All In With Chris Hayes, Monday, April 6th, 2015
Read the transcript from the Monday show
Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
Date: April 6, 2015
Guest: Lisa Dunn, Trita Parsi, Nelson Schwartz, Clarence Page, Richard
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST (voice-over): Tonight on ALL IN.
DEAN STEVE COLL, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY: This failure was not the subject`s
or the source`s fault as a matter of journalism.
HAYES: After a damning review, the legal troubles are just beginning for
"Rolling Stone," as the magazine finally retracts its rape on campus story.
Then, guess which 2016 hopeful just unveiled his plan to sink the nuclear
deal with Iran.
RICK PERRY (R), FORMER TEXAS GOVERNOR: Let`s see. I can`t. The third one
I can`t. Sorry. Oops!
HAYES: Plus, growing food in the desert. Why are California farms carved
out of historic drought regulations?
GOV. JERRY BROWN (D), CALIFORNIA: Some people have a right to more water
than others. That`s historic.
HAYES: Throwing out the first pitch at a stadium with two working
bathrooms for 35,000 fans.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s a bummer about the seats and everything.
HAYES: Tonight, why the problems with Major League Baseball go way beyond
ALL IN starts now.
HAYES: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes.
Today, months after "Rolling Stone" magazine published a shocking report
about a gang rape at a fraternity at the University of Virginia, a story
which began falling apart within days of its publication, the Columbia
University School of Journalism released a sober, damning assessment of how
"Rolling Stone" failed, quote, "basic, even routine journalistic practice."
"Rolling Stone" retracted the story and apologized to its readers,
University of Virginia and the fraternity. "Rolling Stone" also published
Columbia`s report online which was presented today by the dean of
Columbia`s journalism school and its dean of academic affairs.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COLL: This failure was not the subject`s or the source`s fault as a matter
of journalism. It was -- it was the product of failed methodology. We did
not feel her role in the story should be the subject of a report seeking
accountability for the failure of journalism. It was the collective fault
of the reporter, editor, the editor`s supervisor, and the fact checking
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: The failure was the not source`s fault, according to the Columbia
report, as you just saw there. The source simply identified as Jackie in
the "Rolling Stone" article was the subject of further comment today by its
publisher Jann Wenner.
Mr. Wenner interviewed by the "New York Times," quote, "acknowledged the
pieces` flaws but said it represented an isolated and unusual episode and
that the writer, Ms. Sabrina Erdely, would continue to write for the
magazine. `The problems with the article started with its source,` Mr.
Wenner said. He described her as `a really expert fabulous storyteller`
who managed to manipulate the magazine`s journalism process. When asked to
clarify. he said he was not trying to blame Jackie, but obviously, there is
something here that is untruthful, and something sits at her doorstep."
Columbia`s report on the other hand states that, quote, "the explanation
that Rolling Stone failed because it deferred to a victim cannot quickly
account for what went wrong. The editors made judgments about attribution,
fact-checking and verification that greatly increased their risks of error
but have little or nothing to do with protecting Jackie`s position."
The publication of the article last November created an instant media
sensation covered here on this program among many, many others, which
reignited discussions of sexual assault and fraternity misbehavior on
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
BRIAN WILLIAMS, NBC NEWS: A major American university has a lot to answer
for now that claims of a particularly shocking sexual assault have been
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are now hearing what one student said she went
through, even though some of her friends told her not to say anything
HAYES: The university founded by Thomas Jefferson, University of Virginia,
now finds itself in total crisis.
SABRINA ERDELY, WRITER: Jackie did go to the school and the school did
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
HAYES: Ms. Erdely seen there in a statement has apologized to "Rolling
Stone`s" readers, to my "Rolling Stone" editors and colleagues, to the UVA
community and to any victims of sexual assault who may feel fearful as a
result to my article. We`ll talk about that in just a moment.
Ms. Erdely did not apologize directly to the fraternity in that state.
"Rolling Stone," through its publisher, has said that Will Dana, the
magazine`s managing editor, and Sean Woods, the editor of the article, will
keep their jobs, according to "The Times". Quote, "Both Mr. Dana and Mr.
Wenner said that newsroom practices had been amended. We are not going to
cut those corners, even for the most sympathetic reasons," Mr. Wenner said.
The fraternity named in the "Rolling Stone" piece said it plans to pursue
all available legal action against the magazine.
Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe blasted "Rolling Stone" for its, quote,
"abject failure of accountability today."
And joining me now, MSNBC national reporter Irin Carmon, who has been
covering the story, who was up at Columbia today for the unveiling.
What is the big takeaway from the report from your perspective?
IRIN CARMON, MSNBC NATIONAL REPORTER: Well, I think that the Columbia
authors were extremely careful to say what they felt comfortable saying. I
think, implicitly, there was a desire, particularly on the right, let`s be
clear, to say that this was a problem that feminists want to believe rape
victims too much, or that there`s hysteria on campus, or that everybody
wanted to believe that fraternities are evil. And it`s possible that all
of those things are true, but it`s not within the purview of what these
journalists were trying to do in reporting the failures.
So, the takeaway is actually that the failures here were astonishingly
basic. I mean, I feel like we have to say that word again -- basic. How
did you know what you are saying? Who did you talk to about what you are
saying? And did you give that person an opportunity to respond.
It`s basically what you learn on the first day of any conversation or class
HAYES: I mean, the first time that you go and report a story, here`s what
happens. You hear through someone who told you they heard from someone
else that something insane happened. You think to yourself, I -- your eyes
light up. You think I have -- I`m going to win a Pulitzer. I`ve got the
most incredible story.
And then you start talking to those people and say, no. No. Well, no.
And by the time you report it out, often it`s a much different set of
facts. And not just the most basic -- I mean, what I can`t get over is how
no one asked the friends for comments, right?
HAYES: There`s three friends who were there on the night this happened,
who were with her afterwards who are quoted in the piece via hearsay
CARMON: Right. So, there are epistemological problems in reporting on
sexual assault. There are some unknowable things you have to take one
persons word above another. But finding out something that involves three
HAYES: Who were not present, let`s be fair, at the assault.
HAYES: That to me was so key.
CARMON: But there were conversations in which they were represented as
being callously indifferent.
CARMON: They should have an opportunity to comment on what they remember
happened. And one thing that the report really makes clear is that besides
covering your ass, sorry, even if she spoke to them she might have found
out that Jackie was being untruthful about things like I talked to Ryan
last week. That might be the point in which she said, wait a minute, maybe
the source is not as credible as I somehow believed and she would have done
additional reporting that wouldn`t have gotten her to this situation.
HAYES: It seems to me that there is a strange alignment of conservative
critics of the article. You know, whether out of terrible ideological
predispositions or not, many were skeptical at the beginning were some of
the first to raise it. There is an alignment it seems to between them, and
in the weird way, the "Rolling Stone" people who both want to make this
about essentially excess excessive sensitivity to the victim of sexual
violence, or alleged victim of sexual violence. And that`s not what the
report says. The report says this was just a failure of the basic
processes of journalism.
CARMON: If the woman was victimized in some way, it`s not precisely the
way representative of the story. That part we knew that she wasn`t, then
they have done her a tremendous disservice. They have put her in a
situation where she is probably getting death threats.
It does no one any good to have a story out there that`s not true. And I
think that that is, you know, know if a lot of programs featured it, it was
partly out of the sort of public trust that Rolling Stone would follow
these processes. And yes. Part of it had to do with assumptions. Part of
it also has to do with knowledge that this is a problem on campus and
looking for ways to draw more people into the conversation about it.
HAYES: And we want to talk about that turning now.
MSNBC national reporter Irin Carmon, thank you.
Of course, the "Rolling Stone" article did a disservice not just to the
fraternity, the story center, which was major, let`s just be clear about
that, OK? And they may be pursuing legal avenues, but also to victims of
sexual assault, both present and future.
As noted by the Columbia report, the magazine`s failure may have spread the
idea that many women invent rape allegations. Social scientists analyzing
crime records report that false rape allegations is 2 percent to 8 percent.
"At UVA, it`s going to be more difficult now to engage some people because
they have preconceived notion that women lie about sexual assault," said
Alex Pinkleton, a UVA student and rape survivor, who was one of Erdely`s
sources in that piece.
Joining me now, Laura Dunn, executive director of Surv Justice, a national
nonprofit organization that provides legal assistance to survivors of
campus sexual assault.
Laura, what is your takeaway, your lesson from your unique perspective as
an advocate on this issue from the arc of this "Rolling Stone" story?
LAURA DUNN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, SURV JUSTICE: I think the biggest takeaway
for Surv Justice, because we service clients every day that have suffered
sexual violence on campus, is just make sure that we are doing what we
always have done, which is collect documentation, create timelines, garner
evidence and make sure whether we are helping someone through the campus,
the criminal process, or even just going to the media, that we provide
support for their statements.
Most survivors, by and large, are telling the truth. And unfortunately in
our society, truthful victims don`t often get justice even when they
So, we make sure we increase the odds of justice by having that
documentation. We also talk openly and honestly with the survivors that
come to us about what it would take to go through certain processes and
what information they do need to hold someone accountable. And I think
that`s the biggest takeaway everyone can have from the story, is just to
follow the basic process, to make sure that you are documenting and that
you are showing that someone is, in fact, truthful, or in this case, that`s
something did not, in fact, occur the way it was told.
HAYES: The second point I want to stop and highlight for a moment. Being
honest with the person at issue who says they have experienced sexual
violence, been a survivor of sexual assault, about whatever process they
are going to pursue is going to require. And I think, in the case of this
article, that required saying to this source that we are going to have to
talk to your friends, we have to go relay what you said happen that night
to them, we are going to have to go try to track down the people that you
say did this to you.
And if at that point, if the survivor herself, or the person who`s an
alleged survivor I guess at this point says, I don`t want a part of that,
you do not do the piece, I think.
DUNN: Absolutely. And, you know, part of the Columbia piece highlighted
the Center for Public Integrity, which is the journalistic organization
that highlighted my story for the first time. I am a survivor who never
got justice. But they looked over 200 documents, they called the people I
accused of sexually assaulting me. They interviewed witnesses. They did a
And that`s the requirement for whatever process -- media, criminal, legal -
- whatever you are doing, it has to be thorough and vetted, because there
are lives at stake, not just, of course, survivors and the justice they are
seeking, but obviously those who are accused and in this case, institutions
that are ultimately liable for whatever comes out.
HAYES: You know, I think -- one of the things that gets muddied in this
conversation is that whatever processes we are setting up, they have to be
processes with some integrity, whatever the process is, there has to be
some transparency, there has to be due process, and there has to be some of
the protections for the accused that we would have in parallel processes in
legal proceedings, even as we recognize that often in legal proceedings,
those processes do a terrible job of actually protecting the interest of
DUNN: Absolutely. I think that`s a challenge that we are faced with. We
have had such a push back against due process that has only favored the
accused. And we now have victims rights, whether that`s through Title 9 or
the Clery Act, and now, we are trying to make sure they are working
together to create a fair process.
We do care about institutional liabilities. We do care about getting to
the truth. That requires having both sides come to the table with
information, with support and following a procedure.
I think the saddest thing that was lost in all of this coverage by Rolling
Stone is that UVA, since 2011, had been under investigation for Title 9
violations. Its procedures just changed because of the story. Like how
sad is that, it had to be a nationwide story and one sensationalized above
and beyond what Jackie reported because the journalist did not want to fact
check. For what? There are so many other survivors that spoke out. I
think all of it got lost because of the lack of journalist integrity.
HAYES: And I finally -- the final point here, I also think that it is
striking to me that this example of campus sexual assault that was printed
and now retracted was so extreme and so outside the norm of the bell curve
if you can call it that of routine sexual campus assault which probably not
quite cinematically gruesome as the one that is depicted there, although as
gruesome in every way to the actual survivors of them, and that`s part of
the problem, too, is conceiving of things that don`t have that garishness
as crimes themselves.
DUNN: Absolutely. I think, you know, the media has done a service to
survivors by covering their stories, bringing to the light, showing how
much injustice has occurred. At the same time, you`re right, there is this
underbelly of how sensational can this be, how dramatic can this be. It
really is losing the vast majority of survivors.
Gang rape is exceedingly rare. Most often, somebody you know and trust and
may be in a dating relationship. So, they are common day occurrences of
sexual violence in campus that aren`t being featured because they`re not
gripping headlines. That doesn`t mean survivors don`t deserve justice, and
doesn`t topic shouldn`t be discussed.
DUNN: Hopefully, all of journalism learns a lesson from this.
HAYES: Yes. It also means it`s not a story. Laura Dunn, thank you very
HAYES: All right. A night after Edward Snowden returns to American TV, he
also returns to America. He made a surprise appearance this morning in a
Brooklyn Park. I`ll explain that ahead.
And as another Republican presidential hopeful joins Benjamin Netanyahu`s
war on peace talks, why are we not hearing more from Iranian voices in the
debate? You will tonight.
Stay with us.
HAYES: Today marked the annual White House Easter egg role and the
president`s reading of his favorite childhood book to the children in
attendance. All was going well until some unwelcomed guests showed up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And now, all right, Max, let
the Wild Rumpus start. Look at them. Who can do a Wild Rumpus?
That was a good rompusing. That is OK, guys. Bees are good. They won`t
land on you. They won`t sting you. They`ll be OK.
Run. Run. Run. Run.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Is it me or is it like a perfect microcosm of the Obama presidency,
in which the press corps, Beltway media, Republicans are freaking out about
something and Barack Obama has to calmly say, like it`s all right. Like we
are going to take care of Ebola. Just everyone calm down.
I am not sure the bees were the Wild Rumpus the president was hoping for.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PERRY: Should I run for president and be so fortunate to be elected, one
of my first actions in office would be to invalidate the president`s Iran
agreement which jeopardizes the safety and security of the free world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Republican potential presidential candidates absolutely love Barack
Obama`s Iraq deal. Not of course the deal itself, which they professed to
hate. But the fact of its existence gives them such an easy concrete line
of political attack.
Rick Perry just the latest to likely Republican candidates to pan the
framework settled on last week between the U.S., Iran and five world
powers, joining Marco Rubio, Scott Walker and Jeb Bush in aligning
themselves with the other most prominent critic of the potential deal, a
man who graced three of the Sunday news shows yesterday to make his case,
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: The preeminent terrorist state
of our time should not have access to a vast nuclear capability that will
ultimately give them nuclear weapons.
A better deal would role back Iran`s vast nuclear infrastructure and
require Iran to shot its aggression in the region, its terror worldwide.
I think it is important to change the deal, to toughen up the deal, to get
a better deal.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
HAYES: Netanyahu is now the go-to booking on the nuclear deal, despite the
fact that his country isn`t even a party to the negotiations.
When the press coverage focuses on the reaction from Israel or from
Netanyahu`s allies and Republican caucus and the 2016 field, it
misrepresents the entire context of the talks. They are not between Israel
and the U.S. or even between the U.S. and Iran. As President Obama pointed
out in an interview, "New York Times" columnist, Tom Friedman, China,
Russia and our closest European allies are also involved.
No one has just to take Barack Obama`s word at face value that this is a
good deal. They can ask some of our closest allies that helped negotiate
and have endorsed it. Think about that when Rick Perry says he would
invalidate the deal if he were elected. He would be essentially sticking
his thumb in the eyes of France, Germany and the U.K.
The most glaring omission in all the U.S. media coverage has been the one
country that holds the success of the nuclear deal mostly squarely in its
hands, Iran. You may have heard of them. That`s who is sitting next
across the table from Secretary of State John Kerry at the talks, and it`s
who Netanyahu warned us about in his speech to Congress.
But there`s been little to no public discussion of how Iran`s leaders or
its people or the institutions inside Iran actually view the deal, or the
possibility of their country reopening to the rest of the world. The truth
is, Iran`s political dynamic on this issue has in some ways a kind of
resonant mirror image of our own. Just the deal here mobilized certain
political factions with the vested interest in blocking it, so in Iran, it
has motivated the hardliners, the most conservative, most hawkish factions
of the government whose political strength comes from their opposition to
Joining me now, Trita Parsi, who`s the founder and president of the
National Iranian American Council, author of "A Single Roll of the Dice:
Obama`s Diplomacy with Iran".
So, I guess -- I think there is a tendency to think of Iran sort of
monolithically. And obviously, it`s not a representative democracy like
the U.S. is, but that does not mean there are not factions within the
government, right? Who likes this deal and who doesn`t?
TRITA PARSI, NATIONAL IRANIAN-AMERICAN COUNCIL: Iran has politics like all
countries. But I think one important difference between what you just
described, Chris, as you know, there are hard-liners over there that don`t
like it and these hard-liners over here who don`t like it is that frankly
the hard-liners on the American side right now are outdoing the Iranian
hard-liners, because most of the Iranian hardliners and the most important
Iranian hardliner, the supreme leader, is essentially behind the deal. We
would not have seen negotiations going this far had they not backed it.
So, opponents of the deal on the Iranian political spectrum are
increasingly becoming isolated and they`re certainly not sending letters to
President Obama, telling them that whatever the Iranian president will
sign, they will unravel.
HAYES: OK. So, then the question is, how should we interpret -- a lot of
us saw the images of the people in the streets in Tehran and around the
country after the deal was announced. How should we interpret that? What
was the meaning of that?
PARSI: People were delighted because to them, this is not just a nuclear
deal. This is a deal that ends sanctions on Iran. It`s a deal that would
hopefully end Iran`s isolation and this young, extremely educated, very
modern in their outlook population would be able to once again reconnect
with the international community and be part of the global society.
And at the same time, it`s a deal from the Iranian perspective also
safeguards their dignity, because they didn`t capitulate. It was truly a
compromise between the two sides. That something that speaks to their
pride, and as a result, you saw the images. People were out in the streets
dancing, singing and, in fact, chanting slogans from five years ago,
slogans of the green movement.
HAYES: That`s -- Green Movement, of course, a kind of democratic uprising
against the incumbent powers that be that was brutally suppressed in many
cases. We saw some of that state violence which was covered here on our
air and other places.
There are now word coming in terms of getting back to the American politics
on this, there is coming word that Chuck Schumer who is in line to be the
Senate leader after Harry Reid retires is going to back this Senate bill,
Menendez-Corker, that would essentially create a kind of congressional veto
or disapproval, although it is unclear how it will actually be structured.
What do you make of that?
PARSI: Well, I think part of the reason why the president is not going
full out and trying to sell the deal because he is go to need the public.
He`s going to be able -- he`s going to need the public to come to his side
in order to be able to prevent any congressional sabotage. He cannot just
deal with Congress directly and hope that the members of Congress will do
the right thing. He has to go to the American public.
I think you have seen his case. He is saying this is a good deal. It`s
one of the best deals we could have gotten. If we don`t get this, we`re
going to be looking to a form of a military confrontation, and as a result
hope that he can mobilize the American public to come out and show their
support for this.
HAYES: What do you think? One of the things that critics of the deal have
noted, and this gets to the internal politicals in Iran in sort of to the
extent there are sort of struggles between reformers and moderates and
hard-liners is a sort of variety of other things the Iranian government
does that we in the U.S. or Israel or other states may not like. Their
sort of support of terrorist organizations, their support of foreign
But there`s also just sort of the routine domestic repression. Right now,
there`s an American reporter from the "Washington Post," Jason Rezaian, who
has been held captive for a very long time. There is a lot of concern
And I guess my question to you is, how do you think the outlook for someone
like him, for the basic kind of civic rights in Iran look after a deal is
inked versus before?
PARSI: Well, remember, Chris, a couple of years ago, there were people
were saying that when the president reached out and started talking to the
Iranian government, that that was a betrayal of the Iranian people`s pro-
democracy aspirations. Well, I think the images of people dancing in the
streets and celebrating the deal is quite a repudiation of that argument.
Clearly, the people want this. They want to break out of the isolation.
Nothing helps the Iranian government increase its repression of the
population more than Iran being isolated and not being connected to the
HAYES: All right.
PARSI: So, as a result, I`m not surprised that people are coming out
showing their joy for this. And I think that the chances of seeing
domestic change moving in the right direction in Iran is far greater once
Iran is integrated with the rest of the world.
HAYES: Trita Parsi, thank you very much.
PARSI: Thank you for having me.
HAYES: California has been in a drought for four years.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: People should realize we are in a new era. The idea of your nice
green grass getting lots of water every day, that is going to be a thing of
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Is California over? That`s ahead.
HAYES: Early morning dog walkers and joggers in Brooklyn`s Ft. Green Park,
if they look carefully, got a little surprise today: a bust of NSA
whistleblower Edward Snowden measuring four feet tall, museum quality. It
was installed in the park just before dawn.
The artist responsible for installing it it allowed the website Animal New
York to document the installation on the condition their identities remain
hidden. Wearing yellow construction vests, the artists hauled the bust
into the park and fused it to a stone column at the famed Prisonship
Martyr`s Monument. That monument, a memorial to revolutionary war
The symbolism is not lost on the artist who said in a statement, quote, "we
have updated this monument to highlight those who sacrificed their safety
in the fight against modern day tyrannies."
But by 1:00 this afternoon, the Parks Department had covered the bust with
a blue tarp. A short time later, authorities had taken it down. The
NYPD`s intelligence division is now investigating.
Although the artist protrayed Snowden as a hero for exposing Americans to
the fact their privacy was being routinely, systematically violated, it`s
likely that had they not publicized the installation, many, if not all of
the people passing that statue this morning wouldn`t have noticed.
Becuase as John Oliver pointed out in a pretty funny segment last night,
despite being behind what is arguably the single most significant example
of whistleblowing in American history, there are still plenty of Americans
still have no idea who the heck Edward Snowden is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have no idea who Edward Snowden is.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have heard the name, I just can`t picture -- think
right now exactly what it is.
UNIDNETIFIED FEMALE: Edward Snowden? No, I do not.
JOHN OLIVER, COMEDIAN: Just for the record, that wasn`t cherry picking.
That was entirely reflective of everyone we spoke to.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: As Glenn Greenwald pointed out today over The Intercept, given the
state of political disengagement in the country, or I should say
disengagement, Oliver`s crew probably could have come away with similar
results if they`d asked people to name a random Supreme Court Justice, or
heck I bet you even the current Speaker of the House.
But John Oliver actually flew to Russia where Snowden now lives. And then
conducted a truly remarkable interview with him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OLIVER: How many of those documents have you actually read?
EDWARD SNOWDEN, NSA LEAKER: I have evaluated all of the documents that are
in the archive.
OLIVER: You have read every single one?
SNOWDEN: Well I do understand what I turned over.
OLIVER: There is a difference between understanding what is in the
documents and reading what`s in the documents.
SNOWDEN: I recognize the concern.
OLIVER: Because when you`re handing over thousands of NSA documents, the
last thing you want to do is read them. So, The New York Times took a
slide, didn`t redact it properly, and in the end it was possible for people
to see that something was being used in Mosul on al Qaeda.
SNOWDEN: That is a problem.
OLIVER: Well, that`s a (EXPLETIVE DELETED) up..
SNOWDEN: It is a (EXPLETIVE DELETED) up. And these things do happen in
reporting. In journalism we have to accept at that some mistakes will be
made. This is a fundamental concept of liberty.
OLIVER: Right, but you have to own that then. You`re giving documents
with information you know could be harmful that could get out there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: What Oliver did with Snowden last night was something that has been
sorely lacking in the coverage of him for the last two years: he didn`t
lionize him or villanize him, he erected no statues nor called for his
imprisonment. He engaged him, pushed him on what he did and what we`ve
learned from what he did. And in the same way Snowden has to own his
actions so, too, do we as voters and our elected representatives for
blithely allowing a system of near total surveillance to continue after
we`ve all come to know its scope.
HAYES: Is the California dream of endless development fueled by cheap and
easy water finally over? That is the question being asked by many,
including The New York Times as the state bears down into its fourth
consecutive year of historic drought.
The skepticism about the state`s future comes after Governor Jerry Brown
called for water rationing, largely excluding agriculture, but ordering
cities and towns to cut down water usage by 25 percent.
Now, it is very appealing to blame the water crisis in California on plush
developments in the middle of the desert, or mansions with lawns and
swimming pools, but that misunderstands a more complicated and frankly dire
issue, because here is the thing, California is an agricultural state. And
out of all of the surface water consumed in the state, the overwhelming
vast majority of it, roughly 80 percnet, goes to agricultural. That
remaining 20 percent there, the little yellow wedge in that pie chart,
that`s everything else basically, every lawn, office building, pool,
shower, car wash, sprinkler system, you name it.
Meanwhile, agricultural production counts for just 2 percent of
California`s economic activity. So, while a 25 percent reduction of cities
and towns as a start, it`s just that. A much smaller reduction in water use
by the agricultural sector, for example, will go much further. Just a 10%
to 15% reduction in
agricultural water use will be the equivalent of a 50% decrease in
And yet, here`s the thing. So far, agricultural, again, 80% of the water,
has been largely spared from rationing. The question is, how long can that
last? And, will California will able to truly reckon with what is likely
it`s post climate change future of quasi permanent drought before its too
Joining me now, Nelson Schwartz, New York Times economics reporter and co
author of the piece, California Drought Tests History of Endless Growth.
I`m so glad you guys are covering this with so many resources. It`s
Alright. Can we start very basically. We`ve all seen China Town. We`ve all
got some vague idea of like the west was a desert, and then someone came
in and figured out how to get water to people to make it bloom.
We talk about the water like -- where is it? And, when we talk about the
agricultural, where is it and how do they get access to it?
NELSON SCHWARTZ, NEW YORK TIMES: Basically, a lot of the water that you`re
talking about is in the northern part of the state, Sierra Nevada, up in
the mountains, the snow packs, the big reservoirs and dams. So that has to
be brought south, and there is also a lot of water in the ground water,
underneath that you pump up.
So basically, farmers, residents, businesses are getting water from a
combination of the state and federal government projects, and they buy that
through their local water authorities.
HAYES: Right. So there`s this very Byzantine system of local water
authority and -- but people have, like let`s say I`m a rice farmer, which,
by the way America, we grow rice in the desert, which
Let`s say I`m a rice or an almond farmer, which is also very water
intensive? I`ve got a plot of land, right? Now, just to be clear, I`m not
growing that stuff from what falls from the sky, right? I mean, that`s just
SCHWARTZ: Right. It`s irrigated from water that may be from a river or one
of these reservoirs or dams and that`s released and that`s what they use.
HAYES: And I have some kind of right to that water? Is that like, attached
to the title that the acreage of my farm sits on?
SCHWARTZ: It basically goes sort of like a first come first serve. So, if
you`ve been there longer, you may have more senior water rights. And other
newcomers may have junior rights.
The problem is, there`s no market. So basically, water for farmers
especially, or even for people who live in the cities and suburbs, is
pretty cheap. And let`s say this for gasoline, and it were really really
cheap, cars would be even bigger and less fuel efficient than they are.
Everybody would be driving a suburban or an Escalade.
And that`s kind of like what you have here. I mean, water has been cheap,
you don`t have to pay that much for it, people are going to use it.
HAYES: Right now -- you can also imagine a situation I think people start
to think do I want a
market or price on water. They start to get hinky about that which I
understand, but you can also imagine a world in which essentially, there`s
a difference between how waters treated for these huge agricultural
purposes and how they`re treated for, you know, a resident of Los Angeles
with two kids and a house.
SCHWARTZ: Right, farmers are paying a lot lot lot less, even though they
use a lot more water, they`re paying a lot less than those folks you are
HAYES: Now, the farmers will turn around and say, hey, buddy, first of all
And, second of all, we`re growing food for everyone, all around the
country. Everyone loves our almonds, not my fault that people are lining up
around the block and (inaudible) to get almond milk.
SCHWARTZ: Or China for that matter.
HAYES: Right, so, what is the kind of long-term solution here, right?
Let`s say we got more sensible water policy in which you started to price
this. In which you started to see conservation happen. Could you sustain
the level of agricultural output that you have in
SCHWARTZ: You can, but you mentioned China Town, and I think part of the
idea of China Town is you got a real distrust between the farmers and the
Sort of vilifying or demonizing the farmers isn`t going to get you to where
you need to be.
Neither is having people in the city tell the farmers what to grow.
Bottom line is, farmers have to become more efficient. So, less less flood
irrigation, more drip
irrigation, even more sprinklers is better than flood irrigation.
At the same time, the farmers say, and this is true, for city dwellers
what`s the downside of saving water? Your lawn is brown, maybe your car is
dirty, we can live with that. Whereas, if you cut water to the farms,
people get laid off, there`s less food.
HAYES: Right. The idea of saying, look, you cities like you -- don`t water
your lawns. Even if it`s not the biggest part of that pie, it`s a lower
cost to the person at issue than saying we`re going to cut your crop output
SCHWARTZ: And you`re going to have to send your farm workers on the
unemployment line or what have you.
HAYES: Well, we`re going to go out to California in bit to do a week of
stories about this. I`m just fascinated by it and, thanks for all of your
reporting on it.
SCHWARTZ: Great to be here.
HAYES: Alright, Nelson Schwartz.
From the deserts of the west to the shores of Lake Michigan, ahead. We`ll
tell you why that white hot spot there, what that was in the picture, was
shining so bright last night you could almost see the lines for the
HAYES: Last night for the first time ever in history, the Chicago Cubs
held their home opener at night. Me, well I was parked in front of the
television, watching my beloved Cubbies with excitement, and then, well,
predictably increasing misery that they were shut out by the Cardinals.
Leaving so many runners stranded on base for the love of God. Three of
Alright but, both of Chicago`s mayoral candidates, incumbent Rahm Emanuel
and his challenger, "Chuy" Garcia, headed to Wrigley for the game, and of
course they did a little gland handling before election day, which is now
Rahm Emanuel probably didn`t think he`d still be campaigning at this point,
but he failed to get 50% plus one vote in the first round in February and
was forced into a run-off.
And polls, right after that election, showed a very tight race. Political
reporters were noting that, quote, Rahm could actually lose. And there was
and is a tremendous amount of dissatisfaction in Chicago toward Rahm
Emanuel, particularly I`ve noted in my own reporting talking to folks,
particularly among the cities African American voters. And his abrasive
personality hasn`t helped.
In fact, things got so bad he actually had to cut an ad, apologizing, kind
of, for being a jerk.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RAHM EMANUEL, MAYOR OF CHICAGO: They say your greatest strength is also
your greatest weakness. I`m living proof of that. I can rub people the
wrong way, or talk when I should
listen. I own that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: But here`s the thing. Emmanuel`s greatest strength in this campaign
has nothing to do with his personality either way.
According to The Chicago Sun Times, through March 30th, Rahm Emanuel
raised more than $30 million dollars for his campaign, compared to just
$5.2 million for Garcia.. And more than half of what Emanuel raised, more
than $18 million comes from an elite group of donors, many of whom having
received some benefit from city hall.
One of his top donors, powerful hedge fund manager, Michael Sacks, was
described by Chicago Magazine as Rahm`s fixer on a range of economic
Emanuel`s campaign and super PAC have also taken a lot of money from
Republicans, some of which was used in Emanuel`s television and ad blitz
All, while it`s not the only factor, it is fair to assume that all that
money has helped Rahm Emanuel a lot. Polls now show him with a big lead
over Garcia heading into tomorrow`s election.
Chicago has very few limits on campaign spending. This election has offered
a window into the way things now work on a national scale thanks to the
Supreme Court and Citizen`s United, where billionaire can more or less just
hand you a huge check, a million dollars, and hey, who knows what they`ll
ask for the day after the election.
If Emanuel does indeed win tomorrow as is now expected, it won`t change the
fact that Chicago`s finances are totally hosed. They are in absolutely
terrible shape. In fact, they look even worse
than Wrigley field`s bathrooms did last night.
I will bring you the disgusting details on that story, including what looks
like beer in cups but wasn`t actually beer, ahead.
HAYES: Well people were peeing in cups at Wrigley field last night. Now,
to be completely fair, that may not sound all that unusual. I may have
actually seen that happen myself while sitting in Wrigley`s bleachers, but,
last night was different.
You see, Wrigley is in the midst of a $500 million renovation project that
is not even close to being finished. And those iconic bleachers still
Opening night last night as seen here from a plane above Chicago. The cubs
covered up their unfinished bleachers with a tribute to Ernie Banks. But
the lack of the bleacher bums was the least of the problems at Wrigley`s
last night. You see, with all of the construction, there were only two
working bathrooms in the main concourse.
According to USA Today, the team had to apologize after fans had to wait an
hour or more to pee. Some of them sadly, couldn`t wait. As columnist Jeff
Passan quipped when he posted this picture on Twitter, I`d rather certain
that is not flat beer.
Also multiple reports, the website Deadspin that people also took to openly
peeing on the walls.
This is all undeniably completely gross, although I am somehow fascinated
by it, but, what`s happening at Wrigley is actually sort of a perfect
metaphor for what is happening in baseball as a whole.
The Cubs, like major league baseball, want to hold on to their traditions,
which is why they haven`t knocked down the beloved Wrigley, but they also
want to embrace the new, as seen in the renovation, which includes this new
and rather monstrous jumbo tron. But, walking that line between tradition
and evolution is easier said than done, and not just when it comes to
making sure people have
a some place to pee.
When we return, baseball`s coolness problem, and the threat it represents
to the game`s long term survival. It`s ahead.
HAYES: The baseball system kicked off last night with a full sleet of
games. Today being the official opening day. And, at first glance the sport
seems to be in good health. Revenue now at an all-time high.
The sport is facing a demographic challenge similar to that of the
Republican party. Its fans skew old, white and male. And young people and
nonwhites are largely looking elsewhere.
50% of baseball viewers are 55 or older, up from 41% 10 years ago. Little
League participation has been declining 1 or 2% each year. It dropped from
nearly 3 million kid in the 1990s to 2.4 million 2 years ago, before Little
League stopped releasing tallys.
Look at these charts from The Washington Post. Median viewer age for
baseball has risen to 53 years old compared to 37 for the NBA, and the
ratings for the World Series, like other baseball games, have steadily
fallen. Last years series was the lowest rated series ever, and that`s that
chart on the right there.
Pittsburgh Pirate start center fielder, Andrew McCutchen, says the sport is
dying in economically challenged communities. He laments that few kids
today idolize baseball players the way he once did.
And Major League Baseball knows, seems to know it has a problem keeping
people`s attention in the internet age. This season they instituted new
rules to speed up the games, including that the hitter keep at least one
foot in the batters box in most cases, and is also posting stadium clocks
timing pitching changes in between any breaks.
But, with young people and people of color, increasingly tuning out, many
say MLB has to do a lot more if they want to reclaim the mantel of
Joining me now to discuss all of this, syndicated columnist and Chicago
Tribune editorial board member, Clarence Page, and direct from the
Washington National`s game tonight, Richard Justice, correspondent for
Richard, I`ll start with you. So, how much sense of panic is there inside
MLB about all of the kind of trends that we have been talking about?
RICHARD JUSTICE, MLB.COM: Well, it is the first thing on commissioner Rob
Manford`s to do list in his 100 days. He`s met with youth groups, he`s
solicited the opinion of baseball people around the game, and in and out of
You know, the bottom line though Chris, is that in inner cities, baseball
diamonds are expensive to maintain.
Now, as part of this effort, baseball has opened seven youth academies in
the country. The most recent in Cincinnati. I`m very familiar with the one
in Houston, it offers after school tutoring for kids.
And, basically gets them to play baseball.
The problem, Chris, is not that kids don`t look the game, that they don`t
enjoy playing the game,
it`s that they don`t have the facilities to play the game and that`s where
the effort begins.
HAYES: Clarence, I`m sort of fascinated by Wrigley as this kind of perfect
physical metaphor for the challenge here, which is, they`re trying to do
all the stuff that a fancy new stadium will have a hotel and expand it, and
they`ve got this footprint that is the footprint, and it is causing a
massive, massive mess in the middle of the Northside.
CLARENCE PAGE, CHICAGO TRIBUNE: That`s right and that`s my old
neighborhood, Chris, so it breaks my heart to see what a mess that is
happening over there.
But this (inaudible), this whole situation about the loss of inner city
fans and young people, it is hardly new. And I think it is part of the
heartbreak of the Jackie Robinson West fiasco, you remember, the Little
League champs on the Southside of Chicago turned out to -- somebody
violated the rules
there as far as a residency was concerned, and their championship was taken
away from them. And that was a big set back because that could have helped
attract young people. And, like a good Cubs fan, I have to say, what till
next year maybe it will be better.
HAYES: Well, that Jackie Robinson West thing was a perfect example,
Richard, of the kind of thing that Major League baseball wants to see, was
the first sort of all black team that won the national title, they didn`t
win the international game and lost that game, but it was hugely celebrated
in Chicago, and kind of was iconic in certain ways for a sport that
recognizes that there is this kind of attenuating relationship to African
JUSTICE: Yeah, and there`s been an effort for several years now that the
first urban youth academy was opened in Compton, California. There`s been
kids drafted out of that.
I think we have to be careful in overselling it. There is an area of
concern. It`s a matter of getting the kids there, and it`s a larger problem
in NCAA scholarships, but I can tell you, commissioner Rob Manford`s, it`s
the first thing on his list. Everything that he can do, he will do.
Having said all of that, in terms of the aging audience and all of that,
you know the MLB at bat at is opened 5.7 million times a day and the
average age is 30. So it`s not really an age thing, it`s just getting kids
in the right parts of the city involved.
HAYES: You know what though? Clarence, last night -- the Cubs have been so
horrible for the last five years, basically, and this kind of rebuilding
era, I was watching the --- horrible many times throughout my 36 years,
this was one of those periods in which they were horrible.
And I was watching the game last night and I was sitting there, I had my
friend over. I had my laptop, my phone, my friend, and I found myself
jonesing for more stimulus. And it made me think about is there something
kind of about what has happened to our attention spans in the mobile phone
era that is incompatible with what it takes to watch a baseball game.
JUSTICE: No doubt in my mind. I have to confess, I`ve never liked watching
baseball on television except when I was a kid with my dad and grandfather
and uncles, you know, and it was a
But, watching it on TV, I would much rather be at the ball park, there`s
such an excitement -- and, of course, Wrigley is the kind of place where
baseball ought to be played, you know? You ought to sit out there on the
bleachers out there in the sun, passing food down the aisles.
That`s what Bill Veeck and the other great promoters of the game, they were
able to build it up over the years that way. We don`t have that kind of
excitement these days in this TV age.
But, you know, some places like Wrigley field or the green monster in
Boston, some places have that kind of a local folklore to them that still
attracts local people.
HAYES: Clarence Page and Richard Justice, thank you both.
JUSTICE: Yeah Chris, just like me say that, you know, the game, in terms
of attendance, is over 30,000 a game. It`s close to over 73 million, it`s
never been more healthy in that respect. So a lot of people like going to
games, and local TV and radio ratings have been skyrocketing in recent
HAYES: That`s a great point about attendance, particularly in the internet
age. Clarence Page, Richard Justice, thank you both.
That is All In for this evening.
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