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tv   PBS News Hour  PBS  June 1, 2022 6:00pm-7:00pm PDT

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♪ good evening. judy woodruff is away. tonight, a teacher killed is laid to rest, after questions linger. democracy in crisis, plans to enlist political operatives as poll workers alarm activists. and come marine one while it is -- and, marine helping to stop climate change. >> we need to stop climate change. in the meantime, we have to make sure we don't lose the diversity we have now. >> all that and more on tonight's "pbs newshour." ♪
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announcer: major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by. ♪ moving our economy for 160 years , bnsf, the engine that connects us. ♪ >> caregiver, rayndjames taylor was advised to help you ve you life, life well planned. ♪
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>> supporting social entrepreneurs and their solutions to the world's most pressing problems. skoll >> committing to improving lives in the u.s. and in developing countries. supported by the john d. and catherine t. macarthur foundation, committed to building a more just and peaceful world. more information online. 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. >>, m and for stephanie with
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newshour west. we will return to the program after the latest headlines. twin funerals in uvalde, texas for a woman who tried to protect her students and husband who died two days later from a fatal heart attack. the mourn as their final respects, one of two teachers killed by a gunman and her husband joe. the school district police chief denied he'd stop cooperating with state authorities. they are investigating his decision to delay officers going in after the gunman. the looping this evening, a mass shooting at a medical facility in tulsa, oklahoma. five deaths, including the shooter on the st. francis hospital campus. police have not released an identity or motive. a grand jury has formally charged an 18-year-old white suspect in the fatal shooting of
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10 people, all black, and a rampage fueled by racism. the charges range from domestic terrorism mode divided by hate to first-degree murder. the u.s. and germany announced they will send new advanced weapons to ukraine to blunt a russian offensive in the east, nstrike targets 45 miles away. germany is sending air defense missiles. antony blinken and the nato secretary-general dismissed russian threats that the weapons could widen the war. >> specifically with regard to weapon systems provided, the ukrainians have given assurances they will not use these against targets on russian territory. there is a strong trust bond between ukrainend the u.s. and allies and partners. >> russian forces occupied more of the finer ukrainian held city in a region.
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ukrainian official said eight shipments and evacuations areo longer possible. the people of shanghai were partially released from a two -month lockdown in china's largest city. traffic reappeared for the first time since april. excited residents return to sidewalks and subways. the world help organization wonder covert outbreak in north korea is getting worse. officials appealed for more information. in this country, president biden defended his response to the shortage of baby formula and said no one realized initially how bad it would be, with a plant in michigan closed for contamination. at a virtual roundtable, the president announced new shipments from abroad and said efforts were in high gear. the number two at meta is stepping down.
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sheryl sandberg is leaving after 14 years as coo, helping to build the company into a powerhouse, but drawing criticism for underplaying how facebook was exploited during the 2016 elections in the january 6 riot at the u.s. capitol. admiral linda fagan became, done today the first woman delete -- became a commandant today, the first woman to lead a service. it took place in a service with president biden. the man who shot president reagan 41 years ago will gain his full freedom on june 15. a federal judge in washington ruled john hinckley is no longer a danger to himself or others. he is 67 and has spent more than 20 years in a mental hospital before being allowed to live outside with limits. still to come, gun safety reforms abroad and how the rest the world sees american gun massacres.
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a conversation with a white house advisor about today's nsh the battle over freedom of speech and limitations on social media content, and much more. ♪ announcer: this is the "pbs shinon, and in the west, from the walter cronkite school of journalism. >> in uvalde, it will take two weeks to hold the funerals for those laws. even as the grieving continues, the community is waiting for reports. there are divides about the need for more action of gun safety and gun laws. we speak with a state lawmaker in uvalde. there have been new question seemingly every day about how this tragedy occurred, how police responded, what accountability m look like and what changes alter the implement
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it going forward. one democratic state senator that represents uvalde is there now. thank you for being here. you have been meeting with the families and talking with them. can you give us a sense of how they're doing amidst this horribleness? >> the families i visited with didn't want to visit with anyonequite frankly. the ones that i have, they were devastated. they are frozen. they are just stuck. i get it. i understand it. it i the same kind of shellshocked we had as a state and country last week, but these folks are living it day after day. >> i can't imagi having to deal with the enormous grief they are dealing with, but i also imagine the anger at what they have been learning about the police response.
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how are they juggling those two emotions simultaneously? >> you know, they are very angry. everything that is going on with their angry at the police response. they are angry at the fact that they are not getting any specific answers. one day they are told one thing, the next day they are told another story. yesterday, they were trying to point the finger at the teacher. we found out the teacher did close the door. last week, we heard it was the local police chief and everybody pointing the finger at him. i don't know the man, but i think every law-enforcement unit failed to adhere to the protocols on active shooter's. >> there have been conflicting reports about the investigation and some reports that local police might not be cooperating with state investigators. are you confident this investigation will be done in the correct way? >> it is unfortunate.
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it is like were living in one world where we hear one thing one day, in the following, the opposite, finger at one investigating unit, and every one of these law-enforcement personnel have a responsibility. we are not getting anything conclusive. i have asked for a full report as to where each officer was at the time. i was supposed to get that friday. i was told today that may not happen while they develop further investigations. i am demanding we get this report. this community is demanding it. i am demanding we get it soon. >> much of the conversation has also been about how we deal with guns in america to prevent events like this the next time around. are there specific things that you would like to see done? >> it is clear, number one, i call for espresso session. the governor called a
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special committee hearing. those are not the same thing. there is no such thing as a special committee hearing. we have interim committee hearings. indeed from the action called today, no action will be taken. we need to establish a minimum age of 21 on assault rifles. it is astounding to me that an 18-year-old can have access to militarized weapons. we need to have red flag laws. we need to be able to establish waiting periods. those are reasonable things that can help prevent this type of tragedy. >> senator, as you well know, your state has been moving in the opposite direction in recent years, and the things you are talking about are anathema to the republican-controlled legislature in your state.
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are you confident your voice will be heard now more because of this tragedy? >> there is a feeling now in texas calling for change with democrats and republicans. the real answer is, is greg abbott going to do anything this time? this is the seventh of massacre. every time all he does is expand access to militarized weaponry. i can only hope and pray and keep doing my work to make sure we get change. >> thank you so much for joining us. >> thank you. ♪ >> earlier this week, canada unveiled new legislation they would freeze new handgun purchases and create a mandatory buyback program from
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semiautomatic rifles, coinciding with funerals in uvalde. it was an example of how countries around the world have respond to their own mass shootings. >> what happened in nova scotia this weekend is every communities worst nightmare. it was the deadliest shooting in cadian history. >> 22 people were shot to death in nova scotia, including a police constable who died trying to protect the community. canada had suffered previous gun tragedies and had previously tightened its gun laws, but the nova scotia massacre led to an immediate ban on military-style rifles and further restrictions announced by justin trudeau this week. >> what this means is that it will no longer be possible to buy, sell, transfer, or import handguns anywhere in canada. >> the new legislation also forces owners of military-style rifles to turn those informed destruction.
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that move echoes reforms made in 20 by new zealand. for the city of christchurch, march 16 was a day of mourning, and residents laid flowers near o muslim worship centers where a lone gunman had walked inside and killed 51 people as they parade. for the prime minister, it was a call to action. >> i can tell you one thing right now, our gun laws will change. >> in fewer than four parliament debated andd a bill banning most semiautomatic rights asend hasigh-capacity magazines, a mandatory buyback program offered money for band guns, anyone who kept those guns went to jail. this just to date she spoke with president biden on gun safety. >> aires collected on our experience. i am sure in the likes of australia, where we'd use their experience, would equally be open to doing the same. >> first, horror and carnage in
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another town tonight. >> in 1996, the aftermath of a horrific massacre in a town known for tourism. a gunman killed three dozen people and it became known as one of australia's darkest days. >> it was shocking. 35 people were killed. it was the large of these types of shootings ever in the world. because it was a holiday destination, people were killed and injured from every state in australia. >> it is time for tougher gun laws. >> rebecca peters is an expert on internationalun-control control who led the campaign to reform australia's gun laws. >> we used to have a mass shooting about once a year in australia. our two major parties were intimidated by the gun lobby. >> conservative prime minister john howard's just been elect
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and within days announced sweeping reforms unannounced tighter gun control laws. the parliament passed the national firearms agreement, banning semiautomatic rifles and shotguns and establish a registry of all guns in the tree, and more strict background checks. in a one-year mandatory buyback program, they seized and destroyed 650,000 guns. >> our politicians somehow just stood up and said we are going to be grown-ups, and both parties agreed. it was critical to have bipartisan support. it was a rare moment of integrity for members of parliament. >> what was the impact of the gun laws passed? >> well, it has been a very dramatic impact. we did not have another mass shooting for 25 years. we still have things go wrong, but we have much lower levels of gun violence, and also a higher level of competence.
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you know, australians, it never occurs to us that we might get murdered. we don't have metal detectors going into schools. >> school shootings in britain are largely unthinkable since the 1996 tragedy in one scottish town. parents rushed to the primary school after a gunman carrying four handgun shot dead at teacher and 16 children. >> i am in a state of shock. it seems unreal. i can understand someone doing that. >> the british passed increasingly strict laws that eventually band off but the smallest caliber handguns. today, the gun homicide rate is .7 per one million, one of the lowest in the world. the u.s. rate is 30 times that of the u.k. this year, the u.s. has suffered 225 mass shootings. >> these kinds of mass shootings never happen with the kind of frequency that happen in america. why? why are we willing to live with
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this carnage? why do we keep letting this happen? >> why does this only happened in your country? >> mark stone challenge ted cruz. >> white only in america? why is this american exceptionalism so awful? >> i am sorry you think american exceptionalism is awful. >> i think this aspect. >> you definitely have a political agenda. god love you. >> and so it remains that these tragedies will be uniquely american. ♪ >> today, the administration unveiled a new $700 million package of weapons for ukraine that includes the most advanced buckets yet to be used yet, a himars system can hit targets 45 miles away with increased targeting capacity. to join this, we dashed us on
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this, we have our guest. welcome to the newshour. ukraine has been asking for these himars for months. whnow? >> we have been responding to what ukraine has been asking for througut the crisis. when the war started in late february, the top priorities were antitank, antiarmor, and antiaircraft systems they use those weapons to drive the russians out of kyiv. they started asking for howitzers, artillery. we provided 200,000 rounds of artillery and ammunition. now that the conflict is continuing in the east and south, they have asked for more high-caliber, precision targeted weapons, and we are responding as we have throughout the crisis. >> the ukrainians we spoke with said they requested this weeks
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ago. russia focused on the east nearly 10 weeks ago. is this too little, too late, as russia is making progress. >> no, absolutely not. we have seen the ukrainians fight effectively with the weapons we have given them, most notably stopping the broad drive across the country and succeeding in the battle of kyiv. once we got the additional funding for congress provided on a bipartisan basis, the administration moved quickly in response to the latest request. >> the u.s. is capping the range of the ammunition provided for these himars. why is that important when ukraine has guaranteed that ukraine will not use this ammunition to cross the border and fire into russia? >> it is our assessment that given where the battle is, the state of the battle in the donbas, this is the most
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effective system for ukrainians at this stage in the fight. we will continue to assess the situation as we have beebased on conversations the administration has had with craniums in the last number you days, the ukrainians told us they are satisfied with the degree of assistance we are providing. >> there are assurances ukrainians have provided not to fire into russia have come from multiple levels in the past few weeks. what if kyiv decides it must use some of these weapons to attack inside russia? >> as the war continues to evolve, we will look at the security assistance we are providing to ukraine, but if you look at where the conflict is now, it is primarily inhe donbas, in the east and south of the country. russia invaded ukraine. russia is inside ukrainian territory, so we continued to give ukraine the security tools they need to defend the country and repel pressure from their country and believe the addition
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of these himars will enable them to do that more effectively. >> stay with us for a little bit. to what end are these weapons that were it ukraine define victory? virus the ukrainian president has said he wants to kick russia out of all of ukraine, including territory occupying for years. does the u.s. support ukraine in that mission? >> we have been clear from the beginning we would support ukraine helping them to defend their territory. this is what president biden said to president putin before the war began, that if russia invaded ukraine, we would continue to provide security assistance above and beyond what we have done. as the president made clear, one of our overridingectives remains enabling ukraine to be an independent, sovereign, democratic country, so we continue to provide security assistance so they can defend their country, achieve that aim,
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and be in a stronger position on the battlefield and in a stronger position at the negotiating table when the time comes. >> that's different than what president zelenskyy has been saying, evicting russia from territory currently occupied. >> he has acknowledged that there needs to be negotiated and to the conflict comes a week continued to give them the weapons they need on the battlefield and support them when it comes time for serious negotiations when russia shows it is ready to do so. >> a senior u.s. official says the u.s. is considering sending drawings -- drones that can fire hellfire missiles at specific targets. these are sophisticated systems. ererwill operate the systems ano will therere be ctstri operated? i have nothing further announced tonight in terms of additional security assistance we >> th
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eir request for assistance at the battle evolves and do it we can enclose cooperation with our international partners to ensure they have the equipment they need to fight effectively. >> i have about 30 seconds left with you. any concern that these weapons as you said, including sophisticated weapons, any concern that they might encourage ukraine to think that they could actually achieve victory on the battlefield, and therefore less inclined to do so? >> as president zelenskyy has acknowledged, there needs to be a negotiated end to the conflict, so our primary mission is to give ukraine the tools they need to defend themselves and support them when it comes time for negotiations. >> thank you very much. >> thank you. >> for a different perspective,
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we turn to a person who worked on the national security staff during the clinton and obama administrations and is a fellow at m.i.t. and an analyst at the quincy institute for responsible statecraft, a think tank. welcome to the program. you heard the argument for why the administration is providing these rockets, these himars. why do you believe the administration should not be providing them? >> well, it's not that the administration should not provide weapons to ukraine. they should. the administration is doing a good job calibrating the military assistance they are providing to ukraine to defend its territory against the russian attack in the war crimes the russian seem to be carrying out. in principle, supplying weapons is fine.
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ukrainian assurances that weapons will not be used to attack targets in russian need to be taken with a grain of salt and will depend on battle contingencies, which are hard to predict. the white house realizes this which is why they are providing capability up to 45 miles of range. the issue with the transfers is not that they are taking place, but they seem to be unconditional. since a negotiated end to the conflict is in the interest of the u.s., as secretary blinken and others have stressed, these arms transfers should've lodged the ukrainian government to participate in such a process when it is launched. >> you are saying oblige the ukrainian government to follow a diplomatic path, but as we know, u.s., ukrainian, and european officials say russia is the one that is not diploma seriously, so how can ukraine oblige that
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when it is russia not pursuing diplomacy? >> the moment, military assistance to ukraine is meant to provide leverage on russia, but it should also provide leverage on kyiv, both countries. as president biden wrote yesterday, the u.s. and ukraine have the same goals, expulsion of russian forces from ukraine, but we might differ on how we get there. it is possible that won't be militarily feasible for ukraine to do it on their own. both combatants looked like they want to slug it out, despite the high price they are pain, but only this can determine whether they are prepared to contemplate a deal of some kind. the willingness to participate in such a process would make good sense. now whether the administration
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can take this step is open to question. we are embarked on a different path now and will have to wait and see how it plays out. >> let me interrupt again, why is it either or? for many weeks, you saw ukrainian and russian officials debating, meeting. those talks have been down. president zelenskyy says he's happy to meet president putin anywhere, anytime, and russia refuses, so cap the military support continue as the encouragement for diplomacy continues as well? >> wl, as you said before, there is a moral hazard on the ukrainian side, providing these weapons, that emerges from providing these weapons, because as you know, president zelenskyy could save these weapons are pretty good, so as long as they keep coming, i don't have to negotiate, and i can rely on the
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negativism and the lack of a high-powered diplomatic initiative that commands, really demands the participation of the parties, because of the energy and the scope that the diplomatic initiative entails from so it is quite important to actually do something diplomatically, because the potential for escalation in a high tempo, war of attrition is quite severe, and the blowback of rapid severe escalation will fall on the u.s. as well as other parties, so a diplomatic initiative is necessary, and if conditioning arms sales on the participation in such an effort is doable, then it seems to me
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to make sense under the circumstances, as an incentive to participate. you are absolutely right, well, actually, there have been meaningful diplomatic initiatives that have taken place thus far under turkey, for example, in terms of access to the black sea and the waters outside the black sea for the export of grain to the global market, so there have been some negotiations, but negotiations between capitals, kyiv and moscow, they have not taken off, but they have not really been tried at a high level. ry much.k youtu verrin steve simon, thank you very much. ♪
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the lie that former president trump won the 2020 election has ayed out again and again, senate, governor, to secretary of state. reporting by politico details efforts by the republican party to challenge and potentially overturn future elections on the local level. >> it is called the precinct strategy, where partisans are recruited to be poll workers at different polling stations. they look for fraud. if they believe they find it, they will call a network of republican attorneys primed to file lawsuits. a story in politico today details how this effort is already underway in michigan, and it is being led by the republican national committee. this idea putting partisan actors into what are supposed to be nonpartisan roles has been promoted on the right for months
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, amplified by steve bannon. >> the establishment signals that nhing puts the fear of god in them than precinct strategy. >> it is backed by president trump, who continues to lie about the last election. in february, he urged his supporters to become workers to defend the country. to understand this, i am joined by a law professor at the university of california irvine, and the author of the new book, cheap speech, how disinformation poisons politics and how to hear it. good to see you. help us understand what is this precinct strategy all about? >> the first thing to remember is even though we hold national elections every four years for president we don't conduct a single election. we conduct something like 10,000 different elections.
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everything is hyper localized. while there has been focused on the races for secretary of state and governors, really they are the line workers, the people who checked you in, scan your ballot into a machine, it is down to that level where we see people who have embraced the big lie recruited by political parties to come in and serve not as a poll watcher, someone observing what is going on in the polling place and may reporting to the party, but a poll worker, someone who should be having allegiance to thelection body that is running the election, but who is now being told they should be reporting what they see via a mobile app to a political party. >> as politico detailed, they heard tapes of these meetings, training these motivated poll workers, different from monitors, to call republicans if
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they see something in this that is not right on election day. >> every state h their own rules as to what poll workers are allowed to do, so i am sure that in many states to be communicating outside the chain of command, if you see a problem at a polling place, you should go to your supervisor, and going to someone outside could be grounds for letting somebody go. i don't think it would be unreasonable for an election official to say if you have a problem, tell me and we will deal with that. you can always talk about that issue later. i'm concerned about the strategy going outside could create a chaos at polling places and lead to disenfranchisement of polling workers who might be challenged for reasons unrelated to the qualifications, maybe they don't speaking this well or have an accent and there the cold a non-citizen for no good reason, and i'm worried this could
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create the grounds for the legislature to say that election was not fairly front and make some kind of changed election results down the line. >> meaning if partisan poll workers can create enough smoke in enough precincts on election day, we note that according to the politico piece that the gop is trying to find a network of district attorney sympathetic to this cause, that then the legislature might step in and do something more drastic? >> right, you may remember part of the 2020 strategy to steal the 2020 election was to say there was a failed election and there was so much fraud that we don't really know who won the state of arizona, select the state legislature pick its own winner and send in its on slate of electors. this is something you we are coming up later this
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could imagine a similar strategy next time, lots of smoked, that substantiate the of fraud or problems, and they use it as an excuse to try to overturn the voters will come of it does not go the way they want. >> several republican officials in the piece you are working on the strategy say this is not nefarious. this is us just trying to offset the demonstrated democratic population of poll workers in cities like detroit or philadelphia and we are just trng to balance the scales. there is nothing to worry about. what do you make of that? >> if all they're doing is working to recruited workers, there is nothing wrong withhat. that's a good thing for democracy. we need more poll workers. the problem is people are being recruited based on this idea they will be looking for this fraud, which is quite rare in american elections, but people
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belie president trump's claims that the election was stolen. we just heard this yesterday, that fraud happens in democratic areas. they are being primed to believe that it is democrats and people of color, poor people, who are stealing votes. if you go in with that attitude as opposed to i will go in and help our democracy and ensure that all eligible voters and only eligible voters that will cast a ballot that can be fairly counted, then you are in trouble because you do not have a system where the process is going to work in the right way. >> always good to see you. thank you very much for being here. >> it is great to be with you. ♪ >> late yesterday, the supreme court blocked texas from enforcing a new law that wod prevent social media platforms from banning users based on
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their viewpoints. >> part of the battle with social media platforms is over censviorewshs.ip of an appeals court blocked a similar florida law from taking effect while it is being challenged. the key legal question is whether the platforms are like phone companies or cable companies, as texas and florida lawmakers argue, and therefore subject to related does regulation, or are they publishers protected by the first amendment? two perspectives. the vice president and general counsel of the trade association challenging the texas and florida laws, and teaches internet law at george mason ball school, and the person who directs the intellectual property, information, and communications law program it michigan state university.
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thank you for joining us. i want to get to the legal issue later, but first, explain why these laws are good ideas? why are they necessary? >> a lot of americans feared that certain groups of people with certain perspectives, are being shut out that the public square, which is what the supreme court terms the internet. the social media platforms are the place where we discussed politics, meet our friends, politicians talk to voters, and if we have a thumb on the scale so that only certain viewpoints get promoted, that is undermining democratic deliberation in our society what our nation needs more of. >> what is your response to that? is there a thumb on the scale? >> what we are talking about is simple, government, in this case
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republican government, forcing a private platform to say something it does not want to say. it would be like the government telling a restaurant they need to serve hamburgers because people want hamburgers, and that is absurd. it is a simple issue. do we want the republican states of texas and florida to be able to tell private businesses they have to host content they don't want, not just political content, stuff like terrorists recruitment, child grooming, foreign disinformation, a shooters manifesto would still be allowed on these platforms under these laws. there is a reason why we are fighting against it, because the first amendment protects every person, every business from this type of government compelled speech. it does not matter if you are a cable company or an isp, because
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the supreme court said even they are guaranteed first amendment protections and do not have to carry speech they did not want to carry, so it is a simple issue and there is a reason why we have had two district court judges, four circuit court judges, five supreme court justiceside with us every step of the way. >> what about that argument that this would require social media platforms to distribute terrorist speeches, as he says, and disinformation? >> this is a mischaracterization of the law. the law is clear that platforms are free to censor dangerous content. they can censor or get rid of all sorts of undesirable content, like nudity. what they cannot do is censor hold viewpoints. they can say no nudity on my
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platform, but can't since her me if i want to be an advocate of the naturist lifestyle. getting back to that point, the government requires businesses to husband each and all sorts of instances. local television broadcasters can compel cable systems to carry their channels and their programs, and the supreme court has upheld this. the supreme court and other courts have upheld the obligations of telephone companies to carry on their wires views they don't like, similar to other regulations. the court of appeals for the district of columbia said isps must carry indiscriminately all sorts of messages, so this is smoke and mirrors saying that private businesses have a first amendment right to exclude people. restaurants don't have the right to exclude black people we
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oint.p similarly, the platforms, the supreme court has called our public square comic-con of exclude people they don't like to make some sort of point. >> i want to make sure i understand what you are saying, under these laws, the platforms could still set a code of conduct, standard? >> of course they could. if you look at the law, and i encourage reviewers to look up hb 20 in texas, the statute says it only goes to viewpoint, not content, and allows the platforms to censor types of speech that the government allows them to do, which under 230 would include obscenity, indecent speech, nudity, excessively violent content, and
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it is very disturbing they are making these claims in the papers to the supreme court. that underscores the dissent that this decision should not have been made in this context, because with these false claims they cannot really have a proper and clear hearing of the issues. fir ame tndhement texan? >> it is incredibly simple. they are a private is. he and many conservatives support decisions which are all predicated on the notion that private businesses are private businesses and can decide what is does for their and customers. we have other cases, like turner broadcast cable, that says even cable companies to the district
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circuit court decides or common carriers, even turner can discriminate on what type of content is or is not allowed. the notion that were just throwing a bunch of spaghetti at the wall and it is smoke and mirrors, well humans be really good at it, because we have convinced four circuit court judges all conservatives, that we will write, at least five supreme court justices that we were right, and once again, this is a simple issue that a lot of people try to make more complex than it really is. if i were to go into a restaurant and start flipping over tables, we would not blink an eye if they asked me to leave, get out. they would save her fighting our rules. the same thing should have been the online world. what we're seeing is that is being forbidden in these laws, and for bidding our ability to
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speak freely, moderate content how we want, how to promote content we want. >> i'm sorry. i'm going to interrupt you. i want a response to that. we have a very little amount of time left. >> sure. the social media companies are about connecting people to people, the expression of their users. nobody goes on to social media platforms to hear what mark zuckerberg feels about their kids pictures. like the telephone company, they have obligation to serve all. he says it's like a restaurant. they can't discriminate and say you can't come in because your african-american, or black, or in certain jurisdictions, we don't like your political point of view. >> gentlemen. i'm sorry. we have to leave it there. thanks very much. >> thank you. >> thank you. ♪
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>> coral reefs are in growing danger due to rising temperatures connected with climate change. in florida and throughout the caribbean, there is an epidemic killing healthy corals. scientists are diving deep to find answers, and we joined them on their mission to revive the reefs. >>, have been scuba diving in florida and the bahamas for 35 years, which makes me eyewitness to a slow-motion disaster. she is also saddened by what she sees. >> i know what it is like to go somewhere where you have had old friends and they are not there anymore. that is what we areeeing on the reefs. it has been the continued loss of coral.
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>> it is a global problem brought on by pollution overfishing in thelimate crisis. the intergovernmental panel on climate change predicts up to 90% of tropical coral reefs will vanish as soon as 2030, unless drastiaction is taken to limit greenhouse gases. here in florida, things are worse. he is on a mission to stop the deadly coral epidemic decimating reefs here and throughout the caribbean. first identified new miami in 2014, stony coral tissue disease spreads and kills like wildfire. it strikes more than 20 of the 60 or so species of coral that live here. mortality rates are from 66% to 100%. the iconic killer coral is one of the most susceptible. >> it is heartbreaking. it is unbelievable. >> she is the head scientist at
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the smithsonian marine station at fort pierce. she is helping to lead the urgent hunt for answers. >> when we started, we did not know anything. we just knew it was killing coral tissue. we know more than we did, but we don't know enough. >> corals are complex, fragile, and poorly understood animals that drive thanks to a symbiotic relationship with algae that lives in coral tissue. the coral is the homemaker, and the algae brings home the bacon, actually nutrients derived from photosynthesis. many of the vivid colors of ralco c a algaeedre comes so white patches are signs of disease or death. >> so this whole piece is diseased at this stage. this is barely advanced disease
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on this coral. >> no one knows what sort of pathogen is at work. it could be viral, bacterial, or some combination. here they isolated a beneficial bacterium that fights off the disease. >> wetarted testing it in the laboratory first in various studies with pieces of disease coral and saw that it would slow down the disease or stop it entirely, so it's like, wow, this is cool >> they are treating healthy corals with probiotics. it looks promising, but still early. antibiotics are also working. she is part of a small team of researchers applying a paste to ailing corals. >> they can come back and there is no sign of disease, and eventually it starts regrowing. >> her team and others have
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collectively saved nearly 15,000 corals. still, the researchers are well aware they're only making a small dent in a massive problem. >> we have to be quite selective. we are figuring out what can we say. what will we lose regardless, and trying to get the most pain for the buck. we can't pretend this is not happening or do anything about it or the prognosis takes a sharp turn for the worse. >> coral conservation center in tampa is fighting this disease on land. >> this is a tank of corals that will be going into the ocean in a couple of weeks. >> she is the senior coral scientists here. at first, she hoped to participate in a massive effort by a team of scientists to harvest healthy coral from the reefs to create an arc, a desperate move to avoid extinction.
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>> however, they don't stop growing, and if you keep them under heavy conditions, they will keep growing and growing. >> she wondered if she could make endangered pillar corals heavy enough to reproduce. something like that had never been done before with florida coral and aquariums. >> you have to get all the seasonal cues right, the change in temperature, daylight, sunrise, sunset, the moon phase, all of these have to be just right in order for that one event to occur around the full moon of august. >> the spawning happened on the first try, in august of 2019. >> we were cheering and yelling and calling everybody, we need help. and it has happened like clockwork every year since then. >> so what started as a gene bank is now huge, thriving,
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coral breeding center. she occasionally joins divers from the florida fish and wildlife conservation as they cement offspring on to ailing reads. they use bamboo teepees so the corals don't become fish hors d'oeuvres. so far, they are thriving when they because they are young and strong, or maybe the worst of the epidemic has passed. eventually she hopes they will find the genes that make coral resistant and selectively breeng animals that are immune to stony coral tissue loss disease. remember, it is just one of many threats. >> we cannot save coral reefs without stopping climate change and cleaning up our environment. it takes time. in the meantime, we need to ensure that we do not lose the diversity we have now, so that we can build back the population . our work here is buying us time. >> when she sws past healthy
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corals she has treated, she feels the same way. >> i definitely don't feel like it is a futile effort. i do feel like we have to do something. if you like seafood, you like coral reefs. if you like vacationing in florida, you like coral reads. it is pretty problematic when we lose them. in my lifetime, we will see the swing back towards more healthy reefs, or we will see them decline into something almost unrecognizable. >> imagine that, a world without thriving coral reefs. not a pretty thought. it is heartbreaking to watch it happening right before my eyes. ♪ >> that is the "pbs newshour"
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tonight. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy.] join us tomorrow evening. for all of us here, i hope you have a good day, good night, and see you soon. announcer: major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by. >> for 25 years, the goal has fit to provide wireless services, no contract plans, and one that fits you. to learn more, visit us online. ♪ announcer: the ford foundation, working with visionaries on the front lines of social change worldwide. and, with the ongoing support of these individuals and institutions. ♪
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this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting and by contributions to your pbs station by viewers like you. thank you. ♪ this is the pbs newshour from w eta studios in washington and in the west from the walter cronkite school of journalism at the arizona state university. ♪ ♪ announcer:
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