Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

October 20, 2008


Host: Ted Simons

Census

  |   Video
  • Census officials are worried about an undercount in the Hispanic community in the next census. Dr. Steve Murdock, the director of the U.S. Census, discusses this issue and others regarding the 2010 census.
Guests:
  • Dr. Steve Murdock - Director, United States census bureau
  • Leonard Downie, Jr - Former Executive Director, "Washington Post"


View Transcript
Ted Simons:
>>> Tonight on "Horizon," the director of the U.S. census talks about why getting an accurate count can mean millions for the state. As former executive director of the "Washington Post" Leonard Downie, Jr., talks about the business of reporting the news, next on "horizon."

Ted Simons:
>>> Good evening, thanks for joining us tonight on "Horizon," I'm Ted Simons. In today's news, Phoenix area home prices fell in July for a record-tying 17th straight month. According to a report from Arizona state university's W.P. Carey School of business, A.S.U.'s repeat sales index show prices declining an average of 24\% from July of 2007 to July of this year. The biggest decline, 36\%, was in the southwest valley. The smallest, 14\%, was in the northeast part of town. There is some good news. The month-to-month decline is showing signs of leveling off. A.S.U. professor of real estate Karl Guntermann says prices are nowhere close to bottoming out. In fact, preliminary numbers show continuing declines are expected for both august and September.

Ted Simons:
>> The association of Latino elected and appointed officials held its conference last summer in Washington, D.C. among the topics was the 2010 census. As Mike Sauceda reports, there are concerns about a possible Hispanic undercount.

Mike Sauceda:
>> an accurate count by the census every 10 years is absolutely critical to growing Latino political power, as discussed by Ana sol Gutierrez in a breakout session. Local leaders were briefed on the topic.

Ana sol Gutierrez:
>> I'd like to emphasize that, why is it important: and from a personal perspective, clearly, clearly what is number one is the funding, the money that gets tied to all those programs that need to have the data, in order to provide the services from the federal government and to the state and into the local and municipal government. So that is very important for us to understand. And the second one is the representation.

Mike Sauceda:
>> Recent immigration rates and a generate crackdown and mean-spirited rhetoric concerns officials that an accurate count will not be reached within the Hispanic community.

Steve Murdock:
>> There has been historically an undercount of Hispanics versus the non-Hispanic white population. Not only the Hispanics, but African Americans and others, as well. We count all residents in the United States. We do not differentiate or ask about citizenship in the overall decennial census. Our goal, our job, if you will, as required by the constitution, is to count everyone, no matter what their citizenship status is.

Mike Sauceda:
>> So Gutierrez outlined some concerns getting an accurate count.

Ana sol Gutierrez:
>> For example, I think we can all understand, as enumerators are hired, what would prevent the minutemen from ensuring they have people within the system? They are not going get into the protected data files, but say you have just one, one incident of that known within our community, and you have blown all the trust that you might have been able to build.

Mike Sauceda:
>> The census is aware of those issues and is hoping to get the help of groups to make people get comfortable in answering the census. An ad campaign is also planned.

Steve Murdock:
>> The 2000 census was the first time we had paid advertising for the census. Our analysis suggests that was very critical in getting a better count. This time we have an integrated program that integrates not only paid advertising, but other forms of reaching out to communities of all types, and it works very closely with our partnership program. Our partnership program is our key program for reaching out to hard-to-reach populations.

Ted Simons:
>> Joining me now is Dr. Steve Murdock, director of the United States census bureau. Good to have you on the show.

Steve Murdock:
>> Thanks for inviting me.

Ted Simons:
>> Before we get into the concerns and challenges, how does the census work these days? How much automation, how much paper is involved?

Steve Murdock:
>> We use both in our canvassing effort, and we have always been an innovator in technology. The first scan machines done, with scanning that everyone uses on all sorts of things, were developed at the census bureau. The first computer ever used in the civilian sector was employed at the census bureau.

Ted Simons:
>> What are the challenges in conducting a census in a border state like Arizona?

Steve Murdock:
>> There are a number of them, of course. And there's really a number of challenges to the census, period, this time. We think it's going to be a difficult period for a number of reasons. There's kind of a post-9/11 mentality, a tendency to mistrust government in lots of different ways. There is a very vociferous, if you will, contentious debate on immigration, and on undocumented immigration. That is big concern for us, because our mandate under the U.S. constitution is to count all people residing in the United States, regardless of their status, regardless of any other characteristic they might have.

Ted Simons:
>> For those who say, that's not right, you should not be including these people in the United States census, you say?

Steve Murdock:
>> We say that the constitution requires that we count everyone residing in the United States. It doesn't differentiate between citizens and noncitizens, it doesn't differentiate between any other characteristic. So our job under the constitution is to make sure that all people are counted.

Ted Simons:
>> And it's important to get all people because of things like government funding?

Steve Murdock:
>> Absolutely. If you look, for example, about $300 billion per year is allocated to the states on the basis of census data. That's about $3 trillion a decade. And of course the very important part, the reason that it's mandated in article i, section 2 of the u.s. constitution, is for purposes of apportionment. How many seats in congress does each state get? That is determined by the census. Both, in terms of of a very important bulwark of our democracy, as well as the financial factors, play a role and are important to people of every state.

Ted Simons:
>> budgeting, government programs, future government programs, all of this falls into what you just talked about?

Steve Murdock:
>> Absolutely. Most agencies are using census data every day to determine where they should build various kinds of public works, highways, similarly schools are using such data to determine where they should build their new schools. Businesses are using data to discern where their emerging markets are. Both the public and private sector make extensive use of this data. They count, if you will, by fulfill -- filling out the census form.

Ted Simons:
>> That being said, and the underlying implication that some parts of the Hispanic community might be hesitant to go ahead with the census, how do you get that information out there that it's important for everyone to cooperate?

Steve Murdock:
>> Well, we have a number of programs, including both our communications program and some elements of it. We will have a nationwide advertising campaign, and the contractor there has a number of subcontractors that are specialists in providing advertising and reaching out to audiences, African-American audiences, Hispanic audiences, American Indian and Alaska native audiences, Asian audiences, et cetera.
The other part that's very important is our partnership program. This is a set of people, 680 of them across our 12 regions, whose job it is to reach hard to count communities, and persuade them to work with us to be counted, to persuade them what is true. And that is that we do not share our data with any other federal agency, and that it is safe to respond to the census. These partnership people will work with local communities that work with churches, civic groups, all sorts of organizations, to provide a face to the census that'll say it is safe to respond to the census.

Ted Simons:
>> How do you know these people got the message, and that everyone or as close to everyone that needs to be counted is counted?

Steve Murdock:
>> Well, we'll find out when we get the census results and look at those. But our regional directors are some of the most skilled people in the census bureau. They have worked in these audiences before, and for example, the director in the regional office in Denver that covers this area has extensive experience in census-taking and we'll have a good feel for that when we get our partnership programs up and running.

Ted Simons:
>> There is thought that immigration raids should be suspended at the time of a census-taking. How much can you comment on that?

Steve Murdock:
>> We really can't tell another federal agency what it should do. Our answer is to work at the local level, and work with local community leaders, leaders in hard to count communities, to urge their constituents, if you will, to participate in the census. We're going to work at the local level. We can't really ask another federal agency to not enforce the laws.

Ted Simons:
>> can you suggest or hint that local agencies hold off while the census is being taken?

Steve Murdock:
>> We can't officially tell any local agency what to do, in terms of its mission. We hope by working with local community leaders, who can assure their constituents that it's safe, that we'll get a good count.

Ted Simons:
>> The resources, human resources infrastructure, both human and technological, is everything set to go for this?


Steve Murdock:
>> Everything is set to go. We had some hiccups earlier, and everything is set to go, it's back on schedule. We're in the process of opening up 150 of our local census offices that will be important for the first step in the census, which is the address canvassing. It starts April of 2009, and we will be prepared for that. We will be ready for that. That's a process where we go out and verify addresses, make sure that we have all of the areas counted and all of the addresses counted. The census is really a census of addresses from which we get households and people.

Ted Simons:
>> There could be jobs in the valley?

Steve Murdock:
>> There will be jobs in the valley. Our center in phoenix is open, the recruiting center, and there will be jobs in this area.

Ted Simons:
>> Very good. Steve, thank you so much for joining us, we appreciate it.

Steve Murdock:
>> Thank you.

Ted Simons:
>>> He supervised much of the "Washington Post"'s coverage of the Watergate scandal, and knew the true identity of deep throat before it was revealed to the rest of the world. I spoke with Leonard Downie, Jr. He had a lot to say about press coverage and how it's covering the presidential campaign right now. He also talked about the changing business of news.

Ted Simons:
>>Thank you so much for joining us on "Horizon."

Leonard Downie, Jr.:
>> Thank you.

Ted Simons:
>> Let's talk about the presidential campaign. Is the press doing a good job so far?

Leonard Downie, Jr.:
>> You know, the press nowadays takes in so much, everything from blogs to major newspapers, all different kinds of television, so it's hard to have the press -- think of it as a monolith. It's doing a really great job in many ways. I think there's much more known about the issues and the candidates' backgrounds than ever before. On the one hand, a lot of stuff is known to people through the media. On the other hand, Keith Oberman on MSNBC, and O'Reilly on fox, to take two extremes, and there are blogs that are very, very partisan. They attach themselves to the little things they hope will grow into big scandals, and they actually muddy the waters.

Ted Simons:
>> Is there something the press -- and again, the big press -- is there something they can do to help narrow the focus? I almost wonder if there's too much information out there. There's 14 different versions of the McCain economic plan.

Leonard Downie, Jr.:
>> Yes, there is a lot. It puts the emphasis where it ought to be, on the citizen. There's so much information available to one now, but you need to pick and choose and decide what you trust and where you're going to go.

Ted Simons:
>> Indeed. And you mentioned brands. With the internet and new media, how does a consumer know that what they're looking at, what they're listening to, is accurate?

Leonard Downie, Jr.:
>> It's sort of like walking into the supermarket and seeing a bunch of brands of coffee. You taste them and see which ones you like and can depend on. You listen to what your neighbors say and sort of test and find out. That's why brands matter now on the internet, because we have literally millions of blogs. People will decide, I'll come to the "Arizona Republic" site or the "Washington post" site because i trust what they're doing. Even though I want to look at some of these other places because I'm kind of interested, i come to the brands. For instance, our website has mushroomed during this campaign because we know people are coming there for verified information.

Ted Simons:
>> Talk about the new media further here. YouTube, Facebook, how are they changing the labor?

Leonard Downie, Jr.:
>> For one thing a candidate cannot do anything without it being recorded someplace, and quite often on video. Terrible mistakes candidates have made will be repeated over and over again on video. Also, the mainstream media can't make mistakes, either, without getting caught. Any plagiarism anybody commits, any falsehoods are going to be caught out by somebody and have to be corrected. I think this really serves citizens better than ever before.

Ted Simons:
>> Talk about some people will always have a problem with a newspaper or a news source. They will see a bias there or something they don't agree with in other areas. Talk about therole of the press.

Leonard Downie, Jr.:
>> Right.
Ted Simons:
>> do people understand what could be described as the adversarial role of the press?

Leonard Downie, Jr.:
>> I think actually they understand it, but understanding is not the same thing as liking it. It's like the umpire at the baseball game, you really know he's trying to do a good job, but they make a call and you get mad about it. People do bring their own biases to the media, too. People that are really hard rock republicans or democrats, they're not going to like our coverage if it's down the middle. That's one of the things people have to understand. You often bring your own bais to your judgments about things. Quite often people will gravitate towards the media that do reflect their bias. If you're more conservative, you want to watch O'Reilly. If you're more liberal, you want to watch Oberman beat up on the republicans. People are smart enough to know which news sources to go to that are going to be relatively straight.

Ted Simons:
>> Smart enough, but they're still people. Do you see something happening here as happens in places in Europe, where the partisanship by one of the media is overt, and you pretty much flock to one paper or the other?

Leonard Downie, Jr.:
>> I don't think so. In part, there are more choices than ever before, so you don't have to be exclusively reading or watching a particular medium at any particular time. And also, it's just not our tradition. It's the tradition of Americans to want to sample around, to not be lifelong. There are going to be democrats that don't vote for Barack Obama probably because of his mixed race. There are going to be republicans that are not going to support John McCain, probably because of his age. These are people that otherwise really believe in the party, but for personal aspects of the candidates, they're going to vote differently. You don't tend to see that in other countries where people are more in lockstep with their party.

Ted Simons:
>> Either one side is saying, the "Washington post" didn't cover the march to war like they should have.

Leonard Downie, Jr.:
>> Right.

Ted Simons:
>> They should have been right on the administration the whole way. Or the "Washington post" can't leave Sarah Palin alone, they have a liberal bias.

Leonard Downie, Jr.:
>> I've been in this business 44 years, i love my work and I don't expect to be popular. It's just not going to happen. There will be critics who are not seeing what they want to see. We were slow to point out the flaws in the administration's rationale for the war in Iraq. Since then, we've done a great job of covering the war, i think. And the people that are unhappy with the conduct of the war are unhappy because they know what the mainstream media has told them about it. We cannot worry about that. We have to worry about being fair and as accurate as possible. When you make mistakes, you correct them. But you can't be swayed by the fact that some people want you to move one way or the other.

Ted Simons:
>> Should the press have seen the credit crisis coming?

Leonard Downie, Jr.:
>> The press did see it, but nobody was paying attention or asking questions about it. We're not the only newspaper with stories going back years on how the mortgages were a trap for people. Questions were raised by one of our financial columnists who won the Pulitzer Prize for work on these mortgage-backed securities. There were questions being raised. The people in charge of regulation and our financial system were ignoring it.

Ted Simons:
>> Sideways question then: could the press do a better job explaining to the public what derivatives and what credit swaps are?

Leonard Downie, Jr.:
>> We're doing our best. I happen to live across the street from an official of the treasury department, and I asked him and he can't always give me clear answers. That's how complicated it's become. All of that is what is unraveling right now, and i think we're all going to gradually learn more and more as it unravels.

Ted Simons:
>> we're learning more and more in this town about what it's like to lose a newspaper, which we're going lose coming up in a few months. What is the future of newspaper?

Leonard Downie, Jr.:
>> Newspapers are having to transform themselves almost completely for several reasons. Much of the audience has gone to the internet. A lot of the advertising, particularly classified advertising for jobs and cars and homes has gone to the internet. Some of it's just disappeared entirely, particularly in difficult economic times. And maintaining a large newsroom, they are much larger than the newsrooms of local television stations. We have so much more to cover in a newspaper, it's very expensive. The bureau in Iraq costs us millions every year. We're no longer getting enough revenue to cover our costs. We've had to cut our staff at the "Washington post," the "New York Times" has cut staff. 25\% to 50\% cuts are not unusual right now, and there is really question as to which newspapers will survive. I think it'll be the ones that find the right combinations of print, a lot of advertising still goes into a newspaper. And what they're best things to do on the internet, and then handheld devices. We have a new application on the I-phone but we're not selling advertising so we've got to figure out how to do that. I think there are going to be technologies that we don't even know what they are yet. Maybe how to read what feels like a newspaper, but it's really a screen. And the newsrooms that survive will be the ones that figure out how to manage the platforms. Not everybody's going survive.

Ted Simons:
>> Indeed. I know that there are so many other things I want to ask you. But you knew, at least at a late date, you son of a gun, you knew who deep throat was, didn't you?

Leonard Downie, Jr.:
>> Yes. For a long time I didn't know, because only a few knew. I did not know who deep throat was, but I did know who the other sources were because I had to know that. Deep throat was the only source we allowed them to keep secret. I knew who he wasn't. So I started guessing and I guessed wrong twice, I guessed Elliott Richardson, and bob said he wasn't going to reveal it until he died. Then we waited until l. Patrick ray died, and bob said it wasn't him. I thought he might be the logical person in the F.B.I.'s chain of command. I put in an envelope and gave to it bob and of course he didn't react. And then bob had said that deep throat was rather ill. If he's rather ill, we've got to be prepared for when he dies. He said, actually I've written a draft of a book. Bob, it's time for me to read that book. He took me to his house in Georgetown and I opened up the book and it was mark. And then for some months we were preparing for his death. And of course he's still alive. What happened instead, a member of his family wanted the story out, and for some reason wasn't getting along with bob about that and went to "vanity fair."

Ted Simons:
>> Woodward keeps a source quiet pretty well, doesn't he?

Leonard Downie, Jr.:
>> Yes, he does.

Ted Simons:
>> You are writing a novel based on Washington?

Leonard Downie, Jr.:
>> Yes, fiction.

Ted Simons:
>> Why fiction?

Leonard Downie, Jr.:
>> Obviously my day job has been nonfiction all these years. Some years ago i had an idea for a novel, and realized that my experiences in journalism might be of interest to other people, and fiction was the best way to play with it right now. So it's a novel about a young woman, an investigative report in a newspaper -- not the "Washington post," it's a made-up newspaper -- who's investigating political corruption in Washington and falls into something much bigger involving the defense department and the white house. And ironically a woman president who became president because she was the surprise running mate of an elderly senator who was elected president and died in office.

Ted Simons:
>> Thank you very much for joining us, we appreciate it.

Leonard Downie, Jr.:
>> I thank you.

Ted Simons:
>>> Tomorrow on "horizon," prosecution of criminals in Maricopa County. The candidates for Maricopa County attorney debate the issues, and we continue our vote 2008 election coverage. Wednesday, democratic incumbent Harry Mitchell faces off against his two challengers who are hoping to unseat him in the 5th congressional district. That is it for now, thank you so much for joining us. I'm Ted Simons, you have a great evening.

Leonard Downie, Jr.

  |   Video
  • Leonard Downie, Jr., the former executive publisher of The Washington Post, talks about media issues, including how the media is covering the presidential race and the future of newspapers.
Guests:
  • Dr. Steve Murdock - Director, United States census bureau
  • Leonard Downie, Jr - Former Executive Director, "Washington Post"


View Transcript
Ted Simons:
>>> Tonight on "Horizon," the director of the U.S. census talks about why getting an accurate count can mean millions for the state. As former executive director of the "Washington Post" Leonard Downie, Jr., talks about the business of reporting the news, next on "horizon."

Ted Simons:
>>> Good evening, thanks for joining us tonight on "Horizon," I'm Ted Simons. In today's news, Phoenix area home prices fell in July for a record-tying 17th straight month. According to a report from Arizona state university's W.P. Carey School of business, A.S.U.'s repeat sales index show prices declining an average of 24\% from July of 2007 to July of this year. The biggest decline, 36\%, was in the southwest valley. The smallest, 14\%, was in the northeast part of town. There is some good news. The month-to-month decline is showing signs of leveling off. A.S.U. professor of real estate Karl Guntermann says prices are nowhere close to bottoming out. In fact, preliminary numbers show continuing declines are expected for both august and September.

Ted Simons:
>> The association of Latino elected and appointed officials held its conference last summer in Washington, D.C. among the topics was the 2010 census. As Mike Sauceda reports, there are concerns about a possible Hispanic undercount.

Mike Sauceda:
>> an accurate count by the census every 10 years is absolutely critical to growing Latino political power, as discussed by Ana sol Gutierrez in a breakout session. Local leaders were briefed on the topic.

Ana sol Gutierrez:
>> I'd like to emphasize that, why is it important: and from a personal perspective, clearly, clearly what is number one is the funding, the money that gets tied to all those programs that need to have the data, in order to provide the services from the federal government and to the state and into the local and municipal government. So that is very important for us to understand. And the second one is the representation.

Mike Sauceda:
>> Recent immigration rates and a generate crackdown and mean-spirited rhetoric concerns officials that an accurate count will not be reached within the Hispanic community.

Steve Murdock:
>> There has been historically an undercount of Hispanics versus the non-Hispanic white population. Not only the Hispanics, but African Americans and others, as well. We count all residents in the United States. We do not differentiate or ask about citizenship in the overall decennial census. Our goal, our job, if you will, as required by the constitution, is to count everyone, no matter what their citizenship status is.

Mike Sauceda:
>> So Gutierrez outlined some concerns getting an accurate count.

Ana sol Gutierrez:
>> For example, I think we can all understand, as enumerators are hired, what would prevent the minutemen from ensuring they have people within the system? They are not going get into the protected data files, but say you have just one, one incident of that known within our community, and you have blown all the trust that you might have been able to build.

Mike Sauceda:
>> The census is aware of those issues and is hoping to get the help of groups to make people get comfortable in answering the census. An ad campaign is also planned.

Steve Murdock:
>> The 2000 census was the first time we had paid advertising for the census. Our analysis suggests that was very critical in getting a better count. This time we have an integrated program that integrates not only paid advertising, but other forms of reaching out to communities of all types, and it works very closely with our partnership program. Our partnership program is our key program for reaching out to hard-to-reach populations.

Ted Simons:
>> Joining me now is Dr. Steve Murdock, director of the United States census bureau. Good to have you on the show.

Steve Murdock:
>> Thanks for inviting me.

Ted Simons:
>> Before we get into the concerns and challenges, how does the census work these days? How much automation, how much paper is involved?

Steve Murdock:
>> We use both in our canvassing effort, and we have always been an innovator in technology. The first scan machines done, with scanning that everyone uses on all sorts of things, were developed at the census bureau. The first computer ever used in the civilian sector was employed at the census bureau.

Ted Simons:
>> What are the challenges in conducting a census in a border state like Arizona?

Steve Murdock:
>> There are a number of them, of course. And there's really a number of challenges to the census, period, this time. We think it's going to be a difficult period for a number of reasons. There's kind of a post-9/11 mentality, a tendency to mistrust government in lots of different ways. There is a very vociferous, if you will, contentious debate on immigration, and on undocumented immigration. That is big concern for us, because our mandate under the U.S. constitution is to count all people residing in the United States, regardless of their status, regardless of any other characteristic they might have.

Ted Simons:
>> For those who say, that's not right, you should not be including these people in the United States census, you say?

Steve Murdock:
>> We say that the constitution requires that we count everyone residing in the United States. It doesn't differentiate between citizens and noncitizens, it doesn't differentiate between any other characteristic. So our job under the constitution is to make sure that all people are counted.

Ted Simons:
>> And it's important to get all people because of things like government funding?

Steve Murdock:
>> Absolutely. If you look, for example, about $300 billion per year is allocated to the states on the basis of census data. That's about $3 trillion a decade. And of course the very important part, the reason that it's mandated in article i, section 2 of the u.s. constitution, is for purposes of apportionment. How many seats in congress does each state get? That is determined by the census. Both, in terms of of a very important bulwark of our democracy, as well as the financial factors, play a role and are important to people of every state.

Ted Simons:
>> budgeting, government programs, future government programs, all of this falls into what you just talked about?

Steve Murdock:
>> Absolutely. Most agencies are using census data every day to determine where they should build various kinds of public works, highways, similarly schools are using such data to determine where they should build their new schools. Businesses are using data to discern where their emerging markets are. Both the public and private sector make extensive use of this data. They count, if you will, by fulfill -- filling out the census form.

Ted Simons:
>> That being said, and the underlying implication that some parts of the Hispanic community might be hesitant to go ahead with the census, how do you get that information out there that it's important for everyone to cooperate?

Steve Murdock:
>> Well, we have a number of programs, including both our communications program and some elements of it. We will have a nationwide advertising campaign, and the contractor there has a number of subcontractors that are specialists in providing advertising and reaching out to audiences, African-American audiences, Hispanic audiences, American Indian and Alaska native audiences, Asian audiences, et cetera.
The other part that's very important is our partnership program. This is a set of people, 680 of them across our 12 regions, whose job it is to reach hard to count communities, and persuade them to work with us to be counted, to persuade them what is true. And that is that we do not share our data with any other federal agency, and that it is safe to respond to the census. These partnership people will work with local communities that work with churches, civic groups, all sorts of organizations, to provide a face to the census that'll say it is safe to respond to the census.

Ted Simons:
>> How do you know these people got the message, and that everyone or as close to everyone that needs to be counted is counted?

Steve Murdock:
>> Well, we'll find out when we get the census results and look at those. But our regional directors are some of the most skilled people in the census bureau. They have worked in these audiences before, and for example, the director in the regional office in Denver that covers this area has extensive experience in census-taking and we'll have a good feel for that when we get our partnership programs up and running.

Ted Simons:
>> There is thought that immigration raids should be suspended at the time of a census-taking. How much can you comment on that?

Steve Murdock:
>> We really can't tell another federal agency what it should do. Our answer is to work at the local level, and work with local community leaders, leaders in hard to count communities, to urge their constituents, if you will, to participate in the census. We're going to work at the local level. We can't really ask another federal agency to not enforce the laws.

Ted Simons:
>> can you suggest or hint that local agencies hold off while the census is being taken?

Steve Murdock:
>> We can't officially tell any local agency what to do, in terms of its mission. We hope by working with local community leaders, who can assure their constituents that it's safe, that we'll get a good count.

Ted Simons:
>> The resources, human resources infrastructure, both human and technological, is everything set to go for this?


Steve Murdock:
>> Everything is set to go. We had some hiccups earlier, and everything is set to go, it's back on schedule. We're in the process of opening up 150 of our local census offices that will be important for the first step in the census, which is the address canvassing. It starts April of 2009, and we will be prepared for that. We will be ready for that. That's a process where we go out and verify addresses, make sure that we have all of the areas counted and all of the addresses counted. The census is really a census of addresses from which we get households and people.

Ted Simons:
>> There could be jobs in the valley?

Steve Murdock:
>> There will be jobs in the valley. Our center in phoenix is open, the recruiting center, and there will be jobs in this area.

Ted Simons:
>> Very good. Steve, thank you so much for joining us, we appreciate it.

Steve Murdock:
>> Thank you.

Ted Simons:
>>> He supervised much of the "Washington Post"'s coverage of the Watergate scandal, and knew the true identity of deep throat before it was revealed to the rest of the world. I spoke with Leonard Downie, Jr. He had a lot to say about press coverage and how it's covering the presidential campaign right now. He also talked about the changing business of news.

Ted Simons:
>>Thank you so much for joining us on "Horizon."

Leonard Downie, Jr.:
>> Thank you.

Ted Simons:
>> Let's talk about the presidential campaign. Is the press doing a good job so far?

Leonard Downie, Jr.:
>> You know, the press nowadays takes in so much, everything from blogs to major newspapers, all different kinds of television, so it's hard to have the press -- think of it as a monolith. It's doing a really great job in many ways. I think there's much more known about the issues and the candidates' backgrounds than ever before. On the one hand, a lot of stuff is known to people through the media. On the other hand, Keith Oberman on MSNBC, and O'Reilly on fox, to take two extremes, and there are blogs that are very, very partisan. They attach themselves to the little things they hope will grow into big scandals, and they actually muddy the waters.

Ted Simons:
>> Is there something the press -- and again, the big press -- is there something they can do to help narrow the focus? I almost wonder if there's too much information out there. There's 14 different versions of the McCain economic plan.

Leonard Downie, Jr.:
>> Yes, there is a lot. It puts the emphasis where it ought to be, on the citizen. There's so much information available to one now, but you need to pick and choose and decide what you trust and where you're going to go.

Ted Simons:
>> Indeed. And you mentioned brands. With the internet and new media, how does a consumer know that what they're looking at, what they're listening to, is accurate?

Leonard Downie, Jr.:
>> It's sort of like walking into the supermarket and seeing a bunch of brands of coffee. You taste them and see which ones you like and can depend on. You listen to what your neighbors say and sort of test and find out. That's why brands matter now on the internet, because we have literally millions of blogs. People will decide, I'll come to the "Arizona Republic" site or the "Washington post" site because i trust what they're doing. Even though I want to look at some of these other places because I'm kind of interested, i come to the brands. For instance, our website has mushroomed during this campaign because we know people are coming there for verified information.

Ted Simons:
>> Talk about the new media further here. YouTube, Facebook, how are they changing the labor?

Leonard Downie, Jr.:
>> For one thing a candidate cannot do anything without it being recorded someplace, and quite often on video. Terrible mistakes candidates have made will be repeated over and over again on video. Also, the mainstream media can't make mistakes, either, without getting caught. Any plagiarism anybody commits, any falsehoods are going to be caught out by somebody and have to be corrected. I think this really serves citizens better than ever before.

Ted Simons:
>> Talk about some people will always have a problem with a newspaper or a news source. They will see a bias there or something they don't agree with in other areas. Talk about therole of the press.

Leonard Downie, Jr.:
>> Right.
Ted Simons:
>> do people understand what could be described as the adversarial role of the press?

Leonard Downie, Jr.:
>> I think actually they understand it, but understanding is not the same thing as liking it. It's like the umpire at the baseball game, you really know he's trying to do a good job, but they make a call and you get mad about it. People do bring their own biases to the media, too. People that are really hard rock republicans or democrats, they're not going to like our coverage if it's down the middle. That's one of the things people have to understand. You often bring your own bais to your judgments about things. Quite often people will gravitate towards the media that do reflect their bias. If you're more conservative, you want to watch O'Reilly. If you're more liberal, you want to watch Oberman beat up on the republicans. People are smart enough to know which news sources to go to that are going to be relatively straight.

Ted Simons:
>> Smart enough, but they're still people. Do you see something happening here as happens in places in Europe, where the partisanship by one of the media is overt, and you pretty much flock to one paper or the other?

Leonard Downie, Jr.:
>> I don't think so. In part, there are more choices than ever before, so you don't have to be exclusively reading or watching a particular medium at any particular time. And also, it's just not our tradition. It's the tradition of Americans to want to sample around, to not be lifelong. There are going to be democrats that don't vote for Barack Obama probably because of his mixed race. There are going to be republicans that are not going to support John McCain, probably because of his age. These are people that otherwise really believe in the party, but for personal aspects of the candidates, they're going to vote differently. You don't tend to see that in other countries where people are more in lockstep with their party.

Ted Simons:
>> Either one side is saying, the "Washington post" didn't cover the march to war like they should have.

Leonard Downie, Jr.:
>> Right.

Ted Simons:
>> They should have been right on the administration the whole way. Or the "Washington post" can't leave Sarah Palin alone, they have a liberal bias.

Leonard Downie, Jr.:
>> I've been in this business 44 years, i love my work and I don't expect to be popular. It's just not going to happen. There will be critics who are not seeing what they want to see. We were slow to point out the flaws in the administration's rationale for the war in Iraq. Since then, we've done a great job of covering the war, i think. And the people that are unhappy with the conduct of the war are unhappy because they know what the mainstream media has told them about it. We cannot worry about that. We have to worry about being fair and as accurate as possible. When you make mistakes, you correct them. But you can't be swayed by the fact that some people want you to move one way or the other.

Ted Simons:
>> Should the press have seen the credit crisis coming?

Leonard Downie, Jr.:
>> The press did see it, but nobody was paying attention or asking questions about it. We're not the only newspaper with stories going back years on how the mortgages were a trap for people. Questions were raised by one of our financial columnists who won the Pulitzer Prize for work on these mortgage-backed securities. There were questions being raised. The people in charge of regulation and our financial system were ignoring it.

Ted Simons:
>> Sideways question then: could the press do a better job explaining to the public what derivatives and what credit swaps are?

Leonard Downie, Jr.:
>> We're doing our best. I happen to live across the street from an official of the treasury department, and I asked him and he can't always give me clear answers. That's how complicated it's become. All of that is what is unraveling right now, and i think we're all going to gradually learn more and more as it unravels.

Ted Simons:
>> we're learning more and more in this town about what it's like to lose a newspaper, which we're going lose coming up in a few months. What is the future of newspaper?

Leonard Downie, Jr.:
>> Newspapers are having to transform themselves almost completely for several reasons. Much of the audience has gone to the internet. A lot of the advertising, particularly classified advertising for jobs and cars and homes has gone to the internet. Some of it's just disappeared entirely, particularly in difficult economic times. And maintaining a large newsroom, they are much larger than the newsrooms of local television stations. We have so much more to cover in a newspaper, it's very expensive. The bureau in Iraq costs us millions every year. We're no longer getting enough revenue to cover our costs. We've had to cut our staff at the "Washington post," the "New York Times" has cut staff. 25\% to 50\% cuts are not unusual right now, and there is really question as to which newspapers will survive. I think it'll be the ones that find the right combinations of print, a lot of advertising still goes into a newspaper. And what they're best things to do on the internet, and then handheld devices. We have a new application on the I-phone but we're not selling advertising so we've got to figure out how to do that. I think there are going to be technologies that we don't even know what they are yet. Maybe how to read what feels like a newspaper, but it's really a screen. And the newsrooms that survive will be the ones that figure out how to manage the platforms. Not everybody's going survive.

Ted Simons:
>> Indeed. I know that there are so many other things I want to ask you. But you knew, at least at a late date, you son of a gun, you knew who deep throat was, didn't you?

Leonard Downie, Jr.:
>> Yes. For a long time I didn't know, because only a few knew. I did not know who deep throat was, but I did know who the other sources were because I had to know that. Deep throat was the only source we allowed them to keep secret. I knew who he wasn't. So I started guessing and I guessed wrong twice, I guessed Elliott Richardson, and bob said he wasn't going to reveal it until he died. Then we waited until l. Patrick ray died, and bob said it wasn't him. I thought he might be the logical person in the F.B.I.'s chain of command. I put in an envelope and gave to it bob and of course he didn't react. And then bob had said that deep throat was rather ill. If he's rather ill, we've got to be prepared for when he dies. He said, actually I've written a draft of a book. Bob, it's time for me to read that book. He took me to his house in Georgetown and I opened up the book and it was mark. And then for some months we were preparing for his death. And of course he's still alive. What happened instead, a member of his family wanted the story out, and for some reason wasn't getting along with bob about that and went to "vanity fair."

Ted Simons:
>> Woodward keeps a source quiet pretty well, doesn't he?

Leonard Downie, Jr.:
>> Yes, he does.

Ted Simons:
>> You are writing a novel based on Washington?

Leonard Downie, Jr.:
>> Yes, fiction.

Ted Simons:
>> Why fiction?

Leonard Downie, Jr.:
>> Obviously my day job has been nonfiction all these years. Some years ago i had an idea for a novel, and realized that my experiences in journalism might be of interest to other people, and fiction was the best way to play with it right now. So it's a novel about a young woman, an investigative report in a newspaper -- not the "Washington post," it's a made-up newspaper -- who's investigating political corruption in Washington and falls into something much bigger involving the defense department and the white house. And ironically a woman president who became president because she was the surprise running mate of an elderly senator who was elected president and died in office.

Ted Simons:
>> Thank you very much for joining us, we appreciate it.

Leonard Downie, Jr.:
>> I thank you.

Ted Simons:
>>> Tomorrow on "horizon," prosecution of criminals in Maricopa County. The candidates for Maricopa County attorney debate the issues, and we continue our vote 2008 election coverage. Wednesday, democratic incumbent Harry Mitchell faces off against his two challengers who are hoping to unseat him in the 5th congressional district. That is it for now, thank you so much for joining us. I'm Ted Simons, you have a great evening.

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