After Tree of Life: What Makes a Community Resilient



– Well good evening everyone and welcome. It's a pleasure to welcome all
of you to Georgetown tonight as we gather for this special
dinner and conversation, After Tree of Life: What
Makes a Community Resilient. I'm Jack DeGioia, I serve as the President
here at Georgetown and it's an honor for me
to welcome all of you here as we're bringing to
close an academic season. So this is one of our last
events of this academic year. In about a week it'll
be hard to find anybody to be able to convene around here, but we still got a little bit of time left and we're really happy that we are able to gather with all of you, with such distinguished
guests and partners and friends from around the globe for this moment of
reflection and conversation. Welcome to Riggs Library. This was the first dedicated
library here at the university. This building went up roughly
between 1870 and 1878. Not completely dissimilar to the present, this room didn't finish
quite in that period, we needed to raise a little
bit more money for that, it came a little bit later. The architect of this
room and of this building was the architectural
firm of Smithmeyer & Pelz. No reason why you would
ever heard of this, but the old Librarian of Congress, who was a dear friend of
Georgetown's, Jim Billington, used to like to tell people
that Smithmeyer & Pelz, the architectural firm, designed two important
citadels to knowledge, the Library of Congress and
Healy Hall at Georgetown. And these two citadels
are on these two hilltops and all the chaos of
Washington went on in between. So welcome, welcome to Riggs Library. It's especially meaningful
for us to come together in this space with this evening's
speakers, with all of you, to reflect on the work and
resiliency of the Pittsburgh and Jewish communities in the
wake of last year's shooting at the Tree of Life congregation. Want to thank each of you for being here, and I wish to offer my
most sincere appreciation to the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting and to our Berkley Center
for Religion, Peace and World Affairs for
convening this gathering. I'd like to extend particular
gratitude to Jon Sawyer, the founding director
of the Pulitzer Center and to Shaun Casey, the
director of our Berkley Center who we'll hear from just a
little bit later in our program. So John and Shawn, thank
you for your many efforts to build this partnership and to support tonight's conversation as well as this weekend's annual
Pulitzer Center conference focusing this year on the
theme of Beyond Religion. We're also fortunate to
have with us Ann Peters, the University and
Community Outreach Director of the Pulitzer Center,
whose remarkable efforts have made this weekend's
conference possible. As well as Emily Pulitzer, the Chair of the Board of the Center. I'm grateful for this
opportunity to be among so many exceptional leaders
in the field of journalism, crisis reporting, and religious affairs, all engaged in the work of
documenting, illuminating, and deepening our understanding of some of our world's most urgent and complex conflicts and crises. This is work that has a deep resonance for us here at Georgetown. As a Catholic and Jesuit
university we're called to respond to the challenge that was given to us by Superior General of the Jesuits, a challenge that he gave
to all Jesuit institutions when he served as Superior General in the years between
1966 and the early 1980s. But it was in 1973 in a seminal address that still has resonance
for all of us today, his challenge to us was quote, to make sure that in
the future the education imparted in Jesuit schools will be equal to the demands of justice
in the world, close quote. For us, this means engaging with the pressing challenges of our time, seeking ways to contribute
to a deeper understanding of the issues facing our global community. And since 2008 our Berkley Center has been deeply engaged in this work. Under Shaun's leadership the
Center has supported research to illuminate the role of religion, the role that it plays in matters
of international diplomacy and to explore the impact of globalization on the practice of religion. For close to a decade the
Center has helped to lead our Faith in Culture series, curated and moderated by
Berkley Senior Fellow Paul Elie. It's a series of conversations
with contemporary writers and artists, including recently
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, US Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith, the Israeli author David Grossman, on how faith has informed their
creative and cultural work. The Berkley Center has partnered with the World Faiths Development Dialogue on research to understand the role that religion plays in developing nations, and how that understanding
should inform policy, and with StoryCorps on the
American Pilgrimage Project which brings together
people to share stories of how religion and belief have helped shape their own formation. Come on in. I see some old friends, so please, come on in and make yourselves at home. 'Kay. Our senior fellows, our senior research fellows
are working at the forefront of some of the most urgent issues facing religious communities today, exploring religious voting patterns in the 2018 midterm election, the role of Christianity in
far-right American politics, and Muslim-Christian
inter-religious dialogue among many other topics. They collaborate, cooperate
with a number of parts of Georgetown, and I know that will unfold over the course of your time together. These conversations and
resources provide opportunities for students, scholars, and
members of our community to engage deeply with the role of religion in our global community
in all its complexity. So as we gather this evening I'm grateful for this opportunity to convene so many individuals
who are contributing to our shared knowledge of these issues. And it's really deeply meaningful to be here with you this evening. For me, as I said at the beginning, this is about bringing
closure to an academic year and I can't think of a more
meaningful way to do so. I'm grateful to be with
a number of my colleagues here from Georgetown, one
I'd just like to identify, and that was the founding
director of our Berkley Center, Dr. Tom Banchoff, who serves
now as our Vice President for Global Engagement here at Georgetown. And it's been a joy over these years to be able to work together with Tom on so many of these issues. I'd now like to welcome
Father Drew Christiansen, actually I may ask Drew
to stay at his place rather than to walk all the way up here, but Father Christiansen, Father Drew is the Distinguished
Professor of Ethics and Human Development in our
School of Foreign Service and a Senior Fellow at the Berkley Center, the former editor in chief of
the Jesuit magazine America, and I'd ask Father Christiansen if he'd like to offer a
blessing on our dinner. Why don't you stay there. I can bring a microphone
to you, or do you have one? Right next to you, Drew. There we go. – [Father Christiansen]
Good evening everyone. Sorry I'm getting over a
long case of laryngitis, so occasionally I'll have to
stop to get my voice back here. I would like to open this evening remembering Austin Tice, Georgetown School of Foreign
Service graduate of 2002, and a law student in 2012 when he went to the Middle East to follow the events of the Arab Spring and disappeared in Syria in 2012. I would ask you to give
thanks with me for him and for the men and women like him who risk their lives to bring us the truth from distant places. Places that some of you have been. Let us pray then for
journalists who are in peril due to unjust governments
and predatory rulers. And especially for those in the neighboring country of Mexico. Join me now in offering
a prayer for journalists. Almighty God, strengthen and direct we pray, the will of all whose work is to write what many read and to speak what many hear. May we hold, I'm sorry, may we hold to
confront evil and injustice, understanding and compassionate
of our human weakness, rejoicing alike the half truth which deceives, I'm sorry, rejecting alike
the half truth which deceives and the slanted word which corrupts. May the power which is
ours for good or ill always be used with honesty and courage with respect and integrity, so that when all here have been, when all here has been
written, said, and done, we may unashamed meet thee face to face. And bless us oh Lord in these thy gifts which we're about to
receive from thy bounty, through Christ our Lord, amen. – Good evening everyone,
my name is Shaun Casey and I serve as the Director for the Berkley Center
for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs here
at Georgetown University. First of all, thank you President DeGioia for your kind introductory words. This has been an amazing space in my three years here
at Georgetown University, and some of the most
profound conversations and interactions I've had have taken place in this hallowed space at Riggs Library. On behalf of the Berkley Center
I want to say a few things about our strategic partnership with the remarkable Pulitzer Center. I should add I think the
seeds of this relationship were actually sown about 50 years ago. One of the Sunday morning
post-church post-dinner rituals in the Casey family in
the thriving metropolis of Paducah, Kentucky, in the previous millennium I should add, was a 25 block pilgrimage
to the local bookstore that was actually open on Sunday mornings, where we would purchase
at my father's insistence the Sunday Post Dispatch. Because as he put it, St. Louis papers were better than any of the
feeble Kentucky competitors. If you really wanted to know the news you had to buy a St. Louis paper, and so this was a part of
the fabric of my childhood. We have just completed our
second year at the Berkley Center in partnership with the Pulitzer
Center Campus Consortium and we have enjoyed an
amazing set of results in this short two year relationship. Several Pulitzer grantee
journalists have spoken on campus, including Ben Taub and Danny Golden, who are at this year's
conference, which starts tomorrow, as well as people like
Alice Su, Robin Shulman, and George Steinmetz. They've conducted a
number of public events in this space and others, they have visited classes in religion, in journalism, in foreign affairs, and they've met with students
who are interested in applying for the summer research
reporting fellowship grants. And so over time, literally
hundreds of Georgetown students have been shaped by
these kinds of encounters with Pulitzer grantees. Our first summer reporting
grantee, Julia Friedmann, may well actually have
converted to journalism as a vocational goal as a result of having won that fellowship. Now I should hasten to add we have gotten no feedback from the
Friedmann parental units yet on this vocational change, but already you're having
an impact on our students in an amazing and positive way and we look forward to
continuing to be members in working with Ann and the crew there. In our strategic thinking
at the Berkley Center we're specifically committed to supporting deep thoughtful news coverage of religion, particularly in the international arena. It's my belief that the Pulitzer Center is the perfect partner for
us as we begin to fill in this strategic aspiration on our part. It's clear to me that
Pulitzer offers our students a lot, and so I want to
state clearly and succinctly what I believe Berkley's contribution to the journalism guild may also be as a modest
part of our exchange, which we have richly benefited so far. First I would say that
in our Berkley faculty and in our professional networks among the international religious guild, we are one phone call, or maybe more appropriately
one email away from a network of literally thousands of
international religious scholars. I often say if there's
a form of lived religion on the planet, we at Berkley, either ourselves or in our networks, know somebody who's studying
that form of lived religion as part of their central vocational work. It's our hope that we
can provide a network of scholarly support for
journalists around the world to sophisticate their coverage. And if there's a way we
can help resource you in finding connections to the
smartest people on the issue in the particular zip code you're working, that's a service that we
would like to render back in thanks for what the Pulitzer Center is doing for our students. Secondly, we also have
a convening power here. In the sense that we're
capable of bringing together scholars to do deep
dives on subjects that, on subjects related to religion that journalists want to receive but simply don't have the
bandwidth to do for themselves. So we hope to explore
ways that we can find out what are the subject
questions that are unanswered in journalist's minds and
can we find ways to convene smart people to try to
answer the questions that the journalists are seeking as part of their professional work. So we're eager to find ways
to bring journalists together in formats that will deepen
their search for understanding regarding the complexities of religion. And finally, we're also
interested in providing a platform for working journalists to help
us train future journalists here at Georgetown. As you know, I think the
heart of your premise at the Pulitzer Center
is that the coverage of international stories is changing and has changed radically. And your institution is filling a gap, you're creating knowledge that
would otherwise be missing in American journalism today if you did not fund the
grantees that you do. That means universities and other places have to frankly change the models of educating the next
generation of journalists. And I think the old classic
large journalism department is frankly on its way
to becoming a dinosaur in American higher education. So it's my hope that someday we at Berkley in partnership with
Pulitzer and other entities may be able to provide more
term appointments to journalists who are working in religion
and frankly don't have the time to do that long-form piece that's been hiding in the
recesses of their brain because of the demands of deadlines in contemporary journalist settings. We hope that we can find a way
to employ working journalists to do more long-form
pieces and at the same time begin to teach the next
generation of journalists, many of whom are waiting
among our students. So I think this is a
very provocative time, I think this strategic partnership that Berkley has forged with Pulitzer, we have benefited more than you have from this relationship in the short run. We hope that over time we can begin to even the score if you will, because there's so much
to be done in this space. So in conclusion, thank
you Jon, thank you Kem, thank you for Ann, thank you Indira, and all the Pulitzer
staff for what you do. We think these first two
years have been amazing and we're looking forward
to many more decades working together. We're honored to be your partner and we're grateful that we can contribute to this year's conference, and we're looking forward
to tonight's program. So with that I'll turn it
over to Jon, thank you. (audience applauding) – Thank you Shaun, thank
you President DeGioia, and everybody for being here tonight. What Shaun has just described
is a demonstration to me of how important these
collaborations are to us and the role that we aspire
to play in journalism and education and American life. And I want to come back to
that, but I wanted to start just with a word or two about the support that we've had
from the Henry Luce Foundation that in a way brought us together with Shaun and some of his work. Toby Volkman, who's
here tonight from Luce. For the last six years Luce has funded our work
on religion and power. Making possible unique in-depth
reporting across the globe. And it's amazing to me now,
nearly 90 projects thus far that we've done with all kinds of outlets on topics ranging from
religion and family planning in the Philippines and Indonesia to de-radicalization of Muslim extremists in European prisons. From the role of religion
in Saudi Arabia's repression of women to the Pope's influence on climate change, climate policy in the Amazon. From the abuse of social media in Myanmar and India and beyond to the
leadership of Buddhist monks in fighting for environmental
protection in Cambodia. A number of the journalists
involved in these great projects are with us tonight, will be
with us tomorrow, and Sunday for the Beyond Religion conference that we're doing at the
National Press Club. We salute all of your work and
we're very grateful for it. The projects have
appeared in PBS NewsHour, in the New Yorker, in the
New York Times Magazine, and Luce funding helped
facilitate trailblazing year-long projects by the
Associated Press in Myanmar and Yemen, bringing those
under-reported tragedies to the attention of the global public and policy makers alike. Along the way being honored
with Overseas Press Club prizes with the George Polk Award
and with the Pulitzer Prize. Luce support also gave us the impetus to build relationships
with academic institutions and think tanks that have greatly
increased our own capacity both in choosing smart projects and then working with smart people to extend the journalism's reach. With Luce help we organized
Ecological Civilization, a convening in Beijing that
brought together journalists, scientists, and leaders
from business, government, and religion, to discuss the
great environmental challenges facing China and the world. That support also helped facilitate the wonderful relationship
we've built with Shaun, the Berkley Center and Georgetown as the first campus consortium with a specific focus on
religious, reporting on religion, religious issues around the world. We've done memorable
presentations in this room on the flow of refugees from Africa and the Middle East to Europe and on religion's role in answering the challenge of climate change. We've also had the opportunity
to send Georgetown students out in the world to report,
producing great projects like the work Julia Friedmann
did that Shaun mentioned on the role of faith in
peace and reconciliation in Colombia. Tonight we're so honored to
have all of you here with us. And we're especially pleased to have the special conversation
that is about to begin on the role of religion and resilience in responding to community crisis. The genesis of this panel
is an email that I received several months ago from Mark Oppenheimer, director of the journalism program at Yale and host of several journalism events that we've done at Yale. He was seeking support
from the Pulitzer Center for a book he's writing on the five generations of his family who have lived in
Pittsburg's Squirrel Hill, site of the tragic shooting last fall at the Tree of Life synagogue. When I learned of Mark's project I immediately thought
of Indira Lakshmanan, our Executive Editor. Indira has lived all over the world, reporting for NPR, the
Boston Globe, and Bloomberg, but she grew up in Squirrel Hill. We then started thinking of other voices who could speak to Pittsburgh communities and discovered that Dalia Mogahed, a thought leader on
the US Muslim community and former head of
Muslim Studies at Gallup was yet another person
with Pittsburgh roots. I'm so pleased that the three of you could all be here tonight
to lead this discussion. I look forward to hearing from you all and meantime thank you
so much for coming out, for being here, and to Georgetown for being such great partners. Thank you. (audience applauding) – All right. Good evening everyone, did
you enjoy dinner I hope? Delicious, thank you to all
of the servers and cooks who made this lovely meal for us. Thank you of course to
President DeGioia and to Shaun for hosting us. And Jon has very nicely
set up this conversation. As he alluded to, I'm the Executive Editor at the Pulitzer Center, Indira Lakshmanan, and I was born and raised in Pittsburgh. And lived until I left for college three blocks away from the
Tree of Life synagogue, and went to countless bar
mitzvahs and bat mitzvahs at the Tree of Life. And interestingly as a
non-Jew in a Jewish community, was not only welcomed but funnily enough I didn't even realize
'til I went to college that Judaism was a minority
religion in this country which kind of shows something
not only about Pittsburgh, but maybe about my ignorance. But my Jewish friends in Squirrel Hill used to take me to
Sunday school with them, I was like their–
– Lucky you. – Yeah, I was their pet at Sunday school, but I really enjoyed it and I
got to go on Shalom Pittsburgh and on the Mister Rogers
show, which many of you will be familiar with,
of course not Jewish, but Mister Rogers lived
three blocks from me on Beechwood Boulevard in Pittsburgh. And so the Tree of Life shooting hit extremely close to home for me. Many of my high school,
Allderdice High School graduates, friends still live there, or
their parents still live there. I actually wrote a column
for the Boston Globe about how special Pittsburgh is in the way it really is
Mister Rogers' neighborhood, and the hopes I had for
the way that the community would come together again
after such a tragedy. And I feel incredibly honored to have both Mark and Dalia next to me who have their own deep
Pittsburgh connections. So as Jon said, Dalia Mogahed is currently the Director of Research at ISPU and the former Executive
Director of Gallup Center for Muslim Studies, which
is when we first met. Mark Oppenheimer is not only Director of the Yale Journalism Initiative but the former Belief columnist
for the New York Times and is with Pulitzer's
support and blessing and enthusiasm writing a series of stories about Tree of Life that
will then become a book. And will publish both in
Pittsburgh those stories in Pittsburgh local media
outlets as well as nationally. So I want to start Dalia's
connection to Pittsburgh, it by the way is from having gone to school there, university. So I want to start by asking both of you the sort of open-ended question of how a community builds resilience. And Mark, since you've
been going back and forth I think almost every weekend
reporting from there recently, from leaving New Haven and
going off to Squirrel Hill, maybe you can start by telling us what you've observed first
hand about what it is about Pittsburgh and Squirrel Hill that you think has been
so resilient and why. – Yeah, well thank you. And I'm sorry I haven't
met all of you yet. It's an extraordinary
group that's gathered here, I'm honored to be in your presence and thank you to the Pulitzer Center and you and Ann and Jon, and such an honor to be on this panel with two such wonderful colleagues. So I've been about, I
think about 25 times, which is five times more than
I'd been in my life previous, even though my father was from
a long line of Pittsburghers, I grew up in Western Massachusetts. And a lot of my family in
Pittsburgh had moved away and we were there maybe
half a dozen times. And now I'm there I
feel like all the time, I was there this morning. It almost feels overly
simplistic and obvious to say it but of course it's not obvious
that it's a neighborhood. It's a walkable urban neighborhood with a vibrant commercial center that people feel safe going to. It has institutions. It has churches and synagogues,
again, that people use and that people know
and that are often sites of inter-religious and ecumenical dialogue and conversation and intercourse. The post office, the library,
the major public high school, a couple major elementary
schools, the fire station, the Jewish Community Center
where lots of non-Jews swim and take Zumba as well as the Jews, they're all within a square quarter mile. That's partly accidental but
it's partly also by design. There have been moments
in Pittsburgh history in the past few decades when
there have been movements among business leaders or
among municipal leaders to move this institution or that. At one point they thought about moving the Jewish Community Center, there was talk of moving
it to the suburbs. And at every moment when that has, when those kinds of poor
decisions have been floated, people have fought back and
said, no, let's stay here. There are other historical advantages. The neighborhood is bounded
on a couple sides by parks. By another side by a freeway that people don't want to
have to cross to get to work. There are reasons that the
commute is just much much shorter in Pittsburgh if you stay
within the city limits. So these are things that are
quite obvious to urbanists, but they've really come home for me. You know, I talk to people,
I've talked to people who, I'm thinking of, people who
were inside the building, people who were shot or
fled before being shot, who have said, you know, I wasn't gonna leave my
house four days later, but I did and I walked to the supermarket and I bumped into 20
people I knew on the way and they hugged me and that let me know
it was okay to go out. And you just contrast
that, just to wrap up, you contrast that with some communities, I live 20 miles from Newtown, Connecticut and you contrast it with
communities like Newtown or Columbine or places
that are a little more geographically dispersed,
that are suburban or exurban where people are strung
along highway exits, and the sense of sort
of physical closeness has been fractured in some ways that it just hasn't in Squirrel Hill. – I like that you point that out, that it really is a
walkable urban community, and the fact that people know each other, and maybe it is quite
unusual in America today in a lot of cites. But you're right, and
I'm thinking about how when I moved my mother out of Pittsburgh, when I had to move her out of her house, we had to go visit the
locksmith, the bank teller, the bakery, I'm not kidding,
like every single merchant she knew and knew by name,
and they were so kind, and that is something
about it that I think would promote resilience and recovery. Dalia though, I'm curious about the role that interfaith cooperation
or interfaith dialogue would have played in all of this and does it matter whether
it's people coming together after a tragedy or do they need to have already come together
and built bridges before? – Thank you so much, and it's
really an honor to be here. You know, my connection to Pittsburgh started on the day we were moving from Cincinnati, Ohio, where I had started my sort of adult life working at Procter & Gamble, it's where I got married,
where I had my first son. And then we were moving to
Pittsburgh to start grad school at the University of Pittsburgh. And so we were all packed up
and ready to drive across Ohio and then looked up and the worst tragedy
that I could ever imagine was unfolding on TV, it
was actually on 9/11, 2001. That was the day we were moving. And it was the scariest day, the most enraging day, I
think of my entire life. So we waited the next day to drive, not quite knowing what was, I mean, airports were being closed down, we just did not know what was happening. And we drove the next morning
to our new home in Pittsburgh and it was a very scary drive. It was a very confusing, mixed emotions of both
anger at what had happened, fear at what could be the backlash at someone who looked like
me, who was so visibly Muslim. And it was the first time
in my life as an American that I didn't want anyone
to know I was a Muslim. And so we, you know, five
hours later we arrived. We did not stop at all
except once to get gas, and I remember just
sinking down in the car because I was afraid of anyone seeing me. We moved into our duplex
with another family the day after 9/11 and
here's the new family moving in next door, I'm sure they were, they had their own feelings about that, but we became good friends. And then that first
Friday was our first day in our new city, we had never been before, and we wanted, we were
trying to figure out if we were gonna go to the mosque. There was some very rational reasons why people were afraid
of that first Friday. Because we just weren't sure
how people were gonna react. It was the first Friday after 9/11, it could be a target for people
who are angry and so forth. And there had been things
happening around the country where, you know, I have
a friend who actually couldn't go to school, she
went to an Islamic school, couldn't go to school that
first Friday after 9/11 because they did have a bomb threat. So this wasn't like paranoia
on the parts of people. So we decided, you know, at
first we were just not gonna go. That was kind of the, the recommendation by national
organizations were like, let's just sit this Friday out. And then we decided, you know what, no. This is our home, this is our new home, Pittsburgh is where we are
now, and whatever happens we're gonna just continue to live life as Americans. And we will not allow
extremists from any background to dictate to us what that means. And so we drove to the Islamic Center of Pittsburgh which is the kind of central urban mosque. Not very far away from Squirrel Hill but it's the one sort of in
the university campus area. And to our surprise the parking
lot was completely full. I walked in and I wasn't
sure what to expect and I didn't know how
the neighbors would feel about this, I didn't know anything
about the relationship between the mosque and the
neighborhood or whatever. And I walked in and nervous and worried and had a one year old,
and then what I saw, like I literally started tearing up. Because half the congregation were people of other faiths and no faith who were there to show
support and solidarity. And it was really a
turning point in my life. And what I realized later about Pittsburgh and about the mosque and
about the relationships that had been built way
before this happened. And so when a crisis occurred that was the response. Because those friendships
were already there. There was already familiarity. And it really taught me
a very important lesson about the importance of building the ability to be
resilient before the crisis. And not waiting to do the hard
work of relationship building for when there's a potential point of conflict. – So Mark, did you see the
same thing in Pittsburgh in the aftermath of Tree of Life? Had the Jewish community built the same bridges to other faiths in that they were getting
support from all of Pittsburgh. – Definitely, and I'm so
glad you brought that up. Jews whom I talked to there
pointed that out to me. They said, you know, we had
contacts at the Islamic Center, at multiple ones, we had contacts at the
Protestant churches. There's one rabbi who's very close with the Archbishop of Pittsburgh, I mean, these are connections that are, they have each other on speed dial, and they've worked on
these things togeth– – Literally on speed dial.
– Literally on speed dial. And part of it is this
is a city that used to be over half a million
people that's now 300,000. And the people who stayed
behind after the mills closed and helped renovate it
into this extraordinary, relatively prosperous,
exceedingly safe tech hub, tech and medicine hub, are people who are
passionately committed to it and feel like they're in this together. And so yes it's very natural
to them to have these ties. And I think that's also true within, I mean I don't know if
that's true for example within the different Muslim communities. Do the Egyptians talk to the Pakistanis, 'cause often they have different mosques in a lot of towns and
they don't talk so well. I've never seen a city where
the Jewish denominations talk to each other so much, where the Orthodox know the
Reform and the secular so well because often those are communities, like in Manhattan those communities don't talk to each other,
but in Pittsburgh they do. So it's between religions
but also within religions that I've seen it.
– And a lot of as you say, you point out Egyptians and Pakistanis, but they're all going to the
Islamic Center in Pittsburgh and so there's a lot of
community among there. So Mark, tell me, to what
extent do institutions matter. Because you're talking
about bridge building and community building
before the crisis hits. Institutions are also part of that, not just the individuals, right? – Oh yeah, I mean it's
a city that still has relatively robust institutions. And membership is sliding across religions in all of the houses of worship and they wring their hands
about this, it's a problem. But there still is tremendous pride in the public high school, in the library, in the houses of worship. People just believe in the institutions and it's one reason that
people stay in Squirrel Hill, or I should say the east
end more broadly, Oakland, Greenfield, Squirrel Hill, Point Breeze, all of these neighborhoods
in the east end, one reason they're there
and not five or 10 miles further out in the suburbs is,
they love their institutions and they don't want to
have to get in the car to drive to them. – So Dalia, let me ask you
because I know you believe so passionately in the
importance of interfaith work, all the time. But what do you say to
those critics who would say that at a gathering like
this, we're sitting here earnestly talking about interfaith
dialogue and cooperation and resilient cities, are we
just preaching to the choir? I mean look at who's in this room. – Right, right, that's
my favorite question. It's always like, after I'm like sweating, giving a presentation to 500
people and someone stands up, like well you haven't done anything you're just preaching
to the choir, it's like. Here is my response to that. That dismissal of my life's work. – I wasn't dismissing. – No no no, I know.
– Just questioning whether everyone here
is already convinced. – I know. The thing is, you need to
preach to the choir, you do. Because it is going to be, it is the choir that produces the fertile soil in which you grow the forest that makes sure that that spark doesn't turn into a wildfire. The choir is important because when you can mobilize people in large numbers who resonate with the idea
of cooperation across faiths, rather than just having
people who might be neutral not motivated and not mobilized and not in solidarity with one another. When you have them activated, even though they are
quote unquote the choir, it mitigates against the risk of a spark starting a wildfire. When you don't do the hard work of relationship building
even among choir members, and people are, you know, they might be, they might be easily convinced
with your point of view or they might even agree
with you in terms of wanting a pluralistic society,
but they're not mobilized. Then a very small group of highly motivated fanatics in the other direction will start a huge conflict, and the rest of, you know,
sort of the silent majority has not been activated. And I say that like, you know, when you look at
research on something like opposition to building a
mosque in a neighborhood. You can randomly find any
Muslim anywhere in America and ask them have you ever
experienced a situation where your community was
trying to build a mosque and there was opposition? I guarantee 100% they will say yes. Every community I've been a part of that was trying to build a mosque, there was some kind of
opposition movement against, and this was way before 9/11. So there's always, and Pew has actually even documented this issue of like opposition to mosques. And if you go to these city councils what you always hear is
the person standing up and screaming about why
this mosque is a threat, speaks in the voice like
they are the majority. Whereas when you actually do representative survey research and ask the American public about it, they are not the majority, they're actually a tiny minority of people who oppose the building of mosques. It doesn't even matter
religious background, the vast majority of people
are not of that point of view. – So you need the people in
this room getting out there and activating and making sure
that their voice is heard. – Absolutely. – And doing the bridge building. Doing the community
activation as you call it. – Yes.
– And making sure that their voices are not drowned out. – Because the other side
is highly motivated. – All right, so you guys all have your marching orders now, silent majority. And it leads very nicely into
my next question for Mark– – Can I push, can I push
back on that a little bit? – Okay, please.
– Sorry. I love interfaith work, and I think my journalism
is interfaith work, right, I don't think, I've seldom,
you know, most of my pieces have not been read principally
by any one religion, right. I'm not pushing back, I'm just sort of, I think I'm injecting one
note of skepticism, right. Which is that, you know, oftentimes, and I think everyone will
agree with this, right, I think it's an empirical
observation, right. Oftentimes the communities most interested in doing the interfaith work have very thin practice themselves. Have you noticed this, right, like you obviously have a
practice, I'm guessing, right, as a Muslim, I have a practice as a Jew. There are certainly people
more observant than me who would look down on
my practice, as I'm sure, you know, we all have lived that, but we are embedded in the communities so that when we go out,
when you and I go out and do interfaith work
we're coming from like a rooted place of knowing our faith. – Right. – A lot of interfaith
work is done by people who aren't particularly
religious who then speak for, you know, there's a lot
of Jews with no practice, whose only practice is to say, I think Judaism should do
robust interfaith work. And then you say, okay
but will you come help us make a prayer quorum for
Judaism, will you join minyan, no no, you know. I have TV shows to watch. So it's just, it's an interesting, it's an interesting irony, right, like I do think we always
need more interfaith work, but actually what we really
need is more interfaith work from groups of people
who are also super rooted in their own practice. Because I think we have a goodly amount from communities of people who are like on the non-observant, like purely cultural fringes
of their communities. – No, that's a really good point, I completely agree with that. Interfaith work or whatever
we want to call it, multi-faith work, has to be from a place of belonging
in a faith community. You have to be recognizable, your point of view has to be recognizable to the people you are
claiming to represent. If you're so far out there
and your faith practice is not really part of your lifestyle you're acting as an individual, you're not bringing
your community with you, and I think that's really important. – Well following up on the secular point about how a lot of interfaith work is done by maybe secular communities, but I'm also curious about the influence that political parties and allegiances and particularly the gun control debate has had on all of this, where there's no religious affiliation to any of those things, per se. How did you see politics
playing out and the gun issue playing out as part of
Pittsburgh's debate. – I mean, you know, the shooting was on Saturday, October 27th, and Donald Trump came
to visit that Tuesday. And that was a super politicized
event and there were, there were not two camps,
there were 50 camps. There were people in, and I'll speak about the Jewish community, though I know these
feelings were shared in, you know, Squirrel Hill
is not majority Jewish, I mean it has a lot of Jews
but it's not what it once was in terms, it might be plurality Jewish if you looked at it in some way, but lots of people there aren't Jews. But let's say within the Jewish community there certainly are Trump supporters and they were excited for him to come. There are anti-Trumpers who
said he shouldn't come, ever. There are people who said,
come when shiva is over, when the seven days of mourning are over, which was very prolonged
because you couldn't, it was a crime scene and
they couldn't bury the bodies until the medical examiner
was done with them. So in Jewish tradition
you try to bury people within 24 hours, you want
to bury them right away. That wasn't possible because the FBI was still working on the scene and then the medical examiner
had to work on the scene, so the shivas actually started
sequentially over that week and really lasted into two weeks later. So Trump came when the
bodies hadn't been buried, he came on the day of the first funerals. And so there were people who
said well why doesn't he come in a couple weeks, show
a little respect because even if you were a totally benign figure, his motorcade is gonna jam
up people who need to get to funerals that are gonna
draw thousands of people. So there were a million points of view and then there was this
further politicization which is that the rabbi
of Tree of Life synagogue, which is one congregation
that owned the building but rented to two other congregations, so there were three congregations that lost people in
the shooting of the 11. 11 people from three congregations, but the rabbi of the sort
of landlord congregation did receive Trump and meet with him. And there were people who felt
that was completely wrong, there were people who felt that
was exactly the right thing. I think his position was one
of kind of radical hospitality, that he will meet with anyone. Which also is a position
that had some adherents. So it very quickly got politicized. And then I have talked to
people who immediately felt that the only ethical response to this was to make it about gun control. I've also talked to people from people in their 80s all
the way down to teenagers who said, this was the
worst thing you could do was politicize this because
the people in real grief needed to mourn and
heal and bury their dead before we even talked about
scoring political points. So yes, it was heavily
politicized in all sorts of ways. – Yeah, Dalia, I mean
there is also the question of both Muslims and Jews having a sort of unspoken alliance in this country in that they are both
targets of white supremacists and people who hate
both of those religions. So is there a way in which you see that natural alliance playing out, do you see Jewish and Muslim
groups coming together to fight white supremacy on 4chan or Gab, that social media platform where this, the shooter in Pittsburgh
was apparently radicalized or shared his radical views. – Right. Yeah, I mean I, what we've seen in our
research is so much commonality between American Muslims
and American Jews regarding anxieties about their safety from these kinds of groups. We've also seen empirical
links in the data between anti-Semitism and Islamophobia, I mean one of the strongest
predictors of Islamophobia is anti-Semitism. I also, after this horrific act with the Tree of Life synagogue
I think there was a special kind of response from
the Muslim community. I mean, I'm very close, it was in fact the Islamic Center of Pittsburgh
that kind of led the charge of wanting to reach out and I think that a lot of
people are feeling like they've never felt this vulnerable. And there's this common cause that's felt with the Jewish community. – So beyond that sort
of anecdotal feeling, do you have actual data
that you can share with us on Muslim-Jewish relations.
– Absolutely. So, you know, we've looked at, we just released a study on May 1st with the Institute for Social
Policy and Understanding. We've been doing a survey
every year where we ask a representative sample of Muslims, Jews, Catholics, Protestants,
non-affiliated Americans, all the same questions. Identical surveys–
– Hindus, Zoroastrians, or no. – Sorry, we don't have
that kind of budget, but I would love to ask, I'd love to ask those
other groups as well. It's a matter of– – Hindus are not a small group, but. – Percentage of the
population, yeah, they are. And so we focus on Muslims and that's all we can
afford unfortunately, but if you have a place to– – Muslims and Jews barely rate as a percentage of the
population, I mean, we're really– – I know but then when you get to Hindus– – No I'm agreeing with you,
they're much higher than Hindus. – Yeah, yeah. – And much higher than Zoroastrians. – Yes.
– Yeah, yeah. So there it is–
– Baha'i, no I'm just kidding. – Yeah, right. – You can keep going. – We can keep going. But anyway, what we found is that there's a narrative,
it's a very interesting, there's sort of like these
two competing narratives right now about the relationship
between Muslims and Jews. One says that these two groups are, are sort of like natural enemies. That they are supposed, there's
this enmity between them and they hate each other. Then there's another narrative
that is a lot quieter but a lot closer to reality, which is that they are
finding common cause. And what we found in the data was that the most positive faith
community in America toward Muslims, were Jews. Jews are the, scored the lowest on
the Islamophobia Index only second to Muslims themselves. Which was, unfortunately Muslims
don't score zero on that, I wish they did. – Wait, meaning Muslim
antipathy toward Muslims? – Yes. – It's good to know there
are self-loathing people in every faith community– – Yes, there are. – I think Jews win on that, like I think we get the gold medal, but I'm glad you'd be in the competition. – Oh, I think you're in very
tough competition with Muslims unfortunately about that. So the most positive
toward Muslims were Jews, and they were also the
most likely faith community to say they knew a Muslim,
they had a Muslim friend. The most likely faith community
to have positive opinions or favorable opinions of
Muslims, in fact the majority do. And then when you look
at Muslim view of Jews, it's exactly mirrored. And so the idea that
these two communities are, are in this, you know, natural enemies is just not borne out in the evidence. So I thought that was really important. And then the other thing, the other link that's really important, is antipathy toward one group is linked to antipathy toward the other. So anti-Semitism, one of the strongest predictors of Islamophobia, in the data. – Fascinating. I want to open it up to
questions, but I have one short, so think of your questions. Have them phrased as a
question, not a statement. And I'm going to just ask
Mark one last short question, which is the role of,
we've talked about Muslims, we've talked about Jews, what has been the role of outsiders. Non-Jews or any kind of outsider, visitors from outside the
neighborhood of the city, in the healing, has it
been positive or negative? – Well. Some of it's very positive,
that's a great question. Some of it's very positive,
there have been people, I mean look, the outpouring, there are certain kinds of
love that have been shown by people, not just internally, but let's say from outside
that are crucial, right. The GoFundMe campaign that was
started by a Muslim American, or Muslim who lives in America now, that raised a ton of money. The letters, the thousands of letters from mosques and churches and temples that come in
from all over the world are so crucial to the sense of wellbeing and being supported. Certain kind, you know, financial support. Letters, missives, and so forth. But also there have been missteps, right, and some of them from Jews. People who in the first week or two came from outside the community and said, we have to be there for the shiva, let us into the house of
mourning because, you know, when there wasn't enough room
for the thousands of people from the community who wanted
to get into the funeral or into the shiva at someone's house. There were opportunistic
rabbis who came for photo ops and wanted, I mean look,
it was well-meaning. Everyone wants to be on the
ground in this hallowed space where people have been martyred. And that's understandable, but I have also talked to
people in the community who, remember, especially among observant Jews, if you're an Orthodox
Jew and Orthodox Jews come from out of town, you
don't say go to the Ramada. You house them and you feed them, you make sure they have a
place to go for Shabbat, you make sure there's enough kosher food. And these demands were
being put on a community that was already highly
stressed and highly traumatized. So there were definitely people
who were saying, politely, to some well-wishers who
wanted to come visit, why don't you wait a few
weeks or a month or a year and then do it. That's a very big, that's a very big topic is sort of the role of
well-meaning visitors. – Okay. Can we open it up, do we
have a microphone out there for some folks who may have questions? Yes, please, there's, yes. And just identify yourself. – [Jonathan] All right,
Jonathan Brown, Georgetown. Hi Dalia. – Hi Jon. – How much–
– Professor at Georgetown in religion. – [Jonathan] What is the role of the, like either changing or non-changing, or just the opinions around
Israel-Palestine issue for this Muslim-Jewish relation question? – Well the, you know, that's an important
complicating factor, obviously. So we haven't looked at
that question specifically so I can't tell you how it correlates with
views and so forth, but there is data to show that it has for many people,
for the majority of people, not poisoned the
relationship to such a degree that it overshadows maybe
some more common ground that people share as Americans. – Yes, we have a question
here from Amber Khan host of Interfaith Voices– – [Amber] Interfaith Voices
now inspired, thank you. There was a phrase, Mark, that you used, and Dalia you agreed with
that I would really like to find out if there's more, if there's been some ethnographic research or studies around, and that's
the identification of people engaged in interfaith work as you say is thinly embedded within
their own faith communities. Beyond your anecdotal observations has there been any sort of
ethnographic or research done on historic participation? – That's yours. Because you're the quant here. – So what I will actually comment on that, but perhaps not exactly
on interfaith work. So what we do know from
research on religion and tolerance toward other faiths is that kind of counterintuitively people with a deeper
devotion in their own faith are actually more likely to express tolerance or respect for
people of other faiths. So that's one thing that
I think is important. A second thing that I wanted
to share, which is kind of, it's not quite exactly what you're asking but I think it's worth mentioning, is we did look at
predictors of Islamophobia in our research, both protective
factors and predictors. And one factor that I expected
to have more of a role, and in fact ended up having no
role at all, was religiosity. So being more religious in
whatever faith background didn't make someone more
likely or less likely to hold Islamophobic views. What was a factor, and a very
strong one is partisanship. So it's a lot less a deep devotion to faith in general and a lot more of a political
ideology that is linked to endorsing anti-Muslim, specifically in this case,
anti-Muslim stereotypes. – Thank you. Phillip Martin is a Pulitzer
Center journalist grantee who works for WGBH Boston and reported for us on
caste discrimination in the United States
in the Hindu community. – [Phillip] Thank you Indira. Thank you for this panel discussion, this is really elucidating
to say the least. The Tree of Life massacre, an explicit act of anti-Semitism, yet there seems to be, getting away from that
particular incident, in 2019 a lot of tension over the very definition of anti-Semitism. A lot of that coming from
individuals trying to understand the tensions between let's say for example the perceptions of the
right-wing government in Israel, Netanyahu's government. At one point you would
talk about the Labor Party, for example, and you
would talk about Likud, and you would navigate those differences and understand that those
were political differences. Now you find a lot of
conflict and tension even over the very definition. Not over obviously explicit
acts of anti-Semitism but over those things which
people are trying to understand from a political frame. I'm wondering if you could
talk about how you approach these more nuanced assumptions
of what anti-Semitism is. – I mean, could I rephrase that by saying, how do people tell the
difference between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism, is
that what you're asking? – No.
– No. – No I'm not.
– Okay. Tell me how I'm getting that wrong. – [Phillip] I'm not even so
much talking about Zionism as much as the criticism
of the very government– – Right, I mean, we have, look– – [Phillip] Of Israel as
opposed to the state itself. – Right. – [Phillip] Or the religion. – I mean, this is obviously tremendously
complicated, and it's… The people I know who are most critical of the State of Israel are left-wing Jews. I mean, they are tied
with lots of other people, but among the people who are most critical of the State of Israel are the Jews who are critical
of the State of Israel. And I don't just–
– Noam Chomsky, for instance. – Noam, yeah, and I don't, right. I mean, Noam Chomsky, but
he's actually considered, I mean if you go to the far left, if you hang in like the far lefty pub, Noam Chomsky is like a centrist sell-out because he's, for various
reasons I could go into, but he's seen as like the old school, the new school is far
to the left of Chomsky in certain ways, which
is bizarre, but true. So look, I mean, part
of the problem is that even if someone's not an anti-Semite, if anti-Semites think
you're an anti-Semite and are willing to claim
you, that's problematic in and of itself, right. So there's all this discussion about is Jeremy Corbyn an anti-Semite. Well, I don't know, we
know that anti-Semites really like Jeremy Corbyn,
and that's interesting, right. It's not dispositive of anything. Historically Jews aren't the only people that one can sort of say
are historically allied with a particular part
of the world, right, and so the conflation between
Cuban identity in Florida and who the government
is in Cuba is another one that's very close and
gets highly politicized. I will say that I think that as a Jew, and by the way, I hate misery
derbies, I hate saying like, well we're more oppressed than you. You could look at ADL or FBI
statistics and start saying, well this group suffers more
hate crimes than this group, and right. I'm not so interested in that, I think those are important facts, I don't think they're the
most interesting ones. What I can say as a Jew is, I am gobsmacked at how
stupid some people are about what's obviously
anti-Semitic, right, I mean, the caricature that ran
in that European edition of the New York Times. I don't know a Jew who wouldn't
think that's anti-Semitic. And I'm someone who's
generally fairly skeptical of sensitivity training, but when I heard that maybe some editors were getting sent for
sensitivity training toward Jews, I thought well, good, I'll volunteer. The problem is that a lot
of anti-Israel dialogue and iconography uses
historical anti-Semitic tropes. Not all of it. And it doesn't indemnify
Israel against criticism, but there's these conflations there that you see all the time
that are bad for not only Jews but of course for non-anti-Semitic critics of Israeli governments. – You brought up the
issue of not wanting it, sorry, did you want to
say something Phillip? – No, I think it made–
– Okay. You said you don't want to
be part of the misery derby and that there are statistics from the FBI about different groups who suffer the most violence or hatred. Certainly in the violence
category I'm curious, in Pittsburgh were members of
the African American community annoyed that these murders, this massacre got so much
attention when in fact black Pittsburghers have
suffered far more violence if you look at it overall. – Yes, some people were very annoyed, yes. In fact, there was a
Pittsburgh high school student, Antwon Rose who was killed last summer and you'll see the pictures of him– – Police-involved shooting. – And the pictures of him that say say my name and have this picture, are easy to find throughout
the east end of Pittsburgh, in largely Jewish areas, or substantially Jewish areas. There have been other
shootings of young black men since in Pittsburgh, not police-involved I don't
think since Antwon Rose. Yes, there were people who
felt, well this is 11 on one day but there have been more
than 11 African Americans, principally men, who have been
killed in acts of violence in not too long a, not
too distant a time slice. So yes, that has complicated– – And has it been resolved? Has Mayor Peduto done something about it? – I was at the Allderdice High
School graduation last night and I think that the students who spoke– – Which is the high school
which I graduated from, which is in the heart of Squirrel Hill. – Yeah, and I think the
students and the principal really worked very hard,
and I think successfully to honor not only what
happened on October 27th, but also other tragedies
that they've suffered. There was also a student who
died in her sleep this year, and they don't know, I mean
the school went through a lot this year, suffered a lot
of loss of people their age, and not just 11 people who they were all one degree of separation from. – Do we have time for another question? I'm looking to, do we have
time for another question? Thank you, go ahead. – Ben right here has one. – If someone else wants to, it's okay. – Ben Taub is another Pulitzer
Center journalist grantee who's a staff writer at the New Yorker and has written for us on
a fabulous piece on ISIS, Shallow Graves, about the
Iraqi government's crackdown on Sunni Muslims in Iraq,
and which won many awards, and thank you Ben. – [Ben] Thanks, I was just curious what were some of the most
egregious journalistic missteps that you observed in the
coverage in the aftermath of the attack. And also, were they different or similar to those in
coverage of other attacks? – Good question. – I'm happy to answer,
but since both of you have been Pittsburghers, did
you notice any that sort of got wrong stuff you
knew about the city, or? – Well I think one thing
that was very right was the way that the
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette took over the front page the next day, maybe you can give more detail on that, I don't speak or read Hebrew. Maybe you can tell people. They won a Pulitzer Prize
for their local reporting on this issue. – Yeah. Yeah, and then one day they
had a headline in Hebrew, the first line of the Kaddish– – That's what I'm talking
about, the first line– – Of the mourner's prayer, yeah. That was David Shribman's idea, whose editorship of the
paper was remarkable during all of that. And he interestingly is
an intermarried person, his wife is Roman Catholic and their daughter is a Reform rabbi. He comes from a very
interesting family himself, and he's a super bright
guy and remarkable editor. So interestingly I ask a lot of people what did we get wrong about your city. I try to end my interviews
with what can I get right that other journalists have gotten wrong, and I'm gratified to hear that they have very few complaints. I mean, obviously they say, oh this journalist was
too pushy and this one. They all say, I don't know how
they got my cellphone number. And actually I don't know either, that's like a piece of sort of
reporting I've never mastered is getting the cellphone number
of people I don't, I mean– – [Ben] LexisNexis. – Does LexisNexis have
everyone's cellphone number? – A lot of them.
– Wow, okay. So my wife's a lawyer,
I have to use her Lexis. The things I'm learning, right. But they got two big things
wrong in the early days. One was they said that the
attack was on a synagogue where a circumcision was being performed. Which strikes a lot of
people as high irony because the congregations involved are largely geriatric
in their memberships. They would have liked
nothing more than to have an eight day old boy. They wouldn't have wanted
him there that day, but, and there are some young
people in these congregations but there was I think a
bris elsewhere across town. As there was a bar mitzvah across town and if the killer had
hit a different synagogue he would have encountered
hundreds of people not 20 in the building. And then, I'm trying to
remember what the other one was. There was one other that was maybe someone reported
there was a bar mitzvah there as well, but there
was a bar mitzvah elsewhere, there was a bris elsewhere. Oh–
– I mean more tonally, – Yeah. – If the facts–
– Tonally. – [Ben] Were more or less right. – Let me just get the one last error. They kept saying Rose
Mallinger, who was killed, was a Holocaust survivor, and she wasn't. And it was interesting that people want, somehow the media wanted her to be. Tonally? No, I actually think
that they got a lot, oh, there was some criticism of
the Pittsburgh city officials who kept repeating the killer's name. And as a lot of you know the
practice generally these days is to try to avoid, trying
not to say the killers names because that's what they
want, and we try to go on sort of lockdown so to
speak against naming them. – And interestingly I don't
think, there's probably nobody in this room who can name
the Virginia Beach killer. I would challenge you because
the journalists have kept such a practice now going so
much further in that direction that he was barely named. – But I mean, I'm not
criticizing anyone in Pittsburgh for anything they did
in those first few days, that's just one other
misstep I've heard mentioned. – Is there anything you wanted to add? – Well I think this is
a larger conversation about how we treat, and that's what I'm gonna
be talking about tomorrow, but how we treat perpetrators
of different backgrounds. The idea of not saying their name I think is a great practice but we don't apply it to everyone. Everyone knows the name Omar
Mateen, everybody knows, I mean certain names do
get repeated very often. One thing that I, we actually wrote a memo encouraging media to not make
mistakes we've seen elsewhere and I think they did a
great job in general. But one practice that, even
after the New Zealand shooting, is the humanizing story of the shooter. Is the childhood pictures,
it's like, what went wrong and this guy's, and it's all focused– – Although we see that
more, I've studied this, we see this more when the killer is white. – Exactly.
– And we don't see it very much when the killer is Muslim. – Of any other background, yeah. – Of any other background,
but especially Muslim. – Muslim, yeah, whatever. So that didn't happen,
that was really good. But some of the problems with coverage of hate violence or white
supremacist extremism is a focus on the perpetrator's human story versus their victims. And so we've been like studying
this media phenomena and we're really worried
that it would happen again with this incident. We actually wrote a memo to
the media contacts we had to avoid these things. The other thing that I– – Can I just interrupt for one second, I think that news organizations
have increasingly, they're aware of that more and more, particularly in the last year or two. And Sam Dolnick, who's one of the editors at the New York Times who's on our board, the New York Times was very
careful in their coverage of the Las Vegas shooting if you recall, to do profiles of each and
every one of the victims. – May I interrupt as well, I just, is the reason that we don't want to do it, I'm sincerely asking here
'cause I struggle with this, 'cause I think my job as a
journalist is to tell readers the things they want to know. And is the reason we're not doing it because there's something
like metaphysically corrupt about honoring them with a story? Or is it because we pragmatically
think it creates copycats? – I think both, I mean, I think it's both. And I hear what you're saying about we want to tell our readers
what they want to hear, or what they're interesting
in knowing more about. But there's a certain framing where certain criminals are seen as aberrations that we want to dig into and
understand what went wrong. Whereas other kinds of criminals we don't even need to hear
any more than their name and we already know their story. We don't go back into their story and find out what went
wrong in their life, because they're also an aberration. Rather than a, an example of what you would
expect from their background. And so I think it's the double standard that I'm struggling with. That the way we frame
crime in one community as an aberration, or a glitch, whereas from another
community it's a feature. – Yeah, I think pragmatically
speaking I think, but I struggle with this,
pragmatically speaking I think we want to avoid copycats and
so we don't, I mean in my book I'm not planning to name
the Pittsburgh killer. – Well that is, when you
talk about journalism ethics, the focus is always on avoiding copycats and not wanting to glorify, like think of the Virginia Tech killer who clearly wanted to be a star. – But it comes in
conflict with what I think is part of our job, which
is explaining people. And so my answer to the
double standard would be, apply one standard. If it weren't for the
copycat factor I'd say, right, let's apply one
standard to every killer and humanize them all by
getting their backstory because I want to understand. I mean, I've interviewed
white supremacists and given them lots of ink
because I really do think part of the job is to
understand why someone would give in to this kind
of radical evil inclination. So I'm tortured by the idea
that journalists might stop asking questions about the
backgrounds of criminals. But I agree there shouldn't
be a double standard. Every time a crime is committed
we should have an instinct that wants to know where's
that person from, you know, because we have to care about all humans and why they do what they do. I'm tortured by that problem. – Well at the risk of stopping
people from asking questions, I feel that unless someone
has a burning question I should be respectful of everyone's time and we, you know, you
can grab any one of us. Raise your hand now if you
have a burning question otherwise you can grab
these two afterwards. So I want to thank our hosts at Georgetown and hand off to who is
going to be giving us our closing farewell. Is that Shaun? – [Shaun] Farewell. (audience laughing) (audience applauding) – We could all learn
from Shaun's pithiness. So on Shaun and Professor DeGioia's behalf I will say thank you
so much for joining us and being such a great
audience and participant in this conversation,
and we hope we'll see as many of you as possible tomorrow at our conference all afternoon
and dinner in the evening. So, thank you. (audience applauding)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *