tv PBS News Hour PBS September 18, 2013 3:00pm-4:01pm PDT
captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> ifill: defense secretary chuck hagel ordered a full review of security procedures and clearances at military facilities worldwide in the wake of the massacre at washington's navy yard. we have an exclusive interview with secretary hagel tonight. >> the highest responsibility leaders have is to protect their people, is to take care of their people. when something like this happens something fails. something broke down. > >> woodruff: plus, u.s. financial markets shot up to record highs, after a surprise announcement by the federal reserve bank that it will continue its economic stimulus program. >> ifill: and we travel to the northernmost tip of north america, where climate change is
endangering a centuries-old way of life for native alaskans. >> this is our garden, our grocery store, you know, it's kind of hard to say if our younger generations will be able to do what we do. >> ifill: good evening. i'm gwen ifill. >> woodruff: and i'm judy woodruff. those are just some of the stories we're covering on tonight's pbs newshour. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> supported by the john d. and catherine t. macarthur foundation. committed to building a more just, verdant and peaceful world. more information at macfound.org >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... >> 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: our lead story tonight: there was new fallout from monday's mass shootings in the nation's capital city. orders went out today to review security, even as the investigation continued at the scene of the crime. stepped-up security was still in evidence at the washington navy yard, while a few miles away, at the pentagon, defense secretary chuck hagel announced reviews of security at u.s. defense facilities worldwide, and of the process for granting clearances. >> where there are gaps, we will close them. where there are inadequacies, we will address them. and where there are failures, we will correct them. >> woodruff: it's now known that aaron alexis-- the gunman in monday's killings-- used a valid pass to enter the navy yard, with a legally purchased shotgun. the navy contractor and former reservist had been granted a
security clearance in 2007, despite a prior arrest in 2004. he retained that clearance, even after another arrest in 2010. just last month, on august 7, police in newport, rhode island reported alexis complained of voices talking to him through the walls, floor and ceiling of his hotel room. the police say they relayed word of the incident to the newport naval station. all of which, left the chain of command looking for answers. >> obviously, when you go back in hindsight and look at all this, there were some red flags, of course there were. and should we have picked them up? why didn't we? how could we have? all of those questions need to be answered. >> woodruff: meanwhile, the gunman's motive remained a mystery. but from her home in brooklyn, new york, cathleen alexis issued a brief audio statement, apologizing for her son's actions.
>> woodruff: there was word today that a memorial service for the victims is set for sunday. president obama plans to attend. we'll have more on all of this and other issues in an interview with defense secretary hagel, right after the other news of this day. >> ifill: the federal reserve will not dial back its economic stimulus program, just yet. in a surprise move, the central bank announced today it plans to continue buying billions of dollars of bonds, to hold down interest rates. fed chairman ben bernanke said it's because the economic outlook has dimmed in recent months. we'll have more on the fed's decision, later in the program. the fed's announcement sent wall street on a buying binge. the dow jones industrial average gained 147 points to close just
short of 15,677. the nasdaq rose nearly 38 points to close at 3,783. the budget fight in washington heated up today. house republican leaders announced they'll try to block funding for the president's health care law, even if it means shutting down the government at month's end. senate democrats are certain to revive the health care provision, and house speaker john boehner played down the prospect of a shutdown. >> there should be no conversation about shutting the government down. that's not the goal here. our goal here is to cut spending and to protect the american people from obamacare. it's a simple as that. there's no interest in our part from shutting the government down. >> ifill: house leaders said today they will also try to delay the health care law for a year by tying it to a separate bill raising the national debt ceiling. that ceiling could be reached by late october. if it isn't raised, the government could default on its debts. president obama today tore into republicans over both issues and
insisted he won't give in. >> we have never seen in the history of the united states the debt ceilingtor threat of not raising the debt ceiling being used to extort a president or a governing party and then trying to force issues that have nothing to do with the budget and have nothing to do with the debt. >> ifill: the next round in the fight comes friday, when the house considers the spending bill to fund the government through mid-december. separately today, a group of house republicans offered their first comprehensive alternative to president obama's health care law. it provides an expanded tax break for consumers who purchase their own health coverage. it also calls for increased coverage for high-risk individuals. there's no estimate of the bill's total cost. there may be a new chance for diplomacy on iran's nuclear program. the white house confirmed today that president obama and iran's new leader have exchanged
letters. mr. obama offered to let tehran demonstrate that its program is for peaceful purposes only. and president hassan rouhani told nbc news that he has full authority to negotiate a deal. the death toll in mexico rose to 57 today, in the wake of storms that struck both coasts over the weekend. hardest hit was acapulco, where tropical storm manuel touched off flooding that cut off the pacific beach resort. we have a report narrated by lewis vaughan jones of "independent television news." countless homes have been evacuated, leaving thousands needing help. even the way out of here sr. waist deep in water. this is the main airport
terminal, usually full of tourists at this time of year, but outside planes were grounded tens of thousands of people are trapped here. now the army has stepped in to help airlines fly people away to mexico city. ed smith is a british teacher who managed to get out on a military plane. >> the hotel's not designed to cope with weather like that so everything was wet, and damp, it rained and rained. and the debris, the amount of debris that washed up on the beach, the palm trees, objects, a dead horse, a dead armadillo, it was just relentless really. >> reporter: this is the worst weather to hit mexico in decades. and it is a double assault. as well as the storm in acapulco in the west. a hurricane hit the other side of the country. mudslides in the east have already taken lives. for many, basic supplies are low and overnight shops were looted. this country is facing two major storms at the same time. the challenge to get more aid in while getting more people out.
>> ifill: there's a strong possibility that mexico will face a double blow again this weekend. tropical storm "manuel" has re-formed, taking aim at la paz in baja, california. and, yet another storm could be headed toward mexico's gulf coast. a double-decker bus collided with a passenger train in ottawa, canada today, killing six people. it happened during morning rush hour in the canadian capital. witnesses said the bus drove through a closed crossing barrier. the collision tore away the front of the bus, and derailed the train engine. at least 30 people were injured, ten critically. officials at the national security agency now say they know how edward snowden obtained the documents he leaked, detailing secret surveillance. npr reported today that snowden had access to the n.s.a.'s own, internal website, and, as a systems administrator, could copy data without being detected. the agency said it has taken steps to prevent such leaks in the future.
the federal government is getting closer to ending its ownership role in general motors. the treasury sold another big block of shares over the summer, reducing its stake in g.m. to just over 7%. that's down from nearly 61%, when the government bailed out the automaker in 2009. still ahead on the "newshour": our newsmaker interview with secretary of defense hagel; the surprise announcement from the federal reserve; answers to more of your questions on health care reform; how climate change is endangering a traditional way of life in the arctic and a biography of the man who photographed the civil war. >> woodruff: we return now to our lead story: the shooting at washington's navy yard earlier this week. a short time ago, defense secretary hagel came here to our studio for an exclusive interview. i asked him about the incident and also the civil war in syria,
unrest in egypt and more. secretary chuck hagel, welcome to the newshour. >> thank you, judy. >> woodruff: let's talk first about these tragic shootings at the navy yard this week. you acknowledged earlier today there were a number of red flags as you put it, that were thrown out that should have been picked up. you've commissioned a couple of reviews to be done and you said whatever mistakes were were made we're going to fix them. but what can you say to the families of the victims and to the people who still work at this navy yard and other military installations who are thinking "i thought if my loved one worked at a place like this they'd be safe"? >> well, first, our prayers and our thoughts go out to the families and all those affected by this terrible, senseless tragedy. second, we are committed to a go
through everything. what happened, why, could we have done something? what should we have done? the question about what do you tell families, the highest responsibility leaders have is to protect their people, to take care of their people. and when something like this happens, something fails, something broke down. now, we live in an imperfect world. and i said this morning we don't live a risk-free society. but that's not an excuse. that's not good enough. we have to do more to assure the safety of all of our people and we're committed to do that. we'll continue to do that. i'm committed to do it. everybody is. >> woodruff: don't people have a right to expect that a military installation is going to be safer than just about any place else? or not? >> well, that's a good point. but remember, a military installation is about security and about the vital interest of our country. you have many different interests in and out of that area.
yes, because there is more security on a military base so therefore there should be higher security and it shouldn't happen there. but we do know these things do occur. now, again, that's not an excuse, that's not good enough. but we've got to find out what happened. i don't have all the facts. we won't know all the facts. we will get facts and we will fix it. >> woodruff: we know the department commissioned a report after the fort hood shootings in 2009, that report came out three years ago and said there were problems, not enough attention paid to internal threats, not enough information sharing. there's another department inspector general report that came out convince lently just yesterday that said more needs to be done to make naval installations more secure. what happens to all these recommendations and why should people believe the new reviews are going to get any more attention than those did? >> we learned a lot from fort hood. there were 79 recommendations that came out of fort hood. as of this morning i was given
-- i requested an update on how many of those recommendations are going forward. they had them going forward. i think they've done around 65 of the 79 that have been implemented. i talked to commanders today. i just met with all the chiefs of the service this is afternoon our senior commanders at the pentagon, went around the table, talked to them. what has been done? what hadn't been done? a tremendous amount has been done. now, obviously not enough. but a tremendous amount has been done to assure the safety and security, whether it's the access to bases, whether it's the physical safety and security of bases, whether it's the credentialing process. much, much, has been done. obviously we need to do more and we will. it will i.g. report that just came out on monday i haven't seen it yet. it's in my office and we'll review it. >> woodruff: but you're saying the new reports that you're commissioning are going to get more attention than those did? >> well, not to minimize the attention they got.
they got a lot of attention, .dy things are much, much better today as a result of what occurred, the 79 recommendations that came out of ford hood. now, the new commission that we're going forward with-- there will be three, an independent outside and inside-- we'll look at everything. we'll go back and look at those recommendations. obviously there are some gaps here, red flags that didn't get connected. >> woodruff: let me ask you about syria, a tough part of the world right now. russia is still insisting that there will be no agreement on chemical weapons, what happens to syria's chemical weapons, if the u.s. is retaining the right to strike syria militarily. so where does that leave everything? is the administration saying it will strike syria if that country does not relinquish control of chemical weapons? >> well, first i think most of us appreciate the fact that without the credible threat of
force we wouldn't be where we are today. i think most of us are glad that we are where we are today with the possibility of maybe we can get chemical weapons issues-- which was the initial issue-- resolved to the united nations through a process of involving russia and other nations that is through the threat of military force. the president always has that option. that option is still there. the president has made that very clear. >> woodruff: and the u.s. has moved ships-- as we know-- into the region which have the capacity to strike syria with missiles. how long will those ships remain there? through the entire chemical weapons process, assuming that goes forward? >> well, our force protection to provide the active options that we gave the president at his request are still there and they will remain there until the president decides otherwise.
>> woodruff: which means it could be well into 2014? >> well, i'm not going to get into hypotheticals and how long it could be. we'll see where this plays out next week in new york but that option is the president's, it's there, it's real. the military there to respond to any option the president will decide to take. >> woodruff: both of your predecessors as secretary of defense were at a discussion at the southern methodist university in texas last night. they both said they would not have gone to congress to seek authorization to strike syria. former secretary bob gates went further. he said striking syria is like pouring gasoline on an extremely complex fire. but he also said "to blow a bunch of stuff up over a couple of days to underscore a point is not a strat jir." >> well, first, i have the greatest respect for secretarie
want to ask you about. egypt. because you and your predecessors have been in regular contact with the military leaders of egypt. today as you know, a former general, al-sisi, is also the head of government in egypt. what do egypt's leaders need do right now in order to prevent the u.s. from cutting off the military aid that has been slowing to that country. i ask because they just extended the state of emergency in egypt. >> well, first, i spoke with general al-sisi yesterday. i've spoken to him many, many times in the last two months. there is an interim government in place today. they are moving forward on a pathway toward building a constitutional election. now, that said general al-sisi understands full well where
america is on this. they have been very important partners with israel carrying out the camp david accords, the peace treaty. we have cooperated with egypt on many issues and continue. we have common interests. but until egypt moves back in a very clear way toward an inclusive, free, democratic country then we will continue to withhold some of those military assets. already the president has announced that we would not go forward. we've already announced that we would pull down bright star military exercise. >> woodruff: so you're saying withholding military assistance will continue as long as, what? >> well, as i said, we want to continue to see progress being made with the interim government civilian government, not a military government moving toward what general al-sisi and
interim government have said, a pathway toward inclusive, free, democratic government to include all people. other military-to-military relationship, which is much predicated to in the 1979 peace treaty with israel, those decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis and the president will continue to make those. >> woodruff: but is extending the state of emergency another two months consistent with what you just said? >> it is consistent. we've talked about this. i've talked to al-sisi about it and those are the kinds of things that need to be pulled down as they continue to make progress, as they say they're going to. and i think they have made some. but there's a long way to go. >> woodruff: secretary of defense chuck hagel, thank you very much for talking with us. >> thank you very must have. >> ifill: and we return to the fed's surprising decision to keep pouring money into the bond markets. at an announcement and news
conference today, chairman ben bernanke said the fed's stimulus plan-- through which it purchases $85 billion a month in securities-- is needed because the economy still needs help. many experts had predicted a fed pullback, but bernanke defended the move. policy expectations have to be determined by a best assessment of what's needed for the economy. what we will be looking at is the the other all market situation, including the unemployment rate but including other factors as well. but in particular there is not any magic number that we are shooting for. we're looking for overall improvement in the labor market. >> ifill: today's moves comes amid a very-public and highly- anticipated decision from the president about who will succeed bernanke next year. we look deeper into the fed's thinking with neil irwin, who covers the financial world for the "washington post." he's also the author of "the alchemists: three central
bankers and a world on fire." welcome, neil. >> hi. >> ifill: so i know the fed is not responding to expectations and what we saw is they confounded expectations. why? >> well, you know, we've had this stimulus coming out of the federal reserve for the last year. $85 billion a month they're pumping into the financial market and the expectation was it's time to turn that spigot back and turn down the dial and that assumes the economy is doing well and can support itself on its own. it's time to tend program. what ben bernanke and the federal reserve were saying today is not just yet. there's enough risks out there, enough weakness in the labor market, enough rise in interest rates recently and enough risk on the fiscal side, enough risk out of the government that they don't want to pull back on that stimulus just yet. they're going to wait a little longer. >> ifill: i'm not an expert on these things but i was surprised on the emphasis on the employment landscape. >> we've seen that out of the federal reserve over the last year or so. a very strong emphasis on trying to get unemployment down, jobs up. inflation has been well
controlled. that's normally what the fed pays attention to. they're focused on trying to get the job market looking better in the united states. >> ifill: it seems as if the fed is focused on what's happening or not happening on capitol hill. when he said today that fiscal policy is restraining growth and a source of downsize risk, fiscal policy? it sounds like it's wading into the political morass on capitol hill. >> you almost detected a note of frustration out of ben bernanke that as the fed has done these things to try to get the economy going, congress seems to be working in the other direction. there are two aspects to it: there's the longer-term fiscal drag. tax increases at the start of the year, the sequestration, spending cuts, all those things are dragging on growth and that's been a slow-moving thing that's been the case for months. at the same time, there's the risk of something much worse which is as we get this fiscal standoff over the next few weeks will there be a shutdown in the government? will congress be unable to reach a deal to fund the government? will they threaten to not raise the debt ceiling and risk a financial crisis like there was back in summer of 2011?
>> ifill: it sounds like he's more concerned about the debt ceiling battle than anything else? >> i think he's right. what ben bernanke fears most is the kind of thing the fed can't do anything about which is a financial crisis brought about not by external factors but self-induced by congress not playing games with the debt ceiling. >> ifill: let's play elephants in the room. because the question that he was going to be asked today and which, of course, he found a way not to answer which is -- about who's going to succeed him. but we don't know officially that he's leaving. >> that's right. his term is up january 31, he has studiously avoided even commenting on his own future plans. it's crystal clear to anyone who follows this stuff carefully that ben bernanke is planning to step down. his term is up at the end of january and now we're getting clear indications of what direction is president is leaning in appointing a replacement. it looks like janet yellen, the current vice chair of the fed to follow bernanke. >> ifill: let's talk about the people in line to replace bernanke. janet yellen is the number-two
person at the fed but donald cohn is also supposed to be under consideration. tell me about those two. >> janet yell season the current number two. she has been a key depp toy ben bernanke over the last three years and the engineer of the policies to get jobs on tracks. she's been laser focused on employment. don cohn was the previous vice chairman. he retired in 2010, but he's kept busy since then and would be a more -- he's focused on unemployment, focused on financial stability, he brings experience as well. the question is does the president want to go with the obvious choice, the number two sitting there who and has continuity with the bernanke poll sneeze. >> ifill: until larry summers pulled out of this she was not the obvious choice, was she? >> back in the spring fed watchers were certain janet yellen was going to get the job then we got the rumblings that the president was leaning toward larry summers. just a week ago larry summers
pulled out of the running so it appears janet yellen is the front-runner. >> ifill: if everybody waits to see what affect this will have on the economy, doesn't whoever the next fed chairman is -- isn't that person encountering the same plate of woes? >> absolutely. you know, there's not much reason to think that things are going to radically change in the economy in the next three or four months. that means whether it's janet yellen or anyone else, they have to make hard decisions. how long will the fed keep these low interest rate policies in place? the next chairman will inherit a $4 trillion federal reserve balance sheet. how and when do you pull that away to avoid risking inflation while trying to promote growth? that's the trillion dollar question the next fed chair will have to answer. >> ifill: let's talk about the fed chair for one more minute. today he passed on the chance to do anything or send a signal to anybody that this was -- there was a future, that we were coming out of a hole. that the administration keeps telling us we were out of. why? why? >> i think over the federal reserve they're not convinced
this economy -- they think it's growing, they think there has been progress over the lasty, unemployment has come down. it's not enough. they're not sure it's a well-entrenched recovery but it's time to start pulling away the support struts at a particular time when inflation has not been a risk. ben bernanke and the federal reserve feel like let's give it another couple months and see what happens. >> ifill: what are the signs to watch for for us as lay people when we know that the fed will finally pull out of this? >> the overall headline number that s the unemployment rate but there's a lot that goes into that. not just the overall unemployment rate, it's why does unemployment go down? are people dropping out of the labor force? giving up? that's not a good sign. so you look at the ratio of the population that has a job. you look at president number of jobs that companies are adding to their payrolls. you look at growth numbers and you look at how many people are finding new positions. it's not just one number and that's what ben bernanke emphasized today. it's a broad number of things to
look at and understanding s this economy taking off or still stagnant? >> ifill: still waiting to see. neil irwin of the "washington post." thank you so much. >> thank you. >> woodruff: next, understanding the health care reform law. tonight, we are looking at the changes that start taking effect when new online insurance marketplaces known as public exchanges open next month. one big question: how employers may respond. just today, walgreen's announced it will move 160,000 of its employees into a private exchange where they can choose an insurance plan but with company subsidies. executives cited generally rising healthcare costs as one reason, but said expenses associated with the new law were a factor as well. time warner, sears and trader joe's have announced similar moves. that brings us to our series, in which we try to answer some of your more frequently asked questions and to ray suarez.
>> suarez: the law was designed to provide coverage for many who don't have health insurance now. but there are still many concerns and questions about what it may mean for employer- sponsored coverage and whether some businesses may change what they offer as the law takes full effect. the workplace is our focus tonight. and once again, we're joined by "newshour" regular, analyst susan dentzer. as you know, susan, we've been going out into the world and basically saying to people "what questions do you still have as the final phase-in of the law begins?" and we spoke to one business owner who was visiting washington, d.c.. >> my name is jim and this is my wife janet. we fear from kentucky and we own a small business there and we furnish our own health insurance it's around $800 a month and we're just unsure how this obamacare may affect our insurance.
>> suarez: jim buys his own insurance for he and his wife, he doesn't provide it for his six employees. so this new law is now coming into full effect. what does it mean for jim? >> if he's only buying it for himself and his wife it won't mean a whole lot. for employers to be covered -- required to provide coverage under the so-called employer mandate which, by the way, will not take affect now until 2015, you have to be a business with at least 50 employees. and so clearly that will not change -- that will not be applicable in his case. it is the case where if you are a very small business and have 25 or fewer employees at an average wage of $50,000 you can apply for and receive tax credits to help buy insurance. but given what he describes, that's probably not applicable in his case. in essence, a big change for him will be that there will be a new small business health insurance
exchange in kentucky as in the other states where small businesses can also go to buy coverage and this will mean in many states that there are more options available for small businesses than ever before. in some instances, those plans will probably be more reasonably priced because in effect what is happening now is that reporting all the small business workers and many states into larger groups of people who are going to be buying coverage on the marketplace. >> suarez: is kentucky one of the states cooperating with the federal government in rolling out the affordable care act? >> kentucky is running its own state-based insurance exchange, so both for the individual exchange and the so-called shop exchange, the small business exchange, those are being run by the state. >> suarez: we've also been getting some e-mail and other forms of communication, social media, other people's questions. irma from lumertown new jersey writes:
>> well, not knowing entirely his circumstances, it sounds as if he may be working less than a full-time job, which this case his employer felt that it was not necessary to provide coverage. possibly it could be the case that his employer intends to move to something called a defined contribution plan where eventually the employer will simply give an employee money to go to an individual insurance exchange to buy coverage. i'm not sure about the subsidies
in his case. it is the case that the subsidies are available to families -- say a family of four with income up around $94,000 a year-- four times the federal poverty level. so the subsidies are rather generous in most instances and they average for an individual about -- the average subsidy will be about $5,000. >> suarez: stories have been hitting the news from time to time of employers changing what they provide in the wake of the law. are there any either incentives or disincentives for employers to change what they do when it comes to providing health care options for their workers? >> well, it certainly is the case that the united states has been an outlier in the sense that we've tied so much health insurance coverage to employment or your employment status or the status of your parents or others. so they are an outlier in that respect and we are moving gradually to a system where people can be assured of coverage even if they're not
working. so we're attenuating this employment over time and i think in general we expect over time more and more workers will want to be buying coverage on an exchange by themselves or want the access to more insurance options than typically many people have through an employer. and i think over time we will see more of the coverage move to people buying it on their own through exchanges probably with assistance financially from their employers as well as, of course, from the government for those with low enough incomes. >> suarez: in a case like that fliegers they might have been told to buy cobra before. is that still going to exist in the same way for people who are losing their health care from their employer? >> yes, ceb will exist so that if you lose a job you will have the ability to retain your employment-based coverage for the cobra premium. however this is another aspect of the law that i think for many people will represent a positive.
they'll have more choices if they're unemployed in the future because you'll be able most likely to buy coverage through the marketplace and to avail yourself of subsidys if your income is low enough. >> suarez: susan dentzer, thanks for making it so simple. >> great to be with you, ray. >> woodruff: our series continues online, where you can leave your questions about the new health law. and we'll try to answer those in the coming weeks. >> ifill: now, to a town that's been called ground zero for climate change. even as residents of barrow, alaska cope with changing weather patterns and melting sea ice, many are determined to keep their traditional way of life. coping with climate change: arctic thaw "newshour's" april brown reports part three of our series "arctic thaw." >> reporter: it's a day of fishing out in the arctic ocean for brothers brower and jack frantz. they are checking the nets they've recently set near the shoreline of point barrow-- the northernmost tip of north
america that sits more than 300 miles above the arctic circle. today's catch is seen as a moderate success. the brothers were born and raised in nearby barrow, alaska- - one of eight villages in the north slope borough. an area that sprawls across more than 90,000 square miles and that for most of the year can only be reached by plane, or depending on the sea-ice, ship. nearly 5,000 people call barrow home, roughly half are native inupiat eskimos. and for brower and jack, today is simply another day at the office. they are often in search of walrus, seals and when the season is right, twice a year they go for the biggest prize of them all-- bowhead whales-- the marine mammal that has been at the center of inupiat culture for generations. all of their catch will later be shared with their family and friends. >> i guess you could say it's a certain standing within your community you provide for your
community, you assist others with providing for your community. it's like a job, you have a job and you need workers while you catch a walrus or a whale or a seal you need those workers and they don't get paid with money they get paid with the shares from these animals, so it's a great bounty. >> reporter: it's part of a subsistence tradition that has been handed down over centuries and includes hunting land animals and birds as well. >> this is our garden, our grocery store you know we don't i mean, you can pretty much live off the land. >> reporter: this lifestyle can be traced back to 400 a.d. when the first humans settled around present-day barrow, but michael donovan worries that because of rising temperatures and melting sea ice, future generations may not be able to live the same way. >> yeah, it's definitely changing a lot and it's kind of hard to say if our younger generations will be able to do what we do. >> reporter: donovan grew up in
barrow. he uses his local knowledge to help with logistics and acts as a polar bear guard for a company that provides field support for scientists working in the area. among them, ignatius rigor, a climatologist at the university of washington's polar science center. he is in barrow to check on buoys deployed across the arctic ocean that measure surface air temperature and air pressure. like many scientists studying changes in the region, rigor has been coming to the arctic for years. >> this is the frontline of global climate change. and you know basically before the planet can heat up. it's like your glass of water before it can get warm you have to get rid of the ice and so we are seeing the ice disappear and we are seeing the arctic ocean start to warm up. >> reporter: average winter temperatures have risen sharply in the arctic in the past few decades. and rigor, an expert on sea ice, says the result has had major consequences. >> what we do see is that this
ice is melting away dramatically. we've lost more than half the ice cover that we typically have and we've lost a lot of the thickness of sea ice and so taken together the total volume of sea ice you know is down to less than 40% of what it used to be. >> reporter: for centuries what's known as multi-year ice, or the accumulation of sea ice from one year to the next, has been crucial to life here. it provides whaling captains like harry brower the peace of mind to know that his crew can stand on thick ice while hunting whales, something inupiats still have special permission to do. but in the past few years brower says he's seen mostly stretches of small, shallow ice that are extremely dangerous for hunters and because of the conditions the community has struggled to reach its annual quota. >> last spring was very poor. we didn't even harvest one for barrow throughout the whole migratory season.
>> reporter: poor whaling seasons have also hurt other communities along the north slope, where the cost of living is roughly 275% higher than it is for americans in the lower 48, and residents routinely pay more than $10 for a gallon of milk. >> that becomes a food shortage in a sense if you think about you know one whale providing for a whole community. >> reporter: arctic archaeologist anne jensen also points to another consequence of sea-ice melting: coastal erosion. sea-ice offers barrow shores protection and now that it's starting to disappear, waves have begun washing away inupiat artifacts that are thousands of years old, taking with them a past that jensen says could provide clues for the future. >> when we lose archeological sites, we not only lose information about you know peoples heritage and the past, but if you have a site that's called stratified so you have
layers you can actually see how things changed through time and how people's subsistence changed, but if the sites fall in the water before you excavate them then you know its like burning libraries. >> reporter: even though the melting sea ice has changed, the way a lot of alaskans on the north slope bureau go about their traditions, it's also bringing a lot of economic opportunities. sea routes-- once blocked by layers of impenetrable ice-- have recently begun opening and many corporations are eyeing ways to push further into the resource-rich arctic. oil and gas companies already operating in the region pay taxes that finance the north slope boroughs $350 million budget. >> without that support of the industry we won't have anything. our people got to have jobs. >> reporter: anthony edwardsen is the president of the ukpeagvic inupiat corporation that promotes economic growth in the north slope. >> i believe strongly when it
>> reporter: oil was discovered in nearby prudhoe bay in the 1960s and has transformed an area that at the time was largely without electricity, running water and modern schools. >> i believe strongly when it comes to the industry that we benefit as long as it's divided among us in an equal way. if we don't participate, we're going to lose out. >> reporter: the north slope has produced as much as one-fifth of the nations oil. but even today debate continues among inupiat's on further offshore development that could threaten their native traditions. >> they realize that there is a bounty off their coast that could really improve their lifestyle but do they necessarily want to change their way of life and you know if an accident happens you know there goes subsistence hunting and whaling.
>> reporter: michael donovan says that if the choice were left up to him, it would be an easy one. >> even if they paid me a million dollars or you know $100 million, i wouldn't trade this lifestyle for anything in the world. >> reporter: the people of alaska's north slope are likely to face a range of climate decisions soon, as scientists predict that the arctic is warming nearly twice as fast as any place on the planet. >> ifill: online, we have more from the arctic, including how a pea-sized sea snail is being threatened by changing ocean chemistry and what that means for marine life. we also have a report on the complications and controversy surrounding oil exploration in the region. >> woodruff: finally tonight, one of the pioneers of photography. jeffrey brown has our book conversation. he was, first, "brady of broadway." mathew brady, one of the best- known portrait photographers of his day, a shaper of images of the likes of abraham lincoln and then, of a searing period in
american history-- the civil war. brady's own story is told now in a new biography: "mathew brady: portraits of a nation". author robert wilson is editor of "the american scholar". he joins me now. welcome to you. >> thank you, great to be here. >> brown: this is an interesting case where the work is so famous yet it turns out there's huge gaps in what we know about the man and many myths about the work. >> absolutely. brady -- it's interesting, because brady was so commited to history and to recording history through his photographs and yet he left very little trace of himself and he knew so many of important people and events at this time and he had this sort of zelig-like existence where he was always off to the side. >> brown: what is clear that he's a photographer we know but i think what you're painting a portrait of someone, we'd call
him today a entrepreneur, right? a businessman. and as you say, a mast over promotion. >> absolutely. one of the ways in which i was able to find out a lot more about brady than i expected to is following the advertisements and he would like his neighbor across the street in broadway when he was in new york, p.t. barnum. he was a great master of using advertising in newspapers and other publications. so i was able to find out a lot about him that way as well. but early on one of the thing he is did to establish himself was really devote himself to taking images of the famous. so there was a lot of reflected glory, i think, on him. >> brown: in fact, you say he helped create this whole idea of celebrity in america. >> absolutely. he i think partly hand in hand with barnum who must have been some sort of inspiration to him, he took early pictures of
generally lynd who when he first came to america on an incredibly famous and well received tour of america brady was there taking pictures of her when the crown prince of england came on another tour about which there were 200 articles in the "new york times" i came to this country and to canada, brady's studio was one of the first places that albert came to have this photograph made and so he -- he became associated with celebrity himself and people wanted to come and be photographed by him. >>. >> brown: one of those celebrities, the most famous at all, is abraham lincoln. 1860 at the cooper union and there's this famous quote "brady and the cooper institute made me president." we don't know if lincoln said
that or brady said that. >> the sole source for that quote is brady himself. so take it as you will. lincoln did come to brady's studio on the day of the cooper union speech and he'd been traveling by train from springfield to come and give the talk and he pulled out of his release a new suit that was just incredibly wrinkled and there's some thought that part of what made the photograph so important was that it humanized lincoln and made him seem more kind of like a normal person. that picture was very influential, was widely reproduced and yeah, whether it made him president or not, i don't know. >> brown: and what he's most famous for, the civil war photos. the question, the controversy, there's always been how much of the work he took and hoch of it he did himself, how much he took credit for the work of others.
to what degree does it matter? where did he come out on that? >> well, brady, as we said, he was a businessman. his studio employed a number of different people doing a number of different things including people who were actually took the photographs themselves so brady had a bigger role and his name became the brand for what was done in his studio and what his people did. it's a little bit hard to understand in the context of a photographer, an art wrist we think of one person being responsible for the work. i think in the context of a businessman or business you think henry ford didn't make the cars and the cars are all called fords so all these photographs that we've taken under bradys are just photos by brady. >> suarez: so how do you define his impact or influence on the very image we have of that -- of the civil war?
>> i think it's just central, it's crucial. brady -- beyond the photograph he took or commissioned to be taken, he was a great collector of photographs and to some extent a great stealer of photographs of others or copier of photographs of others. this was wildly done but brady did it with a single mindedness so there are just thousands and thousands, maybe as many as 10,000 images from those years that we have because of brady and his enthusiasm for pulling a collection together and preserving it. >> brown: how did you feel about his contribution to the his history of photography itself, the art of it, as well as what we're talking about, the business of it? >> well, garys will read my book early on and gary read something about it said brady didn't just make photograph he made photography. and i think in the early years his influence was so widespread
so many of the people who became great photographers during the civil war worked with brady first, so he was a mentor to them. he was interested in it had development of the media and he was very interested in the idea of photography as art and tried to uphold artistic standards with what he did. so, you know, he just touched so many aspects of photography in its first decade that i think he was -- there again he was crucial. >> suarez: we're going to continue this conversation online where i want to ask you about some of the other famous portraits, including one of robert e. lee right after the war. for now the book is "matthew brady, portraits of a nation." robert wilson, thanks so much. >> thank you very much. >> woodruff: again, the major developments of the day: defense secretary chuck hagel ordered a full review of security and clearances at u.s. military facilities, in the wake
of the washington navy yard shootings. in a surprise move, the federal reserve announced it will not dial back its economic stimulus program, just yet. the news sent stocks higher, with the dow industrials gaining 147 points. the death toll from flooding across mexico rose to 80 late today. the country was hit by two tropical storms over the weekend. and syrian president bashar assad told fox news that he is committed to the u.s.-russian agreement on disposing of his chemical weapons. >> ifill: online, what are the financial benefits of aging in place? its more than just saving on high nursing home costs. see why on our making sense page. plus, how building empathy for military robots can affect decisions on the battlefield. find that on our news blog. on art beat, we have a week's worth of poets and poetry and looking for your next page turner? we've launched a new section devoted solely to our coverage
of books and interviews with authors. all that and more is on our website newshour.pbs.org. >> ifill: and that's the "newshour" for tonight. on thursday, we'll look at one california city's unique and controversial approach to seizing underwater mortgages and offering them back to homeowners at lower rates. i'm gwen ifill. >> woodruff: and i'm judy woodruff. we'll see you online and again here tomorrow evening. on behalf of all of us at the "pbs newshour," thank you and good night. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: ♪ ♪ moving our economy for 160 years. bnsf, the engine that connects us.
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we offer expertise and tailored solutions in a wide range of industries. what can we do for you? >> and now, "bbc world news america." is "bbc world news america." reporting from washington, i am katty kay. the u.s. federal reserve will keep pumping money into the economy. -- surprise decision keeps sent the dow jones to a record high. mexico is hit by two designating -- devastating storms. thousands of tourists are stranded. and germany has been cruising and economic fast lane. now voters will decide whether angela merkel deserves to get the credit.