Skip to main content

tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  January 27, 2015 4:00am-6:01am EST

4:00 am
ing us. i think it is something because so many people use technology and are seeing the ways it is being integrated into our daily life, i think it is something everyone is paying a lot of attention to. there is a lot of attention on it and a lot of oversight, which is appropriate. whether that will lead to legislation or regulation in the immediate future, i am not sure. i think the dialogue and oversight is important. you're seeing a lot of companies work together on regulatory efforts. i think there are best practices and things that will move forward maybe more quickly than regulation or legislation. it is certainly an issue we are all focused on. >> in the future, i think we will see this change from a person-interface site world we are living in and moving to the
4:01 am
pigpen world in which you as a person with your device carry around all your data. all around you, people are seeking data about you and for you. >> the data may not literally be in the device. you are saying the authority to release it may be much more interactive rather than a one-time i agreed to that policy five years ago. it will be somebody is wanting to know x about you right now. how do you feel about that? >> i walk into starbucks and i have my starbucks app. they know who i am when i walked into the store. here is your coffee you like tod, it has already been prepared for you. >> let's check in with etsy. how is the creepy meter on that? no coffee for you. we will get over that and you will be able to drive into starbucks.
4:02 am
they will have a lamppost a block away. the coffee will be hot when you arrive at starbucks. >> or you will drive by the lamppost and it will say there is a starbucks right here. isn't it time for you to have your starbucks? at 4:00 in the afternoon when you search for a location, it will say, are you going home? i do think we are moving to, whether it is deliberate or not, we will all end up as pigpen carrying our data around us. >> that may not be the best metaphor. >> that is the creepy side of it. >> i am being chased by a jalopy. >> one thing i would add is that may be creepy to althea but i would love it if every time i walked into starbucks my cup of coffee was ready and i did not have to wait in line.
4:03 am
that is where the user choosing to put that app on his phone -- >> people are coming in and grabbing stuff. if you are a third party in 2014 looking at this, what is going on? if we rfid money, it is like pushing the grocery cart and it adds up your stuff because it is tagged. you could grab buckets of money in the bank left out in the lobby. you just walk out the door and it would check you out. it would be, ok, $272. >> why would you need money at that point? >> so you could save walking into a bank. >> you may not want to try that in 2014. >> i think it speaks back to the generational shift and
4:04 am
societal tolerance for those issues. remember the seamless sharing apps three or four years ago which i loved. they would seamlessly share after one-time authorization your netflix viewing. by and large, users got freaked out by that and they deemphasized that. >> you have young people walking in and grabbing a coffee and old people in line. >> as our society gets more used to things, you can move the ball slightly forward. i do believe things like that that today some creepy, in five or 10 years, it may sound -- >> we are talking about the melding of physical infrastructure and the internet
4:05 am
out there. walking down the street, i cannot help but think to turn to you and how much you as a c.i.o. of a public entity is about keeping the trains running on time on the desktops of the employees of the city versus thinking about what role there might be in public infrastructure to support the kind of vision tod is talking about. >> i am the chief information officer for the city of boston formerly a small colony of puritans down the road from here and now the hub of the regional economy. it is an interesting question. much of my job does consist of making sure the trains run, the computers work. as a city, near where the rubber meets the road sometimes literally on the more innovative technologies being developed when it comes to things like transportation
4:06 am
things like lodging. we have legitimate public policy interests at play when it comes to these new innovative technologies. we are less in the realm of privacy and intermediary liability as a policy matter. we do have to think about things like public safety, liability, and protection of landlords and individuals participating in these new and innovative services. there is a shift i think is happening. we have gone from a place of many municipalities to one where we believe we have an obligation to try to support the innovation economy, to work with companies doing innovative things, and find ways to meet our public policy needs and objectives in a practical sense.
4:07 am
the challenge we face now is there's not necessarily great models for this that do address those challenges at the local level. that is what we are struggling to do, to work with companies to make sure we are developing policies that are smart and don't just shut down things that should be given room to grow. >> how much of your concern within a municipal government has to do with what joel alluded to, getting internet available to everybody? i cannot help but ask, how much would something like net neutrality be something in which something like the city of boston would have a stake? would boston have a view on net neutrality? >> boston does have a view on net neutrality. our mayor has signed on to the conference of mayors statement encouraging regulatory agencies to support and preserve net
4:08 am
neutrality. we look at it from a couple of different angles. one is we are a center of the innovation economy. we think it is important for businesses in boston to be able to thrive and have an open internet. we also look at it as a question of equity and ensuring our citizens have access to affordable broadband as being a core issue in our cities and something we have oversight into how we think about our policies. we want to make sure when a citizen goes online, whether they are doing business with the city, accessing educational information, looking for job opportunities, trying to start a business, that they have the connectivity and bandwidth they need to do that.
4:09 am
as a result, we have skin in the game. >> is there a hunger to produce municipal fiber or get the city into the broadband business? >> we are committed to ensuring every resident of boston has access to affordable high-speed broadband internet. there are a lot of different ways to solve that problem. i don't think we have figured out the right answer for that. i don't think we are where we need to be. for our most under-connected residents, there are not a lot of great options now. but we are looking at ways to encourage and increase the adoption of broadband. >> does anyone want to weigh in on net neutrality? >> i want to go back to the first question you asked in regards to internet and technology adoption within the city. take the general premise of, will government break the internet and flip it
4:10 am
around. i want to say the internet can help governments do their jobs better. that is what lorelei was talking about earlier. we have tremendous amounts of data we continue to get on a daily basis on millions of users. one thing a lot of companies will continue to do is figure out ways to package this data that can be helpful to government entities. >> does yelp offer that for government? >> you can go on yelp and rate any general space. >> city of boston, 4.5 stars. >> our parking clerk's office is not faring so well. >> is there something that could be done? is it a feedback issue or a different issue?
4:11 am
>> i don't think anyone is going to the parking clerk for a good time. in terms of how we do service delivery, we are thinking about how we use data. some of that is about using the data we have a more strategic ways in our organization to manage, set targets, create accountability, creating transparency with the public. we are interested not only in the data sets we have but the ones that exist in the public and how we can interact with that in an effective way. for us, it is not thinking about how many stars we have on yelp but are we delivering good services and holding ourselves accountable for that. there are a lot of ways to use technology to do that. >> i am a professor at george washington university and a fellow at the shorenstein center at harvard. and thinking about whether
4:12 am
government can break the internet, i think the answer is no because the internet as a peer to peer network is already broken and has been for some time. the notion of peer to peer network where my computer, my website, is treated equally to all others was true until about 2007 and 2008. when amazon put something online and i put something online, we both had to take the same path over the internet. >> now amazon writes a check or builds its own delivery network, and you cannot. >> now the vast majority of web traffic never touches the public backbone. instead of having to go through regional networks and up to the main national fiber networks and back down taking dozens of hops along the way, now when i do a google search it is just a
4:13 am
few hops. instead of using the backbone, there is a direct fiber connection between comcast and google. the reason this has happened is because we are all very sensitive to tiny slowdowns in latency. >> is this -- >> it is now the de facto structure of how the internet functions. >> is this something, see, the system works? >> i think the real concern is less about bandwidth, which is mostly what policymakers have been talking about, and much more about latency. the single best established fact about web traffic is higher latency, waiting a fraction of a second longer between when you click the button and the page loads, it
4:14 am
is impossible to build an online audience without having a blazingly fast site. google has spent billions of dollars just to be about a quarter of a second faster. the concern is not so much youtube or netflix. if they have to pay for more bandwidth, they will. the concern is if comcast is in the situation of being able to force everybody else to pay for latency, that is not just about google or netflix. that is about every single newspaper site. >> where do you park that concern? wake up, congress, you need to do x? or is it something for which you want to invoke the industry? where do we take that concern? >> i think it has to be a concern in the corporate boardroom, the federal communications commission, the federal trade commission
4:15 am
absolutely in the halls of congress. >> they are all listening to you. what do you want them to do? >> i think the most important principle is making sure people and small carriers especially don't have to pay to have the same latency amazon or google does. a net neutrality focused more on latency rather than bandwidth. making sure that if i have my own upstart online that it runs roughly as fast as amazon. >> is there anything you would ask of the supranational entities, the internet governance entities? >> it is something regulators
4:16 am
in europe and around the world should pay attention to. if comcast -- because there is no competition for truly high-speed internet, you really do have -- what comcast is explicitly trying to do is become a market maker or essentially the model. the ability to say nice website, it is a shame it runs half a second slower than everyone else's. >> turn to comcast and we don't have one. let me ask, among the barons that have the billions to not have this be a problem, are you guys basically sitting pretty? are you concerned about the future of the infrastructure that delivers bits between you and your customers? joel?
4:17 am
>> of course we are concerned about it. my guess is most of the companies around the table are concerned. we have on net neutrality taken the position through our association that it is something the f.c.c. needs to address and preserve. i agree with matthew that latency is a huge issue for users, particularly in the developed world where most people have access. they are to the next stage of wanting access as fast as possible. other parts of the world, that is not the issue. only about 1/3 of the world has internet connection. the bigger challenge in huge parts of the world is to get to the first step, which is access, to get them online at all. that is something we are focused on. >> how do you think through the
4:18 am
natural possibility that when you get them online, you will get them online in a mode that says we will give you facebook wikipedia, a few other things we curate? anything else, let's wait until you can pay for it. how do you think through that form of what i gather is a non-neutral net you are providing at no cost? how do you think through what that would look like to somebody? is it a good thing if somebody thinks the internet is wikipedia? >> about 85% of the people in the world live within wireless coverage. only about 1/3 of the world is online. there is a huge gap that needs to be filled. it is not an infrastructure problem. it is an awareness problem. what are the benefits i can get from being online? it is a cost problem that they cannot afford data. one of the things we in
4:19 am
cooperation with governments and other companies are trying to do is figure out, our their business models and ways to address the awareness and cost issue? one is by providing some free basic services. about a month ago, internet.org rolled out an app in zambia which provides basic services. facebook is on there, so is wikipedia, so are a number of maternal health organizations. >> that is the curated stuff i was referring to. >> things that are important to get to the people in that country. we will see how it works. so far, there is good interest. that is a way to addressing the access problem. we think that is a good thing.
4:20 am
>> it almost suggests a path from no internet, non-neutral internet is not such a terrible alternative path to neutral internet. >> i think there are issues we are properly focused on in the united states and other areas in the developing world that will be important in the developing world as well. there are threshold issues. you've got to get them online and to see the value of connection. that is something we are focused on. >> i am the last person on earth who will defend comcast. i am the recently retired c.e.o. turner broadcasting. i do think it needs to be recognized that these companies have made a massive investment in infrastructure. it is not a public resource. they are entitled to make money on it.
4:21 am
they have to respond to the marketplace. i'm going to voice a bigger concern we should have about companies like comcast. they have to respond to the marketplace. you cannot afford to have people not be able to get to service sites. they roll their eyes when people say to them you're going to discriminate. >> that is true even if they are the only broadband game in town. >> we will see you. as a citizen out of the industry, i am frightened about the implications of their growing size. we spent half an hour on privacy. nobody mentioned the cable operators. these new generations of set top boxes are capable of obtaining and keeping and using all of this private information. if you have a new generation
4:22 am
set-top box, every show you watch every minute of the day. nobody talks about that. they talk about facebook and yahoo! >> getting to the reality of internet in 2014, many people would be saying television cable? all i need is broadband. is it the name of the game for a company like comcast is ultimately cable where broadband is the loss leader? >> they make more money on it now. there is a higher margin. because of the strength of programming companies like espn, margins have gone down. that is how they started. the potential of what these boxes can do good and bad, good for advertising and bad for privacy. something i am amazed there is not more discussion of. >> we are almost out of
4:23 am
time. i want to give the handful of people who have yet to weigh in a moment to say something. together, we who have not spoken, leaving out myself bring us in for a landing. is there something we have missed? is there anything we have covered for which there is something vital you want to add? >> i come at it from a news media perspective and echo some of matt's concerns. it remains the case that media organizations, no matter how maligned they are today with business models having trouble provide a huge amount of important information in the united states. i fear in a metered internet situation and a non-neutrality situation we could lose a great deal of that civically important information. >> is there anything you would ask of government?
4:24 am
write us a check like a national endowment? >> public spectrum for the public good. maybe a big media merger tax. we have thrown around the idea of nonprofit back lanes or some version of that. >> get c-span faster than ever. latency on the agriculture committee. i should not be saying this about c-span. >> alex jones, i am the director of the media center on public policy. a couple of things in the news today that bear on this. one is the lawsuit against yelp in san francisco that charged yelp with shaking down advertisers and threatening
4:25 am
them with lower rankings if they did not buy advertising. that was totally thrown out. yelp said we did not do it. but the point is the court said it does not matter whether you did it or not. you can do anything you please with that information. it turns the issue of a company's ownership of data and what they do with it and how they use it entirely into a first amendment issue. >> we have another panel coming up. are there things we could imagine companies subscribing to? maybe we don't need a law preventing it but something that would say we will never do it and sue us if we do. >> this decision, that is the argument and what the court bought. >> a company can make it so that they are sueable. they don't like it but they
4:26 am
can. >> from yelp's perspective there is never amount of money a business could pay to influence the overall. >> if i had a small tablet of what cement and a stylus, would yelp be willing to write into that tablet a commitment to that through 2025? >> it has always been our commitment since the company was founded. >> every day, the farmer comes to the chicken and feeds it. >> the court didn't even have to get to the point of addressing whether or not the claim we made was true. >> i am asking. can you imagine the company promising for the future it will resemble the past in that way? >> generally speaking, i would say most companies have an ethos they were founded on and follow. that has been one of the core
4:27 am
ethos of yelp. >> we are not going to move a car office lot today. >> exactly. >> but it is something you might be willing to consider. it brings us full circle to the beginning of the panel with joel pointing out we might get rid of stuff under the a.u.p., but we are not messing with the feed. one might wonder, could that amount to a commitment of some kind in the future or not? obviously, we are not going to move a car office lot today. those might be interesting to think about to bridge the gap alex is invoking. >> even though yelp and other companies would not do it, they would argue in court for the right to do it because they have first amendment rights. that is the way they are interpreting them. that is going to be a real issue. >> why not establish a reputational stake in something?
4:28 am
i don't know if google regrets it, don't be evil. that is a way of saying come at us if we let you down. >> google has ways of looking at this issue. the right to do what you want to with the data you collect is an interesting question the courts will have to deal with. >> alex, thank you for that intervention. wonderful. adam, let me turn to you. >> adam connor at brigade, a new startup. we want to change the world and save government -- with the eyes of the world upon you. >> thank you.
4:29 am
we have the spirit of the startup are presented here. catherine, nancy? pass. nicco? >> i reserve the balance of my time for the subsequent session. >> join me in thanking the panel. we stand adjourned until 11:00.
4:30 am
4:31 am
>> coming up next on c-span senator lisa murkowski of alaska responds to president obama's call for wilderness
4:32 am
protection designations for more than 12 million additional acres within alaska's arctic national wild life issues. then journalists discuss how the media covers race issues. >> the interior department sunday announced it would be seeking a conservation plan that would designate more than 12 million additional acres within alaska's arctic national wild live area known as anwar. the issue would seal the area off from oil eaksploration giving it the highest degree of protection. it currently has 7 million acres preserved. in a video released by the white house president obama discussed his intentions to ask for congressional approval on the matter.
4:33 am
appreciate that a great deal. mr. president, i thought i was >> go mr. president, i thought i was going to be spending the vast majority of my time this weekend going through each of
4:34 am
these many amendments that a member's mentioned, you know, we're in the hundred -- close to 150-plus category. but my attention on keystone and the issues in front of us was dramatically pulled away because of an announcement out of the administration that i learned of late on friday evening and that was -- the first announcement today. and the fact of the matter is, is i'm just not in a very good mood right now. i'm not in a very good mood, and i think it's probably true to say that most alaskans are not in a very good mood. folks back home woke up sunday morning to the news that this president effectively declared
4:35 am
war on our economic future in the state of arks and i know that -- in the state of alaska, and i know that those are pretty hard words. and it has been suggested by some in the administration that perhaps i'm overreacting. but, mr. president let me tell you, when -- when our economic opportunities as a state which lie in our natural resources are denied us as a state the promises that were made when we entered the union the compact that we made, that we are not able to see those promises then there is -- there is nothing else, there is no other way to describe it than -- than that is a war on our economic future. now, we had -- we've got winter
4:36 am
going on in alaska right now. my hometown where i went to high school, i think, it was about 30 below this weekend. up on the north slope temperatures are about 60 degrees below zero. it is pretty cold. the president in his video where he made his announcement that he is moving to put the arctic coastal plain in de facto wilderness he described the area in the north slope as fragile, that the wildlife is fragile and i will tell you the area in the coastal plain the area in anwr is an amazing place. it is a special place. as are so many places in alaska. it is an amazing place and i am
4:37 am
blessed to call it home. but the president decided on sun sunday to announce his decision to manage the arctic coastal plain as de facto wilderness. you i don'ti don't have my maps, but you will see a lot of maps and anwr coming up here. the coastal plain is the part on the very northern part of the state. and it is part of the non-wilderness part of anwr. people need to understand that anwr is a huge area. it is 19.7 million acres. it is an area the size of the state of south carolina up there. and there are portions of anwr that have been designated as wilderness and they were they were deducted as wilderness back in
4:38 am
19 85, along with -- in 1980, along with other areas. so much wilderness, close to 60 million rearlings acres of million wilderness designated that there is a provision that says that's enough. alaska has given enough in the sense that more than half of the wilderness area in the united states of america is in alaska. more than half -- all the other wilderness in the lower 48 states 49 states -- alaska has over half. and so the sense was, there will be no more wilderness declarations in alaska. and yet the president announces sunday that in addition to the coastal plain effectively all
4:39 am
the balance of anwr will be brought into wilderness designation. so what does this mean to a state like alaska? again, history is going to be important in this discussion going forward because the area in the coastal plain the 1002 area -- and it is designated that because of a section in the law -- the coastal plain was specifically set aside in 1980 for further study of its oil and gas potential. so you had a decision that was made back in 1980 where you had more than 100 million acres in alaska that were turned into federal law.
4:40 am
but it was recognized that this area this 1.7 million acres was unique because of its resource potential. it was identified in law as such. and it said, we're going to reserve this. we're going to study it. for its oil and gas potential. and then in the 1980's, the ronald reagan did just that. they study did it and recommended that it be opened to responsible energy development. and ever since then, mr. president, we have been seeking per inseeking mehrseeking permission to open up just 2,000 acres on the coastal plane for that very purpose for oil and gas exploration. so what we're -- we're not talking about opening up the full coastal plain. we're not talking about touching any of the area that was designated as wilderness in
4:41 am
1980. we're talking about 2,000 acres in a 1.7 million-acre area that has been set aside specifically for this. so when you think about what that means 2,000 acres is .1% of the entire 1002 area. it is .01% of anwr. when you put it into context 99.9% of anwr would remain untouched if all we were seeking to do was to access the 2,000 acres. but we also know that if we were able to access this small area within the coastal plain that we can gain access to an estimated 10.3 billion barrels
4:42 am
of oil -- 10.3 billion barrels of oil. if we produce oil at that rate of 1 million barrels a day it'll last almost 30 years. mr. president, right now we've got an oil pipeline in alaska, the trans-alaska oil pipeline, 800 miles from the north slope down to valdez. been doing a fine job providing resource to the country in an environmentally sound and safe manner. it's an engineering miracle. it is fabulous. what it lacks right now is more oil in the pipe. we're less than half full. so the state of alaska is being aggressive in looking for how we might not only fill up that pipe to help alaska and to help the country and to bring about jobs and to bring about revenues but
4:43 am
how we can do so in a responsible manner. we think that we've got some pretty high standards in alaska, and we need to. this is extreme environment. it's tough working there right now, let me tell you. and they don't shut down because it's cold. in fact, this is the only time of year that you can explore out there because the environmental safeguards are such that you can't take exploration rigs out on the tundra in the summer where it might leave a mark. no we wait until it's the coldest, the darkest the ground is frozen as far as it possibly can. so this is -- this is the time of year that we are hoping to be able to do more. but what this president is doing is not only saying, nope -- no to that 2,000 acres that you're seeking to access that would be
4:44 am
bringing you a million barrels a day potentially for 30 years and allowing for jobs and a resource. no not -- not -- not to that 2,000 acres. he's saying no forever. not only no to oil and gas development, but no to anything else. no roads no airstrip, no nothing -- no motorized anything when it comes to a wilderness area. now, the president is saying that you know, the congress has to make this decision -- and in fairness that is true. it is only the congress that can make that decision to convert the coastal plain to permanent wilderness. but the reality is, folks he's made this decision here. and he's made it without us, because what happens under this comprehensive conversation plan -- this c.c.p. -- this area is
4:45 am
now immediately treated as wilderness with or without our approval. so that designation may not be there, but how is it being treated? it's being treated as wilderness. now, i would assert, mr. president, that this is in clear violation of the "no more wilderness clause," the no more clause in anilca. now, it's -- it is so -- it is so frustrating, it is so infuriating to think that we would have -- we would have acknowledged that some 30 years ago, when anilca was passed, that that recognition when so much of the state of alaska was put off limits to any form of
4:46 am
development, to place it in wilderness status and to have the federal government agree that we'd done our part, that we'd contributed enough of our lands. now, mr. president you're from a state that has wide open spaces. what do you do as a state if, if if you have so much of your state -- we've got 66% of the state of alaska that is federally held, and we all know that federal public lands -- there's different -- there's different aspects of access to it. b.l.m. lands means something. park service means something. refuge status means something. and wilderness status means something else toasmght else altogether. and so when we -- when we
4:47 am
acknowledged -- and the federal government acknowledged -- that no more, no more in alaska, we kind of thought that that would be respected. we thought that that might be respected, but apparently this president is going to >> good eevepbling. welcome for a timely discussion on "coverage of race in
4:48 am
america. how are we doing? how can we do better? this program has been planned jointly by the national press club and the capital press club. tonight is historic. because of how we came together here this evening as partners to discuss the very issue that once divided our two organizations. race. i am the 107th president of the national press club. i also want to acknowledge the presence of john huges, the 108th president who took office last week. thank you for being here this evening. one of the highlights of my year as president was to be invited to speak in this very room at the 70th anniversary awards reception of the capital
4:49 am
press club formed in 1944 by african american journalists at a time they were denied membership in the national press club. african american journalists and communicators have been active members of the press club since 1955, and we are proud that many have been in leadership positions over the years. i also am proud very proud that one of our newest members is hazel, the president of the capital press club. thank you for joining the national press club as many members have. and above all thank you for working hard so hard to ensure the success of this evening program. as we announced at the 70th
4:50 am
anniversary celebration, standing right over there, hazel and i felt it was appropriate so appropriate and so timely to have what we have described as a cutting-edge forum to discuss media coverage of race in america in the light of recent events from ferguson to staten island. both hazel and i want this to be a best practices look at the journalism that came out of the events in those cities and to identify what was well done and what could be done better. and any other topic that our panelists want to raise. everything we say tonight will be said with the hope that journalism can always be improved to the extent the panel's comments and questions can aim toward that goal we are very, very grateful. i will now ask my friend hazel
4:51 am
to give her welcome remarks and to introduce our very distinguished panel. and let me thank all of you for being here despite the weather and the fear of the weather. we are so grateful to you all for being here. >> thank you. let's give him a hand. [applause] it was also an honor for me to join and then to join in this very important forum this evening. in 1903, web dubois wrote that the problem of the century of the 20th century at that time was the color line. 112 years later here we are discussing the color line with
4:52 am
the backdrop of the police killing of michael brown in ferguson, missouri with the backdrop of the police killing of eric garner, in staten island new york. here we are as journalists speaking from the standpoint of the higher ground. our high standards of journalism that we love to talk about and that we really aspire to have. and yet when it comes the to afflicting the comfortable and comforting, the afflicted, the question tonight is are we measuring up? the question is, tonight when it comes to issues of race in america and race coverage in america, how are we doing?
4:53 am
and what can we do better? and we have an outstanding panel here tonight. a stellar panel. to discuss those issues. i'm going to introduce each one of them and then one at a time in their own way they are going to speak for five minutes on that question. how are we doing? what we can do better in their own way. then myron and i are going to ask some questions of them and then hand it over to you for our town hall meeting. there are two microphones on either side of the room. when that time comes you will line up at both of those microphones and prepare to fire away your questions. but first, we have ms. vaughn. web editor of the st. louis american.com and the art editor and reporter for the st. louis american newspaper.
4:54 am
she was the st. louis american's most active reporter in ferguson during the crisis following the police killing of michael brown, jr. her coverage of the protests that followed has been republished nationwide by ebony magazine and black newspapers around the country. let's welcome kenya. and then we have mr. paul far hi. he is media coverage reporter for the "washington post." paul's articles cover issues from everything from free speech to abuses and racist comments and hate speech. his beat also expands into media conflicts of interest political oversight of journalists, and even the hiring practices of media agencies. let's give paul a hand.
quote
4:55 am
next to paul we have april ryan. april is white house correspondent for the american urban radio network that 475 affiliated radio stations. april has covered and conducted exclusive super views with three presidents. president president obama george bush and bill clinton. following this forum april will sign her new book, the presidency in black and white. my up-close view of three presidents and race in america. let's welcome her. mr. jeff johnson has e-mailed. we hope that he is on his way but he is trying to catch a flight so that he won't get caught up in the monster storm. he is on his way. and we will introduce him when he gets here. thank you. so we will go to athena.
4:56 am
a general assignment reporter for cnn. she works out of cnn's washington bureau previously she was a white house producer with nbc where she wrote packages produced story segments and reported on air for msnbc and nbc news. she covered the presidential campaigns of hillary clinton and barack obama during the 2008 election cycle. remember that? let's give her a hand. i'm sorry. sitting next to athena is mr. gilbert belyon, editor of the st. louis post dispatch. last month it was announced that he would be receiving the prestigious national press
4:57 am
foundation benjamin c bradley award as editor of the year. for "guiding his news organization through the police shooting of michael brown in ferguson missouri, and the tumultuous aftermath. he will receive that award february 189 right here in d.c. and next to gilbert is mr. roland martin. he is an author. roland is a columnist and host of tv 1's news one now with roland martin. is a nationally syndicated columnist. he is a former cnn contributor and author of speak brother, a black man's view of america. and his newest book the first president barack obama's rode to the white house as
4:58 am
originally reported by roland s. martin. let's give this entire panel a hand as we anticipate the powerful conversation this evening. and we are going to start with kenya. >> hi, everybody. i guess i will go ahead and get started with one of the -- well, the reason why i'm probably here and that's ferguson. i remember august 9 like it was ten seconds ago. i was doing my going about my everyday business of social media watching just looking on sight and i saw a man hold a sign that said the ferguson -- he said the ferguson police department just murdered my unarmed son. is this real?
4:59 am
i wanted to get down there. because people were gathering. i'm an entertainment reporter. and yeah, i know. of all things. and i couldn't remember like to this day, like i could remember all of the pre-events that kicked off ferguson, i couldn't remember one joke he told and nothing negative to mr. cosby, and what's happening. and i got home and i just -- i remember thinking, what does this mean. i felt something different about this. >> three things about that episode, two of which are small and one of which i think is large. first of all, i watched a lot of the television coverage, cnn, fox, misnbc and i'll exempt my friends on the panel
5:00 am
who are in print and radio. but television didn't tell us something that was going on in ferguson and that was how many people were truly involved in this and hofere how large a community was involved. i'm sure that the geography was obvious to your readers but not obvious to my people. i couldn't tell whether the northern part of st. louis was on fire or it was a couple of blocks away. and i think that was the basic failure of what was going on in terms of the coverage. the next step, also got me which was why was ferguson different than the protests that evolved in new york and oakland and los angeles and chicago? ferguson did turn violent. no analysis in the media why ferguson ended up the way it did and why there was an equal amount of grievance but not like the death of michael brown, why there wasn't the same kind of reaction. new york was very peaceful. new york was peaceful and chicago was peaceful.
5:01 am
>> i was not in ferguson. i did not cover directly. i experienced it the way most people in this room probably did. maybe not most in this room. but most people in the media. i saw i think three things about that episode two of which are small and one of which i think is large. first of all, i watched a lot of the television coverage. cnn, fox. i will exempt my friends on the panel who are in print and radio. but television didn't tell us something very important about what was going on in ferguson, i think. and that was how many people were truly involved in this and over how large a community was involved. ame sure that the geoif i was obvious to your readers but it
5:02 am
was not obvious to people like me watching on television. i could not tell whether the entire northern part of st. louis was on fire or a couple blocks. and i think that was the basic failure of what was going on in terms of the coverage. the next step, also got me, which was why was ferguson different than the protests that evolved in new york and oakland and los angeles and chicago? ferguson did turn violent. no analysis in the media why ferguson ended up the way it did and why there was an equal amount of grievance but not like the death of michael brown, why there wasn't the same kind of reaction. new york
5:03 am
was very peaceful. new york was peaceful and chicago was peaceful. was it the police response or police nonresponse or something that the political structure of those communities did? was it the media that portrayed those protests in a more responsible way. i would like to see some follow-up on that. the other part of this is something that came home to me when i saw the movie "selma" a few days ago and the person portraying martin luther thing -- king said and that was the optics of violent protests. king wasn't advocating violent protests, but he understood to get the media involved to
5:04 am
galvanize the media attention, there had to be action and drama. and that is why selma was selected. and martin luther king knew that the sheriff was going to overreact and beat those protests and going to shock the nation. and the reason it shocked the nation is because the media came running and the media were sympathetic. and in that sense, we know one thing about ferguson shall that violence did get the media's teaning and we will remember selma more so. >> it is an honor to be here
5:05 am
this evening, especially in the midst of a storm. but to let you know how much race is an issue in this country that you came out to hear it. i covered the white house the past 18 years and i found at the white house, everything comes to the white house from war to peace and everything in between. and between war and peace, there are matters of race as well. and since i began covering the white house and three presidents and researching for the book, it's interesting how people think that race is not always on the forefront of the white house, and that's not always true, but doesn't make it to the front page of the post. it may go into the bmp section or c section. but race does matter.
5:06 am
one of the first writings from someone, a black person from the white house was paul jennings. he wrote a slave in the white house. he was a slave for president madison. you don't hear about that, do you? race played a part way back. it was before kennedy and l.b.j.. we didn't hear about that kind of thing. the sad part of is, i'm an african-american women, i'm the only one in the white house that deals on that white house. when something comes to a moment, they talk about it. in my book, president clinton talks about it, race factors in.
5:07 am
it has to be that moment. it has to be a ferguson, a selma, a bloody sunday. but we have people in st. louis. we have everyone around. we cover these things daily and sad when the african-americans is so much so and prevalent in education to housing to catching a cab in new york it's prevalent, in crime, it's prevelent in drugs, and you hear about it when there is a moment. and the sad part is, this is on the president's table. we have melanie campbell, she meets with the president quite a bit, talking about issues of race. melanie, please stand up. we have people like that who
5:08 am
come to the white house and you don't hear about that and it is interesting, but race matters. it's not just a black or latino issue but it's an everybody issue. >> thanks for having me. >> i'm excited to hear what everybody has to say about this issue and good to talk about how we are covering about race and one of the most exciting things we have heard, kenya mentioned which is the thrilling side bar conversations that came about when question started talking about the ferguson and the garner issue.
5:09 am
i covered the street protests after the decision not to prosecute the officer. i asked a couple of friends how they thought in terms of what we were covering race. they said you are covering it, at least. that's a start. but i think it goes beyond that. we got beyond the headlines and it can be harder to go and have real conversations on television. certainly i did a good job of trying to look at the issues behind of the headlines and the protest and violence and many ways we can do better. as journalists, our mission has to be more than providing a megaphone.
5:10 am
we have to also hopefully bring some light so it's not just heat. and i think we have a ways to go. but i saw some of that in the coverage like these thrilling side bar covers. it depends on the media. people in print and radio have different challenges. but certainly in print you have seen issues behind the problems in ferguson and the good reporting we saw and the traffic tickets and towns like ferguson were interacting with the poorer residents in the black community. television ends up being about compelling pictures. there is a focus on the big crowds and there can be a focus on violence and context
5:11 am
matters, to paul's point. i think we have had a good start and we have to continue to do so. and to do so with a wide range of voices and i think that specifically, the reason this is so important, there are so many people who don't think about race on a daily basis. they don't get the struggles that people who are minorities may be dealing with. and that became clear to me, well many times, but during the coverage of the garner protests. the reaction i got was remarkable on twitter. a lot of people just didn't get it. one -- one night i tookal picture of a young black male, 12, 13, who was walking with his family. younger sibblings and his
5:12 am
mother and holding a sign that said i could be next. i tweeted it out. and a bunch of people thought it was moving. they repeated and thought it hit high pressure system for them. a lot of other people on twitter said, as long as he behaves himself, he will be fine. they don't get the issue at hand. and so that he the example i wanted to give. but very important for us to cover. we may be criticized for focusing on the pictures and the dramatic of the pictures but it's our role to tell that story. we have to back that up with discussions and panel discussions far away from the action. to some extent we managed to do
5:13 am
that. >> is this on? we are going to bring up our seventh panelist. mr. jeff johnson. jeff is an award-winning journalist, motivational speaker. only a few weeks ago, he conducted an interview with president obama on the rt police shootings of unarmed black men. jeff also served as a national director for the youth and college division of the naacp. let's move on to gilbert and move on to jeff. >> i have prepared remarks and go through these. >> it's a little bit different when you consider that it's in your backyard.
5:14 am
i know many of you are from st. louis. it's different from how you feel county courthouse. the ferguson-related issues have defined race relations over the past months. it has laid bare long-standing racial profiling, concentrated ferguson is not exceptional in the issues itraised to the country. many probably thought such an event would happen elsewhere where crime and poverty is worse but not in ferguson. ferguson has demonstrated how people of different races and
5:15 am
backgrounds can live in close proximity, yet live very far apart. these are complex issues. i want two things to talk about when we talk about race coverage in america. that is the tone of the public discourse and the issue of demographics. the political polarization have given rise to harsh constructive conversations are opinions. harder to kict after class nationality, race, and geography which makes well meaning news coverage subject to intense criticism across the entire spectrum. this has been true with ferguson coverage and its many issues. too many in the public take an us versus them position. from various quarters, motives or bias are assigned to the news media. news contrary to one's
5:16 am
perspectives is viewed as bias of censorship. an individual is never part of the problem. it's those people creating problems and they must change. furthermore, political extremism have made popular the knee-jerk conversations that undermine solid news reporting and distract from seening slices. some politics divide by fear and threats associated with the changing complex of america. social media has become a vehicle for hate, intolerance, and the deliberate spread of hoaxes and misinformation. we saw this in ferguson. social media and websites that espouses a political agenda are part of the american fabric. they're here to stay, yet their presence to assert a specific agenda complicates roles of
5:17 am
news organizations. journalists are squeezed by biased confirmation which some people cling to preconceived notions. these factors have further impaired understanding and constructive conversations about race. it affects how we cover race. let me speak to demographics quickly. the change in america are undeniable. this creates fear in people who see a threat to their way of life. the change of demographics is inexorable and so is the backlash. the hispanic population is 54 million right now, the largest minority group in the country. it will double by 2050. the largest number of the undocumented immigrants are hispanics, yet the growth in
5:18 am
hispanics will result from births, not immigration. some feel under siege and unable to understand the legality of immigrants or other minorities who retain their ancestral language while they fully embrace american culture. to some, culture is a zero sum game. so it rings hollow to them. that includes many elected officials. it may be present but it may not be recognized. nativism is common to america. now it's some people from latin america who are being targeted. harsh rhetoric harbors ignorance and stereotypes. for some americans spanish
5:19 am
language or bilingual news coverage occurs in a vacuum apart from them. they're not hearing it, but i do not underestimate the role of ethnic media in this country. mainstream media is to -- what we need are more voices and more viewpoints across the spectrum and that's the role the mainstream media must play. thank you. all right. certainly glad to be here with you as well as the panel. let me be as clear and concise as i can be. and that is media's coverage of race in america is shameful, deplorable, abominable and hypocritical. media cannot cover race when it's unwilling to look at its own shop.
5:20 am
how can media do stories on the lack of diversity in the academy when it comes to whether or not "selma" should have been nominated for best director or best actor while deciding what goes in the next news cast? how can media talk about how it needs to broaden its tent when the same media outlets have virtually no minorities in executive positions? how can media talk about income and equality in this country and talk about job disparity when you look at the folks who are in news rooms, those who are making those making six and seven-figure salaries and who are making five-figure salaries? i dealt with it for six years on cnn, the austin american-statesman, i
5:21 am
challenged my boss to say how can we talk about race in america when we are unwilling to face it in ourselves? you have virtually all white men deciding what's going to be the story of the day. you can't talk about race in america if a black woman comes up missing. a white blue eyed woman comes up missing, it's wall-to-wall coverage. why that is the case? when a white woman comes up missing in america, they see their mother, their daughter their niece. but when a black woman comes up missing, that's not what they see. whether a woman comes up missing, you cover one, how do you explain how you don't cover the other? it shouldn't have to be community protests for networks or newspapers to cover those
5:22 am
stories. when you come up missing, the first 72 hours are most critical. but it's six weeks later when we start doing the protests when someone says let's do a story. the one problem we have is nobody reports on us. media relies on media blogs and media blogs -- and also -- or media websites, but the question is who challenges us? who calls us into question? and so when we're talking about who leads that conversation, it really has to be a question of who is deciding what goes on in the newscast, what's going to be the lead story, what is going to be on that particular front page and who is informing those decisions and their particular backgrounds? i used to sit there and go -- i would listen to some of these conversations and literally look at folks and go, are you serious? you actually asked that question?
5:23 am
or that's a particular angle that you decided to take? give you an example. to understand how you you have to broaden and link things and if you are not a person of color where you actually -- you actually have lived this, you don't understand it. so when all the stories are being reported about the sony e-mails being hacked and a sony executive calling kevin hart a whore for wanting to get paid more money, the position was he was getting paid $3 million. to understand how folks see that, folks say he's getting $3 million. that's more than enough. but the reality is this. kevin hart gave a band $50,000. when he's able to make four, five, $6 million he has the capacity to give more to support more. when you suppress his income you limit his ability to give. you limit his built to create wealth to pass down to the next
5:24 am
generation so his kids when they turn of age they're now able to walk into a situation where they might have 10, $20 million because daddy made that over his career. you're limiting the capacity for his children and his children's children to do with that wealth what whites have done in america for years. if you don't have that context all you simply see is he wanted more money for social media tweets. and that's one of the fundamental flaws that we have is that you do not have divers executive leadership and if we want to cut right to the chase and be honest and show the picture. i remember being on cnn talking about rap music. they kept showing roughly simmons and i said stop show me the c.e.o. of the record labels. i said show me the executives of the record labels.
5:25 am
i guarantee you they don't look like the rappers. the executive committee is the one that says no we're not going to release that song with the n-word, we're not going to release that particular song where women are being accused but we chose to show the faces of the rappers, but not those in charge. that's the flaw of media because we are unable to look at ourselves in the mirror and we want to question the rest of america. >> i won't attempt to be as passionate as roland. i don't know if it's possible. i'm appreciate active of the invitation and appreciate to be here. apologize for being late. driving from baltimore was more than a notion.
5:26 am
i to be brief and not redundant, what i thought about more than anything else is really what is the responsibility of those of us that want to consume cent, and as i've looked -- content, and as i've looked at media and played roles in varying outlets, i realize that most folks that i see these days don't really want to do news anyway. they want to do entertainment that's dressed as news. and there are a lot of people that are looking to those folks that are dressed as news to provide news when executives have no interest in providing news. they want to provide entertainment. they are less interested in providing any kind of critical analysis as much as they are who are people who can shout at each other, proclaiming to be representatives of one side or
5:27 am
another so that we will tweet about one of those two sides reverberate the conversation that in many cases is incredibly unsophisticated and dried sales for the advertisers that are ensuring that those networks, in many cases, continue to put content on air. but at some point, when are we responsible for helping to promote the kind of content that we that we claim isn't there. when i think about african-americans, people of color, those concerned about race being discussed, there are two things i'm concerned with. one is that we don't often support the outlets that traditionally ensure that race coverage has a level of integrity. so whether that's the black press, whether those are black websites, whether those are black news agencies -- i'm not saying any black news agency. i'm saying there are those who have a level of integrity to sure that the race conversations take place
5:28 am
without it being race baiting. the second thing, not to belabor the point, is that i am frustrated with our inability to create infrastructure that provides voices to be comfortable with the same old stuff. every time it's some black stuff, the same five people are the -- are the gods and goddesses of black tough. and i don't see new voices. i don't see younger voices. i don't see fringe voice. i don't see voices that aren't a part of old school institutional infrastructure and oftentimes those voices use relationships that they have within these outlets to block younger voices or fringe voice from the african-american community. so you have -- until people really started raising hell in ferguson, you didn't hear real voicings from ferguson, and it wasn't until the protests popped off as a result of talking to young people on the
5:29 am
street, you began to be like wait a minute, this isn't a leaderless some movement, they may not be a part of the urban league or a member of the church, but they are leading on the ground. i think until we as a community begin to challenge this notion that everybody that has been a leader is not the leader, that everybody has been the voice are not all the voices, and we do two things. because i would love to see the organizations that are providing, that are looking for talents, that are looking at folks at universities around the country, that are looking at local leadership that have datas bases of voices that can be on air and the moment that -- if we're going to be honest it's not just black folks. you got the token white dude that is the dude to talk every time there is something surrounding black people. they call michael skonik
5:30 am
because he works for russell simons and he's got to know about black people. hello? and i have nothing against mike. i like mike. but at some point we got to get out of this tokenism on both sides when it comes to conversations about race. we've got to push to see that there are more legitimate, sophisticated conversations that aren't just the same old back-and-forth talking points, challenge institutions that actually position themselves as the authorities on black thought when in many cases, the divertity of black thought latino thought, asian thought, is more than we give credit for and whether they support blogs whether they are papers, networks, whether they are individuals that are pushing to have these conversations supporting them so that we can begin to see the kind of conversation i don't think we
5:31 am
often have at some of the major outlets. >> thank you. yes. >> interesting when jetch brought up that point. i remember when i was filling in for carve belling brown at cnn. and the supreme court made a decision in a louisville -- in a kentucky desegregation -- busing desegregation case. they automatically said he booked a conservative who likes the decision. and i went, you do know there could be some liberals who like it, too. then i said, well, why don't we call jonathan kozul to -- i said, because -- so they called him. i said who is that? i said, trust me, call him. he was just -- he was -- they said we want to find somebody black. i said i know it's a bugs decision but he's a perfect voice because he hates the decision.
5:32 am
i said, did you also look at who filed the lawsuit? that was a black parent who was a part of the lawsuit because she didn't want her kid going all the way across town. so the boxes that we chose find a black person who hates the supreme court decision find me a white male conservative who likes the supreme court decision and then we'll have a conversation. as opposed to saying, no, no why don't i find two of the most passionate voices who disagree on this. forget the labels and the ideology and say this is where they stand. we literally fall into those boxes and that's what drives the race conversation and that's what ends up being a talking point deal as opposed to a real substantive dialogue on the issue of race in america. >> let's get further into that dialogue. i see a sign in the audience right there on the front row. it says black lives matter. very plain and very simple.
5:33 am
that has been the clarion call of all of the marchings and rallies, the protests that have taken place ever since michael brown was killed this summer. and yet just this morning i watched a major network interview a police chief and he kept saying, see, black people don't -- they keep calling us, they want us there. t hey don't seem to get the point that it's not that they don't -- black people don't want them there. it's just that they don't want them shooting unarmed black men. question: what can the media do to finally get that and reports that? anybody. >> let me say this. that's something that the white house has had to deal with because here you have a black president who has taken the forefront in talking about, i can't believe, wearing a
5:34 am
t-shirt and talking about travon and then when the situations have happened with ferguson, with new york, and with cleveland, there's a fine line about how do you support the police officers who are the ones who are in the community trying to help and then also calling out the ones who are abusing authority? there's got to be some confined of way that as reporters and as someone from the community and as the white house and the attorney general can report -- and we report on the fact that there is support for law enforcement. we need law enforcement. but at the same time you need to root out the evil that is in the department that's been going on for decades. people have to understand, and particularly law enforcement we will support you, but it's a mutual situation. it's a cyclical issue. but you have at the same time to support the community. we have to start taking more about community policing. because many of these
5:35 am
neighborhoods didn't have it. i mean, i watched when that poor child was laying in the street, i saw how the police were on one side -- sometimes you take your reporter hat off and you think as a person. and i said, wait a minute. i'm from baltimore where they have community policing, strong community policing town. i saw that crime line and i saw the black people on one side and the police officers on the other. it was no communication. it was us versus them. and anytime you have that kind of situation in a community, it's going to powder keg and it did. and it's got to be a situation where there are reports on this from the community, because we have experienced and also from mainstream america. it has to come out beyond the faurnings it has to come out beyond new york. it has to be made a priority issue for this country. >> go ahead. >> so i think it's interesting
5:36 am
what april just said. you can both support law enforcement and also support the idea that law enforcement should not be shooting unarmed black men. i think that often, our role and our duty is to make sure that the context is always a part of any conversation under a made me think of the situation between de blasio, mayor de blasio and the nypd the conflict, and a lot of that -- had to do a lot of things but one of the things that was brought up by the police side of the complicate was that mayor de blasio shared the fact that he had a conversation with his son that many people all across the country can relate to, which is telling his black son to be careful, to act a certain way, act respectfully, don't talk back to the police and that -- there's not enough context in the reporting of that situation. there's not enough people saying, wait a second, this is not just a de blasio conversation, this is a
5:37 am
conversation that the president would have with his son if he had a son. and his daughters. it's a conversation that any black -- any parent of a black child -- let's put it that way -- should be having and is having, and i think that that part of that conversation, what didn't appear enough when you saw the reporting about the conflict between mayor de blasio and the police department, and i think that's when we fall down, we, broadly speaking, in the media, if we don't bring up both sides of this. let's talk about why each side is saying what they said. >> i have a couple of very quick examples. just this week we did a story on -- in the city of st. louis which is probably 10 miles from ferguson. where there's a middle class african-american neighborhood dealing with a violent crime problem where they're trying to take back their neighborhood. they aren't anti-police.
5:38 am
they're anti-crime. we did it through their lens of -- a lot of them were elderly or raised families and to changed around them. we were able to see this is what is going on in our city. these weren't protesters. this was people trying to take back their neighborhood. a couple of months ago, a ferguson cop, i think three african-american cops in ferguson, from his viewpoint, what it was like amid the protests, amid all the tension to be african-american, the names he was called and why he was doing and how he saw are did protesters were upset. you have to get different voices, you have to get it from a different angle. some of the local coverage that we've done has done this but it's not always seen on a national scale, so people don't see this as it is and it's really close to home. >> we have to stop this notion of you're racist, you're not
5:39 am
racist. if you look at every debate and something happens. and the person goes, oh, no, no, i've known them for so long, they're not racists. but there's a whole lot between racists and not racists. there are perceptions and things you thought growing up, different views in your background. because we never want to deal that because that forms who we are. and but then you say, oh, no racists, we're conservative. i can tell you right now, i've had to deal with a whole lot of racism from some white liberals. got real quiet. i understand. and so you're dealing with them. i literally had -- we did a show on tv 1 where i had black gay people on the show talking about racism in the lgbt community, jose antonio vargas gave a speech on that.
5:40 am
saying how can there be any quality movement when there's inquality. so there's this fear of really dealing with that. so we sit here and play games and they go, you know so and so, he's not racist. as opposed to what exactly drives that. when you see us talking about affirmative action or hiring here's a very small thing that happened that people ignore. we allow the conversation to go forth by saying, yes, we're always looking for qualified minorities. well, why are you using the qualifier "qualified"? you never hear anybody saying i'm looking for some qualified white folks. that is assumed. dr. king rarely talked about equality. he talked about freedom, inalienable rights. what he was saying is i want the same thing that somebody white in america has.
5:41 am
the moment they're born they have all their rights as a citizen. that's a different conversation. coming off his birthday, we have this limited view. we talk about the "i have a dream "speeches and look at part of it. when we talked about his "mountaintop" speech but he talks about other things. we have this nice cartoon character we have as opposed to the radical person that he was. if we want to have honest conversations, go there, but we really don't so we have these really surface-level fake, nice, cute discussions and we always go back to watching our favorite television show. >> thank you, roland. we planned this so that we would have a half-hour of what
5:42 am
hazel rightly called a town hall atmosphere. i can't say enough on behalf of hazel how grateful we are for a very large turnout despite the warnings of a cataclysmic storm. i'm so grateful that we had 100% turnout of our panel. i have my students, after 40 years as a practitioner, and my mantra is objectivity, objectivity. they walk in and they see the initials r.a.f., responsibility, accuracy fairness. that's what i teach. i maybe am naive, i realize that what many newspapers and columnists and others are practicing does not fit into those guidelines. and we just have to keep trying and trying. i devote the rest of my life as a teacher to doing that.
5:43 am
one of the columnists that i ask my students to read is the works of fari. i know he's white and i'm white, but please don't look at us in that way. look at us as really trying to be objective. paul, you've listened for an hour. could you give us a summing up from your perspective, as the washington post, not the formal title of media critic, but that is what you're associated with. what is your reaction of what you're hearing tonight, any comments? >> here's the comment i would make. in the day-to-day of doing what we do, there is not the same level of heat and passion that you're getting up here. and that's very, very important, because when people like say roland or jeff come to us and say, look you're not doing this, or you
5:44 am
have done this wrong, it does get our attention. nd and in the day-to-day, you go through, you work on automatic pilot to a certain extent. you work on what you've done before. and you're not getting in many ways the sense of what's bubbling out there. and as i was listening to roland i was thinking to myself, wouldn't it be nice if we in the media could be ahead of these things? if we could anticipate these things? not react to them, not go nuts when a tray von happens or michael brown happens or eric garner happens. could we cover police shootings before then? yes, of course we could. and i will say this plug for my newspaper. 1998 we covered very, very extensively the issue of police shootings in prince georges county. they had a series of problems that never exploded in the headlines like michael brown,
5:45 am
never exploded in the headlines like eric garner or trayvon martin. and we did a tremendous series of stories about police shootings. it brought about reform in the prince georges county police force. and the story won the pulitzer prize that year. so if we could only have and bottle this passion and we could bring it in every single day and be ahead of the next wave, i think we could do a lot of social good as well as do a lot of good journalism. >> thank you, paul. hazel, i would like to call on -- >> just go ahead. and before we get to the audience. >> i think the interesting thing about that is that when we hook at the stories that get a ton of media, it's not really about the victims itself it's about the community's respobs to the victims. so despite the great work that
5:46 am
you all did, if we can look in the communities where there's been violence that's taking place and how the community reacted to it determined how much media came in to report it. so if we're looking to cleveland, and we understand to what happened to this 12-year-old boy is deplorable there was no media that got -- the individual that got shot by police. the administrator did a review of the chase that involved nearly 06 cars and 100 officers from cleveland into east cleveland. the administrative review by the mayor and the city was done even as citizens were just saying fire the white police chief. but the mayor said no. did a review, unemotionally suspended supervisors that didn't call police officers off the chase suspended officers
5:47 am
that continued even after they had been called off. to which an arbitrator came in later and even after police officers had been fired demoated, lost pay, reduction in pay, the arbitrator came back, put reinstated officers to this place where they were made the city pay back dollars back pay, and then a judge about two weeks ago validated the arbitrator. nobody said anything. no marches, no protests. no mobilization. but that same city my hometown wants to be up in arms about that mir wright. so one of the challenges with media is that often we don't have consistent leadership in communities. and when you have consistent leadership in communities in that same city the same week that rice was killed, the same week, there was a shooting where a man rose up to a house,
5:48 am
breaks down the door, goes inside shoots two adult people shoots at a 9-year-old little girl, comes out of the house, shoots a 41-year-old pregnant woman in the car who was waiting outside, the parent of the 9-year-old, runs out trying to save her 2-year-old little brother hiding in the back seat of this car. this guy goes off, runs off. five people dead no marches, no protests, no tweets. and so my concern about this whole notion of the media's responsibility i think we do have a lot of responsibility. i think how we talk about race is clear. i think what we do there. but similar to how we look at the even the president of the united states, there are times when leadership and citizens have to push infrastructure to do things the right way. and when you lack leadership, or when a community is schizophrenic about what they want to be in arms about, it
5:49 am
ensures that there's schizophrenic media. because they're not there oftentimes to cover the shooting. they're there to cover the response of the shooting. and that there-in lies one of the issues. because until we get pissed off the media doesn't often show up. and if we don't enissure the sophisticated then not very often does it report the congress sophistication of the conversation. >> we've gone over an hour. let's go to the q&a. we will do it in our traditional way. line up behind the microphone either on that side or that side and we will call on each one as we always do at our news conferences and luncheons. we always tell people, and as i teach my students, ask a good question but without a speech. so bob you get the opportunity
5:50 am
to ask the first concise good question. >> thanks so much for a spectacular forum. what do you do when in the call for object tivity the facts don't take you to object tivity? and in this case i want to bring it right to ferguson and staten island. in ferguson the prosecutor gave the jury the wrong information inaccurately telling them the law says the police can shoot a fleeing subject eevep though that law was overturned 35 yeerings earlier by the supreme court? and the prosecutor in staten island blew off the person who shot the video showing the chokehold that committed the killing, dismissing him in ten minutes without detailt questions of what he saw? so in the michigan chronicle, and i told you about this, we wrote an article prosecute the prosecutors. a way to justice in staten island ferguson, and
5:51 am
cleveland. and the -- for defrauding the court and for giving wrong information, untimely information to the jury. the aclu has filed a suit and a grand juror has filed a suit now on exactly that point. why is there not more attention in the media to that very critical and timely lawsuit? and isn't the prosecutors' conflict of interest with the police a reason that justice has never been provided in these prosecutions? >> is there one or two panelist whose would like to respond? >> all those things you talked about we covered. we wrote about it in st. louis. i don't know if america saw it. much of that information was on our front page the debate back and forth, certainly the lawsuit of the grand jure and
5:52 am
others. so i think our community is well informed. unfortunately it may not be seeping out to the rest of the country and i think that's the problem because we often get distracted by another story and we move on. but we have been covering in of those issues. >> we've done the same thing as well. >> i have a burning question. before we go to the other side of the room for our next question town hall style, gill better congratulations again on your award. i have to say that before i ask this question. but let me ask you this. i saw a story that was actually published in the st. louis american about how your newspaper was being picketted by the protesters. and i don't know all of the issues pertaining to why themp picketing the st. louis post dispatch but i do know that the st. louis post dispatch tried to get the juvenile record of michael brown. could you just quickly say --
5:53 am
that's the kind of thing that causes the racial divide. we don't quite get well at least some black people don't quite get why a newspaper would go after the juenile record of a child who is now dead. so what was the thifplging that goes into that? so we can understand how this racial divide comes oop about. >> we heard a lot about that. it is trying to depatter the fact -- try to gather the facts. there were a lot of people in the community saying he was a thug. he had a criminal record. so we said let's find out. rfer and you found out that you were wrong. we found out theaches not. and that exactly said it refutured what had been charged against him in the court of public opinion without fact. so we said let's find the fact. yes, we caught heat from that and we got heat from benjamin and i was quoted in our paper it actually showed that michael
5:54 am
brown was not a felon. although you look at social media and elsewhere that were the acquisitions. so we didn't foe what we were going to find. we were going to gather the facts. the same when we released the information about the autopsy. it's public information and we need to do that. we weren't picking sides. we were accused by many sides that somehow we had an ill motive. the idea was let's find facts and let them speak for themselves. why was the st. louis american story? there were probably ten people out front that were protesting. but we got flack from every side. we got flack from protesters, police people, media critics about all kinds of angles. so i think that what was assigned sometimes stories fact based were seen as having a motive. and that's not what we were trying to do. we were trying to gather information that was
5:55 am
authoritative and accurate. >> thank you for having us. >> please be concise. >> i will try to be. >> i think one of the things that needs to be said is community control of the police is what this struggle is all about. community control over the police. the system clearly is not working. i wish i had time to go into my definition of community control but you can go to popular resistance top five to read it. i want to taubling about the media's role in being complicit in all this. i myself as a community media person i went out to the al sharpton event before the young people took the microfone away from him. and we were chanting, we won't stop until they jail killer cops. i had the mic and speaker giving it to the crowd. and that was the chant.
5:56 am
once the officers were killed in new york, this is what c-span broadcast. but fox news gets their hands in it. they chop it up. and now that same chant says we won't stop. kill a cop. and here i am -- >> that wasn't fox news. >> that was fox 25 in baltimore. >> that was a local affiliate which is different from fox news cable network. >> grapted. fox 45 baltimore. but i want to talk about the media's role in being complicit. this is one example among many. we can point a lot of issues. finally my second question is this. now that we've seen them announce that despite the irregularities that the young man first question pointed oilt in ferguson now they announced
5:57 am
there won't be federal charges and we've seen all the other cases of no indictment, what can we do to force this system to acknowledge the wrong doing? the wrestling power out of their hands or at least sharing it? what is the issue and what do we have to do at this point? so the media is being complicit and what do we do now that we've seen it process take place? >> doupt that toages that? it's very simple. first, the question is not what can we do? that's up to you. to hold one accountable that's a public policy issue. that means how do you get a special prosecute snr that means changing state law. i've had ferguson activist ops tv 1. with all that we've heard the last six months there's not been a single state senator or state representative who has
5:58 am
stepped u up to create a special prosecutor in the police who killed somebody. so the pressure has to be on them. this is also different than what we saw in the black freedom movement because what this -- the whole black lives matter infrastructure if you will, you're going to have to change state law and local law. because you're not going to pass a federal law. congressman hank johnson is trying to pass a particular bill that says if you get federal funds we can deny the funds to you. that's a different deal. but that is where it's now incumbent upon those who are protesting to take boots on the ground shift into public policy and we talked about this all the time in order to begin to make that move as well. so that's not our job. that's your job. our job is to cover you trying to do that. >> you make a good point. what the questioner is asking,
5:59 am
what can the newspapers do? i hope you'll agree if not say so. we report it. we have columnists, we have editorials. but at the end of the day the community has a very important role and we the press will report on it. i hope that answer. >> if you're in maryland you try to get that in state law who is going to be the state representative to bring it to the committee? >> thank you for the question. i just want to get as many. we agreed to try to get as many questions as possible. so another succinct question, please. they can be hard questions just keep them succinct. >> i'm a senior at howard university. my question is about the role of individuals who aren't necessarily communicating through official media channels like news, print newspapers, et cetera. i have a blog where i write about social issues and pop culture from a racially critical perspective. so i wanted to know about what is it that you think of is the
6:00 am
role of a person like myself who are not necessarily communicating through those channels in advancing this dialogue and conversation>> does anybody wish to respond? >> we live in a wonderful age where everyone is a publisher everyone is a tv station, and everyone has the power to broadcast whatever they think with a little bit of bandwidth. keep on keeping on. we can't guarantee you an audience but you now have power that when i was your age, i cannot even trim of. >> when i went to school at ohio state my dream is to own a paper. you needed $2 million to buy a printing press and now item -- and now you can publish with a $100 device. i am pleased you could join us tonight. are you satisfied with that

22 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on