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tv   PBS News Hour  PBS  May 2, 2017 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT

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captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> woodruff: good evening. i'm judy woodruff. on the newshour tonight, parsing the president. we break down mr. trump's latest statements in a barrage of interviews and tweets. then, we continue our series on south sudan's brutal civil war with a look at the devastating food shortage facing those forced to flee their homes. >> these are the roots of the water lily plant. that's what they are surviving off, the whole family. it has very little nutritional value, it's muddy, it's very unpleasant. >> woodruff: and, how one county in california is cutting the high costs of asthma, with a home care program focused on keeping kids healthy and out of
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the e.r. >> in alameda county alone, we might be able to save as much as $16 million a year, just on hospitalizations of children. >> woodruff: all that and more, on tonight's pbs newshour. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> bnsf railway. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions: >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you.
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thank you. >> woodruff: president trump and russia's president vladimir putin have been on the phone again, and they agreed to step up diplomacy in syria. the two men spoke today for the first time since the u.s. attacked a syrian air base last month. earlier, putin met with german chancellor angela merkel, in sochi, russia. he claimed again that moscow did not meddle in the u.s. election: >> ( translated ): we never interfere into political life and political processes in other countries, and we would very much like that nobody interfered into our political life and into the political life in russia. these are just rumors used in the internal political struggle in the u.s. >> woodruff: meanwhile, hillary clinton said today that putin "certainly interfered" to help donald trump and defeat her. u.s. intelligence agencies and the congress are investigating whether the russians coordinated with trump aides during the campaign. the head of thailand's military
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junta says he is now expecting much-improved relations with the u.s. they cooled sharply after he seized power in a 2014 coup and became prime minister. but today, he said president trump assured him in a weekend phone call that "thai-u.s. relations will now be closer than ever before." the president also invited him to visit the white house. mr. trump gave out conflicting messages today on the compromise measure to fund the government through the end of this fiscal year. first, in a tweet, he signaled displeasure, and suggested shutting the government down in the next budget fight. later, though, as he honored the air force academy football team, he praised the spending deal, and said: "this is what winning looks like." >> this bill is a clear win for the american people. we brought lawmakers together from both sides of the aisle to deliver a budget that funds the rebuilding of the united states
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military, makes historic investments in border security, and provides health care for our miners and school choice for our disadvantaged children. >> woodruff: later, white house budget director mick mulvaney said mr. trump is unhappy with portrayals that democrats won the budget fight. >> the president is frustrated with the fact that he negotiated in good faith with the democrats and they went out to try and spike the football and make him look bad. it doesn't surprise me at all that his frustrations were manifested in that way. we've got a lot to do between now and september. i don't anticipate a shutdown in september, but if negotiations, if the democrats aren't going to behave any better than they have in the last couple of days, it may be inevitable. >> woodruff: the leader of senate democrats, chuck schumer, said shutting down the government at any time would be a bad idea. a guilty plea today from a white former policeman who shot a black man to death in charleston, south carolina. michael slager shot walter scott five times, as scott ran from
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his car in 2015. a state court jury deadlocked on murder charges, but today, slager pleaded to federal civil rights violations. under the deal, the state agreed to drop its murder case. no sentencing date was set. >> in baton rouge, louisiana, in the killing of alton sterling, the incident was voomented and sparked tense protests in that city. a little over a week later, a gunman killed three baton rouge officers. there' there's word today that the overall death rate among african americans has dropped sharply from 1999 to 2015. the centers for disease control and prevention reports it fell 25% in that period. however, the overall life expectancy for african americans is still four years less than for whites. black americans are also far
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more likely to die of heart disease and cancer than whites are. airline executives found themselves in the hot seat at a congressional hearing today on the issue of over-booking flights. it followed united airlines' forced removal of a passenger who refused to give up his seat this month. united c.e.o. oscar munoz was one of four airline representatives at the hearing. he called the incident a turning point for his company. >> it will accelerate-- at least from united's perspective and you heard from others-- this will make us better. once you sit and are on a seat, we will not take you off that flight. >> woodruff: republicans and democrats alike warned the airlines to shape up. committee chair representative bill shuster said customer service had better improve, or else. >> get together collectively and figure this out. seize this opportunity, because if you don't, we're going to come, and you're not going to like it.
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>> woodruff: united reached a settlement with the ejected passenger last week, for an undisclosed sum. u.s. auto sales tumbled last month. six major companies today reported weaker showings than a year ago. and on wall street, the dow jones industrial average gained 36 points to close near 20,950. the nasdaq rose more than three points, and the s&p 500 added nearly three. still to come on the newshour: the ripple effects of what president trump says, and tweets. the world's newest country, devolving into war and famine. does a netflix hit push its portrayal of teen suicide too far? and much more. >> woodruff: president trump has given a flurry of interviews in the past week or so, to
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commemorate his first 100 days in office. and, he made a dizzying amount of news, giving controversial, and at times contradictory, comments on topics ranging from north korea to the u.s. civil war. to try to make sense of it all, we are joined now by our own lisa desjardins; by yeganeh torbati, state department reporter for reuters; and, julie davis. she covers the white house for the "new york times." and we welcome all three of you to the program. let's talk first about the president's comments about the health care bill, this replacement bill. lisa, he was asked some pointed questions over the weekend. cbs' john dickerson in an interview for "face the nation," here is some of that interview. let's watch. >> they are worried, are they going to have the guarantee of coverage if they have a preexisting condition or if they live in a state where the governor decides that's not part health care or that the prices are going to go up? that's the worry the american medical association says-- >> we actually--
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>> make coverage completely unaffordable for people. >> forget about unaffordable. what is unaffordable is obamacare, john. >> i'm not hearing you say there is a guarantee of preexisting conditions. >> we have a clause of guarantees. >> woodruff: lisa, today there are republicans saying this newly reworked legislation does not guarantee preexisting conditions will be covered. what's going on here. >> it changed one major vote. that's fred upton of michigan. he used to chair the committee that wrote health care policy. he says he's now a "no" vote on the republican plan as it stands now, because he says preexisting crns not protected in this latest version. it seemed that either president trump didn't exactly understand the latest version or he was talking about not the preexisting waivers that states could get, but perhaps the high-risk pools that they're hoping states use to protect those folks who have preexisting medical conditions. >> woodruff: at one point in that interview, julie davis, the president did refer to pools. what do you think was going on
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there? >> well, i think what we're hearing is a president who doesn't like to get very steeped in the details of policy, and what he wants to emphasize is his message, which is that he wants everyone to be covered as effectively and as fulsomely as they are under the affordable care act. the problem is members of congress have to vote on an actual piece of legislation, and they're looking at a bill that doesn't do what he says it does. that's why we're seeing this initiative stall yet again, and it sounds like the president's rhetoric is out of step with what it actually happening. >> woodruff: and as we mentioned, this is to all three of you, mentioned a minute ago in our news summary. there is also conflicting language coming out of the white house today about the spending plan that was agreed to in the last few days between democrats and republicans. democrats are saying "we won the republicans--" some are acknowledging the democrats got the better of this. the president tweeted this morning-- and julie i'm going to come back to you on this-- "the reason for the plans negotiated
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negotiated between the republicanrepublicans and democe need 60 votes which are not there. either elect more republican senators in 2018 or we change the rules to 51%. our country needs a shutdown to fix this mess." he sounds frustrated, julie. >> he is and we heard from his budget director, mick mulvaney this afternoon, he thought the tweets were because of his frustration, but that democrats were acting like they had won when in fact, you know, the president had been negotiating in good faith. mr. mulvaney said the fact is, the president did have to come to the table and republicans in congress did and compromise to get a spending agreement through. while most presidents would be spending this time saying, we got a lot of what we wanted. it was a good compromise. i showed that i was willing to come to the table. instead the president started the day really emphasizing how willing he is to sort of spark a
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partisan conflict in the next go-round. so rather than enjoying the fact that he was able to broker a compromise that most people thought it was going to be difficult for him to do. he is now looking forward to the next negotiation and saying, "well, i'm ready to torpedo that one." >> woodruff: and how is that received on the hill, lisa? >> that was a big lead balloon on the hill, republicans shaking their heads openly saying none of this makes sense. we don't want a shutdown. it achiefs nothing. and also saying on the senate side, senate republican leader mitch mcconnell was adamant with reporter'res said saying the vast majority of the senate do not want to change the rules. they feel those rules do protect the minority in a way that both parties agree on right now. so he's out of step and there was a lot of head shaking, a lot of question marks about what the president was trying to achieve here. >> woodruff: i want to bring you in, because i want to share this clip. this is the president's interview yesterday with "bloomberg news" when he was
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asked about north korea and the young dictator, kim jong-un, came up. this is an audio interview. >> woodruff: so he's honored to meet with the dictator of north korea. how is that being received at the state department and abroad? >> i think the question here is that it's not so much a fundamental shifted in u.s. policy. as you'll remember during the 2008 presidential campaign, former president obama said there's no reason why we shouldn't meet with rogue nations in order to advance u.s. interests. >> woodruff: that's true. >> it's really the wording of saying he would be honored to meet with kim jong-un, who is someone that, you know, u.s. officials have said violates his
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own people's rights and is is ruling north korea with an iron grip. i think that sort of language, especially coming on the heels of his interview last week, one in which he said there's a potential for a major, major conflict with north korea, causing a little whiplash within the bureaucracy, especially the national security briewrs here in washington. the state department, the pentagon, the treasury department, they're all looking for signals from the president as to sort of what their talking points and what their policy should be and it's a little bit contradictory at the moment. >> woodruff: lisa, on the hill again, you have so many members looking to see how the president speaks about these very sensitive international national security question. >> there is no lack of reaction to this. of course, as expected, democrats said this was a problem, but many republicans did as well. senate foreign relations chairman bob corker told reporters the president's iphone needs to be taken away. john mccain, armed services chairman went farther. he said he thought this was disturbing. so it is both serious and to
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some degree people aren't taking the president seriously as well. that's a problem for him. i did speak to one source in trump world who spent a lot of time with the president who said he's a disrupter, and people should realize he's trying to find a solution, so he is both hot and cold at the same time. washington doesn't know how to deal with that, and that's what we're seeing right now. >> woodruff: the last excerpt i want to share with the audience brings up the civil war, and i'm going to come back to you, julie, on this one. the president was talking-- this is in an interview he did a couple of days ago with sirius radio with celina zitro, and president andrew jackson's came came up. let's listen to that.
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>> woodruff: tow, julie davis, we know president andrew jackson died 16 years before the civil war started. the president was trying to clean this up a little bit on twitter this morning. what are they saying at the white house? well, i think as with many of his tweets, they weren't professing to know exactly what he meant when he made that comment. i think one of the more charitable explanations was he was talking about the nullification crisis when want southern nations wanted to secede and he was against that. historians point out that this is a president who is really not steeped in the details of history, even sort of the broad outlines of history, the way many presidents have been. again, he's not interested in the details, so much as he's making the point, andrew jackson is a populist, who he said he very much admires and sort of wants to fashion himself after. the question surks andrew jackson was also a slave owner,
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and to the degree he might have been suggesting that there miefng a solution short of the civil war that would have ended the conflict but preserved slavery or some element of it, that had people really concerned, and that had both historians and other analysts just sort of scratching their heads like why would you mack a point like that? it's just one of those comments that left i think a little bit more of a mess than he intended. >> woodruff: so yeganeh torbati, the civil war, obviously they don't have to worry about that any more at the state department, but they do, obviously, consider the way the president uses language and the way he speaks about-- and his knowledge of american history. what do th the diplomats you spk with say? >> there is some concern that our allies and the rivals abrawrkd u.s. allies and rifles abroad are somewhat behind closed doors a little bit mocking of some of the things that president trump says, and
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u.s. diplomats sort of just have to grin and bear it. there's not much they can really say either in defense or sort of an explanation because they're not really sure themselves what the president might be getting at. there's a broader question of when he makes these kind of contradictory remarks or remarks where he's sort of whip sawing from sort of statement to statement. you know, do the rank and file, do the we'recrats within the national security agency, do they know which direction to follow when they're trying to set the agenda for meetings? they're not quite sure right now because they usually get their signal, their policy signal from the president and it's not clear right now. even if tillerson and mattis are quint their messaging, the pentagon and-- the right hand may not know what the left hand is doing, and that's sort of the concerns diplomats have right now. >> woodruff: it's a reminder that every word out of the president's mouth has repercussions on capitol hill, elsewhere around the executive
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branch, julie and yeganeh, around the world, not just in the diplomatic community here but literally around the globe. yeganeh torbati, julie davis, lisa desjardins, we thank you. >> okay, thank you. >> thanks, judy. >> woodruff: last night, we brought you a look at the brutal civil war ravaging south sudan, and the lives it has scarred. tonight, another calamity afflicting south sudan: a famine, caused by drought-- and man. the united nations estimates 40% of the country's people are at risk. again in partnership with the pulitzer center on crisis reporting, special correspondent jane ferguson reports. >> reporter: she studies with focus and poise. rebecca looks like a typical student next to her classmates in thoahnom school, in a remote
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area of south sudan, but few of them have been through what she has endured. her family fled for their lives when government soldiers raided their village. they survived by hiding in swamps for two weeks. >> ( translated ): when we fled our village, we were 28 people, when we got here, we were 24. two were shot and two died of hunger. >> reporter: one of those who died was her 13-year-old sister. rebecca watched her grow weak and starve to death. >> ( translated ): we didn't have anything to dig with to bury her, so we just put grass on the body and left it there. >> reporter: marcoe nur is 16 years old and also goes to school here. two months ago, he made it to this village with what remained of his family. >> ( translated ): when we fled the fighting, i saw at least 20 people killed. along the road, later, people died of hunger. >> reporter: his brother, sister and father were among those who
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died of starvation. the trauma of their loss haunts him. both rebecca and marco have found safety in this village, controlled by rebel gunmen. rebecca's family have been given this small hut to shelter in by local people. her mom, tipasa, tries to sell tea to make extra money for food, but it's never enough, so she forages in the marshes. these are the roots of the water lily flowers. that's what they are surviving off, the whole family. it has very little nutritional value, it's muddy, it's very unpleasant. this is what they ate when they were hiding in the bush, too, and how countless numbers of people in south sudan are trying to survive, on the run from government troops targeting them because of their tribe. a split between president salva kiir and his vice president riek machar in 2013 tore apart the country, sparking a civil war. both sides have been accused of
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war crimes. most recently, government soldiers have been attacking communities of tribes seen as supportive of machar's rebel fighters, killing civilians and forcing large groups of people to flee. they run into these massive swamps. it is a good hiding place from soldiers hunting them, but there is nothing to eat here, so famine has come to both marco and rebecca's homes. this is a cruel, man-made disaster. there is food in south sudan, but many have had to leave it behind when they flee. food is being dropped by aid agencies to the most desperate, those with the strength come out of hiding to get life-saving supplies. this is leer, the famine area where marco is from. people here used to grow their own vegetables, and farm cattle.
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when they ran for their lives into the bush, they left behind any way of feeding themselves. the international committee of the red cross is giving them tools and seeds. if they plant maize now, they can harvest it by august-- if they live that long. in many ways, this area is symbolic of the link between war and hunger here in south sudan. in an area where aid agencies are giving out food, this once was a vibrant market place. until, the locals say, the government troops came in and burned the shops to the ground. the numbers of those in need here are staggering. 100,000 people are right now starving to death across the country. millions more are on the brink. >> before i came here, i thought, "i know the drill, i've been there." i have never seen anything more complicated, more saddening as compared to south sudan. 4.8 million people do not have
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enough food. it really shocks me. >> reporter: deepmala mahla runs the u.s.-based charity mercy-corp's operation in south sudan. she is not optimistic for the future. >> i have to say the gap between being brink of starvation and actually starving, there isn't a whole lot of time left. the deterioration happens pretty fast. >> reporter: south sudan is the most dangerous place in the world for aid workers, yet people here desperately needs their help. over 80 have been killed since the war started, a fifth of those in this year so far alone. aid agencies often struggle to reach people starving in the wilderness. flying for hundreds of miles over this vast country, you rarely see even a dirt road. it's in these remote areas where people are dying, far from the world's view. people in urban areas like the capital, juba, can get help. international medical corps runs
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this hospital. in the intensive care ward for children, dr. sadia azam shows us how she diagnoses malnutrition. so she is in danger? >> yes, she is in danger. she is severely acutely malnourished. >> reporter: what's causing that for her? >> the children are like this. their bodies are very fragile, they are very weak. >> reporter: and weak bodies can't fight off deadly diseases. one and a half-year-old nyagoah also has pneumonia. this hospital exists largely because of u.s. government funding. american money is responsible for much of the aid relief in south sudan, whether it's food drops from planes or the seeds and tools distributed in famine areas. cuts to foreign aid proposed by the trump administration could mean less money makes it here, and charities are nervous. jason straziuso is the regional spokesperson for the international committee of the red cross.
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>> the united states is the largest single supporter of the i.c.r.c., a substantial part of our budget, and we view this american generosity and good will as vital to our operations, as vital to our humanitarian assistance around the world. >> reporter: rebecca escaped the horrors of widespread killings, only to face starvation in the wilderness with no food. famine will continue to stalk families like hers in this country for as long as people cannot peacefully farm their cattle and grow food at home. and, the war that drives hunger here is far from over. for the pbs newshour, i'm jane ferguson in juba, south sudan. >> woodruff: in her final report tomorrow, jane brings us the stories of women in south sudan who have survived rape, used as a weapon of war.
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>> woodruff: stay with us. coming up on the newshour: home visits that cut back on the risks and cost of asthma. and, from our "newshour bookshelf," a new perspective on a polarizing president. but first, can a dramatic depiction of suicide go too far? a new series on netflix about a teenage girl's tragic death has some school districts and mental health experts worried that the show has gone beyond just entertainment, and could pose a threat to young students. william brangham explores the controversy, part of our weekly series, "making the grade." and a warning: the story contains graphic content. >> some of you cared. none of you cared enough. neither did i. >> brangham: "13 reasons why" tells the fictional story of hannah baker, a 17-year-old high school student who takes her own life. hannah leaves behind 13 cassette
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tapes, where she narrates the events leading up to her suicide. >> hey, it's hannah. hannah baker. >> brangham: each tape centers around one person, and in it, hannah tries to explain why that person was, or wasn't, to blame for her death. >> don't adjust your whatever device you're hearing this on. it's me, live and in stereo. get a snack, settle in, because i'm about to tell you the story of my life-- more specifically, why my life ended. and if you're listening to this, you're one of the reasons why. >> brangham: the show, which was released in its entirety a month ago, brutally depicts some very tough topics: hazing, cyber- bullying, and rape. hannah's own rape by one of her classmates is unsparingly shown. the series is based on a 2007 young adult novel by jay asher, and it was produced by singer selena gomez.
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since its release, school boards around the country have sent warning letters to parents, alerting them to the show, offering ways to talk about its content with their kids, but also suggesting that some kids probably shouldn't watch it among the concerns cited is the very explicit way hannah's suicide is shown, in the final episode. >> pardon me, but you've really hurt my feelings. >> brangham: some psychologists say it glorifies suicide. others worry it could lead to copycat behavior. the jed foundation, a teen suicide prevention group, called the show "inconsistent with safe messaging guidelines around handling portrayals of suicide in media." the national association of school psychologists advised teenagers who suffer from suicidal thoughts not to watch at all, saying it "may lead impressionable viewers to romanticize the choices made by the characters." both groups found fault with the notion of hannah sending these taped messages from "beyond the grave," and criticized the depiction of a school counselor on the show who, they argue, fails to follow up on hannah's
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obvious distress. following the outcry, netflix says it will add a warning at the beginning the series, in addition to the warnings in front of the most graphic episodes. and from the beginning, the show's creators say they consulted mental health experts, and tried hard not to glamorize suicide. brian yorkey is one of the show's creators. >> we did want it to be painful to watch, because we wanted it to be very clear that there is nothing-- in any way-- worthwhile about suicide. >> brangham: we asked the newshour's own student reporting labs to ask high schoolers for their take on the series. some applauded the show. >> i thought the series would help students grappling with suicide, just because the show promoted awareness for students who deal with suicide and depression, and they wanted to start conversations. so, it became so popular and so many people were talking about it that i felt like it did. >> i really think that it's important for adults to know how
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much social media impacts us now. it's a different time, and social media is one of the biggest reasons why suicide happens nowadays. >> brangham: other were concerned about how the show dealt with suicide and mental health. >> i feel like there is a lot of younger audiences who watch it. and that they watch it and they get the wrong idea, that maybe suicide is okay, or suicide is romantic. or maybe if i kill myself, there will be a boy somewhere who turns out to be in love with me. it shows the pain that others are suffering, but it doesn't really address the fact that hannah is dead. >> the message behind it was to be kind to everyone so, like, they don't commit suicide. but in the show, no one helped her. the counselor didn't help her. like, all the students didn't help her. like, she reached out to people, but none of them, like, tried to help her, and that, like, brings a bad message to people who actually have depression and stuff. like, they can't talk to someone about it, like no one's going to listen. >> brangham: so, is "13 reasons why" just a powerful, provocative drama, or something more troubling?
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i'm joined now by dr. christina connolly, who oversees psychological services for all the public schools in montgomery county, maryland; and, by sonia saraiya, a tv critic for "variety." welcome to you both. >> thank you for having us. >> brangham: dr. connolly, i'd like to start with you first. before we get to some of the concerns with this show eye know your job is to oversee 100 school psychologists, you look out for the welfare of young people, but as a person, as a viewer who watched this show, what was your reaction when you saw it? >> initially, the show is very provoprovocative. i first watched an episode a day, and i was like my goodness. and it really draws you in. at the end, over the weekend, i said i have to finish it and i watched four or five episodes at once. >> brangham: so you did a little binge watching yourself. >> i did binge watching myself. it was very emotional. i had trouble sleeping after it. i cried after the episode, clay's tape, and it was just
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very heart-wrenching to see everything that was occurring, all the negative experiences that hannah went through. and my goodness. i can only imagine teenagers watching this, especially vulnerable teenagers, and wondering how are they feeling with this? pause i'm an adult. i'm a mental health professional. >> brangham: i'm going to stop you. just be careful about banging on your microphone there. >> sorry. >> brangham: tell me a little more about those concerns. what is it you worry about a kid who might suffer from some sort of psychological trouble? what's the fear? >> the biggest fear is that there will be copycat behavior, is that they will watch hannah's death, watch her die by suicide-- because it graphically shows her with the razor cutting her wrists, and say, "is this how i can die by suicide? is this how kind of like a recipe for how i can die, a way of coping with what's happened?" and that is not-- as educators and as mental health professionals we do not want
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students and other adolescents following along with what hannah has done. >> brangham: does that actually happen? is there evidence copycat suicides really do occur? >> yes. there is research out there showing that suicide can be contagious. it can be copycat, especially even in schools. even in the series itself, there is hannah who dies by suicide. in the last episode, there is another student, alex, who was involved in the tapes and he attempts suicide, so, absolutely, this can happen in schools. >> sreenivasan: sonia saraiya, i'd like to turn to you. again, before we get to the concerns that have been raised about the series, as a tv critic, as someone who analyzed this as a piece of art, what was your reaction to the series? >> you know, i found it extremely compelling. i think that cristina's experience of watching it was one they felt, too. i wasn't expecting to be so taken in by a show that was aimed at teenagers, and i really ended up binging it in the same way. and part of it is because, you know, more than being about
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teenagers and being about their feelings, the show is constructed really brilliantly. brian yorker, who adapted the show from jay asher's novel, it's adapted so well with a tv series with each tape being an episode. you feel like you're in a mystery story even though you know what's going to happen. and there's something very moody, almost narrish about the way the atmosphere of the school is constructed. that's a very compelling atmosphere, and it was really easy to sink into it and to watch this whole story with these characters who were really going through a lot. >> brangham: sonia, how would you respond to that concern, though, that it in some ways could be seen as a guide book, a textbook, that a young woman goes through some very troubling things-- this is not to discount the things that happen to her in the series. they're really awful things that she experiences. but we see the resolution of that is her suicide and then this very long sort of, what
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some have argued is a sort of revenge fantasy played out on her classmates. how do you respond to that, that that's not a great thing to show kids? >> sisters not always about recreating what's happening. they're about showing us the-- showing us what happens with these characters in this story, in this world, so that we can take away something from it. if you were someone who was thinking about this, you would understand what it might do to the people around you, what it-- how difficult it might be for your parents to fiend you in that situation. and you might also feel if someone else had gone through this experience, that you were not so alone in your experience of it, especially because one of the main takeaways of "13 reasons why," i think, is you know hannah's going to do this, but you also see how much of a mistake it is as you see the entire text of her life and how many people love her and care about her, even though they are weren't able to express it in the right ways throughout her life when she needed those
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crises. at the end, you don't think it was a good idea. you know, that certainly wasn't the takeaway that i think a lot of people are taking away from the show, anyway. to me it seems like it was a mistake. she really had a lot to live for. >> brangham: cristina, what do you think about that, the idea that this really does show the emotional wreckage, not only that cyber bullying and rape and the assaults and all of those things do to her, but also her own death and the aftermath of that, could that be from your experience as a mental health professional, could that be cathartic for a lot of kids? >> i think that for kids, showing-- giving information about what can be part of the high school experience, these negative experiences that can occur, these do happen in real life. and as educators, we have to be aware of that. we have to help to promote to our parents that these things are happening. our goal is to make sure that our parents and our teachers and other staff members at the school know that the show is happening, kids are watching it. they're in lunch room talking
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about it, on the bus. what can we do to help them? and as they talked about, one of the big things with the counselor, and parents were not shown and teachers were not shown in a way as a helper. we want people ton that's not the case. in school, we want students to know that they should have a trusted adult in their life that they can go to when things are going wrong, and that educators and their parents are people they can go to when these things happen, unlike hannah who went to this counselor. the majority of mental health professionals are not like that, and we want people to understand that. >> brangham: could the series still have retained its power and changed it a little bit that would make it more-- that you would be more comfortable with its deticks of all of this? >> they go through and they talk about all these horrible things that have happened, and in the end they show hannah's death by suicide. but they don't show where can you go to get help? what are things adolescents can do when these things are happening? they showed substance use, binge drinking, drinking and driving,
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the rape, the stalking-- all these things. but never does the show go into where can you go? how do you get help? how does your friend help others? you see your friend who is going through this, where can they get help? but also that hannah more than likely has a mental health disorder. over 90% of individuals who die by suicide have a mental health disorder, and the show does not discuss that at all. and mental health disorders are treatable. and so that if we help to treat the mental health disorder, that helps to us prevent a suicide. >> brangham: all right, dr. christina connolly, sonia saraiya, thank you both very much. >> thank you for having me. >> thank you, william. >> woodruff: roughly 25 million people in the u.s. have active asthma. for most, it can be controlled with the right medications and by avoiding environmental triggers. and yet nearly half of all
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adults and 40% of children have uncontrolled asthma, which can lead to expensive medical interventions. total annual costs for the disease are estimated at $60 billion. today is world asthma day, which makes it a good moment for this report by special correspondent cat wise, about a california program that's drawing attention for its way of keeping kids healthy. >> reporter: three-year-old jesus cresto has been to the emergency room twice in the past 12 months for asthma attacks. his mom, angelica, says she isn't getting much sleep these days. >> i'm just checking on him. is he okay? it's really hard because it changes your life. i just want to take care of my kids. >> reporter: the cresto family lives in east oakland, a predominately low-income community in alameda county which has some of the highest rates of asthma in california. children with uncontrolled
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asthma, especially those from low-income families, who often have government-funded healthcare insurance, account for a disproportionate number of costly e.r. visits and hospital stays. so, keeping jesus, and the more than one million other kids with asthma in california healthy, is a big priority. and alameda county has been leading an effort to do just that, focusing on the place where kids spend the most time: their home. on a recent morning, a team of cleaners, specializing in asthma trigger remediation, arrived at the cresto home. they cleaned up pest droppings behind the fridge, removed mold spots on a bedroom window, and put a dust mite cover on a mattress. the cleaning visit was arranged by sandra rodriguez, a community outreach worker from the county's healthy homes department. she is part of a unique collaboration between housing and public health agencies. >> so tell me, where does jesus spend a lot of his time? >> he usually likes to be on the floor.
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so how i clean the house-- i use clorox a lot because i think i want to keep the floors clean, because most of the time he is on the floor. >> using harsh chemicals like clorox can really exacerbate a child's asthma, and so we recommend you try natural products. just soap and water, and one of the additions is baking soda. >> oh, okay. >> reporter: the program, which began in 2001 and was among the first of its kind in the country, is open to all children in the county who have been diagnosed with asthma. allergen-reducing products like hepa-filter vacuums are offered to families who can't afford them, and the program will even pay for minor home repairs. >> we saw these very high rates in our county, and we didn't want to have residents who were dealing with issues like that. >> reporter: brenda rueda- yamashita manages the public health department's side of the program, called "asthma start." she says the up-front costs, which average about $2,500 per family, depending on the needs, are worth spending to prevent the back end costs.
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>> it's around $23,000 for a child to have an asthma hospitalization, and around $3,500 for an e.r. visit, so that's the highest impact. mom losing money, dad losing money because they have to stay home with a child or take the child to the e.r., and their employer doesn't pay for sick time. there's a cost to cities and/or counties for their fire, because fire departments show up to 9-1-1 calls. >> reporter: the other key priority for the program is educating families about the importance of taking prescribed asthma medications. that's where medical social worker amy sholinbeck comes in. >> puff. >> reporter: on this day, she is back for a second visit with two-year-old romani and his mom, artency webb. romani has had several hospital stays for asthma attacks, but after an initial two-hour visit a month ago, the family has been on top of his medications. >> have you noticed he's been having less symptoms? >> at the night time definitely.
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he sleeps a lot better. >> oh i'm so happy to hear that. it's all about his health. we want to keep you out of the hospital, baby. >> sometimes, the family ends up confusing the inhalers, or it wasn't explained to them in enough detail. so we're in a calm environment in their home, and we take a lot of time to make sure they understand what the medications do in the body. and we have special stickers we put on the medicine, and we make sure they just really get it. >> i just want to give you an update on the numbers. >> reporter: the program serves about 250 families each year. it's been funded through a combination of sources, including grants, taxes, tobacco settlement money, and a local medicaid managed care program. a data review by that organization in 2012 found health care costs for pediatric patients ages zero to five were cut in half during the 12 months after they went through the program. those results, and the program's long track record are generating
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new interest in alameda county's preventative approach. >> i have studied a lot of programs, but when i got introduced to this program, what i saw was a very seasoned, careful intervention that draws on the best practices that we get from research to date. >> reporter: u.c.-berkeley professor linda neuhauser is leading an in-depth study of the program. her research is ongoing, but she believes policymakers around the country should pay attention. >> it's hard to estimate the cost savings, but i think in alameda county alone, we might be able to save as much as $16 million a year, just on hospitalizations of children. this is an amazing saving of health care costs. >> reporter: eight-year-old mihlen michael is one of those children who is happy to be out of the hospital. a year ago, she was in intensive care after an especially bad asthma attack. her mom, nebiyat hagos, says some big changes have happened
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since the asthma teams visited their home. >> now she's a lot better. she hasn't been to the e.r. in a year. they made a great difference. we were living close to a freeway, and they mentioned to me being close to, you know, a lot of traffic and pollution, and also how that affects asthma. so we moved away from the freeway now, and that also helped. >> reporter: hagos is now working for the program, and using the training she received to help other families with asthma. the home-based asthma program recently got a temporary boost in funding from a national nonprofit and the alameda county board of supervisors. that money is being used in part to help an additional 250 families this year. for the pbs newshour, i'm cat wise in alameda county, california. >> woodruff: finally tonight, a new look at one of the most controversial american presidents in modern history, and a man of many contradictions. jeffrey brown has this latest
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addition to the "newshour bookshelf." >> brown: few presidents we read in an early biography of richard nixon came so far, so fast, so alone, and we can add: few fell so far, so fast, so alone. more than that, as "richard nixon: the life" makes clear, so much of his political legacy continues to permeate today. author john a. farrell joins me now, and welcome to you. let me start there-- for some broad context, what fundamental way is richard nixon still with us in our political culture? >> nixon practiced what i call the politics of revance. he came from a very unfortunate background. almost a dickensian childhood, with a mean father, a very frosty mother, poverty and sickness in the household. and he had that ability to identify, in his audiences, in the electorate, their own resentments, and to tap them. and he didn't realize until the end, the famous speech where he
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talks about hate destroying yourself, how dangerous that was. and by then, this sort of politics of deliberate polarization that he pioneered had taken root. >> brown: what was so interesting to me to see was the younger nixon, even in his first time running, where you get the mix of the kind of sincere ambition to serve. but already, a lot of the tricks, the bad side of nixon, it was there from the beginning. >> yes, one of the things that i found was that nixon, throughout his life, was always using yellow pads and making lists, and then crossing out as he went. so, he comes home from war in 1946, and like lots of the younger veterans, having seen the sacrifices that were made, they wanted to improve their world. they wanted to make sure those sacrifices weren't in vain. and that's where that idealism that you talked about came from. but, that young congressional candidate, there was also this dark side already. and he was running against a fellow named jimmy voorhis in
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1946. and on one of these yellow lists, as they went down ticking them off, you know, get volunteers, put ads in newspapers, and then there at the bottom was the instruction"" put spies in voorhis camp." put spies in his camp. so right from the beginning, he had that inclination towards intrigue. >> brown: one bit of news that you make in this book is confirming his role in sabotaging the paris peace talks, right? the attempt to end the vietnam war. he didn't want his democratic opponents to get credit for ending the war. >> yes, that's right. lyndon johnson desperately wanted to end the war before he left office in october 1968. he announced a bombing halt to bring the north vietnamese and the south vietnamese to the table. and nixon got wind of it, and dispatched a woman named anna chennault, who was one of his aides in his campaign, to approach the south vietnamese and say, "drag your heels, scuttle the talks, and you'll get a better deal when i'm elected." and he denied it all his life. he denied it in one of the taped conversations that you can hear in the lyndon johnson library.
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he denied it directly. but i was able to find the little, tiny jigsaw piece that, again, one of those yellow legal pad notes, this time from his chief of staff, bob haldeman. >> brown: you end up calling this his most reprehensible act. >> i think it was because of the number of lives that were at stake. for a presidential candidate to do this, i thought was really awful. whereas in watergate, the bumper stickers always said "nobody died in watergate." certainly our political system was tarnished, but so many lives in the next four years-- five years if you count cambodia and the vietnamese boat people. almost genocide in cambodia. and if the war could have been ended in '68, what a difference it would have been. >> brown: here's a man who's been written a lot about. how do you go about writing a new biography, and making it fresh? where do you look? >> there's a great advantage of being there 40 years later, because a lot of people have died. so, privacy restrictions are
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lifted, and a lot of the national security restrictions on documents are worked through, and stuff is released. >> brown: you know, it is this strange mix of insecure, very human man, with a very ruthless politician. there is sincerity on the one hand, mixed with this kind of cunning. you humanized him, right? you lived with him a long time, how did you come to see him? >> i developed sympathy for him, you know. i was a young teenager during the 1960s and early '70s, when he was in office. and he was a villian. but then your biography inevitably opens windows into souls of people, and you explore how awful his childhood was and you begin to get this empathy for the person. and then you have to balance that with a cool analysis of how nixon behaved as a politician, so there's a lot of really bad stuff in the book about nixon,
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but i also hope there's a sort of humane approach to him as a tortured individual. >> brown: so, thin skinned, media hating. soon as your book came out, there were some obvious comparisons to our current, our new president, right? but how much comparison do you make? >> well, you know, there's lots of coincidental comparisons. they both seem to have resentment growing out of their childhood, and a need for public acclaim, the difference of the two men's personalities is very stark. nixon was an intellectual. he not only read books, he actually wrote books and had a basic reverence, despite what he did in watergate for the institution of the presidency. when he lied, he expected that you would believe him. whereas, trump, i get the idea sometimes, it's the actual blatant lie, that he doesn't want you to believe, he's just sort of rubbing it in your face.
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so those i think are major differences between the two of them. but they did both practice what i was talking about, that politics of identifying an individual or identifying the voters resentments of race and class, and capitalizing on them. >> brown: the new book is "richard nixon: the life." john farrell, thank you very much. >> my pleasure, thank you. >> woodruff: tune in later tonight. "frontline" examines what happens when teenagers convicted of murder are allowed to re-enter society. "second chance kids" focuses on two men, among the first to be released following a 2012 supreme court decision that found sentences of mandatory life without parole for juveniles unconstitutional. anthony rolon was convicted of killing bobby bothelo at age 17.
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here's a look. >> bobby bothelo was stabbed to death nearly two decades ago. tonight, his family speaks to eyewitness news as they wait to hear if his killer will stay behind bars. >> it's unfair. it shouldn't even be happening. we have to fight and we'll do whatever it takes. >> i knew that the victim's family believed i shouldn't even be having this opportunity to give this individual a second chance. >> good morning, mr. rolon. i'm chairman of the parole board. we had here today to consider your petition for parole for a first-degree murder sentence for stabbing and killing bobby bothelo on january 21... >>imented to have respect for the family, so i didn't want to lock over there, but i went there with the purpose of having that opportunity to just say, "i'm sorry." it's time to speak the truth. it's time to say what happened. it's time to own up. after being convicted of take mr. bothelo's life, i told his mother that i didn't kill her son. for the past 18 years and six
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months, mr. bothelo's mother has deserved from me to speak the truth. by saying that it was me who killed her son, that i'm sorry for creating the pain that is in her heart. >> woodruff: "frontline" airs tonight on most pbs stations. and that's the newshour for tonight. for all of us at the pbs newshour, thank you and we'll see you soon. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> bnsf railway. >> the ford foundation. working with visionaries on the frontlines of social change worldwide. >> carnegie corporation of new york. supporting innovations in education, democratic
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engagement, and the advancement of international peace and security. at >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and individuals. >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc captioned by media access group at wgbh
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