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Roger Ailes Reshaped American Media and Politics; Roger Ailes, A Monster or A Genius?; "Divide and Conquer," A New Documentary by Alexis Bloom; Paul Simon`s New Album, "In the Blue Light.". Aired 1-2p ET
Aired January 2, 2019 - 13:00 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."
During the holiday season, we`re dipping into the archive and looking back at some of these years` highlights. So, here`s what`s coming up.
He reshaped the American media and politics, Fox News founder, Roger Ailes. I`ll speak with the director of a new documentary and an anchor who worked
closely with him.
Plus, the poet for a generation. A musical shape shifter. Up close and personal with Paul Simon.
Then, why maybe we should be a bit more skeptical about embracing billionaires as the change makers for our times. Our Hari Sreenivasan
speak with Anna Dignidad about his new book.
Welcome to the program, everyone. I`m Christian Amanpour in London.
Now, you`ve no doubt heard all about Fox News and its politics.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There are hundreds of us migrant caravan folks that have made it up to the border. This is right --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: But do you know the real story, the one behind the headlines? The founding principle was to give conservatives a voice on television but
it ended up as the voice of right-wing politics in Washington and around the country with an outsized influence.
And Roger Ailes, the chairman of Fox, backed by the owner, Rupert Murdoch, was one of the most powerful men in media before his long history of
alleged sexual harassment caught up with him. He was fired in 2016 and he died within a year.
So, was he a monster, a genius or both? A new documentary, "Divide and Conquer," shows the vast influence that he`s had over the country and it
all started when Ailes was a young aide to President Richard Nixon. Here`s a clip from the documentary.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who said the liberal elite has a choke hold on the national news networks, that local television stations in Wisconsin and in
Utah had their own news programs and they are hungry for footage.
So, it was a proposal that the Nixon White House with taxpayer dollars fund an operation that would interview Republican members of Congress in
Washington and flag the footage to these local stations so that they can get the message out to their constituents without having to rely on the
And Roger Ailes is all over it saying, "I can do this."
Now, it never happened but the idea, the germ go straight into what Fox News is all about.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, Alexis Bloom is the director of that new film and she joins me from New York alongside Alisyn Camerota who`s now anchor of "CNN`s New
Day" but she began her career as a reporter and an anchor at Fox News.
Ladies, welcome to the program.
Alexis, let me just start with you and asked you about to react to what he`s often said, Roger Ailes basically said he had a vision for the average
American, he wanted to provide, you know, somewhere for the average American to be able to get their news. What did he mean? What was his
vision? What was the average American to him?
ALEXIS BLOOM, DIRECTOR, "DIVIDE AND CONQUER: THE STORY OF ROGER AILES": I think the average American was an underserved audience, he always called it
the underserved audience, which was sort of in between New York and L.A. He defined it as sort of antithetical to the sort of coastal elites.
So, it was the middle of America, he always defined it as sort of the people that he knew when he was growing up. He grew up in Warren Ohio and
he was like, "Those are my people," you know kind of simple hard-working blue-collar Americans and Republicans. I don`t know whether that`s really
the case that sounded, you know, so great and so wholesome.
But he had a much more kind of ambitious and sort of mercantile Kind of perspective. You know, he kind of -- he wanted to capture the conservative
base, I think, and keep them keep them glued.
AMANPOUR: Which he absolutely did. And I just turned to Alisyn who actually, you know, worked there for a number of years, Alisyn. He said,
"I built Fox understanding the pressures, worries and aspirations of average Americans. I love these people." How did that translate in
marching orders to you, the workers, the worker bees, if you like, at Fox?
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN NEW DAY, ANCHOR: Well, it`s interesting what he told me -- and I mean, this is almost verbatim, what he told me was that he
figured out that 48 percent of the cable viewing audience was conservative and that 20 percent was liberal and 20 percent he said were swing voters,
So, he said that he figured out the business model, that he -- if he could capture this 48 percent that previously had heard their own voice kind of
reflected back at them, then he would really have something. And. in fact, he did that.
And so, the way it translated in terms of programming was that he would often call me into his office if he thought that I hadn`t been conservative
enough. And I had a lot of debates with Roger about how I was not supposed to be conservative nor was I supposed to be liberal. I was supposed to be
a journalist, I was supposed to be fair to both sides.
And he would tell me things like, "Unless you get these conservative talking points down, you will lose the audience," he would say. And I
would try to tell him that I thought he was underestimating the audience, that I thought the audience could actually hear both sides and he, you
know, would sort of bang his fist on the arm chair and say don`t tell him how to program televisions. And I, you know, basically lost every flight.
AMANPOUR: Well, yes, and he was a sort of a larger than life character backed by an even larger than life character, Rupert Murdoch, who`s had
incredible influence on leaders of governments from Australia to Britain to America and points in between.
So, given this idea of shaping the network towards one political point of view, I want to play this bit, Alexis, from an interview you did for the
documentary and that is Joe Muto, he was an associate producer at Fox. This is what he tells you about the working out of a sphere inside.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE MUTO, FORMER ASSOCIATE PRODUCER, "THE O`REILLY FACTOR": I was my first week on the job Roger has this place bugged. He`s got the news room, he`s
got the elevators bugged, he`s got all the talent offices bugged, don`t talk about Roger, don`t talk about, you know, how much you love Hillary
Clinton because will fire you if they hear you talking like that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Alexis, how many people sort of confirmed that sort of point of view, the very sort of political marching orders and as Alisyn said, the
talking points that one shouldn`t stray from?
BLOOM: Well, the talking points, you know, don`t say you love Hillary Clinton, but I think kind of the more arresting part of that was having the
whole place bugged. I mean, you know, if you went off topic, you know, either on camera or in private, it would be heard about. You know, if you
weren`t kind of loyal and obedient to the message, the man and the corporation.
And, you know, Joe Muto says, you know, if -- you know, their surveillance and if you express an alternate point of view, it will be noted, and many
people said that. I mean. Glenn Beck said that. You know, ask Alisyn, had some personal experiences with that too.
AMANPOUR: Yes. I will get to that in a moment. But it is really remarkable because surveillance speaks to paranoia, not just political
AMANPOUR: -- but paranoia.
AMANPOUR: And you bring that up in your film quite effectively. I mean, you know, after 9/11, the sort of a bunker in his own home, the fear that
Libya or Libyans and al Qaeda types were out to get him.
But let`s get back to the beginning because you also actually lay out where these grievances, this sort of politics of personal victimhood and the
politics of grievance were born. He was a hemophiliac and that comes through his mother. Tell us a little bit about, you know, how that played
into his world view.
BLOOM: Well, I`m not a, you know, psychiatrists, psychoanalyst, so I don`t know exactly but he had, you know, a very sort of intimate relationship
with fear, you know, he was a hemophiliac and growing up in the 1950s in Ohio there was -- you know, there was little to no treatment. You know,
apparently, they used to hang him upside down sometimes so that the blood didn`t pool. You know, he thought he was going to die. So, he was
And, you know, I think that informed him, you know, all throughout his life. You spoke about the paranoia, it`s sort of -- it`s odd when people
have fear and when children grow up with fear or adults, there`s two ways to go, you either become very cautious or kind of the stereotypical thing
is that you become very reckless, you kind of live each day like it was your last and kind of you have, you know, incredible appetite for things,
and he was certainly the latter. And he had this kind of boundless ambition. But, you know, at the base of it was a very profound fear and
this kind of growing paranoia that accompanied it.
AMANPOUR: But it also kind of weird. I`m going to play you both this soundbite, again, from the documentary. You document this anecdote about
Ailes`s childhood. It comes from Stephen Rosenfield who worked with Ailes sales at the media company even before Fox, that was in the 70s. This was
the sort of legend that went around. Just listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHEN ROSENFIELD, FORMER PRODUCER, ROGER AILES & ASSOCIATES: Roger was on the top bunk and his dad walked in and opened up his arms and said,
"Jump, Roger, jump." And Roger jumped and his father stepped away and Roger fell on the ground. And his father looked down on him and he said,
"Don`t trust anybody."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: I mean, you know, it sounds so dramatic. And Alisyn, I wonder whether that legend, you know, went around Fox as sort of this is who Roger
CAMEROTA: Well, it`s interesting he told me a different legend about his childhood. He told me that he was in a hospital bed and that he overheard
doctors telling his parents that he might not survive. And he told me very tearfully, I mean, in a heartfelt moment, you know, Roger could get quite
emotional, that no kid should ever have to hear that. And he told me that if he -- he decided there and then that if he did live and if he does
survive, he would fight every single day.
And that`s what taught him to fight. But what, Christiane, is important to say is that Alexis figured out in making this movie was that it was
CAMEROTA: That that tale that he told about the jumping off the bed is one of these apocryphal tales of the mythologizing that he started to do about
his own childhood had bought himself. So, after that, I didn`t know any longer if the story of him in the hospital bed was true or not --
CAMEROTA: -- or if he liked being the underdog, you know, he likes being seen as the fighter who is never going to leave his battle station, he told
me that lots of times too. So, I just don`t know any more what part of his childhood was real or then later sort of embellish.
AMANPOUR: Yes. And then -- I mean, to Alexis now, you know, as you`re making this film, you`re going back before Fox News, before Alisyn`s
experience with Roger Ailes and you`re talking to all these other people who worked with him, and in particular, Kellie Boyle, she was a marketing
consultant, she had a run in with Ailes in the late 1980s. And here we go fast forward from this sort of victim to practically an aggressor if you
listen to these stories. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KELLIE BOYLE, MARKETING CONSULTANT: I mentioned to Roger that I was going to sign a contract with one of the big national committees, and this was a
career making contract. Once you hit that level, you`d made it.
But once we got into his car, we were barely pulled away from Union Station and he leaned over and said, "You know, I can really help you. But if you
want to play with the big boys you have to lay with the big boys."
I wasn`t getting any of my calls returned to National Committee. And after a couple weeks. I thought, "There`s something wrong here." So, I asked a
friend to ask around and he called me back very quickly afterwards and said, "You`re on a no hire list." A hire lists? And then all of a sudden
it all fit into place, that`s what Roger done.
Then that was the end of my career.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, listening to that now in the, you know, year after #MeToo where we`ve heard so many similar stories. I mean, it`s remarkable that
this was apparently going on so long before he was caught up for it.
Alisyn, you know, you experienced some abuse, you experienced a certain amount of harassment. And in the end, it was those allegations that
toppled him from Fox and from his very mighty perch.
CAMEROTA: Yes. I mean, I think that Roger played loose with the rules a lot and I guess that they -- he didn`t think that they applied to him. He
was so powerful. He was certainly so powerful at Fox that there was no court of higher authority that you could ever go to.
So, when he set up quid pro quos or when he said lascivious things that were grossly inappropriate, there was no one to ever turn to. And so,
there was a feeling that, you know, Roger -- it was Roger`s sandbox and you had to play by his rules and it could be, you know, quite unpleasant,
frankly, having to be in his office and having to play by his rules.
You know, I didn`t find the sexual harassment that I experienced to be career ruining as that woman did but I certainly hit a dead end at Fox and
I think I hit a dead end because I wouldn`t spout the conservative talking points that he wanted me to spout and it was quite clear that he told me.
I mean, it wasn`t even veiled. He told me that you have to do this in order to get ahead and I wasn`t willing to do that. So, it was always
Roger`s way or the highway.
AMANPOUR: So, let`s talk a little bit now about the political impact because it is not just a media company, it`s one that has campaigned for,
lobbied for, directed and as he himself boasted, has got several Republicans elected president and he felt he still had work to do, Alexis,
to elect more likeminded president.
So, we know about Nixon, we know about the first George W. Bush, the Willie Horton ad, all of those things. But fast forward a little bit now to
President Trump, what did you learn in the documentary about his active help and Fox`s active help in in the in the Trump campaign?
BLOOM: Well, I mean he was very active. I don`t think Donald Trump was necessarily Roger Ailes`s first choice but he certainly given him sort of
ample opportunity to sort of prove himself. And way before, you know, the election he puts Donald Trump on every single Monday on his own -- you
know, on his show, every Monday and then, you know, given him interviews on all the major shows in Fox.
You know, not talking specifically about political strategy, about the economy, about immigration, you know, giving him kind of political
legitimacy. Nobody else did that. You know, Donald Trump might have been famous for "The Apprentice" but that`s -- there`s a pivot, you know, from
fame into kind of a political sphere. And Roger certainly -- I mean, wouldn`t you say I -- he certainly gave him that.
CAMEROTA: Oh, absolutely. I mean, and, Christiane, that`s what happened. I watched it happen, it was on "Fox and Friends." And that`s when Donald
Trump became a pontificator, that`s when he would talk about national and international issues, that`s when he became a pundit.
And so, he was no longer just this bon vivant real estate mogul, which is what he had previously been known for and suddenly he started being seen as
somebody who had a voice in the political arena. And I watched the creation of the Donald Trump presidency and I do think that President Trump
can thank Roger Ailes for that.
AMANPOUR: It is really a remarkable story, "Divide and Conquer." Thank you both very, very much indeed, Alexis Bloom and Alisyn Camerota. Thank
you so much.
So, if Roger Ailes said the political tune for contemporary America as so many believed, then Paul Simon remains champion of the counterculture in
music, "Bridge Over Troubled Water," "Sounds of silence," "Mrs. Roberson, "Graceland." You`d be hard pressed to find a music fan any age who doesn`t
know one of his songs.
His career spans decades from the most famous musical due of all time with Art Garfunkel, they began as Tom and Jerry in the 1950s to a blockbuster
Now, Paul Simon is out with a new album, "In the Blue Light." And on the heels of a global farewell tour, I caught up with him recently at his
office in New York thinking deeply about whether he can keep applying his healing balm to these troubled times. We got off to a rather impromptu
PAUL SIMON, SINGER-SONGWRITER: That -- I do this is overdubs. But look at the size of this.
AMANPOUR: That is amazing. And on that note, can we start our conversation?
SIMON: Let us. Let`s begin.
AMANPOUR: Because I want to ask you what that is. Is it a throwback?
SIMON: Yes, I guess you could say a throwback. When I first came into contact with this in Nashville, I used it on the "Boxer" with Simon and
AMANPOUR: I wasn`t going to start with this, but you brought up the "Boxer," you performed it at a rather iconic moment in modern American
history several weeks after 9/11, on Saturday Night Live on that --
SIMON: But that was a special.
AMANPOUR: That was special. And Mayor Giuliani was the mayor of New York and then they had the -- you know, the police chief and the firemen.
SIMON: And they were all there.
AMANPOUR: And then the camera pans to you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUDY GIULIANI, THEN-MAYOR OF NEW YORK CITY: New Yorkers are unified. We will not yield to terrorism. We will not let our decisions be made out of
fear. We choose to live our lives in freedom.
SIMON: I am just a poor boy. Though my story`s seldom told. I have squandered my resistance. For a pocket full of mumbles, such are promises.
All lies and jests, still a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Take me back to that moment if you can.
SIMON: What I remember most about that moment was coming from the dressing room to the studio where my mind is as it usually is one of about to
perform, focused on what I`m about to do. But I passed by these lines of firemen and policeman and the reality of what had occurred and what the
situation was that I was performing, the context that I was performing in was very powerful, very powerful, it was very emotional. And is seldom
that I feel my heart pounding.
AMANPOUR: I mean, these songs are legendary and they`ve been going for more than 50 years, the, "Boxer," "Sounds of Silence," "Bridge Over
Trouble," all those classics and it`s as if they were written yesterday, they still mean so much to so many people. Are you surprised by that?
SIMON: Absolutely, absolutely. I think I was 22 years old when I wrote the "Sound of Silence" I think because I closed when I did the last
performance on this final tour, the last song that I sang was the "Sound of Silence" and I thought, how at 22 did this even happen? I don`t know -- I
didn`t know. Same with "Bridge Over Troubled Water," I`ve said this before, I wrote the song and when it was finished, I said, "That`s better
than I usually do."
And -- but what I`ve come to realize over time because there have been a few other songs that are in this category, "Graceland" would be in this
category, where you feel as if you`re a conduit and the song is coming through you, you`re shaping it but you`re absolutely surprised at what`s
happening and you don`t know why and you don`t know where our it comes from but I recognize that that happens sometimes and it`s led me to be a more
spiritual person because of the mystery of it.
AMANPOUR: So, you mention the Central Park concert, of course, "Sounds of Silence" was among the many that you sang there and we`re just overlooking
Central Park and it`s -- you know, I really want to play a little bit of that concert.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SIMON: And in the naked light I saw 10,000 people maybe more, people talking without speaking, people hearing without listening, people writing
songs that voices never shared, no one dare disturb the sound of silence.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: You sing 10,000 people or maybe more. And of course, there`s probably hundreds of thousands but I don`t know how many were there, but
tons and tons and there`s a huge wave and an applause. Do you remember to this day that moment?
SIMON: Yes, I remember. I remember playing. The two concerts that I did in Central Park and the last concert that I did in Hyde Park this summer
really stay in my memory as something extraordinary, as does the concert that I did in Zimbabwe with all the Graceland people.
AMANPOUR: I was going to wait a little bit to bring up "Graceland" because I want to talk about "In the Blue Light," your latest album. But let`s
talk about "Graceland" because that was one of your solo triumphs, you`ve had many after "Simon and Garfunkel" but that was yet another departure for
you, yet another break out and the music was spectacular and your singers and musicians were amazing.
But there was a political controversy, wasn`t there? They were angry members of the ANC, they said you shouldn`t have broken the boycott on
apartheid South Africa and why were you going there. What do you think about that all these years later?
SIMON: I think they were completely disingenuous about it. I don`t -- first of all, we didn`t break any boycott, there was no rule about
recording with Black South African musicians. First of all, the musicians voted whether they wanted me to come or not. I didn`t know that but I
found out later on that they vote -- that they had voted.
What they wanted to know, the musicians was -- how much are we going to be paid and will we get credit. And so that was easy, you know. Of course,
they were going to credit and royalties and I paid them, at that time, what was -- I think was triple scale of what you would be paid in New York.
So, I think it came out to be like maybe $600 for a three-hour session. They were making like $15 for a day. So, everybody was perfectly happy.
Nobody particularly thought that we were going to have a hit, you know. A lot of those guys didn`t know who I was. And my experience with traveling
around the world is that artists are -- particularly musicians are perhaps the most insightful in describing what a culture and a country is like, and
they talk to everybody and they talk to other musicians from other countries.
And like Hugh Masekela who was on the "Graceland" tour, he was my great teacher about South African politics.
AMANPOUR: When you came back to the United States you were at Howard University.
AMANPOUR: You remember that. And this guy at Howard University, again, you, to your credit, taking them on and engaging them in this criticism
they had they thought this guy that you didn`t have any right to take the music, the musicians that, you know, you didn`t give them enough credit.
Anyway, this is what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How can you justify going there, taking all of this music from his country is nothing but stealing? It ain`t nothing but
stealing. How can you just go and tell me, "Oh, I went there and I --"
SIMON: Graceland is a collaboration. Don`t you -- you don`t believe that it`s possible to have a collaboration? So, you don`t believe that a
collaboration is possible between musicians?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Between you and them, no.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You don`t understand.
SIMON: Why, because I`m White and they`re South African?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. You don`t understand the music at all.
SIMON: Well, you are saying something that they, these musicians, in fact, disagree with.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SIMON: Well, I was completely unprepared for that attack to come. And -- but again, as it turns out, they were members of a political party called
Azania, on the far left of the constellation of many political parties in South Africa. They were the most violent. I only learned about this
because Ladysmith Black Mambazo who became beloved all over the world and still perform to this day --
AMANPOUR: And of course, Joseph Shabalala who is the leader, you remember.
SIMON: Of course.
AMANPOUR: He said that hugging you was the first time he had ever hugged a White man and he was really taken by it, that he just always remembered
SIMON: Joseph was -- he`s almost angelic. He was very -- well, he`s very spiritual man and was very aware of what could be accomplished with the
music from "Graceland" and what could be accomplished in the context of helping Black South Africans.
It`s very hard to get to choose but musicians will often bring it on a level that goes right to the heart. It`s really true that music is the
universal language. It`s a cliche but that happens to be true.
AMANPOUR: So, how do you feel then after all these years of telling that truth through your music, through your woods of retiring and not doing live
performances anymore? You just gave your last concert in Corona, correct, very not far from where you were raised, where you grew up. What was it
like? What was it like singing but -- and performing but knowing this was the last time you were going to deliver that truth?
SIMON: Well, first of all, I don`t intend for it to be my last performance. I just intend for it to be the last time that I go on tour.
I would like to -- and I anticipate that I will perform again after a while -- after taking a break. But I`d like to do it for specific causes and I`d
like to do it for my own pleasure in concert halls that have pristine sound and with perhaps different musicians that I admire and play a repertoire
that I -- is different from what I`ve been playing.
Because as you said before, some of these songs I`ve been playing for 30, 40 years. And not that I -- I wouldn`t play a song if I didn`t like it.
[13:30:00] So it`s not that I dislike them but I`m ready to say I`ve examined this music as much as I can and I think it would be good for me to
stop and think for a while, listen to music again, read, travel, stop, and then see what happens.
You know a thought comes into -- a musical thought comes into my head through all these years and I say, oh, how does that become a song? Now I
say, no, don`t solve it that way. Just leave it alone. Let`s just see what happens.
I already have -- not that I actually believe in this. I don`t believe in legacy. Well, I mean I don`t believe that there`s any importance to it,
put it that way. Of course, people have legacies.
But I`ve already left a great deal of my thinking -- I just turned 77 so I`ve already left my thinking through these songs, some of which are very,
very well-known. So it`s good to stop and see what else could I -- what else will I think of or maybe I won`t. Maybe I`ll just take a rest.
AMANPOUR: Are you tired?
SIMON: Yes, I`m tired. I`m not physically tired. I`m mentally tired in a way that I don`t know how to explain exactly. It`s not like I couldn`t do
another album now at the same qualitative level as I`ve done the last two, three albums which I think are as good as I can do, as I`ve ever been.
I think I could do that but I`m not sure that that`s the most interesting choice for me. I think that there might be something that could be more
interesting but I don`t know what it is.
AMANPOUR: So let me ask you about "In the Blue Light" then because that`s the latest album. Where does that fit into this evolution that you`re
talking about? Because it`s older songs that you`re repurposing, correct?
SIMON: That`s right. These are songs that I thought were well written, good songs that were overlooked or people didn`t notice them when I put
them out either because they were on an album where other songs were hits or because they were on an album that wasn`t a hit or whatever.
They were odd so I took these songs that I really liked, and I re-recorded them changing the lyrics on maybe half of them, here and there and changing
the harmonies. And again, the context and the musical setting gives the songs a fuller meaning and also my voice has changed, too. And it`s a
little bit more mellow now and it fits the lyrics in a way that I think is an improvement over the first time around.
AMANPOUR: So what -- I mean can I ask you what is your favorite song? Do you have a favorite song?
SIMON: Of all time?
AMANPOUR: Of all time.
SIMON: No, I don`t. No, I don`t. But I do enjoy singing, you know, some of the ones that are -- I really do enjoy singing "The Boxer". I really do
enjoy singing "The Sound Of Silence."
On this last tour, I finally found a way of singing "Bridge Over Troubled Water" that was neither like the Simon and Garfunkel recording which is
really Art Garfunkel`s masterpiece vocal. But I found a way of singing it that allowed me to say, oh, yes, I wrote that song. That`s "Bridge Over
Troubled Water," and I wrote it.
AMANPOUR: I think you said about "Bridge Over Troubled Water" that when you were writing it, you realized that it was exceptional.
SIMON: Yes, [13:35:00] I thought it was better. It was better than I usually did and it came -- it flowed the way I described earlier as if it
came through me.
AMANPOUR: And obviously it`s part of the Simon and Garfunkel legacy. Will you ever make peace with each other?
SIMON: Oh, I think yes. I don`t know how to even approach that. There`s too much damage that was done. It`s like somebody that I`ve known since
I`m 11. So I understand why -- I think I understand why it happened but I think it`s best to stay away just for safety sake and so I do.
We`ve tried -- we came and did several reunion tours and especially the one where the Everly Brothers joined us. They were a pleasure. But not
always. It`s just -- it doesn`t work. It doesn`t work.
It`s really not unusual in duos or groups if they do stay together, this kind of groups. They`re just there for the money. It`s not about -- it`s
not because there`s a musical reason to stay together. And I think the Beatles broke up because they were -- I think they were finished as a
AMANPOUR: And finally, you talk about taking a rest and doing other things, but you`re very, very involved, for instance, in the environment.
And that`s one of your big political, social, cultural missions, right?
SIMON: Yes. I really think that the number one priority for all of us should be the environment. I think we`ve damaged the environment to a
degree that`s so dangerous that we might be talking about an extinction of life on the planet.
And all of these other concerns that we have, human rights, racism, sexism, gender equality, xenophobia, all the problems that humans have, they`re all
human problems. But if we don`t ensure that the planet continues to nourish us in the way that it has for hundreds of thousands of years, all
those problems will be moot because there won`t be any life.
And I feel just really guilty about the fact that I`m leaving this to my children and their children. The tour before last I gave all of the money
to the Half Earth Foundation, Edward Wilson`s foundation. On the last tour that I did, every city that I played, I would leave a small amount,
$25,000, as a thank you, to say thank you, first of all, thank you.
That`s what I was doing and trying to leave it like a trail of breadcrumbs through the forest so that people would if they were following it, would
join. That`s what I think is the most important thing to do. And when I do begin to perform again, that`s where I`ll give all of the proceeds from
AMANPOUR: That`s a great legacy and a great promise and a great mission. Paul Simon, thank you very much indeed.
SIMON: Thank you. It was lovely to talk with you.
AMANPOUR: And you.
SIMON: Nice to meet you, too.
AMANPOUR: Thank you.
Now, here is a question for you. Is there anything wrong with trying to do good? Author Anand Giridharadas has spent plenty of time in elite circles.
He went to Oxford and to Harvard. He`s a fellow at the Aspen Institute where many thought leaders gathered to discuss the complex challenges of
So stepping on the stage to tell his colleagues that their efforts to change the world are actually harming it was a pretty brave move. What`s
wrong [13:40:00] with philanthropy and what are his alternatives?
Anand Giridharadas spells it out in a new book, "Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World." Our Hari Sreenivasan went there with
HARI SREENIVASAN: Anand Giridharadas, thanks for joining us.
ANAND GIRIDHARADAS, AUTHOR, WINNERS TAKE ALL: Thank you for having me.
SREENIVASAN: All right. Let`s first start with this thesis of yours, but let`s kind of explain it in something that happened recently. Jeff Bezos,
the richest man in the world, I think he`s worth something around $162 billion depending on what the stock is doing today. He says he is going to
focus his philanthropic efforts on two things, homelessness and dealing with low-income kids and education. He`s going to put $2 billion up there.
What`s not to like?
GIRIDHARADAS: Jeff Bezos is joining the ranks of very widespread tendency in our time which is the winners of our age giving. One hundred and
eighty-four people have signed the giving pledge to give a majority of their assets away.
But it`s not just billionaires like Bezos, it`s every young person on these elite college campuses who wants to change the world and start a social
enterprise and join the social enterprise club and go to Africa and volunteer. We actually live in a nation where elites, an elite graduate or
all the way up to the rich man on earth are very consumed to try to make a difference.
But often, when rich people step into social problems and try to make a difference, they do so in ways that are designed to avoid threatening their
own privilege and to actually preserve the systems that keep them on top. And if you`re the richest man in the world who`s built one of the most
dynamic original innovative companies on earth, it seems to me you can do more than treat symptoms.
You could actually start to ask questions. Like I would imagine he would ask if this was a business problem, why do we have homelessness in America?
Why do we have an education problem for poor kids?
If you start to ask yourself questions like that as a privileged person, as a billionaire, you might start to say, "Well, you know, we have
homelessness in part because if you don`t pay people enough, they get evicted." That`s one source of homelessness. We also have homelessness
because a lot of companies in America don`t pay the full measure of taxes that they ought to pay.
SREENIVASAN: So let`s follow this up through Amazon, which he runs, right. What are the steps that Amazon could take or that he could drive Amazon to
take that would get to that root problem that you`re talking about instead of the symptom?
GIRIDHARADAS: I think he would have to look within and yes, look at Amazon`s practices. But frankly, go broader to look at why is it as a
society that we are able to pay people so little that they can work one, two, three, four jobs and still make it -- have it hard to make ends meet?
That`s happening at Amazon but that`s happening across our economy. Why don`t we have a higher minimum wage? Well, unions have been bludgeoned
over the last generation. The collective bargaining power of workers has been decimated.
And thinking about how you rebuild that, thinking about how you help re- invent the collective bargaining of the future but also push back against those who have tried to destroy unions, that`s the kind of thing that you
don`t generally see rich people supporting because it would come at the expense of their own interests.
SREENIVASAN: One of the lines is thinking what the givers or winners are saying, listen, we are coming in to try to fill a gap at the public sphere
has failed, that there is -- we have these children that are having disparate outcomes in education because of the schools that they went to,
right. And they`re saying I`m not the Department of Education but I still want to help these kids.
GIRIDHARADAS: Rich people have, through their business lobby, through their companies, through their personal campaign contributions, have fought
tooth and nail for 30 or 40 years for a world in which government has less resources because of tax cuts that benefit them. Government regulates less
and, therefore, social problems fester the government no longer does anything about.
And then with those social problems festering, with the government starved to resources to deal with them, guess who comes along and says, "What a
shame the government can`t do anything, let me do it."
SREENIVASAN: There`s an excerpt from your book I want to read out. It says many millions of Americans on the left and right feel one thing in
common, that the game is rigged against people like them. The system in America and around the world has been organized to siphon the gains from
innovation upward. It`s no wonder that the American voting public like other publics around the world has turned more resentful and suspicious in
Did the president tap into it? Did he understand that this was a frustration?
GIRIDHARADAS: I think he tapped into an intuition that all this elite is claiming that everything was going to be fine for people, didn`t match what
was actually going on in people`s lives and he saw that and he spoke to it. But then he didn`t -- he wasn`t just the exposer, he became the exploiter.
Instead of actually going after the causes of those things, who actually moved all those jobs from Youngstown overseas? Who actually was
responsible for the great deindustrialization of the Rust Belt?
Instead of doing that, he [13:45:00] turned around that anger and said Muslims, gosh, got to get angry about those Muslims or immigrants.
Immigrants are the ones doing this. Or the way he denigrated women and others. He diverted, I think, a legitimate anger on to completely
illegitimate sources and objects for that anger.
And then finally the exposer, the exploiter, the embodiment, he became the embodiment of the very kind of fake billionaire change agent that he
exposed because he came into office talking about fighting for the common man. And even after everything he`d said in the campaign, he could have
come into office and built things for America.
He could have built bridges, put his name on them. He would have been a very happy guy. But instead, he has used his time in office to enrich
himself, promote his own hotels, and essentially aggrandize the name Trump while pretending to fight for others. And that tendency in our culture did
not begin with Donald Trump.
SREENIVASAN: You`re talking about Winners Take All really in a philanthropic space in that arena. Has it also pervaded into politics?
GIRIDHARADAS: I find it so fascinating all this conversation now about who will be the saviors from Trump for the left. We`ve talked about Howard
Schultz, billionaire. We`ve talked about Michael Bloomberg. That`s the kind of latest one we`re talking about.
Whatever you think of those people, look at yourself. What is it in us that gravitates to these billionaire sugar daddies and sugar mommies when
we feel scared for our society?
I`m trying to point us to a cultural tendency that is not about party and is not about whether Donald Trump is a good guy or a bad guy or any of the
other people I named but that we don`t look for people -- we don`t look for MLKs anymore. We don`t look for people who can build movements. We don`t
look for people who can organize like Cesar Chavez.
We look for people who are rich as a measure of character and a measure of their ability to save us. And we need to stop looking to be saved by rich
people. We need to stop waiting for trickle down change.
SREENIVASAN: Somebody`s going to come back and say, "I am giving opportunities to people who never had them whether I`m working with girls
and villages and developing parts of the world. Look, I`m not their government. I can`t change those things but I can help the situation."
Or maybe if I`m providing malaria nets, there`s hard data that shows that quality of life is improving. Health outcomes are improving. What`s so
wrong with that?
GIRIDHARADAS: It is better to give those malaria nets than not. It is better to help those girls than not. The marginal act is good.
What I`m concerned with is the system in which you are raping and pillaging economically, paying people as little as you can. Paying as few taxes as
you can. Routing your money through a double Dutch with an IRS sandwich tax maneuver to avoid paying your fair share of taxes.
You do all those things. You then donate to this charity and you get a tax deduction for it by the way. But you`re also part of the reason why, let`s
say, our foreign aid budget isn`t what it could be because you did all those things to avoid the government having money.
You are part of why those kids that you`re trying to help in inner city Detroit. You`re part of why their lives go the way they do because you
refuse to employ their parents in a steady way and pay them proper benefits.
So what I`m advocating for is people owning the fullness of their contribution to the world, not allowing a single gesture over here to
define them but asking, were you involved with the problems? And how could you get your whole life, your regular life, on the side of justice, not
just your side hustle?
SREENIVASAN: What is your own role in this? You are, whether you like it or not, a thought leader, not in the derogatory sense that you`re saying
So what are you willing to sacrifice? What are you willing to do? What have you identified as your role in this system?
GIRIDHARADAS: I spent a long time thinking about whether to write this book. It`s not convenient to criticize the richest and most powerful
people in the world. It`s not convenient to go after people whose names are on half the buildings that I enter and exit every day, who have made
philanthropic gifts to the news organizations that I write for. I mean this is not convenient.
I actually deeply believe that societies can make enormous -- can make very bad choices for long periods of time because of something as flimsy as
myths because of a belief that is actually so ethereal that Mark Zuckerberg is what change looks like, because of a belief that a billionaire second
generation tycoon from Queens is a champion for the common man. I really look at this country and think we`ve all been hoodwinked by a [13:50:00]
story about what change looks like. That`s simply not true.
SREENIVASAN: And that versus other stories of what changes look like that we do know about, the civil rights movement, the fight for women`s rights,
the fight for our voting rights.
GIRIDHARADAS: If you ask yourself, anybody listening to this, ask yourself, what did you do today? And how many of those things would you
not have been able to do 50 or 100 years ago?
Many of your viewers may not have been able to work in the job they do. Depending on their identity, a certain number of years ago, they may not be
in this country. Depending on policies, they may not have been able to vote. They may not have been able to sit at a restaurant counter.
And how did we change all those things? Why were you able to do all those things today that you wouldn`t have been able to do in the past? Because
rich people threw you some scraps? I don`t think so.
You were able to do those things because people organized, they marched, they fought, they spoke truth to power, they sacrificed, and they forced
powerful people to concede what was dear to them. They forced, frankly, sacrifice or overrunning power to do what was right and advance the common
And I think we`ve lost that whole vocabulary in a blizzard of vocabulary about leverage and scale and synergies and efficiency that is very good at
solving some kinds of problems but doesn`t actually comport with what it takes to advance social progress.
SREENIVASAN: So what are the solutions that those individuals and others should take? What are steps that they can take now, either in policy
prescriptions or lobbying and sacrifices that they can make that would be part of this much larger systemic solution that you`re asking for?
GIRIDHARADAS: There`s a fascinating movement that I write about in the book called "B-Corps," benefit corporations. It`s a company that
voluntarily certify themselves as not being evil, not being predatory, not dumping externalities in a society.
They pay people well. They respect the environment. They don`t cause social problems. That`s great.
I think an interesting idea that`s emerging, Elizabeth Warren has a proposal to require every company in America to be a benefit corporation.
That may be too far.
I think an interesting half-measure would be to give a corporate tax break to companies that don`t dump social problems into our laps relative to
companies that do. That`s an idea. I think we need to really think about civic participation again and that`s all the people running for office,
typically the record number of women running.
But there`s another thing, I think for young people when young people see a problem in the world that they want to do something about, they have been
trained by this kind of business culture of the last generation to think of private business fee fixes.
You see a problem, you think, "I`m going to start a cupcake company that donates to that problem." Or you see a problem, "I`m going to start a
charter school." I think we need to shift our orientation. When you see a social problem, think of what a public, democratic, universal, and
institutional solution to that problem would be. What would solve that problem at the root and for everybody?
I think we should think about things like people who do public service, we absorb their tuition debt as a society. Let people who teach or serve on
city councils or serve on county councils or work as even activists perhaps, let`s absorb their tuition. And people who want to go work in
finance, great, good for you, you will pay a little more for your education.
And there`s a lot of things we can do to reorient this country to be more public-spirited again. Every age has its own kind of temper and I think we
are -- part of what I`m arguing is that we`re living in a world in which we have over-indexed on a private endeavor. We`ve created amazing things
I don`t think anybody would say we don`t have enough great companies in America. I don`t think anybody would say we haven`t innovated enough. We
haven`t come up with enough great stuff.
The problem is we haven`t made all that work for regular people so that we have not just innovation but progress. If progress is defined as most
people getting ahead. And I think that the temper of this time that is coming and the time I would say almost the post-Trump era if we start
looking ahead is it needs to be an age of reform. And I think we`re simply overdue for another age of reform in American life.
SREENIVASAN: Anand Giridharadas, thanks for joining us.
GIRIDHARADAS: Thank you so much.
AMANPOUR: An age of reform. Anand Giridharadas throwing down a major challenge there.
But that`s it for now. Remember, you can listen to our podcast at any time and see us online at amanpour.com. And you can follow me on Facebook and
Thanks for watching the special edition of Amanpour. And goodbye from London.