Analysis of the day's headlines with Kirsty Wark. Is Facebook cleaning up its act? Is Donald Trump mentally unfit for office? The Chelsea pensioners review the new Churchill movie.
Browse content similar to 12/01/2018. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!
The President of the United States
uses the crudest of language
to dismiss immigrants from Haiti,
El Salvador and parts of Africa
before calling for more immigration
from Norway instead.
Today he went off for his annual
medical exam as his alleged words
quickly wound up in the Wall Street
We'll ask the African Union's
ambassador to Washington
if the President is just
a straightforward racist.
Also tonight, guess
who's had an epiphany?
People will see more posts from
people they are connected to and
less content from publishers.
Facebook was built to connect you to
the stories and people that matter
most so we're going to keep
listening to you and working hard to
make sure that's what
you see everyday.
Is Mark Zuckerberg signalling
that his all-powerful creation
was actually doing more
harm than good?
We ask the content creators,
the advertisers and a leading
psychologist whether this will make
Facebook a happier, even more
Now is the time to negotiate
in order to obtain the best
You cannot reason with a tiger
when your head is in its mouth!
We engaged some very special
Newsnight reviewers of the latest
portrayal of Churchill
and his crucial decision in 1940.
My parents were quite distressed
because they had gone
through the First World War.
But I was quite excited,
I thought it was
going to be interesting.
Donald Trump, no stranger
to outbursts and inappropriate
and insulting language,
has taken it to another level,
and has been labelled a racist today
by African politicians and diplomats
after he was reported to have
described some immigrants coming
from Africa and Haiti as coming
from "shithole countries"
during a meeting at the Oval Office
at which US senators were present.
Trump denies using such derogatory
language but the African Union said
it was alarmed by Trump's
"very racist comments".
So just how damaging is this
to a President who has shown himself
unconcerned about making enemies?
A few minutes ago I spoke to our
North America editor, Jon Sopel.
To what extent is this the furore
of a different order
to previous problems with Trump's
language and his insults?
Well, I think, Kirsty, in a way
it is part of a piece, isn't it?
Donald Trump has got himself
in trouble with, kind of,
comments that have a bearing
on race before.
Whether it be the fact that
Barack Obama was not an American,
allegedly, something he withdrew
in the later stages of the campaign.
His comments on Charlottesville.
The way he seemed to equate
antiracism protesters with the,
kind of, far, far right,
Ku Klux Klan, people carrying
swastikas at a demonstration
And now this.
But I suspect what's different
about this is that this has
an international resonance.
It is as though, if you accept
the accounts of the meeting,
and they haven't been strenuously
denied by the White House,
that Donald Trump believes
they are the Nato countries,
the ASEAN countries,
and the shithole countries.
But that has huge applications,
of course, for, as you say,
The African Union have come out
tonight, various ambassadors
from other countries mentioned,
and also, of course,
the Haitian ambassador.
To what extent does this do
damage to relations,
or is Trump aside from the ordinary
as far as this case?
Well, I think it does damage
in the sense of, you know,
American leadership in the world.
But Donald Trump hasn't particularly
sought to have American
leadership in the world,
except when it suits him.
Except when he needs the support
of others to rally around him.
And I think that you saw it on the,
kind of, vote where the condemnation
of the announcement of moving the US
embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
America found itself
very, very isolated,
and angry at that isolation.
And that is the price you pay with,
kind of, making these
And it does seem that it
has damaged America.
America's standing in the world.
What about America's
standing at home?
I mean, among his supporters
I suspect if you ask people
about what the president had said,
you'd say was it presidential?
A pollster would find
that they would say no.
Were people surprised?
I'm sure people would say no.
And does it change your
view of Donald Trump?
Also, probably know,
because this is what a lot
of people voted for,
a president who can say
what they're thinking,
but they're not saying.
John, thanks very much indeed.
We hope to speak to the ambassador
from the African Union very shortly.
It's hard to estimate
the impact Facebook has had
on politics and our lives.
What finally did for Facebook's
some might say
enslavement of the media?
Was it all the fake stuff,
the political interference
in the American election?
Or an increasing distaste
about the mining and manipulation
of the tiniest details
of our online lives?
Now Zuckerburg wants to take it back
to a simple social network
and slough off all the news feeds,
the political propaganda
and the viral diarrhoea,
and make it good for our wellbeing.
But what brought on Mark
Zuckerburg's decision to make
Facebook a simpler, gentler world?
Here's our technology
editor, David Grossman.
In the history of the world, as any
successful company ever said, we
want you to use our product less? Do
other things with your time?
Because, well, believe it or not,
that's what Facebook are saying.
We also expect overall time spent
on Facebook to go down,
but our goal is that the time people
do spend on Facebook will be better.
This is all about what Facebook
shows us in our news feed.
From now on the company says it's
going to downgrade professionally
creative content from businesses,
brands, and media organisations,
and upgrade personally created
content from people we know,
from real human beings
in our network.
In a post on Facebook last night,
CEO of Mark Zuckerberg said,
it's all about making sure that time
on Facebook is an emotionally
We are in a really interesting space
in the tech community right
now, which is to say,
how do we harness this addictive
nature, the technologies that we've
built, but to contribute
to something that's going
to be a net positive
for an individual or for a society.
We don't exactly know how
to measure that yet.
This is all a new
and emerging space.
But what today's announcement
from Facebook symbolises, to me,
is that the senior management team
is getting behind this and is trying
to actually get ahead of a wave,
a current of people,
thinking more carefully about how
they are spending their time online.
It didn't take us long to find
former Facebook users
who've left the platform.
For me, personally, the biggest
thing was how angry it made me.
It's all a bit much.
Once you have, I suppose,
the ability to broadcast every
single detail of your life
to everybody you know, you do.
If anybody is thinking
of getting rid of Facebook,
I can assure you it's the best
decision I ever made.
It improves your mental health.
It improves your social life.
It improves your productivity.
But there's also a strong
business case from Facebook,
showing us more of the personal
stuff like this...
And less of the corporate
stuff like this...
Because Facebook's value depends
on what it knows about us.
Selling that information
It's going to learn a lot less
about us if we are just
It's going to know a lot more
about us if we're creating
and sharing content of our own.
But this could potentially
have a huge impact
on publishers of content,
like media organisations.
Late last year Facebook
trialled a similar change
to their ranking algorithm in six
countries, including Guatemala.
When the Facebook experiment began,
we saw a huge drop of traffic
from 30 to 60% drop.
We saw, again, a huge drop
since yesterday when they announced
that they will prioritise content
made by family and friends
and reemphasise the content
made by publishers.
These will send a seismic blow
throughout the market.
It will be...
It will affect, tremendously,
particularly young, innovative,
independent news outlets.
In essense, Facebook
is prioritising the future health
of its brand and platform,
and the future health
of the companies and organisations
that have spent the past five years
building their brands on Facebook.
It's a big change for the company,
and a big change, potentially,
for how 2 billion people react
with the online world.
Joining me now is Peter Heneghan,
head of communications
at LADbible Group.
I'm also with Catherine Becker,
chief executive of the advertising
agency VCCP Media.
And Daria Kuss, a psychologist
specialising in internet usage
at Nottingham Trent University.
Good evening. First of all, who has
got most to lose out of this?
would say the audience. That is the
big winner in this case. But we see
that as a good thing because
ultimately, the audience is what
makes Facebook and as a publisher,
we have a huge audience so we have
62 million followers across social
on different channels. And they see
us as like being a friend, and as a
result we will do well out of this.
They will find you but you won't be
quite so prominent?
not be so prominent but there will
still be a lot of space for
publishers and publishers that do
social in the right way and we are
very good example of how to do
social in a good way.
And a variety
of campaigns we can talk about. As
far as advertising is concerned, you
heard the contributor in Guatemala
talking about how that traffic was
gone and that was problematic.
will be winners and losers and we
have seen these algorithm changes in
the past and it is just about
adapting and being fleet of foot and
making sure we adapt to the new
social engaging environment.
want a bloody good spin on this but
the fact is advertising has had a
very good time on Facebook because
you have a much bigger and quicker
audience than you have a television.
That is going to be separated? It is
not going to be alongside the family
There will still be
advertising and the important thing
is to have advertising that is
socially engaging and that people
adapt to and reactive.
Do you think
that by doing this, Zuckerberg has
recognised that some of the content
has a pernicious effect?
Yes and it
is a short-term pain for the
long-term gain and it is the
interests of the advertisers that
this is an engaged platform, it is
about adapting to that and having
that, companies like us, being fleet
of foot and making sure we make
You have looked at the
impact of sustained online usage and
I wonder, do you think Mark
Zuckerberg seriously looked at the
impact on mental health that
Facebook was having?
That was one of
the key drivers. When we considered
the research at Nottingham Trent
University into social media use and
the kind of mental health benefits
or potential problems that excessive
use can cause, we would as soon the
kinds of changes being proposed
appear to potentially lead to really
beneficial results for the user. On
one hand, Mark Zuckerberg is trying
to propose using Facebook in a
different way, to have a news feed
that allows people to have more
content from family and friends
which potentially might indeed
impact on mental health positively.
My research has shown that when we
are using Facebook to connect with
people around us, with our family
and friends, this may indeed impact
on how your feeling about ourselves
and improve our mood mental health
and well-being and in addition, what
I need to add is if we are looking
into excessive use, which has been
in the media a lot and is something
we have researched for a number of
years here at Nottingham Trent, we
know that if people are using
Facebook and other social networking
sites excessively, this might lead
to a detrimental impact, such as
feelings of depression, anxiety,
stress and addiction but we want to
do is try to counter this and
potentially the new movements with
Facebook may lead to providing a way
into how to improve the situation.
And ensure users are happier in
engaging with Facebook.
I wonder if
that idea, interacting as opposed to
passive viewing, is something that
you take on board when thinking
about the content you make for your
website? Do you recognise the
problems that we're talking about?
Absolutely, and the example I can
give is we asked our audience what
was important to them and they told
us that the biggest issue for them
was mental health. We launched a
campaign which allowed us to talk in
a really relatable way to the
millennial audience and that was
helpful because we explained that
one in four people will at some
point suffer from a mental health
problem, not necessarily due to
Facebook but generally in life. For
the first time, people came back to
us and said, you are allowed us to
sit with our friends in the pub and
talk about mental health and
Facebook enabled us to do that.
Although there is negativity within
social media, there is also
positivity and we have experienced
We still have a situation
where people they know their friends
and seeing how much better they are
doing, there will still be that
element of Facebook?
But equally you
have that outside of Facebook,
people will always look at friends,
they have a better car while they
seem to be getting married earlier
and so forth. They will always look
at that in a way and maybe feel
uneasy about themselves. But
ultimately, I don't believe that is
the responsibility of Facebook.
idea that David Grossman was talking
about is no use to Facebook if
people are scrolling and not
waiting. Presumably, that is what is
happening in advertising so you will
hope that people stick longer on a
And the more engaged they are
cleaned up -- we know the more
effective advertising can be because
they are participating with that
brand and advertising works harder
at that. That is what we have been
advising clients to do.
Zuckerberg is not just in this as an
altruist, he wants to make money.
While? You have millennials, and
many of them are on Instagram and
other sites and how do you get them
There are two factors, the
audience of 2 billion, but is a
finite audience and he has saturated
that the other major is engagement
and the length of time they are on
Facebook and that is what he is
encouraging. Encouraging a human
being to be on Facebook longer? What
is positive about this press release
is it is talking about making people
more engaged and happy. We want a
more positive outcome and that is
Mark Zuckerberg was influenced by
the impact on children. What's good
about Facebook if it is interactive
and has children on them for even
longer than they are at the moment,
how is that good for mental health?
When we are looking at children,
their brains are still developing,
they have a considerable way to go
until their brain has reached full
maturity, we need to be careful in
terms of technology use. American
paediatricians are now really
speaking of limiting the use of
technology, including Facebook,
social media, etc, for children.
Especially at the years of two,
three, four. We need to be careful.
Facebook is only allowed to be used
by teenagers from the age of 13.
This is for particular reasons. We
need to be able to curb technology
used to such an extent that the
developing brain went been
negatively affected. It's not really
a problem. As long as we as parents
and teachers are making children
aware that there may be potential
dangers associated with overuse and
that we are very much aware of the
benefits of social networking and
social media use at the same time.
It's always very important to be
able to see two side of the coin.
Otherwise we would have a limited
and one-sided discussion.
Peter, we talk about Mark Zuckerberg
as if he has had a great epiphany,
but the truth of the matter is had
there not been all of the problems
with the fake news on the
interference with the American
elections, do you think this would
I think he has looked
at this. He realises the audience is
the key. He's making the decisions
that what is best for the audience
is ultimately better for Facebook.
Thank you all very much indeed.
Everybody's talking about the Oscar
chances of 'Darkest Hour',
the story of how Winston Churchill
shrugged off the doubters
and appeasers to lead
Britain against the Nazis.
The film, released today,
has already earned a Golden Globe
for the veteran British actor
Gary Oldman as the wartime PM.
The critics have been generous
with their praise, but how well
does the film stand up for those
who were actually around
when the film was set, in 1940?
Newsnight took a charabanc
of Chelsea Pensioners -
men in their eighties and nineties
who served in the second world
war - to see the film.
These distinguished old soldiers
shared their memories
with our still-surprisingly callow
and jejune Stephen Smith.
We are looking at the collapse of
Western Europe in the next few days.
How long have they got if we don't
rescue them? Maybe two days, we
would need a miracle to get our men
Gary Oldman and his
extraordinary prosthetics have been
acclaimed for this story of
Churchill's struggle against the
Nazis and his own party.
renegotiate peace talks.
the lesson be learned, you cannot
reason with a tiger!
reason with a tiger!
But we wondered
how it would go down with Britons
who actually lived through the
film's Darkest Hour, May 19 40.
film's Darkest Hour, May 19 40.
91. I joined the Scots Guards in
Hello, I'm Alan, I served in
Burma and India.
My name is James
Little, I'm 87, and I served in the
Corps of Royal Engineers.
Fred Ruck. I served with the Royal
intellectual and mechanical
engineers during the Second World
War. Having got rid of Hitler, I
came out of the Army in 1947.
afternoon, gentlemen, you must be
the Chelsea Pensioners. Very nice to
see you. Fancy a trip to the
That would be very
interesting. Take us with you.
We put our distinguished old
soldiers on short rations of Rosie
Lee and plain biscuits and settled
in for the feature.
Where you are
doing your victory sign. In the
poorer quarters that gesture means
What does it mean?
wouldn't like to say.
I must catch
Up your bum, Sir.
Up your bum?
The way you are doing it, yes, sir.
In my memory it was always referred
to a cantankerous so and so. He was
always referred. That's when we
wanted somebody like that, at the
What did you think of Gary
Oldman in the part?
he convince you?
Yes, very good.
other thing that was good was the
relationship between King George VI
and Churchill. The way that was
I believe we are to speak
Once a week, I'm afraid.
How are you for Mondays?
endeavour to be here on Mondays.
I nap at four.
No, but necessary.
was the right man, at the right
time, in the right place, and the
public knew that, from what I
recall. But I think, you know, the
battles in Parliament were once that
he had to take on and thank God he
won them, otherwise we wouldn't be
here talking about it now.
feel fear at the time of joining up?
You are smiling.
don't feel fear, it's all
excitement. I remember when it was
announced we were at war with
Germany. How my parents were quite
distressed because they had gone
through the First World War, but I
was excited, I thought it would be
Watch that film did for
me, it conjured up memories of me as
a young lad. A lot of very young
fellows, with no experience, not
knowing what would happen to them,
went off. And a lot of them didn't
survive. And you think about how old
these chaps were, 17, 18, 19 years
Two trumpet stories make it to the
front pages. -- two Donald Trump
stories. The Daily
front pages. -- two Donald Trump
stories. The Daily Mail says he
isn't coming to Britain next month,
partly because he doesn't like the
architecture of the new US embassy.
He is going to miss out on the royal
We hoped to be joined from Nashville
by Dr Arikana Chihombori-Quao,
the African Union's ambassador
to the United States.
Unfortunately she has been snowed
Today, Trump flew to the Walter Reed
National Miilitary Medical Centre
in Maryland for his first medical
since taking office,
from which he'll receive doctors'
notes indicating whether he is "fit
to serve", which Trump is under no
obligation to publish.
But this is a physical,
whereas the speculation
surrounding his mental health
is swirling constantly,
especially after the publication
of Michael Wolff's book.
President Trump, of course,
has self diagnosed -
calling himself "mentally stable
and, like, really smart."
But such is one Ivy League
about Trump's mental state,
which she describes as "dangerous",
that Bandy Lee held a private
meeting with members of Congress
to convince them that he is "unfit
to serve" and has been calling
for a mental health evaluation
for more than a year.
I spoke to her earlier.
I've never met him and I'm not
interested in making any comments
that relate to things
I cannot assess.
So basically the Goldwater rule
was implemented after about 10%
of the psychiatrists
who were surveyed returned
with an answer saying that
Mr Goldwater was unfit.
That is not an assessment
we can make from afar.
And all that I am speaking
to are the worrying signs
of possible incapacity and therefore
calling for an evaluation.
If you haven't met him,
if you haven't spoken to him,
if you haven't been in the same room
as him, how can you assert
that he is dangerous?
The information that is important
for dangerousness is mostly not
obtained in an in-person interview.
In fact, a personal interview is not
likely to reveal very
What you look at are patterns
of behaviour, responses
to situations, how the individual
is evolving over time
and others' reports.
People who work close to him.
As well as written statements
and verbal statements over time.
So it's actually a vast amount
of data that we already have
on Mr Trump, far more
than we generally do with most
of our patients, in fact.
Still, that doesn't allow us to make
a diagnosis but there is certainly
ample objective data to be able
to say that he is a
high risk, a danger.
So tell me, in your evaluations
and in your observations of data
and indeed your observations
of the President, what do
you think are the key things,
the key signs which lead
you to believe that this man
is dangerous and capable
of acting dangerously?
First of all, past violence
is the best predictor
for future violence.
He has shown verbal aggressiveness,
a history of boasting
about sexual assaults,
a history of inciting
violence at his rallies.
A history of endorsing violence
in his public speeches.
And a continual taunting of
a hostile nation with nuclear power.
All of these are signs of danger
and he has also exhibited
characteristics that are highly
associated with violence,
which include impulsivity,
recklessness, paranoid reactions,
showing a loose grip on reality,
having no empathy, rage
reactions and a constant need
to burnish his sense of power.
These are all associated
There has been reaction from African
There has been reaction from African
nations, also highlighted, El
Salvador, and the UN to remarks made
by Donald Trump in the oval Office
in front of senators and a
bipartisan meeting where he
apparently talked about African
countries and Haiti being shithole
We are joined from Nashville
by Dr Arikana Chihombori-Quao,
the African Union's ambassador
to the United States.
I wonder what the African Union's
response has been to the office of
the president. I know you said he
has been racist. But what is the
next step to deal with this?
African Union we were quite
appalled. Infuriated, outraged by
the comments. For a country like the
United States, which is a valued
partner for the Africans, this was
quite a shock.
appeared to say today that fewer
immigrants from Africa, more
immigrants from Norway. Do you think
President Trump's statements have
His words will speak
for themselves and for himself. What
I can say unequivocally is that our
contributions to the United States,
as Africans who came electively, and
as Africans who came in shackles,
and for the administration to
disregard the contributions of the
Africans, through the continental
Africans, as well as the
African-Americans, I think that is
just really unfortunate. Will the
African Union be seeking an apology?
-- Donald Trump has denied making
derogatory remarks, but the White
House has not been unequivocal in
its denial, and I wonder if you will
be seeking clarification and also if
it is indeed the case that he used
that language you will be seeking an
Absolutely. We will be
looking to having a conversation
with the State Department. And
requesting for clarification on that
matter. But also it's important that
there is a better understanding of
the Africans by the administration.
That's my role, to make sure that
our relationship with the United
States is a power. And it is my
responsibility to clarify any
mistakes. I definitely will be
reaching out to the State Department
for a conversation.
because you have said and are saying
that there is a vast
misunderstanding of Africa within
Trump's administration. Is that
because there has been a change of
administration? Or do you think it
is an ongoing misunderstanding?
think it is an ongoing
misunderstanding of Africa in
general. As Africans we have a
responsibility to step up, speak
out, make our position is known,
make sure not only must we expect
the American agenda. But also make
sure we have an agenda to the United
States. Make clear what we accept
from the US. What areas are up for
discussion. As African nations,
absolutely, we must articulate our
position. We also have to be very
clear as to what areas are
completely no go. What we will not
accept at all. We have a
responsibility to articulate our
policy on the US.
At the beginning
of the programme our North American
editor said many people will be
shocked by the language and the
sentiment expressed by Donald Trump.
Though, as I say come he does deny
it. But for much of his base, they
will think this is OK, they would
expect this kind of language from
the president. Our correspondent
said that what he is saying is
answered by them but they are happy
to hear the president say it. What
do you make of that?
There is always
going to be a segment of the
population that feel otherwise. Even
during slavery. As you know, there
was a percentage of the population
who felt that slavery should have
continued. To those we pray for
them. We are not going to stop
moving the African agenda forward
because of a small group of eight
few people who are in the fringes of
society. -- small group of a few
Thank you very much.
you, and keep up the good work.
That's it for tonight.
In-depth investigation and analysis of the stories behind the day's headlines with Kirsty Wark.
Is Facebook cleaning up its act? Is Donald Trump mentally unfit for office? The Chelsea pensioners review the new Churchill movie.