Political Pulse | The New York Times Close Up with Sam Roberts


♪ [THEME MUSIC] ♪>>I’M SAM ROBERTS OF THE NEW YORK TIMES AND WELCOME TO THE “NEW YORK TIMES CLOSE UP.” NEW YORK GOVERNOR ANDREW CUOMO IS TACKED FROM BEING A CENTRIST DEALMAKER TO A FULL ON LIBERAL, HE HAS INTERVENED FORCEFULLY IN SOME MAJOR MTA DECISIONS. WE WILL ASK THE NEW YORK TIMES ALBANY BUREAU CHIEF WHAT THE GOVERNOR IS UP TO. AND THE TIMES IN THE MIDST OF AN EXTRAORDINARY PROJECT TO DIGITIZE MILLIONS OF PHOTOS IN OUR ARCHIVES. WE WILL TELL YOU HOW THIS WILL PAY OFF FOR JOURNALISTS AND READERS. LATER, I WILL HAVE SOME ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS. WE BEGIN WITH POLITICS. HOUSE SPEAKER NANCY PELOSI CLEARLY OUTPLAYED PRESIDENT TRUMP IN THE BATTLE OVER THE SHUTDOWN AND THE STATE OF THE UNION. BUT ANOTHER SHUTDOWN COUNTDOWN IS UNDERWAY. FEBRUARY 15 DEADLINE. THIS WEEK, WE SAW THE SPECTACLE OF ALL THE PRESIDENT’S INTELLIGENCE CHIEFS CONTRADICTING TRUMP’S VIEWS ON NORTH KOREA, IRAN, ISIS, AND RUSSIA. TRUMP RETURNED FIRE ON TWITTER, CALLING THE CHIEFS “PASSIVE AND NAÏVE.” LET’S GET PERSPECTIVE FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES POLITICS EDITOR PATRICK HEALY. WELCOME BACK AND THANK YOU FOR JOINING US. YOU WERE OUT ON THE ROAD IN PAST CAMPAIGNS. YOU ARE NOW HERE AS POLITICS EDITOR. HOW DO WE COVER POLITICS THESE DAYS? YOU USED TO COVER THEATER AND NOW YOU ARE COVERING POLITICS, WHICH IS LIKE KABUKI THEATER. HOW DO WE KNOW WHAT IS REAL AND WHAT ISN’T ANYMORE?>>I THINK IT IS REALLY IMPORTANT TO BE NOT JUST COVERING THIS AS A HORSE RACE, WHO IS UP, WHO IS DOWN? WE ARE WRITING LESS ABOUT POLLS AND PERSONALITIES, THE LITTLE DAY-TO-DAY SPATS THAT COME ON. WHAT WE ARE TRYING TO DO IS GO DEEPER AND WRITE MORE STORIES ABOUT THE POLICY DIVIDES IN THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY. WE HAVE A GOOD STORY COMING UP ON MEDICARE FOR ALL AND PRIVATE INSURANCE. ANOTHER ONE ON THE GREEN NEW DEAL. THERE IS SOMETHING COOKING ON MARGINAL TAX RATES AND WHAT ELIZABETH WARREN AND BERNIE SANDERS HAVE COME IN FOR. WHAT WE’RE HEARING FROM READERS IS THAT THEY WANT MORE SERIOUS, SUBSTANTIVE JOURNALISM ABOUT POLITICS AND POLICY AND CANDIDATES AND VOTERS. WE ARE TRYING TO THINK SERIOUSLY, HOW DO WE DELIVER THAT WHEN YOU COULD JUST WRITE FOUR STORIES A DAY ABOUT PRESIDENT TRUMP’S TWEETS? OR WHATEVER LATEST CLASH IS GOING ON. YOU HAVE BEEN DOING POLITICAL JOURNALISM A LONG TIME. THE CHALLENGE WE HAVE ALWAYS HAD IS READERS SAY THAT THEY WANT THIS SORT OF SUBSTANTIVE, IN-DEPTH WORK. WILL THEY READ TO IT? WILL THEY RESPOND TO IT? WILL WE HAVE THE KIND OF PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION THAT PEOPLE SAY THAT THEY WANT AND NOT JUST GO BACK TO CHASING THE TIGER?>>EXACTLY. PEOPLE SAY WHERE IS THE SUBSTANCE? BUT THEY READ THE CONFLICT STORIES. BUT HOW DO WE — THIS IS A QUESTION THAT CONCERNS ALL OF US AND ALWAYS HAS — NOWADAYS, AS MORE AND MORE PEOPLE GET BREAKING NEWS FROM OTHER SOURCES, INCLUDING NYTIMES.COM, HOW DO WE TURN THESE POLICY STORIES, THESE MORE ANALYTICAL STORIES IN A WAY WHERE PEOPLE SAY WE ARE NOT INJECTING OPINION, WE ARE NOT INJECTING BIAS, WE ARE NOT LEADING IN ONE WAY OR ANOTHER?>>THAT IS A GOOD QUESTION. IN 2015, THE TIMES BROKE THE STORY ABOUT HILLARY CLINTON’S PRIVATE EMAILS. I WAS PART OF THE REPORTERS WHO COVERED THE AFTERMATH OF THAT. I THINK, UNDERSTANDABLY AT THE TIME, THIS FELT LIKE A VERY DOMINANT ISSUE, AND A PROXY ISSUE FOR HILLARY CLINTON’S HONESTY AND TRUSTWORTHINESS, HER LEVELS OF TRANSPARENCY. THE REQUEST WAS WHY SOMEONE WOULD USE PRIVATE EMAIL. THE REALITY IS THAT WE WERE WRITING A LOT OF STORIES AROUND KIND OF ONE THEME IN THAT REGARD. AND WE WERE WRITING A LOT OF STORIES EARLY ON ABOUT CHRIS CHRISTIE AND JEB BUSH. THEN WHEN TRUMP CAME ONTO THE SCENE, THERE WERE A LOT OF ENTERTAINING OUTRAGE STORIES. THEN WE WOULD SORT OF MOVE ON TO THE NEXT CANDIDATE. ALL OF THAT COVERAGE I UNDERSTOOD AND I WAS VERY MUCH A PART OF IT. THIS TIME AROUND, WHAT WE ARE LOOKING AT IS — EARLIER THIS WEEK, WE HAD A HECKLER AT HOWARD SCHULTZ’S EVENT. HE WAS ALL OVER THE PLACE. WE HAD KAMALA HARRIS GIVING AN ALMOST OFFHAND REMARK ABOUT MEDICARE FOR ALL — WE HAVE ALL THESE SORT OF MOMENTS AND WHAT WE ARE TRYING TO DO IS TO BE REALLY THOUGHTFUL ABOUT NOT JUST JUMPING INTO THE FIRE OVER AND OVER AGAIN AND THROWING OUT TONS OF STORIES WITHOUT DEEPER THOUGHTFULNESS AND CONTEXT AND BEING ABLE TO EXPLAIN TO OURSELVES, WHAT IS THE INTENT OF THE STORY? WHY ARE WE SPENDING SO MUCH TIME? WHETHER IT WAS HILLARY’S EMAILS IN THE PAST OR ON KAMALA HARRIS AND MEDICARE FOR ALL. TRYING TO ASK THOSE QUESTIONS — AND NOT JUST BE CHASING THE NEWS CYCLE. I SIT AT MY DESK WITH THE TELEVISION ON AT THE TIMES AND SOMETIMES IT IS CNN, SOMETIMES FOX, SOMETIMES MSNBC. IF I WAS JUST TRYING TO PAIR MY NEWS JUDGMENT WITH WHAT I WAS SEEING ON TELEVISION OVER AND OVER AGAIN, YOU SORT OF RUN THE RISK OF WRITING A TON ABOUT JUST ONE OR TWO CANDIDATES. TRYING TO BE BROADER THAN THAT.>>IN YOUR EYES, IT SEEMS LIKE NANCY PELOSI MORE THAN ANYONE WON THIS DISPUTE OVER THE SHUTDOWN — WE DON’T KNOW WHERE THE WALL IS OR NOT WHAT WE ARE GOING TO CALL THE WALL NEXT — BUT WE DO HAVE ANOTHER ONE LOOMING IN TWO WEEKS. ANY SENSE AS TO WHERE THAT IS GOING TO GO?>>RIGHT NOW, NANCY PELOSI IS SAYING ON A DAILY BASIS THERE WILL BE NO MONEY IN THE FINAL DEAL FOR A WALL. IT LOOKS LIKE IT MAY COME DOWN TO SEMANTICS. WHETHER PRESIDENT TRUMP IS WILLING TO MOVE TOWARD BORDER SECURITY.>>A VIRTUAL WALL.>>A SMART WALL. WHAT THESE THINGS REALLY MEAN TO DRESS THEM UP. WE DO KNOW THAT PRESIDENT TRUMP WANTS TO RUN FOR REELECTION AND HE SPENT A GREAT DEAL OF 2015, 2016 SAYING I’M GOING TO BUILD A WALL AND MEXICO IS GOING TO PAY FOR IT. WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN AT ALL THOSE RALLIES IN 2019 AND 2020 WHERE THERE IS GOING TO BE A REFRAIN MISSING, THAT REFRAIN HE USED BEFORE, AND THE AUDIENCE WILL WANT TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENED TO THE WALL. PRESIDENT TRUMP KNOWS THE BASE IS GOING TO HOLD THEM ACCOUNTABLE ON THE WALL. I DON’T KNOW IF THEY ARE GOING TO EVER SPLIT FROM HIM, BUT THE REALITY IS THAT HE HAS BOXED HIMSELF IN QUITE WELL. NANCY PELOSI IS KEEPING HIM ON THE ROPES. I DO THINK THE QUESTION PARTLY FOR THE DEMOCRATS IS, IN THE SHORT TERM, IT LOOKS LIKE A SERIES OF PELOSI VICTORIES, BUT IN THE LONG-TERM, ARE DEMOCRATS GOING TO APPEAR TO BE SO EITHER OBSTINATE OR UNCOMPROMISING OR INSISTENT ON WHAT PRESIDENT TRUMP COULD FRAME AS KIND OF AN OPEN BORDERS PHILOSOPHY THAT THEY COULD GET SOME BLOWBACK IN THOSE SUBURBAN DISTRICTS THAT THEY WON?>>THANKS TO PATRICK HEALY, POLITICAL EDITOR OF THE “NEW YORK TIMES.” NEXT, GOVERNOR CUOMO IS LEANING LEFT AND FLEXING HIS POLITICAL MUSCLE. WE WILL TELL YOU WHAT TO EXPECT FROM HIM THIS YEAR. ♪>>NEW YORK GOVERNOR ANDREW CUOMO HAS ALWAYS BEEN KNOWN AS A PRAGMATIC CENTRIST, BUT HE HAS SPELLED OUT A PROGRESSIVE AGENDA IN HIS STATE OF THE STATE ADDRESS. LEGALIZING POT, A STRONG ENVIRONMENTAL GREEN NEW DEAL, AMONG OTHER PLANS, HE ALSO STEPPED INTO REVERSE THE MTA’S PLAN TO SHUT DOWN THE L TRAIN AS WELL AS BLOCKING, FOR THE TIME BEING, A FARE HIKE. DOES HE HAVE NATIONAL AMBITIONS OR IS HE JUST PUMPED UP ABOUT HAVING A DEMOCRATIC LEGISLATURE? LET’S ASK THE BUREAU CHIEF, JESSE MCKINLEY. IS THE GOVERNOR LEADING OR FOLLOWING THE FACT THAT HE HAS A DEMOCRATIC SENATE? AS YOU POINT OUT, IT USED TO BE THREE MEN OR THREE PEOPLE IN A ROOM, NOW MAYBE IT IS ONE AND TWO.>>IT SEEMS MORE AND MORE THERE IS A DIVISION INSIDE THE DEMOCRATIC LEADERSHIP IN ALBANY. YOU HAVE THE GOVERNOR AND THE LEGISLATIVE LEADERS. THEY ARE WORKING IN TANDEM. THEY HAVE A VERY CLOSE WORKING RELATIONSHIP TOGETHER. THEY HAVE MADE IT VERY CLEAR THAT THEY WANT TO BE AHEAD OF THE GOVERNOR ON ISSUES. I THINK THAT HAS CHAFED THE GOVERNOR A LITTLE BIT. I DON’T THINK HE LIKES BEING BEHIND ON ANYTHING. EVEN THIS WEEK, HE STAGED EVENTS BEFORE THEY DID. HE PREEMPTED THEM ON A COUPLE OF OCCASIONS. I THINK THERE IS A LITTLE BIT OF TENSION. IN TERMS OF CREDIT, THE ASSEMBLY, WHICH HAS ALWAYS BEEN THE MORE LEFT-LEANING CHAMBER IN ALBANY, HAS BEEN AHEAD ON THESE ISSUES ON YEARS.>>THEY HAVE BEEN AHEAD, BUT THEY HAVE NOT BEEN VERY FAR WITH A REPUBLICAN SENATE.>>AND IT IS EASIER TO PASS A BILL THAT YOU KNOW IS NOT GOING TO BECOME LAW. THEY CAN SAY THEY WERE AHEAD ON LEGALIZING MARIJUANA, RAISING TAXES ON THE RICH, AND SINGLE-PAYER HEALTH.>>THE OLD SAYING, BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR. THESE ARE THINGS THE GOVERNOR SORT OF SAID FOR A LONG TIME HE HAS WANTED. NOW HE MAY GET THEM. HOW DOES HE FEEL?>>I THINK WHEN IT COMES TO THINGS LIKE CAMPAIGN-FINANCE REFORM, THOSE ARE TRICKY ISSUES FOR HIM BECAUSE, IN SOME CASES, THE WAY THAT CAMPAIGN-FINANCE WORKS IN NEW YORK HAS WORKED WELL FOR ANDREW CUOMO. HE HAS RAISED MILLIONS THROUGH SOMETHING CALLED THE LLC LOOPHOLE. WHEN THOSE LAWS TAKE EFFECT, THERE IS TREPIDATION ABOUT MOVING TOO FAST. I THINK HIS OFFICE WOULD LIKE THE LEGISLATURE TO TAKE A BREATH. BUT THE LEGISLATURE DOES NOT SEEM TO WANT TO DO THAT. THEY WANT TO CHARGE AHEAD WITH AS MANY THINGS AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE.>>HAS HE SHIFTED POLITICALLY OR IS HE BEING NUDGED TOWARD THE LEFT?>>I THINK THIS IS THE $64,000 QUESTION. MOST PEOPLE LOOK AT HIS CAREER SAY THIS IS A CENTRIST, A MODERATE, A GUY THAT RULES FROM THE MIDDLE WHO HAS BEEN QUITE SUCCESSFUL DOING THAT. DURING HIS SECOND TERM, IT IS UNDENIABLE THAT HE DID TACT LEFT. WAS HE PUSHED, WAS HE LEADING? THAT IS UP FOR DEBATE. HE RAISED THE MINIMUM WAGE, GOT PAID FAMILY LEAVE. THE KIND OF PROGRESSIVE WISH LIST THINGS. HE SIGNED OFF ON THEM AND IF NOT AT THE VERY FRONT OF IT, AT LEAST APPROVING OF IT.>>SOMETIMES, PEOPLE DESERVE CREDIT FOR CHANGING THEIR MINDS TOO.>>ABSOLUTELY.>>WHAT ABOUT THE FACT THAT HE HAS SAID HE IS NOT RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT, OVER HIS DEAD BODY? IS THERE ANY INDICATION THAT THAT COULD CHANGE AND DO HIS CURRENT POLITICAL POSITIONS SUGGEST THAT ONE WAY OR ANOTHER?>>IF WE LEARNED ANYTHING FROM 2016, ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN. [LAUGHTER]>>IF WE LEARNED ANYTHING FROM MARIO CUOMO TOO.>>I THINK THERE ARE NO ACTIVE PLANS TO RUN FOR PRESIDENT, BUT HE IS VERY AWARE OF THE FIELD. HE IS VERY AWARE THAT IN TERMS OF OLD-SCHOOL, CENTRIST, MODERATE DEMOCRATS, IT IS A PRETTY SHORT LIST.>>IT SEEMS TO BE GROWING.>>IN TERMS OF PEOPLE WHO FIT THAT PROFILE, JOE BIDEN IS THE MOST TRADITIONAL AND HE AND JOE BIDEN HAVE A CLOSE RELATIONSHIP. THERE IS SOME SPECULATION THAT HE COULD BE A VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE WITH JOE BIDEN ATOP THAT TICKET. I DON’T THINK HE IS ACTIVELY IN BUT HE IS AWARE THAT IF AN OPENING WERE TO COME UP WHERE HE SAW A LANE, HE HAS A PRETTY DECENT RECORD THAT HE COULD CONVINCE PEOPLE HE WOULD BE THE RIGHT GUY FOR THE JOB.>>WHAT ABOUT THE MTA? HE HAS STEPPED INTO IT NOW. HE HAS AVOIDED IT FOR EIGHT YEARS. YOU COULD ASK WHERE HE HAS BEEN. HE IS THERE NOW. IS HE TAKING RESPONSIBILITY? IS IT HIS MTA? IS HE NOW RESPONSIBLE FOR THE SUBWAY?>>IT IS A WEIRD SLEIGHT-OF-HAND HE IS TRYING TO PULL. HE IS TRYING TO SIMULTANEOUSLY SAY THE MTA IS THE MTA, I DON’T HAVE CONTROL OF IT, I NAMED ALMOST A PLURALITY OF A NUMBER OF THE BOARD MEMBERS, I HAVE INFLUENCE OVER OTHERS, IT IS NOT MY RESPONSIBILITY, THEN THE L TRAIN COMES ALONG AND HE HOPS IN FRONT OF THE CAMERA AND TAKES OVER THE PROJECT AND SAYS, I HAVE A BETTER WAY THAT IS CHEAPER AND FASTER AND NOT GOING TO CAUSE A CLOSURE. HE IS TRYING TO HAVE IT BOTH WAYS. HE IS SIMULTANEOUSLY TRYING TO SAY IT IS NOT MY RESPONSIBILITY, BUT I CAN DO WHAT I WANT WITH IT. THE THING HE WANTS MORE THAN ANYTHING IS TO REORGANIZE THE ORGANIZATION AND GIVE THE GOVERNOR, WHETHER IT BE HIM OR SOMEONE IN THE FUTURE, MORE POWER.>>WHICH HE CAN DO IF HE PERSUADES THE LEGISLATURE TO DO IT.>>HE’S DOING A COUPLE OF THINGS RIGHT NOW. JOE LHOTA RESIGNED LAST FALL. NO SUCCESSOR HAS BEEN NAMED. THE GOVERNOR SAID HE WAS IN NO HURRY TO NAME A SUCCESSOR UNTIL HE GOT A MAJOR OVERHAUL OF THE MTA. THE WAY THAT HE VIEWS THE MTA IS AS AN ORGANIZATION THAT WAS BASICALLY SET UP FOR NO ONE TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY OVER, AND NOW HE IS SAYING, LET’S REDO THIS AND MAYBE I WILL TAKE IT OVER.>>IT WAS SET UP TO INSULATE IT FROM POLITICS AND NOW IT BECOMES NONACCOUNTABLE. IS THIS ANOTHER BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR IF IT IS SET UP TO MAKE HIM IN CHARGE? HE IS GOING TO BE STUCK WITH IT.>>ABSOLUTELY. YOU BREAK IT, YOU OWN IT. IF HE GETS THE MTA UNDER THE AUTHORITY OF THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH AND A COUPLE YEARS FROM NOW, PEOPLE ARE STILL HAVING 45-MINUTE DELAYS, THAT IS A BAD PLACE FOR HIM TO BE.>>THANKS TO JESSE MCKINLEY, ALBANY BUREAU CHIEF OF THE “NEW YORK TIMES.” STRAIGHT AHEAD, HISTORY MEETS TECHNOLOGY. HOW THE TIMES IS USING THE POWER OF THE CLOUD TO HELP MAKE USE OF MILLIONS OF HISTORIC PHOTOGRAPHS. ♪>>THE NEW YORK TIMES HAS MILLIONS OF PHOTOGRAPHS, SOME OF THEM GENUINELY HISTORIC, SITTING IN FILE IN AN ARCHIVE KNOWN AS THE MORGUE. SEEMS LIKE A WASTED RESOURCE, SO THE TIMES TEAMED UP WITH GOOGLE CLOUD TO DIGITIZE THEM. THE PROJECT GIVES REPORTERS AND EDITORS ACCESS TO AN INCREDIBLE RESOURCE, ALLOWING US TO ADD MORE VISUAL CONTEXT TO STORIES AND HELPS READERS, TOO. HERE TO TELL US ALL ABOUT IT, VERONICA CHAMBERS, EDITOR OF THE ARCHIVAL STORYTELLING TEAM CALLED PAST TENSE. WHAT IS IT ALL ABOUT?>>WHEN THE TIMES STARTED DIGITIZING THE PHOTOS, THEY HAD A GREAT IDEA THAT THEY WOULD BRING TOGETHER THE EDITORS, WRITERS, PHOTO EDITORS, THAT AS WE SURFACED PICTURES AND WE COULD PUT TOGETHER PACKAGES AND STORIES AND SHARE THEM WITH THE READERS SOONER RATHER THAN LATER.>>WE DID THIS WITH A SPECIAL SECTION ON JACKIE ROBINSON FOR HIS 100TH BIRTHDAY.>>WE DID THIS BEAUTIFUL SECTION WHICH CAME OUT TODAY AND IT IS ACTUALLY A HUGE PICTURE. IT WAS REALLY EXCITING. PRETTY SPECIAL FOR ALL OF US.>>AND A GREAT WAY TO TELL STORIES IN THE PAPER AND ONLINE AT NYTIMES.COM.>>YES.>>HOW DO YOU CHOOSE THE SUBJECT MATTER AND THE PICTURES TO BE ABLE TO DO THIS?>>IN PARTICULAR ABOUT JACKIE?>>YES.>>WE STARTED LOOKING AHEAD AND JACKIE ROBINSON’S BIRTHDAY CAME UP PRETTY SOON AND WE THOUGHT HIS 100TH BIRTHDAY, WHY DON’T WE TRY TO DO 100 PHOTOS? WHICH WAS PRETTY AMBITIOUS. HIM BEING IN BROOKLYN AND KIND OF STEPPING INTO HISTORY RIGHT HERE IN NEW YORK, WE FELT LIKE IT WAS SOMETHING THAT THE “NEW YORK TIMES” MIGHT HAVE A FOUNDATION TO BUILD SOMETHING AMBITIOUS ON.>>WE CERTAINLY DO. THAT IS A GREAT KEEPSAKE. WE ALSO HAVE ANOTHER ONE COMING UP THIS WEEKEND ON OVERLOOKED, THE SERIES IN THE TIMES ABOUT PEOPLE WE SHOULD HAVE WRITTEN OBITUARIES ABOUT, BUT FOR ONE REASON OR ANOTHER DID NOT. AND I TOOK A PEEK AT THAT IN ADVANCE AND IT IS REALLY A HANDSOME SECTION AS WELL.>>WE ARE REALLY EXCITED ABOUT THAT. A SPECIAL BLACK HISTORY MONTH EDITION OF OVERLOOKED. YOU WROTE ONE. ELIZABETH JENNINGS. ALSO PEOPLE THAT WOULD SURPRISE YOU LIKE SCOTT JOPLIN. THAT WAS KIND OF LIKE, WOW, HOW DID HE NOT GET ONE? ELIZABETH JENNINGS, SCOTT JOPLIN, A LOT OF GREAT PEOPLE.>>YOU ARE WORKING WITH JEFF ROTH IN THE MORGUE, A PLACE THAT HAS 600,000 POUNDS WORTH OF PHOTOGRAPHS. HOW DO WE KNOW HOW MUCH THEY WEIGH?>>WHEN THE NEW YORK TIMES MOVED INTO THE NEW BUILDING, THEY REALIZED THE FLOOR UNDERNEATH THE NEW BUILDING WAS NOT STURDY ENOUGH TO HOLD IT. 6 MILLION PAPER ITEMS, WHICH IS A LOT OF WEIGHT. IT IS ACTUALLY HELD KIND OF DOWNSTAIRS AND TWO BUILDINGS OVER. SO, WE KNOW.>>WHAT IS THE PROCESS OF ACTUALLY SCANNING? SIX MILLION IS A LOT OF PICTURES.>>WE HAVE A STORYTELLING TEAM AND AND WE HAVE A REALLY GREAT GROUP OF SCANNERS AND THEY ARE ACTUALLY ARTISTS, ARCHIVISTS. THERE ARE SIX OF THEM AND THEY SCAN 3000 PICTURES PER DAY.>>MY GOODNESS.>>EVERY DAY AT THE END OF THE DAY, THEY KIND OF TELL US WHAT THEY HAVE FOUND AND THEY SHARE A FEW OF THE PICTURES THAT THEY LOVE AND WE OFTEN GET OUR STORY IDEAS FROM THEM.>>A PICTURE IS WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS IS NOT IN FACT AN OLD CHINESE SAYING, IT TURNS OUT TO HAVE BEEN COINED BY A KODAK ADVERTISING MAN, BUT PICTURES DO SAY SOMETHING DIFFERENT. WHAT DO THEY SAY TO YOU THAT YOU CAN’T TELL IN PRINT? THE TIMES HAS ALWAYS BEEN MORE OF A PRINT HEAVY PAPER, BUT ONLY IN THE PAST CERTAIN NUMBER OF YEARS, WE HAVE REALIZED THE POWER OF VISUAL IMPACT ONLINE, IN VIDEO, AND IN PHOTOS AS WELL.>>I THINK ONE OF THE INTERESTING THINGS THAT WE HAVE SEEN WITH THE PAPER IS THAT THERE ARE SOME PHOTOGRAPHS THAT YOU LOOK AT AND IT DOES NOT MATTER WHAT YOUR AGE IS, WHETHER OR NOT YOU KNEW THE PEOPLE IN THEM, WHETHER OR NOT YOU CAN IDENTIFY THEM, THERE IS KIND OF AN IMMEDIATE EMOTIONAL, MAYBE EVEN INTELLECTUAL TRUTH ABOUT THEM. WHAT IS SO POWERFUL ABOUT THE FACT THAT WE HAVE 6 MILLION OF THEM IS WE ALL KIND OF GET TO EXPERIENCE THEM TOGETHER.>>AND THE PHOTOGRAPHS FROM THE MORGUE ARE THE RAW PHOTOGRAPHS. WE ALSO HAVE THE FLIP SIDE OF THEM THAT EXPLAIN WHAT?>>EACH PHOTOGRAPH, AS THEY WERE TAKEN OUT OF THE MORGUE, THEY WERE EITHER STAMPED WITH THE DATE THEY WERE PUBLISHED OR STAMPED WITH THE DATE THEY WERE BORROWED LIKE A LIBRARY BOOK WAS. WHAT WAS REALLY AMAZING FOR EXAMPLE FOR ARMISTICE DAY, WE WERE LOOKING FOR THE PHOTOS, WE KNEW THE TIMES WOULD HAVE PHOTOS, IT WAS JEFF ROTH WHO SAID, LOOK AT SOME OF THESE PHOTOS MORE CLOSELY — WE FOUND 10 PHOTOGRAPHS THAT HAVE NOT BEEN PUBLISHED IN 100 YEARS IN OUR PAPER. THAT WAS PRETTY POWERFUL. YOU ARE HOLDING IT IN YOUR HAND AND AND YOU SEE ONE STAMP FROM 100 YEARS AGO.>>THAT IS AMAZING. WAS THERE ANY ONE SUBJECT THAT CAUGHT YOUR ATTENTION MORE THAN OTHERS THAT YOU WERE SURPRISED TO FIND, THAT EVOKED SOMETHING YOU HAD NOT EXPECTED?>>I THINK WHAT IS INTERESTING TO ME IS THE WAY PHOTOGRAPHS IN THE MORGUE ARE NOT ORGANIZED BY DATES, THEY ARE NOT ORGANIZED BY PHOTOGRAPHER, THEY ARE ORGANIZED BY KIND OF THE SUBJECT THAT MADE SENSE TO PHOTO EDITORS OVER 100 YEARS. YOU FIND THINGS LIKE STREET GAMES, AND IT IS DECADES AND DECADES OF NEW YORK KIDS PLAYING GAMES AND SOME OF THE GAMES ARE NOT EVEN PLAYED ANYMORE. SOME OF THOSE THINGS ARE PRETTY EXCITING AND FUN. THE WITH THE TIMES CAPTURED EVERY DAY LIFE AND THE BIG FIGURES LIKE JACKIE ROBINSON IS REALLY WHERE THE BEAUTY OF THE COLLECTION LIES. IT TELLS US A LOT ABOUT HOW WE BECAME WHO WE ARE.>>WHAT A GREAT JOB YOU HAVE. THANKS TO VERONICA CHAMBERS. MY THOUGHTS ON CODA NEXT. ♪>>YEARS AGO ON THIS PROGRAM, I ASKED MORTON SOBELL A TRICK QUESTION. IF HE HAD BEEN GUILTY OF ESPIONAGE, WOULD HE EVER ADMIT IT? I CAN’T ANSWER THAT, HE REPLIED. I LATER LEARNED WHY. IN THE SUBSEQUENT INTERVIEW, HE CONFESSED TO ME THAT AFTER DECADES OF DENIAL, HE HAD INDEED BEEN A SOVIET SPY. THE CONFESSION CAME WITH ALL SORTS OF CAVEATS. HE HAD BEEN FOUND GUILTY IN 1951 OF CONSPIRACY, NOT ACTUAL SPYING. HE SERVED 18 YEARS OF HIS 30-YEAR PRISON SENTENCE. UNLIKE JULIUS AND ETHEL ROSENBERG, THE SECRETS HE WAS ACCUSED OF TRANSMITTING WERE UNCONNECTED TO THE ATOMIC BOMB. HE CLAIMED THAT THEY REVEALED TECHNOLOGY FOR DEFENSIVE WEAPONS, NOT OFFENSIVE ONES. AND, ANYWAY, THE SOVIET UNION WAS AN AMERICAN ALLY AT THE TIME, DURING WORLD WAR II. THE LAST LIVING DEFENDANT OF THE ROSENBERG CASE DIED LAST MONTH, NEARLY 66 YEARS AFTER THE ROSENBERGS WERE ELECTROCUTED AT SING SING. WE NOW KNOW THAT JULIUS WAS GUILTY, CERTAINLY OF THE LEGAL CHARGE, CONSPIRACY TO COMMIT ESPIONAGE. ALSO, THAT THE GOVERNMENT IS CAPABLE OF FRAMING A GUILTY MAN. WE KNOW THAT ETHEL WAS COMPLICIT, BUT THAT HER BROTHER LIED WHEN HE TESTIFIED TO THE MOST INCRIMINATING EVIDENCE THAT LINKED TO HER CONVICTION. AND WE KNOW THAT MORTON SOBELL, AFTER DECADES OF PROCLAIMING HIS INNOCENCE, DELUDED THE PUBLIC, HIS OWN FAMILY, AND HIS DWINDLING SUPPORTERS. LIKE THE ROSENBERGS, HE HAD BEEN A TRUE BELIEVER WITH A ROSE-COLORED VIEW OF THE SOVIET UNION IDEALIZED COMMUNISM. NOW I KNOW IT WAS AN ILLUSION, HE SAID. I WAS TAKEN IN. SO WERE HIS DIEHARD DEFENDERS. TO ME, IT DIDN’T MATTER WHETHER THEY WERE GUILTY OR NOT, HOWARD ZINN, THE LEFT-WING HISTORY PROFESSOR, TOLD ME AT THE TIME. THE MOST IMPORTANT THING WAS THEY DID NOT GET A FAIR TRIAL IN THE ATMOSPHERE OF COLD WAR HYSTERIA. SOBELL HIMSELF SUGGESTED THAT TRUTH HAD BEEN WORTH SACRIFICING. I NEVER THOUGHT OF MY CONVICTION IS SIMPLY A FRAME UP, BUT AS PART OF OUR NATIONAL POLICY AT A PARTICULAR PERIOD IN HISTORY, HE WROTE IN AN UNPUBLISHED DRAFT OF HIS MEMOIR. NOR DID I FEEL THAT MY LIFE HAD BEEN WASTED. THE STRUGGLE IS THE THING. IT IS THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE PEOPLE OF THE COURSE OF THE STRUGGLE THAT BECAME MOST CRUCIAL DURING THE HEYDAY OF MCCARTHYISM. MY CASE SERVED AS A VEHICLE FOR MANY PROGRESSIVE PEOPLE TO REGISTER THEIR OPPOSITION TO THE ESTABLISHMENT’S POLICIES. THE EXCESSES OF MCCARTHYISM WERE PERPETUATED BY THE ROSENBERG CASE, BUT ALSO BY THE LEFT’S REFUSAL TO ADMIT THAT SOME AMERICAN COMMUNISTS WERE IN FACT SOVIET SPIES. THE ROSENBERG CASE REMAINS AN ENDURING STORY ABOUT BLIND LOYALTY THAT STOKED NATIONAL PARANOIA, ABOUT THE CHALLENGES OF RECONCILING NATIONAL SECURITY AND CIVIL LIBERTIES, AND ABOUT SINGLING OUT A PARTICULAR GROUP FOR PUBLIC SCORN OR PRIVATE SUSPICION. AS LONG AS I LIVE, MORTON SOBELL WROTE, I WILL DO MY BEST TO SEE THAT THIS DAMMING LEGACY OF THE COLD WAR REMAINS ALIVE. HE IS NOW DEAD. IN LIGHT OF WHAT WE NOW KNOW AND WHERE WE ARE TODAY, WHAT HAVE WE LEARNED FROM THAT LEGACY? FOR “THE NEW YORK TIMES” AND CUNY TV, I’M SAM ROBERTS. ♪ [THEME MUSIC] ♪

Author Since: Mar 11, 2019

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