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The Lead with Jake Tapper
Facebook Whistleblower Testifies About Platforms' Secrets; New Regime Not Living Up To Promise To Respect Women's Rights; Laundrie's Sister Says Is She Knew Where He Was, "I'd Turn Him In"; Docs: Oil Sheen Reported To California Authorities 12 Plus Hours Before Energy Company Flagged A Leak; Authorities Investigating If A Ship's Anchor Caused Leak; TV Series Shows Monica Lewinsky, Linda Tripp In Revealing New Light; Monica Lewinsky Takes On Cancel Culture In New HBO Doc. Aired 5-6p ET
Aired October 05, 2021 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: The company cares about profits above everything, including whether or not people in the world are imperiled or whether kids are damaged. I mean, we heard about, you know, that Instagram feed that Senator Blumenthal staff set up a 13-year-old girl pretending that she wants to look beautiful and be thin. And all of a sudden she starts getting bombarded on Instagram with all these, like, damaging messages and posts.
ADAM CONNER, FORMER FACEBOOK PRIVACY AND PUBLIC POLICY TEAM: One of the things about Facebook is it's always very data driven. And when you reduce something down to data engagement or time spent on site, it's kind of easy to abstract away and say we want more of those things.
And I think what we have seen and what I think some of the documents that she, you know, brought forth that Facebook has not contested, shows that that engagement has tremendous harms in all sorts of different areas, including Instagram or others. So I think that is one of the things she showed is that chain of how that focus on what they call in Silicon Valley KPIs or Key Performance Indicators really help us build that trail to building and growing harms that I think, you know, today we saw in Congress.
TAPPER: So she first revealed herself as the Facebook whistleblower, or the most recent Facebook whistleblower this past Sunday on 60 minutes. Facebook took on a defiant tone, noting that $13 billion has been spent on safety and security since 2016. A statement goes on to say, quote, "Protecting our community is more important than maximizing our profits. To say we turn a blind eye to feedback ignores these investments."
So far, however, we haven't gotten any test -- any reaction, an official reaction to how (INAUDIBLE). And I guess some spokespeople have been on T.V. talking, but no official documentation.
Are you surprised with how they've handled her testimony? I mean, Zuckerberg putting up a video of him and his family on a boat at a time that she's warning our families are not safe because of Facebook, because of Zuckerberg?
CONNER: You know, I think a lot of reporting from some great reporters is showing that Facebook has decided to take a more defiant and less apologetic tone, and not really address the root of the problems, but try and kind of, you know, be aggressive and hope that that changes the story.
And I think the story today is very clear that aside from her very compelling testimony, these documents are real. And they're their own documents. And they show that when the questions were asked, are we causing harms? Too often the answer was, yes.
And I think one of the things Facebook has been very consistent on is saying, we are throwing more money here at this than maybe others are. And that may be true, but it doesn't answer the question of, is it sufficient to solve the problem? You know, is 40,000 employees, which seems like a tremendous amount, a sufficient amount, you know, working on safety and security, sufficient to handle 2.3 billion users? I think the answer is probably that it isn't.
And I think the question that Congress should be asking is not just what is the right number or the way to handle this, but what even internally have other people that Facebook asked for? Has a team ask -- for 10,000 members have been told, oh, for budgetary reasons, you can have 200, you know?
That's part of the conversation that hopefully this will bring the light because we really think, I think, having watched this testimony today, that transparency is the thing that seemed to have really bipartisan consensus. Senators wanted to know more, they wanted to help understand, you know, what the problems were and the depth of the research and other issues, as they start to think about the harder and thornier problems of state regulation.
TAPPER: So, we're going to have Monica Lewinsky on later in the hour, and she has a new documentary on HBO Max. And in it, one of the technology expert's talk about that social media is a lot like what if you were driving in your car, and there was a company that was designed to look at what you look at while you're driving this billboard, that stop sign, whatever, and then you drive by a car wreck? And obviously, we all do what we do when we drive by car wrecks, we study, oh my god, that's so horrible, whatever.
And the artificial intelligence, the algorithm says, oh, this guy likes looking at mangled cars and dead people and starts just giving that to you over and over and over, even though that would be incredibly damaging to a person. And yet, that's what social media does.
We hear about women who have miscarriages or stillbirths or lose a child, and because they are on social media or on the internet looking for that sort of thing, they now spend the next 10, 20 years of their lives being bombarded with that. Is there really no way to fix any of these things? The algorithms are there to get engagement, I get that. But that's unconscionable.
CONNER: So I think there's two things. I think one is the documents that Frances, you know, brought forth to the public light showed that Facebook is pretty bad at what it wants to be good at right now. It's having trouble attracting teenage users or Gen Z or any of the kind of demographics it wants for its advertisers. And it's very good at the things it doesn't want to be good at promoting extremism, recommendation engines that, you know, push people towards content that's really problematic.
And so, you know, it is a problem for the company that they have to be honest about and, you know, as somebody who worked there wants them to be honest about.
As to what we can do to solve it, I think there's two things. One is, we need more transparency, so regulators, academics can study the problem, understand it. And two, we need to tackle these hard problems.
Facebook is correct and one thing. You know their self-regulation has failed. Asking them to do it all by themselves isn't going to be something that works. We've seen that.
And Congress has an opportunity now to step up. And there are some things that can be done right away, you know, we could see the FTC work on privacy rules, we could see Congress take up a privacy law or continue to work on antitrust.
But there's a bigger question of how we handle these harms that are kind of more diffused and more problematic and more technological than they've ever been before. Some of the things and there's research decks, for instance, that don't fit neatly in existing regulatory buckets.
CONNER: And I think --
TAPPER: The regulation, I mean, the Section 230, I think, was --
TAPPER: -- formed in 1996.
TAPPER: 1996. I mean, a decade before Facebook, more.
Anyway, Adam Conner, it's great to have you here. We're going to be talking about this for a long, long time. Hope to have you back.
CONNER: Happy to be here.
TAPPER: Thank you so much. Turning to our politics, President Biden, bringing the gridlock of Washington to the great state -- great lake State of Michigan. He spoke last hour to a group of union workers about his ambitious economic agenda.
The President is arguing in a key swing district that his twin economic packages are essential to kick start the country's growth, especially for middle class and working families.
And to CNN's Jeff Zeleny reports the President's trip comes as a deadline looms that could doom the entire economy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: These bills are not about left versus right or moderate versus progressive or anything that pits Americans against one another.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Biden is trying to break through a stubborn Washington stalemate, traveling to Michigan today in hopes of jumpstarting his sweeping domestic agenda.
BIDEN: I know there's a lot of noise in Washington, there always is, but it seems to me a little more than usual now, a whole lot of hyperbole. A lot of heat, and I'm here today to try to set some things straight if I can.
ZELENY (voice-over): The President visited a union training facility, making the case that is two part economic plan is crucial for the U.S. to stay competitive with China and other rivals.
BIDEN: We're risk losing our edge as a nation.
ZELENY (voice-over): The White House is trying to elevate the conversation, even as it works to bridge the Democratic divide over the size and scope of the plans. There's general agreement on a $1.2 trillion infrastructure plan, but only if a compromise can be reached on the larger spending measure for health care, education, climate change, and more. The price tag of which must be scaled back from 3.5 trillion to about 2 trillion.
BIDEN: These bills are about competitiveness versus complacency. They're about opportunity versus decay. They're about leading the world or continue to let the world pass us by which is literally happening.
ZELENY (voice-over): The President also pointing to a more urgent crisis, a political fight over raising the nation's debt limit, which Republicans have so far refused to join Democrats in doing. The dispute threatens to send the U.S. government into default in less than two weeks, rattling financial markets.
To salvage his agenda, the President is trying to thread a delicate needle between progressives and moderates in his party. Yet Biden selected Michigan's eighth congressional district to make his case, a clear nod to the moderate side of the argument.
After stepping off Air Force One today, he shook hands with Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin, a Democrat who narrowly won her seat in a district twice carried by Donald Trump.
The White House is trying to show investing in things like infrastructure, have broad support across the country.
BIDEN: To support these investments is to create a rising America. To pause these investments is to be complicit in America's decline.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
ZELENY: Now, Jake, this speech was very reminiscent of a campaign speech that President Biden would have given a year ago here in battleground Michigan. But the challenges remain the same, those two senators, Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema.
Now President Biden, just as he was leaving Michigan a few moments ago, he said he's been in new conversations with both of them. He's trying to urge them to say what they like out of this bill, they will add it up from there. But Jake, that top price tag is still too much for either of them to swallow.
TAPPER: All right, Jeff Zeleny in Michigan, thanks so much.
Coming up next, we're going to talk to the former commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, who now admits the war was a strategic failure.
Plus, Brian Laundrie's sister is speaking publicly what she has to say about the possibility that her parents are helping her brother. That's ahead.
TAPPER: In our world lead, it has been nearly two months since this Taliban swept into power in Afghanistan, including Kabul, the capital.
And even though the Taliban had once promised, however credibly to respect women's rights, the militant group has of course since banned female students from secondary education. In some instances, ordered women to leave their workplaces altogether.
CNN's Clarissa Ward is in Kabul. She filed a report on how women are taking to the streets in protest. Here's just a little part of that report.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For involvement (ph), it seems the Taliban may have come to protect the women. But the illusion is quickly shattered.
(on camera): Someone from the Taliban has just come in telling everyone to put away their cameras. It's getting a little tense over there.
They're ripping of women's posters.
No, put it away. Put it away.
(voice-over): A machine gun burst, sends a clear message, the protest is over.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
TAPPER: No surprise there are extremist massage and has been part of their theology for a long time.
Here to discuss, the former Commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, who supervise the 2009 American troops search there, and lead the nation's top military counterterrorism force, the Joint Special Operation Command in the mid-2000s. He has a new book out right now coauthored by Anna Butrico called "Risk, A User's Guide." It takes a look at how leaders approach and handle risk.
General, it's no surprise obviously that the Taliban is reverting to its old ways with their misogynistic view of women.
You have said publicly that you agree with General Mark Milley that the war in Afghanistan was a strategic failure. I guess it would be hard to argue anything else.
I know hindsight is 2020. Is there anyone in particular that you blame for how quickly the Taliban took over the country?
GENERAL STANLEY MCCHRYSTAL (RET.), FORMER COMMANDER, JOINT SPECIAL OPERATIONS COMMAND: No, Jake, I blame all of us. And you got to navigate from where you are not from where you wish you were.
So what we have to do right now is we have to decide how we're going to be helpful in the region to include for the Afghan people, that we can turn our back and walk away completely, so we've got to interact as best we can. And second, we got to go to school on what went wrong.
I don't think we will find a single person to hold accountable for the failure. I don't think there's a single decision that did it. I think it was more a systemic failure. And that should bother us, because my experience was it was good people with good intentions trying really hard and it didn't come out right. And that should give us pause.
TAPPER: In your new book, you say, quote, "The biggest risk to us is us." And you point out how the United States knew that a pandemic such as COVID-19 could happen, and yet, leaders were woefully unprepared. That's the best description, most kind description we could come up with. What do you think was the biggest mistake made in that?
MCCHRYSTAL: Well, I think it was systemic. You know, we often focus on outside threats, and we worry about the next thing that's going to come. But in reality in COVID-19, it was a very predictable threat. That kind of a threat comes in regular intervals.
Also, we knew what to do about it, we have a lot of experience in public health. And then we also got a medical miracle, scientist created a vaccine faster than any time in history.
You line those three factors up, we should be having celebration parades right now. We should be patting each other on the back how a unified United States of America fended off this common enemy. But we don't. We can't do that, because we didn't do it, we dropped the ball.
And I think we started with the fact that the communication around the country, the narrative we had, the leadership, in many cases that failed, in many cases, it was very good, didn't measure up to what we should have for ourselves. And so we have to have a systemic approach that protects our society.
TAPPER: Yes. You say, I mean, this is related, but you say in your book that the biggest threat America faces now is not the Taliban or global pandemic, but disinformation. This is also part of the, you know, the biggest enemy we have is us.
What's at stake here with this disinformation world that we're in that is partially to blame for the fact that 200,000 or so Americans have died of COVID since the vaccines were introduced? What's at stake here?
MCCHRYSTAL: Well, almost everything is at stake, very fabric of our nation. If we go back in history, Adolf Hitler used disinformation very effectively in earlier times. Then the American Tobacco Institute, as we cover in our book, really misled the American people in a very subtle argument that said, smoking might cause cancer. And they left enough doubt that allowed people to smoke and convince themselves it was OK.
Now what we've got is disinformation amplified by information technology of a power we can't even comprehend. The ability to shape not only what we think but how we think is really powerful. And young people, of course, are in the crosshairs of that, but we're all touched.
So, if we can start to break apart our society, because we can convince people that white is black and up is down, it's going to be pretty hard to move forward. So that needs to be what we focus on. But we can do that. I mean, we have the power to solve this.
TAPPER: In one of the final acts of the 20-year war in Afghanistan, the U.S. fired a missile from a drone at a car in Kabul, it was a horrible mistake. It ended up killing 10 innocent Afghan civilians.
Do you worry about the U.S. capabilities when it comes to successful missions now that were fully out of the country? I mean, that one, that mission was with the U.S. still in the country.
MCCHRYSTAL: I would ask people to think about that one a little bit, because it was a horrible mistake. But at the same time, the person who was controlling that had this terrible dilemma, if they had not taken a shot and that car had gone to the airfield and created another mass casualty event like had been a couple days before that, then we'd have be having a very different conversation. This highlights how difficult that is, because even though you're seeing things from 10,000 feet, it's two dimensional, not knowing what's going on the ground makes it harder. So we're going to have to respect the fact that this is going to be challenging to understand.
TAPPER: Daniel Davis is a retired Army Lieutenant Colonel. He served two tours in Afghanistan and there was an article in "The Washington Post" one a month ago about the fact that Afghanistan wars failures have been laid bare. And in his view, and others, military leaders should be evaluated.
He writes, quote, "For years, it's been payday for the generals while the war itself has been a complete disaster. At what point do we hold anyone accountable?
And he and the article very directly talk about you and your post military career and how you apply military strategies used in Afghanistan to offer advice to U.S. businesses or to governments. This book is not a bad example of that either, "Risk, A User's Guide."
And look, you're known -- you were known in the military during and after your time there as a thinker. Have you reevaluated the lessons you learned in Afghanistan and how you use them in the private sector? And how do you respond to people who say, you're profiting off your experience and, you know, the Afghanistan war was ultimately a disaster.
MCCHRYSTAL: I think if we all don't learn from our experiences and share them with other people, then the reality is we don't move forward as a society.
One of the things we've done in the last year and a half is work with the city of Boston. I got a call from Mayor Marty Walsh, who asked us if we would help as COVID approached. And so, members of my team went up from about five and a half months, help them put together the ability to communicate better, the ability to deal with a kind of a threat that COVID-19 turned out to be.
I'm pretty proud of that. I'm very proud of the interactions the team I'm a part of does with civilian companies, parts of government states. So I would say that you have to contribute the best way you can. And so I think we're doing that.
TAPPER: All right, General Stanley McChrystal, thank you so much. His new book co-authored by Anna Butrico is called "Risk, A User's Guide." It's out right now.
Only one major airline is resisting a vaccine mandate for employees. Why? That's next.
TAPPER: In our health lead, Delta remains the only major U.S, airline stuck in a holding pattern now that Southwest says its employees will have to get coronavirus vaccinations. Southwest joining the list of major U.S. carriers mandating vaccinations for their workforces, mostly because of pressure from the Biden administration.
Of the big four, American Delta, Southwest, and United, only United impose a vaccine mandate on its own.
CNN Aviation Correspondent Pete Muntean joins us now live from Reagan National Airport, just outside D.C.
Pete, why is Delta holding out?
PETE MUNTEAN, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: Well, Delta says it's still examining this guidance from the White House, Jake. And what's so interesting is that Delta insists that its own approach is working and that it may not have to issue a worker vaccine mandate after all. Unvaccinated Delta employees will face a $200 a month surcharge on their health insurance starting early next month.
So far, delta says, about 84 percent of its employees have already been vaccinated voluntarily. And Delta CEO, Ed Bastian, anticipates that number will go up to about 90 percent by early December. Here is what he just told our Richard Quest in an exclusive interview.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ED BASTIAN, CEO, DELTA AIRLINES: So a mandate in and of itself is a blunt instrument that you need to get a shot or you lose your job. And knowing that we have a lot of employees that have been here for many years, some that have very deep seated feelings and concerns about the vaccine, I want to respect that, but it would -- there's a cost to it.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
MUNTEAN: The facts are these worker vaccine mandates do work. United vaccine mandate just went into effect last week, 67,000 employees in the US had to submit to that. And of those, only about 232 resisted. United tells us now that that number actually went down as the firing process began for those employees who initially resisted, Jake.
TAPPER: And Pete, there's also some new data on incidents with unruly airline passengers.
MUNTEAN: While the rate of unruly airline passenger incidents continue to go up, this story is not over, 4600 incidents just this year alone, according to the FAA, and just in the last week, there have been 128 new incidents reported by flight crews to the federal government. That number is the highest weekly figure we have seen in more than two and a half months and it's likely these numbers will continue to go up. We know that as concerns about the pandemic subside, more and more people come back to air travel, Jake
TAPPER: All right, Pete Muntean at Reagan, thank you so much. Appreciate it.
Gabby Petito's family and Brian Laundrie's sister, both have a message for the fugitive. That's the next.
And she says she was patient zero for cancel culture and the internet insanity. Monica Lewinsky joins me to talk about her new HBO documentary. That's next.
TAPPER: In our national lead, new comments from the families of homicide victim Gabby Petito and her missing fiancee, Brian Laundrie. Laundrie sister says, she does not know where her brother is, but if she did, she would turn him in. As CNN's Leyla Santiago reports for us now. Cassie Laundrie says she like, everyone else is wondering what if any role her parents may have played in his suspicious disappearance.
GABBY PETITO, YOUTUBER WHO DIED: With the sunset.
LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Today marks three weeks since Gabby Petito's fiancee, Brian Laundrie, has been missing according to his parents. His sister Cassie speaking, insisting she has no idea where her brother is.
CASSIE LAUNDRIE, BRIAN'S SISTER: No, I do not know where Brian is. I turn him in --
SANTIAGO (voice-over): She also expressed a range of emotions feeling worried about them, but also angry.
LAUNDRIE: I would tell my brother to just come forward and get us out of this horrible mess.
SANTIAGO (voice-over): Monday, Cassie also revealing to protesters staked outside her home that Brian flew home on August 17th, just five days after that fight he and Gabby had in Moab, Utah. The attorney for Laundrie's parents confirming in a statement to CNN that Laundrie flew home the 17th and returned to Utah on August 23rd to rejoin Gabby, and that, "Brian flew home to obtain some items and empty and close the storage unit to save money as they contemplated extending the road trip". Cassie says she saw Brian during that August 17th trip.
But she says the last time she saw her brother was when he went camping with his parents at Fort De Soto Park on September 6, and there was no discussion about Gabby.
LAUNDRIE: We just went for a couple of hours and we ate dinner and had s'mores around the campfire and left, and there was nothing peculiar about it. There was no feeling of grand goodbye. There was no -- nothing --
SANTIAGO (voice-over): Today, Gabby's parents and stepparents speaking out on Dr. Phil show saying they believe Brian is definitely alive and in hiding.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's coward. Anyone that lived in that house is a coward.
SANTIAGO (voice-over): According to the police, Brian Laundrie's parents claim they last saw him on September 14th. They reported him missing three days later. When asked about her parents' involvement, Cassie told ABC --
LAUNDRIE: I don't know if my parents are involved. I think if they are, then they should come clean.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE).
SANTIAGO (voice-over): Cassie says this is tearing her family apart and it's not easy watching police question her brother and Gabby after a 911 caller reported their fight.
LAUNDRIE: It's definitely painful to see everybody just be upset. It was pretty typical them to argue and try and take space from each other. But people saying that they saw public domestic violence, I've never seen anything like that from either of them.
SANTIAGO: And in that Dr. Phil interview, you hear the parents and stepparents talk about how they called and texted Laundrie's parents multiple times. When they first started getting concerned about Gabby, they said they never received any calls in return. In fact, when they filed a missing persons report, they said they thought that both Gabby and Brian were missing. It was after they filed that report that they learned Gabby's van was at the Laundrie home here in North Port, Florida.
Now, for their part, the attorney for Brian Laundrie's parents say they do not know where Brian is. Jake?
TAPPER: All right, Leyla Santiago, thanks so much.
Turning to our Earth matter series, that massive oil spill in along California southern coast. Well it may have started earlier than first thought. The energy company behind the leaks as it first detected a problem Saturday, but documents show sightings were reported to authorities on Friday. As for the cause, right now, the leading theory is that the anchor of a passing ships struck the pipeline leaving more than 100,000 gallons of crude oil to spew into the ocean, putting wildlife and beach visitors in danger.
CNN Sara Sidner is in Huntington Beach, California where cleaning up all that oil moves at a painstakingly thorough pace.
SARA SIDNER, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): We have now learned the company that owns the pipeline responsible for the California oil spill says it did not detect a leak until the day after residents reported smelling strong fumes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We were not aware of anything Friday night.
SIDNER (voice-over): The revelations are raising questions about its ability to detect smells. Officials also up the maximum potential amount of crude oil that has gushed out into the Pacific Ocean from 126,000 gallons to 144,000.
LUKE GINGER, WATER QUALITY SCIENTIST, HEAL THE BAY: The impact to the environment is going to last years, you know, potentially even decades.
SIDNER (voice-over): Water quality scientists like Luke Ginger are sick and tired of excuses for oil smells.
GINGER: These spills have occurred for as long as oil extraction has happened. And despite advances in technology, despite new regulations, this industry continues to skirt those regulations, ignore regulations and continues to pollute.
SIDNER (voice-over): The suffering from oil spill crippling birds, their feathers gummed up with a tar-like toxic crude oil. It may be weeks before we know the impact on other animals whose habitat has been contaminated. As for people, they're still using the beaches, but noticing tarballs and ribbons of dark sticky muck.
(on-camera): They are trying to clean it up as we speak, but there is a lot of work to do. And we still don't know the extent of exactly just how much oil has been spilled.
(voice-over): But the damage is done, not just to wildlife but the tourism business out on the water.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Any kind of oil that you see, it's usually a big clump. It's usually a dark spot.
SIDNER (voice-over): Captain Peg (ph) makes his living chartering boats, all rides are cancelled for now.
(on-camera): How is this affecting business?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, it's affecting business because nobody can leave the harbour.
SIDNER (on-camera): For how long?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They say two to three weeks minimum.
SIDNER (voice-over): Meantime, Amplify is facing increased scrutiny created four years ago out of the bankruptcy of another small company. Federal regulators found 125 noncompliance incidents over 11 years by Amplify subsidiary responsible for the upkeep of the pipeline. Government in court records show.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have examined more than 8,000 feet of pipe.
SIDNER (voice-over): Amplify indicated it was sending divers down to find the source of the leak, that did not sit well with Orange County's District Attorney.
TODD SPITZER, ORANGE COUNTY, CA, DISTRICT ATTORNEY: If that is not done independently, that is a travesty. That company should not be responsible for leading its own investigation.
SIDNER: And there has been an update to that. They are now saying that they hired contractors as they normally do to send the divers down. We should also mention, you know, it's a bit jarring here on some California beaches to see just how close these oil platforms are. You can see one over each my shoulders here in Huntington Beach.
The spill happened about 4.5 miles out from the shore here. We understand that there's a 13-inch gash in one of those pipelines. And that the pipeline, which is about 4,000 feet long, was moved about 105 feet. The company floated the idea that maybe this was caused, potentially, they're still investigating though, by a ship's anchor. Jake?
TAPPER: Yes. Sara Sidner, thank you so much.
Our next guest is Monica Lewinsky, she's now sharing her story as part of a new TV series and examining the so-called cancel culture. Stay with us.
TAPPER: In our politics lead, a new look at a scandal. It's been more than 20 years since President Bill Clinton was acquitted on charges that he committed perjury and obstructed justice.
Now a new FX series called, "Impeachment: American Crime Story," follows the three women who were caught in the middle and brutally tried in the court of public opinion. Paula Jones, Linda Tripp and Monica Lewinsky.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LINDA TRIPP, AMERICAN CIVIL SERVANT: Jesus, Monica. It is always comes back to what's best for him.
MONICA LEWINSKY, PRODUCER, HBO MAX DOCUMENTARY "15 MINUTES OF SHAME": No, Linda, it's me. This is for me. And all you have to do is say that you've never seen the president behave inappropriately with anyone because that is 100 percent the truth.
TRIPP: I need to think about it. LEWINSKY: You keep saying that. You have thought about it.
TRIPP: I know.
LEWINSKY: Linda, please. Please, this is my real life we're talking about. And I'm scared.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Joining us now the real Monica Lewinsky not Beanie Feldstein who you saw depicting her there. Monica serves as a producer on the series. She's also producing a new documentary on HBO Max & WarnerMedia, cousin of ours here at CNN. It's called, "15 Minutes of Shame". And I want to start with that documentary or if we can, Monica, which I watched, and it's really very powerful. And it's also kind of very relevant right now, because it focuses on the role that social media plays in ruining people's lives often unfairly.
As you see Facebook in the news, and reports that its leaders knew about the danger, Instagram poses on teenagers and went ahead with the algorithm. Anyway, you talk about this a bit in the documentary about what needs to happen with social media to protect people, do you have any ideas about what you think should happen with social media companies in the U.S. to -- so they're serving more of a good and less of a, you know, a service to a mob?
LEWINSKY: Well, I have a, you know, a laundry list of ideas. People who know me well know I'm constantly coming up with ideas, whether or not they're good or bad, I don't know. But I think that sort of more importantly, what we've seen kind of from yesterday, and I think it's worth mentioning that Frances Hogan in testifying how brave she was. Because, in part, what our doc is looking at is this online behaviour that happens and women and people from marginalized communities are torn apart, way more online.
So to come forward as a whistle-blower, in that sense, is very brave. And I think that what she was also talking about and really showcasing, too, with the algorithm and the focus on the outrage, you know, where the doc comes into all of this, too, is that if you think about the stonings that happened way back when. The stone that you're picking up and throwing in the kind of firestorm of outrage is usually an often is public humiliation and shame. That's how we get angry.
I mean, there are other ways we do it, too. But I think that that's where, you know, this all blends together. But I -- to sort of answer your question more directly, I absolutely think that all of the social media companies, even though they are trying, they can definitely do better, and they need to do better.
TAPPER: You take a look at what is often called cancel culture, the idea of trying to cancel somebody, if you take a socio-political look at what that means. There's a woman in the dock who very interestingly says that cancel culture is not really the right term for it. And that -- I think that's something you also agree with.
LEWINSKY: Yes. I -- you know, for me, I think when you look under the hood of cancel culture, you really come to see and understand that we are talking about married (ph) behaviors and married (ph) consequences. And what, you know, what can happen if we start to call everything cancel culture is that we're losing the nuance and the importance. I mean, if you think about, in some ways, we call it shaming for change in the dock. So if you think about things like Black Lives Matters or Me Too, that there are ways that public shaming can help shape sort of social behavior in important ways.
So, I just think that as a society, we need to kind of carve out what are we talking about and what are the punishments that we're meeting out, who's the one to do that. And stop really, I think using the umbrella term is creating a social chaos.
TAPPER: Yes, I mean, a guy who sexually harasses women is not being cancelled, it's accountability.
LEWINSKY: Right. Exactly.
LEWINSKY: Exactly. You know, Roxane Gay calls it, I think as you just mentioned, but Roxane Gay calls it consequence culture.
LEWINSKY: And Kara Swisher, I believe, calls it accountability culture.
LEWINSKY: And I think that those distinctions are very important. You know, we'd like to have a catch-all phrase for everything in society, but that doesn't work well here, in my opinion.
TAPPER: Yes. And in your doc, you tell the story, the true life story about a guy named Emmanuel Cafferty. He was a utility worker in San Diego.
California says he was a victim of cancel culture. This was the guy people might remember this is about a year ago, he has a tweet, she says he does this with his hand. I don't know if you can see me, Monica, but he's doing this thing, don't worry (ph).
TAPPER: And his -- and somebody took a picture of him thinking he was making a white power symbol and that went out throughout -- he was driving a San Diego Gas and Electric truck, that went out the media, on social media. And then SDG&E, San Diego Gas and Electric, fired him and it's clear the guy got a bum rap even the guy that put take out -- the took out -- the did the tweet to begin with, admitted that he might have misunderstood that this Mexican American was not a white supremacist. Do you think it's, you know, time -- the company, San Diego Gas and Electric, has a new chairman, it's Kevin Sagara? LEWINSKY: Oh, I didn't know that.
TAPPER: Yes. Should Kevin rehire Mr. Cafferty?
LEWINSKY: Gosh, I think that would be great. I mean, it's -- I think that's what --
TAPPER: Cafferty, sorry.
LEWINSKY: -- Emmanuel -- yes, if that's what Emmanuel would feel best about. You know, I was really lucky I had a Zoom a couple of weeks ago with the targets that are in the doc and this has been incredibly challenging for him. And people will see when they watch the documentary that these are stories, you know, stories of people that they may have heard the story before and they will come to learn really surprising aspects of what actually happened. Who were these people --
LEWINSKY: -- the moment before they made some kind of a decision or became public people. And I think that that's really one of the things that is very important about what we're trying to do with the doc of -- it's a 90-minute doc so we're aiming to start a conversation around these kinds of things. And looking at how did we get here and I don't think I can swear on CNN, but where the, you know, beep are we going.
TAPPER: Yes. Stay right with us, Monica, I have a few more questions for you. You're allowed to swear in CNN, by the way.
TAPPER: Including about the FX series and a surprise coming up in tonight's episode. Stay with us.
TAPPER: And we're back with Monica Lewinsky, who, in addition to being a producer of a new HBO Max documentary called "15 Minutes of Shame, is also a producer of an FX series called "Impeachment: American Crime Story" which details the 1998 Clinton scandal.
So first of all, Monica, yes, I have to disclose, full disclosure in tonight's episode, our G-rated date from December 1997.
LEWINSKY: Yes. Or one day.
TAPPER: Or one day from 1997 is portrayed, I should note, by an actor way better looking than me now or then.
TAPPER: You're a producer on this project and you show an honest and sometimes unglamorous version of yourself, why was that important to you?
LEWINSKY: I felt that I shouldn't get a pass as a producer. I think, first of all, I shouldn't get a pass in general. You know, I think it's important to take responsibility for mistakes and I've worked hard to work through those. But, in particular, with the show, there's so many people who've worked hard on the show. And I -- it was important to me that the credibility of the show be there. And I felt that if I was sort of smoothing over and photoshopping, essentially, my history in that way that it wasn't right and when be fair to everybody.
TAPPER: Yes. The series does not portray you, as a victim to Bill Clinton, it portrays you might -- may be a victim of the entire scandal and Ken Starr and the media and the like, but not as a victim of Bill Clinton. But he is depicted, arguably, for the first time in mass media as something of a predator. I mean, he was 49 years old at the time, you were 22, you worked for him.
TAPPER: He was the most powerful person in the universe. What did you make of that performance by Clive Owen as the president, and also of that decision?
LEWINSKY: Right. I think we're seeing aspects with Clive's performance. I think we're seeing aspects of Bill that we haven't seen before. And I think that it's, you know, I certainly -- it wasn't considered a victim back then. And I, you know, dance around the victim language a lot.
But I think what's really important to remembering in today's world is that we never should have even gotten to a place where consent was a question. So it was wholly inappropriate as the most powerful man, my boss, 49 years old, I was 22, literally just out of college. And I think that the power differentials there are something that I couldn't ever fathom consequences at 22 that I understand, obviously, so differently at 48.
TAPPER: You have made conscious choices about when and how to talk about this period of your life. Why did this project get the green light when you've turned down so many others?
LEWINSKY: I -- you know, I actually -- I do make these decisions. I don't make them lightly. I think a lot about the fact of how it impacts my mental state, how it impacts other people, my family included, other people's families, for these things. And I think that at this point, we were at a kind of a social change in a way that the social landscape was changing with how we were looking at so many different issues that had happened, that we're now ready and important, but also -- sorry, I'm blanking on what I was trying to say.
But I think the other part of it too, is that it's also not only just the social landscape is changing, but also how the internet has evolved --
LEWINSKY: -- and what it's meant to have stories break and be on the internet and the harassment that people who didn't make mistakes like I did, endure day after day.
TAPPER: Monica Lewinsky, thank you so much. You know, we're fans of yours here.
LEWINSKY: Thanks, Jake.
TAPPER: Our coverage continues right now.