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San Francisco D.A. Says Former City Official Beaten With Pipe By Homeless Man, Public Defender Alleges Ex-Official Bear Sprayed Homeless Man First; Republicans Hammer Teachers Union Head Over CDC Guidance And COVID Classroom Closures; What Have We Learned From Pandemic School Closures?; Mike Pence Testifies Before A Grand Jury; Umpire Strikes Back; Spielberg Says Old Works Should Not Be Revised. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired April 27, 2023 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN HOST: One more, I think we can do it. He did a better job than you did with Mandy. If you don't know what that is, it's a reference to the fact that walking to work early this morning, I passed Radio City, I see Barry Manilow is coming, and I couldn't help but break out in song. Go to my social media.
Hey, this has been a privilege for me the last couple of days. Thank you so much for watching. And right now, Alisyn Camerota is ready to begin.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks so much, Michael. Good evening, everyone. I'm Alisyn Camerota. Welcome to CNN TONIGHT.
Another case of violence on the streets of San Francisco, this time, a former fire commissioner was allegedly attacked by a homeless man with a metal pipe. But the suspect's attorney claims it was the fire commissioner who was the aggressor after he sprayed the homeless man with bear spray. We're going to go deeper into this story to see what it says about the homeless situation in San Francisco.
Plus, Teachers Union President Randi Weingarten is here after a contentious hearing on Capitol Hill about whether teachers unions kept schools closed for way too long during the pandemic. What are the lessons for next time?
And Steven Spielberg said he made a mistake in the rerelease of his classic film, E.T., and he'll never do it again.
Okay. We'll talk about that.
But we begin tonight with that attack on the streets of San Francisco. We warn you, this video is disturbing to watch. Prosecutors say former San Francisco Fire Department Commissioner Don Carmignani was seriously injured after being attacked on April 5th by a suspect with a metal pipe outside of his mother's home in San Francisco. This video comes from Carmignani's attorney. But this video that you're about to see here provided by the suspect, Garret Doty's public defender, shows what she alleges is Carmignani attacking Doty with bear spray minutes before that attack with a metal pipe. She says her client ran away pulling his jacket over his head.
Speaking to our affiliate KPIAX T.V., Carmignani says he did not go out to fight anyone.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I didn't go out there to fight anyone. I'm trying to get down the road. It's three on one. I know odds. I'm 52 years old. I have two hip replacements. I'm an old guy. And I could have been a dead guy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: Well, the public defender alleges that there's a pattern of someone with Carmignani's description spraying and assaulting homeless people. He vehemently denies that.
The public defender's office putting out this video from November 2021, we can show you this. This shows an unidentified assailant spraying a sleeping homeless person with bear spray. It's one of eight incidents reported to police over the past few years of someone carrying out an unprovoked attack on unhoused people. Carmignani says it's not him. So far, there have not been any arrests in any of these incidents.
Okay, lots for my panel to talk about. Here with me, we have Patrick McEnroe, former professional tennis player, Scott Jennings, former special assistant to President George W. Bush, Mosheh Oinouou, Host of the Mo News Podcast, and Jessica Washington, Senior Reporter at The Root.
So, Jessica, I mean, I don't know if we should draw a broader message from everything that we just heard and saw there, but it does seem as though the homeless situation in San Francisco has been a problem for a long time and people might be losing their minds.
JESSICA WASHINGTON, SENIOR REPORTER, THE ROOT: Yes. And I think I want to kind of almost reframe this because I think we talk about the homelessness epidemic, and we talk about it as an epidemic of having to see people who are unhoused, having to walk around people who are unhoused, not about people not having sanitary safe living conditions. I think that's the epidemic we need to focus on.
And this is a community that's really vulnerable to violence. Those eight attacks are just what's been reported. We know this is a community that is unlikely to report. So, I think when we talk about this as an epidemic, we really need to think about it for the people who are living on the streets who don't have adequate housing.
CAMEROTA: I think that's a great point, but I think that there's another layer of anger, Mosheh, which is, why aren't elected officials doing anything about it? So, yes, there's often anger directed, as Jessica was saying, misplaced at the homeless, but there is anger because it feels like, why do people have to live like this on both sides?
MOSHEH OINOUOU, HOST, MO NEWS PODCAST: The policies are broken in the city, and people are frustrated. I mean, talking to friends who live there, it's thing upon thing in San Francisco. The latest numbers that were out last week, violent crime is up this year. Property crime is up this year. Offices are vacant. They have a huge vacancy issue. Then you have the cost of housing, which is making it difficult for people to live there. Then on top of that, you have the opioid/fentanyl issue, which is reinforcing this. On top of that, add the mental health issue.
So, you have this concoction in San Francisco, and it appears that the policymakers there have not been able to figure out an effective strategy here.
And, you know, they need to -- the city needs to function. And now, clearly, the former fire commissioner is taking things in his own hands, in his own unfortunate way.
CAMEROTA: Yes. Scott?
SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, he denies that, A. B, he was beaten savagely and was seriously injured. C, I think some of the points you made are dead on. People out there that say the living conditions are, you know, not palatable. You've got businesses pulling out, stores can't stay open. I mean, there's been a number of brand stores that have had to close because the minute they open, people are breaking in and terrorizing their staff and stealing their inventory. It's become a very, very difficult place for a lot of people to envision living and working. And the violence is up this year. And it's sad because this is one of the great American cities that's become, to a lot of people, a real blight, you know, on America right now. And it -- the people there deserve better.
CAMEROTA: Patrick, when we look at -- I mean, San Francisco gets a lot of attention probably because of what Scott said, it's such a gem and people love it so much. But in terms of that size city, if you look at violent crimes in a similar-sized city, it's in the middle. So, Nashville is higher, Indianapolis is higher, Jacksonville is higher, it's near Fort Worth and Oklahoma City. Nevertheless, there's a problem. I mean, we all keep hearing this about San Francisco. It's real.
PATRICK MCENROE, FORMER PROFESSIONAL TENNIS PLAYER: There's a rampant problem all over the country, as you just noted, and we've discussed this before. First of all, the idea that someone would spray a homeless person is just absolutely awful, whether it's the fire commissioner or whomever it was, is just horrendous that someone would do this.
I made the mistake last summer. I went to visit some friends in San Francisco. I went to college out there close by to San Francisco. I took my two teenage daughters and said, we're going to take a walk to visit my old professor from college. Walking through that area, in the mission area of San Francisco, I thought, well, I'll give my daughters like a reality check. This was way too much for a -- I mean, I was literally like -- people were like zombies walking. I mean, it was scary to see that this type of thing is happening in our great country, in one of the great cities in this country, to see the amount of people, all different backgrounds, completely drugged out on the streets.
OINOUOU: You have an issue here. Even the CNN correspondent, Kyung Lah, a couple months ago, was there to do a story on crime and literally had her vehicle broken into with security present. You're talking to people in San Francisco, they leave the doors of their cars unlocked with signs in the window saying, nothing valuable in here.
CAMEROTA: Yes, I remember people used to do that in New York in the '80s and '90s, yes.
OINOUNOU: And, I mean, this is the situation. We're to the point where I'll get notes from people, folks who follow our news accounts on Instagram who say, well, who is the dumb person who left a bag in a car? I'm like, it's normal to leave property in vehicles in other American cities. In San Francisco, that is no longer the case.
CAMEROTA: And so, Jessica, how did it get like this? Like why aren't officials -- why is it okay for Patrick to walk through zombies with his daughter? Like why is that okay? Why aren't officials doing more?
WASHINGTON: Yes. I mean, I think it's a complex issue. I do think housing has got to be a part of it, addressing the fact that people have substance use needs, people need to be able to access treatment. Those treatment options aren't always available. I think that's something that obviously needs to be addressed. I mean, you meant in the statistics, this is not more dangerous than any other similarly- sized city.
So, sometimes when we talk about it, I do feel like part of it is that it's more visible in San Francisco. I think people see that there are people who are unhoused, there are people who make them uncomfortable on the street.
And then they kind of extrapolate from there and say it must be more dangerous than the other American cities, when the statistics don't back that up. I mean, you read that and we can look at that. And so I do think that's part of it. But I also do think there is a problem. We do need to address wealth inequality. I think that is a massive problem in San Francisco and it definitely contributes to these issues.
CAMEROTA: Go ahead, Scott.
JENNINGS: I mean, the permissive drug culture, the progressive criminal justice policy culture, is there an elected official in California or San Francisco who wants to take some responsibility for their view of how government and society should be run for causing this in this city and in this state? I mean, you say it's in the middle. I don't hear people closing stores in some of these other cities. I don't hear -- I mean, our own reporter experienced it while she was there.
This -- there has to be some accountability. It's not just what are people going to do today. What have people been doing over the last 10, 20, 30 years?
OINOUNOU: I mean, we've talked a lot over the last few weeks about one party rule, supermajorities, right, in the case of Tennessee with the Republicans, in the case of San Francisco with Democrats, one party rule. And so the question is, ultimately here, we talked about all the elements here in San Francisco. This is a complex web. This isn't just one thing.
San Francisco recently announced they're doing major pay raises for the police force. It turns out they are 25 percent down of what they need in terms of a police force in that city.
Well, part of that is a morale issue, part of that was pay issue. People don't want to be also arresting people that they know are going to just be out on the street the next day. So, there are a lot of complex policy issues that need to be addressed by the mayor, by the city council there. And, clearly, whatever they've come up with so far hasn't worked.
CAMEROTA: All right. Friends, thank you very much for that. I sense we'll be covering more of this. Thank you for all your perspectives.
So, now this, what have we learned from pandemic school closures? And what will we do differently, God forbid, when there's a next time? Teachers Union President Randi Weingarten is here next to talk about all of that.
CAMEROTA: House Republicans venting their anger to the leader of the second largest teachers union in the country on Capitol Hill this week. Republicans allege that the union I don't and others worked with the CDC to keep schools closed longer than necessary amid the COVID pandemic.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did AFT ever provide suggested revisions to the CDC's operational strategy regarding school closures or re-openings? Did you suggest revisions to their operational strategy?
RANDI WEINGARTEN, PRESIDENT, AMERICAN FEDERATION OF TEACHERS: What we suggested, sir, was ideas.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm a member of Congress that sits on two committees that deal with this -- the CDC. I don't have a direct number to Director Walensky. Do you?
WEINGARTEN: I do not talk to representatives of the government.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you have a direct number to Director Walensky?
WEINGARTEN: Do I have Director Walensky's direct number?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
WEINGARTE: Yes, I have Director Walensky's direct number.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, hopefully, she'll give it to me too.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, I've been to some weird hearings in this Congress, Mr. Chairman, but this one might be the weirdest because it's convened in order to accuse a federal agency of the crime of consulting with American citizens.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: Randi Weingarten is the president of the American National Federation of Teachers and she joins me now. Randi, great to have you here.
Basically, it sounds like what they were saying was that you had undue influence on the CDC to make policy, I guess, about when schools would reopen. What's your response to that?
WEINGARTEN: So, you know, we represent teachers and nurses. We're actually the fastest growing nurses' union these days. And with the Biden administration coming in, they wanted to reopen schools more fulsomely. We wanted to reopen schools more fulsomely. And we said during the transition, you need had to have clear, scientific-based guidance that people can understand. I mean, most of us are not scientists. So -- and what we were getting for the months beforehand was unclear and unhelpful.
So, you needed the resources for things like ventilation, masks, the things that in a respiratory disease that's not seen you could have that would help people, testing, and you needed clear guidance.
CAMEROTA: But when the Trump administration wanted to reopen schools in, I believe, summer of 2020 for the fall, you opposed that?
WEINGARTEN: No, I did not oppose that. What we said was -- and, in fact, in July 2020, the Superintendents' Association, the -- I saw you raise your eyebrows. The Superintendents' Association, the NEA, the American pediatricians, and we said, yes, open schools. In fact, in April 2020, we came up with a first report about how to open schools. It didn't mean there wasn't fear. There was a lot of fear out there, and we kept saying we have to do it safely. And, in fact, I worked on the Cuomo commission to reopen schools in New York.
And so what we were saying was make sure that there's guidance that's clear and give us the safety protocols. What we didn't have in 2020 was we didn't know whether masks would actually -- masks and social distancing or anything else would actually stop the spread of COVID. By 2021, we knew that people were not vectors the same was that we didn't know in 2020.
CAMEROTA: Yes. However, there were still mitigation procedures that the teachers union really wanted to put into place.
WEINGARTEN: Yes, absolutely.
CAMEROTA: So, if people weren't vectors -- I mean, if what you're saying, why were you so rigid about ventilation and about six feet versus three feet, I mean, those were things that were stopping, it sounds like, people from getting back into school.
WEINGARTEN: We pretty much said we need good ventilation, because if you don't have good ventilation in an airborne disease, you're not going to be able dissipate the airborne disease. We thought that six feet -- the science we were seeing was that six feet and masks would be the basic protocols we needed. That's the science that we saw. It was only by the two studies that CDC did in basically March of 2021 that showed, like the Wisconsin study and the Massachusetts study, that if you had three feet, you could actually open schools more fulsomely. And so in March, we said -- we looked at those studies, and we said, okay, the three feet makes sense.
CAMEROTA: But not until September. In other words, that was March?
WEINGARTEN: No, that was March of '20.
CAMEROTA: But you still weren't pressing for schools to be open until September of 2020?
WEINGARTEN: No. We were pressing for schools to be open from April of 2020. We didn't know how to do it. Our first report pressed for schools to be open. We knew schools needed to be open.
My first op-ed with John King in April 2020 talked about how we needed to have summer school. I worked with then-Governor Cuomo about reopening schools in New York State. And what New York State did is they had a trigger that said any time that schools were less than 5 percent community spread, we can open.
WEINGARTEN: The difference between New York and nationally was that the Trump administration kept saying, be open, without any guidance as to how, and people were scared. And there was lots and lots of illness.
And there was lots of illness within my own membership. But my membership kept saying, if we have the safety protocols of the mitigating circumstances that the CDC have -- look, I came in to CNN today, you still had to take a COVID test.
WEINGARTEN: So, what we were looking for were enough to assure people that they wouldn't get sick.
CAMEROTA: Yes. But some of it -- I mean, I think you would say, in fair, some of it was realistic. It's hard to change an old public school's ventilation system instead of just opening windows. But forget about mitigation for second.
WEINGARTEN: But we understood that, which is why we weren't -- I mean, we wanted new ventilation systems.
WEINGARTEN: But that wasn't the -- that wasn't a deal breaker.
CAMEROTA: It wasn't?
WEINGARTEN: No. It was initially, what were the COVID protocols, the same as in grocery stores and in other places, and the layered mitigation of masks and --
WEINGARTEN: -- distance.
CAMEROTA: Yes, which is also unrealistic in a packed classroom with lots of kids.
WEINGARTEN: But then what happens is that if you keep on saying that the safety issues are negotiable, then what does that say to the human beings that are in classrooms who are not tested, are not vaccinated, and you can't see what is going on with this disease?
CAMEROTA: Right. And the flip side of that is the kids. And so the kids -- I mean, in retrospect, in hindsight, now that the smoke has cleared, do you regret not pressing for a full school, full in-person school sooner?
WEINGARTEN: I regret COVID. And I regret that we didn't know sooner what was key to keeping people safe and keeping schools open. Both of those things were really important.
I had many members who died in the first few months in terms of COVID. We had members die in New York City. We had many people who got really, really sick. And black and brown folks got more sick than white folks.
So, what we were trying to figure out was how to reopen schools and how to do it safely. And the problem is that you already have in city schools bad conditions that are hard for teachers to teach in. And what we're trying to do was make sure that they and families were safe.
CAMEROTA: And what about the kids who have lost, you know, the stats, I can pull up about how many years and how many grade levels and what they've lost in terms of --
WEINGARTEN: Well, I think what we've been trying -- so, that's part of the reason we were trying to reopen from April 2020 and why, I think, in this new investigative report they concluded that, yes, schools needed to be reopened with the safety kits. And what they ultimately have concluded, that the safety kits, like testing, which is what Dr. Shah from Rockefeller Foundation and I got to by January 2021, which is what most industries have done, if we ended up doing testing and spending the money there instead of social distancing, we would have had -- that would have been a better route. If we knew in 2020 what we knew in 2021, schools would have been reopened more fulsomely.
But at the end of the day, of course, I care about the effects of COVID. And what we've been trying to do in the last two years is how do we actually overcome those effects. And so what I just did a couple of weeks ago was there are two interventions I think right now will really help. One is community schools, wrapping services around schools, because we do that, we really wrap not just food services but mental health services, health services, afterschool programs, all these programs that will help kids really reconnect with each other and with their well-being, that's number one. And number two is experiential learning.
If we -- kids need to have a joy of going to school. And what we've seen in terms of career tech ed programs in particular, is that when kids do hands-on learning and really work together then, and so --
CAMEROTA: Project based.
WEINGARTEN: Project based. So -- but the bottom line was once we got this guidance between February 2021 and May 2021, we went from 46 percent of schools open to 95 percent of schools open.
CAMEROTA: Okay. Randi, do you mind if my panel asks you some questions?
WEINGARTEN: Not at all.
WASHINGTON: So, I mean, I'm curious. So, what you're saying, I just want to kind of understand, you're saying, essentially, you were pushing for schools to be reopened but you wanted these specific measures.
And I just also want to clarify what you're saying that ventilation wasn't a requirement for reopening?
WEINGARTEN: No. I mean, ventilation is pretty important, but, no, it wasn't a requirement for reopening. In big -- all the big businesses that reopened, they had MERV 13 filters, they had all of this, but not in schools. I mean, we wanted to try to open windows. But take a school like Parkland. All of the measures about violence meant that windows were closed. The measures that were needed in terms of COVID meant windows needed to be open. Who made those decisions? People would say, I don't know which way to go.
And so, when I -- you know, the -- as I said, I sat on Cuomo's commission to reopen schools, which we did, and, virtually, all the schools were reopened in New York. But the lack of clarity and the lack of an attentiveness on the federal level to wanting to give us guidelines, not just guidelines but the safety protocols, because we bought $3 million worth of PPE for our members because we couldn't get it.
CAMEROTA: Okay. Let me get some of our other panelists in. Scott?
JENNINGS: Yes. We don't know each other, but speaking on behalf of millions of American parents, I have four at home, I had to teach them at home, my wife had to teach them at home. I am stunned at what you have said this week about your claiming to have wanted to reopen schools. I think you'll find that most parents believe you are the tip of the spear of school closures.
There are numerous statements you made over the summer of '20 scaring people to death about the possibility of opening schools. And I hear no remorse whatsoever about the generational damage that's been done to these -- I have two kids with learning differences. Do you know how hard it is for them to learn at home and not in a classroom that was designed for them?
And for you to sit in front of Congress and the American people and say, oh, I wanted to open up the whole time, I am shocked. I'm stunned. I'm stunned. And there are millions of parents who feel the exact same way.
CAMEROTA: Go ahead, Randi.
WEINGARTEN: So, I don't know you, sir, and you don't know me. But I have worked for the last 20 or 30 years helping kids every single day. I have been a schoolteacher. I've been a union leader. I knew and understood the importance of reopening schools and the importance of making sure that people were safe. And poll after poll that we did of parents, and I spent a lot of time with parents, said that they basically understood and supported that we needed to do both. I'm really sorry about this --
JENNINGS: You think parents wanted to keep the kids --
WEINGARTEN: Nobody wanted to keep the kids at home.
JENNINGS: Why did we fail? How did Europe and the rest of the civilized world get this right and we failed?
WEINGARTEN: They had --
JENNINGS: How did that happen? WEINGARTEN: The schools in Europe that opened sooner than we did, and most of them did, had the mitigating strategies that we were just talking about. And it wasn't negotiable. It wasn't, oh, well, it's inconvenient to have six feet or it's inconvenient to have masks. They had these things.
And the other thing they did -- and I don't know if it was right or wrong. The other thing they did is they prioritized schools over commerce. They prioritized schools over bars and restaurants and things like that. They did.
MCENROE: Let me jump in because I respect what Scott is saying. Obviously, I come at it from a slightly different perspective, having three children also in public school in New York, just outside New York City. And we sort of dealt with the cards that we were handed.
What I want to ask you, Randi, is, when you look back -- and, obviously, we all know about hindsight -- as a parent on the outside looking in, my sense of this situation was always, this is because the teachers and the adults around are more afraid of this virus than the kids. Because as we found out fairly quickly, we knew that children weren't going to be that affected by this particular disease.
And so from my perspective, it seemed like this was coming from the teachers and the leadership on their side saying, hey, this isn't safe for us, it's not safe for our family members, for the community. Is that what drove, do you think, the decision to play it extra safe when it came to allowing the kids to go back in the classroom?
WEINGARTEN: I think the problem is teachers actually teach kids. So, if it wasn't -- if -- I mean, look at what happened in Omicron when we were able, because of testing, were able to actually keep schools open. Some schools shut when there were too many teachers absent, but we were able to keep schools open because we understood and used testing as a way to do that.
So, I think what happened was that people were fearful. You're absolutely right. But even though -- thank God, kids didn't get as sick as adults. Adults were getting sick and adults were dying.
And so, we were trying to figure out -- and I'm not saying that -- look, there were people all across America who were taking different positions than -- you know, I was at the AFT, including some of my members, and you saw some of those things. But we were trying to figure out what were the mitigating strategies that were needed to keep schools open. And that's what, you know -- and that's what we tried to do from April 2020.
And what I produced -- I went and I testified in Congress yesterday voluntarily, and I produced much documentation proving all the things that we tried to say. Now, that's why I keep on using the Cuomo administration because, frankly, Governor Hogan, Governor Cuomo, Rockefeller Foundation, lots of governors, they were working in a really different way than the Trump administration was.
And the Trump administration did a great job in terms of vaccines. But in terms of giving people the kind of guidance to say, to do what Europe did, we didn't get it. And that's why in this investigative book that just came out yesterday, what they said was, if we had gotten that guidance, that stockpile of guidance, we would have been able to open up earlier, and we just didn't get it.
CAMEROTA: Randi, thank you very much.
WEINGARTEN: You're welcome.
CAMEROTA: Thank you for answering all of our questions. We really appreciate you being here. We know this subject is not easy for everyone.
WEINGARTEN: But the bottom line is now, why are we not doing everything we need to do now?
CAMEROTA: Yes. That is a great point.
WEINGARTEN: And that is -- and that's what, you know, I'd like to have seen one question from the Republicans that questioned me yesterday for three hours about what we need to do now.
CAMEROTA: That's a great point. And yes, we do need to get ahead of this next one and not just be reactive. Thank you very much, guys. Randi, thanks so much.
WEINGARTEN: Thanks, of course.
CAMEROTA: Okay. Former Vice President Mike Pence doing something today that certainly will not make his old boss happy. He testified to a federal grand jury investigating Donald Trump after -- about January 6th. What does it mean for Pence's 2024 ambitions? All of that is next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNKNOWN: Sorry, chief. Sorry. You want to play ball (INAUDIBLE). Let's play. All right?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: That brawl at the (INAUDIBLE) courtesy of "The Bad News Bears." Best movie ever.
CAMEROTA: It's as much a part of the game as peanuts and Cracker Jack arguing with the umpire. But the parents of little leaguers in one New Jersey town have been apparently taking it too far. And now the umpire strikes back. Oh, you like that? The Deptford Little League says, if you get too unruly or abusive at your kid's baseball game, you will have to umpire three games yourself.
My panel cannot wait to get into this one. That's -- that's creative. Right? If you abuse and harass the umpire, that's great. Right? You have to umpire the next three games.
SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, FORMER SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO PRESIDNET TO PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: Yeah. I go to a lot of youth baseball games. Assistant youth baseball coach here.
JENNINGS: If you want someone --
CAMEROTA: You buried the lead.
JENNINGS: If you want someone to throw 500 betting prizes pitches and only hit three or four children (INAUDIBLE).
JENNINGS: I -- I have seen people get out of hand at these games. We all have probably. I thought this was a creative way to deal with it. The reality is these youth sports, I mean, the coaches are volunteers. A lot of times, the umpires are like kids. They're like teenagers themselves. They're making 10, 15 bucks a game. And so, you do see people get out of hand.
I thought this was a good reminder that the reason we're there is not -- the next play is not going to determine whether your child plays third base for the St. Louis Cardinals.
CAMEROTA: Yes. Right.
JENNINGS: You know what I mean?
CAMEROTA: I do.
JENNINGS: And so, there are a lot of people involved in this who are volunteers or very low paid teenagers, and you just can't ride them like this.
CAMEROTA: Are you a yeller at your kids' games?
JENNINGS: Absolutely not
PATRICK MCENROE, FORMER PROFESSIONAL TENNIS PLAYER: Let me tell you something. When I was a kid, I was a pretty good junior tennis player.
CAMEROTA: I've heard.
MCENROE: I was lucky enough -- I was lucky enough to go play the biggest tournament in Europe for under 16. And this was actually the most brilliant thing I've ever seen. They made all the kids that were in the tournament, who were playing in the tournament, have to umpire a match of two other kids that they didn't know. So, I'm umpiring a match of a kid from Sweden and a kid from Spain.
And it teaches you a lot about, first of all, the respect for what it is to be an umpire. They should absolutely -- these crazy tennis parents, like in baseball and other sports, too, we should make -- maybe we should make the parents be the umpires as well because this is -- this is absolutely a great move. Absolutely brilliant.
CAMEROTA: Jessica, you -- you might not -- are you part of this world yet? Do you know how unruly these like middle school games can get?
JESSICA WASHINGTON, SENIOR REPORTER, THE ROOT: I do. I have a little brother. He was an amazing baseball player. He's in freshman college now, so I don't think he's playing right now, but he was really good. And yeah, it does get completely out of hand.
If you are a grown man trying to fight someone over a child's baseball game, you might need to work that out and maybe you need to work it out as an umpire.
CAMEROTA: You need to question your life choices.
MOSHEH OINOUNOU, PODCAST HOST: I don't know. How bad was the call? I mean, it really --
-- they used to have to go to -- 22 states now have passed laws specific to assaulting or harassing a sports official, like there are laws being written because of how rampant this is.
CAMEROTA: Why? Why are people doing this? Why are they getting so out of hand? Since when did we start taking middle school and grade school sports so --
MCENROE: I call it the over professionalization of youth sports. It's happening all over the sports world. The biggest reason it is happening that I see is because of college. It is so much more difficult to get into college, so parents see this as a way they can help their kids get into certain colleges. So, that's part of it.
The other part of it is you get these people that were terrible athletes themselves and their kid might be a good athlete and they're living vicariously through their kids, and that is problematic.
CAMEROTA: I like what you're saying. I think you're right. It's very high stakes because of college.
MCENROE: And there's so much money in sports, of all different sports. The economics come into it. If you want to play youth baseball, you've got to play in the travel team, you got to play more. You want to play in the tennis tournament, you got to play more. And that's happening across the board in every sport. And that's a big problem.
You see, it's a lot harder to make it in whatever level you're at in sports. Whether you want to play on your high school team, you want to play in college, you have a dream of being professional, it's much more difficult now because all the kids are playing a lot more when they're younger. So, the stakes are getting higher, and that's not what youth sports is supposed to be about. You hear me, Scott? You hear that?
Take it easy out there. Take it easy.
OINOUNOU: Everyone watch "King Richard" and now everyone is "King Richard."
JENNINGS: One of my first job as I teenager, I was a little league baseball umpire.
JENNINGS: Yes. I was -- I played baseball. And so, I would make a few extra bucks.
CAMEROTA: How did that go?
JENNINGS: I mean, occasionally, people would get upset with the strike zone. I'm just saying. And it's only -- I think it has only gotten worse over the years.
CAMEROTA: Oh, it has.
JENNINGS: And by the way, it mortifies the children --
JENNINGS: -- when the adults -- I think the kids are -- I think they're mortified in the moment. I think they don't forget things like that for a long time.
CAMEROTA: I agree with you. I agree with you. Yeah. You know, my girls often bring up, like, dad, I could hear your voice yelling.
CAMEROTA: Yeah. That's a problem. Thank you very much for sharing all of that. All right, meanwhile, Director Steven Spielberg has said he has regrets about what he did with "E.T." He made some edits on "E.T." that he did not like, and we'll get into all of that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEVEN SPIELBERG, FILMMAKER: I never should have done that because E.T. is a product of its era. And it is not -- no film should be revised based on the lenses we now are either voluntarily or being forced to peer through. All our movies are a kind of measuring, sort of a sign post of where we were when we made them and what the world was like.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: That's legendary Director Steven Spielberg saying that he regrets editing out the guns in the 2002 20th anniversary release of his classic movie "E.T." He's the latest to weigh in on the ongoing debate over whether art should be edited to match changing social norms.
Back with me, my panel. So, Mo, it's so interesting because we've debated this a lot around rural doll (ph), around different books, and somehow, listening to Steven Spielberg settled it for me. like it is a time capsule.
CAMEROTA: I got it. Like it's a time capsule and maybe it should be kept as a time capsule. But the feeling about books sometimes is different than that.
OINOUNOU: Totally. It actually takes me back to -- I think recently, there was controversy around "Gone with the Wind." And now, they just roll something in the beginning saying this was from a bygone era. I mean, it's a film made nearly 100 years ago about 150 years ago. So, what are we going to do? Computer generate A.I. and change "Gone with the Wind?" No. It is what it is. These were the cultural norms of that time.
I mean, you can go, by the way, relatively recently to "The 40-Year- Old Virgin" or "Wedding Crashers." I mean, comedies written 15 years ago and there are more words used --
CAMEROTA: "Friends" would be shot differently. "Friends." You know, the most successful sitcoms of all times.
CAMEROTA: Are we wrong, Jessica?
WASHINGTON: I don't think you're wrong necessarily, and I certainly don't want to be telling Steven Spielberg how to make movies. It seems a little presumptuous for me. I mean, what I will say is you are -- if don't remake some of these movies and they are incredibly offensive, people just won't watch them. Maybe that's okay. I mean, I just think personally for myself. If I'm thinking about a film that I know is offensive and I'm just going to sit there for two hours and be uncomfortable, I'd rather just not watch it. I think plenty of people would agree with that. But I don't necessarily think that means we have to reedit everything, but it does mean you're going to lose out on some of those audiences.
MCENROE: I think some of those great T.V. shows, Archie Bunker. I mean, I don't that would fly these days. You know, some of his comments. But, I mean, for a movie, for a film, you know, sometimes, it's a way to just kind of change it up because you do have -- when you're editing a movie, again, I'm certainly not an expert in this department, there's so many different takes, right? There are so many different angles. Sometimes, it can actually make it maybe a little more interesting.
In this case, I think Spielberg realized what he did was not what he probably should have done. But when you have that artistic license, you can sort of -- it's like taking an old song. When a great band takes an old song that they performed for years and they change it up. They put in a couple different rifts. I don't see what's the harm in that.
JENNINGS: I think he could not have said it better. I 100% agree with him. I do think there's a group of people in this country who are dedicated to go around and -- they made Beyonce change her song not too many months ago. You try to go back in time.
The idea of changing this stuff, this art, these brilliant products that people make, is it is -- they think we're too stupid as consumers of information to understand the time and the context in which it was made.
We're not idiots.
CAMEROTA: But --
JENNINGS: We know -- we know, like, if a movie was made in this time period by certain kinds of people, we know what the context of that was. And that's educational in some ways for the people who are consuming it today. Those are courageous things the said because I will guarantee you, he is catching some -- a bushel of, you know what, over having said it.
CAMEROTA: Maybe. I don't know -- I don't know if he is. That would be interesting to know. But I think that one of the arguments is for relevance. There are some words to become antiquated. And for relevance, for kids, they change them to like modern words (ph). But in any event, it's a fascinating topic, and give Steven Spielberg the last word on that one.
(LAUGHTER) All right, ahead, some of our favorite reporters are getting ready to tell us their scoops and the top stories that they're working on for tomorrow. So, we will be right back.
CAMEROTA: Okay, coming up next, some of our favorite reporters are here to talk about the stories they are working on for tomorrow like these. For the first time in modern history, a vice president has been compelled to testify about the president he served under. Mike Pence testifying for more than five hours today to the federal grand jury investigating the aftermath of the 2020 election and the actions of Donald Trump. We will find out what happens next.
And then there is this story of fed chair, Jerome Powell, pranked by a couple of Russians pretending to be Ukrainian President Zelenskyy. How did he figure it out? And Harry Enten will tell us why the American dream of owning your own home is out of reach for millions of young Americans.
Our reporters are here. They are ready to go. It will go through all of those and more when I joined them next.