MSNBC

MSNBC 21 Apr 2020

Tom Brokaw: America Hasn't Been Prepared For The Obvious

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Tom Brokaw looks back at modern history and discusses America's lack of preparedness for key events. Aired on 04/21/2020.


White House trade adviser Peter Navarro reacts to Dr. Bright's testimony as President Trump works to secure PPE stockpile. #FoxNews
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There's a chronic shortage of Personal Protection Equipment for medical professionals across the U.S., including respirator masks that help protect them from the coronavirus. But U.S. authorities are now recommending all Americans use face covers to help contain the spread of the deadly virus. So now ordinary Americans are taking it upon themselves to make homemade facemasks -- one person at a time -- in the battle against this invisible enemy. VOA's Julie Taboh has more
On The Listening Post this week: From China to the US, the COVID-19 battle is as much medical as it is media. Plus, lessons from the coverage of the 1918 Spanish flu.

The geopolitical battle for the COVID-19 narrative

As they have been isolating their populations to keep the coronavirus contained, some powerful governments are simultaneously waging a worldwide war of perceptions - laying out how the pandemic happened, where the responsibilities lie and which country should lead the fight against it.

China is out to shift the narrative from its initially slow response - the way its censors kept a lid on the story - to the collective effort since then to bring down the infection rate. Beijing has also borrowed a page from Moscow's playbook - using mainstream and social media platforms to spread conspiracy theories and to muddle perceptions. In Washington, DC, a campaign to brand COVID-19 the "Chinese virus" is being led by President Donald Trump himself.

This story has grown into a debate about competing ideologies - a global one, played out through the news media - of what the world will look like once the pandemic is over - and which political system, which superpower - will be best placed to lead.

Contributors:

Mark Galeotti - principal director, Mayak Intelligence and author of We Need to Talk about Putin

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian - China reporter, Axios

Emerson Brooking - resident fellow, DFR Lab and author of The Like War: The Weaponization of Social Media

On our radar:

Richard Gizbert speaks to producer Flo Phillips about the COVID-19 emergency laws that are threatening press freedom worldwide.

1918 to COVID-19: 100 years of covering pandemics

How should authorities respond to COVID-19, and what role should the media play? From the beginning of the outbreak, historians have looked to the past for valuable lessons learned - most notably, to the so-called Spanish flu pandemic of 1918.

John Barry is an American historian and author of the New York Times bestseller, The Great Influenza: The Epic Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History.

The Listening Post's Nic Muirhead interviews Barry on the role the media played in 1918; how news organisations, through self-censorship and misinformation, helped spread the virus, and how we are seeing some disturbing parallels in the coverage of COVID-19 today.

Contributor:

John M Barry - author of The Great Influenza: The Epic Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History.

… show captions ↓
JOE" COMES RIGHT BACK. >>> PEARL HARBOR, THE COLD WAR,
>>> PEARL HARBOR, THE COLD WAR, 9/11, AND MOWNOW THE CORONAVIRUS
9/11, AND MOWNOW THE CORONAVIRUS SENIOR CORRESPONDENT TOM BROKAW
SENIOR CORRESPONDENT TOM BROKAW TAKES A LOOK AT TODAY’S NATIONAL
TAKES A LOOK AT TODAY’S NATIONAL EMERGENCY THROUGH THE PRISM OF
EMERGENCY THROUGH THE PRISM OF THE PAST.
THE PAST. AND WHY U.S. LEADERS THROUGHOUT
AND WHY U.S. LEADERS THROUGHOUT HISTORY SOMEEEM TO KEEP MISSING
HISTORY SOMEEEM TO KEEP MISSING WARNING SIGNS.
WARNING SIGNS. >> I’VE BEEN A JOURNALIST SINCE
>> I’VE BEEN A JOURNALIST SINCE 1962.
1962. YOU DO THE ARITHMETIC.
YOU DO THE ARITHMETIC. THAT’S A LONG TIME.
THAT’S A LONG TIME. I’VE SEEN A LOT OF CHANGE IN
I’VE SEEN A LOT OF CHANGE IN THIS COUNTRY, AND I’VE BEEN A
THIS COUNTRY, AND I’VE BEEN A STUDENT OF OUR HISTORY, AS WELL.
STUDENT OF OUR HISTORY, AS WELL. ONE OF THE ENDURING THINGS THAT
ONE OF THE ENDURING THINGS THAT I’LL ALWAYS TAKE AWAY FROM MY
I’LL ALWAYS TAKE AWAY FROM MY EXPERIENCE, AND THE EXPERIENCE
EXPERIENCE, AND THE EXPERIENCE OF AMERICA, IS HOW WE WERE NOT
OF AMERICA, IS HOW WE WERE NOT PREPARED FOR THE OBVIOUS.
PREPARED FOR THE OBVIOUS. BEGINNING WITH PEARL HARBOR.
BEGINNING WITH PEARL HARBOR. EVERYONE KNEW THAT THE JAPANESE
EVERYONE KNEW THAT THE JAPANESE WERE BUILDING UP, BUT WE MISSED
WERE BUILDING UP, BUT WE MISSED THAT ATTACK AND HAD TO RESPOND
THAT ATTACK AND HAD TO RESPOND TO IT VERY QUICKLY.
TO IT VERY QUICKLY. THEN AFTER THE WAR, THERE WAS A
THEN AFTER THE WAR, THERE WAS A GREAT, GREAT CONTEST BETWEEN THE
GREAT, GREAT CONTEST BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES AND THE SOVIET
UNITED STATES AND THE SOVIET UNION.
UNION. WE ALWAYS THOUGHT WE WERE WAY
WE ALWAYS THOUGHT WE WERE WAY AHEAD OF THEM TECHNOLOGICALLY
AHEAD OF THEM TECHNOLOGICALLY AND OTHERWISE.
AND OTHERWISE. UNTIL SPUTNIK CAME ALONG AND
UNTIL SPUTNIK CAME ALONG AND ICBMs.
ICBMs. WE LEARNED, AT THAT POINT, WE
WE LEARNED, AT THAT POINT, WE HAD NOT PAID ENOUGH ATTENTION TO
HAD NOT PAID ENOUGH ATTENTION TO WHAT THEY WERE UP TO.
WHAT THEY WERE UP TO. FOLLOWED BY VIETNAM.
FOLLOWED BY VIETNAM. THAT WAS ORCHESTRATED BY ALL
THAT WAS ORCHESTRATED BY ALL THOSE PEOPLE WHO WERE SENIOR
THOSE PEOPLE WHO WERE SENIOR OFFICERS ANDIN WORLD WAR II AND
OFFICERS ANDIN WORLD WAR II AND THOUGHT THEY KNEW IT ALL.
THOUGHT THEY KNEW IT ALL. GOING AGAINST THE COUNTRY,
GOING AGAINST THE COUNTRY, FIGHTING ON ITS OWN TURF, FOR
FIGHTING ON ITS OWN TURF, FOR ITS OWN BELIEFS, AND IT WAS ONE
ITS OWN BELIEFS, AND IT WAS ONE OF THE GREAT DISASTERS OF OUR
OF THE GREAT DISASTERS OF OUR LIFETIME.
LIFETIME. THAT WAS NOT THE END OF IT,
THAT WAS NOT THE END OF IT, UNFORTUNATELY.
UNFORTUNATELY. AS WE CRUISED ALONG, WE WENT
AS WE CRUISED ALONG, WE WENT THROUGH 9/11 IN THIS COUNTRY.
THROUGH 9/11 IN THIS COUNTRY. THAT WAS DESCRIBED AS A FAILURE
THAT WAS DESCRIBED AS A FAILURE OF IMAGINATION.
OF IMAGINATION. NO, IT WASN’T A FAILURE OF
NO, IT WASN’T A FAILURE OF IMAGINATION.
IMAGINATION. IT WAS A FAILURE OF
IT WAS A FAILURE OF INTELLIGENCE, OF BEING PREPARED
INTELLIGENCE, OF BEING PREPARED FOR WHAT COULD HAPPEN NEXT.
FOR WHAT COULD HAPPEN NEXT. WE’RE ALWAYS KIND OF LOOKING AT
WE’RE ALWAYS KIND OF LOOKING AT THE LAST WAR.
THE LAST WAR. ONCE WE GOT THROUGH THAT, OF
ONCE WE GOT THROUGH THAT, OF COURSE, WE THOUGHT WE WERE
COURSE, WE THOUGHT WE WERE CRUISING AGAIN.
CRUISING AGAIN. THEN, OUT THERE IN THE UNIVERSE,
THEN, OUT THERE IN THE UNIVERSE, FIRST IN CHINA, NOW AROUND THE
FIRST IN CHINA, NOW AROUND THE WORLD, A VIRUS, ONE OF THE MOST
WORLD, A VIRUS, ONE OF THE MOST DEADLY VIRUSES IN THE HISTORY OF
DEADLY VIRUSES IN THE HISTORY OF MANKIND.
MANKIND. AND IT WILL NOT BE THE LAST ONE.
AND IT WILL NOT BE THE LAST ONE. WE’RE GOING TO HAVE TO PREPARE
WE’RE GOING TO HAVE TO PREPARE FOR THIS AS PART OF OUR FUTURE.
FOR THIS AS PART OF OUR FUTURE. I THINK THE NEW HEROS SHOULDN’T
I THINK THE NEW HEROS SHOULDN’T BE THE PEOPLE WHO MAKE THE
BE THE PEOPLE WHO MAKE THE SPEECHES EVERY DAY, AND SOUND
SPEECHES EVERY DAY, AND SOUND OFF ON TELEVISION, GUYS LIKE ME.
OFF ON TELEVISION, GUYS LIKE ME. THE NEW HEROS ARE THE PEOPLE
THE NEW HEROS ARE THE PEOPLE THAT YOU WANTED TO SIT NEXT TO
THAT YOU WANTED TO SIT NEXT TO IN HIGH SCHOOL BIOLOGIST.
IN HIGH SCHOOL BIOLOGIST. THOSE ARE THE SCIENTISTS WHO
THOSE ARE THE SCIENTISTS WHO STARTED THE WARNING ABOUT THIS
STARTED THE WARNING ABOUT THIS EARLY ON.
EARLY ON. THE EPIDEMIOLOGISTS WHO WERE OUT
THE EPIDEMIOLOGISTS WHO WERE OUT THERE.
THERE. THEY WERE SAYING, "IT’S COMING.
THEY WERE SAYING, "IT’S COMING. WE’VE GOT TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT
WE’VE GOT TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT."
IT." WE WERE PAYING TOO MUCH
WE WERE PAYING TOO MUCH ATTENTION TO ALL THE OTHER
ATTENTION TO ALL THE OTHER DISTRACTIONS.
DISTRACTIONS. LET THE GOOD TIMES ROLL.
LET THE GOOD TIMES ROLL. THE GOOD TIMES HAVE COME TO A
THE GOOD TIMES HAVE COME TO A SCREECHING HALT.
SCREECHING HALT. THE QUESTION IS, THIS TIME, WILL
THE QUESTION IS, THIS TIME, WILL WE LEARN THE LESSONS?
WE LEARN THE LESSONS? I DON’T HAVE THAT MUCH TIME LEFT
I DON’T HAVE THAT MUCH TIME LEFT IN MY LIFE.
IN MY LIFE. I HAVE GRANDCHILDREN.
I HAVE GRANDCHILDREN. I HOPE WE DO.

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