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Facebook Scandal; An Antidote to our Divisive Times. Aired 1-2p ET
Aired December 20, 2018 - 13:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[13:00:00] CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hello, everyone, and welcome to "Amanpour." Here is what's coming up.
And to the stage left, from Syria and foreign policy to the climate and the environment, the progressive candidates shaking up local politics. A
conversation with the chief of staff to Democratic rising star, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
And the Dutch politician who's become the country's great green hope.
Then is our private data safe on Facebook? Top tech journalist, Kara Swisher, digs into alarming new revelations.
Plus, shooting the breeze with Fee and Jane. Why they candid cafe chats of two British reporters are going to fire all the world over.
Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
President Trump has stunned friend and foe alike with his announcement that the U.S. will be pulling its forces out of Syria with immediate effect.
Breaking such massive news with a tweet saying that we have defeated ISIS in Syria. My only reason for being there during the Trump presidency.
This though is the furious reaction from the president's own party.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARCO RUBIO, U.S. SENATE REPUBLICAN: The decision to withdraw American -- an American presence in Syria is a colossal, in my mind, mistake.
JOHN CORNYN, U.S. SENATE REPUBLICAN: Pulling the plug on these troops without giving due consideration to the consequences I think is something
that I don't think any of us want to do.
LINDSEY GRAHAM, U.S. SENATE REPUBLICAN: He have been dishonorable, this is a stain on the honor of the United States.
I hope and pray the president will reconsider this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: But the Pentagon has quickly confirmed that planning for the pullout is already underway. In Europe, allies with troops in the fight
have been caught off guard and it has dismayed Kurdish forces in Syria who've worked closely with the United States to fight ISIS while the U.S.
has help protect them in the region, the Kurds are describing the move as a blatant betrayal.
And though ISIS is down it is not yet out. But Trump's move on the Syrian chess board was welcomed by the grand master himself, the Russian
president, Vladimir Putin.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): As far as ISIS is concerned, I agree more or less with the president of the U.S. We, and I
have spoken about this before, have really achieved substantial changes with regard to the militants in Syria and have beaten the forces in Syria.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Well, what he left unsaid was that it leaves the territory for the Russians, for the Iranians and for Syrian President Assad.
Now, there was another stunner last week as well at the COP 24 Climate Summit in Poland. It was held to decrease carbon emissions but the United
States came making a pitch for coal and other fossil fuels. But is the president increasingly out of touch with a growing green movement in the
United States and across the world? The populous wave that brought him to power is facing some strong headwinds these days from the United States to
Europe Progressive's and Greens are rising.
And I am joined now by two of them. Shaikat Chakrabarti is chief of staff to Democratic wunderkind, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and from the
Netherlands the leader of the Green Party, Jesse Klaver. Today, his ambitious climate bill was passed by the Dutch parliament.
Gentleman, welcome to the program.
Let me start with you, Mr. Chakrabarti. What do you say -- first and foremost, I'm going to get to the climate and all the other things, but the
Progressives, Bernie Sanders and others in your party have also called for a more socialist foreign policy. So, what would the congresswoman elect's
view on withdrawing these U.S. troops precipitously from Syria be?
SHAIKAT CHAKRABARTI, CHIEF OF STAFF, REP-ELECT ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ: Sure. So, thanks for having me on the show, Christiane. We -- to answer
that question, we got to step back a little bit to how we even got into this mess in the first place, right.
So, the United States passed this disastrous authorization of the use of military force bill back and 2001, which basically allows a president to
unilaterally go into armed conflict, and the result of that has been a destabilized Middle East, a destabilized Iraq. You know, we shouldn't have
had troops and ground troops in Syria in the first place.
And so, so I -- you know, we think this is a good first step to remove troops, to start the drawdown of troops. However, the way Trump is framing
it as, you know, mission accomplished, we've accomplished what we want there to do, is totally ridiculous. Like we've created a mess out there,
it's time to for us to go there and use diplomatic and humanitarian approaches to try to help clean up the mess that we've created.
AMANPOUR: So, you can see the -- actually, politicians from both sides of the aisle are having really sort of difficult time coming to terms with
this because it actually has been a mess and a very irregular U.S. policy from the very, very beginning.
Let me just quickly ask you, Jesse Klaver, in the Netherlands, whether this even registers in the Dutch political firmament.
JESSE KLAVER, LEADER, DUTCH GREEN PARTY: Of course. The Netherlands are also in the area with our six teams. I think what's the most important is
the new approach in foreign policy. You know, you can beat ISIS on the battlefield but we have to beat ISIS in the hearts of a lot of people in
the Middle East and a lot of other countries.
So, what we need is diplomacy not only on a governmental level but we have to make sure that people in the Middle East, people -- Muslims all over the
world that they understand that the West is not their enemy and that we have to live together. I think this is the only way to really beat ISIS.
AMANPOUR: OK. So, let's move from that sort of macro foreign policy to something much more specific which has energized you, Jesse Klaver, and a
whole new generation of Green activists and Green candid and also, obviously, in the United States as well. But let me while I still have you
at the Hague. Tell me about this bill that you proposed, this climate bill, and that has actually now passed, Jesse, by the Dutch parliament,
tell me what it does and why it's significant.
KLAVER: Yes. Three years ago, I just started this bill with not a party here in the parliament. And now eight parties signed. It's a climate bill
that makes sure that climate goals for the Netherlands are in a bill, it set a goal for 2050. It says that we need to see a two reduction of 95
percent and also make sure that we have a goal for 2030 that we need a goal, a CO2 reduction of 49 percent. And this is for the first time in
history that so many parties in the Netherlands do agree on those goals and it is in a bill.
So, the government cannot think, you know, "Maybe we had start tomorrow or let's start in another year now." Now, we really have to fight climate
change because it's obligatory by law and that's -- it's really special and it's also special that we make this bill with a lot of people from the left
and the right. So, we managed to get all those people together. I think this is the historic part of this bill.
AMANPOUR: Well, I think you're absolutely right and I'm going to put that to you Mr. Chakrabarti, because as you know because you're sitting there,
there is almost -- well, you tell me. Is there that kind of opportunity now for good consensus within American parties for what you have put
forward, which is I believe you call it the Green New Deal for America?
CHAKRABARTI: Yes, absolutely. Because, you know, what the Green New Deal is, is we're calling for a plan to mobilize the economy of scale that we
haven't seen since World War II. And the process of doing that is going to create tens of millions of high wage jobs and we're aiming to create a
completely greenhouse gas free country in 10 years, that's what the goal of the plan is. We're talking about massive investments and industry and
And when you look at -- you know, you're ask about popular support, when people hear about the idea of tackling climate change in a way that really
mobilizes our economy, creates wealth for everybody and prosperity for everybody, you see massive amounts of bipartisan support. It's one of the
most popular ideas out there. There was a poll done recently that showed I think 57 percent support amongst conservative Republicans and upwards of 80
to 90 percent support among Democrats.
So, I actually believe this is one of the ways to bring the country together to oppose kind of divisive rhetoric on the right that Donald Trump
is giving us is to pose it with a message and a plan and an actual goal of how do we create wealth and prosperity for everybody, how do we rebuild our
economy to work for everybody and in the process, actually end this gigantic existential threat of climate change in the timeline that the IPCC
tells us that we need to tackle it with.
AMANPOUR: I mean, I think it's really fascinating that the new generation of candidates who've been elected to the U.S. House for sure are taking
this onboard. And again, just to just sit out those polls that you're talking about, a new one conducted by Yale and George Mason University
found that 81 percent of registered voters either strongly or somewhat support this plan to reduce carbon emissions, these are American. Even
most Republican voters, nearly two in three said they supported the Green New Deal when it was described to them.
Now, of course the poll didn't tell respondents that so far, the congressional backers are all Democrats. So, I wonder whether there's
anything you can learn, Shaikat, from Jesse Klaver and how he managed to get all parties on board in the Netherlands.
CHAKRABARTI: Yes. I think we have a lot to learn. And congratulations, Jesse, because I think actually tackling climate change is going to be an
international movement, right.
CHAKRABARTI: So, my guess is we -- we've got to create a big broad-based popular support for this before we get all the grass tops involved and all
the elected officials involved. I think if people really see the vision of this and if they see the scale of the improvement in their lives that we're
talking about, you know, we're calling for, you know, a national smart grid, weatherizing every home, decarbonizing agriculture and manufacturing.
This massive scale of what we're talking about is so big that once there's enough of the momentum, enough of the movement and, you know, ideally in
2020, we have the political will to actually pass a plan like this, I think, you know, that's sort of the strategy here, is we should put this
plan together, try to build popular support around. And in 2020, if we do have a Democratic Senate and presidency who's going to put this forward, we
can immediately get to work and actually tackle climate change head on in 10 years.
AMANPOUR: And of course, all the old jobs presumably that this kind of new technology and energy would bring. But, Jesse, can I ask you because you
know that the current administration in the United States, the president has called climate change a hoax or he doesn't believe in the sort of
manmade nature of it and believes that it's cyclical.
And as I said in my introduction, the U.S. representatives to the Poland Climate Conference, COP 24, came with a pitch for coal and for fossil
fuels. I mean, how does that go down with this sort of a, you know, green movement not just in the Netherlands but in France and in other parts, in
Germany where we've seen Green candidates win, actually win elections?
KLAVER: Yes. The Greens in Germany are second in the polls. There's a real possibility that the next chancellor of Germany will be from the
Greens. You know, I think President Trump is missing the green wave and I think they're not fighting the right fight. And I totally agree, you know,
first, we have to build popular support but when we have managed this popular support, as we did in the Netherlands, we have to reach out also to
the conservatives. I don't think it's -- and to the Republicans in the U.S.
It's not enough just to fall back to our own supporters. Now, we have to work together because this is -- we share a country. And I think that
Donald Trump is not understanding this and I think he will lose the fight. You know, he won the elections in 2016 but I think almost everybody in the
world -- and I'm speaking for the United States or European Union or the Netherlands, everybody understands and we have to fight climate change, for
our children, for our grandchildren, for the world we live in, for our health and that we need an approach to work together to make sure that this
fighting of climate change really -- it really happens.
At the same time, a lot of people are afraid of losing their jobs, a lot of people are afraid they can't afford the energy bill. So, this is why we
need to take care of all those people that this is not only a climate revolution, a technical revolution but also a social revolution. That's
why I totally support the idea of a Green Deal, the fighting climate change and making sure that we live in a green economy tomorrow, it's all about
social welfare and social change.
AMANPOUR: And obviously, America is the most powerful country in the world and if not the biggest polluter then the second biggest alongside China and
what it does makes a huge difference.
Shaikat, I wonder whether you can just listen to this a little bit of a soundbite --
CHAKRABARTI: When I look to --
AMANPOUR: Yes. Hold on a second. I just want to play a little bit of a soundbite from this amazing 15-year-old girl, Greta Thunberg. It went a
bit viral. She addressed the adults at the COP 24 last week and she was just remarkable. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GRETA THUNBERG, 15-YEAR-OLD CLIMATE ACTIVIST: You only speak of a green eternal economic growth because you're too scared of being unpopular. You
only talk about moving forward with the same bad ideas that got us into this mess even when the only sensible thing to do is pull the emergency
brake. You are not mature enough to tell it like it is. Even that burden you leave to us children.
But I don't care about being popular. I care about climate justice and the living planet.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: I mean, it really is remarkable no matter how many times you listen to her and the way she says, "You leave it to us children."
Shaikat, it's really important for the U.S. because what she did actually inspired children all over -- well, certainly in in Sweden and in Australia
to protest once a week, boycotting their classes, as you know, you know, in protest brought many cities in Australia to a standstill inspired by her.
I guess I'm asking, what can the young generation of leaders like your own Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez and others do to harness young people to take this
-- make this message drive home in the U.S.?
CHAKRABARTI: Yes. You know, the interesting thing is we don't actually to harness young people. The young people already get it. The young people
are leading this movement. You know, there's this incredible group called Sunrise Movement that Alexandria just sit in with in Nancy Pelosi's office.
And, you know, she's totally right that the adults just don't get. It's this incredible lack of imagination, lack of vision. We're in a country
right now where our political leadership, you know, when faced with an existential threat like climate change are asking dumb questions like how
are you going to pay for it? You know, if we were trying to build an interstate highway system today it would have never happened because we
have a Congress that's too focused on, you know, minutiae and the ability to have any sort of imagination or vision or ability to gain thing done.
But you know what, back then we did build interstate highway system. Every dollar we spend on the interstate highway system created $2 to $3 of
economic growth. And we wouldn't -- you know, this is going to be the moonshot of our generation, it's going to be the thing that actually saves
our society. And instead, we have a political leadership that is too busy playing political games and, you know, petty and biting and bickering.
The committee that we're calling for right now we're not -- you know, all we're calling for is a committee to create a plan over the next year, to
create the Green New Deal. And we thought that would have, you know, enough support in Congress to get it through. Just -- all we're calling
for is let's make a plan to solve this problem that we clearly have ahead of us. And even that we can't get all Democratic leadership onboard with.
So, I don't think it's a matter of us trying to convince the youth, I think it is a matter of the youth trying to convince the adults or, you know,
create a new generation of political leadership by removing the adults from leadership because we do have to tackle this problem head on, we've got,
you know, take the bull by the horns.
AMANPOUR: Yes. Well, I mean, look, you got the example in the Netherlands. And, Jesse, let me just come back you because I want to widen
it out a little bit. All of this is also about, well, the American dream and the global dream and we're in this sort of populist moment, which may
or may not be being sort of, I don't know, challenge by this new young green progressive movement. We've seen it in the elections and it is
actually really heartening.
But I want to ask you, Jesse, whether you're surprised to read this statistic, that according to recent polling by Gallup, in America most
Democrats and young Americans now believe in socialism and they further describe it as sort of North European socialism, you know, yes higher taxes
but much, much better services. How do you assess that when you look across the Atlantic?
KLAVER: You know, I think it was in 2016 that I had the opportunity to travel in the United States. I was there for a couple of weeks and I
talked to a lot of people in different states. And what I saw, I talked with Republicans and Democrats, and everybody I was talking to, it was just
the same as the people I was talking to in the Netherlands, a lot of people were afraid for the future of their children. Would their future be better
than their own future?
And they were afraid of their jobs, they were afraid that their income would not rise in the upcoming years. So, they were afraid for their
Social Security. And I think -- when I was talking to them about the Dutch system and the European system, a lot of people said, "Whoa. OK. So, I
have to pay a little bit more taxes but then I get a lot more security." And I think this basic idea of a government that you pay taxes and we share
the burden and we make sure that we take care of each other, that's the universal thing, it's not something from Europe or something from the
United States, I think its universal idea and I'm very glad that more and more people in the United States truly believe in this idea.
AMANPOUR: It is extraordinary, isn't it, Shaikat. I mean, this sort of move comes right at a time when, as I say, you have this generation, this
new generation, many on the left, progressives, being elected to power in the U.S.
CHAKRABARTI: Yes. And, you know, it's not a surprise because the way of life in America has been declining and we've had stagnant wages for 40
years, life expectancy is starting to dip down. You know, there are certain parts you cut out, the top 10 percent. If you just look at the
bottom 90 percent, things have really been getting really, really bad. And, you know, there was this global recession and that -- the bottom 90
percent did not actually recover in the so-called recovery afterwards. A 110 percent of new wealth went to the top 10 percent.
And so, it's no surprise at all hold that the majority of Americans, especially in new, you know, young kids and the youth who see a bleak
future ahead of them who are, you know, study after study shows they're going to do worse than their parents' generation are embracing new ideas,
they're embracing North European style socialism because it makes no sense to live in the wealthiest nation in the history of this world and yet have
people die because they can't afford health care, have people who can't get jobs because they can't afford education, it makes zero sense.
AMANPOUR: So, just to wrap up and give you each a final word. I'll stick with you for the moment, Shaikat, what would you say is the big unifying
achievement that you on the Democratic side and having flipped the House, you know, it's total progresses, obviously, there are a lot of centrist
Democrats who also won, in fact, more than the Progressives. But how -- what do you see as your goal for the next two years?
CHAKRABARTI: Yes, absolutely. You know, I think that the flip that happened this year was a big call for change and a big call for new ideas,
whether that's -- and I think whenever there's a moment like this, it's really -- the people coming together kind of crying out for let's fix this
stuff. And I think the goal for us in the next two years as Democrats, as Progressive, as whatever group, is to really put forward a plan and idea
and a vision, have actual imagination for how we can get us out of the mess or it's just going to keep ping ponging back and forth.
You know, I like to tell this story because -- to kind of illustrate how bad our imagination is these days and our political leadership is these
days, you know, when we talk about this World War II style mobilization, is knowledge I like to come back to. When FDR gave his great speech, you
know, the arsenal of democracy speech where he talked about how we've got to come to aid of our European neighbors, he actually set these production
targets, he talked about, you know, we've got to build 185,000 airplanes to tackle this existential threat head on.
And at that time, they gave that speech, America was only building 3,000 airplanes a year. It was such a ridiculous idea, it was a lofty goal,
generals, CEOs, business leaders, everybody said it was totally ridiculous. Even Hitler came up and said -- thought it was just, you know, American
propaganda and blow-harding, right?
But by the end of World War II, we built 300,000 airplanes, right. So, that's shows us what we're capable of when we set a vision, when we have a
goal and we come together as a nation because we are a big nation, we have a lot of wealth, we have resources, we have labor, we shouldn't be kicking
out immigrants, we should be trying to bring in as many immigrants as possible and recruiting people to come build this new nation together. I
think that's a vision that we've got to put forward and have a real plan. And if we win on that vision and actually execute on a plan, then we can
actually have a stable democracy and a stable country and prosperity for all -- for generations to come.
AMANPOUR: And, Jesse, final word to you. Is this part of the recipe for facing down at the polls the populous nationalist rise that we've seen, you
know, ever since 2016?
KLAVER: Absolutely. I think that what you see with all the Progressives in the United States or in Europe, in their eyes, it's -- I think this is
the way we have to fight populism. The centrist parties everywhere, they are losing ground and people, they don't trust those politicians anymore
and I think they are only working for us for the big corporates.
And then they are -- the only alternative until a couple of years ago were the populists. And now, there is no other alternative, the Progressives,
with a whole lot of vision of how to look to our future. We see a green future, we see a future where we care for each other, for people from other
countries but also for our own people, we see a future where we share our economic growth.
So, I think this is the way we have to find other populists because a lot of people who are voting for populist parties, they aren't racists, they
are just afraid for the future. And I think we, as Progressives, we have to give them their future back. And if we achieve this, we can make sure
that we can unify our countries again.
AMANPOUR: Thank you both very much indeed. Two views from each side of the Atlantic. Thanks a lot both of you for joining us.
KLAVER: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: Now, perhaps the dominant ingredient in today's political cauldron is the internet. Facebook stirs this part more than most with
scandal after scandal. The latest, Facebook shared data from hundreds of millions of users, including even some private messages with partner
companies, among them, Amazon, Netflix, Spotify, all without consent, that is according to "The New York Times."
To dive into this great cloud of social media ethics, we turn to Kara Swisher. She's the executive editor of "Recode" and she's host of the
"Recode Decode" podcast. She told our Walter Isaacson that Facebook is sowing the seeds of discord in our democracies.
WALTER ISAACSON, CNN HOST: Welcome to the show, Kara.
KARA SWISHER, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, "RECODE": Thank you.
ISAACSON: Facebook, every day something is hitting us. What's the latest?
SWISHER: Well, the latest is that they have used your data badly again by giving access to all kinds of players, including Netflix, including
Spotify, Yahoo, Microsoft.
ISAACSON: Wait, wait. They promised they weren't going to do that.
SWISHER: Well, no, they didn't. They never promised they weren't going to use the data. It's -- the question what you give consent to and how they
interpret that consent. And so, what they've been doing since the very beginning of Facebook is really just their data, you know, won't last for
who just quit Facebook, who just fame -- made a big deal about quitting Facebook, used to call Mark Zuckerberg an information thief. And what it
is, is there's all kinds of information washing around and information you freely give up to Facebook and other such entities to get things.
ISAACSON: But the reports today in "The Times" and your column say that they went beyond what we thought they were doing and they were using it in
ways that we had thought they had stopped.
SWISHER: No, not precisely. I think what it is they're using it in lots of different ways in order to have better relationships with these bigger
information providers and trade back all kinds of different advantages. And so, the question is, are they allowed under consent decrees and other
things that they agree to to do this. And I think they have a broad reading of what the consent decree said and other people have a different
reading. And so, the question is, will the government step in and make very clear rules about how Facebook and other entities like it use
ISAACSON: Do you think the government should?
SWISHER: Yes, of course. I think there should be a national privacy bill. There's privacy bills in Europe, there's been one in California that's more
stringent but there isn't a federal privacy law, not just for Facebook, for all these people that just sucking all this amazing amount of data from
everything you do in your digital life.
ISAACSON: One of the things I didn't know is that not only were they sucking in my data but if I was a friend of anybody on Facebook --
ISAACSON: -- a friend of anybody on Instagram that companies, big companies like Google or others of being could suck up that data from
SWISHER: If they had arrangements and partnerships with Facebook.
ISAACSON: But not my permission?
SWISHER: Right. But the question is, do they need your permission or do they not -- or did you agree to it in a broad sense? And that's the
question, it's so confusing. And what Facebook has done is anywhere they can use data or sell data or use data to their advantage they did so, but
it's your data. And the lack of clarity of what they're doing with it I think is the issue, and the sloppiness with which they use that data.
Because one -- some of the things they stopped doing and they promise to stop doing and then they didn't quite stop doing it. The same think with -
ISAACSON: Like what?
SWISHER: Oh, all kind -- they were all kinds of examples in the article, is that they stopped their relationship giving the Royal Bank of Canada an
ability to have e-mail addresses, I think was e-mail addresses or something, something that they should haven't had. The Royal Bank of
Canada wasn't using those things but they had the ability to use them.
So, the question is, why are they giving away the store and what's the reason for it and what's the advantage and where is your consent in this
ISAACSON: One of the consequences of their policy of weaponizing data is that the Russians got to use this weaponized data and there's a new report
from the Senate Intelligence Committee --
ISAACSON: -- too.
ISAACSON: Two the new reports. Explain those.
SWISHER: Well, there's two reports that came out of, stuff that people sort of had an idea of how this data is used by Russian trolls and the
government, really, Russian directed propaganda against the U.S. and the U.S. electorate to try to create discord, to try to change voting patterns,
there's a whole range of things they tried to do. Essentially, to create a mess within the U.S. society. Essentially, that's the goal.
ISAACSON: Could Facebook crack down on things like that?
SWISHER: Well, some people think they can. I think the question is -- the thing that you don't realize is this -- the Russians used Facebook exactly
the way it was built, they use Twitter exactly the way it was built. So, they would customers of Facebook, they were customers of Twitter, they were
customers of YouTube. And they're using the systems the way they're built, which is you can post anything and do anything and nobody is checking
anything just the way you might on a media company, you can't just post anything into "The New York Times," you can't just post anything on to on
to this station because there are controls in place. In there, it's just a sort of free for all, which is good for the platforms but not so good for
ISAACSON: So, there's a big distinction between platforms and publishing companies. The platforms -- you know, people just go on and say whatever
they want even if they're trolls or robots.
ISAACSON: But haven't we gotten sort of halfway in between with things like Facebook where they should take responsibility for some of the things
on their platform?
SWISHER: They 100 percent should. And what happens is there's a law on the Communications Decency Act Section 230 that gives them broad immunity.
And all these companies have broad immunity for anything to happen on these platforms. And therefore, they created cities where there's no police,
where there's no fire department, where there's no safety for anybody but anybody could do what they want to do and it's kind of like -- I don't
know, it's like the purge, anybody could do whatever they want for one night except that it's every night of the week on Facebook.
And so, the question is, should they be treated like a media company and have laws in place that regulate and should they be responsible and would
they be more responsible if there were laws that they might break?
ISAACSON: Well, answer those question for me.
SWISHER: Yes. Yes, yes and yes. Yes, of course.
ISAACSON: So, we would need a new part of the Communication Decency Act or some new --
SWISHER: Or remove it.
ISAACSON: Yes, remove it.
SWISHER: Or something. Or there's a privacy that they have responsibilities to monitor what's on their platforms. The problem is,
these platforms are so massive and the amount of information is so vast that it's not like "The New York Times" or anybody else. What's coming
over the transom at Facebook or Twitter or YouTube is so vast and so hard to control.
The question is, is it controllable by anybody? Can you do it by algorithms? Can you do it by human intervention? It's different globally
so it creates this incredibly complex situation that Mark Zuckerberg invented that is kind of a disaster and this is what's happening.
ISAACSON: So they can just remain, bystanders, as their service is used --
ISAACSON: -- for the destruction of American democracy.
SWISHER: Presumably, yes. You know the famous bromidic Facebook that was on the walls was moved fast and break things. Well, I always make a joke.
ISAACSON: They broke democracy.
SWISHER: They broke -- they may be broke -- they're part of breaking democracy. Listen, we can't put it on them. We have cable networks, you
know, and all their incessant like noise and so we got all kinds of things contributed to it. But the fact of the matter is these platforms have been
hijacked by malevolent forces. That's one part of it, to create discord or create messaging that is problematic.
Secondly, your data which you put in there -- and you get services from Facebook. People like using Facebook people like using Twitter, people
like using YouTube, and things like that. But the price for putting your information in there is that they get to control your information and use
it for other things and combine it with other things and target you.
And so it's a big -- it's a system in which you are -- they don't like me to say this and they don't like other people to say this but you're the
product. You are the product being bought and sold continually by these players.
ISAACSON: You just mentioned that your friend Walt Mossberg and a former colleague got off Facebook. Have you thought of doing that?
SWISHER: I'm not on Facebook that much. I am on Facebook but I don't use it because I am aware of their information, what they do with the
information. I got off Instagram a long time ago. I found that as time set, then there's a whole addiction issue. I mean it's beside it off to
the side, there's this whole issue of how much these systems have been designed to keep people addicted to them.
And so it's sort of a cornucopia of nests of these things. And the question is, can the people who run Facebook run Facebook well enough to
keep -- be responsible enough for the information they've been given the privilege of having I guess?
ISAACSON: My students at Tulane now feel that part of a backlash. They would never use Facebook.
SWISHER: Yes, they don't.
ISAACSON: Do you think a backlash is happening?
SWISHER: I don't think young people use Facebook. It's too glutted with information. I think a lot of people use Instagram. I think a lot of
young people use Instagram but less and less so. I think the issue is will people continue to use this knowing that their information is at risk and
that's a big question.
ISAACSON: Do they know that Instagram is owned by Facebook?
SWISHER: Not this many people. And they also own WhatsApp. And they also own Oculus. And so they own a lot of things which is interesting. And
Google owns YouTube. And so these, you know -- and then they trade this information among and between each other.
And very few companies -- and I guess Apple is the one that doesn't participate. And it was interesting. I did an interview with Tim Cook
early this year that got Mark Zuckerberg curious in which I asked him what would you do if you were Mark Zuckerberg. He said, "I wouldn't be in this
situation in the first place because our business is not predicated around selling you or selling advertising." And so the business model is the
problem. The business model makes this happen.
ISAACSON: So they have been so good at taking that data, monetizing it, selling it.
ISAACSON: They know everything about you. Doesn't that mean to go to the other side of the equation with all the trolls and the Russian? But
wouldn't they be able to spot who a botch posting things falsely?
SWISHER: Some people think so. They have all the information in what's coming out on their system. It's just so vast. I think that's part of it.
And they weren't paying attention. They weren't monitoring political advertising.
You would think there's a couple of things at the very bottom they should be paying attention to. Political advertising would be one of them. They
were taking lots of money in on political advertising and not doing the kind of monitoring that other people have to do, other media entities have
And so the question is, should they be obligated by the government to behave in ways that, you know, people have brought phone companies into
line. They brought media companies into line. They brought oil companies, they brought Microsoft into line. They can bring these companies.
Government can do this.
ISAACSON: And as you said, they bought WhatsApp, they bought Instagram.
ISAACSON: Google buys YouTube.
ISAACSON: Do you think one way to regulate this is to say let's go back to the old way where we're doing any trust and we didn't let bundling happen,
we didn't lead bigness happen this way?
SWISHER: That could -- that's another way to solve the problem. I mean I think the question is how do you approach this correctly and continue to
allow innovation to thrive. Because one of the things that's great about this country is we invented the Internet. We really did.
Right now, there's a lot of competition from China, for example. Now, they have a whole another way of looking at information. They have a
surveillance economy. They allow enormous amounts of cameras, surveillance, facial recognition. The stuff that's coming down the pike
around AI and stuff like that, do we want China to run that?
And that's an argument Mark Zuckerberg made to me. Like, essentially he or me, do we want my kind of Internet or do you want a Chinese kind of
Internet? And so it's a really big question of innovation and where innovation goes. And obviously, the more data, the better the system is.
ISAACSON: China on data, [13:35:00] they can collect data on more people - -
ISAACSON: -- and more data --
SWISHER: And they're better at it.
ISAACSON: Right. Do you think Google should go back to China?
SWISHER: No, I don't.
ISAACSON: Do you think they're thinking of it?
SWISHER: I think they have to in a lot of ways from a business point of view. They need to collect more data. They need to be part of a system
that is massive amounts of people. And other Chinese competitors are doing that there in China. The question is what do they have to give up to be in
And, you know, there is a question, companies are here for shareholders, not for morals or things like that. But Google made a pretty strong
statement about that when they left China. The question is what has changed that they would then move back and what do they have to give up to
go back in there? And it's very clear what they have to give up which is - -
ISAACSON: Google made a -- go ahead.
SWISHER: Which is to create a search engine that censors.
ISAACSON: A search engine that censors but also gives the government the data --
ISAACSON: -- of which individuals searched what.
SWISHER: Possibly, yes.
ISAACSON: Is that red line you wouldn't cross?
SWISHER: I wouldn't cross the censor one. So I don't know. I just -- they just made a big deal of leaving and now I'd like to hear their
explanation for going back.
ISAACSON: You said shareholder value but Google, when it was founded, had this sort of nice high flying letter. "Don't be evil" was part of the
mantra. What happened?
SWISHER: It's evil. I don't know what to say. I mean they shouldn't have done that in the first place. It's not like banks or investment banks or
oil companies never said that, right. We're here to make money. We're here to use the environment the way we want to. I think what happened with
tech companies is they acted like they were better. And then when it came down to it, maybe they weren't as better as they pretended to be.
ISAACSON: Well, broad question then about the American economic system, is it only about shareholder value or should we go back to a time when
corporations had many stakeholders including the national interest?
SWISHER: Well, possibly. I mean that's a really interesting question. Look at what's happening at Google, for example, around the sexual
harassment lawsuits that were settled where they paid enormous amounts of money to the accused actually to leave, which is kind of fascinating.
ISAACSON: And (INAUDIBLE)?
SWISHER: Yes. And so the question is if people objected within those companies -- this is not the company I work for. And so the question is,
can we -- are there other stakeholders including the employees of these companies who aren't going to put up with it? Like certain people at
Google and Microsoft don't want to work for the Department of Defense. Is -- should that be allowed? Should it not be allowed? These things have to
be sorted out.
ISAACSON: You know Mark Zuckerberg pretty well.
SWISHER: I do.
ISAACSON: You seem to fit in this description of somebody who took too few humanity.
SWISHER: Yes, I joked about that. He left college.
ISAACSON: Right, he dropped out of Harvard without studying, you know, the Odyssey more than --
SWISHER: He's trying to now. I mean he's --
ISAACSON: And he's doing his odyssey across America.
SWISHER: Yes. Not just that but he's having dinners with philosophers. He's having dinners with economists and things like that. It's -- that's
why I call it the expensive education Mark Zuckerberg is we're paying the price for him. He's -- the thing that you have to understand is he is
controlling Facebook completely. He owns 60 -- he controls the shares and so he makes every decision that they smoke if you think about it.
And what's really interesting is he always says we should all decide together. And I'm like except you're the only one with the decision making
power. So he controls it. He runs it. He's the founder. He's the CEO. He's the chairman of this massive global communication system that's
Should we let one person, unelected decide some of these issues? I don't know. That's a good question to talk about and that's what -- that's the
discussion we need to have.
ISAACSON: Given the power you just described he had, what strikes me is that people start blaming Sheryl Sandberg.
SWISHER: Yes, they have.
ISAACSON: You've written about that.
ISAACSON: Do you think that's sexist?
SWISHER: A little bit. I think she should be blamed too because she's part of the management team. But I -- what I -- the point I was making
there is there is also a CTO of Facebook. There is also someone who's head of the product there. There's also a chief legal officer, all men. You've
never heard their names.
And that's -- she gets all the ire that I think Mark deserves. And I think she also deserves it as a principal manager there. And I don't want to say
that she doesn't have a responsibility because she absolutely does. And she did help design these systems, these advertising systems or always in
charge of people who design them. And so the question is, who do we hold accountable for it? To me, the person who controls 60 percent of a company
and is the CEO and chairman is the person I look to first. Secondly, I would look to the COO.
ISAACSON: Do you think one of the inherent flaws of the Internet is that we allowed too much anonymity as opposed to doing what the well, and you
and I remember what the well was, the original online service, it began by saying you own your own words? In other words, you're responsible for what
SWISHER: Right, right. Well, I think they've allowed anybody to do anything. It's sort of a Wild West kind of mentality. And the question --
and what they do is try to back it up with, you know, people should say whatever they want. Well, freedom of speech doesn't mean freedom from
consequence. And so who pays for the consequence of this freedom of speech?
And, you know, they do make choices. The thing is they talk about freedom of speech continually as the excuse to let anyone on these platforms. But
they have removed people. They have done -- made weird decisions and stuff like that. So it's kind of a government that sort of has no rules,
[13:40:00] that it's kind of haphazard.
And the question is, who's going to make those rules? Right now, it is a bunch of executives sitting in Silicon Valley making these decisions. And
that might not be the best problem -- and it's not just in this country, it's global. There's issues in Myanmar, in India.
And a lot of it is the sloppy rulemaking that there is, there aren't rules. And when there aren't rules, unfortunately, humanity tends to misbehave.
And what happens when that happens?
ISAACSON: I'm a little confused about this invocation of free speech in the First Amendment.
ISAACSON: Why does that apply to robots, trolls, Russians working in the St Petersburg government agency trying to spread palpably knowably false
SWISHER: You know they like to say it's a slippery slope. If we stop them, we stop this.
ISAACSON: But wait, all slopes are slippery.
SWISHER: Exactly. I know. It's a really interesting question because what they did is they -- our values might inherently create this disaster.
The fact that we allow so much free speech might create a disaster that's coming upon us.
So it's kind of an interesting question is where do you draw the line? And in some cases, for example, Alex Jones who they had on -- who they've
kicked off of various platforms. They were very loath to kick him off it further. Eventually, they did. I was with a bunch of them. You're going
to kick him off, in the end, he's breaking your rules.
And what they're known to do is create rules. They don't want to create any rules because in a lot of ways, as you know, Walter, from covering
these people, a lot of these people are in a perpetual state of Peter Pan boyhood, right, where there are no rules, where you can stay up all night,
where we can do whatever we want. And the question is, do we want that? Is that -- with these critically important information systems, should they
be built with this at those at its heart? Maybe, maybe not, but it should certainly be debated by more people than just a small group of white men in
ISAACSON: Kara, thank you for being with us.
SWISHER: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: And never a truer word spoken. But now for something completely different. Behind the headlines, a strange experiment is underway where
reporters are being well just people. The BBC's Fi Glover and Jane Garvey are two of the most respected radio presenters in the U.K. They tackle
difficult topics like gender inequality or Brexit.
But their new ishventure is exposing a very different side of them. It's a podcast called "Fortunately ... with Fi and Jane". And as the announcer
says, it's a collection of random thoughts and musings on, well, whatever. It's become an unlikely hit here in the U.K. and they're following it
spreading across the Atlantic and even around the listening world. Fi and Jane join me now here in the studio. Hello.
FI GLOVER, CO-HOST, FORTUNATELY ... WITH FI AND JANE: Hello.
JANE GARVEY, CO-HOST, FORTUNATELY ... WITH FI AND JANE: Hello.
AMANPOUR: Random thoughts and musings and the collect -- I guess I just want to know what is it. How would you describe, Jane Garvey, Fortunately
... with Fi and Jane?
GARVEY: I would say it is a real insight into a proper female friendship. That's probably about right, isn't it?
GLOVER: I think so. If you can imagine two slightly bad-tempered bats going into the cave, hanging themselves upside-down and having a debrief on
a weekly basis, I think that's pretty much us.
AMANPOUR: And so what is Fortunately? Where did that come from?
GARVEY: Oh, that's very cute. I'll give you a boring answer.
AMANPOUR: Yes, boring, go ahead.
GARVEY: We work for BBC Radio 4 and in their wisdom, they wanted to call it after Radio 4, Fortunately.
AMANPOUR: Oh my gosh. I would never have known.
GARVEY: It's that simple.
AMANPOUR: It's that simple.
GARVEY: And that boring.
AMANPOUR: So here you are, ladies, having a chat. I mean you both do very, very serious presentations on Radio 4. You are on Woman's Hour which
is incredible. You have the Listening Project and other projects and they're really serious and they take on a very serious tone and you dig
deep with invited guests. What is it like just to flip and be yourselves?
GARVEY: It's absolutely brilliant. And that's one of the best things about it is that we meet up every week, we never know what we're going to
talk about. And we do find ourselves. We do. Don't we actually? We really start telling the truth about what's actually going on in our lives
which is terrifying.
GLOVER: And the glorious thing is because it's not really very pretty, some of it is reticent out. We always say they're very career limiting
AMANPOUR: But you can use, you know, language you couldn't use on radio.
GARVEY: Oh, gosh.
GLOVER: Oh, yes. Very much so. But because there is no very defined structure to it, we do genuinely move three conversations as I think most
women in particular move three conversations which is a bit of this and a bit of that. And suddenly, you'll find yourself laughing about something
but then you can just change gear. You know you can go from first to fifth in one sentence.
AMANPOUR: And can we just point out that we're not just randomly talking to two female reporters who are having a great conversation. This has now
gone to Top 50 in iTunes. It's across the United States.
GLOVER: Yes, we're number one.
AMANPOUR: I mean yes, well, there you go.
GARVEY: Not a lot but we were number one.
AMANPOUR: Well, it's nice to be number one. And I wonder what you think - - well, you talk about random. I just want to read [13:45:00] what you tweeted today, Jane. Somewhere there is a dimple-cheeked, glowy woman
blissed-out on Yule as she enters Hour 4 of her wrapping marathon. I am not that woman.
GARVEY: Yes. I was in a foul mood earlier on it that. I know it's hard to believe.
AMANPOUR: It is hard to believe.
GARVEY: I was absolutely -- I was so indignant about my female lot. And I think to be fair, I think a lot of women will feel the same about this time
of year, Christmas in the U.K., and I'm sure throughout much of the world is a real -- well, some people say Christmas is a joke played on middle-
aged women. And I think they might be right because we've got a lot to do. Haven't we?
GLOVER: Yes. And I think the thing is even if you divide up some of the chores in your household, I think there is an overwhelming feeling that the
buck stops with mom, co-worker, colleague, you know, whatever you are, a daughter or whatever in your family or work set up, it's just that feeling,
isn't it? There are a thousand deadlines coming towards you, all of them have got tinsel on. It's all a little bit frightening. All got to happen
by the 25th.
AMANPOUR: And not to mention your daily show, your daily show work.
AMANPOUR: And you just -- you said middle-aged women, I didn't but there are --
GLOVER: No, we are. We are.
AMANPOUR: OK. That's my point. Have you -- do you feel like you've tapped into this sort of, I don't know, un-serviced middle-aged woman and
now young people and all the rest of it but people who just have nowhere else to go to have their daily normal conversation to authenticate it?
GARVEY: Maybe we're providing something for an audience that's never had this kind of thing before. Because we always say we are British, we can do
self-deprecation. We're good but we're not that good.
GLOVER: We're not as obviously successful.
GARVEY: We're very much successful in all areas of our lives.
AMANPOUR: But are you surprised?
GARVEY: We are.
GLOVER: I think we were very surprised.
GLOVER: Very surprised. But you know what, to exactly that point, I think to be serious for a moment that a lot of women, especially in broadcasting
and journalism, have come through with the notion that they need to copy the men in order to be good and get the jobs. So you have to be quite
dominant in your space.
Perhaps you have to be quite, you know, aggressive and firm with interviews and that's fine. That's carried women a very long way and these are all
great things to be. But I think there's a female sense of humor which is self-deprecating which recognizes the physical and mental leakage of life.
And it's OK to do that. And we have been surprised.
AMANPOUR: But you talk about being, you know, aggressive and forceful and for interviews. And I've heard you do a lot of it. I mean you're not
aggressive but you're really persistent, you dive deep and firm and you are as well.
And yet, we're going to play this little clip because you don't actually have a structure on this podcast. You just sit in the atrium of the BBC
and it turns out it looks like you just grab people as they do. And, of course, the BBC is a target rich environment, there are lots of people.
But look, I mean here's you noticing somebody walking by you may be of interest.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GLOVER: Yes, the Junior Minister for the backstop.
GARVEY: Yes, I think so. They could be a former cabinet member. Be realistic, most people on the street wouldn't be able to tell. We've had
some crackers recently. Where were you when someone you've never heard of resigned?
GLOVER: I was on the couch at home.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GARVEY: Well, it has been a busy time in British political life.
AMANPOUR: It has but you clearly have no idea who's what and what's what here.
AMANPOUR: And we the listeners can hear the hubbub in the background. I mean you sound like you're in a studio. Where are you?
GLOVER: We're usually outside.
AMANPOUR: In the cold?
GLOVER: (INAUDIBLE), a former casting house which is beautiful and wonderful.
GARVEY: No, it's not. It's horrible. But there's some kind of brutal modernism to it.
AMANPOUR: Lots of glass.
GLOVER: But all of the great that go to the BBC have to use the same entrance and they all walk past us.
AMANPOUR: And you just grab them?
GLOVER: And we just grab them.
GARVEY: Yes. And many of them are very friendly and willing to talk and some of them completely bonkers but we're getting our adventure tonight so
we don't care, do we?
AMANPOUR: And they're probably more willing to talk the more and more hip and culty you become?
GARVEY: I think you're right. Nothing breeds success like success.
AMANPOUR: I just want to play this episode of you guys chatting about you suddenly realizing that it's actually traveled to some of the most gasp
seats of learning in the United States of America. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GLOVER: Some people at home are listening to Fortunately.
GARVEY: Because sit up straight use more adjectives.
GLOVER: I know.
GARVEY: Now I think that people are analyzing or maybe even overanalyzing this utter nailed on total poorly informed gibberish.
GLOVER: Well, I like to think that publicly the bag of Doritos that you eat during question time, don't you think?
GARVEY: I think we're the kind of junk food of audio.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Well, many people want junk food. Do you think seriously that it is a bit of [13:50:00] antidote to the highly stressed, highly
tribalized -- I don't even know how to describe it anymore. It's just a -- you know, we're all on a verge of a global nervous breakdown?
GARVEY: Wow. I hope it is because we are. We are bracing and we're braced and we're honest and we are actually genuinely all about celebrating
friendship and loyalty to each other and loyalty to our audience. Because we started with no audience and now we've got a fantastic link to loads of
people listening. Actually, as you say, all over the world. And it's rather brilliant, isn't it?
GLOVER: It is.
GARVEY: Yes. And we are great now.
AMANPOUR: And let's just go back to your day jobs where you suddenly take on whole different personas back to your, you know, radio broadcasters as
host of Woman's Hour. You and I spoke. You came into the studio more than a year ago at a time when the whole idea and it was around, you know, all
professions but the pay gap gender, pay inequality. You have since moved up because you lobbied very very hard. And I mean have you? I mean I
noticed you moved up.
GARVEY: I've had something called a pay revision.
AMANPOUR: Yes, which was a pay rise.
GARVEY: Well, it was a pay rise. It's called a pay revision at BBC.
AMANPOUR: Which means what exactly?
GARVEY: It means I get paid more money.
GARVEY: But I would say -- I would probably still say I'm not equally paid. I'm very, very well paid. I mean absolutely no bones about it but I
would say there were probably men doing shows equivalent to the one that I do who earn more money than I do.
AMANPOUR: So that is part -- I mean you address this in Fortunately as well.
AMANPOUR: There's still a lot of work to be done and you take it on regularly on Woman's Hour.
GARVEY: We do. I talk about it on Woman's Hour. We talk about it on Fortunately. I think it's hugely important that women continue to support
each other, stick together as I know you've done at CNN. We can no longer pretend that this is going to change without us putting a shift in to make
a change. And I've been really delighted by the support we've had from people all over Britain for this.
AMANPOUR: And I just want to ask you about the Listening Project because you did go to the U.S. I mean you go all over to talk to people. Tell us
the know of that. You talk to people and introduce people to talk about things that they've never talked about.
GLOVER: So it's a very simple premise. You can come into Listening Project and sit down with someone you love or care about and have a
conversation that matters and we record that conversation. The conversation is then put in an archive at the British Library and we're
building this extraordinary resource of our lives told our way. And that's the key to it.
So you don't have to come in and talk about something momentous that's happened or some particularly well-researched archive or anything like
that. You come in and you talk about your life. And the idea is that future generations will be able to tap into it in every single different --
AMANPOUR: Give us one example.
GLOVER: Oh my goodness. Our Christmas special which goes out on the BBC on Christmas Day is a compilation of children's conversation. So it's kids
talking to kids. One of my all-time favorites, Thomas and Jack. They're 5-years-old. They have a 40-minute conversation about the fact that Thomas
is about to emigrate to Australia.
AMANPOUR: Really? Forty minutes?
GLOVER: And it's extraordinary. You never hear children talking to each other in such an open and honest and emotive way and it's beautiful, really
really beautiful. So the whole idea is that we step back editorially and we're allowing people to have conversations. And actually, you know, it's
what we're doing on Fortunately too, just allowing normal chats to be heard and are suppose taken a bit more seriously really.
AMANPOUR: Yes. What makes you feel happy when somebody comes up and say, "Oh, I love Fortunately because"? What makes -- what reaction do you like?
GARVEY: I was stopped the other day by -- at half past seven in the morning on my way to work in West London by a man, a chap in a high vest
jacket, got out of his bike and just said, "I love Fortunately." And I would not necessarily have thought of him as our target audience but it's
brilliant that he is enjoying it. , people who can't sleep love a bit of Fortunately.
GLOVER: And breastfeeding --
GLOVER: Breastfeeding women.
GLOVER: Because actually, you know, between 30 and 40 minutes, you can drop off halfway through and come back.
AMANPOUR: But you give people permission to be normal.
AMANPOUR: And to talk and to have community.
GLOVER: Yes. And they'll say do you want me to have one guest on who wanted to talk a lot about the hashtag of your best life, great thing, a
wonderful, marvelous, younger generation, help yourselves. We are hashtag getting through it.
AMANPOUR: Phenomenal. Well, getting through Christmas. Fi Glover, Jane Garvey, fortunately with, thank you so much.
GARVEY: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: Thank you very much indeed. Now, for more discussion like this, you can listen to the "Fortunately ... with Fi and Jane" podcast.
And tune in to our program tomorrow where we'll have more on Syria, how refugees have been transformed into real human beings. Imagine that and it
is catching on. I'll speak to the director and the star of the award- winning play, "The Jungle".
But that's it from us for now. [13:55:00] Remember, you can listen to our podcast. See us online at amanpour.com and follow me on Facebook and
Thank you for watching. Goodbye from London.