Return to Transcripts main page


Interview With Former Governor And U.S. Republican Presidential Candidate Asa Hutchison (R-AR); Interview With Facebook Whistleblower And "The Power of One" Author Frances Haugen; Interview With The New York Times Opinion Columnist Nicholas Kristof; Interview With ExcelinEd Senior Policy Fellow Kymyona Burk. Aired 1-2p ET

Aired June 14, 2023 - 13:00:00   ET




CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello, everyone, and welcome to Amanpour here is what's coming up.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT AND U.S. REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Whatever documents the president decides to take with him, he

has the right to do so. It's an absolutely right.


AMANPOUR: Trump denying the law again. So, how should Republican competitors react to the serious indictment against him? I ask GOP

presidential candidate and former Arkansas governor, Asa Hutchison.

Then, a special report from Ukraine's frontlines, as the counteroffensive tries to advance.

Also, ahead --


FRANCES HAUGEN, FACEBOOK WHISTLEBLOWER AND AUTHOR, "THE POWER OF ONE": I believe Facebook's products harm children, stoke division weaken our



AMANPOUR: -- as the E.U. demands Meta take action to protect children online, I am joined by Facebook whistleblower, Frances Haugen, and her

explosive comments on why millions of people could die if our approach to social media does not change.

Plus --


NICHOLAS KRISTOF, OPINION COLUMNIST, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Mississippi hasn't solved these (INAUDIBLE). Still worsening the country child and poverty,

but it has figured out how to get kids to read.


AMANPOUR: -- how Mississippi is overcoming, dire poverty, to boost children's education.

Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.

For Former President Donald Trump, the courtroom is the new campaign stop. His team already trying to spin political gold from an unprecedented

federal indictment, raising money of Trump's usual playbook, playing the innocent victim, weaponizing institutions and outright falsehood. For

instance, hours after entering not guilty pleas to 37 counts, this is what he claimed.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT AND U.S. REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: In other words, whatever documents a president decides to take

with him, he has the right to do so. It's an absolute right. This is the law. And that is something that the people have now seen, and it couldn't

be more clear. They ought to drop this case immediately because they are destroying our country.


AMANPOUR: But the legal process, of course, will continue. And it puts Trump's Republican rivals for the presidential nomination in an awkward

spot. Many continue trying to tiptoe around the matter, for fear of alienating his powerful base.

The latest poll of polls shows Trump leads his closest rival, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, by about 30 percent. But slowly and steadily,

important Republicans are coming out against Trump. GOP senate minority, Whip John Thune, today warned that he would be a drag on the party's

chances for success in the 2024 election.

And my first guest tonight, has also called Trump out, and he wants more courage from his fellow candidates. He's the Former Arkansas Governor, Asa

Hutchinson, and he's joining me now from Washington.

Welcome to the program, Governor.

FMR. GOV. ASA HUTCHISON (R-AR), U.S. REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, thank you. It is good to be with you.

AMANPOUR: Governor, we played that extraordinary piece of sound from Donald Trump where he says, you know, it's fine for me to take as many documents

as I want. But first, I want to ask you something, because you're not just a presidential candidate and a rival but you're also not just a former

governor, but a prosecutor, appointed and nominated by President Reagan back in the early '80s.

How serious are these counts? Can you just lay out the most serious of them? And do you think the rest of the field has read the indictment?

HUTCHINSON: Well, I'm sure they've read the indictment. I am encouraged that more have taken this seriously. Initially, they didn't. I think

they've read the indictment, and whenever you see that it's not just taking classified information, misusing it, showing its other people that did not

have clearances and then, the charges of obstruction of justice as well. These are serious charges that they get whenever you're looking at a

commander-in-chief that disregards our nation's secrets and the importance of protecting those.

And so, the last thing you want to do is to be dismissive of it. And it's also important, you mention, that people are tiptoeing around this topic.

This is of such national interest that you can't tiptoe. You have to be clear. These are serious charges and we don't need a commander-in-chief

that disregards our secrets, that acts like they're all your own, just like he said, that I own these, I could do whatever I want with them. That's not

the approach for our commander-in-chief is designed to protect the United States of America.


So, it's not only a legal issue that will be resolved in court, but it is a legitimate campaign issue as to what kind of commander-in-chief we need

leading our country.

AMANPOUR: OK. So, just to be clear, and again, you know, you dealt with and, I presume, prosecuted cases dealing with classified information and

the right to keep them. What Trump said is redolent of what Nixon said back then, when the president does it, it means it's not illegal.

Firstly, is that true? And how will that defense hold up in court, if indeed they use that?

HUTCHINSON: Well, it's not true. And secondly, it goes against a fundamental principle of our democracy, which is equal justice under the

law. So, whether president or governor or political class or every day citizen we're also subject to the same rules. And we've seen our military

personnel, very recently, mishandling classified information and being convicted actually on very similar circumstances, not the president, but if

you believe that there's equal application of law and you look at the substance of these, you cannot dismiss it. It gives it affront to our men

and women in the military that protect these secrets.

It's also important to me, I am a former federal prosecutor. I've handled classified information. I understand the complexity in the courtroom when

you have classified information that's being dealt with and it's going to be a longer trial. But what's important is, and it's distressing to me,

that we not attack our criminal justice system, in the process of even defending the former president. Let's -- don't undermine what is so premier

in our country, which is our justice system.

AMANPOUR: OK. Well, you put your finger on the point that quite a few of your other rivals are attacking the justice system and calling it

politically motivated. You today -- well, today, the former governor of South Carolina, Nikki Haley, who's also a candidate had suggested that she

would pardon Donald Trump if he were convicted. She'd be inclined to pardon him, saying, it's simply wrong. In any event, what is your reaction to

that, at this point to say that?

HUTCHINSON: That it has no place in a political campaign. If you are running for president of United States, you can't dangle a pardon out there

to curry votes, or to give the implication even before the jury does its work in determining guilt and innocence. You can't be dangling a pardon out


And so, that is problematic to me. It undermines, again, our system of justice. So, absolutely not, you don't talk about a pardon during a

campaign. And it's also should be reserved to those who it's in the national interest but also, it should be reserved to those who are

repentant, are those that believe that they have made an error, I mean, that's -- I've used the pardon power as governor and I wouldn't pardon

somebody that is so arrogant to say, I'm above the law, that's not the right use of it, but --

AMANPOUR: And that is what --

HUTCHINSON: -- don't talk about it now.

AMANPOUR: And that is what Trump is saying, is he, that I'm above the law?

HUTCHINSON: Well, yes. I think that that's exactly what he has said and that's not the best in the American traditions.

AMANPOUR: OK. So, let's talk about this in terms of we understand the legal, we understand the criminal that's being alleged against him. What

about the political? Because I mentioned Nikki Haley, but there are others, for instance, Senator Tim Scott. He has, you know, also cast dispersions on

the method of the use of the justice system. In fact, he's even said that the justice system is weighted against conservatives.

But then, on the other hand, you have yourself who, from the beginning and now, are very clear about the case. Also, Governor Chris Christie, a former

prosecutor, very clear about the stakes and the facts of the case. And as "Politico" said, and let me quote it for you because I think it's amusing,

"Squint hard and you might just see the outlines of an anti-Donald Trump coalition forming in the Senate GOP."

It's -- we don't talk about pro and anti. We're trying to figure out whether there are people who will, you know, answer your call to courage on

this matter that you've outlined of state security.


HUTCHINSON: Well, it is difficult politically. First of all, there is a belief among the base, because it's been driven by Donald Trump and others,

that they are selecting prosecution out there. And I don't believe that the Justice Department handled Hillary Clinton's case well, particularly as

they -- Jim Comey made the announcement that we're not going to bring charges, which that's not the job of the FBI, that's the job of the

prosecutor, actually to make those decisions.

But set that aside, selective prosecution is not a legal defense in a case. And so, there's moral outrage about it and understandably so and there

needs to be reform of our federal law enforcement. But each individual in our society is responsible for their actions. And you don't excuse the

mishandling of classified information, you don't dismiss it and we should hold our presidents and those that are responsible to a higher standard.

And so, it is hard, politically, to handle this because there is some moral outrage. But at the same time, you don't want to undermine the importance

of what is happening in the case that's being presented in Donald Trump.

AMANPOUR: So, as I said, Senator Thune in the -- said basically, amongst other things, he's a drag on our possibilities of success. The three

previous nationwide elections have shown that, that they lost mostly because of him, is what they say in the Republican hierarchy.

Pollsters are calling the sort of potential ghettoization of the GOP, as too much anger, too much chaos royals your party and says, according to

"The New York Times," it could be confined to a minority status by voters unwilling to let go of the fervent beliefs that have been rejected by the


Do you worry that your party is headed down that route?

HUTCHINSON: Well, that's why I'm running for president of the United States, because we need leaders that look to the future, that address the

challenges of inflation, of dragging the economy, of our position in the world, these are the issues that leaders need to be talking about, and we

can't be having grievances over the past. And we have to have a nominee of our party that can appeal to independents and suburban voters and they're

looking to the issues in their life, and leaders that will solve these problems and not build even greater division in our country.

And so, it is a turning point for our party it is a decision moment for our party, and we have to have a nominee that can build that broad coalition

that can win against the terrible policies of Joseph Biden. And that's why I am running, and that's why other candidates are running.

We're going to have a debate that's going to showcase the differences and the future of our country and the options as to where we can go. And so,

this is important and it's a turning point for our party.

AMANPOUR: Can I ask you a bit of a snarky political question? You say this is why you're running. There are others in your party who believe that too

many candidates divide and don't conquer. They divide and they allowed Trump to head right out where he is right now, ahead of the pack. That's

why, apparently, Chris Sununu, the governor of New Hampshire, decided that he wouldn't.

You're polling quite low. Do you -- tell me why you think you should stay in, if you really believe the objective is to deny this kind of character,

the nomination?

HUTCHINSON: Well, I'm pulling well enough to get on the debate stage in August.


HUTCHINSON: And that's really the first opportunity to expose your views and debate on that stage before a broad audience. This is early in the

campaign. The voters of Iowa, the voters of New Hampshire, in South Carolina they're going to have a vote in this. Let's not deprive and limit

their options.

Now, you know, if you're not polling higher, as Chris Sununu said, down the road, you're going to have to evaluate whether you should continue or not

and consolidate the candidates. I think everybody's going to have that self-evaluation. But it's way too early to do that. Voters are still

looking at who is the future? Who is going to be the new voice and the leader of our party in our country? And so, give it time. Let's see how our

democracy works and give it a chance to work.

AMANPOUR: So, then, let me ask you, because you did mention, you know, independents and other undecideds that you're trying to win over to your

party, and obviously, to your campaign. Peggy Noonan, you know, a (INAUDIBLE) of the party and a frequent commentator. Her latest was to call

for rivals to try to peel away supporters from Trump. Peel away supports who may be trying to figure out they need a reason to. And they need to be

told a good story about the candidate in question, or they need to be convinced that this candidate is not a winning candidate and not the right


How do you go about that? Because again, as I did say, there's tiptoeing. Everybody is still paying deference to him while trying to hew their own

path, not you, but others, most of the field.

HUTCHINSON: Well, you're right. And the fact is we're running for president, which means we're a competitor, we believe we can do a better

job than Donald Trump. And so, you have to be clear. That's the first thing, is be clear on where you stand with Donald Trump and make your case

as to why he should not be the next president. It's a pretty easy case to make whenever you look at the current facts, the challenges that he faces,

and they can't bring independents and suburban voters together.

The second thing you've got to do is make your own case, and that's where I enjoy the town hall meetings, that's where you can talk about my

experiences, head of the DEA, Homeland Security, where I had border security challenges. There's no one that has more experience in the breadth

of challenges we face in this country, and that's the case that you make.

When I've been governor for eight years, there's balance of budget. Every one of those. This is the breadth of experience and the case at I'll make,

as well as challenging the idea that Donald Trump should be our nominee.

AMANPOUR: So, let me talk about the media. Obviously, Donald Trump benefited hugely from Fox News. Now, we know, since the Dominion Case, that

internal reports suggest that Fox was motivated by the economic prerogative, that it was about money and viewers. So, we were shocked

actually, maybe we shouldn't have been last night when we saw this screen grab that showed as Trump was talking, Biden was already talking and Fox

said, wannabe dictator speaks at the White House after having his political rival arrested. Referring to Biden.

I mean, A, is that appropriate? And B, if this major news organization is throwing their support still behind Trump, if it is, how do you guys get a

look in?

HUTCHINSON: Well, from the media standpoint, I understand covering the indictment and the arraignment of Donald Trump is newsworthy and has to be

covered. But whenever you look at the next 15 months, man, you got to broaden horizons and give the candidates a chance to talk about the issues

that Americans are concerned about.

And whenever you look at, you know, the language that's used, whether it's the media or whether it's candidates, let's use appropriate language, let's

be clear that we have differences in policy, but that doesn't always make the person on the other side an evil person or somebody that doesn't love

our country.

And so, this race, to me, is about the direction of our country, failed policies on the border, failed energy policy in America. And then, whenever

you look at too much federal spending that destroys our economy, those are the issues that, to me, the media needs to cover and candidates need to be

talking about.

AMANPOUR: So, on the other hand, the rule of law and, you know, all of that is something that Republicans have claimed as, you know, their major

platforms. So, if the candidates, and if Donald Trump -- well, if they seem to be dismissing the institutions and the rule of law, how can they hold

themselves up as Republicans worthy of being elected?

HUTCHINSON: Well, you make the case, and I don't think they can. If you want to be a Republican true to our principles and to our democracy, it is

the rule of law, it's the envy of the world that separates our economy, that separates our justice system. And while we may disagree with some

human decisions that are made in curing out that justice system, we can't so politicize it and demean it that we destroy, really, the rule of law in

our country.

And so, absolutely. Our candidates need to be clear both in terms of why they're running and their differences with Donald Trump. But part of it is

respect for institutions. And that institution is true, whether it's our criminal justice system, our rule of law, our jury verdicts or whether it

is even our court system. We have to have some respect, even though we can legitimately say, we can do better or they made a mistake.

AMANPOUR: Governor Asa Hutchinson, thank you very much for joining me today from Washington.


Next, we turn to Ukraine where Russian strikes have been pounding civilian areas with at least 62 airstrikes in the last 24 hours alone according to

Ukrainian officials. Kyiv also says, it's counteroffensive is making gains in the southeast.

Correspondent Fred Pleitgen is on the frontlines with those forces and has this latest from the battlefield around Zaporizhzhia.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voiceover): Ukrainian forces firing at Russian troops holed up in Blagodatnoye (ph) in

South Ukraine. This video, the Brigade says, shows the Russians making a final stand here.

Much of the area near their frontlines deeply scarred by combat.

PLEITGEN: This is the area of Ukraine where the heaviest fighting is currently taking place. And you can see what it's done to a lot of the

buildings in the cities and villages around this area. And that fighting is set to get even worse.

PLEITGEN (voiceover): We're with the 68th Jager Brigade, which has been making important gains here. The soldiers confident and grateful for U.S.

supply gear.

A lot of the times it saved my life, he says. It saves our life every day from shrapnel, shelling and bullets.

But some of the vehicles have already been lost and the Russians continue to fire back. Constant artillery shelling and even airstrikes too close for

comfort as our crew had to duck for cover.

Still, the deputy brigade commander says his soldiers are just getting started.

Our counterattack will definitely be successful, he says. We believe in victory. We are moving forward towards our goal. We are advancing.

On this part of the frontline, the Ukrainians believe they have the gear, the manpower and the determination to advance far into Russian-held




AMANPOUR: Fred Pleitgen on the frontlines there.

Now, to the online wars, the European Union is warning Meta that it must protect children from harmful content. And a senior official will meet Mark

Zuckerberg soon. Well, my next guest, Frances Haugen, risked her career and perhaps her reputation when she raised the alarm a couple years ago,

testifying before Congress and the British parliament where she warned about these dangers.


FRANCES HAUGEN, FACEBOOK WHISTLEBLOWER AND AUTHOR, "THE POWER OF ONE": I saw Facebook repeatedly encounter conflicts between its own profits and our

safety. Facebook consistently resolved these conflicts in favor of its own profits. The result has been more division, more harm, more lies, more

threats and more combat. In some cases, this dangerous online talk has led to actual violence that harms and even kills people.


AMANPOUR: And she continues the warnings and her recommendations in a new book, "The Power of. One: How I Found the Strength to Tell the Truth, and

Why I Blew the Whistle on Facebook." And Frances Haugen is joining me now from New York. Welcome to the program.

HAUGEN: Thank you. Happy to be here.

AMANPOUR: Do you think what I said was right, that you risked probably your career, yes, but your reputation, or do you feel you've been vindicated,

and more to the point what you said and what you warned has been acted upon?

HAUGEN: You know, it's -- a lot of people have that assumption that I threw it all away in the process of coming out, and that definitely was a

potential risk before I came out. But one thing I've been really amazed by is how positive the reception has been from other people in the tech

industry. I really believe that when we demonize other people, we lose a chance to learn from them. And I've always tried to look at what are the

causes and incentives that cause Facebook to act this way, not just that they're bad company.

In terms of action, we've seen have a lot in the last two years. The European Union passed the Digital Services Act, which is a generational law

that gives the public, at least in Europe, the right to ask questions and get answers, which sounds pretty basic but we've never had that right

before with companies like this.

AMANPOUR: I mean, honestly, it's awful to hear that, because you're right, it sounds pretty basic. And as we said, the senior European official in

charge will, in about a week or more, meet with Mark Zuckerberg, the head of Meta.

Do you see any -- what do you think will result from that?

HAUGEN: It's very interesting. When Mark -- when Elon Musk bought Twitter, I think a new era of online safety began at social media companies, because

he was able to demonstrate that you can fire your safety teams and face no consequences. Mark Zuckerberg has actually called out and said, hey, Elon

Musk set them a role model that it's OK to, you know, rip the band-aid off. And, you know, he brags about his year of efficiency because he's fired

20,000 people from Facebook, many of them safety -- working in trust and safety.


It will be interesting to see what comes of that conversation. Remember, things that keep kids safe often mean that you have a few -- you have fewer

younger users, right, you actually keep the under 13-year-olds off the platforms. And I think they're not going to be willing to do that out of

fear of losing the next generation to TikTok.

AMANPOUR: So, let me ask you, because I said sort of explosive comments when you said in an interview with "The Sunday Times," "A lot of people

will die in the next 20 years if we don't solve this problem. Tens of millions."

Can you explain what you mean, how and why?

HAUGEN: So, it can be harder for people who use the English version of Facebook, and by English, I mean, the English language version, either in

the United States, in Great Britain, that Facebook in other countries is significantly more dangerous. That there's much, much less investment in

safety systems, sometimes there are no safety systems.

One of the things I walk through in my book is how Facebook intentionally went into some of the most fragile places in the world and said, if you use

our products, your data will be free. If you use anything else, you're going to pay for it yourself. And the thing that most people aren't aware

of is there's probably at least 1 or 2 billion people in the world for whom the internet is Facebook.

So, when you have safety problems, when the algorithms push people towards extreme content, and you don't spend money on safety systems for their

languages, you get a very dangerous mix, like what we saw in Myanmar or in Ethiopia.

AMANPOUR: And I just want ask you because Facebook has rebutted some of your testimony after. Mark Zuckerberg said that the accusation that it put

profit over safety was "just untrue." Well, how did you feel when he said that?

HAUGEN: You know, it's interesting. So, I'm a little bit of an anomaly, and that I both love data. I have worked extensively with algorithmic products,

but I also hold an MBA from Harvard. Like I really care about organizational behavior and organizational health.

And one of the things that's happening at Facebook is that they want to believe that they can be objective, you know, they can just manage with

metrics. But all metrics have biases. And unfortunately, because they're unwilling to come in and say, hey, we have to realign how we optimize, we

can't just optimize for what goes in our quarterly earnings report, they end up cutting corners, even if it's not their intention.

AMANPOUR: OK. I just want to remind everybody of how President Biden greeted you and mentioned your presence at the State of the Union. Let's

just play this.


JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: As Frances Haugen, who is here tonight with us, has shown, we must hold social media platforms accountable for the national

experiment they are conducting on our children for profit.

Folks, thank you. Thank you for the courage you showed.


AMANPOUR: So, I see you nodding, because he agreed with your, you know, concept on the profit motive. But after all that you have done and said, do

you feel, and you've kind of that said Facebook has only made minor adjustments, and even fines, which it has received certainly, you know,

from Europe and Britain, have they worked?

HAUGEN: So, we have not yet begun to see sanctions that are based on kids, really, for these platforms. We have seen large fines for things like

privacy around Cambridge Analytica, but we are right on the cusp, I think. I've seen some pretty major action when it comes to this -- the mental

health and safety of children.

As the surgeon general said in his advisory, just two weeks to go, and for context for people, the surgeon general has only issued about 15, maybe

less, advisories over the last 60 years. These aren't things like seatbelts save lives, smoking causes cancer, things that are kind of like duh issues

today, but they were ambiguous before.

And the thing that I think is going to be super interesting is the part that I was nodding at, which I had forgotten about, I don't have like a

highlight reel of moments like this and I don't see them very often, is he was described what's going on right now as a national experiment. Like we

are experimenting on children. And when kids are spending on average three and a half hours a day on social media, we are running an experiment on

them and we don't know what the consequences of that experiment will be.

AMANPOUR: OK. So, to that point, as you mentioned, the surgeon general has been talking about this, this dire risk to children's mental health and all

that comes with that. Let's just play what he said to CNN not so long ago.


VIVEK MURTHY, U.S. SURGEON GENERAL: So, when we look at the data, what we found are two critical things. One, is that there is not enough evidence to

say that social media is, in fact, sufficiently safe for our kids. But we also found that there is a growing body of evidence showing that social

media use is associated with harms.


You mentioned earlier, a key finding in our report, that on average, teens are spending three and a half hours a day on social media. That's on

average. I mean, so many kids are spending much longer than that. But the key point is that the data also shows when kids are spending more than

three hours on average that they face nearly double the risk, increased risk of depression and anxiety symptoms.


AMANPOUR: So, that's amazing because he just -- you know, he made the equation, more than three hours, depression, anxiety, and its terrible

consequences. But the age-old dilemma for parents, teachers, whoever, how do you peel these children away from this addictive piece of technology?

HAUGEN: So, it's interesting, I've spent a lot of time thinking about this specific challenge. Because, right now, individual children or individual

families don't really get to make independent decisions about spending more time in person with their friends unless their friends make those same

decisions at the same time, right? I can once spend time with my friends in person, but if they want to be online, I don't really get to make that


So, I think the way that we actually intervene with kids, as we start having conversations about how to target networks, target schools, you

know, you say, in this community, how do we want to interact with each other? How do we want to invest in person connection? Because kids have to

step away in groups because they are interconnected.

AMANPOUR: A.I., the technological leaders of A.I., seem to be ahead of the social media leaders and that they are very prominently calling for

regulation. Is that genuine, do you think? I mean, look at what's going on right now, so much money is being made of A.I. It's part of the only bit of

ray of light in the stock market right now.

How do you read what they are saying and do you think they will follow through? People like Sam Altman who have, you know, testified very

compellingly before Congress.

HAUGEN: So, it's interesting. I believe Sam Altman is earnest and that OpenAI has spent more on what's known as alignment, which is trying to get

the A.I. to kind of act in accordance with what's good for humans, what's good for society. They've invested substantially more than many other

competitors. And I think they recognize that there is a conflict right now in market incentives, right? The market right now is rewarding speed of

executions, speed to market, and they're not necessarily considering safety.

And so, I think what they're calling for here is, if you do begin to say things like, hey, let's have the Fortune 500 come together and say, hey,

we're only going to lend our economic support, we're only going to buy from services that compile the certain level of safety unless we do those kinds

of coordinated actions, we'll see repetition of what we saw in social media, where cutting corners makes more profits. And we just don't see the

social side of the ledger, we only see the profit and loss statement.

AMANPOUR: So, I want to end on a bit of a positive thing. You've mentioned the idea of seatbelts and smoking, and all the rest of it. So, in your

book, you talk about Ralph Nader, he's an inspiration to you, who focused on decades of research on the power of seatbelts to prevent that sort of

second collision that can often be fatal.

This is what you're write towards the end of your book, in the Ralph Nader example, he was able to point to epidemiological studies on the comparative

safety of wearing a seatbelt versus not wearing one. This gave the public a place to focus their demands for improvements to cars, how can we reduce

the impact of a second collision? Why not look at similar data from social media? What are the equivalent fulcrums?

Of course, there was a huge amount of public support for seatbelts once they understood it. What's your -- could it be the surgeon general and what

he said about time and depression? What is the data that could convince people on the social media aspect?

HAUGEN: You know, it's interesting. Right now, the way we often talk about doing better with social media is we talk about it at the level of

individuals. You know, we sometimes shame people a little bit when we say like, hey, how much time are you spending on your phone? Are you spending

time in your phone around your kids? Like could you be influencing them?

We think about it as an individual problem instead of a systems problem or an incentives problem. I think even just helping people understand that

they're not alone, that they're not the only one doing scrolling, they're not the only ones self-soothing with their phones. That's a way of actually

helping people to realize, no, need to have more tools to let us have authentic choices.

I'll give you one quick example. Right now, on a lot of phones, like one of the most important interventions, I think, is around helping people go to

bed when they want to go to bed, right? Imagine a world where at 11:00 a.m., noon, when we still have willpower, the phone asks you, when do you

want to go to bed tonight? And for a couple of hours before that, it got a little bit slower and a little bit slower, a little bit slower.


We've known for 20 years that if you make software a little bit slower, people use it less.


HAUGEN: Around your bedtime, you get tired and go to bed. We know the technology to solve these problems, we just don't have the incentive.

AMANPOUR: Yes. The will and the will and the will, always. The will. Frances Haugen, thank you very much, indeed, and for laying out that

solution at the end of our conversation.

Now, to another social ill, which is child illiteracy. And a glimmer of hope from one of America's poorest states. Mississippi has a long track

record of educational failure, but after a major reform initiative, kids there are showing significant progress in school, which New York Times

columnist, Nicholas Kristof, highlights in an article called "Mississippi is Offering Lessons for America on Education.

Kymyona Burk helped implement reform when she was head of teaching and learning in Jackson. And they both spoke with Michel Martin about how

Mississippi's approach can work for children all over the world.


MICHEL MARTIN, CONTRIBUTOR: Thanks, Christiane. Nicholas Kristof, Kymyona Burk, thank you both so much for joining us.



MARTIN: Nick Kristof, I'm going to start with you. You've been reporting a series called "How America Heals," and what you've been digging into, some

of the more challenging issues that America faces, and that reporting took you to Mississippi where you have been examining games that they've made in

literacy, especially for kids in the third-grade. So, what brought you to Mississippi and why did you -- and what did you find there?

KRISTOF: I guess I see so many problems around the U.S. that have to do with education. And I don't -- you know, I think the best metric of where

our society will be in 25 years is a state of K through 12 education today. And in the U.S., as a whole, that is deeply problematic.

People kept telling me that I should go to Mississippi. And frankly, you know, I didn't entirely believe it. You don't normally think that you're

going to find solutions to social problems, in Mississippi of all places. But I went, and I was truly kind of blown away by what I found. And I do

think that there are lessons in Mississippi for the rest of the country, having to do with making sure that kids learn how to read, learn how to do

math, race high school graduation rates and really focus on improving education.

MARTIN: I mean, you start your piece by saying, the refrain across much of the Deep South for decades was, thank God for Mississippi. That's because

however abysmally Arkansas or Alabama might perform in national comparisons, they could still bet that they wouldn't be the worst in

America because that spot was often reserved for Mississippi.

So, just to sort of give you, you know, some context about why people say that. What did you find in Mississippi that was so remarkable?

KRISTOF: So, Mississippi has dramatically improved fourth-grade reading and math results in particular. And that is true, you know, despite the fact

that it hasn't solved child poverty, it hasn't solved racism. But, you know, in fourth -- among -- so, it's gone from just about the bottom to

about the middle of the country in fourth-grade scores.

And if you look at children in poverty, which is an area where the U.S. does particularly poorly, Mississippi has done remarkably among low-income

children, fourth-grade Mississippi kids now rank -- or tied for best in the country in reading and second in math.

And I guess what strikes me is that, look, Mississippi hasn't solved these broader social problems, still worse in the country on child poverty, but

it has figured out how to get kids to read. And the rest of the country has to, you know, learn what we can from what Mississippi is doing.

MARTIN: Kymyona Burk, let me turn to you. You're born and raised in Mississippi. When you were growing up, did you have a sense of the thing

that we were talking about at the beginning of our conversation that Mississippi wasn't supposed to be a place where people excel academically,

especially black kids?

BURK: Yes, of course. You know, and -- I myself, I grew up in a low-income area. And, you know, I'm a public-school student, you know, throughout. So,

yes, I was very well aware, as many of us were, you know, in the country that we were last, and that as long as there had been a ranking,

Mississippi was last.

And I think that what is so remarkable about where we are now is that, you know, I always say, it had to become OK for Mississippi to be last and it

had become OK in a sense to Mississippi.

MARTIN: What made it stopped being OK? What made it stopped being OK, and for people in Mississippi to say, that's not good enough anymore?

BURK: Well, in 2013, our former governor, Phil Bryant, who was dyslexic, decided to have this huge education reform package, would not -- which not

only included literacy, it also included early learning collaboratives, which would be the state's first investments in early childhood education

and four-year-old education from the state.


But then, also, we had an accountability model. So, we had several things going on with education reform. And, you know, I always say that we were at

the point where I feel it was, we're going to go big or go home. And this was our first state-led effort on just a major scale to reform education

and to start with the most basic of things, which is a literacy and being able to read.

MARTIN: Nick, I'm going to go back to you on this. What was a thing that was the driver here?

KRISTOF: Well, it's inner stage was maybe set in the early 2000s. But in 2013, indeed, is -- it's going to be on the set. There was this major

legislative package that set the groundwork for early childhood programs, which Mississippi historically had been awful at, you know, in pre-K and

getting kids, especially really needy kids, access to pre-K.

And then, there was another, you know, key component, I think, where there was a real major effort to get every kid reading by the end of third-grade.

And as part of that, there was a third-grade gate set up so that kids had to pass a reading test at the end of third-grade, or they would be held


And there were a lot of reasons to be concerned about that, and whether that would, you know, hurt the morale of kids, whether that would

disproportionately hurt low-income kids or kids of color. In fact, I think it created accountability. It made teachers, principals, families and kids

themselves who care very about making sure they learn to read by the end of third-grade.

You know, and then, test results began to improve. I think that made the legislature more inclined to increase early childhood programs. Last year,

to pay teachers more. It created a virtuous cycle of investment. But there -- you know, look, a lot of states talk about the importance of getting

kids to read. What I saw in Mississippi was a just real determination.

They used tutoring to use sort of career development of faculty and skills development of faculty to make sure they were teaching a curriculum that

really would work and would get kids to read. And all coupled with, I think, an administration to state level that made sure these goals were

being implemented in every district in the state.

MARTIN: So, Kymyona, you became Mississippi's literacy director beginning in 2013, and you talk about the Literacy-Based Promotion Act, which is the

gate, right? And I know it's controversial because there's been controversial everywhere that, you know, this has sort of come up for a

discussion. And I'm just curious, as a person who has been a classroom teacher yourself, can you identify, you know, why you think that is so


BURK: Right. So, it's extremely important, you know, any of the research that you read around that transition from learning to read to reading to

learn shows that that transition from third-grade to fourth-grade is extremely important. There's so much scaffolding that's done between

kindergarten and third-grade where students are learning to read, right? They're learning all the foundational skills.

Once they enter fourth-grade or when they enter fourth-grade, the text becomes a lot more complex. And for those students who do not have really a

strong hold of those foundational skills it becomes extremely difficult for them to be able to transition and to be successful in those upper grades.

So, it is important because, just historically or across the country, there really hasn't been any accountability in kindergarten through second-grade.

Our state of assessments begins in third-grade, right? So, even though we call this a third-grade gate or a read by three policies or any of the

other terms that you may hear, this is not just a third-grade teacher's responsibility, and I think that that's the important lesson here, that

when students enter kindergarten, we are supposed to ensure that we're identifying those early who have or who may have reading difficulties and

provide them with all of the support.

So, with our law, it allows for that. It allows for not just screening students but providing interventions. It allows for teachers to be trained

in the science of reading so that they'll know how to respond to students who have reading difficulties. So, there are all these supports. And so, we

always talk about it as third-grade retention, as an intervention tool, but mostly, that entire time from kindergarten through third-grade is spent on

-- very intentionally on prevention, prevention of reading difficulty.

MARTIN: What about the -- can you just hone me in on the science of reading part of it? Because one of the points that you also made is that, you know,

everybody doesn't know to teach reading. So, how did you, you know, persuade people that really focusing on research-based methods was the way

to go?


BURK: Yes. Well, I think the first thing was that we had to create this common language for what it meant to teach reading, that's why our

professional development was so important. But as a state agency and as a state-led initiative we had to really prove ourselves. The state agency had

always been seen as this auditing arm, like if the State Department comes to your building, to your classroom, you know, to your school, then you've

done something wrong.

So, we had to take the approach that we want kids reading by the end of third-grade, but we're going to help you get there. So, I think a lot of

what we did to get buy in was we put boots on the ground in the role of literacy coaches. We say, we're here with you and we're going to help in

your schools to support you in those efforts.

MARTIN: So, look, I noticed that the comments on your piece were quite robust. Obviously, people -- a lot of people were really interested in this

subject but a lot of people were really skeptical, they said, well, you know, you -- the -- you know, the state benefited by an enormous financial

commitment by a particularly committed philanthropist named James Barksdale and his family, OK? And a lot of people were like, well, shoot, you know,

you give me $100 million, you know, we'll get some results too. What do you say to that?

KRISTOF: So, overall -- so, Jim Barksdale, the founder of Netscape, putting $100 million in the year 2000. If you look at how much states spend on

education, you know, over the last 20 plus years, that $100 million did not account for all that much. Mississippi generally does not spend all that

much on per people education.

I do think that what Barksdale brought was real emphasis on accountability, on assessment, on rigor, on evidence, and he had influence in the state. I

think it was as much that emphasis on rigor and evidence that help bring about the changes. But also, it wasn't just Barksdale, I mean, it was

essentially a state was willing to rethink how it did education. And there was -- I mean, Kymyona would be able to speak to this better, but I think

there was a certain amount of embarrassment in Mississippi and a willingness, as a result, to try new things and then to do its best to make

sure that these newer approaches worked.

MARTIN: The question, I think, some people would have is, you know what, it's great that Mississippi finally kind of woke up and took seriously its

commitment to educate every child as opposed to, you know, the long history of allowing people to opt out of the educational systems because they

didn't want to integrate or not giving the same kinds of early childhood supports that other states have long since embraced, like universal, you

know, pre-K, for example.

And I think what some people would look at this and they think, well, you know what, but what about child poverty? What about the maternal mortality

rate? What about clean water in Jackson, for example? What do you -- do you have thoughts about that?

KRISTOF: Well, those qualms are real. I mean, look, you know, Mississippi, you know, the highest child poverty rate in the country, that is a

disgrace. Mississippi fails its children with a poverty rate like that. And, you know, absolutely, we should not give Mississippi a pass or

Mississippi Republicans a pass for allowing those rates of child poverty for the racism that continues to be a problem around this state, for the

degree of segregation and education there.

You know, on the other hand, around the country, we have an awful lot of school systems that fail kids, and we tend to say, well, too bad. We can't

really address these problems because there are so many kids living in poverty and you can't really do much education for kids who are living in

poverty. And Mississippi is the rebuttal for that argument, because Mississippi has shown that even if you don't solve child poverty, even if

you don't solve racism, then you can still get kids reading by the end of third-grade. And so, I think it takes away the excuse for all the rest of

us for our failures to teach education -- to teach kids to read.

MARTIN: Kymyona Burk, can you talk a little bit more about how or whether you think these kinds of initiatives are transferable and scalable?

BURK: Yes. I think it's -- of course. I think it's transferable because there are so many states now that are adopting these policies. But I want

to make clear that it's not just about a checklist, it's not just about our checklist of things. I think that the one thing that was really

advantageous to us is that there is a hub at our Department of Education, there is a literacy division that is devoted to overseeing the

implementation of this law, that's devoted to the guidance that it -- that we give to school districts about how to implement that.

You also have to make that investment in infrastructure, you know, at your Department of Education. This is not a one-woman or one-man job. There has

to be a team that's dedicate to that. And then, around the funding for it, you know, there's nothing worse than an unfunded mandate.


So, around the funding for it, this is not through our funding that's appropriated per pupil, this is funding that is targeted and specifically

used for the implementation of the Literacy-Based Promotion Act. It's $15 million per year. There are some states are giving $50 million, you know,

and those types of numbers. But for us, with our $15 million, it's targeted to professional development. It's not left up to school districts to decide

our assessment system, other -- our coaches, you know, other supports for teachers and students. So, this money is specifically for that.

And for states that are saying that, we want to adopt these principles, they have to make sure they're also adopting the -- you know, making sure

that there's a budget for it. So, yes, it's definitely doable. There are other states that are doing it, you know, like North Carolina, Colorado,

Tennessee, there are other states who have adopted policies and are doing it as well.

MARTIN: Nick, you know what, it's -- you can't help but notice that, you know, Mississippi is a very conservative state, a so-called red state. It

seems that the majority of states that have passed of this kind of reading accountability laws or reading laws are Republican or red states. Do you

have a theory about why that is?

KRISTOF: You know, as somebody who is a little more in the left, I frankly think that somehow my side of the ledger made a historic mistake and

somehow, we became suspicious of fun acts (ph). And I think that that was, you know, partly because we were trying desperately to be very inclusive

and to try new approaches and new things, and I think that then we became a little cemented in place and we were on the wrong side of that one and a

little slow to wake up to new evidence about the science of reading and how it could improve outcomes.

MARTIN: So, Kymyona Burk, before we let you go, what are you proudest of?

BURK: Well, when you talk about our communities and how businesses have stepped in, there are communities in Mississippi that had never seen

success before. And even when I say success, we know that we're not where we need to be for all kids. We know that there are still a lot of room to

grow. But when I say districts or schools that had some of the lowest numbers as it relates to proficiency, who are now seeing almost 100 percent

of their kids ready and passing our third-grade gate, you can't unsee that.

So, now, that you know it's possible, you know, as Nick said in the beginning, there's just no excuse. So, I think that it makes me most proud

that we were able to do it in Mississippi. And I do think that it had to be Mississippi, it had to be the state, the blackest, the poorest state in the

nation to show the world that if you invest in people, if you invest in teachers and their knowledge and you support them that it doesn't matter

the income of the family, it doesn't matter whether they are black or brown, that you can teach children how to read.

And as it relates to the other ills in the state, I think that literacy is going to be our first step in eradicating those things and making sure that

we are able to be productive members of our society and being able to participate in the political process and all of those things that we need

to make our state better. And I just think that this is just the floor and I think this is just the beginning.

MARTIN: Nicholas Kristof, Kymyona Burk, thank you both so much for talking with us.

BURK: Thank you.

KRISTOF: Thank you.


AMANPOUR: And finally, tonight, remembering an absolute giant of literature. Tributes are being paid to the American author for Cormac

McCarthy, who's died after a long and rewarding life at 89. His novel, "The Road," about a father and son on a journey through a post-apocalyptic

America, helped catapult McCarthy to mainstream popularity and a Pulitzer Prize. It also led to his first and only television interview, with Oprah

Winfrey, after she included his novel in her book club back in 2007.


CORMAC MCCARTHY, AUTHOR: My son, John, about four years ago, he and I went to El Paso.

OPHRAH WINFREY, HOST: He's eight now.

MCCARTHY: Yes. And we checked into the old hotel there. And one night, John was asleep. It wasn't night, it was probably about 2:00 or 3:00 in the

morning. And we went overnight, just stood and looked out the window at this town, there was nothing moving, but I could hear the trains going

through in that very lonesome sound. I just had this image of what this town might look like in 50 or 100 years.

I just had this image of these fires up on the hill and everything being laid to waste, and I thought a lot about my little boy. And so, I wrote

those pages and that was the end of it. And then, about four years later, I was in Ireland and I woke up one morning and I realized that it wasn't two

pages of a book, it was a book, and it was about that man and that little boy.



AMANPOUR: And "The Road" was among several of McCarthy's books that were turned into movies, including "No Country for Old Men," which won four

Academy Awards, including for best picture.

Another giant of modern fiction, Stephen King, tweeted that Cormac McCarthy "maybe the greatest American novelist of my time."

That's it for now. Goodbye from London. Thank you for watching.