'The Melissa Harris-Perry Show' for Sunday, April 5th, 2015
Read the transcript to the Sunday show
Show: MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY
Date: April 5, 2015
Guest: Michelle Goldberg, Sabrina Siddiqui, Niels Lesniewski, Yevgeniy
Feyman, Lucas Agnew, Tuwisha Rogers, Cole Stryker, Dorie Clark, Hillary
Mann Leverett, Kendall Fells, Catherine Ruetschlin, Jessica Davis, Vanessa
De Luca, Yesi Morillo-Gual, Adrienne Hopkins
DORIAN WARREN, MSNBC GUEST ANCHOR: This morning, my question. Should I
tweet every thought I have?
Plus, the delicate details behind the deal of a decade.
And the McCray`s, you want fries with that? But first, how the 2016
election belongs to the millennials.
Good morning. I`m Dorian Warren in for Melissa Harris-Perry. This week
when Arkansas governor, Asa Hutchinson announced he would not be signing
the first version of the Religious Freedom Bill that reached his desk on
Wednesday, it may have been because he had taken a long, hard look at what
his fellow governor was going through just a couple of states away.
In Indiana, Governor Mike Pence had earlier signed a similar bill and was
trying his best to clarify that he didn`t really mean to allow businesses
to discriminate against gays and lesbians, but the initial backlash and
boycotts against Pence`s decision were loud enough that Governor Hutchinson
could have heard it all the way in Arkansas.
Considering whether or not to sign the bill, the governor said he paid
particular attention to the voice of one of his closest critics.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOVERNOR ASA HUTCHINSON (R), ARKANSAS: There is clearly a generational gap
on this issue. My son, Seth, signed the petition asking me, Dad, the
governor, to veto this bill.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WARREN: Seth Hutchinson not only signed the petition, but according to a
profile in the "New York Times" also wrote to his father expressing his
concerns about what the bill could do to the economy and reputation of
The younger Hutchinson, unlike the governor who`s a dyed in the wool red
Republican is according to the "Times," a progressive, a union organizer
who is strongly pro-labor and a supporter of LGBT rights. Also, unlike his
father, who`s 64, Seth, at age 31, is a member of the millennial
It`s unclear how much Seth influenced Governor Hutchinson`s request for
lawmakers to revise the bill. When asked by the "Times," he declined to
take credit saying, "I did not sway my dad. I think my dad is rethinking
this because of the pressure that`s coming at him from all sides."
Perhaps, but what is clear is that in considering his son`s opinion, the
governor recognized something that has become increasingly apparent to
political leaders, especially if they are running for office. When
millennials speak, it would be wise to listen especially now as the
presidential election cycle starts to get under way.
Because sometime this year the U.S. Census Bureau is projecting that
millennials will surpass baby boomers as the country`s largest living
generation. The numbers of those millennials who are eligible to vote is
increasing by about 4 million every year.
By 2020, the first presidential election of which all millennials will be
voting age, they will comprise nearly 40 percent of all Americans eligible
to vote. Of course, all those numbers of eligible voters don`t necessarily
add up to actual votes.
Millennials, as is the tendency for young people in every generation have
lower voter turnout than their elders, in fact, in last year`s midterm
elections, which are already notorious for low turnout especially among
Millennials managed to stay home in record numbers unseen in the last
decade, but when properly motivated, millennial voters can make all the
difference as they did for President Obama in 2008.
During the 2008 presidential election, the first in which all voters
between 18 and 29 were exclusively members of the millennial generation,
young people overcame their turnout apathy and exceeded their 2004 numbers
by 2.2 million.
In 2008, young first time voters were key to then Senator Obama`s pivotal
margin of victory in the Iowa caucuses. They then went on to choose him by
a 34-point margin over Senator John McCain in the general election.
The success of the Obama campaign that year was due largely in part to the
young voters who spend their time and energy as volunteers and grassroots
campus organizers. Right now, presidential hopefuls are trying to figure
out how to harness some of that millennial power for themselves as they
look ahead to 2016.
Perhaps none more so than the guy expected to announce his presidential
candidacy this week, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, and who as the "National
Journal" reported this week is positioning himself as the candidate for
According to "The Journal" younger conservatives are emerging as a backbone
of his campaign strategy, a source of not just volunteers and energy, but
votes. Senator Paul has been tapping into that source by campaigning on
college campuses, Snapchatting and appearing on MTV.
He even started attacking his 2016 competitors using the millenials
preferred method of unsettling an adversary, trolling online. Paul has
been taking jabs on his opponents on Twitter and Facebook.
After Jeb Bush announced he actively would explore a run for the White
House, Paul bought a Google ad that made search results for Bush`s name
turned up in a surprise, Rand Paul ad questioning Jeb`s conservative
credentials with a suggestion to, quote, "join a movement working to shrink
government, not grow it."
Of course, it`s going to take more some well executed internet shade to
impress millennial voters because millenials have clearly staked their
claim on the issues that matter most to them. It seems in the age-old
culture wars over social issues, they have unequivocally planted their flag
on the progressive side.
A whopping 68 percent of them have a favorable view of same-sex marriage.
On the question of immigration, a majority of millenials 55 percent favor a
path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants and 54 percent of them
disapprove of the Affordable Care Act, the same amount of millennials also
believe it`s the government`s responsibility to ensure health coverage for
While half of them are pretty sure they won`t ever see a single dime of
social security, most of them don`t want to see their elders lose their
benefits either. All of which makes more sense when you understand that of
all generations, millennials are the only group where polling shows a
majority are in support of bigger government.
If you`re a Republican looking to win over this emergent generation, you
might find yourself doing a tricky political tap dance around the social
questions where you and millennials disagree. If you`re Rand Paul, that
means emphasizing the issues like marijuana legalization, criminal justice
reform, and domestic spying.
And kind of hoping they just don`t notice your opposition issues like same-
sex marriage. We saw him take his best shot at it this week when "The
Hill" reached out to find out his position on Indiana`s Religious Freedom
And the paper was told by a representative, "Senator Paul is out of pocket
with family and not doing any media all week long." For a generation that
has come to expect the answers to all of their questions to be just a tap,
a text, social media post or Google search box away, the senator and his
counter parts in the class of 2016 are going to have to do a lot better
Joining me now are Sabrina Siddiqui, political reporter for "The Guardian,"
Neil Lesniewski, staff writer for "Roll Call," Yevgeniy Feyman, fellow at
the Manhattan Institute, and Michelle Goldberg, senior contributing writer
for "The Nation." Thank you all for joining on this holiday weekend.
Michelle, I want to start with you and ask you, what is going to be the
motivating factor for 2016? What are the key issues and who are the
exciting candidates in your view?
MICHELLE GOLDBERG, SENIOR CONTRIBUTING WRITER, "THE NATION": Actually I
think it`s too early to say what are going to be the key issues. I don`t
think we yet know whether it`s going to be a big foreign policy election,
whether Iran will still be at the center of the debate.
I think it`s extremely unlikely Rand Paul would be the candidate, but it
would be really fascinating to have an election between a sort of more
dovish isolationist Republican and a hawkish interventionist Democrat.
That would scramble political categories in a way that we haven`t seen in
many, many years.
I mean, you know, if I had to guess, it`s going to be Hillary Clinton
obviously as the Democrat. Unlike a lot of people, I think that Jeb Bush
is pretty unlikely to get the nomination. I think there`s a big difference
between a Jeb Bush and, say, a Mitt Romney. You know, I think probably it
will be someone like Scott Walker.
And the other thing that I think will be fascinating in the next election
is going to be the role of women`s issues and family issues, which is a
place she`s really staking her claim.
WARREN: What about young voters and young women in particular? Will they
go for Hillary? Will Hillary be attracted to them? Are there others on
the Republican side for whom young voters will see some excitement around?
NIELS LESNIEWSKI, "ROLL CALL": Well, I think we need to differentiate two
different groups of young voters because there are -- if you talk about
young voters in a Republican primary field, they may have completely
different social views than young voters in a general election will.
While young voters in a general election will probably regardless vote in
overwhelming numbers for Secretary Clinton or for whomever the Democratic
nominee is, you`re going to have an interesting situation in a Republican
primary where you`ll have a group of young voters who may be enthusiastic
about Rand Paul on the sort of marijuana issues and the like, but of course
WARREN: Huge assumption you`re making.
LESNIEWSKI: But where it is that Ted Cruz rolled out his campaign at
Liberty University, those are Evangelicals, but they are also millennials.
WARREN: OK, you said we have to distinguish between young voters so I want
to break the demographics of this generation down a bit. So -- this is
from a Pew social survey, 57 percent of people between 18 and 33 are non-
Hispanic white people. And this number means that millennials, which are
the largest living generation are also the most racially diverse generation
in American history.
So Sabrina, how does that number, when we segregate by race, how does that
complicate our understanding of what it means to be a millennial?
SABRINA SIDDIQUI, "THE GUARDIAN": Well, I think that one of the big things
that you`re going to see when it comes to demographics of millennials is
how that plays particularly with the GOP because they have, as you pointed
out, struggled among millennial voters as well as when it comes to
splitting it down demographics based on race.
They have also struggled with minorities. So that makeup is important.
But I think Niels is spot on when you say you have to look at the primary
process and the number of conservative millennials and whether they support
a Ted Cruz almost as equally as they do Rand Paul.
Not quite, but it`s not quite as cut and dry as when you go to the general
and they lean more Democratic. I think when it comes to -- it`s still
going to largely be about social issues when it comes to young voters.
I think a lot of the pitch that will come certainly from Democrats will be
trying to paint Republicans as extreme on issues like same-sex marriage.
They will try to play the women`s reproductive issue as well as they did in
2012. But also the economy will be a big part of it.
It remains to be seen what the recovery will look like a couple of years
from now, but the extent to which millennials are left out of that
recovery, youth unemployment is high, that will be a key factor especially
with Hillary Clinton because she will have to either carry the burden of
the Obama economy or be able to tout it.
WARREN: Yevgeniy, let me get you in really quickly because I want to be
careful we don`t make the demography power fallacy. So this is a diverse
generation. Does it necessarily lead to political power in terms of that
YEVGENIY FEYMAN, FELLOW MANHATTAN INSTITUTE: Absolutely not and I think
one of the big factors is going to be how many millennials turn out to
vote, especially when you look at Hispanics and African-Americans, they
tend to vote much less often than whites do.
So you can have a very diverse population that`s not represented by the
voters actually turning out. Even if the Hispanic population does turn
out, I think that could be a boost for Jeb Bush or Rand Paul because on
immigration they`re better than some of the other GOP potentials.
WARREN: We know they turned out in record numbers for Obama in `08 but it
remains to be seen if Hillary or Jeb or Rand can mobilize young voters in
the same way.
Stay right there, I want to bring in the young man behind the super PAC
"Millennials for Jeb Bush. That`s next.
WARREN: Super PACS are often known as a way for the political heavyweights
and the super rich to throw their money to influence elections. For one
California college student, a super PAC is a way to get millennials engaged
with the 2016 presidential election and one candidate in particular, Jeb
In January, 21-year-old Lucas Agnew, a senior at Claremont McKenna College
in Southern California filed papers with the Federal Election Commission to
launch a new super PAC called "Millennials for Jeb."
According to the "Millenials for Jeb" web site, the super PAC was started
with a singular goal in mind. Quote, "To get Jeb elected president of the
United States in 2016."
Joining me now from Los Angeles is the founder of "Millennials for Jeb"
super PAC, Lucas Agnew. Lucas, good morning.
LUCAS AGNEW, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, "MILLENIALS FOR JEB" PAC: Thank you for
WARREN: Tell me why Jeb Bush. What was appealing to you about him and why
do you think he is the right choice for millennial voters?
AGNER: Sure. Well, Governor Bush is a proven leader on many of the issues
that matter most to millennials, and in particular the two most important
issues to millenials are job creation and economic growth. As governor of
Florida, Governor Bush created 1.32 million jobs and Florida actually led
the nation in jobs creation for multiple years in his tenure.
So from issues like immigration reform to economic opportunity, we believe
that Governor Bush will represent millennial interests well if elected
president in 2016.
WARREN: OK, so why a super PAC? What are you hoping to accomplish?
AGNER: Right, well, we focused on how there`s kind of low engagement among
the millennial generation. You touched about this, only one in five
millennials actually voted in the 2014 midterm elections. It`s about
trying to find new and innovative ways of engaging millennials and
attempting to raise the civil engagement among the millennial generation.
WARREN: OK, new and innovative ways to engage millenials, tell us how
exactly how plan to do that. How are you going to get millennials excited
about Jeb Bush?
AGNEW: We`re kind of taking a two-front approach into how we`re trying to
engage millennials, the first being social media. Obviously social media
is a tremendous tool for us because just about every millennial in some way
or another is on social media.
So finding ways of engaging them, whether it`s things like political means
or you talked about how Rand Paul attempted trolling on social media,
aspects like that and also developing a large kind of boots on the ground
grassroots network across the country with things like chapters on college
We have chapters at Arizona State and we have volunteers in Tulsa,
Oklahoma, to New York City and also reaching out to young professional
groups and trying to engage millennials there.
From social media to developing an on the ground network, those are the
ways we`re trying to engage millennials and find new takes on traditional
engagement and outreach.
WARREN: All right, and how`s the fundraising coming along?
AGNER: It`s coming along, it`s coming along. When it started, it was just
me, an idea and a web site. So on our end we`ve really kind of developed
organizationally and now that we`re getting up and running, we`ve
definitely seen good feedback and the fundraising is coming along.
WARREN: So Michelle, I want to come out to you because you went in
February to CPAC, which is the annual right wing conservative conference
that you have in previous years, but you wrote in "The Nation" that there`s
something different this year that scared you. What was different this
year and how was it different from the previous years?
GOLDBERG: Well, CPAC which I`ve been going to for an embarrassingly long
time because I`m not a millennial is usually or had been in the past a
freak show. I remember going when you could buy a no Muslims equals no
terrorists bumper sticker.
You could throw a ball at a troll saying the homosexual agenda on it in
this demented fair ground game and they had really went out of their way to
tone that stuff down because they`re aware in the age of social media any
of this stuff is just one Instagram post from going viral.
So they really backed off on the crazy. Even the -- even on the issue of
same-sex marriage, the candidates aren`t in favor of same-sex marriage, but
they framed their objection in many terms of state`s rights or in terms of
You didn`t hear anything going on and on about one man, one woman, the
sanctity of marriage. They had crafted their message -- it was much
slicker than it`s been in the past and designed with a surface level within
kind of a sheen of moderation.
WARREN: So backed off on the crazy, you say. Lucas, I want to ask you,
because a lot of us think that Rand Paul is seriously positioning himself
to be the candidate of millennial Republican voters. How will your super
PAC take on Rand Paul?
AGNEW: Well, we`re not really going to focus on other potential
candidates, we`re just about focusing on Governor Bush and his message of,
you know, right to rise, economic opportunity for our generation and how
you go about that is creating jobs, actually establishing immigration
reform and education reform.
So we`re just focusing about Governor Bush showing millennials who he is,
what he stands for, why you would want to support him and leaving it to the
millennials to compare Governor Bush to other candidates.
WARREN: Yev, let me get you in here really quickly and ask you the same
question. How will Rand Paul try to position himself against Jeb Bush and
this super PAC that Lucas has started as the candidate for millennials.
FEYMAN: So I think where Rand Paul might have the edge on Jeb is he can
really pitch himself as tough on criminal justice reform and he`s also
going to really hit hard on the big government/small government. He`s
going to pitch himself as a small government mainly through criminal
justice reform. There`s some other positions that target the fed and
whatnot that probably won`t be too popular.
WARREN: The fed? Yes, let`s target the fed. That`s going to get
everybody else motivated. All right, stay with me. Lucas Agnew in L.A.,
thank you very much.
Up next, is a hipster Brooklyn office the key to millennial voter hearts?
WARREN: According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 30 percent of young
millennials are living at home with their parents. Of those that managed
to leave the nest, a Neilson Report found 62 percent rather live in the
cities than suburbs.
And if television depictions of millennial urban life are to be believed,
among those who are choosing to settle in the city of New York, the
millennial destination of choice is Brooklyn.
From HBO`s "Girls" to Comedy Central`s "Broad City" to TVLand`s new series,
"Younger" millenials seem to be riding the gentrification wave right into
the most popular borough.
Which means VK`s newest political tenant is uniquely position to get up and
close and personal with all her millennial neighbors because this week,
Hillary Clinton`s still unofficial campaign reportedly made its new
headquarters official right in downtown Brooklyn.
"Politico" first reported that the lease for two floors of an office tower
was signed late this week although former Secretary Clinton was still
punting on a question about the new digs on a Wednesday event with New
York`s first lady, Charlene McCray.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Secretary, can we expect you back in Brooklyn, your
headquarters here possibly?
HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: All in good time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WARREN: All right. So Sabrina I want to ask you, what should we make of
Hillary Clinton`s decision to put her headquarters in Brooklyn and on the
break, Michelle mentioned that this is the death Nell for hipster Brooklyn?
Is this a strategic move for Hillary?
SIDDIQUI: Well, I don`t know if this is a strategic move, but if we`re
talking about her appeal among younger voters, she has to do more than just
set up camp in Brooklyn. The reality is and this goes back to the turn out
issue that we were talking about earlier.
Even though millennial voters tend Democratic, there`s an enthusiasm gap
when it comes to Hillary Clinton. There`s no guarantee that they`re going
to turn out in large numbers the way they did for Barack Obama, both in
2008 and 2012, even though people thought they wouldn`t in 2012.
Simply because she does represent more of an old guard school of politics
and that`s why you`ve seen at least her make more efforts to move a little
bit to the left and the Elizabeth Warren effect for lack of a better word,
to be a little more progressive with income equality and position herself
as a supporter of same-sex marriage. Whether she`s able to sell that case
comes down to the voter turnout issue.
WARREN: So Neils, when we think about New York, we think Manhattan.
That`s the place where money and power are centralized, but Hillary decided
to go to Brooklyn. She wants to be sort of hipsterish, right? Rent prices
are probably not the reasoning for her going to Brooklyn, so why not just
go to Manhattan?
LESNIEWSKI: Well, I would have thought about comparing it to something
completely different. She could have sent a very different message had she
gone to, say, Syracuse and Utica or Rochester and gone upstate and away
from the urban center entirely.
It`s people who are outside of the New York metropolitan area aren`t really
going to tell the difference all that much. You hear vaguely when you
don`t live around here of Brooklyn being where the hipsters are and
But I don`t think generally people still think of it outside of the sort of
New York City area or outside of the northeast corridor as still being part
of New York in a general sense.
GOLDBERG: There`s also a practical thing here. A lot of the people who
work on the campaign and cover the campaign live in Brooklyn. In terms of
recruiting top talent, you`re going to get a lot of people who aren`t going
to want to move to Utica or Rochester, they`re happy about riding their
bikes 5 minutes to work every day.
And also in terms of covering the campaign, this is where people who cover
campaigns, a lot of them hang out. If you`re going to be in the bars at
night trading information and leaks and stuff, this is a pretty easy
organic place to do it.
WARREN: Yev, I want to come to you because Sabrina mentioned earlier that
clearly in terms of young women, reproductive justice issues is going to be
front and center.
So I want to read something from a "National Journal" piece earlier this
year and it was in regard to women in the House of Representatives choosing
to take their names off a Republican bill that would ban abortion after 20
This is what Congresswoman Renee Elmer said. "I`ve urged leadership to
reconsider bringing it up next week. We got into trouble last year and I
think we need to be careful again. We need to be smart about how we`re
Elmer said in an interview, "The first vote we take or the second vote or
the fifth vote shouldn`t be on an issue where we know that millennials,
social issues just aren`t that important to them."
Is this going to influence the Republican strategy around reproductive
justice, reproductive rights in terms of focusing on female millennial
FEYMAN: Well, I really hope Republicans have learned if you`re a white
male between 40 and 60 perhaps you shouldn`t be talking about female`s
reproductive rights. If you`re doing that, you should do it in a very,
very nuanced way. There`s much better ways to do it.
I think Republicans have learned from a lot of the faux pas that have
happened recently whether that`s going to translate into a different
campaign strategy. It might just be avoiding the issue as much as
And not talking about abortion when they can avoid it, not talking about
access to contraception, but it`s something that Democrats and progressives
are going to have an edge in over Republicans.
WARREN: Michelle, I want to get you to respond to something that Yev said
earlier because he said Rand Paul would use a smaller government frame to
try to recruit millennial voters, but I want to put up a look at the racial
views of millennials or broken down by race.
When you look at the question of preference for smaller or bigger
government, it`s in fact just the non-white millennials who prefer big
government, 71 percent to 39 percent of white millennials.
So talk to me about the demographic differences among millennials and how
that will drive attitudes around big or small government.
GOLDBERG: Well, I think part of it is race is more important kind of a
proxy than age in determining people`s political attitudes, right. So kind
of white millennials are not that different from whites -- they are on
certain issues, same-sex marriage is a big one.
But on a lot of issues, they pretty much track other white voters, right,
the white millennials favored, for example, a Republican takeover of
Congress in 2012.
WARREN: By the way, white millennials went for Romney over Obama in 2012.
That wasn`t the case in `08.
GOLDBERG: Right. So I think, you know, but when you`re talking a
Republican primary you`re almost exclusively talking about white voters so
those are the people that Rand Paul has to go over. At CPAC which had a
huge youth turnout, more than I had seen in the past, the big message was
big government sucks, you know, which is the kind of message that is tailor
made for Rand Paul.
WARREN: That`s a nice bumper sticker. Still to come this morning, is the
Iran nuclear deal, the deal of the decade? But first, on Easter Sunday,
checking in on Pope Francis.
WARREN: Now a look at news making headlines this morning. Tens of
thousands of people turned out in St. Peters Square in Vatican City this
morning to hear Pope Francis celebrate Easter mass. The pontiff called for
peace, expressing concern about many of the conflicts raging around the
world, including in Yemen, Iraq, Nigeria and Kenya.
And he made his first public comments about the framework nuclear agreement
reached with Iran, praising it as an opportunity to make the world safer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
POPE FRANCIS (through translator): At the same time in hope we entrust to
the merciful Lord the framework recently agreed to in Lausanne, that it may
be a definitive step toward a more secure and fraternal world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WARREN: In one of the war-torn countries mentioned by the pope, a
disturbing development. In a newly released video, ISIS extremists in Iraq
have claimed to have destroyed a major archaeological site in the ancient
city of Hatra. The video shows militants smashing sledgehammers into walls
and shooting assault rifles at priceless statues. But it`s not clear when
or under what circumstances the video was made.
And in this country, a huge upset in the final four of the men`s NCAA
basketball tournament. The number one seed, the Kentucky Wildcats, lost
their bid for perfection last night after falling to the Wisconsin Badgers.
Kentucky was 38-0 heading into last night`s showdown and dominated early on
before Wisconsin rallied late in the game to win 71-64. Wisconsin will
face Duke for the championship Monday night hoping to win the Badger`s
first national title since 1941.
Up next, what Trevor Noah taught us about how to get that next job.
WARREN: Trevor Noah had a really good wok good week and also kind of a bad
week. Comedy Central announced that the South African will take over "The
Daily Show" when Jon Stewart retires, giving him one of the best jobs in
But then people started trolling through Noah`s social media presence
looking for dirt and they found some. Like this tweet from October 2011.
"Yes, the weekend. People are going to get drunk and think that I`m sexy.
Attributed to fat chicks everywhere."
Or this one from June 2010, "South Africans know how to recycle like Israel
knows how to be peaceful." Now the old tweet set off an avalanche of
Twitter backlash and think pieces like Vox`s the line between funny and
offensive is thin. Trevor Noah is on the wrong side.
And Howard Kurtz says, "Daily Show" disaster: How Trevor Noah picks on the
powerless." Now, Noah defended himself on Twitter saying, quote, "To
reduce my views to a handful of jokes that didn`t land is not a true
reflection of my character nor my evolution as a comedian."
The Twitter storm swirled but Comedy Central did not back away from its new
host. The network said that Noah has, quote, "a bright future on Comedy
Central." The storm seems to be dying down for now and Noah will surely
step on more toes when he takes the helm at "The Daily Show."
We can talk all day long about whether the jokes or funny or offensive or
both. Whether they should disqualify him in any way from leading the most
trusted fake news source in the country, but we`re not going to talk about
Instead I want to ask some of the important questions this incident raises
for the rest of us, for our careers, our privacy, our very reputations as
we lead increasingly public lives on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and the
internet at large.
Joining me now, Sabrina Siddiqui, political reporter at "The Guardian,"
Dorie Clark, author of both "Reinventing You" and the soon to be released,
"Stand Out, How to Find Your Breakthrough Idea and Build A Following Around
It," Tuwisha Rogers, vice president of Brand Leadership and Strategy at TV
One and a creative problem solver of Wish Factor Consulting, and Cole
Stryker, author of "Hacking The Future, Privacy, Identity And Anonymity On
Thank you for joining MPH this morning. Towisha, I want to start with you
and ask how does someone strike a balance between having an authentic
online presence and posting something that might be harmful down the road?
TUWISHA ROGERS, VP BRAND LEADERSHIP TV ONE: First of all, I think we need
to remember that first off, social media is an extension of who you are,
it`s not who you are. So having an identity and knowing who you are first
individually should be the premise of how you would show up on social
I think part of the problem is social media for some folks has become the
likes, the personality, who they are, what they`re supposed to be instead
of authentically being who they are and let that story shine.
So the balance is, first of all, don`t try to follow social media and make
that your platform. Have a platform and be yourself on social media and
then you won`t run into those types of problem.
WARREN: So no catfishing is what you`re saying.
ROGERS: Exactly. No catfishing, but I think the self-awareness in social
media is important. Again, I think we have a society that`s looking for
the next stage, the next big thing, instead of just being themselves.
WARREN: Cole, let me get you in here. We know the best example of a
Twitter joke gone wrong is that of Justine Sacko who is a PR executive
ridiculed online and then fired for tweeting, quote, "going to Africa.
Hope I don`t get AIDS. Just kidding, I`m white." Why are we seeing this
kind of mass public shaming online?
COLE STRYKER, AUTHOR, "HACKING THE FUTURE": I think it has to do a lot
with people needing a mechanism to punish behaviors that aren`t necessarily
illegal, but fly in the face of social norms. We all know about the stocks
in medieval times and how you get rotten tomatoes thrown at you.
It was because if you were living in your village, everyone knew who you
were. With the internet we`re experiencing a re-villaging of sorts of the
everything you say is permanent and the people around you know who you are.
WARREN: The re-villaging. So Sabrina, let`s talk about this re-villaging
when it comes to politics. There`s a particular shaming that happens
around political figures and the best example of this is Jeb Bush`s chief
technology officer who was announced as the CTO on Monday and resigned on
Tuesday over old tweets. Talk to us about what role people`s personal
social media histories are playing in politics.
SIDDIQUI: Well, I think we increasing live in a society where nothing is
private anymore. If you`re going to be using especially public social
media tools, you have to understand that your words might be used against
you and that people will take those and try to extend them to your
That`s why employers are very defensive. If you`re a politician
especially, you can`t have someone who you just hired saying things that
are sexist or racist on Twitter or Facebook because it`s going to extend to
your campaign and there will be opponents who say this must be the views of
you as a candidate.
I think unfortunately there`s a line that`s now being crossed because
there`s a new blood sport that`s emerged as well for especially public
figures. I think that`s what happened to Trevor Noah. I think people are
combing through looking for something that could be deemed offensive, not
because they`re trying to call out an injustice but simply because it`s
become a sport.
But in politics, of course, I think candidates have to be increasingly
mindful of the digital footprint not just for themselves but for the people
around them they hire to run their campaigns.
WARREN: OK, Dorian, in terms of lines being crossed, I found this story
fascinating. Last month we saw the former Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt
Schilling, actually track down the people who made really vulgar comments
about his 17-year-old daughter, including rape threats.
Schilling said he is aware of nine trolls who lost their jobs or got kicked
off athletic teams and said, quote, "And we`re not done." So does this
cross the line? Should employees be fired for the things they do and say
online? And where should be the line drawn for businesses?
DORIE CLARK, AUTHOR, "REINVENTING YOU": Well, it really goes to the
question of judgment, because if you`re an employer, you want to make sure
that the people you`re hiring can exercise good judgment on the job and off
the job. I think that it`s very valid.
If someone crosses a line, you wonder what they would do with a customer.
Ultimately someone like Curt Schilling hunting people down, it`s why people
go to Liam Neeson movies. We want to see the bad guys taken down.
WARREN: It was kind of stalkerish to me, but I would want to react in the
CLARK: Yes, absolutely. I think really the phenomenon that`s happening
here, having been a former presidential campaign spokesperson. We`ve seen
politicians for years have been under incredibly intense scrutiny.
Now that same level of scrutiny is being applied to regular people. For
Trevor Noah, he`s a 31-year-old guy. All of a sudden he gets elevated from
the minor leagues to the most major of major leagues.
This is the White House of comedy and he wasn`t ready for it. And I think
more and more people are going to have to be cognisant that as millennials
are ascending in the work force, this is what they are going to see.
WARREN: Tuwisha, let me ask you this question, what are some of the
mistakes that you see people make when using social media to promote
themselves or their businesses? How can they prepare themselves to get
hired and keep their jobs?
ROGERS: As you alluded to, you`re a brand so you have to think of yourself
as a brand 360 and what you represent. Some of the mistakes I`ve seen is
when brands don`t have their own identity and they`re not authentic and
connecting when again we`re chasing a story or a trend.
Even more so a see brands failing when they have a target audience and
don`t know how the audience communicates or use proper companies that are
put in place to help you navigate what that looks like. So again we need
to be sensitive to who you`re talking to.
We need to be authentic and connect and engagement needs to be --
engagement is extremely important and it needs to be bigger than insights
or demos, really understand what is that a person is looking for, what they
are thinking about, how they interact.
Today, I think especially with millennials being they`re so 360 and so
engaging and they have this platform, it`s extremely important to really
just dive in and understand who you`re talking to, and what is the proper
way to communicate.
WARREN: OK, don`t go anywhere. Coming up, from top executive to living
off government existence, supposedly all because of posting a YouTube
WARREN: Two and a half years ago the CFO of a medical device firm recorded
himself going through the drive-through of a Chick-Fil-A restaurant and
berating the employee for working at a company whose corporate leaders
oppose same-sex marriage.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We`re always happy to serve everyone.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don`t know how you live with yourself and work here.
I don`t understand it. This is a horrible corporation with horrible
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We`re here to serve you in any way that you need.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You deserve better. Rachel, you deserve better.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I hope you have a really nice day.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I will. I just did something really good, I feel
purposeful. Thank you so much.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WARREN: The CFO, Adam Smith, posted the video to his YouTube page. The
video went viral online where he was excruciated for bullying the employee.
Later that same day, Smith was fired from his $200,000-a-year job.
In an interview with ABC`s "20/20" this week, Smith says he hasn`t been
able to hold a job since and is now on food stamps, something he attributes
entirely to that viral video. So panel, is it right that this guy is
unemployable right now?
SIDDIQUI: I think where he went wrong. He`s berating an employee probably
working there on minimum wage and doesn`t have a lot of options. That
wasn`t the best way to express that. You can post something online, but
going up to someone and harassing her in that way didn`t work well.
I think companies are still very reluctant to get involved in social
issues. I wonder how different it might be now because of the conversation
we`re having around the religious freedom act just in Indiana and Arkansas
and companies are starting to get involved on same-sex marriage. But going
after the employee --
WARREN: Dorie, how does one recover their reputation online once something
like this happens?
CLARK: The only way to recover your reputation online is by flooding the
internet with more positive content. Things never disappear on the
internet, but if you can push it back to page number 64, also you`re
applying for a job with the FBI. No one will find it or discover it. This
guy needs to start blogging about finance or anything else to wipe the
ROGERS: I actually kind of agree and disagree. I think you need to
embrace what you did. There`s a story there. I think we live in a society
where the human story is important, right? So if there`s a lesson to be
learned, if he embraces that I was wrong, I may have went too far, then
there`s something that comes out of it like here`s my redemption.
It`s Easter Sunday, right? Here`s how I come out of it and rise from the
ashes. But more importantly I think the consistency whatever that positive
is, is just as important. If there`s another hiccup, it`s almost like your
brand is inconsistent and no one is going to believe you.
WARREN: Cole, I want to flip the script because we`ve been talking about
people that post things themselves and get in trouble. But what about
people who are targeted online who did not post anything themselves, here
I`m thinking of Monica Lewinsky, who describes her online humiliation like
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MONICA LEWINSKY: The experience of shame and humiliation online is
different than offline. There is no way to wrap your mind around where the
humiliation ends. There are no borders.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WARREN: So is Monica right, are there no borders anymore?
STRYKER: I think she`s absolutely right. I think more so than when she
experienced her public shaming, there are thousands if not tens of
thousands of teenage girls every day facing this scrutiny in their high
schools, in their churches, wherever.
We all know about how nude pictures can be leaked and how slut shaming
happens. I think that while being able to call out people in places of
power for corruption and other, you know, cardinal sins, I think that we
also have to have a bit of perspective.
And recognize that this person might not deserve to have this hanging over
their head for the rest of their lives, especially when they`re underage,
because people change and people grow. You shouldn`t be held accountable
for something you did as a 14-year-old, no matter how heinous it is.
WARREN: So Tuwisha, I want to come back and ask how does the internet
change how private figures are swept into the spotlight because of their
interactions with a public figure, much like Monica Lewinsky?
ROGERS: So I think right now they have to embrace the fact that there is
the internet, there`s a conversation happening. But I like to flip is
little bit. Instead of looking at the negative, look at the positive.
The internet has an opportunity to touch the world. You have an
opportunity to touch people in different places, share a story, have a
testimony and change someone`s life. If we think about it that way, I
think we`ll make better decisions on how we`re going to engage.
Now we know that we have an audience and can do something to move the world
forward as opposed to being selfish or not thinking or not being
considerate of -- not being considerate of the impact of what we`re doing.
So that`s what I think about it.
WARREN: At the break, we`ll all do a group selfie here. My thanks to
Tuwisha Rogers and Cole Stryker. Sabrina and Dorie will be back in our
Coming up next, the complex details of the nuclear deal with Iran and the
even more complicated politics over the deal here at home.
Plus, the mcraise, a good deal for workers or just some corporate clowning?
More nerdland at the top of the hour.
WARREN: Welcome back, I`m Dorian Warren in for Melissa. This morning the
reaction continues for the historic deal reached with Iran, the United
States and five other countries. On Thursday, after 18 months of
negotiations, the parties arrived at a preliminary framework for curbing
Iran`s nuclear capabilities.
The landmark agreement between two countries, who had been hostile to each
other for decades, is considered one of the biggest accomplishments of
President Obama`s administration.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: It is a good
deal. A deal that meets our core objectives. This framework would cut off
every pathway that Iran could take to develop a nuclear weapon.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WARREN: Mohammad Javad Zarif Iran`s foreign minister and chief negotiator
in the talks sounded a note of optimism but a wary one saying, quote, "We
have serious differences with the United States. We have built mutual
distrust in the past so what I hope is through courageous implementation of
this some of that trust could be remedied but that is for us all to wait
and see." Now, the two have until June 30th to iron the final text of the
agreement. But here`s what we know from now, according to the framework,
Iran will scale back its number of operating centrifuges, reduce its
stockpile of blow enrich uranium by 97 percent, redesign the arak reactor
so that it cannot produce weapons grade plutonium. Provide the
International Atomic Energy Agency greater access and information and allow
the agency to investigate sites. In return, according to the framework
agreement, the United States and European Union will drop many of the
sanctions levied against Iran. We`re going to look at this story from many
angles this morning.
But first I want to bring in two NBC News correspondent, John Yang at the
White House and Ali Arouzi, NBC`s Tehran Bureau Chief. And John, let me go
to you first. And ask you how satisfied is the administration with what
they have gotten out of this agreement?
JOHN YANG, NBC NEWS WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Dorian, around here they`re
saying they`re pretty satisfied. They feel that they did have to make some
concessions, they describe them as face-saving concessions for the
Iranians, but I think what the challenge is that a lot of what they feel
good about is very complex, very scientific. It is literally nuclear
science they`re talking about, the capability of developing nuclear weapons
from nuclear material. It`s very tough to explain to skeptical lawmakers
on Capitol Hill, including many democrats, so I think what you`re going to
be hearing a lot is the monitoring system that they say they now -- that
this agreement would put into place a strict monitoring system so that they
would be able to watch what the Iranians are doing. You`re going to hear
the sort of thorough phrase from the Reagan era that this is not based on
trust, this is based on verification -- Dorian.
WARREN: Now let`s go to Tehran where NBC`s Ali Arouzi joins us by phone.
And Ali, talk to us a little about the reaction on the ground there in Iran
as the news of this deal sinks in.
ALI AROUZI, NBC NEWS TEHRAN BUREAU CHIEF CORRESPONDENT (on the phone):
Well, it`s interesting that last night, Foreign Minister Zarif gave an
extensive interview on a talk show on Tehran. He addressed Tehran
hardliners, Iran`s suspicious neighbors and international community.
Saying that Tehran would be able to return to its nuclear activities if the
west withdraws from the pact that should be finalized in June. Zarif and
also the chief nuclear negotiator said that Iran has the power to take
corresponding action and we will be able to return its nuclear program to
the same level if the other side fails to honor the agreement. Adding to
the framework nuclear deal in Switzerland isn`t binding until June. He
took also objection to Senator Kerry using the word suspension rather than
termination regarding sanctions against Iran, adding that Iran had formally
complained to the -- that measures listed in the American statement were in
contradiction to what had actually been accepted. So there`s a lot of
political jockeying here, but the country is still waiting to hear from the
most powerful man on his opinion on this supreme leader who has yet so far
remained silent. Back to you.
WARREN: Ali Arouzi in Tehran and John Yang at the White House. Thank you.
At the table with me here in New York this morning, Sabrina Siddiqui,
political reporter at "The Guardian." Niels Lesniewski, staff writer at
Roll Call. Ayman Mohyeldin, NBC News Foreign correspondent. And Michelle
Goldberg, senior contributing writer at The Nation Magazine.
First I want to go to Hillary Mann Leverett in Washington, D.C. And
Hillary, it`s been a consistent voice on this program for months on the
story. She is the author of "Going To Tehran: Why America Must Accept the
Islamic Republic of Iran." And Hillary, I understand that you have
actually led negotiations before with the Iranian foreign minister. And
let`s just start with the basics here. In your assessment, is this a good
deal or a bad deal for the U.S. and why?
HILLARY MANN LEVERETT, AUTHOR, "GOING TO TEHRAN": I think it`s a very good
deal for two main reasons. The first is on proliferation. It would allow
the United States` policy makers here to turn to international inspectors
and monitors, scientists, to really understand what`s going on in Iran
instead of to the neoconservatives here in Washington and various other
agenda driven groups who told us falsely that Iraq, for example, had
nuclear weapons to justify an invasion there. This would give us an
objective basis to make decisions on. More profoundly though is the
strategic importance, the strategic opportunity that this potential
agreement could give the United States, to get off of our incredibly self-
damaging pursuit of war after war, failed military intervention after
failed military intervention in the Middle East, especially since 9/11.
This would give us the opportunity not to do that, to have a much more
constructive relationship with all of the region`s principal countries and
to lessen our dependency even on some of our allies who take policies that
are often reckless for U.S. interests, whether that`s the Israelis or the
Saudis or others.
WARREN: So, let me play a portion of President Obama`s weekly media
address and get your response to that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: They, the United States together with our allies and partners has
reached historic understanding with Iran which if fully implemented will
prevent it from obtaining a nuclear weapon. As president and commander in
chief I have no greater responsibility than the security of the American
people, and I am convinced that if this framework leads to a final
comprehensive deal, it will make our country, our allies and our world
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WARREN: So that wasn`t the weekly media address, that was the President
speaking on Thursday. But I hear him saying and I wonder what your take is
about this. I hear him saying this is about safety in terms of reducing
nuclear weapons. And I`m wondering if there`s something more complicated
here. Because if we lift economic sanctions in exchange for Iran ending
its nuclear program, shouldn`t we be worried that Iran as a state sponsor
of terrorism would do a range of nefarious things with the additional
billions of dollars in revenue?
LEVERETT: Well, there are two routes I think that President Obama could
go. One is the route that for example Nixon and Kissinger took with China
where it was a fundamental overhaul of the relationship, a real strategic
realignment, an historic breakthrough that not only I think saved the
United States from a fateful war with China but allowed us to get out of
the strategic quagmire of Vietnam and stopped our military interventions in
Asia. Something incredibly beneficial for the United States. It enabled
us to see China in different ways. We don`t look at China today as our
best buddy but we look at it in an entirely different way than when we
demonized them in the `50s and `60s. That`s the chance that Obama has with
Iran. But instead I think he`s pursuing more of a Jimmy Carter, President
Carter like approach. When he negotiated the sought two arm controlled
agreement with the Saudi union that failed, Congress killed it.
Because if you can`t look at your adversary in another way, there`s no deal
that would be good enough. There`s no good deal that could be had with an
evil Islamic republic of Iran just like Jimmy Carter found out with the
Soviet Union when Congress killed sought too. So I`m afraid that President
Obama unfortunately is going potentially the President Carter route that
leaves Iran as its demonized caricature in the American discourse. Because
in fact today it`s Iran that is fighting against ISIS, it is Iran that is
fighting against al Qaeda and it`s our allies, for example, the Saudis that
are bombing in Yemen, enabling al Qaeda to take over more and more
territory there. It`s the Saudis that just supported an al Qaeda group to
take over yet another Syrian City. That`s not going -- that`s not going to
end up well for the United States. We know where that trajectory goes. It
leads to more and more war. He needs to make the strategic case like Nixon
and Kissinger did about China.
WARREN: So, let me bring in NBC News Foreign Correspondent Ayman Mohyeldin
into this. And Ayman, I want to play what the Israeli Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu said on NBC`s "Meet the Press" this morning and get your
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: It leaves the pre-eminent
terror state of our time with a vast nuclear infrastructure. This is a
deal that leaves Iran with the capacity to produce the material for many,
many nuclear bombs and it does so by lifting the sanctions pretty much up
front. So Iran will have billions of dollars flowing to its coffers not
for schools or for hospitals or roads but to pump up its worldwide terror
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WARREN: So, Ayman, how does the U.S.-Israeli alliance factor into this
deal and the ongoing negotiations they tried to reach a final agreement by
the end of June.
AYMAN MOHYELDIN, NBC NEWS FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think it`s a huge
factor for domestic U.S. politics. We know that Israel is perhaps going to
do everything in its power between now and the end of June to make its case
to members of Congress to try to lobby Congress in whatever capacity it can
to prevent this deal or try to have as much oversight over the deal as they
possibly can. And perhaps even to try to derail the deal. There`s no
doubt that Israel feels this is not a good deal by any measure of the word
and for the arguments that we just heard from the Israeli prime minister.
But I think we`re at a position where the U.S. is re-evaluating all of its
relationships in the Middle East with Saudi Arabia, with Iran, certainly
the strain in the relationship between Israel and the U.S. has come to the
forefront as a result of this Iranian issue. And the Iranian nuclear issue
has managed to create a little bit of a political wedge for the first time
between the United States and Israel over a key foreign policy national
WARREN: So, Hillary, I want to come back to you because Ayman just
mentioned domestic American politics and what role that will play. But I
want to ask you quickly about the role of the clerics in Iran. How likely
are they to let this deal move forward and what are the other internal
political challenges facing Iran`s leadership?
LEVERETT: Well, you know, the supreme leader has been behind these
negotiations from the beginning, has said so repeatedly and publicly. Has
caused the negotiators the children of the revolution, has cautioned them
to be careful not to be deceived by the United States, but has supported
them from the beginning, as he did when I negotiated with the Iranians over
Afghanistan in the wake of 9/11. He even came out then and condemned
publicly in Friday prayers the attacks on the United States on 9/11,
something our other allies in the region, particularly the Saudis, did not
do. So the supreme leader I think is often caricatured here as some sort
of, you know, Islamist lunatic when in fact he`s been a pretty straight
shooter and has supported reasonable negotiations with the United States
and I think we`ll continue to see that. Though, in Iran there will be
continuing concern about whether the United States will be able to hold up
its end of the bargain to lift sanctions. You know, no one in Iran missed
the letter from Senator Cotton with 47 senators saying that if the
republican is the next president they will revoke this with the sign of a
LEVERETT: Nobody missed that. So I think the Iranians instead of
panicking or, you know, reacting negatively are focused on the U.N. and
getting international guarantees. They`re an incredibly rational
sophisticated actor and it will be important for the United States to have
a good relationship with them.
WARREN: Thank you so much to Hillary Mann Leverett in Washington, D.C.
When we come back, I want to bring in the rest of the panel here in studio
and sort out if the republicans are determined to torpedo this potentially
WARREN: If reaching a deal with the Iranians is hard, President Obama
knows he could face a similarly strong challenge in getting a republican-
controlled Congress to go along with such a deal. Even as he touted the
initial news of a framework agreement on Thursday, the President put
Congress on notice.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: If Congress kills this deal not based on expert analysis and
without offering any reasonable alternative, then it`s the United States
that will be blamed for the failure of diplomacy. International unity will
collapse and the path to conflict will widen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WARREN: But the GOP has been very clear that they are not on board.
Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton has emerged as a key critic in the Obama
administration`s move to secure this deal and vowed Friday to block it. In
a statement the Senator said, quote, "There is no nuclear deal or framework
with Iran, there is only a list of dangerous U.S. concessions that will put
Iran on the path to nuclear weapons. These concessions also do nothing to
stop or challenge Iran`s outlaw behavior." And House Speaker John Boehner
on the heels of a visit to Israel to spend time to Prime Minister Netanyahu
said in a statement it would be naive to suggest the Iranian regime will
not continue to use its nuclear program, and any economic relief to further
destabilize the region.
So, Niels, I want to come to you first and ask, can Congress sabotage this
deal? And what is the power they have to do so? And talk to me about the
role of the democratic caucus in particular here.
LESNIEWSKI: Well, it`s going to be the Senate Democratic Caucus and
particularly it`s going to probably have the most important roll ultimately
because anything that Congress and the Senate in particular ultimately
tries to do to block this deal is going to need to get to 67 votes in order
to overcome a veto by President Obama, which would invariably come.
WARREN: So break that down for me. A veto. The President has the power
to negotiate this deal.
WARREN: Congress could then pass a law requiring their oversight, right?
LESNIEWSKI: Yes. They could pass a law requiring their approval or they
could even attempt to enact new sanctions notwithstanding the deal, which
would be even a step beyond that. And either of those things, though,
would need to be able to either get the President`s signature, which in
this case it sure won`t, or able to get the votes to override that
signature. Now, you know, override the veto.
LESNIEWSKI: And either way, that`s going to require the agreement of some
number of democratic senators. Now, we heard recently that the chairman of
the Foreign Relations Committee for the oversight bill doesn`t seem to yet
have the 67 votes that he would need. So, you know, it seems like that
there might be time that`s been bought, but we may be back at this again in
WARREN: Right. So, Ayman, I want to get you in here and ask you about the
republican caucus in the Senate and ask what role does Bibi Netanyahu play
here? How much power and sway does he holding over the GOP caucus in
MOHYELDIN: Well, directly and indirectly, I think you can look at it from
two different perspectives. You know, he`s going to make the public
campaign as he has come out today doing the rounds on the media and
certainly we`re going to expect similar from the Israeli government at all
levels but also you can expect it from the pro-Israel lobby inside the
United States who also share those viewpoints to try and in any way, shape
or form bring that to the forefront of the republican agenda, if you will.
I think there`s going to be a fundamental question to be asked here when
you have some of the United States` closest allies, France, the United
Kingdom who are obviously endorsing this deal and you have one close U.S.
ally who`s not, how this is going to play out in terms of domestic U.S.
Will the United States Republican Party take into consideration that
America`s closest allies in Europe are supporting this deal, say they want
this deal to happen, or will they leave it up to the pro-Israel lobby and
the Israeli camp who say this is not a good deal. And I think it`s going
to raise a fundamental question then about the United States` national
security policy and who within its sphere of allies it`s going to listen to
when it comes to this nuclear initiative. I think that`s a very important
WARREN: So, Michelle, are members of Congress trying to exercise
responsible oversight here? This is not a trick question. I`m being
genuine. Or are they simply trying to kill the deal no matter what?
GOLDBERG: I think they`re simply trying to kill the deal no matter what.
I mean, we talked about, you know, can the Iranians be trusted to uphold
their ending of the bargain because they have all these crazy voices who
still say they want to obliterate Israel. Well, we have Senator Mark Kirk
who has been talking about mushroom clouds over Tehran. You know? So we
have our own kind of, you know, radical clerics, if you will, who -- yes,
who probably cannot be trusted if they`re able to garner -- if they can
garner the support to kill this deal, they will.
MOHYELDIN: And to ask that really quickly, let`s not forget from an
Iranian perspective, it was the United States who overthrew an Iranian
government back in the 1950s and that legacy within the Iranian political
leadership and among ordinary Iranians make it very difficult for ordinary
Iranians to want to trust the United States when they know that there is a
long, nefarious legacy of CIA involvement and even more recently with
things in the region that would make the Iranian government extremely, you
know, questionable and suspicious of U.S. intentions in the region.
WARREN: So historical context super important here. We can`t wipe away
All right. More coming up after the break with -- and I`ll get Sabrina in
here to say more about this Iran nuclear deal.
WARREN: Okay. We`ve been talking about the Iran nuclear deal. And
Sabrina, I want to ask you first. There is an argument and this is made by
my colleague at Columbia Austin Long that a deal would actually be useful
for the hawks in Congress who want to bomb Iran. And the argument is that
because of this deal we would actually gather more intelligence through the
inspection process that would make military action more effective. What`s
your response to that?
SIDDIQUI: Well, I think that that makes perfect sense, but to argue a
reasonable point with the GOP hawks in Congress is an oversight because
obviously when it comes to the opposition that you`ve seen, it`s just
already inherent among republicans. Before the details of this deal were
even released, you`ve seen this campaign they have mounted on unprecedented
ways by inviting Netanyahu around Obama, by sending that letter signed by
47 republican lawmakers to Iranian leadership. I think the point is, the
most important piece though is the democrats. There`s no coincidence also
that Israel, according to the White House, they leaked this to "The Wall
Street Journal" that they were leaking details of the deal to democrats in
Congress trying to influence democrats. Because they recognize that it`s
going to be about those, you know, seven odd democrats who peel off and
join republicans to try and override a presidential veto. They`re the key
players. And the biggest thing Obama will have to contend with are those
who are facing re-election and those who don`t have the best relationship
with this White House.
WARREN: But Ayman, I`m really compelled with this argument, why shouldn`t
the President then try to lobby republicans and say, hey, you want to bomb
Iran? I`m going to give you better intelligence.
MOHYELDIN: Well, I`m not sure that, you know, from the argument that he
made this week when he addressed the American people, he laid it out pretty
clearly. There are three ways that we can get a nuclear bomb, uranium,
plutonium and covertly. And addressing the covertly potential path off to
a bomb was a priority for the United States. And this gives the United
States the best from the White House perspective, this gives the United
States the best opportunity at finding out what Iran is doing covertly
because it`s getting all of the information through international means,
inspections not just at the end product but throughout the entire supply
and chain. So, he can go back and say that this positions the United
States and its allies in the best position possible to know everything that
Iran is doing, unlike what we`ve known in the past couple of years when
we`ve had to find out either after Iran had begun constructing something or
too late, so to speak. You know?
WARREN: So, we`ll have to wrap it there. I want to thank Sabrina
Siddiqui, Niels Lesniewski and Ayman Mohyeldin. Michelle is sticking
And up next, dollar menu size wage news this week as the fight for `15
WARREN: Friday`s monthly job numbers show that the U.S. added only 126,000
new jobs in March, a marked slowdown from previous months. And wage
growth, while up a little more in February, largely stayed tepid at 0.3
percent. But the really big news on wages this week came from a place you
might not expect, underneath the golden arches. Wednesday the fast food
giant McDonald`s announced that it would raise wages to least $1 more an
hour from the local minimum wage at its non-franchise locations. That will
mean a pay increase for about 90,000 employees. In addition, those
employees will now be able to earn some paid time off and employees at all
locations will be eligible for assistance in earning a college degree or
high school diploma.
McDonald`s move follows recent wage increases by other major corporations
like Walmart, Marshalls and TJ Maxx but it`s important to stress that the
McDonald`s pay raise will not affect its franchises, which employ about
750,000 workers. The move by McDonald`s comes in the wake of a sustained
social movement led by groups like fight for 15 that have targeted
corporations for their wage and labor practices. And despite the news of
this Mc raise, activists said make clear, they`re not done and will
continue to fight for still higher wages.
At the table, Kendall Fells, organizing director, Fight for $15. Catherine
Ruetschlin, senior policy analyst at Demos. Yevgeniy Feyman, fellow at the
Manhattan Institute. And Michelle Goldberg, senior contributing writer at
"The Nation" magazine. And also joining us, one of the workers and
protesters on the front lines, Jessica Davis, a cashier at a McDonald`s in
my hometown of Chicago.
Good morning, Jessica. And I`m curious what you think of this new policy
and how does it affect you?
JESSICA DAVIS, CASHIER, MCDONALD`S: Well, you know, I think that this is
definitely a pr stunt. I don`t believe that this -- this is not going to
help me get off government assistance, you know, help me pay rent, you
know, provide the basic necessities that I need, you know, as a single
mother to take care of my children. I think that it comes as not at an
alarming time. You know, as fast for work as we just announced our largest
strike on April 15th and then the day later, you know, McDonald`s announced
this pay increase. It`s not even going to affect, you know, it affects 10
percent of the workers there. And, you know, everyone knows, you know, we
deserve, you know, $15 an hour and the right to have a union, so we know
that this has added fuel to our fire and we`re going to just continue to
grow because we know we forced their hand in this.
WARREN: So, Jessica, I want to ask you how long you`ve worked at
McDonald`s and how much has your pay increased during that time?
DAVIS: Well, I`ve been working at McDonald`s for four-and-a-half years
now. I make $9.28 an hour so I started at $8.25 on the past four-and-a-
half years. I`ve only got up to 9.28. You know, it`s really hard to, you
know, take care of my children. You know, I`m a student as well. You
know, like I said earlier, a single mother taking care of my children. You
know, we`re still forced to live for poverty when we work for a corporation
that can afford to pay us a better wage.
WARREN: So, you mentioned you announced the largest strikes in the history
of the fast food industry on April 15th. Is this what`s next for
protesters like you, that you want to keep pushing McDonald`s?
DAVIS: Definitely. Every time we show out, we come in mass proportions,
large numbers. We make history every time. And, you know, April 15th will
be another historic day to us. This raise for the 10 percent of McDonald`s
employees actually just shows us that, you know that we`re winning here.
We`re going to keep pushing and keep growing because we know that this has
shown us that, you know, organizing and sticking together and taking it to
the streets is actually working for us.
WARREN: So, Kendall, as the organizer here, I want to ask you why target
businesses when you could easily target lawmakers? We`ve seen in Seattle
and other places successful efforts to increase the minimum wage to $15 an
hour. Why focus on corporate behemoths?
KENDALL FELLS, ORGANIZING DIRECTOR, FIGHT FOR $15: I mean, when you look
at McDonald`s, you`re talking about the second largest private employer in
the world. There`s about a $1 billion price tag every year that taxpayers
are paying to subsidize McDonald`s. So, because McDonald`s employees about
half of them, actually over half, on public assistance, Medicaid, food
stamps, can`t afford food, shelter and clothing, the taxpayers are picking
up that bill. McDonald`s has a responsibility when they`re making $5
billion, $6 billion a year because workers like Jessica Davis are breaking
their back and they`re doing everything they need to do to make sure that
that store runs well. McDonald`s has a social responsibility to make sure
workers like Jessica and Kwanza Brooks and others, can get $15 an hour and
have a union so that they`re protected on the job.
WARREN: And what`s the end game here? I mean, all right, big protests
April 15th. You want McDonald`s to pay $15 an hour and workers the right
to join a union. Is that ultimately -- that`s the end game.
WARREN: And you`re not going to stop unless you win that?
FELLS: Well, there`s not going to be big protests on April 15th, there
will be the largest mobilization of low wage workers in U.S. history. On
the 15th, there will be fast-food workers, home care workers, child care
workers, Walmart workers, adjunct professors and others. This will be
international, there will be activity in 40 different countries. And this
is about one thing, $15 an hour and a union for fast food workers. There`s
no compromise. This increase, this pr stunt of $1, this is over 650,000
McDonald`s employees in the U.S. that will not receive a raise. 1.6
million around the world that will not receive a raise. They will remain
on public assistance. Kwanza Brooks who I met a couple of weeks ago in
Atlanta makes $7.25 cents to work at a corporate store. Maybe she gets to
$8.25. He stays on Medicaid, he stays on food stamps, and taxpayers stay
picking up the bill because McDonald`s is not taking care on their social
responsibility. And that`s why workers like Jessica Davis are going to go
on strike and we`re going to have the biggest mobilization on low wage
workers in U.S. history on April 15th.
WARREN: Catherine, this seems to be a huge concession from one of the
largest multinational corporations in the world.
CATHERINE RUETSCHLIN, SENIOR POLICY ANALYST, DEMOS: That`s right. And I
just want to take a second to congratulate Jessica on her new raise. It`s
actually really a significant win for a workforce that has been trying
really hard for more than a year now to turn their Mc jobs into real
opportunities. It`s also a really interesting sign about what`s happening
in the labor force. As you mentioned, the last jobs report was pretty
disappointing but even before that under more robust growth we weren`t
seeing the kind of wage gains in the economy that usually accompany wage
growth and economic growth at this point in the recovery. It was six years
in. Household budgets, workers` paychecks still haven`t reflected the
growth in the overall economy. And the reason is that these big powerful
institutions, like Walmart, like McDonald`s, have a choice about what they
pay their workers. And this announcements, these -- kind of fanfare around
these big companies offering the chosen wage that they choose really
signifies the institutional power of these companies and the need for a
countervailing power that`s organized workers out there to keep that in
WARREN: So, I want to come back to this question of the choice of these
corporations when we come after the break. I want to thank Jessica Davis
in Chicago. Congratulations and good luck.
DAVIS: Thank you.
WARREN: Up next, what access to an Egg McMuffin in the afternoon tells us
about the relationship between McDonald`s corporation and the franchise
WARREN: McDonald`s wage increase for some of its works was not the only
major decision the fast food chain made this week. Just before announcing
the new wage policy, McDonald`s is testing another big change, one that
could have huge implications for the future success of the restaurant and
hash brown lovers everywhere. I`m talking, of course, about all day
breakfast. That`s right. As part of an effort to increase sales,
McDonald`s will begin testing a breakfast any time menu at some of its San
Diego locations. And if the new menu is successful, the company may take
it nationwide. Now, all kidding aside, the announcement of this new test
policy does have major implications. That`s because as business insider
points out, there are logistical hurdles to implementing all day breakfast
and it might be difficult for McDonald`s franchisees to make it happen.
Specifically, some McDonald`s owners have pointed out that an average
McDonald`s does not have enough toaster and grill space to accommodate an
all-day breakfast menu along with its traditional burgers and fries.
That means that the burden of figuring out how to increase capacity could
fall on franchise owners. Now, consider that in light of McDonald`s new
wage policy which specifically does not apply to franchise owners. It
seems that when it comes to policies for paying workers another $1 an hour,
McDonald`s doesn`t want to burden the four franchisees but when it comes to
policies that might make the corporation more money, well then franchise
owners may have to do as told. So, who`s really in charge here? And
Michelle, I want to ask you as I take a bite of this, because I`m kind of
hungry, who`s the real boss?
RUETSCHLIN: You know, the CEO of McDonald`s, Steve Easterbrook, has come
out with these strategies to overcome quarter after quarter of poor
performance, McDonald`s lagging its peers, both its peers on the S&P 500
and higher paid quick service restaurants who are really outstripping its
sales performance. As a result of its underinvestment, franchises are
upset, workers are upset, shareholders are upset and McDonald`s really has
to take some drastic measures. Now, when it makes a decision like to raise
wages for just 10 percent of the workforce and calls it an investment in
its people and its product, there`s something that doesn`t connect there.
And that`s a really significant indication of what it`s really trying to do
with the wage increase while at the same time it captures a third of its
company revenues from the fees, royalties and rents that it receives from
franchisees. And that means $9 billion worth of leeway within which it
could accommodate Franchise owners.
WARREN: So, I think I`m finished chewing there. It`s not the hottest Egg
McMuffin. All right. Michelle, I found one of the interesting things
about this announcement was the educational assistance it`s extending to
all of its workers, even those that work at the franchises. And I`m just
wondering why can`t McDonald`s do the same thing around wages?
GOLDBERG: It can. It doesn`t want to. You know, to be honest, I think
the educational assistance, that`s great. I wonder if it has something to
do, you probably know better than I do whether that has something to do
with employee retention, right?
Right. Which is not just a matter of McDonald`s good will, they spend a
lot of money churning through employees because people don`t want to work
very long for a company that, you know, doesn`t pay a living wage. And
it`s pretty brutal, hard, dirty work. So it`s nice that they are extending
these benefits, but what McDonald`s employees really need is to be able to
work full-time and be able to take care of their families.
WARREN: So, Kendall, I want to come to you on this because I love talking
about the National Labor Relations Board, the NLRB. And it seems that the
federal government is saying to McDonald`s, hey, corporation, you are the
real boss overall your franchisees, and has stated in a "New York Times"
editorial yesterday, the general counsel of the National Labor Relations
Board found that the control exerted by McDonald`s over its franchises made
it a joint employer of its workers. At issue is whether McDonald`s will be
allowed to keep maximum control over franchises while disavowing
responsibility for the franchise`s workers. What`s the significance of the
National Labor Relations Board weighing in on this question?
FELLS: I mean, McDonald`s has had a history of trying to hide behind their
franchise owners essentially. There`s no way that you can be McDonald`s
and dictate how many staff need to be on staff at any given time, be able
to expand the high school and college completion, be able to institute all
day breakfast and then turn and say but there`s no way that I can raise
wages for and give a union to the workers who work in franchise stores.
What they`re trying to do is they`re trying to draw artificial distinction
between franchisees and the corporate stores. But in reality, just because
McDonald`s says that doesn`t make it true. In reality, workers have always
says since the beginning of this campaign, McDonald`s is the employer. The
general counsel ruled that McDonald`s is the employer. And now McDonald`s
just proved that they`re the employer.
WARREN: All right. So I`ve got to get you in here. Isn`t there some
legitimacy to the idea that a minimum wage hike actually hurts franchise
FEYMAN: Yes. I think what`s being missed in this whole discussion is that
labor markets are fundamentally local. So the cost of living in Manhattan
is very different than the cost of living in rural Idaho. So it doesn`t
make much sense in my view to say that you`ve got to pay workers in midtown
Manhattan the same as you`re paying workers in rural Idaho. And when you
get into the issue of requiring breakfast, supply chains are national and
it makes a little bit easier on that front, and beyond that, you know,
breakfast items are their most popular items. They are trying to increase
revenue so there`s some franchises that will be able compete on that front
that have to shut down and that really is a business decision that
McDonald`s is making at the national level.
WARREN: All right. So, I know, so much more to say on this. I want to
thank my guests, Kendall Fells, Catherine Ruetschlin, Yevgeniy Feyman and
Michelle Goldberg. I`m going to take another bite of this on the break.
Up next, the new study by "Essence" magazine on women at work.
WARREN: On Friday, "Essence" magazine launched its black women at work
campaign with a discussion here in New York. As part of the event, the
regular host of this show, Melissa Harris-Perry moderated a panel of high-
ranking corporate black women. They tackled topics ranging from mentoring
to racist jokes in the office and, of course, hair.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: A superior, I was in a meeting in his office and I saw
a huge bug. And the bug was running. And so I lifted my feet up and I
said, oh, my gosh, there`s a bug. You need to deal with that bug. So he
went to open his door to let the bug -- I mean, this was this bug, a huge
water bug. And he went to open the door to let the bug leave like it was a
third member of our meeting. You can`t just let it roam, you have to kill
it. And he said oh, you know, my wife usually kills the bugs. This is a
white male. My wife usually kills the bugs at home and then he ended up
stepping on it. There was, you know, a crunch and a crackle. He picked it
up and threw it away, it was huge. And then he said, well, I don`t know
what you`re so worried about, your ancestors used to eat bugs like this.
MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY, MSNBC HOST, "MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY": When I meet
young women of color, it is any of their single question, the thing they
ask me about their futures is how do I proceed in the world with my hair.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: I`ve come back from vacation and couldn`t get to the
beauty parlor and so it will look curly. And I`ve had people say, oh,
that`s what your hair really looks like?
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: I`ve been natural back since before her roles, before
-- daughter, before -- back when nobody was natural, so the last time I had
a relaxed was in the `80s.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WARREN: Black women at work is the culmination of a ground-breaking study
commissioned by "Essence" and partnership with added value Cheskin, which
highlighted the ways in which black women feel the need to change
themselves in order to get ahead at work. Eighty percent of the women
surveyed said they felt they needed to make adjustments to their
personalities in order to be successful, and 57 percent felt they needed to
physically appear a certain way. Straightening their hair or dressing
conservatively, in order to get ahead in the workplace.
Joining me now is the editor-in-chief of "Essence," Vanessa K. De Luca.
Dorie Clark, branding expert and author of the forthcoming book, "Stand
Out." Yesi Morillo-Gual, a finance executive and founder and president of
"Proud to be Latina." And Adrienne Hopkins, management consultant. And
Vanessa, I want to come to you first. And ask you, what are the challenges
facing women of color at the workplace?
VANESSA K. DE LUCA, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, "ESSENCE MAGAZINE": Well, the
challenges, I mean, the thing is, black women are very ambitious in the
workplace, you know, they are fine with developing the skills that they
need to succeed. They want to be executives, they want to be managers but
there is this overriding sense that they have to be careful about how they
act, how they appear, how they look, because they don`t want to be
stereotyped. They don`t want to feel like people are going to make
judgments about them based on their appearance and how they conduct
themselves. So they`re hypercritical about that and hypersensitive to it
and because of that, they tend to hold back and not show their authentic
selves in the workplace.
So, there`s a sort of internal policing in the sense of behavior.
DE LUCA: Absolutely.
WARREN: And Yesi, I want to ask you, what do you think happens when women
change their personalities at work?
YESI MORILLO-GUAL, FINANCE EXECUTIVE: I think first it`s exhausting. You
have to remember what to do, when to do it, who to do it with. Second,
people will see right through you. If you`re not being authentic they`ll
figure out that you`re a fake, they`re not going to want to talk to you,
they`re not going to want to get you involved. And third, the more time
that you spend trying to change who you are is the less time that you`re
spending really like she said, fortifying those skills, creating that
network, finding those mentor sponsors and the allies are going to help you
move to the next level.
WARREN: Adrienne, let me continue in here and ask you this question about
code switching. So we know that many women change not only their
appearance and their personality but even the way they talk at work. Talk
to me about code switching at the workplace.
ADRIENNE HOPKINS, MANAGEMENT CONSULTANT: Absolutely. So I think code
switching is a necessary or critical tool to be an emotionally intelligent
human being. I think the challenge comes in when that code switching
causes you to be someone that you feel like you are absolutely not and the
reason why you feel forced to do this is because you think your most
authentic self isn`t good enough or there`s something wrong with the way
you talk or you`ll never be seen as smart. And that`s really the issue is
because, you know, to speak a different language of people from various
walks of life you have to meet them where they are, right? But you`re
meeting them where they are in like a mutually respective way but you don`t
do that in a workplace when you feel like, let me try to be like you
because who I am isn`t good enough.
WARREN: So, Dorie, there is a really interesting finding in the "Essence"
survey. So, far more black women felt they needed to make adjustments at
work but the study also showed that 62 percent of white women felt the
same. Have you experienced this?
CLARK: Well, this goes to the results of a study that was done by Deloitte
University Center for leadership inclusion, talking about the phenomena of
covering which is basically downplaying aspects of our identity that we
think might make others feel uncomfortable, and the interesting finding is
that 61 percent of all respondents, even including 45 percent of white
males, straight white males reported covering because there`s aspects, I
mean, for instance, if you`re dealing with a health issue or mental health
issue, a lot of people feel the need to present an image of their perfect
selves to the world, and even more so, of course, it`s true with LGBT
people, 83 percent of whom reported covering and African-Americans, 79
percent of whom reported covering but the interesting finding here is that
based on research by the center for Talent Innovation, it turns out that
specifically with regard to sexual orientation, which is what they were
researching you might think that you would advance more quickly if you were
covering up or if you were closeted but actually out employees are more
likely to be successful and be promoted because as Yesi was mentioning it
freeze you up psychologically to focus on the job and doing well rather
than your own identity and it signals a kind of comfort with yourself and
confidence that others respect and say that`s a leader.
This is interesting in light of the conversation we were having earlier
about being your authentic self-online in and social media. Vanessa, I
want to ask you, what are some of the ways "Essence" is using the study to
address the challenges that black woman face at the workplace.
DE LUCA: Well, it`s really driving a bigger conversation in social media,
with #BlackWomenatWork, where women are sharing some of their challenges
and some of their career journeys that they`ve been facing and then also
offering up solutions, part of that conversation on Friday, what are the
real world answers, what are the real world tactics that you can use to
address some of these challenges in the workplace and the more that we
share that information, the more we talk about it, the more that we all win
because then they were able to truly be ourselves, and be accepted. In
fact, in our study, we talked about like 39 percent of the women who we
consider the -- women said that they are, you know, being themselves, being
authentic is what helped them to shine, what helped them to soar in the
WARREN: So, I want to talk about Ellen Pao and get your quick response to
this. So, Reddit CEO Ellen Pao recently lost her gender discrimination
lawsuit that she filed against her former employer. I mean, as many people
talking about the subtle sexism that women face at work which wondering,
have either of you experienced this?
HOPKINS: I think definitely, in much of the same way that you experience
micro-aggressions for being a black person, I think just the way people
treat you. They don`t talk to you the same. You`re not privy to the same
personal information that you would be if you perhaps looked like them and
other things like that, that just make you feel like you`re on the outside
so even if you wanted to be your most authentic self-it`s hard when people
close the door and you constantly every time you give a little.
MORILLO-GUAL: I think piggybacking off of what she said it`s also about
interest and my interests that are going to a ski-trip and am I interested
in golfing and finding ways of being involved in other things that are of
interest to you and that you can relate to with them.
WARREN: So much more to talk about. Thank you so much to Vanessa De Luca,
Dorie Clark, Yesi Morillo-Gual and Adrienne Hopkins. That is our show for
today. Thanks to you at home for watching. Melissa will be back next
Saturday at 10:00 a.m. Eastern. But before we go, one quick shout out to
my new nephew Ian, he just nine-days old today, Happy Easter Ian, and Happy
Passover, too, and happy holiday to all of you at home.
And now it`s time for a preview of "WEEKENDS WITH ALEX WITT."
ALEX WITT, MSNBC HOST, "WEEKENDS WITH ALEX WITT": Oh my gosh, you have so
much to celebrate Dorian today. That is adorable. Thank you so much.
Hey, everyone, sharp words today on that Iran deal, we`re going to hear
from a prominent U.S. senator who takes Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu to task over his position on the framework agreement.
The defense for former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez begins
its case tomorrow. We`re going to look at whether he stands a chance of
walking away a free man.
And how thin is too thin? We`re going to look at a new law in France which
cracks down on agencies hiring those super skinny models. Don`t go
anywhere. I`ll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: I`m not trying to kill any
deal. I`m trying to kill a bad deal.
SENATOR DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D), CALIFORNIA: I don`t think it`s helpful for
Israel to come out and oppose this one opportunity.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WITT: Taking sides, new word from all parties on the Iran nuclear deal,
showing just how deeply some key players are divided on the issue.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
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