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California Governor Reacts to U.S. President's Speech; Dissecting American Media's Gun Coverage; Imagine a World. Aired 2-2:30p ET
Aired December 7, 2015 - 14:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST (voice-over): Tonight: the governor of California in his first network interview since the San Bernardino
shootings tells me unprecedented steps are needed to combat terrorism.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JERRY BROWN, GOVERNOR OF CALIFORNIA: When you meet the victims, as I did in San Bernardino, you talk to them, just ordinary people getting shot,
just a few feet away, it's a horrible experience.
AMANPOUR (voice-over): Also ahead, the front pages and the political fallout: two prominent media figures discuss the terror attacks here in
America and in France.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Good evening, everyone, and welcome to the program. I'm Christiane Amanpour in New York tonight.
The day after the president did something that he rarely does, address the nation from the Oval Office -- it's only the third time for Mr. Obama -
- and on the urgent matter of an evolving twin threat here in the United States: terror and easy access to weapons of war, made brutally clear when
two ISIS sympathizers mowed down 14 people with semi-automatic rifles in California.
The issue is guns and the divisive demagoguery around Muslims are dominating the presidential campaign, with leading Republican Donald Trump
accused by "The New York Times," no less, of McCarthy-like prejudice against Muslim Americans, calling for watch lists and databases.
The president says the current threats must not turn Americans against fellow Americans.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We cannot turn against one another by letting this fight be defined as a war between America and
Islam. It's our responsibility to reject proposals that Muslim Americans should somehow be treated differently because, when we travel down that
road, we lose.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: The president also called for stronger measures against assault weapons and their rapid-fire magazines. Even unlikely candidates
like New York tabloids are beginning to take a stand on the gun issue.
And we'll drill down on all of that later in the program.
But first to the governor of California, Jerry Brown, who tells me that unprecedented steps are needed to deal with the current terror threat.
He joined me from the COP 21 climate summit in Paris.
AMANPOUR: Governor Brown, welcome to our program.
BROWN: Thank you. Glad to be here.
AMANPOUR: Let me first ask you your reaction to President Obama's speech last night.
It's very rare that he takes to the Oval Office in the wake of the shooting in your state.
BROWN: Well, it's pretty obvious that if the Congress can't ban guns from somebody they won't allow on an airplane, that makes no sense at all.
And of course there's a risk of Americans turning against one another. We're already there on a partisan level.
So he did make a call to the nation and I think it's very unfortunate that these candidates have to politicize that.
And I can tell you, when you meet the victims, as I did in San Bernardino, you talk to them, just ordinary people getting shot, just a few
feet away, it's a horrible experience. And it's not about a party and it's not an occasion for candidates to try to score points.
I think it's about what can America do to combat something, such as bullets. But it's ideas. And this is quite a challenge for the president
and for America.
AMANPOUR: Governor, let me ask you then, because you brought up the partisan nature of this. And obviously that's very much in the spotlight
here in the United States; a lot of criticism has been directed at Donald Trump, the Republican candidate, and for instance about Syrian refugees and
about his comments about Muslims, databases and the like.
First and foremost, how is this going to affect the ability to bring Syrian refugees into the United States, do you think?
BROWN: Well, I think it's going to make it more difficult. And it's very understandable, particularly after San Bernardino. People are
concerned and I myself would want to make sure that the federal government is vetting these individuals and not just refugees.
But we have to be able to take measures to protect the people of this country. And it's a very difficult circumstance because we've never seen
anything like it. It's unprecedented and we're going to have to take some, I think, unprecedented steps to deal with it.
AMANPOUR: What sort of unprecedented steps, Governor?
Because obviously refugees get about apparently 18 months to two years of vetting and by so many departments; Homeland Security is just one of
BROWN: Well, for one, I'd like to see more collaboration between the federal government and --
BROWN: -- state authorities. Here in California, we have threat assessment centers. And we work very closely with the FBI and other
And I brought this up on a call with the White House. And, you know, I'm just concerned as anybody else and I think we just can't rest until we
get it right.
AMANPOUR: How did the White House respond to that?
BROWN: They, I think, took it under consideration and then afterwards I heard that they were looking for ways that the governors could be in the
Look, one of the -- we're looking for a needle in a haystack, the -- these people who, through their own self-conversion or things they learned
in Pakistan or Saudi Arabia or somewhere, they develop ideas that turn into lethal hostility. They become human weapons, human torpedoes, as it were.
And we have to be able to -- eventually can -- to identify this.
AMANPOUR: Donald Trump has talked about databases and you have been around for a long, long time throughout your lengthy political career.
You've seen "The New York Times" itself refer to Donald Trump in the same framework as, for instance, Joseph McCarthy in the '50s, as Governor
Wallace in 1963, in terms of demonizing and talking about so-called "unprecedented measures" towards a certain group.
BROWN: Well, obviously some of these candidates are demonizing, exploiting. And certainly Trump, when I've looked at him occasionally, he
definitely goes to a rather extreme level.
But that doesn't mean that we don't have to be pretty intensive in our effort to ferret out these people that are developing these attitudes and
then turn into mass slaughter.
We have to certainly respect the liberties that make America what it is. They're -- the NSA's listening to telephone calls. They're trying to
find connections to jihadists out there in the rest of the world. And I don't think we can just assume the world is going to continue on a straight
line from where it's been.
We're in a very different world. Ideas are being generated around the world that are coming back, a blowback that's hitting Europe, it's hit
Turkey; it's hitting places in Africa and now it's hit California.
AMANPOUR: Now of course your state is number one in gun control and yet this happened in your state because these guns, while they may have
been bought legally, are used, all sorts of loopholes, modified them illegally.
Do you believe there needs to be even stricter gun control to lock up these loopholes and prevent them from being exploited?
BROWN: Well, I would say the first thing is for other states and for the federal government to catch up with California. We have among the
strictest gun regulations in the country. And it doesn't do us that much good if other states and the federal government is basically passive in
this effort to keep guns out of the wrong hands.
But certainly when they have these big magazines that generate all these shots, yes, well, I hope they take a good look at that. But most
important is for the Congress to get off their partisan seat and do something to protect the American people when it comes to gun control.
AMANPOUR: "The Wall Street Journal" has been saying that these guns were equipped with a bullet button. And of course they also point out and
also do other newspapers that, in 2013, you vetoed a bill that sought to ban the sale of semi-automatic rifles with detachable magazines.
Do you regret that?
AMANPOUR: Would you do something different now?
BROWN: No, look, that was an over-broad bill. You know, Christiane, you follow legislation. The devil's in the details. That bill did some
good things but it went too far, you know, with respect to collectibles, with respect to activities at a firing range. And we have taken an
But it isn't just, you know, ban everything. We're trying to balance all the interests here and protect the public safety in California and I
don't take a back seat to anyone in pursuing that objective.
AMANPOUR: Governor, we're talking to you in Paris. It was after a terrible terrorist attack but it's also in the middle of this really
important climate conference. You come from a state which has been buffeted by the environment.
What is your hope?
What are the challenges now as we go into week two of what everybody's calling this last-ditch summit?
BROWN: My hope is that they come out of this COP 21 with a substantive agreement. I believe it can be and probably will be more far-
reaching than any before.
I think this Paris conference has put climate change on the map like it's never been before. There's a lot of denial --
BROWN: -- in parts of America. There's a certain amount of complacency. And this conference brings so many people together.
I think this really raised the profile, increased the possibility and the probability of real action.
But the action required is far more reaching than anything you can figure out in the next week or two.
So what's important is to get a transparent, accountable set of measures and then a review period, hopefully every five years, maybe a
little longer, where the nations of the world can do the heroic effort required to respond to this existential threat of climate change.
AMANPOUR: Governor Brown, thank you so much for joining us from Paris tonight.
BROWN: OK. Thank you.
AMANPOUR: And Beijing has just issued an unprecedented pollution red alert.
Next, just as the tide seems to be turning against climate skeptics, we ask is it also turning on gun control refuseniks?
And turning on politicians who appeal to our less better angels: whether the far right in France, which just bought a major election
victory, or the Republican presidential campaign here in the United States. Next, these culture wars with two sharply seasoned media veterans.
AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program.
The recent terror attacks are now having an impact on the global political landscape.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR (voice-over): Here in the United States, for the first time since 1920, "The New York Times" has taken out a front-page editorial on
gun control. And more major media organizations are taking a stand since the California massacre.
Meanwhile, in France, the far right National Front has harvested major political hay since the Paris attacks on Friday, November 13th, scoring a
stunning victory in this weekend's regional elections.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: To discuss that from Paris, one of the most renowned French broadcasters, Christine Ockrent, and with me here, live on set, Brooke
Gladstone, co-host of the prominent New York radio program, "On the Media."
Thank you both for joining me.
Let me turn to you, Brooke, first, because we have a whole host of front pages regarding this whole gun situation. The "Daily News," a
prominent periodical here in New York; "The New York Times," as I said, have really started to say enough is enough in whatever language they are.
Do you believe that this is a turning point?
BROOKE GLADSTONE, RADIO HOST: A turning point for the media or a turning point for America?
AMANPOUR: Well, that's a good question. That's a good question.
GLADSTONE: The problem with guns is that mostly people don't stand with the NRA.
Even NRA members, in a recent poll, they found that something like 70 percent feel that the NRA doesn't represent their views on background
checks and enforcement of gun control and other issues.
So you have a different debate happening on Capitol Hill than you're having in the country, than you're having in the media.
AMANPOUR: So do you think the media has a, you know, a push effect at all or not?
GLADSTONE: Well, on the people they need to push, I actually don't. The rhetoric is a rhetoric of fear. What happened in San Bernardino
doesn't change that rhetoric. I mean, the only thing that actually created a push for gun control --
GLADSTONE: -- in recent memory was back in 1968, when a cadre of well-disciplined young men bearing their arms publicly, embracing their
Second Amendment rights, the Black Panthers, marched on Sacramento.
And suddenly California passed one of the nation's most stringent gun laws. This was 19 --
GLADSTONE: -- that was Ronald Reagan.
AMANPOUR: Is that what it's going to take again, do you think, that kind of dramatic intervention?
GLADSTONE: You have to -- if you're staying with the rhetoric of fear, then you have to find something else to fear. And maybe people with
guns in this country, citizens, will scare other people.
I know it's hardly an impressive look at American culture, that that might be the case. And I'm not certainly, you know, advising people to go
and bear their arms publicly, even if they have the rights to do that.
But it may take -- it has to change the rhetoric of fear. What the mainstream media say almost doesn't matter to these people. They're much
more likely to believe Donald Trump than the mainstream media.
AMANPOUR: Well, we're going to talk about Donald Trump in a minute.
But first, let me talk to Christine about what Brooke has just talked about, the climate of fear, the rhetoric of fear.
Do you think that, especially after the Paris attacks, Christine, is what propelled Marine Le Pen and her National Front to the victory this
weekend in regional elections?
CHRISTINE OCKRENT, FORMER FRENCH TV NEWS ANCHOR: Oh, yes, Christiane, I believe it has certainly helped her. But you have to realize that the
far right here in France has been increasing over the years. And Marine Le Pen has tripled the results of her party, compared to her father's, who was
the founder of the party.
So, of course, the terrorist attacks have helped her, you know, much more than anybody else, although the French President Hollande has had his
personal ratings go up. But that hasn't helped his own political party.
So, yes, it has helped Marine Le Pen and now the issue is what will happen next Sunday because there is a second round. But it will -- it's
very likely that Marine Le Pen and her niece, Marion, who is only 27 years old, will be the two new faces in French politics for many years to come.
And we have, of course, our presidential election in just 18 months.
AMANPOUR: Well, to that point, let me play you this little bit of a sound bite that Marine Le Pen gave after last night, almost poking fun at
the very many people who doubted and who also said that this kind of ideology mustn't be allowed to triumph in France. Listen to what she said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARINE LE PEN, LEADER, FRENCH NATIONAL FRONT PARTY (through translator): You realize there is no surprise in yesterday's results.
This trust will continue to grow. I am telling you so that next time you won't be surprised, either. Prepare yourselves psychologically.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: I mean, it's almost sinister. She is challenging the French to prepare themselves psychologically. She is laughing.
I mean, is it just politics as normal?
Or do you think this is going to take the country down a very different route?
OCKRENT: I think it's really -- I mean, the country is taking a very different route. And the elites, including the media, are at -- in a total
disarray. And that's what Marine Le Pen is actually laughing at. She is not laughing at the country. She is laughing at us. She is laughing at
the establishment. She is laughing at the media.
You were talking about "The New York Times" editorial. "Le Monde," which is our main and best daily newspaper, published a very good editorial
last Saturday, saying don't trust the far right, its fallacy, its program is just absolutely crazy.
Well, people don't read that kind of stuff. And what is very interesting about the results yesterday is that you have young people.
There is a generational gap there. Young people, either they don't bother to go and vote or they have voted for Marine Le Pen.
That means, indeed, that, for the past 30 years French politics, which you know so much about, Christiane, have absolutely been disconnected from
what are actually the priorities of the people in this country. And that's very worrying indeed.
AMANPOUR: Well, let me turn to Brooke, because a similar thing is happening here. If it's a turning point for antiestablishment in France
and other parts of Europe, it seems to be the case here, at least in the Republican presidential campaign, with Donald Trump defying many people's
AMANPOUR: -- by staying on top as long as he has.
GLADSTONE: Right. History does not tell us yet that Donald Trump has broken the mold in this regard. I mean, Giuliani, who ended up with one
delegate, stayed in the top of the polls, I don't know, for three months or more. I think Donald Trump maybe is going into four or five months.
But there are precedents for that, too. It's also a fact, if you speak to pollsters -- I spoke to Nate Silver recently -- that people,
further away, when asked who they're going to vote for in November, like to tweak the pollsters, especially if they're robo-pollsters.
And also when they don't have as much of a stake, they can come up with something -- they get much more conservative as the deadline for
voting approaches. So it doesn't necessarily mean anything. Where Donald Trump really is breaking the mold is in his ability to lie unchecked.
AMANPOUR: Well, we're going to drill down on that because he -- you know, "The New York Times" has taken him to task on that. They've said
Donald Trump's applause lies. And I want to play a little bit of a sound bite from him, where he's talking about Muslims and, you know, very
divisively. Let's just listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, ENTREPRENEUR: I do want databases for those people coming in. But I also insist on the wall. They're going to make it so
big. He said something so politically incorrect. That's why we're going to hell because we're so politically incorrect. Such a big deal. Such a
I want surveillance of certain mosques, OK?
If that's OK. I want surveillance.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Let me talk to you both, actually Brooke first, since you're right here.
What about the media's responsibility?
I mean, first and foremost, the substance of what he's saying has been likened to Joseph McCarthy during the Cold War -- databases, watch lists,
rounding up "the other," the so-called enemy but also the platform with which he and maybe Marine Le Pen as well in France are given for their
GLADSTONE: Right. Well, obviously it's the job of the media to speak truth to power or to aspiring power; when he says things that are factually
wrong, we ought to challenge them and we don't.
We have a sense of self-consciousness that makes us want to appear to be objective, even if it traduces the truth. And so you'll create a false
balance. You're allowed to say something. Someone else is allowed to say something. And you have to lie 10 or 12 times before you're called out.
And usually you, as a candidate, may feel a little shame. But he feels no shame. And that's where he breaks the mold.
AMANPOUR: Well, let me ask you, if that is the case, Christine Ockrent, with Marine Le Pen breaking the mold because the media is not
doing its due diligence?
OCKRENT: Well, no. There is a major difference, is that Donald Trump makes people laugh. Marine Le Pen doesn't. And Marine Le Pen is very
aggressive towards the media and the media have been very uncomfortable with dealing, first of all, with Papa and now with her.
But there is a point where, as long as a political party is not illegal -- and the Front National has never been declared illegal -- we,
the media, have to deal with her.
And actually, I remember, she -- I think her first TV appearance in a political debate was on one of my shows quite a few years back. And so
now, you know, the media have to respect the French who have actually voted for her.
So it's a very different ballgame and, again, this is a major change, I think, in our political life because we used to have two major political
parties, you know, the Conservatives and the Socialists. And now we have a third party. And the third party is ahead. And again, this changes the
rules of the game, also for the media, of course.
Well, Christine Ockrent, Brooke Gladstone, we'll be covering a lot more of this hopefully with you. There is another election, round two, in
Paris next weekend and our election here in the United States is coming up with its primaries. We'll be dealing with a lot of this as we go on.
Thank you both for joining us.
Now back to ISIS, because it seems to be morphing after that group attack in Paris, the couple who went on the rampage in San Bernardino and
this weekend, London, where a lone man, shouting, quote, "This is for Syria," injured several commuters on the underground, the tube train, with
One witness, a Muslim himself, was heard shouting at the attacker, "You ain't no Muslim, bruv." It instantly went viral, spreading from
Twitter, to train stations and to the highest office in the land.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID CAMERON, PRIME MINISTER, GREAT BRITAIN: Some of us have dedicated speeches and media appearances and sound bites and everything --
CAMERON: -- to this subject. But "You ain't no Muslim, bruv," said it all much better than I ever could. And thank you, because that will be
applauded around the country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And after a break, we look back again at climate change from another angle. Imagine the celestial view, a plea from outer space --
AMANPOUR: And finally tonight, as the COP 21 climate summit enters the final stretch in Paris, this weekend astronauts and cosmonauts released
a message to encourage world leaders negotiating here on planet Earth.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COMMANDER SCOTT KELLY, ASTRONAUT: It's an honor for us to be with you today. Your actions during this important meeting will send a message to
the world on how we regard the future of our home planet.
NAOKO YAMAZAKI, ASTRONAUT: The view from space is just breathtaking. And at the same time we recognize deforestations and wildfires and so on,
which are related to climate changes.
NICOLE STOTT, ASTRONAUT: The one thing that we all wish, though, is that groups like yours could be holding your meeting today in space, with
the beautiful horizon-to-horizon view of our planet as your backdrop. It would be an awe-inspiring distraction for sure. But there would be nothing
better for reinforcing the significance of what you're doing there together today.
MICHAEL LOPEZ-ALEGRIA, ASTRONAUT (from captions): The moment is now when we reach a binding agreement at the COP 21 conference in Paris 2015.
KJELL LINDGREN, M.D., ASTRONAUT: And all of us on the space station wish you good luck and great success.
Whether you are a government, a business, a university or an individual, you can make a difference. Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And that is it for our program tonight. Remember, you can now watch a podcast, online, Twitter and Facebook. Thanks for watching.
Goodbye from New York.