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May 10, 2020 1:37 pm

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Sunday Morning / Jane Pauley

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May 10, 2020 1:37 pm

Tracy Smith examines how relationships are being tested by partners living together in lockdown 24/7. Erin Moriarty looks at how educators and students -- and their families -- are coping with online instruction while schools are closed. John Dickerson explores how FDR’s presidency changed the way Americans view their country. Ted Koppel looks back at how presidents have used a variety of media to speak to constituents. Conor Knighton checks out how zoos, and their residents, are coping during the pandemic . And Rita Braver talks with actress-producer Reese Witherspoon about her production company, Hello Sunshine.

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Our CBS Sunday morning podcast is sponsored by Edward Jones. College tours with your oldest daughter. Updating the kitchen to the appropriate decade.

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Learn more at Good morning. I'm Jane Pauley and this is Sunday morning.

Introduced this morning on Yes, Cups and Bowls, thanks to Tim Nicholas Tang of Vancouver. Today is Mother's Day. A Mother's Day under quarantine in many parts of the country. Being cooped up puts stress on moms and on any couple that pledges to stay together for better or for worse, as Tracy Smith will report in our cover story.

The marriage vows say to have and to hold, but they never said anything about doing it 24-7. I think the biggest thing I realized is that she chews too loudly. That's true, and Jason sleeps too loudly.

I think I probably get a little perturbed quicker than he does. The highs and lows of wedlock under lockdown ahead on Sunday morning. Our Sunday profile this morning, Reese Witherspoon, who balances her role as actress and producer with being a mom. She'll be talking with our Rita Braver. She's not only a huge star. Did you think you were just going to waltz into my house?

But also a respected producer and devoted mother of three. And do you ever have any of those days like the rest of us have? You say, I can't do one more thing today. I cannot do it.

I'll lay on the floor and cry. Later on Sunday morning, what keeps Reese Witherspoon going? He led the nation through another time of crisis. Years of war and economic turmoil. Franklin Delano Roosevelt, FDR, was a leader who inspired with both words and deeds, as we'll hear in a special look back from John Dickerson and Ted Koppel. FDR was the master of the medium when the nation faced economic depression and war. And the medium was radio.

The task that we Americans now face. Different presidents, different media. From the days of the Great Depression, different media. From the days when television was king.

Well, you subject me to some abuse, but not to any lack of respect, I don't know. To a time when the president dominates the media with his thumbs. Ahead on a Sunday morning. Alison Aubrey examines the healing promise of plasma transfusions. Erin Moriarty considers the challenge to students learning to do without schools. We'll visit the zoo with Connor Knighton. Chef Bobby Flay serves up Mother's Day breakfast, plus Steve Hartman, Jim Gaffigan, Faith Salie, and more on this Sunday morning, the 10th of May, 2020.

We'll be back in a moment. Mother's Day in quarantine, a first we'd all prefer to do without. For better or for worse, members of every family and every couple are feeling the strain and learning new things about each other. Our cover story is reported by Tracy Smith. Samantha Bee and Jason Jones are both known for their comedy, but it turns out they're especially good at improvising. Their weekly program on TBS usually tapes in New York City, but when coronavirus shut it down, we are going to really try to bring you a brand new episode of Full Frontal this week. They headed upstate, taking their three kids and their show with them.

I should really be teaching them math. And now after 19 years of marriage, it's togetherness like never before. I mean you guys are old pros at kind of being in each other's business. You've worked together for a long time now.

Is it different now that you are locked down? I think the biggest thing I realized is that she chews too loudly. That's true. And Jason sleeps too loudly. I do. I'm a loud sleeper. So noisy. I don't snore. I'm just a loud sleeper.

I make sounds. Kidding aside, for Samantha, Jason and the other 60 million or so married couples in America, the past eight weeks have been a real eye-opener. The vows might say, till death do us part, but they don't say anything about being together all day, every day. You know, this is a time when people are losing their lives. There are people risking their lives, going to work every day. Is it a little indulgent for us to be talking about romance?

Not at all. There's no hierarchy of pain, that pain is pain and suffering is suffering. So for some people, they're suffering loss of life. Other people are losing out on things like, they're not going to go to their child's graduation. And those are real losses. And so I think it's important that this isn't the grief Olympics.

You know, we don't need to measure it on some kind of scale of who's is higher on this hierarchy. Psychotherapist Lori Gottlieb is the author of Maybe You Should Talk to Someone. And right now, a lot of married folks are talking to her. What kind of things are you hearing from couples?

What's interesting is we talk so much about isolation, and I'm hearing a lot from couples about not having enough space. I used to make fun of George W. Bush when he used to go down to the ranch and clear brush. That was his thing. I get it now. I totally get it. Yeah. Jason's like a hole digger.

He'll be like, I'm just, I'm in the back. Just got to dig a hole. I'm digging holes. There are no holes out here, but a thousand miles away in Memphis, Tennessee, let's try it again.

Devante and Alyssa Payton have some of the same issues. And with three kids and another due in August, privacy is nearly impossible. My tub is my sanctuary. Your bathtub?

Yes. And sometimes the toilet, I just lock the door and just sit because it's quiet. And it's the only door that locks in our rooms.

And having a door that locks might be important for other reasons. Touch is so important. What we're experiencing right now is skin hunger.

It's a real phenomenon. Skin hunger. Skin hunger. It's a phenomenon where our nervous systems get activated when we don't have physical touch. And because we're not getting that out in the world with the normal sort of hugs and handshakes and the ways that we would normally get that, it's really important that we're getting that from the people that we're social distancing with in our own households. There's actually something called skin hunger that we all as humans need touch. And so this expert that I love how you're going like this, Devante.

So physical touch is my love language. And mine, not so much. How we made it to four children, I don't know. Of course, not every marriage is quite as strong as the Payton's. The most recent government figures say the divorce rate actually dropped in the past 10 years. But now there's speculation that the quarantine could make those divorce numbers jump. Have you heard the phrase Corona divorce? Yes. Yeah, of course. I mean, you know, we're getting a lot of calls from people at their wits end with their spouses or live ins.

And, you know, we try to kind of talk them off the ledge. Laura Wasser is a family law attorney in Los Angeles who knows her way around a divorce court. Among her past clients, Angelina Jolie, Johnny Depp, and Maria Shriver. Wasn't it Tom Patty who said the waiting is the hardest part? I represented his wife in their divorce.

I got her half of that song. What's more, two of the stars of Marriage Story, Laura Dern and Scarlett Johansson, both hired Laura Wasser for their real life breakups. There have been situations where I have seen how people behave and I think they're not going to, there's no amount of counseling that they will make this through.

Is there one particular attitude or something that you could pinpoint? Yeah, but I would have to use profanity. That's okay.

Somebody being a real. So if you just have to get away and can't afford her $950 an hour fee, she has a website called It's Over Easy that'll take you through the divorce process for around 1500 bucks. But Wasser also told us that even when the quarantine is lifted, she's not expecting a big stampede for divorce court. Without sounding too Pollyannish about it, I really do think that if people are able to communicate and use tools and get more intimate with each other, both intellectually and physically during this time, they might come out of the quarantine stronger. You say that as a divorce lawyer. I do. I've been doing this for a long time and I do, I see human nature and human relationships and I do think that if people can make it through a situation like this, like they say, if it doesn't kill you, it makes you stronger. Same goes for a relationship. And she may be onto something.

I'm trying to think of a word that isn't corny. Are there gifts of this lockdown? It is a gift. I'm not, I don't, don't even look at me when I say this, but I'm, I'm enjoying it. It's, I feel very close to you. I love you. It's fun working with you. Sorry. This is why I married you. Cause I enjoy you. I apologize for being real.

Psychotherapist Lori Gottlieb. Are you hopeful about relationships and how everybody's going to end up when we're finally allowed outside again? I feel like people are now looking at what is really important to me and who matters to me and what can I do to nurture those relationships? We're treasuring it a little more. We're not taking each other for granted anymore. Scientists the world over are rolling up their sleeves to develop a COVID-19 vaccine, as well as treatments for those who already have the disease. Allison Aubrey of NPR looks at one promising therapy that's both new and old. I was trying to fight for my husband and my kids, but in my mind, it was getting way too hard. As Lana Towsley lay in the ICU battling COVID-19 at University Hospital in Madison, Wisconsin. I didn't think I'd see my husband again. The two-time cancer survivor felt like giving up. I was fighting to breathe and then stuff started coming out of my lungs and it was just, it was just slowly strangling.

You really thought this was the end? I honestly did. With Towsley's consent, her doctors administered an experimental treatment. A transfusion of plasma donated by someone who had just recently recovered from coronavirus. I believe that that's what saved my life.

So within a few days, you went from being intubated on a ventilator to breathing on your own and feeling better. Yes, I did. Were you surprised? I was very surprised. I was thrilled.

I had hope again. More than 6,000 COVID patients have now received convalescent plasma. It's not clear yet how much it may help, but it's a technique that goes way back. There is a lot of science here. And Dr. Arturo Casadevall of Johns Hopkins University stepped up to resurrect it. This thing has been known for 120 years, it was the first Nobel Prize. That's when doctors realized that virus-fighting antibodies, borrowed from recovered patients, may help prevent or cure disease.

I knew that there was an enormous body of experience with the use of convalescent plasma. But much of this was lost to history. So on February 27th, he penned an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal. He wrote about a doctor at a boys' boarding school in Pennsylvania back in 1934, who treated a boy with a serious case of measles. So what the doctor did was he went to the kid who recovered, he took some of his blood, and they gave small amounts to the other children.

And then they waited. And the epidemic that was supposed to happen didn't happen. His article was published just as the first coronavirus deaths in the U.S. were reported. And at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, Dr. Nicole Bouvier would soon be on the front lines, treating lots of COVID patients.

It's incredibly frustrating. It's hard for the front line doctors, the nurses, these are all people who are used to fixing things. But at the time, there was not a single approved treatment. So behind the scenes, Dr. Casadevall scrambled to build a coalition of doctors. The first was Michael Joyner of Mayo Clinic, then William Hartman of the University of Wisconsin, James Musser of Houston Methodist Hospital, Nicole Bouvier of Mount Sinai, and Andreas Klein of Tufts University.

It was a crisis, so people get into action mode when there's a crisis. Dr. Joyner led the charge. He worked with the FDA to expand access to plasma and get more hospitals on board. We just got up every day and kept pushing.

We just kept pushing, pushing, pushing. Within weeks, patients were being treated with convalescent plasma. Dr. Klein says what could have taken months or years happened quickly. I think that's unprecedented and is really inspiring. It's unbelievable. I've never seen anything like this.

I've never been part of anything like this. Dr. Musser's team at Houston Methodist was among the first to treat COVID patients with plasma. I view this as very much like an old-fashioned barn raising. You know, we'll aggregate and we'll get this done. These doctors say convalescent plasma may be just a stopgap measure until more treatments and a vaccine come along. I think it'll be part of a cocktail and hopefully then this paves the way for a vaccine.

But this was really the first kind of biological shot on gold and the first best biological shot on gold. And this feels good to Dr. Hartman, who treated patient Lana Towsley. What do you think you'll tell your children or grandchildren about this extraordinary moment? I'll tell them the story of a huge movement all across the country that in six weeks time, 2,000 hospitals have come together with the unifying purpose of trying to make people better.

And in the end, it's the community that's saving the community. Meanwhile, Lana Towsley says she will donate her blood as soon as she is completely recovered. If I can save just one person from going through what I went through, I'd do it in a minute. If you could meet the person who donated their plasma that was transfused into your body, what would you say to them? Thank you so much for giving me another chance at life. By tradition, Mother's Day is the special day when children treat mom to a wake-up meal.

To honor that tradition, brunch is served by our friend, Chef Bobby Flay. Back on a May morning in New York City when I was 12, my friends and I had tickets to see a Yankees game. Yes, it was so long ago, kids could still do that sort of thing on their own. I strolled into my mother's bedroom, where she was sipping her first of many cups of coffee. I wished her a happy Mother's Day, and I told her I was departing to see the Bronx Bombers do their thing. You're doing what, she asked?

As the first tear streamed down her cheek, I knew that I was going to have to explain to my friends that I wasn't making the game. I was staying home to make my mom a very sketchy breakfast at best. Dorothy Flay, known as Dame Dorothy to her closest friends, had a verb for life that was unbounded, though she spent most of her adult years as a single mother. And I'll just say this, I wasn't the easiest kid to raise. Culminating with dropping out of high school after 9th grade. Still, when I found some focus and got a job, my mother wound up being my greatest cheerleader.

I knew from my experiences as a 12-year-old that Mother's Day had to be planned, no matter what. First of all, it had to be brunch. A classic, eggs benedict and a mimosa.

A mimosa could not be more simple, I mean, it's champagne or any sparkling wine that you have. And some orange juice, that's it. So classic eggs benedict is just a handful of ingredients. It's a toasted English muffin with a thin slice of Canadian bacon on top of it, poached eggs on top of the Canadian bacon, and then finished off with a classic hollandaise sauce. And then here's the secret ingredient to making sure that your poached eggs coagulate or come together, just some vinegar.

Just a couple of dashes, and then as soon as I'm ready to go, I just gently drop the egg into the water, make sure it looks like a pro, poached eggs. Now, while that took care of the meal, and some hollandaise right on top, my Mother's Day planning wasn't done. There was also a dress code. I had to wear a suit or, at the very least, a sports jacket, and then there was the mandatory carnation, a tradition that signified if your mother was living, a pink one, or a white, which meant she had passed. My mother died almost exactly two years ago, and living through this pandemic has me thinking about her even more. In some ways, I'm relieved that she didn't have to navigate her way through the danger of it. I'm pretty sure I would have been pulling Dame Dorothy out of her favorite Jersey Shore hangout, nursing a chocolate martini with her favorite bartender. So, today is Mother's Day, and not even a global crisis is going to keep me from celebrating, to me, the greatest mother in the world. She wouldn't allow it, so let's get it on.

Forty-three years ago, the Yankees had a play game with one less person in the stands. Today, coronavirus, you're going to have to sit this one out, because brunch is served in all of its glory, and there's nothing that's going to stop us. Happy Mother's Day. Challenges abound for stay-at-home students trying to learn online, and for all too many of them, there are no clear answers. Aaron Moriarty of 48 Hours offers a crash course. Seventeen-year-old Joshua Lind thought he had his life all mapped out. A junior in a Baltimore public high school, he was on the road to a top college and a career as a lawyer. I'm going to go to law school, you know, pass the bar, you know, be like you, Ms. Aaron.

You know, I had all that planned out. And then in March, without much warning, all public schools in Maryland will be closed. I've ordered the closing of all schools in Maryland. The closing of all schools in the state of South Carolina. We're going to be closing all public schools across the state. Ninety-eight point eight percent of our schools have closed down. No one truly had a plan in place for students to, you know, succeed or continue that learning at all. Lynn and students throughout the country, including those in college, were suddenly forced to go home and learn remotely, either through online classes, paper packets or lessons on TV.

It's hard to understand how big a deal it is. Doug Harris, a professor at Tulane University in New Orleans, is studying the impact of the coronavirus on schools. You have 75 million students who are not in school, which has never happened, not at least in the last century. The pandemic has only broadened the inequities that already exist between students. With so many now at home without computers or Internet service, educators fear that as many as a quarter of them are not engaged in school at all. And how well is it going for those who are? Every student going into every grade level has missed out on instruction.

No matter how hard we're trying, it's just not the same. Jessica Rutherford is a teacher and reading specialist in Vero Beach, Florida, who works mainly with third through fifth graders who struggle with reading in a school where most students live below the poverty line. You have 30 students. About how many would you say are are doing pretty well under this and how many are not? I would say it's about 50 percent. Only half. And that may be because to many students, she is now just a voice over the phone.

They don't have someone there, you know, sitting side by side with them, coaching them through a lesson or helping when they get stuck. And so, you know, it is heartbreaking because you just have to stop and wonder, OK, now when do we make up this time? Her work days feel longer because they are.

Thank you for reading with me today. There are meetings with parents and with other teachers, all while she's home taking care of her own two children, including a five year old son trying to learn remotely as well. There are days where I'm just like, OK, what else?

Like something has to give because this is just pure craziness, the expectation. Aren't all teachers in the exact same boat as you are? I don't have a doubt in my mind that there's a teacher out there that isn't giving it everything they've got, but you just still feel like you fall short. Falling short while children fall behind. That's what also worries Kimberly Dukes, a parent who lives in Atlanta, Georgia. The primary years and early years are the most critical. Dukes' children range in age from three years old to a senior in high school, but she worries the most about a middle child. My elementary kids were sent home with like packets of work. But what I noticed was like the work wasn't for like each individual student. So my baby that's in fifth grade is reading on the first grade level. This work is not going to help him. And it actually broke me down.

And I've cried because I actually see how my children are hurting. The inequities are much more bigger than ever before. Yet the greatest pressures may weigh on the students themselves, like Joshua Lynn in Baltimore, Joshua Lynn in Baltimore. We've always been told that colleges look at your junior year, make sure your grades are on point for that junior year, because that's all they're going to be looking at. You can't expect students to properly succeed in those environments that catastrophically change in a matter of days. As he has always done, Lynn juggles his job at a fast food restaurant while taking seven rigorous classes, all now online, which means less help from teachers. I don't think that I'm doing my best that I can. I'm a student that values feedback. He often works late into the night and early morning when uncertainty looms large.

It definitely has got me thinking, you know, what's next? What is going to be put in place by, you know, the people in charge? There are no clear answers because even educators don't know if schools will return to normal in the fall. There may have to be adaptations in the schooling environment, possibly, you know, running shifts of students, a morning shift and an afternoon shift. And even then, Doug Harris says it will take time for some students to recover what they lost, as it did in New Orleans in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina forced schools to close.

It was about two years on average, but that last word on average is important, though, that different students are experiencing this very differently. The students who are in the best situations are those who can do what we're doing right now. They have a computer and they have an internet connection and they have a quiet room. They don't have obligations.

They're not taking care of their younger siblings while their parents are at work or sick. But remote learning has made one thing very clear, as noted by Hollywood writer Shonda Rhimes in a viral tweet. Few people will ever take teachers for granted again. Oh, I 100 percent believe that there's nothing quite like the connections we have at school. Joshua Lin can't wait to get back. I definitely think that this is actually have motivated me to go even harder and, you know, to strive more and to become the person I want to become and even more. Time for a Sunday morning field trip to the zoo.

Connor Knighton is our guide. Walking around the deserted San Diego Zoo and Safari Park, I felt like I was the one on display. Hello. Where'd all the people go, right? From the giraffes to the gorillas, the animals were paying me quite a bit of extra attention. After all, they hadn't seen human tourists since mid-March. This is a typically high season for us, with lots of guests coming through. Really, it's incredible to see it without guests right now.

Paul Baraball is the CEO of San Diego Zoo Global, the nonprofit that manages San Diego's 1,800-acre Safari Park and 100-acre Zoo, the most visited zoo in the entire country. Both locations closed to the public on March 16th. You've been open for more than a century. Has there ever been a closure of this magnitude before? There's never been a closure of this magnitude before. The most the San Diego Zoo has ever been closed is a single day, and that's only happened five days in the organization's history. In the midst of historic COVID-related closures happening across the country, zoos face a special set of challenges, shut a bookstore down, and the books inside are fine. But when a zoo closes, what happens to all of the animals? Nothing is being skipped.

Nothing is being changed. Their day is going to be the same. Bree Barney is a wildlife care specialist in charge of San Diego's kangaroos. While the zoo has furloughed ticket takers and concession stand workers, employees involved with animal care have been deemed essential.

Barney's work continues as usual, with a few small modifications. She now wears a mask when hanging out with the marsupials. They look at you a little bit differently. Sometimes you'll kind of get the kangaroo or the wallaby to kind of cock their head a little, like, who are you and what are you doing? They don't recognize you with the mask?

Yeah. Once news broke that lions and tigers at the Bronx Zoo had caught COVID-19 from a staff member, procedures changed at zoos across the country. Now, meal time means mask time. But, of course, all of that food is expensive. And with everything from the Zoo Teak to the Roar Store currently closed, zoos are hemorrhaging money.

The minute the front gate closed, unfortunately, we stopped making money, and our expenses really didn't change. The animals still have to be careful. Matt Thompson is the chief zoological officer at the Memphis Zoo, a zoo with a much smaller budget and smaller financial safety net than San Diego. March through June is when we make 60 percent of our revenue, so recovering from this, honestly, is going to be very, very difficult.

With the expense of ongoing animal care, Thompson is predicting a $10 million loss for the year. And yet, the zoo has still managed to sign up a few new members, even at a time when members can't visit. This is Kirk Shanks, a ball python. The Memphis Zoo has been churning out hours of educational content to keep fans engaged.

And also some less educational content. In their popular Zoolympics videos, they've capitalized on the current lack of sports programming and have been awarding medals and everything from the tortoise 100-meter sprint to the pelican fish catch. Zoos have had to get creative with their programming. The Florida Aquarium has launched a series of C-SPAN videos with a behind-the-scenes look at operations. The Denver Zoo invited fans to vote on the name of their new baby rhino. For a small donation, of course.

Juna ultimately won out. Life at the zoo continues. We continue to have births. Back in San Diego, spring births are in full swing. Newborn penguin chicks are learning to swim.

An Andean bear cub is taking its first steps. For the animals, this is a year just like any other year. But since normal visitation still looks to be a long way off, San Diego's congressional representatives have written a letter to Speaker Pelosi asking to direct a billion dollars of funding to the Institute of Museum and Library Services that would help keep zoos across the country afloat. In the meantime, empty parking lots have been serving a new purpose.

From Pittsburgh to Knoxville to the Bronx, zoos have become COVID-19 testing locations for humans. Follow Intelligence Matters wherever you get your podcasts. Is it possible to single out the World's Greatest Mom? A question for our Steve Hartman. This is the award for World's Greatest Mom. It's a statue of a man for some reason, but it's still an impressive title.

Which is why the Oz Engraving Company in Los Angeles cranks out nearly 10,000 of these trophies every year. That means at least 10,000 kids know the World's Greatest Mom. I thought my kids knew, too. I mean, it's always been obvious to me.

But when I invited them into my office, cameras rolling to record their choice, they were stumped. We have absolutely no clue who that is. No clue whatsoever.

No clue whatsoever. It's the World's Greatest Mom. It could be an Africa. Finding her would be a needle in a haystack, they said, but suggested I start by reaching out to our Kindness 101 students and on-the-road educators to see if we could find any kids who think they know the World's Greatest Mom. We're looking for the World's Best Mom.

Yeah, that's ours. What makes your mom the World's Best Mom? Our knee dermat before her knee dermat. We talked to more than a dozen kids. She plays games.

And each one gave us a very convincing reason. She always helps me. Why their mom is the best. She talks me in at night and she's very loving. She has a really big heart. She deserves the moon, but she would never ask you for it. That's sweet. My crew was impressed, but still hard-pressed to pick a winner. Did you hear the kids say anything that your mom didn't have?

I actually didn't, no. So how do we reconcile this? Each kid could have a perfect mom for them. Ooh, I like what you're thinking. That's true.

Maybe that's why they make so many of those trophies. Everybody has the World's Best Mom for them. It was a light bulb moment that led to a hallmark moment. In my almost 10 years, I feel like I have adapted to think that this mom is the best mom.

I can see the card now. Dear mom, I have adapted to think you're the world's greatest. She's going to love it because she loves everything about them. And that's what makes her one of the many World's Greatest. Why is this a man? Reese Witherspoon is an actress and producer to whom many TV viewers are turning during this time of quarantine.

Rita Braver has our Sunday profile. If you've been watching Little Fires Everywhere. Did you think you were just going to waltz into my house? To escape the COVID-19 quarantine.

I think our tone is the truth, even when it's ugly. Oh my God, are you going to do this every day? Or binging on The Morning Show. Alex, please sit down.

Nope. A spokesperson for the cruise line. You have Reese Witherspoon to thank. And not just because she co-stars in both programs. Witherspoon is also producer and guiding spirit behind these and many other hit productions. I do know what makes a good movie. I've been standing on movie sets since I was 14 years old. But even though she won a Best Actress Oscar playing June Carter Cash in the 2005 film Walk the Line.

You are not nothing. You're a good man. By 2010, Witherspoon was not getting the kinds of roles she wanted. That's when her husband, talent agent Jim Toth, made a suggestion. You read more than anybody I know, why don't you try and turn some of these into movies?

And I thought, well, that's a good idea, but how am I going to do that? And so the first book that I read before it came out and I thought, oh, this would be an amazing movie was Cheryl Strayed's memoir, Wild. So I called Cheryl and I said, would you ever be open to me starring in a movie about your life, but also be the producer? And she said, no, no, of course not. She said, yeah, sure, okay. I don't think she really knew at the time that I was a newbie producer. I bet she didn't care. But she just really believed in me and giving me that opportunity. I'm really grateful. I have only another 300 miles left to walk. Wild earned Witherspoon a 2015 Academy Award nomination. I didn't even know where I was going until I got there.

Hello, Anson. She also co-produced a hit film based on the bestseller Gone Girl. When two people love each other and can't make that work, that's the real tragedy. So did Hollywood start taking you seriously then and saying, okay, she really is a producer? Um, no. It was actually Big Little Lies. So it was actually the third successful production that started getting people going, oh, I think she's onto something. Hi, Madeline.

Madeline, it's so nice to see you. That star-studded series. We just stick with our story.

That's perjury. Won a slew of Emmy Awards. If we stick together, we'll be fine. And today, Reese Witherspoon is considered a major Hollywood influencer. Her production company, Hello Sunshine, founded on one key premise. We're an entertainment and media company that puts women at the center of every story. Sarah Harden is Hello Sunshine's CEO. Lauren Neustather is head of film and television. So what's the secret sauce?

How are you doing this? We're passionate about every story we tell. We read it and it ignites something inside of us. And reading is still at the heart of everything Reese Witherspoon does. It's time to reveal the May Reese's Book Club pick. Her hugely popular book club has catapulted many authors to the bestseller list. Do you get a kickback from the publishers for this?

You don't. No. To me, always authors were my rock stars growing up. So being able to, this is going to make me emotional, but like sometimes when our brain or say like, you changed my life financially or that like putting them in a position where they get read and seen when they deserve it so much is worth everything. We first spoke with Witherspoon and her colleagues just before things shut down. Now, of course, their offices are empty and all production has halted in Hollywood. Hi, can you hear me now?

Hey, Reese. So we checked in with the team via Zoom. The culture is different and it's going to be different going forward. And so I do think there's conversations across our company around how do we serve a new moment when we come out of this crisis.

And that may include a whole new way of making programs. Because you can't really shoot a TV show social distancing, can you? We're working around that. We'll have to figure that out. The thing that we're most confused about is love scenes. We're like, hmm, how are you going to make out?

We're just going to have to get creative. All of you are moms, right? And you're all still trying to work full time and have your kids around a lot.

How's that going? I sent a text to my husband saying I need half an hour when Riley does not come anywhere near this room. I have a three-year-old.

I will say my teenagers are incredible at helping me figure out tech problems. Which made us think of something we asked Reese Witherspoon in our earlier interview. And do you ever have any of those days, like the rest of us have, who don't do as much as you do, to say, I can't do one more thing today. I cannot do it. Oh my gosh.

Rita, I'll lay on the floor and cry, or I'll sit in my car and cry. Seriously? Yeah, sometimes I'm totally overwhelmed. I'm overwhelmed.

So what keeps you going? Um, I really want to change things. I really want, I see younger women in our industry and I want them to have a better experience.

I want to see that they have a beautiful idea of what the future could hold. Girls, I'm going to Harvard. You mean like on vacay? Let's all go!

Road trip! Yeah! And as for her own success, it turns out that Reese Witherspoon is a lot like Elle Woods in Legally Blonde. You got into Harvard Law? What, like it's hard?

A smart and beautiful woman who is sometimes underestimated, but never by herself. I will put in the hours and I bet on myself. I'm in my own lottery ticket.

And I always think that, you know, if no one else shows up, I know I will show up and I know I will do the work. Many families are whiling away these long weeks at home by binge watching. Jim Gaffigan and his family are coping by being binge watched. Well, this is my eighth weekly commentary during this time of quarantine.

Eight? Can you believe it? Who knows, maybe in a hundred years. So I'm going to watch a couple of these and think, wow, during that pandemic, people really got pale.

Kidding. We all know the world won't last another hundred years. It's day one billion of quarantine. I do appreciate the opportunity to check in. I'm going to do something besides stop my five children from trying to kill one another.

This is so red right now. And the cleaning. I have no idea how exhausting it was to watch my wife clean all day.

Who left the can in the bathroom? Another creative outlet I've engaged in during the shut in has been having dinner with my family streamed on YouTube every night. Welcome to dinner with the Gaffigans. I'm one of the Gaffigans and we're having dinner and you're invited. It started as a silly show where maybe you'd invite people in who are separated from loved ones or people that wanted a break from the news.

It is the evening report. I'm sure some people just watch so that they can see children with uncombed hair eat food prepared by a man slowly losing his mind. What if I told you guys I made this pasta by hand?

I wouldn't eat it. Pretty quickly we turned the show into a fundraiser so that we could raise funds for the front line and to help out the food insecure. Brigitte Lugo gave two dollars.

Thank you so much. It's not much, but it's something. The biggest surprise of dinner with the Gaffigans is that we've done 59 of them. Fifty-nine. That's right. That's more than I've done of just about anything.

I dreamed of dinner with the Gaffigans. Fifty-nine. Most television shows like CSI, whatever city they're on, they'll do maybe like 26 episodes. We've done 59. Chicken patty. And you know how much I've been paid? Nothing.

I need an agent. Be safe everyone. We're here to make you laugh again, see you next time on our show. The last time our nation's economy nearly ground to a halt, a newly elected president with the initials FDR tried just about everything to get it moving again. He led with bold actions and inspiring words. This morning, we look back to those times with two reports.

We begin with John Dickerson. Long lines for food, for relief, fear and despair. Though black and white, the pictures from the Great Depression echo America in the COVID era, national suffering and frustration.

The virus is new, the struggle is not. Our greatest primary task is to put people to work. In 1933, newly elected Franklin Delano Roosevelt confronted 25 percent unemployment, the collapse of banking and sweeping poverty. His response would reshape the way the country thought about itself, its president and democracy. The United States was in the fetal position and people really wondered whether we would ever get out of this. Jonathan Alter is author of The Defining Moment, FDR's Hundred Days and the Triumph of Hope.

We spoke inside the Manhattan home where Roosevelt slept the night he learned that he had won the presidency. Roosevelt believed in what he called action and action now. This nation is asking for action and action now. And he used that word in his inaugural address six times.

It actually got more applause than the only thing we have to fear is fear itself. While Roosevelt was ready for action, he had to make sure the country was, too. At a time when the tenets of democracy itself were being questioned, he recast the social contract, convincing the American public they were all in it together. What is the New Deal?

It's a deal between the government and the people on what they expect of one another. And before Roosevelt was president, it was basically every man for himself, rugged individualism, you know. The only real contact the American people had with the federal government was when they went to the post office to buy a stamp. Roosevelt changed all of that. He changed it by offering information and hope, says professor and historian David Wollner at the Roosevelt family estate in Hyde Park, New York. People would gather around their radios and they would listen to their president explain what the government was trying to do, and this was very, very reassuring. The famous fireside chats were few in number, but were symbolic of a connection between the patrician Roosevelt and those suffering with poverty, something the president understood because he had suffered, says Susan Dunn, a Roosevelt scholar at Williams College. I would say that the symbol of his presidency of his life is Warm Springs, Georgia. Roosevelt was stricken with polio in 1921.

He never walked again. During his recovery, he built a facility in Warm Springs, Georgia for other polio sufferers and took charge of its operation. And it helped him to relate to all kinds of people that's leaving a life of kindness, of respect, of responsibility for the people we know, as well as for the people we don't know. That's what a real democracy requires.

That's the moral basis of democracy. With the country's support for his spirit of experimentation, Roosevelt unleashed a flock of programs. They went to work building the infrastructure of this country in ways that are almost unimaginable now.

They built 39,000 schools, 2,500 hospitals, more than 300 airports, 800 state parks. The Hoover Dam, the Lincoln Tunnel, the Tennessee Valley Authority, among the many major projects created with a Congress willing to work with the president. That didn't mean Roosevelt was without enemies.

I think there's a kind of an assumption that everything for him worked. But he had very, very strong opposition. There was plenty of partisanship and there were plenty of Republicans and some Democrats who thought that he was becoming a dictator. Soon enough, Roosevelt would be fighting real dictators in the Second World War, which ultimately lifted the country out of the Depression. America became a beacon for the world, and its leader Roosevelt offered a new way to measure the worth of a nation.

And he said, you know, the test of our progress is not whether we provide much to those who have much, but whether we provide enough to those who have too little. That is the test posed by FDR for America's leaders today, not just to survive, but to plot a course for a way to emerge from this crisis stronger. FDR's fireside chats forever changed the way our presidents communicate. In fact, as Ted Koppel now tells us, they set an example for every president to come. Imagine the world a century ago.

There was film, of course, but the news was delivered almost exclusively in print. Tens of millions had been killed in the First World War. Tens of millions more died in a global influenza pandemic. After the war, in France, the American president, Woodrow Wilson, mustered his wartime allies behind the so-called League of Nations, but he couldn't sell the plan here at home. Wilson crisscrossed the country by rail, delivering one speech after another.

The effort almost killed him. It's easy to think, OK, presidents are always kind of barnstorming, going around the country, talking to the people. Jill Lepore is professor of American history at Harvard University. To campaign on your own behalf was considered undignified well through the 19th century. So even just going around the country was a novelty. In effect, Wilson was going door to door, but he had none of the tools that would amplify the campaigns of future presidents. Not that Warren Harding recognized radio's potential. As for Calvin Coolidge, they didn't call him Silent Cal for nothing. Herbert Hoover?

No, he never got the hang of radio either. That was left for Franklin Roosevelt and those famous fireside chats. This bank holiday, while resulting in many cases in great inconvenience, is affording us the opportunity to supply the currency necessary to meet the situation. And he's explaining to the American people he's about to shut down the banking system. And there's an incredible intimacy to his voice, but it has a quality of compassion to it. It is your problem, my friends, your problem no less than it is mine.

Together we cannot fail. This, remember, was at a time when radio announcers wore tuxedos to work, when their delivery was incredibly stylized. And what did FDR do? He memorized those talks so that his delivery was much more relaxed.

Never before have we had so little time in which to do so much. He understood that radio was a performative medium, that it wasn't like other kinds of performances. FDR, I think, kind of took that philosophy to the citizenry itself, that he would try to enlist their support by what would appear to be a kind of casual conversation, as opposed to delivering, you know, the State of the Union address. By the time Dwight Eisenhower decided to run for president in 1952, his Republican backers convinced Ike to try his hand at this new medium of television. Eisenhower Answers America. He agreed to participate in this campaign called Eisenhower Answers America. And they're completely staged, but he went into a studio and off of cue cards, he read these answers to Americans' questions. What party put prices up?

And then days later, the advertising agency picked up people who were waiting in line for tickets at Radio City Music Hall, brought them in, and had them read from cue cards the questions. And then the questions and the answers are cut together. General, the Democrats are telling me I never had it so good. Can that be true when America's billions in debt, when prices have doubled, when taxes break our backs? And Eisenhower says, no, and it's time for a change. And it's time for a change. Crude, but effective. He won. I, Dwight D. Eisenhower, do solemnly swear. And would become the first president to hold a televised press conference. Well, I see we're trying a new experiment this morning.

I hope it doesn't prove to be a disturbing influence. I have no announcements. We'll go directly to questions. Good evening. The first televised presidential debate, meanwhile, showed Richard Nixon's slightly ill at ease with a glistening upper lip. Television viewers, and ultimately the voters, watched and picked John F. Kennedy. He was the first president to master that medium. Could you tell us generally your feelings about your press conferences today and your feelings about how they're conducted? Well, you subject me to some abuse, but not to any lack of respect, I don't know.

You wanted law and order in this town. Ronald Reagan, with years of Hollywood experience under his belt, was, if anything, an even more polished performer. I will not make age an issue of this campaign. I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent's youth and inexperience. And the other presidents simply provided variations on a theme, the Carter grin that reminded folks of his humble origins as a peanut farmer, Bill Clinton's tentative nibble of the lower lip, that slightly querulous voice.

These allegations are false. These were simply adaptive techniques to a familiar medium. It wasn't until Donald Trump that we witnessed the end of an era, when television anchors and correspondents who once served as gatekeepers between politicians and their public were simply brushed aside. He and I spoke on the day he was nominated. Between Facebook and Twitter, I have over 20 million people, and that's a big audience. And it's also you and the media and everybody's watching, so it allows me to get across a point very quickly, in seconds, I mean, there was never anything like that. And that gives me a big, big base in terms of a campaign. In terms of a presidency, I don't think I'd use it very much at all.

Clearly, he changed his mind. Never have presidential thumbs communicated so much to so many with such direct impact. Trump doesn't need the intervention of the media giants. The tweets generate so much interest and attention, that the networks and cable channels and newspapers are all but powerless to dismiss them or him. And the dirty little secret is that while Donald J. Trump has done everything he can to wreck the profession of journalism, They are truly an enemy of the people. The fake news enemy of the people. They really are.

They are so bad. He's been very, very good for the business. More than any predecessor, President Trump sets the agenda for what we read, what we hear. Trump doesn't bash anybody until they hit him. And if they or anyone hits him, then look out. And what we watch. He posted 30 times on Twitter on Sunday alone.

You may love him or loathe him, but just try to ignore him. Time for some reflections on Mother's Day. On this Mother's Day from Faith Salie.

This is a strange Mother's Day. For millions of us, there'll be no special brunches, no visits to extended family. We'll be home. We'll be home because there are brave, essential workers in our world saving lives, delivering packages, checking out our groceries.

They are masked superheroes. There's also another kind of essential worker in many homes with kids, mom. Right now, in addition to everything else she used to be, she's teacher, cook, arts and crafts guru, hand-washing czar. And on top of that, she's still mom.

The one who hugs you, the one to cry to, who scratches your back and worries about you. I think of all the moms I know getting up each day knowing it will be basically the same as yesterday, but nevertheless scheming ways to inject joy into their kids' lives. The impromptu dance party, the thumbs up to living rooms being turned into obstacle courses, pancakes for dinner, PJs for school. Our children's lives contracted unfathomably fast. And while our kids may feel virtually connected to the outside, it's parents who are truly providing their world. It's a lot. It's a challenge. It's a gift.

Did I mention this is hard? I'm no hero. A lot of us consider the day a win if we don't yell at the kids and remember to change our leggings. One more, one more. If we make our kids laugh, just keep the world spinning. Here in New York, we have the 7 p.m. clap. We lean out our apartment windows and bang on pots and pans and cheer for essential workers. Today, a standing ovation from moms everywhere. Essential workers of the soul. I'm Jane Pauley. Happy Mother's Day.

Please stay safe and join us when our trumpet sounds again next Sunday morning. This week, Stephen Law, ally of Mitch McConnell and one of Washington's biggest midterm money men. List for me the two Senate races where you think Republicans have the best chance of taking a Democratic seat away, Nevada, New Hampshire, not Georgia. Well, New Georgia's right up there, but New Hampshire is a surprise in New Hampshire. People really just kind of don't like Maggie has for more from this week's conversation. So the take out with Major Garrett on Apple podcast or wherever you get your podcasts.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-28 12:13:44 / 2023-01-28 12:36:00 / 22

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