tv PBS News Hour PBS January 9, 2018 6:00pm-7:01pm PST
captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> woodruff: good evening. i'm judy woodruff. on the newshour tonight: on camera, president trump negotiates immigration policy with congressional leaders at the white house. then, new details on the controversial trump dossier from a key witness. what more do we know now about the russia investigation? and, actor tracee ellis ross on time's up, and the changes sweeping hollywood and the work place. >> i think one of the things that we all are discovering is thatabuse and discrimination and sexual violence is supported by a system of imbalance, and that it is structural. >> woodruff: plus: >> touchdown, alabama wins! >> woodruff: the alabama crimson
tide and their powerful coach etch their place in history. all that and more, on tonight's pbs newshour. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> babbel. a language app that teaches real-life conversations in a new language, like spanish, french, german, italian, and more. babbel's 10-15 minute lessons are available as an app, or online. more information on babbel.com. >> funding provided in part by 20th century fox. "the post," in theaters everywhere january 12. >> bnsf railway. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions: >> 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: we begin tonight with politics, and a striking look inside high-level talks over how to reduce and reform immigration here in the u.s. today, a group of both republican and democratic senators and house members met with president trump at the white house to discuss this contentious issue-- including daca, the program that shields hundreds of thousands of young undocumented people from deportation. for more on that meeting, and what might come from it, i'm joined by our own john yang and lisa desjardins. and john, i'll start with you. thank you both for being here. john i'm going to started with you. i've been in washington a long time, i've covered a lot of meetings, this one is different. absolutely, very different. it was a remarkable series of
events. in meetings like this usually the press is brought in at the beginning for a few minutes, the president speaks, then escorted out after five minutes. not this time. they stayed for 50 minutes, about 55 minutes as the lawmakers made their -- laid out their bargaining positions. it all began with the president saying on immigration, signature campaign issue he's willing to seib whatever the lawmakers come up. >> everyone agrees we need to have border security. second, has to be a bill to end chain migration. i'm he peeling to everybody in the room to put the country before party and to sit down and negotiate and to compromise and let's see if we can get something done. i think we have a chance to do it. i think it's very important. you're talking about 800,000 people. >> i think my positions are go willing fob what the people in this room come up with. i am very much reliant on the people in this room. i know most of the people on
both sides. i have a lot of respect for the people on both sides and my -- what i approve is going to be very much reliant on what the people in this room come to me with. i have great confidence -- if they come to me with things that i'm not in love with i'm going to do it because i respect them. >> reporter: this was a reel peek behind the curtain. two key lawmakers, senator dianne feinstein, top democrat and house republican leader kevin mccarthy, both of california, proposing two very different paths forward and each trying to get the president on the record agreeing with them. >> what about a clean daca bill now, with a commitment that we then go into a comprehensive immigration reform procedure? >> i have no problem. i think that's basically what dick is saying. we're going to come out with daca, and then we can start immediately on the phase two, which would be comprehensive... >> would you be agreeable to that? >> yeah, i would like that. i think a lot of people would
like to see that, but i think we have to do daca first. >> mr. president, you need to be clear, though. i think what senator feinstein is asking here, when we talk about daca-- we don't want to be back here two years later. you have to have security, as the secretary would tell you. >> i think that's what she's saying. >> no, i think she's saying something different. >> what do you think i'm saying? >> i'm thinking you're saying daca without security. are you talking about security as well? >> well, i think if we have comprehensive immigration reform, that's where the security really goes. >> i don't think that's comprehensive. ithink that's dealing with daca at the same time. i think that's really what the president is making. >> yang: this went on for nearly an hour. reporters in the room say there was no effort by white house aides to get them to leave until the final few minutes. after the closed-door portion of the meeting, the white house said the group had agreed to negotiate legislation on four topics: dreamers, border
security, what's called chain migration-- the policy of allowing immigrants to bring family members into the country-- and the visa lottery. >> woodruff: john, that's what it looked like from the white house. lisa you're at the capitol, was this unusual for members of congress as it seemed at our end? >> perhaps even more unusual. they are used to dog and pony shows, members of congress go up to the white house, we see a littlability of conversation and exchange. what happened here, this is coming from multiple senators who were there, that there was a feeling that maybe this isn't just a dog and pony show. as more and more members started to act like it was ongoing, live negotiation, more and more members took it that way. in the end, what happened, the portion that was not on camera which was also about 45 minutes, that is where the negotiation happened to agree to four points that john was talking about. and one other note that was
unusual about? we saw, this the public saw this, but senate staffers who are used to getting first information about these, they were in the cold, they were waiting outside, they had. >> o'donnell: idea what was happening. >> woodruff: was something actually agreed to? we heard what john said the white house is saying. >> reporter: what exactly came out of this, this is about a daca fix and how do you tailor this in way that republicans can get on board. decided on a narrow series of four things that they want to try to agree on, again something for -- some sometimes at that time us for dreamer kids, that's number one. then some kind of agreement on family or chain migration, limiting it now or maybe in the future than? kind of limit on the visa lottery program. and in addition something on border security. now, those are seemingly narrow topics, but of core details are important and one dekey tail today that the president put out there that republicans are touting in the senate is that he indicated that he understands that a border wall may not go the entire border and mi may not
in fact be a wall. >> woodruff: we know there's interest been conversation about the wall. about daca on both sides. you have today's meeting, where does it go from here? >> now the senate bipartisan group, the brown and durbin group, both in the meeting today, is trying to meet asap to take this momentum and try to get actual outline or maybe a bill going in the next week and a half. now that statement that john pointed to, where the president said, you guys come up with something, i'll agree to it, whatever it is. some of those are skeptical that are the case. a senator said that he thinks actually white house may negotiate or chief of staff, john kelly, former homeland security secretary john kelly. is going to say what the white house wantish fact tonight we know they gave him a list of things they're interested in on security. so, they have narrowed the scope, given themself a chance at a deal here but details are still undecided. >> woodruff: we also know,
lisa, you covered this for a long time, the view in the senate among republicans on immigration can be very different from the views in the house of representatives. >> reporter: some of what lindsey graham said, most important thing about this meeting was the president weighing in saying i am behind this effort and he said it was important because the house members need the president to get behind this so that they can point to their conservative voters say, hey, this is president trump's idea. otherwise house conservatives do not want to pass a bill giving status to those who are undocument right now. >> woodruff: so, john to, broad then out, all this happens in a week when the president is frankly under a lot of criticism. this book has come out which paints a picture of him as someone who, at bests disengaged, doesn't follow policy maters is, gets bored when legislation is being discussed. so we look at what happened today in the context. >> reporter: shrewdly.
we saw president in the cabinet room with the lawmakers engaged, he was calm, he was listening tl sides listening to the various positions. sarah huckabee sanders was asked, why was the press allowed this front row seat to the negotiating process? she said they thought it was important, american people and the press see the cooperation and the conversation that happened in these meetings. >> woodruff: lisa. >> allowed them toe negotiate with each other members of congress but he sort of forced them to bring their cards to the table with the camera there. judy, all that said there is going to be some very tricky negotiations happening, take someone like family migration, how do you limit that just a little bit in an initial bill with the hope of having larger reform down the road. that is very unclear no. one is sure how exactly we do that first down payment on that kind ever issue. >> woodruff: this is in part what republicans refer to as chain migration. >> reporter: that's right. >> woodruff: but bottom line
is, can -- yes it was quite a display, but can something meaningful come from it or not. >> reporter: good question. democrats have to make a decision, decide if they want this to be -- weigh in now or if they want to push this deadline back to march which is when daca recipients see their status change. democrats show they have leverage now, but wait until later. >> woodruff: quickly john, it does look like the president is invested in this issue. >> reporter: this is something the president has been talking about privately with aides and also -- sort of off the record conversations with some reporters. i think he really is looking for some sort of accomplishment, it's going to be tough in a year with the mid-term elections at the end usually second sessions of congress are not very productive. but hoping that will be different this time. >> woodruff: great reporting from both of you. john yang, lisa desjardins, thank. >> woodruff: now, to the day's
other news. deadly mudslides swept through southern california, rippin homes from foundations and killing at least eight people. heavy rain triggered flash flooding in hills where a huge fire burned all the vegetation last month. crews used heavy equipment to clear deep mud from blocked highways just north of los angeles. rescuers reached a number of survivors, who'd been trapped in mud and debris. >> a lot of people believe that the mud and debris only flows when the rain is coming down. well, that's not necessarily true. what happens is, when the ground get saturated, it starts giving. it's kind of like building a sandcastle on the beach-- as soon as that sand gets saturated with water, it's just going to slough off. >> woodruff: the same storm also dumped more than three inches of rain on san francisco last night. that broke a record set in 1872. a dossier about president trump's former ties to russia is back in the headlines. the co-founder of the investigative firm that commissioned the dossier had been interviewed at length by
the senate judiciary committee last august. today, the senior democrat on the panel, california senator dianne feinstein, released the interview transcript, over republican objections. we will discuss what happened and what we learned from it, a little later in the program. president trump's former chief strategist, steve bannon, has stepped down as executive chair of breitbart news network. the far-right news site announced it today. bannon drew heavy fire from the president and his allies for his highly critical comments in a new book about the trump white house. the nominee for secretary of health and human services defended his record on drug pricing today. alex azar faced questions at his senate confirmation hearing. oregon democrat ron wyden focused on his time at the pharmaceutical giant, eli lilly. >> did you ever lower the price
ever, of a lilly drug sold in the u.s.? >> drug prices are too high, senator wyden, i said that. i said that when i was at lilly-- >> that is not the question. did you ever lower the price? >> i don't know if there is any drug price of a branded product that has ever gone down, from any company on any drug in the u.s., because every incentive in this system is toward higher prices, and that is where we can do things together, working as the government. >> woodruff: azar warned that allowing medicare to negotiate drug prices directly could restrict consumer choice. a panel of federal judges today threw out a congressional districting plan in north carolina. the court ruled that republicans drew the plan to give themselves an unconstitutional advantage over democrats. a previous plan was struck down after a finding of racial bias. the government of syria is charging that israel attacked
inside syrian territory again today. the syrian military says missiles hit an army depot in a suburb northeast of damascus early this morning. israel would not confirm or deny the claim. in the past, it has targeted weapons shipments from iran, passing through syria to the hezbollah militia in lebanon. in iran, there is word that security forces arrested 3,700 people during anti-government protests over the past two weeks. a reformist lawmaker offered the new figure today, and it is far larger than authorities previously reported. meanwhile, in a tehran speech, iran's supreme leader, ayatollah khamenei, charged again that the u.s. fomented the protests. >> ( translated ): your excellencies, heads of the u.s. administration, you failed miserably this time. in case you repeat this, be aware that you'll fail miserably again. >> woodruff: at the same time, khamenei said, those with legitimate complaints about
iran's economy should be heard. and in the phillipines, hundreds of thousands of catholics joined an annual procession today, carrying a centuries-old figure of jesus christ through manila. in the annual dawn-to-midnight event, devotees pulled the life-size, wooden statue on a carriage. many threw handkerchiefs, hoping to touch the statue and receive a miracle. more than 6,000 police and military personnel guarded the procession. and finally, on wall street, banks and health care stocks led the market higher. the dow jones industrial average gained 102 points to close at 25,385. the nasdaq rose six points, and the s&p 500 added three. still to come on the newshour: broken silence-- new talks between the two koreas. going public-- key testimony in the russia probe is released. time's up-- tv actor tracee ellis ross on the #metoo
movement sweeping the country. and, much more. >> woodruff: after hours of meeting in the demilitarized zone that separates the koreas today, north korea agreed to send athletes to next month's winter olympics in south korea. senior officials from both countries also agreed to hold further talks to reduce months of military tensions. today's talks may represent the first, concrete step away from confrontation. it was the first time officials of the rival countries sat for high-level talks in more than two years. >> ( translated ): the relations between the two koreas are frozen up more than this winter's weather. despite the cold, korean people express strong zeal for the improvement of inter-korean ties. >> ( translated ): there is a
saying in our country, that a start means it is half done. the talks have resumed after a but it is hoped that we hold this dialogue with such strong will and perseverance. >> woodruff: after meeting behind closed doors for 11 hours, the two sides agreed to hold military talks to ease border tensions. the north also said it is restoring a military hotline with the south, and it pledged to send a delegation to next month's winter olympic games in south korea. people on the streets in both pyongyang and seoul said they welcomed the talks, and the outcome. >> ( translated ): every korean really wants relations between the north and south to improve. it's urgent. anything that provokes either side or creates obstacles to reunification should completely stop. >> ( translated ): i think this is a chance for korea, the only divided country in the world, to relieve tensions. i hope the talks will bring peace and compromise between the
two koreas. >> woodruff: but the "wall street journal's" andrew jeong, speaking via skype from seoul, says one key topic wasn't addressed. >> the north appeared not willing to discuss the nuclear weapons issue, which is i guess at the heart of everyone's minds when looking at north korea. and there was there was no specific agreement on when and if the two koreas would discuss the issue. so i guess that that was the one big elephant in the room that nobody really addressed. >> woodruff: the top north korean delegate did give this assurance to the south. >> ( translated ): regarding the nuclear issues, our strategic weapons, including atomic bomb, hydrogen bomb, and intercontinental ballistic missiles, are only aimed at the united states, not our brethren. >> woodruff: president trump and north korea's kim have regularly traded threats and insults, but on saturday, mr. trump suggested he would be open to his own talks with the north korean leader. >> sure. i always believe in talking. absolutely i would do that. no problem with that at all. >> woodruff: the state department called today's talks between the two koreas "a good first step."
that question came up again at today's white house briefing, with press secretary sarah sanders. >> the north korean participation is an opportunity for the regime to see the value of ending its international isolation by denuclearizing. we hope that we can continue to move forward on that front. >> woodruff: the u.n. secretary general also praised the turn of events. and so how big a break through was today's meeting? kathleen stephens was a career diplomat and served as u.s. ambassador to south korea and undersecretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs. she's now a fellow at stanford university. ambassador kathleen stephens, welcome back to the "newshour." what do you make of today's meeting and what apparently was agreed to? >> well, i do think it was a big first step to quote my former employer. i think this is an important
development today and all too rare positive development in a couple of ways. first, i think south koreand i think you saw that reflected in the comments from citizens, south korea has to be very pleased and relieved that the winter olympics, they're hosting one month from today is the opening ceremony, now looks set to potentially be hosted with less tension and less threat of disruption or spoiling from north korea and with north korean participation. that is the first thing that south korea's new president has been able to, if you like deliver in terms of his desire and his promise to try to reengage with north korea. but it is indeed a modest step but an important one. >> woodruff: so a positive development, we don't know whether it means in the lon term, but short term a positive development. what about, though, the fact that the big sticking point between the united states and north korea, the nuclear
program, their missile program didn't come up. >> in a sense, i don't think that is surprising. north korea has long taken the position that the issue of its nuclear missile program is one to be dealt with with the united states. the republic of korea as u.s. ally has made clear it's a concern to them, too. i do know that the south korean delegate made that point today. but this notion that the weapons are about the threat from the united states is a long-standing north korean point, i'm not surprised they made it again. i do not see any evidence that they are ready to come to the table to talk about denuclearization. that is indeed the huge looming challenge that still remains before us. >> woodruff: so the north koreans are sticking to their guns, so to speak. u.s. is saying it's sticking to its position, you don't see any movement, any glimmer, positive glimmer there at all? >> well, no, i think there is a
very positive and much needed step of at least cracking open the door of some dialogue. and it is appropriate that it begin between the two koreas, this is the korean peninsula. these are the people who have suffered the most from the division and the continued state of tensions and indeed virtual war over the decades. but needs to be first step towards something, creating the atmosphere i hope that by spring, perhaps some kind of dialogue is possible. that said, i can't imagine that north korea's lack of demands today is going to continue forever. once the olympics are over i think we're in for a period perhaps some reduced tensions, some confidence building with a positive thing. but there will be important questions about future military exercises, the sanctions, and indeed about any future testing of nuclear devices or missiles. >> woodruff: on the other hand, though, you have this week
reporting from the wall street journal that there is discussiop administration about the possibility of targeted strikes on north korea by the united states, perhaps at one of their military sites. missile sites. what would that mean if that happened? >> indeed a very risky strategy in my view. a successive american administration have looked at the notion as some kind of limited strike, limited military action and have judged on every occasion that the stakes are simply too high of a full-ebola and disastrous war on the korean peninsula and beyond that would remain the calculation of this american administration. but that kind of talk is indeed unnerving and south korea and indeed in north korea could well figure in to tim jong-un's population that this is the time when adults under increasing
pressure to put it out to his, as he pets his south korean breathren and see if he can appeal if you like to the very natural desire for reconciliation, but eventually and for peace. but in the meantime for some reduction of tensions between the two core tree as. >> woodruff: it was sobering certainly got our attention along with these talks. former ambassador kathleen stephens we thank you. >> thank you. >> woodruff: we return now to the russia investigation. democratic senator dianne feinstein today unilaterally released testimony from a key witness. glenn simpson is the head of the research firm behind a salacious dossier which outlined some of
russia's efforts to aid the trump campaign. mark mazetti of the "new york times" walks us through the contents of the testimony. mark ma set that thank you for talking with us. first of all, confusing. remind us why in the first place the senate judiciary committee wants to talk to glenn simpson? >> it's been pretty much exactly a year since this dossier first was made public. increasingly its role as political component of this story seems to increase and the role of its creator christopher steele and the people who hired him fusion gps is very much the center of a political debate. so last year the senate judiciary committee brought glenn simpson the founder of fusion gps to testify about the role he played in the roleful christopher steele played in putting together the dossier and getting it to the fbi. >> woodruff: i was just going to say and republicans on the
committee have not wanted to have this transcript made public. >> that's right. last week in an op ed in the "new york times," simpson and peter, his cofounder demanded that it be made public because they say once it is made public they will be exonerated of some of the things that have been charged with. and today we saw a prettyings ordinary moment with dianne feinstein, the democratic leader of the committee, just sort of put it out unilaterally which is very unusual in the senate. and clearly senator feinstein wanted to get some of this information out, she believed would advance some of the issues that democrats have made about the role of christopher steele, how he was integral part in help can decipher this trump russia story, but also caused big backlash officer republicans who have said that steele, glenn simpson and others were
basically operating on behalf of hillary clinton's campaign. >> woodruff: you're right, it has become very political. but let's boil it down now. that is it in this almost 11-hour exchange that glenn simpson had with the judiciary committee that adds to our understanding of what connection there was between russian officials and the trump organization. >> there was not that much released in the document that was completely new or revelator re. glenn simpson laid out his views and his firm's views about some possible connection between the trump organization, trump the candidate and russian officials. these are things that have been explored but a lot of these things have never been confirmed. one of the interesting things that came out of it was glenn zonal talking about christopher steele interview with the fbi in september-october of 2016. during that interview, steele came to believe that the fbi had some inside source who was
giving them information about the trump campaign and russia. what we know now, though, is that the so-called inside source was actually the australian diplomat, alexander downer who passed information to the fbi in the summer of 2016. that information came during a session of drinking with a campaign aide, george popadopoulos, we reported this last month. boiling it down it basically was that downer heard from popadopoulos that the russians had dirt on hillary clinton. what we learned in this transcript today was that christopher steele came to believe that the fbi actually had a lot of information outside of the dossier to open this investigation into trump and russia. >> woodruff: and that being important because it suggests that it wasn't christopher steele through some nefarious effort to undermine the trump campaign or glenn simpson, but it was an independent person in
the australian diplomat that triggered the fbi effort. >> right. what we reported last month that two of the critical factors in opening the investigation in july 2016, were the information that alexander downer, the australian, passed through other australian officials to the fbi. at the same time as the release, the spilling out of hacked e-mails that we now know the russians did right before the democratic national convention. these were two of the driving factors that led the fbi to question whether there was a campaign connection between trump campaign and russia and they opened this counter intelligence investigation which now is still ongoing under the purview of robert mueller. >> woodruff: the other point quickly i want to make, mark mazzetti, what comes through here is that christopher steele rather than again having some under handed motive, according to glenn simpson what he was
seeing was he believed a crime in progress and he wanted the fbi to know about that. >> right. so this is according to simpson's account, steele in gathering this information saw in his mind an increasing number of connection between the russian government and russian officials and trump operatives. he was putting the pieces together and he believed this needed to be reported to the american government for them to look at. >> woodruff: but meantime we have an ongoing political dispute between the democrats and the republicans which will no doubt continue after today. mark mazzetti with the "new york times" helping us understand it all, thank you. >> thank you. >> woodruff: and now, more reaction to the time's up effort. newshour special correspondent charlayne hunter-gault sat down with actor tracee ellis ross, of
the sitcom, "black-ish," yesterday to discuss where things stand and where they might be headed. ross, explains what she calls "constructive fury." >> reporter: tracee ellis ross, thank you for joining us. >> thank you for having me. >> reporter: i saw you sunday night, so excited when oprah was accepting the cecil b. demille award. what was going through your mind? >> there were a lot of things going through my mind. it was a really special evening for many reasons-- time's up campaign, i have been involved with, and working with, and seeing a sea of the collective power of women, and seeing us all dressed in black, sort of set a tone for the evening that was incredibly moving to me, that made me feel a part of a celebration of sisterhood, and an amplification of a very clear and strong message. it was a symbol of action that has been taken, and being taken. it was a way that women got to
be in solidarity with each other across the globe, in response to saying time's up on abuse, and discrimination, and the imbalance of power that exists that makes space for those things to occur. >> reporter: were you moved by oprah's message? >> if i was not moved by oprah's message, i would be a rock. oprah's message, as usual, tied into a larger story that is happening in our world, and in our country right now, and of course she articulated it in the most palpable, powerful way that only oprah could. and it was a very special moment. >> reporter: i'm just wondering, do you think that's going to translate into action, and do you think that all of the people standing up, especially the men, i don't know what they do in their daily lives, but do you think there was a message that got through to everybody in that room?
>> i think the message was set up for that moment. i mean, there was a collective force of women in that room already, saying action is being taken, and action is happening. for example, the time's up legal defense fund raised $16 million in two weeks to help support men, women, everyone and anyone who has been affected by sexual violence, that needs support and legal help. there is systemic change that is occurring in the industry, and i think that is a lot of what oprah was speaking to. i think one of the things that we all are discovering is that abuse and discrimination, and sexual violence, is supported by a system of imbalance, and that it is structural, and not personal, although particular experiences are personal. that the structure that makes space for that, and allows that kind of behavior to exist, is something that needs to be
changed. >> reporter: there was a mass organization around trying to get black issues dealt with, and they broke off into focus groups, and action was on the tip of everybody's consciousness, and tongue, and then it just sort of died out. do you think something was learned from that, and that could be applied to this so it's more effective, and long term? >> there is a particular constructive fury that has occurred in response to this administration, that has a lot of people focused with a resolute pursuit of equity. that does not, isn't just about women, but is about marginalized people across the board, that affects everybody. and so, the hope, obviously, when anyone starts on any sort of journey of change, and structural change, and systemic change, is that it is going to
work, but we all know that there are many pieces to that. >> reporter: is it your sense that those in power, the majority of whom are white men, are actually getting it, and that some of them might not have learned from the exposure that those who've taken advantage of women in a variety of ways, sexual and otherwise, is there a sense now that they really are getting it? that it really is a new day? >> one would hope. but, i think the point is whether they get it or not, this is what's happening. the curtain has been pulled, and whether they get it or not is not the point, because the truth is, for a lot of these people, they obviously didn't get it, and it took somebody else seeing it, and somebody else listening to what had occurred in order for this to not be a time of sweeping these things under the rug. >> reporter: and of course the internet now is buzzing with whether or not oprah should run for office. what do you think? >> i think oprah is incredible, and i think that's a choice for oprah.
we want an answer to what is occurring, and if she's the answer, i will take it. and it's really a choice for her. she's incredible, we all know she's incredible. and there's also a lot of incredible women and men, and i think we will all have to put our heads and our hearts together, and get ourselves out for voting, first and foremost, for the midterm elections, and then we will start to see how all of this unfolds. but, i don't think that this is a magic moment. i don't think anything is magic, and i think it's going to require everybody getting involved, and staying involved. and i think that's one of the beauties of oprah, is that she
has a galvanizing force. she has an ability to really wake people up, and bring us into, each of us, into the best of ourselves. and so, i think there is something very palpable that she brings to a room, and that is what happened at the golden globes, and in that moment, and she stands for and represents so much of that, and i am grateful that she is in our world. and i do think that times' up, and things have changed, and there's no going back. >> reporter: well, tracee ellis ross, thank you. >> thank you for having me. >> woodruff: in the coming days, special correspondent charlayne hunter-gault continues her conversation with tracee ellis ross on the success of her hit television show "black-ish," as part of our "race matters: solutions" series. >> woodruff: flashcards, puzzles, projects, worksheets-- millions of teachers go online to find lesson plans and classroom resources. for the educators who sell these ideas, the increasing popularity of these marketplaces can lead to a lucrative second income that helps other teachers. but some worry about the unintended consequences. special correspondent kavitha cardoza with our partner "education week," traveled to rural alabama. >> reporter: jennifer white is
showing me around her hometown, oneonta. >> in 2010, my husband lost his job, and i needed to earn some extra cash. >> reporter: so in addition to her job as a kindergarten teacher, white started to tutor kids after school. but with three children of her own, two still in diapers, money was still tight. >> it was probably one of the most difficult times of my life. >> reporter: that led to a third job on weekends. >> this is the gas station where i worked. there's nothing quite as surreal as selling alcohol to former students. >> reporter: around this time, she heard about teachers who were making extra money, writing and selling lesson plans online. there are a number of websites where teachers can share or sell their work. white started browsing through them. >> it kind of planted a little seed, and the more i thought about it, the more i thought "well, maybe i could do this!" >> reporter: the largest of these online sites is teachers pay teachers, or t.p.t. adam freed is the c.e.o. of the company.
teachers pay teachers is a marketplace where teachers come together to buy, sell and share original educational materials. today, two-thirds of teachers in the u.s. are active members of our platform. this is an activity on life cycles. >> you have been assigned to put insects in the proper sections of the local zoo. >> it's so much more engaging to get to the video this way, by doing something yourself. >> reporter: the average t.p.t. lesson plan sells for $5, and the company takes a cut of 20% or 45%. >> we're proud to announce that this past year, t.p.t. paid out more than $100 million to teacher authors across the country. >> reporter: some have even become millionaires, including a kindergarten teacher from florida, an elementary school teacher from california, and an english teacher from louisiana. these online marketplaces are becoming more and more popular. but, there are also concerns. some legal experts say, if a teacher creates educational
materials, those materials legally belong to the school district. some educators worry about quality. and, there are those who question what this means for the teaching profession, which traditionally has shared these materials for free. bob farrace is with the national association of secondary school principals. he worries this trend could discourage teachers from working together. >> i think it's not unreasonable to say that once you put a price tag on that collaboration, you begin to close people out of that market. we want these ideas to flow very freely among everyone, not just teachers who might be willing or inclined to pay for that collaboration. >> reporter: jennifer white worked on weekends to develop her first product, called "let's make a pilgrim." the lesson sells for $4.50. it includes patterns and pictures of the finished product. the first quarter, she was excited when she made $300 from sales. then, a popular blogger shared her lesson. >> and that next quarter, i
think i sold $14,000 in that three month span. and it was life-changing! >> reporter: white now has about 100 different products online. "let's make an elf," "let's make a snowman." i sense a theme here! >> there was. that was the year of "let's make!" >> reporter: one of the most helpful parts of t.p.t., white says, is that teachers rate each other's lesson plans. so i see you've got 44,600 votes. >> yes. >> reporter: and you've got the highest score, which is four stars. >> yes, and the votes are basically like ratings. >> reporter: but katy swalwell, a professor at iowa state university, says teachers choosing a lesson plan based on what's popular can be a problem, because teachers may focus on what's "cute and catchy" rather than on content that's high quality. for example, she and two colleagues studied a popular
lesson plan, "the wedding of q and u." it teaches kindergartners a simple concept, how the letter "u" follows the letter "q." thousands of classrooms have mock weddings, complete with elaborate invites, decorations and vows. >> a lot of teachers are taking hours and hours to teach this fairly simple literacy concept. they're also teaching it as a rule that always works, and for any good scrabble player we know that q and u don't always go together. >> reporter: swalwell says the vows between the kindergarten couple are even more troubling-- the girls' vows were often pretty sexist. that they have to support the boys going out with other letters, that that's what they need to do, that's what their job in the relationship is. they also talk about how the boys' letter is what gave them a voice, otherwise they couldn't make a sound in the world. she says teachers need to be far more critical about lesson plans
they create and buy. >> some kids might find it fun. but it isn't ever just about fun, there are always social lessons that are being taught underneath. >> reporter: jennifer white tries to make the lessons applicable for teachers across the country, and she sees only an upside. for starters, she no longer worries about money. >> i could give up my job at the gas station and tutoring, and could spend more time with my family. >> reporter: the whites been able to save for retirement, and go on vacations. she's also made teacher friends around the world. best of all, white says, she's been able to give back to her students. wow! it's so colorful! >> thank you. actually, a lot of it was paid for through my sales. >> reporter: the tables and books, all the learning materials, toys and posters-- >> in my classroom, we're family. when they need something, if they need crayons, if they need glue or they need a backpack or they need something, anything, i
can get it for them. i'm giving back to the people who have gotten me where i am today. >> reporter: for the pbs newshour and "education week," i'm kavitha cardoza in oneonta, alabama. >> woodruff: college football ended its season with high drama last night. as jeffrey brown tells us, the winner was familiar, but the path to victory was anything but. >> brown: it was a battle of two southeastern conference neighbors: the university of alabama and georgia. and at halftime, georgia was up 13-0 and seemed to be in control.
but alabama coach nick saban made a most unusual gamble: pulling his starting quarterback and inserting freshman tua tagovailoa, who'd never started a college game, into the biggest spotlight of all. in storybook fashion, he threw three touchdowns, including a dramatic 41 yard toss in overtime for the victory. it was alabama's fifth championship since saban took over in 2007. mike pesca, host of slate's daily news and discussion podcast, "the gist," was watching and joins me now. first of all it was quite a thriller, wasn't it? what struck you about the game? >> that nick say ban the great coach of alabama was bold enough to make that adjustment at half time.
now that wasn't surprising, because nick is a guy who tried on-side kicks at in opportune times where it worked out for him in national championship games. lot of people regard him as great recruiter which is certainly part of it. but he has great game-time decision making and he's bold. part of the robe he's bold that around to say well, nick saban you made a mistake. the guy has unbelievable track record. but that turned the game around made it totally different game. made alabama's offense going from stuck in mud to high power, a totally different offense. made for fascinating. >> for those of us who watch it those who don't bring in what they called a true freshman, right? meaning he's actually a freshman, first year student. but to bring him in off the bench like that, how very unusual. >> true freshman one of the words like acoustic guitar that aren't they all, no, these days
freshman often red shirt tough 20 or 21-year-old as freshman, maybe sophomore. this is guy with r was in high school last year, not only a true freshman, a guy who had not thrown a pass in a game since october. he was a true freshman was running the ball. i got a little annoyed by over use of the phrase "true sufficient man" built sight be underlined that these guys were -- in terms of preparation, they she'lled as veteran as anyone on the field. >> woodruff: you're talking about coach nick s sarksban most famous coach in the game. alabama, the most -- the football power of our time certainly, but it's a team, it's a coach that are loved and hated, right? >> yeah, but -- okay, i think they're hated because they have beaten your team. they have beaten your team's rival just beaten everyone. you mention nick saban's championships at alabama, he won
one at lsu, six national title. he's compared to bear bryant, the other greatest coach in college football. even mention them in the same breath tells what you i think of them. but he's doing it at a time when it is harder for him in terms of the number of scholarships he has and the strength of the competition. it is comparatively harder for him than it was maybe for a paul "bear" bryant of alabama. almost seems like sacrilege say there are a couple of coaches in football, lombardi and bear bryant. you don't think of possibly having flaws just think of them on mount rushmore. but nick saban in college, bill bell check in the nfl are two coachs who are so good their name should be said in the same breath. >> reporter: just in our last minute, the criticism is maybe because they beat my team or the other people that didn't like them. but also you can't really talk about an alabama without talking about the sort of the money in the sport, almost to professional-type of program.
>> this is true of the competition. nick saban is highly remunerated because college football makes a ton of money. he's playing hoops within the rules, he doesn't have ncat violations like so many of his rivals. i think that to judge him by that standard would be unfair. there's a phrase, don't hate the player, hate the game. i say don't hate the coach. >> reporter: briefly, mike, like the fourth year of the college playoff. what is your feeling about how it's working? >> it's excellent. it delivers a greater version of justice in letting some sports writers decide, that said undefeated team, university of central florida who if i were them i might be looking at alabama saying we want you guys, schedule a game. >> reporter: all right. that's for next year, mike pesca, thanks so much. >> you're welcome.
>> woodruff: finally, another episode in our "brief but spectacular" series, where we ask people to describe their passions. tonight, we hear from award- winning filmmaker errol morris. his documentaries include "a thin blue line" and "the fog of war," which earned him an academy award. morris's latest project for netflix is "wormwood." >> if your goal is to talk to another human being, to hear the truth, and i'd-- don't want to depress you, you're going to be sadly disappointed. i'm very proud of this film i made, now close to 30 years ago: "the thin blue line." an innocent man in prison, who had been sentenced to death for the murder of a dallas police officer, robert wood.
i-- i was able to prove that this was a terrible miscarriage of justice. he didn't do it. one of the central pieces of evidence came out in interviews. so the chief prosecution witness at this capital murder trial, out of nowhere, tells me that she had failed to pick out the defendant in a police lineup, forgetting that she had testified to the exact opposite. the reenactments are this powerful tool for thinking. i used to be a private detective years ago. you use everything in-- in-- an arsenal of tricks to try to figure things out. you reenact it, and then you start to think, "could this have happened that way?" the critics of the movie-- the reenactments-- "how dare you? how dare you put this stuff in your movie? what were you thinking? were you thinking?" yes, i was thinking. robert s. mcnamara-- i made a movie about him.
"the fog of war." one of the very first things that he said was that our side won. "if we had lost, i would have been tried as a war criminal." a kind of naked honesty that we so rarely expect or ever see from public figures. rumsfeld was so difficult. everybody's an unreliable narrator. one of the questions that people ask me repeatedly was, "why is rumsfeld talking to you?" he likes to hear himself talk. there's something to be said for that; i like to hear myself talk, too. for the very beginning of my career, i broke all the rules, consciously. no handheld camera, no available light. and i started to think about what guarantees truth. i decided none of that stuff guarantees truth. style doesn't guarantee truth, and truth isn't handed to you; it's pursued.
it's a struggle, and sometimes falsehoods wins. that's the ugly truth. my name is errol morris, and this is my "brief but spectacular" take on truth. >> woodruff: you can watch additional "brief but spectacular" episodes on our website, www.pbs.org/newshour/brief. on the newshour online right now, some states are good at college football. others excel at producing presidential candidates. but, it turns out, rarely is a state successful at both. we dive into the intersection of sports and politics on our website, www.pbs.org/newshour. and that is the newshour for tonight. on wednesday, the science of those winter weather floods that hit the northeast last week.
i'm judy woodruff. join us online, and again right here tomorrow evening. for all of us at the pbs newshour, thank you, and we'll see you soon. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> babbel. a language app that teaches real-life conversations in a new language, like spanish, french, german, italian, and more. babbel's 10-15 minute lessons are available as an app, or online. more information on babbel.com. >> funding provided in part by 20th century fox. "the post," in theaters everywhere january 12. >> bnsf railway. >> the ford foundation. working with visionaries on the frontlines of social change worldwide. >> carnegie corporation of new york. supporting innovations in education, democratic engagement, and the advancement
of international peace and security. at carnegie.org. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and individuals. >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org >> you're watching pbs.
a chef's life is made possible in part by biltmore. there was a time when the earth yielded its fruit. wine flowed. and life was a continual feast. there was such a time. it was last weekend at biltmore. applegate, makers of natural and organic meats. commited to raising animals humanely on family farms. applegate is proud to support a chef's life. and by: north carolina pork council. lenoir county committee of 100. blue cross blue shield of north carolina. carolina wild muscadine juice. and the north carolina department of agriculture. got to be nc wine.