Christiane Amanpour | News Lab at Google

Christiane Amanpour | News Lab at Google

you all for joining us here, both in person and
on the live stream. My name is Daniel Sieberg. I work on the News
Lab at Google. We collaborate with
journalists entrepreneurs to build the future
of media with Google. For folks here at Google,
you can go to go/newslab to learn more. Of course, I think our
guest needs no introduction. But I want to do that
anyway and call out some of the accolades and
awards that Christiane has had over the years. So I’m going to do that
if that’s all right. OK, I’m going to
take that as a yes. Full disclosure– Christiane
and I worked together at CNN many years ago. I was covering technology. I was the dorky guy talking
about gadgets and the internet and viruses. And Christiane was always
in some exotic location. CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: And I
was this the non-geeky person who didn’t understand a thing. DANIEL SIEBERG: I
think you were asking me to help you with your
email on a regular basis. CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR:
Well, there you go, yeah. DANIEL SIEBERG: So she’s a host
of “Amanpour,” as many of you know, a Chief International
Correspondent at CNN, previously Global Affairs
Anchor at ABC News. Her illustrious career began in
journalism three decades ago. And we’ll talk a little bit
about those origins in a bit. Her international
reporting began in 1990 as a correspondent
for CNN, where she’s reported on international
crises in the Gulf War, Iraq, Afghanistan, North Korea, the
Palestinian territories, Iran, Sudan, Israel, Pakistan,
Somalia, Rwanda, the Balkans, Egypt, and Libya. Am I missing anything? CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR:
Probably, but it’s OK. DANIEL SIEBERG: Kind of
reads like a list of vacation spots for many of us. We just can’t wait to go
to some of those places. CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: I
still have the travel bug. DANIEL SIEBERG: Do you? OK, we’ll talk about
that in a second. CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR:
We can talk about that. DANIEL SIEBERG:
She’s interviewed most of the top world leaders
over the past two decades and received every
major broadcast award, including an Inaugural
Television Academy Award, 10 News and Documentary
Emmys, four George Foster Peabody awards, and
nine honorary degrees. She’s a member of the American
Academy of Arts and Sciences and a Commander of
the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire–
you were born in London, as I recall– and an honorary citizen
of Sarajevo, and to top it off, a graduate of the
University of Rhode Island. Any other URI grads here? No? OK. It’s a small school. Isn’t it a relatively
small school? CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: No,
it’s a big school actually, the big state school
state in Rhode Island, small state, big school. DANIEL SIEBERG: So listen. It’s funny because I
know we’ve sort of known each other over the years. And I, in my life, have
done a number of interviews with lots of people. But when I got to thinking
about doing this interview, I got all nervous. And I thought, my
gosh, I’m interviewing Christiane Amanpour. She’s this interviewer
who’s interviewed all these amazing world leaders. Who am I? How am I going to
get this right? So I want to start off
by getting some tips on interviewing from you. And I’m going to try to
steal some of those secrets and tips– CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR:
You don’t really think I’m going to give
you my secrets, do you? DANIEL SIEBERG: I mean,
it’s just us, right. CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: No,
it’s really not just us. [LAUGHTER] It’s not only not
just us here, it’s not just us connected online. DANIEL SIEBERG:
Virtually, everywhere. CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR:
Yeah, virtually. DANIEL SIEBERG: You know
what I want to know? I want to know how and why
some of these world leaders keep coming back to you,
when you’re certainly less than nice, shall
we say, to some of them. CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR:
It’s a good question. Some people think I’m
too tough, and they don’t agree to talk to me. And that’s a problem. And there are quite hefty holes
in my world leader selection. I’m still working
on a lot of them. But if you really
want me to give you one tip, the only tip I really
know is to be thoroughly, thoroughly, thoroughly,
thoroughly, informed. And when you go to sit in
front of a world leader or somebody who has a major
position of responsibility and you’re meant to get
information or hold them accountable, you
can’t just prepare as if you’re preparing for
a sound bite interview, for a three-minute interview. There’s a huge amount of
research and self-education that goes into it. And I have a fantastic
team– some of them are here– who really help me. And it’s really vital
because that’s it. When you’re sitting
in front of somebody and you have to
ask them questions that may be the last
questions you ever ask this person because maybe
you’ll never see them again. Either they won’t
let you, or you won’t have that opportunity. Your role and your
job is not to be liked and not to necessarily sit
down and have a nice sort of, scratch my back, I’ll scratch
yours kind of conversation. You know you’ve
got to get in there and get the kind of ounces
that actually our viewers want us to get. And it is true that in America,
the tone of an interview is much more genteel and
friendly, even with a leader, than it is in England,
as a comparison. There’s a famous broadcast
interviewer called Jeremy Paxman in England. Yes, and he’s known as the
Pit Bull, the Interrogator. I’m nowhere near– DANIEL SIEBERG: “News
Night” was his show. CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR:
But it takes balls to sit in front
of a world leader and just hold them accountable. And even when your feeling
sort of dodgy and nervous– and oh, my god, can I ask
him this question or her this question– you just have to. And so it’s due. There’s a lot of adrenaline. You’re sitting on the
edge of your seat. You want to make sure you’ve
asked the right question. Because presumably, that’s
what our viewers, that’s what our online community,
that’s what people want us to us because we’re
their representatives. DANIEL SIEBERG: Let me ask
you about a specific example with that. In 2002 with Yasser Arafat,
you were on the phone with him, while he was
surrounded in his compound. And you asked him some
pretty tough questions. And he called you out,
in a sense, right? CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: He did. Well, when we say,
Yasser Arafat, it’s like an ancient era. Isn’t it? This was in 2002, and
he was a big deal back then, head of the Palestinians. And Ariel Sharon was the
prime minister of Israel. And there’d been some
suicide bombings in Israel. And as a result, there
was a another war between Israel and the
Palestinian territories. And Sharon decided to
reinvade the West Bank and go all the way to
Arafat’s headquarters. And of course, he was
the Palestinian Authority President. So everybody was trying to
get an interview with him. And we couldn’t go there
because there were barricades. And it wasn’t possible to get
through the Isreali blockades. And so we thought it was a great
scoop to get him on the phone. And I’m standing in
Israel, in Jerusalem. And I’m interviewing
him live on the phone. And I think I asked him
something like, President Arafat, can you assure the
Israelis that you arent’ responsible for
these suicide bombs? And how is it like that? And he– you should know you’re
speaking to General Arafat. And he basically
told me to go to hell and hung the phone up, on live
television, which some people thought was great TV. In those days, we didn’t have
the viral thing, you know. There wasn’t YouTube. And I mean, it just
didn’t happen back then. But is as it went, it
was pretty exciting. And I thought this was
terrible for my career. But everybody else
though it was great. DANIEL SIEBERG: Yeah. As you say, compelling
television to watch. CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: It was
compelling television, yes. DANIEL SIEBERG: Let’s
fast forward a little bit to some of the sort
of news of the day. I would love to get your
take on the situation in Iran and the nuclear deal there
or framework for a deal, if you will. I’m sure folks know you
have Iranian descent. Your father is Iranian. Aside from that, I know
you’ve spent a lot of time in the region. What is your take on this deal? Is this going to define
the Obama presidency from a foreign
policy standpoint? Is it further fracturing
relationships with Israel? What’s the sort of mood that
you’re getting from people that you’re interviewing? CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR:
Well, you see, there’s this narrow thing that’s
called the nuclear deal. And then as everything
else around it, which causes all the noise
and all the kind of questions that you’re asking. For 35 years, United
States and Iran have been enemies, adversaries. It’s been hostility since
the Islamic Revolution of ’79 and particularly
since the hostage crisis, which you remember–
I can’t remember how many now. But more than 50 diplomats
were taken hostage for 444 days by the revolutionaries. And that killed the relationship
between Iran and the US. And they have not had
diplomatic relations since then. And fast forward ot when Iran
started its nuclear program. It always maintained that
its program was peaceful, but the world didn’t believe it. And so there’s
been a huge amount of, again, tension between
Iran and the rest of the world. Never mind the other stuff that
it’s accused of– terrorism, supporting the bad
guys in Lebanon and the Palestinian territories,
et cetera, plus human rights, and oppression of
people at home. Just strictly on
the nuclear matter, nobody could figure out
how to deal with Iran. What are you going
to do, bomb them? You going to go
go to another war, after Iraq and Afghanistan? The President, I don’t
think, wants to do that. The Europeans don’t
want to do that. I don’t think Israel
wants to do that. Are you going to sanction
them for the rest of eternity? Well, the sanctions
actually have caused them to be more
proficient in their technology. Because just like– I hope
this isn’t controversial. But you all are incredibly
clever engineers and technological experts. And as you know,
Iranians are also very, very clever
technology and engineers. And many of them are
in Silicon Valley. But those at home
have managed to build their own nuclear program
at home, from scratch– centrifuges, mastering the
enrichment cycle, the fuel cycle, and all the rap. And they have it in their heads. So this was going ahead, and
despite all the sanctions, more and more centrifuges,
more and more spinning, more and more stockpile of uranium,
higher and higher levels of enrichment. Things weren’t going well. And the most Draconian
sanctions in the history of international sanctions
were placed on Iran. So fast forward to
President Obama, who decided to try
a different tack. And probably all of
you remember when he was in a debate
before the 2008 election. He was asked, what would you
do with North Korea, Iran, et cetera? He said, I would negotiate. And he was roundly
chastised and mocked. But the truth of
the matter is that thanks to the election
of President Rouhani, who’s a moderate and
who the people in Iran would like to see much more
freedoms and more engagement with the rest of the world. Rouhani basically said, when
he came into office, OK. I have got to get
these sanctions lifted. Our economy sucks. We have a million more people
in the job market every year. We can’t provide jobs for them. And therefore, we have to
do something different. So it was great timing. And he and President
Obama decided to have these negotiations. DANIEL SIEBERG: But
now they’re saying, they want the sanctions
lifted immediately. CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR:
Well, listen, I’ve been doing this on
my program today. First of all, there was
a lot of mistranslation. President Rouhani said, “the
sanctions must be lifted”– and of course, this
is part of the deal– “upon implementation
of the deal.” And that’s exactly what
the agreement says. And that’s what the US
Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz told me this week. And there it
mistranslated to say, sanctions must be lifted
as the deal is signed. But of course, we’re
not out of the woods. There are three more
months of negotiation. There are very, very
difficult issues. I believe sanctions will
be a difficult issue, because if they’re not
lifted within a relatively reasonable period of time, I
don’t think Iran will sign on. And I don’t know
whether everybody knows the parameters of
exactly the times and all the rest of it. And of course, still, you
have the hard-liners causing a lot of trouble in Iran. But the supreme leader has s
sort of– he’s on a seesaw. He said, “I don’t disagree,
and I don’t agree.” So he’s sort of
hedging his bets. All the others have
fallen into line– the heads of the army,
the revolutionary guard, the Speaker of he Parliament,
et cetera, et cetera. So it’s interesting. DANIEL SIEBERG: Absolutely. There are the critics who
would say too that it’s just being kicked down the road. CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR:
I don’t think it’s being kicked down the road. DANIEL SIEBERG: There’s
still an opportunity to come back to this later. CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR:
There might be. But I think this is
important enough just to spend a bit more time on it. And I spent a lot
of time in Iran. And to be honest
with you, this is where I believe
journalism is important. You go to the sources. You talk to the people. You don’t just talk
to talking heads. So I’ve spoken to
the leaders in Iran. I’ve spoken to the energy
secretary here and other people around them. And yes, it’s not perfect. Perfect would be no
program whatsoever. They want a civilian program. They needed to
negotiate to save face. That’s what negotiation is. It’s compromise. It’s not a zero sum game. And this is the compromise. But some of these provisions,
for instance, the inspections and things, they
last, apparently, forever and most
definitely for 25 years. And it will be about
transparency, i.e. Inspections and reducing the
nuclear stockpile, et cetera, that will make people know
whether this is going to work or not. DANIEL SIEBERG: I should
say, from what I’ve seen, the critics who’ve
talked about it don’t have a great alternative
strategy for any of this either. So if it’s not this, what is it? And along those lines,
what is your sense of the appetite
for news like that, for foreign news, if you will,
for people who live in the US. Because when I travel
around, I get a sense that people are just more
interested in what’s happening in the rest of the world. Maybe that’s just my own bias. CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR:
No, you’re right. And I think it’s a change. Over these last few years,
maybe the last year, the last couple of
years, there have been such cataclysmic stories
from all over the globe, from the downing or the
disappearance of flight MH-370 to the rise of ISIS
to Ukraine and Russia to the Iran negotiations,
all these things. And CNN has reverted to its
wheelhouse, to its sweet spot, because we were the first
real international news organization. And when Ted Turner started
CNN as a startup back in 1980, that was his mission,
to bring the world to the American people
and to be able to be the electronic diplomat,
if you like, of the world. And that is what CNN has been. Introduce the world
to the American people and introduce the American
people to the world. And it’s been an
amazing accomplishment. And right now, over the
last couple of years, you’ll see, if you even watch
CNN USA, what we see here in the United States, a lot more
of these important foreign news stories. And guess what? We’re doing really
well, based on this. We’re doing better than
we’ve done a long, long time. So it’s great, and
of course, obviously, the domestic stories as well. But no more can we say, that
foreign news doesn’t sell. Or foreign new is
not interesting. DANIEL SIEBERG: It
doesn’t affect us. It’s not about us. CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR:
And certainly that it doesn’t affect
us, because it done. And I was just thinking,
wow, isn’t this amazing. You’ve also got Trevor
Noah, a South African, who’s just been named
to replace John Stewart. You’ve got John Oliver at HBO
doing a fantastic weekly satire program, which is
really successful. They’re foreigners,
but it doesn’t matter. We’re all in the same
pot, so to speak. DANIEL SIEBERG: It’s fantastic. So you touched on
early days at CNN. You started in
1983, is that right? CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR:
Yes, I did, yeah. DANIEL SIEBERG: So
I started in 2000. And when I was there, it
was a right around the time that Time Warner was
being merged with AOL. CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR:
Those were days that people thought were
full of hope and promise. But it was not good for us. DANIEL SIEBERG: It
didn’t work out that way. [LAUGHTER] Maybe we can get into
that another time. But when I was there,
I heard stories about the sort of
early days of CNN, that Ted would come
down in his pajamas and be in the control room and
be talking to the people there. And what was your
interaction with him like? As you say, it was
like a startup. And nobody knew if it
was going to succeed. CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR:
Nobody knew. And if you read the
books– remember, I wasn’t there from day one,
but it was still really young when I got there. And first of all, there
were lots of– just like in the startups
today, there were lots of young people, many
of whom hadn’t gone to graduate Most of us hadn’t gotten
graduate Journalism degrees. We thought we’d do
that on the job at CNN and then maybe go,
if we were lucky, and get a job in the big
time, somewhere else, in a network or whatever. Who knew that CNN would
become the big time? And I remember being told
that in the very early days, sometimes Ted couldn’t
make the payroll. It was really touch and go,
hand to mouth and sort of trying to stretch a piece of string. But he is a genius. I mean, he is a genius. He’s a quintessentially
American genius. And he has been on
the cutting edge of every major movement
of not just this country, but of our 20th century. DANIEL SIEBERG:
Well, the environment, rapprochement between the
Soviet Union and the West, when that wasn’t cool, just
ahead of the– you know, years before the
Berlin Wall fell down. Obviously, broadcast– he was
cable before cable was cool, the first television station
to go international and many other things. Philanthropy, he was one of
the first great philanthropists of the late 20th century. DANIEL SIEBERG: I think
he’s one of the largest private landowners in the
United States as well. CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: That’s
absolutely true, yeah. So it’s been remarkable, and
to work for somebody like that and to start off as a
young person at the bottom of the career ladder. DANIEL SIEBERG: What
was your job like then? Desk assistant, is that the– CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: Yeah,
I was kind of a gopher. I mean, really, it had the title
Desk Assistant, Foreign Desk Assistant. And then Ted abolished the word DANIEL SIEBERG:
Right, that’s right. CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: Yeah, that
was because nobody is foreign. DANIEL SIEBERG: It was sort of
a negative connotation to it. CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR:
Yeah, we’re international. [LAUGHTER] Yeah. So you know, I
was a little upset because I wanted to be
a foreign correspondent, not an international
correspondent, in any event. DANIEL SIEBERG: And
how did you get– I know there’s a
lit of things that happen between
being a desk assist and getting to
where you are now. CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR:
Not in those days, it was less actually. DANIEL SIEBERG: Really? OK. CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: Because
it was– we were young. And they need all the
talent they could get. And if you worked
hard and showed them that you wanted
a little bit more than just sort of
punching the clock and coming in for your
own prescribed hours, there was the
opportunity to move ahead in a very vertical way, which
is so much more difficult now in all organizations. But CNN– well, Time
Warner is 4,000 people. It’s huge. We were maybe a couple
of hundred people at CNN at that time. So it was little, really little. So I was on I was on the desk. I did a lot of
dusting and cleaning. I did a lot of talking
to the correspondents and typing in their
scripts, because we didn’t have what we have now. We didn’t have email
and all the rest of it. There’s a little bit of top-line
kind of in-house messaging. Sitting in the feed room and
logging the feeds that came in from all over the
world and every minute just feeling more and
more excited about wanting to get out there, so
I then taught myself how to write for the news. In other words, I would
come in on my own time, bug that producers. Please, can I write
something for you, please? And I would come in on the
weekends and this and that. And gradually, I
worked my way up and then I became a producer. And then in a moment of sort
of– I need something more. If you’re not going to
let me be a correspondent, I’m going to have to leave. So I did. But luckily, we had a
really wonderful president called Bert Reinhard. He’s not alive anymore. But he was a great, great guy. And he said to a
colleague in New York. He said, this girl, she’s OK. We don’t really
want lose her yet. Let’s see. She might work out. So grab her for a
little freelance stuff. So I came to New York. And they picked
me up in New York. And the rest is CNN. DANIEL SIEBERG:
At what moment did you get the bug, to sort
of say, I love this. I can’t envision anything else? CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR:
I got the bug late. It wasn’t that I was
five years and always wanted to be a correspondent
or a journalist. I didn’t know about anything. I grew up in a very
privileged, nice life in Iran. We were in a monarchy. We didn’t know about the
First Amendment or freedom of expression. We know about democracy. And then there was
the revolution. And my whole world sort
of turned upside down. And I knew then I
couldn’t rely on my dad. And I didn’t want
to get married. And I just wanted to know
work and do something. And I realized watching the
revolution– I was old enough to see it, understand
it, be there– I lived through it– that
actually, this was really interesting and
that I would like to be able to tell these kinds
of stories and explain them. And then that led to journalism. And then I came to America,
went to university, made good friends, one of whom
is here in the audience. And then I went to CNN. Yeah. DANIEL SIEBERG: And you’ve
been to these places which are dangerous. CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: Yeah. DANIEL SIEBERG: Often– CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: Yeah. DANIEL SIEBERG: And you keep
going back or have gone back. And I can’t imagine how
this doesn’t affect you in some way, emotionally,
psychologically, like a lot of war
correspondents or others who are exposed to these
types of atrocities and harrowing events. There’s an ad campaign running
right now for CNN called “Go There.” and you’re featured
in it talking about it, in a sense, what that’s like. What is that like? CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR:
Well, look– I don’t want to minimize
it because it is really very dangerous. And it’s actually
gotten more dangerous. I would say, exponentially
more dangerous, because it used to be that
journalists, by and large, were killed in the crossfire. That was the risk you
took when you went to war. But now, journalists are
deliberately targeted. You’ve seen the truly
horrendous stuff that’s been going on with
our colleagues who’ve been beheaded by ISIS. You’ve seen people all over
the world thrown in jail, abused, shut down. Even in this country, you’ve
had practically prosecutions of certain journalists. It hasn’t happened, but a lot of
pressure on journalists because of various sourcing
and not wanting to release their
sources, et cetera. So it’s really, really
difficult and really dangerous. And I spent a lot
of time doing that for an extended period of time. I always say that had I
been married or had a kid, I probably wouldn’t have
been able to do that then. Because you have a
responsibility, when you have a family, to stay alive. And when you’re young,
When you’re young, you don’t think about that. You think you’re immortal. And you just want
to do the story. But the older I get, the
more I realize that it has had a very, very deep toll. It’s taken a tough toll on me. And I’m very lucky that I have
a very good family and very good friends. And I’m able to put my
energy that might destroy me into my work still. But you know, I’ve seen
some horrible things. I’ve also seen
some great things. And I’ve also seen how
this platform can really make a difference. I would say that we made
a difference in Bosnia. We made a difference in Kosovo. The problem was that we
weren’t there in Rwanda, so we made a
difference for the bad. Something terrible
happened in Rwanda because we weren’t there
in a critical mass. So I’m very conscious of the
massive power of this platform and how I use it. And I’m conscious now
that I have a voice, and I have a big
megaphone at CNN. And how to use it is very,
very important to me. DANIEL SIEBERG: Let’s sort of
build on that for a second. So you also have 1.3
million Twitter followers. CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: Do I? DANIEL SIEBERG: I’m one
of them, by the way. I’m sure some people
in here are as well. And I know that you
were very involved in covering the Arab Spring
and what grew out of that. Television as a platform is
obviously still very powerful. And then CNN manifests in lots
of different ways–, may mobile devices, and so on. But I would love
to get your take on the role of social media
during the Arab Spring and kind of after that
and if you’ve seen it in other parts of the
world and galvanizing people around ideas. CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: It’s a very
complex question, because you can say, oh wow, it’s great. And it causes revolutions
and this and that. I don’t actually think it does. I think what social
media in this– I’m talking now about the Arab
Spring and the other countries that don’t have other ways of
avowed political organization. The social media has
been the only method of political organization. And that has been
phenomenally important, really phenomenally important,
in countries like Iran, where people actually are not
meant to be on social media. But of course, they’re so smart
that they keep figuring out how to get across firewalls. And there’s a cat and mouse
game with the authorities. And they try to cut
it down in China and all these other places. They can really reach out. And it’s really
very, very important. Because sometimes, it’s
the only connection. And as I said, more
importantly, the only political organization. So that’s one
thing, that’s good. But I think you’ll find that
a lot of people in the Arab Spring, like the
people– oh, my god, his name has just gone out of
my– Waleed, no, not Waleed. Anyway, you remember the guy
who was so famous who created the big platform in Egypt? AUDIENCE: Wael Ghonim. CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: Wael
Ghonim, Wael Ghonim, yeah. I think he and others
like him are disappointed, because maybe they
put too much belief and all their hopes for
the future of government in this platform. And I don’t want
to see the ease, because it came at a high price. A lot of people
were killed in Egypt before there was the revolution. But nonetheless, it
happened fairly quickly. The resolution in Iran
in 1978 took a year. In Egypt, it took
a couple of weeks. That’s a huge, huge,
huge– and media and social media is partly
responsible for that. DANIEL SIEBERG:
Accelerating that. CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: For sure. But then, what
happens afterwards? So I think there’s that
to consider as well. I like social media
for myself because I like to use it for my show. And I like to be able to
reach an audience that doesn’t necessarily watch television. Now, I can’t believe that
people don’t watch television. As I say, I’m a dinosaur. But if you ask my son
and people apparently up to 40 or whatever, they
don’t watch television. So yes, CNN is doing all
these multi-platforms so that people can
actually go and get all this stuff in the best,
most-convenient, most-tech way they want. And that’s what’s happening. And that’s what it is. So that’s great. Now, I have a son, young people. And I want to know
whether they’re fully aware of all
some of the intrusions, some of the lack of
privacy, some of the– you can’t take it back
kind of reality that our young people
grow up in right now. I’m constantly telling him,
don’t me on your smartphone all the time. Look at people, talk,
converse, learn, read. Listen, he’s super smart,
and he’s really good. But that kind of worries me. I once thought to myself, I
should do a little mini doc. I used to ride my bike
to work every day. And every day, I would see
mothers or fathers or nannies or sitters or whatever
with the kids. They weren’t looking
at the kids or talking to the kids– like this. And I wonder what that
does for communications. I wonder what it does
for brain rewiring. And I wonder what it
does for young people to make ordinary mistakes. People make mistakes
in their life. But now, every mistake
is there for the taking. So I think that’s interesting. And then we have some
of the controversies, even around Google,
around the NSA, around what the
government– you know, PRISM and all of these things. The world, we’re all way
too plugged-in in my view. Do I want all my emails rerouted
through the NSA or whatever? No. DANIEL SIEBERG: It probably
goes back to be awareness. CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: And you
saw going to all of the talking to Edward Snowden, right? DANIEL SIEBERG: Yes. CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR:
Well, I’m not going to pick up what he
said about the pictures. But you know what I mean. DANIEL SIEBERG: Yeah, yeah. It’s a good point. So listen, I want to dig into
your career arch a little bit, if we can. Ben Sherwood,
President of ABC News– I’m trying to imagine
how the “This Week” conversations came to
be, when you went to– CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: He wasn’t
the President of ABC News. DANIEL SIEBERG: That’s right. He wasn’t at the time. Well, when I started. I wasn’t hire by him. DANIEL SIEBERG: So
but how did it start? What was the Genesis to the– CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: Again,
it was sort of serendipitous. They had to moved people around. George Stephanopoulos, was, I
think, going to morning news. DANIEL SIEBERG: “Good
Morning America.” CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: Yeah,
“Good Morning America,” rather and just a series of
conversations between David Weston and some other of
my friends at that ABC and at Disney that this
might be a good idea– and I like to
think that maybe it was an idea ahead of its time. Because clearly, I wasn’t going
there to be a Sunday morning political anchor in Washington. That wasn’t what I though I was
doing or what I’d agreed to do, nor what I would be good
at, because that’s not my wheelhouse. That’s not what I’ve done. So I hoped to be able to simply
broaden the conversation, to yes, do politics, maybe do it
slightly differently than it’d been done in the past, maybe
break the form– not break, but break out a little bit and
do a lot more of the world, which we’re seeing now. So I say, maybe I
was ahead of my time. What can I tell you? Anyway, it didn’t work out,
although I had a fabulous time. I really did have
a fabulous time. I met some amazing
people, worked with some amazing people,
got to see network news firsthand, having been
at CNN all my broadcast, all my professional life. DANIEL SIEBERG: What
did you learn from that? CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: I
learned quite a lot of things. I learned that I did a
very good documentary. It was really good,
very successful. I learned some of the
commercial pressures, which actually exist everywhere,
frankly, even at CNN. I learned also not to
be afraid to take a risk and not to be afraid
to recognize when something doesn’t turn out. To me, it’s not
a failure at all. I learned a huge amount,
and I came back to CNN. And I wouldn’t– I don’t regret
a moment of it, obviously. It would have been fun, if
the model had worked out. Because I do think that, as
you can see with the ratings, less and less people watch
the Sunday morning shows. And I never wanted to be inside
Washington, inside the beltway, talking in weird jargon
just to yourself, which essentially– and
the same faces every week, saying the same things. And I also, because
I came, I think, from outside the comfort
zone of politics, I was really used to
being slightly more willing to compromise access. Access wasn’t my top priority. DANIEL SIEBERG: There’s a nice
parallel between the learning from your experiences
and if it didn’t work out with the tech space. This is something that, at
Google, we talk a lot about, sort of failing fast
or acknowledging that something didn’t work out. CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR:
Failure is not all this it’s worked out to be. DANIEL SIEBERG: No, no. I think that failure has
a number of definitions. I think that if something
is a total flop then it could be a failure. And then it could be
a learning experience. CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: I
tell you another thing. Look, we also raise a
young generation that is at risk of
believing and feeling that they have to succeed every
single step of the way, or else life is a failure. It’s just not real. Some of the most
successful people can stumble occasionally. It’s about whether you can
get up afterwards, obviously. But it’s also about what
you learn about what’s real. What are your real expectations? So many young people sometimes
feel somewhat entitled, like OK, so I came here. I punched my card in. Tomorrow I want to be up here. I want to be your boss. I’m exaggerating for effect. But I have had a lot
of people ask me, how do I get to do what you do. So I say, well, if
you’ve got 35 years– DANIEL SIEBERG: Right. CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR:
No, but seriously, I think that we should
all understand that. DANIEL SIEBERG: And
I want to be clear. I’m not calling your time
at “This Week” a failure. I’m really not saying that all. CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR:
I’m not embarrassed. I’m not embarrassed,
because I went out there to do something different. And they weren’t
willing or didn’t want to do something
different at the time. The times we did
something different, I had a great time with
the current President James Galston, who at the time
was an EP of “Nightline” and transformed “Nightline” and
his deputy Jim Murray Condon. And they were sort
of in charge of me. And we did some really
great stuff on the road in the “This Week”
time I was there. That was really successful. I mean, you could say that
I kicked ass during the Arab Spring for “This Week.” I got more Mubarak. I got Gaddafi. Nobody else did. So this was very good. It was a very, very
good experience. And I was able to put it on
American network television. And that was great. So a lot of things
worked out really well. DANIEL SIEBERG: I love
the kicked ass part. I think that’s absolutely true. Has there been an
interview where you felt like– not that
it went badly or well– but when that you
would like to do again, one that you could
go back and say, I’d like to do this one again. CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: Yeah,
probably Slobodan Milosevic, during the Bosnia War. But there are many. There are many. Because I only met him–
I met him the once, and it was just as I was– he
was in Europe, if I remember. It was either Strasbourg or
Salzburg or one of those. And there was an
attempt to stop the war. And this was right
as it was starting. And Milosevic was
going full steam ahead to carve out this part
of Bosnia for himself and this part of the Balkans. And I didn’t know
enough at that time because I hadn’t
been on the ground. And I just got this
interview with him. And I did ask him a
question, which at the time was quite bold. I kind of pounded him
about all the people who were being killed. How do you sleep at night? I was literally on the edge
of my seat and in his face. And he kept trying
to offer me whisky. And I promise you. I promise you. And I knew that I
obviously couldn’t do that. But it was shot. And he never spoke to
me again, never, never. So I wish I’d been
able to redo that, once I’d been there for a few
months or a couple of years. And yeah, there are a lot. DANIEL SIEBERG: And today,
who is somebody who you would like to interview today. CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR:
I mean, look– DANIEL SIEBERG: Who’s the most
interesting person out there now who you — CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR:
There are so many. But am I going to
give away my secrets? No, everybody has the
same wish list– the Pope, the Queen of
England, Kim Jong Un. DANIEL SIEBERG: Talk
For starters– I tried talking to Dennis Rodman. DANIEL SIEBERG: Really? CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: I
couldn’t get through. DANIEL SIEBERG: OK. [LAUGHTER] Go play some basketball
with him or something. So you’re based in London. I would love to get a sense
from you– aside from CNN, who’s doing news well? Because as a team
at the News Lab, we try to look around and find
those news organizations that are engaging audiences
and tapping into digital. Is “The Guardian? Who do you feel like? CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR:
There are obviously a lot of famous, organized
newspapers, television, radio who’s doing– DANIEL SIEBERG: There’s an
election coming obviously. CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: Yes. Look, if you look at the
top newspapers in the United States, they’re brilliant,
from the “New York Times” to the “Wall Street
Journal,” “LA Times,” et cetera, “Washington Post.” NPR, WNYC, I always get
the letters transposed. But public radio is
brilliant, I think. And I’m a big radio listener,
also BBC World Service, BBC Radio 4. And the tones are
slightly different. But it’s really fascinating. I learn such a lot from
radio and obviously online. And what’s really
interesting for me– so I can actually answer
you with a little bit of knowledge– is that
I judge an award that’s called the Livingston Awards. I’m one of a panel
of judges on that. And that’s for journalists
35 years and younger. So it’s young journalists. And in the last several years,
obviously– and every year, we get more online submission. And the quality
of that journalism is just phenomenal, from radio,
television, magazines, online. It’s really, really phenomenal–
have print, all that. So I’m very, very encouraged by
the amount of good journalism that’s going on. And again, you see at
CNN, you do the hard news. You do the breaking news. But then you’ve got things
like “Parts Unknown” by Anthony Bourdain
or any number of those kinds of programs
around the breaking news that expand your knowledge
and give you this experience in
a different way. And I think that’s all really,
really interesting as well. And I think people’s
appetite for documentaries is really the
heartwarming as well. Because I often
say, documentarians are doing what we
used do as news reporters on a daily
basis, because we’re not doing so much reporting. There is reporting. But there’s a lot also of
talking heads of discussion programs in this and that. So documentarians are filling a
gap that a lot of organizations have left a vacuum. And I think that’s great. It’s really, really great. DANIEL SIEBERG: It’s exciting. I have more questions. There are microphones
in the room. There are two of them there. So if you have questions,
please line up. And we will call on you shortly. I guess I want to just
touch a little bit on the idea of journalism as a
whole and media moving forward. And do you see that the media
industry is a little less risk-averse these days? Is that what’s necessary? There’s a lot of
concern and hand wringing about the future of it. CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: Listen,
we have been wringing our hands about the future of journalism
for a long, long time. And it’s still here,
still alive and well. We’re still reporting for duty. And I think news of its demise
is obviously way overblown. And it just depends
on how you do it. Yes, there are periods of
troughs and valleys and peaks and all the rest of it. And I just think we’re at
a good place right now. I really do. I mean it’s kind of
depressingly good. There’s so much news. And it’s so– I can’t
keep my head on straight. And I have a daily program
that airs on CNN International and online. You can all see it at, And it’s really the interviews
and the world leaders around the breaking news. And it’s just whoa. It’s like, every
day, you wake up, and there’s
something cataclysmic that’s happened overnight. And I think we’ll all
be gainfully employed for a long time. DANIEL SIEBERG: I read
something recently that– CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR:
Which is great because there’s a
lot of opportunity for young journalists, I
Think, a lot of opportunity. Journalism schools were
worried for a period of time. What are we going to do
with all these students and journalists who we
freshly mint and send out? There’s a lot of space for
them right now, I think. DANIEL SIEBERG: I read
recently– I’m paraphrasing, but it was that some media
companies are in trouble, because some of them are. But the journalism
as a whole, it’s almost like a renaissance
period between data journalism and access to audiences. CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: I
think what we do have to be absolutely clear about– we have
to be tough and rigorous and be the eyes and ears of our
viewers our . clickers, our online watchers, everybody. Do you know what I mean? Because you don’t want to
be too cozy as a journalist. And you want to be able
to look at yourself and look inward and have really
rigorous self-critiques, if you like. What went right? What went wrong? And I think that’s why people
like John Stewart, Steven Colbert, the late night
comics have done so, so well. Because I think for
a period of time, there was a credibility gap. And they filled that
gap in a different way, in a way that used
satire and humor. But they became so trusted. And I think we need
to understand why and understand that we–
trust is our bread and butter. We have to be trusted by
the people who turn to us. And we have to be trusted
to do the right thing and the rigorous thing
and the honest thing. And credibility is
our coin of the realm. DANIEL SIEBERG: It’s
a big responsibility. There are lots of question. So we’ll start maybe over here. CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR:
That gentleman was first. AUDIENCE: Sorry, this
might be a little bit odd. But I guess, the
question fundamentally is– what should Google do? Imaging that we
said to you, just tell us one thing to
either build or fix, whatever it is you
want, something you need that you don’t have today. DANIEL SIEBERG:
Christiane personally? AUDIENCE: You personally,
for your personal life or for your work, whichever–
if you had absolute control and you could get Google
to build something, what would it be? CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: Golly! DANIEL SIEBERG:
watching right now? CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: What’s that
thing called that transports you to different centuries? DANIEL SIEBERG: Oh,
like a time machine? CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: Yeah, a
time machine and a teleporter. DANIEL SIEBERG: Yeah. CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: Yes. DANIEL SIEBERG: Like
in an hour or two? CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR:
Look, I would like to say, build something that
could cure disease, the most common diseases. Bill Gates is doing his best. But is there some way you can
build some fantastic vaccine or whatever, to kill things like
malaria and all the rest of it. Or do something that
makes all kids go to school, those who
want to go to school and who need to go to school. 62 million girls are
out of school today in the developing world. Is there some chip
you could implant? I’m kidding, but you
know what I mean. Do something that protects
women from the daily assaults that they face every
single day in this country and every other country,
for no good reason other than they’re women. So those are the big
issues that I care about. But what a great question. I haven’t given
you a good answer because I’m not technologically
or engineering savvy enough. Do I want to go to the moon? No. I did once. I did once. DANIEL SIEBERG: Cool. Thank you. We’ll go to this side next. AUDIENCE: Hi, thanks
for being here. My question is about a book
which is about your grandma, I guess, by Bernuth CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: Gosh,
I don’t know anything about this book. AUDIENCE: OK. CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR:
I really don’t. AUDIENCE: So then
I have no question. CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: Aw. You’re Persian, obviously. AUDIENCE: Yes. CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: Yes. AUDIENCE: So maybe ask you– CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: What
did it say about my grandma? AUDIENCE: Very great
things, as a role model. She’s the role model for me. CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: Really? What’s her name? AUDIENCE: Hanum. OK, so I should give– CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR:
Yes, this is news to me. AUDIENCE: OK. DANIEL SIEBERG:
We’ll look into it. AUDIENCE: So I want to know
is there any impact on you and your success from
any women in your family? CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: Yeah. I would think my mother
actually is my role model, not because of what she said or
did or how she may have led me. But because, as a woman in
Iran married to an Iranian men, I never ever, ever, ever got the
message from her or my father that because I was a girl,
anything was off limits to me. And that has been the most
important lesson in my life. Really it has, because
it was not told. It was something
I just picked up. And growing up in a patriarchal
society, in an Islamic society, I still never ever,
ever, ever thought that I couldn’t do anything
because of my gender. As long as I worked hard and
had some kind of abilities and competence, I could
do that, whether I was a or girl or a boy. And I think that was very
important for me, obviously. DANIEL SIEBERG: I
love hearing that, as the father of two girls. CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: Yeah. Yeah, really important. DANIEL SIEBERG: Yeah, Jenna. Hi, I like your nail
polish, by the way. CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: Thank you. AUDIENCE: I was sitting in the
front row, so I noticed it. CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR:
My producer will be very happy to hear that. We sometimes talk about
what colors I should put on. AUDIENCE: We are at Google, so
it’s important to be colorful. I’m Jenna. I work in the Google Ideas
team here in New York. And we’re basically Google’s
free expression group. We focus on the user that we
believe is most in distressed or most at risk,
so people living in places where
there’s conflict, geopolitical instability,
censorship, et cetera. And so as a result, journalists
are both very important partners and users for us. And so we’ve started to do
more and more in the space, for example, creating
a centralized online repositories, so journalists can
collaborate on investigations across borders. We’re also very
interested in the role that we can play in verifying
user-generated video content on YouTube, particularly
in war zones and conflict areas. My question to you
is– what do you think that Google should be
doing to help journalists promote free expression? CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR:
Well, I just think that you’re there
promotes free expression. I think that free expression
is something that, as you know, practically the whole
world doesn’t have. It’s very limited
parts of the world that have that enshrined
in their democracies and their constitutions. From my own experience and
not being totally familiar with what you’re talking
about, from my own experience, being in places where they’re
not even allowed to have access to the internet, et
cetera and knowing that they do because they’re smart. And who can close
it off these days. Although North Korea
still doesn’t, they have this weird intranet. And they’re getting more and
more thumb drives and things like that, that people
bring information in. And it’s probably one
of the last holdouts where people don’t have what
we now consider basic access. I think that what you’re
doing a 21st-century variation and much more interactive
obviously and much more accessible than what the BBC
World Service radio may have done 10, 20, 50 years ago,
when people in prisons, famous political
prisoners, would say, they had access to
radio or whatever. And they hear the news and what
was going on just on the radio. So all of that– our
technology is simply part of a momentum that
feeds this desperate need to know and to be free. Freedom is most definitely,
in my view– and democracy– the default option in us. And I say this, because
it might seem obvious. But you remember, for
a long, long time, people questioned
whether people in– and they still
question right now whether the people
in, let’s say, the Islamic world
or the Arab world could deal with
democracy and Freedom. But it is the default option. And any opportunity
to help build that and to have people be able
to communicate and talk and learn and get moral
support through that is great. AUDIENCE: Thank you. DANIEL SIEBERG: Yes. AUDIENCE: Don’t have a question. Just wanted to say, thank
you for continuous coverage of the Turkish
Gezi Park Protests. You should know that you’re
a hero to millions in Turkey. Everybody knows your name. You were on newspapers
during the time. And CNN International
was the only news source that we could get up-to-date
information about what was going, because everything
else was pretty much controlled by the government. It was great when you said, “the
show is over” to the government official on live television. CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: Well,
I appreciate what you said. And I don’t know whether some
people online from Turkey will be able to access this. But I got into a lot
of trouble for that. And I was not welcome in
Turkey for a long time because of that. And the truth of
the matter is, I know some people would like
to think I did a great thing. But all I really meant
was, the show is over. We’re out of time. That was what was happening. I had the director shouting
in my ear, wrap, wrap. So I said, thank you, sir. I can’t remember. The show is over. And everybody thought
I was telling him, the government is over. AUDIENCE: Yeah,
that’s how we got it. CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR:
But you do bring up a very interesting thing. Because one of the downsides of
all this freedom of expression and being able to broadcast and
et cetera, and in particular, in places like turkey
or Egypt or elsewhere, journalists have
become so politicized, not necessarily by choice, but
by force of what’s going on. And that’s one of
the negative aspects of what’s going on right now in
these countries where there’s such deep divisions. Egypt, when half the country
says, x, the other half says, y– similar in Turkey. And each side uses
journalists as their weapon, as their instrument of,
I would say, propaganda. And it’s really sad. It’s really, really sad, because
when that starts happeningg– and there are a lot of
independent journalists who work really hard and
risk punishment or worse. And if you’re only getting
journalists on the extremes, then you’re never
getting to the truth. So that is an uncomfortable
development right now. AUDIENCE: Thank you. CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: Thank you. DANIEL SIEBERG: Yes. AUDIENCE: Hi, Christiane. I’m Jean Claude. I’ve been watching
you for several years from Togo to France. And we all do bemoaned
not having access to CNN International when I moved to
the US because you weren’t– CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: Can
somebody start a movement? AUDIENCE: Yes, yes. CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR:
Get CNN International. Google, you asked me what to do. Get CNN International to be
viewed all over the United States. AUDIENCE: I think it would have
a huge impact on how Americans view the world. So Daniel gave us a list of all
your journalistic achievements over the past 35 years. I’m just curious whether
journalism has always been the end or whether there’s
a life beyond journalism for you and what that might be. CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: It’s
a really good question. And it’s one that I
do think about now. I never did really. People are– really colleagues
a good deal older than me, but still who’ve been
around for a while doing really amazing stuff
are starting to retire and looking at other things. And I have ideas, but I’m not
really ready to talk about them right now. But journalism is in my
present and in my future, for the foreseeable future. AUDIENCE: Great, thanks. CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: Thank you. DANIEL SIEBERG: Yes. AUDIENCE: So my
question has to do with your foreign background. Do you ever find yourself
struggling to stay objective when the report on issues that
have to do with the Middle East or Great Britain? And if so, how do you put your
personal bias and emotions and memories aside, to
basically stay objective? CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: Thank
you for that question. And people do want to know that. And it’s a legitimate question. We have a golden
rule in journalism. And it’s called objectivity. But what does objectivity mean? Objectivity means
explaining and giving all sides of the issue,
the story, whatever it is, going to all sides. You can’t just do
it from one side. But it doesn’t necessarily mean
treating all sides the same. So let’s just go back to
the first really major story of my career, which was Bosnia. You had a war, which was
then ethnic cleansing, which was then genocide, which was
Sarajevo besieged and guns and mortars being
poured into the city. And I knew very quickly that you
cannot equate the victims with the aggressors. So I was accused of losing
my objectivity and siding– DANIEL SIEBERG: You were
pro-Muslim at the time? CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: Yes, Yes. And it made me really
think about this. And I realized then what I’ve
just told you that objectivity is not a false neutrality. There’s nothing worse than moral
equivalence where none exists. So that’s on those big
issues, the big violations of international
humanitarian law, genocide, violations of human rights. You have to be absolutely
clear what’s going on and tell the truth,
and tell the truth. Then you get the,
let’s say, right now– Iran, the United States,
Israel, about the nuclear thing. I’m sure some people
say, oh, she says all sorts of stuff about Iran. She’s Iranian. Actually, Bill
O’Reilly suggested that because I was born in
Iran, which I wasn’t, but raised in Iran. The implication was that I was
compromised in my reporting. So I quickly tweeted back. I said, well, I’m sorry that
my objective reporting seems go to offend. But I’m really flattered that
he thinks I’m only 35 years old. Because of course,
it was 35 years ago when the Ayatollahs
took over Iran, and I was not raised
under that regime. So just to say that
it’s all ridiculous– if you’re a professional,
you’re a professional. I’m English but I’m Iranian. I’ve done all my
studying in America. I consider myself objective. And I consider what I
do– perhaps the fact that I have so many
international influences allows me to actually tell the
other side of the story and all sides of the
story, in a way that’s less chauvinistic than if I was
just one person or one religion or one nationality
or one ethnic group. You know what I mean? I’m a woman. And I biased? I don’t know. You could also people. I’ve gone brown eyes, I’m not
in favor of brown-eyed people, necessarily. So in the end, you have to
be a competent professional. AUDIENCE: I have to
say, I always find your reporting very objective. And in some sense. it surprises me,
because I do carry the baggage of my, in my
case, Romanian upbringing. CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: Well,
you’re not a journalist, and you can. AUDIENCE: Yes. CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR:
I’m a journalist, and I’ve taken an oath
of office, so to speak, an oath of the profession. And I take it seriously. In my personal life, I
have all sorts of ideas, but in my professional life,
I’m very clear about what it is that I’m doing, what
the platform is that I have, and what people expect of me. Thank you. AUDIENCE: Hi, thank
you for being here. As an appropriate segue
from that question perhaps, I want to go back
to you discussing how programming outside
of just direct journalism like the Anthony
Bourdains of the world have really contributed to this
possibility of bringing down walls and being able
to be a little bit more objective or at least
more understanding of news. My hope is that we can
look forward to an Amanpour virtual reality experience. CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR:
What’s that? Tell me. Is that good? AUDIENCE: I hope so. CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR:
What is that? AUDIENCE: So you are probably
familiar with the Oculus Rift and Google’s
more humble Cardboard. This is something– we can
talk offline and explore this. But there are a
few developers who have taken the Android operating
system and the cardboard experience and
being able to create a world that an individual
like myself would be able to enter
into, to really get a sense of that environment. And since there is no
forthcoming Amanpour virtual reality
experience, I don’t have much to look forward,
but an idea maybe. CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: Thank you. Thank you very much. AUDIENCE: Thank you. DANIEL SIEBERG: I like it. Yes. AUDIENCE: You briefly mentioned
some of the whistleblowing accusations that have been going
on under the Espionage Act, I believe. And I was wondering if you’ve
seen any chilling effects from that in your
profession, and if you have or if you haven’t,
what you thought the best way would be to
mitigate that from happening, whether you thought
the– maybe the onus is technological in making
people– maybe journalists wouldn’t even have to know
who their sources are, in order to gather
information from them. Or if it’s like you say it is. CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: I’m
not sure that’s possible, because the only way to have
sources that you can trust is to know them. And you have to
have those meetings. If you look at what Jim Risen
has been through, and very fortunately, the Attorney
General Eric Holder said, on my watch, no journalist
is going to jail. Very fortunately, because
James Risen was doing his job. And the unacceptable pressure
that came down on him was something that
we all have to resist and that we all
have to do our job. And the problem is, here we’re
talking about a democracy. Here we are in
the United States. There are laws. There’s the Constitution. There’s a legal system. But outside, people are
pressured to doing things that they shouldn’t be
doing or giving up sources, giving up names at the
end of a barrel of a gun, at the end of a knife
across the throat. And we just have to understand. And all our organizations
need to stand up for us, that there are
rules for a reason. And if we are solid and
sure about our sources and about our
information, then we should be able to
print, to broadcast, to put online or whatever. Now, having said that, there are
clearly areas where, let’s say, I go to cover wars. There’s this whole issue
of military security. I would never break that, never. If I’m travelling with a unit,
I would never break that. Because first and
foremost, I don’t want to get killed, if the
enemy knows what I’m doing and who I’m traveling with. And secondly, that’s the
trade-off that you make. But I don’t know
whether this whole sort of mega-technological
society that we live in makes that harder or less hard,
the whole surveillance thing. But I think that what
we’ve been through and what we’ve been exposed
to by all these revelations is very sobering. And perhaps it’s not
as bad as some say. But it’s most
definitely something that we need to hold the
line against, I think. AUDIENCE: How can we also
prevent or an intelligence agency from pulling the
national security card. CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR:
Well, they do. I just mentioned PRISM. And if I’m not mistaken–
correct me if I’m wrong. This is what Edward
Snowden said– companies such as Google, Yahoo
all the many others, the government would like them
to be their online sheriffs. This is the world we live in. We all have to ask
ourselves questions about how appropriate. How far do we go? AUDIENCE: Thank you. CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: Thank you. DANIEL SIEBERG: Thanks. All right. Yes, couple more. AUDIENCE: Thank you for coming. I have a question
on trust in general. So trust is a really
big issue that has been a company [INAUDIBLE],
that we got good enough. But my question
is, how do we– do you see that trust and
journalism itself or what journalists are saying
has been decreasing over the years, especially
because of blogs, for example? I used to read
editorialists and then didn’t quite read
the first page. Basically it was
always like someone’s bogus, made-up stories. But I knew that I had
different trust factor, depending on which page of
the newspaper I’m reading. And then so long
over the years, it has– I have this
distrust of TV. I am out of newspaper. I don’t have any
subscription newspaper. And I find my
generation or folks who are coming,
even more so, they don’t trust what is
being said by people who are in between a
country far off and here. Rather, I would read
a blog about someone who is actually on
the spot and living there, because
it’s possible now. CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR:
Yeah, look, Americans remember Walter Cronkite. He was the most
trusted man in America. And he gave you the news at
6:00 or 6:30, whenever it was. And that was that. And you trusted that he
was absolutely honest. And he was. And he was a
brilliant journalist. Fast forward all to
now, and the trust level has most definitely diminished. And it’s not just
because of the explosion of different platforms
and blogs and things that. There are many reasons for it. Trust, in general
for institutions has diminished, whether
it’s for government, whether it’s for– there’s
the Edelman Trust Barometer. And it’s quite scary to see
how lots of the civil society organizations, the trust
level is down very, very much. That’s why I keep talking
about trust and credibility and honesty. And in this world where
we talk about brands, people have to know who they’re
getting their information from. That’s what I think. So you build up a
relationship with a person or an organization or
a show or a newspaper or whatever it might be. And you trust, based
on your experience and based on how
they measure up. But I think trust in our
business is fundamental. And if we don’t have the
trust of our audience, then we’re just pissing
in the wind really. I mean, what’s the point? DANIEL SIEBERG:
And I think there’s a fascinating discussion
around recovering from losing that trust
too, like a Tailwind or something like that. That is a whole other– CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: I think we
did something very important. Tailwind was a very
bad moment for CNN. And that was back in 1998,
I think, seven or eight. DANIEL SIEBERG: Newsstand
had just started. CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: Yeah. But you remember,
because– I don’t know whether you were there yet. DANIEL SIEBERG: Just
before I go there. CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: But
they took a very firm stand, very quickly. DANIEL SIEBERG: Can you
just recap it quickly, for folks who don’t know. CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR:
I sort of can. Basically, it was a program
where a false allegation was made that the US
military used, I think, chemical weapons in Vietnam. And it was a mistake, and
it wasn’t apparently truly. It wasn’t true. And we had to retract it. People lost their
jobs, heads rolled. And CNN did the right thing. CNN did the right thing by
owning it, owning up to it, and doing it. And look, we see that
in different ways today. Obviously, the German
wings disaster, the officials of the
airlines, the government, they all came out so much
faster than what had happened when MH-370 went missing. Look at what happened in
South Carolina yesterday. The mayor and the police
chief came out pretty quickly, compared to what happened
in previous instances, like in Ferguson and
all the rest of it. So yeah. DANIEL SIEBERG: Yeah. All right, I think we have time
for just one more question. AUDIENCE: I’ll be quick. I promise. Thank you so much, Christiane. So I’m from Venezuela. My name is Paula. And I know you’ve
been interviewing a couple of presidents there. Assuming, well, just
as my Turkish friend, we don’t have freedom of
expression, basically, like the old [INAUDIBLE]
are owned by the government. And that led to basically
a movement of my generation having their news and doing
their news in social media, using YouTube as a
platform, basically. Well, we’re super patriotic,
and we’re really passionate. My generation is
really passionate. I guess my question is,
from your experience, what have you seen in other
countries, that social media, viral– CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR:
Well, I think you just hit the nail on the head. And I think this is what
CNN did, when we first went international. We provided an
independent news menu, in countries where they only
had state television or state media. So it’s still happening. It’s happening in your country. It’s happening in
many other countries where there is not
freedom of the press. And in fact, there’s
the opposite. Those who try are sent
to jail and worse. So yes, that’s
another reason why social media is so
incredibly important, because so many people get
their news from Twitter, from social media. And it is incredible,
the way everybody has harnessed Twitter. I mean, the supreme leader of
the Iran, Ayatollah Khomeini, was busy tweeting
up a storm today. And that’s his first weighing
in on the nuclear deal. But now everybody
is getting into it. So yeah, I was going
to say, you’re right. You only have that. The worst, horrible
thing is when you have somebody like ISIS
using our technology so well for their own
propaganda, whether it’s their social media, whether
it’s their YouTube videos. And it is scary. So that’s what I say about
the whole cat and mouse thing. For everything we do or
they do, somebody else can do one better. And it’s all used
for good purposes. And that’s where we have
use our critical faculties and our judgment. And that’s where it
gets very challenging. DANIEL SIEBERG: Thank you. Well, the show is over. [LAUGHTER] CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR:
As they say in Turkey. DANIEL SIEBERG:
But I want to thank you so much for coming
in here this afternoon and sharing your thoughts
and insights with us and the online audience as well. And let’s give Christiane
a round of applause. CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR:
Thank you, guys. Thank you very much. [APPLAUSE]

14 Replies to “Christiane Amanpour | News Lab at Google

  1. @Daniel Sieberg starts off on good form in this one. News Labs are one of my favorite areas of Google, and there many as we know.. / @Vanessa Schneider @Nicholas Whitaker / @Steve Grove ..

  2. I'm a fan of Christiane's work but I find her much more interesting when she is the one being interviewed.



  5. If anyone can a Zio can.

    Replace, Na Na Hey Hey sung by Bananarama (Kiss Him Goodbye) below lyrics
    Na na na na
    Na na na na
    Hey hey hey

    with the following lyrics
    Zi za zah zah .,.. Zoo zoo zoo zoo ,… Ziooooooo go away. Altogether now …. zi za zah zah .,.. Zoo zoo zoo zoo ,… Ziooooooo go away.

  6. CNN doing good job ? I can't stop laughing … for sure I thought because CNN is liberal media will be ant-war and provide balance news but unfortunately is war propaganda machine..

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