MARY REICHARD, HOST: Good morning!
Police reform is in the works. We will talk with a former federal prosecutor about proposals under consideration in Congress.
NICK EICHER, HOST: That’s ahead on Washington Wednesday.
Also today World Tour, for news from around the world.
And you’ll meet the unlikely winner of a reality TV show.
And WORLD founder Joel Belz on getting your message across no matter the medium.
REICHARD: It’s Wednesday, June 17th. This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.
EICHER: And I’m Nick Eicher. Good morning!
REICHARD: Now the news. Here’s Kent Covington.
KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: Trump signs executive order on police standards » Seated in the White House Rose Garden Tuesday, President Trump signed an executive order aimed at nudging police departments to adopt what he called “the highest professional standards.”
He put pen to paper surrounded by law enforcement officers.
In remarks moments earlier, the president said most Americans believe we should support our police, but they “also believe we must improve accountability.”
TRUMP: We need to bring law enforcement and communities closer together, not to drive them apart.
Trump’s executive order calls for a national database that tracks police officers with excessive force complaints in their records. It also gives police departments a financial incentive to adopt best practices.
TRUMP: We will prioritize federal grants from the Department of Justice to police departments that seek independent credentialing certifying that they meet high standards on the use of force and de-escalation training.
He said the new credentialing process will ban chokeholds unless “an officer’s life is at risk.”
Earlier in the day, the president met at the White House with families of men and women killed in interactions with police.
Study: Cheap, widely available drug improves COVID-19 survival » Researchers in England say they have found the first life-saving drug in the battle against the coronavirus and your local pharmacy may already have it in stock. WORLD’s Kristen Flavin reports.
KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: The drug is called Dexamethasone. It’s a cheap, widely available steroid. And in a study led by Oxford University, it reduced COVID-19 deaths by a third among critically ill patients.
The study randomly assigned more than 2,000 patients to get the drug and compared them with 4,300 patients getting only the usual care.
After four weeks, it had reduced deaths by 35 percent in patients on ventilators and by 20 percent in those receiving supplemental oxygen.
The top U.S. infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci said the study’s results make “perfect sense.” He explained—quote—“Early on, you’re fighting the virus and you want your immune system to be as intact as possible.” But in the advanced stage of COVID-19, the battle against the virus causes so much inflammation that it’s “hurting you more than helping you.”
Dexamethasone appears to reduce that inflammation.
Even though it only helps in severe cases, one expert noted it could save “countless lives” globally.
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Kristen Flavin.
Retail sales make record jump » U.S. retail sales jumped by a record 17.7 percent from April to May.
Spending partially rebounded as coronavirus shutdowns eased.
But the pandemic is still hitting retail hard—with purchases down more than 6 percent from a year ago.
In May, employers added 2.5 million jobs. The better than expected gain suggested the job market has bottomed out. Washington’s $3 trillion rescue package likely helped last month’s rebound. And on Tuesday, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell suggested the federal government may need to provide more fiscal stimulus soon.
Powell told the Senate Banking Committee…
POWELL: The levels of output and employment remain far below their pre-pandemic levels and significant uncertainty remains about the timing and strength of recovery.
Even with more stimulus, he said the economy is unlikely to fully recover until the country has won the battle against the coronavirus.
At least 20 Indian soldiers dead after border clash with Chinese troops » At least 20 Indian soldiers died after clashing with Chinese troops over a disputed border high in the Himalayas. The Indian Army raised the death toll on Tuesday and said 17 others are critically injured.
Neither side fired any shots, but the soldiers reportedly pounded each other with fists and rocks in sub-zero temperatures.
It was the first deadly confrontation between India and China in 45 years. And the incident is likely to ratchet tensions between the two nuclear powers.
North Korea blows up liaison office along border with South Korea » North Korea has blown up a liaison office along its border with South Korea that had been used for diplomatic talks between the two countries. WORLD’s Anna Johansen has that story.
ANNA JOHANSEN, REPORTER: North Korea’s state news agency said the country destroyed the office Tuesday in a “terrific explosion.” The agency said it did so because “enraged people” were determined to “force (the) human scum, and those who have sheltered the scum, to pay dearly for their crimes.”
That is an apparent reference to North Korean defectors living in South Korea who continue to send anti-Pyongyang leaflets across the border using balloons.
The carefully choreographed explosion of the liaison office is a symbolic display of anger that highlights worsening relations between the North and South.
South Korea issued a statement calling it “an act that betrays hopes for an improvement in South-North Korean relations and the establishment of peace on the Korean Peninsula.”
The North last week threatened to abandon bilateral peace agreements the two countries reached in 2018.
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Anna Johansen.
I’m Kent Covington. Straight ahead: the Republican proposal for police reform.
Plus, WORLD founder Joel Belz on the move from printing presses to podcasts.
This is The World and Everything in It.
MARY REICHARD: It’s Wednesday, the 17th of June, 2020. Glad to have you along for today’s edition of The World and Everything in It. Good morning, I’m Mary Reichard.
NICK EICHER: And I’m Nick Eicher. First up, revisiting police reform efforts.
Last week, Democrats unveiled their police reform proposals. This week, it’s Republicans’ turn. Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina is leading the effort.
Here he is talking about his bill, the JUSTICE Act, on CBS’s Face the Nation.
SCOTT: If we do it right, I think we can reduce the number of times that we’re dealing with misconduct on the police departments. If we don’t do it right, then we’ll have the same situation where there is no law. We can do better than that as a nation, and we will.
REICHARD: The Republican reform effort emphasizes funding for police body cameras. It also sets conditions for federal grant eligibility: Local departments must log use-of-force incidents in an FBI database and participate in state-level record sharing. They must also restrict the use of choke holds or risk losing federal funds.
President Trump included some of those proposals in the executive order he signed yesterday. Although the reforms put forward by both parties share some common ground, it’s not clear whether either of the legislative measures has enough bipartisan support to pass.
EICHER: Joining us now to talk about the Republican proposal is John Malcolm.
He’s a former assistant U.S. attorney in Atlanta and a deputy assistant attorney general in the criminal division in the Department of Justice.
Mr. Malcolm is now a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation. Thanks for joining us today.
JOHN MALCOLM, GUEST: Good to be with you.
EICHER: I’d like to start with the underlying assumptions that are driving these efforts. The more critical you tend to be, whether we’re talking the political left or libertarianism, but the more critical, it seems, the greater the commitment to the idea that reform isn’t enough, that it needs to be a more complete overhaul.
But you noted in a recent commentary that our nation’s criminal justice system is not a single entity. You can’t just pop the hood and go to work on the engine.
To switch the metaphor: Why do you think it’s unhelpful to paint all law enforcement agencies with the same brush?
MALCOLM: Well, some people are trying to paint law enforcement agencies as being systemically racist. That is something that I reject. There are actually more African Americans serving in police forces today than at any time in our nation’s history. And there are more African American chiefs of police of major police organizations than at any time in our nation’s history. There are roughly 375 million police-civilian encounters every year, and according to the Washington Post last year only 14 unarmed African Americans were killed by a police officer of all races. So, that’s 14 too many to be sure, but anybody who believes there are white police officers running around with itchy trigger fingers targeting African Americans is something I wholeheartedly reject.
That doesn’t mean that there aren’t bad cops who should be weeded out or that police need better training. And there might even be some racist cops. I mean, racists do exist in our country. Fortunately in diminishing numbers in all walks of life. So it wouldn’t shock me if there aren’t some racist police officers. So, one of the things that needs to happen—either through legislation or actually the president’s signing an executive order today on this—is to take measures to recruit and retain high quality police officers, high performing police officers who can improve the overall professionalism of police forces. And that will be good for the country and good for the police and it will particularly serve well those communities that the officers have sworn to serve and protect.
EICHER: With the recent protests we’ve seen large numbers of people, especially in minority communities, saying the police are biased against them.
But you say that when communities treat the police as pariahs, it actually puts officers and law-abiding citizens in those communities at risk. I’ve read Jason Riley of the Wall Street Journal making that point.
So how can we bring greater accountability without tearing down institutions we all need?
MALCOLM: Well, the problem is that anytime there’s an incident like this, it’s like ripping a scab off of an old wound and rubbing salt into it. So, the professionalism of police forces has improved dramatically over the years. But, unfortunately, people still remember back in the Jim Crow era when police officers were, in fact, enforcing overtly racist laws and they did sometimes in brutal fashion. But, look, the overwhelming majority in communities of color is black on black crime and the overwhelming majority of police officers are there to help and to serve and protect and anything that breaks down the trust between members of that community and the police force is a bad thing. And, unfortunately, when an incident like this happens, the distrust goes through the roof. And it just takes time and a great deal of effort to win that trust back.
EICHER: I want to circle back to qualified immunity. I brought this up last week and I didn’t do a very good job of presenting the case for it.
Now, just as a reminder, qualified immunity is a legal status that in effect shields police officers from most civil lawsuits over misconduct.
Those who want to get rid of it say it makes police personally accountable for their actions. But Sen. Scott calls getting rid of it a “poison pill” that will kill negotiations over police reform.
Can you explain why the president and conservatives tend to support qualified immunity for the police?
MALCOLM: Sure. It’s a complicated matter, qualified immunity. And I would be the first to admit that the Supreme Court has made it extremely difficult for police officers to be held civilly liable for misconduct. So, qualified immunity basically is supposed to look at objective facts from the perspective of a reasonable police officer in that person’s position and it asks the question whether a reasonable police officer would have known that their conduct clearly was violating somebody’s constitutional rights based on existing case law. The reason to get rid of qualified immunity is that it does at least create the perception that police officers can engage in abusive conduct with impunity.
The reasons to retain qualified immunity are there are going to be an awful lot of people who are interested in joining police forces who will hesitate greatly if they think that they’re going to be in dangerous situations, hindsight being 20-20, and that somebody is going to look at what was a dangerous situation after the fact, decide that the person acted unreasonably, and then is going to sue them civilly and take away their life savings. It will make recruiting professional police officers very, very difficult.
Another potential problem with removing qualified immunity is that it may make police officers very hesitant to act. So, you heard, for example, after the events that happened in Ferguson, Missouri of the Ferguson Effect where police officers were reluctant to go into dangerous situations for fear that they might be videotaped or attacked or what have you. Well, if you remove qualified immunity, it may very well cause officers to hesitate before going into a dangerous situation where their actions may be second guessed. They may choose to wait on the outside until the danger clears away. Unfortunately, at that point, they may be left to go in there and basically pick up the bodies and investigate a crime that has been completed as opposed to acting quickly and perhaps stop a crime before it’s perpetrated.
EICHER: Police unions play a role in all this as well. What room for reform do you see when it comes to unions? And is there any bipartisan consensus there?
MALCOLM: Well, there might very well be agreement between Republicans and Democrats, but I’ll bet you the police unions are going to fight this tooth and nail. So, police unions obviously serve a useful purpose in terms of negotiating salary and benefits and officer wellness programs and things like that. But over the years, the perception is that police unions have gotten very, very involved in officer discipline and posing all kinds of conditions that make it very difficult to investigate whenever there is a use of force incident that needs to be checked out. And also a tilted playing field in terms of forcing people who have been fired for misconduct, forcing those matters into arbitration where often the arbitrators are picked by the police unions and a lot of times police unions have been forced to put back on their forces and pay back pay to bad cops. And that causes a great deal of difficulty because when bad cops act, bad things happen and can often affect morale in a very deleterious way. So, I think there could be a lot of common ground in trying to prune back the power of some of these police unions. But, again, the police unions are pretty powerful and they’re going to fight that like the plague.
EICHER: John Malcolm is a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation and a former assistant U.S. attorney in Atlanta. Thanks so much for joining us today!
MALCOLM: Great to be with you.
NICK EICHER: Coming up next on The World and Everything in It: World Tour with our reporter in Africa, Onize Ohikere.
ONIZE OHIKERE, REPORTER—Boko Haram attack—We start today here in Africa.
AUDIO: [PEOPLE TALKING, WAILING]
Islamic militants killed at least 81 people in a village in northern Nigeria last week. The Boko Haram fighters posed as Islamic teachers. They gathered the villagers together in a wide empty field, then started shooting. The insurgents also abducted seven people, including the village leader.
Over the weekend, other militants attacked three more towns. They set homes and vehicles on fire and killed at least 60 people.
Boko Haram and Islamic State fighters are especially active in the Lake Chad region where the borders of four countries meet.
Tens of thousands of people have been killed and 3 million have been displaced from the area over the last decade.
Rare mountain gorilla killed—Next we go to Uganda.
AUDIO: A search was conducted in one of the suspects premises…
Four men have been arrested for killing a rare mountain gorilla.
Rafiki was a famous silverback gorilla living in one of Uganda’s national parks. He was speared by hunters in early June. One confessed to killing the gorilla, but claimed it was in self defense. If found guilty, the poachers face life in prison or a fine of $5 million.
Mountain gorillas are an endangered species and a popular draw for tourists in the area. Only about 1,000 of the gorillas still exist.
Gas tanker explodes—Next we go to Asia.
At least 19 people died Saturday when a gas tanker exploded on a Chinese highway. The explosion collapsed nearby homes and factories and sent huge chunks of debris flying through the air. More than 170 people were injured.
Authorities say they are still investigating what caused the blast. The company that owned the truck has violated safety guidelines before. Reports show 10 health and safety infractions over the past two years.
Journalist found guilty of libel—Next to the Philippines.
A prominent journalist has been found guilty of “cyber libel.” Maria Ressa is the founder of a news site called Rappler. It gained attention for its critical coverage of President Rodrigo Duterte.
In 2012, Ressa published an article alleging that an influential businessman had ties to illegal drugs and human trafficking. The article also linked the businessman to a high court judge. Prosecutors called that libel and arrested her last year. She now faces up to six years in prison, but says she will appeal the ruling.
AUDIO: I appeal to you, the journalists in this room, the Filipinos who are listening, to protect your rights. We are meant to be a cautionary tale. We are meant to make you afraid.
Media freedom in the Philippines has deteriorated under Duterte. Journalists are often harassed and attacked. Just last month, the country’s biggest broadcaster was forced off the air by a cease-and-desist order.
Europe opens borders for tourism—Finally, we end today in Europe.
AUDIO: [TRAFFIC SOUND]
Cars rolled across the border between France and Germany on Monday as dozens of European countries dropped coronavirus restrictions overnight. Many are hoping to kickstart their tourism industries. Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Poland, and Greece are among the countries now open to European tourists. But the countries remain closed to visitors from other continents.
That’s this week’s World Tour. Reporting for WORLD, I’m Onize Ohikere in Abuja, Nigeria.
MARY REICHARD: The economy’s starting to open up and so are music concerts.
For example, fans of country star Garth Brooks will soon be able to see him in concert! And I don’t mean just online.
You’ll be able to get in your car—or pickup truck—and drive to the venues.
The only catch is you’ll have to stay in your vehicles. Or at least on top of them. Because you’ll be at one of 300 drive-in movie theaters on June 27th, a week from this coming Saturday.
Brooks told Good Morning America…
BROOKS: You know, drive-ins aren’t like they were when we were kids. We had the speaker that you would put on your window. Well now, you just tune right into your own car radio. So you can blast it and blare it as loud as you want, windows up, windows down, sing along. This is a perfect way for us to still get to play music and still get to follow all the rules we’re under right now.
More musicians are in the works for the drive-in theater experience!
As for me? I’m all in! As Brooks would sing, blame it all on my roots.
It’s The World and Everything in It.
MARY REICHARD: Today is Wednesday, June 17th. You’re listening to The World and Everything in It and we’re so glad you are! Good morning. I’m Mary Reichard.
NICK EICHER: And I’m Nick Eicher. Coming next, Christians and reality TV.
The Voice is a popular singing competition on NBC. Each year, it attracts thousands of young, hopeful vocalists looking for their big break. But this year, the Season 18 winner didn’t fit the typical mold.
WORLD’s Sarah Schweinsberg has his story.
SARAH SCHWEINSBERG, REPORTER: Todd Tilghman is many things. He’s the lead pastor of Cornerstone Church in Meridian, Mississippi.
TILGHMAN PREACHING: Let’s pray. Father, we love you so much Lord….
He’s a husband of more than 20 years to his high-school sweetheart, Brooke.
TILGHMAN: I was 19 I believe when I asked her to marry me. And we ended up getting married when I was 20, and she was 18.
The father of eight children.
TILGHMAN: It’s Egan, Asher, Shepherd, Judah, Olive, Hosea, Louis, Wilhemina. We call her Winnie…
And since Todd Tilghman was a little boy, he’s been singing in church.
TILGHMAN: I’ve been worship pastor since I was 16.
MUSIC: [Tilghman singing]
But Tilghman mostly confined his music to within church walls.
TILGHMAN: I’ve always loved to sing… but I never thought it was good enough that people would want to hear it.
After years in ministry, Tilghman began feeling an itch for change. He wondered if God wanted him to try something new.
TILGHMAN: Something inside me back then was like, Todd, you got to do something different… I looked into, like real estate.
Last year, Tilghman began posting short clips of himself singing hymns on Instagram. A friend reached out and encouraged him to audition for The Voice. He signed up for try-outs in Atlanta, but almost didn’t go.
TILGHMAN: I just really felt like they would tell me no, and they would go with someone different or someone younger, someone more beautiful, you know, and that or a better singer.
But his family insisted. When Tilghman got his turn in front of the show’s casting judges, to his shock, he got his first yes.
TILGHMAN: I got a yes that day. And I just, I don’t know, I kept getting yeses.
After several more auditions, Tilghman and 40 other contestants made it to the televised competition in Los Angeles.
The first televised round is called the “Blind Audition.” That’s where the show’s four celebrity judges turn their red, high-backed chairs away from the stage. They can’t see who’s singing. They just listen.
If judges like what they hear, they turn around. If no one does, the contestant goes home.
It’s a nerve wracking wait for the singer. But when Todd Tilghman took the stage in blue jeans, a T-shirt, and glasses, he didn’t have to wait long.
TILGHMAN SINGING: I know it’s late. I know you’re weary. I know your plans don’t include me.
SOUND: JUDGES HITTING THEIR BUTTONS TO TURN. (CHEERING)
Three judges turned their chairs just 10 seconds into his song. And then the fourth judge turned too.
TILGHMAN: I remember a feeling of like euphoria like, okay, let’s just do it now…
Tilghman says he worried how he’d be portrayed on the show. Not a whole lot of pastors compete on reality TV. He shared his concerns with producers.
TILGHMAN: I said number one, I don’t want to be a religious zealot. I just love you. And I think God loves you. Number two, I really don’t want you guys to make me out to be like this fairy tale family because it really is not.
Tilgman felt overall the show was pretty fair.
TILGHMAN: I do feel like our family came off a little fairytale-ish, but that’s OK.
After the first couple rounds of competition, the coronavirus sent The Voice contestants and judges home. Instead of calling off the competition, producers decided to put together a remote show.
TILGHMAN: They sent us a tablet, they sent us a camera, they sent us lighting, microphone in ears, all these things they sent…
With eight kids at home, Tilghman decided the best place he could practice and sing was his church.
TILGHMAN: Literally, my life came full circle on The Voice. I’m standing in the same room almost in the same exact spot where I married my wife, and I’m singing the “Glory of Love” you know?
MUSIC: [THE GLORY OF LOVE]
TILGHMAN: I stood in the room where like, I started ministry, teaching teenagers, that’s where I sang “Love Me” by Collin Raye.
MUSIC: [LOVE ME]
With his powerful voice and cheerful personality, Tilghman kept sailing through week after week.
Contestants pick their songs with producers and their celebrity vocal coach. Tilghman sang a mix of country and classic pop.
Some Christian viewers wrote Tilghman, frustrated about a song he sang called “We’ve Got Tonight” that had suggestive innuendos. He stands by the song choice.
TILGHMAN: I just put myself in a mindset where, Todd, this is it like this song, this time in your life for you and your wife and your family? This is all you have, you know? And so that’s the mindset I put myself in when I was singing, “We’ve Got Tonight.”
At the finale, Tilghman got a chance to perform a song about his faith. Standing in the center of his church’s stage where he preaches each week, he sang MercyMe’s “I Can Only Imagine.”
MUSIC: [I CAN ONLY IMAGINE]
The performance brought judge, Kelly Clarkson, to tears.
CLARKSON: I would love to come to your church just to hear you speak. Not only sing. You’re very special.
Later that night, Todd Tilghman became the oldest person ever to win The Voice.
HOST: The Winner of the Voice is: Todd Tilghman. Congratulations!
His reward? A recording contract and $100-thousand dollars. He says the money will go toward buying a van and taking his family to Disney World.
Tilghman doesn’t know what’s next. Music full-time or music and ministry? He can only imagine.
TILGHMAN: I don’t know the specifics of those changes, but I feel like they’ll only expand opportunities to minister, you know, even if it’s in a different capacity.
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Sarah Schweinsberg.
NICK EICHER: Today is Wednesday, June 17th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Nick Eicher.
MARY REICHARD: And I’m Mary Reichard. Here’s WORLD founder Joel Belz now with some thoughts on printing presses and paper airplanes.
JOEL BELZ, FOUNDER: I just had an unusual reminder of the power of the printed page. Somehow, I’d come into possession of a sort of miniature church bulletin from 70 years ago from the church where my father was pastor. The bulletin was 3 inches by 5 inches—the size of a postcard. The order of worship on one side, the week’s announcements on the other.
What made the discovery so unusual was the realization that the bulletin had been printed—not mimeographed or photocopied but printed on a 3×5 inch Kelsey hand press. I was fascinated on two fronts.
First, I was intrigued by this little page’s representation of church life back in the 1940s. Worship was serious. Twice every Sunday. Offerings at both services. But the list of announcements showed a congregation of about 50 people busy in a variety of kingdom tasks. I was 7 years old, going on 8. What was printed there was exactly the way I remember it.
But I’m stirred as well by a few technical details. This tiny bulletin was, as I said, actually printed. On a real printing press. I know that because I set the type for this issue—changing the hymn numbers and the sermon titles and whoever was hosting Wednesday night Bible study. It was moveable type the way Johannes Gutenberg envisioned it. The things we changed every week were in 8-point type; the listing of officers at the far bottom, which rarely changed, was in tiny 6-point type.
Dad wanted his eight children to learn the craft of printing—but not merely as a quaint hobby. He believed the gospel truths that had become so important to him and Mom would also be burned into our hearts and souls if we were literally involved in applying the ink to the paper.
So Dad always stretched our thinking. From that tiny Kelsey hand press, we moved on to bigger and more sophisticated presses, typesetters, folders and engravers.
Dad didn’t live to see the founding of WORLD, and I’m sure he never dreamed of a podcast like The World and Everything in It. I think if he had, he would have said: “Go for it! You’re headed in the right direction.” He would have applauded WORLD’s commitment to Bible-based journalism and challenged us with a reminder that it’s hard to overestimate the power of the printed page.
And Dad would have scolded us just a bit for the fold marks near the top of both pages. “Paper airplanes? Really, boys. Let’s get some serious work done.”
I’m Joel Belz.
NICK EICHER: Tomorrow: Looting and violence during recent protests in Chicago destroyed many local businesses. Shop owners and area pastors take stock of the long-term damage.
That and more tomorrow.
I’m Nick Eicher.
MARY REICHARD: And I’m Mary Reichard.
The World and Everything in It comes to you from WORLD Radio.
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The Lord tells us in Isaiah: When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you.
I hope you’ll have a great rest of the day. We’ll talk to you tomorrow!