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Watergate, Tyler Sheridan's New Old West, Katy Tur

Sunday Morning / Jane Pauley
The Truth Network Radio
June 12, 2022 12:55 pm

Watergate, Tyler Sheridan's New Old West, Katy Tur

Sunday Morning / Jane Pauley

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June 12, 2022 12:55 pm

Jane Pauley hosts this edition of “Sunday Morning.” It was 50 years ago this week that “Watergate” scandal took place. Robert Costa looks back at the historical moment. Lee Cowan catches up with actor Kevin Costner and the real-life cowboy behind the hit series “Yellowstone.” Tracy Smith sits down with broadcaster Katy Tur to talk family, career, and her new memoir “Rough Draft.” Plus, John Dickerson talks with Senator Raphael Warnock (D-GA.) about mixing faith and politics. 

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Let's partner for all of it. Learn more at Good morning. I'm Jane Pauley and this is Sunday Morning. It was 50 years ago this week that five men with links to Richard Nixon's re-election campaign broke into Democratic Party headquarters at the now infamous Watergate complex. Ultimately what unfolded from that break-in, the Watergate scandal, led President Nixon to resign in disgrace. Still 50 years later, even after scores of inquiries, documentaries, books, and movies, we don't really know all there is to know about Watergate, as Robert Costa will show us.

I shall resign the presidency effective at noon tomorrow. 50 years later we all know the Watergate story, right? Well, maybe not. Watergate is an event we I think pretty profoundly misunderstand. The adage that the cover-up is always worse than the crime, I think actually turns out not to be true in Watergate. Watergate. There's more to the story coming up on Sunday Morning. The story of the American West is another oft-told tale it seems we just can't get enough of. Lee Cowan this morning catches up with Kevin Costner and the real-life cowboy behind the hit series, Yellowstone. It's not easy to recruit one of the biggest stars in the world.

I don't sign up for something if I think, well how in the world would this work? Which is why Kevin Costner signed on to Yellowstone, written by Taylor Sheridan, a genuine cowboy who writes what he knows. Well, you know, I'd never taken a screenwriting class.

I had never studied how to do it. Didn't know the rules. The new voice of the American Western ahead on Sunday Morning. We think of Katie Tur as a respected broadcast journalist and as you may know the wife of our Tony DeCopel.

In fact, for her broadcasting is a family affair as she'll tell our Tracey Smith. Awesome. Awesome.

Yeah. I gotta get a video of this. News anchor Katie Tur is right at home in a helicopter. You might say she grew up in the skies over Los Angeles flying in her parents news chopper. It was really neat and my parents were the the coolest people in the entire world. I couldn't get enough of them. But she says she ran into some real turbulence back on the ground.

Later on Sunday morning, fasten your seat belts. And much more. Nancy Giles catches up with author, activist and educator Ibram X. Kendi.

Serena Altschul discovers the charming side of the television show, Evil. Georgia Senator and Atlanta Reverend Raphael Warnock shares thoughts on mixing politics and faith with John Dickerson. A story from Steve Hartman and more. This Sunday morning for the 12th of June, 2022.

We'll be back in a moment. The Watergate break-in, 50 years on. Believe it or not, some of its long-held secrets are just now coming to light.

Here's Robert Costa. Watergate is an event that has been so well documented over the years. And it's been so much fun. It's been so much fun. It's been so much fun. It's been so much fun. It's been so much fun. It's been so much fun.

It's been so much fun. It's been so well documented over the years, but it's one that we pretty profoundly misunderstand. Journalist and historian Garrett Graff says 50 years on, we are still transfixed by Watergate. The story of Watergate is one of the great tragedies of American politics.

And he adds, we are still piecing it together. Part of what's so fascinating is that the two central questions of the burglary itself are still unsettled. We don't know who ordered the burglary, and we don't really know what the burglars were up to that night. He has put it all together in a new book, appropriately called Watergate, A New History, published by Simon & Schuster, part of Paramount Global, which includes CBS News. The adage that the coverup is always worse than the crime, I think, actually turns out not to be true in Watergate. It was Nixon's crimes that were quite terrible, myriad and manifold. Ultimately, 69 people were indicted or charged with crimes. Graff traces Watergate back to Richard Nixon's lifelong sense of grievance and paranoia.

Just think how much you're going to be missing. You don't have Nixon to kick around anymore. Richard Nixon woke up every morning angry.

He woke up every morning feeling under siege. And he is someone sort of at every stage of his political career who chooses the low road. Nixon's low road spawned a sprawling and unpredictable culture of criminality, but the president wasn't looped in on the Watergate break-in. The funniest bit of the coverup is that Nixon can't fathom why anyone would actually want to break into the Democratic Party offices and can't believe that anyone would be that stupid. And then there's the deeper story of Deep Throat, who was lionized by Hollywood.

Just follow the money. In 2005, former FBI associate director Mark Felt stepped out of the shadows, but he had long denied he was Deep Throat. No, no, I am not Deep Throat.

And the only thing I can say is that I wouldn't be ashamed to be. Garrett, you're pretty tough on Deep Throat. He was a bureaucrat trying to succeed J. Edgar Hoover at the FBI. This is not someone who is waking up in the morning trying to protect American democracy.

This is someone who wants a job that he didn't get. He's doing some sort of brutal backstabbing, knife fighting, office succession politics. It turns out that there are key moments where Mark Felt knows very compelling evidence about the misdeeds of Richard Nixon that he never bothers to tell anyone, because he doesn't actually really care that much about Richard Nixon at all. Watergate was a slow boil. The episode grew steadily more sinister, no longer a caper. For almost two years, many Americans and Nixon's allies mostly shrugged at the blockbuster reports from Bob Woodward, Carl Bernstein, and so many others.

We have concluded that a large secret fund was assembled in the Nixon campaign organization. One of the things that's so hard to recreate and understand now, looking back, is there was no sense that the president could lie to the American people. Things have changed, Garrett. Things have changed today. But Americans began to wake up to Watergate in 1973, when congressional hearings kicked off. Everyone seemed to be watching. I began by telling the president that there was a cancer growing on the presidency. About 80 percent of the country was watching this play out on television. We're now chatting as the January 6 committee begins its hearings. Is that level of attention even possible today?

It's definitely not possible at this scale. The average American household that summer watches almost a full week's worth of the hearings. Thirty to 40 hours of congressional hearings is just mind-boggling. The bombshell revelation, Nixon had taped himself. Mr. Butterfield, are you aware of the installation of any listening devices in the Oval Office of the president?

Yes, sir. The ultimate irony of the Nixon tapes is that Nixon thought taping the White House was a terrible idea, that his predecessors, JFK and LBJ, had taping systems. And he tore out that taping system when he first came into office. But he secretly installs a new taping system in a hope to preserve his historical legacy. And, of course, it certainly created a new historical legacy for him.

It just wasn't the one that he thought. Fellow Republicans largely stood by Richard Nixon through much of it. My view is it's wrong for the president to resign. It's wrong for him to be forced out of office. Then, in August 1974, a smoking gun.

Good evening. The Republican Party today gave up on Richard Nixon. Newly released White House tapes showed the president had obstructed justice. Each understand that they in Congress have a role to hold the executive branch in check.

We had a good, thorough discussion. And so the thing that really stood out to me in going back and looking at this story 50 years later is the way that the Republicans in Congress acted as members of the legislative branch first and only second as Republicans. Watergate would come to upend not just Americans' trust in government, but Washington itself. You say Watergate turned Washington mean. Watergate, I think, does turn Washington mean because it in many ways exposes this sort of much more distrusting and antagonistic mindset that we now see permeate so much of our politics. What made the Trump years different than the Nixon years?

Two things. Fox News and members of Congress who acted as Republicans first and members of Congress second. That's it.

That's it. An unconstitutional impeachment charade show. I think if you had Fox News in the 1970s, Richard Nixon would have stepped down from office in January 1977 totally unscathed. There were a few Republicans who stood up to Trump after January 6, but that was a short list.

It's a short list, and it's gotten shorter ever since. The so-called Troopergate inquiry. We are still living with Watergate. Deflategate. Pizzagate. Scandal after scandal.

That is being called, I'm sorry, Sharpiegate. But Garrett Graff insists that ultimately, Watergate is a tale of checks and balances and of how the American system can endure. I think at the end of the day, Watergate is a weirdly hopeful story because it shows what it takes to protect American democracy.

It takes a while, and it's not necessarily an easy process to get there, but the system in Watergate worked. Tuesday is Flag Day, celebrating the Stars and Stripes. Betsy Ross is one of many people threaded into our flag's history.

It's said she's the one who decided its stars should have five sides, not six. But many of the flags we've flown since have a different sort of heritage. It flew when Americans first arrived at the North and South Poles. It waved when the first American reached the top of Mount Everest. Yes indeed, they've got the flag up now, and you can see the Stars and Stripes. And we've seen our flag go where no flag has gone before, when Neil Armstrong planted the Stars and Stripes in the lunar dust. The American flag is certainly a symbol, but behind every piece of cloth, there's often someone behind a sewing machine.

And for 175 years, Ann and company has given us miles and miles of red and white stripes, along with oceans of blue and enough stars to fill a galaxy. They are the nation's oldest and largest flag maker. Starting out as ship outfitters in New York, the family business changed course and focused solely on making flags full-time in 1847. It was Ann and company that provided the flags for President Lincoln's funeral. By their account, it was their flag raised at Iwo Jima in World War II, immortalized in the famous photograph. And on ground zero on the day of 9-11, when firefighters made sure our flag was still there. You can't hang around here very long without hearing a song in your head. You know which song.

Our own Charles Kuralt paid a visit to a plant back in 1979, when the company was just a little over 130 years old. Stars and Stripes forever. For the most part, flags are still made the old-fashioned way at the company's Virginia plant.

You need a human touch. And given the backlog of orders because of the pandemic, you might say flags are flying out the door. So next time you spot the red, white, and blue, there's a good chance you're looking at an Annan flag.

Either way, it's always worth a salute. He's gone from the pulpit to the realm of politics, and made history in the United States. To the realm of politics.

And made history as Georgia's first black senator. John Dickerson has questions for Reverend Raphael Warnock. Senator, Reverend Raphael Warnock.

Raphael Warnock might have two job titles. You elected me, you joined my congregation. But spend enough time with him and you'll see a lot of overlap between the preacher and the politician. Mr. President, you have the power, you have the ability, cancel some of this student debt. Transform people's lives. Give them a chance. What's the difference between a political speech and a sermon?

Oh, for me, I don't know that there's much difference. Medicare is the law of the land. Senator Warnock made history last year when he became the first African American elected to the U.S. Senate from Georgia.

A state that had two segregationist senators when he was born in 1968. Healing is in this house. Forgiveness is in this house. Insight and wisdom and knowledge and understanding. Whatever you need is in the house. Reverend Warnock's other job title is senior pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church.

The storied Atlanta congregation where John Lewis worshipped, and where both Martin Luther King Sr. and Jr. were pastors. I'm not in love with politics. I'm in love with change. Politics is for me a tool. I got involved in something as messy as politics with the hope that I could continue to work on the issues that I've worked on anyway. Warnock and fellow Georgia Democrat John Ossoff were elected to the Senate in a runoff election last year, giving Democrats 50 votes and control of the Senate when Joe Biden became president. Whether or not Democrats can hold on to that majority this November will once again rest in large part on what happens in Georgia. Where Warnock faces a tough re-election fight in a race Republicans hope will be defined by Joe Biden's low approval ratings.

To escape from the gloomy national environment, Warnock, like all Democrats, will have to distinguish himself. It helps to have a good biography, something the senator is highlighting in his new memoir, A Way Out of No Way. Anytime you walk into a sanctuary like this on any Sunday morning, at some point there's a good chance that the preacher or somebody in the choir or somebody who's giving a testimony is going to say God makes a way out of no way. Is there anybody here who knows that our God can make a way out of no way? And it's a kind of faith in the black church born of struggle. The recognition, first of all, that sometimes we find ourselves in impossible situations.

You keep pushing, you keep pressing, and even as you make your way, God makes a way out of no way. Warnock, the son of pastors, was raised in public housing in Savannah, Georgia. His mother once picked cotton.

His father, who earned money collecting people's junk, is a frequent subject of Warnock's stump speech. My dad would wake me up every morning. Six o'clock, didn't matter whether it was a school day or the weekend. Get up, get dressed, put shoes on. That was his sermon. Every morning. What did that mean to you then and what does it mean to you now? I think it's a sense of readiness.

I don't know exactly what the day is going to bring, but somehow I'm going to make a way out of no way. Like Martin Luther King, Warnock graduated from Morehouse College. He became pastor at King's former church in 2005. Warnock invokes his hero often on the campaign trail. The senator from Georgia. And on the senate floor. Dr. King's words are as true now as they were back then. But this fall, that might not be enough to counter headwinds for Democrats, like rising crime and high inflation. Warnock will face off against Republican Herschel Walker.

In order to stop biting, we have to defeat Warnock, plain and simple. The legendary former football star who won a national championship and the Heisman Trophy while playing for the University of Georgia in the 1980s has been endorsed by Donald Trump. I've known Donald Trump for 37 years, and I don't mean just casual ranting to him from time to time. Have you ever met Herschel Walker?

I have not. He says you're running on separation. What's your response to that?

I think that the people of Georgia have a real choice in front of them about who's ready to represent them in the United States Senate. A magician? I'm not. So in just a year in the senate, did I think I could fix Washington?

Of course not. You're saying, I'm not a magician. Is that the difference between what you say in campaign and the reality of governing?

Oh, I was clear about the reality of governing when I ran because I've been engaged in the work of change long before I got involved in politics. It's hard. It's slow. But you keep moving.

Hello, everybody. Warnock stresses the rewards of passing the infrastructure bill and bringing down the cost of insulin and expanding Medicaid. Where Democrats might feel frustration, he takes a historical view about the nature of progress. Because we can pass voting rights in this Congress. Another issue that people care a lot about is voting rights.

You in particular care a great deal about voting rights. It's why you're in Washington to improve the situation. It hasn't improved. Well, I don't know about that.

I wouldn't say that. Legislation has not passed to fix the problem. The people of Georgia did an amazing thing. The state of Georgia stood up and in one fell swoop sent its first African American senator and its first Jewish senator to the United States Senate. For now, Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock's toughest job politically might be a lot like his toughest job as pastor. Trying to convince Georgians to have faith.

Which is easier, to convince people that there is a God and to have hope in things unseen or to convince people that they should trust that the political process will someday deliver a result that they want? I just keep doing the work. I think we all have to get up every morning and do our work.

Put your shoes on, as my dad used to say. For more from this week's conversation, follow the Takeout with Major Garrett on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts. This is Intelligence Matters with former acting director of the CIA, Michael Morell. Bridge Colby is co-founder and principal of the Marathon Initiative, a project focused on developing strategies to prepare the United States for an era of sustained great power competition. The United States put our mind to something we can usually figure it out.

What people are saying and what we kind of know analytically and empirically is our strategic situation, our military situation is not being matched up with what we're doing. Follow Intelligence Matters wherever you get your podcasts. Shakespeare wrote, the evil that men do lives after them.

In some cases, it even survives to start a third season on television. Serena Altschul is talking with the cast and creators of Paramount's Evil. Suburban homes can be just as scary as haunted mansions, maybe even more so because they're so normal-looking.

Robert and Michelle King are pretty normal-looking, too. Where you would never expect demons to be. And yet, they're the creators of evil. Where the devil is in a lot more than the details. And the mundane and the monstrous are never far apart.

The prime cut, all for you. And you are kind of a mini microcosm for the ideas that are fleshed out in the show in that you are a devout Catholic. Right. And you are agnostic and Jewish. The secular Jew and the church-going Catholic have been disagreeing about the roots of evil ever since they met.

For 30 years, we've been married and we've had conversations similar to this. Where does evil come from? Why do people do bad things? Is it psychologically or is there some supernatural element that makes people do bad things? Does this person need an exorcist? Or is it mental illness?

Or what could account for it? Before they succumbed to evil, the Kings created two very good shows, The Good Wife, and its spin-off, The Good Fight. What did evil offer you that The Good Wife, The Good Fight didn't? I would say Good Wife, The Good Fight was always coloring between the lines.

And this is finger painting. The restrictions on the good wife, the good fight, the restrictions aren't as large if you can just have a massive demon be a therapist. Now tell me about your dreams. Season three of what's been called the funny version of The Exorcist starts streaming tonight on Paramount Plus. Was that scary enough for you? Which is owned by the same parent company as CBS. And lest you think we're biased, the reviews for evil are uniformly good. How would you describe evil? A feminist X-Files meets Ghostbusters with like really sexy people. Right.

No doubt. Meet the heroes of evil. I work for the Catholic church. Mike Coulter plays David Acosta, a priest in training. My colleague Ben and I are hired by the church to investigate unexplained phenomenon and to recommend whether there should be an exorcism or further research. Katya Herbers is Kristin Bouchard, a skeptical psychologist with four lively daughters.

Here is how it works. Asif Mandvi is Ben Shakir, a tech wizard intent on revealing the science behind the spooky. There's an explanation for everything, but people would rather believe in ghosts, demons. What I think Robert and Michelle do so well is that they can write incredibly intelligent stories and then insert like absurdity and humor. Hi, George is the name.

Good to meet you. Every George we know, we've had to say, no, don't worry. It wasn't based on you. I kind of think we were out for an Americana version of the demonic.

So it wasn't Beelzebub and Mooshamagami, you know, some Latin word. It was, there's George, there's Abby, there's Michael. You're in way over your head, Miss Bouchard. Michael Emerson's Leland Townsend is one character you will love to hate. The villains, that's where it's at.

It's just fun. Hello. In season three, Leland Townsend appears to get his comeuppance. Mr. Townsend has approached my daughter at school on four separate occasions. That, that is a misinterpretation. Well, I guess it's a good thing that the Catholic Church has no issues with older men touching children. The Kings are quick to say they're not bashing Catholicism itself. So many procedurals on television want to be critical of the Catholic Church. I mean, it's a cliche, it's a trope, and I wasn't interested in doing that. Because even though the show delves into the scandals, there's also the sense of Mike Colter, who you usually think of as a superhero, is becoming a priest. Take two, and mark.

Do you girls go to the walls and, and, and make sounds? That's a wrap. The Kings and the cast called it a wrap just last month.

So beware, more evil is on the way. She is an award-winning journalist. Her parents are legendary broadcasters in their own right. Katie Turr shares her surprising family story with our Tracey Smith. If you want to see everything in Los Angeles, you can't beat the view from a helicopter. I'm Bob Turr, I'm a helicopter pilot and reporter.

I have been for the past 20 years here in the City of Angels. And for much of the 80s and 90s, news chopper pilot Bob Turr and wife Marika Gerard saw it all. On any given story, Bob, who then flew for local CBS stations, would typically be first over the scene, and Marika would lean out the open door with her camera to capture the story, and at times, history. There were the 92 LA riots, the OJ Simpson car chase.

It would appear that the Bronco will continue north on the 405 freeway. And more catastrophes than you can count. They started the Los Angeles News Service. And when they started a family, Katie here and later James, they brought them up in the sky. Growing up, how did you see your mom and dad?

When I was a kid, they were the coolest people in the world. We had a helicopter. I got to go up in a helicopter. I knew how to fly a helicopter. It was a really unique and interesting childhood that nobody else had.

Good to be with you. I'm Katie Turr. You might know Katie Turr as an MSNBC anchor, or as a mother of two married to our own Tony DeCopel. How do you get Mexico to pay for that wall?

Only if I'm president. How does that happen? You might recall her locking horns with then presidential candidate Donald Trump on the campaign trail. Puff the magic dragon.

But in the 1980s, Katie was just a cute little kid with a seat on the wildest ride in town. In the documentary, Whirlybird, you can hear her describing a crash scene. What do you see? I see some people in yellow coats.

I think they're firefighters. The images were wild and I was in a front row seat for it. Literally in the helicopter, feeling the flames on my shins. You could feel it.

You could feel it. That close. Oh yeah.

And how old were you? Four, five, six, seven, eight, nine. Wow. Yeah. In her latest book, Rough Draft, from an imprint of Simon & Schuster, a division of CBS's parent company, Katie Turr describes her parents as broadcast pioneers who often put themselves in harm's way.

Katie's mom, Marika. Now that I think about it, I think this is ridiculous that the both of us were up in the air doing this dangerous stuff and we have two kids. You know, what's going to happen if something happens to both of us? But at the time... Yeah, it was too much excitement, too much fun. It really was. It was exciting.

It was fun. But the fun was often fleeting. Katie Turr says her dad could be demanding, abusive, and at times violent. He would come home in these fits of anger. Something would set him off and he would get so, so out of control that he would throw his fist through a wall. And it happened often.

I mean, we would go to the store, buy plaster, plaster them up. I remember him throwing batteries at my mother. The violence was always there. It felt like it was normal, like that was just how a relationship worked. You got angry, you got violent, you yelled and you screamed, and then everything was fine. But over time, she says, the situation got worse. And the reason we didn't call the cops was because Bob Turr's name in a police blotter means Bob Turr can't make any more money.

And oh my God, we need to buy groceries. Right, right. But you know, that's why it kept going. And that's why it always keeps going. Because there's always somebody who forgives the person, or hides it, or puts it under the... And who actually benefits from that?

Nobody. My point is, it's not your fault. It's dad's fault. Dad's fault.

That is a lot of fault to go around. Here we go. Last week, we took Katie Turr on her first helicopter ride in more than 20 years. Some things, like the feel of a chopper in flight, never change. How amazing is this? Who gets a girl up like this?

Nobody. And some change has been dramatic. In 2013, her father called her with news that came as a bit of a shock. And my dad said, I am a woman. And I said, what? And my dad said, I'm a woman. I'm transitioning. I'm going to become a woman. And I remember being at first puzzled, saying, you've got to be joking.

Are you kidding? What are you talking about? And my dad was adamant, I'm the wrong person. I'm going to become the right person.

Don't you see? This is why I've been so angry. And it was really just, it was a lot.

Now I'm here with my dogs. Zoe Turr now lives in Northern California. Katie and I were very close. She really looked up to me and I failed her.

No father wants to fail their daughter. Let me tell you what she says you did when she was younger. She says you get so angry that you punch holes in the wall and that you threw things like batteries at Marika. Is that true? Throwing batteries? Probably, yeah.

Punching walls? There were a couple. I was in the news business and we were under extraordinary pressure. I could be very intimidating for sure. And if the kids felt I was intimidating, I apologize.

I did the best I could. Katie Turr says they haven't seen each other in 10 years. And while they have different takes on why they're estranged, it's clear there's still love there. I'm not hiding anymore.

And if it takes an act of public humiliation in front of a camera to make Katie feel better and feel vindicated, so be it. I'm happy to do that. I love her that much. So I'm also afraid of heights.

You are? You can't get me anywhere near an edge and I will see them. But I can lean, I can press myself up against the glass and feel totally fine. Katie Turr knows that looking down can be both scary and exhilarating. And the same is true of looking back. So it's understandable and commendable facing your past.

Why put it out in the public? It's a really good story. My parents did amazing things.

They went from nothing to something big and important. And who wouldn't want to read that story? I want that story to be down. I want my kids to know this.

I want them to know my parents the way that I knew my parents, even if they never end up meeting their grandfather. And part of the story is the violence. If I only wrote the good stuff, it would have been a lie. It's a business where you're not supposed to lie.

You're supposed to tell the truth and this is the truth. This morning, our Steve Hartman is in the booth. 11-year-old Ellie Dowdy of Amherst, Virginia, eats, sleeps and talks baseball. Now up the back. She announces for her local junior varsity team and practices big league broadcasting from her living room.

Look at his blocking skills. But she didn't know girls could do this as a career until she listened to a Baltimore Orioles game. Now there's two outs. And I thought I can do that too. That is possible. Ellie's proof possible is play-by-play announcer Melanie Newman.

How we doing? Ellie was so taken by her that last year she reached out to Melanie in the only way she knew how. Oh, that is cute. Her sign read, hey, Melanie Newman, need help in the booth? And the answer was yes. All right, Ellie, are you ready to call a pitch? Yeah. Yes, ma'am. All right. This past week, Melanie invited Ellie to call part of a game. Have a 3-2 count. Because Melanie assumed that's what the girl wanted.

We have a outside ball. And it was, in part. But when Ellie held up that sign, she didn't just want to help Melanie in the booth. She wanted to help Melanie as a person. I was just hoping that she would see it and see that a lot of young girls are looking up to her. Because when Melanie was growing up, she had to push through all the people telling her that, no, only men can do that.

It's true. And even today, some men are still hurling sexist barbs at Melanie on social media. But there to deflect them with her single-ply poster board stands Ellie Dowdy, who returned with a new sign that read, Melanie Newman is Fire. What does that feel like to see that?

It really takes you back for a minute. And here's where we saw just how much Melanie appreciates the support. I paid a lot of dues to just get here.

And the hope is when those little girls make those signs, their dues are so much less. In sports, people are always clawing their way to the top. This is so cool.

But the true heroes of any game are the ones who lift others. Time was westerns were a staple of television. Lee Cowan is here to tell us there's a new sheriff in town, along with a very different tale from out of the west. Not far from Montana's Bitterroot River, a postcard for the American West, Kevin Costner was stoking a fire. I mean, this is how you do it.

You just get it close and you make everything a little convenient. For the last five years, this valley has been his campsite. The backdrop. For a modern-day western that's taken off like a band of wild mustangs.

Yellowstone, a Paramount production, our parent company, by the way, was the most-watched scripted series in all of television last year. We're not supposed to talk about work at the dinner table. In the morning, it's the breakfast table, Beth. We're going to be here for a while. In the morning, it's the breakfast table, Beth.

We can talk business at the breakfast table. It's a show as sweeping as the family it depicts. John Dutton, a Montana rancher played by Costner, is a man with one boot in the past and one reluctantly in the present. This is America. We don't share land here.

Land. That's what John Dutton sees as his legacy. The only thing more important is loyalty.

If you betray me again, you're dead to me, son. You understand? You think Bonanza meets the Godfather. Say it. I'll make a lawsuit much simpler. Say stop building or else. I'm skipping straight to or else with you, you *******.

From now on, or else is all you get. We're a little violent. We're like a little bit of murder incorporated our family a little bit. Yellowstone is a reminder that our notion of the American West is hardly as romantic as we sometimes like to believe. The ranchers that came here, they didn't own this land and they basically banded together and pushed out the native population. The cattle wandered on to res land, John. Yeah well, cattle don't know the difference between your land and ours. Neither did we till the government showed us. It's still beautiful, but it's very easy to forget the drama, the things that we'll never recover from.

He looks warmed up. You have to know that world to write it, with any real sense of authority. And few can do that.

How you doing? Like Yellowstone's co-creator and writer, Taylor Sheridan. I just make movies to support my horse habit. If he looks and sounds the part of a horseman, well, that's because he is one. He'll talk riding and roping all day long, but much beyond that, he reigns it in.

My least favorite subject is myself. I say about everything I want to say when I write a story. There's an economy to his language, a directness that he carries to the set too.

Well, I don't run much of a democracy. Yeah, that's all right. The words are the words. He wasn't kidding. I don't tell people how to act.

I don't need anyone to tell me how to write. And as writers go, he's been called one of the most important Western storytellers in decades. He created 1883, the pioneer prequel to Yellowstone, starring Faith Hill and Tim McGraw. What is that? Tornado! It was so popular that there's now a sequel to that prequel, the upcoming 1932 starring Harrison Ford and Helen Mirren. It's ludicrous that I'm working with these people.

It's fantastically insane. What you won't find in any of his works are cowboy cliches. It's easy to make a bad Western, says Costner. Making a good one, though, is Sheridan's gift. Western specifically, they can look really dumb.

They can look obvious. They're hard to make, and that's the problem. It's like it's hard to make a Western that you can relate to.

Sheridan relates to it so well because he lives it. He owns not one, but two ranches in Texas and actually provides most of the horses for his productions himself. All the horses for the most part in our business are terrible.

They're not very broke. They're not very safe, which is one of the reasons you don't see actors on them very often. And I didn't want to do that. So I bought all the horses for the show and then taught the actors how to ride it. He couldn't find an actor good enough on a horse to play a horse trader on Yellowstone. So Sheridan played the part himself. Travis, let me run and stop just once.

You bet for $300,000. Come on, just once. He fell into Hollywood, first as a model. He later began to audition and over the years got parts in shows like Veronica Mars and Sons of Anarchy.

Fortunately for you, I'm a cop actually bound by the law. But after more than two decades of trying, he never became a leading man. What kept you going in the acting world? I think stubbornness, a refusal to fail. An interesting thing about Hollywood is if you let it, if you listen, it will tell you exactly what you're supposed to be doing.

How so? I have never seen anyone bang their head against the wall for 20 years and then make it. I've never seen it. I've seen it take eight years. I've seen it take 10 years, but I've never seen it take 20. And is that where you had come to? I had come to where the best I was ever going to be was 10th on the call sheet. But one day a friend brought him a project, not to audition for, but to write. And I said, look, I have no idea how to do this, but I have a 15 year education on how not to do it. First thing that I wrote was Mayor of Kingstown. And I sat down and I wrote the first episode in about 10 hours. Really? In one night?

And when I was done, I, I said, man, I wish I had done this 15 years ago. From then on, he began writing at a furious pace. Out came scripts for films like Sicario, Wind River, and his Oscar-nominated screenplay, Hell or High Water. Gotta wait for these boys to make a mistake. So far they ain't, but they will.

And they're going to make it here. Not bad for only the second screenplay he ever wrote. But when it came to his idea for the series Yellowstone, almost everyone in Hollywood passed. Nobody's doing TV westerns, they said. Look, anytime that Hollywood says a genre is dead is because they made a bunch of bad movies about it. People think of westerns as, you know, good guys and bad guys, and it's really such a different show. It makes it much more complex.

Much more, and much more appealing. Chris McCarthy, Paramount Network president and CEO of MTV Entertainment, essentially bet the ranch that Yellowstone would resonate. What are you doing here? I've been in television nearly 20 years. And there's very few times where my 18-year-old niece and my 80-year-old aunt ask me about the same show. And you know, this is one of those moments.

And when you see the entire world, you get it. He is, he not only creates his own world in the TV series, he creates that world for himself. And you know, he's unique that way. He writes when he knows.

Absolutely. And he writes it incredibly well. Sheridan now has no fewer than 10 Paramount series, either on the air or in the works. But Busy doesn't even describe his life. And that's just the Hollywood side. He just became part owner of the historic Four Sixes Ranch, consisting of more than a quarter of a million acres near Lubbock.

Which financially means he better keep on writing hits to pay it all off. I was about ready to retire. I had saved. I had done really good. My goal was retire at 50. Not that he was going to go play golf or something. You don't strike me as a golf guy. I don't know how to, I see that much grass. I want to put cows on it.

How's he priced? Through the roof. It was John Wayne who once said that nothing is so discouraging to an actor than to have to work for long hours upon hours in brightly lighted interior sets. Kevin Costner feels pretty much the same way. The outdoor world of the West that Taylor Sheridan has created is a place that no one really wants to leave. What's it like at the end of the day shooting, though? Do you guys all come down here and hang out and have dinner? I do. I come down here and sometimes I just don't go.

Yeah? Home. You just stay here just because it's... I just stay right here.

I mean, if those mountains don't feel the need to move, why should I? His writing has sparked debate and spurred dialogue on race and racism. Nancy Giles is in conversation with author and educator Ibram X. Kendi. We're at one of the most historic spaces for black people in North America.

We met Ibram X. Kendi along Boston's Black Heritage Trail. Abolitionists were gathering and what kind of things were they discussing? They were discussing what was unheard of in the 19th century, which was a nation without slavery. The immediate emancipation of all enslaved people.

The African Meeting House is the oldest black church in the country, built in 1806. You had abolitionists saying to the American people, you can't expect to end chattel slavery by doing nothing. The more you do nothing, the more slavery spreads and harms and tortures and kills. And in many ways, that's what's happening right now. If we don't actively seek to be anti-racist, then racism will persist.

In the sanctuary, positive things happen. Kendi is the founder of the Center for Anti-Racist Research at Boston University, where he's a history professor. Why is it not enough to not be a racist as opposed to being an anti-racist? Well, I think it's important for people to know the opposite of being racist is being anti-racist. Is being anti-racist. Kendi has argued for being anti-racist in a series of best-selling books. No one is inherently racist or anti-racist. It's about what we're doing. And so when we're expressing that the racial groups are equals, we're being anti-racist. When we're supporting a policy that is leading to a racial disparity, we're being racist.

I'm encouraging people to constantly think about what are we doing or even not doing. Bigots, racists like Ibram Kendi. His views have been polarizing, to say the least. How to be an anti-racist. His work was injected into the hearings for Supreme Court Justice Katonji Brown Jackson. Anti-racist baby by Ibram Kendi.

Courtesy of Senator Ted Cruz. One portion of the book says babies are taught to be racist or anti-racist. There is no neutrality. It is dangerous to tell the truth today.

I would know. But as we've learned in the last few years, it is dangerous to not tell the truth. For people who are like, oh, slavery was over 200 years ago. Why are we going back to that? Things are level now. It's a level playing field. Well, first, if it was a level playing field, there would not be all these racial disparities from health to wealth to education to incarceration. Or you think there is a level playing field. And the reason why certain racial groups are less wealthy or more likely to be poor or more likely to die or more likely to be incarcerated is because there's something inferior about them. I don't think that any racial group is inferior or superior. And so what that means is there isn't a level playing field. And then the question becomes, why isn't there a level playing field? And you can't answer that question without talking about the present and the history of this country.

And you can't talk about American history without talking about slavery. Kendi has two new books coming out aimed at children and parents. One is a takeoff on the classic book, Goodnight Moon. The moonsies are kids. Whoever they are. Whoever they are.

His six-year-old daughter, Imani, recorded the audio book with some coaching from dad. The moon delights. When every child falls asleep. When every child falls asleep. Including Imani?

Including Imani? It's not a coincidence that racist ideas have spread across time and across humanity. The reason why they have is because they're simple. Dark is ugly. Light is good. Dark people are bad. Light people are smart.

These are very simple ideas that even a two or three or four-year-old can understand. And studies are showing that even preschool children are choosing who to play with based on skin color. The new books are being released as teaching about racism is under fire. I see our schools going down a dark path. With some states passing laws to take books out of schools that might make students uncomfortable. I think that arming our children with information is protective.

Kendi is married to Dr. Sadika Kendi, a pediatric emergency room physician. That applies when it comes to arming them with understanding our history, like a true account of our history, helping them to learn about racism and about anti-racism. And with Imani, her knowing this is what it is. This is the work that your father is doing. And unfortunately, because of that, there are people who don't like him and who don't like our family. The book is garbage. Actually, it's worse than that.

Not only is it embarrassingly stupid, it is poisonous. When we're crossing the street with our two-year-old, we teach them look both ways. Make sure there's not a car coming.

Similarly, we have to teach them that there's these cars of racist ideas that are coming that could hit you. Good night, hate. Good night, hate. Good night, hurt.

With his daughter for inspiration, Ibram X. Kendi is looking back to history. Good night. Good night. And looking forward for generations to come. Good job, Missy, good job, good job.

It happened this past week. We said goodbye to our longtime director and friend, Nora Girard. Every Sunday morning, you see the work of correspondents, producers, and editors.

But behind each and every person, each and every story, is the director, the person who brings it all together, the person who makes a program, a show. Nora has been that person, sunny skies or stormy weather, for 11 years now. And as her virtuoso performance draws to a close, we send along applause, gratitude, gratitude, and our heartfelt best wishes. Thank you for everything, Nora. You'll be missed. Thank you for listening. Please join us when our trumpet sounds again next Sunday morning. And maybe you do, too, from the newest interior design trend, Barbie Corps, to the right and wrong way to wash your armpits. Also, we're going to get into things that you just kind of won't believe and were not able to do in daytime television, so watch out. Listen to Drew's News wherever you get your podcasts. It's your good news on the go.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-29 18:49:09 / 2023-01-29 19:09:20 / 20

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