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How the Trump Administration Views Experts; Wikipedia Founder on Fighting Fake News; Demands for Action Over BBC Gender Pay Gap; The Iranian-American Destined for the Stars

Aired July 28, 2017 - 23:00   ET



[23:01:25] CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST: Tonight, at the White House, a war on facts and expertise. A senior government scientist tells me that he

was sidelined for researching climate change.

And Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia, is tackling the insidious phenomenon of fake news.


JIMMY WALES, FOUNDER, WIKITRIBUNE: When people say the trust in journalism an all time low, they are not expressing we don't care about journalism

anymore. They are saying something here is not working.


AMANPOUR: Also ahead, empowering women here on earth and in the cosmos. I speak with a well-respected media star and a marine major heading for the

stars with NASA.

Good evening, everyone. And welcome to the special weekend edition of our program. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.

Is the White House waging a war on science and on facts?

President Trump is quick to accuse the press of spreading fake news, a phrase that he uses for news and truths he doesn't want to hear.

While the real problem, of course, are those deliberately placed misleading stories that masquerade as news.

Meanwhile, all through the Trump administration, expertise is under the gun. From crashing the intelligence communities Russia analysis, to

leaving science advisory positions either vacant or filled with industry lobbyists, to forcibly reassigning civil servants dealing with climate


Like Joel Clement, the former director of the Interior Department's Office of Policy Analysis. Who was summarily moved to the accounting department

after publicly speaking out about the effects of climate change on Native American communities.

He told me about this alarming trend from New York.


AMANPOUR: Mr. Clement, welcome to the program.


AMANPOUR: Is that why you were -- you were moved? Has it got anything to do with your professional competence, or is it because you just spoke out

publicly on this issue?

CLEMENT: I was reassigned, I believe, in retaliation for the work that I was doing to address the health and safety risks that climate change

presents to the Alaskan native communities on the edge of a melting arctic.

AMANPOUR: And just remind us exactly what you were doing then and what you're doing right now.

CLEMENT: So at the time I was organizing the federal engagement with this issue. It's a very complicated issue, trying to bring these folks who live

on narrowest bits of land, narrowest bits of permafrost that is melting, and no longer protected by the sea ice.

So they're one big storm away from becoming refugees. That's what I was working on. Now I've been reassigned to that accounting office that

collects royalty income from the oil and gas industries.

AMANPOUR: Oh, my goodness. I mean, it's kind of a Orwellian. Royalties from the oil and gas industry.

OK. So why have you decided to go public?

CLEMENT: Well, I'm blowing the whistle on the administration for retaliating against me. This is a matter of health and safety for these

folks in the arctic. Heaven forbid there is loss of life if a storm comes through this fall. So it's a very immediate need and it is a

responsibility of the federal government to engage.

And, honestly, it will be very difficult to solve the problem without direct engagement from Washington, D.C.

[23:05:00] AMANPOUR: Let me just please put to you the administration's response. I mean, basically they are saying that, you know, senior

executives are the highest-paid employees in the federal government.

They are saying that "Personnel moves among the senior executive service are being conducted to better serve the taxpayer and the department's


Do you buy that?

CLEMENT: Yes. The -- the senior executive service is meant to be a mobile work force. So when we sign up for that, we know that we could be moved.

It is not, however, set up to be used for retaliation. So these involuntary reassignments are legitimate. They did several dozen of them

at once, which raised a lot of eyebrows. But also mine, of course, is a pretty flagrant change of office.

I go from having an office of 25 analysts, an economist and scientists to being a senior adviser with a job title, but no duties and no staff.

AMANPOUR: So let us drill down on what's going on in the scientific community. And as I said, we're seeing it kind of all over the place. The

idea of dismissing experts and going it alone, so to speak.

We saw several months ago a massive march in Washington for science.

From your perspective, what's happening? We see people being fired. We see people being reassigned. But what actual practical effect is that

happening, or will it have on the ground?

CLEMENT: Well, we're seeing several effects already, and that's why I raised the plight of the Alaskan natives. Those villages are really one

step away from refugee status. But also what are the implications for the opioid crisis or national security, diplomacy, when you're removing the

subject matter experts and the scientists so systematically in ongoing way from the agencies. It's troubling.

And it's troubling to a lot of us that work in the civil service, and we are committed to the civil service, subject matter experts and scientists

really make it tick. So it's troubling.

As an American, I'm very concerned, because there are likely to be greater risks to the health and safety of Americans.

AMANPOUR: And I want to ask you, you know, what is the mood inside the department? And just another extraordinary thing happened over the


The department, I believe, was told by the White House to prevent senior experts from meeting with Facebook Chief Mark Zuckerberg when he was

visiting the arctic -- the arctic area, the national park that he wanted to go and check up on some of these issues that you're talking about.

I mean, that sounds pretty extraordinary and somewhat petty.

CLEMENT: Yes. I don't think they're going to win any awards for nuance with these moves. It definitely has created a hostile work environment in

the department.

Everyone is looking over their shoulder, regardless of whether there are senior leaders or even lower-level staff. It's very uncomfortable for

people. And what I'm hoping is that it will -- they will find -- look into their rights, find their voices and raise those voices, because we do -- we

need to resist this type of hostile environment.


AMANPOUR: Earlier, we spoke about fake news.

Well, that, and concerns about partisan media have inspired Jimmy Wales to launch Wikitribune, a collaboration between professional journalist and

community volunteers to collectively produce accurate news, and breakthrough the partisan cacophony. I spoke with Wales here in the London



AMANPOUR: Jimmy Wales, welcome to the program.

Let me read what you have said.

"The news is broken but we figure out how to fix it."

It's a lofty claim.


We were doing a crowd-funding campaign because we wanted to raise money from the public to support the new venture and so we wanted a big bold

claim to get people's attention. I do feel like, particularly online people do feel like something is not quite right. Something is broken.

AMANPOUR: Well, something is very broken. And we are attacked daily and remorselessly by the most powerful leader in the western world or in the

world, which is the president of the United States.

So you've kind of answer the question about how do you pay for it. So this is not about ads. It's not about pay walls.

WALES: That's right. So we're launching with no ads and no pay wall. I've been joking it's a series of bad business decisions but that's how I

made my career. And we really want the readers to support.

We think that's a really important part of online journalism that's been missing for a long time, which has what has led us really down an unhealthy

path of click-based headlines and error lower quality sort of fluff and nonsense. And that model just isn't working online.

[23:10:00] AMANPOUR: I want to ask you then about how your volunteers may rub away those sort of partisan edges. I think that a Harvard Business

School study found that the Wikipedia articles are as neutral as Encyclopedia Britannica, but also that the 2.8 million volunteer Wikipedia

editors reviewing the articles become less biased over time. That's a really interesting phenomenon.

WALES: Yes. And it's a really great community. And what happens is because we have certain policies around neutrality, a neutral point of

view, it's a fundamental core policy Wikipedia.

Obviously, it's an aspiration. You know, just as any journalist aspires to that, but sometimes you missed it and so forth, which means that the

community is always very reflective. And if someone comes in and says, oh, hey, you're not reporting.

You know, just because you don't like Donald Trump, you should also say, hey, actually whatever the job figures are better this year than under


And then people have to sort of grapple with that. And so, OK, right. And so we want to have a diversity of sources. We want to be thoughtful and

reflective. And so the community members who are working on that sort of thing get exposed to other ideas.

And because we really push and our community really pushes to say let's have a civil dialogue in the debate. No personal attacks. It's not about

insulting other people.

And this is very different from most online forums where you know it really is just sort of attack, attack, attack.

AMANPOUR: Yes. And then the cable sphere as well.

You're trying to get more neutrality, less partisanship and breakthrough this wall of fake news that's --


AMANPOUR: At least the accusation of fake news.

WALES: One of the things that struck me before I launched this is I was looking at -- on Reddit, a very popular discussion Web site and there's a

sub-read called The Donald.

It's a lot of Donald Trump fans. So I go there sometimes to see what they are thinking and so on.

And somebody was complaining about this biased story on CNN or somewhere. And so what we need is a Wikipedia of news. And I thought, well, that's

interesting that very different politics from mine, from yours, but they thought we just need facts and I think a lot of people feel that way on the

right, on the left, on everywhere.

This idea of, you know, where is the Walter Cronkite? Where is something that we can all trust to say this is the facts?

And now we can have all the policy debate you want. That's perfectly fine. That's democracy.

AMANPOUR: I think you just hit the nail on the head with the facts. The facts is what we need. And people are getting away from that.

WALES: Yes, exactly. And you can imagine my frustration, you know, when Kellyanne Conway said alternative facts. And this idea that we're in a

post-truth world.

And it's like 16 years that I spent my life giving you all a fact-based encyclopedia. You can't say, you know, and it's incredibly public. People

do want facts. There is a demand for it. People really do care.

Right now, when people say the trust in journalism an all time low, they are not expressing we don't care about journalism anymore. They are saying

something here is not working. Like we really want to get back to quality. And I think that's something that all outlets should be listening to.

AMANPOUR: Well, good luck. Good luck.

WALES: Thank you.

AMANPOUR: Jimmy Wales, thank you so much.

WALES: Lovely. Great.


AMANPOUR: Jane Garvey is one of more than 40 high-profiled women demanding that the BBC close its gender pay gap and stop treating female employees as

discount items.

She's next.


AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program.

Next up, two extraordinary women. One, a media star putting her career on the line to fight for equality. The other a fledgling astronaut showing us

the extraordinary height an empowered woman can reach.

First, BBC radio presenter Jane Garvey.

The BBC is one of the most recognizable institutions in the world. Yet in 2017, not even the BBC can stump up when it comes to pay equality between

men and women.

And Garvey is joining the resistance. She wrote an open letter, published in the "Sunday Times" and signed by more than 40 top female stars demanding

action from the BBC now.

And I spoke to her here in our studio.


AMANPOUR: Jane, welcome to the program.


AMANPOUR: Let us not forget that you host "Women's Hour."

Was that part of why you decided to fight back? I mean, that's your platform.

GARVEY: Very much so. "Women's Hour" has been in existence since 1946. It was 70 last year, obviously. And the program has discussed Britain's

gender pay gap since the autumn of 1946. That's why I honestly felt compelled to do something about this.

AMANPOUR: And do you expect to get a response? I mean, you and 40 or so others have crafted this open letter to the head of the corporation.


AMANPOUR: And you're asking for action now, not in 20 --

GARVEY: He said 2020.

AMANPOUR: 2020, when they promised.

GARVEY: But crucially, Britain has had legislation in place since 1970 enshrining equal pay for women and men in law. So why should we wait until

2020 for that to happen?

And I simply on my own, although I had spoken out, I am not famous enough.

I'm a radio presenter. I need it. Frankly, I need it to be you. I needed to be a --

AMANPOUR: Well, here you are!

GARVEY: I know, thank you. Yes, exactly. So I had the backing. I have the backing now of women who are truly famous, nationally, across the UK on

television. And that has been really, really significant. And I'm grateful.

AMANPOUR: You know some of those women are Clare Balding for instance, maybe our international audience knows her. She's a sports presenter and

very prominent here. She basically asked the BBC not to treat women as discount employees.


AMANPOUR: And has actually even said that when she filled in for "Women's Hour," she found that the presenters there were paid even less than the

less-paid in the rest of the corporation. At "Women's Hour."

GARVEY: Exactly. That was in 2010. And she told me about it. And we had a conversation. I remember where we were when she told me about it. It's

taken seven years for us to get these figures that came out last week in the UK that told us what we had already suspected. That we were getting a

bad deal.

AMANPOUR: What do you think can and should practically be done? Is it about higher pay for women? Lower pay for men? As the discussion is going

on now, what are you asking?

GARVEY: I am absolutely desperate to get the message across, globally, that this is not about getting more money for people like me. Women like

me. Who are already well-paid.

What we want is a fair system, a transparent system, in which my teenage daughters, for example, when they enter the workplace, they will know that

however good they are, however bad they are, they will be paid on the same terms as their male counterparts.

So it may actually be at the BBC that I don't get a pay raise at all. I actually don't deserve one. I admit that.

AMANPOUR: Don't say that. Too many women say that.

GARVEY: OK. A mistake.

AMANPOUR: All right.

GARVEY: What I cannot bare and will not tolerate any longer is that some men seem to be ludicrously overpaid.

AMANPOUR: So I'm going play a little bit of a radio interview that one of the highly paid male presenters on the Radio 4 gave. And he was actually

really interesting.

This is John Humphrys, who was known all over the land, much beloved, and incredibly great broadcaster and interviewer.

Let's listen for a second.


JOHN HUMPHRYS, PRESENTER, RADIO 4: I'm not happy with that. I think they all do a brilliant job. But if we're talking about Sarah, for instance,

isn't even on the list, which seems to me to be very strange indeed. She is a superb presenter. So is Mishal, who earns a lot less than me.

And so are the others who are a lot less than me. So I don't think that is right.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Would you do the job for less money?

HUMPHRYS: Yes, of course, I would.


AMANPOUR: So that's pretty -- that's clear.

GARVEY: And John sounding very -- maybe we've got him on side. Maybe he will take -- he already says he's taken one pay cut. So he said that on

BBC Radio this week. So maybe he'll take another.

AMANPOUR: I want to ask you also about the law, because this is also about the law. You mentioned the law in Britain that was enshrined in the '70s.

There is also obviously an issue about women, because we bear the children.

And if you look at laws in Sweden compared to here, you have a much more robust paternity leave, where they have now mandated that men take their

three months, or they lose it. They can't parse it and fob it off to their wives or partners.

Do you think that is something that needs to be tackled here. The paternity, plus then the child care. Britain has one of the highest-

costing child care institutions.

[23:20:00] GARVEY: Paternity leave is available to men now. But the truth is, you look at the figures, they're not taking it. And you know why

they're not taking it? Precisely because of the problem we're discussing right now.

I actually don't blame them for not taking it. Because they have seen, and they have had great illustration this week of the hit that women take.

I have to be honest and say that women sometimes do make different decisions.

AMANPOUR: They do.

GARVEY: And sometimes we have different priorities. But I want to know that when women go back to the workplace that they don't have to start

again. They don't have to build up credit. They can refer back to some of their great achievements of the past and start at a different level. In

fact, effectively, start where they left off when they went off on maternity leave. That's what we want.

AMANPOUR: Good luck to you. This is a really, really important job that you're doing. And it's an important fight for equality, for justice and

for economic health of our whole communities, frankly.

GARVEY: Well, it's really kind of you. Thank you.

AMANPOUR: Thank you, Jane.


AMANPOUR: Now my conversation with the Iranian-American marine major Jasmin Moghbeli. An M.I.T. trained aerospace engineer reaching to the

Cosmos with NASA.

This September, Major Moghbeli reports for duty as a member of the 2017 astronaut training class. And I spoke with her from her military base in



AMANPOUR: Major Moghbeli, welcome to the program.


AMANPOUR: So what happens next? You're about to embark on, I believe, your space walk training or your space training.

What do you expect for the next few days and weeks?

MOGHBELI: So for the training will be two years long and the big topics that we'll cover over those two years are 238 jet flight training, learning

the International Space Station Systems, learning Russian, training in robotics. And then probably I think I'm most excited about is our training

for spacewalks or extravehicular activities in the neutral points.

AMANPOUR: Honestly, it sounds amazing including learning Russian. But have you always wanted to walk in space?

MOGHBELI: Yes. Since sixth grade, I can remember, this is my dream to become an astronaut. And I think there have been times where, you know,

that's been in the forefront in my mind and time where it has been in the background and I focus more on, you know, getting my (INAUDIBLE) or getting

my degree or whatever it was. But it's always kind of something that's resurfaced in the end.

AMANPOUR: Major, you are German by Iranian parents. You are born in Germany of Iranian parents. You are the first American astronaut to have

roots in the Middle East.

What does that mean to you especially as you can imagine in the current climate of travel bans and you know what's going on in the world around us?

MOGHBELI: As a young child who wanted to become an astronaut, or as the young adult who decides to pursue a degree in engineering and go on to join

the Marine Corp and end up here.

It's never something I specifically thought about as any sort of barrier or obstacle in my way. But now on this side of things, I think I can

recognize how important it is to get out and make sure the next generation sees myself and my colleagues of all different backgrounds, all different

experiences so that we don't potentially lose a future brilliant mind because they assumed that, you know, only boys do this job, or only people

of this ethnicity do this job.

So I think now on this end, I can sense the importance of that.

AMANPOUR: So you feel a bit like a flag waver for the cause?

MOGHBELI: Yes. I think it's important for people to see.

You know, the morning of the announcement when myself and my classmate put on our blue flight suits and our family saw us for the first time, the

daughter of one of my classmates said mommies can be astronauts, too.

And I think that really said something important about making sure kids see that there are people of different background, different ethnicities, male,

females in this field and it's something they can do, too.

AMANPOUR: Do you think enough girls, and I mean, girls, young girls are on fire about science and are encouraged to take the path that could lead to

where you are or even beyond?

MOGHBELI: As a pilot, I have done some work with stem programs in the local areas. And I can tell you, young girls absolutely are. That being

said, I think it's important to make sure we maintain that as they get hold older and they don't discredit certain career fields because they think

mostly only males do that. But at a young age, I absolutely think they are excited about those things.


AMANPOUR: And after a break, more daring exploration but this time closer to home.

Imagine a world, where an explorer can sail all the way to the North Pole. That, of course, should be impossible, but sadly it could just happen. And

find out why next.


[23:25:00] AMANPOUR: And finally tonight, you heard our discussion about global warming and science earlier. Well, imagine this story.

In 2003, the British explorer, Pen Haddow, was the first man to walk solo to the North Pole. It took him 850 hours, and the ice was patchy even


14 years later, now imagine a world where Haddow will sail through that ice mass, melted by global warming. So it's a bittersweet return, as Haddow

attempts to become the first man to travel to the North Pole by boat.

The rising temperatures of the polar ice caps has made the impossible possible. And he hopes that the image of his two 50-foot yachts at the

North Pole will galvanize people into action.

He sets off from Alaska on Saturday, on a 5,600 kilometer round-trip to the center of the arctic. He'll be committing science there, too, finding the

latest facts by monitoring the air, sea and ice for pollution.

And also checking on the wildlife along the journey, because if the ice does disappear, the team wants to figure out how to protect creatures which

will be left without their natural habitat. And that will take some serious expertise.

That's it for our program tonight. Remember, you can listen to our podcast any time. You can see us online at, and you can follow me on

Facebook and Twitter.

Thanks for watching and goodbye from London.