TONIGHT ON METROFOCUS

Governor Cuomo made a big gaffe when he said America was “never that great.” Will it cost him the 2018 gubernatorial election? And, how will that statement be perceived if he runs for the White House in 2020? The “Queen of Soul” passed away today – but her music and legacy is alive and well. Join us as we pay tribute to the American legend, and explore the joy she brought to her fans. The statistics on anti-Semitism are sobering. We take a look at being Jewish in America in the age of President Trump. For senior citizens, loneliness is common problem that affects physical and mental health. One New York-based company has found a solution to the problem, and they’re using virtual senior centers to make real friends.

Aired on August 16, 2018. 

TRANSCRIPT

> TONIGHT ON 'METROFOCUS,' IT IS THE SHOCK CREATING A POLITICAL SHOCK WAVE ACROSS THE NATION.

WE'RE NOT GOING TO MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN.

IT WAS NEVER THAT GREAT.

GOVERNOR CUOMO NOW SAYS HE MEANT TO TAKE A JAB AT PRESIDENT TRUMP'S AMERICA.

BUT THE COMMENT HAS CAUSED A FIRE STORM, AND RAISES QUESTIONS ABOUT HIS PRESIDENTIAL ASPIRATIONS.

THE FALLOUT AND REACTION JUST AHEAD.

> THE QUEEN OF SOUL HAS PASSED.

WE'RE REMEMBERING THE LIFE AND LEGACY OF ARETHA FRANKLIN.

> ANTI-SEMITISM AND SHOCKING STATISTICS, BEING JEWISH IN AMERICA IN THE AGE OF TRUMP.

ONE JOURNALIST HAS NOW BECOME A TARGET OF HATE.

HE'S HERE WITH HIS SOBERING STORY.

> IF YOU'RE A SENIOR WHO'S BEEN UNABLE TO SOCIALIZE BECAUSE YOU'RE HOME BOUND, WE'RE ABOUT TO TAKE YOU TO THE VIRTUAL SENIOR CENTER WHERE ELDER LONELINESS HAS BECOME A THING OF THE PAST.

THOSE STORIES AND MORE AS 'METROFOCUS' STARTS RIGHT NOW.

Announcer: THIS IS 'METROFOCUS' WITH RAFAEL PI ROMAN, JACK FORD AND JENNA FLANAGAN.

'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY -- JAMES AND MERRYL TISCH, SUE AND EDGAR WUKHEIM THE III, BERNARD AND IRENE SCHWARTZ, ROSALIND P. WALTER, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, AND BY --

> WE'RE NOT GOING TO MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN.

IT WAS NEVER THAT GREAT.

GOOD EVENING, AND WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS.'

I'M JACK FORD.

AMERICA WAS NEVER THAT GREAT.

THOSE WORDS GOVERNOR CUOMO FINDS HIMSELF IN THE MIDST OF A CONTROVERSY.

CATCHING THE EYE OF CRITICS CLOSE TO HOME AND NATIONALLY, MAKING FUN OF PRESIDENT TRUMP'S MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN SLOGAN.

THE PRESIDENT WAS THE FIRST TO RESPOND, TWEETING CAN YOU BELIEVE THIS IS THE GOVERNOR OF THE HIGHEST TAX STATE IN THE U.S., ANDREW CUOMO HAVING A TOTAL MELTDOWN.

IT SPARKED A HEATED RESPONSE FROM MARK MOLINARO, THE REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE FOR GOVERNOR.

HE SAID HE OWED THE NATION AN APOLOGY.

HARRY, HOW ARE YOU?

FIRST QUESTION TO YOU, WERE YOU SURPRISED TO HEAR GOVERNOR CUOMO SAY THIS?

GOVERNOR CUOMO IS A TERRIBLE CAMPAIGNER, WHO DOES NOT CONNECT WITH HUMANS.

AND THAT IS THE SECOND, MAJOR UNFORCED RHETORICAL ERROR THIS YEAR.

AFTER COINING THE PHRASE SUMMER OF HELL TO REFER TO WHAT WAS GOING TO HAPPEN TO THE MTA.

HE KNOWS HOW TO WIELD POWER.

HE KNOWS HOW TO TALK GRANDLY.

WHEN HE TRIES TO DO POLITICS IN AN ORDINARY WAY, SPEAK TO VOTERS, MAKE NEWS, HE'S REALLY BAD AT IT.

IF YOU LOOK AT HIS FATHER, WHETHER YOU AGREE WITH HIS POLITICS OR NOT, HE WAS A MARVELOUS CAMPAIGNER.

WHAT'S THE DIFFERENT HERE?

SO DONALD TRUMP AND ANDREW CUOMO ARE THESE GUYS FROM QUEENS WHO ARE STILL IN SOME WAYS IN LIKE THE PSYCHIC SHADOW OF THEIR FATHERS.

AND ANDREW'S FATHER WAS THIS THOUGHTFUL, APPEALING, BRILLIANT SELF-MADE MAN WHO IF HE WANTED TO BE A DIFFERENT SORT OF CHARACTER, COULD DO THAT.

AND ANDREW IS SORT OF THIS IN REVERSE.

HE GREW UP AS A TEENAGER, YOU KNOW, HELPING TO RUN GUBERNATORIAL CAMPAIGNS, AND IN POWER, AND THINKS OF HIMSELF AS A GUY FROM QUEENS WHO LIKES CARS AND MOTORCYCLES.

I DON'T THINK THAT DEALING WITH VOTERS IS WHERE HE'S COMFORTABLE.

BY THE WAY, WITH CYNTHIA NIXON, EVERY TIME HE ENGAGES DIRECTLY, IT'S TERRIBLE.

SHE HAD A BRUTAL LINE ABOUT THIS WHICH IS THAT ANDREW SOUNDED LIKE SOMEBODY TRYING TO FEEBLY TO IMPERSONATE WHAT A REAL PROGRESSIVE SOUNDS LIKE.

BUT WHEN IT COMES TO BOXES HER OUT, HE'S A GUY WHO CONTROLS HUNDREDS OF BILLIONS OF DOLLARS.

HE'S DONE A PERFECTLY COMPETENT JOB.

IT'S WHEN HE TRIES TO TALK TO HUMANS THAT HE FAILS.

IT'S INTERESTING, THE GOVERNOR'S OFFICE HAS SAID THIS, IF YOU LOOK AT THE CONTEXT OF THE COMMENT, AFTER HE SAID THAT, HE'S TALKING ABOUT THE NEED FOR US TO FIND EQUALITY, TO DO AWAY WITH STEREO TYPING.

BUT WHAT GETS PULLED OUT OF THAT SPEECH IS THAT ONE LINE.

AND WE'VE HEARD DEMOCRATS SAY ABOUT, ESPECIALLY PRESIDENT TRUMP, WORDS COUNT.

WHAT YOU SAY COUNTS.

SO HOW DOES HE DEAL WITH THIS NOW?

HE IGNORES IT AND MOVES ON.

HE IS THREE WEEKS AHEAD OF A PRIMARY, DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY WITH A CHALLENGER TO HIS LEFT.

SO IN THAT UNIVERSE SAYING AMERICA HAS NOT BEEN GREAT, AMERICA HAS NOT LIVED UP TO ITS IDEALS, AND TICKING ALL THE WAYS IN WHICH THAT HAPPENS IS PERFECTLY REASONABLE.

HE DIDN'T MEAN TO STEP IN IT THIS WAY AND HIS OFFICE FRANTICALLY.

THERE'S A BUNCH OF WORD BABBLE.

'THE NEW YORK TIMES' NOTED THAT IN PREVIOUS RUNS HE SAID I'M GOING TO MAKE NEW YORK GREAT AGAIN.

SO HE STEPPED IN IT.

HE WANTS TO GET THROUGH THIS PRIMARY, WIN BY AT LEAST 25 POINTS AND MOVE ON.

SO THIS IS A HOT NATIONAL STORY BECAUSE IT'S TRUMP, CUOMO IN 2020, BUT HIS EYES RIGHT NOW ARE ON SEPTEMBER, NOT ON A NOVEMBER OF TWO YEARS HENCE.

AND GIVEN THE WAY OUR NEWS CYCLES WORK RIGHT NOW, YOU KNOW, PEOPLE ARE SAYING, WELL, IF HE'S GOING TO BE A NATIONAL CANDIDATE, THIS IS GOING TO COME BACK TO HAUNT HIM.

DO YOU THINK IT WOULD PLAY OUT THAT WAY?

IT WOULD BE IN THE TACK EDGE IN 2020.

IT'S A SIMPLE QUEEN CAB LINE THAT YOU CAN USE TO BESTOW A LINE OF ATTACK.

SO, YES, I THINK -- I DON'T KNOW HOW MUCH DAMAGE IT DOES, BUT IT'S SOMETHING THAT'S IN EVERYONE'S CLIP REELS NOW AS THEY'RE LOOKING AHEAD.

LAST QUESTION FOR YOU, WE'RE IN THE MIDST OF WHAT'S NOW BEEN DESCRIBED AS TRIBAL POLITICS.

THE PEOPLE WHO ARE ARDENT SUPPORTERS OF GOVERNOR CUOMO ARE GOING TO STAY ARDENT SUPPORTERS.

PEOPLE WHO ARE FERVENT OPPONENTS, WILL STAY THERE.

HOW ABOUT THE ONES IN THE MIDDLE, IS THIS SOMETHING THAT CAN HAVE THE CAPACITY TO MOVE THE NEEDLE FOR INDEPENDENTS?

I DON'T KNOW HOW MANY PEOPLE ARE LEFT IN THE MIDDLE.

I'M ONE OF THEM.

I'M EXHAUSTED BY THIS EXACERBATIONS OF TENSIONS AND EXTREMITIES OF CONTESTS.

THE IDEA ABOUT WHETHER AMERICA IS OR WAS GREAT JUST MAKES ME SAD AND LIKE I'D LIKE TO RETIRE FROM OUR POLITICS UNTIL THEY BECOME MORE SENSIBLE.

SOUNDS LIKE YOU.

I'M INDEPENDENT, HAVE BEEN IN THE MIDDLE.

CAN MOVE EITHER WAY ON SOME ISSUES, BUT AFTER A WHILE YOU JUST GET BEATEN DOWN.

HOPEFULLY SOMETIME IN THE NEAR FUTURE WE CAN COME TO OUR SENSES AND BE MORE RATIONAL IN YOUR POLITICS.

HARRY, GOOD TO TALK TO YOU.

WE'LL TALK TO YOU AGAIN I'M SURE DOWN THE ROAD.

YOU BE WELL.

THANKS FOR HAVING ME.

> THE QUEEN OF SOUL, ARETHA FRANKLIN DIED EARLIER TODAY AT THE AGE OF 76, OF PANCREATIC CANCER.

THE LEGENDARY SINGER IS CONSIDERED ONE OF THE MOST TRANSFORMATIVE ARTISTS IN THE 19th CENTURY.

SHE HAD CLASSIC HITS SUCH AS 'RESPECT,' 'CHAIN OF FOOLS,' AND MANY MORE.

FANS AROUND THE WORLD MOURN HER DEATH.

THEY ALSO CELEBRATE THE POWERFUL MUSIC THAT IS HER LEGACY.

JOINING US TO TALK ABOUT THAT LEGACY IS MUSIC JOURNALIST, AUTHOR AND SIRIUSXM RADIO HOST.

ALAN, WELCOME.

THANK YOU.

WE ALL KNEW THIS WAS COMING.

BUT IT'S SURPRISINGLY SAD AND SHOCKING.

I DON'T KNOW HOW YOU SAY IT.

IT'S NOT SURPRISING, BUT IT'S SHOCKING.

I MEAN, ALL WEEK WE'VE KNOWN SHE'S BEEN IN HOSPICE CARE.

WE'VE BEEN WAITING FOR THIS NEWS.

IT'S NOT UNEXPECTED.

AND YET, IT STILL HITS YOU IN SUCH A POWERFUL WAY WHEN YOU REALIZE THAT A GIANT LIKE THIS REALLY IS GONE.

RIGHT.

BUT TELL US WHY.

I MEAN, YOU KNOW, GIANTS HAVE DIED BEFORE.

YEAH.

I THINK THAT WITH THESE KINDS OF MUSICIANS IN PARTICULAR, THESE KINDS OF ICONS, I THINK THAT WE'RE USED TO -- WE KNOW HOW TO PROCESS THE ROCK AND ROLL DEATHS, THE PLANE CRASHES, THE OVERDOSES, THE SORT OF SUDDEN LIGHTNING BOLT OUT OF NOWHERE, WE'VE BEEN THROUGH THAT.

WHAT WE'RE STILL LEARNING IS HOW TO GRIEVE WHEN THESE FIGURES THAT WE'VE GROWN UP WITH, THAT WE'VE LISTENED TO AND LOVED OUR WHOLE LIVES, THEY GET OLDER AND GET SICK AND PASS AWAY, IN A WAY THAT MOST OF US WILL HAPPEN.

WE'RE STILL LEARNING HOW TO DO THAT.

YOU'RE RIGHT.

YOU KNOW, I NEVER HEARD HER PERFORM LIVE.

YOU DID.

IN FACT, YOU DID ONE OF -- RECENTLY YOU DID.

I SAW HER SING AS RECENTLY AS LAST SPRING, I GUESS, YOU KNOW, ONE OF THE LAST HALF DOZEN SHOWS OR SO THAT SHE PLAYED.

THE LATER YEARS THE SHOWS COULD BE HIT OR MISS.

SHE WAS -- SHE WAS BATTLING HEALTH ISSUES A LONG TIME.

SHE CANCELLED A LOT OF SHOWS.

SHE DIDN'T SHOW UP FOR A LOT OF SHOWS.

BUT I SAW HER AT A THEATER IN POUGHKIPSIE, A BENEFIT LAST SF SPRING.

SHE WAS MAGNIFICENT.

NOT JUST THE POWER OF HER VOICE, BUT THE FACT SHE WAS STILL ABLE TO DELIVER THIS REALLY NUANCED AND SUBTLE AND PROFOUND INTERPRETATIONS OF THESE SONGS, THE FACT THAT AT 75 YEARS OLD SHE WAS ABLE TO GO AS DEEP INTO THIS MATERIAL WAS JUST SO REMARKABLE TO ME.

I'M SO FORTUNATE THAT I GOT THAT.

YOU'RE LUCKY, YEAH.

HOW WOULD YOU CHARACTERIZE HER IN AMERICAN MUSIC?

I THINK SHE REALLY STAKED OUT TERRITORY FOR A BLACK FEMALE ARTIST OF ANY SORT IN THIS COUNTRY THAT REALLY WAS UNPRECEDENTED.

AND THAT SHE REALLY WAS ABLE TO CREATE A SOUND THAT WAS SO GROUND BREAKING IN MAINTAINING THIS CONNECTION TO THE GOSPEL BACKGROUND THAT SHE HAD AND THE CHURCH THAT SHE GREW UP IN AND ABLE TO INVEST THAT UNCOMPROMISING EMOTION, BUT DO THAT IN POP SONGS.

AND DO THAT IN SONGS THAT WERE, YOU KNOW, TOP 40 RADIO HITS.

HOW DID SHE DO THAT?

I MEAN, THAT'S AN ALCHEMY THAT ELUDES MANY ARTISTS.

WE DO A DISSERVICE TO SO MANY GREAT SINGERS, AND WE JUST THINK THEY HAVE THIS SUPER POWER, THEY WERE LUCKY, THEY WERE AND I WASN'T, THAT'S THE WITAY IT GOE.

WHEN YOU LOOK AT THE BODY OF ARETHA FRANKLIN'S WORK YOU REALIZE THE LEVEL OF MUSICIANSHIP.

SHE WAS AN EXTRAORDINARY -- SHE WAS SIGNED AT 18 YEARS OLD TO COLUMBIA RECORDS AND THEY TRIED TO MAKE HER A JAZZ STANDARDS SINATRA KIND OF SINGER.

SHE MADE SOME BEAUTIFUL RECORDS, BUT NOTHING THAT CHANGED THE WORLD.

YOU KNOW, SHE LEFT THERE, SHE WAS SIGNED BY ATLANTIC RECORDS, AND THEY REALIZED GIVE HER HER LANE, LET HER FIND THE SOUND AND WHAT SHE FOUND, WHAT SHE WAS ABLE TO CREATE WITH HER AGENCY YOU KNOW THAT SHE WAS DOING THIS ACTIVELY THAT WAS BRINGING GOSPEL WITH POP CONSTRUCTION, WITH SONGS THAT HAD HOOKS AND THAT PEOPLE COULD KNOW, COULD HUM AND SING.

AND ABLE TO DELIVER SONGS THAT JUST BECAME UNIVERSAL.

SHE CAME TO FAME IN THE '60s, DURING THE UPHEAVAL OF THE SEE 60s, WHAT WAS HER ROLE IN THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT?

THERE ARE TWO LEVELS TO HER MEANING TO THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT AND TO HISTORY.

ON THE ONE HAND, SHE WAS ACTIVE, SHE PLAYED BENEFITS, SHE RAISED MONEY FOR BOND TO FREE PEOPLE WHO WERE PROTESTERS WHO WERE JAILED.

SHE SANG AT DR. KING'S FUNERAL.

SHE WAS VERY HANDS ON INVOLVED IN A LOT OF THINGS ABOUT THE MOVEMENT.

IN A WAY, WAS EVEN BIGGER THAN THAT, IN A WAY THAT THESE SONGS LIKE 'RESPECT' AND 'THINK' WERE, YOU KNOW -- GAVE THE VOICE, GAVE THE MEANING AND THE SORT OF SENSE OF COMMON PURPOSE AND VISION.

THEY REALLY WERE A SOUND TRACK TO THAT MOMENT, NOT JUST BECAUSE THEY WERE POPULAR BUT BECAUSE THEY WERE ARTICULATING AND EXPRESSING THESE IDEAS THAT WERE AT THE FOUNDATION OF WHAT PEOPLE WERE FIGHTING FOR.

LESS THAN 30 SECONDS, WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE SONG OF HERS?

A SONG CALLED 'CALL ME,' IT'S ALMOST A WISP THAT WOULD JUST DISAPPEAR IF IT WASN'T SO INVESTED WITH HER INTERPRETATION.

I COULD LISTEN TO THAT SONG EVERY DAY.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US.

THANK YOU.

> HATE CRIMES ARE SKYROCKETING IN THE NATION AND IN NEW YORK CITY.

A RECENT REPORT FROM THE ANTI-DEAF NATION LEAGUE NOTES THAT THE NUMBER OF ANTI-SMETIC INCIDENTS IN NEW YORK ROSE BY 19% IN 2017 COMPARED TO 2016, 90%. ACCORDING TO A NEW BOOK ENTITLED SEMITISM BEING JEWISH IN THE AGE OF TRUMP, THE SITUATION COULD GET EVEN WORSE AND POTENTIALLY MORE DANGEROUS.

IN HIS BOOK, JONATHAN WEISSMAN DESCRIBES HIS OWN ENCOUNTERS WITH WHITE NATIONALISTS AND LOOKS AT HOW THE CONNECTION BETWEEN THEM AND THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION IS MAKING US FACE A RIDING TIDE OF HATE.

WE'RE DELIGHTED TO HAVE JONATHAN WITH US.

THANKS FOR SPENDING SOME TIME WITH US.

THANKS FOR SOMETHING ME.

I WANT TO GET TO YOUR OWN EXPERIENCES THAT ARE A BIT OF A SPRING BOARD FOR ALL OF THIS.

I DO WANT TO ASK A FIRST QUESTION.

THAT IS ABOUT THE TITLE.

CURIOUS, YOU CAN LOOK AT IT HERE, SEMITISM, BEING JEWISH IN AMERICA IN THE AGE OF TRUMP.

SEMITISM HAS THREE PARENTHESES AROUND IT.

THERE'S A SIGNIFICANCE TO THAT.

THERE IS.

DURING THE 2016 CAMPAIGN, AND I WAS ON TWITTER, AS I OFTEN AM, I SENT SOMETHING OUT ONTO TWITTER AND I GOT A REPLY BACK FROM SOMEBODY CALLING THEMSELVES CYBER-TRUMP.

IT JUST SAID HELLO WEISSMAN, BUT MY NAME WAS IN THREE PARENTHESES.

I HAVE A JEWISH SOUNDING NAME, I WONDER WHAT THIS MEANS AND THEN I REPLIED TO HIM, CARE TO EXPLAIN?

AND HE CAME BACK SAYING WHAT HOE THE -- IT'S A DOG WHISTLE.

I HAVE BELLED THE CAT FROM MY FELLOW -- WHAT IT IS IS THOSE THREE PARENTHESES ARE -- WERE USED TO MARK JEWS ON SOCIAL MEDIA.

AND THESE NEO-NAZIS HAD THIS SOFTWARE CALLED THE COINCIDENCE INDICATOR, AND THEY COULD DOWNLOAD IT AND SEARCH FOR THE TARGETS THAT WERE BELLED TO GO AFTER.

THOSE ACTUALLY SIGNIFY WHO WAS TARGETED ONLINE.

IS IT HYPERBOLLIC TO SAY A MODERN-DAY ARM BAND.

THAT'S WHAT THEY CALL IT ACTUALLY.

THEY DO?

THEY SAY THIS IS OUR WAY OF SLAPPING THE YELLOW STAR ON THEIR CHEST.

THAT'S WHAT THEY WOULD CALL IT.

LET ME TALK A LITTLE BIT MORE ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCES THEN.

AS A JOURNALIST, YOU'RE FAR MORE PUBLIC, CERTAINLY, AND AS YOU SAID, YOU'RE ENGAGED ON SOCIAL MEDIA.

WHAT DID YOU FIND THEN THAT YOU WERE BEING SUBJECTED TO?

THE UGLINESS OF THE ANTI SEMITISM AND THE HATE REALLY TOOK ME ABACK.

YOU KNOW, OBVIOUSLY WE KNOW THAT THERE IS BIGOTRY IN THIS COUNTRY.

BUT HAVING YOUR FACE PHOTO SHOPPED ON A PICTURE OF A CONCENTRATION CAMP VICTIM, OR SOMEBODY KNEELING DOWN ABOUT TO BE SHOT IN THE BACK OF THE HEAD BY A NAZI, OR BEING IN A GAS CHAMBER WITH A DONALD TRUMP FIGURE IN NAZI REGALIA ABOUT TO TURN ON THE GAS, IT JUST WENT ON AND ON AND ON.

THERE WAS ONE GUY WHO SENT ME AN IMAGE OF THE VERY FAMOUS GATES OF AUSHWITZ.

IT SAID MAKEN AMERICA GREAT AGAIN, IN THIS WEIRD MOTIF OF THE HOLOCAUST, PERSECUTION OF THE JEWS AND TRUMPISM JUST KEPT RECURRING OVER AND OVER.

IT TOOK ME SO ABACK THAT I REALLY TRIED TO SEND IT OUT INTO THE WORLD AND SHOW WHAT WAS REALLY OUT THERE.

WOULD YOU CHARACTERIZE WHAT YOU WERE DOING AS IN A WAY FIGHTING BACK, PUSHING BACK, OR WERE YOU JUST TRYING TO ILLUMINATE THIS?

YOU KNOW, I THINK I WOULD SAY I WAS PUSHING BACK.

MY MAIN GOAL WAS TO SHOW JUST THE LEVEL OF HATRED OUT THERE.

AND THAT HAVE BEEN STIRRED UP DURING THIS CAMPAIGN.

I WILL ADMIT, IN SOME WAYS, I WAS PLAYING INTO THE KIND OF NEO-NAZI TRAP HERE.

HOW?

LOOK, I HAVE A LOT MORE FOLLOWERS ON TWITTER OR ON FACEBOOK THAN THEY DO.

AND SO BY SENDING IT OUT I WAS SOMEWHAT AMPLIFYING THEIR MESSAGE.

SO I DID IT IN BURSTS, BUT DIDN'T DO IT IN A SUSTAINED WAY.

IN FACT, THE HEAD OF THE ANTI DEFAMATION LEAGUE SAID I GET WHAT YOU'RE DOING, JONATHAN, MAYBE YOU SHOULD COOL IT DOWN FOR A WHILE.

BECAUSE OF THE FACT YOU WERE GIVING A VOICE TO FOLKS THAT DIDN'T HAVE A VOICE ESSENTIALLY YOU OR OTHERS DID?

THAT WAS THE THOUGHT.

IT WAS IMPORTANCE TO RAISE AWARENESS, BUT AT SOME POINT IT GAVE THEM TOO MUCH OF A PLATFORM.

WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THAT?

IT'S SOMETHING I WRESTLED WITH A LOT.

I WRITE A WHOLE CHAPTER HOW TO CONFRONT THIS RISING WHITE NATIONALISM.

THERE ARE VERY STRONG, SMART VOICES WHO SAY THE BEST WAY TO DO IT IS JUST IGNORE IT BECAUSE THESE PEOPLE JUST WANT THE ATTENTION.

BUT I REMEMBER TALKING TO A RABBI IN WASHINGTON WHO SAID, YOU KNOW, YOU HAVE TO LOOK TO THE TORAH, TO THE RELIGIOUS BOOKS, AND SAYS WHEN THE JEW FINDS INJUSTICE, THE JEW MUST STAND UP TO INJUSTICE.

IF YOU LOOK TO OUR OWN TEACHINGS, YOU COME AWAY THINKING WE DO HAVE TO FIGHT BACK.

WE SHOULDN'T PUT OUR HEADS IN THE SAND AND HOPE IT GOES AWAY.

WHAT ARE YOU HOPING WILL COME FROM THIS BOOK?

YOU KNOW, I WANTED TO SEND OUT A WAKEUP CALL BECAUSE I JUST FEEL LIKE THERE HASN'T BEEN A LOUD ENOUGH RESPONSE TO THIS RISING BIGOTRY.

AND I THINK THAT JEWS AND MUSLIMS AND LATINOS AND IMMIGRANTS, ALL THESE GROUPS THAT HAVE BEEN TARGETED IN THE LAST COUPLE OF YEARS REALLY NEED TO SPEAK TOGETHER.

AND THIS ISN'T A QUESTION OF, YOU KNOW, DECIDING WHO'S GOT IT WORST.

IT'S REALLY A QUESTION OF UNIFYING AROUND THIS NOTION OF DEMOCRATIC PLURALISM.

THAT WE'RE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER, AND THE UNITED STATES IS NOT A WHITE HOMELAND.

AND WE HAVE TO STAND UP FOR THAT.

AGAIN, IT'S CALLED 'SEMITISM, BEING JEWISH IN AMERICA IN THE AGE OF TRUMP,' JONATHAN, IT'S A MARVELOUS, COMPELLING AND PROVOCATIVE WORK HERE.

WE APPRECIATE YOU SPENDING SOME TIME WITH US.

THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME.

YOU BE WELL.

> I'M MADDIE ORTON FOR 'METROFOCUS.'

FOR OLDER ADULTS, FEELING LONELY IS MORE THAN A MATTER OF HAPPINESS.

ACCORDING TO A 2012 STUDY FROM UC SAN FRANCISCO, LONELINESS IN SENIORS AFFECTS THEIR HEALTH AND LONGEVITY OF LIFE.

SO WHEN MICROSOFT IN NEW YORK CITY'S DEPARTMENT OF AGING TEAMED UP WITH SELF-HELP, A NONPROFIT PROMOTING INDEPENDENT LIVING FOR SENIORS IN NEW YORK, THERE WAS A NEED TO FILL.

THAT'S HOW THE VIRTUAL SENIOR CENTER WAS BORN.

HERE'S THE STORY.

♪ EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF SELF-HELP INNOVATIONS DAVID DURING NOTICED A CONCERNING PATTERN AMONG HIS SENIOR CITIZEN CLIENTS.

WHEN SELF-HELP PARTNERED WITH MICROSOFT IN NEW YORK CITY'S DEPARTMENT OF AGING HE KNEW EXACTLY WHERE TO DIRECT THEIR EFFORTS.

WE RECOGNIZED THAT A YOU REMEMBER -- NUMBER OF THE PEOPLE THAT WOULD GO TO OUR SENIOR CENTERS WOULD FULLY STOP GOING, AND FOR ANY NUMBER OF REASONS BE UNABLE TO ACCESS THE ENRICHMENT HAPPENING AT THE SENIOR CENTER.

WE SAID, WHAT IF WE WERE TO USE TECHNOLOGY TO ESSENTIALLY BRING THE SENIOR CENTER SERVICES TO PEOPLE IN THEIR HOME.

HI, BERNIE, HOW ARE YOU?

GOOD TO SEE YOU.

IT'S BEEN UTILIZING TECHNOLOGICAL INNOVATIONS TO HELP OLDER ADULTS LIVE INDEPENDENTLY, SAFELY.

IT BROUGHT UNIQUE CHALLENGES.

MOST NOTABLY, CREATING AN INTUITIVE INTERFACE FOR A GENERATION THAT DIDN'T GROW UP WITH COMPUTERS, AND SERVING SOME USERS WHO WERE COMPLETELY UNFAMILIAR WITH HOW TO USE ONE.

SO, IF YOU FOLLOW ADULT LEARNING THEORY, YOU WOULD KNOW THAT AN OLDER ADULT WOULD MAP A MOUSE TO A MOUSE.

SO THE TAIL WOULD BE THE BACK OF THE MOUSE.

AND SO YOU WOULD TURN IT AROUND AND YOU WOULD TRY TO USE THE MOUSE WITH THE TAIL -- OR ESSENTIALLY THE CORD POINTING -- AND YOU WOULD GO IN OPPOSITE DIRECTIONS ON THE SCREEN.

HE OPTED FOR A TOUCH SCREEN, AND MADE A CUSTOM MADE INTERFACE TO BRING USERS DIRECTLY TO A HOME SCREEN.

FIVE YEARS AFTER LAUNCHING, THEY'RE STILL LOOKING FOR WAYS TO IMPROVE THE SYSTEM.

WE DID A LOT OF INHOME TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE CALLS FOR PEOPLE WITH THE PURPOSE OF WATCHING THEM USE THE DEVICE TO SEE WHAT WAS THE ACTUAL PROBLEM THAT THEY WERE EXPERIENCING AND THEN FIGURING OUT HOW WE COULD USE THE TECHNOLOGY TO SOLVE THE PROBLEM, INSTEAD OF TRAINING THEM ON HOW TO USE IT DIFFERENTLY.

THAT MENTALITY HAS CUT TRAINING TIME FOR SENIOR USERS FROM SEVERAL WEEKS TO JUST AN HOUR AND A HALF.

COMPUTERS ARE SOMETIMES FREE OR PROVIDED ON A SLIDING PRICE SCALE.

AND SET UP AND TRAINING ARE INCLUDED.

WHAT STARTED AS A PILOT PROGRAM OF ABOUT SIX USERS HAS EXPLODED INTO A FULLY ACTIVE, TRUE VIRTUAL SENIOR CENTER WITH OVER 400 MEMBERS AND ABOUT 40 CLASSES A WEEK.

USERS ARE EQUIPPED WITH A BUILT-IN CAMERA AND MICROPHONE TO JOIN IN ON LECTURES, DISCUSSIONS, CONCERTS AND EVEN FITNESS LESSONS.

WHERE AM I IN THIS THING HERE?

BOTTOM RIGHT?

I DON'T KNOW.

IT'S BEEN A GAME CHANGER FOR SENIOR JOHN GATIT.

HE HAD BEEN VISITING THE SENIOR CENTER FOR COMPUTER CLASSES UNTIL HIS WIFE PASSED AWAY AND HE SUFFERED TWO STROKES MAKING LEAVING THE HOUSE A REAL CHALLENGE.

BEING ABLE TO USE THIS COMPUTER, AND BEING -- HAVING COMPUTER CLASSES HERE AND NOT HAVING TO GO TO THE CENTER, IT'S OPENED UP A WHOLE NEW WORLD OF REALITY TO ME.

SUBSEQUENTLY, THROUGH PHYSICAL THERAPY I WAS ABLE TO GET BACK TO WALKING.

NOW I DON'T WANT TO GIVE THIS UP ANYMORE.

HE HAS LONG TIME FRIENDS AND HOBBIES, BUT HE SAYS THE VIRTUAL SENIOR CENTER PROVIDES SOMETHING NEW IN HIS LIFE.

AND THAT'S EXCITING.

HE TRAVELS REMOTELY, AND DISCOVERS NEW PLACES, LEARNING PIECES OF DIFFERENT LANGUAGES ALONG THE WAY, ALL FROM THE COMFORT OF HIS OWN HOME, SOMETIMES ACCOMPANIED BY HIS FURLY SIDE KICK THEO.

IT'S LIKE HAVING SOMEBODY IN THE HOUSE WITH ME.

IT IS GREAT FOR THAT.

THE BENEFITS FROM THE CLASSES IT PROVIDES CAN BE EXTRAORDINARY.

JANICE BAKER HAS MS, SHE LOVES TO BE ACTIVE AND USED TO WALK TO THE GYM EVERY DAY.

BUT RECENTLY SHE'S BECOME MORE HOME BOUND.

TODAY SHE JOINS JOHN GATIS AND DOZENS OF OTHERS FROM HER HOME IN CHICAGO TO PARTICIPATE IN A MUSIC PERFORMANCE AND DISCUSSION.

AND IT'S AMAZING WHAT YOU CAN DO, NOT ONLY DANCING IN A CHAIR, BUT EXERCISING IN A CHAIR AND LISTENING -- NOT ONLY WITH MY LEGS, BUT MY SPIRITS.

ALSO JOINING TODAY'S CLASS, DORIS COX.

SHE SAYS THE VIRTUAL SENIOR CENTER CAME AT THE RIGHT TIME FOR HER.

I WAS PHYSICALLY -- WELL, JUST ABOUT BURNT OUT.

BUT WITH THIS MENTAL STIMULATION FROM THIS PROGRAM WHERE WE HAVE A LOT OF DIFFERENT CLASSES, AND WE PARTICIPATE IN DISCUSSIONS, AND WE LISTEN TO MUSIC, AND WE TAKE EXERCISES, NOW MY DOCTOR IS SAYING THAT ALL MY TESTS ARE COMING BACK WITHIN THE NORMAL RANGE.

BEYOND THE BENEFITS FROM PHYSICAL AND MENTAL STIMULATION, HE SAYS THE VIRTUAL SENIOR CENTER WILL ALLOW FOR BETTER OVERALL CARE MOVING FORWARD.

HE FOUND IN TESTING WITH SELF-HELP'S CASE MANAGEMENT PROGRAMS THAT CONNECTING WITH PATIENTS FACE TO FACE VIRTUALLY LED TO MORE PRODUCTIVE CHECK-INS THAN THOSE DONE OVER THE PHONE.

FOR EXAMPLE, WE HAD ONE PERSON WHO WAS PART OF OUR CASE MANAGEMENT PROGRAM FOR THREE OR FOUR MONTHS OVER THE SUMMER.

THEY WERE DOING THEIR MONTHLY PHONE CALL CHECK-IN, AND EVERYTHING SOUNDED FINE.

AND THEY PUT THE PERSON ON THE CALL-IN, AND THE GUY WAS SWEATY.

WHY ARE YOU SWEATY?

MY AIR CONDITIONER BROKE.

WITH DIDN'T YOU TELL US?

WE HAVE ACCESS TO RESOURCES TO BAYOU A NEW AIR CONDITIONER.

THE THINGS THAT HAPPEN PHYSICALLY, THE BODY LANGUAGE THAT LAPSE IS SO IMPORTANT IN UNDERSTANDING WHAT A PERSON'S ACTUAL SITUATION IS.

BUT FOR REGS LIKE GATIS NOTHING BEATS THE OPPORTUNITY TO MAKE NEW FRIENDS AND LEARN NEW THINGS EVERY SINGLE DAY.

WITH THE COMPUTER, I'M TAKING DOG TRAINING LESSONS.

OH, GREAT.

AND WE'RE GOING TO LEARN, AREN'T WE?

Announcer: 'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY JAMES AND MERRYL TISCH, SUE AND EDGAR WALKENHEIM III, BERNARD AND IRENE SCHWARTZ, ROSALIND P.

WALTER, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, AND BY -- CORPORATE FUNDING FOR 'METROFOCUS' WAS PROVIDED BY MUTUAL OF AMERICA.

YOUR RETIREMENT COMPANY.

AND BY PSE&G, SERVING CUSTOMERS, STRENGTHENING THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY, AND INVESTING IN THE FUTURE.

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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