PBS NewsHour full episode May 17, 2018

PBS NewsHour full episode May 17, 2018
    Watch the video

    click to begin


    JUDY WOODRUFF: Good evening.
    I'm Judy Woodruff.
    On the "NewsHour" tonight: high-stakes trade.
    President Trump admonishes China, as the U.S. hosts negotiations with top Beijing officials.
    Then: inside Yemen.
    Its people face a health care crisis, disease epidemics and chronic shortages of fuel and
    food amid ongoing war.
    Plus: the economic argument for deleting your social media accounts -- why one computer
    scientist says users should log off and demand change.
    JARON LANIER, Computer Philosophy Writer: If you and I talk over social media, the only
    way that can happen is if it's for the benefit of a third party who's paying for it.
    And their only possible benefit is getting us to change our behavior.
    JUDY WOODRUFF: All that and more on tonight's "PBS NewsHour."
    JUDY WOODRUFF: President Trump had tough words for China today, as trade talks with a delegation
    from Beijing got under way.
    The president said China had been -- quote -- "spoiled" by lenient U.S. trade policies
    for too long, and vowed that the U.S. would no longer be -- quote -- "ripped off."
    We will talk with an expert on U.S.-China relations right after the news summary.
    In the day's other news: President Trump pivoted from words of praise to threats of military
    force against North Korea.
    Meeting with the head of NATO at the White House, the president said he hoped that next
    month's summit with Kim Jong-un would go forward.
    Pyongyang has threatened to cancel the meeting if the U.S. insists that it give up its entire
    nuclear arsenal.
    Mr. Trump suggested if Kim doesn't make a deal, he could meet a fate similar to Libya's
    leader Moammar Gadhafi.
    After giving up his nuclear program in 2003, Gadhafi was deposed and then killed in a rebellion
    backed by the U.S. in 2011.
    DONALD TRUMP, President of the United States: If you look at that model with Gadhafi, that
    was a total decimation.
    We went in there to beat him.
    Now, that model would take place in we don't make a deal most, likely.
    But if we make a deal, I think Kim Jong-un is going to be very, very happy.
    JUDY WOODRUFF: The North has suspended talks with South Korea for continuing military drills
    with the U.S. North Korea's head negotiator blasted the South today as -- quote -- "ignorant
    and incompetent."
    The CIA has a new director, Gina Haspel.
    She was confirmed by the Senate today in a 54-45 vote.
    She faced opposition from Democrats for her role in harsh interrogations of detainees
    at so-called CIA black sites.
    But, today, six Democrats voted in her favor.
    And two Republicans, Rand Paul and Jeff Flake, opposed her.
    Haspel will be the first woman to lead the CIA.
    Today marks one year since special counsel Robert Mueller began investigating ties between
    President Trump's associates and the Russian government.
    In that time, Mueller's team has indicted 19 people and secured five guilty pleas, some
    from former high-ranking Trump officials.
    The president today used Twitter to rail against Mueller's probe, repeating his charge that
    it's -- quote -- "the greatest witch-hunt in American history."
    In the Democratic Republic of Congo, an Ebola outbreak has spread from rural areas to a
    city of over a million people.
    The country said it had confirmed the first case of the virus in the city of Mbandaka.
    The world Health Organization has rushed thousands of doses of an experimental vaccine to Congo;
    23 people have died there since the outbreak began last week.
    PETER SALAMA, World Health Organization: Urban Ebola is a very different phenomenon to rural
    Ebola, because we know that people in urban areas can have far more contacts.
    So that means that urban Ebola can result in an exponential increase in cases in a way
    that rural Ebola struggles to do.
    JUDY WOODRUFF: Congo's Health Ministry says that it will start administering the vaccine
    early next week.
    Back in this country, a violent eruption of Hawaii's Kilauea volcano shook the Big Island
    It's been spewing ash and blocks of so-called ballistic rocks said to be the size of microwaves.
    Today, the plume reached 30,000 feet high.
    Officials warned of dangerous driving conditions, and urged residents to shelter in place.
    On Wall Street today, the Dow Jones industrial average lost 55 points to close at 24714.
    The Nasdaq fell 16 points, and the S&P 500 slipped two points.
    Still to come on the "NewsHour": what's at stake in the trade talks between the U.S.
    and China; the American birth rate falls to a 30-year low; Inside Yemen, where war is
    tearing apart the country's health care system; and much more.
    Prospects for averting an all-out trade war dimmed today as the second round of negotiations
    between the U.S. and China kicked off here in Washington.
    As Yamiche Alcindor reports, both President Trump and the Chinese appear to be digging
    in their heels.
    DONALD TRUMP, President of the United States: We have been ripped off by China, an evacuation
    of wealth like no country has ever seen before.
    YAMICHE ALCINDOR: President Trump railed against existing trade deals today.
    He appeared pessimistic about talks aimed to head off a looming trade war.
    DONALD TRUMP: China has become very spoiled.
    The European Union has become very spoiled.
    Other countries have become very spoiled, because they always got 100 percent of whatever
    they wanted from the United States, but we can't allow that to happen anymore.
    YAMICHE ALCINDOR: President Trump said conversations with Chinese President Xi Jinping have changed
    since initial talks earlier this month.
    Today, the president met with Xi's top economic adviser, Vice Premier Liu He.
    Hours before the president spoke, his economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, laid out the U.S.'s
    LARRY KUDLOW, Director, National Economic Council: We have requested that China change
    their trading practices, which are unfair and in many ways illegal.
    YAMICHE ALCINDOR: There is word the Trump administration is demanding a $200 billion
    cut in China's trade surplus, and more protections for U.S. intellectual property.
    Last month, President Trump threatened to slap up to $150 billion of punitive tariffs
    onto more than 1300 Chinese exports.
    In turn, China took direct aim at the U.S.' farm industry and threatened 25 percent tariffs
    on soybeans, along with cars and aircrafts totaling $50 billion.
    China's commerce spokesperson said today in Beijing his country didn't want to see an
    increase in tensions.
    GAO FENG, Spokesman, Chinese Ministry of Commerce (through translator): Regarding the visit,
    we do not want to see the escalation of the trade frictions between China and the U.S.
    We will resolutely safeguard our own interests and will not trade our core interests.
    YAMICHE ALCINDOR: China has countered by asking the U.S. to lift the ban on giant Chinese
    telecom equipment maker ZTE Corporation.
    The company halted operations after the U.S. government restricted U.S. companies from
    selling manufacturing components to ZTE last month.
    It was caught illegally shipping goods to Iran and North Korea.
    On Sunday, the president tweeted he would help ZTE -- quote -- "get back into business
    fast" and added "Too many jobs in China lost."
    His tweet drew bipartisan outrage, as critics slammed President Trump for helping Chinese
    jobs before American jobs.
    Today, the president defended himself and said China's president asked him to look into
    DONALD TRUMP: They also buy a large portion of their parts for the phones that they're
    They're the fourth largest company in terms of that industry.
    They buy those parts from the United States.
    That's a lot of business.
    YAMICHE ALCINDOR: But this round of talks began amid deep divisions between U.S. Treasury
    Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Mr. Trump's trade adviser, Peter Navarro.
    Navarro, a China hard-liner, reportedly clashed with the more free trader Mnuchin during the
    first round of talks in Beijing earlier this month.
    Little progress came from those discussions.
    But Mnuchin, who's leading this round of U.S. negotiations, has signaled he's eager to cut
    a deal.
    For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm Yamiche Alcindor.
    JUDY WOODRUFF: The tensions over the U.S.-China relationship are certainly a large component
    of the administration's trade agenda.
    The president had wanted to renegotiate NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement, and
    get it approved by Congress, before the midterm election.
    The prospects of meeting that timeline seem increasingly unlikely.
    So, let's focus in on what's at issue with China.
    David Lampton is director of the China Studies Program at Johns Hopkins University's School
    of Advanced International Studies.
    And he joins me now.
    David Lampton, welcome back to the "NewsHour."
    DAVID LAMPTON, Director, China Studies Program, Johns Hopkins University: Good to be with
    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, we hear these comments from the president.
    We read there's this tension, and yet they're still meeting.
    How do you size up right now the state of U.S.-China discussions on trade?
    DAVID LAMPTON: Well, I think for -- unless you're involved directly in the talks, there
    are a lot of moving parts.
    So, we have to admit there's a lot we don't know.
    But I think the two sides are very far apart.
    And the aims that the United States has as a matter of broad policy are really rather
    diametrically opposed to China's desires.
    And they may end up compromising and just to agree to buy more in the short run.
    But I think we're very far apart on the fundamental issues.
    JUDY WOODRUFF: So we start out very far apart, and you're questioning where we go.
    You were telling us before -- we were talking about this -- that you think President Trump
    has identified correctly some problems with the Chinese and their approach.
    But you were saying you think he's used some of the wrong tools.
    What did you mean?
    Well, I think the trade deficit is a problem, because it reflects barriers to U.S.' most
    competitive industries.
    China, in effect, has an industrial policy that identify key sectors for the future,
    artificial intelligence, electric autos, high-speed railroad.
    And it's subsidizing firms in those areas.
    It is creating protectionist walls to keep out competitive firms.
    It's financing research and development to a very hefty amount.
    And the U.S. feels, in the aggregate, that's disadvantaging us.
    It gets reflected in the trade deficit, and many of our most competitive firms don't feel
    they have a level playing field at all operating in China.
    JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, I think what's confusing to many people is the president started out,
    as we mentioned, saying we're going to impose these tough tariffs against China.
    China turns around and, in effect, punishes some of the U.S. agriculture and other sectors
    of our economy.
    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, you know, it's hard to see how we're moving toward coming together.
    I think you remember the president said trade wars are easy to win.
    And I think he believed China is more dependent on us, the United States, than we are on them.
    But the fact is, the Chinese think our capacity to tolerate pain, because we're a democratic
    society, is much less.
    And they have targeted their retaliation precisely on those parts of the political spectrum that
    are most vulnerable and most important to President Trump.
    JUDY WOODRUFF: They have gone after states, even congressional districts, where it's clear
    the president needs political support.
    Let me ask you, David Lampton, about the president, out of the blue, a tweet, statement over the
    weekend that he wanted to do whatever he could to help this giant Chinese telecom company,
    ZTE, which had earlier been identified as a company that the U.S. should worry about
    because of potential espionage.
    JUDY WOODRUFF: How are we to read that?
    DAVID LAMPTON: Well, I think this is confusing to almost everybody who's looked at it for
    -- trying to find an underlying rationale.
    The fact of the matter was, we sanctioned ZTE because it had violated export controls
    to Iran and North Korea, among other places.
    We had reached an agreement, and the Chinese firm violated that.
    So, this was an enforcement act against specific things.
    Really wasn't part of the trade action.
    Apparently, President Xi and President Trump talked.
    He made a request.
    And then the president sort of seemed to rhetorically fold his hand, which then raises the whole
    issue of, how serious is he?
    You wouldn't think you would want to make a major concession or what could be construed
    as signaling a concession in the midst of the talks.
    So I think almost everybody was confused.
    It sent a bad message on law enforcement.
    JUDY WOODRUFF: And it's still unclear, I guess, where that's going to end up.
    JUDY WOODRUFF: Just remind us, David Lampton, what's at stake here for U.S. agriculture
    and for some of these big sectors, like aircraft, cars, and so on?
    DAVID LAMPTON: Well, firms like Boeing, for example, they assemble planes in one location,
    but parts come from every state in the union practically.
    And so, when China targets those industries, it's targeting a very broad swathe of American
    What else is at stake is prices in Wal-Mart, in Target for consumer goods, which will most
    affect many of the people at the lower part income spectrum.
    And so, I think the you have got an inflationary impact.
    Also, it will cost jobs, because if we raise the tariff on supplies such as steel and aluminum,
    then other countries that don't have those tariffs against those inputs, will have cheaper
    prices for their goods.
    And so I think we are going to lose some employment here.
    JUDY WOODRUFF: And we have seen the issues with American allies through all this too.
    JUDY WOODRUFF: Just quickly, what do you think the prospects are at this point, that they're
    going to work something out?
    Could it be through fits and starts or stumbles of one sort of another, that they come to
    some kind of useful agreement on trade, or not?
    DAVID LAMPTON: Well, I think they will reach some agreement, but it probably won't be dealing
    with the fundamental issue.
    And that -- the fundamental issue is, are we going to level the playing field so American
    competitive firms have access to China?
    And that's what the business community really wants.
    The easiest thing that China can do is just use some of its foreign exchange and buy goods
    without fundamentally changing the terms on which it's doing trade.
    So, my guess is that we will see some big number for what China is going to purchase,
    but we won't make as much progress on the fundamental structural issues, the level playing
    field, that we need to make.
    JUDY WOODRUFF: David Lampton, thank you very much.
    DAVID LAMPTON: Good to be with you.
    JUDY WOODRUFF: Birth rates in the USA have dropped to their lowest annual levels in three
    decades, falling for nearly every group of women, and part of a longer decline that dates
    back to the Great Recession.
    Amna Nawaz looks at some of the reasons why this may be happening.
    AMNA NAWAZ: More than 3.8 million babies were born in the United States last year.
    But last year's drop in the nation's birth rate, about 2 percent overall, was the largest
    drop in a single year since 2010.
    The rate even fell slightly for women in their 30s.
    And the teen birth rate continued its dramatic nosedive since the early '90s, down 55 percent
    since 2007.
    Last year, the only group to see a higher birth rate was women in their 40s.
    All this amid some concerns about America's aging population.
    Hans-Peter Kohler, who studies fertility and birth rates in this country and many others
    at the University of Pennsylvania, joins me now.
    Dr. Kohler, thank you so much for making the time.
    Let me ask you about these numbers now, the lowest number of recorded births in 30 years,
    the largest single drop since 2010.
    It paints a pretty grim picture.
    Is it?
    HANS-PETER KOHLER, University of Pennsylvania: So, this report is big news, and, on the other
    hand, not all that surprising.
    So, the U.S. stood out among high-income countries as one that had relatively high fertility.
    And the Great Recession changed that, and across many high-income countries, the recession
    resulted in declining fertility rates.
    The really surprising part is that we have now been quite some years through the recession,
    and unemployment rate is very low, and that trend hasn't changed.
    So these low fertility rates, despite relatively good economic conditions, are really surprising.
    I wouldn't argue that they're a disaster or particularly worrisome.
    I would argue that the U.S. demographics in general continue to be relatively healthy,
    at least compared to many other high-income countries.
    AMNA NAWAZ: So, let's talk about the economic anxiety part of this.
    Obviously, a lot of people point toward that as a theory why the birth rate declines.
    But, as you mentioned, we're out of a recession now.
    So, how do you look at these numbers?
    How do you explain this decline?
    HANS-PETER KOHLER: So, presumably, a big part is driven by a delay of childbearing.
    So, there have been big declines in teenage fertility rates, and that is good news, because
    that presumably indicates a big decline in unintended or mistimed pregnancies.
    And across adult ages, that's presumably a delay of childbearing resulting from, on one
    hand, a desire to have children at later ages, often perhaps pressured by economic stress
    in early adulthood, or high housing prices, or desires to actually invest in child quality.
    And so these trends combine into a pattern where fertility and parenthood is going to
    be increasingly later.
    That's going to be across the board.
    And the U.S. shares this across many high-income countries.
    AMNA NAWAZ: A lot of people sometimes float a theory about immigration playing a role
    in birth rates increasing or declining.
    Tell me about that.
    HANS-PETER KOHLER: I don't immigration has a big factor in this story.
    So, immigrant fertility adjusts relatively quickly to the U.S. native fertility.
    And I don't think changes in immigration policy, immigration flows had a big contribution to
    these recent declines in total fertility rates.
    AMNA NAWAZ: So, Dr. Kohler, tell me why we care so much about birth rate.
    Obviously, people will pay attention to these numbers.
    They will note these declines.
    But what do the numbers say about the health or trajectory of America right now?
    HANS-PETER KOHLER: Many would see the number of children as an indicator of the well-being
    of the adult population, from the notion that individuals who are satisfied with their life
    and have relatively good economic prospects are more likely to have children.
    The other reason we care about this is that children born today are obviously the workers
    25 years down the road and are retirees some 60, 70 years down the road.
    And so the number of birth is going to shape the overall size and structure of the U.S.
    population, and that has a magnitude of implications on both the economic situation and social
    situation of the United States.
    So, in the long term, if this trend persists, they're going to have profound implications.
    And the annual number of birth probably has relatively small implications.
    AMNA NAWAZ: So, Dr. Kohler, you mentioned these numbers aren't terribly surprising to
    They're also not terribly worrisome right now.
    At what point do you start to get worried?
    HANS-PETER KOHLER: Well, if we compare the U.S. to other high-income countries, we could
    see that fertility could drop a lot lower.
    So, total fertility rates dropped to rates like 1.2 in many Southern European countries.
    They're at these levels in South Korea, and were at somewhat higher levels in Japan.
    So, on one hand, there's quite a bit of possibility for further decline -- further declines in
    And once we get to very low fertility, or what I have called lowest low fertility, at
    some point, then the kind of implications of rapidly aging populations and possibly
    declining labor force become very difficult to manage through social policies.
    AMNA NAWAZ: Dr. Hans-Peter Kohler at the University of Pennsylvania, thank you for your time.
    HANS-PETER KOHLER: You're most welcome.
    JUDY WOODRUFF: Now we return to our series Inside Yemen.
    Tonight: a look at a failed state, collapsing because of actions by humans.
    War has raged since 2015 between Shiite Houthi rebels backed by Iran and Yemen's government
    backed by a Saudi-led coalition.
    The Houthis control large areas of Yemen, including the capital, Sanaa.
    Their conquest reach as far south as the port city of Aden.
    They were forced from Aden by the coalition, which includes the U.S. and the United Arab
    The Emiratis still control the city, which creates friction with Yemen's government.
    Meantime, the vast majority of Yemen's 29 million people suffer from critical food shortages,
    a lack of fuel, and a health care sector in crisis.
    Tonight, again in partnership with the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, special correspondent
    Marcia Biggs reports.
    MARCIA BIGGS: Here in the neonatal ward of Aden's Al-Sadaqa Hospital, mothers take turns
    looking after their babies, filling in the gaps of a broken health system and a skeleton
    So, you have 43 babies, and how much staff do you have?
    INES MOHAMMED AKLAN, Yemen (through translator): Three.
    MARCIA BIGGS: Ines Mohammed Aklan runs the ward where vital electricity to power incubators
    and oxygenators comes and goes.
    Dr. Ines says she loses almost a quarter of the premature babies that arrive to her ward
    within hours.
    This baby was brought in just a week ago, premature.
    His lungs aren't fully formed yet.
    But he's in severe respiratory distress, he's just over three pounds.
    Right now, he has oxygen.
    Today you have electricity.
    MARCIA BIGGS: But tomorrow?
    INES MOHAMMED AKLAN: Don't know.
    MARCIA BIGGS: Less than half of Yemen's health facilities are functional, amid a health crisis
    that has seen epidemics of preventable and largely eradicated diseases, like cholera
    and diphtheria.
    Public hospitals exist on few resources, relying on international aid groups for supplies.
    All of these medications came from outside.
    MARCIA BIGGS: What would you have if you were only relying on the Ministry of Health?
    INES MOHAMMED AKLAN: Empty, empty place.
    MARCIA BIGGS: It would be empty?
    INES MOHAMMED AKLAN: Empty, yes.
    (through translator): It feels like we're begging.
    Everything comes from the aid groups, supplies, teaching.
    The government is doing nothing.
    MARCIA BIGGS: Yemen's entire infrastructure was badly broken when the war against Houthi
    rebels began in 2015.
    Now it's on the brink of collapse.
    A bankrupt central bank means thousands of public sector workers, doctors, teachers,
    go with little or no salary for months on end.
    Civil services have ground to a halt.
    Gas stations sit abandoned, leaving people to rely on fuel bought on the black market
    to run their cars and generators.
    "This city is supposed to be liberated," this man shouts.
    "Three years, and nothing has changed.
    There is no government.
    We don't get anything from them."
    And in this Aden market, we meet fisherman Nabeel Ahmed, who has had this shop for 11
    NABEEL AHMED, Fisherman (through translator): Without gas, none of us can go to the sea
    to fish.
    If I buy gas at these prices, I have to sell the fish at a high price.
    Sometimes, we have to close.
    We don't work.
    MARCIA BIGGS: More deadly than lack of fuel, lack of food.
    A Saudi blockade on Yemen's Houthi-controlled north late last year dealt a heavy blow to
    a country which relies on imports for 90 percent of its food.
    Seventeen million Yemenis, over half the population, don't have enough food to survive.
    So, here in Aden, it's a big city.
    There is food available.
    The problem, the prices.
    We're going to go talk to some shopkeepers now.
    BASHIR SALAM, Yemen (through translator): The previous price was 20.
    Now it's 40.
    Bashir Salam says he had to double some of the prices in his shop.
    BASHIR SALAM: We used to give normal people goods on credit.
    They would pay at the end of the month.
    Now we can't.
    We tell them, you have to pay in cash, so I can have cash to keep things running.
    MARCIA BIGGS: Kifah Abdul Kafee says high prices make feeding her family a daily struggle.
    Who do you blame?
    KIFAH ABDUL KAFEE, Yemen (through translator): The government.
    Who else would we blame?
    A very corrupt government.
    There are people who are dying of hunger inside of their houses.
    They don't dare to go out.
    They don't go out to ask for help, even for medicine.
    This is too much to handle.
    MARCIA BIGGS: Life here is a grind.
    Everywhere you go, you see destruction like this.
    There's been virtually no rebuilding.
    Trash piles up in the street.
    There are open sewage lines.
    They may have driven the Houthis out of this part of the country, but the official Yemeni
    government is massively fractured.
    The result?
    A failed state.
    Ahmed bin Ahmed al-Maysari is Yemen's interior minister, a cabinet member of embattled and
    exiled President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.
    What do you say to the people who are paying double what they used to pay for food, who
    don't have fuel, who say that Yemen is a failed state?
    AHMED BIN AHMED AL-MAYSARI, Yemeni Interior Minister (through translator): Yes, we are
    suffering, but it's nothing to compare with what the situation was when Houthis were here.
    We are still in the negative.
    Soon, we will reach zero point and we will go to positive.
    They have to be patient if they want the truth.
    MARCIA BIGGS: But patience is in short supply.
    In January of this year, a separatist group backed by the United Arab Emirates stormed
    the streets of Aden, claiming corruption in the cabinet and demanding that it disband.
    Three days of clashes left scores dead, including seven men assigned to protect Maysari.
    He says the attackers were puppets of the UAE, which controls the south as part of a
    Saudi-led coalition formed to fight the Houthis.
    AHMED BIN AHMED AL-MAYSARI (through translator): We don't regret that Emiratis are here.
    They helped us.
    But you can't go to the port without permission from UAE.
    You can't go to the airport without permission from UAE.
    You can't enter Aden from without the permission of UAE.
    I -- as the minister of interior, I don't even have authority over the prisons.
    What is my value as the minister of interior?
    The coalition originally came to fight Houthis with us, so wherever there are Houthis, the
    Saudis and the UAE must be there.
    But once an area is liberated, the legitimate government should be allowed to rule it.
    MARCIA BIGGS: Do you feel occupied?
    MARCIA BIGGS: Am I not correct?
    It sounds like occupation to me.
    AHMED BIN AHMED AL-MAYSARI (through translator): It's undeclared.
    We have a lot of indicators on the ground that support what you just said, but we still
    think good of UAE.
    And the answer to your question will come in the next few months.
    It's either that the coalition countries prove that they came to support the legitimate government,
    and they enable us to do our work, or they will prove the thing you just said, and I
    myself will go and say it in a press conference, but not now.
    MARCIA BIGGS: But these women will say they feel occupied.
    How old is he?
    Sixty-five years old.
    Mohamed Saleh is one of hundreds believed to be held in secret prisons run by the UAE
    and its proxy forces.
    He was taken six months ago from his home by police allegedly on charges of terrorism,
    and disappeared without a trace.
    His sister Mariam comes every week to protest with other family members, desperate for information.
    MARIAM SALEH, Yemen (through translator): We are not even allowed to go to the coalition
    offices to ask about our family members.
    Did they come to help us get rid of Houthis or destroy us?
    This is a crime.
    We're humans, not animals.
    MARCIA BIGGS: We asked the representative of the newly reopened Ministry of Human Rights
    about the status of the detained.
    RADFAN MUFTEIHI, Ministry of Human Rights (through translator): The courts have been
    closed for 2.5 years because of the war, and they just reopened six months ago.
    Now that they are open, things will get better.
    The coalition security used to say that they can't release any suspects because, with no
    courts, there could not be a trial.
    MARCIA BIGGS: Did you hear anything back?
    The UAE officially denies their use of secret prisons.
    But the minister of interior tells us otherwise.
    He says he was in talks with the UAE on behalf of these families, but the attack on his government
    in January shut down communication.
    Hanan's husband, Rami, has been detained for over a year-and-a-half.
    HANAN MOHAMED ALI HASAN, Yemen (through translator): The Yemeni government has no control over
    This is our country, but the coalition treat us like slaves in our country.
    They are occupying us.
    They have helped us once, and we thank them, but they need to leave.
    MARCIA BIGGS: Here in the south, the silence of stalemate is a far cry from the scream
    of airstrikes in the north.
    And life goes on amid the rubble of yesterday's war, with little hope for tomorrow.
    For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm Marcia Biggs in Aden, Yemen.
    JUDY WOODRUFF: For the past few weeks, we have been reporting on the spread of misleading,
    false or hyperpartisan news on social media.
    And, last night, Miles O'Brien took a look at what Facebook is doing to crack down on
    what he calls junk news.
    Tonight, our economics correspondent, Paul Solman, talks to a Silicon Valley visionary
    who thinks we should do away with social media entirely.
    It's part of our weekly series Making Sense, which airs Thursdays on the "NewsHour."
    PAUL SOLMAN: When it comes to social media, computer scientist and virtual reality pioneer
    Jaron Lanier doesn't mince words.
    JARON LANIER, Computer Philosophy Writer: Anything you do on Facebook is fundamentally
    So, I won't go on it myself.
    PAUL SOLMAN: Lanier, who's also an offbeat musician, has been sounding a discordant note
    about social networks for years.
    His latest book is "Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now."
    His core concern is an economic one.
    JARON LANIER: The economic problem is, very simply, that we have designed a society where,
    if you and I talk over social media, the only way that can happen is if it's for the benefit
    of a third party who's paying for it.
    And their only possible benefit is getting us to change our behavior.
    PAUL SOLMAN: To get us to buy, that is, goods, services, but, most perniciously, ideologies.
    JARON LANIER: So it becomes a society based fundamentally on sneaky manipulation.
    Everybody has hired a hypnotist who they don't know, who's being paid by people they don't
    know, for purposes they don't know.
    There's sort of the cognitive extortion racket now, where the idea is that, you know what,
    nobody's going to know about your book, nobody's going to know about your store, nobody's going
    to know about your candidacy unless you're putting money into these social network things.
    PAUL SOLMAN: Right.
    All that information we share about ourselves online, Lanier argues, is not only used to
    sell us stuff, but to manipulate our civic behavior in uncivilly destabilizing ways.
    Just look at the spread of fake news and the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
    JARON LANIER: In the last presidential election in the U.S., what we saw was targeted nihilism
    or cynicism, conspiracy theories, paranoia, negativity at voter groups that parties were
    trying to suppress.
    The thing about negativity is, it comes up faster, it's cheaper to generate, and it lingers
    So, for instance, it takes a long time to build trust, but you can lose trust very quickly.
    PAUL SOLMAN: Right, always easier to destroy than to build.
    JARON LANIER: So, the thing is, since these systems are built on really quick feedback,
    negativity is more efficient, cheaper, more effective.
    So if you want to turn an election, for instance, you don't do it with positivity about your
    You do it with negativity about the other candidate.
    PAUL SOLMAN: Lanier says smartphones and smart speakers are now being used to modify our
    behavior on a titanic scale, without our informed consent.
    JARON LANIER: What you see is being calculated carefully based on measurements about you,
    about your interests, the timing.
    The companies claim they can tell all kinds of things about your psychological state,
    your state of health, all kinds of things.
    And all of this is used to place ads and content in front of you that will have some predetermined
    effect on you.
    PAUL SOLMAN: But I get these ads all the time for chairs that my wife had looked at a while
    ago, or singles.
    I get all these ads for singles.
    And I go, please, it has absolutely no effect on me at all.
    JARON LANIER: So, we're dealing with statistical effect.
    So let's say I take a million people, and for each of them, I have this online dossier
    that's been created by observing them in detail for years through their phones.
    And then I send out messages that are calculated to, for instance, make them a little cynical
    on Election Day if they were tending to vote for a candidate I don't like.
    I can say, without knowing exactly which people I influenced -- let's say 10 percent became
    3 percent less likely to vote because I got them confused and bummed out and cynical.
    It's a slight thing, but here's something about slight changes.
    When you have slight changes that you can predict well, and you can use them methodically,
    you can actually make big changes.
    PAUL SOLMAN: So the people who are sending me pictures of chairs because they saw that
    my wife had bought a couple, they wouldn't be doing it if some people weren't responding?
    JARON LANIER: Well, it's even a little sneakier than that, because, for instance, they might
    be sending you notifications about singles services because, statistically, people who
    are in the same grouping with you get a little annoyed about that, and that engages them
    a little bit more.
    PAUL SOLMAN: Oh, really?
    JARON LANIER: Oh, sure, absolutely.
    And it's not...
    PAUL SOLMAN: So, I am annoyed.
    So, you mean they're having the desired effect?
    JARON LANIER: It might have caused you to click a little bit further and then see some
    other ad that had an influence on you.
    So, it might actually be having its desired effect.
    Now, I want to make something clear.
    There's nobody sitting at a cubicle in Facebook or Twitter anywhere who's saying, oh, we're
    going to get that Paul with a singles ad.
    This is all statistical, as it pulls you in a little bit more.
    It's a funny thing.
    It's a little bit like -- have you ever known someone who is always is just on the edge
    of annoying you, but you can't quite understand them, and in a way you're drawn in more and
    more to try to get that person?
    I had a very good friend like that.
    JARON LANIER: That's Facebook.
    PAUL SOLMAN: Annoying, but compelling in a...
    JARON LANIER: Yes, because your brain is trying to solve the puzzle.
    This is the magic of inconsistent feedback.
    It's not a simple matter of the dog hits the button and gets the candy, hits the button,
    gets the candy.
    Once in a while, a clever trainer actually withholds the candy bit, so the dog becomes,
    wait, what do I have to do to get the candy?
    PAUL SOLMAN: Social media, says Lanier, have turned us into trained dogs.
    But he thinks we'd be better off as cats, who prize their independence.
    JARON LANIER: You can put a cat out somewhere, and they will fend for themselves.
    And that sense of integrating modernity with independence is, I think, what every person
    seeks, and is harder and harder to get at.
    But cats have it.
    PAUL SOLMAN: So, how to become a cat?
    Lanier has long argued that we have to force the social media business model to change,
    insisting companies should be paid by users, instead of third-party advertisers, subscription,
    instead of supposedly free TV.
    JARON LANIER: So, we have services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, HBO.
    TV got better, by almost universal acclaim, when people were willing to pay for it.
    And so what's going on here is that, when the user is also the customer, all of a sudden,
    what that user gets is better, because they're the customer.
    PAUL SOLMAN: But is this for everyone?
    As Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg argued to Judy Woodruff recently,
    Internet advertising is essential for a mass medium.
    SHERYL SANDBERG, COO, Facebook: It's what enables us to make this product available
    to people all around the world for free.
    Two billion people use the product.
    If it weren't advertising-based, most of those people wouldn't be able to.
    PAUL SOLMAN: Lanier's retort?
    JARON LANIER: This idea that you allowing the whole society to be run by a manipulative
    scheme is the only way to not be elitist has got to be one of the most cynical and sort
    of cruel-minded arguments going right now.
    I mean, it's ridiculous.
    PAUL SOLMAN: Which is why Lanier vows not to have a social media account until he can
    pay for it, and says you and I shouldn't either.
    Please forgive me, then, for not having checked my Making Sense Facebook page in weeks.
    For the "PBS NewsHour," this is economics correspondent Paul Solman in Berkeley, California.
    JUDY WOODRUFF: It was a moment that changed America.
    Fifty-five years ago this month, thousands of African-American children walked out of
    their schools and began a peaceful march in Birmingham, Alabama, to protest segregation.
    They were met with attack dogs and water hoses.
    The disturbing images shocked the nation and became the catalyst for the Civil Rights Act.
    This moment in history has now come alive for a group of students who traveled to Birmingham.
    Special correspondent Lisa Stark of our partner Education Week went along with them.
    It's part of our series Race Matters.
    MAN: Everywhere that I went, this is what I always saw, "Colored" and "White."
    LISA STARK: These fifth and sixth graders are mesmerized.
    MAN: Our restaurants, our dentist's office, our doctor's office, everywhere that we went,
    this is what we always saw when I was your age.
    LISA STARK: John Alexander (ph) and Charles Avery (ph) grew up in the segregated South.
    MAN: My dad asked me, what is your greatest ambition in life, son?
    I said to drink out of that water fountain, talking about that white water foundation.
    I just wanted to know what it tastes like.
    LISA STARK: For those listening, these stories are now much more than just a chapter in a
    history book.
    Here's Amari and Avion.
    AVION, Student: They used the word "I," as in like, they're themselves, so you're actually
    looking at the person.
    AMARI, Student: We get to hear their perspective on it, because nobody can tell their story
    better than the person who actually experienced it.
    FRANCESCA PECK, Polaris Charter Academy: We believe in the power of immersion and the
    power of bringing history to life for our students.
    LISA STARK: Francesca Peck is the director of culture and character for the Polaris Charter
    Academy in Chicago, a school with an in-depth curriculum that stresses first-hand learning.
    FRANCESCA PECK: Let's come immerse ourselves, let's come experience it, let's come to the
    primary source and get a feel of what it was like to live at that time.
    LISA STARK: To do that, these Chicago fifth and sixth graders traveled 10 hours and more
    than 600 miles, from Illinois to Alabama.
    FRANCESCA PECK: Welcome to Birmingham, ladies and gentlemen.
    Give yourselves a round of applause.
    We have made it.
    LISA STARK: Birmingham, the site of the 1963 Children's Crusade.
    Thousands of young black students left their classrooms to march against segregation.
    These students are here to examine and record their own thoughts on what transpired back
    then and why.
    This visit to Birmingham isn't a field trip.
    It's fieldwork.
    And it puts the students right at the center of their own research project.
    It comes after a year of preparation in the classroom, studying the civil rights movement.
    NARRATOR: And they were singing one word over and over.
    LISA STARK: They have watched documentaries.
    MARTIN LUTHER KING JR., Civil Rights Leader: Don't worry about your children.
    And they are going to be all right.
    LISA STARK: Analyzed photographs.
    FRANCESCA PECK: What are they trying to accomplish?
    STUDENT: They're trying to accomplish their freedom.
    They're trying to earn what they work for.
    LISA STARK: Dissected first-hand accounts and studied the arc of civil rights history.
    Polaris Charter Academy is largely African-American and low-income.
    The school's mission includes instilling a sense of activism and social justice.
    FRANCESCA PECK: It's not just that children are critical thinkers and that children are
    producing high-quality work and that they are of, like, great character, but really
    that they see themselves as agents of change in their community.
    LISA STARK: So, they're here retracing steps child activists took 55 years ago, visiting
    the 16th Street Baptist Church, where marchers gathered.
    AVION, Student: Being inside of it made me feel kind of excited, because I knew that
    Martin Luther King was in that same exact spot, in that same exact place.
    LISA STARK: Studying the memorials in the park, where authorities decades ago unleashed
    dogs and water hoses against the protesters.
    STUDENT: I feel like -- I kind of feel angry.
    FRANCESCA PECK: Tell me more.
    STUDENT: The white people want the dogs to bite humans, and they're not treating humans
    as humans.
    AMARI: They teach people in kindergarten that everyone is equal and to just be kind.
    And the fact that they were so brutal to African-Americans is not OK.
    LISA STARK: They're confronting some of the most frightening symbols of the time and meeting
    men and women who were young students themselves when they marched for equal rights.
    Janice Kelsey was 16 during what became known as the Children's Crusade.
    JANICE WESLEY KELSEY, Foot Soldier, Birmingham Children's Crusade: We sang "We Shall Overcome,"
    and we walked out in pairs.
    And we were stopped by police officers, who told us , "You stay in this line, you're going
    to jail."
    I had already made up my mind I was going to jail, and that's exactly where I went for
    four days.
    RAYMOND GOOLSBY, Foot Soldier, Birmingham Children's Crusade: So, this is holy ground,
    all of this, young people.
    All of this is where it all happened.
    LISA STARK: Raymond Goolsby was 17 at the time and recalls his fear waiting in the 16th
    Street Baptist Church to begin the march.
    RAYMOND GOOLSBY: Now, my group was the first group out, and I'm sitting there shaking like
    a leaf on a tree in the building before we walked out.
    And I say, man, I don't know whether I want to do this.
    All those billy club, police standing out there with the billy clubs.
    LISA STARK: The stark images from that time, now memorialized, shocked the nation, leading
    to a fierce backlash.
    Birmingham leaders buckled, releasing the students from jail and agreeing to begin desegregation.
    NINA, Student: I feel thankful for the people that went through all this, because if they
    wouldn't have went through it, that means I would have had to went through it.
    And I know, for me right now, I wouldn't be that brave enough to do what they did.
    LISA STARK: Four months later, angry white supremacists would place a bomb at the 16th
    Street Baptist Church, killing four young girls, including Cynthia Wesley, Janice Kelsey's
    close friend.
    JANICE WESLEY KELSEY: Because she gave up her life for things that I believed in, then
    agreed to talk about it to young people, so that you will know what it took to get to
    where we are.
    LISA STARK: Today, of course, Birmingham is a very different city, the nation a different
    But these students are encouraged to connect the past with the present.
    FRANCESCA PECK: We are here to ask the question, how do members of a community effect change?
    LISA STARK: If you guys could march today, what would you march for?
    LANCE, Student: Well one, I would march for gun violence, and I would also march for,
    like, justice.
    LISA STARK: What about you?
    What would you march for today?
    AVION: I would march for the same things as Lance, peace and gun violence, so people could
    stop killing each other.
    LISA STARK: Many of these students live in neighborhoods touched by violence.
    Trinity, Student: You know, like, we need to make a difference, but it's just, like,
    can really one person make a difference in the world?
    LANCE: Like, some people don't believe that kids could actually made a change, but I believe
    kids can actually make a change.
    LISA STARK: With encouragement from those who have come before.
    RAYMOND GOOLSBY: What you got to do is study hard, and you will be able to compete for
    whatever you want to do.
    The sky's the limit with you young people.
    The sky is the limit.
    LISA STARK: A future shaped by those early civil rights activists.
    AMARI: I will definitely remember it because it's a part of my history, because it's a
    part of people who are like me.
    And it's our story.
    And this generation, they have to decide on whether they're going to make a story like
    that generation did.
    LISA STARK: For the "PBS NewsHour" and Education week, I'm Lisa Stark in Birmingham, Alabama.
    JUDY WOODRUFF: Next, our weekly Brief But Spectacular series, where we people talk about
    their passions.
    Monica McGuiness and Aaron Rodriguez spent two years traveling 80 miles to a hospital
    in Oakland, California, so their 8-year-old son, Devin, could receive treatment for cancer.
    They share their experiences with us tonight.
    MONICA MCGUINESS, Mother of Devin: Devin is my son.
    He's 8 years old, and he is the brightest little boy ever.
    AARON RODRIGUEZ, Father of Devin: It was beginning in April.
    It was about a week.
    MONICA MCGUINESS: Before the hospital.
    AARON RODRIGUEZ: Before the hospital trip.
    He was having -- I got out the shower and I seen him trying to use the restroom, and
    it was hard for him.
    And then I told her, make a doctor's appointment, because I think he has a UTI.
    So, they did the ultrasound, and that's when...
    MONICA MCGUINESS: They found the mass.
    AARON RODRIGUEZ: They found...
    MONICA MCGUINESS: But they didn't know, like, what the mass was until we went to Children's
    Hospital Oakland by ambulance.
    And then we stayed the night there.
    And then the very next day, they told us Devin was going to go in for a biopsy.
    And, you know, he went for his biopsy.
    And after that, they let us know that Devin was diagnosed with stage 4 embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma.
    He took the diagnosis, I guess, very well.
    I guess he doesn't really -- didn't really understand.
    He just knew he was going to be, you know...
    AARON RODRIGUEZ: That he was sick.
    MONICA MCGUINESS: That he was sick and he was going to get bald.
    AARON RODRIGUEZ: It was really serious that he could -- he can actually die from it.
    And that was the hardest thing to tell my son.
    AARON RODRIGUEZ: He just got quiet.
    He just took it all in.
    AARON RODRIGUEZ: And he's a really strong little boy.
    AARON RODRIGUEZ: And he took it to heart, and that's the day he started fighting.
    It was very hard just to see my son, that just, when I thought cancer, all I heard was
    MONICA MCGUINESS: His first question was, is my son going to die?
    AARON RODRIGUEZ: ... going to die?
    That was because everybody hears cancer, and everyone thinks death.
    AARON RODRIGUEZ: We spent his birthday, New Year's, Christmas, Halloween, Easter...
    MONICA MCGUINESS: I think all the holidays.
    AARON RODRIGUEZ: ... every holiday, birthdays, we spent at the hospital.
    MONICA MCGUINESS: They really made him feel comfortable, which made us feel at ease as
    well, because, when Devin is feeling good, we are feeling good
    QUESTION: What do you have to say to other parents who are going through what you went
    AARON RODRIGUEZ: I can handle it one way.
    As you can see, I'm a crier.
    And she holds back.
    MONICA MCGUINESS: And, plus, you can't really find somebody's silver lining for them.
    You know, you can't say, oh, everything's going to be OK or they're going to -- they're
    You know, we as parents don't want to hear that.
    This is our child.
    He shouldn't have to be going through this.
    He should be playing little league, and he should be going to school, instead of having
    to take the year off to get chemo.
    You know, try to explain to all of your loved ones and family members and friends what exactly
    childhood cancer is and what you go through as parents.
    AARON RODRIGUEZ: As of three weeks ago, Devin is -- no signs of cancer.
    He's back to...
    MONICA MCGUINESS: He's back in school.
    He's doing really good, fighting with his brothers and sisters.
    AARON RODRIGUEZ: Getting on our nerves.
    MONICA MCGUINESS: Getting on our nerves.
    It's changed my life by appreciating my kids or Devin even in the bad times, when he's
    on my nerves, because I missed that the whole time when he was going through treatment.
    My name is Monica McGuiness.
    AARON RODRIGUEZ: Aaron Rodriguez.
    MONICA MCGUINESS: And this is our Brief But Spectacular take...
    AARON RODRIGUEZ: ... on childhood cancer.
    JUDY WOODRUFF: And we are so happy to hear that Devin is doing really well.
    And you can watch additional Brief But Spectacular episodes on our Web site, PBS.org/NewsHour/Brief.
    JUDY WOODRUFF: The nation's largest youth development organization, 4-H, has been preparing
    young people for careers in agriculture and farming for over 100 years.
    As part of the "NewsHour"'s Student Reporting Labs series Making It Work, Alexis Lesher
    and a team of students at Cedar Crest High School in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, report on
    how one hard working 15-year-old turned a swine project into a profitable business.
    ALEXIS LESHER: If you happen to stop by Grumbine's Berkshires and Farm, you will be surprised
    at who greets you.
    Business owner Dakota Grumbine is only 15 years old.
    He started the business as a 4-H project when he was just 8, but it didn't get off to a
    smooth start.
    DAKOTA GRUMBINE, Grumbine's Berkshires: When I first started off, I didn't really have
    any luck as far as the breeding standpoint goes.
    I couldn't get pigs settled.
    The litters were small.
    Not many of them had a second litter, or they just didn't work out.
    So it took me a while to get a sow base built up.
    ALEXIS LESHER: Dakota now has 20 sow, four boars, and almost 200 customers.
    He breeds pasture-raised Berkshire pigs, which command a higher price, over a dollar more
    per pound than regular commercial pork.
    DAKOTA GRUMBINE: There's a lot more management involved, as opposed to when I had five sows,
    where I knew all the sows off the top of my head, their ear notches and everything.
    Now I have got to write that down or keep track of it somewhere, because I can't remember
    all of that information anymore.
    ALEXIS LESHER: Dakota created a Web site about his product and sells to butcher shops and
    He has traveled as far as Illinois, Iowa and Ohio to learn more about the business.
    His father has also helped him with the business and says that it's beneficial that Dakota
    has started so young.
    DARREN GRUMBINE, Father of Dakota Grumbine: The younger you are when you start something,
    the easier it is to pick it up.
    I see other kids don't enjoy certain opportunities such as public speaking and talking to strangers.
    He did that stuff at such a young age, that now he doesn't even really think about some
    of those things that hold a lot of kids back.
    ALEXIS LESHER: He goes to school seven hours a day for five days a week, like any other
    student, but when he gets home, he has to do his homework, while still keeping enough
    time to manage his pigs.
    DARREN GRUMBINE: He balances it pretty well.
    He does well in school.
    And he has some things that he does for fun that he really enjoys.
    ALEXIS LESHER: Dakota's business is starting to pay off financially, too.
    He makes an annual profit, which is increasing each year.
    DAKOTA GRUMBINE: Even if I don't continue raising hogs for the rest of my life, it's
    experience at a young age of coming home every day and having responsibility.
    I can walk away with a lot of different assets as far as management and time management,
    money management, you name it.
    The farming industry and especially the hog industry encompasses a lot of things that
    I will be able to use later on in life.
    ALEXIS LESHER: For the "PBS NewsHour" Student Reporting Labs, this is Alexis Lesher in Lebanon,
    JUDY WOODRUFF: And what an impressive young man Dakota is.
    On the "NewsHour" online right now: President Trump may be closer to a sit-down interview
    with special counsel Robert Mueller.
    White House correspondent Yamiche Alcindor reports that the president's lead lawyer,
    Rudy Giuliani, says that Mueller's team is narrowing possible questions for Mr. Trump,
    and says the prospect of talks look more hopeful than it did a day or so ago.
    That and more is on our Web site, PBS.org/NewsHour.
    And that's the "NewsHour" for tonight.
    I'm Judy Woodruff.
    Join us online and again here tomorrow evening with the analysis of the week's news with
    Mark Shields and David Brooks.
    For all of us here at the "PBS NewsHour," thank you, and we will see you soon.
    PBS NewsHour full episode May 15, 2018 The surprising thing about the declining U.S. birth rate How the upper middle class keeps everyone else out What quality of life can minimum wage workers afford? Why some manufacturers are returning to the U.S. What's at stake in China trade talks for U.S. companies PBS NewsHour Special Report: State of the Union 2016 Struggling to survive in the rubble of Yemen's war WATCH: President Trump meets with NATO secretary general in Oval Office Why we should be more like cats than dogs when it comes to social media