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tv   PBS News Hour  PBS  November 16, 2018 6:00pm-7:00pm PST

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captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> woodruff: good evening. i'm judy woodruff. on the newshour tonight: evacuees face an uncertain future, as hundreds remain missing in the aftermath of california's deadliest-ever wildfire. then, a federal judge sides with cnn in a lawsuit against the white house over the revocation of a reporter's press pass. it's friday. daood and ruth marcus break down the week's political news, cas a newgress arrives in washington. and, our fall films series contin,"ues with "wido a heist thriller with a big twist, set in chicago. >> i think we're seeing things we haven't seen befour, in this pie. the convention always has to be broken, because otherwise, we see the same film all the time. >> woodruff: all on tonight's pbs newshr.
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>> financial services firm raymonjas. >> the ford foundation. working with visionaries on the frontlf social change worldwide. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions: and friends of the newshour. >> this program was made possile by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> woodruff: it's been one week since california's deadliest fire ever destr paradise.town of
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as of tonight, 63 are confirmed dead, and 631 missing. that is double the previous count of missing, but it likely includes some who survived. the fire also wiped out 9,700 homes in paradise, and it displaced 52,000 people. special correspondent cat wise reports from nearby gridley on one family who fled. >> reporter: a welcome moment of rest for mother and daughter. carolina restrepo and her three children now live in a red cr,oss shelter in gridl california. ( prang in spanish ) >> reporter: they came here after fleeinthe camp fire, which engulfed their hometown of paradise last thursday. she filmed this cell phone footagdre as their famile through the flames. >> i was with the three kids in the cartr, like, trying to com them. but in the same moment, my mind
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was totally, like, no clue. like, dot know if we're going to make it. >> reporter: now, the only possessions they have left arena ions. restrepo was working as the manager of a new restaurant into when she first heard the news. >> so, one of my customers thought there was time. he told me that he needs to leave. and i ask him why he said that they are evacuating my orhood right now >> reporter: she dropped everything and rushed to gather her children from school. >> th first image i saw, it was that all the teachers hugging the kids, because it was raining ash. it's rning ashes everywhere, dark, you can't even see, because the smoke was thick and they were trying, putting as much kids in the school buses, you kninow, geout of the town, and a lt of parents running, crying, you know, taking the kids. >> reporter: it ended up being a five-hour journey through an inferno. >> flames everywhere, the car
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was like an oven temperature. you can't even touch the glass. >> reporter: what happened next was and act of bravery kindness that very likely saved the family's life. >> a gentleman, a guy. and he looked at me and he saw my kids and he just opened my car doors, said, let's go. >> reporter: the stranger somehow managed to navigate them out between the abandoned cars. >> then we saw the most beautiful light, a flashlight from a fireman, in between everything, like, showing us the a way to go out. >> reporter: they had escaped, but many others weren't as luck. a week after the fire, there are now new questionabout why paradise officials didn't callor a total evacuation sooner. and, why residents like carolina didn't receive emergency alerts, leaving many trapped in gridlock >> we knew that there was going to be an issue with bottlenecking. >> reporter: phil john is the chair of the paradise ridge fire saty council. it's a volunteer group that
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helped craft an evacuation plan for a town that also lost 80 homes in 2008's humboldt fire. but john said this fire was unlike any before it. >> it didn't work perfectly, obviously. but tousands of lives were saved because of the foresight of so many people that worked so hard toe creat. but, who could guess that a town would be that dry, that every single bit of our fuel would just explode, when the embers come flying teross. >> rep back at the red cross shelter in gridley, chlissa thompson is one of many residents still seg for answers. >> oh yeah, that's his shed right there. i believe that's his place. >> repp orter: when we metth her last night, she was learning that her dad's house had been destroyed, but there was no information yet on her own home. thompson is from magalia, five miles from paradise, and says she still hasn't heard if some of her friends and neighbors are alive. >> his name is tracy hodges.
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he's been, he's like a brother, he's a stubborn man. i can't get my gmail to give me my contacts, so i can't get his number. >> reporter: carolina restrepo says she hopes to one day thank the stranger who helped her family. >> i hope to see him again someday soon. yeah, of course i have his face here. you know, i totally can't forget that face that save us. >> reporter: she and her family will be at the red cross shelter butthe foreseeable future, she's committed to rebuilding their life in the town they've come to call home. >> reporter: carolina's story is one of many ha rowingco nts we've heard here in the last couple of days. judy. >> woodruff: cat, so hard to listen to that. so thankful she d her family escaped. i want to ask you about the number of missing people. was over 300 yesterday. now it's jumped to over 600. what's behind that? >> reporter: that's right,
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judy it was a big jump up overnight last night. i talked to a press person from the butte county sheriff's office today and she told me there is a ve large team now working full time on the missing persons list. they pull people in from other agencies. part of the reason for that jump in -- on the missing personse list is o the fact that they have been consolidating different peisons over the last couple of days. i was also told that, isome cases, it's taken people several days to report their loved ones missing. now they do hope that, over the coming days, as investigators have more time to come teo shel like this and focus on individual cases, that those numbers will come down. there will be another update tonight at0 6m. pacific time, but until then, there's obviously a loof questions about that big jumpup. >> woodruff: and here we are, cat, what, it's been about a week since this all got derway, and you have people living in shelters.
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what's the story on whether they're going to be able to get back into any sort of housing situation? >> the estimates are now that morehan 11,000 structures burned in this fire. many of ose are homes. now, that is a staggering number. last night, we talked about how this county had a very limited housing stock prior tothe wildfires. shelters around the area are very full. i believe there may be only a couple of shelters at this point that have openings. motelss, hotompletely booked. ldspoke today with a fema spokesperson who e that hay are here -- they are here on the ground,er registg people in northern and southern california,00 some 11 individuals have, so far, applied for government assistance that is a big number. fema is in the early stages now of talking to lal and city authorities here, trying to figure out what the needs of the community are. they're trying to figure out are people wanting to stay here in
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this area? wivi they be lg to other places? but in terms of a long-term housing soluti for this community, it's very much still in the early days. >> woodruff: such a massive undertaking is what it sounds like. ll, cat wise reporting tonight from a red cross shelter in gridley, california. cat, thank you. >> reporter: thank you. >> woodruff:n the day's other news, there is word that north korea has released an american that it detained last month. the state-ws agency identifies him as bruce byron lowrance, and says he illegally entered e country through china. bte today, the associated press reported that he hn put on a flight back to the united states. president donald trump said today he has answered writn questions from robert mueller, the special counsel in the russia investigation. but, he said, he has not yet submitd e answers. mr. trump spoke after a bill siing today. he gave no details about the questions, but said he worked on them himself.
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>> my lawyers aren't working on that, i'm working on that. i write answers. myawyerdon't write answers, i write answers. i was asked a ries of quesons, i answered them very easily. you have to always be careful when you answer questions with people that probably have bad intentions. ryt, no, the questions were routinely answered by me. >> woodr attorney general matthew whitaker reportedly says there is no reason to end the special counsel's russia investigation. that is according to senator lindsey graham's office. a spokesman says the south carolina republican met with whitaker yesterday and came away reassred. georgia republican brian kemp effectively claimed the governor's race, when democrat stacey abrams ended her bid. abrams claimed widespread voter suppression, but said she has no legal recourse. >> i awlckge that former secretary of state brian kemp
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will bd e certife victor in the 2018 gubernatorial election. d t to watch an elecficial pwho claims to represent the in a state suppression on the people has been truly appalling. so let's be clear, this is nnc a speech of sion. >> woodruff: abrams said she will mount a federal lawsuit against the georgia election system, for future races. meanwhile, democrats picked up another s. house seat in cafornia for a net gain so far in the midterms of 37. the president said today he plans to nominate the acting head of the environmental protection agency to be its permanent chief. andrew wheeler is a former coals inry lobbyist. he became acting administrator after scott pruitt resigned in july, over an ethics scandal. wall street wound up a losing week with some modest gains today. the dow jones industrial average
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rose nearly 124 points, to close at 25413. the nasdaq lost 11 points, and the s&p 500 added six. for the week, all three indexes dropped 1.5% to 2%. and, seven americans today received the presidential medal of freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor. the recipients, all chosen by presid elvis pressley, babe ruth, and former supreme court justice antoni posthumously. honored the four living honorees were utah senatfo orrin hatch, er pro-football greats roger staubach and alan page-- who later servso on the minn supreme court-- and philanthropist miriam adelson. o still to cothe newshour: a federal judge sides with cnn in a lawsuit against the white house. major changes are made to federal government guidance on the handling of sexual harassment and assault on college campuses.
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leaders at faceboodeny they ignored russian trolling on their platform. and, much more. >> woodruff: the fight between the white house and cnn's chief white house correspondent, jim acosta, codainued today. a federal judge ruled that acosta's pass must be reinstated. as yamiche alcindor tells us,th ruling was a temporary win for cnn. >> alcindor: president trump versus cnn, a case that centers around this exchange last week at a white house press conference. >> mr. president, are you worried about indictments coming down igan this inveson? mr. president? >> i'll tell you what: cnn should be ashamed of itself, having you working for them. you ara de, terrible person. you shouldn't be working for cnn. >> alcouindor: white press secretary sarah sanders said
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acosta was being punished for "placiisngands" on a white house intern. she later tweeted out an edited video of the exchange. u.s. districjudge timothy friday afternoon, acta returned to the white house and reacted to the ruling. >> that's my cue to go back to work. >> alcindor: in an interview with fox news today, mr. trump said the white house is now uplanning to cowith new rules for press conferences. >> nobody believes in the first amendment i think somebody is acting out of sorts, i will leave. i will say, "thank you ery muceverybody, i appreciate you coming," and i'll leave. and those reporters will not be too friendly to whoever it is that's acting up. >> alcindor: the president has often sparred with a number of reporters-- including myself. on the campaign trail, you called yourself a nationalist. some people saw that as emboldening white nationalists. now people are also saying-- >> i don't know w that.d say that's such a racist question.
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>> do you want him to rein in robert mueller? >> what a stupid question that is. at a stupid question. but i watch you a lot. you ask a lot of stupid questions. >> alcindor: for years, president trump has said the hdia does not cov fairly. >> no. when you report fake news, which cnn does a lot, you are the enemy of the people. >> alcindor: the president's supporters have embraced his strategy. >> cnn sucks! >> alcindor: today's ruling is just one step in long battle over press freedom and the white house. yamiche, we were just talking about this. covering the white house is simply more contention than win overed it decades ago, isn't it? >> it is. after this ruling, esident trump is talki about decorum, but covering of the trump white house is not an orderly thing. the president has lashed out at
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reporters, frequently interrupts yireporters when you're to ask a question. sarah sanders has questioned the integrity and the fairness of reporters so, often people think reporters are being rude when they're wahing at home on tv. really, i can say sometimes from experience you have to talk over the president or sarah sanders in order to get a question in and in order to finish a thought. >> woodruff: well, thank you, yamiche. it's important to get your perspective. >> tanks. woodruff: we continue our look at the president's relationship with the press, withmargaret sullivan, "washington post" media columnist and longtime journamlist. anrc lotter. he served as press secretary to vice president mike pence, and as special assistant to the president. welcome to both of you. and, marc lotter, let's start with you. udge today ruled on narrow grounds. he said the white house had to give jim acosta his pass back because he had been denied due process. g- where does that leave us? >> i think lrm it's a win for the white house and actually for future presidents because
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this was a very tailored decision that was not related around the fst amendment an unrestricted access to the white house dut on a process side. and the president and press secretary sarah sanders indicated gothey'rg to develop procedures and protocols to follow and that will give them the future ability to take necessary actions ifnd decorum procedures are broken. >> woodruff: mar mark --artha sullivan, where do you think we are today? >> i think it was a clear win for press rights, and as marc says, it was on process grounds, it does give jim acosta his press credential back, which is important and, you know, the judged give -- you know, give some thought and some -- some of his reasoning had to do with first amendment issues. so i think that pressed a vo cats, press freedom advocates can feel very good thabou, and as both of you know, this
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was a case in which the complaint by cnn wa joined by many press organizations, news organizations d advocacy organizations. so i'm very happy about i. >> woodruff: marc lotter, is there evidence on either side on whether jim acosta's first amendment rits were violated? >> well i don't thk it was from a first amendment standpoint, i think it was procedural. >> woodruff: but froarger question the judge will deal with in the next few weeks?in >> i don't there is a first amendment fundamental right to have access to the white house. as anat organn, cnn has very many press credentials. they can com and go. this was a one-time limitation for a specific violation of those protocols, and government has long done this. i can only imagine what a federal judge would do or maybe even adg federal e in this case if a photojournalist showed up with a camera or a reporting
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device. they have a norms procedures and, in this case, since they thought the were violated, ey took the steps they did, will write the procedures out now and it will be a little more clear moving forward. >> woodruff: i wanto ask about that, margaret sullivan, what about this point marc just made, that the white house has a right to determine whoer c it? >> i don't think that's t case in a situation in which there is generhil press access like the president can decide i'm going to give an exclusivre inew to lester holt, let's say, but, in a case like this in ,ich there is, you knany members of the press, there's no reason to think, from past laws, that -- past cases that he can pick someone out and say, no, you know, i don't like you, you can't come, rather, there is an understanding from a 197 case that, in a situation like this, there does need to be general
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access. >> woodruff: but marc lotter, the white house argum the last few days has been we get to decide who covers us. i don't remember a white house makingt argument before. >> well, in the case again, though, we're talking about the decorum and procedures about the white house briefing room or white house access in general. i mean, we have seen in many occasions where a president will call on a reporter, the mic will be handed to them, but actuarey they alking about the reporter behind them. we've seen where the reporter will turn around and gve that microphone to someone else. when we have basic violations of bnd of those customs and norms, there needs some sort of action that the white house can take. that's why they're goi to develop these procedures. they will develop some sort of guideines for those procedural things and hopefully we won't have those kinds of issues in the future. >> marc lotter -- margaret sullivan, are there guidelines for decorum that you think s boh the prd the white house can agree on? >> i mean it is a little rich to
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talk about decorum when you think of t way the president has treated and spoken about the ne media as the enemy of the people and as, you know, the scum of the earth, essentially. i mean, i don't see how the white house gets to lectureab t decorum. >> woodruff: what about that, mark? >> iell, let's remembeean, there's been a battle between the press and the president since the founding days of our republic, and i would also point out that president obama's adminatisn actually secretly surveilled reporters and their milies. they obtained phone records from the associated press and e subpoenaails and phone records from "new york times" reporters. so ere's never been -- there ease always been an uneasy balance between the two, an that's the way the system is set up to be, and i think it works that way. sometimes we'll see it p fhed to one way or the other but i think we'll find balance in the >> woodruff: marc lotter, quickly, i think most people would agree this president has
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nyen tougher in his criticism of the press than president in modern memory. >> i think he's been very pointed in his commentary on that and especially when he points out to issuesf bias or things that would be constituted, as he likes to say, fake news. ulhe like to see a level playing field and to see things covered in a fair and unbiased fashion. he'll call that out. the way the president would view it, i lieve is the the same first amendment rights that apply to the freedom of theo press apply for the speech to criticize that press if, in fact, wems disagree in tf what the coverage is. >> woodruff: margaret sullivan, where do you this headed? do you see a smoother working relationship between the president and the press? >> no, i don't. i n't think that the relationship between the news media and president trump's administration is ever going toa be partiy smooth. e actually does, i think, want anduses the press as kind of a foil. so i don't see it smoothing out.
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but i do think it's heartening that this initial ruling suggests that the president can't pk and choosho covers him. >> woodruff: well, markark, rgaret sullivan -- well, marc lotter, margaret sullivan, one more episode in the ongoing saga of president trump and the press corps. we thank you both very much. >> thank you. >> woodruff: the trump stration today propose new rules on how colleges must investigate allegations of misconduct, harassment and assault. as amna nawaz explains, niidelines enacted by the obama adration that expanded protection for victims and accusers were already rescinded by education secretary betsy devos. now, she's laid out new standards. >> nawaz: it's a dramatic change in man dy ways, one thos says balances the rights of the
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accused, and that some colleges say isveue. some women's groups argue, it's a major rollback. among the changes: the rules narrows the definition of sexual harassment, requiring the concto be severe, pervasive and "objectively offensive." the prio as "unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature." accused students could bring lawyers to misconduct hearings and would have the right to cross-exame, although the rties could not question each other directly. it also gives schools more flexibility, and limits the number of cases they have to investigate. devos said the proposed rules are grounded in the principles of due process. scott jaschik is the editor of "inside higher ed," and he joins me now. we canallum to the "newshour". >> thanks. i wanted to ask you about school's responsibility first. the vice president issued a statement and said today's proposed rollback would return us to the days when school swept rape and assault under the rug and survivors were shamed into
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silence. there were changes into how schools respond and when they have the responsibility to reond. at the difference with the new rules? >> with the new rules, you have different measures of guilt different measures of what is covered by the rules and different rights for the cused. but prior to the obama administration, there were case after case, decades, many would say, in which many women w brought such accusations were ignored particularly when the cases ileolved as or powerful individuals. that doesn't mean obama got it right or devos is getti it right or wrong, but there have been problems with this issue for a long time and, f much of the time, it was the people bringing charges who were ignored orte mistr >> so, in this case, specifically, when it comes to school, responsibilit for example, is it fair to say it limits the number of cases they actually have sponsibility to investigate? >> yes. although it's unclear exactly
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how this will play out, but the new rules would say it has to be sort of ae direct coll program. now, some fear this would eliminate any complaints about offcampus condu. the rules issued food make a point that it's not just geography, but there are a number of ways that the definition of sexual harassment thou mentioned, all of these things mean fewer cases would actually go forward. >> that definition changed, too. a lot of people were wondering were there a lot of frivolousro claimsht under the broader definition that necessitated more specific language? > i'd question that because, frankly, any womwho brings a complaint is subject to a lot of tike, energy and maybe m and not believed. i don't think people bring complaints just for the hell of it. this is a difficult thing for women to do. > also to the point of cross-examination which caught a lot of people'sen aon, what are people saying the impact
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could be in terms of people's forward?ss to come >> that's the thing. in a lot of the cases, the women are choosing to go to t campus because of the police because they want a speedier, more supportive process t might get from the judicial systemand cross-examination for a victim of sexual assault can be very traumatic and can be discouraging, and what people are pointing out is these are no in fact, criminal proceedings. >> well, you know, the administration will say, look, we are adding rules and guidelines because they weren't that efspecifice and, when you have reliable outcomes, that will make people more willing to engage and come forward. what's been the response to that? >> i'm not sure most peopl ree with that. i think some people who are cheering these new regulations would be contentwith fewer cases coming forward. the reality is there's ao a broader discussion going on under the obama administration,
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vice president bobenened presidama and others were speaking out and saying thiis problem that women are being rdxually assaulted. come for we'll support you, campuses need to do more. they're hang ago different message today. >> the due process is at the heart of this. it is true guidelines were pretty broad. there were complaints about that. these new guideaynes, they are rooted in supreme court precedent. there's an argument to be made forthat, too. >> it's also true colleges have messed up on due process in anu er of cases. i don't think you can say due process isn't an issue. the question is do you have due process in ways that alsoe encourctims to come forward? and i don't know that that needs to be an either or. i think, also, again, it's is general tenor, are people encouraging people to come forward? are people saying there is a real problem with sexual assault on campus, which i think there is substantial evidence there is. >> do you feel this tips the balance in favor of one side or
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the other moving forward? >> it is a pendulum swing ay from support for those bringing charges toward the other side, but i would also point out, in this issue, i think there's going to be uncertainty, cases that are disputed. i don't think, under the obama guidelines or uyoer these had any sure thing of clarity i what would happen. >> scott jaschik, thank you for your time. >> thank you. >> woodruff: stay with us. coming up on the newshour: we continue our fall films series l, withk at the heist movie, "widows." and, david brookand ruth marc political ne but fit, facebook has been in the headlines. as wil,liam brangham explai there are new revew tions about
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e social media giant has dealt with the discovery of a massive, long-term disinformation campaign by russian operatives masquerading on its website. >> brangham: earlier this week, the "new york times" published a longinvestigation into how facebook first discovered the russian campaign, what it did about it, and how it then employed some pretty tough tactics to push back on its critics. for the record, the newshour works with facebook on some video projects. the story was called "delay, deny and deflect: how facebook's leaders fought through crisis," and one of the reporters on that story,oi sheera frenkel, me now from los angeles.an you very much for being here. i wonder if you could start by telling us, at first, when facebook first discovered this russian activity on facebook -- and ju the record, we're not talking about people in st. petersburg posting pictures of their babies, we're talking about something a little more malign -- what did facebook discover? what were the ruians doing?
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>> this was back in spring of 2016, the year of the presidential elections. someone on facebook's security team starts to susee knownan actors looking at accounts connected to the presidential campaign. flash forward, they see these known russian accounts trying to share e-mails with reporters, and tgeey start to a sense that thaty v summer that there's a bigger campaign and influence operation likely underway. >> and when facebook becomes aware of this, how did executives react? >> there is level of awareness. at that point in that summer, the security team that found the information htaken it up the chain to their people, and cheryl sandberg does sit at the top to have the chain. unclear at this point how much she was toldabout. after the elections, mark zuckerberg gets open the stage in front of the people and says
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the same people realized whatever is happening at the company is not mang its way to zuckerberg. >> so a little bit after that, we had the came bridge analytica scandal where it was r facebook allowed this mining access to a hug amount of data. this is in the midst of the russia investigation, the president calling it a witch hunt. what were the critics saying? >> you've got to remember this was a rough year for tube evern be cambridge analytica. they were hit again and again by reports that the russians hit a platform and they wereni't fig it. then the "new york times" said there was a huge breech of privacy at facebook, that they allowed the political firm to dpat around keep the data. so facebook was facing calls from critics, fromit pians at the it needed to be regulated, and they go on the
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erfensive. they hire an el p.r. team, they actually hired a number of external p.r. teams but one specifically was called definers and they essentially try and change the narrative about their company. >> and what was the narrative that was going on at the time and how did they try to change it? there was a sense that -- there was actually a campaign, i should say, called delete facebook. private people were calling on one another to get rid of facebook saying it couldn't be trusted. advertisers and were pulling out and politician were calling for them to be regulated. we say iin the head reasoline of our stories but it was basically to deflect criticism. facebook said we're sorry, won't happen aga, we're investigating what happened and, at the same time they were on the apology tour for what ppened, they hired a p.r. firm to try to get people to try to write and talk about something else. >> and one of the critics i know, george soros, the billionaire finance year had been very critical of facebook and apparently they were alsoin
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spreabut were not completely inaccurate but were not reallyn goodfaith stories about soros and hidden potentially funding this criticism. >> and soros was in fact funding some of those groups so there g was in of truth there. what they were trying to do is deflct attention from the company and say, hey, the real story here is sorosunding facebook movements. the real story isn't us, it's companies like apple and google and you should ask them what they're doing ant prate and security. so time and again we see a pier compaying to deflect attention. >> facebook said in a call as times prior, we understand that this is a problem, we're trying to address it, we're trying to put an end to this mign use of our platform. does your reporting indicate that they are actually doing things differently now? >> you know, ie covered facebook a little while, and when i read the transcript of the call had a little giggle to myself because i think they used the exact same wording
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after cambridge analytica and after the first congressional hearings in which they admitted russia bought advertisements on the platform. they sd againnd again they're sorry, investigating what happened, i but nothinn that company changed -- the leadership is still thlee ership, the people making calls with still making calls. i wondering even with all the new programs implemented, the security personnel they've hired, how much can really change when the same executives are steering the ship. >> sheera frenkel of the "new york times," thank you so much. >> thank you. >> woodruff: now, an acclaimed director puts his own mark on a much-loved film genre. jeffrey brown continues his "fall films" series,o rom the torointernational film festival. >> you have no idea, do you? or do you choose not to know?
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>> brown: on its face, "widows" is a heist movie, a stylish thriller with star power, and plenty of explosions, dead bodies, and plot twists. but the day after its det at the toronto film festival in september, director steve mcqueeldn e he also wanted something more. >> i want to sort of stimulate in people's minds, the things which are around them. again, it is a rollercoaster ride, a thrilling one, through our current social, economic environment. >> brown: queen was born and raised in london, the son of working class ime grants. he ms name first as an artist-- his work in vdeo and other inmedia exhibite prominent galleries, a winner of the u.rk.'s prestigious tur prize in 1999. his firsthree feature films were all tough-minded and harrowing,aking on subjects seldom tackled in commercial cinema: "hunger in 2008, about the 1981 hunger strike by irish
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nationalist bobby sands. 2011's "shame", a drama about sex addictn, again starring michael fassbender. and then the breakthrough of "12 years a slave" in 2013, which won an oscar for best picture, and a directing nomition f mcqueen. with that history, some critics wonder why mcqueen would now turno the well-trod heist genre. >> i don't know what the surprise is, because i'm a storyteller, and i want to go where i feel the best stories are, so that could be anywhere. >> brown: it's a genre we're kind of used to. it, it has its own particular tropes, whereas your earlier films, i think they're exploring someth iing thmany ways we haven't seen before. >> i think we're seeing things we haven't seen before in this cture. the convention always has to be brok, because otherwise we see the same film all the time. i mean, that's hollywood really, but thtoat's not how i wante handle this particular understanding of a heist picture. >> brodewn: , this is a
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heist lm with a twist-- many of them. mcqueen adapted it from a 1980s britis sh ies of the same name, in which the widows of men in a gang of thieves attempt to carry on after their husbands are killed. mcqueen watched it as a boy, and a seed was planted. >> i just related to the protagonists,whese women who e deemed not to be capable and being judged by their appearance, similar how i was being looked upon as a 13-year- old black child in london at the time. >> our husbands aren't coming back. we're on our own. >> brown: his film transplants and updates the action to present day chicago. >> what i learned from your husband and my father is that you ap what you sow. >> let's hope so! >> bro: with an all-star and diverse cast, led by viola davis as veronica, forced to take on a dangerous scheme after the violent death of her husband, played by liam neeson. >> my husband left me the plans for hials next job.
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i need is a crew to pull it off. >> why should i trust you anywaybe? >ause i'm the only one standing in the way of a bullet in your head. >> brown: embedded in the story, as in contemporary life: issues of race, class, political corruption and, of course, gender, with the wrmen as fully , complex characters, in the lead. >> if this whole thing goes wrong, i want my kids to kno that i didn't just sit there and take it.th >> the best g we have going for us is being real. >> why? >> because no one thinks we have the balls to pull this off. fl brown: mcqueen enlisted writer gillian n, the chicago-based bestselling author of "gone girl" and other thrillhiers, aco-writer. >> what's cool about a heist film is the teamwork and the men figuring each her out and the n figuring each other's skill sets out. and to me, that's always such a male thing. you know, it's, how do men work?
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how do men make teams? i mean, that's always what male society is about. so to get to see it, women do that, i think is a very cool and very unique sort of thing, and it feels very groundbreaking, because it feels very real. >> brown: i heard you speakingh on stage before the premiere about the need to make films that look more like the real world, where the people look more like real people in the world. >> i was thinking about the people who go to the movies, the peopl ae in tience, wanting to reflect them onto the screen. that's all. that screen has rrto be a reflecting back on the reality of its surroundings. that's all. pretty simple. >> brown: and that is not the case. >> i think often it's not, as we know. i meanpl, that's why pmake a big deal about the whole idea of diversity, as if they don't look out their window. i meanli, it's our r. >> brown: do you see things changing, in film, in the culture? >> slowly, slowly.
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it used to be that every film was abouevery other film. you know, the main protagonist, his best friend used to be black and he used to-- or, she used to-- sort of disappear fairly qu okly, within the first 15 minutes. so let's hope we get a fair ctd proper refn of our reality. and if you want to keep cinema alive, one has to cater to the people who pay to go and seet. >> brown: steve mcqueen's "widownss" oationwide november 16. for the pbs newshour, i'm oeffrey brown at the toro international film festival. >> woodruff: as we wait for results from a handful of still-unresolved midterm races, the newly-elected freshmen in congress were getting familiar with washington this week. for analysis on all that's heating up for this new class of
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legislators get comfortable in washtingto we turn to the alysis of brooks and marcus. that is "new york times" columnist david brooks, and "washington post" columnist ruth marcus. mark shields is away. before we talk about this new congress, let's talk about our lead story tonight, andgehat is this j ruling today that cnn should get -- the cnn correspondent jim acosta should have his pass press returned by the trump white house. they took it away last week saying he had behaved in a way that was disrespectful. it's a temporary win, looks like, for cnn, but, in the longer term, david, what do we see in this relationship between the white house and the press? >> i see it as a parable ofi aman decline. (laughter) a little, actually. when you have grownups begrhavig liknups you don't have big confrontations. very certain sets of manners if r go to a din party, probably we behave decently in a civil-mannered way and we have a pleasant dinner party, and you can that with a press
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conference even though more contentious. then one person breaks the norms, in this case the president, and then other people get more rude and then ends upeo having s sue each other. so what acosta did was rginally rude, but given the atmosphere the trump atmosphere set, well within the bounds of what is normal, the white house overreacted, so i think this is basically a win for civility. it's just sad where we have to be in a case where people areou ing at each other in this way. >> what should we expect between the white house ssd the p? >> what we should expect is something we have not gotten from the this president, from the start of this administration, which is an enderstanding that, yes, media is going to be annoying, but we are not the enemy of the people, we are going to be contentious and sometimes maybe even a littlerv bit ob open strp
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rouse and grandstanding but not scum, he likes to call us at rallies. andhe solution to the frustration that every singlees prident has felt is not what only this president has done whicrd to yank the pass of a reporter and basically stop him from being ableas toy do his job. and david calls this a win for civility and it may be but it's a very scary moment, i think, in american democracy. i'm looking at the brief the justice department filed and said more broadly there is no first amendment right of acc to the white house, where the white house has determined it wants to scale back its inner actions with a particular journalist, denying that journalist a hard pass is a permissible way to accomplish that goal. and what i would ask is what would conservatives be saying if the barack obama white house had cked fox news out or even an invidual obnoxious fox new reporter? we have not tolerated that previously, and we shouldn't tolerate it now. >> woodruff: it is a change in approach, isn't it, dave?
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>> yeah, well, they basically, as ruth read, it's the maximal ssible interpretation that we have a right to control who comes here. even though it's a public house, it's not donald trump's house, it's the people'souse. on the other hand, you know, there's just such a vast middle here. e white house, their argument is clearly ridiculous at the they totally control, when they're just doing a public service, they're a part of a public servant. oarntiond if there's a complete troublemaker, the reporter, that person doesn't get to monopolize the room. president smith, president jones should have some discretion if someone is well outside the bounds. nobody in that white house room is well outside the bounds now. we've had confrontational people before, sam donelson, helen thomas could be confrontational. they work for professional news doorganizations anheir job within the realm of the human variable. so the one extreme which is the
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white house positlyn is cle wrong. the other extreme that anybody should have complete access, thatis also wrong, it's a discretion. >> woodruff: and, ruth, the concern on the part of the press is, if there is a decision made by the white house to limit who can cover, we're looking at potentially a change in the ability of the press to do its work >> you have to be able to get -- you have to be able to be in the briefing. you have to be able tth be in press room to be able to see the president, you have to be able to go t theseps, and the argument that, certainly, if yod stood up cried fire in a crowded briefing room or started shouting obscenities, yes. in fact, the norms would be your colleagues would come down on you, but that, as david said, is not what happened here. just to sort of argue one point on the president's behalf, i'm not arguing that he needs to grant interviews to reporters that he doesn't ke or news organizations that he doesn't
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like, just equal access. an by the way, he manufactured this moment, he didn't need to calla.n jim aco he was looking for a fight or an issue, and he got it.t >>is an underlying theme in this administration that there is no such thing as institutional power in this white house, it's personal power. they're not concerning the presidency, they're serving donald trump and everything trump says goes. it's the unwillingness to recognize they're in public office, serving public duties and acting public roles, that is the theme throughout the administration. >> woodruff: all new congress that arrived, many of them dls, and, david,re seeing a younger group, more female morning peop of color. they, many of them, and many of the existing members w were reelected, among the democrats, sure theyg they're no want the same leadership, and, so, you're watching out in the open what may be -- what is
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already an interesting fight bee een nancy pelosi and sof the people who don't think she should be speaker. >> yeah, she's speaking very confidently she wi be speaker. i don't see where the confidence comes from. about 20 said they will not support. i think she can only afford to lose 16. ther are a lot of people wo are still unthe declaredn. thw class, the ones i've met, are very refreshing, very nonideological. especially the people who had mitary serviceit's how do we get this job done sort of attitude. they look like america much more than the other class, they're a sign of the vibrancy of the democratic party, frankly. they're moderates. two-thirds of the newembers were endorsed by the new democratic caucus, the more moderate group among all these caucuses. so the attack on pleasey is generally from the center, not from the left. >> woodruff: how do you see this playing out? >>'sell, i think thewo
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responses to david's point, one is mathematical and the other is practical. mathematically, even though she can only lose a certain number, you uld get out of this, might be a little too cute by balf, but it happened with newt, gingrihn boehner and previous speaker races, you lower the number you need by simply letting people vote present so they're not violating the pledge to constituents.dr >> woof: a little bit of a weasel. >> a little but weasels have happened bore in politics, i would point out. the second point is you can't beat something with nothingo partf her confidence comes from who is actually going hto ta on and have the chance of winning. the thing i find puzzling about this is david correctly points out that this, while an incredibly young and diverse and interesting caucus, it is not a caucus of lefty cszies. it a pretty conservative caucus. those are the folks who need somebody exactly like nancype
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si in the speaker's chair to make sure that the caucus stays disciplinoe, that itsn't overstep its bounds, do things that will make the republican or the republican-leaning districts they cameem from vote out in 2020. these are exactly the people, from my point of view, who should want nancy pelosi there. >> woodruff: there are risks, vid, aren't there, for some of these democrats if they put some unknown figure in there, right? >> putting on my democratic hat, if i were a h democra would i think? >> it would be a pink hat. >> woodruff: what color would it be? >> yea aittle pretentious hat, i would probably vote for she's always been an external drag. republicans love running against nancy pelosi but she's been nothinbut an internal bonus because she's been a very effective speak a raises money like nobody's business. ndardwere a normal s democrat, i would say it's a tough two years, we want
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somebody who's been there befor who's very disciplined and the extra dragis dims because in 2020 republicans will be running against the presidential nominee not against nancy pelosi and to me it would be a win to keep her. >> why are we talking about tossing out one person who was at the helm of thiss enorm success? this was the biggest democratic class since 1974 and democrate talking about tossing out the person whom helped t get there, doesn't make sense. >> woodruff: e and fu e'll see if she runs but she was talking about how she's not going to decide for a while.ly david is exa right, nancy pelosi is externallthe republican's favorite boogiewoman, to coin a phrase, but she's the one who can keep is faccious caucus on the investigate and narrow, not to lurch for impeachment or crazy
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investigations and to drive them back to victory in 2020 when t ey can run agaimebody who's not nancy pelosi, republicans. >> woodruff:kay notven two minutes left. i want to ask about what we canc ex the two parties to work together on. the president came out this week,avid, criminal justice reform. in a way interesting because he has crics on the left saying it does gotten far enough. a lot of critics from the saying he's caved, not tough enough. is this an example of something that could happen? m we know mitconnell the majority leader isn't quite enthusiastic. >> the state system is much faster than the federal system andhe states red a blue have been making reforms part for budgetary reasons, partly for humane reasons. there are a lot of people in these prisons who have been good citizens and prisoners annod there'eason to pass them. they passed what they call criminal menopause, they're 60 years old, they won't do
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anything bad, they will be fine and let people like that out. there are always good reasons do this. the right is law and order. the left is won't take half a load. francis perkins, big addoirror f hers, she said take behalf a loaf because you can get the other later. take what you can get. i think that's a good attitude. i wish more on this issue would ke half a loaf. >> woodruff: said with his democratic hat on. >> i don't know what hat'm putting on but i think the left is willing to take the loaf. i think the realwi questio be from the right and in particular the clock ticking, can you get this conin aame duck session where you need to do a lot of spending deals and have a majority leader who might not be thrilled. thrilled to the president, fraternal order of police, coacr bothand others who are willing to do this. >> woodruff: we appreciate it,
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david brooks, ruth marcus. and that is the newshour for tonigt. i'm judy woodruff. have a great weekend. thank you, and good night. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been proved by: >> financial servicefirm raymond james. >> bnsf railway. >> consumer cellular. >> supg portinsocial entrepreneurs and their soluons to the world's most pressing problems-- skollfoundation.org. >> the william and flora hewlett foundation. for more than 50 years, advancing ideas and supporting istitutions to promote a better world. at www.hewlett.org. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions
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and friends of the newshour. >> this program was thde possible bcorporation for public broadcasting. and byontributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. rcaptioning sponby newshour productions, llc captioned by media access growgbh access.wgbh.org >> you're watching pbs.
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tonight on "kqed newsroom." with the new democratic majority in the house. what a lies ahead for the russia investigation? we'll talk with adam schiff. the expected incoming chair of the house intelligence community. in beaut county firefighters are battling the esdead wild fire in state history. what's described as the newb normal and how feature fires can be prevented. former san francisco mayor george moscone on the 40 anniversary of the his death. a film honors his life an legacy. welcome to o "kqed newsroom." we begin with political investigatns and stand offs. after months of negotiatn, trump prepared his written answers to questions from be

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