2019年11月1日 星期五

The Daily: Impeachment News (Just Not Every Day)

We could make every show about the impeachment inquiry. Here's why we're not.
The House voted largely along party lines on Thursday to endorse the impeachment inquiry of President Trump. Erin Schaff/The New York Times

A few days ago, a listener named Tiffany wrote in with a suggestion.

"I love 'The Daily' — great stuff! But why aren't all the episodes now about impeachment? Isn't that all we want to know about?"

A reasonable question. This is a historic moment. In modern American history, there have been only two other congressional votes to open an impeachment inquiry of a sitting president. House impeachment investigators are revealing startling new facts every day. And what began one month ago as a closed-door process is about to become highly public, through a series of open hearings, testimonies, disclosures and, eventually, an investigative report (the subject of today's episode).

We could, as Tiffany proposes, fill five shows a week with everything there is to know, explain and analyze about the impeachment process.

But we're not prepared to do that — not at this point, anyway. "The Daily" is a news show, but our definition of news has, from the beginning, been deliberately broad. The news is as much what's happening in Syria, or inside the Food and Drug Administration, or within Boeing, as it is inside the U.S. Capitol.

Impeachment is, indisputably, a major story with enormous implications. But, on many days, the individual developments don't deepen or change our understanding of the story enough to fill an entire episode. So we're taking a creative approach to the subject: Our producers Rachel Quester and Clare Toeniskoetter recently spent the week in Washington, turning five days of developments into a single compelling episode.

When important news breaks in the impeachment story, we will put aside whatever we're working on and make a new episode, as we did last week, after a witness delivered what House Democrats called the most damning testimony yet against President Trump.

But this past week, four of our five episodes had nothing to do with impeachment. We examined the public health crisis surrounding vaping in a two-part series; explored the life and death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the founder of ISIS; and investigated what Boeing executives knew about the dangers of the 737 Max, and when they knew it.

As the impeachment inquiry enters an intensive new phase, it will inevitably become the subject of many episodes. Just not every episode.

Talk to Michael on Twitter: @mikiebarb.


What we still don't know about vaping

Juul's founders initially told federal regulators that their products would save lives.Scott McIntyre for The New York Times

Our producer Alexandra Leigh Young on this week's vaping series, which was in the works for almost a year:

"It appeared on our list of potential episodes last winter, written on the whiteboard: JUUL/ALTRIA. One of the world's largest tobacco companies had invested more than $12 billion into the ostensibly anti-tobacco vaping company, and I couldn't get the news out of my head.


"By this spring, the episode idea was still on our list, but it had lost a word along the way. Now it was simply: JUUL. The idea was starting to morph. My younger cousins were telling me about kids who Juuled in the bathrooms at their high school. And suddenly, these mysterious lung illnesses started cropping up all over the country.

"By the end of the summer, vaping-related deaths were in the dozens. A friend said to me, "Yeah, but I don't vape bootleg stuff, so I'm fine." To me, it sounded more like, "I'm going to be O.K., right?" I didn't know what to tell him.

"As my questions grew, I got on the phone with our reporters Julie Bosman and Sheila Kaplan, and we decided we needed two episodes to cover the sprawling narrative. Part 1 would look at the medical mysteries, and Part 2 would tell the story of Juul.

"Two episodes don't feel like enough. This week, we received emails from listeners who, like my friend, wanted more clarification on the links between bootleg products, THC vapes and nicotine vapes. But as we said in the series, this is just the beginning of a public health crisis. The C.D.C. still doesn't know what exactly is causing these illnesses and deaths. And so a new episode idea popped up on my story list this week. It reads: BOOTLEG VAPING."

What we're watching

Who: Bianca Giaever, audio producer

What: "The Show About the Show," a metadocumentary series

For years I have begged and pleaded with my friends and family to watch my favorite show. "Where do we find it?" They asked me. "Netflix? Hulu?"

"No," I tell them. "The greatest show of our time is sponsored by BRIC TV, a Brooklyn nonprofit. And it's only available on YouTube."

Not very many of my friends have seen it. This week, however, my tiny beloved show was featured in The New York Times Magazine, and I feel like a proud parent. The filmmaker is named Caveh Zahedi. (Disclaimer: I was such a fan of the show that I tracked Caveh down a couple of years ago and befriended him.)

Each episode of "The Show About the Show" is about the making of the previous episode. (You might need to read that sentence a few times.) Imagine reality television, but flawlessly executed by a radically honest performance artist. In the show, Caveh combines camera monologues, documentary footage and re-enactments to chronicle the struggles of everyday life.

"You're gonna have to choose between the show or our family," Caveh's wife eventually says to him in Season 1, when she felt that the show had gone too far. They had been married for 16 years, but Caveh chose the show. Then he documented their breakup.

On 'The Daily' this week

Monday: "I think that his death raises an alarming possibility." In Part 1 of our vaping series, Julie Bosman looks at what one man's story tells us about the effect of e-cigarettes.

Tuesday: Rukmini Callimachi on why, after the death of the ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi during a U.S. raid over the weekend, "it feels like we're seeing a replay of 2011 all over again."

Wednesday: Part 2 on Juul: "What they didn't expect, and what nobody expected," Sheila Kaplan tells us, "was all over the country, people would start getting very sick."

Thursday: Boeing's chief executive, Dennis Muilenburg, testified before Congress this week on the two crashes of 737 Max jets. Natalie Kitroeff was there.

Friday: The House of Representatives took its first vote to begin an impeachment inquiry into President Trump. Julie Hirschfeld Davis on what the next phase of the inquiry will look like.

That's it for The Daily newsletter. See you next week.

Have thoughts about the show? Tell us what you think at thedaily@nytimes.com.

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