tv Amanpour Company PBS March 1, 2019 12:00am-1:00am PST
hello, everyone. welcome to "amanpour." and company. here's what's coming up. >> sometimes you have to walk, and this was just one of those times. >> an abrupt end to the north korea talks. president trump walks away from the table and flies back to a political firestorm in washington. was it a diplomatic failure or the art of the deal in realtime? i talk to former national security adviser stephen hadley and "new york times" senior correspondent david sanger. and another asian hot spot. nuclear powers, india and pakistan, step back from the brink. my interview with pakistan's foreign minister. plus, controversy over former "new york times" editor jill abramson's new book. how did a high profile journalist fail to meet her own ethical standards?
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station from viewers like you. thank you. welcome to the program, everyone. i'm christiane amanpour in hanoi where a summit between the united states and north korea came to an abrupt end today without an agreement on denuclearization. already there are conflicting accounts from both sides as to what actually happened behind closed doors. president trump says that while he still hopes for further progress in this process, the talks broke down over sanctions relief. >> basically, they wanted the sanctions lifted in their entirety. and we couldn't do that. they were willing to denuke a large portion of the areas that we wanted but we couldn't give up all of the sanctions for that. >> the president says that he's unwilling to trade full sanctions relief for partial denuclearization. so that is why he walked but flying home to washington and
into the political firestorm over the bombshell testimony by michael cohen before congress, the mcians had their say. they made an extremely rare appearance before the press on camera with pyongyang's foreign minister saying in fact, they had not asked for total sanctions relief but they had made "a realistic proposal" seeking partial sanctions relief and offering to "permanently halt nuclear and long-range rocket testing." so what really happened in the nuclear summit? and what does this all say about president trump's only i can fix this leadership style? joining me now is the "new york times" senior national security correspondent, david sanger. he's with me in hanoi trying to make sense of all of this. david, we have had a bit of a roller coaster day. there were some expectations for
this summit, not massive but some. then it all came to a grinding halt. they didn't even have lunch. it.lates and nobody sitting but we had conflicting accounts as the day has worn on. the president saying that they demanded an entire lifting of sanctions. what did you think when he said that? >> well, it made me wonder what kind of sanctions they all had in mind. but certainly the united states has been fairly consistent in its position across administrations that you can't relieve the core sanctions that the united nations has put up against the north koreans until they fully denuclearize. that's the only leverage the united states has. even as you do partial lifting then the russians and chinese as we've seen in the past eight months since the singapore meeting, the first summit, feel freer to lift their sanctions and it looks like they've been doing more trade with the north koreans not only in energy but in other arenas.
the really fascinating element though came when the president was pressed during the news conference on what exactly it was that the north koreans were offering to dismantle. and the answer was that they were willing to go dismantle the yongbyon nuclear plants, the one you see the most pictures of, this vast but old plant but that they would not discuss getting rid of facilities enrichment facilities, facilities where you produce fuel outside of yongbyon. meaning the president would have been in a position of proudly announcing he had frozen their main plant but not accounting for everything else they could do to build weapons. >> so then several hours later as the president is flying back to washington, you have this very rare situation where north korean foreign minister in a foreign country to boot right here in vietnam because they're still here in hanoi, just not so long ago, went before the press, didn't take questions but put their own version of events
forward, saying that no, in fact, we did not ask for the entire lifting of sanctions. we asked for partial lifting of sanctions in return for he says permanently and completely dismantling all the nuclear material production facilities in the yongbyon area including plutonium and uranium in the presence of u.s. experts and technicians from both countries. now, i know that you say it doesn't address the other facilities which has never been publicly disclosed. i know you asked the president that question, but the foreign minister of north korea says this proposal was the biggest denuclearization measure we can take at this present stage in relation to the current level of confidence between our two countries. >> so what's that mean? it means he's saying the minute that we give up everything we've got, the americans will forget about us, they'll sell us out. you know, they watched what happened to moammar gadhafi who give up a nascent nuclear
program, no place close to what the north koreans have, but ends up a few years later being chased around by rebels in his country, pulled out of a ditch and shot. the lesson they emerged from that was you never give up everything. because the americans will feel perfectly happy to turn against you as soon as there's a revolution. >> so you've been covering this for a long, long time. you've seen the various negotiations and deals under the clinton administration, under the george w. bush administration. this one has a different tone about it because of the two leaders meeting. is it not worth the united states building on what president trump has started, you know, sort of chipping away at this wall of mistrust, getting these better relations with the two leaders in order to try to achieve the impossible, even if it doesn't happen all at once? they were got going to get a complete denuclearization promise today. >> absolutely. >> should the president have taken what he could, what they were offering today?
>> well, first i think the president deserves some enormous credit for coming to the conclusion that you're never going to get anywhere unless you deal with the leader of the country. there's only one person who makes decisions in north korea and if you're not talking to that one person, it's unlikely you're going to go anywhere. what the clinton efforts, the bush efforts and obama efforts had in common was that they were trying to do this through the north korean bureaucracy and never through the leadership. the risk of going directly to the leader is that if you have a breakdown like you had today, there's no place else to go. it's not as if you can say the bureaucrats messed it up, but we'll meet and get things together. big question of whether the president should have taken the deal that was on the table and it's hard to know because we're getting, as you say, conflicting accounts. but the president became i think increasingly sensitive to the criticism that he had gone into the last meeting unprepared,
that he was lowering the bar for this meeting, just last weekend, he told the nation's governors as long as they don't test missiles and nuclear devices, i'm happy. and i think he actually made some very fundamental mistakes by appearing overeager to have this deal. >> well, i'm going to play now what joseph yun said to me last night right after we saw the sort of handshake, the initial handshake between the two leaders. this is right in the middle of all the cohen testimony. and joseph yun who is the former special negotiator for the trump administration and before that the obama administration with north korea, he knows these people and he knows what it's like on both sides. this is what he said. >> they follow these issues. they know what's going to happen. and believe me, you know, they read "the new york times" as well as you or i. they watch you. you know?
so they know what is going on. >> do they think then, are we to believe that kim jong-un may be calculating the length of time this president has in office? >> well, i think, of course. they know the election is coming up next year. and typically, even you know in normal course of election, they really don't want to do any business during an election year. that's typically the case. and in this case, that is very much on their mind. they know how much policies can change with a change in administration. so they are calculating this. 13450 so given. >> so given what joseph yun has said, how much of that do you think plays into what we saw today? >> i think it had to. >> on both sides. >> i think it had to because the north koreans are frequently described as hermits. if they're hermits they're hermits with twitter and pretty good high speed internet connections. they're acutely aware of when the next presidential election is.
and they may well think, and i think they're probably right about this, they're going to get a better deal from donald trump than they're going to get from any other president. in that regard, time may be on the president's side. on the other hand, the president knows that he needs to score some big points on the board in foreign policy at a moment he's under so much pressure at home. he's got the mueller investigation about to get delivered. he has the testimony that his former lawyer michael cohen just offered. and i think he was really hoping to go change the headlines here. it's interesting that someone advised him not to take the deal. my guess is that that's some combination of mike pompeo, the secretary of state who is pretty hawkish on north korea, worried about the proliferation risks if they have a weapon, and certainly john bolton, the national security adviser who was here in hanoi but never heard from in public. and he has always sort of taken
the view that he had to let this play out but that the north koreans ultimately weren't really interested in disarmament. >> except they they say they really are. and kim jong-un who also never answers from the western press answered specifically the question about denuclearization whether he it was thrown at him around the table. he said i wouldn't be here if i didn't believe in this. let us play the exchange you had with president trump at the press conference today. >> mike and i spent a long time negotiating and talking about it to ourselves and just i felt that that particular as you know that fit, while very big, it wasn't enough to do what we were doing. >> so he was willing to do yongbyon but you wanted more than that? >> we had to have more than that yeah, we had to have more than that because there are other things that you haven't talked about that you haven't written about that we found and we have to have -- that was done a long
time ago but the people didn't know about. >> including uranium second enrichment plant. >> exactly. >> other things that you haven't talked about is what you were talking about, the uranium facility which is not at yongbyon. is that right? >> that's right. there was a uranium facility that was shown to a visiting american scientist early in the obama administration. as soon as people looked at it, they said this can't be the only one. it seems modeled on someplace else. the cia thinks it's found where that is in a suburb of pyongyang. so the question is, if you're president trump and you win a shutdown of yongbyon and everyone turns around and says well, you've just been taken for a ride because they have all these other facilities, he doesn't want to look like he entered this without his eyes wide open. >> on the other hand, he doesn't want to let go perhaps the greatest best chance and the biggest chance to resolve the situation at one time? >> that's right. this may be the biggest opportunity we've had since the clinton administration negotiated a deal in 1994 that held together for a number of
years till the north koreans treated on it. but it did stop the north koreans from producing more material. that's something that's missing right now. while this next chapter plays out, the north koreans are continuing to build. and the more they build, the more pressure is going to be on president trump and whoever his successor is because the arsenal is just going to get bigger. >> let us now turn to somebody who has been in the room around these kinds of crises near and far. and he is stephen hadley, the former national security adviser to president george w. bush. he helped manage the six-party talks with north and south korea, china, russia, japan as well as the u.s. and north korea. stephen hadley joins me now from washington. welcome back to the program. you've listened to everything david sanger has been saying and you've heard what president trump has said, and now you've
heard what the north koreans have said about what happened behind closed doors. just give us your take on whether a big chance was missed here or whether walking away was the right thing. >> well, i think the conversation you had with david framed it up very well. i think it's too soon to say if the deal was yongbyon only, that is to say a partial shutdown of north korean facilities in exchange for total sanction relief which is the way the president framed it, then the president was right to walk away. there are a lot of people who were concerned he would give away the store. well, he clearly did not do that and was willing to walk if he didn't get a good deal. i think you're right. there is an opportunity here as you and david discussed. so the question is where do we go from here. one option might be an escalation of rhetoric, an escalation of programs, an escalation of sangsz. i think that's less likely. i think what people will do is
step back, take a deep breath. i think mike pompeo and steve beigan will try to see if they can reconstruct a more balanced partial deal, an incremental deal that could be embraced by the two sides. i think this is not over. this is the latest act. al with.rea is very difficult to you have these ups and downs and i think it is just the latest round. i would hope the kind of process i described is what follows. and it's something that president trump very much kept the door open for. >> so stephen hadley, the north korean foreign minister i described it as an extremely rare appearance on camera before the press. it was a statement. he didn't take questions and answers. it wasn't a press conference but he felt moved to come out here and counter the narrative that has been going on since this summit ended abruptly. the first thing he said was we did not ask for a total entire lifting of sanctions.
he actually used the word partial. we asked for partial lifting of sanctions and he described for the civilian economy and to help civilians in north korea. he said there are 11 u.n. sanctions. we wanted five to be lifted. that's what he said. in return for total shutdown of yongbyon, plutonium and uranium under supervision of u.s. inspectors and technicians from both sides, and he also pledged a commitment to permanently stop, let me just read this, to permanently and completely dismantle all the nuclear material production in that area. and the nuclear testing and long-range rocket launch testing. he said also that that was the most that they could offer at this time. just give me your analysis of that, the most that they could offer at this time. >> well, it is a partial offer in terms of denuclearization. it is not total denuclearization. i think it's positive in
encouraging that they would make this unprecedented step to articulate what they thought was on the table. it's clearly not what the administration thought was on the table. i think the encouraging piece about it is it gives the administration something to work with when secretary pompeo and steve biegun, the special envoy, reengage hopefully fairly soon with their north korean counterparts. there are other things that were talked about at this time. there was discussions about the possibility of a declaration ending hostilities on the peninsula. there was discussion about exchanging liaison missions. there are a lot of pieces from which you can see constructing a sequence of steps that over time would both build some confidence that the north koreans have in this process and gradually degrade their nuclear capability. hopefully on the road towards in the end the final objective of complete denuclearization.
>> you know this team. you know that they are, as you say, they're wiley, they're experienced around the negotiating table. they know a lot about what's happening in the united states. they're not hermits and they make very, very clever or rather careful calculations. you were there with the george bush administration when yongbyon was moth balled and we all saw it. it happened in 2008. they allowed cnn and a couple others into yongbyon. we watched them basically rip it apart, blow up the cooling towers, saran wrap the components and it was working for a while. how important is it for them to say we will again you know dismantle all our operations there including uranium? >> it's important. it's an important step. yongbyon is very important. but as david sanger pointed out and the president pointed out, they have other facilities,
enrichment facilities from which they make nuclear materials. so it is a step, it is a piece of the process but look, three administrations now have used a bottomup process to try to reach an agreement with north korea. have reached an agreement with north korea and north korea has not stayed in the agreement. that's the problem. and that's why i think we ought to give some space to president trump's different rather unorthodox approach, top down, dealing with the leader. i think we need to give it some opportunity to run. i think the walking away from this meeting was useful because i think the unpredictability on the part of this president may throw the north koreans off a little bit and maybe precisely why they took this unprecedented step of having the foreign minister come out and say this is actually really what we offered. so i think this is the latest round. i think the president looks like he did the right thing. i would hope now with all these pieces on the table the parties would reengage.
we would come up with something that is a partial progress towards denuclearization that could be embraced. but in the end of the day, the question is will kim jong-un make a strategic choice to move away from isolation, dependence on the military, his nuclear capabilities, open up his regime to be part of the international community, try to improve his economy. that's a strategic choice we would like him to make. the only person who will convince him to make that choice at the end of the day is president trump. >> let's move on to another thing. actually president trump stunned everybody by first mentioning india, pakistan before he even talked about north korea in his press conference saying they had had important discussions with both sides. to try to defuse the tension between the nuclear neighbors over this military confrontation in the disputed territory of kashmir. now the pakistan prime minister has said they will release one of the, well, the indian pilot
who was shot down. just give me your assessment of how important it is to also keep an eye on these two nuclear armed neighbors that have actually been to war several times before. >> it's very important. we've been through these scenarios before when terrorist activity brings the two countries into confrontation. they are difficult to manage. there's a lot of distrust between the two sides. there are not good channels for communication or reconciliation, and there's always an information deficit between the two. neither side really knows what the other is doing. and that's why there's an important role for the united states and the leaders of other countries to be a facilitator to help the two countries do what i think they want to do which is back this down so it does not become a conflict. and we can do this by providing information to the two sides
about what the other is doing, help them choreograph reciprocal steps that will walk down the crisis and also cooperate with them to try to deal with the terrorist problem that continues to threaten the relationship between these two countries. >> and finally, stephen hadley, the president also mentioned the, well, the nonexistent israeli-palestinian peace process. it's meant to be unveiling some kind of peace proposal. today, we've heard from the attorney general that they will, we understand, indict the sitting prime minister benjamin netanyahu after a certain process. how is this going to affect the peace process, nonexistent right now peace process? >> well, i think it's going to have the effect of delaying the rolling out of the administration's peace initiative till after the election so that they actually know who they are dealing with. i think the other thing i've been concerned about is it's one thing to having an initiative.
it's another thing to have worked with the israelis, palestinians and countries in the region so when they roll out a peace proposal, something happens. it actually provokes some active diplomacy. it actually moves the process because you can only do this trick one or maybe two times. and if nothing happens, you've squandered the asset. so i think the real question is not just have they come together with a peace plan, but are they preparing the diplomacy so when they roll out their plan, something actually happens to advance the cause of peace in the region. >> so many important issues to keep an eye on. stephen hadley, former national security adviser, thank you for joining us >> nice to be with you. the korean peninsula isn't the only place home to nuclear tension in asia. and as we've just heard, president trump started his press conference today talking about trying to help nuclear armed neighbors india and
pakistan walk back from the brink of their recent flare up. this is what he said. >> we have i think reasonably attractive news from pakistan and india. they've been going at it and we've been involved in trying to have them stop and we have some reasonly decent news i think hopefully, that's going to be coming to an end. it's been going on for a long time, decades and decades. >> so the recent reasonably decent news is that pakistan's prime minister minister imron kahn announced plans to release an indian pilot who was shot down over kashmir on wednesday. and this was when he was flying a mission after india had accused pakistan and terrorist base there of killing 40 indian soldiers in the disputed kashmir region. pakistan's foreign minister mahmoud koresh shi is deeply
immersed in this developing situation and he told me from islamabad that they are trying to defuse the tension. >> foreign minister, thank you for joining me from islamabad. >> i'm happy to be with you. >> can i just ask you to confirm for me some of the de-escalating steps, prime minister imron khan has said pakistan will release the captured indian pilot. can you confirm that? has it happened? when will it happen? >> well, he made a statement while he was addressing the joint session of parliament. and this was a good will gesture and we feel that this should be an expression of pakistan's willingness to de-escalate. we are willing to hand him over as soon as possible, perhaps tomorrow. >> here we are in hanoi where the president of the united states, the leader of north korea have been trying, so far unsuccessfully, to de-escalate and denuclearize. the whole issue of nuclear
weapons is so dangerous and front of mind. here we had the situation between you and india two nuclear armed nations who have been to war before. and it really captured the world's attention. it looked very, very serious. how serious was it? >> well, the situation certainly was serious when india attacked pakistan. when they violated our air space and dropped bombs in pakistan, when they violated the u.n. charter, when they violated international law and undertook an act of aggression, this was serious. you know, the indian air force is fully mobilized. the pakistan air force is fully mobilized. how dangerous can it be? >> well, i mean, you raised the exact question. i mean, is this the kind of situation that had it not de-escalated could have tipped you both over the brink? could you envision all-out war between india and pakistan? >> i hope not.
that would be mutual suicide. pakistan never wants to escalate. pakistan never wants to be in a hostile position. from day one, you know, when this government came into office, prime minister khan offered if you take one step towards peace, we will take two. he wrote to the indian prime minister saying let the two foreign ministers meet on the sidelines in new york so that they can chart a way forward. when this tragic incident took place and i landed in munich for the security conference and i learned about it, what did i do? the first thing was condemn it, and then the prime minister made a very balanced, very reasonable offer that listen, if you have actionable evidence, share it with us and we would honestly, sincerely investigate. i wish india instead of
attacking pakistan, should have shared their evidence and the dossier which we received today earlier. >> what can you say then to the indian claim that in fact, it was jaish-e-mohammed, the terrorist group that is housed in pakistan that launched this massive bomb in indian-controlled kashmir and killed so many soldiers there? dozens of soldiers there. i mean, they are obviously incredibly concerned about this group and it's not the first time this group has operated inside india. >> my message to the indians is this is a new government. this is a new government with a new mind set. we want to live in peace. we have a people centric agenda. we want to concentrate on fixing the economy. we want to improve governance in
pakistan. we want to eradicate corruption in pakistan. that's the mandate given to us by the people of pakistan. we want to see peace and reconciliation in afghanistan. that western front is consuming us. we do not want an eastern front. we want to put an end to the 17-year-old war going on in afghanistan. we want peace and stability in the region. after a very long time in pakistan, there is a government which has complete support of the pakistan armed forces. you know, the civil and political leadership is on the same page. this was a great opportunity, historic opportunity that they should have availed. the policy of this government is that we will not allow our soil to be used by any organization or any individual for terrorism against anyone.
and that includes india. >> then let me ask you a direct question then regarding the head of jaish-e-mohammed. the indian government would like you to, you now, have that or would like his name, the head of it, to be put on the international terrorist list. but your friends you know, the chinese government apparently on your behalf vetoing that. is it something that you would welcome now in the wake of this rise, this escalation in tension between you? should he be put on that terrorist list? >> we will be open to any step that leads to deescalation. and if they have good solid evidence, please sit and talk. please initiate a dialogue and we will show reasonableness. >> is the chief of jaish-e-mohammed masood azhar -- is he present in pakistan and if
so, will you go after him? >> he is in pakistan according to my information. he is very unwell. he's unwell to the extent that he cannot leave his house because he's really unwell. so that's the information i have. >> why doesn't your country arrest him so that the head of this group which you've all admitted is a terrorist organization and causes incredible tension to say the least between you two highly arm add neighbors, why don't you arrest him, ill or not ill? >> if they give us evidence which is acceptable to the courts of pakistan, after all, we would have to justify. they would go to the court, and if they have solid, inalienable evidence, share it with us so
that we can convince, we can convince the people and we can convince the independent judiciary of pakistan. >> do you doubt what he's accused of doing and what the group is accused of doing? >> you see, it's not a question of me doubting. there is a legal process. and you have to satisfy that legal process. >> so let me ask you then, because this is obviously not going to be litigated on our program. what conversation have you had with the united states? you heard what president trump said about you know, trying to help you de-escalate this current crisis and secretary of state pompeo has said the same thing. tell me what will conversations you had with the united states about all this, what did they urge you to do, what did they help you to -- did they make guarantees of security? what was the conversation like? >> to begin with, i'd like to thank president trump for taking an interest to de-escalate.
he i think can play a significant role. the united states can play a significant role. the united states and pakistan have had good relations for decades. we have been close allies. and today, we have a shared objective to achieve peace and stability in afghanistan. i have had a meeting, not a meeting. i've had conversation, telephonic conversation with secretary pompeo in which we discussed this evolving situation. and i am happy that they have taken note of this rising tension and they want to play a constructive role to de-escalate. this is a very welcome development. >> and just finally in the bigger picture of relations between you and the united states, president trump has made
no secret of his frustration with pakistan over the years. and there was all sorts of talk about reducing aid to pakistan and you know holding pakistan accountable particularly in regards to the war in afghanistan. and the whole fight against terrorism. describe your relationship and the relationship of pakistan with the u.s., particularly under the new government of prime minister imron khan. >> certainly. that frustration was there and one can see the south asia strategy policy announced by president trump. but this is a new government. and as soon as i came in as foreign minister, i said one of my desires is to reset our relations, our bilateral relations with the united states. when secretary pompeo came to islamabad, we had a very constructive and very engaging meeting. he invited me to washington and we had another very positive meeting. and today, president trump and secretary pompeo both and
the ambassador have acknowledged that pakistan is playing a constructive, pakistan is playing a positive role, and this was said in the state of the union address. >> well, all eyes are on your region right now. and we hope that the deescalation continues. we'll wait to see the ensuing actions taken by your government and by india. we thank you, foreign minister qureshi for joining us. >> thank you, ma'am. >> so we also invited the indian foreign minister to join us, as well on this program but the foreign ministry declined and didn't provide anyone to talk to us. this is what prime minister modi said during an election campaign rally. >> india will live as one. india will work as one. india will grow as one. india will fight as one.
india will build as one. >> so let us hope the escalation of tensions is resolved. over the next few days. we're going to turn now to a trailblazer for women in journalism. and she is jill abramson, the first female executive editor "the new york times." and her new book, "merchants of truth" was supposed to be the definitive account of how the news business is evolving in the digital age. but its publication was marred by allegations of plagiarism and factual errors. when walter isaacson down with abramson, he asked her to respond to the accusations and he also took a deep dive into her observations about the impact of the digital revolution on news. >> jill, welcome to the show. >> thanks so much, walter. >> you've been accused of plagiarism in the book because a
few pass ands that are pretty much verbatim from sources that weren't cited well. my students that i teach would say i'd get in real trouble for that. tell me the process you were using in which you took something out of another thing and you put it in and didn't cite it. and what type of sort of technology were you using? were you cutting and pasting? >> i wasn't doing that much cutting and pasting. some. you know, but i don't think that in the -- there are three examples of things that just went uncited. either authors or publications. i have 70 pages of footnotes and 835 separate citations. and i was using a form of footnoting that i had never used before called trailing freeze end notes and was uncertain
whether for a source, some people were angry because i credited some material but used other quotes from someone's interview and didn't do a separate end note on that. i didn't think that is what that form required. but looking back, i wish i had been more careful. and as you know, as a book author, the footnoting and citation is a little bit left towards the end as unfortunately is fact checking. in one case i know i looked at a long paragraph, and saw that there should be a citation to "the washington post" which there is. but the top of the paragraph which flows right into that came from somewhere else. and i failed to cite that. that was just sloppiness. >> but it wasn't just a lack of citations.
it was in three, four, five six instances passages, sentences, two or three sentences that were almost verbatim from somebody else's writing. i mean, how did that happen? and you know, this is a book about journalistic ethics. shouldn't you be careful enough not to just verbatim, take two or three sentences -- >> or put them in quotes in the text as preferable to a footnote. but you know, i now wish i had put them all in quotations rather in citations but the important thing is i wasn't intentionally stealing anybody's work. >> how much, how important is it whether it was intentional or not? >> well, i think it is important. because, you know, i've -- since this has become a controversy
i've talked to many people about how to define plagiarism and it's sort of all over the map. and a number of you know, professors have said to me, you know, there has to be sort of a venal intent. and they see what i did as menial mistakes. >> meaning sort of unintentional. >> yes. >> you weren't trying to actually steal somebody's words. >> yes. >> even though you sort of change a few words here and there, but that was just inadvertent sloppy or is that you sort of trying not to use somebody else's words? >> no, it wasn't the latter. i think it was just rushing through. >> you teach journalism some and you have a seminar on journalism. >> two. >> two seminars on journalism. issues you've gone through now on using other people's material and plagiarism, is that a teachable moment and have you figured out how to make that into something where you can look inside yourself and then share it with students? >> i brought it up first thing.
and we talked about it for, my seminar is three hours. we talked about it in one class for more than an hour and another for at least an hour. teachable moment is such a cliche. i hate to use it. but it was important to me because obviously, you know, academic plagiarism has been a big issue in every college. you teach, as well. and i wanted to explain to them exactly what had happened. how i could have done better, that i was disappointed in myself, and sorry and that these were, you know, errors that were inadvertent and, you know, that i regret completely. and you know, i just had a good discussion with them. >> you write a lot about vice and how vice really helped reinvigorate the whole notion of news.
does a lot of great reporting. yet you also got a lot of push back from the people at vice. tell me your thoughts on vice and why there was so much push back on the seconds on vice you wrote about in your book. my thoughts on vice were similar to what you just said especially i watch their hbo nightly news show "vice news tonight." and you know, they don't have and and chore. they don't have you know, correspondents doing standup very much. and you know, their correspondents are young, many of them are excellent. i mean, their coverage confident charlottesville marches over the confederate statues were just amazing. long videos piece. u know, young people are not watching nightly news. they don't watch appointment tv period. so they're trying to reinvigorate young news for a younger audience which is vital
and important. i think i got pushback from them mainly because they thought there was a tone of snarkiness whereas like a media elitist i was somehow looking down on them and saying they weren't as good or as qualified as people at "the new york times" or "the washington post." >> one of the things in your book is sort of this notion that the ad supported model of media isn't going to sustain itself. and that the two old institutions you write about, "the washington post" and the "new york times," having actually turned out to be better than you would have expected when you began the book. >> that was you know, one of the interesting things about reporting and writing this book is that when i began it, i
thought it was the shiny new digital upstarts, buzzfeed and vice, that everyone was envious of because they were full of very lucrative native branded advertising. they were really successfully using other platforms like facebook and google and getting a ton of both audience and because they had such big audiences, advertising, the world changed on them really in the past year and a half very sharply. and you know, facebook and google are now taking for themselves like by far most of the digital advertising. and they're not really sharing revenue to a significant or meaningful degree where it would support a company with the people who are supplying them with the news and video they put in people's news feeds or you
know that google puts on youtube channels. they're starving because advertising was their chief and single revenue source. and for the legacy newspapers, "the new york times" and "the post," you know, advertising for them was going this way in the newspaper and that was, you know, their old chief form of revenue for decades. >> how did arthur sulzberger and a.g. sulzberger's son, your former publishers when you were at "the new york times," how did they end up figuring it out? >> well, you know, i think that they saw that it was just necessary that you know, the "times" needed to have more than advertising revenue to support its gigantic news gathering operation and in 2006, the "times" had tried charging
readers especially for opinion content. and other kind of special special material. but it was called times select. it's been a big flop. so you know, i think it was a combination of just needing the new revenue but being brave. it was a brave decision of arthur sulzberger junior to try it again and lo and behold, you know, it worked. i think the first month that they put a digital pay plan in, you know, 300,000 people had taken them out. and it was -- it's cheap. i mean it's still very cheap. i'm sure some of your viewers get those a dollar a week, you know. >> did trump help? >> well, definitely trump helped. and you know. >> the trump bump. >> the so-called trump bump for sure.
i mean "the new york times" has gained, you know, millions of new digital sub skrishs since trump's election. >> is the "new york times" either when you were the editor now sort of congenital little anti-trump? >> well, you know, "the new york times" that i worked at was congenitally urban and cosmopolitan and reflecting the values and interests of people on the blue coasts and to that extent, i think you know, the paper is and i think deservedly so. i think you know, readers are so sort of interested in loving the toughness of "the times" and "the post" which some people do see as anti-trump because you know, the stories are investigative stories that, you
know, are about, you know, questionable business dealings and how he acquired his wealth and his tax avoidance, and you name it. but i think, you know, it's in keeping with the times. we've never seen a presidency like this. and it is on an order of magnitude that is different and i think, you know, "the post" and the "times" have been emboldened to, you know, load their news reports up with stories about donald trump, most of which are critical and, you know, they attract huge huge numbers of readers who want, you know, want to read about donald trump. i have friends at the "times" who have said when they aren't writing about trump, you know, chart beat numbers for their readership go down.
>> is the "new york times" almost addicted now to punching donald trump because it gets the traffic? >> i think they're not the only ones. i think there is an addiction to trump and you know, the comedian at the white house correspondents dinner a year ago made the joke to all of the journalists there, i think you want to date him. so you know, it's widespread. and you know, "the washington post" their post product, has two or three -- they're not about trump but there's obviously clickbait stories. you kind of can't resist. they end in headlines like, and you won't believe what happened next, which is straight out of buzzfeed. >> you cover four organizations, one of which is the times" where you worked. i like the book how candid you were about your own turmoil as
editor of "the times." why were you fired? >> why do you -- you've read it, i wrote it. why do you think i was fired? >> well, you explain it a lot in the book. but i was wondering if -- >> it doesn't like boil down to a sound bite. and what i tried to do in writing about that painful passage of my career, it's the only part of the book that isn't third person narrative. it's first person is, you know, be candid about my own failings as a manager. a little bit about, you know, what i think is still a gender double standard at many companies where, you know, a woman is criticized for being too pushy or assertive or, you know, other worse words. but there have been many studies that show that's seen as
leadership in men. and that women's likability goes way down when they get the top job. so there's some of that. you know, there was internal politics. there were concerns on my part about, you know, the lowering of the wall between the news and business sides of the times in the digital era. and so it was a combination of things. >> your book shows the excitement of things like buzzfeed and vice coming along with a whole new vitality but recently, they're the ones doing the layoffs. >> 250 staffers each gone. >> and "the washington post" and even "the new york times" are still staffing up. >> i think the "times" is up to 1600 journalists. i mean, that's a big bump up from, you know, when i was executive editor.
>> and do you think that this is a major turn or is it just one of those roller coaster things that's happening? >> you know, i think that the "times" financial picture will outlast the trump bump. you know, whether it can continue to support such a large staff of journalists and technologists and designers i don't know. things go in cycles. >> you look at buzzfeed and you look at vice. their business model hasn't yet led them to be able to get revenue from the user, from the reader. is that a fatal flaw? >> know, i hope it's not a fatal flaw but i think that both of them are in real, you know, trouble right now. and i'm worried about the future and you know, jonah peretti has even tossed out a proposal that maybe some of these companies should american and that that
would create a path out of this very difficult moment. >> they seem to still have a pretty high valuation. why is that? >> because they had crazy high valuations, you know, starting, you know, five or six years ago. it wasn't that long ago that buzzfeed's valuation was like $1.7 billion and vice's was the highest of any digital media company and got to the $6 billion. and you know, i think for both of them, you know, that meant the idea that there would be a white knight coming to acquire them, that that moment has passed, too. they're just too valuable. their valuation is too big. maybe the time will come that it's like newspapers. i mean the "times" bought ""the
boston globe"" and another, you know, the worcester paper for $1.2 billion or $1.3 billion and sold "the globe" for $70 million. i mean, so surprising something happen over not that long a time. >> uh-huh. thanks for being with us. >> thanks, walter. >> and on that note, we end our program hanoi tonight. that's it for us. thank you for watching amanpour and company on pbs and join us again tomorrow night. you know i world is a proud sponsor much amanpower and company.
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