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American Government Broken?; Jose Andres, Feeding Unpaid Federal Government Employees; Transportation Agents and Air Traffic Controllers Underpaid; Government Shutdown, How Long Will It Last? Developments on R. Kelly's Sexual Abuse Allegations; Sexual Abuse Allegations; The Threat of Corporate Monopolies. Aired 1-2p ET
Aired January 17, 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." Here's what's coming up.
The pain of the Federal shutdown intensifies, security at airports gets worse just as security is in the news again with a deadly attack on
American troops in Syria. I'll speak with a top Republican congressman.
And, R. Kelly, one of our R&B's most successful singers faces a reckoning, over years of alleged sexual abuse of underage girls. I speak with the
founder of the #MeToo movement, Tarana Burke.
Plus, does Facebook need to be broken up like a 19th century oil monopoly? Why the legal scholar, Tim Wu, says big tax time has come.
Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
Is American government broken? Consider this, the generosity of the celebrity chef, Jose Andres, was once reserved for victims of natural
disasters. You remember, he fed the people of Puerto Rico after the devastating 2017 hurricane with millions of meals.
But now, he's helping out in a manmade disaster, feeding people who have good full-time jobs. But they work for the Federal government and they've
gone unpaid for nearly four weeks. And so, they are lining up at food banks, many on the brink of financial ruin.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROY BLUMENTHAL; FEDERAL CONTRACTOR: There will be no back pay for this. This is unpaid time off for me. So, that's definitely not ideal right now.
Just coming off of the holidays. And also, I recently got engaged. So, I was trying to save up for the wedding.
CELINA MINGO, FEDERAL WORKER: I don't understand why we as government workers are being penalized for a wall that we have nothing to do with.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Now, unlike the previous 20 government shutdown since 1976, we're learning this week as well that this one is having a big and serious
impact on the economy. And neither transportation security agents nor air traffic controllers have been paid in nearly four weeks either. They
secure and land the tens of thousands of flights every day in the United States, as you can see in this sped up animation.
Government missing in action when it is needed most. Even in the midst of crises and danger overseas, of course, ISIS has claimed a suicide attack
that killed at least 14 people this week, including four Americans, that was in Syria.
Adam Kinzinger, is a Republican Congressman from Illinois. He sits on the Foreign Affairs, Energy and Commerce Committees and he himself a veteran of
the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Congressman Kinzinger, welcome to the program.
ADAM KINZINGER, U.S. HOUSE REPUBLICAN: Thank you. Thanks very much.
AMANPOUR: You know -- so, let me just ask you first because we saw this animation and that really goes to the heart of what many, many people can
understand and relate to. People who fly every day for the business or their families or whatever it might be.
I mean, how dangerous is it right now these aircraft controllers are not being paid and it's such a stressful job?
KINZINGER: Yes. I don't know about the danger of it because they're going to work and they're being good people and doing their job but they're not
getting paid. They will get paid, they'll be made whole but many people live paycheck to paycheck.
This is stupid. This is the dumbest way to do government. When we take an issue we disagree on, like immigration, that I think is actually really
easy to solve, it's going to take both sides, getting a little something they want and something they don't want to make this -- to get this done.
But instead, we go to our corner as we pout and there's a lot of people that are, you know, casualties of this, not getting paid. It's dumb.
And this is where the American people have got to demand more of their leaders, compromise is not a dirty word.
AMANPOUR: Well, I mean, you know, you say that but there is this unbelievable impasse and a lot of fingers have been pointed towards the
president's own party of which you are a member. But you have broken with sort of the monolithic votes of your own party on certain issues that could
keep certain parts of the government open.
Do you know think it requies -- you know, you say the people but representatives and senators as well to get to step up to the plate of
getting back to governance?
KINZINGER: Yes, absolutely. It's going to take, you know, not staring at the polls and wondering if we're going to lose a primary if you do
something, it's going to take doing the leadership that, frankly, people invest in us to do here. And that means, taking some votes that may not be
popular but you know it's right for the country. I voted to reopen all the parts of government that have nothing to do with the reason this whole
thing is shut down and the disagreement.
And I'm calling on both sides, my own party and the other party, to get off our intransigent positions where we're not willing to move from it, come
and find a solution that I think 80 percent of the American people would agree with when we're done. We'll take care of the DACA Population. We'll
increase border security, which will be a wall in some places, not from sea to shining sea. And I think we can get this done and the American people
would be like, "Finally, we got that -- what was that, 30-day shutdown about?"
So, it's disappointing, it's not fun being out here during this process and it's especially not fun for those 800,000 people that need a paycheck.
AMANPOUR: Exactly. And you can relate a little bit in some aspects, you yourself are a pilot, you were in the Air National Guard, you served, as I
said, in military interventions overseas and it is extraordinary, you know, that some of these people who put their lives on the line having to do so
in the most stressful way possible and that's not knowing whether they can meet the needs of themselves and their families.
And so, I wonder what you make of what the president said. He said now, you know, in a phone call to supporters this week, "We're going to stay out
for a long time if we have to." I mean, does that look like someone who is looking for a way out of the impasse?
KINZINGER: No, not really. It's like, you know, the people around him, there are some good people that are trying to say, "Let's find a solution,"
and then there are some people that are not so good, that are saying, "You need to have the other side capitulate totally."
And I'll tell you, the only way it's going to get us to a point where one side capitulates is not a realization that somebody is out messaging or has
done a better job in the shutdown, it's that the disaster in this country is going to get so bad and there's going to be such an impact that that
And ultimately, nobody wins from that. And in politics, whether in politics here or anywhere around the world, you know, the idea that the
other side has to totally lose for us to declare any kind of a victory is problematic for the long-term health of this political system.
AMANPOUR: I mean, it really is but it is the sort of motif, if you like, of politics today in so many places. Just before I get to what you're
saying, additional impact and long-term impacts, I want to talk about the economy in the minute.
But I want to ask you, what -- is it the fact that you've been in the military? Is that the fact that you've served overseas? What gives you
the political stomach to go against the president?
KINZINGER: It's that I don't need this job, you know. I'm glad I'm doing it. I believe in what I'm doing but I don't think this isn't the last job
I'll ever hold my life. I'll go on to do something else. And at the end of my life, I want to look in the mirror and say, "When I had this power,
this authority, this ability, that I did what was right for as many people as I could." People disagree with my political positions, that's fine.
But ultimately, lives is the biggest thing that matters and quality of life and American leadership around the globe. And I'll stand strong to that no
matter what the consequences are because it's the right thing to do. My military service had an impact on that, my background, my family had an
impact on that. But I just think, ultimately, people don't put us out here to play political games, they put aside here to lead and we have to lead
and tell them what leadership is.
AMANPOUR: And just to remind you, you are a Republican, you are in the president's party and there hasn't been that much willingness to buck the
trend that you're showing right now.
So, now, let me ask you about a very serious impact that is taken even the White House by surprise, and that is practically doubling the estimate of
the economic impact on growth in the country. I mean, it looks like it's going to be pretty bad and dig right into their predictions of an economic
KINZINGER: Yes. And this is at a moment when some people are predicting global economic slowdown, you know, we're kind of an example of the
opposite of that, we're in a great period of economic growth, low unemployment. This isn't the time to mess with that.
And, you know, this has an impact on the debt and deficit, has an impact on jobs and bottom line. And as much as just even the actual impact of not
getting paid and all that that comes with it, there's a psychological impact. All in economy is human interactions. It's an idea. And when
people feel confident, economy grows.
This is not giving people confidence when their leader is out here. This isn't a massively, you know, mind blowing issue we're shutdown over, this
is kind of an issue (INAUDIBLE), that we're not going to remember in 20 years.
So, we're doing damage to ourselves out of pride and it's dumb in both sides. This is much for the Democrats as the Republicans, have got to put
something on the table. They don't like to get to the end of this.
AMANPOUR: Do you have any idea of what needs to be put on the table? What would you, your side, put on the table and the other side?
KINZINGER: Well, it's hard -- neither sides are really putting anything out there. So, it's hard to say what would be accepted. I would like to
see the money for the wall and then also DACA and DREAMer population taken care of, the people that were basically brought here as young kids that
don't know other country. We know we have to deal with this, the Democrats really want to deal with it too.
This is a kind of thing where I think maybe not everybody likes everything in the bill, but I've learned in my eight years in Congress that if you
have something that both sides are a little ticked off about, usually the American people like it.
AMANPOUR: But here's the thing, there was a time when it looked like a deal on all these issues would be made and then the hardliners in your
party who the president actually listens to, not even elected officials, but people in the social media and that sort of sphere, boxed him back into
the corner and he said, "No, no, no. I can't do this." So, it's not even just you in government.
KINZINGER: Yes. I mean, that was very disappointing when that happened on our side. I'll also point out too though that the new Democratic Party has
got a lot of new people that say they'll never talk about building a wall, they've never talk about that, and that's not a good starting position
either. That's why I said, you know, if we sit back and say, "This side is more to blame than the other side," I think only God can judge who's
actually more to blame because we all are looking at this through our opinions.
But I think the best thing we need to do for the health of the country is say, "Let's both come off of our positions," including the people that are
talking to the president, like Steven Miller that keep backing him off of this or Ann Coulter, "and let's get this done. We can be happy. Get it
done and move on to the next crisis that we create out here every two days."
AMANPOUR: Interesting that you call out names. I find that very interesting. Because, of course, those are the names we all hear and you
can add a whole load of other, you know, radio hosts and others who are sort of, you know, sniping and attacking from the sidelines.
Let me ask you this, obviously, Secret Service is involved and all sorts of people who secure dand otherwise, work where you are now, on Capitol Hill,
in Congress, and you've obviously heard the speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, has sent a letter saying to the president, "Consider delaying your
State of the Union until the government is open or deliver it by letter on the dates that you've chosen."
What do you make of that? I mean, is there a legitimate security concern with all of you under one roof and, you know, this situation continuing?
KINZINGER: No, there isn't. I mean, the Capitol Police are being paid, they have appropriations. The Secret Service is working, obviously, the
president is secure right now.
I actually thought that it was pretty petty to pull the invitation of the State of the Union. I think really what it comes down to is she didn't
want him to have that form in front of the American people. I understand her not want him to have that but he's president. And I also think that
when she came out and said it was a security concern, it was disingenuous. I'm not -- look, she's the speaker of the House, they're in the majority.
I'm not going to argue that she doesn't have the right to do that. I just think from a political perspective it was pretty petty and I think it kind
of appears that way.
AMANPOUR: You know, we were talking about the military and sort of other aspects of what's been going on amid this government shutdown. We've seen
that there's a terrorist attack in Syria where ISIS claims to have killed, you know, 14 or so people, including 4 Americans. We've seen what's
happened in Kenya, with al-Shabaab claiming and American citizens and others have been killed in that as well. And the president is still
insisting that he's going to pull out of Syria, Afghanistan, et cetera.
I mean, given your military background, what do you make of this? Because we understand that the president was told when he went on his last surprise
trip to Iraq that ISIS was still must stronger than he had believed and, you know, saying that it had been defeated is not quite what's the case.
KINZINGER: Right. Yes. Look, I agree, we heard that, and I think he moderated his position a little bit and then Rand Paul gets in his ear. I
mean, this is this guy, Rand Paul, with no foreign policy background, he's a Libertarian, which, by the way, the Libertarian Party gets about 2
percent in every national election for good reason. It's a legitimate viewpoint, just most Americans reject it.
The idea that we can leave Syria because ISIS is defeated, we saw was not the case. It doesn't mean we need to stay in Syria in perpetuity. But it
means we need a plan to continue to stay on the offense against terrorism and ISIS but also, what I call kind of a second level war on terror, which
is soft power.
The seven, eight, nine-year-old's that are in refugee camps right now, that feel hopeless, that look at Assad and kill -- who killed their family and
look to ISIS as potentially the only alternative to the misery that they're in. When people have hope, they cannot be recruited in terrorist
organizations. When they're hopeless, terrorist organizations can recruit them in a record pace.
AMANPOUR: And I just point you towards one of your colleagues, Republican Lindsey Graham, in the Senate had to say about the situation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LINDSEY GRAHAM, U.S. SENATE REPUBLICAN: My concern about the statements made by President Trump is it you have set in motion enthusiasm by the
enemy we're fighting, you make people we're trying to help wonder about us. And as they get bolder, the people we're trying to help are going to going
to get more uncertain. I saw this in Iraq and I'm now seeing it in Syria.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, I mean, I don't know whether you think that's coded language but he seems to be setting up the president for some blame over this latest
ISIS attack, just like he mentioned Iraq, which is obviously the criticism he had of President Obama pulling U.S. forces out of Iraq prematurely.
KINZINGER: Yes. I don't want to go far to say, you know, that the president is to blame for yesterday's attack. I mean, that was obviously a
very bad person and we don't know if that attack would have gone forward anyway. But the senator is correct.
I mean, the reason we won in Iraq with the surge was not really the addition of 20,000 troops that was helpful, but it was when the president
at a time when everybody was telling him to leave said, "Not only am I not going to leave, I'm going to double down and we're not going to be
defeated." You had a massive shift in the enemy to become allies because they know you'll never defeat the United States of America on the
battlefield. Your best hope is to defeat our will.
And when the president equivocates and says, "We may reduce in Afghanistan or we might or may not pull out of Syria," that emboldens the enemy to
recruit because they say, "Look, they may have pushed the caliphate back but we're going to come back even bigger now, " and it's a really big boon
to recruiting and it's the wrong thing to do.
AMANPOUR: So, I want to just ask you about some reporting that's been done from the Pentagon, where it appears that certain number of military
personnel and uniformed personnel and the civilians there are getting kind of nervous about this president and about the potential of using the
military for political reasons, and they are trying to figure out whether this is a threat, whether they're going to have to, you know, deal with
this. And some are concerned that by calling out the military already to have patrolled the border, you know, over what wasn't a military threat,
that that red line has been crossed.
Where do you stand on how a president uses the military of the United States? And do you believe the president crossed a red line?
KINZINGER: No, I don't. I actually disagree a lot on the issue of using the military on the border. In fact, in two weeks, I'm going to the border
as a military officer to do border duty. That's through the National Guard.
I do think that Title 10 Force as active duty forces can play a role. Obviously, there's legal implications in terms of what they can do with
powers (INAUDIBLE) can't do. So, I'm not against that.
Now, I don't want the president to send military to the border as a political stunt. But if he has a legitimate reason for them to be there to
embolden the security of the border, I'm for it. But I do think the broader concern in the Pentagon about the nervousness that I'm hearing is
related to the constant change in policy, for instance, in Syria and the idea that a senator with no foreign policy experience is advising the
president and has his ear, and I think that makes a lot of people nervous.
AMANPOUR: Really, really important issues. Now, let's just, again, talk a little bit about some of the positions that the president is trying to
fill, notably for the attorney general and there were hearings on Capitol Hill this week. This is the nominee, Bob Barr. He's being questioned by
the Democratic Senator Dick Durbin in this in this to and fro.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICHARD DURBIN, U.S. SENATOR DEMOCRAT: A number of my colleagues on both sides have asked, and I'll bet you'll hear more, questions along the lines
of what would be your breaking point, when would you pick up and leave, when is your gym at this moment when the president has asked to do
something which you think is inconsistent with your oath? Doesn't that give you some pause as you embark on this journey?
WILLIAM BARR, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL NOMINEE: It might give me pause if I was 45 or 50 years old, but it doesn't give me pause right now because I
had a very good life, I have a very good life. I love it. But I also want to help in this circumstance. And I am not going to do anything that I
think is wrong and I will not be bullied into doing anything I think is wrong.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Of course, I got his name wrong, it's William Barr, I misspoke. But what do you make of that? I mean, it's kind of extraordinary language
to talk about being bullied into doing something wrong and you get the sense that, whether it's in the Pentagon, you know, now, the departed
General Mattis or here, that everybody's trying to protect and prevent the president from doing anything extra constitutional.
KINZINGER: Yes. I don't know if that's the case. Mr. Barr is a great man and I fully believe what he said and I also think it was a little tacky,
honestly, of Senator Durbin, who is my senator, to set the question up with, in essence, give me hypotheticals because that's not something you
I think Mr. Barr would say, "Look, if I was asked to do something that was illegal or wrong, I would leave or I would take whatever action I need to,"
I think that's the correct answer. I think -- you know, look, there's a lot of -- President Trump is very different than any president we've ever
had and I think there are some people that, in the White House, you know, kind of tiptoe around and some people that don't and however that dynamic
works has been what we've been watching.
But for Mr. Barr, specifically, and I didn't watch all the testimony because we had other stuff going on, I think he'll be a good attorney
general. I actually expect he'll probably get confirmed by a large margin.
AMANPOUR: Great. And just before I let you go, back to the shutdown. Can you put a predictor onto that? Do you think it's going to go for another
KINZINGER: I don't know. I mean, I've tried to predict this before and I've been wrong. You know, another missed paycheck is going to be a big
problem and that's probably a week away. So, I hope to God we get this all before that. But I've been -- I'm an optimist, that's, you know, proven
wrong 87 percent of the time.
AMANPOUR: Representative Kinzinger, on that note, thank you so much for joining us.
KINZINGER: You bet. Good seeing you.
AMANPOUR: So, progress maybe slow and ending this devastating shutdown. But there have been some major developments in long-standing allegations of
sexual abuse against one of our R&B's most celebrated stars.
So, that's R. Kelly. He is responsible for some of the most enduring hits of the 90s. But for two decades, he's also been accused of sexual
misconduct, including sexual abuse of minors, charges that he's always categorically denied.
Now, African-Americans have largely felt left behind in the #MeToo Movement. But a new six-part series called "Surviving R. Kelly" on the
"Lifetime Channel" is bringing victims' stories front and center for the very first time.
The civil rights activists, Tarana Burke, founded the #MeToo Movement more than a decade ago, long before it become such a powerful cultural game
changer. And she's joining me now from New York.
Welcome back to our program, Tarana.
TARANA BURKE, FOUNDER, "METOO" MOVEMENT: Thank you for having me.
AMANPOUR: So, on this particular issue, with all its ramifications and multiple layers, how do you perceive this series, "Surviving R. Kelly," you
know, perhaps being a game changer in bringing to account somebody who's had so many accusations leveled against him?
BURKE: Well, what the documentary has done has brought into the mainstream what we've been talking about on social media, in our private lives, in
various journalistic efforts for the last two decades and it's finally brought to light these allegations all in a consolidated way so people can
see them. And I think that the reaction is that people are appalled and surprised that there hasn't been more attention paid to these women who
have come forward over the years to talk about these allegations.
And so, now, we're starting to see a shift in the conversation and we starting to see people talking about accountability both from R. Kelly and
from the people that support him.
AMANPOUR: So, let's just put out a few of the issues, a few of the accusations. For instance, you know, he once called himself the Pied Piper
of R&B. Obviously, Pied Piper is kind of a fictional character who lures children with his music. He told his protege, Aaliyah's first album, "Age
Ain't Nothing But A Number," and apparently tried marrying her when she was 15 years old and, at the time, 12 years his junior.
How, did that sort of -- how was that allowed to happen? And here are plenty of other allegations that one writer has said indicts not just him
but the society around him, this society at large that allowed it to continue in plain sight.
BURKE: Well, it's allowed to happen because people, again, are more invested in a bottom line and more invested in money and fame and proximity
to fame than they are people's lives and the lives of Black women and girls.
And so, the 100 percent of the of the women and girls who are accusing R. Kelly are Black and Latino. And we have seen, historically, there are
claims, particular on sexual violence or physical violence, are often falling on deaf ears.
So, I think it's multi-layered but the main reasons why I was allowed to happen is that, particularly at the time when -- you know, around Aaliyah,
in the 90s, in early art (ph), this is somebody who was a very successful R&B singer, who brought in a lot of money for his record label, who was
beloved in the community and who was abusing a group of people who generally get left behind.
AMANPOUR: So, he's obviously strongly denied it and he has settled many many of the accusations against him over the last few years.
Now, we understand that since the series, law enforcement in -- both in -- I think in Chicago and also in Georgia --
AMANPOUR: Yes. And Atlanta, they're looking into it and they're asking more and more people to come forward and give them any evidence, if they
intend to pursue a case. But -- and here's where the race layer comes into play, and I want to get your take on this, because he has talked about it
being, in part of his denial statements nonetheless, an attack on him as an African-American, a sort of a lynching, as many of the others who've been
accused, whether it's, you know, Bill Cosby, whether it was Clarence Thomas, they use that very charged language to describe what they consider
unfair allegations and attacks.
So, start from the alleged perpetrator using that language.
BURKE: So, my response to that is always that this is something that we have to parse out, right. There's definitely a very real history of Black
men in this country being falsely accused of sexual violence, being framed as predators and perpetrators of sexual violence, particularly against
White women, we've seen it from Emmett Till to the "Central Park Five."
And so, that's something that cannot be denied and we know that to be true. But we also know that it's true that Black women and girls have a large
rate of sexual -- there's a large rate of sexual violence in our community amongst Black women and girls and we also know that that's happening
largely at the hands of Black men. And this is not an indictment of Black men, it's not to say that we have any kind of special depravity in our
community because it's the same thing at every other community of color.
So, you can't just claim race and say, "This is a this is a lynch mob (ph)," because if we're trying to protect this Black man, which we should,
we should protect Black men from false allegations and from stereotypes and things that allow them to be railroaded by the justice system. But who
then protects Black women and girls?
AMANPOUR: Well, as --
BURKE: That is a real thing that's happening in our community.
AMANPOUR: Yes. And many of the girls who said, you know, "Perhaps if we were White girls and women being attacked, we would have been taken more
So, here's a clip from -- I'm going to play it in a second, from "Surviving R. Kelly," and it involves essentially a sex tape. It surfaced in 2002 and
it allegedly is R. Kelly having sex with a young teenager and it's pretty vulgar. There's a difficult moment in the set -- in the series when a
former the protege, Sparkle, discusses being shown this tape by the "Chicago Sun Times," which was doing an investigation at the time and
recognizing her niece who would have been 14 at the time. Here's the clip.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SPARKLE, R. KELLY'S FORMER PROTEGE: I could hear things, like to see it visually. And for her to be young. It -- me up. It really -- like it's
over with. But it still haunts me, you know. And I hate this -- that it's happened. But I should have never introduced her to him. I should have
never introduced (INAUDIBLE). How dare you. How dare you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: She's so tormented and feels so terrible about all of this. And, you know, in any other circumstance, it might have been, you know, a
moment of reckoning, but it wasn't for R. Kelly. You know, describe what happened? Even when he went to the trials and courts, he had legions of
followers supporting him there.
BURKE: Yes. I think one of the most telling things in the documentary is when they interviewed the jurors who were presiding over his case in 2008,
and there was one White male juror who said he didn't like the way to girls sounded, he didn't like the way they dressed when they came in the
courtroom, so he didn't believe them.
And it's also true that the young person who was alleged to be in the video refused to testify. And so, although members of her family and her close
friends and associates testified, confirming that it was her on the video, she herself would not testify nor were her parents. So, it complicated
But all through his trial, he had legions of fans outside. And, in fact, he selected one of his next alleged victims from that crowd of people
outside of his trial. She's also featured in a documentary. So, even while he was on trial for having sex with underage girls, there was a hunt
for more under aged girls happening right outside the courtroom.
It's a phenomenon that I can't understand. I don't understand how people can see these years of evidence, see the videotapes, hear the testimony
from these woman and girls and still continue to support him. I don't know how to explain it.
AMANPOUR: And clearly, I assume you are questioning why people in his own business don't stand up against it and call him out. Some have, some have.
But is there any backlash? I know there's a movement called #MuteRKelly to try to, you know, silence his music on the airways. This is really, really
popular. But is there a backlash or how do you think this is going to be resolved in this case, all time saying that he denies it?
[13:30:08] BURKE: Well, the backlash has been swift and it has been really vicious. There's been a lot of vicious attacks. Some of us have
been threatened personally. There's been a lot of people who feel very connected to some reason so not just him but his music.
And if -- so bring up the thing that you just talked about where people are bringing race into it and saying that this is an attack on a black man,
again forgetting that the survivors are also black and brown girls. So if we are protecting black people then who protects them?
But the backlash has been really -- is very difficult. And I think -- so the difference is there are lots of people throughout history, particularly
in the music industry, who have been accused of having sex with or doing sexual things with under-aged children. That's something that has -- you
know, we've seen it from Jerry Lee Lewis and whatever. There's numbers of people.
The difference what R. Kelly I think is that he is still actively doing this or actively being accused of doing this. And so money that goes to
him from his music is going to -- then we can safely assume that it's going to support this activity that he's been accused of.
And so the Mute R. Kelly campaign, our efforts to cancel him or have his record label drop him are about making sure that he doesn't have the
resources to commit these acts against this -- that he's been accused of. And that's -- you know, the backlash is unfortunate but we're still
pressing forward because I think it's really important to set an example.
Because R. Kelly is just not about him being a superstar. He's a representative of the coaches and the teachers and the neighbors and
whoever in our neighborhoods who are doing the same kind of thing with a similar power dynamic.
AMANPOUR: So you have called for his record label to drop him. I mean you're one of the major voices who has called on the record label to drop
him. What do you think it will take for the community -- let's say the music community, his record label, what will the red line be?
BURKE: Christiane, I wish I knew. I just think if you can watch a grown man have sex with a child on video and urinate on them, a 14-year-old and
that not being a line, I don't know which in line is. If you can watch these girls and these women, person after person, go into great detail
about what their lives were like under this man's influence, I don't know what the line is.
But I know the line for us, those of us who are fighting, we've crossed it a long time ago. And so we'll continue to press forward to make sure that
everybody knows that this is not OK, that not only would we not accept in the music industry but we won't accept it in our community.
AMANPOUR: And just getting back to the history of the African-American community. The idea which is totally legitimate, that they're often, you
know, wrongly accused, wrongly imprisoned, you know, just victimized by the system over and again.
To the point that I've also read that , you know, some African-American women who were abused by their husbands or their partners and who had great
big shyness and who may have been a risk of being killed still didn't want to go to the police because they didn't know what the police would do to
their husband. So there's all this victim of the victimizes and all the rest of it.
And so that tied into the issue here. Apparently, R. Kelly suffered major abuse as a child, grew up being raped as a child, and allegedly is
perpetuating that cycle of abuse. I mean this isn't particular to the African-American community but I mean there is this bit as well.
BURKE: Well -- and I think that's an important point you bring up because I don't think we can ignore the fact that he has a history of abuse, as
well as his brothers and his family. But we also know that I'm a survivor, there are millions of survivors out here who are not abusing other people.
There are millions of survivors who have taken control of their lives and gotten the help that they need and gotten therapy and gotten whatever they
need to start a healing process. So that they -- so that this doesn't become a toxic thing that takes over their lives and manifests in ways that
look like abuse to other people.
And so in all of these years, we've heard these stories over and over again about R. Kelly's abuse. What we haven't heard is what he's done to do
something about it. And so he's been in the public eye for almost 30 years. And in that time, there -- we haven't seen any outward facing
effort to do something about these issues.
And so we should not mistake the -- or conflate the fact that he was a survivor of sexual violence to him being a predator now because that
doesn't automatically mean that you become a predator. It certainly could have some influence on it but we have control of our lives. And he should
be getting -- seeking help for that, not use it as a reason to excuse his behavior.
AMANPOUR: And just beyond what you see in the press or what you see in the activism, [13:35:00] I don't know whether -- you know, you talk to your
friends, your group about this and about the series.
What do people say about it? Are they pleased that the series is out? Do they think it's an important sort of wakeup call on this issue? I mean we
speak to the broader question of does the public have a responsibility also to say, look, we're not going to listen to this guy's music?
BURKE: This is always a complicated question from people, what's our responsibility? And so -- well, first, the reaction has been great. I
think that a lot of people who were either on the fence or heard a couple of things or rumors are putting it all together by saying the documentary
is a session and saying, "Oh my gosh, this is really what we thought it is."
And so that has been -- it has been an effective tool in that way. Of course, there's also been a backlash with people saying that he's being
attacked and falsely accused and a number of things. But it's -- I think it's landed pretty well and I think it's given us a snapshot of what the
lives of these women have been like, not just the sexual violence but also it's been part of physical violence.
So that part has been good. I don't -- you know I think that we can use it as a tool because it also has provided us an avenue to start talking about
the reality of sexual violence in the black community. And the reality of the lived experience of black women and girls survivors.
And that's been an important point for me because it's something that has been at the center of my work for so long. And so I've been able to use
this documentary to talk about the broader issue of sexual violence in the black community-- on communities of color.
AMANPOUR: And before I let you go, quickly, given the fact that you are the founder of the MeToo Movement, in a broader MeToo sense, what grade
would you give the situation right now more than a year after the, you know, the floodgates were opened?
BURKE: It's hard to grade. I feel like this is a longer project than a year. I think we need more time. I think the dust is settling now.
And people have gotten accustomed to the idea that we are going to talk about sexual violence. We're going to confront it. We're going to deal
with it head on and we're going to start working on solutions.
And so now, I think that we're settling into the work of it. Our organization has started to form now. And you know, we have a team and
we're building our programs and things that we can support the people who actually said MeToo. So you know, I'd have to grade it on a curve for
right now and come back and revisit us in a few months so we can really look at what progress has been made.
AMANPOUR: We'll keep checking in and we'll keep an eye on the whole situation as we always do. Tarana Burke, thank you very much indeed.
And we turn now to another prominent play defining our time, that's massive corporate monopolies. Big industries dominated by just a few giants. Take
tech for example where Facebook, for instance, increase its market share by buying its competitors, WhatsApp and Instagram.
According to our next guest, we have abandoned antitrust and economic regulation laws to the public's detriment. Tim Wu is a legal powerhouse
and he's the author of "The Curse of Bigness". He told our Walter Isaacson that we don't need to fix Facebook, we need to replace it.
WALTER ISAACSON, CONTRIBUTOR: Tim Wu, welcome to the show.
TIM WU, AUTHOR, THE CURSE OF BIGNESS: A pleasure.
ISAACSON: You just wrote a book on the course of bigness. How does that apply to the tech industry?
WU: Well, I mean, where do you start? I think the tech industry, as you all know well, used to be one of the most competitive, open to anybody kind
of industry. Today, it's dominated by three or four big players and it's completely changed.
Look at a company like Facebook that every day there's some new revelation of being unable to control what's happening, new privacy violations. So I
think we have a bigness problem in the tech industry.
ISAACSON: We used to have a lot of competitiveness in the tech industry but that came about because of three really big antitrust cases against
IBM, AT&T, and Microsoft. Do we really need those cases? Those three companies stumbled on their own and then --
WU: No. I think those cases were essential to the tech industry's openness in the early 1000's and its vibrancy over the '80s and '90s. You
know, when you think about it, AT&T had a chokehold on telecom. IBM had mainframes. Microsoft had operating systems.
And the fact that the antitrust division challenged them hard, each of them, in AT&T has broken in one piece I think made a huge difference in the
openness of that industry.
ISAACSON: But the Microsoft case, it didn't even totally win, did they at the Justice Department?
WU: Just part one, didn't break them up. Bush administration, they were about to break them up. Bush administration decided not to.
ISAACSON: But antitrust in this country has a long history. More than a century ago, you had the big trust done by J.P Morgan in Andrew Carnegie
and then they get broken up in the era of Teddy Roosevelt. What was the theory behind antitrust law?
WU: You know back when it was first enforced, I think it was a mixture of not only economic ideas, [13:40:00] the choking the economy, but also
political ideas. A sense that companies like Standard Oil, a man like J.P. Morgan, some stands above the law that they wanted to dominate politics,
they wanted to run the country.
And so when Roosevelt broke up all these companies, he did because he said, "You know we have to prove that government rules this country and it's not
just run by a bunch of companies."
ISAACSON: This was Teddy Roosevelt and he does it in a period that's called the Gilded Age because these big companies had created great,
multimillionaires of wealth. That disparity of wealth leads to some political problem. Do you see an echo of the Gilded Age in the present?
WU: Yes. I think we're in a new Gilded Age. I think we've abandoned enforcement of the antitrust laws, abandoned a lot of economic regulation.
And the unsurprising consequence is we have the same wealth disparities that we've had 100-something years ago.
And we also have this enormous concentration where most industries are either oligopolies or monopolies. So basically recreated the Gilded Age.
And you know you have the same politics as well. You know, more and more extreme politics, people getting angry, demanding more extreme leaders.
ISAACSON: It was Teddy Roosevelt who breaks them up. And also Lewis Brandeis who comes up with a theory of anti-bigness when it comes to both
government and corporations. It wasn't sort of a Liberal, Conservative, or Democratic, Republican thing. It was against big government, big
corporations. Explain Brandeis's philosophy as you do in the book.
WU: Yes, sure. You know Lewis Brandeis is one of the heroes of the book. He is very fixated on the what economy does for ordinary people, what it
means for the nation's soul. He wanted the United States to be a place where people could flourish, become who they might become. And he thought
that the economy had so much to do with that.
You know, just take one thing, your career, your job. Do you have steady work? Do you have vacation time? Are you worked -- or are you sort of
worked like a slave or are you unsteady, always worried you're going to get fired?
These factors he thought determine what kind of republic this was. And he believed that citizenship depended a lot on economic conditions. I think
we've lost that today. We just sort of think of the economy, well you know, is the Dow up or down or what's going on. Democracy is voting.
But he had a much deeper conception I think of the way that economics and politics were linked to create a citizen and create a republic worth living
ISAACSON: You used to be in government. Would you have allowed and do you think Facebook should have been allowed to acquire WhatsApp, to acquire
WU: No. I think the government -- I was in it actually around that time, made a pretty serious error. Facebook in retrospect was concerned about
competition. It was worried that it was going to become the social network of the past and it bought off all its most dangerous competitors.
That is supposed to be illegal under the antitrust laws. We don't just let people buy their competitors. That's what Standard Oil did in the 19th
Century. So we made a big mistake. I think maybe we can fix it. But allowing Facebook to buy off all competition was a huge mistake.
ISAACSON: But the antitrust laws has one test which is, does it harm consumers, to put all that together. And in some ways, these are free
services to help the consumer. It's easier to move back and forth from Instagram to Facebook.
Should there be and has there been another test which is just you shouldn't stomp out competition even though it might be cheaper for the consumer if
there was no competition? We like competition because we like free markets. And if so, why?
WU: Yes. I think what we need to understand is the antitrust laws defend the competitive process, defend the system of competition which has been
the American tradition for most of our history. And we've narrowed this idea, well, what the price is like? Are things going to be a dollar
cheaper or not?
That's not the right question. The question is, as a company like Facebook, a company like Google, company -- an industry like the airlines,
are they destroying competition which is supposed to bring benefits for us as citizens, consumers, and employees?
ISAACSON: So you think competition has benefit even if it's not just cheaper pricing as a benefit?
WU: Yes, that's right. I mean you think about -- I think of Facebook had competition from Instagram and WhatsApp. It couldn't have racked up these
privacy abuses. Or if it had, people would start leaving.
Right now, you hear, "Oh my God, the latest privacy outrage with Facebook. What are you going to do?" One, you kind of quit, say goodbye to all your
friends or go to Instagram which they own, go to WhatsApp which they own, you know.
Some people are kind of stuck here. And that's what it feels like when you don't have competition, you don't have choices. It's about freedom
actually. It is really a fundamental matter. Do you have somewhere else you can go if you don't like the way things are? And in a lot of areas,
ISAACSON: Is there any public sentiment for breaking up Google and Facebook?
WU: I think there is, frankly. I think you have a growing sense [13:45:00] that things are out of control. It's not only tech.
You think about the pharmaceutical industry and the pattern of price rises. You think about the airline industry, think about cable. All across the
economy, I think people feel kind of trapped. And you know, and you talk about this public.
You got -- you sense an anger and a desire for something different. Antitrust is an American tradition. It's an American invention. And I
think it responds to something really real which is a sense of powerlessness in the face of an economic force far greater than you.
And people are asking for new answers. They don't want socialism. I don't think they want to anarchism. I hope they don't want fascism. And so this
is kind of the American compromise is we will challenge the biggest companies, break them up, and restore this kind of open economic order.
And I think if we don't do something, we're going to have continued election of extreme leaders, continued, around the world, not just in the
United States, of this pattern of economic anger generating very dangerous totalitarian tendencies.
ISAACSON: And Facebook actually seems to be a platform that amplifies that rather than brings us together. What is fundamentally wrong now with
WU: You know I think it's two things. First, its curse of bigness. They got way too big, way too fast, lost control of themselves. While at the
same time, having this obsession with growth and money frankly which has just, in my mind, blindsided them to the dangers they were creating.
I don't think the Facebook sat down and said, "Let's let the Russians hack us and influence the election." But they were so obsessed with this
business model of engagement, of time on site, of making sure billions of people spend as much time as possible on this product which is as addictive
as possible, that they let everything else go to the wayside and have really created dangers for this democracy.
ISAACSON: And if Facebook wanted to, it could stop trolls and bots and Russian internet research agency, people in St. Petersburg from posting
fake news if they tried hard enough. Do you think they should be either required by law to do that or pushed into doing that?
WU: No. I actually have a different view. I think it's almost out of their -- I mean they could control it but I think they are so genetically
now predisposed to this model of just trying to get people engaged for as long as possible.
I'm not interested in fixing them. I think we need to replace them. I think social networking is a noble undertaking done right. You're trying
to connect people, see friends and family. But when you have tied to it the idea that you're going to constantly, maximizing the time and ad
revenue and so forth, that leads in a very dangerous direction.
So I think they're kind of cursed by their makeup, cursed by their leadership, and it's almost irredeemable.
ISAACSON: What do you mean cursed by their leadership?
WU: I think Mark Zuckerberg is not an ethical person. I think he might suggest that ethics are important if it sounds good. But I do not, in his
core, believe that he has shown the traits of an ethical leader. And he is in a position of so much power over so much information that I think we
cannot have a person like that in charge of so much that matters in the world.
ISAACSON: That's a pretty stark charge. I mean I would think that Mark Zuckerberg probably tries to be ethical. He thinks he's doing the right
thing. Is there something pushing him the wrong way or do you think he just doesn't care?
WU: I think when you look through the history of Facebook carefully, there are signs of a lack of ethics that are glaring. A sense that if you
apologize, you can get away with almost anything. A sense that they are above the normal rules of ethics or law.
You know I worked at the Federal Trade Commission when we did what we thought was a strong order to prevent them from violating privacy. And
they showed absolutely no signs of having this reach of consciousness.
So yes, I won't go as far as saying that Zuckerberg is evil. But I will say he does not seem bound by the normal ethical constraints that would
cause a person to ask whether or not they're creating a danger to democracy, whether or not they're breaking the law.
ISAACSON: And you think corporate leaders should do that?
WU: I think they should. I think there's no choice. I'm kind of with the American framers in the sense and someone like John Adams who says that no
matter what safeguards you have, you can't really replace virtue.
It really comes down to whether the people in positions of power are good people or not. And corporate leaders are incredibly powerful. This idea
that -- them thinking about shareholder welfare will generate a kind of republic you want to live in, I think it has proven a farce.
[13:50:00] We need a new generation of people who actually are what the Romans would consider people of virtue and ethics and good leadership. And
you know, we dress it all up with separation of powers and they're a corporate leader and they own the shareholders. But when it comes down to
it, what are the people really like?
ISAACSON: Who is doing it right?
WU: That's a great question. I have one example of someone. Jimmy Wales, started Wikipedia.
WU: Could have made himself a billionaire easily. And he realized that if he ever took ads that Wikipedia would become a travesty. So he said we're
not going to take ads. We're going to be a non-profit. We have to structure it carefully.
Most of the leaders in Silicon Valley thought that they could have it all. They thought that they could be good people. I'm thinking of Google now,
Larry Page, Sergey Brin.
ISAACSON: Don't be evil.
WU: Don't be evil. We're going to be a positive force for human change. But we're also going to be billionaires. We're also going to dot the
standard corporate form and we're also going to promise we're going to double our profits every year or so. Those things don't work well
ISAACSON: But can you be a for-profit company as opposed to a Wikipedia and not fall prey to that? I mean you believe in free markets, free
corporations, don't you?
WU: I think -- no, I absolutely do. I think you can. I just think this blind adherence leaving no room for anything but the pursuit of profit has
led us into some very dangerous ethical territory. I mean I think I said Larry Page has good intentions, Sergey Brin.
I think they mean well but I think this deal they made with advertising has really come back to bite them and has damaged their product. So that it's
actually a worse product than it was five years ago.
ISAACSON: You say that corporate leaders should have that higher calling.
ISAACSON: But that's exactly what Google had. When they did their original public offering --
ISAACSON: -- they said we are not going to be totally driven by quarterly shareholder returns.
ISAACSON: And then they put in it, don't be evil.
ISAACSON: What happened?
WU: You know, I went back and read that recently. They've made a mockery of it. I think they didn't realize they were dealing with something much
more powerful than themselves. They thought, like many people do, you know, I'm a good guy. I'm not going to get warped or obsessed with the
quest for power or money. I'm different.
And I think that is sort of the original sin of Silicon Valley. So they went for these standard corporate models. A little bit of difference but
cosmetic. They had to do something much stronger.
If I look back at Silicon Valley, early thousands, and think about the mistakes all of us made, I was also there. It was this sense that we could
just trust a couple of good people to be good as opposed to creating a sort of constitutional, institutional structure that forces you to be good.
That's the difference between Wikipedia and let's say Google or Facebook is they set it up so that this would be a different kind of enterprise for a
long time, not for just five years.
ISAACSON: But if you don't cater to the advertising revenue and keep increasing it, what's your revenue model? Will consumers have to pay for
WU: Well, look at Wikipedia, donation model. They make more money than --
ISAACSON: But it's not going to work for a Google or a Facebook.
WU: For Google, it would be challenging. I think they can have an advertising model but if they're not bent on constantly needing to increase
revenue by such numbers, they make enormous sums of money. They can run Google on $50 billion. I mean that's a lot of money but they have to keep
going, keep going, that's what the markets want, that's what their investors want. I think it's trapped them.
Frankly, I think the founders of these companies, sometimes I just wonder, how did I get in this position? I wanted to build a great product and here
I am degrading my own product because of the demands of my investors. And that must be an uncomfortable thing to think about as you go into your
ISAACSON: Tim Wu, thank you for joining us. Appreciate it.
WU: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: Maybe a vision for a better future there.
Now before we go tonight, we want to tell you about a remarkable man who was among those killed by terrorists in Nairobi, Kenya this week. This
man, an American citizen, Jason Spindler, was an investment banker getting his start in New York that sunny morning, September 11, 2001.
He was late to work and he emerged from the subway as the first tower of the World Trade Center came crashing down. But Jason ran towards it and he
helped pull victims out of the rubble.
[13:55:00] Later, he went on to change his career, focusing on helping others through socially conscious enterprise. Nearly two decades later,
the job would take him to Kenya. And it was there on Tuesday, that he would once again come face-to-face with terrorists. This time though, they
took his life.
Jason Spindler was one of at least 21 people killed by the Somali-based al- Shabab militants who stormed a business and hotel complex in Nairobi, Kenya. Next Monday would have been his 41st birthday.
That is it for now. Remember, you can always listen to our podcast. See us online at amanpour.com and follow me on Facebook and Twitter.
Thanks for watching. And goodbye from London.