tv PBS News Hour PBS February 29, 2016 6:00pm-7:01pm PST
captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc good evening, i'm gwen ifill. >> woodruff: and i'm judy woodruff. on the newshour tonight candidates last ditches to voters before super tuesday. we talked with amy walter and tamara about what's at stake. >>ñi also ahead mud wrists and reformistsñi for iran's election asking questions what change is possible under a hard line leadership. >> and spotlight wins the top prize at the oscars. we examine the state of today's investigative journalism. >> it's going to be more difficult. there are fewer resources to do it. this is very expensive work to do and yet we have to commit ourselves to doing it. >> all that and more on tonight's pbs newshour.
>> and the william and flora hewlett foundation, helping people build immeasurably better lives. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions: >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> ifill: it was no-holds-barred on the presidential campaign today, underscoring the all- important races tomorrow, on super tuesday. and as tensions flared, the republican race was thrown into uproar again. this is donald trump, barreling toward tomorrow's big voting day, with the wind at his back in almost all 13 of the super tuesday states. today, in southwestern virginia, the republican frontrunner boasted his campaign is on a nonstop roll.
>> republicans have a hard time. because structurally, you have to win pennsylvania, you have to win ohio, you have to-- you know, you have, like a map, in particular six states. and you lose one, it's over. the democratic ride is a much easier ride. if i pick up new york, or if i pick up michigan, it's over folks, it's over. >> ifill: but his speech was interrupted today by protesters representing the black lives matter movement. >> get 'em out! folks, you're going to hear it once: all lives matter. >> ifill: but party leaders denounced his refusal to reject support from white supremacist groups, including the kkk and david duke. >> well, just so you understand, i don't know anything about david duke, ok? i don't know anything about what you're even talking about, with white supremacy, or white supremacists. >> ifill: in a tweet, the republicans' last presidential nominee, mitt romney, called
trump's words "a disqualifying and disgusting response." while donald trump traveled in virginia, which has 49 delegates at stake, florida senator marco rubio cast a wider net for the 174 delegates up for grabs in tennessee, then georgia and arkansas. rubio, too, knocked trump for his comments yesterday, during a stop in atlanta. >> honestly, you know our country, you know your neighbors, you know your family and your friends. do you really believe that they're going to vote for someone who refuses to disavow the ku klux klan? >> no! >> do you think they're going to vote for someone with a record like his? >> no! >> they're not. that means they're going to lose. that means the winner of this election will be hillary clinton. >> no! >> ifill: and ted cruz, who spent today in his home state of texas, piled on as well. with 155 delegates at stake, the lone star state is super tuesday's biggest prize. cruz took aim at the practices
of a trump-owned club in florida, one that he said turned aside american workers looking for jobs. >> now listen. that's not a whole lot different, what donald's doing, than a whole lot of big companies. but you don't get to abuse, take advantage of american workers, and then suddenly style yourself a champion of american workers. >> ifill: the heated republican rhetoric became the focus today on the democratic campaign trail as well. hillary clinton, fresh off her nearly 50-point victory in south carolina, weighed in this morning from massachusetts. >> what we need to do now is make america whole. working together, rejecting the mean spiritedness, the hateful rhetoric, the insults. that's not who we are. >> ifill: and bernie sanders, in minneapolis, spent more time taking on trump than he did clinton.
>> we will defeat mr. trump. because the american people believe that community, working together, trumps selfishness. and most importantly, we will defeat mr. trump because the american people understand that love trumps hatred. >> ifill: tomorrow is likely to provide a definitive turning point for both parties. we'll take a thorough look at the republican and democratic races, after the news summary. >> woodruff: in the day's other news, the u.n. secretary general pronounced the three-day-old truce in syria is holding "by and large." but syrian government forces continued air strikes in hama and ground assaults near aleppo and elsewhere. and the main opposition group warned the u.s. and u.n. have to intervene. >> are they aware of the
violations there? i believe there has to be a mechanism to really stop this violation on the ground 220 to encourage others to go and set on the table to negotiate. >> woodruff: in washington, the white house said it's too early to assign blame for the truce violations. >> ifill: in iraq, shiites were hit hard, again, by a suicide bombing that killed at least 40 people northeast of baghdad. meanwhile, the death toll rose to 73 after sunday's twin suicide bombings in the iraqi capital. islamic state militants claimed responsibility for that attack. >> woodruff: anger boiled over today among iraqi and syrian refugees stranded at greece's northern border with macedonia. they've run into restrictions as they try to head deeper into europe. geraint vincent, of independent television news, reports. >> reporter: in the footsteps of thousands who came before them, the people followed the railway line north toshedz the
the -- towards the border but this morning the path was blocked. young men at the fronted of the crowd demanded access. it wasn't given. so they decided to gain it themselves. battering rams were created along what they found along the way. when that didn't work they got hold of something bigger. the gate was forced open and the crowd came face to face with the police line. with the phones bouncing of the riot shields the police decide to respond with tear gas. one steps forward and fires the first straight into the crowd. he falls back but the man in the blue is undeterred. the next one hits him in the
chest. the police followed up with tear gas with stun grenades now the crowd can't move back quickly enough. behind the young men at the front, there were families and children. their rucksack packed. now they're just trying to escape the gas which is singing their eyes and burning their throats. back to where they began this morning, a transit camp meant for 2,000 people whichlhome to . >> woodruff: across europe, fire broke out as crews began dismantling a huge migrant camp in calais, france. activists fought with police at the site, where some 4,000 people had been living. >> ifill: back in this country, at the supreme court, justice clarence thomas did something he had not done in 10 years of oral
arguments: he spoke. he asked a string of questions during a case about gun rights. it was the first time he's participated from the bench since february 22, 2006. >> woodruff: across washington, at the white house, a solemn ceremony today for u.s. navy seal edward byers. he was presented with the nation's highest military decoration. it's been some 40 years since a president bestowed the medal of honor on a living, active-duty member of the u.s. navy. and, only five other seals have received one. >> today's ceremony is truly unique: a rare opportunity for the american people to get a glimpse of a special breed of warrior that so often serves in the shadows. >> woodruff: edward byers was a senior chief special warfare operator on the elite "seal team 6" that rescued an american hostage in eastern afghanistan in december 2012.
dr. dilip joseph had been working for an aid organization when the taliban kidnapped him. >> our seals rushed to the doorway, which was covered by a layer of blankets. ed started ripping them down, exposing himself to enemy fire. a teammate, the lead assaulter, pushed in and was hit. fully aware of the danger, ed moved in next. an enemy guard aimed his rifle right at him. ed fired. >> woodruff: that first seal, petty officer first class nicolas checque, died of his wounds, but byers saved dr. joseph. >> ed leapt across the room and threw himself on the hostage, using his own body to shield him from the bullets. another enemy fighter appeared, and with his body, ed kept shielding the hostage. with his bare hands, ed pinned the fighter to the wall and held him until his teammates took action. >> woodruff: after today's ceremony, however, outside the white house, byers said the real credit goes to his comrades.
>> if it wasn't for that team, i wouldn't be standing here today. specifically for me, my teammate, friend, and brother nic cheque. the award is truly his. >> woodruff: now, byers says, he bears the responsibility to live up to the sacrifice that cheque and others made. >> i don't know for sure how this will change my life. i just plan on taking it one step at a time. i'm going to continue doing my job in the navy, continue being a seal, and doing the thing i love ever since i was a child. >> woodruff: he joined the navy in 1998 and has served nine combat tours. >> ifill: and on wall street, late selling wiped out a month's worth of gains. the dow jones industrial average lost 123 points to close at 16,516. the nasdaq fell 32 points, and the s&p 500 slid nearly 16. >> woodruff: still to come on
the newshour: super tuesday and the battles to unseat the presidential frontrunners. a major election victory for moderates in iran. hackers that hold your data for ransom, and much more. >> ifill: with the candidates busy on the trail today and it's time for politics monday, with amy walter of the "cook political report" joining us from florida, and tamara keith of npr, who is covering a hillary clinton event in northern virginia. xlwelcome to you both out theren the road. i want to start by reading this mitt romney tweet he sent out today, pretty tough words against what is increasingly looking like the party nominee donald trump. he wrote it was a disgusting response by the real documented trump that's his handle of course to the kkk.
his bigotry is not in the character of america. now mitt romney has been stepping up his attacks on donald trump during the last week or so but it feels like this is another turning point. but whenever we approach a turning point amy, we then pass it and go somewhere else. is this different. >> it feels like we're still where we've always been, gwen, which is a lot of people wringing our hands talking about how much they dislike documented trump or disawe -- donald trump or disavow hinby statements although they don't worry behind donald trump so he continues to benefit from the fact that the field remains fractured. there's no consensus now about who the candidate to take on donald trump would be, marco rubio thinks it's him and tests cruz thinks it's him and he thinks he can wait until ohio and it will be him. >> lr ifill: he said people arenoe alternative maybe because
there's so many alternatives. how would you characterize the depth of the republican worry about the state of affairs right now. >> well, i mean i think you can see the depth of worry in that mitt romney has come back to the surface and he's tweeting and you know there's even a little mitt romney buzz out there which is a sign of the worry that's out there. you also have, it's an interesting mix. you have some members of congress or at least one senator saying he's not going to vote for donald trump no matter what. and there's sort of a growing chorus of that at the same time that donald trump is gaining some endorsements, including from senator sessions in alabama and chris christie of new jersey. >> ifill: you were talking and referring to the senator from nebraska, at least amy was if there was a choice between hillary clinton and donald trump he would vote for neither. does that leave a path at all for ted cruz, or marco rubio.
>> it's going to be very interesting for both of these candidates. ted cruz has the most to lose here. he was banking his entire strategy on the south. he obviously came up short in south carolina, very far short. he's hoping for big win in texas but even that is not enough. he's also, he also has to do well along the southern states that are heavily evangelical but the problem for ted cruz is the same problem he had in south carolina which is evangelicals9e around 33-35% of that vote. what this means is ted cruz comes out of march 1 if instead with a head of steam he's in deficit with delegates. we have a different cam here with a different strategy. march 1st isn't as important to him. these are not the states he has to do as well and he never expected to do as well n he needs to wrap up some delegates though. his play is march 15 once we
start getting into winner takes all states, places like florida here and ohio. he has to win those in order to be relevant. but really at the bottom line, gwen, we're to a place right now where donald trump is the presumptive nominee until one person can be the alternative, or we get to a place where the vote continues to be divide, where delegates continue to be divided, and we end up with no candidateoe),ñ getting 50% of te vote. this is actually looking like the best case scenario for people who don't want donald trump. >> ifill: it's interesting to me the endorsements, jeff sessions, very conservative, chris christie not, that they would both be gathering around him. is that just a flood gate about to open? >> this is an interesting thing. it's not clear what the endorsements for donald trump actually mean.
he's just up conventional candidate who doesn't really need endorsements but then these endorsements lend legitimacy they lend credibility to this outsider candidacy. >> ifill: tam, i wanted to stick with you. people think wevdabout republic. you're at a hillary clinton event and if you listen to hillary clinton and bernie sanders they also talking about the republicans. >> yes, absolutely. hillary clinton is doing it in more of a veiled way. you can almost say hillary clinton is trying to take something of a high road, she's talking about the need for love and kindness and then sort of showing distress about the discourse on the republican side. she says she wants to take them on. bernie sanders is also being very critical of donald trump especially. he sent out a tweet yesterday about the kkk stuff, and it was very critical. and interestingly hillary
clinton's account then retweeted that. >> ifill: has that ever happened before where hillary clinton endorsed anything bernie sanders said. >> yes. they often talk about their distinguished opponent. but this was definitely an interesting situation to have her campaign retweet his campaign. >> ifill: having a common enemy is alwaysxlamy, which pare going to say last week obviously hillary clinton dealt a pretty big blow to bernie sanders. they're still fightiziqm- each other, dealing daily kind of juvenile blows on the republican side. which party is having the more consequential civil war at this point? >> it absolutely is the republicans. i feel like this is a party right now. i mean, i can almost hear the taughthitytonic shift here. it's absolutely splittingwhen ye level of worry is among republican establishment, like i said on spinal tap this goes to
11. it is off the charts. i think we are going to see a republican party that looks, if donald trump is the nominee, that looks very different than a republican party we've seen before. i don't doubt that we will see a republican candidate running as a third party. this is notbtalked about michaeg in the past i'm talking specifically about a traditional republican establishment conservative figure running as a third party candidate would not be surprised about that at all. the civil war has been a big part of the republican identity for sometime. the factions have been fighting each other for some time. the only thing that has kept these factions from splitting apart in the past has been the fact that republicans are united in their dislike for president obama. but now that the focus is inward instead of outward the civil war is starting to take a serious toll and i really think we're going to see in some way, shape or form a dissolution of)7m,ñ te republican party as it currently
stands. >> ifill: wow, that's saying something. it is interesting we don't hear president obama's name nearly as much anymore. that used to be the common rallying cry. amy walter, the political report and tamara keith of npr. thank you both. >> woodruff: the results are in from iran's elections: they show strong gains for relatively- moderate allies of president hassan rouhani and a setback for more-hardline elements in iran's conservative islamic establishment. it's the first national elections since last summer's nuclear deal. there was heavy turnout friday as iranians elected a new parliament, and the so-called "assembly of experts," a council of senior clerics that is tasked with selecting the supreme leader. the man currently in that office, ayatollah ali khamenei, praised the high turnout and
advised the newly-elected bodies to guard against western influence; he remains the decisive voice in iran. so what does this all mean inside iran, and for the u.s? we turn to karim sadjadpour, of the carnegie endowment for international peace. karim, welcome back to the program. so how do you read these results? >> judy, i think this was a best case outcome for president rouhani. as you know many of the moderates and reformist candidates were disqualified, prevented from running. so before the election it looked pretty bleak for rouhani. but they managed to come up with a list of what they call the list of hope. and that list swept tehran, it did well in other urban areas. it didn't do as well in other provinces. but i think that this doesn't bring about a liberal reform on parliament but it's certainly t
parliament. >> woodruff: that's my question. because as you said so many moderates were not even allowed to run so how much more moderate are these newly elected members? >> many of them are unknown, judy. i spoke to a friend of mine whose been involved in iranian politic for three decades and he said of the 30 candidates of tee run he was almost familiar with four or five names. among those 30 candké")]7ey some of them actually self iy yas th. so i think we should have sober expectations about the nature of these reformist parliamentwz parliamentarians. there's a great persian expression that when someone has experienced near death contends with a fever. i think the iranian population over the last decade has really experienced some incredibly difficult times. i think many people went to vote not because they were hoping for something.
they had great expectations of a more liberal parliament but they fear if they didn't vote, it would bring about a much more intolerant parliament wound wood will anythin -->> woodruff: wig change then. >> if you're sitting at the whitehouse or the state department, this election is not likely to change iranian's -- iran's policy or animosity towards the united states. it's not likely to make iran a tolerant democratic state. if you live in tehran, this can moderately improve your quality of life. and the expert assembly election is important as well because they theoretically have responsibility for choosing the next supreme leader. so with the current supreme leader is 67 year 76 years old.
if he dies they could have a role selecting his successor. >> woodruff: what should we expect to see tangibly there. does this mean the hard-liners have somewhat less influence. >> well the supreme leader and the revolutionary guards remain pretty firmly entrenched. iran remains a police state. if you're a journalist or author, civil society activist you could be pluckedf off the street put in prison without reason without explanation. there's actually two u.s. citizens that remain in prison in iran. so we certainly have to be sober about our expectations. but i think this, it just goes to show that president rouhani's more pragmatic agenda is popular in iran. i think it really increases the likelihood that he will be re-elected come next summer. >> woodruff: to what extent, karim, was this a referendum on the nuclear deal with the west?
>> you know, i think the nuclear deal andwith the outside world,r integration with the outside world is something which has long been desired by the iranian public. this is a very young population. they're really i would argue post ideological. but at the end of the day, the power in iran or i should say the power of insufficient in iran aren't derived from the popular support. they are derived from capabilities. so i think the nuclear deal was very popular and people would like to have much more of that type of contact with the united states. but as long as this current supreme leader remains in power, i think we should be realistic about the likelihood that with the united states will continue. >> woodruff: q÷ karim sadjadpour
interpreting these election results for us. we thank you. >> thank you judy. >> ifill: stay with us, coming up on the newshour: states push back on transgender rights. the u.s. role in the fight against nigeria's boko haram. and the oscars put the "spotlight" on investigative journalism. but first, a look at what's become the latest threat to our cyber-security. the problem took on new urgency recently when a hospital in los angeles had its entire computer network, including all its digital medical records, locked up by hackers. they demanded a ransom before they'd release the computers. it was the second such attack this month: l.a.'s health department was hit last week. these types of computer attacks, which usually target individual computer users, are on the rise. the newshour's william brangham
reported on this threat last year and now brings us an update. >> brangham: inna simone is retired. she's a mother and grandmother from russia who now lives outside of boston. in the fall of 2014, her home computer started acting strangely. >> my computer was working terribly. it was not working, i mean, it was so slow. >> brangham: a few days later, while searching through her computer, inna saw dozens of these messages-- they were all the same. they read: "your files are encrypted. to get the key to decrypt them, you have to pay $500." her exact deadline, december 2 at 12:48 pm, was just a few days away. all her files were locked: tax returns, financial papers, letters, even the precious photos of her granddaughter zoe. inna couldn't open any of them. >> it says, "if you won't pay, your fine will double. if you won't pay by then, all your files will be deleted and
you will lose them forever and never will get back. >> brangham: inna simone, like thousands of others, had been victimized by what's known as ai ransomware attack.' hackers, who law enforcement say come mainly from eastern europe and russia, manage to implant malicious software onto your computer, usually when you mistakenly open an infected email attachment, or visit a compromised website. that software then allows the hackers to lock up your files, or your entire computer, until you pay them a ransom to give it back. justin cappos is a computer security expert at new york university. >> it will actually lock you out of the files, the data, on your computer. so you'd be able to use the computer but those files have been encrypted by the attacker with a key that only they possess. it's frustrating because you know the data is there. you know the files are there. you know your photos and everything is there and could be accessible to you. but you have no way of being able to get at it because of this encryption that the attackers are using.
>> brangham: this is exactly what happened at hollywood presbyterian hospital in los angeles. according to officials, about a month ago, their computerized medical records were locked up by one of these malicious programs, and a hacker demanded $17,000 in ransom to unlock them. during this time, medical staff were forced to use paper and pen for their record keeping, but they say no patient files were compromised. the hospital decided to pay the ransom, their computers were unlocked, and the fbi is now investigating. inna simone was facing the same dilemma-- whether to pay the ransom or not. computer technicians were no help. she didn't want to call the police; her husband at first said don't pay the ransom, but she wanted those files back. in their 'iransom note', the hackers wanted to be paid in bitcoin, the largely untraceable digital currency, and have it put into their anonymous account. inna had never heard of bitcoin, but the hackers, in one of their many touches of what you might call 'icustomer service,' provided all sorts of helpful facts and links and how-to guides about bitcoin.
alina simone is inna's daughter. >> if you see the ransom note you can see, oh, they try to reassure you about bitcoin. we have got screen shots or here is a link to some kind of a guide that talks you through the whole process, and here's a list of providers with a little kind of yelp-like reviews next to each one that kind of explain their strength and weaknesses. it's incredibly sophisticated. >> brangham: after days of debate, inna decided to pay. she sent a money order to a bitcoin seller, but it was thanksgiving, and a huge snowstorm hit boston, which meant the money only arrived the afternoon before her deadline. and, in that delay, bitcoin's exchange rate had changed, and now her money order didn't cover the full $500 ransom-- it was about $13 short. her last resort was using a bitcoin a.t.m. machine, there are hundreds of them in the u.s., and one was in brooklyn, new york, not far from her daughter alina's apartment. >> it's very kind of spooky looking a.t.m. it has no buttons. it just had a slot that you feed
your money into. >> brangham: tuesday afternoon, the full ransom was sent to the hackers' account. but it was two hours late. inna inserted one short message to the criminals with her payment. >> i wrote: "i wish you all will drop dead." >> brangham: the fbi doesn't have complete data on how many of these ransomware attacks occur every year, but they're clearly on the rise. the anti-virus software firm symantec reports that hundreds of thousands of these attacks are launched every month. there's also a real difference of opinion on whether victims should pay. security researchers say paying ransom only encourages criminals, but the fbi says some of this ransomware is so tough to crack that paying a few hundred dollars is sometimes the only way to get your files back. and it's not just individuals and hospitals who get hit: hackers have hit several local police stations. we've heard of law firms and newsrooms being targeted. even the city of detroit last year had its data held for an $800,000 ransom by hackers.
the city didn't pay. n.y.u. computer scientist justin cappos says generally speaking, hackers go after smaller, individual targets because they're pretty easy: victims often inadvertently download the viruses themselves by clicking on those email attachments. besides, he says, the risks of getting caught are low, and if you cast a wide enough net, you'll get something. >> when you go fishing, you don't try to catch every fish in the ocean. you only wanna catch some. and if you catch enough of them, then it's been a profitable trip for you. >> brangham: when her mom got hacked, alina simone, who's a journalist by day, did some research into ransomware for a piece she wrote for the new york times. she says it's alarming how organized and easy it is to carry out these kinds of attacks. >> there are people making viruses, selling viruses. there are distributors whose specialty is distributing viruses. these perpetrators, they don't have to know a line of code. they can just buy a virus and then hire a distributor and send it out. >> brangham: her mom's story,
however, wasn't over. inna had paid the hackers her $500 -- but rather than releasing her files as promised -- they sent her this message. it said "you did not pay in time for decryption." remember, she'd paid two hours late -- now the hackers doubled the ransom to $1000, gave her another deadline, and said if she missed this one, they'd delete everything. >> if you won't pay by then, all your files are gone forever. >> brangham: using a message board the hackers provided another customer-friendly touch inna pleaded with the people she'd previously told to 'idrop dead:' "we had a snow storm"," it was a holiday" "i am only two hours late!" did this feel strange that you're trying to communicate to a group of criminals -- who knows where they are in the world -- saying "you don't understand-- the post office, the snow, thanksgiving, the long weekend," i mean you must've felt-- >> but what else? i mean, this is the only option. it's either this or nothing. >> brangham: you didn't think it would work. >> absolutely not.
>> brangham: but later that day, the hackers released her files in full. for the pbs newshour, i'm william brangham. >> woodruff: now to a battle emerging in some states over schools and rights for transgender students. south dakota's governor, dennis daugaard, must decide by tomorrow whether he'll sign, or veto, a bill that would make his state the first in the country to restrict transgender students' access to school restrooms and locker rooms. if he does not act by tomorrow, the bill will become law. the newshour's april brown reports for our american graduate team. >> reporter: transgender rights advocates in south dakota gathered at the state capitol building last week, to draw attention to a bill they consider 'discriminatory.' freshman nathan leonard was there: >> it directly affects me. i am a transgender student and i already get made fun of enough.
>> reporter: the bill would require school restrooms and locker rooms are 'used only by students of the same biological sex.' it would also allow students whose gender identity is different than their biological sex 'shall be provided with a reasonable accommodation.' one of the bill's primary sponsors, state representative fred deutsch, says the goal is to protect children: >> the bill is not intended to hurt or harm. i'm protecting their hearts, their eyes and their minds. i don't want our children to be exposed to the anatomy of other genders. >> reporter: but many in the lgbt and their supporters believe the bill would not protect children; - especially transgender students. state representative paula hawks opposes the bill and stood with protesters. >> this is an unfriendly message. it's hostile. it's unacceptable in a state where we're trying to progress forward. >> reporter: the battle comes as a number of cities have expanded non-discrimination laws for transgender people.
but there are many other bills now pending that would restrict students' access to restrooms and in some cases, sports programs. bills have been filed in 16 states, including virginia, illinois, indiana and washington state. the legislation is also at odds with guidance from the u.s. department of education. federal officials have previously threatened to cut off funding to districts in california and illinois that didn't allow transgender students to use their preferred bathrooms and changing areas. however, the department of education guidance is not legally binding and if the governor signs the bill there could be another repercussion: lawsuits. >> this is a values issue. if we protect our children and get sued, well that's the decision we make. >> reporter: the final decision- maker, governor dennis daugaard, met with transgender students and their parents last week, which he says 'put a human face' on the issue. >> i heard their personal stories so i saw things through their eyes in that sense. it's certainly of great concern
to many people. certainly to the opponents of the bill it's of great concern and so i don't treat it lightly by any means. >> reporter: lgbt advocates at the capitol were pleased the governor listened: >> anytime you're talking the door's open for change. when there's no discussion you're not going forward. >> reporter: the governor has also spoken to the bill's sponsors and is reviewing testimony and court documents before he makes his final decision. for the pbs newshour, i'm april brown. >> ifill: over the weekend, several hundred hostages of the nigerian islamist group boko haram were freed. it happened during a raid by nigerian and cameroonian forces, along the border between the two african nations.
the raid comes as the u.s. military has moved to increase cooperation with regional governments to fight the jihadist group. boko haram pledged allegiance to the islamic state group or isis, last year. according to amnesty international, the six-year uprising has killed more than 20,000 people. another 2.8 million have been forced from their homes in nigeria, cameroon, niger and chad. boko haram gained world-wide infamy in 2014, after kidnapping more than 200 schoolgirls from the town of chibok, in north eastern nigeria. that sparked a global campaign to free the girls, with the hashtag "bring back our girls" as a social media rallying cry. the girls' plight was a contributing factor to then- president goodluck jonathan's election loss last year. the u.s. has military personnel operating a new drone base in cameroon to provide intelligence. there is now discussion of sending american special forces near the front lines of nigeria's fight against boko haram.
they would advise the military in its operations. i'm joined now by special correspondent nick schifrin. he's currently on assignment for us in nairobi, kenya and reported in depth from nigeria for the newshour late last year. nick, good to talk to you again. so tell us what you know about this new u.s. engagement in nigeria. >> yes, gwen good evening. there's a new recommendation by the u.s. military's top africa command that one to three dozen special operations forces troops be deployed to north eastern nigeria. this is what the military called an advise and assist mission. they are towards the front lines but not really on the frontline advising the nigerian military in their fight, assistingu0&fige and training. those troops, now this is just a recommendation. right now this will have to go through the state department and the pent gun an pentagon and wht this is what the military in africa wants. it's what one military official described as a national
progression to a real escalation what the u.s. has been doing against boko haram and helping the nigerians. the first tend is intelligence. there's a new drone based in nearby northern cameroon, president dupredator drones havn supporting the countries all along the chad basin with intelligence so they can go after boko haram. that's new in the last few months. in the last few yeaks u.s. has resumed a training anythingth north western nigeria for forces far from the frontline. that's a mission the u.s. has really been trying to resumeaí after it ended about a year ago. gwen this is in addition to real concerted effort diplomatically to try to help the nigerian improve things like the police. this is a real escalation the u.s. helping nigeria and all the countries helping boko haram. >> ifill: seems like the difference between then and now is the new president.
>> yes, it's a real change of the difference when he was elected. just to give you a sense how bad the relationship between the u.s. and nigeria was before. the top military official in africa refused to shake the hand of the anyway junior chief of argumenty staff. that's how balance that was. one of the u.s. deputies was locked out of a nigerian base. a message by the nigerians that they were upset. since then total change. he has not only changed the heads of the military so the actual officials doing this work and that relationship has improved between the u.s. but he's really said to all his deputies u.s. is all allies we need to work with them against imoaboko haram. >> ifill: let's talk about boko haram. how is their ion fluence. >> at once they were the deadliest in the world having numbers killed. this was less about boko haram than the nigerian military.
sometimes boko haram didn't really have anyone on the battle field. nigerian soldiers were going on without bullets, without shoes, without the actual material they needed to fight boko haram. so boeing hairn boeing boko hare over so many people because it was the encountering the nigerian military or any of the military in the region. now that's not changed not only the area but ca cameroon and rig now boko haram is on the back foot. he cannot seize any land anymore even as it's still launching suicide attacksd'deadly in nige. >> ifill: finally nick many9s:ç americans the last they heard about this question of boko haram's strength in nigeria has centered around hostage taken specifically about the chibok girls. we're hearing thousands of hostages have been released but
not so much the girls. >> this is about boeing haicial is stil -- boko haram is still g on but the military are going into former boko haram strong holds. but the girls themselves are still missing. the president.sto negotiate wito release those girls. he's willing to release boeing boeing -- boeing haicia haicialx osegirls but so long after the kidnapping there's still no sign for them he'lllfor us tonight n, thank you. >> thanks gwen.
>> woodruff: from the very opening of the telecast last night, much of the focus during the academy awards focused on hollywood's problems with diversity. but near the end, a notable upset also garnered some attention: "spotlight" won for best picture. a reminder about the state of investigative journalism, and whether it would be more difficult to mount a similar investigation these days. jeffrey brown has more. >> brown: the winner was something of a surprise: "spotlight," a film about one major hometown institution, the "boston globe," taking on another, the catholic church. director tom mccarthy: >> we made this film for all the journalists who have and continue to hold the powerful accountable and for the survivors whose courage and will
to overcome is really an inspiration to all we have to do to make sure this never happens again. >> the numbers clearly indicate that there were senior clergy involved. >> brown: the film recounts how "globe" reporters and editors tracked down cases of sexual abuse of children by priests, and the cover-up by the church hierarchy that allowed guilty priests to stay in their positions. the paper's "spotlight" team tracked over 900 active and retired priests, finding some 250 had molested children over several decades. >> we need to focus on the institution, not the individual priests. practice and policy. show me this was systemic, that it came form the top down. >> brown: actor liev schreiber played the "globe's" editor, martin baron. >> when tom sent me the script,
i called him immediately and said, "this is such an amazing piece and so timely and so important that we remember what an asset this is to an asset to our society and our culture and our democracy." >> brown: in 2002, as the original investigation was still unfolding, the newshour visited the "globe" newsroom. the real martin baron spoke of how the case had snowballed from a focus on just one priest. >> i thought it was an extraordinary story. here was a priest who had been accused by 130 people of having abused them as minors. that was just an extraordinary number in and of itself. >> brown: baron is now editor of the "washington post." when we spoke to him this fall as "spotlight" was being released, he said he hoped the film could also raise awareness of the continuing need for strong investigative journalism >> well, we're a profession that's under tremendous pressure. a lot of financial pressure. so clearly it's going to be more difficult, given that there are fewer resources to do it. this is very expensive work to do. and yet we have to commit ourselves to doing it. somebody needs to hold powerful
institutions and individuals accountable, and we're the ones who have that particular role in our society. >> brown: the "boston globe's" "spotlight" unit won a pulitzer prize for its coverage. since 2003, newspaper staffs have declined by 40%, a major challenge for investigative reporting. and at the same time, there's been the rise of new we assess the state of play with margaret sullivan, outgoing public editor of the "new york times." she'll soon be joining the "washington post" as its media columnist. and stephen engelberg is the editor-in-chief of propublica, which has won numerous awards for its investigative work. welcome both to you. margaret sullivan let me start with you. you wrote recently quote the film spotlight is powerful and moving but it raises troubling questions about the state of local investigative reporting today. and its future.
you thought that even as you were watching the movie. what was troubling? >> well, it's very troubling to me because i'meof a regional nei watch these issues carefully. staff numbers are way down. papers have had to or have felt they've had to dismantle their investigative teams and the resources just aren't there that were there even ten years ago. it's really troubling. >> so steve engelberg, is the economics of the business one issue, what about leadership and audience at the time. how do they play in. >> it's very interesting because right at this very minute we have the best investigative reporting tools we've ever had in the internet. it's amazing what we can now access in terms of information. and people are reading more. the problem we've got is that people aren't willing to pay for it and that's a big problem. and as margaret says, it's a particularly acute problem outside the major cities of the united states. and even in some of those major cities where newspapers are 50%
or less of their previous size. that's the problem. it's an economic problem. with respect to the craft, it's a great time to be an investigative reporter. >> it's really a double edge sword of technology, right, about digital technology allows a certainwwfrñ kind of reportind more dissemination. but you're saying the economics make it harder. >> exactly. because people feel on the internet the content ought to be free. and so newspaperseomoney by char subscription and ads find their ad revenues really pitched and subscription revenues evaporating. people want to go on-line and read this wonderful content for free. that is not a model that works. on the other side of it though, it is literally amazing. i started in the business with typewriters, believe it or not, and it's literally amazing these days what you can access in terms of data, in terms of journalm w÷ articles, information,findin. everything you want to do as an investigative reporter is just enhanced by the current
technology. >> margaret sullivan if i ask you, is spotlight possible today sounds like the answer is in some cases yes but in a lot of cases no. >> i think it is still possiblez in most places but i think that the will to do this kind of work is weakening somewhat and it has to be boye boy beefed up. spotlight will makeacfpy editord now how important it is and to fun it. >> tell us what kind of stories do you feel are being missed even today. >> well, it's always hard to know what's being missed. >> of course. >> you don't know it until you read it in the paper or hear it or watch it. but the stories that are really difficult to do are the ones that are so time consuming. and you could tell from spotlight that people were knocking on doors and they were going over lists and they were agonizing about how to naval it down.
and those kind of things are expensive and it takes time. those are the stories of holding powerful people and institutions accountable that really really matter. >> steve engelberg you're talking about the new memo tease by digit -- possibilities by digital technologies and new models and you work at one of those new models for investigative journalism. it's a non-profit model. tell us about what that allows you to do avoiding the advertising for example but also the challenges that you face because of it. >> well the model doesn't really change what you can do. in the old days you had to advertise to get a lot of money. and of course you know, they were investing in a product and you could be aware of that or not if you so chose. great newspapers always cut off the business side from the journalism side. today we have donors. it's the same thing. we have a iéwho give and foundao on and the content itself. i did want to mention by the way your question because i think we can go to this pulitzer prize a
couple youngs ago, a little town called bell, california where the city council voted the city manager and leadership salaries over a million dollars a year and 109 vacation days each. so you ask the question what kind7s of story did we miss because no journalists were around that's a pretty basic story. >> margaret sullivan, what about these new models that you see happening for investigative journalism. where is the good things happening. >> they are spring up over the country. promubarapropublica where the cf editor is the real leader but there are many in different communities. there's a question of whether they can endure, whether they can work with their small staff. the texas tribune is a great example that does a lot of good work. it's happening, i guess it's a matter of whether they're ultimately going to be sustainable. >> steve engelberg a last word
from you. thinking about the movie last night and oscar victory, does that give you hope? what does your gut tell you about any difference it might make. >> i think the movie's going to inspire more people. i've been talking on journalism cool campuses lately and people find it very inspiring as do i. i think it's a great example what we can do the germannists germannists -- journalists can do in our society. >> steve engelberg and margaret sullivan, thank you very much. >> thank you. >> ifill: on the newshour online, one of our making sense columnists says don't be fooled by sunny forecasts of the u.s. economy. economics professor john komlos warns that the unemployment rate can be deceiving. and he outlines some of the statistics he says we should really be paying attention to. that's on our home page, on our web site, pbs.org/newshour.
>> woodruff: and that's the newshour for tonight. join us tomorrow for our special coverage of super tuesday, as voters head to the polls in 12 states. i'm judy woodruff. >> ifill: and i'm gwen ifill, join us online, and again here tomorrow evening. for all of us at the pbs newshour, 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 financial future. >> and by the alfred p. sloan foundation. supporting science, technology, and improved economic performance and financial literacy in the 21st century. >> supported by the john d. and catherine t. macarthur foundation. committed to building a more just, verdant and peaceful world. more information at macfound.org
>> and with the ongoing support of these institutions >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org
this is "nightly business report" with tyler mathisen and sue herera. >> an or cal of optimism. warren buffet says don't bet against america. he shares his outlook for stocks and the committee. general electric ceo didn't mince words writing a no holds barred letter to shareholders. leaping forward. why leap day is great time to get a hold on your financial. all that for leap day, february 29th. legal ruling in favor of apple in one of its many cases against the government. we'll have more on that in maine. we begin with warren