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The Van Jones Show
Van Jones Talks About Completion of Four Years of Donald Trump Administration; Van Jones Talks Talks With Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) and Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) about Donald Trump's Impeachment; Van Jones Talks With Carlos Maza; Van Jones Talks With Roger McNamee; Van Jones Talks Killing of Peaceful Protesters in Sudan. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired June 15, 2019 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[19:00:00] VAN JONES, CNN HOST: Hey, good evening. I'm Van Jones welcome to "The Van Jones Show". We got an important show tonight. Tomorrow is exactly four years since Donald Trump came down that escalator in Trump Tower and changed this country bigly as he says.
So tonight, we're going to take a big step back and try to get our bearings and dig into some of the big issues, the key challenges that are facing all of us in the Trump era. #1, what are we going to do about the rising tide of hatred and White Supremacist violence in the country?
And #2, what are we going to do about the way that social media is tearing us apart? Now, tonight we've got great guests to help us sort this stuff out. Two Democratic Congresswoman coming are coming together, one Muslim, one Jewish to stand against White Supremacist violence.
Tonight, we're going to hear from Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky and Ilhan Omar on my show. I'm excited about that. You can let -- we can welcome like that. But first, let's talk.
I want to shine a light on some of the positive signs of health and hope in the country, and I need to do this for myself, because next week trump is announcing his big re-election bid too soon. It's too soon. I still haven't recovered from the first announcement. Okay? From that day until now I have just hated trump's tone on immigrants and refugees. I've just hated his flippant disregard for the idea of fair elections, free from foreign influence.
This week the Chairwoman of the Federal Election Commission had to actually come out and make it clear to the President of the United States that it's illegal to get help from foreign nationals in a U.S. election after trump's comments saying, "He would happily take dirt on his political opponents from other countries". Now, that's just terrible.
And the big danger to me has always been that the rest of us would eventually start adopting his views, forgetting that we can welcome and accept people and celebrate diversity instead of locking up people in detention centers and separating kids from parents, forgetting that the 4th of July is called Independence Day for a reason. There have always been foreign powers that would love to dominate us
and have our leaders do their bidding. And my fear has been that America will become too tough on foreign people, but too soft on foreign powers and just too callous overall.
But luckily this week I saw some signs of help, I saw some antibody starting to kick in. First, I found myself very touched by former Vice President Joe Biden making these campaign appearances in Iowa.
Now the storyline was Biden versus Trump. They're trading blows. Yes, Biden was going after Trump, but in the very best possible way. He said essentially we are better than this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He says, "Let's Make America Great Again", "Let's Make America America Again".
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JONES: I love that. I love it. It may be out of fashion, maybe a little bit corny to truly believe in the best of our country. No, that's sentimental crap, no that's out. It's all about snarky and cynicism these days. Not for me -- not for me. I am still a 2008 Barack Obama hope and changer. I'm proud of it and I was happy to see somebody rising above the cynicism and sticking up for those values.
Now, I may not vote for him in the primary, but I sure appreciate him. And honestly, the same with Jon Stewart, I love the guy. He's a retired comedian and he's usually known for all his sarcasm. But he's made it his personal mission to passionately and emotionally defend the heroic 9/11 first responders who are suffering still from illnesses and he did it in front of Congress.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JON STEWART, 9/11 FIRST RESPONDERS ADVOCATE & COMEDIAN: They responded in five seconds. They did their jobs with courage, grace, tenacity, humility. 18 years later do yours.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JONES: He didn't have to do that. And the next day the House Judiciary Committee unanimously passed the 9/11 Victim Compensation Bill.
And I was also thrilled by the way to see four former heads of the Environmental Protection Agency, both Republicans and Democrats, joining forces, speaking out about the current EPA. Saying stop ignoring science, stop rolling back major protections for our planets, that's three beautiful acts.
And when we get off track we need those brave bold people to call us back to our best selves and we also got to do a better job of fighting back against this rising tide of hatred that we are now facing.
Now luckily an unlikely duo of Congresswomen are making that their mission now. I spoke to Representatives Ilhan Omar and Jan Schakowsky about that fight and about the latest Trump controversy. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JONES: Is Donald Trump begging for impeachment? I heard you say that Donald Trump, because he says he'll take any foreign dirt from being foreign dirty dealer, he's begging for impeachment. True or false?
[19:05:00] REP. JAN SCHAKOWSKY (D-IL): I think it is true. Although, it's not part of a larger strategy, because Donald Trump does not have any strategy. He wakes up every day and tries to figure out how to handle feeling good about himself.
But this is so amazing. It really is. I mean, it reminded me of, like, when your child is in trouble and then they're trying to get out of that trouble, and then they get themselves in more trouble. And I was like, "Oh, honey".
SCHAKOWSKY: But, I mean, we've been saying, a lot of us, that it wasn't -- this has not been about when -- if he was going to get impeachment. It's when. And I think the clock is just ticking now.
JONES: One thing I think about sometimes the way that TV comes after you, they sometimes say well you're not very patriotic or whatever, whatever. They challenge you to not being patriotic. Do you feel that Trump is being patriotic when he says, I'll take foreign dirt in their campaign?
REP. ILHAN OMAR (D-MN): No. This is I think one of the most un- American things you could say.
SCHAKOWSKY: It's just shocking -- really. I mean, the thing about Donald Trump is, he doesn't really hide it. The question is, what are people going to say, and I hope they will soon, when they hear more. That's it. It is finally enough.
OMAR: He's so bold in the most on lawlessness thoughts that go through his head. And I think for so long we've just said that that's kind of what Trump does. It's time to take him serious and it's time for us to make this a constitutional matter and protect our nation.
JONES: Speaking of time. It's been four years since Trump came down the escalator. We've had a lot of hatred that's been rising. I think part of reason you guys are coming together is because of that.
Talk a little bit about the impact on the -- of the Trump presidency on America and what's going on when it comes to this rise of hatred?
SCHAKOWSKY: So I am so happy to be here with my colleague. But you know what, you could set up more chairs. You could have the LGBT community over here, you could have the immigrant community over here. What about Hispanics? What about African-Americans? And you could fill this stage with -- JONES: With group of people that are being buffeted by hatred.
SCHAKOWSKY: Directly. I mean, again, there's no subtlety about this. Those were very -- some very fine people in Charlottesville who were yelling the Jews will not replace us and marching with torches. It's so blatant.
JONES: But what do you say to people? Listen, I think that if you are at the -- if you are the target of this, it's really big. But if you're not, it's just another news story. What is it like right now to be a young Muslim trying to raise a family in an America where there seems to be a license for more hatred?
OMAR: There's constant fear, right, of being other. Do we know what being other leads to. It's very dangerous.
JONES: What does it mean other? What does that mean?
OMAR: To not be seen as being part of your community, as being part of your city, your state, your country, constantly being viewed as an invader. And I think I know that it has an impact on our mental health.
SCHAKOWSKY: What we have seen this tremendous uptick in acts of violence in all kinds of attacks on both of our communities since Donald Trump is the President of the United States, because I believe he has just unleashed a permission for people to talk with such contempt towards each other.
JONES: You are coming together -- you wrote this op-ed.
JONES: You're trying to figure out some way towards each other. It seems like there's efforts to divide people.
SCHAKOWSKY: When we are fighting against each other, if Muslims and Jews, that's a victory for white supremacist -- that's a victory for white supremacist. And so I think what we're trying to do is just to articulate that we, in order to fight that, need to be together.
OMAR: And the thing, I think, that makes this country exceptional is it's not that it is homogenic in race or faith, is that it's homogenic in values.
JONES: I hear the clarion call. You want more unity, you want us to come together. What do you think can be done? What steps should be taken? What do you want the Trump Administration to do, what do you want government to do. What besides just pointing to the problem --
SCHAKOWSKY: I want the Trump administration to be gone.
JONES: Well --
SCHAKOWSKY: -- that's what. Well, I mean, it's 17 months. The big decision. And so, I think, the American people have to decide who are we as a country? What are the values that make America great?
[19:10:00] OMAR: The bigger thing that we must do, right, to fight this cancer really is go after the cure. And the cure is to be in conversation. We have to all engage in this generational project to have this --
JONES: I think it's important and you say that, because -- listen, as frustrated as I get with Trump and as frustrated as I feel there with Trump, this is a global thing it's happening. Why do you think that people are open this type of stuff in this day and age right now? Is there something happening?
SCHAKOWSKY: You know, I think the income inequality actually plays into this when people feel really fragile and they're looking for someone to blame, pointing to a minority group. Pointing to immigrants who are coming and people are taking our job. They're getting benefits that I'm not getting, which of course isn't true.
But -- and so I think that this fundamental economic fact that so many people are living on the edge makes them susceptible to this kind of nationalism.
JONES: I want to play a video from Rashida Tlaib. She is in in Congress, in a hearing, speaking to an FBI Director and listen to the pain in her voice.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. RASHIDA TLAIB (D-MI): I was totally excited and pleased when I heard about 49 Muslims were killed and many -- many more women did in New Zealand. This is a great start. Let's hope and pray that it continues here in the good old USA. The only good Muslim is a dead one. How is that enough -- not enough to fall under domestic terrorism?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JONES: Now this was after the horrific massacre in New Zealand. And that that was a hateful letter directed to her and to you.
OMAR: I mean it's a daily occurrence for Rashida and I.
JONES: What is?
OMAR: This. This this kind of hate that the terror, the threats. Just yesterday a man in Florida pled guilty to saying he wanted to throw me of the Empire State Building.
JONES: You said somebody in court --
JONES: Pled guilty to want to throw you physically off of a building?
OMAR: Yes, the Empire State Building. He called my office. That wasn't enough. He called three other Members of Congress and left voicemails telling them that's what he wanted to do to me. I, at a very young age, survived a little militia standing in front of my house trying to annihilate my family. And so I understand what that kind of fear looks like and I don't like to give space to it.
I think what is more important to me is that we understand that as a Member of Congress I have protection. But there are Ilhans and Rashidas and Jans out there in the public, trying to live their normal life --
JONES: Just trying to get --
OMAR: Without the protection and the notoriety, right. And the resources that we might have who are going to a grocery store, going to their place of worship that might have a run-in with that person who will harm them.
SCHAKOWSKY: Let me just say on a more mundane level. The Trump administration actually eliminated a grant program that could go to communities to help protect themselves, disbanded an intelligence gathering unit that was focused on white supremacy and the danger that it poses to several communities.
So the mechanisms to help that could really do something are being eroded quite deliberately by this President.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JONES: Representative Omar sparked controversy earlier this year with comments and tweets that many viewed as anti-Semitic. What does she take away from that experience and what were some of those tough conversations like with her Jewish colleagues like Jan Schakowsky, that's next.
[19:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
JONES: All right. Welcome back to "The Van Jones Show". Freshman Congresswoman Ilhan Omar has been a lightning rod almost since she got sworn in.
Now in February she faced a bipartisan backlash for tweets that were critical of Israel and an Israeli lobby group that used language that many people consider an Anti-Semitic. Now, Omar apologized unequivocally that has not stopped some people on the Right, including the President and some people from Fox News from taking her words out of context and vilifying her.
So I talked to Representative Omar and her colleague Jan Schakowsky about all of this. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JONES: I think your heart is so -- obvious anybody watching this show can see the heart that you have and yet you had those big moments where suddenly like you were the most controversial person in the world, and she must hate Jewish people and that kind of stuff. What did you learn from that? OMAR: What you learn is that, like I said, you have to always pause. You can never really understand what you do what you say, your demeanor, actions what any of those things could mean for someone, and the kind of feelings that it could unearth for them.
So I had to stop and say right, what does it mean to you? Why are these particular words impactful for you when they are not that impactful for me when I say them? And I think in that process really is about opening up a door to having a greater understanding of the kind of generational traumas we all carry.
I know that some of my Jewish constituents when they come visit me, they will say, "You don't understand my grandmother or great- grandmother had to hide under the bed to survive that night".
And I would say, well, you didn't do any research on who I am, because I deeply understand what it means to be eight and seven and hide under a bed for survival. And for my shortcomings of not understanding what certain words could mean to your particular community doesn't mean that I don't understand the pain and the generational trauma that might --
[19:20:00] SCHAKOWSKY: Let me just say. We had we had a conversation about some of the things that that Ilhan said. But I want to tell you that the majority of reaction that I got to are -- to get doing the op-ed together was positive.
There were a few people within my Jewish community who were infuriated that why aren't you doing more to condemn her? So because we've had this talk and it is important to say, these are the things that touch a nerve. These are the things that do hurt.
She totally heard that, totally understood that. We are both victims of the kind of discrimination that's going on and the kind of hate talk that is going on. Do you want to keep that going or want to perpetuate that? No.
This this is the person I know. Now I know on a very personal relationship and we can work together, of course we can.
OMAR: I mean, so I want to say, there are people who are genuinely interested in fighting anti-Semitism and then there are --
SCHAKOWSKY: Of course, yes.
OMAR: There are those that are interested in weaponizing anti-Semitism to shut down debate on whatever they might not agree on and vilify anybody that they might not want to have any kind of platform to have influence.
And so with many of my colleagues, they understand that, one of my first acts after I won my general election was to write an op-ed in my local newspaper about the rise of anti-Semitism when the FBI report came out and the work that we have to do.
Because it's really important that you're not only talking about the threats that you face, you're talking about the threats that others face. I'm someone that always sees that there is a connection to your oppression to mine.
SCHAKOWSKY: Well, let me just say though I think some of the people who were upset about what they heard as anti-Semitism keyed in to were not necessarily trying to weaponize them. That this was this was a genuine feeling. So in part my --
OMAR: Not just some, but a lot of the people. It's a genuine feeling.
SCHAKOWSKY: Yes. This is genuine feeling and a genuine concern and --
OMAR: There's a lot of very loud people who may not have a genuine concern.
SCHAKOWSKY: But one of the motivations for me to be public along with Ilhan was to help those people understand where I was coming from, but even more importantly, where she's coming from.
OMAR: I'm getting the same criticism. I just joined the Jewish Black Caucus and people were like, why would you do that? Because there are members who have not been the kindest Muslims and African-Americans and black folk in in this country.
But I know that this gives us an opportunity to have that conversation, to hold each other accountable to say if we're interested in creating a better world, we have to hold hands, we have to educate one another.
JONES: Yes. I'm trying to raise my kids in this society as well. I'm trying to find a way forward and it's very, very difficult to hold the principle, but also to be criticized. And I see you struggling with that.'
One of the countries that you have or people you've expressed concern for are the people at Palestine. Take a moment to express and explain to my audience why you're so concerned about what's happening in Palestine? We've chastised you for the way you've talked about it, possibly justifiably. But why do you care so much about what's happening in Palestine?
OMAR: Yes. I think I believe that it's within the principles of every human to believe we're all created equal. We all should have access to all full rights as humans. And so when you see a group of people that might not have their full rights intact, then you have to speak up for them, if you truly believe that.
I don't think because there is a challenge you shouldn't speak.
OMAR: I know a lot of people will say, Ilhan, this isn't politically expedient. Why are you taking so many hits for people who others have given up on? And for me, I believe, I'm only alive because people didn't give up on -- right -- saving me. And I have to use the opportunities that I have to speak up for the people that I actually believe people might have given up on.
[19:25:00] And I don't think that the world has done justice when it comes to Palestinians. And I don't believe that we can continue to walk around and tiptoe around the Palestinian-Israeli issue, and not talk about the injustice that's taking place and how we urgently need to remedy it.
SCHAKOWSKY: So I feel so strongly about justice for Palestinians, partly because of my lifelong love for the State of Israel, and the idea of a Jewish State and a Democratic State at the same time.
And I think as long as we are supporting a two-state solution and full rights for Palestinians and to have their self-determination and to have a state that we're on the right path for Israel.
JONES: We have the most diverse Congress we've ever had. You represent the most diverse incoming class we've ever had. And I tell you what if you don't believe in having different voices at the table it's going to change the conversation. You just have to listen to what you just said and the conversation that you're having across lines across generations.
I think it's beautiful. I think it's exciting. I appreciate what you're doing, keep going. We're proud to have you out on "The Van Jones Show".
SCHAKOWSKY: Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JONES: Powerful, powerful conversation. We got more coming up. YouTube CEO was on the defensive this week. She's defending her decision to keep videos with anti-gay slurs up on the site. At the same time she's apologizing to people who are outraged by that policy.
What is the balance between free speech and hate speech for big tech? We're going to talk about that with the person who sparked this whole conversation, his name is Carlos Maza. He's going to join us for an exclusive interview when we get back.
[19:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
JONES: Welcome back to "The Van Jones Show". Look, we're facing a major cultural debate in this country around speech, especially on social media. On one hand we all want to stamp out hatred and harassment. On the other hand, we want to prevent censorship and protect our First Amendment rights.
Sometimes these values just seem to clash and these tech companies now are having to walk a real tightrope on the issue. Here's a closer look at the problem.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JONES (voice-over): There are now more than 126 million active users on Twitter every day. YouTube, meanwhile, has 1.9 billion users per month and people watch more than a billion hours of video on that site every day. Facebook is the biggest of them all, with more 2 billion active users per month and that company also owns a social media giant Instagram.
With numbers like that, it's no wonder these companies are now struggling with how to manage all that content. Some content restrictions are created by the government. Think about copyright laws for example.
But much of it is left of the companies to just govern themselves, and they've got a lot to wrestle with, including deciding just how strict their guidelines for banned speech should be.
JACK DORSEY, CEO, TWITTER: Any suspension, whether it be a permanent one or a temporary one, make someone think about their actions.
SUSAN WOJCICKI, CEO, YOUTUBE: We see all these benefits of openness. But we also see that that needs to be married with responsibility.
JONES (voice-over): But the efforts in these social media giants to clean up their sites is actually angered a lot of people. Many Democrats are still troubled by Facebook and their role in Russia's 2016 disinformation campaign.
HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: The big social media platforms know their systems are being manipulated by foreign and domestic actors to sow division, promote extremism and spread misinformation. But they won't get serious about cleaning up their platforms unless consumers demand it.
JONES (voice-over): And they say the company still is not doing enough to stop the spread of fake news and doctored videos.
MARK ZUCKERBERG, CEO, FACEBOOK: This is a top priority to make sure that people aren't spreading misinformation or trying to interfere in elections on Facebook.
JONES (voice-over): Other critics say, social media giants like YouTube, are just not doing enough to stamp out hate speech.
CARLOS MAZA, HOST, STRIKETHROUGH, VOX.COM: They're making excuses to avoid doing the difficult thing, which is dealing with a monster that they spent years creating.
JONES: But some conservatives say they're being unfairly banned. They argue their content is wrongly being flagged as hate speech.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Names are taken off, people aren't getting through. And it seems to be if they're conservative, if they're Republicans, there's discrimination and big discrimination.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JONES: Joining us now we've got two men who got a personal stake in this whole fight, Roger McNamee is a longtime venture capitalist. He's one of the early investors in Facebook. He actually advised Mark Zuckerberg. But now he says that Facebook is doing serious damage to our society.
We've also got Carlos Maza. He's a host of the series "Strikethrough" on Vox.com. He says he's been harassed for years by this controversial YouTuber named Steven Crowder. He recently tweeted a whole montage of offensive, so-called, jokes about his race and sexuality.
And he asked YouTube to do something about it. After some back-and- forth, the company decided to leave the videos up, but demonetize Crowder's account so we can't make money off of it.
And I want to thank you both for being here. Now Carlos you've been through a lot. I want to show so people will know what we're talking about. A part of this montage is very offensive -- very offensive and then they we're going to talk about it. But please show this horrific montage you put together the attacks against him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEVEN CROWDER, AMERICAN-CANADIAN COMMENTATOR: Oh, OK. So really that name is "little queer". You, by the way, the "gay Mexican guy". The "Gay Latino V-Neck". "Gay Mexican". A "Mexican gay guy" used to work. "Mexican gay Latino" there at Vox.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JONES: Now this was on for years, this guy singling you out over and over and over again. When was enough, enough and why do you decide to finally take some action.
MAZA: Well, it happened for about two and a half years, basically since I started making my web show. And then about two years in, I was out shopping for a lamp with my mom and I got doxxed, which means one of his supporters found my phone number and just bombarded my phone with tech messages from different phone numbers all at once. And I had to alert our security team that someone had my number.
I started personally flagging to YouTube that this was happening and asking them to enforce their policy and got zero response. And then a couple weeks ago it happened again where he made another video, making fun of me for being gay and Hispanic.
And I just been frustrated that -- it felt like nothing I had done was working. And so I was on my couch by myself, and I just said, I think I'm done and edited altogether and tweeted about -- not about what he had been doing, because there are always going to be jerks like him.
[19:35:00] But about how YouTube was about to start "Pride Month" and "Rock the Rainbow Colors" and claimed to care about LGBT people. And they were helping this guy build an audience base of 4 million subscribers whose only real content was making fun of me for being queer and Hispanic.
JONES: YouTube kind of did this thing, well, they said well we're going to leave it up, but he can't make money off of it. Is that a good decision, a bad decision? What do you think about their decision?
MAZA: No the people who make this content aren't using YouTube for ad revenue, that's not how they make their living. They make their living by using YouTube's technology to find people who will be drawn to them.
YouTube will find people who are attracted to bigotry and attracted to hate speech, recommend those videos to them and then build this huge audience that you do can profit off of.
And then these bad actors when they get demonetized say, "YouTube is discriminating against me. I'm a victim. I'm a martyr, please buy my merch. Go to my Patreon and donate". And so they make millions of dollars by claiming that they're a victim.
JONES: Well I want to give people on the other side of thing a chance to be heard. Obviously, Steven Crowder, sees it very differently and the CEO of YouTube sees it differently. Let's hear from them.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CROWDER: Make no mistake. This isn't about me versus some guy at Vox, OK. This is an example of a giant corporate media entity trying to silence voices that they don't like.
WOJCICKI: It's just that from a policy standpoint we need to be consistent, because if we -- look, if we took down that content, there would be so many other -- so much other content that we would need to take down.
And we are not -- we don't want it just being kneejerk. We need to think about in a very thoughtful way, be able to speak with everyone. We'll speak to people from the LGBTQ community, make sure that we're incorporating that going forward in terms of how we think about harassment, and then make sure that we are implementing that in a fair and consistent way going forward.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JONES: You were at the start of this whole thing with social media technology. I was at an adequate answer from your point of view. Do these companies get it or how do you see it?
ROGER MCNAMEE, MANAGING DIRECTOR, ELEVATION PARTNERS: The answer is no. That is completely hopeless and it is utter nonsense.
JONES: Why do you say?
MCNAMEE: So think about this. They're trying to position this as an issue of freedom of speech, and Renee DiResta, the great researcher has made the point that no, no, this is about freedom of reach. This is about the amplification of the most hostile voices. That the business model of YouTube, the business model of Facebook and Instagram and many other the online products are based on capturing our attention and keeping us active on the site.
And sadly, the best way to do that is to appeal to the most base human instincts, things like fear and outrage. So hate speech, disinformation and conspiracy theories are the catnip for the business models of these companies.
MAZA: Can I say that, YouTube's argument is essentially that if you ban people from saying things -- like this this guy called me "Lispy Queer" over many years. That if you banned the word queer then you would have to ban gay content producers who identify as queer, which is, only an argument, if you don't have a brain. And YouTube knows it's not a real argument, because YouTube knows that hate speech is very engaging. Bullies always dominate the playground.
JONES: Aren't you on a slippery slope I mean do we really want the corporation's then deciding who gets to speak, how they get to speak?
MAZA: Here's the problem with that argument. The alternative to the corporation's doing it, is you have 80 year old white guys in Congress who don't know how to use the internet trying to do it, and that's worse for everybody.
It is true that any rule has a potential drawback of it getting misused. I don't always trust cops, but I don't make an argument that you should have no laws. I have an argument for why we should keep cops accountable and make aggressive critiques when rule enforcers enforce them poorly, and that's what's happening here.
JONES: What about what President Trump says and other people say, which is that your definition of hate speech basically means if you're conservative, you're wrong. And that the Conservatives feel like this is really an agenda to silence them. How do you respond to that?
MAZA: This guy spent two years calling me a "Lispy Queer". If your idea of conservative ideology is that you should be able to use hate speech, you should rethink your conservative ideology.
But no serious person thinks that spending two years harassing someone for being Hispanic and gay is actually conservative thought. What they're trying to do is scare these platforms into being afraid of against enforcing their own rules.
It bothers me when someone spends two years calling me "Lispy Queer" and I have to wake up to an avalanche of homophobic and racist harassment in my inbox every single morning.
MCNAMEE: And it's not an issue of right and left, Van. This is an issue of right and wrong.
JONES: Well, listen I appreciate your courage for standing up. Thank you for being here, I want you to stick around Mr. McNamee. When we come back I want you to hear his story. There is a growing concern about Tech's impact on literally everything
-- on democracy, on personal health, on privacy. And now both political parties are calling for antitrust investigations and government intervention. Is that a good thing? What needs to change? We'll talk about when we get back.
[19:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
JONES: All right. Welcome back to "The Van Jones Show". It really feels like a moment of reckoning for Big Tech. I mean, we got President Trump and Senator Elizabeth Warren coming at you at the same time, you know you got a problem.
Leaders in both parties are saying that companies like Amazon, a Google's parent company, Alphabet; Facebook; Apple. They all have too much power. They're abusing their influence. And this week the House Judiciary Committee began hearings on the topic.
And it looks like the Justice Department and the FTC are gearing up for their own investigations with the urging from 43 state attorney generals, all asking the feds to take some kind of action on these tech tycoons over privacy and competition, so many things.
What does all this mean? Is it good for us? Is it bad for us? We're going to discuss this whole thing with tech investor Roger McNamee. He's the author of Zucked: Waking Up to the Facebook Catastrophe. I am glad that you are here.
Listen, of all these issues that are coming up, I mean there are so many. I have a whole list. You got a market manipulation, privacy concerns, filter bubbles, addiction issues, radicalization online, free speech versus hate speech and more and more and more. What is the biggest concern that you have about where we're going with this Big Tech?
MCNAMEE: So there's a professor at Harvard named Shoshana Zuboff who has studied Google's business model for 20 years, and has really framed this perfectly.
[19:45:00] Which is that, Google and Facebook behave as though they believe that democracy is really inefficient and that we should replace it with algorithms that control -- they basically they want to convert our lives into data, everything in our experience, and then just use it to make the world more efficient. I think that is morally wrong.
JONES: But, listen, in my daily life I don't feel like I have fewer choices. I have like an app for everything. It's like I feel so happy with my little phone. Why are you taking my joy away?
MCNAMEE: Here's what the issue is, Van, is that they have built a little date of voodoo doll of each and every one of us. They know literally everything that we've ever touched digitally. They have all of that data. So they know everything that we're thinking.
JONES: What's wrong with that? MCNAMEE: So here's where the issue is. They have perfect information about us. So their customers, who are marketers, know everything what do we. We only know what they choose to tell us.
So that same data voodoo doll informs the search results, it informs our Facebook and Instagram news feeds. And so we think we're seeing the full range of choices available to us, but we're not. We're only seeing the ones they give.
And they're in the business of selling certainty. They're not in the business of like targeting us with ads. They're giving these guys, I know that that woman is pregnant and she doesn't know it yet.
JONES: So your concern is, they are kind of putting these digital breadcrumbs in front of us leading us to the certain direction.
MCNAMEE: And when you get to the end point, you're living in the matrix. And my point is, you don't want to wait till you're in the matrix before you do something about it. You want to do something about it, the minute you've figured out there's a problem. And now we can see there's a problem.
JONES: So let's talk about, well, what can be done? Because they're saying they should break up these companies.
MCNAMEE: There are basically two classes of issues we have to deal with. One of them is the competition issue, which is that -- essentially if you're -- if you want to present something that doesn't harm people, if you want to create a YouTube competitor today, you can't do that, because they block your access to customers. They control the ad networks. So you use antitrust law to do that.
The other thing you got to do is go after that business model. You have to go after the data voodoo dolls. The question is, why should banks be allowed to sell our financial data? Why should credit card processors be allowed to sell our credit card transaction? Why should Google be allowed to scan e-mail? Why is any of that invasion of our personal space legitimate?
What I really feel is the essential point is that -- that it's not enough to own your own data. There are certain kinds of data that just shouldn't be commercialized at all. I don't think people should be buying and selling their data. I just think that that results in too many bad outcomes.
JONES: Well, listen, a lot of tech companies are actually defending themselves. They say that they know they got some issues and they're on it. And they also say they believe in competition. They're open to some regulation, but they're pushing back against calls to break up their companies.
Mark Zuckerberg recently wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post saying in part, "By updating the rules for the internet, we can preserve what's best about it, the freedom people to express themselves and for entrepreneurs to build new things -- while also protecting society from broader harms. From what I've learned, I believe we need new regulation in four areas: harmful content, election integrity, privacy and data portability".
And other execs are also speaking out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SUNDAR PICHAI, CEO, GOOGLE: I think it's important to make sure that we are also able to create a healthy competitive ecosystem in which other companies are able to emerge and that's the important question. And I think the scrutiny is right, and we will participate constructively in these discussions.
SHERYL SANDBERG, COO, FACEBOOK: You could break us up, you could break other tech companies up, but you actually don't address the underlying issues people are concerned about. We know at Facebook that we have a real responsibility to do better and to earn back people's trust.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JONES: So what do you say? They say, "Hey, Van, give us a shot. (CROSSTALK) This is not good.
MCNAMEE: So, Mark, I really admire him for engaging in a political conversation.
JONES: And, yes, it's your fault, you invested in Mark. You introduced Mark Zuckerberg, this Sheryl Sandberg, man.
MCNAMEE: Yes, I know, and that's exactly right. And I'm guilty.
JONES: Looking good.
MCNAMEE: So I'm doing my penance now, OK. So here's the thing, with Carlos we were talking about the fact that the business models themselves caused and encourage bad behavior, and we have to solve that problem, that's why --
JONES: I mean, I think a lot of people are just now learning some of this stuff. In other words --
JONES: In other words --
MCNAMEE: It's complicated.
JONES: Well, you think you you're programming your phone, but really your phone is programming you.
MCNAMEE: That's right.
JONES: Because once you like a couple things and swipe on a couple things, that algorithm figures you out and they just start targeting you with stuff that you think is the world, but it's really just their plan. But isn't there some personal responsibility?
MCNAMEE: We've learned a lot of lessons and we need -- the personal responsibility does matter. But the most important thing people can do now is to talk to people who are running for elective office, and say, "Hang on, you need to protect me. You need to make sure that my life is not being spied upon by corporations for profit".
That people need a sanctuary. They need to know that when they're home, they're actually safe. That Alexa is not listening all the time. My point to you, Van, is a very simple thing. I want to have an open honest conversation.
[19:50:00] Those clips use us played were not open and honest. Those were their right to defend their position, right. So it's a political argument, they're making a political case, and I'm just saying I'm not going to letting them get away with it.
And you got a great book that's out that is -- I hope everybody will check out is called, Zucked: Waking Up to the Facebook Catastrophe. It's available now. It's with -- this conversation is just getting started. I'm so glad you've been a part of it.
Speaking of social media, why are so many social media accounts going blue this week? There's a very important reason. It's not getting enough attention. I'm going to explain that to you when we get back.
JONES: Welcome back now. You may see some people on social media making their profiles blue this weekend in solidarity with Sudan, and I want to take a moment to shed a light on an international human tragedy that's really gone under the radar screen for way too many people.
More than a 100 people have been killed so far this month in Sudan -- hundreds more been wounded and there's fear that the violence is just getting started. Now what makes this all even more heartbreaking is that it comes after decades of oppression, civil war and dictatorship. Sudan, finally was starting to see some real hope earlier this year.
[19:55:00] In April, citizens, led by women, rose up and they ousted a terrible 30-year dictator, a man who slaughtered tens of thousands of his own people. He is accused of genocide and war crimes in Darfur, so there was all this joy, people dancing in the streets, hoping that democracy was on the horizon.
But instead, the military in Sudan took control of the country, supposedly temporarily, agreeing to a three-year transition. People there are saying, look, we want elections now. They want democracy. And so they had nation-wide demonstrations. And for that the military is now gunning down peaceful protestors.
Activists say that at least 118 people were killed at a sit-in this month and there are reports of rape and other kinds of violence against the demonstrators. The UN says that the situation is sliding into a human rights abyss, all because people want to vote.
Now you think about that. People are being shot and killed just so they can have a chance to cast a ballot. It is a good reminder for all of us not to take our country and our right to vote in free and fair elections for granted, and why all of us should fight to preserve them from anyone who would try to undermine them.
All right. Now my season finale for my other show, "The Redemption Project", it airs tomorrow at 9 p.m. on CNN. Please check it out, it's amazing. I'm Van Jones. This is "The Van Jones Show" peace and love for one another.