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What will history say about 2014? As the year comes to a close, Hari Sreenivasan gets insight from Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic, Helena Andrews of The Washington Post and Evan McMorris-Santoro of Buzzfeed, who take stock of 2014 and make predictions for next year.
Well, the fireworks and the champagne corks are already popping in other parts of the world, as 2014 leaves and 2015 arrives. So what should we be expecting during the next 12 months?
We thought we'd ask.
Hari is back with the questions.
Every December 31, the world arrives at a time of reflection. T.S. Eliot said next year's words await another voice, though writer Robert Clark said that the new year is exactly the same as the old year just colder.
To find 2015's voice and discuss if it will be really any different than 2014, we brought together Jeffrey Goldberg, national correspondent with "The Atlantic," Helena Andrews of The Washington Post's Reliable source, and Evan McMorris-Santoro, White House correspondent for BuzzFeed.
So, let's start with something we don't talk about too much on the program, which is entertainment and really the consequences of the Sony hack. We were talking about it a little bit off camera. What do you think is going to be the sort of giant repercussion? On the one side, we saw really how Sony executives think and talk about their actors behind closed doors. And on the other side, we launched a movie without having 3,000 theaters, and it didn't do so bad.
HELENA ANDREWS, The Washington Post's "Reliable Source": I think the most interesting thing about the Sony hacks were those e-mail where you have executives, like, making fun of the president, talking about, should I ask him to finance — did he like "Django Unchained"? Did he like "12 Years a Slave"?
At the same time, we're getting movies like "Selma" and Chris Rock's "Top Five" and "Dear White People," this great little independent movie. It's crazy. It's like a roller coaster. We have gotten these more diverse movies and TV shows, honestly, but you see on the back end that some of that old, like, total discriminatory stuff behind the scenes is actually going on.
So, will Sony backtrack and, all of a sudden, we will see these interesting indie movies featuring diverse casts, so they can say, oh, by the way, we're not really racist? I don't know. That might happen.
JEFFREY GOLDBERG, The Atlantic:
Yes. A lot of Korean-heavy casts, obviously.
I think they have got to go right to their strong point, which is movies about North Korea again.
No, the interesting — from sort of a business side of that question, it's amazing that the North Koreans may or may not have forced — because we don't even know who actually did the hack — may not have forced some sort of a huge change in the way we get movies, because if this works, if people are just downloading directly, the studio — if I were a theater owner, I would be quite worried about this moment, because we don't know how this is going to change in the next year.
But if this is a viable way of sending movies out to people, they are going to do it and if they can bypass the theaters, all the better.
EVAN MCMORRIS-SANTORO, BuzzFeed:
My prediction is that, next year, you are going to see a studio bribe a government to hack them, so as to boost public interest.
"The Interview" is not a movie — "The Interview" would have come and gone, right, probably. And in this case, now it's a huge cultural moment. I mean, it's great for people who made it, not so good for Sony, I guess, in the long run.
… we won't remember in a year.
I am pretty sure of that, too.
Exactly. In a week.
All right, so, in 2015, your predictions for the entertainment world?
Predictions for the entertainment world?
I think — will people stop subscribing to cable? You know what I mean? Possibly. I watch my Apple TV more than I do HBO.
So, cord-cutting will increase.
I think, absolutely, cord-cutting will increase.
I was happy to see the return of vinyl in a huge way. And so with any luck, next year, we move back to eight-track.
That's what I…
Because I got a box full of them in the basement.
So, I really like the sort of throwback year.
Super hipster kitsch.
Those wax Edison tubes, cranking it.
And then just live performances in your house.
I think it's all pretty good news for entertainment.
One of the things about all this disparate stuff that is happening now, with all this on-demand and all this streaming, there's so many new shows that come out all the time. There are so many new venues for entertainment. I think 2015 is going to be a great year for entertainment. I thought 2014 was a pretty good year for entertainment too. I think it will be good.
Jeffrey, I want to start with you on this one.
Let's talk a little bit about the world, which you focus on throughout the year. ISIS, Russia, Israel-Gaza, what could possibly go wrong in 2015, or right?
Right. Right. Right. Right.
Yes, Ukraine is going to work out just fine.
You know, we're in an interesting moment. And we're coming to a point where we're going to have to have a more realistic assessment of — let's just take ISIS, for example — much more realistic assessment of how much damage we're going to be able to do to ISIS in the current circumstances.
And we're going to — it's a depressing conclusion that you have to draw, but, right now, across the greater Middle East, you have got five or six or seven fairly large safe havens for al-Qaida and al-Qaida-style groups. And there doesn't seem to be a concerted effort on the part of the civilized world, if you want to call it that, to do anything about that.
And so my fear is that, you know, we're moving toward the end of the Obama presidency. Obama has come into office — came into office promising to refocus us on the war on terror, Afghanistan, not Iraq. And we're heading into the last quarter of his presidency, where you just see this mushrooming of these groups, and no serious strategy to deal with it.
So that's a problem. Israel and Palestine? Here's my bold prediction. No peace treaty next year.
Oh, really going out on a limb.
Yes. Yes. I want to come back and — with any luck, I will be proven wrong.
So, that's 100 percent…
The contradiction, of course, is that you see this every year around this time. The world is actually safer and less violent than most periods in history.
Partially because of our inundation of information and the interconnectedness of everything, we feel as if we're under siege in a way that we're just not. That said, you know, you have in Asia, China has the capability of being quite aggressive toward neighbors. Russia obviously in the European arena, and Iran and a combination of Iran and ISIS in the Middle East put plenty on the plate for an administration that has never been that interested in focusing on foreign policy.
So there's going to be a huge number of problems that come up in the next year.
Evan, does the White House feel this kind of pressure?
I think that they are pretty — feel pretty good about foreign policy actually lately.
They have had some challenges. Obviously, this year has been a tough one for them most of the time. But they ended it on this high note with this Cuba deal, and changing relations there and continuing — negotiations with Iran are still ongoing.
I think the White House feels like that foreign policy — as a lot of presidents do at the end of their terms, right, they turn to foreign policy. And the president wants to do that and I think feels like they have places that they can go and places they can do successful things with that.
Helena, your big prediction for the world?
For the world.
I mean, but speaking about — obviously speaking of Cuba and entertainment, you have got — just reading recently that the artists in Cuba are all of a sudden excited about all the art dealers that might be able to come to the island at this point and buy all this amazing art.
And there was a story about Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith showing up at this artist's studio and paying $45,000 for a portrait. You have got — remember when Jay-Z and Beyonce went to Cuba and it was this whole huge thing? Oh, my God, Obama gave their — his best friends, it's like, a way to go to Cuba, which ended up totally not being true
So, I think, especially when it comes to Cuba, you're going to see a lot of entertainers, I think, showing up and wanting to be like the first people to get to Cuba, before it's not cool anymore, you know? And I think that's absolutely going to be a trend.
OK. So we're also entering in the world of domestic politics survivor season, or in the words of "Highlander," what was it, there can be only one, right?
You're going to have…
But, for now, there could be 20.
There could be 20.
And in the process, you're also starting to see, at least in both the major parties, people staking out positions and kind of cutting each other off at the pass and saying, oh, I'm definitely going to get you to say this thing on camera, so I can use it in an attack ad against you later on.
I think last year was the year of Republicans vs. Democrats, which you have seen for a while now, this — this pitched battle between the parties.
Next year is going to be the battle of Democrats vs. Democrats and Republicans vs. Republicans. You have the 2016 presidential field is going to be opening up. We have already seen Marco Rubio from Florida, senator from Florida, vs. Rand Paul, senator from Kentucky. They already have — the Republicans, they already have a strong battle going on between them.
On the Democratic side, we saw at end of the year Elizabeth Warren and Nancy Pelosi sort of fighting against the White House over the spending deal that ended up being passed, over the objections of a lot of progressives that are on the president's base.
That kind of stuff is what we're going to see now, because we're going to have — because the GOP is in charge of the entire Congress. They have to sort of hold themselves together. And they have had some problems doing that right along. And now, without any Democrats to sort of fight against, that will become more and more evident.
And the Democrats have their own problems too trying to sort of jockey for position and the left trying to stake out a place before 2016 kicks off.
There are two Hillary-related — on the Democratic side, two Hillary-related things that I'm watching.
The first is, who becomes the most credible alternative to Hillary in the primaries? You know, Elizabeth Warren is obviously the favorite of people to Hillary's left. She says she's not running. She always says, I'm not running in the present tense.
There's a slight door open there. There's Bernie Sanders, who is an adorable socialist, but probably not a serious candidate. Martin O'Malley — I mean, there are people there. And so what I'm watching is not only who's jockeying and how they're jockeying, but waiting to see if Hillary makes another kind of mistake that gives somebody on the left the real opening.
You know, she had a couple of missteps when she talked about leaving the White House in debt and her closeness — allegedly closeness to Wall Street, all of this. And so that's an interesting piece. And the second piece of that is, I'm curious to watch how Hillary Clinton positions herself, both as an ally of President Obama and as something distinctly different.
And that's always very interesting to watch as we move through this. And she has to do it at a certain point. However, he is becoming more popular. So it becomes a slightly more complicated proposition for her.
So, Helena, you have avoided the possible — possible prediction that Jeffrey was going to make is that one Republican and one Democrat will come out as presidential candidates. Other than that, what is your prediction for 2015?
I'm probably the only person who is watching Michelle Obama. Am I the only one that is still into Michelle Obama?
Senator Michelle Obama?
She just lost a fight, technically, on the budget bill in terms of the changes to the school lunch program. Right now, you can't do — it's whole grains or half-grains, right?
And we got all those Instagrams of like the sad lunches that kids are having to eat now. And it's, like, thanks, Michelle Obama. And I'm really interested to see, like, how that's going to move forward, especially with Sam Kass leaving the White House, joining his wife, Alex Wagner, in New York. But he's still going to be very involved in the Let's Move campaign.
So, I think there's going to be some interesting tensions between Michelle Obama and the Republican Party, which Hillary Clinton found herself in that type of situation when she was first lady. So maybe there will be some nostalgia back to that kind of…
And you want to boldly predict that she's going to run for her office.
You want to go out on a limb, right?
But I think I want that more than she actually wants it.
Well, I'm going to predict that adorable socialist will not be Bernie Sanders' bumper sticker, but it will be a T-shirt, I think, by the end of this segment.
Yes, adorable socialist.
All right, on that note, Helena Andrews, Evan McMorris-Santoro, and Jeffrey Goldberg, thanks so much for joining us.
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