tv PBS News Hour PBS January 14, 2022 3:00pm-4:01pm PST
captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> woodruff: good evening. i'm judy woodruff. on the newshour tonight: confronting covid. health systems buckle under the latest surge of hospitalizations from covid-19, as schools struggle to keep the virus at bay. then, a deadly drought. millions of kenyans face hunger and ethnic conflict exacerbated by the global climate crisis. >> ( translated ): this village was a village full of people and livestock, which depended basically on livestock for livelihood. but for a period of nine months, we have not received any rain. >> woodruff: and, it's friday. david brooks and jonathan capehart consider the push for voting rights in congress, and the supreme court's decisions on vaccine mandates.
>> the john s. and james l. knight foundation. fostering informed and engaged communities. more at kf.org. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions: and friends of the newshour. >> 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: hospitals in at least 24 states are edging close to capacity tonight, as covid patients keep arriving. government data also shows more intensive care units are running out of beds. meanwhile, a federal website will begin taking orders
wednesday for free covid tests. there is a limit of four per home. we will return to the hospital crunch, after the news summary. the leader of the far-right oath keepers militia pleaded not guilty today to a federal charge of seditious conspirac stewart rhodes is accused in connection with the january 6 attack on the u.s. capitol. ten followers are also charged. a federal magistrate in plano, texas ordered rhodes to remain in jail for now. another republican congressman, who voted to impeach president trump over the assault on the u.s. capitol, is retiring. representative john katko of new york said today that he will not seek reelection. he is the third of ten house republicans who voted for impeachment to opt against running again. the white house warned today that russia may attack its own allies in ukraine, and blame the ukrainian government. a u.s. official, who asked not to be named, said "russia has
already prepositioned operatives to conduct a false flag operation in eastern ukraine.” white house press secretary jen psaki said that moscow wants an excuse to invade. >> we are concerned that the russian government is preparing for an invasion in ukraine that may result in widespread human rights violations and war crimes, should diplomacy fail to meet their objectives. russian military plans to begin these activities several weeks before a military invasion, which could begin between mid- january and mid-february. >> woodruff: the release of the u.s. intelligence came after talks involving russia, the u.s., and nato failed to make any progress. in ukraine today, a sweeping cyber-attack left many official government websites unusable. the hackers posted a message in russian, ukrainian and polish. it warned readers to “be afraid, and expect the worst.” some in kiev quickly blamed russia.
>> ( translated ): it looks like a sabotage. in the current unstable times for the relations between ukraine and its neighbor in the east, it can be a message, i think. or, it is a clear sign of instability of the relations. >> woodruff: ukraine's state security service said that the attack does resemble previous attacks blamed on hackers linked to russian intelligence. russia's f.s.b. security service in fact says that it has arrested and charged members of the ransomware group known as revil. it said that the operation was carried out at the request of the united states. the hackers are suspected in last year's ransomware attack on the colonial pipeline and the world's biggest meatpacking company. some 75,000 students in albuquerque, new mexico have missed class for a second day, after a cyber attack. the city's public schools said that it can't access a database that tracks attendance and emergency contacts. it is unclear if the hackers are demanding a ransom. a milwaukee man accused of
driving his s.u.v. through a christmas parade will stand trial for murder. the attack, in late november, killed 6 peoe and injured 61. darrell brooks junior appeared in court in waukesha today. the presiding officer found ample evidence to prosecute him on 77 charges. the supreme court of ohio today rejected new congressional districts drawn up by republicans. the court found the districts unduly favor g.o.p. candidates. it gave state lawmakers 60 days to draw up a new map. president biden has announced three nominees to the federal reserve's board of governo. they include a former fed official, sarah bloom raskin, and two black economists, lisa cook and philip jefferson. if confirmed by the senate, cook would be the first black woman on the f's board. and on wall street, stocks had an up and down day. the dow jones industrial average lost 201 points to close at 35,911.
the nasdaq rose 85 points. the s&p 500 added three. still to come on the newshour: boston's school superintendent on the challenge of keeping covid out of classrooms. tennis star novak djokovic's battle with australia after he violated covid rules. immersive van gogh exhibits paint a new way of experiencing art. plus, much more. >> woodruff: the omicron variant is still spreading rapidly across the u.s. free tests, announced by the president today, should help track what's happening. but, they will not ship until about seven to 12 days after an order is placed. in the meantime, the omicron
surge is hitting many hospitals hard, and stretching some to the edge of their capacity. william brangham reports on how this is playing out in california right now. >> brangham: judy, los angeles county is averaging over 40,000 new infections a day. a week ago, it was just 25,000. that tide of infections is sending some people to the hospital-- covid hospitalizations have jumped 9% over the past two weeks. dr. rajan garg is the i.c.u. medical director at methodist hospital of southern california. dr. garg, thank you so much for being here on the "newshour". you are certainly dealing, at the very front edge of that tide of people coming to the hospal. what is it like right now? what kinds of patients are you seeing? >> william, thank yofor having me. yes, we are seeing a significant high volume of covid patients presenting with severe disease that are requiring hospitalization, and mt of the
patrons are presenting with either severe covid lung infections or are sprenting with sroke -- presenting with stroke symptoms, m.i.s, heart attacks or blood clotting disorders. our volume has gone up significantly in the past couple of months. to give you an example, in december 2021, our covid in-patient volume was down to zero, and as of this morning we have 50-plus covid patients in the hospital, and that includes i.c.u. patients, of course, and it is definitely straining our system to the maximum. >> reporter: that surge is just enormous. do you have a sense of the vaccination status of those patients who end up in the i.c.u.? >> absolutely, great question. yes, the vast majority of the patients who are either in the hospital or in the i.c.u. are unvaccinated at this point, and that goes along the line with
the national data. firm correctly, i think our patients right now, more than 90% of the patients in the hospital right now with covid are either unvaccinated or are partially vaccinated. >> reporter: and we know hospitals like employers and workplaces all across the country are suffering because their workers are getting sick and having to stay out and isolate. are you having a similar issue as well with your own staff? absolutely. the majority of our staff that were having the same issue, actually, approximately 50-plus staff members in our hospital are currently out with covid, and i'm just talking about the nursing staff members. so, to give you an example, methodist hospital has 40 i.c.u. bed capity, and, right now, currently our need is for 25 to 30 i.c.u. beds, but we are only staffed for 18 i.c.u. beds at the moment. and as of right now, we have
zero i.c.u. beds available and, at any given time, we have three or four i.c.u. patients parked in the emergency. >> reporter: parked in the emergency room waiting for an i.c.u. bed to open up? >> absolutely, which is straining our already overrun emergency rooms even more. >> reporter: we hear this occasional statement from the seniormost political public health officials in the country that omicron is relatively mild. it certainly seems that, while that might be true, what you're experiencing is anything but that. >> so, william, yes, that is true. omicron, to a certain extent, is milder, but we have tokeep in mind that omicron also has higher infectivity, so a lot more people are getting infected with the omicron, which creates a larger volume of patients getting sick with the disease, and even if it's a lower percentage of patients ending up in the hospital, even that creates a higher volume because of the sheer number of the
problem w. so that's why we're seeing a hge surge despite the fact omicron is a slightly milder disease as far as the outcome. >> reporter: would you have thought we would still be struggling to get our arms around this two years later. >> we did not imagine this situation. we are still learning with the new variants and there are new challenges along the way, and i think one offer challenges has been the vaccination rate among the community and, as an i.c.u. physician, i always tell my colleagues, you know, my family and my patients that we have to keep in mind that all vaccines protect against -- provide a substance protection against severe disease, and by severe disease, i mean that they are very effective in keeping us out of the hospital and especially the i.c.u. so i think that's been the bigger challenge. so my message to all your
viewers as an i.c.u. doctor is to get vaccinated, get boosted and be masked in public places. >> reporter: do you take any comfort in the reports that seem to be coming out of new york, new jersey and massachusetts that that incredible peak of omicron cases might be plateauing and, even in some places, starting to dip down? do you think that is real and might end up in your neighborhood, too? >> we are hoping that's real, william, and that data is definitely promising, if you look at international data from europe, south africa and even the united states. the data is promising but the data can vary from community to community and we are hoping the surge starts to die down within the next few weeks because, like i mentioned earlier, because to have the staffing shortages, it has been extremely challenging to care for these patients. >> reporter: dr. rajan garg, methodist hospital of southern california, thank you so much
for being here and best of luck to you out there. >> thank you, william. >> woodruff: let's turn to another important part of covid's impact. most of the nation's nearly 100,000 public schools are on. but, as the omicron surge continues, some districts are struggling to keep in-person learning going. stephanie sy reports on how the boston school district is faring. >> sy: boston public schools have been operating in person since last spring, and aim to continue to do so. but, as cases in the city remain sky high, the virus is keeping many teachers and staff home, and student attendance has dropped from around 90% before winter break, to 70% in the new year. some city officials say virtual learning has to remain an option if the surge continues. for more on the challenges
facing boston public schools, we turn to superintendent brenda cassellius. superintendent cassellius, thank you so much for joining us. i understand the staffing shortage has been so severe that you yourself recently filled in as a substitute teacher in a school. so where do things stand with staffing now? are you still seeing a lot of covid cases? >> well, thank you, stef new, for having me this evening and for highlighting the real seriousness of the challenges that school districts have across the nation to keep in-person learning going. we are still seeing challenges though not as bad. we had about 1,200 staff out and we're down to about 800 staff out. we're starting to see the numbers go down. only 435 teachers, so that's looking better, and 41 bus drivers today. so the numbers are going in the right direction but still a lot more to do. >> reporter: are you getting a sense you've reached a peak, then? >> we do. we have been talking to our boston health commission.
we believe we are at the peak. they have been looking agent the waste water predictions and other modeling from other cities and towns and, of course, as they look ated this omicron variant, it looks like it is going to be going down quickly, hopefully. >> reporter: we have seen other major school districts, superintendent, having to at least temporarily put a pause on in-person schooling as they grapple with safety and the staffing issues. at what point do you think you might have to pull the trigger and go back to online learning? >> well, we have been fortunate here to really have a great data process with our team. we have our deputy of academics working with our deputy of operations and our chief of schools and our data team. we come together multiple times during the day to look at the realtime staffing on the ground with our leaders and looking at the boston staffing to look at the staffing in our schools and
we make school by school decisions. i have the wonderful support of my mayor, so i have been able to work with her and her team as we've made decisions about if and when we need to close a classroom or a school. we haven't had to close thinks schools yet. we have had to close a couple of classrooms before went breaker, but we keep watching it very closely. >> reporter: and, yet, there is pressure from hundreds of students, in fact, in boston schools and students in chicago public schools to stage a walkout. they along with nurses and teachers have expressed concern about whether there's adequate testing, contact tracing and n-95 masks to be really be back safely in person. what are you doing to concretely allay their concerns in. >> i've met with them, with i is one thing, because we value student voice here, and we're very supportive of our students. we also are just thankful that the biden administration has stepped up to provide additional
testing for our students. we have been working with our state partners as well to be sure that we have the test kits in place. we provided additional masks to our students and to our teachers, and then, of course, we have put an air quality sensors in all our classrooms, and we have been watching that air quality very closely with our environmental team. >> reporter: and all of those things are in place now. those test kits are in students' hands? >> yeah, we have our testing that we have, we have ordered additional tests, 500,000 additional tests. wexpect to get more from the biden administration and our state to have those available to our students. we've had testing programs all year and that's been part of our mitigation effort along with the masking and air quality. >> reporter: i want to ask you more about the options you have if things take a turn for the worse. you said you believe the cases have peaked, but massachusetts governor charlie baker, a
republican, said in-person school is not only safe, it's healthy, and he's referring to learning as well as socialization, but he's gone further by basically requirg districts like yours to remain in person. do you agree with that stance or do you think tre should be more flexibility for online learning at some point? >> so i do believe that inperson learning is the best for our students right now. the isolation over the past two years has been really difficult, and having them with their caring and comp uptent teachers absolutely the best position. i think he could build a lot of good will with superintendents if we had a little bit more flexibility with the learning pieces as we navigate the onground reality of staffing and covid spread in our schools. >> reporter: boston public school superintendent brenda cassellius, thank you so much for joining us. >> thank you so much, stephanie.
>> woodruff: the worst drought in decades is gripping eastern africa-- parching landscapes, killing livestock, and creating a humanitarian crisis. driven by climate change, it's also leading to civil strife, as shepherding communities battle each other for scarce resources. special correspondent jack hewson and producer georgina smith begin this report in wajir province of northern kenya. and, a warning: some images in this report may disturb viewers. >> reporter: these giraffes have become a defining image of the east african drought. at least 100 have died in the past two months, in kenya's northeastern wajir province. starving and thirsty, some are coming to the only remaining watering hole for 30 miles, near
to the sabuli nature conservancy. this morning, there's a fresh casualty by its shore. the giraffes are dying, after getting stuck in the peripheral mud. weakened by hunger, they simply don't have the strength to pull themselves out. to prevent contamination, locals drag them away. but it's not just wildlife that are being affected. >> ( translated ): this village was a viage full of people and livestock, which depended basically on livestock for livelihood. but for a period of nine months, we have not received any rain. >> reporter: as a result, more than 70% of this village's livestock have perished. since september, much of kenya's north has received less than 30% of normal rainfall. droughts have always afflicted the region, but nce 1999, have doubled in frequency due to climate change. now, there is drought every two to three years. in nearby dahablay, haretha has lost morthan 100 animals. some of the remaining cattle are so weak, they have to be assisted to stand. >> ( translated ): most of the animals that we toiled away for are dead.
some of the children have been sent to other parts of the country to save them, and the young ones, five or six years old who are here and the lactating mothers are unable to eat the food that we cook because it's gone bad. >> reporter: the livestock death is crippling for desert pastoralist communities. the animals are both a critical source of wealth, and nutrition. without them, they are left destitute and hungry. the u.n. says more than 26 million are struggling to find food across east africa, while here in northern kenya, almost half a million children are acutely malnourished. isnina's five-year-old daughter fratun is among them. >> ( translated ): initially, when there was milk from the cattle, she could support herself and walk around. but now without any milk, she can't support herself. when she wants to sit, we have to help her sit up. when she tries to stand, she just collapses. >> reporter: but the drought isn't just prompting a humanitarian crisis. it's also intensifying ethnic conflict. we traveled northeast to turkana, a remote province bordering uganda, south sudan,
and ethipia, where pastoralist migration has no respect for national boundaries, and increased cattle raiding is costing lives. digging for water in this dried-up river bed, these turkana women said they were constantly on the lookout for cattle raiders. >> ( translated ): two tribes from uganda are attacking us here. we don't even sleep. they might be watching us here as we speak. >> reporter: raiding has always been a part of pastoralist culture, but increasingly severe droughts are intensifying competition among rival nomadic groups. researchers estimate that just one degree of global warming will increase the likelihood of community conflict by a minimum of 17%. animosity here is already running high. >> ( translated ): the enemies are taking our animals to eat and sell them. they go get rich while leaving us poor. >> reporter: adding to the lethality of this conflict has been the growing prevalence of automatic weapons.
when pastoralists started fighting with a.k.-47s in the 1970s, violence as a cause of death among their men jumped from 22% to 35%. for these men, it remains a leading cause of death. we're with the national police reservists here on the kenya- uganda border, where there have been multiple raids-- cattle raids in kenyan territory recently. >> ( translated ): in december, ugandan pastoralists came with a multitude of maybe 600 armed warriors and attacked tuana people on this mountain and made off with 140 cows, killed one person, and injured four more people, who are still hospitalized. the cows they stole have not yet been recovered. >> reporter: authorities report a steady stream of killed and injured pastoralists. visiting a remote local hospital we found one young man injured in clashes with a south sudanese clan. >> ( translated ): the toposa clan are also searching for water for their cattle. so when they find a water point,
where we are tending to our cattle, they steal them. >> reporter: ekidor was treated for a gunshot through his lower abdomen, but has returned to hospital after developing a septic infection in his foot due to internal inries. >> ( translated ): every day they come-- they come stealing, they come with force, and they come with bullets. evry day they fight with us. >> reporter: incident numbers are difficult to verify. one study said that annual deaths from pastoralist conflict across this region spiked from 500 to more than 3,000 over the past decade, but much remains unreported. timing with our visit to turkana was its annual cultural festival, attended by clans from across the region. it's a show of pride and exuberance, aimed at promoting tribal unity. in attendance was kenyan vice president william ruto, canvassing votes ahead of next year's election. on the events' sidelines, we asked him about the climate crisis. much of the problems caused by
climate change here are from emissions that come from the global north. what would you like to see done by those countries, to improve the situation here? >> well, the effects of climate change are real. you know, i was talking to a gentleman here, a few minutes ago, about the seasons. and this is supposed to be a very wet season now, but there isn't any rain. and climate change is slowly becoming a very harsh reality. and hopefully those of us in this part of the world expect the pele in the north to do their portion in carrying the challenges that currently bedevil our region. >> reporter: but exactly what western nations will do remains to be seen. according to the international
panel on climate change, unless there are immediate, large-scale reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, limiting warming to 1.5-degrees celsius or even 2-degrees celsius will be beyond reach, leaving the harsh likelihood of yet more drought, and more conflict, in the horn of africa. for the pbs newshour, i'm jack hewson, in kenya. >> woodruff: this week, democrats renewed their push for voting rights legislation, the supreme court ruled on vaccine mandates, and new data showed inflation at its highest rate in nearly0 years. for a deeper look at all this, we turn to the analysis of brooks and capehart. that is "new york times" columnist david brooks and jonathan capehart, columst for the "washington post." very good to see both of you. thank you for joining us on this friday night. let's start with voting rights,
david. it hasn't been a good week for the d.m.s, despite the fact that president biden went to atlanta, made, i think it's fair to say, his strongest remarks yet on why voting rights matter. what was your take on what he had to say? >> i thought 80% of it was fine, a very good speech is. there were some rhetorical flourshes at the end that went over the top and were too partisan. if we're going to have a clean and fair and properly certified elections we're going to need democrats and republican officials across the country to do their job. in 2020, most republicans did their job. and to make this a partisan issue and have supercharged rhetoric on the side of abraham lincoln and jefferson davis, that offended a lot of republicans, made them extremely angry and i think makes it harder for the republican officials who are going to do a good job to be in their party. you know, my friend and colleague tom freedman wrote a
column advocating for biden-liz cheney ticket in 2024, and i don't think he meant that literally, but what he pointed to was the fact that, in israel, there was a broad coalition that decided we cannot have by by bii netanyahu as prime minister again because they needed a coalition. we need a coalition. most of the speech was good but the rhetorical flourshes i think detract. >> woodruff: jonathan, too much partisanship in what the president had to say? >> i don't think so, judy. what david calls rhetorical flourshes and over the top i thought was the most powerful part of the president's speech. remember, president biden, to my mind, is never more clear, passionate, focused and determined than when he is talking about what he calls the
soul of america. started with his campaign, talking about charlottesville, talking in his run against donald trump about who we are as a people, and i think a lot of people make a mistake in terms of focusing in on the politics of this speech and not understanding that it's as much political as it is moral for this president. and we can focus in on what happened in the 2020 election, but the fire that's coming from the president, the fire that is coming from millions of americans has to do with what republicans, in particular, have been doing in states since the 2020 election. for a lot of people, what is happening at the state and local level in terms of not just voter suppression but voter subversion is what is animating this entire debate. and, so, for people to be upset because the president drew a very stark and clear line in the
sand that you are either with, as he said, dr. king in terms of opening up the promise of america to everyone, or george wallace, who was about holding on to power for power's sake and modeling it in theands of an elite few, particularly white male elite fe, this is where we are right now. and the last thing i'll say on this is, after four years of a president who took a blow torch to the american presidency, to the constitution, to our values, to the peaceful transfer of power, to decency in generally, for people to be upset with president biden for fighting for american values and american democracy, it's a little hard for me to take them seriously. >> woodruff: what about that, david, because what we've seen republicans doing in a number of
states is cutting back on early voting, the number of days, cutting back on things like the ability to do mail-in voting. what about that? >> i'm not here to defend that and i certainly have not been defending it lo these many months, but i do think rhetoric like comparing republicans to connor and jefferson davis is not helpful. i think the reference to jim crow and the georgia law is not helpful. i condemn the georgia law and agree with jonathan 100%. but the georgia law, i read an analysis comparing it to new york law. some parts where georgia makes it easier and some place new york makes it easier. it's true georgia is going backwards and new york is going forward, so i don't want to justify that, but the overheated rhetoric has the effect i think of making this a republican
versus democratic issue. it should be republicans and democrats on the one side and the cult ofrump on the other side, and making that clear, i think, is the right way to approach this. >> woodruff: jonathan? ell, i mean, all i can say is, you know, we can polite ourselves to oblivion, and, at some point, it is imperative that the president state clearly what's as stake here. and when it comes tgeorgia, let's keep in mind, georgia didn't institute its new laws, propose them and pass them into law until after gergia voters voted for president biden to make him the next president of the united states, and after they elected two democrats from that state. so this is what we're talking about here. 19 -- whatis it -- 19 states have passed 34 restrictive laws
in 2021 alne. so that is what's animating this entire discussion. >> woodruff: david, i want to ask you about -- go ahead, david. go ahead. >> we have an ethical responsibility here to make sure we actually effectively repulse what's happening and the government is now in a position where nothing the probably going to happen in washington because they couldn't get sinema and manchin to sign off on the filibuster issues. so it's likely we'll have no voting rihts laws these years and we'll have to figure out how to pass these things and i think alienating the center is probably not the way to go. in retrospect as i look at the biden presidency and the terrell events due to not having the voting rights bills, seems like on inauguration day, they should have sat down with manchin and sinema and said where can we go
from here and do together. that is to say, they should have started he center and go outward. instead they started left around went centrist. that's looking like an unfortunate strategy both on voting rights and build back better. >> woodruff: that brings up what senator kyrsten sinema had to say in her speech on the senate floor this week where they need her, they need senator manchin to go along with any change in the senate rules in the filibuster, but she essentially argued it's more important to work on partisanship than it is to do with something like voting rights. >> sure, and her speech could have been delivered from fantasyland, this idea that the republicans who sit there now have any interest on working with democrats on this issue in particular. in006 the voting rights act
was authorized unanimously in the senate. republican president george w. bush had a south lawn signing ceremony with reverend al sharpton sitting in the front row. that was when voting rights was bipartisan. all the republicans in the senate voted for it. as the president pointed out in his speech in atlanta, 16 of those senators still serve and, yet, 16 of those senators won't even vote to allow thse two voting rights bills to even be debated. they don't have to vote for them, but why should rnt they debate them? why shouldn't the american people at least get to hear what'sn those bills, what's wrong with those bills, where could there be areas of compromise. and when it comes to senator manchin, at least he worked with republicans. theyhead three bites at the apple on the freedom to vote act, and senator manchin gave republicans, after talking to them, many of the things that they wanted, inclung voter
i.d., and, yet, no republican voted to allow that bill to even be debated. so, for senator sinema to say that we have to work with republicans and only do this if there's bipartisanship, well, where is it going to come from? because it's not happening now. >> woodruff: david? yeah, well, i mean, her argument is not an implausible argument and it's not really about these two particular pieces of legislation. her argument is if we change the filibuster rules and the majority party basically gets to control the senate and never has to work with the minority part, that would be bad for the country and the senate because you basically have sort of one-party rule, and that's not an implausible argument. whether she's right to not pursue a carve-out for voting rights, i think that's a mistake. i wish she would do a karrive-out for voting right just to get this issue off the
table. but her defense to to have -- of the filibuster is the traditional one. in every effort to reduce the filibuster whether on judges or anything else has had long-term negative effects. i wish we mad had a carve-out but kept the filibuster but now we're seemingly getting nothing. >> woodruff: jonathan. quickly, all anyone now is asking for is a carveout for vong rights, and for senator sinema to go to the floor and say no i'm not for a carveout for voting rights because of what it might do to the senate as a body flys in the face of what she did earlier this month in terms of voting for a carveout to raise the debt ceiling, which is something that needed to be done, and it absolutely had to be done. so why aren't voting rights considered to be something that absolutely has to be done and it
absolutely -- there absolutely needs to be a carveout in the filibuster to make it happen? that's my problem with senator sinema. >> jonathan and i are in violent agreement on this subject. (laughter) >> woodruff: is that what you call it? all right, well, we've only got about 30 seconds left, so there's no time to ask you about the supreme court decision on the vaccine mandate and inflation, but i promise you we're going to come back to that next friday. (laughter) you've had a whole week to think about it. thank you both, jonathan capehart, david brooks. we appreciate it. have a good weekend. >> thank you. , judy. >> woodruff: the best men's tennis player in the world has been caught up in a legal battle in australia, as the first of this year's grand slam tennis tournaments is poised to begin. novak djokovic is not
vaccinated-- he is a skeptic. australian officials are not skeptics, and demand proof of vaccination to enter the continent. nick schifrin tells us more. >> ladies and gentlemen, please welcome novak djovoavic! >> schifrin: he is one of the world's most famous athletes, but also one of its most famous vaccine skeptics, as he told fellow serbian athletes on an april 2020 facebook live. >> ( translated ): personally, i am opposed to vaccination. i am curious about wellbeing and how wean empower our metabolism to be in the best shape to defend against imposters like covid-19. >> schifrin: in december, the man who called covid an“ imposter” tested positive, the same day he celebrated his official postal stamp by walking around a museum unmasked. the day after that, he posed for a french magazine. in fact, in late december, djokavic was traing in belgrade, as seen in social media videos and photos, and spain. but on his visa applications, he claimed he had not traveled for two weeks before arriving in australia in january.
>> whatever way you look at, novac djovovic is a lying, snaky ( bleep ). >> schifrin: this viral tv clip reflects australian fury at djokovic receiving an entry exemption, while other australians and immigrants face tight border controls, and have lived through one of the world's longest lockdowns. but the criticism extends to the government's own back and forth: on december 30, state authorities granted his visa. when he landed on january 5, federal authorities rejected it. on january 10, a judge reinstated it. and today, the immigration minister personally canceled the visa for “health and good order.” djokovic's team has argued, his exemption was valid because he had natural immunity from his prior infection, and that errors on his visa forms were "an administrative mistake.” they also said the conditions in the hotel where he was being held were unfair, as his mother dijana said in melborne. >> they are keeping him as a prisoner. it's just not fair. it's not human. >> schifrin: now, we turn to mary carillo, the grand slam- winning former tennis player,
and now commentator for nbc sports. mary carillo, welcome to the newshour. mary carillo, welcome to the"ns. djokovic's fate will be decided by a court this weekend, but you do not believe that he should play monday when he's scheduled to start the strain open. why? >> i think it's gone on way too long. this has been so chaotic and unnecessary and unfair to all the other players in the locker room, and novak himself, look, he's had terrible preparation for this. this is a tournament he's won nine times, he's trying to win his 21 major, which would put him behind raphael nadal and roger federer. this is a guy who is so precise in his footwork on the court, but he has made so many missteps, he's lost the favor to have the country and the locker room, in my opini, and, yeah, i think he's got to pull out. >> reporter: i think it's no only about missteps nor is it really just about his vaccine
skepticism, of course, he lied on his immigration forms. he went to an event the day after testing positive for covid. do you think that he just doesn't care, or does he believe the rules don't apply to him? >> oh, he regrets what we did, after he knew he was covid positive, that he went unmasked and he went to a couple of different events. he had an interview with a french reporter, didn't tell the guy he was covid positive. these are huge mistakes, and i think in the beginning to have the week when all this nonsense was happening, the locker room thought, oh, it was a loophole, it's kind of sketchy, but, you know, it would be good to have him in here now. i think everything's moved away from that. there was a poll taken more than 60,000 aussies were asked what they thought should happen to djokovic and 83% of them want him to leave the country. i can't imagine this man who i
think is the greatest player of all time, certainly the best hard core player i've ever seen and does so many things so well, but, man, he really screwed this up. >> reporter: state authorities, tennis australia, wanted to get around the rules. >> i agree. novak tried to come into the country of australia thinking he had the requisite paperwork. he thought the state of victoria where the australian open is played in melbourne, he thought he was all set and turns out he couldn get into the country. novak was trying to get into that country thinking he was cool and all set and he wasn't. i blame tennis australia. i blamthe tournament director. everybody seemed to be tone
deaf. the absence of the williams sisters and roger federer, obviously this is going to be a big, big story. and now it's all this other stuff that's become the big story. as somebody who loves my sport, it's just been so painful to watch this. it just seems unending. at a certain point, we'll know what happens, but it's gone on too long and i feel badlybout that. >> reporter: and as someone who loves tennis as well, it's pinful for me, and as someone who loves to watch him it's painful. but he's got 20 grand slams, tied with nadal and federer. joe r. bidenvich this year likely to win number 2 is #. bottom line, will this controversy cost him his legacy? >> it will cost him i think his personal legacy. you cannot take away all the majors this remarkable tennis player has already won, but this
is is a big smear, and he's been controversy over all manner of things. he gothrown out of the u.s. open a couple of years ago for inadvertently hitting a lineswoman. yeah, i think it stains his legacy and, god, i just -- yea the interesting problem for him now is he to be deported? meaning he can't enter the country of australia for three years, which is a potential. this is a country where he's won most his majors. other countries and grand slam events, they seem to be shifting their goalpost on what's possible to get into a country or not. so, oh, boy, he's a very intelligent guy, but this has just been -- there have been so many mistakes made and, to use ten misterms, so many unforced errors on his part and all the people around. everyone seems tone deaf on this. it's a great great pity. >> reporter: mary carillo,
tank you very much. >> pleasure. >> woodruff: vincent van gogh. he is the quintessential art world phenomenon, both for his art and life story. but now, he's everywhere, in a new way: the center of a boom in what are called immersive art experiences. jeffrey brown immersed himself in seattle, before the omicron surge, for our arts and culture series, "canvas." >> brown: blossoms waving in the wind. sunflowers falling all around. a "starry night," the likes of which you've never seen. >> for us, what this immersive experience is, it's, from the minute you walk in to the minute you leave, that you're fully enveloped in the spirit of van gogh. >> brown: john zaller is executive producer of “van gogh:
the immersive experience”-- a van gogh, he says, for our age. >> we're doing what van gogh might have done, if he had the technology that we have today. we're using his works to create the next version of his works, by adding the motion, adding the animation, adding the energy. to bring the life to his work that is already there. >> brown: we met zaller in seattle, one of ten cities now hosting his company's exhibition. but even that is just a small part of the "immersive" boom in nearly 40 cities in the u.s. in addition to “van gogh: the immersive experience,” there's“ the immersive van gogh;”“ beyond van gogh;” “van gogh alive;” and “imagine van gogh.” some cities, including seattle, even have competing exhibits. a bit confusing, but, like the artist himself, very popular. zaller's company estimates about 50% of its audience has never
set foot in a museum, before coming to see this van gogh. >> he is such a public figure. he is kind of like a rock star or a brand name in the art world. it's incredibly emotive, and people can connect with it. it doesn't necessarily require an art degree to approach and engage with a van gogh, or a van gogh painting. >> brown: inne sense, it's nothing new. from “lust for life” in 1956, and a slew of other films, books, and exhibitions, the faination has continued. the art, with its vibrant colors and textures; the drama of van gogh's life and early death. but now, in immersive experiences likehis one, guests come face-to-face with a giant, 3-d bust of the artist himself, move past projections of his most famous works, and put on headsets and take a virtual reality walk through the countryside he painted.
you can personally enter van gogh's "bedroom in arles," and sit as long as you want in front of 30-foot walls of moving images, with mood music... >> "i put my heart and soul into my work, and i lost my mind in the process." >> brown: ...and lines from van gogh's letters, recited by an actor. you can also color your own masterpiece-- which is where we met joseph and kaiden aksama, happily here on an anniversary date. >> i think there's no beating seeing the actual paintings in person, but seeing them come to life like this is definitely something i've never seen before and absolutely something that i would do again. >> i think it really enhances the experience, to see what art looks like in another way like that-- animated, and just... >> truly, fully immersive. >> brown: haizhou wu brought his >> brown: but remember: these are digital representations. there are no actual artworks here.
so just what is this experience? we asked university of washington professor marek wieczorek to take a look. >> i was curious. i must say, as an art historian, i might have had a slight bias. you know, thinking, okay, i teach van gogh in the classroom. how is this immersive experience going to compete with what i do? i really enjoyed going because what i saw was people who enjoyed themselves, and ultimately, i think that's what any experience with art is about. on the other hand, there we a lot of things where i said, as an art historian, i thought, okay, this is not right. are we really getting the experience of vincent van gogh? if we look at “starry night” on the museum of modern art website and compare it to the video you see in the exhibition, it's like two different paintings. >> brown: wieczorek, a modern art scholar who happens to be dutch, just like van gogh himself, wants us to see both what this is, and what it's not. >> it is cool.
but when you stand in front of a van gogh painting, the light doesn't have to come from that light box, but from the color, the optical mixing of complementary colors. in thinking about what is lost in translation in this exhibition: the light box effect which is what makes light come at you in an overall almost overwhelming way; the scale; the materiality, but especially the optical mixing. >> brown: compare, for example, a photo shown of a painting sold at auction, and the projected version of it nearby. the colors, he points out, are completely different. the texture of the brush strokes, lost. it may be very cool, indeed, but it's not what van gogh created. >> it's like, wow, what is this? it's fireworks. i would say van gogh's work, in itself, is fireworks. what you lose in this exhibition-- in a way, wt is taken away from you, by being
presented an image of van gogh that is not van gogh-- is the essence of your participation. in a way, you're robbed from that experience. >> brown: but neither the professor-- nor we-- want to spoil an experience people like johanna fagen and constance trollan, veteran museum-goers and van gogh aficionadas, were clearly enjoying. this isn't going to change you going to museums? >> oh, no, no, no. >> no, no. we're-- >> we're museum-goers. >> we'll always go to the museums, but it is diffent to be here, and to sit in one of those projections. it's a much different experience. >> brown: and it's an experience that's only growing, with more artists being brought into the act all the time. john zaller is producing exhibits with new artists. >> there's an expectation on the part of the public for these more immersive experiences, and that's going to drive-- that's going to continue to grow. i mean, we look around at,
you know, other things that are happening with virtual reality experiences anaugmented reality. everything is, you know, every level of experience is being elevated, or more is being added on to it. so, i think it will continue to grow. >> brown: and if this isn't for you, or you prefer a curated, digital experience at home, marek wieczorek recommends museum websites that capture, in fine detail, masterworks by van gogh and other artists. for the pbs newshour, i'm jeffrey brown in seattle. >> woodruff: either way, it is fascinating. and on the newshour online right now, 2021 was another year of extreme weather, with 20 notable billion-dollar disasters in the u.s. we break down the numbers behind the human and financial toll. that is on our website, www.pbs.org/newshour. and for more on the seditious conspiracy charges leveled this
week against far-right militia members involved in the capitol riot, and on the president's attempts to rally senate democrats behind his plan for voti rights, join my colleague and guest moderator amnaawaz on "washington week," tonight on pbs. and that is the newshour for tonight. i'm judy woodruff. join us online, and again here on monday evening. for all of us at the pbs newshour, thank you, and have a good, safe weekend. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> fidelity wealth management. >> consumer cellular. >> johnson & johnson. >> bnsf railway. >> financial services firm raymond james. >> the william and flora hewlett foundation. for more than 50 years, advancing ideas and supporting institutions to promote a better world. at www.hewlett.org.
>> supporting social entrepreneurs and their solutions to the world's most pressing problem- skollfoundation.org. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and friends of the newshour. >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc captioned by media access group at wgbh
. welcome to "amanpour & company." here's what's coming up. >> the olympics has always been anmazing part of my life and an amazing thing for sports. >> the most decorated olympian of all times, mel phelps, joins us to talk about the beijing olympics, mental health and novak djokovic. then -- >> the risk of war in the overseas area is now greater than ever before in the last 30 years. >> as tensions between russia and the west rise after recent talks over ukraine, we ask what will putin do. also ahead -- >> i am at a loss as to why people are not getting vaccinated.