welcome, gentlemen. >> thank you,q >> reporter: we heard margaret talking to hari about what may
be syrian progress. let's talk about the president. he had a news conference today. look at hisççó record. he said we're making progress, there are still challenges. it says at the end of this yore, how have his policies worked in syria, against i.s.i.s., in iraq, in both countries? >> there are a couple of layers here. he said quite accurately we can't stop all the lone wolves. you had a couple in san bernardino. obviously, we can't stop that. are we making progress? he claims we are. highly disputed. i.s.i.s., sometimes they take and lose ground, it's not clear we're necessarily making progress against him. the third thing in the backdrop, we've had third year exoessential progress in the area. in my view we left iraq too
early and destabilized the region. the existential is passivity. he's arguing from a place of weakness because of mistakes made in the past. >> woodruff: a weak position? yeah, reliving 14 years of war, there is no appetite in this country for military intervention in the middle east. the president, i think, most recently has been caught flat-footed in understand thible change in public interest, priorities and concerns. you have the russian airliner, vacation civilians shot down by the same group that then has the attack on paris and paralyzes the great city at night and follow it up by disciples in san bernardino massacring civilians at a christmas party. is it understandable to see change in american attitude and concerns, and from the economy
and jobs to personal safety and survival and concern about terrorism. the white house, the president in particular, just didn't pick that up. >> reporter: why? i don't know why, somebody suggested cable news or whatever, i don't know. but didn't. what's been missing, i would suggest, rather than policy, because norman schwarzkopf, the great general, says it doesn't take courage to order men into battle, it takes courage to go into battle. the opposition is talking loosely about going in, getting tough and kicking tail and all the rest of it but doesn't have any sense of resoluteness or strength of the president. he talks about it like he's talking about the gross domestic product and how it's grown and interest rates. there isn't, to me anyway --
>> he hasn't reflected the concern people fear, even the anger and outrage people fear if he says outrage, serious problem, you have to have a new and aggressive policy which he doesn't want to have. he agrees in the current policy, moderately aggressive, possibly, but if he wanted to step up the rhetoric, he would have to step up the action and he doesn't verbalize much. >> woodruff: because of his demeanor, he seems low key. is that how you measure whether someone is on a course they believe in and they're going to stick with? >> i mean, he was caught, judy, the president was caught on the red line, drawing the red line in syria. >> woodruff: a few years ago. and there is a retreat from that. you know, whether through bad luck or just bad judgment or bad
information, he's equated i.s.i.s. to how much geography it holds, and that isn't the fear and the fear isn't whether they do dominate more acreage or more towns and cities, quite bluntly, to americans. it's the potential for real damage and anxiety in this country. and it may be junior varsity. it's a sense that he didn't understand or at least project an understanding of the real risk that these folks presented. what he has come from now is the republicans do not have any difference with the exception of lindsey graham -- >> woodruff: you mean the candidates. >> i'm not sure i agree with that. the obama speeches compare to
hillary clinton, hillary clinton had a comprehensive plan with multi-prongs which is much more aggressive than anything obama is doing. marco rubio and jeb bush were not as specific as clinton but basically overlaps clinton with a few extra things. obama hasn't moved that far. he hasn't laid out a comprehensive plan. those three, clinton, rubio, bush, have basically said the sunnis themselves have to take out i.s.i.s. with western air support, and that means defanging assad, because the sunnis won't do it as long as they're being barrel bombed. so that's a strategy. and obama hasn't likely gone there even. so there is been a vacuity as to how he's talking about the issue. >> woodruff: how does the president acknowledge that without giving into what's now described as a climate of fear where everything is something to be afraid of and americans should be really rattled by
what's happened in san bernardino? >> well, i mean, i think a good part of it is the tone, the sense of resoluteness or not. i mean, whether churchill or whatever, i mean, words do matter. but where i disagree with david is, you know, they ask the republicans whether it's bush or rubio, oh, yes, we need drones. the president used drones more than anybody in the history of human kind, with much criticism from the international community. we need more airstrikes. we are having more airstrikes. we need special forces. there are special force also, without revealing american secrets. but nobody with the exception of lindsey graham -- mike huckabee says,çó yes, we should send tros but i can't tell you how many because that would be revealing. rubio,fá they all act toug
i agree hillary clinton is the one democrats who comes off as more commander-in-chief-ish. >> woodruff: i want to ask about the democrats because typically people say when it comes to nationalçó security its the strength of the republicin+ but you say hillary is holding her own. >> it generally helps republicans. the shift in the news is bernie sanders. it's a crushing blow. i think this and some of the "black lives matter" movement, don't play to the strengths. so if simiis number one that's in his wheelhouse, but with the attention shifting to security, that's far out of the wheelhouse. >> woodruff: do you agree? yes, there is two profiles to the party. the democrats are the more nurturing party, the party of social justice. who's better on education?
the democrats. who's better on climate change or preserving the environment? democrats. who's better for widows and orphans? >> the democrats. who's better on national security and terrorism? the republicans. republicans are seen as tougher. republicans have a double-digit advantage on it. you could go through and look for the papers serving any of those on the stage and the only one you find is lindsey graham but they all talk a very tough game. >> woodruff: you agree bernie sanders has been hurt? >> this is not bernie sanders' natural area. he was chairman of veterans committee, but, no, national security is not his strength. hillary clinton is seen as steel and with a spine. she's seen as tough and experienced. she is not seen as totally honest or likable, but strong.
>> woodruff: there is a breach of the democrats voter parties database. the sanders campaign recognized a technical glitch. they had access for half an hour or more. they say they didn't do anything with that information they had access to. the clinton campaign says they did. the d.n.c. now shut down the sanders' camp access. right now the sanders camp is suing the d.n.c., the clinton people are holding news conferences. what does this add up to, david? >> ther sanders campus, they saw a window and grabbed it and at least a couple of staffers did. not just one. a couple of staffers grabbed information they probably didn't have access to. but they probably won't sea bernie sanders as a corrupt man. that is not his weak spot. so i don't think he'll be particularly hurt by this. what could happen is the clinton campaign is in the midst of a massive overreaction, on twitter and this press conference,
massively overreacting and making it look like they are the bully establishment. on the republican side there is such a fervent anti-establishment feel, if someone is to run against the r.n.c., gold up, but gives bernie sanders a chance to say the powers in washington and hillary clinton are trying to shut me down, and i think that's good for him. >> nobody is close to 2 million donors. it's a remarkable canned si. -- candidacy. the window is open, the curtains are up and the pretty girl is standing there in her night gown and the sanders people look in. they weren't breaking in, they weren't trying to get in but it's available. they look at the information for
30 minutes. the clinton people, the last thing in the world they want to be talking about is electronic data and computers with the clinton email problem. then with debbie wasserman, the chair of the democratic national committee having limited the debates to five debates now -- now -- >> woodruff: democratic. democratic debates. not even one-half as the republican caucus. open, free party. saturday night the lowest tv night of the week -- >> another one coming up tomorrow night. >> tomorrow night. looks like tilted already in hillary clinton's favor and now she's depriving bernie sanders' campaign of the one thing they have which is the information? i mean, their campaign was a door-to-door, person-to-person campaign and they're going to deprive them of that? it looks like david against goliath, i'm rooting for david. >> woodruff: what started out as an accusation against the sanders camp could end up
helping sanders? >> yeah, but the question is how much anti-establishment is in the democratic party. maybe they don't like the establishment, i like the people that run my party. republicans don't, they hate the people that run their party, but i don't know about the democrats. >> yeah, i just think bullying and unfairness. and have had criticism from the democratic vice chair of the committee, criticized wasser man for the limited number of debates and to tilt in the advantage of hillary clinton, already. so really, i think the clinton people are playing it dumb. >> i think this may have increased the audience for tomorrow night. >> let's hope. >> woodruff: mark shields, david brooks, thank you. >> woodruff: as the holidays approach, it is a time of the year when many are more focused on trying to help those in need. we have a look at a program that
helps those on hard times learn new skills and find jobs. jeffrey brown has the story. >> this is where rubber meets the road, when you learn about management and how to take care of your kitchen. >> brown: morning classwork at a well-established if unlikely culinary school in our nation's capital; the students, mere weeks from graduation. >> so, who can give me the first principle of a hazard analysis critical control point? >> brown: new territory for most of them. some are recently homeless, others recovering from drug and alcohol addiction, newly- released from prison or chronically unemployed. located in the basement of a large homeless shelter just blocks from the white house and u.s. capitol, d.c. central kitchen is the nation's largest community kitchen. its full-time professional
staff, helped out by a steady stream of volunteers, puts out 5,000 meals a day, which are sent to homeless shelters, schools, half-way houses and other non-profits in the area. much of the kitchen's output is prepared from donated ingredients-- produce, canned goods, meat and fish that local restaurants and food retailers would otherwise throw away. >> we do so many things, all of which however are focused on and around the idea that waste is wrong. >> brown: waste is wrong? >> as a nation, almost 40% of the food that we produce of the day goes in the garbage. and yet people are hungry. there's something really, really wrong with that. >> brown: for d.c. central kitchen c.e.o. mike curtin, reversing food waste is one-half the kitchen's two-pronged mission. >> and while we're doing that, we're training men and women who are coming out of incarceration, battling addiction, surviving abuse, homelessness and unemployment for jobs in this hospitality business.
we're trying to bring these two things together around the same table in a way that's going to create positive economic growth and opportunity for everyone. >> brown: which means the culinary program and its students are deeply embedded in the kitchen's daily activities. that can be demanding, even a little intimidating at times. >> you are going the wrong way. say "thank you, chef," for what? >> thank you, chef for straightening out my life." >> "any time." >> brown: there is a tough-love at work here, often, too, a bond of shared experience. you know what this is like. >> oh, absolutely. >> brown: tell me what you came from. >> i had a twenty-year rough bout with heroin. >> brown: marianne ali is director of the culinary training program. >> i would say crack saved my life, because i could have probably been a heroin addict for longer. but crack takes you down so fast, and i was at the bottom of rock bottom.
>> brown: she eventually got clean, went to culinary school, then got a job with d.c. central kitchen. what did you think you could bring to it? >> i knew that i could serve as an example, hopefully; that people would look at me and say "if she did it, then maybe perhaps there's a chance." recovery is about hope. >> brown: but making a new start takes more than knife skills and hope. many of the changes required of these students are personal and take place on the inside. >> how do i deal with my anger? how do i deal with somebody who is an authority? how do i deal with juggling, having to go see my p.o. and having to be here on time and doing what i need to do-- it's a lot to have to balance. >> brown: students tamyra hill and terrell nicholson agree. she is a mother of three who's struggled to find work in recent years. >> for me, the hardest time is
just being outside the classroom and finding time to study and finding time to prep for exams. like i said, i have children; i have to help them with their homework, and then after they are in bed i have to take the time to study for myself. so, for me, that has been... i wont say a struggle, but it has been the part i have to constantly work on. >> brown: he was released from prison not long before he came to the program. >> i never had a problem getting a job; it was keeping it that i had a problem with because i so, i would sometimes get the job, go on an interview and get the job and work, but i would allow other influences to keep me from staying focused. >> brown: teaching-chefs daniela hurtado and anand shantam know the challenges some of their students face trying to move from one way of life to another. >> if you've got someone who's been unemployed, gone through addiction, it's hard to come into a learning situation where
they now have to get disciplined, be on time, take constructive feedback and not see it as criticism, but see it as an opportunity to grow. >> having the right attitude. people will bump into you and sometimes you are defensive. and from the environment that they are coming from, sometimes it's kind of harsh. so, it's not personal; those are some of the challenges we try to deal with here. >> brown: the culinary training program runs 14 weeks-- including a four-week internship in local restaurants and three weeks of guided job-search-- and it boasts a stunning 80% graduation rate. still, not everyone makes it. >> we might find that they're not quite ready. they haven't hit a place where
they don't see this as a place, their most tangible option or the best path to take. addiction is a brutal mistress, and sometimes it takes longer for some people to work their way out of it than others. >> brown: the students we talked to felt they were beginning to find their feet, and they credited the kitchen. >> i have three kids, so i want to be the father figure for them so they don't chase the same things i went through in my life coming up. >> coming in here taught me to get to the root of where my anger was coming from; the pain, get it out, feel better about myself. >> brown: so, what do you think is the key to making it work? why does it work? >> because we meet people where they are. we're really not here to judge people for what they've done or where they've been, or the decisions they've made. we're here to talk about the future and to take what they have innately and... and give that a little context and say this is what you can do. if you work hard, if you dedicate yourself to this, you can be successful. >> brown: and with 90% of the kitchen's students finding jobs
upon graduation, that formula seems to be working. for the pbs newshour, i'm jeffrey brown in downtown washington, d.c. >> woodruff: the blockbuster successful british tv series, downton abbey begins its sixth and final season here on pbs next month. we got an inside look the series, its creator and explore why so many americans love it. >> woodruff: the music is instantly recognizable, as is the tail-- that's isis, the dog-- both part of the opening credits to the blockbuster british television drama, "downton abbey." for the past five years, the crawley family and their servants have entertained us, and in january the drama begins its sixth and final season on
pbs. the last chance for a few more one-liners from the dowager countess of grantham, played exquisitely by dame maggie smith. and surely one final calamity to beset lady's maid anna and her butler husband. the mastermind of this runaway success is sir julian fellowes; also an actor, film director, and, in his spare time, a conservative member of britain's house of lords. so, "downton abbey" coming to an end, are you saying goodbye to a dear friend? have you already moved on? >> i haven't moved on.
"downton" has been an extraordinary milestone in my career, in my life for the past seven or eight years. it's been fantastic. >> woodruff: fantastic beyond belief, becoming the top-rated pbs drama of all time. globally, "downton" airs in over 220 countries with a worldwide audience of 120 million people. >> i never think it's a good idea to outstay your welcome. and it seems right to leave, so, i don't think we're doing the wrong thing, but it's been a happy time. >> woodruff: with roots in a book by american historian carol wallace, author of "to marry an english lord," sir julian's inspiration for the series. >> when head been asked by the producers to write a series about english aristocrats, he had been reading "to marry an english lord." and he said he thought it was
all very well for these heiresses to marry, but then what happened to them 20 years later when they were-- i think he put it-- "freezing in a house in chester, aching for long island"? and that, of course, cora grantham, there she is. >> woodruff: wallace's book tells the true stories of young american heiresses who left the u.s. in the late 1800s to shop for husbands in england. their money attracted downat- the heels aristocrats who had titles and little else. so, what... what would he have seen in these stories, in this history that... >> what julian saw, the source of the drama is exactly the asymmetry of expectation-- what these american girls thought marriage was going to be and what it turned out to be, and how their american expectations kind of, trailled along with them and formed their relationships and their ideas of marriage as they would 2030 years later.
>> woodruff: the american girl of "downton abbey"-- countess cora crawley-- is played by elizabeth mcgovern. >> i am shocked at how sad i do feel to say goodbye to people and houses and the family. it's been a definite life- changing kind of time for all of us. well, we've all been through something that just felt it's had a big impact on our personal lives and we have been in it together. >> woodruff: the drama began in 1912 the day after the sinking of the titanic.
and has proceeded through world war i, the spanish flu and the jazz age. season six is set in 1925 and opens to find many formerly rich families abandoning the life "downton" epitomizes, unable to afford the expanses. like the character she plays, mcggovern is married to an englishman and lives in the u.k. how is it different from other television series? >> well, the one extraordinary difference is that, every word is written by one man. i don't know of any other television show that works that way. and i to this day find it absolutely mindboggling. >> woodruff: julian fellowes did not intend on being the sole writer. >> i was actually thrilled to get other people to do it, but, for some reason which i can't really explain, the series seem to have quite a distinctive voice. and we did try, at the beginning, to see if we could
get other people to replicate that voice. and we tried with very good people who are very hard working and everything else, so absolutely great. but somehow they couldn't catch it, they couldn't get it. >> woodruff: pbs' masterpiece presents "downton abbey" in the united states, and rebecca eaton is the program's executive producer. >> there's a lot of heart in it. there's a lot of generosity. these are characters who are taking care of each other. and that is a lot of who julian is. >> we dealt with all the characters very evenly. we didn't say, "the family are the important characters and the servants are the comic relief, or servants are gallant on suffering but the family is horrible," all of which would have been a treatment in an earlier period. >> woodruff: you give equal time to everyone, so, in a way you're looking at that ageold struggle that we are dealing with today in 2015 about inequality,
discrimination and the rest of it. and you bring your own set of views to that. >> it's this business of entitlement, that a child of the middle or upper caste that is brought up to believe that certain things are sort of their right, that this is the way they will live. whereas other people are brought up to feel like outsiders-- "oh, you're overreaching, so that's not for the likes of us." and all this stuff still goes on. yes, it does interests me. it shocks me and it drives me mad when people try to pretend it doesn't exist. there are millions of people who are being cheated of their proper destiny because it does still exist. >> woodruff: do you think "downton" contributes to the conversation in a way, at least raising the awareness? >> i hope so. i hope it contributes. i mean, i think in our society, particularly for the "mememe generation," there is a kind of underlined solipsism in so many of us that the only life that's
really happening is our own. and everyone else's life is sort of dependent on our life in some weird way. and one of the important things about drama is to remind the viewer that everyone is 100% at the center of their own life. that there is no life being lived under that roof that is more or less important; that mary or daisy, what happens to them is just as important. and that's why we have equal dramatic weight for all the stories, to show that. >> woodruff: what do you think will give people great joy and excitement and surprise, in a good way, and what do you think will leave people sad or devastated or disappointed? >> i adore these questions because they're always asked in such optimism, as if there is any chance that i'll answer. i mean, of course, there are some things in the season that
will make people sad and there are other things that will make them happy. and maggie will say some things that i hope will make them laugh. >> woodruff: what should fans expect, the audience expect? >> i would say that the audience will feel satisfied that they've had a chance to say goodbye to every character in a gratifying way. not shortchanged. >> well, when people say, "do you think it's changed television" and all of that stuff, it's enough for me that the people enjoyed it. and they had the thing on sunday night and they'd say to each other, "hurry up, 'downton' is starting in five minutes" or whatever. i love that. and i think that if we all manage to produce a show that
families could watch together and argue over the water cooler in the office the next day, that's enough of an achievement for me. i don't need to feel that the world will never be the same again after "downton," because it will. >> woodruff: and beginning the first sunday in january, fans can lose themselves one last time in the lives of a family they have come to know as friends. >> woodruff: finally, a bit of >> woodruff: the pentagon announced it is investigating airstrikes today that may have killed iraqi soldiers. it would be the first friendly fire deaths since the united states began bombing the islamic state in iraq. finally, a bit of good news as we update our recent story on how stress may be causing asthma among some kids: last week in a joint reporting project with the detroit news, they profiled
seretha lattimore and duane coal, detroit parents' homeless for a year often sleeping in the car with their four youngest children. 9-year-old's malik's asthma often is so severe he will vomit or pass out especially on stressful days. >> i feel like i'm hurting, i'm dying. >> woodruff: as the weather turned colder in late october, malik's condition became unmanageable. his parents reluctantly decided to turn the children over to child protective services until they could find stable housing. malik and his siblings were divided among four separate foster homes. today, much of that changed. the nonprofit detroit rescue mission ministry responded to the story by handing the family keys to a fully-furnished, five-bedroom home. they will be able to live there
rent-free for two years. they will then have the option to buy the house. the deal also comes with financial and educational training for the parents, tutoring for the kids, and a fully-stocked kitchen just in time for christmas. what a great story. we'll follow that family. on the newshour online, we have a new project we're excited to share with you. it's a science adventure story designed to be read to your kids, at bedtime. for the first in our series, we tell the tale of the scientists who journeyed deep into an underground cave to dig up a remarkable trove of fossils: the bones of a mysterious species called homo naledi. these stories are designed to work well on phones, tablets or to be printed out. we hope you enjoy. all that and more is on our web site, www.pbs.org/newshour. and a reminder about some upcoming programs on pbs. gwen ifill is preparing for "washington week," which airs later tonight. here's a preview:
>> ifill: as an eventful year winds to an end, the president makes his pitch, the democrats begin to squabble, interest rates go up and a budget gets passed. oh, and then there was that republican debate. we'll cover it all tonight on "washington week." judy? >> woodruff: on pbs newshour weekend saturday, how the city of boston is using real-time data to track how well it delivers city services to residents. >> boston as a city does a good job, both of creating services and-- and-- in different areas. but we've never measured how we do. >> woodruff: walsh has a large data dashboard in his office displaying real time information from across the city-- like the number of potholes filled and the number of community center visits. a map shows each neighborhood walsh has visited this month and how often. >> i'm constantly looking at the screen. i'm constantly looking at the measurements of where we two were in a day, where we were in a year and-- and looking at it. and it gives me the opportunity to call a department head or a manager or a cabinet chief, and ask them, why is something so low, why is something so high?
>> reporter: so, from your office, here at city hall, you basically have your finger on the pulse of what's going on? >> every single department, every single day. >> woodruff: that's tomorrow night, on pbs newshour weekend. and we'll be back, right here, on monday, with a look at how the synthetic drug spice is raising havoc across america. that's the newshour for tonight. i'm judy woodruff. have a great weekend. thank you and good night. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> lincoln financial-- committed to helping you take charge of your life. >> bnsf railway. >> and the william and flora hewlett foundation, helping people build immeasurably better lives. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions
♪ >> announcer: this is "nightly business report" with tyler mathisen and sue herera. reality bites. stocks get slammed. the dow plunges 2% as investors start to wonder how a gradual increase in interest rates may impact companies and consumers. protecting your portfolio. our market monitor has a list of stocks he says will do well no matter how the broader market behaves. send in the drones? no. send in the jets. amazon considers leasing its own aircraft fleet to ensure what you buy gets there when you want it. all that and more tonight on "nightly business report" for friday december 18th. good evening, everyone. and welcome. a momentous weekends with a momentous thud. stocks cratered, falling for the