tv PBS News Hour PBS October 21, 2021 3:00pm-4:01pm PDT
hing. i hope you're ready. 'cause we are. captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> woodruff: good evening, i'm judy woodruff. on the newshour tonight, in contempt-- the house votes to cite trump ally steve bannon with contempt for defying a congressional subpoena, setting up a major test for thd.o.j. then, biden agenda-- democratic party infighting endangers the president's efforts to reign in climate change, as an alarming new report warns some climate damage can not be undone. and, return of the jaguar-- scientists take extraordinary steps to reintroduce the species to a land from which they went extinct some 70 years ago. >> it's so emotional and it's... and it shows that it can be done.
>> carnegie corporation of new york. supporting innovations in education, democratic engagement, and the advancement of international peace and security. at carnegie.org. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions: and individuals. >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you.
>> woodruff: a c.d.c. panel has given its blessing to mixing and matchingooster doses of various covid vaccines. the action late today means millions of americans, ages 40 and older, are now eligible. f.d.a. advisors greenlit the step yesterday. the u.s. house of representatives voted today to hold president trump's longtime ally steve bannon in contempt of congress. he had defied a subpoena from a committee investigating the january 6th assault on the u.s. capitol. the vote was almost entirely down party lines. we'll take a closer look, after the news summary. democrats are sending mixed signals on whether they'll agree on a giant social spending package by the weekend. moderate senator joe manchin of west virginia said today that "this is not going to happen anytime soon." but house speaker nancy pelosi said she still expects there will be agreement soon. >> we're making great progress
to our goal of securing a framework agreement for build back better in a timely fashion. we're going to... although it's a smaller bill, it's still historic, transformational and will make an enormous difference in the lives of america's working families. >> woodruff: the bill now totals roughly $2 trillion, down from the original $3.5 trillion. moderates and progressives are still wrestling over tax hike, a child tax credit and family leave among other things. in haiti, a gang is now threatening to kill 17 kidnapped members of a u.s. missionary group, unless its demands are met. the demands total $1 million ransom, per captive. the threat came today, as the missionaries' families were urging people to pray for the victims and the kidnappers. a 25-year-old london man was charged today with stabbing and killing a british lawmaker, sir
david amess. prosecutors said charged that the attacker supports the islamic state, and that he targeted amess for supporting air strikes in syria. back in this country, u.s. attorney general merrick garland insisted he is not out to silence parents who confront school boards. a garland memo this month asked the f.b.i. to address threats over anti-racism curricula and masking mandates. today, at a house hearing, he said he is focused on violence, despite republican claims to the contrary. >> not in a million years did we dream that one day we'd see the justice department treat american parents as domestic terrorists. >> the justice department supports and defends the first amendment right of parents to complain as vociferously as they wish about the education of their children, about the curriculum taught in the
schools. that is not what the memorandum is about at all. >> woodruff: the national school boards association has warned that incidents at school board meetings and threats of violence are on the rise. a former minneapolis policeman was re-sentenced today for fatally shooting an unarmed woman in 2017. this time, mohamed noor got nearly five years in prison for manslaughter. the minnesota supreme court overturned his earlier conviction for murder. noor h said he thought the woman had a gun and was about to shoot. texas is urging the u.s. supreme court to leave a new abortion law in place. it's the most restrictive in the nation, banning most abortions about six weeks into pregnancy. the state's filing says the court should let a legal challenge to the law, work its way through the courts. the biden administration wants the law blocked immediately. the federal reserve has announced it will bar its officials from investing in
individual stocks and bonds. they would effectively be limited to holding mutual funds. two top fed officials resigned recently amid reports of questionable trades. on wall street, the dow jones industrial average lost six points to close at 35,603. the nasdaq rose 94 points. the s&p 500 added 13. and, britain's queen elizabeth is back home at windsor castle, after spending last night in a hospital. buckingham palace says doctors admitted her for examinations, but gave no specifics. the palace says she is in good spirits. the queen is 95 years old. still to come on the newshour: biden agenda-- what's at stake as democratiinfighting compromises the president's efforts to reign in climate change. return of the jaguar-- how scientists are reintroducing these cats back into the wild. and one woman's brief but spectacular take on being an
unrepentant disability rights activist. and much more. >> woodruff: today marked a critical step in the investigation into the january 6th capitol riot. as we reported earlier, the u.s. house voted to hold steve bannon in criminal contempt for defying a congressional subpoena. democrats were joid by nine republicans in rebuking the former trump aide, for a final vote of 229 to 202. >> this isn't about punishing steve bannon. >> woodruff: the debate preceding today's house vote went beyond the issue of steve bannon, and whether to cite him for contempt of congress. it went to the heart of
lawmakers' willingness, or not, to keep on probing what led to the deadly january assault on the u.s. capitol. democrats, including bennie thompson, the chair of the select committee, urged colleagues to take a stand against bannon for stonewalling the select committee. >> i'm not willing to get to the end of the select committee's work and look back wishing we had done more to uncover all the facts. >> woodruff: they found support from a small number of house republicans, including the panel's vice chair, liz cheney. >> the american people deserve to know what he knew and what he did. >> woodruff: but most republicans criticized the investigation, and how it is being carried out. >> the select committee is engaged in an unconstitutional, political investigation. >> woodruff: the panel issued its subpoena to bannon a month ago. it demands that bannon sit for a deposition before lawmakers. it also orders him to hand over whatever records he may have of
any communications with former president donald trump about january 6, as well as any relevant communications with other trump allies like rudy giuliani. bannon argues, through an attorney, that he does not need to comply, because former president trump intends to assert executive privilege. the nnon issue now goes to the justice department, headed by attorney general merrick garland. before today's vote, garland opted not to tip his hand to whether the department will ultimately prosecute him. >> the department of justice will do what it always does in such circumstances; it will apply the facts and the law and make a decision consistent with the principles of prosecution. >> woodruff: the department is already in the middle of prosecuting hundreds of defendants facing criminal charges of their own, stemming from january's riot. now, for a deeper look, i am joined by josh gerstein, senior legal affairs reporter for "politico." josh gerstein, thank you so much
for joining us. first of all, tell us again how ordinary is it for the congress to say that someone is in contempt of a committee? >> well, that's happened i think increasingly frequently in recent years, judy. we've seen a number of citations, former attorney general eric holder was cited. former attorney general bill barr was cited. what's really unusual here is to have a criminal referral that the justice department may seriously look at. it's been about 40-45 years since the justice department has brought a case under this particular criminal contempt of congress statute. >> woodruff: so remind us what, are the steps justice department goes through? i mean, what happens now that the house has taken this vote? what actually happens next?" >> so this will go to the u.s. attorney's office for the district of columbia, which is basically part of the justice department. and they will consider whether to file a case.
the law here in question does say that they're supposed to-- that they have a duty to convene a grand jury or to consider bringing charges. in the past, thaoffice has declined in many, many cases to file charges. but those generally involved executive branch or former executive branch officials, where that administration was upholding the privilege assertion. what's unusual here is president joe biden has said he doesn't think executive privilege should be invoked. so that's what the justice department is going to have to think about before they consider whether to possibly bring a criminal charge against steve bannon. >> woodruff: i think that's what we're trying to understand. what are the factors justices are going to be weighing as they make this decision? and how long do you think it's going to take them to make it? josh gerstein, you can hear me?
it looks like we have-- >> what happened? hello? >> woodruff: it looks like we have an audio problem. apologies. we will be right back. apologies. >> woodruff: as we've been reporting, the coming weeks are a pivotal point for president biden's agenda and, more importantly, for substantial changes around the country talks are growing more intense among democrats and the president as they debate the tradeoffs of a major bill that could affect the pocketbooks, working conditions, and social safety net for millions of tonight, william brangham looks at what it could mean for coping with climate change. >> brangham: president biden originally proposed a fairly bold climate change agenda. the goal was to cut america's carbon emissions-- the emissions that contribute to climate change-- cut them by half, by
the end of this decade. one of the central parts of that plan was known as the clean electricity payment program, or cepp-- it was meant to spur electrical utilities to move more quickly to renewables. but now, the cepp seems dead in the water. lisa desjardins has been reporting on this initiative's demise and she joins me now >> desjardins: hi. >> yang: so what happened? >> joe marchian happened. without him, nothing moves forward in the senate, and he said he would not support anything that looked like this pricing plan. essentially, this plan which was focused on utilities was another way of imposing a renewable standard across the country, almost a cap-and-trade-style plan. no secret coal country in west virginia didn't like it. joe marchon said no and it was taken out altogether. our climate is at stake here, but so are many jobs, and as you
said, democrats have a goal of cutting emissions by 50% at the end of this decade. they wanted to use tax incentives. that's still in the plan. that's the biggest part the the plan. what we're talking about here, the electricity plan, the pricing plan, that was a big chunk. that was about a third democrats were hoping to do. without it, there is a big hole. >> brangham: i guess this is just one of the factors the way our system democracy worked. this plan was enormously popular moongsz all the democrats inlet congress and in the senate, and yet, one senator was able to undo all of that. >> desjardins: it was popular among most democrats. this is the result of our divided country and the divided government, the 50-50 senate. it means joe marchian has a lot of power. he is somebody who personally has investments in coal. he ran a coal brokerage. he has about $1 million in coal stocks and he gets a lot of donations from coal and energy companies. on the other hand, he said he's representing his sate, which
also depends on coal and coal jobs. the progressives, their agenda is hung up by them. on the other hand, he argues, you wouldn't be this far if a republican were here from west virginia instead of me. >> brangham: so if this particular arrow was taken out of the democrats' quiver, how are they talking about trying to make up those emissions reductions going forward. >> desjardins: this is so important because this is going to affect not just all emissions, but pollution and what parts of this country see progress in this area. so let's look at exactly what is on the table right now. they're just kicking around as ideas. one, a potential tax on import from countries that have high emissions themselves. they're also looking at another idea-- the industrial sector. we know that's a place where a lot of carbon outputs happen and they're hoping they can beef up to decarbonize. that would affect a lot of urban communities especially. and finally, william, another idea is over transmission of renewable energy. there's a problem there congress might be able to do a little more on.
i want to look at the map of our country. see the wind energy, that's where the blue comes from. that's the central part of our country, the great plains. solar power is biggest in the southwest. what's missing there? a huge part of the country in all kinds of corners, northeast. how do you get that renewable energy across the country to cities that need it in other parts where it's not generated? transmission. that's something they're trying to figure out if the bill can help going forward. >> brangham: lisa desjardins >> brangham: so the president's climate change agenda took a real hit this week, and while everyone here in washington is debating the costs of this action, versus that action, my next guest has been trying to focus our attention on the cost of in-action. abrahm lustgaarten covers climate change for pro publica. abrahm, great to have you back on the newshour. when seone says to you, what, do you mean by the cost of inaction?" what are you actually talking
about? >> everything about what climate change is going to do to the world and to our soapt is going to cost us money and impact our economy. it's going to inflict incredible storms, which have a great cost of cleanup. it's going to change the value of real estate. it'soing to change the way we grow food and how much food we can grow d the farm economythat surround. and it's going to change how productive labor is. so it really gets to the bedrock of everything that drives our economic activity. economists will i speak with estimate that climate change unabapted could cost the u.s. 10% of its g.d.p. climate change slightly abated, sort of a middle path, could cost the u.s. 4% of its g.d.p., which is $840 billion a year, if you count that against today's economy. >> brangham: so you mentioned some of the ways in which climate change runs up these incredible bills. what are some of the other ways? are we talking droughts, fires, storms, things like that, as well? >> yeah, it's really everything,
and it all adds up. disasters alone, the united states has spent about $700 billion since 2017. there have been $18 bilion so far this year ago. the the national climate assessment, the u.s. federal report on climate change, tallied a long list of theways the economwill be impacted. some of the items on the list are $155 billion a year in labor impacts, labor productivity. $6 billion for urban drainage system. $20 billion in road damages. you can start to see everything from healthcare to pandemic response to wildfire fighting to disaster cleanups, they each are a line item on a list of costs that adds up to many trillions of dollars. >> brangham: and as you're describing, "these are costs that are some some ways spread across the entire economy. but some of these impacts are very localized nape do not fall
equally on everyone. >> yeah, that's right. everything about climate change's impacts are unequal in a way. so you see disproportionate impacts in the most vulnerable parts of the country. some of the economic forecasts that i've been looking apt predict that that g.d.p. impact might be as high as 20%, 25% for counties in the southern part of the country, along the gulf coast in particular. some of the impacts to crop fields economists are looking at, they reach 70%, 90% in places in co cou county, in okl. there might be some economic growth in the northern part of the country, but in the southern part of the country and the northwest and the gulf coast in particular, those economic impacts are anything tbe very substantial. >> brangham: and i mean, these numbers are sort of astronomical, and they in some ways offer real context for the numbers being debated here in washington, d.c. what do we know about whether the elements and the actions that are being considered here in the capital
would actually have any meaningful impact on these climate impacts that you're describing? >> you know, i haven't seen that kind of analysis of the language in this specific proposed bill, but in january, the consensus is that the faster emissions are reduced and the greater they're reduced, the slower climate change will be, the slower warming will be, and the less the ultimate costs will be. and this has been quantified, again, not just by the united nations, but by the u.s. government, its national climate assessment estimating reducing emissions quickly and now could reduce that economic harm i was talking about by 30% to 60%. just one example in there. the government lists $9 billion in costs for impacts to electricity systems, to our grid systems. and it suggests that reducing emissions quickly could reduce that cost to $30 billion-- $3 billion, excuse me, so cutting it by two-thirds. the speed of our response now has a substantial impact in the forecasted costs for the future.
>> brangham: all of the things that you're describing are costs that are going to be borne, not just by individual citizens and their own lives, but by mayors and governors all over this country. and i'm just curious if in your reporting you have gleaned any sense why, if this is so self-evident in so many communities, why that hasn't percolated up into our political leaders here in washington? >> i mean, i think that individuals, local communities, local municipalities are, you know, slow to understand the financial impacts that are coming their way. they're just beginning to see those impacts the last couple of years. so it's an emerging issue. the ways that i'm talking about cuts in emissions, the way they're forecasted to lessen those costs will in the future. it's modeled at projected figures, and in a lot of sort of complex material, and i don't think that that has quite pervaded want conversation among
leaders. and, you know, you're right when you talk about the kind of numbers that are being batted around in this reconciliation bill, much of which is not climate related, by the way, but even in its entirety it's relatively small compared to the kind of many trillions, the very, very large figures that we're seeing in projected costs. >> brangham: this is such important context. abrahm lustgaarten of pro publica, thank you so much for being here. >> thanks for having me. >> woodruff: as world leaders prepare to meet in glasgow for >> woodruff: we are so sorry, as you saw we have technical difficulties in our conversation with josh gerstein a couple of minutes ago. we have him back to discuss the investigation and the house vote to hold steve bannon in contempt. josh gerstein, thank you again. our apologies. i was asking you what factors the justice department takes into consideration in deciding whether to go forward with the
prosecution. >> well, this does put the justice department in kind of an awkward position. most of the experts i've talked to have said they think this is a rather weak assertion of executive privilege on the part of former president trump and steve bannon. and the main reason for that is, number one, it is former president trump. so it's not a current president. and the second reason is that bannon was not in the white house even at the time of these january 6 events. he was, at best, a private adviser, a political adviser to president trump. so the problem, though, for the justice department is that in the past, they've opined that both those situations, there still could be a valid claim of executive privilege for a former president or an unofficial adviser. so the question is can they make a criminal case against bannon while sort of not completely contradicting their past positions? >> woodruff: and thinking the whole time about precedent, about what this could mean for other presidents. >> well, that's exactly right,
judy. i mean, the justice department is part of the executive branch. so they do also have to take into consideration, even though president biden has said he doesn't want to back up this claim of executive privilege, would they be setting some kind of precedent that the next time this dispute comes up-- and we've mentioned that these two come up fairly regularly-- would there abe problem for another president, president biden or a future president to assert privilege. >> woodruff: and just quickly, josh, we know the committee is attempting to get cooperation from others who were advising former president trump. some are saying they will cooperate. we have yet to see what that looks like. do we have a sense of just how close this committee is going to get to understanding what happened on january 6? what was-- what was behind it? >> well, i think, judy, they may succeed in exposing some things that haven't come out yet through the justice department's investigation, the criminal acts on capitol hill. i'm thinking in the areas of
finances, who financed the rally that president trump held that day? what preparations there were in terms of security? what kind of threats did the white house or other rally participants receive or perceive of that event on that day? i think they could get int that, and part of the reason this effort is being pursueded over steve bannon i think is to send a signal to other potential witnesses and others who might have documents related to the investigation that they should cooperate or they could face this kind of an enforcement action themselves. >> woodruff: josh gerstein, who is the chief legal affairs correspondent for politico. thank you, josh. >> thanks, judy. >> woodruff: as world leaders prepare to meet in glasgow for the crucial cop-26 climate meeting, there is another related crisis that has focused
the attention of researchers the world over. it's the rapid extinction of species all over the globe, perhaps a million a year disappearing. in argentina, they are working on a potential solution to return to some key species to their natural habitats. science correspondent miles o'brien takes us to a place where jaguars once again roam free. >> reporter: feeding time for some rare cats in a place of rare beauty: argentina's ibera national park. biologist pablo guerra is focused on one small task aimed at solving a global crisis >> it's just like a very little piece of work of what we really have to do to try to stop the massivextinction of the species. >> reporter: the species in question is the biggest cat in
the americas, the jaguar. these beautiful animals were hunted and poached to extinction in this part of argentina about 70 years ago. they are in critical danger of vanishing completely. only a few hundred are left elsewhere in the country. pablo guerra is part of a team from rewilding argentina, a conservation nonprofit embarked on an audacious campaign to re- introduce the jaguars to their long lost home, a spectacular mashup of the everglades and the serengeti that spans 1.7 million acres. he hides tasty morsels as if they were easter eggs. >> it helps them to-- also to not to get so bored and to try to let their instinct maybe go out, you know, to express it. i love it. for me it's a dream come true. >> reporter: not just for him. the dream began in the mind of
the late doug tompkins, founder of clothing companies north face and esprit, and an avid lover of the south american wilderness. >> i started to see that the things that we're doing, we're incongruent with my thinking. >> reporter: he recorded this interview in 2011; four years before his untimely death in a kayaking accident. >> if you start going up against your own values, you know, you start to get you put yourself in a, you know, in an emotional and intellectual corner. this is what happened to me. >> reporter: it also happened to his wife kris tompkins, another retail mogul. she was the c.e.o. of patagonia. their ecological philanthropy began in 1991, when they started purchasing swaths of land in southern chile, creating the million-acre douglas tompkins national park. >> we just got this thing rolling that ended up being 14
national parks in almost 15 million acres. we realized that just saving the land was actually just a strategy towards something else that we were really after, which was, how do you create fully functioning ecosystems? >> reporter: in ibera that meant a return of the jaguars. they acquired captive animals and brought them here, to san alonso island in the middle of the park. we flew there with biologist sebastian di martino, conservation director of rewilding argentina. he and his team built a one of a kind jaguar breeding center, with "jurassic park"-style enclosures. the cubs learn to hunt by tapping into their instincts and from their mothers examples the team takes great pains to avoid getting anywhere near the cubs, for fear they might lose their natural desire to steer clear from humans once set free.
>> we look from afar, so we never look at the cubs directly. they don't look at us and we have several devices which we enter live prey inside the pen and they don't relate us with food provision. so that way, we produce a kind of jaguar that can be released. >> reporter: the jaguars are the marquee species in the rewilding project, but there is a strong supporting cast as well. in fact, the team is focused on repairing several other broken links in the food chain. they have nurtured red-and-green macaws, bringing them back here for the first time in 150 years. they have also succeeded in returning giant anteaters, pampas deer, and collared peccary to the ecosystem. they use radio and g.p.s. signals to carefully track them. >> even when we release them, we still watch them a lot to see if they are doing okay. >> reporter: so, you're helicopter parents?
>> yeah, something like that. >> reporter: they are also dipping their toes into marine ecsystems, the top predator here was the giant river otter, also locally extinct for decades. they are teaching this pair, former residents of two european zoos, how to hunt for piranha. >> they are becoming very skillful on catching the fishes now. >> reporter: but they are not ignoring the top predator of all: humans, who for generations made their livings here hunting these beautiful animals for their valuable pelts. so the team worked hard to make this place a nexus of eco- tourism. a place where living animals have value. the town of colonia carlos pelligrini, on the edge of the park, now depends on a steady stream of tourists. here to see the animals and enjoy gaucho culture and traditions. lifelong resident diana frete is
the vice-mayor. >> ( translated ): the new generation in town understands that conservation is the way. that's why it's so important for us to work protecting this environment. we know where we are headed. >> reporter: where the planet is headed is what ultimately energizes this mission. we are living in a midst of massive dying, an extinction crisis. perhaps a million species disappear every year. >> i don't think it is inevitable. i mean, we have many tools. the thing is that we have to start applying those tools to avoid the extinction. >> reporter: but will it all work? january of 2021, they took a big step, cutting open a passageway to freedom for two of the cubs. they are nw roaming free, their helicopter parents watching from afar. and they are proving themselves
to be successful hunters, here feasting on a capybara, an overgrown guinea pig. in the midst of covid, kris tompkins andebastian de martino savored the moment remotely. >> it's so emotional and it's-- and it shows that it can be done and this was always, it seems so obvious now, but it was such was such a big question. >> we are completely happy. you cannot describe how happy and also kind of emotional. >> reporter: since then, they have released five more jaguars. the hope: there will be a hundred of them roaming free in ibera before too long they and the other species are the missing pieces in nature's exquisite puzzle. if all goes as planned, it might be an example of how humans can change their spots. for the pbs newshour, i'm miles o'brien in corrientes,
argentina. >> woodruff: a hedge fund has been acquiring scores of u.s. newspapers across the country-- and then gutting the newsrooms and selling off assets. it's part of a larger trend in the erosion of local news-- where thousands of reporter and editor jobs have been cut in the last decade. john yang has our conversation. >> yang: judy, in may, the fund alden global capital bought "tribune publishing," the media group whose roots stretch back to the 1840s and whose properties include the "chicago tribune", "baltimore sun" and the "new york daily news." the $633 million sale made alden the nation's second-largest newspaper owner in terms of circulation, with more than 200 newspapers. a look at alden global capital
is on the cover story of the latest issue of "the atlantic," which is currently available on- line. staff writer mckay coppins reported and wrote story and joins us now. thanks so much for being with us. mckay, first of all, let's start with the basics: who or what is alden global capital? and what have they been doing with all these newspapers that they own? >> yeah, alden is a hedge fund that many people in the financial world would consider a vulture hedge fund, which is to say their model focuses on distressed assets-- businesses that are struggling in some way. in the case of the newspaper business, alden, around the tail end of the great recession, began buying up local newspapers and newspaper chains with a very specific mod they'll they ended up pursuing, which is when they would buy a newspaper, they would cut the staff dramatically, sell any real estate holdings the paper had, in many cases increase subscription prices, in some
paces outsource certain parts of the paper, like layout design, to the philippines, all with the goal of maximizing short-term profits. and they've been very successful at this. but it has come at a serious cost to the newspapers and the communities they serve. >> yang: talk about that cost, both in the newsroom and in the communities. >> lk, there's a huge body of research that shows when a local newspaper either disappears or is significantly diminished, there are downstream effects on the communities they serve. so voter turnout drops. misinformation spreads more easily. civic engagement is lower. there is even evidence to suggest that city budgets get larger because there's more disfunction and corruption without a bustling newsroom of reporters holding city hall to account. and what we've seen play out with the newspapers that alden has bought is fairly similar, right.
you've seen newspapers dramatically shrink their coverage of local government, of education, schools. in the case of the "chicago tribune," which alden bought earlier this year, they very quickly lost a quarter of their newsroom, which made it more difficult to cover, for example, the resignation of the powerful state lawmakers amid bribery charges. they didn't have a reporter at the state house to cover that story. and so when you put all these things together you basically end up with a situation where cities across the country have one less check on the people in power, and one less binding agent for the community, which is the role that these newspapers often serve. >> yang: this also has a personal effect on some of the newspaper employees. you wrote about that in the case of the "vilejo times herald" in vilejo, california. >> i spoke to a reporter there who, when he started, he was joining a newspaper of about a
dozen journalists. and over the course of his five years there, he went from being a general assignment reporter on this, you know, fairly sized staff to being the last hard-news reporter in town. he was basically tashed with covering not only city hall and schools, but also crime and police and hospitals and business. he was basically trying almost by himself to cover a city of 120,000 people, because he felt this kind of moral responsibility to stay on top of all the news. but he knew that it was an impossible task. >> yang: you were able to talk to one of the two people who run this hedge fund. what did he tell you? >> yeah, i spoke with heath freeman, who is the president of alden capital and one of the cofounders. , you know, i think i was struck by how little he seemed to care about his reputation and his firm's reputation for sort of ruthless cost cutting.
in fact, at one point he almost seemed to regard it as a badge of honor. he said, "look, if you look at all these newspapers that we purchased, a lot of them were either in bankruptcy or on the brink of bankruptcy." that was more true early on in their tenure in the industry. more recently, they've actually been buying newspapers, like the "chicago tribune," "the baltimore sun," that are profitable. they're still turning a profit. and alden still follows its playbook of severe cuts and maximizing short-term profits. and so i don't think they can really plausibly make e case that they're trying to save these newspapers or put them on solid footing for the future. all signs point to them trying to take as much cash out of them in possible in the short term so they will show up on their ledger as as a winning investment, whether or not the papers can survive another five, 10, 15 years. >> yang: you also write sort of the reaction of what alden global capital is doing,
actually provide a little bit of optimism of newspapers' futures? >> right, i spoke to a man in baltimore named stewart banam, who is a local hotel magnate, wealthy philanthropist, who actually tried to save the "the baltimore sun" from alden capital and was ultimately unsuccessful in that. but since his acquisition of "the sun" he has become convinced the paper under alden's ownership will not be able to provide the city with what it needs and started to build his all digital newsroom from the ground up and is investing a significant amount of money into it. he said it will launch next year, the baltimore banner, with an operating budget annual of $15 million. his hope is they can figure out a nonprofit model for local journalism in baltimore that can
be replicated in cities across the country. >> yang: mckay coppins of "the atlantic," thank you very much. >> thank you. >> woodruff: the batwa people, once known as pygmies, are one of the oldest surviving indigenous tribes in africa. their traditional lands-- forests high in the mountains-- straddle several east african countries. but the batwa are now also called conservation refugees, as governments scramble to cope with the pressures of population growth and climate change. special correspondent fred de sam lazaro has this report from western uganda. >> reporter: every morning, these batwa men offer tourists a glimpse of the hunter gatherer lifestyle they remember from their childhoods-- starting fires, hunting, harvesting traditional medicinal plants in
the forest. the forest here is also the last remaining habitat of the fabled mountain gorilla. habitat that's been steadily lost to human encroachment in recent decades. the batwa lived alongside gorillas since the beginning of time, these men say, says 60 but today, they are some of the last survivors with any memory of it. in 1991, the government of uganda reclassified lands the batwa had lived on for millennia as national parks. that decision essentially pitted the interests of a largely invisible people against those of an animal that had become a global icon for environmental conservation. 60-year-old stephen serutokye still remembers what the batwa call the eviction like it was yesterday >> reporter: our guide, boas muhumuza of the uganda wildlife
authority, translated. >> the government came with that sometimes they would scare them by shooting up in air. >> reporter: today an estimated 6,000 ugandan batwa live on the periphery of the forest, pushed higher and higher up the mountainside or in slums in nearby towns. they are among the poorest inhabitants of one of the world's poorest countries, laboring on nearby farms. or performing for tourists when they can. those who do receive a portion of the park entry fees. no tourists mean no pay and during the pandemic it's often been that way. on this day it was just me with my team. cuoff from the forest and traditional medicines, their numbers have declined. four in ten children don't survive to age five and average life expectancy for the batwa is 28 years. 28.
>> malnutrition, and then pneumonia, then respiratory tract infections. and then the most challenging now especially in this time is h.i.v. and aids. >> reporter: dr. david bakunzi says the batwa, once also known widespread discrimination in larger uganda society in general and in seeking services like health care. so his church-based group brings basic medical care to slum settlements like this one, where he gave me a tour. we talked to the baby's grandmother, justina neirkundi. each day, she goes to the nearby town looking for farm or domestic work, usually in exchange for food. when that doesn't work out, she's left to beg for it, as she had for this porridge she gave an older grandchild gotten porridge, and she said that yesterday she went to somewhere where they had a party, so they give her this and she brought it. >> reporter: she went to some richer person's house where
there was a party. so these are leftovers. the day we visited, she'd had no luck. >> she has not gotten work, they have to sleep on an empty stomach. >> reporter: sleeping in cramped quarters wide open to the elements. it's probably eight feet by four feet. >> yeah, something like that. >> reporter: for a family of five to sleep in. >> it's really very challenging. >> reporter: that's one word for it. even the rare bright spots, like a healthy baby girl amid so much suffering and high infant mortality. even these small victories can be short-lived, he says. >> there is a risk of her getting h.i.v. as soon as she is 10 or 11, because they have lost hope. >> reporter: dr. bakunzi says many young women are forced into sex work to survive. he has 16 h.i.v. patnts in this slum community of about 90 families, a community that
endures much more. >> they now end up having high issues of drug abuse, and then they are... >> reporter: is there is a big problem with alcoholism? >> yes, yes, there is, because they don't have work to do anywhere. especially men. they say i have gotten this, i hve to drink and forget my problems. >> reporter: his organization, affiliated with the seventh day adventist church, is working to train batwa to farm, corn or maize on this plot, to help them become more self-sufficient. >> yes, th becomes a starting point. at a later time we will be providing also vegetables. then beans, soybean, they do well here. >> reporter: his group rents this land for the batwa, land that was once thickly forested where their ancestors lived until a few decades ago. >> reporter: the irony is not lost on brian atuheire batenda, with the african initiative on food security and environment >> projects such as those are very important.
whose land was it? i'm not saying there's nothing being done. i'm only saying all those things are relief-based. >> reporter: relief-based help. instead of real development. >> yes, that's the challenge. >> reporter: real development must begin with education to overcome decades of neglect, says 33-year-old alice nyamihanda. in 2010, she became the first member of the batwa tribe to earn a university degree, thanks to sponsorships from aid organizations >> my people are suffering. that's why i studied, i wanted to be an example to my people. >> reporter: she took us to visit her people in a mountainside village. here, children are miles from any school, she says. even minimal fees and the required uniforms are out of reach. barely 10% of batwa children are enrolled in school, she says. advocates have taken their case to uganda's courts which have ruled that the batwa are
entitled to compensation for the loss of their land. however, few people we talked are sure that relief will come any time soon or what shape it will take one big problem: because of their small numbers and discrimination, the batwa have little political power, says alice nyamihanda. >> we need representative, a mutwa, to represent the batwa at a national level, at all levels. even at the village level we don't have someone. >> reporter: we were evicted from the forests, they sing, and now they are home to the mountain gorillas. and unlike these conservation refugees, the gorilla population has grown, from 400 to about 460 but the batwa see very little of the tens of millions of dollars uganda earns in non-pandemic years from tourism revenue. for the pbs newshour, i'm fred de sam lazaro near the mgahinga
gorilla national park, in uganda. >> woodruff: fred's reporting is in partnership with the under- told stories project at the university of st. thomas in minnesota. >> woodruff: since childhood, judy heumann has faced ableism- institutionally, socially, and personally. new york's public school system prevented her from enrolling, and she was often bullied or excluded by her own peers. after a lifetime of activism, she is finally seeing a shift in how people with disabilities are viewed and treated. her book is called "being heumann: an unrepentant memoir of a disability rights
activist." and she's the star of tonight's brief but spectacular. >> when i was five years old in brooklyn, new york on east 38th street, my mother did what every other parent did when their kid was five. she took me to school to register me. and this was in the early 1950s. there were no motorized wheelchairs. so she pushed me to school and it wasn't accessible. she pulled me up the steps and the principal said i couldn't go to school because i was a fire hazard. i don't really know that there was an explanation. it just was. i think the average person, they see disability as a threat, as a threat to not being able to do things as people have typically done them. and i think there's truth in that, but the question is, is it because one has a disability or because society itself has
constructed itself in such a way, because they haven't seen us. discrimination against disabled people has existed from the beginning of time. and we're in a place right now, where, because of other movements, the civil rights movement, the women's movement, black lives matter movement, etc. people are speaking up and out. one of the first pieces of legislation that the disability community really engaged in was getting regulations developed for a provision of law section 504. section 504 says you can't discriminate against someone who has a disability if the entity is receiving money from the federal government. it was the first time that many of these disabled people felt a part of something and really felt that they were making a difference, not only for their lives but for the lives of many others.
there is a shift, i believe, going on in our society where we're looking at race and gender, equality, and disability as issues that we need to address. that diversity is something that makes our companies stronger. that diverse businesses provide better services for customers. i also am a very big believer that the disability rights community cannot stand on its own. we need to be working with all other movements, and we want all other movements to be inclusive of disabled people. if we are actively learning and working together, we can do things like make sure when housing is being built in our communities, that it's accessible, not just for people that have physical disabilities today, but if you're going to have a physical disability tomorrow. i think having a disability really has allowed me to do and get in touch with so many things and opportunities that otherwise
would not have happened. people look at us as a label of our disability. and it is a part of who we are, but it is not who we are. my name is judy heumann, and this is my brief but spectacular take on the disability rights movement. >> woodruff: judy human, so inspiring to everyone of us. thank you. you can watch all our brief but spectacular episodes at: pbs.org/newshour/brief. and on the newshour online, residents of benton harbor, michigan, who are dealing with a water emergency brought on by increased lead levels in its pipes, say this crisis is only the latest in a long history of disinvestment and neglect in their majority black community. you can find more on this water crisis and benton harbor, on pbs.org/newshour. and that's the newshour for tonight. i'm judy woodruff. join us online and again here
tomorrow evening. for all of us at the pbs newshour, thank you, please stay safe, and we'll see you soon. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: the rules of business are being reinvented, with a more flexible workforce, by embracing innovation, by looking not only at current opportunities, but ahead to future ones. >> people who know, know b.d.o. >> consumer cellular understands that not everyone needs an unlimited wireless plan. our u.s.-based customer service reps can help you choose a plan based on how much you use your phone, nothing more, nothing less. to learn more, go to consumercellular.tv >> the ford foundation. working with visionaries on the frontlines of social change worldwide.
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