16 Episode results for "Gessen"
Masha Gessen and Keith Gessen Debate Russian and American Politics
"I'm Dorothy working on today's politics and more podcast a conversation from the twenty eighteen New Yorker festival Masha Gessen sits down with her brother, the journalist novelist Keith Gessen to discuss the relationship between the United States and Russia were both Gessen's were born. Masha Gessen is one of our keenest observers of Russia and Russian politics. She grew up in the Soviet Union in its latter days emigrated with her family to the US and then return to Russia as a reporter. So she's got a unique perspective on the US Russia relationship and all through the Muller investigation. She warned people not to expect some kind of magical revelation or smoking gun of collusion between Vladimir Putin Donald Trump in two thousand eighteen she sat down at the New Yorker festival with a guest. She knows pretty well, her younger brother, Keith guessing. So this is a completely self service panel. We're going to talk about ourselves interview. Each other introduce ourselves. So this is my brother Keith. Keith guests in is a founder of the magazine and plus one and teaches journalism at Columbia University. He's written two novels. Most recently a terrible country which came out last year. Okay. This is my sister. Masha. She is the person who in whose shadow dwell. But in fact, it is more like she is the sunlight. Yes. In whose raise I groves. Okay. So I very happy to to. Hugh station. Yes. I will ask the first few questions if that's okay, that's fine. So in late two thousand thirteen and because of various unpleasant developments in Russia, you moved to Moscow. I mean, you move from Moscow to New York after being away for twenty years. You've always worked kind of in both countries. But when you went back to Russia, you became a Russian language journalists working for Russian publications, you republishing books and articles in the US, but you're kind of day job was as Russian language journalist. And now you've moved back to the states and become primarily, an English language journalist. So what has that been like? Well, it's actually has been lovely. There's you know, there's a line in your most recent book that is absolutely brilliant. You describe character who in some ways bears a certain resemblance to me, you're observing the narrators observing this character walking around Moscow and says nobody liked him here. And that put him at these. I think the experience of not being liked by buddy, it might be sort of character building. But it's really lovely to just not have that on a daily basis. Like, I hardly get death threats. It's it's lovely. Talk about our parents right now. Right here. When I think about our immigration our parents were in their mid to late thirties. And I grew up thinking, well, you know, basically their lives are over. Right. And so the only possible reason they could've emigrated was for us. And and I kinda felt like you had mixed feelings about it about our immigration, you know, and kind of left home. So I I was like, well, they just it was just me. They did it for me. So I better too good. He did. Well, thank you. So from your perspective is that what do you think I think for them? It was very important. Not to see us go through the experience of applying to university and experiencing what they did which was just really explicit discrimination against Jews. It's one thing to know about injustice and unfairness thing to come face to face of it. And have it be completely sort of unabashed and think for both of them? It was it was a formative thing. And so they didn't want to see us go through that. But mostly I think they thought they were doing from cells, and you know, they were like in their thirties. They had their entire lives ahead of the. But they really I mean, I I've thought about it a lot. I've thought about what kind of courage, it would've taken to just step into the abyss. And they had they nothing about this. Right. They read a few letters from people who had emigrated, and so they they stepped into the abyss. But but our dad or mom died a long time ago about our dad always respond by saying we thought of it as a great adventure. Do you wanna talk about politics little bit? Sure. Yeah. Okay. Why you didn't like hearing about our parents? I found that very therapeutic. Thank you has being here and writing about Russia changed your perspective in terms of what Americans need to know need to hear. Let's great question. I think that the perception of Russia has really gone for some very strange for mutations in the last. I've been here for just under five years, and it's been very strange five years for I think how Russia is perceived in this country. You've out yourself in some somewhat curious position of having been a person who was writing Putin and kind of warning about Putin for a long time. And now you're in a position saying, hey, you know, relax. Sometimes I go in Twitter. I see people calling you a paid propagandist for Pineau. No, no, amazing. I've been pulled Russia's Putin show. Yeah. Pay papers and propagandist. There's an online community of anti-trump Russian immigrants who. Yeah. Had a they had a long thread going about how I was what I was intimidated or paid into what they see as supporting Putin. Yeah. And they say that because you have been skeptical all along. First of about the evidence. But then you know, about the significance of the Russian interference in the election. In a way, I was one of their visionary leaders of that of that narrative, right? When I wrote a book about Putin and find myself in the very strange position of saying come on, you know, he's not bad kind of monster, a different kind of monster. But but not the kind of monster who who's masterminded the takeover of the entire western world. He doesn't have the mind for that kind of masterminding among other things. Do you feel do you feel partly responsible for this narrative? What an interesting question. Yeah. Abyss. But. The problem with writing with journalism or any kind of writing it is so impossible to predict how much influence what you're right will have. And what kind of fun we'll have and what sorts of anxieties and imaginary is it will tap into. I can acknowledge sort of contributing to that narrative. But I don't think that I can take too much responsibility for it. And also to want to estimate the number of people who buy nonfiction books and actually read them. But you're the fascinating article for the New York Times magazine earlier this year on so-called Russia hens, and you positive kind of dichotomy in that article that some people basically think that everything that has gone wrong in the Russian-American relationship over the last twenty five years, which is basically everything and consistently regardless of who was in charge was attributable to Russia, and it's transitions and its own trajectory. And then there are those who think that it was bad American policy at American failure to move past the Cold War narrative, and I think that that's that's actually almost perfectly describes the the stories that I have been writing versus the stories that you've been reading you mean, I am more likely to blame the US. Yeah. That's that's my strong position do ever worry that that actually overestimates American agency. And it's kind of backhanded imperialist position. That's an interesting question. I mean. Yes. And no, yes. I mean, I think the article kind of traced American policy toward Russia in the post Cold War era through the sort of people who were inside the government and the State Department, the national Security Council who were kinda running Russia policy and the article began because I had watched Obama seem to really want to de escalate tensions with Russia and really deemphasize Russia in general, which struck me as objectively correct? Right. Russia is a troubled country that that is declining. Right. Unlike its neighbor to the East China, which is not declining. And that was the kind of Obama argument right for shifting our focus to the east and yet. Under Obama, you get the Ukraine crisis. And eventually the hacking of the Democrats, and I was like, well how you know why did that happen here? You had a president who had made his preferences. Pretty clear is there a deep state, right, which you know, in when I started working on this. This had not been popular by the the right, or at least I had not come across it. And I mean, the the partial answer is. Yes, presidents come and go policymaker, you know, the people who they appoint come and go. But there is this kind of small core that moves between the State Department the national council, you know, in one of the kind of really surprising to me about them was just how strong views were and you talk to them and they're quite convincing. For example. Some of these people were in the kind of center of debates over NATO, and whether to expanded and their position was we have this historic opportunity to push the sort of zone of security as they called it. But. Other times they've caught the free world right or the west closer to the borders of Russia. Right because eventually Russia. We'll come back and threaten those neighbors. You know, which you and you could say, well, they've been proved correct? I was just going to ask. Yes. Or or you can say this was a self fulfilling prophecy. Right. And I don't know if the US had had a very different policy weather. We would have had a totally different result. I don't know. Let's gears. So he wrote this book and. I know that the the process of writing the book was quite interesting and lengthy, right? You said to rate something fairly different. Can you talk about? I so it's basically kind of story about a guy who goes who is actually a loser and goes to Moscow to take care of his grandmother at the request of his swashbuckling entrepreneurial older brother who's not based on Marcham. The has this fantasy that she's going to tell him stories about socialism, and this will then he'll write these stories down. And then it will help him get an academic job. And then he shows up there. And she can't remember who he is much less a detailed narrative about Stalinist Russia. Yeah. And and you know, and then I finished this draft. And I read it, and it was horrible. And I cut all that. It was just boring. It was just really really boring. What I realized, you know, a few years into the process was that actually the grandmother needs to be kind of central figure not just as a kind of domestic background, but her life needs to make the central argument about what happened after the Soviet Union fell apart. And as you know, I changed some details, but it did strike me that our own grandmother's life, you know. She hated the Soviet Union, and she was. Delighted when the Soviet Union fell apart, and then she lost her life savings the town in which she lived fell apart the research institute where her husband worked fell apart. She lost her sense of self in the world. I think I mean, it struck me that that story made a pretty good case for the post-soviet transition being not so great. So once I figured that out and kind of made the grandmother more central character, the book became a lot better. It is definitely no longer boring. Yeah. I read it on like one night instead of sleeping, and they're all sorts of reasons for me, not to to read it at all or never vita one night. No. But it's it's a really it's a really great book. Are you thinking writing on fiction book? I thought we weren't gonna. Yes. I am definitely. I thought you were. We don't have to talk about if we don't talk about our I am I it's a yes, I'm working on it. What's the book working on that? Okay. All right. You wrote a piece called rules for a taco see, and it was written directly after the election. Right. So, you know, in the very much in the heat of the moment. But I wanted to revisit that. And see how much of that you still think holds. And where you were wrong and right, right? So the first rule for surviving. She is believed the autocrat when he says he's going to do something nasty chances are he will. So one thing that you said that might lead to you know, when they say locked her up they're going to lock her up and hasn't happened yet. What do you think that means? It means that journalists should never make predictions is what it means. And I think that the the way that happened was that I'd like probably many people in this room. I've been to disastrous election night party and kind of crawled away without saying goodbye. And and when I was on my way home. Biking from from queens. I started getting phone calls and emails from people saying what do we do? Now. Like, well, how should I know? You know, I like I had to flee my country. Obviously, I don't have the answers. But but as it's a long bike ride says I was as I was biking. I was thinking that they're actually thinks that that I learned from living in a country that was what democracy it had had was dismantling itself, and it was creating a talker seat. And I think that there are things that I learned about how you survive mentally and spiritually in in that. But. You know, I think that the the rule believe the autocrat. Is I completely stat stand by it? And what I was trying to get across with something that I had learned actually in the process of reporting. My Putin book was that when I went back and listen to his interviews and his press conferences. And fortunately, the man has such a small presence that it was possible to listen to everything he had said and studied in some detail. So when I did that I realized that he it was all out there. He said exactly what he was planning to do. But people both in Russia, and in this country had ideas about what he represented that had nothing to do with what he was putting forward. Another rule is the institutions will not save you. Do you think they've held up a little bit better than you would expect it I don't actually I don't think they've held up better than expected? And I think the damage has been able to do has been profound and his perhaps been more profound than I thought in the first two years. I mean, I think the Cavs confirmation has been great amazing station of that right now. Here's the the grades tradition of the supreme court that just stands I think exposed, you know, with the with the curtain pullback in a way that that may be sort of emotionally it could have been suspended a couple years ago. But I don't think we could have imagined. I mean, it is shocking. What do you say to the argument that, you know, the supreme court's great example? I mean, the the real kind of norm breaking there was the refusal to seat, Merrick garland or even to discuss, Merrick garland. Mitch McConnell, right. So this predates Trump. Yeah. And I don't, you know, Trump didn't come out from other space did not actually come from Russia. He came from here. And we're of time. Thank you. The New Yorkers Masha Gessen talking with her brother, Keith Gessen and between the two of them. They've written more than a dozen books and more than a thousand articles many of which have appeared in the pages of the New Yorker. Keats. Most recent book is a novel set in Russia called terrible country. And Masha most recent book also deals with Russia. But it's nonfiction. It's called the future is history.
Masha Gessen on Recognizing an Autocrat
"I'm Dorothy wiggin on today's politics and more podcast David Remnant talks with New Yorker staff writer Masha, Gessen about her new book surviving. OUGHTA crecy. Guessing who has lived and worked in Moscow discusses what her time journalist in Putin's Russia has taught her about trump's America. Hot dominated you don't. You wish to. Jerk. Response to the uprising triggered by George Floyd's killing the president tells governors to dominate protesters. Trump is threatened to use the insurrection act of eighteen. Oh seven! He's called military forces to patrol Washington DC and he issued this ominous threat. When the looting starts, shooting starts. His administration used tear gas and rubber bullets to clear protesters for a photo op though they claim otherwise. For Staff Writer Masha Gessen. These actions are just more fodder to reinforce something that has seemed obvious to them for years. Masha new book called surviving autocracy. It's a series of essays making the case that the president thinks and acts not at all a democratic leader, but as an autocrat, a strong man for whom laws and norms are just hindrances to be ignored. The book was informed by the years that Masha spent as a journalist and Vladimir Putin's Russia. We spoke last week. Has Been Bizarre few days for me and my social newsfeed. I see posts from my friends in the states and my friends in Russia about their children getting arrested I, suppose from my friends in the states and my friends in Russia about journalist, getting arrested or beaten up at protests. And Sometimes I. Forget what which language I'm reading in. How do you see what's going on? Are these protests going to set out a kind of civil division that can be exploited by Donald Trump in an election, and in power in such a way that his autocratic a tendencies will deepen and deepen and get even more profound. And then I really try not to make predictions, but what I think we do know. Is that polarization and violence anti-anxiety? Or all things that benefit autocrat. And actually of all of those I think anxiety is perhaps the most important element. My favorite social psychologist Erik from has I think the best theory of how autocracies come to be. His famous book escape from freedom, which was published in nineteen forty eight. When he felt, the world was on the verge of catastrophe. And it seems he was right. But his his theory is that there are times when a critical mass of people is experiencing such extreme anxiety. About how to invent themselves about not knowing who they are or what the future will be like it and that kind of anxieties. Can Be caused by economic upheaval by the dislocation of people. And at that point it freedom becomes so unbearable. The people want to give up agency. Give it over to if figure that from called the magic helper. Somebody, who promises to transport them to imaginary past. were. They felt more secure. And we've you know this is just the perfect storm with were We've been in a state of high anxiety bordering on terror because of the corona virus now for three months. And we re opening into the state of extreme anxiety and and violence. And That that can be revolutionary opening. But it's also very likely an opportunity for the autocrat to weaponize anxiety to weaponize the fear, and certainly to weaponize the division. Masha I want to return to the demonstrations on and all of this members of CNN crew were arrested in Minnesota by the police as they were covering, the protests and other reporters have been hit with tear gas rubber bullets in. There have been arrests all over. I wonder what went through your mind when you watch that video of Minneapolis police arresting the CNN correspondent Omar Jimenez. Several things with through my mind at the same time I think they're probably office one. Is You know this is what she gets broadcasting while being a person of color. but also you know being labeled. The enemy of the people has consequences, and that's what we're watch. For, Steve Bannon Donald Trump started labeling the media, the opposition party, and then the enemy of the American people. I think that is very strong labeled. That has spread far beyond. What we imagine a trump's base of support actually I see it when I. When I talk to my students, how so you're sort of left leaning students are think of the presses enemy. People's well. My left-leaning students at a very liberal college. have clearly been affected by this idea that it is not cool. To like or trust immediate. They're they're suspicious agents and you think that's the influence of trump or the failings, either occasional, or often of what's now called the corporate media. I think it's both I think that's you know. We obviously saw declining. Trust in the media long before trump I mean it was on a on a long downward slope, and then trump came along and amplified this beyond anything. We could have imagined I think a few years ago. I know that your daughter was detained at one of these protests in New York and you. You wrote about it so well. I wonder what. Someone that age makes Donald Trump I know when I'm talking to Sometimes with younger people And I start in on trump. They're bored with it, not bored with it, but they just think that enough already about that. You're missing the essence of things I think I'm not that that trump actually as an individual is important How do you view that? And how does your daughter view it? You know my daughter. Has had kind of tragic history. She was born. Under Vladimir Putin. There was a moment when. When rural protesting! Now almost ten years ago. and. I talked to her about the protests and she said. You mean. There may not be Putin at some point. And I realized that to her. She was ten years old at the time. To her. That was almost unthinkable. Had always been there. And fast forward if years we had. Emigrated to the United States and And I came home in election night. And, she was in tears and she said. It's it's rush all over again. But. What did you say to her? Did you say yes, it is Russia all over again or something else. I said something else. I said this country has a different history. This country has different political culture. no institutions will not save us. But here we still stand a fighting chance of. Of a peaceful transfer of power. That is external to Donald Trump. Marshall one of the things that seems to me. Particularly alarming is the sort of. Insistent misinformation that you see coming from the administration. I mean you see this in his tweets in his remarks of course, but it's. It's been hard to get even transparent data from federal agencies. The CDC's numbers on Covid nineteen deaths have been called into question by epidemiologists and even politicians. How do you explain this utter lack of transparency even around numbers when you're thinking about an autocracy? You know one way that I have found the useful for me to think about the hard to explain. Events that that we witnessed is is a question of audience. In Democratic country, the audience of public health agencies of politicians is the public. Right, but it's represented by the media or directly. In a talk received. The audience is one person, right? It's the it's the autocrat and that can take. Various like one of the reasons that it's to this day extremely difficult to work. With Soviet archival materials even when you can get access to them. Is that there's that lingering question of audience. An intent would was this fort. Was this something that was just created to get whoever wrote up this document out of trouble or to get him promotion? Perhaps, it has new relationship reality. So my question in looking at those kinds of reports that that we find explicable as WHO's the audience that is the same question that. When we look at some CDC reports right that are impossible to reconcile with state by state data. It's possible that is explained by incompetence and some sort of bureaucratic mess was possible that explained by looking at who the audience, these reports trump in many ways is a very transparent being. He talks to loads reporters. He gives a he. May Not give the kind of press conferences that we're used to, but he's quite available, and that is not the case with Vladimir Putin. You're one of the few journalists I know who's had experience in both countries. That's really deep. And I remember that you had a very interesting encounter with when you were an editor of a magazine that really. I guess. I could compare in some ways to national geographic in Russia. Yes I while I was fired from my job at at the magazine. For not sending reported to to cover Putin's hang gliding with the Siberian cranes. But. That is because. You gave that in shorthand most autocrats or leaders of any kind do not hang glide with Siberian crane, so what exactly was happening there? Most autocrats like spectacle, and and that was that was a special he was, he was proving that he was not just president of the country, but also king of the jungle and so he was going to. I mean that's the thing people. There's a way to show migratory birds new migratory routes that are safer by kind of pretending to be if flock leader. So pushing actually dressed as a Siberian crane and Hang, gliders. I refuse to send somebody. That didn't go over got fired and Putin called me. And her in a car. You're at a restaurant. You're your tax. Taxi. He called me on my cell phone. And you say Hello Vladimir Vladimirovich. Well I thought I was talking to a Prankster, so I kept trying to come up with something smart to say would say to you. Well you said you know I heard you got fired I heard him unwittingly at fault. Would you like to come in and talk about it and I said Yeah I. But how do I know you are who you say you are? In, he actually started laughing. So after we hang up the deputy administration will call you. Set up an appointment show you'll know. How did the meeting go? It was ridiculous. He offered me my job back. The president of Russia offered you your editorial job back as the head of Russian National Geographic as it were. Yes, because I mean this was back in twenty twelve but by that point. person, really could not tell where he ended and everything else in Russia began. Basically, if he thought if you liked them something if you like something, he thought he owned it. And I think this this is something that is. That is important to keep in mind as we observed trump. I mean I. think that it's not dissimilar to how he conceptualizes power. Power is everything powers control over everything. Masha is this reversible in in an immediate sense. Let's let's say right now. We're looking at polls from CNN. And elsewhere that have Joe Biden. Whatever's limitations far ahead? Of Donald Trump nationally and I believe that he is the running highest in modern polls ever for somebody challenging a sitting president. Now that could all change, but of Joe Biden's elected. How much of trumpism lingers? Does he leave office peacefully? Happens the next day on. Twenty first, twenty twenty one. Well actually more worried about what happens in November fourth. I think there's a very real possibility that he will refuse to recognize the results election. I think he has certainly rhetorically laid the groundwork for that again I think. Journalists should never make predictions but we hand observed that he has laid the groundwork. He has continued to to talk about voter fraud to the point where it finally got twitter to to faction Kim for the first time ever. So he in his supporters are absolutely prepared and will be credulous. When he calls fraud it, he lose so in a way. The country's fate in possibility of civil unrest in that sense rests upon a one man's. Sins if personnel humiliation. possibly. There's a slight hope that he is laser than than he is likely to feel humiliated but I'm scared at the again the the sort of the theory of the case. Is already out there. The New Yorkers Masha Gessen. The new book is called surviving autocracy.
The Long Shadow of the Mueller Report
"WNYC studios is supported by Wells Fargo with more than three hundred fifty mortgage free homes donated to military veterans in Virginia, Maryland and nationwide. More at stories dot W, F dot com slash military. This New Yorker podcast is supported by indeed dot com. Are you hiring with indeed you can post a job in minutes set up screener questions than zero in on your shortlist of qualified candidates using an online dashboard get started today at indeed dot com slash New Yorker. That's indeed dot com slash New Yorker. I'm Dorothy Wickham on today's politics more podcast. David Nick, talks with New Yorkers Masha Gessen and Susan Glasser. They discuss how the Muller report may affect the future of the Trump presidency. For two years. Both sides have looked to the Muller investigation with real obsessive nece for Republicans and defenders of the president Muller. Was there bet and war the walking incarnation of an establishment that had it out for Donald Trump a witch hunt. The president called it over and over for Democrats Muller was a kind of day use X Makina a God who would descend and make it. All right. Who would report and reveal everything and somehow forced Donald Trump from office. Not everyone was expecting the embitterment of the document that Muller delivered. There were no new indictments. But nor did it completely exonerate the president. And the document also punted to the attorney general on the crucial question of obstruction of Justice. So after two years of obsession where are we what happens now in Washington? I put those questions to staff writer, Susan Glasser and Marcia gay. Jason. Masha you've been warning about two big things for almost two years on the one hand you've been arguing that Donald Trump is every bit as bad as his worst critic say you've even used the word totalitarian to describe him, which is a which is. Would be if he could be if he had the skills, and you had the system to to to back him up on the other hand, you've been warning that the notion of collusion was a kind of fantasy that you couldn't really see as a possibility am I am I being accurate in that summary? Yeah. I'm an obviously, I haven't known, and we still don't fully know. Although there's credible indication that collusion wasn't found by the person who could have found it. I think that what I've been concerned with is that the Cy DEA that the Muller report would come out and suddenly this nightmare would be over. Because we would discover the Trump come from outer space, or at least from Russia and would somehow disappeared. By the secret being revealed. Right. That's there's a lot of magical thinking in that process. And I think that. What has really bothered me is that engaging? That's in that magical thinking happens at the expense of looking at Trump as an American phenomenon. But don't we talk about that? Also, I don't know why one excludes the other the the riddle for so many people. Is if in fact, there was no collusion, then why did Donald Trump lie the way he did? What did he behaved the way? He did. Why did his aides take these meetings, these constant meetings? Didn't raise any suspicion in your mind. Or did you actually think that well, Putin's not such a superman, and he's incapable of putting together such a a kind of master plan out of out of a cheap novel. That's exactly right. I mean, and I think that that's an I'm not alone in this. A lot of Russians are listen and Russia's specialists have been saying, you know, you're you're overestimating these guys that was the critique I always got for my liberal Russian friends who lots of import involved in journalism is that your your your made. So crazy by Trump that you're overestimating the capacity for this kind of fantastic collusion to happen. Exactly. I mean, what we are seeing us Russians when we're looking at this picture as we we see a bunch of Hustler's all of whom are trying. To sell something to both sides. Right. They're trying to sell Putin on the idea of creating an American president that trying to sell an American campaign marginal American campaign is far as we could tell it a certain point read on the idea that they have some special connection to the Kremlin. And then we see a bunch of naive Americans going. Oh, that's the secret. Right. It's it's like the idiot theory of collusion. It's not it's not a master plan. You're surrounded by people like Roger stone, and popadopoulos and all these other third rate people. But on the other hand, you have his Paul Manafort is doing incredibly secretive business criminal business, and he's running the campaign. So you can see why the suspicions were heightened. Yes. And and I have to say, and we'll corruption over over the course of the two years, especially when Manafort was arrested. I thought maybe was wrong. Yeah. I started hedging my bets. Now, Susan even prominent. Democrat members of congress were speculating on television. About collusion for months, and months and months, and they were using language that went far beyond the notion of suspicious and why the lies and so on they were saying definitely collusion. Adam Schiff is still saying, correct. And I think that it goes to this uncertainty that hangs over everything. And and again, I just you can't condemn this process enough. It seems to me it's on such a disservice. I mean, you know, first of all if Trump really is vindicated than how can they not want this report out because right now, it doesn't have the credibility of even understanding what the argument is. Because what is collusion? It seems to me that, you know, Adam shifts version of collusion is different than Donald Trump's version of collusion. And we don't know what Muller's version it it appears that he's taken a fairly narrow interpretation of his mandate did Donald Trump cooperate. And essentially, you know, sign up as an agent of the Russian military intelligence, the GRU and. In that sense. He clearly is found the answer to be. No, I think a lot of people who have looked at this closely people who are rush experts never thought that that would be the case. And if that's the definition of collusion, you won't find a ton of people who were out there making that argument, you know, the question of a different kind of. Trump campaign collaboration with with the Russian effort on his behalf. I think is much more where you you see people who've been out there looking at evidence that's already on the public record and saying it's very suspicious because there you do have a very documented record of not only the Russian efforts to interact with the campaign in this whole cast of characters that they're reaching out to and pimping during twenty sixteen you have number one Trump and Manafort appearing to commit to the Russians top foreign policy priority, which was lifting of sanctions on Russia. That is a significant foreign policy engagement with Russia and his agents. So again, there are enormous questions that if they are not put to rest, I think will simply undermine the credibility of Muller's report and Muller, of course, is a man who both Democrats and Republicans for years have have. Held in the highest regarded twos, integrity alone at this point. That is essentially guaranteeing these findings since we don't have the information Maggio a lot of the aftermath of this release of the four-page letter has been criticism of the press famously met tabby Rolling Stone writer said that this is the WMD of our day that the failure to get the WMD story despite large protests all around the world failure of the mainstream media with some small some exceptions that as big a disaster as that was what's going on. Now, what happened for the last two years, equal disaster? Do you agree with that? I I don't know how helpful that barrel is I mean, I think that the ongoing obsession with with the molar investigation has been distracting and innocence destructive to the political conversation because of expectation of the magic bullet. But also to because I think there should never have been special. Prosecutor not at all. No, I don't think that there shouldn't have been in special prosecutor. But I think that the session should have been turned. And I think that the problem with covering investigation like this. And now we're seeing this sort of in full bloom, right? Is that you're always relying on an honest sources, you're lying on leaks from intelligence officers, each of whom has an agenda and a narrative that you don't have access to and in that sense. It is quite similar to EMT. Right. I just think that it's happening is in a different political situation. You know, and as I listened to Susan house thinking back to Orioles, quote that even to understandable. Thank you have to. Engage in double thing. I have that you know, that brain breaking sense about the speakers this investigation into Trumpism is so infected by Trump Hasim that we can't get our brains rounded in this. The fact that we have an attorney general that you can't put trust in because you have to point out as a hand attornal. The fact that you the leaks that have defined the presidency. Are the story will another factor is that the most triumphant day in the Trump presidency has been the news seemingly that he is not an agent. Influence in some way from Russia. We don't even know what the news is. There is that let me ask you this Steve Bannon Susan Steve Bannon who was a very important strategist for the twenty sixteen victory for Trump. Now says that Trump is going to weaponize the results of the mullahs report for the twenty twenty campaign will that be a successful strategy. Well, look, I mean, you know, this is where Trump blowing up the conventions of our politics is still an ongoing thing any other political figure, of course, would be glad that an investigation like this is over and would want to move on as quickly as possible you now see prominent Republicans supporters of Trump essentially begging him publicly as Senator Kennedy from Louisiana did the other day just to shut up about and move on. Now, what are we all know about Trump's character? At this point. The odds of him shutting up about anything and moving on are very very, slim and true to form he's already talking about, you know, various vindictive moves and investigate the investigators. And you know, his advisors are demanding that shift be removed from his chairmanship of the intelligence committee. And so it wouldn't surprise me. If this is a strategy that the president wishes to pursue again. It's a strategy that is very compatible with his overall approach. Each of appealing to his own supporters and to maximum divisiveness in American politics has bar summary? Effected Trump's poll ratings at all well, there was just one poll out this morning that I saw so far which suggested that the answer to that is no, but still I have to say I. His odds of being reelected are substantial don't you think both of you idea this Masha you recently wrote of the mullahs report, at least what we know of it. So far that we've overlooked lot of things that we've been so obsessed with the Muller process, which was mainly done in secret, what has been lost. What have we not been talking about enough? And what is the necessary reset politically intellectually in terms of what the media should be examining and thinking about well, you know, I had this very strange moment last week. I haven't in Leipzig that the opening of the book fair in Leipzig, and I was told it was going to be seated in the front road. I was warned that it was going to be a long evening because they were gonna be five political speeches before the writers got to speak and your heart sank, my heart sang because I thought, you know, I just flew. I'm going to fall asleep in the front. Bro. And and then these these people started going up and each one of them gave a speech that was substantive that was urgent. They all talked about things that were clearly on everybody's mind like the crisis of the European project and the rise of the of the populist right in Europe and the importance of the written word in the storytelling at a time. Like this. I thought oh my God. These people are speaking, and they're addressing the public sphere is though it mattered and didn't that used to happen in the United States just fairly recently. And you know, I'm not I'm not claiming that we were living in during critic paradise. And then all of a sudden, Donald Trump came and in broke, Oehler toys. I mean, I think they're political conversation has been in decline for quite some time. But I think there's a kind of leap into the vis that somehow we missed it. But hang on. Really? I mean, how much ink was spilled and. Pixels created an an an even broadcast discussion about the authoritarian nature of Donald Trump about the many Barack receives that he's degraded in reactionary direction about his affect on climate change or or any number of issues, we really ignore these. No, I don't think we've ignored them. I think I've seen this movie before and to meeting you. Meaning the the sort of the degradation of of of politics in Russia were here in Russia. Yeah. And and I think what happens is that you get very scared because something happens, and then you know, the sunrises the next day. That's that's what station that is exactly what the boiling frog is the boiling frog syndrome. But you know, but we all of us are participants in this process. And I think my dream is that instead of writing an ongoing story about the Muller investigation that consists of connecting the dots on a daily basis and trying to put together leaks on a daily basis. I wish we were writing this story on a daily basis. What I think is missing is an ongoing narrative, it's a much harder narrative to construct you make it interesting on a daily basis. Susan, well, I mean, look I'm very sympathetic on on the one hand to the idea that. There has been this almost a feeling of like, this is some kind of crazy bad dream. This is in American politics, as I know, you know, many people when you talk to them, right? They they articulate this idea like every morning, I have to wake up and check myself. You know is this really happening in America. So I understand that there is an wasn't element of a sort of Muller redemption fantasy. But if you actually look at the coverage that is not really what was at the heart of the very good. I think and very important reporting on this. I think that we have been covering this as an ongoing unrolling of Trump's challenges to our core institutions into, you know, essentially, basic norms of democracy, right? I mean that that is the ongoing daily drama of the Trump presidency. And because the Muller investigation was mostly in secret. In fact, it wasn't that we were covering say public hearings ala Iran con. Entre in lieu of covering those daily extraordinary things from Trump. I do think that we are accommodating ourselves to extraordinary changes in our political system that are more significant that people like to believe in many ways, I find as worrisome the current notion. Well, our institutions have held you know, it'll snap back whenever he leaves. I find that narrative as worrisome as the kind of Muller's going to save us narrative, which would actually think is a little bit of a straw, man. Susan Glasser Masha Gessen both staff writers at the New Yorker, you can find everything they've written on Trump. Russia muller. You name it at New Yorker dot com.
"I've thought a lot about how my hopes of my friends hopes and some other people's hopes were crushed after the nineteen nineties and how our assumption that that we're all going the same direction we had just moved through the end of history was so incredibly wrong and so I, think I keep circling around that place and trying to understand how people choose unfreedom. How it actually comes to take hold what to shared reality and shared language. When we enter autocracy, that's what I've tried to focus when I read about. This book is about United States, but the teams are very similar. Masher Gessen's latest book is called surviving or talk crecy. It is a subject know better than most now a columnist for the New Yorker the prize winning journalist and author spent two decades covering the resurgence of totalitarianism in. Russia. Since leaving what was then Soviet Union as a teenager, they've been a persistent and prominent critic what is now Russia or at least of the people who run it? Gessen has always been careful to keep pointing out however that what has happened in Russia is not necessarily uniquely Russian surviving autocracy is pitched depressingly accurately as a memo to their adopted. United. States. Many books have been written about Donald Trump's bazaar presidency mostly essays in shock sneering and satire. GESSEN's latest takes a more practical approach deploying what they've learned as instructions for how a country which has taken at least a few steps down a dark path can turn itself around ideally before. November, third. I'm Andrew and I spoke to Masha Gessen for the big interview. Masha Gessen. Welcome to the beginning of you. Thank you. It's good to be here. I want to start kind of at the start because it strikes me that one of the perspectives that underpins a lot of your work and especially the new book surviving autocracy is that. You're of that generation that got to have a fairly fully formed understanding of two completely different systems of government you were I think about fourteen years old when you left the Soviet Union when you'd left which I think is in nine hundred, eighty one did you have an understanding before you left the Soviet Union of how different it was from where you were going? I don't think you can have an understanding when you have grown up in really effectively forced isolation. I mean there was no place for that kind of imagination to develop. We and by we I mean the sort of the Soviet underground of wish my parents were very much part. You know believed that there was something else out there but my parents had a friend who actually joked, where are you going to go? Do you have any scientific proof that the West actually exists? Have we seen any material evidence of the existence of the West and we hadn't but we western journalists and we Russian intellectuals? Believed that democracy was going to take hold and my last book. The future is history was really very much about why that doesn't happen and also why that misconception. Was So. Stubborn and Sarong and so important at the same time and in a sense, the new book takes off from the same place. It's not about Russia but I actually used the work of a Hungarian incurred named Ball and monitor. WHO has worked lot on developing a system for understanding how the systems have developed in one of the things he says. Is really striking to me, which is that when the Soviets systems collapsed in nineteen eighty nine, we started using the language of liberal democracy to describe them because we saw that that's what was going to happen. But also because that's the language of political science but that's the terminology us we ask. Are there free and fair elections is their freedom of the media is their freedom of assembly? andled macho says, okay. You can describe the absence marked absences by using that language, but you can't describe the thing itself and I love when he says this but you can say that the elephant doesn't fly you can say that elephant can swim but you still have not described elephant. You talk about this in your new book about the perhaps the need to better defined political terms political terminology because a word like democracy kind of course, mean any one of a number of things absolutely. But also that they are interesting understanding. Is biased toward what we think of as democratic institutions and what we think of as liberal democracies, and so we have a much harder time understanding autocracies and so module has developed a language and taxonomy for autocracies where he describes the autocratic attempt to autocratic raked through the autocratic consolidation and in a gesture of both poetic justice and and just I think good research I borrow his language. So I, take the language from what used to Eastern Bloc and apply to the United States, which is, of course, you know how political models develop as we take something see where it fits where it needs to be adjusted and whether it benefits our understanding. So. That's very long winded way of answering your question. You know, I've thought a lot about how my hopes, my friends, hopes, and so many other people's hopes were crushed after the nineteen ninety S, and how are some Shin that that we're all going in the same direction we had just lived through the end of history was so incredibly wrong and so I think I keep circling around that place trying to understand how people choose unfreedom How it actually comes to take hold what happens to shared reality and shirt language. When we enter autocracy, that's what I've tried to focus when I write about Russia in this book is about the United, states but the themes are very similar when you went back to Russia in the nineteen ninety. Then did you have an idea of what kind if Russia was going to become a liberal democracy? What kind of liberal democracy it would become? Did you Majett being say akin to what the Baltic states are now only a lot bigger obviously. Well, it depends on what you mean by what the Baltic states are. Now because you know Russia made some decisions about a very early on about the structure of its government. They settled on a presidential republic road than a parliamentary democracy, which is what a lot of the extensively what a lot of the central you're in eastern European post-soviet states decided to do. I don't know that that makes a huge difference. In, this century there were all these incredible arguments about whether. Presidential System is better or parliamentary system is better whether a two party system Hana aren't thought that a two party system wasn't brilliant invention because it really imbued whatever party was in power with a sense of responsibility for the fate of the country that she felt was absent in a parliamentary system. I think maybe in the last fifteen, twenty years, we have learned that focus on structures. was somewhat misplaced that it's not unimportant to talk about institutions. But especially in the American context. This faith in the perfectly designed institution is misplaced. Again. To go back to that experience of Russia in the nineteen nineties though, was there a particular moment when you realized that it wasn't going to turn out like that or was the say a sort of a frog in source been kind of process you know I think the answer is usually both I certainly remember feeling really uncomfortable in nineteen, ninety six when President Boris Yeltsin. was reelected and so many of the people I knew felt that his opponent who was a communist was an existential threat to the country. And so they voted for Yeltsin and worked to have Yeltsin elected and you know the Ruutel awful just. An old words are unjustified but but this was just beyond anything I'd seen it. I'd been correspondent nineties. The war in Chechnya has been going on for two years. And and all these people I knew were willing to forgive or forget. The war in Chechnya. Because they felt that the communist candidate who I think would have been freely and fairly elected had the election been allowed to Go on in what we think of as a free and fair way they felt that he was an existential threat. So that was scary and but I think the decisive moment from it was the emergence of Ladder Putin and here I can. Record will show that almost as soon as he appeared. I. Started writing about what a threat was to the fledgling. Russian. Democracy to have this very, very Soviet, very, very KGB I become president in a very, very undemocratic way I mean is there actually a vastly different parallel history of Russia in which Vladimir Putin for whatever reason never rises any higher than mine KGB functionary? I. Guess we'll never know. But. Look I mean this is is very much like the line I tried to walk in the new book about trump. There are two ways to tell the trump story trump came from outer space. He's a total anomaly in American politics. The Russians installed him and he is destroying everything that we hold. Dear, which is all true except for maybe the Russians installed it, and then there's another way which is a minority view. But as held by some people, I respect very much like the political scientists. Corey Robin who basically says, Oh, he's just a Republican president. He is the natural continuation of Republican politics over the. Last however, many generations. He's exactly the same thing that we've seen before and all the wonted norms that she talked about that. He's supposedly destroying. You know are just these norms of your class privilege, which is also true right? Both of those things are true. The conditions for a trump were laid over in some ways over fifty years. I'm counting back to JFK or in some ways over the last one, thousand, nine years I'm counting back to nine eleven and yet trump is a special snowflake and. Someone who shares some of his qualities, but is not a deranged self-obsessed. Malignant narcissist clown could have taken his place and so both of those things are possible. He is completely anomalous unlike anybody else albeit quite recognizable character, he's also using the groundwork was laid for him. So I think of it as taking a quantum leap from a running start. I WANNA. Come back in a bit to the parallels between the two. And the non parallels between the two which you do write about in the new book but. Written as you said extensively, about Vladimir Putin most notably in your book Man Without a face do you know how much interest he has personally taken in your writing about him? I do exactly zero. And I you know there's a very strange reason. I know this. But. This is now ancient history but you know eight years ago I was fired from my job as editor in chief of Russia's big. Popular Science magazine for not sending a reporter to accompany. Putin on his adventure hang gliding Siberian cranes and I tweeted about it imposing apparently saw it and. Called me and offered me my job and it wasn't his style for back. But he doesn't realize that because he thinks if he likes something, he owns it. But as the meeting with Putin was prepared to discuss that whole misadventure of mine. It became clear to me that he was not briefed on how I was and you know the reasons are very clear because he loved the magazine. I was at. And probably at a certain point when he decided that he loved that magazine and this was during my tenure, somebody would have had to say to him, but there's an issue with the editor and someone dropped the ball and actually know who it was and I know. I know how that happened. They didn't notice that I was editor. And then when he wanted to meeting. Then that someone would have had to say to him, but there's a problem and there's a book. and. He would have had to then learn of the existence of the book which also couldn't have been pleasant for the Messenger. So there was actually a lot of jockeying to avoid telling who I was. So they basically told him nothing about that was a very interesting experience like he was told about my preferred name usage, which is particular Russian. But he was not told that I was an American citizen for example, something that I happen to understand because our meeting happened to fall on September. Eleventh. And so I know there's no way he would have emitted mentioned that if he had known that I use it as an and so on inserting he didn't know about the but. What kind of conversation is it possible to have with him but what do you talk about when you meet President? Putin. Well. We talked about sincerity of his nature conservation efforts basically had two topics he wanted to tell me that he was. He really did want to say the Siberian cranes wasn't just. Hang gliding with them for show and that he sympathized with my publisher for firing for not sending a reporter but he had overreacted and he wanted to set things straight and so my agenda was to draw him out a little bit about this showy gestures of his which was really fun and to tell him that the publisher had not merely overreacted but violated the law. Russia has this great press law and this goes back to the topic of how well-designed institutions can be. Russia is a really great press law that was written in nineteen, thousand, nine, hundred, ninety one that makes it illegal for the publisher to interfere in editorial operations but you know who cares anyway when we got to that topic conversation was very civil up until that point when we got to that topic, he said Okay I know what you're going to say thank you for coming in. Stood up, shook my hand and I was out of there. Let's talk. Then about trump you right early on in two thousand, sixteen, the New York review of books you'll rules for surviving autocracy. How well do you think that is held up when measured against three and a half years now if DONALD TRUMP Well he's has held up unfortunately extremely well. You know that that piece was not a blueprint for politically resisting autocracy. It was very much a piece about psychic an intellectual survival, which is what I felt was in a position to do the the the pieces are very funny history which has that like most people. I know I went to election watching party on November eighth and the party just kind of went sour and and everybody tried to slink away without saying goodbye to the hosts, and as I was biking home, I started getting phone calls and text messages from various acquaintances asking, what do we do now which I thought was really ridiculous because why would you ask me what we do now I was living in exile and clearly it like whatever I did not have not worked out that well for me. But as long bike ride and I kept thinking. Is there anything that actually that I have learnt? Right there's something that goes into this kind of letter from the future that I can send to my friends and I thought well, I have learned something about. Living in this kind of mushy reality and it was very clear I've been from the trump campaign. As you know American presidential campaigns are obscenely long so we had had ample opportunity to observe them. It was very clear that that's the period we're entering. And I also knew what it was like to really tried to resist something that you understand. Logically, you don't want to believe is happening, which is what we experienced in Russia with Putin for especially in the first few years. And I would experience with trump you write about this in the book in particular, how the media have responded to him. This almost desperate attempt to try to find something normal about what he's doing those sort of moments where he managed to get through some mindset peace without committing any great obvious howler indiscretion and all of the subways rewarded with aditorial saying he has become president at last excellent the and look I feel it in my soul I. Like I have there have been times when I watched trump's speech and thought okay okay that that was you know. Like that didn't I didn't have a feeling of bring shame at observing this for every second of that spectacle credit where it's Ju-. So, and I think and I I, want to make very clear right? I think that the. I really take the New York Times and some other media to task in the book but I think that the problem is real. It's not like there's like a great solution that the Times has just refusing to utilize in covering trump I think covering trump is in itself is essential to me. This is another point you make the the idea that as you say trump is is actually kind of a trap for journalists. Absolutely because here we have a president who lies all the time who not only lies but rob's executive speech of meaning, which is an extraordinary thing to think about it. So for example, he says. Let's inject ourselves with disinfectant and within hours poisoned centers around the country are inundated with calls from people who are either considering injecting themselves with disinfectant or have already injected themselves with disinfectant. So his speech because he has the biggest microphone or. Academic Speak Executive Speech Act Has Real life consequences that are immediate and tangible, and then the next morning he always kidding that meant nothing. And so how do you deal was something that on the face of it is nonsensical and he says means nothing when it actually has real life consequences. empirically means something. And that's a trap that we're constantly. Where view got to though on what strikes be one of the eternal questions about trump and there is a chapter in your book where you talk about, why would somebody even lie about the weather which he famously did or had people do for him about his inauguration? Do you get the sense now that trump does this deliberately with malice aforethought or is he just a genuine simpleton who just says things that pop into his head? Well, again I think both can be sort of true I mean, I don't think he is a mastermind of evil I think you know he doesn't have enough brain to mastermind of anything right? But then he is a very intuitive performer and that is that is a genuine talent. He performs the kind of. That he imagines himself having, right. And an integral part of that power is the power to say whatever he wants whenever he wants to. The power to force you to engage with his absurd statements because he has the power, right? It's the powerline it's self enforcing. And it is incredibly effective. Is Is there an element in which then you see the trajectory of Russia over the lost thirty years as a warning to the united. States now that this is what can happen absolutely, and obviously Russia is a has a very different history wrote a book about how it is very much shaped by sister Talibanism that will sort of my argument, but I, think that's one way of telling the story. In other way of telling the story is to hear where people who had a chance to live in a very different society and to invent a society, a new who had this opportunity that arises. From crisis and collapse. And who decided to hand that opportunity over two? Very uninteresting, uneducated curious man who promised Moustache Aclu transport them to an imaginary past. And in the United States, we have something very similar and we have an Talk sees do proceed by what I think module has laid out as a very clear set of of steps beginning with the autocratic attempt and just comparing trump to Putin just comparing the United States to Russia would be intellectually questionable but looking at a number of strong men who have appeared over the last ten fifteen years in really different cultures but have traffics in many of the same tropes and have short up power using many of the same tools is really informative. I use Russia because that's what I spent in twenty five years studying and writing about. But, my -bility Russia is short out by observing so many other places where something similar has happened from India the world's largest democracy to Israel. The only democracy in the Middle East to Brazil to Venezuela to the Philippines to Hungary. Examples abound. And the similarities are really terrifying. We are unfortunately coming towards the end of the time we have I want to attempt optimism as we finish. If we look at the United States which later this year will decide whether or not to continue with the trump experiment the time I've been talking to people about Donald Trump. I. Hear to there are two basic strains of optimism that I detect one is from American conservatives. I mean proper old school Eisenhower Reagan type people who aren't keen on trump but think this is perhaps an overdue stress tests for our country's institutions. Those institutions will meet that challenge and we will survive this. The other optimism I hear is from American liberals who suggests that trump and the midterm elections where perhaps evidence of this that trump will. Destroy everything he attempts to protect and advance by prompting an enormous backlash of liberal activism and a revival of civic society having having demonstrated to them. What can happen if you take your off the ball? Do you think there's anything in either of those analyses? In I'm less familiar with what you across the conservative strand of it but the liberal one. Yeah absolutely. There is that analysis and of course, more recently, and this is the the the greatest ray of hope I have seen in years. You know just a activism around the country which is really fueled by. Not, only anger but you know real serve pent-up demand for reinvention and envisioning a different future. which is something that has been lacking in the Democratic Party, which is why trump's promise of the imaginary past. That has been so incredibly effective the big question for me. Well, there's two questions. Right? Is that energy of these protests and the actors is that sustainable until November? We still have nearly half a year to go and and I'm scared that. That may it may not be sustainment might also get a little bit both tired and overly optimistic. And the other is, does the Democratic Party have the wherewithal? To, use that energy to use that vision to propel US forward so far. It has shown very few signs of doing that right even its response to the midterm elections in two thousand eighteen. was basically to continue backing. Very. Conventional. Center would imagine are sort of candidates who can appeal both sides who in the end appeal to neither right instead of backing. Candidates who actually represent a younger, much more future oriented kind of voting population. So He can finally get its act together. On that score then I think we have a chance in November, and then there's also the question of whether he goes peacefully in November, of course. Masha. Gessen thank you very much for joining us. Thank you for having me. My many thanks to Masha Gessen surviving autocracy is published by Penguin Random House and out now the big interview is produced and edited by yelling govern. I'm Androulla thanks very much for listening.
Masha Gessen and Keith Gessen Debate Russian and American Politics
"The New Yorker radio hour is supported by mayo clinic when you're searching for answers, they can change your life. You know, where to go mayoclinic more. At mayo clinic dot org slash radio hour. WNYC studios is supported by the ready presenting brave new work, a new book for founders leaders and managers about reinventing organizations of illegal now at brave new work dot com. The one World Trade Center in Manhattan. This is the New Yorker radio out a co production of the New Yorker and WNYC studios. Welcome to the New Yorker radio hour. I'm David Ramnik. Masha Gessen is one of our keenest observers of Russia and Russian politics. She grew up in the Soviet Union in its latter days emigrated with her family to the US and then return to Russia as a reporter. So she's got a unique perspective on the US Russia relationship and all through the Muller investigation. She warned people not to expect some kind of magical revelation or smoking gun of collusion between Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump in two thousand eighteen she sat down at the New Yorker festival with a guest. She knows pretty well, her younger brother, Keith guessing. So this is a completely self service panel. We're going to talk about ourselves interview. Each other introduce ourselves. So this is my brother keep. Keith guests in is a founder of the magazine and plus one and he teaches journalism at Columbia University. He's written two novels. Most recently a terrible country which came out last year. Okay. This is my sister. Masha. She is the person who in whose shadow, I dwell. But in fact, it is more like she is the sunlight. Yes. In whose raise I groves. Okay. So I'm very happy to to. Yes. I will ask the first few questions if that's okay, that's fine. So in in late two thousand thirteen and because of various unpleasant developments in Russia, you moved to Moscow. I mean, you move from Moscow to New York after being away for twenty years. You've always worked kind of in both countries. But when you went back to Russia, you became a Russian language journalists working for Russian publications, you were publishing books and articles in the US, but you're kind of day job was as a Russian language journalists. And now you've moved back to the states and become primarily, an English language journalist. So what has that been like? Well, it's actually has been lovely. Because there's you know, there's a line in your most recent book that is absolutely brilliant. You describe a character who in some ways bears a certain resemblance to me, you're observing. The narrative is observing this character walking around Moscow and says nobody liked him here. And that put him at ease. I think the experience of not being liked by anybody it might be sort of character building. But it's really lovely to just not have that on a daily basis. Like, I hardly get any death threats. It's it's lovely. John talk about our parents right now. Right here. And when I think about our immigration our parents were in their mid to late thirties. And I grew up thinking, well, you know, basically their lives are over. Right. And so the only possible reason they could have emigrated was for us. And and I kind of felt like you had mixed feelings about it about our immigration, you know, and you kind of left home. So I I was like, well, they just it was just me. They did it for me. So I better too good. He did. Well, thank you. So from your perspective is that what do you think I think for them? It was very important. Not to see us go through the experience of applying to university and experiencing what they did which was just really explicit discrimination against Jews. It's one thing to know about injustice and unfairness NS another thing to come face to face it. And have it be completely sort of unabashed and for both of them. It was it was it was it was a formative thing. And so they didn't want to see us go through that. But mostly I think they thought they were doing themselves, and you know, they were like in their thirties. They had their entire lives ahead of them. But they really I mean, I I've thought about it a lot. I've thought about what kind of courage it would have taken to just step into the abyss. And they had they need nothing about this. Right. They read a few letters from people who had emigrated, and so they they stepped into the abyss. But but our dad or mom died along time ago about our dad always responds by saying we thought of it as a great adventure. Do you wanna talk about politics a little bit? Sure. Yeah. Okay. Why you didn't like hearing about our parents? And I found that very therapeutic. Thank you has being here and writing about Russia changed your perspective in terms of what Americans need to know need to hear. Let's great question. I mean, I think that the perception of Russia has really gone through some very strange for mutations in the last. I mean, I've been here for just under five years and independent very strange five years for I think how Russia is perceived in this country. You found yourself in some somewhat curious position of having been a person who was writing by Putin and kind of warning about Putin for a long time. And now you're in the position of saying, hey, you know, relax. Sometimes I go on Twitter. I see people calling you up a paid propagandist. For by. No, no. I was amazing. I've been pulled Russia's Putin show. Yeah. Pay pay some propaganda. There's an online community of anti Trump Russian immigrants who. Yeah. Had they had a long thread going about how I was what I was intimidated or paid into what they see us supporting Putin. Yeah. And they say that because you have been skeptical all along. First of about the evidence. But then you know, about the significance of the Russian interference in the election. In a way, I was one of their visionary leaders of that of narrative, right? When I wrote a book about Putin and find myself in the very strange position of saying come on, you know, he's not bad kind of monster. He's a different kind of monster. But but not the kind of monster who who's masterminded the takeover of the entire western world. He doesn't have the mind for that kind of masterminding among other things. Do you feel do you feel partly responsible for this narrative? What an interesting question. Yeah. A bit. But. And the problem with writing with journalism or any kind of writing it is so impossible to predict how much influence what you're right. We'll have and what kind of influence, and we'll have and what sorts of anxieties and imaginary is it will tap into. I can acknowledge sort of contributing to that narrative. But I don't think that I can take too much responsibility for it. And I also don't want to estimate the number of people who buy nonfiction books and actually read them. But you're at this fascinating. Article for the New York Times magazine earlier this year on so-called Russia hens, and you positive kind of dichotomy in that article that some people basically think that everything that has gone wrong in the Russian American relationship over the last twenty five years, which is basically everything and consistently regardless of who is in charge was attributable to Russia, and it's intransigence and its own trajectory. And then there are those who think that it was bad American policy at American failure to move past the Cold War narrative, and I think that that's that's actually that almost perfectly describes the the stories that I have been writing versus the stories that you've been reading you mean, I am more likely to blame the US at. Yeah. That's that's my strong position do ever worry. That that actually overestimates American agency. And it's a kind of backhanded imperialist position. That's an interesting question. I mean. Yes. And no, yes. I mean, I think the article kind of traced American policy toward Russia in the post Cold War era through the sort of people who are inside the government and the State Department, the national Security Council who were kind of running Russia policy and the article began because I had watched Obama seem to really want to de escalate tensions with Russia and really deemphasize Russia in general, which struck me as objectively correct? Right. Russia is a troubled country that is that is declining. Right. Unlike its neighbor to the East China, which is not declining. And that was the kind of Obama argument right for shifting our focus to the east and yet. Under Obama, you get the Ukraine crisis. And eventually the hacking of the Democrats, and I was like, well how you know why did that happen here? You had a president who had kinda made his preferences. Pretty clear is there a deep state, right? Which you know, when I started working on this. This had not been popular by the the right, or at least I had not come across it. And I mean, the the partial answer is. Yes, presidents come and go policymaker, you know, the people who they appoint come and go. But there is this kind of small core that moves between the State Department, the national charity council, you know, in one of the kind of really surprising things to me about them was just how strong views were and you talk to them and they're quite convincing. For example. Some of these people were in the kind of center of debates over NATO, and whether it should be expanded. And their position was we have this historic opportunity to push the sort of zone of security as they called it. But. Other times they've called it the free world, right or the west closer to the borders of Russia. Right because eventually Russia will come back and threaten those neighbors. You know, which you and you could say, well they've been proved wrecked. I was just going to ask. Yes. Or you can say this was a self fulfilling prophecy, right? And I don't know if the US had had a very different policy weather. We would have had a totally different result. I don't know. List of gears. So he wrote this book and. I know that the the process of writing up was quite interesting and lengthy, right? You said to rate something fairly different. Can you talk about that? I so it's basically kind of a story about a guy who goes who is actually a loser and goes to Moscow to take care of his grandmother at the request of his swashbuckling entrepreneurial older brother who's not based on Marcham. He has this fantasy that she's going to tell him stories about socialism, and this will then he'll write these stories down. And then it'll help him get an academic job. And then he shows up there. And she can't remember who he is much less a detailed narrative about Stalinist Russia. Yeah. And and you know, and then I finished the draft. And I kind of read it, and it was horrible. And I cut all that stuff. It was just boring. It was just really really boring. What I realized, you know, a few years into the process was that actually the grandmother needs to be kind of central figure not just as a kind of domestic background, but her life needs to make the central argument about what happened after the Soviet Union fell apart. And as you know, I changed some details, but it did strike me that our own grandmother's life, you know. She hated the Soviet Union. And she. Was delighted when the Soviet Union fell apart, and then she lost her life savings the town in which she lived in fell apart the research institute where her husband worked fell apart. She lost her sense of self in the world. I think I mean, it struck me that that story made a pretty good case for the post-soviet transition being not so great. So once I figured that out and kind of made the grandmother more central character, the book became a lot better. It has definitely no longer boring. Yeah. I read it on like one night instead of sleeping, and there are all sorts of reasons for me, not to to read it at all or never mind one night. No. But it's it's a really it's a really great book. Are you thinking writing a nonfiction book? I thought we weren't gonna. Yes. I am. Definitely wait. I thought you were. We don't have to talk about if we don't talk about our guest. I am. I it's a yes, I'm working on it. What's the book working on that? Okay. All right. You wrote a piece called rules for talk recy-, and it was written directly after the election. Right. So, you know, in the very much in the heat of the moment. But I wanted to revisit that. And see how much of that you still think holds. And where you were wrong. And right, right. So, you know, the first rule for surviving autocracy is believed the autocrat when he says he's going to do something nasty chances are he will. So one thing that you said that might lead to you know, when they say lock her up they're going to lock her up. It hasn't happened yet. What do you think that means? It means that journalists should never make predictions is what it means. And I think that the the way that that piece happened was that I'd like probably many people in this room. I've been to a disastrous election night party and kind of crawled away without saying goodbye. And and when I was on my way home. Biking from from queens. I started getting phone calls and emails from people saying what do we do? Now. Like, well, how should I know? You know, I like I had to flee my country. Obviously, I don't have the answers. But but as it's a long bike ride says I was as I was biking. I was thinking that they're actually thinks that that I learned from living in a country that was what democracy it had had was dismantling itself. Right. And and it was creating an autocracy. And I think that there are things that I learned about how you survive mentally and spiritually in in that. But. You know, I think that the the rule believe the autocrat. Is I completely stamped standby it, and what I was trying to get across with something that I had learned actually in the process of reporting. My Putin book was that when I went back and listened to his interviews and his press conferences. And fortunately, the man has such a small presence that it was possible to listen to everything he had said and studied in some detail. So when I did that I realized that he it was all out there. He said exactly what he was planning to do. But people both in Russia, and in this country had ideas about what he represented that had nothing to do with what he was putting forward. Another rule is the institutions will not save. You do you think they've held up a little bit better than you'd expect? It I don't actually I don't think they've held up better than expected. And I think the damage has been able to do has been profound and his perhaps been more profound than I thought in the first two years. I mean, I think the Cavs confirmation has been great amazing illustration of that right now, here's the the grades institution of the supreme court that just stands I think exposed, you know, with the with the curtain pullback in a way that that may be sort of emotionally could have been suspended a couple of years ago. But I don't think we could have imagined. I mean, it is shocking. What do you say to the argument that, you know, the supreme court, the great example? I mean, the the real kind of norm breaking there was the refusal to seat, Merrick garland, or even to discuss Carlin by Mitch McConnell. Right. So this predates Trump. Yeah. And I Don Trump come out from other space. He did not actually come from Russia. He came from here. And we're I've time right? That's great. Thank you. Thank you. All. The New Yorkers Masha Gessen talking with her brother, Keith Gessen and between the two of them. They've written more than a dozen books and more than a thousand articles many of which have appeared in the pages of the New Yorker. Keats. Most recent book is a novel set in Russia called a terrible country. And Masha most recent book also deals with Russia. But it's nonfiction. It's called the future is history. I'm David remnant. And that's it for this week. I hope to see next time. The New Yorker radio hour is a co production of WNYC studios and the New Yorker our theme music was composed and performed by Merrill, Garbis of tune yards with additional music. Why Lexus Quadra show? Our team includes Alex Barron. Emily, Boutin Ave, Correo Rian Corby. Jill Dubov, Karen, Filmon, Cala Leah David cross. Now. Caroline, Lester, Louis Mitchell. Sarah Knicks and Stephen Valentino with help from Emily, man. And Jessica Henderson the New Yorker radio hour is supported in part by the Torino endowment fund.
A Gay Russian, Exiled in Ireland
"I'm Dorothy Wickham done on today's politics and more podcast. The New Yorkers Masha Gessen talks with the scholar and gay rights activist of Gainey storm storm was born in Khazakstan and was living in Russia. When the Putin government began cracking down on the emerging queer rights movement under threat from Russian intelligence. He fled to Ireland where Masha travel to meet him. Remesy and rainy. Sometimes I was walking with you again. You store in, in Galway, which is a coastal city in Ireland. The says early may and I had first heard of Guinea, a couple years ago when some friends, let me know that he was looking for help trying to get out of Russia. Something horrible was happening to him. I got some more details later. Can you start by talking about how you ended up in Ireland? I think the story starts in Saint Petersburg. No stores starts in the Soviet Union United States three when I was born in socialist Republic, Guinea was born in Kazakhstan when it was still part of the Soviet Union when he was a teenager. There is a recruiting push for young Russian-speakers from Kazakhstan to go steady in Russia. And he did. And that's also when he came out, I was practicing some sex in school was boys, but I wasn't gay men at that moment. So it just when I moved to Saint Petersburg when I first went to sixty-nine nightclub and another one, which I like more was sneaky. So, yeah, when I that was very moment when I just realized that this is my culture. This is my music. This is my style. This is where I feel comfortable and everyday feel part of it. Elry seventeen eighteen rate at this as you got to Saint Peter's. Yeah, yeah, yeah, it wasn't yet an identity. Let's this is something that I didn't have in. Because overstay thinking I'm the only one there. Well, except for except for the other boys. I think. Yeah, it was interesting. In Saint Petersburg. If Alexander became his partner, his very, bright, Essen and say, you know, stands out in you easily identifies persons whom you, you want to be close. So I stayed overnight, these place point in never, Bart since them Alexander wasn't in Arlon when I was there we talked him over Skype you've Alexander had room a communal apartment in Saint Petersburg. They also had a cat named Mussa. She's like God fill shift fizzled. So you Alexsandr Mussa are living in Saint Peter's year, we were leaving on the sealer skew island in the future, common alka, so, yeah, super. Actually that was part of why Mussa became part of our lives. Because when we go at room. The money was so small that we couldn't really find anything better. But Ryota said that well, we have mice, which basically means that there is no routes. So that was that was a selling point that we have. We have. If we have my SIS, we don't have, and we said, well, we will have a Cup, and it was a fun story. You know, they have a good life and Saint Petersburg, Alexandra got a peach in sociology and started working at an on prophet doing research LGBT issues. This is in the mid two, thousands, when the game of Russia's developing it's not like western Europe, but things are moving in the right direction. People are becoming more open, and they're more spaces appearing. They're not just like community spaces and bars, but there's research discussion groups their film festivals. Things are moving along. Well, we were leaving in really the real bubble. Like, you know, the NGO world's no one judge you for being on sex couple. But there's some trouble with gangs papers. Back when he became a student, he applied for his Russian passport and got it easily. Ten years later. He is suddenly told that there was a problem. So you've gain you went back to the embassy of Kazakhstan and they rescinded his citizenship as well. And suddenly, he finds himself stateless he doesn't have password, and he doesn't have the ability to travel. It's just the kind of designing status on an everyday level, like every policeman, who stops you and loops two papers knows that something is wrong with you. If you want to check in, in a hotel, huge issue, every time they look at the bay Burs of a stateless person in, they don't understand one, the state is. But they definitely know that it's a fishery bad. But Russia tells him he actually has a path to citizenship. He can stay in the country on a residency permit and apply for passport and five years. He can break any laws and his guts, work. He gets a job at the same NGOs Alexander the center for independence social research. Meanwhile, Russian politics is changing in a big way. In twenty twelve Latimer, Putin returns to the presidency after months of mass demonstrations and business immediately, looking for a way to discredit the demonstrators and LGBT people, make the perfect scapegoat. Because we stand in for everything we stand for the west, we stand in for all the things that have changed in the last quarter century that make you uncomfortable. We also stand in for the promise of going back to imaginary passed without gay people. And of course, no Russian things that they've actually met a gay person in person. So that makes it really easy to create the image of the villainous people. I Saint Petersburg and then the federal parliament pass a ban on what they call propaganda of homosexuality or propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations. You can't have any positive or neutral coverage of LGBT issues in any kind of media. You can't have public demonstrations. But the biggest purpose of the Slaw is to signal that they're second class citizens in Russia outside the protection of the law. That means that hate crimes skyrocket. And you've Ganey actually decided to go back to school. And his subject of study is hate crimes against people I was on allies in the court decisions on the murders of gay men, how people were killed in Russian and usually like it's normal situation where two people are drinking and the mon- of them is declaring or proposing. There's drinking, it seems like there's going to be sex. And instead, there's a murder basically the homophobia is in a very private spaces. And this was my main finding you've finding boys in direct contradiction to the states message, which was essentially, you can do whatever you want in the privacy of your own homes. We just don't want you corrupting, our children. In fact, violence was coming to people's homes. So, well, put an cracking down on BT people. The other attack is on Jews. The foreign agents law requires NGOs, that get foreign funding to submit to special reporting requirements. The whole thing is designed to paralyse their work in also to designate them as pariahs and the center where Ella lender and you can you work ends up on the list. So here's your Guinea, a stateless person working for a foreign agent NGO and setting shoes. And he goes into place for his Russian passport. I go to from call Guinea McCall so that us tweets. Ios our newsmaker Solis loopy. I calling from the migration, the migration service. We are working with your -plication on citizenship said, what is wrong with it? Not everything is okay with just a would have to discuss it with you, personally, could you please come tomorrow at ten AM, the man on the phone gave him an address his name and number, but when he arrived, the next day that migration office was closed, getting called the number and the man came down to meet him. Young, my more loose some hope would Kim well-dressed, polite. S- went was him to the first floor, and it was nothing just to comer in the northerner Doyle, we answered the thing that I saw in the impacted me was this huge portrait of. And they're all under ap- of. Drope of was the KGB and a hero of Putin's and former ahead of the Soviet Union. And then he shows his commuter. She's a genius. Vhf is be. The FSP is the federal security agency, the successor agency to the KGB. Soon as you've gained you saw the FBI, he knew he wasn't there to talk about a passport. The conversation with Asians last two hours. They talked about his master's thesis, and about the murders of gay men and the work of the centre. What was terrifying is mostly, he was naming some people that won't name here. It was particularly interested in certain visuals for he wanted you to talk about. Yeah. The man wanted have Guinea, to greet to be an informant. Basically, his main editor was very polite. But in a very subtle, very ten the way he mentioned the loan Spanish, and the law, all the traits of model. The prison sentences are essentially life in prison, basically. Like my, my main goal was to at least get out of the but also not to them 'age of the people. At the end of the interview has be agent asked, if they could talk again. It sure basically anything to get out of there. He gets out of their cold exander said, everything is okay. And as soon as they got home. You've gaining wrote on a piece of paper as. Well, we're. In the center of Galway, which is terribly touristy terribly shopping. It's one of those places that don't feel like a place to live stone, where people are coming to relax spending the weekends. And holy days. You've managed to get himself, una plane to Ireland, Arlen does not a bad place to land is generally very friendly to persecute people, especially in some ways to BT people. The prime minister's gay the country held the first successful referendum on same sex marriage. And they're definitely worst places to apply for asylum than our land, for example, in the United States. You might end up in detention in you don't qualify for any public assistance, but Irleand has one of the slowest asylum processes in the world. To somebody who is stuck in the process. It can feel just interminable. You've Guinea is living in what's called direct provision, which is this network of hotels, and hostels and former convents, which are run by private companies, but funded by the state, he has a small room with a single bed. He gets three meals a day he can cook. He cannot have overnight guests, which means that Alexander can come and spend the night with him. Alexander is not in our land with you've getting I would go, where he is right. But I'm just a citizen Russian at have to get visa to any country. I, I want to go. The thing is, if they were a straight couple who'd been together for fifteen years, they would probably be married and there, probably wouldn't be questioned whether they're seeking asylum together. As it is they had to consider, whether L exander hit a case for asylum in the also had to consider what it would mean for neither of them to work right now. Alexander has a temporary teaching position at the university in Helsinki, every time he visits of Guinea, in Ireland has to get an Irish visa, which is a fairly arduous process. And both men say that it's not clear when or how they'll be reunited. It's been more than a year. And so we both are waiting and waiting and waiting you want someone who's been with you fifteen years ride beside you and you cannot have it. And we don't know what future is bringing us. I just can't visualize the future. I can see what, what do you think is preventing you for matching Fisher. Times number times. They know this feeling to wake up time after sleeping ten hours. You wake up in your time. This is the type of times. Getting us taking a course at the university in Delhi, because he felt a depression coming on. He spends every day in the library. He leaves the hostel in the morning. He reads and writes until the library closes at ten o'clock at night. I'm at other queer migrants in Ireland, met people from South Africa from Zimbabwe. The thing is in some ways, it's becoming harder for eligibilty asylum seekers to find a place in the world. Many countries. Don't grant asylum on the basis of persecution because of sexual orientation or identity. The United States is one of those countries, but it's getting harder and harder to get into this country to seek asylum. And that possibility of getting refuge is actually, narrowing, just as the world is becoming more polarized in the treatment of BT people. Since some parts of the world where seeing incredible advances in BT rights, including really striking like India in other countries where seeing the horrifying backlash Kenya's has court recently upheld a ban on gay sex in new law, and Brunei has made gay sex punishable by death-by-stoning. So even as global culture is pulling more people out of the closet when the culture becomes more repressive. There's no closets to go back into so people end up really exposed. I found myself in a sense of newly fide belonging. I don't belong to any country don't belong to any ethnic group any anything. Chew, my only desperate, queer LGBT the Spurs. That's where I feel that part of this nation. This is my. That's Masha Gessen in Galway Ireland with Gainey store.
From Stonewall to the Present, Fifty Years of L.G.B.T.Q. Rights
"The New Yorker radio hour is supported by the Capital, One saver card. Earn four percent cashback on dining and entertainment. Two percent at grocery stores and one percent on all other purchases. Now when you go out you cash in what's in your wallet terms apply. The New Yorker radio hour supported by indeed dot com. Are you hiring with indeed? You can post a job in minutes. Set up screener questions than zero in on your shortlist of qualified candidates using an online dashboard. Get started today at indeed dot com slash New Yorker. That's indeed dot com slash New Yorker the one World Trade Center in Manhattan. This is the New Yorker radio out a co production of the New Yorker and WNYC studios. All righty. So how many of you know what a drag Queen is? Oh, good. I see some hands and he guesses for those of you who, don't what, what is the Dragway, it's one people stuff. That's exactly what is your name, little Rufus. Everybody say. Hi. Rufa. Rufus is exactly right. It's like dress up who likes to play dress up here. It's lunchtime on a Saturday. And we're at the Brooklyn public library, does, maybe sixty kids here with their parents, and they're here for an event, that's called the drag Queen story hour, which is exactly what it sounds like my name is chill Lululemon, New York City, drag Queen. I'm wearing a blush rose colored lace dress with the tie, and I have my signature stocks of Bengals and my big earrings and my big hair. One more. This was this is a really good book. It's called. It's okay to be different. It's okay to be missing a tooth riot, or two or three. How many of you are missing? Would you believe that all of these are fake? It's okay to have a different knows what do we, you know, a lot of our naysayers thing that were indoctrinating kids with LGBTQ views. But that's not at all. We're just celebrating life. And celebrating that nowhere does it state that you can't play with all the colors in the crayon box mouth on the me goes. What a distance, we've come fifty years ago this month. A man was arrested for dressing in drag during a police raid on the stonewall in a bar in Greenwich Village in Manhattan. He and some other gay and lesbian customers resisted arrest which led to a scuffle which grew into a riot, which led to demonstrations that lasted for days, the event that we now just call stonewall Mark the beginning of the movement for LGBTQ rights. This. Today on the New Yorker radio hour we're talking about stonewall and the fifty years since about the huge advances in rights for LGBTQ people and also the backlash around the world. But I'm not going to do this on my own up. Any means the great journalists and activists Masha Gessen friend and colleague is here with me Masha. How you doing? I do. Now, how are you feeling about this anniversary moment? I don't always love anniversary journalism. But this fiftieth anniversary seems particularly meaningful charged I have mixed feelings about this aniversary moments. It's I mean it's a great celebration. The change that people are celebrating is truly extraordinary. The backlash is also extraordinarily, and I probably wouldn't be me if I didn't feel a villain someway. But, you know, there's, there's been a lot of discussion among LGBT's scholars and writers and activists about the direction of the movement. Especially in the last few. Years, sort of as things seemed to have come such a long way, but also have gotten a different direction that a lot of people expected. So I wanted to talk to my favorite ambivalent historian of the gain lesbian movement. Martin Doberman, who is somebody who has been around for all of it his in his late eighties now and Martin as it turned out during our conversation used to go to the stone woolen because it was the only bar where gay men could dance if you can believe that run by the mafia, everyone who was a patron, then knew that if the lights went on surrounding the small dance area, you instantly stopped what you doing because the six precinct would come storming through throwing people against the wall asking for ide-. There was any law in New York state, I believe. You had to be wearing three pieces of clothing appropriate to your gender. Can you imagine trying to define that today? All of this happening in the context of great social foment, right? Oh, absolutely. Black is beautiful moralists began the across the board rebellions. We, we saw throughout the decade, the feminist movement. Martin Luther King was assassinated. I mean, it was a time of enormous confrontation with authority, right? That really was a time of social change happening on so many levels. It was, and I think we have to think of the gay and lesbian movement. Certainly in that context, which I think, is sometimes, sometimes we forget and also remember within living memory within your lifetime in mine. It was basically illegal to be gay. Martin told me about how the police used to entrap came out on fire island. A popular gay holiday spot near in the old days when we went out there and this goes back to. To the late fifties early sixties. We used to be very careful because the cruising areas with the board walks and what the police would do across the way and save the Long Island was they would send over young hot plainclothesman, and they would do the approaching on the boardwalk to a gay guy who was out cruising and given how gorgeous, the plainclothesman was the gay guy would respond. And the next thing he knew he'd be handcuffed and he'd be taken down to the dock, and they would literally handcuff people to the flag pole go back on the board. Walk to the same routine. Five or six more times, go back over to save Ville, and they would have a kangaroo court, not only were you arrested, but your name was printed, in your local, newspaper and very often. Those years you lost your apartment almost automatically he lost you job. The very most basic civil rights were not available. Stonewall was the beginning of what we think of as, again, listen movement mythologies, beginning, obviously, not actually inaccurate beginning. But that movement is still going on some of those rights, we still don't have. And what were the initial aims of the movement to criminalising gay sex stopping the harassment by police also getting homosexuality off the list of psychiatric disorders and in discrimination against queer people in housing, employment, etc. Now, broadly speaking, how much of that progress has come from elected officials finally doing the right thing, and how much of it came through fights in the court. That's a great question. So the marriage fight, which is something that actually began in this millennium has largely proceeded through the courts discrimination protections are mostly legislative, and we've actually made a lot less progress on anti discrimination protections than a marriage, for example, for example in half. The states in this country. It is still legal to fire somebody for being gay. It is legal to deny people public accommodations. So you get cases like, the, the famous Colorado wedding cake. A case where you can get married in Colorado, but you can also be denied a wedding cake. Let's talk about the impact of the aids crisis. I remember when act up closed the FDA for a day demanding earlier access to to drugs. How much did the aids crisis actually affect the movement? I would say that as crisis transformed the movement, and, and the community, it's very hard to describe to people who are either not queer or younger than I am. What it's like to have lived through period. When everyone I knew died all all the men, I knew died, but it also transformed the movement by making LGBT people perversely much more visible. It also brought in Lisbon movements together. Also think it had a profound impact on the health care system in this country. I mean, it's, it's a huge social phenomenon both as crisis, and the as activist movement, that I think was still having quit processed Masha my sense, that, well, gay marriage, certainly in queer community had vast support. It was not a matter of unanimity. There was some second thoughts even to the very end about whether marriage should be as at least as prominent a goal as it wasn't if in many of us joined his sexual liberation movement. We actually envisioned changing the way that the society thinks about family and kinship and love the marriage fight isn't a way the opposite of that. It is conservative in some sense. It is it is deeply conservative, in a sense. It is it is sort of by the, the entire marriage paradigm an asking to be included in it. And that's, that's one of the reasons actually wanted to talk to Martin Doberman, because of his book has the gay movement failed in which he's pretty critical of what he sees as the movement's drifts toward the political center, the whole thrust of the gay movement in the last twenty years at least has been not only gay marriage, but allowing gays to serve openly in the military being allowed to kill and being allowed to settle down into, you know, monogamous suburban life, which really doesn't suit, our needs or values. Aura heritage. H I mean, this is not who we are. Or at least who we have been? No, we don't want that if we're going to form relationships of long duration. Let's tell them to what we've learned over many years of being outside is with learned a lot about monogamy, gender fluidity. So Martin Guberman wants things to be a lot more radical. What is radical mean in the sense radical means actually, I would say, more intersectional more concerned with other questions quality so you can Justice racism, able, ISM, sexism, is it succeeding, as it were whereas that kind of or is he a fringe voice in the overall community? He's not a fringe voice, but there's a kind of vice situation and this has been the case throughout the game has been movement. Which is that the left has not particularly welcomed the queers? How does that show itself because you saw in black lives matter? You did see a lot of intersectional rhetoric at least from the leadership of black lives matter. Absolutely. But that's, that's a fairly recent development, and it has a lot to do with the black lives matter, movement being founded basically, by the bunch of queer people. The queer people of color. That's the sort of thing that Dubar minutes talking about. And I think dreams of so we're also at a time where we're seeing a mounting legal challenge to some of the movement's gains. There's a case before the supreme court where the court will decide if laws against gender discrimination include or not sexual orientation or gender identity. What we've seen a lot, actually we've seen the Trump administration lift most of the protections that could be lifted by executive action. And this is a specially affected transgender people in the military. For example. The transgender bat ban in the military affects the greatest number of people to military is the largest employer of transgender people in this country. It. The case that were that is in the supreme court. Now, a lot of elder, Beechy lawyers are sort of waiting with dread to see what happens because there's very little reason to think it could work out. Well, there several employment discrimination cases, that are sewn up together in this one in this one case, that's coming before the court. The well-founded fear is that it will essentially legalize sanctify anti-gay discrimination for the foreseeable future. Right now. You have Pete Buddha. Judge running for the presidency and certainly makes no secret of his, his personal life is sexual life disaster. Have any effect on anything. There was a great article. Now, trench remember where but Pete footage being the heterosexual candidates without the wife. Evan. There's, there's a there's a kind of perfect American narrative. You know, the veteran the happily married the religious religious for queers like me, it's a little cringe-worthy. I think that for a lot of people deeply meaningful, and I don't want to discount it. I think for a lot of young people in this country to see somebody like Buddha. Unapologetic articulate beautiful with his wonderful husband being taken seriously being so visible. It has to be hugely meaningful for a lot of people. I'm here with staff, writer, Masha Gessen, and I'm David remnant, we're talking about fifty years of gay rights, since the stonewall uprising right up to the present now. That's a lot of history. So here's what we could call the cliff notes version, fifty years in five minutes from actor and comedian Leah delay area. Why? Yes, it's me legal area that has go music, not because disco music is game using because it's awesome. And it's a little bit. Nineteen seventy the first gay pride parade is held in New York and the first gay rights March is held in the UK, did you know, being a lesbian in the UK was never illegal that is because Queen Victoria, very famously said, there are no lesbians in the UK, right death protest too much your highness nineteen seventy-one homosexuality is decriminalized in Austria, Costa Rica, and Finland nineteen seventy two. Norway, and decriminalization in Hawaii, look a can't keep saying, criminalization. So every time a bell rings, a bunch of people get more rights. Let's dried out Malta. Nineteen seventy four Angela Morley becomes the first trans person nominated for an Academy Award. Also, Robert grant founds American Christian cause to oppose the gay agenda. Did we ever get around to voting on the gauge ended kids? We're going to have one bad hair day off a year and a twelve minute dance version of the star spangled banner. Nineteen seventy seven more dings Croatia. Montenegro. And so glad I know how to pronounce Montenegro. I didn't see it coming. Harvey milk is elected to the board of supervisors in San Francisco in Sweden, where homosexuality is classified as a disease, all whole bunch of people calling gay to work. Again. What? Oh, yeah. Somewhere in here is the founding of the moral majority. That means we don't have to promote homosexuality is an acceptable alternate lifestyle. It is not that it's moral perversion, right? Bring them back. Nineteen Eighty-one the European Court of human rights tells Northern Ireland to criminalise and Columbia and now man cut the music. On June fifth. Doctors record the first documented cases of HIV aids in the US two hundred thirty four people die from aids related illnesses in nineteen Eighty-one globally, HIV aids has killed thirty five million people. All right. Let's bring them back. All right now, I get the big one. Okay. We need to wins here. Let's see. Okay, look the eight grade. But there were wins people in Israel Liechtenstein Denmark, starts legally recognizing gay relationships on our way to gay marriage. Okay. Here we go. Bring it back. Bring it back. Bill couldn't get elected president remember Democratic President, Bill Clinton, the one who signed don't ask, don't tell into law, the one who signed the defense of Marriage Act. No, we're not cutting music, Bill Clinton. We're celebrating Romanians and the rebel of anti retroviral drugs bliss efforts coming out and Ellen coming out. Oh, also a few years earlier lead Alaria became the first openly gay comic to perform on American television. It's great to be here because it's the nineteen nineties tips. Yes, you could see where people on magazines and on TV mostly white cisgenders, middle-class, where people but still. In two thousand the Netherlands, straight up. Legalize same sex marriage over the next ten years, gay marriage becomes legal in Belgium. Spain canada. Mexico. Finally, this morning, scream court recognized that the pasta toossion guarantees marriage equality. In two thousand sixteen Obama establishes the stonewall national monument, America's first official LGBTQ, historic site, and a few months, later, forty-nine, people are killed in a gay club in Miami. And then we had a presidential election that a lot of oats, but the transgender the military is working on it. Now doing the work it's been very difficult situation. Here. We are two thousand nineteen fifty years after stonewall, we've come a long way, I guess, and I have to ask, what do y'all doing for pride this year? Comedian singer and actress, leeann Dilara of orange is the new black and many other shows. This is the New Yorker radio hour. Back in a minute. I'm dancing topless on the stone. Drinking a whole year. I. So. Everybody. I'm Shelby tau Jordan, guerrilla where the house of adulting. The new comedy podcast from WNYC studios, but dole to is heart yet, is there's taxes. It's losses. Are we get together and share stories along with some great guests comedians like Phoebe Robinson, Jim gaffe again, and why it's close. We answer questions audience, like, how much is too much? It's been on a pillow. So join us for adult thing wherever you get your podcasts. Don't miss. This is the New Yorker radio hour. I'm David Ramnik here with Masha. Gessen. We're talking about the stonewall uprising fifty years ago in the sweeping changes in how LGBTQ people live around the world. Take Ireland, for example, once very conservative place. Ireland now has a gay prime minister Irish voters recently approved gay marriage in a referendum, the first country to do so much. You've reported on these issues and you were in Ireland recently, I was but not to meet with Irish people. I went to talk to a refugee from a country that is not so has been able to LGBT people his name as you've gained you start. Windy and rainy, sometimes I was walking with you again. You store in Galway, which is a coastal city in Ireland. This is early may and I had I heard of Guinea, a couple years ago when some friends, let me know that he was looking for help trying to get out of Russia. Something horrible was happening to him. I got some more details later. Can you start by talking about how you ended up in Ireland? I think the story starts in Saint Petersburg. No stores starts in the Soviet Union United States three when I was born in socialist Republic of Guinea, was born in Kazakhstan when it was still part of the Soviet Union when he was a teenager. There is a recruiting push for young Russian-speakers from Kazakhstan to go steady in Russian and he did. And that's also when he came out, I was practicing some sex in school was boys, but I wasn't gay men at that moment. So it just when I moved to pizzas, when I, I went to sixty-nine nightclub and another one, which I like more was sneaky. This is. So, yeah, when I that was a very moment when I just realized that this is my culture, this is my music. This is my style. This is where I feel comfortable, and I really feel part of it. Ellery seventeen eighteen rated this as you got to you. It wasn't yet. An identities. This is something that I didn't haven't overstay was thinking, I'm the only one there. Well, except for except for the other boys. Thinking of. It was interesting. In Saint Petersburg, Alexander who became his partner, his very bright, s and I would say, you know, stands out in, you usually identifies the person with whom you, you want to be close. So I stayed overnight that these place, seven point, and never barred since them Alexander wasn't in Ireland. When I was there. We talked him over Skype. You've Alexander had a room a communal apartment in Saint Petersburg. They also had a cat named Mussa God filter fizzled. So you better an Mussa are living in Saint Petersburg year. We were leaving on ceelo skew island in the future. Komo nowkhah. So. Yeah. Super. Actually that was part of why Mussa became part of our lives. Because when we go at room, the money was so small that we couldn't really find anything better, but realtor said that. Well, we have mice, which basically means that there is no routes. So there was a selling point. If we have my SIS, we don't have, and we said, well, we will have a cap, and it was a funny story. They have a good life and Saint Petersburg. Alexandra got a PHD sociology and started working at a nonprofit doing research on T issues. This is in the mid two thousands. When the game of in Russia's developing it's not like western Europe, but things are moving in the right direction. People are becoming more open, and they're more spaces appearing. They're not just like community spaces and bars, but there's research discussion groups their film festivals. Things are moving along. Well, we were leaving in real in the real bubble. Like, you know, the NGO world, no one judge you for being sex couple. But there's some trouble with gangs papers. Back when he became a student, he applied for his Russian passport and gutted easily. Ten years later. He is suddenly told that there was a problem. So you've gain you went back to the embassy of Kazakhstan and they rescinded his citizenship as well. And suddenly, he finds himself stateless he doesn't passport and he doesn't have the ability to travel. It's just the kind of design bling status on an everyday level, like every policeman, who stops you and loops to papers knows that something's wrong with you. If you want to check in, in a hotel, huge issue, every time they look at the papers of a stateless person in, they don't understand what the state is, is. But they definitely know that it's a fishery bad. But Tricia tells him he actually has a path to citizenship. He can stay in the country on a residency permit and apply for password and five years. He can break any laws and his got to work. He gets a job at the same NGOs Alexander the center for independence research. Meanwhile, Russian politics is changing in a big way. In twenty twelve of Latimer. Putin returns to the presidency after months of mass demonstrations and Pusan's immediately, looking for a way to discredit the demonstrators and LGBT people, make the perfect scapegoat. Because we stand in for everything we stand for the west, we stand in for all the things that have changed in the last quarter century that make you uncomfortable. We also stand in for the promise of going back to an imaginary passed without gay people. And of course, no Russian things that they've actually ever met a gay person in person. So that makes it really easy to create the image of the villainous. Queer people. I Saint Petersburg and then the federal parliament pass a ban on what they call propaganda of homosexuality or propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations. You can't have any positive or neutral coverage of LGBT issues in any kind of media. You can't have public demonstrations. But the biggest purpose of the Slaw is to signal that they're second class citizens in Russia outside the protection of the law. That means that hate crime skyrocket. And you've Ganey actually decided to go back to school. And his subject of study is hate crimes against BT people. I was on allies ING the core decisions on the murders of gay men, how people were killed in Russian, and usually like it's normal situation where two people are drinking, and the mon- of them is declaring or proposing. There's drinking, it seems like there's going to be sex. And instead, there's a murder basically the homophobia is in a very private spaces, and this was my main finding finding boys in direct contradiction to the states message, which was essentially, you can do whatever you want in the privacy of your own homes. We just don't want you corrupting, our children. In fact, violence was coming to people's homes. So while puts an cracking down on older BT people. The other attack is on Jews the foreign agents law requires and that get foreign funding to submit to special reporting requirements, the whole thing is designed to paralyse their work in also to designate them as pariahs and the center where Ella lender. And you can you work ends up on the list. So here's your getting a stateless person working for a foreign agent NGO and setting shoes. And he goes into place for his Russian passport. I got a phone call Guinea McCall so that us sweetser. Ios were newsmaker Solis lucidly glowing from the migration migration service, we are working with your applicable on citizenship said, what is wrong with it? No, no, no, everything is cable, just the would have to discuss it with you, personally, could you please come tomorrow at ten AM, the man on the phone gave him an address his name, and phone number. But when he arrived the next day that migration office was closed, he'd call the number and the man came down to meet him. Young, my more loose somehow would look in well-dressed, polite. S- went with him to the first floor, and it was nothing just the comer in the northern resul. We answered the thing that I saw in the really impacted me was this huge portrait of under. Fundra perfume. Was the hit on the KGB and a hero of Putin's and a former head of the Soviet Union. And then he shows his commuter, his ID she's idea. If his be the FSP is the federal security agency, the successor agency to the KGB. The soon as you've gained you saw the FBI D, he knew he wasn't there to talk about a passport. The conversation with Asians last two hours. They talked about his master's thesis, and about the murders of gay men in the work of the centre. What was terrifying, is mostly. He was naming some people that won't name here. It was particularly interested in certain individuals for owners. He wanted you to talk about. Yeah. The man wanted you've Guinea to agree to be an informant. Basically, his main attitude was very polite. But in a very subtle, very ten the way he mentioned, the Lowell spinners, and the law over the traits of model. The prison sentences are essentially life in prison, basically. Like my, my main goal was to at least get out of the but also not to them of the people. At the end of the interview was be agents asked, if they could talk again, the against sure, basically anything to get out of there. He gets out of their cold Alexander said everything is okay. And as soon as they got home, you've wrote on a piece of paper FSB. Well, we're. In the center of Galway, which is terribly touristy terribly shopping. It's one of those places that don't feel like a place to live. Stone where people are coming to relax spending the weekends and holidays. You've managed to get himself, una plane to Ireland, Arlen does not a bad place to land is generally very friendly to persecute people, especially in some ways to be people. The prime minister's gay the country held the first successful referendum on same sex marriage. And they're definitely worst places to apply for asylum than Arslan d-, for example, in the United States, you might end up in detention in you don't qualify for any public assistance, but Arlan has one of the slowest asylum processes in the world. To somebody who is stuck in the process. It can feel just interminable. You've Guinea is living in what's called direct provision, which is this network of hotels, and hostels and former convents, which are run by private companies, but funded by the state, he has a small room with a single bed. He gets three meals a day he can cook. He cannot have overnight guess, which means that Alexander can't come and spend the night with him. Alexander is not in our land with getting I would go wherever he is right? But I'm just a citizen Russia at have to get visa to any country. I, I want to go. The thing is, if they were a straight couple who'd been together for fifteen years, the probably married, and there, probably wouldn't be question of whether they're seeking asylum together. As it is, they had to consider whether Alexander hit a case for Silom in the also had to consider what it would mean for neither of them to work right now. L exander has a temporary teaching position at the university in Helsinki, everytime visits. Getting in Ireland has to get an Irish visa, which is a fairly arduous process. And both men say that it's not clear when or how they'll be reunited, it's being more than a year. And so we both are waiting and waiting and waiting. You want someone who's been with you fifteen years right beside you. And you cannot have it. And we don't know what future is bringing us. I just can't visualize the future. I can see what, what do you think is preventing you for matching Fisher. Of I'm very time. They know this feeling to wake up time after sleeping ten hours. You wake up your time. This is the type of times. Getting us taking a course at the university in Delhi, because he felt a depression coming on. He spends every day in the library. He leaves the hostel in the morning. He reads and writes until the library closes at ten o'clock at night. I'm at other queer migrants in Ireland people from South Africa from Zimbabwe. The thing is it in some ways, it's becoming harder for eligibilty asylum seekers to find a place on the world many countries don't grant asylum on the basis of persecution because of sexual orientation or identity. The United States is one of those countries, but it's getting harder and harder to get into this country to seek asylum. And that possibility of getting refuge is actually, narrowing, just as the world is becoming more polarized in the treatment of BT people. Since some parts of the world where seeing credible advances in BT rights, including really striking like India in other countries where seeing the horrifying backlash. Kenya's highest court recently, upheld a ban on gay sex in new law and Brunei has made gay sex punishable by death by stoning. So even as global culture is pulling more people out of the closet when the culture becomes more repressive. There's no closet to go back into so people end up really exposed. I found myself in a sense of newly fide belonging. I don't belong to any country don't belong to any ethnic group any anything. To my only aspirants queer attributed the Spurs. That's where I feel that part of this nation. This is my. That's masha. Gessen in Galway Ireland with beginning store. This is the New Yorker radio hour. Stick around. This is the New Yorker radio hour today on the program. We've been talking about the stonewall cries, the state of gay rights around the world. I'm David Ramnik, and this is Kristen who's a lesbian from the eighties or nineties. Let me Google, this nineties, less les- b b plans, lesbian Melissa earth. Third earth ridge releases lesbian foam come to my window. What is this? All this song. Okay. Yeah. I told him this. Vaguely. It's not like about for me per se. But like he hits. Kristen Tomlinson is a radio rookie, and that's a program at WNYC trains people to make documentaries about their own lives. Kristen has come of age with conception of gender identity that for some who are older is a little difficult to understand mostly like, you know, I can be anything. It can be a boy, or girl or things that are in between or, you know, vastly out of the realm of the binary, Kristen describes herself as gender fluid, and she's found a lot of her role models online, the internet is where you can craft version of yourself and you figure out who you wanna become for me. I was born and looked like a black girl. Five seven most days, I wear black lipstick, doc, Martins, and never smile, some days. I want to cute showy and sweet and other days. I'll feel comfortable like I just wanna wear dark clothes in sweatpants, and on another day down shirt. It's never tied to a binary feeling this definitely a kind of generation gap here between a young gender fluid person like Krista. Who resists the binary is an an older generation of gay and lesbian people who came of age in a very different much more rigid climate, Kristen set out to explore the generation gap could I acts like your sexuality unless ban? Okay. See this is the first time I've ever talked to like older black lesbian before. Like I've always been around straight adults my whole life. So I don't know this is really giddy for me. So I want, I met Paulette when I went to say a place in Harlem for older LGBTQ people to meet in mingle. She's the pitted me of all struggle stories that she read about in your life. You know, you have to be in the closet, you have to pretend to be straight. I mean, Pollet told me, she got pregnant at seventeen and later, she got married in her twenties. It was hard beyond belief. I had to bury who I was on her wedding day. She felt horribly sick to live that life. To liver straight life. Without understanding that you don't have to a film like this. Something's not right. Is no balance out of sorts to describe it. This is how described my life, I was in, you know, manhole going into the ground was in that ground with the heaviest and the dacas manhole cover covering my head, and I couldn't read it was horrible. It was horrible at hurts. My soul that I did that I came to understand what's tradeoff would I do it again? Never Paulette eventually came out and she's proud to identify as lesbian. But the terms that Kristen uses to describe herself in the language are still nude Apolo. So we've had to educate ourselves. We got all these colors and banners. All the pride flag. Oh Lord, yet I just know the rainbow. Yes. So for transgender Pincus for the female part, blue is for the male, part, and then white actually symbolizes binary, which follows on their me. So 'cause I defy as non binary or gender fluid. So, what's the point of so much different from analogies verbiage to say, basically, the same thing I think it's just preference at the end of the day? Honestly, I don't know. I used to identify as bisexual. But when I heard sexual just felt better to me because by uses like by it's too. But, like many 'cause see in my mind. This is a very good topic for intergenerational compensations is important that each generation has a language, they can identify with back Monday was Butch fem. Bisexual was just nasty sorry. But that's how it will like promiscuous year. It was just nasty, and you're straight, that was it, you need to have your language to dente fight, what your needs and what they did twenty thirty forty fifty years ago, doesn't so to have a conversation with someone of your age, opens our eyes, and our years to understanding that yet doesn't make sense, but is not a world to make sense. I like that way of looking at things because it's like a might not understand you, but I still respect that what you're going through his valid, as we're talking undestanding lot more myself about the pant. What are you paying and sexual sexual? I think that's the difference. What ages like for me, cut and dry? Okay, so maybe I don't have cut and dry answers, but quickness is just an essential part of my density, as a black gay twenty one year old and maybe I won't always be Penn sexual and gender fluid. I'm still figuring out dating and all of that they're days when I wish my gender was, like, Mr. potato head. Like I wish my chest was just an accessory could Felker off and by doing so I wouldn't get rid of my femininity, either being gender fluid is the perfect way for those two binary is to meet and form something new. Kristen Tomlinson, is in WNYC's radio rookies program, and you can hear her story in its entirety. On the podcast called the stakes. I'm here with Masha Gessen it. And we've been talking about the gains and the changes in LGBTQ rights over the fifty years, since stonewall, Masha trans issues and gender fluidity weren't things that people were talking about in any mass way years ago. How is the movement responded to that? The movement has had some growing pains, both in, including transgender people, but also in sort of embracing some of the conversation around gender, certainly when I was coming out the right thing to do was to brace your woman. No, no, no, no. You don't want to be man, you just want to be woman loves women and was lovely some thirty years later to be given permission to play with gender more actively, but I think some people are concerned, rightly, so that there's a conservative sort of undercurrent, it's kind of central view gender, that doesn't actually change how tree gender you can just have the freedom of switching from one to the other. The best example I can give you a few years ago. There was a viral story in one of the glossy magazines about the sweater, full family that wants their five year old came out as transgender repainted, their room, which had been blue and they painted pink. Because this child wanted to be girl. That's an example of what I'm talking about. It's a kind of a central view gender, that doesn't actually change how tree gender you can just have the freedom of switching from one to the other whereas within the ultra BT community. It's much different conversation much more interesting one about that problem sizes gender as such. Do you think we're headed for a point where we might not identify people by gender in official way that, that might be a subject of real political and social debate. That's a really hard question to answer because it actually depends on the strength of the backlash that we're facing the backlash was new right? It's it, it basically began with the Trump administration at this point the movement, I think, hasn't quite figured out, whether we're entirely on the defensive or there's actually, there's actually positive gender. So it away. Stonewall the new stonewall for this not yet happened. We'll stone stonewall was started as we used to say when I was younger by drag queens, and that we say, by transgender women of color stone will was very much about gender. We heard Martin behrman say earlier that one of the pretexts used for ratings stonewall was that people weren't wearing gender appropriate clothing for many years, the gender aspect was sort of on the back burner, but it's very much a part of which means that stone will will reverberate with meaning for years to come and with many more political battles to come out with I think that's right. Masha Gessen is a staff writer at the New Yorker and the author of the future is history and other books. I'm David Ramnik and I wanna thank you for listening to the New Yorker radio hour this week next week. I'll talk with a writer who can rightfully be called a real national treasure Robert CARA. Please join us for that until then have a great week. The New Yorker radio hour is a co production of WNYC studios, amony orcre, our theme music was composed, and performed by Merrill, Garbis tune yards. This episode was produced with help from Michelle Moses Cari, Pitkin and John mccone special, thanks to Alexis Quadra toe for music. He composed for this episode radio rookies is supported in part by the Margaret new art foundation and the Pinkerton foundation. The New Yorker radio hour is supported in part by the Torino endowment fund. The New Yorker radio hour is supported by mayo clinic, when you're searching for answers that no one else has been able to find and the most important person in your life needs the right diagnosis. You know where to go mayoclinic? Find out more at mayo clinic dot org slash radio. Hour.
Masha Gessen's Y2K
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Remember all of the fear around Y, two K? And how everyone was like the world is gonna end going into the year two thousand there was a fear that computers couldn't handle the turn of the century. And they all go. Hey, wire got nuclear power plants would meltdown planes would fall from the sky the banking system would fall apart. It was going to be like an apocalypse kind of end of times. How do you think you would handle that end of times? I have a very strong position on this been that I would like to be amongst the first wave to just give in to the apocalypse. You're not going to try and repopulate humanity. You're just like an out that is so much work. I also wanna go pretty early. But before that, I think I'm just gonna go to McDonalds and fry everything may have and chest up so many chicken. Before I die. Yeah. Last meal last meals. Mcdonald's. Sad. From WNYC studios. You're listening to Nancy with your host Tobin lo and Kathy too. Okay. So all those things that people were afraid of what happened on y two. K they didn't happen. No nuclear meltdowns. No stock market crash, but the new millennium did usher in some big changes for a lot of people. There was a feeling in the air that it was time for a fresh start people. Like, Dan Burski, he hosts the podcasts surviving Y two K at the end of nineteen eighty nine. Dan was a producer on the daily show with John Stewart, and he was married to a woman. But Dan was starting to realize he was gay right after new years in two thousand he came out to his wife and his marriage ended surviving Y2._K follows Dan story and the stories of other people whose lives were actually affected by Y two K for Masha Gessen big deal journalist, and author what happened on December thirty first nineteen ninety nine would change the course of her life. Here's Dan Burski to tell her story. In one thousand nine nine Masha Gessen is a journalist in Russia asking the big questions like would capitalism work in Russia after the Cold War could they even do democracy. Could they make it stick all great questions that Masha doesn't really care about right now? Because right now a couple of days before New Year's she wants the answer to a different question. Could she make someone fall in love with her? So it was like madly in love. And this woman was in Berlin. And I was in Vienna and like pining for her, and she was very cool wound. She was just she was just very cool, and it was very much. Oh, and so she had a plan to try and seal the deal, she was in Berlin. And I was going to kidnap her or lure to Moscow with me. And it was going to be like a turning point in our relationship shows going to go back to Moscow with me for new years and never leave. So this is your plan. This was my plan. I'm already rooting for you. Thank you. Picked her up in Bratislava. We drove to Moscow through the snow as it turns out epochs new on the week long road to Russia every place we tried to stop every hotel was closed because it was Christmas. My the only one imagining them both in giant for hats. And so we had to keep driving through the snow and she didn't drive. So I was driving. Oh, my windshield wipers, stop working. So I had to ask her to hang out the window and gave cleaning this off of my windshield. By the time, we got to Moscow my car finally choked on all the gasoline that we'd been filling up with in Ukraine like we had to push it the last couple of hundred meters. Oh my God. But I was also just so happy to get to Moscow. Now Masha had picked new years to pull off her lady heist for a reason. So first of all new years is the biggest holiday of the year there New Year's is like our Christmas. But without God the Bolsheviks had nixed. God at the revolution the Russians put up a New Year's tree. What do they call the tree? Golden New Year's trees. Good New Yorker. Thank you. You put presents under it. It's a big family holiday, you generally, gather your clan around you released Christmas, it is. Well, it's except us. News presence and black caviar and good cheer and the whole festive day, always culminating in the same thing. So people usually gather news eve sedan at the table. And then they watched the president's address just before midnight. About the party Adams Vimy who've style a child, this is Boris Yeltsin giving the speech of the year before in front of red square. It happens every year and everyone watches and the speech did had to be perfectly timed. So the president has to finish in time for the clock to strike midnight from the bills and the tower of the Kremlin. I. And this year. This was the big one. I mean, it's so symbolic about the millennium and this country that has never had the peaceful transfer of power before they were supposed to be elections coming in June Yeltsin's term limit was up. But lately he'd been making a lot of people really nervous. He was acting unpredictably. He was getting drunk in public Lexa. Verily southeast. He tried to conduct an orchestra in Berlin during an official visit because he was drunk couldn't happi having to be propped up by his bodyguards because he's so drunk. He can barely walk Masha arrives in Moscow on the thirtieth. And whatever happens with the speech. She will be watching listening to the clocks trait midnight at a party with friends and her new love who will hopefully be so dazzled by the trip and the gesture and Masha that she'll decide to stay in Moscow with her forever and never leave. But there are two schemes foot in Moscow tonight. And this is where the second one comes in. So we went to sleep they oversleep actually and are awoken on the thirty first by a gobsmack her of a surprise. And my phone rang would have been a landline ranked probably I don't know the one o'clock in the afternoon, and it was one of the people with whom were supposed to celebrate new that night, and she called and said, so is the party cancelled. And I said, what do you mean and said because Yeltsin resigned. And I said something to the effect of that being the stupidest prank over. It's not even funny. Would you like that? But it wasn't a prank. It was real Yixin product. Making last minute preparations for their biggest holiday the year. When President Yeltsin made his stunning announcement out of nowhere. Yeltsin pops up on TV in the afternoon almost twelve hours before he was supposed to and says Yeltsin out it looks in. Well, if you juvenile. Swim here decided to resign that he was tired. He said I was naive. I thought that we could resolve legacy. That's how it heroism in a single stroke, and then in the very same breath. Does something kind of totally totalitarian. And then he said that there is a new man a young man that Russians were placing their hopes, and and he didn't want to stand in his way. Yeltsin practically just points at someone and says this guy he's president now, and you're really going to like him. So as a journalist, my reaction was shit. It's near the his just resigned, and I don't understand what's going on. And Masha who was so worried about whether or not her own plan had worked. She would have to switch gears to figure out this one. And this one too would end up changing your life forever because the guy Yeltsin pointed to Vladimir Putin. We're going to go straight to Moscow is our first port of call. And what's been going on Boris Yeltsin stole the headline right out of the old and new millennium and take the dress to the country. He said he had signed papers transferring power to his chosen successor, Vladimir Putin. Eleven fifty six Moscow time, four minutes till midnight. Masha Gessen is watching TV where Yeltsin is supposed to give the traditional New Year's Eve speech. And then this little bureaucrat goes on television. Wouldn't you know, good noon, which Putin appears to give the speech instead he's at a big wooden desk in the Kremlin in front of a Charlie Brown Christmas tree with decorations that for sure just came out of a cardboard box. And someone's attic, he looks comfortable. He's got to go to the bathroom like he's going to get up and bolt and speaks the total bureaucratic language completely to personal. I think everybody was a little shocked, but it didn't take long for Masha to figure out how Yeltsin's plan to pick his own replacement went down Yeltsin's legal term limit had been approaching and he was week not just physically politically. So he was afraid that if the opposition came to power he was going to prosecute for things like illegally dissolving parliament in nineteen Ninety-three, and then showing parliament his own parliament with artillery when they refused to disband and people died, so there's stuff to prosecute him for. So he was looking for somebody. Who would guarantee him immunity from prosecution, and that's how his up on Putin. And then a couple of weeks before New Year's they hatched this plan for Yeltsin to resign early. So that there will be an early election for which no one would have time to prepare and Putin would basically be issue it because the president resigns new elections have to happen ninety days instead of in June. Like, they were supposed to Putin launched his campaign on December thirty first and nobody else was going to be able to watch. There's until mid-january and Putin gets to give the kickoff speech of all kickoff speeches ushering Russia into the third millennium. And leaving zero doubt that he is in control now, then then he goes into the quick sort of speech thing, you know, it's only go you're going to be protected, and it's a real sort of us against the world kind of posture. Where Yeltsin said we did we could and Putin is like we have a fortress. We haven't army. We've dug the trenches and the Russian people buy it. They're in the tough guy talk of strength and stability it resonates. But not for Masha. I just really want people to understand what a threat he was in the presence. Did you understand? Then how much your future in Russia would change based on what had happened that day? I I don't think I understood it fully. But you know, that said I think I was going to have to leave the country. I didn't think that twelve years later, he was going to make homophobia, the cornerstone of his politics. And that was like the last thing my mind. She getting into. Shin. But that's the future. Still just a feeling. She has as she watches the speech on TV at her New Year's party with the woman, she loves unsure it's cold outside. But it's warm in here and the vodka makes it more. So the lights on the New Year's tree and old hangs on. And all that good stuff. How is the party that night? I remember I was so happy. I was like so madly in love that was the biggest thing which probably brings you to your question about what happened with my project of having them. Remember, this all started when Masha stole her love interest from Berlin. And drove a Moscow for New Year's hoping gesture would be an irresistible beginning to romance. So worked out it does does she stayed in Moscow with me and oh wonderful. But Tober two thousand one we had two kids. Oh my gosh. You weren't screwing around. They're very large people. Gosh. Not doing. As they watch Putin finishes speech that night. It's going to snow them vehicle. He times it perfectly. As the bills in the Kremlin announced the new millennium in an even newer Russia. December thirty first nineteen ninety nine Masha senses. Big changes are coming to Russia. But she didn't know just how close to home they would head. We asked Masha to come into the studio to talk to us about it. That's coming up after the break. Nancy is supported by Showtime and the critically acclaimed series, the shy the heart and soul of Chicago southside lies in its community. But when your world is a daily struggle just to get by can you rise up and realize better tomorrow created an executive produced by proud LGBTQ, advocate, an EMMY winner, Lena waste and academy. Award winner comment the new season of the shy your Sunday, April seven at ten pm only on Showtime to try a free month of Showtime, go to Showtime dot com and enter code Nancy. This offers for first time subscribers only and expires may six twenty nineteen. And we're back. All right. So new year two thousand Masha Gessen is starting a new family with the woman in Russia mashes had a really complicated relationship with Russia. She was born there and she immigrated to the US with her parents when she was fourteen her parents thought they'd be safer from anti-semitism in the US, but when the Soviet Union collapsed Masha move back to Russia in nineteen Ninety-one to cover the country at a time of a men's change today. Russia's known for being incredibly anti-gay, but in those first years after Putin took over being lesbian. Couple wasn't something Masha in her partner had to hide in my case. It would have been very difficult to hide anything. Like the first time. I went back to Russia in nineteen ninety one the largest newspaper in the country printed on his front page an article Lisbon's coming to this feminist conference, which is. So like never been not wildly publicly out. I'm not sure. But in a way, it was very uneventful. I mean, it was will before the anti-gay campaign began it was like a dozen years before and sue queer people were just not part of public consciousness at what point did you start to feel the turn that maybe things were changing twenty eleven I guess, I was the of a very large glossy magazine and rather prominent Russians claimed that I and my team engaged in homosexual propaganda and forced upon them in foreign western values, and I didn't feel at all oppressed by this. I just thought it was weird. If non-threatening it's built nonthreatening and at filling otherworldly in very bizarre, which which only just tells you what? Did I was because because then like about a year later, it's so clearly flipped because laws against so-called homosexual propaganda were passed I in Saint Petersburg, the second largest city, and then on the federal level is that when you started thinking that this was not a joke. This is happening. Yes. Yeah. I had like like sort of a moment of instant conversion and freak out from thinking that it was ridiculous to thinking that. This was really scary in these laws when they refer to homosexual propaganda gay propaganda to them what constitutes gay propaganda. Well, those kinds of laws, and that's a great question because those kinds of laws are always created for random unforced -ment. So you can't actually tell what it is. But this is a law that actually enshrined second class citizenship. Do you have a sense of why the loss started popping up around twenty eleven twenty twelve like? What was it that changed that suddenly that was a thing? So to those in two thousand twelve was when the protest movement anti-putin protest movement to cold there were mass protests all over the country as Putin was coming back in as president. After taking a sorta break, I think the Pusan was really scared of the protests and the goal was to paint the protesters as other. And an anti queer campaign was very handy for that. Because it was queer baiting. The protesters and basically calling them queer immediate position them as other as imported from the west as enemies and also signifying everything that had changed since the Soviet Union collapsed. If you wanted to go back to an imaginary past and not be faced by old anxiety that the present and the protests caused you then you had to fight against people. So you you ended up leaving the country about a year after you've out to fight the administration on these issues. What brought you to that moment. What brought you to that decision? So parallel with the passage of the propaganda law. They passed another law which went into effect a week later was banned adoptions by same sex couples. What that meant was that it defacto created a mechanism for removing adopted kids from same sex families. And there was an article in once again, the largest paper in the country the pointed out that I had an adopted child. So my son just had to leave the country mmediately. So the law was passenger eighteenth. It was going into effect a week later June twenty third he was on a plane to go to the United States. Wow. Because it was very clear that we're going to be targeted under that law cheese. We had a going away party all his friends all these kids that hit known his entire life. You know, he was two years old night upset him everybody came. And there was a sense that he might never see them. Again. It was just awful. So once shipped our son off, it was kind of a no brainer. So now that you and your family are in New York. How is your life? Like now compared to what you thought your life was going to be like before you had to leave. Well. It's really nice to not be a country that's constantly hostile to both as equipped person and a journalist. I miss my friends a lot that shows for myself in life in Russia were you for much more intimate kind of social relationships. We're like I had this dodge of this house outside the city were our group of friends would just congregate pretty much every weekend. And we would just spend the entire weekend together. Susan, you know, it's a completely you can't really magin Americans doing that on a regular basis. Just kind of getting off the grid for two days every week and having a social occasion that lasts for date hours. Socializing in intimacy are apportioned much more precisely in America, especially oh my gosh. In New York. I cancel if the train five minutes late. I don't know if I could spend a weekend with you Tobin, just like the grid. Grid. A lot maybe challenging. But I think that one of the great things about being queries that we invent our families and invent ways of creating community and can ship. I think of that is not some kind of exceptional weird arrangement. But as actually exactly the kind of thing that people do the first time you left Russia. You were at a similar age or around the same age as when your kids also left Russia. Oh, yes. Yes. I thought that it was really remarkable the one of the most difficult things I've ever been through was emigrating as a teenager. So I decided to subject my two teenage children to exactly horrible experience. So I would say no, you're what you're going through. And there's no you don't. I have no idea. Do you ever hope that you can go back and live in Russia? That is such a totally American. No, I think that if you agreed back you don't like go away to sit things out. You don't put your life on hold to accommodate another political reality. So if I live here, I live here. Basha Gessen's Y2._K story was produced by Dan bear ski and Henry Milwaukee special thanks to Daniel Guilmette for editing episode credits. Production fellow been lay editor Stephanie Joyce sound designer Jeremy bloom executive producer Tobin low. I'm Cathy to Nancy is a production of WNYC studios.
The Anatomy Of Autocracy: Masha Gessen
"This moment of anticipation as like the come. That settled after all hopes have died. Nineteen thirty three when she was twenty seven years old writer and philosopher. Hannah arendt was forced to flee germany. For france as the nazis rose to power and autocrats ascended worldwide in an ever changing incomprehensible world. The masses had reached the point where they would at the same time. Believe everything and nothing think that everything was possible and that nothing was true on our end road. Buyout the preconditions for creating a tolerant movement. Nothing perhaps illustrates the general disintegration of political life better than the vache pervasive hatred of everybody and everything withdrawing from the disarmament conference resigning from the league of nations. It has had. The rose knows fresh. She talked about mass displacement. She talked about economic anxiety. The hatred consequently turned in all directions. Haphazardly and unpredictably german. Jews lost their citizenship. They lost the right even to call themselves german. She also thought that imperialism and they semitism what i would say. Racism are essential elements. It has built against also has to be a sense of of anxiety about losing status in which people don't feel like clear identity. It is only natural that these masses in the first helplessness of the new experience have tended toward and especially violent nationalism needing the call of somebody who says you know. We're going to show them these people who don presents us eight hundred thousand of ending heel-to-heel waiting bureaus finals week. We're going to restore their system. Every tony's tom hana was forced to leave europe for new york city speeches. I mean a battle for the future of the world had begun. Factuality itself depends for its continued existence upon the existence of the non-totalitarian world. I'm routine at louis. I'm random and on this episode of through line from npr the anatomy of autocracy on You could never predict the particulars you know. I never could have imagined guy in pajama pants and horns walking around the capital. A few weeks after the insurrection at the us capitol and just a week. After the inauguration of a new president there russian-born journalist. Monica gessen writes for the new yorker and focuses on autocratic regimes among other things is still thinking about how the united states ended up here with its democracy under attack. We had a president who was very clearly inciting political violence for years and also president who had the election voice casting doubt consistently on the election. Basically telling people that it was going to be stolen no matter what. So while i'm shocked. I'm not at all surprised. And the words of hannah arendt the writer political theorist and philosopher who lived through world war two and much of the cold war had been swirling around in. Mahesh's mind the person who defined talibanism totalitarian movements in the sense that we understand them. Hana arend bush. What she thought was possible anywhere. The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not convinced. Nazi are the convinced communist. Shouldn't think it was somehow specific to germany and the soviet union but people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction and the distinction between true and false. No longer exist. There has been a lot of discussion lately about how words like tally. -tarian insurrection autocrat feel un-american something that plagues other places not here but masha says that any country can become an autocracy talker. See is the power of one person. Unchecked by elected officials unchecked by the courts unchecked by the media unaccountable to the public in other words authoritarian regimes. in which. Nothing and no one can stand in the way of their power. Masha has written several books. Digging into the anatomy of autocracy including one called surviving autocracy and another called the future is history. How totalitarianism reclaimed russia and liked him at the snyder. A historian we talked to last week. Masha says there are no one to one parallels in history but there are some symptoms and patterns which people like hana ren observed. That can help us contextualized. What we're seeing today so in this episode. We're gonna look how and why countries make the transition to autocracy the role. The media plays and how the stories we tell about our past factor into all of that. I i as a chance calling from austin texas. You're listening to through from npr. Love your shows keep up. The good work thinks this message comes from. Npr sponsor capital one. Welcome to banking reimagined capital. One checking and savings accounts have no fees or minimums and top-rated banking app. That lets you manage your money anytime anywhere. Check on the account. Balance deposit checks pay bills and transfer money on the go. This is banking reimagined. What's in your wallet capital one. Na member if you're never quite sure how to answer the question why are you. Npr's rough translation might be the podcast for you. Yes fine why someone else. Give us your accents and your origin. Stories your cross cultural misfits yearning to just be and listen to rough translation from npr. During the many years that masha gessen's spent living in russia reporting on among other things. The rise of vladimir putin the spent a lot of time thinking about how a country morphs into an autocracy. How one person the ruler. The autocrat comes to control everything and short. There's no playbook but autocratic regimes throughout history do seem to share a few things in common and tend to develop in three stages autocratic attempts autocratic breakthrough an autocratic consolidation so autocratic attempt is the stage when it is still possible to reverse the autocratic through electoral means. An autocrat comes to an aspiring. Have come so far and has to find ways of carrying out an agenda and creating the preconditions for autocratic power with a set of existing institutions institutions like the courts the media congress or parliament. And so what we see usually is on the one hand. The tax on the credibility of the institutions on the other hand the use of institutional weaknesses to make them pliable and to make them part of the autocratic attempts and then of course we see a lot of public lying right where nothing is true. Were everything is possible where there's a kind of informational hayes. And that's part of. What makes it possible to then us. Institutions every which way and at some point comes to autocratic breakthrough which is when their structural changes that make it impossible to unseat autocrats electorally now. These countries continue to elections is just those elections can have an impact on autocratic power for a variety of reasons. Electoral rules change. The media are taking over. Or you know they come under autocratic domination. There's massive voter disenfranchisement. There's you know the rigging of the counting votes and then the The last out of credit consolidation when the auto patas firmly in power and starts consolidating that power and a mask thing more wealth and more power We are at a stage of possible autocratic breakthrough we've lived through in arctic radic attempts for four years and donald trump has been trying to station autocratic breakthrough. That's the stage that we're taking zooming out for a second house away from institutions and to the lives that people are living in this country that conditions in which they're living under there's been a lot made about The historical trend of white supremacy in america and the kind of ethnic tensions that have existed here but given the fact that we're in a pandemic that economic stressors are hitting the american people at unprecedented levels. How much do you think those outside. Factors poverty The pandemic kind of chaos in information. And the way people access information Lay the groundwork for catala terry movement. Well that's exactly that is exactly the crown to tell it. I think very much. See that in the united states now Another person i'm thinking eric. From a social psychologist from as ecologist talked more about things -iety and served it coming sense of of a terrifying future. The inability of into the future in which one doesn't have a place and again this is the sort of sense of lack of belonging. Ooh and wanting somebody who comes to and says it. Could you give over agency. And i'm going to give you certainty and that's and that's a comfort ain't right like that's such a comforting thought when you're in the midst of all the chaos somebody somebody promises to be in charge. Evil comes from failure sink. It defies thought. I soon as thought tries to engage itself with ego and examine the premises and principles from which it originates. It is frustrated because it finds nothing there that is the banality of evil. One of the ideas. That i'm you've written about when it comes to hinder is This idea of the banality of evil right and and sort of this indifference that kind of develops between the people who are in positions of power. The kind of elite and then the people who are part of the movement that they're creating and suffering a lot of the consequences of the actions of those in power and i wonder if that's what we're seeing in some ways In the us when she wrote about taliban movements and mass movements and she is the boards. Mass mob She actually wrote about temporary alliances between elites in the masses the temporary alliance between the elite and the mop rested largely on the genuine delight with which the former watch the letter destroy respectability. So what we're seeing now is not at all new. Should she described that exact thing where like we have the elites calling on the masses to mobilize them to sort of bring them into demand representation from people that she'll have left them out of politics while they leads have not been left out of politics. The true goal of totalitarian propaganda is not persuasion but organization the accumulation of power without the possession of the means of violence. What convinces masses are not fat and not even invented facts but only the consistency of the system of which they are presumably part and of course what we saw during the insurgency in the wake of the insurgency is the extent to which the system actually does represent those people in which it does see them as part of itself otherwise. We wouldn't have been able to see them enter the capital and nearly takeover and come within a harris breath of actually physically by force usurping power something that that a large crowd of people who are other to that power wouldn't have been able to do they just wouldn't have been able to get so physically close. I'm having trouble ravi. My brain around the fact that many leaders to teheran leaders of the past they Articulated ideology or vision for the future and in the case of donald trump. That doesn't seem to be the case. I at least cannot discern a cohesive ideology or vision for the future. How do you think that's become so appealing in so effective despite not having it. Yeah you know i I'm a huge skeptic where it comes to talk of ideology interesting. I think that in general sort of historians have a particular built in bias. Historians work with text text exists to create stories stories. give us ideologies. give us purpose. Give us meaning retroactively. If you read for example Diaries of nazi germany of which there are many you will see over and over. People saying hitler has ideology It's a hodgepodge of half baked ideas. He keeps changing his positions based on in woohoo talking to both hitler and stalin held promises of stability in order to hide. The intention of creating a state of permanent instability aren't saw hitler's ideology and shit. She wrote about ideology lot. But not in a way. That you probably would intuitively imagine. Stir at about ideology. Didn't write about ideology as a coherent thinking or as a system as a world view she wrote about ideology as definitely a bad thing as a kind of unthinking system. The last century has produced an abundance of ideologies. That pretend to be kice to history but i but desperate efforts to escape responsibility and she broke down the word ideology into into its component parts. One idea taken to its logical extreme to derive from this thinking the laws of history of history is inexorably moving in that direction. Then then we can help history along and so they see themselves as agents of history. So then they go. Start ago about exterminating the other masses. Because the laws of history dictate that that in the case of germany the idea that the aryan race would come to rule the world few ideologies have enough prominence to survive the hot competitive struggle of persuasion and only to have come out on top and essentially defeated all other the ideology which interprets history as an economic struggle of classes and the other that interprets history as a natural fight off races. Great masses of people will no longer accept a presentation of past or present facts. That it's not an agreement with either of these fuse. so do we have something comparable now retroactively. If god forbid it's a taliban movement takes power in the united states we can retroactively some kind of ideology to it. We will be able to spend arrive at later right. What does make america great again. Mean gets to the point where we're arrived in gaza history of might mean you know make america smaller make a smaller in the sense of like the concept of who belongs in orissa process that we very much saw during the four years of trump's presidential charm rate In will there be more. Violence turned against emigrants people who were not born. And these are the really immediate dangerous that i that i sees coming out of this detail. Taliban movement and then looking back at them this is like the really just open And of prediction but in looking back in half a century from now with may be able to sail. Oh you know. This was like an anti immigrant to tell turn ideology. Many of us have a sense that we're living through a historical moment. What we don't know is how that history will be recorded. How generations will read our present. Our ideologies come back. Masha gessen breaks down the role. The media plays in shaping those stories we tell about ourselves and how an autocrat can use that to their advantage. Hi this is jose from chicago. And you're listening to through line from i-love-you guy support for npr and the following message. Come from better help. Offering online counseling. Better help therapist. Has you joe. Explains the importance of creating a safe space for therapy. I can't tell you how many times i've had clients that. Say that expression. Like i've never told to anybody. That's when i know. I've made some kind of momentous move with this person. They feel safe enough to expose that part of themselves and doing that together with somebody else can be very powerful to get matched with a counselor within forty eight hours and save ten percent. Go to better help dot com slash through line. We are still in the middle of this pandemic and right now having science news just from very to vaccines is essential. Npr shortwave has your back about ten minutes every weekday. Listen and subscribe to shortwave the daily science podcast from npr these days the quote unquote media is a term thrown around a lot often with some side i attached to it and it can mean a lot of things cable. Tv news radio newspapers social networks. Podcasts masha the media. As a whole is a prime target for an autocrat. An effective tool to expand their power and weakened democratic institutions traditionally one media were more structure would have seen Autocrats tried to take over media right. And that's what we saw. In russia for example for years the kremlin and the media it controls have waged a multifaceted information and disinformation campaign. both inside russia and pointed it's perceived adversaries woodson over television first and then like local television and then in the to the point where there's nothing left but more contemporary approach is to come to dominate. The information's fear in leading social media. And whatever else might come along but Your doesn't mean necessarily that the status controlling media through censorship or even through economic pressure. But it just means that in our case it was all donald trump all the time even though there was a lot of great investigative journalism happening and certainly people were digging deep the information sphere as a whole but dominated by his tweets and his his constant sort of knows making lashing out on twitter with claims about a victory. That does not yet. No no no no. He says he won in the eyes of the fake news media. This was a rigged election. How much does that have to do with the business model because other the you pointed out examples of where some central party or person and controlling media in this situation we have in us. It's almost like the business model of media that's been developed over the last twenty thirty years fit perfectly for donald trump's approach in that the outrageous things he said her then disseminated through social media in. Everyone focuses on that because the view is. That's what's getting people to click. That's what's getting audience to come in that drives prophets and That is almost seems like a kind of unholy marriage between american good old fashioned american capitalism or business interest and donald trump's ability to manipulate that structure. So it seems like a different strange kind of same effects in the. It's an immediate like different mechanism by which is happening. It's a different mechanism. But it's i mean look. We have something that we think of which talk about as essential to democracy a as being the fourth branch of government the media the printed media and then we'll leave it to profit making corporations that are early what we call self regulated which is another way of saying unregulated. And then we're surprised when we get really bad results because they're functioning in accordance with their incentives and other incentives of democracy. I mean we don't tell congress to rent out rooms. In the capital to sustain its business of making legislation we fund the courts and pay judges salaries and make clear set of rules by which the courts function a. These are branches of democracy that we see as part of government and then there's the swan out there and especially in the american mindset right. This idea that it can't possibly be government. Funded can't possibly be regulated or else. It will be an infringement on freedom of speech but i would much rather than negotiates the terms of existence of the media with other americans and hold the people who are enforcing those germs accountable through electoral and institutional mechanisms fans. And you know this is a very simple point. But i think a powerful one that there's a media scholar named barbara zeller. Who makes it look you know. The media can exist without democracy. Democracy can't exist without the media. But if you think that through you realize that you know the media as their currently constituted you don't actually have a vested interest in existential interest in maintaining democracy. I mean it's a it's a cynical but very fair depiction of of the industry that we are a part of it can be uncomfortable to think about it in these terms but i mean the truth is like drought the Area you see very I think it's fair to say simplistic narratives emerged around things. It makes me think back to something you said about sort of how we retroactive. We create new some of these histories. Because i feel like the media's on the front lines of helping to create some of these new realities whether intentionally or not. And i wonder how you see that factoring into everything that's been happening in the last few weeks and something that won't necessarily what up at this point right. There's no incentive for the media to not continue to do the same thing it's been doing well. i think there are a bunch of different things. Going on there is There's a very long term process of kind of deterioration of political discourse in american media the losers who the weird ritual of substance lowest debates kind of assumption that the media are sort of observers to do the electoral process in not it's central heart rate and we don't have another way for candidates to reach out to voters other than through broadly speaking to the media and yet the did seem to think of themselves as as kind of sports commentators in the whole process. It's election night in america and a nation in crisis is at a crossroads. We're counting down to the first exit polls and the first results is our coverage begins now nation and we don't see substantive conversations about politics both as this kind of idea that there's sports commentaries but also just the public is stupid that she can have serious in-depth content That she have to present everything in the most reductive way possible. The battle of the president's is back and it's getting downright nasty. Former president obama using a virtual commencement speech to take this cheap shot at president trump over his leadership during the pandemic but trump was ready to fire back. That's a very long trip. That really has almost nothing to do with volume. Then there's what's happened to us during the trump data that i actually think is not very much. The media's false but part of the problem of having a lying president Who doesn't act like the president because it's extremely difficult for for journalists to maintain a the sort of mutually contradictory positions of respecting the office and not respecting man. It's very difficult to report on things that don't make sense that he has said a real life consequences so you know inject yourself with bleach kind of thing right. You can't not report on it because it's having consequences when you do reporter to amplify you'll legitimize that you normalize it and that i think is almost an inevitable situation. The totalitarian mosquitoes best that propaganda on the correct psychological assumption that under such conditions one could make people believe the most fantastic statements one day and trust that if the next day they will give an irrefutable proof of their falsehood. They would take refuge in cynicism. There's no good way of covering allying president. And eventually any kind of coverage served normalize it because it has become normal right as administer very kind of circular then instead of deserting the leaders who had lied to them. They would protest that they had known all along that the statement was ally and would admire the leaders for the superior technical cleverness and then the third thing is this. The sort of the clicks the rush to report the first tweet the very prophets driven model that the trump has so ably weaponized in. If we had a different business model we could say no. We're not going to be. The first to report is tweets. We're just going to decide as meteoric musician ex that already. And a half as like super thoughtful on contextualized analysis. That's probably going to come out of twenty four to seventy two hours after the fact and until that happens you can keep listening to through line just getting when we come back. Masha reflects on where we go from here. And how a democracy can recover from an autocratic attempt. I'm andrew listen to through line. Npr this is my fourth or hook. That was good As a great job Perhaps for my favorite podcasts support for npr comes from newman's own foundation working to nourish the common good by donating all profits from newman's own food products to charitable organizations that seek to make the world a better place. More information is available at newman's own foundation dot org the outstanding negative quality of the totalitarian elite is it never stops to think about the world as it really is and never compact the lies with reality back when hannah arendt fled europe. She was witnessing a wave of autocratic rulers emerging across the world most notably hitler-stalin and mussalini. There was like a contagion once unleashed hard to contain and masha. Gessen says what we're seeing in the us today might be a part of another wave Than at a says is definitely or of a worldwide trend. There's an old saying. Never let a crisis go to waste and for some leaders around the world. The pandemic has been the crisis they've been waiting for. One of those countries is hungry. The far right has been gaining. Ground in europe and italy is no exception. For time. brazil's president jade will scenario was suppressing his urge to lash out a journalist but now the trees with the media has just ended and this is something that's very difficult for americans to grasp and actually grateful for the world to grasp. Parliament approved the emergency bill on monday. By chief that's majority effectively. Suspending its own powers. It allows the government to bypass democratic institutions in its response to the coronavirus outbreak as fanatics. I had a conversation recently. Would age hungarian journalist the editor of the one remaining independent publication. in hungary media freedom organizations complained that most of the hungarian media is either managed or owned by people loyal to the government and we found ourselves talking about the advantages that the united states has over hungary vanishes that hungary has had over the united states. and he. that's so ridiculous like every time we we say that phrase the since. Oh we're right. You have tiny hungary. That's very used to thinking of itself as kind of backwater and always smaller than read and And the united states on the other hand. There is no direct comparison. Obviously all of these autocrats or aspiring pratt's have their particular traits and quirks. But i think israel provides a better comparison for years. Israel's rowdy politics have balanced constitutional promises to jewish and democratic today. Lawmakers gave jews the exclusive right to self-determination critics say it's a betrayal to the country's declaration of independence which ensured equal rights to all of the country's resonance and visit the arab minority according the law racist and verging on apartheid. The nation state law. Israel is a country that has an idea itself as a democracy. And we've seen autocratic rule arise there despite existing institutions that were supposed to be providing checks on the on the power of the prime minister. Prime minister benjamin. Netanyahu has one base. Jd election security record fifty office the closely contested race in this is a country where you have fourteen million people and by that i mean you know the entire territory by israel not not what's legally israel but of those fourteen million five million art complete legally disenfranchised right they don't have political rights they don't have freedom of movement they have severely limited land rates Five million people don't have citizenship so you can't talk about a country as being democratic when systematically disenfranchises dominates limits the rights of a very large minority of its subjects. I think have very powerful. People have interest staying putin not moving. And so we're stuck and the thing is that and this is i think important when i talk about democracy. I think it's a direction. At countries either. Becoming more down credit cards becoming less entries becoming less democratic it will eventually affect all of the people who live in the country. Something is either expanding or is getting smaller and smaller the closer you are to the margins. The faster your affected the greater the impact on your freedoms and your ability to live and then the closer you are to the center of power. The later you're going to be affected by this flesh eating machine but it will get you home every end in history necessarily contains a new beginning this beginning the promise the only message which the end can ever produce beginning before it becomes a historically and as the supreme capacity of men politically. it is identical with man's freedom given that this Insurrection failed And some people might call it. A coup attempt failed. How does a country respond to this kind of Aggressive attempts to undermine the democracy could do away with it a piece of democratic process. What lessons can we learn about. How either harsh were lenient Societies have come down on this kind of attempts before. I don't think it's a question of whether there's sponsors harsher lenient. I think it's a question of whether there's responses a centralized and y- deep right And what i mean is that I think the worst thing that can happen is a hundred different troubles in hundred courts of one hundred different people. We have to think of it. I think as an attempted coup which means to think about its center it's vertical organization and to have a single process that examines it. Not a hundred different trials and that you know that that may be a a senate trial. It may be a national commission. It may be a combination of those things. But i think it's super important to tell e deep and detailed story like the story told by the nine eleven commission but the nine eleven commission was largely a lot of its work was done behind closed doors it was not explicitly process. This has to be explicitly an open process and In in some ways that's need runs counter to such american political culture which is about moving on dwelling of reaching across the aisle. Whatever but. I don't think that's tenable at at this point. Early tried to remind people to think about societies as as as as people are a lot of people and But if society were person this one has a deep deep whether you think of it as a physical wound or as psychic wound We don't move on like put a band aid on it and pretended never happened one. We have wounds because they don't get infected and you don't get worse it will get infected or if if we think of as a psychic wound you know it will get us later. The trauma of it will show its ugly face when we're most vulnerable and make us unable to function and so we do the work of addressing that trauma because otherwise we'll be in deep trouble in the future and when you figure the wound what is that wound for us for us as a country right now that we have to sort of figure out a way to patch up Well one part of the country has done. Grave wants to another part of the country. Some of that violence has been physical and some of that. Violence has been secondary But at this point you know we're talking about a an accumulated huge amount of violence. Another way to think about of course the the very at this obvious. Problem of two parts of the country living into non overlapping realities and again. We can't pretend that we can go on walking with like With the divided brain. That's untenable that's not healing. It's just continuing to dwell on a crazy place. There's almost this like visceral reaction. Some people have to even the using the word healing right like that. This needs to just be sort of rooted out and it's just that way you're saying is there. There has to be a public accounting. There has to be a sort of mission that like we as a nation. Do not stand for this. But without maybe Implicating the seventy million people who voted for trump. that they're not necessarily the same as the people who actually watkinson capital of yes. Absolutely i think the endpoint of this process has to be okay. Something really awful has occurred and has divided as but if we are to be one nation we have to first settle on a story that makes sense to us about what has happened which is not the case but once we have that story once it is a common narrative which is you know. It's not terribly likely but it's our only chance. Then we can start thinking about ourselves as one nation again. Masha gessen is better for the new yorker. Their latest book is called surviving. Autocracy is nothing new under the sun. People back then just like us today on the next episode of through line. This is one of what i would. Call history's great mysteries. The story of civilization collapsed three thousand years ago. Just somebody run around going. Oh my god. The sky is falling. You know sir chicken little. I don't see any indication that they knew their whole system was collapsing. And what it can tell us about our world today. Life is they had known it. That was the good old days. You don't want to miss this. That's it for this week's show. I'm ron tina dob louis. I'm rhonda data and you've been listening to through line from npr. This episode was produced by me and me and jamie york lawrence. Woo lane calvin levinson. Julie came victor visas. Parts shah backtracking for this episode was done by kevin voelkel. Thank you to. Miriam schultz for her voice over work. Thanks also to ethan parks. Yulon this sanguinetti beth. Donovan an on your grandmother. Our music was composed by ramtane and his band drop electric which includes anja meson show. Would you are navy marvi. Also next month through line trivia is back. We're celebrating black history month. With three rounds of trivia inspired by some of our favorite line episodes. Join us and our trustee co host. Terry simon on thursday february eleventh at eight pm eastern. Rsvp and find all the info you need a npr presents dot org thanks to the history channels the food that builds america for their support of this event. See you there and as always if you have an idea or something you heard on the show email us at through line at npr dot org or hit us up on twitter at through line npr. Thanks for listening. I special thanks to the estate of samir. Nageeb for helping to support this podcast before we go. We just want to mention one last thing. Npr is releasing a photo book called pictures on the radio. A collection of photographs taken by the late david gilkey. You was an incredible photographer. Who was killed on assignment for npr in afghanistan in two thousand sixteen. You can buy the book at your local bookstore on amazon or shop at npr dot org.
Democracy Now! 2021-06-16 Wednesday
"From new york this stis democracy now with him. he's bright and i have found that He is a as they say. We used to play ball. A worthy adversary president. Fighting and russian president vladimir putin are meeting in geneva for a high stakes summit between the two worlds largest nuclear powers. Nickelodeon generally agree with them. Indeed there are some issues amongst you'll interests strategic stability which conflicts concern from environmental global sense. These are the issues in which we can really work. We'll spend the hour with russian american journalist. Masha gessen author of surviving autocracy and the man without a face the unlikely rise of lot of mir putin all that and more coming up welcome to democracy now democracy now dot org the quarantine report. I'm amy goodman president. Biden's meeting with russian president vladimir putin and high stakes summit in geneva right now for their first face to face meetings since biden took office representatives. Both leaders said they expect cybersecurity nuclear stability the climate crisis syria the iran nuclear deal afghanistan ukraine and the korean peninsula to be on the agenda and possibly the case of imprison nationalist opposition leader alexei. Navalny the two heads of state will then give separate press conferences ahead of the meeting biden said the us is not looking for confrontation with russia will have more on this after headlines. We the hour with masha. Gessen award winning russian-american author and staff writer at the new yorker israeli forces shot dead a palestinian woman and a town northeast of jerusalem earlier today. She's identified as twenty nine year old math on a doctoral student. The israeli military claimed attempted to ram her car into a group of soldiers local media report. No ambulance was sent to care for her after she was shot the killing came the day after. Israel launched overnight air raids on gaza for the first time since the ceasefire with hamas was declared in may following a brutal eleven day bombardment of the gaza strip. No casualties have been reported. The israeli military said it's air raid came in response to fire. Balloons launched from the basij gaza strip earlier in the day. At least seventeen. Palestinians were arrested as they protested. The ultra nationalist israeli march of the flags taking place unoccupied rousselin. Some participants in that march chanted death to arabs. And may your village burned down. This is palestinian ligo activists and protester free trash. A day should stop all the expert israeli in the settlers by entering alexa mosque and jerusalem. The capital of the palestinian state. We're telling jerusalem and the pru slim residents that you're not going and they should be an end to all this aggression by israeli occupation in front of the whole world new york and california both once epicenters of the coronavirus pandemic lifted most of their remaining restrictions as infections continue to fall. And it's over. Seventy percent of adults in both states have received at least one dose of a covid nineteen vaccine individual businesses will still be able to decide whether to keep their own health measures in place. The senate has unanimously approved legislation. That would make juneteenth. The day commemorating the end of slavery in the united states. A federal holiday. The celebration dates back to the last days of the civil war. When union soldiers landed in galveston texas june nineteenth eighteen five with news that the war had ended and slaves were free. The measure will now have to pass the house before it can be enacted into law. Lawmakers celebrated the historic move but some cold for further action democratic new york congressman jamaal. Bowman tweeted quote. The senate continues to be behind the times. Juneteenth has been holiday for well over one hundred years. Let's bring the senate into modern times and get unanimous consent on abolishing the jim crow filibuster in texas republican governor. Greg abbott has signed a controversial bill. Into law that prohibits educators from teaching about the history and social impacts of systemic racism in the united states law also bans teaching of the new york times sixteen thousand nine project for which creator nicole. Hannah jones was awarded a pulitzer prize. Texas joined several other states including arkansas and north carolina that have passed legislation banning the teaching of critical race theory since the police murder of george floyd last year teachers across the country have been protesting the enactment of such legislation which they've compared to jim crow laws democratic house members corey bush and bonnie watson coleman introduced a bill tuesday that would decriminalize all drug procession and put in place a quote. Health centered approach missouri. congress member bush said quote. it's time to put wellness and compassion head of trauma and punishment in somalia. At least fifteen people were killed in a suicide bombing in the capital. Mogadishu the attack reportedly targeted recruit citizen mali. Army training camp at least twenty others were wounded al-shabaab later claimed responsibility for the attack. This comes as the pentagon's working on a proposal to deploy dozens of special forces trainers to somalia to help. Local officials combat bob in january former president trump withdrew some seven hundred troops from somalia in hungary. Human rights advocates are denouncing new anti. Lgbtq legislation passed by lawmakers yesterday that bans media advertisers and other outlets from showing children any content that portrays gay lesbian bisexual or transgender. People and prohibits teaching about lgbtq issues that the schools. The far right party of hungarian. Prime minister viktor. Orban introduced legislation which was attached to a bill. That more strictly penalize this child abuse opponents of the legislation of compared it to russia's so called gay propaganda law enacted in two thousand thirteen human rights watch said. The law is a cynical attacked by the ruling party on the human dignity of lgbt people for political gain by falsely associating harmful illegal behavior with people authorities invite hostility hatred against them fuelling homophobia and transphobia. They said after the largest expedition ever to the north pole researchers say arctic ice is receding faster than ever before and that we may have already passed the point of no return. Global heating the exposition's leader marcus. Rex presented the team's findings. Tuesday chemo's his team gets us. There are several tipping points in the climate system launch lead to reverse sudden changes which are triggered when the planet and reaches a certain temperature. We have seen that. We are on the verge of that that might lead to the disappearance of the ice. The of back in the united states water and land defenders and minnesota or continuing resistance actions against nba just line three pipeline on tuesday activists blockaded a semi truck loaded with drilling equipment lying on the ground and attaching themselves to the vehicle. At least thirty people were arrested. Tuesday this came a day. After a minnesota court appeal the state approval of the pipelines expansion. The native led group honor. The earth said quote line. Three is a clear violation of human rights and cultural rights to live as nash. Nabi people promised in the eighteen fifty five treaty president biden. Stop lying three. They said to see our interview with indigenous leader. Winona luke go to democracy now dot. Org president biden named lena con as chair of the federal trade commission after the senate confirmed her earlier in the day khan a prominent critic of big tech. She wrote a widely held paper on the failure of antitrust laws terrain amazon while she was a law student at yale senator elizabeth warren celebrated the news tweeting quote with charleena con at the helm. We have a huge to make big structural change by reviving antitrust enforcement and fighting monopolies that threaten our economy our society and our democracy. Warren said the biden administration announced new measures tuesday to combat domestic terrorism following a review of extremist threats and in light of the january. Six insurrection at the us capitol. The new approach includes hiring more analysts and prosecutors at the justice department and fbi improving communications possible threats between the federal government and local authorities as well as with social media companies attorney. General merrick garland spoke tuesday after the white house plan was released. The two most. We've oh elements of the domestic violence. Extremist threat are racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists and militia. Violent extremists in the fbi's view the top domestic violent extremist threat. Comes from racially or ethnically motivated. Violent extremists specifically those who advocated for the superiority of the white race newly revealed emails show former president. Trump has chief of staff and other aids pushed the justice department to back his false claims of voter fraud and the twenty twenty presidential election. The house oversight committee released the documents. Tuesday which show trump and others began pressuring incoming acting attorney general. Jeffrey rosen just an hour. Before trump announced that william bar would be stepping down as attorney general in immigration news the los angeles times reports the biden administration is planning to expand the program that allows some central american children to reunite with their parents living in the united states under the program i enacted by the obama administration parents from guatemala el salvador and honduras who have legal residency or temporary protected status in the united states can apply for their children to be allowed into the country. This comes as the biden administration continues to detain thousands of unaccompanied refugee children last week. During a visit to guatemala vice-president comma harris warned asylum seekers not to come to the united states janitors maintenance and security workers around the us in the world mark justice for janitors day tuesday and are holding actions all week to demand safety fair pay healthcare immigration reform and respect in the workplace. In miami unionized workers have been on strike since last thursday over low wages pay discrimination and unfair labor practices. This is miami. Janitor walter assuras. We need to work two or three jobs right now. I'm always sleeping four or five hours to be able to support my family. Who fair we want a better quality of life and for them to invest in us in essential workers william vanden heuvel a former diplomat lawyer and advisor to robert f. Kennedy died tuesday in new york city from complications of dementia. At the age of ninety one van and who fought for civil rights include endures time at the justice department from nineteen sixty two to sixty four. He also advocated for better conditions for incarcerated people calling on the media to help shine a light on the failures of the criminal justice system. In one thousand nine hundred seventy two vanden who've wrote quote the right to know in a democracy frequently depends on the demand to know by the media. He is survived by his wife. Has two daughters including katrina vanden who've oh publisher and former editor of the nation magazine and the goldman prize announced. It's twenty twenty one winners recognizing grassroots climate justice activism across the world. The names time on when combating illegal wildlife trade and poaching can mieko harada is climate activists working to halt japan's use of coal beloved. Let a blockade to cancel to propose dams and protected areas of bosnia and herzegovina here in the united states sharon levin activated her community in louisiana to stop a hazardous plastics plant from being built in peru liz. Jk try helped found the jaguars national park which protects more than two million acres of amazon rainforest. And gloria machiko commotto spearheaded a campaign which led the government of allowing to impose a ban on thin plastic subtype of single use plastic. She at tuesday's virtual awards ceremony. Many around the world i- regulating quantities and types of plastics. Could use and us. But we'll still trying in plastic. You mean knit that making policy. Can we need to start making different choices. Different decisions when need to start refusing plastics. It's that reducing all part of the waste and those are some of the headlines this is democracy now democracy now dot org the quarantine report the war and peace report when we come back. President biden and russian president vladimir putin are meeting in geneva for a high stakes summit will spend the hour with the russian american journalist. Masha gessen author of surviving autocracy. And the man without a face. The unlikely rise of ladimir putin she'll speak to us from tbilisi. Georgia stay with us is off. Aw graham all look. I is own everything is going. According to the plan by eager let this is democracy now democracy now dot org the quarantine report the warren peace report. I mean he. Goodman in new york joined by democracy now co host near means heiner mean. I amy and welcome to our listeners and viewers around the country and around the world president biden and russian president vladimir putin are meeting in geneva switzerland for closely watched summit between the world's two largest nuclear powers topics expected to be discussed include nuclear arms cybersecurity syria the iran nuclear deal afghanistan ukraine the korean peninsula the climate crisis putin's crackdown on dissent inside russia. And the us military presence near the russian border biden and putin are expected to meet for four to five hours. But don't plan to hold a joint news conference says former president. Donald trump did with putin when they met three years ago in helsinki finland earlier. This week biden described putin as a worthy adversary. I'm going to make clear to president putin that are areas where we can cooperate. She chooses and if he chooses not to cooperate and acts in a way that he has in the past relative to cybersecurity and some other activities then we will respond. We're responding kind. There need not be. We should decide where it's in our mutual interest in the interest of the world to cooperate to see if we can do that and the areas where we don't agree make it clear what the red lines or i had met with him. He's bright he's tough and i have found that he is a as they say will used to play ball a worthy adversary during a recent interview. Russian president vladimir putin expressed hope the summit would focus in part on areas where the country share mutual concerns. It seems to me. The summit will help to restore contacts is only a direct dialogue function mechanism for action in those areas that are interest there are such interests. They generally agree with them that there are some issues interests. Strategic stability communal conflicts considering environment global sense the issues in which we can really work effectively ahead of the summit presidents biden and poten have faced calls to restart nuclear arms talks. This is beatrice fin head of the nobel peace prize winning. I can the international campaign to abolish nuclear weapons. These two countries i mean they hold over the nine ninety percent of the world's arsenals these two individuals basically have the ability to end the world as we know it and unfortunately we've seen huge deterioration in the relationship between these two countries in the last ten years since obama medvedev negotiated a new start treaty. Things have not improved after that. It's been not so withdraw from bilateral agreements. Hostile where three we've seen a huge modernization and grade of nuclear programs new types of nuclear weapons new missions and an increase of the role of nuclear weapons in these two countries security policies to talk more about the biden putin's summit and now they're issues were joined by the russian american journalist and writer. Masha gessen mashes a staff writer at the new yorker and the award winning author of numerous books including the man without a face. The unlikely rise vladimir putin the future is history hauteur -tarian reclaimed russia and most recently surviving autocracy. Which has just come out in paperback. Masha joins us from tbilisi. The capital of the country of georgia. Welcome back to democracy now masha. Why don't we start off by talking. About the significance of this summit vladimir putin and joe biden meeting in geneva switzerland. We are speaking as they have just sat down. Thank you amy. It's good to be here. I think that this is an event. That's more significant from bladder putin. He the very fact of the summit the the fact that biden is the biden called him a worthy adversary that he called him bright that he's being treated as someone to sit down with and discuss the world. All of these are things that are incredibly valuable to an and they are unfortunately for him an end in itself. He accomplished what he has. Come to geneva for by simply having a summons biden is concerned in the sort of standard american idiom with deliverables with finding areas of common interest. Alone that is alone actually. Trying to negotiate in good faith there are also other significant distinctions between the two men. One is a legitimately elected president and a good faith actor. The other is a dictator who shores up his power by murdering his opponents by jailing his opponents and by rigging elections and dominating the media he is not an illegitimate president. And he's not a good faith. Negotiator and marsha biden is the fifth. Us president that putin will be meeting putin having been in power for over twenty years the longest time that any leader soviet. Russia has been in power since stalin. What do you think putin having said as we. We played earlier that this is the worst point in u s russia relations. Do you think putin thinks anything. Substantive will come out of the summit which is beneficial for russia. So it's a really good point. But here's the fifth. President biden is the fifth president that puts in as meeting with. I think that these two men have very different serve experiences of having the summit for biden. It is quite possibly the only summit. He will ever have with ladder putin putin it's a meeting with a temporary occupant of an office in which there is turnover. It's a stop on an long and ongoing journey. And i think journey that he perceives very much and i think quite accurately as a deterioration of american democracy. And here's another sort of stopover perhaps a pause and the deterioration of american democracy and putin is going to have a talk with the person who's currently occupying the chair right so these are like perceptual very very different things. What does putin want to get out of it. Even more than just the fact of having it you can see how normal mechanisms of participating in the senate have kicked in on the american side and have already given putin a lot of the things that he wants. great biden talking about areas of mutual interest. Biden is talking about discussing the world perhaps discussing the middle east with putin. This reaffirms poussin's something. That's incredibly important to him. Which is the idea that you cannot do things in the world without consulting brush. this is This has been a central theme of his presidency and his consolidation of power he builds it on this nostalgia for the the greatness of the soviet empire of of of From the style. Jeff the superpower and he spent a lot of the early decades in office talking about the ways in which russia had been humiliated by the world in which russia is not consulted. A breaking point in that story of humiliation came six years ago in two thousand fifteen when president. Obama whose vice-president was job. I could not get congressional support for intervention in syria putin stepped in published. An op ed. In the new york times about american exceptionalism and said. I'm going to to help obama's face and i'm going to take care of syrian chemical weapons as a result. We have a shored up or syrians have short up. Assad regime who stepped in and saved aside stay helped assad save his stockpiles of chemical. Weapons and demonstrate. Exactly what happens when the united states enters into any kind of agreement in an area of which both countries assert so biden. Talking about that you know with that We're talking in those terms with that background. Going into the summit is is a little happy moment for putin. A one that comes after a very long time of deterioration of russian make an american relations both during the trump presidency and in the first month of the biden. Persons am i. Could you talk about what you think will be the mutual points of interest as biden indicated earlier this week in the lead up to the talks. He said that he would be open up for example to a reciprocal agreement on the extradition of cyber criminals. Can you talk about the significance of that and what other points of interest in agreement. There may be between the two well. This is a really terrifying a common. The biden may during a briefing couple of days ago when he said that the united states going to raise the issue of possible extradition of criminals or people who are under indictment in the united states and there several dozen people under indictment in the united states for election to parents for hacking and he said that it. there's there's a possibility of mutual agreement there and the united states would consider extraditing people who've committed crimes against russia. And in my mind i could hear the collective gasp of horror on the part of the hundreds and there are hundreds possibly thousands but definitely hundreds of russian dissidents living in exile who many of whom have charges trumped up charges pending against them in russia. And we know the putin regime was going to weaponize and has weaponized in the past interpol warrants and extradition treaties to try to get to return dissidents to russia. So i suspect that the common was made thoughtlessly. But the fact that you've made thoughtlessly two days before. The summit by the president of the united states shows that i think is not terribly will prepare for for for this meeting some respects and and i'm afraid shows that the united states doesn't necessarily have the back of people who oppose the putin regime. I mean this is very interesting. This issue of cyber warfare being elevated to the issue of nuclear warfare for the first time. And you have even biden has not exactly said it's the russian government Who for example has been involved with the sabotaging of various major entities in the united states but criminal entities. They say sometimes that are in russia but they have this ability to attack these private mega corporations. That don't have the necessary protection. Can you talk more about the power that the russian government has. Because that's what biden is while he's not saying it's the government he's saying they have the power to crack down on the criminal organizations within their country and the russian pushed for years for global peace treaty for cyberspace. What does that mean something that the us has not accepted. Well the russian poos push for for global. Cyber treaty is a push to to create a set of laws that other countries would be bound by and russia would this is how law functions and russia. And there's no reason to expect that russia would have a different attitude toward the law to international impacting brush. It doesn't have a different attitude toward existing international law than it does toward law within. Its own importers right. The law exists chew for putin to consolidate power. The courts exist for putin to consolidate power. The jalen exists for for putin's opponents right. That's that's the loss of functions in putinite imagination. Now as for whether these cyber entities are actual government agencies are not russia practices system plausible deniability. And this goes far beyond cybercrime. It's the russian government in some significant ways functions as a sort of a sort of syndicate right with a lot of freelancers. I think when we learn more about political murders in russia. We'll find out that. There's a lot of freelance activity going going on there as well right. Certainly that's how. Russia has on the rare occasions than that people who have actually killed politicians such as go over who is a parliament member. Who's thousand nine hundred. But it's an opposition politician who was shot to death. In front of the kremlin in twenty fifteen on the rare occasions that that someone has actually been prosecuted. it's always been a freelancer. The gunman who will not disclose who the original. The person who originally order assassination order. So i think that's where we're basically talking about a state that functions as a as a criminal syndicate and that points to parts of its body and says these are not government agencies. I wanna go to alexei. Navalny news conference after nato summit in brussels president biden's asked how u s russia relations would be affected. If kremlin critic alexei. Navalny were to die in detention navales. Death would be another indication. That russia has littler intention abiding by basic fundamental human rights. It would be a tragedy it would do nothing but hurt his relationships with the rest of the world. In my view in with me now russian president vladimir putin was asked on. nbc news. By care simmons did you order alexei navalny's assassination. This was putin's response can use. Of course now. We don't have this kind of habit of anybody. That's one number two is i want to ask you. Did you order the assassination of the woman who walked into the congress and who was shot and killed by a policeman that four hundred fifty individuals were arrested after entering. The congress didn't go there to steal. A laptop initially came with political demands. Four hundred and fifty. People have been detained. They're looking at jail. Time between fifteen and twenty five years and they came to the congress with political demands. Isn't that persecution for political opinions. So that is russian president vladimir putin speaking on nbc news. Masha gessen can you talk about this. You've written a whole piece in the new yorker about alexei navalny and who he is and what's happening to him now in jail but also this equation that president putin is making With the insurrectionists that rioted at the capitol on january sixth menotti's exciting I think that th world as long enough for the future to hysteri- they will look at that. Nbc injury will post as excellent at the moment. Just incredible we know. And i want to go back for a second statement then needed a press conference this the of lake political statement that admits people who who are lives are actually at risk. Russia feel abandoned right. Let's let's think about spa biden. Says if no one is the another indication that russia has no intention of abiding by human rights treaties rules. He's had another indication like need another indication we because we want to reconnect with you. We're having a little trouble with your audio and definitely get back to this question. Masha gessen the award. Winning russian american journalist staff writer at the new yorker conversation with her. She's into georgia As we we will speak to them after the break We're talking about the putin biden summit. That's taking place right now in geneva switzerland. Stay with us gone the old world. This is democracy now democracy now dot or the quarantine report the warren pace report. I'm amy goodman with nermeen. Shave our guest for the hour is masha. Gessen staff writer at the new yorker award winning russian american journalist author of numerous books including most recently surviving autocracy which is just out in paperback also wrote. The future is history. How totalitarianism reclaimed russia. As well as the man without a face the unlikely rise of lot of mir putin if you'd like to sign up for our daily digest You can go to democracy now or or you can text the word democracy now. One word to six six eight six six there. You will get our news. Headlines are news alerts every day. That's texting the word. One word democracy now two six six eight six six you can also watch listen and read transcripts using our android apps you can download them for free from the apple app store or google play store today as we turn back to. Masha gessen We are just fixing the sound. Masha gessen now. Speaking to us from to see russia usually in new york where she is a professor at board where they are professor at bard college but i do want to play a clip of russia recalling its ambassador to the united states after president biden called president putin at killer during an interview on. Abc with george stephanopoulos vladimir putin. You think he's a killer Do so what price must he pay. The price is going to pay. We'll you'll see shirley earlier this week. President biden was asked about putin by. Cnn's jeff seleny a weekend interview. Vladimir putin laughed at the suggestion that you had called him a killer is that still your beliefs are that he is a killer fashion. The first question. i'm laughing to the actually. I while look i mean. He is made clear that The answer is high believe he is in the past. They acknowledged that he was. There are certain things that he would do or did do look when i was asked that question on air i answer honestly but it's not much of a. I don't think it matters a whole lot in terms of this next meeting. We're about to have so that was president biden. We're going back right now to masha. Gessen there now joining us by telephone. From debris georgia masha. Gessen is writer at the new yorker award winning russian american journalist and author of many books that i've just laid out masha. You were talking about alexei. Navalny you've written extensively about alexia vol named the long time nationalist clearly for many years anti immigrant opposition leader in russia. And then if you can go to this whole discussion. Israel really driven inaccurate. Didn't you say what you think. Yeah i i what i really look. It's a pro-democracy activist An anti corruption activist but he has many made to count them to videos. Since the here's clarified. His position. Italy he I have absolutely no doubt that he is straight but not not a fatwa and It's check as a nationalist factor. Especially right now he prison and unlike an five is just not right. Not right but it's a really poss- state too late to be a two way. We really need to be talking about I who has survived estimate attempts and now a struggling with an attempt to kill him slowly interest. And can you. Can you respond to a president biden president putin clearly saying this is an issue of of This is our own issue and this is not anything for the united states to intervene. Putin is visible biden. I is a he is a man ordered facination and we really have to think as as journalists. We are in a bind and she president. But what do we on dealing when we are giving them access off. International audience fasting. This man who reno is going to lie on camera who we know is a killer. There's ample evidence that a group of the russian secret police officers followed noviny for several years and attempted to poison him or poisoning attempted to kill him. Furthermore there's ample evidence that the very same group has been falling other people around and has attempted to kill other people in his success succeeded in killing still other people and we're putting the killer on national television journalists who's clearly unprepared to ask a follow up question and setting him up to make false equivalency and and and to to sort of basque in the light of tv cameras in an a chance to assert once again but he has the power among other things the power to speak publicly about a man he ordered killed while that man is in prison. Yes go ahead and go ahead. Marcia and i was just going to say that you know every dictator under the sun of course says bevery that cracking down on opposition is there is a matter of their internal politics of the whole concept of human rights is based on this pretty utopian idea that That people have basic rights that are guaranteed to them by the world and that cannot be violated by dictator Who they have the misfortune to share mother. And because we're having trouble with the audio if you could explain that power low. He's making to the insurrectionists. And the killing of ashley babette at the capitol on january. Sixth will this classic. What aboutism this is when i and nobody's better at it than than soviet bureaucrats and former kgb agents I think that You know the this is a propaganda trope when everything is equal to everything else and so he is talking about a politician who has been using peaceful tactics you know then only movement is is really an extraordinary movement based on truth telling and protest and nothing else and his comparing that to Militant armed insurrection in the us capital that that we know again this well-documented had violent aims and engaged in murders rhetoric. And all of a sudden. Everything is everything and and the very fact that then you know then we spend ten fifteen minutes trying to dissect that The propaganda trope and and trying to find a kernel of truth in something that is designed to obscure. Truth is the reason why we should be putting dictators national television masha. You've been following a nevada closely for many years. And you've written also about the conditions of his imprisonment. Can you talk about what you know of the conditions under which he's being held a whether he has access to his social media accounts how he's communicating with the outside world. And the fact that earlier this year is wrote about He went on hunger strike. Are there any prospects for his release. And how is he doing. So we don't know a whole lot about han of only doing in part because of access to him as getting more difficult and The russian parliament passed whole special law. Banning all lawyers from bringing any electronic devices such as phones To their meetings with their clients in prison specifically to prevent nevada's lawyers from taking pictures of him or or making videos or Or taking dictation and giving him access to social media around so he still gets some messages out he can also send letters through the official censored prison mail. his wife. yulia was just yesterday She she was just allowed to see him illegally. in contravention to to even russian law which is which is pretty awful. She has not yet been allowed to have a conjugal so conjugal in three day visit with him. she's she's only been allowed to have for our visits with him a couple of times so in which actually cut down to a couple of hours by the time. Everybody is searched So what do we know about the conditional which she has is that first of all russian prisoners are kept in extremely poor conditions Their death rate in russian prison colonies even not want not during a pandemic are extremely high. Violence is extremely high You know hygiene is very poor Food is extremely a bad In part because it is supplied by sometimes by a company owned by Poussin's cook and closest ally home home. Nevada has helped expose so so health conditions for all prisoners are extremely poor now. Navanly's conditions are worse than those of many other prisoners among other things because he is tortured with sleep deprivation so he was placed on the list of escape but the risk of prisoners who considered an escape risk and so to make sure that he is still there. He is awakened by the guards every hour during the night. And this has been going on for the. What is it one hundred twenty days that that that that has been in prison. He has also recently recovered with From poisoning with the nerve agent maybe choke which sent him into coma in august of last year. We don't know what the health's What the hell state of health is for somebody who has recovered from with a chemical weapon. Which is what what can the joke is. When the vinay was feeling unwell in march he asked for an outside doctor which is something that brushing law guarantees him but he was not given access to say dr which is why he went on hunger strike. He called off his hunger strike as his health deteriorated and And he got some concessions but not all concessions but at least. He didn't get his to see his doctor but he did get to see a doctor Right now we don't know a whole lot about his The state of his health but when he appeared in court a couple of days ago By video link he looked absolutely awful. It looked skinny looked gaunt. He looked your bags under his eyes. He did not look like a person In in in good health by stretch immagination amash. I'd like to turn to another issue which has to do with the pandemic but in particular The pandemic now in russia which has been reporting among the highest A number of case loads a day and where as a result of the levels of vaccine hesitancy which of course we see here in the us as well. but because of the levels of vaccine hesitancy in russia moscow's mayor is now much like in the us offering all kinds of incentives for people to get vaccinated. So could you talk about this. The rise The high number of infections now in russia the issue of vaccine hesitancy and how the putin government has dealt with administering vaccines to the population. So i think two things at play. This is really fascinating. It would be really amazing if we weren't talking about human lives here but the to our are total lack of trust in the government. So even the russia was the first country in the world to have a vaccine and And it just. It skipped safety trials because Because the entire population is basically population of test subjects and one directly to To make vaccine available but lockout out it seems that the vaccine sage from all available information and extremely effective and yet russia has one of the lowest vaccination rates now in the world certainly of countries or vaccine. The vaccine has been available for any significant amount of time Russia has been. Moscow has been in the position for months now where the vaccine is available. Just for the asking there are no shortages and yet people are not taking the vaccine because they don't trust the government. But i think another reason that they are not taking the vaccine is because of the general sort of culture of a lack of respect for human life which is also characteristic of this particular government under putin. Human life is worthless right. You can you can poison an opponent. you can poison somebody just because they seem to have insulted. You're personally in the news that came out recently that apparently the put media book of more was also the option of an attempted assassination points to to push him probably taking personal revenge because put a book of road and insulting poem about about or several of them. And so where's human. Life is just worthless to authorities. it also becomes worthless to the people living in the country and in a sense. It's a rational decision right if if you're risking your life just by living russia not just because not only because i if you're a member of opposition but if you're just a russian subject but just because of the of the of the disregard for public safety in every respect why should you take the vaccine when when a number of other things could kill you. It's not an entirely illogical serve construction. Unlike some of the vaccine the hesitancy that that that we see in the united states was just sort of pugh conspiracy thinking in russia it has aspects of rationality. The government always lies to us and my life is worthless. And i'm probably going to die soon anyway. So who cares. And as a result you know we we. We see extremely low numbers of vaccinated people and even today the moscow. Mary mentioned that he's offering all kinds of incentives he also ordered that sixty percent of people in service workplace vaccinated. But we see how low that threshold at sixty percent does not going to give anybody herd immunity but that seems to be a what he thinks he can realistically accomplish. And that's really depressing. Oh we just have about three minutes when we want to get to two issues one. If you could briefly address the fact that you got covid breakthrough covert meaning. You were vaccinated here in the united states and then you got cova. D'you wrote this powerful piece in the new yorker called the mystery of breakthrough covert infections. And then i'd like to end with talking about well. What you have in the forward a viewer paperback edition of your book and that is the. Us moving towards autocracy So very quickly. I did get breakthrough cova which which is possible. It's extremely unlikely. But of course it's possible. We know that if the vaccine is ninety percent effective in preventing infection some fraction of one percent of people who are fully vaccinated. We'll get the the infection. But fortunately because i was vaccinated or maybe because i was vaccinated I i had a mild form of the disease. So it was mostly psychologically discombobulating. Because because i thought i wouldn't i wouldn't get it And i was still being quite safe. But i still got it But i you know. I'm obviously much more interested in subjects of autocracy and I think. I think we're many people are awake to this. now too. this sense that The continued to live in an incredibly divided country where we have one party that is That is an anti democratic party and another party. The the party is trying to act as though we're sort of back to normal and that imagining normalcy is of course incredibly seductive but unless we deal with what happened in the last four years unless we deal with the reason we got trump in the first place unless we unless we reckon with the part of the country that that has some really crazy beliefs And with the divided reality that we inhabit if we think of ourselves as a wheat then. I think we're we're enjoying it very very short. Respite from from slide toward a talker. And we're going to talk more about your book which is just out in paperback. it's called surviving autocracy. Masha gessen has been our guest. We're going to bring you apart to democracy. Now dot org. Masha is speaking to us from to believe georgia. Masha is a staff writer at the new yorker magazine. Award-winning russian american journalist. And you're a number of books that does it for our show. Democracy now is produced with. Rene fouts mike burke dean augusta maria ter cena carla wills. Timing were enough training to semi cough. Teymuraz do joe john hamilton. Rugby karen honey masud and adriano contrary general manager. Is julie crosby special. Thanks becca steely marian. Barnard paul powell mike filipo mogilny garra hugh grant and dennis moynahan. I made me goodman with nermeen. Shaef stay safe.
Trump, Barr corruption of DOJ sets off alarm bells for US rule-of-law
"The show we had nine stern on. MSNBC just a couple of days after the two thousand sixteen presidential election. A journalist journalist Russian American journalist. Masha Gessen published. What was basically an alternate concession speech for Hillary Clinton? Masha Gessen said on election night that same week in November twenty sixteen when it became clear in the wee hours of the morning election night that Donald Trump is going to win the presidency. The guests and argued that Clinton instead of giving the speech that she gave she could she perhaps should have just said this and I wore new. This is a little dark. It is a little stark but given that she wrote this basically hours after election night it also feels oddly prescient just a few years down the road. So here's the here's the alternate concession speech for Hillary Clinton as imagined by. Masha Gessen starts. Thank you thank you my friends thank you we we have lost we have lost and this is the last day of my political career so I will say what must be said. We are standing at the edge of the abyss. Our political system our society our country itself are in greater danger than at any time in the last century and a half the president elect has made his intentions clear and it would would be immoral to pretend otherwise we must band together right now to defend the laws the institutions and the ideals on which our country is based. That's not what Hillary Clinton said on election night but the week of the two thousand sixteen election journalist. Masha Gessen who had spent most of her life in in Russia and much to her much of her journalistic career writing about the rise of Ladimir Putin in Russia. She said that that or something like that is what Hillary Clinton should've said early morning hours of Wednesday that first week in November when the election results came in that article by Masha. Augustine has has I think is still seen as a landmark these three plus years later that articles remembered less for that alternate proposed posed concession speech for Hillary Clinton calling on the country in that moment to band together to defend our laws and institutions remembered. Less for that than it is for the set of rules that Masha Gessen went on to lay out for how to survive and preserve your sanity in a country that is shedding it's democratic foundations and is shedding the strictures of the rule of law rule. Number one I on her list of rules was most memorable. No one this one. That's still wakes me up regularly to this day. Rule number one quote. Believe the autocrat. He means what he says. Whenever you find yourself yourself thinking are here others claiming that he's exaggerating? That's our innate tendency to reach for a rationalization as an example. Masha gessen provides this quote. Trump has received seve the support. He needed to win and the adulation. He craves for Seis Lee because of his outrageous threats trump rally crowds chanted lock her up they and he meant every word. Well Fair enough that is in fact the world that we have ended up living in over these past three and a half years but over the last forty eight hours as the justice department has been thrown into crisis and chaos and for the first time we are starting according to get resignations on principle from career Justice Department personnel who cannot abide. What's being done to the justice system by this president over these last forty forty eight hours rule number three? Masha Gessen is sticking with me. As well quote rule number three institutions will not save you. It took Putin a a year to take over the Russian media and four years to dismantle its electoral system. The Russian judiciary collapsed unnoticed. The capture of institutions in Turkey has been carried out even even faster by a man once celebrated as the Democrat to lead Turkey into the European Union. Poland has in less than a year undone half the accomplishments of a quarter century in building a constitutional democracy of course the United States has much stronger institutions than Germany did in the nineteen thirties or Russia. Does today the problem however is that many of these. US institutions are in trying and political culture rather than in law and all of them depend on the good faith of all actors to fulfil their purpose and uphold the constitution institutions will not save you. They depend on the a good faith of the actors within them. Boy Are we living. That sounds Masha. Gessen just a couple of days after the two thousand sixteen election not long thereafter rafter. Timothy Snyder's book on tyranny was published shortly after the inauguration and it followed a similar line of logic looking at lessons from the collapse of of various democracies across Europe over the course of the twentieth century to learn lessons for us to learn lessons for how to protect our democracy accuracy. And how to know if we're losing that fight to protect our democracy and what. We should do that. Snyder quote the European History of the the twentieth century shows us that societies can break democracies can fall ethics. Can collapse an ordinary men can find themselves standing over death pits with guns guns in their hands. We might be tempted to think that our democratic heritage automatically protects us from such threats. This is a misguided reflects Americans today are no wiser than the Europeans who saw democracy yield to Fascism Nazism or communism in the twentieth century. Are One advantage is that we might learn from their experience. Now is a good time to do so. and He published this book right at the time of the inauguration of Donald Trump and then the book walk very short book goes onto Layout Twenty lessons from the twentieth century for Americans to consider today and some of these lessons some of these rules. Keep me up to for example rule number one timothy. Snyder do not obey in advance. Most of the power of authoritarianism freely given in times like these individuals think ahead about what a more repressive government will want and then offer themselves without being asked a citizen who adopts this way is teaching power. What what it can do I would men that in our time to say a senator who adapts in this way is effectively teaching power? What it can do it? There's also rule number eight which is stand out quote. Someone has to. It's easy to follow along. It can feel strange to do. I say something different but without that unease there is no freedom. The moment you set an example the spell of the status quo is broken and others will follow. Is that true. Here's the one that is sticking with me right now Given what is going on at the Justice Department and the sort of crisis that we have been thrown into in terms of the rule of law in this country over the past forty eight hours. It's Snyder's rule number two quote defend institutions it is institutions the two that help us to preserve decency. They need our help as well. Do not speak of our institutions unless you make them yours by acting on their behalf institutions do not protect themselves. They fall one after another unless each defended from the beginning so choosing institution you care about a court a newspaper a law labor union and take it side. That's interesting right. We get this one pressing morning. From the Russian American journalist institutions will not save you. Do they will fail. Do not count on them to save you that we get another warning from the eminent historian of Twentieth Century Collapse of democratic and rule of law countries he says yeah institutions are important but institutions. Do collapse unless each one of US actively defends and saves them from the kinds of pressures. They're about to come under pick one. Do something to support it. So in the middle of the New Hampshire primary yesterday right. There's very important moment for the Democratic Party. TRYING TO PICK THEIR NOMINEE TO RUN AGAINST DONALD TRUMP. We get this other story right this new milestone that we hit in the trump administration on rule of law issues and it is a big enough story that it resulted in Split front pages all around the country. Today this is the front page of the New York Times this morning on the right hand. You See. There's the politics sanders is winner in New Hampshire on the left side in all capital letters. Justice Department acts to ease sentence for trump ally four or us. Prosecutors quit stone case after bosses step into overrule them all the way across the country. Here's The Los Angeles Times and they're against the picture of Senator Sanders the triumphant picture and see the headline on politics halfway down the front page sanders edges. Buddha judge in New Hampshire primary but then right underneath underneath the masthead there at the top the competing story left two columns prosecutors quit overbid to lessen stones sentence. Here's the Hill newspaper. We're in Washington DC quote. Doj in chaos. Here's the Saint Louis. POST DISPATCH FOUR COLUMN HEADLINE ALL CAPS bold headline right. All four prosecutors quit stone case trump trump tweets spurs concerns of DOJ interference. Here's the headline in the Minneapolis. Star Tribune today yes. They've got full coverage of sanders grabbing the win in New Hampshire and also on the front page today hometown. Senator Amy Klobuchar surging into third place in New Hampshire. We're going to be speaking in line with Senator Klobuchar here in just a moment right here on this show but look at. What's on top the whole front page? DOJ revolt over leniency. FOR TRUMP PAL. So we are here. Believe them when they say who they are right and we are at that moment that this president did in fact promised during the campaign and everybody said at the time how outrageous it was how much it crossed a red line for him to say as a candidate that when he's president he didn't struck his attorney general to prosecute his political opponents. He didn't struck his attorney. General well to pursue criminal cases on his presidential orders to serve his political needs punish. His enemies protect his friends when he said he would do that as a candidate. The outreach did you believe him here we are right and all of the alarms are going off about this. This is a front page thing and it is as serious as as you think it is. Here's a former senior Justice Department official. Who actually served well into the trump administration? David Lofton was head of the counterintelligence division at the Justice Department. Calling this a break glass in case of fire moment. Here's former Attorney General Eric holder. Going right there as well. I do not underestimate the danger of this situation. The political appointees and the DOJ are involving themselves in an inappropriate way in cases involving political allies of the president's statement last night attorney general holder saying quote action in such as these put at risk the perceived and real neutral enforcement of our laws and ultimately endangered the fabric of our democracy at Eagerly stunning is as the attorney general is intervening takeover these cases of interest to the president to both the help the president's friends and to a target the president's perceived enemies to target anything that poses a perceived threat to the president equally stunning alongside. What Bill Bar is doing is the fact that the Justice Department Department is now starting to respond? There are now resignations from the Justice Department in protest three line prosecutors working on the Roger Stone case withdrawing from that case after after bar intervened after the president expressed his displeasure with the recommended. Sentence that stone had put forth to the court by these line prosecutors. Three of them resigning from the case. A fourth. Not only withdrawing from the case but resigning from the department altogether former Obama White House counsel. Bob Bauer our today describing that as a major event and for Bob Bauer the least hyperbolic man on earth. That's like ten alarm fire for him to call something a major event. It followed Bauer saying today. Dramatically forceful responses to Mr trump's assault on rule of law norms have been all too rare resignation can set off an alarm armed Belfer an institution whose failings official may be unable to bring the light any other way or as effectively. He says quote it upholds rule of law norms in the very act of signaling that they are failing they are failing like I said the alarms are ringing. What do alarms do? They are supposed to wake us up. Well in this case we are all awake. What do we do now? We're awake snow hiding the importance of what's going going on here. The country is well aware of what's going on all the people in the position to know how dangerous and bad this is have struck the alarm bell right and and so now. What do we do about the idea of being a rule of law country is not just about the technocratic craft pro s of your law enforcement system and your justice system I mean that matters but it is bigger than that? It's also bigger than individual politicians are powerful people being able to get away with stuff unfairly by somehow working the system again. That's part of it. But it's not all of it. The reason that people use rule of law countries As a way to define what is not an autocracy. What is not an authoritarian regime? Is this bigger sense of what it means to be a rule of law country. I mean those things matter but the worst collapse in the most consequential collapse of the capital or rule of capital is when the law becomes Tool of the political leader where the power of the criminal justice system and the law enforcement apparatus of this country is employed for the pleasure and the benefit of of a president who was supposed to allow it to operate independently but we have now crossed the line on that. He told us he would do it. He has now done it and all of the alarms have sounded. They are ringing incredibly loudly and we don't know what comes next. But what do we do next. What do we do now that we are awake to what is going on diagnosing that the problem exists is not the same as curing the problem? I mean I think that when all is reasonably well and we're reading DYSTOPIA and fiction or we're smugly reading history about other countries falling on hard times and losing the rule of law and losing freedom and losing democracy when we imagine these moments happening to someone else or happening in fiction. We imagine what would happen in this country. The things that make us a free country start to collapse when they erode and crumble and fall away. I think if we're honest sort of naive fantasy that most most of us have about moments like this about what it will be like. Is that good people doing good things. We'll fix it. That's smart people in a position to know being alert to the danger and pointing out that this terrible Rubicon Rubicon has been crossed. That would somehow be enough to stop. Stop us from going any further in that direction and to bring us back to this safe side of it somehow be enough to call out the danger to get us to recognize the danger to make us not go. There turns out it's not enough turns out we still go there. I mean I think we imagine when we tell ourselves optimistic fables about these kinds the things that in the event that something did go totally wrong in terribly wrong in America and the president's attorney general started personally intervening in criminal cases to help the president presidents friends and and to gin up investigations into people he wanted targeted for political purposes in the movie version of things going wrong that way in America one of the ways we start to pivot towards the inevitable. Happy ending of that kind of movie is that we think principled people in a position to know what's going wrong and in a position to alert the country about it they will say resign in protest. Sound the alarm that way that will let everybody know what is happening. And those resignations will have such a dramatic effect that they will catalyze a sort of positive contagion. They'll become a moral beacon. They will set a moral example. That other people will step up to because other people will snap snap out of what other whatever torpor fear they have been in and they will realize. Oh we don't all have to go along with this. Actually this is something to save our country. That must be stopped. It's it's time to lay down on the proverbial gears of this machinery. We all can do something here and all of us who can must in the movie version of this. That's how we imagine. This goes indeed last night. The former Inspector General of the Justice Department and Michael Bromwich posted. This what do you call it. A memo to all career Justice Department commonplace. He was the former Inspector General at the Justice Department. And he says in this in this note memo to all career DOJ employees. This is not what you signed up for for the four prosecutors who bailed on the stone case have shown the way report all instances of improper political influence and other misdeeds to the inspector general who is was required to protect your identity. And you know Michael Brown which is in a position to know and to give that kind of advice having until recently been an inspector general at the Justice Department but simultaneous to him. Giving that advice. We've got the news now that one of the people the president is looking to fire right now is the inspector general of the intelligence intelligence community. Because what did he do wrong. Well he got a whistleblower complaint about malfeasance indeed what turned out to be illegal actions inside the trump administration including by the president and that whistleblower seeing those things and deciding to properly follow channels reported that material to the inspector general who is legally obligated to protect that persons anonymity. The inspector general treated that complaint basically the way the law said he must ended up passing it on to Congress which the law says he must really had no authority to do anything and also that he followed the law and protected the anonymity that whistleblower that inspector general is now got his own head on the block. Reportedly as the president rips these systems out by the root and as Republican senators hunt the identity of that whistle blower so. Here's the question with these four prosecutors stepping up and resigning at the Justice Department airman over the president reaching into the criminal justice system reaching into law enforcement to override independent prosecutorial decisions and instead insist on lenience for for his friends and lenient. Not Incidentally for people who could potentially testify about the president's own behavior related to the things for which these guys were all charged me now that we've we've got these prosecutors resignations including one career prosecutor who has resigned entirely from the Justice Department. What if the moral beacon phenomenon here you're either doesn't work or is overshadowed what if instead of waking people up and inspiring others to not go along with this dangerous dangerous fundamental breach and who we are as a country and how our system works and what the legal system could be perverted for in the hands of authoritarian? What if instead the example that we're living the example that's being set by these principled resignations and also by the career public servants and diplomats who came forward and defied the threats and obeyed the subpoenas and told the truth what if the example we have of them the example? That's being broadcast to the entire country right now every day since these people started coming forward is that when and if you do what is right when and if you stand up when and if you simply obey the law don't go along with something illegal. The president wants you to do what. What if the example being set by all of these noble actors? Is that if you do the right thing. If you stand up if you tell the truth if you resign in protest to sound the alarm the the result for you is you will be crushed. I mean what is the example. That's been set for the country. By what happened to for example Alexandra. Vigne Colonel Vin metastasized. Dad Do not worry. I'll be fine for telling the truth. He said in his opening statement of assessment I recognize that my simple octave appearing here today would not be tolerated in many places around the world in Russia where his family had emigrated to this country from as refugees in Russia my act of expressing concern to the chain of command in an official and private channel would have severe personal and professional repercussions. But he said you know here in America ca quote dad do not worry I will be fine for telling the truth. Well he's not fine. He has been fired from the White House. He has been marched off the grounds. A relative of his. His brother has also been fired from the White House and marched off the White House. Grounds Mariya Ivanovich. US ambassador who was bizarrely unfairly targeted by the president's allies and by the president himself lost her job is US ambassador because of it her career is now over to she is now retired and gone from the State Department and it is not hard to see why given what. They unleashed on her after her testimony. Ambassador Taylor who was called out of retirement is basically a favor to the trump state department to fill in for her in Ukraine. He made the mistake of testifying truthfully to now he's been yanked out of that post as as well. I mean even the ones who might have thought they had some trump insurance ambassador. John Bolton trump appointees national security adviser he decided he wouldn't testify defy told house impeachment investigators. No he wouldn't do. It decided instead he would write it all in a book well for his trouble the White House now saying they will block the publication of his book and the President. President is reportedly trying to arrange some sort of convenient criminal prosecution of John Bolton Ambassador Gordon Sunlit he might have thought he had trump insurance fought himself and ambassadorship complete diplomatic amateur bought himself an Ambassadorship by virtue of a million dollar donation to the trump inaugural. You might think that would be enough to keep this president smiling on you but no he's eight he's fired as well the US attorney in Washington DC trump appointee a member member of the trump transition team. She apparently did not jump high enough. When the president's demands for his friends Mike Flynn and Roger Stone came to her door as US attorney In the jurisdiction where they were being prosecuted. She was unceremoniously removed from her post this. US Attorney promised a different job. Now that job offer has been yanked to. It took just minutes for the resignation of those four prosecutors. Those prosecutors working on the stone case who all resigned apparently out of principle over the perversion of that case the president and Attorney General William Bar it took all of minutes for the president to start personally attacking them and threatening them as well. Now that they've come forward what do we expect for them and their families so what we do because seeing the attacks seeing the personal threats seeing the career destruction the uniform career destruction and some cases the personal destruction of people involved in standing standing up to this president or being involved in investigating this president in any way mean seeing them destroyed it makes us feel bad for them as human beings right. Who didn't do anything wrong long? who were doing their jobs? who were brave and patriotic in some cases in the face of something very damaging happening to our country that they decided to tell the truth about makes us feel bad to see see them retaliated against to see them targeted to see them hounded to see the careers ended but beyond US feeling bad about that we as a country for the health of our country for the health of our democracy for our continued existence as a rule of law nation? We need there to continue to be those people. Those those types of people to stand up to let us know what's going on to continue to signal that it's all right to stand up against it and to stop it to squawk about what's happening with each additional person who has demonstrated the country that when you come out against this president your life is ruined. We are further hurt as a country in terms of our ability. To resist with this president is doing so. It's not about empathy with those individuals is important as that is. It's not about being nicer being decent toward them or even represent recognizing their patriotism even if we have none of those feelings to protect ourselves as a nation the destruction of them for coming forward is something that can't stand. But what do we do. What can we do to support the brave? Well let me just end with us. Because here's one small way to go about it tonight at Georgetown University Ambassador Marie Ivanovich whose career was destroyed destroyed who is personally targeted. I as part of some scheme and then it seemed almost sport now ultimately. It seems like they're making an example of her. Marie Ivanovich tonight at Georgetown University was given an award for excellence in the Conduct of diplomacy by the Institute for the Study of diplomacy at Georgetown University. This is tonight. Watch what happened in in the room there tonight when people saw Ambassador Bridge Yeah just kept going and going and going and going. Maria von Honored Tonight at Georgetown University while the president and his supporters remain engaged as ever in efforts to destroy stroia her for having had the goal to stand up and testify truthfully about one of the myriad things that has gone dramatically wrong in this administration. Because you can't let people who stand up survive. What kind of example that? What can we do as a country to countermand? What can we do as a country specifically to support the people who do come out and stand up and tell the truth and if need be resign because there's no sign that this president will not cross me you tell me if you can imagine one tell me the thing that would be bad for America but good for him but he wouldn't do it because it'd be bad for the country? What's beyond the Pale for him seriously? There's nothing he might conceive of as being to his advantage that he would not do to this country entry to get it right. We get that now alarm sounded. We're awake we're at the point though where just pointing this out isn't enough. We have to recognize that pointing out where we're at doesn't stop our country from sliding further into a non rule of law situation the pointing it out sounding the alarm knowing where there isn't enough. We're there we now have to plan specifically for how to survive it and how to fighting fighting stay with us. President I've watched many candidates ran for their party's nomination but only a few knew how to get it. Hey for this microphone. My podcast is about what it takes to get the nomination. Six episodes six timeless themes that separate the few winners from the losers hope still lives and the dream shall never die. So you want to be president with Chris Matthews and MSNBC podcast. Ask Search now wherever you're listening and subscribe episode four available now. She wants to be president. I've watched many candidates ran for their party's nomination but only a few knew how to get it. I feel your pain. My podcast is about what it takes to get the nomination. Six episodes six timeless themes that separate the few winners from the losers. This campaign was and will remain the great honor of my life. So you WANNA be President with Chris Matthews and MSNBC podcast search. Now wherever you're listening and subscribe episode four available now joining us now is somebody who spent a full career at the. US Department of Justice Mary mccord served as an assistant attorney in the US Attorney's Office for nearly twenty years in her final job. At main justice does she was the head of the National Security Division. DOJ resigned several months into the trump administration. She's now a professor at Georgetown Law Professor Record. Thank you so much for making time to be here tonight I know you. Don't I do a lot of public speaking. I really appreciate you being here. Thank you for having me. So you gave an interview to the New Yorker and also to the Washington Post in which you expressed pretty serious concerns about what has happened. What's emerged over the past several days about the attorney general and senior political appointees intervening in cases that are important to the president since the initial reports have come out about this crisis? Have you seen anything or any sort of new reporting or otherwise learned anything that has made you feel any better about this. I know I haven't and in fact today. Of course we've seen the president you know thanking the Department of Justice for intervening and we've seen in some sort of doubling down by the president to Start attacking the prosecutors who withdrew for the key from the case the one who actually resigned from the Department of Justice so so this seems like more of the type of retribution that you were just highlighting with respect to State Department of officials and the other types of retribution. We've I've seen frankly since this presidency started these four prosecutors who resigned have been directly threatened and personally attacked by the president since stay submitted. Their resignations just for context for those of us who haven't had the kind of career that you have. How rare is what appears to be a principled resignation like like this let alone a whole slew of them? These three prosecutors withdrawing from the case in one resigning from the department together. So it's quite right rare. I haven't seen anything this dramatic ever in my career. I would know though that there Wa- There has been at least one prosecutor in this office. That did leave leave who had been involved in the Andy McCabe investigation and you may recall? This has been a very long-term investigation that has still never reached a final conclusion. There were a lot of rumors last year that it was that Mr Mackay was going to be indicted and around that same time one of the prosecutors left and the other withdrew from in that case And still had no word on. What's going to happen to Mr McCabe? So that clearly wasn't as dramatic as this and I don't know for sure that that prosecutor left the department because of what was how the McCabe case was being handled but again this is all during this administration is all I think related to pressure that is being brought to bear on line prosecutors. Who are doing their jobs and and prosecuted cases as as they see fit in in their judgment? What's the right way to answer? The alarm bells that these professionals are sounding with their actions. Obviously as concerned citizens we want to know what we can do. Do I think there's a real cost to seeing these people made examples of punished for coming out I also I guess I wonder if the courts afford any potential correction to the kinds of things that they're sending the alarm about. How should we be answering answering these alarms as a country? Well I wish I had a great answer for that I was very heartened to see the footage of of Marie Ivanovich getting the standing ovation. I think it's very important for members of the public to constantly be supporting those who are bringing attention to misuses abuses of power. Like we've seen from this president but you know recall as well that the executive branch is just one branch of the government and we we. Are you know we have looked already to the to the Congress as another branch to do its job and of course the impeachment each month process Although there was impeachment in the House of course that failed in the Senate and so normally that might be a branch that we could look to kind of step in when things are going off the rails as they as they seem to be. It's not clear we can rely on that. You know during the tenure of this administration unless perhaps things get to a point where even Mitch McConnell and those on the Senate side and the Republican Party feel like it's gone too far but as you just mentioned should we also have the court system and not everything will be able to be brought in court but you can bet the judge amy. Berman Jackson will rule neutrally and fairly On on the sentencing of Roger Stone next week when when it comes up And she I don't believe we'll be kowtowed to the president won't be Intimidated dated and I think judges We will see that continuing and hopefully that continues not only at the district court level and the Court of Appeals but hopefully our supreme court will also Take care to protect the rule of law against abuses that that we may see coming out of this White House Mary mcchord veteran Justice Justice Department official including a stint as chief of the national security. Division thank you so much for making time I know I again the You don't do a lot of these and so I really appreciate the trust for being here. Thank you my my pleasure alright. Presidential candidate senator. Amy Klobuchar is GONNA join us. Live here in just a moment. Stay with us. One of my favorite feelings is walking out of of a hair salon with fresh vibrant locks. So you can imagine how thrilled I was to discover Madison Reed because now I can recreate that feeling adt home Madison. Madison Reed has completely revolutionized at home. hair-color they send everything you need to get gorgeous healthy multidimensional color in under an hour. NO AMMONIA NIA no parabens and no unpleasant smell and did I mention it starts at just twenty two dollars and if you're thinking okay but how do I match my color. Don't worry Madison. Addison Reed gives you the tools you need so you can color with confidence. Their online hair-color tool allows you to try on different. Shades before you order get Omonia free multidimensional multidimensional hair-color delivered to your door at Madison Dash Free Dot Com listeners. Get ten percent off plus free shipping on your first color kit with Code Matto Matto. That's code meadow at Madison Dash Reed Dot Com. Our country cannot take another four years of Donald Trump. The rule the rule of law can't withstand another four years of a president. Don't who thinks that he is above it. Our collective sense of decency can't handle another four years of a president who doesn't care about it. Our democracy can't tolerate another four years of a president. Who wants to bulldoze right through it? Senator Amy Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota last night in her speech after the results came kick all the victory speech because she didn't win but you'd never know it by the quality. AWW that speech on the quality of by which it was received senator corporate lots to crow about last night with an eleventh-hour surge a surprise very strong third-place finish Senator Club. It's great to see you can rate so well. Thank you I mean. It was a victory and that we defied expectations in a big big way. Did you defy your own expectations surprise. You know because I always I believe we can do. I wouldn't be on this journey. I always believe I can win the nomination and lead our ticket to victory and we had done a lot of work to get to that debate. I had the endorsements of every major newspaper in New Hampshire in addition to the New York Times which is shared with Elizabeth and we also had three four of the State House leaders and a number of other key endorsers in the state. So we'd worked really hard but I think the debate really helped me because people saw not only my argument that I can win big and I've won with world and suburban and independent moderate Republican voters as well as a fired up democratic base. The highest voter turnout in the country. When I lead the ticket but I also got to show my heart and talk about why I was doing this and what I had thought about a lot during that impeachment hearing when it was bolted to just which is that we need a president can actually put herself in the shoes of people around this country? And this president didn't can't come close to that. He always thinks about himself. That's really what the impeachment hearing was about him illegally putting his partisan interests his private private interests in front of the countries. But that means he's not looking out for the people that can't figure out. I'm I gonNA fill my refrigerator. Fill my prescription or am I gonNA go in pay for my aging parents long-term care or my own child care That's what's missing from this guy in a big way. It's empathy is. I was struck by the fact that there were Again today with this huge political news in terms of what happened in New Hampshire again. Almost every front page in the country is a split screen story Of that that and this crisis at the Justice Department what the president's doing what you referenced in Your Speech There Senator Warren referenced in her speech as well I wonder if I mean. I know that you're running on a platform about what you want to do. That is not about what Donald Trump has done. You're running on a platform that is about what you think the country can be and while you're the right person to lead it there. I feel like he intrudes on all of your messages all the time taken up all the room with it crisis. Africa says after crisis. What did he does and then he keeps tweeting it? We know two things one is. You can't follow. Oh him down every rabbit hole but second as I always like to say the obstacles are the path and when he does this when he tries to uproot uproots the rule of law. There are people out there watching There are independents out there including in the state of New Hampshire who voted for me who say to themselves? Wait a minute this. I may not agree with everything that the Democrats saying the debates. I don't agree with everything they say on the debate stage but but this is a decency check on this president. This is a patriotism check on this president and they don't want as I said in my speech last night former years of a guy who's going to bulldoze all does for our democracy so it's really important to remember those people out there that see this as a decency moment for our country and I have been emphasizing that from the very beginning and I think it's one of the reasons that were gaining speed in terms of speed I. I've talked to a number of points right when you declared as you starting to get into into this. I feel like I've been checking in with you regularly over the course of the campaign and from the very beginning you have been describing a sort of slow and steady approach to the campaign would not spend and be on your means you would not try to grow too fast. You'd earn it on your merits you would peak when you needed to peek over the next three weeks though. It's GonNa Come Fast Nevada South Carolina lineup fourteen states on Super Tuesday. How fast and how much can use scale up to try to stay competitive? We can do this. We are running being ads all over the place in Nevada in part because why didn't have the biggest bank account on that stage and certainly not in this race. I may not be the tallest person. James James Madison was five foot. Four and I may not have the loudest voice but since that debate we raised three million dollars online from regular people and then in yesterday in New Hampshire we raised two and a half million dollars in one day at Amy Klobuchar Dot Com from regular people. And that's been an issue for me. I know that so I only ran one and a half million dollars a bad in that New Hampshire market. But now I'm going to be in a better place and then we moved to South Carolina and and beyond and is you know Super Tuesday just a week from South Carolina so Minnesota one of the states. There's just going to be a lot going on at once but slowly but surely always believed this that I was not going to have this major viral moment back in well except for my announcement with four inches of snow in my head. But but what I was going to do is build this base lead Shirley because it's a different kind of campaign and you bring people with you instead of shutting them out. I have lots more to ask you about. Can you stick with us. I will ANC Senator Amy Klobuchar ours. Our guests will be right back joining us. Once again. Is Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota Democratic presidential candidate who just had a beyond expectations very strong third place showing in New Hampshire. You outperformed expectations both in Iowa and New Hampshire the electorate there. There is a very white and very different from the electorate in the next two states that are competing Nevada in South Carolina. National poll from Quinnipiac. This week shows your support among African American voters. There's at less than one percent. Some people say that is all you need to know that you can't compete nationally. You're not appealing to African American voters. How do you answer those concerns? They don't know me at nationally in my own state. I've done really well in the elections with African American voters. I have the endorsements of a number of key leaders mayors I That have been campaigning for me across the country and I also have a record of focusing on economic opportunity a number one issue in the the community and I lead a number of those voting rights bills including everything from getting rid of Gerrymandering to getting rid of voting purchase To doing something to automatically register kids when they turn eighteen and the immigrant side of it as we go to Nevada I was when I got to the Senate I started working on immigration and reformed Ted Kennedy asked me to be a small group That worked on that bill and I've been working ever since so. I have a track record of being a strong supporter for immigrant rights. I also lead all the tourism. BILL'S PRETTY BIG DEAL IN VEGAS. All right and I know in the Senate and lead that caucus I and then Nevada by the way has a big history of electing women I two women in the US Senate as well as the majority in their state legislature which is a very cool thing they got so much done in the last year in terms of Women voters I have been. I suppose I shouldn't be shocked but in Iowa it was fifty eight forty two female on the elector. Yeah in New Hampshire was fifty seven forty three almost exactly the same. It's a huge gender gap in terms of the Democratic turnout. Now that does not necessarily translate into support for female candidates among Democratic voters. who say they worry about the electability of a female candidate women women say that just as much as men do and in some cases they say that more? Do you have different conversations about that topic with women voters than you do with men. Voters not really. I think everyone wants to win. And so it's on me to make that case and I've always historically done better with male voters for some reason Not Than Women. But I've done better better than a lot of other candidates with male voters in my own state And I think part of it is I make the same pitch here and I make the same pain pitch to women voters. Obviously actually. They have been carrying a lot of this burden Whether it's about gun safety whether it's about wages whether it is about retirement it's hit women more the lack of shared prosperity in this economy. But the basic argument is this. We need someone who can win and beat Donald Trump I passed over one hundred bills in the US Senate. I have have the track record of being able to work across the aisle. Get things done and win in those red districts winning Michelle Bachmann district every single time time. Did you know that so anyway. That's the point is because it's been making this case right by likability with the words. I just think think that people need to know that because a lot of people are talking about that on the debate stage beautifully talking about how they can lead. I am the only one with the receipts Rachel. I'm the only one. That's it's actually done. It and brought people with me. And so I think that transcends gender I think that is about winning and that's the case that I make let me ask you about one seemingly seemingly sort of technical thing but it's starting to loom a lot of things are waking me up these days every third or fourth day. This is the thing that wakes me up Nate silver fivethirtyeight is now writing that when you look at last night's the results in New Hampshire and what happened before that in Iowa. It's looking more likely where we could end up. In a position where no Democratic candidate has a majority of delegates before the Convention invention which makes me cringe justed because the prospect of covering. That is such a nightmare. But do you think that you and your fellow candidates it should commit to supporting whoever has the most delegates at the end of the race. Or do you actually think that a contested convention is fair game and that if it has to get out at the convention so be it well well I just know I strongly support whoever comes out of the convention. I think that is what we've all agreed to do a contested convention. So I if it is I I would assume it's going to be a small number of people But that's what conventions are about. We have to get the best candidate. I'm not certain that's going to happen. All I know is that I am devoted to supporting whoever the candidate is. I just think it should be me. And I think this this process and the number of my friends would be tremendous presidents have left the race over time But I think it's getting down to less and less people and so it's going to give people the ability to understand and think about not. Just what policy positions do. We agree with that also. Who can actually lead this ticket and unify our own party? which is what the New York Times said about me and that endorsement? You need someone that can unify unify our party but also can bring people with her outside. Because I don't want to just eat five victory at four in the morning. That'd be sweet. I want to win big nick. That's the only way to send Mitch McConnell packing if we win those Senate races in Arizona and in Colorado if we keep holding onto Doug Jones seat in Alabama Alabama after. He took that incredibly brave vote. And you do that by having a candidate that is able to bring people with her and win in those states and bring them with you you other ways. I just don't think we can make the achievements that we WANNA see when it comes to climate change and immigration reform and pharmaceutical prices and criminal justice reform. We need to do this. Big and club a Shark Godspeed. Okay Senator D. on the road stay with us That's going to do it for US tonight. I'll see you get the legal. Madame show weeknights at nine eastern on. MSNBC HEY guys. Willie geist here this week on the Sunday Sunday. Sit down. PODCAST I get together with Golden Globe winning actor Ewan McGregor to talk about a prolific career that includes his latest role in the Superhero Film. Birds of prey get that conversation now for free wherever you download your podcasts.
Is The U.S. Becoming An Autocracy?
"Hi, it's Diane. My mind assessing just how deep the cracks in democracy really are. New Yorkers. Masha Gessen knows ought about autocratic rule. While living in Moscow, guess and they had a front row seat to flatten Arab Putin's power. Grab and His slide into authoritarian rule in articles and award winning book. By. Two. Thousand, sixteen yes. Returned to the US and must start to see a newly elected lead dirt with similar tendon. Teach in a new book titled. Terrified Autocracy gifts and retraces the last three years through that land and find plenty to worry about. But also hope for our democracy. Masha your recent New Yorker column is titled Donald. Trump's fascist performance explained much mean I was struck by the symbols and sounds individuals. The visuals symbols on sounds. Of the last few days in particular of Donald Trump's reaction to the protests and I think they have been A. There's nothing terribly new about them. We have known this about Donald Trump, but this is an extraordinary opportunity of sorts for him. and. We have really seen how he imagines power. And I think he imagines power visually in very powerful ways. He imagined it as tanks. He imagines it as men in full combat uniform, but unmarked uniforms. Standing in front of the White House and of the Lincoln Memorial between the calms. You know with that sort of that imperial classical architecture. He imagined as Blackhawk helicopters imagined. Sit as tear gas, and as for the sounds of a power he imagines it as words like domination. He imagined that as declaring that he is going to use the US military in the states that failed to dominate the protesters and all of those words images. Again, they reflect how he imagined power dump. Trump is a performer. He is not a man of intellect is not a man of concept's. He's a man of great sort of performing intuition. He sees what he wants to imitate, and I don't know whether where he got those images where he saw a picture of Hitler holding up my come where he heard, the were dominate in his recent phone call with Putin whether it was Hollywood movies or television, but he has chosen what he wants to project and what he wants to. Project is performance of fascism. It's the power the unitary power man. It is the power of one race. Over all others, and it is the brutal suppression of dissent. I have not used the word fascism to describe donald trump before, but I think now he has chosen his role, and he is making it very clear. And power claims always begin as performances and these performances are believable if they are accepted than the power claim is successful, power is claimed. What was your reaction than to General Mattis his statement. Saying that this president is choosing to divide this nation rather than bringing us together and with Secretary of Defense as various comments that he had no idea that president trump was going to saint John's to that Bible, and also that he did not believe that calling out federal troops for state control was necessary. I find those statements at once. Heartening in very disturbing I'm glad General Mattis said what he said. but General Mattis is no longer part of the federal government's. As for Secretary of Defense Ellsberg. The idea that the Secretary of defense is blindly following the president somewhere and literally doesn't know where he is going and uses that. As an excuse later whether or not, it's true. that. Sector Defense blindly following. This flailing deranged autocrat is not at all reassuring to me. I'm glad that Marcus per. said that the military is not intended for this use, but this not enough there men in uniform in Washington, refusing to identify themselves for only there for show force. We have also not seen an appropriate reaction from Congress at this point, there should be a forceful rebuke of the president's statements about deploying the military in in different states, and that's not happening. Mom Show where in the midst of a pandemic an economic collapse civil unrest. People would say that this is bad news for trump's hold power, but you say he may inadvertently have created perfect conditions for autocratic consolidation. Tell me what you mean so if I may try backtrack for a minute and explained the the terminology that I use in in the book. I have Laura Terminology from one of my favorite political thinkers bothered modular, who is a Hungarian sociologist? Who has developed who has been studying post? Communist regimes for decades and What I love about his thinking is that once? He says something. It's so obvious. So one of the things that are obvious in retrospect that he has said. Is that when the Soviet bloc collapsed in one, thousand, nine, hundred nine. We were using the language of liberal democracy to describe what was happening there for two reasons, one is that we just assumed that they were going to become a liberal these countries where to going to become liberal democracies. And the other is that that's the language of political science. We didn't have other words and his argument. Is that that actually impaired our ability to see what was happening because if we were thinking in terms of free and open elections or the freedom of the media, the Freedom of assembly. Weren't thinking of seeing other things that fall outside at that Makapula that. That needed to be noticed and described. And, so he has proposed the language of autocracy in an entire taxonomy of regimes, an autocrat in the stages of establishing a talk, REC-, and so his stages. Are Autocratic attempt, autocratic consolidation and autocratic breakthrough. Autocratic attempt is when you have an aspiring autocrats, but his actions are still reversible through normal electoral needs. And I have board Magyars language and my argument is that we're still in the autocratic attempt stage, and at least until November at least theoretically. It is possible to reverse. TRUMPISM or trump's attempt to establish autocracy here, but really the test of the hypothesis will come into member. because. If we're still living in intellectual democracy. Than what we have seen, both from tumbling in always low approval numbers, and the terrible shape of economy, the evidence, just mortifying mishandling of the pandemic, and now finally his Inky, main racist disproportionate reaction to the protests. All of that should cost him the office. That's if we still live in an electoral democracy, but. If, we have moved into different. Universe if we have moved into talk, crecy than all of those things may actually were to benefit economic insecurity and fear just extremely high anxiety are actually the autocrats friends people in a state of high anxiety are incapable thinking about the future. and. They're always reluctant to see kind of change. Even if things are terrible, because the fear that things will only get worse becomes really pronounced if you look at any autocracy in the world. You will see a look at Russia. Look at Hungary look at Israel the higher the level of anxiety. The more solid grip. That, the leader has empower. Unfortunately, even economic scarcity tends to benefit. An autocratic regime from you are appointed, who trump is not only a Putin apologised, but a Putin impersonator. That's actually not my. It's Tim. Snyder's idea I. think is brilliant. Tim Snyder road. I believe it was still in the summer of two thousand sixteen Tim Snyder the Yale historian. At my wonderful friend he wrote in in the summer of Twenty sixteen that Putin is the leader that trump is trump on TV or wants to plant TV and I think it's true. If you listen to trump I mean when he talks about autocrats, whether it's Putin or Kim on or Rodrigo Detach it. He has a kind of breathless admiration for them. He talks about you know the kind of control that can exercises. He talks about Putin's astronomical approval ratings and I think that he really believes and now he has told us as much in the last few days. He really believes that is our. That is the nature of political power that is raw. Domination. And use see him trump wanting to emulate. That kind of control over this country absolutely and I think he has made his intentions. Completely clear. That is what he wants to. He wants to rule by decree. You're wants to use the military as his main ally, his main backup and he absolutely refuses to recognize this system of checks and balances that we have in this country, both in terms of norms, and in terms of laws, right his attitude toward everything that ranges from ethics, expectations, ethics standards that that are norms to the Supreme Court which was laws. And Inspectors General End Congress one on the rare occasions when Congress has released tried to step up and and put a check on him. Makes it clear that he has absolute contempt and disdain for the system of checks and balances? The question is will we let him? And so far I think we have done even worse, then I imagine. They amount of damage that he has been able to do. To American institutions of government and also two hours of cultural and political. Reasons into language has been greater than I could have imagined. Give me your worst example well. The worst example is what we're witnessing right now. The worst example is abject failure of the system of checks and balances to step in and put a check on the president when he is threatening to use military power and is deploying military power in Washington DC. in response to protests. It is also the failure of media institutions. To recognize this for what it is, take the recent appearance piece by senator. Tom Cotton in the near times in which he says, send in the military. Now! The fact that the near Times sees that kind of opinion. As falling within the range of legitimate. Political discussion tells us all. We need to know to just absolute despair about the state of political discussions country. You're saying that the New York Times should never have published that piece, but I am saying is that there are certain standards that newspapers just in general the New York Times in particular apply to whether something can and should appear on its OP, ed pages and question the biggest question that they ask of course is is this part of the sphere of legitimate political controversy? I understand the argument that this man is a sitting senator, but I think that that actually if anything marks it as being more alarming. Should place it even further outside the realm of legitimate political controversy, but putting this op ed on their op-ed pages. The new. York Times has basically said. This is the country where we live now. This is up for discussion. This is a question that we can debate the part of our political reality. And that is an enabling act on the part of the New York Times. Tell me a little about your own past and how you see these issues. Of had zigzagging Jogger Affi I was born in Moscow in the Soviet Union. My parents were there were not super active activists, but they were certainly part of dissident circles they distributed underground literature, and they were unusual for people on of those circles in the in that they just couldn't be bothered hiding this from the kids, so I grew up very much being educated by my parents in what they thought politically and listening to reading underground literature, listening to underground radio. That sort of thing. When I was fourteen, we emigrated to the United States I spent ten years here so from fourteen to twenty four, I was here I became a journalist here a got my start in the gay and lesbian press in the nineteen eighties, so during the AIDS crisis. That's that's my journalistic roots, and then I went back to the Soviet Union as it was about to collapse. And eventually ended up staying there for more than twenty years, and then in two thousand thirteen I returned to New York because my family was being threatened by the government, how this was the beginning of the anti-gay campaign that has really become a cornerstone of Vladimir Putin's politics. And my oldest son is adopted. He was still a kid at the time now, his grown man and the government was threatening to take him away from me. Because he was being raised, but by family, so you came here, so we packed up and left and moved to New York and then Donald Trump got elected and in November. Twenty sixteen I felt that there were things that I. I had to say to my fellow American citizens, because I had lived through the rise of autocrats in Russia, and I had been covering vitamin generated book about. Vladimir Putin in two, thousand, twelve, one, national, or my big, my big book about the disintegration of democracy in Russia won the national book award in two thousand seventeen. And I had just actually finished writing when trump got elected, and so I wrote this essay contest autocracy rules for survival for the New York review of books, which laid out some rules for understanding someone that I thought I recognized in trump. Among those rules, word believed the autocrat. He means what he says because. If you recall it, the time trump was. He was talking about the wall and everybody thought that was so much campaign hot air well. It wasn't right and we really need to take him at his word as messy and. Sometimes difficult to believe as his words tend to be. Another rule was institutions will not save you in part of what I was trying to talk about. was that a lot of what Americans at the time thought of US institutions were norms? Like the White House press briefing remember that that used to be a daily televised affair and we took it for granted. We when we got back in the form of the coronavirus briefings, of course, it was an entirely different animal right. It was a an autocrat playing to his audience. Rather than a government being held accountable so each time a legitimate reporter asked a straightforward question. The president puts that reporter down by saying you're terrible reporter and out was terrible question. You're saying that this is part. The move toward autocracy absolutely, and there are two things that are accomplished in that little performance that we have seen over and over again one is to assert that trump was there to broadcast not to be held accountable not to the right. He doesn't work for us. We worked for him. And the other is to diligent mayes. The media and we have seen the really. Terrifying effects of the delegitimization media in the last few days as police have specifically targeted journalists during the protests. This is non something we have seen in a systematic way in the United States before and I think it's both danger sign in terms of the kind of regime that we're dealing with, but also a testament to the success of Donald Trump's message. His his continuing repetition of this idea that the press is the enemy of the American people. The other in the diligent amazing of the media have marched journalists as the enemy. Have you been? Here I have covered the protest a little bit in New York. Almost in my personal capacity, because my daughter was arrested during the first night of protests here in the city. What happened to your daughter after she arrested? You know I would like to actually talk about other people who were arrested not because I I'm protecting my daughter's comforted charity, but because you know part of why ended up there outside of one police plaza in New York City is because my daughter's white. She was outraged she was. She projected her outrage loudly enough to get a phone call. And, so I was able to go down there and witness that first night of What I witnessed was that. About Sixty, people were taken into custody. they were taken into custody for peaceful protests. They were plays. The men were placed in A. In a single cell. In which there were at the height of it, more than thirty people very crowded breathing in one another for the entire night. A. The minors among them were in recognized as my Anderson were handled as miners for hours of in New York state. They should have gotten a phone call and should have been released into their parents custody immediately. That didn't happen. The police were not wearing masks. When they were asked about why they weren't wearing masks, they laughed. When they were fingerprinting people, they were not wearing gloves. Or Masks. There was no hand to hand, sanitizer or soap available to these people. So not only. Are we having a disproportionate response to peaceful protests? But we're having willful and even gleeful violation of public health standards during pandemic saw. What do these outpourings up humanity here in the United States say to you. Is there a saving grace here that you see demonstrated by this incredible outpouring, humanity or going back to your first comment? Does it simply feed into trump's narrated I have great hope actually right now. I see generation, this new generation of people and I'm very weary of people. who serve but placed their hopes in the younger generation so even. Where we're responsible. Certainly we have given these young people. This really horrible world. We have destroyed the planet we have. We have not looked after the democracy I. Look at my kids, and just what has happened to their future in the last few years and in particular in the last few months. Is is beyond tragic, and they are taking action. I think that their their ideas are truly revolutionary. Talking about radical justice. They're talking about changing the country in ways in which it needs to be changed. They're talking about addressing inequality in fundamental ways. They're talking about universal healthcare, which shouldn't be radical idea, but has been in this country. They're genuinely concerned about the climate. And all of these justice issues and the sense of profound solidarity are out there in the streets right now. So this is a revolutionary moment. Will this revolution succeed? I have no idea but I certainly hope so. If my conversation with Masha Gessen when we come back. Here's the ranch to my conversation with Marsha gets and author of the new book surviving autocracy. What do you make the president's statement to Governor Cuomo? If you don't take charge of your state, I will. This is very much in line with what trump has been saying to governors general right he wants he wants to in his own words dominant. He is itching to be able to deploy the military I believe that he believes that he can, and he will certainly try to what I'm more concerned about is not even what trump says, but again the lack of a forceful. Response from governors that would show solidarity among governors. We saw that. With the coronavirus, we saw that one governors formed alliances that at least formally. Rejected the federal government, which had failed the alliance of I believe it was. It is five states of the northeast, the West Coast Governors Alliance on coronavirus, which coordinated and continues to coordinate reopening, but we're not seeing that now. We're not seeing governors link arms. And say what they should be saying. Which is this legitimate protest? We are not cracking down on that. In fact, I think the the measures that have been taken are intended in some ways to pacify trump. He is the audience, not the people I think that the curfew in new. York City is entirely gratuitous and puts people at risk. It legitimizes the police violence. I mean. This is the first curfew we've had since nineteen forty three. and. I. Don't see any legitimate argument. For why this profuse warranted, so we're! We're seeing a bunch of of many trump's where we should be seeing real democratic resistance to trump's sabre-rattling. Masha, in your newest book, I was interested in your chapter cold, The power lie explain what you mean by different kinds have allies that we're seeing well I'm very interested in I have always been very interested in how political leaders use language, but in particular I'm interested in how language gets damaged by autocratic leaders I thought a lot and wrote a lot about what happened to language after the Soviet Union collapsed. Because? We discovered that the because the Taliban regime. Had used language to mean. It's opposites. It used words in who'd used freedom to me. UNFREEDOM were to mean peace or in war in a very orwellian way it's in that made it very difficult to write and speak politically after the Soviet Union collapsed because political language. had been mangled, but then when Putin came along. Would we saw is that he used words and just to mean they're opposite. To, mean nothing pushing makes this huge long bureaucratic, sounding amorphous statements that have no substance. They're just bureaucratese. And heals makes up phrases that have no. Meaning, like managed democracy or Dictatorship of the law. These are some. Actual Putin's slogans, and so that makes that does another kind of damage to language right? It also makes it much more difficult to speak because suddenly everything becomes MUCCI. Nothing is knowable. Nothing is accessible. Trump does both of those things he often simultaneously uses words to mean nothing and words to mean they're opposite when he says which hunt or fake news is accused of words, their opposite, but also at the time he will say something, and then say was a joke, or he will say something. That's simply comprehensible. Now there's also the issue of how he lies. Which is actually what you asked me about and You know we're used to politicians lying. We're used to people in General Li-. Usually people lie to make you believe something that is not currently part of your picture of reality. Right, you know. The DOG ATE my homework. Right wants you to believe that right. but trump lies about the weather. Trump. Lies blatantly trump lies about things that can be experienced, not just fact check, but experienced immediately. And yet he lies, and that is a very different tactic as a way of saying. I can say whatever I want. Whenever I want to, and because I have the biggest microphone you have to listen to be, and it becomes part of our live, even if it's not actually part of fact, based reality, and it also creates the state of extreme anxiety, and just difficulty processing because we're. If you're going to try to live in fact, reality, you also. Also have to take Trumpian reality into account, so you're constantly cognitively strained. The other option is to just go and live and trump's reality, and that is much more peaceful. You're less conflicted, but also means you become entirely depend on trump. Because of course he can't know was going on from your own experience. You only know what's going on from his statements, some people. Say. That this part of trump. Is. Actually, heart some mental. Illness. Yours saying it's part of a deliberate strategy. Well, I don't know to what extent he is capable of deliberate strategy. In the sense that he's thinking ex very much by instinct by intuition, but it's something that we have seen elsewhere in the world. If it's a mental illness. It is a mental illness that is shared by many autocrats. I have very little patience. I have to say for deserve mental illness analysis of trumpism. For two reasons. One is that the people? The American people who voted trump into office saw who they're voting for. We can't say that he developed a mental illness. After, he was elected. If this is mental illness, it was mental illness that was voted into office with their eyes open by sixty, million America's. The other issue that I have with their arguments that mental illness arguments, which has an issue with invoking the twenty fifth amendment. Is that I? Don't think we can afford to create. A Super Electoral Super Judicial Body that decides whether the president just say or not. Yes this president is insane. A were I would even say deranged. But we cannot. Create a body that we're going to live with for. However long after trump. That is imbued with that kind of power. I. Have want to get to the title of Your Book. ING autocracy. I want to focus on knee served by Pert I at this his. Don't moment. Which direction do you think this country might go? Are Democrats offering a legitimate and reasonable and believe all alternative I'm really really worried. That they're not. I mean granted. The Biden campaign is so horribly handicapped at the moment. and. On some level was predictable, not that the pandemic was exactly predictable, not that the purchaser exactly predictable, but the entire era of trump has been an era of news overload and all trump all the time. We're just seeing more of that, so it is very difficult for democratic opponents to get their message out in this in the situation. This is something we knew we were going to be dealing, but more fundamentally. Trump's message a is emotional and addresses the real in deep anxieties of American. People and the true dysfunction and the true. The true failure of the American system experienced by so many people end. You can't address that by saying. Trump promises to take people to an imaginary past. You can't address that by saying. Let's go back to pre trump era of normalcy. You can't address that by saying. I'm a very effective technocrat. Look at my excellent resume. You have to address the lure of the imaginary passed by creating a vision of a glorious. and. It's not just not part of Joe. Biden's repertoire. It's really not part of the Democratic Party's repertoire right. The the language of the Democratic Party the the workings of the democratic. Party are fundamentally technocratic. They they're still. Counting. Votes and doing kind of electoral calculus in a way that maybe made sense twenty years ago. But it does not make sense now. They're not focusing sufficiently. On on the importance of vision, and in fact I think they're deeply suspicious efficient. So how do we serve five autocracy? We survive by conjuring a future survive by using the language of moral aspiration. Trump appeals to the worst in people trump is is basically this. Child, WHO's running around? Saying that the emperor's naked while he himself has also addressed all the time, and it's it's it's this kind of. A debasing of government. It's debasing of American values. It's redefinition of us in the worst possible charms. and. We need to not just go. Hi, we need to go. Hi intentionally. To embrace. Ideology in the sense that in the idealistic sense, right, we need to talk about ideals. We need to talk about values, and we need to talk to conjure the vision of a world in which the American people can wake up and ten years fifteen years. And feel better about themselves and their country in their future. It, which people are not plagued by economic anxiety, in which people are not so fearful of the future. That they want to embrace somebody who will drag them into an imaginary past in which people can actually look forward to tomorrow. You believe that Joe. Biden can do that. I have to hope that Joe Biden can do that I have to hope. That he is. Capable of choosing a vice presidential nominee who will help him do that? I have to hope that he is flexible enough. To to be able to embrace and broadcast kind of message, we've seen a little bit of movement in that direction in the last couple of months. But I. Don't know that we've seen enough is. Some unhealth. You. Believe could do that in a stronger passion. I would've loved to see Elizabeth Warren nominated. I think Elizabeth, orange is a candidate who has a profound vision of the future who has? A clear understanding of how this country could be better in different, and in in ways that are that are really fundamental. I would love to see A. Run for president. I know she has too young by law. But what I mean, it's that kind of politics. Right. It's the politics that's that's revolutionary. Not in the sense of the violent overthrow of government, but revolution is thinking that actually can imagine a different way of being a country Masha. Thank you, thank you Dan. That was Masha Gessen staff writer at the New Yorker and authored a new book titled Sarah By Bing Autocracy. And that's all for today. Thanks Ted those who who reached out to let me know what you want me to cover during this very difficult time. and. Please continue to get in touch. You can find us on facebook and twitter or sent an email. The? Our podcast at deputy am new dot org. Are Theme. Music is composed by Jim Brown very gain Finland's burke up Wunderle. Are engineered this week. Is Mike Kit? Show is produced by Rebecca Kaufman and alleged brody. Thanks for listening all. These safe stay well. Take care of each other. I'm Diane raid.
What does a journalist fear about Putin? Theyre the exact same things that scare me about Trump.
"Hi I'm Jonathan Kaye part and welcome to Cape. Up Russian President Vladimir Putin figures prominently prominently in American politics and the presidency of Donald Trump but who is this guy really at the Aspen Ideas Festival in June. I asked asked this very question of Masha Gessen a journalist who wrote a book about him and fled Russia because of Masha Gessen. Thank you very much for being on the PODCAST. Thank you for having me so when we first met it was back in what twenty thirteen in the fall of twenty three right and I was moderating a panel you and I think two other people were talking about. LGBT rights and what was happening happening outside of the United States and how at that time things seemed to be going great in the United States in terms of the advance of marriage equality that around the world there seemed to be a retrenchment and you said in that meeting that at the time you and your wife were going to leave Russia Russia and get your children out of Russia talk about what was happening in Russia at the time and why you made that decision to leave so Russia was at the beginning of a period of political crackdown that has now lasted for seven years that began when Putin came back into office in twenty twelve amidst mass protests and what he decided to do in response to the protests was queer bait the protesters and so the anti-gay campaign became became very much a centerpiece of the political crackdown and queer people basically were standing in for everything for the West for the protesters. There's for Russia's enemies everywhere for everything that made people uncomfortable about what happened since one thousand nine hundred one since the Soviet Union collapsed the message that the Kremlin. I'm an broadcasting was if you get rid of the gays you can go back to an imaginary past and everything will be fine again in my particular case. I I was very out have been publicly out for many many years and was raising three children with my then partner and my oldest son is adopted in the spring bringing twenty thirteen. There was an article in the biggest newspaper in the country in which the main serve campaigner against gay people said well what the Americans Americans want is to adopt Russian orphans and bring them up in perverted families like Masha Gessen's which was very clear very targeted threats that they were going to go after my kid and then in June twenty thirteen to laws passed was very well publicized. Another one went almost must unnoticed by the international community so the one that was very well. Publicized was the ban on homosexual propaganda but a week later pass another law that banned adoptions is by gay people or people from countries were same sex marriage was legal and that could be applied retroactively it basically made my adoption illegal and so before the law into effect five days after they voted for it. I got my son on a plane to the United United States so he was going to start boarding school in the US while we got our stuff together and left but the other two kids were biological the threat to them wasn't as immediate but obviously it was untenable for us to stay there and so I mean you talk about how the government was Queer Baiting to setup if you get rid of the gays basically can go back to the rich grand past of Russia. who was the person behind that? I don't know that there was a mastermind who sitting there thinking. Oh let's go after they faced apple surely work. I think that these kinds of things work a little bit differently. They try a lot of things a lot of hateful things and they're extremely sensitive to what gets traction and now it's much easier to explain because now we have trump so look at him. Look at the incredible amount of crap that the man producers verbally and while he seems to be almost on thinking in the way that he's sort of the way his mouth works his actually extremely sensitive to feedback. He knows what's getting traction. He feels what put his audience as a response to and he doubles down on those messages. You know that's what he's done with. Immigrants is really double down on the fear of immigrants us as criminals as the people who take away Americans jobs as invaders and on and on and on that's very much that amick that was at work in Russia instill instill the Kremlin started broadcasting lots of hateful messages against the protesters and the one that really stuck was a crusading message and they double down out so so it wasn't necessarily that this was the grand design Vladimir Putin but this was something bigger than him but he's the guy running the country talk more about who he is because you've written back in twenty twelve ten bucks was the man without a face the unlikely rise of Vladimir Amir Putin and that was in two thousand twelve when you wrote that book. What was the message of that book. What were you trying to the story. You were telling well. It's very funny because now seven years later. It sounds ridiculous to say that the message of that book is the man is much scarier than you think because now I kind of want to backtrack on that and say yes. He has much scarier than he you thought he was in two thousand twelve but actually he's not the mastermind of all evil that you think he is in two thousand nineteen but that was you know it was it was it was the. I sort of history of Putin Putin Azeem my argument in it was that he was at the time a lot of American Russia experts and journalists still follow the jury was out on what was happening in Russia was a just a retrenchment don't on its way to democracy or was it something else right and I was arguing that he was building an autocracy and that in the first few years of his governance between nine hundred ninety nine and two thousand four he dismantled every democratic advancement of that Russia had made the nineteen ninety s and from that point on he had been engaged in creating a new regime at that point in authoritarian regime and in my later book the future is history argued that that regime actually morphed into a kind of mafia state that presides over to Tehran society with Vladimir Putin as as a Mafia don as and so talk more about Putin 'cause the folks who are listening to this podcast. They know the name they know. He's the President Ah Russia that. Where did he come from. What made you when you wrote in twenty twelve book. That said this guy is scarier than you think who was he. Where did he come from. And how did he get to this point well he came from the Cagey he was born to serve in the cage his father had served in the uncover day which is a precursor agency to the KGB he had ambitions of serving in the KGB from the time he was a teenager. When kids want to be cosmonauts or at least Marine Generals Charles he wanted to be a spy he wanted to be a secret agent who wanted to rule from the shadows very much had ambitions of being invisible but extremely powerful so in a sense what here's a compass the opposite of what he wanted to be he is anything but invisible but by the time he became the prime minister and then very quickly the acting president and then president of Russia in Nineteen Ninety nine two thousand he had no public record. He had no no record as a politician he had spent most of his time as a secret agent so that created this very strange situation where on the one hand everybody could project their visions onto him. He could be anything you want and there were people who really tired of Yeltsin who was erratic attic who was a drunk who was often an embarrassment and so to those people Putin looked like the promise of something saner minor stabler and more European. He wore good suits. You didn't look like the Russian bear that Yeltsin looked like there were people who really missed the Soviet me there are people who felt profoundly traumatized by the nineties by the transformation of the country and so they saw him a promise of returning to the Soviet Union because he came from the KGB and because his rhetoric was not as boombastic -Ly Democratic as Yeltsin's but on the other hand he also was able to create his own record. He was able to tell people exactly how he wanted to be seen. which if you think about it for a second is an extraordinary thing right to get a politician the president of a country who nobody knows anything and it says okay now? I'm GonNa tell you who I am and so he commissioned official biography he was interviewed for it by three journalists on six occasions and it's fascinating to see what he wanted people people to know about him. He wanted to know people that he was a thug. He wanted people to know that he was vengeful that he had an uncontrollable temper. These are the kinds of stories that he told about himself that he had his friends and his wife told him he didn't tell stories about his political ambition or his vision for the future that but he told stories about being thug. How does one tell a story about being a thug running for president of the country you you know I mean they have the appearance of these kinds of childhood stories right. These are the fights that he got onto in grade school and these are the got onto an high school. This is the fight that he actually picked picked when he was already a young. KGB's risking his entire career to beat a guy up because of a perceived slight at the bus. Stop Pause and think about it for a second when you could create a wife an image out of whole cloth. Why would you choose that. What would you just tell people that age of I believe twenty five you. You chose to risk your entire career to beat up a guy who didn't know you had martial arts training at a bus stop in Leningrad. I thought it was significant I right. I thought he was actually telling us. We hit my Angeles famous. When tells you who they are the first time believe them exactly that's what he was doing and and I think that people in Russia really didn't people in Russia really wanted to see those kind of stories of adventures youth but Nostra so he was just just fascinated because what I get from your recounting of the stories that he was telling that portrayed him as a thug so goes back to what you were talking about the people of Russia being traumatized by the nineties and sort of yearning for the Soviet Union time of great strength. That's what I'm getting those stories. You can't separate great the nineties and how traumatize people by the nineties from how traumatized people were by totalitarianism right and I think that that's a mistake that people often make when talking about Russia terrible things happen to people in the nineties and that's where they're traumatized. Well I would tell the story a little differently terrible things happen to Russians and over the course of three generations because of totalitarianism and because of that the nineties were particularly difficult because it's an entire society has evolved to survive in the conditions of state terror which made it really unfit for surviving and conditions of starting to be open conditions of opportunity conditions of exchange of opinion and the creation of public sphere. All of those things were antithetical to everything people had grown up to be able to live with and is it that they didn't trust it or that. The idea of freedom was so faren and while that they just couldn't handle it. You know it's not so much they. Do Freedom. I think that idea freedom is probably appealing to most people. It's the lived reality of freedom read right freedom is instability freedom is a huge burden of responsibility. Freedom is having to figure out who you're going to be in the world and view of never had the opportunity to do that. That can feel unbearable. Can we talk about before we move into the present day that extraordinary meeting between in President George W Bush and Vladimir Putin where President Bush said famously and I'm paraphrasing I had a great conversation with Ladimir and great discussion and I looked into his eyes and I could see his soul and this is one of those moments where it seems like every president tries to have a reset with Russia and in particular with Vladimir Putin. What did President Bush get wrong well in the Hillary Clinton. What he got wrong is that Putin is from the KGB doesn't have a soul but I'm a little puzzled by that account and not just by that account but by may different accounts of early Putin there are a lot of people who came from their first meeting with Putin absolutely charmed and sort of a conventional wisdom explanation for that is that he was trained to be recruited? I didn't get to meet him in person until two thousand twelve and I did not come away chart. Actually Kim away disappointed a very strange way right. I expected to see something more than what I had written about in my book something three-dimensional dimensional and there was just nothing there just nothing and I don't know whether after twelve years in power hit simply lost touch or hit lost his touch he didn't know how to charm people anymore or the it was never particularly charming but the allure of power the lure of being buddy buddy with the president of Russia. Maybe that was enough to the charm beaten. After you wrote the process of him after I wrote the as they hysterical part did he see the book and said let me meet this person. He didn't know about the existence of the book because you know for him to know about the existence of the books would have had to tell him about the book and that wouldn't have gone over well. Nobody wants to be that person and so then how did you how did you find yourself. Harry Bizarre Story. I it was the editor of a Popular Science magazine in Moscow and it was actually the biggest quality magazine in the country and Putin really liked the magazine magazine and because he liked it so much he wanted us to sender reporter on his adventure hang gliding with is heavier cranes and my publisher asking you to do that and I said no and it's all because being particularly brave I actually said it was being really pragmatic. I said look if we send a reporter. The report is going to see something that you don't want to the magazine so let's just not center were Popular Science magazine. We don't have to do this. I have a story commission on this repopulation relation project for the Siberian cranes. Let's do this without Putin and he said well. How about we send a reporter but then we don't have to publish anything that I can't do. There's no like I can not senator reporter but I can't ethically send a reporter and the nut published so just let's just say trouble and you fired uh-huh. Oh and when he fired me it became media is in Moscow at the time still possible now you probably wouldn't read about it and putting called me because he really. I liked the magazine and so he thought that the publisher had overreacted so he wanted to offer me my job back. Stop the president of the country found out you got fired heard and then called you to give your job back right which it wasn't his to give realized that because he's the Mafia boss like everything is his to give or take takeaway and that's true if he had called publish and set fire the poster would have fired me right so instead he called me and he called the publisher was like going into the principal's office. We sat across the table from each other and we had a conversation and then he said. Okay offer her job back holy with. Oh my I god and so he ever you. Did you take the job you you're retelling that story in terms of the president another country calling an editor and offering back something he doesn't have the power to although technically didn't have the power but but clearly was able to do it brings me to the current occupant of the White House. The parallels between the two are incredible so let's go from President George W Bush meeting with Vladimir Putin to President Donald Trump and the famous famous infamous press conference the two of them did after their summit in Helsinki where I don't even know where to begin with the number of sort rhetorical atrocities that happen during that press conference at this point. It's been so long. It's been nearly years offers. The meals like fifteen years old media time right but as I recall was really amazing about that press conference was actually incompetence of the current White House administration in the White House press people. They didn't stage the press conference. This press conference was staged entirely by Russians everything talking about it with the possible exception the Russians have had their way completely and they would have had the all the questions scripted to have time as of course they couldn't get the Americans since to submit their scripted questions ahead of time but everything else was completely controlled by the Russians and of course I remember trump's performance was mortifying but I also remember that Putin used that press conference to perform one of his signature tricks that I find really extraordinary when he suddenly tells the truth almost unbidden remember when he said of course we wanted him to win. Yeah first of all it wasn't in response to a question lost. The question was something entirely different unconfirmed was but he said of course we wanted him to win after more than a year of denying that Russia had had had any stake in the American election and it's that kind of lying which he performs often he did the same thing with the Russian troops and Ukraine one four year and a half say they're no Russian troops in Ukraine and Russian troops in Ukraine and suddenly said of course we're in Ukraine and that communicates to you that well first of all. You're an idiot for for having believed him before second. Would you be an idiot to believe him now a third whether or not you're an idiot. He is completely in control. All of whatever reality is available to it. He decides to say that this is the case because he has got the bigger microphone because you have no choice but to engage with what he's saying. That's going to be the narrative I mean. You just gave me a lot here to think about because again. We see president trump trying to do that not trying. He does it every day. Several Times a day to the point of saying the sky is blue and then denying he said it was blue and then when everyone says well. We've got the tape saying you said it was blue. Instill saying no I never said it but can you talk about more parallels you see between trump and and Putin and is it true to your mind this sort of conventional wisdom at least among the people. I've talked to that president. Trump is is basically recruited by Vladimir Putin that he is an he meaning trump is an unwitting Russian asset. I really hate talking about things that we don't know right because I mean I think that as journalists we should not talk about things that we don't know that we don't have facts to establish but also there's a kind of journalism and unfortunately it's the kind of journalism that we have seen more and more in the last couple of years since trump got elected were. It's the unseen the secret the thing that can be revealed. If you connect the dots that becomes more important than what we can can all see I think it's much more useful and ultimately informative to focus on the things that actually we can all see so we can't see whether trump was recruited and whether he is an asset and I would argue. It doesn't matter what matters is that he has sincere admiration for Vladimir. Put what matters is that. He wants to be Putin if he could be in this country and what matters is that they do have a lot of things in common. Obviously there major the things that differentiate them from another one is that they're emotionally complete. The different trump is all affect his all raw emotion Putin which and actually prize himself on being inscrutable which I don't think he is but that's because they do have himself. Putin comes from a completely different political culture and and he inherited a completely different political system right and that's very important. It's an important distinction and it's important for us to keep in mind. Would we have to protect from trump it. It is the political system and it is the political culture which he's hell bent on destroying but will they do have in common is the way they lie right and I would argue that they lie not like most people I which is to get you to believe something that you don't already but to tell you that they are more powerful. It's basically basically it's like the bully who keep saying. I can say whatever I want and there's nothing you can do about and that's you know that's why that experience that we keep having with trump is so infuriating. The Sky is blue. Sky Is Blue Yeah well of course the sky is blue yes. This is why I fire James Comey well. Of course I have fire James Comey because of Russia. That's the exact equivalent of the the thing that I was describing the Putin kind of did were you to believe me the first time that's a powerplay and it continues to establish that reality according to trump is what what we all have to inhabits whether or not want to and whether or not is it isn't any way rooted in fact. I think another thing that they share is that they use their political office for personal gain and they see nothing wrong with it in fact that's why they're in office. That's the purpose of and they have no use used for government. They have no use for politics. They have extreme disdain for the very idea of government. When trump was saying rain the swamp he didn't mean make government better. He's GonNa get rid of the whole thing and I think that that's something that they really share a couple of things on your first point how they tried to get us to exist within the reality that they have created in the American form of government and American society. Is it even possible for our institutions. Russians whether the political institutions or even media the free press. Is it even possible for us to push back against that reality. Of course it's possible. Just it's a question of how successful right I mean. I think that in some ways the trump presidency has been the American media's finest hour in a long long time in some choice not so much I think that in terms of investigative journalism in not just how much has been done what has been uncovered but how it's been done right the new new models of collaboration news of ways of mobilizing media. That's been amazing things. The Post on the Times has done bbut bbut PROPUBLICA. Were like a podcast like trump inc which is my absolute. Favorite ongoing investigation into trump has done. That's extraordinary. I think that our kind nine of day to day political coverage is not generally our finest hour and we're in trouble by covering trump covering trump means covering things he says every time we cover something. He says we normalize it in some way. I think that we have to acknowledge that. There's no way to to avoid the trap. We have to think about how to minimize the damage how to create enough context to tell the stories in such a way that that we don't fall into the biggest trap that sets all the time which is arguing about facts so I'm like I'm really not a fan with all due. Respect turn apologised to the post checker of the fact checking genre journalism. Why not that runs counter to the way. Most people think now that Oh my God thank God we have a fact checker. Check her out there who is keeping tabs on how many lies misleading statements that he makes and that we actually have a number that we can point to but I I was thinking that that's a good thing someone's paying attention but you're taking the opposite view. Of course it's good to pay attention but as journalism it creates genre of arguing about facts every time trump says something and we respond by saying the opposite a serves to establish that there are two ways to think about this the trump way and the right way facts are not subject to argument opinions are subject argument faster fats so I think there has to be a different way to tell the story of Trumpian lies something that is not naked fact checking something that involves a lot more depth and context then how should the a regular person not journalists like us but who's interested. How does the regular person push back against the reality trump is trying to get us to exist in well. I'm in the regular. Person should be engage in critical thinking agreed agreed. I don't know what else to recommend the regular person as a kind of household antidote to trump I mean I think that there are lots of things that can be done and by critical thinking I mean where Democrats are failing. A lot of the time and many journalists are also failing. A lot of the time is keeping keeping US away from the TRUMPIAN drifts in language and discourse and immigration of course is the best example of that where we within within less than two years into the trump presidency were fully into an argument about whether the wall is a cost effective effective way of protecting the border when trump gave his wall speech with Nancy Pelosi Season Chuck Schumer's rebuttal. The rebuttal was was not based on moral grabs. It was cost argument's effectiveness arguments. I mean that is such a huge distance that we have traveled from. Were were during the campaign. When do you remember that. When trump was talking about the wall people were saying well disregard that I mean that's ridiculous. That is so obviously absurd that we shouldn't even be thinking about that and not not only we're thinking about it. We're actually negotiating on cost or actually negotiating on whether it should be concrete or steel and and what is it going to be better if it's chicken wire in that is not the conversation we should be having and where. I think critical thinking really needs to be activated is is in that like why are we even talking about this. What is the premise of this conversation that needs to be questioned from your vantage point as someone who has been watching America living in America an observer of our culture sidey institutions and given where you've come from can American democracy candidates institutions survive a president trump well the the answer is we don't know we don't know we've never seen this before. We have seen people like trump before we have seen moments like like this moment of extreme instability and extreme polarization and the extreme appeal of an autocrat. You know we've seen global moments like that before. That didn't didn't go very well. Last time we saw a global movement like that but it's not the nineteen thirties it's not the nineteen thirties if only because the nineteen thirties of already happened and we have the chance to have learned from history the media that we have in this country and civil society that we have in this country is unlike. Mike Meteo civil society that the world has ever known before. Are we strong enough as media in a civil society you know much less excited or certain about put our formal institutions than about immediate median civil society. I think institutions K. very quickly but are we strong enough to turn this moment of political crisis us into a moment of opportunity rather than the moment of our final descent and we don't know the answer. Is it surprise you that you can't definitively tentatively say yes. Democracy can survive trump do not oh it doesn't it doesn't surprise me at all. I mean look I. I don't think it's my job does definitively say as journalists will like to say things definitively but I think we need to get out of that habit. I understand where you're coming from Asia. You're going to bring you back to something when I asked. You about your book from two thousand twelve the man without a face the unlikely rise Vladimir Putin where I think you said when you were writing that book you wanted to show like this guy is scarier than you think but I heard you correctly use said now looking at the book seven years later. He's not as scary Oh. He's every bit as scary as the guy in the book off the message of the book at the time was pay attention and I was like come on stop talking about Putin talk about what's going on here in that and actually one of the strongest arguments that I have heard in favor serve this position. I've been arguing for more than two years now. Actually since the Democrats started talking about how trump was a Russian agent in the summer of two thousand sixteen I have been arguing and that we have to pay attention to the tens of millions of Americans who are voting for him and not the Russians because whether Russian interference made made a difference to the tune of seventy seven thousand votes that gave him the presidency is ultimately a footnote in history. What's important. Jordan is that sixty million Americans voted for him and most of them certainly didn't because of Russia and the strongest argument in favor of that I have heard sense. It was trump's reelection rally recently when he addressing the crowd. He said he was talking about the Russia investigation. I said they're trying to take your votes away right. They're trying to say it's Russia. They're trying to say it's not you and his right that obsession with Russian interference appearance surfaced obscure the reasons and the fact the sixty million Americans voted for trump. Why do you think sixty million voters voted for trump trump. I think they had different reasons but I think that an overwhelming reason for most of them was extreme. Economic and social anxiety in in some of it is extremely unprincely summit has racing's -iety but it's still extreme economic and social anxiety and the sense that the system hasn't worked worked for them that and especially this is I think true of the Obama trump voters who by some estimates number as many as five million people who feel desperate for change people who have sincerely participated in system and honestly voted their pockets for generations and have seen their lives get worse and worse and then trump comes along and says I can be the grenade your throat the system okay. It's as good as any other that is a really terrifying diagnosis of the American political system and where democracy was before trump cutlet but I think that's what we need to look at and so I'm with you about the people who voted for trump in November of twenty sixteen eighteen but since then we have seen a lot of things that sort of belied this explanation that it was economic anxiety and for me the key moment was Charlottesville and how he embraced white supremacy Darcy's or very fine people trying to bring some equivalence on both sides and another touchstone was the closing argument of twenty term elections where he spent two weeks several several times every day with wildly racist xenophobic closing arguments for Senate races in red states in not not only did the Republicans hang onto the Senate they gained two seats the president of the United States with an openly racist xenophobic argument and and so given that and you know push back please. If you don't agree is that what's going on here. Do you think in the United States more more so than economic anxiety. I don't think you can separate the two I think that and again we can go back to the Nineteen Nineteen Thirties in Europe and in this country to see how economic anxiety women's hate without talking about extreme inequality without talking about poverty in this country we can also talk about hate and I'm not for one second saying that these are good people voted uh-huh trump right. This is not my position. I'm not for one second saying that looting for trump is justifiable in sixteen or voting for his cannons in two thousand eighteen or twenty twenty as many people are going to do what I'm saying is that there's actually learned this term. When I was writing a book about the Boston bombers another couple of the people for whom I have absolutely no sympathy but I learned this term from people who study the far right and the term is strategic empathy. It's not the kind of condescending being empathy that we sometimes practice journalism where we go to a red state and say oh if only to better information they wouldn't have done it but really they're fine people who are misled into voted for trump. I don't think so I think they're fine people. I don't think that if they have better information they wouldn't have voted for him. I think the situation is actually much more dire but I think the general sense of rootlessness instability and extreme anxiety plays a huge role in creating the conditions for trump candidacy and the trump victory so to finish up. What are the three things that scare you about Vladimir Putin three things that scare me. That's a lot of things there's only one. I'll take get you know. I think that I think there are two things that scare me about Putin under the same things that scare me about trump one is that he has total disregard for human life. He has new civic or historic ambition. He only wants to stay in power in if that means at some point blowing up the world or half the world or a third of the world that's just what has to be done and the other thing that scares me about him is that he's not smart informed curious that's it. I don't know nothing to silence but part of woods of the Putin fantasy that has taken hold in the United United States over the last couple of years is that he is smart and that he is informed and I think that there is a kind of comfort in that that at least and again it's very funny. When I wrote the twentieth book about Putin the One criticism that surfaced in a lot of reviews was she says that he is not smart or educated but nobody gets to be this powerful. Well being an idiot. Now we finally know better country but there's this fantasy that even if we have a bumbling it in the White House there's monstrous evil villainess but intelligent person in the Kremlin and that's not true there is a very different kind of Cimoli Moley uninformed on curious mumbling in the Kremlin and with that GonNa leave it there. Masha Gessen SAF rider with the New Yorker author of the future is history history how totalitarianism reclaimed Russia author of the man without a face the unlikely rise of Latimer Putin eight other books. Thank you so much for being on the PODCAST. Thank you very much. Thanks for listening to Cape Up Tune in every Tuesday. You can find us on apple podcasts institure and how about doing me a huge favor subscribe rate and review us. I'm Jonathan Cape are the Washington Post. You can find me on twitter at Cape Park Jake.
Sen. Warren: Trump is flirting with treason by not committing to peaceful transfer of power
"There's a new podcast you should check out it's called to see each other to see each other is a documentary series that complicates the narrative about rural. Americans. In our most misunderstood and often nd communities host George Gale Ah leading grassroots organizer travels to Michigan, Iowa, New Jersey, North Carolina, and Indiana to reveal how small town folks are working together in fights for everything from clean water and racial justice to immigration rights and climate change. The show believes that when we see each other will understand we can never give up on each other. You can find to see each other wherever you're listening to this show subscribed today. Tonight on. Outside of his bubble, the unpopular president here's her Americans after announcing his intention to subvert democracy. We want to get to the ballots and you'll have a very trans. We'll have a very peaceful. Transfer. Frankly Tonight Masha Gessen, I'm while you should believe him when he says that Senator Elizabeth Warren on making sure all votes are counted. Then vote early and vote in person election law expert ned on the ways to make a difference and with two hundred and three thousand dead and counting how the suffering of long-haul Cova survivors starting to come into focus all in starts right now. Good evening from New York, I'm Chris as make no mistake. The president is acting out of weakness right now not from strength. Attack legitimacy of election sued undermine voting rights across the country and make it harder to vote and talk about invalidating tens of thousands. If not millions of mail in ballots and refuse to commit to a peaceful transfer of power, you don't do all those things if you think you are winning. Right. Donald Trump said yesterday was extremely desert disturbing and outrageous actually disqualifying. But does this really sound like someone who's expecting a victory? Will you commit to making sure that there is a peaceful transfer for power after the election go we're gonNA have to see what happens. You know that I've been complaining very strongly about the ballots and the ballot sir disaster. To making sure that there's a little more. Want to have get rid of the ballots and you'll have a very transplant. Have a very peaceful. There won't be a transfer frankly there'll be a continuation. The ballots are out of control. You don't promise to get rid of the ballots. If you think the ballots are going to keep you in power because people are voting for you because they like you know you actually know that you are hated when you say that Donald Trump knows that things do not look good for him that the American people are not with him. Right. Now, the pulling average shows him down within seven points nationally that forty three percent number. That's basically what his approval has been throughout his entire presidency. Just yesterday, there were three different national polls that showed trump down by ten points. ENCUMBENT has lost by ten points since I think hoover. Joe Biden in those polls also at least fifty percent support, which is key. Donald trump is the incumbent president amidst pandemic that has killed more than two hundred and thirty thousand Americans so far just another thousand today. He is overseeing an economy that has lost nearly five million jobs since he took office in early voting has already begun the latest NBC News Wall Street. Journal poll found that nearly ninety percent of voters already made up their minds. They already know who they voting for, which makes sense because can you imagine looking at the current situation and thinking at a little more? So there isn't a lot of opportunity for the president to make up ground. And all that means Donald Trump is looking for his second option. Trying to actually win again, appealing to more people. So as you win the election, legitimately, it just is not the strategy clearly at this point. And as dangerous it and it is indeed daters talk about than a bit. The danger we see is don't forget it born of his political weakness born of his unpopularity. Not His. Political. Strike. I mean, this is someone who views himself as president of the forty percent of the country that likes him. He's the king read America. He brags about his approval rating among the Republican Party. And he says it shouldn't count really the coronavirus Desam Blue States, you shouldn't count those against him because there's a blue states. I mean this is someone who surrounds himself at every opportunity with nothing but the most rabidly adoring members of his own base people who are willing to risk a once in a century respiratory infection to watch him riff about low flow toilets. But if he for an instant sets foot into the rest of America to see the majority of Americans that do not approve for him. This is what it looks like. This was the scene today when the president went to view the casket. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg whose dying wish was that he not appoint her successor. I. Man, there, he is not strong US week. Striking isn't it the same confronted with just a tiny little assemblage of the people in the majority of the country that do not like him? It's been a while the campaign tries to keep them in front of only the most during audiences in an effort to project the idea that well everybody loves. Donald Trump. They take great pains to protect him from ever appearing before regular Americans when they do make that mistake and send him into non Maga- parts of America. This is what happens rarely went to the Washington nationals game last year and got audibly booed by the fans. That was a disaster. So then they had to make up for it. They figured what about a UC fight Madison Square Garden, if see folks people but there were a lot of booze there to quit as bad but it was. and. They finally figured. Could Glorious Chinese Lsu versus Alabama College Game Tuscaloosa. And that worked now, lots of applause took tries the president. Fantasies. Collusive Alabama this politically week president who wants desperately for you to believe he is strong that political weakness is the thing that pro democracy forces in America have on their side. But at the same time, that weakness that weakness is also what is driving him and his party? Into, ever more dangerous actions which we have to take seriously and confront. He is dangerous as hell particularly because he's being held by the Republican Party and we are very dangerous mode. Manages to say an office if he managed to plow over our democracy and throughout her votes, then all bets are off. Two days after the two thousand sixteen election Masha Gessen wrote this piece titled Autocracy Rules for Survivor, listing out six rules to understand how to live under an autocrat. Four years later, those rules now seem all too real. The first one in particular is worth repeating after what we heard trump say yesterday quote believe the autocrat. I'm joined now by Masha Gessen's staff writer for the New Yorker author of the New Book Surviving Autocracy First Masha that you're this is not surprising that he said this he has essentially been sort of laying the groundwork for they're saying any election he loses is by definition not legitimate and tainted, but it was still striking to hear him say that yesterday. Though. He actually said that before the you sixteen election as well. That he wins to him is also a legitimate and he always run against the system he has always run on the platform of. De Legitimizing elections such. So I don't know that I would stress so much that he is afraid of losing in his running on weekends. I think there's been a sort of. A similar simultaneous underlying understanding of a lack of the city of the presidency that has been undercurrent the entire time, but also the force of diligent amazing. The entire system as he found right and the the holzer, the swamp rhetoric has always referred to destroy government as it was constituted. How do you think about this sort of to me? There's a sort of twin imperatives here. Right? One is. You know to be clear eyed about the danger to take him seriously to take the efforts to. Do. Profoundly dangerous things to American democracy seriously at the same time not imbuing him with more power than he has. There's kind of projection of strongmen ness right here. This these the the Republicans they we're going to figure out how to take your vote away send our own slate of electors which I think is meant to kind of intimidate at a certain level. How do you? How do you interpret those sort of? Competing imperatives at this month. I. You know my my my rule is always to try to zoom out and look at the larger picture and the larger picture is that we're at a stage in the autocratic tempt when probably face the last chance to try to stop this autocratic attempt before I use this framework invented by Hungarian sociologist imbalanced module who says there's an autocratic attempt autocratic breakthrough autocrat consolidation. So I think we're still attempt stage. The breakthrough will happen if he wins this election or even in spite of losing the election succeeds in maintaining power. and. So we really have to use this chance. To. GET RID OF DONALD TRUMP is. In this. Elections are not a perfect instrument. There's rambled voter suppression. There's. Opportunity To vote has never been equally distributed in it is it is suboptimal at the moment and yet this is currently our best instrument for stopping autocratic attempt and that means he has to lose by an absolutely overwhelming march. That is a really useful. The attempts to break through the consolidation is actually is extremely useful framework to think about it, and it's interesting that you reference you. You Reference Hungry because I think of when I look Victor Oregon who who many people have compared him and his running this sort of what he calls an illiberal democracy. In Europe. Or Bone and and the Law Justice Party I think it's called in Poland, which is sort of aligned hard-right party. You know we're on has been fairly popular like it does strike me that we would be much worse shape if Donald Trump were like legitimately pulling at sixty percent that in rebuffing the attach right? If we think about this is the autocratic attempt. Rebuffing the attempt is easier and you're in a stronger position when the person making the attempt is not actually popular. I don't think that we can. Accurately, measure the popularity of autocrats. Orbin. Putin or this aired one simply because you know when there's when there's a scar scorched earth. All of governing when when they completely dominate information, you're. Almost complete dominate information. Share. There's no way to see an alternative. There is no way to gauge or popularity in the absence of of any kind of imagination for what would happen if it weren't the door, right we are not there yet and. At. This point especially in the week after the death of Judge Ginsburg Justice Ginsburg. I think it's super important to go back and look at all the things that we still have. With still have the opportunity for Donald. Trump to not be popular. Because there are other options breath because we have because we have actually still a robust public sphere that he has not come to fully dominate because it is actually possible for him to be unpopular. That is a great point, right? That's exactly what I was trying to say like worse because we're still in the attempt phase because we are not in the breakthrough, our consolidation plays because consolidation has not happened because I'm speaking to you right now in front of millions of people right like the because we're on this side of it we still we can beat it back. and. You know I have really started thinking about the election they sort of pro democracy forces. Conceptualization. Is. Quite frankly, Barack Obama said this Alexandria Cossio Cortez said this and Bernie Sanders said it today and people on the right have said this bill Kristol I think believes this and That's that's what what we're facing right here. Yes and Actually I got. Seized up inside when I saw the figures that you're using at the top of the broadcast. Showing how trump was is trailing Joe Biden because of course, he's trailing him nationally, but they electoral college isn't looking so great and and we have this hugely imperfect system that we have to try to use to stall. Autocratic attempt and then try to rebuild the system. In in a way that that is actually much more DAMARA, right? and. We have to have total mobilization. For Democracy. Not to protect democracy that is under threat, but even have a chance of building Itamar CS. Yes, and that is a sort of a guiding moment particularly amidst this. Catastrophe that we all continue to to to to work our way through that presses down on each of us. Each and every day the the other thing that I wanted to sort of end on one of the rules which I remembered since my first interview with you after election night was just be outraged and I have to say like. I'm not an angry person, but but. Have felt kind of. Whistling tea kettle sense of rage. Recently partly born of morning honestly because of the devastation of the death around us in the illness and the suffering and misery that didn't happen. But also because I love my country deeply and. I feel like I'm watching someone tried to take it away. Someone is trying to to take it away. Someone is actively facilitating the deaths of more than a thousand people a day. It is very, very hard to maintain A. Level of rage to in it, it is objectively hard because we're not talking about normalization. We're talking about talking about normality. This has been normal for this response to the coronavirus has been normal for seven months. This this way of shameless abuse of power has been normal for nearly four years. This is our everyday reality, and so the only thing I would say is that you know as difficult as outrage is to maintain. It is a much more constructive emotional state that anxiety. That's. Is What makes us controllable and it is a natural response to what's happening, but it makes us it makes us slow to act and a naval to an outrage will drive us to action. That is really well said, Masha Gessen has always so wonderful talk to you. Thank you so much for tagged Austin. Having Tonight Republicans are telegraphing they hope the election will be decided by the courts and not so much. The voters that are Elizabeth, Warren Warren's that democracy as we know it is on the line she joins me next. On Friday October sixteenth how one man saw the presidency will change you see the world focus features MSNBC films present the way I see based on the New York Times number one bestseller from the producer of the Academy Award Winning Free Solo and director Don Porter. This new documentary offers an unprecedented look behind the scenes at two of the most iconic precedents in American history Barack Obama and Ronald Reagan as seen through the eyes of renowned official White House photographer Pete Souza. Sousa was eyewitness to what it means to be the most powerful person on earth and experience that transformed him from a photojournalist to a searing commentator and activist on the issues. We faces a country today. The Way I see it is your behind the scenes, all access pass to the highest office in the land through the lens of a man who captured it all watch the television premiere of the way I see it Friday, October sixteenth at ten. P. M. EASTERN ON MSNBC Hey, everyone Chris as these days I find it helpful to just take a step back from the day-to-day onslaught of news and take a broader look. The issues I haven't had time to cover a my TV show all in everything from the legacy of racism in America to how community and creativity can flourish amidst a pandemic to how Democrats could win and Deep Red America I do each week on my podcast. Wise is happening and I'm joined by uniquely qualified guests like Pulitzer Prize winning reporter Nicole Hannah Jones progress does not mean justice or equality or that we are right after four hundred year the black people being in. This country type remarking incremental progress in patting ourselves on the back for that has been long over author Rebecca Solnit. How do we take care of each other in the context of not being able to physically be with each other in ordinary ways crooked media's Jon favreau. It's going to be the highest turnout election in history, which means that it is a persuasion game and many others who helped me make sense of what's happening in our society and our world I really enjoy our conversations. I hope you will too. So join me for new episodes every Tuesday just search for wisest happening wherever you're listening right now and subscribe. Vogue, is you're trying to distance themselves and the president implicity threatening violence state office as he did when you refuse to commit to a peaceful transfer of power, but the way the Republicans are trying to distance themselves from that odious comment is extremely unnerving in itself. The theme from Republicans is less well, the people will decide who our next president is. After we counter revote the winner of the electoral. College will be the next president and it seems a lot more. We will abide by the decision of the courts, but the courts are like a real emergency backstop here the court should not be the mean plant. Lindsey Graham the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee said quote people wonder about the peaceful transfer of power I assure you it will be peaceful. Now we may have litigation about who won the election, but the court will decide if Republicans lose well except that result. This particularly unnerving after the death of justice, Ruth, Bader Ginsburg when the President and Republicans are all saying we need to Ram through a Supreme Court justice so that that person can rule presumably in our favor if there is an election lawsuit. Equally divided court four four can't decide anything that could make this presidential election drag on weeks and months, and well into next year that is an intolerable situation for the country. We need a full court on election day given the very high likelihood that we're going to see litigation that goes to the court. We need a supreme court that can via they definitive answer for the country with all of the talk about. Universal unsolicited mail in balloting where we see states around the country are now extending the deadline. There is a possibility that election issues may come before the Supreme Court in the days following the election and all the more reason why we should have nine justices on the Supreme Court. To to be able to resolve any issues that may arise then. You're with me. Now one of those senators who will vote on Supreme Court Confirmation Center. Elizabeth Warren Democrat of Massachusetts. Great to have you senator. I only just get your response to this line this sort of. I find it strange line from some of your Republican colleagues about. Well, you know we'll listen to the courts. The courts will decide, and we also need to get this justice on the court because the courts gonNA decide the election as if that's kind of fade accomplish what do you? What do you think when you hear that? So Let's start with Donald Trump. When Donald Trump says that he is not. Necessarily, going to accept the will of the voters he's flirting with treason. He sang peaceful transition of power doesn't matter to him all that matters to him once again is Donald Trump and whatever donald trump wants and for Republicans once again to step up these Republican senators to enable him in that to support him in that and to start to talk about the November. Third election as if this isn't about voters getting their choice, but it's about Supreme Court justices getting their choice. Means that they are a party to it, and that means to me that come. November. Third we need to hold them all accountable and when I say hold them all accountable I mean, Donald Trump. I mean those Republican senators I mean those Republicans up and down the ballot and we need to not just beat them by a little bit. The idea that they can go litigating when it's close on mean beat them big. That's what we got to. You know the the there is after the death of Justice Ginsburg. There's a sort of question. About. Okay. Well, what now and? Relatively, Short order looks like Mitch McConnell assembled the votes he needed to move forward, Lindsey Graham. A shortest. Sight unseen. The nominee has votes. And then the question you're shaking your head A new meaning to the word advice and consent. Exactly right. United States requires right. Lindsey Graham has simply said, Donald. Trump has my proxy on this Senate does need to look at it if the president's good Lindsey Graham's good man. There's a man with a spine a spine kept in a box somewhere else because he certainly doesn't have to exercise for himself. Well, then only lose talk about spying in about fighting here I mean. There there is some sense I get that there's no magic button and I get that they probably have the votes. But there is some sense of like what do you do right as a Senate minority? Do you not agree to unanimous consent to you insist on quorum calls? Do you not Ju vote for judges but it's my understanding is the last twenty, four, forty, eight hours. All that stuff has happened right I mean. The Senate is functioning normally I. Think there was a confirmation vote on a district judge today ninety, three to two I I'm not sure how you voted. But there is kind of normal business happening like explain to me why that is happening. What? We need to use every tool and there are a lot of tools that Democrats have to try and fight this. We gotta be strategic about how we use them, but it can't be business as usual in the Senate. We need to think seriously about everything we can do to try to slow this down into show how illegitimate this whole process is. The continuing resolution could have been voted on yesterday but we did we said Nope. We're going to run it for the full length of time that it takes and yeah, it'll be voted on but it's going to be next Wednesday we're gonNA pull this out. That's why I'm still here in Washington. We're going to use every tool we've got but grassroots energy is crucial in this kind of fight as well. The more energy injected into this, the more nervous, the Republicans are going to get. Remember back in twenty seventeen. The Republicans thought they had the votes to repeal health care for millions of Americans and they didn't they blink and it's large part because people stood up and said, no. To me, that's what this is. This is another fight over the vote to repeal healthcare for millions of Americans that's going to be in front of the Supreme Court in November. So we need to fight just as hard as we did back then because now the stakes are even higher. So I want to ask about the UCLA and I'm so glad you raise it. I meant to ask the speaker, the other night and I'm kicking myself two days that I didn't. So I'm GonNa ask you and you may say, well, this is better directed the speaker but is getting. My. Crazy. Or could everyone agree to put one sentence in this CR? That's GonNa Pass the repeals the mandate from the ACA and then makes the case before the Supreme Court utterly. Moot. Anyway and everyone can walk away from this insane preposterous Rube Goldberg in bad faith argument that they're making over there but also risks too strenuous. Can we do that? Show listen I'm all for creative thinking we need creative thinking right now but understand Chris that is not going to stop the Republicans they want to take away preexisting conditions I mean they've got multiple grounds that they're moving on here. The only way we're going to stop is the same way we stopped them in twenty seventeen. We're just GONNA have to fight them. We're going to have to fight him everywhere including on the floor of the Senate and that means right now every one of these Republican senators up for reelection and everyone trying to get elected those Republicans need to be put to the question multiple times a day. Why are you helping Donald Trump takeaway. From tens of millions of people. Why are you participating in a process that Republicans and Democrats? Both know is illegitimate we need to be fighting back. Final question for you is about relief. Know the here's act passed the house Trillions of dollars back in May. A whole bunch of extensions of of programs that cares act and also a lot of money for for municipal and state governments, which is really necessary a far far smaller and more limited version passed. The Senate. They haven't come to an agreement. I feel like it's weirdly disappeared from the national conversation that there are millions of people. In terrible shape right now. Unemployment's running out. These jerry rigged patches, the president unilaterally signed or running out. The people are in tough shape like the government should be doing more right. Now I'm so glad you asked about this. Families are struggling so much. Two hundred thousand people have now died. And and as you say, unemployment's running out, people are being moved out of their apartments for closures are going forward. Kids can't get back into school parents or struggling to try to keep up if they have a job trying to keep up with work in their. Families every part of this is headed in the wrong direction and it is imposing real pain on the people of this country. As you know, the house, passed relief package. It's been four months ago now and Mitch McConnell said, he didn't feel any real urgency and boy did he make that clear because when the Republicans finally did move it was with this tiny little package that was loaded with poison pills that they knew would never go forward. So the Republicans have clearly decided that. Their path to victory is not for trying to help people and then stand on their records. Their paths to victory is to see if they can keep people from voting debt that election closer than it otherwise would be and then steal a supreme court seats so that if it goes to the supreme core, they will still be in power. This is a naked grab for power. It is a page out of the playbook of dictators everywhere, and we need to put a stop to it. Senator Elizabeth, Warren of Massachusetts who is still there in Washington DC as you see behind you thank you for making the time. Thank you. Still had voting plan for the election and we'll talk about why voting early could change the trajectory of election night after this. Hi Everyone. It's joy. Reid. I'm so excited to tell you about my new MSNBC show the readout every weeknight I'm talking with the biggest newsmakers about the most pressing issues of our time like Joe Biden words of president. And so as United States, the first thing I'm GONNA do stand up and talk sense and be honest with the American people level with them Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance bottom. We need as many voices as we can have as possible sounding the alarm encouraging people to wear masks and to take all precautions and to follow the science the data Senator Comma, Harris We send folks into war wearing camouflage. So what is going on here when you said camouflage uniformed officers into a city and many more, you can listen to the readout as a podcast by searching for the readout that's R. E. I D. O. T. One word wherever you're listening right now and subscribing for free. Thanks for listening. As, states try to make it easier vote by mail during a pandemic, which has already killed two hundred and three thousand Americans a courtship dealing with a huge number of lawsuits around voting. And there are some pretty clear sites here. Democrats are trying to make sure as many people can vote as possible and as many ballots as possible or counted the trump campaign and the Republican party allies are trying to throw out as many ballots as possible. Democrats were victorious in Wisconsin where a federal judge extended the deadline for accepting absentee ballots, their victorious and North Carolina where the State Election Board extended the deadline to count mail in ballots and created new rules to make it easier for voters to fix any mistakes which is key. But there are literally dozens of lawsuits on this year's election that are still being fought state by state by state across the country and someone who's been falling what's happening here as closely as anyone. Professor of constitutional, law at Ohio. State University and now NBC News Legal analyst Edward Fully, and he joins me now professor. It's it's great to have you. I've been relying on your work so it's great to talk to. In person let me just start with. With sort of proactive thing people can do to avoid some of the complicated litigation that's going on around mail in ballots, and that's in person early voting. What what is your view on that and that seems to me something that is this cycle shielded from the litigation that we're getting on the mail in ballots is that a fair characterization? Indeed I'm a big fan of in person early voting I've done it myself. We have that in my own state of Ohio and it's a great option because it allows you to choose the day and time that you vote. So you can often avoid the long lines. and. because. It's in person you don't have any of the risks and problems that sometimes are associated with vote by mail. So. In states that habit I definitely recommend it unfortunately, not every state has it as an option. Yeah. We should just put up a obviously we've been running this plan your vote website embassy, dot com slash find your vote on. Here's where there is early impersonal those purple states including New York, and in fact, I just found out where the location is for myself. which is Great. So again, sort of as a pandemic option like the first. Cut I think is that if you can do this and you can go to time when there's not a lot of people and wear mask that's fairly straightforward. Now, let's talk about mail in balloting. There are there's so much litigation about this. We tick through a few of them. A lot of them have to do on basically when they have to win these ballots have to get into be counted is that is that sort of one of the big battle lines here? Indeed, that's probably the number one battle with respect to the absentee, your vote by mail, and that's in multiple states right now many of the battleground states. So this issue is going on in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin and in Michigan and others as well. So yes, I put that as the top of the list of things to focus on show. Pennsylvania the State Supreme Court. There's a bunch of litigation the State Supreme Court. My understanding is issued a ruling somewhat similar to the rulings that we saw in Wisconsin right? Saying. You if you mail in before Election Day and it takes a little while to get to us, we will still count it as that an accurate characterization. Yes the Pennsylvania Supreme Court said that as long as it is cast by election day and hopefully postmark as it should be then it can arrive a few days later and still be eligible to be counted. One detail of that decision is that if it's missing the postmark the majority opinion and from the Pennsylvania Supreme, court presumes that it's valid and so we'll have the ballot be counted unless there's evidence to the contrary. That seems like actually a pretty big deal. It is a big deal I think we'll be the primary focus of the. Litigation fight as it moves from the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to the US Supreme. Court let me ask you this. When you hear all this sort of when you step back for a second, you hear all this talk almost again like a comple- from the vice president, United States, the president is dates, people that is all going to be litigated. It's all going to end up in the supreme court is someone who who sort of really follows closely state-by-state election law and as a love professor what what's your reaction to that that to me is unnerving like? But, but do you. In the same way. Well I think it's inevitable that we're GONNA see litigation. As you pointed out, we have A. Huge volume and unprecedented number of cases this year compared to any previous a presidential cycle but it's not inevitable that those litigations in any way determine these outcome of the elaborate. The election should be determined by the voters. That's the test for when. An election valid because the winner is the genuine true choice that the voters want. And it's unlikely that any of these lawsuits will be. determinative of the outcome in that sense, the campaigns may try to use litigation as a tool, but the voters get the vote and the voters get to decide. The the election and it might be helpful to mention that in our field, we compare two numbers, the margin of victory on the one hand and the margin of litigation on the other hand, and usually the margin of victory so far exceeds the marginal litigation It's just not worth trying to sue over this particularly the lawsuits after election day right now, we're getting lawsuits in front of Election Day and they're of a different character then lawsuits that fight over the counting of the ballots afterwards I'm. Final question for you. A strange thing that happened in Pennsylvania today in which a US attorney put out a press release. Saying we found wounded nine donald trump ballots that were discarded and they put up the bridge released the same time like the White House started talking about it in the president. It's unclear like what the deal is with these ballots and they had to correct the press release and say actually seven were cast present. We don't know about the other two and I kept thinking like what what is going on here it seemed quite coordinated from messaging standpoint. You have the US attorney putting this out. Then you have the White House and Kelly mcenaney have you ever seen in the ton UCAR this a US. Attorney. Putting. New press release out about dime ballots they found. Think the really key point here is to keep an eye on the big picture because there's probably roughly six million ballots or in state race like this and nine I don't want any voter to be treated wrongfully or to be disenfranchised because every voter should have the right to vote. But. The again, to go back to the point about how do we tell whether an election has served its purpose? It's whether collectively The result is the genuine choice, the voters as a whole want, and so every election has some blemishes are flaws. You would like to reduce it to zero. So. There's a lot about this particular incident that we still have. Don't know it's an idle a lot of questions to be asked but I think what we know so far means that we should still be focused on the main question which is. This affect the integrity of the election a whole. That's very well put professor folly that was really really illuminating a looking forward to having you back again. Thank you. Thank you still ahead. We're now learning more about some of the lasting damage. The coronavirus can do to those who contract the disease what doctors are seeing coming up. As a society, I think it's fair to say we're struggling every day to figure out how to collectively mourn our ongoing tragedy. Easy to become accustomed to the numbers and Numb to them, and of course, we have a president and all sorts of powerful forces that want us to just ignore it forget about it. But no, we refused to forget about it. There are people working hard to make sure we pay some respect to the now over two hundred and three thousand Americans you've lost the virus folks like the organizers of the Covert Memorial Project installed twenty thousand American flags on the National Mall earlier this week each flag representing. Ten American lives lost the virus. We've also been taking time to bring you a few of the stories of those people who are no longer with us try to do some small justice to the lives they lived. Andrea Mamen was a clinical psychologist. She been good health until she came down with the virus and she died on September twelfth she was just thirty seven years old. Her Mother told the Journal. Star in Peoria Illinois. She gravitated people weren't in the mainstream she always gravitated to the underdog. James Harris known as Dixie enlisted in the navy at age eighteen, and after working on his family farm in Georgia. During the Great Depression, the Columbus Ledger enquirer reports, he survived Pearl, harbor and numerous medical setbacks before dying from Corona virus on September eleventh at the age of ninety eight. Brian Fonseca was a longtime feeder director in. Indianapolis. He died from the coronavirus Last, Wednesday the age of sixty five, the Indianapolis Star reports. He made a point of championing people of Color, and lgbtq artists on colleague says he never compromised his vision mission to ps anyone else. North Sanchez was an elementary school nurse Port Isabel Texas. She loved to talk about her close knit. Family Sanchez passed away from the coronavirus on August twenty fifth friend and Co worker told the local paper the Port Isabel press I could go into her office and let out whatever I was feeling that day. She listened carefully then tell me it's going to be okay Ma while she was hugging me she knew what to say to make me feel better. For everyone. And School nurses the best. Wendell Smith worked in the Transportation Department at Spartanburg County School district six in south. Carolina. He was known for his calm demeanour and for putting student needs before his own and he died from complications related to the coronavirus on. September thirteenth. In announcing his death, the school district said, if you've ever crossed paths with Mr Smith, you know you'd never met a stranger. Tyler amber JI was a father, a youth hockey coach in North Texas who died of the coronavirus and August August twenty ninth he was just twenty nine years old. Way said he was so much more. Victim of the virus. Use a great guy and. In a loving father I just wanted to be remembered for more than just a person that. More than just a person that has the way from Kofin. There's an idea you find certain servicer ones that the president listens to that I think the president's heard the government should not really be trying to keep people from getting sick. Instead you know if young and healthy people get the virus that's actually kind of a good thing because it gets us one step closer to so-called hurt immunity. Trump's new adviser on crony Dr Scott Atlas. He's a radiologist. I. Think not a public health expert and he's argued the role of government is not to stamp out the virus. Senator Rand Paul. who had the virus and recovered said he'd open every school and I'd wait and see if everybody get anybody gets sick. Missouri Governor Mike Person Seen here ignoring social distancing guidelines at a summer steak fry few months ago who's been adamantly against any kind of mandate saying the government to tell you to wear a dang mass. Well, Governor Parsons just tested positive for the virus as his wife. We hope they recover This disease has killed over two hundred, thousand people in this country it's sick and nearly seven million and I. Think we tend to focus on that death toll obviously. But there are thousands and thousands of people who cleared their initial cova defection but still battle the serious and sometimes crushing affects the virus for months. Science writer Ed Young has reported extensively the Atlantic on what he calls these long haulers long-haul impacts. Last month, he wrote about a woman on her fifth month of gastrointestinal problems and severe morning nausea who still hasn't Iraq heartbeat another who has recovered from neurological symptoms but not the scars that the coronavirus left on her lungs. Joining me now is Dr Peter. Hotels Dina. The National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. Doctor we we focus on hospitalizations and and the sort of healthcare capacity and we focus on fatalities. and. Then there's some people who get this and it's not even that bad. But there's a big jump people get real sick and real sick for a long time and in ways that are strange new that we're learning about what what, what are we learning about the long term effects of this illness on folks who who who do survive. Thanks Chris for having me. You know I think before I answer that I just want to say again that last segment you know giving a face to this virus is so important because we're seeing how the White House has been sort of you humanizing it taking away the the humanity component of this virus, which is just so devastating. So those reminders are really important look. We know there's two hundred thousand Americans who have perished in CEPA dynamic that relieves the tip of the iceberg because this. Virus in what I came when I saw it and Wuhan China that in Europe, we thought of it primarily as a respiratory virus not realizing that this virus attacks, the vascular, the heart, and the brain, and we're seeing significant long-term disability because of this lung injury that's going out people remaining shortness of breath horrible fatigue, hard injury, a lot of heart damage, vascular damage strokes, pulmonary embolism by and and then we're learning about long-term neurologic complications sometimes referred to his brain fog. People just are not at their best ever. They're always feeling this kind of cloud unable to really concentrate and for individuals who depend on high intellectual levels of activities. It's devastating and then terrible depression that we're seeing a lot of neuropsychiatric disturbances. It's horrible horrible virus kristen does not rare. This is to influence a generation of how he train medical residents how we train young doctors just like we did with HIV, AIDS a back in the eighties we're going to have to relearn medicine because of this virus way say more on that I mean. I. Think it's widespread enough that the these sorts of effects. That you've noted and I think in my head maybe to make myself feel better I've been I've been putting them in a narrow category of Yes. Okay. There are some rare manifestations that are showing up. But what you're saying is these kinds of facts across different parts of the body that that endure are not super rare that the that we're seeing them quite a bit. That's right. We don't have a good enumeration of this and and we also don't know how long it's going to last also because we're still pretty early into this epidemic, are those same individuals are experiencing bring brain fog or long-term cognitive deficits? Will they be back to one hundred percent a year from now? Will they still have depression? Will they still have heart? Surgery These are something that we just don't know, but which is going to be really important to create almost a specialty of medicine to follow a long-term cardiac injury and and look at the long term consequences, and hopefully, our national institutes of health looks like it's getting ready now to support those kinds of long term studies and remember also so many individuals who. Live in low income neighborhoods don't have insurance the the cost of this is going to be enormous as well. This is going to have a huge impact on changing healthcare policy as well. There's a profound policy implication here right which is that if if you think that these kinds of effects don't happen and you can protect, say long term care facilities and seniors. And people most at risk of fatality you can say, well, look if it spreads are in a college, it spreads around the college and we can kind of hive-off everyone. But if these affects our body I mean, this means you WANNA stop people from getting sick like obviously wants to people not to die you WanNa, stop you from getting sick as a policy matter. Yeah. I mean there's there's two false narratives out there one that this is only This isn't notice exclusively for people over the age of eighty whereas in fact, twenty percent of people who perished from this virus are under the age of sixty five and among African American Hispanic populations, it's thirty five percent thirty to thirty, five percent. So this is robbing a generation of African, American Hispanic families of their mommies their daddy's other brothers and sisters, and that's the story that has. And also the fact that a week we are going to see a significant long-term injury of has of this are only beginning to really understand the full extent of this Dr Peter Hotels. It's always wonderful to have your. Insight thank you very much for that tonight that does it for all in. You can catch us every weeknight at eight o'clock on MSNBC don't forget to like us on facebook that's facebook dot com slash all in with Chris. In an election year like no other there are now less than six weeks until November third election day Tuesday donald trump and Joe Biden go head to head in the first presidential debate join Rachel Matter Co Wallace Joy Reid Brian Williams MSNBC's team of political experts for the analysis you need on how this debate will inform the final weeks of the election Steve. Kornacki will break down the latest data for you at the big board the first presidential debate watch Tuesday at eight PM Eastern, on MSNBC.
What Does Masha Gessen Mean to Pride? with Masha Gessen
"There is absolutely nothing like a gorgeous person who reads like actually who reads books and since book of the month finds the five best new books every month you can easily pick out one you're curious about like ask again. Yes. A dark literary novel about a suburban tragedy. Reading looks good on you, Honey. Sign up today at book of the month dot com with code J, B, N and get your first book for five dollars. How we see ourselves each other in the world is continually shaped by emerging technology? You a new podcast brought to you by octa explores how identity now exists, at the intersection of technology and humanity. Each episode features experts and the course of science technology. Art philosophy and design search for you by octa. That's okay. TA wherever you get your podcast and start listening today. Welcome to getting curious. I'm Jonathan van Ness, and every week I sit down for a forty minute conversation with a brilliant expert to learn all about something that makes me curious on today's episode which is our first Wednesday of gorgeous pride month. I'm honored to say that I'm joined by prolific author and journalist Masha Gessen, we're discussing the Russian LGBTQ propaganda law. It's continued persecution of the LGBTQ community. What's happening in Chechnya, the importance of immigration for those of us in the queer community and the US relationship with Russia? Hey. Welcome curious this Jonathan van Ness. I'm so excited to welcome. Masha Gessen journalist author activist, what other like commas. Would you put in your title? I wouldn't call myself an activist. You're living your truth. Living my truth. I'm also professor. Oh, buried the lead like a proper doctor, professor. No, not a proper doctor, like a like a high school dropout professor, but still professor. You're a professor nonetheless professed good for you. What do you teach? I teach critical journalism studies critical journalism studies, I should probably take your class. So where were you born as we're in Moscow, you were right? Yes. So you are fucking Russia. Well, yes, I love that. Okay. So. We're minding your own business. It's twenty thirteen were like really getting excited for so cheesy. I love the Winter Olympics. I love figure skating. Can't get enough of it. Give me something like Gordievsky, green cough, tragic could not handle it. But I love the Olympics. So when that propaganda law passes that was like the first time that I ever remember, having, like beef with Russia like prior to that I was like, yes. Figure skaters. I love early and most FINA like she's this fear, you know, her this fear, Russian gymnast. Gymnast such a good Russian gymnast. She's got the best eyeliner you've ever seen her her. Winged. Eyeliner is sharp enough to kill you just on the eyeliner alone. She's still fierce. She also just had a baby and she came back for world so good. We're obsessed with her. But this is not about a Liam was Vina I promise, but Russia. So that was really like when Russia on my radar for something other than the Romanoff's, which I was also very obsessed with, and I was a child, we will get there later. Okay. But yes. So tell me about the propaganda. Tell me about you. Tell me about growing up in Russia, telling everything. Okay. Well, I think that actually happened to a lot for a lot of people. You know, a lot of people weren't thinking about Russia. But there was also remember that was right when the winds are decision came down in the in the US. So the supreme court legalizes same sex marriage all over the country. I mean, there are still for the purposes of the federal government and at the same time Russia passes the Slaw against homosexual propaganda, which if you want to know what homosexual propaganda is I can tell you, it is the intentional and uncontrolled distribution of information that may cause harm to the physical or spiritual development of children, including forming in them. The Iranians impression of social equality between traditional and nontraditional marital relations. Wow. Can you say that last bit of the sentence? One more time. So including forming in them, the eroneous impression of social. Quality of traditional and nontraditional sexual related marital relations. So basically, what that meant was that it became illegal for me to tell my kids. That where socially qual to the neighbors, right? It actually established second class citizenship. So, because the other thing about that sentence that like is scary and growth is well, nothing of what you said. But the eroneous they run us impression aronie as impression that, that a untraditional marriage could be the same as a one between a man and a woman. Exactly. Gross Vladimir no points from JV n not you wanted any, but also I would just say this any man, that is posting topless pictures of themselves on a horse like that. I you have that feels like he wants me to get in his book, it feels like he wants me to tell him that I liked your book. Like, why are you taking your top off and getting on a horse? If you don't want game in to compliment you on your book. This is the nook. Lay your head on like someone's. That's what you call the I just feel like it. He just does them homo erotic stuff, sometimes, yes. I've noticed that too. Like I feel like he thinks he looks go with their shirt off. But anyway, so that was what the actual law said in twenty fourteen that was what the constitutional court explained the law meant so in Russia. There was a constitute is that like the supreme court? It's like the supreme court yet, and then there's like the Doma, which is like, the, the parliament did that's the parliament, but they aren't told because like you can't really be in the dome. Unlike hate President Putin. Right. Right. It's not exactly democracy. Yes. So how does that work? Well, you know it works the same way that most autocratic regimes work in the world. Now, there are very few regimes that really say, you know, we're not a democracy we have no elections, but there are a lot of countries were they have a ritual. That's a little bit like elections, but not elections because you can't actually get on the ballot. If the Kremlin doesn't want you on the ballot. And if you get on the ballot by sub miracle, you know, they're special people doing the counting, and just in case, those special, people are not reliable enough, there, also other special people who go round older precincts. And like put in ballots, for the for the right person, or takes them or whatever. Yeah. So there are many, many ways in which the, the system is foolproof. So the only people who end up in the Duma are the people that the Kremlin wants in the Duma, but I mean, I don't even know that old, those measures are necessary because you. They completely controlled media because there was like Russian RT which is like, right? Which is the the big propaganda conglomerate, but every television channel every radio station would half of an exception and every newspaper is controlled by the state. What about like Russia in vogue? Russian book. I don't know if that's still coming out. I mean like Russia and Harper's bazaar. Right. So for awhile, actually glossy magazines, were a kind of races, because the Kremlin wasn't paying attention to them. But you can't be you can't actually be Acis in a total desert. If like the you don't have a way of getting user, you can't you don't have a conversation that you can pick up on, if the conversation isn't happening. That's what I guess, I mean because really where where the question that I really wanted to ask you, and what was really making me feel some kind of way is like, I never noticed people that were on, like Russian magazines, like like on Russian Harper's bazaar, Russian bogus. I never it wasn't making me notice. Then as I started to come into this platform of queer eye, and I started, like experiencing success in kind of experiencing, like what having a platform means or, and like, if you support a certain someone or. If you have like someone on your podcast or if you have like if you have someone on your Instagram like your by, by proxy, giving them a platform. So all of a sudden, last summer it started to dawn on me that all of these people who I really look up to are constantly doing covers of Russian magazines like are concert on the cover of Russian Harper's bazaar. Really? Yes. And so really what I wanted to have you here for today was to find out like is that true like, am I being like an asshole, like should I because like the whole thing that happened with like Brunei and like the boycott of the hotels. I was four that way Cup. But then another part of me felt a little sad because like way back in the day. Hear me out. I see your your face change. But like back in the day, I used to live in L A. And I actually used to work the Beverly Hills hotel, and they're still on, because the little salon that they have there is owned by this other in Beverly Hills. I used to work for so like once a week, if you worked for Joseph Martin salon, you would just like go to the Beverly Hills hotel in, like just work for an afternoon. Like it was just like part of your like you just go there to do the blow dryer or whatever. And so I met like. All these other people that work in that salon, and all the people that work in the restaurant, and all of the people that like cleaned the like on the grounds. So I was like that sucks that this asshole in Brunei is going to cause these like single working mothers and these families in Los Angeles, their paychecks because but it's a necessary thing that had to happen. So I understood, but it just gave it a slightly more personal. Feeling for me because I know a lot of the people that work there or at least I did at one time, it's the problem with boycotts. Most of the time boycotts. You know, they're, they're like they're blunt instrument. You can't just exacting with it. And. Instrument hurts. People have. Oh, yeah. That's true. Okay. So but that's what I was thinking about, like, am I being a similar blunt instrument user, and not liking Russian magazines and calling out people that cover them because they're somehow like implicit in or complicit in the injustice that the LGBTQ community is facing there. Anyway, here's my position on it because I used to get I think fewer people get invitations now but I used to get asked a lot like I got invited to perform in Russia, where I got invited to do something should I go? And my answer is there's no right decision. You just have to whatever decision you make you have to make it count. So if you're going to say no to being on the cover of Russian vogue, right? An open letter about it. So that people know why you're saying, though, right? Otherwise, it's not going to have an impact otherwise it's just going to be like a hardship for the editor of the Russian vogue, who are not as well normal, as employees, hotel employees. But still, you know, there's just making their job. Order and not having an impact or if you're going on the cover of Russian vogue. Then make it a requirement that in the interview to be talking about now. But if you wanted to talk about Chechnya and your interview with, like Russian Harper's bazaar, wouldn't it be a legal for them to run the interview? No, it wouldn't be legal because the law is at bands propaganda of homosexuality to minors and Russian VO. And so many things are banned. Been the we there's a law in Russia, cold the law for the protection of children from harmful information, which among Russian journalists was just used to call the law for the protection of children from information. And, you know, there's nothing that children are not supposed to know that, that the that there's sex that there's death that there's violence that, you know, you're not supposed to tell children about war. So vogue would have an eighteen plus. Mark on it anyway. So that makes it they could do it. It might be politically risky for them. But that's a question that should be asked of them. Yeah. Love that. So take us back to you like you were born in Russia. What was that, like coming up in Russia? Like how long remember the moment of birth literally the moment? But like what was it like I mean, how long did you live there for? I lived there until it was fourteen fourteen. And that was still the Soviet Union. And then my parents emigrated to the states and took me with them. So and me and my little brother. And was settled in Boston was there a lot of other Russian people in Boston. There were I'm in at the time Jews were allowed to leave the Soviet Union, so at that time lot of people, but, but like about fifty thousand people came to the US and, but you had to be Jewish till he if you had to be Jewish relief. Yeah. That flake like. That's like it's like what is that? That's a good question. So what does that? Jews like other religious and ethnic minorities were discriminated against freely harshly in the Soviet Union even after World War chill. Oh, yes. Especially after World War. Two. Really? Yeah. So, like there were a lot of universities that were just off limits to Jews and the ones that did accept Jews would like except one or two every year. That's our thing. So it's hard to get higher education. It was hard to get. A better job. Not that there are a lot of good jobs going run. But it was it was hard. I mean, like I you know, the for the first couple of years in elementary school. I would get beaten up every day for being Jewish. And so Jews wanted to leave, but so did a lot of other people, you know. You know, you just really really, really bullied for being Jewish. Yes. I really, really did. See, you didn't even have time to like, get bullied for being gay. 'cause like you were being bullied for being Jewish. Yeah. Well, I mean, you know, you're perceived as different because they're like, other Jewish kids in the in the in the school who didn't get bullied, maybe because they don't know they were Jewish because some parents wouldn't told there because of their Jewish because, you know, then. Yeah. Maybe because they didn't look as Jewish as I do. Or maybe they just didn't feel different. But anyway, my you know, minority of choice for bullies was was my being Jewish. I'm sorry to happen to you. Thank you. But, you know, I got immigration out of it. So a lot of a lot of people wanted to leave two seconds. We're going to be right back with more Masha Gessen after this. Hey, would you buy a t shirt for fifty dollars? If you knew it only costs seven dollars to make with ever lane. You never overpay for quality clothes Everley makes premium essentials using the finest materials and without traditional markups. They want to know what you're paying for. And why? So they are transparent about their real costs in every step of their process from the materials, they use to the ethical factories, they work with, and because every and sells directly to you, their prices are thirty to fifty percent lower than traditional retailers. No matter your style Orleans close. Look, better cost less and lasts longer. Some of my favorites include outta remained from cycled water bottles cute, their quality cotton base and their one hundred percent. Great eight essential cashmere sweaters, Honey. Gotta check it out, and right now, you can check out their personalized collection at ever lane dot com slash GB n plus you'll get free shipping on your first order. That's ever lane dot com slash B, ever Eveline dot com slash jadeveon. Hey, welcome back to getting curious. It's Jonathan Ben. Nets. You were just telling me about what we were really kind of taking back to your childhood and Russia and what it was like growing up in Russia. So. Actually before before we left. I mean, I realized I was quick before we left before it was fourteen and to give you to give you an idea of what that was like, in the Soviet Union. So is one day I found a copy of the penal code, and I was leaving through it, and I found I was like twelve years old, and it's there it's it said that there's a criminal penalty for men having sex with men, and I was like, oh, so, like other people like me. It was about Ben and then oh, it's a crime. And, and the other thing that happened also before we left was that my parents, both spoke, polish, and this was a polish magazine, which was polish Poland was part of the Soviet empire, but it was a little bit more liberal than the Soviet Union was. And so they were reading this Madison. And there was an article about a transsexual operation. As that's so cool. I said, I'm going to have one after I maintain get whatever. Bit of your exposure to that was the entirety of my exposure to, to the fact that where people just did you wouldn't you read the penal code like were you close with your parents? You'll be like what's this about, or was it just kind of like an internal note know, weirdly, I mean, I think I was younger when I told them that I wanted to, to have a sex change because I think by the time I was a teenager. I mean, not a lot of kids, share their sexual thoughts with their parents live there queer, but, like not that you're like, oh, hey, I think I like women, but were you like, could you have been like, oh, what's this, like men have sex with men, like like good you like just fish for it or, or were you or is it even then like very culturally, clear to you, like you need to, like blend the fuck in, if it comes to like, being gay. Yeah, I don't think it even occur to me for one second that I could talk about it. But my parents in any context like not even like a po- like not even like questioning like other people. Right. Right. Just like nothing. Do not go there. And that was an like in school. Did people like it? Was there a flamboyant gay kid ever? Not that I saw. In. Yeah. No. Not that I saw. It's auto because I think that the like sexuality will so repressed in the Soviet Union that I don't even remember really being aware of any kind of gender expression. Except for one thing, I was like, you'll see you had to wear uniform to school, and it wasn't like Catholic school uniform, it was like this really drab horrible uniform. And, and I remember I, I got on the ski team just so that I didn't I could wear pants to school, who good good thinking, because all the girls had to wear skirts or something girls had to wear dresses dresses with these kinds of aprons in front of it was it was really awful really kinda humiliating. You know, if you're Cory Kidd, and you have to like. Buttons and ties I like buttons and ties in for me. I was like, oh, Gimmie tights. Like, I, I would have loved the dress. With apron dress like give me an apron dress with some tights, please. I cannot do these snaps zippers and buttons. If, if only we could have swapped shit. Well, no because I don't think I could have had. Oh, if I was a girl in Russia, I could have done it, but I could have definitely not been like a little boy in Russia. But yes, so no, I don't I don't I think it wasn't like even part of my consciousness. Who is that was it? Oh, I am scared to is. It was it style. No, not solid with not selling who is it? Who is the present when you were little? Oh, it was. Who landed Britishness, and then after when was that Yeltsin? So you'll somos later, y'all studied union collapsed. Yes. Who was the last president of the Soviet Union? Gorbachev. Gorbachev is okay. And they wanna head to head the map of the Soviet Union on his forehead like an a birth Mark, or something, I think I remember him. Yeah. So he was still ninety one then, and then you were like you were like in the US when he would not claps. Yes. So what did like the ex patriot USSR people abroad? Think of it when the USSR clubs like re- like yeah. Like fuck them or well, I mean, honestly I wasn't spending whole lot of time with immigrants because. I just high tailed it out of the Russian community and Boston as fast as I could and found my people, which were like not. They are not their yacht. You know, not Russia, not straight. Oh, you love got it. So you're like, what did your parents say? I my parents were suspicious that that wasn't real change that it was like fake change. But then, you know then then everybody got kind of excited, it's and I mean, it was also tricky for exiles because I think, you know they. They left everything behind, because they were sure that the Soviet Union was going to be forever. Oh, and then, like, ten years later, it collapses, and they just could wait a ten years and like not abandon their families, and their friends, and their social standing because, you know as awful as a country is still your own. Yeah. That's like we're all like your people were. Yeah. It's tough, I guess, I didn't think of it that way. So in your so you left and you've got to Boston, then you went to school. And then when did you decide that you wanted to like grow up to be like the gorgeous advocate that you are? Oh, just, you know pretty much as soon as I got to Boston. So, and then tell me about, like your kind of like your adult like like flake. What has your adult life? Like, what have you been working on? You know, it's been a really long life. So no. So I, I, I left home I dropped out of high school. I start working for gay papers, and a lot of my education has actually been in the gay community, like, like I was taught to be journalist by. Gay guys them all one and died and. And then in ninety one I went back to still the Soviet Union actually before it collapsed, as a reporter, and I basically ended up staying for like twenty three years used in the Russia for those twenty three years. Twenty two years. Yeah. Thirty were there. From ninety one to two to two thousand thirteen I left at the end of twenty thirteen. Wow. In and out a little bit. But most for like a solid twenty years, I just live here. So you're there. Okay. Okay. Now, I have so many more questions. Okay. Okay. So it's ninety one at falls, and then Yeltsin took over y'all. And then he was there for like just a little bit gray hair as he was there for like addicted, but not limited look until you something. And so, so the way the reason that I went back actually was that here. I was in New York. And, and somebody calls me again activists and says, you know, we have to Russian GAC Davis in town like Russian gangsters. This is like November nineteen ninety and we need a translator. I said, well, having spoken Russian in years, I don't think I could interpret so well you obviously Russian is better than mine. So I went over to this apartment in Murray hill to, to meet with the activists in interpret for them. And first of all, I immediately got crushed out on the woman. And, and also, just like my mind was was in a girl was a boy, and a girl. So the girl was gorgeous, and, and they said they wanted to organize a gay, and lesbian conference and film festival in Moscow and Leningrad and I was like you have to be insane, this amount of who can do you know, just help us gonna help you and wind up organizing this film festival that took place in July and August ninety one before the Soviet Union collapsed. And now in and Leningrad it wasn't forbidden. And you know, one point they tried to, to shut us down. It would push back fairly gently, and that was that. So it was like at the location where the movie theater was like by policemen came in. We're like actually what they did. It was very funny. They, they want the they like came overnight and dug up the whole sort of little square in front of the movie theater, where we're holding it, and then they poured concrete concreted had so you can walk on it. And then they hung up these little flags on a on a string to like to coordin- the whole thing off, and I just took a pair of scissors. And when out and cut the string. Yeah, that was that. Yeah. Like nobody came in a restaurant, it's, it's amazing how much freedom there was to do something like that in ninety one, but that was with Gorbachev or whatever. And then, and then Yeltsin came, and then yeah. And then I stayed as a as a as a terminal is there for, for like twenty two years. We're guerrillas. Who are really quick break. We'll be right back with Marc Masha Gessen after this. Hey, Robin Hood is an investing app that lets you buy and sell stocks ETF's options in cryptos, all commission free. While other brokerages charge up to ten dollars for every trade. Robinhood doesn't charge any commission fees, so you can trade stocks and keep all of your profits, plus any there is no account minimum deposit needed to get you started. And you can start investing at anytime. The simple intuitive design abroad, node makes investing easy for newcomers in experts alike view, easy to understand, charts and market data in place trade in just four taps on your smartphone. Honey, that's so few taps for such a great thing. You can also use stock collections such as one hundred most popular awesome. With Robin Hood, you can learn how to invest in the market is you build your portfolio discovered new stocks track, your favorite companies and get custom notifications for price movements. So you never miss the right moment to invest who I love that story. Robin Hood is giving. Listeners of getting curious with Jonathan Venice, a free stock with apple Ford or sprint to help you build your portfolio. Sign up a curious dot Robin, Hood dot com. Hey, welcome back to getting curious it's drawn to him. But that's journalist Masha Gessen here. Talking all things Russia LGBTQ. I'm obsessed with this. So then you decide to stay which is so interesting. I love that. So you start in Russia. Then you come over to the US from fourteen to like twenty four twenty four and I love it's like a decade approach. And then you go back and you lived in Moscow, the whole second time. So then Yeltsin gives way to Putin and then, like, I remember he went down, and, like, like a prime minister or something for a second. Just keep his chair worm, you just get his name was. Yes. That's very similar to Medvedeva in an last name terms. I wonder if have Kenya is related oh my God. She I don't know if you know her have you ever heard of met about she the two time world champion, winning figure skater? She just got second in the Olympics in eighteen but the, the girl that wanna lean is a good about. Because really the Russians Honey, they're killing figures, getting right now the king killing at these little like Russian teenage, girls are doing quads, like four turns in the air with nitrogen the ground. Wow, really major so anyway, so under med Medvedev, Medvedev and Putin, who was, like, prime minister, like prime minister, but he was but they were always kind of their. How has the drumbeat of like LGBT discrimination grown? So, you know, it kind of came out of the blue because in, in the two thousands things just were kind of getting better. There was an for years. And you'll place I worked in Russia OB. They only out person and then the changed, like, in the mid audits, like, there would be other queer people and people talked about it openly and it just it just felt like it wasn't exactly western Europe. But it was moving in the right direction and male homosexuality was decriminalised in Ninety-three, and actually have a funny story about about getting people out of prison, but tell us. Oh, okay. So, so they, you know, suddenly in Ninety-three, Yeltsin signs decree that have to do with chemical weapons and kidnappings and in the middle of this decree. It says in this article of the penal code. That makes the punish us male homosexual conduct contact by three to five years. That's abolished. And so I got I got somebody to give me five thousand dollars to go to Moscow was still shuttling back and forth between Moscow and, and, and, and San Francisco that point give give me five thousand dollars to organize a group of researchers to see what was happening with the release of people, and it turned out that they didn't actually tell prisons to release people like usually there's a decree, and then there's an order for release, but they didn't do that. They didn't send out that letter because the, the country was a total mess at the time. So I just started sending out telegrams on behalf of the international gay and lesbian human rights commission, which sounded very official, which is actually like two people in a little office in San Francisco, and I sent telegrams to all these prison colonies that I had a list of inmates. Those very the list was very. Unreliable but it was something did you just have to get it from my calling people who had had, like family members missing things. It was a guy who'd been in prison, who compiled this list because people would would write to him, but the list it wasn't a very good list. But it was something, so I would like right Alto, these prison colonies and say, you know, have you really sewn? So and, and have you released people, and I, you know, I want to inform you that the article has been abolished, and they're like report back to me, like I was some sort of official person. And I was at twenty six year old activist official official activists though, Twenty-six-year-old echoes. So I think we I like to think that we've got some people out of prison who probably wouldn't have otherwise why love that. But you think that if it'd been like a different decree about, like abolishing something else that wasn't gay people. The letter would have went out possibly, but I don't know because the country will really. Yeah, because I remember in that time there was like it was a cute. I remember seeing on the. Today show there was like no bread on the shelves, and there was like inflation, and there was no there was when there was when there were food shortages, there was no inflation, then when there was inflation, there was plenty of food, but very few people could afford it. Yeah. It was hyper, we would need like an economist to explain. Or but do you understand that? I do. But can you explain it like three minutes easily so we don't get too off track of like LGBTQ stuff and Russia? But like what information and food what, how does that work well in the Soviet Union, because it was a centralized economy. And the government controlled everything controlled prices control controlled supply, it controlled old old industry, and it's the it didn't work. It was the ruble and the system didn't work at all. They did not produce what they needed and they didn't. And the couldn't like what they produce they couldn't deliver to the stores. I mean, the whole thing was completely broken which is part of what led to the futures. And then they had what they called shock therapy, which is when they just went over. To market system overnight, and they legalized private entreprise and they said, okay if you can, if you can figure out a way to buy something, and then resell it, you can do it, and it was almost complete then regulated for a while. And so people started bringing stuff in and buying stuff and selling stuff. But, but then that led to hyperinflation be impart because Moscow was printing money. But also all these other countries that had been part of the Soviet Union. That's still had the ruble. They were printing money hungry. Then you're not angry, but, like Ukraine, and Belarus, it's like it's like it's like if you know if you could go and print money just like the Federal Reserve can print funny like anybody can print money. So, of course, the more money, there's out there. The, the higher the prices go. That's how inflation works. Oh, the more money that's printed, the higher inflation as and all my God. I really need like an economist like like gold standard free market, what the fuck. I don't know about any of that stuff next next time. So. But basically, in Russia in the mid nineties, that's when like it was like the Russian government's like you can't resell stuff. It's all us, we're doing everything, and then at some point in the nineties as like legalized free enterprise, right? But now it was actually. On January first nineteen Ninety-two. Oh, damn girl. I love it. Okay. So, and then, and then it's, but it's become like slowly more regulated. Yes. Yeah. No, they, then they started regulating it, so, okay. So then but you're minding your own business, it's kind of getting more normal, and then normalized, and then you know, I was really into old. And a lot of people were really involved in the purchase eleven two thousand twelve there. These huge protests, and then the political crackdown began was the protests over. So the purchase were, as you mentioned Putin McVeigh's of sit in his chair for four years. And then they said, okay, we're going to switch again, we're going to hold an election and you're going to vote for Putin for president and message of for primary back to prime minister and people get kind of pissed off because it's one thing to have the kind of scheming behind the scenes and it's another thing to be so brazen about it. I think there was something really insulting about it. And people took to the streets. There were hundreds of thousands of people in the streets in Moscow, and all over the country and, and push him was really scared. His still claimed that he got reelected with sixty three percents of the vote, but in March of two thousand twelve and then once he got back into office has started cracking down. So people started getting arrested and the whole propaganda machine against the protestors kicked in and will they started doing was basically queer baiting the protesters, and it's like a perfect weapon because most Russians believe they've never met a queer person on their lives. That's very easy to convince them that where people are, you know, both more than human, and less than human. So like monstrous dangers, but also like, not human. And it also is like this message that, you know, if you want to go back to an imaginary past before hyperinflation before all the things that make you uncomfortable now before Russia became a strange country. If you want to go back to the Soviet Union. We just have to get rid of the queers, because, of course, there were no gay and lesbian people in the Soviet Union, right? Because it was a legal then. Right. So that was it. So that was that was like it was it was like the all encompassing message if you want to, if you want to be patriotic, if you wanted to Putin fuel onto go back to two one you liked it. That was literally, the messaging or was that, like, in the news was that on, like, how did that how did you everywhere was on television queer person living in Russia point? I'm not just a quick person living in a very well known person living in Russia. Right. So I'm like I've been the editor in chief of many, prominent publications, I'm like, and everybody knows queer and everybody knows I have kids, you have kids in Russia as a queer person, right? Which was an honest you up until it became an issue. And one of the things that they're talking about, is that you have to take children away from queer, people, especially adopted children. My oldest kid is adopted. So that was really scary. And there was like it was on the papers that, that, that he's being raised in, in, in a perverted family. Oh. I mean it was very pointed and personal has publicly gay living with children adopted by logical or otherwise. The government wanted to sanction, like forcibly removing the kids. Yeah. This what they're talking about. But that, but that didn't happen. It didn't happen. But also, you know, we left before. Right. Could have happened. But that's why we had to get in a hurry. Basically soon as the law was passed. I put my son on a plane, and then my other kids and my partner. We stayed together. We stayed in the country until December, and then we came to New York and then do you think like why? It's like what if you're living in Russia now with cake children, like, is it? Well, some people do they're really careful. You definitely cannot be public cloud social services will come for you. And there's certainly other people, you know, even in New York City know several families that had to leave a hurry because social services came so social services is almost like they're like, the ones that will do the bidding of the government if they disagree with, like. You're living your life. So I have a couple of really quick rapid things, and I unequivocally they'd like going to have to have you back for, like another episode because like I didn't even get till it get through so much, but HIV aids treatment, and how it relates to Chechnya because what we know about HIV aids is that if you don't know you have it, you're much more contagious. And you know, theoretically much more likely to pass the, the virus. And so with the with this, cultural stigma around gay people, what is the cultural stigmatisation around HIV aids in Russia and more specifically Chechnya, because at present won't even admit the gay people are in the country. Now, you asking exactly the right question because I want to go to report on. Russian activists who were an and people who are being extricated from just about Russia, next for extricating people from just now, which is an amazing. You know, it's like these people who had no experience in doing this. A handful of, of people, mostly lesbians. Got together and started getting people out of Chechen getting them into safe houses, and then getting them out of Russia. Within days of becoming known what was happening, and the it's still happening and they've gotten more than one hundred people at I mean, they've saved so many lies and these are just just like you know, normal people who, who had no experience doing this, who become these total. Harrah's so one of the things that I learned was that they would they would take them to doctors as soon as they extricated them some. Because of course, they've been tortured, and they actually like needed medical help. But also, then it very quickly started turning out that a lot of people were shaved positive in the know. They had a lot of other institutions and didn't know and, you know, you're exactly right. Of course, you can't seek an HIV test or treatment and Chechnya Chechnya, what about Russia, for, like kids, that are under eighteen because like I was sexually active before eighteen. So it's really hard. I mean on the one hand the states pays for your treatments, if you are the right kind of patient. So if you're not a drug user, they will not pay for the treatment of your drug user. If your living where you're supposed to be living. So she'll like all your documents are in order. So again, if you're like a vulnerable gay kid who's run away from home, which I don't know. You might be too young to, to, to remember this. But I remember this very well, you know, like the first people, I ran around when the with in Boston in eighties world, these other teenagers who run away from home. I mean, they're like droves of them and of course, kids leave home, and so they end up somewhere where they're not supposed to be living, there, not registered would the medical institutions there. So they're not eligible for treatments. And also people are afraid to get tested because they go in a registry. And if you are have you come out HIV, I mean, you don't have to be a gay person to contract HIV. You can am back to so many heterosexual, women contract HIV, because they are intimate with the partner, who is able to be open about their same sex interactions. So that's a lot of like why that happened and also drug is. Huge Condit in drug issue. Huge issue in or drug use. It's a very big issue. And that's and that's how most people are getting infected from, like, intravenous drug interesting. And I guess the last thing I want to really quickly as what's the cultural makeup of like Russia's far as, like, you know, like in the south, it's a little more conservative midwest. It's a little more conservative like what parts of Russia are more liberal, like is my question. Well, Russia's an empire so it has a lot of different cultures a lot of different than the city's a lot of different languages. And a lot of different religions. So it really there is from region to region, but as a queer person, you've basically want to live in Moscow or Saint Petersburg, or just get the hell out of the country. Right. And like everywhere else is just kind of like, equally restrictive like in different ways. Yeah. I mean, they're definitely places that are worse, there places that are just, you know, lethal, like chasing out, and then every place else is a little bit better than and then what about transgender people like are you just like not even able to at all live your authentic life? Well, that's not. Something that has really changed in the last years because Russia was actually a pretty good place to be transgender in the nineties, and, and, and the, and the 'oughts surgery was available identity documents you could change pretty easily. Unfortunately, from my point of view, unfortunately, most people when stealth as soon as they, they had their gender, reassignment surgery. So you didn't have a lot of transgender visibility in Russia and most people didn't know about transgender people in Russia. Now, it's really difficult to change your identity documents gotten harder to get surgery. It's gotten harder to get hormones and one of the things that that has happened that for transgender people, it tends to be a bigger issue, because a lot of them used to be in traditional heterosexual, marriages, whether or not they've stayed together. But if they haven't stayed together, right then they lose custody of their kids and they're just so many tragic stories including stories where like the relationship between the parents was fine until the state. Intervened and then look. Oh my God. What was I doing? This person is a monster this person that I used to love him be friends with even after they transitioned. And even after, you know, we split up, but now that the state has told me that it's bad. I had to let them see the kid anymore. So where can people be more up to? I mean, obviously, there's been so much outcry from the LGBTQ community here in America about what's going on in Chechnya, where can people stay abridge to what's going on for people in Chechnya where can people help where can people find out? That's a good question, because you're asking me about English language resources and I, I don't really know of the top of my head. There's a great organization in New York, cold, Russa LGBT are USA LGBT, which hopes would the resettlement for people who flee Russia for they help asylum seekers, and they also keep in touch with organizations in Russia including organizations that are helping people who are fleeing chips now. And then this is the point in the episode where like honest to God, I definitely have to have you back because like this could have been like a four hour episode. And like I really literally, we like to have you back for another follow up. But like for the last minute, like, is there anything that us really need to express, or that I was talking talking too much? So you didn't get to say or that people should know about that. You're really keeping your eyes on right now. Like what do you think about Russian meddling? No. Let me let me talk about something else. I think that, you know, I immigration is a huge queer issue, and it's getting to be a bigger Quercia with every passing year. There's so many countries in the world that are unsafe for us, and they're becoming more unsafe, as the world becomes more polarized in terms of, you know, as LGBT people become more visible and anybody inequality person who thinks that like immigration is some other issues about, you know, it's not about core people is just so wrong because, you know, I just want you to imagine when, when people talk about the crisis on the, the humanitarian crisis on the southern border, just know that there is a eligib- shelter into wanna full of people who are trying to get across the border trying to get to safety, and who were not only unsafe in their countries. But we're also on safe in the caravan when they traveled to the border, right? And had to protect themselves from fr- from those people, the situation of, of LGBT asylum seekers in detention in this country, people who have to go to their own, national, or cultural Asper for help, because nobody else will help them. It's so perilous. And it's such an important issue for queer people. Thank you so much, Mushega, thin, the links for people to be able to follow you will be on that soda description of every listening to this on things so much for your time. Thank you. Thank you. Great to be here. You've been listening to getting curious with me Jonathan vanass my guest this week was Masha Gessen, you'll find links to her work and so shows an episode description of what you're listening to the show on. You can follow me on Instagram and Twitter at JVM, but more importantly, you can follow the podcast at curious with JV N, which is our new home for Oliver social media, were doing a great job following all of our guests in doing continue coverage on stories that matter to us. So follow us there at curious with J B N, our theme music spree by Quin. Thank you so much for letting us use it. If you enjoyed our show, introduce a friend, showed them, how to subscribe if you don't mind and also, we love our team, getting curious produced by Cody Ziglar, Emily boss. Julie Correo rail is in Colin Anderson, digital media, by Larry Neiman. Hey. Hello, everyone. I'm Adam Conover. You might know me from my TV show. Adam ruins everything. But now I'm going deeper as the host of the new podcast. Factually out now on your wolf Bexley is a podcast where I interview exceptional experts to reveal shocking troops and thought provoking new perspectives from around the world of human knowledge. We dive in with everyone from professors to Pulitzer prize winners about topics like transportation guns, and the constitution trans issues and the military big tech sleep poverty, the environments and more. And, you know, I do my best to make it funny. It's an investigative comedy podcast for curious people who never stop, asking questions. 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Dec. 29 Martin Baron, Dean Baquet, Clint Watts, Masha Gessen and Michael McFaul
"And this Sunday alternative facts the assault on Truth Sean. Spicer Secretary gave alternative facts to that but the point the alternate alternative facts are not facts. Falsehoods we're living in an era where we can't even agree on what the facts are. Ukraine was not aware of the aid. They knew it on July twenty on what truth is truth is truth. I don't mean to go like I know it isn't true. True true who the truth tellers. I remember seeing what reading is not what's happening even the meaning of the simplest idea. It depends the phone what this morning meet. The press picks it in depth. Look at our post truth society and how it changing media landscape has created chaos out of order I'll talk to dean. McKay and Martin Barrett the top editors at the New York Times and the Washington Post about the assault on truth from social media the Russian actors and government official. We'll look at the anatomy of ally. How a story with just a kernel of truth and metastasized into a politically potent conspiracy theory? Examine the fog of unknow ability rushing techniques for confusing the public with countless versions of the tour. And we'll will discuss all of these issues with a panel of experts media journalism and technology. Welcome to Sunday and alternative facts a special edition of meet the press the longest running show in television history. This is a special edition with Chuck. Todd Sunday morning. I hope you're having a merry Christmas. Happy Hannukah and are enjoying this holiday week. You've probably never heard of a town in Macedonia called called the less. This is the town where buzzfeed discovered what was essentially a fake news farm. Some one hundred and forty websites pushing out made up pro-trump quote quote new stories written for Americans not to help to elect trump the candidate but simply to make money on facebook. Well since then the the fake news is become a growth industry morphing from simply get rich quick scheme and a former Yugoslav republic to a political weapon in our nationalize politics. The terms alternative facts and truth isn't truth debuted here on meet the press over the last couple of years but these ideas are not new. Russia's government for for instance now disoriented populace with so many versions of the truth it creates what one former Russian TV producer called the fog of annot ability. Well this morning we're going to hear from top players. In Journalism. Diplomacy and technology about combating truth manipulation and how Russian tactics have migrated right right here. In the United States citizens of course are complicit in the spread of alternative facts we seek out information sources that affirm are worldviews succumb to confirmation Asian bias. Too often and reject news. We simply don't like the danger is if we become lost in that fog of unknow ability if truth is pushed into wood chipper leaving us to say I don't know what to believe then alternative. Facts have just fought travel. Just thought truth to a draw alternative. The facts may have already one. Sean Spicer our press secretary gave alternative facts to that but the point recruits alternative as look alternative facts are not facts their falsehoods on the first full day of the trump administration. The president directed his age to insist on an easily disproven belie about his inaugural crowd. Size a touch point in an era when facts are under attack of course twisting. The facts is nothing new in politics. It depends upon what the meaning of the word is. That sounds a lot like this. The truth is truth I go like oh it isn't truth. Sure there's in truth truth. But the scale is new. As of December tenth the president had made fifteen thousand four hundred thirteen false or misleading claims in office that according to The Washington Washington Post. What's also knew the scale of the campaign against the press? Just remember what you're seeing in what you're reading is you know what's happening. In a Pew survey this year just thirty percent of Republicans had a great deal or fair amount of confidence that journalists will act in the best interests of the public compared with seventy six percent of Democrats a forty six point gap if he just listened to the mainstream media. It's pretty much slanted take left. facebook remains the number. One social network for Disinformation Organiz propaganda campaigns were found on the platform in fifty six countries. This year in the US. facebook users shared the top one hundred false political stories over two point three million times in the first ten months of of this year among them. Trump's grandfather was a pimp and a tax evader. His father a member of the K. K. K. and Nancy Pelosi was diverting social security already money for the impeachment inquiry. Clearly both false. We don't stop people from posting on their page. Something that's wrong. Mr Trump is leveraging the polarized polarized political climate their full things that disinformation actors do if they want to attack their enemies or defend themselves against criticism and you can think of them as the forty s number one dismiss attack critics to erode their credibility and invalidate the facts fake news. Fake News Fake News. Fake News Yeah. I think one of the greatest of all times I've come up with is fake. Mr Trump is used the word fake on twitter more than eight hundred times number to distort take the facts are against you make up your own facts in many places like California the same person votes many times not a conspiracy theory fucks millions begins and millions of people number three distract. What aboutism or the? I'm rubber you're glue defense. If you're accused of something accuse someone what else of the same thing goes surfing the call. There wasn't perfect. End The words that work with Joe by with respect to his son number four dismay hey threats and intimidation. We are going to take a strong look at our country's libel laws. One real fear if both sides normalized disinformation this information as a political tactic in fact in the two thousand Seventeen Alabama Senate race. A group of Democrats didn't use online disinformation in the campaign against Roy Moore for circulating false evidence that Russian twitter bots were working to elect more my big concern. When it comes to disinformation is that we're going to see more and more people trying to do the same thing that the Russians did in two thousand sixteen and joining me now is the executive editor of The Washington? Post Martin Baron and the executive editor editor of The New York Times Dean Piquet. Gentlemen welcome to meet the press. Thanks thanks for having US Dean. Let me start with this. This is what you're chief. White House correspondent Peter. Baker wrote very. Recently there are days in Washington lately when it feels like the truth itself is on trial. Well help us make sense of Of that I mean it's true of course it's ridiculous to say that That truth is in truth. Of course. That's a ridiculous contract. I mean our job and it's a hard job but our job and I think our newsrooms have been sort of rebuilt to do. This is to a very aggressively sort out. Fact fact from fiction and to very aggressively work to make sure that people trust us and understand that. That's our job I mean Marty has a has has a very extensive fact checking operation as do we And that those things didn't exist three or four years ago and they're they're an acknowledgement. That one of the jobs of the news media is to sort through all of the Bs If I can say that yeah And come to some income do the kind of deep reporting that we we all grew up doing to come to some sort of understanding of what's actually happening in the world and I think that's one of our largest new jobs. Marta you actually tweeted a quote from a column alum with a question that I actually think crystallizes the challenge and you you. You did this week about a year ago and the column said this. How do you address beliefs when they're not rooted in reality? How do you tell someone one? I'm trying to treat your fears seriously. But your facts don't exist. How is individuals and how as a country like this is a challenge like this reminded me of Sharia real law right? There would be all these laws coming in. You're like it's not and you would try to reassure there's nothing like that and yet you're like there's no facts here to support it. Well look. We live in an environment where people are able to spread crazy conspiracy theories and absolute falsehoods and lies. And that's made possible by I. The Internet and Social Social Media and people are drawn to sources of information so-called information that confirms their pre existing points of view and You know what's contributing to this environment that we have today. You deem pointed this out about the the increase in fact checking both of you as news organizations. We've been doing more of it but you've chronicled over fifteen thousand false or misleading claims. Just by the president Why do you believe that's important? and Are you concerned at some point. A fifteen thousand people numb to it. Well they might be numb to it. And that's concerning but we still have the responsibility for determining what's what's true and what's false and in particular holding our government officials accountable for what they say and telling people whether they're telling the truth or they're not telling the truth That's fundamental to the responsibilities. That we have is a journalistic institution all right. But here's a challenge for both of you. Marty I to you and then Dean WanNa put up this poll number When when when we when folks were asking? CBS Poll Where do they go for trusted? Information among trump supporters they cited the president himself ninety one percent kind of trump's supporters said. He he's dates where they go for accurate information fact checks be damned here. Well that's true and I think that's the way the president would like to habit. He has described this as the opposition party. That goes all the way back to the presidential campaign. He wants to be perceived as the opposition party and so that people will dismiss the anything anything that we have to say he wants to disqualify the mainstream media as an arbiter of Info as an arbiter of facts and of truth and he wants to disqualify filers he wants to disqualify the court he wants to disqualify historians he wants to disqualify scientists any independent source of Information Dane. Do we have to market the truth and what I mean by this is. He's out there a lot. Essentially de legitimizing our professions. We don't fight back like a candidate. We don't fight back like campaign. Do we need to start campaigning around the country to say no no no. Here's how facts work. Here's here's what reporting is. Here's what journalists are. Oh by the way if I other effect on. TV on purpose I get fired. Journalists took for granted and believe that people believed everything we said. They believe that. If if I if I filed a story from Afghanistan that we were there they believed we believe that everybody thought we were in war zones and we believe that people trusted us and we went through generations. Rations of just assuming everybody believed us. What I think we're going to have to get very aggressive at this to be really transparent to assume nothing and to make sure people know where we are how we do our work to show our work more aggressively? That's a different muscle for us yesterday to my mind that's a that's a form. Form of marketing are journalism when when when the post did their great project I guess last week about the the build up to the war in Afghanistan and the lies is they put their documents online. They put them online so that I could read them. Readers could read them and could see that it wasn't just three reporters or I guess in this case one reporter sitting in a room making stuff up the stuff was there. That is not something that we knew how to do ten years ago. We did the same thing when we broke the story of trump's taxes a year ago we show you the stuff and I think that that's a form of marketing are journalism. I think that's a form as well as doing what we're doing now which is to be Out For Mardi and I and others to be out in the world talking about what we do and very aggressively defending our institutions defending the truth and defending important role in democracy martyr. You go out of your way. I believe you anytime. One of your journalists are name checked publicly in in a demeaning way you always publicly go out there and defend them and it seems as if you don't WanNa Miss Anybody that That happens dukes. Why why is that? I think we have a responsibility responsibility to stand up for our journalist when they're right if we're wrong we should acknowledge that as well but when they're unfairly attacked a particularly when a very powerful individual including the president didn't uses frankly via language to describe our journalists. I think it's It's something that we have to. We have to fight against and I want to do that. I want to read you. Guys a letter to the editor that we found in the Lexington Herald leader. It was a fascinating attempt to trying to explain why some people support president trump. Here's here's what he says. Why do people support trump? It's because people have been trained from childhood to believe in Fairy Tales. This set their minds up to accept things that make them feel good the more fairy tales and lies. He tells the better they feel. Show me a person who believes in Noah's Ark and I will show you a trump voter it gets at something Dean that my executive producer likes to say as. Hey voters want to be lied to. Sometimes they don't they don't always love being told hard truths I'm not. I'm not quite sure I buy that. I mean politicians historically have lied to people I mean I. I don't want to keep flogging Marty's terrific Afghanistan but eh that was about that was about a generation of political leaders who lied in the most egregious way which was to say a war that I was feeling and leading to American deaths was actually succeeding. I don't I don't I'm not convinced that people wanna be lied to. I think people want to be comforted and I think bad politicians sometimes say comforting things to them and our job is to jump into the breach to jump into this conversations member stations to do the deep reporting to say look. I'm sorry what I have to say maybe uncomfortable but that thing you just heard that made you feel good is a lie. Why and I think that's our job? Coal jobs is what comes into my head. Oh we're gonNA bring jobs back and you're like it's not gonNa Happen Right Martin. Look I mean I think we after careful I I. I don't want to be dismissive of people who WHO support the president? I think they're owed our respect them. They certainly have mine. But you know they've they've they feel that the so called elites in Washington of not a paid attention to them that they don't understand their lives they don't understand their concerns that they And they're not being heard and they feel that the president is actually listening to them and addressing their concerns and so they tend to believe him and they're deeply suspicious. so-called deletes like us at least people who are described as elites and and. So they turn to him. You know this is something frankly might my late. Father was one of those folks. Those New Yorkers. They think they're better than us. They he he was he would say that every once in a while. Do you feel that as is at the New York Times because a lot of people don't listen to the New York Times reporting simply because they say well you don't understand my life. So why should I believe what you report. You think you have to culturally get the New York Times as in touch with Manhattan and Brooklyn as they are with Raleigh Missouri. I have to say it's always odd for me to be called a member of the elite. I grew up in a poor neighborhood in New Orleans Louisiana and had never been outside of Louisiana Mississippi until I was about seventeen years Alta whenever I go home and my family teases me that I'm now Considered one of the great leaders of the elite. I do think however that we have to do a much better job agree with Marty said understanding some of the forces that drive people in parts of the America of America that maybe are not as powerful powerful in New York or Los Angeles. We have to do a better job covering religion. We have to do a better job understanding why some people support Donald Trump. I agree with with Marty. We CAN'T DISMISS SUPPORTS DONALD TRUMP. I think we have to get out in America much more than we do and talk to people and sort of figure figure out ways other than the traditional diner story where people just. I think we need to go deeper. And I think we're both of our institutions. No more diners. I think both our institutions have gotten. I'm better at this just to stew in and let people talk I. I often talk about religion because I grew up in a religious a very religious family and I think look the people in New York and Los Angeles places. I've lived in not everybody but but people in the world's we traveled don't always see. Religion is a powerful force that it is and I think we have to do a better job understanding that I think we I think we cannot dismiss everybody who supported Donald Trump and everybody and we just cannot not dismiss them first off. That's not journalistically moral it's journalistically moral to reach out understand the world and to be read. That's our job Marty. What's the correct frame when we describe what our journalism is if these mainstream news organization is it objective is it fair you hear the board balanced on out there? What's the term you prefer? What do you think is the correct framing to describe what our journalism is? I guess in these mainstream news organizations. I think we should be fair. I think we should be open-minded when we approach any story We should be listeners. More than talkers and we should be willing to listen to. Everyone and I also think that we need to be a fair to the public. Which means that when we've done our reporting we've done our jobs when you've been thorough then we need to tell people what we've actually found? We can't disguise is it. We can't we. Can't we need to be direct and straightforward and tell people what we've actually learned and so I believe in being fair in the sense of being open minded going into a story but being fair with the public at the end once we've done our jobs telling them what we've found a phrase. I like to use these days. SIMP- simply go ahead. Go ahead I was GONNA add my to agree with all those of course but empathetic think great journalists are empathetic which means they listen and they try to understand. And that's not pandering and then I think the most powerful word for me is independent independent which means independent of everybody by the way except except Our principles and our readers all all good words there. I use a phrase these days around. Here don't around the edges simply say what you see Marty Baron Dean McKay. Thank you both much appreciate it have a great new year. Thank you thanks to both of you when we come back the anatomy of ally. How a made up story can quickly gain currency artsy and our new media Lens Welcome back when president. Trump spoke to Ukraine's president Zielinski in that infamous July twenty fifth phone. Call one of the favors. He requested involved a cybersecurity firm called crowd strike. Trek crept strike was hired in two thousand sixteen to look into the hacking of the Democratic National. Committee's Computer Server and determined that Russia was responsible. Mr Trump has since suggested that crowd strike is a Ukrainian company that is spirited this server to Ukraine all in the service of claiming that it was Ukraine. Not Russia that interfered in the twenty. He's sixteen election. The claim itself has no basis in fact Clinton Watts a security analyst and the author of messing with the enemy. And he's going to help us understand. How unfounded allegations like this spread? Clinton deceased sir. Thanks for having me. So we're calling the C.. Anatomy of I all successful lies begin with a kernel of truth. And here's kernel of truth. Number one simply crowd strike higher to investigate. DNC server hack very quickly while crowd striking out the FBI in something like this crowd strike is a cybersecurity company one of the best in the world and one of the best for America and they routinely work for groups like the DNC and many large United States companies and even international shaw companies and they have great cyber forensics and the ability to investigate and determine attribution there are also a resource for our defense intelligence community department defense. It would all rely on a company like this and for about six months this was taken a state in fact okay crop strike got it Russian hacking. Let's move onto the next one. Though by the spring of Seventeen. This is the first this time the president started to question crowd strike. He tweeted something. AP reporter asked crowd strike. Why'd you bring crowd strike and he goes? Oh that's what I've heard. I heard it's owned by very rich. Ukrainian this is not true. But how do we get the seed of doubt here. What we saw in the first part was you take a fact and use the fact to propel L. The lie? This is essentially how you make that falsehood moved to where you want it to be the answer. The story that they went out there is that Ukraine meddled in the election. There's also other into these that want that story to places like Russia where crowd strike is one of the biggest defensive measures that we have around the world against rushing cyber attacks and aggression. All right take a look at this. Date is April twenty seventeen. Now let's go to the next slide that we have here. This is president trump last month in November on Fox and friends where essentially he starts to put it all together. The Democrats national gave the server to crowd strike. It's a very wealthy Ukranian. It's a Ukrainian company. That's what the the word is two and a half years later. He still perpetuating this and they even asked to. There's not a lot of truth to this but he says it anyway. Yeah so if you want to propel your lie just keep issuing falsehoods. The truth has one voice but why infinite you can continue to make more and more lies which them wears out anybody trying to rebut them. Okay hey the president says these things and it gets covered. Donald trump ten years ago. This doesn't get covered. That's right and so you can do all of this and social media you can write. A thousand stories is but the thing that powers all of these narratives is very influential real human being uses those narratives and advances them all right and it's not just human beings thinks it's news organizations or put news and quotes here. I want to single out two in particular. RT and Sputnik. They seem to be the launching launching pad for this specific conspiracy. That's right there. Therefore attributes you look for in terms of spreading some sort of propaganda. One be their first to repeat it over and over and over again. The human mind actually can't resist repetition. Three it's gotta come from a trusted source these are trusted source or something audiences and then blackout all rebuttals. So if you can narrow people in if you can say these are fake news and these are not you can put people in an information. Cocoon that they can't escape from and then of course if you do push back and you don't have the facts then you can do this. Let's go to the next like just simply ask questions. Oh what is going on. We're not really sure what the deal is. Maybe where are those servers servers clint. I've never seen them. You know why. Why are they looking at you? Know what why didn't the FBI go into the dancy offices in here we are you can make lies is faster than you can refute them. And so if you're a propagandist you know that just continued. Ask questions question more. Also the motto of certain Russian state-sponsored Outlet is exhaust exhaust the audience with so many possibilities. You can't know the truth and the audience will walk away to fax. I WANNA make sure we get out here fact number one as of November of this year the NRC C.. Which is the Republican campaign arm for House? Races used crowd strike to protect it the constant contract. And you said this is a Russian effort to get to sort of smear crowd strike specifically why if Russia can disable Krause Reich if they can take away their customer base or if they can continue you to make people say. You don't believe what Chris Rock has doing insane or providing evidence for they are actually taking away one of their opponents and they're using the American target audience is to do that. Clinton Watts says amazing. What the world that we have to live in now and have to figure out? Thanks for having me today when we come back the Art of spreading disinformation Putin's Russia and its echoes. Right here good old. USA will you welcome back. We've just seen how a Russia propaganda technique can be used to get an untruth into the media. Bloodstream it's just one of many models from Putin's Putin's Russia that have found their way into the American political system. Recently I sat down with two experts on Russian propaganda. Masha Gessen is a staff writer at the New Yorker and author of the future is history how totalitarianism reclaimed Russia and former. US Ambassador to Russia. Michael mcfaul he's the author of from Cold War Too hot piece a US. Ambassador in Putin's Russia is currently a professor at Stanford University and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution. I began by asking them about one particular rushing technique. Let me put up something thing here that the Rand Corporation sort of the one of the Uber Defense think tanks in America wrote about the Russia propaganda model and Mash on. Wants you to sort of explain how how this is implemented. This is how they describe it. They just disseminate an interpretation of emerging events that appears to best favored their themes and objectives. If one false misrepresentation Asian is exposed or it's not well received propagandists will discard it and move onto a new explanation. Combination of high volume multichannel in continuous messaging makes Russian themes more likely to meet the millionaire to their audiences that it's almost like done in real time give us Give us an example of how you experienced it. I think that the biggest thing to understand about it is that that it's not it's less about what you would expect. which is pushing some some sort of one interpretation one line it's more about creating a cacophony? It's supposed to come out the other end feeling like there's no such thing as truth and that is the point of the way I feel here sometimes. Well I think that's we're we're starting to experience it firsthand here because that's and that's a trump has a very good instinct. Shoal feel for it. Sometimes he just just says things that are the opposite of the facts in front of us and sometimes he kind of goes. Yeah whatever and somebody says well maybe that maybe this right And then in the end we feel like all of these versions of I hesitate to call it reality or are equal equidistant from the truth. uh-huh and there's no there's nothing to latch onto. Everything is Mike. I know that I want to bring up to examples of just within Russia and I think it was when and you were there. Both of these when soldiers without insignia on their green uniform seize control of Crimea in two thousand fourteen at the time Vladimir Putin repeatedly denied they were rushing and then a year later he started boast that they were there and then of course. There was the Malaysian Airlines flight. Seventeen that was shot down over Ukraine rain and all the various explanations in country that the Russian government did explain how effective it was internally. Well internally they. I think they've done very well in terms of mastering disinformation and I agree completely with what. Masha said that the goal is not necessarily to AH present one argument versus the other all the time. It's just to say there are no truce. They're all know facts. It's all relative. I've heard Ladimir. Putin say that directly when he met with a Barack Obama President Obama one time secondly however when there are facts is to put out that say those are the wrong facts and so the two examples. You just choose `lustration of that second tactic and I would call that. Also Related to that another tactic what aboutism to change the channel to say while you did that there. What what about this over here? And that is another tactic that they use to confuse the terrain to make people under you know to be confused about the facts That there are no facts and that there are no truce in the world. I want to add something to the Crimean Easter. Because I think it's a really great example. So when he said after a year when he asserted boasting that he has the Russians on the ground. He wasn't admitting something that everybody knew he was saying. I assert my right to say whatever I want whenever I want sometimes it will be true. Someplace won't be but I'm king of reality breath and what are you going to do about it. It's a power move when he lies and it's a power move what he tells the truth because only he chooses one hit as was as for the media. Yes he Russia had a not not incredibly healthy in the media but had some independent media when he became president and the first thing he did was he moved to take control of broadcast television and then he moved on national television and local television and the newspaper and now twenty years later we have no independent media and Mike you know Oh this a lot about Putin. Here's a here's a quote that was attributed to him that he thinks that said the following when he was asked about how he thinks the press works WCHS Putin said. Here's an owner. They have their own politics and for them. It's an instrument. The government also is an owner and the media that belonged to the government. Must Carry Out our instructions. -struction and media that belong to a private businessman. They follow their orders. Well that's his view. Well certainly has view and that's why one of the first things he did ahead in the year. Two thousand was deceased control of two of the national television networks so that they were completely controlled by the government. He understands the power of media. He has begun to export his ideas through multiple channels both digital media and television. There's a phrase that I was reading this research that really struck struck me and it's called toxic cynicism. That is that that is what is in Russia right now and that is what he hopes hopes to export to the West. And I think we have a lot of it. Here native-born yeah we didn't need help now. He just added accelerate. I I think that's exactly it an accelerated or an amplifier but I think that you know he and trump share a basic sense of the world and their sense of the world is that nothing matters nothing. Nothing is true. Nothing's on sale. Nothing is on the level. Yes everything is for sale and that money equals power and power our equals money and it's unitary but there can be no checks and balances there can be no systems and kind of formal relationship was always ally. Mike Mike mcfaul what you were involved. You've met with a lot of dissidents that are actively trying to deal with Putin in Russia. What breaks him if he breaks? Well I think effective thing is just to keep revealing facts especially about corruption people people want to know about the facts and I would say the same thing about our country too. I think sometimes there is a kind of on the one hand on the other hand that we present with various the political debates in the United States and here now I want to put on my professorial hat. All hypotheses are not equal and to treat treat treat them as equal is actually distorting to the truth And so if you have one set of hypotheses that has evidence to support it and another other hypotheses which has no evidence to support it reporting on those two hypotheses in and of itself is a distortion of the facts and I I think Russians have learned that they keep going back to the facts as their best weapon and. I think we as a society need to do that itself. You don't get your own in fact you can have your own arguments. You have your own opinions but two plus two needs to equal for for Democrats and Republicans every day. Not Just Mondays Wednesdays Asian Fridays. By the way you can see my entire conversation with Masha Gessen and Mike would fall on our website. MEET THE PRESS DOT COM coming up choosing the news. You use depending depending on your political beliefs Welcome back as the country has become more divided politically. It's also also become more divided in its sources of news. Sixty three percent of Democrats and democratic leaning voters say they believe journalists have high ethical standards while thirty six percent of Democrats. Let's say the opposite but seventy percent of Republicans say they think. Journalists have low ethical standards voters are choosing news from sources that reflect their own political reviews two thousand and four forty eight percent of Democrats identified themselves as CNN viewers by twenty eighteen. That number had gone up to fifty six percent. Meanwhile fewer Republicans Watch CNN. Ed and viewership has actually dropped in that timespan by six points. Forty six percent of Democrats call themselves. MSNBC viewers in two thousand four that has now risen to fifty five percent last year Republican MSNBC viewership meanwhile has dropped fourteen points all of which brings us to Fox News. Less than a quarter of Democrats identified themselves as Fox News viewers last year but viewership ship the network went up fourteen points among Republicans to fifty eight percent. This silencing of new sources helps explain why Democrats and Republicans have become so divided. It's all politics is no longer local. It's only been nationalized. It's also been balkanised and that goes for news too when we come back. We're going to try to digest all of what we've heard this morning the tremendous to welcome back. Our panelists analysts here Joshua Johnson he's former host now one a on. NPR also NBC News Contributor. Actually soon be bigger part of the NBC News Family. Carl Switzer is co founder and editor at large of recode Tech News and analysis website. Also the author of a growingly popular column in The New York Times. Susan Glasser a staff writer at the New Yorker and Matthew Netting resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. Good to have you all care. I want to start in your world of tech is the one thing we haven't touched on as much as sort of social media we talked about it on the sides but sort of the role social media's playing misinformation campaign mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey. So you're kind of having a debate. I let me play a clip from Mark Zuckerberg Georgetown a couple months ago. Well I certainly worry about erosion of truth. I don't think most people want to live in a world where you can only post things that tech companies judge to be one hundred percent true Jack Dorsey of twitter actually seem to disagree with him. This isn't about free expression this is about paying for reach and paying to increase the reach. A political speech has significant ramification that today's democratic infrastructure ought not be prepared to handle. Yes well that's the two sides of it and then Google sits in the middle and it's trying to figure out a way between them Marks ideas he's conflicting free speech with paid speech and it's it's purposely confusing to people Anybody can say anything on their platforms on twitter for example Donald Trump continues news to tweet as you notice this week. Perhaps but he doesn't get but his campaign doesn't get to do paid advertising and that's a very different thing What's really interesting? Is that Balkanisation. She has been around forever and an early. You know you look at George Washington. All those days that was that was very partisan crowds on every every bit of media. The issue is when you get it into the social the media space becomes three things it becomes weaponized it becomes amplified and it becomes anonymous. And then you can repeat lies. And then they take a vitality and create engagement event. That leads to engagement. And then it you know. Do it again. Lather Rinse repeat. And that's what goes on this to me is look this is not new. I mean Lyndon Johnson is always credited with saying. I don't know if it's true or not. Just say it and make them deny it. So the idea of disinformation but but social media just makes it where the the space space between what's first reported and the fake part almost has gotten it's faster it's amplified you have to think of amplified and weaponization of it because it repeats it's repeats itself in. It's not controllable in a different way. I do think that social media which you just described about engagement and enrichment which very true exposes part of the problem maybe part of the solution for those of us who consider ourselves journalists. I think one of the issues that I have with the way we're fighting back against this is we're trying to fight back with information but journalists are not in the information business. We're in the trust business. Trust is an emotion. You you compete head-to-head you connect heart to heart and the enrichment speaks to the fact that people are seeing information that provoke an emotional response will trust as emotional too. It's like love you'll remember when you fell in love. Necessarily you remember when you decided to trust journalism necessarily but bet emotion is broken and I think part of what we have to do is acknowledge that there is a piece of this. That people are trusting these lies in this misinformation and a lot of them are just damn lies but they work they give you comfort. They make you feel like the world hasn't changed in ways you don't understand and it doesn't mean we affirm the lie. It doesn't mean we no speak the truth but if we're ignoring norring the human part of this none of what we're doing is going to work matthew. He's getting what I wanted you to tease out here. which is almost? It's cultural connection that the right has decided it doesn't have with mainstream media so it doesn't matter what we report. Well you don't understand my life. So why should I care right. And that cultural disconnect is decades AIDS old. Sure what what gives us this. Perfect storm of all truth is a few things one is you have the technological change care. Mentions another issue of the institutional breakdown on which I think you showed earlier in the program. Confidence in these big institutions is just totally. Thank God for Congress or and then we'd be makes it then you have president trump right who you kind of plugs into benefits from both of those changes but also uses it to amplify his message and so what what you end up with this place where no one can really agree. On the very very basic material governing democracy. I think the important thing though is to recognize that. This just didn't organically happen. This also comes in the context of a war on the institution of Independent Journalism. A war on the notion of truth that has served the political interests of you know institutions institutions in the country. I mean I think Fox News has waged a purposeful campaign over decades to convince people that other people's news wasn't the correct news in fact that they were the only part but in fact information this Alexander Hamilton. Sort of discrediting publishers. Yes but look. We have the president of the United States. Who says that? The media's India's enemy of the people I'm not familiar with any president who's ever spoken in this way who has waged Mardi pointed out in your in your first interview. I think importantly so no. This was a political strategy. There is a calculated campaign. Going on that. There's the result of wits here now there's also new tools and you know a whole human human nature element of this but it's very important not to let people off the hook partially we're seeing rupp. A Russian propaganda make its way into American politics because Russia has paid aid money and has made that a focus of its efforts to thing they lost the Cold War. They've won this one and what I get the emotion partner. You're in past tense in well. Because they continue to do it. It's not a battle. We're not fighting against it in the properties by just the Ukraine thing. It's ridiculous it's very clear. This is ally crowd. Strike is in California. I've I've been there trust me. They're Americans were running so now you have. The President States amplify is what it is algorithm. Iq I get the hard part. But you're being targeted targeted. But the paid advertising is charted. It is exactly what until they can whisper a thousand different lies in a million different years. And so that's what the differences and so it isn't isn't hard you can't get to the heart because they amplify an algorithm Mickley. Technically get it so that you can't find the truth you address. What I think is an ECO system? Problem at least on the right. I WANNA put up something that my colleague Ben Collins put here it's a it's a bit of an ecosystem hero. Say you'll get something starts on four Chan. Then there's the sub reddit of trump info. Wars might pick it up then it starts inching into the mainstream Gateway Pundit might just say Oh what's this about then it gets to drudge might have a a a provocative headline link rush might say it in his fun little way then it does make its way into Fox News and then of course your facebook feed wh awash. How do you create more accountability in the conservative ecosystem for basically dealing with propaganda? Well it's hard. Work begins by trying to instruct young young conservatives in the canons of journalism mainly empirical verification. Right and this I think the distrust of institutions that's long standing among conservatives has led many any of them not to no longer. Believe in the idea that you need kind of evidence in order to forward a fact or they don't believe in certain verified sources sources credentials sources of evidence or information. They don't trust any of it. What one other change it? Ma- makes all this more difficult. Is it used to be you can go to the supermarket and you see the tabloids and you see the weekly World News and the alien has predicted. Who's going to be the president this year and you move past it? Maybe some people get a chuckle. Maybe some people believe it but it's a minority of the population today. You can't ignore it because it's everywhere in the second to go on one of these platforms social media in particular. You're confronted by it. I still think though I hear you. In terms of the distrust among conservatives have institutions right about that I do however know a lot of conservatives -servative who are God fearing people and remember that the Bible says that it's better to tie a millstone around your neck to lead one of my little ones astray. They know that Bible verse that says and You shall know the Truth and the truth shall set you free. They've read the book of proverbs and they know the first two chapters are all about the value of truth and wisdom. So I think that there's a part in conservatism. That speaks to the value of truth and the necessity of personal responsibility. I think it is crazy that there are people who say who says too hard. There's so much going on out there. There's so much information we want a world war against the Nazis where we invented a new bomb planted victory gardens and put women in his accuracy. You mean to tell me you won't subscribe at your local paper really. This is hard well it goes to. What is the responsibility of the citizen here? Don't be gullible. Don't don't Oh you don't make it impossible to fight it. It's addictive it's repetitive. It is propaganda and it is in ways. They don't even have to feel like I'm watching the ahead of the curve absolutely strong. You're getting it is doing things in ways. That is never been possible through newspaper newspaper whether we nobody is reading newspapers and shouldn't be. This is great to be able to get this information on your phone with conservatives. There's a great book by Andrew Merits called Antisocial official. That showed this chain. You don't even need the chain anymore. It's just rudy. Giuliani saying I've you know they actually Li- Kennedy on your thing. Let's just a light. There's there's no there's no penalty straight to it and then get scientist no penalty. There's actually an incentive. I mean this this. This ecosystem is so well imbedded now in. How one party is communicating with its core? People that it's a chain that works at I agree with care. I think not only. Can you not break break it. But they're designed their goal is to get people to say. I don't care not even necessarily to say I believe this lie. They may the their goal is not necessarily necessarily to persuade the unpersuaded. -able that Ukraine intervened in the two thousand sixteen election. Their goal is to get people to say. I don't know I can't figure it out and I I think when you think about the twenty twenty election and we are talking at the very end of twenty nine thousand nine. This is going to be the major driver Really in politics when you think about persuading people who who who tilted this last election two thousand sixteen a handful of people arguably who might have voted for Barack Obama and then somehow also for Donald trump people who aren't necessarily living in the information world that we are and I fear that group of voters is the Group of voters who were saying. I can't possibly think of objective truth but this is also political tactic. Matthew mean we are now aware that they're that they're some politicians who who who WANNA come on this show 'cause they're hoping to get a barrel moment to use for fundraising and the minute I got. We've caught wind of that. We Won't put those folks on that. It's sort of like yeah. It's fun to get chastised by the mainstream media. I mean this is the well this has to do in the change of the nature of institution seen I used to join an institution to be molded by to be a part of it to be part of this kind of History that will that preceded you will will antidote. You rather go after you now institutions are platforms for individuals. And this is what makes this is the reason why the platforms are. Now the locus of so much attention whether it's media the attention cultural or government attention right there the new sites of political and regulatory battles because they are the guardrails the social media knocked down all the other guard guardrails right but now the platforms themselves or the guardrails and now they are. They're going to be the heart of our politics for the next decade. Unregulated purist libertarian. Society is worth seeing the perils of Joshua. I will say though. There are a few things that give me help. One is young people I think. Young people are increasingly savvy. Very very thing talking about. They've decided that there are certain social media they can trust more than others and the other is just the fact that I got to say in three years of hosting one as the one thing that's never failed is telling audience if you let this conversation devolve into stupidity the nation will turn you off and there's nothing I can do to bring them back. Personal does work. There's nothing wrong with that that that is all we have for today special broadcast. Thank you for watching. Thank you for watching on all of us here at the press. Wish you a happy and safe new you know forget. We're going to be back next next week. which is also next year? Twenty is if it's Sunday mm-hmm. Hey It's Chris as you know sometimes it's good to just take a step back from the day-to-day onslaught of news and take our broader. Look at the issues. That's what I'm doing each week on my podcast. Why is this happening? Were exploring topics ranging from school segregation to climate change. Well the way that I think of it is. Climate Change will be to the twenty for century. What Madeira not west of the nineteenth century? It'll be the central subject of questions about economic justice. Everything that you care about in the world will be affected by climate and digging deep with guests uniquely equally qualified to analyze issues from mass incarceration to race relations as you know for the first time in our history at the national level whites are on the verge of losing their majority status in twenty years. And I think it's no coincidence that our politics are getting more tribal. Join me for. Why is this happening? New episodes every Tuesday. Wherever you get your podcasts?