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Interview with Israel Policy Forum Fellow and Former Adviser to Shimon Peres Nimrod Novik; Interview with IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva; Interview with NORC Vice President of Publica Affairs and Media Research Jennifer Benz; Interview with NORC Public Affairs and Media Research Mariana Meza Hernandez. Aired 1-2p ET
Aired January 02, 2024 - 13:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello, everyone, and welcome to "Amanpour." Here's what's coming up.
Cheer up, it's a new year, people. That is IMF head Kristalina Georgieva with good news. The world economy is stronger than you think. And she's
joining me in a world exclusive.
But world events could always intervene, like Israel's war in Gaza, where intense fighting continues. I'll speak to Nimrod Novik, former adviser to
Prime Minister Shimon Peres, about that, and about Israel's Supreme Court striking down a key part of Netanyahu's controversial judicial overhaul.
Plus, is trust in the media really that low? Michel Martin discusses with pollsters Jennifer Benz and Mariana Meza Hernandez.
Welcome to the program, everyone, I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
The IMF kicks off the new year with some good news on the global economy. And in a moment, my exclusive interview with the Managing Director
Kristalina Georgieva. But first she warns that any number of global crises could intervene, like Israel's war on Gaza, where no end is in sight.
Tonight, Hamas confirms its deputy political leader has been killed in a blast in the Lebanese capital Beirut, fueling fears of an extended war.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken is expected to make yet another trip to the Middle East this week, as the United States and Israel are increasingly
at odds over tactics.
More than 22,000 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza, according to the health ministry there. This after Hamas killed 1,200 Israelis on October
7th. Israel now says it's pulling back some of its soldiers because of the toll on its own economy.
Meanwhile, in an unprecedented ruling, Israel's Supreme Court has struck down a controversial judicial reform law. It's a victory for protesters who
spent months on the streets before October 7th.
So, the new year starts with precarious politics and no stated exit plan for this war. Nimrod Novik was a policy adviser to Prime Minister Shimon
Peres and to the National Security Council. And he's now with the Israel Policy Forum. He's also a member of Commanders for Israel's Security. It's
a nonpartisan group of defense experts that promotes separation for the Palestinians into two states. And he's joining me now from Tel Aviv.
Nimrod Novick, welcome to the program. Can I ask you to react with your analysis as to what Hamas is saying and what a former Israeli official,
Danny Danon, has claimed that Israel has assassinated the deputy political leader in Beirut, in fact?
NIMROD NOVIK, FELLOW, ISRAEL POLICY FORUM AND FORMER ADVISER TO SHIMON PERES: Well, I would say two things. One, it's a very significant
accomplishment of Israeli intelligence and operational capabilities to do something like this at the heart of Beirut. I think that characterizing him
by his formal position as deputy of the political wing doesn't really tell the full story of the man.
He is a competitor for the true leader of Hamas, Yahya Sinar, who is now in Gaza and was in charge of creating terror cells and operations in the West
Bank, out of his base in Beirut. So, it's a message to all Hamas operatives who were responsible for the atrocities of October 7th and others that
Israel's long arm is going to get him.
AMANPOUR: And do you -- are you concerned that -- this is in Beirut, right? It's in a foreign country across the border. Are you concerned, like
the Americans have been, like many of Israel's allies, that this could cause this dreaded extended war?
NOVIK: You know, the surprise by which we were taken on October 7th taught us a lesson. Of humility in trying to understand the thinking of the
adversary. I would say the same goes for Hezbollah and its leader Nasrallah.
So, whatever I say, I take myself with a huge grain of salt. But my analysis is that it does not change the equation that whatever calculations
guided Hezbollah efforts to do something in response to what's going on in the south, in Gaza, to show that it is there and it is presence and it is
identified in militant ways with Gazans but not to trigger an all-out confrontation with Israel, especially when Israel is so well mobilized and
prepared on our northern front, I believe that that calculus would not be altered even though it was in Beirut, but it was a Hamas leader, not a
Finally, the final point I would make here is given that Hezbollah is basically an arm of Iran, it has its own independent decision making, but
it does heed advice and perhaps orders from Tehran. I don't think that the Iranians are in the mood to see their huge investment in creating
Hezbollah, arming Hezbollah, training Hezbollah, funding Hezbollah just in order to retaliate for Israeli assassination of a senior Hamas militant.
AMANPOUR: And yet, Benny Gantz, obviously a former, you know, military personality himself, and now in the unity government, or the emergency
government, has threatened that the IDF will act, and this was before, before this event of today, will act if Hezbollah doesn't, as he says, stop
provocations across the Northern Israel border. This is what he said. Let's just play it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BENNY GANTZ, ISRAELI MINISTER (through translator): The situation on Israel's northern border demands change. The stopwatch for a diplomatic
solution is running out. If the world and the Lebanese government don't act in order to prevent the firing on Israel's northern residents, and to
distance Hezbollah from the border, the IDF will do it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, again, I mean, he's making a clear, you know, threat to use the IDF. Do you think, and as some people have suggested, that at some
point during the Gaza war, they may, the Israelis, turn their attention, your country, to Lebanon and to Hezbollah? Do you think that moment is
NOVIK: It is quite a possibility. First, things may get out of control by no intention of either side. One rocket, one missile hits civilian
population and causes considerable casualties, and we are at full-fledged war. But as long as the parties are in control and are containing, Israel
has a serious dilemma.
Because of Hezbollah proximity to our northern population we have evacuated, in three months now, tens of thousands of Israelis from their
homes, jobs, kindergarten, schools, what have you, and they're not going to go back watching Hezbollah tens of feet from their homes after the
experience that we went through in October 7th in the south.
So, I believe that what Benny Gantz was trying to do is reinforce diplomacy by advising Hezbollah that if diplomacy doesn't work Israel has other means
at his disposal.
AMANPOUR: Let me ask you about your analysis as to why your government has said that it is going to be pulling back some troops from Gaza. And what is
your analysis of how the war in Gaza is going? As we mentioned, the United States has been telling Israel to just stop with the killing of so many
civilians and so much civilian infrastructure. And the secretary of state apparently is coming back for his fourth visit since October 7th.
What is your assessment of Israel's, I guess, achievements on the ground in Gaza?
NOVIK: Well, from a purely narrow military perspective, the IDF is performing very, very well. Has accomplished much of the objectives in the
north, is now concentrating more on the south, while so-called cleanup is still going on in the north as well.
There were -- the government has set itself and the IDF three objectives for this war. One was to destroy the Hamas military capabilities. The
second was to destroy its ability to govern Gaza. And the third is a long- term securing that it can never come back to threaten our civilian population the way it had.
I'd say that the second one is basically -- has basically been accomplished. Hamas is no longer governing Gaza. The first one, of
destroying its military capabilities, is in progress. And the IDF has designed for itself different modes of operation in different sectors of
the Gaza Strip dictated by military consideration, but also by civilian and terrain.
And since much of the northern population was urged to move south, it is much more difficult to operate without too many civilian casualties in the
south. So, the IDF -- you know, there was a talk about moving from stage two to stage three, and then from stage three to the morning after. None of
these are cutoff points. There is no day at which we move from one stage to the other or from the second -- the third to the morning after. These are
all processes and they are happening as we speak.
The IDF is reducing the intensity of its operations in the north and therefore can release some reserves. The pressure on the economy of over
300,000 mobilized reservists is tremendous. So, the more they can release, the more they will.
And the third one of securing that neither Hezbollah nor its successor, by a different name, maybe more vicious even, is not threatening our northern
population, that's the sticking point primarily, I think, between the U.S. and Israel, above and beyond the humanitarian issue, which is serious, but
it is the long-range, the long-term.
What comes after, we have accomplished our objectives, to the -- whatever extent we will. I mean, we will not destroy Hezbollah -- I'm sorry, Hamas,
as some of our leaders have kept promising our people. Hamas is not just a military organization, not just a political organization, it's an ideology,
it's an idea, it's a movement that exists way beyond Gaza or the West Bank or both.
NOVIK: And we're not going to go after every single last operative. So, that objective is not going to be accomplished. But the fact that the
Israeli government refuses to discuss a strategy for the morning after, who comes after us, is a very serious sticking point and it is even an
impediment for the IDF to structure its operation in a way that leads to that political objective.
AMANPOUR: So, let me play what your prime minister said this weekend, essentially intimating that this war is going to go on for a long time,
even for most of the -- for the next year. And as you say, no exit plan has been publicly articulated and a huge amount of difference of opinion within
Israel and between Israel and the United States and its other allies on what, as you say, looks like the morning after. So, this is what Netanyahu
has just said about continuing this war.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER (through translator): The war is at its height. We are fighting on all of the fronts. We have huge
success, but we also have painful cases. Achieving victory will require time. As the chief of staff has said, the war will continue for many more
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Again, which is not what his allies want to hear. So, what do you -- and I'm assuming that you are not necessarily in Netanyahu's camp.
You used to work for Prime Minister Shimon Peres, who was, you know, Netanyahu's political opponent and was very much in favor of the two-state
solution. And obviously, Netanyahu is not in favor of that. So, where do you see the next steps?
NOVIK: Well, I think that if indeed the IDF moves gradually from the intensive stage of the war to a far less intensive one with far less
dominant presence on the ground in a completely different mode of operation against targets rather than comprehensive assault with huge formations, the
moment for a morning after can begin.
But for that to happen the Netanyahu government must accept the prerequisite of all those who are willing to contribute to the morning
after, under the leadership of the United States, and that includes Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates and Egypt and Jordan and a few others,
all of them are united in one thing. We're not going to go there just to see our investment go up in flames the morning after.
And therefore, we have to see that it is done under the auspices of the Palestinian Authority and that it is within some kind of a political
horizon that suggests that the next two, five, 10 years will not resemble the last decade.
For that to happen, Netanyahu has to accept these two premises. He has not yet. He's walking back his objection to the Palestinian Authority having a
role to play. Now, nobody talks about the Palestinian Authority by its initials P.A., but rather RPA, which is President Biden's creation,
reformed or revitalized Palestinian Authority.
So, yes, there will be a need for two processes, one by which the Palestinian Authority undergoes very serious reforms, including with
support from Arab players, including with the sea change in Israel, policy vis-a-vis the Palestinian Authority. So, that's one process, to prep it for
the job of taking over the Gaza Strip and demonstrating that Gaza and the West Bank are one polity.
And the second one is the interim, what happens in Gaza until the P.A. is ready to do that. And for that to happen, as I said, those who are willing
to contribute wants to make sure that it is sponsored by the P.A., even though the P.A. is not yet ready to shoulder their responsibility.
AMANPOUR: Nimrod Novik, there are many who believe that as long as Prime Minister Netanyahu sits where he sits and faces the legal troubles that he
faces that he will not agree to resign. He said it himself, he will not agree to necessarily end this war on a short -- on a shorter term, and he
does not agree with the two-state solution. So, there's that.
The other thing that's happened is the Supreme Court has dealt him a political -- or a legal setback by striking down parts of the controversial
judicial reform law. How does all this manifest, do you think? Will people be back on the streets again, or does the war preclude that? What is the
next step after this move by the Supreme Court?
NOVIK: Well, I think that you're absolutely right. Prime Minister Netanyahu has demonstrated that keeping his coalition of 64 together as his
last, shall we say, political bulletproof vest from a harsh sentence should his trial on three counts of corruption reach its conclusion. And those 64
include the far fringes of Israeli society, Jewish supremacists, messianic annexationists, self-proclaimed homophobes. I mean, just people who were at
the margins of Israeli society and were brought together and provided positions of power by a prime minister who needed them because they were
the only ones who were willing to offer him this possible escape from his legal predicament.
Now, he is captive to their whims. They can bring him down any day should he violate their dreams, their dreadful dreams. And as a consequence, his
freedom to negotiate with the U.S. a formula that falls short of the two prerequisites that I mentioned earlier, that the P.A. sponsors Gaza
rehabilitation, and that it is all done in the context of some kind of a political horizon, his freedom to reach that kind of a formula has been
very, very narrow.
I'm not sure that the Washington -- the administration in Washington is in the mood to try and persuade all the Arab partners to accommodate
Netanyahu's constraints. So, yes, we are in a very serious problem when the prime minister seems to face a conflict of interest in the conduct of the
As to the protest I think that the moment that the general public will get the sense that the IDF has moved from phase two to phase three, to which I
alluded earlier, that is to say that many reserves are being sent back home, that the operation is much less intensity, that you don't wake every
morning dreading the moment we call it we are allowed to announce, which is when the media announces who died in battle the last day.
Once that sinks in, I think we're going to see a resumption of the protest. But this time, not in order to protect our democracy, but in order to see
those responsible for the huge strategic failure go.
AMANPOUR: Yes. And, Nimrod Novik, it's worth saying that Prime Minister Netanyahu is the only one of the main pillars of your government who has
not taken responsibility for that failure. Thank you so much, indeed, for joining us.
As we said, this war and Russia's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine have had economic impacts around the world. This time last year, predictions of
widespread recessions for 2023 did not actually come true, including for the United States. Inflation and prices continue to come down.
So, was last year's outlook too pessimistic? And what can we expect for the year ahead? Kristalina Georgieva, managing director of the IMF, joined me
recently for an exclusive New Year interview.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Kristalina Georgieva, welcome to the program.
KRISTALINA GEORGIEVA, MANAGING DIRECTOR, IMF: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: So, let me ask you, were you surprised at the end of 2023 about how the economy landed? For instance, in the United States, everybody was
talking about a recession, but that actually has not happened.
GEORGIEVA: Well, in the beginning of last year, we were worried that the economy may be hit so hard by high interest rates that there could be a
risk of recession in many places. And I'm delighted that it has proven to be too pessimistic an outlook.
What we see today is inflation is going down. Labor markets remain very strong. People have jobs. And the prospects for the year are of not very
strong growth, but growth nonetheless.
AMANPOUR: And what will that mean, growth versus not very strong growth? What will that mean for the individual who's worried about their buying
ability, their purchasing ability?
GEORGIEVA: Well, the expectation for this year and for the next couple of years is that growth would be around 3 percent. To put it in perspective
for people in, the previous decade before the pandemic, the average growth was close to 4 percent.
So yes, we retain a positive perspective, but productivity is, relatively speaking, low growth expectations are below what we need for improvements
in the lives of people everywhere.
And what is even more troubling, Christiane, is that there are countries, primarily low-income countries, that over the last years have been falling
further behind rather than catching up. So, the world needs to be united to be more prosperous for everybody. My wish is for us to overcome what
divides us, come together, work together for the benefit of everyone.
AMANPOUR: OK. So, that's really interesting. The idea that -- I mean, I'm afraid it is this, a political coming together, rather than fragmentation,
is also better for the economy. So, what I want to ask you is specifically in the United States, what do you forecast will be the state of the economy
GEORGIEVA: We expect in 2024 the trend inflation going down to continue. And on that basis, the Fed has already announced that there is a prospect
for interest rates to start going down. This would be a relief for businesses and for households. We see growth prospects for the United
States to be fairly strong. And that is translating into very strong labor market. Where the U.S. economy is today, definitely soft landing.
AMANPOUR: So, that's -- people should be feeling good then about the economy. Is that correct?
GEORGIEVA: People should be feeling good about the economy because they finally would see relief in terms of prices, the inflation moderating
already and continuing to moderate is due to the decisiveness of the Fed to increase interest rates.
And while that has been painful, especially for small businesses it has brought the desired impact without pushing the economy into recession. And
that is for all Americans. Good news. You have a job and prices are finally starting to moderate.
AMANPOUR: So, can I ask you this? There is this thing called vibes. I mean, vibes is used by the younger generation to describe everything. But
it appears to be there's something vibey that is not aligning in the United States right now. Can you explain that? Why do people feel so bad about the
economy despite the successes that you have just outlined and the fact that it should get better throughout 2024? What is it economically or in the
atmosphere that causes individuals to tell pollsters that somehow, I feel bad?
GEORGIEVA: The two factors that determine the vibes in the United States and actually elsewhere, one, price dynamics. Christiane, for decades we got
accustomed to very low inflation. We forgot what it is for inflation to go up, and suddenly it jumped. That has impacted the mood of people because
for some, for the younger generation, they don't even know what is this thing, inflation. They didn't live through one.
Secondly, interest rates went up again. For a long time, interest rates were very low, sometimes even in negative territory. And when you get the
accustomed to borrowing cheap, then when interest rates jump, that is a shock.
Of course, interest rates jumped to cure inflation. But for the ordinary people, these two things seem like problems, not like one is a problem, the
other one is the solution. Only when the solution truly works people would feel more comfortable. Once they see interest rates going down -- first,
inflation going down, interest rates are going down.
But my message to everyone is, you have a job and interest rates are going to moderate this year because inflation is going down. Cheer up. It is a
new year, people.
AMANPOUR: Well, I'm sure a lot of people will be very, very pleased to hear you say that. In a recent foreign affairs op-ed, you wrote about Cold
War 2.0 and fragmentation. You've said that fragmentation is a process that begins with increasing barriers to trade and investment, and in its extreme
form, ends with countries breaking into rival economic blocs.
What does that mean? And why are rival economic blocs bad?
GEORGIEVA: What it means is that we will see supply chains extended with more links than are necessary, adding to costs, and the result would be for
ordinary people, what they buy in the store is more expensive.
When we look at the risks of fragmentation, they are materializing already. We already see a gravitation of countries towards each other in separate
blocs. And when we simulate it, what would be the cost of it if it continues? It is quite dramatic. We can get all the way up to losing 7
percent of global GDP.
To put it in a context, what is 7 percent of global GDP? This is like France and Germany disappearing from the economic map of the world.
Well, we do need to accept that security of supplies today is a necessity. So, Christiane, no more we can say, oh, well, just in time, let's not worry
about costs, because we have seen from COVID and from the impact of the war in Ukraine, that when supplies are interrupted there are dramatic
So, some attention to security of supply is necessary, but it needs to not be taken to a point. that it brings us back in terms of wellbeing of people
AMANPOUR: Kristalina Georgieva, you talk about blocs, and I just want to ask you what these blocs look like, these fragmented blocs.
GEORGIEVA: It is indeed the rivalry between U.S. and China that is more prominent in economic terms. What we know from the Cold War in the past, I
lived in it, I was on the other side of the Iron Curtain then, was that trade continued, but trade between the blocs shrunk dramatically.
Consequences, there are certain things that are better produced, cheaper produced in one of these blocs, and the other bloc would have no access to
So, we are all better off to find ways to reduce frictions, to concentrate on security concerns that are real and meaningful and not go willy-nilly in
fragmenting the world economy. We would end up with a smaller pie. I think there is a way rationally to compete where it is important for economies
and to cooperate on issues where no country can succeed on its own.
AMANPOUR: Talking about an isolated, and it sounds weird to say this because of all the support it's got, but Ukraine is suffering right now.
Not only was the shock of the war, as you've talked about, shock upon shock, upon shock last year, but now you see the United States, the E.U.,
not just defaulting on their military aid, but also on, on, on financial aid.
As head of the IMF, you've just approved an additional $900 million for Ukraine's budget support. What exactly does that mean?
GEORGIEVA: Let me first express my full admiration for what the Ukrainian people have achieved over the last year. They have managed their economy
remarkably well. In 2023, Ukraine grew by 4.5 percent when the world grew at 3 percent.
GEORGIEVA: In spite of it.
AMANPOUR: How? How?
GEORGIEVA: By being very focused on supporting their economy where it is more critical by making sure what -- there is no war, the economy is
blossoming. By being brave to go to work every day. I saw that when I was in Kyiv. They brought inflation to 5.1 percent. There are countries that
are not in a war that are envious of this result.
In other words, Ukraine has earned the support of the world because it has been so responsible for how they manage their finances. How they collect
taxes, they collect 36 percent of GDP in taxes. In that context, we have a program of about $16 billion from the IMF that mobilizes $122 billion
support for Ukraine for four years.
I discussed it with President Zelenskyy when he was in Washington a couple of weeks ago, urging him to continue on that very path, perform,
demonstrate that Ukraine earns and deserves the support of its partners. And I remain optimistic that Ukraine, because it -- Ukraine has earned it,
Ukraine will receive that support.
We from the IMF are doing our part. Ukraine is doing their part. The friends of Ukraine are to do their part as well.
AMANPOUR: I hear you urging that. Putin on the other hand is pretty much saying, see, I told you so, the West would, you know, lose interest and
Ukraine will be destroyed because it's nothing without foreign help, outside help.
So, I want to ask you, are you shocked, surprised? Should we be shocked, surprised that actually Russia's economy has stabilized and it's doing
pretty well, thank you very much, despite all the sanctions, despite all the freezing of assets, despite all what the politicians decided to do to
punish it for invading Ukraine?
GEORGIEVA: Well, the Russian economy is performing well because of the boost of financing that comes from the state. It is a war economy. When you
look at the Russian growth, what you notice is it looks very much like the Soviet Union. Production is up. Consumption is down.
So, yes, in this short-term, because of that financial support that goes for the war economy in Russia, you see these results. But longer-term, the
fact that Russia has lost access to technology is going to hurt and the fact that Russia, at some point, has to bring production of arms down while
consumption is so depressed that that is going to hurt.
AMANPOUR: So, now to end our conversation, what do you hope for, wish for 2024 on the economic stage?
GEORGIEVA: To continue to live in a very resilient world economy that surprises us on the upside. And what I'm wishing for, frankly, is a boring
year. We have had too many years with surprises that would shock us. May we please have one that doesn't bring any of those.
AMANPOUR: On that note --
GEORGIEVA: And of course, I pray for peace.
AMANPOUR: And so, do we all. Kristalina Georgieva, managing director of the IMF, thank you so much for being with us.
GEORGIEVA: Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And indeed, many people around the world probably would subscribe to her wish there too, for a boring year without too many shocks
or surprises, and with peace.
Now, to the United States, where the fate of democracy is at stake ahead of a crucial presidential election and the future, of course, of two major
wars. This, as trust in news organization, continues to remain at record lows, or does it? Our next guests argue that there is far more faith in the
media than we're led to believe.
Jennifer Benz and Mariana Meza Hernandez from NORC at the University of Chicago, a research and polling organization joined Michel Martin to
discuss the recent "Washington Post" op-ed. Actually, people don't hate the media as much as you think.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHEL MARTIN, CONTRIBUTOR: Thanks, Christiane. Jenny Benz, Mariana Meza Hernandez, thank you so much for joining us.
JENNIFER BENZ, VICE PRESIDENT OF PUBLICA AFFAIRS AND MEDIA RESEARCH, NORC: Thanks for having us.
MARIANA MEZA HERNANDEZ, PUBLIC AFFAIRS AND MEDIA RESEARCH, NORC: Thank you.
MARTIN: So, we called you because you're both with the Public Affairs and Media Research Unit at the National Opinion Research Center at the
University of Chicago, and you decided to dig into your data from the last few years to better understand how Americans view and trust or don't trust
the media. What made you take a look at that?
BENZ: I mean, we're coming at this from a place where we feel like independent journalism and a common space for Americans to be able to talk
about and share facts are key ingredients for a well-functioning democracy.
And we've certainly seen over the years lots of data from NORC and from other polling organizations showing a really steep decline in public trust
in journalism. It's part of a larger phenomenon of declining trust in a lot of public institutions. But we really felt like that kind of dire narrative
doesn't give a whole lot of room for us to figure out how to fix things.
And so, what we really wanted to understand is what are these big picture numbers really mean? What does it mean to not trust the press? And so,
we've been collecting data on news consumers and how they use the news, why, what they're looking for, for a number of years now and we wanted to
kind of bring all that to -- data together and try and really understand the nuance of what these lower trust numbers mean and what nuggets we could
get out of that to figure out what the solution should be.
MARTIN: Obviously, the sort of the predicate of this is that it matters beyond people who are just in the business itself. Could you just say more
about why you think it matters?
BENZ: Yes. I mean, we certainly feel like this is a problem that goes beyond just kind of understanding or fixing the business model of
journalism or, you know, sort of reinforcing our own beliefs about the industry. But this is really research that's designed to try and help
address this critical problem because we consider journalism, we consider independent reporting, research facts, data, all of these are key
ingredients to a healthy and functioning democracy in this country.
And so, we do start from that premise. And, you know, our goal is to dig into these data and conduct the research that we feel like will help people
have some insights and help the industry figure out a way out of this trust crisis.
MARTIN: OK. So, here's why -- one of the reasons we called you, is your team outlined your findings in an op-ed for "The Washington Post" titled
"Actually, people don't hate the media as much as you think." Tell me why you say that? Why you say that in this piece? Tell me what some of the
HERNANDEZ: Sure. I think this tied to what Jenny was mentioning of trying to go into the details to really understand what people feel about the
media, but more importantly, their media or the type of media they personally consume, which might be different or can add some detail to what
we're discussing here.
And specifically, when we ask about their feelings on local media, what we find is that liberals, moderates, and conservatives alike, a majority of
all three groups have a -- the majority say they have a high trust in local news or local press, which is probably something that you would not expect
thinking about the divisions or the polarization narrative that we always listen about. Some of these groups tend to trust less the media versus some
tend to trust the media more.
But what we find is when you actually ask about local media, those differences are not as stark and you find some positives rather than
MARTIN: Here's one thing I do want to ask about is that different polling organizations have come up with different numbers. Gallup, for example,
says that only 34 percent of Americans trust the news. But your group, NORC, found that something like 55 percent trust the news. And a different
organization, Pew, found that it was like something like 61 percent. Can you can you help us understand why those numbers look so different?
BENZ: Yes. I think -- I mean, you get slightly different responses from all of these polling organizations, depending on exactly how you ask the
question and the types of response options that you give people.
You know, one thing that is consistent across all of these organizations who have put in the time to be able to track these measures over the years
is that no matter sort of what the exact estimate is, everybody is showing this decline over time.
And I think the one thing that we tried to get at in digging into these data a little bit more and trying to unpack is, you know, what do people
really mean when they say that they don't have a great deal of confidence in the press, or that they only trust journalism a little bit, you know,
depending on all of these different question wordings.
And when you disentangle some things, you start to see that the levels of trust are maybe a little bit higher than you might expect.
So, you know, for example, a lot of people consider the -- you know, the biggest function of journalism to deliver accurate facts to the public. And
when you ask people, you know, how much confidence they have in the press and in journalism to be able to report the facts accurately, 55 percent say
that they're pretty confident.
So, sometimes these kind of big picture measures that are important and that we're all looking at overtime can mask some of the nuance in the data.
MARTIN: What about what people -- what is that people say they are concerned about? You know, you have concerns about conspiracy theories
being sort of -- you know, sort of pushed out into the public arena or you have people who are concerned about political bias. Did people have
different concerns based on who they were or how they identified themselves?
HERNANDEZ: We did find some differences in the concerns. So, again, I think liberals were slightly more concerned about the potential
polarization that the press can feel into versus say conservatives were more concerned with the issue of misinformation but can be also found. And
those are the big concerns for those two groups.
But I think also important here is highlighting what they had in common and what they were actually looking for in the press, and again, it relates to
what Jenny was mentioning of having the facts, right, having a press that relies on giving people the facts and what's real instead of versus, like,
saying, highlighting more opinions or the journalist's opinions, people actually look for the facts when they look at news. And of course, their
concerns varied slightly, but I think, overall, again, there's some common ground there across ideologies.
MARTIN: And what about across demographic or age group? Let's put it that way. Across generations, let's put it that way. Because it's another one of
those stereotypes that, you know, Millennials and Gen Zs don't -- you know, won't -- everything's supposed to be free, information's supposed to be
free, don't want to pay for anything. I mean, that's one of those -- or don't care at all or get all their news from TikTok or whatever. And what
did your data find there?
HERNANDEZ: Sure. So, I think there -- in the past year, NORC released a report where we actually looked at the younger generations. We looked at
Gen Z, Millennials, and younger adults, and we actually asked a ton of questions of their news consumption and their opinion towards the press.
And one of the key facts that we found is what you were mentioning is that actually those younger generations do pay for it for news and media, either
by directly paying or donating to those sources, which may be more varied that we actually think when we think about traditional media.
But there's still a sign of a lot of engagement when it comes to news with those younger audiences as that also points out the relevance of the press
and media for them and how they still rely on them to get the news.
MARTIN: So, Jenny, this is what I wanted to ask you. Why do you think we have such a negative picture of our -- of the way we think our fellow
Americans engage with the media? Why do you think it is we have such a negative picture, which you feel to be at odds with a lot of the research
that you've uncovered?
BENZ: You know, the industry certainly has its challenges and we're not, you know, in any way trying to downplay those, but we feel like the
solutions can come out of some of these points that Mariana was mentioning where we can find common ground.
And I think one potential challenge is that we've -- where we see this disconnect is that we've done some studies where we've actually interviewed
journalists and we've interviewed the public to try and understand what they do and don't get about each other. And in some ways, you know, there
is a little bit of a failure to communicate with our news consumers.
And so, you know, one potential solution coming out of this work is thinking about the ways that we explain what we're doing in our journalism
and, you know, these data showed that there are some fundamental misunderstandings about each other.
You know, we have roughly half the public that, you know, told us that they weren't even really sure you know, what an op-ed was or what distinguishes
an editorial from a regular news article. And one of their concerns about the media is that there's too much opinion and not enough fact, when they
feel like they are reading the news.
And so, you can start to see some potential pathways where if we're explaining what we're doing and what the purpose of a news piece might be
to the public in the way that they can understand it, we can try and bridge some of those communication gaps.
MARTIN: One of the things that you write in the editorial that we just mentioned, you write that "an exaggerated narrative of media disaster is
becoming a problem in itself." Why do you say that?
BENZ: Yes. I think, you know, this focus on this incredibly low trust number in these -- some of these big picture public opinion measures is
it's the kind of thing that, you know, politicians can pick up and really point to say that, you know, don't trust them, you know, we have this
independent press in this country, but when large -- you know, when the narrative is that these large numbers of the public don't trust them, it
makes it easy to kind of weaponize that lack of confidence in the independent free press in this country and the ability for them to do their
MARTIN: You know, even though there is a lot of positive data in the research that you kind of did and reviewed, you stopped short of saying
that the so-called crisis of trust in the news is an illusion. So, it suggests that there is a bit of a crisis. So, can you just say more about
BENZ: Yes. I mean, we definitely are not trying to put-on rose-colored glasses here and say that there aren't any problems. I mean, we do think
that there is a crisis of trust in journalism. There's data. That there's a crisis and institutional trust kind of writ large in the country right now.
And, you know, we see a lot of concerning things in the data. You know, we've seen some people's concerns about -- you know, deep concerns about
misinformation and, you know, blaming journalists as much -- or about as much as they do social media and politicians as a source of that
misinformation. We see concerns about bias and ownership of the of the press.
So, there are real concerns in the public. But there are also areas of, you know, hope and there are areas of some promise. And what we were trying to
do is figure out what those spots of hope are and figure out how the industry can capitalize on those and try and get us out of the crisis.
MARTIN: Your organization's general social survey, which measures trust in institutions found that the news media and Congress share the lowest levels
of confidence of any institutions in the country. Below 10 percent report a great deal of confidence in either, but it just seems funny to me that
Congress and the news media are sort of so equally ranked there. And I just wondered if you had some thoughts about that, why that might be.
HERNANDEZ: Yes. So, the General Social Survey is a great resource to understand the trends and the confidence and institutional -- not only the
press and Congress, but they also have been asking this question about a bunch of institutions nationally.
And what we see is this decline of -- in trust overall, right? This decline in trust is not exclusive or -- to the press or to the media, but it's also
something that's playing other institutions across the nation. So, I think it's more of another call to action to really understand what's going on
beneath the surface or beneath the top line numbers and see where we can start to rebuild this trust collectively.
MARTIN: What are some of the things that you feel that perhaps the people in the legacy media, in particular, or the people who care about this could
do to kind of bridge this divide? Can you just -- can you say more about that?
BENZ: Yes. I mean, I think to the extent that we can open up the black box and sort of help people understand what, you know, the media is for folks.
I mean, we see a lot of people are really concerned that, you know, the people that own media organizations have a lot of influence on the type of
reporting that gets done. And this kind of general lack of understanding of what's happening behind the scenes with journalism.
So, I think transparency is also really key to helping people understand, you know, what it is that journalists do, why they're doing it and what it
is, in the stories, that people should be taking away as they read and consume the news.
MARTIN: Jenny Benz, Mariana Meza Hernandez, thank you so much for talking with us.
BENZ: Thanks for having us.
HERNANDEZ: Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And finally, tonight, don't call it a comeback. The sporting year is off to a roaring start as Australia's Queensland tennis tournament
sees the return of some shining stars.
37-year-old legend Rafael Nadal was back after a yearlong injury timeout. Easing past the world number three in a thrilling win.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RAFAEL NADAL, TENNIS CHAMPION: Today is honestly an emotional and important day for me after probably one of the toughest years of my tennis
career, without a doubt, have the chance to come back after a year and play in front of an amazing crowd and play.
I think -- play, I think, at the very positive level to be the first day is something that probably make us feel proud.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: A consistent crowd pleaser, Nadal said this will likely be his final year on the men's tour. He's not the only one coming back with a
bang. 2021 US Open winner Emma Raducanu returns after surgery to her ankle and both wrists. And four-time Grand Slam winner Naomi Osaka stormed past
her opponent to a welcome win after taking time off to deal with mental health issues and to give birth to her daughter. Good luck to all of these
game changers this year.
And that is it for now. If you ever miss our show, you can always find the latest episode after it airs on our podcast. And remember, you can always
catch us online, on our website, and all across social media. Thank you for watching, and goodbye from London.