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tv   69th Annual George Polk Awards  CSPAN  February 20, 2018 11:02am-11:45am EST

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internet when you read 10% to 13%. go to the national organization on his charitable organization. the clinton foundation is rated at one of the highest ratings for the use of money, over 90% of the money contributed to the clinton foundation goes to charity. or 11% to 13% comes from the garbage onon the internet. it's repeated so many times do you believe that. secondly, i would respectfully suggest you do you please take a look at the chapter of my book. there's lots of mistakes i said hillary clinton could have done over. but if you are right, october 28th in the morning, she was ready to win and she would've won according to all the data, but all the other data proving thatul she would've wonn october 28th, 2016 and was on the way up towards election day before all the headlines that cost a lot of people to stay
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home. she still be donald trump, who denies this, by 3 million votes in america and she lost the elect roh college. >> you can see the last few minutes of discussion from this morning's "washington journal" on our website. the c-span.org. live to the national press club here in washington d.c. for a discussion on new media coverage of the russia investigation. we hear from reporters with the "washington post" and "the new york times." this is just getting underway here live on c-span2. >> work with faculty who teach the rider university from the vibrant heart of rockland through to 322-acre campus on long island gold coast. one of the longest lasting and proudest honors is to serve as the home of the george polk award. this year we commemorate her 70th anniversary of the murder of george polk who paid the ultimate price for reporting truths during the greek civil war as a cbs news course on it.
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long island university created a journalism award in 1949 to carry out george polk's legacy in for 69 years under journalist to deliver impactful and thought-provoking work. it's an award that recognizes a broad range of media and stays current with the time that categories reflect in a range of locations, and mediums and topics. the polk awards have become one of the most prestigious and shares journalism honors because of the quality and thoughtfulness that men and women who painstakingly judge it. i want to thank and recognize thirsting panel advisers and ross engelman, chairperson of the journalism department at l.a. you and i also want to recognize john garten, a longtime reporter for "the new york times", a two-time polk winner and we are very proud that he serves as our curator for the polk award. now over the decades, the polk
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awards have represented an unbroken chain of the best journalists, including bob woodward carl bernstein, walter cronkite, edward murrow, peter jennings kaunda norman mailer, seymour hersh, glenn greenwald in today's honorees. most importantly, the polk awards symbolize their commitment to the american promise of a free press and awareness a moment to celebrate the incredible in per journalist that pursuit truth at all costs. it's an interesting dichotomy between information truth was mark funds in social media, we have never had more access to information in your truth is more elusive than ever. the polk awards honor truth. our judges painstakingly review 485 submissions this year. many stories have shown their potential to be life-changing and even world changing and each
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was told because a journalist unraveled a web of thought to tell the truth to read it, absorb it. we cannot properly honor the magnitude of their work, the volume of submissions were the obstacles they face in just a single moment. as always we will host a reception at the roosevelt halt to officially give the words. in light of the free press and sacrifice that went into the submissions, we will be honoring a 2018 polk award winners, but to take a moment to say their names out loud and to honor their work. before we announce their honorees in the finest tradition, i am pleased to introduce what promises to be a fascinating panel discussion with journalists working at the highest levels in informing the public about one of the most important stories facing our nation, the russian investigation. i'm interested to hear challenges they face in work that goes into verifying the facts that appear under their bylines and some of america's most important publications.
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i am honored to invite to this stage greg miller of the "washington post," michael ash met at "the new york times" and to moderate this discussion, margaret sullivan, a media columnist for the "washington post" and former editor of "the new york times." [applause] >> well, thank you very much. this is a great day and it's especially a great day because i have two wonderful reporters here who usually are in the position of asking the questions, but today i'm going to get to ask them some questions. you in the audience are also invited towards the end of our half-hour to jump in with questions of year-round and i hope you will. so, we will get started on the topic of leaks, which i'm curious to hear both of you talk
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about because this past year has been one in which leaks have certainly been at the center of many news stories. i wonder if you would each talk to me and to the audience a little bit about what you see as the state of reporting through leaked information on what the challenges are and where we are on the trajectory. there were a lot of people who thought after the obama administration crackdown on those who leaked and president trumps fair at, that things would dry up. that doesn't seem to have happened. michael, i would like to start with you. would you like to talk about how you do your reporting museum lakes and a little bit on the process of verification as well.
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>> i think the thing that is going on with leaks that's a little different now than certainly anything i've seen in the past i've been watching for six years as there is a group of folks in the government but have some insight as to what going on. i think are unnerved by the president and have loosened them up to speak more freely about things we wouldn't know about ordinarily. there is a fair amount of leaks in the first six months of 2017. i think is the president came in and folks in the government and outside the government saw how he was operating on the day felt a willingness and they need to come forward and provide us with information. it is never as easy as i think the readers sometimes thinks it is. we are not just sitting there at our desks and the phone rings and here's the story. usually if the information comes in now way there something wrong with it. but at the same time, one of the
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other reasons we've seen so much information out there is media organizations have dedicated so many resources to this and so many reporters out there trying to get information on what has become the numbers game. the people more willing and more motivated to speak, that will be due. >> greg, just talk about it a little bit. >> i think there are two kind of overlapping issues are factors here that we have seen play out. one is, he is right, there are people in all parts of government who are dismayed at times by what they see happening to these institutions and, you know, in times of very pure motivation, sometimes less than pure motivation. i don't want to call attention to what they see, but i also think trump himself because of the way he approaches the job
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doesn't engender a lot of loyalty. this is a president who appoints fingers of blame across his administration all the time, including his closest aide. many of them lasted a very short time in the white house and others probably can't be certain that they will last much longer. i think that is a big contrast for the obama administration, which expect and demanded an internal intense loyalty. otherwise you are not going to be inside. in this case, there's just a lot more chaos and a lot more uncertainty about where you stand. >> and by contrast, the molar investigation seems to be virtually leakproof. why is that and do you regard it as a journalistic problem? i'd like to hear from both of you on not. first of all, why is it?
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>> i think that moore is someone who has never been pressed friendly hymns of them sort of set the tone from the top about that. i think mohler understands they need and importance to have the public on his side. if you look at that indictment he put out on friday, you can't help but look at it and think, was mohler trying to make an argument to the public or prove to the public or show the public that there was something here despite what the president says? he appreciates that, that he has never been someone that was pressed friendly. is basically the opposite of call me. i think that they understand that they are under a microscope in the way that no one has ever been before. i think they felt a bit earned initially by some of the stories about how there were so many democrats there.
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they saw that as a problem. i think they have done everything they can. they have the whole issue with the agent moved off the case for his text messages. and i think they know that the slightest mistake will destroy them world will be used and exploited against him and because of that they been very disciplined. i was watching over the weekend stuff on television about the starr investigation. in that case, you had folks going into the grand jury coming out to the in the courthouse that wasn't the stuff they told the grand jury. it was a little more out there publicly that mohler has been in there is just a different feel around it. maybe because of the counterintelligence matter, but it's a pretty big lockbox. for example the indictment on friday, we knew nothing. we knew the information had been
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out there, but i haven't seen any reporting that mohler -- mueller was indicted. >> you think that's indicted in a way? >> kind of both. i think the top of any institution sets the tone. obama sets the tone for the way his white house is going to be. trump sets the tone for the way his white house is going to be in mueller at the tone for the way his white house is going to be. >> really interesting dynamics because you have these who are in some ways adversaries. you have trump and his sort of chaos that he creates around him and then you have the office of mohler. trump, e-mail, it's hard to know whether this is a source of real
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frustration for in, the you can sort of see that he likes to drag adversaries onto the stage or her into the spotlight with him where he can lash it them on twitter or public remarks. he did this with comey and they continue to go back and forth. mueller doesn't present that kind of target for trump. he is not visible. there is nothing for trump to really grab onto. >> it is a huge presence, but an invisible one. >> mueller give a graduation speech after he was special guest and i don't think they've made a public statement since then. there was maybe one or two statements that his spokesman put out about different things, but he can't find them. >> greg commented the indictments on friday surprise you in anyway? what what was your reaction?
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>> i had a series of reactions because it initially was diving in and see msn it was really the material. in a way, it really i think altered our unders and in that the big picture russian interference. i think it gives us a different timeline that goes back even earlier than we understood in terms of when this operation, the active measures campaign is conceived, when they take their initial steps in how utterly they had identified denigrating hillary clinton is the main object is. trump is right when he tweets that this is all happening and coming into existence before he's even declared his candidacy. that doesn't mean they don't turn their efforts towards supporting him when he does
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arrive. but you know, he's right at their initial object to was to sow discord and to take on and go after hillary and that happens earlier than i think some of us really do. >> michael, you've broken so many stories this past year and i prefer to you in a column as the ubiquitous michael schmidt because you are at the center of so many of these things and breaking them. when you look back over the year, what stands out for you as a particular journalistic highlight? >> i guess probably the most significant thing when i look back on an issue is this story about trump asking comey two and the flynn investigation just because they really sort of elevated this story to another
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level in the mueller was appointed right after that ended change the story in a sense where it wasn't just a russian collusion story. it was a story about the president's conduct in office and about his efforts to influence call me. it was also fascinating on an interpersonal level between comey in trump impala trump so misunderstood comey. if there is anyone who would not take to that kind of statement and would turn it around and use it against trump, it would be comey. and the dynamic of trump asking comey for his loyalty is just such a misreading. it is such an unforced error by the president that has created this larger cloud over his administration not only from a legal bid, but just from a human active i found it interesting. but you know, for us it is just
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done an incredible year where we see this very competitive fight with the post. >> they were also friendly. [laughter] >> inasmuch competitively as that can be annoying, it pushes us to work harder, to push harder and i think it has led to better journalism. it is -- it can be frustrating and competitive and that, but at the end of the day, we are both pushing each other to do the best work we can. >> greg, let's talk a little bit about the post outstanding story that you are one of the authors of back in june to elect a president obama's reaction to russian interference and now we know so much more than we did then about it and there was a quote in that story that became
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sort of a missile on its own. can you take us through that a little bit. i don't know if i can reconstruct it as well as you can. talk about that a little bit. >> i think for us the story that we did on the obama administration struggled to deal in real time with the russian interference as it was unfolding was important on a couple levels. one, i think it was just critical to take a look at this moment in history and try to capture from as many sources and as many angles as possible how this happens, what the internal thinking was, why certain decisions were made and so forth. but also when i look back now, we in the press are often accused at this moment for being too critical of trump orange zest with trump or focused --
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obsessed with trump or just focused on what happened on obama's watch. i sometimes point to that as an example of how the "washington post" and all the journalistic organizations are subjecting people of power, of all varieties to meaningful scrutiny and that is at the core part of our job. they really captured, you know, the second i heard the official used those words >> which were? >> i think we sort of choked. a captured a lot of the feelings of almost everybody we interviewed. members of the obama administration involved in this, who, you know, presented this unified front in public. we did the best we could. we handled it absolutely right. there's nothing else we could've done. when you sat down with them,
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they often express something along these lines. this was just the best version of that expression. >> did you know when you heard that it would be as explosive as it turned out to be? >> i thought that might be the case when we were having a meeting up opposed in their planning stages of how to package the story and there were editors and others making the case that should be the headline across the top of the page. i think we sort of smartly pulled back from that. that would've been a bit over-the-top. >> okay, good. we have time for questions and we have about 10 minutes for that. i would love to get the roving mike if anybody would like to jump in here, it would be great. there is one. >> do you anticipate or see any signs of an impending crackdown
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on whistleblowers and leakers in the administration and do you think this'll be an issue over the next few months or years? >> the attorney general has said it plainly and publicly that they are going after this issue has aggressively as possible. the president has clearly stated this as a top priority publicly on twitter and such. it is obvious that he is obsessed with leaks. there are i think a number floating around that there's three days in late investigations right now. under way the government is looking at changing the guidelines to how the justice department can be more aggressive in coming after leakers. all the signs including the press conference sessions had about the show that they are moving in that direction.
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these cases are incredibly difficult ones to make. despite all of this chatter about crackdowns that doesn't seem to deter folks from speaking. they understand the consequences of speaking. they knew it before the president made an issue of it and i think they still feel a need to come forward to talk. >> this past year we spent a lot of time internally talking about protection sources, comparing notes on reporters on how we go about that, trying to agree as part of a broader team, covering national security. you know, make sure everybody's doing everything we can.
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obviously we are not the only ones. it's amazing how many sources now light up apps on our phones. mike just sort of outline those coming after us, but there are countermeasures that many of us are also taking all the time. >> dinks. i know sometimes we go after things but the bottom line in mind. it might not work out, but we have that suspicion. i'm wondering, what is your bottom line here? are you up but do not have this whole thing affected the outcome of the elections, is that a bottom line for you or are you in your minds just going where it's leading where do you have a bottom line?
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>> i think for us i would say more the latter category. i don't think there is an outcome here that any of us sees that his clear or that we are driving towards. there is obvious questions that we are all pursuing. but i don't think -- i certainly don't have a bottom line and perhaps others at the post or focused on trying to determine, especially after this indictment on friday and how much new detail we have about the extent of the russian effort to influence voters then be able to point to specific places on the map and where this has been happening in the united states. it is a question that i think is important to luck out again to what extent can you determine whether the russian interference affected votes. but i think we are, as a group, just a million questions that we
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are after all the time. >> michael, must you have a very different -- >> i like that one. >> who else? >> is a government contractor i take my security clearance very seriously. i was wondering if you could speculate on what may have been a week or so from now when some of these interim clearances are going to be polled in what is going to happen in terms of how is our government going to function in the discord potentially between kelly and what trump wants to do. >> michael, do you want to handle this? >> you are worried that the white house will see dysfunction in the white house. [inaudible] probably opposed to what should be done in policy. >> we're watching that closely
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because it puts the ball entrance court so to speak. if we are serious about enforcing this policy kelly outlined that would restrict those who only have temporary clearances for access to this stuff, that hits a lot of people in this white house. the question is whether they are really going to do that. that conceivably obviously in our story and one of my colleagues broke that story, immediately points to somebody like jared kushner, will trump, who can, sort of preemptive process and extend full clearance to him in order that pushed or another skit full clearances they will need apparently, or does he -- is he concerned about any political blowback for taking that step? if he does that, that is not going to be appreciated by the
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national security apparatus in washington that takes these issues really seriously. >> over the past year, in addition to the great work you've done, we've come to see you on cable news channels regularly, sometimes talking about stories before we read the stories. michael especially i understand. i'm wondering, is there a danger from a journalist perspective and how do you prepare for it? how are you careful not to say more than you should say is a journalist? >> i would love it if mike would say it all the time. i think he is perfect for it. i would encourage that. >> so, i'm never going to go on tv and talk about a story until the story goes online and i'm not even going to tell the network that we have anything coming until it goes. usually when i am going online, i am basically reciting what i have written online.
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in many ways it is a good advertisement for ourselves. it takes our product, it shows you who i am and what we are doing. you know, television can be a dangerous place. if you make a slight mistake you can really imperil yourself quite quickly. but at the same time you can reach a lot of folks in brain to them the reporting that we are very proud of that and it can be a very powerful medium for us. at the end of the day, the most important thing that i can do and do do is report. that is the icing that you have to really go out and do the firmware. if you're not out there with stuff like that in your religious going on tv, i don't think as reporters that is not what we want. >> this might be the last one. >> a question about another big
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story. michael schmidt, correct me if i'm wrong, but you were the first to report about hillary clinton having a private server. can you tell us how you got that story? >> i had the pleasure of covering up the benghazi committee that no one in the washington bureau really wanted to cover. .. from a a very early time after that, the sort of march at 2015 i went home for passover that year and my mother who is a good new york democrat said when jeb
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bush is president we will have you to blame. [laughing] and so i knew early on that to a lot of folks that were not going to like that story but it's not really my job. my job is to follow the facts. >> didn't play out exactly that way. >> thank you both very much. this is great and we will move on to the next exciting part of the event. thank you. [applause] >> i john and i'd like to welcome you all to this event with a special thanks to our panelists for discussion that was illuminating, penetrating, and even quite a bit worrisome i felt a great millet, michael
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schmidt and margaret sullivan, the incomparable media writer,, the best in the business i think. thank you for that. very good. as doctor klein noted, we decided to hold our announcement of the awards in a public forum this year because we want to underline, emphasize quality journalism and how important it really is in this tense time. i think we can all agree that 2017 was an extraordinary year for news both at home and abroad, and we can also agree that news outfits are having a tough time of it. the financial pressures are unrelenting, and partisan attacks coming from all sides. so it's good to just take a moment now and back and celebrate outstanding work that is being done. it's a reminder that an independent and feisty press is
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a bulwark to our democracy. so we have 12 poke judges as dr. cline mentioned, we went over 485 submissions. we whittle them down to first 90,. >> translator: , then finally a winning 17. in three categories we decided to have shared awards. that's because, frankly, it became just impossible to select one over the other. we thought it was not just futile but in a way almost unfair. so here goes. if you have questions afterwards, i'll try to answer them. the winners for best work done overnight, 2017, the george polk winners, the first category is a special award category and it is shared by the staff of the "new
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york times" and the staff of the "washington post" for revealing ties between the trump campaign officials and the kremlin connected russians that gave rise to the robert mueller investigation. foreign reporting, iona craig, "the intercept," for documenting the destruction and civilian casualties of a covert navy seal raid on a remote village in yemen. national reporting, again this is now a shared award. jodi kantor or and make injury of the "new york times," and ronin pharaoh of the new yorker for exposing a decades long sexual predation of the movie producer harvey weinstein and his campaign to cover it up. local reporting, melissa,
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buzzfeed for drawing attention to innocent men framed for murder by a chicago police detective in stories the led to their release from prison. emigration reporting, this again is a shared award. maria perez, naples daily news for exposing the practice of florida companies hiring undocumented workers in dangerous jobs to avoid compensating them when injured. in some cases by arranging their deportation. and also to antonio, and joseph of the phoenix new times for revealing that motel six in phoenix provided nightly guest rosters to ice agents investigating undocumented immigrants.
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financial reporting, the international consortium of investigative journalists for mining a a trove of 13.4 millin records to reveal how corporate giants and prominent individuals use financial manipulations to evade taxes. medical reporting, nina martin of propublica, retin-a of npr for explaining the reasons and portraying the tragedies behind an alarming increase in maternal deaths in pregnancy and delivery in the u.s. political reporting, stephanie, beth reinhard of the "washington post" for digging into the past of senate candidate roy moore of alabama to disclose on the record accounts of sexual
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assault upon a 14-year-old girl and his pursuit of other teenagers. magazine reporting, the new yorker for showing the humanitarian devastation caused by the shrinkage of lake chad and underlining of the connection of ecological disaster to famine and armed uprising. photography, to adam dean and thomas of the "new york times" for capturing the plight of rohingya fleeing burning villages in myanmar, and pouring into woefully unequipped refugee camps in bangladesh. national television reporting to ellie reeve of vice news for on the scene up close coverage of the charlottesville protests that probed the motivational and
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tactics of white nationalist leaders. foreign and television reporting, cnn for uncovering a hidden modern day slave auction of african refugees in libya. public service to david of cbs news for capturing the destructive power of hurricane maria in puerto rico, and documenting how limited a from the federal and territorial governments delayed the islands recovery. and finally and award in commentary to gail collins of the "new york times" for collins of satiric wit and neighborly wisdom that probed the oddities of american politics and social mores.
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so those are the awards i suggest we give all of our winners a collective round of applause. [applause] >> and if you do have any questions, i'll try very hard to answer them. if not i i guess we all agreed that they are the best ones possible. i'd like to just note one thing, which is unusual for us. this year we had an unusual selection of online news outfits. never before have we honored vice news or buzzfeed or "the intercept" for their work. i'm not sure what this means but means either they're moving into the mainstream or we're kind of broadening our net. but in any case i think it is true that they are having more and more influence over the daily news.
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okay. thank you all very much for coming. [applause] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
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[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
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[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> coming up at noon eastern we will be live at the heritage foundation with a look at some of the cases currently before the supreme court including
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union membership wearing t-shirts with political messages and polling places and california requiring certain information be provided if pregnancy crisis centers. that will be at noon eastern live on c-span2 from the heritage foundation. to get us is there a discussion from this mornings "washington journal." >> host: howard kurtz is a media buzz host for the fox news channel and author of the latest bookd media ban, the press, the war over the truth. good morning. could you connect the dots between those things, the president, the press and the spreade of truth? >> guest: to say this is a scorched earth warfare going on between the two sides. every image sayn he said he wod my book spin cycle about the clinton white house. the was a national, natural and visceral tension between the two. we've never seen anything like this butse we've never seen such unrelentingly negative coverage, personal, harshly personal in nature as we're seeing as this president and we've never seen a president of

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