Ken Burns

  • Aired:  11/12/12
  •  | Views: 21,407

The famous filmmaker talks about the Dust Bowl's devastation and the 1989 Central Park jogger case involving five innocent teens. (5:28)

>> Stephen: WELCOME BACK, EVERYBODY, MY GUEST TONIGHT IS HERE TO TALK ABOUT HIS

NEW DOCUMENTARY ABOUT THE DUST BOWL.

IF HE BRINGS THE GRAPE, I'LL BRING THE WRATH.

PLEASE WELCOME KEN BURNS.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE) HEY, KEN, GOOD TO SEE YOU.

THANKS SO MUCH FOR COMING ON.

>> THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME.

>> Stephen: ALL RIGHT, WE HAVE A MELANGE OF DOCUMENTARIES.

>> WE DO.

>> Stephen: LET'S SEE, OSCAR NOMINATED-- NOMINATED EMMY AWARD DOCUMENTARY, CIVIL WAR,

JAZZ, PROHIBITION, TWO DUALARIES NOW, THE CENTRAL PARK 5 WITH YOUR DAUGHTER AND SOME YOU MADE, AND THAT

WILL BE IN THEATRES NOVEMBER 23rd.

AND THE DUST BOWL WHICH WILL AIR IN TWO PARTS ON NOVEMBER 19th AND 18th, NOT IN THAT ORDER.

>> THAT'S RIGHT.

>> Stephen: ON PBS.

LET'S TUCK ABOUT THE DUST BOWL FIRST.

I HEAR A LOT ABOUT THE DUST BOWL, OKAY.

HOW BIG OF A DEAL WAS IT?

HOW BIG OF A THING WAS IT.

>> THIS IS THE WORST MAN-MADE ECOLOGICAL CATASTROPHE IN AMERICAN HISTORY, A TEN YEAR

APOCALYPSE THAT NOT ONLY KILLED CROPS AND CATTLE BUT PEOPLE'S CHILDREN AS WELL.

THIS WAS NOT JUST A HANDFUL OF STORMS BUT HUNDREDS OF STORMS THAT WOULD MOVE DIRT

ALL THE WAY FROM OKLAHOMA AND THE PANEL PANHANDLE OF TEXAS AND KANSAS AND COLORADO, NEW MEXICO ALL THE

WAY EAST, FRANKLIN ROOSEVELT WENT LIKE THIS AND HAD OKLAHOMA IN HIS FINGERTIPS AND THE NEXT DAY SHIPPED AT

SEA WAS COVERED WITH THE PATINA OF DUST.

ONE STORM MOVED MORE DIRT IN ONE 24 HOUR PERIOD THAN IT TOOK TO EXCAVATE THE PANAMA

CANAL, TEN YEARS OF EXCAVATION.

>> Stephen: OKAY, HOW DO WE KNOW THIS IS MAN-MADE, OKAY?

THE SCIENCE IS NOT IN ON THE DUST BOWL.

>> THAT'S RIGHT.

>> Stephen: OKAY WHY IS THIS MAN-MADE.

>> THIS IS MAN-MADE BECAUSE THIS WAS NATURAL GRASS LAND, BUFFALO GRASS, SHORT GRASS

THAT WENT FIVE FEET BELOW THE SURFACE TO HOLD THE MOISTURE AND KEEP THE TOPSOIL AGAINST THE EVER

PRESENT WINDS AND ARID SEMI DESERT CLIMATE.

AND WHEN WE TORE UP A SECTION GREATER THAN THE STATE OF OHIO, BIGGER THAN THE ALL-IMPORTANT STATE OF

OHIO, IF BLEW.

>> Stephen: EVERYTHING POLITICS.

>> EVERYTHING POLITICS.

>> Stephen: I HAVE BEEN TO OKLAHOMA, IT'S FINES THERE, A BEAUTIFUL PLACE.

>> IT IS A BEAUTIFUL PLACE.

>> Stephen: SO IT FIXED ITSELF.

NATURE FIXES ITSELF IT IS ALL DONE.

>> IT TOOK A LOT OF THINGS TO HAPPEN.

THE GOVERNMENT COMES IN, THEY BUY BACK SOME LAND.

THEY REPLANT GRASS LANDS THEY PLANT HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF TREES.

THEY PAY FARMERS NOT TO GROW FOR THE FIRST TIME.

THEY TELL THEM HOW TO ROTATE THEIR CROPS, HOW TO PLOW BETTER.

>> Stephen: THIS IS JUST BIG GOVERNMENT TELLING SMALL BUSINESS WHAT TO DO.

>> EXACTLY.

AND THIS WAS A VERY INDEPENDENT AREA OF THE COUNTRY THAT BEGGED THE GOVERNMENT TO COME IN AND

HELP THEM OUT OF THIS.

BECAUSE AT SOMEONE SAYS IN OUR FILM, WHEN YOUR BACK IS UP AGAINST THE WALL, IDEOLOGY GOES OUT THE WINDOW

AND THEY INVITED THE ROOSEVELT ADMINISTRATION IN.

AND WE WOULD HAVE SAID THAT OKLAHOMA WAS A RED STATE, IT BECAME A BLUE STATE FOR A

LONG TIME AND NOW IT'S A RED STATE.

>> Stephen: WELL, ACTUALLY THE DEMOCRATS ARE PRAYING FOR ANOTHER DUST BOWL TO GET

IT BECOME BA.

YOU HAVE ANOTHER DOCUMENTARY THAT YOU MADE WITH YOUR DAUGHTER AND SOME CALLED THE

CENTRAL PARK FIVE.

OKAY, THAT RELEASES IN THEATRES NOVEMBER 23rd.

THESE ARE FIVE KIDS WHO WHAT, 1989.

>> 1989.

>> Stephen: THEY CONFESSED TO A RAPE IN CENTRAL PARK.

SO THEY GO INTO THE PARK AND THEY ARE FOOLING AROUND WITH A LOT OF OTHER KIDS.

THE COP AS REST A FEW OF THEM.

THEY ARE GOING TO RELEASE THEM TO THEIR PARENTS AND THEY DISCOVER THIS JOGGER BRUTALLY RAPED IN ANOTHER

PART OF THE PARK.

THEY THINK THESE KIDS MIGHT HAVE SOMETHING TO DO WITH IT.

THEY CALL IF A LOT OF KIDS BUT THESE KID HAD NEVER BEEN IN TROUBLE BEFORE, THESE FIVE.

AND THEY DIDN'T KNOW ABOUT MIRANDA.

THEY DIDN'T HAVE THEIR PARENTS MOST OF THE TIME.

AND THE COPS INTERVIEWED THEM FOR 30 HOURS AND SAID LOOK, WE KNOW YOU DIDN'T DO

T ARE YOU A GOOD KID, BUT THIS GUY KEN IS SAYING YOU DID IT, IF YOU SAY HE DID WE

WILL LET YOU GO HOME.

>> Stephen: WHY WOULD-- WHY WOULD YOU SAY THAT.

>> BECAUSE YOU WANTED TO GO HOME.

13 YEARS LATER WHEN THEY SERVE OUT THE FULL SENTENCES THE REAL RAPIST CAME FORWARD,

ADMITTED WHAT HE HAD DONE.

THE DNA MATCHED.

THEY HADN'T HAD A DNA MATCH.

>> Stephen: YOU HAVE FIVE KIDS, YOU KNOW WHO CONFESSED TO A CRIME.

WHAT THEY SUPPOSED TO DO NOT THROW THEM IN JAIL.

THEY CONFESSED --

>> THEY IMMEDIATELY-- .

>> Stephen: HOW MUCH DOES YOUR LIBERAL BLEEDING HEART/ --

>> A JUROR HELD OUT FOR TEN DAYS BUT EVERYBODY WAS COPING ON HIM HE'S DECIDE

WANTED TO GO HOME SO THEN THEIR CONVICTIONS GET VACATED.

ROBERT MORGEN THAL, THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY REINVESTIGATES AND SAYS ALL THESE MISTAKES WERE MADE.

IF WE KNEW THEN WHAT WE KNEW NOW WE WOULDN'T EVEN HAVE CHARGED THEM AND THE KIDS

LAUNCH A CIVIL SUIT AGAINST THE CITY.

>> Stephen: THEY'RE SUING.

THE KIDS ARE SUING, $50 MILLION A PIECE.

>> THAT'S RIGHT.

THE CITY IS ASKING YOU FOR YOUR NOTES AND FOR YOUR OUTTAKES OF YOUR VIDEO.

YOU WON'T GIVE THEM TO THEM.

WHAT ARE YOU HIDING?

>>.

>> I DON'T THINK AFTER TEN YEARS OF STALLING KNOWING THAT WE DID THESE INTERVIEWS

THREE YEARS AGO, KNOWING THAT WE ASKED EVERY SIX MONTHS FOR THEM, THE COPS AND THE PROSECUTORS TO COME

FORWARD AND BE IN OUR FILM AND THEY REFUSED, SOMETIMES DIDN'T HONOR US WITH THE

COURTESY OF A RETURNED PHONE CALL ALL OF A SUDDEN WE GO TO THE CAN NES FILM FESTIVAL

AND OPENING THEE ATICALLY, SUDDENLY THEY WANT OUR OUTTAKES AND NOTESMENT I DON'T THINK THE GOVERNMENT,

AND I THOUGHT, I WAS CERTAIN YOU WOULD AGREE WITH THIS, THAT THE GOVERNMENT WOULD

WANT TO INTRUDE IN THE LIVES OF THE JOURNALISTS OR A FILMMAKER DOING THEIR JOB.

AND SO WE TOLD THEM WHAT THEY COULD DO WITH THEIR SUBPOENA.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

>> Stephen: ALL RIGHT.

KEN, THANK YOU FOR BEING HERE.

KEN BURNS

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