tv Amanpour on PBS PBS December 19, 2017 12:00am-12:31am PST
welcome to this edition of "amanpour" on pbs. tonight, president trump rolls out his long awaited national security review, from north korea, fake news to climate change, 2017 is a year to be reckoned with. my corporation with -- conversation with the broadcaster and historian, simon charmar. plus, it's the sale of the century that's reshaping the media landscape. so what now for rupert murdoch after that $52 billion disney deal? we get a unique perspective with the author and biographer of murdoch's world. ♪
"amanpour" on pbs was made possible by the generous support of rosalyn p. walter. >> good evening, everyone. welcome to the program. i'm christiane amanpour in london with the world view. the past is never dead, it is not even past. the worlds of william faulkner's. they're a favorite of my next guest and with his latest book he seems to want to prove them true. it's called "belonging, the story of the jew." where president trump's decision to recognize jerusalem as the capital of israel against the rest of the world or the rise of far right parties in europe or the alt-right in the united states, there are few people i'd rather have in the studio with me to put all of this into context than simon charmar who joins me now. welcome to the program. so first on jerusalem, because
this is something of great interest around the world and in the united states and tonight the u.n. -- the security council has voted to try to get trump to reconsider. but of course the u.s. has used the veto. you just came back from jerusalem. how did it go down there? >> in jerusalem, there was rage but quiet rage. and in the -- i was there on friday, and i know the expectation were there was serious violence and the israelis made a wise decision to open the temple mount to everybody, jerusalemites and everybody so they avoided an inferno, an int fa da. what happened was extraordinary. because in effect what trump said to everyone was that recognizing jerusalem as the israeli capital did not in fact preclude also recognizing, you
know, it's the capital of a future palestine. but he managed in his doltish, obtuse way where everybody know -- everybody's nose is out of joint. it was by sidelining them, he phones people up and tells them what's going to happen. and says, live with it, buster. >> department -- except for now you have the palestinians let's see if they follow through on the threat. the u.s. is just ruined it reputation as being indispensable, honest broker. but what about a peace process? president trump says he's going to unveil one, it will be the deal of the century. >> yeah, fairy dust. basically he believes in -- all the things that jared kushner's magically produced the total reinvention of government. it's ridiculous.
the only way fairy dust works is with diplomacy. his secretary of state who seems to be in a quandary about whether he's free to speak his mind he's been busy eviscerating the diplomatic service. it's fine to sort of do magic dances around and anything that doesn't glow with people in saudi arabia but it's a matter for israel and the palestinians. they have shared the country, they have to share the country. there is no way out of that. >> let's get to your book. and it has had fantastic reviews. it's called "the story of the jews, volume 2." the new york time says it's gorgeously rendered of the argumentative, miracle of jewish survival against the odds. that's a very optimistic view of the history because it's usually a terribly sad one, filled with the most unspeakable horrors and crime. you went against the grain. >> well, there are kind of --
you know, there are down moments for example when during the crisis -- the far right politician and journalist said, let's see how many ways we can exterminate jews. this is in 1899. >> in france -- >> burnt in a glass furnace, should we turn them into dog food? can we replace rabbits as vivisection experiments, no the jews smell so bad. we have horrifying things going on and i wanted this project as far as it's possible to be a project about vitality. to be the urge to have life. a lot of showman, there are 16th century showmen. what siddism is being drenched in the sunlight so this is heartening in a way as disheartening. >> it comes at a particular time. let's face it.
we are sitting here in europe and even though the remnants are in the united states where there is a rise -- a shameful rise of anti-semitism but not just that, the far right getting into very important seats of power. just today the new austrian government was sworn in and israel said it was not going to change its behavior with the government. the first time that the far right is in government. >> and ex-nazis, and this is to me horrifying. i don't believe in perpetual collective guilt and it's extraordinary that the german's democratic experiment as the japanese one has been a spectacular success. emerging from the horrible burning cinders of the last war. >> even rising then -- >> what is happening from charlottesville, across to poland, hungary, is a horrible mutation. it's a kind of a hard ultraconservativism, kind of tribal nationalism. communities of unapologetic
belief in the purity of the tribe which naturally morphed into a hatred of cosmopolitans. nigel farage and people like that -- >> he's the cause of brexit. >> theresa may not a hard right person, a decent person says the citizen of everywhere is a citizen of nowhere. that's a stake through the heart of the enlightenment. my only family, your family, you know, we would be citizens of nowhere. we would be flotsam on the ocean of the world. no, actually being citizen of the world is an essential thing. we are all in this decay and corroded planet together. >> so when you look at this and you describe it so passionately, do you see a way to nip that back? it wasn't that long ago when internationalism, globalism, whatever you want to call it, the idea of being citizens of the world was actually
considered very powerful and progressive. it's been ripped asunder over the last few years. >> i know it will take a tsunami to hit mar-a-lago to convince he is wrong about the climate change and violence. in tropical africa, in the middle east, when i was in israel, christiane, very interestingly, this is an example of unlikely togetherness. i went with a good friend of mine who runs the organization called eco peace. with officers in rama that and in tel aviv. nobody pretends to be everybody's brothers or sisters or argue out the endless narrative of blame and victimization. they have a problem. the jordan barely exists, the dead sea is losing a meter a year. the water in gaza is basically pure untreated sewage. you just get on with the job. magnify that globally, if we
don't that's why it's disheartening to say -- the rest of the world said, walk out of the paris climate accord -- >> well, actually trump downgraded it as a national -- >> what a mistake. it's the engine of violence in the world. so the recognition that we're all on space ship earth together will pragmatically create a kind -- >> i wonder if people actually understand this beyond what you just said. it is a root of violence and terrorism when people have no work, nothing to do. and are able to sit there. the devil finds work for whatever idle hands. also a migration. >> yes. >> which is not going to stop. >> no, it's absolutely not. no wall, no barrier, no customs zone is going to stop this -- you know, this huge movement of displaced, destitute, impoverished people. >> what do you make again to get back to the theme of your book and the theme of what's going on, you know, you mentioned charlottesville. i mean, i think everybody was just stunned by the -- by the
anti-semitism that went on in that terrible event. protesters shouting jews will not replace us. >> yeah. >> how does that happen in the united states of america? >> well, how does it happen all over the world? i mean, some of the most toxic fantasies of anti-semitism, protocols of the old cadry of the jewish conspiracy we thought it was dead and buried at the end of the second world war. but what we got wrong was the internet. we thought it would be an instrument of global togetherness but to disabuse us of hideous fantssy. but instead it's a prime testing place for unhinged, nontruth based conspiracy. it is the engine of what you and i were talking about. the joy of hatred. the glee of hatred. you get your jollies from hating particular groups. and the jews are the oldest
targets since they were regarded in the middle ages, on into the modern period as i write of having needed the blood of the christian children so that goes on and on and on. and you think about nothing -- if you think of the attractiveness of ancient violence it can take horrible new political life i think. >> and when you look around and try to identify whatever from this year or in the future, what are the biggest dangers? you tweeted shortly after president trump took office and this is from the origins of the totalityism, and the indifference about the distinction between truth and lies is the preconsider of fascism. when truth perishes so does freedom. that's happening, isn't it? >> i think it is. every week there's an example of the censorship of truth. today, orders were given to the
center for disease control -- >> yeah, cdc. >> not allowed to use the words science based evidence. >> can i run through the words -- they're not allowed to use. vulnerable, entitlement, diversity. transgender. fetus. evidence based. and science based. >> yeah. the science -- the phrase was -- the suggestion was instead of science based evidence, recommendations of science in conformity with community standards. science is science. facts are facts. whose community is going to die? >> and the cdc is the centers for disease control. that would be a -- the organization. so then what happens? how do we try to level the playing field again so that people actually believe in facts and science and truth? >> you and i and people in our business have not figured out -- i mean, perhaps you're starting it on this program. but we're talking to each other. we're talking to people who are completely convinced.
don't even need to be talking about the facts matter. science matters. we need to find a language that will actually -- that actually is, you know, is in the same combat boxing ring as a coursening of discourse that -- >> but how? because i think the press and many scientists, women, you have seen all the huge marches. people standing up for facts and evidence. they have done all this year and there has been a real pushback. do you really want to get in the ring with those -- >> get in the ring a little bit more. i'm not saying we've become a cartoon strip, counter of the belligerence in the same tone. but we have to get off of our high horse a bit. as we were saying about the projected way in which climate change and ecological crisis is going -- in the global community the same thing is also true here in britain. health.
do you want to --o you want to have proper health or do you not? therefore, do you really want 13 million more people uninsured as a result of the tax reform or not? do you want your social security cut or not? >> this has been a big victory for trump. in a year of set backs. the tax reform the ability to get it through is being put in the win side for him. let's say all of that happens. at what point do the people begin to feel what's actually happened? i guess what i'm asking, is it going to help his voters, the people who voted for him? >> well, we'll see in this time next year. in the midterm elections. one would say, looking -- very interesting poll taken after the alabama election was that actual -- actually roy moore's sexual hobbies and pastimes had nothing to do with the way they voted. there were other things, the other things actually determined republicans staying at home or
people actually voting or writing in or even voting for doug jones. so we -- if you take that together with the virginia vote which went in the state assembly heavily to democrats it could be actually such -- so not -- not the democrats but truth and decency pushes back. >> i would to end on jerusalem again. the old joke you tell about peace in our time in israel. >> yes. well, the israeli and the palestinian have had enough of this and god, tell us will there be peace? of course there will be peace. just not in my lifetime. >> simon, thank you so much forcifor joining us. let's turn to the bulk of rupert murdoch's 21st century fox. this could mark the end of an era for murdoch whose media empire made him a powerful
kingmaker. does the merger mean a victory for old or new media and who benefits the most? we the consumers or the owners? my next guest is uniquely positioned to discuss all of this. the author of "murdoch's world, the last of the old media empire" and he's a media correspondent for npr. he joins me from new york. welcome to the program. >> thanks so much for having me. >> so look, i sort of asked all the questions leading into you. is this a radical reshaping of the media landscape? and if so, who's winning? >> well, what i would say is that it's a radical recognition of shifts that are happening in the media landscape and a radical consolidation of the studio power in conventional, traditional hollywood. that is that disney which has been such a force, the largest conventional studio for television and the movies is adding you know the luster and the back archive and the knowledge and the know how of 21st century fox. the movie studios, the tv
studios that produce "the simpsons", produces one of nbc's top hits, "this is us" and abc -- disney owned top hits "modern family." all in recognition that winter is coming for conventional hollywood. they're looking at netflix. they're looking at amazon. apple is likely to be a new entrant. if you think of netflix spending $8 billion next year projected on content alone, the only way we'll be able to compete is having our own streaming on demand services if we have the sort of the ownership of all this other stuff. so i think that's a large part of what's driving this. >> well, were you surprised when you saw rupert murdoch you know do this? it was quite swift. apparently a two months between the conversation and signing the deal. everyone is writing about his king lear moments. >> sure. i think it is a moment where he's thinking about succession.
he is thinking about legacy and thinking do i want to be fighting defensive maneuvers? are with egoing to sell at a -- we are we going to sell at a moment when our assets are the best they will be? i think this is a surprise. murdoch created an empire based on a small newspaper -- afternoon newspaper, in a forgotten city on the southern tier of australia and out of it build a global empire with major holdings. in north america, latin america. europe. china, india. you know, this is an extremely profitable and extremely influential company. and for him to retreat like this, for him to say i'm coming home to things i care about the most. sport has been the vehicle that i achieve a lot of success but news i care about the most. he's been running fox use for the past year and a half since he bought out roger ailes in
july and he always loved the newscorp. so you're seeing him go home to the things he cares about the most along with the fox broadcasting network and associated television stations. >> let's talk about influence. i said he was a very powerful, probably bar none political kingmaker. you know, there's a play on in the west end called inc. about him buying the sun newspaper and turning it from a little sheet into a mega influencer. brexit couldn't have happened without the influence of "the sun." but obviously his fox news is supportive of president trump. does he give up that influence or does it continue without him? i know he's keeping fox news, but is it strange to give up at this time of unparalleled political prominence? >> it's an extraordinary retreat for a very proud man. he wanted to acquire, he wants control. these are not things he relinquishes usually readily. at least in the ways that we have seen him over the years. at the same time, if you're seeing the properties he's holding on to most of them are the ones that allowed him that
influence. you know, the newspapers in australia and the uk in particular gave him the influence, the place at the table to influence national politics in the two countries. and then he was able to use those to come into the u.s. and buy fox studio, to buy major newspapers in this country. and then to build the empire starting in 1996 that is fox news. those properties are the ones that get him a seat at the table and get him the ear. what he has in the uk and native australia was essentially a bat phone. because they were concerned about if they fell on the wrong side of rupert murdoch would he use the multiple publication, megaphone to rain down punishment on them? this was real. there was a famous headline in "the sun" it was -- when john major lost that election. even if it wasn't true it felt true. politicians believed it so tony
blair, theresa may, they often flew thousands of miles in some cases 10,000 miles to not only visit him but do what the murdoch aides called kissing ring. they recognized him as the more enduring power. >> david, you know, that respect has taken a huge hit in the wake of the sexual abuse and harassment allegations at fox. it was first of the mega stories that were broken. you know, with gretchen carlson bravely speak out against roger ailes and some are wondering if murdoch is losing his touch with the following sound bite in the interview the sky news when they asked him about this harassment scandal. just listen and we'll talk about it. >> there's a problem with our chief executive. sort of over the years, but as soon as we investigated he was out of the place in hours -- well, three or four days.
there's been nothing else since then. that was largely political because we're conservative. >> so he seemed dismissive. there was the word nonsense in there somewhere. >> yeah, i would say almost nothing that came out of his mouth in that clip that you played is true other than the word conservative. you know? murdoch's aides released a statement basically trying to deal with the fury that was building up within fox among a number of current and former female staffers saying he wasn't saying it was nonsense that sexual harassment was serious, he said that was nonsense getting in the way of the attempt to take over the huge european broadcaster sky in a $15 billion deal. but i can tell you that regulators they're taking that seriously along with a number of other factors. you know, what happened at fox, what was revealed there, roger ailes had built up a culture from the founding in the mid to late '90s in which he was allowed full leeway to cultivate
talent to make sexual advances to extract and extort sexual favors from women who worked for him. that there were men at that network who also took advantage of that culture. you know, bill o'reilly it was recently revealed agreed to pay $32 million over four years to a former fox news analyst for what was termed i believe involuntary sexual conduct or contact. >> you know, there's been this campaign on fox just over the last 24 or so hours calling the mueller investigation a coup against america. and, you know, some people are very upset at what they saw sort of the propaganda arm of the trump presidency. we saw fox news enable amongst others but very stridently the iraq war. what is your concern about the political force of fox news in the trump presidency right now? >> i think there are a couple of
elements that are cause for real concern and i want to say from the outset there are real journalists who care about doing real reporting who work at that network. but that's not really the point of the network. what you see at the times of day where people most watch, what is most rewarded by the network is constant messaging that's in sync or supporting and almost all phases the integrity and the standing of the trump white house. and in fact, that's been called into question both by -- i think aggressive report and by the investigations that are ongoing raising questions about the behavior of folks around the president and around his candidacy. what you're hearing now is a calling into question the legitimacy of this investigation, of the integrity of the fbi and of the special prosecutor's office. and of creating the idea that everything is just open to debate. that it's all controversy. it's all kind of cable news. fodder for argumentation rather
than the idea that these guys are trying to figure it -- out the men and women in the justice department are trying to figure out what happened and whether there's anything that needs further action. criminal or not. i think the undercutting of that integrity and standing is a cause for recall concern in the absence of strong evidence made by the people there at fox. >> thank you for join us. a final thought to end our program. across many parts of the world christmas, hanukkah and other holiday celebrations are in full swing. the traditional angels are literally descending on the streets of london. but tonight, imagine decorations that aren't decorations at all. at st. james's church at piccadilly church down the road from our studio the clothes the of syrian refugees are hung from the ceilings. salvaged from the greek island
they force us to see lest we forget that they were once worn by people, women, children and men who have endured the most unimaginable horrors as they made their way from a wars towards a little peace. these decorations give new significance to the holiday season that can lose it real meaning. where compassion can sometimes be drowned out by consumerism. that's it for our program tonight. thank you for watching this edition of "amanpour" on pbs. join us again tomorrow night. "amanpour" on pbs was made possible by the generous support of rosalyn p. walter. you're watching pbs.
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