Background Briefing: August 27, 2019


Bernie Sanders’ Plan to Protect American Journalism

We will begin with Bernie Sanders’ detailed and ambitious plan to protect American journalism which was unveiled on Monday to what seems an unsurprising and predictable lack of coverage by the mainstream media. Todd Gitlin, Professor of Journalism and Communications at Columbia University whose latest book is “Occupy Nation: The Roots, the Spirit, and the Promise of Occupy Wall Street” joins us to discuss how Bernie Sanders wants to protect and defend American journalism from Donald Trump, from the megamergers of media companies, and from the Silicon Valley titans whose monopolies like Facebook and Google are gobbling up most of the digital advertising dollars. With just a small handful of companies controlling almost everything we watch, read, and download, Sanders wrote in the Columbia Journalism Review, “Given that reality, we should not want even more of the free press to be put under the control of a handful of corporations and ‘benevolent’ billionaires who can use their media empires to punish their critics and shield themselves from scrutiny”.

Then, Corey Brettschneider, professor of political science at Brown University and author of “The Oath and the Office: A Guide to the Constitution for Future Presidents”, joins us to look into Trump’s flagrant display in public of a violation of the emoluments clause in the U.S. Constitution. This happened during his press conference at the close of the G-7 summit, when he made a salesman’s pitch to hold the 2020 G-7 summit at his Trump National Doral Miami Golf Resort. He even went further extolling the virtues of the venue “With Doral, we have a series of magnificent buildings, each country can have their own villa or their own bungalow”. “It is very important, only five minutes from the airport”.


Will We Ever Learn the Truth About How Epstein Died?

Then finally, with reports emerging that the video outside Jeffery Epstein’s cell on the night he died is unusable, we speak with a 26 year veteran of the Department of Justice, Bill Yeomans who served as acting Assistant Attorney General. He joins us to discuss the painful testimony from Epstein’s victims today before a federal judge in Manhattan who had to dismiss charges against a dead man who the women wanted to confront. With Epstein’s lawyers asking the judge to conduct an independent inquiry into Epstein’s death, we will assess whether the AG William Barr will make public the incriminating blackmail evidence the FBI found in Epstein’s safe, particularly if it incriminates Trump, but not necessarily if it features Bill Clinton.