tv PBS News Hour PBS May 16, 2018 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT
ptioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> woodruff: good evening, i'm judy woodruff. on the newshour tonight, north korea threatens to walk away. the regime cancels talks with the south and says it will reconsider a historic summit with the u.s. in protest ofmi jointary exercises and tough u.s. demands. then, an inside look into trump tswer-- the senate releases transcripts of interviews with the president's son and others about a controversial meeting wi a russian lawyer and, our series on junk news continues-- the battle inside facebook to combat the spread of misinformation while keeping an open forum of eas. >> we believe that we're not arbiters of trutdoand the people t want us to be arbiters of truth. we also believe that censoring and fully removing information
unless it violates our community standards is not the expectation from our community. woodruff: all that and more on tonight's pbs newshour. un >> major fng for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> babbel. a language app that teaches real-life conversations in a new mnguage, like spanish, french, german, italian,ore. babbel's 10-15 minute lessons are available as an app, or online. more information on babbel.com. entrepreneurs and their solutions to the world's most pressing problems-- skollfoundation.org.
>> the lemelson foundation. committed to improving lives through and developing countries. on the web at lemelson.org. >> supported by the john d. and catherine t. macarth foundation. committed to building a more just, verdant and peaceful world. more information at macfound.org >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions: >> thi possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> woodruff: what seemed like a pretty good beek ago-- a meeting between north korea's leader kim jung un and president trump set for june 12th in singapore-- is now up in the air.
a top north korean official released a statement late yesterday saying if the united states insists on complete nuclear disarmament, the north koreans are not interested in talking with mr. trump. g. we haven't seen anythin we haven't heard anything. we will see what happens. >> woodruff: president trump resp threats to cancel the june 12 summit with leader kim jong un if the u.s. continued to push pyongyang tobandon its nuclear weapons. >> will you still insist on denuclearization in the korean peniula? >> yeah. >> woodruff: in the pre-dawn hours, pyoyang upset months of thawing relations. first, it abrupt suspended high level talks with seoul in utprotest of a joint u.s.- korea military exercise called "max thunder." >> ( translated ): the south korean authorities, lost all senses, should be held wholly accountable for the scuttled north-soh high-level talks and
>> woodruff: then, a wning for the u.s. about another consequence of that annual drill: >> ( translated ): the united states will also have to undertake careful deliberations about the fate of the planned north korea-u.s. summit >> woodruff: hours later, state media carried a statement from north korea's first vice foreign minister kim kye gwan that rejected any notion of total he said, "if the u.s. is trying to drive us into a corner to force our unilateral nuclear abandonment, we will no longer be interested in such dialogue before mr. trump spoke, press secretary sarah sanders said the white house is still "hopeful"in the mewill take place. >> look, this is something thate we fully exp the president is very used to and ready for tough negotiations and if they want to meet, we'll be ready and if they don't, that's okay, too. we'll continue with a campaign of maximum pressure if that is the case. >> woodruff: the north korean
statement also criticized mr. trump's national security adviser john bolton. last month, bolton invoked libya's 2003 disarmant as a model for north korea, and pushed for "irreversible dismantlement" before the lifting of sanctions. >> we have very much imind the libya model from 2003, 2004. >> woodruff: then-libyder moammar gadhafi was overthrown and killed in 2011 by rebels with u.s. backing. kim said it was an "awfully sinister move" to demand pyongyang do the same. at the white house, sanders seed to back away from bolton's comment. >> i am not aware that that's a model that we are using. look, again,his is the president trump model. >> woodruff: this follows, in the span of a few weeks, ident trump shifting fro outright optimism. >> i think that we're gonna have a success. >> woodruff: to occasional caution. >> if it's not gonna be fair and reasonable and good i will,
unlike past administrations, i l wive the table. >> woodruff: for their part, gina's president xi jingp met with north korea's ruling t rkers party officials and urged pyongyang cancel next month's sum ot. in the dayer news: president trump's choice to lead the central intelligence agency, gina haspel, moved one step closer to confirmation. the senate intelligence committee voted 10 to 5 behind closed doors to approve her nomination. democratic senators mark warner and joe manchin added theirhe support toight republicans already backing haspel.me she's nder criticism for her role in the c.i.a.'s harsh interrogation techniques of terrorism suspects. a full senate vote could come as early as this week. a new footnote has been added to president trump's financial disclosure report from last ar. it's a reimbursement in an
amount ranging from $100,000 to $250,000 for his personal lawyer, michael cohen. in the weeks before the 2016 election, cohen paid $130,000 to adult film actress stephanie clifford, to keep her quiet about an alleged affair with mr. trump. the president denies the allegation. president trump modified his lls to ease sanctions against the chinese tech giant ztey. to mr. trump tweeted on sunday thad he'd ordhe commerce department to give the company "a way to get back into business, fast but today, mr. trump wrote that "nothing has happened with zteer except as itins to the larger trade deal." f.b.i. director christopher wray told senators day that he's "deeply concerned" about the chinese company gaining ground in the u.s.ou europeanil leader donald
tusk had harsh words for president trump today and his "capricious" policies. european leaders are scrambling to keep iran in the nuclear agreement, now that the u.s. has withdrawn. at an e.u. summit in bulgaria, tusk rebuffed warnings from the u.s., that it may sanction e.u. countries for doing ss with iran. >> looking at the latest decisions of president trump, someone could even think, with friends like that, who needs enemies? he has made us realize that if you need a helping hand, you will find one at the end of your arm. >> woodruff: iranian president hassan rouhani said today that tehran will not surrender to u.s. sanctions pressure. and an aide to ayatollah deamenei said he doubts th can be salvaged. ba in this country, former secretary of state rex tillerson
had a stark warning for americans. tillerson delivered the commencement address today at the virginia military ute in lexington. he said that the country faces a gring crisis in ethics and integrity. >> if ouleaders seek to nceal the truth, or we as people become rncepting of alive realities that are no long grounded in facts, then we as american citizens are on a pathway to relinquishing our freedom. >> woodruff: president trump fired tillerson as secretary of state in march, after the two d over key foreign polic issues. the senate voted to preserve net neutrality rules today. three republicans joined democrats to pass the measure reviving the oba-era policy, aimed at maintaining equal access to the internet. the f.c.c. under president trump has rolled back those protections, saying they hamper innovation. the vote was largely symbolic,
as the bill is expected to stall in the house. the whistleblower who uncovered facebook's data-mining scandal warned congress today of a "new cold war" online. christopher wylie, a former cambridge analytica employee, told a senate panel that the firm used people's facebook profiles to stoke paranoia and racial biases.wh the firmh was employed by the trump presidential campaignn has announced to close. in north carolina, thousands of teachers flooded the s capital demanding better pay and protesting cutbacks. educors marched through raleigh as the republican- controlled ste legislature began its annual session. classes were canceled in dozens of school diricts. in several other states, like west virginia and lahoma, similar protests won teachers more funding. michigan state university has reached a $500 million settlement with the women and girls abused by former
gymnastics doctor larry nassar. over 300 of nassar's victims sued the university for failing to protect them. nassar is serving a decades-long prison sentence ter pleading guilty to sexually assaulting patients whi working at michigan state. and on wall street today, the dow jones industrial average gained 62 points to close at 24,769. the nasdaq rose 46 points. and the s&p 500 was up 11 points. still to come on the newshour: what north korea is signaling ahead of alanned meeting with the u.s. the key takeaways from a slew of documents released in the russia vestigation. on the ground in the war-tornf natiyemen, and much more. >> woodruff: we return to the ospect of talks now in question between president trumu
and kim joof north korea. for more on what the recent back and forth means, i'm joined by. joel w he worked as part of the state department team that negotiated a nuclear agreement with north korea during t clinton administration. he is now a senior fellow at ths u.s.-koreatute at johns hopkins university and found of 38 north, a web site that focuses on korea. joel wit, thank you very much. welcome back to the program. how to you read what north korea is saying right now? w l, there are a number of different ways to read it, but i think the main way to read it is that, for months, we have been used to north korea essentially rying a pussy cat, which is ve different from the way they have been in the past, and i think, now, theey'reerting back to their paht behavior in trunup to the summit, and that means trying to heighten the pressure on the united states to give them a good deal and by threatening to not go to the
summit that's their attempt to do that. >> woodruff: what precipitated this? can you tell what was behtind thesetements? >> well, aside from e general north korean attempt to plagy tougy, which they normally do, there could have been a number of other things that were going on. one, it may reflect difieficu in secret preparatory talks that are leading up to the summit that i think are being held in singapore. >> woodruff: and these have been underway. >> they have beenwand because, as we all know, the leaders don't sit down in a summit andr negotiate eements by themselves. tere's a lot of preparation ahead ofe, so it could be a reflection of that. but, secondly, it's alsa reaction to some of the statements byump administration officials like john bolton which basically say to the novrth koreans you gie up your nuclear weapons and then we'll reward you afterwards, and that's unacceptable to them.
>> woodruff: so ibolton's statement went too far, which as we record earlier the white house sounds like they're backing away, they're saying wee don't specific plan for what we think north korea should do, but it does sound as if there is room for the north koreans to do something,o toome step, some measure toward nuclear disarmament. >> well, that's exactly the case. that's what a negotiation is about. so wwe're hearing, at least from the united states, we're iohearing the opening pos which is you give up everything, and then we'llive you something in return, and the north korean position, which isn't public, but i'm pretty sure is, no,e'll gradually give up things, but you give us things in rturn during that process. so the issue is whether the two sides can meet somewhe in between that's acceptable to both. >> woodruff: so the trump administration -- the north koreans are saying you
need too something about these joint exercises the u.s. and south korea -- they're saying a couple of things. the trump administration has been saying we're not going tosi make any concs, it's entirely up to the north, but, in fact, are there steps that thu.s. anuth korea are going to need to take, to need to seriously consider taking before there can be any deal? >> well, there are a lot steps because what the north koreans are going to demand are, first, the normalization of relations with the united states, the establishment of diplomatic relations. secondly, they're going to demand lifting of the sanctions. the third step they're going to demand is a peace treaty. all of these are big steps for the united states and south korea to take, and the issue is whether we're willing to do that and get denuclearization in return. >> woodruff: are you -- were you, beforthese staments happened in the last few days -- or 24 hours froom nrth korea,
did you have a sense things were moving in a posite direction? >> you know, it's very difficult to say because most of us can only see what's going on in public, and there wasn't much going on all except t occasional public statements by the north koreans andni thed states. so it's hard to say whether things are moving in the rightdi ction, and this could be the first sign things aren't moving in the right direction, and, so, we need to watch very closely and see what hapens from now to the summit. >> woodruff: what do you t?pect to happen nex who makes the next move?'m >> you know, not sure there are any more moves yet because e secret talks are underway. we'll see what happens in those. there could be more back and forth pulicly, but if we don't see an escalation of the current exchanges between president trumand the north koreans, then that means things are moving along in ther right tion. >> woodruff: do you have a gut
outtinct, joel wit, whether this gets back on track or not? >> you know, all along i've thought there would be a summit, and a lot of people have been very skeutptical abohat, and my analysis is from the north korean angle. i think they are very usr about having a meeting with president trump and finding a way from cononfrontao a peaceful path forward. the issue is, as i said earlier, whether we can make the two sides' p tsitions comeogether in a way that's acceptable to both. >> woodruff: jl wit with the u.s.-korea institute at johns hopkins university. thank you. >> thank you. >> woodruff: tomorrow marks one year since robert mueller was named special unsel to investigate if the trump campaign coordinatedith russia's attempts to sway the 2016 election.
trump lawyer rudy giuliani told the "newshour" that mueller said he will follow department of justice po a sitting president, but the mueller investigation continues, and it is not the only investigation into ssia and trump campaign actions. nick schifrin begins with new documents released today about a pivotal moment. >> schifrin: it was an undisclosed meeting in trump tower between donald trump jja, d kushner, then campaign manager paul manafort and a curious guest: russian lawyer natalia veselnitskaya. and today, the senate judiciar committee released thousands of pages of documents providingehhe most comprsive look at that meeting. it was set up by rob goldstone, a british music publicist. goldstone had emailed trump junior he had dirt on hillary clinton that was "part of russia and its government's support fo" mr. tr trump junior replied, "if it's what you say, i love it." and he later told the committee, "i had no waof assessing where
it came from, but i was willing to listen," and he ed incriminating information. the same day trump junior set up the meeting, his father promised to soon reveal new revelations: >> we're going to be discussing all of the things that have taken place with the clintns. i ink you're going to find it very informative and very, very interesting. >> schifrin: but trumpheunior told t committee he didn't inform his father about the meeting "because i wouldn't bring him anything that's e unsubstantiated... befoknew what it was actually about myself." hendaid the same last summer called the meeting a waste of time. >> it was such awaothing. thernothing to tell. i mean, i wouldn't have remembered it until you start scouring through the stuff. it was-- it was literally justnu wasted 20 mites, which was a shame. >> schifrin: last summer, when the meeting was first vealed, trump junior released a statement that initially concealed the meeting's purposey askehe committee whether presidentrump helped edit the statement, trump junior said the president "may have commented through hope hicks," the then communicions director.
today's revelations come one year after rapid fire, dramatic political developments. james comey was fired as f.b.i. director. two days later, president tr said he'd fired comey because of the russia investigation. >> and in fact, when i decided to just do it, i said to myself, i said, you know, this russia thing with trump and russia is a made-up story. b it's an excuthe democrats for having lost an election that they should've won. >> schifrin: less than a week later, one year ago tomorrow, robert mueller was named special counsel. and that brings us to today, when the senate intece committee confirmed the intelligence community's january 2017 conclusion that russia ried to tip the election donald trump. that refuted theouse intelligence report that accused the intelligence community of "significant intelligence tradecraft failings." here to unpack where the investigatn stands, and what questions still remain, i'm joined by garrett graff, author of the book, "the threat matrix: inside robert mueller's f.b.i.
and the war on global terror." and matt olsen, he's a former federal prosecutor who directed the nati center under president obama. welcome to you both. thank you very much. >> thanks, nick. >> schifrin: this is going on year two o robert mueller's investigation. the president says robert mueller has exceeded his remeant. has he and why haven't we seen more conclusions. >> i don't think the special counsel has exceeded the ritm or scope of the investigation. if you look back at the document that set this inhe motion, department of justice authorized the special counsel to look at anything linked to the russia meddling in our election and matters arising out of that investigation. so it's a broad scope in fact addition, if you see what the special counsel hae done,s gone to the district of virginia, the judge there has
approved the manafort investigation, and he's also referred matters out to other prosecutors' offices such as the investation that's now in new york against michaelohen. >> schifrin: garrett graff there are a lot of aspects to emis investigation. does robert muelleace the kind of unwieldily notion of this investigation, or did he expect something much more narrow? >> well, i think what we do see, as matt said, is all of this falls pretty clearly under oned big umbrella hat mueller is being pretty careful trying to keepe evrything under the umbrella. lear isid, what is there are a number of different arms to have the investigation or sort of aspects of the probe. you have information influence operations. you have active cyber penetrations. u have money laundering and you have these suspicious russian campaign wentacts as as, of course, the big one that we're all wondering about which is the president's
obstruction of justice. >> schifrin: soma olsen, let's go through each of those individually. as you've said, there's a specific language mueller was given which is investigate any linkof coordination betwee president trump and the russian effort to influence the ysection. the president his is a witch hunt and there's no "collusion." we know that yet >> you know, i don't think we know yet. there is cerinly, from my perspective, is evidence of collusion or what you would consider to be coordination between the trump campaign and russia. it's not hard to find that. you go back to the famed trump tower meetg in the summer of june -- summer of 2016. there's clearly indications of coordination between the trump campaign and russia and their interference in our election. at we do know, i think, is that the mueller in,vestigati that that team knows a lot that we don't know, and i say that because, you know, they've got
100 charges pending, they've charged 19 different individuals, andhree individuals are cooperating, including michael flynn and george papadopoulos, people connected to th campaign. so there is a lot of information that the mueller team knows that we doknn'ow yet. >> schifrin: among those g inundaterett graff, are former campaign chairman paul manafort, rick gates pleiladed . this is a different aspect of the investigation, it's about financial issues. it's about lobbying and anti-corruption laws. so how importanton to the overall investigation? >> we don't really know yet and that's part of what makes this so interesting at this moment in the investigation. as matt said, you know, we just don't know how al these pieces fit together right now. we see a lot of pieces on the table. we see some money laundering, we see some coordination, we see some active cyberattacks and
information erations, but we don't really know how they connect. you know, how does the moneyri laun relate to wikileaks? how does it relate possibly to that trump tower meeting? and that's where, again, wein bob mueller is very far ahead of our public understanding. remember we're just learning now about e at&t and novartis payments to michael cohen through an essential consultants l.l.c., bob mueller knew that information in movement i think it's probably fair in all aspects of the inonvestigaob mueller is four to six months ahead of the public understanding. >> schifrin: i want to show a tweet that president trump put out in defending himself. he says the russia witch hunt is rapidly losing credibility. how about obstruction? there is no capital o
obstruction. the president is fighting back. if the predent is fighting back can that be obstruction? >> obstruction can be fighting back. obstruction is corruptly trying to interfere and impede a iminal investigation. so you can go back, for example, the statement that the pre made, according to jim comey, about michael flynn, let this go, let this thing against flynn. go that certainly is evidence obstruction. what we don't know is what was the intent of the president in making those statements. was ererrupt intent behind that. that's something usually provede byircumstances surrounding a statement like that. also just the firing of comey himself could be viewed as an effort to obstruct the president's statement, part of the russia probe.i those are the s i would be looking at to show evincof obstruction. >> schifrin: garrett graff, matt olsen, thank you very much
to both of you. >> thanks. my pleasure. >> woodruff: the impoverished nation of yemen stands on the brink of collapse,ith the worst humanitarian crisis in the world. three quarters of its 29 million people need humanitarian assistance. there are 1 million suspected cases of cholera. and 10,000 people have died in a brutal, three year old civil war caing all the misery. on one side of the war: shiite houthi rebels, a religious minority in yemen, backed by iran, who w control the capital, sana'a, and the second largest port city, hoddah. on the other side: the government forces of president abdrabbuh mansur hadi, and a coalition led by saudi arabia, which includes the united arab emirates and the united states. a saudi-led air campaign has
pounded houthi strongholds in the north, and cut off aid and food, driving many people south, homeless in their own land tonight, with the support of the pulitzer center on crisis reporting, special correspondent marcia biggs reports. >> reporter: it's being called the forgotten war. in yemen, a country where access for journalists is limited and dangerous, the world's worst humanitarian crisis goes largely ignored. but after months of waiting, we were able to get permission to enter the country through theut rn city of aden, which is the new de-facto capital of yemen's government, controlled by the saudi led coalition. we were hoping to get to areas under siege, but kept hitting a wall. it's incredibly difficult to access the northern houthi controlled areas to cover what's goin ion there. evyou can secure permission from the houthis it's getting there that's the problem. the airport in sana'a is shut. there is one flight from djbouti
for humatarian staff, but the saudis control who gets on that plane, and they're not giving permission to american urnalists right now. you could drive, but it's a journey that used to take six no guarantee that you'll ac,ally reach the destinati that you won't get turned around half way, half way there. so we went to a village called basateen, on the outskirts ofte aden, to try t the story as best we could. so since we can't get to the north to the houthi controlled areas we're going to talk to some people that have recently are ved to find out what lifis like there. living in this one room ared, soer two sons, and daughter-in-law. souad says she fledaily airstrikes near her home in hodeidah one month ago, but the lack of food was worn the bombs. >> ( translated ): life is difficult there. people are hungry. they are looking for water, looking for food, looking for work, but there is nothing. we would eat once a day. if we had breakfast, that's it for the day.h, if we had luhat's it for the day. >> reporter: lots of diseases have spread there. children are getting malaria,
their platelets are low. they are very sick because of o lafood. areas here i"lthe south are erated" from houthis and far from the front line. people acy be safe from the fighting, but they still fthe daily threat of starvation. so here in aden, it's a big city, food is available. the problem, the prices. we spoke to one shopkeeper who told me that a bag of flour three nths ago cost $10, now it costs 17. but souad is living outside of aden, where foodnd money arer even harde come by. she says her son makesund $3 a day as a laborer, but work is sporadic.ve when they oney, food is the first thing they try to find. so there are some vegetables. fi lahem no meat. fi hubuz? no bread. fi fiz? no rice either. just theegetables. who do you blame? >> ( translated ): god help us
with this situation. we don't know who caused it or who to blame. they are both fighting, i don't know. >> reporter: yemen was already the poorest country in t middle east before the war. in 2015, houthi rebels, supported by iran,aptured huge areas of the country, and the existing government made a deal with saudi arabia to fight the houthis, driving them back north, where saudi arabia and a coalition which includes the united states has pounded the houthis with bombs and tried toh e their supplies with a blockade. amid international outrage, somw u.s.kers have sought to stop the flow of money and weapons to saudi arabia.ad but the trumnistration llcently approved a deal to sell the saudis $1.3 n worth of weapons. ahmed bin ahmed al maysary is yemen's interior minister, a cabinet member of embattled and exiled president abdo rabbo mansour ha. how does it make you feel that yemeni people in the north are being bombed, starved in thef nameghting houthis?
>> ( translated ): is there a war in the world were people don't die? war is a disaster on all levels. .e didn't start this war, we were dragged into they came supported by iran to takeover our identity and doctrine that we had since 1400 years. when war is imposed on you, you have to fight back. r >>eporter: but the cost of that fight is high. so people try to set up home as best as they can in the circumstance. you can see it clo the line.on people are using these plastic sheets, too, for a sense of privacy. shabia mantoo is with the united nations refugee agency. >> in the past three months alone, we've seen more than a 100,000 people have to flee their homes. >> reporter: this former community center outside of aden is now a home for displaced yemenis and 33 famils are crammed in this building, having just arrived from the front line. >> ( translated ): missiles hit our house in khokha, our house was totally destroyed. the bathroom was the only place
left standing. >> reporter: 17-year-old roseilw fled with her o elderly aunts, with only the clothes on their backs; ty had to leave her mother and father behind. >> ( translated ): i'm very worried about them and i call them when i can. if we find something, at least if we find mattresses, we will stay. >> you're not just dealing with the displacement, we're also dealing with an active conflict zone it makes getting assistance to them quite challenging. >> reporter: you're struggling keep up? >> yeah, definitely. i mean if you look at the numbers, 22 million people in need and humanitarian assistance is only finite, it requires more than humanitarian solution. it's caused by political problem and the solution to that is peace. reporter: 27-year-old e is the wife of a fisherman from yemen's western coast. >> ( translated ): we ate once a day. we were under siege, we could not get anything. all we had was what we could catch in the sea. >> reporter: but they are now living 20 miles inland, so supporting the family is difficult, especially with a daughter coping with epilepsy.
>> ( translated have to drive two hours to bring her seizure medicine. it's not available around here. our best to provide the medicine for her every ten days, but it's very expensive. >> reporter: for those most ftvulnerable it's hardship hardship. yemen has historically imported 90% of its food. so restrictions on imports are a huge blow. fuel shortages, inflation, and rising unemployment are crippling the country. we're dealing with a situation in yemen where you've got functioning state se that that are now on the brink of collapse the health system is families are struggling to make the choice of deciding which child to feed, which childito send to ho, i mean these are really heartbreaking decisions, but this is what life is like for civilians now impacted by war in yem h. >> reportee in this small regional hospital in lahj province, just north of aden, dr. marwa gamal says she sees d arounden children per month with severe acute malnutrition, all of them with complications.
10-month-old mohamed was already malnourished when he conacted measles and bronchopneumonia.er his moaid when she brought him in she thought he was dyin"" his eyes were closed and he wasn't bathing," she says. as the biggest problem malnutrition or di >> disease. >> ( translated ): malnutrition is controllable if there are no complications. but when they comethith diseases is much worse. there are cases that died. we could not help them because they come too late. they die because of complications. >> reporter: like many publiclo sector ees, dr. gamel continues to work despite an intermittent salary.tr >> ( slated ): i love my work. this hospital is in my village.t if i delp my own people, who am i going to help? >> reporter: are you concerned about what will happen when th leave? >> ( translated ): yes of cour. i'm worried that the children will get worse or get sick again if the parts don't follow the proper course of treatment. >> reporter: a cycle of displacement, malnutrition and
disease brought on not by famine or natur is there a point when you will say, enough. yemeni peoe are suffering, being bombed and starved, we have to find another way? >> ( translated ): war will not end until it's mission ends, and in the pt three years we paid a lot. there is still little bit lefts to pay and it be paid, so the bill is completed and the mission is done. the blood we lost can't go for nothing, but to let this blood go in vain and surrender, means we've neither achieved the mission nor saved lives. they should have not started it. but now we're on this journey and we have to finish it. >> reporter: we were poor before the war, one woman told me, but the r just finished us. lar the pbs newshour, i'm marcia biggs in aden an provinces, yemen.
>> woodruff: voters in four states went ye the polls erday to pick republican and democratic nominees ahead ofer nove midterm election.in lisa desjareports on the >> desjardins: last night's aries spanned the countr and the political spectrum, from more liberal oregon, to conservative idaho andska to swing state pennsylvania. anena clear theme: wins by w in competitive congressional races, from environmental planner jamie mcleod-skinner in oregon to nebraska and nonprofit ecutive karaastman, who pulled off an upset overte more modera democrat. nowhere felt the so-call pink wave more than pennsylvania, which currently has no women in congress. that will change next year. last night one republican and seven democratic woman won their primaries, setting up onee where both candidates are women.
among the pennsylvania winners, democrat susan wild, the progressive solicitor of allentown. >> this isn't just for me. this isn't just for the next generation. this is for women who ve been waiting a long time to have an equal voice in our government and i want to be part of the group that does that. >> desjardins: to take a closer look at the results, i'm joined by dave davies. he's a senior reporter at pbs station whyy in philadelphia. dave, let me ask you, you have been covering politics for 30 years, what did primary voters tell us lasnight? >> i think in pennsylvania they told us they're ready for a change, but the biggest chareng, ly, lisa, are the changes in the playing field in pennsylvania. if you're looking inhe philly area, three things happened. one, there is a surge of activity among progressive democrats. a lot of them women who ran for offeto and contributed candidates. second, this is a seismic shift, the state supreme court retrue all of the congressional
undaries, regarded them as gerrymandered in favor of republicans and the new boundaries drawn by a court ofr justices gely elected as democrats in partisan races created districtsre favorable to democrats. third thihr, up republicans representative decided not to run again, so you had more democrat-friendly districts and no republican incumbents. that was attractive to a lot of democratic women, in particular, d at a got in and really performed yesterday. >> desjardins: trying to get to a nate,ional summary her democrats are hoping that those open seats in pennsylvania are one of the ways they're going to take over the house. but yet ifore progressive candidates as we saw last night are winning, what is your take? are those progressive candidates more or less likely to helpmo ats in the fall? >> well, i think because the seats have been rearranged, i think at least three of the progressive democrats who won yesterday are very likely to win
leir elections in the f and that would result in a net gain of two seats fo pennsylvania delegation, for the democrats. i think they have a very real shot at three more, and that could mean that pennsylvania coulcontribute five sets to a pretty good head start for the democrats to try to rke the house. >> desjardins: also conservative republican lou baretta in the senate race won that republican primary. what do you make of the dynamics there? how much is president trump going to be a factor in the democratic senate race. >> he will be a factor. lou baletta a congressman from pennsylvania championed on migrants.down on im in congress he is among terrelliest and most vocal tpporters of presidemp. so president trump is going to be a big factor in that race, no matter what happens. barletta will take on two-term incumbent, bob casey, a democrat, who is not exactly . excitement but comes from a
well-known family name, so i think trump's going to be a big issue in that race in the fall. >> desjardins: six months to go. you ve a ver interesting state and interesting midterm election nationally. we'll keep checking back with you. dave davies of whyy.ba we'll gek with you. >> good to be with you. ac >> woodruff:ook is under pressure to crack down on false news, fake accounts and inbeammatory content that ca manipulated to influence the public. this week, the social media giant announced it deleted 865 million posts in the fhree months of this year. most of it was spam. thcompany also quickly disabled more than half a billion fake accounts but that isn't everything. tonight, we take a look at how facebook tries to tackle the content it won't delete. miles o'brien has been examinine the prof junk news
and his last report in a special the "newshour" has worked with facebook on projects in the past. this is the last report in a speciaseries as part of our weekly look at the leading edge of science and technology. >> reporter: inside facequok headarters in silicon valley, they are trying rethink the" column of bel" that the newsfeed has become. >> so, i don't think this is actually necessarily all that bad of a design even though it doesn't look that great. >> reporter: here they are trying to figure out how rate the quality of the news like and share. more clearly identify the source. offer users some context. and make sure the cream rises to the top of the feed, while the junk sits at the bottom. >> we don't want a false story to get distribution, so demote it. s>> reporter: tessa lyons product manager of newsfeed integrity. she works with two competing goals in mind: keep the platform free and open to a broad
spectrum of ideas and opinions and reduce the spread of misinformaston. why not elete it? >> well, it's an interesting question and i ts nk, look theral tension here. we believe that we're not arbite of truth and the people don't want us to be arbiters of truth. we also belie that censoring d fully removing information unless it violates our community tastandards is not the expon from our community. so we work to reduce the damage that it can do and ensure that when it is seen,t's surrounded by additional context. >> reporter: even though nearly half of all americans get their news from faceok, the company sists it is a technology enterprise--ot in the business of making editorial judgments. so they are outsourcing the work. the most clear-cut problem: content that is demonstrably false. to grapple with that they have t tuo a 23rd-party fact checkers globally, including one of the internet's original arbiters of fact from fiction, snopes.com.
we caught upith managing editor brooke binkowski, a former newspaper and radio reporter, she works at home or at a neighborhood coffee shop in san diego. and this is a typical day? >> yeah. >> reporter: busy day? yeah, okay. >> this is busier than normal day. >> reporter: facebook reached out to snopes to be among its outside fact checkers in 2016. >> it's gone from probably eight-hour days for all of us to moow like, 12-, 15-hour days because there's just so much to tackle and we all are true believers basically. we all think that it's important, what we're doing. >> reporter: facebook says when a storis debunked by fact checke they reduce its reach by 80%. but binkowski remains skeptical. >> i still am not convinced that it's making huge difference. reporter: part of the problem: old-fashioned shoe- leather reporting-- making calls to sources, doing the rearch, sometimes even taking a trip to a real library, takes time. >> mark twain famously said that
a lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is still putting on its shoes. i think it's gotten so bad now that a lie can travel like three times around the world, completely change, affects the perspectives and the votes of thousands of people and wreak havoc all over the place while the truth is still kind ofou gettinof bed. it's just happened much faster and it's overwhelming. >> reporter: at facebook they are keenly aware of this, but they see no easy fix, either from humans or machines. is it possible to match the rate at which people use the product? >> if we're always waiting for individual facts to be reviewed that's going slow in each case. let by working with the fact checkers if we're o understand the pages, the domains who repeatedly spread to stop it earlier. >> reporter: they are also
lookg upstream for spammers who create content that it isco factually ect, but inmplete or pola zing, often called clickbait. to try and defend against this, facebook is using an artificial intelligence tecique called machine learning classification. the idea: feed the comter reams of clickbait examples, so that it can find pterns and learn how to spot this material and send it to the bottom of the newsfeed. so, with artificial intelligence, you can make the algorithm smart enough to identify what is clickbait from the spammer? >>his is using a machine c test help us scale this problem because two billion people, we want to ensure that our solutions don't require individual manual review, but rather they can sce across the platform. >> reporter: producer cameron hickey has been developing his t own toidentify the junk as part of our reporting. in doing so, he has seen the limits of machine lening and the persistence of the adversary. >> using software to recognize patterns and then do something
based on those patterns that you recognize is only as good as tha ern remaining consistent. and the whole point of this problem is that e e people who ying to publish content like this, they're adaptive, so as soon as you shutdown on avenue, they move to another avenue.to >> reporter: hcally, junk news producers have taken advantage of the fact that most everything that appears in the facebook newsfeed looks the me, whether it's heavily researched and vetted journalism or pure junk. in the days when we bought newspapers and magazines at newsstands or supermarkes , it sier to identify the difference between quality and junk. facebook ideveloping ways to give its users some clues, in apbs like this one. >> what's going ton is that there's going to be red dots that pop up on th wscreen. i jut you to follow them with your eyes. >> reporter: grace jackson is an qutitative user experience researcher at facebook. she is showing me how she tracks eye movements as a user reads a
newsfeed. she's testing to see how easily i recognize visual cues thatn article has been fact checked or links are added for contex i blew by it. i think you need a little more there. >> this was our original design that we had tested and learned that a lot of people skipped right over it and never saw th entry point over here. >> well it's not obvious that's a click point, right? >> exactly, yeah. >> reporter: the eye tracking data helps product designerje ff smith as he ponders new ways to give users clues about the credibility of information. >> we're in this new space and age where we're trying to design for new mechanisms that peopleit those credibcues that used to be there via the publisher on the supermarket aisle or the s wsstand. >> reporter: he'rking on a design that more clearly identifies articles that have been debunked, provides context, related articles, and information about the publisher. >> i'm trying to give the users as much information as possible
in a way that they can easily digest and understand without actting inhe way. >> reporter: the febook newsfeed algorithm is finely tuned to hold our attention, originally without an emphasis on the quality of the content. hat the company says it is trying to change >> we want to make sure that the news people see is high quality and we didn'have that stance fore. and so, it's a pretty radical departure in terms of the way that we've been thinking abouthi news and i a really worthwhile one. >> reporter: alex hardiman is the director of products for news. she is leading facebook's effort to identify ne sources that are credible, trustworthy and authentic. they're turning to their users for the answer: asking them to rate news sources they trust, hmd feeding those rankings into the newsfeed algoro determine what sources should rise to the top. with so many people gettingei news from facebook, why don't you have a newsroom? >> because for us, thinking
through what quality means doesn't require us to have a newsroom. we're really trying to make sure that we pull in great information from publishers and from the people who use facebook to make these decisions. >> reporter: but if given the choicewill users of facebook choose quality over junk?pe the artisan content publisher we found in california, cyrus massoumi, issk tical. >> they aren't "new york times" readers necessarily. maybe some of themrire but the ma of them just want a 250 to 350 word article whicwill get them a little bit fired up. >> reporter: and the numbers back him up. his "truth examiner" page hans 3.8 million and the stories he publishes generate a much higher rate of likes and shares than the "new york times" and the "washington post." >> nobody wants to read that stuff when they're own their phone which is what everybody'sn when they're on facebook. like nobody pulls out their phone like and goes like, ha!
i'd love to read this 5,000-word profile of like the endangered giraffe in like the congo." >> reporter: as lo as users continue like and share junk news, should facebook redefine its role as a publisher? >> i think that they to come to terms with the fact that they are a media company on top of everything else becau ght now they keep saying they're tech, they're tech, they're tech. they're trying to avoid it allng corashing down when they finally say, "we're media," because then, als those questill come, "well, why didn't you do this? why didn't you do it that way? s?y didn't you listen to t >> is it time for the company to take a little more responsibility about what is on in the newsfeed, what is on the titrending stories, in an editorial way? >> i say, absolutely yes to responsibility, the tactics as to whether or not acti editorial way, i would say we don't know.ye the first part we have a responsibility to making sure that the news people see on facebook is high quality. >> reporter: the problem is far from solved, and the 2018on midterm elecare looming.
even as the political races heat up, here at, facebook they're ruoing their own race, with finish line in sight.o' i'm mileien for the pbs newshour in menlo park, california >> woodruff: and you can watch all the stories in our series about junk news online at pbs.org/newshour. >> woodruff: now to our newshour shares. something interesting that caught our eye. yanny versus laurel. it's the auditory debate taking the internet by storm. wshour's nsikan akpan and julia griffin explain how one sound can create two different experiences. (sound playing)
>> the internet has been set ablaze over one sound and two words. >> laurel, laurel, laurel. so >> which did you hear? yay or laurel? this audio clip, which first went val on reddit and then twitter, features a robotic voice saying a specific word,op but 's perceptions of that word differ dramatically. even in the newshour office. how is it possible people areer hearing dit things? the sound is what's called an ambiguity illusion, and it's nothing new to neuroscientists. >> remember the dress from 2015? some people swore it was gold and white, others, black and blue. that viral photo is a visual version of an ambiguity illusion. >> when a human brain encounters somethin understand, it tries to fill in the gaps. >> in the case of nny v. laurel, the frequency, or pitch, of the sound clip is cryptic to our minds. the original poster of the audio clip, 18-year-old reddit user from lawrenceville, georgia, recorded the pronunciation of
"laurel" off dictionary.com through his speakers. that distorted the sound. this muddled sound causes our brains to fall back on their erral prenef focelks whs.o prefer lowereq ncies hear "laurel" while ose who lean toward high frequencies hear "yanny." this might explain why children are reportedly hearing yanny. n ability to hear higher frequencies fades with age. your speakers or headphones may also be tolame, as some sound systems are tuned to emphasize different frequencies. people discussing the sound can also shift your mind's perception. >> ambiguity illusions typically cause our perception land one way or the other, but yanny- laurel and the dress stand out because they clearly split a room. >> but the neurological basis for exactly why is still ato mystercientists. for the pbs newshour, i'm julia griffin. >> and i'm nsikan akpan. >> woodrf: and that's the newshour for tonight. i'm judy woodruff.
join us online and again here tomorrow evening. for all of us at the pbs newshour, thank you and see you soon. >> majorunding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> consumer cellular believes that wireless plans should reflect the amount of talk, tex and data that e. we offer a variety of no- contract wireless plans for people who use their phone a little, a lot, or anything in between. to learn more, go to consumercellular.tv >> babbel. a language app that teaches real-life conversations in a new lauage. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and individuals.
gwen: we're the history detectives, and we're going to investigate some untold stories from america's past. elyse: this week, could thisoa 100-year-old b game rewrite the popular history of monopoly? elyse: this week, could thisoa 100-year-old b game tukufu: are these prison camp paintings evidence of one w of thest civil rights abuses in american history? wes: and was this beautiful old cane carried on the epic, transcontinental exp aition of lew clark? ♪ watchin' the detectives ♪ i get so angry when the teardrops start ♪ ♪ but he can't be wounded 'cause he's got no heart ♪