ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
March 20, 2014
Guests: Seth Kaplan, Simon Ostrovsky, Seth Mnookin, Gail Saltz, Rebecca
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris
At this moment, military aircraft from multiple countries are en route
to an 8,800 square mile area, about four hours by air from southwestern
Australia, in a remote area of the southern Indian Ocean, one of the
remotest areas in the entire world.
And they are searching for this -- two large objects found 14 miles
apart, including one that is roughly 80 feet long, objects that were
captured by satellites four days ago but only identified this morning as
possible debris from missing Malaysian Airlines Flight 370, the flight that
disappeared 13 days ago with 239 people onboard, spawning this
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN YOUNG, AUSTRALIAN MARITIME SAFETY AUTHORITY: This is a lead. It
is probably the best lead we have right now, but we need to get there, find
them, see them, assess them, to know whether it`s really meaningful or not.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Officials express caution over the objects which may be debris
that fell off a cargo vessel of something else entirely. But the find was
significant enough to merit an announcement from the Australian prime
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TONY ABBOTT, AUSTRALIAN PRIME MINISTER: We don`t know what that
satellite saw until we can get a much better, much closer look at it, but
this is the first tangible breakthrough in what up until now has been an
utterly baffling mystery.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Part of the reason this lead is taken so seriously is where
the debris was spotted, in an area off the southwest coast of Australia
that has become the primary focus for investigators who once confronted a
search radius that covered 1/10 of the globe.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: The final satellite contact from the plane on the day it
disappeared indicated it could have gone as far as this line. The amount
of fuel onboard meant it wouldn`t have been able to fly much further. This
new potential debris lies between those two lines, in just the right spot
to be as the investigators say, credible.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Four aircraft from the U.S., Australia, and New Zealand,
including an American P8 submarine hunter have already scoured the area
where the debris was found once but spotted nothing.
Their search hampered by bad weather in the region and slowed by the
long flight from land which leaves them only three hours of actual search
time. The first aircraft took off for another attempt at daybreak in
Australia, that`s a little more than an hour ago. A Norwegian cargo vessel
has been diverted and is assisting in the search and other ships are now en
Finding the objects will not be easy. They may have drifted an
enormous distance since they were spotted and they`re floating in some of
the roughest waters in the world.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ABBOTT: The task of locating these objects will be extremely
difficult and it may turn out that they are not related to the search for
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: If these objects do turn out to be from the missing flight,
there are no guarantees that the crash site will be found or that the
wreckage could be recovered from the bottom of the ocean, but authorities
say it is the best lead they`ve got.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HISHAMMUDDIN HUSSEIN, MALAYSIAN ACTING TRANSPORT MINISTER: At least
there is a credible lead, and that credible lead requires us overnight to
corroborate. That gives us hope. As long as there`s hope, we will
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Joining me now on the phone from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where
he`s been covering the story, is NBC News foreign correspondent Kier
Kier, what is the move there? And what are you hearing from Malaysian
authorities in reaction to the announcement from the Australians?
KIER SIMMONS, NBC NEWS FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): I think
the mood depends on who you are. But if you`re a relative, the mood is
frustrated. There was this moment yesterday morning, this morning for you,
because, of course, here, it`s just light here. We`re in completely
different time zones, if you like.
But there was this moment when folks woke up and heard that there had
been this debris spotted and that they thought it might be flight 370. You
can imagine how painful that is for the relatives because on the one hand,
they are wanting news, and on the other hand, they don`t want the worst
Then, through the day, we hear questions of whether or not it is
Flight 370. The fact that we`re going to need to have it found and then we
need to get our eyes on it and then they`re going to test it. All of that,
and to the relatives, it is incredibly difficult. And then, they are
already unhappy with the way that the authorities have been giving them
information. There was a two-hour-long meeting and they came out and said,
listen, we`re still just being told the same things we have been told for
Even, Chris, at that meeting, they were asked to fill out a form to
see if they wanted to be given information as soon as it happened. And
that was 13 days into this they`re being asked to fill out a form to say
whether or not they want to be given information -- the kind of thing you
would think they would have been given -- that would have happened really
So, frustration for the relatives because they have had to wait all
these days. Now, they`re going to have to wait again while this search
continues. And there are real efforts being made to try to help them.
There are many, many counselors here. Through the day, there were
ambulances, even, outside hotels where relatives are staying in case the
worst possible news came out and they -- and some people just took it, you
know, just struggled with it so much that it was that difficult for them.
So, ambulances were outside hotels. Counselors are in place to help
people. But still a lot of frustration, as you can imagine.
HAYES: Kier, is there significance in the Australians essentially
appearing to take the lead on this portion of the search? If they do find
the debris, has essentially the task of the search shifted from Malaysian
authorities to Australian ones at this point?
SIMMONS: It has, of course, because the debris is nearest to
Australia. So, Australia will feel as if it has some role beyond simply
just being a search and rescue operation. One of the interesting things
just about all of this is aside from the human story I was just talking
about is the inevitable political competition between different countries.
Malaysia has found itself with this caught between the U.S. who have
citizens onboard, China who has many, many citizens onboard, and we`re
talking about countries that are deeply competitive.
So, Malaysia, you`ve had this sense that the government has been
struggling to keep charge of it and has wanted to keep charge of it partly
for reasons of just national pride.
HAYES: NBC News foreign correspondent Kier Simmons. Thanks so much
for that. I really appreciate it.
Joining me now is Seth Kaplan, managing partner at "Airline Weekly."
All right, Seth, how do you find this thing?
SETH KAPLAN, AIRLINE WEEKLY: Well, yes, it would be useful to at
least know in what part of the world this plane went down. And that`s a
possibility we are finally now looking at if, in fact, these floating
debris turn out to be wreckage from the plane, but still a very long way
from finding a debris field at the bottom of the ocean.
For perspective, Chris, think about Air France 447 which went down off
Brazil about a half decade ago. Within a couple of days, yes, there was
debris floating, and, yet, it took nearly two years to find the debris
field at the bottom of the ocean and then about another year after that to
know what happened.
All of that in an incident that was much more clear from the
beginning. We knew that plane had flown into bad weather. There were
distress signals. You didn`t have somebody by all appearances trying to
have us not know what had happened.
HAYES: Is it even possible -- I mean, is there any precedent for
finding something in this remote an area? I mean, you`ve got essentially
planes departing, they`re flying four or five hours just to get to the
place where they`re supposed to be searching. They only have a few hours
of fly time before they have to turn around and head back to refuel.
Is this the most remote airplane crash search we`ve ever seen?
KAPLAN: Yes, certainly. At least of this significance a commercial
airliner like this one. Again, you think about that crash off Brazil. Two
days later, we saw debris floating, took two year and just a lot more data
points there to work with.
Here this debris will have been floating, if, in fact, a big if it is
debris, for nearly two weeks. It will have been adrift. You`re dealing
with very deep water. The clock ticking, as we know, on those black boxes
we call them. The cockpit voice and data recorders, emitting sonar perhaps
just for another few weeks.
And you`ve sort of have to get a little bit lucky. You know, again,
if you sort of try to do the math, the math might tell you that we`ll never
find this thing. But if, for example, that cockpit voice and data recorder
is sitting in a rather advantageous position, emitting sonar -- sonar, by
the way, mostly a line of sight type of thing, where you want it to kind of
go in a straight direction. You know, sitting not beneath a lot of mud,
let`s say, emitting a signal straight out. Then that signal could go for
several miles and maybe you get lucky.
But that`s very much the optimistic point of view. And again, even
that, all predicated on the idea that this is even debris from this
aircraft which it very well may not be.
HAYES: Seth Kaplan from "Airline Weekly" -- thank you so much.
KAPLAN: Thank you.
HAYES: Joining me now, Bob Hager, NBC News aviation correspondent.
He`s supposed to be enjoying retirement right now. He`s covered so many
aviation disasters. We invite him back for his insights on this story.
First of all, we got information today that the radar information that
the plane had made this turn was held for four days by the Malaysian
authorities. What does that do to the search?
ROBERT HAGER, NBC NEWS AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: Well, it sure slows
things up. I mean, this thing was kind of mishandled from the start by the
Malaysian people. And other than disorganization, I mean, there`s no real
explanation for it. But it did get things off to an awfully slow start.
But then there was very little information to have had even when they
revealed what they did have.
HAYES: There is a lot of stuff floating in the ocean. I was spending
some time on the internet today looking at all the photos. Of course,
there`s this famous archipelago of garbage and plastic floating out in the
ocean. There`s news reports that other parts had been dredged had found
even ghastly things like bodies and things like that. There`s so much
floating in the ocean.
How do you even go about finding a plane in the ocean?
HAGER: Well, I think you do it by the way that we`ve heard, flying
these aircraft down. I mean, you have to get somebody in there low enough
to get a good look at it and then if you think it is the aircraft debris,
then you send ships into the area. That`s the ultimate thing.
But I think the fact that this larger piece matches the size of a wing
of a 777, a Boeing 777, that`s very intriguing. I mean, the wing is 80
feet, and this is 79, 80 feet. So, a wing would float because it`s hollow.
If it was out of fuel, it wouldn`t burn.
HAYES: So, there`s also indications that that satellite imagery which
we`re seeing, if we could put that back up again -- the satellite imagery
we`ve all been looking at. That`s the publicly released satellite imagery.
My understanding is the resolution of the actual satellite imagery that`s
probably with officials is even sharper than that.
HAGER: That might be. That might be.
I did want to mention that just finding this wreckage, if it is
wreckage from the plane, first of all, the pieces, themselves, probably
wouldn`t be helpful in telling you what happened, but it does show you a
couple things already. First, that the plane didn`t go off to some remote
jungle location and land -- one of those theories that`s been floating
around. And also, sadly, that everybody was lost if it went down in the
sea like that.
It also tells you that the plane probably ran out of fuel because it`s
just the right place where it would run out of fuel. But does that say it
was a decompression with the crew unconscious? Maybe not because -- I
mean, it took these turns, all these odd turns before it went in a long,
straight line before running out of fuel.
But that does tell us something about --
HAYES: You`ve seen so many -- you`ve covered so many airline crashes
and disasters over your long career --
HAYES: Yes, sadly. It`s sort of macabre work. Does this stand out?
I mean, it seems to have captivated everyone`s imagination --
HAGER: Oh, yes.
HAYES: -- partly because it so defies any of the normal explanatory
HAGER: Oh, yes, just bizarre, the whole scenario. First of all, the
fact we`re 13 days out now and know so little of any value in determining
what happened. The fact you mentioned earlier, the remoteness of where all
this is happening.
This is really unprecedented. You know, it`s a modern day -- all
those decades after.
HAYES: Is there precedent in your career of times when crashes have
happened and there`s been a whole set of theories offered and, you know,
there`s maybe six or seven theories people are floating and the answer
comes back it was none of that?
HAGER: Oh, yes, absolutely, yes.
I mean, theories are of value because you need some starting points to
develop thoughts about what might have happened, but nothing replaces hard
evidence. Now, you have to hope for the investigation`s sake that they get
some hard evidence here. So far, we have nothing.
But hard evidence -- so many times, as long as there wasn`t hard
evidence, there were all these theories. Pilots would call me, I`d get
three or four calls an hour. Oh, yes, this happened, that happened. But
then when they find the flight data recorder, the cockpit voice recorder,
it would be something completely different.
So, that`s why it`s so important to try to get some forensic evidence,
something of value.
HAYES: We should distinguish between forensic evidence that might
happen if, indeed, again -- if, indeed, we`ve gone through one round of
satellite image from a China government Web site that proved not to be the
plane. We should caution in that respect.
If, indeed, this were to be the debris, there`s a distinction between
what investigators can make of, say, a wing, and then the kind of most key
elements. Right, the --
HAGER: Yes, I think the wing is not going to show you much. If it`s
not charred, which I assume it`s not, that would say there was not a fire.
But the real value in finding this wreckage is to then try to plot where it
If you get back to the point where you think the plane hit the drink,
then you imagine that the main body of wreckage is down there. What you`re
searching for -- I mean, a target, is those black boxes, the flight data
recorder, the cockpit voice recorder. That would be extremely helpful.
HAYES: How important is it to the international global flight
regulating bodies and the world of travel and air travel that spans the
globe and works in this kind of hand-in-glove way to make sure planes can
pass from one airspace to the next, how important is it that this thing be
found and the cause be figured out?
HAGER: Yes, there`s always -- I mean, the whole body of regulatory
material and all has grown out of lessons learned from various crashes.
And after key crashes, there`s always been a new body of regulatory
statutes introduced. There`s value in figuring out what happened.
And then, on just a personal side, all these white-knuckled flyers all
over the world, and I mean, they want to know what happened? Could this
happen to the flight I`m flying on?
HAYES: Well, of course, there`s a relationship, right? Because one
of the -- even though we`re covering the disappearance of this plane, and
what appears to be a tragedy. Although we can`t say for sure yet. Part of
the reason it`s so newsworthy is because it`s setting us a context of
commercial air flight that has just gotten almost miraculously safe.
HAGER: Oh, yes, absolutely.
HAYES: You saw that evolution happen.
HAGER: Covering my career.
HAYES: I mean, you -- from covering crash after crash after crash,
week after week after week at certain points I would imagine in your
career, to long periods of time in which there just were no commercial
HAGER: I began doing this in the -- the air part of it -- in the
early 1980s, late `70s, and there were guaranteed to be two major plane
crashes in the U.S. a year, and, gee, we went 10 until that plane landed
short of the runway in San Francisco a half a year ago.
HAYES: Bob Hager, thank you so much.
HAGER: OK. Nice to meet you. All right. Thank you.
HAYES: All right. Coming up, in the cable news business, some
stories are more challenging than others to cover. Everyone wants to hear
the latest. Sometime there isn`t anything to report and that is when
things like this happen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS: And this a FOX News alert. My next guest,
Lieutenant General Tom McInerney, was among the first to say the Malaysian
airlines jetliner was, in fact, could have been hijacked and it could have
landed in Pakistan.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: What happens when the supply of information is outstripped by
the demand for information? Ahead.
HAYES: Coming up --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
DAVID CAMERON, PRIME MINISTER OF UNITED KINGDOM: What Russia has done
is unacceptable, and the countries of the European Union need to speak with
a clear and united voice. What that means is more asset freezes and travel
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We`ve continued to be
deeply concerned by events in Ukraine. The United States is today moving,
as we said we would, to impose additional costs on Russia.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
HAYES: The latest developments, next.
HAYES: The Pentagon tonight says Russia`s defense secretary promised
three things about the thousands of Russian troops currently gathered on
the border with Ukraine.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REAR ADM. JOHN KIRBY, PENTAGON SPOKESMAN: It`s an exercise only. No
intention of crossing the border in Ukraine. Not going to take any
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: But as United States ratchets up sanctions not only against
Russian individuals but against Russian financial institutions and economic
interests, Russia`s next move seems increasingly difficult to predict.
OBAMA: Over the last several days, we`ve continued to be deeply
concerned by events in Ukraine. We`ve seen an illegal referendum in
Crimea, an illegitimate move by the Russians to annex Crimea, and dangerous
risks of escalation.
HAYES (voice-over): With an estimated 20,000 Russian troops massed on
the border and Crimea already lost, President Obama announced a new round
of sanctions designed to hit Vladimir Putin financially -- targeting not
only Russian government officials and individuals, but a bank as well.
Bank Rossiya, Russia`s 17th largest bank, with $10 billion in assets is the
personal bank of many Russian officials. U.S. officials say it will be
frozen out of the dollar.
Also among those frozen out today, the bank`s largest shareholder, who
is nicknamed Putin`s banker. Influential businessmen who made billions on
contracts for the Sochi Olympics, and for the state-controlled energy
company Gazprom. The president of the state-run Russian railways company,
a close confidant of Putin, a deputy speaker in the Russian parliament, who
is a former chief executive in the Russian subsidiary of Rupert Murdoch`s
ad company and also Putin`s chief of staff.
And this latest round of sanctions could be just the beginning.
OBAMA: I signed a new executive order today that gives us the
authority to impose sanctions not just on individuals, but on key sectors
of the Russian economy.
HAYES: In response, Russia announced its own sanctions of nine U.S.
officials, including Speaker John Boehner, Senators Harry Reid, and John
McCain. And if Vladimir Putin is feeling the pressure from the
international community, he did not show it today while meeting with the
secretary general of the United Nations.
BAN KI-MOON, U.N. SECRETARY GENERAL: I`m deeply concerned about the
current situation involving Ukraine and also Russia.
HAYES: In Crimea, some residents got their new Russian passports
today. While disturbing pictures emerge from Sevastopol showing pro-
Russian forces seizing two Ukrainian warships and manhandling those
onboard. With thousands of Ukrainians still stuck on the peninsula, their
future is as uncertain as the rest of Ukraine`s.
HAYES: Joining me now on the phone from Sevastopol, Ukraine, is Simon
Ostrovsky. He`s correspondent for Vice News.
And, Simon, in the wake of the end of the referendum, the announcement
of the withdrawal of you Ukrainian forces and the sanctions today, what is
the mood like in Sevastopol?
SIMON OSTROVSKY, VICE NEWS (via telephone): I think people are coming
to terms with the fact that this is becoming a part of Russia. There are
elements in the Ukrainian military, in the Navy who are still trying to
resist, but I think the picture for them is pretty bleak because today the
Russians captured nearly 20 ships.
And there`s only one ship still remaining that still hasn`t given up
(INAUDIBLE). It`s the flagship of the Ukrainian navy in Sevastopol, and
those sailors are still holed up inside and waiting to be stormed by the
Russians at any moment.
HAYES: You covered in a dispatch that we`re showing some video of
right now, an aftermath of a shooting in Sevastopol. And there were two
things that came across. One was the intense tension, tension between
people who live next to each other, each calling each other provocateur,
each calling each other traitor.
And at the same time, you said there was a relief you had sensed in
the aftermath of the referendum that at least the kind of anticipation was
gone and it was clear what was happening now.
OSTROVSKY: Yes. I think a lot of people who support Russia are
relieved, but I think there`s a -- you know, that segment of the population
who don`t support Russia who wonder what the future`s going to hold for
them, because becoming a part of another country is a very complicated
affair. It`s not just a matter of pulling up a flag and putting another
And so there`s a lot of people -- for example, from the Crimean Tatar
community who don`t know what the future holds for them. But it`s a really
interesting time to be here and to see these things play out. But there is
a lot of aggression on the street between supporters and opponents of
what`s happening here.
HAYES: I wonder, one of your first -- in one of the first dispatches
you sent, we had some NBC News footage of in which Ukrainian soldiers are
marching out of their face this show of nonviolent resistance to the
Russians, this is right when the Russians showed up. One of them yelled,
you know, the Americans are behind us.
What is the perception of the American involvement in this and the
sanctions announced today? Or does that not really register?
OSTROVSKY: Well, I think -- I don`t know what the feeling is of
people here, but my feeling is that the sanctions that have been announced
are really weak and aren`t going to have any influence on the situation at
all. Because, you know, closing ties with the bank and a dozen officials,
you know, doesn`t make the weather -- it doesn`t change the weather here.
You know, as you said, the 17th largest bank in Russia, not even one
of the main banks in Russia, and I think the Russians expected this kind of
a move from the Americans. I think they probably expected something even
more, but so far the response has been very weak.
I suppose maybe -- maybe the White House is thinking that this is a
first measure and they`ll bring more in and they`re trying to prevent
Russia from invading other parts of Ukraine. But so far, I don`t think
this is really biting.
HAYES: Vice News correspondent Simon Ostrovsky -- thank you so much,
HAYES: Coming up, it used to be you had to convince kids to get their
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s time to get your shots.
UNIDENTIFIED CHARACTER: Oh, no, forget it, captain, I`m not getting
shots. No, sir. No one`s going to give me a shot.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fine. I was just checking.
UNIDENTIFIED CHARACTER: What?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I said, OK, if you don`t want the shots then you
won`t get shots.
UNIDENTIFIED CHARACTER: Is that it? I mean, are you going to let me
go out and catch measles and mumps?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But you said that --
UNIDENTIFIED CHARACTER: Never mind what I said. Have you ever seen a
moose with mumps?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What about measles?
UNIDENTIFIED CHARACTER: That`s worse.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, what are you trying to tell me?
UNIDENTIFIED CHARACTER: I want my shots!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That`s what I wanted to hear.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Well, now, you have to convince their parents. Why that is,
HAYES: Not always, but sometimes the campaign trail can be a place
where myth and reality get to meet face to face.
Take our old friend Scott Brown, former Massachusetts senator, now
openly considering another run for Senate, this time in New Hampshire. The
once and maybe future senator was recently visiting the home of a
Republican legislator by the name of Herb Richardson for a meet-and-greet
in his newly adopted home state.
And, in that intimate setting, Scott Brown did what Scott Brown does.
He railed against Obamacare. Brown, you might remember, rose to prominence
in the wake of Ted Kennedy`s death by campaigning on stopping the health
care law. When Brown won the special election to fill Kennedy`s seat in an
upset victory, he was going to be the guy who stopped President Obama`s
signature legislation, breaking the filibuster-proof majority of Democrats.
But, despite in all the fuss, Scott Brown did not derail the
Affordable Care Act. And he did not win election to a full term either.
But here he is four years later, still at it. While at Richardson`s home,
Brown reportedly characterized Obamacare as a -- quote -- "monstrosity"
that`s hurting the middle class.
And then something really remarkable happened, which is that reality
entered in. Herb Richardson, the guy who was hosting him, the Republican
state representative whose house he was in, spoke up to say that Obamacare
had been a financial lifesaver after he was injured on the job, and his old
pre-Obamacare health insurance had eaten up most of his worker`s comp --
quote -- "Thank God for Obamacare," Richardson`s wife exclaimed.
Brown, according to the reporter who was there, had no response,
because, really, what could you possibly say? Of course, after all that,
Richardson said he would still endorse Brown if he decides to run,
demonstrating once again that in the war between reality and magical
thinking, reality does not always win.
There`s another story making headlines this week in which the world`s
collective imagination seems to have completely taken over. Going to talk
about that next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, CNN)
DON LEMON, CNN: A lot of people have been asking me about that, about
black holes and on and on and on and all of these conspiracy theories.
Let`s look at this.
Noha says, "What else can you think about? Black hole? Bermuda
Triangle?" And then Deji says, "Just like the movie `Lost. `"
And, of course, it`s also -- they`re also referencing "The Twilight
Zone," which has a very similar plot. That`s what people are saying. I
know it`s preposterous, but is it preposterous, do you think, Mary?
MARY SCHIAVO, FORMER TRANSPORTATION INSPECTOR GENERAL: Well, it is.
A black hole is about -- a small black hole would suck in our entire
universe. So we know it`s not that. The Bermuda Triangle is often
weather, and "Lost" is a TV show.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Have you noticed that the coverage of this missing flight has
gotten a little out of hand lately?
For the record, that guest was right, or at least close. A black hole
wouldn`t really swallow the whole universe, but it certainly would swallow
the Earth if there was a black hole near enough to take down a plane.
And, yes, "Lost" is a TV show. That clip I just played is getting
around today, because it`s come to typify a certain kind of coverage that
we have seen of this missing plane.
And here`s the thing you have to understand about the conditions that
bring us to the point where a question of whether a black hole took MH370
is asked? I`m going to let you in on a little inside secret.
Sometimes, in the world of cable news, there`s a mismatch between the
demand for new information about a story and the supply of new information
that exists. So, what do you do in those circumstances? Well, you try to
find creative ways of pushing out the supply.
You have reporters, and you hope they dig up new nuggets of
information you can report, or you offer context or some history, or, for
the mystery of Flight 370, that`s a strategy we have tried to use here at
ALL IN. We have talked about other flights that have gone down. We have
talked about the way that modern airplanes can be flown on autopilot or how
crash investigations work.
But right now, with this plane, none of that, none of that gets you to
a point where you fill the demand. The demand is still there begging for
more. So the question is, as the host of a cable news program, then what
do you do?
So, certain outlets have decided to fill the rest of that void with
stuff like this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: I know it`s preposterous, but is it preposterous, do you
SCHIAVO: Well, it is. A black hole is about -- a small black hole
would suck in our entire universe.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: The thing about that is, it`s funny and also basically
ultimately relatively harmless.
No one thinks a black hole actually took this plane. But here`s what
is not so harmless. What`s not harmless is filling in that gap between
supply of information and demand for it with completely baseless
speculation about nefarious foreign actors and enemies, and using the gap
between the supply of information and the demand for it to push whatever
paranoid theory you have to make people scared about the enemy you want
them to be scared of.
It`s not OK for Rupert Murdoch, the head of one of the most powerful
media empires in the world, to tweet, "World seems transfixed by 777
disappearance. Maybe no crash, but stolen, effectively hidden, perhaps in
Northern Pakistan, like bin Laden."
It`s not OK to put someone on your air who says this:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LT. GEN. THOMAS MCINERNEY (RET.), U.S. AIR FORCE: There now appears
to be evidence that there was a direct course through India, flying in a
shadow of a Singapore Flight 68. That hasn`t been verified.
The only thing that I have seen that is starting to become verified is
the LIGNET report that -- from Boeing saying that they believe the airplane
was in Pakistan.
SEAN HANNITY, HOST, "HANNITY": You have spoken to a number of people,
am I correct?
MCINERNEY: Yes, but that`s all I want to say, Sean, please.
My concern is if this airplane could be used as a bearer of a weapon
of mass destruction or even conventional munitions that could attack a
carrier, the Israelis, other allies, American forces, for instance.
I think we`re going to see in the next 24 to 48 hours that the
Malaysian government may break it. The Pakistani government isn`t saying
anything. And why should they? Because it means they`re complicit.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: For the record, that prediction is now expired.
And, also for the record, the credibility of that man, General Thomas
McInerney, has also expired. It expired when he came out in support of
"Obama was born in Kenya" birthers, saying their concerns are serious and
widely held, or when he said the reason we didn`t find any WMD in Iraq was
because it was spirited away right before the invasion by the Russians, the
Chinese, and the French.
It expired when he suggested that all Muslim men between 18 and 25
boarding American commercial airlines should be strip-searched. But that`s
FOX News, I guess.
It is also, however, not OK to have a former Israeli ambassador on
your show to speculate based on no information that the plane is being
weaponized and heading toward Israel.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, CNN)
MICHAEL OREN, FORMER ISRAELI AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED STATES: Foreign
aircraft approaching Israel`s shores will have to identify themselves far
earlier than has previously been the case.
BILL WEIR, CNN ANCHOR: So IDF thinks it`s a possibility this that
plane is being weaponized somewhere?
OREN: Well, they can`t rule out that possibility. They can`t rule
out that possibility, and they have to take every possible measure to
protect the country in case this air jet -- airliner has been hijacked, and
in case it could be aimed at the state of Israel.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: They can`t rule it out. They can`t rule it out.
There are real people who are really hurting right now at the center
of this tragedy. And there are real people working their tails off to try
to bring about some resolution to this. You can cover that all you want,
but do not use mystery and its presence as an excuse to further whatever
boogeyman you choose to make your audience scared of.
That is the grownup versions of monsters underneath the bed. And our
job is not to fill the air by telling bedtime stories.
HAYES: We have talked a bit about magical thinking and its dangers
tonight. And I want to tell you about two more stories that are in the
news right now that might not seem related at first, but, in fact, are
united under this theme.
First up, this guy`s going to prison. Kevin Trudeau was sentenced
Monday to 10 years after being found guilty for making false claims.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KEVIN TRUDEAU, CONVICTED FELON: I have found doctors all around the
world are curing arthritis, herpes, flu, bird flu, swine flu, seasonal flu.
They`re curing arthritis. They`re curing high blood pressure, insomnia,
all without drugs and surgery and no side effects.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That guy ran a multimillion-dollar empire selling people
garbage dressed up as weight loss solutions and miraculous cure-alls.
His book "Natural Cures `They` Don`t Want You to Know About" was a
"New York Times" bestseller for weeks. Another book of his, "The Weight
Loss Cure They Don`t Want You to Know About" was even more successful. It
sold 850,000 copies, taking in $30 million -- $39 million.
Prosecutors called Trudeau a -- quote -- "unrepentant, untiring, and
uncontrollable huckster who`s defrauded the unsuspecting for 30 years."
So, a little bit of comeuppance here for a man who got filthy rich
selling people snake oil.
The second story is the panic and hysteria New York City parents are
in right now because of an outbreak of measles. As of Tuesday, 20 cases
have been reported in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and the Bronx. But it`s not
just New York. California`s Department of Public Health confirmed 32 cases
of measles so far this year, saying -- quote -- "We can expect to see more
imported cases of this vaccine-preventable disease."
Let me say that again, vaccine-preventable disease. In other words,
we vaccinate for a reason. And, as the CDC points out, measles was
declared eliminated, declared eliminated from the U.S. 14 years ago.
So why have we seen an uptick in measles outbreaks? Because more
people are choosing not to vaccinate their kids, which might have something
to do with the other purveyors of anti-scientific hokum, Jenny McCarthy and
others like her, jumping on their soapboxes to peddle nonsense and scaring
parents away from vaccinations.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JENNY MCCARTHY, ACTRESS: I do not believe that vaccines are the sole
cause for autism. I do believe they are a trigger.
I vaccinated my baby and he stopped speaking. Why won`t anyone
LARRY KING, CNN: Isn`t the problem here, Jenny, we got people who
sometimes casual -- or listen with one ear are going to panic and not
vaccine at all?
MCCARTHY: Probably, but guess what?
MCCARTHY: It`s not my fault.
Without a doubt in my mind, I believe vaccinations triggered Evan`s
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Jenny McCarthy`s well-known stance on vaccinations provoked a
backlash on Twitter just last week when she posed the question, "What do
you look like in a mate?"
Some of the responses, "My ideal mate like the ideas of kids not
getting polio," or, "For starters, someone who doesn`t endanger public
health by spreading dangerous pseudoscience."
Now, it`s easy to pick out Kevin Trudeau or Jenny McCarthy. But the
reality of this stuff is that this kind of thinking, it spreads like
A new study from "The Journal of the American Association" has some
pretty amazing numbers about people`s belief systems. For example, 37
percent believe the FDA is being pressured by drug companies to
intentionally suppress natural cures for cancer; 20 percent believe that
doctors and the government know that vaccinations cause autism, but want
you to vaccinate your children regardless.
Joining me now, Dr. Gail Saltz, associate professor of psychiatry at
New York Presbyterian Hospital, Weill-Cornell School of Medicine,
journalist Rebecca Traister, and Seth Mnookin, associate director of MIT`s
graduate program and science writing. He`s the author of "The Panic Virus:
The True Story Behind the Vaccine-Autism Controversy."
And, Seth, I will begin with you because you wrote a whole book about
this. Here`s what I find fascinating about the kind of vaccine trutherism.
There`s lots of theories people have. There`s the fluoride conspiracy,
which has been around for decades, occasionally surfaces. Doesn`t get much
This one for some reason did get traction, and it`s changed people`s
behavior in a way that is now imperiling the lives of children. How did
SETH MNOOKIN, AUTHOR, "THE PANIC VIRUS: A TRUE STORY OF MEDICINE,
SCIENCE, AND FEAR": Well, I think one of the big reasons is that vaccines
are somewhat unique, in that they`re a prophylactic health measure.
We`re used to taking a pill when we`re sick to make us better. And
our brains just don`t work very well when we`re faced with a prospect of
putting something in our bodies to protect us against something that we
don`t yet have.
I think that`s a big part of it. Another big part of it is that, for
a long time, vaccines were so accepted that there weren`t a lot of pro-
vaccine messages that were out there. And I think one of the things that
happened is that people like Jenny McCarthy really got traction before the
public health apparatus realized that they had to get that message out
there as well.
HAYES: You have got a 3-year-old, Rebecca, here in New York City.
REBECCA TRAISTER, JOURNALIST: That`s right.
HAYES: I`m amazed at how often you will encounter parents who
otherwise seem like rigorous thinkers in matters expressing this view or
expressing skepticism about vaccines.
TRAISTER: I was shocked when I took my newborn to our wonderful
pediatrician. And she looked at me carefully and said, "You`re going to
As if there was another option -- and, in fact, she told me at the
time, three years ago, that many of her patients in a lefty Brooklyn
enclave did not vaccinate. So, it`s -- this is a paranoia that cuts across
the whole nation. It cuts across class.
HAYES: And ideology.
TRAISTER: And ideology, yes.
HAYES: I want to say, for us self-satisfied liberals who are always
like the right is the anti-science party, the kind of anti-vaccination
panic that spread, it doesn`t know any particular political quadrant.
Wouldn`t you say that`s true, Seth?
I asked a California epidemiologist how he predicted where there were
going to be outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases. And he said he just
took a map and just put a pin wherever there was a Whole Foods.
MNOOKIN: So I would say, yes, that definitely is accurate.
HAYES: Sounds like a joke Glenn Beck would tell.
Doctor, why is it -- why are we attracted to this kind of theory
psychologically? What is the appeal of thinking this is the way the world
DR. GAIL SALTZ, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF PSYCHIATRY, THE NEW YORK
PRESBYTERIAN HOSPITAL AT WEILL-CORNELL SCHOOL OF MEDICINE: This is
essentially a coping mechanism gone awry.
So it makes us tremendously anxious to feel that we have no control
over the possibility that our baby could get autism, right, and be life-
SALTZ: It`s terrifying. So the idea that we can identify something
that makes us less anxious, we can say, oh, it`s this, I won`t do this, my
kid won`t get autism.
HAYES: And gives us some sense of control, right?
SALTZ: It does.
HAYES: You can make this decision that`s going to protect your kids.
I want to talk about -- to broaden this out a little bit, about the
study and our broader skepticism of the medical industrial complex, as it
were, right after this break.
HAYES: We`re back.
I`m here with Dr. Gail Saltz, Rebecca Traister, and Seth Mnookin.
And if you doubt that behavior has changed, check out this map that
shows outbreaks of measles and whooping cough in the U.S. from 2008 to
2014. You will see that they get worse and worse over time. They`re sort
of exploding -- someone on Twitter telling me there`s one in Ohio State
We are scared of doctors, and I think we have a certain amount of
distrust of doctors, and that plays into this. And I also want to sort of
speak up for a moment on behalf of the folks who answer these. It`s like,
why should I trust the FDA? Or why should I trust the pharmaceutical
These are these big, faceless organizations. And every time you go to
a doctor, you`re kind of putting yourself in their hands, but you don`t
really know, right? I mean...
SALTZ: Look, we are definitely increasingly mistrustful of big
organizations -- media, too.
SALTZ: You know, they lie to us, or they`re making money from us. So
why should we trust them?
And, of course, that`s the seed that breeds the paranoia. But let me
also say that people are comfortable being victims. They would rather be
sort of the victim, potentially. And that`s a part of human nature, that
sort of masochism. And that also leads to this, the idea that there`s this
person you`re supposed to trust with it all, the doctor, right? And why
are they any better than you? Why do they know more than you?
You can Google whatever it is, right? You can ask for whatever test
HAYES: They`re the "they" in Kevin Trudeau`s "they."
SALTZ: And, P.S., they`re ultimately are not telling you that they`re
going to keep you from dying.
SALTZ: We all have to die someday, but nobody wants to know that.
SALTZ: Oh, no. I`m sorry. I should -- I take it back.
HAYES: Keep that off the air.
SALTZ: Right. Exactly.
But -- and I think that -- the idea that you have a person that you
can blame or hold accountable is much more comfortable than not.
TRAISTER: It`s also easier psychologically, because one of other
things, I do think it`s a misplacement.
We`re frustrated with our health care system.
TRAISTER: The health care system in this country is broken. We know
it. We`re trying to address it. It`s incredibly difficult to address it.
But it`s not really satisfying to aim your anger at the fact that
costs are astronomical, that you have to wait for appointments, that
there`s a really broken system. It`s not as satisfying to be mad at the
insurance companies, which is this tangle of horror and bureaucracy and
Look at how difficult it has been to push health care reform through.
It`s much easier to get angry at doctors and to say, if I don`t vaccinate
my kid, I will protect my kid from this other harm.
SALTZ: Well, that`s the person on the front line.
HAYES: Right. Right.
TRAISTER: Right. Right.
SALTZ: You get to talk to your doctor. Try to talk to your insurance
company. You`re on hold.
HAYES: Seth, when I looked at this new study that came out of I think
it was the University of Chicago about skepticism of the FDA in particular,
I thought about, well, I did a lot of research on the 1980s and ACT UP.
And, in that case, the FDA actually was suppressing drugs that actually did
end up helping people.
So, the idea that the FDA is not functioning perfectly or they`re
suppressing things because of the interests of big money, that`s not on its
face preposterous, right? The question is what you do with that.
MNOOKIN: Well, yes, I think you hit on it. That`s exactly right.
If you look at most conspiracy theories, there`s somewhere in there a
seed of either something that`s believable or a seed of truth. I think
what you see, and what`s interesting about this study, is most of these
conspiracies are focused around things that we have no control over...
MNOOKIN: ... you know, belief that cell phones give you cancer,
belief that vaccines give you autism.
And one thing that believing in a conspiracy theory does is, it
creates a narrative to take something that is essentially illogical and
makes no sense, and it makes it make sense. It creates a world in which
you can then understand that.
And I think that`s one of the huge appeals of all of these medical
conspiracy theories, is that they`re taking things that are scary and
they`re taking things that we know we have no control over and giving the
perception of control, even if that`s a nefarious control.
HAYES: You know, I had exactly that feeling for a fleeting moment
when I first saw someone write about the plane and this shadow plane
theory, that it had flown in the wake of this other plane.
HAYES: And everything in my mind snapped together, and I felt this
sense of wholeness for a moment that I had my hands around it, that this
But, of course, the world doesn`t work that way. Things aren`t always
understandable. And that`s the difficulty we encounter every day.
Dr. Gail Saltz, journalist Rebecca Traister, and Seth Mnookin from
MIT, thank you all.
That is ALL IN for this evening.
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ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES