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KĀKOU: HAWAI‘I'S TOWN HALL – Join the Conversation

 

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Fact-Based Reporting, Without Fear or Favor

 

CEO Message

Fact-Based Reporting, Without Fear or Favor

 

Leslie Wilcox, PBS Hawai‘i President and CEOI first took note of war correspondent Christiane Amanpour back in the early 1990s when I saw her on cable channel CNN, running across a crowded street in Bosnia with sniper fire ringing out.

 

It wasn’t only her risk-taking that arrested me; it was her unflinching reports on a different kind of war. This wasn’t an army versus an army. It was a war against civilians.

 

More than two decades later, she would say: “I learned…when I was covering genocide and ethnic cleansing in Bosnia, never to equate victim and aggressor, never to create a false moral or factual equivalence.”

 

“When lies become mixed up with the truth, it’s a very dangerous world.” – Christiane Amanpour“Because then, if you do, particularly in situations like that,” she said, “you are party and accomplice to the most unspeakable crimes and consequences.”

 

“So,” she concluded, “I believe in being truthful, not neutral.”

 

Amanpour, who is now CNN’s Chief International Correspondent, interviews global leaders and decision-makers on PBS every weeknight at 11:00. Her program, Amanpour on PBS, joined the programming line-up after PBS stopped distributing programs with Charlie Rose, following multiple women’s allegations of sexual harassment.

 

Amanpour, who turns 59 this month, is a British citizen who spent her early years in Tehran. She is the product of a Muslim father from Iran and a Christian mother from England – and she’s married to a Jewish American, former U.S. diplomat Jamie Rubin. They live in London with their teenage son, Darius.

 

“I’ve lived in a completely multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, multi-religious environment, in some of the most difficult places in the world,” Amanpour has said.

 

“I’ve seen firsthand that you can bridge differences, you can have tolerance between groups. The trick is to minimize the extremes, whether it’s in politics or in religion or in any kind of relationship, and to stick to the sensible center, which is where the vast majority, not only of this country but the world, lies,” she says.

 

Amanpour also has a knack for bridging between television networks and countries. She will remain with CNN in Britain while sharing her interviews with PBS in America.

 

She urges all journalists to re-commit to robust, fact-based reporting on the issues – without fear and without favor.

 

“When lies become mixed up with the truth,” she said, “it’s a very dangerous world.”

 

Almost three decades after Christiane dodged bullets in the Balkans, she’s sitting down in the studio with world power players. I still find her coverage arresting. And the truth is worth staying up for. See you at 11:00 weeknights, “Amanpour on PBS.”

 

Aloha nui,

 

Leslie signature

Different Strokes in Our Hawai‘i Canoe

 

CEO Message

Different Strokes in Our Hawai‘i Canoe

Participants at KĀKOU - Hawai‘iʻs Town Hall: Solomon Alfapada

Solomon AlfapadaTop row: Jim Dooley, Ulalia Woodside, Sean-Joseph Choo, Tracy Alambatin, Shayne Shibuya.
Bottom row: Denby Fawcett, Ryan Ozawa, Burt Lum, Ku‘uipo Kumukahi

Leslie Wilcox, PBS Hawai‘i President and CEOWas it an “Only in Hawai‘i” phenomenon?

 

Before the red camera lights signaled the start of last month’s two-hour live KĀKOU – Hawai‘i’s Town Hall, our studio chief Jason Suapaia asked the 70 participants with diverse perspectives to “keep the discussion civil.”

 

He needn’t have worried. The discussion was interesting and it got lively, but as it turns out, the participants had a higher standard than civil. They were polite and even generous.

 

As participant Donne Dawson said afterward, “I deliberately did not raise my hand a second time even though I had lots more to say because I wanted more of the diverse group to weigh in.”

 

PBS Hawai‘i named our new Town Hall program KĀKOU because it means “all of us,” as in: All of us in these isolated islands – no matter how different – are in the same canoe. The question up for discussion: “Have you fact-checked your truth?”

 

In reflecting upon the experience, PBS Hawai‘i Board Member Aaron Salā wrote: “Probably nowhere else in the world would you get so many different kinds, and colors, of people in the same room at the same time to discuss a series of rather intimate thoughts and beliefs. Only in Hawai‘i…”

 

He harkened back to plantation times and the exorbitantly long, hard work days.

 

“That drive to survive caused us to figure out how to live together and rather than feign color-blindness (a concept that continues to baffle me), we celebrate a color-consciousness that helps us to really see each other,” Aaron said.

 

“So,” he continued, “we started this process in survival mode and, in many ways, we still choose to negotiate our peace every day because we know that we must survive. In a sense, we are the American dream come true.” And yet, he believes, “we are probably also the most outwardly racist community in the world.”

 

Participant Burt Lum, co-host of Hawai‘i Public Radio’s Bytemarks Café, was among several people who went home and kept wrestling with the topic of the discussion, about the idea of truth vs. reality.

 

He pictured a stadium full of people.

 

“There is some degree of shared reality, like the fact that you are all watching a football game,” Burt wrote me. “But for the most part everyone there has their own sense of reality, a result of inherent being, accumulated experiences and moral compass.”

 

Two hours on live TV and live streaming flew by. As we signed off, I thought how glad I am to be in the same canoe with these fellow Islanders who can directly address their differences, don’t pretend to have all of the answers, and actually listen to each other.

 

A hui hou (until next time),

 

Leslie signature

Leslie Wilcox
President and CEO
PBS Hawai‘i

 

KĀKOU – Hawai‘i’s Town Hall
Have You Fact-Checked Your Truth?

 

Original broadcast date: Thursday, October 5, 2017

In this first live discussion, we ask: “Have You Fact-Checked Your Truth?” We take on the meaning of “truth” and how we view truth in an era of “fake news,” “trolling” and filter bubbles on social media. Is there one truth – or is truth in the eye of the beholder?

 


<< Return to the KĀKOU home page.

 

 

HIKI NŌ
Episode #819

 

TOP STORY:

 

Students from Kapolei High School on O‘ahu present a story on the Hawai‘i-themed artwork engraved on the columns of O‘ahu’s rail project. The column art was designed by local architect Daniel Kanekuni and, according to HART spokesperson Bill Brennan, adds a sense of place and local identity to the rail project. Rail proponents and opponents alike feel that the column artwork is a good thing. However, some rail opponents, such as UH Professor of Civil Engineering Panos Prevedouros, feel that the real eye-sore will be the elevated rail stations. Says Prevedouros, “How much lipstick do they think they can put on that pig?”

 

ALSO FEATURED:

 

–Students from Maui Waena Intermediate School show how a Kahului family’s mochi- pounding tradition continues, despite the recent loss of the family matriarch who had been the heart of the event.

 

–Students from Hawai‘i Technology Academy in Leeward O‘ahu show us the proper way to pack a military care package.

 

–Students from Konawaena High School on Hawai‘i Island profile a Konawaena graduate who went on to form the internationally renowned heavy metal reggae band Pepper.

 

–Students from Moanalua High School on O‘ahu profile a lesbian couple at their school who work to spread the joy of diversity and the message of tolerance for those who are different.

 

–Students from Maui High School profile a star athlete who had to sit out the football season because of a heart condition but continued to inspire his teammates by volunteering as an assistant coach.

 

This program encores Saturday, May 27, at 12:00 pm and Sunday, May 28, at 3:00 pm. You can also view HIKI NŌ episodes on our website, www.pbshawaii.org/hikino.

 


INSIGHTS ON PBS HAWAI‘I
Speaking Truth to Power

 

The phrase “speak truth to power” is often used to describe an act of courage and non-violence, standing up for what one believes to be the truth, despite resistance from powerful forces. We often think of figures like Martin Luther King Jr., Anita Hill, or the man who stood in the path of tanks in Tiananmen Square.

 

Perhaps the people who have changed our own community by speaking truth to power are our greatest inspiration. On INSIGHTS, we’ll ask three of them about the meaning of truth and how it inspired them personally to face powerful opposition: Attorney General Doug Chin, who filed a lawsuit on behalf of the State of Hawai‘i that successfully challenged the second national travel ban; Randy Roth, a community activist and co-author of Broken Trust; and Loretta Sheehan, trial attorney and member of the Honolulu Police Commission. Colin Moore, UH political science professor and Director of the Public Policy Center, is also scheduled to join this discussion.

 

Your questions and comments are welcome via phone, email and via Twitter during the Live Broadcast.

 

Phone Lines:
462-5000 on Oahu or 800-238-4847 on the Neighbor Islands.

 

Email:insights@pbshawaii.org

 

Twitter:
Join our live discussion using #pbsinsights