A special edition looking back at President Trump's first week, as Theresa May visits the White House. Plus an interview with actress Rebecca Hall.
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The world has had a week to get used to President Trump. From the
inauguration last Friday to today's press conference with Theresa May.
Everybody knew there would have to take him seriously. Is it now we
also took him literally? I think a lot of the voters who voted for
Trump take him seriously, but not literally. It is going to be only
America first. America first. People took him seriously, the press never
did. You know, the essence of what he was about was, I'm going to
change. Whether it was building a wall, which he really... You know,
I'm not so sure that is really going to happen. It will begin immediate
construction, a border wall. Supporters took him seriously, but
not literally. Does it work? Does torture work? The answer is, yes,
absolutely. Tonight, a specially extended
Newsnight exploring the first seven days of Donald
Trump's presidency and what they Just over 12 months ago,
the British Parliament debated banning Donald Trump from this
country in response to the perceived toxicity
of his electioneering rhetoric. Today, the British Prime Minister -
who, as Home Secretary described some of that rhetoric as "divisive,
unhelpful and wrong" - arrived in Washington
and invited him to come Indeed, at a joint press
conference a few hours ago, both were keen to portray
the beginning But she mentioned the so-called
special relationship eight times in a speech to Republican
politicians yesterday, while today Trump's White House
managed to misspell her name three So just how special is that
relationship and just how much of a political risk is Theresa May
taking by swallowing any personal distaste and hoping that a President
who delights in bellowing "America First" might somehow be
persuaded to put Britain second? Newsnight's David
Grossman was watching. How presidents and prime ministers
interact matters. A great deal of effort goes into making sure they
hit it off. Some relationships, however, barely register. Others
become central to both. Into which category this latest iteration will
fall, well, today we began to find out. Nothing was allowed to get in
the way, not even the oval office lamp. An executive order, and it was
gone. Back in the room, the bust of Churchill. This is the original.
After a private meeting in the Oval Office, a press conference, where
the complement is really flowed. Today, the United States renews our
deep bond with Britain, military, financial, cultural and political.
One of the great bonds. We pledge our lasting support to this most
special relationship. I am delighted to be able to congratulate you on
what was a stunning election victory. As you say, the invitation
is an indication of the strength and importance of the special
relationship. The relationship that exists between our countries, based
on the bonds of history, family, kinship and common interests. The
positivity was rather interrupted by the questions from reporters. Two
picked by the President, two by Theresa May. You have said before
that torture works, you have praised Russia, you have said you want to
ban some most -- Muslims from coming to America. You have suggested there
should be punishment for abortions. This was your choice for a question?
There goes this relationship! It is 205 years since the British set fire
to the White House. Theresa May had been advised to do something similar
today. Instead, her softer approach appears to have achieved results,
reassurance on the key military alliance. On defence and security
Corporation, we are united in the reclamation of Nato as the Bill
Walker of our defence, and we have confirmed our commitment to this
Alliance. You have confirmed you are 100% behind Nato. Mr Trump also said
it was too early to talk about dropping sanctions on Russia. On
torture, Mr Trump is on record as saying he thinks it works.
Crucially, he says his new Defence Secretary does not. I don't
necessarily agree, but I would tell you that he would override, because
I am giving him that power. He is an expert, he is highly respected, he
is the general's general. There was the inevitable question of personal
chemistry. The hard-working daughter of a vicar, the brush TV extrovert,
have you found anything in common? I am not as brash as you might think,
I think we are going to get along very well. It is interesting, I am a
people person, I think you are all so. I can often tell how I get along
with some of the very early, and I believe we will have a fantastic
relationship. The President's people judging powers let him down when he
tried to hold the Prime Minister's hand as he walked her to her car.
Aside from a little awkwardness, both sides would have been happy
with today. Our political editor,
Nick Watt was watching that He joins me now. Will they be having
a small glass of sherry in Theresa May's camp? They are ecstatic, this
visit was fraught with risks for Theresa May. Many Tories said she
was rushing over to Washington to soon after the inauguration. In
Number 10, they are pointing to two big games, in the first place, that
commitment, according to Theresa May, that Donald Trump is 100%
behind Nato. Only a few weeks ago he said Nato is obsolete in its current
form. Crucially, she said that Nato will have to meet concerns,
everybody has to pay their fair share and it has to be reconfigured
to tackle terrorism. The second big gain they are taking his big support
for a UK - US free trade agreement. Interestingly, those two were voiced
by Theresa May, and not by Donald Trump. Her tactics have done the job
in the short-term, but necessarily delivering in the long term? Theresa
May is essentially doing what every UK Prime Minister since Harold
Wilson and Jim Callaghan has done, get close to the US President. She
says she's doing it in her way and giving herself some wriggle room.
She believes Tony Blair perhaps appeared to write a blank check for
George Bush after 9/11. On Russia, she made it clear she disagrees with
Donald Trump and thinks that sanctions should remain in place. He
was noncommittal on that. Kelly and Conway was saying maybe the US would
be lifting sanctions. Think what she got on Nato. Essentially, Donald
Trump has given that commitment and she can say to EU partners and Nato
partners in Europe, who have doubts about the UK heading off to the US,
she is able to say she got a commitment that he is 100% behind
it. You may do well on the substance, but in the end it is
decided, often come on the optics, and what will be the abiding memory
of the visit? The handshake, the holding hands.
Dr Leslie Vinjamuri is an expert in the transatlantic partnership.
Professionally, this must be a fraught time for you. What is the
transatlantic partnership? It has been an interesting visit today. It
was a meeting that could have gone very badly. But I think it is
exactly right to say the optics, the symbolism of the visit have so far
seemed to be very important. The transatlantic relationship, what is
it? Historically, it has been a commitment by the US and the United
Kingdom to promote and secure the Liberal International order. This is
what everybody has been worried about that Donald Trump is walking
back, in very significant and dramatic ways, from the liberal into
-- international order. Theresa May seemed to be talking about
globalism, of holding the liberal international order, when Donald
Trump seemed to be running away from that at a rate of knots? Not only
was the press conference interesting, but last night, when
she spoke to the Republicans, she made a point of saying the United
States and the United Kingdom would work together to promote democracy.
They would not do it by intervening in the internal affairs of other
states. It was a global agenda, a liberal agenda. It was, in one
sense, in another sense, the American media seemed a lot keener
to ask questions about Mexico and Russia than they did about the other
half of the so-called special relationship? That is right. There
are all sorts of issues. The question now that we need to
remember is that Donald Trump was very respectful, but there is a
sense in which you always think that maybe he is humouring whoever he is
speaking to. The rubber hits the road in the days and weeks to come.
Will the special relationship really mean much to Donald Trump? Very hard
to know. In the great scheme of things, for all of his Scottish
ancestry and what have you, how high up on his to-do list will be giving
Britain something? You know, I do think that Donald Trump is committed
to a US- UK bilateral trade deal. What amounts to is minuscule
compared to what Theresa May needs to secure from European partners. At
the end of the day, Donald Trump as a set of priorities and very few of
them have a lot to do with the UK, right? So, we have to watch this
space. Thank you very much indeed. The Conservative MEP -
and arch-Brexiteer - You get described as that all the
time. This wasn't really in the script, all of these wonderful new
freedoms, the liberation that follows from shrugging off the
shackles of Brussels, the first thing the Prime Minister does is
break bread with a self-proclaimed protectionist? Well, with a view to
getting a trade deal between the largest and fifth-largest economy is
on the planet, which will be of huge benefit to both. 1 million Brits
turn up to work for American companies every day, we are the
single biggest investor there, they are the single biggest investor
here. The only thing that has not followed up has been the trade,
because it has been controlled by Brussels instead of us. That can now
change. As far as I can see, there are almost no losers, and a lot of
winners, including European allies. Glass three quarters full for you?
Are you worried about some of the less savoury elements of the
election campaign, seeing the British Prime Minister essentially,
post-Brexit, having to go there and make friendly noises? I was not a
Trump supporter. Are you now? Seems to me that the only proper attitude
for a friend of America and a friend of American democracy is to say you
have made your decision and this remains a powerful alliance. Whoever
is in the White House? As long as America remains committed to the
values of the West, this is our one key alliance. It has since 1941. You
mentioned 1941, it seems, and we haven't got the detail of the
executive order, it looks like it might have signed a ban on refugees
on Holocaust Remembrance Day. How does that play with Western values?
There were all sorts of aspects of his platform... Just focus on that
one? As I say, I would not have voted for him. But Theresa May's job
is not to go and lecture him and what her finger, her job is to get
the best deal for us, and, by implication, the best deal for the
broader community of Western countries. I think she did that
today. She came out with a commitment on Nato, which would have
delighted the Europeans. She slightly softened his position on
the issue of sanctions on Russia. She has not just gone and played a
subordinate role at all, it is clear there is give and take. She has
established her own vision of what the special relationship can be and
she has made relationships, by the way, not just with him. The US is a
system with a divided government. An awful lot, in a very short press
conference! That she has also been meeting, you know, the other leaders
in Congress. This will be a key relationship, bigger than any two
leaders. Do you buy this conflation that is so broad now of Brexit, with
Trump, that without Brexit there would be no tramp? Given your
established rejection of much of what he said and stood for in the
election campaign, do you feel, as the arch Brexiteer, a degree of
responsible to? I think the parallel has been greatly overdone. A big
part of Donald Trump's appeal, as I understand it, was that he did not
want free trade with China. A big part of Vote Leave's agenda was that
we do. Brexit has a globalist and internationalist flavour that I
don't think was there. The one thing that they have in common, I will
concede this, was anger against what was perceived to be a failed
governing class. I think it would be a mistake to see Brexit as being
nativist or protectionist, it is much more about re-engagement with
the wider world. Do you think they should have been a bit of finger
wagging, that said? I have no idea what happened behind closed doors. I
can only infer from what was said in front of those doors afterwards. The
issues that people have concerns about, Nato, Russia sanctions and so
on, he seems to have slightly softened his position on. I accept
you are not as enthusiastic about drawing the two together some other
Brexiteers, do you think the world is a safer place now Donald Trump is
in the White House? He was not my preferred candidate. I think the
world is a safer place when English-speaking democracies were
together for the rule of law. English-speaking democracies? The
alliance between the United Kingdom and the United States has been a far
greater guarantor of human happiness than anybody likes to admit for the
last 100 years. Imagine a world without it. We think of these
universal values of free speech, equality for women, democracy, there
would have been nothing universal about them if the Second World War
ended differently, or the Cold War ended differently. We should
remember the value of that alliance and what it has done, not just for
us, but the other countries. But the alliance that was already extant? I
just wanted to direct your view towards continental Europe. The
candidate for the French presidency said that Britain lives in
equilibrium with Europe, but now it is becoming the junior partner of
the United States? On from being a big player... The absurdity of that
is that the European Union is that political integration. It is about
turning countries into something bigger, a political union. No
country in the world is more jealous of its sovereignty than the United
States. The idea that this could be anything other than an alliance of
democracies, and I have one that goes wider, bringing in other
friendly countries, that we would be drawn into a political union...
English-speaking, or would we allow others? All friendly countries.
There are so much virtue signalling, including from some British
politicians, who are indulging themselves by signalling their
distaste for this or that aspect of Donald Trump's domestic policy. They
might just feel displaced. But if they were Prime Minister and not
engaging with the will's largest economy, and our most important
military ally, it would be a serious dereliction of duty.
It would seem that the spokespeople and cheerleaders who spent much
of last year insisting that Trump should be taken seriously but not
literally, or that we should stop listening to his actual words
and focus instead on what was in his heart are going to need
Within days of assuming office Trump has signed executive orders
addressing inter alia, pre-election pledges about banning
all refugees from some Muslim countries and building that wall
Newsnight's diplomatic editor Mark Urban has been considering just
how significant those signatures will prove to be.
The speech followed by a dispute over how many had attended heralded
something loud and clear. From early morning tweets to abuse, President
Trump is no different from campaign trail Trump. The idea of repealing
Obamacare, the affordable care act, has been counted many times on the
trail. And it is somewhere where the president and Republican lawmakers
can agree in principle. But signing off on his first executive order,
Trump could not scrap Obamacare in one stroke. That would lead the Mac
relieved 20 million Americans uncovered. Republicans have thought
about the alternative for some time but they have not necessarily agreed
on what the policy is so I think there would have to be some
agreement around policy and then the timing and sequencing has to come
into play. I have thought this would be a several month process. In some
areas, for example on resuming water boarding, the news has not been
quite what it seems. When Isis is doing things people have not heard
of since medieval times, would I feel strongly about water boarding?
As far as I am concerned, we have to fight while with fire. In an ABC
interview President Trump said it is clear torture works. But it is clear
he the CIA director opposes it. I think he's communicating what voters
feel and what he feels himself. At the same time that is different from
the US government establishing a policy. We had the opposite from the
Defence Secretary, Jim Mattis saying he has more success with a can of
beer and a pack of cigarettes than anyone would using enhanced
interrogation. That is uncertain, what about the Mexican wall? It is a
key campaign promise but paying for it is proving entirely contentious.
First the American president cancelled a planned visit, then
President Trump talked about using a 20% import tariffs but legislation
looks inevitable. It cannot be done simply by executive order. The issue
now is can he rule by executive order and I think there are real and
straights on that. The first constraint is obviously Congress
itself which can actually legislate to stop him using executive orders
if it wants, but anything Donald Trump sits in his office and signs,
Congress will have the power to either fund or not fund. And then
there is the government machine. Draft executive orders have already
leaked, White House staff have badmouthed each other and civil
servants have been tweeting subversively. I'm sure that in the
federal workforce there are a lot of people who are very unhappy about
Trump's collection, and will provide some kind of passive resistance to
his leadership or active resistance. I re-hope people don't do that and
get over it. It is everyone's DTE to try and make the administration that
you're working for as successful as possible for the good of the
country. For the moment, just one weekend, Trump still has plenty of
political momentum, but with so many executive orders, uncertainty over
how they will work, and fewer appointees in place, the
complications have already started to multiply.
In a moment we'll be talking to the foreign affairs expert,
But first joining me now from Florida is the veteran
republican political strategist Roger Stone, who is a long term
Mr Stone, everyone was waiting for a pivot, they were waiting for the old
phrase we campaign in poetry and govern in prose, but there isn't
going to be one, is there? No, nor is there going to be any honeymoon.
Donald Trump is exactly who he appears to be. He is his own man.
He's not going to fit into some structure designed by others, and I
believe that as long as he continues to implement his agenda, and make
progress on the big issues, these small kerfuffle over his Twitter
feed and the of the press and his correct in my view criticism of the
media will not matter. What matters to the American people are results.
Let me pick you up on that first point about him being his own man
who is not going to try and fit into anybody else's worldview, how does
that square with what he said about torture and fitting into James
Mattis's worldview? I could not understand your question. You said
he will be his own man and not be moulded by anyone else's views but
the first thing he said in a press Conference today is he has allowed
James Mattis to remould the attitude on torture. He will follow the lead
of his Defence Secretary. First of all he has to do what is both legal
and constitutional, regardless of what his personal views are. I
understand his disgust at the tactics of Isis and I think he is
trying to signal that he will do everything he can to crush Isis. At
the same time, he like every other president has to follow the law.
General Mattis is a good man, he knows what he is doing. I think he
is wise to follow his lead. Will they be torture under a Trump
Administration, knowing what you know of Donald Trump? I think he
will push the limits legally and constitutionally. He wants to get
tough on Isis as he can but at the end of the day he still has to abide
by the law. You are a veteran of the dark arts of politicking, you seem
to revel in the rascal -ish nature of the profession, so when you put
it out that Ted Cruz' father was involved in the assassination of
John F. Kennedy, one imagines you doing it with a wry smile and a
thumbs up to the gallery. Donald Trump has a different view. When he
spoke about being in Scotland the day before Brexit, the calendar in
his own Twitter reveals he did not go there until the day after. Does
he believe all of this himself even though the evidence contradicts him?
I think there is some poetic licence there, but I am committed to the
truth. And the issue about the Russians and the elections which is
unproven... That is why I have not asked you about that. When he says
he was in Scotland the day before the result came in and he predicted
it all and his own Twitter account reveals he landed in Scotland the
day after, does he believe it when he says it? Perhaps he was mistaken.
Do you think any voter really cares? Identifying daycare. -- identity
they care. When he says it was not raining during the inauguration but
people could feel the raindrops landing on their head, it does he
put himself in a position where he has persuaded himself that what he
wants to be true is true? Well, having gone to the inauguration,
having taken the occasion to find and where a morning suit, something
I have wanted to do my entire life, I have to tell you it did not rain.
There was a nanosecond when there was a sprinkling of raindrops, it
was over in less than two minutes. I know because my wife did not want to
get drenched, so I think on this occasion he was right. But not on
the dates for arriving in Scotland. Congratulations on the morning suit.
I am joined now by Anne Applebaum from the Washington Post. IU as
upbeat about Donald Trump? Funnily enough I thought Mr Trump sounded
less upbeat than I thought he was. I am holding fire. I will wait to see
what happens. What would be good news, what would reassure you? What
would reassure me, unfortunately, would be if Trump had announced he
had thought it through, he had listened to his cabinet, he had
spoken to experts, he had talked to people in the State Department, he
had talked people in other departments and he had decided that
the Liberal International order and the rule of law, and the rules based
order that Theresa May spoke about, that these are things worth
preserving and he has decided to preserve them. That would reassure
me. And at that point his core support goes nuts? I am not sure
because I am not sure what his core supporters were voting for him for?
The wall and the ban on Muslims. It was not clear how much it matters.
They clearly that is to some people but everybody, I am not sure. Is
there a danger now that everybody is hearing what they want to hear and
in fact he does move around quite a lot and possibly even today we may
have seen evidence that his opinion can be in some way changed by the
last person who made an impression on him. Theresa May very keen to
come out and talk about Nato and Russian sanctions, if he is in a
room with someone more hawkish tomorrow or more protectionist, he
may switch again? As many as are of the opinion, say "aye". To the
contrary, "no". One of the techniques he used to win the
election, you can look at the way they used Facebook and his team used
the Internet, they would put at dozens of different messages. People
heard what they wanted to hear and they screamed out what they didn't
want to hear. You and I are not used to it. We are confused by it and we
find it contradictory. It was an election and it did help him get
elected. The question is, can it help him rule? The statements he
made about the wall and making Mexico pay for the wall, what has
happened, he has destroyed relationships with one of America's
most important allies and trading partnerships, the peso has crashed,
people believe the border may come back, Nafta may be regulated which
means hundreds and hundreds of businesses will be in trouble. They
all heard some messages that he was sending to some people and those
have now had a defect in real life. Now that he is president, that meant
that instead of strewing messages out there and letting them sink into
where they might, that will have effects in the real world. Do you
believe Theresa May had much choice in trying to get to the front of the
queue? Her visit to Washington was a real indication of how much more
restricted Britain's choices are and how much less sovereignty Britain
has been used to. Britain has no choice. She politically needs
somewhere she can go when Britain leads the EU. She needs someone she
can point to as a partner. I had worried that one of her partners
might be Russia or China or Turkey... She is in Turkey next! She
would need somebody out of the periphery. She might go to the anti
democratic world. And Trump as a blessing from the sky has given her
this opportunity. But almost everything she said in her speech
yesterday, and everything she said about global Britain in the last few
days, contradicts directly what Trump has said. But they held hands.
Anne Applebaum thank you. We have, inevitably,
been viewing the nascent Trump Presidency and the new world
order many believe it will presage Let's have a little look
now at how it appears What I see is America becoming more
protectionist, becoming more nationalist, that they are
withdrawing from global trade and global agreements, and, at the same
time, China taking up that position. The President was at Davos to give a
speech, stating China's desire to take a leadership on global trade,
which will be for the prosperity and peace of the world, and also taking
the lead on climate change. If it is business deals,
renegotiating trade deals, cancelling them, amending them, that
is one thing. If it's going to be a projection of military power, again,
that is going to be very dangerous. But, of course, from Mr Trump's
first utterances, it appears he realises those dangers. The European
partners are very much in doubt whether the United States will
continue to be a trustful ally in Nato. Then, fundamentally, I think
it is important to emphasise that in his inauguration speech, he hasn't
emphasised the value of human rights, democracy, of liberal order,
which is really another fundamental the global order, as we have built
that, together with the United States. His brief comments on
torture just prove that he is ready to really question fundamental
principles. The historian Simon Schama is here,
alongside Ted Malloch, who is widely tipped for a role
in the Trump administration - possibly as Ambassador
to the European Union. You don't have any news for us?
Maybe next week. Simon, you have taken to social media and coined the
Rhine Theresa the appeaser. Anything to appease your fears today? Not
particularly. The spectacle of them holding hands, actually, doesn't in
any rational way speak to your question, it did turn my stomach
somewhat. We don't know that it didn't turn hers. The fear that she
is cosying up to a regime that may prove to be, as an historian, may
stand comparison with other 20th-century horrors, are you
stepping back? I think scary authoritarian regimes, not to
inaccurately paraphrase, are scary and authoritarian each in their own
way. I think this is starting to look incredibly scary and
authoritarian. Particularly, actually, banning the possibility of
the Environmental Protection Agency delivering data to the public. All
sorts of things, I think, are serious. But the most worrying part
of all, which does not speak to the authoritarian issue, but something
more loopy, is his lack of contact with reality. Today, he doubled down
on the extraordinary assertion that between three million and 5 million
illegal immigrant votes were cast. It is absolutely, this was actually
delivered to a reception in which, the first reception he had with
congressional leaders, there were treated to being harangued on this
fantastic story, with no evidence whatsoever. He is starting an
investigation into an election he won! This is beyond absurd. There
are three objectives there that I will pick up on, absurd, scary and
authoritarian. Do you recognise what he describes? Nonobvious above.
Where would you like me to start? -- none of the above. The voter fraud
allegations, the Democrats swung 3 million illegal votes, but not put
them anywhere that would win an election? Well, let's have an
investigation, if somebody has evidence... The evidence comes from
Greg Phillips! You have the investigation and come to the
conclusions afterwards. We have an investigation into Russian hacking
and find out the truth. Hopefully we have imperial evidence, rather than
dismissing them out of hand. Why not look at them? Even on the liberal
left, we are willing to look at actual facts. Empirical evidence,
obviously... A social scientist. So climate change is on the table?
People have different points of view. We are talking about empirical
data? 10% of hard scientists have some questions. Let me draw the
conversation out, if I may, and look at whether or not you feel, as
somebody that clearly Donald Trump holds in high regard, that we are at
a pivotal point in Western history? I think we are at a turn in Western
history. Obviously we have had a change from one regime to another
regime, so you have that. But you also have a more national orientated
and more populist orientated political caste. Not just in the
United States, in many countries around the world. Maybe a new order
is beginning to appear. Nationalist, populist, they are not new ideas?
Well, in this form, this time, yes. Frankly, are there any new ideas
since Plato? We could have that debate. Nationalism and populism
rarely lead to harmony. Lead to harmony? Well, there are different
kinds of nationalism, different kinds of populism. America first,
let's take that slogan. Do you know who used the term first? Well,
Wilson? But it was reprehensible when he used it. Maybe when
Lindbergh used it it was more reprehensible. Lindbergh was an
appeaser. He was soft on the Nazis. It is an irony that Trump has moved
Churchill back into his office, who detested everything about the slogan
and what America first stood for. But he needed America to help save
Britain at a certain point in time. Trump is not intellectually
connected with that wonderful litany of intellectual history. He is
interested in literally putting America first, re-establishing
America's place in the world, America's economy. That is the thing
to underscore. He got elected on a platform that said the middle class
has suffered for at least 15 years. Not just the last eight years, but
it has suffered and it needs to come back. Why is he proposing a tax cut
that will benefit, hugely and disproportionally, the top 1%? You
know about supply-side economics, it has worked before. It hasn't. At
work for John Kennedy, it worked for Ronald Reagan and it could work this
time. In four years we could have a balanced budget. We had a balanced
budget under Bill Clinton. Newt Gingrich was the head of Congress
and they did it together. I'm interested in the distinction
between literally and seriously. It has been a recurring theme. You
taken seriously, but not literally. You have always taken him literally?
I think you could taking either way and people obviously have. He's
President now, he is not campaigning. That is true. There
should be some difference, you know. Have you seen any yet? In five days,
I think we are beginning to... I think we saw some of it today, in
the meeting under the summit with Theresa May. Thank you both. Are you
seeing any cause for cautious optimism, or a delusion of
pessimism? No. Thank you very much indeed. Let's look at the papers. No
surprise for guessing what is on the front pages. I will keep you in
suspense. There is a prize for guessing.
It was 1974, on a struggling local American TV channel.
A little known reporter shot herself on live television,
apparently claiming it was a protest against the drive for blood
As with every suicide, the answers to why she did it
are likely more complex and Christine Chubbock had
struggled with longstanding mental health issues.
A new film, Christine, is out today - and charts the days
leading up to that awful moment, captured on live TV.
Katie Razzall went to meet its leading actor, Rebecca Hall.
Broadcast in real-time, live TV is almost old hat
But as a way of recounting world events as they happen,
it can be dramatic, compelling and uncontrollable.
I'm a reporter at WZRB and I'm always on the lookout...
In 1974 in Sarasota, Florida, the worst did, when a local
television reporter who suffered long-term mental health issues shot
herself live on-air, claiming it was a protest
at being asked to sensationalise the journalism she held dear.
She is, in some small sense, famous on the internet,
as being one of the sort of top ten most shocking things that ever
Because she took her life on live TV.
She said, "In keeping with the network's desire for blood
and guts television, here's a first -
It's an act of terrorism, almost, in that sense.
She is making it political, and she is making a comment
on the thing that she very much didn't want to do.
She was someone who was under constant pressure from the higher
ups, in this small network, to create juicy reporting
It's believed only a few hundred people watched
Christine Chubbuck's death live on TV.
The nature of the internet means these days suicides live on Facebook
have been watched by people around the world.
I think if it happened now, I think it would be inescapable.
And that is actually rather disturbing to think about.
I suppose it's true that now people do kill themselves on Facebook Live
and they have difficulties getting the material off, their relatives.
And one shouldn't have access to that footage,
In the film, she says, "can you record this?"
I understand there's a tape, and I also understand
that the family went to court and got it from the station
There's a lot of rumour and speculation about it.
I don't really want to get into that.
I don't think anyone should see that and we should respect the family's
Otherwise it is grisly and sensationalistic
There's a reason this idea is catching fire
They didn't show that, they cut out just before.
They didn't have the guts to show the whole thing.
They could have doubled their ratings.
The equivalent now would be clickbait.
What's the most shocking way you can describe a story so that
someone will click on it and read the article?
Because you get more ratings, or whatever term
I pledge to you tonight, from this office, that I will do
everything in my power to ensure that the guilty are
It's like, the 1970s were, in many respects,
But also, you've got, for the first time, there is extreme
violence in people's homes, on television, because
And it really is, I think there are so many things
that are conflating, and Christine's story sort of
The fact that she asked for her show to be video taped that day indicates
Clearly, is a timely story because not just Hall's Christine,
but another film about Chubbuck debuted at last year's
No, no, not the tape of the suicide, but anything at all...
I always think the thing about any piece of drama that's set in another
time is it says something about the time in which it's set,
but it arguably say something even more significant about the time
And, you know, when I think of 1974 in America, and I have read a lot
around this in preparation for this film, there's a real sense of...
Paranoia and uncertainty about where the world's going.
You're coming out of the 60s with a sense of, you know,
the stakes are life-and-death, where are we going, what's happening
I don't think that audiences right now are going to have a hard time
As you know, I have a running war with the media.
They are among the most dishonest human beings on earth.
We need to be vigilant, and the way that we do
that is through the press, and for it to be proper journalism
that delivers us the information that we need in order
I thought she was meant to get some fresh flowers?
Yeah, I told her to, it must have slipped her mind.
Well, I can't think about anything else, sorry,
For better or worse, Christine was a harbinger for a lot
of things that we still, as a society, have a rough
Ultimately, it's quite easy to humanise characters
Even characters who have awful things happen to them,
and are victims of things, but remain essentially good.
It's crucial for artists to humanise people that we'd
rather look away from, or would rather just
You know, put that person in a box and just label it monster,
crazy or whatever, and let's just not think about it.
Katie Razzall there with Rebecca Hall, the star of the new film
Christine which opens at the weekend. There is an outbreak of
unanimity on the picture desk. This will soon be the iconic image of
Donald Trump. It is hard to see who is helping hood down the stairs but
Donald Trump holding hands with Prime Minister Theresa May. The
Daily Mail has gone for the open goal. -- Daily Mirror.
They have some insect photographs showing even more physical warmth
between the two. And then the Guardian has a more sombre headline
but the photograph remains the same. All three papers referring to the
Nato pledge which Theresa May revealed she had prised from the
president. And that is all that we have time for. Good night.