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tv   PBS News Weekend  PBS  May 15, 2022 5:30pm-6:01pm PDT

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♪ geoff: good evening. i'm geoff bennett. tonight on pbs news weekend... >> i've never been afraid to be here. i am now. geoff: the city of buffalo is left reeling after a mass shooting, that is being investigated as racially-motivated. we dig into why violent extremism remains so pervasive in the u.s. then... president biden and fellow democrats seek to draw a stark contrast with far-right republicans. we look at whether that message is gaining traction. and... two days before pennsylvania's primary to fill a key senate seat, why this race could set the tone for both republican and democratic candidates nationwide. those stors and the day's headlines on tonight's "pbs news weekend."
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♪ >> major funding for "pbs news weekend" has been provided by -- >> for 25 years, consumer cellular has been offering no contract wireless plans to help people do more of what they like. our u.s.-based customer service team can find a plan that fits you. to learn more, visit consumercellular.tv. >> and with the ongoing support of these individuals and institutions -- ♪ and friends of the "newshour." ♪
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this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting and by contributis to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. geoff: good evening. we begin tonight in buffalo, new york, where there is grief, shock and anger after a gunman, wearing tactical gear and a livestreamincamera, killed 10 people and wounded three others in a racially-motivated shooting rampage at a busy supermarket in a black neighborhood. [singing "amazing grace"] in buffalo, w york, a community mourns, remembering the 10 people killed in what officials call a racist hate crime saturday at tops supermarket. three other victims are recovering from their injuries. marnetta: the thought that somebody would hate enough to
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come into this area, in this tops, and kill anybody was just... i can't even explain to you the pain thai feel. i couldn't even sleep. geoff: among those killed, 86-year-old ruth whitfield, described by her son as a "mother to the motherless." pearly young, age 77, who ran a food pantry for 25 years. and aaron salter jr., a retired police officer and longtime supermarket security guard, called a hero for trying to take down the assailant. ten of the 13 people shot were black. mayor brown: this individual came here with the express purpose of taking as many black lives as he possibly could. geoff: the suspect, payton gendron, was arraigned hours after the shooting. he pleaded not guilty to first degree murder. officials say the alleged gunman drove to buffalo from his hometown 200 miles away, and live-streamed the attack online. eyewitnesses say they watched
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him shoot four people outside the store, then continue the attack inside. grady: i hea at least 20 shots in the store. geoff: he then put a gun to his neck, but officials say police officers convinced him to drop it. he was apprehended and transferred to buffalo police headquarters. after the shooting, a manifesto surfaced online, which authorities say they believe the suspect wrote. it cited the racist "great replacement theory," the false idea that whites are being replaced by people of color and that it will result in the extinction of the white race. gov. hochul: there is no other way to describe it than white supremacy terrorism. it's racism. it's hatred. geoff: for more now on the role of extremism and white supremacy in the buffalo shooting, i'm joined by kathleen belew. she is author of "bring the war home: the white power movement and paramilitary america," and an assistant professor of history at the university of chicago. it is good to have you with us.
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the buffalo suspect's alleged writing about white replacement theory is very silar to what we've seen in mass shootings involving other far-right, white supremacist gunmen. help us understand the parallels and why this is so pervasive. kathleen: one thing i would start with is to know that when we say manifesto, we are not trying to convey any authority on this document. what is going around is a cut and paste of a number of other simir documents, most notably the document written and circulated by the gunmen in christchurch, new zealand, when he opened fire on two mosques there a few years ago. the same language comes up when these documents are circulated by shooters who seem to be targeting very different communities, such as worshipers at mosques in new zealand, shoppers in mexican american communities and el paso, texas,
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the shooting in pittsburgh. all of these seem to be one off events carried out by lone gunman when in fact they are all perpetrated by people who share an ideology, part of the organized white power movement. it is a movement at war o our democracy and these targeted communities in ways that are with us in inescapable ways. geoff: i want to ask you about something you tweeted, "there needs to be accountability both for the shooter and the broad system of ideas that gave rise to the event." on that latter point, what does accountability look like? i asked the question because at fox news you've got tucker carlsen, the highest rated show in cabell, he talks often -- in cable, he talks often about great replacement theory. the republican congresswoman elise stefanik invoked the conspiracy theory in her campaign ads last year. you got powerful voices amplifying and legitamizing these cist conspiracy theories.
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what does accountability look like? kathleen: we might add to that list stephen mler when he was in the trump administration, circulation -- circulating and openly white novel about great replacement theory in europe. i don't know if this set of people believes what they are saying or if they are trying to opportunistically use the movement for their own purposes, whether that is to get ratings or make money or get votes. what we do kw is that once the moment is called to arms, it doesn't stand back down. one of the consequences of this kind of rhetoric is events like the shooting in buffalo. u cannot separate one from the other and you cannot in good conscience say you are unaware of these violent implications of that kind of language. the other thing i would say is real accountability means the very difficult work of connecting what seem like one
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off events with the rest of this organized movement, which includes things like one part of the january 6 crowd were these activists, highly militarized and organized, and undertook that action as a public performance piece of activism that was meant to recruit and radicalize exactly the people like this shooter. we don't know the precise nature of the radicalization in this case. i think there is something in the document, which is still being verified, about this person being radicalized in january of 2022, but we know many people were brought into these circles online by the pandemic, january 6, by the blm protest backlash, by anti-masking protests. this whole landscape is what we have to contend with and not any one of these single violent events. geoff: inhe minute we have left, what will it take to
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kind of white supremacist extremist violence? kathleen: the hard part is this is a movement that has been waging war on our country and see late 1970's and early 1980's, and it has organized well around single acts of violence like this one. only in the last few years have we begun to ask that question at the level of institutions. what we need is a broad-based set of changes having to do with individual communities, public perception, but also our legal instruments, surveillance priorities, and real justice work in communities like a flow that are impacted. we've got to start that now, we are already decades behind. geoff: thank you so much for your time and insight this evening. kathleen: thank you for having me. ♪ geoff: in today's headlines...
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russia's neighb, finland, made official its declaration to join the western nato alliance. the finnish president heralded the move as a "new era." entering nato would end the country's decades-old position of military neutrality. the finnish parliament must approve the move, but is expected to endorse the decision in the coming days. russian president vladimir putin has said that any effort to join nato would damage their ce-friendly relations. but, in an interview this morning on cnn, finland's president made clear his recent conversation with president putin was more cordial than confrontational. pres. niinisto: actually, why i called him, i wanted just to confirm that, now, the situation is changed, we are going to apply membership. and, in the same way, he confirmed he thinks it's a mistake. we are not threatening you. altogether, the discussion was very, would i say, calm and cool. geoff: fellow nordic nation sweden has also moved a step closer to applying for nato
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membership, after the country's governing party gave the green light today. the plan will be discussed in swede's parliament tomorrow, and a formal announcement is expected shortly thereafter. the greatest obstacle to finland and sweden's admission to nato is turkey. turkey could use its membership to veto moves to admit the two countries. turkish president erdogan has accused the scandinavian nations of supporting kurdish mitant groups it views as terrorists. today, secretary of state tony blinken addressed the issue at a meeting of nato diplomats in berlin. sec. blinken: and the bottom line is this -- when it comes to the membership process, i am very confident that we will reach consensus. geoff: the vote for nato membership must be unanimous. and in china, the sprawling city of shanghai will begin gradually reopening some businesses starting tomorrow. the city has remained under a covid-19 lockdown for more than six weeks, but now some shopping malls, supermarkets, and pharmacies will again welcome customers, as case numbers in
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shanghai continue to improve. and, in the reclusive nation of north korea, state-run media reports that 15 more people have died, and cases of what officials there are calling "fever" have afflicted nearly 300,000 people. it's unclear how many of these cases are due to covid-19. the untry, home to 26 million people, is largely unvaccinated. still to come on "pbs news weekend"... how president biden is trying to paint part of the gop as too extreme ahead of this year's midterm elections. and how a contentious race for a u.s. senate seat is shaping up in pennsylvania. >> this is "pbs news weekend" from weta studios in washington, home of the "pbs newshour," weeknights on pbs. geoff: democrats are crafting a new message as they grapple with how to position themselves in november's midterm elections, in
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which rising inflation and gas prices remain the biggest obstacles to keeping their narrow majorities in the house and senate. president biden has started road-testing his new messaging strategy, stressing that he understands the economic pain many americans are experiencing, while drawing a contrast with the gop and warning of republican extremism. as president biden focuses his attention on americans' anxiety and anger over higher prices in this midterm election year, his message is a simple one -- he insists he feels your pain. pres. biden: i know you've got to be frustrated. i know. i can taste it. the vast majority of americans are hoping that government just takes care of their problems and they don't have to think about it in detail at the kitchen table. geoff: and as he criticized republicans this past week for blocking some of his economic plans, the president used a new phrase -- "ultra-maga" -- to brand part of the republican party as pro-trump extremists. pres. biden: americans have a
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choice right now between two paths, reflecting two very different sets of values. my plan attacks inflation and grows the economy. the other path is the ultra-maga plan put forward by congressional republicans. geoff: echoing what he said days earlier, attacking a plan put forward by republican senator rick scott to raise taxes on tens of millions of middle-class american pres. biden: let me tell you about this ultra-maga agenda. it's extreme, as most maga things are. it will actually raise taxes on 75 million american families, over 95% of whom make less than $100,000 a year. geoff: the new ultra-maga label and underlying shift in messaging, sources say, is the result of polling and analysis by democratic groups designed to pinpoint the best approach in trying to fend off republican gains in this midterm election year. by targeting so-called maga republicans, biden allows space
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to reach out to moderate republicans, while casting the trump-aligned gop as a threat not just to the economy but the american way of life. pres. biden: this maga crowd is really the most extreme political organization that's existed american history, in recent american history. geoff: for a closer look on democrats' shift in messaging, i'm joined by anat shenker-osirio. she is founder of aso communications, a progressive political consulting firm, and host of the podcast, "words to win by." it is great to have you with us. as i understand it, the ulta-maga label was the result of a a six-month research project by democratic-aligned groups. what do you make of it? anat: well, two things. the first is you want your message to be ur message, not a commentary about what that message is. when we have discourse like this conversation we are having right now about the sausage making, that eclipses the potency of the
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sausage eating. that aside, reality being what it is, it is incredibly important in your messaging to first and foremost sees the moral high ground and say what you are for and second, to make clear what your opposition is and ascribe motivations to the terrible things they do. whether we call them maga republicans or trump republicans, i think it is smart and strategic them a and our own research backs that up. geoff: i've had a lot of conversations with democra about this very thing, messaging. one person told me, they said democrats are always at a disadvantage because they have to be focused on policy and democrats are expected to be intellectually honest. republicans tend to message, this person said, around fear and the culture wars, which is an easier way to excite the
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base. does any democrat have the power, the capacity to formulate a message that excites people? anat: i frequently tell my colleagues, my clients, do not take your policy out in public, it is unseemly. your policy should not be your message. your message should be about what your policy delivers. whether or not democrats have the stomach to actually contrast -- some democrats do, and clearly biden is moving in that direction. one thing we see over and over ain, republicans have no trouble naming villains. the name of their game is scapegoating. they pick some group to whom they ascribe as "other," that could be welfare queens back in the day, illegal immigrants, more recently trans use, they pick a group to escape -- a
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scapegoat to divide and conquer. they know they've got nothing to offer so all they can do is have us point our fingers in the wrong direction. with the other hand, they are picking our pockets to hand the wealth our work creates to corporate donors. with republicans continuously naming a villain, if we don't name one and we simply rejoin with we will work with those people, bipartisanship! by virtue of absence, the villain continues to be whatever group they scapegoated. geoff: why doesn't the message "democrats deliver" work? i talked to white house officials, they are frustrated by how little credit they get for enacting a massive economic stimulus and an infrastructure package, distributing covid vaccines to -- vaccines, nominating and
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confirming the black woman to first the supreme court. why doesn't the president get any credit for that in terms of messaging? anat: in politics and life, it is unwise to argue people out of eir feelings. regardless of what is actually true in the world, the way people feel right now about their own economic situation is that many americans have, to put it colloquially, more mouth than check. they have trouble making ends meet and that is how they feel. there is nothing we can say that is stronger than that feeling or stronger than the emotion of looking at the bills and not knowing how to cover the rather than argue with people out of their feelings, saying we delivered for you, why are you grateful, why do you love us more? which is a recipe for backlash and anger. what weeed to do is explain to people both what our motivations
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and intentions are, and what is getting in the way. in a message, what that sounds like -- and this is not copyedited -- but something like no matter what we look like, come from or do for a living, most of us believe that people who work for a living ought to earn a living and we should have the freedom to decide for ourselves how we care for our families and to pick leaders who govern in our name. but today, maga republicans, trump republicans, or go father, an authoritarian faction, wants to take away our freedom. they point the finger for our hard times at new immigrants or black families or people struggling to make ends meet because they hope we will look the other way while they hand the wealth our work creates to corporate donors. but we know better and we choose us. geoff: i have to jump in there because we are out of time, but thank you so much for your insight. we appreciate it.
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the race to fill the open senate seat in pennsylvania could be an early test of the democrats' new messaging strategy. it's already one of the most hotly-contested elections this year. just days before the primary, republican and democratic candidates are kicking their campaigns into high gear to turn out the party faithful. lisa desjardins reports. lisa: look at pennsylvania as a magnifent map of national politics right now, and the rough terrain ahead in the fight for the u.s. senate. with the word "fight" most prominent on the right, where frontrunners are battling over who is most conservative. mr. mccormick: thank you all for being here. lisa: republican businessman david mccormick is trying to channel donald trump, stressing america first on things like immigration, jobs and trade. mr. mccormick: i'm gonna fight for pro-growth economic policies, deregulation, fair trade agenda. lisa: but the former president sees himself in someone else.
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another former tv celebrity, dr. mehmet oz, whose show aired nationally for over a decade. a lifelong republican, oz's opinions on issues like guns and abortion have changed over his years in public life. mr. trump: i'd like to have dr. oz come up and say a few words. lisa: in this campaign, oz has embraced trump's policies and won likability points from some. dr. oz: do we love president trump, pennsylvania? lisa: the two men have funneled their vast personal fortunes into an onslaught of tv ads, at least $24 million combined. >> greedy businessman mccormick cut pittsburgh jobs. >> mehmet oz, a complete and total fraud. lisa: the attacks of one another continued on stage. dr. oz: dishonest dave is at it again. mr. mccormick: i want to say say memet has flip-flopped on every major issue. lisa: but as the two cast each other as opportunistic... >> i'd like to introduce you to kathy barnette. lisa: ...an opportunity opened for someone else.
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ms. barnette: hey guys. thank you so much for coming. lisa: just this month, political commentator kathy barnette has surged, with polls showing her in a three-way tie for first. barnette is also a longtime anti-abortion activist, whose personal story being born out of rape is resonating with conservatives. ms. barnette: my family saw value in my life. i'm very grateful for that. we have people that look at the constitution as if it's a list of suggestions. lisa: on friday, president trump put out a statement saying she can't win, but he also praised her. what did you think about mr. trump's statement? ms. barnette: we know that president trump did not mix words. i think that letter was favorable. and i look forward to working with the president. katie: she does have room to just get this last mute momentum. lisa: katie meyer covers state politics for whyy and met us at club house diner. i asked her about barnette's chances in the fall.
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katie: i think anybody who sees somebody who's more extreme, or not somebody who is, as trump said, not vetted, like barnette, they think "okay, that's like a pretty easy target." however, we'veeen that be totally wrg before. >> mr. john fetterman! lisa: which brings us to democrats, and another unusual candidate. lt. gov. fetterman: wow, thank you for coming out. lisa: pennsylvania's lieutenant governor john fetterman looks like a wrestler and campaigns like bernie sanders. fetterman gained attention as mayor of braddock, a hollowed-out steel town he helped revitalize. he's pro-immigration, supports universal health care, and legalizing marijuana. his main opponent? congressman conor lamb. lamb became a democratic supetar in 2018 when he flipped a previously republican seat. he has some strong union support but has been outstepped and, in money, outmatched by fetterman. lamb's supporters think only a moderate can win the entire state. >> i'm more concerned about who
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will be able to win against whatever republican candidate is presented in november. lisa: but fetterman is far in front in polls and his kind of that and his supporters argue -- and his supporters argue his kind of democrat a blue collar ogressive is the right one for pennsylvania. >> i love that he's so consistent. he doesn't shift his message, and i think people really appreciate that. lisa: pennsylvania is one of the few swing states left. the past two decades, voters have sent mostly moderates to the u.s. senate. but those da may be numbered. the primaries in this state are moving away from the middle, more right and left. for pbs news weend, i'm lisa desjardins in mcveytown, pennsylvania. geoff: this afternoon, democratic candidate john fetterman announced he had a stroke on friday, but says he is onis way to a full recovery. and that's "pbs news weekend" for tonight. i'm geoff bennett. thanks for spending part of your sunday with us. >> major funding for "pbs news weekend" has been provided by --
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♪ and with the ongoing support of these inviduals and institutions -- ♪ this program was made possible by the corporation for plic broadcasting and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which esponsible for its caption content and accuracy.]
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clayton davis: have you ever wonderedhat really goes on behind the scenes of your favorite films? daniel craig: 'cause i want to talk to you about music and i want to talk to you about desi. ♪ babalu. ♪♪ clayton: variety studio invites you to listen in as today's top actors discuss their craft. lady gaga: i wanted to be an actress before i wanted to be a singer. clayton: with lady gaga and jake gyllenhaal, jessica chastain and rita moreno, and javier bardem and daniel craig. ♪♪♪ clayton: welcome to variety studio, "actors on actors." i'm clayton davis. elizabeth wagmeister: and i'm elizabeth wagmeister. in this episode you'll get exclusive access to some of the most talked about film performances of the year. clayton: first up, two of the most versatile stars of their generation, lady gaga and jake gyllenhaal, take on two very different, complex characters.

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