tv PBS News Hour PBS May 19, 2022 6:00pm-7:00pm PDT
i'm judy woodruff. on the "newshour" tonight, abortion battle -- the leaked supreme court opinion that would overturn roe v. wade energizes activists on both sides of the issue as new polling shows the majority of americans disagree with where the court appears to be headed. then, a critical shortage -- president biden invokes the dense production act to counter a nationwide dearth of baby formula. will this and other steps be enough to provide parents some relief? and, the cost of war -- how russia's invasion of ukraine could lead to a global food crisis as millions of tons of grain are stuck behind blockades. >> the countries that are net food importing couries that
consume high amounts of wheat and that rely on the black sea for imports of wheat are particularly affected. judy: all that and more on tonight's "pbs newshour." >> major funding for the "pbs newshour" has been provided by. >> fidelity dedicated advisors are here to help you create a wealth plan. a plan with tax sensitive investing strategies. planning focused on tomorrow, while you focus onoday. that's the planning effect, from fidelity. >> the kendeda fund, committed to advancing restorative justice and meaningful work through investments in transformative leaders and ideas. more at kendedafund.org.
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 individuals and institutions. this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. vanessa: i'm vanessa ruiz in for stephanie sy. we'll return to the full program after the latest headlines. president biden threw his support behind finland and sweden's bids to join nato today.
he welcomed their leaders to the white house, a day after they formally submitted their applications in response to the russian invasion of ukraine. at a rose garden event, the president said both countries would be valued members of the defensive alliance. pres. biden: finland and sweden make nato stronger, not just because of their capacities, but their strong, strong democracies. and a strong united nato is the foundation of america's security. by joining nato, allies make a sacred commitment to one another other that an attack on one is an attack against all. vanessa: but the government of another nato member, turkey, opposes their effort to join the alliance. it's accused the nordic countries of supporting kurdish militants who it claims threaten turkey's security. the president of finland addressed turkey's objection while at the white house.
pres. niinisto: as nato allies, we will commit to turkey's security just as turkey will commit to our security. we are open to discussing all the concerns turkey may have concerning our membership in an open and constructive manner. vanessa: meanwhile, more help is on the way for ukraine. the u.s. senate voted overwhelmingly today to send the country an additional $40 billion in military, economic, and humanitarian aid. and, the biden administration also authorized $100 million more in military assistance. it includes long-range howitzers, radars, and other field equipment. a grand jury has indicted the white man accused of killing 10 black people at a supermarket in buffalo, new york, on a first-degree murder arge. 18-year-old payton genrdon briefly appeared in court today, but did not speak during the proceeding.
authorities are still investigating whether to pursue hate crime and terrorism charges. the u.s. house committee investigating the january 6 capitol siege has requested an interview with republican representative barry loudermilk of georgia. they're seeking more information about a tour thesmgr cededanes he in the violence were gathering information ahead of time about the building's layout. loudermilk issued a statement insisting the tour was with a constituent family with young children and that the family never entered the capitol building. a cdc advisory panel today approved the use of pfizer's covid-19 vaccine booster for kids ages five to 11. and this evening, the cdc's director endorsed that recommendation. the food and drug administration gave its approval on tuesday. meanwhile in china, shanghai is slowly lifting its covid restrictions. some residents were allowed to
shop for groceries for the first time in nearly two months. >> it's good and my mood feels very happy. the lifting of the lockdown is starting. it's good news fous. it's my first day going to the supermarket. we've mnly relied on government provisions and things obinlted through group-buyin organization today reported that global covid deaths dropped by about 21% in the past week. but infections are rising in the americas, middle east, africa, and western pacific. more americans applied for unemployment benefits last week. the labor department reported new jobless claims rose by 21,000 to 218,000, hitting a four-month high. but the total number of americans collecting unemployment is still at a 53-year low. in oregon, blurry barcodes on ballots are delaying primary election results for a key u.s. house race.
vote-counting machines cannot read around two-thirds of the roughly 90,000 ballots returned in clackamas county. employees are paired, one democrat and one republican, to transfer votes from spoiled ballots to readable ones. in the state's fifth congressional district, seven-term incumbent kurt schrader, a moderate democrat, is currently trailing progressive challenger jamie mccloud-skinner. still to come on the "newshour," a look at the biden administration's plans to address the baby formula shortage. political scientist ian bremmer discusses his new book exploring whether we are prepared to address major global crises. and how political entrenchment has transformed the evangelical christiavoting bloc. and much more. >> this is the "pbs newshour" from weta studios in washington and in the west from the walter cronkite school of journalism at arizona state university.
judy: the leaked draft opinion from the supreme court that suggests that the justices may soon overturn roe v. wade has made abortion one of the biggest political debates of the year. just today, the oklahoma state legislature passed a near total ban on abortion. our latest pbs newshour/npr/marist poll sheds new light on americans' views on the subject. and lisa desjardins is here to walk through some of the numbers. so, lisa, hello. you have been looking, taking a and what it shows. -- you have been looking, taking a hard look at this poll and what it shows. so the court does seem poised maybe to overturn roe. where are americans on this? lisa: judy, there is so much to talk about in this poll, i think something our viewers are going to be talking about themselves as well. let's start with a big headline. americans overall do not support overturning roe vs. wade. our figures show in this poll 33% of americans only would
support overturning , 64%, two-thirds nearly, say, no, do not overturn it. and i wanto note, that is a slight increase in those who want to overturn roe from four years ago, but not a significant one. two-thirdsho want to keep roe and one-third who say overturn it. judy: now, lisa, you reported last night many americans are in e middle, though, on abortion restriions. lisa: yes. judy: so tell us more about that part. lisa: these were figures i was very interested to see. where are americans now exactly? what do they want abortion policy to look at? let's take a look at when you talk about what time in pregnancy abortion should be allowed in. in general, about a quarter of americans believe it should be allowed always, in every part of pregnancy, leave it up to the woman, the family involved. about another third or so say somewhere between three or six months is where there should be a limit, a ban. another third says they are for specific exceptions only. now, specifically, we said in this poll, that means rape, incest, life of the mother.
there is 9%, the smallest group here, who says never, abortion should not be allowed, no exceptions whatsoever. so, if you look at this, you see that, clearly, the middle there is somewre around three, six months. and that was reinforced by what we found in pennsylvania. i want to bring back another sound bite from that woman we talked to, denise donlon, who we met on her front porch. denise: abortion is not birth control. and i think people are fine with abortion. and i do believe it's the right of women to choose for their own body. but i think there should be limitations, 15, 20 weeks. lisa: and that's what our poll shows too, that a lot of americans are where she is. judy: so, lisa, we know that if the court moves the direction it looks like they may be, this is going to -- decisions are going to turn back to the states. at are you seeing about what the states are looking at doing? lisa: it's interesting americans agree on some things that they oppose, that they say you go too far. let's look at that. these are ideas that we see in the states that americans do not like.
first of all, the idea of criminalizing this with doctor'' fines or jail time for doctors, 75% say no. the ability to have civil lawsuits against abortion doctors, 80% say no. the idea of a ban after six or eight weeks, 69% say no. these are ideas americans in our survey say go too far. where the gray area is, is so interesting. we also found that in our poll, and i want to show it right now. the gray areas here on a ban after 15 weeks, exactly what denise donlon was talking about, the nation is almost purely divided on whether that is a good idea or a bad idea. also, divide almost down the middle over the idea of whether it should be legal to mail abortion drugs to people at their home. that was a divide that also stood out in our poll. judy: it does raise a lot of questions about how people are coming to thesconclusions, doesn't it? lisa: that's right. and it shows it's a gray area, and people are not sure. judy: yes. lisa: and, in fact, in this poll, we saw some conflicts within these results that were -- raise questions. judy: yes, it reminds us what a
tough issue it is. and, finally, lisa, in the poll, people were asked questions about their view of the supreme court and of the congress. lisa: this is something that we have seen change dramatically. and i want to look at this question of, do you have confidence in the supreme court? a simple question. here's what our survey told us from people that we talked to right now, the top answer, 40% only said they have confidence. a majority, 56%, said no. that is almost a perfect flip, judy, from four years ago, july of 2018, when a majority, 57%, said they do have confidence in the supreme court. 38% said they do not. so we're really seeing, i think, in this the battles over supreme court nominations and, of course, this leaked opinion. what does this all mean for the midterms? the stakes are so high this year, control of the senate, control of the house on the table. democrats have had an enthusiasm problem. we have reported on that in our polls before. we asked, are you more likely to vote because of the leaked opinion?
here's what we got in our survey. democrats, 66% said yes, republics, just 40%, independents, 46%. that democratic number is something they are going to pay a lot of attention to. and this is before the actual opinion, of course, has come out, before we know for sure what the supreme court is doing. but this is something that may charge up democrats, who've had a president with low approval ratings, and have not been able to find that enthusiasm elsewhere. judy: it certainly looks that way. lisa: that's right. judy: and, of course, we will see when that opinion does finally come out. lisa: i think just weeks away. judy: that's right. lisa desjardins, thank you very much. lisa: you're welcome. judy: and a reminder thayou can dig into these poll results and more on our website. that's pbs.org/newshour. judy: the president is being pressed on a number of fronts
right now, both to do more and to show results that people can feel in the near future. that's particularly true when it comes to the current shortage of baby formula around the country. geoff bennett zeros in on those concerns. geoff: judy, the shortage has been a serious problem for months now and has gotten worse during the spring. store shelves are about 40% short of the formula they normally sell. that means prices in some places are going up for what's left. and, in some cases, we have heard of parents driving hours to find what they need or even more serious measures like watering down baby formula, which experts say is dangerous. the president has announced new measures to address this, but there are important questions about how effective this will be. brian deese is the biden administration's director of the national economic council. and he joins me now. welcome back to the "newshour." brian: happy to be here. geoff: and president biden, as you well know, he invoked the defense production act, which requires suppliers to provide
baby formula ingredients to those companies that produce it before it goes to other companies. he's also authorized this new program called operation fly formula to speed up imports. so what's the expectation for how quickly infant formula will appear back on shelves, be widely available? brian: well, we need to focus on a couple of things to make that happen. the first is to increase production. we need to produce -- manufacture, to produce more formula. tha ae manufacturers of formula in the united states have all of the supplies and theomponents that they need toet to 100% production as quickly as possible. so that's happening right now. the second is, we need to get more formula that's outside the united states that we know is safe into the united states. and that's what the operation fly formula is about, the defense department, directed by the president, to use commercial cargo to bring that product into the united states. these steps are happening in
real time. we're in contact with both the manufacturers and the retailers overnight, through the day, and we will be into the weekend. and we anticipate that these steps will help to get that product produced and moving quicker than i move. geoff: you have said that thet s administration was aware of this infant formula shortage back in february. so, why then did the government let it get to this point? why not invoke the dpa much earlier to ease this supply situation? brian: the genesis of this challenge was that, in mid-february, on february 17, the fda shut a facility, but -- from abbott manufacturing in sturgis, michigan, because of a concern that the formula that was being produced was unsafe. that was a safety judgment that has to be made. and, of course, we're dealing with infant formula, so we have to put safety at the front here. but, immediately after that happened, the president -- the administration began working with manufacturers and retailers to try to make sure that production was increasing.
and, in fact, the reason why we are where we are today, where production is getting to 100%, is because of the work that's been happening over the last several weeks. the reason for the defense production act now is, we want to make sure that manufacturers can maintain and stay at that 100% capacity. we don't want any manufacturer, now that they have ramped up, to be in a place where, for example, they can't get the bottles that they need to fulfill an order, or they can't get an input that they need to fill an order. having the flexibility of the defense production act now in place will ensure that they can stay at this high rate of production going forward. geoff: it strikes me that the government is in many ways relying on abbott and the fda to get us out of this mess, when you could argue that it was abbott and the fda that created this crisis in the first place, abbott for reportedly running that lab that was -- didn't have sanitary conditions, and then the fda, which apparently didn't address a whistle-blower complaint, appropriately that it received back in october. so, how is it that the fda and abbott can be held to account and can be relied upon to now fix this problem?
brian: well, the fda is focused on safety. and the reason why it took the actions that it did in february to shut that abbott facility was based on scientific and safety judgments. but now we need abbott to move as quickly as possible to get the fda has made very clearg. exactly the steps that need to be taken, so that it can run safely. abbott is committed to those steps and is moving to put them in place. but they need to do so without any delay. and we need other manufacturers to ramp up their production as well. and once we get through this immediate crisis, we do need to ask some hard questions about a market, a private sector market that is dominated by three large producers that supply 90% of the infant formula in this country. we need to think about how we can bring more competition into this market, more new entrants into this market, so that the american consumer is not reliant on any one private company as much as we are today. geoff: i want to draw you out on that because, as you rightly point out, abbott, they create
40% of the u.s. infant formula that is available on shelves. millions of american families are reliant on baby formula. and there are just a handful of companies that produce it. so when you say there will be there will be time for those questions, i mean, what does that look like? how concerned is the administration about this sort of market consolidation? and what are you prepared to do about it? brian: well, it is a concern. and it's a concern in infant formula and more broadly. and the president has actually identified that the lack of competition and consolidation in a number of industries has actually reduced the benefits for consumers, driven up prices, but also created this type of risk that the supply chain vulnerability can actually leave americans exposed. we have seen this throughout the pandemic, that our economy is too reliant on these brittle supply chains. and a lot of that is due to challenges about consolidation in different markets. , we have ramped up antitrust scrutiny and merger scrutiny. that's one element of this. the other is, though,
more new businesses to enter into a market like this, so that consumers have more choice and more options. obviously, when it comes to formula, we need to make sure that that's done safely, and that any entrant, anything that makes it to the shelves is safe r consumers. but we need to encourage more competition across the economy generally and in this market as well. geoff: brian deese is the director the national economic council. brian,hanks again for your time. brian: thank you. judy: thanks, geoff. and let's dive into some of the complexities of this shortage of baby formula, including what it will take to alleviate it more quickly and to fix bigger problems over time. our ali rogin been reporting on this. and she joins me now. ali, you have been looking at this for quite some time. and you're reminding us that there's a bigger context here. so remind us about that. ali: that's exactly right. across the industry, people have been telling me today that the measures the white house introduced, they can't hurt, but they're not really things that are going to address the core issues here. a lot of these companies, they
haven't had issues obtaining those raw materials that brian deese was talking about, materials and ingredients. and, as he said, it's a proactive measure. it's meant to ensure that companies that have ramped up production can sustain those levels of production without any interruption. the same can be said for these flights that the white house has introduced. industry representatives say that this isn't a chief driver of the crisis. but, again, it can't hurt. for example, a spokesman for abbott labs today tells me that they have already had emergency airlifts of their product from an fda-approved facility in ireland. but they say that, of course, they welcome any measures that might be able to cut down on transfer time. judy: now, we know that this issue, ali, has been getting lot more attention from lawmakers. they have been pressuring the white house, urging the white house to do re. the fda commissioner today testified on the hill. tell us about that. ali: yeah. what brian deese did not refer to, which is important to point out, is that the fda is under a lot of scrutiny for its
timeline, how quickly it acted. there was a whistle-blower report that came out in october of 2021. the fda did not interview that whistle-blowerntil december, and then they did not do an inspection of that sturgis, michigan, facility, that was the nature of the whistle-blower complaint until january. so there are a lot of questions about that timeline. commissioner califf was before the house appropriations committee today. he demurred on a lot of those specifics, citing an ongoing investigation, but that didn't really satisfy a lot of lawmakers, including appropriations chairwoman rosa delauro. rep. delauro: you can't hide behi investigation. we need answers. we need them now. robert: i know we have an oversight hearing next week. and we will be prepared to go into much more detail at that point. as i have said, we could do better than we did. rep. delauro: you have an oversight committee next week. you're on before the committee that funds what you do. robert: yeah. rep. delauro: so, these -- this
information is relevant to this subcommittee of appropriations. robert: well, i appreciate what you're sayin but it's -- the investigation is not completed yet. and so i'm not in a position to answer specifics like that. judy: so, ali, what are seen to be then -- beyond what the administration is doing,hat are seen to be the chief solutions here? ali: yeah. to the immediate crisis, it's all about getting formula back on the shelves. and the fda announced earlier this week that it is working with abbott labs to reopenhat closed facility in sturgis, michigan. the reopening process is going to take about two weeks, and then it might be an additional six to eight weeks before we see any of that product back on shelves. but all of this reveals a paradox, which is that the two entities most responsible for this crisis are also the ones with the most tools available to help get us out of it. the house earlier this week voted to approve an additional $28 million in emergency funding for thfda to beef up their food safety program.
and the fda is also surging resources to abbott to help it reopen this facility. as brian deese noted, abbott and three other companies make up 90% of the americamarket share. and as this crisis has revealed, these companies are o big to fail. judy: and you were telling us, ali, there are also seem to be longer-term solutions that need to be addressed, that need to be looked at. ali: yeah, this is really forcing an industry-wide reckoning. brian deese talked about increasing competitions. and legislatures this week -- legislators also addressed a very important part of this, which is federal funding for low-income infant nutrition, which actually covers about 50% of all american infants. it's a program known as wic. state wic programs actually went really quickly in expanding access for wic beneficiaries state by state. but that's because they had existing flexibilities because of the covid-19 national health security crisis. judy: right. ali: and so lawmakers today, the
senate unanimously passed a bill to make those wic flexibilities permanent. the house passed it earlier this week with nine no-votes. it now heads to the president's desk. of course, the scrutiny of the fda is also going to continue. commissioner califf, as well as executives from three of those four formula companies back on the hi next week. judy, they're going to be testifying before the house energy and commerce committee next wednesday. judy: we're learning so much about this industry, which i think most of us knew very little about. ali: absolutely. judy: ali rogin, thank you very much. ali: thank you. judy: at the united nations security council today, the u.s. accused russia of using food as a weapon in its war against ukraine, and, in turn, creating a global food security crisis. ukraine grows enough food to feed 400 million people. and ukraine and russia together
account for one-third of the world's wheat exports. but russia's invasion and its blockade of ukrainian ports are preventing ukraine from exporting its grain and steel, as nick schifrin recently witnessed in southern ukraine. nick: ukraine's largest steel plant still faces the threat of russian airstrikes. in march, the war forced arcelormittal kryvyi rih to close for the first time since world war ii. but now workers are back. and blast furnace number six is firing. the plant offers every step of a process that can produce six million tons of steel a year. n bknla iheasow t found furnace that is 4000 degrees. that creates what's known as pig iron, a crude iron, and that becomes steel. before the war, the plant was one of ukraine's largest employers and one of its largest exporters. iron ore and semi-finished iron are the country's single largest export.
but the war's cut production here in half, and it blocked the company's traditional routes to the middle east and africa, says chief administrative officer artyom filipyev. artyom: the main export route for us was the ports of the black sea. so, now the ports are closed. that's why we cannot use them. nick: odessa is ukraine's largest port and so far has avoided a direct russian assault. but russian ships in the black sea have created a blockade. that's forced companies to ship visa trains that need to be refitted with different size wheels to travel in the rest of europe. artyom: it takes more time. it makes it more costly. nick: how important is it to get these kinds of new export supply lines going for the future of ukraine? artyom: metallurgical industry for ukraine was like one of the cornerstones of the whole economy. nick: another cornerstone, agriculture. ukraine's one of the largest
exporters of wheat, corn and oil, but europe's breadbasket today is scarred. ukraine and the u.s. accusergetl infrruasiatrssucf tu ore, taincs and the railroad bridges ukraine needs to export. russia has even fired at farmers and tractors. and ukraine says what russia doesn't target, it steals. trucks with hundreds of thousands of tons of ukrainian grain have been moved to russian-occupied territory. in farming villages occupied and destroyed by russian troops, farmers have lost their livelihoods and many of the animals they sold to survive. lubov: they shelled us with a high-explosive projectile. it immediately began to burn. the piglets and calves were screaming. they were roasted alive. they were burning. sec. blinken: the russian government seems to believe that using food as a weapon will help accomplish what its invasion has not, to break the spirit of ukrainian people. nick: today, the u.s. led a security council session about the war's impact on global food
access. secretary-general antonio guterres is negotiating with moscow to lift the blockade, but there's been no progress. sec. blinken: the food supply ,for millions of ukrainians and millions more around the world has quite literally been held hostage by the russian military. caitlin: this war is having effects on global markets, global supplies and prices again around the world. ck: caitlin welsh is the director of the global food security program at the center for strategic and international studies. she says the war exacerbated already record high global food prices and will limit food availability in the very countries that need it most. caitlin: the countries that are net food importing countries that consume high amounts of wheat and that rely on the black sea for imports of wheat are particularly affected. nick: what is the solution for ukrainian exports, short of somehow figuring out how to end the russian black sea blockade? caitlin: the solution is to end this war. and even if the war were to end
today, it would take a significant amount of time and investment to bring ukraine to its prewar levels of agricultural productivity. nick: the world's larges exporter of wheat and fertilizer is actually russia. and russian farmers are today exempt from sanctions. caitlin: we have very, very deliberately not sanctioned russia's food and fertilizer exports. for global food security reasons, it's very important to keep russian wheat and fertilizer and other agricultural products on markets. nick: back in ukraine, despite the threats, farmers are planting this year's rvest. but, for now, the exports that have long helped feed the world will be trped by a war with no end in sight. for the "pbs newshour," i'm nick schiin. judy: and a note -- our coverage of the war in ukraine is supported in partnership with the pulitzer center. with russia's invasion of
ukraine, the pandemic, the climate crisis, and extreme political polarization, the dangers the world is facing right now are stark, and how we respond is critical. ian bremmer runs the eurasia group. it's one of the world's leading global risk research and consulting firms. and he explores the most pressing issues and solutions in his new book, "the power of crisis: how the threats - and our response - will change the world." ian bremmer, welcome back to the "newshour." congratulations on this book. you have been focused for some time on the collapse of the international governing order, the fact that countriearen't working together the way they should. and yet we have seen, with russia's invasion of ukraine, that nato's come together, the west coming together. is this the exception that proves the rule? ian: i wouldn't say it's the exception. i'd say it's a response to the crises that continue to emerge as the international order
starts breaking down. it's a snapback. and, frankly, i kind of wish that vladimir putin had read a draft of the book, because, clearly, he thought that the united states and nato and the west would be incapable of responding. he's seen what happened in afghanistan. he's seen what's happened in iraq. he saw january 6 in the united states. he saw the lack of reaction to his own invasions in georgia and in ukraine in 2008 and 2014. but this decision to fundamentally try to usurp a democratic government in ukraine was absolutely a step too far. and the response internationally has been extraordinary, has actually made the west stronger than it was before putin invaded on february 24. judy: but before this happened, and before the reaction to it, one of your principal concerns was that the world was not well-equipped to deal with some of the big mega-crises that the world is facing. ian: that's right.
what's basically been happening is both the united states and other advanced industrial democracies around the world, we have seen the populism, we have seen the unwillingness to be the global policemen, the unwillingness to lead on global trade, the incapacity to be the world's leading democracy, make the world safe for it. and, as that happens, you see a breakdown in institutions, you see increasingly the growth of crises. so, over the last three decades, judy, you and i have watched as our institutions both at home and abroad have gradually and incrementally eroded, and feeling like we can't do anything about it. well, the purpose of this book, "the power of crisis," is that the status quo isn't going to get you there. but, as these crises emerge -- and we're in a target-rich environment for crises right now, as you know. it's not just t russian invasion. it's climate change. it's the pandemic. there's plenty of them. that's what's going to lead to a step function, to force countrs to respond with new institutions, strengthened
leadership. it's the only way you get it done in this environment. judy: well, let's take these particular crises one by one, very quickly, starting with public health, with global health emergencies, like the one we're still living through right now. where do you see the mechanism, the solution that's going to prepare the world to be in a better place at the next pandemic? ian: probably the weakest of the crises to respond, in part because it built less trust with the united states and china. china covered it up, of course, to begin with, and leading the united states even to leave the world health organization in the middle of a pandemic. and while the united states was focused on it in a strong way in the early days, relatively soon on, you saw with the vaccines, with therapeutics that a lot of americans felt like it was no longer as much of a crisis for
them. it became politicized. so i wou say the one part of the world th really took the lessons on board of the pandemic was the european union, both in terms of providing massive economic support from the wealthy countries to the poorer countries, kind of like european marshall plan. they learned from the eurozone crisis of 2008, 2010, but also in taking on board an e.u. function for vaccine acquisition and distribution. everyone got them at the same time. the e.u. leaves this crisis stronger than it came in. the united states leaves it more divided. the u.s.-china relationship leaves it more divided. judy: so, when it comes to climate change, again, massive questions, crises facing the world, where do you see the mechanism to bring countries together to address this? ian: judy, much more like the russia crisis, where the fact that everyone recognizes that this is a big problem gets them on the same side of the issue. there's no disinformation today
anymore on climate change. but the fact is that climate represents what i call a goldilocks crisis, not so big that we crawl ourselves into a circle and wait for the end, but not so small that we keep behaving the way we used to behave. judy: what makes you believe that the kinds of solutions that you are talking about, anything close to that, can be agreed on, when the world is -- yes, w're seeing the west come together when it comes to ukraine. but, again, so much of the rest of the world split over the very issues you have described and so much more, rich vs. poor, have, have-not, and on down the list. ian: what happens with even a crisis like russia is, it creates more interdependence. at the beginning of the russia crisis, a lot of people said, oh, this is -- why are you saying it's so important? you pay no attention to syria, or somalia, or yemen. it's just because it's white europeans. that's the only reason you care. it's not true. the fact is, this is a much bigger crisis, not just because
of six million ukrainian refugees, not just the threat to europe, but because of the interdependence of the global economy. it's the food, it's the fertilizer, it's the energy that's going to make this a much bigger crisis all over the world. and that forces the world to take it seriously. it represents and reflects the interdependence that we may not like, but that we need. judy: one final question, ian bremmer, and this is not on your book, but it is very much related to covid and how china has responded by these massive lockdowns of entire -- entire cities, entire regions. whether that specific strategy works or not, what effect do you see that having on the chinese economy and, frankly, on whether xi jinping remains secure in power? ian: sometimes, the reason you don't respond to crisis is because your country is too strong and your institutions too resilient for it to bother you. we saw this in the united
states, even after the 2020 elections and the events of january 6, and, a year later, people are shrugging their shoulds about it. china and zero covid is a little bit like that. they're probably going to experience next to 0% growth right now. and they have had these massive draconian lockdowns, even on the wealthiest, largest city in the country, in shanghai. and the reason they're doing it and not even asking for and refusing help from the west, refusing mrna vaccines that would make a difference on the ground to the oldest, most vulnerable chinese is because they know they can, because they know there isn't the challenge domestically to xi jinping. that's a reality. and it makes it harder for a country like china to respond effectively and to respond internationally to a crisis that is global. judy: on that note, ian bremmer, thank you very much. the book is "the power of crisis: how three threats - and our response - will change the world." thank you. ian: my pleasure.
judy: in recent years, one trend has stood out. evangelical churches swing to the far right. amna has a look at that. amna:rtic en hitoi gel church delves into these issues a he joins me now. welcome back to the newshour. always good to have you he. this is a faith tradition you are from ear with personally. you have grown up around evangelical churches and you have been reporting in these communities for years. big picture, why this moment? why did you decide to return on it in this deep dive?
tim: what is most striking to me at this point is just what we have seen as a confluence of events and factors and circumstances. you have these massive cultural divisions in the church over everything from discussions of human sexuality and abortion to race relations to the #metoo movement and sexual abuse. all of this swirling and churning and it has created something of a perfect storm inside the church where decades-oldtheologically, politd culturally our fracturing in real time and what you are seeing now is a massive realignment in which a lot of folks who have been members of the same churches for many years , who call a church in their community home have abruptly left and relocated, sometimes just down the road to another church or to a new church perhaps. and those churches most often
are not only reflecting their own partisan views more accurately but those churches tend to be substantially further to the right. that really represents a seachange. lisa: so when we talk about evangelicals we are talking about an overwhelmingly white group. about 76% are white, largely conservative. also aumbeof pastors meet with i want to ask you about. ken brown and bill. they have come to agree on one important thing. both believe there is a war for the soul of the american church. how does that show up in their ministry? tim: yes, amna, it's rely fascinating. bill bolin actually leads a
church in my hometown in brighton, michigan. and the reason that bill bolin became sort of a celebrity overnight in the community and the reason that his church began to grow so explosively was because he refused to close down his church and comply with government regulations at the beginning of the covid pandemic, before this was really seen as an explicitly partisan political issue. bill bolin and his church decided to make it one, and they really reaped a whirlwind from it. they saw their church grow from about 100 people on any given sunday. and, of course, in another suburb of detroit not far from there is ken brown's church. he has seen in his own congregation a lurch to the right and a real sort of dangerous appreciation for conspiracy theorizing and far right fringe politics. and so ken brown right around the time that this other pastor was sort of exploiting it for the growth and the gain of his church, ken brown decided to do the opposite at his church. he decided to sort of put his foot down and begin challenging
his own congregants and really make sure that his church would not become radicalized in the way that others were. amna: so, tim, when you talk to people in the community who see their participation in the church as part of their battle for the soul of this country, as you write, what about abortion? mean, you're talking about a group that has long and strongly been opposed to abortion rights in this country. what kind of impact did the leaked supreme court draft opinion have on this community? what does it mean for them moving forward? tim: so, what's so interesting now is that many of those voters, if, in fact, the issue is de-federalized and pushed back to the states to decide on a case-by-case basis, many voters will now have to confront an altogether different calculus come november of an election year, a general election year, in which it's not clear whether or not abortion, the great single issue dver that has galvanized so many churches, and, frankly, which has invited so much of this partisan political activity from churches in recent decades, whether that will now be sort of decentralized.
and whether you will see more activity on the ground at the local and state level, with much more church involvement in those races, rather than at the top of the ticket. that's something that a lot of churches are not working through, and we're going to have to see how it plays out. amna: tim, i guess, if you put it in perspective, when you look back, there's always been this sort of intersection of politics and faith among people who self-identify as evangelical, right? you think back to the 1980's and the moral majority. you write about the evolution, how it is different now. it's causing fractures. i wonder what you think the moving -- sort of moving forward, that political influence will be, given everything you report on? tim: i thinkhat sets this moment apart a bit, amna, is the fact that for the moral majority, in its heyday, there was a real belief that they were saving america from itself, that there was great momentum on their side in this fight to, as they saw it, sort of restore the christian character of this nation.
i think what's different now is that, as i write in the piece, there really is a certain fatalism that has set into the evangelical movement. the white evangelical church in america today is in a real way defined by a belief that america's best days are behind itthat america is in inexorable decline, and that, rather than fighting to sort of save america, as it were, or this idealized version of america, really, the battle now is to sort of carve out their own space and prevent the secularization of all of america, and to sort of keep the wolves at bay. there is now, i think, a sense in which many white evangelical christians are sort of letting go of the church and clinging closer to america, rather than the other way around. amna: that is tim alberta, staff writer at "the atlantic." his latest piece is entitled "how politics poisoned the evangelical church." tim, thanks for your time. tim: my pleasure.
thanks, amna. judy: merlefest has been a mainstay on the music circuit since 1988. people flock to the foothills of the blue ridge mountains in north carolina each year to celebrate the music of the appalachian region, and, in turn, give a boost to the local economy. jeffrey brown went to take a look for our arts and culture series, canvas. jeffrey: music floodedn over four days and nights from multiple stages. and ing grounded in traditional bluegrass, pickin' tents were busy with adults and children. but one important difference at merlefest, the setting in rural wilkesboro, north carolina, on the campus of wilkes community college, where jeff cox is president.
beautiful campus, in a lot of ways, it's the campus that merlefest built. jeffrey: is that how it feels? jeff c: it really is that way. this doesn't just happen to be here. we did this. this is our festival. jeffrey: merlefest, in fact, began in 1988 when the college asked bluegrass and folk legend doc watson, who grew up nearby, to put together a small fund-raiser to help the school. it was named for doc's son merle, with whom he performed three years before merle's in a -- merle's death in a tractor accident. the original festival was held on two flatbed trucks. no one could have imagined what it would become. jeff h: it's one of the half-a-dozen greatest music festivals in america, i think, certainly for this kind of music. jeffrey: jeff hanna, one of the founders of the nitty gritty dirt band, first performed here in 1992. this was his fifth visit, again up on the main watson stage.
jeff h: everybody that goes out on that watson stage, especially, i think, has a great respect for the foundational part of the festival. jeffrey: that musical foundation stems from doc watson himself, the guitart and singer blind from infancy who infenced generations of musicians, including 1960's southern california kids like hanna. jeff h: i went and bought a doc watson album, and it was like, oh, my gosh. the clouds parted. jeffrey: what did you hear in his music? jeff h: he had this simplicity to it and this conversational approach that really drew me in. but on top of that, the guy was a virtuoso and one of the greatest guitar players to ever pick up the instrument. jeffrey: and incredibly influential. jeff h: oh, way, yeah, yeah. i mean, here at merlefest, there's plenty of children of doc. jeffrey: the music itself expanded to what watson called traditional-plus, bringing in
other styles and genres beyond bluegrass. but the ties of music and community have continued and are especially important in a town in which nearly a quarter of residents live below the poverty line. and the festival has become indispensable, raising money to scholarships, a student emergency assistance fund, and student activities, including a culinary program that often leads to jobs in the food industry. with funding from the festival, some students even study abroad. celena: it changes the student'' world. and once they step on that plane, and then come back, they never look at life the same. jeffrey: because a lot of the students are from this region. celena: yeah. jeffrey: they would not often have the opportunity to go to paris. celena: no. a lot of them haven't even left this area. so, yeah, it changes the world then. that's very good to see. jeffrey: scholarship aid can be even more basic for students like 19-year-old makenzi shumate.
she says a $250 monthly stipend, free laptop antutoring make it possible for her to attend school, especially as a single mother with a nine-month-old son. makenzie: they have helped me mentally. they have helped me educationally. without them, i probably would have dropped out a long time ago. jeffrey: you think so? makenzie: yeah. jeffrey: is that what happens with a lot of people here? makenzie: yeah. there's been a lot of people i know that are scared to go to college because they don't think that their family can afford it. and with that education promise and financial aid, it makes it possible for them to go, which is amazing. jeffrey: she will soon graduate with a two year associate's degree, and then attend east carolina, the first in her family to make it to a four-year university. according to president jeff cox, wilkes community college has received $18.5 million from merlefest to date. and he says the extra funds are even more crucial now. jeff c: the impact of the
pandemic has been really tough on our economy. rural folks and folks who are kind of at the bottom end of the economic ladder were particularly hard-hit with the pandemic. and our students are, a lot of them, in that in that category. jeffrey: of course, all this depends on a thriving music festival. >> watson stage welcomes the merlefest veterans. [cheering and applause] jeffrey: andhat's meant finding the right balance of tradition and fresh sounds to continue attracting audiences. merlefest veterans took the stage, musicians including famed mandolinist sam bush and dobro player jerry douglas, who've attended the festival from its beginning. old crow medicine show even recreated a bit of street busking of the kind they did here and elsewhere more than 20 years ago. once word went out, a large crowd gathered.
the band scythian drew special cheers to singing songs from members with ukrainian-american roots. this remains a largely older and white audience. and there's been an effort to diversify the musical talent a attract new audiences as well. one rising star in americana and roots music, 41-year-old allison russell, fresh off three grammy nominations. a black woman playing the banjo, she's a proud part of a story with its own deep roots. allison: the banjo is so much at the heart of bluegrass, and that would not exist if west africans hadn't come here. the oldest banjo in the americas was found in haiti. it's part of a really beautiful story of cross-cultural pollination, i think. and this music comes out of that. bluegrass comes out of that. jeffrey: but i don't know that most people know that.
allison: i think a lot of people don't. i think it's starting to change. i have noticed a big sea change in the last couple of years of there being more awareness that this is not a single story music. jeffrey: russell thinks her generation of musicians is helping change the future on stage and in the audience. allison: we are part of the trailblazing, and that it will make it easier for the ones who are coming after us. thwie wee themselves in what we're doing and think, oh, i'm welcome there. lindsay: there's so many artists out there doing amazing bluegrass work, but then also younger artists who are coming in and doing bluegrass, but they're doing their twists on it. jeffrey: some of that work towards building the future falls to lindsay craven, who helps program the festival and book the performers. she grew up and continues to live in the region and knows the festival's value beyond the music. lindsay: i think that artistic anything in a small community is key to keeping these smaller communities alive.
i think that merlefest means the world to wilkesboro. i hope that it does, because we put a small community on the map. 60,000 people had enjoyed it all. for the "pbs newshour," i'm jeffrey brown at merlefest in wilkesboro, north carolina. judy: and it is definitely putting them on the map. and on the “newshour” online, across the country, investors have been buying up mobile home parks, renovating them, and raising rents. in california, one group of renters decided to push back. you can read about their legal battle and what it portends for renters in other parts of the u.s. at pbs.org/newshour. and that's the “newshour” for tonight. i'm judy woodruff. join us online and again here tomorrow evening with david brooks and jonathan capehart. for all of us at the “pbs newshour,” thank you, please stay safe, and we'll see you soon.
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- mmm. i've grilled a beautiful piece of swordfish here with a very hot, spicy yogurt sauce. very simple to make. here is how i do it. trim off any skin that you have on the swordfish and cut two steak about . sprinkle them with the herbes de provence and drizzle with oil and rubbing it well all over. cover with plastic wrap and let them sit in the refrigerator until ready to cook. when you're ready to cook them, remove the plastic wrap and season the steak with pepper and salt on both side. arrange them on a preheated grill or hot--very hot-- grill pan. they'll cook for about 2 minutes on each side. when cooked, remove them from the pan