January 5, 2022 - PBS NewsHour full episode
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January 5, 2022 - PBS NewsHour full episode
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01/05/2022 | 56m 43s | Video has closed captioning.
January 5, 2022 - PBS NewsHour full episode
Problems Playing Video? | Closed Captioning
JUDY WOODRUFF: Good evening.
I'm Judy Woodruff.
On the "NewsHour" tonight: misinformation wars.
One year after the attack on the U.S. Capitol, how politicians and Trump supporters have spread false narratives about what happened January 6.
Then: Omicron's toll.
A record number of children are hospitalized with COVID-19, as doctors warn the risk to young children isn't being taken seriously enough.
And rebuilding a deity.
A museum's decades-long effort to restore a 1,500-year-old statue of the Hindu god Krishna.
All that and more on tonight's "PBS NewsHour."
(BREAK) JUDY WOODRUFF: The CDC is taking new fire for shortening COVID quarantine periods to five days without requiring a negative test.
The agency reaffirmed its decision last night.
But, today, the American Medical Association said -- quote -- "The new recommendations are not only confusing, but are risking further spread of the virus."
The AMA suggested a shortage of tests influenced the decision, but CDC the director denied that today.
DR. ROCHELLE WALENSKY, CDC Director: First of all, this has nothing to do with the shortage of available tests, because you can see in our quarantine guidance that we actually do recommend a test for people to emerge from quarantine, and we do anticipate that there will be more people in quarantine than there are in isolation.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Also today, the CDC's vaccine advisers recommended Pfizer booster shots for 12-to-15-year-olds.
And the top-rank men's tennis player, Novak Djokovic, was denied entry to Australia for failing to show that he had been vaccinated.
He had planned to play in the Australian Open.
Tomorrow marks one year since the assault on the U.S. Capitol, and Capitol Police say they are made serious -- that they have made serious progress since then.
Chief Tom Manger told a Senate hearing today that the attack exposed critical deficiencies.
But he said there has been improvement.
TOM MANGER, U.S. Capitol Police Chief: We are sharing information better.
We are assigning responsibilities.
People know what their responsibilities are.
And we have backups to each one of the different commanders.
My hope is that, with the other processes planning that we have put into place, that there's not going to be the need for a panicked call for -- in an emergency, that those things will be planned ahead of time.
JUDY WOODRUFF: We will be returning to January 6 after the news summary.
At least 13 people were killed today in Philadelphia in the city's deadliest fire in at least a century.
Seven of the victims were children.
Fire officials said a total of 26 people had been staying in the public housing duplex.
It had four smoke alarms, but none was working.
The cause is under investigation.
In Kazakstan, chaos erupted as protesters stormed government buildings and seized a major airport.
The ruling cabinet resigned, and the two largest cities declared emergencies.
Police in Almaty confronted the crowds.
But, as night came, fires burned and protesters battled the security forces.
The Kazakh president vowed a tough response on state TV.
KASSYM-JOMART TOKAYEV, President of Kazakstan (through translator): The high level of organization by the thugs demonstrates a carefully thought-out plan of actions by financially motivated conspirators.
Therefore, as the head of the country and the chairman of the Security Council, from today, I intend to act with maximum severity regarding lawbreakers.
JUDY WOODRUFF: The trouble began four days ago over spiking fuel prices, but quickly spread into demands for liberalization.
North Korea has test-fired a ballistic missile for the first time in two months, apparently rejecting new diplomatic talks.
The North says that it was a hypersonic missile.
South Korea says it was fired today from a mountainous northern province near China and landed in the sea.
The U.S. and Germany stepped up warnings to Russia today not to invade Ukraine.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with the German foreign minister in Washington ahead of security talks with Russia next week.
ANTONY BLINKEN, U.S. Secretary of State: Russia has concerns.
We will listen.
We have concerns.
And it's imperative that Russia listen.
And I hope, again, as I said before, that we can find ways diplomatically through these conversations.
JUDY WOODRUFF: The two diplomats said that any action against Ukraine would have severe consequences, but they gave no specifics.
A woman who accused former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo of fondling her is condemning a decision to drop the charge.
A prosecutor said Tuesday the case is too weak to proceed.
The accuser, Brittany Commisso, says that it shows why sexual abuse victims are afraid to speak out.
Louisiana today posthumously pardoned Homer Plessy, the man at the heart of the U.S. Supreme Court's separate but equal decision in 1896.
Governor John Bel Edwards signed the pardon in New Orleans.
Plessy was arrested there in 1892 for violating a ban on Blacks sitting in whites-only train cars.
The court upheld the law, cementing racial segregation in public accommodations in this country for decades.
On Wall Street today, stocks dropped on fears that the Federal Reserve will accelerate interest rate hikes to fight inflation.
The Dow Jones industrial average lost 392 points, 1 percent, to close at 36407.
The Nasdaq fell 522 points.
That's more than 3 percent.
The S&P 500 was down 93 points, nearly 2 percent.
And the nation's oldest World War II veteran, Lawrence Brooks, has died in New Orleans.
He was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1940 and served in a racially segregated engineering unit.
In 2005, Hurricane Katrina destroyed Brooks home, but he remained upbeat.
Last year, during a birthday parade, he even danced a little.
Lawrence Brooks was 112 years old.
Still to come on the "NewsHour": Republican Representative Troy Nehls and Democratic Representative Hakeem Jeffries on the aftermath of last year's Capitol riots and more; the stark rise in pediatric hospitalizations amid COVID's surge; and much more.
One year ago this week, crowds stormed the U.S. Capitol while lawmakers were inside affirming the results of the presidential election.
We have two different views on the events of January 6 from lawmakers on opposite sides of the aisle who were both at the Capitol that day.
Lisa Desjardins begins our coverage.
LISA DESJARDINS: And now I am joined by Troy Nehls, a Republican congressman from Texas, also a former sheriff and combat veteran.
Thank you for your service, and thank you for talking to us today.
I know, on January 6, you were there with a chair leg in your arms at the door to the House chamber to keep rioters out.
I wonder how you reflect.
What do you think happened on January 6?
How do you see it?
TROY NEHLS (R-TX): Well, actually, thank you, Lisa, for having me.
It actually was a hand sanitizer.
It was a wooden hand sanitizer.
I was at the back doors, the center doors leading into, obviously, the House chamber.
Those doors would be the same doors a president would walk through when he would deliver a State of the Union.
And I was positioned back at those doors.
And, obviously, once we went -- were going through the objectors in the Arizona, and the state of Arizona was there, and then, all of a sudden, several uniformed personnel in plainclothes.
Obviously, the plainclothes rushed Nancy off the dais back there and rushed her back in her speaker's lobby.
But, the doors started shaking violently.
I mean, the doors were locked, but people were banging on those doors.
And Capitol Police were there.
I was told by one of them that I must leave.
And I chose not to.
I said: "I'm not.
I am not leaving.
I'm going to sit there and I'm going to be there with my brothers and sisters in blue."
And the doors kept shaking violently.
You could hear the commotion on the other side.
And then you can see in some of the photos that furniture was brought over to help secure those doors.
But there was a -- these wooden hand sanitizers.
And Markwayne Mullin, another member of Congress, was there.
And he broke off -- broke off that hand sanitizer off that wooden base, and there was another one there.
And I did the same thing.
So that was my weapon for the day should those individuals be successful in getting through those doors.
And thank goodness they weren't.
LISA DESJARDINS: I know that you have called what happened criminal.
You have been very clear in saying that it was dangerous, those who incited violence were wrong.
But there is a real divide over the narrative about January 6.
And there's a real divide over the role of President Trump, the former president, who I know you support.
I wonder, how do you see his role that day?
TROY NEHLS: Well, let's go back to the individuals that you mentioned I used the word criminal.
And, yes, there were individuals inside that Capitol Building that day that committed very -- assault on police officers, and some of those assaults even being aggravated.
If you were inside the Capitol that day, and you broke windows, and you destroyed property, you should be held accountable.
If you assaulted a law enforcement officer, you shouldn't just go to jail.
You should go to prison.
And I think most of the American people agree with that, that when you were in there, and you were committing criminal violations of the law, assaults, destruction of property, breaking the windows, you should be held fully accountable for your actions that day.
But what we do know is, there were many people inside that Capitol Building that day that were not doing any of those things.
They weren't touching anybody.
They weren't assaulting anybody.
They were walking around inside that Capitol Building.
Many of them were grandmas.
Many of them almost appeared to be ushered in.
And so their only crime that a majority of the people inside that building, the people that entered that building, I guess the only crime was maybe entering the building.
And many of them, quite honestly, didn't even realize that they were committing a violation of the law.
That is the United States Capitol.
It's open to citizens.
And it's the country's building.
So, I kind of question some of the motives of the DOJ and others who are claiming that every person inside that building is an insurrectionist.
That term gets to be used quite a bit by the liberal media, but nobody has obviously ever been charged with insurrection.
So, I have -- I pause as it relates to the 700 or so individuals that have been arrested by the FBI and the DOJ as it related to their activities on that day.
LISA DESJARDINS: I got to check your language.
I heard you say that it seemed some of them were ushered in.
I didn't see anyone ushered in.
I saw people breaking in.
I also want to come back to the former president, former President Trump.
At 4:00 on January 6, you wrote this tweet after seeing what you did.
You wrote: "What I'm witnessing is a disgrace.
Violence is never the answer," a strong tweet from you.
But at that moment, as of that time, President Trump still had not told the rioters to go home.
And we know there were many, many Trump supporters in that crowd, if not the majority of the crowd, from my experience.
Did he do enough?
What do you think his role was that day?
TROY NEHLS: Well, I don't -- I'm not in Donald Trump's head.
I wasn't in the Oval Office or wherever he was positioned that day.
And I wasn't one of his top advisers.
So, I don't know.
I mean, could he have maybe said something earlier?
LISA DESJARDINS: But he's your president.
He was our president.
TROY NEHLS: Maybe he could have said something earlier.
Maybe he did.
LISA DESJARDINS: But I have to say, he was our president, a Republican, and you support him.
You think... REP.
TROY NEHLS: But you alluded to earlier when I made the comment about being ushered in, nobody on this select committee -- and it's Pelosi's select committee.
Bennie Thompson is the puppet, and she is the puppet master.
You want to claim that it's bipartisan.
When you look at bipartisan, Liz Cheney and Kinzinger are Pelosi Republicans.
Kinzinger isn't running again.
And, obviously, Liz Cheney is going to be defeated here in 2022.
But that entire committee, they all have one thing in common.
They hate Donald Trump.
They don't hate.
They despise him.
They talk about him all the time.
And I kind of joke that they have a serious crush on this guy.
They have a serious crush on Donald Trump, because that's all they want to talk about.
What they want to do is blame Donald Trump for January 6 with everything.
They want to go after him, all of his associates.
They could do contempt of Congress against Bannon.
Then it was Mark Meadows.
But nobody on this committee is asking the real difficult questions, the questions that the American people need to know about, and that is, why were the Capitol Police so ill-prepared to deal with that day?
LISA DESJARDINS: How do we move forward?
How do you think we get past the divide in the country, in just a sentence or two?
TROY NEHLS: I -- that's a very difficult question.
I think our country overall lacks faith.
I think we need to get back to basic principles.
And we're losing faith as a country.
But there is that divide, unfortunately.
I went to Donald -- I went to Joe Biden's inauguration on January 20.
And he got up there and he said that he would work with his friends on the other side of the aisle.
And, quite honestly, as a member that's been there for 12 months, I haven't seen any of it.
I haven't seen any of it.
Joe Biden despises President Trump.
He completely reversed his immigration policies.
He completely reversed all these other things.
So there is a divided country.
And we must do better than that.
We owe it to the American people to come together.
But, right now, you just don't see it.
I certainly don't see it from this administration.
LISA DESJARDINS: Congressman Troy Nehls, we appreciate your time.
TROY NEHLS: Thank you.
JUDY WOODRUFF: With few exceptions, members of the two political parties view January 6 very differently.
For a Democrat's take now, we are joined by the chairman of the House Democratic Caucus.
He is Representative Hakeem Jeffries of New York.
Congressman Jeffries, thank you very much for being with us.
I believe you heard at least part of what Congressman Nehls was saying.
But I want to ask you.
You were on the floor of the House on January 6.
What memory do you take away from that day?
REP. HAKEEM JEFFRIES (D-NY): Well, what took place on January 6 was a violent attack on the Congress, the Capitol and the Constitution.
And it was, of course, incited by the former president of the United States, Donald Trump, who, for several months prior to January 6, had perpetrated the big lie that he actually won the election and that it was stolen from him.
He radicalized millions of people across the country.
And some of them showed up on January 6 intent on effectively overthrowing the government and trying to halt the peaceful transfer of power it.
It's a day like Pearl Harbor and like Bloody Sunday down in Selma, Alabama, and like September 11 that should live in infamy here in America and throughout the world.
JUDY WOODRUFF: As we said, you were there on the floor.
How close did it come to being even worse than it was?
Ultimately, these rioters were not able to get into the House chamber.
They did get into the Senate.
But, from your perspective, how close did we come?
REP. HAKEEM JEFFRIES: We came very close.
I recall the sergeant at arms interrupting the debate that was under way with respect to the results in Arizona.
And he said something that I can remember as vividly as if it was said just today, when he said: "The mob has breached the Capitol.
They're on the second floor.
They're a few steps outside of the House chamber.
Be prepared to hit the floor and secure the gas masks that are underneath your seats."
I had been in Congress at that point for eight years.
Never did I have any real understanding that there were gas masks in the House chambers, let alone would have to utilize them one day.
And, thankfully, at some point, the Capitol Police found an escape route.
And they were able to safely evacuate members of Congress but many of us at that particular time thought we were actually going to have to fight for our lives.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And when we heard Congressman Nehls refer to some people or many people, in his words, being ushered in to the building, did you witness that in any way?
REP. HAKEEM JEFFRIES: The Capitol was violated.
They desecrated the citadel of our democracy.
This fantasy and fiction that, for many people, it was all wine and roses is after-the-fact spin.
That's why the bipartisan January 6 Select Committee is so important in uncovering the truth, presenting it to the American people in terms of what happened, why it happened that day, and also coming forward with some recommendations as to how to prevent that type of violent attack and assault on our democracy from ever happening again.
And, Judy, let me make this one point about the Democratic and Republican members of the select committee, Chairman Bennie Thompson, Vice Chair Liz Cheney.
They're doing a great job.
No member of that committee hates Donald Trump.
But they do love democracy.
They do love America.
We all do.
We do love the peaceful transfer of power.
And that's why we're committed to uncovering the truth.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And you have spoken about how, in fact, Congresswoman Cheney approached you even as the assault on the Capitol was taking place, spoke to you about how to hold President Trump accountable.
As you point out, she, Congressman Kinzinger now serving on that committee.
They are, though, the very much tiny minority in their party.
Have any Republicans in the House spoken to you privately, reflecting any views differently from what we're hearing from the Republican leadership in the House?
REP. HAKEEM JEFFRIES: Well, the Republican leadership has completely abdicated any responsibility in the context of ensuring that the events around January 6 never happen again and that it shouldn't be looked at through a partisan lens, because that was an American tragedy.
Now, there are dozens of House Republicans that did, fortunately, vote to certify the election of Joe Biden.
And I do have conversations with many of them.
They did the right thing that night.
And, hopefully, they will continue to try and do the right thing and stand up to the efforts by Donald Trump and his authoritarian co-conspirators to really obliterate American democracy, which would not be good for anyone, not good for Democrats, not good for Republicans, not good for independents, not good for America.
JUDY WOODRUFF: But do you think there are more than the 10 who voted to impeach him later?
I mean, are we looking at a situation where there may be more closet Republicans who are prepared to stand up?
Or is what you see what there is?
REP. HAKEEM JEFFRIES: Well, it's my hope that Republicans of goodwill, beyond Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger and those who voted to hold Donald Trump accountable for inciting that violent insurrection through their impeachment vote, will stand up and reclaim their party, because, right now, the Republicans are not the party of Ronald Reagan.
They're not the party of John McCain.
They're not the party of Bob Dole, or George H.W.
Bush, or George W. Bush.
They're not even the party of Mitt Romney.
They are the party of Donald Trump and a violent insurrection.
Take your party back for the good of America.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Congressman, I want to turn to something that has grown out of what happened that day and, of course, the challenge to the election.
That's the effort by Democrats to get voting rights reform legislation passed up.
Until now, no Republicans have -- at least in the Senate, have expressed a willingness to do this.
But just in the last few days, the -- we're hearing from some Republicans that they would - - might be willing to look at the way the electoral vote is counted, instead of voting rights reform.
Is that something that you think could be acceptable?
REP. HAKEEM JEFFRIES: Well, it's not an either/or situation.
We have to do both.
The right to vote is sacred to the integrity of our democracy.
This principle of one person, one vote, and government of the people, by the people, and for the people is really brought to life by every single American being able to exercise their franchise, choosing who represents them at all levels of government.
And so we have got to elevate that, because we have a voter suppression epidemic that is taking place all across the country.
And the John Robert Lewis Voting Rights Act and the Freedom to Vote Act are critical in making sure we push back against that.
At the same time, this principle of the peaceful transfer of power, which is central to American democracy, Republican presidents handing off to Democratic presidents, and vice versa, that was interrupted and almost disrupted permanently on January 6.
And reforming the Electoral Account Vote Act is an important thing that should be done to tighten up some loose ends that exist right now in that peaceful transfer of power.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Congressman, in the time we have left, it is a political year, midterm elections coming in November.
It doesn't look like a good year at this point for Democrats, for historical reasons and others.
Right now, is there one thing -- or what would you like to see President Biden do that could help the Democratic prospects this November?
REP. HAKEEM JEFFRIES: Well, President Biden is doing a great job in making sure that we confront the COVID crisis anchored in science and evidence in a decisive fashion.
And he will continue to lead in that way, at the same time, deal with the economic challenges that we confront, inflation, continue to create millions of good-paying jobs.
And then we will have to sell the American people on what we have done.
And we will be able to do that, particularly when we get the Build Back Better Act over the finish line.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And -- but my question is, how confident are you that can happen, given opposition in your own party in the Senate?
REP. HAKEEM JEFFRIES: Well, I'm very confident.
We're not a cult.
We're a coalition.
And so we have to work with the various components of that coalition, including Senators Manchin and Sinema.
I believe President Biden, who knows the Senate better than perhaps any president in modern American history, he will get it done.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Are you prepared to see big changes, though, in the Build Back Better bill as it is, for example, cutting in half the threshold household income amount for the child tax credit?
REP. HAKEEM JEFFRIES: Well, the tax cut for children and families through the child tax credit has been transformational for working families, low-income families, and middle-class families.
And I think we have to continue to keep it robust.
But let's have a conversation and see what Senator Manchin comes up with.
At the end of the day, we need a product that decisively makes life better for everyday Americans.
And if we get that product, it's something I can live with.
JUDY WOODRUFF: So, maybe something below $400,000 household income.
Just finally, Congressman Jeffries, we know Speaker Pelosi has said she does intend to serve through the remainder of this term.
But if she decides not to run for leadership again, are you going to run for your party's top position in the House?
REP. HAKEEM JEFFRIES: Well, I have got a job to do as chair of the House Democratic Caucus.
And I also have to go back to the voters to try to get my two-year employment contract renewed in 2022.
So, I'm going to keep the focus on that for the moment.
JUDY WOODRUFF: We will leave it there.
Representative Hakeem Jeffries of New York, the chair of the Democratic Caucus, thank you very much.
REP. HAKEEM JEFFRIES: Thank you.
JUDY WOODRUFF: The attack on the U.S. Capitol nearly one year ago was based on a big lie about election fraud in 2020 and the hope of supporters for former President Trump that they could stop the certification of electoral vote results.
But starting that day, there's been a new misinformation campaign to recast, downplay, and misrepresent the events that unfolded at the Capitol.
Amna Nawaz reports.
AMNA NAWAZ: They broke through barricades, assaulted police, smashed their way into the Capitol, and sent lawmakers into hiding.
Yet, even as the attack was playing out, there were already alternative narratives being spun about who was to blame.
LAURA INGRAHAM, FOX News: There are some reports that Antifa sympathizers may have been sprinkled throughout the crowd.
DREW HERNANDEZ, Investigative Reporter: Possibly Antifa insurrectionists possibly could have infiltrated some of these movements and maybe instigated some of this.
REP. MATT GAETZ (R-FL): The Washington Times has just reported some pretty compelling evidence from a facial recognition company showing that some of the people who breached the Capitol today were not Trump supporters.
They were masquerading as Trump supporters and, in fact, were members of the violent terrorist group Antifa.
DAVID GRAHAM, Staff Writer, "The Atlantic": In the first hours and days afterward, you could see Trump and his allies and supporters sort of groping for what the appropriate narrative was.
AMNA NAWAZ: David Graham is a staff writer at "The Atlantic" magazine.
DAVID GRAHAM: So, on the one hand, you had Trump coming out with his video on the day of saying: We love you, but now go home.
But you also saw people saying, oh, this is agitators, it was Antifa, it was Black Lives Matter.
AMNA NAWAZ: That despite contemporaneous texts between pundits on FOX and the White House showing they thought Trump supporters were responsible.
When subsequent arrests confirmed that publicly, the narrative on the right shifted to downplay the violence that day.
Here's former President Trump on FOX in March.
DONALD TRUMP, Former President of the United States: Right from the start, it was zero threat.
Look, they went in.
They shouldn't have done it.
Some of them went in and they're hugging and kissing the police and the guards.
REP. ANDREW CLYDE (R-GA): There was no insurrection.
And to call it an insurrection, in my opinion, is a bold-faced lie.
AMNA NAWAZ: Republican Congressman Andrew Clyde at a hearing in May.
REP. ANDREW CLYDE: You know, if you didn't know the TV footage was a video from January the 6th, you would actually think it was a normal tourist visit.
DAVID GRAHAM: It was strange to see somebody like Congressman Andrew Clyde, who -- of Georgia, who we saw in videos and footage from January 6 helping to bar the doors, suddenly saying, well, these were just tourists, they were walking through.
AMNA NAWAZ: Another recurrent theme, shifting focus away from January 6 and towards protests for Black Lives Matter the year before.
Republican Congressman Clay Higgins of Louisiana: REP. CLAY HIGGINS (R-LA): Nineteen people died during BLM riots last year.
Hundreds and hundreds were injured; 2,000 police officers were injured from BLM riots last year.
AMNA NAWAZ: Voices on the right have also recast those awaiting trial for their part in the attack as political prisoners.
Here's Republican Congressman Paul Gosar of Arizona last month: REP. PAUL GOSAR (R-AZ): These are dads, brothers, veterans, teachers, all political prisoners who continue to be persecuted and endure the pain of unjust suffering.
AMNA NAWAZ: So too with the death of Ashli Babbitt, the Air Force veteran shot by Capitol Police as she attempted to breach the speaker's lobby.
Here's Republican Representative Jody Hice of Georgia in May: REP. JODY HICE (R-GA): In fact, it was Trump supporters who lost their lives that day, not Trump supporters who were taking the lives of others.
AMNA NAWAZ: Former President Trump reinforced that in a July interview on FOX.
DONALD TRUMP: Who was the person who shot an innocent, wonderful, incredible woman, a military woman?
DAVID GRAHAM: The idea that they were all motivated by these good intentions, they believed the election was stolen, which, of course, was false -- it was a lie that had been peddled to them by the president and many of his allies - - but they were going in and they wanted to stand up for what was right, that they were sort of like the American revolutionaries or like the Confederate rebels, who wanted to really uphold the best of the Constitution.
AMNA NAWAZ: In an October piece in "The Atlantic," Graham explored this idea, how those who committed criminal acts to stop a democratic process have been recast by the far right as heroes, patriots and martyrs for a just cause, much like the Confederate soldiers celebrated by the mythology of the Lost Cause.
The fact that those people are referred to by some in these circles as patriots, what does that do to the narrative?
DAVID GRAHAM: It makes them into the heirs of what was right.
It turns something that was one of the darker moments in American history into one of the brighter ones, into a moment of unity and rebellion against what's wrong and standing up for what's right, which I think is really dangerous.
If we can turn that something that's an assault on a constitutional process into a moment of triumph and a moment of -- a sort of lodestar for what's to come, I think that doesn't bode well for American democracy.
AMNA NAWAZ: These efforts could be working.
An NPR/"NewsHour"/Marist poll conducted last month showed a sharp partisan divide over how Americans view what happened on January 6, the legitimacy of investigations into it, and decreasing blame for President Trump, even as the former president continues to push the lie at the heart of January 6.
The durability of that lie, where does that fit into sort of the larger misinformation campaign, the very thing that brought people out on January 6 in the first place?
DAVID GRAHAM: Well, it's essential to the legitimacy of Trump as a political actor today.
If he's somebody who had the election stolen from him, that makes him still a sort of heroic figure and a more legitimate leader perhaps than Joe Biden, in the eyes of his supporters.
And that makes it -- that enables a lot of other information.
AMNA NAWAZ: Information or, more accurately, misinformation questioning or undermining everything from measures to stop the spread of COVID-19, to the safety and efficacy of vaccines, from bogus stories about vaccines tracking and controlling Americans, to campaigns to stop teachers from talking about race or racism in schools.
DAVID GRAHAM: So, when people in the Trumpist orbit spread misinformation about Joe Biden, or they spread misinformation about vaccines or about COVID, all of these spring from his legitimacy as the real elected leader, which depends on the lie of the election being stolen.
AMNA NAWAZ: For more on the misinformation surrounding January 6 and how it's spread and evolved, I'm joined by two people who track and study just that.
Jennifer Kavanagh is a senior political strategist at the RAND Corporation.
She co-authored the book "Truth Decay" about the rise of misinformation.
And Claire Wardle is the U.S. director of First Draft.
That's a nonprofit that tracks misinformation online.
Welcome to you both, and thank you for being here.
Claire, I will begin with you.
As we just saw, immediately after the Capitol attack, there were already alternative narratives being spun, despite live pictures, live reports, people seeing it in real time.
In our latest "NewsHour"/NPR/Marist poll, it shows a divide on how Americans saw that day; 89 percent of Democrats say January 6 was an insurrection, was a threat to democracy, but only 10 percent of Republicans agree with that.
How does that happen, Claire?
CLAIRE WARDLE, U.S. Director, First Draft: Because there was a foundation being laid all the way through 2020, and then from Election Day onwards.
This Stop the Steal narrative was emerging, this idea that the election was not safe, that the election was stolen.
There was this drip, drip, drip throughout November and December.
And so, when we had the events of January, very quickly, very smart people began shaping these narratives that already had a foundation that made sense to people who wanted to believe a certain world view.
AMNA NAWAZ: Jennifer, talk to me about the role of news and journalism in all this, because you have studied this about the declining trust in news, Americans' skepticism around news.
How much do you think that contributed to people being willing to say, what you're reporting, what you're showing me, I don't believe?
JENNIFER KAVANAGH, RAND Corporation: I think it played a big role.
I mean, people get their information from specific sources.
And when they see information coming to them from sources that they don't trust, they tend to discard that information.
It's also really hard to change people's minds once they have made it up.
So, when people see additional information coming at them that contradicts that, they're not ready to discard what they have been believing for months or what they have been hearing from their trusted figures.
So, the fact that people have such low trust in media plays a big role in their lack of - - their lack of ability to change their mind, and the difficulty that we face in trying to spread accurate information after the fact.
AMNA NAWAZ: Claire, we know one of the main ways in which that information was spread even well before the Capitol attack was on social media, right?
We saw even leading up to that day the whole Stop the Steal narrative, how those groups not only organized online, but then mobilized online, got people to show up in real life to commit criminal acts after that organization.
What responsibility lies with the companies behind those social media platforms?
CLAIRE WARDLE: When you look back at the timeline, it was only September of 2020 when Twitter started marking as false tweets from the president, for example, saying that the votes couldn't be trusted.
So, I think the platforms were -- absolutely weren't ready for this.
And then, as we saw on essentially January 7 and 8, they panicked and, like dominoes, they all started changing their policies and deplatforming.
But the disinformation ecosystem is really participatory and engaging.
And that's what's happening on these platforms.
Not that much has changed in a year.
And that's what we should be more worried about, not to see it as a one-off, and what changes have the platforms made?
And I would say, not enough.
AMNA NAWAZ: So, Jennifer, you have used this phrase truth decay in your work, and nowhere have we seen that more potently than when it comes to the pandemic and disinformation on social media and other places around the efficacy of vaccines and the efficacy of mitigation measures.
And these are all things that are backed by science.
They're backed by data.
But, as you lay out, there's declining trust in those two things.
So, can that decay, as you lay it out, can it be reversed?
JENNIFER KAVANAGH: Well, the challenge is that disinformation tends to have an emotional component.
As Claire described, it's participatory.
It becomes part of the believer's identity.
And so, trying to reverse the decay, as you described, is not simple.
It's very, very challenging, because you're actually having to break into people's world view and change how they see the world.
This is a challenge for a whole range of stakeholders.
Social media companies are one.
Researchers and scientists are another.
How do we make data, whether it's about vaccines or COVID or election integrity, how we do make that data, that narrative compelling to people who are not inclined to believe it?
One piece of that is thinking about who provides the messages.
There's a concept of strategic messengers, trusted people within communities that are vulnerable or at risk for believing conspiracies and disinformation.
I think election integrity is one of those cases where identifying allies within the communities that are vulnerable to that information is a challenge.
And I don't think it's a challenge that has been addressed yet, which is why this -- the conspiracies and disinformation around the 2020 election continue to thrive.
AMNA NAWAZ: Claire, you have also done some work on this about how people can arm themselves, right, how they can outsmart misinformation or disinformation campaigns, whether it is around elections or political candidates or vaccines or the pandemic.
What are some of those tactics?
What should people know?
CLAIRE WARDLE: What the research shows is, whilst it's important to have fact-checking, what we should be doing is actually, rather than focusing on the individual rumor or conspiracy, teaching people the tactics of those who are trying to manipulate them, because what the research shows is, whoever you are, whatever your political persuasion or even education level, nobody wants to believe that they're being hoaxed or fooled.
So, the more that communities can work with each other to teach them, well, if you see a text message that says, my brother works for the government and he's telling me, dot, dot, dot, an anecdote, as Jennifer just said, that, in itself, teaching people, well, just be a little bit more savvy about that, because that's a known tactic.
So, the more we can teach people tactics and techniques, rather than waiting for the rumor and then kind of playing Whac-A-Mole, we're actually seeing the research show that's a much more effective way of building the resilience that means that, when they see misinformation, they're more likely to identify it as that.
AMNA NAWAZ: Claire, I have to ask, after all the work you have done -- and, Jennifer, I will ask the same thing of you -- with misinformation and disinformation so prolific, now being pronounced and perpetuated from even the highest office in the land at times, do you have hope that that can be brought back under control?
CLAIRE WARDLE: I still have hope.
Otherwise, I wouldn't get up every day.
But I think what we have to realize is, this is a very long game.
I'd say, this is the battle of our lives for the next 20 to 30 years around climate, elections, vaccines, health.
And we need to start thinking that this is a long game.
There's no quick fix.
We can't just shift the Facebook algorithm and make it all go away.
AMNA NAWAZ: Jennifer, what about you?
JENNIFER KAVANAGH: I agree with Claire.
I think it's important to recognize that this - - that the challenge that we face now has evolved over several decades.
And it's going to take just as long to figure out a way to manage the situation, so really thinking about this as a -- from a holistic perspective, and understanding that, whatever future we work to, that's hopefully better than what than what we face today.
It's not going to look the same as 20 or 30 years ago.
The goal isn't to put the cat back in the bag.
The goal is to figure out sort of what we want online spaces to look like, what we want our society to look like, and how we want to interact in that way.
I guess that's what gives me hope, is thinking that we can -- we can work towards that better future, rather than thinking about how we make things go back to the way they were.
AMNA NAWAZ: That is Jennifer Kavanagh and Claire Wardle.
Thank you so much to both of you for joining us.
CLAIRE WARDLE: Thank you.
JENNIFER KAVANAGH: Thanks for having me.
JUDY WOODRUFF: The Omicron variant now accounts for 95 percent of COVID cases in the U.S. Public health officials say its effects are milder than the Delta variant.
But Omicron's high transmissibility is still sending -- excuse me -- large numbers of people to the hospital.
William Brangham has an update from one particularly hard-hit state:, Louisiana.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Thanks, Judy.
Yes, the Omicron surge has just exploded across Louisiana.
Take a look at this graph.
In the middle of December, 196 people were hospitalized with COVID in the state.
Now over 1,200 people are.
That is a sixfold increase in just three weeks.
While this is still well below the number of people hospitalized during the Delta wave this summer, children have been particularly impacted during this wave.
For more on all this, I'm joined by Dr. Mark Kline.
He's the physician in chief at Children's Hospital New Orleans.
Dr. Kline, very good to have you on the "NewsHour."
Can you just give us a sense of what you're seeing in your hospital?
Who are the patients coming in?
How are they doing?
DR. MARK KLINE, Children's Hospital New Orleans: Thanks for having me, William.
You know, we have been hard-hit by Omicron.
The amount of community transmission that's going on in New Orleans and across Louisiana is astonishing.
And so we know that there are lots and lots of infected children in the community, as there are adults in the community with this virus.
And our hospitalizations have gone up very dramatically, from three children in the hospital for COVID just two weeks ago to 23 in the hospital today, including three in the pediatric intensive care unit.
Many of the children that we're seeing who require hospitalization and more intensive care have underlying medical conditions, but about a third do not.
They're perfectly healthy children otherwise.
And so this is very much tracking like the Delta surge did over the course of the summer, where we see a lot of children sick in the community, fortunately, most of them with relatively mild illness, recovering uneventfully in many cases, but a good portion requiring hospitalization and even intensive care.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: We know that kids 5 and up now are eligible to be vaccinated.
Are most of these kids in the hospital vaccinated or not?
DR. MARK KLINE: No.
I can tell you a snapshot of the 23 children who are hospitalized at Children's Hospital New Orleans right now is that none have been vaccinated.
Kids 5 and older, of course, are eligible.
The rate of vaccination nationally for children between 5 and 11 years of age is just 23 percent.
And for children 12 to 17 years of age, it's about 60 percent.
We're doing a little bit better there.
But we have a long way to go for both the younger children and for the adolescents to get them vaccinated and protected.
Here in Louisiana, the numbers are even lower.
And so it's a very unfortunate thing.
This is our ticket out of this pandemic, and we can almost assure that a vaccinated child will not be ill enough with COVID to require hospitalization.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Do you or your staff have the opportunity to talk to these kids' parents about why they chose not to vaccinate their kids or haven't yet?
DR. MARK KLINE: Yes, and it's a mix.
There are parents who certainly express regret concerning the decision not to have their children vaccinated.
There are others who remain adamant that they will not and would not, even if they had known their child would come down with COVID.
I think, for the most part, what I have seen over the past year is that most of the parents who are unvaccinated and the parents who have failed to vaccinate their children are not hard-line anti-vaxxers.
They're not this group that thinks that vaccines are evil or poison.
They are people who have doubts.
They're skeptical of the speed with which the vaccine was developed.
They're worried that corners may have been cut.
They're worried that there's just too little experience with the vaccine in children.
But we're dealing with this pandemic right now.
Children are getting sick right now.
And, unfortunately, almost 1,000 American children have died of COVID already.
So, the time to protect our children is right now.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: The CDC again reiterated this belief that -- or this evidence that Omicron does seem to be milder, certainly for adults, and they argue for children as well.
And that's led some people to think, oh, milder means, OK, we can relax a little bit.
It sounds like your experience is that that's not necessarily the right message.
DR. MARK KLINE: Yes, William, I hope that it's milder.
I hope it turns out Omicron is milder.
I hope that it's not just wishful thinking.
I think it may well be true that a smaller proportion of children infected with Omicron will require hospitalization, but for those children who do require hospitalization, I have not seen the evidence as yet that their hospital courses will be milder in some way.
And I'm worried that we will still see children who are seriously or critically ill. And I hate to make a prediction like this, but I worry very much that we will see some deaths.
And so I always emphasize to parents and to doctors when I'm talking to them that statistics are fine at a population level, and to say that children rarely die of COVID is true on a population basis.
But if the child who dies happens to be your child, it's 100 percent for you.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: All right, Dr. Mark Kline, physician in chief at Children's Hospital New Orleans, thank you so much for being here.
DR. MARK KLINE: Thank you, William.
JUDY WOODRUFF: A 1,500-year-old statue of the Hindu god Krishna just got a 21st century makeover at the Cleveland Museum of Art.
From PBS station ideastream Public Media, David C. Barnett takes us behind the scenes to see how the museum has reassembled an ancient puzzle.
It's part of our arts and culture series, Canvas.
DAVID C. BARNETT: The Cleveland Museum of Art has tried for decades to do right by this guy.
He first arrived at the museum in the 1970s, broken into pieces.
Curators tried to put him back together, but didn't quite get it right.
And then, about four years ago, a new generation of museum staffers decided to try again.
It's been a long journey.
The story actually starts hundreds of years ago in Southern Cambodia near the entrance of a sacred site at the twin-peaked mountain of Phnom Da.
It was there where sculptors carved the image of the Hindu god Krishna.
This popular deity was depicted holding a mountain over his head like an umbrella to protect his worshipers from a torrential rainstorm.
SONYA RHIE MACE, Curator of Indian and Southeast Asian Art, Cleveland Museum of Art: The ritual to make this sculpture sacred when it was installed, part of the installation included putting tokens of gold under the tenet, inside the pedestal.
And so poor thieves looking for gold would topple the sculptures to get the gold.
DAVID C. BARNETT: Around 1912, a group of French archaeologists first discovered the broken pieces.
Those pieces were then bought, sold, and traded a number of times over the next six decades.
For instance, a rich Belgian banker liked the head and torso, but wasn't all that interested in the rest of it.
SONYA RHIE MACE: So, they buried the pieces.
Some of them were used as edgings for the garden.
DAVID C. BARNETT: A curatorial crew from the Cleveland Museum of Art dug the pieces out of the garden in 1975, and they attempted to reassemble the ancient statue.
SONYA RHIE MACE: It is not easy.
These pieces, there's no joints remaining between them.
The angles are difficult.
DAVID C. BARNETT: And a key piece was missing, the left hand, which holds the mountain over Krishna's head.
It turns out that that fragment had been mistakenly attached to a different statue still in Cambodia.
The Museum of Art conservationists used 3-D imaging from Case Western Reserve University to uncover this, and discover any other potentially misplaced parts.
3-D printing technology was used to create a plastic duplicate of the sculpture.
That made it easier for staff to see how the pieces went together.
BETH EDELSTEIN, Objects Conservator, Cleveland Museum of Art: If you look at his raised hand, the distance between his elbow and his wrist is rather short.
And that the one of the reasons they didn't put the hand piece on in the 1970s.
We have sort of more mounting evidence that it does belong, including the petrographic studies, looking at the type of stone and how they match each other.
And there's a really good join there, so we are convinced that it does belong to this sculpture.
SONYA RHIE MACE: It's that new digital technology that really turned the corner with making the decision that it does belong to the Cleveland Krishna.
DAVID C. BARNETT: Now, getting Krishna's hand from Cambodia happened thanks to another mythic Hindu figure, Hanuman, the monkey god.
The museum acquired this sculpture in 1982, and visitors loved to pose with it.
But in 2015, Sonya Rhie Mace through research that Hanuman, purchased in good faith, had likely been looted from his home country back in the 1970s.
Cleveland Museum of Art director William Griswold contacted the Cambodian secretary of state and made arrangements to return the Hanuman sculpture.
WILLIAM GRISWOLD, Director, Cleveland Museum of Art: The deputy prime minister and I signed an agreement transferring possession of the Hanuman to the kingdom of Cambodia.
Dignitaries from all over the world laid garlands of flowers on the sculpture of Hanuman, which we had shipped back to Cambodia just a few days earlier.
DAVID C. BARNETT: And that goodwill gesture from the museum led to the reunification of Krishna and his hand.
For the past four years, the museum's conservation staff has worked to restore the aging sculpture to its divine glory.
BETH EDELSTEIN: One of the main challenges is that, when the sculpture was assembled in the 1970s, it was assembled with no intention of it ever coming apart again.
But over the years since then, the conservation field has moved a little farther in the direction of thinking more long-term and making sure that everything that we do can be undone by someone else, because we have started to realize that nothing is permanent.
DAVID C. BARNETT: It's been a long journey, covering thousands of miles and hundreds of years.
SONYA RHIE MACE: I love the hand.
It's so subtle.
Like, that index finger just bends ever so slightly.
It never ceases to amaze me.
DAVID C. BARNETT: And in a time of national and international disagreements and tensions, it's an example of collaboration in the name of art and culture.
For the "PBS NewsHour", I'm David C. Barnett in Cleveland.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Thank you, ideastream.
And what a wonderful example, as you just heard, of cooperation.
And on the "NewsHour" online: An Asian American pioneer in LGBT civil rights, Jim Toy, died this week at age 91.
Toy, who is believed to be the first person to come out publicly in the state of Michigan, is remembered by his colleagues as a tireless and yet unsung leader who advanced the cause for queer people in the Midwest and beyond.
You can find more at PBS.org/NewsHour.
And tomorrow night on PBS, tune in for "Preserving Democracy: A More Perfect Union," as the nation marks the one-year anniversary of the attack on the U.S. Capitol.
A new documentary chronicles the history of the democratic system and explores the threats to democracy at home and around the world.
That's tomorrow on PBS.
Check your local listings.
And that's the "NewsHour" for tonight.
I'm Judy Woodruff.
You can join us online and again here tomorrow evening, when I will sit down for an exclusive interview with Vice President Kamala Harris about the January 6 attack on the Capitol, its ramifications one year on, and more.
For all of us at the "PBS NewsHour," thank you, please stay safe, and we'll see you soon.