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October 3, 2021 11:36 am

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October 3, 2021 11:36 am

In our cover story, David Pogue examines the problem of misinformation and conspiracy theories being spread on Facebook. mBen Mankiewicz talks with "No Time to Die" star Daniel Craig about leaving behind the character of James Bond and Lee Cowan sits down with bestselling author Anthony Doerr,

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I'm Jane Pauley, and this is Sunday morning. There are nearly 8 billion people here on planet earth, and almost 3 billion of those 8 billion, for better or worse, are on Facebook. The social network started by Mark Zuckerberg 17 years ago. It's big. It's powerful. But is it dangerous? In recent months, particularly given misinformation about the safety of COVID vaccines, some people say it is.

David Pogue looks at a face-off. Rights and wrongs, and Facebook. Facebook is just like big tobacco. Lately, Facebook has been under attack from all sides. Another bombshell story on Facebook.

And even from the top. Misinformation. Anyone listening to it is getting hurt by it. It's killing people. I read on Facebook, it's poison. It's got tracking devices in me. It makes cows sterile. I've heard all kinds of things.

Coming up on Sunday morning, what can be done about Facebook's misinformation problem? The Doobie Brothers had it all. The 70s California sound and an outsized rock and roll life. As the band hits the road again, Jim Axelrod talks with them about the good times, then and now. A band like ours is a little different than a lot of bands. It's more than a little different when you consider the rock and roll hall of fame band, the Doobie Brothers, on tour again and back with their first album in years. We're still able to do it and people maybe want to hear us. Oh, they want to hear you.

What's kept them running for more than 50 years. Later on Sunday morning. Ah, we've been expecting you, Mr. Bond. Ian Flemming's 007 is back and coming to a theater near you.

Ben Mankiewicz talks with actor Daniel Craig about what he insists is his James Bond swan song. You're playing James Bond? Apparently. Wow.

Well, yeah, I did not realize that. Bond. James Bond. Daniel Craig is saying bon voyage to 007, a role that takes a toll. While I'm filming, I'm a nightmare because I'm sort of in this, like, tunnel vision of work and I think my wife kind of likes it when he leaves. Why Daniel Craig is leaving and what he thinks about a secret agent successor ahead on Sunday morning.

California takes us back to his punk rock roots. Lee Cowan gets a read on best-selling author Anthony Dore's latest page turner covering the sweep of seven centuries and more on this first Sunday morning of the new month, October 3rd, 2021. We'll be back in a moment. A recent survey from Pew Research finds nearly one-third of Americans get their news from Facebook. Critics worry that some and maybe even a lot of that so-called news consists of conspiracy theories and misinformation. David Pogue looks at the challenges facing Facebook. We've gone from having around 150,000 people in the fall to right around 3 million now. When I interviewed Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg in 2005, the company was just getting off the ground. People use the site so much that it's creating a marketplace for advertising. It was still called

It was still limited to college students. I have no idea what's going on back here. And it was still a little bit casual. Dude, what's up?

Dude, you're on TV. How did that Facebook become this? Facebook is just like big tobacco, pushing a product that they know is harmful. Researchers from Facebook, which owns Instagram, repeatedly found that the app was toxic, even deadly for teen girls in particular. The report shows that the new algorithm that Facebook had would push more and more divisive content because it was driving engagement.

Even the president got involved. Anyone listening to it is getting hurt by it. It's killing people. He was referring to one of Facebook's most burning problems, misinformation. Like posts saying that the COVID vaccine causes miscarriages, or that the FDA is tracking unvaccinated people, or that the vaccine is the mark of the beast.

None of that is true. But people really are dying from misinformation. How often do you see somebody die of COVID? Almost every shift. Like daily somebody dies?

Yeah. Adriano Gaffi is a medical director of the Altus Health System near Houston. This is where it becomes complicated. His emergency rooms have been overrun with desperately sick, unvaccinated COVID patients. It's a massive binder.

And this is just August. Most of these patients refused the vaccine because they'd read bad information on social media. About 80 percent would come from Facebook. Read on Facebook, it's poison. It's got tracking devices in me. It makes cows sterile.

I've heard all kinds of things. I mean, when you encounter somebody like that, where are you on the scale of this person's an idiot, or I feel so sorry for this person that they're this brainwashed? I feel really bad for individuals because if that is your source, right, it's hard for them to separate reality and what is being fed to them. Do you have any impression of how reading this misinformation online affects the mindset of a patient? It's very powerful that you can see it and feel it in individuals when they come in and they get their swab and they're sick.

And some patients even decline treatment. It's so powerful in them that they almost even deny COVID exists in some individuals. Because of what they've read? Because of what they've read. Now, you might be wondering, if bad information is so harmful, why does Facebook allow it?

And the answer is, it's complicated. What they sell is user attention. User attention gets sold in the form of advertising.

So yes, there is a profit motive. Laura Edelson is a misinformation researcher at New York University. Her studies have found that misinformation sells. Misinformation, in general, gets more shares, comments, likes, than factual content. This effect is pretty large. My recent study found that it's a six-fold effect. So if something is bogus, I'm six times more likely to share it or like it than if it's true?

Maybe not you specifically, but in general, it will get six times the engagement. Facebook is a user engagement, a user interaction maximizing machine. That is what Facebook is built to do.

Get users to interact with content as much as possible, as often as possible, for as long as possible. As you might guess, Facebook is no fan of Edelson's research. So this summer, the company got tough. Well, the FTC is slamming Facebook for cutting off access to a group of researchers who were studying misinformation on Facebook. In August of 2021, they shut down our accounts. So you're not on Facebook anymore?

No, I'm not. I have no place to post my dog pictures. Now, all social media companies have a COVID misinformation problem, but Facebook is nearly a trillion dollar company with 2.9 billion users a month.

Its sheer size makes it special. Facebook is the most powerful media apparatus in the world. New York Times tech columnist, Kevin Roos, has written extensively about misinformation on Facebook. Why don't they just say, oh, sorry, we'll have our amazing artificial intelligence just wipe misinformation off the platform?

Well, it's not as easy as it sounds. For one, a lot of people disagree about what misinformation is. They have had to walk a very fine line between removing genuinely harmful content from the site, while also, you know, not engaging in what they would consider censorship. Facebook declined our request for an interview, but it heartily rejects the notion that it's killing people or that it's doing nothing to fight COVID misinformation. The company points out that it has deleted over 20 million false posts, shut down the accounts of 3,000 repeat offenders, put warning labels on 190 million questionable posts, and promoted factual vaccine information by building, among other things, a vaccine finder to help people get their shots. In a statement, Facebook added, we're encouraged to see that for people in the US on Facebook, vaccine hesitancy has declined by about 50% and vaccine acceptance is high, but our work is far from finished. I want to talk to you about COVID misinformation on your platform. Finally, as CEO Mark Zuckerberg told Gail King a few weeks ago, maybe the problem isn't Facebook, maybe it's America. If this were primarily a question about social media, then I think you'd see that being the effect in all of these countries where people use it.

But I think that there's something that's unique in our ecosystem here. All right, so Facebook says it's doing everything in its power to fight misinformation. But researchers, journalists, and Congress don't believe it. They want Facebook to share its data on how many people are seeing the false posts. And so they were basically saying, you just have to trust us on that because we're not going to show you the data. And there are teams inside Facebook that are working very hard to prevent the spread of misinformation.

I think the challenge is that a lot of that data and a lot of that work stays inside the company. So let me play a Facebook advocate. If I were Facebook, I might say, wait, wait, wait, we're supposed to reveal all our internal data. You don't ask that of Coca-Cola or Starbucks.

Why does that belong to the public? Well, we do ask it of organizations like banks. Banks are incredibly powerful institutions that are a vital part of modern society, but they also have the power to be incredibly harmful. And that's why banks are regulated. And I think we need to move toward something like that for social media companies. Wow. I mean, that's a radical change.

It would be a radical change, but I just don't see how the status quo can go on. It is not hyperbolic to say that misinformation on Facebook kills people. I'm left wondering where the truth lies. Is it corporate bungling or is there an evil streak to it all? I think there are some people who think, even inside the company, who think that this thing has gotten sort of out of control. It's sort of their version of a Frankenstein story where they built this platform that billions of people use, and it's just simply gotten a little out of control.

So how will all this end? Both parties in Congress seem intent on regulating Facebook, and the company says that it will make more of its data public. For Facebook, it all means more conflict and compromise. But then Mark Zuckerberg has been fighting battles over his baby since 2005. The lawsuits and the squabbles, has it been a shock to you? It's not really shocking, but it is a little upsetting, I guess. But I guess if you're making something cool, it's just something you have to deal with.

And I mean, for as long as you can maintain that attitude and realize that we're doing something that's positive and that's the only reason why anyone cares at all, then we'll get through. Commentary this morning from Dan Bergman, who's just earned his degree from Harvard Extension School and was one of the speakers at this year's commencement. When I was 12 years old, I suddenly learned to think, all at once on a single day. Before that day almost no one would have thought that I would ever understand the world around me. I made meaningless noises, waved my arms, and shouted, cookie, when I wanted a cookie.

I did not understand the children's books that were lovingly read to me, and had no clear sense of time or death or the other building blocks of this thing we call the human condition. 13 years in a college degree later, I still make noises and wave my arms, but now I can type this commentary with one finger, one letter at a time, into a text-to-speech computer and share my thoughts with you. That day 13 years ago I worked with a teacher who taught me how to answer questions. She put a pencil in my hand and showed me how to spell out the answers I had chosen by stabbing the pencil through letters cut out of a board.

Suddenly, because I was making language and not just hearing it, my mind began to wake up. At 12 years old I had a lot of learning to catch up on, but I was on my way. I know now that a lot of my autism has to do with not being able to get my body to do what my mind wants it to do. My body was horribly disorganized, but the moment my teacher put answering questions within my physical ability, I began to learn and I loved it. And my teachers loved teaching me and I think there's a lesson there for all of us. If someone seems like they can't or don't want to learn, look for the physical obstacle and remove it. This applies not just to the millions of people like me who have autism and can barely speak, but to people who are prevented from learning by distance, language, or economic pressures. For years I was classified as intellectually disabled.

I think, at least where non-speakers with autism are concerned, there's no such thing. Thank you. His epic novel, All the Light We Cannot See, captured the hearts of millions and one author, Anthony Doerr, a Pulitzer Prize.

Now Lee Cowan tells us Doerr's back with an even more ambitious book. The water is crystal clear this high up in the Idaho mountains. Payette Lake is a glacial wonder that turned the town of McCall into a resort. It's a place known more for boating than books, but its small public library is thriving. It's been here almost half a century, filled with the works of far away authors and some local ones too.

Including Idaho's Anthony Doerr. He used to sneak in here and write back when he and his family would drive up from their home in Boise for vacation, and he could blend in with the tourists. But that all changed in 2015, when Doerr's anonymity was shattered after winning the Pulitzer Prize for fiction.

We went to the shelf and got his book, All the Light We Cannot See, and looked at the picture and we were trying to be casual. That's the only place an author's famous is in a library. All the Light We Cannot See is an epic work of historical fiction. It spent almost four years on the New York Times bestseller list. Netflix is turning it into a series. Was it overwhelming?

Utterly overwhelming, yes. I still haven't totally processed I think what happened with that novel. It sold more than 15 million copies worldwide. Doerr had been writing for years. Essays, short stories, even a memoir, and all got largely positive reviews, but nothing had that kind of commercial success. In fact, it really wasn't all that long ago, says his wife Shawna, that struggling writer pretty much summed him up. Tony was writing a lot of different short stories and he was getting a lot of rejections and you know going through this process where, do you think this is ever going to happen? You know, do you think I'm ever going to be able to going to be able to do this? So this, this is all little bits of the the lint of the book.

Yeah. The Pulitzer proved he could, but could he do it again? The expectations for his next novel were set pretty high as he sat down to write it. I remember the day I came home to my family and said, what do you guys think about this ridiculous title? It's called Cloud Cuckoo Land, published by Simon & Schuster, a ViacomCBS company.

As the name might imply, you'd be a fool to try to describe it in a single sentence. This is actually my editor's questions as she goes through the novel. This needs a bit of a trim, she writes. It's every bit as expansive as his last novel, maybe more so, spanning more than 700 years from 15th century Constantinople through present day Idaho and far into the future of the 22nd century. I'm going to try this big book of everything where I try to cram all my interests and passions into this one novel.

Did you ever sit down and think, why did I do this to myself? Yes, it's crazy. Almost every day, it's got 400 almost little chapterettes, these little short chapters. I've got 105 characters with names in the novel.

You can see Zeno intersecting with Seymour and Anna. So many he drew this diagram to help visualize his literary labyrinth. I tried just for my own mind to braid their intersections all together, spinning plates on poles. I'm trying to spin all five of these plates in the reader's mind all the time and keep touching them so that the reader doesn't forget what's happening. There were at least five times where he's like, I can't do it.

And I'm, I'm gonna trash it. And I said to you, you can't, I need to find out what happens. Like, you know, you got to keep going. Across hundreds of pages, jumping from one century to the next, one character to the next, the novel's path is intricate.

And yet, Doerr's thousands of tiny details are dependable bread crumbs that keep the reader from being lost. I don't think of myself as all that good yet. I'd like to think I'm getting better at my work.

Come on. You really don't. You've got to think you're pretty good.

No, I genuinely don't. Language is just this system all the time of failing. You're almost expressing what you want to express, but you can't quite get there. And so writing itself has this humility built into it almost for me. Growing up in Cleveland, Doerr started humbling himself with writing at an age when most of us were just starting to read books with more words than pictures. I had spiral notebooks, and I wrote stories into them. And even at a younger age, I would commandeer mom's typewriter and type stories about my toys. How old were you when you were writing these little stories?

Probably eight and nine. I remember just the power of dialogue. I remember really clearly like you can hit quotation marks and then your characters can say swear words and stuff. That seemed really powerful. His mom was a science teacher who went to great lengths to show him the wonders of the natural world, the fascination that has never left him or his writing. Your problems seem a little less important when you're in the woods. I think we all need that sometimes.

Much of the setting for Cloud Cuckoo Land was inspired by the wild landscapes around McCall bristling with ponderosa pines that seem as old as time, but as he hints in the novel, are no longer as ageless as we once thought. The big headline on climate change is it's happening faster than scientists predicted. These are real issues that we are dealing with in our lifetimes and our kids are really going to have to deal with. So I feel like it's really a novelist's responsibility. If this is the largest issue of our time, then it would be irresponsible to me for not to represent it in the novel in some way. It's not overt. The vanishing of nature is a lot more subtle in his novel than the vanishing of books.

That's his other big worry. The spine of his tale is an ancient Greek text that somehow manages to survive through the centuries by those who nurture it. And perhaps that's why Dorr dedicated the novel to librarians everywhere.

Those he calls the caretakers of human knowledge. A library is this series of portals really. This idea that you could live multiple lives through books is so powerful that you don't just have to live through your own experience, you can live through the experiences of others in really intimate and deep ways by reading. On the page, it comes off as pretty serious. In person, not so much. Yeah, I do have a lot of books to carry around.

That's super kind Meg, thanks. He rarely tells people he's a novelist, seems too high and mighty, he says, especially to his twin boys about to head off to college. What do your kids think of it all? What do you think? We really try to just build a family that we don't talk about all this stuff that much. Have you read your books?

I don't think so. I want to be the dad who like shoots hoops with them after dinner and not the dad who's like, I have to work on my sentences now. Anthony Doerr is what you'd hope a novelist would be, capable of linking past with future, the mundane with the grand, reminding us all of our very temporary place in a story we hope is never ending. Our lives are limited, but hopefully the species is not.

And so that if we can continue to carry and transmit culture and this place to the next generations, that's the best we can do. History isn't kind to men who play God. James Bond is back. Daniel Craig stars in the soon to be released, No Time to Die, the latest film in the long running franchise.

Ben Mankiewicz spoke with Craig about his final turn as the famed British agent. Daniel Craig's body of work is impressive. Daniel Craig's body of work is impressive. The name is Bond, James Bond. There's his signature role, James Bond, and more than 40 other movies over a three decade career on screen. But for the 53 year old British actor, what matters most is what comes next. I don't really look back. I don't really kind of spend my time looking over the movies I've done or even watching them. One film, though, has stayed with it. Road to Perdition made before Bond.

This is the scene I wanted to watch with it as Craig and Paul Newman go toe to toe in what proved to be Newman's last appearance in a feature film. We lost a good man last night. You think it's funny? Try again. I'd like to apologize. I look back on it now and I look back at it and I just go, my goodness me, that was a moment when things changed for me. Not about my status or my recognition. Something within me went, I'm allowed to sit at this table.

My apologies. 19 years later, his seat is secure and then some. Just before the pandemic, the Museum of Modern Art celebrated Craig's career with a retrospective of his work. I mean, as an artist, what does that feel like? I'm a little bit bemused, to tell you the truth, because it felt, it genuinely feels like I started doing this yesterday. Craig's mother, an art teacher, encouraged her son to follow his dream of becoming an actor.

He started on the stage, but from an early age, he was drawn to the big screen. I still feel these are slightly sacred places. I can never help myself. There's sort of, if I have a church, this is it.

Because as a kid, you walked into a space and they were going to turn the lights out and something magic was going to happen. You have no idea what goes on with me and Francis. Over 30 years, Craig has demonstrated his range.

He can be sensitive, as artist Francis Bacon's lover and love as the devil, and both ruthless and charming in Layer Cake, the clever English crime drama that alerted producers he was capable of something much bigger. You're playing James Bond? Apparently. Wow.

Well, I did not realize that. James Bond. Playing Bond was a big step up for Craig.

I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm not celebrating. Just the year before, when he heard Steven Spielberg wanted him to play a member of an Israeli hit squad hunting terrorists in Munich, Craig didn't believe it. Get a call, Steven Spielberg wants to meet you in Paris.

Can you be on a train and be there this afternoon? I'm like, yeah, okay. I'm thinking, my friend who's telling me it's not Steven Spielberg, it's Steven Spielberg or someone, it's like some dodgy director in, I don't know. Steven Seagal. Steven Seagal. Most recently, he showed off what his Bond co-star Judi Dench calls Craig's wicked sense of humor in the black comedy Knives Out. No. Would you mind doing the rest of this interview in the Knives Out accent? I doubt if I could.

They want to do another one and I'm like, I'm terrified because it's going to take me as long to relearn the accent as it did last time. Daniel Craig is comfortable saying no. After playing Bond in four movies, he said he was done after the last one, Specter from 2015, but he changed his mind, returning for No Time to Die, the 25th movie in the series.

Business-wise, he's been good for the brand, bringing in nearly $3 billion worldwide at the box office. Still, when he was first offered 007, he said no. I did, yeah. I did. I said I couldn't possibly do that. But you changed your mind.

The general consensus was you'd be a fool not to. But if he was going to take it, he wanted to play Bond his way, a darker and more sober 007 than the heavyweights who came before, men who insisted on their martini shaken, not stirred. When I got to a line in the script that said, you know, when he ordered a vodka martini and the guy says, shaken, not stirred, and he said, it said in the script, do I look like I give a ****, I went, I'm in. And when Craig is in, he's all in.

Married to the actress Rachel Weisz, Craig acknowledges his total commitment to playing Bond can make him a bit miserable. While I'm filming, I'm a nightmare because I'm sort of in this, like, tunnel vision of work, and I'm sure that's the character. You know, they talk about, do you take your work home with you? I think you always take your work home with you. It's very difficult not to when you're doing very long hours and you're working on something for so long. So there's that person that's going to take your work home with you. So there's that, that person's around. I think my wife kind of likes it when he leaves.

So we finished filming back to kind of relative normality. Bond began with Sean Connery. Next came George Lazenby for one movie, then Connery again, followed by Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan, and Craig.

So who's next? Pierce Brosnan has suggested that whoever the next Bond is be a woman. Idris Elba's name has been floated. He would be wonderful.

He's a tremendous actor. James Bond is going to be played by someone else. You know, you'll watch the movie. Are you vested in that decision? Do you care? I care it's someone good.

I want them to be great. I mean, I think there's two things you, you know, there's sort of like, I think that we need to have better parts for women. And I don't think a woman playing James Bond is the right way. That's right, a brilliant part for a woman.

I'm confident in its future, and I think whatever happens, whatever the casting goes, whatever happens to, it's going to be okay. Along the same lines, you're not James Bond, you're Daniel Craig, you're a talented actor. Is there one part of Bond that relate to you? Do you drive recklessly, so much so that your wife, like, won't ride with you? Do you have, is there some little bit of Bond in you?

None of those things. I don't go, I don't, I don't go skydiving at the weekend. You don't have to fly one of these things before.

Nope. No skydiving, but for Daniel Craig, things are definitely looking up as Bond and beyond. And now that it's now come to an end, I've never tried to do jobs as a reaction to it. I think that's another thing, I sort of go and do something that's completely the opposite.

I've just tried to continue doing the job, work with the people I want to work with and do the work. But, you know, fingers crossed, I'm going to be able to do other things. You know, Connery did five, he left, then he came back, right? None? Not no chance? No, we're good. We're good? We're good. We're wrapped? Yeah, we're wrapped. We're good.

Yeah. Thank you for listening. We'll be back with the trumpet sounds again next Sunday morning. See you next time.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-29 09:03:15 / 2023-01-29 09:15:24 / 12

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