tv PBS News Hour PBS February 18, 2016 3:00pm-4:00pm PST
captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> woodruff: good evening, i'm judy woodruff. gwen ifill is away. on the newshour tonight: pontifical politics: pope francis sparks a firestorm, calling donald trump's immigration ideas not christian, as the republican frontrunner fires back. also ahead, president obama announces an historic trip to cuba next month, the first for a sitting president in almost 90 years. then, why you should look to the political betting markets for presidential predictions. >> polls show what people are thinking now, whereas the prediction markets are what people think will happen in the future. >> woodruff: all that and more on tonight's pbs newshour.
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>> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> woodruff: it may be unprecedented, and it lit up the presidential campaign today: a sitting pope crossed verbal swords with a candidate for president of the united states, just ahead of a crucial primary. political director lisa desjardins has our report. >> reporter: this is not your typical presidential critic ... and definitely not your typical criticism.
>> reporter: on his flight home from mexico, pope francis directly addressed donald trump. the republican frontrunner has advocated building a wall along the length of the u.s.-mexican border. and last week, he said the pope's trip to the u.s.- mexico border was a political ploy encouraged by mexico. >> ( translated ): and am i a pawn? well maybe. i'll leave that to your judgment. told reporters he is not >> reporter: the pope pointedly told reporters he is not recommending how anyone votes. in south carolina, the candidate wasted no time in issuing his retort. >> no leader, especially a religious leader, should have the right to question another man's religion or faith-- especially when they feed all sorts of false information into him. >> reporter: trump quickly transformed the debate over christian values into a fight over security. >> if and when the vatican is attacked by isis, which as everyone knows is isis' ultimate trophy, i can promise you that the pope had only wished and prayed that donald trump would have been president because this
would not have happened. isis would have been eradicated unlike what is happening now with our all talk, no action politicians. >> reporter: while the would-be president took on the pontiff, marco rubio happily joined forces with south carolina governor nikki haley, one day after her endorsement. >> we need to show that south carolina makes presidents and that our next president will be marco rubio! >> reporter: two days before south carolina's primary, most non-trump republicans are playing it safe and sticking to stump lines. but in greenville last night, rubio confronted the volatile issue of racism by police and the criminal system: >> but whether you agree with them or not, if a significant percentage of the american family believes that they are being treated differently than everyone else, we have a problem. and we have to address it as a society and as a country,
because i do not believe we can fulfill our potential as a nation unless we address that. >> reporter: as for the democrats... >> i'm going to do everything i can so you don't have to be scared. >> reporter: ...in a new ad, hillary clinton sought to reach latino voters in nevada by stressing her opposition to most deportations. bernie sanders too was appealing to latinos, with this ad highlighting a key endorsement before the state's democratic caucuses on saturday. the two, who are currently neck and neck in the first-in-the- west contest, will take voter questions at a town hall event tonight in las vegas. >> woodruff: the pope also made headlines today on the zika virus: suggesting that women threatened with it could use artificial contraception. roman catholic doctrine teaches birth control is wrong, but francis said under the circumstances, it might be necessary. >> ( translated ): avoiding a pregnancy is not an absolute evil.
in certain cases, as in this one, it is clear. i would also exhort the doctors that they do everything they can to find vaccines, things against these mosquitoes that bring this sickness. >> woodruff: we'll take a closer look at all of the pope's statements today, after the news summary. the pentagon said today it has asked russia to steer clear of bombing near u.s. special forces in northern syria. it said the russian military was given broad areas to avoid, but not the exact locations of american troops. and, a spokesman said, the russians have honored the request so far. turkey is blaming kurdish militants at home and in syria for a suicide bombing in ankara. yesterday's blast killed 28 people and wounded dozens more. the turks answered today with air raids in northern iraq, on the outlawed kurdish rebel group pkk, and they insisted again the group is linked to syrian kurds backed by the u.s. >> ( translated ): we have not
been able to convince the international community, and in particular our friends, of the strong ties between kurdish militias in northern syria, and the pkk. in the face of this bombing they will probably be conducive to a better understanding. >> woodruff: meanwhile, the leader of a kurdish umbrella organization said it's possible that rogue militants carried out the bombing. in uganda, delays and protests plagued presidential and parliamentary elections today. and, at one point, the main opposition candidate was briefly arrested. some voters waited more than five hours because ballots had not been delivered. that sent protesters into the streets claiming the delays were deliberate, to help the country's president. yoweri museveni has been in power for 30 years and is seeking re-election. leaders of the european union have opened a crucial summit in brussels that could determine whether britain stays or goes as a member. prime minister david cameron
arrived today, calling for a deal that safeguards british sovereignty, and helps him win a summer referendum on keeping london in the e.u. >> we have some important work to do today and tomorrow and it's going to be hard. i'll be battling for britain, if we can get a good deal i'll take that deal. but i will not take a deal that doesn't meet what we need. i think it's much more important to get this right than to do anything in a rush. >> woodruff: britain already opts out of the unified euro currency and it wants the freedom to curb various benefits for immigrants from elsewhere in europe. back in this country, a los angeles area hospital confirms it paid $17,000 dollars in ransom to hackers who seized control of its computer network. hollywood presbyterian medical center says it happened earlier this month. it regained access to its network by paying the ransom in bitcoins, an online currency. the fbi says there've been numerous similar attacks.
and, wall street's rally ran out of gas today, after advancing since monday. the dow jones industrial average lost 40 points to close at 16,413. the nasdaq fell 46 points, and the s&p 500 shed nine. still to come on the newshour: pope francis's surprising remarks on contraceptives and on donald trump. the first presidential visit to cuba in nearly 90 years. who's taking bets on the presidential election, and much more. >> woodruff: now, back to that rare exchange we saw play out today between the pope and presidential candidate donald trump. john allen covers the vatican and the catholic church for the "boston globe" and its web site, crux. and susan page is the washington
bureau chief for "usa today." welcome to you both. susan, to you first, what did you make of the pope's remarks and is there any precedent for a pope injecting himself this way into a presidential race? >> i've covered ten campaigns. i've never seen anything like this. the pope talking specifically about a particularly candidate, criticizing him, saying he's behaving in a way that's not christian. i've never seen anything like it. the candidate immediately shooting back with very harsh language saying the pope's language was disgraceful. i think this is truly uncharted waters here. >> woodruff: john allen, you've covered the vatican for many years. are you aware of any precedent, has there been a situation like this where the pope has spoken to directly about a american election? >> i've covered the vatican 20 years, three popes, and i am keenly aware this is an institution that has an awful lot of history under its belt so i am reluctant to use the word
"unprecedented." as the cardinal put it, in the catholic church, everything happened at least once. i'm not sure this happened before. i've certainly covered tensions between sitting presidents and popes. there were titanic battles between the clinton administration and the vatican over reproductive freedom in the 1990s. pope john paul ii now st. john paul was very critical of president bush's invasion in iraq. we saw tensions between pope benedict and the obama administration over contraception mandates imposed by the white house as part of healthcare reform, but for a pope to go for a presidential candidate in quite an incendiary fashion, forks i don't think we've seen this before. >> woodruff: john allen, how did you read it? not just donald trump, but a number of republicans said there should be a big wall along the mexican border. how did you read the pope just
addressing trump? >> if you read the full transcript of the remarks, it is clear the pope not in any detail does he know who donald trump is. questions were put to him about trump and the pope's response was, listen, assuming trump said what you say he said, and he said that all has to be verified, i'm giving you the benefit of the doubt, but assuming that, it is not a christian attitude. i think, basically, the pope's point is someone who wants to build walls rather than bridges, who wants to try to separate themselves from people in need rather than opening their hearts to them and in trying to be of assistance to them, but that is not -- that that is not a christian attitude in keeping with the christian gospel. what makes this particularly saucy is that he said that in the context of donald trump and, thereby, perhaps not deliberately but thereby injected himself into the 2016
campaign in the united states. >> woodruff: susan, what is the effect likely to be on donald trump? could it hurt him? could it help him? >> i think we've all learned not to predict things are catastrophic for trump before because he's said one thing after the other and it's not hurt him. i think this could help in the short term. he's doing totally what he always does. you hit him, he hits you back, even if you're the pope. he's also talking about an issue that launched his presidential campaign which is immigration, building a wall, stopping the flow of illegal immigrants from mexico and elsewhere so in that way i think it's helpful. i think it could be harmful to him in a general election against democrats making big inroads. catholics are the most crucial swing votes in a general election, but in the republican nomination, i'm not sure this hurts him. >> woodruff: i was discussing with john allen, the pope is
taking on the entire republican party because their position se wie need to shore up the border and stop mexicans and other south american immigrants from coming into the u.s. >> that's why the republican rivals chose not to go against him on this. jeb bush who is catholic on john kasich or marco rubio were asked about it today, they all reiterated the importance of a secure border and didn't go after trump. >> woodruff: john allen, the pope made more news today, not just on donald trump, when he said it may be acceptable for women deal with the potential zika virus, the mosquito bite that could lead to the zika virus for them to use contraception. how significant is this that he said that? >> woodruff: i think it's far more consequential than comments on donald trump because
pope francis is not in a position to control the election in the united states but can control what the catholic church does and does not approve. in this case, the pope was taking a fairly traditional position. he actually cited a precedent from the early 1960s when then pope paul vi allowed catholic nones in the belgian congresso to take contraception because they were in a situation with widespread sexual violence and trying to protect themselves from pregnancy as a result of rape and, basically, the vatican's position was, okay, this is not an issue of using birth control to try to prevent the transmission of new life, it is trying to prevent an unjust harm. by a similar logic, the vatican has for years taken the position that in the context of africa and hiv/aids where you have a married couple where one person is h.i.v. positive and the other is not and they wish to use contraception to try to prevent
the other partner from being infected, the vatican has consistently described that as an open question to which there is no definitive church dogma, and that is essentially what francis said again today in the context of the zika virus. we should be careful in saying he did not directly say i therefore approve the use of contraception to try to prevent infection with zika but clearly left the door open to that which is going to encourage pastors and moral theologians and church officials to continue to debate. >> woodruff: quickly, john allen, is that likely to be controversial inside the church? >> pretty much i've thing is likely to be controversial inside the church so, yes, i think this will be a healthy debate. some will say this is the wrong tame to weaken our position on birth control. others will say this is a kind of common-sense adaptation that they welcome. i think there will be a robust
conversation about it. >> john allen, susan page, another extraordinary day in american politics and covering religion around the world. thank you both. >> thank you. you're welcome. >> woodruff: on march 21st, president obama will make cuba the first stop on a trip to latin america. it will be an historic moment that comes 14 months after cuba and the united states announced renewed diplomatic ties. chief foreign affairs correspondent margaret warner begins our coverage. >> warner: it will be the first visit to cuba by a sitting american president since calvin coolidge in 1928. president obama announced the plans on his official twitter feed today. and deputy national security
advisor ben rhodes outlined the goals. >> we see it as a means of pushing forward this normalization process trying to achieve greater opening between the united states and cuba commercially but also supporting and advancing the values that we care about. >> warner: the visit, including talks with cuban leader raul castro, follows more than a year of work to thaw relations. embassies reopened in both countries and the two nations this week agreed to start daily commercial flights. but normalization hasn't produced results as quickly as hoped. commerce secretary penny pritzker, meeting cuba's trade minister in washington this week, complained that despite washington easing restrictions on u.s. companies wanting to do business there, havana hasn't done the same. rhodes echoed that today.
>> what we would like to see is that they are taking the types of steps that allow those regulatory changes to take hold that allow us business to be able to operate in cuba in ways that benefit the cuban people. >> warner: cuba argues the u.s. is to blame for lack of progress, as a top cuban official underscored today. >> ( translated ): of course to achieve fully reestablishment of those bilateral relations, outstanding issues would have to be resolved, including the lift of the embargo and the return to cuba of the territory occupied by a naval base in guantanamo. >> warner: congress is refusing to lift the trade embargo and the white house said today the u.s. position on retaining guantanamo has not changed. human rights also remains a point of contention. rhodes said today that mr. obama will meet with civil society activists during his visit. but leading republicans urged him not to go at all. presidential candidate marco rubio, son of cuban immigrants, spoke in a cnn town hall last
night. >> there's no elections in cuba, there's no choice in cuba. and so my whole problem-- i want the whole relationship between the us and cuba change but it has to be reciprocal. and so today a year and two months after the opening of cuba, the cuba government remain as repressive as ever but now >> warner: even so, the white house said lawmakers from both parties will accompany the president. for the pbs newshour, i'm margaret warner. >> woodruff: for more on this, i'm joined now by william leogrande, a specialist in latin america at american university, he's written a number of books on u.s.-cuban relations. welcome back to the "newshour", good to see you. >> thank you. >> woodruff: how big a deal is this visit by the president next months? >> i think it's historic and when we look back on it i think it's as signature as richard nixon's 1972 trip to china which was the symbolic break in the old policy and a new policy of engagement with china. in the same way this trip by
president obama is symbolic of the fundamental shift that he made in u.s.-cuba policy back in december 2014. >> woodruff: what real changes do you see? we know as margaret just reported that the trade embargo still exists. there is, what, any sign congress is ready to look at that again? >> well, not this year because we're in the middle of an election year but next year i think there is a real opportunity to revisit it. there are a lot of republicans who are pro business and whose constituents would like to be able to gain access to the cuban market and there are a lot of democrats, of course, who have been in favor of a new policy toward cuba for a long time and i think there is the makings of a coalition once we get past the election. >> woodruff: in the mean time, what do we look for as changes in the u.s.-cuba relationship? we know the president's tried to do a few things. are they making any difference? >> i think they are. we've already seen agreements on a whole range of issues of mutual interest -- civil
aviation, the restoration of postal service, environmental protection. i think we'll see more agreements in the next 11 months on other issues of mutual agreement particularly in the law enforcement area and we're also seeing a lot of new commercial interests and a lot of businesses going down there, trying to see if cuba offers a real opportunity for business. >> reporter: but as i understand it, it's still a narrow slice here and a narrow slice there. >> the embargo is still really important and until the embargo is gone we're going to be playing at the margins, if you will. but nonetheless, the regulatory changes the president has made in the last year have really opened up a number of business opportunities. >> woodruff: we just heard senator marco rubio say we're talking about an oppressive government. how much change has there been in cuba's human rights record. >> very little and the u.s. government is no more tolerant of dissidents today than years
ago. for 54 years we pursued hostility and coercion to force cuba to behave bet around become more democratic and it didn't work. it seems to me the president deserves at least more than a year to try to see if his policy will make a difference. >> woodruff: you compared this to nixon's visit to china. what do you think the u.s.-cuba relationship could like like five, ten years from now? >> cuba and the united states are really natural partners. if we go back historically, cuba and the united states had a close, integrated cultural relationship, the economic relationship. the problem from the cuban side is the united states dominated the island politically. but if we can engage at the political level with mutual respect, respecting cuba's independence, there are all kinds of opportunities for cultural exchange and economic development. >> woodruff: and this is despite the fact that the cuban leadership is still very critical of the united states in many ways? >> they are very critical of the
united states, but they tend now to be more critical of specific u.s. policies like the embargo and our presence in guantanamo as opposed to the across-the-board denunsiation of the united states that we used to hear a few years ago. >> woodruff: professor william leogrande of american university. we thank you. >> my pleasure. >> woodruff: stay with us, coming up on the newshour: righting the wrongs of the civil rights era. t.m.z.'s complex and controversial sourcing network revealed. plus, peyton manning's alleged sexual assault. but first: a different take on predicting the outcomes of presidential races. economics correspondent paul solman looks at how a kind of betting market has fared in recent years when it comes to
forecasting winners, part of his weekly series, "making sense," every thursday on the newshour. >> reporter: and they're off! the candidates are out of the gate, around the first turn and at full gallop in america's quadrennial race to elect a president. but, as at the track, one question overshadows all others: who's going to win? >> reporter: like every other candidate, if somewhat more loudly, donald trump keeps pointing to the polls. but when it comes to presidential prognostication, what source is your best bet? a poll? a pundit? a real time trending google search turns out it's none of the above. >> i think that the markets have really been ahead of the polling and ahead of the pundits. >> reporter: because, says david
rothschild, who studies them, political prediction markets incorporate all available information. >> this is where markets have a huge advantage over the smartest people just dealing with polling or historical data, we looked at the 2012 elections, we looked at all the primaries, we looked at all the senatorial, gubernatorial, presidential elections, and you see something that is more accurate than any collection of pundits or statistical polling averages, and extremely well calibrated. >> polls show what people are thinking now, whereas the prediction markets are what people think will happen in the future. >> reporter: moreover, says natalie jackson, senior polling editor for the huffington post, technology has made polling more dicey. >> we're seeing a huge drop off in landline telephones, which was pollsters' bread and butter for a long time. >> reporter: john phillips heads a non-partisan political technology company called aristotle. his firm built and operates predictit, one of just two places americans can legally bet
on or, phillips would prefer i say, "invest in," political predictions, though no more than $850. still, as at the race track or stock market, you're putting your money where your mouth is. >> and that's the beauty of putting just a little bit of money on it. it all of a sudden becomes a matter of pride but it also becomes a matter of focus. you want to see how your investment's doing. >> reporter: phillips gave me a tutorial on how predictit works. i'm a guy who loves to play longshots, my father worked at the racetrack for many years when i was a kid. so i would go with john kasich at 2 cents. all he has to do is go up to 4 cents and i've doubled my money, right? >> well, yes-if he goes up to 4 cents! >> reporter: so what the heck, i bought 25 shares. >> here's your 50 cents up here. you are now the proud owner >> reporter: of 25 shares. >> on john kasich to win the nevada primary, that is, in addition to the thrill of victory, the agony of defeat, and the chance to make money predictit provides a passel of information about the race.
>> you've got 84 comments on this particular market. >> reporter: look-- clinton 36 this was the democratic primary market in colorado. so the market is suddenly collapsed, so i think i'll go with that. and now if i want to buy bernie sanders in another market, to level the playing field, and so oklahoma. sanders is down to 22 cents in oklahoma, so i'm going to buy sanders. offer matched! close-- i'm in! i'm rooting for bernie sanders in oklahoma; i'm rooting for hillary clinton in colorado; and i'm rooting for john kasich in nevada. other larger online political markets, like ireland's paddy power and britain's betfair, echo the odds on predictit and take as much as you want to bet. but they're illegal for us citizens to play. predictit got government approval by limiting the amount
to $850 per market and casting itself as both an investment marketplace and academic research tool, since it began as a project at new zealand's victoria university. >> we provide the technology, once the data is collected, it's anonymized and then there are research agreements with almost two dozen u.s. universities and oxford university. >> reporter: but you're still betting real money. you keep saying investing, but it is betting, isn't it? >> i see it as a stock market. a funny thing happens when people try to figure out what is going to happen tomorrow or a week down the road. and if i can put a little bit of money in the outcome that i'm expecting, i think that's a stock market. >> reporter: can we compromise on agreeing that it's gambling? >> i think you can call it anything you want. >> reporter: but whatever you call it, says researcher rothschild. >> the people who are playing
the market are taking the pulse of the general population, and they've done so accurately for long enough that we can trust that they're understanding how things are impacting very quickly. >> reporter: but predictit chief john phillips says his market provides something more: a prod to democratic involvement. >> these traders not only pay more attention to politics, but they also are more likely to vote. even though it's only a $1 winner take all contract with an $850 limit, it still starts to cause you to think about things differently-- and that's the magic here. it may be that it is an engagement tool for the 20 year olds. >> reporter: researcher rothschild agrees. >> people will start paying attention in a way that they never did before, and so they will make an effort to learn about politics, to understand politics, to engage in politics, in a way that is very, very beneficial to our society. >> reporter: my session with predictit's john phillips was over, but i couldn't resist checking in on my 2-cents a share kasich investment. it had actually gone down.
>> and this is just 50 cents, so its impact on my financial future is minimal, but i can feel myself rooting, for kasich to go up. it's just preposterous, but i can feel it! i can feel it. >> reporter: so, what happened? well, as of today on predictit, john kasich has bottomed out in nevada, where donald trump is now heavily favored. in colorado, sanders is now the odds-on favorite, and i just sold hillary clinton at a loss. but i've done more than o.k. in oklahoma. clinton is still favored, but i sold surging sanders at nearly double what i paid for him. bottom line: a $1.33 profit, or a better than 13% return on investment in less than a week. for the pbs newshour and the power of markets, this is economics correspondent paul
solman, wishing the rest of you the best of luck. >> woodruff: next, another in our race matters series. special correspondent charlayne hunter gault travelled to montgomery alabama to speak with former police chief kevin murphy about the solutions he found to create a more responsive and cooperative police force. during the 50th anniversary of police violence against peaceful civil rights marchers in selma, alabama that ended in montgomery, police chief kevin murphy did something surprising. he apologized to congressman john lewis, a frequent victim of that earlier violence and handed him his badge. we caught up with muchy where he now dr. murphy where he now
works as montgomery county sheriff and where his solutions are still in place. thank you for joining us. >> thank you for having me. >> reporter: what moved you to hand congressman lewis your badge that day? >> i saw him come to montgomery over a several years' period. they would follow the civil rights trail and spend time in montgomery. as a young member of the department i would see him and wonder why has never one acknowledged the injustices that occurred here and thought if i ever become police chief, i'm going to change that. then the day did arrive when they were 'do to come to montgomery for the annual tour and i did not tell anybody, i did not want it to be a political act, i wanted it to be sincere and heartfelt, and the respect that i have for congressman lewis is immeasurable. >> reporter: well, he's told me he has the same for you. in your early says as a police officer, you asked questions. what kind of questions did you ask and what kind of responses
did you get? >> i found that a lot of the officers who had really lived through that era, particularly the white officers, were very reluctant and uncomfortable with talking about it it. >> reporter: so when you became chief, what steps did you take to change what you saw as the wrong? >> one of the first things i implemented as the new police chief was creating a class. we went way back in history to the dred scott decision to the emmett till case because i wanted the officers to experience what really happened. you know, what my observation was, you have a 21-year-old officer who had never lived through or seen the civil rights era for what it was, the dark reality of it. so this young officer would stop an african-american citizen and get somewhat of a pushback because maybe this 60-year-old or 75-year-old african-american citizen's last encounter with a
montgomery police officer was very negative. after they attended the class, i saw a lot of promise in that the next time they encountered that citizen, they felt like i understand now. >> reporter: and you got this class put into the police academy's training. >> i did, and we actually had all members of the department, not just the sworn officers, but the civilians attended as well and had tremendous feedback. the first part of the course is classroom, then a tour of the rosa parks museum. but my favorite part of the class was the conclusion where there was a values segment, and the values segment was giving scenarios to the members of the class. it was strongly agree, somewhat agree, strongly disagree, somewhat disagree. but i was proud of the answers and the outcomes of those scenarios because they were learning from the class that, you know, you have to be very careful in the way that you
apply this power and, you know, we're seeing it in the country now and i think we were teaching that in this class how to deescalate a situation where a citizen was upset because they thought they were going to be mistreated when they saw the patch of the montgomery police department and it was the officer's responsibility to ensure that citizen that that was not going to occur. >> reporter: what do you think, in that experience, is hs any kind of application today? >> i think law enforcement has to get to work and i think one of the biggest challenges we face in this new century is our response to what i would call a critical event, where you have a citizen who's become violent, a citizen who's under the influence of drugs or perhaps are suffering from some type of mental health issue. what i've seen with a lot of these encounters, and very badly
with the death of an unarmed citizen, is fear on the part of the officer. and we all experience it in this uniform. it's nothing to be ashamed of, but you have to be able to manage that fear and i believe sometimes when fear steps in, poor decisions are made, and i think that the use of deadly force falls into that category. >> reporter: what do you do about it? >> we need to be able to teach the officers, the deputies coming into this profession how to manage your fear. no one ever did that to us, my generation. >> reporter: what do you think is the most important thing to do now to ensure that everybody, the police are respected as well as those who deserve to be protected by the police and even those who commit crimes? >> law enforcement needs to start holding themselves accountable, and you're starting to see it in some parts of the country where officers are being
held accountable, and there are consequences for bad behavior. >> reporter: a lot of the people who have been victims of improper police behavior were innocent, but what do you do when you've got criminals? i mean, not everybody is innocent. >> it's not a police officer's job the punish. we're there to enforce the law and to take people into custody. but i think you have seen, in some instances, and certainly back in the early and the latter parts of the last century that, you know, law enforcement felt like it was their role to punish and, you know, it's our responsibility to apprehend and bring these people before the courts. you know, there is no such thing as street justice. you have to abide by the law when you're wearing the uniform and set the example. when you don't do that, you've lost all credibility with the public that you serve.
>> reporter: kevin murphy, thank you. >> thank you. >> woodruff: now a look at how the popular media and gossip site, t.m.z., works, and how it's changing the business. the site is often the leading destination of celebrity news and even notable national scandal. t.m.z. obtained the video of football runningback ray rice knocking his then-fiancee unconscious in a casino elevator. before that, it released recordings of racist remarks made by donald sterling in 2014, who was then the owner of the los angeles clippers. the new yorker published an investigation about t.m.z. and jeffrey brown spoke with the writer, nicholas schmidle, earlier this week. >> brown: nicholas schmidle, welcome.
>> thank you. >> brown: first of all, how do you describe what t.m.z. is and does. >> sure. t.m.z. is a celebrity news site. it is kind of -- it's in the same vein as the "national enquirer," but what they are doing is much more sort of documentiary reporting. >> brown: meaning what? videos, pictures, court documents, doing stories about celebrity news and celebrity gossip that are sort of unimpeachable. in the past, a celebrity news report might have come out and a celebrity might have been been able to say that's not true and dismissed it and has publicists standing in the way. t.m.z. comes to you with the video and says this is what we're running a few hours, do you have a comment. >> brown: and you say nothing new in this kind of gossip and celebrity journalism, but they have changed the game, upped the game, a lot of it, as you show, through some old-fashioned reporting. >> right. there is a shoe-leather
reporting aspect to it. they've dedicated more resources to court reporting. they have three full-time court reporters at the los angeles courthouse. the los angeles times has one. their reporters work very, very hard. the difference, is there is not a lot of enterprise reporting going on. they're not identifying what they're going after and pursuing it. most of what they're doing comes in from tips. there is a tip line, an email to get stories in. >> brown: hundreds come in any given day. >> exactly. >> brown: they pay sometimes large amounts, sometimes smaller amounts, but that's always a possibility for their stories. >> absolutely. there is a lot of money changing hands. $40, $50 over the course of the day as photographers are paying sources in airports, hotels, rest riewnts, and then bigger payments for the more -- for the more desired videos. >> brown: harvey leven the
founder of t.m.z. didn't talk to you, right? >> right. >> brown: but when he has talked about this, he sounds unapologetic. >> he says the video is the video is what he says. if we paid for the video, so be it. paying for information is a condemned practice in journalism because the notion is you are influencing why sources are giving you certain information if they know they're being paid for it. so he's saying we don't actually pay for information, we pay for product, we're licensing product, and that's what we're paying for. >> brown: if they were just doing celebrity journalism, i don't think we would be talking about them. >> absolutely. >> brown: we're talking about them because they've done some consequential stories that have had impact, whether ray rice in the case of the n.f.l. story about a bank getting a bailout that then spent a lot of money on a party, somehow they've crossed over into having an impact. >> don sterling, former l.a. clippers owner.
>> brown: right. the idea of the story was conceived in the aftermath of the second ray rice video t.m.z. posted that showed him knocking out his then fianceeé. t.m.z. was publishing above its weight and publishing controversial stories. >> brown: so the n.f.l. had to pay attention. >> and doing it and finding video in ways other media org zigs weren't. that was the reason we took this project on -- what is t.m.z., how do they do what they do and, you know, i was fascinated trying to figure out how the operation works. >> brown: and how much do you think this has changed the way celebrity journalism works? >> i think that it's changed the way celebrities respond to the journalism that's being done about them. i mean, i think there is a sense of -- the sense of immunity that if you were a celebrity, you can sort of ensconce yourself in publicists and managers and
navigate your way around lawyers and through crises. >> brown: that's what harvey didn't like. >> absolutely. it's impossible to do that. if t.m.z. has court documents or if they have video footage or audio recordings of you speaking to your mistress and making racist comments about spectators at your basketball games, you can't side stepp it. >> brown: the larger question is how much if at all has it impacted more traditional journalism? how much has their success and the tactics they used had a larger influence? >> a great question. i think, look, people go to t.m.z. because they want to see, they don't want to hear about three sources in a hotel who say we saw ray rice step into the elevator. we don't know what happened next, but we saw him drag his wife out. they don't want to read that. they want to watch the video. so i think you're right, it's a god point that what readers want to see is the -- they want to see documents, they want to see the raw footage, and i think
there probably is a drift towards that. >> brown: finally, did you come away wary or mortified or imimpressed? what was your own feeling having looked into it? >> i came away thinking a note of admiration for the way that they wired los angeles. if there was no money changing hands and they had people at delta and limo companies and various places giving information -- >> brown: because they do, right? >> and if t.m.z.'s beat was to cover celebrity news and they had all this information coming in, there is no way you could not tip your hat. the fact money changes hands sort of brings about a cloud of controversy about how they're doing it, but you have to hand it to them, what they do, they do very well. >> brown: the article "the digital dirt," nicholas schmidle. thanks so much. >> thanks for having me on.
>> woodruff: as the super bowl came to a close less than two weeks ago with a win for his denver broncos, quarterback peyton manning seemed to be heading toward a storybook ending for his long career. but right around the same time, old allegations were raised anew, and with a much higher profile this time, about whether manning may have committed sexual assault during his college career. manning has long denied it. but he and his alma mater, university of tennessee, are under new scrutiny. hari sreenivasan has more on the story. >> sreenivasan: the allegation against manning is that in 1996, while a female trainer was examining his foot for an injury, he dropped his shorts and sat on her head and face. manning denied this in a memoir he released, saying he was only mooning a male athlete and the trainer simply was nearby. but a recent column and investigation in the "new york daily news" raised this again.
and manning was named in a new lawsuit that says the university of tennessee has fostered a culture that enables sexual assaults by student athletes christine brennan is a sports columnist for "usa today" and a commentator for abc news, who has written about this. she joins me tonight from atlanta. so, christine, is this now coming up again because just a couple of weeks ago there were 100 hungry reporters covering the super bowl, putting peyton manning and everybody else under the microscope? >> it's a fascinating story, hari, and it really, i think, speaks to the power of social media. back in 2003 when i wrote about this and "usa today" covered the story, there was no twitter or facebook. literally an ember becomes a wildfire in a matter of a couple of hours on a saturday afternoon. that's what happened with this story. there certainly is the component to have the cam newton story and the backlash about people
criticizing him. now the "new york daily news" dredges up and looks at the news about peyton manning and here we are again, a 20-year-old story now back in the news. a fascinating journalistic look and how things can happen in our social media world and, also, i think, a look at a very powerful, popular family, the first family of football, the mannings and how they have perhaps engineered news over the years and now a story that they cannot control. >> sreenivasan: the cam newton story was about the allegation he stole a laptop years and years ago. besides the social media effect, did this first family of football try to suppress this or smear the person who made these allegations? what was the history and why is that so important now? >> not with me, never had any contact with the manning family. never heard from them and, of course, if i had heard from anyone saying don't write this, i would have redoubled my efforts as a journalist to work on the story and write it, that would be the way i was trained and that's my sense of
journalism. but i understand and in one case espn radio host paul finebaum told me yesterday he received phone calls from archie manning or at least one when he was a columnist in birmingham, alabama, when archie manning this great star from the southeastern conference calls you in birmingham, alabama and says don't write the story in the '90s and it's the manning family, and paul finebaum says he's embarrassed now but says he didn't write it because he understood that's a big part of the thing. people around the country love their college football and i wish i could say journalism would trump that but that's not the case. >> sreenivasan: peyton's not responded to the resurfacing to the accusation. is there a consequence of this? you turn on a tv these days and he's selling about everything. >> in one case ultraviolet a
women's rights group called on at least two of the sponsors to say drop him and cut business ties. i think it's important as journalists to say what we know and don't know. i do not know what the future holds for peyton manning. i certainly know this is not the way he wanted to exit the n.f.l., if, in fact, he's retiring. this is the last thing we wanted because his legacy today, his reputation today is more tarnished than it has ever been. but for the future i think there is certainly a chance he can rehabilitate himself. but if he's going to retire, he's going to have to meet the press and he's going to have to answer some of the questions. >> sreenivasan: let's talk about the investigation happening at the university of tennessee. that's a bigger case than just peyton manning. >> it is, yes. last summer, there were 124 schools under investigation from the education department on issues of sexual harassment and sexual assault, were they doing enough to find these things out and deal with them. 124 universities. so the university of tennessee is not alone. people might remember i think
the most famous one has been the florida state story with james winston the heisman trophy winner a couple of years ago. this is a problem throughout the country that the fact that the universities do not seem to have a grasp on how to look at sexual assault, deal with it, adjudicate it and that's the tennessee story and where they have cited peyton manning in this case. >> sreenivasan: christine brennan from "usa today" joining us from atlanta today, thank you. >> thank you, hari. >> woodruff: next, we turn to our series "brief but spectacular," where we talk with interesting people about their passions. tonight we hear from playwright and performer, danai gurira. her latest play "eclipsed" opens on broadway next week and you may also recognize her from her starring role in amc's "the walking dead."
i want women and girls, african disseptember and of color to be able to to not have to keep searching for stories about themselves. ♪ i couldn't find any monologues and stories and plays that i really felt i could take and work with, and i find much connection in shaw and epson, but if you are constantly, only dealing with stories that are not of the people where you're from, not from your heritage, that can function as a disadvantage. i went to grad school because i wanted to learn the rules to know how to break them. i'm breaking in your very comfortable little house over here and i'm going to take a room. i wrote a play called "eclipsed," it grapples with the experience of five different women in the war zone of liberia in 2003. three women who have been abducted at different stages of their lives and become the
forced bush wives, quote, unquote, sex slaves to a commanding officer. eth an astounding cast. i grew up in zimbabwe and i had a good childhood. i felt like i was outspoken, i was a girl who talked a lot and didn't think my voice had any less value than anyone around me and apparently that was strange. moving here struck in me the desire to tell story on african soil. the story about africans had a western protagonist and i was, like, wow, do we not merit our own ability to tell our own stories? so i started to write plays that was literally, like, if you come into this theater, you are going to sit down and spend two hours
or so with an african woman and get to know her. you will see a full person like you see when you watch all the other things. i often feel like a nutty professor, like i'm going to try this experiment and see if it works. my hypothesis is people in the west can absorb african women stories without any shaken or stirred mixer. it can come directly from the source i create so you can see women like this shine and get to do their thang! my name is danai gurira and this is my brief but spectacular take on concreting complex stories for unheard voices. >> woodruff: you can watch other >> woodruff: you can watch other episodes of our brief but spectacular series on our facebook page, facebook.com/newshour. on the newshour online, new studies released today dig deeper into what makes breast milk nutritious, revealing the baby has a key role to play. special sugars in the milk, and
certain microbes in the infant's gut, form a tag team that spur healthy growth in a child. read more about these studies, on our home page, pbs.org/newshour. tune in later tonight, on charlie rose, author roger angell looks at a writer's life. and that's the newshour for tonight. i'm judy woodruff. join us online, and again here tomorrow evening with mark shields and david brooks. for all of us at the pbs newshour, thank you and good night. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: ♪ ♪ moving our economy for 160 years. bnsf, the engine that connects us.
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>> this is "bbc world news america." >> funding of this presentation is made possible by the freeman foundation, newman's own foundation, giving all profits from newman's own to charity and pursuing the common good, kovler foundation, pursuing solutions for america's neglected needs, and sony pictures classics now presenting "the lady in the van." >> just till you sort yourself out. >> an educated woman living like that. >> merry christmas. >> shut the door. i'm a busy woman. would you like to push me up the