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tv   The Media Show  BBC News  January 9, 2022 5:30pm-6:01pm GMT

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away, then clearer skies, but more cloudy is coming in from the west, which will bring rain into western areas. by the end of the night, temperatures will have lifted across the eastern side of the uk. these are the temperatures by the end of the night. an early frost and eastern areas, especially around aberdeenshire. it looks a lot cloudierfor tomorrow, aberdeenshire. it looks a lot cloudierfortomorrow, light aberdeenshire. it looks a lot cloudierfor tomorrow, light rain cloudier for tomorrow, light rain and cloudierfor tomorrow, light rain and drizzle moving eastwards across england and wales. most of the wet weather in the north—west where we have the strong winds, mainly northern and western parts of scotland. despite the cloud, temperatures higher than today with the eastern side of the uk making 8 degrees. furtherwest, double degrees. further west, double figures, degrees. furtherwest, double figures, could make 13 in northern ireland. not a lot of rain to come. those weather fronts moving down our week but they will linger and keep more cloud on tuesday in the far south, otherwise most places will see some sunshine. see some sunshine. hello, you're watching bbc news with me, jane hill. the headlines:
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the education secretary for england backs reducing the covid isolation period from seven days to five. the australian government did not give assurances to novak djokovic that he could enter the country without a vaccination, according to documents filed before tomorrow's court hearing. russian troops arrive in kazakhstan. there is relative calm there, after six days of violence that killed 164 people. an afghan baby separated from his parents in kabul during the chaos of the us withdrawal is reunited with relatives. much more on all those stories coming up, of course, at 6pm. right now on bbc news, it's time for the media show.
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hello. welcome to the media show. we have reached the one—year anniversary of the storming of the storming of the capital in washington, dc. of the storming of the capitol in washington, dc. it was a pivotal moment for america and for its media. we have seen some us journalists criticised for overemphasising its importance, of obsessing about it. others sayjournalists in the us have not found a way of describing the significance of what happened and are giving too much space to the idea that the us election was stolen. let's explore these issues and many more with our five guests. david folkenflik, national public radio. chris walker, a tech journalist based here in the uk. robert costa is from the washington post. susan ferrechio is chief congressional correspondent at the washington examiner. susan, i wonder for our viewers who do not know your publication, tell us about it. we are a news website in a magazine based in washington, dc. our team of reporters cover
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breaking news, congress, the white house, politics in general, elections, and we also have a team of opinion columnists added into the mix. we are grateful for you joining us. and our final guest is zing tsjeng, editor in chief of vice uk. and, zing, for people who don't know vice well, what is your editorial remit in charge of vice uk? we are a global youth culture website. we have a tv film studio, we are on tiktok, social media channels, snapchat. and we also publish a website, very retro in this time and age for our gen 2 audience and we have audiences all over the world from la to new york and london and asia. we are at a stage where websites are retro — that's where we have got to. unfortunately, if you're talking to people who are 18 and 19 years old, it very much is. all right. point taken.
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let us go back to january 6 of 2021. i would like to ask the three of you in the us to think back to that story as it unfolded and the journalistic challenges that it posed. let's begin with you, david. the unfolding of the story on - 6 january last year itself followed, in retrospect, a predictable but grievous path. - in the moment itself, _ there was a little bit of disbelief of what was happening in front| of the eyes of those covering it live and those covering it in person who were on outlets that weren't l live on what had been— a peaceful rally and soon became an angry mob turned insurrection and siege of the capitol. - there was, even from a sector| of the press that we may touch on today, the conservative press, i think_ a reflection of reality of how... it was shock, as any citizen - would have, but as you get further
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from the event itself, it quickly descends into a politicisation, i to some degree on the left| and especially on the right. but that day, i think there was disbelief. and i think there was shock and i think there was grief and anger. about what was playing out | in the capitol building itself. you talk about the conservative side of us media. i wonder where you would describe npr's position in the media spectrum? we feel ourselves to be| very much like the bbc. we don't have opinionators on staff | to tell people what to think or how| to vote that you might find - an editorial pages of major american newspapers or on the editorial pages of the uk or even in the way- in which british - newspapers are voiced. we have a mandate to be fair. to all sides, to represent people in their own voices and do our best to be very firmly— tethered to reality. and that has been your goal for the last year as you've concerned yourself at the ramification of 6 january.
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susan, were you actually in congress or close to it when 6 january happened? yes, i was. i agree with david in terms of how he talked about how it unfolded and the shocking nature of it. i've worked in the capitol since the early 1990s and i've watched security evolve there over the years through various terrible incidents and i've seen how it increased and changed in terms of access from the public. you used to be able to walk right in and wander around, and then it became a fortress over the years, and that was part of why it seemed so shocking to us that this huge group of people were able to, in two steps, access the capitol by pushing past the police and they were also allowed to wander in in huge numbers without any security checks by the police. so those two shocking things were happening. so just from a security perspective, aside from the nature of why these people did this, that was really extremely surprising to me and i have seen a lot of things going on in the capitol. where were you as it unfolded?
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i was outside the building, talking to the people who were coming in and out and trying to find out... the challenge for me was trying to get at why, what did they hope to accomplish? there were different types of people there. they were not a big monolith, which i think is unfortunate. i think the press reports it that way. there were different types of people there, many types. and the most violent among them was probably the smallest group among them but was still a large group of people. robert costa from the washington post, if i could bring you in here, do you think the fact that there was only one film crew inside the capitol building — the itv news film crew — the fact that many journalists were surprised this happened was evidence that the us media as a whole just had not been talking to this section of society anywhere near enough in the weeks and months running up tojanuary 6? no. i think the media was paying close attention to trump during the transition period.
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the challenge for the media, and for me at the time writing a book, was we did not know all of the facts about what was happening behind the scenes. you had a president co—ordinating a pressure campaign against his own department ofjustice, state officials, his own vice president, other aides, lawmakers on capitol hill, and at the time, it seemed like this was more of an ego trip for trump to have a rally, but it actually was the culmination of a co—ordinated effort to overturn an election which on 5january, a year ago today, we were not really clear about. and evidence of that is my own reporting. i was outside the willard hotel on the night of 5january, hearing rumours giuliani and bannon were inside and up to no good, but didn't really know the full picture until months later. and it's very clear after we found this document called the eastman memo that trump was not on an ego
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trip, he was notjust having a rally, this is notjust a spasm of a part of the country the media was ignoring, this was an attempt to overturn an election, and it took months to piece together that story and we are still piecing together the story. and reporting using deep background methods is something that goes many years back. bob woodward, your co—author, used it many years back, of course, famously, in the 1970s. so is what you are saying that actually the story was extraordinary, but it did not reveal any structural problems with the way that us media or us journalism works? i think we all need to step back in the media and follow the two words i try to follow every day which is to "assume nothing". i think what happened on 6 january was not a failure of the media, it was a failure of imagination, that the american people in the media but also
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in politics could not really fathom that the peaceful transfer of power would be truly disrupted, and i think as we move forward, when you hear people say we need to cover democracy more, that to me is really an argument to have more of an imagination, sometimes a bleak one, about what is possible in the united states and to be attentive to that. that's an interesting way of framing it. david, i can hear you trying to come in. i think we have to listen carefully to what bob costa has just said right there. in a sense, the media had done so much to hear from trump supporters, both in the period afterjoe biden�*s clear victory, but really ever since the american media was taken by complete surprise on election night in 2016. there was no failure to talk to trump supporters, there was a failure to recognise
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the implications of what the media's reporting was sharing. and there was an actual layer that makes it different from violent protest. as important it is to cover criminal activities that may ensue, this is different. because there are structural forces at play and institutions placed in motion or in open revolt against its leaders and there were efforts to leverage these powerful positions in government to overturn the will of the american vote. and so when we consider the description you have given us and the description robert has given us, susan from the washington examiner, i wonder if you feel that american media's coverage of the fallout from 6 january all the way through the last 12 months has been proportionate? i think it's been a little bit political. i think it is about trying to tie republicans to overthrowing an election
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and overthrowing the government. there are a lot of people who feel very strongly that trump's first — only term, likely — was undermined by democrats and the whole russian collision storyline that dominated its entire time. i think it drove him to some of the behaviour we saw. wnd that's a story line that also deserves consideration. obviously i'm not going to agreement the fellow guests on this issue, but i feel like the media, generally speaking, is generally biased toward democrats, the big papers, big radio stations. and that's just been a fact of life here in america, and for them to look as... i did not see it as democracy about to be overthrown. i saw it kind of like... i agree with robert
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about the ego trip for president trump. i think it had dire consequences. i think it had dire consequences, what he did in his final weeks in office. i don't know if i really felt like democracy was under threat. as we consider your critique of how the liberal media in the us covered january 6 and the months that have followed, do we also need to factor in that donald trump was very good business for the liberal media in the us, and january 6 has allowed his impact on us politics and his impact on their bottom line to reach beyond his presidency? no, i reject that premise. you are insinuating the media is driving its coverage in a transactional way based on clicks to follow trump i don't think that's accurate. show me evidence of that. i could point to the fact that a tv network like msnbc is spending an awful lot of time looking at january 6 and the consequences of everything that have followed. you could argue that's justifiable, but its critics
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would say it's a good way of driving ratings, to inflate the importance of the story versus other stories. to not say it's not important, but to give it a disproportionate amount of airtime. well, you are assuming intent there. i don't know the intent. they are covering it a lot, that's a fair thing to say. msnbc is covering it a lot. fox news is covering it a lot but framing it in a different way. cnn is covering it its own way. the option here is to not cover a major committee work on investigating an attack on the us capitol and focus on biden�*s agenda — climate, social spending, infrastructure? that is an editorial choice to also cover 6 january a year after, but i see 6january in a different way than the committee. the committee sees it, framing it, at least congressman cheney,
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as trump about being idle onjanuary 6. that's not the story. trump may have been idle for a few hours, but the story is the weeks prior and the intent was there to disrupt elections. and the other reason — and i'm not giving msnbc credit here — but the reason to keep covering this is the aftershock of 6 january is not that this was an isolated episode. attempts to frame the 2020 election as a fraudulent election continue in a rampant way in many states, to the point where people are trying to run for office saying the election was a lie, change election laws saying the election was a lie. this is a pervasive new movement in american politics that deserves attention and scrutiny. david, what is your view of this? the degree to which... no—one is suggesting this is not a story, but it's the degree to which it's being covered. do you suspect that liberal media have had incentives beyond on editorialjudgements forfocusing on this? well, i want to be careful about accepting the idea of liberal media that is the washington post is, you know, exactly the way the guardian is.
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you know, american newspapers try by and large. they have sensibilities, they have outlooks, you know, the biases and lived experiences of their journalists will affect their choices, but you know, they have an outlook that is different, i think, than the sort of more explicit place on the spectrum that you might find in the uk. i think msnbc, for example, does play what happened onjanuary 6 — the investigation, the aftermath, the implications — to a greater degree, a more disproportionate degree, you could argue, than, say, a place like npr or the new york times, which does cover as well in great depth the kinds of policy arguments and political debates that robert just referred to. i would remind you that cable does everything disproportionate. it never does things as sort of a magazine with 17 different stories an hour. they cover three orfour stories an hour, and one of them, they will do out of proportion regardless. what i would say is this is fundamentally, in some ways, the story of our moment. i think it's wrong to say, you know, "well, there were concerns about the integrity
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of these elections." news organisation — at times, including the washington examiner, which i actually respect a lot of the journalists there, but let's be clear for your viewers, it is a right—of—centre outfit whose ceo is currently campaigning for his publication by campaigning against or advertising against the credibility of the rest of the media. they have cast doubt about some of the changes that were made because of the pandemic, and that's fair, but those were evaluated and found not to affect the election, not for there to be any meaningful level of fraud in the election, so casting — i want to finish this thought — casting doubt on that element in the wake of dozens of lawsuits and hundreds of evaluations by election officials of the right and the left, republican and democrat, throughout this nation is to give credence to something that has been discredited. and what is interesting listening to all three of you — susan, robert and david — is the degree of emphasis on the functioning of american democracy. and, zing, if we can bring you in, you are editor—in—chief of vice uk.
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i wonder, as you have observed this story, whether this marks a broader shift in journalists' interest in how democracy functions and how that is described to their audiences? i think it certainly reflects a kind of shift in the us, but i think that contrasting that with what has been happening in the uk, in the uk, we very much still have a media that is focusing on the individual foibles of our politicians. ijust need to name matt hancock and the kissing tape that broke last year. you know, you can contrast that with the way that someone like drjill biden is covered in the us press versus someone like carrie symonds and the way she has been covered in the uk press. like, the differences between the uk and us presses, i think the us media right now is very focused on democratic processes — the ways in which people can be disenfranchised of their vote, gerrymandering that occurs in elections. whereas i think in the uk, for better or worse, we are still very much focused on the character of our politicians, which is why when you see people criticise, for instance, borisjohnson, it won't be long
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until they get a dig in about, you know, the way he dresses or the way he presents himself. we're still very much a personality—driven political system here. so we've looked at how this has impacted on the way democracy is described within journalism. we have discussed the proportionate nature of how this was covered, too. let's turn to the tech giants, because one strand of the story that has not gone away is the role of the tech giants. twitter and facebook have been accused of acting too slowly when it came down to taking posts inciting violence onjanuary 6. they're also being accused, though, of overreaching, of interfering in politics, of banning some political accounts. of course, the most high—profile example of that is donald trump, whose twitter account was suspended not long afterjanuary 6. now in the last few days, congresswoman marjorie taylor greene has been banned from twitter permanently for sharing covid misinformation. chris, what more do we know about that decision from twitter to kick a congresswoman — an elected congresswoman — off their platform?
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yeah, it was a slightly different thing with i marjorie taylor greene than donald trump. i donald trump removed - from twitter because of his incitement of violence. marjorie taylor greene - had five strikes, i believe, for covid disinformation, which is obviously - vitally important now. and i think the role that twitter - and facebook and other social media platforms play in all of these conversations, both national| and international, _ really speaks to their power. you know, we are all representatives of kind of the old media, _ and zing has talked a lot - about the way that websites are kind of giving way to social media. we always often forget that i social media is a public space but is privately owned, and there are rules- in privately owned organisations, and if you fall foul of them, - then you get kicked off. the challenge, obviously, - for social media platforms is that you have to try and benefit both i sides, you have to keep both sides happy, and what i think we've i already seen in this conversation is a pretty politically polarised -
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debate, so you are damned if you do and damned if you don't- if you are facebook or twitter. susan, are you uncomfortable with twitter taking decisions about which politicians can and cannot reach the kind of scale that twitter offers? i think social media in general has, you know, tried to tip the scales because they can. you're right, they're privately owned, they can do what they want. they've banned a lot of conservative voices, they've banned people who have wanted to talk more informatively, i think, about covid, about lockdowns, about vaccines, about the effectiveness of vaccines. some of the people who have been banned, it does not seem to make a lot of sense. they were just stating actual facts from medical doctors about covid and they were taken off the platform because it's called, under this strange kind of covid misinformation id, and i feel like it's caused a lot
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of people to question the fairness of these social media accounts. and look, they are under the scrutiny — in america — of congress right now because they have got enemies, people angry at them on the right and the left, so i think that in the next year or two, you're going to see the government try to do more to manage this, to step in, because they don't have friends on either side of the aisle right now, so they actually truly are caught in the middle. but from my own perspective, some of the people that you see getting banned from facebook and twitter, itjust doesn't make a lot of sense and it doesn't seem fair. zing, do you agree with that? and i wondered whether you agree with the broader principles being raised here, but also a specific question about your business which relies on these platforms. do you feel vulnerable that they could, at any point, take a position against you or any other business? i think if you ask any editor of any publication that puts content outl on social media, "do they feel vulnerable?", the answer- is always going to be yes.
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because, fundamentally — - and i think this is one of the few issues i reckon everyone - on this panel will pretty much agree with me on — _ tech networks have far too much power to decide what goes out - and what does not and they also have far too much power to decide who gets heard and who gets the maximum amount of reach. so, for instance, facebook — i or, as it's now known, meta — can on a dime choose i to change its algorithm. it will not gather every single social media editor, - every single publication into a meeting room i and explain, "guys, this. is what is going to happen. this is how it's going. to affect your content." it doesn't happen that way. you just wake up one morning and you realise your content l suddenly is not performing. the same way that it used to. and this has happened in a high—profile case in the uk, because the news account politics for all has been permanently suspended from twitter. this was an account that tweeted out predominantly breaking news stories from other outlets. it had hundreds of thousands of followers, including mps and government ministers. chris, it's gone. tell us why. well, it's difficult - to actually know, ros. it seems as if it has - gone because of the fact
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that it was aggregating information amongst linked accounts that it - owns, although we don't really know and twitter has not definitively- really said, nor has the owner of politics for all actually- come out and spoken, really, to the press. . so that is this kind - of lack of transparency that we are all concerned about, given the outsized impact that l social media platforms have. but zing's really interesting point there, in terms of this idea - of we are putting a lot of our eggs in terms of the media in baskets. that we don't have control of, - and those of us with long memories will remember thingsj like the media's pivot to video in the late 2000s, . early 2010s, when, suddenly, facebook prioritised video content. people were hired - in order to produce videos. regular writers were fired on the back of that. - and then suddenly, - facebook turned off that tap of traffic to the platforms. and so, suddenly, you find the media having to move again, and i think- this is one of the big issues here, is we really are seeing _ the media platforms being led
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by social media giants. - david, let's bring you in on this. sure, well, ithink there's some interesting countervailing questions here. for example, i think that we forget in america with the first amendment that these are private companies. they are enormous. they dominate the way in which people, i think, acquire or are exposed to information, particularly meta, facebook, but also twitter, and yet they have their own first amendment rights to make choices about whom they allow to talk on their platforms. that's not regulated by the government exactly. and yet, there are questions about first amendment principles at play. a congresswoman being taken off the platform who has the authority of the office to speak to her constituents, duly elected, you know, that does raise significant concerns. i think that there has been a lot of journalistic look at the claim made often by conservatives that conservatives are targeted. i do think at a time where there seems to be an asymmetrical... not that there is none on the left, but an asymmetrical level
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of misinformation, disinformation from certain kinds of right—wing figures about covid, for example. yhe platforms are struggling to deal with it. there are ways to deal with it without fully deplatforming that i think could perhaps be more fully explored. so questions remain for how the media interacts with the tech platforms. just to bring this discussion back to january 6 in the last few minutes, robert costa, we have heard how you have written a book, we've heard how you covered that story in the hours and days that followed the storming of the capitol, so you've done a number of different types ofjournalism. i wonder now you have some distance from the event whether you think there are broader lessons that now need to be applied as the media continues to cover this story as it evolves. my advice to colleagues, beyond my own organisations, would be to be vigilant and vigorous in listening to what people are doing out in the country. and that means notjust talking to voters, but talking
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more to state officials, to local officials. what is happening out in the country? to me, the constitutional crisis on the horizon — if it ever happens — is injanuary of 2025, if alternate slates of electors or a different way of counting the votes is proposed, broadly speaking, inside the republican party. and that seems to be a development based on my reporting that is active right now. robert... thank you very much. i am sorry tojump in, ijust know we're right up against the end of the programme, but that is some final advice from robert costa of the washington post. i will quickly mention and bring ourselves right back to january 6 that there is a new radio 4 series, the coming storm. it's presented by gabriel gatehouse. it looks at the build—up to january 6, the causes of those riots, and also particularly looks at the qanon conspiracy theory. you can listen to the entire series right now on bbc sounds. but that is it for this edition of the media show. thank you very much indeed for watching. thanks to all of our guests and we'll see you next week. katie razzall will be with you.
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hello there. we have seen welcome sunshine across much of the uk today, but it will turn cold quickly this evening across the eastern side of england and scotland. still a few showers to move away, then clearer skies, but more cloud coming in from the west, which will bring rain into western areas. by the end of the night, temperatures will have lifted across the eastern side of the uk. these are the temperatures by the end of the night. could be an early frost in eastern areas, especially around aberdeenshire. it looks a lot cloudier for tomorrow, light rain and drizzle moving eastwards across england and wales. most of the wet weather in the north—west, where we have stronger winds, mainly northern and western parts of scotland. despite the cloud, temperatures higher than today for the eastern side of the uk, making 8 degrees.
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further west, double figures — could make 13 in northern ireland. not a great deal of rain to come. those weather fronts moving down are weak, but they will linger and keep more cloud on tuesday in the far south. 0therwise most places will see some sunshine.
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this is bbc news the headlines at six. the education secretary for england backs reducing the covid isolation period — from 7 days to 5. the australian government did not give assurances to novak djokovic that he could enter the country without a vaccination — according to documents filed before tomorrow's court hearing. an afghan baby separated from his parents in kabul during the chaos of the us withdrawal — is reunited with relatives. russian troops arrive in kazakhstan — there is relative calm there, after 6 days of violence that killed 164 people. the golden globe awards take place tonight in hollywood — but there's no red carpet, no stars and it's not on tv.

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