Dorothy Butler Gilliam – Why the Media Is More Important Than Ever | The Daily Show

Dorothy Butler Gilliam – Why the Media Is More Important Than Ever | The Daily Show

-Thank you so much. -Thank you
so much for being here. This is one of those stories
that genuinely hit me so hard, because it feels like
you have lived through some of the most seminal moments
in American history, and you were
also reporting on it. You… you worked for 50 years
in this business. What do you think was the
biggest change that you saw in your time in journalism as
the first African American woman working at The Washington Post? I think the biggest change was, um, after the urban uprisings of the ’60s, uh,
when the Kerner Commission, which was the commission
that was named by the president, said the media had,
in many ways, contributed
to the fact that the… that the urban riots occurred. And that was because
they had not integrated their reporting
and the editing staffs. And in many ways, they said, they were just
showing us America only through white eyes. So, I started
at the Post in 1961. When I went back, in 1972, it was a little different, because there were
more reporters of color, -Right.
-more females. But still, it was very…
quite male-dominated. You came into this world at a time when it was just
something that did not happen. You walked into a newsroom where there were only two
other reporters who were black. You were the first African
American woman in this space. And reading in the book,
there’s one of the… I mean, just
the most harrowing passages where they-they had a policy
of not reporting when black people were murdered. One editor even called those
“cheap deaths” -that shouldn’t be reported.
-Yeah. How do you even begin to work
in that kind of environment? And did you help
the editors understand why it was crucial
to report all news? I tried to help them, and I think the way I began
working in that environment is because
Dr. Martin Luther King was beginning to say
to young black people: Go into white corporations
and excel. -So part… it felt like…
-Wow. I was almost part
of the freedom movement, uh, by going and becoming the first African American woman
at The Washington Post. I didn’t think I was
a trailblazer at that point. I just was doing the job
that I loved. -Right. -I had had four years
in the black press, and the black press has been
very important in America, both in terms of reporting
on civil rights, but in going… going places where
white reporters wouldn’t go, -Right. -where
white newspapers wouldn’t go. So that experience
also helped to prepare me for my work at
The Washington Post. One of the first stories
that I remember a lot was when I went to the
University of Mississippi as part of the team
from The Post to cover the integration
of ‘Ole Miss. And that was
the most horrendous thing you can imagine,
because Mississippi was one of those places
where, uh, -it was a lynching state.
-Right. It was the heart of segregation. And the university
was like this bastion of white supremacy,
so it was ver… uh, chaotic on the campus. But what hurt, in addition, was that I had no place
that I could get a room because they didn’t have hotels
for black people. So I slept in
a black funeral home. -And, uh…
-In a funeral home? Yeah. I slept with the dead,
Trevor. This is so insane that you-you
have lived through that time. I-I’m honestly fascinated
to know: In that time,
when this was happening, were you optimistic? Did you think that you would see
America change? Or was the resistance
to integration so strong that you thought
it would last forever? The integration was so strong that I never thought that I
would see a black president. Wow. That was, uh, a huge, uh, step forward in many ways. But, of course, with America, it can be liberal and then
it can swing to conservatism, and you see what we have now. I see what we have now. I do indeed. (laughter) You-you reported
on so many stories and your inclusion
in the news room was powerful, because it really felt like–
when you read the book, you lived through two of, -really the most important eras
in American history, -Mm-hmm. in modern history, definitely. And that was women’s movement
for equal rights, -and black peoples’ movement
for civil rights. -Mm-hmm. Which of the two
did you feel, like, had more momentum when you were
in them? Did you feel like, “Oh, this is going to happen,
or this one won’t”? Or did it feel like both
were just moving forward? Uh, it felt that the…
like the freedom riders and the freedom… I call the whole civil rights
movement the freedom movement. -Yes. -Uh, it felt like
it was going to open doors -for so many other people.
-Right. Because after
the civil rights movement, after the black power era, that’s when Gloria Steinem
wrote her article that said after black power,
women power. -Right. -And, so,
after the women power… It’s the blacks who were
the pioneering minority. And, so, after women power, then you had the oppression
against gay people… -Right.
-…being, uh, really looked at and studied and acknowledged. Then you had the oppression
against the disabled. So, it’s many ways… It’s the black movement,
I think, that was
the most important movement because all people
all over the world were singing
“We Shall Overcome.” -Right. -In, you know, in China
and all around the world, uh, people who had been
oppressed were saying, “If that happened in America, you know,
why can’t it happen here?” It’s so powerful when you speak about how when you first got
to The Post, your mission was not
to be a reporter that focused on black issues, but just a reporter
who excelled. You didn’t want to be
pigeonholed as a black reporter. But then you came to realize
that it was crucial for you to take up that mantle
and report on black issues. Why do you think
it’s so important for mainstream media
to look more like actual America and not just have the voice
of predominantly white men? Yeah. It’s because,
uh, you can’t really talk about a community that you don’t
in some way represent. Uh, that you don’t
in some way know. That you don’t in some way have more
than a stereotyped notion -of what it’s all about.
-Mm-hmm. And because, uh,
with white supremacy in America, that whole narrative
has also been accompanied -by an antiblack narrative.
-Right. And very often…
That’s been since the beginning. This is 2019. We African Americans
or black people have been in America 400 years. We were here a year
before the Mayflower. But, you know,
two and a half centuries of that -was the era of slavery.
-Right. And then had the era
of Jim Crow. So, uh… -Or segregation in the South.
Yeah. -Yes, yes, yes. So the whole feeling that,
uh, this is, uh… This whole antiblack narrative that has been a part
of the DNA, almost, -of America as much as
white supremacy… -Right. Uh, that has not
really been acknowledged. It’s been kind of glossed over, and you pay attention
to how, you know, the… -the violence
that violence begets. -Yes. But in terms
of what motivated it… And a lot of it
is about poverty. You know,
poverty is very violent. And-and, as you were saying
in the segment with the billionaires, you know, it’s very real, -what’s happening
in this country. -Mm-hmm. And it’s been happening
for a while. 50 years of writing. 50 years of finding ways
to report stories even in spaces
where you weren’t allowed. I mean,
one of the-the most shocking and, I find,
funny at the same time stories was when you talked
about how when your-yourself and colleagues would go
to marches, you would have
to disguise yourselves, because you couldn’t
be journalists in public, as black people. You would dress up as-as clergy. You would dress up as priests
and-and so forth and nuns. And-and you would hide
typewriters under your clothing, which I didn’t even know
how they fit. Um, but-but when you look
at America today, how do you find that balance
for yourself, of-of both where America
has come from and where America
still needs to go? Okay, first, I should say
that those reporters, um, who, uh, had wrapped
their old Royal typewriters about this– in old clothes
when they went to the South, because they didn’t want the
white sheriffs to arrest them. -Wow. -And so they-they would
also disguise themselves as ministers and they carried
Bibles under their arms. And, uh, so that was a way
of trying to get to the story and knowing that they
couldn’t go as reporters. But where I see things today, uh, I think it’s a time when, uh, media is more important
than ever. Uh, it was–
it was very difficult when the president, um, started
talking about fake news. -Mm-hmm.
-Uh, it was very difficult, because, you know, those of us
who came up in the– in the legacy media, we knew about all of the issues
of ethics that we had to-to, uh, adhere to in order to be hired
by The Washington Post and in order to work there. Uh, we knew that we didn’t take
gifts from anybody. Uh, we knew that we had
to always pay our own way. Um, uh, we knew
that we had studied in colleges and universities. And so to have the-the– our whole process dismissed
as fake news, um, was not only, uh, detrimental to the U.S. but it was detrimental
internationally. Because, um, whatever we say
about the faults of America, it still has been the bastion
of democracy. And so when you have something
as-as crucial, you know, as freedom
of the press being d-denigrated by the top official in the land, it has a very destabilizing
effect in the whole world. I could genuinely talk to you
for hours. But, luckily, I have the book
to keep me company. Thank you so much
for being on the show. -It’s an honor meeting you.
-Thank you so much. Thank you so much. Trailblazer is available now. A truly fascinating story. Dorothy Butler Gilliam,

100 thoughts on “Dorothy Butler Gilliam – Why the Media Is More Important Than Ever | The Daily Show

  1. Please give respect to your elders. They are living to share with you their struggles. It's okay to love your grandparents and your parents. They made you, literally.

  2. Thank you for bringing her on the show, Trevor. This is probably one of your best interviews…inspirational, powerful and thought-provoking. Kudos!!

  3. Damn Trevor. Amazon should be paying you a percentage. Every guest you have on I end up ordering their books because their story AND your interviewing skills move me so much. Dude you're moving books better than Oprah! If I were you, I'd consider an effort to tease the publishing houses like Ophrah did so we can view a list of your recommended books. Just sayin'.

  4. Woow its incredible that South Af4ican has to tell the youth of this country's struggle. How they say "Good job" I tell you Perfect" how can you spread this message more? Thanks

  5. There's no cheap death, this woman first black to go to space, at 82 she's so proud of her accomplishment . Experience the hardship of being black.

  6. I have a new project: to learn more about Ms. Gilliam. It has been my dream since age 9 to be a journalist and to write for the Washington Post. This was an amazing and insightful interview.

  7. Trevor is the best please pay attention to what he's doing I love his shows and I love that he just speak on us as African Americans we are not black people we are African Americans

  8. After Black Power. Black women jointed feminism and opened the door for white women to receive 80% of all affirmative action jobs. Over the next 50 years, wash rinse and repeat. black girl magic

  9. This is one of my favorite interviews of all time. She is so on point. BTW I am an old white guy. I'm always wondering why skin color really makes that much difference in our lives??

  10. Trevor is informing and educating the masses beyond today and tomorrow. So proud of you African in the Diaspora excelling beyond measure💃🏿.All these books and your own book "born a crime" inspires many young, black and talented individuals. Keep up the good work son👏🏾 You are a TRAILBLAZER.

  11. Here we go again! This should sound stupid by now… its 2019 for cephius sake! After 400 plus years let that lie die! #descendantofslaves #smh #indigenousforever

  12. That was the most beautiful interview and I just loved how eloquent she was in her vocabulary. I was sitting with baited breath to hear what words she would use to describe her narratives. Wow I can't wait to read the book it will be a pleasure.

  13. We've come so far, and yet we still have SO FAR TO GO. We need to start LISTENING to each other instead of just HEARING each other, & become more empathetic to each other. ALL of us. We need to get on AMERICA'S team against racism, division, and especially Russian meddling.

  14. African -American statement to me means racism because i have never had Europen-American refered to the white American who have thier origin in Europe. Some things needs to change!

  15. hold on, Indians were here first, Hispanic people were here second, its all of all the United States, my family has been in this fight since it started, my family fought in D Day, no mofo will ever take that from us

  16. I wish DJ T and other world leaders , would understand these kinda things… This was a beautiful interview thanks Trev and Thanks Dorothy people like u truly make the world a better place….

  17. Hey Trevor
    You repeated the lovely lady's comments in your own words and said "…I see what we have now.." (04:20) Are you not South African anymore? 🙅

  18. Thank you so much for remembering the oppression of disabled people! We're part of every other group, but so often forgotten. <3

  19. Dorothy Butler Gilliam makes a brilliant point. If not for the civil rights movement, the bravery of those African Americans & those who supported them in their plight, the women's movement, gay movement, handicap & HIV/AIDS movements wouldn't have been inspired and may not have happened for decades. Gratitude for everyone who's ever Protested for the Rights of Justice and Equality! There are more strides to make, but the foundations have been laid. Thank You

  20. And this interview will never be took seriously just as the facts that are in this interview will be on looked. And just like this show won't get an Oscar because it's to black in the EYES of who gives the awards but in my eyes the Oscar goes to Trevor!!! They can never deny the talent!!!

  21. This woman is absolutely lovely I had no idea how old she was but finding out just shocked me

    Guess it’s true that sometimes you can just see someone’s good soul glow out of them

  22. In Virginia, late '50's and early 60's, I was bused 5 miles from my home to school, and did not even know there was a "black" school close by. When anti-segregation came in, my school system handled it by asking parents if they would mind if their kids were bused to an integrated school. They only needed a few to be able to report they were integrated. My parents said they would not mind and the person calling actually said, "You wouldn't mind your daughter going to school with those black bucks?" They (both originally from NYC) said no, so I was bused to a school that was not only closer to where I lived but also newer. It had been there all along but I never even know it existed. Crazy days.

  23. At first I was thrown cause I thought she was saying really simple, obvious things, but I gradually realized that what she's actually doing is very carefully reducing complex ideas into simply articulated terms so that she can say them clearly and truly everyone will understand her. That was such excellent craft on the fly–she took us through so many powerful ideas, I can see why she has been a wonderful journalist. What an inspiring woman and fascinating guest on the show, I want to grow up to be even just half as articulate and courageous as that <3

  24. The South sounds like people were traveling to a foreign land. The part about sleeping at the funeral home cause me to clutch my pearls. Mississippi God Damn like Nina Simone said.

  25. 8:00 "Poverty is violent. Look at what's happening in this country with the billionaires." That is real shit. You don't usually hear that kind of talk on TV. Trevor Noah is doing something amazing with this show. Suuuuper intelligent.

  26. Still the BS NON intersectionality. All women are NOT White, all Blacks are NOT men. Better to say Black men if that’s what you meant or White women if that’s what you meant. Black women were not served well by either movements!

  27. 2.4K people who watched and have chosen to live with the truth, and do the good, hard work of trying to wrap their minds around this hateful history. 48 people have chosen to live a lie, they make and have made themselves, and everyone around them miserable.

  28. She just told us the power we have globally and the influence on people around the world pay attention to who you are and people try to down play it

  29. The best of all worlds. A truly interesting interviewee and a well prepared and thoughtful interviewer. Made me wish the interview was longer.

  30. "It's the Blacks who were the pioneering minority."
    This is what schools don't teach kids in history. Thanks Trevor for having the best interviews on TV.

  31. It’s a damn shame the direction this country is going in. In just the last few years This country has gone backwards. Americans, don’t ever believe that we can become the shit hole country of the world. Power corrupts.

  32. Thank you, Mrs. Dorothy Butler-Gilliam—Oustanding Job in communicating that time as one of the first ..from fellow first and Black Journalist.

  33. $250 million dollar lawsuit against The Washington Post for the Covington Catholic High School case. You are fake news. Don't be a "company" woman.

  34. so many emotions and so teared up when she said she had literally "slept with the dead" , i mean what even…? i'm so glad she was invited to this show… she's truly amazing

  35. 6:55 So black people were here before the mayflower, wtf? so there MIGHT have been like 10 black people in north America…. so thus my point is right? wtf? I am stating this because I hope she succeeds, but if she says something that is NOT RELEVANT then….. well… then… why listen to her (who cares if there were a few black people in north America BEFORE "white" people…) By her logic maybe black people are inferior? I mean she says they were here first, but they didn't conquer the area? WTF? oh it doesn't matter!?!?!? wtf? POINT IS: take that part out of your talking POINTS

  36. IF media failed you and you wonder if here are more than talk about a conspiracy I can remember the following by heart.

    During the campaign Trump said on direct TV: "Russia, if you are listening….." Well Putin listened and official US documents have proven that less than 4 hours later the first attacks against the servers were initiated and eventually the data WAS retrieved and via a physical agent handed over to Wikileaks/Assange in the embassy in London. Funny how Trump in the same timeperiod repeatetly said: Wikileaks! I love Wikileaks" That agent was later publicly exposed as a Moscowbased agent. When Trump was confronted, on camera about this he said: "Wikileaks, i know nothing of wikileaks".

    Putin investments into trollfactories was a game of DIVISION and was directed therefore at BOTH sides. However only one side, had close links to Trump. It was revealed that they used collected IT-track data to make specified target adds with falsified facts/claims custommade for groups of people as specific as down to groups of under 50 people. Many have been indicted and all that have had their day in court, as per today, have been found guilty of wrongdoing.

    Remember the meeting in Helsinki, and the press conference? Trump said he saw no reason why he wouldnt take Putins

    word of he´s claim of not meddling in the US election. Trump HAD been briefed by US intelligence that Putin HAD meddled in the US election prior to this meeting.

    Remember the Russian foreign minister INSIDE the oval office shortly after he took office AND their bodylanguage and eyecontacts?

    Remember Trump supports Putin going back into G7? Remember Trump praising Putin, (1)months after going into Ukraine with millitary agression (?) AND (2) shortly after Putins special forces entered another territory and shot a high tech missile at a civilian airline, Malaysian Airlines, killing hundreds of civilians. Many from the NATO country of the netherlands. AN act that

    had the real potential to end up with a nuclear war. AND (3) the killing of russian exiles in UK with polonium. What kind of man, with what kind of motives can praise such a man???

    When Trump says "he wants to buy Greenland" directed at one of USA´s longest allies (and a key country for NATO/NORAD) and a country that actively plays a role in defending USA´s mainland against russian missiles every day. Its not "just" The kingdom

    of Denmark that wonders whats going on. Is he really taking a shot at colonialism in 2019 or is he a Russian asset? (tell me any other reason than those 2 possibilities) The mere suggestion to a NATO ally is worrying all worldleaders except maybe Russia, China and Israel that also use surpressing millitary backed policies. Only Russia would benefit from a crack in the US/Danish relationship. This event will be noted in the history books outside both Denmark and USA.

    Trump has again and again tried to politicise your FED. Politicising the FED is what venezuela, russia and china does…IF he succeeds with that you can kiss the last of your monetary credibilty goodbye = hello either to extreme interest rates on private debt and/or hyperinflation. AND that would benefit whom? Putin that has been buying physical gold up for years because of the economic locks the western world has on him and he´s oligarks.

    The world is worried and have to follow US closely when your current debt level is where it is now. Your debt equals over 1 years GDP whereas WTO/OECD recommends max 40%. Your largest lender is….CHINA, btw followed by Japan. But their reasons for lending money to US are VERY different. Trump is now obtaining debt to pay of debt. Your price/interest rates on debt will soon go up fast if you dont pay it down. Right now your unemployment figures are fair and stockmarket up. IF you everyday, in that situation, have to obtain more debt than yesterday what do you think will happen when next recession comes and others might wanna loan money coming from a better financial standpoint. Ask yourself if a financially crippled USA would benefit Russias position! USA´s GDP is, a few years more, still the largest, however SO IS YOUR DEBT! Whether you have a small house or a big house, you will still be "evicted" if you dont pay your bank.

    Trump talk about China and tariffs. Havent USA been going to wars for free trade and democracy? Now they talk about protectionism and NOT about Chinas millitary agression and violent landgrabbing against all international law in the South China Sea. The western world wonders how US can turn 180 degress in one president…thats how it happens in unstable dictatorships. Will this situation be a benefit for Russias Putin or not? Would the worlds attention towards a US going rougue divert attention away from the surpression, that are going on at increased speed in Russia atm.?

    UNfortunately, I could go on and on…I hope some of these issues can be read and considered by anyone thinking of voting for Trump. He is pissing in your US pants on SO many areas and many of these areas on a META level would longterm benefit Putin. Problem with pissing in your pants is that although it gives warmth for a short while but its followed by a long very unpleasant experience. Unfortunately the rest of the world sees and predicts/prepare for this…Knowing that many Americans will wake up to a nightmare in so many fields at once, that we feel for you allready.

    The American PEOPLE really dont deserve all the lies that they structurally are exposed to everyday. PLEASE talk to each other. You need change, fast.

    Democracy is like a flower. If you dont nurse it, it will eventuallly die.

    Talking about Trump and Putin in same sentence is a given for any following and understanding international relations/policies. Its a downright dangerous situation.

    Guantanamo for treason?

    At least Nixon was man enough to leave when exposed.

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